Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas 2015 Recap & Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

Well, hellooooo there! And happy 2016! With a new year brings new goals and a fresh, clean slate and I couldn't be more excited to see what the new year has in store for me, my little blog and my health journey. I really want to do a 2015 recap on the blog soon as it was a HUGE year for me and so many exciting things happened. That being said, I wanted to do a little holiday recap today and I also have a super incredible peanut butter cookie recipe that the world has got to know about. I made them the night before we left for Colorado for Christmas and I felt like Oprah handing them out before we left.. 

They are seriously divine. 

We spent our holidays back in Colorado with my husband's family and it's always so fun to get into the full spirit of Christmas with young kiddos around. Our nephews were so excited about all of it and any time I get to soak up with with them is so fun for us. Between family time, seeing a few friends and it being a white Christmas, there really isn't anything better. 

The three of us arrived in Colorado and only one of us had to be semi sedated. I'll let you guess who.. #wasn'tthehumans
Nevertheless, it wouldn't be the holidays without our sweet puppy. We LOVED having her in Colorado, although she was definitely not a fan of being back in the snow. 

Seriously, how cute are their faces? We had ourselves a nephew sandwich on the way home from the Christmas Eve service as per usual

We take the holidays very seriously.. as you can tell. 

And I may be totally biased, but I'm fairly certain my little baby nephew is the cutest little ham to ever exist. Just look at that smile! 

Christmas Day was one for the books as one of my nephews was surprised with a bunny! He was so excited.. and so was Daisy. 
(I'm fairly certain we have the only toy sized dog who thinks she's a lab. Homegirl can hunt.) We ate breakfast casserole, we vegged, we opened presents, we played with all their new stuff- it was just a perfect cozy day with family. 

That's the face of one happy new bunny owner! We found out that I am allegedly terrified of little bunny feet all over me so the "After" of this picture isn't as precious as the during. What can I say? She's really the cutest little thing, though and SO tiny!

These two spent the weekend having squeeze fests. Literally. This little boy would squeeze his uncle as tight as he could and Ben would squeeze him hard and they'd both say "squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!" And it happened over. And over. And over again. 

That is, until he realized that he could just climb on top of his uncle to get to the top of a doorway at his brother's soccer game. I mean, for an almost-four year-old, this is so much more fun than a post-Christmas soccer game, right? I was cracking up watching Ben hold him as he tried so desperately to climb over his face.

I promise to always keep it real with you guys and although the holidays were so magical and fun and it was amazing being with our families, they were not without their temptations. There were splurges that I wasn't even considering, meals I planned on being on plan for and then breakfast burritos magically appearing in my lap out of nowhere. That does happen, right? Burrito fairies flying around and dropping them off in people's laps when they least expect them? Thought so.

 But that's life. I didn't beat myself up over spilled burrito.. because, well, there wasn't any.. it was all so deliciously in my stomach. #seehwhatididthere?

But seriously, the holidays were a struggle from beginning to end and although I gained a few pounds and then lost them when we got back home and back to real life, I know I could have done better. I needed to do better. And the next time, I hope I DO do better. I feel better when I stay on plan, I look better when I've been staying away from carbs (my face gives it away 100%) and I have brain fog and fatigue like you wouldn't believe when I go back to my old eating habits even for only a meal. So let's just know that for the future, mmk? Life happens. Poorly thought out meal planning and vacation cravings happen.. especially during the holidays and you just move on. I'm just glad that the holidays are over for ONLY that reason. The rest of it I love, but my first holiday season in this new lifestyle was a bit of a challenge.

Now that we're back home and into the swing of the craziness of January at my work and back to the meal planning/cooking normalcy of real life, I couldn't go one more second without sharing the most amazing peanut butter cookie recipe EVER. For 3 net carbs per cookie, they're such a perfect, flaky indulgence. As I mentioned before, I've never fancied myself a baker and low carb baking has terrified me from the get-go. It's worked out because I have a salt tooth 100 times over a sweet one. But my husband.. let's just say he misses the ice cream more than the chips. #givemeallthechips

And he ADORED these. My parents adored these. My dad didn't even know there wasn't flour in them.. they're just GOOD. And you should make them soon! 

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
Serving: 16 cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup Splenda, plus a little extra for dusting
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Place all 4 ingredients into a medium size bowl. Mix thoroughly until well blended. Roll dough into little balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. 
3. Put all 4 ingredients into a medium size bowl. Mix thoroughly until well blended. Roll dough into little balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Dip a fork into a small bit of Splenda and press into the balls making a cross hatched design. 
4. Cook for 12 minutes & move to cooling rack. Dust with Splenda & cool. Store in an air-tight container. 

4 ingredients to deliciousness.. This recipe was so incredibly easy.

Right out of the gate, I mixed up the batter with my mixer and I wanted to just plop down on the couch, nix the whole idea of taking pictures of these for the blog (and for all of you) and just eat the bowl of dough with a spoon. It. was. so. gooooood! But I overcame! And there was no couch and dough action and I did that for y'all! #youcanthankmelater

I rolled up the dough into little balls and then pressed down with my fork to make the traditional cross hatched design. Mine aren't fancy but I'm more of a rustic baker. And by rustic, I mean sloppy chic. And by sloppy chic I just mean sloppy. 

You're gonna want to plop that in your mouth before putting it in the oven. Just saying. But refrain! Because look at how gorgeous they are out of the oven!


I was super impressed with the final product! I was in love with the buttery, flaky texture of them. They're not chewy like you're typical cookie, because, well, there's no flour to bind all the ingredients together. But I PROMISE you won't miss it. 

On a whim, I decided to get really fancy and see what they tasted like with a teaspoon of my favorite sugar free preserves.. who doesn't want their dessert to taste like grown up, low carb peanut butter and jelly? I thought it would add a little something and it did.. but they were actually just as good without the extra few carbs on top. 

Sugar free preserves or not, I know you guys will adore these! As my mom so sweetly said when she tried them, "they're actually really addictive.. it sneaks up on you after you finish one and you just want another!" So, if nothing else, listen to the lady. She knows what she's talking about. 

If you don't already follow me on Instagram, you totally should! I was so excited to see my top rated posts of the year and no surprise, they were all related to my health journey. I loved seeing all of these moments and transformation pictures of the last 11 months, especially after the holidays when I felt larger than life. 

My prayer for any of you reading and contemplating trying something new and different and changing your life by SAVING your life in your own health journey is that you quiet that little beast in your head who tells you that this won't be your year and you just go out there and do it. Even if it's hard. Even if you have a breakfast burrito over Christmas. Even if you know you'll miss sushi and pizza more than you think humanly possible. You can do this. With every fiber of my being, I know what it's like to struggle and spend years off of the wagon. But I can tell you that this year has been one of the most amazing, joy-filled years of my life because I climbed back on that wagon, feet dragging on the road at times, and pulled myself out of the "I'm not worthy enough" funk that self doubt perpetuates.

 All I keep thinking to myself is that if 2015 was so incredible, I can't even begin to wrap my brain at all of the possibilities 2016 has in store. If I can go from a size 28 jeans to a 20/22 and lose 76 lbs in my first 11 months, I am ecstatic to see the progress I can make by the end of my first year and through the rest of 2016. And I feel that way because one day someone looked me in the face and told me I was a catastrophe- slowly killing myself with carbs and sugar. And so I started where I was with what I had until I slowly started to believe that I could do it. Before I knew it, I was doing it. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that you can, too. 

So, if you're new around these parts and you're needing a little encouragement, a little honesty, and some crazy chick rattling on about the products and low carb recipes you need to make right this second.. you've come to the right place. Welcome. And I'm so happy we found each other. 

Happy 2016 from my husband and I! I could not be more excited to share my adventures in the kitchen and on this journey to a better, healthier me in this next year. 

Happy Monday, lovebugs! Make it wonderful. 

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