Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies – Gluten Free & Vegan

When I first took the plunge and adapted a vegan lifestyle, I felt inspired. Suddenly my meals and baked goods were each a new experiment, and I was revamping my old favorites to make them new. I fell completely in love with plant based foods.

005

Fast forward two years and my baking sometimes has another label slapped onto it -gluten free. I haven’t talked about it much on the blog, because I really dislike labels, but I have adapted a 95% GF diet. Simply because I feel better without all the breads/wheat intake.

My digestion is amazing, and I don’t feel sluggish or bloated. I say 95% because I will occasionally eat a roll, a cupcake with whole wheat flour, or if I go out to a restaurant I will eat what I am served, but when I am at home I go GF for most of my meals.

007

I’ve been baking a lot of treats lately that don’t call for flour at all, which has made this adventure easy, but I decided it was time to revamp my all time favorite cookie recipe. I made it gluten free, and added ground coffee…because I could. Don’t let the terms “vegan” and “gluten free” fool you though, these are one of my more naughty treats.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies

043

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose GF flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh* ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup xylitol (or raw sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips

*fresh coffee has the most flavor

054

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. I use stone wear to bake my cookies so that I don’t have to line a baking sheet, but if you don’t have any line a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2.  Combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, ground coffee and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, brown sugar and xylitol until well combined. Mix in the vanilla, and applesauce until light and creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Place cookies onto a lined cookie sheet, or large pizza stone. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.

056Now..keep in mind…these are gluten free. The raw cookie dough itself is not as tasty as regular floured dough, but I did still eat enough dough to feel slightly sick. What can I say, I’m a dough diggerThese are fluffy, soft, and full of sugar. Perfect.

001

I shared these treats with some civilians* and they loved them. I found that the flatter and wider the cookie, the more balanced the flavors. Shorter and taller cookies had a bit of the flour taste, so make sure you make them an even size. I am officially obsessed.

*non vegan/GF eaters

Q: Does the title GF/Vegan scare you…or intrigue you? 

atterned-n

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Organic vs. Conventional Coffee – Starbucks vs. Local Coffee – & Which Decaf Beans you Should Buy

Whoa, how’s that for a title. Despite the mouthful, I hope to keep this post simple and short enough so that you won’t get bored. Key word…hope. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, this post is for you. If not feel free to skip it, or stick around you may learn something new!

Organic vs. Conventional Coffee

I’ve been drinking coffee religiously for about six years now. It started as a once in a while habit after my friend told me she frequented the bathroom almost immediately after consumption. Let’s be honest, coffee is a surefire way to expel last nights dinner.

This mug was made for a reason.

This mug was made for a reason.

As I got older, my desire for coffee turned into something more. I suddenly enjoyed the flavors, the notes, the depth, the peace and quiet that came alongside my morning cup. Coffee became not only a warm beverage to get my day started, but an all around experience. These types of experiences are the ones you enjoy sharing with others.

I eat well, I workout often, I floss daily, and I pay attention to ingredient labels. I don’t buy all my produce organic, but I would say about 90% of it is. I pay attention to which products contain the most pesticides and those are always purchased organic, but what about my coffee?

org

Did you know: Most coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides!? If you’re interested in learning more about this hit up Google for endless articles on how coffee is grown, and the differences between growing conditions and locations. In attempts to keep this post simple I will leave it at this. Coffee is no different than most produce grown in mass quantities, it’s sprayed with chemicals, and the quality goes down. Organic coffee means less chance of chemicals, and the beans are usually grown in smaller quantities, enhancing quality.

For all you crunchy earth loving hippies out there, buying organic also helps the people/and the earth that grow the beans. Pesticide free means the people growing the beans are not exposed to these harsh chemicals (ammonia and chlorine washed..eww..) and the earth is kept closer to its natural state..big fat WIN!

hippie

So where do you find organic coffees? Most local shops carry a variety of organic beans, along with a unique experience. I love local coffee shops, and despite the fact that I work at Starbucks I sometimes prefer local roasted coffee. Here are my thoughts on the two.

Starbucks vs. Local Coffee

Let me start by saying I love my job. Starbucks is an amazing company, and they treat their employees exceptionally well. I get benefits, I have a 401K which they match generously, I have a flexible schedule, I meet great people, and I work with coffee. I have NO complaints as an employee. As a customer though, I do have a few thoughts to share.

Starbucks has a limited selection for organic coffees. The store I work at has one option…ONE. I don’t drink frappucinos (holy sugar bomb), I don’t drink flavored lattes (IT TAINTS the coffee!?), and I usually stick to one beverage when I work: black coffee..hello predictability! The foo foo drinks/food just don’t coincide with my lifestyle.

Although there are limited “officially” organic beans at Starbucks, their beans are arabica. These beans are naturally grown at a higher altitude, meaning less pests, meaning less pesticides. The beans are also said to have a better taste! This I can work with.

yukon

The main coffee I bring home from work.

Local shops offer more of a “home” like experience. I also love the uniqueness that comes alongside a cup of locally roasted coffee. Starbucks is nice because universally the quality and taste shouldn’t change no matter where you are in the world, but I love experiencing new areas with different coffee. Just like I do with different food!

I love the idea of supporting local mom and pop coffee shops, but don’t ditch Starbucks just because they are a “chain.” They do good things for their communities, they support hundreds of families in third world countries, and they do good things for their employees. I need health care, and most local shops just don’t offer that. I spend my money at Starbucks and at local coffee shops. If you do go to Starbucks and are interested in the organic roasts, simply ask them for an organic pour over. Boom, problem solved.

When it’s later in the day and I want a cup of crack to go alongside my chocolate chip cookie (because there is something magical about certain coffee flavors and chocolate) I opt for decaf. I try to be conscious of my caffeine intake, and the jitters are not a good look for me. Have you ever wondered how exactly coffee is decaffeinated?

Which Decaf Beans you Should Buy

de To put it simply there are two ways to decaf your beans: chemically or not chemically.

My go to decaf beans are processed using “The Swiss Water Process.” This is a gentle and “natural” way to extract (most) of the caffeine from your beans. The beans are soaked in hot water, allowing the caffeine to release, and then filtered until they are 99% caffeine free. The alternative to this would be something like the “basic” decaffeinating process where chemical solvents are used such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. These chemicals strip caffeine molecules from the green coffee bean..uh no thanks.

Starbucks just so happens to have a wonderful decaf Sumatra that is processed using The Swiss Water Process. The only down side is that it’s not organic. Well shit, you can’t win them all. Sometimes free coffee wins, plus I rarely drink decaf!!

sumatra

Long story short is this: I still have a LOT to learn about which coffees are the best for your body, fair trade coffees, and different roasts from local shops. My coffee journey will forever be improving and updating itself. This info I shared is basic, please feel free to share with me any information you have that I didn’t mention. I love to learn new things!

Also for the record, I will not turn down coffee if it’s not organic, I’d drink hotel sludge, but when I have the option I’ll choose organic! At home coffee – always organic!

i-love-coffeeQ: Do you drink organic coffee/tea?? School me on your coffee knowledge! 

atterned-n

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

Blueberry/Banana Oatcakes

Whenever I increase my running distances, my appetite goes up too. Go figure right? I find that I get by fine on shorter runs with a big bowl of fruit, but sometimes I like to add just a little bit more into my tank before jetting out the door.

009Pancakes are a classic breakfast for “lazy mornings,” but I had a 5 miler planned which turned these pancakes into power oatcakes. Plus, they are thick and packed with goodness.

012Running takes effort, but making these oatcakes was easy. I used one bowl and cleanup was easy. Once my pan was ready to go it took less than 10 minutes to make these. Don’t be fooled, these are not your grandmas light and fluffy pancakes. They are meant for a morning full of adventure and movement. I was full for hours!

Blueberry/Banana Oatcakes

014
Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cook oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 tblsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 flax egg (1 tblsp flax + 3 tblsp warm water)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries

015

Directions

  1. Prepare your flax egg and set aside.
  2. Combine your flour, oats, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl and combine well.
  3. Add in your flax egg, almond milk, and vanilla and stir until combined. Fold in your blueberries.
  4. Use a well sprayed pan or skillet and depending on how large you want your pancakes pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan and cook until brown on each side.
  5. Top with bananas and maple syrup. I also added some almond butter to mine!

017

These powered me through my run, and a shopping trip to Costco. Booya! It’s officially that time of year where running is once again enjoyable. I love spring running!20140416-083049.jpg

Q: Do you like fluffy pancakes, or dense pancakes? I like both, but for different occasions!

atterned-n

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Poo Poo Point

Hi, my name is Brittany, and I am 25 going on 12.

20140406-182418

When I first heard about the poo poo point trail, I wanted to hike it simply because of the name. I knew nothing about this hike other than the fact that it had “poo” in its title.

20140406-182608Much to my surprise, this was not only a legit climb, but it had one of the best vantage points of any of the hikes I’ve done. Yeah, that’s a big deal. The journey to the top had some photo worthy scenery as well. I was very impressed with this trail!

20140406-18242720140406-18264020140406-182438I was able to wrangle a fellow nature lover along for the ride. This meant I was finally able to see what I look like in my natural habitat – aka taking photos of nature.

20140406-182532

So serious.

Round trip this hike was about 7.5-8 miles, and the vegan scone I had tucked safely in my Camelbak kept me moving on the way up. Despite my heart feeling like it was going to burst a few times, I didn’t dare stop moving.

20140406-182447I lasted all of 30 seconds at the top for a photo before digging into my scone.

20140406-18255020140406-18254120140406-182857Remember that time I ventured to Seattle and missed my chance for a vegan scone? I made sure to get one this time…and nearly bought 10 things. SWOON. Made my world. Ironically, I also got a free piece of chocolate from the same chocolate shop I wandered into after missing out on my scone last time. Originally $2.25 for the chocolate, I got fo free.

Good things come to those who wait.

Q: Anyone else chuckle at the name of this trail….please tell me I’m not alone. 

b

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 58 Comments

Early Morning Confessions

1. I bought a new French press, and I don’t know how I ever lived without this gorgeous piece of pastel. The colors are legit and it screams, “I’m 12 at heart, but LOOVEE coffee.”

20140412-1711402. Speaking of coffee, today I start my training to become a coffee master..aka a coffee ninja. I credit my soul mate Gigi for coming up with that term. Click here to learn more. When I complete the training I will be gifted a fancy black apron (ninja.) Stoked.

3. Continuing with the topic of Starbucks, three of my coworkers and I “gave back” last week and volunteered to stuff Easter eggs with candy for kids. They are lucky I don’t like mints…I would have struggled not smuggling all the candy out in my pants.

20140412-1716154. Yesterday I went to Darby’s Cafe in Olympia. I’ve been wanting to go there for about a year now, mainly because I saw it on DDD. I’m a sucker for Food Network. It was delish.

5. I’m training for my 5th half marathon, it’s in three weeks. I’ve been running on roads like this…

20140412-171651….and refueling with treats like this….

I totally had a giant bowl of vegetables before I face plated a cupcake..I promise.

I totally had a giant bowl of vegetables before I face plated a cupcake..I promise.

20140414-065541

6. I spent $150 at REI the other day on a rain jacket…it’s been 70 and sunny all week.

7. I’ve made headway onto foodgawker..and I couldn’t be more elated. I still haven’t read my dSLR manual, and I know nothing about food photography. I shoot what I think looks good, so this is extra exciting for me. I’ve had three photos accepted..starting somewhere!

20140412-1719398. I have complete plans of going back to school, but I’m taking my sweet, sweet time.

9. I’ve managed to fit some exploring into my schedule. Total necessity. 20140412-17170210. Life is good, and I want to own a bakery.

Q: What’s your confession?

b

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Vegan Coffee Fudge

Remember this post I posted a few weeks ago, when I attempted to make some fudge? I ended that post with a simple request: please share with me a delicious vegan fudge recipe. Well, my request was granted by the fabulous Brandi over at The Vegan 8.

020023

I’ve been in love with Brandi’s blog for a while now, but never attempted any of her recipes despite how amazing they all look! Simple, but delicious recipes with 8 ingredients or less? Count me in. Brandi shared with me her 3 ingredient fudge recipe, and while this recipe looked perfect as it was, I decided it needed one more ingredient.

029

Vegan Coffee Fudge

027

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup solidified coconut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tblsp fresh ground coffee*
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top

*Make sure your coffee is not only freshly ground, but also freshly purchased. Old coffee has minimal flavor.

028

Directions 

  1. Line a baking pan with wax paper and set aside. The dimensions will depend on how thick/wide you want your fudge. I used an 8×6 pan, because that’s what I had.
  2. Using a double boiler melt your chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Then stir in the coconut butter, vanilla, and 1 tblsp ground coffee. Stir until melted and well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into your pan, and smooth out with a spatula. Mix your remaining ground coffee with some sea salt (about 1 tsp, depending on how salty you like things) and sprinkle generously on top of the fudge mixture.
  4. Place into your fridge to set for a couple hours. Or if you’re impatient like I am, place into the freezer for less wait time.
  5. When ready to consume, set out on your counter to soften for about 30 minutes.

034These…are…unreal. SO epic and delicious. I am amazed. I ate enough coffee fudge to power me through a non stop spin class, and that class justified every bite I took. If you are looking for an easy vegan fudge, make these. You won’t be able to stop with just one.

042Q: Coffee flavored treats yay or nay? Ohhh HELL yay!

atterned-n

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 52 Comments

Exploring Detroit

The morning of “the most epic wedding of all time” I explored Detroit. After exploring DC, and spending a few days in Pennsylvania once upon a time, I have come to a conclusion. East coast architecture is waayyy different than west coast architecture. I’ve also realized I have a slight fascination with buildings, and I like to take photos of them.

detroit6detroit5Detroit has a bizarre vibe to it. Among some of the most rundown buildings, are the most beautiful cathedrals/churches I have ever seen (until I make my way to Ireland!)

detroit417561758One building in particular that I couldn’t get enough of was this one…

detroit2detroit1detroit3Absolutely stunning.

Wandering Detroit didn’t last long once Megan and I realized we were the only two people walking the streets in search of adventure. Everyone else was either waiting for a bus (or God knows what else..) or hustling to work. We stuck out like a buck tooth.

detroit7I couldn’t leave Detroit empty handed though. Along with exploring on foot I had to experience the city in one of two ways – food, or coffee. I chose the latter.

1789Let me just say, I have never been so intellectually stimulated when it comes to coffee. The sleeve says it all – the art and science of coffee. The Roasting Plant is a hidden gem right in the heart of downtown Detroit. I enjoyed a freshly brewed cup of coffee, just for me.

java

Found on IG

Walking in to see the above contraption was a bit overwhelming, but after identifying myself as a newbie to the barista behind the counter, I was given full step by step instructions. I’m a devout drip coffee drinker so my instructions were easy – choose which beans you want from the selections in the tubes, and watch the magic happen.

I tend to enjoy smooth, full bodied, medium roast coffees so I chose, “Sulawesi Tana Toraja.” I placed my order, and the beans flew above my head (Willy Wonka Style) to be ground, brewed, and poured into my own personal cup. I was geeking out so hard.

java1

Found on IG

My brew - the closest looking thing to a beer you'll see me drinking.

My brew – the closest looking thing to a beer you’ll see me drinking.

This was the coolest coffee experience I’ve had probably…ever. I was so enthralled by my coffee. It was smooth and full bodied, just like this guy below…envision this is me with coffee in one hand and a cookie in the other. OR two cookies…definitely two.

1782

Like a boss.

This post wraps up the recap of my week long vacation. Coming back to work was a bit rough, but how can you be bummed being surrounded by the smells of coffee all day?

Q(s):

  • Have you ever been to Detroit? 
  • Who else would geek out over this coffee experience? Anyone..anyone…Bueller…

b

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments