Healthy (ish) Chocolate Cookies

>> Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello Friends!
I have a recipe for you today. I know, it's been ages. But, I think that you will agree that this particular recipe was worth the wait!

Lately, I've been wondering if it's possible to make a cookie/treat that is more healthy than "normal" but that does not become oddly textured or overly dry because of substitutions like applesauce or black beans for oils/butter in recipes (I've also seen zuccinni puree, recipes that omit the fat entirely and other adventurous substitutions). The problem, as I see it, is that people tend to use regular recipes and just swap out ingredients, rather than creating new recipes that take into account the properties of the substituted ingredient. This little chocolate cookie was created from scratch (haha!) around its special ingredient (raisins!), which I think helps make the final product much better. Soooo, with that long-winded explanation, I give you my latest creation!

Sorry, one more note: You're going to want a food processor for this one. A blender might work, but it will be pretty difficult to get the puree out of the jar. It's really, really sticky. Really.

First, puree about 1-1.5 cups of regular raisins. You want to end up with about 3/4 cup of the raisin puree. More puree is okay, so if you are concerned, it's better to puree more than you need than not enough. This takes a while in the food processor. Keep pureeing until it sticks together in a ball.

Next, add 1/4 c. softened, unsalted butter to the food processor (this is the -ish part of the recipe. I've yet to successfully test a recipe for any kind of baked good that is completely fat free. Well, I've made some, but they were basically inedible. SO. Healthy-ish. Still a treat, but one you can feel much better about!) and process it with the raisins until it's all combined nicely.

Dump this mixture into a mixing bowl and add 1/2 c. white sugar and 1/2 c. packed brown sugar (if you want a cookie that is more "semi-sweet" chocolate flavor, you could probably do 1/4 c. white sugar. I wouldn't reduce the brown sugar, though. It's more moist and helps give the cookie its soft, chewy texture). Cream together your raisin/butter mixture and the sugars. Add 2 eggs (I have never tried these with egg substitute, but if you are feeling adventurous, give it a try and let me know how it goes) and keep creaming.

Add in the salt, baking powder and vanilla. Keep mixing. Mix, mix, mix. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl; that raisin puree is sticky and you want it to fully incorporate. Add in the cocoa. Mix, mix, mix.

This is the tricky part (not really)-adding in the flour. Depending on where you live, the humidity and all that jazz, this is going to take between 1 and 2 cups of flour. Honestly? I'd eyeball it. I put 1 cup in and mix it all up then add more in about 1/4c intervals until the consistency is right. It should be pretty stiff dough, but not dry. Sticky is good! (think of a thick brownie batter).

Now, you have a choice. You can bake them "as is" and have little chocolatey cookie deliciousness or you can say to yourself, "Self, I've ommitted most of the fat. I'm going to dump in some chocolate chips!" Whatever floats your boat. :-) But, chocolate chips pretty much end any illusion that these are "healthy" and they just become super tasty chocolate chip cookies.

Drop these onto a cookie sheet that you've sprayed with cooking spray (this is really important-the sugars and the fact that these have very little butter are a bad combo-they will stick to the tray if you don't spray it) and bake at 350 for about 7-9 minutes.  They are done when they are puffy and still soft to the touch. Better to underbake a bit than over bake. DO NOT OVERBAKE. The bottoms will become crusty and gross and burnt tasting. Let them cool and finish off for a couple minutes before transfering them to a cooling rack! They are soft, chewy (almost like a brownie) and yummy! Even my husband likes them!

The Recipe: 

Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Cookies
3/4 C raisin puree
1/4 C unsalted butter
1-2 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

Optional: Chocolate chips

Cream puree, butter and sugars together. Add eggs. Mix well. Add cocoa, salt, baking soda, vanilla. Mix well.  Slowly add flour until the texture is stiff, but still sticky. Drop onto a greased (cooking spray) cookie sheet at bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes. Makes 36 cookies. Approx. 1.5g. fat and 72 calories per cookie


Candy Corn Halloween Treat Bags

>> Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello DCDer's! How's your October been? We've been great, here in Alabama. 2 birthdays out of the way (Little Man is 1! I am older than 1!) and now on to Halloween! We are planning to take our Little Yoda around trick-or-treating on our street and I wanted him to have a treat-holder-thingy that he can carry by himself (Doing things BY HIMSELF is very important to Little Man these days) and all of the retail options I could find were either 1. Ugly or 2. Way to big for him to carry around. So, I decided to make a little bag myself. I came up with a cute, little drawstring bag that is SO, SO easy and can be made in approximately 15 minutes. No lie. AND, as an added bonus, you can make it any size you want, so if you have bigger trick-or-treaters, you can make yours bigger. Or smaller. You know. Whatevs. Here's the little bag:

See! So cute!

You'll need: (this is for an 8 inch-ish, square-ish bag, you can change the measurements to make the bags whatever size you want...more on that later)

1 strip each yellow, orange and white fabric cut to 16 inches by about 3 inches (these measurements don't have to be perfect...just close enough)

Some thread to sew the thing together


1. Sew the strips together along the long side: yellow, then orange, then white. Like this:

2. Fold the top of the white strip over about 1/2 an inch (towards the wrong side)  and sew that down right along the raw edge (I used a can do whatever floats your boat.)

3. Fold this in half "hamburger" style (so it's basically a square. It won't be perfectly square. That's okay) and sew the bottom seam and nearly to the top on the side seam. DON"T SEW THROUGH THE FOLDED OVER PART. That's where we are going to put the drawstring. Just stop right at the seam you made when you folded over the white strip. It should look like this now:
Mostly square, inside out, top casing isn't sewn shut. Good to go.

3. Take a strip of scrap fabric about 16 inches long and about 1/2in wide and stick a safety pin through one end. Use the safety pin to thread the strip through the casing at the top of the bag. Make sure you leave one end hanging out about 2 inches, other wise you have to pull it out and start again. The fabric will bunch up as you do this. Just keep pushing the strip through and straightening out the bunches as you go. It sounds more complicated than it is.

4. When you have the strip all the way through and hanging out of both ends, get all the gathers out of the top, so that the bag will lay flat again and tie a knot as close to the bag as you can, then trim the excess strips. On the left, bunchy. On the right, pulled flat and tied off.

You're done! When you pull the bag closed, you'll have a handy little handle for your little person to hold onto as they hit the neighbors up for candy!

I also shrunk the bags a bit and made several tiny little treat bags to take to people at church. I just reduced the size of the strips to 2.5 inches wide and about 12 inches long, to make a final bag about 5 inches square. Here's the little ones with a finished bigger size.

When they are closed, they look like little candy-corns! So cute!


A Little Bit of Motivation...

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Eat Organic Cheaply, Part Deux

>> Thursday, September 8, 2011

Photo credit:

Okay, so if you're going to attempt to convert an entire family's diet from conventional to organic and continue to attempt to eat roughly the same way, well, you'll either fail or spend unbelievable amounts of money.

You CAN eat processed organic foods. They are quite tasty sure, but at twice the price of regular old conventional foods, well, that seems kind of silly.

Instead, perhaps, if you're striving for simply MORE organic and less conventional, you'll have more success by  picking and choosing the things that matter most to you and your family's needs.

For example, in our home the things that matter 100% the most are organic, free-range meats. The comparison between the two is unreal. So, for US, meat is king. It's also something we don't eat a lot of, so a couple of pounds of organic meat is do-able. If we had more sustainable, local options, believe me, we'd use them!

So, choose what matters most. Is it the pesticides on conventional produce? Or is it freeing yourself from conventional dairy products? Read up, and find ways to get what you need at it's most basic form locally. If that fails, then move to grocers who support organic farming and sustainability.

Be creative and find ways to get what you need. It doesn't have to double your food budget!


How to Eat Organic Cheaply

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From August 2011
Ezra enjoying gnawing toothlessly on an organic carrot stick. YUM. 

I can not tell a lie. Eating conventional foods is MUCH MUCH cheaper than eating their organic counterparts.

I will not be going into WHY one should eat organic foods beyond this:. the facts are simple: our world is sick. Our children are sick. Autism rates are painfully high, allergies are terrifying real, asthma is plaguing people. People are obese and dying from it. Pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics and hormones infect our food at alarming levels.

Organic takes food to a different level.

If you don't care, can't care, don't have the energy, I totally get that because I have been there. Maybe a small change here or there might make you happier and the world a little better. Maybe not. Totally YOUR CALL.

Ain't life grand that way?

If you're interested at all, then you should give it a whirl. Gone are the days of organic=cardboard. Healthful, organic foods are available in every single variety a person could desire, for every type of diet on the planet.

If you're not convinced do some further googling. I promise you'll see what I'm saying. I'm a convert to the whole institution, and no I do not eat and feed my family organic foods 100% of the time. But I do as much as I can, which is far more than it used to be. I'm getting better each and every week.

So, let's say you WANT to eat organic, but need to be careful on your budget? Welcome to my new series:


Awesome-sauce. I know.

Today's lesson: It's more of a "don't worry" than a "do do."

Don't bother with organic bananas.

Yup. If you want bananas, just buy conventional ones.

Why? Because the skins are VERY VERY thick on bananas. So while they are still covered in pesticides and other yuckies, the fruit itself is fairly well protected.

If you're eating on a budget, don't spend your careful grocery budget on organic bananas. There are things that matter FAR more.

There? Don't you feel good? You're ALREADY ON THE RIGHT PATH!


Stay tuned friends. This is a good one!


Make Vintage-Inspired Blue Glass Jars

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm deeply in love with Pinterest. The things I see on there! Mason jars are EVERYWHERE. And one of the coolest ones I saw was turning regular old clear glass into blue.

So pretty.

So I did it myself for some vases for a baby shower I'm hosting.

From August 2011
From August 2011
From August 2011

It's not quite as smooth or as clear as I would like. I need to mess with my glue to water ratio. I did exactly as she said and mine are cloudier than hers.

 I'm thinking I'll wash them off one more time and try again  before Saturday to get them perfect.

But it did work! So pretty!

Mason jars. I love thee.


Goals for the New School Year

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

From August 2011
So, the new school year is coming upon many of us. 

A fresh start. 

A blank slate. 

A new spiral bound notebook of possibilities.

Okay, enough of that. 

I am a bit obsessed with goal-setting. New Year's Resolutions? Don't mind if I do! Birthday? Goals galore? New school year? Yes please!

So, I've got a whole slew of goals to accomplish this year. Personal, for the kids and for our family. 

Do you? 

I mean, it can be as simple as, "Andrea will learn to tie her shoes this year!" And then you work with her on it. Even if she isn't quite there by summer 2012, at least you worked toward it! Good for you!

It could be also, "Read a book a month as a family." See how very school-related that is?

Set three goals for the school year! 
1. Personal
2. Kids
3. Family



*Is this thing on?*

>> Monday, August 15, 2011

Hi Friends, can I still call you that? How are you? I'm fine, thanks...

What would you say if I... um... started posting here again?

You see, I've missed you, my diet coke diet friends. So much. My life is making more sense, and I found that I was posting A LOT of DCD-type material on my personal blog. Silly really. That's what THIS space is for.

So, if you would be so kind, to um, read here again?

I'll move some of my stuff over from The Ing Family just for you.

Does that sound like a plan?

I think that we could have a lot of fun.

Oh, and random sidenote, I think I will have to change the name of this here how-to blog. You see, some advertising/sponsorship opportunities have fallen through because of the *name* of The Diet Coke Diet. Some silly thing about "protected" or "copyright" or "Trademark." SILLY things really.

Anyone have any good ideas? Cuz I got NOTHIN!

Hi. It feels good to be back.


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A Little Disclaimer

We do not represent, advertise or work for Coca-Cola Classic at all, in any way, shape or form. The images seen here are the sole property of Coke, and we borrowed them off Google Images. "The Diet Coke Diet" is NOT AN ACTUAL diet. Good grief people. Of course it isn't. Man can not live on Diet Coke alone. Woman on the other hand...

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