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Bring on the cookie exchange!

Cookies for Santa!

I just searched through the blog because I was certain I wrote about baking Christmas cookies every year and didn’t want to bore you all with another one… but there wasn’t one for a long time! So, here I am, about to bake lots and lots of goodies for the season.

I have very fond memories of baking Christmas cookies as a child, so as I’ve gotten older, I always have the craving to do a bakeoff of my own. But every year, I get about 1/3 of the way into my baking and wonder WHY did I do this to myself?

It’s about that time I realize that my dad probably did most of the actual work when I was a kid, and also, I think we used pre-made dough (obviously, smart).

But I never truly learn, because then each year, I made a ridiculously long list of cookie and treat ideas, and half of them are intricate (peppermint snowflake cookies are never happening AGAIN) and just piss me off.

I was baking a pie last month for Friendsgiving when I came across the vast collection of Christmas cookie cutters I had in my cabinet – most of which were purchased last year. “What the hell was i thinking?!” I literally asked myself out loud.

Last year, I remember baking quite a bit, although I mailed most of the treats to other states. My friend Matt, along with his wife, were baking up some goodies last year when we decided to mail each other holiday treats.

They completely spoiled me and I was eating ALL of it during the season. It was fantastic. So, when Matt asked me if I wanted to participate again this year, I jumped at it.

I’m also having guests for a little party next weekend, so I’ll need cookies for that, right? And probably just some… to have… or to share at work? See? This is how this gets started…

However, I’ve vowed to myself to make nothing too complicated. No cookie cutter cookies!

I went through my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to see what recipes I might want to try this year, and I’ve come up with a tentative list. I won’t know which ones I’m making until I really get in there and see how difficult it might be, and even then I am guessing I’ll have some issues… but here are my ideas so far:

And while we’re on the topic of baking, I have been eyeing these recipes for Christmas Day:

And one MORE thing before I go! As you may know (if you’re following me on Instagram @OrangeJulius7), I’ve been using Blue Apron meal delivery (in addition to Green Chef) and I have SIX boxes of freeeeee food to give away!

If you want to try it, there’s no obligation to keep it – simply get the free box and try three recipes (two meals each) and see what you think. The holidays are a perfect time to try it since you’ll be able to skip the grocery store! If you’d like to get one of my free boxes, simply shoot me your email and the first six people will get a message from Blue Apron!

Just want some of the goodies I listed above? Hey, fill out the form, too and let’s see what we can do – I’m all about spreading some Christmas cheer this year!

Want to see how I do with the baking this weekend? Keep your eyes on my Instagram stories – I’ll likely start shopping on Friday and the bakeoff goes DOWN on Sunday! Wish me luck 🙂


Single girl recipe: guilt-free holiday cookies.

As the new year approaches, my brain has been brewing up all sorts of new places that I want to take this blog.

For three years, the main focus of this blog has been relationships (which it will always be), but I have other passions, too! One of them is baking, and often, I swap all sorts of ingredients when baking to make the recipe as guilt-free as possible, while still being delicious.

So, don’t be surprised if you see more “Single Girl Recipes” around these parts.

Since the holidays are upon us, I wanted to share a few delicious, yet guilt-free, recipes for you to make for yourself, or share with others.

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti (From Self magazine)

OMG. I love biscotti! I made some for the first time this Easter and they are really easy to make; plus they are a delicious breakfast! These biscotti cookies are just 69 calories each, so you can enjoy without a care.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 tablespoons light butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray


Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk with a fork to mix. Add egg whites, egg and butter; mix on medium until a loose dough forms, about 1 minute. Stir in cranberries, nuts, zest and anise seeds; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Transfer dough to baking sheet. Coat hands with cooking spray; form dough into a long, flat log, about 14 inches long by 4 inches wide. Bake until outside of log is firm and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Cut loaf into 1/4-inch-thick slices; arrange on 2 baking sheets, return to oven and bake until lightly toasted, about 12 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Paleo Gingerbread Men (From The Paleo Mom)

While I’m not in LOVE with gingerbread, I love the thought of these completely paleo cookies, plus the fact that you can totally bite their heads off (am I sick?). Eat them plain, or decorate with paleo-friendly items such as gluten-free frosting, dried fruit, gluten-free candy, or paleo chocolate chips. While you’re at it, check out these clever “Ninjabread” cookie cutters!


  • 1/2 cup palm shortening
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves


Preheat oven to 350F. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined (or use a standing mixer).  Dough will be very stiff.  Let the dough sit for 20 minutes (room temperature is okay) before rolling out. Pour dough onto a rolling mat or piece of parchment paper.  Roll out to ¼” thick.  Cut with cookie cutters and use a pastry knife or scraper to move cookies onto a cookie sheet (unless you’re lucky enough to have them stick to the inside of the cookie cutter for transferring).  Repeat until all your dough is used up.  If your dough is being difficult, try chilling it before rolling.  If decorating with candies or dried fruit, do so before putting in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack as soon as they are out of the oven.  If decorating with chocolate chips, do so immediately.  If decorating with melted chocolate or frosting wait until they have cooled.

Peppermint Mocha Brownies (From Cocomama Foods)

When Starbucks rolls out their famous red cups each year, I always want to be first in line to get my Venti Peppermint Mocha (or as my best friend Angela calls it, “Christmas in a Cup”). These brownie bites capture that delicious, seasonal flavor, all while being gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free!


For the brownies…

  • 1 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted, soaked, & drained (about 15)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 9 tbsp raw cocoa
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, soft, not liquid
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp espresso, ground fine

For the icing…

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk beverage (So Delicious, or other milk alternative)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cashews, soaked (2 hours is ideal)
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 3/4 peppermint oil


For the brownies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend dates and ¼ water on high until it becomes a paste. Add eggs, cocoa, agave, coconut oil, baking powder, cinnamon and espresso; blend until smooth. Add garbanzo beans; mix on high until entire mixture is well incorporated, thick and smooth. Evenly distribute mixture into mini muffin tins (fills 30-32). Bake for 10-12 minutes (until it passes the toothpick test); remove and cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, place all ingredients into a blender. Mix on high until well incorporated; may need to stop a couple of times and stir to promote even blending. Place icing in fridge to chill and firm. Once brownie bites are completely cool, ice each once and garnish with pieces of fresh mint leaves. Store in fridge.