Tag Archives: dessert

Avoid the Sugar Hangover! Gluten Free Peanut Butter, Cacao Nib, and Coconut Cookies

Photography by Kim Mennen and Jake Lowe, Styling by Ali Nardi
Notice: WordPress is having a mini meltdown and currently won’t recognize spaces between paragraphs. Sorry for the big block of text.
Last night I had my ladies over. We used to get together to exercise, but now, we mainly get together to eat and drink wine, which suits us all just fine…
I made a wholesome and really flavorsome classic for them: a lemon and rosemary roast chicken with roast spuds, sweet potatoes, garlic, and kale (I will try to post that recipe soon). My friend Alice is off the sugar Sarah Wilson style, and inspired by Alice, I haven’t been eating much processed sugar either. It’s usually just a bit of fruit everyday and that’s been the deal. I feel pretty good, and I considered this fact while deciding what to make them all for dinner.
We were all full and satisfied, but then my friend Amelia went into the kitchen, and returned with a box of gorgeous Greek pastries. So gorgeous, that even Alice crumbled. What was meant to be just a bite of each turned into a bit of a feeding frenzy, but lady style, so it didn’t actually look like a frenzy…. and before you knew it, there were only a few measly scraps left–which I ate for breakfast this morning to try and cure the terrible sugar hangover I awoke to this morning.
Sugar. It’s super addictive. I consider myself very lucky that I’ve never really had a sweet tooth, but a few months ago, I slipped into dangerously high sugar-eating territory, and it was a major effort to scale it back. I was addicted for a bit, and I don’t want to go back to that place. I always felt tired, bloated, and desperate for something sweet. It truly made me feel hungover in the morning, without the benefit of actually being drunk the night before..
That being said, I never planned and still don’t plan to quit sugar completely, and by sugar, I mean fructose. I don’t like extreme dieting. I love almost all foods, and to cut out sugar completely would be cutting out a lot more than just the sweetness. It would be cutting out experiences, not to mention always being the difficult one at the dinner table– or any table for that matter.
The problem was just that I was having sugar way too often–like with every meal, and that didn’t feel so hot…
I read Sarah Wilson’s e-book, I Quit Sugar, and there were some strong points in there, and it definitely helped me cut down big time. But that point that stood out to me the most is that she drinks a cup of warm milk while sniffing incense when she wants a treat– and that sounds fairly dreadful to me.
I like to enjoy a hard cider or two on occassion when I’m out with my friends. I clearly enjoy Greek pastries once in a while. I like making birthday cakes for me friends, and enjoying them with them. And I’m certainly not going to miss out on eating a gelato here and there throughout the summer.
So sugar is in, but only when it is really worth it. I stay away from it unless I am eating a proper dessert that accompanies an occasion. The Greek pastry event was a bit over the top, but again, experiences! It wouldn’t be as much fun to share a stick of celery around the table. But that’s one night. And the rest of the week will have to be pretty clean (with the exception of Thanksgiving, which is  free-for-all in my book.
Maybe I should have mentioned at the top that this is not a post that is trying to keep you off the sweets over the holidays. I have no place telling you what you should or shouldn’t eat. I’m just letting you know what I enjoy. Really, what I am trying to say is: I think it is ok to eat bad stuff, as long as it’s usually and mostly eating good stuff. (And Thanksgiving is only once a year…)

peanutbutter cookie 3

peanutbutter cookies

One way I manage to do this is by keeping treats that are low in sugar and packed with protein and good fats in the house, like Tahini Date Refrigerator Snacks.  This week, I’m talking about Peanut Butter Cookies– really good ones, with mostly good stuff in them apart from 1/8 cup honey. They are gluten free, and have some delicious optional extras in them. They are based on a recipe from Elana’s Pantry–she does great desserts– but I’ve cut the sugar in half, made a few other changes, and added some extras to keep you full for longer and add some more interesting flavor.


Gluten Free Peanut Butter, Cacao Nib, and Coconut Cookies
Makes about 12 cookies
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tblsn cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded or dessicated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond meal, salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat peanut butter, honey, butter and vanilla extract, until light and fluffy.
  4. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients, and beat until well combined. Stir in cacao nibs and chopped peanuts.
  5. Scoop dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto lined baking sheet and press down with a fork.
  6. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

One Thing Aussies Don’t Take the Piss Out of: American Punkin’ Pie

Photography by Kim Mennen Styling by Ali Nardi

Photography by Kim Mennan, Styling by Ali Nardi

First, I want to give a big thank you to photographer Kim Mennen, who has done some gorgeous photography for For the Love of Cabbage. She is super talented, and I am thrilled to have her on board! So thank you Kim!  To check out some of her other work, go here.

Now onto to that Punkin’ Pie….

pumpkin pie 3

Thanksgiving in Australia has been a bit of a dud so far. It’s my least favorite holiday politically, but far and away my favorite holiday for the food and it’s always a hard one to be away for. The food, however, is incredibly heavy, and it is crazy hot here in Australia by November. Understandably, I don’t want to spend all day sweating it out like the would-be-turkey in the oven in the summer.

So since my time here–(over a year and a half! cray cray….) I have been sneaking snippets of a the traditional thanksgiving meal into my everyday cooking. By snippets, I mean going straight to the best part: The Pumpkin Pie (although I am quite partial to sweet potato with marshmallow as well– yeah i know it sounds weird but it is seriously good).

Pumpkin Pie isn’t “a thing” here, and it’s almost funny how excited everyone gets when I make it. It is an American novelty, as is the way I say “coffee” apparently. Luckily, it lives up to the hype and everyone loves it. So I’m providing the recipe here–perhaps a bit late as Spring is upon us, but the weather is still a bit nippy. And since this one has coconut in it and it’s great cold from the fridge, why shouldn’t pumpkin pie be a hot weather food? I’ve managed to turn it into a breakfast staple at ours…

I don’t muck around with the concept of pumpkin pie too much. It’s one of those things that is great as is, and in my opinion, attempts to jazz it up just don’t really make it any more special than the straightforward version. So my approach to the pumpkin pie was to make it healthier, while making it taste as similar to the original, which was surprisingly easy. It is dairy free, gluten free, and if you are counting honey as Paleo, it’s Paleo as well.

It’s one of those cases where the back of the can got it right. I defer completely to LIBBY’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, cause that Libby knows what she’s talking about. I just toggled a few things:

  • -The condensed milk gets switched out for coconut milk to make it dairy free and add the benefits of coconut
  • the sugar gets swapped out for honey
  • I use steamed pumpkin (squash), or sweet potato, or a combo of the two instead of the canned stuff (which honestly isn’t that bad…)
  • And the crust is a protein packed and healthy gluten free almond meal and coconut crust

I tried almond meal based crust recipes and had to make a few tweaks to get it to a good place, but I’m feeling good about this one, which is based on a recipe from Elana’s Pantry. It doesn’t deliver the same firm texture as a traditional crust, but it tastes great and gets a nice gentle crunch around the edges.

I’m not a huge fan of healthy versions of desserts that don’t taste like they should. I’d rather just not have dessert at all if it doesn’t taste like a dessert. And that’s why I’m sharing this pie recipe. It is right on the mark. I suggest serving it without letting everyone know you’ve adjusted it, so the skeptics won’t go in biased.

As they say here, this dish is a cracker!

Eat it for Breakfast Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from the recipe on the back of the can of LIBBY’S canned pumpkin/ Crust adapted from Elana’s Pantry


For the crust:

  • standard 9-inch pie dish
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup dessicated unsweetened coconut
  • ½ teaspoon good salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin (squash) or sweet potato (start with 1 1/4 lbs to get 1 1/2 cups– peel, steam, and mash with fork)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey (if you like less sweet, subtract 2 tblspn)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C
  2. For the crust: In a bowl, combine almond meal, dessicated coconut, and salt. Add egg and coconut oil and mix to blend. Use fingers if needed. Press into a pie dish and blind bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm. Allow to cool completely.
  3. For the filling, mix ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Pour into cooled pie crust. Place on baking tray and bake for 60-70 minutes or until center doesn’t jiggle. Allow to cool completely.
  4. In cooler weather, just leave it out for a few hours. In warmer weather, pop into the fridge for a few hours. Then serve with whipped cream, or if avoiding dairy, whip up some coconut cream.