Holiday Desserts

Sitting by a crackling fire, listening to classics like “The Christmas Song”, watching the tree lights twinkle, and enjoying my mom’s sweet, chocolatey fudge are some of my favorite Christmas traditions while growing up.

I’m not sure I can call myself “grown up” now, but I guess having two kids, a mortgage, and crow’s feet kind of qualifies me as so. Being a wife and mom myself (and, yeah, I guess a grown up) now, one of my greatest joys is creating a safe, cozy home for my family, and at this time of year, holiday traditions really add to the coziness of home.

I am sure throughout the years we will add in some more traditions, but right now our traditions are: picking out and decorating the tree together, having a Christmas scent on the stove filling the house with sweet and spicy aromas, Chinese food on Christmas Eve (which started as a young married couple after a busy evening at church, and I liked it so much we have kept it up), and of course, having ample goodies. Two goodies we have every year are peppermint bark and molasses cookies, but I am trying to add some more snacks and treats into the mix.

The holiday season always has its own level of Crazy, but add in a global pandemic, and having a new baby, and you have A [big] Pinch of Crazy! All of that to say, this year I didn’t really have the time or mental capacity to come up with a new holiday goodie, but I wanted to compile a list of some of my previous holiday treats for y’all to maybe make some traditions of your own!

Our Favorites

  • Marbled Peppermint Bark – This treat is both cool and refreshing and chocolatey and rich. While it is not refined sugar free, it is a breeze to whip up, and everyone is sure to love it!
  • Molasses Cookies – These warmly spiced cookies are soft and chewy with just the right touch of unrefined sweetness. These are my husband’s favorite, and I love making them for him every year!

Fall Flavors

  • Apple Pie Parfaits – These cute individual desserts are layered with warm apple pie filling, granola crumble, and whipped cream.
  • Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping – Just because fall is over, doesn’t mean you can’t finish up your canned pumpkin in the pantry. Pumpkin bread is always a hit; add a cinnamon crumb topping and you’ve got a family favorite!
  • No Bake Pumpkin Pie – Not just for Thanksgiving, this pie will be sure to please with its date and walnut crust filled with spiced pumpkin filling.

Candies and Confections

  • Chocolate Nut Clusters – These crunchy chocolate covered nuts are topped with a touch of salt, and are perfectly poppable for this time of year.
  • Two Layer Paleo Fudge – Fudge is a Christmas classic, and this refined sugar and dairy free version has a creamy almond butter layer beneath a salted dark chocolate layer.
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Who doesn’t love a peanut butter cup at Christmas time? This healthier version of the classic candy is rich, gooey, and so simple to make!

Classic Desserts

Holiday Beverages

  • Dairy Free Eggnog – Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday drinks, and being strictly dairy free this year doesn’t mean I have to miss out! This thick, creamy, and sweet drink is made with coconut and almond milk, sweetened with coconut sugar, and can be made “adult” with some bourbon.
  • Slow Cooker Apple Cider – Warm, spiced apple cider is simple to make in your slow cooker, and your home will be filled with all the spicy scents.
  • Death by Hot Chocolate – Another treat we have often this time of year, this dairy free, refined sugar free hot chocolate is not missing out on flavor. It is so rich, it tastes just like drinking melted chocolate!

This year has been tough on so many in different ways; I hope these treats can fill your home with love and Christmas cheer. Maybe you can even add a new tradition to your usual ones. Stay safe and healthy, hug your loved ones, soak in the magic of the season… and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

Pumpkin and Oat Blender Waffles

As a new mom for the second time (still unreal?!) I get attacked often by hanger. Feeling “hangry” is feeling so hungry that you get angry, and unfortunately, this happens to me fairly frequently. It goes a little something like this: I wake in the 6 o’clock range to chubby fingers pulling my eyelids open and giggling morning breath in my face. After some persuasion, I get out of bed and am greeted by Coffee, my morning buddy. After having a semi-rough night of sleep either comforting a preschooler with a bad dream and/or nursing a hungry baby, the hanger strikes.

All of a sudden my hands are shaking, my stomach is growling, and my patience is thin. And something like cereal will not cure the hanger; at this point I need something substantial, and I need it fast! At this time of year, pumpkin flavored everything abounds, and I am not ashamed to say I love pumpkin flavored goodies (still haven’t tried a PSL, though), and even more so if I can have healthy pumpkin goodies!

How can this breakfast live up to all of my demands: fast, pumpkin flavored, healthy, and filling?! Blender waffles! It does not get much easier than blending all your ingredients then pouring them into a waffle iron! Have your kiddos help you blend it up while you sip your coffee: healthy, fun, and delicious for the whole family!

Pumpkin and Oat Blender Waffles

  • Servings: 12 mini waffles
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • Optional mix-ins: chocolate chips, pecans, or collagen peptides

Directions

  1. Plug in waffle iron to begin heating. (My husband got me this mini waffle iron for our anniversary)
  2. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Oil your waffle iron, then pour in desired amount of batter. Have a little fun and stud your waffles with chocolate chips or pecans!
  4. Cook waffles according to your waffle maker directions.
  5. Top with butter, honey, syrup, cinnamon, peanut butter, whatever your heart desires!
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

These waffles will be sure to hit the spot! For more quick breakfasts to beat the hanger, check out my Berries and Greens Smoothie or Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats, and for another pumpkin treat, check out my Pumpkin Spice Cake.

Beat the “hanger”, have fun with your family, eat waffles…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, but a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Chocolate Nut Clusters

Hello! It’s Molly; it’s been a while, but I’m still here! I’m currently sitting here looking at pumpkin decor, smelling fall-scented candles, and really wishing I had a warm slice of pumpkin bread. It’s starting to *kind of* cool down, fall decorations are coming out, and the holiday season is in sight. All of this can only mean one thing: aside from eating all the goodies, of course, it’s time to bake the goodies! However, if you’re like me, you still get a little sweaty turning the oven on; I’m also still slightly sleep deprived from having my second baby only five months ago, so any extra energy I have is usually devoted to tidying up. I would love to be able to bake more, but right now most dessert recipes are a little too time intensive for me. So what’s a sweaty, tired mama to do when Fall comes a-knocking asking for goodies? Make this recipe! It is super simple, delicious, sweet, crunchy, and salty; these two ingredient Chocolate Nut Clusters satisfied my third trimester cravings, and are the perfect go-to in this busy season if you’re craving a treat but short on time. Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Nut Clusters

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of nuts of your choice, chopped (I used pecans and almonds)
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Toast nuts for about 2 minutes on a dry skillet on medium heat, just until aromatic. Set aside
  2. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring well after 30 second increments.
  3. Stir nuts into melted chocolate
  4. Drop spoonfuls of chocolate covered nuts on a parchment lined (or my favorite silicone mats)
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired
  6. Refrigerate until firm
  7. Store covered in the fridge for a week, but they’ll be gone long before that hehe

For more fall goodness, check out my Pumpkin Pecan Muffins, Apple Pie Parfaits, or my No Bake Pumpkin Pie. I hope everyone has been healthy and well during this post-apocalyptic movie of a year we’ve had. You will find plenty of comfort food on this site, and feel free to reach out to chat if needed. Stay healthy, hug your family, eat fall goodies…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of crazy!

Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Imagine that it’s a sweltering hot [boiling] August afternoon; it feels like your next door neighbor is Mr. Sun himself, and you just can’t wait for your afternoon cup of dark black, bitter, burn-your-tongue-hot coffee. *cue game show buzzer: EH!* (that was my best attempt at spelling a sound…) No! You need sweet, cold, iced coffee, and you need it now. Personally, if I’m drinking cold coffee, I need it just a touch sweeter than the way I drink my hot coffee. But not too sweet because I’m not looking for cavities and anxiety attacks, ‘kay?! This Maple Vanilla Creamer is the perfect mix of sweet but not too sweet! It mixes in great to your cup of iced coffee or cold brew, but it’s also good for hot coffee, and, I discovered, a delicious nut milk sub in my Dairy Free Chocolate Milkshakes.

Also, I will share an iced coffee tip I learned from my husband, who learned from my brother-in-law, who used to work at Starbucks. (How’s that for a game of telephone?) When we want to make iced coffee, we simply brew coffee as usual, but with half the amount of water. Then we add ice cubes to the carafe; that way, as the hot coffee brews over the ice, some of it melts, cooling the coffee without watering it down. Then we add extra ice to our individual glass. Another way to have iced coffee is just to be a mom… you’ll never finish a mug of hot coffee. But, alas, I digress. However you make your iced coffee, pour this creamer in to your heart’s content, and enjoy!

Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer

  • Servings: 1 cup of creamer
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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp of pure maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Use immediately, or store covered for up to 2 weeks. Give the jar a shake before pouring.

That’s it! A simple, dairy free, refined sugar free way to spruce up your iced (or hot) coffee. For more coffee creamers, check out my Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer (pumpkin season is almost upon us!) and my Mexican Mocha Creamer. If you love coffee as much as I do, I know you will love all these sweet, but not too sweet, creamers! Sip some sweet, cold coffee, soak up the last rays of summer…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Dairy Free Chocolate Milkshakes

We had our first triple digit days this week in good ol’ Dallas, Texas, and I have to tell you…it wasn’t that bad  I thought my face was going to melt off! Now you know I’ve had a long standing affair with chocolate (sorry, honey 😉 ), but when it feels like the oven might actually make my eyelashes meld into my eyelids, I am not about to bake – no matter how delicious a chocolate chip cookie might be. Thankfully I’ve discovered a lot of delicious, dairy free, no bake desserts where I can literally have my cake and eat it, too. One of those delicious desserts is, of course, “nice cream” – a creamy, sweet creation made with frozen bananas. This “milk”shake is a version of nice cream: a thick, creamy dark chocolate shake sweetened with honey and maple syrup, and thinned with coconut water for an extra burst of hydration + electrolytes. If you are melting in this heat wave, a big pitcher of Dairy Free Chocolate Milkshakes is just what you need to hydrate, cool you off, and satisfy your sweet tooth!

Dairy Free Chocolate Milkshakes


Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 3/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp of 100% cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened almond butter
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor
  2. Pulse/blend until smooth
  3. Serve immediately – chilled

For more no bake treats, check out my Chocolate Banana “Nice” CreamNo Bake Chocolate Date CakeNo Bake Cheesecake with Chocolate CrustMicrowave Molten Lava Cake, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Do you think I have a thing for chocolate?! 😉 Whichever no bake treat you whip up, I hope you enjoy! Stay cool…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Have you ever met a couple who had a perfect marriage? I have. They are both rich, and their sweetness and bitterness compliment each other in a decadent way. Peanut butter and chocolate. PB&chocolate4eva ❤

I'll stop with the corny mom jokes…even though it's true. Peanut butter and chocolate go together so deliciously perfect, and everyone knows it! And do you know what's better than a fudgy dark chocolate brownie? A fudgy dark chocolate brownie marbled with streaks of peanut butter and honey. *drool emoji* Add in that these brownies are also gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free and you've got a jaw-dropping healthier dessert! Even my picky nephew devoured one of these Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies and was an adorable chocolate-y mess. These brownies are delicious on their own, or topped with a scoop of nice cream for a spectacular sundae! Whip up a batch for all your summer celebrations!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of 100% cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar free peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  3. Whisk together all dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  4. Add melted coconut oil, almond milk, and the egg - stirring until well combined.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter and honey.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter/honey mixture on the brownie batter.
  8. Swirl with a knife to make a pretty marbled pattern.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies bounce back when touched.
  10. Let cool completely before slicing.
  11. Keep leftovers covered at room temperature.


For more PB&chocolate recipes, check out my Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie BarsDark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsWholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats (AKA dessert for breakfast) I hope you find a scrumptious, healthier treat for you and your family! Have a treat, not a cheat, eat dessert…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Pasta has to be one of my favorite foods – carbs covered in sauce with some delicious meats and veggies in there plus a mound of cheese on top! *insert drool face here* Honestly, what’s better than a flavorful pasta dish? How about a pasta dish that is dairy free and gluten free – leaving you with zero tummy troubles?! I’d wholeheartedly consider pasta a comfort food, but the after effects of sugar, dairy, and gluten are anything but comforting. With this delicious, creamy, warm baked ziti recipe I can have my cake (noodles) and eat it, too, and so can you! Okay enough with the rhyming, let’s get to the recipe.

Baked Ziti with Sausage


Ingredients

  • 1 lb of gluten free penne pasta
  • 1 lb of chopped smoked sausage
  • 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of salt, divided
  • 3 tsp of dried basil, divided
  • 3 tsp of dried oregano, divided
  • 2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 2/3 cup of avocado oil mayo
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook your pasta for one minute less than the minimum time on the box.
  • While your pasta is cooking, sautee your mushrooms, onions, and garlic in olive oil
  • Once pasta has cooked, drain excess water and return to pot
  • In the same pot, add sausage, cooked mushroom/onion mixture, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp each of basil, oregano, and parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Place pasta mixture in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, nutrtional yeast, coconut milk, and remaining seasonings. Stir until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour cheese sauce on top of pasta mixture.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until warmed through and bubbling.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge.

That’s all! A comforting pasta dish without all the discomfort later. You can order avocado mayo here, coconut milk here, and nutritional yeast here – I know those are sometimes tricky to find in your local supermarket.

For more comfort foods, be sure to check out my Zoodles with Meat SauceBBQ Chicken, Bacon, Ranch PotatoesOven Baked Fries, Microwave Molten Lava Cake, and of course, Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I hope you can find some healthier comfort foods you and your family love! Feed your family healthy, tasty food…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you – just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I am sure you know by now that I’m a die hard chocolate fan. Or some may say chocoholic, addict, but whatever. The point is, I love chocolate! And if I were going to pick a cookie, it would 100% be my Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but sometimes people just need a little space…even from good things. So even though these cookies may not be chocolate, they are light, sweet, chewy, and tasty! They are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and make the perfect companion to your afternoon cup of coffee or can keep you company during your late night binge of reality TV. I hope you don’t discriminate against non-chocolate desserts – give these a try!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 18 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup of raisins

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Line a baking sheet with a baking mat
  • Combine all dry ingredients (coconut flour through salt) in a mixing bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients (coconut oil through egg)
  • Stir until well combined
  • Add in the oats and raisins
  • Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on prepared baking sheet
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the top springs back when touched and the bottom is lightly browned
  • Store leftovers covered at room temperature

For more cookie recipes, check out my favorite Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies or my Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars. I also have browniescheesecake, and mug cake if you want something in a different direction. I am here to be open minded to all kinds of delicious desserts! When I bake with healthier ingredients, I can truly enjoy my dessert without any stomach aches, blood sugar spikes, or mental guilt – and let’s be honest, dessert feeds the soul. Find something on my site to enjoy for yourself, or share if you want 😉 Either way, feed your soul…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it doesn’t cost you any extra and I get a small commission. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Flax and Oat Pancakes

pancakes.jpg

You groggily open your eyes one Saturday morning. Spring is here; this fact is made evident by the warm sun streaming through the blinds and the cheerful songs of the birds outside your window. You hear your children and spouse giggling down the hall, you smell the freshly brewed coffee, with a light and happy heart you head to the kitchen and…pour the same tired, old, strangely-reminiscent-of-cardboard cereal for breakfast?! No! Such a perfect spring Saturday morning calls for pancakes! And, believe me, these hearty and healthy pancakes will have everyone around the table full, happy, and ready to enjoy their spring break adventures without a sugar crash.

Flax and Oat Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes, depending on size.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour (could be made gluten free by substituting GF flour)
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp of whole flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4-1 cup of water
  • Optional toppings:

Directions:

  • Heat your skillet over medium-low heat, and grease with desired cooking oil
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt)
  • Add egg, oil, and almond milk, stirring until combined
  • Add water about 1/4 cup at a time, until it makes a fairly thin batter
  • Spoon batter (your desired pancake size) into hot pan
  • Once bubbles form and pop, flip and cook on the other side
  • Repeat with remaining batter
  • Serve warm with desired toppings
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge – they reheat fine in the microwave, good to grab and go!

I hope you and your family can enjoy a slow Saturday morning breakfast together; I’d guess that these pancakes could rouse even the most sullen teen out of bed 😉 For more breakfast ideas, check out my Whole30 Breakfast HashTurkey Sausage Breakfast BakeFruit and Nut GranolaCinnamon Apple Oatmeal, or Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats. I hope this season, in all of its newness, starts off wonderfully for you. Have some quality time at breakfast…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

Mexican Mocha Creamer

A Little Homesick

As you may know, my husband and I just recently moved back to Texas after four years in Southern California. I’ve always called Texas home, but lately, I’ve been feeling homesick for California. I miss the warm sun, the beach, our friends, and even base housing (never thought that would happen!), but especially our church and our slow Sundays. On our way home from church in Cali, we would oftentimes stop for coffee at a little drive-through kiosk. It was little but insanely popular, with the line usually wrapping around into the neighboring parking lots. We would usually just get plain brewed coffee with almond milk, but sometimes for a treat, I would get a Mexican Mocha. Chocolate-y with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, it was delicious; however, with all the sugar in the mocha, I would soon be left with fuzzy teeth and a sugar crash, so I decided to make my own! As an homage to sunny Southern California, which will always have a special spot in my heart, here is my dairy free and refined sugar free Mexican Mocha Creamer!

Mexican Mocha Creamer

Makes about 3 cups. 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small pot
  • Over medium-low heat, whisk until thoroughly combined and warmed through
  • Pour directly into coffee, or blend for a frothy cuppa
  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers (I use a mason jar) and pour (or blend) into coffee again and again!

If mocha isn’t your thing, I have my Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer for you! And for other dairy free, refined sugar free drinks, check out my Dairy Free EggnogDeath by Hot Chocolate, and Slow Cooker Apple Cider. If you need a sweet treat to go with your Joe, I’ve got you! Check out my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsMicrowave Molten Lava CakeDark Chocolate Paleo Brownies, or Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies for some of my favorites!

I hope you can have a peaceful cup of afternoon coffee, complete with Mexican Mocha Creamer and a satisfying treat. Get caffeinated and rejuvenated…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!