Friday, August 26, 2016

Baklava Cookies

If you're looking for a new dessert to make this weekend, this recipe for Baklava Cookies includes a few of my favorite baklava ingredients: chopped pistachios, chocolate chips, and honey from Sesame King Honey Tahini. Scroll to the end of this post for the cookie recipe and a tahini giveaway!

Sesame King Tahini recently offered to send me a few flavors of tahini to try and giveaway to readers. I chose olive oil and honey. I love Mediterranean-inspired food but I've never tried cooking with tahini at home before. I was most excited to make a dessert recipe with honey tahini!

If you're not familiar with tahini, it's a sesame seed paste that has the familiar texture of peanut butter. Sesame King Tahini is all-natural and includes 100% pure ground sesame seeds without additives or preservatives, is peanut and trans-far free, gluten free, kosher certified, and non-GMO. The first sweet recipe that came to mind was to create cookies in a new flavor combination - baklava!

Baklava is a special Greek / Mediterranean dessert made with thin layers of phyllo dough, honey, and various nuts. My favorite flavors of baklava are pistachio followed by chocolate, so my Baklava Cookies include both - chopped pistachios, chocolate chips, and Sesame King Honey Tahini to incorporate Mediterranean and honey flavors.

The most labor intensive part of this recipe was shelling the pistachios one by one. I measured out one cup of shelled nuts, removed the shells, and lightly chopped them with my food processor.

This recipe contains typical cookie ingredients, including whole wheat flour for extra nutrition. The last step is to mix in chopped pistachios and chocolate chips. The cookies will turn out best if you chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Peanut butter cookies generally require a light press before baking, so I did the same for this recipe - don't forget to gently press each cookie with a fork before the pan goes into the oven.

These Baklava Cookies are delicious! I love the unique flavor from honey tahini, the salty bite from pistachios, and sweet taste from chocolate chips.

Scroll below the recipe for a great giveaway from Sesame King Tahini - one lucky reader will win their choice of two tahini flavors. Flavor options include: garlic, olive oil, cajun, honey, light roast, and roasted. Click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. For more on Sesame King Tahini, follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.

Baklava Cookies
Yields: 30 cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 24 minutes {12 minutes per sheet of cookies}
Total time: ~44 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
4 tablespoons {1/2 stick} unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pistachios {shelled and chopped}
1/3 cup Sesame King Honey Tahini
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar

How to~
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
*Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and tahini.
*Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl - flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
*Slowly add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix until combined.
*Stir in chocolate chips and chopped pistachios.
*Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. 
*Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork prior to baking.
*Bake for 12 minutes. 

{Adapted from the Kitchn's recipe for Tahini Cookies

Time for a giveaway! What flavors of Sesame King Tahini would you choose? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 {Disclosure: As I mentioned above, I received a free container of olive oil and honey Sesame King Tahini to review and giveaway to readers. All opinions / text are my own.}

Friday, August 19, 2016

Things I Love: Pregnancy 2nd Trimester

Good morning and happy Friday! I haven't mentioned this on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed K and I are expecting our first baby later this fall. We are so excited and I can hardly believe I'm over halfway through the second trimester! We started working on the nursery this month and I bought my first tiny baby outfits just this week {babyGap gets me}. Today I'm sharing a few of my second trimester pregnancy favorites. {Note: this post contains a few affiliate links!}

If you're a regular blog reader, you may have noticed that I haven't blogged about running in a few months. My last race post was a recap of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, which I ran just a few days after finding out I was pregnant. For that reason, the Shuffle was quite an emotional race for me. I continued to run for the first few months of this pregnancy, but I decided to stop in early July and focus on walking and yoga instead.

This journey to start a family took much longer than we anticipated, and included a few lifestyle changes for me: I started a "fertility" diet and regular acupuncture treatments last July to try and be the healthiest I could be. It was during our first month of infertility testing in early spring that I finally saw that happy second line on a pregnancy test. I share this because people often don't talk openly about fertility struggles and disappointment - if you are or have been in the same boat, please know that you are not alone. Every journey is different, and the least we can do is support each other as much as possible. :)

Onto a few of my favorite things:

1) Fitbit Charge HR

 {Image via Amazon}

I started using a Fitbit in late 2015, and wrote a review of my first month tracking steps in January. I still love my Fitbit and I think it's helped me stay active and get in my daily steps throughout this pregnancy. I was so tired for the first 12 weeks, but once that went away I felt back to normal and ready to get in my daily steps. My goal is still the standard 10,000 steps per day {or 5 miles}, but I occasionally get more than that, especially on the weekend. I take a walk every day at lunch and usually in the evening as well. On hot and humid days I try to get outdoors before work for a long walk in a local park.

{Image via Amazon}

This wedge pillow is a life saver. It's permanently on my office chair at work, and it has been an incredible help. I started experiencing low back/pelvis pain about 6 weeks weeks ago {most likely due to the hormone relaxin, according to my doctor - more info here}. It got to the point where I would limp for a few minutes after sitting for an hour+ at my office desk and getting up to take a quick walk. However, after using this pillow I have absolutely zero back/pelvis pain as it forces me to sit with good posture and supports my back in all the right places. {If you're having any pain please consult your doctor!}

3) Maternity Activewear from Target

{Image via Target}

I have only purchased a few maternity clothing items so far {jeans, shorts, and workout pants}, and everything has come from Target. I am really impressed by their maternity line! For long walks and casual weekend days, I love these pants with a crossover panel the most, and the price is right at $29.99.

4) The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy

{Image via Amazon}

This is my favorite pregnancy book to date - it's full of information but written in a hilarious, lighthearted way. I actually picked up my copy at a local garage sale a few months ago and the book still has a permanent spot on my nightstand.

5) Larabars

 {Image via Amazon}

More than ever, I am trying to snack "smart" and put good things into my body every day for this baby. One of my favorite snacks is a Larabar, especially the mini version. Mini bars are the perfect size for an afternoon {or let's be honest, morning} snack pick-me-up. I also have a huge list of DIY Larabar recipes on this blog; check out this post for 10 Clean Eating No Bake Snacks.

Any pregnancy favorites that I need to add to my list?