Magic Chocolate Chip Cookies (lactation cookies!)

  These delicious magic cookies are chewy, soft, and full of chocolate and coconut! This special recipe supports nursing mothers to boost milk supply! 

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These cookies are simply delicious, and unlike many other recipes for “lactation cookies” these do not use brewers yeast and still work for improving milk supply in lactating mothers. I use several lactogenic ingredients to boost milk supply such as healthier omega 3 fats from almond butter (purely ground almonds) in lieu of regular dairy butter, coconut oil, shredded coconut, oats, along with the essential fenugreek and flax meal. All of these ingredients are documented lactogenic foods. Whether they will work with your body or not is not clinically proven, but they each have outstanding health benefits nonetheless. First a few disclaimers:

a) Even though they involve lactogenic ingredients (foods/herbs that increase milk supply), non-lactating individuals need not to worry that eating these delicious cookies will make your nipples drip milk (ahem, silly husbands).

b) While these cookies have worked very well for myself, family, and friends, there are no clinically proven results to support the efficacy of this recipe.

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The bottom line is that these cookies are perfectly delicious and scrumptious chocolately treats that also happened to increase my milk for the duration that I ate them. Lactation cookies are wildly popular and all over the net. Proponents tout that the milk was “dripping” and that they could not “pump fast enough”. Did I experience this? No. But even when I was engorged in my early postpartum days with TOO MUCH milk, I still did not “drip” or “leak”. So everyone has a different body… Okay. Enough of that.

If anything, these are delicious chocolate chip cookies, made with natural and clean ingredients, good fats/oils (mostly healthy omega 3 fats from a almond butter and coconut oil), and healthy ingredients such as flaxseed meal, oats, and honey. Most “lactation cookie” recipes call for the essential brewers yeast. I did not use this, which is advantageous because it supposedly smells and tastes awful and it is not easy to find in general grocery stores. I avoided its use because I read on WebMd that pregnant and nursing women should avoid use because it has not been studied enough to assess its safety.

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The fenugreek seed (hulbeh in Arabic) is one of the most popular herbs used to increase milk supply. I bought a box from Whole Foods, but you can also find it commonly in Asian markets. Fenugreek contributes a nutty/carmel flavor but can also impart a bitterness if not balanced properly. To balance it I use cinnamon in the recipe, as well as honey :).  Simply toast the seeds in a pan, and grind them in a food processor or spice grinder (this improves their potency). The recipe also uses fennel, coconut oil, almond butter, and oats which are all lactogenic ingredients, or galactogogues shown to increase and improve milk supply. Please note, in order to maintain an adequate milk supply you cannot rely solely on these cookies but must also eat a healthy diet, and most importantly nurse your baby  frequently. Milk supply is based on demand. If the baby is not nursing and the breast is not stimulated, then the milk production decreases. So if you are away from your baby for whatever reasons, limiting nursing to a schedule, using a pacifier to appease the baby when hungry (the sucking of a pacifier will decrease the amount of time a baby nurses), or using formula for some feedings instead of nursing or pumping, then you may be decreasing the demand for milk and therefore decreasing the supply. Read more about that here: increasing milk supply.

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Magic Chocolate Chip Cookies
A deliciously chewy and soft chocolate chip cookie that will help nursing mothers with milk supply!
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tsp fenugreek seed, toasted then ground (omit if you are not nursing)
  2. 1 tsp fennel, ground (omit if not nursing)
  3. 2 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1/4 c honey
  5. 1/4 c sugar
  6. 3/4 c brown sugar
  7. 1/4 c almond butter
  8. 1/4 c unsalted butter
  9. 1/2 c coconut oil
  10. 2 eggs
  11. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  12. 2 c flour
  13. 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  14. 1 tsp baking soda
  15. pinch of salt
  16. 1 c oats
  17. 3/4 c shredded coconut
  18. 1 1/2 c quality chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardhellis bittersweet)
Instructions
  1. Beat the sugars and butters together until creamy. Melt the coconut oil in microwave for about 15 seconds and slowly pour it into the butter-sugar mixture. Add the honey. Add the eggs and vanilla extract.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, flaxseed meal, fenugreek seeds, fennel, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Slowly combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture.
  4. Gently stir in the oats, coconut, and chocolate chips.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for about 25 minutes so that the cookies do not spread too much when baking. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) in the meanwhile.
  6. Scoop the dough with a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Notes
  1. You can completely omit the fenugreek and fennel if you do not need lactation assistance. These will be chewy, chocolately goodness!
  2. If you eat a lot of these you may notice you smell like maple syrup, which is a common side effect of consuming concentrated fenugreek.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Mango Ice Cream

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YUM! This is my absolute favorite concoction EVER. My kids could not get enough of this. Even the baby enjoyed it (probably felt great on her teething gums!) I have been avoiding dessert lately, and if you know me, that is nearly impossible. So coming up with delicious and healthier alternatives is my current goal in life (among other things!) I  have been blending frozen fruit a lot lately because I learned that I can save much of our produce from spoilage and the trash bin by just freezing it at its peak.

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 While I have yet to find good mangoes in the midwest, I got some bags of frozen organic mango chunks from Trader Joe’s and they smell and taste incredible! You  just blend these with some frozen sweet strawberries and a dash of heavy whipping cream. The cream whips the frozen fruit into a creamy ice cream consistency. It really is delicious! No sugar added! If you are looking for a fat free treat as well, you could omit the cream and just enjoy this as a sorbet, but the creaminess was just divine. You can try this with frozen bananas and cocoa (coming soon!), frozen strawberries and frozen bananas, coconut and frozen pineapple, the possibilities are ENDLESS. Beware, you will need to have a powerful blender such as the Vitamix or Blendtec so that you do not break your blender!

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Mango Ice Cream
Home-made, fresh, and delicious, this is the perfect treat to brighten up your day!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 c frozen mango
  2. 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  3. 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender. You may need to stop the blender once in a while to push down the frozen fruit with a spoon, or if you have a Vitamix, use the stick feature.
  2. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Omit the cream and add 2 tbsp of coconut water to enjoy as sorbet!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Lentil Pilaf

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Cooking with lentils adds so much versatility to your diet and menu. There are many benefits to using lentils in your repertoire, mainly being that they are a nutrient rich legume full of protein and low in calories. Since I started cutting back on the carbs I consume and trying to replace rice in most dishes and entrees, I have turned to lentils quite a bit. And you will not really feel the loss because lentils offer such hearty and satisfying meals. There are endless recipes, but this is one basic one I love to use as substitute for rice or pasta sides. It pairs well with chicken, meat, seafood, and even as a filling meal on its own. Lentils are a fiber all-star, providing both soluble and insoluble. This means they are a great source for cleaning out your intestinal tract, improving digestion, and relieving constipation and other irritable bowel syndromes. They are also heart healthy legumes, rich in magnesium and folate which helps keep your arteries clear and improve the flow of oxygen throughout your body. These high fiber seeds are also excellent sources of slow-burning carbohydrates to provide you with long lasting energy. Because of this they are also excellent blood sugar stabilizers, so diabetic or pre-diabetic people will benefit greatly from consuming lentils in lieu of pasta or rice. Lentils are also high in iron which will improve energy levels, and coming without the fat, cholesterol, and high calories of red meat lentils make for a perfect meat substitute as well. 

Well, I hope you are now convinced to eat a bowl of lentils every once in a while. 

So here is my basic lentil pilaf. You can use a variety of root vegetables to add depth and flavor but onions are definitely always in the mix here. A tablespoon of garlic always tops that off. I like to add chopped fennel or celery if I have some and a few diced carrots. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper and simmer in either broth or water. Throw in a cup of fresh spinach at the top of your pot at the very end of cooking to add some extra greens, iron, and plenty of beneficial phytonutrients. I love spinach and lentils. Yum!

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French lentils are a hardier, green lentil that holds its texture and shape better when cooked. So, if you are new to lentils which can get smushy if you do not cook it right, start with green lentils. You can boil them just like pasta, strain them, then toss with your sautéed vegetables. 

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Brown lentils are more typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine to make kushary, mjadra, and other dishes. These can get a little too soft if you do not watch the pot. They cook similarly to rice. 1 cup of lentils cooks in about 3.5 cups of water. The key is to let it boil for about 10-15 minutes first to get the cooking going, then turn it down to low.

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You should sort (for dirt or bad pieces) and wash the lentils well.

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Sautee chopped onion, minced garlic, and add cumin and salt. When softened, add the lentils, water and simmer until cooked. If using green lentils which cook faster and keep their shape well, simply boil in water with half an onion then strain. Add the strained, cooked lentils to sautéed onions, carrots, and other vegetables.

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Lentils are the perfect side to salmon! One of our favorite meals!

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Lentil Pilaf
a healthy and hearty savory side dish
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 c brown lentils
  2. 4 c water (or 2 c water and 2 cups broth)
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  5. pinch of pepper
  6. 1 medium onion, diced
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 1/2 c chopped carrots
  9. 1/2 c chopped fennel or celery (optional)
  10. 1 tbsp of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil over high heat and add the spices.
  2. Add the lentils and water.
  3. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  4. Boil for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid is at level with the lentils.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. In a separate pan, sauté the remaining vegetables until tender. Toss with the cooked lentils and serve.
Notes
  1. The other vegetables are not cooked in the same pot as lentils because of the long cook time lentils require. The vegetables will get overcooked and too soft if you do this.
  2. Another option would be to boil green lentils for about 15 minutes in water with half an onion. Strain and toss the cooked green lentils in a pan with the sautéed vegetables.
  3. Add fresh spinach to the pot at the very end of cook time to steam for about 1 minute.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/