Gluten Free Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


That’s a long name right! I was in the mood for baking last Wednesday but also going over to my parents house to hang out with my mom and my nephew Caleb before it was time to head back to the big city for school. This girl would much rather spend her time relaxing in the country of South Georgia but Life University in Marietta is calling my name to FINISH my dietetics degree!

It was also my sister Lara’s birthday and she loves oatmeal cookies. Wouldn’t it be great to deliver her cookies to work on her birthday?!?! But I also had a lot of pumpkin leftover in the fridge from making Pumpkin Muffins….Hmmm….Pumpkin and cookies….Combine!

So this cutie pie, my nephew Caleb, was very willing to help me out as well. Well not really…But he did like banging on the pots and pans as my mom and I worked saying I want a coo coo! He didn’t like them. He ate sugar wafers instead. Seriously….

Everyone else loved them! Especially me…..I know you are dying to make them so let’s start with what you will need

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla (detailed recipe below)

Mix flour, spices, certified gluten free oats, baking soda, and then add raisins + nuts

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix!

Now drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet and bake away…

Next drizzle icing over your cookies (recipe follows as well)

Then enjoy a balanced afternoon snack…

What?!?!? I had an apple! Ok, ok, peanut butter would have been a better choice than the cookies but hey sometimes you just need a cookie! The key is portion control 🙂

Gluten Free Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup gluten free white rice flour (or regular all-purpose if not on GF diet)

3/4 cup certified gluten free oats (or regular in not on GF diet)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 stick of unsalted butter (6 Tablespoons)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla

1 cup of mix ins (I chose 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup of raisins. Anything will work: chocolate chips, any nuts, dried cranberries, dates, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 F and coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg and combine. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla.

Mix flour with oats, baking soda, and spices. Add walnuts and raisins or mix ins of choice.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoon full onto cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown. (I never time cookies, I just watch them!) Then let cool and ICE!

Sugar Icing

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons of milk

1/2 Tablespoon of melted butter

1/2 tsp of vanilla

Mix all ingredients well until drizzling consistency. If to thick add more milk. If to thin add more powdered sugar. DRIZZLE AWAY!

You can enjoy them while reading my friend Julie’s blog and checking out my post on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.


How to save calories at Starbucks???

Oh yes even people in Nassau, Bahamas love their Starbucks! Ok maybe it is just there for the tourists…

So my friends and family know that I openly admit to being addicted to Starbucks!

 But wait Ashley, how do you drink so many lattes and not gain weight? I know, I know: How do I do this when they have white chocolate mochas totaling to 370 calories for a tall and tall sized frappucchino’s for 400 calories?

Here are just a few of my favorite tips:

  • Ask for non-fat milk, simple enough right?
  • Never order anything above a Grande unless you know you have the calories to spare. But really a Venti? Do you need that much milk (calorie wise) at once ? Hot Grandes and Ventis both only get 2 shots anyway….(thanks Jen)
  • Try to limit yourself to only 4 times per week-make coffee or espresso at home. Yes I have a hard time sticking to this rule. Some weeks I do, some I don’t!
  • Always skip the whip
  • When ordering a Pumpkin Spice latte or any other flavored latte
    • A tall gets 3 pumps of syrup, ask for 1
    • A grande gets 4 pumps of syrup, ask for 1 or 2
    • A venti gets 5 pumps of syrup, ask for 3 but this is really too much as we have already discussed!
      • How do I order this????
  • Grande non-fat 2 pump Caramel Latte or Tall non-fat 1 pump Toffee nut latte!
  • Different syrups have different amounts of calories
    • Most flavored syrups: 20 calories per pump
    • Mocha: 25 per pump
    • Pumpkin Spice: about 38 per pump
    • White Mocha: about 60 per pump! Avoid this syrup!
  • So if you ordered a Grande Non-fat Caramel Latte, the total calorie count is 200! That is 80 calories of added sugar (4 pumps). But when you only get 1 or 2 pumps of caramel syrup that is 140 to 160 calories. So yes you are only saving 40 to 60 calories. But if you do this consistently, it adds up!    
  • Compare a Regular Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte made with 2% and whip: 300 calories!
  • A Non-fat, 1 pump Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whip: about 130 calories
  • If you ordered this beverage everyday of the week:
    • Regular: 2100 calories total
    • “Light Version”: 910 calories total
    • That’s 1190 calories saved for a whole week! Hello that’s 2, even 3 meals for some people!

  • Some drinks come with whip some don’t. You do not have to say no whip to drinks that don’t come with it but to be sure they don’t add it you can go ahead and say it. But for reference here is a list of drinks that come with whip: mocha, white mocha, pumpkin spice, cinnamon dolce  
  • What about sugar free syrups? If you can stand the after taste, be my guest. I would rather have a little of the real thing.
  • Caramel Macchiatos! I know this drink is confusing. Macchiatos get one less pump of vanilla syrup on the inside because they have caramel sauce added up top. But I don’t think a Grande needs 3 pumps of vanilla syrup and caramel sauce. My favorite drink: Grande non-fat 1-pump vanilla caramel macchiato. Yes I’m complicated; they hate to see me coming. But my waistline loves me.
  • Frappucchino’s: well now you can customize these to be made with non-fat milk, ask for no whip, and cut down on the syrup pumps if you are getting anything other than a plain coffee frappucchino. The base they use to make these drinks still has lots of sugar so there really is no way around that. Your best bet is to stick with hot or iced lattes.
  • Another thing is to not consider a latte a side beverage. Consider it a snack or part of a meal to tally into your total intake for the day as it contains useful (energy) calories from the milk. The sugar if added will be discretionary (empty) calories.

If you are used to drinking the drinks like they come then yes a lot of this will be a major adjustment! But once you cut down on sugar for a long period of time you will get used to it. You will make a face just like you just tasted something sour when you taste something overly sweet. There is no need to drink your calories when there is all that food out there just waiting to be eaten! Ha ha, just kidding! But for the most part, if you are trying to lose weight or not gain weight, chewing is more satisfying. Be smart about your beverages. There is nothing wrong with a skim latte with a little bit of sugar in your diet. You will get protein, calcium, and carbohydrates from the milk plus energy with the caffeine.

Good luck on customizing your Starbucks order! I know you can do it!

My Favorite Muffin

My Favorite Muffin

I love to bake! Spice muffins are just perfect for a fall breakfast or snack. and out of all the muffins I’ve made and ever tasted including blueberry, blueberry banana, carrot cake, banana nut bread, apple and brown sugar, raspberry, apple bran, cinnamon streusel, my favorite by far are Pumpkin Ginger Date Muffins! I got this recipe out of an insert that came with a Denise Austin DVD.

I bake them every fall. Ok I bake it a few times a year whether it is fall or not! My whole family loves this recipe as well. The muffins freeze well so you can be completely out of breakfast foods but then open your freezer to see this scrumptious concoction waiting on you. I promise you will be happier than a deer on the day after the closing of deer hunting season. Just kidding. (That’s for you Will)

A few ways to enjoy these muffins:

  • Plain!
  • With coffee or an espresso beverage
  • With cream cheese
  • With almond butter
  • With pumpkin butter
  • With almond and pumpkin butter
  • With a glass of milk
  • Crumbled over Greek yogurt

Ok I will not keep you waiting any longer! Here is the recipe:

Adapted from Denise Austin’s Personal Training System Diet and Recipe Booklet

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup gluten free brown rice flour or regular all purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup gluten free corn flakes, cheerios, or any plain cereal (or bran if not gluten free)
2/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
3/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and ginger. Stir in dates, cereal, and walnuts.

In large bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, oil, and egg. Add the flour mixture to this mixture by folding in.

Bake for 17 to 20 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I usually get about 18 muffins out of this recipe because I make them smaller but you could just make 12 larger muffins.

Ok I am off to enjoy a muffin! Are you?

Why I went Gluten Free?

A lot of people are going gluten free these days. Some people go gluten free for medical reasons, mostly being a diagnosis of celiac disease, some to lose weight. Let’s get one thing straight: a gluten free diet alone will not help you lose weight. A calorie is still a calorie whether it is from corn, rice, wheat, oat, or whatever kind of grain you can think of. In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in but that is an entirely different subject so let’s get back on topic here.

I myself have had a medical diagnosis over the years including but not limited to: gastroesophageal reflux disease, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. After taking multiple medications, having multiple blood tests, procedures, and all that jazz, I left the doctor’s office with a prescription for a cholesterol lowering medication to stop diarrhea because they said I had “post cholecystectomy diarrhea,” (sorry to be so blunt) and a prescription for antidepressants. Hello! What is causing all of this?????? Needless to say, I never took these medications. My cholesterol is fine (hello I’m an active 23 year old) and I’m not depressed (my life is perfect, just kidding but you get the picture).

About six months later, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to find help for these debilitating symptoms of alternating diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, etc….I sought out a natural doctor with the help of a friend who had great results for her troubles. The natural doctor was able to find that I had a parasite, H. pylori infection, bacterial imbalance, and gluten + dairy sensitivities. My husband and I both were a bit questionable as to whether or not all of the given supplements and prescribed diet was going to help. I found out a few months later, seeing this doctor had completely healed my gut!

No, insurance did not pay for this. I had to pay out of pocket. Do I regret it? No. Is it scientifically based practice? Not completely. Did it work? Yes.

The GI doctors were never able to diagnose me with celiac disease, but after getting rid of the parasite, H. pylori infection, and balancing the good bacteria in my gut, I still could not be symptom free without avoiding gluten (but I’m fine with oats now) in my diet as well. After avoiding it for a period of six months, I am no longer lactose intolerant either so I can finally have my favorite food group again: ICE CREAM dairy. I’m not saying that GI doctors don’t know what they are doing. Many of them treat serious issues such as crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis everyday but for many IBS patients, they are told it is a diagnosis of exclusion and all other possibilities must be ruled out first then given silly prescriptions. Taking medication to treat symptoms is not always the answer. Sometimes you have to find the cause of your problems.

So my advice to anyone suffering from IBS is to first and foremost find the cause of your problem. No I’m not saying find a natural doctor and go there immediately because it is quite costly. I do recommend trying elimination diets. Cut out all offenders from your diet for six weeks such as gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and peanuts; then slowly add them back in one by one to look for symptoms. If you can’t cut them all out at one time, try just doing one at a time for 3 to 4 weeks to see how you feel. I also recommend this book: What your Doctor may not tell you about IBS?

The author is a Medical Doctor, Richard Ash. I always like to read books by authors with actual credentials. This lets me know they are qualified!

So here is to you on your journey for an IBS free life. Keep a mind of health to recognize the possibilities that you may not even realize are out there. I’m sure glad I did!

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