Pistachio Flour Cookies with Coconut Lemon Frosting (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Gluten-Free Vegan Pistachio Cookies with Coconut Lemon Frosting
I was at the farmer’s market, and I saw that the pistachio stand started carrying bags of pistachio flour. Since most of my gluten-free baked goods use some kind of nut flour, the idea of using such a flavorful ingredient got my mind racing. I spent many hours on google, and could not find any cookies that used pistachio flour, so I had to do some experimenting. This recipe is the result of my pistachio-filled dreams.
Vegan Paleo Pistachio Cookies
A little bit about pistachios:

Pistachios contain many important nutrients and vitamins. They are shown to be beneficial in heart health and weight management according to several double-blind studies.
They are an excellent source of copper, thiamine, phosphorus and magnesium. They contain many B vitamins; one serving contains 20% of your daily dose of Vitamin B6, about 15% DV of thiamine, and have lesser amounts of folate, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.  They also contain l-arginine, which can make the lining of your arteries more flexible.

“Pistachios supply vitamins A and E, both critical in keeping inflammatory pathways in balance. Inflammation is the first stage of healing, but when the body contains too few antioxidants, the inflammatory process can damage tissues rather than heal them.”

One study quoted that “After only three weeks of consuming pistachios as 20% of the calories in their diet, the volunteers in a double-blind study saw their LDL (or bad cholesterol) drop by about 14%; HDL (or good cholesterol) rose by 26%, with a 12% decrease in total cholesterol.”

So get your daily dose of pistachios in the form of a delicious cookie.

Gluten Free Pistachio Cookies Cookies:

  • 1 cup pistachio flour*
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking sodaPaleo Pistachio Flour Cookies
  • ¼ cup coconut oil or vegan shortening
  • 2 tablespoons honey/agave nectar/or maple syrup**
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
*To make pistachio flour, simply put pistachios in a blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. If you blend it for too long, it will start to make pistachio butter.
**If trying to reduce sugar, replace 1 tbsp of honey with 1 tbsp Yacon Syrup. If you don’t have Yacon Syrup, try replacing 1 TBSP of honey with 1 tbsp of coconut oil, then add 6-10 packets of xylitol or stevia.
  1. Combine almond flour, pistachio flour, salt, baking soda, and spices in a bowl or food processor.
  2. If using a food processor, pulse in shortening/oil, honey and vanilla until dough forms. If you don’t have a food processor, simply use a whisk to combine ingredients until they form a dough.
  3. Scoop dough one level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Press balls of dough down gently
  5. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes
  6. Place in the refrigerator to cool before frosting. (Do not handle prior or cookies will break)

Pistachio vegan cookies

Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter***
  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 3 Tbs. maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
***If you do not have access to coconut butter, blend dried coconut and 1 tsp coconut oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until flakes have turned into a creamy butter, about 5-7 minutes.
Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Use immediately to frost each cookie, and serve.
  3. If you have remain frosting, store in an airtight container in the fridge. HOWEVER, frosting will become hard and will be unable to be spread until it reaches room temperature.

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DIY Homemade Deodorant that really works!

I love products with simple, natural ingredients; food without preservatives, lemon juice for facial toner, baking soda for toothpaste…you get the idea. But when it comes to “natural” deodorant (without aluminum or artificial fragrances), I just couldn’t find one that worked. I’ve literally been trying for years.Homemade Natural Deodorant

As I mentioned last month, I have found some great ways to use natural deodorant more effectively. (Exfoliating the armpits, using tea tree oil and lavender, re-freshing half-way through the day with a dry deodorant, etc.) I still utilize those methods, but this homemade deodorant has been the BEST thing I’ve tried so far. There is no need to reapply halfway through the day! Even after a long day and a workout, I’m still stench-free. Victory!  And there’s even more benefits to this DIY deodorant. There’s no chemicals, it’s cheap, easy, and better for the environment. (Wins all around!) Also, I like to get creative in how I package it…it can become a fun activity when you decorate the container, or add extra essential oils to make it smell nice.

There can be some challenges initially. It can dry out your skin a bit, or some ingredients may be a bit harsh for sensitive skin. Luckily, I have found solutions to most of those issues, and I list them below. Please feel free to tell me your own recipe, since we all can benefit from new ideas!

DIY Deodorant

  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder/Tapioca Starch
  • 5 TBSP Coconut Oil*

Optional:

  • 20-30 drops essential oils, like Tea Tree, Lavender, Sweet Orange, or Peppermint
  • 2 TBSP Aloe Vera gel

*You can replace some of the coconut oil with cocoa butter or shea butter.

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a container or bowl.
  2. Melt the coconut oil until liquid.
  3. Pour the coconut oil over the dry ingredients, and add the essential oils (if using). If using a jar, or container with a lid, just shake the container until the ingredients are mixed. If using a bowl, just whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
  4. Transfer the ingredients to a sealable container or empty deodorant stick.
  5. Homemade Natural Deodorant that actually works Common Questions and Issues:

DIY Deodorant that really worksMy armpits are itchy, or there are little red bumps!
Solution: The high PH of baking soda can dry out your skin, or cause irritation. To counteract this, simply spray a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water into your armpits first. Let it dry, then apply the deodorant. This should fix the problem!

My skin is very sensitive. Will this work for me? If your skin is really sensitive, there are several things to do. For one, eliminate the essential oils. You can also use a larger percentage of corn starch/arrowroot flour and less baking soda.

I sweat a lot, and I’m afraid I’ll still stink after a hot yoga class/hard workout. I don’t know if this will be strong enough for me.
Natural deodorant won’t stop sweat, since it’s not an antiperspirant. (Which is a good thing. To plug up a body’s means of detoxification can cause problems in the long-term). Eventually, you may start to sweat less, since you’re allowing your body to detoxify.
Also, you can add extra essential oils and a larger percentage of baking soda. A large part of body odor has to do with what you eat. Try reducing strong herbs like onion and garlic, or find out if you have a food allergy. Clean foods, and foods that work for your body will produce less of a detoxifying effect (i.e. less smell).

Will it stain my clothes? In short…no. Or at least I’ve never had that happen. It’s similar to using coconut oil as lotion, just make sure it’s absorbed.

Homemade Natural Deodorant that really works

Why the “No Poo” Method is Bad for Your Hair

I am all about natural, easy, and cost-effective beauty products. I also love creating my own, as I find it very empowering (and usually a lot cheaper) to be free of the Whole Foods beauty section.

So, when I heard of the “No Poo” method I jumped right on the bandwagon. Supposedly, shampoo strips your hair of natural oils, causing them to over-produce more oil, so that you have to wash your hair every day. The idea of “No Poo” is that you don’t use regular shampoo and conditioner. You use baking soda and water to wash your hair, and apple cider vinegar to condition it. Sounds easy, right?

Well, my hair didn’t take too well at first….it was super greasy, plus the ends were becoming dry and frail. But, on all the websites, it says there’s a “transition period” for your hair. It is supposed to stop over-producing oils, and start to regulate and look cleaner naturally.

I waited…and waited…and waited…it had been about 4 months, and my hair looked terrible. It was so stringy and straw-like, that it looked like dry dread-locks 10 minutes after brushing it. The ends were so damaged that the split end was split, then the split of that was split. It looked terrible, and I had to wear it up all the time. I tried many hair masks; like egg whites, cocoa butter and honey. I started using shampoo and conditioner again, which helped, but it still was not restored to its normal luster.

A friend’s hair stylist heard I was doing this, and told her to tell me “For the love of God, stop! You’re damaging your hair!” So I did some research…and found some great articles that explained why this method is actually terrible for your hair. The pH in baking soda is too high, disrupting the natural pH balance. “Alkaline shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and disrupt the acid mantle, causing dehydration and leading to porous, fragile hair.” (The DermaDoctor SkinStruction Manual, 2005)

As the article above suggests, I tried some other natural methods. Honey made my hair greasy and did not fix the damaged ends. I tried aloe, which made clumps of my hair come out!!! AHHH!!!!

I’ve been growing my hair out for 2 years now, and I was afraid I had destroyed it forever. I didn’t want to have to chop it all off. Luckily, I found a salon in Brentwood called Byuti that does natural hair masques. (They called them “Byuti Blenders.”) It’s a base of camellia, sesame, and shea butter. Then they add different serums made with botanical extracts and proteins custom for your specific hair.

As my blog shows, I’m all about “do it yourself,” homemade, easy alternatives. But, there comes a point when it’s cheaper and easier to let the professionals handle it. If I were to buy all the ingredients they used by myself, it would not be cheap. Yes, I’d get to use them again, but I would also have to “experiment” a lot to find the right match, which could end up costing me much much more than I need to. Plus, they give your hair a steam to infuse the mixture. (Everyone knows how much a love saunas, so a steam for my hair was awesome!) And the result? Fully restored hair!!!! I couldn’t be happier that I don’t have to shave my head and start over.

Although I may experiment with different natural shampoos, I think I’m just gong to use the most natural shampoos I can find and call it a day. And, I’m going to treat myself to a Byuti hair masque every few months to keep it healthy. (Spending $35-$60 every few months is DEFINITELY worth keeping my hair from falling out, right? Not to mention I get about 10 compliments a day…that never hurts…)

So check out the video below to actually see my hair transformation. Let me know what you think!