Upper SweetsideNYC Ilana

Honestly, nothing makes me happier than homemade baked goods, creative touches, and a hard working and inspiring mother. And Ilana, the founder and creator of Upper SweetsideNYC is all that. Ilana has created her own business of custom cakes, cupcakes & cookies for kids bdays and special occasions. Not only are the baked goods beautiful, but they are delicious too. Ilana is a fellow mother at my kids’ preschool, and through our morning chit chats and social media, I discovered her incredible talent. Ilana is a true example of a strong, empowered, and passionate woman who dreamed and created her own destiny! Here is an interview: — thank you!

 

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

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Healthy Molasses Cookies

I love chocolate cookies, but even more, I love ginger cookies. So when I stumbled upon ginger-molasses-healthy cookies on goop, I knew I had to make them. Shockingly, I followed every single ingredient and step, but they miserably failed (turned into liquid and melted all together). So, the next day, I altered the recipe, and now they are perfection. Sweet, chewy, not not overly sugar-y, spicy, and peppery. NOTE: You must refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours, so you have to think ahead in terms of timing.

 

End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.

End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.

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Healthy Banana Coconut Cookies

The right size.

 

For the past couple of months, I have been more into *real* desserts than *healthy* desserts. But now that it is the start of a new, clean, fresh year, I am back to loving / craving / wanting / needing healthy desserts. And this dessert is the perfect one — incredibly healthy, no refined sugar, no wheat, real ingredients, easy to make, and super delicious. WIN WIN WIN — almost like digging into an overflowing ice cream hot fudge sundae. This recipe is from 101 Cookbooks, one of my all-time favorite food blogs. Check it out! And make these cookies! They are part banana bread — part oatmeal — part macaroon. All in one deliciousness!

 

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Banana/PB Cookies

Nothing is better than a healthy cookie! Based off of Nikki’s Cookies from 101 Cookbooks, I set out to make a new and different version of these tasty bites. Truth is, I wanted to make Nikki’s Cookies actual recipe, but I didn’t have most of the ingredients, so I had to improvise…. but let me tell you, these new cookies still tasted delicious and I would make them again in a heartbeat!

Ingredients:

* 2 large, ripe bananas, well mashed
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups of flour (whole wheat, normal, almond, any variety works)
* 1 1/2 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup of nut butter. Peanut, almond, or cashew.

AND LOTS AND LOTS OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Healthy, right?

Directions:

ingredients

Ingredients

* First, mush up the banana making it soft and gooey. The banana acts both as the sweetener and the fat in the cookie. Thank you, Mr. Banana.

Smooshed Banana

Smooshed Banana

* Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.

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Cake Mix Cookies

Ladies, a little warning that this recipe is UNHEALTHY and SINFUL. It is a far cry from my healthy concoctions that I normally throw together as these cookies use a tremendous amount of butter, sugar, and chocolate. But life is too short. So let’s celebrate and eat some damn COOKIES!

This recipe comes from my best friend from Eugene, Miss Julie. Julie is one of those cooks that can make anything taste delicious. Her cookies are famous (especially in my family) in Eugene. They are the perfect treat to bring to a neighbor, a birthday party, work event, or an after school/work treat for family members. THESE ARE FLIPPING DELICIOUS and no one will ever turn them down.

Ingredients

ingredients

Holy Heavens! Chocolate, butter, cake mix, brown sugar. SUGAR RUSH!

* 1 cup butter

* ½ cup brown sugar

* 1 egg

* ¼ cup water

* 1 tsp vanilla

* 1 box cake mix, divided

* 2 cups oatmeal

* 1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

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Levain Bakery

I am slightly obsessed with desserts. So much, that now I have to worry that I have borderline gestational diabetes (obviously, not awesome). I live to eat sweets — I have the biggest sweet tooth ever and feel that my meal is not finished unless I have a nibble of sugar. One of my favorite treats is a cookie from a bakery on the Upper West Side, Levain Bakery. The bakery is a true New York City establishment.  Tucked away at the bottom of a brownstone building, the little tiny room barely holds more than 10 people either waiting in line or sitting on bar stools chowing on their cookies. Often times, there is a wait up the stairs to the sidewalk because the cookies are just that good. AND HELLS YEAH, they are that good.

The tiny little entrance down to the bakery.

stairs

The steep stairs. Don't go with a stroller.

COOKIES

Sampling of goodies.

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Coconut Almond Flour “Cookies”

I am the world’s best (or is it worst?) picker. I love having nibbles and bites and picks of everything and anything. Mind you, it drives my family absolutely bonkers, but I can’t help myself. I just love sampling a little of everything here and there. So when I came across this recipe for bite size healthy alternative cookies, I was thrilled. And Cruzzie loves them too (he is also a picker and nibbler). It is the perfect snack to grab and have in each hand as I leave the house. A little perfect portable pick-me-up. Also — you can add whatever you want to make them more special and sweet. Isn’t it fun to change things up here and there? Peanut butter vs almond butter? M&M’s or chocolate covered raisins? Bare naked? No matter what you decide to throw into these cookies, they end up delicious.

Ingredients:

Ingredients all in a line.

* 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

* 1/4 cup of any kind of nut butter

* 1/4 cup agave nectar

* 1/4 cup almond flour

* 1 tsp cinnamon

* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* pinch of good quality salt

* any kind of chocolate touch you want to add. Chocolate chips, truffles, anything that you want to spruce up these little nibbles!

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