Guest Writers

Sugar Town (Plus Healthy Cookie Recipe!)

1 Comment 27 April 2012

by Gabriela Garay, the Picky Foodie

Before my daughter was born, all kinds of ideas inhabited my head.

Everything from, ‘Nobody but me will ever take care of my child!’ to, ‘How can any decent parent let their children watch television?’

Even after I became a mother, I couldn’t believe the things certain people did, said, assumed. Like when a friend emailed me with “when you’re ready to get back into the world as your self and not just a mother.”


When I read her words, my daughter was less than a week old. I was barely ready to let people into my house let alone leave it. And without my child? Fuggetaboutit! Clearly I had chosen the wrong friends!

But as my daughter has grown (and so has her mother), quite a few clichés have started to ring more true. Things like never say never and everything in moderation.

For example, television has crept into our lives, I have hired people to watch my daughter, and yes, I have even enjoyed some me time, alone, as an adult, a woman, a writer, a friend, a wife, a lover.

There is one subject, however, that has remained unchanged: sugar.

Why is it that people who supposedly care about my daughter offer her the cheapest, most processed, ridiculously harmful junk? If you care about her, I snapped at one of my mother’s neighbours a couple of weeks ago, why are you trying to poison her?

It’s only the beginning, I know. The next few years will be rife with piñatas, playdates and birthday cakes. So I turn to you all, beautiful community, and request (ok, beg) of you, not to give up.

Let’s remember that we should live by example, not just for our children, but for the world around us.

Let’s swap recipes for great treats, healthy goodness, desserts (or pooding! as my almost two-year-old calls it), let’s support one another in bringing up our children with food that will sustain and nourish them. Let’s teach them to be “naughty” in ways that don’t poison them, and that food is the best way to create long, healthy lives.

In that spirit, I would like to share a recipe for a new favourite around here.

These cookies were inspired by a post I read at ( — I obsessed about it for days until I found the time to crank on the oven and make my own version (you know when you see a recipe by someone else and immediately have to make it, regardless of the fact that it’s close to midnight and you know you’ll be up in three hours?)

Seeing as we are forever running late, breakfast cookies work well in our family. I love the idea of having something so portable to take along as we sprint out the door. These guys are high in protein, satisfying and delicious at any age.

(note: the main ingredient is almonds, so these are not appropriate for anyone with a tree nut allergy. These cookies are vegan, gluten, refined sugar and soy-free)

Zesty Brekkie Cookies
(makes about two dozen)

  • 2 cups soaked almonds (soak overnight in water, drain and rinse before using)
  • 3 T ground flax soaked in 3T water for at least 15 minutes (in the fridge)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter 
  • 1/2 cup whole dates, pitted (medjool)
  • 1/2 cup date syrup
  • Zest of almost an entire Clementine*
  • Juice of 1 clementine*
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine the ground flax with the water, mix well and put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
Grind the almonds in the food processor until almost like flour.
Add the whole dates and pulse until the are in pieces and well blended
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the almond butter, date syrup,
clementine zest and juice, and the vanilla. Mix well.
Add the flax and mix well.

Scoop onto silpat sheet or parchment paper-lined tray and bake for 15 minutes.

Give leftover bowl to excited family members to “clean”

Allow to cool fully before tasting or transferring to an airtight container
Store in the refrigerator

* can be substituted with an orange

As a result of multiple health challenges, Gabriela left a lucrative career in television production to become a Holistic Health Consultant, writer and, most recently, a mother. These days, when she in not blogging about health, working on new and delicious recipes or spending time with her family, Gabriela is leading workshops and writing about nutrition both on and off the plate. She lives in New York City with her husband and baby girl as well as on the web at The Picky Foodie.

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. Steena says:

    Is that 1/2 a cup of date syrup?

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