Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

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Each time a new year rolls around people make resolutions to lose weight. I’ve done this before, and last year actually had some real success. The secret to losing weight isn’t that difficult, more calories out than in. You don’t have to make huge dramatic changes to your lifestyle. Just get off the couch and do something that is going to elevate your heart rate, and eat less. For many of us that just means eating smaller portions. Also, don’t swear off any food. Eating several slices of pizza everyday isn’t good for you, if you have a slice on a Friday night it won’t derail your weight loss hopes. Sometimes you need to give into your cravings, in a controlled manner of course. For example, if you crave something salty, have some popcorn instead of a whole bag of potato chips.  If you crave something sweet, have one of these delicious cookies.

When I first tasted these cookies I was impressed with myself. You can taste the cranberries and the oats. You also can taste the orange, ginger and a hint of vanilla. All the ingredients stand out and work so well together. These cookies are sweet and delicious, and with only 92 calories per cookie, you won’t have to spend hours in the gym burning off those calories.  If you are concerned about those calories, my friend Jessie has 20 great ways to burn them off.

*If you are not concerned about calorie content, I would recommend adding some white chocolate chips to the dough. I haven’t tried it yet, but when I first took a bite I thought white chocolate chips would be really good in this cookie.

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OATMEAL CRANBERRY COOKIES
Yield: 18 cookies

1 1/4 c oats
3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
6 T smart balance, softened
2 egg whites
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange peel grated
1/2 T squeezed orange juice
3/4 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a separate bowl mix together oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger, set aside. In your mixer cream together Smart Balance and brown sugar until mixed uniformly. Add egg whites,  honey, vanilla, orange peel and orange juice. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Take your bowl off the mixer and stir in the dried cranberries by hand. Drop about 1 1/2 T of cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies look golden and crispy at the edges. ENJOY!

The BEST Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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Last week we had a cookie decorating play date. We had so much fun decorating our gingerbread people and our sugar cookies. Many cookies were “lost” during the decorating process. Our little friend M concentrated so hard on completely covering her Christmas tree cookie in yellow frosting that I don’t think she decorated that many cookies. Sasha and Penelope were more into eating the cookies than worrying about whether or not they were adequately covered in frosting.

I found my sugar cookie recipe on one of my favorite blogs (Pinch My Salt). Nicole made her recipe for Halloween cookies. She uses powdered sugar and a tiny bit of almond extract, which I believe makes these cookies the BEST COOKIES EVER! I will be using this recipe for my Christmas cookies from now on; I may even use them for my Valentine’s day cookies, St. Patrick’s day cookies, April Fool’s day cookies, and every other holiday they are THAT good. Thank-you Nicole, we now have a family favorite that I am sure is going to become a tradition. I am sure her recipe for cream cheese frosting is lovely, however I decided to use a powdered sugar frosting that would harden. You must make these cookies, at least once. ENJOY!

Check out her recipe here.

If you want to read more about our gingerbread people check it out here.

Here are some photos of our decorating.

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Here is M concentrating so hard on her yellow Christmas tree.

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Sasha enjoying her hard work!

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Penelope ate her cookie so fast. I told you these cookies were good!

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Here are some of our sugar cookies and gingerbread people.

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Here is M’s cookie that she worked so hard on. More sprinkes ended up on the plate than the cookie, oh well.

Gingerbread Men and Women

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This year I made real gingerbread people. Last year I made them from a dry mix I bought in a box. The real deal is no comparison, these little cookie people get better each day. The girls and I had some friends over for a cookie decorating extravaganza. I think everyone involved had lots of fun. I told the girls that we were going to “paint” the cookies with frosting, this excited Sasha (2 1/2) and our friend M (almost 2). We used popsicle sticks as our paintbrushes, which worked wonderfully for our needs. The cookies may not win any awards for beautiful design, but I think they are the best looking gingerbread cookies I’ve ever seen.

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My girls kept eating the cookies. As you can see Sasha hardly has any frosting on her cookie, just enough to say she frosted it.

I got the recipe from Martha Stewart’s website, and it was delicious. This week I will be making more gingerbread people for our families. We also made cut out sugar cookies, I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Martha’s Gingerbread People

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The frosting is a powdered sugar, a tiny splash of vanilla, and a splash of milk. I used Wilton’s Icing Color in red, blue, green and yellow.

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