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Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe made with spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and maple syrup. | ifoodreal.com

It is hard to write about only healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies when so much is going on inside me. I will be plain honest. So much of what I do in my day to day life is tied to darn cookies. Why? Just like baking anything pumpkin is not typically done in Spring, the same way my life is not my typical daily life lately.

See, I had this recipe sitting in my drafts for over a year. I remember baking the cookies, everyone loving them and thinking to save the recipe for “pumpkin season”. Why? Please tell me why I can’t bake healthy pumpkin blondies and whole wheat pumpkin bread, or  share pumpkin cookies in May if that is what I feel like?! Exactly. Last week, when I was particularly feeling sad, I baked the cookies – cooking is my therapy. I made one batch not exactly sure if I will need to tweak the recipe. Cookies were SO GOOD, we ate all of them in one night. They were kids’ dinner which initially sounded “AH!” inside my head, and just a mere seconds later turned into “AAAAAAAAAH!”. Because why can’t we have healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies with no sugar (healthy natural sugar) for dinner one night? All there is 1/2 cup of maple syrup, oats, coconut oil, pumpkin puree and spelt flour (very similar to my sugar free oatmeal cookies). And this is how I roll these days.

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe made with spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and maple syrup. | ifoodreal.com Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe made with spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and maple syrup. | ifoodreal.com

I’m not sure saying “Thank You” for all comments you guys left me on my emotional post, Alex’s co-workers’s emails and friends’ texts/phone calls, is the right way to express my feelings: gratitude, happiness, hope and unity. I am extremely grateful for understanding, support and honesty! I would like you to know that there is much more going on besides war against processed foods emotions inside of me. Just so you know and are not left wondering what is going on with Olena.

I feel like a big, fat and juicy onion slowly losing the layers and getting to the core of ME. If you already did and went through the same experience, I would appreciate sharing your advice. If my openness will help you, my heart is full. This is hard to write. I have so much going on in my head but on paper (online “paper”) words are lost. This year, I realized being healthy is more than a diet or what we eat or don’t eat. Living a life is not supposed to be hard, it should be fun! I decided to “grow up” (finally) and deal with the skeletons in my closet. Like my friend, Liliana, says “We all have skeletons in our closet!”, don’t we?!

MY LATEST RECIPES

It all started with me putting an end to being afraid of food. Man, how far I have come by now, it’s amazing – I eat pumpkin cookies for dinner with 0% guilt!!! Now, that is what I call freedom! It feels f$%^ing awesome! I’m also working on my relationship with wine – I haven’t drank for 22 days. I know, did you just fall off the chair? I know. I will be sharing all about my experience next week. Super excited because it is directly tied to my fearless eating nowadays.

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe made with spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and maple syrup. | ifoodreal.com

Then I decided to deal with my marriage skeletons. Here comes out the scariest word I ever said in my life – “therapy”. Phew, I said it. It was super scary but I did it. I can hear your “Ah!” on the other side of the screen. Yes, me and Alex are in therapy. “Ah!” – I can hear it again. No, me and Alex are not getting a divorce or even close, so you can exhale. In fact, our counsellor asked us after the interview “Why are you here?”. We are hot blooded human beings from Europe, we wear our emotions on our sleeves, we have our differences, we keep arguing about little things and I want it to stop. Yes, I want my marriage to be next to perfect (nobody has a perfect one, did you know that?!) and live a life without regrets. So it is better to deal with reality now than hide under a rock. And if you have a wise older family member who can give you a sound advice, know you are one of the luckiest people in the world. We don’t, so hence counselling is a great option for us, kind of like arbitration.

And then after dealing with this minor hiccup, we have arrived to a big ass sleeping monster issue – my childhood. I never shared because I felt like a food blog is not a place to share but I changed my mind. I will do what I want to do because a) I’m a big girl. b) It might help other girls out there. So now, I’m seeing a counsellor re: my childhood dealing with lack of self love, getting rid of guilt and establishing boundaries. Basically, recovering from my parents’ divorce, not being loved by my sibling and being raised by a self centered mother. It is a shit load of a mess and I have no idea where I’m heading except that I have been warned that we have just touched the surface, but I know that I will arrive to a new happy Olena at the end. As boys are growing up, my sadness re: my childhood keeps growing inside of me, because I see what they have and what I didn’t have, and it has nothing to do with damn money. I seriously need to deal with it and move on instead of carrying this load.

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe made with spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and maple syrup. | ifoodreal.com

I just wanted to give you heads up in case I do sound a bit wee sad on occasion in the coming few months. I’m happy, just working on ME. Just so you know, it took me years to seek help because in Ukraine the only “therapy” we knew back then was alcohol, and I hesitated for months to share here of the fear that I will get an angry phone call from my mom. And sitting there in therapy alone is scary at times, sometimes I’m honestly scared of the next question and sometimes of my answer. But I need to think of me, move on and be 100% myself for my family. Just to be healthy, which is more than just food and exercise. So, everything is fine but it’s not, but I am happy with the exception of this skeleton hiding in my closet. And last, just so you know your words “You are a good person”,“You are kind” and “You are an amazing woman and friend” have moved me towards seeking help as I have never heard those words from my own mother or sister. I heard them from Alex first. So, this is why me saying “Thank You” doesn’t feel enough or even close to appropriate. I’m simply grateful to so many of you for being honest with me.

That is it. Just this. I know it’s completely weird to share life stories amongst pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but this is one of rare moments when I’m entirely grateful for our society’s technological advancement. Who knows what kind of “wine therapy” I would be knee deep in by now if not for an easy access to shrink-ing and world wide web. Now go bake some pumpkin cookies and maybe have them for dinner?! I will today because I need to use up leftover organic pumpkin puree.

After re-reading this post about 50 times, I’m hitting “publish” and hoping I won’t hear what I’m so scared to hear from the women in my family – judgement. However, I feel so excited to be free of that load finally. Have a great week!:)

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: Somewhat 30 cookies - I forgot to count

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt; whisk until well combined. Add oats and stir to mix. Add flour and mix well until thick dough forms. Add pumpkin seeds and give a few stirs.
  3. Using small cookie scoop, place batter on previously prepared sheet and flatten with the back of a scoop or hands. Cookies do not spread, I had 9 cookies per sheet. Bake in batches for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cookies cool for a minute, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool off a bit more.
  4. Storage Instructions: Store in a cool dry place open. Do not wrap or place cookies in a jar. The more air, the better.
http://ifoodreal.com/healthy-pumpkin-oatmeal-cookies/

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17 Comments

  1. Dana

    Great post. It is so hard to face issues or reality. Denial is a very convenient thing and some people can use it for a lifetime, but you will be better for doing the hard work of looking at yourself. You will be better! And don’t forget, you are worth it! You are doing a hard and brave thing, and we know the good things in life don’t always come via the easy path. Go forward! Looking forward to hearing about your journey. All the best to you.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you so much, Dana. You always take time to talk to me and share your wisdom and kindness, without any benefit to yourself or BS.And you are not even related to me or met me. Kindness and honesty are the gift no one can take away. Denial has not taken care of the problem and time just doesn’t heal this kind of a mess. Just too deep. Oh well, I’m sure I will figure it out like many other things I have figured out in life.

      Reply
      • Dana

        I think I kind of, in a smaller way, understand what it’s like to be on the outside or a little different, like you’ve written about. I’m an American who lived in Germany for 4 years and so I know the struggle of trying to fit in in your host country, not offend, etc…but still REMAIN YOURSELF. It’s hard. Now I’m new to this current community back in the US since September and have found really connecting with other moms is hard…I’m not “hi, how are you? I like your purse. Your nails look great” No. I need real and I won’t settle for what’s not fulfilling to me. So I have 2 or 3 friends and I’m happy. I know no one at my daughter’s school because we are so different. But it’s ok. No complaints because I don’t want what they want. I’m raising my daughter based on what we think is important, not the other parents at school. I know you’ve said similar about your kids. I mean, my kid is a vegan now and has never eaten a hot dog and never ate at McDonald’s. You are amazing, sweet, sensitive and tough so I know we’d get along in person. You do a lot for your readers and I think you need to know that. Take care!

        Reply
        • Olena

          Yes, I totally understand how you feel. In a big scheme of things it is fine. It is not about the quantity but quality of everything in life.:) Thank you!!!
          So what do you give your daughter for lunch except veggie wraps and sandwiches? Hot lunches? To me deli meat is an emergency lunchbox item, so I’m always looking for fresh ideas. We do vegetarian wraps and sandwiches, tuna, mac and cheese, dinner leftovers, hummus and crackers and veggies. How old is your girl?
          I joked a few weeks ago with the kids I will take them through McDonald’s drive through as we drove by, the reaction was a total horror in their eyes haha. Love it!

          Reply
          • Dana

            Lunch is almost always leftovers from the night before. If not that, black beans with salsa and a tortilla or a vegan “cheese” and veggie sandwich. Smoothies on occasion in a thermos. And always some fruit. Next year she will be in high school, and the school supposedly serves good salads, so maybe that will be an occasional choice next year. She’s never been a fan of school lunch even before becoming vegan so I’m used to packing her lunches every day.

            One last thing that my dad always told me. He never said much but when he did I always thought it was worth saying : sometimes you walk alone but you will never regret it. I think it’s good advice! Take care!

  2. Olga Gav

    So…yes I’ve been stalking your blog and commenting more than usual. There are other things in life besides food and I’m glad that you are taking care of yourself. Childhood and beyond sure leaves deep scars at times. I hope you find some peace. I love that your making marriage a priority. Besides raising children, it’s one of life’s greatest difficulties and joys.

    Reply
    • Olena

      I write to share, so “stalking” is more than welcome. It is important to any human being to feel cared about. I do appreciate your and other girls’ outlook on life a lot since I do not have another adult’s wisdom besides Alex’s in my life. But Alex is not a woman, so it’s different. I am paying US$2K per year for hosting, so we can comment as much as we want.:)
      Thank you! I am sure once I go through this storm of emotions, I will feel much better. I hope I will not feel too weird and will be able to share!

      Reply
      • Olga Gav

        I agree that men’s and women’s perspective is a bit different. lol. Honestly good advise is hard to come by…even when its close to you. Having your own “cyber” space sure comes at a price! I didn’t realize it cost that much so I guess I’ll comment away. 🙂

        Reply
        • Olena

          Men have amazing ability to brush it off and snore away in 2 minutes. I have always been jealous of that quality.:)
          My traffic is high, that’s why I have to pay so much. When you start, you can get away with $100/year hosting (just in case you want to start your own cyber space know it’s reasonable).

          Reply
  3. Vanessa

    I cannot wait to try this Olena! I make your pumpkin pie biweekly for my family bc they love it so much. My daughter whose is 3 always helps me and i love to teach her about real food and how to cook. After I had her 3 years ago I started to eat real clean , organic food and your website was key in this. I found it stumbling on the internet and have checked in and have made many of your recipies and we love them! I never comment but after reading your last post, I need you to know that you have changed the way my family eats, how we enjoy food and dessert and have kept me on this real clean food lifestyle. I use your cassoroles and crock pot recipes when I work 12 hr shifts as a nurse and love reading your weekend ” what I ate” ( especially bc you make it ok to have a glass of wine here and there! As i am right now with the kids in bed.) So i just wanted to say thank you, and you are making a difference in thew way this world eats, anyone who asks me how to eat clean i send them to tour website. So, Thank you from Philadelphia!!!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Vanessa. Thank you for letting me know. Why are girls so scared to comment? I hear it all the time. It’s just us, just a blog, we can write what we want. Nobody is checking on us, we don’t have to be perfect, we can be ourselves. I LOVE COMMENTS. My mom’s world has an element of loneliness like any other mom’s. You can be surrounded by loud kids and be busy with a bazillion of things and still be lonely at times, like me. So, please don’t be afraid to leave a comment.
      I’m so happy I could help! Isn’t it amazing how motherhood changes us?! My 10 year old is amazing cook!!! He is a boy and he can do some pretty crazy awesome healthy food. His imagination is insane and food is tasty. So keep up with your girl and she will blow your mind. On Saturday, Kyle made pancakes, coffee and cleaned up the kitchen the way I clean – I almost lost consciousness LMAO.
      And yes, a glass of wine IS OK, so are cookies and ice cream, depends how much. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s a balance this life shit, ain’t always perfect or easy. Take care and big hug! xoxo

      Reply
  4. Sosae

    Well I just love you, Olena. Your honesty and courage are beautiful. And I think having a good heart-to-heart chat over cookies (or any good food!) is the way to do it. That’s how women have been having their conversations about life/love/sadness/challenges/etc. for ages. Totally healthy for the body and soul. Congratulations on confronting and dealing with your “skeletons.” Very few adults take that responsibility – probably because it’s a tough road. But you are tough and you will figure it all out and make your life even more beautiful. That’s how you do things. I was on a similar road a few years ago, dealing with the past (childhood/growing up,) realizing I had boundary issues, etc. It was hard, to say the least. But you just go through it, because you have to. The tunnel is long and dark, but it does come to an end eventually! And it feels so good to see yourself afterwards, when the past has fallen away (because of your hard work) and everything is clearer and lighter. And it’s a blessing to have a supportive husband. So glad you two are taking care of your relationship! Do whatever you can to work on it, make it stronger, and keep it healthy. It’s worth all the effort, right? Love is an action. Thank you for your wonderful recipes, and for writing from your heart. Lots of love to you and your family, Olena. Wishing you the BEST.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wishes. I can relate to everything you said. I will get there once I establish boundaries and let the past fall off. Can’t wait to feel lighter and be free. xoxo

      Reply
  5. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

    With the way you and I cook, I don’t see any problem with occasionally having healthy treats for dinner! I make smoothie bowls for my son and I when my husband is traveling for work. I put pumpkin and spinach in them, so how can that be a bad dinner?! I have such a hard time not posting pumpkin recipes year round! In Malaysia, we have local pumpkins that are cheap and amazing year round and I make homemade puree (and roast it and use it in a ton of things). I always think, should I put pumpkin in this for the blog even though it’s spring?!

    Reply
  6. Heather

    Dear Olena, I love this post. A friend shared your site with me a year ago and I’ve been reading your recipes and comments regularly. Today is the first time I’ve commented, because my husband just suggested we go to therapy together and I freaked out. We, too, have an excellent partnership and the thought that he felt we were in enough trouble to talk to a third party… I felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. He said that he just wants us to be even better. We, too, have small arguments and are not the greatest of communicators, so hopefully we will learn how to be better. I’m also seeing a therapist individually for my *own* childhood baggage, so it feels like a LOT of therapy and I’m very nervous about dealing with all of these skeletons at once. On the other hand, it makes no sense to run from all of this, because you *can’t* outrun it. So – I will probably be doing more cooking myself, as another way to deal with all of this. THANK YOU for putting the personal stuff in the middle of a pumpkin cookie recipe. 🙂 You are an inspiration. I, too, am cheering you on from afar.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Heather. I honestly had to look up your IP because I thought someone was telling me my story. Wow! Just yesterday I got a super annoyed email from Sharon who was complaining how I talk about everything under the sun wasting her time and she can’t see a recipe. I had issues with new plugin, true that, which I quickly fixed, never replied to Sharon and deleted her from my mailing list. People forget I am not Martha Stewart and this is my personal blog where I share whatever I want. And I felt good not engaging and today your comment proved one more time the purpose of my sharing. Screw grumpy Sharons. We are here to support each other, with cookies, with laughs and a few cries. That is what true women do.

      I feel exactly like you about therapy! It is A LOT of “shrinking” and thinking. When I left a session talking about my childhood, the Earth was spinning. Still my mind is spinning. It is a very weird feeling between feeling exposed, betraying and discovering new self and family members, you thought you knew it all. In a way, it is a re-learning to live. It is also a very lonely journey because only I was there and I have to double check myself I’m not crazy what I felt and experienced. Running away won’t fix it and once you deal with your personal “skeletons”, that will improve your communication with your husband. I am VERY nervous for my next appointment in a week, I’m very scared to share my thoughts but “a girl gotta do, what a girl gotta do”. That is as per my personal session.

      There is no perfect marriage, NONE. People just don’t share, and social media can make the world look perfect and very deceiving (that is why I do not follow it much). We are due to read 5 Love Languages and I’m half way through, and already could see how I could improve my communication. I’m sure Alex was shocked when I suggested counselling but I can see he is really learning. As we do not have any advice from elderly, we have to find it somewhere else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with therapy, nothing. It is not a shame. I have my own sources for inspiration, a couple who are the most smart and encouraging friends, so it is a domino effect – if we all help each other, the world will be better. I share only in hope to help because when I started seeking advice there isn’t much available online or from people I know. Every day is a step forward, just day by day. I will share more as I can and progress. xoxo

      Reply

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