I have made no-bake cookies twice the last, finally I caved and made some gluten-free ones. I HAD too, especially after that many times. Growing up, those were Cliff (my brother) and I’s favorite cookies. We would make them with my momma. I love my mother dearly, but she was not the cook in our house growing up, so these were special moments for us. My dad is a bomb cook, so sorry mom.
Cliff and I loved these cookies, though. I can still playback videos in my mind of us on stools trying to mix and make them ourselves. And then totally stuffing ourselves and ruining our appetite for dinner.
A few years ago I made my first batch of gluten-free ones. After some different experiments, I discovered that coconut and nuts made the perfect combination. The crunch of the nuts makes them perfect. And then I played with honey and coconut oil and coconut sugar. Finally I really hit the sweet spot. And I made them for my markets. They were a top, prized seller. But chocolately food can be a hot mess in the summer heat.
And so I just sort of forgot about them. But making them for a friend and the frat boys last week, had me craving them majorly. Plus my nephew Trenton loves my no-bakes, he says they’re the best. And I don’t take the opinion of a 7 year-old lightly, they are brutally honest. If he didn’t like them or thought they were bad, he would tell it to me straight. My nephew Gavin has straight-up told me before that something I made was awful. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Cherry No-Bake Cookies”→
This recipe is a duet of sorts, a duet of culinary creations by husband and I. My husband can definitely throw down in a kitchen. And he is a for sure boss at managing and running one. But he cooks all day. Plus I love to cook as well, so I generally try to cook for us at home, so he can relax and get out of the kitchen. This also gives me ample time to play and experiment with new recipes. Which is good and bad for Zach. Not everything I make is a home run the first at bat (like the tator tots that took me three attempts or my first round of pot pie). But he is always gracious, kind, and he gives me his honest opinion. The part is the most important part. I do not need people to just fluff my tail feathers. If something needs adjusted or tweaked I NEED to know before I go sharing. So I am unbelievably grateful for being surrounded with such honesty and truth.
I had never planned on posting or sharing this recipe, though (I have them planned through July already). It was just something I sort of strung together. Zach had some pulled pork in the fridge. We love sweet potatoes, but we have only eaten them just baked one time (on our first camping trip to Brown County, around a year ago). So I just started baking potatoes. Thought I would stuff the pork inside of them rather than serving it on the side. And I fried a couple pieces of bacon, because, why not? Zach raved about this lunch the whole time we were eating. “Babe this is good.””Babe this is so good.””Seriously.”
With this feedback I could not, not post it. And I love that it is a combination of the two of us. Plus it’s easy. Make the pork in the crock pot. just bake a potato. Anyone can do it.
Finally I am adding exercise to this site! It has been in my books for month. For those who may not know me and my personal history, we’ll start there, but my degree is in Exercise Science. Previous to being a gluten-free baker, I was a kettlebell instructor to 10 years. I will be collaborating with my beautiful mother, who is the best kettlebell trainer I have ever met, so look forward to video posts coming soon with her.
Okay, so exercise? For me this can be a slippery slope. I very much feel that we in this country struggle to balance this. Either we do too little or too much. And yes too much exercise has an adverse effect on the body. So how do we balance it? How do we start exercising for us? Not because we ate too much. Or too punish our bodies. Our because we feel obligated too. How can we approach exercise and our bodies with a loving manner?
This is big for me. Check out my blog Monday and you’ll get some insight into my own personal struggle with body image. How can I exercise and eat good to FEEL good? That is more along the lines of my thinking now. How do I feel? Not what does the scale say. I am no longer living for approval or validation based on the numbers on a stupid scale. Those do not reflect me. The beautiful, happy, content, loving person. MORE than the person you see.
Health is important though, but it starts inside. My outlook now is to look at health from a respect perspective. I respect by my body by feeding it certain things. By hiking and walking. By working on sleeping enough, stressing less, and lifting heavy things and remaining flexible so I CAN LIVE. My health helps me accomplish my goals in life. Plus you can not be of service to anyone else if you are not here. We can create and bring on illnesses in our lives. Use health as prevention.
So exercise? I have always been drawn to the human body and it’s great potential. From drawing sports pictures growing up. To playing sports. I watched my sister lift weights in our garage growing up (she is 7 years older than me). I was intrigued and pleaded with my father to let me lift too. He told me when I was 10 I could. I was hooked right out of the gate. I am very strong naturally, something most wouldn’t suspect as I am so small and smiley. Very assuming, but I have spent my life lifting weights with men, and I have kept up or surpassed many of them. Continue reading “Exercise & Kettlebells”→
i don’t eat breakfast that often. Usually this is due to the fact that I have gotten accustomed to waking up early to go to a baking job. I am not hungry or awake fully at 5 or 6 in the morning. This set me into a schedule where I ate whenever I got off work in the afternoons. Therefore the lack of breakfast.
Now though I have my own schedule. This opens me up to exploring the realm of breakfast and breakfast meals.
Every other day Zach and I wake up to walk our dog. I typically do my kettlebells after this. Usually after an active morning, I am not hungry for super hearty food. I want something simple and easy to make, that is lighter and fresher. I have had it on my list to play with some smoothie bowls, and I will definitely be expanding on this in the future, but this was a great start. It was just what I needed after my kettlebells and to get going on my creative work for the rest of the day. Plus it’s pretty!
Egg muffins have been one of my families favorite recipes for the past decade. We prepped them to take on every family vacation and travel trip. Dad and I both used them in cooking classes. What’s great about them, is the ability to customize them. This is something I think is essential to healthy eating success. I’ve worked with hundreds of people on eating programs. We are all unique individuals. So health is not always a one-size-fits-all. There are some super die-hards out there, who see in black in white when it comes to eating. I used to be one of them. But my perspective has changed. This black and white view is no longer serves me. There are so many variables to consider with health. Eating is key. I agree with that wholeheartedly. But being super stringent, I believe can be counter-productive. Stress I believe is just as detrimental to health as a poor diet. Stress rules the world. We are sucked up in busy, tight schedules. Stress. Jobs. Stress. Families. Stress. Exercise. Exercise is good but can be abused. Overexercising is not a positive. It places extra stress on your body. And then we stress and over-analyze everything bite we take. I used to do so much research, it honestly made me afraid to eat. My relationship with food really took a hit.
So I’ve had to ease up. Love my body. What it does. Respect it. Love the food I put in my body. I don’t eat gluten or processed foods. But sometimes I use butter or I’ll eat a little cheese. Or I’ll eat one of the baked goods I make. Or I’ll make coconut milk ice cream for Zach and I. I don’t scrutinize and punish myself for eating any longer. Eating became a shameful practice, which creates a nasty circle. If my eating wasn’t ‘perfect’ I would be so hard on myself. I would get down on myself. And feel bad about myself. We tie our self worth into our bodies, to our physical self. Which is BS. What matters is the condition of our heart, not the number on a scale. And I used to base my happiness and worth on that scale. I wasn’t living, but waiting for weigh-in’s. Then my happiness level depended on what it said. And then I waited for the next week. I looked great, but even at my smallest, it wasn’t enough. See how messed up this is? I couldn’t eat in front of people, I thought they too, were evaluating what I was eating. If I ate a bite of chocolate, my friends would freak and make a big deal. Anything ‘cheating’ got blown out of proportion. And I felt so under scrutiny. I stopped eating in front of people. There was such shame, in a fundamental human need. Continue reading “Meatlovers Egg Muffins”→
Last night Zach started telling some stories of what I have always referred to as a phase I went through. But it stuck in my head beyond the conversation. And reading this morning, the message I received ran deep.
This phase I ran through had me jumping out of planes, traveling and camping by myself, hitchhiking, couchsurfing and more. Also did I mention I had given away 75% of my possessions and was living in a shed. To many people I was crazy. Telling the stories now, I receive that a lot. And a lot of disbelief.
Why did I do all of this?
Obedience. For the first time in my life I was really listening and living. And by listening I mean to my calling. I stopped listening to societal pressures and norms. And I started learning to be comfortable with God’s plan for me. He was showing me to stop living in fear. Because that’s what I was. A quiet, shy girl, trying so hard to be good and perfect. To be liked. I cared SO much what others people thought of me. And I let this guide my choices. I made choices out of place of fear, rather than a place of love. I went to college because I was told I had to, I was too smart not to. I was obsessed with losing weight and the perfect body. The numbers on the scale dictated my happiness and self-worth. God was leading me away from fear and into the light and into a space for love.
And then one day, I was sitting in the back of my parents shop in Avon reading, when a voice spoke to me. I was reading a section talking about simplifying and letting go. Of thinking of your things being attached to you like strings. All of a sudden I felt very heavy. And that voice came in loud and clear. It told me to get rid of things. To simplify. So I went home and ACTED. I packed up my stuff and gave away 75% of it. I was starting to plan building a cabin, when I shared my vision with my granny, she told me she had a shed the perfect size to try it out. Everyone thought I was nuts and kept telling me how hard it would be. But I didn’t listen to nay-sayers. I listened to that voice. And I never dwelled or thought it was going to be hard. I just did it.
Getting rid of my stuff allowed me to truly see in my life. Like I had been living with dust covered glasses. I learned quickly that value and wealth in life do not come from accumulation of money and things. I started seeing and loving people as they are. The practice of gratitude became essential to my life.
Growing up Creamed Eggs was one of my dads favorite dishes he made. Like biscuits and gravy but with hard boiled eggs instead. So, as a child, we definitely ate that and not a lot of biscuits and gravy. My husband, however, loves some biscuits and gravy. And I’ve really been trying to smooth this transition for him into gluten-free, dairy-free. Converting many of his favorite dishes into something friendly.
These were really good, I was definitely not counting on how filling this was going to be. A few bites in and I was done, so we had lots of leftovers. My only tweak would be to bake the biscuits for less time than I did. Just a very light golden color.
This would be a great Saturday morning breakfast pre-or-post hiking meal! In my mind I am always thinking of the forest and its peace. It calls me.
Today I have a compilation of my favorite valentine friendly recipes I have ever posted, plus a new one. Click the title to get the link 🙂
Holidays can be a nice reminder, but remember that love and gratitude for that love is something you DO everyday. A cycle of unconditional acceptance. Quick forgiveness. And contentment with your partner. Be thankful for them everyday. I look at my husband every day with such appreciation. How much better he makes my life. My only goal now is to be the best wife I can be.
Relationship goals.Let’s talk about it, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and that time when we talk about love. I see this a lot, this term relationship goals.. Usually referring to some celebrity couple. One in which we see one instance, but know nothing of the actual dynamic. We see the pretty polished package to the world. Such is social media too. A slippery slope into comparison. Relationship goals are good, but how we idolize others and theirs, maybe isn’t as good. Relationship goals should be unique to us. When we embrace our own unique selves, then we don’t have to compare to others. Plus we can be content within our lives and our relationships, instead of wondering why our significant other isn’t like _______ (insert a celebrity or someone you look up to). We meet and love them as they are. We truly open ourselves up to loving that person with an everlasting love.
This picture above, these are my relationship goals, happening now, in real life. My examples of love and marriage are beautiful. My parents are going on 38 years, my grandparents all close to 60 and lots of aunts in uncles in 25+ years of marriage. These relationships are not perfect. They have ups and downs, but they are shining examples of commitment. No matter their fights or the struggles they face, they are extremely loyal and have the others back. Family. Love. This was embedded in my upbringing and it is essential to me. I didn’t want to merely be married, a partner, for the rest of my life. Beyond the wedding, I wanted the raw commitment that comes with it.
For over a decade I patiently waited and prayed for this relationship. For this man. I knew the goals in my head and heart. I wanted someone fully committed to me. Who took and loved me, just as I am. A companion. Someone I enjoyed spending time with, so that spending the rest of our lives together (and eternity), would be a breeze. Someone I could travel the world with. And climb mountains. Someone by my side. I would see couples on trails, a little baby strapped to the front and I wanted that. That outdoor family life. To live in the woods and spend time on the road, exploring this magnificent world. Continue reading “Relationship Goals”→
I have been really excited to make these. I few weeks ago I attempted my first go with some extra cherry filling and pie dough. I learned that you don’t want to overfill the, as I had cherries trying to escape over the edge of the crust. And initially I was planning on just making regular raspberry pies, but when I made the chocolate crust for my market it was so beautiful and perfect, I HAD to make them chocolate raspberry.
Learning my lesson from the first attempt, I stuck with just pressing the crust to the side and not up and out to flute. Although, this could be an option, just make sure to fill below the lid brim. I wanted to attempt some lattice work though, so I stuck with keeping it simple.
The lattice work? With regular pie dough I can do some phenomenal stuff. I am known for my braided borders and some pretty weaving and work. This gluten-free dough is delicious and the best I’ve ever made and worked with, but a lack of gluten, also means a lack of elasticity. I am getting better at working with it. For instance I’ve learned that freezing is my friend, as well as cookie cutters. I’ll cut out letters, put them on parchment, freeze them and then put them directly on the pie when I’m ready to bake. Works beautifully. Same with my pie pops and turn-overs. I’ll make my dough up ahead of time, cut it out. Freeze and then bake. But I really want to do some lattice work. And I want to braid. So this was my first attempt.
And……..it wasn’t perfect. The sticks were wanting to crack and were not easy to layer. They’re still cute, and absolutely delicious, but not up to par yet. So I will keep working on this braiding and lattice idea, but until then I would suggest cutting out little hearts for the center. Easy but cute and effective.
What I also love about baking into a mason jar lid beside the cuteness and perfect size, is that the bottoms are removable. I love all the tart pans I have because they have removable bottoms. So the outside of my crust and bottom come right out flawlessly and I’m not stuck trying to use a knife to shimmy something out of a pan. I paid a nice price for these pans too, so thank you mason jars for having this built in feature.
These are adorable and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Plus they’re a perfect little treat for yourself and your lover. So enjoy!