Inside the Great Smoky Mountains

17425027_10101681141406413_7205767337921029150_nMy whole life I have enjoyed travel. I yearn for adventure. For the serenity of a forest. For the peaceful sounds of the woods, and my feet getting swept away on a trail. Taking me somewhere new. Somewhere beautiful. Somewhere fresh. Somewhere where I am likely to stand there staring for a while, lost in awe. Letting nature suck away my worries. There is such a paradox in the forest. Because I feel small, but filled with potential at the same time. Nature’s beauty (especially mountains, for me personally), is humbling. The world is so vast. So breathtaking. So in need of our respect. How can I be sucked up in sadness or depression or worries, when I am surrounded by such perfect creations? It fills me with the: There’s so much more to life than this, mindset.

Surrender. Let go. 

This is why I travel. Why I seek adventure. To breathe. To let peace and serenity calm my body and soul. To let bliss wash over me. To tilt my head back. To look around and really see. For a fresh perspective. To minimize my struggles, and reconnect with my purpose. I feel most like myself in these moments. I don’t feel society and others opinions weighing down on me. I feel light, buoyant.

17308876_10101681141266693_2837190037945190149_nThis is my first travel blog and I am so geeked. National Parks is kind of my husband Zach and I’s thing. Our bedroom walls are covered with National Park maps and one Big US map with traces of our travels (together & separately) For years I traveled by myself. Yosemite and the Northwest being my favorite areas I have ever been. I patiently waited for my travel companion, for my life companion. And Zach fits into my life more than I could have ever dreamed. How in sync we are with our desires and goals. Last year we traveled to over 10 National Parks on a whirlwind 2 week trip, during which he proposed to me under the stars in Arches National Park.  Continue reading “Inside the Great Smoky Mountains”

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Who am I to be Happy?

self worthWho am I to be happy?

Who are you not to be?

I have gotten back-lash in the past for being happy or positive. Or written off. Oh Brittany she’s a hippy. She talks about love and is always trying to put a positive spin on something. Going against the grain, can mean being categorized and pushed aside.

But we have created this society. A society where we accept depression and stress. Depression is the norm. We talk more about our problems and struggles than we do our joys. We hate our jobs. We butt heads in our relationships. And we just give up on them and let them disintegrate. How else could divorce rates be so high? It is easier to give up and not deal with something or someone than it is to truly feel something. We would rather drink and do drugs, or whatever vice we may have than feel pain. We avoid it. We cover it. We blame. We accept the suck in our lives. But it is not our circumstances or lives that suck, we do. We suck. We accept the negativity as a norm.

We will wallow in our pain. We love that. To complain. To find faults. We bring depression upon ourselves. Our limited scope of the world, of life beyond a current circumstance, limits us. It’s like looking out of a dusty, dark window. As Thoreau has said, it’s not what you look at, but what you see.

Life is perspective. How you view it. Choice.

I am not happy all the time, but I am a lot better at catching myself. When I find myself having negative thoughts. Feeling stress. Being judgmental. Lacking compassion. Feeling sorry for myself. I catch it. I rebuke it. I go back to gratitude. What I am thankful for. How blessed I am. I cannot be down, when I am so blessed. We have to be self-aware. Call ourselves out. Be willing to change in an instance. You can decide not to be depressed. Not to be suppressed. To say no temptations. Reach for joy, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled down. Continue reading “Who am I to be Happy?”

Gluten-Free Brownie in a Mug

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Last post of the week! Happy Friday, everyone, you made it to the weekend! Congratulations!

Maybe you feel like celebrating or indulging a bit? this little beauty is amazing because it only takes a few minutes to make. It is super easy, and the perfect serving for just one person. Then you are not tempted to eat a whole tray of brownies. You can’t feel bad about a little mug?

I have to give a shout to my mom for the inspiration on this. I was racking my brain for things to do with brownies (I’m not done yet, stay tuned next week I’ll have ice cream). My mother has been making my nephews individual mug cakes. It’s just one of the many cut things they do. I can make a brownie in a mug!

If I were to do this again or thought of it before hand, I could have topped this with a spoonful of coconut milk vanilla ice cream or whip.

Anyways, I’ll keep it short and sweet (I’ve got baking to do anyways, time for me to work: 2 farmer’s markets this weekend and a brunch).

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Gluten-Free Brownie in a Mug

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Enjoy Life Chocolate chips

Continue reading “Gluten-Free Brownie in a Mug”

Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies

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Last of the brownies I dressed up the other day!

First I started with plain old brownies, nice and gluten-free (I made them with coconut flour). Next I made caramel and topped them off with that. Finally I added toasted coconut, drizzled some chocolate and made Samoa ones.

I will confess, as a child I loved some girl scout cookies. My favorite? Hands down my favorites were Samoa. Actually I think they were the only ones I ate, quite sure I refused to eat any other kinds. Regardless they were good and I was satisfied.

Now I obviously don’t eat girl scout cookies, but that doesn’t mean, I can’t use their tasty cookies as inspiration, right?

Absolutely! After already making caramel, these were a breeze to make and assemble. If I were to do these over, I could dip the bottoms of the brownies in melted chocolate. Make them a little more legit.

And I’ll admit I am also a weirdo on chocolate. I like chocolate in candy and that’s about it typically. I hate chocolate cake (actually I dislike all cake, it’s never been my thing, note as a child my granny made me a cherry cheesecake on my birthday instead of cake). I don’t really like chocolate ice cream. And I am not really a fan of brownies, which is why I finally figured out is the reason I’ve never posted any. Regardless, I was on a mission. And these were freaking amazing, but I probably could have just nibbled on the coconut caramel. I love toasted coconut. Zach had me put some on a banana for him. I personally would dip an apple in some. Feel free to play with and use the coconut caramel in other areas.

Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies Continue reading “Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies”

Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies

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Happy Tuesday Beautiful People!

Thank you for tuning into the blog today. Yesterday I shared a post on brownies. My first ever brownie recipe on this website. I couldn’t just do one small post. Or just make plain old brownies. I had to dress some of them up.

So I kept some to make ice cream with. I made two with salted caramel (what you’re experiencing right now) and two surprise ones (coming Thursday). I also did a brownie in a mug (coming Friday).

There are so many ways to doctor up your brownies. I was contemplating whipping up a goat cheese cream cheese frosting, folded in with Brittany style oreos, you know Cookies N’Cream brownies. I also thought of making a goat cheese blend to swirl in with blackberries. But I am a caramel girl at heart. I’ll admit, I have gone round and round with making it. Half the time it works out. Half the time I get burnt (and I do mean physically as well, I’ve taken some knarly burns from hot caramel). This caramel was easy and turned out like a dream. I was over-the-moon happy with the results.

Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top. What more could you want?

I made the caramel afterwards, otherwise, I would have played with swirling some into the brownie batter. You filling it. If you want to try, give it a go. Pour in half the batter. drizzle in caramel. Pour on the other half of the brownie batter.

These were excellent with the coconut flour, but I would be interested to see them with almond flour. If you need dairy-free, swap the butter for coconut oil, I had more butter on hand than oil.

Be warned: these are rich! You do not need very much.

IMAG3665Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies Continue reading “Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies”

Gluten-Free Brownies

IMAG3652You know you are in the right profession when you have withdrawals. I haven’t baked anything in a week. I’ve been hard at work on my computer designing my 8-week program and cookbook. I felt great accomplishing my goals for these things, but there is the creative part of me that yearns to make things. Luckily, I have two markets this weekend and Zach and I have a brunch for the SAE mothers. I had a hard time not baking anything for my market today, the urge was definitely strong, however, I do like to make things as fresh as possible. So that will have to wait until Friday (I did measure all my dry ingredients out into containers though with notes, so all I have to do is add a few wet ingredients and mix. I have become a master at prepping ahead of time so I am not over-worked and stressed on Friday’s. Being able to take my time, not feel rushed, and do my best is essential to the taste of my products). I was excited to realize I had a little extra flour left over. Granted it was coconut flour. I was determined to make to it work. I really wanted a new recipe to blog. And I really wanted to make something. And I’ve had my heart set on making brownies. Its been on my to-do list for a month now, ever since I realized I do not have any brownie recipes, here, on my website.

Also I couldn’t just settle for making plain brownies. Yes, they’re good, but I have been creative deprived for a week, I needed more. So I decided to make two with caramel. To make the last two into Samoa style brownies. And to save one of the plain brownies to make a little brownie ice cream. Plus a brownie in a mug. That was my mother’s inspiration. She has been into making little mug cakes for my nephews, so why not a brownie in a jar. It’s easy and perfect for one solo person to make. A little indulgence, without having a whole tray of brownies in your face, taunting them to eat them. The pressure to eat them would be real.

So sit back and enjoy this week of brownies! Time to fix their void on this page!

(note the Samoa are my favorite, but they are also my favorite Girl Scout cookie from childhood).

Gluten-Free Brownies

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (if I did this again I would use almond flour, but the coconut was still good)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil or ghee, I had more butter than extra oil), melted
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch sea salt

Continue reading “Gluten-Free Brownies”