Chestnut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies & Other Stuff

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Yesterday I had a very productive day. I love those days! The days where you wake up at least somewhat refreshed, have a to-do list that’s pretty ambitious, and actually cross off everything on the list by the time you fall into bed.  I used to have many more productive days than I do now, I was full of energy. Now, not so much, but I can still look on the bright side. There are lessons to be learned from life’s hiccups. Good, joyful, lessons! Not just the painful ones.

Having a chronic illness really makes you view your life differently. Very little is taken for granted. So many tasks and things that never even crossed my mind for most of my life, now can sometimes take a lot of effort and can be very exhausting. The little things that I never paid attention to, are very vivid and have a much greater significance. My time, peace, and happiness is more precious now, as is everyone’s, but we typically don’t pay too much attention to that until some or most of it is being used up by something unpleasant.  That’s all in the lesson, I suppose. Learning to deal with each day that is given to you in the way that it needs to be dealt with, and being OK with that.

Well, after “dealing with each day that was given to me” in the form of a migraine all weekend, I was quite happy to wake up Tuesday morning feeling like I could cope with life without copious amounts of essential oils, ibuprofen, epsom salt baths, and ice bags. Yay!

So off I went with the dogs for a hike. There’s a 552 acre conservation area 2 minutes from our front door. It was foggy and gray so you can’t see much, but I promise I’ll take better pictures on a clear day. You can see beautiful farm land for miles and miles! This is the entrance. My goal is always to head all the way up into the hills and hike up to a water tower that’s up to the left. I’d say it’s about 3 miles round trip depending on which trail you take. Not too difficult, but a nice hike and good exercise.

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This is about half way up, looking down toward the entrance. Takes about an hour and 20 round trip. But I am a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of hiker and had to stop twice to catch my breath on a major incline.

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A few weeks ago after reading through Brittany Angell’s new cook book, Every Last Crumb (we’ll talk about that more in a minute), I purchased some Chestnut Flour. It’s been sitting in my pantry ever since, of course. Last week my husband requested his favorite chocolate chip cookies, but I put him off until this week because I wanted to try to figure out a grain and sugar alternative. So after my hike with the dogs I simply Googled, “Chestnut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

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What I found was a recipe SO GOOD I’m pretty sure my world shifted on its axis a little. Perfect taste, perfect texture, perfect moisture. It’s as if chestnut flour was created for chocolate chip cookies. They are that good. I don’t know where James Trenda has been all my gluten-free and Paleo-ish life, but I’m so thankful Google found him for me!

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I used coconut sugar in place of maple sugar, and arrowroot in place of the tapioca because I’m abstaining from tapioca for a while and didn’t have maple sugar on hand. I also weighed all of my ingredients exactly like he advised. The dough will be thick, thicker than you think it should be, but simply press them out a little and all will be well. They are delicious warm or room temperature and are equally good today as they were yesterday.

You can find the recipe for James Trenda’s “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies” HERE.

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I am still doing my grain free trial and trying to eat an extremely nutrient dense diet. That means, LOTS of organic vegetables, a good amount of organic grass-fed meats, and a wide variety of colorful organic fruits.

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 I fried up some organic free range chicken liver yesterday, as it’s important to also have organ meats now and then in a nutrient dense diet. I dredged it in a mixture of coconut flour, arrowroot powder, sea salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and then fried them in avocado oil.

Luckily for me, I love liver. For those of you that think it tastes like an old shoe…the key is not to cook it to death.

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After munching on those fabulous cookies and snacking on fried liver, I focused my attention on baking Brittany Angell’s  Baguettes.

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I keep this cook book on my counter because every day I think, today is the day I’m going to spend all day baking Brittany’s goodies. Which of course is wishful thinking, but one recipe every now and then is cool too. If you don’t have her new cook book, you need it. It is the grain free baking bible and I promise, her recipes will blow your mind.

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You can find it online and at select book stores for around $25 and it’s only $9.99 for your Kindle. It is worth every single penny and then some.

Eating “Paleo” has its controversies and people will argue back and forth about what a real Paleo diet looks like. My opinion is that your diet should “look like” what makes you feel healthy and heals your body. Who cares what it’s called or whether you eat legumes or quinoa, brown rice, or potatoes, or no grains at all and live on kale?  The important thing is that you figure out what’s wreaking havoc on your gut and get that out of your diet. Then, add in nutrient dense foods that will heal your gut biome and change the way you feel for the better. If you need to abstain from grains for a while or even forever, along with other inflammatory foods, it’s a Godsend to be able to have a piece of bread or baked item every now and then that won’t make you feel like hell.

That’s where Brittany Angell’s, “Every Last Crumb” comes to the rescue.

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Activated Seed & Nut Trail Mix

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One of the many benefits of paying attention to the food you put into your body is of course, better health. One of the downsides to doing a lot of research and reading about health, food allergies, and disease is that all of that information can be extremely overwhelming. Soon, you feel like there’s nothing you can eat that won’t upset your body in one way or another. Well, now you can add raw nuts and seeds to that ever-growing list.

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I’ve known for a while that there was negative information “out there” about eating raw nuts and seeds and how they are very hard on our digestive systems. They were created to survive in harsh conditions and then be able to sprout when the sun and rain makes an appearance. When we eat them raw, the phytic acid that is beneficial for their survival is not beneficial to us. It binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract, causing irritation and doesn’t allow for nutrient absorption. When your stomach and intestines are continually being irritated by foods your body cannot digest or foods you are sensitive or allergic to, your immune system suffers greatly. And when your immune system suffers, your entire body is affected.

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You may be thinking, but I feel fine when I eat raw nuts and seeds! But here’s the issue. Our guts are in a battle. They’re in trouble. Your gut is the center of your immune system and ours are a mess which is proven by the astronomical amount of humans with auto immune diseases, cancer, hormone imbalances, IBS, Fibromyalgia, mental disorders, stress disorders, and all kinds of other issues. It’s a domino effect. The more we ignore our guts and continue to put things in them they can’t tolerate, the more out of balance we become. We may not have that immediate reaction of “Oh! What I just ate made me really ill.” But little by little your body becomes overwhelmed and soon you feel “off” or “wonky” or “achy” or “fluish” more than you think you should, or you get sick a lot with colds and other things like migraines, strep throat, seasonal allergies, sinus infections, swollen glands… That’s your body telling you something is wrong. By really paying attention to what you feed it and how you treat it, you can go a long, long, way to feeling better.

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Help your immune system, help you. And for crying out loud, don’t believe everything you hear in the mainstream media. For years we’ve been reading about how fantastic raw nuts and seeds are for our health. “Eat a handful of almonds a day! Add nuts and seeds to your salads! Add them to your morning smoothie! Use nut flours to bake with! Use nut butters, they’re excellent for your body! Get your protein from nuts and seeds!” All of these statements have truth. But only if you’re able to digest the nuts and seeds properly and actually benefit from their nutrients. Otherwise they’re actually harming you, not helping you.

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Soaking nuts and seeds and then dehydrating them is simple. SO simple. I bought this dehydrator on Amazon. It was $73.79 (free shipping with Prime) and is very versatile. You can use it to dehydrate nuts and fruits, make fruit leather, make meat jerky, dry herbs…all kinds of things. And it’s incredibly simple to use, clean, and store.

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It’s BPA free and even has temperature settings already sorted out for you on the lid. The heating element is in the lid and covered so there’s no messy clean up like the old dehydrators with the exposed heating element on the bottom.

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It’s relatively quiet. Sounds like a low fan. I’ve run it all night for two nights in a row now with zero noise irritation or issues. It has 5 shelves and you don’t have to rotate them for even drying.

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You can Google how to soak raw nuts and seeds or use this resource like I did. Super simple and straight forward.

I soaked raw cashews and raw sunflower seeds because that is what I had on hand. Last night I also soaked and dehydrated raw pumpkin seeds. The resource link above will give you an easy timeline guide. I try to time my soaking so that I can dehydrate over night.

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The cashews needed 18 hours of dehydration, while the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds only needed about 6-8 hours.

The beginning stage of dehydration.

The beginning stage of dehydration after soaking for 2 hours.

After an 18 hour dehydration.

After an 18 hour dehydration.

They have a nice crisp, snap to them when broken in two.

They have a nice crisp, snap to them when broken in two.

Crunchy and delicious after only 6-8 hours.

Crunchy and delicious after only 6 hours.

Once the nuts and seeds have been dehydrated you can use them for nut and seed butters, grind them for flours, use them in smoothies, make your own nut milk, snack on them, and bake with them. Just allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Activated Nut & Seed Trail Mix

1 Cup of Activated Organic Raw Cashews 

1/2 Cup of Activated Organic Raw Sunflower Seeds

About 1/2 Cup of Dried Cherries

About 1/2 Cup of Dried Blueberries

About 1/4 Cup Organic Raisins

About 1/2 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Ground Cinnamon

About 6 grinds of Pink Himalayan Salt

Toss to combine and store in an airtight container.

RESOURCES:

http://yumuniverse.com/soaking-and-dehydrating-nuts-and-seeds/

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/the-benefits-of-soaking-nuts-and-seeds

http://www.vega-licious.com/soaking-nuts-seeds-and-legumes/

http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/appetizers-snacks/is-soaking-nuts-necessary-how-to-properly-soak-your-organic-raw-nuts/

http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/bid/69542/That-s-Nuts-A-Complete-Guide-to-Soaking-Nuts-and-Seeds

Buckwheat Pancakes with Sweet Cherry & Blueberry Sauce

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Good morning. I hope you’re having a lovely, relaxing, peaceful, Sunday.

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I also hope you reserve Sunday as your breakfast, fun-day.

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There should be one day a week where you throw caution to the wind and allow yourself an amazing, indulgent, breakfast.

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Let your vegetable smoothies, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal get you through your week.

Sundays are special.

Sundays are for comfort and peace and for starting the morning off with something beautiful.

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Buckwheat Pancakes with Sweet Cherry & Blueberry Sauce

*Gluten free, dairy free, grain free (buckwheat is a seed)

*Makes 12 medium to large pancakes

2 Organic Eggs, Separated

2 1/2 Cups of Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk (or milk of choice)

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Organic Buckwheat Flour

1/2 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Tapioca Starch (or Arrowroot)

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Organic Coconut Crystals

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Separate the eggs and beat egg whites to stiff peak. Set aside. Measure the buckwheat, coconut flour, tapioca starch, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium sized bowl and whisk. Add the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Carefully fold in egg whites.

Heat a griddle on medium and oil. I used bacon fat but you can use avocado oil or coconut oil also. Spoon batter onto hot griddle and cook for 4 minutes or until bubbly on top. Flip and cook for about 3 minutes.

Top with dairy free butter, pure maple syrup, and Sweet Cherry & Blueberry Sauce.

Sweet Cherry & Blueberry Sauce

*Serves 2-3 

*The amount of fruit and thickener used will vary depending on the amount of people you’re serving

1 Cup of Frozen Organic Sweet Cherries

1/2 Cup of Frozen Organic Blueberries

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar

2 Tablespoons of Water

About 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Dissolved in 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cool Water

Heat the fruit, coconut sugar, and 2 Tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly drizzle the Arrowroot mixture into the fruit stirring. It will thicken upon cooking. You want it of drizzling consistency. If it becomes too thick, just add a teaspoon or so of water to loosen it.

Peace & Health ~ And a Few Other Tidbits

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Happy New Year!

I absolutely love the refreshing start of a new year. So many possibilities lie ahead.

Do you make a New Year’s Resolution list? I typically make one every year. I really enjoy looking back on the previous year and thinking about all the great things we accomplished and all of the challenges we faced. Then I sit down with pen in hand and scribble down a few things I’d like to focus on more throughout the following year.

This year I’ve chosen two words to pray about and focus on.

Peace

&

Health

Peace, because I think far too often we get caught up in the craziness of this world and allow the chaos of it and other people to get us off track. Before we know it, we’re being pulled away from what’s really important and life just seems to rush by in a cloud of running around and living life to “just get things done or get it over with”. I hate that. As a Christian I know that I have all the peace I want if I could just slow down, take control of what I do and do not want, learn how to say “no!”, and enjoy it without feeling guilty. So much of what stresses us out, makes us dread a situation, or makes us feel like there’s never enough time, is all because we didn’t put our foot down when necessary or handle our time properly. Peace is a process and I want more of it.

Health, because for me it’s a struggle.  Every day I am at some level of “sick” and although some days are certainly better than others and typically I function quite well even when feeling sick, I’m going to spend even more time focusing on the holistic, natural, healing of Lyme Disease. Much of this can be done with food, exercise, natural supplements and natural antibiotics. I’ll keep you posted and share what works for me.

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On top of my two favorite words for 2015, I also make a little list of things I want to spend more time focusing on. Not a list to stress me out or overwhelm me, or make me feel bad. Little reminders of things I think have room for improvement:

1. Use my time more wisely.

2. Be more mindful of the words I speak and think. No more dwelling on an issue.

3.  Pray more. About everything. All the time.

4. Really think about the “should-s” and “have to-s”. Necessary?

5. Choose wisely. All things. People. Situations.

6. Love more. Praise more. Laugh more. Relax more.

7. Let go of the heavy things.

8. More Joy.

So that’s it. Nothing fancy, or outlandish, or anything anyone cannot accomplish. But they are all things that sometimes fall by the wayside when we allow life to get messy or we forget who is in control.

I would love to hear your resolutions if you make them! Or things you like to focus on for a new year.

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 “And every day, the world will drag you by the hand yelling, ‘This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’ And each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

~Iain Thomas

Happy New Year to you and your families. Exciting things are ahead! Here’s to a healthy, joy filled, peaceful, 2015!

Lemon Blueberry Snack Bread

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

4 Eggs

Zest of 1 Medium Lemon

Juice of 1 Medium Lemon

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Butter (maybe coconut oil…I haven’t tried it)

1 Cup of Frozen Blueberries

Frosting:

*You can also blend coconut sugar in a high-powered mixer (vitamix) to make coconut sugar powdered sugar. I did not do that for this recipe just for aesthetic purposes. I wanted a white frosting rather than brown. I think if you use the coconut sugar then the whole recipe would be considered “Paleo”. But Paleo itself is a rather relative label.

About 1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Organic Powdered Sugar

Juice of 1 Small Lemon

About 2 Tablespoons of Melted Dairy Free Butter

Depending on how juicy your lemon is, you may have to adjust the dry or the wet ingredients a bit. Whisk thoroughly until thickened and of spreading consistency. Not too runny, you only want it to lightly drip down the sides.

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

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I’ve been trying to stick to a grain free diet for the past few months to help with the inflammation that goes along with Lyme Disease. Abstaining from grains has definitely helped, but I’m not going to lie, it is not easy.

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I’ve found I can sometimes cheat a little every now and then, but not much. So on those days where I’m really craving something “bread like” and sweet, muffins typically fit the bill and they can easily be made grain free.

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They’re quick, satisfying, and can be frozen and heated up for a fast craving curbing snack.

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Muffins are versatile, of course. You can add pretty much anything you like to them. I happened to have dried cherries and chocolate on hand so that’s what I chose, but you can switch them up any way you’d like.

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Here are some ideas: Any type of nut, any type of dried fruit, chopped apple, white chocolate, candied ginger, diced pear, sliced strawberries, blueberries, replace half the banana with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, you could do a streusel topping, a cinnamon and sugar topping, you could add a dollop of your favorite jam in the middle before baking…the options are endless.

Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup tapioca Flour

4 Very Ripe Bananas (dark brown skins)

4 Organic Eggs

1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil (solid, but room temp)

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Dried Cherries (chopped)

1/2 Cup 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate (roughly chopped)

Measure all ingredients into a mixture except the cherries and chocolate. Mix on medium high for 1 minute, scraping down sides once. Fold in the cherries and chocolate and fill muffin papers. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

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We’re finally getting a light dusting of snow in our neck of the woods.

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I was just lying in bed this morning praying for it.

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Not world peace, the end of hunger, an end to violence, or that my husband would stop snoring so I could get some sleep, or even that Romeo would quit passing gas on the floor next to me…but…snow.

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 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

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The thing I love most about the omnipotent One, is that our little prayers matter too.

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When I came downstairs at 5:30 this morning to let Romeo out, there was not only a dusting on the ground, it was still falling from the sky!

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I immediately said my thank you’s, turned on the Christmas Instrumentals on Spotify, and started to put some of the recovered ornaments back onto our 11 foot tree in the living room.

We had a tree “issue” yesterday. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be doing this and that and tackling the never ending to-do list… but never forgetting to stop by each window as I go, thankful for the snowy winter blessing.

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into mixer and beat on medium until combined. About 1 minute. Spoon a generous amount of batter into muffin papers. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the cakes. Mine were in tall muffin papers, I would say about 1 1/2 times the size of a normal muffin.) Bake for 85 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up dry without a bread pudding texture on the inside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before frosting and serving. Best served slightly warm or at least at room temperature.

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

About 1/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

1/2-1 Tablespoon of Non Dairy Milk, I used Hemp

Combine the butter and sugar with a fork until it forms a rough paste.

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Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and non dairy milk and whisk until smooth.

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Refrigerate and about every 15-20 minutes or so, give it a quick whisk. It will become fluffier as it chills.

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Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.

Thanksgiving Afterglow

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Ahhh…nothing quite like the holiday afterglow.

The past week has been an absolute whirlwind. All of the photos in this post are courtesy of my phone…so bear with me, I think it’s been dropped 100 too many times.

The dogs are basking in the afterglow as well.

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I threw caution to to the wind this year and decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Perk #10,452 of being an adult. I also got a head start on wrapping gifts. I am on the ball!

This is our Woodland themed tree in the family room. This year we’ll have two trees…but more about that in a bit.

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Romeo had surgery last week to remove a tumor from his cheek. We were so thankful to find out that it was benign.

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I would have to say that Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday meal.

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Lots of dairy free better, sea salt, and Bragg's Organic Sprinkle

An organic turkey from Organic Prairie, pricey but worth every penny. Lots of dairy free butter, sea salt, and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle

There are few things better than stuffing, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. Are you pro giblet or anti giblet?

Neck and "parts" simmering in bone broth while the turkey roasts.

Neck and “parts” simmering in bone broth while the turkey roasts.

I admit though, the Thanksgiving meal is my least favorite to prepare. I honestly have no idea how my grandma cooked for so many people for most of my life. Definitely a labor of love. I cooked for 4 people. Only four. By the end of dinner the kitchen looked like I cooked for an army.

Toasted stuffing cubes made with gluten free Udi's bread, olive oil, poultry seasoning, garlic, and sea salt.

Toasted stuffing cubes made with gluten free Udi’s bread, olive oil, poultry seasoning, garlic, and sea salt.

Organic bacon. Because bacon is the star of the stuffing.

Organic bacon. Because bacon is the star of the stuffing.

Brown the bacon first. Remove, and then fry the onion and celery in the bacon fat. Add back in the bacon. To. Die. For. Add to the toasted bread, a generous dollop of dairy free butter, organic broth...and you have an amazing gluten free and dairy free stuffing.

Brown the bacon first. Remove, and then fry the onion and celery in the bacon fat. Add back in the bacon. Add to the toasted bread, a generous dollop of dairy free butter, organic broth…and you have an amazing gluten free and dairy free stuffing.

Fresh organic cranberries, orange juice, orange rind, coconut sugar, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Fresh organic cranberries, orange juice, orange rind, coconut sugar, and a pinch of ground cloves.

It took two days of preparation and cooking, about 45 minutes of eating, and two hours of clean up. Clean up is the point where I think every person who hosts Thanksgiving wishes they had hired kitchen help. Imagine if you had someone there for those two days of prep who did nothing but clean and do dishes. Heavenly!

Organic sweet potatoes or yams...depending on where you're from. Peel, slice, pour a generous amount of melted dairy free butter over them, add pure maple syrup, sea salt, and a generous sprinkle of coconut sugar. Let rest over night. Then back with the turkey until they are soft and candied.

Organic sweet potatoes or yams…depending on where you’re from. Peel, slice, pour a generous amount of melted dairy free butter over them, add pure maple syrup, sea salt, and a generous sprinkle of coconut sugar. Let rest over night. Then bake with the turkey until they are soft and candied.

This is Brittany Angel's Club Angel paleo Coconut Flour Pie crust dough. You'll need to join the club ($14.99) to get the recipe. But believe me, she has amazing recipes and it's worth every penny! She also has all kinds of free recipes on her website that are worth a look see.

This is Brittany Angel’s Club Angel paleo Coconut Flour Pie crust dough. You’ll need to join the club ($14.99) to get the recipe. But believe me, she has amazing recipes and it’s worth every penny! She also has all kinds of free recipes on her website that are worth a look see.

Rolled out like "real" pie dough crust and was very easy to handle.

Rolled out like “real” pie dough crust and was very easy to handle.

I experimented with my pumpkin pie this year. It's a basic pumpkin recipe but I used half hemp milk and half heavy coconut milk and sweetened it with coconut sugar. It turned out very well, but next time I will add an extra egg and possibly just do all coconut milk.

I experimented with my pumpkin pie this year. It’s a basic pumpkin pie recipe but I used half hemp milk and half heavy coconut milk and sweetened it with coconut sugar. It turned out very well, but next time I will add an extra egg and possibly just do all coconut milk. I would also add coconut sugar to the crust.

Topped with whipped full fat coconut milk, organic powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract.

Topped with whipped full fat coconut milk, organic powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract.

Sliced organic granny smith apples and wild huckleberries.

Sliced organic granny smith apples and wild huckleberries.

Apples, huckleberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Apples, huckleberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Gluten free organic oats, coconut sugar, sea salt, dairy free butter, and diced walnuts.

Gluten free organic oats, coconut sugar, sea salt, dairy free butter, and diced walnuts.

All in all, Thanksgiving turned out very well.

And of course, the absolute best part was being back in our home town and being able to celebrate and visit with family. And for that, we will be forever thankful.

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On Friday we managed to drag ourselves out of bed, hit Starbuck’s and take the dogs for a walk.

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Still so thankful for the wide open spaces here at home.

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New Hampshire has a dense forested beauty all its own, but boy did we miss the mountains and pine trees of Washington.

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Nothing quite like your fur babies peering over the edge of a cliff to wake you from your turkey fog.

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 Yesterday we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to head to Camden Ranch and cut tree number two.

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Perk #10,453 of being an adult…you can have as many Christmas trees as you want. Cutting our tree at Camden Ranch was our tradition for many years until we moved to New Hampshire for the past two years. It’s hard to believe that last year we were 3,000 miles from here cutting our Christmas tree in Maine!

Tree #1 is 7.5 feet tall and this tree that Tony is cutting for tree #2 is 11 feet tall!

Tree #1 is 7.5 feet tall and this tree that Tony is cutting for tree #2 is 11 feet tall!

Their property is huge and there are thousands upon thousands of trees to choose from. Different types and sizes.

Their property is huge and there are thousands of trees to choose from. Different types and sizes.

You cut your own tree with saws provided, bring it down to the road...sometimes not an easy feat! Then they tag it, give you a receipt and haul it down to the barn to shake it, bale it, and load it into your vehicle for you.

You cut your own tree with saws provided, bring it down to the road…sometimes not an easy feat when you’re carrying an 11 foot tree! Then they tag it, give you a receipt and haul it down to the barn to shake it, bale it, and load it into your vehicle for you.

They also give you a ride to and from the cutting area if you don't want to walk. There are bonfires at each end to keep you warm.

They also give you a ride to and from the cutting area if you don’t want to walk. There are bonfires at each end to keep you warm.

Tony having a cup of their complimentary hot cider.

Tony having a cup of their complimentary hot cider.

They have a very nice holiday gift shop with all kinds of decorative and edible fun things.

They have a very nice holiday gift shop with all kinds of decorative and edible fun things.

This gal is working on a fresh wreath for our front door. This is in the entrance of the gift shop and smells absolutely amazing.

This gal is working on a fresh wreath for our front door. This is in the entrance of the gift shop and smells absolutely amazing. They were very sweet and helpful with advice on which wreath would look the best with the color of our front door.

Right here in their gorgeous "barn" where they also host all kinds of events like weddings and parties, is where they shake the loose needles out of the trees with a machine and then bale the trees.

Right here in their gorgeous “barn” where they also host all kinds of events like weddings and parties, is where they shake the loose needles out of the trees with a machine and then bale the trees.

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I would say this tree will definitely be a focal point...ha They always end up being so much bigger when you get them in the house.

I would say this tree will definitely be a focal point…ha They always end up being so much bigger when you get them in the house.

 I may regret having two trees when it comes time to put everything away, but for now, they’re gorgeous and add so much Christmas spirit to the house.

This is what 1,950 lights looks like.

This is what 1,950 lights looks like.

After getting the tree arranged and the lights on last night we decided we’d made it to the end of our energy and would finish decorating it today.

I made a quick meal to tide us over until morning and we spent the rest of the evening relaxing in front of the fire watching movies.

Chebe Foccacia Mix (Paleo), vegan pesto, organic tomato paste, goat mozzarella, and goat parmesan.

Chebe Foccacia Mix, vegan pesto, organic tomato paste, Diaya cheddar, goat mozzarella, and goat parmesan.

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And finally, some rest and relaxation. Romeo has made it clear he doesn’t want me getting up and going anywhere.

Lastly, one of the many things I’m thankful for is you! I am thankful you enjoy the blog and are always so kind and supportive!

Hope you have a restful, wonderful, week ahead that is full of blessings and endless reasons to give thanks.