Peach Pickin’

A couple weeks ago, my parents and I took a road trip to the small towns of Luther and Harrah, Oklahoma. This was the perfect road trip. We drove in to Luther to get breakfast at 116 Farmstead Market & Table before we headed on into Harrah to pick peaches and nectarines at Wind Drift Orchards.

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The cafe’s façade was one of a kind and absolutely adorable and fitting.

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At the front end of the café is the market! As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by an array of locally grown and made goodies! A table full of fruits and vegetables, shelves of locally roasted coffee, jams, honey, pasta, breads, milk, eggs, and a freezer full of local beef and pork.

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We sat at the end of the long center table and fully embraced and soaked up the precious small town vibe and the slight hustle and bustle from the incoming locals, and a temporary visit from a plethora of bicyclists passing through the town.

I didn’t get any pictures of our food because…well..no time. We were starving, and it was delicious. My mom and I had the loaded quiche, and my dad had The Lumberjack breakfast. All alongside coffee, of course. Dad finished off his breakfast with an apple cinnamon cake square. I had a bite and honestly…it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. Sinfully delicious. Seriously wanted to cry it was that good. Mom and I finished off our breakfast by sharing a yogurt parfait with Greek yogurt, house-made granola, and local Porter peaches on top. So, so tasty.

Before we left, we picked up a bag of coffee and some meat to take home!

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After just a short drive, we arrived at the orchard! Peach and nectarine trees as far as the eye could see. It was almost surreal, especially on the beautiful overcast day that we were able to go on.

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We started out picking nectarines!

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Sampling is a necessity. I mean, you have to make sure they are just as sweet, juicy, flavorful, and wonderful as you know they are going to be, right?

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After we got our fill of nectarines we headed over to the peaches!

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We quickly realized the best peaches were at the top of the trees. This is when having a strong, 6’5″ tall dad really comes in handy.

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We loaded up. We could not stop picking. It was almost addicting. I think we left with over 50 pounds of peaches and nectarines… And we ate every last one!

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The first thing we had to make (naturally) was a peach cobbler. Dad loved the trip so much, and was so excited for peach cobbler, that he insisted that he peel and slice the peaches himself. The peaches and nectarines were literally like candy on their own though because they were just so juicy and sweet.

After dad peeled the peaches for the cobbler (with still tons of peaches to eat on for weeks to come), we headed out to the compost to dump the peels. I saw this little turtle on the porch, and well, it turns out turtles like peaches too.

This whole trip was such a blast, and the day could not have been more perfect. Food was scrumptious. Weather was beautiful. Peaches were juicy and abundant. People were SO friendly. The only thing that would have just made it that much better would have been if Taylor could have come.

Fortunately for Taylor (and the rest of us) Dad has deemed it a twice a summer affair. So, we will be going back soon!

Thank you again 116 Farmstead Market & Table and Wind Drift Orchards!!

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Different Times

Yesterday marked the end of the relationship I have been in for the past 7ish years. I am not writing this to bash on the other party, nor am I writing this for sympathy, or empathy. I am simply writing this because writing, for me, is healing, and I hope that someone who comes across this, and reads this, finds it helpful in whatever way they need.

After years of many good times, and many bad, the other human in the relationship came to the final decision that he no longer had time for the relationship, I was no longer a priority, I was now simply an obligation, and the vision of seeing a future with me had faded.

After years of thinking you’re going to marry this person, after years of love, devotion, future planning, commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness. To hear these things…the hurt, anger (lots of anger), disappointment, frustration, confusion, and sadness is indescribable. Old thoughts of, “What did I do wrong?”, “Am I inadequate?”, “What could I have done better?”, “I loved him so much, why was I not enough?”, “Do I not deserve to be loved?”, etc. swirled through my head.

But, at 4:00 this morning as I write this, different emotions have began to peak through the light. Joy. Happiness. Freedom.

Looking back, like I said, there were many good times, but also many bad. I spent a lot of the relationship giving, and giving, and giving, with very unequal reciprocated effort in return that by the end, I just couldn’t give anymore. Truth is, I fell in love with someone who just wasn’t ready. I don’t blame it on age because I don’t believe love is limited by age. Truth is, of all the people my heart could have chosen, it decided on a boy who didn’t have enough room in his own heart to love someone like me. He’s a good guy, just not ready for the commitment.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this boy more than I ever knew possible, but for years I knew I needed and deserved more than I was getting. I thought, “Just keep loving harder and maybe it will work out”. In theory it would work, but not if the effort is never matched.

In this time of deep heartache, it is fascinating (and a little scary) to be also feeling joy and happiness. But, I know where these feelings come from.

Joy: God is close to the brokenhearted. God is the ultimate source of joy. In this, and the many other times of heartache of the past, God is there providing me with joy and peace.

Happiness: Despite this unfortunate situation, I am happy (along with every other emotion under the sun). I know it sounds weird, even to me it sounds weird. But I am. I’m not really sure how to quite explain this one yet, but despite it all, I feel happy and peaceful. I think the happiness goes hand in hand with the freedom. I can be, even more so than I have been, 100 percent me. And the peace comes from knowing I did all I could, and trusting that my Heavenly Father has my life in His hands, and everything is gonna be just fine, even better.

For years, people have told me, but it’s a hard thing to tell yourself without feeling demanding, unrealistic, and selfish: “You deserve more.” It’s extremely hard to tell myself that because it seems like a “holier-than-thou” phrase and thought process, which I don’t like. We are all loved, and we all deserve love. But, I am beginning to realize that saying to myself, “I deserve more” is not saying, “I am better”, it is instead saying “I respect myself. I know my worth. And in my heart, I do not feel that my worth has been equally respected.”

If you are going through something similar, respect yourself, know your worth, and know this:

You are so deeply loved.

You do deserve love.

If you gave it everything you had, you did nothing wrong.

You are enough.

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Paleo “Chocolate” Dipped Valentine’s Day Shortbread Cookies

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day of LOVE. The day filled with all things pink, red, sweet, and of course…chocolate. It only makes sense that the day of love is partnered with chocolate. Because I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? Deep, rich, smooth, luxurious, sweet chocolate. Seems to me like love and chocolate are synonymous!

I remember when my sister and I were kids, back before boys and romance were even given a second thought, and my mom would give us little gifts for Valentine’s Day. Those gifts typically were some sweet treat and naturally a cute stuffed animal, or Beanie Baby, to add to my ever growing stuffed animal addiction.

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to celebrate by using one of my favorite recipes to make Paleo “Chocolate” Dipped Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies/ Tea Biscuits! The recipe: SO easy and SO delicious.

The recipe made 24 little heart shaped cookies, and I could have easily eaten all of them. So, I had to give some away so I wouldn’t. They make the perfect little gift for a friend, enemy, sibling, stranger, parent, grandparent, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/ wife, literally anyone. Why?! Reason number one: they are so darn tasty. Reason number two: they are adorable. Reason number three: they are grain free, nut free, and refined sugar free! So, there ya go! Perfect little treat for your loved one. Bite sized, chocolate dipped goodness. Valentine’s Day done right.

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Ingredients for cookies:

  • 1 stick of room temp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 a cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 a cup of arrowroot starch
  • 5 Tbs of pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a tsp of cinnamon
  • a dash of salt (about an 1/8 tsp probably)

Directions:

  1. Oven. Preheat. 350 F.
  2. All ingredients: in a food processor. Yep, everything. (Or a large bowl if you’re doin’ it old school.)
  3. Pulse til  it’s all mixed up. (Or if your doing it old school, use a fork, or a pastry cutter, to get all the ingredients combined.)
  4. Take the dough out of the food processor (or bowl). Form it into a ball.
  5. Place it onto some parchment paper (or sprinkle some coconut flour on a board). Sprinkle the dough ball with coconut flour. Roll out the dough ball. Til’ about 1/8 to about 1/4 of an inch thickness. About. Don’t get too technical.
  6. Get whatever cookie cutter/ shape you are wanting to use. (I used little hearts, but you can seriously use whatever shape.) Coconut flour on your cookie cutter. Cut out your shapes. (Amount of cookies will depend on the shape and size of your cookie cutter.)
  7. Place your cut out cookies on a prepared (buttered up) baking sheet. Give them a little space. Bout an inch. They don’t spread, so no worries.
  8. Stick the sheet pan in the oven to bake for just 15 minutes! But, watch them. If you are using a smaller shape, they may turn golden brown quicker and be done sooner. So, just watch them.
  9. When they are done, take them out and let them cool on the sheet pan for a little bit.
  10. Then after they’ve cooled for a bit, you can move them to cool all the way on a cooling rack while you make the chocolate to dip them in!

Ingredients for “Chocolate”:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Cacao Powder
  • Pure Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. I have no measurements for the chocolate. I went off of taste. Couple tablespoons of coconut oil, couple tablespoons of cacao, couple tablespoons of maple syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Nuke it in the microwave for 10ish seconds, or warm it up in a pan on the stove, until you can stir it all up and get it all combined. Just taste as you go. Believe in yourself. If it tastes more like maple syrup, and a little more cacao until it tastes like chocolate.

*If you want to just melt up semi sweet chocolate chips, that would totally work too. (I recommend Enjoy Life chocolate chips if you’re gonna do that.)

Directions to dip your cookies:

  1. You will get messy.
  2. Chill a couple plates in the freezer.
  3. Dip, or drizzle, your cookies in however you like. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, drizzle with a spoon, zebra stripes, full chocolate coating, whatever you like. Have fun with it.
  4. Place your cookies after you dip, or drizzle, them on the chilled plates. Stick them back in the freezer to let the chocolate harden up for a little bit.
  5. EAT them. Well, I guess you should share some of them since they are so darn good, and it is Valentine’s Day after all.
  6. To store, if you don’t devour them all, cover the plates in plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge. If you don’t keep them refrigerated, the chocolate will melt.

The best way to eat them: With tea, or coffee. With someone you love. And sooner rather than later.

You can also partner them up with some rich, dark chocolate ice cream, as you see pictured here! I mean, why not? The more chocolate the better, right? The ice cream I used is Billy Goat Ice Cream Company’s Dark Chocolate flavor. Rich, sweet, creamy, chocolate ice cream paired with little, heart shaped, shortbread cookies. Sure to “melt some hearts” this Valentine’s Day!

The ice cream, again, no, it’s not Paleo. But, it is made with real, organic, local ingredients. Treat yourself. And, treat yourself right. It is Valentine’s Day after all!

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Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, loves! I hope it is a day full of all things lovely, rosey, and chocolatey!

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Paleo Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This week has been one heck of a week. New classes, new training, new opportunities, new responsibilities, and new treats!

This past weekend I decided to make some cinnamon raisin bread. Not just any cinnamon raisin bread, but Paleo Cassava Flour Cinnamon Raisin Bread with some cinnamon honey butter. No gluten. No nuts. No refined sugar.

It was the perfect, satisfying, warm, bready, raisiny treat for a lazy Sunday night. Could have EASILY finished off the entire loaf that night, especially since it was a mini loaf, but fortunately I had enough self control to ration out the loaf so that I would have a little bit for every day until Wednesday.

I love cinnamon raisin bread. It’s another one of those foods that elicit nostalgic memories from my childhood. There’s just something about warm, moist bread, with slightly crispy edges, marked with the essence of cinnamon flavor, with little pops of fruity sweetness from raisins that have plumped up, and rehydrated, while baking. So good. Plus a little bit of sweet butter on top… Downright dreamy.

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***This is a mini loaf, NOT a full loaf.***

Ingredients for bread:

  • 1 entire egg + 1 egg white (pasture raised)
  • 3 Tbs of melted grass fed butter
  • 2 Tbs of pure maple syrup
  • About a tsp of vanilla…(I spilled a little bit.)
  • 1/2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs to maybe 1 Tbs of Ceylon Cinnamon (I like my cinnamon bread extra cinnamon-y, so if that’s you, I would do closer to a whole Tbs.)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup + 2Tbs of Cassava Flour
  • 4 Tbs of raisins

Ingredients for cinnamon honey butter:

  • Grass fed butter- to taste (bout 2 Tbs)
  • Local honey-to taste (bout 2 Tbs)
  • Ceylon Cinnamon-to taste (bout 1 tsp)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven. 350 F. Butter up your mini loaf pan.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk up your eggs.
  3. Add in the butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and vinegar. Whisk that up.
  4. Add in your cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cassava flour, and raisins. And you guessed it. Whisk again. Make sure all the dry ingredients are good and mixed in.
  5. Pour it in your mini loaf pan.
  6. Bake that mini loaf. I just like saying mini loaf. 30-35 minutes. Use your toothpick test. Mine was done at 33 minutes.
  7. When it’s done, take it out, and let your mini loaf cool a little bit. Don’t forget the mini loaf pan is hot (like I did). You will burn yourself if you grab the loaf with your bare hands. Remember patience and self control.
  8. Make up your cinnamon honey butter. Just use a fork and a bowl. Squish it all together.
  9. Pop the mini loaf out of the pan and let it cool a little more on a wire rack. (I hate all the “let cool” steps.)
  10. EAT THAT MINI LOAF. (My favorite step.) Slice it up, top it with the cinnamon honey butter, grab some hot tea, go sit down, put your feet up, and relax and enjoy (you deserve it). Then get up and eat some more. Try not to eat the whole thing. You might want some for breakfast. Or eat the whole thing, that’s cool too!

 

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Pure joy and deliciousness in every bite.

Happy Baking!

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Dark Chocolate Paleo Brownies

Alright y’all, I’m skipping a couple blog posts I have been working on because I just had to share this chocolatey goodness with you. I mean look at it. How could I not?

So, these are Paleo Dark Chocolate Cassava Flour Brownies. Yes, that is a thing. A very good thing. No gluten, no nuts, no refined sugar. Just goodness.

I made these guys for my birthday. (20, woo!) It seems like every birthday when asked what I want for dessert, I always end up requesting homemade brownies and homemade vanilla ice cream. Why? Warm, rich, chocolatey goodness with cold, creamy, sweet vanilla ice cream. Enough said.

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Pretty sure I could drown in this brownie’s chocolatey-ness. I would be content with that.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. of dark chocolate (I used 12 mini pieces of the Righteously Raw 83% Pure Dark Cacao Bite. They are sweetened with agave!) Another good quality dark chocolate will do just fine. Don’t use 83% dark if you like your brownies a little sweeter. I would suggest a 60-70% dark for you. These had a slight bitterness (that I personally enjoy) since I used the 83% dark.
  • 1/2 a cup of raw cacao powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
  • 1/2 a cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 a cup of grass-fed butter, or coconut oil
  • 2 local pasture raised eggs
  • 1/2 a cup of Otto’s Cassava Flour
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 Coconut Secret Peruvian Crunch 70% Dark Chocolate Bar (It’s sweetened with Coconut Crystals!), chopped into chunks (You can for sure just use any good quality dark chocolate, no biggie.)

Directions:

  1. Oven. Preheat. 375 F.
  2. Grease your 8×8 pan with butter, or coconut oil. (Mine pan was glass.)
  3. Get a small saucepan. Put your cacao powder, butter (or coconut oil), maple syrup, and the 4 oz. of dark chocolate in the saucepan. Melt it up. Low heat, stirring consistently. Patience.
  4. Pour the smooth chocolatey-ness you just created into a large mixing bowl and just add in everything else, except for the Coconut Secret Peruvian Crunch Bar. Mix it all up. Easy as that. Really.
  5. Now you can chop up the Coconut Secret bar into to little chunks. Put 1/2 to 2/3 of the chunks into the batter and fold them in. Reserve some of the bar to sprinkle on top.
  6. Put your ooey-gooey batter into the prepared (greased) glass dish. Even out the batter, smoothing it to the best of your ability. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chunks on top. Ta da. Beautimous.
  7. Bake them. 18-20 minutes. Toothpick test them. Beware the heavenly-ness of their aroma. It’s intoxicating. It is extremely hard not to eat the entire pan just because they smell so scrumptious.
  8. **Best served warm (not hot, no one likes a burned mouth) right out of the oven! (I mean why would you wait any longer to eat them?) Or room temp is also fabulous.

 

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Pair these brownies with nice, smooth, and creamy cup of joe, or a cooling, calming, and refreshing cup of peppermint tea. Whatever suits your fancy. Or both! That’s usually my choice!

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But this pairing…is an absolute MUST. Bourbon Vanilla Bean Billy Goat Ice Cream. Straight outta Stillwater, Oklahoma! Just don’t even bother making the brownies if you don’t plan on pairing them with this stuff. Okay, do. They’ll still be great. But, why would you do that to yourself?! It just won’t be the same. They are the perfect pairing. The combination of the warm, bitter-sweet, chocolate brownies that have just a touch of saltiness with the cold, creamy, sweet, rich vanilla ice cream that has just the perfect amount of tang at the end from the goat’s milk is TO DIE FOR…

Okay, let’s not be that dramatic. Dying for them would be unnecessary and a little silly because you will DEFINITELY want seconds…and thirds… and probably most likely fourths.

A little bit more about the ice cream, because it is just so darn good. Not only the taste, but the ingredients too! Is it Paleo, you ask? No. BUT! Billy Goat Ice Cream makes their ice cream with REAL, LOCAL, and ALL NATURAL and ORGANIC ingredients. Y’all, that’s what it’s all about. It’s ice cream. Treat yourself. But, treat yourself right. And Billy Goat Ice Cream is definitely doing it right.

Vanilla bean ice cream holds a near and dear place in my heart, being that it is probably my all time favorite dessert ever. When we would go to our lake house when I was a kid, homemade vanilla ice cream was always a thing. Nothing better. My Grand Pappy loved the stuff. And so did I.

Until now, nothing has ever even come remotely close to the incredible homemade ice cream I ate growing up as a kid. But, Billy Goat ice cream is doing a fantastic job of bringing that wonderful homemade feeling and flavor. It has added a whole other layer to my affinity for the greatness that is vanilla ice cream.

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I mean, guys. Come on. Look at that. Look at that stack of brownie goodness. The chunks of chocolate. The beautiful flecks of vanilla bean in that creamy ice cream.

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Goin’ for it!

The picture below is me, post birthday brunch with my parents, chowing down on this delectable treat. The expression on my face as I ate is one of dreams coming true and pure contentment.

It was a birthday, and a brownie dessert for the books.

Go on y’all. Go make yourself some brownies. You know you want to.

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Paleo Pecan Pie

This Christmas, I was determined to make a pecan pie. A pecan pie that I could eat. A pecan pie that had no gluten and no refined sugar and still tasted 100 percent like the sugared up gooey pecan pies we all know and love. A pecan pie that looked, tasted, and seemed as indulgent as the traditional pecan pie. A pecan pie that my pecan pie lovin’ dad would never suspect that it was actually good for him.

The last time I had a pecan pie: I’m not too sure, but definitely way too long. This Christmas, I was determined to break the streak of a pecan pie-less life.

And I did.

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And what a fine lookin’ pie it was. Despite the slightly too brown edges of the crust.

It happens.

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Gooey, sweet, pecany goodness.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 2 Tbs of local raw honey

For the filling:

  • 2 cups of coarsely chopped pecans. Save some for decorating the top however you like!
  • 4 Tbs of melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Let’s do this:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. CRUST. Butter, eggs, salt, and honey. Mix them up in a bowl.
  3. Stir in the coconut flour. Make sure you get it all. Til it holds together. Like dough.
  4. Get your pie pan. Grease it up with some butter. Press your pie dough in the pan with your fingers. Get it all even.
  5. Prick the bottom with a fork.
  6. Bake it. 8-10 min. Don’t let the edges get too dark like I did. But if you do, it’s all good. No stress.
  7. Let it cool in the fridge.
  8. FILLING. Get your oven down to 350 F.
  9. In a bowl: eggs, maple syrup, coconut sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Mix it all up.
  10. Chop up your pecans. Saving some for decoration. Get your chilling pie crust out of the fridge and spread your chopped pecans in an even layer on the bottom of the pie crust.
  11. Poor in your GOO. (The maple syrup, coconut sugar, egg, salt, vanilla mixture.)
  12. Decorate. Use your reserved pecans to get fancy. Or not. That’s cool to. It’ll be just as tasty. My family likes a good amount of pecans to goo ratio, so I just covered the top with pecans. Your family likes more goo? Top it with less pecans or non at all. To each their own.
  13. Bake it. 30 minutes. COVER YOUR CRUST. After 30 minutes of baking, tent the pie with a piece of foil to protect the nuts and bake it for another 20 minutes.
  14. Resist the temptation of its sensual smell as it bakes. It’s an agonizing 50 minutes.
  15. Get it out of the oven after its done baking. Let it cool on the counter for a while.  Then stick it in the fridge.
  16. The real test of self control. Wait. Let it do its thing in the fridge for a while. Cold, or room temp, pecan pie is the best pecan pie.
  17. Devour. Serve it up with ice cream, whipped cream, or just nothin’. It’s downright delicious all on it’s own.

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Love pie? Love pecan pie? Wanna indulge? Need a yummy treat? But don’t want all the refined sugars? Wanting to bake your pecan pie lovin’ family with strong opinions about how they like their pecan pie a pecan pie, but you wanna be able to eat it too? Here you go. A heavenly pecan pie that tastes just like your traditional pecan pie just WITHOUT the guilt and the awful belly ache.

Smile. You can have your pie and eat it too. It’s a great day. Happy baking my friends!

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Paleo Pumpkin Cranberry Macaroons

Now that the semester is over and finals are complete, I can finally sit down with a cup of tea and write a little bit.

A couple weekends ago it was Bedlam for Oklahoma. The weekend where the two major universities of the state, The University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU), match up for their yearly football game. This year was a little extra special because it was also the game for the Big 12 Championship title.

Bedlam in my family is watched religiously every year. My family has many OSU alumni and I’m currently studying at OU. This year, I was able to come home and join my family to watch the game at my Grandma’s house.

My mom and I were wanting to make a treat for the game, so we decided to whip up some Paleo Pumpkin Cranberry Macaroons to stick with the flavors of the season while bring in the colors of the two teams: red and orange!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 15 oz. of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Put the honey, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice in a pretty good sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 15ish minutes.
  2. Remove it from the heat and add in the vanilla, cranberries, and shredded coconut. Stir em’ up.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, form the cookies from the “dough”. about a tablespoon or so of “dough” per cookie. Just depends on how big or small you want them.
  4. Put them in the fridge for a couple hours to set up. If you can… perfectly okay to just eat the “dough”. But, I’d recommend letting the chill for a bit.

There ya go! Easy as that! A quick, no bake, no gluten, no refined sugar, no nuts, no dairy, sweet treat to fix up on a game day, a holiday, a birthday, or a just a plain old Tuesday!

Happy baking my friends!

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