Gluten-free vegan cinnamon date “blondie” bars (date-sweetened)

Lately there’s been an especially annoying and annoyingly persistent refrain caught in my brain–that awful Cookie Jar chant. You know the one. Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? [X] stole the cookies from the cookie jar… I don’t have a particularly good reason to particularly dislike that rhyming name game, but I do. The reason it’s stuck there is a little bit more endearing if somewhat problematic, in that little F has been taking to helping himself from the cookie tin housed in the freezer. Once, we thought that purchasing a new fridge with a large freezer drawer on the bottom would be useful in warding off snack sneaking, but no, it’s not. There are certainly conversations that need be had, rules and boundaries to be discussed. Yet there is a big, admiring, mushy part of me that wants to indulge our little big boy in every independent, empowered initiative to meet his own needs, including this one.

Bars (1 of 6)

My accommodating nature and his nibbling cause are mutually fed, literally I guess, by the fact that for the moment our attempts at healthy messaging around treats and sugars seem to be sinking in. “No more sugar for you today, Daddy,” F will say with surprising regularity whenever Daddy’s caught snagging an extra snack. “If you eat too much sugar, you gonna be sick and your body gonna be confused.” It seems counterintuitive to reward such observations by being all the more lax on self-guided cookie ventures, but gee.

Another factor chiseling away at resolve to be more firm is that the cookie tin, which is actually rather small, is typically filled with these healthy grain-free sugar cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie. Or a vegan variation of these, which I created for Madhava. And right now, it’s loosely packed with these, date-sweetened, just a bit chewy, gluten free and vegan ‘blondie’ bars I had sifting around in my mind for awhile and finally got to try.  

Bars (2 of 6)
For someone who makes a point of trying
not to eat cookies too often and goes to fairly significant lengths to make sure treats are on the healthy (for treats) side, I seem to have established a longstanding reputation for having a stash pile of cookies. Pre-parenting, our house was a routine stop-by for friends who routed long bike rides specifically to include a snack break from the freezer. When little F was born, the baking took a sharp downturn for a good while. But then my little sous chef got into mixing, measuring, stirring and baking with me…and there you go. The freezer was back in action as a (healthy-for-cookies) cookie trove.

Bars (4 of 6)

These were originally meant to be a makeover of these quinoa cinnamon toffee bars I made for Ancient Harvest and loved when tasted but didn’t eat. They’re not dairy-free, for one thing. I had a few adaptations in mind, but before long the tweaks piled up so much there was barely any resemblance to the first version and walah! Whole new cookie. (In case you’re wondering, yes I just thought it would be fun to say/write ‘walah’.) They’re rather guiltless, and yummy. Superb fresh from the oven, with that gooey meltaway chocolate quality; and they hold up amazingly well in the freezer. They may even be best–once the straight from the oven time has passed–straight from the freezer.

Chat wedding practice (3 of 5)There was a moment the other week while we were both still sick when I just collapsed in a mire of loneliness, negativity, and feeling sorry for myself. Everything was on hold. We were so cooped up. I hit such a low point that, looking over at my conked out child lying next to me on the bed, I felt the words pulse quietly against my brain, “This you-and-me alone deal is just not enough.” And as soon as the thought made its presence known, I recanted it. Truly, just then this diaphanous turning-point kind of ray of light glimmered into the room, kissing little F’s face; he opened his eyes and smiled, and out poured bright, loving energy that just flooded me.

Yeah, I was tired and prone to being overly emotional with every emotion all at once, but it was moving. You are absolutely, without question, more than enough, all by yourself, and always, my heart said to him. But it also managed to slip me a quiet revelation that one day, I need to be enough all by myself, too. I’m not sure I ever even felt quite that way before motherhood. It’s good to have goals.

Right now, I am so enjoying living in the fullness that is mostly this amazing little person, with nearly every choice I make, professionally, socially, and emotionally, pivoting around him. Right now, it’s enough to consciously work one day at a time at one day feeling enough as just me, myself. And trust that as time continues to flow that I will at least find solace in evolving reasons to keep a freezer stash of (healthy) cookies.

Gluten-free vegan cinnamon date “blondie” bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup pitted dates (Medjool are amazing, but any)
  2. ⅓ cup plus 1 Tablespoon orange juice or water
  3. 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax meal/ground flax in 5 tablespoons water)
  4. ½ cup almond butter (sunbutter will work, too)
  5. ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  6. 1 cup chickpea flour
  7. ¾ cup quick oats
  8. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  9. 2 flax eggs or eggs
  10. ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  13. ½ tp ¾ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine dates and water or orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring, or until most liquid is absorbed. If desired, pulse in a food processor until reaching a fairly smooth, jam-like consistency.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray or parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Transfer date mixture to a large mixing bowl and whisk in flax eggs. Add almond butter and mix until well mixture is smooth.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring to combine. Spoon batter (will be thick) into prepared pan and spread out until smooth and even. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly puffed and browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://happyapplekitchen.com/

Gluten-free banana blueberry coffee cake with granola topping (aka Monk’s practice birthday cake, aka “best cake ever”)

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We’ve been feasting in our living room a lot lately, and by ‘feasting’, I mean this:

guys feast

And the feasting isn’t limited to the cardboard builder’s block tables and chairs of “Chocolate Wally’s”, our 3-year old’s chosen play restaurant name which is sometimes shunted to the side in favor of “No Noggin’s” instead. In the kitchen, we’ve been gnoshing on cake. (Quick aside, isn’t “Chocolate Wally’s” the cutest, most enticing restaurant name? If it isn’t already in existence as a ‘real restaurant’, it needs to be, one day.) 

What I mean by cake, specifically, is breakfast cake which is also very important “practice” birthday cake for THE very important Monk, whose birthday is coming up in February (Valentine’s Day). This information alone should be testament enough to the scrumptious, wholesome loveliness of this cake. Anyone who knows anything about Monk knows he deserves the very best.

coffee cake

We all know anything labeled “cake”, from coffee cake to birthday cake to be a sometimes-only treat. I mean, we love them, but not on a regular basis, right? When it comes to this cake, however, there’s so much to glow about. First, its yumminess meets the standard for the BIG birthday celebration cake while the combined ingredients rise to optimistic requirements for healthiness. Chickpea flour has yet to let me down, though I’m sure I’m bound to push the boundaries eventually. Ripe bananas and just two tablespoons of honey (or maple syrup for vegan) are plenty enough sweetener when delivered parceled into the dense, moist texture the garbanzo bean flour brings. And what ties it all together and makes prep a quick cinch in the morning is the sprinkling of delectable granola baked on top. 

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This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a blogger’s event hosted by Sprouts Farmers Market and Fiona’s Natural Foods at the Fiona’s production facility in north Longmont. The building space is shared with several local brands, all of which share like-minded philosophies concerning health, sustainability, and compassion. Our group was treated to a tour of the facility, and throughout it was apparent how much meticulous care and purpose went into every corner.

fionasThe owners of Fiona’s Natural Foods, a family with combined interest and experience in agriculture and food service,  purchased Fiona’s Natural Foods from the Fiona, a woman from Boulder inspired by a family recipe. Touring and tasting product, the fact that the Fiona’s team today is committed to the original mission of good nutrition and whole health was clearly evident: slow roasting and hand-tossing to bring out the best in flavor and texture; using only quality ingredients; sweetening with organic coconut nectar, the newest in superior sweeteners that I’m just learning about. Coconut nectar comes from a painstaking process of tapping the flowering stems of the coconut blossom to draw sweet sap.  The sap is then evaporated at low temperatures, producing a raw, low glycemic syrup that provides perfect, delicate sweetness to perfect, crunchy granola…

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which also happens to provide the perfect sweet-crunchy topping for breakfast/birthday cake for the very best of friends. “Best cake ever,” Monk pronounced it. In this moment, in our house, there may be no greater foodie stamp of approval. 

 

Gluten-free blueberry banana coffee cake with granola topping
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. pinch sea salt
  6. 2 large eggs or egg replacer equivalent (such as Bob's Red Mill)
  7. 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  8. 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  9. 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
  10. ½ cup almond milk
  11. 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  12. 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (defrosted)
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. 1 cup Fiona’s almond millet granola (or vanilla sunflower, or any flavor really!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch round (or square works, too) baking pan with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture. (If using frozen blueberries, add to dry mixture to coat.)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs or egg replacer, honey/maple syrup, almond milk, applesauce, banana, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Add to the flour mixture in large bowl, stirring to blend.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle top with granola.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://happyapplekitchen.com/

Tempeh, kale and mushroom whole wheat Asian (baked or steamed) buns

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This recipe’s description should go further than “baked or steamed” to include the useful tip “or lose the bun and let the filling be an easy, honestly filling meal on its own”. The latter is way easier after all, plus tasty and accommodatingly variable. But then, the buns can be awfully fun to make, if you can squirrel away the time for the fiddliness and want to add a little novelty. Also, they should be called ‘baos’, as in “deck the halls with boughs of holly”. Only it’s “baos”, and they’re buns.

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From November to January,  it rang through the house, the car, and sometimes a little awkwardly, the grocery store: Falalalala la la la laaaaa. If ‘las’ can be said to roll, they rolled off little F’s joyful tongue in the most distinct and lovable way. Unmistakable, yet tough to describe. It was like little elves were pulling notes out of the back of his consenting throat with tiny shovels and tossing them out of his mouth where they’d linger for a moment in the air before falling to the earth with a satisfying thump.

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Somewhere in December it occurred to me that little F very likely had his own unique merry, tantalizing framework for “boughs of holly”. Boughs would be baos, fluffy, Chinese steamed buns, often sweet, but equally welcome stuffed with savory mushrooms and greens. Little F had grown accustomed to receiving from Ammy (my mom) with increasing expectation and delight since he could chew. In fact, one key consolation that it was time for Nanny (Dave’s mum) to return to England was that soon we would be flying to Ammy’s house, where not only would there be baos, but from where we would be going shopping for baos. (Shopping for MORE baos, Monk! We gonna get a lotta baos!)

Wouldn’t it be fun to treat little F with shared bao-making fun for dinner? I thought.  Idealistic me imagined making dough, rolling it out into pliable rounds, spooning filling in the centers, and pinching up seams at the tops, all side-by-side with my little sous chef. Skeptical-realist me pictured groaning at my intensifying headache while my enthusiastic but appropriately impatient little one crawled under the table, simultaneously soaking up and spreading sticky, floury mess.

bao

What happened was predictably somewhere in the middle but surprisingly, mostly on the rose-colored glasses side. Because, today we had the luxurious option of spreading out the prep, which helped a lot. First, we made the dough using my favorite method for making pizza crust since becoming a mom, the food processor. Little engineer loves a good go a button-pushing, especially when gratified with immediate whizzing and chopping that happens to not be ear-splittingly loud.

Hours later, we threw all the filling ingredients in the pan and let them heat up and sit while we devoted our attention to other important things like painting snow in plastic tubs on the kitchen floor. And yet another hour or so after that, We rolled out the dough into neat circles, spooned on the filling, and pinched up the seams. For at least five of the ten buns, little F was a careful gem. For the remaining five, I got to marvel at my quick fingers and his overall speed in general.

f_baosIf anything felt remotely disastrous about preparing this dish, it really didn’t hit until time to cook, and the big flaw was in materials. Since switching to a convection oven/induction stovetop, I’ve lost the reliable steamer basket that fit with a pot I no longer have. Instead, I planned to steam with a much smaller double boiler insert, and realized too late that we just didn’t have close to the time it would take to steam the buns and avoid a meltdown before dinner. So, we slid a tray in the oven and baked instead. I would have preferred the steaminess of the intended version, but this one is great, too, just different. More like a dairy-free Asian riff on a calzone. Bonus, the filling is great on its own, and super over rice, which is really handy since the recipe does make more filling than bun. Swap the tempeh for some other lean protein if you prefer; skip the onion, play with different mushrooms. Just don’t lose the water chesnuts, in my opinion. Or the lime juice. They’re the crunch and the zing. Choose what flour you’d like, too. I haven’t tried gluten-free bread flour, but I will eventually. We used One Degree Organics sprouted red fife flour, a superb 1-1 swap for whole wheat. 

I wouldn’t dare imply that this recipe naturally suits a big-little pair-up, or expect the experience together to ever match the relative ease it took on tonight. It’s not hard, but easy to get messy with. But that may be one of the reasons I will definitely make this again, not just for the filling sans buns (which will also happen). You know I can’t resist a good food metaphor, and this one’s too ripe and pluckable to ignore. Our bao-making experience was a clear-cut process-not-the-product kind of worthy experience. Not to say, we don’t deserve to relish beautiful plates when we eat our meals. What I mean is, everywhere there are reminders begging to be accepted, that treasures, even perfect and beautiful ones, emerge from a little chaos. That it’s the imperfect, joyful, take-a-chance-on-me messiness in life that we should really sink our teeth into, together. 

 

Tempeh, kale and mushroom Asian whole wheat (baked or steamed) buns
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For the buns
  1. 1 cup warm water
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  3. 2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 package dry yeast
  4. 3 cups whole wheat flour (I love One Degree Organics sprouted wheat)
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. ¼ teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling
  1. 1 8-ounce package tempeh, crumbled
  2. ⅓ cup low sodium vegetable stock
  3. 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  4. 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  5. 1 cup mushrooms (crimimi, button, baby bella) chopped
  6. ½ small red onion, diced
  7. Juice of 1 lime
  8. 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  9. ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  10. 5 cups chopped kale, ribs and stems removed (Or 1 11-ounce package shredded kale or kale, cabbage and carrot mix)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the dough: Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a food processor with chopping blade, combine flour, olive oil, baking powder and salt. With the machine running on low, pour the liquid mixture through the feed tube as fast as the flour absorbs it. Process until the dough forms a ball, and continue 30 seconds further to knead. Dust with extra flour if sticky and remove to a bowl lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour.
  2. Prepare the filling: Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add tempeh, broth, ginger, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onion to pan. Cook, stirring regularly and turning tempeh, approximately 5 minutes. Add lime juice, soy sauce, cilantro, and kale. Continue to cook, stirring, until kale is cooked through, approximately 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Divide dough into 10 equal portions, forming into a ball. Working with each ball individually, press into a circle, roughly 5 inches, and place approximately ¼ cup filling in center. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown colored OR arrange buns on parchment paper squares 1-inch apart in a steamer basket. Cover with lid and bring pan to boil over medium-high heat. Steam in batches according to space, 15 minutes each or until set.
Notes
  1. Filling is great served over rice or with noodles if you want to save time and skip the buns!
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://happyapplekitchen.com/

 

Maple cinnamon pecan quinoa granola

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You could that at our house, Christmas 2016 started on November 1st. That’s just how things fell this year with family visits. Nanny (Dave’s Mum) came from England on the 3rd, and a week after she returned home, we took a quick trip to Connecticut for an early holiday with my family. In any case, by the time new year hits, we’ll have been “Christmas-ing” in our way for two full months. So you’d think we’d have had our holiday-fill by now. Only this year, the merriment and twinkle-strings of dazzle in the form of beloved holiday traditions is proving harder to relinquish than ever, and here’s why:

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There is a present-shaped piece of craft foam, bespeckled in glitter and labeled “Felix’s room” in sloppy red Crayola marker, hanging on the doorknob of my sleeping three-year old’s bedroom. This is the tip of the why. Inside that room, said three-year old is curled up peacefully beside his white, personal mini Christmas tree adorned with favorite decorations and topped with his handmade Santa, a celebration of shapes: cones, triangles, and circles. And that lightly snoring, blissful boy LOVES Christmas. He has been singing carols since July. Here is the iceberg.

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I’m not really sure what kind of time frame is required to constitute a true family tradition, or how much evolution can be transpire for one to still qualify as traditional. But I am full of gratitude for the warmth and cosiness of some of the simplest, quietest may-be-traditions we’ve been sharing together these last few years. Things like transforming the kitchen table to a glitter, glue and paint station for homemade cards; stockings first in little F’s bedroom Christmas morning; lights and decorations teamwork.

And of course the food. Especially the sort that in all honesty we can have anytime, only it sounds, tastes and presents differently during the holiday season. Christmas Eve porridge (doesn’t just using the word ‘porridge’ elevate things up a notch from plain old hearty oatmeal?), which is just creamy steel cut oats in almond milk, dates, cranberries and raisins, and topped in this granola:

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I know, we don’t really need recipes for granola. I mean, the whole point with granola is to freely play and create, right? On the other hand, it’s always worth having a solid template, and since creating this one for Ancient Harvest a few years ago, this has been my go-to bare bones starter. It has never let me down and doesn’t even really require any measurements…just toss together, swap and add at will. It’s even hard to overbake/burn. It’s a splendid way to emphatically declare a bowl of porridge Christmas Eve-worthy, and much more delightful than oatmeal.

santa_pancakesAnd then the next day, we dive into Santa pancakes.

So we’re a little clingy this year, and laying out the things we’re already missing it’s clear it’s not actually Christmas we’re clinging to. It’s truly the spirit, which is kind of beautiful. Little F loved wrapping presents for others, carefully and creatively constructing elaborate blockades to keep the recipient out of bounds while preparing his/her surprises. We’re still making construction paper, crafty presents just so we can wrap them. He loves the lights, the music, the sharing, the cookie baking and hot cocoa. His joyfulness from those simple holiday traditions coupled with a mama who annually immerses in the Hallmark channel all December (or, actually, the Netflix equivalent) and feels excruciatingly aggrieved each January by the abrupt shift in messaging from giving to me-focused momentum…and we’ve kind of got a perfect storm in our little house for some major post holiday blues.

There are many magical things about traditions. One biggie, there is always room for new ones. And one of many magical things about having a loving and spirited little person in the house is that there is no better time to develop fresh and fun ones, every day even. 

Today was a warm and gorgeous winter day that felt like spring. The open, clear blue sky invited a different sort of giddy expectation. It was too perfect not to make a small self-declaration, that maybe this year I could trial a new tradition of greeting the new year with actual welcome more than wistfulness. There is good reason to be in love with today. Our kitchen table art can see a release from wreathes and trees and instead invite in the bold and fanciful ’emergent curriculum’ that is whatever the day will bring. That’s just one thing, but enough to smile about. Happy New Year!  

 

Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Granola
Created for Ancient Harvest
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups gluten-free oats
  2. 1 cup quinoa flakes (or another cup oats)
  3. 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  4. 1 cup pecan pieces
  5. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  6. 1/3 cup pepitas
  7. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  8. Dash salt
  9. ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  10. 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
  11. 2 tablespoons orange juice
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  13. ¾ cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss oats, quinoa flakes, quinoa, pecans, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt together until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine syrup, coconut oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly mix and coat.
  4. Spread onto prepared baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway. Allow to cool on baking sheets. Pour into bowl or storage container and add dried fruit.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://happyapplekitchen.com/

Gluten free, dairy free gingerbread cutout cookies (vegan option)

We’re five days out from Christmas, and our tiny kitchen has been basking in holiday baking merriment, whirling in cookie rolling flurries, and pulsating with disproportionate stressing over keeping to a baking schedule. The yields from all this activity? Gingerbread, (almost) exclusively. Gingerbread people, stockings, trees, and stars, once cooled whisked into packages or freezer for gifting.

gingerbread-men

Last year I made no less than six varieties of holiday cookies, mostly for a merrily scrumptious recipe project. This year, I’ve looked on admiringly with a touch of envy at friends’ Insta-feed’s spectacular cookie assortment displays.

Not that there hasn’t been variety within our gingerbread parades. We started with this gluten free, vegan recipe I created for Ancient Harvest last year. Then I found this marvelous, perfect recipe from Cookie and Kate, which turned out beautifully using One Degree Organics’ sprouted whole wheat (2 cups) and sprouted rye (1 cup) flours. Finally, this mash-up of the two, which was splendid. I’m sure chickpea or your favorite gluten free flour blend would do as well as the quinoa. For vegan cookies, just replace the egg with one flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal with 2.5 tablespoon water) and add in 1/4 cup almond butter. If you’d prefer nut-free, you can afford to lose the almond butter. I just think it gives a little helpful boost of solidness.

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But the real difference in all these gingerbread batches has been in the spirit of the baking. 

Last week, we spent just under a week on the east coast for an early Christmas with my family. It was a quick, packed, lovely week and we all came back cranky. Maybe there was a little big of post-holiday anticlimax happening, despite returning to our tree, lights displays, a string of more holiday fun to look forward to. Maybe it was hormones (mine). Most likely it was the snowball effect that time zone adjustments, lost sleep, excitement, lots of stimuli, and the roller coaster of being three can have on a little person, and the ensuing impact of that little person’s big feelings on their big people’s emotions. In any case, we were all rather crabby in spurts, especially me. 

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What made the humbugginess sting a little more was guilt that came with reminders that for many, this is a season of sadness; when even focusing on loving and giving comes packaged with the painful ache of loss and longing. Three days into curmudgeonly impatience, and conscious shake-off steps needed to be taken.

ice-skateSo today little F and I had a perfect day, sprinkled with the best of lovable imperfections.

Early in the morning, little F and I sorted through clothes and bundled up a stack to take to the OUR Center, an amazing local resource providing a range of individualized, personal support for people in need. It was just a quick, friendly drop-off, but afterward I heard Little F telling Monkey in the car, “Monk, some kids don’t have toys. Some kids don’t have warm clothes. Some kids don’t have food, Monk.” If that didn’t get my grinchy heart back to it’s usual size…I’d be lying if I even suggested it. He is listening came the thought, leaving me renewed with bubbling gratitude for my magical, inquisitive, can-do determined sometimes-threenager. 

After, we went ice skating. 

And we baked cookies. More “ginger-man” cookies–therapeutic, giggle-inducing while at the same time calming cookies. Rolling the dough, cutting our the shapes…it was a timely throwback to the simple joy of playdough, and it was just what I needed. We dusted with coconut sugar “sprinkles” and pressed in raisin eyes, mouths, and buttons. It’s an obvious irony, how the holidays enfold us with repeated messages of what they’re all about…peace, love, togetherness…and at the same time sweep us up into frenzied motions that leave us mentally at the opposite pole. Today the message resonated. Today we stopped and smelled the cookies. Happy holidays, friends!

Gluten-free, dairy-free (vegan option) gingerbread cutout cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups quinoa flour, plus additional for rolling
  2. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  4. pinch salt
  5. 2 tsp ground ginger
  6. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 cup packed brown or coconut sugar
  10. ½ cup blackstrap molasses
  11. 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil OR 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup olive oil
  12. 1 egg OR for vegan option, 1 tablespoon ground flax meal mixed with 2 ½ tablespoons warm water (*also suggest adding 1/4 cup almond butter for vegan version)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix brown or coconut sugar, molasses, coconut and olive oils and beat on a low with a mixer to thoroughly blend. Beat in egg or flax egg and almond butter.
  3. Gradually add flour to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Chill one hour or overnight.* (I don't actually always bother to chill the dough, and the cookies have held shape just fine.)
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Carefully roll out dough on a floured surface to approximately ¼ inch thickness, sprinkling the top of the dough with flour as needed before rolling.
  6. Carefully cut dough into desired shapes. Place on baking sheet one inch apart. Sprinkle with coconut sugar and decorate with raisins if desired.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies appear only slightly browned on the edges. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice if desired.
Adapted from Cookie and Kate's Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://happyapplekitchen.com/

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