Sugar Cookies Made with Love, not gluten

Valentine’s Day brings out the sweet tooth in all of us. And nothing says love like those little heart shaped sugar cookies. So cute and tiny and practically guilt free. At least that’s what I tell myself.sugar cookies made with love not gluten

I baked an entire batch of these at Christmas (reindeer shapes, of course) and they were gone immediately. I was literally rolling out my last ball of dough, watching sneaky little hands do a drive by on the other side of the island, swiping fresh cookies off the plate. All night my family kept dipping into my gluten free container when I wasn’t looking (you know who you are). Continue reading

52 Acts of Love for Your Valentine

52 acts of love for your valentineI find Valentine’s Day a little heavy on the feminine side. The options are plentiful when it comes to gifts: cards, flowers, chocolate, dinner, jewelry, a massage, a night out…the romantic list is endless. All a guy has to do is pick one. But what about the men? Where is the masculine side of Hallmark when you need it most?

My husband is an amazing gift giver. He can pick up on the smallest cues throughout the year and actually remember them. Then surprise me year after year with his thoughtfulness. Me on the other hand? Horribly uncreative. The week before V-day I’m googling the web for “awesome gift ideas for my husband on valentine’s day”. Lame, I know. Gifts are just not my forte. Neither is acts of service. Go figure I’m married to a man who excels at both.

Can a girl get a witness?? Continue reading

Gluten free Russian Tea Cakes (Snowballs)

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This recipe has always been a tradition in my family. And now I make them every year, mostly because they were my Dad’s favorite!

But this recipe isn’t just popular in my home! This cookie goes by many names: Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, and today’s favorite – Snowballs! This recipe is pretty popular around the world and made its first debut in a 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook!

This Gluten Free Flour Now Rocks My World Continue reading

Believing in Santa: is it naughty or nice?

is believing in Santa naughty or niceKids naturally love the idea of Santa. I mean, what’s not to love? His eyes twinkle, he brings toys, his favorite snack is cookies, and he lives in a land of magic. There’s a superhero, supernatural element to him. Not to mention you get to climb on his lap, tell him everything you’ve ever wanted, and know he’ll deliver. He’s basically the embodiment of the best grandparent ever.

Maybe you never gave Santa a passing thought. Then you had kids. Suddenly you’re at a crossroad. Is teaching your kids about Santa naughty or nice?

Christians seem to especially wrestle with this. After all, the real meaning of Christmas is the baby in the manger not the man in the sleigh. But Santa and his reindeer are everywhere. Try as you might, your child is bound to ask questions and get swept up in the excitement. As a parent, you may feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle to keep Christ at the center of Christmas.

So what do you do? Is there any harm in believing in Santa? Should you preserve the imagination of childhood? Do you get your kids to buy into an idea you know to be fiction and fantasy? What happens when they discover the truth? How will they rationalize that Santa is a fake? Will they feel duped? Lied to? Worse yet, will they wonder if other unseen figures – like Jesus – are also a fabrication of the mind?

These are tough questions to wrestle with as a parent. If you feel torn between fantasy and fact this season, let me ease your fears. I would like to propose a radical idea this Christmas:

Contrary to popular opinion, Santa and Jesus are not archenemies. They are not battling it out to see who wins the center of Christmas this year. You do not have to vote one of them off your Christmas list. You can teach your kids about Santa and still keep Christ in Christmas. How? I’m so glad you asked… Continue reading

Gluten free Cranberry Orange Bread

titleberryNothing says Christmas like cranberry orange bread! Ok, maybe Christmas cookies. And gingerbread men. And those little snowballs. Ok, ok, so maybe there’s a lot that says Christmas.

But let’s not forget about cranberry orange bread, friends! I think I’m in love.

I was out running errands like a crazy person and actually caught myself daydreaming about curling up next to the Christmas tree with a warm cup of coffee and this recipe. No lie. There’s just something about chopping cranberries that puts me in a merry mood.

This is by far the best gluten-free version I have found to date! I even caught my brother sneaking some out of the fridge when I wasn’t looking. This is super easy to make and has such a nice tart and citrus blend while still remaining moist. It will definitely be part of my Christmas morning breakfast this year. Oh yeah…it’s also dairy free and low-fodmap which makes it perfect for family members with food sensitivities! Continue reading

How to find rest this Christmas

rest6I may just go insane. It’s December 6th and I’m already starting to panic.

In a whirlwind, we blew in the door this week after a long Thanksgiving trip with family. Two days of laundry, unpacking, working, meal planning – just trying to catch back up with life. One holiday down, another to go. The clock is ticking and the to-do list is growing a mile long.

It’s December 6th and my house is still full of pumpkins and leaves. No decking the halls, no Christmas tree, no fa-la-la-la-la. The calendar is chock-full of birthday parties to shop for, christmas parties to plan, cookies to bake, cards to order, gifts to wrap, lists to make, stockings to stuff, and friends to see. And what’s that I feel? A little tingling and scratch in the back of my throat? Ok, my stress is official. How will I ever get the lights strung, the carols sung, or my shopping done if I am sick!?

And if I don’t already have enough to worry about, the guy in the checkout line asked me if I was ready for Christmas. Seriously? It’s the sixth day of December for crying out loud! But of course he is ready. Enter feelings of inadequacy and the guilt of comparison. Not all of us can keep up with Pinterest, Pottery Barn, and the Joneses, you know.

I found myself stressing all the way home. The Christmas season seemed so short and the days so few. As I pulled into our neighborhood, I found myself suddenly admiring all the beautiful blues, reds, greens, and whites glistening around me. And just when I started to relax and enjoy the moment, I saw it. My house. Dark amid the Christmas cheer, sticking out like a sore thumb. With pumpkins on the porch. Another reminder and clear giveaway that I was way behind schedule. Bah humbug.

For some, Christmas may not be the most wonderful time of year. Overcrowded schedules, to-do lists, expectations, loss, financial hardship, loneliness, and family drama can make the stress seem insurmountable. But whatever the situation, I believe we can choose rest instead of stress this season. Continue reading

An Attitude of Gratitude

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We’ve all heard the story. We make pilgrim hats and dress our tables with turkey. But Thanksgiving is more than just Pilgrims and Native Americans eating together in harmony. It’s more than positive thinking and counting our blessings. Perhaps we’re so familiar with the story that we forget what really happened. Before the big feast.

Though it’s been told a thousand times, this story is near to my heart. It’s not just an American story. It is my story. You see, my relative was there that First Thanksgiving. He was one of those pilgrims who sailed the Mayflower, braved the new world, and shared a meal with the Wampanoag Tribe. A man who started a long line of descendants in the land of the free and home of the brave. To me, this is not just a story on a page in a history book. It really happened. To real people. To my family, generations ago. To a man who experienced real emotions, tragedies, and fears.

So stick with me as I retell the tale that could redefine your view of Thanksgiving this year. It is a story of hope. A story of providence. But most of all, the First Thanksgiving is a story of untarnished joy. Continue reading

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with cranberries & pecans

roasted brussels sproutsInstead of going for the traditional green bean casserole, why not try something different this Thanksgiving?

Roasted brussels sprouts are an all-time favorite in our house. I don’t understand why they get such a bad rap?! They are so freakin easy and delicious. And roasting them is such a healthy and simple way to provide all the crunch and flavor without all the effort!

We will be throwing these in just as the turkey is coming out. They make a great low-fodmap addition to the meal! Continue reading