Archives for February 2016

Paleo Vanilla Almond Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Can I just take a minute to swoon over my new serving tray, and ceramic cups!? I have been on the search for a serving tray large enough, and unique enough, to earn a spot in the kitchen. I hit the jackpot! I got this soapstone serving platter, and the loveliest ceramic/wood cups, from UncommonGoods! I get really excited about these kinds of things. Am I the only one? Finding those “just right” pieces that make your kitchen ( and the rest of your home for that matter ) more you is a wonderful feeling. Everything is more settled, you know? UncommonGoods has a really unique and creative assortment of handmade, recycled, and organic kitchen goods and so much more!  ( Like this. And that. These too! ) from artists and small manufacturers. That is right up my ally! Many of their products are made from recycled materials, and they do not sell anything made using leather, feathers or fur; keeping our fury and feathered friends safe. 

Warm cookies are amazing, right. With this serving tray, I can warm the soapstone plate and serve cookies or other warm dishes, and they stay warm! Now I an have warm, gooey, chewy cookies just waiting for me in the kitchen. Better step up my gym game!

Speaking of cookies.

Cookies are perhaps my favorite baked good. Of all the ooey gooey, chocolate-y, chewy treats out there [ you want a cookie now don’t you ðŸ˜‰ ], they win by a mile! Chocolate chip cookies are classic, and everyone loves them, but, I like to shake things up! Today we are making the tastiest cranberry vanilla almond dark chocolate cookies! Say that three times fast! These cookies are Paleo ( grain free ) which means my fellow gluten intolerant girls will be snacking happy!

 Paleo Vanilla Almond Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/3 cup of coconut flour
2 large eggs
1/4 coconut oil ( melted )
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspsoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Add In Goodies
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks ( 72-80% is best | You can buy paleo chocolate if you prefer )
1/2 cup of chopped almonds
1/3 dried cranberries ( chopped )
1/3 dark chocolate covered almonds ( optional )

PREPARATION.
Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Coarsely chop almonds, dark chocolate chunks, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate covered almonds. Set aside. Try your best not to eat most of the goodies as you chop 😉

In a medium mixing bowl combine the coconut flour, eggs, salt, baking powder, honey, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Whisk/mix together thoroughly, until all ingredients are well combined. You can use a whisk of a fork for this. Continue whisking until mixture changes from a runny consistency to a classic cookie dough constancy. Coconut four is incredibly absorbent. Give it a minute to fully absorb the moisture from the wet ingredients. If the cookie dough mixture remains runny, add a bit more coconut flour. You are looking for a classic cookie dough consistency so adjust accordingly, if needed. 

Now for the best part! The goodies. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate chunks, almonds, cranberries, and dark chocolate covered almonds. 

Grab a spoon and portion out the cookie dough on your lined baking sheet. A dozen should fit nicely on the baking sheet. These cookies do not spread out, so use your fingers, or the back of the spoon, to flatten out the dough a bit.

Pop cookies into your 350˚ oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Think golden brown edges, and a nice yellow golden hue overall. That is the sweet spot! After they finish baking, place them on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. OR eat them right away and experience sweet, warm, delicious cookie bliss. You decide 😉

Have you tried any paleo recipes or worked with coconut flour? Share your experience and recipes with me in the comments! Have a beautiful day, Jen xo

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Hues of Blue

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DETAILS
Dress: BB Dakota ( exact ) under $80
Tights: Target ( similar ) under $20
Booties: Dilliard’s ( exact ) under $100
Bag: T.J. Maxx ( similar ) under $25
Necklace: BCC ( local boutique )
Dresses with pockets are the treasure of the fashion world. These pockets, in reality, have no real use.. except to make your dress especially cute! I feel a strong sense of aggressive excitement when I see a dress ( or my wallet forbid, a skirt ) with pockets. What is it about being able to shove your hands into the sides of your dress and stand around like one of the cool kids? I am slowly amassing pocket dresses, and it brings me a great deal of satisfaction. 
I am curious what you guys think of this hue of blue. I normally steer away from blue, but, I really could not resist this dress! It such a striking color, and the cut is great for bopping around in warmer weather ( if it ever comes! ). Plus it is under $80. I think I will bring more blue shades into my wardrobe! It really is a fresh, happy color. 
On a completely different note.. I am giddy with excitement over the cheesiest thing. I purchased my very first Valentine’s Day card for a guy. Ever. I am twenty four years old. This has been a long time coming! The card has hearts and a proclamation of love. I committed. Buying that card is one of the sappiest things I have ever done. I was always against “such silliness”, but I now proudly proclaim that I am secretly soaking up every cheesy bit of Valentine’s Day. I shared a little bit of my heart, toward my special guy, on my Instagram the other day, and received the sweetest little outpouring of support from you girls. It truly touched my heart. God’s grace and provision have awed and humbled me. My guy’s heart has been completely captured by Christ. He pushes me toward the Lord daily, and love me selflessly. What a blessing to have this Valentine’s Day.


What do you girls think: Loving the blue? Are pockets the bee’s knees? What is the cheesiest thing you have ever done for a guy? Share your fashion & love two cents in the comments! 

xo, Jen

P.S. Did I mention that this dress has the sweetest criss-cross strap action going on in the back? Well, it does! I have failed you tremendously by forgetting to turn around for the camera. C’est la vie.
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Sparkling Cranberry Limeade

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We are still in the chilly months where sipping on warm cider and lattes is a daily routine. Lately, though, I have been craving the frozen treats of summer. Robust and tangy fruit flavors that provide a zing are some of the best flavors in my opinion. With this craving driving home its need to be met, I popped into the kitchen and started concocting the most delicious sparkling cranberry limeade. It was an instant hit with the family! With both playful flavors and a sophisticated fizz, I think it will be a hit in your home as well!

SPARKLING CRANBERRY LIMEADE 

2 cans of your favorite carbonated water
2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice ( four limes )
3 full tablespoons of agave nectar
6-8 Lime slices
1 cup of frozen sweet cherries
1 cup of ice

FOR GARNISH
2 tablespoons lime zest
2 tsps sugar
6 slices of lime

PREPARATION.

In a pitcher, combine the cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and carbonated water. Stir in 2 tablespoons of agave nectar to sweeten. Add ice cubes, frozen sweet cherries, and lime slices to pitcher.  The lime slices and cherries will infuse even more flavor! Serve in your favorite glass, garnished with a lime slice. Drink and be merry!

GLASS RIM GARNISH ( optional ).
In a bowl mix together 2 tablespoons lime zest and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Fill a second bowl with two tablespoons of water. Dip rim of glass in water, then dip in lime zest and sugar mixture. Press zest/sugar mixture around the edges of the glass until sufficiently garnished. Add a lime wedge, a serving of the sparkling cranberry limeade, and enjoy!



What kind of fizzy drinks do you guys love? Would you give this cranberry limeade a try? Let me know in the comments! 

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Black & White

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DETAILS
Top: BB Dakota ( similar )
Denim: American Eagle ( similar )
Booties: Dillard’s ( exact )
Watch: JORD ( exact )
Bag: Fossil ( similar )
I am all about comfort. Give me a cozy sweater, a pair of sturdy booties, a classic timepiece, some stretch denim and I am as happy as a clam. I like the idea of chic comfort. Especially with a Valentine’s date night right around the corner. Who says you cannot look sophisticated and be especially comfortable at the same time? You wear that slouchy sweater, girl! Rock that clean line denim. 
Would you believe that I am twenty-four years old and I have never had a real Valentine before? Maybe it is a little cheesy, but, I always dreamed of receiving red roses and a heart shaped box of dark chocolate on the day of love. This year is very special to me. I finally have my long awaited Valentine, and I cannot begin tell you how treasured each moment is. Quality time is what speaks to my heart most. Quality time with family, my love, my dearest of friends. It is the little moments shared, the laughter, and the real conversations that root deep down into my heart. Time spent is a jewel. 
What speaks to your heart most? Any cheesy romantic Valentine’s Day dreams or plans? Tell me all about your lovey dovey sappy sweet dreams!  
PS.. I have partnered with JORD to giveaway a limited quantity of $25 e-gift cards for Valentine’s Day! If you have had your eye on one of these lovely wood watches, be sure to enter to redeem your gift code. Your gift code will last through the end of March! Simply click the link below to enter! It is super quick and easy: select the JORD watch you like best ( there are so many to choose from! ), enter your email, and your e-giftcard will be sent directly to you! 
Happy Shopping!

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