My Paleo Ginger Cookies

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Words can come out honestly and then other times they do anything but stand still.  I feel like this these days.  Staring blankly into the journal, computer screen, chopping board.  In part, it's due to unexpected anxiety attacks turning to panic attacks.  

They've been gripping me and I'm learning to lean into the deep breathing, filling my mind & soul with Scripture truth and asking Jesus to really know him.  I see all these heart felt candle lit nights streaming my Facebook feed, where the donkey & Mary get closer to show up in that stank filled stable.  

Yet, there is an overwhelming sense a panicked self can feel when it realizes how far behind in the Advent keeping it is.  Does this make sense?  

Rather than trying to start where I left off, or try to do one more thing; I've been okay with letting it be.  My word for this year is Peace.  

Peace is a be.  It's a knowing that love surrounds and not fear.  It's that love, which pierces through the darkness, the turmoil, the angst and allows for peace to settle.  Breathe in peace, breathe out chaos.  

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And although it might seem like eliminating a whole list of foods from my diet might not breed peace, I find that it is exactly what I need right now.  I need to clear my body and mind to see if food is causing some of these body aches and mental rages.  So even though I am not eating any Ginger cookies, would you do me a favor and make them?

I had a hankering for all things gingery & molasses last week, which clearly means I needed to revamp my favorite Ginger cookie.  Lucky for you, I have the recipe. What I loved about these is the spice mingled with licorice in blackstrap molasses.  I used Bob's Red Mill almond flour instead of Honeyville, because I wanted a more coarse grind.  I know you won't be disappointed!

Paleo Ginger Cookies (printable recipe)

Using Bob's Red Mill Almond flour works well for this recipe.  

Dry Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups almond flour

4 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

1/3 cup molasses

1 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 eggs

1 cup palm shortening

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients into one medium bowl.  Mix either with a whisk until everything is thoroughly combined, or put into a food processor for 30 seconds.  

In an electric stand mixer, combine the palm shortening and coconut sugar.  Mix on medium speed for 1 minute till thoroughly combined.  Scrap down the sides, add the molasses, honey & eggs and mix on low speed to increase to medium speed for about 45 seconds, or till eggs are completely combined.  Scrap down the sides.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture slowly as to avoid it splattering everywhere.  Once the flour is all inside and the majority of it incorporated, increase to medium speed to combine the wet & dry ingredients for another 20 seconds.  Scrap down the beater, and then using a spatula, combine to ensure there is no liquid residue left.  

Using a cookie dough scooper (mine is about 1 1/2 Tb size), scoop and then roll into balls.  I keep my hands wet while rolling as to avoid sticky hands.  Place about 3 inches apart on the parchment lined paper.  Get your hand wet again and flatten the cookie ball till it's about 1/4 inch high.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar or coconut sugar.  

Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack, then transfer to a plate.  Stores covered for a couple days.  

 

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

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Friends, I have tried desperately to like pumpkin pie.  I have heaped mounds of whipped cream a top it; but, maybe it's due to the many bad ones I've been given growing up.  For starters, the crusts were always overcooked.  No, they were burnt.  And then there's the whole pumpkin itself.  

Could it be growing up in Arizona led me astray for the glory of Fall?  It could with no pumpkin patch visits, or homemade pumpkin puree.  I threw it all out.  Everything pumpkin must go, including pumpkin bread.  

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Then, this wayfaring stranger returned to the state of her birth, and discovered the pockets of gladness abounding in the Autumn months.  The crisp, cold air.  The warm drinks and hot soups awakening the damp bones.  Don't even get me started on the sweaters, scarves and hats this displaced Arizonian girl longed for every day it hit below 80.  

I rediscovered pumpkin.  I discovered sweet meat squash actually and how sweet it is after roasting it in the oven, and satisfying to puree it in your own kitchen.  I made a vow to never buy canned pumpkin again.  I'm sure it made a difference, and this pumpkin bread lays claim to it.   However, I've broken in my rainboots trudging through the mucky patch to get me some sweet meat squash for all things pumpkin.  That is except the pumpkin pie.  

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Paleo Pumpkin Bread (printable recipe)

One element I feel which makes this bread come alive is using freshly ground nutmeg & cloves.  I have an old coffee grinder, which I use for grinding flax & chia seeds into meal, or whole spices into ground ones.  Simply wipe the grinder out between uses.  

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup flax meal

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9x5 loaf pan with half sheet of parchment paper and press into the sides with some of it laying over the sides.  

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients of almond flour, coconut sugar, flax meal, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add all the wet ingredients, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin puree and vanilla, and mix together for 30 seconds.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase to medium speed and mix for an additional 45 seconds.  Pour batter into prepared parchment lined pan.  Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

Allow to sit in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread in the parchment from the pan to the cooling rack and cool for another 5 minutes (or slice it right away).  Serve.

Pear Pie with Lemon-Vanilla Honey Syrup (Grain-free)

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I have seen loneliness.  That morning waking up to realize what I thought was a bad dream was in fact reality.  It would soon play out as one of the worst years of my life to date.  My dad would be in jail for the first time, I began college, my younger brother was to live with my mom who was just as unstable at the time, and my older brother worked hard to create stability while self-medicating with a heckalota alcohol.

I was 18, and it really sucked. 

**** 

People ask, "What brought you to Washington?" 

My response bent between needing to do something new to don't like Arizona weather to meeting Ben.  So naturally, everyone associated me staying because of a boy.   

Well yes, and no. 

**** 

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Sunday evenings were the worst.  I would go to church religiously on Sunday morning hoping someone would adopt me and take care of me.  I wanted a mom and a dad who were healthy and loved one another.  What I wanted was wholeness.  I felt like I stepped out of a freeway car crash with exposed wounds and a possible concussion, and all I had was people staring at me without help.  

**** 

It's this image that irks me about Christian culture at times.  I hear someone seriously needing help.  Like tangible hands and feet business, and what is offered them?  Oh some verse to quote God's ever constant care, or how "Jesus doesn't give us more than we can handle."  I'm all for encouraging one another with truth.  

Often times, I can seek out people before seeking out Jesus.  That said, I do know when I am at my worst, it's the hands & feet of Jesus in human flesh, which I need the most.   

Maybe you can relate?   Maybe you can think of someone who is that crash site victim?

***** 

What I needed that year was someone to invite me into their home, make me a meal, and simply listen to me and comfort me.  Sounds simple right!  It's because it is.  It's in the sharing of life, providing space for another person to be heard and affirmed where Jesus is.   

Can I offer this humble pear pie as a means to building a bridge to your table?  Make it, bring it over to a friend who needs a listening ear, or invite that person over to shower them with unconditional attention and love.   

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Grain-Free Pear Pie with a Lemon-Vanilla-Honey Syrup

(printable recipe)

 

Pie Crust (double) Ingredients:

5 cups blanched almond flour

½ tsp salt

4 Tb ghee

1 Tb arrowroot powder

1 egg

Pear Filling Ingredients:

5-6 Anjou pears (2 lbs), peel, core & larger slices

2 vanilla beans

¼ tsp salt

2 lemons, zest

juice of one lemon

½ to ¾ cup raw clover honey

Making the Crust:

Combine almond flour, arrowroot powder & salt in a food processor.  Pulse five times to combine.  Add the ghee & egg, combine till it comes together.  Separate the dough in two.  Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.  

Rolling & Preparing the Crust:

Take some parchment paper & place one dough disc on it.  Flatten slightly with your palm.  Place another sheet of parchment paper on top.  Roll out working clockwise, while you continuously turn the parchment to get even rolling.  The pie dough should be about 11-12 inches around, for you 9-inch pie plate.  Remove the top parchment paper layer.  Slide your hand under the bottom parchment, where the dough is laying on & flip it over (gently) the pie plate.  

If your pie dough cracks, don’t despair.  The good thing about working with almond flour is it is very pliable & isn’t easily ruined like gluten pie crusts where less is more.  You can simply pinch and press the cracks together, much like playdoh.  

Leave about ½ inch overhang around the pie plate, and fold it under to create ridges (or some other design for the edge crust).  Do this by using the knuckles of your index & middle finger against the crust edge, and pushing in with the index finger of your other hand placed on the other side of the crust edge to push between (thus making a ridge).  Repeat this until ridges are all around the crust edge.  

Making the Pear Filling:

Combine filling ingredients in a medium saucepan, semi-poach approach with heat on medium to begin (first four minutes).  Stir, then lower heat to low-medium.  Simmer for an additional five minutes.  Taste.  It should have a slightly sweet & tang from the lemon & honey.  

Fill the pie with the poached pear filling.  

Creating the Top Crust:

Take the second dough disc and roll it out between two layers of parchment into ½ inch thick crust.  Taking a small leaf, heart (or whatever cookie cutter you have) cookie cutter, cut out shapes in the dough.  Make a circular pattern with the cut out dough pieces on top of the pear filling.  Brush the top with a beaten egg.  

Bake for 15 minutes at 400.  Lower the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden brown.  

**I recommend covering the pie crust edges with aluminum foil for the first 15 minutes.

   

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