The Perfect Gluten Free Biscotti Recipe

As promised, today I am sharing the Perfect Gluten Free Biscotti Recipe. I got so many requests for the recipe when I posted pictures the other day on Instagram that I promised to share it with my friends on here. I absolutely love these biscotti, because they are so gourmet, incredibly delicious, and you won’t even miss the sugar or gluten! Disclaimer: I adapted these biscotti from my talented friend’s recipe.

Without further ado, here you have it:

Gluten Free Biscotti

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup coconut sugar (I love this brand) and it’s is a super deal for coconut sugar!) or zylitol Note: If you don’t have either of these or don’t care about making them sugar free, you can use regular sugar.

1/2 cup honey (or sugar if you aren’t going for sugar free)

6 eggs

2 TBS hot water

2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (or 1 tsp. of each)

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt (I like this kind)

5 1/2 cups flour (I used my homemade flour mix, but you could use about anything. Even plain ground oats and a little xanthum gum would work. Just make sure to check the ingredients if you use a boughten gluten free baking mix- some already contain baking powder/soda and salt.) Note: If you want to buy a mix, I highly recommend Pamelas, available here and Namaste, available here.

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup craisins

Cream butter and sweeteners. Add eggs one at time, mixing after each addition. Stir in vanilla and hot water. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Roll the dough into two logs. If it’s your first time making biscotti, you may want to look up step by step instructions. Clarita has awesome instructions here. I used greased parchment paper to form the logs, then flip them out onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake the biscotti for half an hour at 300 degrees, or till firm. Take from the oven, cool slightly, and slice. Separate the slices (so they aren’t touching) and return to the oven at 200 degrees till they are as crispy as you desire. Traditionally, biscotti are very firm, and you eat them with a hot drink, dipping to soften. I love them that way, but last time I made them slightly less firm, and they were really delicious like that, and still yummy if eaten by themselves and not with tea or coffee. My sweet dad commented that he liked how I made them “not so hard”. So basically, you can just bake them till they’re however hard you want them. They really are delicious no matter what, except burnt!:)

When baking is completed, let the biscotti cool. Drizzle with dark chocolate if desired.

Store in a container on the counter…..and watch them disappear!

Variation: You can change the flavor by adding chocolate chips and almonds instead of pecans and craisins, etc. 

Note: This makes a pretty big batch. You can halve it if you want, but if have extra, these do make excellent gifts!

Ps. This post contains affiliate links; please view my full disclosure here

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A Healthy Christmas: Why and How to Take Care of Your Body During the Holidays

Friends, have any of you ever struggled with just feeling like healthy eating or exercise of any kind is pretty much null and void during the holidays? It just seems too hard, and you don’t want to miss out on anything? Well, I have been there, too, but something has been going through my mind the past few days……

Health still matters, even when life is full and there is sugar everywhere!

WHY you should take care of your body during Christmas:

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19)

WE ARE NOT OUR OWN!  If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, you body belongs to Him, and He asks you to care for the body that is the temple of His Holy Spirit. And guess what? Your body is still this temple during Christmas.

HOW you can take care of your body during Christmas:

-Schedule time to exercise. It might be a couple runs per week, or a few nice long walks, or 5-15 minutes in the morning to do some pushups and situps and stretches. You won’t regret it, and I find that exercising regularly, even during a holiday season, helps motivate me to stay on track with moderate + wise food choices and other areas of health.

-Drink plenty of water! You should drink at least half your weight in ounces every day.

-Take some extra vitamins or herbs. I have been taking one probiotic vitamin (I love this one) and one vitamin C (find it here) before breakfast. I also drink a few tablespoons of warm water with one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon molasses when I wake up. Some evenings I take a teaspoon of this magnesium supplement as well- it is good for digestion, sleep, and overall health. This is my personal little arsenal, but you can make your own!

-Limit sweets/junk food. This is a matter of discipline. You can eat whatever you want, or you can have some discipline and not eat every little sweet in sight! Start your mornings with a good breakfast (read my post on breakfast here), and keep healthy snacks on hand such as veggies, nuts, bologna, and cheese. When you go to parties, be the one to take a platter of veggies or a meat/cheese tray. Concerning desserts- you can offer to take a healthy option, or choose one serving of something you really love, or just skip it altogether. Whatever you decide, one of the worst things you can do for your health over the holidays is to eat sweets on repeat, day in and day out.

-Don’t overeat. Whatever you are eating, exercise moderation. It is never right to overeat, not even at Christmas. If you can’t have a little discipline when it comes to food this Christmas, what makes you think you can reach your goals (health and otherwise) in 2018?!

And that’s it, friends. Be encouraged to be disciplined this Christmas; it’s all about choices. I would love to hear from you…please join the conversation in the comment section.

Merry Christmas!

Allison

ps. This post contains affiliate links- read my full policy here. I only link to products that I use + love.

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Last Minute Gift Guide

Good morning sweet readers!

Christmas is one of my very favorite things! I love the joy, the celebration, the traditions, the nostalgia, the family.

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ coming as a baby- the whole reason we celebrate.

Today I have a little list of some fun gift ideas if you are still doing last minute shopping. These items are all from Amazon, so you can still get them in time for Christmas!

I have a pretty wide variety in this list, including a few “guy gifts”, some fun stuff for the fitness gurus on your list, good reads for bookworms, etc. In fact, if your Christmas shopping is all done, you just may want to go buy a few of these things for yourself!

Without further ado, Allison’s Last Minute Gift Guide…..a compilation of items I use and LOVE (just click on the items to shop!):

Whey Protein Powder– This is the whey protein powder I use and I LOVE. It has no added fillers, doesn’t taste weird (just a nice little vanilla taste in your shake), and is pure protein!!

Creotine Powder– Guys or gals looking to build muscles will love this!

Larabars– These little gems are DELICIOUS!!! There are a variety of flavors, but my personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (the one I linked). These would make great stocking stuffers- you could buy the box and use them for a bunch of people!

Tim Hortons Coffee– This is a really delicious, inexpensive coffee that I have fallen in love with since I was introduced to it in Canada.

Stash Tea– If you are buying gifts for tea lovers, this tea is high quality and just plain delicious. I am linking a very fun assortment….again, this will give you multiple gifts for a great price.

Caribou Coffee K Cups– Just. So. Good.

Tranquility skirt– This fantastic skirt is available right now for less than $8!!! Ladies, just trust me when I say that this is my ALL TIME FAVORITE skirt and any gal on your list who loves simple + feminine + versatile clothing will love this one! I have an entire post on it coming soon, but let me tell you- I (and my sis and sis in loves) wear these skirts every week for everything from cleaning to running errands to church, and not only do we love them, but they are incredible quality. They run true to size, by the way.  Ok, that’s the end…..if you don’t get one, it’s your loss! (If you want to know how serious I am about these skirts, I am going to order another today because I literally don’t want to be without it when mine is in the laundry!)

Trendy United Skirt (long)– Again, this is a beautiful skirt, and on this one I especially love the details of pockets and shirring. The fabric is incredibly soft, too. I have the dusty blue, and absolutely love it. These also run true to size.

Trendy United Skirt (shorter lengths)– I have the “below knee” length in burgandy and it’s amazing! It is perfect tucked or untucked, casual or dressy, sandals or boots,etc.

Burts Bees Lipstick– I am very picky about my lipstick, because I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, or slather a million toxins on my lips, or feel completely dried out after wearing it. This stuff fits the bill! I love the Brimming Berry color so much! And it’s on sale right now for $6.43, which I think is an amazing deal!!!

My Favorite Mascara– It’s a fantastic mascara, enough said.:)

My Favorite Face Mask– Read all about it here.

Pens– Again, personal favorite, and just an incredible pen!!

Violin Books– I did a whole post here about the our favorites.

20 Top Books for Singles– Check out this post for some great book ideas.

The Family– This books is INCREDIBLE.

Reading People– A fun read for the personality guru!

Alrighty, friends, that’s all for today! I hope this is helpful to you in your last minute shopping! 

Allison

(This post contains affiliate links- read my full disclosure policy here)

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Cooking for One: Breakfast Edition

(photo #1)

I recently posted a few food pictures on my Instagram story and took a poll. The question was, “Do you want to hear more about healthy, frugal, and simple cooking for one person?”

Apparently a lot of ya’ll are interested in that, so here I am with the first post. I am going to be sharing a few things today:

-What I am Eating for Breakfast these Days

-How to Plan Balanced Breakfasts

-How to Stock Your Pantry + Fridge for a Variety of Simple, Frugal, Healthy, and Yummy Breakfasts

-My Morning Eating Schedule

Now, let me clarify something: If you’re living with your family, and not typically cooking for just one or two people, you may still want to keep reading. I have alot of girls ask me about health and fitness, and if you are trying to lose weight, deal with allergies/food sensitivities, or maintain and not gain weight, you may need to eat differently than your family sometimes.

You may be a single person living alone, a newly married wife or husband, or one of many in a large household.

No matter which camp you find yourself in, if you are interested in cooking frugally, eating healthier, and not spending hours prepping food every day, this post is for you!

(#2)

Ok, first off:

What I am Eating for Breakfast These Days:

Just by scrolling through this post, you can see what I’ve been eating! Each picture represents an actual breakfast I made for myself, and several are these are favorites that I have multiple times per week. For clarity I have labeled each photo and am going to talk a little bit about them.

#1. Veggie Omelet, Stewed Apples

This is SO delicious! One evening I sauteed a bunch of veggies (zucchini, peppers, onion) to use in my supper, and I simply refrigerated the rest to use in my omelet the next morning. This cuts down on prep time. The next morning, all I had to do was whip up some eggs and make the omelet using the prepared veggies and some shredded cheese from my fridge.

#2. Black Beans, Sauteed Spinach, Fried Eggs

Oh man…..I love me some beans! I know some of you probably thing it’s gross to eat beans for breakfast, but you might be surprised how good it actually it! And this particular breakfast is probably one of the very cheapest you can make. Especially if you cook the beans yourself, and find a good price on eggs and spinach (Aldi is my favorite place for inexpensive vegetables), this meal costs very little while being extremely nutritious and filling.

#3. Egg/Kale/Sausage/Parmesan Frittata

This Frittata is my current very FAVORITE breakfast! In fact, I am eating it as I type at this very moment.:)  This morning I grabbed half an onion that was in the fridge and started sauteeing that in lard, added the kale once the onion was soft, and finished it off by pouring on some eggs beaten w/ a little coconut milk. Once this was almost set, I sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and folded it in half.

#4. Cottage Cheese w/ Strawberries, Energy Balls

I think this picture might have actually been from a snack, because for breakfast I would have a larger portion. I eat this alot for snacks, but it’s also great for an occasional morning where I need something fast + easy and maybe I’m not quite feeling like eating eggs.:)

#5. Cottage Cheese, Pumpkin Baked Oats, Banana

What a delicious breakfast filled with good carbs! You could definitely substitute the cottage cheese with yogurt or milk, but I think I wanted some extra protein and didn’t have yogurt on hand that morning. I am going to post my pumpkin baked oatmeal recipe soon (once I can make it again and write down exact measurements!). It’s sooo good. I don’t eat very many baked things for breakfast, but this one is a favorite.

If you are cooking just for you or you + your spouse, a whole pan of this should last for awhile, which is just fantastic for a fast breakfast.

#6. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

The other morning I was having one of those mornings where eggs just didn’t sound good. Knowing I needed something still filling + nutritious, I opted for a protein shake. I don’t have an exact recipe, but here’s what I put in:

-yogurt

-coconut milk

-raw egg (only use raw eggs if you have a source for high quality, fresh eggs)

-cocoa

-square of dark chocolate

-big spoon of peanut butter

-banana

-ice cubes

I blended that all together, then poured it in my coffee mug and topped it with homemade whipped cream. I wouldn’t do this very often, but for something completely different and luscious, it’s perfect.

#7. Hard Boiled Eggs, Cheese, Energy Balls, Blueberries

Basic, ya’ll. Hard boiled eggs aren’t my very favorite breakfast in the world, but I will sometimes pair them with baked oatmeal, a fruit/yogurt bowl, etc to provide the protein for a super-little-prep-time breakfast.

Also, I should mention that with some of these breakfasts, I had kombucha, a smoothie, or an apple on the side and just didn’t take a picture of it. I don’t eat fruit every single morning, though. I absolutely love fruit, but sometimes I include it in a snack later in the day (like an apple with peanut butter), plus lately I have been trying to really focus on eating more vegetables. 

(#3)

How to Plan Balanced Breakfasts

I realize that everyone is different, with unique taste buds and nutritional needs. Based upon what I like to eat and what my body does best with, I usually use the following thought processes for planning my breakfasts:

-Center it on PROTEIN! I probably use eggs in my breakfasts 9 out of 10 mornings, and another protein source such as cottage cheese or whey protein the rest. I do include meat in my breakfast sometimes (sausage or bacon) but not very often. It gets expensive, plus I just prefer not to do it regularly for breakfast since I usually have it 1-2 more times later in the day (lunch/dinner).

-Include veggies if possible. I don’t always do this, but recently it’s been probably about half the time. When I do have veggies with my breakfast, I often make it a main part and skip fruit or something higher in carbs.

-Don’t eat something baked/sweet every morning. This is something I have have had to learn, because naturally, who doesn’t love muffins, pumpkin pancakes, biscuits, and waffles? I’m not saying it’s wrong to eat these things every morning, but for my personal health + nutritional needs, it’s just not the best option on a regular basis. I feel much better eating mostly eggs, fruit, yogurt, veggies, etc for breakfast. Also, for you gals (or guys) who are trying to lose weight or tend to gain weight easily, this is a simple trick that might help more than you’d think!

(#4)

(#5)

How to Stock Your Pantry + Fridge for a Variety of Simple, Frugal, Healthy, and Yummy Breakfasts

Here is my list of things I try to keep on hand:

-Eggs (MOST IMPORTANT!!!!)

-Bacon or Sausage

-Kale or spinach

-Other veggies such as onions + tomatoes

-Black beans

-Cottage Cheese + Yogurt

-1-2 fruits: my favorites are apples, strawberries, and bananas

-lard or butter (for sauteing veggies + frying eggs)

Those are my staples, but are below are a few more “great, but not necessary” items:

-Cheese

-Something Baked (usually gluten free/naturally sweetened baked oats, waffles, muffins, etc.) I probably only have something like this on hand less than 25% of the time, which is actually a good thing because then I eat more of the basics, like eggs, veggies, and fruit!

-Whipped cream (for topping smoothies, or fruit salad w/ yogurt)

-Additional fruit + veggie options

-Coconut milk

-Protein bars or balls (usually homemade)

-Protein powder (mostly for protein smoothies after a workout)

(#6)

My Morning Eating Schedule

I think I’m weird this way, but 99% of the time I wake up hungry! Are any of you like that?

On most mornings, I make a cup of coffee first thing, and eat a small handful of nuts or a protein ball (or 2 or 3:) while my coffee is steeping.

Usually I consume my “morning snack” and coffee before 6am.

I don’t really want to eat eggs first thing when I get up, and I’m not ready for a full breakfast- thus, the “morning snack”.

My breakfast schedule varies, but I’d say on average I eat breakfast somewhere from 7:30-8:30. I usually drink water or kombucha with my breakfast, since I prefer my coffee first thing with my morning snack, and I try to keep it to one cup per day on a regular basis.

(#7)

Thanks for reading along, friends! I am hoping to share a few of my recipes soon!. Particularly Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal and Mint Chocolate Protein Balls are two of my very favorites. I don’t really know of any similar recipes, so I really want to share those with ya’ll so you can enjoy them too!What resonated with you the most in this post? 
-Allison

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The Gathering Place

Today for some reason I am thinking of the beauty and blessing of the Dinner Table.  Maybe it’s because several days lately I ate a cold salad by myself in my vehicle in between running errands and arriving at work.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind eating alone.  In fact, being alone, and even eating alone, is something I enjoy.  But the older I get, the more I value coming together with family, community, friends, at the table.

The Table is a gathering place.  A place to connect, feel accepted, be nourished.

The nourishing of a good table goes beyond delicious food, and extends to the nourishments of soul and spirit along with food.  And it is priceless.

So what can we do to create a good Gathering Place…..a place where family and friends feel loved, accepted, nourished?  There seem to be a variety of factors that contribute to a truly nourishing gathering around the dinner table, a place where hearts are blessed, bodies refreshed, and spirits rested.  A few things I’ve observed as I’ve been blessed to be part of hundreds of excellent, joyous meal times all around the US, Canada, and Mexico:

  • The atmosphere is warm.  There is acceptance + love.  It is a place to relax, to be yourself, to feel “at home”.

  • The food can be simple or lavish, served on paper or china, but it is thoughtful, and served with love.

  • Enriching words, healing laughter, and (sometimes heated:) discussion flows.  It’s not always all peace and calm, at least not at my family’s table. But it is sharing.  It is community.

And now I would love to hear from you!  What special touches do you enjoy adding to the Table?  In your mind, what makes a mealtime special and refreshing?

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