Easy Gluten Free Lemon Drop Cookies

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For the past few days, I have been CRAVING sweets like nothing else. The problem: in the Orthodox church, we are still in the middle of Lent (we operate on an older calendar for our holidays), so all of my usual treats and sweets are out.

But the craving was still there, so last night, while Jesse and I were finishing up the season finale of Daredevil (SO GOOD!), I got up and started to throw ingredients together to attempt easy gluten free lemon drop cookies. I had NO idea how they were going to turn out– I mean, I have a few tried and true tricks up my sleeve, but I didn’t really “know” how they would taste. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, start to finish.

And then I pulled them out of the oven, took a bite, and said, “uh-oh, Jesse, these are REALLY good. Like, REALLY good.”

…and then we proceeded to eat the entire first batch before I could even pull the second out of the oven!

In order to preserve this recipe I stumbled upon (and to share with all of you!) I decided to write things down here. You know, for the sake of the whole world that NEEDS these cookies.

(Side note: I am also giving alternate suggestions for those that want to make this recipe vegan and grain-free as well!)

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Drop Cookies: makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups of gf flour (or almond flour, if you are grain-free/paleo)

1/4 cup of xanthum gum (skip if you are paleo)

1/4 cup of coconut flour

(Note: if you are not gluten or grain free, skip the above and just use 2 1/4 cups of your normal baking flour!)

1 cube of melted butter (runny!)

1/2 cup of coconut oil, warm and runny (make it 1 cup if you are vegan and subbing out the butter)

1 MUSHY banana– the browner the better! (this was accidental– we left our avocados next to our bananas overnight, and they all turned brown! But it WORKED!).

2 eggs (or the flax-seed oil equivalent, which is 2 tbsp. of flax-seed + 4 tbsp. of water, microwaved for 20 seconds to encourage thickening)

1/8 cup of sugar (or maple syrup, if you are wanting a healthier version!)

1 tsp. of baking soda

1/4 tsp. of salt (or saltier, if you want– I actually prefer the contrast of the sweet and salty in this case!)

5 drops of  Young Living’s Lemon Essential Oil ** (note: for those “concerned” about ingesting essential oils, it takes 75 lemons to make a 256 drop 15 ml bottle of essential oil– if you are okay with squeezing 10-15 lemons for a big batch recipe, you will be okay with this ;) My kids ate them too, and we’re all dandy and fine, other than the fact that we can’t stop eating cookies).

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in a pyrex bowl. 2 minutes of sifting with a fork should be enough!

3. Combine all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl.

4. Combine the flour into the wet ingredients, mix mix mix.

5. Let sit for around for a few minutes (the coconut flour needs time to “soak” in some of the liquid– if you are using normal or gf flour, you can skip this)

6. Use a cookie dropper to spoon the cookies onto sheets.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes! Check that they are lightly brown on the rims, which means that they will be soft and chewy at the center!

 

And voila! Delicious! Now, if only I could stop eating them…

The next time I make these, I will probably add an extra step and press and indentation into the middle of the cookies, then add lemon curd in the hole when they’re done cooking! YUMM!!!!

 

 

**Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. I can only speak for the quality of Young Living, and do not want to infer that I feel all essential oils could/should be used in a recipe, given that there are most likely unknown additives in them. 

 

 

Natural and Safe Makeup

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Did you know that the UK bans close to 1,400 different chemicals from being used in their cosmetics?

Can you guess how many are banned in the US?

11.

Yikes. When I read that number a few years ago, I decided it was time to take drastic action in my own life! How many girls do you know that are slathering their skin and eyes with cancer-causing ingredients, every single day?

I first started looking for natural and safe makeup back in 2010, when Gregory was a baby. Target had a few all natural makeup products I was willing to try, but they didn’t perform very well (aka, globby, messy, no pigment, etc.), and were not easily found in stores. I quickly turned to Tarte and Bare Minerals through stores like Ulta, but they were expensive and only eliminated 2-3 of the most harmful and carcinogenic ingredients. But they were better than nothing!

And then, in the past 2 months, I’ve been introduced to a few makeup and skincare lines that I absolutely LOVE! I can get behind every single one of their ingredients!

My top pick of the moment is Root Pretty. Their eye shadows, blushes and tinted lip balms are amazing. $5 shipping gets you everything (free shipping over $75!), and you can even have them send you $1 samples to color match! Not only that, but they have lots of different You-tube tutorials, so you can see exactly what each shade could be used for, and how they look in real life.

And don’t get me started about their mascara! It’s amaze-balls! Mascara is one cosmetic that I’ve been DYING to find an all natural/vegan alternative to (did you know that drugstore mascaras use PIG-FETUS in their formulas? ewwww).

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And take a look at those prices!? Cheaper than the drugstore! Sign me up!!

Unfortunately, I don’t do “powder” foundation well. It settles into lines I didn’t even know I HAD, and I look instantly about twice as old as I really am. Truly. So Root Pretty’s mineral foundation is a no-go for me.

And, truth be told, I don’t even like foundation, so I decided to try my hand at tinted moisturizers. I hate caking makeup all over my face, so tinted moisturizers seemed to be the next best solution!

Unfortunately, Root Pretty’s tinted moisturizer (I got a small $1 sample to try) was pretty much JUST a moisturizer, minus the tinted part ;) It almost didn’t even matter the shade– they were all so thin, they pretty much evaporated, color-wise.

Enter Beauty Counter.

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A friend of mine is a consultant for Beauty Counter, a brand new cosmetics line based in CA, and she gave me a few samples of their award winning tinted moisturizer called, “Dew Skin”. It just won Allure’s “Best of Beauty” awards, and I can definitely see why! A huge plus– it smelled faintly of flowers (due to the black currant and peony flower extract inside!), instead of having that awful chemical smell that most foundation does!

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Beauty Counter’s price point is a bit high, so I will just be sticking to their foundation and tinted moisturizers for right now (since everything else I buy is so affordable, I can splurge on ONE item every 6 months or so, am I right?). But I’m loving what I’ve tried so far!

Last but not least, skincare! Lately, I’m all about Young Living’s Wolfberry eye cream, and I also have been using Frankincense essential oil on my face for any wrinkles (or pre-wrinkles? haha).  I also found this eye primer/nourisher at Whole Foods with some birthday gift card money, and I’m really loving it!

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As far as facial moisturizer goes, I make my own for both my husband and myself! It works better than anything I’ve bought in the store anyways, and I can add essential oils as I feel like it!

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Leave me a comment below if you have any suggestions to add about your favorite natural and safe makeup!

Rustic Bathroom

Rustic Bathroom

When we bought our little cottage, we knew that the “one bathroom” issue was going to be a challenge. Storage, for one, was scarce, and the footprint wasn’t large either. Back when it was built in 1940, I’m sure it seemed HUGE, but to the modern day eye, it should be classified as “small” or even “tiny”. This is what it looked like right after we bought it:

Fuller House before 10

While a 2nd bathroom is in the plans sometime soon, we knew that we had to make this one work for the time being. Our first objective was to add lots of storage along the walls.

Bathroom Cabinet

 

We needed a place to hang out towels, so we constructed a bead board wall with hooks.
Bathroom Beadboard and Hooks

Bathroom Shelves

When we moved in, there was a wall-sink installed. While it made the room look more open, it also meant that the pipes were exposed and that NOTHING could be stored underneath.

So, for my birthday, (at my behest) my dad bought and installed a special kind of sink from Ikea. It’s wider than a normal sink, but much much narrower. These new dimensions give us more walk space in and out of the door (it makes a HUGE difference) plus extra storage underneath.

Bathroom Sink Zoom Out

 

We even left 6-7″ underneath the sink so that we could store away the kids’ step stool. I love not tripping over that thing constantly, let me tell you!Bathroom sink

Speaking of stools, I picked up this rustic looking one at a yard sale. We use it by the shower to put things on when needed.

Bathroom Stool

 

Last but not least, I made a shelf/towel holder out of a crate. I hung it on the wall, then screwed in a bar cabinet pull underneath for the towel rack.

Bathroom crate on wall

 

Most people are surprised when I tell them that our family of 4 shares one bathroom between us, but there’s a part of me that really loves it! Only one bathroom to clean? Yes!

Eventually, as our family expands, we will add more space. But for right now, we are loving our cozy rustic bathroom!

South Africa!

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As I mentioned on this blog, we spent 2 weeks in South Africa this past December! My brother met a wonderful girl who grew up there, and so it’s where they decided to have the wedding.

What better way to show you what we did than to give you some pictures?

South Africa Gods Window

“God’s Window”

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SOuth Africa thatch cottage

Each family had their own thatched roof cottage at the wedding venue!

The Boys near the Elephant

Right outside our hotel door!

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Mac Mc Falls

Mac Mac Falls

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Outside our hotel in Johannesburg

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Close up on a Safari

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The view from our breakfast table at Askari Lodge

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The Groom and Ring Bearer :)

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Askari Lodge

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Want to know what a haggard mom looks like after 20 hours on an International Plane Ride???

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Not sure we packed enough luggage…

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Sister Bridesmaids :)

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Outside our hotel in Sabe. You can also see the 2 story slide to the left! And yes, a trampoline on the kids’ playground!

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Wedding!

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The boys passed out during the wedding reception!

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Sisters and mother!

Askari Game Lodge

Askari Game Lodge, the wedding venue

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The view from the wedding reception

South Africa graskop swing

The “Graskop Swing”– where my husband decided to free fall 19 stories!!!

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