Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple Cores

We’ve had a sleepless week. Lucy has been teething, which means we’ve been nursing almost constantly through the night. At one point, my eyes red and my shirt covered in milk, I said to Ryan, “this is worse than having a newborn.” But then I woke up the next morning and took my words back.

Because yes, those first few weeks of infancy were exhausting. And yes, these recent few weeks of teething have been draining. But really, when I think about it, I realize I’m so blessed to have this baby who wants and needs me. So if I had to wake up in the middle night and turn to Ryan again, I think I’d say, “this is just as special as when we first brought her home.” And I’d mean it.

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple Cores

And you know what else happens when you operate on little sleep? You make cookies. This is the third batch of cookies I’ve made this week, but the only new recipe I tried. The verdict? Chewy and soft and so very good. These make a sleepless night all the sweeter. Yes, I’m one of those nursing moms who keeps snacks by her bed.

These brown sugar cookies come together quickly and then require at least a good hours chill in the refrigerator. The result is a cookie that reminds me of Christmas, of my mother, and of all the other good things in the world. Make them. I think you’ll love them as much as we do.

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple CoresBrown Sugar Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

12 TBSP butter, melted

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Stir together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg. Finally, stir in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large wooden spoon. The dough will be soft, yet thick. Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Form cookies into balls (about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until cookies look just slightly underdone. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months.

10/52

10_52A portrait of my daughter, every week, each week of 2014. Lucy and I took a hike today. After a night of little sleep (she woke up every two hours to nurse), I needed the cool breeze and sunshine to invigorate my afternoon…and they did. We walked and talked and shared an apple as we let our eyes settle on the majesty of our neighborhood. Living within walking distance of the Garden of the Gods makes you appreciate the beauty of our world on a daily basis.

10_52_2Lu explores our house more and more each day. From kitchen utensils to living room coasters to the scale in our bathroom, she manages to get her hands on most everything. Baby-proofing has become a necessity in the last few weeks. We finally bought and installed a baby gate to keep her from climbing down the stairs to visit her dad (who works in the basement).

This week has been a good one. We’ve laughed and giggled and she’s even saying, “ma-ma” now. Thank you for sending us such sweet words of encouragement. I treasure every one!

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Blueberry Coconut Granola

GranolaI had every intention to make soft pretzels this weekend. Ryan and I have been frequenting a local German bakery on an almost daily basis. Soft pretzels are our new favorite way to unwind. But making soft pretzels is a lot of work, and when Sunday’s temperatures started to climb towards seventy degrees, I knew we had to celebrate Daylight Savings Time outside.

CroissantBakeryWe drove to Denver where we picked up croissants and country wheat bread from the very best bakery in Colorado (I promise, Lucy had more fun that it might look in the picture above). Then, with Lucy close to my chest, we walked around Baker and visited several good friends. The day ended almost as perfectly as it could have: an outdoor dinner with my sister and niece and nephews. We arrived home way later than Lucy’s bedtime, and I’m just now (at 10:00pm) writing this blog post.

FeastAnd so instead of beautifully twisted pretzels, I’m sharing a simpler recipe (but one that’s just as satisfying). This blueberry coconut granola is one of my favorite morning meals or afternoon snacks. Sweetened with maple syrup and studded with roasted coconut and sunflower seeds, this granola is an indulgence you can feel good about.

Granola2

Blueberry Coconut Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup dried blueberries

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl; mix the melted coconut oil and maple syrup in another. Combine. Divide and spread on 2 large baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until browned to your liking, stirring once or twice.

9/52

Lu_9.1

Okay. This whole, “one portrait of your daughter each week, every week, of 2014″? I’m not very good at it. Because really, how can I choose just one? As Lucy grows, I’m seeing new, surprising sides of her each day. I delight in the simple pleasure she finds in our seemingly mundane daily activities. Her laughter and smiles remind me of all that is right and good.

Lu_9.2And how she explores now. Crawling, grasping, examining. My mother was right, “there is nothing like seeing the world anew through the eyes of your child.”

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As many of you know, I’ve had a rough few weeks. Anxiety with a tinge of depression and a heavy dose of grief. But as I drove to class tonight, I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of love. I arrived on campus with mascara running down my cheeks. My spirit of fear and mourning was broken on that drive. I felt the love of a father, the love of a mother, the love of my creator. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I feel a sense of freedom and peace tonight. A sense of freedom and peace that I’ve sorely missed.

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Thank you for following and loving me on this journey. In good times and bad. As I watch my daughter grow this week, I’m reminded of how blessed I am in this journey. Yes, we’ve seen our share of sadness, but also what illuminating and wondrous joy!

Lucy_9.5

Naturally Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies

Naturally Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple CoresMarch 1st and snow covers the ground. After a week of mild temperatures, Colorado was blasted with yet another cold front, bringing wind, snow, and ice. After a day like today, spring feels distant. Which is fitting for me. As some of you might know, March is a hard time.

Three years ago March, my oldest sister and family were in a fatal car accident during Spring Break. My nephew, Jeremy, died on scene. My sister, Pam, passed a week later. I remember discrete moments of that month. Getting the phone call while driving up South Lamar. Sitting next to a quiet gentlemen on the plane. Holding Pam’s hand. Curling up beside my other sister on the floor of Pam’s bedroom.

There is much I wish I could have told Pam. There are many things I wish we could have shared. We weren’t as close as we should have been, could have been. And I mourn this almost as much as I mourn her passing.

Naturally Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple CoresSo this last week, as February ended and March began, anxiety crept in. My muscles felt more tense. My mind raced in a thousand directions.

I know this isn’t particularly uplifting (and for this I apologize…I understand all too well how quickly a post or an article can sour one’s mood). BUT I tell you this because in the past week, I’ve also been surrounded by so much love. Most people don’t know what this month means to me, and yet I’ve experienced their small, quiet acts of kindness as gifts sent from above.

So thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving those in your own lives. We all need to practice and receive more gentle care than we know.

I made these peanut butter maple cookies on Friday evening. One of my sweet friends (who photographed my pregnancy and birth) had posted a batch of cookies to her instagram. They looked like the perfect way to fill a Friday afternoon…and they were. These peanut butter cookies are sugar free. I used a combination of maple syrup and honey to sweeten the batch, and let me tell you…I can’t stop eating them. They would be perfect as an afternoon snack for your little one (or your big one). They’re certainly perfect for me.

Naturally Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple Cores

Naturally Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup organic butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup honey (you could use just honey or just maple syrup)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, stir together peanut butter, melted butter, maple syrup, and honey. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until dough forms.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, arrange rounds of cookie dough. Press down with fork. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes (or while your oven heats to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Bake for 8 minutes, or until the lightest of golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to wire rack to cool.