Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our homemade gift giving extravaganza…

Well, I don’t know that you would call it an extravaganza, but we certainly are up to our heads in homemade gifts this year!  It’s been such a fun experience to share with the princesses and it just warms me all over watching them waiting on the doorsteps of our neighbors’ houses eager to hand them gifts for Christmas.  I wish we had the money to be able to share a homemade gift with everyone this Christmas, but the one gift we can share (and it doesn’t cost a dime) is that of Jesus Christ! 

It’s worth far more than any gift you’ll find under your tree!


It is our family’s desire to share the good news of Jesus this Christmas as we offer our homemade gifts to friends, family and neighbors!

DSCN2302Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cranberry Surprise Cookies (now that’s a mouthful!)

(inspired by Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga)

Yields 19 cookies


1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 large organic egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp xanthum gum

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

dark chocolate covered cranberries for stuffing!


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened Earth Balance and sugars.  Beat with a mixer (or by hand) until smooth.  Add the vanilla, egg, baking soda, xanthum gum, and cocoa powder.  Stir to combine.  Then add the flour slowly, and stir just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before scooping onto baking sheet.

After the dough has chilled, scoop dough into about 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Gently nestle one chocolate covered cranberry into each cookie.  You can completely cover the cranberry if you would like.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven even if they look a bit underdone as they will firm up as they cool.

DSCN2296Oh so chocolatey with a nice surprise in the middle!

DSCN2306 Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 24 cookies


1 1/2  cups gluten free oat flour (grind your gluten free oats in a food processor)

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the oats, applesauce, almond milk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla extract.  Stir well until everything is completely combined.

Fold in the raisins and chocolate chips.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or just until set.  Be careful not to over-bake the cookies.  Cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

DSCN2317 Soft and chewy just the way we like them!


Apple ButterDSCN1406

 Chocolate Peppermint TrufflesDSCN2120

DSCN2321 Cinnamon-Vanilla Granola


4 cups gluten free rolled oats

1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dry roasted pecans, chopped

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp pure maple sugar, divided

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, divided

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp raw honey, divided

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup  organic dried cranberries

3/4 cup organic raisins


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the oil, 1/4 cup of the maple sugar, and 2 Tbsp applesauce.  Warm over low heat until the the sugar has dissolved, then stir un 1/4 cup honey and the vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and mix until the oats and nuts are well coated.  Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

While the granola is baking, mix together the remaining 2 Tbsp of maple sugar, applesauce, and honey in a small bowl.  Set aside.

After the first 30 minutes, remove the granola from the oven and drizzle the remaining wet ingredients on top.  Stir well to evenly distribute.

Bake for 30-35 minutes longer, until the granola is lightly brown.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Break into bite size pieces and mix in the cranberries and raisins.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

DSCN2324 A perfect treat for breakfast, an on the go snack, and sprinkled over your favorite yogurt!

Well, we did it!  We delivered the last of our homemade gifts this afternoon and what a wonderful response we received from our neighbors.  Two simple, yet meaningful words, Merry Christmas,  touched one man to the point of tears.  With a beer in hand he shared with me and the girls that the last few days had gotten him really down, but this simple plate of cookies and a “Merry Christmas” blessed him beyond words!  It wasn’t about the cookies today, it was about sharing the love of Jesus and bringing joy to a man who was in need.

Blessings and Merry Christmas,


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