Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lime Honey Almond Cookies—Six Years of Blogging!

Lime Almond Cookies--Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free

I started my little old blog six years ago today!  So hard to believe and while my blog hasn’t evolved into the great food blogging websites that some have in that time, I’m happy to still be here.  I have discovered that baking and cooking and blogging and sharing are truly some of my passions in life and combining them all here on my little spot on the internet have been one of the greatest things for me. 

Yes, life is certainly crazy with four boys and I certainly could not be who I am in that part of my life without my amazing husband and all the wonderful family and friends around me.  I have found that I have needed and love being a small part of the food blogging world.  Times have certainly changed.  Six years ago, food blogging was still a rather new thing.  There were those already known.  When I started my blog, I actually didn’t even know about food blogging.  I just wanted to start keeping a written account of things going on with my family so I could share it with the rest of my family and friends. 

Just a few short weeks after starting to blog things that were going on, my youngest son, Sam, turned one and I posted about the lame cake I made for his birthday.  (How cute is my baby!  This picture is a lot better than the ridiculously not-that-great turtle cake I made for him.)

All my boys are growing up too fast!  Here they are almost six years ago.


Scott is now almost 16, is at least six inches taller than me, and has his driver’s permit.  Parker is 12 and finishing up the sixth grade accelerated program and getting ready for junior high (Yes, I know, for some reason it’s not called junior high anymore and is called middle school.  I was just telling Parker yesterday I will always call it junior high.  It’s kind of like how hard of a time I’ve had calling them flip flops now, they will always be that other word to me.)  Taylor is ten and lighting up our lives with his awesome talents of origami and balloon twisting that he has taught himself.  And little Sammie, he’ll be seven soon.  I can’t believe my baby is almost seven!  We need a new family picture!  That is on the list of things to do in the next year!

A lot has happened in these six years.  When I started my blog, we lived in Kansas as Kevin taught accounting at the University of Kansas.  We lived there for a total of five years, but when he did not get tenure there in 2010, we moved back home to Utah where he got a job at Utah Valley University and got tenure a year later.  We are here in Utah to stay and are happy to be near family.

Another change in our lives—in April 2012 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Can’t tell you how much I hate saying those words.  My grandmother died in 1947 at the age 24 from MS.  My mother was only about two years old.  We have always been told she had MS.  Not enough was known in 1947 to fight the things that come along with it.  It is believed she had an unknown infection that took her life.  THEN, in 1999, my sister, Mandi,  passed away at age 33 after being diagnosed at age 19 and having quite the big trials MS inflicted in her life.  We watched the disease take things from her as the short years went by.  It was definitely totally unexpected and a big shock to also be diagnosed. 

It has definitely changed my life and my family’s life.  But I plan to fight this little annoyance in my life with all I’ve got.  Right now, my biggest issue is that I always just feel tired and fatigued.  It wasn’t until all of this hit me that I really understood the difference between being tired and feeling fatigue.  Fatigue takes more out of you, you feel weak, like you just can’t do as much even if you want to.  I feel happy and blessed that I have never had to stay in bed and that I can’t take care of my family.  It has been hard for me to right how give up exercise as I was doing it before.  I will be making more adjustments, but know that getting back to some form of daily exercise for my body will be helpful.

Another thing I’ve changed is my diet.  I know it kind of stinks for a food blogger who loves baking goodies to have given up gluten and refined sugars (as well as most processed foods and some dairy).  That said, I am enjoying finding new things in the gluten free world and how enjoyable things still are using honey and dates and coconut palm sugar instead of refined sugars.  I consider it a fun challenge.  Does that mean all you’ll find on my blog now are those things?  No, I still love baking for my family and friends and do plenty of that.  I just no longer eat it.  Do these diet changes help with MS and other auto immune diseases?  Well, for myself, I don’t really know.  Everyone asks.  I made those changes last June.  I don’t know.  But I don’t really want to find out that I’d be a lot worse by trying to go back.  So here I am.

Six years later.  Happily plugging along.  This is the main reason why—Thank you, Kevin, for EVERYTHING!


Can we move on to cookies already?  I thought it would be so hard, almost impossible, to give up sweet things.  It hasn’t been that hard.  What do I really miss the most?  Sometimes I just want a good whole grain peanut butter and honey sandwich.  I have yet to find a gluten free bread as good.  I will keep searching and so far all the ones I’ve made are pretty good.  And you know what, I’m not gluten intolerant, so when really “necessary”, I do cheat.  A few times when Kevin and I have gone to dinner, I have taken a bite of one of our favorites—molten lava chocolate cake or some heavenly battered and fried artichokes we had once.  Delicious.  But I have found a bite or two and I’m okay, it’s not going to hurt me.  I’m sure I could even cheat more than that.  But I’m fine eating the things I do and don’t feel deprived.  Maybe that’s helped by not giving up chocolate.  I switched from my favorite 70% dark chocolate to eating 85%.  Now when I eat even 70%, it’s SO sweet to me.  Gotta have a little bite or two of my 85% just about everyday. 

Sometimes I don’t even have to have chocolate.  Like when I come up with cookies as good as these Lime Almond Cookies I am sharing today.  They are SO good.  And the are not only gluten free, but grain free (Paleo) as well.  They are sweetened with just a little raw honey—in other words—they are good for you! ;  )

Lime Almond Cookies--Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free 2

Lime Honey Almond Cookies, (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free) by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cups (120 grams) almond flour

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup (84 grams) raw honey

zest of 2 limes (about 1 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Combine the almond flour, arrowroot, salt and baking soda in a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Add the honey, zest and lime juice.  Pulse until well combined and the dough is all moist.  Add the chopped almonds and pulse a few times.  (You can also just stir them in if you want the nuts in bigger chunks.)    Form the dough into balls with a cookie scoop.  Press the dough firmly into the scoop with your fingers.  When the dough is released from the scoop, it should stay in its shape.  (You could also just form balls of dough with your hands.)  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 16.

Paleo Lime Almond Cookies 2-13-14

When I first tasted these, I thought they weren’t sweet enough and wasn’t all that thrilled with them.  After tasting more than one and having a few the next day, I’ve decided they are delicious.  They have a perfect chewiness to them and the lime and honey are great with the almond nuttiness.  I like them so much I came up with another version that doesn’t have lime but includes chocolate.  Stay tuned for those—and more—as I continue sharing all the things that make my life what it is.

And thank you so much to all my readers over the years.  I have made some of the greatest friends of my life, and it seems so silly to say since many I haven’t even met face to face yet.  How awesome is that!  It has been such a joy to actually meet some as well.  Kindred spirits, all of us food bloggers—what could be better than food, family and friends.


Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Happy Blogiversary, Katrina! Hard to believe we met via TWD so long ago! :)

Paige said...

Great post Katrina. Thank you for putting down the whole thread of your journey in one place.

The cookies look delicious. I love almond flour. I know nothing about gluten free baking...but is the arrowroot to help hold everything together? And I know what you mean about thinking something isn't sweet enough and then the chewiness pulls you in.

Happy anniversary!

Katrina said...

Thanks, Jessica! I meant to mention Tuesdays With Dorie in my post and forgot. That was definitely so fun and helpful in learning more about baking. Miss that! (I know, TWD is still alive, just not quite the same.) ;)

Katrina said...

Thanks, Paige. Yes, arrowroot (and tapioca and starch flours like that) are used for helping bind things together and also help with softening and making things light and fluffy. (Though these cookies do not fall in that category of light and fluffy.) ;)

Granny Jacque said...

Sweet blog today about your journey. We love you. MOM and DAD

Unknown said...

I admire you so much, Katrina! I can't imagine how hard it must be for you at times, especially with you still baking all of your old favorites for your family to enjoy. That just proves what a great mom you are too! I'm sure your switch in eating has helped you, even if you can't pin point it. I'm also glad you are able to give into a bite or two of temptations from time to time. I think you're definitely on the best path for your health and well being. Congratulations again on your 6th blogiversary. I can't wait to see what you'll be whipping up in your kitchen come the next 6+ years! All the best to you and your family! XO
Renee - Kudos Kitchen

Twila said...

Congratulations on your 6 year anniversary! And I hope your diet helps improve your health. I'm also sugar/gluten free because of Lyme's Disease. It will be year the end of March. I'm afraid it will probably be a way of life. Sigh. But I know it's helped. The cookies look good, and I will be trying them.

Katrina said...

Aw, thanks, Renee and Twila. So nice to hear the love!
Twila--I hear Lyme's disease does some nasty things. Hope you are better soon. My nephew recovered from it completely after he struggled for a couple months (he was only 8 then). All the best to you both!

Katrina said...

Oh, and thanks, Mommy (Granny Jacque)! ILY!

Lisa said...

Happy blogiversary Katrina! I've loved seeing how your family has grown up on your blog, and of course, the treats have always been the best. So glad that I found your blog all those years ago.

Leslie said...

Happy anniversary girl!!!!!!!!

Katrina said...

Thanks, Lisa and Leslie! <3

Michele said...

I don't usually post any comments...but today felt compelled to. Thank you for sharing your family, your photos, your health issues and your wonderful recipes with us. I look forward to see your updated family photo!

vanillasugarblog said...

I'm sorry I missed this post Kat :-(
I still don't know what year I'm on...do you? LOL
You have such a handsome family; one to definitely be proud of.
I'm so glad that you're kicking your health issues in the butt--it's really the only way to do it. Plus the benefits are far better in the long run.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Happy happy blogiversary :) these cookies are fantastic!!

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Unknown said...

Hi Katrina, I just made a batch of these cookies. They are really good! My kids, who are 7 and 8 and 8 yrs old, loved them! I'm so glad since they're healthy cookies! I will definitely be making these again, but will probably double the batch next time!

Katrina said...

Thanks, Michele!
And Dawn. <3
And Dorothy, thank you for letting me know you made the cookies. That reminds me I still need to post the next ones I made similar to those--but they are Almond Joy flavors with coconut and chocolate. ;)