I could use this entire post to talk all about pumpkin and how adorable mini-foods are, but why? I know that you guys are aware how much both rock, already. I don’t have to tell you. I wanna talk about friends!!
I am not sure exactly why it took me until my 30’s to really and truly understand and appreciate good girl friends. Likely my own insecurities were the culprit. The destroyer of many great things in my late teens/early twenties. I am not one of those girls with a collection of girlfriends that have been by my side since high school or college. I have changed a lot since those times. A lot. I actually feel like a completely different person from that one. Totally cliché to say, but I honestly feel that.
When I look back at the most important friendships from those different points in my life, as much as I am able to look back with fondness at the fun and the memorable moments we shared, I also know why we slowly drifted apart. I am truly not mad about it, nor do I hold any resentment. The relationships served their important purpose for me, they are part of what shaped be to who I am, I learned what I was meant to learn and not a one of them ended on a bad note. Just a slow drift on down the road of life.
People change and forcing them where they don’t fit, doesn’t accomplish anything for anyone. At least that’s always been my experience in my life. The easiest and best things in life don’t have to be forced. Easily, I can say my two best girlfriends in the whole world are my sister Vicky and my cousin Andrea. Both have been in my life forever, obviously, and they know me better than just about anyone. I could spend unlimited time with either one and it would feel like no time has passed at all. Both have seen me at my best and at my worst and love me regardless. I obviously feel the same for them. I never feel forced to be with them, hands down – the easiest friendships I have.
As most of you know, my life took a huge change in recent times, as we have uprooted our lives and moved across the country earlier this year. With this drastic move, came many huge shifts in various areas of my life. In light of these changes, I have spent a lot of time recently reflecting on friendships. New and old. Close and distant. It’s interesting to me that some of the people I feel the most connected with, live so far away that I couldn’t even get into the car and drive to them, if I wanted. Some were an instant connection when we first met, flourishing and growing at an amazing pace, all through text messaging and Skyping. Many, we haven’t seen each other in months or in some cases years. Some friends are so open and honest with me, I find myself wanting to tell them everything, no matter how long we’ve known each other. Others relationships are so new that there is still so much we don’t even know about each other, but every time we are together we learn even more.
It’s fun and strange to feel yourself entering these new chapters of your life. Seeing old doors close and new doors open. Regardless of the exact point on a timeline that each of these friendships lie in, I feel an immense amount of gratitude for each and every one.
I posted something on my personal Facebook the other day that truly captures how I have been feeling lately:
The best friendships aren’t about history and length, ages or backgrounds, location or distance, or even jobs, hobbies and interests – it’s all about being there, being present and listening to one another. It’s about mutual respect, caring, honesty, selflessness, being encouraging and supportive. Lately I’ve just really been reflecting on and appreciating my friendships, new and old! Thank you amazing friends, for being you!
Talking about friendship might seem odd to you, paired with a recipe for pumpkin mini-loaves, but it’s all just so heavy on my mind as I write this. Through the process of me making and baking these delicious loaves, I spent the entire time texting with Meg and Gina. I won’t even begin to try to explain all that we talked about. Frankly, you probably wouldn’t want to know. As I made this dough, measuring each ingredient, stirring, greasing pans and finally putting the loaves into the oven, the sound of text tones rang throughout the kitchen. I laughed the entire time. It literally felt like they were right there with me, baking and chatting. Luckily for me, I get see Meg all the time, she lives just around the corner from me, she taste tests my recipes, we get pedicures together, we even went trick or treating with their whole family. I love it! Sadly, Gina lives up in Northern CA, so for now we will just text mass amount of emojiis to one another until we meet again. The friendships I have forged with these two ladies mean so much more to me than I ever thought it possible, for two ladies I haven’t even known a year. Shoot, Gina I just met for the first time in actual life, a month ago.
But, what is time anway? Who cares. When you open yourself up to the potential new friendships that await you, you will be rewarded with some of the best times in life. Finding yourself among a community of people you can be yourself with. That is truly one of life’s greatest gifts.
I think what I have come to learn the most, as I have been able to reflect on my friendships present and past, is the importance of always respecting and loving yourself enough to make sure to always surround yourself with the people that inspire you, motivate you and encourage you. Just as important, make sure you want to be that for them, too. Truly love and adore the people you call your friends.
This might be some heavy stuff for a recipe post, but I can assure you these mini loaves are not. They are great for breakfast, heated with a little coconut oil slathered on top. For dessert, maybe a little drizzle of melted dark chocolate over top is in order. When isn’t it, really? I hope you like this recipe and I hope you can find some time in your day today to appreciate your friends. New and old. Cherish them and all of the amazing moments, even if it’s text messages of funny cats wearing clothes while you bake bread.
I wanna hear from you. What do you appreciate most about your friendships? New or old.
[print_this]Grain-free Coconut Pumpkin Mini-Loaves with Cocoa Nibs – Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Refined Sugar-free
makes 8 mini-loaves using this pan
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (I like Honeyville)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour (I used this brand)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut, saving a small amount for the top of the loaves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (if watery, drain/squeeze off as much of the extra liquid as possible)
- 4 extra-large local farm fresh brown eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs (or mini chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease your mini-loaf pans with a little coconut oil, I used this pan.
In a large bowl combine the almond and coconut flours with the shredded coconut, baking soda, sea salt and spices. In a medium bowl combine the eggs with the coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract and the pumpkin puree, whisk until very well combined.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until fully incorporated. Fold in the cocoa nibs.
Divide the batter evenly into the 8 mini-loaf pans, it’s a thick batter so you can just spoon in it. Press it in and smooth it out a bit with a spatula and sprinkle a little shredded coconut on top of each loaf.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Test with a tooth-pick for doneness. Remove loaves from oven, let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
I find for these type of grain-free baked goods, that storage in the fridge seems to be best, I usually just cover them or put them in a storage bag. When I am ready to eat one, I pull it out, give it time to come to room temperature or I pop it in the toaster oven a few minutes and then I slather a little coconut oil on top. [/print_this]
Substitution notes: If you cannot have coconut, I am sorry but this recipe is not for you. There is no easy or exact substitute for coconut flour. Adding more almond flour will not work.
If you cannot have almond, you can try another nut flour or possibly a seed flour, like sunflower seed. I haven’t tested anything but almond flour, so I cannot tell you if it will work, for certain.
This recipe needs eggs it won’t work without them.
Looks very tempting.. thanks for sharing 🙂
We are friends with a group of five families. We have literally brought our children up together and looking back over the last 20+ years makes me weep with gratitude every single time. Whether we were near or far, we held together. The kids are now getting older, marrying, having babies, graduating from college. The parents are facing different challenges of life-empty nest, going back to school after 20 years, cancer, recovery, etc. And still we hold together. It has been the biggest blessing of my life to call these people my family. Thank you for the post to remind me of this and make me weep with gratitude once again.
ps. i’m going to make these mini loaves for my daughter who is coming home this weekend…
Lynn that is sooo wonderful! What a blessing to have those people in your life all of these years. To grow together, build your families together and through the difficult times. Your comment totally made me cry. What a truly amazing thing real friends are! You are all so lucky to have one another. Thanks for the lovely comment! I hope your daughter enjoys these loaves 😉
I LOVE everything about this post. First off, I couldn’t agree more about friendships. I am similar to you, I dont have a crew of girlfriends that have been by my side my whole life. I am envious of those that have that, but that path hasn’t been the right one for me. I have made some of the most incredible connections later in my life because I have been open to them.
Secondly, oh those loafs look sooo amazing. I would love to be eating one of these today!
Thanks so very much for all that you do, Beth! You are so appreciated.
I truly adore you and your friendship Beth! You and Gina had me rolling with laughter last night and actually made my sink full of dishes fun. Imagine that?! I feel like we are kindred spirits and cannot wait to see where this friendship takes us.
I have everything for this recipe EXCEPT for the coconut flour….guess I have to hit the store this weekend. I have fresh pumpkin I’m going to roast first – I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Regarding friends, I too (still) don’t have a ton of girlfriends ….I’ve always had good guy friends. Oddly enough, one of me called me this morning to catch up! What I like the best about my friends, regardless of their gender, is that I can have ‘good’ friends, such as the one who called today, who I may quickly say hi to on occasion on Facebook, but can go months at a time without a call. But when we do…..it’s a big long catch up, and really, it doesn’t seem like it’s actually been 6 months since we last spoke.
When my one girlfriend (who lives in France) came to visit a few years ago, her husband remarked that it was as though we saw each other a month earlier, not years earlier. We just picked up where we left off. 🙂
You’ll have to let me know how these turn out for you.
I love that about my friends too. Seeing them after months or heck for some, years and it’s as if no time has passed at all. That’s really been evident since our big move. I am so grateful for Facebook though, it really makes it feel like everyone is not so far away! xoxo
I feel like I can completely relate to you on this subject. I’ve grown apart from so many of my friends from my younger years because of how much I have changed or from moving away (I am originally from FL and now live in CA), but I’ve also grown to learn how important good friends are. They’re vital for a healthy life, in my opinion.
This loaf looks delicious- I would have never thought to combine coconut and pumpkin but I like it!
So glad I am not alone in this. Absolutely vital to a healthy life. Great point!! Thanks for taking the time to comment! xoxo
I think truly connected friendships are kind of like a fourth dimension…they are wonderfully and thankfully independent of time and distance. They exist and thrive on being open-hearted and giving, letting yourself be vulnerable and asking for help when you need it. That’s why friends are there in the worst and best times, and somehow know you need a hug before you even reach out your arms. 🙂
Mini-loaves are the perfect little packets of yumful TLC…thanks for the recipe!
I love your write up about your friends. I have done the same thing in my life. I had many friends in elementary, junior high and high school but, many of them I don’t talk to because we all chose a different life path. There is a group of us (about 7) that still remain close even though we can go months (some cases years) without seeing eachother but when we do connect, it’s like we just saw them yesterday! I love it! We have picked up (810 miles) or flown in our friends for weddings and unfortunately funerals too. We would say that they have to be there. It feels like we could handle anything if we were all together. They are my second family.
Ok, enough sappy stuff for 8am. Quick question…would this recipe work for a normal loaf pan seeing as I don’t have the mini loaf pan? What would have to change? Thanks Beth
I made this last night and it was delicious! Everyone loved it. I used the honey. I added twice as much cinnamon and a little less salt. I used a regular loaf pan and baked it for about 45 minutes. Thanks for providing this recipe. It will be a regular at our house!
This looks fantastic! I love it..