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.