Life & Almond Joy Brownies

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It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve just feel the weight of it all.

I feel the weight of persecution in Iraq, conflict across the globe and personal goals that I haven’t met yet.

As often happens, one thing piles on top of another, and it’s hard to see clearly where you’re headed.

Then, you see things like this video of cocoa farmers tasting chocolate for the first time. What an incredible thing! These men, who work their whole lives harvesting cacoa beans, have no idea where the beans go or what they make. (And yes, I get a lot of my news from Relevant.)

I think it’s an interesting picture of how we often don’t see the fruits of our labor in life. Sometimes we just have to keep going, keeping working and doing good and shining light, even when we don’t get a pat on the back or see what change we may make.

You really never know what a conversation means to someone or a warm delicious brownie baked just for them.

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I’m not kidding. As you can see from the video linked above, chocolate is pretty amazing.

These Almond Joy brownies are even more amazing because:

-No butter is required (coconut oil is the star here)

-We’ve invited coconut and almond extract to the brownie party

-These taste like an Almond Joy candy bar!!!

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Let an Almond Joy Brownie lift you up, and give a square to someone who really needs one.

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 *Click on recipe card to enlarge or right click to save.

Thinking Fruitful: 5 Ways to Waste Less Food

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The other day I ran across this article about what people around the world are doing to help our food waste problem.

It’s really awesome that people are finding ways (and new technology) to get food that would be wasted to people who really need it.

I definitely want to keep an eye on these projects and do my part to waste less food.

Here are 5 ways that I use (and will get better at using) to waste less food:

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A Southern Treat

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When you read “a southern treat” what do you think?

Are you imaging your grandmother’s tart lemon bars or maybe a summer’s best peach cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream?

I can definitely see my mind going down those paths.

But, in this case, this southern treat is not of the sweet variety…but it is of the non-healthy variety.

(But it uses local ingredients. Does that count for something?)

This indulgent side dish is Creamy New Potatoes.

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Simple Saturday: Boozy Mint Melon

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve put a cocktail up on the blog…and it’s been quite a while since we’ve had liquor in our cabinet.

We’ve been enjoying the local beer scene (Fullsteam, Big Boss, Wicked Weed) and inexpensive but delicious Trader Joe’s wines so much that I haven’t really thought about homemade cocktails in a while.

But, we finally bought a little bit of gin the other day, and I had watermelon in the fridge and mint in the backyard, so I started there.

This Boozy Mint Melon drink is super refreshing, smooth and light (but with a little kick, of course).

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Soup for Summer

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It’s no secret around here that I love to eat soup, no matter the weather.

But it’s also no secret that it is getting HOT where I live.

I thought since I moved north from Arkansas to North Carolina that I would leave the humidity behind and be enjoying 75-degree summers. I was mistaken.

It is heck-a humid here and very toasty. Nineties is kind of the norm right now.

So, this makes a bowl of hot soup sound a little less appealing. But what if that soup was chilled and refreshing?

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Simple Saturday: Summer Fruit Recipes

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I hope all of you have been enjoying the bounty of summer fruits as much as I have.

Unless you’ve got stained fingers and juice running down your face, you’re just not doing it right.

What a blessing it is to have more than three fresh seasonal fruits in my kitchen at one time!

Lately, I’ve been eating up peaches, watermelon, blueberries and blackberries especially. And I just got some cherries!

While it’s wonderful eating these things just as they are, I also do love to bake with them. There’s really nothing like the combination of warm, sweet fruit, some sort of crunchy topping or pie crust topped with cold vanilla ice cream.

Here are some of the simple summer fruit recipes that I’m thinking about trying:

-This Cherry Almond Crumb Cake combines some of my favorite flavors: almond and fruit and crumble!

-Some of the same flavors as above but with a custard AND a crust! Oh my!

-Roasted stone fruit + rosemary + shortcakes. Sounds like a win!

-If you’re not in the mood for baking, make a Watermelon Wine Sparkler or a Watermelon Ginger Mint Slush.

-Ok, it’s now clear that I have a serious thing for almond and fruit. Here’s all of that in a dutch baby. Breakfast, anyone?

-I’ve never thought of putting almonds in my crisp topping- genius!

-And then, there are clafoutis. My mom used to make ones like this for us with summer fruit.

Well, I hope that list has your wheels turning about getting in the kitchen this weekend! Happy cooking, baking and enjoying the best fruits that summer has to offer!

Summer Remix

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Summer is a time to enjoy family, friends and lots and lots of fresh, delicious food!

This summer, I’ve found myself making a lot of the blog recipes that I’ve shared with you in the past.

It’s interesting how each time you re-try (or remix, if you will) a dish, you find new tastes and enjoy the meal in new ways.

Kind of like those amazing, electronic remixes that I keep finding on Spotify (Imogen Heap, Bon Iver…I love them!)

Here are some of the think fruitful recipes that I have been loving lately (click on the name to go to the recipe page):

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A Gluten-Free Dessert

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Last week, I shared these delicious gluten-free Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with you and talked about being flexible with cooking styles.

Well, when I got the chance to make a gluten-free meal, I decided we definitely needed a dessert that we could all enjoy.

I googled “gluten free desserts” and was happy to find Healther’s Dish (an Arkansas blogger who I got to hear speak at my first blogger conference at AWBU) had a killer g-f Blueberry Cobbler recipe.

If I can still get a delicious, bubbly cobbler or crumble without the gluten, I’m in!

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