Friday Favorites

Today is a particularly happy Friday. My company (Porch.com) takes the entire week of Christmas off, so I’m about to head into a nice long chunk of time off. I feel like I’m back in school counting down the days to Christmas break!
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I’m kicking off the weekend with some fun and festive activities. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Mil’s to watch Christmas movies and decorate cookies. Sunday, I’m attending my friend Rachel’s Christmas show which poses the question “What if Santa and Jesus were roommates?” It should be interesting…have a good weekend and enjoy this week’s roundup.
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Time off for me always means catching up on my reading list. I frequently head over to Modern Mrs Darcy‘s for ideas for what to read next. Her most recent roundup has me interested in picking up a copy of Coming Clean: A Story of Faith for myself and Goodbye Stranger for my little sister.
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2. Good fonts make all the difference. Chaitra, of Pink Pot, is always a great resource for new design and blog resources. I love the festive fonts she shared this week.
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3. These deer sugar cookies are just darling. I wish I had the confidence to attempt the tutorial from Bakerella, but Pinterest fails keep dancing through my head.
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4. Have a hard time coming up gifts for everyone on your list? Why not buy the same thing for everyone?
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5. I’ve been sick this week and have found myself referring back to our guest post on natural cold remedies. Thank goodness for lemons, ginger, and oregano oil.
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XOXO,
Jules

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Marzipan Christmas Cookies (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

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Christmas cookie season has begun. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and its seasonal treats have a special place in my heart (and stomach). The only problem of course is not letting the sugar send you into the downward spiral that is the sugar binge. Classic iced holiday cookies are often so sweet that they immediately give you that sugar high jolt followed shortly by the inevitable crash. This year I’ve been testing out a few recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard.

I’m half-German so when it comes to Christmas cookies I crave almond, anise, and molasses. One of my favorite recipes is the Bethmännchen marzipan cookie. Because of its almond base and mildly sweet flavor, it’s the perfect cookie to tweak with a healthy twist.
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Marzipan Christmas Cookies (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup almond flour (additional 2 tablespoons reserved)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 egg
1/4 cup sliced almonds
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DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, blend almond flour with maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Almond extract can be strong, so start by adding 1/4 teaspoon and bump it up from there. Blend until a thick paste is formed. This is your marzipan.
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Next, separate the egg and set the yolk aside. Toss the egg white into your processor along with the arrowroot powder and additional almond flour. Your cookie dough will be thick and a little sticky. If it’s too sticky, you can add an additional teaspoon or two of almond flour. Scoop the dough into plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
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Meanwhile preheat your oven to 275F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Once ready, take out your chilled dough and using your hands form it into small balls (about the size of a walnut). Using your hands, form little balls the size of a small walnuts and place them on the baking tray. It’s easier to roll balls if your hands are moistened. Place on baking tray; they don’t spread so you can crowd them fairly close.
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Mix your reserved egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush it across the top of your cookies. Decorate with three sliced almonds and bake for about 25 minutes. If you want to be really traditional you can use blanched almond halves, but it won’t make or break the recipe. I underbake mine because I like to make sure the insides were still nice and soft.
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Once they’re done, let cool for a few minutes before taste testing. This recipe serves 2-4 people (the cookies are small so the definition of a serving size is open to interpretation).
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All lined up on the baking tray. The nice thing about these cookies is that they don’t rise much or spread, so you can really pack them in on your baking sheet.

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marzipan cookies

I love how pretty and delicate they look. They’ll be the classiest cookie on the block.

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They were the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon cup of earl grey tea.

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These cookies are great for parties, although make sure you at least double or triple the recipe. Most hosts I know try to get rid of leftover sweets when the night is over, but these are subtly sweet enough that he/she might just want to keep a few.

What is your favorite holiday cookie? Gingerbread? Chocolate anything? Mil’s signature is her rum balls. Also, has anyone been watching The Great Holiday Baking Show?
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XOXO,
Jules

 

Friday Favorites

Y’all, let me just tell you that this week it was hard to pick my favorites. Between Back to the Future Day and ALL the fall recipes and DIYs, the internet has been chock full of so much awesome. And let’s face it, with Thanksgiving and Christmas on deck, it’s only going to get better from here. This weekend I’m planning on working on a little fall DIY myself. If it turns out, I’d like to share it with you, so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a good weekend and enjoy this week’s picks.
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1. Am I the only one who purposefully avoids any recipe that calls for yeast proofing? Every time I’ve tried to bake with yeast, it’s been a miserable failure. My dough doesn’t rise and I end up wasting a whole bunch of flour, butter, etc. My eyes lit up when I saw The Kitchn’s Baking School post on yeast. It’s a required read for any other timid bakers out there.
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2. Nick and I are back on a Whole 30 cycle, with a few planned cheats on our upcoming trip to Portland. This of course means that all of the traditional Halloween candy is off limits, including my beloved Milky Ways. Adding this recipe for Paleo Milky Way bars to my list of treats to make 26 days from now.
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3. Halloween treats are only as good as the music to which you bake them. Here’s a fun soundtrack to carry you through until the end of the month.
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4. IKEA Hackers came out with an app and I’m pretty excited about it. Heads up to my friends and family, everyone is getting a FADO kitty lamp for Christmas.
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5. Have you hard about the new movie I Smile Back? The film addresses women’s mental health with Sarah Silverman starring as  mother struggling with depression and anxiety. I was unsure about Sarah playing it straight until I heard her NPR interview yesterday where she shares her personal struggles with depression from a young age.
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XOXO,
Jules

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday dear friends! For some of us, today kicks off a glorious three-day weekend. Unfortunately, I no longer have the luxury of bank holidays. Bummer. Speaking of time off though, this weekend I’ll be working my last Saturday for the near future! It’ll be nice to have my full weekends back during the holiday season. More time for cookie baking and merry making. This week we actually received our first holiday party invitation, which is kind of scary since I just started thinking about Halloween! Have you already started framing out your holiday plans? Have a great day and enjoy this week’s picks.
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  1. I’m not a big drinker, but if I have to order something, a Dark and Stormy is one of my top picks. Mostly because I love ginger beer. This apricot twist from Coco + Kelley sounds damn delicious.
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  2. This week, Forbes held their second annual Under 30 Summit featuring presenters who are making a big impact at a young age. It is awe-inspiring to see how many 20-somethings are heading up new businesses and nonprofit initiatives. I particularly enjoyed hearing Michelle Phan talk about building her business. How is she only 28?!
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  3. Who doesn’t love a good DIY? This round-up of favorite beauty DIYs includes a new one for me, homemade rosewater spray. I have a rosewater toner I absolutely love, so I’m hoping to give this spray a try over the weekend.
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  4. Katja, founder of the blog Travelettes, shared a nice reflection on the freedom to travel to mark the anniversary of the reunification of Germany. Particularly in the context of the immigrant crisis abroad, it’s interesting to consider what a luxury it is to be able to travel and explore. (Note, the post is in German, so you’ll have to translate the page.)
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  5. Mil’s good friend Sully loves Nutella and frequently brings her signature Nutella brownies to social gatherings. She clearly needs to try out this recipe for two ingredient Nutella brownies. It sounds unbelievably fudgey and rich.

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XOXO,
Jules

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