January 2018 archive

link love

What a week! Between a busy travel schedule last weekend (and for the first three weekends of January), and the 11+ inches of snow we got on Wednesday, I feel like the busyness and the restfulness have finally balanced each other out. While I have loved the trips I have taken so far this year, I’m excited to have a weekend at home.

link love 1.19.2018

There has been some great link love over the past week or two that I can’t wait to share with you. January always seems like a fresh start and a chance to try new things and see if they work better for you than routines you may have had last year. Many of this week’s links are related to that – improving routines, schedules, and efficiency to make you happier this year.

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen, heard, or read Oprah’s Golden Globes speech. Not only was it a great, compelling speech, but there are a lot of public speaking tips the rest of us can take from it. Leave it to Oprah to teach us a lesson while giving her own speech.

I talk to my college friends and my sister about this all the time: making (and keeping up with) friends as an adult can be hard. I love these linked posts that pool advice from lots of people who have made it work, some in very unconventional ways.

Some of my favorite links to share this week are from Emily Thomas’s and Nancy Ray’s “How We Do It” series on their blogs. The two started the series with posts about organizing and managing time, moved on to organizing and managing finances this week, and will continue with five more topics over the next month. I always love seeing how other people make tasks work for them, and in my goal of simplifying, I’m trying to re-read these posts for any takeaways I can put into place in my own life.

On the theme of simplifying and time management, I love this post on the importance of white space. This was one of my biggest reasons for wanting to simplify things this year –
to add more white space to my calendar so I could get greater enjoyment out of the things that I love and the things that fill my calendar.

Lastly, another how-to post focusing on something else I want to improve – time spent reading. I used to read all the time, but after busy college semesters, and now with other things occupying my free time, I often set books on the back burner. My reading list has grown and grown, and I want to start digging in to some of the (hopefully) great books! Carly’s post on how she reads a lot is filled with do-able actions that I sometimes push away because I don’t think I have time. Hopefully getting past that first step (having books on hand) will make it easier to get into the habit of reading regularly.

With that, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and maybe a chance to implement some of these tips!

healthy breakfast cookies

Tis’ the season for new resolutions and healthy eating. While I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, I do like having a healthy reset after an indulgent holiday season. Healthy breakfast cookies are the perfect solution.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Often times we struggle with healthy eating not because we are unsure of what is healthy and what is not, but because in the midst of our busy schedules, we don’t allow enough time to prepare healthy food and instead end up grabbing an unwholesome snack or heating up an unhealthy meal. Today we are going to combat that by making a big batch of healthy breakfast cookies to keep on hand for when you are running out the door in the morning, or when that 3pm hunger hits you at work.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

My favorite thing to get at the local coffee shop on campus is a “banana chocolate ball,” made by a local bakery. I don’t even like bananas (it used to be marketed as a coconut chocolate ball, which was much more appetizing to me), but I have been getting these little balls of tasty goodness since I was in college and love them! I have tried to recreate them many times in the past, with many failures along the way, but I finally developed a close replica!

My version of these healthy breakfast cookies is gluten free, vegan, and naturally sweetened. It is filled with nuts for protein, with optional add-in ingredients to break up the flavors and texture. I like to add blueberries, additional chopped nuts, or, in this case, deep dark chocolate. Use the add-ins to make them your own and to change them up from week to week!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Thanks to the banana and almond butter, these treats are soft and moist. They are filled with good ingredients and healthy enough for breakfast, snack, or even as a substitute for sugary desserts after dinner. I brought a bag of these to Paris with us a few weeks ago and even my hot chocolate and croissant-loving family was asking for them before we headed out in the morning.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Healthy Breakfast Cookies
Makes about 21 1½ tablespoon cookies

¾ cup dates, packed (soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and then drained)
¼ cup honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
1 medium ripe banana
2 tablespoons natural salted almond butter or peanut butter
¾ cup almond meal
½ cup rolled oats (if you are making these gluten free, make sure to get certified gluten free rolled oats)
½ cup unsweetened coconut
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup additional optional add-ins: dried fruit, chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, blueberries, flax seed, chopped nuts, etc.

In the bowl of a food processor, pour in the soaked dates and pulse until only small bits remain. Add the banana and almond butter and mix again until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.

Next add the almond meal and rolled oats and pulse until everything is combined. The dough will be sticky and wet, but should stick together when you scoop it.

Scrape your dough into a mixing bowl. If it feels too wet to the touch to form into cookies, add another few tablespoons of almond meal and/or oats and stir. If you want to add additional mix-ins, stir them into the dough now. I used dark chocolate chunks, but also love adding chopped pecans and craisins. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 1 ½ tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto your prepared baking sheet. They won’t expand so you can place them close together, without touching. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops have a hint of golden brown. Let the cookies set on the pan for a few minutes. Serve immediately.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for a few days. If you want to keep them longer, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. I love pulling these out of the freezer for a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Healthy Breakfast Cookies | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

january goals

This is the week of goals here! How have you been doing with yours? It feels like my December goals post was so so far away. So much has happened since then! In efforts to cultivate my goal of simplifying this year, I’m going to try to add one thing that will simplify my life to each month’s goals. This month I’m focusing on my home – decluttering and purging. I have read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “A Simplified Life” which both give great tips on decluttering, but I’m still not very good at it. Wish me luck!

2018 january goals | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

December Goals
– Get all of our Christmas shopping done by December 17 (we’re so close already!)  YES! All of our Christmas shopping except for a few stocking stuffers was done by December 10th! This was one of the best things we did this season – it left room for more Christmas activities and I was less stressed about finishing our shopping than I have been in previous years.
– Continue to exercise and practice self-care as the season gets crazy. This includes getting more sleep than I have been getting recently.  Definitely didn’t get more sleep, but I did a great job at keeping up an exercise routine, so I’m marking this as completed.
– Post all of my gift guides by December 12 – Nope, but close. I should have switched this date with the date for finishing my Christmas shopping ;)
– Decorate for Christmas so our home is available for planned or impromptu holiday gatherings  Yes! I seriously cried when we had to take down the Christmas tree before we left on our New Year’s trip.
– Meal plan again – we have been going out of town so much that our meal planning fell to the side on weekends, which left us scrounging during the week. I want to get back to planning our meals again because it always makes the evenings less stressful. – Didn’t do a great job of this at all. Whomp whomp.
– Spend meaningful time with both of our families for Christmas celebrations Yes, yes, yes. We spent time with lots of family in December and it was all so wonderful.

January Goals
– Clean our apartment
– Purge at least one bag of things I don’t use or need
– Build in free time on our trips to make them relaxing rather than overwhelming
– Wake up early enough to enjoy a slow morning before work at least two days a week
– Get back to meal planning

What are your January goals? Any tips for decluttering? I’m all ears!

2018

2018 goals

Happy 2018! I didn’t intend to take so much time off from blogging, but with a very busy holiday season I didn’t have much time to take and edit photos or write posts. I would usually stress about the next time I would be able to prepare a post, but I found such peace from spending time with friends and family over the holidays that I realized I haven’t had (or haven’t made time for) relaxation and rejuvenation in a long time. Instead of stressing about a certain number of blog or Instagram posts over the last few weeks, I focused on being present with the people I love and doing things just for enjoyment, not for social media. While I spent the end of 2017 rushed and exhausted, I entered 2018 refreshed and relaxed.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but as you know, I do like regularly setting good goals. Last year my goal was growth, and I really feel like I achieved that in many aspects of my life. I grew in my professional life, creative abilities, skills, fitness, and toward the end of the year, in my ability to recognize when I need to simplify and slow down. I learned a lot and am excited to put it all to use this year.

I recently read the book, A Simplified Life, by Emily Ley. The principle of the book is that in our modern world we are living busy, overwhelming lives, and have a lot of things vying for our attention, but we can adjust some of these things to make life a little simpler so we have more time to enjoy those we love and the rest and activities that fill our tanks. As I learned in December, continuing at such a crazy pace will quickly drain me and eventually cause burnout. These lessons come at a fitting time, as 2018 is so fresh and I am coming off such a wonderful period of rejuvenating rest. My goal for this year is to put those lessons to use and simplify. It will be easier in some areas of life and very difficult in others, but I know it will make for a better year and a better me when I am with my family and friends.

I’m looking forward to getting back into blogging this week, and I’m so excited for what this new year holds! Happy new year, friends!