The coming of the new year is without a doubt my favorite time of year. Being a keeper of memories and an avid dreamer the new year holds me sweetly in its arms and whispers sounds of hope and promise. This will be our fourth new years since being married and we’ve created a quiet intimate tradition that suits us well. Each year we buy a bottle of bubbly, put Octave to bed, stay in just the two of us and remember to our hearts content. Then we drink the whole bottle and write down our intentions for the upcoming year. We listen to our favorite albums of the year and read over our vows and family values. I love a good party, but this night of the year has never felt the appropriate time to throw our hands up and yell happy new year with crowds of people. This year there will be no bubbly but there will be multiple bottles of kombucha, Christopher’s favorite sun-dried tomato pasta, and our favorite shortbread cookies.
This year has been simple, rich and at times really challenging. 2013 and Wyoming both hold a lot of significance for our family, because it has taught us who we are and who we are not. It is the year and the place we questioned and challenged almost everything. It is where I fell so madly in love with Octave that I end most of my nights with tears of joy. I have been wrecked by this love and thankfully will never be put back together. It is where I fell in love in the kitchen and with my simple domestic life. On paper it doesn’t seem like we did a lot, but I can look at my recipe index over this year, and see that the kitchen is where Octave and I spent majority of our time. Stepping outside our home was not easy for me, a reminder that we were stuck in the desert with no hope or plan of how to get out. But with a little creativity and an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, I started this food blog and created a new culture inside our walls. This space has been good for my soul.
Most of the work we did this year was internal. We tried our best to take away all the unnecessary distractions and then we prioritized our hearts and minds. In doing this we could see a reality that sometimes seemed hopelessly bleak. This reality has inspired a lot of necessary change that we are no longer afraid to make. We are starting to become the bold, brave individuals we fell in love with and now it is really exciting to be become those bold, brave people together and build a new foundation for our family.
2014 holds a new adventure, a move west, a new baby, and a completely new life. For Octave and this babe half baked, we are giving them the best versions of ourselves, because we are finally going to do what we love, around the people we love. We are giving them grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and good friends that live close. We are giving them access to exquisite local food, and the beauty of intentional local living. We are giving them a community where almost every thing we value can be celebrated, rather than demonized. We are giving them and ourselves one of the most beautiful places on earth. (I am just a little bias.)
Portland, Oregon, we are coming home! Thank you for holding our hearts with the utmost care while we wandered in the desert. The 31 day count down has begun. It is a very Happy New Year indeed!
Oatmeal Shortbread Drizzled with Peppermint Chocolate
These cookies are light, crumbly, and absolutely delicious. I have always kept the dough recipe as is but experimented with different types of chocolate and even homemade nutella on top. The peppermint chocolate knocked all the other versions out of the water. It reminds me of a peppermint girl scout cookie and completely spoiled my dinner two nights in a row. They were gone so quickly that I had to make another batch for our New Year’s celebration. There is little to no self-control when I am pregnant. I’m kind of okay with it.
Slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook
Makes about 30 small cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup rice flour, (all purpose works too)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 tsp. peppermint flavor
In a food processor grind oats into flour. It should not be so fine that sticks together but it should resemble flour more than oats. Combine oat flour, rice flour, salt, nutmeg and set aside. In a food processor or by hand, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Combine wet and dry ingredients until a dough comes together. The dough will be fairly tacky. Using a spatula scoop out the dough onto parchment paper and shape into a log and roll up in parchment paper. Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Remove parchment paper from the dough and slice it into rounds about a 1/3 inch thick. Place rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until slightly golden brown. While cookies cool, heat chocolate chips in a small saucepan on low heat. Add peppermint and whisk together. Transfer chocolate to a small plastic bag. Cut a very small hole in the tip of the bag and generously drizzle chocolate over cookies. Let the chocolate cool and harden, about 20 minutes.