Here in France, our Friday is already winding down which means there are just a few more hours before it’s officially Christmas vacay time! This mommy is trying to tie up some lose ends, all the while dreaming of cookie making with the kiddos, Christmas movie nights cuddled up on the couch, and cold afternoons spent sipping coconut milk hot chocolate.
Before I wrap those last few Christmas gifts and run myself one more espresso, here’s a quick look at some of my recent favorites:
ONE: The only thing better than a cozy sweater is a cozy sweater with fringe! I found this fun knit at Leclerc Blagnac and couldn’t resist the urge to add yet another fringed piece to my Fall / Winter collection.
Here are a few different fringe hemmed sweater options for you, ranging in price and style but all guaranteed to add a little spice to your winter wardrobe!
TWO: I still can’t believe that Aston turned 4 this week! As we often do, we decided to keep things super low key. We picked Aston up from school and surprised him with a big boy bike and then rushed home to squeeze in our mini birthday celebration.
My husband was heading out of town right after lunch for the rest of the week and the kids had tennis practice to get to, so we had exactly 45 minutes to eat lunch and celebrate our birthday boy.
Then we swallowed our lunches in 15 minutes flat, leaving just enough time for Aston’s favorite part: the cake!
Though as a rule of thumb I rarely bake normal cakes and cookies, I tend to splurge on birthdays. This year, however, I decided to keep things on the healthier side. I whipped up a *double layer grain-free dairy-free chocolate cake from Celebrations cookbook that I mentioned last week.
The original recipe calls for *palm shortening, but – despite the fact that Walker clearly says not to – I used coconut oil instead. Though the texture was probably not as perfect as it would’ve been with palm shortening, I was pleased with the result! While not as light and fluffy as a flour-based cake, this was a great grain-free alternative.
For the icing, I opted for this paleo chocolate fudge icing and loved it.
(1) My cake pan was bigger than the one called for in the recipe, so I ended up baking two batches of cake batter to be able to have a double layer cake. I also doubled the icing recipe.
To make my healthy-ish cake even more fun for the birthday boy, I topped it with a Cars themed gluten-free sugar disk from Labo Gato added a border made of red and yellow M&M’s. As you can tell by his facial expression when he saw the cake, he was thrilled!!
THREE: I’ve always loved sprouts, but when we started learning about the Seignalet diet, my husband decided that we should buy our own sprouting kit. I’ve literally have never had any success at growing anything, but our Bardo’Germ sprouting kit is the exception to the rule. It’s so easy to use and keeps use stocked in fresh sprouts!
FOUR: During our quick trip to the USA, we snuck in time for a quick round of family photos at the local JcPenney’s Portrait Studio. While clearly not as cool as all of the lifestyle family photos that are so popular stateside, even the simplest in-studio family portraits in America beat anything we’ve ever found in France! I guess you could say that the French just aren’t as into professional photos as Americans are…
FIVE: Every now and then a picture will pop up in my Instagram feed and it’ll look so delicious and so perfect that I literally have no other choice than to run to my kitchen and try out the recipe that very second! I guess you could say that my appetite is stronger than my will to actually stick to my To Do list.
That very thing happened to me when a picture of these Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt popped up in my feed. I literally dropped everything I was doing, sprinted to the kitchen, and whipped up this ridiculously delicious dish!
For the sake of keeping it dairy-free, I used coconut cream instead of yogurt and it worked perfectly! I also improvised and used cilantro instead of scallions and yet again, the result was divine.
I kid you not when I say that making this was, without a doubt, the best decision I’ve made all week! 🙂
Alrighty, that’s a wrap – Christmas gift wrapping pun intended 🙂
For this last full week before Christmas, may your sweaters be cozy, may your Christmas parties be festive, and may your hearts be full of joy as you contemplate the true meaning of Christmas!