Peppermint-Frosted Cocoa Cookies (Allergy Friendly)

I am by no means a food blogger. However, I have learned how to cook from a young age due to food allergies. My allergy journey is quite extensive, so I won’t bore you with all the details. I am severely allergic to eggs and dairy, moderately allergic to gluten, and growing more and more allergic to peanuts.

Oftentimes, people will feel bad and ask how I can live with such allergies. But the thing is, I have grown to be extremely grateful for food allergies. Though there are many blessings that come with food allergies, I am exceptionally grateful for these allergies forcing me to eat healthier and learn how to both cook and bake at a young age. I have also been given the amazing opportunity of helping others learn how to cope with food allergies and learn how to cook and bake in a feasible way.

All in all, food allergies are far from an irritant. Though I sometimes crave my mom’s famous mac n’ cheese or I occasionally wish I could eat that bakery-made birthday cake, I have found allergies to be a tremendous blessing. More and more stores are carrying gluten free, soy free (though not allergic, I stay away from soy), and vegan products. I hope to write a blog post on my favorite allergy-friendly brands, products, blogs, and cook books. Stay tuned! For now, yay for Whole Foods! It’s a food paradise for those of us who have allergies.

Now, on to the recipe.

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This recipe I found a couple years ago and absolutely love (I’ve critiqued the original to fit my allergy needs). When I could eat “regular food”, my most favorite cookies were these Christmas cookies my mom would make every year. It involved a plain chocolate cookie with a Hershey’s peppermint kiss on top. Though simple, for me these cookies epitomized everything Christmas-y. In an attempt to reconstruct them to suit my needs, I came up with these peppermint frosted cocoa cookies.

I’ve not yet become brave enough to try making vegan peppermint white chocolate (maybe next year!). But for now, these cookies are my new favorite holiday treat. I hope you love them as much as I do!


 

Peppermint-Frosted Cocoa Cookies (Allergy friendly) 

 

Chocolate Cookies 

 

2 Cups Earth Balance Butter, Softened

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 Cup Vanilla or Plain Coconut Yogurt

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 Cup GF Flour blend*

1 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

 

Peppermint Frosting 

 

4 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar

1 Cup Earth Balance Butter, Softened

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 TBS Coconut Milk (or dairy free milk of choice)

Peppermint Extract (to taste), Optional 

1/4 Cup crushed candy cane

 

Directions 

Chocolate Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand alone mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the yogurt and vanilla. Cream together.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk thoroughly together the GF flour blend, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be firm but not dry. Be careful not to add any extra liquid. It may take longer than expected for the ingredients to form a solid dough.
  5. form cookies and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not leave the cookies in the oven any longer than 10 minutes, or they will burn.
  7. Allow cookies to cool off before frosting.

NOTE: These particular cookies can be exceedingly delicate. 

 

Peppermint frosting 

  1. In the bowl of a stand alone mixer, using the whisk attachment, mix the confectioner’s sugar and butter. Add vanilla extract and coconut milk. Mix thoroughly (texture should be firm and creamy, but never loose ).
  2. Using a spatula, fold in the crushed candy cane.**
  3. Frost cookies.

Enjoy!

 

*This is my most favorite flour blend when baking sweet treats: Cara’s Gluten Free Flour Blend.

**The candy cane colors will bleed into your frosting. For example, if the candy canes are traditional red and white striped, your frosting will turn out pink. While the color makes the cookie more festive, some of you I am sure would prefer white frosting. In that case, simply add the optional peppermint extract to your frosting and top with the crushed candy cane as a garnish.


Are you going to attempt this recipe? Or do you have another Christmas recipe you love?  If you have your own favorite recipe, leave the recipe (or the link to the recipe) in your comment. Even if it isn’t allergy-friendly, I can assure you the rest of my family would absolutely love a new recipe to try!

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!


 

Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blogs are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Quotes for Your Monday

I apologize profusely for never posting on Friday!  A favorite, allergy-friendly Christmas cookie recipe was scheduled. However, I am neck high in the trenches of finals week and while the recipe is drafted, I never had a chance to bake my cookies! And without baking the cookies I, of course, never had a chance to photograph them. Please stay tuned throughout this week– my cookies shall be baked and the blog completed!

Until then, let us slow down and steep in the beauty and excitement of these word artists:

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Who Can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.

–Corrie Ten Boom

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.

–Charles Dickens

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

–Buddy the Elf

You are most prepared for Christmas when you are done trying to make your performance into the gift and instead revel in His presence as the gift.

–Ann Voskamp

Christmas is best pondered, not by logic, but with imagination.

–Max Lucado

It’s not what’s under the tree that matters, but who’s around it…

–Charlie Brown

Once in our world a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.

–C.S. Lewis

Christmas is built on a beautiful and and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.

–G.K. Chesterton

‘It came without ribbons. It came without bows. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas,’ the Grinch thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.’

–Dr. Seuss

And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.’

–I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, stanzas 3 & 4


What are some of your favorite Christmas quotes? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!


Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blogs are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

Brown Paper Packages: A New Christmas Tradition

It was December 1st. I spent my morning studying and writing papers. But now I had a spark of an idea. I ran downstairs to find my siblings gathered around the kitchen table eating lunch. I quickly spluttered, “Do you want to go Christmas shopping?” To my surprise, my older brother readily agreed. And so on the spot, we grabbed a few extra dollar bills and headed out to the store.

Nearly every holiday season we find ourselves shopping at Target. To the surprise of many, Target has some really unique Christmas gift options. But my goal wasn’t the biggest, best gift. At least not yet. My goal was to find little gifts full of meaning. Gifts I knew would give the recipient a bit of joy. And while it was difficult to pass up that tulle skirt and holiday plaid, I forced myself to remember that giving is often more beautiful than getting.

When I got home, I grabbed all of my little gifts– all $23.40 of them– and wrapped them up in brown paper. Then I grabbed strips of starry fabric and wrapped it around the package, making a floppy bow. And last but not least, I wrote in a silver metallic pen, “Joy to the World”, accompanied by the recipient’s name. My little brown paper packages were complete. I quickly bundled them up and hid them away.

 

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

You see, one of my favorite ministries (Girl Defined) shared one of their favorite family traditions– Christmas Angels. Every year, they will buy little gifts (i.e. lipstick or lipgloss for a sister), wrap them in a paper bag, and surprise members of their family with these gifts throughout the month of December. And this year, I decided to follow suit (minus the paper bag angel). No one in my family knows– except my oldest brother, of course.

I cannot wait to see the look on their faces when a little package shows up on their pillow, or their desk, or the car seat, or wherever I decide to place their package. At first they’ll wonder where it came from, and then they’ll wonder if they should open it, and then maybe I’ll let them in on the secret.

These brown paper packages. Wrapped simply with knotted strings of fabric and brown paper. Yet when you understand it is a gift and tare the packaging, it gives the greatest joy! Because someone thought of YOU. Someone laid aside their desires, someone decided not to buy that cute Christmas skirt or that newly released movie, so that they could buy you that gift. With each gift comes sacrifice. And so maybe this year we can ignore our inner Scrooges and give generously and receive gratefully.

  I hope you too can join in on the giving of Christmas Angels! Here is Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird’s thorough explanation on the Christmas Angel tradition: 


Will you be joining the Christmas Angels tradition? What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!


Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blogs are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

My Favorite Christmas Things

As I write, the first flakes of the season create flurries. The golden yellow leaves of the maple in the backyard spiral a confetti of colors in this cold, twenty degree weather. Lauren Daigle’s Silent Night rendition softly plays in the background. I sip Salted Caramel tea out of a Christmasy Starbucks mug. You’re reading this and, wherever you are, it’s probably full-fledged Christmas festivities. But as I write, it’s not even Thanksgiving. And yet still, I am thankful. Thankful for this holiday called Christmas.

This fine, snowy afternoon I would like to share all the Christmasy things I am most thankful for.

Without any further ado, I present my favorite things of Christmas:

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Traditions:

  • Decorating. The day after Thanksgiving, our house transforms from Autumn to a winter wonder land. We decorate, listen to Christmas music, and talk about all our favorite holiday traditions. And we usually top off the weekend with decorating our tree while watching White Christmas.
  • Gingerbread Houses. Inviting friends over and decorating Ginger Bread houses has always been one of my most favorite traditions.
  • Holiday walks. This is not exactly a tradition. But, I love taking my dog on extra long walks at night during the holiday season. There is comfort in seeing all the decorations and the warm glow of homes.
  • Candlelight Services. Every Christmas Eve, my family and I attend our church’s candlelight service. It is a beautiful, elegant celebration of the Savior of the World.
  • Christmas Eve Sleepovers. Every Christmas Eve, my grandparents sleep over. I cannot remember a year they didn’t and as I’ve grown older I’ve come to love this tradition more and more. It is the most beautiful thing waking up before the sun and running downstairs to see mounds of packages and then sit around the tree with family.

 

Books: 

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent by Max Luccado
  • The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp*
  • A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid

*I am reading this book for the first time this year. But in that Ann Voskamp wrote it, I already know it will be a keeper.

 

Movies:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • The Bishop’s Wife
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol
  • The Nativity Story 
  • White Christmas 
  • Elf

 

Music:

Honestly? How can you choose favorite Christmas Songs? I love them all! But, here are five that I must listen to every year:

  • O Holy Night
  • Joy to the World
  • Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • O Come All Ye Faithful 

 

Blog Posts:

 

Happy Christmasy Videos: 

Need a little laugh today? Or maybe those warm holiday fuzzies? Here you go…

 


What are some of your favorite Christmas things? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!


Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blogs are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Holiday Edition

I am always looking out for a good photography challenge. Oftentimes, It seems incredibly difficult to find one I actually like. Some can barely be classified as “creative”, others are overly complicated. Last November I stumbled upon a Christmas photography challenge on Pinterest that seemed to be everything I was searching for. It wouldn’t take me hours to construct a scene and it wouldn’t force me to spend hundreds of dollars on new camera equipment. But it would force me to do something creative every day of December.

Whether you are a photographer or not, whether you use a dSLR or a flip-phone, I encourage you to join in on the fun! Photography challenges in the midst of holiday madness really make you stop and enjoy the little things.

Without any further to-do, here is the challenge (I’ve included a few of my own photos from last year):

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2. Favorite Holiday Movie 

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3. Red 

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4. Joyous 

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5. Today’s Temperature 

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30. Your Winter Wonderland 

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I’ll be honest. Last year I was not very consistent with this challenge. However, I plan to be more so this year. I will be sharing my photos here on the blog after the holidays. So stay tuned!

P.S. Wondering what camera I use? You needn’t wonder anymore! Here is all the information… 

Camera body:

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 

Lenses:

EF-S 18-55 mm lens

EF 75-300 mm lens 


Please let me know in the comments if you will be joining the challenge! And if you’re sharing the photos on social media, please include the link. I’d love to see your creativity!

Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blogs are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

Kneel in Wonder: A Christmas Devotional

*Published on TheRebelution as The Wonder of Christmas 

It’s the kind of wonder Lucy Pevensie experienced when she first stepped out of a moth ball-infused wardrobe into the wintery magic of Narnia. It’s the kind of wonder movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and books like “A Christmas Carol” are made of. It’s the kind where angelic hosts light up the night and lowly, dirty shepherds kneel in the presence of a King. Wonder is what Christmas is made of.

You can step into the cold, wintery streets and almost feel it. In the midst of a desolate season, where new life seems to be hibernating replaced by bare branches and hardened ground, a light permeates the darkness. A light of hope, excitement, and immense, indescribable wonder.

I whole heartedly agree that Christmas is, as the old classic sings, “the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s as if nearly everyone (except perhaps that one grumpy lady at the mall on Black Friday…) forgets their anger and bitterness and are filled with child-like anticipation.

Oftentimes, I feel as if the season of Christmas is a glimpse of what God’s Kingdom should look like. It is the one time a year where people all around the world unite in celebration… even if some don’t want to acknowledge the baby in the manger as Savior of the World. It is during Christmas that people are oftentimes most receptive of the gospel. Because during Christmas everyone is looking for that miracle. That good news. When you have God dwelling inside you, every day can be like Christmas. Every day is a miracle and a declaration of good news. Every day you can be captivated by wonder.

Max Luccado, in his Christmas book In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent, wrote, “Christ grew in Mary until He had to come out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs. He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem and every day you live will be a Christmas. You, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.”

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Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash
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Photo by Jonathan Knepper on Unsplash
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Photo by Ander Burdain on Unsplash

This Christmas, will you be still enough to behold God? Will you be still enough to experience the wonder? I don’t mean the earthly Christmas wonders of black and white movies, gingerbread houses, packages piled up under the tree, cookie exchanges at church, or even celebrations with family and friends. Those things are wonderful and are some of my favorite festivities of the holiday season. But will you be still enough to experience the wonder of a Holy God swaddled, laid in a dirty manger, worshipped by common people like you and me? Will you be still enough to experience the wonder of a perfect God hanging on the cross in the place of you and me? Will you be still enough to experience the wonder of being filled with the fullness of God?

Ann Voskamp wrote, “You don’t have to work for Christmas. You don’t have to earn Christmas. You don’t have to perform Christmas. You don’t have to make Christmas. You don’t have to work for the coming of the LORD. The miracle is that God is gracious. Just come as you are. You always get your Christmas miracle. You get God with you.”

Every year Christmas eventually has to leave us. As we return to our daily oftentimes mundane lives, it seems the wonder of the gospel escapes us. We forget the excitement, the anticipation, and the celebration. The world returns to its anger and its heart is once again hardened to the King in the manger. But we, as children of God, can still have that wonder. And we can still share that Good News.

Mathew 1:23 says, “‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”

God is with us. There is not a millisecond He leaves us, and He will never, ever forsake us. Forever, He is Immanuel. God with us.

Ephesians 3:19 says, “And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”

To be filled with the fullness of God. That alone should leave each one of standing in a state of wonder and awe. You see, we have been given the ultimate gift. We are undeservedly filled with God. Every day, we can walk into Narnia and stand in childlike wonder. Every day, just like George Bailey, we can know how important life is and live in the identity Christ has given. Every day we can dance with joy in the darkness and give generously just like Ebenezer Scrooge. And every day we can join the angelic, new song of salvation. Every day we, like the lowly shepherds of Bethlehem, can kneel in the presence of the King.

This Christmas season, will you be still enough to experience the wonder?

–Faye


1st post of the Christmas series!

Join the fun and follow along as new holiday-themed blog posts are posted every Monday and Friday leading up to Christmas! 

My Favorite Worship Playlist

I may not play a single instrument and I barely know how to sing, but I definitely love music. It is an amazing, beautiful gift from God. It has the power to unite souls and influence beliefs. It can be both fun and inspiring.

Music is a creative, beautiful way to praise God and better understand who He is. Worship music can also remind us of who we are in God’s eyes. Of course, these songs can never take place of God’s Holy Word. But they can be our words when our own fall short. They can be used as lyrics of thanksgiving and reminders of our redeemed identity.

I could’ve added many more songs to my playlist, but these are just some of many that point me back to God every time I hear them. They are the ones that leave me in awe of who He is and who He has created me to be.

I pray that you are also blessed by this playlist:

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10,000 Reasons— Matt Redman

 

Every Giant Will Fall— Rend Collective

Joy of the Lord— Rend Collective

More Than Conquerors— Rend Collective

Simplicity— Rend Collective

Whatever Comes— Rend Collective

Your Royal Blood— Rend Collective

Joy— Rend Collective

Finally Free— Rend Collective

My Lighthouse— Rend Collective

Alabaster— Rend Collective

Come On— Rend Collective

One and Only— Rend Collective

Coming Home–Rend Collective

Boldly I Approach— Rend Collective

Broken Bread— Rend Collective

 

You Are My Vision— Rend Collective

 

Run Devil Run— Crowder

 

Undeniable–TobyMac

Love Broke Thru— TobyMac

‘Til the Day I Die— TobyMac

 

Because He Lives— Matt Maher

And All the People Said Amen— Matt Maher

Burning in My Soul-– Matt Maher

Hold Us Together— Matt Maher

 

Greater— MercyMe

Hello Beautiful– MercyMe

Ghost— MercyMe

I Can Only Imagine— MercyMe

Flawless— MercyMe

Happy Dance— MercyMe

Even If— MercyMe

 

Multiplied— NeedToBreathe

Testify— NeedToBreathe

Wasteland— NeedToBreathe

 

 

Eye of the Storm— Ryan Stevenson

The Gospel— Ryan Stevenson

 

By Your Side— Tenth Avenue North

 

Good, Good Father— Chris Tomlin version

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)— Chris Tomlin

Home— Chris Tomlin

 

Oceans–Hillsong United

Wonder–Hillsong United

Shadow Step— Hillsong United

Corner Stone— Hillsong United

 

Higher— Unspoken

 

This is Amazing Grace— Phil Wickham

 

Old Church Choir— Zach Williams

 

Worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.|| John 4: 23

Here’s a link to my favorite playlist on YouTube: My Favorite Worship Playlist.


What are some of your favorite Worship Songs? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!