Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It seems that I am always making some version of chocolate chip cookies. A couple of weeks ago, I made almond chocolate chip cookies again. Every time that I make them, I usually tweak a few things. Sometimes this is on purpose. Other times it’s because I am out of something, and desperate for something sweet.

When we are lacking something, we can focus on the lack, or we can come out of our scarcity mindset, let our creative juices start flowing, and see what God gives us as an alternative. God is the God of abundance.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bag of Enjoy Life mega chunk chocolate chips
  • 2 capfuls of almond extract
  • 1/3 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • almond oil -1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1 cup of oatmeal for binding and thickness
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Photo by Katina Horton

Directions

  • Dump all the above ingredients into a huge mixing bowl.
  • Mix everything with a wooden spoon.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Using a cooking scoop or tablespoon, scoop purposely uneven portions of the cookie mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. The more cookies on the sheet, the longer it will take.
  • You might want to use two cookie sheets.
  • Enjoy!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Coconut Lemon Cookies

Practical Ways to Put Self-Care in Your Life (and Why You Should Do It)

practicing self-care, lifestyle blogger, katina horton, therapy, psychology, emotional health, mental health, wellness, routine, motivation, simple functional grace-filled living

Happy Saturday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from fellow blogger Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. ***************

Self-Care Defined

When we practice self-care regularly, it works wonders for our mental and emotional health. It can boost our self-esteem because it’s a way to prove to ourselves that our bodies and minds are worth taking care of. It can enhance our self-awareness and reveal to us new interests and passions. Self-care fosters self-improvement and help us to be more productive and able to care for others.

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Image by Unsplash

In short, self-care is exactly what the term suggests: caring for the “self” so that you can be healthier, happier, and more effective in your everyday life. And the best part about it is that self-care is not some out-of-reach aspiration; there are practical ways to work self-care into your regular routine. Here are some ideas from Valley of Grace to get you started:

Eat with Health in Mind

Diet is one thing that keeps a lot of people from enjoying everyday health and well-being. But nutrition is the fuel your body and mind run on, and what you put into your body matters. Cutting back on processed foods and sugary drinks and opting for more whole foods in your diet can make a world of difference. There are even certain foods that can help you fight depression, such as avocados, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, and fatty fish.

Focus Your Fitness

Aside from the obvious physical health benefits, regular exercise can go a long way in improving your mental and emotional health, and it has a way of motivating you to make other healthy decisions in your everyday routine. Consider HIIT, which enables you to get in intense, effective workouts in a shorter amount of time than many other forms of exercise. In fact, even a 7-minute workout can activate endorphins in your brain and provide you with energy for the rest of your day!

One of the best ways you can track your progress and keep yourself motivated is to utilize fitness apps. To get the most out of your apps, you’ll need a high-functioning smartphone. If your device is more than a few years old, many wireless providers offer discounted smartphones when their customers trade in their older models.

See a Counselor

Seeking help from a counselor can also make a big difference in your everyday life, as you can likely find a counselor who specializes in whatever you are struggling with. Since appointments can add up over time, be sure to review your insurance to see if counseling visits are covered. But note this can be tricky for seniors depending on coverage. For instance, Medicare Part B usually covers the costs of some mental health services. Regardless of your age, policies often change each year, so stay on top of your coverage so that you can modify it if necessary.

Make an Appointment with Yourself

Finally, it’s essential to schedule time with yourself; otherwise, it’s not likely to happen. This includes making time to care for your personal hygiene and enjoying relaxing activities—whether that means getting a massage or facial, going for a hike, or starting a hobby.

This also includes your sleep schedule. Prioritize your sleep like you do work, school, or any other activity in your life. Come up with a relaxing bedtime routine, and go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. When your mind and body are well-rested, it will make a significant difference in how you feel overall, and it will help you to be more productive with your days.

If you want to improve your mental health and well-being, start by finding ways to practice self-care in your everyday life. Pay attention to the foods you eat and find quick, effective workouts to add to your routine. Look for a counselor who can help guide you through your struggles, and schedule time for yourself to ensure that relaxation and sleep are a part of your life.

*******

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if items are purchased, I will receive a commission that will help to offsite the expenses incurred from maintaining this website.

Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

whole wheat, blueberry pancakes, Red Mill, blueberries, sunflower seeds, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, coconut spread, family, friends, omelette, Peter Mayle, Katina Horton, French lessons

The following is a post that I wrote a year and a half ago on another website. Enjoy! God bless!

Book Adventures

I am in the process of reading a book by Peter Mayle entitled, “French Lessons”.  It is one that is filled with a lot of humor, surprises, and vivid introductions to French cuisine.  The one thing that made me stop and think is a scene where Peter is in a restaurant with two friends, and they are discussing how to make an omelette.  The conversation intensifies because one person is insisting on saying that you can only make omelettes with a fork.  Another person insists on the fact that they have been making omelettes all their life with a spatula.  

This conversation ends, and then the conversation begins on what cookware should be used for the omelette.  There was a toss up between cast iron and copper pots.  The person with the copper pots said that everyone else was at a loss for the best omelette without using one.  Peter leaves the scene feeling like he needs to get one fast.

Isn’t this how it is in life?  Instead of us learning about all the different ways that we can say or do something, we have to impose our ways on everyone else, instead of celebrating the differences.  This leaves the people who are different feeling as if they are missing out on something.  It helps when we get into conversations like this, if we could take a moment and think about how it would make us feel if we were the “oddball out”.

On to the recipe:

Background on the Whole Wheat Pancakes

Last week, I had to wait for an hour for my daughter to pick me up.  To kill time, I decided to look around in two sections of the grocery store.  The first section was the magazines and books.  Featured on the front of one of the magazines was a picture of blueberry whole wheat pancakes.  The picture left me with a taste in my mouth that I couldn’t get rid of.  I decided that since I had some pancake mix and blueberries at home, that I would go home, and have fun making them.

They turned out really good!  And I praised God for that!  It is just the little things in life.  Instead of using an egg like the recipe calls for, I used 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal.  Then, I added 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds, 3/4 cup of cashew milk, and blueberries.  For the oil for the pancake mixture, I used grape seed oil.  I used coconut spread to cook and top the pancakes with.  Lastly, since I didn’t have syrup, I substituted with honey.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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Red Mill Organic HIgh Fiber Pancake & Waffle Whole Grain Mix

Their recipes:

  • Blend 1 cup mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3/4 cup of cold milk
  • Mix until blended.
  • Cook on preheated griddle on medium heat.

My recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cup of mix
  • 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • 3/4 cup of Cashewmilk
  • 1 cup of Blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of sunflowers
  • Mix until blended.
  • Cook on preheated griddle on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of Earth balance Coconut Spread.
  • Top with  Earth balance Coconut Spread, blueberries, and honey.

Enjoy!

 Other pancake recipes:

Vegan Sunflower and Chia Seed Pancakes

Simple Vegan Chili

vegan, vegetarian, healthy eating, food, chili, simple food, cozy, comfort food, vegetables, kitchen, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, katina horton, food photography

Have you ever made simple vegan chili? I know. Simple sounds very attractive. The two words simple and chili together sounds even better. That’s why I decided to make it.

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Photo by Katina Horton

Ingredients

  • 1 small bag of corn
  • 3 cans of low-sodium black beans
  • 3 cans of low-sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 1/2 cans of Diced tomatoes with onions, celery, and green peppers
  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, turmeric, ginger powder, curry, and cumin
  • 5 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil

Directions

  • Dump all of the above ingredients into your slow cooker and let it cook for 4 hours on high.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can put it into a big pot, and it should all be ready within 1 hour.  
  • Enjoy!!

****** I don’t use salt, so if you taste it, and it seems like something is missing, more onion powder always does the trick.

Other Healthy Recipes

Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

Simple Stuffing

Simple Chicken Burgers

Pasta, Black Bean, and Vegetable Mix

simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, katina horton, author, blogger, podcaster, healthy living, healthy eating

Pasta, Black Bean, and Vegetable Mix

simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, katina horton, author, blogger, podcaster, healthy living, healthy eating

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of thin spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons of italian seasoning, onion, chili, and garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil
  • herb and garlic pasta sauce
  • vegetable pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cans of black beans
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 1/2 cans of diced tomatoes

Directions:

  • Boil a pot of water, adding the thin spaghetti and a tablespoon of oil after the water has started boiling.
  • Rinse the excess water off the pasta when it is done.
  • Add the Herb and garlic and vegetable pasta sauce.
  • After cutting the zucchinis into chunks, saute them, along with the diced tomatoes and black beans.
  • Dump the vegetable and bean mix into the spaghetti mix, adding the seasonings, and then combining the ingredients.
  • Enjoy!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

katina horton, family, simple functional grace-filled living, simple, functional grace-filled news, cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, healthy desserts, healthy living, healthy eating, fun times, grocery store, grocery shopping, lifestyle, bloggers, blogging, baking, adventure, friends, small groups, bible study, work

Hope you guys are doing well on this beautiful Sunday afternoon in the Midwest. Be blessed! Here is a recipe for Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

katina horton, family, simple functional grace-filled living, simple, functional grace-filled news, cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, healthy desserts, healthy living, healthy eating, fun times, grocery store, grocery shopping, lifestyle, bloggers, blogging, baking, adventure, friends, small groups, bible study, work

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oatmeal
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chip chunks
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
katina horton, family, simple functional grace-filled living, simple, functional grace-filled news, cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, healthy desserts, healthy living, healthy eating, fun times, grocery store, grocery shopping, lifestyle, bloggers, blogging, baking, adventure, friends, small groups, bible study, work

Directions

  • Grab a large bowl, mixing all of the above ingredients.
  • Place parchment paper onto two cookie sheets.
  • Scoop the mixture with a small ice-cream scooper, making sure that you press the sides of the scooper against the bowl in order to drain off excess liquid before placing the scoop on the parchment paper.
  • Bake at 320 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Lentil, Pasta, & Eggplant Soup

lentil pasta and eggplant soup, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, soup, healthy living, healthy eating, recipes, dinner, lunch, blogger, food photography

Three weeks ago, I made lentil and eggplant soup.  I promise you, it did not disappoint.  So, if you are up for something new, why not try it out?  Enjoy and have a blessed rest of your week!

lentil pasta and eggplant soup, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, soup, healthy living, healthy eating, recipes, dinner, lunch, blogger, food photography

Lentil, Pasta, and Eggplant Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Rotini pasta
  • 1 lb of French lentils
  • 1 lb of ground turkey meat
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2 jar of garlic pasta sauce
  • 1/2 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger,curry, and parsley
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of avocado oil
  • 1 cup of broth
  • 2 bunches of asparagus

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Directions

  • Boil the french lentils for about one hour, simultaneously, boiling the rotini and quinoa together in water and 1/2 cup of oil for about 25 minutes.
  • While they are boiling, brown the ground turkey meat in 1/4 cup of oil.
  • Saute the eggplant, asparagus, and diced tomatoes together.
  • After the rotini and quinoa finishes boiling, add them, the vegetable mix, the ground turkey, and all the other ingredients into a bigger pot and boil for about 45 minutes longer.
  • Enjoy!

Mediterranean Dish

mediterranean dish, food, healthy eating, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, family, friends

About a year ago, I decided to come up with a quick meal based upon the few ingredients that I had at home.  And guess what?  It turned out pretty good.  My son stated that it tasted Mediterranean, so I decided to go with that.    I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Saturday.  

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Here is the recipe:

  • Mediterranean Dish
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cups of rice
  • 1 1/2 cans of cut-leaf spinach
  • 3 tablespoons of onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and curry
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  1. Cut the chicken into chunks.
  2. Place the oil and breasts in a skillet, frying them for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the breasts are frying, boil the rice.
  4. Saute the cut-leaf spinach in oil.
  5. Place all of the above ingredients into a crock pot for an hour, along with a half cup of water to give a mashed effect and enjoy!

Coconut Lemon Cookies

I have been thinking about making some version of lemon cookies for a while. 

lemon cookies, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, baking, family time, valley of grace blog store, coconut flakes, health eating, desserts, vegan, vegetarian, lifestyle, blogging, mom, celebration

Finally, I was feeling courageous, and I gave them a try.  When my mom came over, I gave her a few to try.  I hadn’t revealed the ingredients yet.  Then, simultaneously, she asked, “Did you put lemon in these cookies?” right as I was asking, “Did you taste my secret ingredient?”  They came out pretty good.  Hope you enjoy!  God bless!

lemon cookies, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, baking, family time, valley of grace blog store, coconut flakes, health eating, desserts, vegan, vegetarian, lifestyle, blogging, mom, celebration

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1 lemon or 3/4 cup of lemon juice or lemonade
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk

Directions

  • Grab a large bowl, mixing all of the above ingredients, making sure that you cut the lemon into four wedges, squeezing all of the juice into the mixture.
  • Place parchment paper onto two cookie sheets.
  • Scoop the mixture with a small ice-cream scooper, making sure that you press the sides of the scooper against the bowl in order to drain off excess liquid before placing the scoop on the parchment paper.
  • Bake at 320 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

A Little Bit of Normal During the Abnormal

cookies, oatmeal almond raisin cookies, healthy eating, healthy living, almonds, simple functional grace-filled living, simple functional grace-filled news, katina horton, food photography, food, lifestyle blogger, simplicity, normal, abnormal, COVID-19, pandemic,

Right now, in our world, we are faced with a situation that we have never had to deal with before. We have a virus that is worldwide, and there are lockdowns with specific instructions that are given, and each set of instructions are different for each region.  No matter what these instructions are, we have been asked to stay home.  Unless we have essential jobs or errands to run, we are told to stay put for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the extremely vulnerable.

During this season, we have all felt a little bit of some form of anxiety or fear.  Change brings anxiety.  Sicknesses/Diseases bring on fear and anxiety.  And lastly, but definitely not least, the unknown brings on anxiety.  One unknown is that we don’t know how long the worldwide lock downs will last.  We don’t know how long the shortages in the grocery stores or hoarding/panic buying will last.  We don’t know how long it will be till we feel a sense of normal again.  To be honest, when we think about it, will things ever really be “normal”?  Those of us who haven’t had to deal with trauma are now having to ride these waves.  Those of us who already have PTSD are dealing with compounded trauma.

Hope

There is one thing that we can focus on in all this madness.  And it is found in Hebrews 13:8:Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All hope is not lost. We can have what I call a little bit of normal during the abnormal.

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves during this time is to come up with a schedule that we can stick to in order to keep our bodies/minds/souls rested, renewed, and refreshed.

This is a good time for creativity.  There will be times that we’ll get stuck.  The important thing is us coming up with a schedule and sticking to it for the sake of our own, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, as well as that of the other members of our household.  There will be times that we’ll have to just stop and have that cry or meltdown.  It releases the trauma hormones, stress, and anxiety from our bodies and will definitely help us to feel better.  This is an area that I have to remind myself of over and over again.  “Get the cry out.  Have self-compassion and empathy for all you have gone through.  Then move forward.”  Sometimes we might have to rinse and repeat several times a day. 

Blessings

So, what are some of the things that I have been enjoying during this time?  1) Getting to spend some time with my almost 22-year-old son.  2)  Listening to the birds in the morning and then again at 8 at night when they are rounding up for the day.  3) Baking banana bread, zucchini bread, and cookies.  4)  The creativity juices to write poetry as I sit on my bed among my pillows in the morning.  5)  Extra time to read.  6) Time to work on writing two books.

Here are snapshots of today’s baking process:

Photos by Katina Horton

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I pray blessings upon each and every one of you!

Until next time,

Katina