Certainly, there are many great holidays. Although if I have a choice, my favorite days of the year to celebrate are
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birthdays, and this month we celebrated mine
Age has certainly brought many things, and out of them all, perspective is one I’m probably the most grateful for. For the first time, I’m stopping to pause, the way I remember older people doing when I was a kid. A slight bit of mental head-scratching, calculating backward to 1971.
Before I got here, the notion of turning 40 was always curious to me. I’d watch as others approached it with a strange sense of dread, smiling awkwardly at gifts like black balloons
Was it true that everything familiar and good was about to start to decline? That life was really half over? Why was it assumed that the second half would be worse than the first? What about this newfound sense of urgency? All of the things in life they’d still like to do, let’s best be after them
Maybe I’m the eternal optimist, but admittedly my experience has been a bit different. Instead, I’ve been thankful for my 40s, as they’ve proven to be the best decade yet.
There’s a sense of comfort in my own skin. I’m calmer and far more centered, with a truer sense of priorities and what matters most at any given moment. It’s comforting to be established in a career, a little money set aside for a rainy day, having learned how to nurture solid relationships with friends and family, and become a little smarter along the way.
I look at pictures of myself and realize the wrinkles on my forehead, will only deepen from here. Certainly, there are times I wish for magic potion with promises take them away, though instead, I’m choosing a different paradigm. One centered on gratitude for what they symbolize, the times of learning and growth, wisdom, and perspective.
A few, such as these that I hold close to my heart
Never wonder, never assume, simply ask the question
It’s not what you eat that’s important. It’s what you’re able to digest
Don’t be easily offended. Most people really are good, and simply trying their best
No matter what you do, there are those who will neither like nor understand you. It’s ok
Don’t buy jeans that are too small; they won’t motivate you to lose those last 10 pounds. Trust me on this.
Keep music on, wherever you are. There aren’t many things that lighten my spirit and soul like humming along to a song I love
I used to think everyone but me had it all together. They don’t. Everyone’s winging it. Some just do it with a lot more confidence.
The choices of our children make us neither a good parent nor a bad parent
If there’s one thing you should do for your health, today and long-term, it’s learning how to manage your stress
The women in my life are priceless
Eight hours of continuous sleep is one of life’s ultimate pleasures.
Never be afraid to take a path the world views as unconventional. I’ve roamed many of them, and regret nothing.
You really need very little. Learn to want very little as well
There’s no happier way to start one’s day than making fresh pancakes, with puppies at your feet
Always, always, listen to your gut (and have the courage to act). Mine’s proven right every time
Step out of your comfort zone. I’ve always been happy I did
Surround yourself with wise people. Learn to recognize when it’s time to ask for and follow their advice
Being kind is far more important than being right
There’s no purer form of love than that which comes from an animal
Guard your mind, heart, and spirit with everything you have. Be conscious of where you’re putting your energies and focus each day. There are millions of shiny distractions
Never covet another person’s yard. The “grass is always greener” mentality can be such a dangerous neighborhood
None of us are any better than anyone else. When the chips were down, we were fortunate enough to have resources to help pull us up and out
Sugar makes your mind mushy. There’s a balance in between life’s treats, Friday night wine dates, and the sweet acceptance that most days are better celebrated with a clear head and calm heart.
Three ingredients: dates, cocoa powder, and nuts. Stick them in a food processor, store them in the fridge, and you’ll have a decadent (semi-nutritious) brownie batter.
This raw brownie recipe has become one of my favorite snacks. Probably because it’s easy and turns out perfectly every time. Walnuts, dates, cacao powder, and sea salt combine in a food processor to create a surprisingly delicious snack.
(Top with peanut butter chocolate fudge for special occasions)
Made with whole foods, naturally sweetened, they’re rich, chewy, and filled with chocolate flavor. No baking required. A small bite proves just enough to satisfy a sweet craving.
A couple of other tips
Add a tablespoon of cacao nibs into the mix after processing for a crunchy texture.
You can also use this raw brownie recipe as a pie crust or as chocolatey raw truffles.
ps: Can use any combination of cacao powder, unsweetened cocoa powder. If you’re a protein powder user, that can be used as well.
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~ Adapted from Whole Foods
Raw Walnut Brownies
- 3 cups walnuts, rough chopped + 2 Tbsp for sprinkling as a topping
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes to soften
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- Place the nuts in food processor and process until they're finely ground, but not enough that they're beginning to turn into butter
- Add the cocoa powder, almond butter, and salt. Pulse 3 or 4 times to combine.
- Drain dates and squeeze out any excess water. Add the dates, one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor, while it is running.
- After processing, the brownie mix should resemble cake crumbs, that when pressed, will easily stick together. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired, for moister brownies.
- In a large bowl add the mix and press into a lined vessel. (I used one that was a little less than an 8 x 8" square)
- Top with a few more chopped walnuts
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set and then cut into squares
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container. (They also freeze well)
I just love all your words of wisdom & even though I don’t know you – happy birthday! These raw brownies look fantastic! 🙂
Ahhh Kate .. thank-you so very much!