Hosting a cookie bake-off blog event, contributing to numerous St. Patrick's Day blog link ups and launching a brand new website design all in the same weekend... probably not the best set of activities to lump into one weekend & I don't think I've gone to bed before 2am for the past four days...
But, you know what? It was totally worth it. This weekend has filled me up so completely with community, love, laughter and delicious treats! On Saturday I invited fellow friends & bloggers to take on six gluten-free, dairy-free cookie recipes with me. I've been wanting to try new ones so that I can have an arsenal of go-to favorites and thought "what better way to try them than to mix it with quality girl time?"
Jenni from Jenni's Ferris Wheel of Food, Holly from My Plant Based Family and Cheryl from In Life Ministry joined in, as well as my good friends Jana, Sommer and my sister-in-law Tiffani.
One of my biggest intentions for 2015 is to get more social. We work so much that sometimes we forget what's really, truly important. And that's connection. Connection with those we love. Connection with our community. And getting out of our comfort zones and connecting with new people. I know for me, and for a lot of women my age, that ones that hardest of all.
I'm blessed that this blog allows me to connect to a community that is so loving. A community of health-minded, driven and passionate women all setting out to help and serve, one meal at a time.
For so long I've been guilty of feeling guilty when I've taken time to rest, relax, socialize and just take my focus off of being productive. Last year I asked God to help me prioritize my time to how He wants me to spend it and I'm blessed & thankful that included time getting to know more strong, amazing women. A couple of years ago, if I took time to spend the day doing something, that although was enjoyable, but didn't generate income or job leads, I'd feel anxious, stressed and unproductive.
What I've learned is that it's beneficial for us as a whole to take the time to connect, recharge, refresh, live and love. And the funny part about it all, is that in doing so, I'm actually more productive in the time I spend on my business endeavors when I've been recharged by spending time with my husband, with my family and friends or just working on a hobby I enjoy.
The bake-off was a great way to kick off the weekend. Once all the girls arrived we spent some time chatting and doing introductions for those that didn't know each other. We snacked on crudites and fresh fruit and got to baking! We experimented with two chocolate chip cookies, an oatmeal banana raisin, a chewy ginger cookie, a dark chocolate ginger, and a double chocolate chip coconut.
We had a nut-free and an egg-free station for those who had specific allergies and only two of the six recipes used refined sugar, which some of us abstained from due to sugar sensitives or for those of us that had cut it out. But I wanted to make a good mix to strictly test out more gluten-free baking ingredients and methods.
After trying the six recipes and baking for a couple hours, it was time to TASTE! The BEST part of any bake-off or cooking event. Although they all received rave reviews by at least a couple of members of the party or another, there was a shining star among them all and it was the Double Chocolate Coconut cookies we tried from Ditch The Wheat. We also decided that though the Oatmeal Banana Cookies were scrumptious, they belonged more to the breakfast snack category than cookie.
All in all, it was an amazing way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Next time we plan to cook up some amazing Paleo brunch selections and I welcome the time off to enjoy it fully.
How do you spend time & build community with the women in your life?