"Gingerbread" Houses and Nuts

Thinking of my favorite things, this annual event of decorating gingerbread houses at Chloe's dearest friend's birthday party, must be on the list. They are made from graham crackers and royal icing, and the kids love putting all the beautiful decorations on. This year the kids ate them the day they made them, leaving a few flakes of icing "snow" and a crumb not big enough for a mouse!

My head can't help but wander to next year, when Lucas will join them at the table, shoveling mouth fulls of sugary goodness! Having friends who make our family feel happier and stronger is a gift of joy to me. Our sense of community stretches from family and friends close by, to those who require a bit of a drive to see.

One addition to our extended family of friends this year was a little girl who's smile lights my heart each time she throws her arms around me. Watching this family learn to become one, seeing sisters born through chance...this is a gift of joy. It makes all the presents seem silly, the real wrapping and bows belong on this little girl and all the others who make our life just a bit more special.

The Solstice has come and gone and Christmas is just a couple of nights away. My children are giddy. Eli says, "Happy Christmas Eve" every day and wants to be in NY, now, where we will celebrate the Holiday this year. I've been spending some time in the kitchen finding new recipes to share that make our gatherings delicious, without sugar! These are tasty little nuts that bring the taste of Holiday without the indulgence.

"Gingerbread" Pecans

2 cups raw pecans 2 TB olive oil 2 TB agave 1 TB molasses 2 tsp powdered ginger 1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix everything together and put on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or shallow baking dish. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle a bit more sea salt to taste, allow to cool and serve.