Our first Thanksgiving with just the two of us was one I will always remember. As it always goes, there is an overflowing amount to be thankful for that we are reminded of on this day. However, this year there seemed to be a little extra squeezed in. I sat on the couch with Scott looking around our mostly furnished apartment that I would now call cute and cozy, thinking back to only a month an a half ago when we moved in with nothing besides a bed and some boxes to our name. We sat on beach towels on the floor and ate off of a Christmas decoration bin as our table. We had no jobs. We were in a strange, foreign city we have never been to – downtown to be more specific – and we were suburbs kids. There were a slew of new smells and sounds to get use to, and a diverse group of new people we were now in the midst of trying to find our way. Nothing was comfortable. Nothing was familiar. Old habits were kicked to the way side as we had to redefine what “life” looked like to us now – contemplating what the heck we had just done. I was reflecting on all of this while sitting on my comfortable couch, looking around my now cozy apartment, sitting next to my beaming husband who has been working for an incredible company that he loves for the past month now, and feeling an overwhelming love for the new city we now call home. We have started from scratch, embraced the unknown, lept headfirst into pursuing our passions, and with a power that is not our own – squashed fear and denied its hold on our lives and the decisions we make. Somehow. Someway. It happened. How the heck did it happen? How did we do it? Because I don’t know how, which makes me feel stunned stupid with thankfulness.
After working from home on Friday we walked down the street, purchased a Christmas tree, and carried it home. (Okay. Scott carried it home. I held the tree stand.) Its amazing all the memories that swell up when you do something as ordinary as buy a Christmas tree. You unpack the lights and boxes of ornaments, each one with a story, and suddenly, it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re home.
Last year I came up with this recipe in hopes of reclaiming eggnog as a holiday tradition I could once again be apart of – sans the guilt of a heavy, sugar laden drink with half an ingredients list I couldn’t pronounce. My hope is to reclaim the holiday season with a new sense of what it means to have joy this time of year. To have a healthy body and an intentional mind. To celebrate all of the delicious flavors of the season using quality ingredients, and be intentional about the balance between decadence and nutrients. To pay more attention to people than to-do lists. To take away some stress from my life, rather than pile it on and try to just “get through it”. Cause if we are to be honest, the people we love and want to create positive, meaningful memories with do not benefit from our being stressed out, unhealthy, burdened, etc. So far I haven’t found an item on my list, where if it wasn’t completed, would mean the end of the world. Except for if the people around me did not feel loved.
Pssst. That chocolate loaf cake you see sneaking in the picture below? Yeah, that’s processed sugar free as well and the recipe is coming to you here within the week…!
2 cups plain almond milk
2 cups canned light coconut milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Combine the above ingredients in a medium sauce pan and place on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer while whisking continuously. Continue whisking while the liquid simmers for four minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and pour, carefully, into a glass bowl or jar on the counter to cool, uncovered. Once cooled, place in an airtight jar in the refrigerator to chill and set for at least four hours before serving.
Makes 4 cups. Serves 4 Jessie’s, 2 Scott’s, or 1 Dad.
Ps. We got our Christmas tree!