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Dry dough and dear friends

Every winter, I hit a certain sort of creative "lull." I find myself mentally gasping for air. It's as if the busy weeks of the holiday season build and build on my spirit and then when things slow back down, I can't find my footing again. I've written about this before, probably exactly one year ago, but it still stands true; how do I deal with this? Good friends.

... and who do I always go to? Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something. She has been my creative ally and inspiration for over a year now (woohoo!) and when I feel underwhelmed by my "creative career", I go spend time with her for a boost. She lifts my spirit without needing to try. Chatting, laughing, making messes... It's where my heart feels most at home. So what did we do? I brought Rebecca on board for a sugar cookie photo shoot.

My trusty social media intern, Rowan, came across Otto's Naturals and with Valentine's Day around the corner, we decided to bake cookies to start the week of love on the right foot. Otto's has an amazing cassava flour that is perfect for paleo and grain-free baking so we decided to try out making sugar cookies. We used Organic Coconut Palm Sugar instead of regular sugar and opted for organic powdered sugar on top of the cookies instead of icing. I brought Rowan with me to Rebecca's lovely little farmhouse yesterday and spent time with her and her darling baby girls (girls?! Eek! Plural! I can't believe it!) while we made cookies and took photos. If there was once a creative lull in my life, I can assure you this shoot vanquished it.

If you are on any sort of restrictive diet, grain-free cookies are the way to go. We found that the cassava flour was easy to work with and has a beautiful texture, giving the cookies a wonderful depth. Cassava flour is an easy replacement for traditional flour in almost any recipe you find online or in your favorite book. We drew inspiration for this recipe from Real Food RN's cut-out cookie recipe and the recipe was loosely adapted here and there to accommodate less cookies. If you're interested in making grain-free cookies, I highly recommend this recipe. We did find our dough a bit dry so adding water definitely helps! 

There are also several food blogs across the web that offer up grain-free, paleo, or SCD recipes for cookies this Valentine's Day including Against All Grain, Elana's Pantry, A Girl Worth Saving, and more.

All photos taken by me and all food + prop styling by Rebecca Gallop

I encourage you, if you feel at all like me this season, to grab a friend and plan a project. Even if you have no idea what you're going to do, grab your camera, your pen or pencil, your notebooks, your favorite CD, or your favorite movie and let being in the presence of the people you love do it's work. Plan a photo shoot around your favorite object or write in that journal you've tossed to the side. Remember, this is about creative exercise, not producing professional work. Try to draw the scene in front of you or revisit an old album that reminds you of a good time in your life. I find that we come to our best conclusions when they arrive naturally, so ease your mind and be present with your friends or on your own. Sip your tea slowly and listen to what your friends and loved ones share with you. You will find your way.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Valentine's day on Saturday and eat lots of sweets for me!