Strawberry & Goat Cheese Freekeh Salad

A healthy, delicious salad full of sweet strawberries, crunchy pistachios, tangy goat cheese, and hearty freekeh.

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We’re about to get our freekeh on.

I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.

Let’s try again: Have you tried freekeh yet? It’s super freekeh-y.

There’s no hope for me.

Ok, seriously now. Freekeh. Have you heard of it? Freekeh is basically a super fun name for roasted green wheat. It’s an ancient grain that is popular in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. It is actually the preparation process of  thrashing and rubbing the green wheat that gives it its name. It’s low on the glycemic index and is a great source of protein and fiber. Once cooked, it has a sort of chewy texture and nuttiness to it that makes it perfect for any number of applications where you might use brown rice, barley, farro, or other whole grains.

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{Friends First with Laura’s Mess} Raw Cacao Mint Truffles

Raw Cacao Mint Truffles are a no-cook,  easy healthy treat that feels positively indulgent.

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Happy, happy April, darling friends! As promised, March seems to have come in like a lion and has gone out like a lamb…sort of. Personally, I have reached the point where I don’t care what the weather chooses to do from here out, I am NOT putting my winter coat back on. I won’t take it to the dry cleaner yet, though, as that seems like a perfect way to jinx us into an April snow.

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I am so excited to introduce our very first INTERNATIONAL Friends First guest! Laura is the English-born  brain behind the Australian food blog, Laura’s Mess. I first discovered Laura when she posted the most outstandingly lovely comment on my Pickled Cucumbers post this past summer, and immediately fell in love with her. Things Laura and I have in common, despite living in opposite hemispheres: reddish hair, tiny apartments, memories of baking cookies (or “biscuits”, for her) when we were just wee little nuggets, super similar blue plates (see recipe photos), and a definite love for food and Jesus. Laura’s husband, Aaron, is an artist and has his own website (which you should definitely check out – you can even get some pretty rad iPhone cases!). Laura’s site, meanwhile, is full of incredible recipes and even more beautiful photos – seriously, her photography blows me away! Today she is sharing a unique sweet treat with us, and I think you’re gonna love it (and her!).

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March Stitch Fix Review

Spoiler alert: I kept everything.

SF logo March Stitch Fix Review

That’s right, kiddie beans, I’m officially a Stitch Fix addict. Not even two months after my previous fix, I summoned my personal stylists again. (Which, admittedly, is doing better than scheduling a monthly fix…but only slightly.)

For those who missed my last Stitch Fix review, let’s recap: Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. You create a profile and answer a ton of questions about yourself and your personal style – everything from your age to your sizes to what colors you love or hate to whether you like gold or silver jewelry better. You can even provide a link to your favorite Pinterest fashion board to serve as an example of the clothing styles that you love. After filling out your profile, you schedule a “fix” – once scheduled, a stylist will review all of the information in your profile and pick out 5 pieces to send in your box. These will be shipped to you, where you can try them on in the privacy of your own home, on your own time, without having a sales associate bother you every 13 seconds to ask how you’re doing. You decide what you love and want to keep and what you don’t love and want to send back in the postage-paid mailing envelope.

Fixes cost $20 to schedule and ship, but that $20 goes towards anything that you keep from your box. If you decide to keep all 5 items, you get 25% off the total price! As I previously alluded, you can sign up for automatic monthly fixes, or you can choose to schedule fixes as infrequently as you wish. You’ve got the power.

So let’s take a look at what I was sent this time, shall we? You’ll notice I’ve upgraded from iPhone to DSLR, but I was home alone so we are still working with mirror pics here. And yes, I do need to get out the Windex, I know.

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Alaska Oatmeal Cookies

These thin, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies will have you sneaking into the cookie jar at all hours of the day.

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Admittedly, I could have called this recipe “Thin and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies” or “The Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie”, but instead I decided to balk all of the SEO rules and call them precisely what I wanted: Alaska Oatmeal Cookies.

Why Alaska? There’s a story there.

As I have mentioned before, Boyfriend works as a personal trainer at a local gym. When he first started working there back in January, he met George. George is the client of one of Boyfriend’s coworkers; he is in his 80′s, hates the way Chicago idiots drive in the snow, and thinks Boyfriend’s beard is epically awesome. Obviously, he and Boyfriend immediately bonded. Every Monday, before George’s training session, the two of them shoot the you-know-what and discuss everything from the weather to what’s for dinner that night.

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Bisquick Banana Bread

Homemade banana bread does not have to be a culinary challenge – use homemade Bisquick mix to pull this sweet and satisfying loaf together in no time!

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Admittedly, I like banana bread.

We’ve seen Vegan Sourdough Banana Bread. We’ve seen Millet Banana Bread. There were even Banana Oatmeal Muffins to scale things down to an individual-portioned level.

Obviously my love for banana bread recipes is not a new thing.

But taking my love for all things banana bread and combining it with my love for using homemade versions of store-bought items? That one is new.

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