On the move with not one, but two trips this week! Getting the less-than-fun one out of the way first with a two day workshop in the Amsterdam for business (meh) and THEN heading back to my favorite city in all the world – BOSTON! When I found out that both Melissa Hartwig and Gretchen Rubin were going to be at Harvard for the first stop of The Four Tendencies book tour (the only stop they will be together in fact!), my husband knew that it was the meant to be, perfect gift for me. And I am SO excited to see these two boss ladies who have exerted such tremendous influence in my life. I have learned so much over the past few years from each of them and they have provided the inspiration and framework to make massive, positive changes in my life.
And speaking of powerful, influential women… I am of course thrilled to be able to catch up with some of my friends and husband’s family while there! This is just a quick trip, but even so it’ll be a bit less hectic than the last few times we have been home around Christmas and seeing a few of my favorite people will be a priority and a major happiness booster. Some big things have happened since I have seen some of them – marriages, babies, new jobs, first houses, etc. and it’ll be fun to hear all about the updates. I believe that one of the very best things in life is a friend that you can pick up with right where you left off, no matter the amount of time that has passed since you were last together. And I am blessed with many such people in my life.
One of the other best things in life is my husband. Not only does he obviously give great gifts, but he is also the most fantastic partner and friend I could have ever asked for. I can’t believe that we are almost to our second wedding anniversary already, although in my ways I find it sometimes hard to remember life before him. This past month of my #happinessproject was focused on marriage which meant I spent all of August trying to be demonstrative/”give proofs of love,” stop nagging, be encouraging and find ways to think the best of Jon especially when he didn’t make it easy. But as it turns out that, that is not often. In addition to my resolutions for the month, I also opted to focus my reading on books related to marriage by legendary marriage experts like John Gottman, Gary Chapman and Gary Thomas. And my research confirms that I am quite blessed indeed.
Another component of last month’s activities included our mutual reading of the book Cherish, which challenges couples to settle not only for committed love in their marriage, but also going out of the way “to notice… appreciate… honor… and hold [each other] dear.” We read a chapter of the book each week and then take Coco out for a long walk on Friday evenings to debrief and go through the discussion questions. The book, but more importantly, the time dedicated to conversation about our relationship in a structured way has been enlightening to say the least. And although this probably won’t come as a surprise to you after reading the start of this post, Jon’s primary love language is gifts (meaning he feels loved and expresses his love best by receiving and giving gifts). So as I prepare to travel this week, I made one of his absolute favorite treats – my Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles. These are one of my most popular recipes, little bites of heaven, which no one will believe are Paleo. On a scale of 1 to 10 challenging-to-make they are probably a 2 (EASY), but they look pretty fancy. They can be stored in the freezer for up to two months to savor whenever you want a little sweet treat. And as a gift to you – the recipe is below.
- Unsweetened Almond Butter (or other nut butter of your choice) .75 cup (190 g)
- Pure Maple Syrup .25 cup (60 ml)
- Coconut Flour .25 cup (30 g)
- Sea Salt .25 TSP
- Vanilla extract (optional) 1 TSP
- Dark Chocolate 80% or higher 4 oz (120 g)
- Combine the almond/nut butter, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt in a medium bowl and stir until well mixed.
- Once smooth, add the coconut flour and combine.
- Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture into your hands and roll into small balls and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until relatively solid. Meanwhile, chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a small glass bowl. After the 30 minutes, melt the chocolate using the double boiler method - placing the glass bowl over a small saucepan of water. Bring the water up to heat which will allow for the chocolate to become melted and smooth.
- One at a time, drop the almond butter balls into the dark chocolate and roll around to coat evenly. Use two forks to remove the ball and place back onto the parchment paper.
- Once the truffles are coated in dark chocolate, place the baking sheet back into the freezer for 30 minutes and then enjoy!