27 Lessons in 27 Years

I turned 27 years old this week. This still surprises me because I feel much younger but the reality is that I'm almost 30 years old now. I feel caught between being young, wild and free and feeling a bit out of place when friends are beginning families and buying homes. When I stop the comparison trap though, I realize that I am truly in the best time of my life. 

I spent this last weekend with my favorite people doing my favorite things. We drank under the city lights, had breakfast in our pajamas, ate cake with my family, sipped mimosas on a Monday morning, played in the mountains of Colorado, and reflected on the best of times and the worst of times. 


While I reflected, I realized I've learned so many lessons in my life so far and those lessons have become guiding principles in my daily life. I hope that in sharing them with you, you'll be inspired to grow, change, and pursue your greatest potential. So here you go!

27 Lessons in 27 Years

1. Speak your truth. 
Don't hide behind fear, insecurity, or shame. Say what's on your mind and be brave, even if your voice shakes.

2. Ask for what you want.
Be direct.

3. Adaptability > capability.
Be flexible, adapt to new situations, try new things.

4. “The victim mindset dilutes human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce the power to change them.” Dr. Steve Maraboli

5. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

6. Compliment often; speak the beauty you see in others.
If you think someone around you is kind, smart, or looks amazing: tell them.

7.  If you can't offer a solution for it, don't complain about it.
Solve the problem or shut your mouth. Complaining doesn't fix problems.

8. Never leave work for someone else that you can do yourself.

9. It is better to be worth knowing than to be well-known.

10. "Ego is about who is right. Truth is about what is right." Mike Maples Jr.

11. Done is better than perfect.
Finish that project, start that business. Ideas don't get things done, doing the action does.

12. Seek to belong, not to fit in.
“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” Brene Brown

13. Communicate expectations before they have an opportunity to go unmet.

14. Self-discipline is a form of self-love.
Keep the promises you made to yourself; follow through with those goals, habits, and dreams.

15. Courage > comfort.

16. Work to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Small growth each and every day will add up to huge change.

17. Kindness always matters.

18. The entire day doesn't have to be ruined because ten minutes went wrong. Make the other 1,430 minutes count.

19. You're allowed to question the rules.

20. Know your "why".
When you know why you're doing something, you have a solid foundation to return to when things get hard or overwhelming.

21. The best plan is one you can actually do.
Don't get caught up in huge, sweeping changes. Make a gameplan that is sustainable long term.

22. Your dreams don't have to make sense to anyone, not even you.
Do your dreams sound crazy and impossible? Great, that's the point. Go after it anyway.

23. Courage is more important than confidence.
"When you are operating out of courage, you are saying that no matter how you feel about yourself or your opportunities or the outcome, you are going to take a risk and step toward what you want." Debbie Millman

24. If your response is "I'm too busy", try saying "it's not a priority" and see how it feels.

25. Fail forward.
Let failure refine you and better you. It's simply an opportunity to grow.

26. "No." is a complete sentence.

27. Practice gratitude. 

What are some of your biggest lessons you've learned? Join the conversation by leaving a comment here or over on Facebook or Instagram.


Paleo Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Growing up, my dad's favorite cake was always carrot cake. We would have it for every birthday celebration with him. It would always be dense, sweet, and full of buttercream frosting layers with bright orange frosting-made carrots on top. When I think of carrot cake, I think of my dad and how special he is to me. That's why I was so excited to get in the kitchen and create this perfect carrot cake that is gluten, grain, dairy, soy, nut, and refined-sugar free. It turned out SO darn well that I literally almost cried when I took that first bite, thinking how sweet it was to have my childhood favorite in a new way.


Cassava flour is the key ingredient in the cake making it nut free which is a huge bonus! Cassava flour is made from the whole food form of yuca root (minus the peel!), which is a staple for many countries. It has a really neutral taste and the texture is virtually identical to wheat flour meaning you can often use it one-for-one in your old favorite recipes! You can buy it online, on Amazon, or at most health food stores.

It's my latest kitchen obsession so pick some up for future recipes you might see around here!

I also use Kite Hill cream "cheese" which is almond-based and even better than the real thing. You can find it almost anywhere too! I love using the plain cream cheese as a frosting base or using the chive cream cheese for savory spreads. You won't even know the difference!

That's the beauty of this cake. The flavor and texture of the entire thing are so amazing that it's nearly identical to a traditional carrot cake; paleo or not, this cake is incredible and maybe the best I've ever had!


Paleo Carrot Cake
(Gluten, Grain, Nut, Dairy, Soy, + Refined Sugar Free)

For the cake
2 1/4 c cassava flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 pastured eggs
1/2 c ghee, softened
1/2 c pure maple syrup
2 c unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c shredded carrots (I used a food processor)

For the frosting
8 oz Kite Hill cream "cheese"
1 T pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two nine inch round cake pans with ghee or coconut oil and sprinkle lightly with cassava flour. In a medium-size bowl, whisk dry cake ingredients until well incorporated. In a stand-up mixer or large bowl with hand-mixer, mix eggs, ghee, syrup, almond milk, and vanilla extract until fully incorporated then gently mix in shredded carrots. With mixer off, gently add in dry ingredients then mix until well combined. Pour evenly into the two round pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. As soon as they come out of the oven, gently run a knife along the edges then set aside to cool.

In the cleaned stand-up mixer, use the whisk attachment to mix the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until soft and smooth.

To assemble, gently invert one of the round cakes onto your serving plate so the smooth side faces up. Spread half of the cream cheese frosting evenly. Place the second layer of the cake on, smooth side facing up, then spread the remainder of the frosting over the top. Use a small spatula to spread the excess down the sides until the cake is evenly covered. Serve immediately or store in the refridgerator. 

As always, share pictures if you make this cake! I love to see! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram!



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Carrot Cake Pin
Source: www.lemonandfignutrition.com/blog/carrotca...

Salmon Salad with Almond Butter Dressing

This salad is one of my all-time favorites! It may look impressive but comes together super quickly with some basic ingredients. This is a great mid-day lunch or dinner! I also love to make extra dressing to have on hand for an easy and quick sauce for salmon, chicken, or for dipping raw vegetables! 

You seriously must make this beautiful salad


You can get this recipe over at Gluten Free School where I was featured as a guest blogger, so click the button below and enjoy!

I love to feature your re-creations on my Instagram Story so share to send a picture so I can fan girl over it!




Salmon Salad (1).png
Source: www.lemonandfignutrition.com/blog/salmonsa...

Breckenridge Bars

There's a small eatery in Arizona that has the most amazing dessert ever, Salt River Bars, named after the summer river destination in AZ. I've only ever tried a Salt River Bar one time but easily remember the thick caramel cookie base and the salty and sweet chocolate layer. This cookie I tried one time nearly six years ago popped into my mind the other day and I instantly hit the kitchen to make something similar, but with cleaner, more health-friendly ingredients.


These bars have a similar thick cookie base with a chewy texture, a thick layer of creamy chocolate, and all topped with sea salt that perfectly ties it all together and nails that salty-and-sweet flavor. 

I call them Breckenridge Bars as an ode to my home here in Colorado just like Salt River Bars were a nod to my home state. I hope that wherever you are in the world, you can try these delicious bars and think of the magnificent mountains of Colorado.


Breckenridge Bars

For the crust
1.5 c blanched almond flour
1/4 c raw shredded coconut
2 T coconut flour
2 T coconut sugar
1 T ground flax
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c ghee or grass-fed butter, room temperature
2 pastured eggs

For the topping
1.5 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use allergen-friendly Enjoy Life)
1 T ghee or grass-fed butter
Course sea salt for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease 9x9 pan with coconut oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter. In a stand-up mixer or medium bowl with hand mixer, whisk dry ingredients for the crust. Add ghee or grass-fed butter and mix until crumbly, then add eggs one at a time until the dough is cohesive. Place in the greased baking dish and flatten until even, and use a fork to poke holes throughout the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Set aside to cool. In a double boiler or microwave-safe dish, melt the ghee and chocolate chips until smooth. Pour over the slightly cooled crust, top with sea salt, and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. Slice and serve! You can store leftovers (as if!) in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

I hope you love Breckenridge Bars as much as I do! If you want to get really adventurous, swirl in some peanut butter to the top chocolate layer and indulge! If you make them, send me a picture or tag me on Instagram or Facebook!



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Source: www.lemonandfignutrition.com/blog/breckbar...

Crispy Buffalo Chicken (Paleo + Whole30)

I have a confession.

I used to hate all things buffalo sauce. Gasp! I know, call me crazy but I just didn't like the taste of it one bit! It wasn't until I started experimenting with it again that I realize it was the stringy, melted, plastic tasting cheese in most buffalo dips that turned me off! Ever since that life-changing lightbulb went off, I've been digging spicy buffalo chicken in all forms!

My latest obsession?

Crispy buffalo chicken. 
Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, and nut free crispy buffalo chicken to be exact.


I know you're probably thinking to yourself "so what is it coated in?". 

Cassava flour!

Cassava flour is made from the whole food form of yuca root (minus the peel!), which is a staple for many countries. It has a really neutral taste and the texture is virtually identical to wheat flour meaning you can often use it one-for-one in your old favorite recipes! You can buy it online, on Amazon, or at most health food stores.

You'll be seeing lots of new recipes using cassava flour so go ahead and stock up now! You can thank me later.

As for today, here's one of my favorite recipes I've ever made with cassava flour! I tried to perfect this recipe with nut-based flours but it would always get mushy or easily burn. When I made the switch to cassava flour, it was totally seamless and this chicken is now one of our weeknight faves! You can use the whole chicken breast or make kid-friendly tenders or nuggets! Either way, you'll love the taste of this home cooked buffalo chicken.


Paleo Crispy Buffalo Chicken (Gluten, Dairy, + Nut Free!)

3/4 c cassava flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c hot sauce
1/4 cup ghee, melted
1 pastured egg
1.5-2 lb chicken breasts, trimmed
Coconut oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine melted ghee and hot sauce, allow to cool, then whisk in the egg. It will become thick; that's okay! Set aside. On a large plate, whisk flour, garlic, and sea salt until well combined. Place chicken breasts in the buffalo sauce and stir so the chicken is fully covered. Remove the chicken from the buffalo sauce and dredge in the flour mixture and set aside. When you're done dredging the chicken, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and place about 1/4 c coconut oil in there to melt. Once the skillet is HOT, fry the chicken on both sides until slightly crispy but be careful not to overcook. We just want to get the outside crispy. Place chicken on a roasting pan or cookie sheet with a cooling rack and bake at 425 for 15-17 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with dairy-free ranch, greens, and a roasted sweet potato!

If you make this, show me on Instagram or Facebook! I love to see how these recipes come to life for you and your family. 

Watch the blog for more recipes using cassava flour! Next up: CARROT CAKE. Oh yes! 



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