When I handed it to him, my heart sank and I suddenly felt like I'd made a big mistake.
It was just a plain manilla folder decorated in gold washi tape labeled, "John's Birthday Folder," (very original, I know;).
I taped one of my favorite pictures of us inside, and wrote a huge "HOORAY" on the outside and inside, there was a card full of mush that said, "Oh darling, let's be adventurers!" (Some cheese ball quote I found on pinterest that I deemed approps.)
The core of it, was pages of a fully planned road trip up the coast, destination: Santa Barbara.
"I didn't get you a single wrapped present," I said. I starred and furrowed my brow looking for approval.
"This is perfect," John said with a huge smile and he hugged me, and asked, "So when do we leave?!"
No presents to open, just a road trip up the coast and a tank full of gas. AND as a fun surprise, we had to stop at all of these mapped out places to take pictures... like different beaches and stuff... kinda like a picture scavenger hunt only a bit calmer and way more fun than I remember them as a teenager.
We'd been feeling the need for some serious "us" time and inspiration so I thought this would be the perfect thing. I was relieved that John agreed.
During our driving time, we somehow got on the subject of regret.
We talked about our past, the pressures of life right after college, etc. etc. all of it.... I caught myself saying a few times, "Ugh, IF only I would have chosen to do "this thing" instead of "that thing", I feel like I wouldn't have bounced around so much trying to figure it all out."
We talked on about regret and how we can kinda let it take over our hearts and brain and let it drive us crazy with what if's.
Then it dawned on me. We couldn't possibly have chosen what we think we should have chosen back then because we know so much more now, than we did back then.
Of course in hindsight it's easy to say "I should have done that" because we KNOW so much more right now.
Maybe everyone else already completely realizes this in life and I'm late to the game but we felt like this realization was a huge breath of fresh air.
Do I sound like someone who's harbored some regret by admitting that?
I really don't think I've held on to a lot of big heavy regret, I just think sometimes we give ourselves a really hard time; we demand perfection in one way or another and for this one person in particular, I completely overanalyze stuff. Like so much I should have a freaking crown for it.
We've got to show ourselves some love and be okay with where we've taken ourselves if we ever want to move forward.
Because we're all so not perfect.
John and I got into a fight on this road trip, a small one, and over something I seriously can't even remember, but I felt so bad that we fought ON his birthday I started to get sad and silent. John quickly noticed this and teased me and I quickly snapped out of it (I mean, the chocolate cookie he surprised me with helped).
I pertain me getting "sad and silent" due to small fight, to holding on to stuff. Don't. Let it go. (Please do not start singing that frozen song, straight face emoji 😐.)
Go out and do and be.
Forget the regret, learn from it but then really forget it, because it is too heavy to carry.
This birthday road trip taught us things we didn't even know we needed to learn, and I guess other than time with each other, that was the best present of all. xo
Honey Peach Cobbler
gluten free, serves 8-10
John's all-time-favorite-thing-ever is peaches. Eh hem, since I've posted so much about peaches I fear no one will stick around but that's the truth friends. Peaches rule around here when it's Summer and I let them.
We've both had some health changes (I'll share soon) that have inspired us to rein back on the gluten and sugar. This recipe is proof that amazing desserts do not have to contain one ounce of refined sugar. Wait, EXCEPT for the ice cream. Ugh you guys, I totally added regular, full-fat amaze ice cream to serve this, because: birthday. So except for that. You can enjoy this with no ice cream though and it's still amaze.
Bakers note: Depending on the sweetness of your peaches you may want to add a little more or a little less honey or maple syrup. The honey takes the stage here. Maple's just a back up, but it's still very needed and underpaid.
1 ½ cups / 200g your favorite all-purpose gluten free flour (see note below)
1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats (gluten free!)
½ cup / 50g almond flour/ almond meal
¾ cup / 55g butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup / 135g raw honey
for the filing:
7 medium peaches / 1300g, peeled or unpeeled, your choice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons raw honey
Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.
Mix and measure all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then either with your fingers or a food processor, mix and smoosh in the cold chunks of butter and honey until you form balls and clumps. Careful not to terribly over mix. It's a little tricky with the sticky honey, but I promise, as soon as it comes together and forms some clumps, you're done.
Slice peaches into even-ish pieces. (I didn't bother to peel mine, but if you'd like your peaches peeled, peel them before you slice them for ease.)
Mix the lemon juice with the arrowroot until dissolved.
Toss the sliced peaches in a bowl with the lemon juice + arrow root mixture, honey, maple syrup and a pinch of salt.
Add peaches to a pan of your choice (either a 9 x 13 in / 23 x 33cm or two small pans of your choice) and top with the crumble topping blobs.
Bake at 350° F / 180° C for 25-30 minutes or a little bit longer depending on your oven's "temperament". ;) Top should be slightly golden brown and filling slightly bubbly.
Scoop and serve with vanilla ice cream if you choose. This would also be amazing with really cold and fresh coconut whipped cream.
* I plan on sharing my favorite homemade gluten free flour mix very soon! Hang tight! xo