This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.
It’s been a while. Almost-seven weeks a while (WAIT. Was it really that long?). And while part of me wants to apologize for taking such a long break from this space, a part of me is over here unapologetically celebrating the fact that I did. I needed it. To inhale and exhale and get things in order and move and unpack and scream and cry and adjust to what still – six weeks later – feels like a very foreign way of living.
We moved out of our condo in the park. Unpacked in a few days’ time. Jumped head first into renovating (after our last kitchen reno I was determined to bang out alllll the renovations ASAP) (painting, flooring, kitchen, etc.). Stuff with our little business venture got kicked into high gear. And then – in the midst of what I kept referring to as The Most Chaotic Period of my Life, Ever – I received news that hospice was coming to take care of my Opa.
Aside from knocking the wind out of me and turning me into a sobbing mess in a public place (sorry to everyone in Protein Bar who had to witness that), I lost my mind trying to wrap my mind around how the hell we were going to squeeze in a trip to Ohio. We had half a dozen things going on that required us to be present, and halting them would be impossible (moving) or costly (Alchemy HQ build out) or inconvenient (renovations). So we finished the impossible and sucked up the costly and inconvenient and then we packed up our tiny Prius and grabbed my little (and by little I mean younger) brother and drove exactly 1,185 miles to my Oma and Opa’s front door.
Side note: we spent $60 on fuel and CAN I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE OUR PRIUS C? I love it. A lot.
Anyway. I’ll spare you the details because 1) they’re far too personal and 2) they make me cry every time I think or write about them (and crying right now isn’t really conducive to getting this blog post in front of you). But know that I got to spend a really beautiful (and weird and terrifying, if I’m being honest) week with my Opa. He was witty and open and reflective and I feel so damn lucky that I got to be there to see that side of him. But then I had to say goodbye. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt more conflicted than I did the day we pulled out of his driveway, knowing I was leaving to tend to matters that were far less important, in the grand scheme of things.
Thanks to a good friend who reminded me you’ll never get this time back, I found myself sitting on a plane heading back east just four days after we arrived home. Unfortunately, by the time I made it back, my Opa’s condition had worsened. But I got to sit with him and hold his hand. I got to remind him how much I love him. I got to thank him for caring for me (and my brothers) the same way he cared for his own children. And I got to look in his eyes and tell him how much I appreciate everything he did for our family. Because there’s no denying that everything I have, everywhere I’ve been, and everything I am can be traced back to that man (and my Oma) – which, if you think about it, is a really fucking beautiful thing.
Less than 72 hours after I returned to Ohio, my Opa laid down his earth suit and left us for the afterworld. I sobbed and drank a lot of coffee. And then I sobbed some more. I held my Oma tight and I told her all the same things I told my Opa. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this: it’s that you shouldn’t wait until someone’s on their literal death bed to spill your heart out to them. You need to be shoutin’ that shit from the mountaintops. Today. Tomorrow. And for as long as you have them in your life.
PS – The Courthouse Wedding. <3
PPS – I might not be sorry for taking a break but I am sorry for posting two (shredded) coconut-heavy recipes in a row. OOF.
Notes: The almonds can easily be replaced with your favorite nut; macadamias would make for a delicious substitution (I almost used them but didn’t have enough on hand). If you’d rather use another liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, agave nectar, etc.), knock yourself out. Speaking of which, these bites are just a touch sweet so if you want something sweeter, you can swap all/part of the creamer for equal parts of pure maple syrup. I prefer my coconut-lime bites to be on the crumbly side so I only add 2 tablespoons of creamer. If you want yours on the chewy side, go for 3 tablespoons. Also? Orange and lemon substitute beautifully in this recipe. Just sayin’. ;)
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own and I think Califia rules.
ALMOST RAW COCONUT-LIME BITES
2 1/2 cups (190g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups (210g) raw almonds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
Zest of one lime
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons (28g) fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons (22g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/4 cup (74g) pure maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons (28-42g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk creamer (see notes above)
Add the coconut, almonds, vanilla bean powder, lime zest, and salt to a food processor fitted with the S blade; blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds or until the mixture turns into a fine crumble. Drizzle in the lime juice, coconut oil, and maple syrup then process for 10-15 seconds. While the food processor is still running, drizzle in the creamer (you need to add it separate from the coconut oil otherwise it will cause the coconut oil to seize and that is NO BUENO, my friends) and blend just until combined. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop, drop the bites onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll into balls and coat with coconut flour, if desired (though not necessary). Freeze for 30 minutes then transfer to an airtight container. Will keep in the freezer for several months, but I doubt they’ll last that long.
Yield: 26-28 bites