Birthday Thoughts, A Story, & Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

I start my 29th-year today and I think I have some feelings about it.  Good ones, don’t worry.  Also, I have a story to share and I promise if you sit through all of that I will reward you with cookies.

Indulge me.  It is my birthday after all 🙂 Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

Let’s start with birthday thoughts.  I am officially in the last year of my twenties.  I can remember turning 20 (9 years ago… sheesh) and thinking, “FINALLY! I’m out of my teens and a real adult!” BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Oh sweet, young, barely 20-year old Katie.  You weren’t anywhere near an adult.  But it’s ok I felt that way at 20 because at that point, I was the oldest I had been and while life still had (and still does) have a lot to teach me, at 20 I had reached a new point in my life.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

Clearly ready to be an adult


Just like I’m on the edge of reaching a new point in my life as I finish up my 20’s.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t feel old.  I’m not freaking out about turning 30 in a year.  I don’t have a massive bucket list that I need to accomplish in a year.  I feel really at peace with it.  I think I’m at a place where I’m starting to get more comfortable with myself and I’m embracing that as much as possible.

I have spent SO much of my life feeling like I was wrong.  Like I wasn’t doing what I should be doing.  That I wasn’t accomplishing what I should be accomplishing.  I didn’t look the way I should look.  I didn’t feel the way I should feel.  I just felt… out of place is the easiest way to describe.  I’m finally starting to realize the only person I’m fighting against is me.  I don’t want to waste any more time feeling wrong or out of place.

My 29th year is going to be spent working on feeling just right in my skin.  No one else gets to walk in my shoes, think my thoughts, or feel my feels.  What other people think or say about me is none of my business.  What I think and say about me is TOTALLY my business and I’m going appreciate and love myself more than ever.  That’s my birthday present to myself.

Now for my story.  It’s a love story, so be prepared for all the mushy-gushy feelings.

Wayyy back when I was in grade school I think, my mom got pumpkin cookies from one of her preschoolers.  They were amazing.  Big cookies with soft chewy centers and crispy edges.  I loved them so my mom got the recipe and made them often.

Fast forward to my junior year of college.  I’m in a co-ed band fraternity (yes, I’m a nerd and I don’t care) and after my friends point out that my little brother (not in real life, in the fraternity) is kind of adorable, I develop a crush on the boy.  I start talking to him online (AOL instant messenger was almost dead at this point… in fact, this might have been the last time I really used it) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I make sure I somehow run into him anytime he is in the music building.  I smile.  I laugh.  I do all the girly things you do when you have a crush.

The boy is oblivious.

So in an attempt to amp up my “I like you vibes”, I decide to make him cookies.  I decide to make him my favorite cookies, the pumpkin cookies I’ve loved since I was a kid.  I made a huge batch (probably at least two dozen) and bring them to him at our next fraternity meeting.  He looks at me, takes the bag, says thanks, and walks away with his friend.  My heart sank.  How did he STILL not get it?

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

The night I delivered my homemade cookies

Maybe two or three days later, he messages me and says that the cookies were really good. And just like that, I was back in the game.  A week or so later, I ask him to band formal (that’s another good story for another time) and the rest was, as they say, history.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

And a few weeks later we were “Facebook Official” which was a pretty big deal

That completely oblivious boy became my husband and I, in part, credit those pumpkin cookies because at the time, Adam HATED pumpkin anything but he genuinely liked those cookies.  I have a soft spot for those cookies but until this past Saturday I haven’t had them because in addition to all-purpose flour they have over 3 cups of sugar and 3.5 sticks of butter.  Yeah, not the best of cookies.  So I decided to de-gluten and de-butter and slightly de-sugar them.

Are they now the healthiest cookies that you should eat heaps of every day?  No. But they remind me of the time when I fell for a boy and made him cookies to show him my heart.

WHEW!  If you’ve made it this far, you DEFINITELY deserve a big ol’ pumpkin cookie.  Make them for someone you love or make them all for you because you love yourself and you deserve it!

Happy Halloween friends!

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies- makes about 16 cookies Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten all-purpose flour blend (I used this version but there are a ton out there OR if you have no problem with gluten, use the same amount of regular all-purpose)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup shortening (I used Nutiva which is a blend of sustainable red palm and coconut oils)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 7.5 oz pumpkin (half a 15 oz. can)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (make sure they don’t have added sugar)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional, but really good)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix the first five ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the coconut sugar and shortening.  This will take a few minutes.  You want the mixture to be light, fluffy and the color should lighten a bit too.
  3. Once it’s creamed, add the pumpkin and egg to the mixture and combine thoroughly.  Then slowly add the dry mix to the mixer until everything is well combined.  Stir in the cranberries and walnuts by hand.
  4. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Using a spoon, place about 1/4 cup scoop of the cookie dough and spread it out into about a 3-inch cookie.  These won’t spread out so don’t worry about placing them fairly close.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the pans and bake for another two minutes.  The should be lightly brown around the edges and a little soft in the middle.  Let the cookies cool for two minutes on the pan and then let them cool completely on a cookie rack.  Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Life Healthfully Lived

3 thoughts on “Birthday Thoughts, A Story, & Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

  1. Proving to the world that the way to man’s heart is really through his stomach. Also you have to drop a lead weight on his head to make him see the best thing that’s about to happen in his life.

  2. Sounds good and I think I will make them to take north with me this weekend~~~ Thanks for de-glutenizing them!!

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