To Make / Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


     Good morning! This is one of those recipes that came out of wondering what the heck I'm going to do with a mostly full jar of (insert ingredient here)?! You know - those ingredients that you buy for a specific recipe that only uses a spoonful of said ingredient. It's usually something obscure that is really only used in that one recipe. Now, I really hate wasting food, so last week when I bought ricotta for a pasta dish (surprisingly, not lasagna) and still had the majority of the tub left after making the pasta, I had a pretty good brainstorming session. I racked my brain for a minute on what one does with a full tub of ricotta, and then it hit me - a memory of lemon ricotta pancakes that Brett and I had at our B+B in Denver two years ago! SOLD. I immediately searched for a simple lemon ricotta pancake recipe and scored with this one. Luckily, I already had literally all of the ingredients on hand, and guys - these are the best pancakes I've ever made! They're fluffy (thanks, random ricotta), tart, and sweet all at once. You can definitely say this is a "when life gives you ricotta (and also, ironically, lemons)..." situation. Get the full recipe below!


Ingredients: Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbs. of honey

Ingredients: Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 3 tbs.'s sugar
  • 2 tsp.'s baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbs. melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp.'s lemon zest


1. Preheat your griddle to 350, and grease. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together ricotta, butter, eggs, egg whites, lemon juice, and zest. 


2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and mix until just combined. Scoop out your batter onto the griddle to form pancakes. Cook for two minutes until bubbles form on top, then flip and let cook until browned.


3. While pancakes are cooking, make your blueberry sauce by combining blueberries and honey in a small skillet. Mash together with a fork and let cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.


4. Once pancakes are done, serve warm and top with your blueberry compote. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Explore / Downtown St. Louis


     Hi there! I'm fresh off a girl's weekend in St. Louis to celebrate my best friend Cat's birthday, and I have to share about our trip! One of the perks of living in Columbia is that we're about half way between STL and Kansas City. It makes getaways for the weekend really doable, and for an explorer like me, there are endless opportunities to take your time and get a feel for a place! Both KC and St. Louis are historical cities, with STL being the well-known "Gateway to the West" (the Arch, while not really worth actually going to the top of in my opinion, is pretty amazing to spot intermittently while driving around - it really is majestic!), and KC having some of the best BBQ around, for the last 100 years at least (which I found out when I moved here is because they had some of the biggest stockyards in the country - I had always wondered why KC BBQ was popular considering they aren't in the South, where BBQ reigns).

      The cities' histories shows potently through their architecture, where driving around you can see the eras each city has gone through reflected in their buildings. This is one of the things I loved about this particular trip! Before, I had the notion that KC was the "cooler" of the two cities. However, after driving through different neighborhoods to get from one destination brunch spot in the Central West End to the cutest little cafe in the Shaw area - I decided St. Louis' cool-factor was worth it's salt. Our first stop? The aforementioned brunch spot: Cafe Osage! Pictured above, the cafe is located in Bowood Farms greenhouse and shop building. Ya, it was basically a dream come true for a person who loves food and shopping equally. 


      This is the dining room, and every little detail was as cute as can be! As far as the food goes, that was pretty perfect too. I had their omelette, which was loaded with herbs and was oozing (for lack of a better word) with whipped goat cheese. Accompanying my delicious meal was their Rose Colored Glasses cocktail - a gin and grapefruit concoction that hit the spot!  


      After we finished eating, we perused their adorable shop and greenhouse. While I would've bought pretty much anything in there, I opted for a little crown for Bailey (her birthday is in 2 days!) and a beautiful set of well-made Japanese notebooks for me (which I actually needed - I try and stay practical in overwhelming shopping situations!). 

     This was their children's section - when shopping for Bailey, I've had to keep in mind the longevity of her enjoyment out of items. She loves books of course, but she already has so many I didn't feel like she'd think it was a very special gift (and this also goes for stuffed animals). Craft supplies I can get from anywhere, so again not super special. I landed on a little felt crown that you can clip to the top of her head! She loves playing princess with dress-up crowns, but they always fall off her head - so this seemed like a good upgrade!


     After our brunch and shopping expedition, we drove through the St. Louis University neighborhoods to the Shaw area to visit the Fiddlehead Fern Cafe! I had read about it in Feast Magazine, and after seeing they serve a lavender rose latte, I knew I had to stop in. They're the first cafe in the city to use a Modbar (aka a modular system bar, where all of the machines are stored underneath the bar, similar to a tap for beer).


        The latte was everything I expected, except better because it wasn't overwhelmingly floral like some drinks can be when using flowers or herbs as a flavoring. Everything about this neighborhood was fun - from the intentional murals and unintentional graffiti to pretty much every building being built with brick. After the cafe, we ventured to the Galleria for their Urban Outfitters. Normally, I would say to steer clear of a mall, but the UO there is so well stocked and actually has their home goods line - so I highly recommend it! That evening we went to Edgewild for dinner, and it's a must-stop dinner spot, so add it to your list as well! 

     Thanks for reading, and I'll be back next week with more recipes! Have a fun Wednesday!

To Mix / A Spring Bloody Mary


      Good morning! Tomorrow is finally March, and my mind completely disregards the technical start date of the spring equinox, so from tomorrow until summer - I'll be in spring mode! I've been craving a bloody mary to go along with weekend brunch for a little bit, so this past weekend, I made it happen! It was the perfect opportunity to shoot the pretty red drink as it was incredibly sunny (a la spring!) and the perfect weather for brunch on our porch. I could get used to this! Now, my spring twist on this is simple: black pepper and lemon. I like to stick with a spicy tomato and carrot juice base and only add a little flavoring to complement it! Get the recipe below!



- 1 glass of spicy tomato/carrot juice (if you don't like the spice, feel free to get whichever tomato juice you like!)

- 1 shot of vodka

- half a lemon

- black pepper

- ice



1. Pour your tomato juice into your glass, over ice, then add in the vodka.


2. Sprinkle black pepper on top, then squeeze your lemon into the drink.


3. Stir and enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for my second brunch recipe for the week on Friday! Have a fun Wednesday!

To Announce / We're Getting Married!


      Good morning! I'm taking a break from recipes this week for a very good reason - Brett and I are engaged! He proposed over the weekend at a place very special to our relationship, and with the most "me" ring ever. It's perfect and we are beyond excited! Bailey's only interest was my ring (her first words after seeing it were "I'll give it right back" LOL), but I have a feeling on the big day she'll be just as excited as the rest of us! Thank you so much for following along on the blog - I can't believe I get to share this milestone on my little space on the internet! As far as recipes go, there's no need to worry! I have TWO lined up for next week, and they both center around one thing: brunch. Have a fun week, friends!

To Bake / Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies


      Happy Valentines Day! I've been trying to decide what to make for this love-filled holiday (and for me, it's a celebration of all love, and that includes self-love - so even if you're spending it alone, there's still cause to celebrate!), and landed on these salted caramel stuffed chocolate cookies from the Half Baked Harvest cookbook! They're rich and gooey, almost like a brownie! I'd also like to note that they were gone by the end of the night after I made them, so it's safe to say Brett was a fan. Get the recipe below!



- 1/2 cup of flour + 2 tbs.

- 2 tbs. of cocoa powder

- 1/4 tsp. of salt

- 1/4 tsp. of baking soda

- 3 large eggs

- 2 tsp. of vanilla

- 1/2 cup of sugar

- 6 tbs. of butter

- 4 oz. of dark chocolate

- 2 cups of chocolate chips

- Ghirardelli Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Squares



1. Melt your butter, dark chocolate, and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until fully melted. 


2. In a mixing bowl, beat together your eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Then mix in your melted chocolate + butter mixture. Add your flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder, and mix until combined. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, or overnight.


3. After the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350 and scoop out small golf ball sized portions onto a greased cooking sheet. Flatten each ball with a spoon and place a piece of the chocolate caramel squares on each cookie. 


Had to do a close up on those chocolates!


4. Scoop out slightly smaller balls of dough and place one on each cookie on top of the caramel. Flatten with your spoon and smooth the edges together. Sprinkle tops with sea salt a la Bailey. 


5. Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm with a glass of milk. Enjoy!

To Blend / Blood Orange Smoothies


     Good morning! I've recently realized a food philosophy I've been subconsciously following for awhile, and that is focusing on one fruit and one veggie that I really love each season. For fall it's sweet potatoes and figs, for summer it was strawberries and spinach (which is pretty seasonless, but it pairs best with summer produce in my opinion), and spring makes me crave asparagus and honeydew melon! I started realizing this pattern of focusing on basically two produce items when I was deciding what I wanted for smoothies (typically my daily lunch). I landed on kale and citrus, and have been sticking to that for the past couple of months! Kale is so nutrient dense, citrus is highly beneficial this season (looking at you flu), and both keep me feeling great and energized!

     Now, today's smoothie recipe doesn't have kale, because I'm a visual person and really wanted to see how these gorgeous blood oranges blended up. :)  Feel free to add a handful of kale though, as it couldn't hurt! Get the full recipe below!



- 1 blood orange peeled and segmented (feel free to use any citrus you like!)

- 1 tsp. of turmeric or a golden turmeric blend (I've been using this one from Moondeli and love it)

- 1 cup of almond milk

- 1 sliced + frozen banana



1. Gather your ingredients and add them to a blender, almond milk first.


2. Blend on high until smooth and frothy.


3. Serve in your tallest glass and enjoy (preferably with a little stinker who enjoys vying for the first sip)!

To Make / Grilled Cheese


     Good morning! Last week, I was craving an adultified grilled cheese. Enter: pears + brie! After deciding I needed a grilled cheese in my life, I was searching for seasonal fruits that aren't citrus (I'm currently chipping away at a giant bag of blood oranges - smoothie recipe coming next week!), and realized pears are in season. Score! They're the apple of winter, and go so well with cheese and a little honey. A sweet and creamy perfection! Get the recipe below!



- a few slices of brie

- a few slices of fresh pear

- 2 slices of bread of choice (I used sourdough!)

- a drizzle of honey

- mayo



1. Heat a greased skillet on medium, then spread mayo on your bread on the sides that will be grilled. Place your first piece of bread in the skillet, mayo side down, and top with your cheese and pears. Drizzle with honey, and place second piece of bread on top. 


2. Cover with your skillet lid (this will contain the steam and help the cheese melt faster) and let grill until the cheese is melted. Then flip and let grill for 1-2 minutes, until bread is golden brown. 


3. Slice and serve with your favorite chips/pretzels!



Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday! I'll be back next week with that yummy citrus smoothie!

To Recap / January


     Good Morning! I'm taking a break from recipes this week to share my recap of January, as it's coming to a close shortly. It's been a surprisingly fun but hectic month, with all of the changes that come with a new year. Personally, it's been great (other than all of the things that are due at the start of a new year) - but for friends, it's already been a challenging year. So helping them navigate new beginnings is one of the things we've been dealing with. Luckily, everyone is still in positive spirits, and the weather is turning mild after a short 3 weeks of winter (so far), which always improves moods!

      We got over an inch of snow for the first time in the past 3 years, so that was really exciting for Bailey and Brett (I prefer to enjoy the beauty of snow from our screened in porch). That was two weeks ago - last weekend, temps were in the 60's, and will be again today and tomorrow, so snow that sticks isn't really a viable option at the moment. I can't really complain though, because last weekend, spending the whole time pretty much outside was ideal, and I can't wait to do it again this weekend!


      This month, I also shared a bit about the Half Baked Harvest cookbook, and how awesome it is. I've been cooking up a storm with this guy, and I can't wait to share even more adaptations of the recipes throughout the year!


       I'm not 100% sure why, but this color palette at my BFF Cat's house was really screaming winter at me. My best guess is because the blue reminds me a lot of the movie Frozen, which Bailey has been falling in love with (which means I get to belt out 'Let it Go' with her 24/7)!


     I also shared my winter glow tonic recipe! This warming turmeric latte was so comforting on the 0 degree days we were having. 


     Bailey and I did a really fun craft last weekend, inspired by the paper cutouts of Matisse! This is the first collaging activity we've done, and Bailey is a big fan of (safe) scissors. One caveat though: she's left handed for the most part, but I haven't acquired left-handed scissors yet (didn't know they were even a thing?!), and if we plan on doing this again (which I do!), then mama needs to get those darn scissors stat! Parenthood has a constant learning curve, and this is a good example of that.


      On a more Nutella note, I made this challah to assist in the comfort process that winter calls for! Still over here dipping mine in more Nutella, because can't stop won't stop. 


      We found a cleared soccer field/open field in a forest on the West side of Columbia, and I fell in love with it. It was empty and secluded, the perfect place for Bailey and Luna to run around unleashed (literally for Luna and figuratively for Bailey :)), and for me to wander around and take pretty winter photos. 


      Finally, my little bubble-catcher. We're resurrecting our outdoor play things, and bubbles were first on the agenda! Bailey is always on the move, so capturing even a remotely non-blurry image of her when playing is a feat. Also: cheetah-print sweatpants. Just another item of clothing that only a toddler can pull-off!

     Thanks for recapping the month with me! I'll be back next week with a seasonal take on grilled cheese (which no, I'll never stop experimenting with). Have a great weekend!

To Bake / Nutella Challah


      Hi there! It's the middle of January, and Columbia is blanketed in snow - which means most of us want to be literally blanketed 24/7. We are thawing as I speak though, so the outdoors are slowly becoming more appealing! Until then, I'm noshing (to use the appropriate Yiddish term, considering this recipe) on this Nutella challah to stay cozy on the inside. I've never made challah before, and I've only eaten it once when a Jewish friend made it (along with matzo ball soup - YUM) to celebrate passover for our dorm building in college. I've never forgotten how delicious his traditional take on the bread was, and have been waiting for the perfect recipe to try my hand at it! 


       I found said recipe in the Half Baked Harvest cookbook, and knew I wanted to make it this winter asap! While it is filled with Nutella, the actual bread of it is healthy-ish. It does have sugar, but it's only 3 tablespoons! It also has whole wheat flour, and olive oil instead of butter. In my opinion, these whole ingredients negate the bad ones! :) Get the recipe below, and have fun making this - I know I did!


- 1 cup of warm water

- 1 packet (2 + 1/4 tsp.) of instant yeast

- 3 tbs. of brown sugar

- 1/4 cup of olive oil

- 2 eggs

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of salt

- 2 cups of whole wheat flour

- 2 cups of AP flour

- Nutella

- 1 egg, beaten


1. In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, combine the yeast, warm water, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs, and salt. With the mixer still running, add the flours and mix until the dough comes together - about 5 minutes. Knead the dough on medium speed for another 2 minutes. Knead by hand until smooth and return to mixing bowl. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in a warm place (I usually put mine on top of my fridge!).


2. Knead dough again, and let sit for another 30 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and divide it into 3 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 12 inch rope, and roll out the ropes flat.


3. Spread Nutella onto each piece, and tightly roll each into a rope again. Pinch the edges to seal.


4. Grease a rimmed baking sheet, and lay out each rope side by side, seam side down. Pinch together the tops of the ropes, and braid them together. Do this by placing the far right rope over the center rope, and then the far left over the now center (originally far right) rope. Continue this until you reach the end of the ropes, and pinch the ends together.


5. Brush some beaten egg over the loaf, and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350, and brush the loaf again. 


6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm (and with even more Nutella if you're chocolate-crazed like me), and enjoy!

To Share / The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook


     Good morning! Just wanted to share the gorgeous cookbook my parents got me for Christmas (thanks mom + dad!!). It's by my favorite food blogger, Half Baked Harvest, and I've already had some good use out of it! So far, I've made the spicy cauliflower soup and the salted brioche cinnamon rolls  - and both were easy and so delicious. 


     I had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch, but they did not disappoint! The hardest part was rolling them tightly enough, but I think with a little more practice it'll be a piece of cake. Now, the next ones on my agenda from the book are the pumpkin gnocchi, a whole wheat nutella challah, and her 30-minute chicken parmesan (a family favorite of ours)!  


     Part of why the book is so inspiring is the photography. Tieghan's photo's are always gorgeous, but having them in print makes them even better! As a visual person, photos and styling are really what draw me in to a cookbook. I love flipping through this one just to look at the photos! They're that good!


     Another thing I love about cookbooks is the variety of recipes they can offer that aren't available on Pinterest (which is where I usually pull from). I also like that the recipes are right there in the book, so I don't have to try and remember which Board I Pinned a recipe to (sometimes it really takes longer than it should). Most of all though, what I specifically love about this cookbook is that it's filled with recipes that are fresh and unique, but also are tolerable by Brett, who has a very refined list of food he's a fan of. Nothing wrong with that, he likes what he likes, but I'm the opposite, and will now try and usually love most foods! This created a dinner issue for awhile, but ever since I discovered Half Baked Harvest, I've been able to make dishes that are creative and challenging, but are still approachable to those that find comfort in familiarity. Most of HBH's recipes are cool twists on classic or "basic" meals, which is exactly what I've needed! They aren't too crazy, but they aren't so (for lack of a better phrase) "by the book" that they are boring. Buy cookbooks people! Sometimes the old-fashioned thing can work better for you than the latest technology, so embrace it. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend! I'll be back next week with one of the recipes from this book that I mentioned I'm making above (can you guess which one?)!

To Brew / Winter Glow Tonic


     Hi there! I don't know about you, but I've been having to adjust my skincare and water intake, to make up for the crazy dry winter we are enduring. Missouri always seems to be humid, but this winter, it has flipped the switch! In turn, my skin has been about the driest I can ever remember! I've added a facial oil, started drinking even more water than I already was (which is a lot), and now - this winter glow tonic. So far, so good! 


      I've been able to re-balance, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric. I posted a golden milk drink awhile back, and this is a riff on that - but this one is more catered to this particularly challenging season. My best friend Cat got me a trio of herbal supplement powders, which you can add to warm or cold drinks, and I'm loving all of them! For a warming winter drink, I've turned to the Golden Turmeric. It includes turmeric (obvs), ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and pink salt. So simple! The ginger is the real kicker though, as it boosts your immune system. I think we could all use some of that this time of year!


      This tonic is my favorite thing for an afternoon pick-me-up, and I wanted to share how I make it today! Ya know, just in case anyone else needs a little something to perk up their dark winter days. Get the how-to below!



- 1 cup of cashew milk (or any kind of milk you like!)

- 1 tsp. of golden turmeric blend (you can also use just straight up turmeric, up to you!)

- 1 tbs. of honey



1. Heat your milk until warmed through, then stir in your turmeric and whisk in your honey. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! I'll see you back here on Thursday with a review of my new favorite cookbook!

To Make / Spicy Cauliflower Soup


     Hi there! I changed up the site yesterday to reflect the new direction I've taken towards posting mostly about food. I'm loving the new site and hope you do too! The new design is much more geared towards the content I've got lined up for this awesome new year, so get excited for some new posts! My first one for 2018 is a delicious and spicy soup from my new favorite cookbook by Half Baked Harvest (thanks mom + dad!!). I'm dedicating a whole post to the book next week, because I can't not share it's contents, but for now I'd like to present you with my adaptation on Tieghan's curried cauliflower soup! I switched out the curry for the Indonesian sambal oelek, as I've never been the biggest fan of curry. Also, I omitted the coconut milk in favor of greek yogurt, as that's what I had on hand! Now, this recipe is only in her book (you can purchase your own copy here), but she has a similar recipe on her blog with squash instead of cauliflower, so I'd highly recommend giving that one a try! In the meantime, see my warming cauliflower soup below: 



- 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

- 6 cloves of garlic

- 4 tbs. of olive oil

- 1/2 of an onion, diced

- 2 tbs. of sambal oelek

- 1 tsp. of smoked paprika

- sprinkle of cinnamon

- 1 cup of greek yogurt

- 3-4 cups of broth, any kind will work



1. Preheat oven to 425. Roast cauliflower and garlic on a baking sheet for 25 minutes. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat your olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot. When it shimmers, add onion and cook until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Then, add your spices and sambal oelek, and saute for another minute. Add 1 cup of broth, and stir in the greek yogurt, then let simmer until cauliflower is done. 


2. Once cauliflower is roasted, take your pot off the heat, and let cool slightly. Pour into a blender or food processor, and then add your cauliflower and garlic. Blend until smooth. 


3. Return soup to pot and add 2 more cups of broth and stir. Simmer over medium heat until soup is heated through, then ladle into bowls and serve with warm naan or buns. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend! I'll be back next week to talk the Half Baked Harvest cookbook, and to share a golden milk tonic that's been helping alleviate all of the sinus yuck we've been having this winter! 

To Recap / The Holiday's


     Hi there! Just wanted to pop in and share the last of our holiday season adventures with you all! I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas, full of chocolate and love! It's finally winter here, and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon, so looking at the photo of Bailey above without a jacket feels like forever ago, but it was at the beginning of the month! The red plaid shirt was her holiday shirt this year, as I didn't want to waste money on a Santa or Christmas tree covered shirt that she can only wear for Christmas time. I went with a red plaid that can be worn long after Christmas, but was still festive enough for our holiday events!


     Brett and Bailey built a fort when we put our lights up around the house. It was quite magical!


      We wrapped presents, and shared our new gift rules here!


     Anheuser-Busch is a St. Louis based company, but they house their famous Clydesdale's at the nicest barn I've ever seen in Booneville, MO, which is about 15 minutes from Columbia. They host a Christmas-themed tour of their barn, and you get to walk through and see all the horses while sipping the freshest Budweiser you can get anywhere. The horses were beautiful and massive, and I don't normally care for Budweiser, but it was freshly brewed and on tap for the event, so it was actually pretty delicious.  


      We put our Christmas cookie cutters to use for the first time, and also shared that here!

FullSizeR (1).jpg

      Bailey had her first ever school Christmas party! I volunteered to make the "sweet treats" for the kids, and made chocolate dipped graham crackers that Bailey decorated herself with sprinkles. They were a hit, and Bailey was so proud to help and show her classmates!


     We had our first snow of the year in Columbia on Sunday (and our second one yesterday)! We went home to Arkansas for Christmas Eve, and when we came back that evening Bailey and Brett played in the snow for almost an hour. I opted to stay warm inside and organize Bailey's gifts from Nana and Grandpa, and sip some fresh coffee. Never a bad decision!


    Lastly, on Christmas Eve, we spiked some hot chocolate and braved the cold to go visit the "Candy Cane Crib". It's a Columbia tradition, and the "crib" used to be set up in a residential area on someones front lawn, but I'd assume the neighbors got tired of that and this year, Logboat Brewery hosted the spectacle!

    It was an amazing holiday season, and I can't wait to see what the new year holds! 2018, we're ready for you!

To Celebrate / The First Day of Winter


     Good moring! Today is the first day of the winter solstice, and hopefully it will bring some actual winter weather that lasts, because I've about had it with this back and forth weather. One week, temps are in the 60's, and the next, they're in the 30's! I don't mind if it's cold, I just want it to pick a side! Anywho, to ring in this beautifully barren season, I've rounded up a few tips for making the most of shorter days (tonight's the longest night of the year!). See below for more!

Winter Survival 101:

- Get outside during daylight hours as much as you can! Sunlight is extremely helpful to avoid being saddened by the lack of day and the abundance of night. 

- Adopt the hygge (pronounced hue-guh) way of life. It's the Danish concept of coziness and togetherness, technology free. Apparently, hygge is one of the reasons Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest places in the world! And ya, they have wayyyy worse winters than we do, so I think we could all learn a thing or two. 

- Look for silver-linings. This applies to all seasons, as they all come with their pitfalls, but winter seems to be the hardest for most. Yes, it's cold, but #1: it's temporary! Winter won't last forever - this isn't Narnia or Game of Thrones. #2: The freezing weather gives you opportunities to do things that you don't get to do when it's warm, like wear the thickest and softest sweater you own, or drink hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire place! We can't change the weather, so it's best to try and make the most of it. 

- Turn it into a party! I'm hosting a hygge party this winter, because I just can't stop myself from cozy themes that include glogg. After New Years, and until Valentine's Day, there's not a celebratory holiday, so hosting this party in January will hopefully give everyone something to look forward to!

- If all else fails, retreat. This is a last resort, because money and time, but if you have the means and just can't stand temperatures below 40, take a week off and go to the desert or a beach! No shame in that game. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Christmas! We'll be back next week with a lighter brunch recipe for when you're done feasting the weekend away!

To Bake / Chocolate Sugar Cookies


     Good morning! Growing up, we always made sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and I wanted to do something similar with Bailey this year. We didn't make them on Christmas Eve, I'll be making chocolate chip cookies because that's Santa's (i.e. Brett's) preference this year, and cinnamon rolls for the next morning from scratch - another family tradition, c/o my dad (although we always enjoyed Pilsbury instead, but who doesn't?!)! Even though chocolate chip will be on Santa's plate this year, I still wanted Bailey to get to do the cookie cutters and icing aspect of Christmas cookies. However, sugar cookies are one of my least favorite cookies, so I added some cocoa powder! They turned out better than I expected (duh, chocolate). They have a brownie taste with a sugar cookie texture, and in my opinion, that's a huge upgrade to the original cookie! See for yourself below, and peep Bailey getting in on the action. She had a blast! 



- 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) - room temperature

- 1 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of vanilla

- 2 cups of AP flour

- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder

- pinch of salt


1. Mix together butter and sugar, then add your egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the wet mixture. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Let dough chill in the fridge for one hour. 


2. Using whatever cookie cutters you like, cut out shapes. Chill shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes.


3. Preheat oven to 350.


4. Bake for 12 minutes.


5. Let cool to room temperature before icing, this is very important!


6. Ice your cookies as desired and enjoy!


      Bailey really loved doing this, and I think we definitely have a new holiday tradition now. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! We'll be back later this week to celebrate the start of winter!

To Bake / Chicken Pot Pie


     Good morning! I tried my hand at chicken pot pie for the first time last weekend, and the results were too good not to share! I'm not sure I'd ever even tried chicken pot pie (I was against meat in pies for most of my youth, for some reason), but it sounded delicious and just right for the colder weather we've been getting. Also, there's not much that's topped with a puff pastry crust that I won't eat. Find the recipe below (adapted from Bon Appetit)!

Chicken Pot Pie


  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

  • 1/3 cup of AP flour

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 cups of shredded chicken

  • 1/4 of an onion, diced

  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed

  • 1 cup of frozen carrots, thawed

  • Hot sauce

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator

  • 1 large egg, beaten for brushing



1. Preheat oven to 400, and melt your butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once melted, add your diced onion and rosemary, and saute for 4 minutes. Add your flour and stir repeatedly until the mixture is golden brown, for about 6 minutes. Whisk in your broth, 1/2 a cup at a time. Then, whisk in milk and add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, whisking throughout, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add your peas, carrots, and chicken. Next, stir in your hot sauce + Worcestershire sauce.  

2. Pour your filling into a greased baking dish, and top with your pastry crust. Press the edges to your dish to seal, and brush the entire crust with your egg wash. Feel free to add a pretty touch, like these little rosemary leaves!


3. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills!), and bake for 20 minutes. Then, reduce heat and bake for another 30 minutes. 


4. Let sit for 10 minutes after baking, then serve warm. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading! Have a fun Wednesday, and we'll be back next week with a twist on classic cookie cutter sugar cookies for Santa!

To Share / Our New (Just for Us) Gift Rules


     Hi there! As Christmas Day looms, I wanted to share what our Christmas shopping approach is for Bailey, as her parents (I say that because I give my parents and Brett's parents free reign when it comes to what they want to get for Bailey. Except for stuffed animals! One or two is ok, but little girl does not need a whole lot more at the moment LOL). I've become really conscious of how much children don't need a lot of things. They're the ones who are happy with a cardboard box, or sticks to be honest, to play with! And I always think there's a way to incorporate education with them, they are just so open to learning. So if I'm going to buy toys or a gift in general for her, they will be something she'll get a ton of joy out of, educational (but also something she'll love), or a necessity that shows her how to enjoy having what she needs. See our official gift guidelines for ourselves below!


Gift Rules: 

1. Something she wants: this will be one out of the many things she's pointed out that she wants from Santa. Within reason of course! 

2. Something she needs: you'll always need some things! This could be anything from cute kids socks to a new blanket to replace ones that have - shall we say - sustained some damage. 

3. Something to read: to me, there's not much worth buying more than books (and food, but that ones probably more essential). There's always something more to learn, especially for a nearing-4 year old! 

4. Something to create with: growing up, we always had craft supplies. It's essential for children to use their imaginations, and nothing is better for that than a set of paints and a piece of paper! 

       Sometimes it's hard to stick to these principles. It's my nature as a mother to want to give my child everything, but I try to keep in mind that it's not a literally feasible idea. I end up sticking to giving her my love, real attention, and anything she'll need, but a few extra things on special days! It keeps us happy, and that's all I could want. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend!

To Bake / Cranberry Butter Dutch Baby


     Good morning! Cranberry season is still in full force around my house. I had such an excess from making cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, and it's been a lot easier than I thought to find uses for the leftover sauce, but also for the raw cranberries! I've been adding the fresh cranberries to my daily lunch smoothie, and stirring in the leftover sauce with some greek yogurt to add to my grain or lentil bowls. Today though, I've added my beloved cranberry sauce to butter for this cinnamon dutch baby pancake (recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest)! It's the perfect amount of sweet for breakfast or brunch, and serves 3-6 people (depending on how many slices you eat :)). Get the recipe below!


For the Dutch Baby:

- 4 eggs

- 2/3 cup of milk

- 2/3 cup of AP flour

- 2 tsp. of vanilla

- a good shake of cinnamon

- another good shake of nutmeg

- 1/2 tsp. of salt

- 4 tbs. of butter

- syrup for serving!

For the Cranberry Butter:

- 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce 

- 4 tbs. of butter at room temp.



1. Preheat the oven to 450, place 2 tbs. of butter in your cast-iron skillet, and put in the oven to warm. While that's heating, blend your flour, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 2 tbs. of butter in a blender. Make sure there are no lumps!


2. Pour batter into your hot skillet, and place back in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, and don't open the oven or your pancake will deflate! 


3. While the pancake is baking, mix together your soft butter and cranberry sauce. When the dutch baby is done, spoon on cranberry butter and let melt.


4. Drizzle with A LOT of syrup. 


5. Serve warm and enjoy!


     I, as usual, enjoyed mine with a cup of black coffee (the perfect pairing with a breakfast so sweet!). The pancake was the fluffy, sweet, and buttery confection I was looking for, and I hope you all enjoy it!

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! I'll be back later this week to share about my new gifting philosophy for Bailey this year. See you then!

To Share / The Holidays So Far


     Good morning! I've been keeping pretty quiet around here, just enjoying downtime with Brett + Bailey, and inwardly debating what I want the do with this little space on the internet. My interests change often, so that makes it a little challenging to pick a "theme" for this here blog. A general lifestyle blanket is fine, and I'll probably always share my varied interests here, but lately I've been drawn to cooking - a lot. I think it's a combined reasoning of having moved to the suburbs of Columbia, and therefore cooking more at home because we are far away from our usual eating out places, but also just my general creativity and love of food. Now I have a reason to cook often, and have way less opportunity to be lazy in the kitchen. All this to say, you'll be seeing more recipes here than anything else. Don't worry though, I won't be able to resist sharing about Bailey or how health and wellness relate to my cooking choices, so every now and then there will be some lifestyle posts, but mostly, get ready to feast with your eyes (and hopefully, literally, with the recipes in your own home)!

     Now, today, I wanted to share snapshots of how our holiday season is going so far! I hosted friendsgiving this month, and whipped up a couple of contributions to Brett's family's Thanksgiving table. However, the second Thanksgiving was over, I dove into the Christmas spirit (which is unusual for me, I typically am pretty indifferent to early decorating) and played Christmas music, put up our tree and other decorations, and started developing holiday recipes (can you say Chocolate sugar cookies? I'm not a fan of the classic ones). I've started a folder on my phone to document our season, and here are the images so far! 


Bottle brush tree's are going through a revival. I didn't know what they were as I think the last time they were popular was way before I existed, but they sure are pretty, so I can see the appeal! Mine is from the glorious Target dollar section.


I can't not take pictures of log piles. It's just too wintery to resist!


Bailey had a great time at the tree farm, until she had to use the restroom and the only option was in the woods. She's had to do this before, but this time it was a major fail and poor girl had to change clothes after. It's hard to be a happy camper when your clothes get wet!


I love these vintage trucks. Throw some pine trees on the back, and they scream Christmas!


Bailey tried her first candy cane and hated it, so I was all "don't mind if I do". 


I like to snag trimmings from the farm every year, and turn them into decorations. All you need is some twine and scissors and you've got yourself a wall hanging (see below)!


If you're predicting that I leave this up way after the Santa's get put away, you would be very correct. I bet I can push this one until spring!

     That's all for now! Check back here on Tuesday for a festive brunch recipe that I can't wait to wolf down as soon as the photos are snapped. Have a fun week!

To Bake / Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Pie


     Good morning! I have the best chocolatey pie for your thanksgiving table today! It's not anywhere near healthy, but people tend to forget about those kinds of things on holidays (myself included!). This pie (recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest) is basically a giant chocolate chip cookie in a pie crust, so you really can't go wrong. Get the recipe below!



- 1 pie crust (I used store bought, but by all means, make your own!)

- 2 eggs

- 1/2 cup of ap flour

- 1/4 cup of brown sugar

- 1/4 cup of sugar

- 2 tsp. of vanilla

- 1 + 1/2 sticks of butter, softened

- 2 cups of chocolate chips

- 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk



1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease your pie plate. To make filling, mix together your eggs until frothy, then add the flour, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla. Add the butter, and continue mixing until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

2. To assemble, press your pie crust into your pie plate. Then, pour about half of your condensed milk over the crust. 

3. Pour in half your batter, then top with the rest of the condensed milk. Add the rest of the filling on top.


4. Bake for 55-60 minutes, then let cool for 20 minutes. 


5. Serve warm and enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!