Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter 2014

I have a pinterest board named 'this is the dream I'm working on'.  I was inspired to create it after reading posts from here and here. I love finding pins that belong on this board. I'm probably even a bit too discerning with what I'll pin to it.

Last weekend we hosted Easter for our families.  This was the first party we've hosted together, the first as a married couple, and the first time having everyone over to our new home. Both our our mothers are amazing hostesses and amazing cooks.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous.

By no small miracle, all of the food was ready at the same time. 
Dan and I were seated next to each other at the head of the table.  
I had the perfect view of our families around the table.


There was a moment at dinner where everyone was talking and eating and laughing, 
I sat back and looked around the table and had overwhelming feelings of contentment and joy.  
I was right smack in the middle of a life that I had dreamed of. 

I paused for a few moments and let myself experience it; hopefully locking away that image, feeling incredibly grateful and then jumped right back in to eating and laughing with our families.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas morning breakfast menu

For as long as I can remember we've had the same thing on Christmas morning.  It's funny, we all love this breakfast, but for some reason we only make it once a year.

What I love about it is that both dishes are made the night before so that the morning you (or in my case, my Dad) gets up first and pops them in the oven.  I'm usually sitting by the tree going through my stocking when this happens - yes, I still get a stocking :)

Spinach strada
 - 6 croissants, cut in half lengthwise (you may not use all of them depending on the size
 - 6 eggs, room temperature
 - 1 1/2 cups milk, whole or skim (I wouldn't use nonfat) 
 - 1/2 tsp salt
 - 1/4 tsp pepper
 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg
 - 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
 - 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded monterey jack cheese (optional - pepper jack cheese for a bit of a kick)
 - 7 oz crumbled feta cheese
 - optional - mushrooms, thinly sliced and then roughly chopped

Place croissants crust side down in lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle spinach out evenly over croissants (if using mushrooms, add at this time).  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Pour egg mixture over spinach and croissants.  Press croissants down so that liquid can soak into them a bit. Sprinkle cheeses evenly over strada. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take strada out of the fridge and let come to room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.  Uncover and bake 40-45 minutes.  If cheese gets too dark too quickly, cover with foil while baking.  Serve warm.  This is even better the next day or for brunch with a big green salad.

Bubble bread
(also known as monkey bread)
 - 1 package frozen white dinner rolls, thawed
 - 1 box (4 oz) butterscotch pudding (not instant)
 - 1/4 cup white sugar
 - 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
 - 2 tsp cinnamon
 - 1 cube butter, melted
 - optional - chopped pecans

Cut dinner rolls into 2-3 pieces each.  Mix pudding, sugars, cinnamon and nuts. Sprinkle a bit of the sugar mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased bundt pan.  Dip each piece of dough in melted butter and roll in sugar mixture.  Place dough in pan.  Sprinkle with remaining sugar and pour remaining butter over rolls. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Remove bubble bread from fridge 30 minutes before baking.  Leave covered and in a warm place to allow the rolls to rise. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 35-45 minutes. Cover with foil if top browns to quickly.  Let stand in pan for about 10 minutes.  Place plate upside down on bundt pan and flip over.  Tap bundt pan if bread doesn't fall immediately. Serve warm and with lots of napkins.

Hope your Christmas morning is filled with family, friends and yummy, delicious food!


Thursday, November 7, 2013


I love that there's a time dedicated each year to focus on being thankful.

I started this list over a year ago and although (technically) I didn't meet my goal of 1,000 things, I more than met my goal of noticing and being grateful for life's everyday gifts that sometimes we are too busy / too tired / too stressed to notice.

Since starting that challenge, daily something jumps out at me that I am thankful for - whether it's a phone call from a friend to keep me company on my commute home or the gorgeous pink sky at dusk (I'm a sucker for a pink sky).

Of course, those things happened before, I just didn't always take notice of truly what a gift they were.

I am constantly reminded that gratitude mostly definitely changes everything.

So for this month I'm hoping to write a weekly list here to help me focus on being thankful for life's big and small gifts that I'm sure I take for granted all too often.

Here is my short and very incomplete list for today:

I am grateful for:
the wonderful man I just married 
(almost 6 weeks as newlyweds)
having so many friends and family that live nearby
working for a company I love
living near the ocean
a morning cup of hot coffee
leg warmers
sweater weather

What are you grateful for?


Friday, November 1, 2013

chocolate pumpkin bread {recipe}

I was looking for two things when I decided to make pumpkin bread:

 1 - I wanted to use one whole can of pumpkin purée 
Seriously, what do people do with the leftovers in the can from most recipes?

 2 - I wanted something that both the adults and kids would like at last weekends sleepover

This totally delivered on both.

Chocolate pumpkin bread
yield: 2 loaves + 12 mini muffins


 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 - 1 tbs cinnamon
 - 1 tbs nutmeg
 - 2 tsp baking soda
 - 1 1/2 tsp salt
 - 3 cups sugar
 - 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
 - 1 cup canola oil
 - 2/3 cup water
 - 1 tbs vanilla paste
 - 4 large eggs
 - 1 cup chocolate pieces (I used 72% dark because then I can pretend it's healthy)

Muffin topping - I stole this from Amanda and now keep a cinnamon sugar mixture in my baking supplies to add to all my muffins
 - 1 tsp cinnamon
 - 1 tbs raw sugar
 - chocolate pieces, chopped


Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Spray pans with cooking spray.

Chop chocolate chips and set aside.  I like to chop them so that there are some really fine pieces and some big chucks.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  In separate bowl or stand-mixer, combine all of the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients 1 cup at a time.  Mix just until combined.  Gently fold in chocolate pieces.

Pour batter into muffin tins; I fill them almost to the top.  Evenly distribute the rest of the batter between 2 loaf pans.

Bake loaves for 55-60 minutes and mini muffins for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I went to a sleepover party last weekend.
I forgot how little sleep you actually get at a sleepover, especially with six little girl ranging from four to seven years old.

But it was still so much fun.

The party included a trip to a friends' farm, hot tubbing, makeovers, mani's & pedi's, pizza and cupcakes and a movie.  It was exhausting!

I think all of us "adults" (I use this term very loosely to describe me and my friends)
thought we would do the girls makeovers and paint their nails.

But they took it upon themselves to put it on each other.
And it was so sweet to watch them together.

A little heartbreaking too. They just looked so grown-up!

I think we all got a little glimpse into the future.
It definitely looks pretty! :)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

blueberry scones {recipe}

These aren't those rock-hard, dense scones that seem to be readily available here in America.  These are flakey and delicious and biscuit-like, similar to the scones I fell in love with in London.  I didn't think I even liked scones until I moved to London.

They were delicious and looked oh so pretty on our new wedding gift.

Blueberry scones
makes 12 large scones
slightly adapted from Tartine 


 - 4 3/4 cups flour + more for work surface
 - 1 tbsp baking powder
 - 3/4 tsp baking soda
 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 - 1 1/4 tsp salt
 - 1 cup and 1 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
 - 1 cup buttermilk
 - 1 cup milk
 - 1 tsp lemon zest
 - 1 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries (depending on how berry-ful you like your scones - I like a lot)


 - 3 tbsp butter, melted (if you don't want to add more butter, you can use skim milk instead)
 - raw sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl.  Mix in sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender (or a fork) cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  You want to end up with pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

Add buttermilk, milk, lemon zest and blueberries all at once and gently mix together until dough forms.  If dough appears too dry, add a bit more milk.

Dust work surface with plenty of flour.  Pat dough into a rectangle approximately 18 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Cut into 12 large triangles and place on baking sheet.  It's okay if they're a bit close together, you can easily cut them apart if they bake together in the oven.

Bake until the tops are lightly golden brown, approximately 25-35 min.  Serve immediately.  If you want more scones, cut them into smaller triangles and remember to bake them for a bit less time.

Delicious served with honey butter {1 cube butter combined with 2 tbsp honey}.

These were so yummy, I made them again the next weekend with strawberries.


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