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Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

It’s been a busy week! I started doing some freelance writing and editing, and I’m driving almost 3 hours away for a job interview/meeting this morning. It’s going to be a long day – but hopefully a productive one!

Here are some things I enjoyed online this week:

I plan to spend the weekend watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and working on some blog posts for May! Oh, and brainstorming things to do on my next vacation (which isn’t happening soon enough!).

What are your plans for this weekend?

Friday Favorites

friday favorites april 8

(Finally back to work after a month of moving, unpacking, and lots of allergy meds!)

Friday Favorites

I’m not sure what my plans are for this weekend. Last weekend was a busy one, since my husband basically kicked me out of the house all day Saturday (and for a good chunk for Sunday) so he could work on some writing alone. Hopefully he won’t do that again, but if he does, I guess it’ll be a good excuse to take my laptop somewhere awesome – like the Starbucks Reserve Roastery downtown. Come to think of it, I might have just come up with some plans!

What are you doing this weekend?

2015 Year in Review: Food

2015 Year in Review: Food

Homemade Granola Bars / What I Eat: Summer Edition / My Relationship With Food: A Love/Hate Story / A (Dangerous) New Toy

In 2015, I cooked at home more than I ever have in the past. Not working left me with a lot of time to read cookbooks, research new recipes, and try out a lot of new foods. I also enjoyed sharing with you what I eat on a regular basis, and some of my favorite new recipes.

While I did cook a ton over the past year, I was usually too hungry or rushed to photograph or write about it! I hope in the next year I can take more time to share my favorite recipes, and do more cookbook reviews.

I’ve been in a cooking rut for the past month or two, and with the holidays, I’ve been giving more attention to baking cookies than making dinner. Hopefully now that the holidays are over, things will get back to normal!

2015 Year in Review: Food

Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast /  Cookbook Review: I Quit Sugar / Meal Planning 101 / Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

Oh, and did I mention I read a lot of cookbooks? Our local library system is a great resource for finding cookbooks to check out, which helped me expand my horizons a lot this year!

I also found a few cookbooks I want to add to my stash in the next year. Danny surprised me with Ree Drummond’s new book, and I also have a few from Martha Stewart and America’s Test Kitchen I want to grab whenever they go on sale!

Overall, it was a great year for cooking and baking in our house, and I look forward to much more in the next year. This might be the year I finally tackle sourdough!

Friday Favorites: The End…for now


Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the delay – cleaning the apartment yesterday took longer than I expected. It ended in me taking apart our vacuum cleaner. There was so…much…hair in there.

Anyhoo, here are some links I’ve been enjoying around the internet lately! I think this is my last Friday Favorites of the year, so I better make it count, right?

  • So I guess instead of naming their children after characters in Frozen, parents are naming their children after Instagram filters? I guess all the new Ludwigs will fit in nicely with the Olafs out there? Parents are weird. (Apartment Therapy)
  • I tend to get super lazy about cooking after the holidays, probably because the lead up to Christmas is a flurry of baking and high expectations. Goop offers up their favorite one-pan dinners as a nice solution when we’re all feeling like something comforting and easy. That, and doing less dishes is always a good thing! (Goop)
  • Design Sponge did a travel guide for…strangely enough…Toledo, Ohio! They listed a ton of places that I’ve never been before, and a few that were a huge part of my growing up in the area. If you’re from there, but haven’t visited downtown in a while, check it out – it sounds hipster central, but hey, isn’t everywhere now? (Design Sponge)
  • MODG IS BACK!!!!! This was one of my all-time favorite blogs back in the day, and after a bit of a hiatus, she’s back with even more snark, period humor, and brutal honesty that’s sadly missing from blogging these days. Welcome back!
  • If you’re looking for an elegant, simple no-bake cookie recipe for the holidays, House & Home has you covered. They made a beautiful video tutorial on how to make the most indulgent, decadent holiday treat- buckeyes. Yes, chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls. I laughed my way through it, but I also kinda want one now. (House & Home)

Well there you go! I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m trying my best to avoid the Star Wars mania around here (because I am the asshole out there who doesn’t care), shop for new sneakers, and start on that baking/high expectations marathon I mentioned earlier!

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime

Today, I’m going to share with you a new cookbook I got recently as an early Christmas gift from Danny. While I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Ree Drummond fan, I’ve been enjoying her Food Network show lately. It’s usually on when Danny gets home from work, so he sometimes watches it too (and I’m guessing he like what he saw because here we are).

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime

Cookbook Review:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

Some Basic Information:

The title pretty much sums up what this book is about – dinners. Instead of trying to cover all meals of the day, Ree Drummond decided to just stick to dinnertime as her main theme. Each chapter covers a different way to do dinner (soup for dinner, salad for dinner, breakfast for dinner, etc.), and she even covers some great freezer-friendly recipes for lazy nights. Since I am also a fan of using theme nights for planning dinners, I was immediately on board!

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

What I Liked:

I love that the recipes, for the most part, are pretty easy to make. I’ve already made the freezer Chicken Pot Pies, and they were a big hit (not to mention we now have 2 extra in the freezer for some other night!). I’m planning to make her Potato Soup recipe tonight, and it looks just as simple. I just need to go hunt down some more celery (which I can’t believe I’m saying because I hate celery and never use so much). 

I think since these recipes are so simple and easy, they can also be easily adapted to suit your tastes and what you have around – in fact, many of her recipes include ideas to add to/adapt for your own needs. I like that the recipes seem practical, and thank goodness I don’t have to go hunt down ingredients I’ll only use once, or pay way too much for! 

One thing I can’t wait to try are her easy desserts – most cookbooks include desserts that are meant to wow and amaze, but these (while still pretty amazing) are meant to be whipped up on the fly and enjoyed. While I love baking, these are great ideas for nights when I want something sweet without having to wait an hour or more!

Also, the layout of the book is a lot like reading her blog, with easy to follow directions and photos of each step of the process. The farming photos are also a nice addition to the book:

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime

If you haven’t picked up this book already, I highly recommend grabbing The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime! Target is selling a special version that includes extra recipes, which is never a bad thing, right? You can also check out Drummond’s other recipes and read about life on the farm here:

The Pioneer Woman Blog

What to Take for Thanksgiving

As someone who has never hosted her own Thanksgiving, I’ve gotten very good over the years at figuring out what to bring instead. Some years, I go all out and bake something magnificent, like a lattice-topped apple pie. Some years, especially if I’m eyeballs deep in papers to grade, I’ll pick up something easy that I know everyone will love – like some good wine.

No matter where you are or who you’re celebrating with, if you’re stuck for what to take, here are some great easy (and not so easy) ideas that will taste great, and take a load off your insanely busy hosts!

What to Take for Thanksgiving


A Signature Cocktail + Coordinating Snack

Your host/hostess isn’t likely to have time at the beginning of their party to serve drinks, let alone cocktails – so offer to handle it for them! While they are putting the finishing touches on dinner, consider bringing a “signature cocktail” to serve to guests as they arrive, and offer up a coordinating snack to tide them over until the everything’s ready.

I suggest keeping it simple with a Cape Cod (cranberry juice, vodka, and a lime wedge) and some trail mix of toasted almonds, dark chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. It’s a nice nod to the traditional cranberry sauce you’ll likely be eating later, and the snack has a little bit of something for everyone.

You can either mix this in a large batch ahead of time, or keep things separate if you think the kiddos will want some juice…without the extra kick.


A No-Fuss Dessert

If you’re asked to bring dessert, I suggest bringing something easy and that doesn’t require the use of the host’s oven. There is nothing more annoying than a guest demanding use of the oven while your poor host is trying to cook/eat/relax. Same goes for the freezer, in my opinion.

And please – make it yourself. There are times when store bought desserts are fine, but Thanksgiving isn’t one of those times. If your host spent weeks planning, and days cooking, you can suck it up and spend a couple hours in the kitchen.

If you’re not baking-inclined, give cookies or box-mix cupcakes a try. I enjoy bringing sugar cookies with festive frosting or sprinkles (or both), chocolate chip cookies, or carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. These are especially good ideas for small children, who may not like pumpkin pie (trust me, they exist).

If you have more baking skills, pies are always a big hit. I’ve never made a Pumpkin Pie, mostly because my mom or some other family member always makes them. I have, however, gotten very good at baking Apple Streusel Pie and Alton Brown’s Shoo Fly Pie, which my husband’s family and friends often fight over. This year, I’m tempted to try making Pumpkin Cheesecake – because I like Pumpkin Pie, but I love cheesecake. 


Black Friday Breakfast

Odds are, with all the planning, cooking, entertaining, and cleaning your hosts will be doing on Thanksgiving, breakfast the next morning isn’t even on their radar. If you’re still stumped for what to bring, consider Friday’s breakfast!

As with all things, keep it simple – don’t make them cook another meal the next morning! I suggest Alton Brown’s Granola Bars, Apple Strudel Muffins, Pumpkin Bread, or a nice box of doughnuts or bagels from the local bakery – all of which can easily feed a couple hosts, and however many guests they have staying over if that’s the case. That way, all they have to do is brew some coffee and they’re all set – unless you’re staying with them, then maybe offer to handle that too.


So there you have it – a bunch of easy (and not so easy) ideas for what to take for Thanksgiving! This year, I’ve been asked to bring homemade stuffing, and my husband asked me to bring the Alton Brown’s Shoo Fly Pie for him (since I don’t think he’s a big Pumpkin Pie fan). I’ve never done my own stuffing before, so that will be a fun experiment!

What are you planning to take this year?

Friday Favorites: The Holidays are Coming…and I’m Hungry!

Friday Favorites: the Holidays are Coming...and I'm Hungry!

I want all of them, but I want the rose gold one most of all. Damn you, Michaels, for killing it in the holiday department this year!

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you are adjusting to Daylight Savings well, and getting over the Halloween candy hangovers. I managed to behave myself and only eat a little candy that my nephews gave me, and stayed away from the clearance Halloween candy at the store. Let’s hope I can keep that up!

Here are a few food-related things I enjoyed online this week, and I hope you do too:

Well, now I’m hungry! Hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday!

Friday Favorites: Halloween Prep

Friday Favorites: Halloween Prep

I think I found my Halloween costume for this year! Now all I need to do is find a ridiculously big wine glass!

Happy Friday!

It’s been another long week, and I’m looking forward to spending the weekend learning how to bake cinnamon rolls, getting out in the sunshine (if there is any), and catching up on some reading. I have four books from the library sitting on my bookshelf, and I’ve only gotten through one of them so far!

Now that I’m not sick anymore, and can focus for more than a couple minutes, here are some things I’ve been enjoying on the web lately! This list is going to be a lot longer than normal because I have like, two weeks of catching up to do!

  • One of the prettiest pumpkin decor projects I’ve seen this year – and since it’s done on a faux pumpkin, you can use it for years to come! (Hunted Interior)
  • A home tour that makes me question whether I chose the right coast to live on… (Remodelista)
  • The fall version of a gimlet, which I might try out this weekend! I was hooked on gimlets this summer, but we’ve moved out of lemonade season – and this seems like the best substitute! (Because I’m Addicted)
  • “I didn’t have any eggs, so I replaced them with a banana-chia-flaxseed pulse. It turned out terrible; this recipe is terrible.” If you’ve never read the comment section of recipe websites, you should – they’ll make you laugh for hours! People are so stupid sometimes, and I love it. Here is a rundown of every ridiculous comment you’ll see! (The Toast via Cup of Jo)
  • So Ryan Adams did a cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album…and I have to say it weirdly works. I highly recommend checking it out if you need something chill to listen to – and I swear, you won’t even know they’re Taylor Swift covers! (Goop…or go find it on Spotify!)
  • I had no idea that a gold-plated toothbrush existed until yesterday, and now I want one! This post also has a few other gold beauty tools as well, but the toothbrush was just too good to pass up! (Mane Addicts)
  • I have a bunch of leftover butternut squash in the freezer, so I might try out The Pioneer Woman’s version of Butternut Mac and Cheese next week. It sounds yummy! (The Pioneer Woman)

Friday Favorites: Fall Cleaning

Friday Favorites Fall Cleaning

For most of us, fall is the beginning of a new (school) year, and we gravitate toward the changing season with renewed focus and energy. I chose to pour my “new year” energy into doing some cleaning and organizing this week.

One afternoon I dedicated to going through my beauty products, updating things for the fall/winter seasons, and storing or tossing things I won’t need until next summer. If you haven’t done it yet, I highly recommend going through your stash and getting rid of things that are old, outdated, expired, or just no longer loved. It’s not only good for your actual health (two year old mascara is just asking to give you pink eye), but it’s good for your mental health, too. After a thorough clean of the apartment yesterday, I rewarded myself with some time outside on our patio…since it won’t be warm enough to do that for a long, long time!

Anyhoo, here are some things I have been enjoying this week on the internet!

  • Jamie Beck did an amazing review of Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, and now I’m fully convinced that, in full Liz Lemon fashion, “I want to go to there.” Like right now. Just hop on a plane and be there.
  • Part 2 of Alexa Chung’s documentary on the fashion industry came out this week, and is still making me bang my head against the wall that I didn’t go into fashion. I can’t design, sew, draw, or look good in clothes…but it turns out you don’t have to!
  • World of Wanderlust’s “A Quick Guide to Krakow” just made me add Poland to my travel bucket list. Having a Polish background helps, but who knew it could be such a nice, easy place to travel? Not me, that’s for sure!
  • I really, really want to try the Famous Chocolate Cupcakes recipe from A Cup of Jo because it looks insanely easy and very tasty! Unfortunately, my husband is on a self-imposed diet, so there will be no cupcakes in my life anytime soon. Apparently no dessert for him means no dessert for me, unless it’s something I know he won’t eat. I wonder if I can work in some hazelnuts….
  • Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine interviewed Stacy London recently for their Chatroom series, but this week she released an extended version as a podcast. I am looking forward to listening to the entire thing this afternoon while cozying up with some banana bread and a tea (so I lied about not baking…I’m PMS-ing hardcore and couldn’t take it anymore…husband’s diet be damned).

I hope everyone has a nice, relaxing weekend! It sounds like everyone who was eyeballs deep in Fashion Week might need a couple days of sleeping in, eating on a regular schedule, and a good foot massage – all of which I hope you get!

Friday Favorites: Rollin’ Dirty

heather big wheel

I was sleeping in braids to get wavy hair before it was cool…and check out those blunt bangs!

This week has been all about getting out and enjoying the last few days of summer…and avoiding the construction noise going on upstairs. I did some decorating, soaked up the sun one last time at the beach, and baked my first ever Beer Can Chicken. Although the temperature hit 90 here on Wednesday, it’s looking and feeling a lot more like fall around here!

Here are some things I enjoyed on the internet this week!

– I really want to live in this photo shoot by Jamie Beck. It looks like the perfect way to end the summer and ring in fall!

– Brit + Co are predicting that Pecan Pie M&Ms are going to be the new fall food craze. I’m skeptical, but I also was about Pumpkin Spiced Lattes until I learned how to make my own. Will you give them a try?

– I don’t own a Cricut machine, but if I did I would make about a million of these paper succulents. At least I know I can’t kill those, right?

– Julia Kostreva makes such beautiful iPhone cases, it’s hard for me not to buy them all…especially since her iPhone 5 cases are only $20! I really want this tortoiseshell one…maybe someday….

– Here is the Baked Beer Can Chicken recipe I used. It turned out amazing, and we’re definitely going to add this to our regular dinner rotation!


*Note: There will not be a post on Monday. Sometimes things you want to blog about just don’t work out, you know? I’ll be back on Tuesday with one of my favorite parks!