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1. Our little Isabelle is two weeks old today! She is seriously a dream baby, which has been a blessing with two toddlers running around! She eats well, sleeps well, and is just generally so content and not fussy (knocking on every piece of wood imaginable as I type this!). We had her last weight check this week and got the green light that she was good until her 1-month checkup. Yay!

The boys seem to be adjusting well, too. Joseph really loves Isabelle and gets so excited when she wakes up and he sees her eyes open; he still wants to help with everything. He understands that “mommy has a boo boo on her belly from where baby sister came out” and that’s why I can’t drive him to school or do other things around the house, which is so helpful. Dominic has been wanting to give Isabelle more and more kisses; he obviously doesn’t quite understand and I think he could definitely benefit from more one-on-one time (the grandparents have been great for this so far!), but he has been doing wonderfully. I did sign us up for a summer music class; I’m looking forward to doing something special every week with just him :)

2. My recovery has been going really, really well. I’d venture to say it’s been the easiest c-section recovery of the three,...

Absolutely perfect vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting are super moist, buttery and melt in your mouth. Topped with silky smooth vanilla buttercream frosting – a classic combination!

Cupcakes experienced a serious boon in popularity about 10 years ago and boutique cupcake shops started popping up in every neighborhood. Forget about traditional cupcake flavors; things like red velvet, mocha, salted caramel and peanut butter were all the rage. And as good as those cupcakes are (seriously, I love them ALL), is there anything more iconic or nostalgic that a simple vanilla or chocolate cupcake?

My husband will always choose a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, so I set about finding the best combination of each a long time ago and fell in love with this recipe!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting!

These cupcakes are extremely buttery, supremely moist, and totally melt in your mouth, plus they come together in absolutely no time at all, which make them a quick and easy weeknight or weekend project.

A lot of cupcake recipes use oil instead of butter to keep them moist, but for a vanilla cupcake, I much prefer the pronounced butter flavor which shines through so...

I don’t have a true Friday Things for you today since the week has been dominated by getting settled in and adjusting to our new normal with three littles, but I still wanted to drop in and say hello and share more details about Isabelle’s birth and our time at home this week! She is 1-week old today!

This was my third c-section and while I had high anxiety beforehand, it ended up being the easiest and least stressful birth experience of the three. With Joseph I was induced a week after my due date and then failed to progress in labor and I was most certainly NOT prepared for that outcome and had a panic attack. With Dominic, my water broke a few days before my due date and I attempted to VBAC, to no avail. After 30 hours of labor, contractions stopped and in I went for another c-section. I was so deliriously exhausted that I could barely keep my eyes open. I didn’t have a full-blown panic attack, but both times I shook for at least an hour afterwards.

This time I knew from the beginning I would be having a c-section because of two previous ones caused by a narrow birth canal. I was anxious because it’s major surgery, but the day of the birth...

Say hello to Isabelle Adele, who joined our family on Friday, April 6th at 9:26am.

She weighed in at 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20 inches long; she is nothing but pure sweetness and her brothers are already madly in love with her.

This was a scheduled c-section, so I’m pretty sore and moving slowly, but feeling better each day. It was, though, the least stressful birth of the three!

Joseph is absolutely smitten with her and wants to kiss her, sit next to her, and help however he can. Dominic is very curious and likes pointing out her nose, ears, hair and toes, ha!

Life here with two toddlers, a newborn, and a mommy who can’t move around so well or pick anyone up but the baby is chaos at best, but there truly is no place like home 

I’ll be getting caught up with emails and comments over the coming days and will have some recipes for you starting again next week. Thanks...

1. Dominic turned 18 months old this week! The time has absolutely flown by; he is a huge ball of energy and non-stop motion. He’s silly, loves to make us laugh, and adores his big brother, copying everything that he does. He’s on the verge of terrible two action; one of his favorite words is “no” and he can throw a massive fit if he doesn’t get what he wants, but he is still so much a mama’s boy and I love his sloppy open-mouth kisses :)

One of Joseph’s favorite things lately? Looking through my cookbooks (aka “recipe books”). He’ll ask me to go get one, then points out all the food he knows, and asks me to read him the pages. IT. IS. ADORABLE.

2. Has the weather been 100% insane where you live? We had four inches of snow here on Monday morning, it was totally melted by dinnertime, then there were thunderstorms on Tuesday, and now it’s freezing again and it’s supposed to snow off and on for the better part of the next week. I love winter and snow, but I’m officially ready for some warmer weather!

3. AMEN to the 7pm bedtime! We had some struggles getting Joseph to bed around the 4 to 6 month mark and after doing a...

These chocolate crinkle cookies are rolled in rainbow sprinkles instead of powdered sugar, making them a perfect celebratory cookie for any occasion year-round!

Are chocolate crinkle cookies one of your holiday traditions? I have a favorite chocolate crinkle cookie recipe that I’ve been making for years, but when I opened up my friend Jessica’s new book, The Pretty Dish, her rendition totally jumped off the page at me and I couldn’t wait to make them. Instead of rolling them in powdered sugar, she rolls them in… rainbow sprinkles! These are such unbelievably pretty cookies, and they lend themselves to all sorts of variations based on the holiday and different colored sprinkles.

PLUS, they are just as delicious as they are gorgeous. Super soft, chewy cookies reminiscent of the best brownies; you can’t ask much more from your chocolate cookies!

I’ve had multiple questions from readers in the past about making cookies with vegetable oil and up until now, I had never made such a cookie. However, these crinkle cookies use vegetable oil instead of butter, and I’m happy to report that they turned out wonderfully!

They were soft (and STAYED soft) but weren’t oily or greasy in the least....

Happy holiday weekend to you!

Unbelievable that we have already reached the end of March and the year is a quarter of the way over already! Are you celebrating Easter tomorrow? If so, what are you eating? We’ll be at my mom’s with my in-laws and grandparents, eating traditional things like ham and lamb with cheesy, creamy side dishes.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday if you are celebrating, and just a fantastic weekend otherwise!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

BEB Favorites: March 2018 – Eight new favorites for this month!

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!) – A completely homemade version of monkey bread – no canned biscuit dough here! Perfect for any Sunday or holiday brunch.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe – This is truly the best carrot cake recipe – it’s made completely from scratch, is supremely moist, and packed full of carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins. Filled and frosted with a simple cream cheese frosting, this cake is an absolute winner on every level. Make it for Easter, Thanksgiving, or anytime you need a special cake!

1. Last Sunday was my birthday and I enjoyed a fantastic day with all of my boys and our family. I had my very favorite bakery cake for dessert and didn’t have to change a single diaper… it was a wonderful day :)

2. Are you dying Easter eggs this weekend? We did it last year with the boys (well, Dominic sat in the high chair and watched) and I think they’d enjoy it. Thinking of trying to Cool Whip egg dying trick I’ve seen all over the Internet, and I just got a box of Americolor gel colors I might try it with! (I’ve also seen it done with shaving cream, but that seems… unsafe with little kids who will put anything in their mouth?)

3. I totally pre-ordered the Magnolia Table cookbook by Joanna Gaines and can’t wait to get it! I actually just heard about it a week ago, but I’m kind of sort of obsessed with her and Chip since we started watching Fixer Upper and I can’t wait to get my hands on her cookbook!

4. Did you hear that Urban Outfitters has brought back CABOODLES?! As in, you can actually buy them! If this little girl swimming around in my belly was a decade older, I would snatch one up for her in a second. I...

This is truly the best carrot cake recipe – it’s made completely from scratch, is supremely moist, and packed full of carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins. Filled and frosted with a simple cream cheese frosting, this cake is an absolute winner on every level. Make it for Easter, Thanksgiving, or anytime you need a special cake!

We’re only a few days away from Easter and we NEED to talk about carrot cake. It is, in my mind, one of the most absolutely underrated cakes out there. Most people love chocolate or yellow cake, while others go nuts over white or red velvet. It’s understandable, they’re delicious… but my gosh, carrot cake is SO GOOD. Plus, we have cream cheese frosting, which just throws it right over the edge.

I’ve always been a fan of carrot cake, but on a weekend trip to the Outer Banks back when my husband and I were dating, we ate at the Outer Banks Brewing Station and for dessert had the most enormous, most delicious piece of carrot cake to ever grace my plate. I’ve been officially obsessed from that moment on.

And if there was ever a time to wax poetic about this cake, it would be just prior to a major holiday when maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to decide what to serve for dessert.

Let’s Talk Carrot Cake!

A completely homemade version of monkey bread – no canned biscuit dough here! Homemade dough is rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then baked until bubbling and glazed to perfection. Perfect for any Sunday or holiday brunch.

One massive, gooey cinnamon roll? Yes, please!

I know this is called monkey bread but I’m having a hard time deciding if it should be classified as bread or a cake. Or a pastry. Breakfast pastry? Oooh maybe that’s it! However you categorize it, this is all kinds of delicious.

Sweetened dough is cut into small pieces, rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter, rolled in cinnamon and brown sugar, and layered int a Bundt pan. The butter and brown sugar create a caramel sauce that coats the bread once it is turned out of the pan. Drizzle the top with a powdered sugar glaze, and you have the most decadent breakfast, snack or dessert (I just love baked goods that can be eaten for a variety of meals or occasions).

This is meant to be served warm so you can pull the bread apart with your fingers, but it’s also fabulous at room temperature or rewarmed in a microwave. No matter when you eat it, you’ll be licking your fingers clean!

Monkey Bread FROM SCRATCH!

Welcome to the March installment of BEB Favorites!

It’s the last Monday of the month, which means it’s time for another BEB favorites!

I have a good assortment of some kids things and new favorites of mine :)

Bombas Socks – I’ve talked about these multiple times over the last few months, but I am IN LOVE with these socks. They are so soft and cushiony, not too warm, don’t slip… basically the perfect sock. I like the original ankle, marls, and lightweight crew versions. Plus, they just came out with spring colors!

Every Child is an Artist Art Holder – My aunt bought this for us when Joseph started bringing home a lot of artwork from preschool, and we LOVE having somewhere to hang and display his projects, and he loves looking at them and talking about the different pieces. She said she got it from Kirkland’s, but it appears to be sold out online, however there are tons of them on Etsy!

Walnut Growth Chart – My husband found this on Etsy and bought it for the boys (I have to start getting used to saying “kids” instead of “boys”!). It is absolutely gorgeous, we love it. It’s hanging in our playroom and is just an incredible piece of woodworking; it’s pricey but...

We’re still rolling in ham, lamb, potatoes and dinner roll leftovers here, and while I’m still gobbling them up, I wanted to share pictures from our holiday weekend!

It looks very convincingly un-holiday-ish because aside from Sunday we really had a very low-key couple of days at home. My energy is waning, my feet are swollen, we didn’t have any big egg hunt, I forgot to buy WHITE eggs for coloring (doh, organic brown eggs!), and so we all just relaxed and enjoyed time together at home. We had Easter dinner at my mom’s house with my in-laws and grandparents; we all had a fun day and the boys came home with tons of bunny treats.


Kicked off the weekend on Friday with curbside pickup at the grocery store because, at nearly 39 weeks pregnant I was not about to brave the grocery store on Good Friday afternoon. It’s less than a 10-minute drive, but Joseph had apparently been worn out by his swim lesson and lunch!

When he falls asleep in the car and then gets woken up, he is… rather unpleasant, to put it mildly, HA. Re-entry takes awhile and he eventually just laid down on the kitchen floor.

Hello hello!

I hope your weekend is off to a great start and that you’ve dug out from under the snow if you got hit this week. I’m ready for some warm weather, for sure!

Low key weekend planned here since we’re down to this one and next week before baby arrives! Maybe some kitchen work today, but that’s about it!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad – My grandma’s recipe for the iconic light and refreshing dessert that includes mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows, pineapple and Cool Whip. Perfect for summer!

Easy Hashbrown Casserole – Hashbrown casserole is easy, cheesy, takes only minutes to throw together, and is a favorite side dish for holiday dinners from Easter to Christmas and casual weeknight dinners alike. Total comfort food!

Friday Things – Skillets, dinnertime, Olive Garden salad dressing, and more!

1. These boys of mine, I love them so much. I’m trying to soak up as much time with each of them as I can before baby #3 arrives since I’ll be seriously limited in what I’ll be able to do for a couple of months (no errands with them, no baths, no naps or bedtimes, ugh). I remember feeling so much guilt with what I wasn’t able to do with Joseph when Dominic was born, but in retrospect, it’s such a tiny blip of time in the grand scheme of things. They seem to grow and change so much each week, it’s so much fun to see the little people they’re becoming :)

(Speaking of which, Joseph LOVES helping me in the kitchen. Anytime I’m standing at the counter doing something, he pushes a chair over and gets up to help. This week we were snowed in on Wednesday so I made monkey bread, and he hopped up to help roll the balls of dough and then drop them in the bowl of butter – his favorite part, ha. If you follow me on Instagram, you got to see a couple videos I posted of him helping!)

2. I can’t believe Easter is already next weekend! Do you have any fun basket ideas for toddlers?...

Hashbrown casserole is easy, cheesy, takes only minutes to throw together, and is a favorite side dish for holiday dinners from Easter to Christmas and casual weeknight dinners alike. Total comfort food!

Ahhhh, hashbrown casserole.

Creamy, cheesy and absolutely, positively addicting. If it’s never graced your table, you HAVE to make it, immediately! My aunt makes a version slightly different from this, but it always shows up at Easter and Christmas. Not surprisingly, cheesy potatoes go exceptionally well with ham dishes!

I recently made this to go along with meatloaf for a Sunday dinner. We were a very small crowd that week and four adults polished off all but one row of this casserole. Granted, it was the only side dish we had, but still… we crushed it. We couldn’t stop taking just one more little scoop after another.

So basically, you should be assured that this be a massive, massive hit whenever you make it.

What Is Hashbrown Casserole?

Hashbrown casserole is one of the most addicting side dishes you will ever eat! It’s an easy casserole that takes less than 10 minutes to mix together – simply stir together thawed hash browns, butter, cream of chicken...

Italian Easter Pie, also known as Pizza Rustica or Italian Easter meat pie, is chock full of Italian meats and cheeses, and is traditionally served at noon the day before Easter to celebrate the end of Lent.

About a year after my grandma passed away, I was going through a stack of her old recipes when a newspaper clipping fell out from among the myriad of handwritten note cards that she used to write 95% of her recipes. The yellowed clipping was from 1994 and included a feature on a local ricotta cheese company, as well as a recipe for Italian Easter Pie.

I didn’t recall my grandma ever making it, but I took one look at the ingredients – over a pound of Italian meats and nearly three pounds of cheeses – and knew that everyone in my family would love it. I tucked the clipping away in a safe spot and earmarked it for the following Easter. When I finally tested the recipe we all devoured the pie (shocker!).

It’s definitely an Easter tradition worth starting!

Italian Easter Pie!

This pie is an Italian-Catholic recipe and is traditionally made the day before Easter and served at...

Ambrosia Salad – My grandma’s recipe for the iconic light and refreshing dessert that includes mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows, pineapple and Cool Whip. This five-ingredient dessert takes only five minutes to make and is perfect for serving a crowd!

I can’t ever remember a time before ambrosia salad. We’ve been eating it in my family since I was old enough to chew, and most likely, for years or decades before I was even a blip on the radar. It seemed that my grandma could make ambrosia appear out of thin air, and we never ran out. How is that possible?!

Actually, it’s possible when you’re talking about an Italian lady who felt that the best way to show people you love them is to feed them. Then feed them some more. Then, even when they’re so full they can barely speak, you urge them to eat more, claiming that you hardly saw anything on their plate. That’s love.

That, also, is how it comes to be that there is endless supply of whatever you’re serving. God forbid someone might still be hungry and there not be anything left. THAT is the definition of an Italian tragedy.

Ambrosia was served up routinely for Christmas and...

Happy Saturday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Are you doing anything festive today to celebrate? Making any yummy food? We’re not planning on anything here; I’m spending the day in the kitchen and just trying to get a little bit ahead before the baby arrives so I can have a bit of maternity leave!

If you’re celebrating today, be safe and have fun!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Easy Grape Salad Recipe – This simple Grape Salad Recipe is wonderfully fresh, creamy, and sweet. It can be served as a side dish or dessert, and is perfect for spring and summer holidays and parties!

Koulourakia: Greek Easter Cookies – Koulourakia are traditional Greek Easter cookies that are infused with orange zest and perfect for dunking in coffee.

Friday Things – Time change, lessons, baby, dogs, salted caramel cookie bars, and more…

This Week’s New Recipe...

1. I was dreading losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night with the time change, but so far we have been totally reaping the benefits. I’m not sure if it’s because of the clock change or it being darker in the mornings (or a combination), but both boys have been sleeping for nearly an hour later in the morning than they usually do (and that’s with still going to bed at their normal bedtimes). I will TAKE IT!

2. Joseph is still loving ice skating… I was astonished at what a big difference a week made! In the first class, it took until literally the last minute of class for him to be able to go from down on the ice to a standing position on his own. This week he was able to do it almost immediately, did it over and over, and could do little marching steps on the ice. He has such a huge smile during his lesson and I love it!

He also had a fabulous swim lesson last Friday… it was the first one since he started going on his own (this was the third, I think) that he didn’t look at all sad or weepy at any point during the lesson. In fact, he laughed and smiled with the coupl eof other kids in his class almost the entire time, so I was thrilled!

These peanut butter eggs are a homemade copycat version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, an Easter favorite. An easy recipe that will be a holiday staple!

As a kid, Easter Sunday always fell very closely behind Halloween when it came to raking in the candy loot. In some ways, it was actually better. Sure, on Halloween you got candy in quantity. However, Easter was definitely all about the quality. Let’s face it – without fail, someone always ended up with a box of Nerds, or raisins, or some other type of unsavory candy on Halloween night.

These things just didn’t happen with the Easter basket. The bunny knew what kind of candy you liked and you always got the good stuff. For me, the good stuff meant peanut butter eggs (shocking, I know). If there was just one thing in my basket, and it was a peanut butter egg, I would be in my glory. All these years later, I still can’t shake my affinity for them.

Since I had already tackled homemade peanut butter cups, I decided many Easters ago that I would finally make homemade peanut butter eggs. I don’t think I’ll ever go back!

Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs