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Forgive me for finally having a moment to post about our family road trip that we took two weeks ago down to the Central Coast! We had the best time and I’ve been getting a ton of questions from many of you who want to plan your own road trip soon.  Adam took the day off of work on Friday, we packed the car and drove the four hours down (okay so it was supposed to be four hours but with kids it ended up being 5.5…who’s counting?!) to a little seaside town called Cambria. Fun fact – Adam and I flew down to Cambria a few days after we met back in ’09 to look at a winery we might do some work for. I hardly knew him but we were told we were traveling together – just the two of us – to check out the winery. If you feel lost on the whole story, you can read about our interesting story here but please don’t judge me on all the bold font and terrible photos. We’ve come far, friends. We’ve come far.  ANYWAY, flash forward nine years and we went back! Not to that winery, but to […]

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Well, hello there 🙂 Thank you guys for bearing with me the past month! I didn’t mean to disappear, but I was so busy with the kids that I did not have an extra second in my day to write a post. We finally got Grayson in, what we believe, is the absolute perfect school situation! YAY! He is finishing up his first week there and totally loves it. I feel so good about the whole thing and just so incredibly happy we found the right spot for him. Sometimes you just don’t get everything right the first time! Anyway, I feel like a little bit of balance is being restored to our lives with that whole “situation” working out.  And guess what? I made you the most amazing cake for Valentine’s Day! Okay, the cake IS good…but it’s really the frosting here that is so special. Oh my gosh, you guys, please believe me when I tell you it could be the very best frosting I have ever made! And the special ingredient: roasted beets! But you’d never know it!!!!! Just take my word for it okay?    It all started with my desire to make a hot pink […]

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Since you guys seem to enjoy these book posts so much, I am excited to bring another one your way! These days, I seem to have way less personal time with both boys at home with me full time, but even with that, I seem to be reading a lot more. I think it’s because in our search to fill up our days, we have discovered the gigantic Berkeley public library downtown and spend a few mornings there a week! I feel so blessed to live in a place with such an AMAZING public library. They have an entire floor just dedicated to kids and Grayson is in heaven whenever we go. Luke, on the other hand, is a very typical 18 month old whose favorite pastime is removing books from the shelves and throwing them on the floor….but…we’re slowly getting there. 😉  I’m also really trying to make an honest effort at putting my phone down more in the evenings and pick up a book before bed instead. I used to be SUCH a reader, you guys. Then I had kids! Now I’m just a tired mama who wants to read all the novels, but usually falls asleep a […]

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I haven’t written one of these “true to life” posts in awhile! Things over here have been extremely busy, but that is nothing new. We are experiencing a lot of change right now – unexpected change, really, as we recently made the tough decision to pull Grayson out of his current preschool and keep him home until Fall. There’s a lot there to talk about, but most of it is personal and not internet worthy. What I can say though is that his current school just wasn’t a good fit for him and we’re looking forward to many cozy days at home this season. What that means in relation to this space is that I may be posting a little less than usual during this busy season we’re in. I’ve always considered my number one job to be a mom and right now I’ve got two boys under four at home with me full time. I’m trying to embrace the change and know it’s just a season. We’re intentionally trying to slow way down over here this year and dig in deep in the season we are in. My hands have never felt fuller, but they are full of good […]

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Hey y’all! Happy 2018! I hope everyone had a really nice holiday. We really did! My parents came into town to visit, and since we only see them a few times a year, I took some time off to spend solely with family.  I usually do a bit of a social media break over Christmas and New Years and always find that it leaves me feeling energized and ready to go in the new year. Thanks for understanding. 🙂 I have made this roast twice in the past month and it is seriously the most comforting and delicious meal I can think of right now. I have always shied away from pot roasts in the past, thinking they were so retro and heavy…but I can prettyyyyyyy much guarantee you will LOVE this. It’s not at all the stodgy, old fashioned pot roast I once knew (mushy vegetables = gross). Trust me on this when I tell you this will be your new favorite dinner this winter.  Since I know someone will ask, yes you can make this in a slow cooker. Just increase the cooking time to 8-10 hours on low. I have not tried this in an Instant Pot […]

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Happy one week until Christmas Day 🙂 So, as most of you probably know, over the past month we have been experimenting with going gluten-free to help with some of the “issues” Luke has been having, basically since birth. I did a whole elimination diet with him and really thought gluten was the answer. However, after completing the whole diet thing, it doesn’t look like gluten or dairy are the problems after-all! This is good and bad news. It’s good because now Luke can eat baguettes, pasta and cream again. Bless his heart. It’s bad, though, because we are back to square one. We have decided to just wait things out until he turns two and then proceed with some more in depth allergy tests. Sigh. That was frustrating BUT it really did open a whole new world of exploring gluten-free baking for me…one that I really enjoyed actually! These cookies are, hands down, my favorite thing to come out of the gluten free diet weeks. I am absolutely addicted to these and plan to bake more with the kids this week once Grayson is over his cold. Gluten free or not…these are GOOD! As in, really really really good […]

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I seriously cannot even BELIEVE that Christmas is two weeks from TODAY. I feel like I say this every year at this time, but wow…where did the time go?! I think about last December…we moved into our new house in a new city right after Christmas. It felt like a hard season back then. I had a five month old and a two year old and, as much as I thought I would unpack “over the weekend”, we ended up living in boxes for months before we were finally all settled. I didn’t know anyone in our new area and I stayed home a ton with the boys. It rained. A lot.  Flash forward to this year and my boys are three and a half and (almost) one and a half. Luke started walking last month and that combined with his first haircut makes him seem so old to me! I’m officially the mom of a toddler and a preschooler and our days are busy, busy, busy.  I have been really loving spiced cider this season! I don’t know what I love more — the fact that whenever I make it my whole house smells like apples and spices… or […]

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    Hey guys! I am excited to share some of my holiday picks with you all today. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on toys for toddlers and we are getting our kids for Christmas. Luke is still so little that anything really goes, but we are excited to surprise the boys with a few things on Christmas morning. 😉 Adam and I usually don’t buy each other gifts, really. We prefer to save for weekends away. I did include a few “dude things” though on this list…all that have been Adam approved.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! We are taking the kids to see Santa this weekend and I am SO excited but, as Grayson said, “I am excited to see Santa but baby Luke will probably be scared”. Yes, probably so. Follow along with on Insta Stories to see how it all turns out! Everlane Weekender Bag I always feel like luggage is a really great gift and personally LOVE this bag. It has seen me through many weekend trips (and to the hospital for the birth of both my kids!). It holds up very well and is just such a classic beauty.  […]

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This recipe is for all my chocoholic friends out here. Monday is an excellent day for some gooey double chocolate cookies…am I right or am I right?!? I mean, tis the season afterall. I had the most amazing flourless chocolate cookie at a local cafe last week and I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it! Luke is still doing the whole gluten free / dairy free / soy free thing …and this was the best option. As the friendly barista said, “these cookies have helped many a person get through an elimination diet”. 😉 They are SERIOUSLY chocolatey and very chewy! I have been having a hard time finding many good gluten free baked good recipes that don’t rely on almond flour (Luke is allergic), so these fit the bill perfectly.  If you don’t like pecans, you can definitely use walnuts. I just wanted to make them as close as possible to the chocolate pecan version at Elmwood Cafe. I actually made these a couple times last week before getting them just *right*, and I think the big secret here is to use a dark Dutch process cocoa. The first time I made them, I used Trader Joe’s […]

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If you know me, you know that I ADORE soups and this one basically has everything I love most in life in it. We’ve got pasta, greens, bacon, cheese, beans, really good tomatoes…the list goes on. It’s pure comfort in a bowl and will definitely be on repeat this winter! Surprisingly enough, I had never really made a pasta e fagioli before. I sort of winged it here, but it turned out really, really yummy so I had to share! If you have been following my Insta stories, you know that after today we are doing an elimination diet to get to the bottom of a few issues that have been bothering Luke for quite some time. We won’t be eating gluten, soy or dairy for a bit while we get to the bottom of it (and I say “we” because, nursing). I fully plan on re-making this using gluten free pasta and no cheese while we’re on our “diet”, but I can assure you it’s best in its original form.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have been traveling (what feels like) nonstop this past month and it feels really good to get home and back to […]

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Howdy from Texas! While the rest of the internet is bringing you Thanksgiving recipe after Thanksgiving recipe this week, I decided to take a break from the kitchen and share with you some of my favorite reads lately instead. I’ve shared so many Thanksgiving recipes over the years on this site and you all know where you can find them. Today, let’s talk about books instead because a long weekend probably means you have some extra time to read, right? Listen. I have been really trying to not be on my phone in the evenings any more. The struggle is real, you guys! And it totally sucks you in. You think “I’ll just scroll Facebook one time – just to check (check WHAT?!)” and then it’s an hour later, you’re exhausted and ready for bed. Let the cycle stop. I’m bringing back good old fashioned conversation and books for a change. It feels good to get in the habit of reading again. Reading really is one of my greatest joys. I can’t imagine life without novels. I truly feel bad for people who don’t like to read.  So here’s a list of the books I’ve been reading! You all always […]

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Do you still need recipes for your feast next week?! Don’t freak out —I’ve got your back. Below you’ll find all favorite recipes for stuffing, sides, breads, desserts and the main event. If ever you weren’t sure which side to bring to the family dinner, now you have LOTS of options. And don’t forget the cardinal rule: when in doubt, bring booze. You’re welcome. Grilled Brie with Honey and Trail Mix Mushroom Sourdough Stuffing Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce Baked Stuffed Apples with Walnuts and Dried Cherries Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dried Cherries and Israeli Couscous Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy Wild Rice with Caramelized Shallots, Cranberries and Pecans Streusel Topped Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes Zucchini au Gratin1 Roasted Carrots with Ginger Honey Glaze Brown Sugar and Cayenne Brined Turkey Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Scones 15 Minute Oatmeal Scones Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Cinnamon Walnut Bread with Honey Butter Cheddar Wafers Cranberry Walnut Orange Bread Walnut Potato Rolls with Honey Butter Cardamom Sweet Rolls Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting Pear Cardamom Upside Down Cake No-Bake Black Bottom Pudding Pie Lightened Up Snickers Pie No-Bake Chocolate Kahlua Pecan Pie Old Fashioned Chocolate […]

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Let the holiday baking commence!!! You all may remember this recipe. I originally posted it way back in 2010, I believe, and since then it has remained one of the most popular and beloved recipes on this site. I wanted to remake it and repost it today for any of you newer readers. Plus, this bread deserved much better photography than what it was originally given seven years ago. 😉  This is the bread I used to bake by the dozen all November at the golf club I worked at. We used to stuff the bread baskets full of this and it was, hands down, the most popular item! EVERYONE loves this bread. And what isn’t there to love? It’s full of juicy cranberries, pecans and orange zest…and the dough resembles more of a sugar cookie than anything else. I don’t rave this much about every recipe, but in this case it is true: YOU NEED THIS ON YOUR THANKSGIVING TABLE. This freezes very well, making it a great item to actually bake in advance before Thanksgiving. It also keeps a few days. I like it best warm from the oven with some salted butter on top, but try it […]

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We may have a pasta eating problem in our house, you guys. I have been making a TON of pasta lately!! It’s usually just the easiest option and something everyone will eat. Now, I have always prided myself on the fact that my kids (mostly) will eat anything and I don’t make special meals for them. The boys eat what we eat. End of story. That being said, they are three and a half and a year and a half. They don’t love fussy food and mac and cheese is, hands down, their favorite thing. Obviously. But a girl can only make so much mac and cheese, homemade or not. 😉 Enter easy weeknight pasta dishes! I could write a whole cookbook on them by now, I think. Maybe I just will one day!  This dish was inspired by some of my favorite flavors. I love roasted eggplant, Italian sausage, tomato sauce and cheese. Obviously cheese. We are still getting super yummy eggplant in our CSA box, so it still feels somewhat like summer over here in California. This recipe is a great SIMPLE way to get your kiddos to eat more veggies and is a meal everyone will absolutely […]

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Can I interest you in a simple beef stew this weekend? First of all, let me say I am sorry for being so MIA this past week! We took the kids to visit my parents in South Carolina and…wait for it…I forgot my laptop at home.  I know. I know.  I sort of freaked out at first but then I just had to let go of all that and just be. But the good part to that is that it actually really forced to me to relax a bit and I read two BOOKS! Real books. It was lovely. When the laptop/work temptation was gone, I succumbed to curling up with a novel at night instead of working. It was a nice break. I wouldn’t call it particularly restful, since Luke decided to forfeit sleep while we were there and was literally up every single hour every single night all week. But…I still read some books, drank some wine and and took a few bubble baths in my mom’s tub.  So now, we are officially back. I have a lot of really fun surprises coming up for you guys soon but you’ll have to wait and see. 😉 For now, […]

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The only thing I love more than a good apple recipe in the fall, is {obviously} a great pumpkin one. You know, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin pie, for that matter, but I absolutely love any other pumpkin-y recipe in the fall!  Since Halloween is right around the corner, I wanted to share some of my very favorite pumpkin recipes with you guys…you know, just in case you decide to get some last minute Halloween baking done this weekend. 😉 I know I signed up to bring a “treat” to Grayson’s class party on Friday and since there are so many kids with allergies in his class this year, they asked us to bring a vegan item! So, I am making the above pictured recipe, which just happens to be one of my very favorites — Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls! These are just so good and loved by everyone who tries them. So here it goes – I won’t say in order of favorites because I love them all! Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Pumpkin Crunch Granola Pumpkin Curry Bisque – a really nice simple dinner before trick or treating! Serve it in a hollowed […]

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Happy Monday, friends! Here’s another super fast weeknight meal for you guys! This one came together in – wait for it – 10 MINUTES and everyone loved it so much. We have been loving the wild Alaskan salmon from Pride of Bristol Bay lately, which is what I used to make this recipe. You guys know how passionate we are about teaching our kids where their food comes from and I have to say, over the past few years we have really started to eat less and less seafood because it hasn’t always been so easy to get truly sustainable fish that you can feel good about eating. Nowadays, we really just eat salmon and some wild shrimp on occasion, which is a huge change for me since I grew up in Florida eating tons of seafood! Anyway, cost is another factor, obviously. The good stuff costs money and as much as I love the wild King salmon that’s local to us here, I see it sometimes for as much as $30 a pound and that’s just crazy and not sustainable for a family of four (who really loves to eat!).  I have been going on and on about Pride […]

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Are you a busy parent looking for a delicious weeknight dinner idea?! Me, too. I think some of you guys think I cook these time consuming extravagant meals for my family all the time during the week….but it really couldn’t be further from the truth!! Honestly, I am doing the same things you all are doing. When dinner time comes around, I’m usually juggling getting Grayson settled in front of his little tv show and holding Luke while I stir a pot. Having two kids has made me REALLY efficient at doing many tasks one-handed, cooking included! The truth of the matter is that I love cooking but, during the week, I’m always trying to make for simple healthy meals everyone likes (keyword: simple).  I was recently asked to give Buitoni new pasta a try and I happily obliged! We have been fans of the product for years and, while I love making homemade pasta when I have time, I also am not above grabbing a package of ravioli from the store and sprucing it up with some ingredients from our local farmers market. 😉  For this recipe, I used Buitoni Parmesan and Black Pepper Ravioli that I found in […]

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I get asked fairly often what our baby “must haves” are, so I finally compiled a list! I feel like you collect SO MUCH STUFF when you have kids when, really, you don’t need half of it. I mean, let’s be honest…when you come home from the hospital with a newborn you just need diapers and your breast (or bottle). 😉 Anyway, after having two kiddos, these really are the items that we have loved and been so glad we purchased. I hope this list helps someone out there (and you guys are always asking where I get my sippy cups and bibs from…!). Like everything else, these are the things that just worked for us. I hope they work for you as well but everyone is different. All babies are different. My other big advice is don’t get hung up on all the “stuff” you need when you’re expecting your first baby. There’s so much gimicky baby stuff out there today and I just can’t even with Babies R Us. That place gives me a migraine with all it’s stuff everywhere. Let me know if there’s something you have seen me use a lot but I might have forgotten […]

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If you can think of a weeknight meal that’s more comforting than roast chicken and potatoes, be my guest. 😉 I make a LOT of roast chicken at house because it’s a very simple and easy meal that everyone loves! Usually, I use whole pastured chickens from a farm near our house, but lately I have been getting more and more bone-in chicken parts — really, because they cook faster and it’s just as good. I love putting in a “tray bake” like this during naptime so I have dinner all set and ready after I get home from preschool pickup. I don’t know about you guys, but the last thing I really want to be doing at 5pm is slaving in the kitchen with my kids on my heels. There’s wine for that. This is a very seasonal take on classic roast chicken with lots of roast sweet potatoes and sage. The chicken, itself, is basted with a sweet maple mustard glaze that sort of caramelizes as it roasts. Your house is going to smell amazing, take my word for it. This comes together very easily, probably with pantry items you already have. I was able to throw this […]

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