When Ponny and I were first married we went all out for Christmas. We cut down our own tree and strung it with lights, played Christmas records and hung matching stockings–even one for our cat, Bisou. For the past couple years though, as we’ve gotten busier and the novelty of decorating just for the two of us wore off, we’ve kept our holiday celebrations low key and mostly food-based. This year we have a really good reason for a music and lights kind of Christmas: for the first time, we’re a family of four (I’m counting Bisou in there)!
This year is all about starting our little family’s holiday traditions, and while some will have to wait until Will is older, I have a few in mind that I’ll start this year. First, I plan to start sending Christmas cards. It’s a thoughtful way to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away, as well as a good excuse to get some nice family pictures taken every year. I used Basic Invite to print these cards and the experience couldn’t have been easier. The only reason it took me a while to design my cards is that there were so many modern Christmas cards to pick from and then I had to play with all the fonts and colors (literally 180 colors!).Continue Reading
I’ve been holding onto this muffin recipe — my very favorite muffin recipe — for months now, waiting until I had a little free time to put a post together. And here I am! At 4 am, standing in my living room with my laptop propped open on the mantel, bouncing a sleeping Will in one arm and typing this one-fingered with the other. Yup, this is what free time looks like with a 12 week old.
These muffins are one of the things I can pretty safely start making when I’m not sure how much time I have before Will wakes up and needs my undivided attention, because mixing everything up is so quick and unfussy. And let me tell you, the time spent making these is SO worth it! They’re fluffy, moist and flavorful — no matter how many I bake, they’re gone within a day or two. They’re kind of magical like that. And you can feel somewhat okay about eating them because they’re made with olive oil and yogurt! If you want to make them a little healthier and that much easier to make, leave off the glaze. That’s what I’ve done recently and they’re still addictive – it’s the tender, tasty insides that make them so good.
If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram you might already know that seven weeks ago, we became parents to the sweetest, squishiest baby there ever was. His name is Will and we’re madly in love with everything about him from his little hairstyle — it looks just like his dad’s — to his tiny toes. Last week he started laughing when he sees my face and he coos and smiles at us when he talk to him. All the baby love is completely intoxicating — it’s enough to make me forget I never shower anymore and my clothes are crunchy with dried spit up! Almost two months in and I’m starting to get the hang of things, though.
I can eat with one arm while bouncing Will to sleep in the other (sounds simple enough but this should really be an Olympic sport) and I even found time to do a little baking. Sure, this galette may have taken me two days to make when in my pre-baby days it would have been an easy last-minute dessert if friends were coming over on short notice. But I did it in the end, it turned out delicious, and these days that’s a huge victory!
A galette is the perfect dessert to make when you’re in a rush or not the tidiest baker but still want to make something impressive from scratch. If the crust is a little uneven or it’s not a perfect circle it’s okay, because it’s supposed to look rustic. I piled this one with fresh berries, which I think should always be eaten with either chocolate or freshly whipped cream. I chose whipped cream for this galette, and infused it with Stash Tea’s new Asian Pear Harmony Green Tea for a slightly fruity cream. The tea imparts the subtle fragrance that I love in fresh Asian pears and complements the galette’s sweet, juicy berries perfectly. Continue Reading
I made these pink grapefruit bars back around Christmas and meant to post the recipe right away. Then time got away from me, between work and preparing for baby to make his arrival (!), and here we are a month later. I wondered for a moment whether it was too late for this post when I realized grapefruit bars aren’t necessarily a Christmas dessert, or even exclusively a winter one. So, without further delay, I give you pink grapefruit bars! They’re everything I love about lemon bars – the unabashed sweetness, the buttery shortbread crust – but with a milder, more fragrant citrus flavor.Continue Reading
Happy December, everyone! I know preparing for the holidays can be a source of stress – everywhere you look, it seems like friends and family are ahead of the game with decorations, party planning, sending cards… It’s enough to make anyone want to just take a big long nap until January is here. So this year, at almost eight months pregnant, I’ve made the decision to only take on a little bit this holiday season, and so far it’s been the most wonderfully relaxed and stress-free one I can remember! We’re hosting just one holiday party at our house and it’s going to be a casual potluck. We’re sitting out far away family gatherings because long car rides make me queasy, so there won’t be the usual running around. Scaling back leaves me with the time, energy and sanity to actually enjoy the holidays this year, and for me that means lots of leisurely baking while listening to Christmas music!
This gingerbread cake is my first bake of the season, and everything about it says holidays. It’s loaded with rich molasses and lots of wintry spices for a dose of nostalgic gingerbread flavor, then coated in silky Stash Chai Spice Tea-infused buttercream. Continue Reading