life lately

In the Kitchen: What I’ve Been Cooking and Baking Lately

I love cooking and baking. I also love taking pictures of what I’m cooking and baking. I always enjoy reading about what other people have been eating lately, whether it’s a simple breakfast at home or a fancy meal at a restaurant. So I’ve put together my own post with just a few highlights from my kitchen this month.

Foodiecrush's Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup |

I mentioned a while back that I wanted to try Heidi’s slow cooker Thai chicken soup. I finally got around to making a batch (it took me a few months, I know), and it’s SO good. The broth is bursting with flavor. It’s one of those foods where I kept sneaking more bites of the broth as I was packing away the leftovers. Please make a batch ASAP just for the broth. The chicken and vegetables combination is also fantastic.

Pesto Mozzarella Pizza |

Jake and I call this pesto mozzarella pizza Hobbit pizza because we first ate a version of it at a little restaurant with a Lord of the Rings-themed name in Alexandria, VA. We ended up at the place randomly because the restaurant a friend had recommended was closed. It was one of the best memories of the trip and is one of my top favorite vacation memories with Jake. I have my version of the pizza posted over here. Don’t mind the really old photos.

Two Peas and Their Pod's Soft Gingersnap Cookies |

I absolutely love soft gingersnap cookies. For some reason, I had never made them myself until this holiday season. I know you can make gingersnaps any time of year, but it feels like a holiday recipe. I made this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Buttery Crescent Dinner Rolls, the perfect touch for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's dinner. |

I always make crescent rolls for Thanksgiving. I thought about not posting the recipe until next Thanksgiving, but several readers urged me to post the recipe in time for Christmas and New Year’s. So I did. It’s right here. Buttery crescent dinner rolls make any special occasion just that much more special.

Mini Pizza Calzones |

Recently I made my pizza calzone recipe as mini calzones! Instead of making eight regular-sized calzones like I usually do, I made 16 mini-sized calzones. I split the dough into 16 pieces, and filled each one with 1/4 cup filling. Then I baked them for 8 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. I’m so happy with the result and can’t wait to try other mini calzone variations.

Sliced Avocado With Salt and Pepper |

Finally, lately, my favorite way to eat avocado is sliced, then topped with a little freshly ground salt and pepper. (My salt and pepper grinders have changed my life.) I’ve had some great discussions on Instagram about favorite ways to eat avocados.

I didn’t cook or bake anything too exciting for the holidays. I made chili for a friend get together and lasagna for a family get together. We also had lots of hummus (I’m hoping to get my recipe up here in early 2017), veggies, crackers, cheese, more cookies, chocolate oranges (why are they only available for Christmas?!), and chocolate sea salted caramels.

The best way to follow along with all of my cooking and eating endeavors is to follow me on Instagram! I share tons of quick snaps in my Instagram story and occasional DSLR shots in my main feed. If you ever have a question about exactly what I’m making or where I got a recipe, don’t hesitate to ask.

What have you been cooking and baking lately?
Feel free to share links to favorite recipes in the comments!





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November 2016: Life Lately.

Christmas Lights Bokeh Play, 2016 Holidays |

I’m structuring my late fall through early spring monthly highlights posts a little differently than my late spring through early fall highlights posts. There are happenings that I want to share here but not as many specific events (i.e. outdoor concerts, festivals). Hopefully, that makes sense, and you’ll stick with me through these less photo heavy months and more text heavy updates.

I know that it’s sort of a given this time of year, but this November, I’ve been extra conscious about taking time every day to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have. Over a two-week span at the beginning of the month, two friends lost parents (one of whom passed away not even two months after receiving a cancer diagnosis), one friend lost a grandparent, Jon Schmidt of the Piano Guys lost his daughter Annie in a tragic hiking accident, and Rob’s beloved Bella crossed the rainbow bridge after a 15+ month battle with cancer.

I have my own daily struggles and uncertainty in life. We all do, I know. Watching people I love suffer incredibly unfair, heart-wretching death of their loved ones puts things in perspective. Jake and I have faced multiple major challenges during our married life and continue to face challenges, but we have so much to be grateful for, too. I have been mindful of my blessings every single day this month, especially as I pray for those close to me who have faced loss.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving 2016 |

For Thanksgiving, we stayed close to home, which is sort of the best thing ever. One of the major reasons we live in southeast WI is to be close to family. It’s so great to be able to drive a couple hours or less for major holidays and then get back home to your own bed (and kitties) that night.

My in-laws cooked on Thanksgiving, and then I cooked for myself, Jake, and my parents the day after, which meant my cooking was pretty straightforward and involved chicken (and a little steak) instead of turkey. Recipes: chicken and vegetables / sweet potato casserole / rolls / cranberry sauce / pumpkin pie (with a homemade flaky pie crust from How to Cook Everything). The rolls recipe is now up on the blog, just in time for Christmas and New Year’s meals! So excited! I’m not a big “it’s not X holiday unless we have X food” person. Except for these rolls. They’ve been a family tradition ever since I was little. It was so much fun getting to cook with my mom. We hadn’t cooked together like that in years.

Holiday Decorations 2016 |

Jake and I concluded the weekend with holiday decorating. We always get a real tree, which I look forward to all year. I’ve been filling in some finishing touches this past week, but we got the bulk of our decorations up during the last few days in November. I shared a few of the new decorations I picked up this year over here.

November 2016 Blog DIY Sneak Peek |

Otherwise, I’ve been working on the final adoption home study tasks, finishing up or at least making progress on a bunch of home projects, and working on lots of posts for the blog. Over the next month or so, I’m really excited to share some new DIY projects including DIY holiday wall art (the canvas art tutorial is already up right here) and my made over file cabinet (all pictured above!), more Christmas and general winter inspiration, best of 2016 (both photos and what I’ve been reading), and 2017 goals.

Fox in the Yard with a Squirrel - Southeast WI |

Finally, one of the highlights of November was seeing a fox right in our yard. There are foxes in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few from a distance before but never one so close. He’s wandered through a few times now, always on the go, hence I’ve only snapped a few pictures of him. I can’t get over the dark red fur color.

How was your November? Are you mostly focused on the holidays this month or do you have other events going on as well?







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