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my favorite pumpkin bread (shhhh…it’s whole wheat!)


Pumpkin Bread

I know what you’re thinking…”another pumpkin recipe? c’mon already.” Well, yes. No excuses, except I love this pumpkin bread. I’d rather not tell you how much of it I’ve eaten in the last 3 days. If that’s not what you’re thinking, it might be something like, “eeewww, whole wheat?” And that’s where you would be wrong, very wrong.

Have you heard of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? If not, this might just rock your world right now. Whole wheat pastry flour is a 100% whole grain flour, that’s made of a soft white wheat. It has a protein content of 9% which lands it in the middle of cake flour and regular all purpose flour. All that means is that it’s a whole grain flour, that you can use in place of regular all-purpose flour, without hardly noticing a difference. I’ve started to use it as a replacement for all purpose flour in our house. I am sure that there are instances where you couldn’t sub it with exact results like the original recipe, but I’ve been really happy with what I’ve tried so far. I love when I can incorporate whole grains without feeling like I’m making a sacrifice of flavor or texture.

Now, back to this pumpkin bread. I originally got this recipe from my friend Courtney that I used to work with, back when I used to work at a large format printer company, of all places. I have loved that recipe and made that recipe time and time again. It’s always a winner, it freezes well(if for some strange reason you don’t just eat it all at once), and it comes together quickly. The other day, I realized I hadn’t made a batch, this fall, and knew that MUST be remedied at once.

When I pulled up the recipe, to see if I had all the ingredients it required, I was struck by how much granulated sugar it had, and that it called for vegetable oil. I’ve been trying to cut back on how much refined sugar we eat in our house, especially in something like this that I would gladly eat for breakfast, which means I would have to let Liam have some with breakfast too. In order to feel a little bit better about having this bread for breakfast, instead of the 3 cups of white granulated sugar, I cut it back to 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 cups of real maple syrup. That also meant cutting back on the water in the recipe, as well as upping the amount of baking soda in the recipe. A little googling is how I found suggestions on how much to adjust everything. Vegetable & Canola oil are things we’ve cut out of our kitchen, the best that we can, because of how refined, processed, and genetically modified they are. An easy swap for the vegetable oil was butter, because of course. When I’m making decisions about food in our house, I’m generally not focusing as much on calorie content but more on the “realness” of it. So, butter is going to win over vegetable oils, shortening, margarine, etc. And of course, I swapped out the all purpose flour in this recipe for my new bff whole wheat pastry flour.

Pumpkin Bread

makes 2 standard size loaves

3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 3/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Butter, at room temperature (I always use salted)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 cups Maple Syrup (the REAL stuff)
4 Eggs1/3 cup Water
1 15oz. can of Pumpkin Puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Butter and flour 2 standard loaf pans.

3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together(that’s my version of sifting) and set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter and granulated sugar for about a minute or 2 on medium speed.

5. Add the maple syrup, mix, on low, until thoroughly combined.

6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing, on low, until combined, between each addition.

7. Add the water, mix, on low, until combined.

8. Turn off the mixer, add about a third of the flour mixture, combine on low. Add the rest of the flour in 2 more additions, in the same way.  Do not overmix. You just want to get it combined.

9. Last, but absolutely not least, add your pumpkin puree, and combine with a spatula.

10. Divide evenly, into the 2 loaf pans, they should be about 3/4 full.


11. Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs. I usually start checking mine around 50 minutes in.

12. Once you pull it out of the oven, allow to cool completely before cutting into it. I usually let mine cool in the pans.

13. If you want to freeze it, once it is completely cooled, wrap it well in a layer of plastic wrap, and then a couple layers of foil before stashing it away.



This recipe was a fun experiment, especially since it was a success! I’m always hesitant to make big changes in baking, because I know it is such a science, and I’m still learning about how it all connects and works together, but I have to say, I’m quite proud of this one. I love this bread just as much as the original recipe, and I feel a little less guilty when I eat it for breakfast.

love and butter,

pumpkin pie overnight oats


Just the other day, I shared a recipe for chocolate peanut butter overnight oats. They’re super yummy, but ever since the weather has hinted at fall, I’ve been itching to try a version with pumpkin. Well, here it is, and it’s good, really good. They’re less rich than the chocolate version, which is nice if you want something that feels a little lighter in the morning.

With my chocolate version, I didn’t lay out a super exact recipe, and the same goes for these. I apologize if that makes you twitchy, but I promise, these don’t have to be precise. And who wants to complicate an easy, quick breakfast prep, with something silly like measuring spoons?

I’ll give you the run-down below, but if you don’t want to read any further, the only differences from the chocolate peanut butter oats are cutting the cocoa powder & peanut butter and then adding in canned pumpkin (NOT THE PIE FILLING) & a little pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Rolled Oats
Chia Seeds
Greek Yogurt (or any non-dairy yogurt you like)
Maple Syrup (the REAL stuff)
Canned Pumpkin Puree (if you’re super ambitious, you can make your own, it’s actually quite simple)
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Milk (I use whole milk, any non-dairy milk would work also)

Grab a pint-sized mason jar and add rolled oats to about 1/4 to 1/3 full.

Add a spoonful of chia seeds.

Next is a big spoonful of greek yogurt.

To sweeten it a bit, I add a splash of maple syrup.

When it comes to the pumpkin, I added a couple of good spoonfuls, around a 1/2 cup probably. I wanted it to actually taste like pumpkin.

I added a big pinch of pumpkin pie spice, initially, but ended up added more once it was all shaken up, at the end. I think I used around a 1/4 teaspoon, but you could definitely use more/less depending on your preferences.

Then, just fill it up with milk, put the lid on, shake up really well, and stick it in the fridge until morning.

pumpkin oats

So that’s that. Just another fulfillment of my pumpkin obsession.

love and butter,

posted under breakfast | 2 Comments »

chocolate peanut butter overnight oats


When I started this blog, I didn’t set any serious expectations for myself, but I did have some hopes of getting something posted once a week, if not more. Obviously, I’ve been nowhere near that, but I’m still here, and still hoping to keep sharing what’s coming out of my kitchen with all 5 of you that follow along.

There are some women out there that work full time jobs, cook every night, have impossibly clean houses, home school their children, grow all their own fruits & vegetables, raise chickens for eggs, volunteer at the local pet shelter, AND blog everyday. I mean, jeez. I am so not one of those women. I’ve loved this blog, but some things will take priority over it, like showering.

Now, to get to business, let’s talk breakfast. If you remember the recipe I shared for slow cooker overnight steel cut oatmeal, you’ll remember that I’m all about fast & easy in the mornings. I’ve seen recipes for overnight oats all over pinterest for awhile now, but was usually pretty skeptical. The whole concept of cold, not actually cooked oatmeal? I know, believe me, I know. But you guys, this is pretty great, and so easy, which counts for bonus points. Also, if you follow me on instagram, facebook, or twitter, you might recall that I just broke my crock pot the other morning. So, until I get that replaced, these are the only overnight oats we’ll be eating. I’ll be taking donations for the crock pot replacement fund.

Now here’s the thing. There are lots of very specific recipes around the internet for overnight oats. This is not one of those. Remember? These are supposed to be easy. I’m going to tell you what I put in them, about how much I use, and how I make them happen. That’s it. There are lots of ways to customize, and it’s definitely hard to mess them up. So, give them a chance.

Chocolate Peanut Butter
Overnight Oats

Rolled Oats
Chia Seeds (yes, like a chia pet)
Greek Yogurt (or any non-dairy yogurt you like)
Maple Syrup (the REAL stuff)
Cocoa Powder (I used dutch process, it’s a darker/richer flavor, and just what I keep on hand)
Peanut Butter (or any other nut butter)
Milk (I use whole milk, Tim likes his with almond milk)

I always make mine in a pint sized mason jar, and use the one-piece lids, to make it easier. I love those lids for making salad dressing too. Sometimes liquids are a pain in mason jars if you’re using the two-piece lid with the ring.

Overnight Oats_empty jar

So I start by dumping in rolled oats, about 1/4 to maybe 1/3 of the jar.

In goes a spoonful of chia seeds.

Next is a couple big spoonfuls of yogurt.

Then I add cocoa powder, a spoonful for Liam, a couple spoonfuls for Tim, just depends on how chocolatey you want it.

I usually add about 1 spoonful of peanut or almond butter. A note on this, it will likely stay in a clump or a few clumps, so rather than being a super evenly disbursed flavor, every once in awhile you’ll get a bite of nut butter, which I love. Anytime I’ve just about emptied a jar of nut butter, I like to make my oats in that jar. Then I can scrape up the little bits of what’s left of the nut butter as I eat.

Then, to sweeten it a bit, I add a splash of maple syrup, maybe a tablespoon, at most. Start with just a little and you can always add more once you shake it all up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Then I fill the jar with milk, about to the top, screw the lid on tight, shake everything up, and stick it in the fridge until morning.

Overnight Oats

I’m usually in a hurry on the mornings we have this for breakfast, but if I had the time, some sliced banana or even some raw nuts would be a yummy addition. You also might find that you prefer a thicker mixture and decide to add more oats, but you’ll never know until you try.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

I keep thinking that these would be great in a pumpkin variety, because it is October, of course. So, when I get around to trying that out, I’ll share, if they’re any good. In the meantime, give these a try, and if you come up with any great combinations, I want to hear about them.

love and butter,

posted under breakfast | 3 Comments »

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies


.Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

It’s been too long since I’ve had a chance to bake something up in my kitchen and share it with all of you. Last week this recipe came through my blog reader, and it immediately went to the top of my “must make” list. All I needed was a reason, make that a chance (because who needs a reason for cookies?) to try them out.

Earlier this week, I got just that chance when a few friends were getting together for a little class about essential oils (more about that another time). My dear friend, Laura, offered to host us at her house, and since she doesn’t eat anything with gluten, I knew these were the PERFECT cookies to bring along.

Before we get to the recipe, a couple notes…

Oat flour is the backbone of this cookie recipe. You can certainly purchase oat flour, but I keep rolled oats on hand, for making granola and overnight oats. So, I just threw some oats into my Vitamix (best blender ever, by the way) and, in less than a minute, I had oat flour. You could also use a food processor to make oat flour, although you might not be able to get it quite as fine as if you were using a high speed blender.

Bridget calls for a teaspoon of potato flour to add to the tenderness of the cookies. After discovering that a bag of potato flour was $6 at my local market, and doing a little bit of internet research, I decided that she might have meant potato starch and that cornstarch was a similar ingredient. So, I went with cornstarch.

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

There are several yummy spices in this recipe. One is allspice, which I happened to be out of. So, these cookies didn’t get any allspice. Adding that to my grocery list now to make sure I’m restocked for the next fall baking that’s guaranteed to happen soon. The other spice I want to mention is the freshly grated nutmeg. If you’ve ever grated nutmeg for a dish, you’ll know what a difference it makes. It’s so much more fragrant, and so easy to do. All you need is a grater and some whole nutmeg. The other great thing is that this allows you to grate just what you need for the recipe you’re making, and the whole nutmeg stores and lasts much longer than grated nutmeg.

The original recipe calls for 2 sticks of salted butter. If you know anything about me, you know I’m not afraid of butter. That being said, I was curious to see if I could sub out some of the butter for something a little lighter. Really, I just wanted to be able to eat more cookies without feeling quite as guilty about it. I did a little more internet research and decided to try greek yogurt, because I had a bunch in my fridge already. I’m sure the original recipe with the full amount of butter is even more decadent, but these did NOT taste like they were missing anything.

Finally, I wanted to use some brown sugar in addition to the white sugar, just to add a little more depth. So that’s what I did.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from this recipe
makes approx 40 cookies

2 cups Oat Flour
1 teaspoon Corn Starch
1 & 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) Salted Butter at room temperature
4.75 oz Brown Sugar
4 oz Granulated White Sugar
1 Egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Canned Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prep your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, greek yogurt, and both sugars. Because of the greek yogurt, it doesn’t get super fluffy, but make sure to let it mix together well.

4. Turn off the mixer, add the egg & vanilla extract, and beat to combine.

5. Turn off the mixer, add the pumpkin, and beat to combine. I noticed here that the texture definitely didn’t look like normal cookie dough. It almost looked a little curdled? I hate to even use that word, and I was nervous, trust me. I’m blaming it on the greek yogurt, but don’t worry, it gets better.

Dough in Progress

6. Turn the mixer off, add the flour mixture, and mix on low until thoroughly combined.

7. Turn the mixer off, add in chocolate chips, and incorporate with a spatula.

Cookie Dough

See, much better?

8. For evenly sized cookies, use a scoop to measure dough onto your parchment-lined cookie sheets. My scoop made about 40 cookies, and I put 12 on each tray to give them enough space to spread a little when they baked.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie dough

9. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Because of the color of these cookies, it can be a little bit difficult to know if they’re done. You can tap the top of one to make sure its not super squishy still.

PumpkinChocolateChip Cookies

10. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. Then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a few days, if they last that long!

I tell you what, these cookies do NOT taste like they’re gluten free and they do NOT taste like they’re missing any butter. They’re soft, almost a little cakey, and they really do melt in your mouth. I will definitely be making these again before fall is over. I love having a super yummy gluten free cookie in my arsenal too. They aren’t always easy to come by. If you love all things pumpkin like I do, I hope you’ll give these cookies a try.

love and butter,


posted under Cookies, dessert | 2 Comments »

backyard camping and homemade marshmallows



When we got married, over 6 years ago now, one thing my husband insisted that we register for was a camping tent. We registered for one, we got one, and then it got put away into a closet. I hate to admit that we still hadn’t used that tent, until last week, that is.


That’s right, we went camping, with a 2 1/2 year old and an almost 8 month old…

in our backyard.


Don’t worry, I haven’t gone totally batty, yet. I am so not crazy brave enough to try real camping, in a tent, with our boys yet. Give me a year or two and I’ll be all over it.

Or give me an rv and we can go next week.


Oh and did I mention that Mason and I slept in the house? Yeah, there was no way all 4 of us would have gotten any decent sleep in that tent. This was definitely a Daddy and Liam sleeping adventure, which actually went much better than any of us expected.


So, yes. We put up our tent in the yard, built a charcoal fire in a little bitty bbq, and roasted hotdogs for dinner & marshmallows for s’mores. After this little backyard camping adventure, I’m even more certain that I’ll hold off on the real deal for awhile. I loved being able to take a carrot covered Mason straight into the bathtub after dinner. Oh and forget to bring something outside? Don’t worry, just walk back inside to get it. This was perfect for some out of the ordinary and not super difficult memory making fun for Liam. A couple of days later, when we were outside, “Where is my tent?!?!” I guess we’ll be pulling it out for another camp out soon.


Now, all my life, I’ve used store bought marshmallows for s’mores and never had any complaints. A couple of years ago, I saw an episode of Good Eats, with Alton Brown, that was all about making your own marshmallows. Before the episode was finished, I knew I was going to have to make some. I’ve never even been a huge marshmallow fan, but it was just something I had to try. I’m all about trying recipes for things that are normally store bought (I’ve also made goldfish & oreos). They might not always taste exactly like the original, but I’ll know exactly what’s in them and what’s definitely not in them. I had made these marshmallows several times before but never used them for s’mores before. I thought this was a perfect chance to try them out, and I’m thrilled to report they were a total success.





Now this is a pretty simple recipe, not many ingredients, but there are a few specific steps that have to be followed precisely. You’ll need to have a candy thermometer and I wouldn’t attempt this recipe if you don’t have a stand mixer. This recipe is also a great blank canvas just waiting to be customized. You can add any number of extracts or flavorings (instant coffee is one of my favorites), I’ve mixed in chocolate chips at the last minute (they melt and swirl into the marshmallows), or you can dip them in chocolate/candy melts and then in sprinkles or nuts. The options are endless!


Since I follow this recipe almost exactly as it’s written from Alton, I thought about just giving you the link and leaving it at that. But then what would I do with the step-by-step photos I took for you??? So here goes.

Homemade Marshmallows

3 packages Unflavored Gelatin
1 cup ice cold Water (Before I get started, I take a measuring cup like this, put 1 cup of water in it, and stick it in the freezer to get nice and cold.)
12 ounces Granulated Sugar (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 tspn Kosher Salt
1 tspn Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (You may end up needing more than this.)
1/2 cup Cornstarch (You may end up needing more than this too.)
Nonstick spray (I use one of these misto sprayers filled with olive oil instead of the usual store-bought nonstick spray. It’s not ideal for this application because you want a thin, even coating for the cornstarch and powdered sugar to grab onto, but it works and I know all I’m spraying is olive oil.)

1. With the whisk attachment ready on your stand mixer, add all 3 packages of unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup of the ice cold water to the bowl. Set aside.


2. In a small saucepan, add the other 1/2 cup of ice cold water, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and salt. Cover with lid.

3. Set the pan over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. (This allows the sugar crystals to get all nice and dissolved into a syrup)

4. Once the 3-4 minutes is up, remove the lid, attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the syrup reaches 240° F . Once it reaches that temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Never in this cooking process will you need to use a spoon or anything to stir. Promise.

5. Turn your mixer onto the lowest speed and pour the sugar syrup into the bowl of your mixer. It’s good to try and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, as it will help drop the temperature of it faster.
6. Once all of the syrup is in the bowl, turn the mixer up to the highest speed and whip it until it is very thick and only barely warm. Initially, it will be all steamy, but that subsides once it starts to cool down. Alton’s recipe says 12-15 minutes, but I usually only run it around 12.
7. While the marshmallows are whipping into their fluffy goodness, you’ll want to get your pan prepped. Really, you can use just about any shape/size dish to mold your marshmallows into, but I always use a 9×13 metal baking pan. Mine has square bottom edges which I like for making square marshmallows. Someday, I’ll get a pan that has all square corners, so all my marshmallows can be square.

8. Mix together the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Alton’s recipe says 1/4 cup of each, but I always end up using more, especially once I have the marshmallows cut. You’ll want them to be thoroughly coated so that they don’t stick together. So, start with whatever amounts that you want, since you can always make more, but just equal parts of each.

9. Spray the pan lightly, but evenly with nonstick spray or your oil of choice. Then sprinkle the cornstarch/sugar mixture evenly and shake around (over a bowl to catch the extra for use later) to make sure that ALL SIDES ARE COATED. Trust me, this marshmallow goo will stuck to anything that’s not coated in this stuff.

10. In the last minute of whipping, add the vanilla or any other extracts or flavorings you want to use. If adding something like chocolate chips, once the whipping is finished, turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add the chips, mixing as little as possible.

11. Once the marshmallows are all whipped up, spray a spatula with your nonstick spray, and work quickly to get the marshmallow goo into your prepared pan. It will settle a little bit, but you want to try and smooth it out the best that you can.
12. Once the marshmallow goo is spread evenly in your pan, sprinkle with more cornstarch & powdered sugar mixture, and set aside for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
13. When the long waiting time is finally up, turn the sheet of marshmallows out onto a cutting board, and using a pizza cutter, cut into desired size shapes.
14. Add as much cornstarch & powdered sugar mixture is needed to coat all sides of the marshmallows. Believe me, they will stick together if they aren’t coated in the stuff. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, if they last that long.

Not that hard, right? You can totally make these too! They’re perfect for making s’mores during your next backyard camping adventure.

love and butter,

posted under candy, dessert | 4 Comments »

grandma’s no-bake cookies


No Bake Cookie

Some people know all the right things to say. That’s not me.

Some people are great at making things happen. That’s not really me, either.

When times are tough and things are sad, all I know is food. I feed people. I might not even have the opportunity to cook at home, but I’m always thinking about making sure people have something to eat. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve had a long day, making a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies is a great way for me to unwind. Is it a good idea to eat your feelings? No, probably not, but that doesn’t change the fact that food is comforting.

This past week, my grandpa passed away. He had been fighting a hard battle for the past several months. On Tuesday night they brought him home to keep him comfortable, and he passed away very early on Friday morning. We spent most of the week at my grandparents’ house, talking to grandpa, sharing memories about grandpa, and just being together. It was one of those times when it just felt better to be with family, even if we couldn’t do anything to help.

On Thursday morning, Liam and I made cookies to take over to share with everyone. What I really wanted was chocolate chip cookies, but the weather hasn’t been oven friendly, especially in our no a/c house. We ended up making a batch of no-bake chocolate, peanut butter, oat cookies. I know it’s not a new recipe, or a fancy recipe, but it’s actually a recipe that I learned from my grandma. It seemed like a good fit.

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
(I always use salted)
3 tbspn Cocoa Powder (I have typically used the natural kind, but had dutch process in my pantry and tried that. It made a darker, richer cookie)
1/2 cup Milk (I used whole)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (I’ve made them with natural, peanut-only kind & the kind with added oils, sugars, etc)
3 cups Rolled Oats
1 tbspn Vanilla Extract

  • Before starting these cookies, be sure to measure all of your ingredients out and line a couple of cookie sheets with waxed paper. There are a couple of time sensitive steps and you’ll want to be prepared.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, cocoa powder, and milk.

ingredients in pan_a

  • Over medium heat, bring to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. If you allow them to over cook, they will set up too dry and crumbly later.

ingredients in pan_b

  • As soon as the minute is up, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute.
  • Add the peanut butter, rolled oats, and vanilla to the pan, and mix to combine.

ingredients in pan_c

  • Scoop the mixture out onto your waxed paper lined cookie sheets. You can use a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a cookie scoop, or whatever size cookies you want to make.

Licking the Spatula

  • Allow the cookies to cool and setup for at least an hour.
  • Store in an airtight container for a few days.

No Bake Cookies_b

A couple of variations that you could make on this recipe…other kinds of nut butters (maybe even nutella), adding a couple of tablespoons of instant coffee, adding chopped nuts, etc.

So, next time someone is having a rough day (even if it’s you), maybe you can make them some of these cookies. Or if you don’t have time to make them cookies, you can always buy them ice cream. On Friday, we took some pistachio ice cream to great grandma, because it’s her favorite.

pistachio ice cream

love and butter,

posted under Cookies, dessert | 1 Comment »

shauna, breakfast cookies, and stories


Breakfast Cookies

Has anyone introduced you to Shauna Niequist? If not, I am THRILLED to be able to do so. I was first introduced to Shauna at a creative arts conference a handful of years back. It was right around the time that she had come out with her first book, Cold Tangerines, which she talked about at the conference. I was hooked right away. I bought the book while we were there and had probably finished it by the time we got home. Shauna has a way of writing that speaks right to me. She’s honest, vulnerable, and willing to admit to spending entire days in yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt. I can’t really relate to that last part though. I’m always dressed to the nines, especially when I’m at home all day, with the boys. Shauna also loves cooking and food and feeding people. And I am right there with her. One of my most favorite ways to spend a day is tinkering in the kitchen all day, in preparation of having friends or family over for a meal. I dream of having a house big enough for a dining table that can fit 20. For now, our 700 sq ft back house doesn’t even come close, but we’ve dragged our expandable Ikea table into the backyard, added a card table, and managed to squeeze quite a few people around it.

Dinner in the yard

Since Cold Tangerines, Shauna has written Bittersweet and most recently Bread & Wine. I love Bittersweet and I have loved browsing Bread & Wine, but I hate to admit, I’ve had trouble finding the time to read it from cover to cover. Finding time to sit & read with a 7 month old & 2 1/2 year old has been a good challenge. I probably need to break down and buy the audio version so I can listen on my commutes to and from work.

Now, just because I haven’t read it all yet, doesn’t mean I haven’t loved flipping through all the yummy recipes that Shauna included in this latest book. I’ve tried a couple already, most recently the breakfast cookies. How on earth could I pass up an opportunity to make cookies for breakfast without feeling guilty about them? These were so yummy, not too sweet, and even gluten free & vegan. I did leave out the shredded coconut and swapped the coconut oil for olive oil, though. Not everyone in our house is a fan of coconut. I thought about posting the recipe here for all to try, but I really want to encourage you to buy this book or borrow it from a friend. I think we can all learn from it and be spending more time around the table, with the people we love.


One more order of business, for anyone still reading this. The other night, when I was getting ready to make these cookies, I started listening to a podcast from Willow Creek Community Church’s midweek service. Would you believe it if I told you it was Shauna speaking on the one I started??? Well, it was, and it was really good too. Her message was called “What it means to change the story” and she was talking about how we all live stories that we’ve been told about ourselves, but they aren’t always true stories or good stories. Some of the work that we have to do, as we become adults, is working to tell new stories that God wants to tell in and through us. I would highly recommend listening to it. You can find it to watch or listen to on Willow’s website here, or you can get it through iTunes in the podcast section. Here’s a link to the iTunes version here or you can search for the Willow Creek Midweek Service, and it’s from 8/14/13.

I hope you check out some of Shauna’s work, even if it’s just on her blog. I hope you listen to the podcast, and I hope it inspires you to think about the stories you’re living. And most of all, I hope you make some cookies for breakfast, because of course.

love and butter,

slow cooker, overnight, steel cut oatmeal…the easiest breakfast ever


thanks for the pic, Emily!

I don’t know about you, but around our house, weekday breakfasts need to be fast, and they need to be easy. I want to be able to stay in bed as long as my children will allow and then be able to get breakfast on the table as quickly as I can. Enter, this recipe. Less than 5 minutes of prep the night before, and we can wake up with breakfast ready to eat as soon as we want it. This is a super basic recipe that you can customize to the many different preferences in your house too.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Adapted from this recipe

2 cups Steel Cut Oats (I buy mine from the bulk bins at my market, and don’t even think about using regular rolled oats. You’ll end up with something you can use for paste in a preschool classroom.)
4 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (we usually have the plain kind in our house)
4 cups Water
2 tspn Vanilla Extract (I don’t measure, just add a couple splashes)
Pinch of Kosher Salt

  • Add everything to the slow cooker, stir just to be sure the oats are all mixed into the liquid.

oatmeal-night before

  • Set to cook for 4 hours on low. I start mine around 10-11pm the night before, and it automatically goes to a “warm” setting until morning.
  • In the morning, there’s usually a little right around the edge that’s gotten too dry, just toss that part.

I know it’s not the prettiest, but it’s sure yummy.

Top with any number of things like fresh or dried fruit, nuts, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and peanut butter even! You can also add sweeteners, spices, or fruit before cooking for a different variety. The options are really endless. I like to keep it simple so that everyone can eat it the way they like it.

A word of caution…this is how I make mine, but every slow cooker is different, and you may have to tweak the method or proportions of liquid to oats to get it just right for you. The recipe I started from was basically half the quantity of oats & liquid, but cooked for twice as long. It just got way to dried out in my slow cooker. I tried again with more liquid, still not great. I’ve landed on the same proportions, but double the amount. That seems to work best for me.

Is this the most exciting breakfast ever? Nope. But, it’s easy, and being able to pop (ok, slump) out of bed and be eating breakfast in minutes, makes it taste that much better. Also, after this oatmeal, you’ll never want to eat that 1 minute in the microwave stuff again.

love and butter,

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roasted cherry tomatoes on anything


Roasted Tomatoes_2

I figure there are at least a handful of you out there that aren’t into lots of sweets. How is this possible, you ask? Well, I’m married to one. I know you exist, and that’s ok. We can still be friends. I’ll be honest, as much as I love to bake, some of my favorite things to eat are actually savory dishes. I hope to be frequently sharing savory dishes here at stay and have a cookie.

Earlier in the summer, we were spoiled with an abundance of homegrown tomatoes from family & friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I can pop raw cherry tomatoes like they’re potato chips (and I did), but I was looking for a new way to use some of bounty of summer goodness. Bonus, these are really easy. I mean really. Second bonus, they’re delicious on just about anything.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes (Any color & any amount is fine, whatever you’ll eat in one sitting)
Garlic Cloves (I have a Costco sized bag of peeled garlic in my freezer and just grabbed a small handful)
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt (the only kind of salt in my kitchen)
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400° F (I’ve been using our toaster oven a lot this summer, because it’s usually just too hot for the big oven when you don’t have air conditioning.)
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
  • Lay tomatoes & garlic out on the baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with just enough olive oil to lightly coat everything.
  • Sprinkle with salt & freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Toss everything together to evenly coat the tomatoes & garlic.


  • Cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on how well done you want your tomatoes. I like mine to be mostly busted open and starting to brown, and mine tonight were about 28 minutes. Don’t forget, I used a toaster oven, and I’m not super positive how accurate the temperature is in it. I don’t have a small enough thermometer to keep in there.

Roasted Tomatoes_Pan

Now here’s the great part about these tomatoes. You can serve them so many ways, all delicious. Here are just a couple of the ways I’ve used them.

  • One of my favorite ways to eat these roasted cherry tomatoes is with some crust on the the outside & soft on the inside bread. I drag the bread through the oil & tomato juice in the bottom of the pan, drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar on it, pile on some tomatoes and a garlic clove or two, sprinkle with a tiny bit more salt, and top with a few shreds of fresh basil. I’ve eaten this and only this for dinner at least 3 times this summer.
  • One time I cooked up some pasta, I think it was bow tie, but it would be good with any kind. Once the pasta was cooked & drained, I tossed in the roasted tomatoes (I made sure they were almost all popped) and all the juices & oil from the bottom of the pan. Easiest pasta sauce ever.
  • The other night, I just warmed up some leftover plain rice, from last night’s dinner, and topped it with all the tomatoes, garlic, and drippings. So simple. So good.

And there you have it. Just another way to use one of the greatest members of the summer produce family. What’s your favorite way to eat summer tomatoes?

love and butter,

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Fika with the Morgan’s


Semlor Buns

I have some good friends, Grant & Lindsay Morgan, that are in the middle of a journey that will take them to the other side of the world soon. They’ve both grown up with a heart for the world, and in the last couple years, an opportunity has developed for them to move to Stockholm, Sweden, to serve at New Life Church, for the next 2 years. As hard as it will be to see them move away, I am so proud to call them my friends, and I know that God has big plans for them.

Besides learning Swedish, one part of the culture that Grant & Lindsay have already started incorporating into their lives is Fika. Lindsay explains what Fika is on their blog, here, but in a nutshell, it means having coffee & something sweet to nibble on with good company & conversation. Ikea (one of my favorite stores ever) has even created a great cookbook with recipes for many different sweets that would be perfect for some Fika with friends. Even better than the recipes, I just LOVE the pictures in this book! It’s the kind of cookbook that would be great to set out on a coffee table for just browsing through.

fika cookbook

So, the other evening, a group of friends hosted an evening of Fika so that Grant & Lindsay could share about themselves, their passion for Stockholm, and how we could help support them in the coming years. As my little way of helping out, I followed a recipe from the Fika cookbook and made Semlor Buns. I’ll be honest, as much as I have loved thumbing through this cookbook and looking at the pictures, this wasn’t the simplest recipe to follow. The ingredients weren’t all as straightforward as something like chocolate chip cookies, including the need to google “strong flour” & “fresh yeast,” and the directions were lacking some of the specifics that are helpful when baking. I like to know what speed the mixer is, or that I need to put something in the freezer prior to starting the recipe, etc. It was a good education. All that being said, this is still a fun cookbook, and not very pricey, so a fun addition to any collection. And these buns were super yummy. I wouldn’t make them all the time, because they were definitely a lot of work, but worth every bit for my dear friends.

“Semlor” Lenten Buns

Adapted from Fika
Makes about 40 buns

6-6 ½ cups Strong Flour
(I used 900 grams for the dough and a little extra to dust my board when I did a little kneading) (Turns out this means Bread Flour, which is higher in protein than all purpose flour)
2/3 cup Superfine Sugar (This is sold is most big supermarkets, but I never buy it. I usually just pulse my granulated sugar in my bullet for a little bit, but not too much! You don’t want powdered sugar. HOWEVER, I was in a rush this time and just used granulated sugar, straight up, and I think they turned out just fine.)
4 ½ oz Butter, room temperature (9 tbspn) (I always use salted butter)
1 ¾ oz Fresh Yeast (This is a type of yeast that’s only used in professional kitchens, at least around these parts. So, after some research, I landed on using 3 packets of Active Dry Yeast which came to 21 grams.)
2 tspn Crushed Cardamom (I HIGHLY recommend buying whole cardamom seeds and grinding them fresh with a coffee grinder or bullet. You’ll get much more flavor from that. Otherwise, use double the amount if you buy pre-ground.)
1 Large Egg, room temperature
2 cups Milk
(I used whole)

2 Large Egg Yolks
2 tbsp Milk
(I used whole)

100 grams Blanched, Slivered Almonds
Crumbs from inside the buns
¼ cup Milk
(I used whole)
9 oz Marzipan (The marzipan I was able to find at Whole Foods came in a 7oz package, so that’s what I used. If you’re unable to find it in a store near you, or you just feel extra ambitious, you can find recipes for making your own. It’s mostly almonds and powdered sugar)

2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Powdered Sugar

  • Before you get started, put your marzipan in the freezer. It needs to be grated later, and that’s easiest if it’s frozen.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer(I started with my beater blade attachment like this) add flour, sugar, butter (broken into pieces), yeast, cardamom, and yeast.
  • Mix together on low until combined, less than a minute.
  • Heat the 2 cups of milk on the stove to lukewarm (100° F) and pour it into the mixture in the stand mixer.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment on the mixer and mix for about 7 minutes on a low-med/low setting. The dough should be completely pulled away from the sides of the bowl and smooth, almost shiny. I had to turn the mixer off once or twice to pull the dough back down as it was coming up and over the attachment.

unrisen dough

  • Let rise in a relatively warm place, under a kitchen towel, for 30-40 minutes. Don’t worry too much about the warm thing, you don’t need to turn on the heat or anything, but you don’t want it to be cold and drafty right where you’re trying to let them rise.

risen dough

  • Place the dough onto a floured baking board and knead gently a few times.
  • Divide the dough into 40 even pieces. I actually weighed the dough on my kitchen scale and then used a dough scraper to cut it into pieces. Once I knew how much the entire amount of dough weighed, I just divided by 40 and tried to get them all as close as I could. I split the whole thing in half again and again until I got down to what I needed. I ended up keeping all of mine between 40-45 grams each. The more alike they all are, the more evenly they will bake.
  • Roll the pieces of dough into smooth buns and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I got 20 onto one of my favorite baking sheets. Cover each sheet with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for another 30-40 minutes. Again, I was in a major hurry and made it about 30 minutes before moving on.

buns on a panpre-rising

  • While they rise, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Once done rising, spread the buns out onto a couple additional trays. I baked mine 10 per sheet pan, all parchment paper lined.
  • Whisk together the 2 egg yolks & 2 tbsp of milk, and brush over the tops of the buns. This will help make them golden brown & shiny. I’ll be more thorough next time because it’s obvious where I missed on mine.

ready to bakeready to bake

  • Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Mine took about 8 minutes. I baked 2 sheets at a time and should have switched the trays and rotated them halfway through baking, because they weren’t all as even as they should have been.


  • When done, let cool on a cooling rack. Everything up until this point can be done ahead, also. I baked all of my buns the day before I filled them. I just wrapped them with some press & seal to keep them from drying out.
  • For the filling, lightly toast the almonds in a small skillet, over med-low heat. It won’t take very long, just a few minutes. They done once they’re starting to brown and you can smell them. They can burn easily so don’t rush this step. Once toasted, let cool for a few minutes and then roughly chop and set aside.
  • Cut off the top of the buns, scoop out some of the crumbs from the center, and replace the top so it doesn’t get mixed up. Pulse the bun innards in a food processor (I used my bullet in a couple batches) until nice and crumbled like bread crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl.
  • Now for the lovely task of grating the marzipan. I used my microplane, because it didn’t specify what type of grater, and I assumed it needed to be a small enough grate to incorporate well in the filling. Grate it directly into the bowl that has the crumbs in it. I recommend leaving most of the marzipan in the freezer and cutting off a chunk at a time to work on. It gets soft really quickly in the warmth of your hand and it was easiest to grate when it was hard.
  • Add the ¼ cup of milk to the crumbs and marzipan and mix until you have a smooth paste. Fold the almonds into the filling.
  • Pipe the filling into the buns. For something like this, I put the filling into a sturdy ziploc bag (this is not the time for thin, store-brand bags, unless you want a mess) cut the tip off of one of the bottom corners and voila, piping bag! You should have enough to fill all of your buns, as long as you don’t overfill the first ones that you’re working on.

filled buns

  • Whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer or I like to use my immersion blender with the whisk attachment. Pipe enough cream to just cover the open bun and replace the tops. Dust with powdered sugar using a fancy shaker like this or a small wire mesh strainer like I use.

Semlor Buns

  • Serve immediately. Whipped cream isn’t something that hangs very well, especially at room temp. These are best when eaten soon. Stash in the fridge for a bit if you need to make them much ahead of time.

Whew. That was a lengthy one, but they are quite yummy, especially if you don’t like a super sickeningly sweet dessert. If you want to learn more about Grant & Lindsay and what they’re up to, check out their blog at And be sure to enjoy some fika with friends soon!


love and butter,


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