I’m working on my snack game for Sunday’s big night of red carpet viewing and all that Hollywood glamour. Oscar night at my house requires about the same level of appetizer commitment that the Super Bowl does in most other homes. I’ve been playing around with some ideas for quick and easy bite-size-tartlets, and these little guys were a winner. The base of the tartlets is made out of pre-made pie dough (use store-bought dough or thaw leftover dough from the freezer), pressed into mini-muffin tins. The dough is pre-cooked, and then filled while warm with a combination of  rich goat cheese, sweet apricot jam, and crunchy pistachios with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper. Get the full recipe below, and be sure to check out the other awards show viewing party recipes I’m making for the Oscars — Ruby Red Carpet Cocktails and Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket. read more

I haven’t thrown an awards show viewing party in a few years, but on a recent trip to Target I saw some cocktail napkins that were begging me to come up with some fresh ideas for this year’s Oscar night. Whether you’re throwing a big party for your girlfriends to come over and watch the awards, or you’re tweeting a play-by-play of red carpet dresses in your pajamas  (cough::cough, me),  the most important viewing accompaniment (besides a fully charged phone) is a signature cocktail. Champagne is always a nice touch, but recently I have been mixing up this quick cocktail on weekends and thought it would be perfect to serve for Sunday’s big event. I’m calling it my ruby red carpet cocktail, because it combines fresh ruby red grapefruit juice with vodka and some elderflower soda.  read more

Dinnertime can be a straight up struggle around my house these days. The hour when food needs to be prepped for our evening mealtime seems to align perfectly with official toddler meltdown hour. In an effort to avoid a matching mom-meltdown, I keep a few tricks up my sleeve for speedy dinners. One of them, is adding a cooked rotisserie chicken to my grocery order from Peapod, and repurposing it in a few different meals throughout the week. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite quick-fix ideas for using up leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge today, as well as a brand new recipe I added to the mix recently while we’re on our New Year’s healthy eating kick. Each one of these ideas uses up about half a chicken, so you can pick two to mix and match for your weekly meal plan: read more

This little Q+A experiment was such a fun thing to work on! I put out a call on instagram for any burning questions that readers might have about my experiences blogging over the last 8 or so years. I was at first surprised anyone actually filled out the submissions form for questions, and I was even more surprised that my siblings had the self-control not to submit dozens of silly/fake questions (good job guys!). What surprised me even more was how many of the same questions popped up repeatedly; it means everyone is curious about the same things: photo styling and editing, blogging as a job (and as a mom!), and advice for those who are just starting out. Scroll down to read all of my answers, and if you have other questions leave them in the comments!  read more

That healthy eating momentum is still going strong in our household (minus a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies that seem to be disappearing alarmingly fast from our freezer). I am so used to defaulting to carb-heavy sides like rice or pasta or potatoes to pair with dinner proteins, so coming up with low-carb veggie side dishes has been a challenge — but a fun one to experiment with. read more

I sent a text message to my mom and sister this weekend, along with the picture below, to confirm with them that I am indeed a crazy person. Only a crazy person would feel this much joy over a newly organized closet. I spent some time over the long weekend turning an empty closet in our guest bedroom into a linen closet. The space was empty because when we first moved into our house, we actually used this guest bedroom as our master bedroom, and the closet held my husband’s clothes. Once we completed a renovation in our new master bedroom (which included turning an old in-law kitchen into a wall of closets!), we moved all of our clothes from various spaces throughout the house into our his and hers closets. That left this space empty and perfect for some much needed storage! read more

This week has flown by for me, thanks to a last-minute road trip. Perhaps the best part of working for myself this year has been the ability to make plans last minute and have some spontaneous adventures. Sometimes I forget that perk of being my own boss, but this week was a good reminder that a few nights spent working early mornings and late evenings can be so worth it when you balance it with a little bit of mid-week fun. Jane and I packed up our bags and drove down to New York on Monday to surprise my grandmother for her birthday. She was so surprised, it was great to see my family, and I got a little bit of work done while I was down there thanks to my mom helping out with Jane. We got back home just in time for a Valentine’s Day celebration, and now it seems the week is already over! To wrap things up, I have a few fun links to share in this installment of the download: read more

I recently got a few questions about my favorite kitchen products that I use when cooking and developing recipes for the site. A few years ago I wrote a giant post with all of my favorite cooking tools, and decided that it was probably time for an update! Quite a few of the tools from the first post are still on the list, like my beloved OXO 9” Tongs. There are plenty of new additions too; I finally found the perfect Everyday Pan after years of searching and I sing the praises of the current “it” kitchen tool: an Instant Pot. This list has all of my essentials and is fairly comprehensive of the items I use daily. The most important thing to note is that most of these things aren’t very fancy, and you’ll only notice one or two specialty items. I believe in a lean, simple kitchen with a few quality tools that keep me inspired and my recipes accessible. Take a look at my favorites: read more

Please note: This post was created in partnership with Marshalls; all opinions are my own.

I am currently suffering from a major case of wanderlust, and have been browsing flights, daydreaming of new destinations, and mentally packing my bags for a new adventure. I don’t exactly have the vacation booked yet, but once we decide on where we’re going, I’m going to be ready! When it comes to prepping for a trip – big or small – I have developed my own system for staying organized and making packing a little bit less of a hassle. read more

When Valentine’s Day falls mid-week, I tend to be in a bit of a scramble to come up with a special weeknight treat to celebrate the occasion. With just about every special event, my celebration-style always revolves around food. I make special dinner, pick up a favorite beer or wine depending on the menu, and of course we need something sweet to cap off the meal. This year I decided that I would find a way to dress up a boxed brownie mix for a quick-fix dessert that still feels celebration-worthy. read more