Over the past few years, we’ve been tackling projects in our house room-by-room. We’ve taken on some pretty big ones like removing a kitchenette from our bedroom and turning a hair salon (!!) into my office (I laugh even typing those things — we had a LOT of vision to buy this house). We have also replaced lighting, removed more wallpaper than I care to recount, and painted and painted and painted (like 5 coats of white paint to cover all of the wood paneling in our living room). We’re finally getting to the point where nearly every room has come together and what is left is the not-so-fun makeovers of things like hallways. read more

One of my goals for this year is to introduce more Instant Pot recipes to the blog! We have loved using ours over the last year, but it took me a lot of experimenting with it to feel confident that I could share some of the recipes that we make in it. We use it often on Sundays for meal-prepping, and try to make a big batch of a healthy meal that we can break down into containers (these are our favorite) for lunches or a quick dinner when we’re busy with work. I also love using it for rice, I haven’t made rice on the stovetop since we purchased it! This recipe is for an easy and healthy turkey chili that would be great for meal prepping (I’ve had it for lunch everyday this week), but is quick enough to make for a weeknight dinner thanks to the speed of the Instant Pot! Get the full recipe below: read more

At the end of the year, I went back and looked all of the posts I’d written to try to gauge what sort of topics were most popular. I had a good laugh, because man you guys LOVE my super-indulgent, over the top, high-calorie recipes. The top recipes were full of heavy cream and lots of cheese and I totally respect that because I would eat that way every day if I could! My guess is though, that like me, you’re all probably on that January healthy-eating-kick that catches on as we regret the weeks of holiday indulgence. I’m taking it one step farther this month and actually signed up for Weight Watchers (I have my sister’s wedding this fall that I’m determined to slim down for!) and have made it my mission this month to add more healthy eating ideas to the blog that are just as tasty as my cheesy, caloric entertaining ideas you loved last year. It’s a challenge, but one that I’m excited to take on! To kick it off, I thought I’d share this side dish that we have been making on repeat at our house: Garlic and Herb Mashed Cauliflower. read more

I love to hit the ground running in the New Year – the clean slate usually gets me so energized. This week though, I did not find the motivation or rhythm I usually get at the start of the year. In fact, I started writing this blog post over Christmas vacation, and it’s taken me all week to finally hit publish! I’m starting a little slower than I’d like, but finally got my burst of energy today that helped me grocery shop and meal plan, start on my 2019 content plans, and take a look back at last year with this little recap post. It’s like a greatest-hits album of 2018, a year where I accomplished a lot! read more

I’m feeling like I’m on a little vacation this week with my work wrapping up for the year and my last book signing of the holiday season behind. And since this feeling is so very rare for me, I’m all about having a festive little cocktail to celebrate. I mixed up this tasty seasonal drink that can be made in a small batch to share with a few friends. The ginger ale and apple cider give it both sweetness and bite that balance the bourbon flavors, and I’ve garnished it to the max with cranberries, rosemary, and a fragrant orange peel. Get the full recipe below, and cheese!  read more

I have been scribbling a long shopping list and menu ideas this week to prepare for our Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house! I’m making some recipes from my cookbook (the penne a la vodka in the Christmas chapter was requested), but I always love to mix in some new dishes too. I decided to upgrade my cheese plate with a dressed up goat cheese spread; it’s easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It’s dotted with sweet candied pecans and dried fruit, and gets tons of seasonal flavors from fresh rosemary and thyme. I liked how pretty it looks with the colorful flecks in the cheese, and I garnished it for the holidays with a little wreath of rosemary sprigs around the base and a small sprig on top with dried cranberries to look like holly! Get the full recipe below:  read more

We are going pretty light on Christmas gifts for Jane since she’s still little, but one tradition I’m really excited to start this year is her first stocking! Opening my stocking was one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning — we always got new socks, a toothbrush, and usually some fun little treats like hair clips and candy. I’ve rounded up 30 ideas for kids stocking stuffers, and they’re all under $10!

Since writing my cookbook, I’ve been asked a lot of the same questions about entertaining at each event I go to. One of the most common ones has been “what’s your favorite type of party to throw?” and my answer is always a brunch! Brunch to me always feels cozy and casual, and an easy way to get folks together to celebrate. I especially love it now that we have a toddler – we can have our party and our afternoon too. I have a handful of go-to menu items I always rely on for brunch like maple brown sugar bacon, cheddar chive hashbrowns, and a big hearty breakfast strata. If I’m hosting a bigger event – like a bridal or baby shower brunch – I always add quiche to the menu. read more

When I’m decorating for the holidays I usually have two goals in mind: 1) Make things look seasonal and festive, and 2) make things comfortable for holiday guests. The first one is easy – we put up our tree this past weekend and the twinkling Christmas lights and my collection of vintage ornaments are giving our living room some major holiday vibes. I also upped my décor game this year and added garland to our mantle, hung up some brightly colored stockings for the first time since we moved in, and have been tucking bottle brush trees and fairy lights all around our downstairs living spaces. read more

I pride myself on being a pretty savvy holiday shopper. I start making a list of gifts over the summer that I keep on my phone and often refer back to when I find sales or discounts, and I go down that list item by item during the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This year I was actually a little late to the game with my gift-giving plans so I am still doing some shopping, and of course, looking for those good deals!I just signed up for an AAA membership for the first time this year (after my car broke down on the highway this summer I’ve been stressed about it happening again, but I have some peace of mind now that I’m a member – phew!). What I just learned though, is that AAA has way more than just roadside assistance, and that membership can get you lots of perks. This month, there are tons of special offers you can access through AAA Northeast for your holiday errands.  Here are a few ways you can save during the AAA 12 Days of Savings: read more