• Cozy Soups for Soup Szn.

    I know, I know. It’s only mid-August, but once school starts, it’s basically soup season, right? I think part of these feelings must stem from how absolutely frigid they keep my school library. I need a warm little meal packed from home on my lunch break while wrapped in a cozy sweater more than ever. Maybe if I were still out in the wild world, and not tucked away in my windowless, season-less arctic tundra of a library, I’d be munching on tomato sandwiches, lettuce wraps, and peaches with burrata cheese and sprigs of basil as most are wont to do in mid-August. I used to be a Children’s Librarian at an amazing public library down here and one of my co-workers would pack herself soup for lunch no matter the season and I kind of love that. Feels very librarian-y. I’m not so extreme as to cut all other meals out of my life once school starts, but I do like making soup on the weekends. It’s one of those foods that tastes even better the next day, and you know I’ve been thinking about getting my sourdough starter revived too. There’s nothing that goes together so well as soup and a crusty boule of sourdough. I thought I would share some of my favorite soups and a few that I’m thinking of trying this season just in case you are in the mood for soup too.

    Lemon-y Lentil Soup. One of my all time favorites. Make SURE you get red lentils, They break down in such a way that makes this soup so thick and delightful. Brown and green lentils keep their form too much for this one.

    Classic Chili. We make our first batch of chili a big event. It’s an opening day of football tradition. Don’t skip the fixings. My husband makes the BEST chili and I’ll have to get him to type it up one of these days, but this one looks pretty similar. We always top with cheddar cheese, red onion diced tiny, corn chips, and sometimes sour cream if it’s a spicy batch.

    Pasta e Fagioli. Ok you guys, I have a recipe that I’ve always used for this (my husband I took a cooking class in our early days of marriage and the chef taught us how to make this soup!), but early in my instagram days an Italian girl messaged me that what I was making was so far from a true Pasta e Fagioli that it couldn’t even be called that. And then she sent me a link to this very complicated looking recipe, and so I’ve never talked about this soup again on my account. Ha! Maybe I’ll get the courage to share my recipe again, but for now – try the one I’m linking now. It looks simple and yummy.

    Country Potato Soup. (Pictured above) Obviously this is the magnolia recipe from Joanna Gaines and it’s soooo good. I dream about it every year when the 70’s hit.

    Street Corn Chowder. I just made this over the weekend, and it’s as good as I remember. You can use frozen corn instead of corn on the cob and this makes it a year round option.

    Soups I want to make this Fall:

    Tell me your favorite soup for soup season in the comments! I’m going to make it a season of soup!! And if you too are making it a soup season – this is our favorite dutch oven. I use it for sourdough and every soup we make! In other cozy news. I want this, this and this.

  • Meal Plan This Week.

    This week’s meal plan for the curious!

    Monday – BLTs with tater tots and salad – I always try to keep Monday nights easy, so I’ll make the bacon in the oven (at 400 on a foil lined pan for about 20 minutes), slice up some heirloom tomatoes, add iceberg lettuce because it has the best crunch, husband will put a fried egg on his, I’ll throw a quick salad together and there will be clementines and tots with ketchup for the kids. If I have a little extra time, I’ll make this very yummy herb mayonnaise, or maybe I’ll just sit back with a drink and a book with that extra time instead.

    TuesdaySweet Potato Tacos with black beans, quick slaw and pickled onions – I buy frozen chopped sweet potatoes and this is basically the easiest taco Tuesday ever.

    WednesdayLemon Ricotta Pasta – I’ve wanted to make lemon ricotta pasta since reading One Italian Summer (which wasn’t all that good, but the food descriptions took me there!) and I searched high and low for a recipe that seemed worthy. This one has great reviews. I’ll probably add some pan fried chicken for my husband and some pillsbury rolls with jam for my little guys.

    Thursday – Leftovers. Always!

    FridayPizza! (Of course.)

    Saturday – Cheeseburgers on the grill with sliced veggies & dip (we usually mix one container of cottage cheese with a packet of ranch seasoning) and oven fries (just slice up potatoes to the size you like best, roll around in olive oil and seasonings – we either use steak seasoning or garlic salt with Parmesan, place in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, mixing around half way through.).

    SundayPork Shoulder Ragu with Parmesan Polenta and a green salad with apples, candied walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and a simple vinaigrette.

    BakeBlackberry Mascarpone Hand Pies. I do believe these will be pretty enough to post on Instagram.

    CocktailBasil Peach Shrub. Excited about this one. Will make to pair with Sunday’s Supper.

    TreatMini Dutch Babies. Can I find mini skillets somewhere?? Tbd. If not, my muffin tin will do.

    Bon appetit, friends!

    All this talk of food has made me hungry. I need to go track down one of those fluffernutter cookies sitting in the cookie jar.

  • A Small Blackberry Cake.

    I love a big old layer cake for a birthday or big party, but for a special little weekend treat or a mid-week pick me up, make it tiny. I don’t need a big cake lingering around my kitchen tempting me (and my children) for too long. Just big enough for a Sunday dessert and a snack during the week (and ok, maybe enough so that I can have breakfast cake one day, because leftover cake does make the best breakfast, as I’m sure you well know.)

    I adapted this recipe from the Very Vanilla Cake from Simple Cake by Odette Williams. It almost feels more like a muffin than cake. Muffin Cake! I love it. It was yummy, and I recommend you make it. I used a six inch by 3 inch cake pan, but I think you could use an 8 inch cake pan if you only have that. It will just be thinner, and you’ll want to adjust your baking time!

    Blackberry Cake with Blackberry Glaze

    2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 cup whole milk
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup blackberries, chopped if very large
    3 T mild-flavored oil, such as canola

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare pan by greasing a 6 by 3-inch cake pan with butter, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the paper.

    Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes or until curdled.

    In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Set aside.

    Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and sift.

    Using an electric mixer with beaters or a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds on medium speed and then gradually add the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium speed for another 4 minutes or until light in color and fluffy.

    With the mixer still on medium speed, gradually add the eggs. If the batter curdles, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flour to bind it back together.

    On low speed, add the flour mixture and then the oil and milk; mix until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add blackberries and fold in with a rubber spatula.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 55 minutes. When a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, remove the cake from the oven and let it stand to cool. Run a butter knife around the cake to gently release. Invert the cake, peel off the bottom piece of parchment, and cool on a wire rack.

    When completely cool, pour glaze onto center of cake and let it run down the sides. Decorate if you choose to with extra blackberries, cut, and watch disappear!

    For the Glaze:
    1 cup (115g) confectioners’ sugar
    1 tablespoon butter
    2-4 tablespoons very hot blackberry juice

    Sift the sugar into a small bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the butter to the well. On the stove combine about 1/2 cup water with 1 cup blackberries. Bring to boil and mash the blackberries. Strain into a measuring cup, discard pulp or you could mix that in with the cake. Start with 2 tablespoons and pour into your small bowl into the well of butter. Mix and add a bit more until you get the right drippy consistency. It should be thin enough to drip off your spoon slowly, but not so thin that it will just run off of your cake.

  • Your Favorite Cookbooks.

    A few months ago, I put a little question box on Instagram and asked for cookbook suggestions from you guys. I’d like to build up my little cookbook collection, but I’d rather not have cookbooks sitting on my shelf that I don’t use. I knew you guys would have the best suggestions, and wow. You all came through. I had hundreds of responses of books you all say you use over and over again. I had to get all of this crowdsourced cookbook knowledge down here. I’ve separated by Baking, Weeknight cooking, Weekend/Date Night Cooking, Cooking Basics, and special dietary cookbooks. Each cookbook is listed by title, author, and then if you click on it, it will take you to amazon to look at the description. They are affiliate links so if you choose to purchase, I will get a little kickback (like 10 cents. just trying to put dinner on the table here. lolol.) This list makes my librarian heart sing! I’m going to start requesting one from the library every week and I’ll browse through, pick a couple recipes to try and see if it’s worth purchasing to have and to hold forever and ever. I thought you guys might like to see the list if you too are looking to beef up your collections! As always, I’ll share reviews on Instagram, and I’ll share any I decide to buy too. Side note: can’t believe the number of vegetarian cookbooks suggested!


    Sister pie, Lisa Ludwinski
    The Book on Pie, Erin Jeanne McDowell (This is my suggestion! I very much love this cookbook!)
    Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook, Kathleen King
    Bake the Seasons, Marcella DiLonardo
    Flour Water Salt Yeast, Ken Forkish
    Flour and Grace, Valerie Kuhns
    Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson (I have and love this book. It’s my sourdough bible!)
    Midwest Made, Shauna Sever
    100 cookies, Sarah Kieffer
    Flour, Joanne Chang
    Bread Toast Crumbs, Alexandra Stafford
    Dessert Person, Claire Saffitz
    Sweet, Yotam Ottolenghi 
    Sally’s Baking Addiction, Sally McKenney

    Cooking Basics

    Betty Crocker Cookbook
    Fat Salt Acid Heat, Samin Nosrat
    How to Cook Without A Book, Pam Anderson
    Americas Test Kitchen Cookbook
    Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child
    The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters
    Small Victories, Valerie Turshen
    The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer
    Minimalist Kitchen, Melissa Coleman

    Simple, Everyday Dinners

    Skinnytaste One and Done, Gina Homolka
    Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Tieghan Gerard
    Half Baked Harvest Every Day, Tieghan Gerard
    Jamie Deen’s Good Food, Jamie Deen
    Feeding a Family, Sarah Waldman
    All About Dinner, Molly Stevens
    The Modern Proper, Holly Erickson
    Dinner, Melissa Clark
    Vietnamese Food Any Day, Andrea Nguyen
    Local Dirt and Dishing up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis
    Taste of Home Cast Iron Cookbook
    Let Me Feed You, Rosie Daykin
    Magnolia Table, Joanna Gaines
    100 Days of Real Food, Lisa Leake
    Everyday Dinners, Jessica Merchant
    Huckle & Goose, Anca Toderic
    It’s All Easy, Gwyneth Paltrow
    Everyday Dinners, Jessica Merchant
    Hope’s Table, Hope Helmuth
    Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drumond
    Ottolenghi’s Simple, Yotam Ottolenghi
    Dinner: A Love Story, Jenny Rosenstrach
    Grains for Every Season, Joshua McFadden
    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perlman
    Scrumptious, Christy Denney
    Comfortable Kitchen, Alex Snodgrass
    A Year of Simple Family Food, Julia Busuttil Nishimura
    The Complete Slow Cooker, America’s Test Kitchen
    Once Upon a Chef, Jennifer Segal
    Milk Street Tuesday Night, Christopher Kimball
    Prairie Homestead Cookbook, Jill Winger

    Date Night/Weekend Cooking

    Cravings, Chrissy Teigan
    Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi
    The Little House Cookbook, Barbara M. Walker
    Cook Beautiful, Athena Calderone
    Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet, Padma Lakshmi
    Nothing Fancy, Alison Roman
    Ina Garten cookbooks
    How Easy Is That Is
    Eating Out Loud, Eden Grinshpan
    Giada’s Italy, Giada Di Laurentiis
    A Love of Eating: Recipes from Tart London
    Cook this Book, Molly Baz
    Williams Sonoma Brunch and Breakfast, Norman Kolpas
    Simply Julia, Julia Turshen
    Williams Sonoma Comfort Food
    The Lost Kitchen, Erin French
    The picnic, Marnie Hanel ( I NEED this book)
    Cooking With Nonna, Rossella Rago
    Molly on the Range, Molly Yeh
    Sprouted Kitchen, Sara Forte
    Let’s Stay In, Ashley Rodriguez
    Dishing Up Maine, Brooke Dojny

    Special Dietary

    My New Roots, Sarah Britton (vegetarian)
    Cook Once, Eat All Week, Cassy Joy Garcia (gluten free)
    The Nourished Kitchen, Jennifer McGruther (traditional foods lifestyle)
    Ruffage, Abra Berens (vegetarian)
    Love and Lemons, Jeanine Donofrio (vegetarian)
    The Forest Feast, Erin Gleeson (vegetarian)
    My Darling Lemon Thyme, Emma Galloway (vegetarian, gluten free)
    Little Green Kitchen, David Frenkiel (vegetarian)
    Run Fast, Eat Slow, Shalane Flanagan (for athletes)
    Love Real Food, by Kathryne Taylor (vegetarian)
    Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon (traditional foods)
    Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, Alexis Kornblum (paleo)
    Mostly Plants, Tracy Pollan (vegetarian)
    Simple Green Suppers, Susie Middleton (vegetarian)
    Whole by Natural Harry (vegetarian)
    Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon (vegan)
    Elsa’s Wholesome Life, Ellie B (vegetarian)
    No Crumbs Left, Teri Turner (whole30)

    The ones I’ve requested from the library – Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, The Modern Proper, Sister Pie, Hope’s Table

  • Simple Joys: Clean Sheets on Sundays.

    I’ve always tried to keep a bit of a gratitude practice. Just taking a moment to feel deep gratitude for bits of my life that I generally take for granted. I used to even keep a gratitude journal where I would jot down a few things every day. Studies show that this helps us feel more satisfied in our life as a whole and happier in the long run. You might not know this about me, but in my adult life, I’ve kept a number of blogs before, admittedly a bit erratically. And they’ve all been fairly similar, but I have never been very good about keeping up with the practice of writing. Nonetheless, the writing bug is within me, and I think I’m generally more satisfied when I have a spot to write. I’ve always written about memory-keeping, books, food, lifestyle. Things that matter to me. And one thing that I’ve always done is write essays about simple joys. The ritual of making an iced coffee in the afternoon, cracking the spine on a new book, tiny bouquets of wildflowers, taking the long way home, the feel of a tiny hand gripping yours, a favorite pencil, writing on the first page of a new notebook and the like. Just simple things that make my heart swell a bit in my every day life when I slow down to think about them. I’ve called these different things over the years. I believe I called them sparks of gratitude in one blog, a small, happy life in another. But for the last couple of years, I’ve thought of them as Simple Joys, so that’s what we’ll call them here. We’ll make this a bit of a series.

    The first one I’m sharing is a simple joy that’s so fresh in my mind because I’ve just finished the ritual. Every Sunday, when everyone has finally tumbled out of their beds and bellies are full of warm breakfast, and I’ve had at least one (maybe two!) coffees, I declare to the whole family that it’s “Linen Day!!!” I generally exclaim it with great excitement, with what I’m sure looks like a crazed smile on my face. The boys (who are 4, 3, and 1) have no idea that most people don’t get jazzed about stripping the beds and washing all the sheets. Indeed, most people probably find this a chore that they *have* to do rather than *get* to do. Nonetheless, there’s anticipation in the air in our house. Everyone bounds off to the bedrooms to start taking the sheets off and carting them off to the laundry room. Today we even had the great fun of using our sheets as an excuse for an indoor sleigh ride. Three boys piled on a sheet, being pulled through the house amidst giggles of joy. If that doesn’t scream joy, I don’t know what does. But it’s not just that. It’s not just the stripping of the beds. Honestly the making of the beds is where things die down a bit. But then – THEN! there’s that moment just before bed, when my little ones crawl into their clean beds just after a warm bath and their breaths start to slow, heavy lids drooping with sweet dreams. At that moment, I take a deep breath, and I know that another week is about to come, and no matter what it brings, my kids have a safe, clean spot where they’re showered with love to sleep at the end of the day.

    But those clean sheets you know, it’s not just for them. It’s for me, you guys. It’s for me. Obviously I wash their sheets, but I wash ours too. And that moment when I climb into our clean bed, I fairly shake with contentment. You can tell when a bed has freshly washed sheets on it. You just can. It’s like I’m giving myself a warm hug and a pep talk for the week. You can do this. It’s a new, fresh week, and you can do everything that lies ahead of you. It’s such a simple joy for me, friends, I hope you find some in your week ahead too.

  • Meal Plan This Week.

    Something about the school year starting just turns me into this kitchen monster. It’s like I have to spend time in the kitchen. I think it’s being out of the house all day, and the fact that our kitchen is one of my favorite places on earth and cooking and baking is one way that I say “I love you” to my family. Anyway, lots of good things happening in the kitchen. Here’s this week’s meal plan just in case it might inspire your meals this week!

    MondayCrock Pot Gyros – crock pot Mondays are truly a gift during the school week. I come home to dinner being pretty much made. I’ll buy tzatziki from the store to make it easy, and if I’m especially productive, I’ll chop up the veggies on Sunday night.

    Tuesday – Taco Salad (I don’t really use a recipe for this – just crushed Doritos, taco meat, lettuce, and a whole bunch of toppings) – served with an ice cold margarita with salt on the rim for me, and no salt for my husband. I’ll have the boys cut up the iceberg lettuce for our after school transition activity while I brown the meat and Lukey terrorizes us all.

    Wednesday – Grilled Chicken with Tomato Tart or possibly this tomato tart recipe that I also bookmarked!

    Thursday – Leftovers

    FridayPizza! (Of course)

    SaturdayChurrasco Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce – served with roasted fingerling potatoes, a big green salad and that rosé punch you see below. Throw in a board game after the boys go to bed and it’s basically a date night at home.

    SundayStreet Corn Chowder – served with crusty sourdough and all the mix-ins. Do not skip the cream sauce in the recipe. Amazing.

    BakePeach Pound Cake – I think that I’ll make this in a Bundt pan with a glaze on top. Yum.

    CocktailRosé Punch

    TreatFluffernutter Cookies – we usually make a treat on Thursdays as it’s leftovers night, so the time spent in the kitchen for dinner is low. This recipe will be a great one for the boys. I have a bag full of stale marshmallows and I think I’ll put them in charge of wrapping the marshmallow up with the dough.

    Bon appetit, friends!

    What are you making this week? Anything I need to know about? You know I’m already thinking about my next meal plan!

  • The Friday Post. [vol. 5]

    Well, I’ve only been marginally successful at my goal of daily blogging during the school year so far. I’ve been re-reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam, a fascinating book on how to make the most of your time by spending it on things that matter to you. I’ve determined that I absolutely have enough time to blog, care for my three kids, cook dinner every night, work full time, train for a marathon, meditate, learn spanish, bake on weekends and read at least one book for pleasure a week. haha. I know. That sounds ridiculous when you type it all out, doesn’t it? But people do it! It can be done! I’m going to do it, you guys. And then I’m going to share all of my secrets with you. This space though is one of those things that I know I can do with a little time.

    Anyway – how was your week? The boys were at school all week, and I just went back yesterday, so it felt like a very fast week. We’ve been working out a few kinks (mainly in tender-hearted morning emotions), but overall it’s been good! The only thing dragging me down is that moment when my alarm goes off at 5am. I much prefer the yells of my children as an alarm clock.

    Are you up to anything this weekend? I need to sit down with my husband tonight and discuss weekend plans over pizza and peach bourbon lemonades because as of yet, we’ve got nothing. A trip to the beach? A wander through the art museum? A kite flying expedition? A laze in the pool in our backyard? I don’t know, it’s going to be hard to choose between all those. We DO however, need to plant our pumpkin seeds because I’m hoping to have some homegrown Halloween pumpkins around here! Now, how about some fun links from around the web?

    I’ve been looking forward to the newest episode of this show all week! Call me crazy, but I enjoy the old school excitement that comes from waiting for a new episode every week.

    My friend just sent this video and I can’t stop giggling.

    Such a pretty dress.

    Books to read in August.

    This dreamy house. Do you follow her on Instagram?

    Tell me I’m not the only one planning for Fall.

    I’ve been browsing store window displays on pinterest for ideas for my library and now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.

    Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it, friends!

  • Our Family Recipe Book.

    A couple of years ago, my mom made everyone in our family beautiful bound books with recipes from the whole family. Grandma’s sugar cookies are in there, a whole bunch of my mom’s recipes (cheesecake, meatballs, crab dip, spice cake, etc etc etc.) my dad’s buckeyes & golden cadillacs (wait until the holidays roll around and I’ll talk more about those), my sister’s shepherd’s pie, my banana bread, my cousin’s mexican layer dip, my aunt’s bourbon slush. You get the idea. If it’s a recipe from the Brown family – it’s in the book. She handwrote all of the recipes, had them copied and gave each one of us kids one. A rather beautiful heirloom sort of gift if you ask me. It’s cherished and I pull it out more than several times a year. Especially on the holidays where we can’t make it home to Indiana – I just need those recipes from home.

    Well, having that recipe book (my sister and I refer to it as “The Family Bible”), made me start thinking about my own family and the recipes that I make over and over again. You guys know I love to try new recipes, but there’s nothing like making a food your family knows and loves. Well, I decided to start our own family food bible. Calling it a cookbook just sounds too official, doesn’t it? And it’s not as if I’ve made these recipes up. They’re just ones we love. When I find myself reaching for a recipe more than once, or if my family especially loved it, into the book it goes. My favorite vanilla birthday cake recipe is there, my favorite biscuits, dinner rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and the like. It’s largely full of baked goods. I should probably start jotting down some of our dinners too. I’ll get there eventually!

    I’ve mentioned my little recipe book several times on Instagram – usually a comment like “This is so good it’s going in the recipe book!” and I always get questions. “Tell us more!” “Where is your book from?” “What’s the recipe book?” Well, I’m sorry to break the news to you that it’s nothing very pretty or fancy at all, it’s just a blank sketchbook from Michaels. You can probably get them anywhere art supplies are sold, or any type of office supply store, but over the years, I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those precious “grab in a fire” items for our family. There’s something about a handwritten recipe, isn’t there? I use a smaller sketchbook as my gardening book too – I jot down what I’ve planted, dates, outlines, notes on how things are growing.

    Do you have something like this? My sister has a binder where she prints off recipes and puts them in, and I know lots of people have little recipe boxes with cards inside. I do love this book though. Over time, I’ll tweak recipes and include notes or maybe put in some little memories. I can imagine jotting down what Charlie first bakes on his own, or Ben’s favorite pizza toppings, or that Luke would only eat yeast rolls when he was two. The cover will get worn over time and years of being pulled out for the Birthday Cake recipe and the Christmas Cinnamon Rolls, and the First Day of School Blueberry Muffins, and I think that will make it even more precious to me. Watch my boys not care at all about it when they get older. HA! Maybe their wives will. Or maybe we need to go for just ONE MORE baby, perhaps a girl?? (insert a heart attack from my husband.)

    Recipes inside the Metroka Family Cookbook (so far)

    • Mascarpone Icing
    • Yeast Rolls
    • Lemon Poppyseed Bread
    • Christmas Cinnamon Rolls
    • Banana Bread
    • Favorite Granola
    • Homemade Ice Cream
    • Friday Pizza Dough
    • Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Pie Dough
    • Cut Out Sugar Cookies
    • Shortbread
    • Sourdough
    • Biscuits
    • Sandwich Bread
    • Mrs. Whitney’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy
    • No Bake Cookies
    • Peanut Butter Cookies
    • First Day of School Blueberry Muffins
    • Grandmama’s Blueberry Buckle

  • An August To Do List.

    You guys, I was looking through my blog this morning as my first *School Year Is Starting, But I’m Not Working Yet* order of business, and I really thought I had more on here than I do. Ha! It’s a bit bare bones isn’t it? I have pages and pages full of post ideas. One of my goals for the school year is to get this little spot up and running with regular posts each week. I do still love Instagram, but I know there are mixed feelings on it. This could be a really cool spot with a little more time dedicated to it, couldn’t it? On to this August to do list though!

    If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that every month, I make a list of things to do in certain (favorite! fun! exciting! whimsical!) categories (Bake, Treats, Cocktails, Meals, and Home). Typically, I do four things under each category and then I pick one from each category every week. So every week I’m crossing something off from each little list. I find that if I list everything out like this at the beginning of the month, I automatically eliminate the need to make any crippling decisions during the month. I do it all at once, and then I’m just left with time to actually do those things on my list! It works, trust me. I’m much more productive since I’ve starting planning my months out like this. You could obviously make the categories anything you’re into. And maybe you could just do a couple under each category if you think it’s unlikely that you’ll do something every single week. This is just what works for me. Make it your own!

    So (drumroll please) the August LIST! Just click on the text for a link to the recipes!


    1. Tomato Tart
    2. Blackberry Thyme Cake (with a frosting of my own making)
    3. Peach Pound Cake
    4. Blackberry Mascarpone Hand Pies

    Treats (We usually make these on Thursdays after school)

    1. First Day of School Blueberry Muffins
    2. Ice Cream Sandwiches
    3. Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cookies
    4. Mini Dutch Babies

    Meals (I typically add more than four in here because well…I have to make dinner every night)

    1. Hamburger Pie – I shared this recipe in stories the other day and it’s saved under my “dinner” highlight!
    2. Street Corn Chowder
    3. Chicken Parm Sandwiches
    4. Churrasco Steak with Chimichurri
    5. Charcuterie Board Dinner
    6. Crock Pot Chicken Gyros
    7. Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches


    1. Coffee Old Fashioned
    2. Bourbon Peach Lemonade
    3. Rosé Punch
    4. Peach Basil Shrub

    Home – No links for these! Just things I’m planning to do that will maybe inspire you too!

    1. Back Hallway Beadboard and Peg Rack
    2. Apple Garland Craft
    3. Fall Vegetable Garden
    4. Start Knitting Cardigan

  • A Summer Bed Makeover with Garnet Hill.

    I’m about to turn in for the night, and since making the bed up with our new bedding gifted from Garnet Hill, I can’t help but pinch myself that this bed even exists in my house. Listen though, a cozy bed does not have to be expensive. Most of our bedding has been from target, Walmart or thrifted and it’s served us beautifully through years of wear. But if you’re looking to invest a little bit in your bedding, this stuff is quality. And it has the look I love for our house – modern cottage through and through. I just thought it might be helpful to have the links to these pieces all in one spot for future reference! And I love all of these picture so much I needed them to be here forever.

    Let’s start with the heirloom quality Agnes quilt. Ours is in oatmeal but they have other colors too! I’m desperate for the blue for the boys’ room now that I’ve seen it in person.

    Ok you guys, this Blissful Silk Quilt. It is such a dream. Silk on top, cotton on bottom. The visible stitching keeps this from feeling too fancy fancy. I think if I had to pick just one thing, it would be this.

    The bengal stripe linen duvet cover and the broad stripe sheets in oatmeal are timeless classics that are going to be in our house until they get holes.

    The French stripe lumbar pillows in slate blue are so cute, adding a little bit of contrast to this neutral bed. And lastly, the chunky knit throw has already moved to our corner chair, but it adds the perfect bit of cozy fluff to this bed moment.

    It’s all come together to be such a sweet spot in our home! I hung up some thrifted hats to replace our kind of winter-y red wreath that was up before and now it feels like summer in here. ♥️