Sangria with Oranges, Figs + Cinnamon

Sangria with Oranges, Figs + Cinnamon

My husband and I sit outside on the deck after our two-year-old twins are finally in bed—not asleep, but at least confined in their cribs after a witching hour that felt like four hours. There’s a faint smell of citronella as candles flicker on the table, a bottle of Pinot Noir between us, and a glimmer overhead from the lights strung on the pergola. It’s one of those summer nights with all the trappings of romance and beauty.

But the newborn in my arms and the whines from the twins’ room keep us grounded in the reality of parenting little ones. I refill my wine glass as cries of protest against bedtime punctuate the evening. The baby begins to root around in search of food. We're exhausted.

“I can’t handle three kids,” I shamefully confess to my husband.  

I love all three fiercely, and I am grateful for them beyond measure. But right now? This feels impossible. The twins know exactly when they can get away with doing all the things we’ve told them not to do. When I sit down to nurse they rush upstairs, and I hear the water of our bathtub running. If I don’t follow them, the sound of the faucet will soon be followed by the sound of slipping on the wet floor or worse. How am I supposed to get anything done with three under three? And by “get anything done,” I’m not talking about repainting the master bedroom or even emptying the dishwasher. No. I mean more like, how do I stop long enough to feed the third kid?

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Sangria with Oranges, Figs + Cinnamon
Sangria with Oranges, Figs + Cinnamon
Sangria with Oranges, Figs + Cinnamon

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles [and they're paleo!]

Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles

My toddlers had their first-ever popsicle a couple weeks ago. It was one of those moments that’s so quintessentially summer. The day was unseasonably hot, we set up their inflatable pool, and I unfolded one of our blue lawn chairs next to it. After another gray Chicago winter, my body craved the warm sun, and I plopped down on that chair ready to soak up every ray I could. The kids ran barefoot around the backyard, stopping occasionally to cool off in their little pool while I “supervised” – a task much more enjoyable with the sun on my face and dessert in hand.

I had just made a batch of these Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles and grabbed a few from the freezer for us to share. We sat in the yard licking up the sweet pineapple flavor. Juice ran down my kids’ faces, and we tried to eat more quickly than the sun could make our treats melt. And everything – and everyone – was sticky.

But isn’t that the way summer is supposed to be? Sunny, sweet, warm…and a bit messy. 

PIneapple + Coconut Popsicles.jpg
Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles
Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles
Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles
Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles
Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles

Pineapple + Coconut Popsicles
Yields about 12-14 popsicles

1 pineapple, rind and core removed
1 (13.5 ounce) can full fat coconut milk
¼ cup honey
Juice from 2 limes
Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Cut the pineapple into chunks. Add the pineapple, coconut milk, honey, and lime juice to a blender. Blend until smooth. (It should taste a bit sweeter than how you’d normally prefer a smoothie. The sweetness will mellow when frozen.)

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid, about 3-4 hours. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use ice cube trays or small paper cups. When the mixture is slightly frozen (after about 1 hour), stick a plastic spoon or wooden popsicle stick in each serving and continue to freeze until solid.

To remove the popsicles, I run warm water on the outside of the mold until I can easily pop them out. If you like, you can roll the popsicles in coconut flakes for extra flavor and texture!

Quick Tip: I recently learned a delicious, adult-only trick from Smitten Kitchen. Pour a bit of vodka, rum, or tequila in a glass. Dip the popsicle in the liquor and enjoy! Double dipping encouraged. 


This post was originally featured at Lark + Linen.


Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini

Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini

The alarm clock on my phone rings, and I hit snooze for the first of several times. I’ve never been very disciplined about getting out of bed right away. Despite the previous night's vow to wake up before my kids, I reluctantly crawl from beneath the covers only when I start to hear, “Mama! Mama!” from the next room.

Today, fortunately, the calls for mama are interrupted by laughter. My two-year-old twins jabber to each other about something hilarious, but in a language unknown to me. I leave them to giggle and chat for a few more minutes, giving me a chance to put on clean clothes and spray my hair with dry shampoo (an innovation I should have embraced long ago). Then we hit the ground running—or waddling in my case, being eight months pregnant.

I change one diaper, then the other. We head downstairs, a migration which lately includes nearly all their stuffed animals—Bear, Sloth, Gorilla, and the rest of Noah’s ark. I fill my favorite white and gray mug with coffee and make my kids a plate of scrambled eggs and toast. They (usually) inhale it contentedly, although some days they suddenly deem such a breakfast inedible. I snag bites of their leftovers in between sips of coffee before wiping the worst of the mess off the floor (a feat that’s getting more difficult as my pregnancy progresses), and we’re off to do whatever the day has in store for us.

Sometimes the days feel chaotic. There are more spills, more cries, more clawing at my legs, more inexplicable fussiness. Other times, I aimlessly wander through our daily rituals, not stopping to give them much thought. I like routine. I crave structure and schedules and plans. But those ordinary moments can easily blend together like one homogeneous block of time, and the routine starts to feel too...routine.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini-2.jpg
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini
Strawberry, Basil + Goat Cheese Panini

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies

Sometimes I dream up recipes in my head, and then when I actually make them, they're terrible - or just underwhelming. This was not one of those recipes. I have been daydreaming about bacon chocolate chip cookies for about a month now, and I finally made them. I threw a splash of bourbon into the recipe and used big 'ol chunks of dark chocolate.

They turned out to be everything I had hoped for – sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. Just make sure to store them out of sight as soon as possible. Otherwise you may be tempted to eat them all way to quickly. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything...)

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Yields about 5 dozen cookies

12 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the diced bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat left in the pan.

Measure out 1/3 cup of bacon fat and add to a large, microwave safe bowl. (For me, this was nearly all the bacon fat in the pan. If you don’t get enough fat, use butter to make up the remaining amount needed). Add in the butter, and heat gently in the microwave until the bacon fat and butter are completely melted. Cool slightly (so the eggs don’t get cooked when you add them).

Stir in the sugars, eggs, and bourbon. Mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Then add in the baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of flour, stirring after each cup of flour added.

Gradually add an additional ½ to 1 cup of flour until the dough reaches the desired consistency. I end up using at least 3 ¾ cups of flour total. More flour will yield a softer, rounder cookie.

Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and the bacon pieces, and mix until everything is evenly distributed.

Shape the dough into balls, 1 ½ inches in size, and place about 2 inches apart onto an parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown and crisp on top. Cool slightly and then remove cookies from baking sheet. Pour yourself a big glass of milk, and enjoy!


This post was originally featured at Lark + Linen.