1. Today is Joseph’s last day of preschool for the year, which means heading to the park for a big class picnic! I was so incredibly emotional on Joseph’s last day of school last year (perhaps postpartum hormones played a part since Isabelle was only 6 weeks old?), and I’m not quite there again, but it’s definitely bittersweet. Time is just swooping on by; it’s hard to believe that a year from now he’ll be gearing up for kindergarten. I still remember the bleary-eyed days of just one baby, the frustration of trying to navigate the dreaded 30-minute nap, and he being our entire world for nearly two years. Now he is a bona fide kid who has shed most, if not all, toddler tendencies this year, a phenomenal big brother (earlier this week he told Dominic, “Dom – next year you are going to have your OWN school bag! I am SO proud of you!”) and he makes my heart melt on a daily basis. Whoever said the days are long but the years are short totally and completely nailed it.
2. Dominic, meanwhile, continues to be a complete and total ham who is very rarely in a sour mood that lasts for more than a few minutes. The way his speech has developed (which is utterly incredible given his age) and the cadence he uses, as well as the tone, can just be absolutely hysterical. He routinely makes all of the other moms laugh at swim class and skating lessons. I don’t think he will ever be stressed a day in his life.
3. Isabelle is such a little doll and really loves playing with her big brothers. Their car obsession is rubbing off, as I’ve caught her running cars on the floor making a “vroooooom” sound when they’re not even home, and she had her fingers on two Cheerios on her tray the other morning and was “racing” them around. She may be destined for the racing circuit, lol!
4. I need your cutting board recommendations! I have had plastic cutting boards for ages, but they are pretty scratched up and stained, so I’d like to replace them. I do like being able to put them in the dishwasher if I use them for meat, but am open to hearing about your absolute favorite cutting boards (no matter the material) and why.
5. Speaking of recommendations, has anyone used Emile Henry bakeware? I am totally eyeing up the square and rectangular bakers (and maybe the deep pie plate?), to replace some older casseroles that I have. They seem to get rave reviews, but I don’t know anyone personally who has them.
6. I saw someone share this on Instagram stories this week; it wasn’t embedded, so I don’t know the source, but I LOVE IT:
8. Let’s talk Game of Thrones quickly (no spoilers!) – what did you think of the finale? Did you love it? Hate it? I found it to be totally boring and such a let down after the last few episodes!
9. And on one more TV note… many of you recommended this awhile ago, but we’ve been watching Poldark and really enjoying it. We’re on season 2 and while it took a few episodes for us to really get into it, we like it!
10. TGIF! I hope you have a wonderfully restful long holiday weekend!
A collection of desserts perfect for capping off your Memorial Day party this year – there are bar desserts, cakes, cobblers, and no-bake desserts galore. They are easy, delicious, and the list includes many red, white and blue patriotic desserts for the celebratory long holiday weekend.
Are you hosting a Memorial Day picnic this weekend? Maybe heading somewhere else for a BBQ?
Do you need to come up with some sort of dessert that’s easy and that the masses will adore? You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve rounded up all of my favorite desserts for celebrating the holiday weekend. We have loads of bars, cakes, and an assortment of red, white, and blue desserts if you want something with a patriotic flair. Your menu-planning just got significantly easier!
These Rice Krispie Treats are the BEST! This recipe turns out huge, perfectly soft and gooey rice krispie treats with extra marshmallows mixed in! This will be your one-and-only go-to recipe from now until eternity.
These blueberry crumb bars are crazy easy to make and could, dare I say, rival your favorite blueberry pie recipe. You can pick them up and eat them on the go, which makes them a perfect dessert for picnics and summer parties!
This easy Blueberry Cobbler recipe is made from scratch, comes together quickly, and is a perfect dessert for showcasing fresh blueberries! The filling bakes up thick and bubbly with a golden biscuit topping just begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
These classic buttermilk waffles are easy to make and come out fluffy and crisp each and every time. It’s a must-have recipe for turning an ordinary morning into something extra-special. Whether you choose to top the waffles with the standard butter and syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, or some combination… you are going to fall in love with this waffle recipe!
Growing up, my grandma had a few standard breakfast options available when I’d sleep over at her house that we never had at home. They were, in no particular order: Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Pop-Tarts, bagels that she would cut into fourths to increase the cream cheese to bagel ratio (such a smart woman!), and frozen waffles. I definitely got my peanut butter gene from my grandma, as she would slather it on anything and everything, including those frozen waffles. This was one of her favorite breakfasts (or lunch or dinner!) right up until she passed away at age 91. As a result, it became one of my favorite weekend breakfasts, as well. Toast the waffle, then cover it peanut butter and jelly and eat it like toast.
I didn’t encounter the world of “real” waffles until I went to college and found the Belgian waffle station in the cafeteria. I relished my newfound teenage freedom and ate my weight in Belgian waffles my freshman year of college. Once out of college, having my very own Belgian waffle maker was of the utmost importance. I got one and began enjoying the occasional Belgian waffle at home. Nowadays, I’m partial to my square waffle maker because I have three kids waiting to eat and the one-waffle-at-a-time approach isn’t nearly as efficient.
For a long time, I used boxed waffle mixes to make my batter, but finally found the perfect homemade buttermilk waffle recipe. It’s incredibly easy and makes the most delicious waffles that I know you and your family are going to love!
What Makes These Buttermilk Waffles Fluffy and Crisp
No one wants a soggy waffle, am I right? In order to make the most delicious fluffy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside waffles, we need to do a couple of things:
Buttermilk – Much like pancake batter, buttermilk reacts with baking soda to create a wonderful rise, creating ultra fluffy waffles. A little extra baking powder is included to ensure supreme lift.
High Heat Setting – Don’t be afraid to crank up that temperature setting on your waffle iron; your waffles will NOT burn, but they will be significantly more crisp when you turn up that setting versus leaving it low, which will result in soft waffles.
Ingredients Needed for Buttermilk Waffles
There is a high probability that you already have everything you need to make these classic buttermilk waffles. Let’s run down the list…
Flour – To give the waffles structure.
Sugar – For a little sweetness.
Baking Powder + Baking Soda – For the all-important fluffiness.
Salt + Vanilla – For maximum flavor.
Buttermilk – For rich flavor and supreme fluffiness.
Butter – Adds fat for tenderness and loads of flavor.
Eggs – Bind together the batter and bring everything together.
How to Make The Best Buttermilk Waffles
Homemade waffles are such a great treat and making them completely from scratch takes maybe 2 or 3 minutes longer than making them with a baking mix.
Whisk together the dry ingredients – This includes the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl – The buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla get mixed together.
Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. When whisking the batter together, be sure to do so gently and for only as long as it takes to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Lumps are okay, you don’t want a completely smooth batter!
Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and preheat until it is scorching hot – A drop of water on the iron should sizzle and evaporate almost immediately.
Portion the batter according to the manufacturer’s directions and cook to desired doneness.
The last step is, of course, topping those beautifully browned waffles.
I would love to know how you eat your waffles! Do you top them with:
These classic buttermilk waffles are easy to make and come out fluffy and crisp each and every time. It's a must-have recipe for turning an ordinary morning into something extra-special.
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1¾ cups buttermilk
½ cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled to room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently whisk to combine. Do not overmix!
Spray a waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray, then preheat. Once the waffle maker is ready, add the batter according to the manufacturer’s instructions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the waffle maker indicates they are ready. Serve immediately, or place in a 300-degree oven to keep warm. Leftover waffles can be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a ziploc bag and stored in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
1. These boys love their cars and bikes! Summer is going to be fun; I can’t believe that Joseph is already done with school next week, it seems like he just started! And only one more year of preschool then off to kindergarten, gahhhhh.
2. Dominic is SUPER excited to start school in the fall. He’s gotten really into now that he does Joseph’s drop off and pick up with me nearly every time. I think he’s going to have a blast :)
3. This little lady got her own ride and she is hysterical in this little buggy. She LOVES to ride in it and sits in there, looks around, and waves as she rides along. She pretty much reminds me of the queen, lol.
4. I bought these Living Raw truffles at Whole Foods last weekend and OMG they are so much better than I anticipated. Super rich and totally squashes my sweets cravings!
5. I recently saw a link to Annie’s Caring Crochet Kit Club – it’s $25/month you receive a kit every 4 weeks with the yarn, materials and pattern for a new project, as well as the option to donate it to a specific charity. Some of them can be sent to cancer patients, babies and children, the elderly, etc. Each month you find out about the cause or charity and you can choose to donate the piece, or keep it. I LOVE this idea, and when I have more free time, I am totally going to do it!
7. Do you use the Todoist app? I just downloaded and am excited to give it a whirl. Any tips for making the most of it?
8. Speaking of apps, does anyone use the Day One app? It looks to be a digital journal where you can capture notes, videos, audio recordings, and photos for each day. I LOVE this idea! I could never get into scrapbooking, but THIS I think I can do!
9. Are you watching Game of Thrones? This last season has totally captivated me and last week was OMG. Who has predictions for how this whole thing ends on Sunday?!
This BEST EVER Potato Salad recipe from grandma is easy, creamy, loaded with bacon, and a secret ingredient in the dressing puts it over the top! It converted me from being a potato salad hater to a potato salad lover! Please don’t go through the entire summer without making this at least once!
Potato salad falls into the same camp for me as egg salad. It’s a mayonnaise-based salad that I long disliked because of how over the top mayonnaise-y it typically is. Until this recipe. It was a life changing experience and I neeeeeed to share it with you.
This recipe comes from a friend’s grandmother and on the recipe card she gave me it is titled “Best Ever Potato Salad”. A bold statement and one that always gives me pause, but it is absolutely, 100% warranted in this case. First of all, I tend to trust old-school family recipes over others; second, the grandma was confident enough to call it the best, and lastly, it has a secret ingredient that takes it over the top. So I am totally comfortable in telling you that it is, indeed, the best ever.
What Makes This Potato Salad the Best?
The secret ingredient…
Bacon drippings. Ahhhhhh.
Along with all of the great ingredients that give this salad a great depth of flavor and lots of texture, the dressing on this potato salad is what makes it insanely special.
After frying up the bacon, you save a couple tablespoons of the bacon drippings and whisk in a modest amount of mayonnaise, some Dijon mustard, a bit of sugar and smidge of salt. It is ah-mazing. The flavor is robust, not terribly mayonnaise-y (huge bonus in my book), and a perfect accent to all of the flavors and textures in the salad.
How to Make Potato Salad Ahead of Time
I totally get it… you’re hosting a picnic, or you’ve been invited to a bbq and you don’t want to be throwing the potato salad together last minute, plus we all know that given some time to sit in the refrigerator only makes it exponentially better.
You can safely (and easily) make this potato salad up to 1 day in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator before serving.
I have served this to people who, like me, claim to hate potato salad because of how gloppy it can get with mayonnaise. I have also served it to people who claim that they only like their mom’s/grandma’s/aunt’s recipe and no others.
All of these people? They have tripped over themselves raving about this recipe, declaring it the best they’ve ever had.
So there you have it. The best potato salad, ever. You’ll want to keep this recipe stashed away for all of your summer parties and picnics! Be prepared for lots of recipe requests!
If You Like This Potato Salad Recipe, Try These Summery Salads:
The BEST EVER Potato Salad recipe from a friend’s grandmother, with a special secret ingredient in the dressing! It converted me from being a potato salad hater to a potato salad lover!
1½ pounds red potatoes (cut into small cubes (about 4 cups))
12 ounce package bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 hard-boiled eggs (peeled and chopped)
1 stalk celery (finely diced)
1 small yellow onion (finely diced)
½ medium green pepper (finely diced)
Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. (If you’re not sure how to boil the potatoes, this is a good resource.) Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet and remove the pan from heat.
Add the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and salt to the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion and green pepper. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and gently stir to evenly coat. Stir in the bacon.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Nutritional values are based on one serving
Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in April 2011, updated with new photos in June 2016, and refreshed again with updated photos, a video, and extra recipe success tips.
1. One of my husband’s oldest friends owns an exotic car dealership, and had said the boys were welcome to come by anytime to check out the cars. They finally took him up on his offer this week and oh my, Joseph was in his glory. He got to sit in a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, Porsche, and I don’t even know what else. My husband said Dominic was a little more hesitant to get in the cars, but had a blast regardless.
2. Oh hi, my baby looks like a five-year old all of a sudden, ahhhhhhh!
3. Have you heard of hair plopping? It’s for curly hair and it’s basically wrapping up wet hair in a t-shirt or microfiber towel for 10 to 20 minutes, then diffusing or letting it air dry (or you could let it dry totally wrapped up). Supposedly it keeps the curls amped up, defined, and from frizzing out. I’m dying to try it because I washed my hair this week and didn’t feel like drying it, so I just put a little product in and let it air dry, and the curls the next day were amazing!! I might be doing this a lot over the summer.
4. Alright, in addition to hair I have a few clothes/fashion/style things I want to discuss! First, where are you with the whole partial tuck trend? I have not done it yet because I don’t think I’ve tucked in a shirt since middle school? I think that was when it was cool to tuck the front of your shirt and let the back hang out. I just can’t decide how I feel about the partial tuck.
5. Okay, next… I started reading about dressing for your “season”, i.e. winter, summer, spring, fall. Have you heard anything about this? It makes SO MUCH SENSE, OMG. It’s based on your hair color, eye color, and skin tone, and now I know why I’m always drawn to black/grey/bright pink and have always hated how orange or coral colors look on me. Google it and let me know what you think! I also love that it gives me a little guidance to know what to look for when I want to add new pieces to my wardrobe.
6. Finally… are Keds back? I feel like I wore these throughout my entire elementary school years. They remind me of 5th and 6th grade cheerleading, ha. But I see them everywhere! I think they’re kind of cute and would be a great basic white sneaker to have, but… I hesitate lol.
7. I couldn’t believe it when I heard a few years ago that schools weren’t teaching cursive anymore. My husband and I were at the UPS store a year ago signing something when the clerk told us some older teenagers were coming in not knowing how to sign their name, like, an actual signature. I’m totally old-school, so I was thrilled to hear it’s coming back in at least some places!
An easy chicken salad recipe loaded with apple, raisins, and walnuts. Use rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for a quick shortcut! Perfect for lunch on its own, atop a bed of lettuce or in a croissant.
My mom has been making a version of this chicken salad for as long as I can remember, loading it up with lots of “extras” that I just love. I rediscovered my love for it when my husband and I did a Whole30 a few years ago. It was a quick and easy option for lunches and snacks, and continues to be a recipe I love eating.
I routinely make it if we’re going to have company for lunch, since it’s incredibly easy to prepare and is quite versatile when it comes to serving – it could be placed on a bed of lettuce (healthy option) or stuffed inside of a croissant (my favorite indulgent option). Add some fruit and/or kettle chips and it makes a great lunch for guests. A great option if you’re hosting for Mother’s Day this weekend, too!
What Makes This Chicken Salad the Best
I love, love, love this recipe because it is so unbelievably versatile; you can play around with all of the ingredients and make tons of substitutions to suit your personal tastes. Some ideas:
Pears instead of apples.
Dried cranberries instead of raisins.
Fresh halved grapes instead of raisins.
Pecans or cashews instead of walnuts.
So many delicious variations!
Ingredients in This Classic Chicken Salad
There is a very small ingredient list for this salad, and you very likely already have everything you need!
Chicken (of course!) – There are so many options for what you can use – poached, grilled, rotisserie chicken, canned chicken. Feel free to use whatever you like best or is most convenient. My husband actually prefers the consistency of canned chicken; when I use that I buy the organic Valley Fresh brand.
Mayonnaise – Again, use your favorite! You’ll really taste it (obviously), so make sure it’s something you like.
Apples – Any variety will do here (my favorites are honeycrisp and gala), and as mentioned above, you can even substitute pear if you’d like.
Raisins – I love the sweet flavor and soft texture these provide, but you could also use halved seedless grapes (I do this often!) or dried cranberries.
Walnuts – The obligatory crunch that every good chicken salad needs. Feel free to substitute in your favorite nuts (I personally love cashews or pecans here).
Apple Cider Vinegar – Helps to cut the thickness of the mayonnaise and gives the salad a nice little tang without tasting too vinegar-y.
Salt and pepper – More flavor!
How to Make the Chicken Salad
It only takes a few easy steps to get this chicken salad thrown together and ready for lunch!
Prepare the chicken and shred. I prefer shredded chicken here instead of cubed, as I feel like it integrates with the rest of the ingredients much better.
Combine the chicken and mayonnaise. You want to ensure that all of the chicken has a nice coating of mayonnaise on it so it doesn’t dry out.
Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Throw in your apples, raisins, walnuts, salt and pepper and really mix it up to make sure everything is well combined.
That’s it! While this can be served immediately, I think it really shines when it’s left to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
This is one of my favorite quick meal prep recipes because it can be thrown together so quickly (thank you, rotisserie chickens and canned chicken!) and keeps well all week, although this never lasts that long in our house!
Eat it plain, atop a bed of lettuce, or pair it with buttery croissants for lunch guests (or yourself, because everyone deserves a croissant).
More Favorite Lunch Recipes
If you’re in the mood for a sandwich lunch or need some brunch ideas, you’ll love these:
An easy chicken salad recipe loaded with apple, raisins, and walnuts. Use rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for a quick shortcut! Perfect for lunch on its own, atop a bed of lettuce or in a croissant.
2 pounds cooked chicken (shredded)
½ cup mayonnaise
2 large apples (your favorite variety, peeled, cored and diced)
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Place the chicken in a large bowl and combine with the mayonnaise, stirring well to ensure that all of the chicken has been coated.
Add the apples, raisins, walnuts and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to thoroughly combine. The chicken salad can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can substitute pear for the apple.
You can substitute halved grapes or dried cranberries for the raisins.
You can substitute other nuts (cashews or pecans would be great!) for the walnuts.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into freshly fried and cinnamon-sugar coated churros, please do yourself a favor and make these immediately! A popular Mexican, Spanish and Portugese pastry, they are richer than a traditional doughnut and can be eaten plain or dipped in melted chocolate, dulce de leche or hot chocolate.
Welcome to the May edition of the BEB Bake-Along! Since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, I wanted to do a popular Mexican-inspired sweet for our bake-along this month.
Churros are made from a choux-based dough (remember the gougeres from January?!) that’s a little less enriched (not as many eggs) and a little sweeter (thanks to vanilla!) that is piped into hot oil and fried like doughnuts. They can be straight, curved, or any shape you’d like. THEN (and this is where the churros shine!) they are tossed in a cinnamon-sugar coating that is just to die for.
Making these beauties is relatively quick and easy, and everyone you serve them to will be begging for more. Let’s get to it!
Ingredients in Churros
The ingredient list for churros is a relatively short one, and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen and pantry!
Butter for fat and flavor.
Milk + Water to keep the dough moist.
Salt + Vanilla for flavor.
Flour to give the dough structure.
Egg for richness.
Vegetable Oil for frying.
Cinnamon-Sugar for that amazingly delicious coating!
Gather everything up and get started!
How To Make Churros
Churros are made using a pate a choux dough, just like our January bake-along, gougeres! Once the dough is made, it is piped into hot oil to be fried, then tossed in a cinnamon-sugar coating. This is how it’s done…
Make the Pate a Choux Dough – Melt butter along with water, milk and salt, then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until the dough and sides of the pan appear dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the egg and vanilla.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a jumbo-size open-star decorating tip (I recommend the Ateco #829).
Heat the oil until it reaches 360 degrees F.
Pipe the dough into the oil (carefully!) and fry until golden brown on all sides.
Drain on paper towels for about 10 seconds, then toss in the cinnamon-sugar coating.
Eat immediately! :)
Join the BEB Bake-Along!
To tackle churros and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:
Check in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s churros!
And a quick reminder that you can sign up for special Bake-Along emails – be alerted to new recipes, receive troubleshooting tips, and end-of-month recaps (you’ll receive a few emails per month) >> CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!
If You Like Churros, You’ll Love These Other Mexican Desserts:
If you’ve never had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into a freshly fried and cinnamon-sugar coated churro, please do yourself a favor and make these immediately! A popular Mexican, Spanish and Portugese pastry, they are richer than a traditional doughnut and can be eaten plain or dipped in melted chocolate, dulce de leche or hot chocolate.
For the Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup milk
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil (for frying)
For the Cinnamon-Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Add at least 1 inch of vegetable oil to a large heavy skillet (I recommend a 12-inch cast iron skillet). Bring the oil to 360 degrees F over medium heat.
While the oil is heating, make the dough. Place the butter, milk, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add all of the flour at once, reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball and appears to dry out (a film or “crust” will develop on the sides and bottom of the pan), another 2 to 3 minutes.
Immediately place the dough into a mixing bowl and beat on low until it stops steaming and is just warm to the touch, approximately 1 minute.
Increase mixer speed to medium and add the egg, beating until fully incorporated and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. The final dough will appear smooth, creamy, and shiny.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with an extra large open star piping tip (I recommend Ateco #829). Line a rimmed baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Once the oil comes to temperature, pipe the churros directly into the oil, about 6 inches in length. Use a pair of kitchen shears to snip off the dough at the end of the piping tip. Repeat with additional churros in the oil (don’t overcrowd the pan – you should fit about 4 or 5 per batch). Turn the churros in the oil and cook until golden brown all over, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to the paper towel-lined pan to drain for about 15 seconds, or until able to be handled, then toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and transfer to a serving dish.
Allow the oil to back up to temperature and repeat step #7 with the remaining dough, approximately three more batches. Serve immediately!