French Toast with Cherry Compote + Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream [plus an essay about being seen and an invite to the C+C Mother's Day Brunch!]

We slide into the diner booth, scooting along the faux leather benches as our server hands us an impossibly large menu. My husband sits next to me and my dad in the seat across from us. Going to a place like this reminds me of my childhood. I grew up in New Jersey where diners are about as common as Starbucks in the Chicago suburbs. There's one on every corner, each with giant, plastic-covered menus showcasing all kinds of omelettes, skillets, French toast, crepes, sandwiches, and anything else you could possibly think to eat for breakfast or lunch.

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Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap

I’m switching gears for a minute and bringing you a recipe for cold process soap! I set this hobby aside while focusing more on food and writing (and chasing my kids around), but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. I’ve been using store-bought soap lately, and to be honest, it does not compare to the good, homemade stuff. I also feel like I’ve been in a creative rut with food and writing, and my temptation is often to forgo creating altogether. When I do that, though, I find I get “creatively stale.” I don’t know if that’s a real phrase, but I’m going to go with it.

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It's Friday! How about we have a giveaway?

As the week comes to an end and the season changes, I thought it’d be a great time for a giveaway! Since I write about food, faith, creativity, and motherhood, I wanted to include items from each of those four categories in the prize bundle. So, we’ve got music, beautifully designed greeting cards, coffee and tea, and all kinds of books! I’ve provided links to all the authors, creators, artists, and food professionals in the giveaway description below, so make sure to check each of them out!

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Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts [and learning to simplify]

I tend to overcomplicate things. While researching a recipe using bread I thought, “Well, why not just make the bread myself?” That’s all fine and good. Things with homemade bread taste better. But while I daydreamed about the smell of dough in the oven, a pile of laundry sat in my bedroom, dishes from two meals ago filled my sink, I had yet to shower, and I watched my one-year-old running by with a diaper about to explode. I don’t have time for homemade bread—but I bookmarked the recipe for another day. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. Or when my kids drive off to college. For now, I need to simplify.

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Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda [featuring FreshGround Roasting]

My three kids actually napped simultaneously yesterday. It was glorious. I don’t think that’s happened in at least six months, because my twins have dropped their nap for the most part—and it came back to bite us last night when they weren’t asleep until 10pm. But for one afternoon, I savored the quietness while my kiddos slept. And by savored, I mean that I didn’t do anything “productive” and read a book the entire time.

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Orecchiette with Bacon, Mushrooms + Kale [and learning to sit in the dark]

I believe God will one day make all things new. He will fully bring his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, he will put everything right, he will bring justice and restoration and glory and joy. But we’re not there yet. We’re in this strange “already but not yet” place, a place still speaking the language of lament. My brothers and sisters throughout the world speak it fluently, but I easily forget. It’s a language that’s not easy to listen to, one I want to silence and ignore.

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(Paleo + Vegan) Maple-Cinnamon Hot Chocolate [and the gift of play]

My daughter keeps asking to have a tea party or a picnic or play doctor with her. I oblige when I can, but preschool play is not my strength. But little by little, my kids draw me into their worlds, teaching me how to play again. They show me the joy of silliness and letting go of inhibitions. They help me loosen my grip on practicality. I still fight it every day. I want to see check marks on my to-do lists and know I’m working toward a goal. Those desires aren’t all bad, of course, but we’ve lost something when we let utility push fun completely out of the picture. We’ve lost the joy and beauty of play.

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Cold Brew Granola with Chocolate, Walnuts + Chia Seeds

Happy Tuesday! How’s your week going? Yeah, I realize we’re only a few days in, but anyone else feel like this week has been about a month long? My kiddos are fighting sickness, and the weather here is still gloomy (although about 40 degrees warmer than last week!). We’ve read all the books, played with Play-Doh, watched movies, spilled Cheerios, snuggled on the couch, and laughed a lot (four-year-olds are hilarious, by the way). And now I need to refuel with coffee and chocolate.

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Marinated Skirt Steak with Pineapple + Green Onions [and fighting for connection]

Sitting in my bed, I attempt to hide and drown out the noise downstairs with the rhythmic hum of my breast pump. I can still hear the baby crying and my toddler son whining. His twin sister yells at the top of her lungs for no reason, except maybe to keep up with the decibel level of everyone else. I’ve been here longer than necessary, partly because pumping takes extra time. I worry my supply is dropping, maybe due to diet changes or stress or who knows what. My mind conjures up a thousand possibilities, all of which I feel the urgent need to research.

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Dairy-Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—which means I at least need a little chocolate. We don’t typically make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, mostly because for the last four years we’ve been too tired or too busy with the kiddos. But, we do enjoy a good date night in at home, a bottle of wine that’s a bit better than what we’d normally buy, and something special for dessert.

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