Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)

There was a period of time where we made a lot of whoopie…pies. (har har)

They’re just SO tasty, and fun to make. And with such a variety of flavors, the options are endless! (Trust me…we’ve tried to make them all.)

The best still, though, are the classic version. A chocolate cake-ish sandwich, with marshmallow creme. Think a Moonpie, or a Double Doozie. Or, a Whoopie Pie!

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Click more for the recipe!

Poolside Reads 2018

As much as we’d love to say “beach reads,” living smack dab in the middle of the country doesn’t always qualify us for living the beach life. But poolside, yes.

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And with kids who are old enough and competent enough to swim, that means L I V I N’. However, it means not being upset if you’re in the thick of a whodunnit and your kids start dunking each other under water. So books need to be easy to look away from.

Are you able to read at the pool? What are some of your favorites? Keep reading for a list on our stacks…

Indoor Picnic

The weather here in Southwest Missouri has been cold, drizzly, and not very spring-like. So for Easter Sunday this year, we decided to have a French-inspired indoor picnic. French wine, cheeses, a charcuterie board, home-made baguettes…the whole works.

Of course, we ate at the dining table, so rather than a picnic, I guess it was just French-inspired picnic-fare. C’est la vie. It. Was. Parfait.

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Color Me Bad: Coloring Books for EVERYONE!

One of my current side hustle projects is to make a coloring book of floral art. I’m not talking about the intricate mandala-style books, where one missed paisley is a stress-induced scramble to cover it up. I want nice big patches of petals, or rosy cheeks for someone to puddle watercolors on top of. Here’s a rough draft of a page of mine:

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In researching coloring books for adults, though, I did manage to find some that I’d actually sit down and tinker with:

Book Roundup: March 2018

There really isn’t much else I need in life than a good book. Well. Maybe a cold pinot grigio. And a soft dog. Okay, and dark chocolate. And if I’m going to list all the things I need in life, I may as well also mention Coco Chanel Eau de Parfum, my mala beads, and pretty mugs filled with coffee.

But, books. Let’s get back to books.

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I read a lot, and challenge myself to read harder every year. BookRiot is always a great source to find books that wouldn’t normally jump out at me in my typical browsing. So is Goodreads, but I tend to add 20 books to read for every 1 that I finish. It can get overwhelming.

In 2018, I (Nicole) gave myself the goal of reading 30 books. As of today, I’m finished #12. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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KINDRED by Octavia Butler (Read Harder Challenges: Author is a woman of color; a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author) – THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Should be required reading for every human being on the planet.

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UNGRATEFUL MAMMALS by Dave Eggers (Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book). This is a collection of drawings and poetic vignettes by Dave Eggers, a prolific author.

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THE SPELL THIEF (Little Legends) (Read Harder Challenge: Absolutely none. I read this with my 8yo for his class book club. Come one, 2nd graders! Why aren’t you reading Kindred yet??)

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HOMEGOING (Read Harder Challenge: A book of colonial literature. Also written by a woman of color. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It was actually a great companion piece to Kindred, unintentionally.

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BITCH PLANET Vol. 2 (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written or illustrated by a person of color; written by a woman; A one-sitting book). I love this series. It’s gritty, violent, just enough sci-fi and ends on MAJOR twists. Can’t wait for the next volume.

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BIRD BOX (Read Harder Challenge: None…but it’s a horror book about a mom trying to keep her 2 children alive in a strange new Earth where if you’re able to see it could kill you…so, that’s a challenge enough…) A thrilling page-turner, best read in as few sittings as possible. I think it took me 3. And I didn’t sleep for 3 days.

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MARCH TRILOGY (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written by a person of color; A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image). I also hope this series is required reading for every student. It’s one I’m planning on buying to keep in my house for the kiddos.

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Literary Witches

LITERARY WITCHES: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (Read Harder Challenge: hello! It’s a compilation of women authors throughout history!). This is great. I learned about a few authors I’d never heard of, and the illustrations are mesmerizing. Highly recommend.

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LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE RECIPES: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles – So inspiring! An illustrated cookbook celebrating one of the modern-day design geniuses.

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THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET – How did I miss this novella? It was written in 1982, feels just as fresh today, and is a lyrical and beautiful look at growing up. Smitten.

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MY FRIEND DAHMER – (Read Harder Challenge: A Comic written AND illustrated by the same person) Ooooh, a dark yet sympathetic look at the person who became a monster, told from the point of view of one of his high school classmates.

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WHY NOT ME? By Mindy Kaling. (Read Harder Challenge: author POC; celebrity memoir; collection of essays.) She’s my new best friend. End of story. I listened to this on Audible, and it is so delightful.

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Next on the docket: THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. This isn’t so much a challenge as a throwback, to a series I read and loved as a child. Plus, the author, Lillian Jackson Braun, didn’t even start writing until later in life, which always fascinates me AND inspires.

Any good books that you’ve read that have been out of your typical reading comfort zone? I’d love to hear!

{ Featured photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash}

Book Roundup: The Cozy Cookbook

Having recently finished Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, I realized I have a thing for cozy, story-driven family-centric cookbooks. I devour them like novels, and keep them on shelves faaaar away from the mess of my kitchen. Here are a few in my collection:

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Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook – This delightful book is divided into recipes based on color. My favorite: the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. GUH so good. I’m sad I’ve never had a chance to flip through her other books, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes and Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life. Author Tessa Kiros is also a delight to follow on Instagram!

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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time – Hands down, one of the best books ever published. It is so inspiring, and makes me want to have beautiful, sit-down dinners with my family on a nightly basis. With contributors like Tom Hanks and beautiful recipes for the whole family, this is one of those books that’s actually very rarely in my house because I loan it to everyone.

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Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips – Stephanie is one of Ina’s biggest fans. When we found out she was doing a book signing and Q&A in Kansas City, we left our babes at home and eagerly drove up to see her. It was my first real introduction to her, and oh what a charmer. I went home with this book and have tried almost every recipe in it. Every single one of her books is ten thumbs up.

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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses – this book is more about if you want to *start* a family (wink wink, nudge nudge). It’s a cookbook that’ll make you blush. I first read it while working at a cafe where we hosted an annual “Aphrodite’s Feast” romantic dinner. The courses all had aphrodisiac properties, and this book was our ultimate resource.

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What are some of your well-loved and well-worn cookbooks, whether you create the recipes or just love the imagery? We’d love to hear!

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}