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Reflecting on 2020

Wow, 2020. One of the worst, best, confusing, humbling, hard, and grateful years of my life. Thinking back on it, it would just be easy to say that 2020 has been the worst year imaginable with COVID striking shortly after the year began. There is no denying this was a year full of ups & downs, loss, struggle, isolation, and hardship. But what really stands out, more than anything to me, is all the positive things 2020 has brought me. Sure, I lost my job for awhile and was only brought back part time, but the major positive of that was spending the extra time with Oliver. I got to see and experience things with him I would have otherwise missed. His first steps, his first words, all his super cool dance moves…each of those things are priceless to me. Not only did the extra time off with Oliver bring me joy, but I also had time to learn new things, take classes, and create this blog to share my creativity with you all. Most importantly I learned that nothing is ever guaranteed and to be grateful for everything I have.

3 Amazon Sweaters I’ve Been Living In

If you know me or have ever run into me somewhere, you know my favorite things to wear are hats, jeans, sneakers and a cozy sweatshirt. It’s just one of those outfits you can be super casual in or dress up for a night out. It’s seemingly perfect, especially this year. So with everything going on in the world and the chaos of Christmas around the corner, I wanted to take a break from the kitchen and round up my 3 favorite Amazon sweaters, because, well, I’ve basically been living in them. They are so cozy and perfect as we transition from fall to the dead of winter.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Whipped Cream

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What did you guys have on your menu today? This year our Thanksgiving gathering was fairly small so we eliminated a few dishes off of our typical holiday menu (mostly casseroles and pies), and although that was a little bittersweet, I added a new item today. Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Whipped Cream. Typically my grandma makes a pumpkin pie every year, but with the number so low and her health declining, I decided to take over and make something a little bit different. Since I have been making this pumpkin cheesecake for a few years now, and it has always been a friend favorite, it seemed like the obvious choice. This pumpkin cheesecake is basically a cross between a pumpkin pie and a New York style cheesecake, and what’s not to love about that? It’s the best of both worlds. And honestly, it’s better than pumpkin pie in my opinion. (No on tell my grandma I said that 🙈 ) The crust is buttery yet crisp with graham crackers, while the inside is creamy and perfectly flavored with real pumpkin and fall spices. It’s beyond delicious.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Thanksgiving is in TWO days ya’ll. Someone please explain to me how this is even possible. 2020 has seemed to be the longest year ever but in other ways, also the shortest. Like, I feel as though just yesterday was the beginning of this pandemic and worldwide shutdown, and now it’s almost December? But on the other hand, I have a full blown toddler that will be turning two in a few months? What the actual f*ck. Time is weird this year. Speaking of time on an entirely different level, does anyone else struggle with what to eat for breakfast on the holidays? My family eats at 1:30 in the afternoon, so not quite lunch but not yet dinner either. That means breakfast is always a weird topic. Do I starve to death until 1pm or do I somehow overeat and become miserable? If this sounds like you, fear not, I’ve got you covered. I think I finally found my solution whether you’re looking for an easy grab and go, a delicious side to your bacon and eggs, or just simply trying to load up on sugar before a long day with your relatives. Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins.

7-Layer Bars

Happy Monday ya’ll. It’s been quite the dreary overcast day here so I’ve taken full advantage of it and spent my entire day inside baking. There is also a winter storm on the way so what better way to snuggle up with some hot cocoa and eat some sweets, am I right? If we’re being honest, I really don’t like winter, Like at all, but I’ll definitely partake in the fuzzy socks, hot cocoa, and movie nights on the couch during a snowfall. There’s just something so comforting about it. Especially with freshly baked 7-layer bars just waiting for me to dig in. Yes please. Usually at this time of year I’ve already made 7-layer bars more times than I can count. However, due to the pandemic, I can’t say I’ve made them once this year. This recipe makes 24 large bars or 48 small bars so it’s a hefty recipe for just one person to indulge in. So, with Thanksgiving coming up this week, I thought why not make them today and be ahead of the game for Thursday. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I get my sugar fix and my family gets theirs for Thanksgiving. Win Win.

Rainbow Fries

Happy Friday night ya’ll. We’ve made it through the work week! Seeing as my week seemed to be long and stressful, I thought I would bring something different to the blog tonight and make something fun. Now if you know me, you know I’m a HUGE snacker, especially if any sort of TV series is on. That’s how these tri-colored french fries, or “rainbow fries” as I like to call them, came about. I wanted an easy, yet still delicious snack to munch on while starting season 4 of the show ‘New Girl’. Yes, I know, I know, I’m super behind on this show. However, don’t you worry because I am most definitely binge watching it 😆 . Never the less, I wanted something I wasn’t going to feel super bad about eating, and could reheat for Oliver to snack on the next day. Enter in these Rainbow Fries. These fries are not are not only SO easy to make, but they are gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan. They would make a great snack, side dish to any meal, and are an awesome way to get kids to eat their vegetables without using a deep fryer. You could also substitute carrots for extra sneaky veggie consumption.

Colorado Getaway: Denver/Fort Collins

About a year ago I created this list titled “7 Places I Want to Travel to Before I’m 30“. This list consists of overseas destinations and destinations spread across the US. Out of the US locations, Colorado was one that made the list. I had been to Colorado once before, but I had strictly stayed in downtown Denver, so this time around I wanted to see more. Now, due to COVID restrictions and wildfires burning, this was going to be hard, but I was determined to get out of Wisconsin at least one more time this year. Trying to eliminate risk factors of contracting COVID, we hopped in our car and drove trough the night instead of flying. This worked in our benefit for two reason. One: We had decided on a more scenic Denver CO for the first 2 days and a scenic Fort Collins CO for the remainder of our stay, so having our jeep was a great decision. Two: Traveling with a toddler can be tricky, so driving while he was asleep solved all tantrum, meal, and potty stop issues. None the less, if you are looking for a little guide to Colorado, look no further. Here’s what we did:

Apple Cider Old Fashioned

With the election votes still being counted, this week has felt extremely long and drawn out. Since Tuesday I’ve been obsessivly checking my phone without prevail. Originally I had decided, in order to get me through election night, I needed a cocktail. Since it’s now Friday, and we still have no outcome, I’ve had this cocktail more times than I’d like to admit.. That being said, this sh*t is good ya’ll. I wanted to create something that felt like fall in a glass, but not have it be hot beverage. I didn’t really want mulled wine, or a hot toddy (I have a thing with hot cocktails), but I still wanted it to feel “warm”. While brainstorming, I thought why not create something using up all the apples I have left from the orchard and use up the Instant Pot Spiced Apple Butter I made a few weeks back. Brilliant.

Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix

Today is a good day. One, because I don’t work today, and two, because I’m watching Monday Night Football and eating this snack mix. I don’t wanna say anything to jinx it, buuuut the Chicago Bears are really doing well this year. I mean most of the games are a complete eyesore to watch, but somehow we just keep managing to pull a win from it. It’s honestly incredible. Even if we do lose tonight, I will be able to rest easier knowing I won’t starve to death in my sleep. I’m on my second bowl already and the game literally just started. No shame over here though.

Scotcheroos

Can we just take a minute on this dreary Sunday evening to appreciate the simplicity but deliciousness of scotcharoos? Like, seriously, everybody loves them. At first thought you kind of think of them as a “kids” treat, but every time someone brings them to an event, the adults go wild too. It’s unreal. It’s like a bunch of caged animals were set free. That’s exactly why I rarely make these in my house, not because I don’t like them, but because I will find myself in the kitchen at 2:00am eating them when I in fact got up for a glass of water. I’m that caged animal. It’s me. I’m completely uncontrollable and I’m not even afraid to say it.

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