feels like today

Benjamin lands in t-minus 2 hrs and I'm a bit excited.  This long distance thing gets increasingly harder.  It's ok though- in 41 days we'll see each other forever and for always.  Happy Monday!

minty peas and carrots

I made this side awhile ago.  As in, Easter.  It's quite the travesty that it's taken me this long to get my act together and blog about it.  I know you've all been dying to learn how to make minty peas and carrots (insert sarcasm here) so here it goes...

Recipe thanks to, Food and Wine

4 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb. frozen baby peas
2 T sliced mint leaves
1 1/2 T unsalted butter

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet then add the carrots and shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring often for about 8 minutes.  Add the peas and cook about 3 minutes, until heated through.  Remove from the heat, add a nob of butter, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Now wasn't that a bit unique, yet so simple, and just slightly impressive?  Thought so.

Congratulations Captain Sears!

So.  Today marks Benjamin's last "alert."  This is a big deal and really also somewhat marks the end of his time in the Air Force.  Congrats Congrats!  I, and so many others, are so proud of his time there, and know he'll take what he's learned and experienced and use it in whatever job comes next! 

This shot was taken when he commissioned at Clemson with his sister, Amanda. 

hotcakes with blueberry compote

Thanks to some magazine flipping and Curtis Stone, I made these a few weeks ago.  As you can guess, making a good breakfast on Saturday morning has become part of our norm these days.  My Mom has been buying blueberries for the days, so it's been easy to use a cup or two without depleting the bounty. 

These pancakes are extremely light and flaky.  Although the pancakes themselves don't have blueberries in them, the compote you make for the topping is so easy and tasty, you'll be sure to use the recipe for other things.  For example, this past week my Mom needed to take a dessert to a friends.  She bought a plain cheesecake, and I made this compote for them to pour on top.  I didn't try it, but she said it was a hit.

Here's the Recipe- thanks to Curtis.  

18 ounces fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
About 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Butter, for serving

1. To make the blueberry compote: Combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. (Don't let the berries cook too long or they will become mushy and lose their beautiful shape.) Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the chopped mint if using. Keep warm.
2. To make the hotcakes: Whisk the ricotta and the egg yolks together in a large bowl; then whisk in the buttermilk. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the ricotta mixture. Stir with a whisk until just combined.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites through the batter in 2 batches. Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter.
4. Melt some butter on a hot griddle pan over medium-low heat. Ladle the batter onto the griddle (you should be able to fit 3 hotcakes at a time) and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until the hotcakes puff, become golden brown, and are just cooked through.
5. Transfer the hotcakes to plates. Spoon the warm blueberry compote over the hotcakes, and then top with a dollop of butter. Serve immediately.

b spot

I've been here a couple times.  Michael Symon is pretty great in my opinion.  He's a great chef and he loves Cleveland.  So much in fact, that he pops up fun restaurants and gets people to really appreciate them I think.  At least, I speak from my experience at B Spot in Eaton.  There's a huge sign in there that explains how everything on the menu- mainly heavy man food- was well thought out and it is what it is.  No substitutions please.  They have a condiment bar with different types of pickles you can get and many a beer on tap which is kind of fun.  If I had to give them points based on their fries I'd rate them high- rosemary and sea salt is such a winning combination.  I took Benjamin here and pretty sure we got real full off of some wings thinking we'd just 'get something light.'  Not possible at this place, but definitely worth the visit.

we shall eat cake

This is an old picture, but I like it.  Anne, one of my bridesmaids, my oldest friend, and baker extraordinaire will be making our wedding cake.  She's working here on bread at the bakery she works at in Cleveland called Blackbird.  The other day we were talking about some different flavor and icing options that will fit things Benjamin and I like and let me tell you...it's going to be good.  Can't wait.

cooking with kiddos

I've been spending lots of time of late with kiddos.  About a month ago, I got to cook with the little girls I was watching.  We made ooey gooey goodness brownies as a special treat for them on the weekend, and they helped me make really incredible blueberry pancakes as well.  You can see that they not only get really excited about cooking, but they help 'clean up' as well.  When I'm a Mom, I hope my kids enjoy cooking as much as I do.  I have a feeling it'll be a common 'activity' in our household. 

blueberry flapjacks

This was the second weekend I made these winners.  Flapjacks just has a ring to it unlike pancakes, don't you think?!  This recipe is from Martha, and although not the most healthy, I'd say these compete with a good restaurant style pancake.  Probably because of the butter and oil you add right into the batter... 

I didn't have buttermilk on hand when I decided to make these (who really does?) but I simply added 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar to 1 1/2 cups milk and let it set from the beginning. Homemade buttermilk kids. Here's the recipe- thanks Martha. 


Makes 10
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus more, softened, for skillet and serving
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish
  • Pure maple syrup, for serving


  1. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, 1 tablespoon butter, and 2 tablespoons oil; whisk into flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Set batter aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 teaspoon butter and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1/3 cup batter. Cook until small bubbles form, about 3 minutes. Flip; cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter as needed. Serve with butter and syrup; garnish with berries.

let's go anywhere

ok, really. i gotta stop with this girl, but her images are just too cute and i'm supporting her, right? i love this one.  you could say Benjamin and I relate.  48 days to go til the big day, and still not sure where we'll come 'home' to after our honeymoon.  question mark. question mark. question mark. 

happy father's day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  

Today we tried to celebrate him with steak, blue cheese coleslaw, gazpacho, and key lime tart (which will be made later this week...)  Time is slipping away and I'm not so sure where the weekend went.

Lots of Love to you, Dad!  I am who I am because of you...(and Mom..)

how does your garden grow?

Another lovely picture from Katie Daisy.  Well, according to our neighbors garden, it grows with lots of hydrangeas.  They're moving so...we're enjoying the bounty! 

you can't beat true love

While we're on the topic of cards, how cute is this card Mrs. Gaskin made?!  I think it's just perfect and told her to not be surprised if it shows up framed in my house someday. 

...the invites...

a couple weeks ago it was packing central here.  we didn't think it would take that long, but it did.  oh well. the whole time I was stuffing envelopes I kept thinking, "they're so pretty!"  Anne & Liz made an awesome map of Chagrin, and I chose a font for the envelopes to be printed with.  I'm going to use this same font for the table numbers, signs about the wine and beer, etc. etc.  We also went to the post office and ended up choosing the tea pot and cake for the stamps.  love.  We've received some response cards now, and i'm excited for more to trickle in...

happy birthday molls!

One Year (and 9 months) ago today, God created Molly!  Happy Birthday, Molls!  I can't wait to see you in August!  xoxo Auntie Laura


I stumbled upon this pretty adorable print today on etsy by katie daisy.  someday, when I have a place to decorate, I'm pretty sure I'll turn back to her.  With 59 days to go, and so much transition and change happening right now, I really like this one..

waking up to balloons

Sunday morning I woke up to a sound all too familiar.  Hot air balloons.  I was so excited I jumped out of bed as if I were 5 and it was Christmas.  I saw my parents had already made it out the door, as had most of the neighborhood.  I knew I wouldn't know anyone, so I jumped up, threw on my robe, and ran outside.  Oh how wonderful.  We watched them all and were surprised to see some coming awfully close!  One landed just behind a house but my mom thought it might have hit a tree.  She told my dad to get the video camera and capture the moment because, "this is news!"  In Chagrin...it is. 

no place like home.

After the shower... which we left around 8:00 PM, we basically invited ourselves over to our old neighbors.  I wanted Benjamin to see where I grew up- right here on this lake.  We're going to be having our rehearsal lunch there the day before the wedding and I couldn't be more happy.  Here's to home. 

oh what a beautiful shower

On Saturday of Blossom my dear and oldest friend (our mom's were friends when they were pregnant with us.  hence- we've been friends since before we were born) threw me a shower on a warm, but not too warm, summer's day.  Outside, blossom in the air, beautiful peonies from their garden on the table- and oh the tasty food. 

Anne is the friend whose also the baker extraordinaire, and she's going to be making our wedding cake!  It was a really lovely afternoon and I'm so glad Benjamin, his Mom and sister were there to meet our Chagrin friends and some of our family!  It was the first time he met Todd and Kristin as well, so it was quite a lovely afternoon. 

After the shower, we sampled some different champagne to figure out what we'd be pouring for the big day!  And, I'm pretty sure that's when we went back for 3rds and 4ths of Anne's wonderful food.  Homemade mayonnaise- need I say more?!  Thanks Anne and Rieses!  It was just lovely!

....the place...

Saturday we had to take Benjamin and his Momma by Hillbrook, where the big day will occur.  He had seen plenty a photo, but I was excited to show him where we'd wed.  It was a gorgeous day with peonies in bloom all over and people bustling about for another wedding. 

It was fun for us to tromp around and look at what all goes into getting everything set for the big day!  I'm excited for ours, and know it'll be here before we know it.  Hillbrook is so beautiful in itself, I know I won't be worried about all the details that day.  As a friend just reminded me- it's about the marriage, not the wedding.  Amen. 

Blossom in it's Truest Form

I remember getting so excited to go down to Blossom on Friday night.  That's when everyone was out and I could scope out with my friends who were there.  Being from Chagrin, I admittedly remember being surprised when people had made a 15-20 minute drive in just for the occasion.  Perhaps we were a little territorial.  I'd say yes, yes we were.

After dinner Friday, we decided to go into Blossom thinking maybe it wasn't as crazy yet.  I didn't plan on going all the way through, but that is what happened.  We ran into Hannah, Liz, and Anne at the ferris wheel and after talking to them for a bit, decided we too should get tickets and get in line.  I remember back in the day being asked to Blossom, which somehow meant you'd be going on the ferris wheel with that boy, and people would see you.  **big deal**  This time around, I was happy to jump on board and ride around with Benjamin.  In my older years, I do miss the naivete of not worrying so much about how this large aparatus was somehow just configured in what seems like minutes by..umm...the man operating this vehicle.  He looks trustworthy for sure.

We rode around in the fairy tale town that is Chagrin and enjoyed the fact that Mamma T couldn't keep her eyes open and my Mom was taking every chance she got to snap a pic.  Good times.

After that, I was done.  Benjamin and Amanda had other plans.  The Super Loop.  No.thank.you.  I would be watching from afar and hoping that thing didn't break.  Once that was over, I pretty much sprinted out of that place.  In such attempts, I stubbed my toe on someones shoe getting through the masses.  Learned my lesson there when it turned black and blue for the next couple days.  Oh well.  The price we pay for loved ones...

Napa, Sonoma, and San Francisco...here we come!

The honeymoon has been kept secret to me up until Friday.  Benjamin got in and we went to go spend some time before dinner with the family.  While sitting at Gamekeepers I told him, "it's ok if I don't know right now, but could I maybe know in a couple weeks?"  After all, a honeymoon only happens once and if I need to be on the lookout for a cute dress or two, it's only for his benefit that I find out. 

Our families arrived and we had a lovely dinner on the patio.  In true Chagrin form 2 other families who have kids I went to high school with were at tables around us.  Gotta love small towns.  We discussed the wedding, the weekend, and when I thought it was all done, I was handed a bag.... 

To my surprise, I opened it to find out we'll be staying in Sonoma and then going in to San Francisco for a couple days!  I think we're going to love it.  The little restaurants and cafes well go to, the open road we'll drive on, and the crisp California air.... Can't wait.  Let the recommendations and research begin... The Girl and the Fig... Ad Hoc... Wine...

...balloon glow...

I just got back from a wonderful Blossom Weekend in Chagrin with much to post about.  And, I will.  Promise.

The first night had us kicking off "the most wonderful time of the year" with the Balloon Glow.  Each Blossom hot air balloons go off and Thursday night we headed up to the high school and watched them "glow."  I think it would be a great event if you have kids.  For us it was somewhere along the lines of, "been there, done that" for now.  It was pretty and fun and a good way to show our guests for the weekend, Amanda and Mama T, just how wonderfully quaint Chagrin Falls is.  Liz met us up there on her bike and after they glowed, we went home to rest up for the events to come.