Cherry Cheescake Monkey Bread | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

You know what they say about Thanksgiving — eat all the turkey and green bean casserole and cranberry sauce and pie, twice, then make cherry cheesecake monkey bread and eat that, too. At least that’s how we do/did this year.

Because my husband works in the medical field, and we need medical people even on holidays, he worked on Thursday afternoon so I ended up having two Thanksgivings: one on Thursday with his family and one on Saturday with mine. My belly = SO FULL, and my heart = so thankful. And nestled right in between the two days of festiveating was the making of (and, also, eating of) this monkey bread.

Please excuse me while I collect myself as I think back on those fond memories of eating said bread warm from the oven with cherry pie filling and cream cheese icing and soft, pillowy, baked-from-scratch pull-apart dough and GAH. Maybe we all need a moment.

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Caramelized Shallot and Mushroom Quiche | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

Much as I love being here, chatting with you, hopefully both of us with a big mug of hot coffee in our hands as it is Monday morning and we probably both need it, there is nothing like having a conversation in real life.

There is also nothing like a good quiche.

Both are why this weekend did my soul good.

On Saturday morning, I had a few of my blogger friends over for a brunch in real life — IRL, as the fancy interwebs folk say. It was potluck-style, so everyone contributed a dish and let me tell you, it was proof that these virtual baby showers and wedding showers and linky parties and such we have ’round these parts every once in a while? They would cure whatever ails ya with one happy food coma. In short, the food was amazing.

So was the company. Because sometimes me + this computer screen can get a wee isolating, and much as I love to have heart to hearts with my baby daughter and my cat in the long afternoons, it doesn’t compare to being able to spend intentional time with the women in my life who walk a similar path. I was telling Melissa, who spearheaded the idea for the gathering, that I feel like we are so lucky to have such a uniquely warm, kindhearted and encouraging group of food bloggers in this tundra/great state we call home. All of that to say: I hope this weekend can be repeated again and again.

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Apple Cinnamon Streusel Pull-Apart Bread | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

(This giveaway is closed.)

It’s a big day, you guys.

Not only am I sharing a recipe with you that is, quite honestly, the best thing I’ve baked all season, it’s also the day I get to share with you the awesome partnership between Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now and their joint campaign to bake the world a better place.

Oh, AND there is a giveaway at the end. AND it’s Friday. Let’s dance the Carlton for all o’ that.

Sometimes I think the food that I make doesn’t really matter or make a difference. I mean, yes, there is nothing I love more than to provide a meal to my family and to anyone who comes over — it’s what I love most about food, really, that it brings people together in a joyful and intentional way. But at the end of the day, I don’t feel like my enchiladas are going to save the world, just my hangry-ness.

That’s why Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now are coming together to raise awareness of their mission: To end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources. Did you know that 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, and that every day, more than 25,000 people die abroad of hunger and hunger-related causes? It is why Stop Hunger Now aims to provide nutritional, filling meals worldwide. In 2013, roughly 125,000 volunteers worldwide packaged more than 42 million meals for recipients in 30 countries. Also in 2013, Stop Hunger Now sent more than $9 million worth of donated goods — including antibiotics, birthing kits, water filters, school desks, projectors, fabric and solar lights — to countries in need.

In 2014, they — and we — want to make those numbers even bigger. And it can happen starting with the food we make in our homes.

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Gluten Free Sage, Gruyere and Sausage Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the biscuits and gravy that actually made me like biscuits and gravy.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some good old comfort food. I’ll take a plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and extra-cheesy mac and cheese and those braised collard greens with ham my dad makes that are ahhhmazing any day. And I will obviously always take the biscuits. But biscuits and gravy? I just couldn’t get behind the combo.

Then I made these. And I tried them. And heavens to Betsy, they were delicious. I guess putting sausage and cheese and fresh sage in a biscuit and topping it with a creamy, buttery gravy will have a life-changing effect on people.

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A Trip to the Apple Orchard + an Apple Recipe Roundup | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

It’s a funny thing, taking a four and a half-month-old to an apple orchard — because all she can really do is pick leaves off the apple trees and sit on pumpkins — but last weekend, we decided to do it anyway. Because it’s fall and it was beautifully warm and apple picking is what you do is what I told myself when I came home with 10 pounds of apples. Ahem.

A Trip to the Apple Orchard + an Apple Recipe Roundup | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

Rest assured, if you are an apple hoarder like I am, I have an om-nom-nommy apple recipe roundup at the bottom of this post for you to use them up in — pies and breads and muffins and pizzas, oh my. But I digress. Because I’m first here to bombard you with a gazillion photos of apples, my baby girl, my baby girl with some apples, apples on trees in the backgrounds of photos of my baby girl — you get it.

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

(This giveaway is now closed.)

Sweet, pumpkiny, zucchini-y, delicious loafy goodness right thurrrr. That’s what that is.

Have I had too much coffee this morning? Mayhaps. But it’s only because I heart you and I have exciting things to tell you about/give away to you today.

So here’s a fun-slash-kinda ridiculous factoid about me: Apart from that one time I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and was averse to it (it’s like I didn’t even know myself), I haven’t gone a single day without coffee since I was 15. Right? RIGHT? I blame this on my first job being at a coffee shop. Basically my entire life has been caffeinated.

Whether this is a good or bad thing is debatable. Though according to me, I think it’s been just fine. Me has also had two full cups of coffee already, so there may be a little bias.

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

But I can’t help myself. The best part of waking up is coffee in my cup (and definitely not the kind that goes with that jingle). There are few happier moments in my day than when I take my first sip of hot coffee yum-yumminess with a hearty breakfast sitting in front of me, waiting to be devoured. And if that breakfast is this pumpkin zucchini bread? EVEN BETTER.

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