Mini Meyer Lemon Coconut Scones | @stephmwise

There are so many reasons why I love what I do, this crazy-fun food blogging thing — including the fact that I get to make and eat things like mini Meyer lemon coconut scones, take photos of them, write about them and share the recipe with you (and if I could actually share the scones with you in real life, maybe in my living room with a cup of coffee in hand, too, that would MAKE MY DAY). But I also love it because of the people I’ve met and the wonderful community of food bloggers I get to call my friends.

One such dear friend is getting married in just a few short weeks. And so when this community can’t be there in person to celebrate our friend, we instead rally with an online bridal shower of epic proportions. I might be bringing these scones, but they are only a small portion of the mouthwatering yums that are being brought to the virtual table. And the love we all have for this lady is pretty epic, too.

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Cream Cheese Swirl Carrot Coffee Cake | @stephmwise

I have some pretty horrible memories of coffee cake – you probably do, too. Something along the lines of a stale, crumbly pastry filled with some gelatinous mixture reminiscent of cream cheese and a gloopy fruit layer, with a cloyingly sweet glaze on top? Ring a bell? Been there? Yeah, me, too. Let’s not go back there again.

Instead, let’s make new coffee cake memories, starting with this recipe for cream cheese swirled carrot coffee cake = a.k.a., a carrot cake-flavored coffee cake with a decadent cream cheese filling and a delightful streusel topping. And glaze. But not the kind that will make your mouth pucker with the sweetness; rather, it’s the kind that will make you shovel forkful after forkful of this goodness into said mouth again and again.

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Four-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies | @stephmwise

These cookies are my love letter to peanut butter and chocolate.

When you have cookies that are made with four ingredients, two of those ingredients being peanut butter and chocolate — a.k.a., The Ultimate Flavor Combination, the one for which I have an undying love, the one that will always make me weak in the knees in any and all forms from cakes to ice cream to oatmeal (yes, really.) to these cookies — you know you’re in for greatness.

Should we all take a moment to write our love letters to peanut butter and chocolate? No? Just move on to the cookies? OK. Cool.

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Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake | @stephmwise

Alternately titled, “That One Time I Covered an Entire Cake in Sprinkles and Lived to Tell About It.” ← Because oy, that is one not very easy task (but worth it, for the pretty-ness!).

More specifically, let’s talk about what’s going on behind those sprinkles: A perfect birthday layer cake. As in, a classic from-scratch white cake flavored and flecked with vanilla beans and then frosted with the most decadent, fluffy and smooth vanilla buttercream. It’s truly magical.

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Salted Caramel Cashew Latte | @stephmwise

Good friends, I’ve decided, are like salted caramel cashew lattes: They’re sweet, unique, nice to hang out with and give you that added pick-me-up you need to get through the day. And you want to spend as much time with them as possible.

This past week has been so good for my soul. Between a few social gatherings with girlfriends, my husband having the week off of work and these lattes coming into existence, it’s been a bright spot in an otherwise dreary winter (but we’re not talking about that, remember?). It’s just been one of those times when I am extra grateful for the good in my life, you know? That I have my health, a supportive family, sweet friends and a roof over my head. I never want to take these things for granted.

That especially goes for my health. Because I am the worst at handling even the slightest inkling of illness, I make every effort to achieve balance in my diet so I can stay healthy and, therefore, be my best self in all other avenues of my life. You know hangry? Oh, do I know hangry. I also know under-caffeinated, which is equally unpretty, and so I do my best to avoid both at all times.

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Strawberry-Covered Dark Chocolate Truffles | @stephmwise #GalentinesDay

Remember that cheat day?


To be fair, though, it’s Galentine’s Day. The day when a gaggle of gals get together (or in this case, a gaggle of bloggers get together on the WWW) and share waffles/treats/stories of love and truth and wisdom and happiness. And strawberry covered dark chocolate truffles. So I had a very good excuse for eating all the truffles. I mean, TWO TRUFFLES. OK, fine. I ate three truffles.

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