We’re heading into Memorial Day weekend (ummm, WHAT. How. When.) with no plans whatsoever. Elliott has to work the entire weekend (boo!), so it’ll be me, Avery and this za’atar focaccia bread (yay!) all weekend long.
So, actually, I lied. Because my plans this weekend are to devour this bread slice after slice. If it even makes it to the weekend.
I’m hoping there also will be some warmth and sunshine, too — maybe even a few walks or trips to the lake — but if nothing else, I know my carb needs for the holiday weekend will be met. That is top priority, really.
Spring officially has sprung here! It’s all sunshine and 75 degrees one day and 45 degrees and rainy the next — a classic Minnesota spring season. Way to be your unpredictable self, Minnesota.
That being said, the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and even when it looks like the pits outside, it’s springtime in my kitchen with these cheesy polenta bites with blueberry corn relish. Every bite is brimming with fresh flavors and I LIKE IT. I like it a lot.
But flowers aren’t the only thing popping up everywhere lately. There are babies, too. So many adorable, chubby, happy babies! I feel like, lately, everyone around me is either expecting or has a new baby (not me, NOT ME. I’m drinking wine as I type this). And that’s also cause for celebration.
So gather ’round, friends! We are here today to celebrate new babies, springtime and cheesy bites topped with fresh and fruity deliciousness.
I don’t have even a scoch of Southern blood in me, but my love of the region’s biscuits runs deep. It hasn’t always been this way, though — in my childhood, I had one too many run-ins with dry, crumbly, powdery biscuits that left nothing behind but the taste of flour in my mouth. I swore off biscuits for a good long while, that is, until I was old enough (and smart enough?) to try making them in my own kitchen.
That journey, however, is peppered with its own experiences of flat, dense, under-risen biscuits with no flavor. What is such a simple food can sometimes be so finicky and frustrating. And YET. And yet I knew I couldn’t give up, because there had to be a way to redeem all those years of subpar biscuits and it had to be done by me, in my kitchen. Preferably with lots of butter.
I am here to tell you I finally figured it all out, guys and gals. I think I have found the most perfectly flaky, fluffy Southern buttermilk biscuits I will ever be able to make at home. And they’re SO EASY, too. Which means if you follow along with me on this journey to buttery biscuitdom, by the end you, too, will be a biscuit lover (if you weren’t already).
I’ll continue to say it because it’s just so true: Time flies. It really does. I swear I blinked and yesterday Avery was born. I blinked again, and today she is one year old. Just a moment ago I was the most sleep deprived I’ve ever been in my life, waking up every couple of hours day and night to nurse/swaddle/try to figure out why she’s crying this time (or maybe it was me crying? I forget) while simultaneously cuddling the smallest, sweetest bundle of baby joy. And then, a moment later, she’s wobbly and walking and pointing at “birdies” and clapping her hands and throwing her first toddler tantrums and calling for “mamamamama” and giving me the best hugs and kisses I’ve ever received in my life.
If there is a thesis statement to this post, it is this: Motherhood is the single most difficult and amazing role I’ve ever played. And I am so blessed to be able to play it for my sweet Avery Kate.
Oooooookay, so before this gets too sappy, I’ll tell you about her party: Um, we didn’t have it. My mom came into town the week before Avery’s birthday to visit and on Thursday night, she very quickly came down with a case of nausea and the shivers. A few hours later, she had the stomach flu. I’ll spare details. Because it got worse: By Friday night, my birthday, it had taken me down. And by Saturday morning, Avery’s birthday and the day of her party, it had knocked down my husband, too. Thankfully we were all pretty well recovered by Sunday, but I also had a fridge stocked full of uneaten cake and appetizers and, on the counter, a few boxes and bags of unopened streamers, pink polka dot plates and yellow pom poms.
Happy almost weekend, friends! Or, in our case, happy almost birthday to me tomorrow, birthday to Avery Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday. Oy.
Right about now I’m elbow-deep in streamers, balloons and cake ingredients in preparation for the festivities (and in about 12 hours, I might even be neck-deep. I went a little overboard). You already know how I feel about the whole thing — excited? Yes. Anxious? YES. Have I been looking at old Instagram photos of newborn Avery all week long with heart pangs of nostalgia? I admit to nothing.
In any case, to keep myself fueled for the week, I’ve been slurping (ew — I mean, politely sipping) this delish greens and goat cheese bisque for lunch and sometimes dinner with a gooey, melty grilled cheese on the side. It’s been just the boost I needed.
Good news, friends! It is impossible to eat too much chocolate and peanut butter. I know this because I’ve eaten obscene amounts of it in my day and I’m still here to tell you about this chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart — which is basically a giant, no-bake peanut butter cup with a pretzel/graham cracker/secret ingredient (oooooh, suspense!) crust.
This tart was inspired by two things: One, my aforementioned obsession with chocolate and peanut butter, and two, a very similar tart I had at a local place called Cafe Latte. If you’ve ever been, you know they are well-known for their desserts (including that tres leches cake that I inhale every time I order it). And if you’ve never been there, well, just know that they make some amazingly delicious desserts. The last time I was there, I ordered a peanut butter tart and I kid you not when I say that was months ago and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since, it was so good.
And so, last week I decided enough was enough. I needed that tart in my life again and I could not wait one more day. And in just a few hours, it was so. Except I amped up the crust a bit to make it all salty/savory/SECRET INGREDIENT-y because… well, is there any reason to justify this? I think not.