Girl Versus Dough

classic yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting + adelaide’s first birthday

slice of classic yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting

Well, I basically blinked and my baby turned one. Guys, the time FLIES. It really, really does. I can’t believe I’m a year down into this mom-of-two thing. I may have a few more wrinkles and a backlog of eleventy billion hours of sleep I need to catch up on, but man — every day spent with my two girls is sweet (and sometimes sour, when one of them steals a toy from the other one or, heaven forbid, one is eating a banana and the other one isn’t and the one who isn’t eating a banana MUST HAVE THE BANANA NOW, but I digress).

From the last week of April through the first two weeks of May, three of the four of us have birthdays. Addy’s is April 27, mine is May 8 and Avery’s is May 9. So essentially, we just have one ridiculously long birthday celebration for almost a month, with lots of cake. It’s the best.

For Addy’s birthday this year, we had a small family party with some brunch food (guys — I just discovered that I really love quiche. Quiche is tasty! Will be having more quiche in my life) and this yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting — a classic birthday cake for a really special little lady. And a good time was had by all.

we’re moving into an rv. no, really.

winnebago rv

I mean, there it is. Secret is out. Mic is dropped. We are moving into an RV starting this summer and traveling the country full-time with our family. SURPRISE!

Let me back up. Let me back way, way, way up.

You may recall last January when I officially declared myself done with blogging. At that time, I was eleventy billion years pregnant, we had recently moved into a newly built house and I was burned out with a capital B. I needed a massive break from blogging and social media and the internet in general. But you know all of this. And you also know the when and why of my decision to come back to blogging in this space. It bears repeating that I missed it because I missed the community (you guys!) and the recipes. These are things in my life that fuel me, both literally and figuratively, and I find so much joy in the creative process of food blogging that I decided to bring Girl Versus Dough back to the present in a new, more true-to-me way.

But the rest of my life? It wasn’t feeling right. My husband, Elliott, and I had been doing a lot of reflecting in the last year on our life, how it had gotten to what it is now and whether we were happy. Short answer: We were not.

Long answer?

not your mom’s egg casserole

not your mom's egg casserole in a baking dish

This is no ordinary overnight breakfast casserole — this is Not Your Mom’s Egg Casserole, and it’s AMAZING. Hearty hunks of crusty bread, fresh eggs, torn kale, savory sausage and melty cheese come together in one simple-yet-satisfying egg bake that’s perfect for anything from a weekend breakfast to a special holiday brunch.

In my internet life, it may appear that I am always making new, creative meals for me and my family come breakfast, lunch or dinner. That I never eat the same thing twice. That I never eat a frozen burrito I found at the bottom of my freezer or the last five dino-shaped chicken nuggets from the giant bag I bought for my three-year-old’s dinners or the same, humble whole wheat toast with hurried swipes of peanut butter on top.

In my real life, I think you can guess what is actually true. And breakfast in our household is the worst culprit. That peanut butter toast? I eat it almost every. single. day. And if I don’t, I’m eating scrambled eggs. And that’s about as crazy as it gets when it comes to our breakfast routine.

creamy rigatoni with sausage + fennel

creamy rigatoni with sausage and fennel in bowl

This pasta. This is last-meal kind of pasta. This is the kind of pasta you eat when you don’t just want any old variety of carbs and cheese — you want grown-up, legit, every-bite-is-a-flavor-explosion kind of pasta. This is it.

I happened upon this recipe for creamy rigatoni with sausage and fennel (oooo, even sounds fancy) about a month or so ago when I was tired of our run-of-the-mill spaghetti night. Don’t get me wrong — homegirl loves her classic old school marinara sauce and long noodles that wrap around a fork combo, with an extra sprinkling or five of grated Parmesan. I’m not above it. But sometimes it just doesn’t hit the pasta spot.

This pasta? With its creamy tomato sauce that hugs every bite of al dente rigatoni paired with sweet Italian sausage and hints of crunchy veg all topped with a waterfall of fresh-grated salty Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley? THIS pasta hits every spot, and then some.

ooey gooey overnight cinnamon rolls

overnight cinnamon rolls in a baking dish

I mean, we can just stop everything right here: There’s no need to make anything else for a weekend (or weekday!) breakfast than these overnight cinnamon rolls. Perfectly fluffy rolls are rolled up with a sweet cinnamon filling, left to rise overnight and in the morning, bake up to delicious carb-filled perfection topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting. It’s OK — I’m drooling, too.

Hi.

Hello.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Like, oh, almost a year. How are you? I missed you. It’s good to be here with you again.

lemon buttermilk sugar cookie tart

lemon buttermilk sugar cookie tarts on plates

Today’s post is officially my last, y’all. It’s bittersweet, but we have much to look forward to on this side of the screen: Easter brunch, for one (in which this lemon buttermilk sugar cookie tart will make an appearance), springtime, my mom is coming up to visit-slash-help us prep for baby, and OH YEAH — BABY. Baby girl #2 is due any day now, and we are all at once anxious and excited and terrified and thankful. And I’m just large and in charge (except that I’m not in charge of when I actually will have this baby, so hey baby, feel free to come out anytime!).

But first things first — this tart. It’s exactly what your Easter dessert menu needs — a soft sugar cookie crust topped with a creamy sweet-tart lemon buttermilk filling. Simple, decadent, delicious and gluten free, too! We’re winning on all counts here.