Girl Versus Dough

strawberry-glazed vanilla bean doughnuts + a kitchenaid mixer giveaway

Full disclosure: I’m pretty meh about Valentine’s Day.

But when it comes to doughnuts, I’m all about the L.O.V.E.

How can you look at a doughnut — especially a pink-glazed one topped with sprinkles — and not have your heart skip a beat? It’s proof that love at first sight exists, in my opinion. My other opinion is that you need doughnuts in your life this Valentine’s Day. (I’m very opinionated about doughnuts, as you can tell.)

brown butter peanut butter crispy treats + a bake sale for Noah

Brown Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Treats

I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person: That is to say, I don’t have a chronic illness, I haven’t been seriously sick (as in, best buds with my bed for a few days) in a long time and I haven’t been hospitalized since I was a youth getting my tonsils taken out. I count my blessings for this every day — especially because I’m a total wimp when I have even the slightest cold.

My mom, on the other hand? She’s had all three things happen to her in the last month.

You see, my sweet mama, she has had a rough go of it on the medical side of things for the last decade or so. She’s had countless diagnoses of strange diseases, all manner of tests, several surgeries and yada yada yada — I could go on and on. It can take a serious toll on a family, emotionally and otherwise.

But my mom, she’s a fighter. I mean in some ways, yes, she’s exhausted — she’s pretty darn sick and tired of seeing the walls of a hospital — but she still has so much heart and fight in her. I’m constantly amazed by her dedication to being well again, to not give up, to keep going. I think a lot of it has to do with her stubborn personality (don’t even deny it, Mom) but I also think part of it comes from all the encouragement, love and support she receives from family and friends. And I think being so blessed to not have to struggle to pay medical expenses helps, too.

So when I read on my friend Steph’s blog about a little boy named Noah whose family discovered that his diagnosis of severe autism will unexpectedly cost them more than $1,000 immediately, and up to $30,000 a year for therapy, I knew this family needed two things: Financial support, and extreme love and encouragement from as many people as possible. You can read their full story here.

blueberry white chocolate mug cakes

blueberry white chocolate mug cakes

If I could hand you one of these mug cakes through my computer screen to show you how much I love you, I would do just that.

But since I can’t, I’m going to share the (insanely easy) recipe with you in hopes that you will make it and feel the love. And I’ll probably just go ahead and eat both of these cakes, if you don’t mind — so they don’t go to waste.

What’s the deal with mug cakes, you ask? I’ll tell you. Mug + tiny bit of Bisquick-based cake batter + sweet mix-ins like blueberries and white chocolate = CAKE. It’s really that simple, and just about the fastest way to get cake into your belly. That’s the deal with mug cakes, and that’s why I think you should make them for you and your sweetie (or best friend/sibling/Mom/kiddo/cuddly cat*) this Valentine’s Day. Here are a few other reasons:

sugar snap pea salad with miso dressing

sugar snap pea salad in bowl

Life happenings/observations lately:

1) It’s been cold here. You know this. But what you don’t know is that because of said cold, I’ve upped my not-leaving-the-house-today attractiveness by wrapping my yoga pants/baggy sweatshirt-clad self in a blanket, kind of like an adult-size burrito, and walking/sitting like that inside all day. SO COOL, I am. But also, not freezing.

2) If someone could invent a completely non-alcoholic red wine that actually tastes like decent red wine and could ship me about a trillion bottles of it, I’d be so, so happy. Non-alcoholic Manhattans would be great, too. Oh, and sushi. BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL I WANT. Sigh.

3) Can we talk about maternity leggings? I’m not going to lie, guys, they’re amazing. Good talk.

4) I’m turning into that person who watches — nay, binges on — Friday Night Lights greatly in part because I have a weird marriage-crush on the Taylors but also: Tim Riggins. The end.

5) I made this salad, and it was like the salad angels opened wide the heavens and rained down into the salad all the magical deliciousness that a salad could possibly have. The end again.

slow cooker cheesy pesto and spinach egg casserole

slow cooker egg casserole

Lest you think I’ve moved on from thinking about brinner, I’m here to tell you that a) I have another brinner-ful recipe for you and b) it’s impossible for me to stop thinking about brinner.

Remember that one time we chatted about the winter blahs and having a Backwards Day Brinner Bash to get over them, if even for just one meal? And we drooled over loaded mashed potato stuffed biscuits? Yeahhh, now you remember. Well, meet its lovely partner, the slow cooker cheesy pesto and spinach egg casserole, a.k.a., the egg bake of your dreams (and if your dreams are anything like mine, they include egg bakes).

loaded mashed potato stuffed biscuits

loaded mashed potato stuffed biscuits in pan

I don’t know about you, but I’m fiercely battling some cabin fever these days. These winters, they get to be long, too long (and too cold, brrr) and come mid-January, I’m ready for it to be over. But it’s far from that, unfortunately.

So… what to do, what to do…

Obviously, you make brinner and turn it into a party, that’s what.