Girl Versus Dough

eggnog cinnamon swirl bread

The Christmas season always brings with it a flood of memories and emotions for me (all of which, mind you, are grossly exaggerated right now thanks to my physical status. Pretty sure I teared up after watching a life insurance commercial the other day). It reminds me of gatherings with old friends; glittering, nostalgic memories of waiting for Santa to come deliver our presents on Christmas Eve; spending my first Christmas with my husband when he surprised me by decorating our entire place (indoors) with Christmas lights.

It also reminds me of the ones I’ve loved and lost — my sweet grandfathers who never ceased to make me laugh and whom I miss terribly with an aching, gutting feeling every year as the snow begins to fall; and my loving aunt, whose two young boys will be without their mother for the first time this holiday.

Most of all, it reminds of how ridiculously blessed we are in this life. I say this humbly, because I know there are so many hurting and alone this season. Sometimes I feel that pain in my own life, too. And sometimes I feel it for others so much that I become paralyzed with indecision on how to help them. Do I send cookies? A card? Do I just offer a hug? A sympathetic tweet or Facebook message? Will I sound selfish? Aloof? Sometimes I feel like a drop of a few coins in a red bucket outside of the mall just isn’t helpful, so I don’t even do it. Sometimes I clean out our cupboards and completely forget to set aside a few pantry items for the local food shelf. We send money to a child in India, but sometimes I forget we even divvy out that payment every month. Is that enough? Why do I become so overwhelmed by the needs of others that I neglect them?

apple-bacon cheddar mini breakfast pies

Mini Apple-Bacon Breakfast Pies

My husband is having dreams lately about being chased by bears. I’m having dreams of these apple-y, bacon-y, cheesy breakfast bites.

I’d say my dream life is winning right now.

If you haven’t noticed, breakfast is a big deal around here. There was a time in my tween years when I would skip breakfast or just eat one of those measly chocolate granola bars that are like 100 calories and I was always SO CRANKY in the mornings (this could also be attributed to the fact that I was a tween, but I think the non-breakfast-eating was a factor). Since then I’ve learned that the most important meal of the day needs to be a part of my life, and I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

You see, a bowl of cereal just won’t do it for me. And when I get really tired of peanut butter toast or oatmeal — my usual go-tos — I seek out more unique, yet filling, foods to swap in their place. Right now these apple-bacon cheddar mini breakfast pies are totally winning. Just like my dreams.

salted dark chocolate honey biscotti

Salted Dark Chocolate Honey Biscotti

Hi hello, friends!

Popping in for a bonus post this lovely Friday to let you know that I’m guest posting these oh-so-delicious salted dark chocolate honey biscotti over at the wonderful Stefanie’s blog, Sarcastic Cooking, while she rests and relaxes with her new baby boy. Can you say “YUM” a million billion times? Because I’m pretty sure I did when I tried one of these biscotti. I’m also pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing as I made them. No big deal.

Head on over to Stefanie’s site to grab the recipe! And happy weekend. I hope it’s filled with cookies.

orange pecan cream cheese coffee cake

Orange Pecan Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

First of all, thank you all so much for sharing the joy in our news. We are so excited to welcome a baby girl into our lives. I’m already so anxious to meet her! And I’m pretty sure she’s anxious to get out, too, because it’s like a dang karate school in my belly right now with all her (adorable) kicking.

Second of all, this coffee cake. You have to make it. The end.

OK but seriously, let’s think about all the things that are probably on your mind right now (as they are mine) — Christmas shopping, preparing the Christmas dinner menu, Christmas shopping, shoveling/snowblowing the snow off the driveway, decorating for Christmas, making sure you don’t slip and break a hip on your way from the house to the car, Christmas shopping, making sure the cat doesn’t destroy all the ornaments at the bottom of the tree, Christmas shopping (in case you can’t tell, I am WAY behind on my Christmas shopping). The last thing you’re thinking about is getting a legit meal on the table (unless Christmas cookies count, which in my house they totally have/do).

While you might not be so keen to have coffee cake for dinner (in which case, this soup should do the trick), you can definitely cross off your weekend breakfast/brunch with this one. And you get to sleep in, too. Huzzah!

chunky red pepper soup with orzo + herb oil

Chunky Red Pepper Soup

This was one of those recipes that I could have kept adding more and more “and”s to but I had to stop myself.

Like I could have added chorizo or Italian sausage, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND herb oil AND chorizo/Italian sausage.

And then I thought about adding cheese, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND chorizo/Italian sausage AND cheese.

And then I thought it could also be really really good with bits of potato in it, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND chorizo/Italian sausage AND cheese AND bits of potato.

But I stopped myself because, well, what we have here? It’s pretty darn near perfect as it is.

brown butter apple cheddar pie crescent rolls

Apple Pie Crescents

It’s finally the Christmas season and while I’m feeling all sorts of merry and joyful, I’m also feeling immense guilt over all the Pinterest crafts I planned to do this year and never did.

Oh, this is nothing new. Every year, I declare that “this! This will be the year I make that homemade advent calendar! That I decorate my tree in homemade origami ornaments! That I crochet infinity scarves for all my friends and relatives! That I make a homemade wreath that won’t fall apart in two days!”

And then I get bogged down with Christmas shopping and to-do lists and baking brown butter apple cheddar pie crescent rolls and none of the crafts ever happen. Though I have to say that in the case of pie-stuffed crescent rolls, I’ll take them over crafts any day.