Favorite Posts from 2018

This has been a huge year for me in so many ways! Compiling this list made me realize even more just how much has happened this year and how much I’ve grown both personally and professionally. Most of all, I am thankful for our daughter Sage making me a mama this year! These last six months with my little family of three have been so wonderful. As a creative and entrepreneur, I also feel a renewed sense of purpose and direction because of the changes this year has brought. I’m looking forward to sharing more about that journey in the New Year! Here are my favorite blog posts from 2018, starting in January…

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June: Meet Sage

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What a year it’s been! Whether you found your way to my blog in 2018 or you’ve been here since the beginning, I want to say a big THANK YOU! It means so much to have your support and I’ve met so many kind-hearted, encouraging friends through blogging! I love creating and sharing in this little corner of the internet for you guys. Have a very Happy New Year!

A Christmas Recap | 2018

This Christmas was special because it was Sage’s first. In years past, I shared multiple posts in the month of December about how I was decorating, what our Christmas cards looked like and other holiday inspiration. But this year, I’m sharing my first (and only) Christmas blog post today and it’s New Years Eve! While it’s a bit late to share any inspiration for this year, I still wanted to document what this Christmas looked like for our family, from simple decorating to establishing some new traditions.

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Decorating

We put up our tree just before Thanksgiving - something I never thought I would do! - but I took my time decorating it. In fact, I added the wood bead garland just a couple days before Christmas. Our nieces did some rearranging of ornaments, but I didn’t bother to fix it before snapping this photo this morning. The tree looks a little sparse here, but with the lights on it’s just right! Perfectly imperfect. Other than the tree, I kept the decorations very minimal. Just pulling out a few things from the attic like this gold deer I thrifted years ago and some small ceramic Santa figurines that belonged to my Nana.

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Christmas Cards

I love designing cards to send to our friends and family every year! We had our photos taken three times by Savannah Smith Photography this year so I added some extra favorites to the back side of our cards. I always share our highlights and wishes for the coming year. This year, they are pretty simple and all about Sage! I keep a copy of each year’s Christmas card in an album that I really love flipping through this time of year. You can see our previous years cards here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.

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New Traditions

Sage’s first Christmas felt a little like my first Christmas again. Holidays start to lose their magic in your young adult years but I can attest that once you have a child of your own, that spark comes back. My wish for Sage was to have a simple and meaningful first Christmas. We started some new traditions, like a Christmas Eve Brunch complete with homemade waffles and giving Sage just four gifts: want, need, wear and read. We aren’t sure how and if we’ll do Santa for Sage, but we have another 359 days to figure that out! We celebrated Christmas morning at home and had family come to visit in the afternoon. I really couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day for our first Christmas as a family of three.

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My 9 Favorite Dutch Oven Recipes

I wouldn’t say recipes have ever been a big topic on this blog. But I tend to write about interior design and whatever home-related topics are capturing my interest at the present moment. And right now, home cooking is a big one. In line with the values I shared in my post on intentional living , I’ve been focusing on learning to cook more with whole foods from scratch. Anthony got me this dutch oven (affiliate) for Christmas last year and it’s become my favorite thing to cook with, although just about any of these recipes can be made in a stock pot too.

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

We don’t have any particular diet we follow, more just everything in moderation. We are trying to eat less meat, so I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian meals lately. Not all of these recipes would be considered “healthy” but in general they make healthier substitutions (like greek yogurt instead of cream, etc.). I don’t worry too much because portion control is more important and sustainable for me than eating just steamed vegetables and chicken breast all the time. But I will say I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the last couple of years and I attribute that to changing my lifestyle to cooking more nutritious meals at home instead of eating out and eating smaller portions. So whether you are trying to be healthier, save money by cooking at home or live more sustainably by eating less meat, I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes that I find myself making again and again.

Our 9 Favorite (Mostly Vegetarian) Dutch Oven Recipes

click any of the images above to go to the recipe page!

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup: This soup is so yummy and easy to make. If you use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth, it’s' vegan too! If you want to add more protein, this would be great with rotisserie chicken.

Potato Soup: This is a great recipe to have on hand when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a while and need to make dinner appear out of the dregs left in your pantry. Or you can fancy it up with bacon or ham or any of your favorite baked potato toppings for loaded potato soup.

Split Pea Soup: I’ve always loved Split Pea Soup but I didn’t realize until now just how simple and easy it is to make. You can make it with or without ham. Next time, I think I’ll try substituting potatoes for the ham to make it vegetarian but still add some texture.

Red Lentil Masala: My favorite thing about this whole vegetarian kick we’re on? I’ve been learning to make Indian food! I love the flavors of garam masala, so it’s been well worth investing in a bottle.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry: The author of this recipe describes it as a fusion of Indian and West African cuisine, but it has a lot of the same ingredients and methods of the other curry recipes I’ve been making. It’s vegan and delicious!

Indian Butter Chicken: If you only make one recipe from this list, let it be this scrumptious butter chicken. The author of this recipe was the first one to tip me off to the fact that when Indian recipes call for chili powder, they mean cayenne pepper, not what we call chili powder here in America. I don’t like things too spicy so I reduce it to 1/8 tsp of cayenne and it’s the perfect amount of flavorful but not too fiery.

Orecchiette Pasta Primavera: Ok, this is another top contender! This is a one pan pasta dish and the trick is cooking the orecchiette in broth along with the sauteed veggies instead of water. So much flavor without any sauce! This is a great technique to use with any pasta and any veggies you have on hand.

Sunday Pot Roast: What’s a round up of dutch oven recipes without traditional beef pot roast? I don’t make this very often but when I do, Anthony is one happy camper.

Tomato Soup: Tomato Soup is another thing I didn’t realize was so easy to make, especially if you have an immersion blender! (affiliate) I like to caramelize my onions first to give it the soup even more flavor.

And what goes better with soups, stews and curries than bread? I got really into cooking yeast bread while I was pregnant with Sage but since she’s been born, I’ve mostly stuck with this delicious beer bread. It’s so quick to whip up and is DELICIOUS. For Indian recipes, I’ve experimented a bit with making chapatis and naan but I’ve had the best luck with this simple flatbread recipe. It takes some time and practice to make, but is so so yummy!

click the images above to get the recipes!

If you’re interested in more recipes, you can find my favorites on my HOMEMAKING : recipes board on Pinterest! Do you have any favorite Dutch Oven recipes to share? Comment below with the link, I love trying new recipes!

Five Years

This past Friday, Anthony and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. FIVE WHOLE YEARS being married to my best friend. Man, has it been a wild five years! We moved home from Pittsburgh to York County, I started a business, we bought our first house, adopted our first dog and welcomed our first baby! A lot of firsts and so much learning and growing together in between.

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Every year around our anniversary, we get family portraits taken with Savannah Smith Photography and I share them here on the blog! You can see our previous years portraits here, including last year when we announced we were expecting Sage! 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014. It’s crazy to think in last years portraits, I had just gotten my first ultrasound and this year we have our little girl here with us! She slept through almost the whole photo session but I don’t think these photos could be any sweeter. I treasure these images and this beautiful family I’ve been blessed with. If I haven’t already made it abundantly clear in my posts about him, I am so unendingly grateful for this man. Anthony is more than I could have ever hoped for as a best friend, husband and now father. After 12 years together, I didn’t think we could get any closer but Sage’s birth and these first few months of parenthood have made me fall even deeper in love with him. He’s the rock of our family and he takes such good care of us. And even though we’re both cranky and sleep deprived, he’s just fun to be around!

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It’s been a wonderful five years, but this year easily tops them all. This is the year we really became a family. I’ve never been more happy or more grateful for you, Anthony!