Strawberry Freezer Jam

This strawberry freezer jam tastes like my childhood. I didn’t grow up in a house full of foodies, so the familiar tastes I know and love are simple. My mom’s lasagna, pork steaks on the grill, chicken Rice-a-Roni. My dad’s barbecue chicken and pretzel salad (and yes, it has Jell-o in it: I’m from the Midwest, after all). This jam is right up there with the most vivid tastes of all. I remember prying the lids off the sticky square containers my grandma always stored it in and slathering it on my toast. I’d stand at her kitchen counter as we carefully mashed the strawberries to just the right consistency before mixing in the sugar. At the end of the day, I’d carry those prized containers home and hide them in the freezer. I never wanted to share.

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Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cupcakes

These peanut butter hot fudge cupcakes and I go way back. They were one of the first “fancy” cupcakes I’d ever made, and I fell in love. I know cupcakes aren’t really in fashion anymore. (What even is? Are we over cronuts? I know the internet has a thing for rainbow bagels right now…) I don’t care, though. I will always have a place in my heart for cupcakes. They’re easy to customize and transport, and they will always be popular. Plus they’re so much easier to eat than a whole cake. As much as I love layer cakes, they’re far from practical when you’re taking dessert on the go. So when my mom asked if I’d make cupcakes for my brother’s graduation last weekend, I jumped at the chance to make these little beauties again.

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Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Salad

Yesterday afternoon, Ben and I took a long walk to one of the parks near our house. It wasn’t very warm (wtf’s up with that, May??), but it was so nice to get out of the house and get some steps in. Since we both work from home, it’s too easy to fall into a routine of waking up and moving from my bed to my desk, working 8 hours, then moving to the couch. Sure, we get out and do things every now and then, but the lack of commute means I spend a lot more time on the couch than I would like. Even on the weekends I spent a little too much time staring at a computer screen, usually editing photos and writing recipes for this space. So we grabbed the pup and walked to Lafayette Park (and I drooled over some of the seriously gorgeous houses in the surrounding neighborhood). We saw more than one group of picnickers, which inspired me to share today’s recipe for roasted cauliflower pasta salad.

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Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I had no intentions of posting these gorgeous little strawberry lemonade bars. My mom asked me to bring a non-chocolate dessert for Mother’s Day, and these bars called to me from my giant list of saved recipes. Normally I agonize over what kind of anything to bring to a party, but not this time. The original version has raspberries in the lemon layer, but my fridge has been filled with some seriously delicious early season strawberries. (It’s May…does that still make it early season? Probably not.) So strawberries it was!

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Almond Joy Scones

Baking is my creative outlet. It’s what I’ve always relied on when the world feels like too much. Hectic travel schedules, overbooked weekends, and friendships put on the back burner have made life lately a bit overwhelming. In the kitchen, things come easy. Cut butter into flour and sugar, toss in a handful of chocolate chips, add just the right amount of heavy cream. For some, the precision and exactness of baking over cooking are stressful, but I love the science behind a good recipe and knowing that if I mix the ingredients together just so, something amazing will happen. Almond Joy scones brought back a little of my sanity this week, and for that I am thankful.

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