Category Archives: kitchen

Newlywed Brunch

Remember when I used to share recipes on the blog?

Yeah me neither.

But believe it or not, I do still cook every once in a while. So what if I made these two months ago. Or that I’ve had the photos sitting on my camera ever since just reminding me how good they would probably taste if I had them again.

So I figured why not share the recipe with you so you can drool over them and likely bookmark the recipe to keep pushing off for when you actually find time to make brunch again, too.

oatmeal yogurt pancakes with blackberry crush, newlywed cookbook, blackberry, breakfast, pancakes, yogurt, brunch,


I’ve been loving The Newlywed Cookbook lately for its simplicity and fresh ideas. Let’s just say I tackle cooking like I tackle my wardrobe. I will re-wear the same 5 pieces of clothing over and over again before I make use of the hundreds of other items I have in my closet. And when I realized I had everything on hand to make this oat/yogurt/blackberry jam of a recipe, well, I put on my white t-shirt and jeans and made a morning out of it. (OK so it was yoga pants and a workout tank you get the point).

Warning: Rich flavors on the horizon.


oatmeal yogurt pancakes with blackberry crush, newlywed cookbook, blackberry, breakfast, pancakes, yogurt, brunch, Oatmeal-Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1 2/3 C all purpose flour
  • 2/3 C old fashioned oats (can sub rolled)
  • 2 TBL sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt (plus a little extra for garnish)
  • 1 C buttermilk (sub whole milk)
  • 4 TBL unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs

In a large mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Blend yogurt, buttermilk, melted butter and eggs in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until they are combined.

While your cast-iron skillet heats to medium, mash 2 cups of blackberries with 1/4 cup of sugar. Strain the juice into a small saucepan and set the berries aside. Heat the juice over medium heat until it thickens to a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat and add a few teaspoons of pure maple syrup. Once it cools, pour over berries.

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into your heated skillet and cook until bubbles form on top of pancake. If you’re anything like me it takes you 3-4 pancakes to really get your temperature right. But oh how #4 turns out!

Serve pancakes with berries and garnish with a little greek yogurt.

oatmeal yogurt pancakes with blackberry crush, newlywed cookbook, blackberry, breakfast, pancakes, yogurt, brunch,

Take a nap.

oatmeal yogurt pancakes with blackberry crush, newlywed cookbook, blackberry, breakfast, pancakes, yogurt, brunch,


So we moved to Florida

I told you I’d check in once we got settled and even though we are anything but, I thought I would update you anyway. What can I say I like you guys more than unpacking boxes.

Dad, Finn and I arrived Wednesday evening with 1,200 miles and four states under our belts. We were very fortunate to miss the tornados that passed through Alabama on Monday and Tuesday and to find out the road we were going to take through the panhandle was closed due to flooding before we left on Wednesday morning.

alabama, road trip, driving, finn goes to florida

While I don’t recommend spending two days in the car to just anyone, my dad and I are pretty good co-pilots. We both really enjoyed seeing the wildflowers in Kentucky, the rolling hills in Alabama and the traffic enforcement in Georgia. Ok maybe not that last one so much. The good news is we still love each other after that much time together. And I’m even considering penning a coffee table book about the Illinios coal basin now thanks to the first four hours of coal fun facts from my Dad.

As for Finn, I wasn’t sure what to expect after we reached 3 hours in the car as he typically slept on trips from Chicago to Springfield, but let’s just say I don’t think he could name one out of the four states we traveled through. Yes, I realize that would assume my dog could name states or speak but you get the point.

greater swiss mountain dog, finn goes to florida, puppy, swissy, car ride


This dog had the entire back seat all to himself and yet he contorted himself into positions either between the front seat or with his body on the floorboards and his feet where his body should have been. And he slept. The whole time.

greater swiss mountain dog, finn goes to florida, puppy, swissy, car ride

There were a few moments he woke up though, mostly when we stopped for food, gas or bathroom breaks.

So we arrived Wednesday night to a partially-furnished house. Matt and his brother had driven straight through with the truck and unloaded it before we arrived which was 1) Crazy and 2) Awesome.

new house, florida, lakewood ranch, sarasota, swiss mountain dog


Since then we’ve spent all of our time unpacking and showing my Dad a few spots before he leaves.

Yesterday we visited IMG Academy where Matt’s new team trains.

IMG academy, florida, sports

And last night we took my dad down to Lido beach and St. Armands circle for dinner.

lido beach, sarasota florida, beach, visit, family

If you’re anything like me the only thing you care about when someone moves is seeing their new house. I promise I’ll give you a tour once it’s presentable, but until then I’ll share with you six things I’m really excited about with our new kitchen. Keep in mind I just saw it for the first time when we arrived so this is before putting it to use but I’m really excited nonetheless.

new house features, kitchen, subway tile, swiss mountain dog,

1. Subway tiles

2. Enough cabinet space for more than 4 wine glasses

3. An outlet in the island

4. HD-TV

5. A cool tile floor for Finn

6. Water in the fridge door

I realize the fact I didn’t have any of these before are first-world problems, but let’s just say I’m pretty pumped to get back to baking in this new kitchen. Did I mention we have a pantry!?!?

Have a great weekend!

Sunday at IKEA

If the subject line doesn’t give you a proper indication of my weekend, I’ll say it again. After receiving this baby in the mail this week, I decided to spend my Sunday at IKEA.

IKEA summer catalog simply social blog

And when I say I spent my Sunday there I mean it. If you’ve ever been to an IKEA you know that it’s an all-day affair. They put a cafeteria on the second floor for goodness sake. You may be thinking, who needs to stop and eat when shopping for furniture and accessories? Believe me I laughed at it, too. And then you realize you’ve been on the 3rd floor for 2.5 hours and there’s two more floors to go.

Must. Fuel. Need. Energy.

So I spent my Sunday at IKEA. The best (and worst) day to spend there. The best because Sundays are the only day of the week you can justify spending that much time shopping at one location. Especially considering the slightly cooler, yet gorgeous temps we’ve been having here in Chicago. The worst because every one else knows your secret plan of spending the majority of your day at IKEA. And they are coming too.

If you’ve never experienced IKEA, then you might know that you start on the top floor and work your way down.

Now arriving at Level 3, the show room.

ikea kitchen and dining room simply social blog

a girl can dream, right?

Level 3. Where you begin your journey of building your dream kitchen with apron sinks, dark cabinets and backsplashes, oh my! You snap photos and smile for selfies to avoid the fact that you don’t have a house to put this make-believe kitchen in nor do you have any means to build it yet. (sigh).

ikea schaumburg kitchen

Two hours and two bathroom stops later you make the final turn to complete level 3. You think about the two hours you spent running the day before and actually have to weigh which one made you more exhausted. There’s no time for contemplation. Next stop, level 2.

I know I spent a lot of time on level 2, but I must have blacked out because I have no photos to show for it. But I did manage to document this find:

IKEA dog butt wall hook simply social blog

What’s that you say? Only the coolest dog butt hook you’ll probably ever hang on you wall! Needless to say after I found this gem I was re-energized for the remainder of the visit . And just a short 4 hours later, we were back home and ready to put together everything we bought. Did I mention that part of the joy of IKEA is putting everything together yourself? Aw, yeah.

ikea bookshelf build simply social blog

Fortunately, I had someone who equates putting together IKEA furniture to a warm up lap around a track. I know because I timed him. He had bookshelf number one assembled in less than 12 minutes. Record time in bookshelf assembly, but I’m sure he’d want me to clarify he could probably run 8 laps in that time.

I wish I had better before and after photos to share with you but 1) I almost forgot to take a before at all and 2) my place is small so it’s sort of difficult to get a good shot of the scale without actually being there. So come on over and I’ll introduce you to my new bookshelves.

ikea bookshelf before and after simply social blog

I’m still working on the decor but am happy to have more height to bring the pieces together. Still to come is a shelf above the TV and new frames. I’m an amateur when it comes to bookshelf styling so suggestions are welcome. For the time being I just recycled what I already had plus a few accessories I found in my 4 hour tour of IKEA. More than anything, I’m just happy to have somewhere to put my cookbooks. Nerd alert!

bookshelf styling ikea simply social blog

While the bookshelves perhaps made the biggest impact in the room, I am test-driving some new pillows for my couch as well. I’ve been looking for new pillows for my couch for years now with no success. Apparently the pillows that came with it are such a unique size that no cover or pillow form exist to replace them. Enter IKEA. Where the pillows come in just about every size (just kidding only 2 sizes) but the covers are not as substantial as you would like. One day I’ll have room for a sewing machine and make the damn things myself. Until then, here’s what we have:

couch redo ikea pillows simply social blog

Believe it or not I managed to make a real meal Sunday night too. I know, it’s crazy right? For all you know I haven’t cooked in weeks thanks to my recipe hiatus.

whole wheat spaghetti vegetables turkey meat sauce simply social blog

I’ll have a recipe for you later this week, but welcome your comments or suggestions on the decor (as long as you don’t completely hate my taste) anytime. Have a great week!

>Happy Earth Day…


Looking for ways to green your kitchen this spring? This Earth Day email from Crate and Barrel offers a series of great tools to do just that!