I remember a couple of weeks ago at the farmers market my housemates and I were walking the aisles, wishing that zucchini would come into season sooner than we knew it would. And then, we spotted some zucchini! But, of course, we were instantly disappointed when we saw that the vendors were attempting to sell four 3" zucchinis for five dollars. No way! But we had already let slip that we were interested in the zucchini, so to cover our interest so that we weren't hooked into buying the overpriced zucchini, we asked them when they'd get larger ones so we would know when to come back. To our surprise, the vendor said we only had to wait one week! So, we went back last weekend and bought lots of (properly priced!) zucchini. Then the question was... what to make!? Some friends were over the other day, ready and willing to help me bake something for the blog, and suggested zucchini bread. How could I not oppose such a simple summer classic? But, I've seen sooooo many zucchini bread recipes, and all of them differ by the tiniest amount. So, I wanted to make a zucchini bread that would stand out from the rest and bring something new to the table. So, we searched through my cupboards and found a couple ingredients that we thought might complement each other and the zucchini well: coconut and almonds. And did they ever!

zucchini coconut bread with almonds

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Squeeze and drain the shredded zucchini between two paper towels, then mix the zucchini, sugars, oil, yogurt, egg, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Stir the coconut and almonds into this wet mixture. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Place the bread pan on one of its sides and let the bread cool for about 10 minutes; then let cool on the other side for another 10 minutes. Letting it cool in this orientation will loosen the bread from the pan and make for easy removal! Simply turn the pan over to remove the loaf and let cool completely before slicing.


I don't often cook with meat, but for some reason I had a craving for almond crusted chicken last week. I had never made it before, much less even tasted such a dish, and hadn't even cooked chicken for probably four months, so it was a bit of an experiment! And by that I mean that literally every step of the process I wondered if I should stop and look up a recipe before I ended up ruining the meal. But, somehow what I did not only worked out, but was so good that I'm contemplating making it again next week:) The chicken was really moist and boasted a deliciously crunchy crust. The kale pesto and farro portion became part of the meal because I bought a HUGE bunch of kale (for just $1!!) at the farmer's market last weekend and figured that it was very likely I would need another dish besides the chicken in case I failed. And farro is my favorite summer grain. More recipes with farro to come! But for now... enjoy this one!

honey, lemon, and sage marinade 

1 teaspoon honey
4 sage leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 chicken breasts

Mix all marinade ingredients to combine. Place the chicken breasts in a tupperware or plastic bag. Coat with the marinade and refrigerate overnight (so, for a total of about 18 hours). In the morning you can flip the chicken to distribute the flavors a bit better if you want. I'm sure you could let it marinade for a shorter period of time... I only did it for this long because I knew I was going to have to go into work really early and stay late, so I figured I'd do it before I went to bed rather than the next day. But, like I said, the chicken turned out to be extremely moist and flavorful. Who knows if it was due to the extensive marinading, but since it worked out so well and didn't take any extra work, no harm in doing it the same way in the future, right?

pan roasted, almond crusted chicken

1/4 cup almonds
2 marinaded chicken breasts
1 tablespoon butter

Use a food processor to grind the almonds finely and then pour out onto a plate. Try to wipe the marinade that has dripped off of the chicken back onto the breasts, and then dip the breasts in the ground almonds to coat. Melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Then add the chicken breasts. Cook for three to four minutes on each side until golden brown. Then turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid, and let cook for eight to ten minutes, until the juices run clear when poked. 

kale pesto farro

1/4 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Leaves from 3 stalks of kale
10 basil leaves
2-inch cube of Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup farro
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the water and salt on medium high in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the water comes to a boil, add the farro and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed and the farro is cooked to the point where the outside of the grain is tender and the inside offers a bit of resistance to the bite. Meanwhile, combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor and process well to combine. If it is too thick for your tastes, add some more olive oil. Depending on the flavor strength of your kale, basil, and garlic, you may have to add more garlic or salt. Only you will know best though, so taste and adjust accordingly! When the farro has finished cooking, combine the pesto with the farro. Serve alongside the chicken and mmm you've got yourself a delicious meal!


My housemates and I are addicted to focaccia. I'm pretty sure we make it at least twice a week. And each recipe makes three rounds! I think the crisp crust and light interior of this focaccia are what make it so delicious:) The great thing about focaccia is that you can tailor it to complement so many different main dish flavors. That's why I decided to post two ways of serving this focaccia rather than just one. As long as you've got the dough to start things off, the recipe can take you wherever you'd like it to go! And, like I said, since it makes three rounds, you can try three different flavor themes all in one go and then decide which you like best and want to make next time! The first recipe is more traditional- some good old rosemary focaccia. You may not be able to beat it. Until you try the second, which is focaccia topped with rhubarb! You can serve either recipe with dinner, but the rhubarb focaccia also makes a great dessert. I'll throw some other ideas at the end that you can try out on your own:)

focaccia dough

4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Place 1 ½ cups lukewarm water (105-115 degrees) in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over it and stir briefly to coat with water. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Stir oil, salt, and sugar into the yeast mixture. Stir in the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour until a soft dough forms. You may need to add more all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead in a standing mixer with a dough hook attached for about five minutes. If you decide to use a standing mixer, finish the kneading by hand on a floured surface for one minute. Oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a dish towel. Then leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about one hour. Divide the dough into 3 equal-size balls. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and cover loosely with a towel. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Proceed with desired focaccia recipe below!

 rosemary focaccia

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 sprig rosemary, with about 10-15 leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

This one is easy:) Simply pat the dough into a circle in a 9-inch cake pan, leaving about a fourth of an inch between the round and the sides of the pan, brush the olive oil over the dough, and sprinkle the rosemary leaves and salt over the round. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes until the focaccia is golden brown. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

 rhubarb focaccia
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ cups thinly sliced rhubarb
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Then add the sliced rhubarb and granulated sugar. Stir to coat evenly, and then sauté for about 5 minutes until the rhubarb has softened. The rhubarb will release juices that we'll want to thicken, so remove the rhubarb from the pan and scatter over the dough. Boil the rhubarb juices until thickened, about 2 minutes. Then pour these delicious juices over the focaccia round! Bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes until the focaccia is golden brown. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

other toppings to try:

crushed garlic
dash of cinnamon
thinly sliced tomatoes with fresh herbs and garlic
caramelized onion
parmesan cheese
thinly sliced lemon
plum with goat cheese

or... you can get creative and mix and match or try something completely new!


Every 4th of July, my family gathers at our favorite relaxation destination: Lake Wisconsin. We fill up on homerun derby, cornhole, wakeboarding, home cookin' and my favorite beer found only in Wisconsin, spotted cow.

A and I had a chance to whip up some really delicious treats over the weekend and decided we'd take a stab at putting together a flower arrangement from the stems found in our mom's garden. Unfortunately, the midwest has a pretty temperamental summer. Some days will be scorching, some humid and some stormy. The weekend's weather left us and the garden a bit wilted but we still pulled off a fun, unique arrangement.

We gathered the best we could find: some pink cone flowers, yellow garden roses, yellow lilies and some herbs.

We found a vintage glass to hold the arrangement, keeping the bright vibe in mind. There are lots of antique and thrift shops to sift through in the area. This glassware set was just one of the many gems my mom found for the lakehouse.

The arrangement only lasted a few days but it was a great way to add some color to an already colorful weekend!


My favorite thing to make (and eat!) in the summer is salad. With so many vegetables in season, the possibilities are endless! When I begin to make a salad, I actually start by choosing what kind of cheese I'm in the mood for; then I select the other ingredients and vinaigrette I want to make based on what would pair nicely with that cheese (my priorities may or may not have to do with the fact that I'm from Wisconsin...). Do I want feta? Just some grated Parmesan? Or... maybe today is the day for some rich and creamy goat cheese? Yep. That's today.

cucumber, toasted walnut, and goat cheese greens with a rhubarb vinaigrette

1 tablespoon butter
1 12" stalk rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 cup vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cucumber, sliced
6 cups salad greens

Melt the butter in a small cast iron skillet. Sauté the rhubarb in the butter for two minutes, then add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the pan. Sauté for five minutes, until the rhubarb begins to soften and forms a paste. In the mean time, toast the walnuts in a skillet on medium heat for about five minutes, stirring often so they don't burn, until you begin to smell their nutty flavor. Remove from the heat as soon as they are toasted. When the rhubarb is done, purée the paste with the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Add the salad greens, cucumber, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts to a large serving bowl. Dress with the rhubarb vinaigrette by turning the salad to coat evenly and serve immediately. The vinaigrette is thick and, of course, brown, from the vinegar, so the greens may not look the most appealing at first sight once coated, so try to fluff, if you will, the greens a bit for aesthetic purposes before serving. Your guests will forget what it looked like very quickly once they taste the vinaigrette, I promise:)


I love granola, but I'll admit that I am extremely picky. I've tried so many store-bought granolas, hoping that one of them will satisfy my craving. But nope! They just won't do it for me. So, I gave up and stopped buying granola. But then a friend shared some of his Flaxseed Granola from the bakery section of Whole Foods... and oh my goodness was it addictive! It was rich, but not overly sweet, had wonderfully crunchy clusters, and no preservatives. Preservatives just taste funky, you know? So all was well in the world because I had found the perfect granola... until I realized that on a college student's budget... granola from the Whole Foods bakery might not be the best idea every week! So, I decided to try to replicate it. I haven't actually bought it again to taste test side-by-side, but I've definitely found my granola to be just as addictive as the Flaxseed Granola, so I think that alone indicates that it must be just as delicious!

clustered granola

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute with honey!)
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries (if desired!)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the oats, pecans, almonds, pepitas, and coconut (if using) in a large bowl. Melt the butter over medium heat with the maple syrup and brown sugar (or honey) until completely melted and the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in the flaxseed, chia seed, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Then pour the butter mixture over your oat mixture and mix well to combine. Distribute the granola mixture in a single layer on two 9X13 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes, turning over sections of the granola every 15 minutes for even baking. Before the last 15 minutes of baking, add the dried cherries or cranberries and gently combine with the oats as you flip the granola. When the granola is golden brown (and smells deeeeeelicious!), transfer the pan from the oven to a cooling rack. Let the granola cool completely before transferring or nibbling! This is how you get clustered granola! You have to let it cool completely so that the oats bind and cool clustered. It's hard because it'll smell so good! But resist the temptation and you'll be happy you did:) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a month! If you can hold onto it so long:) Mine lasts about two days haha. 


This recipe actually started off as a decoration on my bathroom wall! During the semester, my housemates and I would always bring home a copy of the Wednesday New York Times so that we could read the Dining section. I decided that the beautiful, color photographs of the food featured in the section would be the perfect material to spice up our bathroom with, so I started cutting out the pictures and pasting them on our bathroom wall. Probably a month after I had pasted the picture of Shakshuka on the wall, we finally tested the recipe! And LOOOVED it. So much so that the recipe found itself in my "best of the best" recipe scrapbook rather than the bathroom wall. Though the original recipe is fantastic, I've made a few adjustments/additions that I think really enhance the dish.

First and foremost, my version uses fresh tomatoes from the farmers market rather than canned plum tomatoes. Don't get me wrong- canned plum tomatoes are the way to go if you're talking canned tomatoes. But its summer and there is beautiful produce at the farmers market calling our names! But, if you make this in the winter when fresh tomatoes aren't available, feel free to substitute a 28 oz. can of plum tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes used here.

Secondly, I've added a couple more vegetables to the dish: mushrooms and spinach. It may be a less traditional version, but adding these extra veggies makes the freshness of the dish really pop. And, since there are five mouths to feed in our house, the larger size of the dish ensures that we are all pleasantly satiated:)

spinach, mushroom, and feta shakshuka

3 tablespooons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
7-8 medium tomatoes
8-10 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 handfuls of spinach
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups crumbled feta
5 large eggs (or, the number of however many people you are serving)
Cilantro, for garnish

Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof skillet or casserole over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until tender, one to two minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and cook for one minute. Pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and simmer until the tomatoes have thickened, about 20 minutes (or about 10 if you are using canned tomatoes). Stir in the spinach and crumbled feta. Gently crack the eggs into the skillet over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggs are just set, 7 to ten minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.


A few weeks back, I was clicking through some of my favorite design blogs and found myself purchasing tickets to DesignLoveFest's Floral Workshop. Hosted by DesignLoveFest & MoonCanyon,
the workshop was a perfect way to jumpstart into practicing/playing with flower design for our blog. The event was so charming - filled with beautiful stems, delicious savories and a mimosa bar to top things off! I highly recommend participating if you're looking to change up your weekend routine.

We started with an empty vase and filler greens like Sage and Geranium. The greens created a really lovely background for the large dahlias we eventually used.

Next we placed three deep red dahlias into the vase, keeping them lower and to either side. Three stems instead of two or four, are a great way to build balance in any arrangement. 

After the dahlias, we added some fuchsia and lilac colored stems to add height and create movement. 

We finished by adding a few more extra large, fuchsia dahlias. To complement the large flowers, we added aspidistra and fern. I love how all the colors came together. I've never made such a full, unique arrangement. And who wouldn't want to kick off their weekend creating a beautiful vase of fresh flowers? 


Peaches. Mmmm... doesn't it just ring summer?! Ever since classes ended I've been waiting for peach season so that I could make this cake. But, of course, when peaches first came into season, my housemates and I devoured all of them before I could get my hands on them for any baking. As we should have! But now we've slowed our peach-eating rate and I'm able to share this delicious recipe with you!

browned butter peach cake

2 peaches
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease. Slice the peaches into eights and toss them in the lemon juice and tablespoon of sugar. Arrange the peaches on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

While the peaches are roasting, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Stir the butter continuously over the heat until brown flecks being to appear at the bottom, after approximately 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully because the flecks will appear precipitously! Remove the butter from the heat immediately and transfer it to a small glass bowl to avoid burning.

Once the peaches are done roasting, decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and browned butter. Add the yogurt and stir until blended. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Spread half of the batter across the bottom of the prepared pan and arrange the roasted peach slices evenly over the batter. Spread the remainder of the cake batter over the top of the roasted peaches. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.