September 2017 archive

link love

Saturday, Saturday, how I love Saturday. It has been a long week, and we won’t be relaxing much this weekend, but I’m still doing my best to soak in the little bits of rest that I can. I have a fun soup potluck and pumpkin carving night planned for tonight with some friends from college, which should be the perfect way to ring in October. The temperatures look like they will be cooling down this week and I am so excited for the fall weather to catch up with my fall activities ;)

link love 9.30.2017 2via Now, Forager

In my brief down time, I’m catching up on some link love from the week. Looking back at these links, it is a food and recipe heavy week, but I’m okay with that.

I love Molly Yeh and her wonderful cookbook. She is so creative with how she uses flavors that are traditional to her culture (Chinese and Jewish) or where she has lived (NYC and the midwest). I have been following along on her quest to make a bagel as good as the one’s she munched on during her years in NYC and now she has a recipe (and video) to help us all do the same! My family used to pick up a bag of bagels on our way home from church every Sunday. Each person could pick their own bagel flavor to bring home for lunch. I always chose chocolate chip, cinnamon sugar, or blueberry, but never understood why anyone would want an everything bagel, topped with onions, garlic, and seeds. A few weeks ago though, when we went to my cousin’s wedding in Delaware, my brother and sister each got an everything bagel at a coffee shop and totally opened my eyes to what I have been missing out on all along. It was seriously the best bagel I have ever had, so you know I can’t wait to test this recipe out and make my own everything bagels! And homemade blueberry lox? So cool!

Yesterday was national coffee day – did you participate? :) Have you heard of the new white coffee trend? I use trend loosely, because I have only ever heard of it in this article, but it sounds awesome! I don’t think regular coffee is going anywhere, but I wonder if white coffee will hit coffee shops.

I love seeing what other people keep in their pantry, stock in their fridge, or make for lunch and this article is one of the best I have seen on the latter topic. Food geniuses reveal what they pack in their children’s lunches, and it has me wishing they would pack my lunch too. Cashew butter, ricotta and honey sandwiches on grainy bread, fried egg sandwiches, corn and roasted tomato salad? Yes, I’ll have them all, please. On the same note, Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52, lists off 13 lunches she packs for her kids. I must be doing something wrong, because my lunch doesn’t look nearly as good as these. I think my favorites are: sandwiches of cashew butter, ricotta, and honey + apples, and beans with olive oil, thyme, garlic, rosemary + kale tossed with lemon-caper vinaigrette + aged cow’s milk cheese + crackers + almond cookies. Honestly, anyone who has aged cow’s milk cheese, Camembert, chocolate olive oil cake, almond cookies, salted double chocolate olive oil cookies, prosciutto, or sopressata in their lunch have a better lunch than I do.

Keeping with the accidental food theme, food star Nigella Lawson chimes in on how Instagram has changed the way we cook. Not all food is photogenic. Some food is messy and brown, but still tastes great even though it doesn’t perform well in the small squares on your phone next to the overpacked and unrealistic, but pretty, smoothie bowl. Instagram is changing how we see recipes and food images, so is it changing how we cook, and in the process eliminating unattractive foods from our meal plans? I feel this pressure sometimes when I make and photograph a recipe, only for beige food to stare back at me. The product is delicious, but not very pretty, so do I still post it? Questions that plague all home cooks, food bloggers, and Instagrammers.

And lastly, the only link not related to food is this interesting article on the evolution of women in stock photos. YGG. Keep evolving.

What are you up to this weekend, friends? Any fall plans? :)

diy cane bed

I’m coming at you with a different type of post today, but one I’m so excited to share: a DIY cane bed.

DIY Cane Bed | www.passthecookies.com

Most of the time I share food and recipes, but I also love interior design. Since we moved out of our tiny one-bedroom apartment (but basically studio, since the doors to the bedroom were glass) and into our two-bedroom apartment, I have been struggling with what to do with the extra bedroom. I loved having open space to do yoga or YouTube exercise videos when I didn’t feel like running outside, but I knew that wasn’t the best use of the space. (more…)

blueberry lavender streusel muffins

Growing up, I vividly remember sleepovers at my best friend’s house with movies and chatting late into the night, then waking up to make blueberry muffins in the morning. As elementary schoolers, this consisted of mixing the “just add milk” blueberry muffin mix together and waiting impatiently in front of the oven as the fragrant muffins cooked up golden tops. Nowadays, I wouldn’t be caught with that powdered mix, not because it isn’t good, but because my eyes have been opened to the amazing flavors and textures of homemade blueberry lavender streusel muffins.

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

These blueberry lavender streusel muffins are bursting with real blueberries, filled with the delicate fragrance and subtle flavor of lavender, and topped with my favorite buttery brown sugar streusel to give the otherwise fluffy muffins a crunchy lid. The muffins are fluffy and light, with blueberries strewn throughout so you can find one in each bite. They are great warm from the oven for breakfast, or cooled down with a cup of coffee or tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

I love the contrast of the juicy blueberries against the light crumb of the muffin and the crunch from the sweet streusel topping. The streusel is simple and cinnamony, and you may want to eat most of it before it even goes in the oven. This is always my dilemma.

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

The lavender-scented steam that emerges when you cut into a warm muffin just begs for a small pat of butter, and you won’t regret providing it. The simplicity of a classic blueberry muffin, paired with the unique twist of lavender and streusel makes these perfect to serve to guests or family, but you may want to keep them hidden so you can eat them all yourself. No judgment here.

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins-10

Blueberry Lavender Streusel Muffins | www.passthecookies.com

You can find this recipe over on Lexi’s site today and enjoy them for breakfast tomorrow :)

If you make your own blueberry lavender streusel muffins, be sure to tag me (@hopehwoodhouse) on Instagram so I can see your wonderful creations!

link love

Welcome, fall! Welcome, weekend! I’m so ready for both! I went into work both Saturday and Sunday last weekend, and combined with the regular workdays of last week flowing straight into this week, the whole week felt so long. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all felt like Thursday, Thursday felt like Friday, and I don’t even know what day Friday felt like. But, here we are. We made it and I’m so happy about it!

There is a new barre studio that opened near us this week and I’m going for a free trial class this morning. I have done barre videos at home, but have never spent the money to try one in person so I am both nervous and excited! Wish me luck!

link love 9.23.2017via

Let’s get the weekend going with some link love!

I love this article on organization as a gift to others (and myself). I found myself nodding in agreement as I was reading it.

I just found out about this meal planning website this week and think it is genius! You can pin meals to your profile from your favorite blogs and recipe sites, build your meal plan for the week by dragging those recipes into a calendar, and the site will auto populate your grocery list with the items needed for the recipes. GENIUS! I haven’t tried it yet but it seems so useful!

Speaking of groceries, this article about Trader Joe’s work culture versus other employers is interesting. I love Trader Joe’s, and all of the workers I interact with seem to like working there. This is probably why. Trader Joe’s is always one of my favorite places to grocery shop, but especially when the seasonal items first release. Their fall and winter selections can’t be beat! This list of the best fall items at Trader Joe’s had me at the first three items. Pumpkin granola? I’m in.

Now that pumpkin is on the brain, I think these pumpkin pecan scones with brown butter glaze are a weekend must. Join me.

In case you missed this fabulous home tour of The Everygirl founder Alaina’s Chicago greystone, check it out. It is amazing and there are so many things I want to replicate! Similarly, this Brooklyn brownstone has an almost identical layout to Alaina’s greystone, and even uses the same mirror-sofa-art layout in the living area, but is also so different in style. I love both! Now to figure out how I can create the perfect combination of the two…

Have a wonderful first weekend of fall!

fall fun list

Friday is the first official day of fall and I’m more than ready!

Fall Fun List 2017 | www.passthecookies.comvia Pinterest

I have always loved fall, but in the past few years, the crisp season has solidified its place as my favorite of the four. If you know me, you know that I am a huge sucker for all things pumpkin, but I also love the bright colors of the changing leaves, the memories that come with the spiced scent of mulling spices in apple cider, and the fun traditions that come with the autumn months and the cooler weather. I have posted about my fall bucket lists before (here and here), and other seasonal bucket lists, but sometimes I feel like the term “bucket list,” can put a lot of pressure on this casual list. To me, a bucket list evokes the sense that everything has to be completed or the overall list is a failure. This isn’t the case, and I don’t write these lists with that mindset. I love fall, and I want to do these things because they bring me joy, not because I may feel like I am a failure if I don’t check them off the list. To change the mental mindset around this fall list, I am renaming it a fall fun list, instead of a bucket list. What is on your fall fun list?! I’m always looking for more great ideas! :)

Fall Fun List
– Visit a pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins! (This was so fun last year!)
– Drink hot apple cider
– Make a pumpkin treat
– Dress up to serve candy to the trick-or-treaters in our complex
– Send a fall-themed care package
– Make a new pie for Thanksgiving
– Celebrate 10 years with Will! (Can you believe it?!)
– Decorate our front stoop
– Host (or help host) a fall-themed event – I’m thinking a soup and cornbread party, a girls craft night or tea party
– Go on a walk/hike/trek on trails to enjoy the cool weather and changing leaves

summer bucket list update

Since the Friday marks the official start to fall, I thought I would check in on our summer bucket list progress.

2017 Summer Bucket List Update | www.passthecookies.com

This summer flew by so quickly. My work schedule never calmed down over the summer months, so in some ways it doesn’t really feel like summer was fully here. We traveled almost every weekend, which made the weeks blur together, but we still had some great times enjoying the slower pace that came with a summer (read: empty) college town. I’m not the biggest fan of summer – I get crazy bug bites, I don’t like sweating in the NC heat, and I’m not a fan of the beach – but I will miss the slow evenings, long days, and quiet streets. Saying goodbye to these sweet parts of summer is easier with fall right on its heels. Fall is my favorite season and I’m so excited to welcome the cooler weather, changing colors, and autumn flavors. I’m posting my fall list later this week, so stay tuned! (more…)

slow roasted sweet potatoes with spiced maple pecans and maple bourbon butter

Fall starts this week! I’m so excited for the cooler weather, the new seasonal foods, the pumpkins everywhere, and warm, comforting meals. These slow roasted sweet potatoes with spiced maple pecans and maple bourbon butter are my new favorite dinner. Or lunch. And, let’s be honest, they make a great breakfast, too.

Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Maple Pecans and Maple Bourbon Butter | Pass The Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Maple Pecans and Maple Bourbon Butter | Pass The Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Maple Pecans and Maple Bourbon Butter | Pass The Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Maple Pecans and Maple Bourbon Butter | Pass The Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I first tried slow roasted sweet potatoes sometime last fall. We have roasted vegetables for or with dinner at least once a week, so trying a new way to cook sweet potatoes was a fun change for our taste buds. The first time we tried slow roasting sweet potatoes we stuffed them with spicy chickpeas. The combination was strange at first but delicious. Since then, we have altered them based on what ingredients are in our pantry. (more…)

charlottesville and richmond

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this post. It is a reminder that our plans for this trip took a sharp turn soon after we arrived, but also a reminder of the great trip we made out of plans b, c, and d. Months ago, before any news of protests came out, we planned a weekend trip to Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. We asked our UVA friends for their recommendations and put together a list of things we wanted to do, see, and eat. The prices for hotels and Airbnbs in the downtown area were pricier than we were expecting, so we decided to stay in a small town a bit outside of Charlottesville. This ended up being the biggest blessing, as we couldn’t have predicted our drastic change in itinerary, or the necessity to stay out of the city during the crazy weekend of protests.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

Our original plans for the weekend included a winery, a day exploring UVA and downtown Charlottesville, and maybe a tour of Monticello, if we had time. The winery was our first stop when we arrived on Friday afternoon, and where we learned that we should stay away from Charlottesville on Saturday because of the violence expected at the protests. At the time, our plans for Saturday revolved around spending the entire day in downtown Charlottesville. We quickly rearranged things and booked our Monticello tours for a day sooner than expected, hoping to still be able to pop into Charlottesville for dinner in the evening.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

After the winery, we stopped for dinner in Charlottesville and had a short chance to walk around UVA, which neither of us had ever visited. The campus was beautiful in the dusk lighting, but all around town extra security guards in highlighter yellow vests were patrolling the streets, restaurants were closing early, and residents were clearing out. People were truly afraid of what was to come. As we headed back to our hotel outside of town, news stories started popping up about the rallies that had already begun by the Jefferson statue where we had just been standing alone, not even thirty minutes prior.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

We got an early start on Saturday with 9:00 tour of Monticello, which turned out to be a great way to spend the morning. We stayed as long as possible, taking in all of the tours that were included in the admissions ticket, including the guided house and garden tours, and a self-guided tour of the cellars and graveyard. There were many other people who were in the same boat as we were – just trying to stay out of the city – so an early start allowed us to beat the crowds and soak in the cooler temperatures. The visitors’ center was a short walk from Jefferson’s house through the trails, and was flanked by a museum, a great gift shop, and a cute café. In hindsight, I’m glad we had so much time to spend at Monticello. There was so much you could learn about Jefferson and his prized home.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

As we drove down the mountain from Monticello, we saw signs for a pick-your-own orchard. With nothing else to do, we followed the signs to rows and rows of apple trees, peach trees, and grape vines. A cute general store perched on the hill, welcoming us with apple cider doughnuts and cookies, hard apple cider, and peach soft serve ice cream. We grabbed a bag and walked up to the peach grove, where the peaches were ready for picking. From our spot on the top of the mountain, we could look down over Charlottesville in the valley below, a helicopter circling above the streets. The interactions we had at this farm were so genuine. Like at Monticello, most people at this pick-your-own place were trying to keep their families out of Charlottesville during the protests. We conversed with Hispanic families, Muslim families, and African American families, many who were camped out on the ground with umbrellas for shade with plans to stay on the mountaintop until things calmed down in the town below.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

After seeing the news as the day and evening went on, our plans shifted even further and we decided that it would be best just to skip Charlottesville altogether. Instead, we used the extra time to stop in Richmond on our way home for a coffee date and some bakery hopping. Growing up, we only lived about 2 hours from Richmond, and drove through all the time on our way to visit friends and family, but we never stopped along our road trip or made a destination of it. As crazy as it is, this trip was my first time in Richmond!

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

We researched the best (read: cutest) coffee shops on our way through Virginia, and took recommendations from the baristas on the best bakeries in town. I find that sometimes you can do all of the research you want, but the local recommendations are the way to go. They didn’t disappoint. After a lavender latte we met up with my sister, who was in town for a wedding, at Sub Rosa, a wood-fired bakery. I’m convinced Sub Rosa is the best bakery in Richmond, which is totally biased since it is the only one we visited, but it was that good! They had more than five types of croissants and every single thing we tried was amazing. I think we need to make this a regular pit stop on our DC road trips. If you are in the Richmond area – try it! Pictured here are the salami and cheese croissant, the chocolate blueberry croissant, the fig and manchego croissant, and the raspberry and goat cheese croissant. We split an almond croissant between the three of us to take home as well and it was the most amazing almond croissant I have had outside of France.

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

We came home from our weekend saddened by the events in the city we planned to visit, but happy for the chance to focus on good company and the new places we would not have otherwise discovered. I hope to go back to Charlottesville soon to enjoy all the city has to offer.

roasted peaches with yogurt two ways: streusel or granola

I’m getting so excited about fall, cooler temperatures, and pumpkins everywhere (yes, I’m that girl). But, before I get caught up in the seasons to come, I’m also trying to appreciate and take in all of the great things that late summer has to offer, including fresh, ripe peaches, perfect for these roasted peaches with yogurt and streusel or granola.

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

With each bag of peaches that leaves the shelves I think, ‘these are the last peaches of the season.’ Because of this I get overzealous and buy more peaches than I can eat before they go bad. The great thing about these roasted peaches is that you can salvage your overripe peaches and save the ripe ones from dying on the windowsill! That’s a win for this peach lover (and over-buyer)! :)

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Earlier this summer, we dappled in peach roasting with roasted peach and oatmeal no-churn ice cream. The results were so good that, at the risk of eating no-churn ice cream at every meal, I had to make a healthier, more breakfast appropriate option. Paired with thick Greek yogurt, this version of roasted peaches is perfect for breakfast, snack, or a healthy dessert. I have included two versions here, one with streusel, and one with granola, depending on what you are feeling. I love the variety they both provide, and I think the granola addition would be perfect for an easy brunch, while the streusel is fun for an impromptu girl’s night.

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Streusel | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted peach halves become caramely and sweet, and, when served warm, are the perfect companions for cold yogurt, or even ice cream. The skillet baked brown sugar oatmeal streusel provides a slight crunch to the smooth combination, and fills the kitchen with an amazing buttery fragrance. It is one of those things I want to have it on hand just for the amazing smell! The granola is easy to throw together and makes for a tasty breakfast or snack on its own, or when sprinkled atop this beautiful late-summer fruit. There are so many ways to mix and match these items to customize it to your liking and lifestyle.

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Granola | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Granola | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Granola | www.passthecookies.com

Finish the summer strong with this delicious roasted fruit. Find the roasted peaches and streusel method over on Lexi’s site, or top these deliciously caramelized peaches and yogurt with the granola below.

Roasted Peaches
Recipe on Glitter, Inc.

Granola Topping
1 cup oats
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, and pecans.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the honey, maple syrup and coconut oil for 30 seconds. Heat them for another 10 seconds at a time until they have melted together. Add the vanilla to the melted ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated. Spread the granola evenly on your prepared pan and cook for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

Top the roasted peaches with yogurt and a generous handful of granola. Save any leftover granola in an airtight container to snack on for the rest of the week.

Roasted Peaches with Yogurt and Granola | www.passthecookies.com

blacksburg girls weekend

A few weekends ago, my mom and I drove up to visit my sister in Blacksburg. Despite having three girls in the family for almost 23 years, we had never taken a trip with just the girls before this! What were we thinking?! The excitement leading up to the weekend and the absolutely wonderful time we had together confirmed that we were crazy for not taking the time to plan a girls weekend before, and that we will absolutely be doing girls weekends more regularly. According to my mom, this will be at least an annual tradition, but I think she is hoping for more than once a year ;).

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Personalized gift boxes, my talented sister’s cute chalkboard wall designs, homemade chocolate hazelnut babka, and pizza dough proofing in the kitchen greeted us when we arrived. All three of us went into the weekend with big plans to move my sister from one room to another in her shared house, decorate her new space, and take some time to have fun and relax together. The chalkboard depicts our weekend filled with homemade pizza, moving, yoga, coffee shops, street festival exploration, a winery tour, and brunch.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

We quickly popped champagne and got started catching up and talking about our grand decorating plans. The whole weekend we joked that other people wouldn’t find moving and rearranging rooms a relaxing vacation, but we were all so excited about it. We’re a strange bunch, but having the same idea of fun is one reason our girls weekend was so great.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

We stayed up late moving furniture and chatting both nights, and spent the morning soaking in the glorious mountain weather (aka no humidity and mid-70 temperatures) while we walked around the cute community craft festival with tea lattes in our post-yoga clothes. Does it get any better than that? I really don’t think so.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

The winery was only a blip in our weekend, as we arrived for the tasting soon before the venue was closing, but the location was beautiful and a great excuse for us to get fancy.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

It was the perfect weekend with some of my favorite people. I’m already excited to start planning the next trip with just the girls :)

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