Guys, I am so excited to be joining up with an insanely talented group of moms for the Real Talk with Real Mom series spearheaded by my friend Jen of The Effortless Chic. Most of these ladies have been blogging together about motherhood for a year or more now, and I’m really looking forward to being part of the pack. I’ll be using this as an opportunity to talk more about about the various issues, large and small, surrounding motherhood (and how I try not to screw up my kid) on a monthly basis in a way that is hopefully an interesting read for you. My monthly posts will also link to each of the other participating moms so you can read their stories and perspectives, too. This month we’re all dishing on friendships and, quite honestly, this could not be a more timely topic for me.
This super pretty gingerberry sparkler is a cocktail that I made over the holidays and shared over on Inspired By This. I had fully intended to share the post then, but if you recall that was right about the time that I came down with the first wave of the death plague that decided to hang around for nearly a month and it just never happened. That said, this cocktail would make the perfect bubbly concoction for sipping while you’re watching the Oscar’s this weekend! It’s made with a few of my favorite things (bubbly, vodka and ginger beer) and you can make up a big pitcher at a time to sip all evening with friends while you critique the red carpet arrivals. (Undoubtedly always my favorite part of the evening!) To get started, bounce on over to get the recipe and enjoy. Cheers!
[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
It’s Monday! And Monday calls for this really delicious cornbread recipe. At least, this Monday does. In all seriousness, this cornbread is incredible. One of my BFFs made her version of this recipe for our chili cook-off Super Bowl party a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit, so naturally I had to give my hand a try at giving it my own twist and serving it up for you guys. This is easy enough to bake to accompany your weeknight dinner, but also special enough to serve at a party or when your in-laws come over for dinner. The basis of this recipe is Jiffy cornbread muffin mix! I remember my mom keeping this stuff on hand when we were kids and by the time I was 8 or 9, it would be my job to mix it up and preheat the oven if we were having chili or soup for dinner. This takes that old school mix to an insanely delicious level. Switch this recipe up however you’d like! The original one I was working from called for frozen broccoli, but I think it’s a million times better with fresh. I also added red onion, scallions and cheese to amp up all the flavor. Give this one a try! It will make all of your dinners and soups and chilis even better.
Cheesy Broccoli Cornbread
Makes 15 servings
- 2 Jiffy cornbread muffin mixes
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
- 2 small to medium heads of broccoli
- 1 cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced scallions
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 375° and spray a 9×13 glass baking dish generously with non-stick spray. Add cornbread mix, melted butter, beaten eggs, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl and combine well. Fold in diced onions, scallions, cottage cheese, mozzarella and parmesan. Rinse and drain broccoli well, then chop into small florets. Fold broccoli into the cornbread mixture. Transfer to baking dish and bake for 32 – 35 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly, cut into squares and serve.
[Recipe adaptation + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Say hello to the newest addition to our family! Little Miss Harper joined our family just before Christmas, a few days before we said goodbye to our sweet old Nina girl. She was intended to be Nina’s new side kick and to help ease our hearts when the time came for our lovable old lady to say goodbye, never thinking they’d only have a few days together. Since then, Harper has swiftly become Baby E’s new best friend, standing guard by her high chair at all times for stolen treats and staying close as our tiny tot learned to walk. I am so grateful to get to watch them grow up together and to see how much they love each other. A few weeks ago, I asked Alice to get a few photos of our girls hanging out and I absolutely love these shots. Emerson is now fourteen months old, walking circles around all of us, and babbling up a storm. She loves going through her book collection and “reading” to the puppy, her mommy, her siblings, her daddy, and anyone else who will listen. At least once a day I find her curled up in Harper’s bed with her, trying to tie her ears into a bow and reading her Goodnight Moon. It’s true that love can mend a broken heart and when it comes to this little yellow lab, she has certainly done that for us. I can’t wait to spend the next decade, and hopefully more, watching these two little girls loving each other. There’s nothing quite like a little girl and the love she has for her best friend, in this case a precocious puppy named Harper.
[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! However you’re celebrating or not celebrating today, and whomever you may spend your day with, I hope you have a day that leaves you feeling loved. Speaking of feeling loved, I’ve been holding out on you guys and today seems like the perfect day to spill the beans – we’re getting married! I didn’t share the news when we first got engaged because it felt really personal and we also had a tiny baby at the time and it was all just kind of overwhelming, in the best possible way. We also had so many weddings last year that we were in, attending, traveling for and all of the requisite expenses, not to mention having bought a house, so we knew financially and with regards to our sanity that we would most likley not be getting married right away. Fast forward a year later and we will be getting married exactly eight months from today! After a lot of debate and deliberation (a lot of it centering on the very real possibility of eloping), we have decided we will be getting married this fall in our backyard. It will be a morning ceremony with just our closest family, friends and neighbors with a brunch reception to follow at a cool local restaurant. By the time we get married we’ll have been together for over six years, so for us it’s really more about a celebration of family than about a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.
This is the mood board that’s currently inspiring my planning and design ideas. The color palette will revolve around that gorgeous oxblood color with lots of ivory and a dusty blush pink, balanced out by an abundance of greenery. We aren’t having a wedding party, but my sister is going to stand up with me and she’ll be wearing the dress in the lower left, which is just absolutely stunning. Otherwise, our photographer is booked and we have a date and a venue, but beyond that we haven’t done a whole lot so I’m just getting ready to start cranking things into high gear in that department. I plan to share updates here and there, but let me know what bits you’re most interested in knowing more about! Overall we’re just looking forward to a day that feels really simple and full of love, that cuts out as much of the unnecessary fanfare as possible, but is still really special and memorable. (Read: Expect an epic bubbly and Bloody Mary bar at brunch!) I guess this post makes it officially official – stay tuned for more!
[Sources: Style Layers via Brides | Lulu’s | Studio 127 Photography via Green Wedding Shoes | Paige Tuzée Design | Wildfield Paper Co. | Michelle Boyd Photography via Style Me Pretty | Nicole Berrett Photography via Colin Cowie Weddings | Morning Light by Michelle Landreau via Southern Weddings | Vici Collection | Michelle Boyd Photography via Style Me Pretty.]