Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce


This past weekend, I had a few of my very dear childhood friends over for brunch. It was really lovely catching up with these ladies and I am always amazed to see how we each have embarked on our own paths and yet that bond we once had still remains strongly intact.

Now that I have a child of my own, I often wonder what the most important factors are in determining the type of person an individual becomes. Parenting? Siblings? Birth order? Peers? Geography? There are several variables, that is certain; but I know that the group of friends a person surrounds themselves with has to have a significant role in development.


I was very fortunate to have had a great group of girlfriends when I was young. They were (and still are) very kind, compassionate, and empathetic human beings. We went through those awful and awkward middle school years together and had very immature moments; but we sincerely cared about one another.  I can recall a particular instance, in seventh grade, when a group of us were on a hayride and one of the boys on the tractor trailer said something mean about how I looked and Andrea swooped right in and put that kid in his place and then reassured me that he was “such a jerk.” She may not even remember this event now, but I am eternally grateful.  While most 13 year old girls would have been more concerned with fitting in, Andrea didn’t stand for that kind of rudeness. I think that’s why my parents always loved her so much. There are countless other warm memories the group of girls and I share and some of those were recounted as we dined together. It makes my heart happy and very thankful.


Robert was working on Saturday morning so I tried to prepare most of brunch in advance because it’s sometimes challenging cooking while Smith pulls dirty diapers out of the Diaper Genie or uses my eyeliner pencil as a crayon on our bathroom floor. One of those items I prepared in advance was this baked blueberry lemon French toast with fresh blueberry sauce. I used day-old sandwich bread because stale bread is the best type of bread to soak up the custardy goodness in this type of dish and assembled the French toast the night before. All I had to do the next morning was preheat the oven and pop the dish in the oven.  I also made the blueberry sauce to accompany the French toast the day before. Perfectly simple.

In addition to this recipe, I also served:

I had a wonderful time reuniting with these wonderful women and I think they did, too. Have a great weekend everyone!


Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast

Yield: About 8 servings


  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 loaf of day old French or Amish sandwich bread
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over mixture (1 tablespoon ground cinnamon plus 3 tablespoons sugar)


1. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the French toast. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the bread to soak up the custard mixture.

3. The next morning, when you are ready to bake the French toast, remove the dish from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (putting a refrigerated casserole dish directly into a hot oven can shattered the dish!). Bake until the top is golden and the filling is set, about 60 minutes.

4. Place onto serving plates and top with blueberry sauce.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Yield: About 2 cups


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Place the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, or until the berries have plumped and released their juices.

2. In a separate, small bowl stir together water, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Whisk this mixture in the blueberries and stir until mixture is thickened, about 2-3 more minutes.

3. Remove from heat and serve over French toast, on yogurt, or over baked brie.

Source: Blueberry Lemon Baked French Toast- Giada De Laurentiis, Fresh Blueberry Sauce- Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from David Lebovitz

Caramelized Onion and Spinach Egg Casserole


Sometimes, if I am lucky, my workday schedule works out well enough that I am able to eat lunch and catch up on documentation at a Panera Bread in the next county over. I’ve been there enough times now that I have noticed that there is an elderly couple that eats there on a regular basis. Being as I work with many members of the geriatric population, I know that not all old people are “cute” as I have heard many people say. In fact, there are a lot of really not-so-nice individuals in this age group just as there are in every other age range. However, this aformentioned couple is absolutely adorable. The husband dotes on his wife, they share their food, and they swap sections of the newspaper with each other. The employees call them by their first name and pay extra special attention to this couple. Whenever the staff are giving out free samples, they always start with these two. An observation I have duly noted, by the way.

Their love for each other is so endearing, I can barely stand it. The last time they were there when I was, I found myself daydreaming of Robert and me starting this tradition when we retire. Finding a cute little cafe to go to, where we can eat a couple times a week; and there will be nothing else on our schedule for the day. Though retirement is a long (LONG) way off, I hope that if this dream is realized, we will be enjoying dishes similar to this caramelized onion and spinach egg casserole. In my opinion, it’s the perfect dining option for a leisurely brunch. Caramelized onion, spinach, crusty artisan bread, and sharp swiss cheese make for a fabulous and hearty meal.

I served this for a get together with some dear friends about a month ago and it was very well-received. Robert was a little hesitant because of the spinach, but I know he will come around before I make this again. At least, he better get on board in time for all of the glorious lunch dates I have planned for us in about 35 years.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Make it extra special by whipping up this casserole.




Caramelized Onion and Spinach Egg Casserole 

Yield: 8-12 servings


  • 6 cups 1-inch cubed day-old bread (I used leftover Artisan Bread)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (lengthwise)
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 12 oz fresh spinach, cleaned well
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 10 large eggs
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) sharp Swiss cheese, grated and divided
  • 2 oz (about 1 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter and oil. Add in the onions, sugar, thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Allow mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a golden brown (about 30 minutes). Add the spinach to the pan over the onions and cover the pan. Cook for 2 minutes and then start mixing the spinach into the onions with tongs. Cover the pan and cook for another minute; continuing to stir until spinach has wilted into the onion mixture. You may have to gradually add in the spinach, depending on the size of your pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. While the vegetables cool,  add the cream and milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the mustard, eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until well-beaten. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the Swiss and ¾ cup of the Parmesan cheeses.
  3. Spread the cubes of bread in a greased, 9x13in baking dish. Top the bread with the onion-spinach mixture. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the bread and onion-spinach mixture, making sure to cover all of the bread. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
  4. When you are ready to make the casserole, remove the casserole from the refrigerator to allow the dish to warm up while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the dish on a baking sheet. Bake until the casserole gets puffy and is golden brown, about 65-75 minutes. Allow the casserole to stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Source: Barely adapted from Smells Like Home 

Gingerbread Graham Crackers & Gingerbread Houses


I made a few adjustments to my favorite graham cracker recipe to make it more festive for the Christmas goodies I sent out this year. Instead of honey, I used molasses and I added in grounder ginger and cloves for a little extra spice. The result was a crispy and a little bit crunchy cookie that I will be definitely be making again.

These gingerbread graham crackers are great with coffee or they would be even more wonderful as the base for holiday-inspired s’mores- perhaps with peppermint marshmallows or Andes mints or a peppermint patty? Oh man… already brainstorming for next year! Another bonus- they’re sturdy enough to be sent in the mail and they also freeze well.

Now- onto the next topic…

Two of my favorite girlfriends and I got together to decorate gingerbread houses a few weekends ago; because, as you can see, we are wild and crazy twenty-somethings living life in the fast lane.  Jess invited Chelsea and me over to live it up and we had a fabulous afternoon listening to Christmas music and overdosing on sugary candy while we created our masterpieces.

Jess so graciously made the gingerbread framework for us. She’s an expert gingerbread builder… and a hard-core icing piper (if that’s a word?).



The key to a good gingerbread house, and a good sugar coma, is a wide variety of candy.


Chelsea and her home. Chelsea is supermodel beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, my favorite carpool buddy/navigator and she recently acquired the ability to fix a kitchen sink. This girl’s a jack of all trades. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.


Jessica: she’s outgoing,  gorgeous, fun-loving, adventurous, a hardworking go-getter, and my Broadway musical mentor. As you can see, she’s also a fabulous hostess and baker/chef. A wonderful friend, indeed.


How sweet it is to be friends with these women. They truly enrich my life and I am so very thankful for them.


Gingerbread Graham Crackers

Printable version


Yield: About 2 dozen graham crackers


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • cinnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon/3 tablespoons sugar), for sprinkling (if desired)


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the molasses and mix until combined.

2. Whisk together the flours, soda, salt, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead together into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Make the cinnamon sugar in a small bowl.

4. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a lightly-floured until about 1/8 inch thick. Use your prefered cookie cutter shape to cut out the cookies. Place them on the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart, and poke with a fork. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake another 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for 3 months.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables & Cooking with Jess

How is that for a long title?

This past weekend, Jess and Greg came over for dinner and what seems like forever since Jess and I last got together for a “Cooking with Jess” segment. What can I say, we are busy folks. But, then again, who isn’t this time of year?

As always, Jess and I had a lovely time together and the food was equally wonderful. It’s not always easy to get together and sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day, but I’m always glad when we make it happen.

The menu consisted of mostly fall-inspired foods (with the exception of Jess’s tasty strawberry daiquiri shortcakes for dessert). In addition to the scrumptious dessert, we had classic pot roast, pumpkin soup, and wheat berry salad with roasted root vegetables. I had been eyeying the wheat berry salad recipe as a possible Thanksgiving side dish for a few weeks; and, after gentle coaxing from my Aunt Khaki, decided to include it on our holiday menu.

I could think of no better occasion to give the recipe a test run than cooking with my like-minded culinary friend, Jess.

Wheat berries, also known as Farro (as Khaki so lovingly educated me), are pine nut-sized Italian whole grains that are- in my opinion-a delicious hybrid between rice and pasta. It was somewhat tricky for me to find Farro as my usual grocery store didn’t carry it. I ended up getting it at Giant Eagle in the international section after nearly giving up hope. It tastes great cold or warm and it is even better in this salad with roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Although it’s not exactly traditional, I am looking forward to adding this to the table next Thursday.

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables

Yield 6-8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups wheat berries (farro)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup  dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly grease with spray oil. Set aside.

2. Place 2 quarts water in a medium pot. Add in about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Add in the bay leaves and wheat berries. Cook until chewy and tender, about 40 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, place the chopped vegetables on the foil-lined baking sheet. Toss lightly with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

4. When the wheat berries are done cooking, drain well and place in a large bowl. Add in the olive oil,cranberries, pine nuts, goat cheese, and roasted vegetables. Stir gently to combine (the goat cheese will melt into delicious creaminess). Serve hot or cold.

Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz

Girls’ Weekend at the Lake

Two weeks ago, after months of planning in advance, five of my greatest friends and I reunited in Port Clinton at my parents’ cottage for a weekend of running through Cedar Point, staying up late, catching up, and laughing so hard I was sure I had just completed an intense ab workout. Jamie, Angie, Katie, Leah, Launa, and I have know each other since elementary school. We grew up together and became especially close in junior high and high school while we played on the same basketball team.

My mom was so excited she forgot the “e” in “welcome”

Where we’re from, basketball is a way of life and it requires intense commitment. In the spring, while our classmates were traveling south for spring break, we were setting and working towards goals for the next basketball season. During the summer, when most kids our age were cooling off at the pool and staying out late getting into trouble, we were shooting shot after shot in the gym and pushing ourselves beyond exhaustion in the weight room. When fall rolled around, while our classmates were hitting the snooze button, we were experiencing the joys of morning madness complete with seemingly endless bouts of running sprints. Needless to say we spent a lot of time together; and for a large group of teenage girls, that can often be a very bad thing. Fortunately for us, it was different. There is something very powerful about working together towards a common goal-  towards something greater than one’s seventeen year old self. We formed a lifelong bond that is unlike any I have made since graduating high school.

It’s difficult to articulate how precious this group is, but I think Launa summed it up best in an email she sent to me after we all headed home, “this weekend reminded me how special this group of girls is. It was so great to see that after all this time things were the same and yet completely different. We are all our own people… we have our own lives, our own beliefs and yet somehow in some ways we grew in the same way; and still have a crazy, fabulous time with each other.”

It’s been nearly a decade since we were hamming it up in the locker rooms together, but those memories seem to always stay fresh in my mind; especially after a great weekend with some of my favorite people in the whole wide world.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This past weekend my good friends Chelsea, Jess R., and Jess D. and I took a road trip out to Indianapolis to visit Jeff (another friend from physical therapy school) and his wife, Daphne. Daphne is a member the USA Track and Field Paralympic team and she was racing in the 100 and 200 meter events.

After we graduated last August, Jeff and Daphne moved out to Colorado so we weren’t about to miss a chance to reunite with this amazing couple. One of our favorite things to do during class was to watch what Jeff would bring in his lunch. He’s tall and thin, but eats enough food to feed a small family. My personal favorite was the day he whipped out a big bag of Doritos during lecture. The man can eat. Ironically enough, Daphne has a gluten and lactose intolerance. She’s always a good sport when there aren’t reasonable options for her, so I wanted to bring Jeff and Daphne a sweet treat they could both enjoy.

I first familiarized myself with gluten-free baking a few years ago when we hosted a dinner party that Jeff and Daphne were attending. However, I felt (and feel) very out of my element and a little intimidated with this type of baking. Especially since I can’t gauge whether or not it tastes like it should.

I found this recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from Alton Brown and I knew it had to be good coming from him. The only thing I changed was that I omitted Xanthan gum from the recipe. It was pretty pricey for a small amount and I did a little research and found that other gluten-free bakers have often left it out of recipes with positive results.

I was really happy with the end product. The texture is just slightly different, but Robert and the Jesses both gave the cookies a good review. I haven’t heard the final verdict from Daphne yet (she couldn’t eat any until after her race), but I think the report will be a good one!

Have a great week, everyone. We love you, Daphne!

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies


  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 11 ounces brown rice flour (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 ounces cornstarch (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2-ounce tapioca flour (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces sugar (about 1/4 cup)
  • 10 ounces light brown sugar (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Turn the mixer down to low and carefully add in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and mix until well-combined, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir until well-incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

3. Pour the dough out onto plastic wrap, form it into a ball, and wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or overnight.

4. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the dough into 2 ounce balls (about the size of a golf ball) and place on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet (6-8 balls of dough per sheet). Bake for 14 minutes, rotating halfway to ensure even baking.

5. Remove from oven and place the sheet on a cooling rack for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies directly onto the racks. Enjoy!

Source: Barely adapted from Alton Brown

Jonah and Kate

This past weekend our friends from college, Jonah and Kate, were united in marriage in a beautiful ceremony. Their reception took place in a gorgeous screened in pavilion. The flowers, the table setting, the decorations, the food- it was all positively fabulous. Kate’s attention to detail resulted in a beautiful rustic and elegant party that is at the top of my list for the best wedding we have ever attended.

She, along with her bridesmaids and family, made these beautiful banners that labeled various parts of the reception…

She used the window of an old door as the seating chart…

The table settings and favors (herbs and honey) belonged in Martha Stewart magazine…

Another adorable feature is the pot of sparklers they had that we lit up at the end of the party to send the bride and groom away on their honeymoon…

Without a doubt, though, my favorite part of the reception was the dessert table. It was a glorious spread of cake and cupcakes and Kate and Jonah’s favorite treats. Kate asked me to make the chocolate orange cookies I made this past Christmas. I was thrilled to help!

Congratulations, Kate and Jonah! May you have love that never ends.

Chelsea’s Bridal Shower

(photo courtesy of Joanne)

Last weekend I helped throw a bridal shower for one of my very dearest friends, Chelsea. Chelsea and I met while in grad school and became very close on our carpools to and from class. She is one of the hardest working, most beautiful people I know and I am so honored to be part of her upcoming wedding in Maui this July.

Because the wedding will be in Hawaii and because Chelsea adores brunch, her sister (Lela) and I came up with a Hawaiian brunch theme. We threw the shower at the clubhouse where Chelsea lives and we had about 20 guests attend on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon.

The menu included:

  • Mini Crab and Asiago quiche
  • Mini Asparagus and Gruyere quiche
  • Bacon
  • Herbed Breakfast Potatoes
  • Assorted breads from Great Harvest
  • Tropical Fruit Salad
  • Mini Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
  • Hawaiian Sunrise Granola
  • Passion Fruit Cream Puffs
  • Pineapple Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
  • The Chelsea Cocktail (sparkling wine, Chambord, pineapple juice, mango passion fruit juice)
  • Coffee, tea, and juice

Favors: Macadamia Nut Shortbread, Pineapple Strawberry Jame

The spread (photo courtesy of Joanne)

I made menu cards to go with cardstock and Martha Stewart stickers (photo courtesy of Joanne).

Linda’s beautiful fruit salad (photo courtesy of Joanne).

I borrowed mini parfait glasses from my friend, Jess, for the yogurt. I love the look of individual servings with these cute cups (photo courtesy of Joanne).

Aunt Khaki gave me the idea of using freeze-dried passion fruit powder to add a Hawaiian punch to the cream puffs . This was probably my favorite menu item (photo courtesy of Joanne).

Robert helped me make a homemade cupcake tower (idea from Annie’s Eats). The orange royal icing flowers were from my friend Jess’s previous cake endeavor and made a great cupcake garnish (photo courtesy of Joanne).

The gorgeous bride-to-be and her namesake cocktail. Seriously, she is supermodel beautiful.

Favors include macadamia nut shortbread and homemade pineapple-strawberry jam (photos courtesy of Joanne).

Joanne made this pretty floral centerpiece- it looked just like a real cake!

Game leader and sister extraordinaire, Lela.

(photo courtesy of Joanne)

Colin (son of Chelsea’s coworker) is the cutest, most well-mannered three year old I have ever met. What a charmer! How could you say no to that face?

Congratulations, Chelsea! We love you. You will be a stunning Hawaiian bride (photo courtesy of Joanne).

Cooking with Jess

It’s been awhile since my friend Jess and I have gotten together to cook. Jess and her husband, Greg, are getting ready to move into a new house and they are currently in the process of emptying out their kitchen. It just so happened that Jess had a frozen turkey in her freezer that she hasn’t had the chance to make, so she invited us over for sort of a spring-focused thanksgiving.

On the menu was turkey (of course), carrot soup, oven-roasted asparagus, sauteed sweet potatoes, rosemary and olive oil bread, chocolate stout cake, and a fresh strawberry tart. It was all very delicious, but my favorite dish was the carrot soup. Jess found it in a spring Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and it was surprisingly scrumptious and easy to make. With minimal ingredients, the soup is a perfect meal for spring. And it makes super leftovers. The recipe is below.

Thanks to Jessica for another great meal.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Fresh Cream of Carrot Soup
Yield: 6-8 side servings
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • Salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add flour and cook, stirring for about a minute.
  3. Add broth and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add carrots and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree until the soup is a uniform and smooth texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a blender in smaller batches and blend until smooth.
  6. Add milk or cream and heat over medium until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Barely adapted from Martha Stewart

Snow Skiing and Ho Ho Cake

This past weekend, Robert and I went skiing with a group of friends in Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania. We stayed in a house on the resort and spent 2 days skiing and enjoying being snowed in. The weather was cold. And since we have had a freakishly warm winter thus far, it took a little getting used to. Luckily, we packed enough clothes and we had tons of fun skiing, even if we could barely walk by the end of the trip. When we weren’t skiing, we played games, watched movies, and ate (skiing burns a lot of calories, right?).

It also happened to be Stacy’s 25th birthday and I made a ho ho cake to help celebrate. A ho ho cake is pretty much just like it sounds- chocolate cake, cream filling, and chocolate glaze. I added chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries for a simple and feminine decoration. The end result was very rich and decadent dessert that isn’t appropriate for non-chocolate lovers. 🙂

We had a really fun weekend and I can’t wait to go skiing again. I guess I’ll go ahead and say it, bring on the snow!

This masked man also happens to be my husband

A beautifully sunny day for skiing

This picture was captured after they were all forced to hug

Warming his tootsies

Token “hot chocolate by the fire” shot

Ho Ho Cake


For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons milk

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

For the ganache:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature


For the glaze:

For glaze, melt butter and cocoa in a small saucepan. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over top of cake, allowing some to drape down the sides.

For the filling:

In a small saucepan, combine flour and milk until smooth; stir in 1/3 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a large bowl; cool. Beat in the butter, vanilla, salt and remaining sugar until smooth. Spread between cake layers.

For the ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until a smooth, thick ganache is formed.  Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.  Let the ganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping.

Carefully cut each 9 inch round in half. Spread the filling between each layer. Top with glaze. Let harden and then pipe on ganache. Top with raspberries if desired.

Source: Filling and glaze- adapted from Taste of Home; Ganache- Annie’s Eats