Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust





It’s a rare Sunday when I’m actually human enough to have a proper brunch before noon.  Beyond the mandatory sleeping in portion of Sundays, I also have to lay in bed scrolling through my phone, drink a cup of coffee, and snuggle my dog on the floor for thirty minutes all before putting on my face and some real pants.  Luckily, I think Sundays always feel like morning until it starts to get dark and the anxiety of the next work day looms over me.  So, brunch usually happens anywhere between 12:30 and 3 in the afternoon which means I get to sleep in and skip all the Sunday-brunch crowds.  Win-win!

On the off chance that I have my shit together before noon on a Sunday and don’t think I can handle the weekend brunch crowds, I make breakfast at home and eat while cuddled up on the couch watching Friends for the hundredth time.  Usually, it’s just a bagel or cheesy eggs + lots lots lots of coffee.  However, every once in a while I will have my shit so together that I even have ingredients at home for a fancy brunch!  Those are few and far between, but they are sometimes totally real and make me feel like an actual grown up.

I think I would like to make it a new goal to get up at least one Sunday a month and have a fancy brunch.  Maybe I’ll even get into doing yoga on Sundays?!  Would that make me an overachiever?  It sounds a little meta….





This past week(end), I had probably the worst cold of my life.  I felt like one of those wavy inflatable tubemen, but instead of being filled with air, I was actually filled with mud and also I was at the bottom of a swamp.  I practically drowned myself in cough medicine and Gatorade, and I ate whatever I wanted since I was feeling sorry for myself.  After watching approximately 200 episodes of The Office, I finally peeled myself off the couch and managed to get out of the house long enough to get some good coffee.  Also, I’m sending many blessings to past Sara, because when I opened my freezer, I had some of these mini galettes wrapped up!  (Ugh, past Sara can be a real MVP sometimes).  Since it was the first warm day we’ve had in ages, I swigged some Dayquil and enjoyed these galettes with plenty of fresh coffee at our local arboretum.

These galettes are super easy and a fun play on the French croque madame.  When I was in France this past summer, I was utterly obsessed with croque madames and ham and cheese baguettes.  Why is it that the French can make a ham and cheese sandwich so amazing and mine taste like they came out of a vending machine?  Anyways, I decided to take these ingredients and combine them with another one of my favorite French treats – the galette.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m totally obsessed with galettes, so it was about time that I made a savory version.

Oh, and I put everything bagel spice on the crust, because I pretty much want everything bagel spice on everything in my whole life.


Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust
Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings


2 – 9 in. pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
1/4 c. dijon mustard
8 oz. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. swiss cheese, sliced or shredded
5 eggs
1/4 c. everything bagel spice*
Sliced chives, for topping

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Divide pie dough into 4 equal parts, and roll them out until they are about 6 inches in diameter.  Spread 1 Tbs. of dijon in the middle of each crust.  Place 2 oz. of ham and 2 slices of swiss (or 3 Tbs. shredded) in the middle of each crust.  Fold the crust edges over.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since they are supposed to be rustic!

Mix 1 of the eggs with about 1 Tbs. of water.  Brush each of the crusts with the egg wash, and sprinkle each galette with 1 Tbs. of everything bagel spice.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven, and break 1 egg over the top of each galette.  Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still fairly runny.

Sprinkle each galette with the chives and serve!


*To freeze, wrap each galette in tinfoil and store in an airtight container in the freezer.  To reheat, throw the wrapped galette in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes.
*I have a jar of everything bagel spice in my cabinet, but if you’re not one of those people, you can mix together 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. dried garlic, and 1 Tbs. dried onion together.  Sometimes, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds for fun!


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Heart in a Cage by The Strokes

Black Sesame + Blood Orange Pound Cake




I have this new hobby now where I come home on Friday night and immediately start baking.  Gone are my college days where Fridays meant getting excited about actually going out in public.  Now, I just want to make some brownies, eat Chinese takeout, and try to stay awake until 11 p.m.  While I can firmly say I would not trade working full-time for studying until midnight or being the only participant on “team projects” anymore, I also 10/10 understand why adults don’t do things.  At best, I can mentally prepare myself to go out on a Saturday night after a proper day of sleeping in and lounging around the house.  On the other hand, I have extreme FOMO, so if you offer something really tempting, I’ll probably down a few cups of coffee and make myself socialize.  But only if I can bring my dog.

One of the most stressful things of late has been deciding what I actually want to bake on these Friday nights, because if you see my “Recipes to Try” list, it’s as long as the Game of Thrones books.  Granted, not all of it is baked goods, some are cocktails which actually would be the perfect for Friday-night recipe developing, and a lot are rando health-foods that are not acceptable for Fridays.  But the baked goods list is long and arduous, and when I have to spend three weekends developing a cake, I get sad 😦  Mostly because it means I have nothing to share for a weekend, but also because it means no cake for that weekend!




For example, this cake took me three fing times to figure out.  THREE.  And ok, I know that’s typical, if not modest, in recipe development world, but I’ve made cakes similar to this formula literally hundreds of times, so for it to not work three different times was appalling.  As a person who considers herself an experienced baker, I was fairly offended about screwing up such a simple cake and felt like I had to prove myself worthy to baked goods.  And although my salty-af first attempt inspired me to write a fairly impressive Vday-inspired caption, I also just really wanted this cake to work out some way or another, because black sesame + blood orange = 😍

In a perfect world, this cake would have been ready in time for Vday, because I don’t think it’s a coincidence that blood orange season is right around Valentine’s Day.  That’s just way too damn convenient.  However, I’m kind of fine that it didn’t end up working out that way, because the first batch of blood oranges I bought for this recipe were so-so, and the last batch I bought were unreeeeaaaaaal.  They were the most beautiful color, and their frangrance made my whole kitchen smell like it had just been professionally cleaned, although I can guarantee that wasn’t the case.  I think blood oranges are so underappreciated, because like, besides their ruby-red hue, they are so sweet and floral.  Maybe we should be adding lavender to this cake instead of sesame?

However, I really liked how the sweetness of the blood oranges meshed with the earthiness of the sesame seeds.  This color combo is perfection, and I liked the polka-dot look of the cake itself.  I’m putting black sesames on everything from now on thankyouverymuch.

A few notes about this recipe before we get into things:

  • Citrus is already somewhat salty, so it’s important to be stingy with the salt.  My first two attempts at this cake were soooo salty (for various reasons, but still).
  • Whip the butter, sugar, and eggs for much longer than you believe to be necessary.
  • Definitely don’t over-bake this cake.  Since it’s pound cake, it doesn’t use moisturizers like oil, so it’ll get dry if you wait too long.
  • Use aluminum-free baking powder, or the metallic taste will be very present in this recipe.
  • Use a higher-quality powdered sugar for the glaze.  Since the glaze is almost exclusively powdered sugar, you will notice any chalky tastes and textures found in cheaper versions.
  • Oh, and one more thing!  These do great baked in mini loaf pans, but make sure to butter the bejeezus out of the pan, or they will come out as little hot messes like mine did (see below).  However, if yours do come out that way, trash them up with extra glaze and maybe a little sprinkles, and you’ll be A-ok.  I highly recommend this method, because baking mini loaf cakes means extras for the freezer, and they are the best way to eat cake for breakfast in a socially acceptable way!! #science


Black Sesame + Blood Orange Pound Cake
Serves 12

Ingredients for the cake

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. blood orange zest
3 c. flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
2 Tbs. black sesame seeds

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.  Heat oven to 350* F.

Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar until it’s very incorporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly until the butter mixture is very light and fluffy, about another 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and blood orange zest.

Stir in half of the flour and half of the milk until just mixed.  Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.  Stir in the black sesame seeds.

Pour batter into a buttered and floured bundt cake pan.  Bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Flip it onto a cooling rack and let it cool before glazing.

Ingredients for glaze

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 c. blood orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Milk, as needed

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, blood orange juice, and vanilla extract.  Mix in milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  If the glaze gets too thin, add more powdered sugar a couple Tablespoons at a time.

Pour glaze over cake.  Sprinkle with black sesame seeds!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Become the Warm Jets by Current Joys


White Pizza with Sausage + Garlicky Kale + Lemon





I have a confession: I’m not a huge “pizza person”.  And because of this, I get constant shit from every human on the planet, because apparently I am part of a small majority that doesn’t lose their mind over pizza.  I, of course, love a good pizza when I am in the mood for it, but the rest of the time, I’ll happily choose tacos or Thai food instead.  However, I do have a fave pizza place in Reno that makes me jalapeno + cheese pizza without judgement, and as a rule, this particular pizza must be eaten with a draft beer, absurd amounts of ranch, and the leftover crust must be dipped in honey.

(On a side note, do people in other parts of the world dip their crust in honey, or is that just a Reno thing???)

And while pizza is not my absolute favorite food, I do feel passionate about dough + cheese, and I’ve been loving experimenting with pizza flavors at home lately.  On some Fridays, I will come home, pull out all the leftover ingredients from the week, chop up tons of fresh mozz, and pop a bottle of wine while the perfect combination of crust puffing and cheese bubbling occurs in my oven.  I almost always go out for dinner on Fridays, but if for some reason I’m really in the mood to cook after work, it’s almost always some version of pizza.  There’s something so calming about coming home, chopping up some veggies, and making a quick, delicious dinner.

And, if I really need pizza without the effort, I always have my trusty jalapeno-special ¯\_(ツ)_/¯




Yesterday, we had probably our craziest snow of the season (yes, in late February, ugh come ooooon Reno).  I was at my parents’ house after shopping with my mom, and this blizzard just started out of nowhere.  It looked like a snow globe and made me need Christmas all over again.  However, since I can’t redo Christmas, I went for the next best comforting winter activity which is obviously cooking and watching British TV.  So, while the snow flurries drifted down outside my window, I threw together this recipe and cozied up on the couch watching Lovesick.  These ingredients are a perfect mix of flavors – the kale gets so crispy and garlicky in the oven, sausage adds a little sweetness, there’s lemon for tartness, and of course, I added a simple bechamel and mozzarella for a creamy component.  At the end, I like to add pine nuts to give it an earthy flavor (and also because I’m obsessed with pine nuts, they’re so good 😛).  I like to sprinkle a ton of red pepper flakes on top of my pizza, but of course, you can leave those off if you don’t like spice!  Lastly, the sauce is fairly creamy, especially when combined with the cheese.  If you prefer a lighter, almost flatbread-style pizza, I would just brush the crust with olive oil and put the toppings on sans white sauce.  In fact, it sounds rather amazing, and I think that will be my approach next time!

White Pizza with Sausage + Garlicky Kale + Lemon
Serves 4

Ingredients for the white sauce

1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the flour, stirring until no clumps remain.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Slowly whisk in milk, bringing it to a boil and cooking for a couple of minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for the pizza

1 lb. pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
White sauce (recipe above)
2 links of sweet sausage, casings removed
2 c. kale, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and quartered
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbs. pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425* F.  Roll out pizza dough to 1/8 inch thickness and place on a baking sheet.  Brush with 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink.  Meanwhile, toss the kale, remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl – set aside.  Drain the sausage, and discard the fat.  Set sausage aside.

Spread the white sauce over the pizza dough.  Sprinkle sausage and mozzarella over the sauce.  Spread the kale and lemon slices over the pizza.  Season with red pepper flakes.

Place the pizza in the oven for 16-20 minutes.  When finished, the crust should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly.

When the pizza is cooked through, sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.  Serve with additional pepper flakes and parmesan, if desired.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day* – Big Sis by SALES

Orange Liqueur Cupcakes + Marzipan Buttercream




In high school, I went to a baking and pastry high school and to make a little extra money, I would sell homemade cupcakes.  Some of my bigger projects were for weddings and bridal showers, and I also did smaller events like 9 year old’s birthday parties.  I actually won third place next to a bunch of professional pastry chefs at a couple of competitions, which was my crowning achievement at the time.  I was famously known for my marshmallow buttercream that people used to call “crack frosting”.  Obviously I lived that rockstar life back in the glory days of my youth.

Honestly though, going to my high school taught me invaluable lessons about food and the melding of flavors.  It helped me land my first job in the industry that eventually led me to my coffee-career and love for food blogging.  In a way, it was kind of like a weird, food version of Glee, but I got to do cool things like meet Vic Vegas and work in a bunch of kitchens in the casinos on the Strip.  I think going to my high school gave me the confidence to actually start this food blog like, almost 6 years ago?!  And luckily, I’ve come a long way since my first post, because *wow* I did not know how blogs worked 😬  I still have memories of having a mental breakdown, because I couldn’t figure out how to make an “About Me” page.  I’m still not quite sure why I couldn’t just have a Tumblr page like every other 16 year old in the early 2010s.



I haven’t been making cupcakes “professionally” for a while, but of course, I still love to bake, especially now that I’ve gotten more adventurous with my flavor profile.  So when a few weeks ago (well, before Christmas) Molly Yeh posted a recipe for marzipan buttercream, I diiiiiied.  Marzipan buttercream is everything I dream about.  Plus anytime I make anything with almonds, I immediately have the instinct to shove oranges in there somehow.  And (!) since I’m not still in high school, I added orange liqueur, because boozy cupcakes = the best cupcakes.

This recipe is adapted for high altitude, because as I’ve mentioned in the past, for some reason I have to use high-altitude recipes for cakes and nothing else ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I’ve been celebrating extra hard, because I *finally* figured out how to adapt my fave cupcake recipe to high-altitude almost five years after moving to Reno!!  If you need me, I will be celebrating with extra orange liqueur.

Orange Liqueur Cupcakes + Marzipan Buttercream
Makes about 16 cupcakes


1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar*
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
1 tsp. orange zest
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. flavorless oil
3/4 c. whole milk**

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Preheat oven to 375* F***.

Beat the butter and sugar together until thoroughly mixed.  It will likely remain grainy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing completely.  Add the vanilla extract, orange liqueur, and orange zest.  Stir in the buttermilk and oil.

Mix in half of the flour mixture and half of the whole milk.  Repeat with the remaining flour mix and milk, stirring just until combined.

Using a scoop, fill cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way with batter.  Bake, checking for doneness at 15-18 minutes.  Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick has a few crumbs stuck to it.

Let cool and frost with Molly Yeh’s marzipan buttercream (1/2 recipe).  Top with sprinkles!!

*use 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder for sea-level
**use 2/3 c. whole milk for sea-level
***bake at 350* F for sea-level

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Misty Morning by Travis Bretzer


Beef + Porter Chili with Cornbread Dumplings




Over the past week, I had a new, nagging conundrum stuck in my head that kept me awake at night, and that conundrum was how I was going to make chili look sexy.  It’s a real Catch 22 folks, and after a lot of research, Pinteresting, and going through Bon Appetit’s archives, I came to the conclusion that it can’t be done.  However, don’t even worry, because at the very least, chili can be made to look at least presentable, and dare I say, appetizing (?), even if you have to cover it with lots of cheese and cornbread and bright jalapenos.  ALSO, I think that Superbowl may be coming up which means I actually posted a holiday-appropriate recipe before said holiday occurred?!?  *wow*

The original plan was to make this recipe last weekend, but then I unexpectedly came down with this strange, 24-hour flu that kept me in bed all of last Sunday.  I think it worked out though, because not only was my recipe far better developed over the week, but it finally got cold in Reno, and chili was the answer!  The clouds came out and made some perfect lighting for taking photos.  It was so nice.  I wish I could have cloudy days for photo-taking every week.  It didn’t snow all that much in Reno itself, which is kind of a bummer, because I love when the city looks like a snow globe.  But at the very least, it actually kind of feels like winter, and I may even have to wake up a little earlier tomorrow to scrape frost off my car windows!  Imagine that.  The lower temperatures made for some excellent cozying-up weather that forced me to lay on my couch eating pizza and watching Skin Wars most of yesterday and today, so I’d say I had a pretty kick-ass weekend.  Is anyone else here really obsessed with Skin Wars and willing to admit it so that I don’t feel like a garbage person for watching almost an entire season this weekend??  Pls?





Part of the problem I’ve found with living in colder temperatures is the resistance to want to do anything outside, even if it’s just taking a walk or going to get coffee.  On one hand, I get super stir-crazy and a little frustrated at myself for not being able to achieve the motivation to make it to the grocery store, but on the other hand, it helps me develop some really excellent recipes that actually get made in real life and not just in my head.  This chili felt weird to make, because I always use my mom’s chili recipe, which is so easy and can be made with either ground beef or turkey depending on my mood.  Making a different recipe almost felt like I was cheating, and I just couldn’t get over that I was making chili without tomato sauce in it.  However, when my cousins gave me some of their coarse-ground beef, I knew I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try a new recipe and maybe throw some beer in there for good measure.  So I did.  And it was great.  And there’s dumplings in it!!!

Beef + Porter Chili with Cornbread Dumplings
Serves 4-6


for the dumplings:

1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. stoneground cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1 c. corn

for the chili:

2 Tbs. flavorless oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 lb. coarse ground beef
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 15.5 oz. can beef broth
1 15.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 12 oz. bottle Porter, or other dark beer
6 oz. tomato paste
1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas
1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2-3 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
A few turns of black pepper
Salt, to taste

Cheddar cheese, extra jalapenos, scallions, cilantro, sour cream, etc. for topping!

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the milk and butter.  Mix in the eggs until just incorporated, and stir in the cheese and corn.  Set aside, and heat the oven to 350* F.

In a large, wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and jalapeno, stirring until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the beef, breaking it up with a spoon until no longer pink.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the beef broth, tomatoes, Porter, tomato paste, beans, and all of the spices.  Bring it to a gentle simmer, and remove the chili from the heat.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop the cornbread batter around the top of the chili until there are 6 dumplings (you may have a little bit of leftover batter than can be baked up).  Place the chili in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cornbread is set.

Ladle the chili and cornbread dumplings into bowls.  Top with cheddar cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, or your other favorite toppings.

*Notes about this recipe*

  • This recipe is best eaten day-of.  Like most dumplings, the cornbread tends to fall apart in the fridge.  I personally like the texture of cornbread mixed in my chili, but if you do not, I recommend baking the cornbread separately in a 8×8 pan at 350*F for about 25 minutes and placing the cornbread on top.
  • I find that coarse-ground beef has a similar texture to stew meat.  If you cannot find coarse-ground beef, I would recommend using stew beef, although regular ground beef would also be delicious.
  • I used 1 Tbs. (3 tsp.) of cumin in my chili.  However, I would start at 2 tsp. and add more as necessary depending on your preferences.
  • If you don’t want to use beer, just use another can of beef broth!


This chili was made using Sanford Ranch Beef, a ranch in Northern Nevada that raises all-natural, pasture-fed, hormone-free cows!  Their meat is affordable, healthy, high-quality, and I definitely recommend them if you live in Northern-Nevada.  Check them out here or on Facebook!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: For You by SALES


Pistachio Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)




I’m just going to start off this entire post with the disclaimer that this recipe for zimtsterne is absolutely not traditional.  I’ve been known around these parts to bastardize traditional recipes, such as when I baked a “New York” cheesecake with mascarpone + amaretto or when I made tater tot poutine.  And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the internet, it’s that people get actually upset when you don’t make a recipe exactly like their recipe.  It’s the precise reason that I probably will never post a recipe for goulash or huevos rancheros, and why I keep disclaimers on these posts in the first place.  But I digress…this is about cookies.

Ever since I went to Germany, I’ve been obsessed with Germany.  Like, all I think of is Five Elephant and eating schnitzel with fries + mayo.  And then yesterday, I went to a local bakery in town, Bavarian World, and honest to god it’s probably one of my favorite places in Reno.  On one side, there’s a bakery/market that has absolutely the best baklava and pretzel rolls, and pecan cakes.  And then on the other side is a restaurant that I’ve never eaten at, but I have secret dreams of going on a date there Fast Times at Ridgemont High style.  While I was in line waiting to buy my pretzel rolls and roast beef for Christmas-day lunch, I saw a package of zimtsterne, a star-shaped cinnamon cookie,  which I had never heard of before, but then I got really excited (!!!) because I literally stayed up the night before trying to think of a cookie I could make with pistachios.  And even though zimtsterne is usually made with almonds, I am having a love affair with pistachios almost always, so I figured I could add those too.  Yay Bavarian World!!!





This past week, I’ve had approximately three or four different Christmas parties to attend, and I am partied tf out.  I have spent two too many mornings hugging a Gatorade and popping Ibeuprofen for my headache after an evening of Moscow Mules and late-night tacos.  Which is why I spent my Friday night listening to She & Him Christmas albums and making this cookie dough.  And it was perfect, because it has to chill for at least a few hours, and it was perfectly chilly by the time I woke up to bake them this morning!  Traditionally these cookies are made with a meringue, but there are two ways you can go about things:

1. If you’re a sinner, you can just add the egg whites straight to the dough (hi), which yields a denser, chewier cookie.

2. If you’re a traditionalist, you can whip up a meringue and fold the nut mixture into the meringue which will result in a cookie reminiscent of a macaron.

Out of sheer laziness, and because the last time I whipped egg whites ended in an epic failure, I went with the “adding the egg whites” option, and I love that the texture is somewhat biscuit-y and chewy.  However, next time I’m going to try it the meringue way, because I also love airy cookies.

Now, if I can just somehow get myself back to Germany ASAP I promise to try real-life, traditional, Christmasy zimtsterne.  Scout’s honor.




Pistachio Zimtsterne
Makes 28 two-inch cookies


100 g ground, unsalted pistachios (about 1 c. whole)
200 g ground, unsalted almonds (about 2 c. whole)
100 g (about 1/2 c.) powdered sugar
50 g (1/3 c.) flour
2.5 g (1 tsp.) cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 orange
4.2 g (1 tsp.) vanilla extract
2 egg whites


200 g (about 1 c.) powdered sugar
30 g (2 Tbs.) orange juice
30 g (2 Tbs.) milk
2 g (1/2 tsp.) vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine pistachios and almonds.  Pulse until they are finely ground, but be careful not to grind them too much, or they’ll turn into a nut butter!  In a bowl, combine the ground nuts, powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon, and orange zest.  Stir in the vanilla extract and egg whites until a crumbly dough forms*.  Using your hands, knead until everything is mixed together and the dough forms.  Flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill at least an hour, but you can make it up to 2 days in advance.

Preheat oven to 350* F (170* C).  After the dough has chilled, roll it on a powdered-sugar surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out about 28 cookies, re-rolling as necessary.  I like to dip the cookie cutter in powdered sugar before cutting, because it prevents sticking.  Line on a greased baking sheet.  They can be pretty close together, because they don’t puff up much.  Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned.  Let cool completely.

*Alternatively, for airy cookies, you can whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, add the vanilla, and finish the recipe as directed.

While the cookies are baking, combine the remaining powdered sugar with the orange juice, milk, and vanilla.  I start with 1 Tbs. each of orange juice and milk and add more liquid to get my desired consistency of icing.  After the cookies have cooled, dip each one in the glaze.  Add sprinkles if desired!  Let harden, and keep stored in tupperware.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by She & Him


Beef + Vegetable + Wild Rice Stew (Revisited)



A few years ago when I was in college, I worked at a restaurant called The Cheeseboard, which makes the best soups and my all-time favorite grilled cheese sandwich.  When I worked there, we would essentially just make a giant pot of soup with whatever we had laying in the fridge.  Some of my favorites included our potato soup which I would top with absurd amounts of cheddar and the tomato soup with I would obviously pair with the grilled cheese.  One time, the chef made a stew with beef, wild rice, and all kinds of vegetables, and it was one of the best beef stews I ever done had.  It also happened to be one of the days that I didn’t help make the soup, and I had no idea what he did, AND to top it all off, he never used recipes.  SO I decided to make my own version, and I wrote a post about it, and it was good, but it wasn’t one of the best stews I ever had.  After that, I pretty much just forgot about beef soup until approximately one week ago when I found a package of stew meat in my freezer.

After a few years of learning more about food, and re-reading my original beef + wild rice stew recipe, I realized I had done some cooking techniques that made little sense, and the ingredients were a little off for my tastes (3 years will do that to you I guess?).  So I decided to remake the recipe with some different ingredients and some updated techniques, and I have to say, I think this maybe is one of the best beef stews I’ve ever had.  Yay!!



For starters, I learned that a good quality stew meat + broth makes a big difference in taste!  I used stew meat from Sanford Ranch Beef which my cousins own, but you can use whatever good-quality meat you can find.  Also, try to find a nice wild rice mix without any added seasonings or preservatives – those will affect the overall flavor of the soup.  For veggies, I use a mire poix with some squash, but next time I may add turnips or leeks!  Basically, whatever you have in the fridge.  Also, I serve the stew with either a mixed salad or charred broccoli and fresh, crusty whole-wheat bread!

The stew lasts well in the fridge and can even taste better after a few days.  The rice usually soaks up some of the broth, so try to have extra on hand for leftovers!!



Beef + Wild Rice + Vegetable Stew
Serves 4


3 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. red wine
4-6 c. low-sodium beef broth*
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. marjoram or thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot sauce or cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. wild rice
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 zucchini, diced

In a large soup pot, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and brown on all sides for a few minutes.  Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and set aside.  If necessary, add the remaining oil and saute the carrots, celery, and onion cooking until soft.  Add garlic, and let it cook until fragrant.

Lower the heat, and deglaze the pan with the red wine.  Stir and let it cook for a few minutes.  Add the beef broth, bay leaf, marjoram (or thyme), parsley, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the wild rice and cover the pot with a lid.  Simmer the stew for about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.

When the rice is cooked, add the peas and zucchini.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender.  Serve with lots of crusty bread!

*I used 4 cups of broth which made a very thick stew.  The rice soaked it all up for leftovers, so I had to add more liquid.  If you like a brothy stew, add 6 cups!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle & Sebastian