I’ve had it on my list for years, along with printing pictures of my kids, to work on a really good vanilla cake. A simple yet delicious vanilla cake that comes together easily with a tight sturdy crumb, maybe even skirting the line of dense. A vanilla cake that comes together from the humble remnants of the pantry yet yields something memorable and flavorful. This vanilla cake is that, thanks to the simple reverse creaming method. It’s reliably good every time, even when you run out of all-purpose flour and have to swap in a little whole wheat pastry flour. I can attest. Read more
Raise your glass! After a couple years of dreaming and working and fretting, The Minne Stuga is finished (mostly) and open for rental. Getting there, to the finish line, was one of the harder things we’ve done. In the thick of it, I kept recalling a board book we often read Hal and now Linnie—Going on a Bear Hunt. “We can’t go over it,” they say at the sight of every obstacle. “We can’t go under it. Oh no, we’ve got to go through it. Stumble trip! Stumble trip!” Those words turned into wisdom because, after so many obstacles during this project, I wanted out. I couldn’t see a way through the fog and the brush and the mud and all the details I’ll leave offline. But, as Adele says—hello from the other side. I’m still a little disoriented, but I think we’ve made it through. Either way, let’s cheers with a Northern Sidecar. Read more
Hello? Hi! Is this thing on? It’s me. Melissa. I’m still here, over on the other side of the screen. I just haven’t been here, at my desk, pecking away at the old dirty keyboard like usual. I’ve been everywhere else—up and down the north shore and back again, to the doctors, to the vintage store, back to the doctors, to Target and Target and Target. I wish I could write that we’ve been living our best summer, tending to the tiny garden, relaxing and splashing, and going on summer adventures, but… Read more
When I take Hal to swimming lessons, Mr. Noah always asks, “What’s your favorite ice cream.” (He teaches them to swim by scooping ice cream through the water.) Hal always responds with, “Vanilla.” And Mr. Noah always waits, even after the vanilla proclamation, expecting a new ice cream flavor. A less, you know, vanilla flavor. No, not from this family. We love a good old-fashioned homemade vanilla ice cream. One that’s creamy and super scoopable straight out of the freezer with no trace of ice. That’s this recipe. Read more
I can’t think about one thing, without thinking about everything. My brain is wired for systems, which makes things super efficient once a system is in place and ultra inefficient when not (which is most of life). So naturally, while designing The Minne Stuga, I’ve been thinking about a packable pancake mix that you can prep ahead of time so that you don’t have to lug a bag of flour in your suitcase. Naturally. Ha. Those two are not mutually exclusive in a normal brain. But alas, I don’t have one of those. So I give you a fluffy multigrain pancake mix that’s packable, cakey, filling, and so delicious. They’re best on vacation. Or at home. Or around the campfire. Read more
A pack of muffin liners and permanently lemon-laced taste buds and a can of baking powder later, I think I’ve finally perfected these healthyish lemon poppy seed muffins that take me back to Saturday mornings and oversized t-shirts and freckled noses and boxed muffin mix. Mini lemon poppy seed muffins were our favorite growing up. These aren’t so mini, but I’ve made sure they’re composed of all of my favorite parts of those muffins—tender yet dense, bright in flavor, good out of the oven, and even better the next day.
I’m back in the saddle, the quick and ready-in-under-30-minute, pantry-friendly, dinner-making saddle. You know, the as-few-pots-and-pans and as-much-flavor-as-possible saddle. The use-up-every-ingredient-in-the-fridge saddle. Which is how I landed on this recipe for Pantry-Friendly Thai Red Curry, to use up the little bottle of Thai Red Curry paste that often sits idle yet lasts forever on the condiment shelf of the fridge. That, and to use the last hunk of broccoli and the loyal green bell pepper patiently waiting to be consumed. It’s quick, ready in under 30 minutes, and tastes almost as good as my favorite takeout Thai Red Curry from down the street. Almost. Read more
I’m not sure how to be online right now and hold space for everything in the periphery, which is taking up the little, foggy, postpartum brain space I have left, and filling every offline conversation with friends and family. Recipes feel trite and yet we still eat. This 15 minute Lightened Up Pasta al Limone has saved us once or twice lately. My words sound hollow and yet I still jot thoughts in the Notes app and on here, mostly little poems, if you can even call them that. There’s one titled “The Moon Still Hangs and So Does My Empty Stomach,” a hopeful poem written on an early dark New Years’ morning with a headache from only drinking half of a Cosmo. Read more