Birthday Pretties

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So I’m a year older now 🙂 
And I happened to have the most lovely dusting of birthday snow (I always hope for just a light powdered-sugar snow!)
to add to the blue skies!
As usual, I’m such a fan of birthdays and simply MUST dress like a confection of some sort as evinced by years past:
see here, here, here and here! I call this my “birthday skirt” because I have worn it for many birthdays!
Of course, if I am dressing like a macaron or cupcake or some such delicious baked good, I have to have my “frosting hair”
as I call my swirly bun, this time accented with a rosette ribbon headband.
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Candy pink lipstick, cozy collar, and wind-blown hair! It was so windy the power was out until 2pm!

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Sprinkle cookies (recipe from Averie Cooks) were in order, of course! Delicious and these taste just like funfetti cake!
But cookies are no substitute for a proper birthday cake, and this year I tried piping ombre pink rosettes
(3 colors of pink frosting, though it’s hard to tell since this picture was taken at night): 
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Harder than it looks to pipe these delicate flowers! But SO PRETTY!
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3 layers of white cake inside, though I think I should combine the rosettes with the ombre green inside I made a few years ago, yes?!
Little goodies popped in throughout the day: this lovely sparkly Zoya nail polish from the boyfriend, and this
Audrey bag and pearl bracelet from his mom…
photo
(oh such pretty, happy things!) 
Notecards, lipstick, flowers, a For the Makers subscription, pink champagne, and more.
These are just things, though, and really, I am so grateful to have amazing family
and friends who love me and support me.
That means more to me than any pretty little thing ever could.
And I always choose a birthday song, so this year’s was, of course, Taylor Swift. I’m still obsessed
with the music video for Blank Space with its gorgeous costumes, scenes and imagery.
Just keep in mind it’s a parody of what people say about Taylor,
and that no animals, actors, automobiles, trees, or anything else were harmed in the making of the video 🙂
Can we talk about the clothes for a sec? 
Vintage schoolgirl meets Town-and-Country meets Grace Kelly meets Taylor Swift and I am in loooooove. 
So there we have it, the birthday roundup! 
Now, into a new year!

#allthelove

There’s so much to tell you in this post!

First of all, I’m an Auntie for real! It’s so exciting to welcome Avery Kate to the world, the first daughter of my brother and his wife, Stephanie! Isn’t Miss Avery cute??? My brother and Steph ain’t too bad lookin’ either 😉 Love you guys!

{yeah. I’m related to them. #boom} 

Stephanie just so happens to be the amazing photographer/baker/writer behind Girl vs. Dough. Be prepared to drool once you head over there. But you should definitely head over there today becauseI’m sharing an amazzzzzing recipe. I’m more than happy to bake delicious things so they can snuggle Avery extra for me.

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Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. Say no more. I swoon thinking about this cake. Even the smell of it is highly intoxicating, not to mention its depth of crumbs and caramel-y goodness. Oooo, you need to make this! Just in case that photo doesn’t get your mouth drooling, how about a video of the caramel drizzle:

Yeah, that oughtta do it.
I present to you: Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. #makeitnow
Now Stephanie doesn’t sit still for long! While pregnant with Miss Avery she also created her eCookbook Quick Bread Love. Woahhhhhhh are there some good-sounding recipes in here, ya’ll! Let me further entice you: Coconut-Chai Tres-Leches Muffins? Yes please. Or perhaps Roasted Blueberry-Basil Corn Bread for those of you with a salty tooth. That’s just the beginning. There are 30 tasty recipes in all, plus Steph’s tips and tricks. 
Quick Bread Love eCookbook
*affiliate link 🙂 
I can guarantee you’ll find something you canNOT live without in this e-cookbook of Stephanie’s! 
So there you have it: #allthelove. Baby love, family love, caramel-apple love, and Quick Bread Love. 
So much love!
xo
Natalie

Weekend Adventuring

I ordered a Strand Books x Kate Spade surprise box as part of their 20 Things We Love series of partnering with unsung companies they love. I received a Kate Spade/Strand Books tote bag (love!), a Strand Books cosmetic case, a Strand Books diner mug, and a Kate Spade bookmark, all wrapped in darling hot pink tissue paper. So fun! 
Picked up a new hat I’m totally in love with and went antiquing… Also my new contacts finally came in, so I can ditch the glasses for awhile 🙂

Baked gluten-free pumpkin scones for tea (earl-gray lavender) on a gray Saturday.
Went to an Anthropologie for the first time EVER (can you believe it?!) to find the Fall issue of Darling Magazine with my poems in it. Score!! Also, the girls who worked at Antrho and J.Crew liked my outfit, which I take as a high compliment since they are all so stylish! Also had my first-ever Pinkberry (vanilla with Nutella). 
Hope you had a great weekend!
xo
Natalie 

Is It Still a Party If I Don’t Wear A Dress?

Insanely gorgeous fall weather today. I didn’t even need my sweater most of the day!

This is the simple outfit I wore to a dear friend’s little girl’s birthday party. Had to keep things simple for chasing kids rolling down hills and such. But it made me wonder: is it still a party if I don’t wear a dress? I almost always wear dresses to parties!


               Obviously I DID bring a cake. So I think as long as I bring a cake and/or wear a dress, it’s                                                                                        definitely a  party. 


Leather leaf earrings: Go Fish // Tank w/ Zipper Up the Back: Banana Republic // Jeans: ON // Boots: Steve Madden// Eiffel Tower Necklace: ?? // Ring: Kohls // Jacket: F21
Oh! And a Friday vlog for you 🙂 
Oh here’s one more pic of that cake. Gluten-free, all-natural, vegetable-colored sprinkles for the win!

Happy Friday, dears!
xo
Natalie

Hey There

4th of July
{cami & tank w/ horse shoes: old navy//shorts: van heusen//shoes, sunnies & earrings: gofish}
{red, white, and blue manicure, of course!}

{sick of mopey weather outfit. sundress: target//button-up: vineyard vines//purse: vintage mark cross//wellies: hunter}
{paleo scones with chocolate & fresh cherries. recipe here}
Happy summer, friends. 
Lately I’ve been all about fresh lemonade, baking in this crazy heat, Sara Bareilles’ new CD, Relient K’s new CD, hiking, and staying up way too late/sleeping in {oops}.
What is the BEST THING you’ve done so far this summer?! 

Weekend Duds

Saturday rollin’ in flowered Birks, chambray shorts, white cami, flowered shirt, EMS half-zip, my fave sunnies, my fave hat, and my “Together” necklace. 
The shirt underneath…so pretty when the light comes through! 
{sharp eyes will notice a Hello Kitty bandaid on my finger. yep}

In other news: I finally got a KitchenAid mixer! Woot…I feel so legit and grown-up now. ‘Cause everyone knows that KitchenAid mixers are registry gifts, right, and you only get one when you’re officially ‘growing up’? Well, no registry here, but I picked it up for a song and I’m so excited to add it to my kitchen.
So that’s the weekend recap.
Into the new week!

Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti {with King Arthur Flour}

If there’s anything Scandinavians like, it’s coffee.
And if there’s anything else they like, it’s any almond-flavored baked good. 
Really, any baked good in general, considering most traditional coffee parties have seven dessert options served. No need for seven different desserts, just give me seven of these biscotti!
I’m a good Swede at heart, and I take my coffee strong and black, sometimes with a bit of sugar. Or, in this case, a Cherry-Almond-White-Chocolate Biscotti with a lot of pearl sugar on top.
These are addictive. Oh yes, very, very addictive. One is not enough, so don’t even try to tell yourself it is. 
Nibble one of the broken bits for breakfast. Dunk one in your  mid-morning coffee. Have one for lunch-dessert. Take an early Fika (coffee time) break. Relax in the evening with a biscotti and a mug of hot tea and your favorite reality TV show (obviously, it’s Bachelor Monday!)
If anyone questions, just tell them it’s Swedish and Natalie told you to; I’m happy to be your excuse.
If you’re feeling generous, offer them a biscotti.
Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white chocolate
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat butter and sugars together. Add the eggs, beating well. Stir in the almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Reserve one teaspoon of the dry mixture and sprinkle it over the cherries, chocolate chips, and almonds. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the cherries, chips, and almonds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The dough will be sticky, but empty it onto the parchment and form it into a long rectangle (using plastic wrap to help form it without getting your hands sticky if necessary), about 16 inches x 4 inches. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. When the baked loaf is cool, use a serrated knife to cut it into strips crosswise about 1″ wide. Then turn the pieces on their cut sides, and return to the oven for 8-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, microwave the remaining 1/4 cup white chocolate chips at 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Watch closely as white chocolate burns extra quickly, and you often need to stir it a bit to realize it is fully melted. Remove from microwave and stir in 2-3 drops of orange oil. Drizzle over cooled biscotti. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. 

New Nordic Flavors with King Arthur Flour

Have you heard of the food trend of “New Nordic”? Just like it sounds, it is a fusion of modern cooking tastes and techniques with traditional Scandinavian cuisine and flavors. The trend has taken root here in the Twin Cities, Minnesota; of course, a hub for Scandinavians. For some reason, though, until recently, the influence of Nordic culture was completely missing from the food. Enter The Bachelor Farmer, and FIKA at the American-Swedish Institute, along with a host of smaller purveyors of these inventive flavors.

{cardamom bun at FIKA from my day at the ASI}
I’m Scandinavian–mostly Swedish with a hint of Norwegian–so I love a lot of things about Scandinavian baking. I’m not the most keen on their reliance on fish in their savory cuisine, but anise, ginger, orange, cardamom, and almond? Swoon.
I have a few delicious recipes coming for you. You can see the rundown of ingredients here.
And obviously, knowing me, I had to create a cute Swedish-inspired outfit for baking up these goodies. Here are my finds:
Swedish Kitchen Outfit
Swedish potholders//white dress//Swedish apron//Merimekko-inspired dishcloths//Swedish clogs
{click image for product info}
So pull out your King Arthur Flour catalogue (I know you have one), call them up in Vermont and order some yummy ingredients, tie on that floral apron, slip into your Swedish clogs, and let’s bake
NEW NORDIC-Style this week!

Post One: New Nordic Ginger-Orange Chocolate Brownies

Christmas Catch-Up

A little bit of Christmas Catch-Up is on the docket for today…a few things I never got around to sharing. 

I made the advent wreath this year! SO pretty, I LOVE an advent wreath!

In my room, I had this pretty big bowl of vintage ShinyBrite ornaments, a few mercury glass balls, and my favorite glittery Eiffel Tower ornament. I twirled in some silver ribbon and my one of my Christmas cards from this year (they were totally Taylor Swift Christmas cards and I am not ashamed to admit that!).

Made some Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Creme with Homemade Whipped Cream & Peppermint. YUM!

We made SEVERAL batches of my Grandma’s famous white-chocolate popcorn (with green & red colored sugar) and caramel corn. 
Popcorn-Gift-Bag-Making Station!

I made DIY versions of these (way too expensive) awesome Anthropologie hairbands for some of my friends! 
Love them.
Just a few fun things from Christmas I wanted to share before it was totally way lame to do so. 
Hey, I’m still well within the 12 Days of Christmas (which come after Christmas, but you knew that, right?).

Tea Cakes {with Coffee}

These little tea cakes are just so adorable. They are happy, and that makes me happy 🙂 And they taste about 1000 times better than they look. 

I know these are technically meant to be eaten with tea in the afternoon. But I say, Why not with coffee in the morning? I’m an adult, I can make that call, right? 

Besides, the light was landing on that one in the back, illuminating it and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” 
Eat dessert first! And by first, I mean, for breakfast!

Oh. Yeah.
I also ate an egg for breakfast because, y’know, adults have to make the tough decisions.

These would be brilliant to have in a pretty basket down on the kitchen counter by the coffee maker for early-rising Christmas guests. They’ll feel like royalty in a 100-diamond hotel. Which is way, way, way better than a 5-star hotel. Duh!
This is the marvelous Gesine’s recipe, which I made gluten-free using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour, added some almond extract, and used my mini-mini bundt pan from Nordicware. Show her the love for this amazing recipe!
 Enjoy!