Our Holiday

I hope this past holiday season found you all well, and in a state of food, fun and family bliss.  Happily, all our family members remained healthy for the duration of our holiday break, enabling us to truly enjoy each moment of these past two weeks.  Here is a bit of those things we enjoyed as 2013 exited, and 2014 began.

20131228_150549_resized_2Sledding at one of our favorite parks–Rockford Park District’s Aldeen Park.

IMG_6441Enjoying this amazing egg nog hot chocolate recipe by Ashley English.

IMG_6476 IMG_6482Taking in the majesty that was our church on Christmas Eve.

IMG_6506 IMG_6529Engaging in some fabulous retro games and projects.  Can you believe they are now selling these oldies but goodies again?  Love it.

IMG_6443Indulging in Ree Drumond’s bacon maple scones from this wonderful cookbook.


Playing in the magical fairy tree house built by Santa’s elves.

IMG_6555 IMG_6560Taking in the silence of our backyard on a snowy New Year’s Eve.

Happy New Year, friends.  I hope 2014 brings much peace and happiness to all of you.

What I’m In To

As I move throughout this week, I find my mind wandering to a few special things in my life.  Today I bring you those lovelies I’m in to this week…


The Bela Lugosi lilies in bloom in my garden.  Who doesn’t love a day lily named after the actor who played Dracula?

IMG_3547 IMG_3551

These vintage dishes my mom found for me at Salvaged by Sonya, a fabulous antique shop in downtown Rockford.


The Pioneer Woman’s Pots de Creme.  There are no words.


My new yogurt incubator.  I purchased my kit at this store, but you can also order the exact same one from this website.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I have been purposefully taking my time in reading this book because quite honestly, I don’t want it to end.  You know those pieces that you are so sad once they are completed because you feel like you have just lost a friend?  That is how I feel about this book.  It is truly just a lovely tale.

Dairy Free Ice Cream


The littlest Fagan just celebrated her 4th birthday, and this soon-to-be-chef had been planning her party menu for months.  At the top of her list was The Pioneer Womans’ Blackberry Chip Ice Cream.  Well, unfortunately for my tiny girl, a few days before the big shebang, we were told by her new doctor to avoid dairy and refined sugar.  Huh.  This placed quite the damper on our birthday party edibles.

But never fear, dairy alternatives are here!  While big sis was at school, my little chef and I transformed our kitchen into a recipe test kitchen.  We tinkered away for a few days and came up with a fabulous dairy free, refined sugar free version of The Pioneer Woman’s ice cream.

I hope you enjoy this summer treat as much as we did!

Dairy Free Ice Cream

Put 1 cup blackberries (these can be fresh or frozen) and 1/2 local honey in a blender.  Blend until smooth and set aside.

Pour 2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk into an ice cream maker.  Switch the ice cream maker on and allow to run for 3-5 minutes.  To the coconut milk, add 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Once the vanilla is incorporated, add the blackberry/honey mixture.

Allow the ice cream maker to run until you notice a creamy consistency begins to form.  Then add 3 oz. dairy free chocolate chips (we used these).  Run the ice cream maker until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the ice cream.

Store in an air tight container in the freezer until you are ready to eat.  (I suggest taking the ice cream out of the freezer about 5 minutes before you intend to serve it because the coconut milk tends to freeze pretty solid.)



*A note about all my recipes:  I use all organic ingredients, local when available.  I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified.  All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished.  All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.