Cookbook Review: Magnolia Table

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I am back today to share another cookbook review.  If you missed it, back in January I shared my thoughts on True Comfort from Kristin Cavallari (currently on sale for $10.48!).  You can see the full post here, if you'd like to check it out.  Spoiler alert - I am a big fan of that cookbook.

Another cookbook I am a big fan of?  Magnolia Table from Joanna Gaines.  Like many people, I was a big fan of Fixer Upper.  So much so, that my mom and I road tripped down to Waco to check out the Silos.  And it was awesome!  

When I found out Joanna had a cookbook coming out, I was super excited about it, and knew I wanted a copy.  I got it, poured through it, and then it sat untouched for a bit.  When I realized that I had yet to make a recipe from it, I made it one of my monthly goes to do just that, and I am so glad I did!

Before I get to the recipes, though, let me back up and talk about the cookbook in general.

I was smittened by this cookbook just reading the introduction.  I feel like she took my feelings about cooking, and put it on paper.  I got to the recipes and that feeling just grew.  There were SO MANY recipes I wanted to try, and SO MANY recipes that seemed so 'real'.  Because let's be honest, some cookbooks are filled with recipes that while they may sound good, once you hit the ingredient section, and the instructions, you think to yourself ok....maybe this doesn't sound as good as I thought, haha!  Or sometimes, even the recipe name is a bit intimidating.  To me, this is not that cookbook.  Sure, there are some more involved recipes, but there are also recipes that use 'cream of' soup, which is never a bad thing in my mind.  What I am trying to say, is that if you are looking for a cookbook that is full of good recipes, with approachable recipes, this is it.

Ok, onto the recipes I have made!

Three-Cheese Quiche.  This quiche was super yummy, and super easy to make.  While there is a pie crust recipe in the cookbook, I used store bought (which is also listed as an option in the recipe), which made it come together in no time.  This was perfect for brunch, and reheated for an easy dinner the following day.

After-School Banana Bread.  To be honest, I am not the best at making banana bread.  Even if I follow the recipe perfectly, if it is a loaf, I almost always under bake it.  When I saw this was in an 8x8 pan, I thought, huh, maybe this is one I won't under bake.  And sure enough, it turned out so good!  It might have something to do with the sugar you sprinkle all over the top, but goodness gracious, this is delicious.  And another easy one!  I did omit the nuts - when I was making this for the first time, I was making it for friends, some of whom have nut allergies - but I am sure it is great with them.  I will say, we all loved it with out.  So much so, that at least two of the girls purchased the cookbook having the banana bread (and chocolate chip cookies - more on those later!).

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas.  This is one of my all time favorite recipes!  I have lost count of how many times I have made these.  They are goooood!  And easy to throw together, too.  And easy to freeze.  I often split a recipe into two smaller pans (usually 8x8), one to make and one to freeze.  Joanna has a Mexican Rice recipe, which I still need to try, but she also recommends pairing it with Knorr Mexican Rice.  I go the Knorr route, but opt for the Taco flavor.  SO GOOD!  And another that reheats super well, too.

Baked Chicken with Bacon Bottom & Wild Rice.  Oh my stars, this was delicious!  The need for a 3 inch deep pan is no joke - this recipe makes a lot and since I didn't have a deep pan, I had to split it into two - but goodness is it good!  I just remember how delicious it smelled.  Comfort food to the max - I am already thinking of how good it will taste come fall/winter.

Grilled Raspberry-Chipotle Pork Tenderloin.  For me, this recipe was a bit of a dud.  The flavors weren't there for me, but hey, you can't win them all!

Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I was told that these were the best chocolate chip cookies ever!  To be honest, I am partial to my Aunt Becky's cookies, but these are huge crowd pleaser, and they are really easy to throw together.  I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand, so when I have needed somewhat of a last minute dessert, these are it.  Crowd pleaser, and easy...what more could you ask for?

Those are the recipes I have made thus far from Magnolia Table.  As I was paging through it to ensure I included them all, I was reminded at how many others I want to give a try.  I will definitely be adding to this post as I give them a go.

Minus the one recipe that wasn't my favorite (I am excluding that, because odds are out of a cookbook full of recipes, there are going to be a few you won't like, so that is to be expected, plus the others are so good they super out weigh the one bad), there is one con about this cookbook, and that is the fact that it doesn't stay open very well.  I have cookbook holder that I pull out to use when cooking from this cookbook, and while it's not great, it's enough to get the job done, so I would recommend getting one, too!  

So, to tie this post up, my final thoughts are that I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone and everyone.  It's chalk full of good recipes, and bonus, it has a great look too, so doubles as great kitchen decor.  With Mother's Day just around the corner, it would make a great gift, too!

If you have made any of the Magnolia Table recipes, I'd love to hear which ones!  I am always up for a good recommendation!

Oven Baked Fries

Today I am sharing one of my favorite side dishes - oven baked fries.  My family calls them Oprah fries, because that is how my mom discovered them - through Oprah.  I don't remember if it was a recipe shared on her show, or one from her cookbook, but where ever it was, I am sure glad my mom saw this recipe, because these oven baked fries are delicious!

Along with being delicious, they are relatively healthy - minimal ingredients, and as you can tell by the name, oven baked, as opposed to fried.  They do take a little bit of time in the oven, but other than flipping, it's hands off time.  Ok, enough chatter, onto the recipe.

Oven Baked Fries (Oprah Fries)

Serves: 2

Total baking time: 45 minutes

non-stick spray

1 russet potato

1 egg

kosher salt


cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Liberally spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, setting aside.  Slice your potato in half long ways, then continue to slice long ways until you have 'fry-like' potato pieces and place in a bowl large enough to toss them in.  Separate the yolk and white of the egg, then add the egg white to the bowl with the potato slices.  Toss the potato slices until they are covered in the egg white.  Place in a single layer on the sprayed baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper (to taste).  If you don't mind a little kick, sprinkle a little bit of cayenne pepper on the potatoes, as well.  Toss to season evenly, adding additional salt and pepper as needed.

Spread into a single layer before placing in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Flip potatoes.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Flip potatoes.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and enjoy!

A few things to note:

   Do NOT forget the non-stick spray - I learned that the hard way.  The spray is key, as is the 'liberal' part.  Be very generous!

   How crunchy (or not) the fries get is dependent on the thickness of the potato.  I prefer lots of crunchy ones, so I try to cut them pretty thin.  But if you like a little less crunch, make them a little thicker.

   If you have never separated an egg before, what I do is crack the egg, but try to keep it inside the shell at first.  Then move the yolk from shell to shell, letting the white part escape into the bowl, while trying to keep the yolk still in the shell.  I am sure there is a handy Youtube that shows how do this way better than I can explain it.  And, if you happen to get a little yolk in the bowl, don't worry too much about it.  I did that just the last time I made these and they tasted just as good as normal!

   If you are doubling the recipe, you may need to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

If you give these a try, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Current Favorite Clothing Purchases: Walmart & Madewell

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Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has had a good week!

I bought some new clothes recently, and as you probably guessed by the title, some are from Walmart and some are from Madewell.

First up, the Walmart items.  I first saw these when Alli @ Simply Small Town Blog shared them on a post last month.  The pants just looked soooo darn comfortable, and I loved the idea of a lounge 'set'.  I grabbed the cropped pants, a long sleeve top, and a short sleeve top.  I got my normal size in the pants, but sized up in the tops for a looser fit.  The pants are awesome, and what sold me on them (and the set in general) is that fact that they are loose and a little cropped, so that they will be perfect to wear around the house even in summer.  I would note, that because they are such a light weight, nude undergarments work the best with the pants - just a heads up.  Overall, though, these are just perfect lounging at home attire.  And work from home attire, too.  Just throw on a blazer, or add a necklace for a video call.

From Madewell, I bought some new plain t-shirts.  My mom actually was the one who told me about them.  And it was perfect timing, too, because as I was looking in my closet earlier in the week, I realized I didn't have almost any plain, crewneck tops.  The quality of these is really nice, and you can get 3 for $36, which saves you about $4 per top.  And you can get free shipping if you are an Insider.  I found the tops to be true to size.  They are a little shorter, but I wouldn't call them cropped - you can definitely still tuck them in.  I foresee myself wearing these quite a bit - whether it be with shorts and a baseball hat for a super casual look, or dressed up a bit with some jewelry and jeans for a more polished look.  

Currently I am on the hunt for some more tops...ones that are a little nicer with some interest, yet casual enough to still pair with jean shorts.  Any recommendations, please send them my way!

On the blog this week:

Wine Chat 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Wine Chat

Hey there, happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was definitely just that - great.  I made it a long weekend by taking off Friday, and my mom came to visit to help me with some organizing and spring cleaning.  As I sit here typing this on Sunday, I am currently outside, enjoying the most beautiful weather, and sipping a glass of wine...hence the title 'wine' chat, as opposed to 'coffee' chat.  The post is still the same...just some ramblings if we were sitting here together, enjoying a glass or two of wine!

If we were having wine...I'd tell you how happy I am to finally have all my extra decor organized!  This was one of my resolutions for the year - cleaning out and reorganizing my extra decor.  I have accumulated a lot over the years and it has been kind of haphazardly stored in various places around my condo.  I gathered it all in one place, and with my mom's help, let go of a few things, and then organized what was left in a way that made sense.  I am glad my mom was here to help, because it was a bit overwhelming, and had she not been here, I probably would have kept more things than necessary.  I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to decor, because you just never know, but I am happy to say I put a box of items in my garage sale pile!

If we were having wine...I would tell you what a difference freshly washed curtain make!  Another items my mom and I checked off my to do list this weekend.  I had noticed them getting a little dingy, and a wash was just what they needed.  A tip for you if you are in the same boat...take them out of the dryer when they are still a bit damp.  It makes them easier to iron, and helps to keep them from shrinking!

If we were having wine...I'd share about my recent antique finds.  We ventured to Secondhand Chic Marketplace over the weekend - a market that is held one weekend a month in St. Charles.  Any locals, or those that are local-ish to the St. Louis area, know that St. Charles has a great historical Main Street, and this shop is just a bit down from that.  Plus, it's surrounded by two other antique shops, so more shopping fun!  Anyways, we both found some great stuff - a rolling pin with unusual handles, fun milk glass, and the neatest old basket - all priced reasonably!

If we were having wine...I would tell you about the cutest Hallmark movies I have watched recently.  The first, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, was both cute and funny, which is always a win.  The second, As Luck Would Have It, was based in Ireland, which is a dream vacation spot for me.  Both had great leading ladies and men, and are perfect if you are in the mood for something a little more light hearted.

If we were having wine...I'd tell you about 'Oprah Fries', which I just realized the recipe is not on the blog, and I will have to remedy that soon!  They are baked fries that are oh so yummy, and happen to pair perfectly with burgers, or any grilled dish, especially this time of year.  They are called 'Oprah Fries', because my mom saw them on Oprah, or found them in an Oprah cookbook, or in a cookbook she recommended - I honestly don't remember the exact way she found them, but what is important is the fact that she did, and they have been staple since!  They take a little time in the oven, but are super easy to throw together, on the healthier side, and don't require a lot of hands on time while baking (just flipping a few times).  Seriously so good, and something I find myself making almost weekly since we've been having this wonderful weather.

If we were having wine...I would ask you if you wanted a refill, because that is exactly what I am planning for myself right now - cheers!

Current Favorites: Shows, Books & Candles

Two posts in one week!  I am feeling a whole lot less burnt out by technology (at least as I write this), and I think it can be attributed to this gorgeous weather we are having.  It was a bit windy when I went for a walk earlier, but inside, with the windows open, it makes for a wonderful breeze!  And all the fresh air just makes everything seem a little bit better and lighter.

Ok, enough about the weather, onto the favorites!

There are a few shows I have been really enjoying lately, and they are...

Ginny & Georgia (Netflix).  This show is something else - in such a good way, of course.  It's kind of hard to explain.  It's about a mother and daughter, their complicated histories/issues, and their relationships - both with each other and others.  The cast is great - even though they all have flaws, you can't help but root for at least one of them (if not all).  Right now there is one season available on Netflix, but I am hoping that a season two will come along soon! 

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (CNN).  I am a sucker for a good food/travel show, and this one is GOOD.  Stanley Tucci explores the different regions and foods of Italy.  It's really neat!  And definitely gives you a hankering for some Italian food, that is for sure.  The first season is out, comprised of 6 episodes, and let me tell you, those 6 episodes are entirely too easy to fly through.  I did see that it has been renewed for season two, which I will be eagerly awaiting.

Home Again with the Fords (HGTV/Discovery+).  The Fords (a sister/brother duo) previously had a show called 'Restored by the Fords', but this latest show is focused on renovations for those returning to Pittsburgh, PA, hence the 'Home Again' title.  Leanne and Steve have such a great relationship that plays really well on camera - they are just super enjoyable to watch.  Leanne has a really interesting and unique style, too, so it's always neat to see what she does with the different spaces.

Home Town (HGTV/Discovery+).  I can't talk about favorite shows and not mention Home Town.  Every time I watch their show, it makes me want to move to Laurel.  Or decorate, because I absolutely LOVE Erin's style and find it super inspiring.  

The books I have to share are old favorites.  As is the author, Nora Roberts.  I just love her books, and it's not unusual for me to go back to them again and again.

The Bridal Quartet.  I have talked about these books time and time again, and I doubt that will change anytime soon.  Four friends have a wedding business, and each book shares one of the four's love story.  The last book in the series is my favorite, but they are all so good.  This is my very favorite series, and my very favorite books in general.

The Obsession.  You get a bit of everything with this book - a terrible trauma, on top of another terrible event, thinking you are through it and moving on, to only learn it is not over.  And, of course, a good love story.  And home renovation, which is the cherry on top.  I will say, you might not want to start this book right before bed, especially when a crazy thunderstorm rolls though.  That's what I did this past time, although I have read it before, it still gave me a little trouble falling asleep that night!

Moving onto candles.  With spring upon us, it's time to switch things out to springy/summery scents, and my favorites happen to come from Laurel Mercantile Co., the shop ran by the leading man and lady from Home Town, and their friends.

Porch Party - the scent of sweet tea and garden mint.  This scent is so fresh, and to me, embodies the scent of summer.  The description of this on the website is: "When I think of spring and summer, I think of grilled suppers on the porch, fresh vegetables from the garden, wild mint growing on the windowsill and sweet tea in the antique drinking glasses my grandmother gave to us. This candle smells like the cool breezes that make hot days bearable: a mint julep on the front porch." - Erin

Gardiner Park - the scent of summer sun and citrus blossom.  It's a more floral scent, but nothing too over powering.  I tend to steer away from things that are too floral, but this has the perfect balance.  The description of this on the website is: I designed this fragrance to be a memory of summer that I can smell all year long: a Sunday afternoon in Laurel's Gardiner Park, summer sun filtered by the piney woods, the citrus blossoms that rarely bear much fruit but make the smell of summer that's carried on the wind from a neighbor's garden. Erin  

That wraps up my current favorites.  If you have any recommendations of shows, books, or candles you are loving, please send them my way!

Spring Home Tour: 2021

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Hey there!  I hope everyone is doing well!  Before I get into the post, I just wanted to say thanks so much for your kind comments on my last post about where things are at blog-wise.  They were so appreciated!  Onto the post!

Today I am sharing my spring home tour.  My parents were in town a few weekends ago to celebrate my birthday, and during that visit, my mom and I set out to 'spring-ify' my house.  And I love how it turned out!  Gone are the whites of winter, and in their place are the greens of spring.  Plus, more milk glass!  My collection continues to grow - my parents found me some really neat pieces for my birthday - and I love finding new ways to display it.

It's no secret I love a good tablescape.  I always get excited to pull out my season plates, and the bunny ones always signify the end of winter.  Which, fall and winter are by far my favorite seasons, but there is something about the freshness and lightness that spring brings.

To add a little more depth and color, I added my extra blue and white plates under my bunny plates.  I only had two extra on hand, and of course, when I went to look at the local antique mall for two more they had none, but my mom found one at a local shop by her, and another in her stash of pretty plates normally used for showers, etc.  I will be grabbing them to bring back next time I am home!

The buffet came together in a mix of silver, white and green.  The egg mold was an antique find, and the silver of the bunny and birds tied it all together.  The wreath got a white ribbon, which helps it pop a bit more, and works really well with the milk glass pieces.  A little story about that ribbon - it was actually part of the wrapping of my birthday presents I had just opened the day before decorating.  I never throw ribbon away, because you just never know when you can reuse it!

In the living room, I swapped back in my everyday pillow covers, added a 'spring' banner, and switched up the mantle.

I think I say this each time, but I just love how the mantle turned out!  I have had this antique corbel in storage for a few years now, and I was so excited to finally find a place to put it again.  It compliments the candle holders on the opposite side perfectly!  Books are a go to when decorating (just use what you have on hand, and remove the jackets), and I try to grab some that work with the colors of the season - in this case, blue.  Things were rounded out with greens and of course, milk glass.

The story for the bookshelf was much of the same - milk glass and greens.  Plus a little birds nest.

With my spring decor up, everything feels so fresh and renewed!


 Hey there!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I am coming off a whirlwind of a trip to see my family.  I got in time at my parents', my grandma's, and my brother and sister in law's.  Again, a whirlwind for sure, but oh so great to see everyone.

You may have noticed that things have been super quiet over here, with a random blog post thrown in there.  Going into the start of the year, I was looking to get back to blogging consistently.  And that lasted a good month...but then started to fall off as we got further into February.  

As I am sure I have mentioned way too often over the past year or so (and probably before that, too), work has been BUSY.  I am very appreciative of my job, and enjoy the work, but it's demanded more and more of my mental capacity and bandwidth (to throw in some corporate jargon in there!).  I know part of feeling that is due to the pandemic, but there is also a part that is due to the natural growth and changes one experiences in their career.

It's gotten to the point with blogging, where opening my personal computer to work on a post is one of the last things I want to do after being on my work computer all day.  Blogging has always been a hobby I enjoyed, but right now it feels more like a 'have to do' on my list, rather than a 'want to do' for enjoyment/a creative outlet.  The fact that it feels like a chore, even with limiting my posting days, has made me think hard on whether or not it is something I want to continue doing.

At this point, I am not quite ready to say goodbye.  It's hard to completely be done after blogging for so long - almost 6 years!  But, I don't know exactly what things will look like going forward.  I may continue to take 'time off', I may pop in here and there as the 'want to' feeling hits, or I may realize that I do want to be 'done'.  Or heck, I may miss it way too much and come back full force.  I think it's one of those time will tell things.  Whatever happens, though, I will forever be grateful for blogging.  I have made some of the best friends, and have learned so much - both from blogging myself and reading other blogs.

It kind of bothers me not having a good plan in place, which is one of the reasons I have dragged my feet in getting this post out there, but even with things being up in the air I wanted to provide at least a bit of an update on the changes you've seen and will continue to see around here.

With that, I will close out this post.  If you've made it to the end of my rambling, thanks for sticking it out!  Hope you have a wonderful day!