Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog and White Chocolate Filling

My childhood friend and neighbor, Stacey, dropped me a note this morning. While watching Christmas movies on Netflix, she was inspired to go through her files to look for some Christmas recipes.  In 1991, her now-deceased mom wrote out all of her recipes as a Christmas gift. On each note card, her mom wrote who gave her the recipe and my domestic goddess mom’s name was written on many of  the files.

“It’s just kind of beautiful,” Stacey wrote. “I feel like I am spending the day with both of our moms today (and yes, I am ugly crying as I type this!)”

Given my mom’s poor health, I, too was touched that her legacy continues to live on.  Our Christmases were a flurry of activity in the kitchen with her famous Christmas pudding (and that amazing white sauce), shortbread cookies, amazing pies and thoughtful gifts. Our house was decked out in holidays colors and lights and the snow. How I loved the snow! We’d bundle up and go skating at the community center or go sledding in the gully, followed by cozying up to our fireplace with hot chocolate. There is something so powerful about the traditions and recipes we pass down through the generations.

I have a new recipe to add to that list. With three of my very favorite flavors–gingerbread, eggnog and white chocolate–melded together in one recipe, this cookie is my own Christmas miracle.

I adapted this recipe from the blog Two Cups Flour and if you like your gingerbread with stronger, more rustic flavors, this is the way to go. Next time around, I’m going to make my own gingerbread recipe that is a tad bit sweeter but either way, it’s full of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Here’s to our mothers, traditions and a holiday that reminds us of that love.

Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog and White Chocolate Filling

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg or allspice
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (their recipe called for dark; I prefer light)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 3 Tbsp  Pure Maple Syrup


  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar for rolling gingerbread balls

Eggnog White Chocolate

  • 2 Cups White Chocolate Chips or Chopped Baking Bar
  • 1/4 Cup Eggnog
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)


Cookie Dough

  1. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients (flour with baking soda, spices, and salt). Set aside.
  2. In a mixer, beat together the softened butter with brown sugar until creamy.
  3. Add egg, molasses, and maple syrup to the butter mixture. Mix together on medium until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture, ensuring it is thoroughly mixed before adding the next portion.
  5. Form the dough into a large ball, wrap and plastic and chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Preheat Oven to 350 F and grease the cookie sheet.
  7. Measure 1 Tbsp of cookie dough and roll into small balls with your hands. Place each cookie dough ball into a bowl with the granulated sugar, roll around for a light coating. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 6-7 minutes until almost cooked (don’t bake cookies until they are hard; they will firm up as they cool down).
  9. Once they are cooled, take your teaspoon and gently press down your ‘thumbprint’ in the middle. Note: Don’t go lower than halfway through cookie.
  10. Let cookies cool completely before filling with eggnog white chocolate.

Eggnog White Chocolate Filling

Warm the eggnog and combine with white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 minutes until melted and smooth (a double-boiler is great, too).  Transfer eggnog and white chocolate to a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with a cut corner. Pipe into thumbprint of cooled cookies and leave for 30 minutes to set. Sprinkle with cinnamon and store in an air-tight container.

Fresh Peach Pie and Peach Dream Crunchy Topping

It has been a while since I’ve posted any recipes but my gosh, these are soooooo worth it. We have been living, breathing and inhaling peaches around here–everything from simple peaches ‘n cream to peach scones to peach shortcake. I posted a picture of Grandma’s Fresh Peach Pie when my friend Lisa gave me a new addiction: Peach Dream Crunchy Topping. 

In her words, this treat is hot/cold, crunchy/soft, sweet/salty–a juxtaposition of every taste experience. It tastes like the best granola you’ve ever eaten but without the oats. Guaranteed, this will soon become a family favorite. And kuddos to Hadley for her stellar food styling and photography. She’s got the gift!

Peach Dream Crunchy Topping

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sliced almonds

Instructions: Combine all ingredients and press into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to form course crumbs. Cool. Use as a topping for ice cream, along with fresh peaches and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

And while we’re at it, Grandma Linda’s famous peach pie recipe!

Fresh Peach Pie with Shortbread Crust

1.5 cups of butter
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
Dash of salt

Mix and press onto 2 pie plates. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until edges lightly browned and let cool.

2 cups of boiling water
2 1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup of cold water
3/4 cup corn starch
1 3-oz package of peach Jello
1/4 cup of lemon juice
4-6 fresh peaches

Instructions: Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Mix sugar, salt and cornstarch with the cold water. Pour the mixture into the boiling water and let it cook until it is thick and clear (about 5 minutes). Add the Jello powder and cook for another minute. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the lemon juice. Let it cool. Peel and cut the peaches and stir them in. Pour into the pie shells and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Makes 2 peach pies. 

A family that cooks together (don’t fill in the blank)

I do the majority of the cooking in our family while Jamie is the grill master and the kids are expert eaters. I periodically involve them in the creation process but during busy weeknights, it’s usually just easier to do it myself. But now that they’re 9 and 11, I’ve had the nagging feeling I need to give them a more advanced skill set than grilled cheese sandwiches.

Enter: Uncorked Kitchen, where a cooking class meets dinner party meets family bonding.

Denver has a smattering of cooking schools and classes for adults and kids but very rarely do they involve the whole family. Uncorked Kitchen aims to please with their new Family Day Out, a unique hands-on dining experience where parents and kids get to be a part of the creation process of their meal from prep to plate. And believe me, the plate part is very, very delicious.

 The kids: learned to make Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Phad Thai, Bacon and Sweet Potato Banh Mi and Coconut Ice Cream with Pineapple ‘Boats.’

Me: Set my paper towel on fire.

It’s probably best to leave it to the professionals.


Recipe for the Best Ever Coconut Ice Cream with Mango

  1. 2 cups milk
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
  3. 2 cups coconut milk (don’t use lite)
  4. 1 cup shredded coconut toasted
  5. 8 egg yolks
  6. 1 ½ cups sugar
  7. Pinch salt
  8. 1 mango sliced
  1. Bring milk, heavy cream, coconut milk, and coconut flakes to simmer in heavy saucepan, allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes.
  2. While the milk mixture is steeping whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in large bowl, until thickened and pale yellow.
  3. Temper hot liquid into egg mixture, by slowly adding the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly until all of the milk mixture has been added to the egg mixture. Return all back into saucepan over low heat, stirring all the while, until mixture starts to thicken, and coats the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into bowl and chill immediately over ice bath.
  4. Process the chilled mixture in a standard ice cream machine, following the manufacture’s directions.


To Mothers of Daughters

Mothers of daughters: this is a must-read and captures the depth of the joys and sorrows of mothering our gorgeous girls. Grab the tissues!

“She will do amazing things while you are worrying away the time. She will grow milk teeth and then grown-up ones. She will love the things that you hate and hate the things that you love, and you will drive each other mad–all before she learns to drive.

You will do amazing things, too. You will learn to need less: less sleep, less care, less time. You will give more. You will not say things that you would almost always have said, just to keep the peace. What hard strength there is, in the measurement of unsaid words. You will be in a hurry, to get to the better times, when the times are worn and exhausting. Then you will hold your breath and wish it would all just stop spinning, when you realize how quickly 5 years old became 10 and then 10 years old became 15.

You will cut your own teeth, sharply, on the mothering of this first child. You will do the worst job, this first time. But it will be the purest experience, the one that lives forever in your gut. The one that makes you homesick, always, for the time when she did not know anything but you and it was all so very new and unfiltered.

It will be wonderful and terrible, heartbreaking and tumultuous. You will hate it sometimes and you will love it. You will stand nearby and watch her figure out the balance of things, with the eye of someone so simultaneously invested and so incredibly powerless. It will hurt you more than she can know.

Do not tell her how much it hurts.

One day you will be counting her fingers and her toes, and the next you will see her looking off into some foggy distance and she will be smiling.

And that will be the first time that you realize that she is counting the days until she leaves you, for her first adventure, all alone.”

-Nicole Jankoski, The First Last Time

Crested Butte: A glimpse at my favorite place in Colorado

skiselfie It has been almost a decade since I fell in love with Crested Butte and three years since our last visit which, considering it is my favorite Colorado mountain town, is a rather shameful confession. And with some recent changes for the 2014-15 season, my love has only grown deeper.

Surrounded on three sides by four wilderness areas—Raggeds, West Elk, Maroon Bells-Snowmass and Collegiate Peaks— if the outer-world beauty isn’t worth the drive, the deals are. Kids 12 and under ski free at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) until December 18, 2014 and kids six and under ski free all season. Also, the Crested Butte Nordic Center is offering free rentals AND skiing for kids 17 and under all season 

I’m generally not an early-season skier but since my kids’ getting-an-education-schtick is putting a serious cramp in our adventures, my family travels whenever we have vacation time and that meant Thanksgiving. And I’m so glad we did because my love affair was reignited with the best opening day conditions the resort has seen in years. That, coupled with an awesome Adventure Park, an epic Nordic skiing adventure and glorious food make Crested Butte the perfect kick-off to ski season.

Click to keep reading about our awesome Thanksgiving that included my Brussels Sprout binge (no apologies here), corny ski school jokes, marvelous mocktails, the prettiest view in Colorado and much, much more.

The Paradise Divide



My interview with Cooking Channel’s Kelsey Nixon

I’m not one to fawn over celebrities and can’t think of anyone famous I’d freak out to meet. That said, there are a number of people whom I respect and admire, particularly humble people who have worked their butts off to get where they are.

Kelsey Nixon is one of those people.

She is a fellow BYU Broadcasting grad who has risen through the ranks, has a show on the Cooking Channel and recently came out with a new cookbook (the recipes are divine).

Be sure to check-out our chat via Skype as I learned about her background, favorite recipes and tips for quick lunches and dinners families will love.

P.S. Her recipe for Moroccan-Spiced Roast Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Sauce ain’t bad, either.


A birthday to remember at The Broadmoor

If you have done something two years in a row, does that make it a tradition? If so, I’d like to officially declare staying at The Broadmoor our annual Memorial Day/Hadley birthday tradition!

We can all dream, right?

Sure, the weather didn’t cooperate but we still had a fabulous time at this iconic AAA Five-Diamond Resort in Colorado Springs. I mean, how could you not? The gourmet food is divine at The Broadmoor’s elegant restaurants. When we dined at La Taverne on our first day, they brought Hadley a birthday treat.

“But it’s not even my birthday yet,” she weakly protested.
“Yes, but it is your birthday weekend!” our waitress responded.

She never looked back.

Whoopie Pie celebration while bowling at PLAY

“Mom, my goal is to get to Round 10 of the brunch because I’m 10 years old today.”
“You’ll be sick.”
“I know.”

Birthday brunch

Side note: she made it.

Dissection of a birthday girl: cute green dress from Aunt Lisa, cowboy boots for horse camp from Mom, volleyball from Dad, new purse and wallet from the family and some classic books from Aunt Sue.

And nothing says brotherly love like Bode who constructed a birthday “H” for Hadley on Minecraft.

The weekend was non-stop fun. There was Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and hiking Cheyenne Canyon. Then, we were the very first group to participate in The Broadmoor’s new summertime activity, Laser Tag, on the croquet lawn. Uncle Chris joined us for our vacation and the man will become legend in Broadmoor Laser Tag circles because, as one admiring tween stated, “That guy has to be a professional hunter.” Translation: he “killed” us all every time.

I was unsure how laser tag would work outdoors but we were outfitted with paint-balls guns that had CO2 canisters or battery-operated guns for the littles.

Laser tag with Uncle Chris

Is it just me or does Hadley look a little bit too comfortable with that gun?

Everyone had a blast except Jamie who had to leave early when an old pumpkin injury started bleeding.

I wish I was joking.

The pool was, as always, glorious!

Hadley playing the “you have to go down the slide because it’s my birthday” card with Uncle Chris

The highlight of our lives (not really exaggerating) is a poolside cabana but remember that uncooperative weather?  We weren’t able to spend very much time at the pool but still toughed it out.

If you can call anything at The Broadmoor “tough.”

We drowned our inclement-weather sorrows in a lot of food by trying their new Italian Ristorante and Bar Del Lago. With delicious family-style portions, we started with a selection of antipasti and finally stopped two hours later with Bombolini (fried pastries) and Cannoli.
Jamie is not smiling because this was taken near the end of the meal and he was literally too full to try.

Of course, we always pose for family pictures by Cheyenne Lake.

Roast s’mores.

Order room service for breakfast.

And relish every single moment at The Broadmoor as if it is our last.

Room with a view

Happy birthday, Hadley!

Valentine’s Day is for lovers…and crafters…and eaters (14 ideas for celebrating)

I have decided there is no more polarizing holiday than Valentine’s Day. When I took an informal poll from my Facebook friends about how they celebrate the holiday, I felt like a Seahawk in a field of stampeding Broncos. I received a few helpful suggestions but mostly I was lambasted at even the thought of celebrating.

And that made me pretty sad. Whatever your relationship status, Valentine’s Day should be about love. Not just romantic love but motherly love. Sibling love. Love of self. Lover of chocolate. (Note: the last two are unremittingly linked).

So, whether you’re the Grinch that sulked on Valentine’s Day or you’re a lover at heart (ha, get it?), don’t miss these 14 ideas that will keep you swooning.

Click to keep reading.

Just say “no” to rabbit food

We have been following a healthy eating regemin for several months now.  Sure, we still have our indulgences but overall, our eating habits have improved. And get this–the girl who used to get sick every six weeks hasn’t been sick in ages. Turns out what we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our body’s immune system (who knew?) and avoiding processed junk bodes very well for mine.

Something I’ve been eating a lot of for lunch is roasted veggies with a quinoa and bean combination. Y’all can eat yours raw or steamed but I’m all about roasting them in succulent gourmet olive oils and seasoned vinegars. And funky combinations, too. Roasted tumeric rutabaga. Garlic-roasted honey parsnips and carrots. Sweet potatoes with cinnamon-pear balsamic vinegar. Roasted butternut squash with garlic olive oil, apples and onions.

The other night, I made a salad. I haven’t been eating many salads because they make me hungry but I figured Our Best Bites’ Thai Chicken Salad was beefy (or chicken-y) enough to account for a meal. It wasn’t. Though I served a multi-grain roll on the side, Jamie snarfed his down and promptly went into the kitchen to make himself an omelet.

My Grandpa Wilde was a farmer so meat and potatoes were his staple. My mom recently told me of a time my grandma made him a (gasp) salad. He took one look at it, stormed out the door and went to his mom’s for a “proper meal.”

Jamie is not the kind of guy who will ever complain about my cooking but I knew he wasn’t pleased.

“What’s the deal, James? What’s wrong with our healthy and delish dinner?”

“I’m not saying anything is wrong with healthy stuff. What I’m saying is rabbits are small creatures.”



Temple Square: The Most Beautiful Place on Earth at Christmas!

I don’t care what denomination you are (or aren’t). If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, Temple Square in Salt Lake City will send you into overdrive. The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has literally thousands of festive lights, nativities, lanterns and garlands that set the city ablaze. In addition to the visual feast, the Church organizes a lineup of holiday concerts and other events that offer visitors acoustic experiences full of holiday cheer.

We made an evening of it with Jamie’s sister, the Twinnies and his mom by starting out at the newish City Creek Center’s Deseret Book. Our family tradition is when the kids turn 8 and get baptized, they each get their own beautiful set of leather-bound scriptures from the Deseret Book flagship store (Bode will have to wait until this summer to be given his).

Though we’ve been to Temple Square several times, the kids have never done an official tour so that is what we did. Two  hundred “sister” missionaries are called from all over the world to serve here and speak more than 40 languages. I walked into the South Visitor’s Center and I queried the sister at the front desk.

“We are wondering when you are offering your next tour?”
“They’re actually on-demand.”
“OK, I’m demanding it.”

I assure you it came off funnier in person.

It has been years since I’ve toured the various buildings on Temple Square and I loved how technologically advanced the exhibits are and the beautiful spirit as we learned about the Assembly Hall, Tabernacle, North and South Visitor’s Center, Welfare Square, Family History Library and of course, the cornerstone of it all: the fairy-tale-esque Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years for the Saints to complete.

The famous Christus in the North Visitor’s Center

We visited all my favorite haunts including the Lion House Pantry, cafeteria-style dining in the Historic Home of Brigham Young. We didn’t stay for dinner but grabbed the most delectable item on earth: Lion House rolls.

I’m not kidding when I say I could have eaten every single one of them.

The top floor of the adjacent Joseph Smith Memorial Building offers the best views looking down on Temple Square.

Photographer Bode’s photos of Temple Square

On the top floor, the JSMB has the elegant The Roof Restaurant or the more casual Garden Restaurant but we were thrilled to discover the new Nauvoo Café on the main level was offering quick-serve hot chocolate in addition to their fast-casual menu.

Lion House rolls and hot chocolate for dinner?

This was a picture-perfect evening surrounded by beloved family and sites that warmed my heart.