Author Archives: Diane

Brown Butter Blondies

Brown Butter Blondies


Now that Time magazine says butter isn’t the villain it once was, why not indulge in a few sticks of rich, nutty brown butter and a few cups of sugar? I’m sort of kidding, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, right? It was Super Bowl Sunday and we were pretty much snowed in, so I had no choice but to make these buttery babies.

I don’t even like nuts in dessert, but toasted walnuts and pecans really gave these bars a nice texture. I’m sure these are best eaten warm with ice cream, but by the handful standing in front of your oven will do too.


Brown Butter Blondies and Espresso
Served with espresso and homemade Vanilla Bourbon sugar from Bridget.

Things didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped when the first batch of brown butter was disappointingly light. A quick online search set me straight – be sure to watch closely and pull it off the heat and into a heat-safe bowl as soon as you see an amber color and dark milk solids at the bottom of the pan.

Brown Butter Blondies
Most of these were given away to family and my coworkers because leaving them in our kitchen is a safety errr waistline hazard.

Bon Appetit Brown Butter Blondies

Loved the February issue! I also made the cover quiche.

Click through for the full recipe!
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Remembering Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald
Chelsea and Fitz


Our pets are a part of our families – we affectionately call them “fur babies” for a reason. They make us laugh, turn bad days right around, and love unconditionally. When our good friends Chelsea and Spencer unexpectedly lost their pup Fitzgerald this fall, we were floored. He was a sweet puff ball and one of Doug and Huey’s spunkiest companions.

This Christmas I wanted to give the Whitesides something to capture Fitz as the happy, handsome little guy that we remember. We surprised them over dinner a couple of weeks ago, and now he’s sitting pretty by their fireplace and playing on the rainbow bridge.


Fitzgerald Reveal

In Progress

Fitzgerald
I loved loosely sketching the little guy. I was feeling a bit reluctant to bust out the ink and Prismacolor pencils, but his hair was plenty fun to color!

Fitzgerald


How do you remember pets who have passed?

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall

Montego Bay Jamaica


Traveling over Thanksgiving is becoming a tradition, and that’s absolutely fine with me! This year our warm weather respite was in Montego Bay, Jamaica at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall. Neither of us had been to the Caribbean and after the mid-November snow dump I was looking forward to trading my bulky knits for sandals and swimsuits. Taking a week to unwind and unplug from work was a treat, but certainly a departure for both of us who are used to exploring far and wide on our vacations. Seriously, I think we were both a little stir crazy faced with a leisurely no agenda staycation.

Adults-only and all-inclusive is the way to go! During this offseason we encountered some overcast days and choppy surf that canceled our grotto excursion, but we read plenty, exercised our appetites, and soaked up the balmy weather.


Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
The hospitality here was beyond measure…a pillow menu?! Our butlers remembered our tastes (even for Nacho Cheese Doritos in the mini bar- vacation food!) and everyone was so friendly. We had to laugh about our room service mishap when we were mistakenly given five margherita pizzas.
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall


dolce far niente: the sweetness of doing nothing


Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
These cabanas were one of my favorite spots to kick back and read. Even for being 7:30am early birds many of them were claimed by the time we made our way to the pools.
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
We loved our porch and this reading swing! There were a few passing rain showers during our stay so we could retreat to our balcony.
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
The Dressel Divers offered free scuba diving lessons. Overcoming my anxiety and distaste for mouth-breathing was worth it. I want to take a stab at diving certification back in the mitten state so we can explore on future vacations.
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
neil feet and shell

We met some awesome people during our stay who renewed our urge to travel and have memorable trips as much as possible. I don’t know that resorts are for us (at least not for a long time) because we are eager to explore and immerse ourselves into the environment, but it certainly was a beautiful stay. Since our return we’ve revisited Parts Unknown and No Reservations feeling inspired by Anthony Bourdain to travel wider, to eat authentic cuisine, and to do more things that scare us in the new year.

Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
pool and kindle
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
iberostar jamaica


What is your favorite warm weather destination?