Apple Cinnamon Pastries

It’s starting to officially feel like fall, guys! How have you been celebrating? Give me all the warm coffee, crunchy leaves, cool, refreshing air, pumpkins, corn mazes, scenic colors that will blow your mind…and APPLES! It’s all happening in our neck of the woods and if I could just pile on an extra couple months of this stuff I’d be one over-the-moon mama. Minnesota truly feels like the most magical place this time of year. 

We had our annual apple orchard trip a couple weeks ago and, well, if you know me you know that it’s my very favorite family outing of the year. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the most incredible scenery with my four favorite humans just simply isn’t a terrible way to spend a Saturday. We got to show the baby all the ropes this year…and man the big kids are becoming pro pickers! Here are a few photos from the day

Each year I try to share a new way we like to use our pickings..and this year? Apple Cinnamon Pastries.

 And I tell you what…eat them warm, fresh out of the oven and you might actually keel over in awe of the flakey, sweet, insanely delicious concoction. 

Think apple pie but much more buttery yet oddly light. So stinking easy….and so special for this time of year. It was such a fun activity for the kids and I. I hope youll give them a try! 

Apple Cinnamon Pastries

Notes: you can start off using one tablespoon honey and add as you go, to taste…the amount you will need will depend on how sweet your apples are. 


4 Apples (use your favorite variety but I prefer a slightly sweet, tart apple for these)

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/4 Cup Feesh Squeezed Orange Juice

1-2 Tablespoons Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Pinch of Ground Allspice

Pinch of Salt

1 Box (2 sheets) Puff Pastry, thawed

1 Egg + 1 Tablspoon Water

Course Sugar, for topping 


Peel, core and dice the apples into approximately  1/2 inch pieces. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add apples and sauté until just beginning to soften, stirring often. Stir in the orange juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice and salt and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Preheat oven to 375, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares, making 18 total. Put approximately 2 tablespoons of the apple filling into the center of 9 squares. Brush or use your fingers to coat the outter line of the pastry squares with the egg wash and then place another sheet of the puff pastry on top, sealing the edges together with a fork; repeat with the remaining pieces. Place the pastries on prepared baking sheet, brush the tops with remaining egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar. Cut two small skits in the tops to vent and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Makes 9. 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce

Well, friends, the time has come. My computer…it’s lived a wonderful life. We’ve made it through every ounce of blogging I’ve ever done together..and now, I believe she’s done. If you know me well you are fully aware of my lack of technological savvy..I don’t need much with my computer..just the option to use that good old inter web and a place to store my photos (please pray they can all be recovered by some magical unicorn that has a degree in IT). But I think it’s time for an upgrade…because my computer won’t even show me its elderly little face anymore, just a dark screen. All I get are old, worn down, obnoxiously annoying repetitive beeps. So I’m going to assume this is it, but it was a darn good run.

And basically, because of my lack of knowledge with this kind of stuff..and the fact that it’s just not that fun to drag small children to the Apple Store, it may be a while before I can get it looked at or a new computer tries to step in and take over. So my phone..I can blog from a phone regularly, right?! Let’s just give this a go. 😬

And however sad it may be, it’s nothing a little warm comfort food can’t fix! This is my favorite marinara sauce recipe with some savory roasted Italian sausage thrown in..SO yum. You can certainly serve the red sauce and sausage over pasta, but it works so well served over spaghetti’s an awesome combination! 

Hope your week is going so very well! This dish would be great for the cozy weekend ahead:)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce

Notes: the cream is optional here. It balances the acidity of the sauce so well and adds great texture..but it tastes great if you skip it too…use your own judgement:)


For the Red Sauce 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Red Wine

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 (28 ounce) Can San Marzano Tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) Can Tomato Sauce

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream, optional

Grated Parmesan, for serving 

For the Squash + Sausage

1 (3-4 Pound) Spaghetti Squash

1 Pound Italian Sausage Links

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper


For the Red Sauce 

Heat oil and butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring often, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add red wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for at least 25 minutes. Stir in the cream, if using,  and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. 

For the  Squash + Sausage

Preheat oven to 4oo. With a sharp knife, slice the stem off the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Drizzle half the olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Place sausage in a baking dish and drizzle it with the remaining oil, tossing to coat. Poke a few holes in each link with a sharp knife. Place both the squash and sausage in the preheated oven and roast the sausage for 25 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to brown, turning occasionally. Roast the squash  for 45 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and slice the sausage and add it to the sauce.  Scrape the flesh away from the skin of the squash with a fork to loosen the “noodles”.
Serve red sauce and sausage over the squash noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4+

Quick Grilled Fish + Pineapple Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream

I’m always looking for a way to switch up taco Tuesday around here. And here is a quick favorite these days. 

While the chipotle sour cream is such a cinch to make, preparing it over the weekend can make this meal so weeknight friendly with hardly any prep at all. The combination of smokey grilled fish, sweet, lightly charred pineapple, crunchy cabbage and chipotle sour cream is seriously so dreamy you guys! 

Quick Grilled Fish + Pineapple Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream

*note: if you aren’t up for grilling you can easily broil the fish and pineapple in the oven…just flip them halfway between cooking until desired doneness. Any white fish will do…I just love how Mahi grills. Also, start with one chipotle pepper for the sour cream and go from there…if you want more heat add another. 


For the Fish + Pineapple

2 (approx 6 oz) Mahi Mahi Fillets

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

4 Fresh Pineapple Spears

For the Chipotle Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1-2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, see note

2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt

For the Tacos

2 Cups Shredded Cabbage

Corn Tortillas

Cilantro, for garnish


For the Fish + Pineapple

Preheat grill over high heat. Drizzle fish with olive oil, sprinkle with chili powder and salt and rub the oil and seasoning all over the fish. Place the fish and pineapple on prepared grill and cook fish for 6-8 minutes per side or until just cooked through and cook pineapple until grill marks form on each side, turning occasionally. Remove from grill, flake fish with a fork and chop pineapple.

For the Chipotle Sour Cream

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

For the Tacos

Toss cabbage with a small amount of chipotle sour cream, just enough to lightly coat. Serve fish, pineapple and cabbage on warm corn tortillas and drizzle with additional chipotle sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4

Chicken ‘Cordon Bleu’ Rolls

Ok, so this is basically a result of crap, what am I going to make for dinner? I had chicken tenderloins in the fridge and no plan in sight and, truth is, we all need a ‘recipe’ that really doesn’t call for a recipe at all. Something we can just throw together thoughtlessly with no fuss that we can remember off of the top of our heads. So here she be.

My kids love anything that involves ham and Swiss cheese and we had both in the fridge so I threw it all together and let’s just say I’ll certainly be making this one again.

No pounding out the chicken, no cutting slits to stuff it, nada. Just a chicken tenderloin wrapped arpund ham and Swiss in the middle. And baked until the cheese gets gooey and the chicken is cooked to juicy perfection. So stinking basic, but that salty cheesy yummy combo is such a winner.

And don’t worry one bit about the cheese oozing out while it’s baking…it will leave you with the most amazing browned-around-the-edges cheese that will surround your rolls. So. Good. 

It’s hardly a traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu, but it’s the best darn make-shift there ever was thats just perfect for busy weeknights! Meal plan worthy for this next week, for sure! 

Chicken ‘Cordon Bleu’ Rolls


Chicken Tenderloins

Deli Ham, sliced thin

Sliced Swiss Cheese

Kosher Salt + Black Pepper, to taste

Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking dish with butter or olive oil. Lay tenderloins on a work surface and place a bit of ham and a half a piece of Swiss cheese in the middle of the tenderloins. Fold tenderloins over and seal them closed with a toothpick. Place in prepared baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the tops of the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. 

Avocado Stuffed Salmon

Hey you! How can it be that we’ve been this out of touch?! Are you getting into the swing of your fall routine? This summer seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye. I hope you have been enjoying this crazy, hectic time!

All is so very well over here. We are feeling like we’ve got this “new start” thing down. Georgia is literally jumping with joy about kindergarten so far. She’s been an absolute champ with all of the newness and I couldn’t feel more proud of her. Jude’s doing his part time preschool thing and is loving his own special time with a wonderful teacher and friends…he’s such a little sponge and has an amazing, curious nature. And Rocco, well, chubby, happy and the most sweet spirited little human I’ve ever known. He brings so much joy to all of us.

Having been away from blogging these last few months has really proved to me that a part of my heart truly belongs to you guys. I’ve missed it so much..and the interaction with all of you. I’ve simply been waiting for “that perfect time” to start up again. Waiting for when things slow down and I’ve got more time to plan thoroughly, photograph to my best ability and write in peace and quiet. But guess what? I’ve realized that’s just not going to happen..and I’m totally okay with it as long as you are!

So I’ve decided to just jump back in…perfect posts or not. See, the truth is, dinner time comes so dang quickly, as you know first hand. Getting dinner on the table can feel like pure chaos. Writing out recipes as I go is something I’ve been able to handle just fine…but by the time that dinner needs to be served I’ve got two starving kiddos that need to eat so we can head up for bath and bed…and a hungry little monkey that must eat NOW or his delicious little thighs might whither away;) So the beautiful, finished-product photos? Man they just aren’t happening! I’ll get there you guys, I will. But for now, this is our new normal and I’m just fine with it. Can you ease into this whole deal with me? We can do this! 

So for now, here’s what you’re going to get: me writing to you from my phone, recipes that we love that have been working for this new, busy family of 5, some sort of photo that will likely be taken with an iPhone with no editing, and a whole lot of love. You’re simply not going to get rid of me as easily as you may have thought! 

So there used to be a restaurant many years ago in Minneapolis called Cafe Havana…anyone remember it? It was the most amazing spot on Washington Avenue, long before the North Loop was a thing, that served Cuban food that was socks-knocked-off worthy. And the mojitos? Ooohh wee! They had this very simple dish they served that was avocado stuffed salmon with sautéed veggies and rice. The salmon literally melted in your mouth…the combination of avocado and salmon is a complete match made in heaven..I just adored that dish. 

So, as any good citizen would do, I’ve recreated the recipe at home to share with you. And while the ambiance has changed a bit-think going from a dark, candle lit, cocktail lounge vibe to a kitchen full of “mommy can you help me with this? Mommy I’m hungry! Mommy when’s daddy going to be home?! I have to go potty” type vibe….the dang salmon is still pretty stinking good! I’d pretty much take this new vibe over the old any day 💗

I hope you enjoy this uber quick, super easy one, friends! I love to serve the salmon with coconut rice and sautéed veggies, just like the good old days;)

Avocado Stuffed Salmon


4 (approx 4 oz) Salmon Fillets

2 Avocados, mashed

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher or Sea Salt + Black Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400. Place salmon fillets on a work surface and cut a slit in them horizontally (do not cut all the way through). Stuff mashed avocado in between the slits and season the fillets liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet (I love to use cast iron for this but any will do) over medium high heat. Sear the salmon , skin side up if they have skin, for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Flip the fillets over, transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking until salmon is cooked to desired doneness, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness. Serves 4. 


Friends…I’m still here, I swear. I think about you every day. I wake up thinking, ok this is the day I’m going to make this glamorous share-worthy meal that I can share with you. I still meal plan..but the key note here would be plan. My plan has been winding up into the shortest route to get dinner on the table. Because, this happened 

This is Rocco Nicolas, you guys. And I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to introduce him to you. Is this how everything goes with the poor third child? But really, you shouldn’t feel one bit bad for him, because he is more loved than I thought was humanly possible 💙

He was born on 5.4.17 and our world has never been more joyful. The big kids are adapting so wonderfully. I keep waiting for the “honeymoon” love they have for him to fade, but we are 6 weeks going strong and I’ll take every second of it. They are so kind and sweet to him, and it makes me cry to think about how patient they’ve been with me constantly nursing him or tending to him..they really take such good care of each other; what a blessing. 

And Nick, he’s been everything.  Giving him all the Daddy and Husband high fives these days…he’s been such a help in every way.

As for Rocco, well, it’s like he came out and said “mom, I know this is going to be a transition for you, so you just let me know what you need me to do and I’ll do it”. Bless his perfect heart, he’s the most chill, sweet, smiley, delicious little thing ever. He is just the perfect addition to our little circus and we can’t get enough!

Things have been pretty busy…from visitors to travels to sickness for momma and Georgia…it’s been crazy! But I wanted to check in with you and let you know I will be back so soon with recipes. I can’t give you a date or a day, because, well, it’s summer and I am vowing to put my kids and fun and memories first. But I will be sharing our new so-called food life shortly, I promise. 

I hope you are well and that your summer is off to a great start! Sending much love and sunshine your way! Xo, M

Photos by the AMAZING Erica at Slow Road Photography 

Waverunner Chicken with Citrus Salsa and Coconut Brown Rice

SONY DSCI don’t even know where to begin, you guys.  I made this dish a while back and I am literally about ready to jump through the screen in an attempt to devour these photos because I want to eat this again immediately.  Incredible.  Just incredible.

Now let’s just start from the beginning, okay?  Urban Halo…yes?  No?  If you haven’t…you are welcome for the introduction, and I apologize for your addiction all at the same time.  I’ve been a fan of this company and their headbands for a solid couple of years and for so many valid reasons…it’s local, started by a fellow mama like myself who was looking to create the most stylish, functional headbands on the planet and I’m pretty sure she has accomplished her mission.  These are my gym bff (and they don’t slip!!!)..and they are cute and comfy enough to keep on all day long after my workout.  Also, pretty much my saving grace on those rush-out-the-door mornings with no time to do my hair.  Not to mention Georgia is also obsessed..and man do they look cute on a silly little five year old, too.  So fun to share my stash with her! Continue reading