What We Served: Spiced Hot Cocoa

    Now that it’s getting colder (finally!), we can start to shift our brains from school/work/busy mode to Christmas/family/baking/shopping/lights-seeing/jolly mode. And that, my friends, is the best kind of mode to be in!
    After a chilly day being out-and-about, don’t you just love to come home, snuggle under a blanket and drink some hot cocoa? Of course you do, you’re only human. Well, rather than pop in a packet of Swiss Miss and water you heated up in the microwave, use this fabulous recipe to have yourself some quality hot cocoa. You deserve it.
    I think this year we should focus on intention. Intention is not necessarily “trying harder,” but simply trying to avoid the shortcuts that are only making life quicker, not better.
This is just one place to start 😉 Let me know if you try it out!
The Goods:
Serves 2
  • 2 cups (organic) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (add more if you have a sweet tooth!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne
For the whipped cream: 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
The Process:
  1. Combine the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and spices into a medium saucepan. Warm to a simmer.
  2. While the hot cocoa is warming, pour the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks are achieved.
  3. Once the cocoa is hot, pour into mug of choice and top with the whipped cream. Enjoy!

Recipe by Megan Forbes of Goldmine


What We Served: Thanksgiving Edition- Skillet Apple Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the past week or so my roomies have been attending different “friendsgivings” and letting me tag along. One was a group of social work majors, and the other was a group called Slow Food that focuses on eating food that isn’t “fast food.” Both dinners were pot luck style, much like a family Thanksgiving dinner would be.

I love how pot luck style creates a totally different community vibe than simply being a guest at someone’s house would. You have a role and a purpose, and you feel needed. I’m all for playing hostess and putting on a special night for my loved ones, but I am so thankful that Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to realize that we are needed and that we do have people that need us! Even if it is just our food they want 😉

IMG_3331My roommate brought the best apple pie I have ever had to the social work major dinner, so I just HAD to share it. I’m even baking one myself to bring to my boyfriend’s family’s dinner tonight. It’s THAT GOOD. Here it is:

The Best Cast-Iron-Skillet Apple Pie


2 lb Granny Smith Apples

2 lb Ambrosia or Braeburn Apples

1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

3/4 C. Granulated Sugar

1/2 C. Butter

1 C. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

1 Package Refrigerated Pie Crusts

1 Egg White

2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

Vanilla Ice Cream



  1. Preheat oven to 350. Peel apples, and cut into thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Melt butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved (1 to 2 minutes). Remove from heat.
  3. Place 1 pie crust in skillet over the butter and brown sugar mixture. Spoon apples over piecrust, and place second pie crust on top of the apples.
  4. Whisk egg white until foamy and brush over top. Sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar. Cute 4 to 5 slits in the top for steam to escape.
  5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cook for 30 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!


How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Does grandma do all the cooking, or does your family split up the tasks and come together as a community of potluckers? Let’s discuss!


What We Served: Spinach Lasagna

In a house divided between the veggie lovers and the meat eaters, there’s only one sure-fire way to make sure everyone gets fed: Make two lasagnas. And for the people like me who love food in all shapes and sorts, you get to eat two different lasagnas! Win-Win.

When we invited the Hunt family over for dinner earlier this fall, this is exactly what we did. Everyone seemed to love both. So, since there are a million recipes on the interwebs for the meaty lasagnas, here is Jacob’s mom’s recipe for the spinach! Good for the veggie lovers, the meat lovers, and the community passing the two around the table 🙂

Side note: Don’t you love the thought of stealing others’ recipes? Especially if you know it is something they have made time and time again? It’s like you are borrowing a piece of their heart. A memory they have. Something they trust in. Shout out to the Curry family, and here is a recipe I believe you can trust in, too:

What We Served: Spinach Lasagna

6 oz. can tomato paste

15 1/2 oz. can tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups water

2 eggs, beaten

16 oz. ricotta cheese

10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach- thawed and drained

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

lasagna noodles

2 pkg. mozzarella cheese slices

Combine spaghetti sauce mix, tomato paste, tomato sauce, & water in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, set aside.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce mixture in a lightly greased13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Layer half each of lasagna noodles, spinach mixture, mozzarella cheese, and tomato mixture; repeat layers. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Cover dish securely with aluminum foil. Bake @ 350 for 1 hour. Let lasagna stand 10 minutes before serving.

This dish is easy to make and great for combating the Monday blues! What are you serving tonight?

What We Served: Healthy and Simple Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins

This weekend I will be going to a huge national conference for PRSSA in Atlanta, so naturally I was thinking of a motivator for our caravan of students leaving early this Friday morning. I decided to revisit a recipe we had at one of our Service House breakfasts: a huge crowd pleaser! So, last night I made the best banana and chocolate chip muffins of your life. The best part is there are no eggs, just a wee-bit of sugar, and you use whole wheat flour! And there’s fruit… So, healthy right? 😉

imageI also used little pieces of parchment paper in place of muffin tins, just to make sure that no little crumbs are lost! Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, here is the recipe. Let me know if you decide to make these!

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins


4 tbsp. Butter, softened

1/4 c. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour (or all-purpose if you wish!)

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

3 Ripe Bananas, mashed

1/2 c. Chocolate Chips (or whatever add in you choose! Walnuts, anyone?)

Tubinado Sugar for Topping (optional)


  1. imageMix together butter, sugar, vanilla.
  2. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Mix in bananas and chocolate chips, or add-in of your choice.
  4. Scoop into muffin tin or parchment paper. (Can add sugar on top, if you so choose!)
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, at 350 degrees.
  6. Let cool. Enjoy! Sooooo simple!

What We Served: Rosemary, Pear, and Asiago Scones

“Forming community is a lot like forming these scones,” Kate Patterson. Lol, Kate.

Rosemary, Pear, and Asiago Scones


2 Cups- flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbs. sugar

½ tsp. salt

5 Tbs. chilled, unsalted butter cut into ¼ in. cubes

¾ cup finely chopped fresh pear

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

¾ cup heavy cream

*can exchange these toppings for some of your own, like chocolate chips! Yum!

image image

  • Preheat the oven to 425
  • Wisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together.
  • Use fingertips or food processor to cut in butter until mixture resembles course meal.
  • Stir in pear and cheese.
  • Mix rosemary into heavy cream.
  • Stir in heavy cream until dough begins to form.
  • Transfer dough to a countertop.
  • Cut into triangles.
  • Place wedges on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack for 10 mins.


What We Served: Fall Apple Cake

If you read about my sweet little Service House community, you may remember that mentor I mentioned. One night we had her and her family over for dinner and she brought her world-famous, blogger-approved Apple Cake for dessert! Now is the perfect time to try it, it is so “fall-ey!” And I must say, we ate every last crumb. Recipe Below:

Cup-a Cup-a’s Apple Cake

4 cups fresh tart apples, peeled and diced
¾ cup oil
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mix together in a bowl
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. (or more) cinnamon

Stir dry ingredients together in another bowl.
Add the dry mixture with the apple mixture.

In a separate bowl (you can re-use the one from earlier) mix together:
2 eggs
3 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients together and stir until evenly blended. It will be chunky and thick.

Place in a well-greased and floured bundt pan. (Pam with flour, Pam’s Baking Spray, works best!)

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 min- 1 hour 30 minutes. It is tricky to know when it is done because the top puffs and forms a crunchy exterior and the inside is moist.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cake plate.