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Boy, what a month! I didn't intend to take a 23 day break from blogging, it just happened. Life happened. I got sick with an awful stomach ailment, but luckily it was treatable and I'm getting right back on track. All that down time has made me realize how much I love what I do. I really missed having my private (Zen) time in the kitchen and I officially feel overdosed on junk TV shows from having been on the couch for so long. Now that I'm well, I want to bake ALL THE THINGS!

So. Let's talk about this coffee house-worthy cheesecake!

Hello May!  Warm weather means we get to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities like gardening and biking and just letting the sun shine on our faces in general (with some SPF 30 involved, of course!). This is the time of year that I most enjoy making lightened up sweets that won't weigh me down. These little cheesecake shots are small but mighty; rich and tart with key lime juice and packed with vitamin C.

I often get carried away with seeking out new recipes and completely forget about sharing the tried-and-true staples that I make on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because they don’t seem exciting enough. Maybe it’s because recipes like southern cornbread are so familiar to me that I assume everyone else has a recipe and also makes it on a regular basis.

This cornbread isn’t the least bit sweet which is a departure for this blog, but it is one of my favorite baked goods so that’s why I’m sharing it here. Just like my grandmother’s buttermilk biscuits, the recipe is simple and made with very few ingredients.

Hey friends! Today I've teamed up with Fair Trade USA to help spread the word about their new Mother's Day campaign called FairHer. There are a great number of women who work for Fair Trade companies, including moms who are working to provide better lives for their families. Each time you purchase a Fair Trade product, you're empowering women in agricultural communities, fighting poverty and promoting environmental sustainability.

I mean - wow. You do all that just by buying chocolate! I can't think of a better win-win situation. Speaking of chocolate...

These cookies were the result of a kitchen experiment, which seems fitting for a Lego-themed treat. Legos have always inspired kids to be imaginative and experimental - to build and create! I think that's pretty exciting. I have a niece and two nephews at the ages where they are truly interested in learning and creating. They're coming to my house next week for an "art day" and I wanted to make something fun for them to enjoy while they draw and paint.

Today I'm sharing a recipe from the brand new cookbook "Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes". My pal Tessa of Style Sweet CA wrote it, and she's packed it full of dazzling cakes of all kinds! I was immediately drawn to her recipe called "The Birthday Cake". It's one of those recipes that EVERY baker needs in their recipe box. Tessa says "If you don't already have a go-to yellow cake recipe, this is it. Memorize it and pass it along. Your future grandchildren will thank you."
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