The Apple Crisp (that is both breakfast and dessert!)

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Merry Christmas Eve! If you’re like me, you are anticipating lots of people in your home over the next few days. And if you’re like me, you want to have easy, no-fuss snack/meal/dessert options on hand so that everyone gets fed and feels loved and happy.

Enter the apple crisp, the single most versatile weapon in my recipe arsenal. YES I WENT THERE.

This recipe can basically be whatever you want to call it or frame it as. It’s breakfast! It’s dessert! It’s healthy! You can add milk to it, or yogurt (or nothing!) and it’s a yummy warm breakfast. You can add some ice cream to it and suddenly it’s a wickedly good dessert. It’s anything you want it to be! And I love how clean the ingredients are, so you are truly working with a healthy, warm, nourishing dish that is such a universal crowd-pleaser. Make it. I know you will love it.

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- 4 cups diced apples
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup nuts, chopped (I like to do a mix of walnuts and pecans)
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the oats, nuts, almond meal, syrup and salt.
3. Pour the apples into an 8x8 glass pyrex dish, then layer the toppings over it.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is brown and a bit crispy.

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I typically double or triple this recipe when I have people over, and if I don’t, I still make a lot and freeze half of it. It’s one of the best things to eat first thing on a cold morning! Please let me know if you make it and enjoy it! I love sharing recipes with you that are staples in our household.

I hope the next few days are full of so much love and delight and laughter as you celebrate with your favorite people. Merry Christmas Eve to you all!

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Bacon, Spinach & Shallot Quiche.


Christmas week is upon us! Hurray!!! This is the grandest, most delightful time of year and I am so excited that this week has finally come! What celebratory things do you have planned?!

I'll admit, I am still working with a mile-long to-do list. My unordered Christmas cards will have to become New Years cards. My pantry is empty. I could use a good house cleaning (okay, scrubbing/dusting and while you're at it, a fresh coat of paint would be great). After spending the past week goofing off in NYC, I got behind on a few things here on the home front. But it's the most wonderful time of year so I'll just prioritize what needs to happen and let go of the rest of the expectations. This time of year can really eat you alive with all the busyness - my thing over the past week has been saying no to everything else for the rest of the year. I don't know about you, but I feel maxed out, but in a super great way! And I want to preserve that great feelings and enjoyment without going into full-blown frazzled mode of trying to do everything. Doing everything well is a myth. I must say no and do a few things well. So pretty much any "thing" that comes up between now and January is just going to have to wait, because I'm at full commitment capacity. In case you're struggling with this, I give you permission today to let yourself say no to a whole bunch of stuff. Just do it. It will feel like relief, I promise you. Okay wow that was a tangent I wasn't really expecting to go down... but hopefully someone here needed to read this today! And P.S. I'll get a post up ASAP about our trip and all the fun things to do in the winter in NYC with kiddos. Ahhh it was the best. Although I don't miss the 25-degree weather.

Okay, so since it's Christmas week and we are all traveling or hosting or having meals and celebrations, I thought it was high time that I shared my holiday brunch go-to recipe. This quiche is easy and severely, dangerously good. I've been making it for years and I don't even use a recipe anymore, i just throw all the ingredients together and it always turns out well. It's not fancy or hard, but it's hearty and GOOD. My theory on this is that when you combine bacon and cheese with anything, it's going to be good. No matter what. It's just the law or science or something. Okay, here goes!


- 1 quiche or pie crust (found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 shallot, diced
- 5 slices bacon, already cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp. flour
- a handful of spinach
- a dash of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a skillet over medium and add the oil.
2. Wait for the skillet to get hot and then add the diced shallots. Using a spatula, continuously move them around and give 1-3 minutes to soften.
3. Then add the crumbled bacon and spinach. Allow this mixture to cook with the onions for about 1 more minute. Once the spinach has just wilted, remove the pan from the heat. Put this mixture into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
4. Go ahead and whisk together the eggs and milk. Add a light dusting of salt, pepper and nutmeg, then set mixture aside.
5. Add the 2 tbsp. of flour to the bacon-spinach-shallot mixture, combine until everything is coated with flour.
6. Place the quiche crust inside a round glass Pyrex, pressing it into the pan.
7. Add the bacon-spinach-shallot mixture to the center of the quiche crust, then I spread it out evenly. Add the cheese and stir until everything looks consistent.
8. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the center of the quiche.
9. Bake on 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Once a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean, your quiche is ready to be devoured!

Bon Appetit, friends!


- The baking time is extremely approximate. Just keep checking - it might be perfect or it might still need 10-15 more minutes to fully cook. Every oven, climate, and therefore quiche is different.
- If you feel like your crust is browning too quickly, you can loosely cover the entire quiche with some tinfoil. This keeps the crust from cooking faster than the contents.
- Don't have shallots? Use an onion! Don't have bacon? This is awesome with sausage, too. The other delicious twist on this recipe calls for sausage, mushroom and rosemary (so savory!).

I hope you enjoy whipping this up for your loved ones! And yourself. Tag a sista if you decide to make this - @oykristen. And I hope you have the MERRIEST CHRISTMAS WEEK!!! May the wrapping/laughing/egg-nogging be ever in your favor. xx

p.s. - how do you like my new kitchen breakfast table? Travis McAfee custom designed this beauty - he is a true genius craftsman extraordinaire and me and Stevie are LOVING IT. This table has brought our little family together in the kitchen and it's really been the perfect addition to our home. If you're interested, here is Travis' info - he makes everything from wooden wallets to custom projects. If you get in touch, let him know I sent you!

Christmas Book Advent DIY.

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I wanted to do something to make the Advent season special this year. It's obviously a special time every year, but this year I wanted to honor it in a way that my whole family could participate in. As much as I like eating a chocolate a day, that doesn't really resonate with me as far as taking a pause for gratitude. This year I decided to do something really kid-friendly (and honestly, fun for me, too!) to celebrate Advent by reading a Christmas book per day leading up to Christmas Day. That meant that I spent a lot of time rifling through our current book collection, adding a few to my Amazon order, picking up a few titles at TJMaxx, and grabbing a few at the local Goodwill, too. I wrapped all 24 books in a specific paper, and we have been unwrapping one each day since December 1. On December 25 we will pull out the bible and read the story of Jesus being born. If you're interested in compiling a Christmas Book advent, it's not too late for you to give it a try, too!

A few tips:

- Don't feel like you have to buy 24 new books. Ask around to see if people have 1-2 Christmas books that their children have outgrown or no longer use - you might be surprised how many people come out of the woodwork! It's also something you could post on Facebook to inquire about.

- Wrapping all the books in a specific paper will help keep track of the ones that your kids are "allowed" to open before Christmas. After breakfast each day, Everett carefully selects the book he wants to be able to open later on in the day. It's pretty cute how thoughtful he is about it.

- You don't have to wait until bedtime to open the book and read! Make it different every day or use it as a special privilege throughout the day as you parent. Anything to help incentivize our kiddos, right??

- If you have a mini Christmas tree somewhere else in your house, you could make this your "Advent Tree" and keep all the books around that one. I didn't do this, but now that I'm thinking about it, I think I will do this next year!!

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Let me know if you decide to try this! Merry Advent season to you, friends! xx

P.S. - A fun Christmas announcement will be up on the blog on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Check back here! (Hint hint, it might just be something special for you to unwrap, too. Have I said too much??)

Trimming the Tree.

The memory is laced with the faintest scent of pine and cider and the melodies of the Amy Grant Home for Christmas album. I can see my sisters, the Santa hat atop Kara's head crushing her 80's bangs. Rachel is so little, wearing pink footie pajamas and mimicking everything I do. Because, you know, little sisters. We are decorating the tree and my mom is making popcorn in the kitchen and my dad is outside on a ladder, putting lights up higher on the house than my mom wanted. It's wonderful, it's warm, and we are happy.

Every time I go to decorate my own Christmas tree these adult years, I am overwhelmed with the rush of this memory, these glowing little moments. Me and my sisters, shimmying around the tree with the strange lava lights that mom insists were in style back then and draping our construction paper ornaments all willy-nilly. Mom, with her thick glasses and long fuzzy robe. Dad, fussing with the outdoor decor while his acoustic guitar awaits in the corner of the living room. Dad always came in and played some Larry Norman when he was done with his projects.

I am grateful.

Christmas is not always perfect. It can be stressful and fussy and can bring out some of the worst family dynamics. It can cost too much and somehow we eat too much and then in January we have to clean it all up and that is just sad. But the thing is - Christmas is memory. It's one of the strongest. And I don't really remember the difficult times as much as I remember the shocked look of joy of the faces of my family members, each as they unwrapped their dream gift. I remember my dad getting his big screen TV, my sister getting her sought-after leather Steve Madden boots, and my little Ray Ray, getting clothes. Nothing made her happier than just clothes. It's so funny.

Now I am in the phase of life where I am on the other side of the equation, planning and budgeting and baking and shopping. I am creating the framework for my own little family's memories. I am hanging the stockings, stuffing them with toothbrushes and chocolate (??) I am trimming the tree with my chosen ornaments - a mixture of glitter and gold and woodland themed aesthetics. I know that doesn't really go together but I'm the mom now, so I get to make that call. Just like my mom did with those strange lava lights. I love this phase of life more than I could have ever imagined. I can't believe how much I love being a mom and surprising my family with Christmas treats, all the while the Amy Grant Christmas album lilts in the background of my heart. I am happy. An emotional pregnant basket case about 1/3 of the time these days, but absolutely, decidedly, blissfully happy.

Stevie practically did everything to make Christmas happen this year, in terms of decorating. He put up the largest (and best!) tree we've ever had, smattered some extra branches on the mantle and draped the lights, but Everett helped me hang some of the ornaments lower on the tree and he was absolutely giddy. Just like he should be. I was so touched when Marked Moments Keepsakes reached out, wanting to send along a personalized ornament for us to hang on our tree this year. This wooded design is the perfect memory marker for what feels like another nostalgic year - this slice of life with my little family of three just moments before we balloon into a bustling crew of four. I am so smitten with these Christmas moments and I just want to simmer here for a while. And watch my little son hop like a frog in the glow of the lights while listening to Stevie strum the chords to a Johnnyswim song on his own acoustic.

This is it, you guys. These are the moments that make life the absolute "good old days", and I don't want to dismiss a single one.

What are your favorite Christmas memories from trimming the tree - the music? The lights? I'd love to hear about your own sweet holiday moments with your people. Merry Christmas to you, friends. xox.

P.S. - Our Christmas tree hunting experience this year and my NBD phone call with Jillian Michaels (enter the giveaway for her new book over on my instagram!)

Christmas Tree Hunting!

Oh, Christmas tree!

We had such a memorable time, hunting for our trees rather early this year. Since I am enormously pregnant at this point, I knew I wanted to have Christmas "ready" by Thanksgiving. So we went tree hunting the weekend before Thanksgiving, complete with a hearty Cracker Barrel breakfast prior to the mission. Those blueberry pancakes you guys.

We go to the farmer's market in Atlanta every year for our trees (yes, we get two - one tall beauty and one short kooky one), and this year we went with Stevie's parents and bro. Everett had such a blast, playing hide-and-seek with my brother-in-law Joshua amongst the trees while Stevie and I deliberated. I had my heart set on a super tall tree, while Stevie preferred to be less ostentatious. Story of our life, actually. But he agreed, the 13-footer was too much of a beauty to pass up, and because it was actually very cold and windy on this particular day (okay, cold for Georgia), we made quick decisions and were in and out of the market pretty fast.

Oh, a word on matching. When I found out I was having another boy, I decided to go ahead and attempt to match my kids for as long as they will let me. I have mayyyyybe another year of tricking Everett into thinking it's cool for us to wear matching gear. I might never have a girl, you guys! This could be my only chance! On this particular morning, I pulled out our matching Rocco+Norah beanie and mama turban and was like, "Everett, look! We can have matching hats today!" And he started laughing and smiling and then suddenly froze and was like, "Wait, what about Daddy? Where's Daddy's hat?", to which I responded stone-faced (and kind of evilly), "Daddy didn't want to match us."

Have I not mentioned that this last stretch of pregnancy has made me a terrible person? Just rotten.

How cute are these two??

How cute are these two??

I love this. Such a father-son moment.

I love this. Such a father-son moment.

I mean, how good looking are my in-laws? It's kind of ridiculous.

I mean, how good looking are my in-laws? It's kind of ridiculous.

I hope you are all getting into the Christmas spirit! We finally completed decorating the house and I'll share our trimmed trees here on Monday. Have a beautiful, jolly weekend, friends! xox