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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4th of July Berry Cake!

I love the 4th of July! It's so fitting that it's basically the half-birthday of Christmas, because I feel an almost Christmas-y festivity about this holiday. I love the decor and the patriotism and the community vibes - there is nothing bad about this holiday! I especially love staying home and being in our little town, because people really go all out, decorating their golf carts and driving them to the local parade and fireworks. It's just good exuberant fun for all. I make this delicious berry cake every year (it's my big sister's recipe) and I can't believe I haven't shared it here on the blog before. Last year we actually had a #kitchenfail and I dropped this cake on the floor just after I pulled it out of the oven. There was no saving it, it literally smashed into a sopping mess. It was a sad moment, and even sadder when we pulled out forks and tried to eat the parts that didn't actually touch the floor... don't judge. It's really good cake.

The secret ingredient that makes this cake really really special is the moisture factor - the strawberry yogurt gives it an almost pound cake effect (without the extra calories!) And even though Cool Whip is not something I usually reach for in my kitchen, when it's mixed with the yogurt, it is the dreamiest topping. Basically this cake is fit for a unicorn. Make it and wow all your people on the 4th!

- 1 box white cake mix (usually calls for eggs and oil, as well)
- 1 large tub strawberry yogurt (I love the Stoneyfield brand)
- 1 tub of Cool Whip
- strawberries (sliced lengthwise) & blueberries

1.) Preheat oven and oil a 9x13 glass pan. Prepare cake mix according to the box. This usually calls for a few eggs, oil (I replaced vegetable oil for coconut) and water. Blend everything together.

2. Add in 1 cup of strawberry yogurt to the cake mix. Mix well, until completely blended in. The mix should take on a slightly pink hue - this just makes it good unicorn fun.

3. Pour cake mix into the oiled pan. Bake according to instructions on box, about 33-35 minutes. Cool cake completely before adding whipped topping.

4. To make topping, combine 3/4 tub of Cool Whip with 1 cup of strawberry yogurt. Mix well with a spoon, until completely combined. Spoon on top of cooled cake.

5. Top in a flag design with sliced strawberries and blueberries :)

- I baked this cake the night before to ensure that it was completely cooled before adding the topping. If you don't give it enough time to cool, the whipped topping will liquify. Which probably would still taste good, but look kind of unpatriotic.
- This would also be really fun if made into cupcakes! Just follow the recipe on the box for cupcake instructions.

I hope you have the absolute happiest, most patriotic holiday with your friends and family! Celebrate the joy of being an American! And if you happen to make this cake, please tag me on instagram, I'd love to see your creation! - @oykristen #Oy4thofjulycake

P.S. - You can shop my stars and stripes tank here.

TASTE: Pumpkin & Cream Tartlets

Pumpkin & Cream Tartlets.

Happy Thanksgiving week! I'm sure your home is buzzing with holiday plans, presents stealthily hidden into musty closets waiting to be wrapped, kitchen working overtime pumping all kinds of toasty delicious aromas throughout the house. This is the beginning of the most wonderful time of year!

I wanted to share with you my favorite holiday dessert. I've made it every year for Thanksgiving at my parent's house, but I love it so much that I continue to make it for festive gatherings through New Years - who says pumpkin is only for Thanksgiving? That's just crazy talk. These tartlets are perfect for keeping that sweet tooth in check, because they are bite-sized bits of decadence. And seriously, seriously easy to create. They have a creamier, lighter flavor and texture than regular pumpkin pie, which provides that much-needed refreshing twist on the whole pumpkin-at-Thanksgiving thing. My personal secret is that I like to use a Ziploc bag to pipe everything beautifully into the tarts, because it makes them seem fancy. But if you need really delicious recipe and you're short on time, you can easily spoon them into the little filo dough cups and experience the same rich taste. This would be a great addition to any dessert buffet because they are just so pretty and dainty. And for real, TASTY.


- 1 can organic pumpkin (I like this Trader Joes version)

- 3 packages frozen mini filo cups (You can find these in the frozen section next to the puff pastry, 3 packages makes 45 tartlets)

- 1 3.4-oz. package of instant cheesecake pudding (I use this Jello version

- haven't been able to find a good replacement for this... yet)

- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream (divided)

- 4 tbsp. Sugar in the Raw

- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

// Isn't this mixer a beaut? It's my mom's, but I'm hoping Santa brings me one this Christmas... //


1. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal mixing whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.

2. Pull frozen mini filo dough shells out of the freezer to thaw while preparing the filling.

3. Once 15 minutes has passed, place the 1.5 cups of heavy cream and 4 tbsp. sugar in the mixing bowl. Mix on medium-high until soft peaks form (this could take 3-5 minutes).

4. Divide the fresh whipped cream in half by scooping half of the cream into another bowl (set one portion aside for later.) Add to one bowl of fresh whipped cream: the can of pumpkin, package of instant cheesecake and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until combined and smooth.

5. Scoop mixture into a piping bag (or in my case, a large ziplock bag with a corner cut) and pipe into the individual filo cups. Top with the remaining fresh whipped cream (I also like to pipe it on top) and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Voila!

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Let me know if you decide to add these to your Thanksgiving dessert line up this year! Would love to know how it worked out! And I especially wish you a week chock-full of indulgent treats, delicious fireside chats and most of all, ridiculous amounts of family time. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

TASTE: Lavender Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting.

My gender reveal party ruined me. Ever since I tasted those delicious Magnolia Bakery and Sprinkles cupcakes, I've just wanted MORE. And since I don't want to use this pregnancy as a reason to eat the entire Earth, I'm trying my best to resist sweet-tooth cravings. Trying. My. Best. Well, all that went out the window when I glanced in my pantry and suddenly noticed those lovely lavender herbs. And in a wonderful flash of sugar-craving brilliance, this adorable recipe was born. I birthed it! (Prepping my baby speechin', obviously.)

I think this is a really great treat to make in honor of Easter. Especially for all of you who gave up sugar for Lent - this is a great way to break the fast! Yummy, pastel and fluffy, anyone can take a moment to revel in this precious-tasting confection. Go ahead, it's okay to make and share. Or hoard all alone in your bedroom. I mean, what?


Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes

- 1.5 cups All-Purpose Flour (I like Bob's Red Mill White Flour)

- 3/4 cups Sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw and just blend it for about 15 seconds in my Vitamix to achieve a more refined texture)

- 3/4 tsp. baking powder

- 1/4 tsp. salt

- 1.5 sticks of butter, softened

- 3 eggs, beaten

- 6 tbsp. milk

- 1.5 tsp. Vanilla Extract

- 2 tsp. dried lavender

Buttercream Frosting

- 1 stick of butter, softened

- 2 cups powdered sugar (Also made in the Vitamix - Just blend regular sugar on high for 30 seconds!)

- 2-3 tsp. half & half

- 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

- Red & blue food coloring

// Steeping the lavender. Mmm. //


1. Bring the 6 tbsp. of milk to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Steep 2 tsp. lavender in the milk for 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with liners.

3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

// Beware: Too much time whipping up these frosted treats could result in a belly like this. (JK. You gotta do other kinds of stuff to get a belly like this.) //

4. Beat the 1.5 sticks of butter together with the sugar. Add in the steeped, strained milk (there should be no bits of lavender left in the mixture), along with the beaten eggs and vanilla extract.

5. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture, taking a few moments to beat and combine, then adding a bit more.

6. Once the mixtures are combined, pour the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each cup to 2/3 full.

7. Bake in the center of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden. Let the cupcakes cool for 15-20 minutes until completely cool. You don't want to frost while they're warm or they will get all melty. Ick.

8. To make the frosting, beat together the softened butter, powdered sugar, cream and vanilla together until slightly fluffy. Add the food coloring in, but don't add too much! Start with a drop of the red and a drop of the blue, then continue mixing/adding until you achieve the desired share of soft purple.

Note: If you used Sugar in the Raw in place of white sugar, like I did, your frosting won't start out pure white. This will affect the desired color of your icing, so just bear with it and play with the food coloring. I still managed to achieve a purple-ish hue.

9. I don't have a frosting kit, so I just added the frosting into a large ziplock bag and cut a tiny corner out. I squeezed the frosting through this itty-bitty opening. If you want to add sprinkles, do so immediately after applying the frosting, so they dry together. Or you could skip this all-together and just frost the cupcakes with a spatula. And occasionally lick the goodness. Okay, lick the goodness a lot and just save a little to dress the cupcakes. Either way.

Voila! If you want to get really fancy, you can use a frosting tip inside your pastry bag. I kind of couldn't wait to munch on them... so I did it the quick way! And they're still so pretty! Oh, dear springtime, we're so ready for you!

The Chocolate Brunch

Last Saturday I went to something fantastic called a chocolate brunch. You didn't misread. I put on a frilly frock and joined my pals as we trudged through the cold and attempted to be normal human beings again. Okay, most of these ladies ARE normal. I might be the only one who has trouble leaving the house when the mocking outdoors are so uninviting with the usual down pouring of snow, sleet and overcast skies. Thankfully, there is something called a Chocolate Bar that hosts a weekly Saturday Chocolate-themed brunch to brighten the spirits of those downtrodden Bostonians. Thank you, dear Langham Hotel, for inventing such a wonderful distraction.

Interested in hearing more about this decadent affair? You can check it out here, where I wrote all about my deliciously fine dining experience in this week's issue of The Harbus. Check it out and let me know which dessert you just couldn't have resisted.