Category Archives: breakfast

my finished DIY Christmas pine wreath

pumpkin spice waffles, good bubbles + how to make a holiday wreath

Well, we finally got a Christmas tree a little over a week ago. If we are lucky, maybe we’ll even decorate it before the 25th! Not a likely story. So far, the potted evergreen bears only a loosely hung string of LED lights on its small branches. But it is so adorable just as it is!

This is the first year that Steve and I purchased a living Christmas tree. We even have a spot in the front yard dedicated to its earth-bound arrival in late spring. I scoured the rows of now-small evergreen trees at City Floral and found the perfect one. It’s a little crooked, but its trunk is strong and solid. On the way to check out, I spied some loose tree trimmings in a box and was instantly inspired to create a handmade wreath.

Luckily, one of my favorite garden bloggers, Erin of Blackberry Burrow, had recently posted a beautiful evergreen wreath tutorial, so I took down a few of her tips and made an adorably wild wreath happen.

Armed with an obscenely large cup of coffee, alongside my new Christmas tree buckled in the passenger seat of my car, I set out to find a sturdy wreath frame and some floral wire. And some bubbles for later. Because I love bubbles.

That was last weekend. My boyfriend and I were gifted a day off together, which never happens in the month of December, when life is blowing by at full-speed at the restaurant. Late nights, late mornings, baggy eyes {thank God for concealer!}, and copious cups of coffee are all commonplace this time of year. But those wouldn’t bog us down that day. Not one bit.

Steve and I have an annual tradition of compiling a holiday playlist and even burn it out, old-school-style, on a CD. Kind of a “best-of” compilation of music that catches our ears throughout the year. While Steve was mixing a first-pass at the computer, I set out to make my first-ever evergreen wreath. But first, more coffee and some pumpkin spice waffles. I’ll get to those in a moment.


how to make your own evergreen wreath


  • floral wire
  • evergreen boughs, branches, or pieces
  • a wire wreath frame {found at craft stores or a floral shop}
  • yard scissors or “pruners”
  • wire cutters
  1. Forage for stems and boughs from evergreen trees or grab some from your local florist. Erin suggested gathering branches after a winter storm, but since we had been experiencing 75-degree weather, that wasn’t an option for me. I found some at City Floral here in Denver. I even saw that Whole Foods sold evergreen pieces for only $5 a “bouquet” – not a bad price.
  2. Bunch together a few branches of evergreen and tie together with a few wraps of floral wire. Depending upon the thickness, I used either three or four branches. You may also trim the branches along the way, if you want a more uniformly sized wreath. You can always trim it later, though.
  3. Set out your wreath base on your working area. I used this 18″ wire wreath base from Michael’s.
  4. Using your wire cutters, clip a long piece of floral wire. Take your first “bouquet” that you tied together and tie it securely to the wreath frame. In the third photo below, you can see the back of the frame and notice how I secured the groupings of evergreen pieces.
  5. Stagger the next evergreen bouquet a few inches away from the first one, sort of layering each time. Continue in this fashion, until you reach the place, where you began. It’s really that easy. Now you can decorate it or leave it in its unruly, woodsy glory!

So, yeah, I was super stoked with my results! I actually ran out of evergreen pieces during the wreath-making process, so Steve kindly trimmed some of our overgrown bushes in our yard and came to the rescue. The little blueish pieces and the long, wispy pieces are from his handiwork!

We took a break to make some pumpkin spice waffles from Cookie + Kate. I made only a few adaptations from her original recipe. You can find her detailed post here. I am constantly inspired with her vegetarian cooking and creative ways to make healthy treats taste delicious.

I also had a bottle of Prosecco to taste and review, so I figured I’d taste it in the morning and make mimosas with the leftovers! And just in case you’re someone who needs a little brush-up on how to make the perfect mimosa, I’ve got that covered, as well. This post I wrote at the Kitchn a few months back will definitely hone your mimosa-making skills.


pumpkin spice waffles {gluten-free}


  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 packed pumpkin purée
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together until combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the remaining wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.
  3. Now add the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir just until combined. There will be some small clumps, and that’s okay. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. Now is the time to preheat your waffler.
  4. Once the time’s up, give your waffle mix one more toss with a spoon. Waffler sizes vary, but I found success scooping out a hefty 1/2 cup onto the surface of my waffle iron. This is the one that I use, but I am dying for a Belgian waffler {swoon!}.
  5. I took Kate’s advice and preheated my oven to 200 degrees, so that I could make the entire batch of waffles and place them in the heated oven, until I was ready to serve them. This was perfect advice!

  • Make your own oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour on hand, simply toss 2 1/4 cups of whole oats into a blender, until the oats turn into a fine flour.
  • Freeze your own pumpkin purée over the summer. Since I grow so many pumpkins and squashes, I always have pumpkin purée on hand. I roast up a batch of two or three, purée the roasted pumpkin, scoop out 2-cup portions, and freeze them in plastic bags. There’s no need to purchase any from a can!
  • Make these waffles ahead and freeze them. I placed them in freezer bags and removed as much air out of the bag as possible. I have enjoyed them multiple times over the past week!
  • Get creative. I infused my maple syrup with fresh thyme and added toasted pecans. I have definitely done this before, and here is the proof.


Nino Franco “Rustico” Prosecco, Valdobbiadene Superiore, Italy, MV


  • On the eyes – bright, pale straw.
  • On the nose – floral overtones, supported by golden delicious apple, green melon, white peach, and orange pith.
  • On the palate – This is a leaner style Prosecco and is great if you don’t gravitate toward bread-like, biscuit-y sparkling wines. It is moderate in acidity, has a chalk-like finish, and definitely showcases all of the aromas listed above. Delicious on its own and complemented with a little grapefruit juice!
  • On the table – Excellent with oysters or shellfish.
  • On the shelf – about $16.
  • On the ears – paired with SOHN‘s “Artifice” from the album, Tremors. I am freaking in love with his sound and am bummed that I missed him, when he passed through Denver earlier in November. The entire album is gorgeously written, and his haunting vocals deliver the words poetically. A couple of his tracks definitely made it to our Best-Of playlist. I’ll post a link soon, and if you would like a hard copy {ie: a compact disc}, I can make that happen, too. I’m all about music swaps!

Have an inspired, authentic, and profoundly creative rest of your week!

XO,

Jayme

whole wheat pancakes with blood orange butter + thyme maple syrup

If you ever drop by our house mid-morning on a Sunday, you will most likely find us in the kitchen, creating something decadent.  Regardless if I work that evening, I make sure that Sunday is a day for gratitude, enjoyment, celebration, and general relaxation.  I want to savor those feelings and take them with me for the rest of the week.  Why wouldn’t you?

With blood oranges showing up everywhere lately, I was immediately inspired to do something creatively with them last Sunday.  Blood orange butter sounded just about right, paired with thyme-infused maple syrup over whole wheat pancakes.  This brunch spread sounds complicated, but it all took under 45 minutes and was completely worth the effort.

I adapted a recipe for whole wheat pancakes from Fifteen Spatulas and added toasted pecans, a touch of cinnamon, and some delicious vanilla extract, locally crafted by Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes.  I think I ended up eating about five!  No regrets.

Whole Wheat Pancakes – adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1 cup buttermilk {or 1 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice}
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus a little extra for cooking the ‘cakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Firstly, if you do not have any buttermilk available, combine 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, stir, and set aside, while you prepare the other ingredients.  Sift the dry ingredients.  Whisk the wet ingredients together.  Combine the two, leaving plenty of lumps.  The lumps give pancakes their fluffiness factor, so don’t whisk them away.  On a hot griddle, melt a little butter and pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter, flipping them over, once their sides are bubbly.  Serve with blood orange slices, thyme maple syrup, and blood orange butter.

Blood Orange Butter – adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • zest from 1 blood orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice {citrus is easier to juice at room temperature and releases the most juice}
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur {I used Leopold Bros. orange liqueur}

Whisk the sugar and butter in a standing mixer, until light and fluffy.  Add the blood orange juice, salt, and orange liqueur, incorporating completely.  You may store the butter in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or freeze the butter for future use.  My boyfriend handed out some of the leftover blood orange butter to friends at work last week.  Many of them ate it directly out of the jar, and several friends suggested spreading it on top blueberry muffins or serving it alongside steamed Dungeness crab.  I think having this on hand will prompt many creative opportunities!

Thyme Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quality, grade B maple syrup {why grade B is better}
  • 2 sprigs of fresh, organic thyme
  • pinch of salt

In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, salt, and the fresh thyme.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes to “steep.”  Strain the sprigs through a chinois or strainer and keep the syrup warm on the stove, until you are ready to serve the pancakes.  Keep any unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week and simply heat, when you are ready to make some more pancakes.  We didn’t even have to run to the store for this one!  Despite the recent cold weather, there were several sprigs from our perennial thyme plants in the garden, ready for picking.

What brunch recipes are you enjoying?  Have you been obsessed with all of the readily available citrus?  As I type, I am sipping a jalapeño blood orange margarita, while tangerine and habañero marmalade is cooling in the kitchen.  I think I’m officially infatuated.  If only I lived back in Florida, where I could merely pull over at any given fruit stand and enjoy them as fresh as possible!  Florida friends, you are more than invited to box up some citrus and send it my way!

spinach + mushroom quiche | vegetable reincarnation

We made quiche for the first time this Christmas Day.  Surprisingly easy to make and quite versatile, quiches can be made with whatever you currently have in your kitchen or reflect what is seasonally available.

What a busy month December has been!  I think that a lot of us can say those exact words, accompanied by a deep sigh of relief, now that the month is closing to an end.  I have let the busyness of the season allow for excuses to not write or exercise or take care of myself, as well as I know I should.  A couple of nights ago, over a glass of wine, my boyfriend and I were discussing how we would celebrate Christmas this year.  Both of us had recently assumed new roles within our profession, and with the promotions, came more responsibility and demands upon our time.  The common thread within our conversation was the quest for peace, avoiding stress, and following our own timing for imposed holiday deadlines.

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