Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!


fresh mint olive oil cake with labneh and honey

This color is real!!! And, no, Kermit was not harmed in the making of this. This is really just a basic olive oil cake that simply has a bunch of fresh mint purée mixed in to give it the most delightfully fresh herbal flavor and of course this bright natural color. It’s inspired by a dessert that Lily, Alana, and I had at The Exchange Restaurant last month that was basically a bowl of crumbled bright green cake topped with yogurt sorbet, a lemony drizzle, and baklava crumble. We ordered it expecting a regular yellow olive oil cake but when it arrived and we saw the color we were like omgomgomg and immediately did that thing where all three of us suddenly block out everything that’s going on around us in order to decipher what’s happening in our mouths and in front of our eyes. We poked at it, snooped around its every nook and cranny, and took very deliberate tastes in order to figure it all out. It’s so good eating with them. The only thing that could have improved such a moment is if one of us had raised up a monocle or magnifying glass. We figured it must have been a few different herbs in there, basil maybe, or parsley even, and then we got on the subject of spinach cupcakes (ew?), and finally had a chat with the server about what all was happening. And it turned out that it was just mint! Which is wild because it didn’t taste specifically minty, the most minty thing about it was that it had a faint version of that fresh feeling you have after brushing your teeth. Past that it was sort of generically herbal, which was cool because it allowed the yogurt sorbet and pistachio baklava crumble to shine through. And above all it was delicious. One of the best most inspiring desserts I’ve ever had. I turned around faster than I’ve ever turned around in my life and flew home and started experimenting with olive oil mint cakes. 

And I came up with this one! It’s a riff on the grapefruit olive oil cake from Yogurt book and it is really fun to make. You might think that the mint purée color would fade in the oven but it stays so bright. Sorry I am like one month late for St. Patrick’s Day, but actually I’m just 11 months early. 

I originally intended to slather this in a classic sweet cream cheese frosting but at the last minute before bringing it to Mackenzie’s birthday party I decided to go deeper into my nod to The Exchange dessert and just use labneh with a honey drizzle and pistachios. I loved it because it was so aggressively not sweet. It was definitely not your typical happy birthday sugary cake though so because of this I was trying really hard to figure out what all of my friends thought of it. The thing about being surrounded by so many nice Midwest people however is that they will not tell you if your cake is bad!! Emily said it tasted *fancy* so there is that?? I’ll leave you with this: when it comes to assembling this cake, choose your own adventure. If you’re hankering for a classic sweet frosting use a standard cream cheese frosting. But if you’re celebrating a sophisticated 30-year-old birthday party then try out the labneh option (as written below)! You can always add more honey drizzles. If you can’t decide, use some of the cake scraps as test bites and concoct your frosting accordingly.  

Fresh Mint Olive Oil Cake with Labneh and Honey

Makes one 2-layer 6” cake



1 c (50g) firmly packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 c (118g) whole milk or unsweetened almond milk

1 1/2 c (190g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (56g) almond meal

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Zest of 1 lemon

3/4 c (150g) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 c (250g) sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla



About 1 1/2 c (338g) labneh

crushed pistachios

honey and/or turbinado sugar

lemon zest

sliced kumquats, optional


Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of two 6” pans with parchment and set aside.

Rinse the mint leaves and then ring them out very well. In a high powered blender like a vitamix, blend the mint and milk together until very smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking very well after each, and then add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mint mixture in three alternating additions, whisking after each until just combined. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Level off the tops.

Spread half of the labneh on one of the layers and top with pistachios, honey or turbinado, and a little bit of lemon zest, and then place the other cake layer on top and spread on remaining labneh. Decorate as desired with pistachios, honey or turbinado, lemon zest, and sliced kumquats, if using. Enjoy! 


springtime oreos

ok as soon as i posted monday’s hotdish, it started to actually warm up outside and morph into spring, signified by the fact that nobody who came over this week needed assistance in the can i take your coat realm. which is a great relief because despite the fact that we’ve lived in our house for almost three years now, we’ve yet to nail down this choreography and half of the time the coats go directly from our guests’ bodies to eggboy’s arms to a hopeful pile on the couch. or a random closet on the other side of the house, or on the homemade hooks halfway down the cave to our basement if it’s not completely filled up with parkas and coveralls. there’s just a lack of space in our welcome area (or maybe an overabundance of shoes?) and the routine is that guests come in, they see this whale drawing, and in a single file they filter through a tunnel to the light and smell of the kitchen at which point eggboy shimmies in to take the coats but then that's the furthest we've rehearsed and it's nearly impossible to predict where the coats go from there.

(apologies in advance for the wrinkles on your coats.)

but the point is i know it's spring because we've gone a week without going through that mishegas. 

spring also showed itself this week at night when we sat down to finally finish the last episode of this is us and it was still broad daylight. ughghgggggh. on the plus side (!), longer days mean that macaroni’s egg production is through the roof and i’ve got matzo, so i’ve been jumping the gun on matzo brei and it feels gr8. 

other than observing spring, this week has included a great big mashup of things: cake baking, cake photographing, brisket over-salting, yogurt testing, meeting for the new town food truck logo, shooting with chantell and brett, planning fargo passover (you’re all invited!! details tbd) and preparing for the cherry bombe jubilee (you’re also all invited!! tickets are still available for their marketplace where i'll be signing motr!). and tomorrow morning i’m driving to fargo to make springtime desserts on north dakota today! i’m excited! i’ll be demoing the little rosemary planter cakes from motr, toasted coconut bird’s nest cupcakes, and these here oreos with pretty pastel fillings that are all naturally colored! here are the colorings that i used:

green: matcha powder, easy peasy. (if you don’t like matcha, you can pull a lily and add a dash of spirulina.)

pink: ground freeze dried berries. berry purée would also work (directions here), but i had fun this time experimenting with freeze dried berries because they make the frosting a little speckled and also the flavor comes through a bit stronger. you could also use a bit of beet juice! 

yellow: orange juice and zest + the tiiiiiiiniest bit of turmeric. too much turmeric makes it taste like turmeric, which isn’t good for buttercream, and the color gets kind of neon-y yellow. so when adding your turmeric, add the smallest amount possible and then increase from there if you want more color.

springtime oreos

makes 18 cookies


for the cookies:

2 c flour

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


for the filling:

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 c powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp matcha powder

2 tsp finely crushed freeze dried raspberries or strawberries

zest and juice of an orange

a tiny pinch of turmeric



to make the cookies: preheat the oven to 325ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. divide in half, shape into flat discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour (or up to two days).

lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with cocoa powder. roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out 2 1/2 inch rounds. transfer them to the baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 

bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 20 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the filling: with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until combined.

divide the frosting equally into three small bowls. add the matcha to one, the berries to another, and the orange and turmeric to the other and stir to combine. 

fill piping bags with each of the three frostings. place half of the cookies on a plate or work surface. pipe a blob of filling onto the tops of each of these cookies and then place another cookie on top, pressing slightly.

refrigerate for a few minutes to allow the filling to firm up. enjoy! store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.