Cookies, calzones, and casseroles.

When you get married, life kind of explodes. No, scratch that. When you get engaged, life definitely explodes. Mostly good explosions, of course. First, there is the initial explosion of announcements: Quick! Call everyone you know! Send picture messages of the ring! Tell the proposal story so many times it makes you regret calling so many people! Next, there is the wedding planning explosion, which comes in the form of a nightmare. Then, the wedding day explosion, during which your heart is filled with so much love and emotion that it pretty much bursts. And then you’re married, and you think everything is back to normal, and for the most part, it is. Unless you and your husband live in a teeny tiny apartment, in which case, your living space is constantly exploding with all of the wedding gifts that you foolishly asked for.

Seriously. There are cabinets in my kitchen that I can’t open without a colander falling on my foot. There is a stack of large boxes that have made a permanent home behind our living room couch. And more towels just means a bigger pile of laundry next to the washing machine, which also happens to be next to my bed. Yes, that’s how small our apartment is.

But really, how can I complain? These are gifts, after all. My apartment is exploding with really nice things at the moment, and I am thankful for that. I just wish we had a place to put all of it. As a result, we’re not really inviting too many people over for dinner parties or anything, not because we don’t have the “stuff” required to entertain (Trust me, I’ve got the dip trays and the place settings and the wine glasses and the serving bowls etc. etc. etc.), but because there simply isn’t enough room to entertain, period. Also, we only have three dining room chairs that will not break if you sit on them.


So when we planned a Saturday night of Settlers of Catan and dinner followed by a Sunday morning of breakfast and football-watching and baking with my sister and her husband, we didn’t host. Instead, Jenny did all the cooking and the baking, and we just showed up, ate and took pictures. Because she's pretty awesome, and has plenty of room for all of her wedding stuff, and all the counter space in the world for a Kitchen Aid mixer, coffee maker, toaster oven and rice cooker, and even has an entire cabinet dedicated to baking ingredients. Including two kinds of chocolate chips, whole wheat flour, parchment paper, rolling pins, and a bag of dried cherries that she bought on sale thinking “Well, I’m sure I’ll use them someday.” Kind of like how I stock up on cans of chickpeas when they’re on sale, except she’d never buy chickpeas, and I’d never buy dried cherries.

Here is what we ate that weekend: Baked brie, spinach calzones with blue cheese, Cool Ranch Doritos, bon-bons, orange-pecan French toast casserole, bacon, eggs, and chocolate-cherry Heart Smart cookies. (See where those dried cherries come in? You knew this long ramble of post had to lead somewhere…) Also, Murdo won in Settlers of Catan. Again.

Sometimes, I dream of huge white kitchens with open shelving, stacked high with my white bone china place settings, and an entire section dedicated to baking ingredients. And soup ingredients. And pasta ingredients. And sandwich ingredients. And also, enough room for all of those wine glasses that are currently stored next to our printer.

All recipes are from Cooking Light:

Spinach Calzones with Blue Cheese - Murdo doesn't like spinach, mushrooms, or blue cheese, which were all included in these calzones, and yet he still truly enjoyed them. Three points for Jenny!

Orange Pecan French Toast Casserole - A perfectly sweet companion to the salty bacon. Doesn't even need maple syrup. It might even become a new Christmas morning treat for our family, although I do love cinnamon rolls...

Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies
- These are great for breakfast. Really.


  1. Sometimes I read a post on your blog and I just don't know what else to do but go, good gracious. I know you write for a living and all, but seriously Jacqui, good gracious. You write good. It always seems so effortless.

    AND I still think you should have a cooking show. I wonder how we could combine your photography and writing with live demonstrations? Think about it. I would fully support that.

  2. I like any cookies that can be eaten for breakfast (although, hey. I'm a grown up. I can eat ANY cookies for breakfast if I want to!). And I love your descriptions of overcrowding - we moved into a bigger place and donated a bunch of stuff, and we still have things that have yet to find a home. Ah well, one piece at a time, right?

    I also love that you play Settlers. And that Murdo always wins. Will always wins around here, but when the food is good, it is my opinion that everyone wins.

  3. Wow. I had to read that post twice. And then I had to drag Terry from downstairs and make him read it too. You make me so proud! Not just because you write so well, but because you make me appreciate things in better ways. And I'm not just talking about space either!

  4. Everything sound so yummy! and it looks really yummy too;) Sounds like my sister with her tiny apartment and just married:0)

  5. I'm so worried about where I'm going to put all the stuff that I can't wait to get but will just not have a home in my current apartment!

    Anything that was a total Yes from your registry (or something you wish was on there?)

  6. Ah, I feel like nobody ever seems to have enough kitchen space, including me!

  7. Living in a townhouse I completely understand the challenges of finding a place for all those nice wedding presents. My solution is furniture with storage. Ikea particularly was a godsend when I first got married. Ottomans with storage are cool too.

    btw I discovered your blog through @foodloveswriting (and I think we may have met at Shanna's blog party last summer).

  8. Shanna - Thank you so much. Come by any time for another "episode."

    Kim - Those cookies are like chocolate chip oatmeal granola bars, except better! AND only 94 calories a cookie. :) And I love Settlers. It's a long game, and there's often a bit of war between players, but it's all in good fun. Esp. w/ good food.

    Jenny - :) Thank you again for all that food! It took me a long time to figure out how to write a post that would do all that food justice. I'm glad you liked it.

    Holly - Thank you! You should invite your sister over for dinner and cookies. ;)

    Whitney - A lot of our stuff is in our parents' basements, not to be christened until we get a bigger place. Like my KitchenAid mixer! Other must-haves that I'm so glad I got: Pyrex glass storage containers with lids, a corner shower caddy (really frees up space in the tub!), cast iron skillet, bundt pan, and a good cleaver!

    Nicole D - I know! I'll probably always be wishing my kitchen were bigger, no matter how big it really is.

    Vicki - Oh I love that you found me through Shanna. Anyone who throws blog parties is pretty awesome, in my book. And furniture storage -- genius! One of those storage ottomans has been on my "want" list for a while, but we don't even have the room for that! So glad you stopped by.


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