Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup local honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a bowl mix the oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil, maple syrup and honey. Whisk in vanilla. Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a spatula; finish mixing by hand. Spread granola on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Allow the granola to cool completely. Seal granola in an airtight container or self-sealing plastic bag. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.

Homemade Granola

Chicken Noodle Soup & Grilled Cheese

A couple of months ago I did a Camping Styled Shoot with a couple of local, talented friends. (Photography: Sarah Sexton Photography | Food Styling: Graceful Cooking) I love getting to collaborate with like-minded creatives! Below is Grace's delicious recipes from the shoot for Chicken Noodle Soup and Grilled Cheese! More images and recipes will be coming in the following weeks so keep an eye out :) 

Grilled Cheese and Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli stems, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp garlic
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth
  • About 1/2 a roasted chicken, shredded in large pieces
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • Salt to taste
  • Thick, old fashioned egg noodles

In a dutch oven or other soup pot, heat butter over medium high heat. Once hot, add carrots, onion, celery, and broccoli stems and sauté until tender. Add garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add chicken. Pour in broth and water (if needed) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Boil pasta separately and add to soup when complete. 

Grilled Cheese

  • Thick slices of sourdough bread
  • Brie Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Butterkäse or other semisoft cheese
  • 1-2 tsp Worcestershire
  • Butter

Slather each piece of bread with butter on one side each. Place one piece in a cast iron skillet, or other nonstick pan on medium heat. Place slices of cheese on top and douse with Worcestershire sauce. Place other piece of bread (butter side up) on top. Press down with a spatula until cheese starts to melt. Flip and continue cooking until bread is golden brown and crispy and cheese is meeeelty and delicious looking.

{Tricks &} Treats

Tricks & Treats

For the Halloween soiree shoot, I kept the food and drinks fairly simple and sophisticated with a touch of fun since this still is a very whimsical Holiday. Check out these "Spooktacular" recipes below!

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies
Nutter Mummies

Bring out your inner mad scientist and serve your cocktails in beakers and flasks like I did for the Sanguine Sangria. This blood red beverage can be the perfect addition to any party, you can just change the name up a little bit. 

Sanguine Sangria


  • 1 bottle of Merlot
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau
  • 2-4 cups fresh cherries
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 2 cups ice, if desired

Pour the merlot in a pitcher, add the cranberry juice, Cointreau and the cherries, stir well. Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Remove the mixture from the fridge and add the sparkling water. Stir well. Add ice if desired and serve

The "Poison Apples are an eerie version of a regular 'ole candy apple. The "spooky looking sticks" help to create the illusion of the apples being "poisoned" and like they came straight from the evil queen herself. 


"Poison" Apples

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • few drops black gel food coloring
  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples (make sure your apples are fresh and haven't been waxed)
  • 5-6 sturdy, but spooky looking sticks

Grease a piece of baking paper and place on a tray/baking sheet. Insert sticks in all the apples and set aside. In a medium pot, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and food coloring and stir over the medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and mixture feels smooth. When the sugar had dissolved, turn the heat up and continuously scrape the sides down with a silicone spatula to prevent crystals from forming. Allow the caramel to boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (310°F on a candy thermometer). Carefully dip the apples into the hot candy mixture and place on the baking paper to set and cool for approximately an hour before serving. 

I originally chose the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies recipe since their final color went along with the overall theme and color palette. I am so glad I did because not only were they quite simple to make they were extremely delicious! 

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • mini size simple caramel milky way bars
  • Maldon's sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and mix until well incorporated and thick. Make balls of cook dough about 2 tbsp in size. Break balls of dough in half, add candy bar to the middle, then press dough halves back together and seal edges. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt flakes (regular sea salt is totally fine, too.) Bake for 8-10 minutes. Center might look a little undercooked, but edges should be done. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove from cooling rack to cool completely. 

The Nutter Mummy Cookies are another way to bring in a little bit of whimsy without going over the top. These cookies are super easy and you can let your kids help out on the fun! Since they are topped with messy, squiggly lines of white chocolate, it really doesn’t matter how they look, I think the messier, the better. 

Nutter Mummy Cookies

Nutter Mummy Cookies

  • Nutter Butter Cookies
  • white chocolate candy melts
  • candy eyes

Melt candy melts according to the package directions in a medium glass bowl. Dip Nutter Butters in and shake off excess white chocolate. Place on wax paper and attach eyes. Repeat with remaining Nutter Butters. Allow to set up. Reheat leftover candy melts and pour into small Ziplock bag. Cut a tiny hole at the edge of the bag. Drizzle white chocolate onto Nutter Butters to make a mummy. 

How To: Throw a Sophisticated Halloween Soirée

HOW TO: Throw a Sophisticated Halloween Soirée

Halloween Tablescape

As we all know, a lot of times Halloween décor can be a bit on the tacky side. If you are
looking to add a little class to the most “spooktacular” holiday of the year, keep reading for a
few of our favorite tips, tricks, and treats.

Black candles

An easy way to make your Halloween décor more sophisticated is to keep things minimal
and stick to a simple color palette. A classic black and white palette with a few pops of dark,
moody colors will help set an air of mystery, while not going overboard. This was my thought
for the table set-up. I stuck to black and white overall décor and then added color just with the
floral arrangement. Some of the flowers I chose were black calla lilies and scabiosa, dark
magenta coxcomb, for their colors while I chose blue thistle and safari sunset for their texture.

Halloween decor

I wanted all the pumpkins to look unique, but cohesive. This is why I chose to paint them all in a black or white matte paint with black or white accessories. These are all do-it-yourself projects and can enjoyable be done by the whole family. Also, these were done with craft pumpkins, but can be done with fresh pumpkins once they are back in season.

Face Pumpkins

See below for instructions on how to "DIY" these yourself!

Black Matte Pumpkins
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.42.28 AM.png
Lacy Pumpkin
Crescent Moon Pumpkin
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.32.04 AM.png

Stay tuned next week for the "spooktacular" recipes!

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies


Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter (warmed)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T lavender buds
  • 2 T finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 t butter flavoring
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • dash of kosher salt

In a medium bowl, beat together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. With a mortar and pestle, combine lavender buds and lemon zest. Mix lavender-lemon zest mixture with vanilla, lemon juices and butter flavoring. Add flour and kosher salt, then beat just until well blended. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom to make sure everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, for 20-30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2" circular cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets until sheet is filled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, chill pan for 10 minutes. Bake cookies until light brown on bottom and just barely golden around edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely. 


  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T cream cheese

In a medium bowl, slowly whisk together lemon juice into the powdered sugar. Add lemon zest and cream cheese and beat until well combined. Top each cookie with icing using a pastry spatula.