You bake, they donate: Help me raise money for breast cancer research

Bake It Happen - pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Honest mamas! How are you? Today I have a special post for you that involves two things dear to my heart: food and advocacy. Specifically pumpkin-flavored food because I LOVE PUMPKIN, as you may know from my fave pumpkin recipes post.

Now hold on, pumpkin haters! Don’t leave! There’s stuff for you too! I promise. Just read on…

Today I baked delicious pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my kiddos — not just because they, too, have the pumpkin-loving gene — but because by baking these cookies and sharing them on social media, I’m raising money for metastatic breast cancer research with Bake It Happen.

Bake It Happen - pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
tbh these are too pretty to be the cookies I baked

First: What is metastatic breast cancer? MBC is stage 4 cancer, which is when breast cancer spreads outside the breast to other parts of the body. As of January 2017 there are nearly 155,000 women living with MBC in the United States alone, and about 25 percent of them were diagnosed at stage 4 from the beginning; the other 75 percent progressed to stage 4 from an initial earlier diagnosis. 30% of those diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will eventually be re-diagnosed with MBC.

MBC is currently incurable and the average prognosis is 2-3 years. That’s it. If you are told you have MBC, you know you will die from it. And think about this: MBC is responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone who dies from breast cancer. So why aren’t we focusing on research that cures MBC?

MBC research is drastically underfunded — the huge majority of breast cancer research funds go to prevention, early detection, and early-stage cures, and not curing MBC patients. I know people dying from MBC right now, and that’s why I’m passionate about helping raise money for its research.

So here’s where the baked goods come in.

Bake It Happen cookies
so mine aren’t totally Pinterest-pretty, but they’re DELICIOUS

During the month of October, if you bake one of Bake It Happen’s recipes and share a pic of your deliciousness on Facebook and/or Instagram, Bake It Happen donates $5 for each pic you share to The Cancer Couch Foundation, founded by Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera. Rebecca has raised over $500K in just 6 months — and all while she has gone through 11 surgeries, chemo, etc., from her own Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis.

100% of the money TCCF raises goes to MBC research AND every institution they fund commits to matching donated funds, dollar for dollar.

Bake and share — that’s it! By just spending the money on some baking ingredients and posting on social media, you’re donating to MBC research and filling your kids’ bellies with yumminess!

And don’t worry, pumpkin haters: You can choose from banana bread, “compost” cookies, black-bottom cupcakes, or the cookies I made. YUM. They’re all original recipes by Judy Levin, whom Bake It Happen was founded in honor of.

#BakeItHappen recipes
those cupcakes are next on my list

Be sure to tag @ubakeithappen on Facebook and @bakeithappen00 on Instagram, and use the hashtag #bakeithappen so the Bake It Happen people can count your shares! If you’re not on social media, just email your pic to

If giving to cancer research is a priority for you, or you just don’t want to bake, you can give directly to Bake It Happen or The Cancer Couch Foundation. TCCF is currently funding research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Read about the research they do with TCCF funds — it’s pretty amazing!

Now go forth and bake, my friends. Let’s help metastatic breast cancer research get the money it deserves.


Frozen blueberry lemonade slushies – for kids and grownups!

Frozen blueberry lemonade slushies - for kids and grownups!

Frozen blueberry lemonade slushies - for kids and grownups!

My kids are always, always, ALWAYS asking me for treats. In the summer they want ice cream, popsicles, or any sort of yummy frozen things all the time. Who can blame them? It’s freaking hot out there!

I totally get the need for frosty goodness when it’s 92 degrees out, but yet I don’t want to overload them with sugar. Even the frozen fruit bars I buy have a good amount of sugar in them.

So, being the sneaky mom I am, I figured out a fantabulous way to get extra fruit in my not-so-excellent eaters:


My homemade frozen drinks use both fresh and frozen fruit and very little sugar. Last year I created my Watermelon Slush. Soon I’ll post my Strawberry Citrus Slush. But today … today I have my Blueberry Lemonade Slush for you!

It’s a great way to use up those loads of fresh blueberries you over-enthusiastically gathered when you went berry picking the other day. Or a fab way to take advantage of the rock-bottom blueberry prices at the store right now!

Easy. Freezy. Yum.

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade

Makes 2 servings

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1/2 teaspoon True Lemon powder)
1/2 cup water
1-2 tablespoons sugar
8 ice cubes
1/2 shot of vodka per glass
Fresh mint, for garnish

– Throw all ingredients except vodka and mint into a blender
– Blend it all up
– Pour into two glasses, such as stemless wine glasses
– Stir in vodka, if desired
– Garnish with mint
– Kick back and cool down!

Happy summer!

Round up: Easy, quick appetizers and snacks for holidays, book clubs, and more

7 easy and quick appetizers and snacks

7 easy and quick appetizers and snacksWhen I’m having people over, the last thing I think about are the appetizers. Whether it’s for the holidays, for book club, or for a last-minute get together, I get lazy with the apps. My standbys: cheese, crackers, grapes, store-bought dip and chips, and heat-and-serve apps from Wegmans. That’s what I resort to because I’m either totally focused on the main course, or I’m cleaning the house like crazy because dust bunnies EVERYWHERE.

But sometimes, even I want to try something new. So last time I hosted book club, I attempted to get a little more creative. I found a bunch of easy apps on Pinterest, and also made an onion jam pizza recipe (below) that I got from my friends at Moms Who Need Wine. They provided the book we read – The Missing Something Club – some delicious wine, and some appetizer recipes.

Needless to say, the new appetizers were a hit, and it wasn’t that much more effort on my part. So don’t be boring at your next party or book club. Try these appetizer ideas – there are both savory and sweet options. I bet they’ll make your night a little more tasty and interesting.

Quick and easy appetizer ideas

I know I’m advocating trying something new, but along with whatever newfangled recipes I attempt, I always set out some mixed, marinated olives, a variety of cheese and crackers, some grapes, and some mixed nuts. Old habits die hard. And really, who doesn’t like cheese? Bring on the brie! And the blue. And the manchego, and the cheddar, and the gouda…wait, what was I saying? Right. New recipes. Here you go…

Parmesan baked edamame
Parmesan-baked edamame from Spoon University


crack dip
“Crack dip” from Plain Chicken


Caprese skewers with balsamic drizzle
Caprese skewers with balsamic drizzle from Iowa Girl Eats


Roasted garlic onion game pizza
Roasted garlic onion jam pizza from Stonewall Kitchen


Pumpkin chocolate chip bars
My own pumpkin chocolate chip bars


Cheesecake dip
Cheesecake dip from Craftaholics Anonymous


Easy Pretzel Turtles
Easy pretzel turtles from The Gunny Sack