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This past summer when I began pondering my time, I asked myself a simple question: “What is something I want to accomplish that I haven’t already done?” This brought me to my goal of wanting to create a cookbook. Cooking has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl and creating a cookbook seemed like the ultimate culmination of this hobby. 

When I googled, “How to get a cookbook deal” all roads led me to creating a food blog. This seemed like the perfect avenue for me, the combination of photography and cooking. Two hobbies of mine that I had put on the back burner for many months. Two hobbies that I had pursued in college career endeavors and something I could do in my free time at home.

But this did not go without hesitation and doubt. First, who would want to read MY food blog, what would be my point of view, and was it even a feasible feat living in a small town in North Dakota? Would I be able to figure out all the website, photography, and tech jargon needed to create a beautiful blog?

Enter my inspiration, Molly Yeh of the food blog My Name is Yeh. My google searches led me to the Saveur Blog Awards where I perused several successful food blogs on the internet. Lo and behold would you guess that My Name is Yeh is one of the most successful food blogs and it stemmed from a small farmstead in North Dakota!

Molly’s blog is wonderful. It is full of picturesque photography and scrumptious, innovative recipes. See for yourself here. Her writing is charming and seeing her pictures of recipes that had taken cues from her North Dakota farm made me feel right at home. Her cookbook is one in the same a perfect gathering of unique recipes that tie to her roots, but also her experiences in New York and North Dakota (two loves of mine too). Her blog and cookbook were a true driving force in helping me find the courage to start my own blog. 

A few months ago I was thrilled to learn that I had won one of Molly’s pre-order giveaways for her cookbook Molly on the Range (which you can purchase here.) A small canister of rainbow sprinkles arrived in my PO Box a few weeks later, but not only pretty rainbow sprinkles they were also mixed with spices, sesame seeds, and salt. 

I thought for weeks what would be the best recipe to pay tribute to these special sprinkles and I came up with Baked Funfetti Donuts. Molly is known for her classic funfetti cake that graces the cover of her cookbook. I thought this rendition would be fun to take a twist on this colorful cake and pack it all into one little donut. Funfetti was also the perfect ingredient because it also depicts her very witty, creative food blog to a T! 

These donuts have wonderful flavor and the sprinkles make the donuts pop even more! So thank you Molly Yeh for inspiring me to start my blog (and thanks for the sprinkles!) I hope that someday our paths cross in the small town ways of North Dakota that we both know and love.


Baked Funfetti Donuts

1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. greek yogurt
1 egg
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 t. imitation vanilla extract
1/2 c. rainbow sprinkles

3 T. heavy cream
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. I purchased mine from here. To make the donuts, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk the milk, yogurt and egg together until smooth. Add in the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Slowly combine the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Fold in the sprinkles gently, making sure you don’t mix too much or they will bleed. Spoon or pipe the batter into donut pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 9-10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Cool before glazing. 

To prepare glaze, heat powdered sugar and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Add in vanilla and mix for 2-3 minutes until warm. Immediately dip cooled donuts into warmed glaze and sprinkle with sprinkles!


Ok get out your box of Kleenex…….

Two years ago my husband and I were driving to Grand Forks, North Dakota for a Fighting Sioux  University of North Dakota hockey game. I was almost 6 months pregnant at the time and looking forward to an exhilarating Valentine’s Day weekend with friends. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on the long, weary drive across the state of North Dakota, when I suddenly burst into tears. These weren’t tears of sadness, but more so tears from a place of love and happiness. 

There on my Facebook newsfeed was a photo of my grandparents, Catherine & Odie West. They were being honored for Valentine’s Day as the King and Queen of the Valentine’s Day Party at the nursing home where they resided. Now the tears didn’t come from just that distinct honor, but from my Grandpa’s response when asked what he was going to get my Grandma for Valentine’s Day.

His response:

“Oh I will just go up on the ranch and pick her some wild flowers” as he had always done for his sweetheart for the past 66 years it read. At this point my Grandpa’s Parkinson’s had taken most of his mobility leaving this task, be it an impossible one. I know he would have done just that if he could of at the time. 

My grandparents were a true love story, 66 years in the making at the time.  They raised 5 children and built a beautiful ranch and farm north of Pierre, South Dakota. My Grandma once wrote, “Ours is a life story of two people who together with determination, hard work and play filled their lives with love and memories.” And they did just that, they built a wonderful life that was overflowing with love and memories. 

This year will be my Grandma’s first Valentine’s Day without her sweetheart by her side. My Grandpa Odie passed away this fall. They were married for almost 68 years.

One of my favorite memories with my Grandma when I was little were the small pieces of fudge that my Grandma would wrap up and place underneath a small Christmas tree. One year, when we still lived in New York, she gave me a few small presents from under the tree and told me that I couldn’t open them until I got on the airplane. I loved waiting to open the delicate wrapped fudge pieces and enjoying them on my trip home. 

This year I will be remembering what my Grandpa said. Make sure to show those around you how much you care, even if it’s a simple bouquet of wild flowers, a small surprise of fudge, or even a phone call, it’s the thought that counts.

Here is a simple recipe for homemade fudge for you to enjoy with those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. Cherish those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. If it’s not a sweetheart, maybe it’s a good friend, or a family member that you love dearly. Love is a powerful bond.

To read more about my Grandpa Odie’s amazing life, check out this article here


Homemade Fudge with Walnuts

2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
1 t. vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Grease a 9 inch square baking pan, set aside. In a large saucepan combine sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and marshmallow fluff. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium and bring to a full following boil. Boil slowly, stirring for 5 minutes until fudge reaches soft ball test consistency (234-241 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips until melted. Add nuts. Pour into greased pan and cool. Cut and enjoy!


Typically my Monday and Friday mornings consist of 20 minutes of playground duty. Most of these mornings lately are blustery, cold mornings noted with me standing in one spot jumping around to stay warm and counting down the minutes until the bell rings. Or most recently trying to manage the sledding penguins students as they play on the glaciers on the playground. 

But every morning I find it so interesting that our students play football every day; wind, rain, snow, sleet, and sun. They even find a way to play when they can’t even see the goal lines because they are covered in snow mounds. The only time there is not a football game in play is when the game gets banned by school administration for previous problems or disputes on the playground. 

Now with this game, comes controversy, disagreements, but also a great sense of sportsmanship is created in every game played. Even though I think our teachers find that sportsmanship hard to see at times, it is there embedded in the snow covered goal lines on our playground. Sportsmanship encompasses fairness, ethics, and fellowship. Each morning our students organize themselves and play the game, most often refereeing the game themselves too. They foster respect for their younger peers and teach them the game as well. It has created a fellowship in our community, that in return has created state championship quality football programs. 

I actually overheard a students say today, “I hope our new student tomorrow is good at football.” 

With Superbowl LI right around the corner, I always hope that this same small town mentality of sportsmanship is demonstrated at the biggest event for football in America. As we all know last year there was much controversy with cheating in the NFL. It really saddened me, because I know how many of my young students look up to these career athletes and I think this type of play is the epitome of poor sportsmanship.

As parents and educators I think it is our job to help continue to foster those beliefs of playing fair, including others, and becoming a good winner and loser. It is these values that carry through to many other areas of our lives; school, friends, and family. Sportsmanship is a vital attribute to understand in order to be successful in life. How will you share good sportsmanship with your family?

So while we are watching with the rest of America this Sunday, remember sportsmanship and what it means. While you are doing that let’s enjoy some yummy food! I have to admit I am not a huge football fan myself, but I do love the array of Super Bowl recipes that popup this time of year. This year during the Superbowl I am striving to create recipes that aren’t too filling, but also one that would satisfy the typical football food feast. 

Behold cucumber salsa! This salsa is amazing. It is refreshing, light and perfect for your game day spread this year. I actually like this salsa the next day because after it sits in the refrigerator for a day or so the flavors really mesh together nicely. Cheers to a fair, honest game of football for Superbowl LI! 


Cucumber Salsa

2 cups finely chopped seeded, peeled cucumber
1/2 c. finely chopped seeded tomato
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
2 T. minced parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped (Leave seeds in if you like it HOT!)
5 t. minced cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 t. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. lime juice
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
Tortilla chips

Combine cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley, pepper, garlic, cilantro in a small bowl. In another bowl whisk sour cream, lemon juice, lime, juice, cumin and salt. Pour liquid mixture over cucumber mixture. Serve with tortilla chips.