Our Little Monster’s 1st Birthday

I can’t believe our baby Henry is already a year old plus a couple of months because this post is very delayed (more on that later).  Since day one we called him our little monster so what better theme for a 1st birthday than monsters!

I made him a homemade vanilla cake with buttercream frosting for his smash cake.  It didn’t quite come out the way I was expecting (Pinterest fail!), but he didn’t seem to mind.  Note to first time parents, don’t worry so much about that smash cake, it means more to you than them.  If only I had known this before my meltdown when it didn’t turn out right.  Of course, I was more excited about it than he was but he did enjoy for a few minutes :).

For food, I kept it simple for a 1 year old’s party…pizza (his favorite food), calzones and salad.  This also meant that I didn’t have to cook!  But the dessert table is where I spent most of my efforts with the monster theme.


The cake was ordered from a local bakery and we used the image from the invitation.  I had so many ideas for a cake, but really didn’t want to spend $100 for 1st birthday cake.  It ended up coming out great and we only spent about $30.  We also had “1” cookies, chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate dipped Rice Krispie treats.  Of course everything had the candy eyes, which I bought at Michael’s, to make them look like monsters.

Henry loved his party and it was his last hurrah before his baby brother arrived!  And that is why this post is soooo delayed.


Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cranberry white chocolate chip cookies are perfect for the entire holiday season.  I made them for Thanksgiving dessert this year, but they can also be a very festive Christmas cookie as well.  These cookies are soft and chewy and just perfection.

Adapted from the Domestic Rebel

Makes about 24 cookies


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips


In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar & white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg to combine. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and pinch of salt and beat until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the cranberries and white chips by hand.

Refrigerate the cookie dough for AT LEAST 1 HOUR. You can refrigerate longer if needed. This helps to create that light, soft and chewy texture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place tablespoon-sized balls of the dough onto the cookie sheets.

Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes. Cookies may appear slightly undone. They will continue to set up more as they cool. Allow cookies to set on the baking sheets before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pecan Pie

DSC_1060.JPGI’m still trying to avoid hosting Thanksgiving dinner for as long as possible.  And, I’m happy to report I was successful once again this year.  However, I was in charge of bringing dessert which I was happy to do.  This classic pecan pie was both delicious and easy to make.  And, when I say easy, I mean easy.  I even texted my sister who has made this pie before and asked if I forgot to do something because it was so easy.

Adapted from Martha Stewart


  • Pillsbury pie crust
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups pecan halves


Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack set in lowest position.

Place the pie crust in the pie dish.  With floured fingers pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of pie plate. Transfer dough-lined pie plate to refrigerator.

Next, make the filling.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth.  Mix in pecans. Pour mixture into chilled pie crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the filling jiggles slightly in the center when gently shaken, 50 to 60 minutes.  If the pie starts to brown too much on top before it is done cooking, cover it with foil and continue to bake.

Cool pie completely in plate.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream and enjoy!