Coffee Break

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting on

Long time no talk! I haven’t shared any updates in awhile, so let’s sit down together and catch up.

First, I made my favorite vanilla cupcakes the other week. Didn’t feel like whipping out my piping tips or anything, so I simply frosted them with my small icing spatula. I love this look. Just plop a bunch of frosting in the center, spread it to the sides, then make a little well of sorts in the center for some sprinkles. I tinted the frosting with AmeriColor gel deep pink and sky blue.

And did I tell you I reshot my red velvet cake? I can’t remember. I made it back in February and decorated it naked cake style. I used Wilton 12 small round piping tip to pipe dollops of frosting around the top edges. So pretty!

Red velvet cake

Work has been very busy lately. I shared this in my Facebook group, but haven’t made the formal announcement on my blog: my website is currently being redesigned! We’re actually very near the launch date– only a couple weeks away, hopefully sooner. This redesign has been a year in the making. Weekly conference calls, plenty of tweaks, updates, and revisions. What a project! My goal with the redesign is to improve user experience with easier navigation and more interesting features. It’s a dramatic change, but also a REALLY cool one. I’ve taken many of your suggestions and requests and I’m thrilled with how it’s turning out. I’m confident you’re going to love it too. Stay tuned.

I’m trying to work ahead so I can enjoy more time off in the summer. We booked a long August vacation at our favorite spot: Deep Creek Lake. It’s a very special place for us, both where we got engaged and spent our baby moon. I already bought Noelle’s first swimsuit with a sun hat to match!!

We also began shooting videos again. I took a break from videos when Noelle was born, but Kevin has been filming me doing a few tutorials lately:

Have these videos been helpful for you? Videos are like beginning food photography all over again. It’s a huge learning curve, but practice makes progress. We both really enjoy it, so we’re going to keep it up. And there will be a video section on the new website!

Shooting videos

Not only has work kept me busy this year, someone is very mobile, eating solids, and teething! So many big changes for our big girl. I count my blessings everyday. 🙂 We started going a little stir crazy inside this winter, so Noelle and I joined a mommy & me gym class. It’s so much fun to get out and spend time with other parents and babies. Now we’re patiently waiting for the weather to warm up so we can adventure outside more often.

I can’t believe my sweet girl is 6.5 months. It was this time last year that I announced my pregnancy. I know parents always say this, but it’s the truth: time flies by. It’s funny because sometimes the days feel very long, but the weeks and months are flying past us. We actually sat down to dinner the other night and I told Kevin that I just want to slow down and savor it. No matter what stage of life you’re in, life can feel heavy and chaotic. But it’s so important– no, it’s CRUCIAL– to sit back and savor those moments because you’re never going to get them back. I actually found this video on a day I felt tired and overwhelmed. Here’s the article.

Related to this, the start of spring is the perfect time to revisit 2018 goals. As the months go by, new year goals seem like distant memory and we’re right back in our old habits. A season of renewal, spring gives us a chance to refocus energy and take another look at our intentions. Everyone falls off track, myself included, so last week I remembered my 1 big goal for 2018: create the life I want to live. Sounds vague, but what I mean is saying no to the things that bring me down and saying yes to anything that makes me feel alive. Maybe this is a goal you have too? To make it a reality, I wrote down specific monthly ideas/activities. For example, in April I want to (1) try a new cupcake decorating technique (2) sign us up for story time at a local library and (3) go on 2 long runs outside. Each activity is realistic, simple, and brings me joy. Writing down my monthly ideas/activities will remind me to DO THEM! Just an idea if you have a similar goal. 🙂

A couple readers have already tried the April Baking Challenge. Croissants, this month’s challenge recipe was shared earlier in the week. Have you tried them yet? Will you try them this weekend? Please keep me posted on your croissant baking adventures.

This next picture cracks me up.

Jude celebrated his 10th birthday last week and Franklin turned 2 in February. Jude got extra special attention for hitting the double digits, including a peanut butter smeared “10” on the special birthday plate. 🙂

Talk to you soon!


  1. Thanks for sharing.  Yes time flies So from experience savor those moments. When moving I went through photos and seeing my children I can’t believe can’t believe they are in their mid twenties now. Wonderful times and still are. 
    Love the videos. It is helpful to actually see something being done. Thanks so much for the hard work you and your hubby put into it to help us achieve our baking goals. 

  2. Dear Sally, yay for Coffee Break 🙂 and congrats both Noelle and Jude for their special days (6 months – and 10 years!)!
    The new photos of the red velvet cake are gorgeous! So beautiful – somehow this naked cake style works so well with your style of photograhpy. I like it a lot!
    I’m on vacation right now in a small town in nothern Germany at the coast of the North Sea an we’re having a wonderful time! The climate here works wonders for any cold infections that came our way this winter – plus the kids really love it here. We’re spending most of the day outside, regardless the weather. This morning we had a brunch with my sister’s family and guess what I made – your overnight cinnamon rolls! They came out perfect and everyone loved them. 🙂
    The croissant challenge is perfect timing – a few days befor the challange came out I really got into morning buns with laminated dough, which usually is some sort of croissant dough. I read all I could find about it and now, with your guidance and recipe, I think I’ll finally give croissants a try.
    I love your idea of revisiting New Year’s Intentions in spring and breaking them down into approachable projects! I will try this too.
    Ok, have a wonderful spring weekend – Sina

    1. So nice hearing about your fun days traveling, outside, and baking! Please let me know how your croissants turn out 🙂

  3. Sally, thanks for sharing that video first thing in the morningIt is sooo true that time flies and then the children are off doing their own lives. Enjoy little Noelle at every stage! Love her bathing suit and hat☺️!

  4. Aw Happy Birthday Jude!  And the videos you do are super helpful!  Especially for those hard to make or recipes with lots of steps.  Can’t wait to see the new website design too 🙂

  5. What a great way to start my morning!
    I so enjoy reading something so positive and genuinely happy! Yes, I can say from experience, slow down, enjoy ALL of the moments, they go by ever so quickly.
    And the cupcakes look sooo yummy!!

  6. using mini icing spatulas is probably my favorite cupcake frosting method – so simple but it looks really cute with some sprinkles!

    also, confession time. for my fur baby’s birthday, I bake him a doggie cake every year. #spoiled

  7. Very excited for the new website, Sally!  I love to read and bake soooo many of your recipes.
    Also thank you for introducing us to Deep Creek!  We have scheduled our second visit there for October 2018 because it is amazingly beautiful in the fall.
    Cheers to spring!!

  8. The very best way to describe parenting is that the days are long but the years are short. Have fun in this spring season of Noelle’s infanthood! 

  9. You are so right that time goes by so fast! I remember last year when you hinted that a special announcement was coming, right after my own little girl was born. I’m not sure how she’s 13 months already. Just wait until Noelle can say “Mama” – you will want time to slow down even more! We are still getting through the “motherhood is hard” stage and I’m actively trying to find what makes me happy and do it. More baking is one of the things that is making me happy! I really want to find some “me” time and make those croissants!

    That is the sweetest little swimsuit! Summer still seems a long way off in Nova Scotia, but I’m buying cute baby summer clothes and dreaming about beach days!

  10. Yes, time flies…but there is joy and every stage and so many lovely memories created along the way! ♥️ 
    Love Coffee Break-thank you! …and the videos are great!
    Keep up on your goals…sounds like you’ve got a good handle on what matters! Find your balance and enjoy! 

  11. I had new year’s resolutions, but then I found out I was pregnant on January 9th, so they didn’t last very long. One of them was try to eat fish more often. Now I’m only allowed a small amount. Another was try a new cocktail or hard cider at least once a month. Obviously I can’t do that one either. I have been drinking more water, but only on days I don’t work because I’m only allowed a few bathroom breaks. So my goals have shifted — I’m working more overtime to save up for maternity leave, I’m eating healthier (as much as I can), but I’m letting myself have ice cream when the craving hits. I find out next week whether I’m having a girl or a boy — I’m excited for either possibility 🙂

    I haven’t tried croissants yet — in addition to working more, I’ve also thrown myself into local theater to prepare my emotions and soul for when I don’t have the time for it. One of my shows opens tonight, so I just haven’t had the time. I’ll give them a try soon, though.

    1. Liz, congratulations on your pregnancy! This is such an exciting time and it’s so nice to hear that you’re making time for yourself despite picking up extra hours. That can be hard, especially when pregnant!

  12. I’m so excited there will be a videos section on your website redesign! I love watching them but not sure where to look to find them all!!

  13. That bathing suit is too sweet. You are so right=time does fly. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my son was your daughter’s age. Now he’s almost 24 and singing in Madam Butterfly! 
    I have a birthday party next weekend and I am bringing cupcakes. I love that you posted your vanilla cupcakes because I wanted to make them. I can get something close to cake flour and vanilla beans are not expensive here! I will have to subtitue sour cream. Should I use greek yogurt or crème fraîche? 

  14. What you said above, Sally, reminded me of a quote I heard regarding raising children, “The days are long but the years are short.” So true!!!

  15. Sally, I’m very excited for the site redesign! And I love your idea of revisiting the year’s goals. That sounds like the perfect way to kick off Spring and figure out how to get back on course. As always, looking forward to more recipes!

  16. Oh Sally thank you so much for posting that article. My husband and I are going through a really tough time right now with our two young children and that article just helped me to put things in perspective. It is so important to savor the time you have while your children are young because they grow up so fast. Thanks again for the post.

    1. It’s a fantastic read and wonderful reminder to cherish these precious and fleeting moments. Thanks Gwen 🙂

  17. Thank you, Sally, for such a wonderfully uplifting post!  You will never, ever regret the time you spend being present with Noelle.  It’s the stuff memories are made of. Our son is 27 and, while I miss the early years, these years are pretty darn memorable, too. ❤️

    Looking forward to your site’s redesign, and thanks for the reminder about reassessing goals around this time of year.  Very helpful!

    Can’t believe Jude is 10!!  When I began following you, he was just a young guy.  He is so handsome!  BTW if you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to stay in Deep Creek Lake that you’d like to share, I’d be very grateful.

    1. Thanks so much Debbie! So we just looked up dog-friendly rentals in Deep Creek and while the search results are limited, there’s some great places too!

  18. I would never want to pressure you to make more videos, as they are probably a lot of work, but I do find them inspiring, empowering (the croissant video has me really motivated to try them!), and fun to watch! Just nice to see a master at work and to try to imitate your moves, heh! Thanks for all you do dear Sally!

    1. What a sweet note, thanks so much Laurie! I just read it to my husband. He enjoys videography and we’re both excited to shoot more video tutorials 🙂

  19. Aw, Jude is just too adorable! And heck, I’d be happy with a plate smeared with peanut butter. It’s been great getting caught up. I’ve been off the site for awhile, with some travel and dealing with my father’s longterm illness. It’s so good to read your updates and get some new recipes to file away in my own “goals” section. I love getting a peek into your life – and yes, I LOVE the video tutorials! Those are exactly how I’ve learned the most, especially homemade pie crust. So keep ’em up! Happy spring!

    1. Sending my best to your father, he’s more important than keeping up with me ♥
      Happy spring to you as well!

  20. Love the videos! I watch them with my kids before we do a baking project. My 5-year-old son talks about Sally like you’re part of our family 🙂

  21. Love your videos. The croissant video was perfect! Not to long and loaded with great tips for success. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to make them this weekend. 
    Cherish these days with your family and take plenty of videos. 

  22. Beyond excited to hear that you’re working on more videos- my 3.5 year old twin girls are OBSESSED with watching all of your old ones (over and over and over again!) They literally run into my room when they wake up in the morning and ask “Mama, can I please watch a Sally video?!” Baking your recipes with them has become a lovely tradition that I hope they’ll remember as they get older, too. And enjoy every second of Noelle’s baby years- they truly do fly by. xo

    1. Oh my gosh Brittany, this is so sweet!!! 🙂 I’m honestly so touched, thank you for sharing with me. I can’t wait to begin baking with my girl.

  23. Looking forward to the reboot for the website & access to the videos. ! Also I like you monthly goal idea so simple and achievable. Great tip. 

  24. I couldn’t resist the red velvet craving you inspired! I made the cupcake version and they were AMAZING!!! I’d be curious to know what your favorite cookie and cake recipes are…a Sally’s must make list!

  25. Hi Sally,
    I really can relate to this post. I’m expecting my first baby and the days of my pregnancy seem to be flying by. My husband and I have waited so long to start our family, but now I wish I could slow the process down and remember every moment! 
    One of my goals for 2018 is to try to do more things I really enjoy and improve on my hobbies. In preparation for the baby, I will be quitting my teaching position at the end of this school year. I am so excited to spend the summer preparing for the baby but also practicing my baking and cake decoratoing skills. This has always been a passion of mine and I’m so excited to have the time to work on these things. 
    Thank you for always being an inspiration! 

    1. Hi Danielle! Congrats on your pregnancy! I think it’s wonderful you’re going to take time for yourself this summer. Be sure to come back and comment if you try any of my recipes. Excited for you 🙂

  26. OMG! That picture of Jude! What a cute idea with the peanut butter. I’m still deciding if I am going to take the plunge on the croissants. I need a free weekend. Those vanilla cupcakes look delicious. I may have to make those sooner! Thanks for the great post!

  27. I’m looking forward to the redesign of your website. I was actually looking for your videos the other day and I had to keep scrolling down your instagram profile. So, I’m super excited for the videosection!

    Also, I really want to make croissants, but I’m gonna wait for the chocolate croissant recipe to be out! I hope that is gonna be soon!

    Warm Greetings from Germany ❤️

  28. I found one of your recipes from Pinterest in 2014, tried it out and have been hooked on SBA since! Your love of baking has spread to this momma and now I have a new hobby thanks to you! I love making sweets and treats for my family and neighbors! You are the amazing. :)<3

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally