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Valentine's day heart sugar cookies with buttercream

It’s been awhile! Let’s catch up.

I made these Valentine’s Day cookies last year. They’re my cut-out cream cheese sugar cookies topped with vanilla buttercream. So simple and festive and you don’t need to fiddle with royal icing and piping tips. But if royal icing is your thing, look at these beautiful snowflake cookies I decorated the other week! I’m having a major moment with decorating sugar cookies and I feel like I’m improving with each batch. That’s how we learn new skills, right? Here are the snowflake cookie cutters I have. Awesome little set.

Royal icing on sugar cookies

Updated Recipe Photos

While I love working on NEW recipes, I also enjoy going back and updating old blog posts with fresh new photos, video tutorials, and additional recipe tips. These are recipes I make on the regular, so why not refresh the photos! Can I admit that I completely cringe when I look at old photography? It’s normal to critique your work and reminds us that any skill, photography included, is a journey. If you’re interested, I updated my food photography page. I hope you can learn from it if you’re just starting out!

Wanted to share 4 recipe posts I recently updated. The recipes are still exactly the same, but the post content has been spruced up.

I’ll let you know when I update more!

Homemade biscuits

Monster cookies with M&Ms

Pepperoni pizza rolls

Noelle – Happy 16 Months!

I prefer to keep photos of her a little private from the blog, but I just can’t believe our sweet Noelle is 16 months old today! Long gone are the days I capture her monthly photos because this silly little lady can’t sit still! Walking has turned into running and sitting has turned to dancing. Yes, dancing. Anytime there’s music playing, she LOVES to shake her little hips and sway her arms. She also just learned how to twirl in circles and points to her belly when you say “hey noelle, where’s your belly?” She’s an awesome eater– will try everything. She loves cheese, berries, green beans, and bread. Chick peas are her favorite right now and, as a parent– how easy to just open a can of chick peas?!

She’s also picked up the most hilarious laugh. She has her regular laugh, but also walks around the house giggling like a little leprechaun. I can’t even explain how it sounds, but I think she learned it from a sound on her Vtech sit-to-stand walker. We just started swim lessons at a local indoor pool center and this girl is a natural. She’s always loved bath time, so I knew she’d enjoy swim class too.

This age is so much fun, but man it can be exhausting! She’s transitioning out of the baby world into toddlerhood, engaged and exploring, but at this age, you don’t really have an attention span or those fine motor skills yet. She loves reading books (and runs over to my lap to sit in it… melts my heart!) and her little wooden puzzles, but I’m always looking for more activity ideas. My friend introduced me to a couple Insta accounts/blogs called Busy Toddler and Happy Toddler Playtime where I’m gathering so many EASY ideas. Do you have any fun activities or playtime ideas for this age?

By the way, this time last year, I wrote a post called Dear First Time Mom (or Dad). Noelle was almost 5 months old and I was slowly gaining confidence in my role as a mother. Even though Noelle was such an easy happy baby, adjusting to parenthood was difficult for me and I don’t think parents should feel ashamed for admitting that. Of course we love our babies, but it’s really hard especially when all you see on social media are perfect, happy mothers seamlessly easing into motherhood. It affected me in a very deep way; I felt alone and was flooded with guilt. Time is on all of our sides and if you’re feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, I encourage you to reach out to a loved one and admit you are struggling. How brave of you and what a wonderful example for your child.

You will feel like yourself again. ♥

Bahamas Vacation

It had been a long time since Kevin and I took a vacation just the two of us, so we booked a trip to The Bahamas and spent 5 days on Nassau earlier this month. We stayed at Baha Mar resort and we LOVED it. It was 80 degrees and sunny the entire week with a beautiful view of the crystal clear water. The ocean was pretty chilly this time of year, but there were so many pools! What we both wanted from this vacation was relaxation, so we literally did nothing but hang by the pool, eat, and explore the resort. So, unfortunately, I don’t have any recommendations on activities in the area but I know there are plenty. The spa was a treat, though! There are 3 hotels on this resort and we stayed at the Grand Hyatt. There’s a huge casino, shopping, and tons of restaurants. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten including fresh sushi, plantain chips, conch fritters, Thai green curry with scallops, tiger prawns, and more. And nothing beats fresh banana daiquiris by the pool!

In one of their pools, they have a grotto with a couple sharks. Another one with turtles and exotic fish. And there are flamingos, the national bird of The Bahamas, on the resort too!

We saw lots of kids playing and having a blast, so while this is definitely a family friendly resort, I still consider it perfect/romantic for adults. 🙂

Pupdate!

Franklin and Jude are great! The only update is that Jude, our 10 and 1/2 year old rottie mix, is currently in a cone. Poor guy. He had a severely cracked nail that needed some medical attention and the vet had to remove a significant amount of it. To prevent him from licking the wound, he’s rocking his little lampshade. Still in good spirits, as usual! He’s moving much slower these days, as expected, but the vet always says he’s in great shape for his age. I think Noelle and Franklin keep him young!

Baking Made Easy Email Series

I published a blog post about this over the holidays, but in case you missed it– let’s quickly revisit! My 2019 goals for Sally’s Baking Addiction are to condense, concise, and update– make all my blog posts easier to follow. With this in mind, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to combine some of my best baking recipes, tips, and tutorials into one place: an email course. This series includes some of my most popular posts (that I’ve re-written and condensed!). You receive 1 email per day for 5 days. After that, I’ll send you 1 email per week with additional popular recipes as I update them with recipe notes and easier instructions. Again, it’s completely free just like the content on my blog and it’s in addition to the regular NEW RECIPE emails you receive (if you’re signed up for those!).

You don’t need to do anything– no homework– just read, learn, and get excited to apply some of the lessons in your own kitchen. I’m hoping to create more series like this– with new material such as bread baking, cake baking, sugar cookie decorating, etc. All series designed for beginners who want to improve their baking prowess!

Sign Up for Baking Made Easy Email Series

Q: Would you be interested in more email courses?

Bagels image

January Baking Challenge

The January 2019 Baking Challenge is homemade bagels and I’ve seen the most participation in a baking challenge yet! Can you believe Sally’s Baking Challenge is 2 years old? Which challenge recipe has been your favorite? I vote croissants. 🙂

Keep those bagel pictures coming. The February Baking Challenge is coming next week!

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

  1. Recipe: On or around the 1st of each month, I publish a new challenge recipe. Sign up for instant email updates so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published!
  2. Bake & Comment: Bake the recipe during that month, then come back and comment on the recipe and tell me how it went.
  3. Share: Share your photos using #sallysbakingchallenge on Instagram or email me, tweet me, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page or Facebook group. By sharing your photo, you are automatically entered in that month’s giveaway, which is usually an Amazon $250 gift card. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the challenge recipe. There is always an alternate challenge recipe just in case you’re not into the recipe published. Here is a landing page dedicated to all things Sally’s Baking Challenge.

Want to subscribe? Sign up for instant email updates so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published!

97 Comments

  1. Hello Sally! I found your beautiful site just before the holidays, and I am in love! I receive your baking series emails and have been thoroughly enjoying them! I am a relatively new baker and appreciate all the help I can get – in other words, YES to more courses! Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this. It is greatly appreciated!

  2. Thanks for the update, Sally! Noelle is ADORABLE; and I totally understand mostly keeping baby photos private. A fun game to play with her could be “Find That Thing”, you sit in a room, or outside, and quite simply you describe an attribute of something in your surroundings, and take turns finding it. Basically “Eye Spy”.
    I’m currently loving the pizza dough recipe! My Dad is the king of deep-dish Chicago style sourdough pizza crusts (drool) but ain’t nobody got time for that, so yours is great for me!

  3. Hey there! We have a little plastic bowling game my daughter loved at that age, knocking the pins down would make her laugh so hard, and since she loves music you might try the Freeze dance song and Going on a Bear Hunt song, I know she wont grasp the concepts right away but she’ll love watching you do the actions. Happy New Year!

  4. Also! We have a toy called “My first Crayola, Mess-Free Touch Lights” it’s plays songs and has this squishy face board she can learn to draw and write on

  5. I’m glad you got a chance to get away to the Bahamas with Kevin. I highly recommend “getting away” at least once a year. It revitalizes your marriage, is fun, and gives you a break from parenting.
    I’ve enjoyed the baking challenges, too! I don’t get to all of them, but have loved the ones I have done! And also vote for croissants! Couldn’t believe mine turned out so amazing!
    Noelle is at such a busy, fun age! Enjoy it–even though it can get tiring. Much funner than sassy teens who talk back (which is what I’m dealing with right now)!

  6. Just read your first time mom post and it is everything! My son is 4 months old and I am struggling too. Its better than the beginning but it is constantly changing. It make me feel like I am not alone with your post. Thank you for sharing <3

  7. Poor Jude! My sweet Henry (a six year old boxer mix) cracked a nail a couple weeks before Christmas, it got infected right after Christmas and had to be pulled. He’s on the mend now, thankfully, but is rocking that blue lampshade as well! I absolutely LOVE those softer cones! They seem to stress the pups out less. Hope Jude continues to heal well!

    1. I agree! We are loving the softer cone and hopefully Jude likes it a little more than the other kinds 🙂 Glad to hear Henry is on the mend!

  8. Love the post and that you were able to get away! Poor Jude! My lab had to be in a cone for a month. So I ordered the Soft Inflatable Collar for Dogs. It’s about $13 on Amazon, and it’s reusable. But they are able to move around much better with this kind.

  9. Hi. I’m definitely interested in email courses. I would love to receive some nerdy (read scientific) courses on how everything work in baking and many things related to baking

  10. Noelle is soooooo cute! What a fun and busy stage. And your vacation pics have me drooling (usually it’s the cookie pics that do that), it’s so nice to have a dose of warmth and relaxation in the middle of winter!

  11. I really enjoyed the pizza dough recipe. We love pizza! Do you have a recipe for a homemade pizza sauce recipe? I am on the lookout for a good homemade one. Thanks for all your tips.

    1. Hi Carol! I’m so glad you tried and loved the pizza dough recipe! If I can admit… I usually just buy pizza sauce but when I have more time, I really like this one. I’ve made it a few times with no changes to the recipe.

  12. Is there a reason I can’t just browse recipes anymore? I can specifically search what I’m looking for but I can’t just browse, there are no page numbers at the bottom. I thought it was my computer so I tried another computer and it’s a week later and still the same.

    1. Hi Kristin! That was a website glitch and was finally fixed just last night. It was certainly frustrating and I’m so sorry for the trouble.

  13. My favorite toddler book (there is an audio version too) is Elevated Child Care by Janet Lansbury. She also has a blog “Unruffled” that is full of helpful tips on all subjects toddler. You are not alone, many have felt the same.

    I love your posts, your recipes cheer me up during the day and I look forward to trying new ones!

  14. I tried to sign up for your email thing but it says my promise is not defined. I cant find what my promise should be or where to put it my email is @. Can you sign me up?

    1. Hi Vikki! I’m sorry for the trouble– I just signed you up! (And removed your email address from the comment.) Thank you so much.

  15. Hi Sally what a cutie your little one oh boy!So adorable,by the way I wanted your permission of course.I will be making a baking video in my you tube account and i wanted to ask you if I can link my page here so more people/viewers have the chance to enjoy it.Thank you

  16. Hi Sally! Wow your trip must have been heaven!! Anyway, have you ever tried making homemade churros before? I have had a serious craving for them lately and have been researching recipes, but I think you could come up with a better one. I hope you try them.

  17. I was at the Baha Mar in December with a Travel Agent event and I absolutely agree with your opinion, it is a really nice property. We toured many but that was one of my favorites! Your pictures are great!
    Your daughter is adorable, the cookies looks pretty and your puppy is so cute!

  18. Sally,
    Your blog is awesome and your recipes are always well thought out and so easy to follow. Thank you for taking your time and all of your efforts to teach others like me how easy it is to bake if you have the rights ingredients and a great chef teaching you! Thank you again!!

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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

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