Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bacon, Goat Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta ((Recipe))

I love a good and hearty pasta dish. It's filling, usually inexpensive and can feed a crowd. This one is a few recipes I've tried over the years, combined and tweaked to our preferences. It's perfect for Fall & Winter and is delicious as leftovers the next day, too ((if there is any left)).  Make this when you're tired of your turkey day leftovers! ;)

A few options: You can drizzle with honey, add brussels sprouts to your roasted veggies or use prosciutto instead of bacon.  I typically go and grab 4-6 slices of "fresh" peppered bacon from the butcher or prosciutto from the deli counter at Whole Foods instead of buying it in a package. I've also used everything from quinoa pasta (Ancient Harvest brand at Whole Foods) to regular penne and the "vegetable enriched" penne. 

4 slices of peppered bacon
4-6 oz of goat cheese
1 red onion or 2-3 shallots, sliced
1 small-medium sized butternut squash, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 8 garlic cloves WHOLE, in paper, roasted with the butternut squash)
handful of basil leaves, chopped
1-2 cups of spinach, chiffonade (fancy word for chopping into thin ribbons)
Olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Cube butternut squash, toss in a little bit of coconut or olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast in oven until tender. (425 degrees for 20  minutes should do it) Feel free to add any other winter veggies you love. Note: You don't even need to peel the butternut squash. 
2. In a cast iron pot or dutch oven (I use this one), cook your bacon. When cooked, set aside on paper towel to cool. 
3. Salt some water and cook pasta, according to package directions. When done cooking, drain but reserve some  of the pasta water to add back into the pot. This will help the sauce develop.
4. In the bacon grease, toss in the onion and let it caramelize. When the onions are almost done, turn down the heat to medium-low and throw in the garlic to cook for another minute or two. 
5. Turn heat down to low, add pasta and goat cheese. Add a little bit of pasta water and stir. Add more  as needed until the goat cheese has melted and created a sauce. Don't add too much or everything will get soggy. Add spinach, crumbled bacon, butternut squash and half of the basil. Gently toss. 
6. Salt to taste. 
7. Top with crumbled bacon, fresh basil and if you're feeling fancy drizzle with a tiny bit of honey. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)


Saturday, November 21, 2015

handmade holidays gift guide 2015 ((giveaway!))

ONE winner will win all of the loot that the featured artists from our Gift Guide are so generously offering up for grabs. The prize package is valued at over $500! All items are  listed out below and don't forget to see the previous blog post for a list of shops + their discount codes. Please note we are checking/validating entries so please don't say you're following someone for an entry and not actually following through with an actual follow. 

Good Luck!

$20 to All Things Bean
$30 to Gold Confetti Moccs
Set of 3 Succulent Watercolor Prints from The Gold Leaf Co ($25 Value)
Journal + 1 Notebook insert + Le Pen (Value $39) from Gold Standard Workshop
1 (paper) Couple Portrait by Bridget Makes (Value $40)
Tote from Beloved Clothing Co. (Value $18)
Gold Dot Bowl from White Peach Pottery (Value $28)
Custom Monogrammed Bangle Bracelet from Queen Bee Creative Co ($38)
2 Pairs of Druzy Earrings from One Delightful Button ($24)
$20 Shop Credit to Baby Smiths
One Happy Camper Tee from Anchor Grey ($20)
Antique Leaf Earrings from New Creation VA ($16)
1 free tee or item of choice ($30 equal or less value) from Fight Apparel Designs
Grande Diamonds Necklace from Sel Rose Designs ($36)
One Tee from I Am Olive ($24)
$25 to Four Sisters Boutique
Knitted Green Slouchy Hat from Fountain Top Creations ($26)
Oh, Sweet Joy Swag Bag (valued at over $50)
2 Ornaments or $15 off a custom pillow at Joyful House Designs 
Ekata Designs Molly Necklace 

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Hey everyone! The Gift Guide is going strong over on my instagram page . To isolate the posts, search the hashtag #OSJHandmadeHolidays2015. I wanted to compile a list of all the shops in one place with their discount codes, so here that is for y'all. I can't recommend these shops enough. Happy Shopping!

Starry Knight Design >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Gold Confetti Moccs >> OSJGIFT for 40% off
Joyful House Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
All Things Bean >> OSJGIFT for 10% off
Baby Smiths >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off

Fountain Top Creations >> OHSWEETJOY15 for 15% off
White Peach Pottery >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
New Creation VA >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for $5 off purchases over $25
Beloved Clothing Co >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off

I Am Olive >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Anchor Grey >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off 
Four Sisters Boutique >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Oh, Sweet Joy! >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Fight Apparel Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off

Bridget Makes >>  OSJGIFT for 20% off
The Gold Leaf Co. >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Shipped to Sea >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Gold Standard Workshop >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Faith & Paper >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 25% off

Queen Bee Creative Co.  >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Sel Rosé >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Poppy Chic Jewelry >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 25% off
One Delightful Button >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Ekata Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

5th Annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide ((call for applicants))

It's that time of year again, y'all! I can't believe it. 

One of my greatest joys in running Oh, Sweet Joy! is featuring handmade shops, creative businesses and independent boutiques that work so hard to create amazing products. Along those same lines, it's great for me to share these shops with people/readers not necessarily within this "handmade/blogging bubble" to find wonderfully unique gifts for their loved ones. 

The FIFTH ANNUAL Oh, Sweet Joy Handmade Holidays Gift Guide is the perfect solution to help me do both! The Gift Guide Giveaway alone received over 15,000 views last year. I will be doing the bulk of the gift guide on Instagram this year, since that is where my most engaged readership is at the moment. I will have a list here on the blog and will also have a pinterest board just for participants.  Since the gift guide stays up as part of my searchable blog content, your handmade wares can be seen by over 180,000 viewers by the end of year (based on typical blog traffic). 

I am opening less spots this year (as in - half of last year's amount), to make it more exclusive, more viewer friendly and mostly - more "do-able" for me. Handmade shops, small businesses, online Boutiques and the like - you WON'T want to miss your chance to be a part of the FIFTH annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide!

Here's how it works:
This year it will be FIVE straight days (think of it as a baller handmade PARTY!) of featured shops in the following categories:
For the Littles (baby + children)
Jewelry (typically the largest and most shopped category!)
Paper (stationery, printables & frameable prints)
Accessorize (hats, scarves, headbands, handbags, knitted/crocheted items)
Wear (clothing, boutiques, graphic tees, etc)

One category will be featured per day and five shops TOTAL each day. This will be sweet and small and not overwhelming for my feed. I want everyone to TRULY be seen. 
After that? We will have a GIANT giveaway. Weeee!!

The fee for each participating shop will be $100 (most shops will only have to sell a couple products to make that back!) and will be paid via paypal. Your Gift Guide feature includes more than just a spot in the gift guide (details upon acceptance, but think social media mentions, product pins, IG shout outs and more!). Shops will also be asked to supply a discount code for the "Handmade Holiday" Gift Guide readers to encourage sales.   Participation in the finale giveaway is recommended, but not mandatory. 

This is SUCH a great way to drive extra traffic to your shop during peak shopping months. You will be exposing your shop to not only my faithful readers and followers, but also to every other participating shops' "fans" as they tell their customers about "Handmade Holidays!"

Want to be included in the fun? 
CLICK HERE to fill out a form to apply. Applications will be closed November 8th.
You will be emailed upon acceptance
((I wish I could accept everyone, there's just not time for that. womp womp))

There are limited spots available (READ: FIVE) in each category, so please apply pronto. Not everyone will be chosen, unfortunately, but my goal is to help promote as many shops as possible. I'm more than excited to highlight and feature so many talented shops...and help you get your Christmas shopping done early! I'm so excited to feature you :)

QUICK TURNAROUND! Apply by November 8th and we'll get things rolling very quickly after that! The dates are November 16th-20th with a giveaway on the 21st. Email for more info if needed! 


NOTE: this is not a giveaway, but simply a gift guide in the form of a highlight and feature. The giveaway is optional for participants. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Apple Spice Sangria

This sweet and spicy drink will be a favorite as we kick off Fall and head into the Holiday season!  The pinot grigio and apples give a  light and crisp flavor while the cider + cinnamon stick give this sangria recipe a nice warmth. Serve to guests at an intimate gathering or whip up a batch for the weekend. Enjoy.

1 bottle pinot grigio 
1/2 cup caramel vodka ((I used Van Gogh dutch caramel))
2 cups cider ((I use RW Knudsen from Whole Foods))
3 gala apples, sliced and chopped
1 cup sparkling apple juice or sparkling cider
cinnamon stick

1. Stir wine, cider, vodka in large pitcher.
2. Add apples, cinnamon stick and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
3. Add sparkling cider just before serving and serve over ice. Add an extra splash of sparkling cider to each cup if desired. Put a few extra slices of apples for good measure ;)

My preference is to get a cheap bottle of wine. I literally got the cheapest pinot Whole Foods had ($6.99). I figure, if you're dumping juice and such into it then you don't need to buy fancy wine.
To "warm" it up a bit and/or add some depth, add a splash of brandy or bourbon
Optional: Chill wine ahead of time.

Other Oh, Sweet Joy! beverage favorites: 


Monday, September 28, 2015

((recipe)) EASY Pumpkin Waffles

It's officially the season of all things pumpkin and I have to admit, I'd rather drink THIS or THIS than everyone's beloved PSL, but I can definitely get on board with some pumpkin treats. Every Autumn we make several batches of pumpkin muffins by mixing spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin. They're super easy and delicious, so  I thought I would try the same method with pancakes or waffles. 

I used Birch Benders six grain cinnamon pancake & waffle mix that you can purchase at Whole Foods and a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree. 

Step 1:
Heat up the waffle iron while you're mixing your ingredients. Spray iron to make sure the waffles don't stick.

Step 2: 
Mix 2 cups of the waffle mix with 1 cup of pumpkin puree. Add a tablespoon of oil and then one tablespoon of water at a time until the mix is moist, but not too wet. (I usually add 2-3 TBSP of water)

Step 3: 
Add about a half cup of the mixture and add more if the waffles are too small when they come out. Every waffle iron is different, so adjust accordingly. 

Step 4:
Top with butter and maple syrup and GO. TO. TOWN. 


Friday, August 28, 2015

Roast those Chiles

One thing that I probably should start buying in bulk because I purchase a can or two every week at the grocery store: Green Chiles. 

It's the season for Hatch Green Chiles around these parts and when I was at Whole Foods this week, they also had some Colorado local chiles (Pueblo, CO) so I picked up a ton. I roasted them by washing, cutting in half length-wise scraping out the seeds and  putting them on a baking sheet on a sheet of tin foil. I put them under the broiler for a bit until they were nicely charred. I had just cleaned my stove top or else I would have just roasted them on an open flame. 

I plan on freezing lots of them for future recipes and then today, I added them to some cornbread. SO GOOD. It's such an easy addition that makes for tons of flavor. Add as many as you desire into your normal recipe. ((this recipe is BOMBBBBB but you can also use a store-bought mix if you desire. This time around, I used the organic cornbread mix by Arrowhead Mills ((also found at Whole Foods)). I added the chiles after I poured the batter into the baking dish to make sure they didn't get coated and settle into the bottom. 

This is such an easy side dish for Fall soups & stews (like my favorite tortilla soup recipe), but would also be great for tailgating and hosting football watching parties this season (WHOOP!). 

TIP: If you don't want to roast and dice these yourself, Whole Foods Markets near you are roasting these fresh daily—you can throw them into dishes with ease, or freeze them and enjoy later! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A David Kind Experience

I've worn either glasses or contacts since the 7th grade. I had a friend whom I always begged to wear her glasses, so maybe that's to blame. For the record,  she blames me for her bad handwriting because in second grade we would compete with who could finish our cursive writing assignments the fastest. That's neither here nor there, I suppose. 

I stuck with contacts for a long time, but it's just so dry here that I'm rarely comfortable in them. The past few years I've found my comfort level in fun frames, but buying online is a must ((because who has time for the whole eye doctor dance?)). I've bought a few pairs that have turned out hideous on me, and even though those websites had decent return policies, it was just a huge hassle.

Just before Owen was born, it was time for some new glasses and David Kind came to the rescue. Have you heard of David Kind? I love the timeless & elegant vibe this company gives and the home try on kit is my jam, as a busy mom running my own business. They sent me a box of frames to try on after I told the stylist some preferences. I picked a few (three) and she picked a few more based on my preferences and try-on frame choices. My stylist (hi, Laura!) is an optician herself, so I felt like I was in great hands. 

I love the quality of these glasses and that the shape is different from my other frames. ((truly, the quality difference is evident in these vs my other glasses)) I had a hard time deciding, but finally went with the Clover frames. All around, it was a great experience and I would definitely head to David Kind first for my next pair of frames. 

Here are some photos of my new frames in action.

Oh, and Knox likes them too ;)


Monday, July 27, 2015

I Know the Heart of Life is Good

What I want to remember in this season of life...

Not the extra baby weight that's hanging around my midsection, arms, face and thighs, but  that Owen is worth the chub and the look on Knox's face when we surprise him with going to get donuts after dinner is just too good to pass up.  

Not the stretch marks around my belly button, but that I embraced summer, wore my swimsuit and met friends at the pool to watch our kids laugh & splash around.

Not the dishes that pile up when I can't seem to find time (or get my priorities in line) to conquer the pile, but that I have a husband who will come home, serve me and make those dirty dishes disappear. 

Not that Chase and I are sometimes like ships passing in the night while we tag-team changing diapers, bedtime routines and household chores - but that we are serving each other and taking "shifts" and are working as a team ((and that it will get easier!)).

Not the endless bills from pregnancy and delivery and the weeks after, but that the Lord provides. 

Not the tantrums when Knox is acting out from all the recent change, but the way he adores his dad, the way he says "school buses (school bussies)" and his curious face when he asks, "oh, what's dat noiiiiiise?"

Not how loud Knox is when he wakes up Owen when I fiiiiiinally get him to sleep, but the way he sings/shouts "HEY! HO!" when the Lumineers play in the car. 

Not the weeds that seem to take over our yard, but the wildflowers that I grew from seed. 

Not how stressful trying to juggle my business and life can be, but that the Lord provided an awesome nanny to hang with Knox once a week so I can get all that work in (almost) uninterrupted. 

Not that we are far from family, but that we get to soak up the time and make the most of it when they do visit and when we get to go home. 

Not the sleepiness when I want to go back to sleep, but the rich taste of coffee in the mornings...and afternoons. ;) 

Not the waking up a million times in the night, dizzy from sleep-deprivation, but the sweet coos Owen makes as he nurses and the cuddles as he falls back asleep.

Not the low number in our bank account at the end of the month, but the memories made ((and the cotton candy consumed)) at a spontaneous trip into Denver to watch the Rockies play the Rangers. 

Not that life can be exhausting and hard, but that it is rich and that the Lord is good.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Oh, Sweet Joy! + Fresh Bib

Hey everyone!

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with one of my favorites from the internet, Brooke. She and her hubby run Fresh BiB, a fun spin on a subscription service + one stop baby gift shop. It's such a unique idea and I can vouch, first hand, that they are packaged adorably (and sustainably) and the bibs are incredible quality. They want moms to feel special and receive something that is exciting and fun. I love that. My favorite detail? The bibs are made with green thread and snaps to remind mamas that every day is a fresh new start - something that I need to be reminded of every second of every day. 

So, for our collaboration, I picked the cactus fabric ((HEART EYES)) and she picked the contrasting reverse fabric for the other side. It's unisex (holla) and just TOO cute to handle.  The July subscription box includes my go-to vanilla ice cream recipe and a fun bamboo spoon. 

I think that a Fresh BiB is THE perfect shower gift - it's unique, attractive and a nice change up from diapers or onesies (which are equally needed). Not to mention, it's obviously a fun little box to receive if you want to treat yo'self and yo'baby ;)

"Brooke and Adam are fully aware that a monthly bib subscriptiion can't solve sleep deprivation, take the 3 am feeding shift or change diapers - but, Fresh BiB can remove the need to spend countless hours searching for cool bibs online, provide a dose of fun every month and give you back a little of your day by protecting your child's clothes from stains and drool. Grab your Fresh BiB and get on with mommyhood. Adventure awaits."

Do you follow @ohsweetjoy on instagram? Stay tuned for a giveaway later this week where TWO winners will win a Fresh box. Grab your bibs, paci clips and more here or subscription box here

You can also read a little interview with yours truly riiiiight over here. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

shop update

It's been a while since I've blogged about a shop update, but we've had lots of fun things going on over in the Oh, Sweet Joy! shop!

There are some fun new "boutique" items including kimonos and (now sold out) layering tanks. I also made some really fun bolo tie inspired bohemian necklaces with leather cording and agate slices. They're all one of a kind and I am having a hard time not keeping them all! 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Fresh Summer Salad with Grilled Steak ((Recipe))

There is nothing more enjoyable to me in the summertime than a fresh salad and a good protein to top it off with. Grilling is crucial part of enjoying the longer days Summer has to offer and the meal is especially gratifying when there are multiple colors on the salad. This Summer salad with steak has greens, purple, red, yellow, and it's filling, to boot.

Chase and I picked up some fresh salad ingredients + sirloin tip steaks that were on sale at Whole Foods, as well as a delicious marinade ((and of course some flowers)).  The marinade was a basic steakhouse flavor in a jar that was by the meat counter. His brother, sister and their spouses were spending the night with us, so we were wanting to enjoy an outdoor dinner. This definitely hit the spot.

Here's the ingredient list, the "recipe" is self explanatory ;) ((served 6))
Mixed Greens or 2 heads of romaine 
Grilled Corn (2 cobs)
1 pint of Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup Cilantro
Avocado, sliced  (2)
1/4 Red Onion, chopped 
Queso Fresco 
Olive Oil 
Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper
2 lbs steak

For the dressing:
I just used olive oil and lime juice, along with salt & pepper. You can always add more, so use the olive oil sparingly and toss until you get the right amount without it getting soggy. 

Serving Suggestion:
Toss the cilantro with the lettuce and dressing...then let your guests add everything else in by having the toppings in individual bowls. More dishes, but that way it's customizable for preferences. 

After the fresh and delicious salads, we balanced out the health factor by heading into Boulder to our favorite gelato spot, Fior Di Latte. It's seriously the best. We recommend the affogato with mexican coffee gelato and the s'mores gelato. :)


Monday, May 18, 2015

((recipe)) cilantro-lime shrimp & quinoa bowls

This recipe has become a favorite in our household - Knox even finishes his bowl. Now, if that isn't a toddler win, I don't know what is! It's fresh and flavorful, perfect for warm summer nights and comes together quickly. One quick trip to Whole Foods for ingredients and typically under $20, depending on what you have on hand + the price you get your shrimp for, this is a go-to meal that you'll come back to time and time again.

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Quinoa Bowls
(serves 3-4)

1 lb deveined, peeled shrimp 
1 cups dry quinoa
1 clove garlic, chopped
avocado (2)
red onion
2 limes
1-2 tomatoes depending on size
((on hand basics))
chicken broth, water, olive oil, salt & pepper, chili powder, cumin
olive oil

1. Cook 1.5 cups of quinoa in 2.75 cups of water or chicken broth, according to package directions. I usually go half and half here. If you're making this for 1-2 people, just do a cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water or broth.
2. Chop half of the red onion and half of your jalepeno (or the whole pepper if you like it hot). Put in medium bowl and squeeze juice of one lime on top. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, tiny bit of salt and pepper, stir and let sit for at least five minutes (this will take some of the bite out of the red onion so it's not so potent).
3. Chop tomatoes, avocados, and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Set aside. You'll mix this with the onion/jalepeno mixture when it's been sitting long enough. 
4. Heat some olive oil in a pan and throw in a clove of chopped garlic. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with cumin + chili powder. Add some leftover lime juice and cilantro if you're feeling fancy. Cook a couple minutes on each side, until cooked through. 
5. Mix all the "avocado salsa" ingredients together if you haven't already and season with salt as needed. 

Add quinoa to a bowl, top with the avocado salsa, and then a few pieces of shrimp. Serve with lime wedge. 

-cut up shrimp rather than serving whole ((which is obviously what I do for Knox))
-make cilantro-lime rice instead of serving with quinoa. I just like how much protein is in quinoa and I feel like it gives more flavor to the dish when cooked in partial chicken broth. 
-Grill the shrimp
-Omit the shrimp, chill in refrigerator and serve as a delicious quinoa salad for your Memorial Day party

If you have leftover quinoa & avocado salsa, mix it all together with a bit of olive oil if the quinoa is dry and it is AWESOME cold the next day for lunch. ((thumbs up emoji))