{Dairy-free} Coconut Whipped Cream


When eliminating a dietary group (in my case dairy), the multitasking ability of food will suddenly reveal itself with just a little poking around. Maybe it’s fairly common knowledge in tropical climates, but living in the Midwest, the different uses for coconut products never crossed my mind. Jordan and I use coconut milk in smoothies and of course coconut flakes in baking, but the creativity stopped there. Oh, how little did I know!

My friend, Lauren, mentioned using coconut cream and powdered sugar to make whipped cream (I didn’t even know coconut cream existed). I decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did, because it is really good! Whipped cream is not something I make or consume regularly, but considering traditional ice cream is out for awhile, this will be my go-to treat for summer nights.

After searching pinterest for inspiration, I added lemon juice and vanilla to the base. This was a suggestion from the blog, Love and Lemons. I’m not sure why, but most sources that I found said to refrigerate canned coconut milk and then separate the cream from the milk. I skipped that step and used canned coconut cream.

I’m looking forward to fresh summer berries with a dash of this cream because this is seriously one of the best “whipped creams” I’ve ever tasted!

Coconut Cream

You will need:

1 can coconut cream (refrigerated overnight)
1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I like it with the extra vanilla)
splash of lemon juice


Cream the coconut the same way you would for a traditional whipped cream (hand-held or stand mixer). Once it has reached the desired consistency (it took just a few minutes), slowly incorporate the rest of the ingredients.

Chill and serve over berries, pie, cake, granola or alone on a spoon 🙂



^sometimes our dining room table is for creating and not for eating 🙂

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It’s Called, “Healing Crisis.”


My computer is back! * High fives all around * I’m ready to get back into the swing of things on this space 🙂

In other news, as of Friday morning, I am attempting a dairy-free diet. While my stomach doesn’t get upset by dairy, I do suffer from consistent sinus headaches and acne that has been resistant to all forms of intervention. Jordan started suggesting eliminating dairy awhile ago, but I was hesitant. What about my yogurt, grilled cheese, and half and half?! What will I put in my coffee? After my research continually hinted at a link between these symptoms and dairy, I couldn’t ignore the possibility that things might get better if I made this adjustment. And so I began my dairy test.

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My iMac crashed last week. Right after I finished my Oscar post, but not before we finished taxes (Oy vay!) We haven’t had time to take her to the Genius Bar, but at five years, she lived a full life. I’m not sure why my computers die during really important moments; right in the middle of finals my senior year, my Dell computer crashed.

We had a feeling the day was nearing, I just wished I had backed it up more recently.

One day I’ll learn.

A few things I’ve been enjoying lately…

Listening | Diane Birch
Have you ever had this debate?: Delay your arrival to a concert to avoid the usually terrible opening band or risk it on the off chance that they are good? Once, we saw Neon Trees open for Mute Math. This was right before their first single exploded on the scene and we had no clue who they were, but their performance was great. Ever since then, we generally take the risk and arrive before the venue doors open. Last week, we saw Andrew Belle play at Lincoln Hall and we were kind of blown away by Diane Birch. She’s a combination of a little jazz, a bit of smooth rock, some folk, and a touch of ambient electronic awesomeness all wrapped up in a neat hippy package. Fun note: Prince saw her performing at a hotel in LA and asked her out to his house for a jam session!  Definitely check her out.

Reading | Are You Pregnant?
This recent post from Naomi rings so true to me. It’s a good reminder for all of us to be sensitive with our words (I know I need that reminder often.) We all have inner battles (fear, doubt, anxiety, family issues, finances, etc) and maybe they aren’t ready to be made public or discussed out of context. But we can all use encouragement and prayer.

Making | Green Chickpea Coconut Curry with Chicken.
I’ve been dreaming of coconut curry ever since we had some awesome take-out in Oxford last spring. This recipe didn’t taste exactly like that dish, but it was delicious and easier to make than I thought! Now that I’ve invested in the spices, I can experiment with different variations!

Watching | 30 Rock.
A friend loaned me a few season and this show is really that good. I’m not sure why I didn’t stay current for the full run. “I want to go to there.”

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Oscar Shorts


My dad’s parents had quite the social life: traveling to far and exotic countries like China and Russia, weekend ski trips, and attending lots of costume parties. We had a picture of them dressed up as mimes from the 1960s. As a young girl, who loved playing dress up, I thought they had the most glamorous life. Certain things I longed for when I was younger like eating ice cream for dinner, lost their appeal quickly but many aspects of being an adult are actually better. And I think the dance hall generation that my grandparents came from had the right perspective on social gatherings: they matter. Community matters.

On Sunday we attended an Oscar’s party (red carpet and all!) at a friend’s apartment where the nearby theatre had the most appropriately laid out marquee. I channeled my grandmother by wearing her fur coat; a little lipstick and heels helped to finish the look. Jordan looked extra handsome in his sport coat and tie 🙂 There is just something about a grown up dinner party that satisfies my inner 10-year-old self dreams of adult life. Maybe I romanticize life a little too much but I love the energy that is created from new and old friends mingling together, sharing experiences over dinner.

Thanks to Jason and Sarah for hosting such a fun evening!



^ Ellen was so good, right?!


^ recreating the ultimate celebrity selfie



And a few show notes…

// Alright, Alright, Alright! Camila Alves looked absolutely stunning.

// Jared Leto still held onto the best hair of the awards season.

// Vanity Fair shared some beautiful photos from their after party portrait studio.

Let’s Talk about Math


You know that saying, “In one ear and out the next?” That basically sums up my entire math education. In college I took a compass test to discover where I would be placed and my scores were so low I essentially took algebra 1 and 2 over again (no worries, I still graduated 😉 ). I constantly asked teachers when a certain problem would be used in real life and I never really got an answer. Despite my early struggles with math, ironically, I find myself using basic arithmetic all of the time to put together reports for work and home.

What would have been a more useful class than retaking algebra? How about: “How to prepare for tax season when you own/run your own business?”

Even while he had an office job, Jordan would work on a few side projects each year. Unfortunately, it took a few years for us to realize that we could pay our taxes quarterly. Before we started doing that, I almost cried at our CPA’s office after realizing how much we owed at the end of the year. We have since gotten more organized; It’s a lot of work keeping track of a small business! One of the best decision we made was using Quickbooks for our business (instead of Excel spreadsheets).

In the midst of preparing for taxes, I’ve enjoyed distractions in the form of fashion magazines, my Valentine’s Day flowers, and little heirloom tomatoes and strawberries. Hallelujah for signs of spring coming!



Peanut Butter & Coconut Cookies | Gluten-Free & Vegan

Peanut Butter & Coconut Cookies

A few years ago I tried my hand at gluten-free baking. I did a little research, purchased no fewer then three different flours and embarked on making muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Personally, I don’t have any food allergies or specific dietary needs or preferences, but many friends do and I wanted to educate myself so that I had options when hosting! There was a mediocre polenta lasagna and the chocolate chip cookies were a bit grainy, but no one seemed to mind 🙂 Quinoa is now my go-to gluten-free meal base.

My parents always had a garden and believed in making meals (mostly) from scratch. We had fresh vegetables and more apples to pick then we could handle (I still miss the raspberry bush we had in our backyard in Ohio). My food life was very balanced, but it wasn’t until college that I even heard the words organic, GMO, gluten-free, almond or coconut milk, etc. The only allergy I was aware of was for nuts, unfortunately this recipe does involve nuts!

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The Newest Member


The boy-girl ratio in my family has slowly been tipping towards girls ever since my three nieces came along. I kid to my brothers that all those rounds of playing Pretty Pretty Princess with me, while at the time seemed annoying, was actually parenting preparation!

We thought girls were going to reign supreme in this next generation, but then came little Luke William. On Saturday Jon (brother), Anne Marie (sister-in-law), Jordan and myself drove to St.Louis for the day to visit Luke, his parents and big sister! We had such a fun (sadly short) visit all vying with each other for turns to hold the newest member of our family.

And now I will spam you with baby pictures 🙂




^ toddlers can’t get enough of Jordan. they seriously flock to him.


^luke happily slept/ate the whole afternoon!

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Jean’s Apple Pumpkin Bread

apple pumpkin bread

There was a particularly cold day a few weeks ago when we layered more than usual, cranked our space heater up and turned on the oven. I made a simple pumpkin bread we could eat for breakfast during the week, while a batch of homemade bread was rising on top of the stove for dinner.

I was looking for creative ways to use the few remaining apples from my dads garden, when I remembered a recipe given to me by my mom’s friend and decided to tackle it. Due to my unorganized pantry, I almost couldn’t find my last can of pumpkin puree. Does this happen to anyone else? You go to make something and realize that the last egg or stick of butter is nowhere to be found?

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The Olympics and Food Poisoning

Tara Lipinski Olympics

^ Tara Lipinski | 1998 Nagano Olympics, after her long program.

We laid super low last weekend, partly because of the snowy weather, but mostly because Jordan came down with something resembling food poisoning on Friday evening. 🙁 To aide in his recovery, I made soup and stocked up on rice cakes and Gatorade. Oh, and while Jordan rested, I  finally put away our Christmas tree. We were becoming attached to those twinkle lights, but it was time to let go!

Continue reading “The Olympics and Food Poisoning”

A Day at MCA



A few years ago, I was in Vegas for a work event. I was speaking to a women from our Hawaii branch who casually mentioned that the weather isn’t a topic of conversation on the news or amongst friends/strangers. “It’s basically the same everyday.” My mind was blown! Weather that doesn’t fluctuate is a foreign concept to me, but even more so is not talking about the weather. My patience for weather small talk has officially peaked! Let’s all agree to accept that it is rough for everyone and move on, ok? Great!

Glad that’s out of the way.

Jordan and I have tried to stay positive and creative despite this rough winter, but we’ve experienced cabin fever like the rest of Chicagoans. It’s important to ignore the cold every once in awhile and seek some much-needed adventure. We did just that this past weekend. We packed it full of fun. Friday morning, we attended Creative Mornings where we heard Eric Seigel, a local toy maker, speak on stirring up (and maintaining) childlike creativity. Saturday night, we saw Local Native’s play a killer show (Amazing!). Sunday was the best though.

Despite living in Chicagoland for 20 years, neither I or Jordan have visited all the major museums in town. That is a little unacceptable especially considering every museum has built-in free days for Illinois residents. In an effort to increase our Chi Museum count, we spent our morning at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

FYI: Check your museum for perk days. We just happened to walk in on a free weekend for Bank of America card holders! Extra Bonus!

Museums can feel large and overwhelming, especially without a guided tour, but the MCA is the perfect size. We spent two hours and were able to visit every exhibit* without feeling rushed. When the weather isn’t ideal, visiting a museum is a great way to spend an afternoon or two! How do you spend your indoor winter afternoons?


^ Ruth Thorne-Thomas. Plane Crash, 1977. I love the choice of having a fun wall color to set off the art..


^ Tacita Dean. The Story of Minke the Whale, 2001


^ Michael Rakowitz. The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (detail), 2007–present


^Andy Warhol. Troy Diptych, 1962.


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* Unfortunately, I didn’t make note of every piece of art. I credited when possible!