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These Lovely Burbs
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Haven’t gotten rid of your tree just yet?



Isn’t this picture too cute? I saw this on Pinterest and had to share! If the sweet boy scouts have not yet hauled away your Christmas tree, saw off a piece from the stump to create an ornament. Save a piece each year to create a collection!

Happy New Year!
To joy & peace in 2012,


Holiday Wrap Up Part 1

As we wrap up the holidays, I wanted to share our 2011 holiday memories through photos. First stop: Thanksgiving!

We had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving with Jordan’s family visiting from Ohio and his Aunt all the way from Japan! We are so blessed to call these people our family.

Farkle night at our home.

Sushi for the girls.

Have you been to Pok Pok? Oh wow, it is the best of Portland!

Annual Farm to Fork breakfast before hunting for trees.

Finding the perfect tree.

And one last get together with Jordan’s Aunt for some great Indian food.

We ate great food, laughed a lot, and soaked up the joy of all being together another year.


Instagram Love

Hope you each had a great Christmas weekend! Thought I’d share a quick post about my love for Instagram. I’m a big fan of using Instagram to capture lovely and sometimes unexpected moments. Here’s a little peek into some of my favorite shots. Find me on Instagram @jessicachez.


Want your house to smell like fresh baked cookies?

Yesterday I posted one of my favorite cookie recipes but if you are anything like me, you probably don’t have time at this point to bake! So I thought I’d also share one of my favorite hosting tips. There is something wonderful about coming in out of the cold to a warm house that smells like the host just pulled a batch of freshly baked snicker doodles from the oven.

Here’s the secret to that wonderful smell that requires no baking! Fill a small pot of water on your stove and add a few cinnamon sticks. I like to bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer away. It will smell fabulous. Be sure to keep an eye on it so you can add more water every now and then. If you have other things on hand like whole cloves or orange peels be sure to add them in too!

Also, a little tip on cinnamon sticks- don’t buy them in the baking aisle, they are ridiculously expensive! If you live in the Portland area, Winco has the best price in their bulk section, or you can get them in the Hispanic foods section in your regular grocery store for much cheaper!

Hope your holiday hosting is a joy to you and yours,


Recipe: Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

I thought I’d share a favorite cookie recipe of mine as we prep for this weekend’s holiday celebrations. I love how fancy these cookies feel, but that they are very easy to make!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
adapted from: Everyday Food magazine



  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for working
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 9 large marshmallows, halved
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high, scraping down bowl as needed, until light, 4 minutes. Add egg and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls, 3 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. With the bottom of a measuring cup dipped in flour, flatten cookies to 2 inches in diameter. Bake until dry and set, about 7 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Remove from oven and top each cookie with a marshmallow half. Bake until marshmallows are soft, about 2 minutes.

Remove from oven and, with a metal spatula, gently flatten each marshmallow directly after baking. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks.
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted, 2 minutes. (Instead of doing the before listed step, I just made my go-to chocolate sauce, so if you have a “go to” chocolate sauce I would suggest doing what you know, or you can use the recipe’s directions too).

Remove bowl from pan. Place one cookie at a time on tines of a fork (below), submerge in chocolate, then tap fork on edge of bowl to remove excess. Place on wire rack set over a baking sheet. Let cookies set in refrigerator or freezer, about 10 minutes.