Happy Friday everyone, I hope you had a pleasant week!

Lincoln’s been fighting a nasty cold he picked up from the nursery during my first MOPS meeting last week (can you say Mommy-guilt?) which he promptly gave to me after sneezing into my open mouth. Iiiii know. Anyway, I borrowed some essential oils and advice from my Mom and sister-in-law (my EO gurus) and he’s getting better in record time. His room smells and feels like a damp hippie on account of the humidifier going full blast and thieves oil mixed with lemon and peppermint being diffused into the air but, hey, it’s working! Me? I’m just thankful I can finally pop some Dayquil now that I’m done nursing – wehoo!

Anyway, I plan on getting out and about this weekend for plenty of fresh air and sunshine. We rebounded from highs in the 50s last week, to mid-70s this week. Damn it feels good (for now) to be a Midwesterner!

Before I get into my favorite finds from around the web this week, I wanted to share some results from the 2014 IGE Reader Survey!


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share your well thought out comments, ideas, and suggestions. Without them I am blindly creating content, so your feedback is critical to make sure I’m heading down the right path with IGE.

I know I can’t please 100% of the interwebs. On more than one occasion I’d read a response that said, “more complicated recipes!” then the very next response would say “easier recipes, please!” Or, “I love your recipe round up posts because I always forget about old recipes” then I’d scroll down and read, “I hate recipe round up posts – I only want new recipes!” but I promise I take every comment into consideration.

Ok I’ll can it already, here’s a summary of your responses:

  • You can’t get enough crock pot recipes! This was by far the most requested type of recipe. Got it!
  • You could pass on cocktail recipes (aw, really?) and salad recipes (WHAT?) I felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath me when I read that since salads are my thing. I’ll still do entree-type salads on occasion but I understand that you could pass on froufrou appetizer salads. (<– Edited to add: I’m not upset! Just surprised. :) )
  • The majority of responders found step-by-step recipe photos to be very helpful so those will stay.
  • A couple people asked for more gluten-free recipes. I just want to be clear that as of February 2014 – ALL recipes on this site are gluten-free.
  • A bunch of people asked about my kitchen staples. Here’s a post about my Well Stocked Kitchen: Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry Staples.
  • Many people asked for “day in the life” posts. I would love to start working those in, probably on the Family Channel.
  • More highly requested topics included budget meals, meal planning/prep, and toddler-friendly recipes. Noted!
  • An idea people responded to really well was “Ask IGE” posts. I personally like blogs and sites where I feel like I know the person behind the computer screen so this could be a fun way to get to know me outside of the kitchen. Got a question about life, family, Ben, my beauty routine, or favorite candy? Want ideas and advice for where to go on vacation or some Mommy/life hacks? Ask away in the comments section and we’ll get this party started! I’ll probably categorize these posts under the Family Channel but will link to them in the main section.
  • Several people asked for a follow up post on how going gluten-free is going (here’s my first follow up post since making the announcement that I have Celiac Disease,) so I’ll get that going in the next couple of months.
  • Finally, I’m working on a site redesign in (hopefully) late 2014/early 2015 that should make the site’s speed, recipe archives, and search functionality MUCH better. I can’t wait for it to roll out!

Alright everyone, thank you again for participating in the annual Reader Survey and I’ll be emailing the winner of the $100 Amazon Gift Card directly. In the meantime, please enjoy my Friday Favorites and have yourself a wonderful weekend!

Click the light blue link to be taken directly to the source. 

Favorite fall: Brown Butter Caramelized Apple Crisp Bars w/ Pecan Streusel + Mascarpone Maple Glaze. My favorite fall dessert – apple crisp – jacked up a few thousand notches. AMAZING! Psst – if you like apple recipes, sign up for my free Weekly Update Email which goes out every Monday. Next Monday I’ve included a roundup of 16 apple recipes !

Brown-Butter-Caramelized-Apple-Crisp-Bars-w-Pecan-Streusel- -Mascarpone-Maple-Glaze.-111_mini

Favorite decor: Unique Fall Decorating Ideas for 2014. Must check these adorable ideas out – I particularly love the globe basket.


Favorite skillet: Smoked Sausage Alfredo. I would undoubtedly annihilate this sausage skillet of wonder. Maybe it’s the eastern European in me, but I just LOVE sausage (and sauerkraut, of course.)


Favorite farm: Dinner at the Rowe Beef Farm. Remember when I told you about the beef flight dinner Ben and I enjoyed with some new friends at a local cattle farm? Full details about our night are up on the Iowa Food and Family Project website. Loved that whole experience!


Favorite fresh: Kale and Asian Pear Salad. This is the perfect fall salad. I can already tell I’d spoon drink the dressing, too.


Favorite splurge: Frye Jillian Pull On Boots. Recently I was talking to a friend about our fall boot situation (#deepthoughts) and I think I’m ready to splurge on a nice pair that will last me several years instead of consistently spending a moderate amount of money on a cute yet crappy pair that will last 1-2 which, as my Mom recently stated, is a crock of pickles. A crock of pickles, people. I have no idea where it came from and as far as I know she’s never said it before in her life. Riiight.

Anyway, I’ve had my eye on a couple pairs of Frye boots for years and I think I’m ready to break the proverbial penny bank this year and go for it!


Favorite mouthful: The Best Meatloaf + Meatloaf Sandwiches with Crispy Onions and Melted Mozzarella Cheese. Ben and I both would go nuts for this dish!


Favorite find: Custom One Year Birthday Infograph. I stumbled upon this photo on Pinterest recently then immediately started cursing my own design skills – or lack thereof. It’s like seeing those incredible pregnancy videos where the couple takes a photo everyday for 9 months then somehow turns them into a major motion picture-quality video that’s so amazing you want to cry and punch yourself at the same time for being so creatively challenged? Like that.

Anyway, I clicked through then angels sang. This infograph is customizable!!! I am totally down!


Favorite slurp: Creamy Green Chili Enchilada Soup. Speaking of slow cooker recipes! This one looks creamy and hearty. Yummy.


Favorite front door: Fall Wreath DIY Using a Wooden Frame. How adorable yet sassy is this front door wreath? Great combo of modern and rustic decor.

fall wreath 3_mini

Favorite snack. Recently I shared a new snack idea on The Laughing Cow’s Facebook page for crisp rice crackers spread with Light Swiss Cheese, fresh cherries, and slivered almonds. Dy-no-mite. By the way, have you tried their new Spicy Pepper Jack cheese wedges?? Awesome!


Favorite tutorial: DIY Chalkboard Lettering. Ever wonder how those super crafty people get perfect chalkboard lettering? It’s so easy yet, like, duh! I never would have thought of it.


Favorite dinner: Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken. I cannot wait to make this chicken dish which combines chicken breasts and thighs. I don’t know what it is about this photo and recipe but I want it ASAP!


Happy weekend!

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