Browsing Tag


Creamy Peanut Butter “Pupsicles”

August 10, 2014

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As I mentioned via Facebook a few days ago, VV is turning 3 this month (!!) so I’ve celebrated with doing a huge site makeover. It started out as an idea to maybe get a logo designed and ended 2 weeks later with a whole new layout, color scheme, and aesthetic. I’ve been tackling it all myself which means I change my mind about things every 5 minutes so don’t be surprised if you continue to see some tweaking (TWEAKING. Not twerking – I don’t participate in that cultural dance move, sorry guys) happening around here for the next few weeks. I’ll probably be posting even more pictures than I already do (like the ones above -what do they have to do with this post? Nothing really – I just like hanging out in my backyard shooting with my DSLR and film) since all the photos are now HUGE (YAY!).


Anyhow, this post isn’t about site re-designs or gardens so let’s get to the point. This post is actually about having a ridiculously spoiled dog that enjoys all of his treats homemade and gets half the popsicle mold reserved for him in the summer. Meet Tuko (pictured above. He only looks at the camera to scowl at it…) – he is a 2 year old boxer that we treat more like our own kid than a family pet. You may have already met him here or here or here but I don’t hold you accountable for remembering since those posts were so long ago and you haven’t seen him in awhile. When he is not sleeping on the couch or bed, he enjoys hanging out in his “room” (AKA our backyard – pictures above), racing Wyatt on his skateboard, and whining while looking longly at his leash.

Boxers are known for having trouble with extreme weather – their hair is too short to keep them warm in the winter and their short snouts are a handicap for them in the summer when the only way to stay cool is to pant it out. A simple solution could be just to keep them inside during the summer or make sure that they have ice water provided for them at all times. I tend to like to take the fun route though and keep a stack of these peanut butter popsicles (also known as ‘pupsicles’) in the fridge at all times for Tuko to enjoy after a long day at the lake or after our afternoon walk.


Continue Reading…

Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Biscuits [Vegan Option]

January 31, 2014


I’m not sure why everyone is so hung up on dip and mini corndog recipes this week? Let’s be honest – do you even really like sports? When is the last time you sat down and watched a football game? I guess it’s the excitement of it all pulling us in. I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t really understand sports at all. However, I do still get excited about Superbowl Sunday. There is one game I’ll be transfixed watching on Sunday but it won’t be the Superbowl. You’ll find me over on Animal Planet watching The Puppy Bowl. Yup, have you seen the line-up of puppies up for adoption this year?! Everything from the baby boxer to the husky / lab mix pulls at my heart strings. I’m sorry – am I gushing? I can’t help it – they are just so darn cute.


Continue Reading…

A Look Back & New Goals /// 2013 Round-Up

December 29, 2013



The small gap between Christmas and New Years has always been a time of reflection. A time to sit back in awe and amazement that another year has gone by. A time to shuffle through all the things you’ve clung onto for the past year. And a time to let go of all the items on your list that weren’t checked off. It’s even easier for us bloggers to do this since we’ve got a whole website dedicated to documenting our year – whether its through the food we ate or the clothes we wore or the products we lusted over..these actions tell a story that make up a chapter of our lives.

I’m very pleased to report that my reflections this year have been SO much more positive than last years. 2012 had been a year of huge change and a complete year of doubt. I had graduated from college halfway through and had spent my whole life in confidence before that point. After graduation, I was left feeling lost and vulnerable – left with complete doubt in everything I did (everything from where I was living to what food I was putting into my body to coming to terms with getting older). But – let’s stop there and not reminiscent down that rabbit hole.

It feels so good to read that old post and know that I’ve grown into my ‘adult’ skin so much in this past year. Yes, I still have a lot of growing to do and I still have a long list of irrational fears (who doesn’t?) but it’s been such an improvement since then. I’ve come to really love the small Midwest town I call home – not because there is that punk house that used to serve us drinks underage during shows or those spider-ridden rocks where we could day drink on the lake all day without being bothered. No, I’ve learned to look at this city with fresh eyes and appreciate being able to walk a few blocks to our local co-op grocery store to buy ‘hard to find’ flour blends and local produce. I’ve learned to love the lake for it’s beautiful trails that you can spend a whole Saturday afternoon getting lost in (sober!) and making your dog’s day by taking him for long walks through the centuries old neighborhoods.

I don’t think I’ve changed too much in 2013 but my outlook certainly has. I’m so very excited to evolve more come 2014. Here were my 2013 goals:

1. More adventures close to home

2. Less doubt, More Risk

3. Less processed foods

4. Work on photography

5. Keep moving forward & always improving

6. Continue to surround myself with positive people


I think it’s safe to say I can check all of those off my list. Although, everything on that list are all things that are still a ‘work in progress’ and I do want to continue with these goals in 2014. Here are a few more light-hearted goals to add to the 2014 mix:

7. Get our asses to Montreal. It’s time – this IS our next big trip.

8. Spend as many lazy Saturdays as possible on the vintage turquoise boat I inherited

9. Rent a summer home on Lake Michigan and spend a weekend on the beach

10. Make my own print magazine / zine (whether it be a collaboration or just all VV – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and needs to happen)

10 feels good. 6 BIG ongoing goals from last year and 4 new fun ones. Yeah, I feel good about this. I’m ready for you 2014!


And finally, as I continue with my reflection of 2013, I thought I’d share some of my favorite VV memories with you..

  Continue Reading…

Currently Crushing

August 11, 2013


In an attempt to not completely fall off the grid during the ‘dog days of summer’, I thought I’d fill you in on a few things I’ve been up to aside from cooking. With my kitchen lacking air conditioning (UGH), I’ve been keeping the cooking to a minimum and mostly sticking to veggie centric salads, staple recipes that I know are quick, and grilling outside.

Anyhow,  I’ve been turning to other outlets of inspiration – mostly spending a large portion of my free time reading and thought I’d share a few recent favorites with you guys.

Top right: I found this back issue of Pure Green Magazine at a local bookstore and am totally in love. This particular issue is their ‘food’ issue and features articles ranging from the history of ancient grains to a step by step on how to make the best coffee. It has become a new indie magazine staple to add to my shelf alongside Chickpea Quarterly and Kinfolk.

Continue Reading…

Searchable Saturdays

July 27, 2013

Morning! By the time this is posted, I will be off exploring the Pacific Coast. I’m writing from an airplane (woohoo for wi-fi) where I am watching the Southwest desert pass us by and consuming obnoxious amounts of soda water (but am refusing to let myself have to pee on this trip). Anyhow, I hope to have some wonderful photos to share of my journey when I return, but for now…let’s chat about some photos from other people around the web…





1. CRAVING /// Broiled Apricot and Cherries with Fresh Ricotta and Thyme. WHAT?! I’m not even sure if I fully understand what all is going on here but I do understand that I want to eat it all.

2. DREAMING /// We’ve been thinking pretty seriously lately about getting another dog. I want one so badly…when I see all the dogs that need homes from the shelter and know that I could make their lives 100000x time better, it makes me so sad. Tuko is almost 2 and he still has crazy energy and pretty obviously longs for another dog companion. The problem, of course, lies with what would happen if we wanted to move and they wouldn’t accept two dogs…or if one of them had a large medical emergency that we couldn’t afford. Sigh. I just don’t know what to do!

3. CREATING /// I love kitchen projects and haven’t embarked on any major ones lately. I’ve actually never canned. Weird? Maybe but I don’t eat a lot of canned food so it doesn’t seem that irrational? BUT, on that note, I will can. Whether it be jam or pickles or corn relish or enchilada sauce. It will happen. I am now determined.

Also, another food project I am going to start when getting back from San Fran is trying to keep a sourdough starter. I’ve always been so intimidated by the thought of it but it’s really not that hard..right?!

4. LUSTING /// Gourmande in the Kitchen has been doing a Healthy Homemade Series and I am TOTALLY into it. I love the idea of being able to make your own homemade staples (whether it be food based or for your skin or your house, etc). The first post was a skin cream and the latest is a chocolate facial mask. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

The Blue Bush

July 12, 2013


I had so much fun reading Baker Bettie’s post on their new home that it inspired me to give you guys a little peak into our lives.

It’s been one year since I started the ‘post college’ stage of my life that I’m currently knee deep in. It’s been a year since I moved into The Blue Bush with Wyatt and our peanut butter loving dog, Tuko. The Blue Bush (as we like to call it since…well…the outside of the house is bright blue) is a cozy little Midwest home that was built in 1910. Yup, that’s what the records say…1910. So, as you can imagine, the place isn’t exactly in tip top shape. We’ve worked hard to transform it into a home that reflects us and it’s been fun to watch the process unfold. I’ve collected quite a few pictures of the last year so I was thinking this could be a good time to show you around.


This also means it’s been one year since we owned a microwave or a dishwasher. Can you guess which one we miss the most? What my nails wouldn’t do to have a rest from being drenched in soapy dish water for just ONE night.

As for the microwave… I always just forget they even exist these days. I still remember the look on Wyatt’s face when I first purposed not having a microwave in our new home…the look of bewilderment followed by complete disbelief. But he agreed and it’s been wonderful. I’ve learned SO many new things since having to go back to cooking ingredients the way they are supposed to be cooked (i.e. using a double boiler, boiling water over the stove top, etc). My favorite part about not having a microwave is that you always have to work for your food around here. Sure, if you REALLY want to just eat a frozen dinner of (veggie) nuggets then that’s fine…but you’ll have to bake them for 20 minutes in the oven which means you could just whip up some polenta / sautéed veggies in that same amount of time. It really has helped me to not take short cuts and prepare real food in the kitchen.

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We’ve filled the house with lots of vintage furniture…


…And vinyl records..


..And have filled our sunroom with house plants (which is a perfect little hideout full of green in the middle of winter)


This is the studio room…


<— Wyatt’s desk and (can you tell who is the clean one in this relationship? ahem, definitely not me…) and my desk —>

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We spent a lot of our time in the backyard. I’ve managed to build two gardens…one with herbs and one with vegetables. The cucumbers and zucchini have been going crazy and it’s finally time for the tomatoes to start ripening (!!!).




Well, I just wanted to take the opportunity to show you around a little. It’s crazy it’s taken a whole year to get around to telling you about my obsession with house plants, my love for vinyl records, and show you a peak of our little cozy home. Thanks for reading!


Maple Almond GORP // The Adventure’s Food

May 31, 2013

As mentioned on Tuesday, we spent last weekend exploring the forest wonders of Wisconsin. We went hiking and can0ing and swimming (Yes, Wyatt’s brother has cheetah hair)…







It was a beautiful and relaxing adventure. However, traveling with a group of Midwestern families, I was nervous about the eating situation. There are still many places that don’t realize ‘vegetarian’ means not eating fish or chicken. And Midwest fast food doesn’t necessarily cater to vegetarians with their bland ice burg lettuce salads and sugar drenched parfaits. I decided to take the situation into my own hands by whipping up some homemade chex mix, stuffing as many sparkling water cans into my purse as possible, and baking a pan of GORP.

Why GORP? I don’t have fond memories of preparing it at summer camp or munching on it during Girl Scout outings. We never backed it during family road trips or enjoyed a big bowl at 4th of July. I guess this lack of GORP in my childhood made me curious of what I was missing out on. Plus, a friend told me that my Cinnamon Quinoa Granola reminded them of GORP – portable, high-protein granola? I’m in.

Say hello to my new favorite road trip snack. This stuff lasted me the whole four days since a big scoop is pretty filling. I would suggest this for anyone going on a long car ride, camping trip, hiking, or anyone in need of a high-protein snack. I put coated chocolate in this recipe (hey, I was on vacation after all) which I found helped the chocolate from melting. Feel free to adjust this anyway you see fit. For me, I’m not a big raisen person so I snuck dried cranberries in there instead.




  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the maple syrup with the split vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla bean steap for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove vanilla bean.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut flakes, almonds, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour maple syrup mixture over everything and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
Let cool completely before folding in chocolate. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and adventure away!



Searchable Saturday

March 2, 2013



1. Puppies on the mind. We are still on the hunt for an adorable french bulldog to be Tuko’s new playmate. We’ve been going to the animal shelter to look for lovable options but I’ve found it much harder [emotionally] to go there than before we had a dog. Perhaps now that we have the sort of connection with our own pup, it’s hard to see all those dogs not experiencing that loving connection and knowing that some of them never will. It’s just really sad. But it does make me feel good knowing that we could be helping one of those dogs one day soon.

2. There is this underground (literally- it’s in a cellar) hipster bar we go to sometimes (hipster? Don’t believe me – they have a drink called ‘The Pitchfork’). We were there on Thursday night for a friend’s show and I noticed a bunch of jars full of colorful concoctions in the fridge behind the bar. I asked the bartender about one of them and he said ‘Oh. That has ginger, orange, and gin in it. But it won’t be ready until the weekend.’ After that, I couldn’t help but start obsessing over the idea. How does the process work? What were they making? How long does it have to sit? Was it a fruit liqueur? An infused gin? I won’t know unless I go back this weekend (which…it sounds like I have to) but it started getting me thinking about fun infusions. I can feel a weekend project coming on…

3. DEEP DISH PIZZA! What more do I need to say? Growing up, I would spend the weekends taking the train into downtown Chicago with friends. We would go to concerts and eat obscene amounts of deep dish pizza. I find myself craving it from time to time but we don’t really have any deep dish pizza places down here. Best next thing? Guess I’m just going to have to start making my own!

4. So the haircut that has long been tempting me finally came last week. You think I would have got it out of my system but now I’m just obsessing with new hair ideas more than ever. I fear that once the newness of this haircut wares off, I will be left feeling like I have a super boring-plain trim. Quick! I better do something drastic – time to dye it! Should I go bright red using Lush’s organic henna dye or Aveda’s blue-black dye?! Should I do blonde dips or dye a chunk of my bangs blonde? Or do an all over honey blonde color?! So many options!


Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ahead of them! My weekend plans got put on hold because my car is in the shop. This means the next two days will probably consist of a lot of laying around the house (unless I feel like walking…in the snow…and cold). Sometimes it’s good to be stuck in one place – that is when the creativity has to set in. Right? Maybe? I don’t know.

Weekend Exploration

February 25, 2013

Morning! Sooo… I have a DONUT recipe for all of you. But that would be wayyy too nice of me to just come out and share my favorite sugary breakfast. If I did that, why would you ever bother to come back? I’d like to keep you around so we are going to just have to wait. Perhaps until later today or maybe even tomorrow? So, check back if Sugary-Blueberry-Lemony deliciousness is your thing (and, sorry, but if it’s not then you are lying to yourself).

But until then, I’ve got some weekend pictures to share with you (think of it as a way to prove myself and show that I am about more than just vegan cupcakes and vegetable soups). Wyatt and I gave ourselves haircuts, went exploring at a nearby state park, and watched a whole lot of X-files (5 episodes down, 195 to go…). I love taking winter as an opportunity to explore those parks which are usually too crowded for us to adventure to in the summer.


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And we ended our day trip with massive amounts of breakfast food at a random diner we came across on our way back to Bloomington. As you can see, Wyatt likes gravy piled on EVERYTHING.

Cruisin’ music:

Searchable Saturdays

February 16, 2013



1. LEARNING /// I’ve been knee deep in researching home cleaners this week. It’s for an article I’m working on for Chickpea Magazine. I’ve always loved house plants but am now official convinced they are the answer to all my health problems [ exaggeration ]. More on this in the coming weeks…

2. LUSTING /// Our landlord finally [ kind of ] agreed to us getting a second dog. We love love love our boxer puppy but he definitely has a lot of energy and needs a playmate. I have my eyes set on a French Bulldog….

3. CRAVING /// Have you ever seen vegetables look so beautiful? I am blown away at the thought of how delicious this gorgeous stack of Lemon-Rosemary flavored veggies probably are. And lay them over some lentils? Oh goodness – irresistible.

4. ADVENTURING /// We are heading down south to Nashville, TN for the weekend. I am sooo excited about this over due trip because I spent several summers living there and cannot wait to go back after 2 years. Nashville has always brought me a sense of excitement and hope. I guess it’s a place that I spent a lot of time “finding myself” and really enjoy the comfort of knowing it’s always there if I ever need inspiration.


Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I’m off to do some exploring in warmer parts of the country!


Pre-Valentine’s Day Hike

February 12, 2013

Just tryin’ to get outside whenever possible. Wyatt and I weren’t sure if we were going to have that much time on Thursday so do Valentine-esque things so we went on a little hike over the weekend. There is nothing I love more than hanging out with my favorite person and favorite puppy in one of my favorite places. Pure bliss.


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A Look Back at 2012

December 31, 2012

No food post today. Just a small reflection 2012 and thoughts on opening the door to 2013. 2012 was a year of change…for both the better and the worse. I graduated from Indiana University, moved in with Wyatt, scored a full time job working with indie rock music, adopted Tuko, and continued to blog almost daily here on VV.

Graduating from college was both exhilarating and a let down. I had spent my whole life dreaming of moving away and going to school but graduating made me realize that I probably should have dreamed bigger. I came out of college feeling lost and restless and full of doubt. Scoring a full time job out of school should have probably made me proud but instead it left me feeling empty and wondering if this was the climax of my life. It’s been six months since I graduated and I am in a much better place then I was but am still hoping 2013 will bring a bright and fresh outlook.

Despite being filled with so much doubt, 2013 was also an amazing year of learning and discovery. We had wonderful year raising our oh so hyper puppy Tuko, I took up yoga, many friends moved away and I met many new ones, we moved into our first official ‘home’ for me to decorate all by myself, we finally adventured to the southwest, and my cooking and photography continued to grow.

As we move into 2013, I am hoping for more adventure and new discoveries.  I tend to make goals every season but still wanted to make a few 2013 resolutions…here is what I’ve got so far:

1. More adventures close to home

2. Less doubt, More Risk

3. Less processed foods

4. Work on photography

5. Keep moving forward & always improving

6. Continue to surround myself with positive people


Hope everyone rings in the new year with their favorite people. And I hope you continue to follow VV in 2013… I’d like to think it’s only getting better every day! Annnnd to end the post, here are a few favorite photos from the year:




2012 Recap


Tuko Turns 1 // Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

November 20, 2012

Woah, time has really flown fast since I posted about Tuko turning 6 months. Since then, we’ve moved into a new house, I graduated from college, and Wyatt started a new full time job. Also, I should mention that Tuko has doubled (if not tripled) in size since then. And he just keeps growing!

For his birthday, we got him a cute little American Apparel sweater and made him some homemade dog biscuits. Spoiled little thing.



These dog biscuits are packed full of pumpkin and peanut butter. Peanut butter is his favorite…in fact he thinks it is exclusively his food. I cannot pull the stuff out of the cabinet without him pawing at me to get a spoonful (again, spoiled little thing).



Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

adapted slightly from A Beautiful Mess
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup orangic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a thick dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface (roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick) and use cookie cutters to make desired shape. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until the treats are golden on top.

Shower your dog with warm treats and then store the rest in an airtight container for up to a week.

Lake Day in November

November 16, 2012

The recipe posts have dwindled to only a few a week since the summer because the lack of daylight is really cutting into my ability to photograph everything I create/munch down on. However, have no fear because we are hosting a Friendsgiving tomorrow so I plan to spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking (and hopefully photographing!).

Until then….

Last weekend we had a random spell of 70 degree weather which meant we HAD to adventure out to the lake one last time before the winter consumed us. Here are a few snapshots from our lake picnic:

Searchable Saturdays

October 6, 2012


Tuko//Teekee//Taco and I waiting outside while Wyatt picked out a movie earlier this week. (ps- follow me on instagram: shellywest)

And here are a few things that inspired VV from around the web this week:

1. Made these tofu tacos for dinner the other night and they were FANTASTIC! The tofu was so flavorful and the avocado cream was smooth and filling!

2. This cute DIY on how to color dip your utensils is so adorable and simple! New weekend project? I think so!

3. This weekend we are sitting a cat who has more more instagram followers than Wyatt and I combined (x2). Totally weird.

4. Katrina did a store profile on a The General Store in San Fransisco and I want EVERYTHING in it. I LOVE the simplicity of the geometric wood blocks. How cool is that? And the abstract fruit and veggie posters? Yes, please!

5. One of my favorite recipe books ‘Homemade’ now has a sequel called ‘Homemade Winter’ which I CANNOT wait to get my hands on. I made these Gingerbread Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting from it last year and they were absolutely irresistible!

6. Not that I’ve started my Christmas list already but… I kind of have. I am dying to get my hands on this new iphone case and this jacket. Ah yeah, I’ve got the fall clothing bug.

7. And lastly, why is everything Joy the Baker makes so freaking irresistible? I’m not even that big of a donut fan…


Searchable Saturdays

September 22, 2012

A picture of Tuko & Lake Monroe from our dinner picnic. We went on a hike/picnic Wednesday night which was the perfect cure for the mid-week blues.

Morning, Morning, Morning! Here are a few inspiring things I stumbled upon while enjoying my morning cup of chai:
1. My two favorite things have finally come together in a beautiful monthly package (and receiving surprises in the mail is up there as a favorite as well): music (more specifically- music on vinyl) and cooking. This adorably clever project sends you a monthly package filled with an exclusive 7″, recipe cards, and spices to accompany your dinner. How awesome is that?! Now if only I had come up with this idea…

2. I’m preparing for a blog facelift which means many hours spent looking at logos, fonts, and color schemes. Upon my ‘research’, I came across this font. SO cool!

3. I have such a weakness for cute typography and colorful visuals. Look at these adorable DIY birthday cards! Best part? You can print them out and give them to all those Fall birthdays you know!

4. Bon Appetit recently released an article on the science behind food pairing. Find it weird that there are some foods which seem to be absolutely irresistible together? There is probably a scientific explanation behind that!

5. Sprouting from a slight fantasy of wishing I had grown up as part of the Portland vegan food scene in the 90s, I have such a weakness for zines and hand drawn food photos. Not only does this Tea is Magical photo portray exactly how amazing tea is, it also looks like it could have been pulled from a 90′s art magazine.

6. I know I already mentioned the newest edition of Chickpea Magazine earlier this week but take a look at these photos to get an idea of the types of recipes in the newest edition!

7. With the weather changing, I am already starting to stock up on fun things to do inside to keep me busy during the looooooong, cold months ahead. Hop on over to DesignSponge to check out this amazing looking DIY foot soak made out of honey that will be perfect after a long day in the chilly Midwest.

8. The reasons I love fall are absolutely endless but one that I must point out is that it’s boot season. I am so. in. love. with. boots. My co-worker commented the other day that I’ve worn a different pair of boots every day this week. Guilty. I can’t help it! I need a pair in every color, ankle and over the knee, with laces and slip ons. Speaking of boots, I may already have a dozen pairs but I think these would be a perfect addition to my collection.

Okay, enough lusting over the internet for one day. I am off to pour myself another cup of coffee and get working on some pumpkin cinnamon rolls!

View from my bike. Peddling to friend’s house to make dinner together.

Searchable Saturdays

September 8, 2012


Picture of Tuko from our hiking adventure on Tuesday.


And…. here are a few favorite things that I stumbled upon this week:

1. Don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to shop as Target as I am for the new Curiosity Shoppe line coming to stores August 9th.

2. Cat sweaters. Need I say more?

3. I made this Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella from Smitten Kitchen on Thursday. It may have been one of the best summer recipes to date. So delicious.

4. New knitting project that I should start on now so I can rock this scarf come December!

5. It’s 90 degrees here today but all this talk about Fall has got me itching for fall fashion!

6. MMMMMMMM! Cannot wait to try making this Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Hummus!

7. New Sweet Paul Fall edition is out! So inspiring!

8. DIY polaroid coasters? I’m in!


Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I’m off to spend the day hiking!


Searchable Saturdays

August 18, 2012

Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies (recipe coming soon!)

Heyyya Heyyya Heyya! Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. Here are a few things that inspired VV this week:

1. Funkytime magazine came out with their online summer edition! So inspiring! I want to make the sharpie lamp shade.

2. I have so so so so so so so much eggplant in my house right now. We got bucket loads in our CSA box this week so be prepared for lots of eggplant recipes and let me know if you have one you think I’d like. I am thinking these BBQ Eggplant tacos with Peach-Lime Salsa are a must.

3. VV turning 1! I know that is totally lame that I am doing a shout out to myself but it’s super inspiring to know that I’ve made it a year and am going stronger than ever!

4. Wyatt bought me a donut pan for an early birthday gift. Where to even begin? Maybe here or here??

5. Fastest friendship bracelets ever? Might have to make some of these at the lake this weekend!

6. I’ve been saving up all my veggie scraps all summer (if only you could see the mess that is my freezer!) to make vegetable stock out of them come fall. Here is a great list of veggies to save and ones to avoid.

7. I live in an old musky house so if we leave the windows closed for too long it kind of gets a stale smell. Very excited to try this scent when we are lying around the house this fall (maybe add some cinnamon to make it more fallish)!

8. Speaking of fall….I’m glad to find out that I don’t have to ditch sangria come September because of delicious apple and cinnamon recipes like this.

9. And finally…before I wish summer away completely, I need to make these cherry chocolate floats!


Oh and PS- here is an adorable instagram (find me- shellywest) picture of Tuko’s dog family.

VV Turns One! // Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

August 17, 2012

Woah! That is correct- VV has officially been around for a whole year! Pretty weird, huh? It’s crazy how far we have come 200+ recipes later. Although my writing and photography skills have improved immensely, there is still so much room for improvement. That is totally exciting because it keeps things interesting and constantly makes me want to try harder.

Last year at this time I was still in school, applying for jobs in Portland and Austin, and trying to avoid thinking about my future. I would not have guessed that a year later I would still be so dedicated to my blog, living with Wyatt and our puppy (I was Tuko-less a year ago…weird), and working full-time at Secretly Canadian. All in all this has been an eventful year and I am excited to see what else the future has in store for us.

I decided to ‘go big or go home’ for this recipe today. It is adapted from the cutest cake book ever to exist (Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson) and it is rather labor intensive. This cake was absolutely delicious and oh so gorgeous but please plan to dedicate a couple of hours to it! It’s a ‘special occasion’ cake that you probably don’t want to make too often.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and enjoy!

Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

Butterscotch sauce:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 egg yokes (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

To make the butterscotch sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the sugar and stir until combined. Cook, stirring regularly, until the simmers and changes from a grainy texture to a thick caramel texture (this should take about five minutes). Next, whisk the mixture as you slowly add in the cream. Bring heat to medium high and let the mixture boil (whisk the mixture often). Let boil for about 5 minutes or until it becomes thick and dark. Remove from heat and let cool for ten minutes. Whisk in the vanilla, whiskey, and salt. Stick in the fridge to cool completely.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 by 16 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup of the sugar and make a well in the center of the bowl by pushing the dry ingredients to the outside. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, yolks, water, and vanilla. Pour into the center of the well and fold dry ingredients into wet until smooth.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium until frothy. Next, add in the cream of tartar and slowly increase speed to high. Whip until soft peaks begin to form and slowly add in the last 1/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing until the peaks become shiny.

Use a spatula to fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and use a spatula to even it out. Stick it in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

While it is cooking, make the frosting: Stick your mixer bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it. Next, whip the cold heavy cream with 1 cup of the cooled butterscotch on medium-low speed. Slowly turn your mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy.

Assembly time: This is when it starts to get super fun! Place your sheet of cake horizontally in front of you. Cut the cake into 4 equal part. Next, take a scissor and cut the parchment paper directly along the cut lines you just made (this will make it easier to pick the cake up by the parchment paper and help with assembly).

Please excuse the hideous counter-top and bad lighting that my landlord thought was a good idea (just took a quick snapshot to try to show you the process).

Next, spread half of the frosting onto the sheet of cake and sprinkle with half the almonds. Take one sheet of the cake and spiral it on a plate (with the frosting side facing inward). Take another sheet and continue to spiral the cake out. Repeat with the rest of the cake (this is a bit tricky but try to keep it as tight as possible so the cake does not have room to fall over).

Lather the outside of the cake with rest of frosting and almonds. Drizzle any leftover butterschotch on top.

Serve warm to all your favorite people. And with a hot cup of coffee. Or Ice cream. Or both.

Moody Monday: Puppy Party

August 13, 2012


Good Morning! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. It finally cooled off around here this weekend which meant that my tomatoes are finally almost done ripening! Yay! In other news- this is going to be a very very busy week for VV. Hope you are all ready for it!

This weekend was a busy one! Wyatt’s parents came to visit and they brought Tuko’s 10 week old little brother (SOOOO ADORABLE) and their other boxer dog. This meant that it was a puppy part allllll weekend long.

Pictured above: Tuko’s little brother & me, Slaw veggie dog, the [empty] dam at the dog park, and Tuko & his little brother (looooook at how big tuko is compared to him!).


Moody Monday: Lazy Days

August 6, 2012


My Moody Monday picture is not really a specific adventure but just a few snippets from a lazy weekend. Wyatt just got an iphone and is loving the photo apps so I have been letting him enjoy taking most of the pictures lately.

This weekend was very laid back but it reminded me of two things: I cannot wait for fall and I looooove playing games. We played a few drinking game on Saturday with some friends instead of going to the bar and it makes me wonder why we ever bother wasting money going out.

Also, I cooked with Jamie of The Hearty Herbivore on Saturday which was a super great time! We totally nerded out about Foodgawker rejections and sponsorships. Be prepared for a full post about it later this week and more collaborations with her in the near future!

Moody Monday: Staycation

July 30, 2012

So I went into this weekend basically having no plans (outside of Friday night) and was almost kind of nervous about it. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a long list of things to do on the weekend. I mean…don’t get me wrong- there are dozens of awesome things to do in Bloomington in the summer (farmer’s market, quarries, drive in, canoeing, wine tasting, brewery tours, etc) but I just was not feeling any of the usual spots that I like to spend my free time. So, instead, I approached Bloomington as if I was an outsiders looking to visit it (a well-known practice for anyone who has been ‘taking’ those trendy Staycations this summer).

What I found through my research was that there are DOZENS of trails, lakes, and nature preserves all within 30 minutes from Bloomington that I have never heard of. WOAH! How awesome is that? I picked out the closest one with waterfalls (I have the biggest weakness for waterfall picnics) and planned my whole Saturday around it.


And it was the perfect day adventure! The trail was only a little over a mile but we crossed paths with waterfalls, evergreens, caves, and swamps. So beautiful and only ten minutes from my house! It blows my mind that I’ve lived here for 5 years and I am still discovering new beautiful spots all the time.

In other weekend news, my Ma stopped by on her way back from a business trip. It was nice to finally show her the house that we had put so much work/time into. I am hoping they can come down for a longer visit in the coming weeks. Oh! And Wyatt played his first show with his new band which went perfectly!

Two of the pictures above are from our little day adventure on Saturday (bottom left and top right). The top left one is from some cacti shopping I did at my favorite nursery a couple of days ago and the bottom of is Tuko and I sleeping in on Sunday (much-needed!).

Well, these “moody” posts are seeming less and less moody and more just little, nice peaks into my life. Perhaps I am not as cranky as I always had told myself I was! And perhaps I need to consider renaming this column…hmm…



Lake Dinner Picnic

July 18, 2012


As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, we went on a lovely dinner picnic last Thursday. It was nice because we have been so busy with moving and getting our house organized that we haven’t been taking that much time to just chill out and enjoy summer. Plus, this heat wave has been making it awfully hard to want to hike to the lake when just standing in it makes you sweat and uncomfortable. That’s okay though because it’s made us get creative with our usual summer activities (like go at sunset instead of at midday). Anyhow, it was wonderful to just sit on the rocks and watch Tuko/Taco play in the water as the sun went down.


This was an impulse picnic so we just packed up a few things that we had around the kitchen. I whipped up some deviled eggs (so simple yet such a perfect summer staple), backed an array of sliced strawberries, brie, and sliced baguette, and then had Wyatt whip up some Nutella and Strawberry sandwiches. I was a little stressed that I didn’t have more time to plan our a menu but it ended up being perfect finger food for an impromptu adventure!



I am not even sure what we did for entertainment before we had Tuko. I really enjoy watching him love on the lake and get excited about being free to run and explore.

Hope everyone is making the most out of their summer and taking a little time to enjoy their food outside and stick their feet in the water!

Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

July 13, 2012


Here are two preview pictures of a dinner picnic that Wyatt, Taco (/Tuko), and I went on last night. We found a new spot on the lake that is absolutely gorgeous and super secluded (don’t get me wrong- I love our usual spot where we know we will run into dozens of friends to swim with but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and find a peaceful place that is your own). I hope to post a full spread about the picnic once I get around to editing all the pictures (hopefully early next week).


Anyhow. Let’s talk about cocktails.


And here is my SECOND cocktail recipe for the week! I think that means I can officially put a line through my summer goal of experimenting with new drinks (don’t worry- that doesn’t mean I am done with cocktails for the summer..just makes me feel good about knocking something off my list).

I actually made a virgin version of this the first time and was so in love with it that I made it again (this time with champagne) the next evening! We have been having people over almost every other night to show friends our new house which means non-stop cocktail parties! Wooohooo!



Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

  • 4 peaches, pits removed
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peach nectar
  • 1 bottle of champagne (or fizzy water if you want to go virgin-style)


Blend together the peaches, sugar, vanilla, and nectar in a blender. Mix in the champagne and serve with your cutest vintage pitch and loads of ice!



I bet these would be even cuter with a small vanilla bean garnish! I took the pictures in a hurry since I whipped these up for guests but feel free to add your own character to them!

Moody Monday: Extra Extra Long Weekend

July 9, 2012

Well, I hope everyone had a fantastic previous week and a great 4th of July. After five wonderful days of sleeping in, lying around the house, and getting to know my new kitchen…it is back to work. Ah, oh well.

I may still be posting a little less this week because we are still lacking in internet at our new house and I don’t always feeling like trekking my laptop down to the local coffee shop (although my bike has a little basket that fits my laptop perfectly so I really should not be complaining). This is such a shame because I made soooo many yummy things over my long vacation and I cannot wait to share them with you!


Here are a few snapshots from the long weekend: We watched the 4th of July fireworks in a big ‘ol, wide open, corn field (ooooh, Indiana). Also, Tuko and I indulged in many afternoon naps on our new couch so that we could enjoy the outsides late at night when it was cooler. Oh, and lastly that is my tomato plan with its first few signs of color! Yay!!

Well, I hope everyone has a great week ahead and I will hopefully be posting some delicious recipes in no time!