The End of our Culinary Cooking Challenge

I can’t believe it. It’s over. Back in February my sister and I decided to go on a crazy culinary journey and now that journey for the timing being is at an end.

I won’t do a recap of every week here as I did that at 20th week marker(read here) but I will go week by week and do our top pick for the week. As a farewell to all the goodies…

Week #1 California

Burrito Bowl with Cajun Fries

Week #2 Lemon

Lemon Rustic Bread

Week #3 Favorites

Hot Milk Cake

Week #4 Soul Food

Buttermilk Biscuits, Sausage Gravy and Fried Apples

Week #5 Jane Austen

Root Vegetable Tart

Week #6 Redwall

Gatehouse Tea Loaf

Week #7 Coffee

Cardamom Coffee Braided Loaves

Week #8 Vegan

Vegan Birthday Cake

Week #9 Italian

Italian Breakfast Quiche

Week #10 Vietnamese

Breakfast Bao

Week #11 BBQ

BBQ Chicken Skewers

Week #12 Mom’s Picks

Italian Focaccia

Week #13 Harry Potter

Hot cross Buns

Week #14 Caribbean

Jamaican Coco Bread

Week #15 Icelandic

Kleina Fried Donuts

Week #16 Tay’s Birthday

Ale House Bacon Bread

Week #17 Non-break

Oatmeal Pies

Week #18 Hungary

Sour Cream and Cabbage Casserole

Week #19 Blueberry

Blueberry Cheesecake

Week #20 Tay Cooks

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Week #21 Pizza

Homemade Pizza Obviously

Week #22 Swedish

Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Week #23 Scottish

Scots Eggs

Week #24 French

Pumpkin Soufflé

Week #25 Picnic

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Week #26 Sleepy Hallow

Apple Cider Cake

And that is it! Whew! What an adventure. Thank you so much for joining us on this incredible adventure. And our adventures aren’t over. Stay tuned for an extra special announcement!

Lots of love,


Culinary Week #16

So this past week was Tay’s 23rd Birthday! So we deviated slightly from our chosen path and I let her pick the food. It had its ups and downs. Here we go!

Ale House Bread

You all might remember this amazing bread from our Harry Potter Week. This has been Tay’s favorite breast creation since the beginning of the Culinary Challenge. And I have to agree it is a yummy one.

Lemon Pepper Green Beans+Chicken 7 out of 10

This was a refreshingly light meal that was just right for our week of sweets(keep reading) While we both enjoyed it I am not sure I will use this particular recipe again.

Sweet Broccoli Salad 6 out of 10

Okay still not sure how I feel about this yogurt based, sweet broccoli salad. The more I eat it the more I like it, but I don’t know. How do you feel about sweet veggie dishes?

Sugar Cookies+Royal Icing 10 out of 10

This were fantastic!!! Absolutely the winner of the week. Yes the decoration is a bit… childish, but the flavor? Heavenly! The red icing is raspberry and the blue blueberry; while the green and white are plain. I will be making these again.

Lemon Cake with raspberry filling+Blueberry Icing 7 out of 10

I am so sad about my cake… it had a blueberry candy collar(that melted) and my sad attempt at a clock face was… Well sad. Plus the cake(which I feared would be too dry) ended up being a dense pound cake- Only the icing and raspberry filling is worth mentioning. Oh well there is always next year, right?

And that’s a wrap for the week! It didn’t go exactly like I had planned(unfortunately) but at least the cookies were fantastic! So next week we are super busy and will be enjoying some leftovers(might do a leftover week post if you’re interested) and then we’ll move on to Hungary for our next culinary challenge. Who’s excited?! Once again it is me!

Lots of love,


Here is a throw back to Tay’s last birthday. It was a red velvet cheesecake and it was fantastic! Plus the simple decor is much better lol

Culinary Challenge Week #14

Hello, hello, hello! Who’s ready for a very magical round of cooking? (A very magically delicious week if you ask me) let’s jump to it!

Broccoli Salad 10 out of 10

Broccoli, turkey bacon, raisins, feta cheese and sunflower seeds covered in nonfat Greek yogurt, olive oil and rosemary. Yummy!! Yummy!! Yummy!!

Godric’s Bacon Cheddar Ale Bread 10 out of 10

So soft and sweet and buttery, loaded with bacon and cheese- So basically the perfect loaf of bread!

Yuleball Goulash 9 out of 10

Our first recipe of the week this one is amazing! Such a hearty, comfort food. Thicker and spicer than a soup this beef and noodle concoction will definitely be made again in the future.

Treacle Tart 7 out of 10

This was good but we both agreed not- wow material. Pie crust was heavenly(obviously- do you like my attempt at pie art? Uneven lace work is my specialty) but the thin tart filling was just okay.

Shepherds Pie 7 out of 10

Honestly I don’t know what I was expecting from Shepherds Pie but this version tasted a lot like sloppy Joes with mashed potatoes on top. So delicious just not what I had envisioned. Plus it makes a crap ton! We might be eating Shepherds Pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Hot Cross Buns 10 out of 10

These are so soft and delicious! Especially considering I almost ruined them by almost forgetting the egg- Yeeks! But thankfully these amazing little buns(which are perfect for breakfast by the way) turned out perfectly.

Pumpkin Porridge 6 out of 10

Thicker than oatmeal, but basically oatmeal. This vegan, pumpkin porridge covered in fruity goodness makes a very filling breakfast.

Bangers and Mash 8 out of 10

We ended our week like any good British cook and threw all our leftover bits and bobs into one yummy meal. I mean is sausage, gravy and mashed taters… Can’t really go wrong here.

(Also not pictured here, because I forgot to take a picture is Pumpkin Juice. Which Tay makes every year around Halloween time. So an obvious 10! I am so happy to get a pre-taste of fall.)

And that’s it guys. A day late and yet so worth it. Super excited about the coming week of cooking! Our new word is Caribbean. Just perfect for the summer heat.

Lots of love,


Everything’s Pumpkin

Some of my favorite fall recipes

…Thus far anyway. I think as soon as October hit everything I cooked baked or others made was pumpkin infused, spiced or shaped. And I am pretty sure my sister(my official taste tester is done with fall foods)

When my sister moved in with me the first of the year(read post here) we came to an agreement. I would do the cooking and laundry and she would do the cleaning and dishes(two things I am not such a fan of) But in the last month or so(partly to do with my new health journey) we decided to do one home cooked meal a week, one dessert and one soup/salad. Then we would eat on the leftovers the rest of the week.

Not all the recipes have been successes. In fact normally the dishes I like she doesn’t and vise versa.

I decided to list a few of my favorite recipes from this month in an effort to spread the love… calories.

Rosemary Garlic Bread

Click Here

Roasted Acorn Squash

Click Here

Rosemary+Sage Chicken and Dumplings

Click Here

Pumpkin Juice

This is my lil Sis’s top secret recipe so can’t share. I could share it but then I would have to kill you. Which might be worth it cause this is absolutely amazing!!

Autumn Wild Rice Soup

Click Here

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Dutch Baby

Click Here (If you make this- which I highly recommend you do- I would humbly suggest leaving out the chocolate chips. Both my sister and I felt the distracted from this amazing Dutch baby)

Pumpkin Pastries

Click Here Because it wouldn’t be October without a Harry Potter marathon and Potter themed food 😄

Well I hope you’re all appropriately hungry. So get out there and cook and eat and repeat.

Lots of love,


Art Journaling

This is a hobby I started… I guess two years ago. I took an art class on art journaling and then last year I officially dived in and turned my daily planner into a doodle filled “art” book. I use the term art loosely here because my doodles are a far cry from actually being art. But it was a fun way to keep track of my year and I am continuing the tradition this year.

Once again you can go crazy with this hobby and blow tons of cash on pens, markers, stickers, etc. There are people who bullet journal and obsess over penmanship and cute little banners. Or who really go all out for art journaling, because they can actually sketch or paint. (Totally jealous of those people) But I know my limits. I draw doodles and cartoon characters and call it square. Which is perfectly okay because that’s me and so when I look back at my “art” filled daily planners I can see my own whimsical take on life.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

That’s it! These are my hobbies for the year. What about you? Any hobbies? Old ones? New ones? Let me know in the comments below.

Lots of love,


New Hobbies

This week is all about the new hobbies I have decided to pick up for the year, plus the ones I am carrying over from last year. In this specific post however we will be covering… *drumroll* COFFEE!!!

When someone loves coffee, like me, someone can easily and quite honestly, happily slip into the world of craft coffee. What is craft coffee you might ask? Basically it’s going back to the basics of coffee, before the age of the machines(well kinda) to make the perfect cup of coffee.

For Christmas my older sister(who knows me too well) purchased for me a Kalita Wave pour over device, an adorable goose neck kettle and Craft Coffee: A Manual by Jessica Easto.

This book is really, really good. My biggest take away from the book was how little we as people actually know about coffee. For instance, wine making has been around for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. It’s been tweaked and fine tuned. By contrast coffee has only been around from the 15th and 16th century. And in America especially(not so in Europe) coffee is expected to taste… well bad. Jessica’s mission in the book is to give you the tools and tricks to making a coffee shop quality cup of coffee at home.

Now not being someone to do something in haves I decided to take all my new lovely coffee tools and make myself a coffee bar. If you follow A Nanny’s Book instagram(link at the top of the page) than you will have seen my coffee bar diy. I think it turned out rather nicely for being a spur of the moment impulse.

A sneak peek! To see the full bar check out my Instagram. 😉

Now you are probably saying to yourself, “This sounds like a very expensive hobby.” And yes it can be. Like any hobby you can spend an absolute fortune on it. But you don’t have to. Thanks to the internet you can get knock offs or preowned equipment or shop sales. Another thing Jessica stressed in the book was that, while quality tools and even good(e.g. expensive) coffee beans, help in making that not so elusive perfect cup of coffee everyday- it’s really technique that will make or break you.

And it has been amazing the taste differences between using a pour over device and fresh ground coffee to using my coffee machine. I have yet to make the perfect cup for me, but since she gives very specific parameters it is super easy to trouble shoot and experiment until I find just the right formula.

Wishing you the perfect cup, Tally

P.S. if you will check A Nanny’s Notebook on Pinterest I created a board called “craft coffee maniac”… just saying.

What I’m packing for a Weekend in North Carolina

I’m on the road again! Or should I say in the plane again. My love for traveling has definitely taken wing(pun intended) as I’ve taken more trips in the last two years than in my entire life. Not complaining! I love everything about traveling. The planning and packing, the actual traveling and of course the lovely memories that get tucked away for a rainy day. (As I mentioned in today’s early post, which if you haven’t read it you totally need to. Not saying just saying)

Since my older brother is unable to come home for Thanksgiving I am flying down there(North Carolina) the weekend before to spend a few days with him and his puppy Buck. I am planning on doing a vlog of this trip for those of you who enjoyed my first ever vlog about a month ago. I swore I would never do another because I thought it was just goofy but you guys(who are lovely human beings by the way) seemed to love it. So you’ll be getting vlog number two sometime after I get back. Keep a look out on my site and Facebook for details.

Anyhoo I thought I would share with you guys what I’m packing for this quick visit. And yes I am once again practicing my flat lay outfit pics… I personally think I suck at these but I was too lazy to actually model every single look. Plus my room looks like Santa’s workshop right now with all the Christmas presents and wrapping paper. (Which I explained in this post- I feel like this week I’ve been very chatty… Oh well I guess it makes up for the weeks when I’m not)

Excuse the wrinkles. But my airplane travel outfit is just a tee-shirt and my black leggings, North Face Fleece Jacket, Kate Spade Polly Crossbody, And Kate Spade+Keds Glitter Sneakers
So outfit #2 is my alpaca wool, terribly comfortable Dry Goods Knit Sweater, which I got on sale and therefore is no longer available, but this one is similar. Plus my Levi’s High-rise Skinny Jeans.
So outfit #3 is basically just bringing my Harry Potter Hogwarts Alumni T-shirt. My fourth and finally outfit will just be made of the different pieces I’ve already packed, so I’m not packing a ton of stuff into my carry on.

That’s it guys! I’ll see you in my next post and keep a look out for my upcoming travel vlog to North Carolina.

Lots of love,


A Walk in Wonderland

Well winter came in with a bang last week. Go to sleep and wake up to the beauty of fresh falling snow and fridge temps. It was too beautiful not to grab a pic or two.

Aren’t they gorgeous? 🙂
My phone/camera was in the shop so I was forced to improvise. This is my two year old iPad… The photos aren’t as sharp but I kinda like it. Almost feels a bit like film.
This is my Ravenclaw Scarf I purchased at London’s Harry Potter Studios. Along with my Ravenclaw Cardigan made with real Scottish wool. So warm!

That’s it my peeps! Until the next post…

Lots of love,


The Making Of Harry Potter vs. A Magical World Of Harry Potter

If you read my London post than you kinda already know my final judgement on which of these two destinations I like better, but I thought a more in depth post would be helpful.
Let me start this off by saying the Making Of is a tour, so more like a museum experience where you get to see the actual costumes and props; while a Magical World is a theme park… So rollercoasters. But both are so similar in feel and obviously content that I think a comparison is necessary.
  1. Diagon Alley 
Let’s start where Harry started his adventure into the world of magic and talk about Diagon Alley.
There’s really no contest here in my opinion. Florida’s alley is spectacular! You actually believe you’re there and can actually go into the Leaky Cauldron for a bite to eat, or Weasely’s Joke Shop or Alivander’s for your own wand!
London’s is just a walk through the set, so can see how they filmed the scene. I mean Gringott’s Bank is gorgeous, since they built it to scale and carefully constructed the enormous chandlers, but in a Magical World there’s a giant dragon on top of Gringott’s that breaths actually fire. (Plus there’s a rollercoaster inside of it)

2. Food
The ultimate deciding factor in my opinion. And once again the victory goes to a Magical World. Yes the food in a Making Of is great; they have Butter Beer and some awesome ice cream.

But no Pumpkin Juice, which is my fav and the restaurant food was good but not mind blowing. Which in contrast to the Leaky Cauldron which was amazing!
3. Merchandise
Here both come out pretty even. I mean it’s the same stuff, same quality of stuff and basically the same price. My two greatest purchases have to be Ron’s Jumper (Florida) and my Raven Claw Cardigan(London). Both are a 100% wool (so super warm) though the cardigan is made from real Scottish wool just like in the movies. How cool is that?

4. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft&Wizardry
My final test is Hogwarts itself. A Making Of set of the Great Hall, since you get to walk through it, is super cool. And it’s scale model of the school is arguably the best part of the tour.
That being said coming around the corner at Universal and seeing Hogwarts for the first time on top of the hill with Hugsmead below it… Is magical. Plus there’s an awesome rollercoaster inside of it. 

In the end my opinion is the same: if you’ve been to Universal than don’t stress about going to a Making Of , or if you’re trying to decide between the two go to Florida.
I hope this helped. If you have any other questions please let me know.  
Lots of loves,
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