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The Sweetest Side Dish There Is: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad - Tales of a Peanut

I have to say that I’ve hit it out of the ballpark with the menu’s for the last two events that I’ve thrown. I’m not sure if it’s due to the overwhelming presence of Pinterest or just because I now have almost nine years of marriage and party hosting under my belt, but the meals at my gathering’s are pretty top-notch. Now, the cleanliness of the floors is another matter, but as for pairing food I’m doing a pretty good job.

Last Saturday we celebrated Hadley’s first birthday with a strawberry themed bash. And what better occasion than a strawberry party to make one of my favorite side dishes that could easily qualify as a dessert: Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I’ve posted this recipe before but it’s worth re-sharing because it is so good and also pretty easy even though it might seem scary. And the result is a dessert that you can put on your dinner plate with no qualms. (Maybe some people actually eat this for dessert, but in my family it’s part of the meal and I wholeheartedly support that!)


During and after the party I received multiple requests to share this recipe. I hope that it is as well received in future meals as it was at Hadley’s party!

Tell me, do you make Strawberry Pretzel Salad? If not, are you going to try it?  You should!

Books, Charlotte, Entertaining, Gift Giving, Recipes, Shopping, TalesOfAPeanut


Currently Tales of a Peanut

Reading: I’m picking up Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please, at the library today and can’t wait to start reading it. I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holly Gerth as well. And books on my to be purchased with hopeful birthday money include: Nobody’s Cuter Than You, The Art of Work, Keep It Shut, The Forgotten Seamstress, and The Rosie Project.

Currently Reading Tales of a Peanut

Watching: Madame Secretary. I am loving Tea Leoni’s new show with her as Secretary of State. I feel like it’s very similar to The West Wing only with a female lead.

Working on: Getting all my products listed in my own shop! If you read this in a reader you probably haven’t seen the redesign of our site. Katrina Martin at Riot Customs worked with me to implement my vision for Tales of a Peanut and the result is better than anything I could have hoped for. I haven’t talked about the redesign though because I’m still working on getting my shop set up. I’ve got some products listed and I wanted to share it with you now even though it’s still a work in progress. I’ll do a more in depth post on all the changes soon but come check out the new look and the new shop (I’m still on Etsy as well) if you haven’t seen it yet!

Tales of a Peanut Children's Plates

Planning: Hadley’s first birthday party. It’s hard to believe it’s that time but I sent her invitations to the printer yesterday. I’m doing a strawberry theme and now that I say that remember that I’ve got to get on ordering her cake! Here’s a sneak peek of her invite.

Strawberry Birthday Invitation Sneak Peek - Tales of a Peanut

Looking back and reflecting on: Charlotte at 11 months since Hadley will turn 11 months tomorrow. These girls look almost identical.

Charlotte 11 months

Cooking: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars from The Pioneer Woman. Red put this recipe in the back of her book, Charlie Goes to School, and so the kids and I have been saying that we were going to make them for months. We finally got around to them this week and they are fantastic. The kids love them plain for a small dessert but Jason and I might have been adding some vanilla ice cream and heating them for dessert after the kids go to bed. Very tasty!

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Wishing for: Courtney DeFeo’s Conversation Cups, a gift card for Athleta so I can by some new swimsuits and cover ups, some new slippers, and some new flip flops!

Conversation Cups Lil Light O Mine

Eating: Raisin Bran Crunch. It’s really good y’all and my choice for breakfast these days.

Raisin Bran Crunch

So, what are you currently doing, loving, reading, eating… these days? I’d love to know and check it out!


Entertaining, Family, Recipes

Setting the Perfect Brunch

Setting the Perfect Brunch | Tales of a Peanut


Last Sunday we hosted our families for brunch after Hadley was Christened at church. Our families are large and so there was a crowd, plus we were feeding a wide variety of ages — from Hadley to her great-grandparents. I wanted a menu that would be low key and easy to fix but would also provide everyone with something that they would like. Enter what I believe to be the perfect brunch menu. It received rave reviews from everyone and it was fairly easy to prepare.


We served orange juice and grapefruit juice as well as ice water. If your family has a lot of coffee or tea drinkers those would be good options as well.


Our menu included some ready-mades like Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and Cranberry Walnut bread from the local Gluten Free Bakery as well as a few varieties of muffins that Mom made for me. In addition to those we supplemented with some homemade recipes.

Vanilla Almond Granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction – I made two recipes of this and, I think, because I made two recipes at once I didn’t have enough liquid ingredients to make mine clump. Or maybe it couldn’t bake perfectly correctly? But even though might was more of itty bitty granola, it still tasted great. I set out of a bowl of greek yogurt and little cups and spoons and our guests made themselves little yogurt parfaits so that they could at least feel like some of the brunch was healthy!

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche from How To This and That – I’ve used other recipes for quiche but this one was very yummy. I, again, prepped it the night before and actually cooked it on Saturday as well before reheating in the oven on Sunday when we got home from church. It was finished by the end of brunch so I thought that was a good sign.

Bacon, Cheddar, and Scallion Scones from Fifteen Spatulas – Before I decided to add a quiche to the menu, I thought we needed something savory to balance out all of the sweet so I made these scones. They weren’t incredibly easy to make but they tasted great, especially right out of the oven. I made these on Saturday and re-heated them on Sunday (covered with foil) which I think made them even drier than they were originally, but scones are dry so I think I made them correctly.

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread from Averie Cooks – Family members reading this might wonder where this was because they didn’t see it at my house on Sunday but that was because I got a little distracted with all my pre-event cooking. I accidentally set the oven to 450 instead of 350 which resulted in a very, very done outer layer but a perfect inner layer. I couldn’t serve it like that so Jason and I just taste-tested the inside for dessert on Saturday night. Let me tell you, it was fantastic. I’m waiting on some banana’s to ripen right now so that I can make it again. It was fantastic!

Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake from Chelsea’s Messy Apron – This recipe was the trickiest because it needed to be cooked once we got home from church. But unless you’ve got a late service and are in a hurry to eat, it’s perfect. I prepped the whole recipe the night before and sat it in the fridge overnight and popped it in the oven as soon as we got home. I cooked it on 400 degrees to shorten the cooking time and it turned out perfectly. Jason and I might have eaten the leftovers for dessert on Sunday night.


And, lest you think we didn’t have enough sweets already, we topped the meal off with a vanilla cake with vanilla icing. Hadley was very jealous of the cake and we tried to reassure her that in two short months it would be her turn to indulge!


I’d love to hear your favorite brunch foods or recipes! Is there something that I’m missing? If so, let me know in the comments!




First Year Months, Hadley, Mommy Advice, Recipes

H turns 8 (months)

HGE 8 months_2015 01 09_0004_edited-1Hadley girl,

It’s near impossible to believe that you are already eight months old. And my how you’ve grown this month! You’re moving and shaking all over the place and it’s all I can do to keep up. I love you sweet girl.

This month you switched from army crawling to real crawling. You look like one of those little crawling baby dolls because you’re so tiny and you move around with your little arms and legs just a going. You have gotten faster and faster and now we will sit you down and you’ll be across the room in no time.

You are also constantly talking and, we think, saying some real words with meaning. On the 18th we were reading bedtime books in the study and you were crawling on the floor. You crawled over to Daddy and looked up and it sounded like you said “Dada”. You don’t speak on command yet but it sure seems like you consistently say Dada so we’re counting it as your first word. Since then you often say “Hey” back to us and sometimes say “Bye.”

Food is still one of your favorite pastimes. You’re still nursing five times a day and eating two containers of baby food each day. The first time I fed you pears you weren’t a fan but you eat them now and everything else that I can feed you including garden vegetable, apple prune, pear pineapple.

Despite your large appetite you are still tiny. You seem big to me because you’re wearing 6-9 month clothes but when I see pictures of other babies you’re age it confirms what the doctor said at your last appointment, you’re tiny. But you’re perfectly proportioned and growing and eating so I assume you’ll just catch up in your toddlerhood like your brother and sister. You’re also still in size 2 diapers but are getting close to needing a size 3.

You are still a fantastic sleeper and are on the same schedule that you’ve been on for a while. Nowadays though you are very flexible on missing naps. If you miss one you are fine with just two although you’re happiest when you get all three. This is wonderful news and has made our lives so much easier since you are happy missing your morning nap to play in the nursery at church and can miss your later afternoon nap if we’re ferrying Charlotte around. You are truly a go with the flow baby at this point.

Not only are you crawling everywhere but this week you also pulled up to standing by yourself! We were picking up the playroom and James yelled “Hadley!” and I turned around and you were standing up holding up on a storage box. You watch Charlotte and James with envy in your eyes and I know that it won’t be long before you’re running around after them. I contemplated strapping a weight to your back to keep you still but I’m not sure that even that would work at this point. You are very determined to discover your world and master anything that stands in your way. Those will be very good traits when you get older.

Overall sweet girl, you are a joy and we are so blessed to be your parents. You love to cuddle in to my shoulder if I’m holding you and someone talks to you. You are generous with your toothless grins and giggle and babble often putting smiles on everyone’s faces. We love you so much!



Hadley, Mommy Advice, Recipes

Welcome to the Table

Hadley joined the big world at the kitchen table right before her five month birthday when I fed her rice cereal for the first time. She seemed to enjoy it and definitely ate it much better than the other two ever did. We sporadically fed her cereal until she turned six months and then introduced veggies and then fruit which she has gobbled up regardless of what kind of food it is.

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