I could use a few upgrades in my life.  One of the downsides to going back to school and buying a house is that now we have to deal with things like student loan and mortgage payments.  Grown up stuff.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining because I’m quite lucky.  But I do sometimes miss the perks from my old job- more travel, more shopping, more toys.  I’ve been drooling over the new iPhone 5.  Mine is getting a bit slow and as you may have noticed it doesn’t take the best photos!  I refuse to constantly grab my SLR camera while cooking.  My hands are usually sticky and the counter is usually covered in flour.  Not the best place for a nice camera.  So most of my action shots are taken with the phone cam.  And then there’s my trusty, loyal Nikon D70.  This camera has been with me since the beginning. Sadly, it’s almost 10 years old and really starting to show its age.  The auto-focus has died, which turned out to be a good thing because it forced me to get comfortable shooting with manual focus.  But when I’m out in the real world, auto-focus would sure come in handy sometimes.

So I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I win this strawberry recipe contest I entered last month. I made the top 5 (along with my friend Laura from Tutti Dolci– please go check out her gorgeous blog) and we’re supposed to find out the winners tomorrow.  First place wins a $500 Amazon Gift Card!  Second place gets $350 and Third place gets $250; not too shabby.  If I am lucky enough to win the top prize I’m going to start saving for my dream camera, the Nikon D7000.  If I place 2nd or 3rd I think I’m going to treat myself to the new iPhone.  Hopefully, one way or the other, my photos will further improve soon.  Wish me and Laura good luck!

What upgrades could you use in your life?

My Favorite Instagram Photos:

The Leaning Tower of Tofu


Cookie Butter Doughnuts (coming soon)


Pumpkin Bread Pudding (coming soon!)


It’s a tough life


 We’re supposed to suck the shrimp head? That’s the best part? … I dunno… Ok fine… 1…2…3 GO


On Savory Simple:

Authentic Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

This crab cake recipe has been in my family for years.  I stand by it’s Maryland authenticity. Granted, any time you call something “authentic” some people will argue.  But everyone who tries these says they’re the best, including me.  And if you have a different idea about what constitutes an “authentic” Maryland crab cake you should give me specifics instead of just telling me I’m wrong.  Not that this happened ;)







Fall Renewal Detox Giveaway

My giveaway ends today!  Thanks to everyone who entered and good luck!  For those who don’t win, Lisa has very kindly offered to give a promotional discount to everyone who entered.  The detox will only cost $99!  Enter the code “DETOXLOVE” during checkout! I would love to have some of you join me.  The more the merrier!








 Cheesy Baked Jalapeno Poppers

You need these in your life.  That is all.









My favorite posts from other bloggers this week:


From Pinterest:

  • Meringue ghosts.  How adorable are these?
  • One day I’ll learn how to use bobby pins properly and do cool things with my hair.
  • Homemade milanos?  Yes please!
  • Baby ambivalence; a topic of conversation I’ve discussed with many friends.  This article is fascinating to me.
  • Small bites for entertaining.

  • http://tutti-dolci.com Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Aww you’re so sweet, crossing my fingers for both of us – I’ve had my eye on a new camera lens for a while! :)

    Drooling over your teasers – cookie butter doughnuts?! I’m going to dream about those tonight!

  • http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/ Choc Chip Uru

    Oh wow good luck my friend, knowing your photos you will do fabulous :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Those donuts look fantastic! Good luck to you and Laura for the contest! :D

  • http://movitabeaucoup.com movita beaucoup

    WHAT? Thanks for the shout out, lady!

    My camera is a hand-me-down from my brother. Whenever we talk about what we’d do if we won the lottery? Fancy new camera is at the top of the list! I’ve got my strawberry stained fingers crossed for you…

  • http://grazinginthecity.com bill

    Can’t wait to find out more about those doughnuts – they look amazing!

  • http://thedomesticrebel.com Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Happy Sunday, Jen! I definitely know that growing up stinks–and I’m not even fully “grown-up” yet. The idea of house payments scare me like my car payment now does each month. Eek! However, you’re a strong, smart woman–you can do it! Plus, you made amazeballs crab cakes this week so that’s always a highlight :)

  • http://carolynchan.wordpress.com Carolyn Chan

    Good luck! Everybody needs a nice surprise! And I am always amazes at how great Instagram photos come out.

  • http://www.piesandplots.net Laura Dembowski

    Those donuts look amazing! Can’t wait to see the post. I feel like I’m getting older way too fast and need to start making a living. The pressure I’m feeling is indescribable, so I definitely feel your pain, but hopefully things will work out in the end. Good luck with the contest!

  • http://bitsandbreadcrumbs.com betsyb

    Oooh. I hope you win! We’d like to have that D7000 in our house, too. Those donuts really do look fantastic and now I want one for brunch. :)

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com yummychunklet

    Wonderful round-up!

  • http://whitefootblog.wordpress.com Leah (Whitefoot Blog)

    Reading the beginning of your post reminded me to pay my student loans – thanks! (I think, haha)

    Best of luck in the strawberry recipe contest! Can’t wait to see the recipe for pumpkin bread pudding!

  • http://prettylittlevegan.wordpress.com/ Amanda Michelle

    I am hoping for a nice new camera for my birthday as well :) Would be such a treat!

    Also… those doughnuts look absolutely incredible. Can’t wait for the recipe!

  • http://thespicedlife.com/ Laura

    This was an awesome post. And I so sympathize, that was me until a year or so ago. Not that my pics are amazing (they’re not) but boy a good dslr helps! So I hope you win! :) And the cat is the best pic. Awesome!

  • http://thefitspirit.com Jess

    Hope you win!! I love amazon, maybe too much. I could use a new phone and a new car – totally not on the cards though we can dream.

  • http://acupofmascarpone.com Carol | a cup of mascarpone

    Loved your round-up post, Jen! So much fun catching up all in one post! Best of luck to you and Laura in the strawberry contest, you both deserve to be number one!!! I’m so lucky to feel I know both of you!

  • http://munchimunch.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

    The shrimp head IS the best part!! And I do the same, use my phone camera that is.

    Good luck!

  • http://blondexambition.wordpress.com Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    Good luck on the contest! We’re totally on the same page with gadgets right now: I’m on the market for a new camera as well, plus, I ordered the new iPhone the night it came out. I have a 2 year old iPhone 4 now and the screen is shattered! I should finally be getting it on Friday, so excited!

  • Patty

    Good luck on the contest, maybe they’ve announced the winner (?)
    Thanks for the mention!

  • Danielle

    OMG I tried the Authentic Maryland Crab Cake recipe. The BEST one I’ve tried so far. I had to go to the market the next day and made them again. Only thing I couldn’t find the fines herbs. I brought all of the herbs that was in the fines herbs.