A Cherry Pollen Scone Cake


My little sister is in town this week from Arizona, so her and my nephews came over this morning for a play date at the house and it felt SO good to have her home in Minnesota. I miss her so much everyday. The girls woke at the crack of dawn and I wasn't planning on baking up an bunch of stuff but all of a sudden I was standing at the kitchen aid measuring flour and chopping cherries. It usually happens like that. Anyways, I LOVED how this turned out. All the ingredients into one bowl, mixed and then molded onto floured wax paper made for a low maintenance yet magical scone cake. These could easily be formed into small balls as actual scones but I love the way it felt a little extra special being turned into a pie or cake-like beauty. 

The pie was large and could serve up to 16 people depending on your preference of serving. My friend, Mama, sister and our kids nearly polished the entire pie off ourself though, I should be honest! I could see this working well to freeze and pull out if unexpected guests arrive to play. 

Cherry Pollen Scone Cake 

1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour 
1 cup bread flour 
6 Tablespoons of brown sugar 
2 teaspoons of baking powder 
1 teaspoon of baking soda 
a dash of salt 
3/4 cup of whole milk yogurt (or coconut yogurt alternative) 
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
6 Tablespoons of butter (about a half a stick, add a little more if you're feeling buttery) 
1/2 cup frozen chopped cherries (could be replaced with any frozen fruit) 
one squeeze of honey (I used a plant based Slippery Elm Bee Free Honee made from apples. So delish!) 
One squeeze of maple syrup 
1 Tablespoon of Bee Pollen 
2 1/2 cups of oats 

Combine in mixer. Mix until ingredients are woven together. Place on baking sheet with floured parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for YIKES, you'll have to watch for the time. I think I did 20 minutes but I got distracted with the girls and I've never been a timer type girl. (I'm working on it) It should look 'almost' done and will finish cooking in the center while it cools for about 15 minutes. 

Serve with drizzled honey and sprinkled bee pollen on top! 

Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments!


We went out on another family hike today and reflected together on Luella’s first half of the year homeschooling. It’s been far from perfect. We’ve missed days and had mornings where everyone was feeling off but we are just so incredibly proud of how hard she has worked on her nature lessons and reading and writing and helping around the house. Lue loves homeschool. She asks to do school almost everyday, which I don't think will last her whole life, so I'm soaking it up now. 

 We partnered with @Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments this holiday season on something so simple that brings so much joy. We sat on that moss log on a brisk Fall morning like we do often, and as she opened up the wrapped up gift we talked about how this small Hallmark Keepsake Ornament represents how proud we are of her and how every year she can hang it up on the tree and think back to the first year of homeschooling. 

 I love those holiday traditions and consistencies. The ornaments you pull out every single year and they just burst with an emotional attachment or sentiment. I still have some of those at my parents house that I see hung on their giant tree that, at almost thirty years old, make me feel warm and happy. They make me sit still even for a moment and think back to small, really good moments because we all have at least one of those. It seems like Thanksgiving comes and then the holiday season just blinks right by, and I want to incorporate more of these tiny, small ways to slow down and appreciate each other more. To view the good in all things and flood our home with a perspective of gratitude and thoughtfulness in small ways. I’m feeling sentimental, as always, because that’s just who I am, but I can’t wait to hang this up on our first Christmas tree in the new A-frame and celebrate a small tradition for years to come. 

I’d love to integrate more keepsake, meaningful traditions during the holiday season and would love to hear if you have any? Little or big things that are so simple, mean so much. Share your imperfect memories using the hashtag #KeepsakeIt Together and find the perfect ornament to remember your story here

Paid for by Refinery29 and Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments. Thankful to have worked with them both! 

Tales From a Forager's Kitchen Sneak Peek!


The other busiest but beautiful thing this summer has been WRITING a COOKBOOK! I still have to pinch myself OFTEN that I am actually doing this. But it seems like it's been this beautiful back and forth between Max and I, coming up with ideations and shoot locations and illustrative visions. I've been working on the manuscript, still formulating a lot of recipes and shooting with Matt Lien. Our first shoot was epic and I am just thrilled to be working with him. He captured every single thing I imagined for this shoot depicting a "connection with the earth." It's been such an incredible joy to dream of this book in print with Max. To bounce around ideas and nail down the illustration details. Here's a few sneak peek shots. 

All I want to do is share and write and seep everything that I've been writing and looking into and experiencing during the manuscript process. It has been really enjoyable. Lately though, I have been thinking about the idea of a connection with the earth. A pause with it's beauty. A deep appreciation. It rained for the entire duration of the shoot. Unplanned bliss. What it means to walk through the earth and fully embrace all it has to offer. To breathe it in and experience what it might do for us to be outdoors. The texture of wet moss. The cool air during the middle of a rain. The way that everything both brightens and deepens in tone at sunrise. What excites me is gathering goods that grow from the ground, but likewise simply having a mindset to connect to what we are eating with intention. Even if someone doesn't live near the woods, the essence can translate into what is on their plate- wherever they are, wherever they live. I've been curious about delving into what small intentional steps of appreciation and new experiences with earth grown goods can do for us and our well-being and intrigued with how to bottle up intention and wonder and pour it out at the table. 

This swamp was gorgeous. I am so happy Matt was able to capture how magical it was. I will say though, it was pretty chilly that day.  

I cannot wait to have this beauty published and I hope it connects with you somehow and draws you to nature and this beautiful earth. 

Home in the Woods!


Home! So very thankful for this home on an island in Minnesota in the woods. It's about four acres of mostly woods and a little bit of grass and just everything we've ever imagined for a home. It was the strangest and coolest way how everything worked out. That morning we had put an offer on another place. A cute little white home with a small yard in Marine on Saint Croix. We saw SO many homes. Like, SO many. I felt bad for our realtor to be honest, but she was incredible driving out to Wisconsin with us and all across town it seemed. We finally landed on the white house and honestly felt like, "let's just do it.. this place would be great and we will have land someday." They counter offered a heck of a lot closer to their asking price, we didn't blame them as we offered a lot lower just to see what happened and then spent the afternoon deciding if we were going to try to counter.. etc.. It was a long, long day. We were all exhausted, still packing up all our belonging and grinding through it all and just the day before we asked our realtor to just open up the entire MLS search for "homes in Minnesota with more than one acre under our price range.  I was sitting by the counter sweating my buns off, just clicking through the search results... click click click... and then all of a sudden a picture popped up of an A frame. I jumped, like WHAT! How can this exist in Minnesota? I've only seen these on Pinterest. :) HA. I flew through the images while simultaneously yelling for Max to come into the kitchen to show him. He came in and we were both like, "uhhh..... this is everything we have ever wanted in a home." So we called our realtor immediately and said, "we want to make an offer....!!!" She was like, "Okay!!! You should probably see it first though, too." :) She's smart. So we packed up the girls and drove out to see it and the whole time at home and packing up I was a major wreck. As someone who not only values emotions, but feels them often, I was a MESS! I was feeling like, this is our DREAM home. Oh my gosh, it has to work out! Max was like, "You need to chill. Pull yourself together Fox!" Seriously. But on the way we were driving and drove across the bridge to get on the island and he turned to me and said, "I'm sorry. You should be able to feel everything and all you want to feel. So if you want to freak out and we don't get this place and you have to deal with the heartbreak, then that's ok. You should have the freedom to feel." By the time we were almost there, passing the girls toys and waters and snacks along the way, we drove up the driveway and heeding Max's words I just bawled my eyes out. The trees sweep over the long driveway and I felt like, woah we are home. We got out with the girls and just walked around. It was so quiet. We were in love. 

We made an offer and the seller was to present to the sweet old lady who owned it. We sent a letter describing our dreams for the home and a small picture of our family just to say, "Hi! We are real humans who want to live in your beautiful home. Can we buy it?" We've done this with both homes and highly recommend doing it if you are buying a house. You'll see why soon. So we had to wait about 24 hours until she listing agent was presenting to her because hello, this elderly lady had busy schedule! :) She presented the following day and about ten minutes before our offer was presented, another one came in and it was a cash offer. We didn't know this at the time, just that there was another offer and we were so nervous. This all seems so trivial, like, Johnna it's just a place to live and why are you being crazy, but it was just a lot to take in finding the perfect place and just having to wait to see if we could live there and raise our girls there. Anyways, Max took Minoux on his nightly walk which he has done since she was little and I took a bath with Lue. It was the only thing on my mind until the two minutes that it wasn't on my mind and I heard a big bang on our front door. I was naked with Lue thinking, what in the world who is here and why are they still banging on the front door? We peeked our heads out the front window and sure enough it was our realtor and her family with a bottle of champagne and red bull (her classic go to... of course.. yeah she's THAT cool) and they screamed up to us, "YOU GOT THE HOUSE!!!" I cried my eyes out and Lue was just like screaming with joy as loud as she could. She didn't even know really what was happening but it's the kind of thing that describes her so well, she's just like "AH I don't know why we are happy but I'm FREAKING HAPPY!!!"  Max came home from his walk and we all just say in our half packed up home drinking champagne and red bull and couldn't believe it. Then the hurdles began with all the financing and needing a specific type of loan etc.. you know, all the garbage stuff where the banks pretend it's a fun game of Monopoly and they just move your money around like they're eating popcorn at a sleepover and taking turns on the board. Sorry, no.. I'm really grateful and in the end it all worked out really well. We were able to get a small construction loan to make some of the larger changes that needed to be done right away. The day we closed we ripped up carpets and flooring and took off old doors and the interior paint was done that weekend. Those things alone made it completely come to life and couldn't believe how much it changed things. We showed our parents and they all *mostly* saw the potential for it. That's a story for another day but my parents helped us that weekend rip our the carpet, patch up holes and walls and clean out every room from top to bottom. We had the interior and exterior sprayed with a fresh coat of paint which made it feel like a brand new home. We didn't have air. Wait, we still don't have air besides one small unit upstairs that barely cools down that room. I would never even think about complaining about how sweaty of a summer it was or that my bangs just straight up curl everyday because of the humidity because I still can't believe we get to live here. Who needs air when it's 90 degrees anyways, I mean, well. 

Words can't describe what it means to be here. To have the land and the woods and the space inside the house. The A frame and the garage and the windows and that big cherry blossom tree out front. I can't wait to see what color it blooms into. We are happy here and grateful to be here. Home on an island in the woods. No air, and all. It's not perfect, and it's officially home. 

Up North!


So we had a little bit of time in between when we closed on our next home, so we drove up north for a mini family vacation and stayed a cabin on a lake. We had the brilliant idea of driving up there in the evening while the girls slept, but ended up hitting a huge storm and it was a brutal drive there. But all in all, you win some you lose some... the girls were crashed asleep. We had a wondering time together with the girls foraging, eating, cooking, sleeping, writing, and chalking. Literally that's all we did besides the lake days when it was good weather. The lake was right off the deck and both girls absolutely loved the water. If you're ever looking for a place to cabin in Minnesota, you have to check out some options HERE

Exercising on trees. Totally legit. He teaches me so much. 

Minnesota, you are just the best! 
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