April 27, 2018

So we've established my matcha obsession in an earlier post. I love matcha in just about every form I've encountered it. 

And guys, I'll admit it. I have a great weakness for puppy chow. I'm not sure what it is about that stuff, but I had it for the first time in high school and have been mildly obsessed ever since. I hardly ever let myself make it, but it's full-on gorging when I do. 

So what better, methought, than to combine those two things into one glorious masterpiece?

It worked.

There's no peanut butter in this recipe - I wanted to send some to school with Aaron for his students and wasn't sure what dietary restrictions they had - so I figured I could lean on the matcha for flavor and just go with regular butter to keep the chocolate smooth. And to bolster up anything still missing flav...

April 17, 2018

Just a quick post today. It's been quite a week full of travel and busyness, so I've slacked off here rather terribly. My apologies! 

In penance, here is one of my favorite cocktail recipes I've put together this past year. This is one of the cocktail trifecta I created for Aaron's birthday party back in January (all the details on that over at this post!

I had wanted to try infusing bourbon for awhile and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Pair that up with one of the amaros that Aaron loves, add some Campari for good measure, and voila! Birthday cocktail #2. 

The infusion process is very simple. Just be sure to begin a few days in advance. I kept my infusing bourbon in a cabinet and just gave it a quick shake each morning and evening. So simple and soooo delicious.

And with th...

For the degree I'm obsessed with taro currently, it's a bit surprising that I've only known it existed for about a year now. My college roommate came to visit us on her way to Turkey last year and we took her to one of our favorite places for dinner - Santouka ramen. It's a small, counter-serve restaurant nestled in the food court of Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store in our area that I've referenced before. It's probably one of my favorite places ever.

So while we were there, my friend strolled off to browse around and came back to our table with a bright purple beverage in hand: taro boba tea. And from that moment, friends, I have never looked back. Taro all the time. 

Taro is a starchy, tropical plant of the arum family. The roots are often cooked and prepared like potatoes - though it's...

I remember being jealous beyond reason of my childhood friends for one particular delicacy they were allowed to consume. No, not the candy bars and Happy Meals (though let's be honest, those were definitely the runners up for Little Whitney). This was no mere junk food. This was dessert magic. Toy food. Entertainment on a plate. Pure Joy.

Clearly I was exactly the target demographic of their marketing campaigns, because nothing could convince my childhood self that joy was attained by anything short of being allowed to make (and consume) plate-fulls of Jello Jigglers.

Whenever I saw a commercial for these chemical fruit marvels, I would be transfixed by how their jello held its shape, how happy the children looked wobbling it around, how happy I would be if I could also dance and wobble jell...

When I was little, one of my absolute favorite things during the summer was a fresh banana shake. We would almost always have ice cream and bananas on hand, whether frozen or fresh, and I still have never had a banana shake I've liked better than the ones my mom made. A plain banana shake, that is. I think this one might rival it. 

She would whip them up so effortlessly and serve them in these tall, greyish, bird-festooned pedestal mugs that were often chipped or missing a handle. I loved those mugs almost as much as the banana shakes. They've long since met their demise or you'd better believe those would be featuring prominently here. 

Banana shakes were one of the few highlights of being sick. Well that and unrationed tv, which was unheard of at any other time. I'd always hope that whatev...

March 29, 2018

I know this is primarily a cooking blog, but bakers travel too. Right? So I thought it would be fun to share some of my travel tales as well, be that the adventures themselves, the food we discover while away (mostly that, let's be honest), or travel tips I have discovered as we go. 

So to start this off, let's begin with a nostalgic post. Aaron and I took our first real vacation together last summer. Aaron had been on a pretty wonky work schedule for the first year we were married and we finally decided it was time to just take a week to ourselves and recoup. I'll have a full post on that trip coming soon, but we'll start things off with something I love - packing lists!

No really, guys. I make one of these things for myself every time I travel - pictures and all. I know it's a bit ridiculo...

March 20, 2018

It's been a bit of a hectic week, so today will just be a quick post. But I wanted to keep up the Sober Tuesday tradition since there are only two more left in Lent! Granted I can keep them up after that too, but Lent was the premise, so Lenten mocktails you shall get.

I've always loved mint. When I was little, I saw my mom doing a lot of gardening so I of course wanted my own garden too. Like you do. So she told me I could have a small bed of my own, but I would be in charge of growing some herbs. My first pick? Mint, of course. Which was a lot more strategic than childhood me knew because those plants propagate like rabbits. I felt quite proficient in my newly claimed hobby. And snacked on a lot of fresh mint while playing in the yard too, if we're honest. 

One of my favorite things,...

March 16, 2018

I heard some statistic a few months back that referenced how a ridiculously high percentage of people who listed “guacamole” in their online dating profiles ended up either being contacted more frequently or some other measure of a “good success rate” in such things. Which made me at the same time crack up that this was something a study measured, but also double think whether I’d listed that on my own when Aaron and I met. (I didn’t, sadly.) But apparently he must have sensed my guacamole fandom from afar, so all worked out well in the end, regardless of my negligence in notating such a pivotal piece of information.

All’s well that ends in guacamole, right?

Or in breakfast. 

Or… wait... guacamole and breakfast? Yes please.

When Aaron and I were dating, I saw a picture somewhere with the capti...

March 13, 2018

So today's post is a "guest recipe" if you will. This manhattan cocktail inspired cup o' coffee is an Aaron original.

While we were dating, there was a coffee shop in Indianapolis we frequented that served cocktail-esque coffee creations, one of which was a cold brew manhattan. We were dating long distance for our entire relationship, so with all the driving back and forth on weekends, we definitely consumed more than our fair share of coffee. And this particular drink was always high on the list.

So when Aaron moved up to join me in Chicago after our wedding, we quickly began to miss our favorite coffee mocktail. It wasn't long before he decided something needed to be done about it and went to town playing with variations to get the taste and strength correct. 

And guys, I could drink this t...

Guys. I did it. I finally made a cake for no reason at all, which means I could cut out a slice and photograph it without being crippled by the thought of serving a party cake with a missing slice. I realize this is pretty much a non-accomplishment, but I was very proud of myself and walked around with a shiny glow of success all afternoon.

When I was growing up, my mom worked part time coordinating a two-week summer exchange program for Japanese students. So each summer we would have one or two students stay with us for a couple weeks, plus I would get to know about 20 other students by virtue of tagging along on the tours and events with my mom. One of my favorite parts of this as a child was the novelty of trying all the candy and snacks they brought along. I was completely spoiled in th...

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Home Baker

I'm Whitney.

Welcome to My Own Little Mess! I'm so glad you stopped by. ​This is where I get to share the recipes I love - both those of my childhood and those ​I create now - and the traditions that made cooking and baking such a joyful part ​of all our lives.

The table is the heart of community and that is the heart ​of this blog. I am so excited to share these meals with you!



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April 27, 2018

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© 2017 by Whitney Harrison 

my own little mess | chicago, il | email@myownlittlemess.com