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Sally in kitchen with photography lights and camera.

Oh hi! It’s me!

Somehow it’s been almost a year since I checked in with a personal update. I remember when I had time to write these coffee break posts monthly! I guess I never understood what being a busy working parent meant until I had my 2nd child. Or, at least, until she was mobile. (She is turning TWO in July! And my oldest is turning 5 in September! How can that be already?)

Since I shared my last update, I finished my cookbook proposal for my 4th cookbook! And I mean… I *just* submitted it this past week. It took me an entire year to write the proposal, which sounds like an unusually long time. But I’ve been doing about 1 billion other things on the side like testing and publishing recipes on my website, launching a website redesign, celebrating 10 years, and a huge recipe video shoot. (Which I’m showing you below!) All the while of trying to balance my career and family, which feels like some super magical secret that I can’t figure out. HOW DO YOU BALANCE EVERYTHING?

Anyway, the next step for my cookbook is securing a publishing house and, well, writing the entire book. LOL. Hopefully I’ll have more updates for you soon!

In the meantime, I’d love to take you behind the scenes of a recent work project!

Recipe Video Shoot

It had been nearly two years since my entire team and I got together to film recipe videos. This past spring, we shot 20 baking videos/tutorials. It sounds like a lot because, yes, it was a lot!!! We schedule big recipe video shoots to make the most of our time together because the team lives all over the country. Since we can’t get together often, we filmed a lot of content for the holiday season and I’m so excited to publish it on the site. As you can imagine, it was quite comical seeing spring flowers bloom outside while enjoying pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies.

green spritz cookies on baking sheet.
decorated Christmas sugar cookies on marble board with cookie cutters and monitor screen behind it.

Part of my video crew is also known as Paragraphic and you can follow them as they film handcrafted documentaries highlighting different artisans and creators. I love their work and am so fortunate they have time and dedication to produce recipe videos for my website. They’re also A LOT of fun.

Anyway, we completely took over the kitchen with video equipment, lights, cords, ingredients, and dishes.

Sally with video equipment.
Sally behind the scenes with video crew.
Sally in kitchen with photography lights and camera.
Sally in kitchen with photography lights and camera.

Filming this many recipe videos requires a lot of people, a lot of work, and a lot of planning ahead. There’s talking points to review, dishes to wash, props to order, and plenty of prepwork. To stay organized when shooting multiple videos in a day, we usually set up pre-measured ingredients on baking sheets (just a little trick of the trade!):

ingredients portioned out in bowls on baking sheets.

Over 6 days with a 10 person crew, plus neighbors and families of my local team members, we had plenty of mouths gobbling up all of these treats. And trust me, there were A LOT of treats.

Sally with fall and holiday baked goods on counter including pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and cookies.

The baked goods had expanded out of the kitchen and crept into the office.

many different baked goods on table including apple pie, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and carrot cake.

Carrot cake! (The new carrot cake video is published by the way!)

carrot cake on cake stand with slices on plates next to it.

And a note to remind everyone not to eat “the pretty cookies” until after we filmed them. Demanding notes on a tray of beautiful cookies, totally normal.

chocolate chip cookies on small baking sheet with "don't eat" note on top.

So yes, a lot of work and a lot of food. Not to mention, all the bloopers, laughs, and times I completely messed up on camera. (We had two years of laughs to catch up on!!!)

You can find some of the finalized videos in these posts:

and there’s many more coming soon!


And, lastly, when you view these finalized recipe videos, please know there is tape on my back holding down the weird wrinkled creases that kept appearing on my shoulders:

Sally in kitchen with notes for recipe videos.

And that the crumb patrol was sleeping on the job:

two dogs laying together on a chair.

PS: That’s Franklin, our 6 year old pup and the one on top of him is Simon. We adopted Simon last year and the two are inseparable. Simon’s a german shepherd mix and, as you can see, quite the snuggler.

And Here’s What I’ve Been Baking!

You’d think I’d be sick of the kitchen after all that, but one of my favorite activities with my daughters is baking together. Usually about once a week, we bake a batch of muffins and yes, it’s complete chaos with a 2 and 5 year old. But muffins are awesome when baking with children because they’re quick to prep, have a relatively short baking time, and you don’t have to wait for them to cool before enjoying. Perfect for little bakers with little patience!!

Here are zucchini muffins and we baked this batch using coconut sugar instead of refined sugar:

zucchini muffins in gold muffin pan.

And applesauce muffins with raisins. In this particular batch, I snuck in 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed and added another Tablespoon of applesauce:

applesauce muffins in pink polka dot cupcake liners.

We usually make bread together, too. My go-to recipe is multigrain bread… doesn’t look like much but it’s oh-so-flavorful and soft. The girls love it even with the “chunks” (oats and pepitas). LOL.

multigrain bread slices on white plate.

And mini margarita cheesecakes for the adults!!! I made these for a little summer party and after 3 people asked for the recipe, I knew I had to publish it. They’re so creamy!

mini margarita cheesecake with bite taken out.

And, finally, say hi to Dorothy (from the site Crazy for Crust) and Holly (from the site Spend with Pennies). I escaped the humidity of the east coast and we spent a few days in Napa, CA. Wine tasting at Cakebread Cellars, shopping, pool time, a once-in-a-lifetime dinner experience at world famous restaurant The French Laundry, and most importantly, treasured time with great friends.

Sally and two friends.
4 wine glasses with small tastings of wine in each.

I’ll end on that note but hopefully I’ll have time for more frequent updates. I did A LOT of baking this past month and have some exciting new recipes and re-tested recipes to publish. (Did you see my updated blueberry pie? SO GOOD!) In the meantime, you can subscribe via email so you never miss a new recipe, updated recipe, or baking related article. I usually send about 3 emails/week to subscribers!

Thank you for coming behind the scenes today. 🙂

blueberry pie with lattice top with slice taken out.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. We have made tons of your recipes and have loved them all! Thank you for all your helpful tips and explanations /notes to follow.

  2. When you mentioned Christmas cookies and spring flowers, it brought back a memory from your book signing in Portland some years back. I remember Kevin telling me about coming home to a full Thanksgiving dinner in August! While you were in Napa, did you go to the Buttercream Bakery? It was my favorite place when I was a child, and whenever I go back I have to go there and get a custard éclair with the big stripe of chocolate fudge down the top.

  3. It was so nice to be updated again! I missed the monthly Coffee Breaks!

  4. Loved the update and all the behind-the-scene photos. I enjoy making your recipes.

  5. Thank you Sally for your personal updates and wonderful recipes. It was YOU and your wonderful website/tutelage that got me to overcome my fear of making pie crusts and pies!!
    I love your recipes, and your website is the FIRST ONE I go to for baking recipes/instructions/ideas.
    I LOVE to bake (cannot cook to save my life) and I get requests all the time for homemade goodies–IF I use one of your recipes/make a pie–the credit ALL goes to you!
    Thank you!

  6. So great to hear about your latest fun! I love your custom apron! What do you use for the marble backdrop? Would love to see a post or update on the props you like most for photography/videos 🙂

    1. Hi Brittany! An updated photography page is a great idea, thank you for suggesting it! The marble backdrop shown here is homemade using marble patterned contact paper. However, I buy a lot of backdrops from Erickson Surfaces. Just love their products:

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