Sophie's First Birthday Party
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian

While we were in Roanoke for Thanksgiving, we decided to take advantage of having so many friends in town for the holiday and threw Sophie a little first birthday party at my mom’s place. We were so touched by how many people took time out of their holiday weekend to celebrate with us—our friends Corri, Caroline, and Shawna even drove three hours each way in freezing rain to attend (some with babies, some with the birthday cake).

It was simple but sweet and so incredibly wonderful to get everyone together. Sophie had so much fun/wore herself out so much that she still managed to take her afternoon nap before returning downstairs to party some more.

Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian

As usual, Minted was kind enough to provide us with invitations and decorations. I bought some balloons at the grocery store and that was that! We ordered cookies and cake from Suárez Bakery in Charlotte, and my mom and I made the rest of the food—turkey wraps, ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken salad with croissants, Buffalo chicken dip, spinach artichoke dip, and plenty of fruit, veggies, and crackers.

Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian

It was incredible and slightly bizarre to see so many of my best girlfriends at once—we pretty much all had babies in the last year and having them there was so fun. We’re all pretty spread out and we stay busy so having everyone together was a treat.

The younger babies snoozed and the older ones played together a little with some blocks and puzzles my mom saved from when Sean and I were little.

Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday | Freckled Italian

And then of course we all had cake.

Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian
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Sophie's First Birthday Party | Freckled Italian

Photos by my friend Sarah of Photo Love.

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Welcome to the New Freckled Italian
Freckled Italian

Happy Friday, friends! I’m so excited to finally be sharing my new and updated website, complete with fresh branding. Everything was done by my genius still-have-never-met-before-in-real-life-but-knows-me-like-a-sister designer/friend Kelly, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with all of it.

Last year I took a lot of time to really think about what I wanted this blog to be, and I kept coming back to a general theme of “home,” and more specifically “food + words.” I’m usually happiest with the content I put out when it’s a delicious recipe or a personal essay that allows me to share little bits of my life with my readers, so that’s what I plan to focus on the most. I’ll still share the occasional product post and more short-form pieces (Five Favorites, Sentences, Some Things You May Not Know About Me, etc.), but I’m hoping to post more regularly in 2019 and zero in a bit more.

I’m also really enjoying sharing some of my motherhood journey so far, and I’ve been really pleased with the response those types of posts have gotten. It’s a wild ride and I’m always so happy to share mine and hear from you about your own experiences. Thank you for always being so open and helping me create a safe space to share.

Freckled Italian

A few housekeeping items: I’ve been wanting to start a newsletter of sorts—not so much a recap of what’s on the blog (although I’ll probably include that here and there), but an honest-to-goodness letter that I sit down and write to whoever subscribes. It might be monthly, it might just be quarterly—I’m still not too sure of the details but if it sounds like it might be interesting to you feel free to sign up here.

And finally, going forward I do plan to continue to partner with brands, although I hope to remain picky and really only work with companies that I love and who speak to me in some way, on content that I’m proud of and excited to share. If you are interested in working together in 2019, please send me an email.

That’s all for now! Wishing you a wonderful weekend—please feel welcome to stay a while and click around the new site. Let me know what you think!

Freckled Italian

As always, thank you so much for reading! This blog has seen me through so many life changes and ups + downs, and it has always been such a gift to have this space to share with you all. Every kind comment and email you guys take the time to send truly mean the world to me—I really do love hearing from you! I hope you continue to feel at home and uplifted here.

Freckled Italian
Freckled Italian
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Cheeseburger Casserole (Keto, Gluten-Free)
Keto Cheeseburger Casserole | Freckled Italian

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes when I’m trying to cut down on my carb intake. It’s delicious and filling and so easy to make! Almost every week I make one cheeseburger casserole (and one roast chicken—usually at the same time) and it does really well in the fridge for a few days—I’m usually able to get a couple meals and maybe even a few snack portions out of it! It does usually go fast at my house so I like to make a double batch whenever I can.

You could also add bacon, mushrooms, more veggies, or a different kind of cheese if it sounds good to you! The basic recipe is great but I love how easily you can customize it however you like. My new favorite thing is to serve it with a side of pickles!

Keto Cheeseburger Casserole | Freckled Italian

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced

  • 1 pound of ground beef

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese, divided in half

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.

  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the beef and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until browned, stirring well to break up meat. Season with salt and pepper. Drain and transfer to a baking dish.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, tomato paste, and half of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Pour the cheese mixture over the beef. Gently shake the dish and tap on the counter to ensure the cheese mixture makes it through to the bottom and sides of the dish, covering the beef. Top with remaining cheddar and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is set and the cheese has melted. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Keto Cheeseburger Casserole | Freckled Italian

It’s as easy as that! You can serve it right away but I actually think it’s better the next day, which makes it great for meal prep. This is one of the most popular recipes in my keto cookbook, so if you like this one make sure to grab a copy for yourself—there’s lots more where that came from!

Keto Cheeseburger Casserole | Freckled Italian
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