carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and date caramel (gluten-free + vegan)

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and date caramel (gluten-free + vegan)

There are few people as dedicated and loving as my friend Avery Hudson. She is loyal, loving, and steadfast in her friendship and uplifting nature. AKA she makes everyone feel like a super star. So when she asked me last week to make her mom a carrot cake, I was so so excited!!! Because in a lot of ways, Avery is a carrot cake.

vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream + pink meringue kisses for a baby girl!

vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream + pink meringue kisses for a baby girl!

Just stopping by with a cutie pie fluffy pink, white, and gold cake for the sweetest new earthling, baby Georgia! My best friend Olivia’s sister Ava had the most beautiful little girl a few weeks ago and I was just so excited, so I made a cake to celebrate that matches the colors in her nursery. Imperfect frosting and meringue kisses but for my first themed cake I’ve learned a few things.

bagel + lox mini galettes and some christmas cheer

bagel + lox mini galettes and some christmas cheer

A recipe that mixes the best carbs and savory flavors that always remind me of Christmas morning when we would eat a combination of bagels and lox and egg + sausage breakfast casserole.

When I was 8 or so, I loved (and still love) Christmas so much that I wanted it to be perfect and last all day, so I would make Christmas itineraries that outlined the day hour per hour.

Example: 6am: wake up and put on Christmas pajamas, 6:15am: put the kettle on the stove for hot cocoa, 6:30am open stockings.

You can’t make this stuff up.

I was like the Christmas rule maker, opening 1 present every 10 minutes for maximum Christmas cheer, only to pause for breakfast and savoring every last bite of our bagels and lox in front of our hotter-than-hell farmhouse fireplace, grinning from ear-to-ear as we read Santa’s letter that he left on the counter.

So as a nod to Christmas mornings + warm pastries, I made the tiniest, miniest galettes filled with dill cream cheese + topped with lox, red onions, and capers.

the perfect weekend

Marina Gunn

This weekend was full of food, drinks, family, friends, laughter, whole lot of tears, and the most beautiful ring, because Frank and I are engaged! He planned the most perfect weekend full of love and thoughtful surprises. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Not only did he plan the most perfect day and weekend, but he was able to fly my parents down from Idaho and my best friend Moira down from NYC to surprise me! After he proposed, we went to Walker’s where we had our first date and had everyone there waiting: grandparents, cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, and my sweet friends! I’ve never felt so celebrated and I just am so lucky to have him forever. He spent the past year designing the ring and secretly planning the most perfect surprise ever. Someone please pull me down from cloud 9.

Now we get to grow old and wrinkly together and he gets to try all my failed recipe concoctions and I couldn’t be more happy.

xxx,

Marina

PS - here’s my cutie pie family + soon to be new family!!!

Marina Gunn

butternut chicken pot pie with sage biscuits

butternut chicken pot pie with sage biscuits

Soups and carbs are my love language, so this butternut chicken pot pie with buttered sage biscuits is the love of my life. Armed with a chicken pot pie-esque inside mixed with the best parts of a butternut squash soup and topped with crispy flaky biscuits, there is a warm and coziness that brings back memories of those freezing cold, yet soupy-warm Idaho tundra-like winters. Snow as high as the roof line, igloo forts in the front yard, checking to make sure the pigs were still toasty warm in the barn after a -20 degree night.

autumn — seasonal meal plan

autumn — seasonal meal plan

I put together this meal plan to help bring new flavors and seasonal produce back onto grocery lists for those who are short on time but value their nutrition, time, budget and flavor. There is more to food and cooking than meal prepping basic produce and consolidating it into a bowl, which I did countless times during my years in college. I’ve had a good amount of friends ask me specific questions about cooking, like what to buy, how to change up their routine and what to do to bring flavor without sacrificing clean eating and quick meals. Cooking doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult, so I wrote this seasonal meal plan to help!

harvest meat + cheese board

harvest meat + cheese board

In the Gunn household, my mom has been known to be the queen of snack trays and party platters. Since we were kids, she would make us these elaborate snack trays for our weekly tv show marathons with combinations of gold fish, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and basically a everything in child’s wildest dreams. Now that we’re older and all three of us are allergic to wheat and traditional dairy (tragic, I know), we are more keen to snack trays like this one, full of goat cheese gouda and sliced truffle salami.

very sparkling aperol spritz

very sparkling aperol spritz

As crazy as it may sound, last Christmas the entire state of Idaho ran OUT of aperol. My mom, rightfully so, was in distress since she had been wanting to make them for our holiday parties. I’m guessing the Idahoans reallllly like their aperol spritzes, especially when it gets cold, which is why this is the perfect after-work/pre-party/party/post-party drink. Or just because, you do you.

make your own adventure: pb + j cracker sandwiches

Hi friends! This past month I partnered with Wellington Crackers to create a perfect back to school snack tray that is easy and fun to put together too! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ruled my childhood after school snack realm, so I loved adding different nut butters, jellies, fruits, and nuts to create a fun (and pretty!) platter. Hope you enjoy!

xx,

Marina

make your own adventure pb + j cracker sandwiches

make your own adventure: pb + j cracker sandwiches

makes large serving platter, serves 8-10 people as an appetizer or snack platter

instructions

assemble platter by first adding nut butters in small dipping bowls onto large serving platters.

once nut butters are placed, add jams and jellies onto the platter in small dipping bowls as well.

add assorted Wellington Crackers in small sections, then add sliced fruit, berries, and assorted nuts.

serve your platter for the perfect back to school recipe for make your own adventure PB+J crackers! enjoy.

ingredients

1 Box of Wellington Assorted Crackers

2 nut butters of your choice (Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, etc)

2 types of nuts of your choice (Almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios)

2 jellies or jams of your choice (Strawberry jam, grape jelly, raspberry jelly, apricot jam)

2-3 seasonal fruits (Grapes, plums, raspberries, apples)

sunday morning, no. 8

sunday morning, no. 8

Happy Sunday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the eighth post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

Since last Sunday I was in Colorado Springs with my family, this weekly post covers two weeks of recipes and updates! We had a wonderful time in Colorado Springs with my parents and my little brother, we got to see him play football for the Air Force Academy and had the most incredible dinner at the famous Broadmoor.

sunday morning, no. 7

sunday morning, no. 7

Happy Sunday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the seventh post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

This past week I spent in Athens working, cooking, and preparing to plant our garden! We got everything planted this weekend and we are so excited to see all the sprouts come up in the next 10 - 14 days or so. I'll be sure to keep you in the loop on my weekly emails as well as on my Instagram

sunday morning, no. 6

sunday morning, no. 6

Happy Sunday/Monday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the sixth post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

I spent this past week in NYC for work visiting my team up there, meeting with clients, and catching up with friends. It was definitely a good time. We ate, drank, talked, and ate some more. Such a good feeling being surrounded by people who encourage you to be your best self and accomplish your goals and dreams. I'm back in Athens feeling refreshed and excited.

sunday morning, no. 5

sunday morning, no. 5

Happy Sunday/Monday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the fifth post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

This post is going up Monday because this past week has been a whirlwind! I'm writing this from the ATL airport at 5:15am waiting to board my flight for NYC. I'm going up for the week for work and to spend time with friends. It's my first time back in the city since we moved away so I'm so excited!

sunday morning, no. 4

Happy Sunday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the fourth post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

This past Wednesday we moved to Athens! We are still getting settled in and loving our new apartment. It is walking distance to Frank's office and only 2 minutes walk to a bookstore, grocery store, multiple restaurants, a bakery, and coffee shops. The dream truly. 

bread + butter pickles (v + gf)

bread + butter pickles (v + gf)

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with Frank's Aunt Tammy and learn all about how to pickle! I've been a dill pickle fan since I can remember and since I live in Georgia now, I thought I should probably learn how to make bread and butter pickles, which, to my amusement are gluten free AND dairy free....so much for bread and butter right? An homage to the southern cooking culture you would say. 

sunday morning, no. 3

sunday morning, no. 3

Happy Sunday friends! Thank you for stopping by for the third post in my weekly Sunday Morning series where I share links, recipes, and thoughts from the past week. 

This past week very similar to last: working in Atlanta, reading cookbooks, writing, working some more, watching tutorial videos on frosting buttercream cakes and testing out four different versions of vanilla cake with citrus buttercream and lemon curd! We still have cake in our fridge left over after many many taste tests. Please, someone, take it away.