Pie Crust Cut-Outs for a Festive Hot Chocolate Bar!


The sun rise this morning was at 8:10am. 8:10! Before this summer, the farthest north I’ve ever lived is Arizona. The 10pm sunsets during the summer blew my mind and these dark mornings are throwing me for a loop now too. Considering that I wake up at 4:30am, the first four hours of my day are spent without daylight.

Once the sun was finally up on Sunday, we drove out to Eagle, Idaho to hike some of the foothills. We walked Seagman’s Gulch, a hilly loop with a full view of Eagle and the fall colored trees.


I also found some bike paths, an outdoor public sports complex and another loop that looked like perfect future running routes. On the way back, we stopped at a local Eagle coffee shop Perks of Life. I couldn’t resist ordering from their seasonal menu and sipped my Maple Spice americano on the drive home.

Speaking of festive flavors – we are officially one week out until Halloween! Our pumpkins are picked, my costume is set, and tomorrow night we are braving a haunted corn field.

My work takes holidays very seriously so we’ve had Halloween shenanigans all month. This week, each department is assigned a day to host a trick-or-treating event for the rest of the office. We tend to be somewhat competitive with our originality so there will be no bowls of Twix and Snickers.

Instead, my department is hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar for Tuesday’s trick-or-treating station! Along with cups of hot chocolate, we’ll have a table full of marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, crushed candy cane, caramel, chocolate spoons, coconut flakes, shaved chocolate curls, and these adorable pie crust cut-outs for a crunchy topping.

Eat, Drink, and Be Scary!”


I saw this idea on Pinterest (where else) and picked up a couple mini cookie cutters at the grocery store along with a pre-made pie crust. It was the simplest “recipe” ever.


Just unroll the pie crust, create the shapes with your cookie cutters, place on a lined cookie sheet, and bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The smaller your shapes, the less cooking time.

Stars, hearts, or letters could easily be substituted if you’re using this for a different time of year. Pie crust dough doesn’t expand or change shape in the oven, and I used a little knife to carve indentations into the dough to give the shapes some texture.



Obviously I had to test them out at home before I brought them into work! Which is just a fancy excuse to brew a Keurig cappuccino, add some Cool Whip and pumpkin pie spice, and top with a pie crust pumpkin. :)


Perfect sweet treat! Hot Chocolate and all those extra toppings are so sweet, so the savory pie crust is a good contrast. Pie crust doesn’t have any sweetness to its flavor, but if you like to spice it up a bit then you can toss some cinnamon & sugar on the dough before placing in the oven.


Thank goodness I’m able to work out again right? ;) After 7 full days of complete rest after my wisdom tooth surgery, I’ve started back with some light cardio and weight-lifting circuits. Just in time for trick-or-treating.



Get Lost


Remember last week when I thought that recovering from wisdom tooth extraction surgery would include lots of time blogging and being productive?

I had this ideal picture in my head about how I would recover over the weekend. Lazily staying in my cozy bed with books, magazines, Netflix, occasionally being productive and catching up on blogging or researching my next project.

In reality, my body was so angry with me for the anesthesia and pain medications it was circulating that the moments where I wasn’t nauseously holding a bucket to my mouth, I was completely knocked out. After two decades of medical procedures, my body is pretty resistant to any forms of medicine and it certainly didn’t appreciate having four impacted molars pried from my jaw bone.

Originally I planned on returning to work today, but my jaw pain and swelling had other ideas. I’ve taken my antibiotics, aspirin and mouth rinse for the morning so I thought I would finally take up some of that “productivity” on day 4 of my recovery time.


The night before my surgery, four of my friends from work and I went to a local corn maze and pumpkin patch. We wandered around the dead stalks of corn and took pictures of the sunset and pet the farm animals. It was a gorgeous night out, perfect sweater weather but not too cold or windy. We didn’t end up so lost in the maze that we had to call the emergency help phone number so that was considered a win. And at the end of the night, we did what all millennials do, and posted our favorite pictures to Instagram.


Which made me realize: none of us knew each other just 3 short months ago. In fact, 3 of us just moved to Idaho in 2016. We all began working for the same company within 3 months of each other, and quickly became a “coffee group” with our weekly Wednesday coffee shop dates together. Isn’t it crazy how some things work out?


And I am SO THANKFUL for finding these fast friends so quickly after moving across the country.

When I left California this summer, I knew that starting over in a new state wouldn’t be as  glamorous as it’s made out to be in all of the movies and novels. Making new friends after college (especially in this digital age where people are less social to begin with) isn’t exactly a piece of a cake.



Making a change, starting new, exploring and traveling – it’s everyone’s dream, right? We’d all gladly pack up and find our dream home in our dream town tomorrow. But practically speaking – it’s expensive. It’s inconvenient. Sometimes it’s lonely. Navigating new streets and new traffic laws is tricky. (HOW did people relocate before smart phones?!) You start out with the “Vacation Mentality” where everything is perfect and then slowly you start to notice the little quirks of the new environment.

Like how everyone here takes twice as long to bag your groceries. Or the drivers all come to a complete stop to merge on to the freeway. Or how every one has the exact same bizarre haircut. And (hopefully) eventually you go from feeling like you’re on vacation to feeling like you’re “home.”


And four months in, I’m so happy we made this blind leap into Idaho! I have never been surrounded by such beautiful landscape. I swear, I have more pictures of trees on my phone than parents have of their children.


The way my home faces, I get to watch the sun set over our neighbor’s farmland every night and that will never get old. I’m sure some day a commercial investor will come in and start building houses on the land, but for now we are soaking it in.


We left the corn maze and the pumpkin patch after the sun had set and I went home to eat my last REAL MEAL before having my wisdom teeth surgery. It was just one of those fun fall nights that felt exactly like back in college a little over a year ago with my teammates and roommates.

Halloween with the blondies (stronglikemycoffee.com)

2014 Senior Year Throwback

farmstead-sunset-2-stronglikemycoffee-comAnd now I’ve had a solid four days at home with puffy cheeks and applesauce and smoothies, lots of Friends episodes, and plenty of time to think about what I’m excited for next! As the weather starts to turn, I foresee lots of treadmill miles in my future and I want to make sure I have a goal to work towards that will keep me from burning out or falling off the fitness wagon until after the holidays (#beentheredonethat).

Once I’m totally healed, there’s nothing stopping me from finding a springtime race to train for! I haven’t really decided if I’m ready to train for a half marathon or a full, but my best running buddy will be running the Boston marathon this year so I’d have a training partner for whatever I choose.



Now I just have to pick a direction and GO! Okay time for another Tylenol for this girl. Your turn – find a corn maze and GET LOST.

XO Kenz.

A Taste of Stars Hollow

If you’ve read the blog for a while, you know how devoted of a Gilmore Girls fan I am. My mom and I have watched the show since it aired live in 2000 and have since then rewatched the series…oh, half a dozen times. They never get old to me. If only I could live in Stars Hollow. That would be my absolute perfect dream town. Tiny, charming, New England town with one diner and one stoplight and the friendliest neighbors ever.


Well, thanks to Netflix and the Gilmore Girls revival series, I got to have a cup of coffee at Luke’s Diner last week! It was a “pop up shop” event, where 200 coffee shops across the country turned into Luke’s Diner for the morning. The show provided the coffee shops with signs and costumes, coffee cups and beverages.


The closest Luke’s pop-up was about 30 minutes from my house, so I woke up at my usual time. 4:30am. I drove down in the dark and stood in line at 6am. There were easily 100 people in line behind me when the doors opened at 6:30. It was still pitch black outside, but there we were – die-hard fans ready to get our cup of coffee and a picture of Luke’s yellow sign. Lorelai would be proud.


Behind the counter was the infamous “No Cell Phones” sign, and two baristas dressed in typical “Luke” style. Plaid flannel, backwards baseball hat, grumpy face, and a Luke’s apron. Each coffee cup had a quote printed on them with the episode they were from.


It was a quick event but well worth the wait. I love the fact that Netflix and Gilmore Girls included their fans in the countdown to the revival series which airs on Black Friday. I’m more excited to marathon the episodes than I am for Thanksgiving :)


Saturday morning I was able to run around 10:00am, after a cup of coffee and a granola bar. It was chilly enough to wear long tights and a long-sleeve but not so cold that my hands and face needed any layering. Prime fall weather! I ran through the quiet neighborhood, through a golf course, and along a canal which has now turned to still water. Winter is coming. After my 8-ish miles, a family friend invited my parents and I over for a BBQ in the most Halloween-decorated house I have ever seen.


Every picture frame in the house was replaced with haunted photos of skeletons demented children. Hand-dyed gauze draped with windows with spiders and blood. Potion bottles lined the kitchen counter. (Organic Bat Brain was my favorite.) A delicate appetizer of raw heart and brain awaited us at the table.



This is just the start of Halloween festivities! Later this week, some friends and I are headed to a corn maze. Then later, my company is taking a school bus out to a field where we get to defend ourselves from zombies with paintball guns. Then of course there will be a costume contest at work, and lots of pumpkin goodies!


Sunday morning I got in another 9ish miles in the same neighborhood with the most beautiful Autumn weather. I can’t help but stop and take pictures when the trees are this bright. It’s looking like they will be bare in the next week or so, and I want to soak it all up while I can!


It was a wonderful few days FULL of coffee, pumpkin spice and running. This week is looking like a blur with work, some fun evening plans, and one not-so-fun appointment. My wisdom teeth finally need to come out. :( I’m planning a solid three days of being lazy after the surgery. Which, for me, includes catching up with the blog posts!


Happy Pumpkin Spice Season!

XO Kenz.

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