A Chance Encounter and a Beautiful Friendship

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-1Do you ever think about all of the people you pass daily? Who are they? What is their story? What are they going through in life? Where have they been? What are their dreams? How would your life be different if you knew them? What would happen if you stopped and had a simple conversation? sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-2 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-3Several years ago we missed a ferry we were trying to catch so we could get home after a long wedding weekend on an island. I was frustrated when I realized we had to wait a couple hours before the next ferry would be available. We decided to make the best of the situation and found a cute little restaurant to grab a bite to eat. The only problem was that every table was full and there was nowhere to sit and enjoy our meal. We wandered for a bit and eventually found a quiet courtyard that was empty, except for a young couple with the most beautiful little girl.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-4 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-5 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-6 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-7 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-8 Typically, the day after a wedding I am exhausted and all I want to do is sit in silence, mindlessly scroll through social media and get a little bit of alone time so I can recover before quickly starting the production of our next event. This day was different. As Jamie and I watched this little girl joyfully run through the grass, we started talking about someday having kids of our own and wondered how we would possibly manage having a family and our business. We were so intrigued by this little girl and her family. As we finished our lunch I politely complemented the couple on their daughter, thinking it would just be a passing comment. The next thing I knew we were in a full conversation talking about life, careers, the beauty of having kids, finding each other on social media and making plans to connect. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-9 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-10 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-11 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-12 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-13The conversation that started that day with Christiana and Todd has evolved into a beautiful, cherished, life-giving friendship. Life has changed so much for both of our families over the past several years with the addition of three (almost four) babies to the mix, but one thing that has remained steady is our genuine excitement to spend time together whenever we get the chance. This is especially true when it involves our annual Christmas tradition of baking and decorating sugar cookies together.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-14 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-15 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-16 For the past several years, before Cove was thought of, Grey was born, Cruz could walk and Isola was the only child that could participate, we have rolled out and cut cookies together, squeezed out mountains of icing, finished them off with “toppers” (more commonly known to others as sprinkles) and consumed way too much sugar. This tradition is one of the things I look forward to the most during the Christmas season. Yes, the kitchen becomes a disaster and we might find “toppers” floating around the floor for the next year to come, but the mess is worth the price, because of the joy that comes from the time we spend together and all of the memories that are being created. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-17 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-18 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-19 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-20 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-21 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-22 I love that our kids will grow up together with memories of this tradition. Even more, I love the friendship that we’ve developed over the years. I value having experienced parents that we can lean on for support. I feel safe knowing that we have friends we can confide in and talk freely with, never worrying about any kind of judgment. I feel comforted knowing we can always just be ourselves. True friendships like these are hard to find, and when you do find them you realize what a gift they really are.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-23 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-24 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-25 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-38sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-36sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-26 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-27 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-28 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-35sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-29 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-30 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31bThis Christmas I am thankful for that missed ferry ride and serendipitously meeting beautiful-hearted people through a chance encounter at an island café. I’m so glad we started a little conversation that day, as now I can’t even imagine life differently. It leads me to wonder what would happen if we were more aware of the people we were passing each day and intentionally took the time to slow down and just start a simple conversation. I have a feeling there would be a lot more sugar cookies with too much icing and sprinkled “toppers” on kitchen floors.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-32 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-33 Oh- and can we all agree that the kids did a beautiful job decorating their cookies? I honestly prefer them to the more detailed ones I created! sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-34

Thank you to Jenny Cookies, another good friend of ours, for allowing us to share her amazing cookie recipe on our blog! If you are in the Seattle area, and don’t feel like baking cookies of your own you can head to her bake shop and pick up a batch of freshly baked treats! For more of her recipes and a whole lot of inspiration, pick up a copy of her book, Eat More Dessert! (And no… this is not a sponsored ad/ post- we love supporting and celebrating our friends’ dreams, endeavors and businesses!)

You can follow the adventures of this beautiful family through Christiana’s Instagram feed

Photography: Alanna Maria Photography

Amazing cookie recipe: Jenny Cookies

Calligraphy and Design: La Happy 

Download and print Jenny Cookies’ sugar cookie recipe here


Browned-Butter Pecan Pie

Steve and I recently moved into our new home. With our first baby’s arrival rapidly approaching, we needed a larger space than our 663 square feet. We didn’t have a ton of time to move as we were still in the thick of our busy wedding season. It was a whirlwind of scrambling to pack everything up, unloading into the new house and then returning our focus back on finishing our weddings for the year. We spent the next month living out of boxes, digging through messes every day and struggling to remember and find where we had put our shoes. The shoe thing seemed to cause a lot of frustration in this house the first few weeks.

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It’s only been in the last few days that we have had the time to finish unpacking boxes, paint a few rooms, hang photos on the walls and feel more settled here. I think what really made this house feel like our home was when we fired up the oven for the first time to bake. There’s nothing better than the scent of baking cookies, cake, or pie permeating each room. We still have more walls to paint, boxes to unpack and a nursery to finish setting up, but for one day we hit the pause button, got cozy and enjoyed the smell and taste of browned-butter pecan pie.

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This pie is one of my favorites to make. It’s beautiful, tasty and relatively easy for any pie baker. It was actually one of the first pies I ever made. My personal problem with Thanksgiving baking is that I tend to underestimate how much work and how long everything will take me, thinking I can make all the pastry, prep the fillings and bake multiple varieties of pie in just a few hours. Luckily, the browned-butter pecan pie is always one that I tend to fall back on when I start to get tired and just need something a bit more simple.

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The pie can be made in any kind of pie plate. I’ve been experimenting with tart pans and quiche pans lately, too. The nice thing about using a tart pan is that there’s no need to decorate or really do much of anything with the crust’s edges. The pastry can simply be sculpted into the pan, flush to the edge and trimmed right off. A gentle roll over with a rolling pin gives a nice quick and easy trim to the edge of the tart pan.

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I like to decorate the top of my pie with pecan halves to give it a finished look. Before I do anything with this pie, I usually start the preparation by sorting through my pecans to pull out the most perfect looking ones and keep them on reserve for the top. When placing the pecans, be sure to put them nice and close together, and almost overlapping as they shift a bit during the time in the oven.

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Now it’s time for me to get back in the kitchen and get moving on my Thanksgiving baking for tomorrow, so I’m not up all night. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you enjoy my favorite pecan pie recipe!

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Browned-Butter Pecan Pie Recipe

Download and print our recipe for Browned-Butter Pecan Pie and Perfect Pie Dough

Photography:  Matthew Land Studios 

Recipe Card and Calligraphy: Libby Tipton



Cinnamon Rolls

We are ending our Easter Brunch series with one last recipe to add to your menu. Cinnamon rolls are a crowd pleaser, and despite the multiple steps that may at first seem intimidating, they are relatively simple to make. Prepare them the night before, and then bake them the morning of your brunch.

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Before you begin, make sure to gather fresh ingredients. It might be tempting to use flour and yeast that you have had in your pantry for the past year and a half. Throw it out and get fresh ingredients. It will make a difference. Old yeast could prevent your cinnamons rolls from rising. Also, I strongly recommend using bread flour rather than traditional flour. Bread flour will make a softer, more chewy roll.

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Wether I am making cookies, cakes or cinnamon rolls, I cream my butter and sugar together for at least 7 minutes. I find that this creates smoother and fluffier baked items in the end. I also like to use the extended time of creaming the butter and sugar to start measuring out all of the other ingredients.

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The first time I made cinnamon rolls and I added the water and yeast mixture, I thought I had ruined the dough and I almost started over. It looked like curdled milk and I was sure it would never come together and form a dough. This is normal, and what you want it to look like. Keep moving forward and add your dry ingredients. I promise it will come together.

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As the recipe indicates, you may not need to add the full amount of flour. You want to add only the amount of flour that it takes so your dough is not sticky. Adding too much flour will make your rolls very dry. Once you have added the appropriate amount of flour, turn your mixer to a low speed and let the machine do all the kneading for you. 15 minutes sounds like a long time, but it will add to the fluffiness of your rolls.

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I use a pastry brush to lightly coat a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. It doesn’t take much. The oil just helps the dough not stick to the sides of the bowl while it rises. Makes sure to turn your dough around in the bowl so that the dough is also very light covered with the oil.

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Cover the dough bowl with foil and let it rest in a warm spot for an hour and a half. Don’t rush this time. The dough needs to rise for this length of time before moving to the next steps.

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While the dough is rising, prepare your cinnamon sugar mixture and melt your butter.

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I found that it was helpful to lightly dust my work surface with flour before rolling out my dough. Start by shaping the dough into a rectangle with your hands before rolling it into a larger 12×18 inch rectangle.

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When your dough is rolled to the proper size, generously butter the dough, but leave about a half inch strip of the dough unbuttered  on the long side of the rectangle that is furthest from you. This is hard to explain in words, so take a look at the photos to guide this step.Sinclair & Moore cinnamon roles 16 Sinclair & Moore cinnamon roles 17

Most cinnamon roll recipes tell you to roll the entire sheet of dough together, and then cut individual rolls. It seems like every time I have tried that, the big roll seems to split or I stretch the dough too far, or I can’t even roll it up at all. In my frustration one evening while making these rolls, I decided to cut individual strips and then individually construct each roll. Much more manageable and I had complete success.

If you want even smaller rolls than what I created, I would suggest cutting your dough in half lengthwise and then cut the individual strips and roll up your dough. This will make much smaller portions. (I didn’t have this idea until after this shoot- I’m doing this next time though!)

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Layer your baking sheet with parchment paper and generously butter the pan. Your dough will continue to rise overnight, so make sure to leave enough room between each roll on the pan, and then butter their sides so they are easier to pull apart after they bake.

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Let them rise overnight in the refrigerator, but make sure to let them come to room temperature before baking them in the oven. Sinclair & Moore cinnamon roles 27 Sinclair & Moore cinnamon roles 28Sinclair & Moore cinnamon roles 29

The fluffy texture and soft nature of these rolls are amazing by themselves and they don’t even need any frosting. I actually regret that I smothered them in icing. Don’t get me wrong- the iced rolls are incredible too, but perhaps leave some without any icing and just enjoy the freshly baked roll in its natural form.

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recipe calligraphy and design:  la Happy

photography: Matthew Land Studios 

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