I started small, blending veggies into smoothies. Then I started to create healthy versions of my favorite comfort foods and wrote everything down. Eventually, I had a binder full of recipes that I thought I should share with others, so I started YumUniverse.com. Then I started sharing resources that could be downloaded by anyone, anywhere. I wrote a book, I’m finishing a second cookbook, YumUniverse: Pantry to Plate, and I’m launching my first 4-week gluten-free baking course in early 2017.
I decided that I wanted to go to “a city” when I received my degree in graphic design at a university in West Virginia. My senior year, I went to Chicago for a wedding, fell in love with it, and when I returned to school, got to work contacting the most respected design firms in Chicago. Eventually, I landed a 3-day-a-week contract gig for 3 months at a small boutique firm. I sold my truck, packed up my kitties, and used 80% of what was in my bank account to rent a small apartment in Chicago. From that point forward, momentum snowballed and over the course of 16 years, I was able to work for many of the firms I’d long admired.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is packed with over 100 recipes for everything from the bakery’s legendary Old Fashioned Cupcakes to S’more Pie, Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds and, one of my favorites, Nanna Pudding. To say that these are Southern comfort foods is an understatement; every single recipe has so much soul and history that they’re as close to a hug from your family as you can get. Whenever I eat something from Back in the Day, I feel like I’m sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen and someone is taking care of me. And that’s just what Cheryl and Griff do — every day they treat their customers to delicious made-from-scratch treats that have been passed down through generations of family bakers who cooked with love. Even the queen of Savannah, Paula Deen, took notice. She wrote a glowing and heartfelt introduction for this cookbook, and if my love-fest for Cheryl and Griff doesn’t convince you, hers will. This is quite simply a cookbook everyone should own. So please, check out The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook online right here and here. Pick up a copy and then pick up another copy for someone else in your life. This really is the sort of cooking that needs to be passed on and shared with people you love. A huge thank you to Cheryl and Griff for being such generous and kind friends to all of us here at D*S. We wish them every single ounce of success in the world. They deserve all of that and then some. xoxo, grace
Above image: We fashioned a tiny Eiffel Tower out of a single piece of copper wire. Bend a length of copper wire so there are about 4 inches on one side. Twist at the bend about three-quarters of the way down. Twist the longer side of the wire upward from the bottom, curve it across to the other leg and twist back down. Cut off any excess. Red striped dinnerware set from West Elm Market.
Recipe development is just another creative outlet — my tools are ingredients and I’m inspired to showcase them in new, memorable ways that make people happier and healthier. The ride is different for everyone as we all come to the table with different illness, history, habits, traditions, and emotional attachments to food. I’m simply dedicated to providing tools that help people become accountable for their own health, no matter where they land on the diet spectrum.
Through it all I’m working on my own wellness — making stress management and sleep a priority, tweaking what I eat, staying flexible when it comes to necessary change, making sure to move every day, and surrounding myself with inspiring people. Also being realistic and nice to myself if I slip up — I want to be this kind of person for myself and others.
If you’re anything like me, Halloween has a tendency of sneaking up on you like Freddie Kruegar in a nightmare. One minute, you’re installing your air conditioner in May and all of the sudden —BOOM— there are trick-or-treaters at your door. I have no idea how this keeps happening to me (early-onset dementia, perhaps?), but when October 31st rolls around, I often find myself sans-costume and sans-plans. So—if Halloween (two days away, you guys!) has snuck up on you this year, but you still want to get a little festive—don’t worry, y’all! Design*Sponge gotchu covered.
I can barely contain my excitement about all the amazing small-scale print publications debuting these days! As much as I love working online (and I do), I also love seeing people stretch themselves and put their all into making truly beautiful magazines and books. Two of my new favorites are The Hungry Girls’ Cookbooks and Pure Green Magazine.
Pure Green Magazine is a lovely Canadian print magazine dedicated to stylish green living. This quarterly publication (which is printed on 100% post-consumer paper with vegetable inks) just launched their premier print issue, which focuses on one of my favorite topics: entertaining. In addition to stories on homes, travel and fashion, this issue includes some delicious ideas for cooking. I love being able to flip through pages and tear things out when they look good, and this issue is full of tear-worthy ideas. Click here for more info and to order a subscription online. xo, grace
On the daily: In the a.m., leave the computer and phone off and go outside for a walk or run before I do anything else. At the end of the day, I geek out on my “Sleep Ritual.” I turn off my computer and phone and leave them both downstairs so I’m not tempted to scroll through Instagram in bed. I have an electronic pillar candle that I turn on around 9–9:30pm and carry that baby to the bathroom where I have an epsom salt soak. Then I climb in bed and read by “candlelight” for 20–30 minutes, then I’m out. Honoring this time has changed everything for me. My sweetie jokes with me and calls it “Frontier Time,” but I wake up rested and energized, and my mind is ready to take on work with a clarity that motivates me to Sleep-Ritual for life!