Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Caramel Icing

We talk a lot about eating healthy, but I always love a good homemade cake recipe. Plank editor Mandy recently traveled back to her hometown and returned with an favorite old recipe for a Southern style pound cake with caramel icing … yum! So I asked her to share that here!

“My aunt used to make this cake when I was a kid, and it was always a favorite. I hadn’t had it in years, but she surprised me with one while I was home. And, I finally got her to share the recipe! What out, there’s a lot of butter in this … but it’s so worth it!” – Mandy

Good Sleep … A Step Closer Towards Health and Hormone Harmony!

It’s 3:17 a.m. and I’m wide awake.  I wish I could say this was unusual, but for the last several years, I’ve had the worst trouble sleeping. Not going to sleep … I have no trouble falling asleep. But staying asleep is another matter. For some reason I’ve been waking up between 3 and 4 a.m., like clockwork, and I just can’t go back to sleep. It’s so frustrating and nothing seems to help.

I know I can’t be alone in this, and when I mentioned it to Mandy, she pointed me to her friend, Amber Landsman — a holistic lifestyle coach, wellness consultant and “body hacker” who has done a lot of work in the area of sleep. Amber shared with me some great tips … and as I usually do, I thought of PLANK. I figured if her suggestions were of interest to me, they’d probably be helpful to some of you too. 

Instant Pot Discoveries Continue with Short Ribs

From rich, delicious broths to quick, tasty desserts, the Instant Pot continues to exceed my every expectation! Last week, I decided to try something a little different. We typically have a piece of fish or chicken with vegetables for dinner, but I wanted to spice it up, so I tried these braised short ribs. And they were delicious! Give them a try — they take a little longer than other Instant Pot recipes, but they are so worth it!

Instant Pot Short Ribs

Instant Pot Short Ribs


  • 2 tbsp. grass-fed ghee
  • 1 lb. grass-fed short ribs (4 ribs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 lb. baby carrots (or 2 whole carrots cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 small celery sticks (peeled and diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 cup organic beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. On the Instant Pot, select the sauté option and click the adjust button to select normal.
  2. Pat the ribs dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the Instant Pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of ghee.
  4. Sear the ribs for 5-7 minutes on one side. Flip and sear for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the ribs from the Instant Pot and set aside.
  6. Add the other tablespoon of ghee and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and rosemary until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the salt, paprika, chili powder and cumin.
  8. Stir and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
  9. Now, deglaze the pan with the cranberry juice (scrape up all the delicious bits and pieces from the bottom of the pot).
  10. Add beef broth and bay leaf and then stir to combine and return the short ribs to Instant Pot.
  11. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, select “Meat/Stew”, and adjust the cook time to 25 minutes.
  12. When the time is up, let the instant go into “keep warm” for 10 minutes.
  13. Open the valve, remove the rest of the steam and carefully remove the lid.
  14. Transfer the ribs to a serving dish and tent with foil.
  15. Skim off some of the fat from the top of the braising liquid.
  16. Turn the instant pot back on to “Sauté” and simmer the sauce until it reduces to about half.
  17. Serve over rice, riced cauliflower or alongside roasted potatoes/vegetables.

A walk down memory lane to our Italian trip

I was recently looking for a video on Youtube and I came across these old videos from my 2009 trip to Italy with Katie and my friend, Carolyn, which were published on the old Hybrid Mom blog. 

What a trip this was! Carolyn invited me to join her for this cooking class in Tuscany, and I brought Katie along. Katie was in college and was taking Italian and art history, so she was able to help us communicate and understand so much of the amazing art we were seeing. 

It was absolutely a case of planes, trains and automobiles, but we saw so much in Rome and Florence and I’m so grateful we did it!

I showed Katie the videos I found and we agreed that this was a trip of a lifetime … one we’ll never forget. So, I thought I’d share these these “vintage” videos.

It was sort of a spontaneous trip … but it was amazing! So it reminds me how important it is to sometimes throw caution to the wind and just say YES! I’m so glad we did this trip!