The last 365 days + RECIPE: Fancy Maple Eggnog

What a year my friends. What a whirlwind of a beautiful, frustrating, amazing, stressful, dynamic, confusing, utterly perfect, absolutely flawed year.


Overall I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with my last 365 days. There were definitely a lot of highs and a lot of lows. When I look back at the past twelve months, honestly, everything seems a little hazy. Like a chaotic spiral with too many moving parts. That’s probably because it was. The amount I packed into 2017 was actually unhealthy. It was also fabulous and I wouldn’t change a thing, but I think I’ll try and pack a few less lessons into 2018.


There were new friendships, rekindled old ones, amazing meals, debilitating injuries, learning to say no, learning to say hell yes, a million hikes, a million hard conversations, a million podcasts, a rejected job offer, my first morel hunt, published articles, fertility issues, a whole lot of travel, and a whole lot of love.

In general, it was a big year for love: romantic love, self love, love through forgiveness, love through acceptable, love through weakness. It was also a big year for vulnerability and growth and figuring out who I am and what I want out of this one big, grand adventure. And what I don’t want.



Usually my years have a theme. When I look back, I can sum up the last few years of my life with one major feat or major idea. 2016 was “I’m in love with my life” and the journey it took to get there. 2015 was all about rediscovering my voice (thanks little blog ♥). 2014 was marriage (and learning what forever really means and how to be strong in my decisions). 2013 was the farm: the romance, the joy, the tears, the possibility.

But I haven’t quite figured out 2017 yet.


It was the year I became a freelance writer and saw thousands of my words published! (And also the year I decided it wasn’t the career path for me).

It was the year my body told me I needed to quit running. (I’m still hoping only temporarily). The healing and acceptance this forced onto me was monumental. I’m not fully ready to share the decades of struggle with body image that resurfaced when I had to give up my major coping mechanism, but we’ll just say it’s a major theme of 2017 and still a work in progress.


It was the year I became “an expert” though I think teacher may be a far truer title.

It was the year I learned that I really can’t have it all because everything I add to my plate limits everything else. And that includes travel. Yeah, that lesson sucked.

It was the year I sowed my professional wild oats and unconsciously allowed the farm to become my first priority by putting it on the back burner.


It was the year I realized a farm is a real business and needs to be treated like one. You can hear lots more about that journey here.

It was the year where I logged more miles on trails with my pups then possibly ever before. It reached near obsession but brought me the utmost tranquility and respect for home.

It was the year of my first tick bite (which led to an aggressive round of antibiotics which led to extreme sun sensitivity during the most crazy part of the growing season which led to sunburns beneath my thumbnails and eventually their rotting off…). Maybe that’s what this year was! The year of no thumbnails?


Nah, that’s not it. But god damn it was sure a big year.

For now I’ll just settle for the fact that 2017 was tumultuous, intentional, and exactly what I needed. I hope your year brought you just as much life, growth and possibility.


Enjoy a glass of eggnog in the new year for me whenever you feel ready to re-introduce heavy cream into your diet. Cheers to you all and your journey, and thanks so much for following along on mine.

Love always and forever,
Your Leek


Adapted from The Kitchn
I used to get weird about real fresh eggnog because of the raw egg yolks but then the Kitchn told me that with enough booze, you really have nothing to worry about. I bought some high quality local eggs to be extra safe, poured in all the fancy liquor we had, and the end result happened to be total perfection. Excited for a new holiday (and post holiday!) tradition.

Serves a crowd (6-8 people)
Takes 5 minutes

6 egg yolks
1 cup real maple syrup
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Cognac (or brandy or bourbon)
1/2 cup Creme de Cacao
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together egg yolks and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add milk, cream, cognac, creme de cacao and vanilla extract. Continue whisking until smooth and uniform.
  2. Pour into mason jars or a large (seal-able) pitcher. Chill for at least an hour and up to 3 weeks.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Wonderful selection of pictures. Hope you have a great new year, with many more picture worthy moments.


  2. @5Sensespalate says:

    Happy New Year Lauren! 2017 for sure was busy, I enjoyed reading about all the adventures, struggles, accomplishments, seriousness, and silliness of your beautiful life. Wish you the best in the new year! 🙂


    1. Leek says:

      You are too sweet. Wishing you the best in 2018 as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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