Weekend Review

Good morning!  As I type this, I’m finishing my second cup of coffee and my favorite 5 year old is eating a bowl of Life cereal (her favorite “because the milk gets inside the cereal”) on a blanket on the floor.  And while my house has never been more messy, my heart has never been so full.  Speaking of full, our weekend was PACKED with fun activities to keep a little someone busy.

On Friday, after picking her up, we met Uncle Big Guy to pick out a dress to wear to dinner.  Unfortunately, Big Guy and little Miss don’t really agree on fashion but she still walked away with two new dresses.

That night we took her to a “fancy” dinner at the country club where she proceeded to lose her first tooth – BIG NIGHT!

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Saturday morning she woke to find that the took fairy, Sparkle, found her and left $10!  An exciting morning, to say the least.  And then we were off for a day of adventure.  First stop, the bird park.  If you live in the area, I cannot recommend visiting more.  We spent about two hours walking around and looking at the birds and the best part was the area where you get to feed the birds.

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Post-bird park we headed for lunch at TBC West where we enjoyed chips and dip plus tacos.

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As we were leaving lunch, I randomly threw out the idea of letting her hit a few golf balls and thankfully we were able to make it happen.

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We soon headed home and while I wish I could tell you we all took a little nap, that is not the case.  Instead we got to work on our homemade strawberry ice cream.

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On the menu for dinner:  grilled pizzas.  We had a blast making pizza with our favorite girl and thankfully it cooled down and we were able to enjoy dinner outside.

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Big Guy and I enjoyed an Insalata pizza from “The Pizza Bible” and we made a cheeeeeese pizza for Haines.  So good!  Our pizza was topped with mozzarella and goat cheese and after it cooked we topped it with a lightly dressed salad, raspberries and pistachios.

We soon retreated in doors to wind down with ice cream and a cartoon before we all passed out – it was a busy day.

Sunday morning started with biscuit cinnamon rolls (more on that later) and bacon and then Haines and Big Guy had some gardening to get done.

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We spent most of the day outside before bathing and playing a few games inside.  She requested chicken drumsticks and corn for dinner and we ended with a Barbie movie and ice-cream.

I am so thankful that we were able to spend some one-on-one time with our little nugget. She is incredibly smart and I loved our conversations and her hilarious comments.  She definitely kept us on our toes.  Thankfully I know we’ll see more of her this summer and I can’t wait to make even more memories.

See ya’ll tomorrow with a recipe!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This weekend has been a long time coming:  my niece is coming to visit!  We promised her when she turned 5 that she could come spend a weekend with Aunt Emmy and Uncle Chris all by herself and we finally coordinated our schedules so we could make it happen.  We have a fun weekend planned and can’t wait to spend some one-on-one time with my favorite 5 year old.

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Layers:  Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake.  How fun is this cake?

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Favorite Dip:  Curry Hummus.  What a perfect snack.  Or lunch.  Or dinner.

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Favorite Tropical:  Hacienda Convertible Gown in Kauai Kisses.  The perfect summer dress in a fun palm print.

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Favorite One-Pan Dinner:  Lemon Basil Chicken.  Because sometimes life is crazy and you need easy dinner ideas.

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Favorite Carbs:  Breadsticks with Homemade Ranch and Pizza Sauce.  I need a night of nothing except catching up on DVR and breadsticks.

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Favorite Spring Cleaning:  5 Strategies for Organizing Your Pantry (And Keeping it That Way).  I love nothing more than organized closets.  And drawers.  And rooms.

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Favorite Date Night In:  Seared Scallops with Porcini Mushroom Risotto.   Drooling.  This dinner is begging for a bottle of white wine.

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Favorite Purchase:  2017-2018 Simplified Planner.  After years of using the same planner, I’ve upgraded.  I love that every day has it’s own page which means lots of room for LISTS.

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Favorite From Scratch:  Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I adore cinnamon raisin bread but I’ve never tried to make it at home…

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Favorite Poolside Sipper:  Strawberry Gin Lemonades.  Summer is right around the corner!

CHEERS!

Mushroom Cheese Ravioli with Rosemary Butter Sauce

Say “hello” to your next date night in dinner.  While I love going out to dinner and traveling to fun new cities, there’s something about a cozy evening in with a delicious home cooked dinner and a bottle of wine.  And while we haven’t had one in a couple weeks and I’m not really sure when our next one will be, I couldn’t resist sharing with you the dinner we made during our last date night in.

And don’t be scared of this recipe.  We made homemade pasta but it is NOT necessary.  In fact, the recipe called for wonton wrappers that you find at your grocery store and we made the decision to make the recipe more difficult.  So there is no excuse not to make these raviolis.

The ravioli filling is a mixture of sautéed mushrooms, thyme, ricotta cheese, fontina cheese and parmesan cheese.  The filling is so simple but it really makes the earthiness of the mushrooms shine through.

The sauce is light (aka not full of cream) but still FULL of flavor.  The butter is browned before adding in some garlic and rosemary (is there any better smell?).  Then add in some chicken broth and/or some white wine plus salt and pepper and let it reduce.

The combination of the mushroom and cheese ravioli plus the rosemary butter sauce is magic.  We did not even miss the meat in this dinner.

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Oh, date night, you’re my favorite.

Creamy Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Let’s get something out of the way:  I am not sharing this recipe because it’s beautiful.  Because let’s be honest, most casseroles are not pretty.  I’m sharing this recipe because not only is it delicious but you can make two casseroles with this one recipe – one for tonight and one for later (or for a friend!).  I made this for dinner a couple of weeks ago and then popped one in the freezer so I could take it to my sister in law and brother.

What I love most about this casserole is the lack of cream of mushroom soup.  Instead you make your own “soup” with milk and mushrooms plus a little bit of flour to thicken up the mixture.  The creaminess comes from the milk as well as the addition of cream cheese.  Instead of onions, leeks are used for a milder flavor.  I adore wild rice and totally think I need to add it into our weekly menu more often – so nutty and hearty.

Like I said, you can make one big casserole or you can split it up – one for now and one for later.  If you’re going to freeze one, stop before you get to the baking step; allow the dish to come to room temperature and then cover tightly and freeze.

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Another great thing about casseroles – leftovers are even better since the ingredients and flavors have time to really meld together.

Do you have any favorite freezer-friendly meals?

Nutty Fried Rice

Good morning!  I am hopeful that everyone reading had a wonderful weekend.  We ended up staying in South Carolina with my brother and SIL an extra evening so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather on Sunday instead of being in the car.  And the extra baby snuggles made the drive yesterday morning totally worth it.  My newest nephew is absolutely precious.  He’s calm and hardly cries and has a head FULL of hair.  I could stare at him all day.  We enjoyed dinner out the first night at The Oak Table.  We also had a pizza night as well as a steak night thanks to my SIL’s parents.  Counting down to our next visit already!

This week is pretty typical – thankfully – and we’re preparing for my niece’s first overnight visit by herself.  Cannot wait to spoil her silly.  After we arrived home yesterday I came up with the meal plan for the week and gave Big Guy some options to pick from.  I should have known he would pick Nutty Fried Rice over ANYTHING because we adores cashews and stir fries.  This dish is full of broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and rice but has an absolutely addicting sauce that is mixed in for the ultimate nuttiness.

My favorite bites definitely included cashews – my favorite nut!

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Just a reminder that the key to dishes like this one is to prep ALL your ingredients before you ever start cooking.  I also love that this stir fry uses precooked brown rice (Uncle Ben’s) as a timesaver.  If you’re allergic to peanuts, sub in almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower seed butter.

I promise you’re going to go NUTS for this dinner!

Charred Corn + Bacon Pizza with a Cream Cheese Stuffed “Everything” Crust

I have to be honest – there are a million thoughts swirling in my head right now.

“What should I pack for the weekend?”
“What dress should I buy for Logan’s wedding?”  (this is taking up way too much room in my brain)
“How am I going to decorate for an event that I’m ‘hosting’ on June 1?”
“What are we going to do with Haines next weekend?”
“What are we going to do Memorial Day weekend?”

I feel better now.

(please know that none of these “worries” are serious – I’m just having a hard time concentrating on one task at a time currently.)

But because I need to seriously pack for the weekend I’m going to skip my favorites around the WWW this week and share with you an insane pizza we made a couple of weekends ago.

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INSANE!

We started our pizza like most and made our favorite dough from Jessica’s cookbook.  But we made the crust a little more insane by adding a cream cheese filling to the outside and then sprinkling the crust with an “everything bagel” seasoning that included sesame seeds, garlic flakes, onion flakes, poppy seeds and flaked salt.

The pizza itself was topped with fontina cheese, charred bacon, red onion and even more cheese (fontina and mozz).  After baking, top the pizza with a sprinkle of green onion.

Ya’ll – this pizza was so good.  I think we ate in silence with a few “this is so good” statements thrown in here and there.

MAKE THIS PIZZA.  You don’t have to make your dough from scratch.  But you do have to STUFF the crust.

INSANE.

p.s. Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the fabulous moms out there.  I am incredibly blessed to have my Momma and there’s no one else that deserves more celebrating than her.  But I was also blessed with two amazing mother-in-laws when I married Big Guy.  Sunday will probably be a little sad for Big Guy because we won’t have his Mom to call or wish a Happy Mother’s Day but I am so thankful for her and for the man Big Guy is today.  Big Guy’s step-mom (a word we don’t really like to use because she’s so much more than that) also deserves celebrating and we love her SO much for all she has done for us both.

Jalapeño + Cilantro Margarita

After sharing two incredibly healthy (and delicious) dinners, I present to you a cocktail to get you through the week.  This might just be my new favorite margarita and it couldn’t be easier to make.  I made Big Guy and myself a couple of these on Friday night to celebrate cinco de mayo along with flank steak tacos topped with sliced radishes and quick pickled red onions.

These margaritas are spicy and tart – just the way I like ’em and the only sweetness comes from a small amount of triple sec.  I altered the recipe a little bit by cutting down the amount of alcohol and amping up the amount of lime juice (can’t get enough).

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To make one margarita, muddle together a slice of jalapeño (with or without the seeds) and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro in the bottom of your shaker.  Add ice along with 1 part silver tequila, 1/2 part triple sec and 2 part lime juice.  Shake, shake, shake.

Rim a glass with salt (or sugar if you like it sweet) and add lots of ice and then pour your margarita in the glass.

CHEERS!

And if don’t know about you but it feels like Friday and it’s only Wednesday…