Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Corn Chowder

A few weeks ago, I tried the corn chowder from Panera Bread while out to lunch. I don't think I've ever had corn chowder before and it was delicious. A perfect soup for summertime. I instantly wanted to create my own recipe to enjoy at home. 

Since it's already extremely hot here in FL, I waited for a rainy day to try it out. Last week Tropical Storm Colin brought some full days of rain. I knew this chowder would be the perfect comfort food for those rainy days. I made sure to have all of the ingredients on hand and chose the rainiest day to make it. The entire meal took about 45 minutes to make. While I don't LOVE spending more than 30 minutes on dinner, there was only about 20-25 minutes of hands on time with this one. The chowder was full of flavor, perfect for a cold or rainy day. Hubs likes an extra kick in his, so he added a bit of hot sauce to his. This recipe serves 6-8 people, so I brought a big container to our neighbors to enjoy as well. 

2 cans cream style corn
1 1/2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn
1/2 cup chopped bacon 
2 large potatoes (3 medium)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (diced)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half & half
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper 
fresh parsley to garnish

1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. Once crisp, chop. Reserve 2 tbs of the bacon drippings and 1 tbs of the chopped bacon. Set aside. 
2. Peel & chop potatoes. In a large pot, add the reserved bacon drippings, potatoes, onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat. 
3. Pour in chicken broth and all of the corn. Stir. 
4. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
5. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Let the chowder simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are cooked & tender. 
6. Once potatoes are tender, warm half & half in a small saucepan just until it bubbles. As soon as it's bubbling, remove from heat and add to chowder. Stir well. 
7. Serve with fresh parsley and the remaining bacon.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Box of Sunshine Gift

Something I love to do is give gifts. I love making others happy and letting those closest to me know I'm thinking about them. Recently, I had a close friend who had been on my mind day in and out. She had been going through a tough time and I wished over and over I lived closer to be able to bring her a cup of coffee and some sweet treats. And a big hug too! 

I decided that even though I wasn't close enough to hand deliver something, I could do the next best thing and send a thinking of you gift. I've seen these sweet boxes of sunshine on Pinterest and decided that would make the perfect gift. A bright and colorful gift to bring a smile to her face and let her know I was thinking of her. 

While I was out and about at Target and the grocery store, I picked up all things yellow. Everything that I could find that I thought would ship well and bring a little joy. After I did my shopping, I put everything in a box and made a printable to go with the gift. 

I packaged everything up and sent the love on it's way. Below you'll find the free printable along with the items I included in the box along with some more ideas of things you could include. Enjoy! 

Box of sunshine contents: 
Yellow (pineapple) candle
lemon wine cork
yellow EOS lip balm
Lemon & Ginger tea
Juicy Fruit
Swedish Fish

Other items that you could include in a box of sunshine: 
Peanut M&M's 
Yellow Nailpolish
Post it notes
Hand Soap
Hand Lotion
Lemonade mix 
Milk Duds
Oh Henry Bar
Mr. Goodbar 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wedding Day Survival Kit

In just two days, my brother will walk down the aisle to his bride. It's a day we've all been looking forward to for just over a year now. We couldn't be happier to welcome Lauren into our family, she is everything we imagined for him and more! It's going to be a beautiful wedding, I cannot wait to see everything come together. Both of my littles are in the wedding, fingers crossed they'll bring their A game...

When I got married just over 6 years ago, Pinterest wasn't a thing. For all of my DIY wedding ideas, I headed to Google. Remember those days?  Seems like so long ago. Part of me wishes Pinterest was around when I was planning my wedding and then the other part thinks it would have made it slightly more overwhelming. 

I'm a huge fan of survival kits. I've done one for teachers, dads and big sisters. I thought it would be fun to add to my survival kit list and create one for the wedding day.  I tried to think of every possible thing she (the bride) could need on the day of the wedding, mostly the "what if" items. Things that someone wouldn't have in their purse or at the hotel. Things like chalk for a smudge on her dress, a small mirror and brush to take with her for touch ups, super glue for a broken heel, tissues for the unexpected tears, bobby pins for the stray hairs and lots of little things just incase. I made a list of everything and the wedding day survival kit was created. 

 I put everything I could find in a plastic container, the size of a shoebox. I wanted the box to be small enough to fit into her bag yet big enough to hold as much as possible. 

You can get your free printable  here

I know I personally could have used a lot of these on my wedding day. Are there any items I forgot?  Any of these you wish you had on your big day? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hand Picked- Teacher Appreciation Gift

Teacher appreciation week is here for lots of teachers. 

 Have you picked out the gifts your child's teacher is receiving?

 I'm a little ahead of the game this year since AG's teacher appreciation week isn't for a few more weeks. I wanted to create a few little gifts I could give throughout the week and then a nice gift card for the end of the week. 

One of the gifts I'll be sending to school with AG is hand soap with these little tags. 

Teachers can never have enough hand soap. It was always something I had on my classroom wish list when I was a teacher. I love the fresh scents of Bath & Body Works soaps, which is what I'll be using for the gifts. 

I created 4 different colored printables for you to download for free. All you have to do is print them out on cardstock, punch a hole through the corner and tie the tag onto the soap. 

Print your free copy of these gift tags here. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pineapple & Cucumber Salad

One dinner we make once a week over the warmer months is tilapia. It's so easy to cook and my three year old will actually eat it. Although, we fib a bit and tell her it's chicken. Whatever works. I love making fish with a salsa to go over top or fresh fruit and vegetables as a side. 

Last week I had both cucumber and pineapple in the fridge and decided to combine them to made as a salad to go with our tilapia for dinner. Cucumber pairs well with a variety of fruits so I figured it would be just as tasty with pineapple. I was right. The combination with fresh squeezed lime juice was flavorful, which made it a great pair for the fish we made. Enjoy! 

1 cup chopped pineapple 
1 cup quartered english cucumber 
1 lime 
1 tbs cilantro (chopped) 

Mix together pineapple and cucumber. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the mixture and stir. Top with chopped cilantro. 

Pecan crusted tilapia with riced cauliflower and cucumber pineapple salad. 
A perfect summer dinner! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sweet Heat Pork Chops

My husband is a really good cook. If he's in the kitchen I know I'll enjoy a delicious meal. The thing about his creations though is he doesn't use a recipe. He somehow manages to combine different ingredients, using just the right amount to create a dish that not only leaves me wanting more but also wanting him to recreate it again. That is where the problem comes into play. He usually can't remember what all he puts in to make it again. 

So when he made this pork recipe a few weeks ago, I made him tell me what and how much he used as he was cooking. I'm glad I did because not only is this pork recipe simple, it's delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness with a touch of heat from the chili powder.

Summer is almost here, this would go perfectly on the grill with some veggies! 

2 thin boneless pork chops
2 tbs breadcrumbs
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2 tbs olive oil 


In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cinnamon, chili powder, brown sugar and 1 tbs of the olive oil. 

Salt and pepper the pork chops. 

Cover the pork chops in the sweet heat rub. Make sure all sides are covered. 

Cook in a skillet, grill pan or on the grill. If you're cooking on the oven, use the remaining
olive oil. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into the pan, heat to medium and cook the pork chops for about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DIY Tutu Wreath

For Avery's second birthday, we decided on an ice cream and sprinkles birthday party. At the time we were living in Texas but decided to throw her party in Florida while we were on vacation visiting since that was where our most of our friends and family were. It was a bit tricky planning and executing a party in another state and at my parents house, but the day was completely worth it! 

My parents have a great entryway that I knew I wanted to decorate for the party. After a little time spent on Pinterest, I decided on a tutu wreath with a 2 in the center. Since it was an ice cream and sprinkles party, I covered the 2 with sprinkles. The wreath took less than an hour to make and cost less than $10. 

styrofoam wreath- 10 inches
tulle- I used two 25 yard rolls 

1. cut 14-16 inch strips of tulle, separating the colors into two piles
2. tie the pieces of tulle around the wreath, making a double knot. I did about 5 pieces of orange and 8 pieces of pink in a pattern. 
3. cover the entire wreath with tulle make sure the knots line up. I moved mine a bit towards the back of the wreath. 
4. trim the edges if needed to get the desired length you'd like and even things out. 

To create a fuller look, you can move the knots towards the front and fluff up the tulle. 

To see the rest of the party details, go here

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Classic Margarita

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I had never made a fresh margarita from home before. Not once in my 32 years. Not without the mix you buy from the store, most of the time involving a blender to make them frozen. 

Last month, I had planned a Mexican themed date night in. I thought it would be fun to make fresh classic margaritas to enjoy with dinner. After a trip to the liquor store, I was ready to test them out. It took a few test runs but I finally was able to create a pretty darn good margarita. It was fresh, crisp and delicious. Just what I needed on that Friday night. Now we keep all the ingredients on hand to enjoy whenever we want! 


1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 ounce cointreau 
1/4 ounce agave nectar (more or less depending on your desired sweetness level)
to garnish: lime wedge & rim salt

In a cocktail shaker, pour lime juice, tequila, cointreau, agave and a few cubes of ice. 

 Shake well until combined. 

Taste to make sure it's sweet enough. Add more agave if not. 

For a salted rim- run the juice of a lime around the outside of the glass. Dip the rim in a shallow dish filled with rim/ sea salt. Add a lime wedge if desired. 

Fill glass with a few more ice cubes, pour margarita mixture over and enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

DIY Edible Easter Basket

Easter is just days away and baskets are on my list this week. I like to have them finished and put together before Easter weekend because it's always very busy. While the kids are easy to shop for when it comes to baskets, the hubs is more of a challenge. I don't go all out for him but always like to do something little to let him know I was thinking of him. 

This year, I decided to make him a candy basket. I saw a picture on Pinterest and figured it would be easy to make and fun to gift. It definitely was easy to make, only taking about 10 minutes to put together. Hopefully it's a gift that will make him smile. Maybe he'll even share some of the candy with me...

4 boxes of candy
hot glue gun with glue sticks
Nerds rope
Easter grass
small candy for filling


1. Hot glue the boxes together at the edges. 
2. Trace the outside of the candy boxes onto a piece of cardstock. Cut out the rectangle you created. Glue it to the bottom of the boxes. This is creating a bottom to the box so that you can fill the basket without things falling through. 
3. Hot glue the Nerds rope to the middle of two of the candy baskets. 
4. Fill the basket with Easter grass. 
5. Add some candy to the top. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

{lightened up} Strawberry Bread

Four years ago, I shared a recipe for strawberry bread that has become a family favorite in our house. It's something I look forward to baking when strawberry season begins here in Florida. Over the spring and summer months, I probably make it at least twice a month. It's just that good. 

Last month, our neighbors brought over these gorgeous strawberries that were freshly picked. I knew right away that I was going to make strawberry bread with them. Unfortunately, I was out of pretty much all my baking ingredients when I went to make it. So, I used what I had on hand and decided to attempt a lightened up version of our favorite bread. 

The result was amazing, just as good as the first recipe. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or even an afternoon snack. Bake some and share it with neighbors. Whatever you do, just make this won't regret it! 

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1 cup + 1 TBS brown sugar 4 eggs, beaten
 1 c. applesauce 
1/4 c. oil
2 cups fresh chopped strawberries
Optional- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, except set aside the extra tablespoon of brown sugar. Add egg and oil; mix well.
Stir in berries until evenly distributed - batter will be
thick. Grease & flour two 9" loaf pans and divide batter evenly into
Topping: Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar over the top of the bread before baking. This is also the time to add the chopped nuts if you desire as well. 

Bake at 350 approx. 1 hour. Cool in pans 10 min. Invert onto
wire rack to cool completely.

To make mini loaves, follow the same directions above and back for about 40 minutes or until the edges are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Easter Snack Mix

Easter is around the corner and today I'm going to share an easy snack mix with you. 
This snack mix is perfect for Easter egg hunts, playdates or just for fun for the littles! 

Snack mixes are always something fun to make for the holidays. I love all of the Easter themed candy and snacks that are out, they make putting these snack mixes together much more fun and festive. I have one very picky eater in my house and what I love about snack mixes is that chances are she'll find something she will eat in the mix. 


2 cups of Chex
1 1/2 cups of stick pretzels
1 cup of cheddar bunny crackers
1 cup of spring M&M's
1 cup of bunny animal cookies
1 cup yogurt raisins

Mix ingredients in a bowl and serve!

This recipe makes a large bowl of snack mix. You can either serve it at a party or keep it in a sealed freezer bag and use it as needed. 

For more festive fun, check out our bunny breakfast! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and I've been busy creating some fun EASY recipes for our celebration. I'm a huge fan of things that are semi-homemade. That is a big part of this blog. I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen with two littles running circles around me but I do love baking and adding a special touch to easy recipes. Today, it only takes a bag of Andes mint chips and a few more whole Andes chocolates for decoration on the top to turn a boxed cupcake recipe into something amazing! 

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix (plus ingredients to make the cupcakes, oil, eggs, water)
1 bag of Andes creme de menthe baking chips
1 container chocolate frosting 
24 Andes Mint Candies (unwrapped)


  • 1. Heat oven to 350°F 
  • 2.  Place paper baking cup in each of the 12 muffin cups.
  • 3. Prepare cake mix as directed on the box with the water, oil and eggs. 
  • 4. Stir in the entire 10 oz bag of creme de menthe baking chips. 
  • 5. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  • 6. Cool 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pans to cooling racks to cool completely. 
  • 7. Repeat with remaining batter to make additional 12 cupcakes. 
  • 8. Once cupcakes are completely cool, they're ready to be frosted. I use the Pampered Chef icing tool when frosting cupcakes. 
  • 9. Stick an Andes Mint in the top and you're done! 

If you'd like to turn up the homemade notch on this recipe, here is a recipe for mint frosting! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Easter Bunny Juice Boxes

Last weekend, we put up all of the Easter decoration in our house. At three years old, AG gets really excited about the holidays. Her excitement makes them just that much more fun. The one thing she doesn't quite understand yet is that they're just one day and they're gone as quickly as they're here. She still asks for Christmas decorations or Valentine's Day hearts. Thankfully, when one holiday passes, there is another around the corner. 

I thought it would be fun to kick off the Easter holiday with a little bunny breakfast to get AG excited about the upcoming holiday before we took out all of the decorations. One of the decorations I put together for the breakfast was little bunny juice boxes. They took less than 5 minutes to make and AG absolutely loved them. I think they're pretty cute too! Now, everyday she asks for a bunny juice box. 

1 white pom pom for the tail
1 colored pom pom for the nose
2 pipe cleaners
2 eyes
1 sheet of pink cardstock
1 sheet of white cardstock
juice box
black marker/ pen

1. Remove the straw from the back of the box. 
2. Measure the height of the juice box on the white paper. I measured each side of the juice box across the length of the paper and cut it out. You want it long enough to wrap around the entire box. 
3. I hot glued white paper with a thin line of glue around the juice box. Make sure there isn't excess paper at the bottom, or else the juice box won't stand up. 
4. Once the paper is on and the juice box in white, glue the white pom pom to the back to make a tail. 
5. Next, cut the pipe cleaners to make 6 pieces. You can make these as small or as big as you'd like. When glueing the pipe cleaners, I put a small dot in the center of the juice box and attached the pipe cleaners. Do this for all 6. 
6. Once pipe cleaners are attached, glue the colored pom pom on top to make the nose. 
7. Next, glue on the eyes. 
8. Now it's time to make the ears! I just winged it for these. I used the leftover white paper to make the ears. Once the outside of the ear was cut to the size that worked for the box, I did the same with the pink paper inside. 
9. I glued the pink paper to the white to make the ears. Next, I glued the bottom of the ears and attached them to the back of the juice box. 

That's it! You're kids will think you're the best once you whip these out! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

  1. Pasta salad is a spring and summertime staple in our house. It's easy to make. There are endless varieties and it's a crowd pleaser. I first made this particular pasta salad recipe last year. It was for a summer BBQ birthday celebration. My brother was bring meat he smoked in his  new smoker and I was in charge of the sides. Of course, I waited until the last minute to figure out what I was making and ended up going into my pantry to see what I could come up with. After finding a packet of ranch dressing mix, I knew exactly what I would make. 

  2.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I'm all about quick and easy recipes. I can't begin to tell you how easy this is to make. My entire family raved over it and my future SIL asked for the recipe the next day. This creamy flavorful pasta is perfect for tailgates, summer BBQ's and so much more. Enjoy! 

    1. 1 box Cellentani Pasta 16 oz
    2. 1/2 cup sour cream 
    3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
    4. 1 package dry ranch dressing mix 1 oz
    5. 1/2 cup milk
    6. 1 package bacon bits, 4 oz
    7. 1 cup petite tomatoes, cut in half
    8. 1 can sliced black olives, drained 4.25 oz
    9. salt and pepper to taste

  1. Directions: 
  2. 1. Boil pasta until cooked (8-10 minutes) and drain. 
  3. 2. Cool pasta off by rinsing it with cold water. 
  4. 3. In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and ranch mix. 
  5. 4. Once above ingredients are completely mixed, add in cooked pasta. mix until the pasta is covered with ranch mixture. 
  6. 5. Add olives, bacon and tomatoes to the pasta mixture. Mix lightly until all ingredients are combined. 
  7. 6. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. 

*Affiliate links used*

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Buffalo Ritz Chicken

Last week, I posted the honey mustard ritz chicken. When I was making that chicken, I thought about how good buffalo sauce would be with the recipe. I love all things buffalo flavored and knew this recipe would be perfect for football Sunday. So, we gave it a try this past weekend and I was right. Loved it. Hubs approved and it was just as good leftover. 

Next time, I'll be coating the chicken with crushed cornflakes instead of ritz crackers. 
The possibilities are endless! 

1 lb chicken tenderloins
1/4 cup buffalo sauce 
1/4 cup ranch dressing  more if needed
1 sleeve crushed ritz cracker

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the buffalo sauce and ranch dressing, mix well. 
  3. Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray. I've baked the chicken on a baking mat and have also baked it on a greased cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Chicken came out pretty much the same each time. 
  4. Have two empty low bowls or dishes ready. In one, place the mixture of buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.  in the second, place the crushed Ritz crackers.
  5. Cut the chicken into strips if you don't already have tenderloins. 
  6. Season the chicken with salt and pepper
  7. Dip the chicken pieces one by one into the buffalo mixture first, followed by the ritz crackers.
  8. Make sure the chicken is covered with crackers.
  9. After the chicken is coated in the buffalo mix and crackers, place on a baking sheet.
  10. When all of the chicken is coated and on the baking sheet, bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  11. Enjoy!

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