Time

img_5887

Tomorrow is New Years Eve, a day and night of celebration. We will welcome the New Year with hope, love, forgiveness and a clean slate for each and every one of us.

It is a new beginning.

I initially wanted this post to be a flash back of some of my favorite posts from 2016. I really did, but I simply do not have it in me right now. There are some matters at hand that need to be dealt with.

Unfortunately, I will be taking some more time off. I am not sure when I will be returning..hopefully it won’t be that long. I do have some future posts that I am working on.

I hope everyone has a fantastic & safe New Years!

Holiday Party Food Ideas

picmonkey-collage-6-2

One of my favorite parts about the holidays is the food…I’m not going to lie or pretend I don’t eat. Ha..mama eats! It doesn’t stop me from eating healthy food, but I do like to add some fun to holiday eating.

What do you like to eat? Or what is your favorite dinner side dish?

Are you hosting a Christmas Eve party? Don’t know what to being to a party? Want a new idea to make for your festive parties? I could have you covered!

Think I asked enough questions!

I thought this would be the perfect time to flash back to some of the food I have made along the way.

So let’s get into it!!!

**Links to make food is in blue**

picmonkey-collage-7

Charcuterie Platter if you make this platter I am pretty sure it will be a hit at any party. You can make this your own! Add some cheese..fruit..sausage…crackers..nuts and call it a day!

SAMSUNG CSC

This Mint Hot Chocolate was actually my first party related post for the Christmas season. I typically love Hot Chocolate, but I had to twist things up a bit and try Mint Hot Chocolate! Your guests will love this! Definitely will keep them bringing it up for years to come!

SAMSUNG CSC

I still don’t think you can’t go wrong with Brandied Sweet Potato PieNormally I am a Pumpkin Pie lover, but I believe this pie was awarded #1 this year. The crust…Sweet Potato center was divine. Just don’t forget to add the Cinnamon like how I did!

SAMSUNG CSC

Make This Recipe Tonight is an awesome Pot Roast! I honestly can’t wait to make this recipe again…it was so yummy! You can make Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches to serve at a party! Veggies on the side won’t kill anyone either..probably just make them feel more healthy after indulging into some ‘yummlicious,’ treats!

SAMSUNG CSC

Surprise your guests with some Starbucks Homemade Vanilla Steamers ! This will definitely put a smile on some faces, especially for those who might be expecting. Caffeine free..need I say more!

SAMSUNG CSC

Pumpkin Custard Cups are super easy to make..and the best part is you can make them the day before! Makes life a little easier!

SAMSUNG CSC

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in some Ice Cream! What makes this even more special is… it’s homemade! And really easy to make…like mind blowing easy. This  Homemade Unicorn Ice Cream recipe will show you step-by-step how to make it…just change the colors (Christmas colors..or whatever floats your boat) up and you’ll be in business!

SAMSUNG CSC

Are you decorating any cakes for Christmas and need a Buttercream recipe? Check out my Let’s Talk About Buttercream recipe. It’s an Italian Buttercream…my favorite! It’s been a hit among friends and family!!!!

SAMSUNG CSC

The Best Party Punch pretty much explains it! I used this at all my parties, and if you have any kids they will love this. You might not…because of the sugar rush…but it’s always been a hit! It’s a special party drink! **non- alcoholic**

SAMSUNG CSC

I don’t know if you noticed but when it comes to parties I love fun drinks! This Hot Apple Cider will not disappoint. If you are hosting a party  let this bad boy simmer on low heat all day. The aroma that it creates all through the house is amazing smelling.

SAMSUNG CSC

Don’t want pop or soda for Christmas serve up some Homemade Ice Tea! This is my favorite summer drink that I just happen to make all year round! It’s refreshing!

SAMSUNG CSC

I know this doesn’t exactly scream holiday party idea…but if you’re having a breakfast theme holiday party or hosting Christmas morning breakfast this Cold Morning Oatmeal is the way to go. You also make it in a Crock-Pot…doesn’t it get any easier than this.

Thanks for sticking around for a long post! I hope some of these recipes I shared along the way this year helps you create a successful and fun holiday!

What are your plans for Christmas? I would love to hear!

 

 

 

Steak & Potatoes Dinner

SAMSUNG CSC

About two weeks my friend Paula sent me this awesome email for 3 free meals from Hello Fresh. I was so ecstatic, because that meant 3 nights of dinner that I didn’t have to prepare anything.

Especially around the holidays it can be so crazy that dinner seems to be pushed to the back burner. Or pizza nights become more regular on speed dial.

This dinner was probably the most easiest dinner I have ever prepared. I think the longest part was peeling and cutting the Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans up. Dinner was prepared and served within 45 minutes. And it was delicious!

I do wish that I grilled the steak instead of pan frying it like how I was instructed. But this mama wasn’t staying out in 20 degree weather!

My favorite part was the Sweet Potatoes! I believe I am going start making more Sweet Potatoes with dinner. They were amazing, I could have just made that my dinner.

So if you are looking for a different side for dinner, I would say make the Sweet Potatoes.

Writing about them makes me want to make some now to snack on!

If you are curious on how to make this dinner or just want to try their awesome Sweet Potatoes then check out Upgraded Steak and Potatoes.

How are your holiday preparing coming along?

**This is not a sponsored post.**

 

Stocking Stuffers for Her

picmonkey-collage-5-2

OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEight

Alrighty so we have six days left until Christmas! Wait..What? Six days?! Yes..Six days. I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone? The holiday season is surely slipping right by.

Thankfully, I am all done Christmas shopping…BUT…and I can’t emphasize this”but” anymore..if you are like me…you always forget about stocking stuffers. As a child stocking stuffers were always my favorite part about opening up presents. My brother and I would usually save stockings for last.

I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share with you some of my favorite stocking stuffers for those ladies in your life.

Some of my favorite items:

  1. Polaroid Camera (#1)- I wish I had one when Sophia was born for her baby book, but I am definitely making up for it now. I used it for her 2nd birthday party for the kids to take photos of themselves. It was a blast.
  2. Blanket Scarf (#2)- If you live in the Northern regions I highly recommend this blanket scarf. I bought mine in Target around October and use it all the time.
  3. Philosophy Body Wash (#3)- These are just awesome! They don’t dry my skin out and they smell amazing in the shower! So far my favorite scent is Fresh Cream, but I am in love with their holiday Peppermint scented one!
  4. Rosebud Salve (#6)- Just like the blanket scarf…everyone and I mean everyone..needs this salve for winter…well..actually all year. It has saved my lips from becoming chapped in the winter. So worth it!

picmonkey-collage-4-2-3

OneTwoThreeFourFive

Did you think that I was going to stop there? Ha. Have I told you that stocking stuffers are my favorite?

I honestly had way to many ideas and favorites to leave out. Plus who doesn’t like more options? Options are great…they don’t make you feel limited!

Some of my favorites:

  1. Roller Lash (#1)- This is the best mascara in the world. I have been using it for a little over a year now and I really am impressed with it. It doesn’t make my eye lashes feel hard, they are still very flexible feeling. I just really love this mascara!
  2. Teavana Tea Steeper (#2)- I love my tea steeper. I prefer loose tea rather than tea bags. I use it all of the time especially in the mornings. Sophia loves watching the tea filter down in my mug. A great loose tea that I am loving this year is Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint Tea. Typically I do not care for chocolate tea or coffee, but this is so good! It’s refreshing!
  3. Marc Jacobs Decadence (#3)- This is the best scented perfume I have ever come across. I am picky when it comes to perfume, because I have really bad allergies and everything sets me off. But this perfume smells so good and I love wearing it. Adrian got it for me last year for Christmas, I have not used it all..but when I do, I will definitely repurchase it.

** I have done two reviews on two other items on here the Mistletoe Kisses- Bite Beauty Sour Cherry lipstick & Marc Jacobs Decadence**

I really hope that I have given you some ideas for some stocking stuffers! We are definitely getting down to the wire, so maybe this will help you out!

Please let me know if you have used any of these items..OR what are your favorite stocking stuffers to receive..OR what was your favorite you have ever received?

 

 

Charcuterie Platter

SAMSUNG CSC

Growing up I was told to never go over to someones house empty handed, especially if someone was having you over for dinner. One of my favorite things to bring to a dinner party or a holiday party is a Charcuterie Platter.

Tis’ the season of holiday parties I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you; how to make the best Charcuterie Plate.

Charcuterie is actually one of my favorite ways to eat. If you like cheese, fruit, crackers or French Baguette, salami and nuts then you will enjoy this!

SAMSUNG CSC

How I make my Charcuterie Platter:

  1. I always cut up an assortment of 4 to 5 different cheeses such as : Cheddar, Colby, Jalapeño, Mozzarella whatever kind of cheese you like. Make sure they are nice bite size.
  2.  Add fruit and crackers (or French Baguette)! I always add grapes, my favorite are the purple/red grapes. I also like dried fruit as well. Use what is in season. My favorite crackers are Club, but a lot of times in grocery stores they have those more festive holiday crackers.
  3. The last touch is cured Italian Sausage.
  4. Arrange your platter so everyone has the opportunity to try everything.

You can also pair it with your favorite wine or the hostess’s favorite brand of wine.

I love Charcuterie Platters! They always look so nice when they are displayed…but especially better when you’re eating it. Sophia and I will share a mini Charcuterie Platter for lunch, it’s fun to switch things up a bit.

img_1960

If you are looking for something a little more simpler you can always bring a festive cheese platter over as well.

What is also fun about this you can dress up this cheese and fruit tree as much as you want! You have so much freedom to get in touch with your creative side.

So…. bring something different and fun to you next holiday party!

I’m sure it will be a hit!

What is your favorite holiday food to bring to a party? Or eat?

Bakers Gift Guide

picmonkey-collage-2

Christmas is in full swing, I really wish I could tell you that I am done with Christmas shopping, but I am not. When I think of present buying I usually make a mental list of everyone that I have to buy presents for. Then I separate them into their own categories such as.. what their likes and dislikes are..favorite colors…favorite scents…etc…it usually helps me out.

This post are for the all bakers in your life. These are the people that bake a through the year not only with the occasion calls for it.

When I studied at Le Cordon Bleu I was taught to use what you have. Meaning don’t use gadgets in your kitchen…for example: a Quesadilla maker…why buy an entire Quesadilla maker when you can make them on the stove by hand. So my kitchen is primarily gadget free…..

But…

I basically fell in love with multi purpose utensils instead.

These are some of my favorite….

One- Silpat Mat – This is one item that I will always have in my kitchen. It’s awesome to bake and cook on. It saves your cook sheet try from waring, but the best part is they are super easy to clean. It saves you from having to soak your sheet trays just to clean them. I highly…highly recommend having these in your kitchen. It will change your life!

Two- Kitchen Aid – My Kitchen Aid is my baby. I even have the original box and styrofoam that it came in. When I am not using it, it sits in my certain spot in my closet…and when I clean it I use a tooth pick to get into the nooks and crannies. Toothpicks work wonders. Using a kitchen aid while baking gives you more freedom, plus it also saves your arm! And you can’t go wrong with the different attachments you can buy. It’s a win..win situation!

Three Bench Scraper – I know this gift doesn’t exactly scream fancy or “oh my god I need this..” but it does scream “if you buy me you will end up loving me.” This was actually the most useful tool I used when I was at Le Cordon Bleu…my bench scraper went to every class I attended. This bad boy was used to gather ingredients into a kitchen aid…help make  chocolate curls (who knew right?)..help align dough..and even scrap off tables while cleaning. Ahh how the list could go on. So useful.

Four Pastry Tips – Every baker needs their own set of Pastry Tips, I am just going to leave it at that.

Five Nerdy Nummies Cookbook – Nothing is more exciting than getting a fun..new cookbook to experiment with. I came across Rosanna Pansino Nerdy Nummies on Youtube several years ago. Her channel and cookbook are so awesome and inspirational. Check them out!

**This is no a sponsored post…wording in blue are links**

I hope I have given you a few ideas for some of the bakers in your life. I know some of these are not exactly a main gift idea, but they would make great add-ons to a main gift especially if you buy someone a cookbook or Kitchen Aid.

 

 

 

 

Girls Night with Toddler

 

img_5740

Before marriage & kids my friend Charnaye and I would go out quite often together. All through high school, college and even working at the same job together it wouldn’t be anything for us to go get some Mexican food and see a movie on a Friday night; or hit up a local Panera Bread in between classes.

Now, since our lives are in different places it doesn’t stop us from hanging out with each other. It just means we do things a little differently; we are two and a half instead of just two.

Don’t get me wrong there are times the we will go grab a bite to eat without Sophia, but I don’t always have a babysitter.

Honestly, I am picky about who watches Sophia. She is my entire world. The thought of having someone watch Sophia that has never watched her before or someone that she is unfamiliar with just isn’t worth it.

So she comes with us.

If you are like me and don’t always have a baby sitter, but still want to enjoy a mini night with a girlfriend here is what I do.

1. I always make sure Sophia takes a nap. If Sophia doesn’t take a nap then by dinner time she is a little bear. Then you are in a no win situation and no one is happy.

2. Sophia pretty much has a night schedule. I am normally getting her ready for bed around 730 pm with a bath..brush her hair..brush her teeth…etc. So when it comes to picking a time to go out to dinner I found that being at the restaurant by 545 pm-6pm is perfect timing. I once went out to a late dinner with her, it wasn’t very pleasant. She was asking to go home. So I would say go to dinner about two and a half hours before you give your child their night baths. 

3. I know this may sound like a “well duh,” moment, but before you completely settle on a restaurant make sure that you check the kids menu to make sure there is something that your child will eat. Charnaye and I love Mexican food…Sophia doesn’t. So thankfully this menu had options such as a Cheese Burger…Chicken Fingers on the kids menu. So this restaurant was a winner. If it didn’t have anything I know she would eat, we would be picking a different restaurant. 

4. Bring snacks. No matter what restaurant you go too, you can’t guarantee that they will have quick service or that aren’t going to be really busy. There always could be that possibility that your child doesn’t like their dinner. So, bring healthy snacks such as fruit, crackers, granola bars etc as a back up.

5. Bring some entertainment. You may need to upgrade to a bigger purse for a few hours, but if it’s going to keep your sanity…do it. I always throw a few crayons and paper in my bag along with a doll, some of her mini Paw Patrol dogs and a fake baby doll bottle. I will even allow her to watch Peppa Pig while we wait for our dinners to be served. It will help pass the time. 

6. Sophia is only two so I know her attention span is like point two seconds long. I know that she will still want my attention and me to play with her. So I find that multitasking is is a wonderful quality to have. Sophia enjoys drawing hearts. So as Charnaye and I are talking I will draw hearts with Sophia to keep her entertained and not feel left out. 

7. Even though I am out with a friend I am still out to dinner with my daughter. I will give Sophia a little incentive to be on a good behavior. I will say to her for instance “if you listen to mama I will take you to get an ice cream cone.” Or I will praise her letting her know how good she was and how proud I am of her. I personally believe in positive feedback when it comes to parenting; for me there is nothing wrong with praising your child. Let them know. It isn’t going to harm them. There isn’t a day goes by that I am not telling Sophia how much I love her, or how proud I am of her.  

When it comes to taking your child out to dinner it can be hit or miss. You can have a really good experience or you can have an experience where you’ll swear you’ll never do that again.

I personally have had moments where I felt like everyone in the entire restaurant was staring at us, then I have had moments where I have had strangers approach and applaud her on how well behaved she is.

I can’t guarantee that everything I mentioned will work for me every time, but I have found that it has helped more than not.

Thankfully Charnaye is completely understanding and goes with the flow with Sophia goes out with us.

IMG_5432.jpg