dine

Easter Weekend

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A very happy Easter Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a joyous Easter weekend. He is risen, alleluia!! I wanted to share some of my favorite parts from this past holiday weekend. We started with an Easter egg hunt in the backyard and then dyed some eggs, which we later decorated some of Ava’s favorite characters. My dad’s birthday was this past Tuesday, happy birthday dad!, so we celebrated his birthday along with the holiday. Easter Sunday started with church, then a hunt for some baskets the bunny left for Ava, followed by a lunch that I hosted. We lucked out with kind of spring like weather so some walks were also included. It’s wonderul to breathe in the fresh air! It actually snowed last night. It looks a little more like Christmas than Easter right now, but hopefully the couple of inches will melt quickly. I hope everyone has a great start to your week! 

 

                            xo, Amanda  

Mommy & Me Valentine’s Day

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Sequin Tulle Dress c/o || Ava’s Velvet Dress || Jackie Kennedy Pearl Earrings || Jackie Kennedy Cascade Ring || Stella & Dot Brier Ring || Stella & Dot Engraved Ring ||

Good morning and happy February 1st! It is officially the month of love and what better way to kick it off than with a little Galentine’s Day Party. Just the “gals” here hence, Galentine’s lol. Ava and I spent the better part of a day celebrating and having our yearly party. We started with putting on our makeup and then getting dressed up. Ava picked out her own accessories and was very excited the whole time. The anticipation of it all! This has always been my favorite post to do throughout the entire year and one I always look forward to. Then we set the table together and lastly baked the cookies. She helped spread the icing and sprinkle on the sprinkles, all while enjoying eating some in the process, haha. Ava kept saying it was a tea party and honestly, we’ve been having little tea parties every day since then. Every meal happens at the dining table so why not make it pretty and fun?! After taking some photos, we dug in to all of the goodies and had some girl chats talking about the things we love. The heart ballon has a nice little story behind it. We were out the day before picking up the roses for the party, when a worker at the store just fell in love with Ava. He ended up cutting this ballon down from one of the displays and giving it to her, which was incredibly sweet! Thank you! This was one of the best days I’ve had and couldn't have spent it with a better gal than my little Ava. Cheers to all of the loved ones in your life! <3

xo, Amanda  

A French Press

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Gold French Press || Copper Mule Mugs || Gold Spoon || Plaid Dress c/o (Old, Similar Here) ||  

Good morning, friends! If you’re like me, then coffee is a big part of your daily routine. I actually drink green tea in the morning and then make some coffee for a pick me up in the afternoon. Recently I started using a French Press to make my coffee. Personally, this is a great option since I only drink one or two cups at the most. Typically with a French Press you only want to make the exact amount you’ll be drinking without any leftover. Think “of the moment”. It’s a very romantic idea! Leaving the coffee in the grounds will only make it bitter when you go to re-heat it. 

In most other countries this is called “Cafetiere coffee” while in America we refer to it as French Press. I remember the first time I ever had French Pressed coffee was in a local organic restaurant. They used sweetened condensed milk in it too and it was absolutely delicious! There are many different styles of French Presses out there and at different price points. Some of them are included below! They all look incredibly chic too. The steps to making a fresh cup are faily simple. 

  • First, you want to heat your water. I use an electric tea kettle.  
  • Next, use the scoop included with the pot to put in the amount of coffee grinds you’ll be using. I always do one scoop per each cup of water. I use New England coffee brand. I almost always get the blueberry flavor! After that, measure out the amount of water you’ll be using and pour that into the pot. Sometimes I put the water in first and then the coffee. Either way is fine. 
  • Stir everything together and let brew for four minutes.  
  • Place the Press into the pot and slowly press down until you reach the bottom. Make sure the lid is turned to where the spout is facing out.  
  • Lastly, pour your coffee and enjoy!  

If you do end up making more coffee than you can drink at the moment, try pouring the coffee out into another container for later so it does not get bitter sitting in the grounds.   

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xo, Amanda  

Mommy And Me Valentine's Day

Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance
Mommy And Me Valentine's Day- Enchanting Elegance

Oh my little Ava bug. These are always my favorite kinds of posts to do. The whole time I was like, oh I love you so much Ava and she kept eyeing the cupcakes haha. She had cake on her first birthday, but this was the first time she had cupcakes and let me tell you, she LOVED them! As you can see from most of the photos, she's holding one and has icing all over her mouth. They were Ava approved! I tried to get our dresses to match as best I could too. I really want to find a store that specializes in matching mother daughter outfits. My dress is an old one from Modcloth. Ava's is a recent one from The Children's Place.

Every Valentine's Day I pretty much prepare the same treats and make sure the house has pretty flowers throughout it. While many feel this may be a "hallmark" holiday, I see it as a day to celebrate all of the love you have in your life. In grade school, we handed out valentines to our friends and as we grew older, we started celebrating with significant others. Whether it be your husband, wife, best friend, mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, or son, you can celebrate with any of these people and show them that you care. The list can go and on and on!

Blossomsib: The Concentration of Youth

Blossomsib: The Concentration of Youth- Enchanting Elegance
Blossomsib: The Concentration of Youth- Enchanting Elegance
Blossomsib: The Concentration of Youth- Enchanting Elegance
Blossomsib: The Concentration of Youth- Enchanting Elegance

Being healthy is something that is always at the forefront of my mind. I try to be mindful of what I eat, how much sleep I get, and how much I'm exercising. I recently found BlossimSib and decided to test it out. Being a busy mom on the go, I knew this concentration would have its work cut out for it! I've also been on a few different trips lately, which can put stress on the body, and was glad to know BlossomSib was cleaning my body from the inside out. The concentration strives to clean toxins out of every cell in the body and act as a natural protection from future toxins in the environment. Once completing the concentration, you should feel healthier, younger, and more beautiful while hopefully living a longer life.

The basics of taking the BlossomSib is to fill the piquette half way with the concentration and then pour it into half a glass of water twice daily 30 mins before a meal. This goes on for 12 days with a 3 day break, and then continues on for another 12 days. I've been taking mine for about 2 1/2 weeks now and have a deeper sleep with improved skin. I only have one hormonal pimple right now, while usually I'll have a few more. As being someone who has dealt with acne since middle school, that to me is reason enough to use BlossomSib. I'm also hoping to see an increase in energy. I would say I do have some, but its hard to tell since I've been drinking green tea steadily throughout the day as well. I'll definitely keep everyone updated on my final results once I complete the course!

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xo, Amanda

Rose Dreams

Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance
Rose Dreams- Enchanting Elegance

If I had to describe Cape Cod it would be charming and quaint. Every turn has beautiful bright blooms, picturesque homes, and a 40 mile stretch of gorgeous protected beaches. It's hard not to fall in love with the old world allure. That's not even to mention the scrumptious food too. I haven't had one bad meal there yet. My dad and I were graciously invited to Pain D' Avignon to indulge in one of their meals, we chose breakfast, and were absolutely blown away by their hospitality and incredibly appetizing food. The place was packed with a constant stream of customers coming through the doors. I decided on the Croquet Madame, while my dad had the Oeufs Poches. We both partook in a yummy blueberry tart for a little treat before heading out to enjoy some more antiquing and driving through various communities to explore what they have to offer.

This white dress with pretty pink roses adoring it has a retro inspiration that looks just as beautiful as it feels to have on. The fit and flare style, an absolute favorite of mine, compliments any body figure. I'm wearing a size small and found the length to be a bit longer than a midi style on my shorter frame (5'2.) I have to say, of all the outfits I wore on our trip, this dress got the most compliments. It's a head turner for sure! We ended up in Chatham where the main street is filled with shops and restaurants to fill everyone's interests and delights. At the end of the main street is the beach and lighthouse where the movie The Finest Hours was based out of. It's a destination we never miss! 

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xo, Amanda

Tea Party with My Custom Candy

Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance
Tea Party with My Custom Candy- Enchanting Elegance

I must admit, I do have a bit of a sweet tooth and love to indulge in them sometimes! When I had started to create the custom heart candies, I wanted to include them in a special event. What better than a tea party?! My love for tea must have come from my mom. She would drink it all the time and we eventually started drinking it together whenever we would watch Murder, She Wrote. We would drink tea and have some maple cookies while we tried to solve the mystery along side Jessica Fletcher. This also marked Ava's first time attending a tea party, even though she was a bit young to partake in the goodies, her eyes lit up as soon as she saw the colorful table.

These custom candies are perfect for parties, events, birthday's, Valentine's Day, or just as a special thinking of you gift. First, you can choose up to three different colors. Next, you can select text, an emoji, or upload a company logo. Finally, you can choose either bulk or custom packaging. It could not be more simple than that! My three words are "Enchant," "Elegance," and "Love Bug." The colorful candy with meaningful words on them were such a big hit and such a lovely detail to add.

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xo, Amanda

Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance
Picnic in the Park- Enchanting Elegance

Gingham Top || Gingham Shorts || Lace Up Heels || Saddle Bag || Karen Walker Sunnies via Shop Ditto (Similar Here) || Lands Downunder Polka Dot Throw c/o || Rose Wine Glasses || Vant Jag Earrings c/o || Jackie Kennedy Unity Band || Otter Box iPhone Case c/o ||

Happy Friday, friends! A few days ago, I got to take Ava for a picnic at our local park to enjoy an afternoon out together. The weather could not have been more splendid. I packed all kinds of goodies that would be tasty for snacking/lunch time. There were berries, brie, crackers, a salad, macarons, and some wine. Ava even had her little lunch of formula too! She was asleep when we first got there, so I let her nap in the stroller while I set up with this gorgeous pink polka dot throw. It is seriously one of the softest blankets I've ever felt. Plus, its reversible making it like getting two throws for one. The cute fringe on the ends, along with the dot patter, puts such a big smile on my face. This was not planned, but did you see Ava's sun hat? It matches the blanket!

When I first saw this gingham top and short set, I thought wouldn't they look great together on a picnic!? I've been totally smitten with gingham lately, too. As I mentioned before, the print has that summery feeling and what is more summery than a fun filled picnic on a warm afternoon. What I love about a matching set is that I can wear each piece separately to create so many different outfits! The top is slightly cropped and has a boxy look to it. The shorts  are high waisted and super comfortable. They even have a retro vibe to them, which is right up my ally ;)

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xo, Amanda

Detox Tea with Teami

Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance

Nightgown: Old || Love Today Mug || Teami 30 Day Detox c/o ||

Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance
Detox Tea with Teami- Enchanting Elegance

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today I'm sharing all about my 30 day detox with Teami teas. I was pretty excited to try this since I started right after the holiday season. I ate a little too much sugar if you know what I mean! To start off with, the 30 day detox includes a skinny tea and a colon cleanse tea. I basically started off my morning, either after Ava finishes eating or while I'm getting dressed, with a mug of the skinny tea. It is very reminiscent of a green tea taste. Then in the afternoon, usually while Ava was taking a nap, I would have my second glass of the skinny tea. Right before bed, every other night, I had the colon cleanse. Now, it's important to read the directions with the colon cleanse since it can be intense. When you take the colon tea at night, in the morning you go to the bathroom. I'm not going to get too graphic about it, but you get a slight cramping sensation and then you need to go. Enough said haha. I would recommend having a glass of water after or before you take the colon tea. Also, only steep the tea for 3 minutes max. I always did mine at 2:30 and used the timer on the microwave.

Now, the actual results! I started off having more energy and being able to sleep better. Those right there would be major pluses for me alone. I did loose about 1 1/2 inches off of my waist line, which is fantastic. 1/2 an inch more and I'll be at my pre-baby size, which was a 25 inch waist. The great thing about that is I did nothing else except drink this tea. I do eat healthy on a regular basis, but I do not exercise as much as I should. Next, it does claim to clear your complexion, but I found mine to be about the same. If anything, I broke out a bit more, which could be due to the detoxification. Your body is getting rid of all the toxins stored in there and guess where it sometimes comes out? I've actually had brake outs while on my own detoxing diets. It happens I suppose.

The jist of the detox tea is taking the colon tea to flush out the harmful toxins from your body, while the skinny tea replenishes your body with health benefits to boost your metabolism, suppress cravings, and raise energy levels. I'd have to say after the 30 days, that I do believe this works. It was nice to have something to look forward to, being on a plan, and knowing that I'm doing something good for my body. Next, I'll be trying Teami Alive and Teami Relax. Sounds perfect for being a new mom!

Use the code 10BREZ to receive 10% off of your Teami tea order.

xo, Amanda

Dad's Birthday Party

Turning 61

birthday
birthday
birthday
birthday
birthday
birthday
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Ever since my mom passed we have been celebrating my dad's birthday at my house. I love having the chance to host the party and getting to entertain everyone. This year my dad turned 61 and we planned on treating him to dinner and then having cake and coffee back at my house. Angel food cake has always been the staple in my family and I love serving fresh strawberries with it. My brother's girlfriend also made an amazing apple strudel, she'll be a famous chef one day mark my words!, along with the coffee. I used happy birthday confetti to decorate the tables and cake plate, balloons by the fireplace, and banners placed along the walls and fireplace as well. It was such a fun night to enjoy with the family and show my dad how much he is loved.

Last year we had a big celebration since it was my dad's 60th. I really wanted go all out for him and he truly deserves it. We all went out to dinner on his birthday and then hosted a similar dessert party back at my house. Then, a few days later, we drove down to Hotel Hershey for a fabulous Sunday brunch. This had to be the best brunch I have ever had and seen. What a beautiful setting to relax and enjoy. They had every kind of food and dessert you could imagine. I'm glad we were able to do it and make his birthday so special. This happened right before I started this blog last year and never had a chance to share so what better time then when celebrating his birthday this year.

macarons
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chocolate covered strawberries
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Good Eats

Applesauce Puffs

applesauce puffs

These little bites of delight are super easy to make and are so light and airy they simply melt in your mouth. A huge hit around my house, and made with ingredients usually kept within the house, this is a win-win situation all around. I made these for one of my dinner nights with my dad and lets just say I kept getting requests for seconds and thirds. Great for Fall and they taste like a cinnamon sugar donut! What's not to love?

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 3/4 c. sugar (divided)
  • 3 t. cinnamon (divided)
  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. oil
  • 5 T. melted butter

 

Directions:

  1. Combine Bisquick, 1/4c. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon.
  2. Stir in applesauce, milk, egg and oil until well mixed.
  3. Fill greases muffin pan 2/3 full.
  4. Back at 400 for 10 min.
  5. In a bowl mix 1/2 c. sugar with 2 t. cinnamon.
  6. Dip hot puffs in bowl of melted butter and then in bowl of cinnamon sugar.

 

Chocolate Scotcheroos

A Delectable Dessert

chocolate scotcheroos

If you're looking for a yummy dessert to serve, look no further. Chocolate Scotcheroos were made at many family functions over the years; mainly by my aunt Arlene and grandma. These decadent treats please the taste buds with creamy peanut butter and a topping of butterscotch and chocolate morsels. My mouth waters just thinking about them! When I asked Justin what he wanted for our anniversary he said scotcheroos. Always a crowd pleaser and quite simple to make, these little bars should be a staple in everyone's recipe book.

chocolate scotcheroos

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies


Directions:

  1. Combine sugar and syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in peanut butter, mix well. Add Rice Krispies, stir until well blended. press mixture into 13x9" pan.
  3. Mix chocolate and butterscotch morsels together over hot, but not boiling water, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat, spread evenly over Rice Krispie mixture..
  4. Cool until firm and cut into bars.


chocolate scotcheroos

Good Eats

Italian Wedding Soup

italian wedding soup

Since both my parents and I share wedding anniversaries so close to one another, theirs is September 22nd and mine September 24th, I decided to make Italian Wedding Soup in honor of the celebrations. This was also the soup served at our reception dinner. A favorite with everyone and sure to be a smash at your next dinner, here is the classic recipe. Bon appetit!

homemade italian meat balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 lb lean ground beef

  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 pkg mirepoix

  • 2 cartons chicken stock

  • 1/3 fresh chopped escarole

  • 1/2 cup acini di pepe pasta

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Beat egg slightly in medium bowl; add ground beef, parsley, and bread crumbs. Mix well with clean hands. I also added some cheese into the mix. Form into small meatballs, using about 1tsp ground beef mixture for each.
  2. Brown meatballs on all sides in olive oil in a pan on medium, about 5 min. Remove meatballs; drain off all but 1 tbsp pan drippings.
  3. Add mirepoix; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 min, until veggies are soft, but not browned.
  4. Add meatballs and stock; bring to a boil on high. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 5 min. Ass escarole; return to simmer on medium-high. Add pasta; let simmer about 5 min until pasta is tender.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with grated cheese.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Fun Fall Flavor

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Once Fall hits I go into pumpkin spice over drive. Everything from baking, cooking, drinking, and household items seems to be inspired by sweet cinnamon spice and pumpkin. I made these little delicacies for one of my dinner parties and they were an absolute smash! What really makes them incredible is the cream cheese filling. My goodness, tantalizingly creamy and smooth with autumn spices to boot. I even had some left over filling that I'm storing in the fridge right now to use as the icing on some cupcakes I'm going to make for Fall.

Ingredients:

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to thicken, as needed)
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

 Step 1

Step 1

1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, cream the softened butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly stir in the baking soda, cinnamon, oats, and flour. Mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

 Step 1

Step 1

2. Chill the dough for at least one hour in the fridge. Cookies will be very flat if the dough is not cold.

 Step 2 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Step 2 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

 Step 3

Step 3

3. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball and place onto prepared sheet. Bake for 9 minutes and let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack.

 Step 4

Step 4

4. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the pumpkin frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, butter, pumpkin, and spices on medium speed until creamy. Add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar depending how sweet you’d like it. If frosting is much too thin, add in the flour to thicken it. I actually used about 1/2 cup flour to thicken it up to where I liked it. Add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.

 Step 4

Step 4

 Step 5 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Step 5 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

5. Spread a generous amount of frosting on the underside of a cooled cookie and sandwich another cookie on top. Cookies stay fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies
Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Zuppa Toscana Soup

An Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscanna

One of my favorite chain restaurants to dine at is Olive Garden. My husband absolutely adores their Zuppa Toscana soup and always orders it every time we go. While browsing around pinterest, I found this copy cat recipe and knew I had to try it. Needless to say, Justin loved it and the left overs did not last long. A fun fact, I used the kale from our garden in the soup and try to use everything from our garden that I possibly can in my recipes! Now, the taste of the soup is without a doubt creamy and literally has you craving more with the sweet Italian sausage and potato bites that seem to just crumble in your mouth. This would not be for the health conscious person necessarily, but it's fun to diverge every now and then and try something on the creamier side. It's more of a hearty soup perfect for Fall in my opinion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups kale
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in sausage and kale about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with bacon.

Roasted Cod and Mushroom Raggot

Go Fish

Looking for a healthy mean in a hurry? Look no further, this dinner comes together in about 30 minutes and has the health boost from the cod, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. It's low in calories and loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. This is a great meal to make anytime throughout the year and one I'm sure you'll be coming back to time and time again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lg sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 in chunks
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 lg shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 pkgs sliced mushrooms
  • 4 skinless cod fillets
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
Roasted Cod

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Combine the sweet potatoes, half the shallots, and 1tbsp of evoo in a small bowl. Top with salt and peeper. Transfer to a greased baking pan. Arrange in a single layer on the side of the pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Add remaining shallots and cook 2-3 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and 2 tbsp water; cook 8 minutes or until liquid evaporates; stirring occasionally.
  • Arrange cod on the other side of roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast alongside potatoes 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish is just opaque throughout.
  • Stir parsley, wine, and salt and pepper in mushroom mixture. Cook 1 minute or until wine has reduced by half.
  • Divide potatoes and cod among serving plates. Spoon mushroom raggot over cod.

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

Summer is sadly starting to fade away, but not before one last hurrah! What you'll be seeing on the blog is some end of summer treats, like these muffins, along with some dinners and elegant outfits all while transitioning over into Fall. To say I'm excited for the new season ahead is putting it mildly, Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. Anyway, I digress, back to the carefree whimsical season of Summer. Today I want to share with you a recipe I recently made for dessert when my dad comes over for our weekly dinner parties at my house. These are not your typical blueberry muffins either. What makes them so special is the cream cheese nestled in between the bottom and top layers and the dollop on top. Without further ado, here is the delicious recipe sure to make your end of summer celebrations quite special.

blueberry & cream cheese muffins

What you'll need:

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 4 oz cream cheese

Directions:

  • Line a muffin pan with wrappers or spray with Pam for baking; preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a medium pan over low heat. Remove from heat; whisk in oil, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, stir in sugar and salt, then make a well in the middle.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour well. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula until the mixture has just come together. Pour in the blueberries, working them into the batter with the bare minimum of stirring. The mixture should still look lumpy.
  • Spoon half the batter into the prepared baking pan (or cups if using.) Then dot about 1/2 tsp of the cream cheese on top of the batter in each half-filled muffin cup. Add remaining batter, then another 1/2 tsp of cream cheese on each muffin. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until golden. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
blueberry & cream cheese muffins

Blueberry Cream Pie

Refreshing Delight

Blueberry Cream Pie

One tradition my dad and I have is every week he comes over our house and I make a nice big dinner with all of the trimmings. Everything is home made from scratch, something I'm very happy to do since I want to be like the lovely ladies in my family who knew how to do things right the old fashioned way. My mom and my grandma Kretchmer have always been two of my biggest inspirations, and these two women knew how to cook a homemade meal and delectable dessert all without batting an eye lash.

When my dad was over one night finishing up dinner, I gave him my retro baking book to flip through and pick out a dessert for next weeks dinner party. My dad has always been a pie type of guy so it came as little surprise when he choose the Blueberry Cream Pie. I have never made a pie before, so I was a bit apprehensive, but knew I could complete it with little mishap. The great thing about this pie is how refreshing it is with the blueberries and homemade whipped cream. Talk about a delectable dessert. Now on to the party!

 

What You'll Need:

For the pie crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter (or coconut oil!)
  • glass of ice water

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
  • 2 tbsps butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

To make the pastry:

  • Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Use pastry cutter to blend in butter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add 3 to 4 tbsps of ice water one at a time until dough is moist enough to form into a ball. Flatten ball to 1/2 inch thickness, smooth rough edges, and roll out onto a floured surface. Dough should form an even circle 1 1/2 inches longer than a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Place crust loosely in pan, pat out air pockets, fold and flute edge to form even rim. Prick crust generously with form and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.

To make filling:

  • In a saucepan blend together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water and 1 cup of blueberries. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook until very thick. Add butter and lemon juice; mix well and let cool. Gently stir in remaining 2 cups of blueberries and refrigerate about 1 hour. In a small mixing bowl beat whipping cream until thick. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Cover bottom of pie shell with half the whipped cream. Pour blueberry filling over whipped cream. Chill about 2 hours. Top pie with remaining whipped cream.

I also made another batch of the whipped cream to keep on hand for any little desserts or fruit cups I decided to make. During our dinner, I always make a cup of fresh mixed fruits and usually drizzle with honey. This week, I topped it off with the whipped cream much to my dads delight. Some tips for making the whipped cream are to put the metal bowl and beater attachment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before stirring. I used my kitchen aid mixer for this. Do not over beat either. About 5 minutes is plenty.

 

Easy Cooking

Dill Potatoes

Dill Potatoes

A few weeks ago I came across this delicious recipe while looking for ways to use some dill in my cooking. Every year Justin and I plant a vegetable garden in our back yard. I thought it would be nice to include an herb and why not some dill? My famous chicken noodle soup recipe uses this, as do our home made pickles. The things is, we now have TONS of dill! So on my search went for some more ways to include dill in my cooking. It's also quite nice in salads by the way. This new dinner was a huge hit with my husband who requested that I keep this as a go to. First off you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp of salt for the water
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of dill chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese shredded

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with cut potatoes and add warm water until there is ½" of water above the top of the potatoes. Stir in 1 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook red potatoes at a light boil for about 10-12 min in salted water or until you can smoothly pierce potatoes with a fork. Remove from heat and drain well.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp butter. Transfer potatoes to the buttery skillet then sprinkle with garlic salt to taste. Toss potatoes to coat them in butter and sprinkle again with garlic salt. Let potatoes sit undisturbed for 2-3 minutes then turn them and let sit another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Once potatoes are starting to turn golden on the second side, turn them and sprinkle generously with fresh dill and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let the potatoes sit in the hot skillet to let the cheese melt a bit then serve.

Crazy for Coconuts

Coconut Oil

coconut

One of the biggest health and beauty crazes of 2014 is coconut oil. The best kind to use is pure, unrefined, cold pressed, organic extra virgin. This can easily be found at any grocery store for around $7-10. What's all the fuss about you ask? Well, after conducting a 2 month test, I'll let you in on all the goodies this yummy oil has to offer.

Cooking:

To start off, coconut oil is a healthy alternative for butter and fats in the diet. You can use it to saute vegetables, roast kale or sweet potatoes, add into smoothies or oatmeal (which I do every morning), use it in baked goods, and even over popcorn. Not to mention it tastes great too, just like a coconut, go figure. I use this oil as much as I can in my cooking or baking. If I juice some vegetables or fruit I mix some in, if I make a smoothie the oil goes in. Any more when I bake up some treats, this is the oil I use or when I need to coat some veggies for sauteing or roasting, you guessed it, coconut oil.

Beauty:

This light weight oil, jam packed with vitamin E, can be used on your skin or hair. I like to add some oil, heated so that it turns into a liquid state, into my hair before I take a shower for about 1 hour. Then I shampoo it out and continue with my normal conditioning. Also, sometimes I put the oil on after my shower, while my hair is still damp, as to moisturize the ends and keep them shiny. Only a little bit is needed though or the hair looks too greasy and no one likes that. As a body moisturizer, I put this on after my shower, within 3 minutes of getting out so as not to loose any of the moisture from the shower. It does smell faintly of coconuts, which I like, but that does fade after a little while if you are one who does like the scent as much.

 

Oil Pulling:

The reason why most people are becoming aware of coconut oil is because of a morning ritual technique called oil pulling. Before brushing or flossing, you take a spoon full of the oil, swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes like a mouth wash, spit it out preferably into a trash can as to not block up your drain, rinse your mouth with salt water, and then continue on with flossing and brushing as you regularly would. What happens within those 20 minutes really is quite remarkable. The oil literally pulls out all of the bacteria from inside the mouth and creates a clean environment. Your breath smells fresher over time, your teeth become whiter, and the bacteria becomes non existent. I do this about 3 times a week for the full 20 minutes. When I'm traveling I take it down a notch to about 10 minutes. One thing to remember is not to swallow any of the oil while swishing. In doing that, you basically swallow the bacteria back into the body.

 

Health:

This do it all oil not only helps hair stay shiny, skin stay moisturized, eases cooking and baking, but it is also extremely good for you as well. Where has this magic oil been all of my life!?  Health benefits include, helps in easing digestion, improves bone health, healing damaged tissue and infections, treats pancreatitis and Alzheimer's disease, rich in lauric acid that helps maintain blood sugar and cholesterol, prevents diseases affecting the liver and kidney, prevents and effectively cures candida, and strengthens the immune system.