March 31, 2017

Currently {March 2017}

WEATHER : Snow, rain, freezing cold, sun; you name it. It's been quite the month of weather here in Utah.

LOVING : Target's Dollar Spot Easter decor, the warm sun and park dates, my Kindle Paperwhite (best invention ever), my new Merona tote handbag (so many colors and perfect for me - got it for 30% off, too)

READING : Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman and Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear 

LISTENING TO : One Republic's album Oh My My, Johnny Swim and Jess Glynne

SNACKING ON :  Noosa Yoghurt (Raspberry, pumpkin and vanilla are the winners so far), Cadbury Chocolate Crunch and Creme Mini Eggs, too many cookies, Honeycomb (the one cereal I cannot stop eating out of the box)

WATCHING : This is Us, Last Man Standing, Modern Family and season 3 of Downton Abbey (I'm totally behind the times, but I'm obsessed), Parks and Rec (finally started watching with my husband and we've definitely been missing out), Trolls (loved the humor and the music), Beauty and the Beast (it was so well-done visually and the music was amazing)

PLANNING : A little weekend trip to Southern Utah. So excited for a bit of a vacation.

LOOKING FORWARD TO : Warm summer days with my boys and going swimming. Can't. Wait.

NEED TO FINISH : Cutting and sewing some skinny jeans into shorts. It's my favorite way to get the length I want.

WISHING : I could go on a tropical vacation or just be by the ocean in general. I swear it's calling to me you guys.

GOAL : To find more time for me so I can unwind and take a break. Kids wear you out man!

WANTING : A toaster oven like this one. But, for real. I'd love a better way to warm up my food instead of only in the microwave. My husband says he loves the one he has at work.

FAVORITE FIND : Island Moonlight candle from Target (Anthro knock-off for half the price, best smell and you get the cutest bowl once it's all gone)

EATING OUT : Shredded beef burrito from Costa Vida (I got something other than sweet pork and that's a miracle!), ice cream cookie sandwich from The Baked Bear (decadent and delicious), Gnarly's Island Grill in Kaysville (not too shabby!), Blaze Pizza (it was so delicious!)

March 29, 2017

Fruity Pebble Sugar Cookies

I don't know about you, but Fruity Pebbles were my absolute favorite cereal as a kid. We didn't get them all the time, but when we did I would eat as many bowls as possible. Flash forward to today, it's still one of my guilty pleasures and my husband's as well.
When I saw this recipe I knew these cookies would be good. The best part is, they were even better than I imagined. This recipe makes a batch of large cookies that you won't be able to stop eating. They are chewy, fruity and perfectly sweet.
If you have any Fruity Pebbles fans in your life then you need to make these cookies for them. They will love them and so will you!

Fruity Pebbles Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Beyond Frosting
Makes 24 large cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal

1. Combine butter with sugar and beat on medium speed until well creamed together.
2. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix into butter and sugar until egg is well beaten.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Slowly add into batter and beat on medium-low speed until well combined and dough forms.
4. Mix in Fruity Pebbles cereal with a spatula so they do not get crushed.
5. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 30 minutes, but the longer the better.
6. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Use a large cookie scoop (3 Tbsp.) and scoop cookie dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Allow cookie to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

March 27, 2017

Chocolate Chow Mein Robin Egg Nests

These are the perfect Springtime/Easter treat to make with your kids! They are easy, cute and may I say delicious! You could easily switch out the kind of chocolate/baking chips you use, but I went with milk chocolate because it's our favorite.
You can also use any egg-shaped candy you like, but my boys love these Whopper's Mini Robin Eggs so that's what we went with. I'd say they are one of the cutest Easter egg-shaped candies around and one of the most addicting, too.

Chocolate Chow Mein Robin Egg Nests
Makes 12 nests
8 oz. milk chocolate chips
3 1/2 - 4 cups crunchy chow mein noodles
36 Whopper’s Mini Robin Eggs

1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners. Set aside.
2. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.
3. Stir in chow mein noodles until evenly coated.
4. Drop by spoonfuls into lined muffin tin and mold into nest shapes.
5. Let set at room temperature or place muffin tin in the fridge to set up quicker.
6. Place three Whopper’s Mini Robin Eggs on top of each nest.

March 25, 2017

Creamy Coconut Hawaiian Haystacks

I'm not sure exactly where Hawaiian Haystacks originated, but they definitely seem to be popular among Utah families. I personally only had them once or twice growing up in Utah, but once I was married I made them ALL the time because they were cheap, filling and good.
The original recipe I used called for a ton of butter, a can of condensed soup and a few more unhealthy ingredients. I absolutely love how this new recipe is lightened up and uses coconut milk to create a truly tropical dish.
I think you will love this new version of Hawaiian Haystacks that is perfect for your whole family!

Creamy Coconut Hawaiian Haystacks
Adapted from Oh Sweet Basil
2 cups cooked white rice 
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup whole milk or cream
1 (13.6 oz) can coconut milk, divided
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice

crunchy chow mein noodles
cheddar cheese
pineapple tidbits
lime juice or True Lime powder

1. In saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and melt. Add the garlic, whisking quickly and then flour and continue to whisk for one minute.
2. Add salt, black pepper, onion powder, milk/cream and half the coconut milk. Whisk and then bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for 2 minutes or until thick. Whisk in remaining coconut milk, sour cream and lemon juice. Add the chicken and season to taste.
3. To serve, place rice on bottom, chicken gravy on top and any toppings you desire. Store leftovers in separate containers in the fridge.

March 18, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan: Week One

I wanted to start sharing weekly meal plans and the easiest way for me to do that is to share the ones I create for my family every week.

I have a few tips and tricks to meal planning that I'd love to share in a future post because meal planning not only saves you money, but it makes cooking so much easier and more enjoyable. Trust me on that one!

For now, check out these amazing recipes for an awesome week of meals your family will love!
Sunday: Easy Stovetop Shells & Cheese and Roasted Carrots

Monday: Thai Chicken Curry with Red Peppers with rice

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Pizza and salad

Wednesday: Hawaiian Haystacks with rice

Thursday: Slow Cooker Quinoa Casserole

Friday: Bestest Belgian Waffles, hashbrowns and bacon

Saturday: Enchilada Chicken Skillet with tortilla chips

Snack: Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

March 17, 2017

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars

Now this is one of those, "why the heck did I not think of this sooner" recipes. But, for real. Crunchy, cinnamon-marshmallowy goodness?? What's not to love? And while l'm a faithful fan of original Rice Krispies treats, these might just be a new favorite.
These come together in 10 minutes or less and will be eaten in 5 minutes or less. They are so addicting and perfectly sweet.
You can either cut them up to serve them or just tear out a big chunk to snack on like I did, which results in them being gone faster of course.
Anyway, this a new treat that will be come a staple in your household and probably at every family gathering you attend from here on out!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars
1/4 cup butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal 

1. Spray an 11x17 or 9x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large pot, melt better over low heat. Add marshmallows and cook over medium-low heat until marshmallows are completely melted.
3. Once marshmallows are melted, remove pot from heat and add cereal to the pot, stirring to coat.
4. Press into prepared pan and cool. Cut into bars and serve.

March 15, 2017

Coconut Lime Chicken with Coconut Rice

This chicken and rice has changed my life you guys. Like, I will never be the same. Not only is the marinade on the chicken AMAZING, but the coconut rice is fantastic. There is so much flavor in this dish that you won't know what hit you!
I love that you not only soak the chicken in the marinade, but you use the marinade as a sauce, too. I think what makes it so different is the sweetness of it, which is perfect. It pairs so well with the coconut rice, too. In other words, you need to make this ASAP!

Coconut Lime Chicken with Coconut Rice
Adapted from Bite of Delight
2 large chicken breasts, butterfly if thick
1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. olive oil
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
dash of cayenne
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

Coconut Rice
2 cups white rice
1 can coconut cream* (or coconut milk)
 2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp. salt

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag or medium mixing bowl. Add chicken, making sure to coat with marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. When ready to cook chicken, start the rice.  Add all rice ingredients to a large saucepan (or rice cooker). Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat, for 15 minutes.
3. Pour marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Place and cook chicken breasts 3-5 minutes per side until no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (Be careful not to overcook.)
5. Remove chicken from pan and thinly slice. Serve over coconut rice and top with cilantro and lime juice.

*You can find this at Trader Joe’s.

March 13, 2017

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Since it's still definitely soup season around here, I wanted to share this recipe with you before it gets too warm. I am a huge fan of tortellini because really, what's not to love? I had some extra in the freezer and wanted to use up some carrots as well and voila! This soup comes together in no time at all and is so flavorful and comforting.
We served this with some Parmesan toasts that you can check out the recipe for on my Instagram: They paired so well together! I'm drooling just thinking about this meal!

Creamy Tortellini Soup
Adapted from Diethood
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp. onion flakes
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini (or frozen)
2 cups half & half
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
dried parsley and shredded parmesan, for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and onion flakes and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour until it's evenly coating the veggies and cook for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
2. Gradually add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tortellini and half & half and continue simmering for 4-5 minutes or until the tortellini is al dente.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve immediately and sprinkle each serving with dried parsley and parmesan. 

March 11, 2017

Mini Key Lime Fro Yo Pies

I made these months ago, but thought these would be perfect for St. Patrick's Day! I honestly made these because I needed a reason to use some Key Lime Pie yogurt that was about to go bad in my fridge. Luckily, they turned out great!
These were so fun to make and were the perfect little frozen treat to pull out of the freezer when I wanted something sweet.
They would make the best spring/summer treat and you could totally switch up the yogurt to make different flavored pies and even top them with fresh fruit. I'm so excited to try out different flavor combinations!
Be sure to make these for your family to add a little green into your diet this month. ;)

Mini Key Lime Fro Yo Pies
Adapted from Yoplait
Makes 15 pies
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 rectangles crushed)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Filling and Topping
2 (6 oz.) containers Yoplait Key Lime yogurt
whipped cream

1. Place mini muffin liners 15 muffin cups.
2. In a small bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined. Spoon and press 1 tablespoon into bottom of each muffin cup. Top each with 1 rounded tablespoon of yogurt.
3. Place in freezer about 1 hour or until frozen. Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature before serving. Garnish with whipped cream just before serving.

*Store in freezer in an airtight container for up to a week.

March 8, 2017

Easy 1-Hour Breadsticks

I'm always looking for simple bread recipes that come together easily with minimal rising time and I've found another winner! These breadsticks are so simple and comforting.
There are only a few simple steps and they are done in under an hour. Now you can't beat that! I also love how fluffy and chewy they are. They make a perfect side to pasta, salads or whatever you're having for dinner.
The best part is you can easily adapt the flavor by trying different seasonings and cheese. Garlic, parsley and Parmesan are always a good combination p.s.! ;)

Easy 1-Hour Breadsticks
Slightly Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Makes about 16-20 breadsticks
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
Butter and Topping:
3 Tbsp. butter, melted (for the baking sheet)
Dried herbs, garlic salt and grated Parmesan cheese

1. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, salt and one cup of the flour.
2. Continue adding the flour until the dough just clears the sides of the bowl; knead for about three minutes. It should be soft and slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers.
3. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
4. While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the melted butter onto large, rimmed baking sheet (about 11X17-inches).
5. On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a long rectangle, about 16-inches by 7-inches or so. Cut the dough every 1-inch (more or less) into strips with a pizza cutter.
6. Twist each strip slightly and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, spread some of the melted butter on top of the breadsticks. Sprinkle lightly with dried herbs of choice, garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.
7. Let rise for 20 minutes in a warm room. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

March 6, 2017

Greek Pasta Salad

I am a huge advocate of anything "Greek" inspired, especially when it comes to feta, so I knew I would love this recipe. It is so simple, but the vinaigrette takes it to a whole new level. Each bite is so satisfying and flavorful.
I mean how can you resist pasta, cheese, veggies and a yummy dressing?? I know I can't. You've got to make this one for your next family get together!

Greek Pasta Salad
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
12 oz. dry pasta (I used Farfalle)
1 cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. onion flakes
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. dried oregano, minced
1 tsp. honey
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. freshly-cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of generously-salted water according to package instructions. Drain pasta, then rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot. Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl and let cool.
2. Whisk all of the lemon-herb vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
3. Add cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese to the mixing bowl, then drizzle all of the vinaigrette evenly on top. Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing. Serve immediately, garnished with extra feta and black pepper if desired.