Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our Trip to Lake Tahoe

Last week we took a trip to my favorite place on earth, (no, believe it or not, I'm not talking about Disney) Lake Tahoe.

We always go with my parents - I've been going to Lake Tahoe since I was a baby with them, so why change things now?! ;-)

My boys love it there, much like me. There are playgrounds on the beach that they love and we take a raft down the Truckee River which is really fun as well! We also have lots of favorite restaurants (Bridgetender and Sunnyside are our two local favorites if you plan on visiting) and shops too! 

Another favorite thing we do is to take a gondola up to the top of Heavenly Mountain. Unfortunately, we all had sinus infections and I experienced altitude sickness for the very first time (we've been taking the gondola for years!). I can't wait for the boys to get older because there are zip lines and an awesome ropes course at the top of the mountain.

This is the view from HALFWAY up!

This is the one place that I would pick up and move to - I just LOVE Tahoe. I love the weather, love the people, love the shops, love the mountains...I love it all!

The only one who wasn't too thrilled with our trip was this little girl:

Miss Bodega Bay went to puppy school for two weeks while we were gone. Unfortunately, she didn't learn anything there, but she is very smart and I will continue to teach her at home. We're currently working on "lay down" and "don't eat the kids shoes" (notice the slipper sitting behind her).   ;-)  She is SO happy to be home!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation, Disney & Rachael Ray

This week I'm out of town, visiting my favorite place on earth, but more on that later.

While I'm gone, my friends and I have some great posts scheduled for you over at Real Mom's Disney. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, take a peek and let us know what you think!

Our goal is to help everyone who has a desire to go to Disney plan their trip. Learning Disney Speak is like learning a foreign language, and we want to help you sift through the huge amount of information.

Here are a couple of cool posts we have up:

How to Use the Disney Dining Plan
Onsite or Offsite? Where to Stay
Ways to Save on Disney Tickets
Memory Maker: What It Is & Is It Worth It?
Crowd Calendars: What They Are & How To Use Them
Getting Started: Setting a Budget (This post includes a free downloadable budget spreadsheet!)

And if there is something that you want to know more about, we do take post requests! Just send us an email or leave us a comment! We've got 4-5 posts coming each week for the next couple of months, so chances are, it's written and waiting to be posted!

Even when I'm on vacation, I check Zulily. I'm so glad that they've started selling more than just kids clothing. That was great when my boys were little...I scored some great deals on toys and clothes, but now they have a opinion about that kind of thing.

Today they have one of my favorite brands, Rachael Ray, on sale. I own LOTS of her pieces and if you're in the market for bakeware or if you're stocking up for Christmas gifts, I'd recommend checking her line out.

I have these in white and they are my favorite baking dishes ever. I make my Noodle Bake in them a lot!

I hope everyone has an awesome week! Hopefully, I'll have some fun vacation pics to share soon!

Monday, July 14, 2014

And now I'm 30.

My birthday was this past Friday.

And now I'm 30.

I'm totally not thrilled about it, just to be honest. I've never not looked forward to a birthday until this year. 

However, several friends have told me that the 30's are soooo much better than the 20's. I hope they're right!

So, somehow, I only managed to get ONE picture from my entire birthday weekend. And it was of my cake:

My husband is so cute. Can you imagine him calling the bakery and ordered a Minnie Mouse cake ... for his soon to be 30 year old wife?

He said they laughed.

I don't blame them.

The cake was DELICIOUS.

He also surprised me with breakfast in bed. I've mentioned this before, but my brother and I were born on the same date (not twins) so we had lunch together on Friday. That night we went to one of my favorite local restaurants. They use only local products for all of their meals and my falafel was SO good.

It was a really fun day, and I'm thankful for my family. They know how to treat a girl on her big day! ;-)

In other news, I've been a little MIA here because I've been working on my other blog, Real Mom's Disney, with my friends Melissa and Lindsey. If you or someone you know is thinking about taking a trip to Disney World, you need to check it out! We've got TONS of information already posted (we launched last month!) and more on the way. Leave us some comment love!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Spicy Black Bean Tostada & A Giveaway!

Have you heard about Meatless Monday? Basically, you derive your protein from sources other than meat once a week. I really like this idea but getting my meat loving boys (all three of them) on board has proved to be a bit difficult.

I was looking for a creative way to introduce them to Meatless Monday and roaming the aisles of my local grocery store when I found MorningStar Farms burger patties. The first thing I actually saw was their veggie bacon which looked delicious. Then I noticed a whole line of burgers that I had never seen before, but that all looked delectable. Plus? All twelve MorningStar Farms veggie burgers are a good source of protein!

The other burgers sounded equally delicious to me:
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Burger (I would use this as a gyro)
  • Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burger
  • Buffalo Chik Patty (sub this out for regular chicken in my Chicken Rollup recipe)
  • Original Veggie Sausage

I decided to try the Spicy Black Bean Burger because it seemed like something every member of my family would love!  Instead of serving my Spicy Black Bean Burger the traditional way, I made a tostada out of it because my family loves Mexican food and it seemed like a perfect pairing! Here is my super easy recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Spicy Black Bean Tostada

1 MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burger per person
1 tostada shell per person
Romaine lettuce
Grilled corn
Black beans, drained and rinsed
Monterey Jack cheese
Sharp cheddar cheese
Other toppings as desired: tomatoes, dressing etc.

In a skillet, over medium heat, cook and break up your thawed MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers. Cook about 5 minutes, or until warmed through.

Heat tostada shell in the over per package directions. Fill shell with lettuce, toppings and cooked Spicy Black Bean Burger.


Another perk of this recipe is that the Spicy Black Bean Burger is so flavorful on its own that we didn't need to use any salad dressing, making this even more health conscious!

For more great recipe ideas using MorningStar Farms veggie burgers, check out their recipe collection!

Tell me which MorningStar Farms burger sounds like something YOUR family would love in the comments and you'll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/7-8/10/2014.
Be sure to visit the MorningStar Farms brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

17 Fourth of July RECIPES!

Right before every holiday, I get emails and tweets asking for ideas of what to make, or what I'm making. I keep thinking that I should write a post before each holiday with recipe ideas but failing to do so...until today. I am finally on the ball and here are some ideas for your fourth of July get together!

PS: I'm not posting main dishes this time, because most people BBQ or smoke meat!


Corn Dip

Sin Dip

Side Dishes:

Bacon Pasta Salad

Spicy BBQ'ed Potato Salad

Pasta Salad (SO easy, and can be made a day or two ahead - it just gets better as it sits!)

Ranch Cornbread Salad

Yeast Rolls

Orzo Salad


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