Monday, August 3, 2015

Eats in Destin, Florida

Edited: I forgot to mention that I don't eat seafood! I received some great restaurant suggestions in the comments, but they were places I ruled out because they didn't have anything that I would eat. ;-) However, if you're a seafood lover, be sure to check out those suggestions!

Hey all!

So, I've been taking a bit of a blogging break (I feel like I keep saying that, but summer has been SO BUSY that I can't keep up with blogging) but I'm back to give some recaps on our trip to Destin!

I'll include the pictures I have (which are all iPhone pics...I didn't feel like hauling my huge camera with me on this trip) and at the end I'll give some bullet point recommendations.

So, one of the coolest places we ate at was called LuLu's. There's also one in Gulf Shores (so I've been told).

This is what makes LuLu's so cool - the back of the restaurant is faces the bay (I think it was the bay).  They have this big sand area and the kids can go play out there. It's a really pretty view.

The food wasn't that great, in my humble opinion. I grabbed a snap of the menu for you! It's mostly burgers, salads and sandwiches. We arrived early because every place in Destin gets super crowded and we didn't want to wait three hours to be sat (yes, that did happen somewhere else!). Unfortunately, 4:45 must be shift change time and we lost our waitress and ended up with another and it caused mass confusion with our order which ended up pretty messed up.

Lulu's saving grace was their key lime pie. It was SOOOO GOOD!

One place that everyone told me to check out was The Donut Hole. Y'all. I was SO EXCITED. I mean, I never use the word y'all so that should tell you how excited I was.

And then I was disappointed. Majorly. I don't know if they were having an off day or what, but the food was awful. I had the french dip with onion rings and it was honestly no good. No one in our group (my in-laws were with us) liked what they had. The donuts themselves were just okay.

Another fun night out was at Uncle Bucks. You can go bowling here, which we did, and if you can't tell by the decor, it's owned by Bass Pro Shops. The food was decent and the kids loved the atmosphere.

 My very, VERY favorite meal was at The Back Porch. The view is phenomenal and they got us seated really quickly. We were on the second story deck and it came with an AWESOME view.

See what I mean? We watched a pod of dolphins playing while we waited on our food. I'm not even kidding. It was the coolest thing ever.

 The last place I have a pic of is Fudpuckers, not to be confused with Fudruckers. Two different things.

And why, you're asking yourself, doesn't she have a picture of the food? Well, because we waited THREE HOURS to sit down and eat, and by that time I was so ravenous that I forgot to take a picture.


Fudpuckers is fun. You can watch a live alligator show, feed the alligators, visit the gift shop and they also have an arcade. All that should have been my first clue that there was a long wait ahead of us.

The food was standard, over-priced vacation fare. It was fine but nothing great and I certainly wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad we did it once.

 So, here's my list (some places aren't pictured) of recommendations:

Definitely go to:
The Back Porch
Bubba Gumps (I've been to several and this was one was by far the very best food)
The Beach House (if you're in Sandestin, it's a great place to eat when actually at the beach)
Fudpuckers - it's a good, one-time experience
LuLu's - if just for the atmosphere and pie

For food and fun:
Uncle Buck's

Not for me:
The Donut Hole

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

So, I bought this antique cake plate that I LOVE and it was just begging for a cake. I was going to make one of my go to cake recipes, but I decided to switch it up and combine two of my very favorite flavors - chocolate and peanut butter. 

This cake it one of my favorite recipes for a from scratch chocolate cake - it's moist and so flavorful. Even if you don't like a peanut butter frosting, file this cake recipe away! You can use it with just about any frosting and it's always great.

And speaking of this It's one of my favorites. You'll notice that I always make a LOT of frosting. I pack up the extra in a storage container and whoever wants more can add some to their slice!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

For the Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for pans)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (plus extra for pans)
2.5 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream (light sour cream is fine)

For the Frosting:
1.5 pounds of powdered sugar (I buy the 2lb bag and use 3/4 of the bag)
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed


Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add cocoa and whisk until dissolved. In a mixer, combine butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add cocoa. Add sour cream. Mix well.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, soda, powder and salt. Add in batches to wet mixture, stirring to combine.

Use extra butter to coat two 9" round pans. Be sure to get the sides! Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and rotate the pan to coat. Tap out extra over a trash or sink.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Slap pans on the counter once to knock out air bubbles from cake.

Bake about 30 minutes, checking with a toothpick for doneness. I usually pull them out just before their done.

Remove from pans to wire racks and let cool completely.

For the Frosting:

In a mixer combine butter and sugar. Add peanut butter and milk as needed until desired frosting consistency is reached.

NOTE: When I make a cake like this, I usually frost the middle before adding all the milk. The frosting will be thicker and won't squish out! Once I've put the frosting in the middle, I thin out the remaining frosting with a little more milk for a more spreadable consistency.

Frost and serve! Store extra frosting in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sweet Pepper Poppers

My mom came up with this little gem and I CAN'T GET ENOUGH. 

Seriously, these are SO GOOD.

And if you think you won't like them because they have the word pepper, don't write them off yet. These are sweet peppers - there is no spice at all!

Sweet Pepper Poppers

1lb sweet peppers
1 block cream cheese at room temperature
1 package ranch dressing mix (or buttermilk ranch mix)

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Chop the tops off the peppers (where the stem is) and then slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stems and the ribs.  Place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until the peppers are just starting to roast up.

In a bowl, mix cheese with ranch mix. Place cheese mixture in peppers and return to oven until cheese is melted and browned (about 5 minutes).

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Our trip to Magnolia Market, Junque in the Trunk & Harp Design Co.

Raise your hand if you're a fan of Fixer Upper!

Alright, so I'm assuming you all raised your hands! If so, this is the post for you!

Last week, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Waco, Texas. Why would we want to visit Waco? Well, solely for Magnolia Market, Junque in the Trunk and Harp Design Co., of course!

Waco is about 8+ hours from where we live, so we actually drove to Grapevine first, but that is for another post.

Our first stop was...

 I mean really, where else did you think our first stop would be? ;-)

Magnolia Market is currently located in what I would say isn't the best area of Waco. That was just my impression, but I could be wrong! Certainly the way we drove in made it seem that way. There also isn't any parking, so you utilize the parking lot for the business next door.

You're greeted at the door with this adorable water stand. Love!

We got there right when they opened, which is exactly what I would recommend you do if you're thinking of visiting to Magnolia Market. By the time we left, the place was absolutely packed!

I'm including lots of pictures so that you can see what the whole store looks like. It's pretty small, and I'm sure the new one will be a lot larger!
Everyone who works there is so helpful! See that gray ladder above? I might have come home with that.
 I might have also gotten a few of the things in these pictures as well. I'm working on some remodeling projects that I can't wait to show you!

There is also another building that is detached but just steps away from the main Magnolia Market. It looks like this:

Inside, there is a lot of dead space - I'm not sure if they were just sold out of a lot or what. There were some dishes, fake flowers, Joann's jewelry and galvanized buckets.

It was great to visit! I was surprised to see that almost everything is available online, only because I never felt that their website was that large. Hopefully they will up their number of SKU's when their new store opens. My only other criticism is the pricing. It was the first store of our very long day, so I bought things that I later found for much cheaper.

Next up was Junque in the Trunk, which you might remember from season 2 of Fixer Upper. 

I absolutely loved this store! In my head it was a lot bigger, not that it was small in person. 

I might have brought something from the above picture home with me. Any guesses?

I chatted quite a lot with the owner and found out that she went to school with Joanna and that they are friends. She's also recently engaged and she loved my ring, so she snapped some pics of it which was flattering!

They also stock a lot of the same accessories - I know I saw the bread holders and galvanized buckets here for much cheaper.

You can shop on their Facebook page, so be sure to look for that!

Our last stop on the Fixer Upper part of our day (we visited probably 10 other stores outside of these three!) was Harp Design Co, which is conveniently located right next to the Harp's House...which of course, was featured on Fixer Upper!

Funny story - the Harp's were home and we saw them outside! 

I love everything they show on Fixer Upper, so I had pictured a large showroom. In actuality, the showroom was quite small and very empty. There was one piece I was interested in (a bench) but it was already sold. They had no inventory in the back to sell. Interestingly, it seemed like all of the big pieces in the store had already sold.

Overall, we had a great day in Waco, and loved getting to see the places that are often shown on our favorite TV show! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Last Day of School!

Well, school is out!

The school my kids go to actually ended in May, so we've been out for two weeks now. We took a little impromptu trip last week which I can't wait to blog about. We visited Magnolia Market for all of those Fixer Upper fans!

But before I get to that, I had to share a little about my two main boys.

Brayden finished up Kindergarten. Unlike a lot of my friends schools, ours doesn't do a graduation with caps and gowns and all of that (which is a little sad for me) but they do a program where they sing and we watch a video of pictures of all the kids from the school year. 

I am amazed at what he's learned this past year!

He can read easy reader books, write full sentences, do addition and subtraction and even play math games on his computer. He has grown so much! He's much more outgoing and every kid in his class loved him, which is so fun for me to see. He makes friends so easily and has such a sweet spirit. He received an award for his love of God's word - he had memorized a Bible verse every week of the school year!

Brody attended Pre-K 3 this year, and we lucked out - he was able to be in the same class his brother was in when he attended Pre-K 3. We absolutely love his teacher!

Brody has always been very outgoing, so it was no surprise that he made fast friends with everyone in his class (and several of the other classes!). He has learned a lot, including how to write his name. He loves coloring, recess, library and story time. He also loves Wednesdays (he only goes 3 days a week) because they are Chick-fil-a days!

We are looking forward to a fun filled summer, and I hope you are too! I'll be back later this week with pictures of our trip to Waco and Grapevine. We visited Magnolia Market and several other shops that you've seen on HGTV if you're a fan of Fixer Upper!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How To Make A Culvert Garden Planter

A couple of months ago I dreamed up these planters. Thankfully, I have an awesome husband who can whip this sort of stuff up for me. I posted some pictures on Twitter and Facebook (and I'll be posting some on my new Instagram account too!) of my garden and people wanted to know more about the raised planters I'm using. 

So, here is what they look like. I've got five of them made out of leftover culverts we owned and weren't using. Culverts are big drainage pipes that are used underground to carry water. Now, I'm sure not everyone has these just laying around, but you can check Craigslist and find them or call around and see if your city has any they want to get rid of. Otherwise, check with a plumbing supply house (not a Lowe's or Home Depot).

Here is what you will need:

Culverts (mine are 48" wide and 4' tall)
1 garden hose
1 roll of thin metal wire
Drill with 3/8" drill bit (or similar)
Razor knife
Circular saw/sawzall/plasma cutter (one of the three)
Paint (if you're using a galvanized pipe, you'll need to make sure you have paint that will stick to galvanized metal)
Creek or clean gravel - enough to fill up half of your culvert
Garden grade dirt - enough to fill up the rest of your culverts


1.) Measure and mark your culverts for cutting.

2. Cut your culverts to length using a circular saw with a metal blade, a sawzall or a plasma cutter if you have one.

3.) Paint the culvert. Let dry completely.

4.) Using your knife, cut a slit through one side of the garden hose (not all the way through it - it should remain in one piece) so that it will wrap around the top of the culvert (see picture below).

5.) Place garden hose on top of the pipe as shown below.

6.) Drill a hole right below the garden hose every 10-12".

7.) Thread metal wire around garden hose, through the hole you just drilled and tighten (shown below).

8.) Set your culvert in place and make sure it is level, side to side and front to back.

9.) Fill your culvert halfway with gravel. ***If you're only using these to grow shallow plants, like herbs, you can use more gravel and less dirt which will be less expensive. ***

10.) Fill remainder of the culvert with garden dirt leaving about 4" of space at the top.

11.) Plant your garden!

Here is one of my planters - this one has potatoes and onions! These planters are GREAT for anything that will grow down into the dirt like carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, turnips etc. 

Let me know if you have any questions!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

So I joined Instagram...and an Instasale?

So, four plus years ago I created an Instagram account. I don't think I said anything about it at the time - if I am remembering correctly, Instagram was a new thing then and at the time, Twitter was super active.

Soooo...flash forward to the last six months. Every week someone asks me if I have an Instagram account. People are telling me they've ditched twitter and Facebook in favor of Instagram.

The catalyst for me was when I wanted to see something that an antique store in my area just got in and the only place they posted it was on Instagram.

So, I've joined the land of the living and now I'm actually using my Instagram. Guess what? I LOVE IT. I think I love it twice as much as Twitter and I've only been on there for like, two days or something.

If you want to follow me my name is JennasJourney. I'm still figuring it all out, but yesterday I posted a picture of the clothes I was cleaning out of my closet and a couple of people told me I should do an Instasale.

If you've done one of those, how does it work? Would you recommend doing it? I have a few pieces I would consider posting, but I'm not sure what the rules on that are. =)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Simplifying Our Morning Routine

Life with kids can be crazy hectic.

Between school, sports, church, family activities, birthday parties and the like, I feel like we are perpetually running late.

It's funny because I've always been the girl that's on time or even early, to everything. When my boys were little bitty, you could count on me to be the very first one at playgroup. If we had a doctor's appointment, I was there right on time. Meeting a friend for lunch? No problem, I'll be there early to get a good table.

But as the kids get older, it actually seems harder to get going.

Someone put on two different shoes.

This one forgot his backpack.

That one forgot his lunch.

They both forgot to use the bathroom before they headed out to the car.

One of the things we consistently struggle with is the battle over breakfast. I don't know about your kids, but if Chris or I don't sit there and police our boys, then they'll choose to goof off instead of eat in the mornings. And you might think that this battle gets easier during the summer, but that is not the case!

Why? Because all of the fun things that summer entails, like visits to the park with friends, heading off to see the grandparents, going to the lake to fish, packing up for a weekend getaway.

The great news is that I've found something new that will make my... I mean, our lives easier.

If you're like my family, we already love Kellogg's cereal. Brayden loves Fruit Loops, Brody's favorite is Frosted Flakes, I enjoy Raisin Bran Crunch and Chris likes Frosted Mini Wheats.

And now, instead of taking several precious minutes to locate four types of cereal, and get everyone fed, we can all just grab a Cereal In A Cup, new from Kellogg's. It will go wherever our busy family goes, and my kids can grab it without any help from us (score!). Best of all, it's available where I already shop - at Walmart!

If you need a quick and easy snack or breakfast, then grab your favorite Cereal In A Cup to go!

How are you #MakingTheMostOfSummer

Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a $100 Walmart gift card! Be sure to include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win!

Entry Instructions:
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 (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). 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 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/21/15 – 6/16/15.
Be sure to visit the Kellogg’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 of the Best Books I've Read Recently

It's been awhile since I've talked about my favorite books. I've always been a big reader, though in the last year, I've slowed down a bit. Sometimes I block myself into a corner when I'm reading and I only want to read books about a certain subject matter, which can really be a hindrance! I found myself in that place recently, so I decided to look back at some of my favorite reads and see if I can get myself out of my reading slump.

And if you've read something that you love recently, let me know in the comments!

Number FIVE:

Alright. Who wants a cute book with an adorable cover and and even better title? Meeeee!

So, Jennifer Smith has several of these uber cute books (The Geography of You and Me and This Is What Happy Looks Like are two of her other ones...I just finished TGOYAM and I liked the story but hated the ending). 

The interesting thing about this book is that it takes place over 24 hours. Our main character, Hadley, is heading from her mom's home in the states, to her Dad's wedding in England, and on the way, meets Oliver. I can't say much more without giving away the plot (mostly, because it all happens in one day!) but it was a great read and one my favorite books from the last year. 

 Number FOUR:

One of Rainbow Rowell's lesser known books is Attachments. Here is a book that gripped me from the moment I started reading it and finished out with a FANTASTIC ending. It isn't a heavy read, but I don't know if I would put it in the "light, beach read" category either. I think that comes down to the fact that this particular book drew me in from the first paragraph, and I simply couldn't put it down.

I've read several books by this author but this one remains my favorite. If you like her style but haven't checked Attachments out yet, then go get it! 

(Disclaimer - I was glancing through Goodreads and saw that apparently, I had been given a free copy of this by NetGalley. Obviously that did not affect my review being as I didn't even remember getting it for free, haha!).

Number THREE:

Two words. Nicholas Sparks.

Okay, so, seriously, I'm not a Sparks groupie. There are actually a fair amount of his books that I don't care for, however, this is probably the best one I've ever, ever read. And before you ask, no, I haven't seen the movie (I read the book long before the movie came out).

Whenever I tell anyone to read this book I get the obvious Nicholas Sparks related question, "Does it have a sad ending?" I'm going to do my best to answer this question without giving anything away. I'll tell you this - yes, I cried. I'll also tell you that I hate, hate, hate sad books that leave you with nothing at the end. This book is on my list of top reads so derive from that what you will and if you want to ask me anything specific about it, email me so that I don't give it away for people that don't want any hints. ;-)

Number TWO:

Coming in at number two is Anna and the French Kiss. HORRIBLE TITLE. Seriously, she could have named it literally anything else and it would've been better. However, do not let the title, or the terrible cover speak for the actual content of this book. (That sounds a bit harsh, but I take books seriously. Like, my filter is broken when it comes to books).

So, let's just get the obvious out of the way. 

This book is about Anna.
This book is not about a girl going to France to find her one true love.

I feel better now, having gotten that out of the way. Phew. 

Okay, so if you want to read a book full of imperfect people, living imperfect lives, but finding their real happiness, this might be the story for you.

And if you want to read a book that unfolds in a beautifully written, artfully flowing manner, so that it plays out like a movie in your head, then this might be the book for you. 

So basically, if you like to read, like even the teeniest, tiniest bit, then this is the book you need to go read. Like now.

Note: The other two books that sort of relate to this one without being sequels (Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After) are both really great too. I rated Isla's story a 5 star read and Lola's a 4 on Goodreads.

Number ONE:

In the number one spot is The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, aka The Fug Girls.

So here's a huge secret - I am a big fan of European royalty. Just kidding - if you've read this blog for awhile or if you follow me on twitter, then you probably already know that (I mean, I am the girl that tweeted the entire tour of Australia and both of Kate's births). So, when I heard that my twitter friends Heather and Jessica were writing a new book called The Royal We, I knew I had to read it.

It loosely follows the love story of Wills and Kate, but it is chock full of twists, turns and surprises.

If you like:
A.) Royalty
B.) Love Stories
C.) Will and Kate
D.) Tiaras
E.) Prince Harry
F.) London
Then you need to go buy this book. Like now. Come back to this post in a minute after you go buy your copy.

I should offer a slight disclaimer - I did receive a copy of this book for free. However, freebies of any sort never deter me from giving an honest opinion, and I honestly love this book and can't wait to read it again.

I am crossing my fingers that we get a sequel soon!

So, what have you read recently that you love?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Keep Good Going & Win A $100 Visa Gift Card!

Six years ago, I started this blog to chronicle our journey with infertility and loss.

Imagine my shock when, right after launching it (quite literally within a day or two) we found out I was pregnant.

After years of struggle and heartache and loss, we finally welcomed our first son Brayden in January of 2009.

Being a mom is something I always wanted. When I was a kid and teachers would ask us what we wanted to be, my reply was always "a stay-at-home mom." I'm not sure they knew what to make of that. ;-)

That's why, when I finally became one, Mother's Day and Father's Day became a couple of my and Chris's favorite holidays.

We love making new traditions for our little family, and that doesn't just apply to Christmas or Easter, but all the holidays we celebrate.

Like many of you, Chris holds his annual Father's Day BBQ at our house. Everyone is welcome, and they each bring their favorite family side dish. It's a fun conversation starter - we all share stories about Grandma's three bean salad, or the time that someone's uncle caught the yard on fire while lighting the BBQ.

On Mother's Day, we always go out to a nice brunch (that way mom doesn't have to cook!). My boys always pick out rainbow colored roses for me and color homemade cards, while Chris often picks out a gift with my little guys initials on it. We always set the auto timer on my camera and attempt to get the "perfect" family shot, which means we have a collection of photos where I'm running to get back into the frame, or one of the kids is making a funny face.

The good people at New York Life are Celebrating Good moments and special family experiences this season, and like me, they're hoping you'll share a picture of how you Keep Good Going over on their official page (just click here).

If you're looking to start your own set of traditions, then check out the thousands of tweets that people just like us have already shared using the hashtag #KeepGoodGoing, or on their webpage.

If entering please be sure to include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win!

Sweepstakes: To enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, leave a comment below letting me know your favorite ways to celebrate Mother's Day or Father's Day! What special traditions does your family love?
Entry Instructions:
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 (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). 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 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/14/15 – 6/30/15.
Be sure to visit the New York Life brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Back when I posted my Super Soft Sugar Cookie's recipe, I had intended to follow it up with my Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting recipe, but life got in the way and things got busy, and then before I knew it, I had totally forgotten about it!

But it dawned on me today that I never posted it, so I set out to right that wrong!

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
Use on: Super Soft Sugar Cookies

1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temp
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 lb powdered sugar
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Milk, if needed
Food coloring, if desired

Using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Once fluffy, add in sugar and extract. If frosting is too thick add milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Once cookies have cooled (I use this cookie recipe), frost and sprinkle them and store in an airtight container.

If you want to make the four frosting colors I made (white, pink, green and lavender) follow this method:
Frost the cream colored cookies first (frosting won't be totally white because of the butter and vanilla).
Divide remaining frosting into two bowls - one bowl with 2/3 of the frosting, the other bowl with 1/3.
Use food coloring drops or gel to create the green frosting in the bowl with 1/3 of the frosting.
Use food coloring drops or gel in to create the pink in the other bowl.
Once you're done with the pink frosting, add drops of blue coloring until your desired lavender color is created.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quinoa Pasta with Veggies and Chicken Meatballs (21 Day Fix Approved)

Lately, I've had a lot of requests for 21 Day Fix approved meals. I did some research on what that even is and then ordered a set of containers so I could work on some meals for you guys!

Here is my first one and it is super delicious. 

Note: If you're out of yellow containers for the day, then just bake off a spaghetti squash in place of the quinoa pasta.

Quinoa Pasta with Veggies & Chicken Meatballs

1 box quinoa pasta (any shape)
1 jar veggie marinara, no sugar added

2 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped

2lbs of lean ground chicken
1 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of parsley, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Sauté minced onion and garlic in EVOO until caramelized. Combine ground chicken with minced yellow onion, garlic, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well. Use a small ice cream scooper to make little meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 until done, about 15 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer to make sure they're properly cooked.

Up the oven temperature to 425. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spread veggies in an even layer and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and flavorful.

Cook quinoa pasta as directed. Heat marinara in a sauce pan.

To serve, use top a portion of pasta with a portion of veggies, add marinara and meatballs.

If following the 21 day fix use 1 yellow (pasta), 1 green (veggies), 1 red (meatballs) plus another 1/2 a green for marinara. If you're out of yellow, bake off a spaghetti squash and use 1/2 a green and forgo the yellow.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Refreshing Bean Salad

My great-grandmother used to make an amazing bean salad. It was vinegar based and just SO GOOD. I was inspired by that to make something a bit lighter and fresher that would work as an awesome appetizer (especially when paired with my garlic hummus and sea salt pita chips, which I'll link below). 

Go try it!

Refreshing Bean Salad
Yield: About 4-5 cups of bean salad

2 cans (14oz) kidney beans, rinsed
2 cans (14oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup minced red onion
4 cloves fresh minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
5 Tablespoons EVOO
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine beans, parsley, onion and dill. Separately, whisk together lemon juice, EVOO, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over bean mixture and combine well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold.

This goes great when served with my Garlic Hummus and Sea Salt Pita Chips.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Big Miracles Have Little Beginnings

For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. - Matthew 17:20

As a mom of two young boys, I feel that one of the best messages I can instill in them is this - Faith can move mountains and nothing is impossible with God. 

Having faith against all odds is often a moral that we, as parents, want to instill in our kids, and something we try to explain to them through stories and books. Today, I am thrilled to tell you about a brand new family friendly movie, hitting theaters on April 24, called the Little Boy movie that will give them a visual on how faith really can move mountains.

First, check out the trailer!

"Do you believe you can do this?" seven year old Pepper's dad asks as they play pirates in the living room. "Yes! I believe I can do this!" he replies.

And that is the central theme of this inspiring and uplifting story - believing that you can do the impossible, when God is on your side. Set in the 1940's, Pepper's dad is soon summoned to war, and Pepper believes that his faith can indeed move mountains, and even bring his beloved father safely home.

Faith is the central inspiration in this new movie, inspiring Pepper and pushing him forward in his quest. What inspires you? 

Chris and I are so excited to take our kids to see this uplifting and family friendly movie, and show them an example of a little boy just like them, who had faith that could really move mountains (PS - if you want to see some other moving mountains, be sure to check out Little Boy's awesome Instagram page).

If you're like me, and can't wait to purchase your tickets, then head over to Fandango to find a theatre near you! You can find out more about the Little Boy movie and the cast of the film by visiting their official page, here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter!

My poor blog has been a bit neglected as of late, but I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a (belated) Happy Easter!

I will be back soon with that frosting recipe I promised as well as to finish up my posts about our trip to Mexico. I also have a new slew of travel questions for our next trip (which will be in the summer of 2016 at the earliest). Any guesses on where we might be headed?

Luke 24:6-7
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ 
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