Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coconut Christmas Cookies

Number 1, I know I've been missing in action on my blog.  Number 2, I know coconut and Christmas don't quite go hand in hand but what the heck.  I think any sweets and Christmas go together!  I also thought why not go ahead and try blogging again today.  If it makes you feel good, than do it.  These little gems are a cross between butter cookies and macaroons. So please, eat the cookie.  Better yet, have two!
Mario saw some coconut cookies in a magazine and asked me to make them. Sooo being the good wife I am I decided to make my own version ;)  This recipe is adapted from my mommas Gooey Chocolate Cookies that I have made a couple versions of so far.  The base is a cake mix, so it's pretty easy and has just a few ingredients.  I love that. We are big coconut lovers over here. 

1 box French Vanilla cake mix
1 package softened cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 stick softened butter
1 cup flaked coconut
1 egg

Cream butter and cream cheese in stand mixer. Add in egg and extract, mix on med high speed until smooth.  Then add cake mix and whip together.  Lastly incorporate coconut flakes.  Chill dough in fridge for about 2 hours. Spoon onto Silpat cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes depending on your oven.  Cool cookies on a rack then enjoy!  Store in airtight container.
Thanksgiving is just a few short days away and I am so excited!  We are going up to Arlington and celebrating with the hubsters side of the family.  There will be turkey and all the fixings, lasagna, and my macaroni and cheese.  I'm debating sharing that calorie fest recipe seeing as a lot of my friends are healthy work out mamas!  They would shoot me down ;)

Thank you for reading, and I hope you all have a blessed holiday week!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My version of Stuffed Shells.

I posted a picture on Instagram last week of this dinner. A few friends said it looked delicious and one might like the recipe.  So here it is, I aim to please.  This dish has a few steps but it also has a some short cuts.  I'm all about Semi-homemade meals, ala Sandra Lee! 
I basically love anything with pasta as does the rest of my family.  The creamy sauce was pretty much drinkable.  It would be great with raviolis or even lasagna. I hope that you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients for Sauce

1 jar pre-made Alfredo Sauce (here's the short cut)
1 can Organic Diced Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon fresh Organic Basil, Chiffonade (fancy term for thin strips)
Garlic Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1/2 cup water

Heat sauce to medium heat till flavors have melded together. 
While your making sauce bring a big pot of water to boil for your shells.  I used about 15 Jumbo Shells from Ronzoni.  I would boil extra in case some tear or you end up needing more.

Filling for Shells

1 20 oz Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Tomato Basil Feta Cheese crumbled
1 Organic Egg
Garlic Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix filling in medium bowl. 
After Shells are done boiling take them out and lay on foil to cool.
Meanwhile spray a 9x13 casserole dish and then ladle some of the sauce into bottom of dish.  Coating the entire surface.
When shells are cool enough to touch you can spoon ricotta mix into them with a spoon. A piping bag would have been a nice touch but this mama did not have time for that ;)  When all the shells are filled up you can gently pour the rest of your sauce over them.  Making sure to fill every nook and cranny. 

Final touch would be to garnish top of shells with more fresh basil.  Then bake your pasta in a 350 degree oven until hot about 15-20 minutes. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Camping!

This end of Summer camp trip is always our most favorite of all.  We go every year with my folks, and close family friends that are more like aunties and cousins to us.  Just the drive is the crappy part, 4 hours with young kids can be less than perfect.  This road trip was actually much easier though because we took our nephew Logan, and both girls just adore him!  Gia and Amira are both at the age to where they finally listen and don't go running off into the road!
My parents have been taking us camping here at Lake Mayfield for 20 years now.  Back in the day we started out in tents.  Then progressed to tent trailers and now they have a beautiful 5th wheel.  Amira bunked with them the first few nights.  She cant get enough of her grandparents and their new puppy Wyatt!
Mario and I have a camper and I'm so thankful for that.  My old aging body couldn't handle sleeping on the dirt floor!  This year our camper was full of kids coloring, goofing around, and more than I like to admit, watching Peppa Pig.  Gia is newly in love with this cartoon.  One fun things the kids were able to do was go jet skiing.  Or as I would say, Sea Doo'in.  I took Amira out on her first rides ever and it was a blast!  That girl likes to go full throttle, not surprised.  Now Mario is on Craigslist looking at Sea Doos, lol!
We did a couple camping trips this Summer and one log cabin excursion.  Getting outdoors and doing fun things with our girls are most important to us.  In the next few years I hope to have a tropical getaway with the hubs, I'm patiently awaiting our alone time ;)  Thank you for reading!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Oven Baked Potatoes with Bacon

Wow.  It has been eons since I blogged.  I'm not sure if anyone has noticed much. Haha. Well here I am tonight with a simple rustic recipe.  Blogging about food is much easier these days than spilling all my beans!  Lately in Washington we've been going through a good heat wave which has left me very wary of turning on a 400* oven!  We don't have AC in our house and I'm seriously thinking we need it by next Summer.  The past few evenings haven't been as brutal so I thought, why not turn that bad boy on and make some stick to your ribs food.
It doesn't look like much but these potatoes will have them running from the hills.  The smells coming from your oven will be like bacon heaven.  Sorry if you're a vegetarian!  The recipe is very easy, has few ingredients, and most likely you already have them in your pantry and fridge!  I made steak and salad to go along with these but you could just eat this as your meal.
These potatoes are my hubbys fave and a close second to mine.  Here's what you'll need.


375 degree pre heated oven
1 1/2 pounds of baby red potatoes, quartered
1 small white onion, diced
3 pieces bacon cut into lardon (strips) getting fancy ;)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Red Pepper Flakes
Dried Basil
In large baking dish 9x13 I add my potatoes and onions.  I try to cut my potatoes and onion similar in size.  Then I add sliced bacon (lardon).  Add minced garlic and olive oil and toss together.  Season with salt and pepper liberally (after the oil so it sticks) We love heat so I add quite a bit of red pepper flakes but you can use less or none if you wish.  Dried basil or fresh would be perfect for this dish.  I just sprinkle it on before putting in oven.  Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned.

I hope that you enjoy this dish and if you don't try it now, maybe in Fall, my favorite season!  Thank you so much for reading!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life Via the Camera Phone.

We haven't exactly had a ton of uber exciting things happen around here.  Which is actually quite fine for me, I like having a schedule and set plans for the family.  I was definitely more spontaneous in my 20's!  With Amira finished with pre-school we are finding fun things to do around our town.  I love having play dates with friends and letting the girls socialize with kids their ages.  It's also really nice and therapeutic for this mama to see her girlfriends too.
I have been taking full advantage of my Mothers Day gift, aka my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  I have baked three from scratch cakes and one ice cream candy pie.  We have some serious sweet tooths here!
Around our house the hubs and I are finding home projects to start, and finish lol.  We had a huge pile of topsoil delivered last weekend that we are using to grow more grass around the fence line and fill a dip we had in the backyard.  Night, after night Mario has been outside with his wheelbarrow doing man stuff.  I took a trip to Lowes and purchased some perennials and other flowers.  I'm praying that I can keep them alive!  Mario picked up a new hummingbird feeder for me and I put it out on the front of the house.  I love hummingbirds!
The filled dip/slope
The coming weekend we are ripping out our front porch and building a new one, which I am super happy about!  The girls love hanging out there finding bugs and caterpillars.  I don't know about your place, but caterpillars are everywhere these days.  Amira is literally obsessed with them.  I have been asking to see her hands when she gets into the car just in case she tries bringing them or potato bugs along. (It happens)
As for me I've just been taking it easy.  I need to loose a few pounds this Summer, boo!  I have a bridesmaid dress I need to fit into in August.  I have been living in loose fitting pants and I'm not looking forward to anyone seeing me in a swimsuit, except my girlies of course.  We be lovin' the backyard pool ;)
I made my way to Ulta and picked up a few goodies for Summer, I'm really excited to try this Benefit Primer.  I've also been looking for a good BB Cream and this Revlon one is my favorite so far.  If you love the Beauty Blender I heard this Real Techniques one is the best dup and a fraction of the price $
This is just a random picture from last weekend of Mario's grandmas bull.  We are so lucky to be able to visit her farm when ever want.  Amira and Gia absolutely love Nona and her place!
Well that's all folks. Have a happy weekend and thank you so much for reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Essentials for a Clean Face.

Hello y'all, today I'm talking about my facial routine.  It is not anything fancy or found at the department store.  I keep it pretty simple and easy to find, aka the drug store.  Nothing I use is over twenty dollars, but if some miracle cream came out that would erase my laugh lines I'd so be in line to get it.  Being in my thirties I really try to cleanse my skin and keep it fresh, seeing as I do wear makeup on a daily basis. The products I'm mentioning today I've been using for quite some time now or even tens of years! 
Yes To Cucumbers Facial Towelettes  These are my favorite makeup and dirt removing cloths by far.  I feel like I've tried about every single one out there, and they either burn my eyeballs or don't take anything off.  These ones have a slight cucumber scent, they're soft, big and remove my makeup very easily. Around five buckaroos. Sometimes I'm so tired and lazy, the last thing I want to do before bed is wash my face.  So if that's the case I use one or two of these and follow up with my favorite toner.
Witch Hazel This is our my all time favorite toner/astringent.  I have been using this for well over a decade!  My grandma used this all the time and I looked up to her so much.  I always buy the Target brand, it is so cheap, two dollars!  It is natural and removes my makeup and impurities amazingly.  Witch Hazel doesn't contain alcohol like common astringents that dry your face out. Perfect for sensitive skin, it is also soothing for bug bites and things like that.
Burt's Bees Orange Essense Facial Cleanser This stuff is like orange gold.  It has such a wonderful smell, but I love its cleaning and softening capabilities.  This cleanser leaves my skin bright and super supple.  It is also made with 100% Natural ingredients which I love!  It's right around ten dollars and available at most drugstores.
Alba Botanica Natural Acne Dote Scrub This can be used on your face and body.  I primarily use it on my face a few times a week. It has 2% salicylic acid which helps fight breakouts. It works wonders keeping dry skin patches away and sloughing off any dull dead skin.  Using this with my Orange Essence Cleanser is my go to duo.  This brand does not test on animals so I love it.  It just under ten dollars too.
Burt's Bees Radiance Day Cream  I basically love this brand, sorry.  Their products are so well made with natural ingredients I just gravitate towards them.  I've been purchasing this face cream for a while now and I love how it leaves my skin.  The texture is thick and creamy but it goes on lightly and absorbs quickly.  It never leaves my skin greasy or feeling weighed down, I hate that.  This one is around twenty dollars, but a little goes a long way.

As I mentioned before I haven't found my holy grail wrinkle or eye cream, so if any of you ladies can recommend a great one I'm all ears!  Oh and another great thing for your face is drinking water!  So good for your skin and keeping it clear.  Thank you so much for reading.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

These days.

It feels good to wipe the dust off and open my computer to write something.  It has been a few weeks since I've even turned this thing on.  I feel guilty I haven't been keeping up to date on my favorite bloggers stories and family lives.  Because I honestly do read them and I feel like we are friends.  I have of course been on IG and FB so at least I was able to see pictures that way. 

I just wanted to blog something small and get back into the swing of things.  I also wanted to say Thank You to all my incredible family and special friends for always giving me inspiration, positive vibes, and prayers over the last few weeks.  God knows I appreciated it and my heart felt such love from all of you!  You, special people know who you are and I thank you so much!

I've grieved over losing this baby and I can honestly say I believe that these things happen for a reason.  I may not understand them right away, and my heart is allowed to feel as much sorrow as it can.  At the end of my day, I remember I am strong woman, with two magnificent little girls and loving husband. I count my blessings everyday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Weekender and Birthday Fun!

As most of you know we celebrated Miss Amira's 5th birthday on Saturday.  We had a party in her honor with lots of food, fun, family, and friends.  By her request everything was pretty much bright pink and Monster High.  She was grinning ear to ear and running around like the wind with all her friends and cousins. 
The kids got to bat at this piƱata till it finally busted open and spilled out the candy Amira had filled it with so diligently.  I swear when children see candy they go deaf to their parents.  I always like to blindfold them and spin them around for it too, I'm so horrible!
Monday was Amira's actual birthday and I was so lucky to help out at her classroom that day.  Being able to see her interact with her teachers and school mates was amazing.  She is such a big girl and much more talkative and outgoing than I had pictured.  She is just growing up before our eyes and I have to cherish every moment.
She loved her gifts and Gia is having a blast playing with them too!  Blowing out her five birthday candles on her first ever Dairy Queen ice cream cake, yummy!  We definitely had a sugar rush going on here this last weekend. 
Thank you so very much for all of Amira's birthday wishes on Facebook and Instagram.  We are so touched by your kindness!

Friday, April 25, 2014

What a 5 year old wants, for her birthday!

Well my soon to be 5 year old wants everything!  Every commercial for pooping dog toys I hear a, "I want that" or every infomercial for some strange Snackez container I hear a, "I want that mommy."  I tell ya, kids these days...

When we run to Tarjay she likes to show me the certain toys she likes.  I'm hearing things like, "can I have this for Christmas" in the middle of April.  Seeing as her birthday is at the end of this month, what! I thought I'd share with y'all what we got her for the big 5!  Its surreal to me that my baby girl is growing up so quickly.  Where is that dang pause button?!

She has a little kitchenette in her room that she got for Christmas a couple years ago, but its definitely seen better days.  The oven burners are all worn off.  The oven door was completely broken off a few months ago, my girls are great at rough housin'!  So I mentioned a while back a new kitchen would be nice and she went over the moon for the idea.  Hopefully she still feels that way when she sees her new Sundae Kitchen from Zulily. This one is bigger and better and I'm pretty sure she'll be baking her heart out!
I decided to stay on the cooking path and picked up this Smoothie Set, also from Zulily.  Amira is obsessed with fake food, and pretending to cook. When ever anyone comes over to the house, such as Mario's friends or my friends she asks them first off if they'd like to see her room <3 This online shopping site is a good place for moms to get in trouble ;)  I love all these wooden toys and the pretty pastel colors they use.  Makes me want to go whip up a fresh smoothie myself!
I picked up a few odds and ends of clothing items she needs, like jammies and Summery clothes but those are less on the exciting scale to her.  I will say it again that time is flying by with my little ones.  Turning 5 is such a big deal, like a kiddie right of passage.  Amira is, and always will be my baby girl.  Despite the fact she keeps telling me, "mommy, I'm a big girl now" with her big baby blues looking up at me.  You know the look.