Antipasta Flatbread / Breadsticks with Nudo Olive Oil

Did you know that you can actually adopt an olive tree? I am so honored to share such an intriguing company with you, especially because my grandfather raised me to love Italian food and Italian culture! Today, I am excited to share this very easy yet very delicious recipe with you for this Antipasta flatbread. It only took a few minutes to create and a few minutes to bake, and I wound up with a quick meal that tastes better than something from a restaurant! 

Adopt an olive tree from a traditional Italian grove, and receive some fo the best Italian Cold Pressed Olive Oil, straight from your own little piece of Italy!

Nudo is a collaboration of provincial Italian groves which use traditional, sustainable practices. They produce some of the best olive oil in Italy: premium, authentic, and on a small scale. Our adoption program supports these groves and farmers by connecting them with food lovers around the world, and by providing this economic security it helps protect the land from the increasing intensive farming practices.

The base flavor for this recipe is definitely the high quality Nudo olive oil. The flavor was mild but wow so smooth and delicious.

ANTIPASTA FLATBREAD / BREADSTICKS RECIPE:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Nudo Olive Oil

1 Package of Garlic Naan Flatbread

1/2-1 lb. Antipasta from salad bar at grocery store or elsewhere (I chose artichoke hearts, an assortment of different olives, and pepperoni)

1/4-1/2 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Salt, Italian Seasoning

Instructions:

1. Brush Naan flatbread with a generous amount of Nudo Olive Oil.

Antipasta

2. Slice olives into thin slices, and cut artichoke hearts into small pieces. Also chop or prep any other toppings. Arrange toppings onto flatbread.

3. Sprinkle with salt, parmesan cheese, and optional Italian seasoning, and bake for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees F.

4. Cut into slices and enjoy!

FOR THE HOLIDAYS...

For Thanksgiving, Nudo Adopt has created a selection of thoughtful giftsets to thank the food loving host in your life. Choose from a choice of three gitfsets; Aperitivo set, Olio set & A Tavola set.

Aperitivo set with handcrafted olive ramekin and Taggiasche olives from the glamourous Ligurian coast.

Olio set with a handmade, stoneware cruet paired with premium artisan Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Le Marche; one of the oldest regions in Italy to produce olives

Can’t choose? Pair up both, A Tavola set, for an extra special Thanksgiving treat.

Nudo Olive Oil Logo

For Christmas, Nudo Adopt have collaborated with Yorkshire based artist Michelle Freemantle , to create limited edition, handmade oil cruets especially for the festive season.

Exclusive gift with our Olive Tree Gift Adoptions; a beautiful and long-lasting gift.

Michelle’s visionary ceramic bottles take inspiration from her environment; the colours for the cruet are a reflection of Nudo’s brand & Italy; yellow sunshine, green countryside and blue midnight sea.

A wonderful sentiment that lasts longer, looks after the environment, supports provincial farmers and is good for you.

Side by Side – A Great Dog Food for Picky Eaters!

This post was sponsored by Side By Side as part of a Two-Post Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

This summer has been absolutely wonderful so far! It’s hotter than ever outside, but that’s not stopping us from getting out as much as possible with the dogs and letting them enjoy summer too!

We began feeding the dogs a new diet recently and they are LOVING it! If you saw my previous post, here, we were just beginning to introduce our dogs to the new food. Side by Side believes that the best way to cherish our pets is through making better food choices for them. Whole food nutrition is a great option! Side by Side only uses whole food, with minimal processing, allowing the nutrients to actually be preserved within the food better, delivering it to your pets so they stay full and happy. A pet’s diet is as important as a human’s diet, so consider making the switch to something like a whole food diet, raw or lightly cooked, frozen or freeze-dried diet.

All Natural, Raw Pet Food - Delivered To Your Door!

The dehydrated Side By Side treats, such as their Duck L’Orange, Beef Lungs, and Chicken Hearts are some of the nicest treats we have ever seen. They’re not at all greasy or stinky, like lots of other treats. We aim to give our dogs treats with minimal ingredients, so one ingredient treats are spectacular! The dogs behave SO well for these treats – they’re such good girls!!

Our dogs mean everything to us, so we love being able to treat them to something they really deserve. Since we both work from home, we are able to spend most of our days with Cabbie and Porter. We invest so much time and money into our beautiful babes, and we want the very best for them, which I am sure they notice.

Our Chocolate Labradoodle, Porter, who turns 2 years old on July 5, is a rather picky eater. She has been devouring the Side by Side dog food and then actually sitting by her bowl waiting for her next portion. While we try not to super encourage this behavior, it does mean she loves the food.

All Natural, Raw Pet Food - Delivered To Your Door!

With our previous dog food, which was a higher end kibble, we would generally feed the dogs 1.5 cups each, twice a day. Porter, the doodle would leave lots of food in her bowl all day. I am not sure if it was just that she didn’t really love the flavor, or if it’s because we were just giving her the wrong thing.

We still treat the dogs to a bit of low fat yogurt, plus other fruits and veggies throughout the day, but we are SO happy with the food and treats from Side By Side. Just look at the girls’ smiles to see what I mean :)

All Natural, Raw Pet Food - Delivered To Your Door!

The dogs actually received the food in the mail, and it was all still frozen. The company uses a recycled material to insulate the products, and they arrived in great shape too.

Now that they received this, they think every single package is for them. Porter nearly knocks boxes out of our hands when they arrive, so she can see if there is more Side by Side inside!

All Natural, Raw Pet Food - Delivered To Your Door!

Yes, the dogs have their very own ottoman by the window, if you were wondering :)

We noticed a few improvements in the dogs. Cabbie, the lab seemed to slim down around her mid section, and her coat has been extra shiny. Cabbie seems a bit more energetic, and since we feed them three times a day now, because of the Side By Side portion cups, the dogs love having another fun and “exciting” activity each day (lunch time, LOL!).

The dogs always have a few red bumps on their bellies, and when I chatted with one of the founders of Side By Side, she actually mentioned that they would clear up, and they pretty much completely went away. Marney explained that sometimes the red bumps can be related to food and environmental allergies. Well, perhaps the food made a bigger impact than I could’ve imagined! I believe the food did help clear up their bellies, which is so great.

Side by Side products were developed from the pet’s perspective and puts pets first to give them the best life. This allows us so many more years of opportunities to better share love with our pets.

For part of this post, we visited a local fishing pond that is about a 1-mile hike each way from where we park. We walk through cow pastures, rolling hills, tall beautiful grasses and there are even a few places to stop and fish along the way. We love bringing the dogs out to explore the area, and a couple of our friends even brought their pups too.

When Porter gets to see her little friend, Wilma, shown below, they play until they practically “fall over” from how much fun they’ve had. It’s such a great way for higher energy dogs to get their crazies out, and I love watching them have so much fun together.

We are SO thankful to have had this opportunity to introduce our wonderful pups to a raw dog food diet thanks to Side by Side! We have a new way to show our dogs we love and appreciate them, with whole food nutrition, and we cannot wait to see how the dogs keep improving in every way! 

Look for all of Side by Side’s integrated products including Food Diets, Supplements, Toppers, and soon to be released Broths. Each and every product is thoughtfully formulated to provide a complete and balanced nutrition plan for your pet!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Side By Site Website: https://shop.sidebysidepet.com

Side By Side Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sidebysidepet/

Side By Side Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/SidebySidePet

Side By Side Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/sidebysidepet/

 

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

Looking for an elegant and luxurious recipe to bring to that next BBQ or summer party? Perhaps you want a special date night dish that can be enjoyed with a couple of drinks and a movie. This  Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brieis so delicious, that those who get to enjoy such a treat will likely lick the plate clean. 

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

I found that by using Wewalka Puff Pastry, it held its shape super well and wasn't overly greasy, which was great. The brie I used, shown below, also worked out great. I found that brie is very affordable, ranging anywhere from $5 to way more expensive options. If you're new to Brie, then start off less expensive or in the middle of the price range.

This is a very rich and indulgent dish, but if you share it with friends, there's definitely no guilt in eating something like this. It's really amazing.

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz) Round of Brie 

1 package Wewalka puff pastry

1 egg, whisked with a fork for egg wash

1 package of Prosciutto, any brand you like

Crackers, pretzels, etc, to dip in cheese

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe
Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice puff pastry into 1/2" strips, set aside.

2. Wrap opened brie round with prosciutto, then set on a pan or clean work surface.

3. To create lattice: place two dough strips on top of prosciutto wrapped brie in an X shape. Here is a link to a good tutorial on how to make the rest of the lattice (just make sure dough has no spaces between strips, so it holds in the cheese well. Once the entire top of the brie has been latticed (see below), grab a drinking glass and let's finish this masterpiece!

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

4. So, the image below is a little strange looking, but I basically put the ingredients on top of a drinking glass to elevate it so I could then finish "weaving" the sides for a more finished look. You may notice that the widest part of the brie / the outer edge has one slice of dough wrapped around it, then I could easily finish wrapping the other pieces under the brie. I also sliced a few inches off of each strip, so there wasn't a huge wad of dough below the brie when it baked.

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

5. Below, you see the final brie round before baking! You can definitely prep this ahead of time, and bake it right before you need it. Brush with egg wash if desired for an even shinier finish.

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

And presto chango...Look at THIS BEAUTY, below! It is absolutely gorgeous!

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and flaky, cut into the cheese and let the middle just ooze out! Dip crackers, pretzels, green apples, and more into this creation, and enjoy!!

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

When you slice into this awesome creation, you may hear a little crunch of the flaky layers of dough, and then you will see the cheese just ooze out. Dip crackers, pretzels, and anything your heart desires into this melty cheese. The brie is very rich and creamy and does have a little bit of that funky taste that brie just has, but it pairs so well with the prosciutto and the puff pastry.

Lattice Weave Puff Pastry Wrapped Prosciutto + Brie Recipe

What do you think? Does this look like something you would eat or serve at your next gathering? I really hope you've enjoyed!!!

Casual Cookout with Tyson, Ball Park, and Lipton Tea!

This post is sponsored by Lipton, Tyson, and Bimbo but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Casual Cookouts are in season!! Bring weeknight (or weekend) dinners outside by making good use of your grill! You can enjoy the long summer nights as you picnic in the yard with your family. From cooking your own Ball Park® Hot Dogs to Tyson® Chicken sandwiches, let everyone join in on the fun and make it a festive family night. Excited to host lots of fun cookouts this year, and here is one to get me started.

BBQ CHICKEN SANDWICHES

Above, the Tyson Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. I used them for chicken sandwiches!

INSTRUCTIONS: Using a grill set to 450-550 degrees, spray non-stick cooking spray and place frozen chicken breasts onto hot grill. Cook for 10 minutes on fist side, season, then flip and grill for another 10-15 minutes, until chicken’s internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F.

Below, the classic Lipton Iced Tea brewed and lightly sweetened.

Condiments can easily be placed in vintage or glass jars or bowls to serve them in a more elegant way – don’t forget to add a spoon into each condiment J

Below, the white chopped onions, pickles, and potato salad, and a cute sign that reads, “Welcome Friends and Family”.

As you might notice, I placed these ingredients onto metal trays at varying heights so they were easier for everyone to reach.

CURBSIDE PICKUP:

 Since summer gets very busy, and I always have a million errands to run at once, I loved being able to use the Walmart Curbside Pickup! I logged in and just placed my order on http://grocery.walmart.com and then stopped by my local store to grab everything!

DÉCOR IDEAS:

For the BBQ party setup, I used a plastic folding table to hold everything, then covered it with a twin white sheet that I ironed. I used a piece of on trend gingham printed cotton in white and grey. I used 1.5 yards and I think that the double layer table covering idea really looked so elegant.

 

I also really love offering food to guests at different heights, bringing the food and refreshments to eye level. I stuck with more metallic accents like galvanized metal boxes, plus small metal buckets to hold utensils and festive paper napkins. I love the mixture of navy blue and red together, which worked perfectly for this theme.

I also found lots of cute Grilling and BBQ themed signs that were so cute! I am sure that you could simply print some fun quotes off the Internet and frame them if you already have all the supplies on hand.

CONNECT WITH THESE BRANDS ON SOCIAL:

Tyson®

Facebook: @TysonBrand

Twitter: @TysonBrand

Instagram: @TysonBrand

Pinterest: @TysonFoods

Lipton®

Facebook: @LiptonUS

Twitter: @Lipton

Instagram: @Lipton

Ball Park®

Facebook: @BallParkBrand

Instagram: @BallParkBrand

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and I am eager to hear all about what you have planned for summer!

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Montana Wedding

While these photos are long overdue, we were so lucky to be able to attend a wedding for some of our friends last fall in Montana. It was the most incredible wedding ever, and here are a few shots we captured. Enjoy! More photos coming soon.

Zero Waste Reusable Produce Bags

It seems funny to go through the effort to being reusable bags to the grocery store only to fill them up with plastic bags full of produce. Sometimes, the produce needs to be weighed separately, or sometimes the lettuce might be doused in water, and would get all of your other groceries soaking wet. This is the perfect time to use some reusable cotton drawstring produce bags. 

Zero Waste Reusable Produce Bags

I created a few adorable, zero waste produce bags recently, and while many or all of them have sold at our local Neighborhood Co-Op, I thought it would be fun to share some of my hand sewn work, as well as encourage others to use something similar. I sewed these out of some thicker decor weight cotton, but stuc with 100% cotton, except for the drawstring closure. 

Zero Waste Reusable Produce Bags

I used pieces of fabric I already had, washed and dried them, then ironed them. These higher quality brand fabrics always feel so wonderful after they're washed and dried. 

Not that Zero Waste is a super new concept, I have been really trying to use as many reusable containers as I can. This really makes me so much more conscious of how much unnecessary waste and packaging...aka...PLASTIC...that I am consuming and bringing into our home. Believe me, I buy a ton of food and other supplies because of all this food photography, so I try to do my part in helping reduce!

I even created a Zero-Waste Pinterest Board and wanted to share a few of the most inspiring images ever. Check out the board here!

 And here, she shows the Zero-Waste shopping in action!

And here, she shows the Zero-Waste shopping in action!

These were so fun to make, and here are a TON of DIY Drawstring Bag tutorials to inspire you to make some as well. Enjoy!

Father's Day Gift Idea - Edible Treats!

A fun and easy way to show Dad you appreciate him this Father's Day! Simply head to the bulk section of your local Co-Op or grocery store, and find small samples of lots of different treats and package them up with custom labels. I actually made a game out of this gift by sticking the names to the INSIDE of the treat containers, so Dad could guess what treat he was trying. He LOVED this delicious and easy Edible Gift and I am sure anyone you make one for will too. 

You can even find sugar free candies and other more natural treats if you want. I provided a great variety of snacks like macadamia nuts, roasted peanuts, chocolate and yogurt covered raisins, all natural chocolate covered Sun Drops, maple almonds, and more. Whatever your dad's taste is, just cater your selection to that.

I used a paper mache box with a lid from a craft store, which made the presentation more professional looking. I found 8 small plastic lidded containers that fit into the box PERFECTLY! I was even able to add some tissue paper as padding, then shipped this gift to my Dad from IL all the way to Arizona and everything arrived safely, luckily!

What will you be giving Dad this year?!

Summer Grilling at Kroger with Smithfield + Yuengling

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield®. The opinions and text are all mine. #GrillOutChillOut

Summer is JUST getting started, and I would love to know what your plans are for the next few months! Going anywhere fun or exciting? Planning out any cookouts or summer parties? I love using summer as an excuse to get together with friends, family, and good food – there’s nothing that tops the fun and excitement I get when I know there is something fun on the horizon.

Last year, I had the opportunity to feature Smithfield® Yuengling® Traditional Lager Bratwurst from the Smithfield® Craft Collection™ in a post about making summer grilling easier and MORE delicious. You can read that post here. This is the flagship beer from America’s Oldest Brewery!

This time around I decided it would be fun to serve these brats in a traditional manner with buns and grilled onions, PLUS it could be cute to serve these brats in more of a finger food / appetizer style - cut into slices and served with mustards.

Find everything you need for summer celebrations at your local Kroger or Kroger. The bratwurst are infused with real Yuengling Traditional Lager (a.k.a. DELICIOUS!!), and are made with premium cuts of pork and a special blend of sweet and savory spices. I just love the unique taste of these, and it’s so nice to not actually HAVE to cook them in beer before grilling, because the Yuengling flavors are already there.

Since I was incredibly inspired by the history of brats in general, I was particularly inspired by German or Bavarian offerings. I found that bratwurst generally contain fresh sausage, and if you’re looking for something that is already cooked, then sausage is typically available in dried, cured, or fresh varieties. This means that the brats do need to be cooked or grilled until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 

I decided to offer guests five or more different styles of stone ground or other higher end mustards, with slices of the bratwurst, then we could all try something new.

If you’re “brave” enough and want to experiment with even more pairings, feel free to offer guests some sauerkraut (which is a finely cut cabbage that is fermented, and tends to have a stronger smell if you’re not used to it), which would add an even more authentic taste to this meal.

I kept thinking about how these foods would be served at a traditional festival where brats and beer are the main focus, and I thought more of a party platter (in my case a wooden cutting board with a handle) full of small bites was definitely the way to go.

Mustards are something that I am just beginning to enjoy. BUT, my boyfriend and a few of our friends seem to “compete” to see who can eat mustard with the largest number of different foods. I am fine if I don’t win that contest, but mustard is such a versatile and traditional condiment that I want to even learn to make it soon.

I found five different mustards at the store, ranging from Stone Ground varieties to Dijon mustards and even one mustard that is bourbon barrel aged! 

I basically just looked to see which ones had the most texture (as in more mustard seeds), plus which ones would offer more of a visual variety and also as many different tastes as possible. This could be a great way to get rid of some mustards in the fridge that are only half full – just offer them up and I am sure they’ll get eaten!

As far as other foods to serve, I love the idea of offering fresh homemade soft pretzels plus hard pretzels (like the smaller crunchy ones), plus perhaps some slices of super crunchy bread or similar.

Below, you will see those lovely grill marks on the brat buns! This added SO much more flavor and visual interest to the meal.

CONNECT WITH THE BRAND ON SOCIAL:

Instagram- @smithfieldbrand, @yuenglingbeer

Facebook- @cookingwithsmithfield, @yuengling

Twitter- @smithfieldbrand, @yuengling_beer

Pinterest- @smithfieldbrand

Feel Love. Feed Life. Feed Side By Side.

This post was sponsored by Side By Side as part of a Two-Post Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

If you read this blog for even a few seconds, you may notice I have an affinity for my two dogs, Cabbie and Porter. They are the loves of our lives, and I recently had the chance to spend some good, quality time with the girls. We brought some of our new favorite dog food called Side By Side, a Telluride-based brand of holistic dog food and treats, where they take a new approach to pet nutrition that cherishes each individual pet. These ingredients are used to deliver the best in whole food nutrition.

I was so lucky to have a recent consultation with one of the most knowledgeable individuals regarding pet nutrition that I have ever met, and also the Founder of Side By Side. Marney Prince explained the importance of feeding raw and/or freeze-dried food and treats to your  dogs, and I couldn’t agree more! Side By Side believes the best way to cherish our pets it to honor them with premium whole food nutrition made with love in small batches.

Side By Side even offers their proprietary Pet Assessment process, an online tool (found here) that allows the brand to make nutrition recommendations curated to meet your pets’ individual needs.

Since my first introduction to Side by Side, I immediate felt the passion and caring commitment displayed in all that they do., I received a phone call from the Founder of Side by Side, Marney Prince to discuss her personal recommendation on products!  During our phone conversation, I immediately knew that Marney truly cares for all animals, and I felt her compassion for my dogs as if they were her own.  I talked with her for about 45 minutes about my two dogs, Cabbie and Porter. She was extremely thorough when asking about my dogs, like what issues my dogs were having, and more lifestyle questions pertaining to how much and what types of activities we do each day, how much we interact with them, and even asked about their personalities and eating habits. I left my conversation feeling extremely good from her positive comments about my dogs and me as a dog owner.

The food and treats are amazing! Since these three varieties of treats are freeze-dried, they make for an excellent treat with very few ingredients. The dogs seemed to like the  Duck l’Orange  treats the very best; they were a great size for even our large dogs.

Here is a brief write up of what Marney told me during our assessments for the pups:

PORTER’S REVIEW:

“Porter sounds like a super fun, energetic girl that tends to hold onto a little internal heat but overall appears very balanced. I think our main concern is preventing to onset of joint degradation, since she loves to play hard, has boundless energy and is a large breed dog. As far as the allergic reaction she gets on her tummy; this sounds like a seasonal allergy, not food related but once she's on a whole food diet that moves through her body at the appropriate speed (the 24 hr/12 hr ratio of kibble/real food), you will see a reprieve in the bumps. We are releasing a supplement called Cool Down Dog the first week of June for seasonal allergies and we can certainly try that if the food alone doesn't remedy the reaction. It's a bunch of eastern and western herbs. Otherwise, we would recommend that Porter transitions to our Harmony raw, either freeze-dried or frozen, because it will provide a little higher protein for our athlete, has beautiful whole wild Alaskan salmon, duck necks, yucca (cassava root), and turmeric in it for her joints, and it is considered a neutral recipe, which is ideal for a sweet natured, happy dog. I'm going to recommend our Beef lungs and Duck L'Orange treats but she'd do great on any of our options. I love that you give her yogurt regularly, please continue”.

CABBIE’S REVIEW:

“And, for Cabbie, who sounds like an absolute doll! Again, she sounds happy, healthy and balanced. The only change I'd really like to make is to slow her aging process and prevent the onset of disease. For Cabbie, our Genial recipe, either frozen or freeze-dried, would be wonderful. It is a cooked recipe, which more appropriate for a mature woman, and contains a small amount of whole oats which support the thyroid gland and metabolic system, whole Alaskan salmon for joints and beef heart which in Chinese Medicine promotes self-confidence and Shen (heart/love) energy. I'd also like to suggest our So Hip  supplement to increase the protection of her joints, plus this formula helps the body to clear toxins and free radicals within the existing joints. Cabbie is welcome to enjoy any of our treats, but just for fun, let's try the Chicken Hearts first”.

This food far exceeded our expectations, and I loved the convenience of the individually wrapped so they are basically mess free, and we were able to recycle some of the containers too! It really looks like everything is made with extremely high quality ingredients, which is of top importance to me.

If feeding your dog ingredients you trust is important to you, then I would absolutely recommend Side By Side dog food and treats! Side By Side is dedicated to the preservation of the nutrients, from sourcing the best ingredients, to minimal processing, to development of a complementary line of food diets, treats, supplements, broths, and toppers –with carefully crafted recipes utilizing only natural sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and the purest herbs, to provide a personalized nutrition plan for your pet.

Take the free Side by Side personalized Pet Assessment for a personalized nutrition plan today! Also, you can get 25% off your first order and 15% the subscription service with code: LILY

Delicious No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

This Italian inspired dessert has been described as "sexual" and will make your tastebuds go crazy! Perhaps this recipe will start off your weekend just right! But in all seriousness, since this is a no-bake treat, and can be served in individual jars, it's perfect for summer parties, and everyone is going to love this recipe. 

Both rich and somehow light at the same time, the homemade whipped ricotta filling and the familiar taste of coffee really make for a decadent treat.

No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

Easy Eggless No-Bake Tiramisu

Prep Time: 20 min + chill time

Yield: 9

INGREDIENTS

·       1 cup (250ml) whipping cream

·       1 cup (250g) mascarpone, softened

·       1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

·       1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract

·       1&1/2 cups espresso or very strong coffee, cooled

·       2 tbsp (30ml) coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)

·       2 dozen lady fingers

·       2 tbsp cocoa powder

Easy No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS

1.   Beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

2.   Mix the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until combined. Add in the whipped cream and beat again until smooth.

3. Prep small Ball jars by removing all lids, rinsing and drying thoroughly, and setting them all out onto a tray or surface.

Easy No Bake Tiramisu Recipe
Easy No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

3.   Stir the coffee and liqueur together. Lightly dip 2-3 lady fingers into the coffee mixture, then place the 2-3 lady fingers into the jars to create the bottom layer of the dessert. Make sure not to soak the lady fingers too much or there will be lots of coffee left in the bottom of the jars. Repeat in all jars.

No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

The Kahlua is optional but adds a nice kick and authentic flavor to the flavor of this dessert!

No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

4. Using the small ice cream scooper, scoop a generous amount of the ricotta mixture over each jar, making them look as much like a perfect scoop of ice cream as possible.

5. Sprinkle cocoa powder (or even hot cocoa mix) through a metal strainer over top of each jar. A light dusting of the cocoa powder really gives them a nicer, upscale look. Enjoy!

No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

The other fun thing about this post is that I get to show off my new kitchen update, we painted and I installed new "tiles" from The Smart Tiles, here!

PRINT THE RECIPE...

Easy No Bake Tiramisu Recipe - Printable

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No Bake Tiramisu Recipe

DIY Bottle Koozies + Vegetarian Taco Bowl Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Constellation Brands. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #CelebratorySips #CoronaSummer #collectivebias Msg 4 21+ #msg21+

Summer is here and what a better way to celebrate all the hard work you have done this year with a Beer + Craft Night with friends? I’ve been really wanting to make some customized / embellished drink koozies for some time, and when I learned about this amazing opportunity with Corona®, I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate all that Corona embodies - offering a passport to carefree enjoyment and refreshing, delicious refreshments! With a refreshing, smooth taste balanced between heavier European imports and lighter domestic beer, Corona Extra is an even-keeled cerveza with fruity-honey aromas and a touch of malt. The flavor is crisp, clean and well balanced between hops and malt.

 

What a perfect way to celebrate summer with a snazzy new way to keep your drinks cold and to liven up the party...even if it is a craft night that turns into a party :)

 

These bottle and can koozies really make a statement. They will also help you identify which beer belongs to each person. For only $3-4 you can make your very own Summer Drink Koozie - keep reading to get the instructions and design ideas!

KOOZIE MATERIALS:

Foam Koozies (found in the foam aisle at a craft store)

Ribbons and trim of various colors

Low temp glue gun

Glue sticks (I used fabric glue sticks)

Cardboard for use as your work surface, or a heat-safe work surface (the glue can get messy!)

KOOZIE INSTRUCTIONS:

 

  1. Plug in your glue gun and get it ready to use. Cut ribbons and trims to fit around your koozies, leaving a little extra just in case.

  2. Once glue is hot enough, on a heat-safe work surface, add a bit of hot glue to the end of one ribbon, and begin to glue it around the top of the koozie. For the more patterned koozies, I used 4 strips of woven ribbon around. See steps below.

Notice the raw edges of the ribbons, above. We will cover those in the next image, with one more strip of ribbon, glued up the back.

3. For the tassel koozie (below), I glued on my tassel trim first, then covered that with a more tie dyed looking ribbon for a more finished look. See steps below.

4. Feel free to embellish further with stick on jewels and more ribbons - let your creativity run wild! Note - I tried using sticky-backed jewels, but I needed to glue them on, or they would fall off after a short use. Still super cute either way!

FOR THE VEGETARIAN TACO SALADS:

Vegetarian Taco Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

2 Sweet potatoes (chopped)

2-3 TBSP Olive Oil

2-4 TBSP Mexican Seasoning

1-2 tsp salt

(Other toppings include: lettuce, shredded cheddar, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, and more!)

Note - this can be made vegan if you use all vegan toppings, like vegan sour cream.

Taco Salad Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees.

  2. Cut sweet potatoes into cubes, and chop onions into small pieces. Place into a mixing bowl, and toss with 1-2 TBSP Olive Oil.

  3. Bake potatoes and onions for 15-20 minutes, then add sliced peppers on top, and bake another 10 minutes or until the ingredients are baked soft enough to enjoy.

  4. To create your bowls, add a bed of lettuce, then top with sweet potatoes, and any other toppings you like. Enjoy with a Corona Extra®!

Have an amazing summer, friends!

PIN IT FOR LATER...

DIY Drink Koozie Tutorial

Mediterranean Food + More

Looking for a fun way to spice up dinners? We had some of the most delicious Mediterranean-inspired food recently, and our friends really came together to make the night special. Below, you will see all sorts of amazing foods like chicken shwarma, warmed pita pockets, all the amazing sauces, and fallafel (which we found at an international grocery store and fried on the stove top).

Mediterranean Potluck Night

We love hosting and attending potluck dinners, where we choose a theme and everyone brings their favorite, homemade, made from scratch, or whatever food or drink they love, and we all feast!

This photo was one of the only ones I have captured with out studio lights, and it was one of our most successful and most delicious potlucks yet! Here's to more...

Music Festival Camping Tips with Coleman at Target

This post has been sponsored by Coleman®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Memorial Day Week!

This weekend, I am attending the Summer Camp Music Festival and I am so excited. It’s been almost ten years since I first attended, so I am really looking forward to seeing old friends and listening to some live music. (I will share some photos of the event in this post throughout the weekend!!)

It’s important to set up a cute campsite to have as your home base for the weekend, and the NEW Coleman® Dark Room Tent is a great option you might want to consider! Head to Target to find everything you need for all of your upcoming adventures, and save on Coleman products with this Ibotta rebate offer here!

Since music festival season is upon us, I wanted to share some tips and tricks on how to make camping at a music festival even better, beginning with considering your tent.

Coleman Darkroom Tent at Target #MusicFestival

This tent comes with a convenient carrying bag too!

Head to Target to get inspiration for your upcoming festivals and summer gatherings!

Coleman In-Store
Coleman In-Store Photo

One of the features I find most appealing about the Coleman® Dark Room Tent would be the roomy interior, which is great for holding everything during the festival - plus, being able to change in the tent is priceless! There is more than enough room for us in here.

I love the dark outer fabric (which is considered their Dark Room Technology), that blocks light! Since you will likely be camping around a lot of other people, it’s so sweet that this tent’s rainfly blocks 90% of sunlight so you can sleep in past sunrise. Since a lot of music festivals have festival goers camp in open fields without trees, shade is very important. If your tent gets super hot in the morning the moment the sun shines on it, think of just how HOT you would be when you’re trying to get some good rest before another big festival day. Getting a little extra sleep is really amazing.

This tent is pretty easy to set up. I would recommend at least having two people on the job, but it’s pretty easy to find a friend to help you set up your tent in this situation. There are three poles, two that go into the actual tent, and one pole that gives the rainfly a nice awning, which would reduce any water dripping into your tent.

Speaking of rainy weather, you never know what to expect here in the Midwest, but this tent will keep you nice and dry because of the WeatherTec system, which uses a tub-like floor with welded corners and protected seams.

One of my favorite parts of any camping trip is actually when we get to head to bed. I do love that part of the night where we get to retire into our ultra comfy sleeping bags, cots, and our awesome, sunlight blocking tent.

In addition to awesome camping gear, we have lots of fun ideas of how to decorate our campsite, a few of which are shown throughout the post.

A dream catcher was so adorable and easy to hang, plus it brings that whimsical element into your campsite.

My favorite décor item would probably be adding an extra large sunflower (from a craft store), which I attached with zip ties.

Use 2 white twin sized sheets and zip ties or ribbons to add inviting softness and volume to your tent. I first folded one sheet in half to find the center. I then attached that to the sheets in an arched pattern. I used two sheets, but you could use a few more to get an even more festive and inviting look.

Think of your campsite as a living room of sorts, and try to create a relaxed, comfortable environment for your group, or for friends you might meet at the festival. Use outdoor rugs, tapestries, solar lights and more to personalize your campsite and make it stand out.
 

Prepare for the summer with the Coleman® Dark Room Tent and enjoy!

Revamping My Studio with California Closets X Marie Kondo

Learn more about my home studio renovation and tips on how to create a smart space of your own, inspired by California Closets and Marie Kondo! Schedule your own consultation today!

Thank you California Closets for sponsoring this post. #MarieKondoXCaClosets

Home Studio Renovation

I recently had a very inspiring online consultation with Jessica Ballesteros, a very talented Design Consultant for California Closets. She and California Closets recently teamed up with Marie Kondo, the author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and creator of The KonMari Method. 

I sent Jessica a brief explanation of what I wanted from my space, and she gave me lots of amazing suggestions and explained what one could expect from an in--home consultation, which I will explain further into this post. After that, she inspired me to completely re paint, and then overhaul the closet in my home studio / photo studio space. I am so excited to share my experience and new space with you!

The company's professional design consultants will collaborate with you to create custom designs at a range of styles and budgets.

THE STUDIO

To explain the space a bit better, this is one of our three bedrooms, and we had nice Pergo flooring installed a few years ago, but never got around to painting it. We use the space for our photo studio and any other fun and creative projects we come across.

It's a great size space for our photo studio, and the space basically needs to be kept very neat and tidy because when one project is done, we start the next, The space has to be versatile, and changes depending upon what we are working on. These projects range from food and drink recipes to product photography and home decor projects and more!

BEFORE + AFTER

Below, you can see my studio before the transformation. While it definitely wasn't stuffed to the gills with things (yes, it was at one time), it was not very tidy or inspiring. There are things that had been in this closet for years and years, and I would just keep adding thins to it because I didn't have any place else to put them. That should have indicated to me to get rid of some things, but I never gave myself enough time to really dive into making a more inspiring space.

While I did not install actual pieces from California Closets, I did use their mission to inspire my own design.

Before Closet Transformation
After Closet Renovation

WHAT I DID

Painting really did help so much. I chose a light grey color called Filtered Shade from Valspar in an eggshell finish.

I also added a metal shelf to the closet, which holds a lot of weight per shelf. This will be amazing to hold props, my cameras, and anything I am using for current projects. This shelf even now has a few empty spaces that can be utilized in the near future for lots of upcoming projects. 

I also hung my fabric pieces on hangers, which I use for backdrops or as tablecloths in lots of my photos. I like having a smaller selection of fabrics hung, because then it sets the color scheme for lots of my images, making my posts look more coordinated.

I made sure to keep everything in view, without crowding the shelves too much. I was able to easily store the two large camera cases in the closet and this will overall just be great because I will have everything at my fingertips during photoshoots, instead of having to run to different rooms of the house, which does waste time and energy (which never brought me joy).

Home Studio Revamp

IN PROCESS / BEHIND THE SCENES

Home Studio Revamp
Home Studio Revamp

THE KONMARI METHOD

After reading more into the KonMari Method, here are some key points.

Step 1: Decide what you want to get out of your space.

Ask yourself, what is your ideal lifestyle, and how can this space help you attain that? For me, I want to be a professional, very organized lifestyle blogger, and so this closet space needed to help me with that mission.

Step 2: Declutter and divide like items into groups

Take everything out of the space and organize it into piles of similar items. If there are certain items that do not actually make you feel happy, or that distract you from your initial goal(s), then it may be time to pass those items along. Then, you will be able to better organize those things that you do need.

Step 3: Decide what "sparks joy".

Marie Kondo explains what it means to spark joy. Ask yourself questions like

- Does the item contribute to making you feel good about yourself, your job, and your space? 

- Will it help you with that particular job?

If not, then time to remove that item from the space and either discard, donate, or recycle it.

Step 4: Say Thank You and Discard (or Donate)

This is probably the most important and hardest of all of the steps. It's important to first realize how much space you even have for things, because if there are things we just never have room for, it may be time to just simply purge things. It can definitely be "scary" getting rid of things that you are so sentimental or that you have had for along time, but if it's something that you never use, or keep moving back and forth without using or having space for, then it may be time to let it go. 

As suggested by Marie Kondo, say a little "thank you" to the items which have served you in the past, and send the items on their way. Discard, recycle, or donate those items which are not fulfilling your mission to "spark joy" in your life, and then give a quickly tidy up or reorganize to the space to now suite your needs better.

For me, I have gotten rid of tons of clothing, old papers, and other photography and food/drink styling related props by asking myself, would I ever really use this again, or is is outdated? Or, is this s timeless piece that I will be able to use again and again?

Home Studio Revamp

The Design Consultation with Jessica

As I mentioned, Jessica is a Design Specialist for California Closets, and you can read more about her in the below articles:

https://www.californiaclosets.com/expert-tips-for-displaying-and-organizing-everything-in-your-new-closet/

https://www.californiaclosets.com/blog/whats-your-organizing-style/

She gave me some expert advice, as stated below:

"If you were wanting to try the KonMari method of organizing your office closet you would first start by removing every single item, and I mean everything.  One by one you would hold each item deciding what to keep (things that Spark Joy) and what to get rid of. Then putting everything back in an organized way. Using bins or baskets is always encouraged to help compartmentalize items by category if no drawers are available. Mari Kondo loves using boxes inside boxes to help divide things into categories."

I loved her ideas, and utilized as many as I could.

What an inspiring project this has been! I know that going forward, my new space will be an amazing home studio that inspires me each and every time I see it! 

Learn more about California Closets Here! And again, check out my studio space after the revamp, below!

California Closets has an extensive range of beautiful finishes to choose from, from clean and simple white, to proprietary textures imported from Italy, all of which are environmentally sustainable and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant. You can really go wild and create a dream space of your own.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

This post is sponsored by FoodScience of Vermont. All opinions and content are my own.

#LiveSuperior

Looking to add more Superfoods to your diet? Learn how to infuse a cashew-based “cheesecake” with health-boosting ingredients!

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

This delicious cashew-based version of a traditional cheesecake is filled with all natural ingredients thanks to FoodScience of Vermont Superior Greens, which contains whole fruits and vegetables, promotes healthy aging and radiant skin, mental clarity, and a healthier immune system while offering a boost of healthy enzymes to support your immune system, plus probiotics. It’s amazing how this one line of Superior Powder products can offer so much!

Try it, you’ll love it. Find the product at Rite Aid® and RiteAid.com here!

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

I love incorporating unique and health conscious ingredients into my recipes, like the FoodScience of Vermont Superior Greens, which contains three servings of fruits and vegetables in each ½ scoop – which means that this ultra concentrated version of some of the healthiest ingredients on Earth really will work quickly and efficiently!

This recipe is divine! I believe this would be great for someone looking for healthier alternatives to dessert recipes, or someone who has never ever tried a cashew based cheesecake before. It’s fun to introduce friends and family to things like that.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

I have been very interested in the detox process as well as considering eating as many whole foods as possible. This FoodScience of Vermont Superior Greens is a great step, in addition to more exercise and lots of water intake, towards reaching my nutrition and other health goals I have set for myself.

While the product can be enjoyed in a smoothie or mixed into a glass of cold water, I thought it would be exciting to introduce this product to my wonderful readers, friends, and family through a mouth-watering dessert recipe.

Perfect for summer when you don’t want to bake a ton, or when you want something that’s not overly sweet but deliciously frozen, this is the recipe that will check all of those boxes! Bring this to an event, or serve it to friends at a summer gathering and just look at everyone’s faces light up when they realize that this is not the “cheesecake” they were expecting, but one that is WAY, WAY better for them, but still tastes indulgent.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

Now, as for the crust, I know the traditional vegan cheesecakes are made with dates, and are basically no bake, but my favorite part of a cheesecake IS the crust, so I wanted to keep it traditional with lots of additional natural ingredients to sweeten things up naturally. Feel free to use a date crust here too.

Food Science of Vermont provides us with ways to get 3 servings of fruits and vegetables in each ½ scoop. The scoop is provided, so it’s very easy to measure out just how much you will need.

While the traditional use for this product is mixed into smoothies, cold water, and other drinks, I thought it would be genius to use the delicious taste and the nourishing super food ingredients to infuse this recipe with a unique taste and twist.

The crust is made from a delicious mixture of coconut, walnuts, oats, graham crackers and vegan “butter”. I used a spring form pan, similar to a traditional cheesecake, but really modernized this recipe with almost all vegan ingredients and that extra boost of has helpful enzymes and probiotics, making this an all around awesome dessert or snack. Give it a try, I bet you’ll enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes “Cheesecake” in 6 in x 3 in spring form pan):

Crust Ingredients:

10 - 12 full graham cracker rectangles

¼ c. oats

¼ - ½ C. or more walnuts

½ C. or more dried coconut pieces/flakes

¼ tsp. cinnamon, optional

6-8 (or more) TBSP salted Vegan Butter or regular butter

¼ C. Sugar

*Note: Feel free to use less graham crackers and more of the oats, nuts, or coconut if you prefer and even healthier crust.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

Filling Ingredients:

3 C. soaked cashews (soak for at least 3-5 hours)

1 can chilled coconut milk (use the top thicker part and save or discard water)

¾ - 1 C. macadamia milk, coconut milk, or similar

4 – ½ C. agave or maple syrup

½ - 1 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP FoodScience of Vermont Superior Greens Powder


INSTRUCTIONS:

For The Vegan Filling:

1. Soak cashews for 3-5 hours, and strain. Add to a blender with coconut milk, and process until smooth. If the mixture does not pour well, then add a bit more macadamia milk or agave. Taste the filling to make sure it is to your liking. Time to make the crust!

For The Crust:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare your spring form pan by using non stick spray inside, and using a paper towel to wipe pan for a more even finish. Also, you may cover the bottom of the pan so the butter does not drip out while baking. Alternately, bake on top of a sheet pan to prevent spills in the oven.

2.    In a food processor, blend up graham crackers (use hands to make pieces smaller before processing), coconut, walnuts, and oats. Feel free to mix in some whole oats after processing for that “whole oat” look in your crust.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

1.    Once processed to an even powder, mix with melted butter, sugar, and pour 2 ½ cups into pan. Use a flat bottomed glass or candle holder to press and flatten the crust down, making sure to clean up the edges with a knife for a neater look once the spring form pan is removed.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

4.    Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until edges begin to brown. The crust will firm up quite a bit once cooled, so even if it’s soft after baking, it may already be done. Let crust cool completely, and fill with filling until there is about ½-1/4” until the top of the spring form pan. Freeze for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

5.    Time to CAREFULLY remove it from the spring form pan. I would recommend using a sharp knife or skewer along the top edge to break the seal with the pan. At first, mine looked like it was cracking, so I re-tightened the outside of the spring form pan, ran a skewer along the top edge, and once I loosened the pan again, it removed pretty easily. Just be patient with it. At this point, feel free to place it back into the freezer

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

6.    Place “cheesecake” onto a plate to decorate. Top with fruits like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries (the two latter are actually ingredients in the FoodScience of Vermont Superior Greens powder). I sliced the strawberries in half and left the green parts on because the full strawberries just looked too big. The “cheesecake” would be fine to serve right now, or place back into the freezer for 2-4 hours so the berries begin to freeze and they get a beautiful frosty look to them.

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

FoodScience of Vermont offers three uniquely designed powdered drink supplements loaded with phytonutrients, stabilized probiotics, and many other beneficial natural ingredients. I really hope you enjoy!

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe
Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe
Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

Head to your local Rite Aid® or visit bit.ly/FSSuperiorPowders to get your Superior Powders.

Follow FoodScience of Vermont on social:

Follow the brand’s hashtag on Instagram #livesuperior

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodScienceVT

Twitter: @FoodScienceVT

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/foodsciencevt/

Instagram: @foodscienceofvermont

Vegetarian Cashew and Superior Green Filled Cheesecake Recipe

Setting the Pace for Summer

This post was sponsored by Reebok as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

This past month or so has been filled with SO many amazing opportunities with work, home projects and great meals with friends, I can definitely tell summer is just about here. This productive and busy month will surely set the pace for a great summer, and to kick things off I found my new favorite pair of shoes, the Reebok Trilux shoes available at Academy Sports

Tomorrow I head to Louisville, KY to visit my sister who graduates with her nursing degree this Saturday. We are beyond excited for her, and we are so very proud of her. We also expect lots of travel and hopefully some live music along the way. All of that along with fun summer get togethers, leaves me wanting to look and feel my best. I will also have the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day and see lots of extended family whom I don't ever get to see enough. 

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

Train in comfort with the Reebok Women's Trilux Run Training Shoes, which offer stretchy forefoot areas for a snug, personalized fit. The carbon-rubber heels guard against wear, and the single-density midsoles deliver a cushioned, responsive ride.

Whether you're wearing these for light exercise, or with a cute and casual outfit, these shoes are extremely versatile and will make you feel like a million bucks!

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

With all of these fun things taking place, and lots more to look forward to in the coming months, it's absolutely a great time to get in better shape. I always find that I feel more confident when I am eating better and being as active as possible. 

One thing that motivates me is to have cute and comfy workout clothes that allow me to move with easy and don't hold me back. I hate wearing anything that I am constantly having to adjust or is super constricting, and I found that these (SHOES) are perfect for light exercise and lots of day to day activities like grabbing lunch with a friend, shopping, running around with the kids, hanging out with friends, and so much more. 

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

Why not treat yourself to a pair of new shoes! I find that having so many fun things to look forward to definitely has a positive effect on me. While things can get a bit hectic when the schedule is filled to the brim, it also encourages me to exercise more, and stay looking my best! After all, it's that time of year when we are wearing cuter clothes, and showing a bot more skin, so this is the best time to get out more than ever.

Some ways to cope with that hectic schedule include meditation, breathing, walks, being outdoors in general, and being with those who make you your happiest!

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

In fact, since Mother's Day is this weekend, and if you haven't found a gift yet, or just feel your mom would enjoy shoes like this, order her a pair, or grab her a pair over the weekend from Academy Sports.

These Reebok Trilux shoes are super comfortable, and I would recommend sizing down 1/2 size if you will be wearing socks, and one whole size if you prefer to wear them without socks. They come in two colors, one as shown in this post, and one pair that is a darker grey and also super sweet (see both colors here).

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

CONNECT WITH ACADEMY ON SOCIAL:

Academy on Facebook: https://facebook.com/academy

Academy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/academy

Academy on Instagram: https://instagram.com/academy

Academy on Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/academy/

https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw
https://goo.gl/1Nx5rw

Recipe For The Perfect Mother's Day #SpreadTheLove #ButterChardonnay 

Thank you JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post. Looking for Butter Chardonnay near you? Check out their easy-to-use Store Locator! Just pop in your zip code and the Butter will be waiting! This wine melts in your mouth, is creamy-licious, and everything is certainly Better with Butter! 

I am so inspired by the warmer weather that is finally here, gracing us with sunshine and more reasons to celebrate the ones we love. One sip of Butter Chardonnay will transport you to a more relaxing and uplifted place! This Chardonnay is easy drinking wine that has light, crisp flavors that will surely please moms everywhere!

I have lots of mother figures in my life and I am extremely grateful for each and every one of them! My mom, my step mom, Bobby's mom, and my friend who just became a mom for the first time. I don't have any grandmother figures in my life anymore, but they are always in my heart! There are a few ways to treat any mother figure to something special for Mother's Day Weekend, so here are a few ideas to treat them well.

sugar cookie bars

I also thought that making sugar cookie bars would be perfect, because they travel well and are such a versatile treat for Mom. 

It's fun how wine can also accompany some great times. It's seriously so fun to sip a glass of wine with my mom and sister and do some baking. We do tend to love doing projects together, so this whole post was just such an incredible inspiration for me!

I will also be heading to Louisville, KY this weekend to see my sister graduate college AND to celebrate Mother's Day with a brunch to end the weekend. I will definitely be bringing one of these bottles of wine to that celebration as well. I am SO excited!!! 

Butter Chardonnay melts in your mouth just like smooth, rich butter!

This wine is made from California grown grapes, is cold fermented, and is aged in oak. 

 If you sip this delicious Butter Chardonnay, you might even taste hints of stone fruit or baked lemon with a vanilla finish.

This wine is best served chilled and has such a nice, complex flavor without being too sweet. This is the perfect choice for summer and beyond!

Keep reading to get the full recipe for these amazing Sugar Cookie Bars with Edible Flowers!

Jump to the bottom of this post to grab the recipe for these sugar cookie bars. A couple of other fun ideas for making Mother's Day great would be some thoughtful gift ideas. Check out my ideas, below!

Cute Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Why not give mom a gift basket with all of these items inside?! That would make her smile for sure. 

SUGAR COOKIE BAR WITH EDIBLE FLOWERS RECIPE

{Adapted from a recipe, found here}

Ingredients:

  • Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • dash of salt
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 2-3 tsp milk if needed
  • 8-10 edible flower heads, I used violas, but marigolds, violets, and others would work too.

TIPS ON FINDING EDIBLE FLOWERS:

To find the best edible flowers, look no further than your local hardware store or garden center. I found Violas on sale for about $2 per container. Look for the package with the most blooms on it. Cut the flowers off to garnish your sugar cookie bars or any other treat for Mom, even cocktails. The great thing about buying flowers this way, is that you can then plant them in a sunny spot in your yard and they will keep growing throughout the year, just as love for Mom grows all the time.

Alternately, I have seen a cute package of edible flowers at our local Co-Op, packaged similarly to the refrigerated herbs.

Instructions:

  1. Cookie bars: Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat till well blended. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and stir till well combined.
  2. Press into a 17" x 12" rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until barely light brown. Cool completely, then get ready to frost. See frosting instructions in next step.
  3. To Make Frosting: Beat softened cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar, extracts, salt, and food coloring. Beat till smooth and creamy, adding milk as needed. 

4. Carefully cut edges of sugar cookie bars with a large, sharp knife so the edges are straightened up, as shown below. 

5. To evenly cut sugar cookie bars, cut down the middle both ways, then cut each of those sections in half again. To ensure a cleaner cut, always wipe off the excess cake and icing between each slice. After slicing, add edible flowers and serve! These stay good a few days left out at room temp or in the fridge. Enjoy!

Aren't these just so beautiful?! 

I hope you enjoy theButter Chardonnay and these sugar cookie bars as much as my mom and I will! Have a wonderful Mother's Day, friends!

Make sure to check out more from JaM Cellars Butter Chardonnay here!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

PIN IT FOR LATER...

Unicorn Cookie Bouquet from Cookies by Design

Look at this adorable Unicorn Cookie Pop Bouquet from Cookies By Design. I can think of so many people who would love this!

I received a well designed cookie bouquet, which contained 4 unicorn cookies, 2 over the rainbow cookies, and one star shaped cookie that read, Have A Magical Birthday!

This Unicorn Sugar Cookie Bouquet is an absolute show stopper. 

If you bring this bouquet to an event, or have it shipped to someone for their special day, you will be remembered forever! Think of how many photos will be posted of this awesome, edible gift. 

It's also pretty east to find other Unicorn themed party supplies at most stores, or make your own from scrapbooking paper, sequins, and tinsel. 

Unicorn Sugar Cookie Bouquet

Cookies By Design is one of my awesome affiliate partners. If you purchase any cookie bouquet or other fun items from Cookies By Design, I make a small commission. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that help make my blog an inspiring space!

Mother's Day Gift - Flower Sugar Cookie Bouquet

Check out this Mother's Day Sugar Cookie Bouquet. It's really lovely and Mom or Grandma would LOVE to receive such a delightful, thoughtful gift! 

Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Springtime Ideas for Mother's Day and Cinco de Mayo

This post is sponsored by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I'm so thankful for warmer weather, which also makes me want more cold snacks lately. I am so excited to have another opportunity to work with such a fun brand! Let's get Spring and Summer off to a sweet start...

WHAT IS MY/MO MOCHI ICE CREAM?

Mochi ice cream is a small, round dessert ball consisting of a soft, pounded sticky rice cake (mochi) formed around an ice cream filling. The ice cream flavors the confection while the mochi adds sweetness and texture. (from Wikipedia)

I recently grabbed FIVE different flavors of My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream at Lucky's Market in St. Louis. They had all of my favorite flavors and a few I hadn't tried before, which made me pretty happy!

These little treats makes life a sweeter. I thought that since Mother's Day AND Cinco de Mayo are fast approaching, that My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream could be the perfect solution to both holidays. 

First, I thought that putting together an adorable gift box for Mother's Day would be such a fun idea! 

TO MAKE THE GIFT BOX:

1.) Find a paper mache gift box, a sheet of card stock, and some tissue paper. Create a divider from cardboard or a piece of card stock folded in half, then cut to fit. 

2. Place tissue paper on each side, and fill one side with homemade or bakery cookies, and then fill the other side with My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream! Make sure to keep the gift in the freezer until you give it to that lucky recipient!

TO CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO

Everyone who I tell about this My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is always so interested to try it. With flavors like strawberry, mango, green tea, cookies and cream, double chocolate, and more, everyone will find a flavor they love. My personal faves are always fruit, so I adore the strawberry and mango flavors.

I also found these incredible napkins from Meri Meri at TJMaxx, which I have had my eye on for a while now :) 

The flowers are actually edible wafer flowers that I found at Party City.

Prepare a platter of My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream ahead of time, for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, save it in the freezer, and after dinner is winding down, grab the My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream and watch everyone smile! People love having all of those flavor options, too. 

Below, I cut each piece of My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream open with a sharp knife. Make sure to only cut one piece at a time, and put it back into the freezer right away if you want it to hold its shape.

MY FAVORITE FLAVORS:

Sweet Mango

Take an instant trip to tropical delicioustown with Sweet Mango My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream! The tangy and sweet taste of premium mango ice cream combined with mouthfuls of mochilicious dough gives your cravings their own craving. Sweet mango My/Mo – the perfect, handheld getaway.

Ripe Strawberry

Bite into the center of Mmmm. Made with real fruit, and bursting with sweet bits of strawberry love. Premium strawberry ice cream is wrapped in a pillowy layer of chewy mochi dough. Discover an entirely new experience around your favorite ice cream flavor.

HISTORY OF MOCHI FROM MY/MO MOCHI:

"Creating Mochi, the Fusion Dessert Sensation"

In the 1990s, the predecessors to My/Mo created mochi ice cream in its modern form. With a secret family recipe in their arsenal, they had the brilliant idea of wrapping delicious mochi dough around dollops of real ice cream. Over twenty years later, mochi is widely available across the United States. in modern flavors like sweet mango, ripe strawberry,  mint chip and double chocolate, mochi ice cream has become America’s favorite handheld frozen treat.

Connect with My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream on Instagram and find a retailer near you!

Festive Chocolate Bark Recipe

A deliciously sweet and festive treat that only takes a few minutes to create! You will absolutely love how great the flavors of the white chocolate and dark chocolate meld together to satisfy your sweet tooth. Customize the colors and decorations to suit your holiday, team colors, or other special occasions!

INGREDENTS:

1 bag of dark chocolate chips (I used a darker chocolate from Ghiradelli)

1 bag of white chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli white melting wafers) 

Sprinkles of your choice (At least 3 Tablespoons or more)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate on. You can smooth it with a spatula to the thickness you desire. Stick in the freeze for 20 minutes.

Melt while chocolate.  Let it set for 3 full minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens). Remove baking sheet with chocolate from the freezer and immediately pour white chocolate on top. Sprinkle on sprinkles. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Once set, break into pieces with your hands (or rubber gloves). Keep refrigerated.