Winnie The Pooh + Christopher Robinson Inspired Recipe

Enjoy family movie nights? If you are a lover of all things Winnie The Pooh, then this Pooh Approved Snack Mix and DIY Hunny Pot are exactly what you could to make! Perfect for family movie nights, because sometimes doing nothing leads to the very best of something! Simply mix up teddy bear shaped crackers and other health-conscious snacks to please the entire family!

Winnie The Pooh Snack Mix Recipe for Movie Night

My heart is overwhelmed by this fun opportunity I had to create this recipe and one more for WINNIE THE POOH and DISNEY and HELLO SOCIETY!!!!!

Hassle-Free Holiday Meal Ideas + Veggie Foil Packets with Del Monte

This post has been sponsored by Del Monte Foods, Inc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Holiday Meals

Each year, I seem to love the holidays more and more. To me, I love any excuse to

make delicious food and have friends and family over. So I thought it would be

fun to share an easy meal idea and show you just how easy this meal was. I

thought it turned out very elegant, and everything was literally devoured

pretty quickly.

These Veggie Foil Packets are a great vegetarian dinner alternative or side dish. These foil packets are so familiar to most people (think campfire dinners) but by adding more unique and colorful ingredients, these veggie packets can be taken to the next level and even enjoyed at a holiday dinner as a side dish! Simply put, these foil packets contain an array of ingredients like potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, fresh herbs like parsley and oregano, and of course the Del Monte mixed veggies and green beans. Also, if you are put in the position when you need to offer a few vegetarian side dishes during the holidays, the veggie packets and the cornbread would be amazing.

Easy Holiday Meal
Easy Holiday Meal

Del Monte is my number one brand for everything canned during the holidays and during every month of the year. You can find them at your nearest retailer using this store locator. This could be a cute meal for Friendsgiving, for a fall or holiday date night, or something special for a smaller crowd during the holidays.

Visit Del Monte’s website to check out TONS more holiday recipes, here!

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

 VEGGIE FOIL PACKETS:

1-2 Cans Del Monte® Vegetable & Bean Blends Country Style

1-2 Cans Del Monte® Blue Lake® Cut Green Beans

4-6 pieces of foil (8”-10” squares) – 2 pieces per packet 

CREAMED CORN CORNBREAD CAKE + MUFFINS:

1 package cornbread muffin or cake mix (I used one 15 oz. box but you can also use two 8 oz boxes as well!)

1 egg

1/3 c. oil

1 Cup Del Monte® Cream Style Golden Sweet Corn

½ - 1 c. milk

Muffin tin

Cupcake liners 

WHOLE YOUNG CHICKEN:

1 whole chicken (organic when possible)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 tsp salt

1-2 Tbsp seasoning (I used Greek seasoning, but use anything you would like)

Brush to apply olive oil (optional)

Parsley for garnish 

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare chicken. Place chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet and begin to brush olive oil over chicken. I basically drizzled the oil onto the chicken and then brushed it over. Next, I simply sprinkled seasoning all over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for at least 1.5 hours. At a little over an hour, I carefully uncovered the chicken, then placed it back into the oven to finish baking. Make sure the breast is not pink anymore. A note on the chicken: there was a lot of juice in the cake pan from the chicken cooking. Be careful not to spill this juice or it may hurt you. Be very careful when handling this pan.

2.) Mid way through cooking chicken, prep for the veggie packets. Strain both cans of Del Monte veggies and divide them equally between 2 or 3 foil packets, To make the packets, simply place two sheets of foil on a baking tray, place veggies in the middle, then season with 1-2 tsp of your favorite seasoning mix and salt if needed. Fold two side of the foil inward, then twist the ends to keep everything inside. Place onto sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until steaming. Carefully open the packets as the steam can hurt you.

Veggie Foil Packets
Veggie Foil Packets
Veggie Foil Packets

3.) Mix up cornbread ingredients and prepare pan. For my spring form pan, I sprayed it with cooking spray then lightly coated the pan in flour. Fill the springform pan about halfway full then pour the rest of the batter, cover with foil, and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes with foil covering until the last 10-15 mins. Pour the batter into the cupcake cups and bake muffins at 375F for about 15-18 minutes. The springform pan is not necessary, it just made for a wonderful presentation! Feel free to use any size or shape of square or round dish you have.

The Best Cornbread For The Holidays
The Best Cornbread Recipe
The Best Cornbread Recipe

4.) To serve, place chicken into shallow serving bowl or platter and garnish with parsley. Also, feel free to place cornbread cake onto a cake stand or on a cute dish with a spatula for serving. Lastly, either have guests grab veggies from a serving bowl or straight from the packets!

Delicious Holiday Chicken Recipe

Cleanup was super easy with this whole process. If you do not want to cook a whole chicken, you can use chicken drumsticks, thighs, or even chicken breasts. I say this because it can take up to 2 hours for the chicken to be fully cooked if the bird is 4 pounds like mine was.

I absolutely LOVED the green beans and the other vegetables in the new Mixed Veggies collection. I actually liked the vegetables more than any other part of this meal, and my friends also raved about each and every part. I had so much fun treating a few of my favorite people to an exceptionally thoughtful dinner during the holidays, which can be a super hectic time when people may forget to eat a “real meal”.

What are your favorite vegetarian side dishes to serve during the holidays?

Look out for these mixed veggies from the brand:

Del Monte® Vegetable & Bean Blends California Style

Del Monte® Vegetable & Bean Blends Classic Style

Del Monte® Vegetable & Bean Blends Country Style

Del Monte® Vegetable & Bean Blends Mexican Style

Connect with Del Monte on social and show off your recipes, too!

Canned Veggies Recipes

Handmade Thanksgiving Finds on Etsy

I have been a huge fan of Etsy since their early days. I used to sell my hand sewn baby items through the site until I became a social media influencer, and this season, I wanted to share some of my favorite finds on Etsy in the Thanksgiving category, found here! A lot of these cute decor pieces would be perfect for Friendsgiving Decor as well.

I am loving these items, they are all so gorgeous! How will you decorate this year?

OLIVE CREATIVE COMPANY

Hey There Pumpkin Doormat / Rug (find it here)

LESS CANDLES

Eco Friendly, All Natural Acorn Floating Candles (find them here)

CANDY FLEECE BRAND

Gorgeous, Handmade Velvet Pumpkins for Thanksgiving and Beyond (find them here)

Happy Halloween! Check out this Bloody Glass Cupcake recipe!

Halloween was pretty fun this year! We made all sorts of deliciously spooky food and drinks! Here is one of the recipes which turned out even better than expected! This homemade honey blood made a big impact while the broken pieces of sugar glass looks incredibly realistic is was just incredible!

Bloody Glass Cupcakes Recipe

I used a bow of red velvet cake mix to make the cupcakes then had SO much fun decorating these cupcakes. The black cupcake liners were also so perfect for that dark and mysterious / murderous look I was going for, LOL!

Broken Glass Cupcakes for Halloween

In this post, I will teach you some very exciting techniques!

HOW TO MAKE SUGAR GLASS:

HOW TO MAKE FAKE EDIBLE BLOOD WITH HONEY:

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

Stay tuned! Tips will be published tomorrow. Enjoy!

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Looking for an eye-catching appetizer that people will love for Halloween? These Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers are delightfully spooky and you’re going to love them. And, bonus points because these can be made vegetarian or with bacon in the filling - it’s up to YOU!

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

INGREDIENTS (MAKES ABOUT 20-24 poppers)

1 (8oz.) block of cream cheese

1-1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2-3 Tbsp seasoning - I like Ranch or Mexican seasoning for these

1-2 packages of pizza crust (the thinner the better - I used Wewalka Bistro Crust)

Candy eyes at least 40 pieces (I like these ones)

Baking sheet (I love these Air Bake ones)

Parchment paper - (only suggested if you are not using a baking rack)

Baking rack - optional (similar here and here)

Jalapeño Popper Mummies Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Slice top 1/3 of each pepper off, lengthwise. Carefully remove seeds and other inside material with the back of a kitchen spoon or similar tool. I tend to use rubber gloves when making these, so my hands do not catch any of the spiciness of the peppers.

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

2.) Using a small spoon to add filling to peppers, or place your filling ingredients into a plastic bag and cut the end off to use to pipe the filling into the peppers for a more polished look. Wipe off excess filling that may have gotten on the edges or the tops.

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

3.) Cut pizza dough into the thinnest strips you can. I use the dough as cold as possible, or almost frozen so it cuts well and also holds the shape of the strips well. Next, wrap small strips of dough around filled peppers in a “mummy sort of way”. I left room for the eye area, and after they baked I placed candy eyes to give them a good personality + spooky look.

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

4.) Bake at 350-375 degrees F for 10-15+ minutes on a metal baking sheet, covered in parchment paper. These baked pretty quickly and I just LOVE how they turned out!

Add the candy eyes to the mummy poppers! While poppers are still warm, take two candy eyes in your fingers, and place them on the “mummy face” both nest to each other at once, so they are both looking/pointing in the right direction. You can have a lot of fun with these, and I would love them to be a part of your Halloween celebrations and festivities! Enjoy! Happy Haunting!

Mummy Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
Mummy Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Top 10 Halloween Cakes

While many of us celebrated Halloween this weekend, I am still in the Halloween spirit! Here are some outstanding examples of Halloween Cakes that I found incredibly inspiring. I hope you do too!

 A  Halloween Bat Cake  that takes the cake for the most elegant and 3-Dimensional cake.

A Halloween Bat Cake that takes the cake for the most elegant and 3-Dimensional cake.

 This amazing  Brushstroke Halloween Ghost Cake  is out of this world spooky and artistic!

This amazing Brushstroke Halloween Ghost Cake is out of this world spooky and artistic!

 Another adorable and festive  Halloween cake  that is decorated just right.

Another adorable and festive Halloween cake that is decorated just right.

 This  “eye-catching” cake  sure does look amazing!

This “eye-catching” cake sure does look amazing!

 This  zombie cake  looks so realistic and those graveyard cupcakes pair so well with the theme!

This zombie cake looks so realistic and those graveyard cupcakes pair so well with the theme!

 A perfectly decorated two tier cake to inspire your Halloween!

A perfectly decorated two tier cake to inspire your Halloween!

 The  undead would definitely feel welcome  at THIS Halloween party!

The undead would definitely feel welcome at THIS Halloween party!

 This zombie face wedding cake would definitely win an award for one of the creepiest cakes!

This zombie face wedding cake would definitely win an award for one of the creepiest cakes!

 Love this cake, especially the eyeballs and hand sticking out from the top!

Love this cake, especially the eyeballs and hand sticking out from the top!

 This bleeding brain Halloween cake is just too gross!

This bleeding brain Halloween cake is just too gross!

Creamy Tomato, Basil, Parmesan Soup Recipe

A delicious, homemade version of a classic tomato soup recipe. This will be the only tomato soup recipe you will ever need. With lots of tomatoes, a creamy base, and a hint of parmesan, this soup is sure to please! We even doubled the recipe, and finished the soup in a matter of days. Keep reading to get the recipe, below!

Tomato Soup Recipe

Luckily, I used this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch and I was thrilled with the outcome!

FIND THE ORIGINAL RECIPE HERE

Tomato Soup Recipe

The weather definitely turned to fall/winter today. Last night, it began to get pretty chilly but definitely bearable. This morning, the high was about 45 degrees, and I am super happy to welcome cooler temps with this soup recipe and lots of others. Perhaps loaded baked potato soup will be next!

Tomato Soup Recipe

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes , with the juice

  • 2 tsp olive oil, if using stovetop method

  • 1 cup carrot , finely diced

  • 1 cup onion , finely diced

  • 1 cup celery , finely diced

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves (Tbs fresh oregano)

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves or more (or 2-3 Tbsp dry basil)

  • ½ cup butter

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1½ cups half and half (or whole milk)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the Stove Top (This is the method I used):

  1. Add diced tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, chicken broth, oregano, and basil to a large soup pot. Bring to a gently boil and cook for several minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Alternately, I cooked the onions for a few minutes with 2 tsp olive oil, then add carrots, celery, and seasonings to cook until carrots are a bit tender.

  2. In a separate pot, prepare the roux. Add butter to the pot over medium low heat and allow to melt. Stir in the flour and whisk together constantly for about 10 minutes or until the roux is a nice golden brown color. Slowly add 1 cup of the soup from the other pot to the roux--it will start to form a thick paste.  Slowly add another 3 cups of warm soup to the roux. Whisk together until smooth. Add the roux mixture to soup pot and stir to combine. Note - the rue + soup mixture was thick at first, but when added back into the larger soup pot, everything turned out extremely well!

  3. Pour soup into blender (you may need to do this in batches, depending on how big your blender is)

  4. Purée until smooth. Return to soup pot.

  5. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, half and half (or milk), and salt and pepper. Add additional oregano and basil if needed, to taste. Stir well. Cook for a few more minutes until warmed through. Enjoy!

For the Slow Cooker:

  1. Add diced tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, chicken broth, oregano, and basil to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

  2. About 30 minutes before the soup is ready, prepare a roux. Melt the butter over medium low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Whisk together constantly for about 10 minutes or until the roux is a nice golden brown color. Slowly add 1 cup of the soup from the slow cooker to the roux--it will start to form a thick paste.  Slowly add another 3 cups of warm soup to the roux. Whisk together until smooth. Add the roux mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

  3. Pour soup into blender (you may need to do this in batches, depending on how big your blender is)

  4. Purée until smooth. Return to the slow cooker.

  5. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, half and half (or milk), and salt and pepper. Add additional oregano and basil if needed, to taste. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for another 20-30 minutes or until warm. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pot Pies Recipe with Amy’s Kitchen

Thank you Amy’s for sponsoring this post. #StartWithAmys this Soup Season.

With cooler weather on the horizon, it’s time to incorporate comfort food that will make you happy about what you are serving and eating. For over 30 years, Amy’s Kitchen has been cooking up vegetarian meals made with high-quality ingredients. As fall quickly approaches, it’s time to get your soup on!

Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe #StartWithAmys
Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe

I found a unique way to incorporate three varieties of Amy’s Kitchen soups into a Vegetarian Pot Pie, and I hope you love it! Since Amy’s Soups already taste delicious on their own, I was able to allow those flavors to shine, while simply complimenting them with a few more veggies and a flaky, puff pastry woven lattice crust. This dish can be made as individual pot pies, or as one large casserole – it’s completely up to you! And, feel free to use this lattice technique, or simply use a full sheet of puff pastry crust right across the top.

Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe

This homemade, vegetarian dish is waiting to be served at your next weeknight dinner, holiday meal, or even as a make-ahead meal that can be frozen and baked in just a short time, making dinner exceptionally easy AND delicious!

The phrase “comfort food” definitely comes to mind with this dish. It’s filled with an array of veggies, plus Amy’s Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup, Organic Chunky Vegetable Soup, and their Organic Vegetable Barley Soup. This dish is literally brimming with vegetables, you are going to love it. Even super picky eaters will enjoy this food. It’s a great idea to stock up for the cooler months with Amy’s soups! Keep a few soup cans stashed in your pantry (or desk!) for those times when you want something tasty that will warm you up as well. I always feel better after a warm meal, and these soups make an exceptional meal all on their own!

I love this cream of mushroom soup - it could surely be enjoyed on its own, warmed up with a handful of oyster crackers in the bowl for some crunch. I have never found a cream of anything soup that I am happy with. I have found that most canned cream soups are all way too thick and just full of unnecessary ingredients, and I have found too some have a sort of strange aroma. This has always turned me away from using condensed cream soups, but now I have a newfound hope thanks to Amy’s Kitchen! The Cream of Mushroom Semi-Condensed Soup worked super well for the base of this recipe, and would even be super delicious heated and enjoyed on its own, or with a handful of soup crackers.

I have fond memories of my mom making chicken pot pie many, many times as a child. She would use a traditional recipe that incorporated chicken and a small portion of veggies. It was always amazing, but as I grew older, and realized the importance of eating plant-based, I knew I needed to adapt a few of my most treasured family recipes into vegetarian versions.

Luckily, all of Amy’s products contain high-quality ingredients. That is extremely important for me, and I am so happy I have made a small lifestyle switch to considering each and every ingredient in the foods I eat and prepare for those I love. At Amy’s, they choose the best ingredients for each recipe. They cook with ingredients that people use in their own kitchens and trust, like carrots, beans, flour and spices! They don’t use a lot of starches and thickeners (which I do notice when I open their soups and other foods. They rely instead on slow simmering and cooking to develop soups and creamy sauces. This is very apparent as I was using the Amy’s Cream of Mushroom soup, it’s a really smooth texture without being overly thick, like other cream canned soups.

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW - RIGHT CLICK TO SAVE OR PRINT

Veg Pot Pie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 can Amy’s Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 can Amy’s Organic Chunky Vegetable Soup

1 can Amy’s Organic Vegetable Barley Soup (any of their other vegetable soups will work well too)

1 sheet of puff pastry

½ red onion - chopped

1-2 cloves garlic – minced

1-2 TBSP olive oil

½ of a red potato – chopped into very small pieces

1 c. broccoli – chopped into small pieces

½ c. corn (frozen or canned)

½ c. frozen peas

2-4 TBSP seasoning (I use a mixture of low sodium seasoned salt and a Greek spice blend)

1 TBSP butter or butter alternative

3 TBSP flour

salt

Optional 1 egg for egg wash (simply use which to stir up one egg in a small bowl)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.)   Sautee olive oil, onions, and garlic, and 1-2 TBSP seasoning for 2-3 minutes. Once onions are soft, add potatoes and cook at medium heat for about 3 minutes with the pan’s lid on. Carefully stir the potatoes once during cooking, and replace lid.

2.)   Add 1 cup broccoli, corn, and frozen peas, and simmer another 3 minutes. Add up to 2 tsp more seasoning at this point, and stir to coat all veggies.

3.)   Turn off heat, and transfer all veggies from skillet to another heat safe bowl and set aside. Do not clean or wipe out skillet yet.

4.)   In this same skillet, melt 1 TBSP butter. Once melted, stir in 3 TBSP flour, and stir until combined. This helps to thicken the sauce. It will look “chunky”, but that’s ok!

5.)   Add 1 can of Amy’s Organic Cream of Mushroom soup, and stir to combine. Turn heat back onto medium, and add the bowl of veggies back into the skillet. Stir to combine, and heat for 2-3 minutes while stirring, to combine and thicken everything.

6.)   Preheat oven to 400 degrees for Transfer into prepared baking dish(es) – make sure to spray them with non-stick spray first!

7.)   Time to do the crust! Either place one sheet of puff pastry across the top of the baking dish and trim the sides and cut vents at top, OR use the lattice technique I have shown in this post!

8.)   To lattice: cut ½” or 1” strips out of your puff pastry sheet and weave them across the top of the pie. I start by placing three strips vertically, then working on weaving in the three horizontal strips. From there, I can then place the remaining strips of puff pastry into the top of the pie. Cut excess dough hanging over sides of baking dish, and if you want, use your fingers to gently press the dough strips down onto the baking dish so it does not move while baking.

Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe

9.)   Brush top of pie with an optional egg wash, and bake small pies for 17-22 minutes or one pie for 25-35 minutes. The puff pastry need to be pretty crunchy on top to ensure that the dough touching the filling is not doughy.

Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe

What a fun and comforting vegetarian meal to make for your favorite people! Perhaps you could even surprise a busy family with a frozen version of this pie, and they can enjoy a vegetarian meal in a less than a half hour of baking time! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pot Pie Recipe #StartWithAmys

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

Elegant Halloween Party Recipes with 7 Moons Wine

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #7MoonsWine #MadeForTheMoonlight #CollectiveBias

Each phase of the moon invites you to slow down, relax, and reflect with a glass of 7 Moons Wine in hand. Today, I am so excited to share a delicious wine I tried recently and a few ideas on making your Halloween gatherings or even a Halloween date night a bit more elegant and delicious! Uncork a bottle, pour a glass, and find connection in the moonlight.

Halloween Party Ideas #7MoonsWine #MadeForTheMoonlight #CollectiveBias
In this post, I am featuring the 7 Moons Red Blend, which “opens with aromas of chocolate-covered cherries, baking spices, and vanilla bean. Flavors of strawberry preserves, cherry cola, and milk chocolate follow through a smooth, fruit-forward, lingering finish”. I found everything at my local grocery story, which is often my experience there! I rarely have to go to another grocery store for anything, making my shopping trips very pleasant.
Halloween Party Prep #7MoonsWine #MadeForTheMoonlight #CollectiveBias

People were definitely admiring my cart on the store!!!! Let me tell you,I was VERY excited to be shopping for Halloween. Connect with the brand on Instagram and Facebook!

7 grape varietals of grapes are combined into a smooth, fruity, easy to drink wine.

Enjoy a blend of 7 different grape varietals sourced from prime vineyards up and down California’s Central Coast and Lodi regions. A mix of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Grenache! Smooth and easy to drink, simple with a little embellishment.

The brand explains that their Red Blend wine is “delicious paired with a broad range of foods from barbequed chicken and caprese salad to take-out Chinese” - a very versatile drink in my eyes! It’s fun to keep a bottle of this 7 Moons Red Blend for enjoyment throughout the week, or for special occasions!

With those tasting notes in mind, I tried the wine by itself, then paired with the food featured in this post, and I was very pleased with how everything tasted together! The goat cheese plate and the dark chocolate cupcakes were a huge hit! A few black candles also set the mood perfectly.

Offering guests a red blend is perfect because it’s right in the middle between dry and sweet, which seems to allow people who don’t drink red wine often to be introduced into a mild, smooth red wine, compared to one with more of the dry characteristics, which can sometimes be hard for someone to get used to, if they rarely drink red wines. Sampling a few red blends has definitely made me more of a red wine drinker because these are such complex flavors that I love to explore.

Throughout the research phase of this project, I also loved being able to dive deeper into learning about moon phases and astrology. I was inspired to create festive crescent moon cupcake toppers, which I think looked absolutely gorgeous! I used metallic, gold cupcake cups, dark chocolate cake mix, and dark chocolate frosting to make the darkest and most delicious Halloween cupcakes of the year!

Dark Chocolate Crescent Moon Cupcakes #7MoonsWine #MadeForTheMoonlight #CollectiveBias

TO MAKE THE CUPCAKE TOPPERS:

Supplies:

  • 1 sheet of silver glitter paper (found in the specialty scrapbooking paper aisle)

  • Toothpicks

  • 3D star stickers

  • Clear Tape

Instructions:

  1. Print out a crescent moon shape that is about 1.5” at the longest points.

  2. Cut out that shape and trace it onto the back of the glitter paper.

  3. Cut out crescent moon shapes, and glue or tape to a toothpick and insert into cupcakes!

  4. For the stars, I simply stuck the star stickers onto the toothpicks, and inserted them into the cupcakes. Such a simple and elegant way to dress up these dark cupcakes for Halloween!

Dark Chocolate Crescent Moon Cupcakes#7MoonsWine #MadeForTheMoonlight #CollectiveBias
7 Moons Wine

Here are the 7 phases of the moon, according to 7 Moons Wine.


CRESCENT MOON PHASE


Open your eyes. It’s time to make your dream a reality.


QUARTER MOON PHASE


Trust your instincts. Make your move with confidence.


GIBBOUS MOON PHASE


Reflect on your journey. Learn from your winding path.


FULL MOON PHASE


Take stock of your accomplishments. Have pride in them too.


DISSEMINATING


Show gratitude. Don’t hold it back.


3RD QUARTER MOON PHASE


Let your worries go. Move forward without them.


BALSAMIC MOON PHASE


Pause. Rest. Close your eyes and find your next dream.

Since I love incorporating a bit of elegance into my Halloween décor, recipes, and celebrations, a Red Blend wine is actually perfect to pair with dark chocolate and a “creepy” Halloween cheese board with all natural ingredients. They all paired super well with the 7 Moons Red Blend wine. I looked up the best pairings when I was in my research phase, and both goat cheese and dark chocolate paired well, and that was my jumping off point. Above, the cheese board was created with a more rustic look - using fresh dill to look like moss! Some of the dill really resembled tufts of the green fuzzy plants you find on the forest floor. PLUS, I was extremely happy that the dill paired exceptionally well with the goat cheese.

The other goat cheese ball was rolled in crispy onions, which I just rough chopped. Three ingredients made for some really divine tasting cheese balls!

CREEPY CRAWLY CHEESE BALL

Ingredients:

8 oz. log of goat cheese or two 4 oz. pieces.

½ cup crispy onions

1 package of dill (.5 oz)

Almonds, dark chocolate pieces (60% cacao), black or green olives, and crackers or bruschettini style toasts to dip in goat cheese.

Creepy crawly plastic toys like snakes, bats, and spiders to add Halloween elements.  

Instructions:

  1. Cut goat cheese log in half, and roll both halves into balls. Set aside in fridge.

  2. Chop up a little over half of the dill (reserving prettiest pieces for mossy garnish). Place chopped dill into a small bowl.

  3. Chop up crispy onions, or place into a zip top bag and pour into a second small bowl.

  4. Roll one goat cheese ball in the dill and the other ball in the crispy onions, and place onto plate.

  5. To decorate plate, add bits of dill around cheese balls to resemble a natural setting.

  6. Place almonds, dark chocolate, and olives around plate, and then place/sprinkle tiny bits of dill “moss” tufts around plate for natural forest look.

  7. Embellish further with plastic snakes and other creepy crawly items. I also added a glittery black raven, which is a paper cutout I found at a craft store. Enjoy!

7 Moons Wine is an excellent choice for all of your holiday get togethers. I learned so much about the moon phases and explored making food look super elegant for Halloween. It’s been so much fun, and I hope you are also able to use this post as an inspiration for your next gatherings.

Relax and unwind this Halloween season and enjoy the finer things in life, perhaps under the moonlight!

Football Party Ideas + Updated Pigs In A Blanket Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Dr Pepper® and Eckrich®. All opinions are mine alone. #MyMeijerWin

Time to reinvent a classic, well-loved recipe that tastes better than ever! College football season it the perfect time to try out a few new recipes for guests, friends, and family alike! This grown up, more sophisticated version of Pigs In A Blanket will delight guests! Serve with ice cold Dr Pepper® for a pairing with Eckrich® Smoked Sausage, sure to be out of this world delicious! A true crowd-pleaser during your college football celebration - who will YOU be rooting for? 

Check out this mperks offer to save $1 on any TWO (2) Dr Pepper® 6pk 7.5oz cans or 8pk 12 oz bottles at Meijer (while supplies last).
Football Party Appetizer

I used one of my favorite ingredients, Eckrich® Smoked Sausage, to make this delicious creation, which would be AMAZING for your next game day or holiday celebration. People rave about these and always ask when I’ll be making more. Read on to learn more about my latest college football celebration, and get the details on how to make your next celebration a success. Our college's colors are maroon and white, so actually Dr Pepper is a fun choice to celebrate locally. PLUS, every single one of my friends is slightly obsessed with Dr Pepper, so offering this refreshment at any of my parties tends to go over well. The smoked sausage worked super well for this project too. 

I thought it was super clever to cut up the smoked sausages for this recipe, compared to using traditional small cocktail weenies. This made for a much better bite! 

Football Shaped Party Appetizer

Whenever I begin to plan a design for a college football party, I immediately think of which vintage elements I want to incorporate. For some reason, I associate football with the nostalgia of times (and games) past, PLUS I believe that a vintage style theme and set of decorations will appeal to all age ranges, which I love. If someone who can have a sort of connection to my decor, whether they are actually attending my parties OR viewing the recaps on my blog, it means a lot to me.

Football Shaped Appetizer

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Football Shaped Pigs In A Blanket
Football Shaped Party Appetizer

GAME DAY PARTY DETAILS: 

To choose your colors, decide what color metallic you like best. I chose gold here, but silver or copper would be your other common choices. The gold accents really catch the light so well, and can make any party décor look more classy. These metallic gold, plastic utensils almost look real, and the gold shimmering tinsel (found in the gift wrap section at a craft store) really made things shimmer. I thought that the gold tinsel reminded me of pom poms!

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Next, I used lots of rustic wooden surfaces, and one small vintage crate to get some of the items on the table up at eye level. I love setting up the food and drink table(s) with items being served at different heights. This adds SO much visual interest to the party offerings! This is such a better alternative than simply laying all the food on an uninviting table.Taking a few extra moments to consider the design of your food and refreshment table seems to at least make party setup more exciting on my side as well.

Let people serve themselves by offering Dr Pepper and other drinks in nice containers or a cooler, so you do not have to serve each guest individually. This gives you way more time to enjoy your company rather than stressing out by hosting so much. 

Football Party Ideas
Football Party Ideas

I incorporated football themed cups, plates, and napkins wherever I could! I loved this rather vintage look for the party, with rustic woods, plaid patterns, and even a vintage looking font for the Tailgates and Traditions can carrier, above. In addition to being a cute way to display Dr Pepper at your college football parties, this carrier (or some other fun 6 pack holder) would be perfect to tote your soft drinks to the game or to tailgate.

As soon as I begin to see football related party items in stores. I tend to pick them up. We celebrate all football season long, and so having a lot of different party items on hand makes life a little bit more fun, in my opinion! 

Do you tend to go all out when decorating for football parties / game days, or do you tend to scale things back a bit and just stick to the essentials? Either way, offering guests Dr Pepper and these updated Pigs In A Blanket will make your next get together a win!

Football Party Ideas

I offered guests three different flavors of mustard to compliment the Pigs In A Blanket - I used a traditional yellow one, a creamy dijon, and a stone ground. But, whatever you have will likely work! Just serve the mustards in small glass bowls or anything that spruces up the presentation, and you're set. I definitely consider that a #MyMeijerWin

Football party ideas
Football Party Ideas

If I am having a party, I tend to offer lots of dips, making each meal a little bit more unique and delicious. Above, you will see three different mustards that I shared. Simply use whatever you already have in your home, or head to Meijer and take a few minutes to see just how many varieties of mustard there are. I chose a yellow, a stone ground, then a creamy stone ground variety. Whatever mustard(s) you choose, they will pair super well with these Pigs In A Blanket! YUM!!! This celebration and these recipes turned out SO well, and I cannot wait for you to try something this delicious. Enjoy!! 

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Football Party Ideas
Football Party Ideas!
Football Party Ideas

Veggie Lovers’ Club Sandwich Recipe with Pepperidge Farm

This post has been sponsored by Pepperidge Farm®, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you’re wanting to find more ways to connect with family or friends, I often find that food brings people together better than nearly anything else. I recently created the most delicious Veggie Lovers’ Club Sandwich with Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse® Butter Bread, and it’s quickly becoming my go-to bread for sandwiches, breakfast recipes, and even making toast, which I love so dearly.

This sandwich contains ingredients in all sorts of colors; I just love to eat as many different colored veggies as possible each day. I hope you enjoy!

I find that sandwiches with fresh and delicious ingredients that can be made ahead of time really helps save time and brings families closer together. I absolutely love providing my friends and family with fresh, nourishing meals that in turn give them energy and encouragement to inspire wonderful days ahead. Whether you’re making this Club Sandwich for two or you’re making brunch for a whole house full of family and guests, I would definitely recommend the thick, rich, buttery taste of this awesome, slow baked Butter Bread – you’re going to love its fresh-from-the-oven taste!

When I visit the bread aisle at the grocery store, I see SO many choices for white bread. But even with all of those choices, few actually compare to this Butter Bread. I love how thick the slices are. Since I am already a huge fan of anything from Pepperidge Farm and I saw that this new flavor was available at a wide range of stores, I was instantly relieved to finally find a white bread with thicker slices and a bit of a buttery taste! YUM!

My boyfriend always jokes that any product that has butter in the name, I will love. Well, he is completely correct about that – I was seriously SO excited when I found out that one of my recipes contained butter bread, I nearly jumped for joy. That’s how much I love butter!

Find new Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse® Butter Bread at retailers like Target and Kroger here! This product may quickly become your FAVORITE new bread for every recipe you can imagine.

This Veggie Lovers’ Club Sandwich is such a fun way to spend more time together and also experience new and different ingredients and flavors – which is a super fun way to bond with those you love. Find joy in the simple flavors of these all-natural sandwich toppings!

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 2 SANDWICHES)

FOR THE SANDWICH:

6 slices of Pepperidge Farm Butter Bread

8 spinach leaves

10 slices of English cucumber

½ - 1 Cup sprouts (any flavor you like)

Toaster for bread

Food processor for beet spread

FOR THE BEET SPREAD:

1 package of pre-cooked beets or 1 can of beets (remove any liquid)

2-3 tsp olive oil

3 tsp balsamic vinaigrette

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

(topped with chives – optional)

FOR THE GREEN GODDESS SANDWICH SPREAD:

¼ C. Greek yogurt (use non-dairy alternative for vegan)

1/8 C. mayo (use non-dairy alternative for vegan)

¼ C. finely chopped chives

2-3 Tbsp freshly chopped tarragon

1-2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Make Beet Sauce by putting all ingredients into food processor or blender, and pureeing until smooth. Add more salt if desired.

2.) Make Green Goddess Sandwich Spread by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon until well combined. Feel free to add more salt, garlic powder, or any other seasonings you enjoy.

3.) Toast 6 slices of Butter Bread and get ready to make the Club Sandwich.

4.) To construct each sandwich – add Beet Spread on one slice of bread, then top with sprouts. On another slice of bread, add Green Goddess Spread and 5 slices of cucumbers (and a bit of salt on top of cucumbers if desired). One piece of bread will remain without any toppings.

5.) Lastly, layer the pieces like this – Beet Spread + Sprout slice, topped by the Green Goddess and Cucumber slice, then the final top slice of bread, and cut in half to serve! The beautiful layers of bread and ingredients are just so colorful and delicious. This toast also held up very well with all of these ingredients!

I hope you enjoy this vegetarian recipe with those you love! Good food brings people together, and that time with loved ones is what keeps me happy every day! Please let me know if you wind up making this recipe!

Elegant Halloween Party Inspirations

As the weather gets chilly and as we head into the last weekend in September, I am already in Halloween mode! I am doing some research for an upcoming project, and wanted to share my inspirations for an Upscale Halloween Party - decor and tablescapes. I have rounded up some of my FAVORITE and most inspiring Halloween Tablescapes! I generally do tons and tons of hours of research for every project, and realized that I should be sharing some of my inspirations!

First, I am featuring my favorite Halloween project of last year, this super easy to make Halloween Ghost Cake! I used a store-bought sour cream pound cake, iced it, and added Ghost Peeps! It turned out SO well and can be made in under an hour.

Below, this Halloween Mantle incorporates black and gold, and black creepy cloth to really add lots of great texture!

This Halloween Spider Cheese Ball would be amazing to serve with rustic crackers!

As always, Inspired By Charm brings the BEST Halloween decor to life!

Below, Coco Kelly put together this Sirens and Songs Halloween party that featured a bedazzled skull with nods to mermaids and those lost at sea…spooky!

Below, Williams Sanoma offers tips on styling this dark and elegant tablescape for Halloween.

Visit Tendir.com for TONS more inspirations!

Below, I am super inspired by crystals for party decor, and who knows, they might bring some good energy!

Crystals

Below, in2food uses their famous mirror glaze and topped the cake with an edible gold skull, coconut pieces as geodes, and also a 3D spiderweb! How stunning!

Elegant Skull Cake

Below, a gorgeous cake by CocoKelley, an all white Halloween Coconut Layer Cake.

And, below are a few more crystals for inspiration! Enjoy :)

Black Crystals

Rustic Apple Pie Pizza Recipe + Why I love Fall Baking

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

Wow! Have I got an incredible recipe for you today. It embodies the fall spirit, and includes a dessert “pizza!” This delicious and unique recipe is rustic, sweet, and crunchy; an amazing pairing with a nice, warm Oregon Chai® Tea Latte! Make this amazing dessert for your next gathering, dinner with friends and family, or even for a potluck. This dessert will vanish before you know it.

Rustic Apple Pie Pizza

To me, baking is one of the best ways to spend “me time.” I tend to find myself baking the most once the weather cools down, when I have a bit of free time, or even when too many days have passed since I created something delicious.  Any day that includes chai tea and some me time is a GOOD DAY!

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I wasn’t always able to bake freely though. Before we got our new furnace this summer, the house would get WAY too hot (83 degrees +) when I turned on the oven, and so it was nearly impossible to justify baking when the house would not cool down from it. I made so many no-bake meals, or even used our awesome toaster oven to try to make complete meals, small casseroles, and even side dishes – baking cookies, pies, or brownies really doesn’t go well in the toaster oven.

I didn’t even realize how strong of a connection I had to baking, until I had limited use of the oven, and realized how sad I was when I looked through Pinterest and saw all of those recipes that I could not even attempt. I now bake every few days (or more) and I am so happy about how cool our house stays finally. Thank goodness for good air conditioning, LOL!

I also tend to LOVE sweet desserts and dishes, so this one is just perfect for me. If you like desserts that are on the more savory or less sweet side of life, then you can majorly reduce the amount of sugar I have suggested. Either way, you’re going to love this apple pie pizza.

Pizza is such a familiar comfort food, and when I had a slice of this Apple Pie Pizza, it took me back to eating some of the best thin crust pizza ever, combined with one of my favorite fall desserts ever.

Since we are surrounded by apple orchards here in southern Illinois, using apples in my recipe came as a very natural solution to eating more local ingredients!

This rustic recipe is crunchy around the edges from this crispy crunchy dough, sweet, tart from the apples, buttery from the dough, and the egg wash and cinnamon sugar topping makes the most excellent crunch when you bite into it.

Perfect for enjoying on a chilly fall day or evening! I was extremely happy with how this recipe turned out, and I know you will be too. I used an organic pie crust from the store, and it held the shape of the lattice just perfectly.

By cutting the lattice into smaller, ½” strips, I was able to make a very intricate pattern on top of this Apple Pie Pizza. Feel free to also cut the strips into 1” pieces to make life much easier! The ½” strips were not incredibly hard to work with, just a little more time consuming. But, patience always pays off when you’re baking.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 package refrigerated pie crust (2 per package)

2 apples, I used green apples

4-5 Tbsp.  sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 egg, whisked for egg wash

4-6 Tbsp. water in a small bowl to use to attach pie dough together

Round or Rectangular baking sheet

Parchment paper

Oregon Chai Tea Latte Concentrate to enjoy while baking!

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Chop 2 apples into tiny pieces and coat with 1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.

2.) Unroll both pie crusts onto a work surface covered in parchment paper. Optional: use a rolling pin to smooth out any creases.

3.) Use a ruler to mark every ½” or 1” on one pie crust. Also, use the ruler and a sharp knife to impress even lines and cut strips from the pie crust. Set aside.

Apple Pie Pizza

4.) Spread an even layer of apples onto the other pie crust.

Apple Pie Pizza

5.) Weave dough strips over apples, first laying half of the strips vertically, then weaving the horizontal pieces in next. Feel free to use a little bit of water in each place where the dough strips overlap. Brush top crust with egg wash.

Apple Pie Pizza

6.) Once done weaving, sprinkle on a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar + ½ tsp cinnamon, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Slice like a pizza and enjoy! We cut the finished Apple Pie Pizza with a sharp knife, but you could also use a pizza cutter!

Apple Pie Pizza
Apple Pie Pizza
Apple Pie Pizza

Make sure to also grab your Ibotta offer here for 75 cents off any 1 Oregon Chai product at Walmart (9/26/18 – 11/30/18, or until supplies last).

Stock up now! This tea is so delicious you will want to incorporate it into your every day routines and serve it to anyone who visits you.

I was able to easily order the Oregon Chai Tea Latte Concentrate (32 oz.) on Walmart.com using their super easy Online Grocery Pickup service!

Below, you will see how easy it was to search for all of the available Oregon Chai products at Walmart. I spent around $12 to create this entire recipe, and since the Chai Tea was under $4.00 I saved SO much compared to going to a coffee shop for an overpriced drink.

After I went to the checkout page, I simply chose “Pickup” for FREE (see below)! No shipping charges at all, which saved me around $6.00. YAY!! I love a good deal.

The taste of this Oregon Chai Tea was rich, smooth, and has those amazing chai spices that I can’t get enough of. I like to add macadamia milk to my chai tea, instead of traditional dairy milk, and my body loves me for it! What a delicious way to get a little pick-me-up during baking or during any other time of the day.

Once my order was ready, I was able to run by my local Walmart and easily grab the tea in the pickup area. Super easy since I had so many errands to run that day.

Has your local Walmart installed an Online Grocery Pickup station yet? Ours JUST remodeled, and I had an extremely easy experience, let me walk you through it/ 

1.) Visit the Walmart Online Grocery Pickup station and scan the barcode given in your email.

You can also just wait outside and call the phone number on the pickup area. They will bring everything right out to you!

Like I said, baking helps me de-stress and helps me continue to be creative, so after getting a ton of things checked off the to-do list, I relaxed for a bit, then got to baking.

I hope you have an absolutely splendid fall, and please comment below to let me know if you tried making this recipe! This would be so fun with kids, and would be a fun holiday baking activity. Enjoy!

Easy Caramel Brownie Layer Cake

If you are a fan of layers upon layers of chocolate brownies, homemade whipped cream, and caramel, then this is definitely the cake for you! Although it looks so elegant, it really is pretty easy. This dessert allows us to think beyond the traditional chocolate cake, and make your next dessert rich, decadent, and delicious! When I made this dessert for a potluck, people raved about it. It was so delicious once the whipped cream layers sat with the brownie layers, because the sides stay a bit crunchy, and the inside portion of the cake moisten up and form more of a fudgy and cake-like consistency all at the same time, that’s out of this world! Hope you enjoy.

Caramel Brownie Layer Cake #easyrecipe

INGREDIENTS:

*Note - Amazon Affiliate Links have been provided if available

For The Whipped Cream:

For The Brownies:

  • 2 boxes of brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli caramel turtle brownie mix, and instead of mixing the caramel into the brownies to bake, I decorated the top pf the cake with it!)

  • Brownie ingredients (eggs, oil, and water)

  • 3 round baking sheets - I found mine for about $1 each at Walmart!

  • Caramel Sauce if not included in Brownie boxes you use.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On parchment paper, trace your circular baking dish three times. Cut those three paper circles out and set aside. Spray three circular baking pans with Pam, then place the circular paper pieces into the baking pans and spray a little bit more to coat paper.

2.) Mix up 2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix and pour into three prepared circular baking pans. Bake the three circle pans for 15-20 minutes, check to see if they are done by inserting a toothpick to see if they are done.

3.) To make your homemade whipped cream, in a stand mixer, add 1 pint of heavy whipping cream + 1/3-1/2 C. sugar + 1-2tsp vanilla. I also love using vanilla bean powder to add little black flecks and more vanilla flavor to my whipped cream. Whip for 2-4 minutes on high, until stiff peaks form. Just keep mixing, it may seem like an eternity, but is so worth it! Do not over beat the cream, or it will begin to resemble butter, and not be very fluffy.

4.) Now, it’s time to “layer up”! I have shown all of my layering steps below, so you basically layer up: brownies and whipped cream until you get to the top layer. Make sure to make the top layer of whipped cream as smooth as possible. But, no need to stress about being perfect - this cake is a naked cake and is pretty rustic anyway, so the more homemade it looks, the better!

Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
Caramel Brownie Layer Cake

5.) To decorate the top: I used caramel sauce in a squeeze tube that worked perfectly to decorate. I basically just made a continuous line of caramel vertically across the entire cake, then crossed that again with caramel lines horizontally. I rotated the cake as I worked, which was great. Add sprinkles and enjoy!

Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
Caramel Brownie Layer Cake
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Caramel Brownie Layer Cake

THIS CAKE ROCKS! HOPE YOU ENJOY!

If you wind up making this recipe or any other recipes, please tag me on Instagram with @happysolez! Thanks!!

2 Ingredient Fall Apple Dip Recipe

Yum! Fall is right around the corner and I have an amazing recipe for you! Everyone loves this amazing dessert, and I know you will too. My al time favorite Fall flavor would have to be caramel apple. The mix of those sweet tart green apples meld so perfectly with the salted caramel sauce and the tangy bite of the cream cheese adds an upscale flavor to this dish, which I hope you enjoy!

Easy Caramel Apple Dip Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 (8 oz.) Block of Cream Cheese

1/3 - 1/2 of a jar of salted caramel sauce (we love the Smucker's Simple Delight Salted Caramel)

2-3 apples, sliced (we used green and red, any flavor will do!)

Easy Caramel Apple Dip Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Open the block of cream cheese, and place it onto a plate, and pour LOTS of caramel over the top of the cream cheese.

2.) Chop apples and place beside dip. Enjoy!

Easy Caramel Apple Dip Recipe

Pull Apart Cupcake Cake Recipe

This recipe is PERFECT for parties and holidays, because it's easy to eat! Everyone has their own individual cupcake to share the joy, no need to cut THIS cake. 

Pull Apart Cupcake Cake Recipe

We were ecstatic when we learned that we had the opportunity to collaborate with Martha Stewart to promote her baking items at Macy's. It's quite the honor, and several times throughout this process I exclaimed, "I am shooting recipes for Martha Stewart"!!! 

In order to creatively incorporate her Essentials collection into pins that would encourage people to want to learn more, I thought that a sweet treat would obviously be perfect, so I found a fun recipe on marthastewart.com and creates it! Below, you will find that very recipe, and I hope you are inspired by this fun post to make your very own cupcake cake!

MARTHA STEWART RECIPE (originally found here):

Pull-Apart Vanilla-Wafer Cupcake Cake with Berries

Talk about a fun dessert! It looks like a sheet cake on top, but there are actually vanilla-coconut cupcakes underneath the fresh berries and fluffy whipped-cream frosting. It's easy to make and even easier to serve -- no slicing required.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2018

INGREDIENTS

  • 45 vanilla-wafer cookies, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together cookie crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt.

  2. 2. Beat butter with granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until combined after each addition. Fold in coconut.

  3. 3. Divide batter among cups. Bake until cupcakes are golden brown and centers bounce back when gently pressed, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely in tin on a wire rack.

  4. 4. Add 2 tablespoons water to a small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until thick, about 5 minutes. Gently heat over medium until gelatin has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes (but don't let it set).

  5. 5. Beat together cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until very soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture; beat on medium until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more.

  6. 6. Remove cupcakes from tin and arrange on a platter in a three-by-four rectangle. Spoon frosting over each row of cupcakes; using an offset spatula, smooth to cover tops, forming a rectangular shape. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Sprinkle with berries before serving.

‘Make Every Cup Count’ with Laughing Man® Coffee from Target

This post is sponsored by Laughing Man® Coffee but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.This post is sponsored by Laughing Man® Coffee but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. #LaughingManCoffee #MakeEveryCupCount #Target

Sometimes I notice, that at the tail end of any season (the end of summer, for example), I sometimes get into a little slump. As a blogger, we are always having to think a month or more in advance for projects, and while it’s always fun to think about the new season ahead, I do sometimes need a little boost of caffeine in the mornings to get me through it and to stay motivated! A cute coffee cup never hurts, either! ‘Make Every Cup Count,’ friends – the motivating power of coffee is really amazing.

I recently tried delicious offerings from Laughing Man® Coffee, which I found at my local Target, and also on Target.com. I really, truly enjoyed this coffee! Bobby tends to prefer his coffee more black than I do, and wow, that fresh coffee aroma was absolutely intoxicating! We drink coffee almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day – who’s with me?! The flavors we loved most include the Columbia Huila and Hugh’s Blend. Have you ever tried this brand before?

Laughing Man® Coffee was actually co-founded by Hugh Jackman after an inspiring visit to Ethiopia, where he met a young farmer named Dukale. Inspired by Dukale’s optimism and determination, Hugh was committed to helping improve the lives of coffee farmers and share their Fair Trade Certified™ coffees with the world.

Since its inception, Laughing Man® Coffee has always strived to ‘Make Every Cup Count’ by donating a portion of proceeds from each purchase to the Laughing Man® Foundation, which supports coffee farming communities and programs that clear the way to health, growth and success for coffee farmers and their families. In addition to being available in recyclable K-Cup® pods, consumers can now purchase the brand in ground bagged coffee.

It’s important to have something to keep you fresh and alert, especially when a lot of my projects seem to be due all at the same time. That encourages me to try to burn the candle at both ends, and while I’d love to take a midafternoon (or admittedly a mid-morning nap), I know that’s just not always possible. If I have a warm cup of java nearby, then I can actually get through those rough work days.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COFFEE FEATURED HERE:

Colombia Huila – A dark roast coffee of uncommon complexity, Colombia Huila is produced from beans of great character, resulting in an intense, deep-roasted flavor with a black cherry sweetness, and a dark chocolate finish.

Hugh’s Blend™ – With contrasting, yet complementary notes of tart green apple and toasted graham cracker, this smooth and balanced blend represents the cheerful embodiment of the Laughing Man® coffee mission and a reminder that true fellowship knows no borders.

Both available in recyclable K-Cup® pods and bagged from Target.

I also like to enjoy a cup of coffee on the weekends – after all, a blogger’s job is never really done after Friday at 5pm, it’s a constant and very fulfilling job and I do love it!

What sorts of ways do you try to prep for the seasons ahead? I am finishing up lots of late summer and back to school projects, but soon enough, Fall and Winter projects will be in the works.

Whether you’re a blogger or not, I am sure we all feel the motivation to look ahead. It’s sometimes hard to create Fall projects when it’s still warm out, but I love having a delicious cup of coffee nearby, so I can get that extra boost of motivation!

Learn more about these amazing coffees here! Thanks for stopping by, friends!

Fresh Vegan Mushroom Tacos Recipe (Awesome in Cast Iron)

If you're looking for a new way to incorporate those fresh, local, Farmer's Market ingredients into a recipe, here's a good one! These Vegan Mushroom, Onion, and Pepper Tacos are super delicious and you definitely won't even miss the meat! 

Even more special, is the fact that we got to create this recipe for Martha Stewart Essentials available at Macy's. It's been SUCH an honor creating a set of four recipes for Martha! It's definitely a food blogger's dream :)

Keep reading to get the full details on this delicious, vegan recipe (but, feel free to add some cheese or sour cream if you like!!).

We found all of the fresh ingredients at our local Farmer's Market here in Carbondale, IL.

Fresh Vegan Mushroom Tacos

As soon as I learned about this amazing opportunity, I went searching through all of the items and decided upon four very delicious recipes, which I will link you to as soon as they are live! 

I was encouraged to use recipes right from MarthaStewart.com, so I used her basic recipes, then embellished and modernized them to make them extremely appealing for my Pinterest fans. Well, everyone has loved them so far, and now all of the cast iron skillets are SOLD OUT on the MAcy's website! Perhaps my recipes helped, but the fact that they were each around $15.00 might also be the reason these have all sold out. Nonetheless, find your favorite cast iron or other skillet, and let's get started!

Ingredients / Materials: 

- 1-2 lb. Fresh Mushrooms 

- 1 red onion

- 1 medium bell pepper (we used several small ones)

- 2 Tbsp. or more Mexican Seasoning

- 1/2 bunch of cilantro

- Small Flour Tortillas

- Martha Stewart Cast Iron Skillet 

Flyway Family Farm

Instructions:

1. Prepare and chop mushrooms, red onions, and bell peppers. 

2. Heat olive oil in a Cast Iron Skillet, add chopped onions, then belle peppers, then lastly, mushrooms.

3.) Season veggies generously with Mexican seasoning, a tiny bit of salt, and any other seasoning you would like. Also, add chopped cilantro at the end and stir everything one last time. 

4.) Warm tortillas, then add the veggie filling, and enjoy! They're so delicious, I hope you love them! 

Fresh Mushrooms
Vegan Veggie Mushroom Tacos Recipe in Cast Iron

FLYWAY FAMILY FARM MUSHROOMS (MAKANDA, IL)

As I mentioned, I got to use local ingredients from our Farmer's Market! We loved finally being able to utilize three different varieties of mushrooms from Flyway Family Farm. They have different mushrooms at the market almost every weekend!

Also, I used the red onions and colorful bell peppers from Country Sprout Organics, my other favorite booth at our local market! 

Flyway Family Farm

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this recipe! Stay tuned for several more recipes inspired by Martha Stewart! 

Our Montana Road Trip with Expedia Add-On Advantage

Thank you Expedia for sponsoring this post. Book your travel on Expedia.com to save with the Add-On Advantage!

We just got back home from an amazing adventure out west in Montana! We have a soft spot in our hearts for Montana and cannot seem to stay away! Travel fuels our creativity, inspires our work, and helps us bond in ways words cannot describe!

We love driving around the mountains and small towns of Montana, and renting a car from the new Expedia Advantage Add-On program is an excellent choice for a fun road trip like this, through southwestern Montana! 

When you book a flight, you can get awesome deals on add-ons like car rentals and hotels. Keep reading to learn more about their awesome deals AND see lots of photos from our recent vacation out west!

  Downtown Virginia City, MT.

Downtown Virginia City, MT.

Montana is a magical place. "Keep Montana Majestic" is a fitting slogan I thought of as we were leaving this time, because it's such a gorgeous and majestic place that has only 1 million residents - one . We spent a lot of time in southwestern Montana this past month, visiting the areas around Yellowstone including Big Sky, Bozeman, Hebgen Lake, and Ennis, MT. We also spent time in the Missoula area for an awesome rafting trip on the Clark Fork River Gorge. Keep reading to learn more about some of our favorite places in Montana and get insights on these awesome travel deals.

BOOK A FLIGHT, CAR, OR PACKAGE AND UNLOCK UP TO 43% OFF SELECTED HOTELS!

So, if you already have a trip planned, and want to access a SUPER GREAT price on a hotel, this is a great opportunity! 

Missoula

I checked on car rental prices around Missoula, which also unlocked deals on hotels! There were some awesome cars available, and all of the hotels in the screenshot below (with a yellow stripe above their name) offer additional discounts to those who use Expedia Add-On Advantage! I just love saving on travel, so I can use that part of the travel budget for something more fun. Like a rafting trip, which you will see below. We had SO much fun!!

Below, we spent one particularly fun Sunday on the water with a river guide. As a team, we worked together to get the inflatable raft through rapids. We had no clue how much fun we would have, since we generally never plan trips with any sort of guide or service - we love just driving and exploring places that way.

See the car rental deals I found, below, plus more suggestions of awesome places in and around Missoula to visit. 

If you ever have the chance to visit downtown Missoula, you will love it! I would even suggest 2-3 days to fully experience a couple of days of shopping plus being able to eat and drink at the MANY bars and restaurants is so much fun. The city is walking friendly but a little spread out, and luckily parking is super easy here in the summer, so feel free to use that rental car to get around town.

Missoula, MT
Sushi in Missoula MT
Ennis, MT

We have been so fortunate to visit Ennis, MT several times in the past couple of years. We love the gorgeous mountain vistas in the Madison Valley and I absolutely love how free you feel when you're in such a beautiful place. It's a very small town, but the Madison River runs right through town, as well as being one way people get to Yellowstone, the town's rather small population gets over a million visitors. It's very popular to fly fish in this area, and we love finding a place to let the dogs swim too. 

When you're in Ennis, you must check out the Gravel Bar (aka G Bar - see beers in the image below), which has lots of local MT beers and spirits, and their food is really pretty good. They are also opening a brewery next year, which should be really neat. Across the street from G Bar is Willie's Distillery. Deemo's Meats is a place to stop and grab groceries (they specialize in amazing meats and cheeses), and make sure to grab some of their frozen brats near the register - the green onion ones are AMAZING)! Perfect for roasting over a campfire too. 

Ennis, MT

Below, I thought this was so funny. Your typical Monday, with a Side By Side just leisurely driving through town! Some of our other favorite places to visit in Ennis include Plain Jane's (clothing, shoes, and the best Montana gifts ever), Nacho Mama, and Shedhorn, which sells outdoor gear, really nice quality women's shoes and clothing and also hunting and camping gear.

Ennis, MT
Virginia City, MT

A historic gold mining town situated high above the Madison Valley. This is always a fun place to stop and shop or stroll through the wooden boardwalks that used to be hustling and bustling. 

Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Big Sky, MT

Sure, since Big Sky, Montana sits at around 7200 feet in elevation, it's a great place to ski, snowboard, and snow mobile But, it's an amazingly vibrant and fun place to be in the summer as well. We spent several different days in Big Sky, and saw local music at their free Thursday Night Concert Series, drank a few local Montana beers at their bars, and visited the Big Sky Farmer's Market. The shopping in this area is really wonderful, if you like that sort of thing! There are also amazing restaurants in almost every style of food, so you can please everyone with something delicious!

These Thursday Night concerts are packed - especially this one weekend when the rodeo was also in town. If the line for the beer vendor is too long for your liking, just run into the Hungry Moose grocery store and grab something to drink - you can have open containers in the unincorporated town of Big Sky during these events. Grizzly Outfitters also has the most impressive selection of the latest women's clothing from the best outdoors brands. Yay! During the summer, people also love to mountain bike here, as well as fish the surrounding rivers. The Gallatin River runs through and all around town and is surrounded by huge pine trees.

Big Sky Farmer's Market

The Big Sy Farmer's Market was really impressive. While around 90% of the vendors had art, I felt that the quality of most everything was nearly art gallery quality jewelry and decor, made with antlers, beads, and other local materials. This flower vendor was also incredible - I wanted to bring home a huge, rainbow colored array of Montana grown flowers, but that was a bit unrealistic :) There was live music which was also super great, and then you could walk to grab some food in a nearby restaurant or food vendor after walking around. This Montana Alpaca at the Farmer's Market was rather cute too! 

Big Sky, MT Alpaca

Montana Flathead Cherries are in season during the summer, so grab up as many of these as you can if you are in Montana! They're SO sweet and delicious and I would love to bake a cherry pie from them. Huckleberries are also in season, but way, way harder to find than these cherries.

Montana Flathead Cherries
Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake was formed in 1959 when an earthquake occurred, causing part of the mountainside to fall into the water, creating a rather amazing lake that is unlike any other place we have ever been. Our friend has a boat slipped on this lake, so we drove out and spent time over several different days in the sunshine! The water is absolutely gorgeous and great for tubing and water skiing too.

This lake is situated along the drive from Ennis to Big Sky. You can also drive through Bozeman instead, but this drive avoids the traffic altogether and it absolutely stunning! You even drive partially through the western part of Yellowstone. making this one of the most scenic cruises you can do in this part of southwestern Montana.

Hebgen Lake
montana

There are so many rivers in Montana, and we loved fishing various places to pull over and get in the water. Below, the Ruby River.

Fly Fishing in Montana
Fly Fishing in Montana

We loved driving around Montana this summer, and if you want any more travel advice, please leave questions or comments in the section below!

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our recent vacation to Montana! Have you ever been to any of these towns pr places in Montana? Comment below to let me know!

Montana Road Trip

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

Two Amazing Recipes for Summer Get-Togethers with Mission® Tortillas

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mission®. All opinions are entirely my own.

If summer get-togethers make you giddy with joy and excitement, then you’re not alone! I too love brainstorming recipes with friends, then planning, prepping, and preparing the food, then finally getting everyone together to enjoy the bounty. Food always brings people together, and is great shared with old friends and new ones! This summer, I am going to make it my mission to enjoy the company of others over great food as much as possible!

I love how these Mission® Super Soft Flour Tortillas really made my two recipes even better than I could have ever imagined. I have tried all sorts of tortillas, and these are the softest, tastiest ones yet. They were so versatile, and absolutely perfect for my Vegetarian Southwest-Inspired Pinwheels AND for my Grilled Steak Tacos. I always feel like the tortillas make or break a recipe, and I was so happy to find a new favorite. You can use the store locator on the Mission website to find Mission tortillas at stores near you, and find even more delicious recipes as well.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced this, but I am always let down when tortillas kind of get dried out super quickly, then kind of crack when you roll anything out of them (like the pinwheels). Well, these were perfect. They held together super well, and worked amazingly well for this 4 ingredient appetizer!

And, since I wanted to offer lots of delicious toppings for these Grilled Steak Tacos, my first thought was fresh ingredients of course!

I thought it would be so fun to offer guests some handmade pickled jalapeños as party favors. Every time we serve these to guests or bring them to someone’s house, we always get lots of compliments on them.

PICKLED JALAPENOS

(Making 1 day in advance is recommended)

I think it’s time to start sharing them with people, so I filled mini jars with a mixture of fresh ingredients like jalapeño slices, garlic cloves, and mini red onions. Now, it’s time to pickle!

I heated a solution of 1.5 cups white vinegar plus 1 cup water, and 1-2 tbsp salt until the salt has dissolved. Let it cool a bit, then carefully pour the vinegar solution over the ingredients, leaving a little bit of room at the top of the jar so it does not spill out. Place lids back on, and gift as soon as the next day.  

These turned out SO cute, and you could even tie cute ribbons around the jars for an even more festive look.

In addition to the pickled jalapeños, I offered pickled red onions (get my recipe here), plus a guacamole tomatillo sauce and a traditional red salsa too.

The lettuce even came right out of my own garden! This was my first year to try growing lettuce, and while it may be almost at the end of its season, I love treating friends to things I grew!

GRILLED STEAK TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

2-3 tbsp or more taco seasoning

Juice from 1 lime

1 tsp salt

1-2 lbs flank steak or similar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Simply marinate each pound of steak in 1/3 cup olive oil, 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 2-3 tbsp or more taco seasoning + the juice from 1 lime + 1 tsp salt for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. Simply grill for 3 or so minutes per side if your steak is thin like mine was. Slice and serve with fresh sides and warmed Mission Super Soft Flour Tortillas (they taste best warmed).

Slice up the steak and set out the toppings, the tacos are ready to eat!!!

SOUTHWEST INSPIRED VEGETARIAN PINWHEELS

I searched for vegetarian pinwheel recipes and hardly found anything! These are so great tasting, and you will never miss the meat.

Ingredients:

1 package Mission® Super Soft Flour Tortillas

Plus 1-2 bunches of cilantro

1 head of green lettuce

To create the sauce:

1 (8 oz.) box of cream cheese, softened

½ cup (or more) taco sauce or red enchilada sauce

½ - 1 cup cream cheese

¼ - ½ tsp salt, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.    Mix all sauce ingredients together, and stir until smooth. I used a hand mixer

2.    Lay one tortilla out onto your work surface, and spread 1.5 -2 tbsp sauce in an even layer on tortilla.

3.    Add a line of cilantro and a line of small pieces of lettuce towards one side of the tortilla, then roll up into an even roll.

4.    Cut in 2” sections, and display on a cute tray. I used cactus pieces from a local market.

Enjoy!

 

The bottom line - I would definitely recommend Mission Super Soft Flour Tortillas to anyone who loves superior taste and excellent ingredients!

Happy summer, friends!