Monday, June 29, 2015

Skinny French Onion Dip

Now that summer is here and our pool is open we have lots of friends and family
dropping by for fun in the sun.  I like to have a variety of healthy snacks around because
lounging by the pool is hard work :)
Skinny French Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt
Chips and dip has always been one of our faves, so I thought I would lighten up my go-to
french onion dip recipe by using Stonyfield greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I love
substituting yogurt for sour cream because it makes the recipe so much healthier and you
can barely tell the difference in taste.
Skinny French Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt

This month Stonyfield has partnered with Late July Organic to give Stonyfield
bloggers like myself the opportunity to try their tortilla chips.  So far I have been impressed!
Their tortilla chips are 100% whole grain, non-gmo and they taste great too!

Skinny French Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt

Late July Organic chips paired nicely with my skinny french onion dip.
Now I'm ready for friends and fun by the pool!

Skinny French Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt

Skinny French Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt

Skinny French Onion Dip

2 T olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 C Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Add oil, onions and pinch of salt to a saute pan.
Over medium heat, saute onions until they caramelize, about 15 minutes.
If the onions begin to burn, add a splash of water to the pan.

When onions are caramelized and brown add garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Turn off heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce.  Add thyme leaves.  Let the
onions cool in the pan.

In a bowl, mix cooled onions and yogurt, stirring to combine.  Add fresh
ground pepper and salt to taste.  Garnish with thyme sprigs.
Serve with chips or crackers,

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Red, White and Blue

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays!
Sunshine, fireworks, family and cookouts - what's not to love!

Since the 4th of July is right around the corner, I thought I would share a few
red, white and blue faves from my Pinterest board.
I hope to make some of them soon!
Maybe you will too!

Love this rustic ribbon and lace flag from Flamingo Toes!

Red, white and blue dipped pretzels from The 36th Avenue.

I think our pool fence needs this flag banner from My Sweet Savannah.
So festive!

How pretty is this red, white and blue ombre cake by Completely Delicious!

Or how about this star berry pie from The Baker Chick.
I LOVE summer berries!

Red, white and blue sangria from Ciao! Newport Beach.
I definitely need to make this soon!

Flag pretzels from Sugar Swings.
Perfect snack for the kids.

For more ideas check out my red, white and blue Pinterest board here.

What are you doing on the 4th of July?
Do tell!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cauliflower Rice

I tried something new for dinner tonight and we loved it!
Cauliflower Rice.
Have you heard of it?

Cauliflower rice just takes minutes to make and is a low carb alternative to
brown or white rice.  It's a delicious side dish or base for stir-fry.
My husband and I have really been trying to exercise more and eat healthier
so I decided to give it a try tonight.
He really liked it and said he prefers it over regular rice!
I don't know that I would go that far, but I did really enjoy it and will
definitely add it to our dinner menus in the future.

I used a cheese grater and grated it by hand, which only took a few
minutes, but you could also use a food processor if you prefer.
Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

1/2 head cauliflower, washed and patted dry
1/3 C onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Using a cheese grater or food processor, grate cauliflower to the size of
rice grains.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and
garlic 2 -3 minutes or until translucent.
Add the cauliflower rice and saute for another 4 - 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm.


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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

University of Tennessee Graduation Party Cupcakes & Free Printable

Over the weekend I had to pleasure of making cupcakes and a dessert for a friend's
party she was hosting for her daughter's high school graduation.
University of Tennessee Cupcakes

Morgan will be attending the University of Tennessee this fall, so the party theme was
orange and white for the Tennessee Volunteers.  I made red velvet cupcakes with cream
cheese frosting and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.  Keeping with the party
theme I decorated the cupcakes with Tennessee logo toppers and washi tape flags.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I decorated some of the cupcakes with orange sprinkles too.
Sprinkles make everything cuter!
University of Tennessee Cupcakes

Morgan looked beautiful and she had a great time at her party.  I loved the painted pallet
that held all of her school photos over the years. Such a great idea!
University of Tennessee Cupcakes

I also made Strawberry Punch Bowl cake for the graduation party - it's always a winner!
Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Cupcakes make any occasion more special and I was so happy to help with Morgan's
graduation party. Congratulations Morgan!  Good luck at UT this fall!

Download the Free Printable Cupcake Toppers HERE.
Print them on cardstock and punch out with a scalloped circle punch.
Free Printable University of Tennessee Cupcake Toppers

University of Tennessee Cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 packages cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperate
2 lbs. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T heavy cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer add cream cheese and butter.  Beat on medium speed
for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add half of the confectioners sugar and mix for another
2 minutes or until creamy.  Add remaining confectioners sugar, vanilla and heavy cream
and mix 2 minutes more.  Use immediately or store in the fridge up to 7-10 days.

Note - I used a Wilton 1M tip to frost the cupcakes.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

It's hard to believe that the month of May is almost over.
School is winding down around here and most high school graduations are next
weekend. Even though our daughter, Madison just finished her junior year at
James Madison University, we still received several high school graduation
announcements from our friends who have kids that are graduating this year.
Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake is a perfect dessert to serve for graduation parties, reunions
or family picnics.  It's easy to prepare and serves 20-25 people.  I made it three
years ago for Madison's graduation party and the punch bowl was empty in no time!

Over the weekend I made it for a graduation party one of my friends was hosting, so
I thought I would share the recipe again. It's very versatile.  You could use raspberries
or blueberries instead of strawberries or use all three! Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake
is delicious, light and refreshing.  I hope you enjoy it too!
Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

1 box French Vanilla cake mix
3.4 oz. package french vanilla instant pudding
1 C water
1/3 C canola oil
4 eggs
24 oz. container frozen sliced strawberries with sugar added, thawed
5.1 oz. package vanilla instant pudding
3 C milk for pudding (I used 2%)
16 oz. container whipped topping
16 oz. container fresh strawberries
mint leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
Mix cake mix, small package of french vanilla instant pudding, water, oil and eggs
with an electric mixer.  Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until
a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool cake on a wire rack.

Using a whisk, mix large package of vanilla instant pudding with milk; set aside.
Once cake has complete cooked, cut it in half.
Begin layering by tearing or cubing half of the cake into the bottom of a punch bowl.
Spoon half of the thawed strawberries evenly over the cake.
Layer half of the pudding over the strawberries and then half of the whipped topping
over the pudding.  Repeat layers.  Slice fresh strawberries and place them over the
whipped topping.  Garish with mint if desired.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Favorite Pasta Salad #OXOGreenSaver

I'm so happy that it's spring and soon to be summer!
I love the warm temperatures, flowers everywhere, fresh fruits and vegetables
from my parents garden, the Farmer's Market and our little deck garden.
There's nothing like picking fresh herbs and tomatoes right off of our deck!

With all of the delicious produce available I don't want any of it to go to waste!
Did you know that more than 25% of the fresh fruits and vegetables purchased by U.S.
consumers are wasted annually before being consumed?
That equates to more than 226 pounds per the average U.S. family!

After grocery shopping you should always take a few minutes to store produce properly.
Doing so will save you money in the long run and keep produce fresh longer.
When produce rest against the walls of containers or bags, moisture can build up
and cause rotting, so always take it out of the plastic bags from the grocery store.

I was recently given the opportunity to try the 4.3 Qt. OXO GreenSaver Produce Keeper
along with some baby cucumbers from Melissa's Produce.

The carbon filters are filled with nooks and crannies that trap and absorb the ethylene gas
that produce gives off, which helps slow down spoilage.  They are made from coconut
husks, making them safe, all-natural and non-toxic! The elevated basket lifts produce up
and away from the bottom and sides of the container to prevent rotting and it can be
used as a colander.  The vent slides open and closed for optimum humidity level for
different types of produce, keeping them crisp and fresh.

After 7 days in the OXO GreenSaver, the cucumbers look just as fresh as the day
they arrived!  I'm sold!

They looked so good I decided to make my family's favorite pasta salad.
I make it with what ever pasta shape I have on hand.  Most of the time its rotini,
sometimes bow ties, but today I made it with whole wheat shells.
Our favorite pasta salad is so easy to make and tastes like summer in a bowl!

Our Favorite Pasta Salad

1 lb. box of Pasta (I prefer whole wheat)
8 oz. bottle Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
1 T Salad Supreme (in the spice section)
2-3 baby cucumbers, sliced
1 C grape tomatoes, sliced in half lenthwise
1/2 C sliced carrots

Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
Drain pasta and toss with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Refrigerate several hours before serving for optimum flavor.


Cucumber, Strawberry Basil water is another one of my summer faves.
Just add a few sprigs of fresh basil and slices of cucumber and strawberries
to tap or sparkling water.
So refreshing!

Disclosure - I was sent an OXO GreenSaver to review and Melissa's Produce cucumbers
for my recipe.I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are my own.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Upside Down Cheesecake In A Jar Minis

Most of the time when I opt for dessert it involves chocolate, but every now and then
I crave something sweet and fruity.
Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

I love cheesecake, but since I do not need an entire cheesecake sitting around tempting
me, I decided to make a few mini cheesecakes to curb my sweet tooth.
Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

I didn't have any graham crackers or cookies in the house, but I did have a bag of  Purely
Elizabeth Granola, so I decided to grind some granola in my mini food processor and
make upside down cheesecake by putting the crust on top.
The granola idea was awesome! It had great flavor and crunch too.
(this is not a sponsored post, I just love this brand of granola)
Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

I used coconut sugar in the cheesecake mixture, but white granulated sugar would
be totally fine. You could also use graham crackers or cookies for the crust, but
I think I'm on to something  with the granola idea!
Upside down cheesecakes in a jar turned out super cute and they were a tasty
little dessert too!  Enjoy!

Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

Upside Down Cheesecake In a Jar Minis

1 C frozen organic blueberries
2 1/2 T coconut sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
3 T coconut sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 C granola, finely chopped or graham crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook blueberries, 2 1/2 T sugar and
cornstarch mixture for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, egg, sugar, lemon juice and
lemon peel with an electric mixer until smooth.
Place 5 4 oz. jelly jars onto a small baking sheet.
Fill jelly jars with blueberry mixture.  Pour cream cheese over the berries.
the blueberries.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until set.
Cool on a wire rack.
Top cooled cheesecakes with finely ground granola or graham crackers.
Garnish with a blueberry and mint leaf if desired.
Store leftovers in the fridge.
Make 5 mini cheesecakes.

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