A Happy Life is a Daily Decision – Celebrate it!

Sponsored post by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.

I think a happy marriage, or a happy life, is a daily decision.  A decision to celebrate the little things and not get too wrapped up in the unimportant.  To focus on the good instead of the bad.

To celebrate being alive and healthy.

Flowers from kids

To cherish the weeds given from a loving heart.

Paint Pallets

To enjoy new paint pallets and the opportunity to express yourself.

Shaker Cabinets

To enjoy your newly decorated shelves even if you don’t have the crown molding installed yet.  The shelves are finally like I had envisioned when we ordered the cabinets a half a year ago!

Pyramid of toys

To appreciate your child’s pyramid of toys they erected before falling asleep.

Life isn’t lived from one big celebration to another.  Birthdays and holidays are spread out too far for that!  I’m trying to remind myself to focus on the positive because I truly have a lot to be thankful for!

How do you celebrate things?  In our house we like to celebrate by singing and dancing together….and food.  We love a good meal!

Bertolli Meal

Just this week we celebrated my daughter learning to whistle with this delicious Bertolli Chicken Florentine & Farfalle meal for two.  With salad and bread we spread the meal out and made it work for the three of us.

Bertolli Chicken Florentine & Farfalle

This meal is delicious and only takes 11 minutes to cook!  That’s my kind of meal.  We like to keep the Bertolli Frozen Chicken Florentine and P.F. Chang’s Frozen Beef and Broccoli on hand for such spontaneous celebrations.  They are both delicious and cook in a short amount of time.

Bertolli Skillet Meal

Simply pour, cover, and stir occasionally. Voila!  It’s that easy and incredibly delicious.  My daughter loves it so much that she has declared spinach her new favorite food.

Bertolli Meal for Two

We’re looking forward to celebrating the beginning of potty training soon (and hopefully the end!), my daughter’s first loose tooth, her first field trip, her last day of school, and so many more!  How do you celebrate life?

Italian Proverb

Game Day Mac n Cheese Recipe

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

As much as I love sweet treats at tailgate parties, savory appetizers are my real jam! This delicious mac n cheese topped with Wright® Brand Bacon is an easy recipe that is sure to please.

Wright brand bacon

Ingredients:
-2 peeled shallots
-3 cloves garlic
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-4 pieces Wright bacon cooked, reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat
-2 tablespoons flour
-4 cups heavy cream
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
-1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 pound cooked penne pasta -1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is preheating place the shallots and garlic in a small aluminum foil pouch and drizzle with olive oil.  Allow those to roast for 20 minutes before removing and chopping.  While that is roasting, fry the bacon.  Add the reserved bacon fat with the roasted shallot and garlic over medium heat.  Whisk in the cream and thyme.  Reduce by a third.  Add the cheeses and stir until melted and delicious!  Add a pinch or two of pepper or salt if you like.  Remove from the stove and gently stir in the cooked pasta.  Place in a casserole dish.  Top mac n cheese with panko and chopped bacon.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally love this recipe with the bread crumbs but my daughter isn’t so fond of them so we alternate whether we include them or not.  Either way, it’s delicious!

Best Mac and Cheese

We love Wright® Brand Bacon.  Ever since I’ve tried that brand I haven’t strayed.  It’s so convenient with it’s resealable package and not to mention it is SO good.  Seriously, you have to try it if you haven’t yet.  Right now, add it to your store list and pick up a package or two the next time you’re at Kroger.

Want some more Big Game inspiration?  Try Tyson® Any’tizers® (they’re boneless!) or Ball Park® beef hot dogs.

What savory dishes do you enjoy while tailgating?

Free $10 Olive Garden or Red Lobster Gift Card

This post contains my referral link.

Darden Gift Card

I know I don’t normally post deals of this sort but I love TopCashBack already and this deal is too good to not share.  If you haven’t signed up for TopCashBack yet now is the time to do it!  They have a great deal going on where you can buy a $10 Darden Restaurant Gift Card (think Olive Garden, Longhorn, Red Lobster, Seasons 52) and you’ll get $10 cash back added to your account!  It’s almost like it pays for itself!  Besides, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner who couldn’t use an extra $10 gift card in their wallet?  Here’s how to get in on this amazing deal.

  • Click here to get started
  • Click on the pink “Get Cashback” Button – (If you’re on mobile scroll to the bottom and click “View Desktop Site” to proceed)
  • You’ll be redirected to sign up.
  • After signing up you have to go to your email and click confirmation link.
  • **Important** Come back to this post, then click back here, and click on “Get Cashback” again. You’ll be redirected to the Darden Restaurants website through TopCashBack.
  • Add ONE $10 Darden Restaurant Gift Card to your cart. Just choose the type you prefer (e-gift card or physical card), type ‘$10’ in the amount section, and check out.
  • Pay $10 for your order.
  • Voila!  That’s it!  Within 7 days your account will be credited the $10 Cash Back!  That money will become payable within 21 days and can be added straight to your checking account, Paypal account, or you can be paid in Amazon credit.  If you choose Amazon credit you’ll receive 3% more cash back so your $10 will become a gift card for $10.30.  How cool is that?

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie Recipe Sponsored by Wayfair

Smoothies

My kids are alike me in so many ways.  Some good and some bad but I like to focus on the good.

One thing that the three of us love are our daily smoothies.  None of us are morning people so smoothies have to be a mid-day snack instead.  My kids are always eager to try my latest concoctions, and I’m more than pleased to see my ridiculously finicky 2-year-old happily drinking a nutritious snack.  We go to eating therapy once a week and I tell ya, some days the most nutrients he gets are from those smoothies!

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

Smoothies are a sweet and delicious treat that’s great for kids of all ages!  Instead of ice cream or candy, smoothies are our go to treat around here.  Sometimes something more indulgent is needed like frozen yogurt with five different toppings but most days, a smoothie hits the sweet spot!  Especially when your smoothie is chock-full of strawberries and lemons!!

Strawberry lemonade is the go-to drink of summer, right?  Who says it can’t be enjoyed all year long?  Who says you can’t throw in some cashews and dates to kick the flavor and nutrition up a notch?  That’s what I do in my family’s favorite Strawberry Lemonade Recipe and I hope you’ll give it a try!

Kids Smoothie Recipe

Who needs candy when you can have smoothies?

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie Ingredients

If you think you have to add sugar to your kid’s smoothies, you don’t.  I promise!  This strawberry lemonade smoothie is sweet, a tiny bit tart, delicious and best of all—actually good for you and your kids!

I’ll admit that while I developed this smoothie recipe with my kids in mind, it’s one of my favorites as well.  I love how refreshing it is.  It’s a nice treat to break up a hectic day.

I hope you’ll try serving up this truly yummy Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie this year for Valentine’s Day and ditching the candy.  You and your sweethearts will love it!

INGREDIENTS:
– 2-3 ice cubes
– 1/2 cup of almond milk (unsweetened but we’ve used vanilla before too)
– 1/2 Cup fresh strawberries (frozen works just as well!)
– 1 tablespoon of raw cashews
– 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp of grated lemon zest (packed down)
– 1 large pitted date

 

Strawberries

DIRECTIONS:
– Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

Lemonade Smoothie

If you’re in the need for a heavy duty blender to help create yummy smoothies of your own look no further than the selection at Wayfair.  They’ve got every brand and the reviews are so helpful in finding the perfect one for you.

Tyson Chicken Caprese Bites

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.

Whether you’re three or thirty or have thirteen grandkids, chances are you probably enjoy a basket of delicious, chicken tenders. Maybe you call them chicken strips, or chicken bites, or chicken fingers?

Chicken Caprese Appetizer

No matter which moniker you choose, this amazing chicken caprese is going to be your family’s new favorite recipe. The base of this appetizer is Tyson ® Grilled & Ready ® Chicken Breast Strips. This recipe is so incredibly good that we never have leftovers, and honestly, my family could eat these appetizers for their meal sometime. It would make a nice lunch sometime all on it’s own!
Chicken Caprese

This recipe is so easy that my daughter can help with every step of it! We start by microwaving precooked Tyson ® Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips. While that’s heating up, slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and do the same to the mozzarella. Find your balsamic vinegar and cut a few basil leaves into strips. Once your chicken is ready cut it into bite size pieces and cut the tomato and mozzarella so it fits on top nicely. Add as many strips of basil as you choose. Give a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and stick a toothpick in it. We decorated our toothpicks with curling ribbon for two reasons. Number one, because the fancy toothpicks were sold out. Number two, my daughter will find any excuse for a craft. Using scotch tape and scissors are two of her favorite things. They do look quite decorative though, don’t they?

Caprese Appetizers

This is a great appetizer to whip up in under ten minutes. It’s so easy you can even have the kids help…or do it themselves if they’re old enough! When your New Years party guests arrive they’ll be blown away by your fancy and tasty appetizer. Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips really make this appetizer a real treat. Tyson® has taken the hard work out of making delicious and flavorful chicken and all we have to do it heat it up. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that…and I need simple. This stage of life demands it. If you give this appetizer a try I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Eating Chicken

Old Fashioned Chocolate Donuts

 

Chocolate Donuts

These old fashioned chocolate donuts are incredibly delicious and super filled with the chocolate flavors we all know and love.  This post contains affiliate links.
Friends, I found the recipe that I want to make for the rest of my life. Like seriously there’s nothing better than these old fashioned chocolate donuts! And it’s not because I made them and I’m incredibly proud of them, which I am because excuse me homemade donuts made from scratch in my own kitchen, if that’s not impressive then I don’t know what it is. But it’s because the fact that they are so good they taste even better tan the store-bought ones.

Yes, these ones taste way better than the doughnuts you could purchase at an upscale coffee shop and way better than the ones they sell at farmers markets. If homemade donuts that taste better than anything doesn’t convince you to make them then I seriously don’t know what can.

The other great thing is that this recipe is also incredibly easy to make. You don’t need a ton of things or crazy skills to be able to whip them up in your kitchen, which in my opinion, is the best thing ever. Because you know what’s super annoying? Finding a recipe that everyone claims is the best thing ever and realizing you need to be a pro at cooking to be able to actually make it.

But back to these old fashioned chocolate cake donuts. They are moist without being too wet, they are soft without being mushy, and they take so little time to make them that it still amazes me.

My only advice is to make a batch big enough so everyone can have seconds, because while they are super filling, they are so delicious that everyone is going to reach for seconds.

Chocolate Donut Recipe
Ingredients: 

– 3 cups all purposed flour

– ⅔ Cup cocoa powder

– 2 Tsp baking powder

– Dash ground nutmeg

– 1 Tsp salt

– 1 Cup buttermilk

– ½ Cup chocolate milk

– 2 Eggs

– ½ Cup butter

– 1 Tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

– Preheat the oven to 350F.

– In a bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

– In another bowl combine the buttermilk, chocolate milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.

– Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

– Stir well until the batter thickens.

– Pour the batter into a greased donut pan.

– Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until well done.

– When time is up, remove the pan from the oven.

– Let to cool and gently remove the donuts from the pan using a rubber spatula.

Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Donut Recipe

Caramel Pumpkin Trifle

Sponsored post by Mirum.

Caramel Pumpkin Trifle

This Caramel Pumpkin Trifle brings delicious fall flavors together in an easy and elegant dessert!  It’s like eating fall in a cup.  This is a great dessert to make in individual servings or in a big trifle dish for the holidays.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner you know!

The weather around here has been crazy.  It’s 76 on the day we get our Christmas pictures and are suffering in our sweaters and the next day it’s in the 50s and the bitter cold wind cuts through us no matter what we put on.  Pumpkin is the perfect dessert for either temperature!  Pumpkin pie can be eaten cold or served warm.  I chose to heat up mine for this dessert and afterwards I realized that I probably should have done it cold for better pictures but it was so good warm! 🙂

This yummy parfait is made with Marie Callender’s pumpkin pie, caramel sauce, graham crackers, and Ready Wip.  My favorite thing about this recipe is how easy it is.  My kids helped me make it and they loved making it as much as eating it.

Enjoy!

Caramel Pumpkin Trifle

Ingredients: 

Directions:  Gather your ingredients and add a heaping tablespoon of crushed graham crackers to the dish.  Add a layer of pumpkin pie.  Add a layer of Ready Wip.  Add a layer of crushed graham crackers.  Add a layer of pumpkin pie.  Add a layer of Ready Wip.  Drizzle caramel layer on top of your dessert for a lovely presentation.

Mini Pumpkin Pie

We had some leftover pumpkin pie and made these little pumpkin hearts with cookie cutters.  We added a little Ready Wip on top and sprinkled with cinnamon and they were ready to serve!  These mini pumpkin pies are yummy with hot chocolate.   We add a squirt of Ready Wip and a sprinkle of cinnamon to our Swiss Miss hot chocolate to make it extra special!

I’m not one for making pies, Marie Callender makes all of mine for me.  I figure that make in another stage of life I’ll learn how and make the perfect pies.  For me, stopping by Walmart is a fool-proof way to get a delicious pie and I can spend more of my time with those who mean the most to me.  Easy peasy.

For more delicious inspiration check out these yummy ideas:

Pumpkin Spice Cocoa

Mini Apple Pie

Blueberry Cake Waffles

As it is with most people, Christmas is always a special time in our household.  We have a lot of traditions that are sticking.  Driving to see the Christmas lights, opening one present on Christmas Eve, making homemade Christmas ornaments, baking Christmas cookies to share with loved ones, and a special breakfast on Christmas morning.

Blueberry Cake Waffles

This week my daughter and I (and my son at some points) baked and baked.  We baked (a frozen) pumpkin pie, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (my favorite!), gingerbread men (my husband’s favorite!), and these delicious blueberry cake waffles.  These waffles may just be what we need this coming Christmas morning!!  They are delicious and so very easy to make.

baking ingredients

The picture above is for our gingerbread recipe and not the waffle recipe.  I’m only stating this because I don’t want anyone to add molasses to their waffles.  Although, it might not be too bad! 🙂

By the way, I have to brag on Walmart Grocery!  I am in love with their drive up, pick up service.  Ordering the night before and scheduling a time to pick up is THE. BEST. THING!  It’s so nice.  I was able to stock up on all of my baking goods before our day of baking began and I didn’t even have to step foot in the store.  Even if you don’t have Walmart Grocery pick up in your area yet the Walmart baking isle is still the go-to place for all your baking needs!  It has enough Gold Medal all-purpose flour and Arm & Hammer baking soda to keep your pantry stocked till new years.  These are brands that families have trusted for over 100 years!

Blueberry Waffles

We’ve always been big waffle people since we were given a waffle iron as a wedding gift.  We used to have them regularly every week and while we’re not as consistent in making waffles these days it is still a special treat to be savored!  One trick I learned a few years back about making waffles is to let the batter rest before making.  Letting the batter rest 5 minutes between mixing and spooning it onto the griddle will make the waffles much fluffier.  Plus, what mom doesn’t need that 5 extra minutes to get juice poured, heat up the syrup, make sure you have enough clean forks (wait, is that just our family? lol), and a million other little odds and ends that moms (and dads!) do in the morning.

Blueberry Cake Waffles Recipe

Here’s what you need to make these little beauties!

Ingredients:

  • -2 Cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
  • -1 Cup butter milk
  • -2 Large eggs
  • -½ Cup melted butter
  • -¼ Cup sugar
  • 1½ Tsp Baking powder
  • -½ Tsp Arm & Hammer baking soda
  • -1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • -1 Cup blueberries

Directions:

  •  -Preheat the waffle maker.
  •  -Sift in a large bowl the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  •  -Add the eggs, melted butter, blueberries, sugar, and vanilla.  Mix the batter for 1 minute.
  •  -Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
  •  -Add a layer of melted butter to the waffle maker and pour the batter into it.
  •  -Cook according to the instructions of the waffle maker.
  •  -Serve with the remaining blueberries and enjoy.
  •  -Top with melted buttercream icing if you like. 🙂 That’s how I like it!
  • Blueberry Cake Waffles With Cream Cheese Icing

What are some Christmas traditions you have at your house?

How to Cook Perfect Bacon

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. #VoteWrightBrandBacon #sponsored #ad

Everyone has their go to comfort foods. Mine used to be chocolate chip cookies. I could make them in 20 minutes from start to yummy finish. Ever since I had my son I have some weird issue where I don’t like cookies anymore. It’s sad but I’ve moved on to ice cream and bacon. Not together though! When I want something sweet, it’s ice cream and when I want something salty, it’s bacon. I love bacon, I do. I know it’s cool to like bacon now but man, it’s popular for a reason. It’s so good!

While I don’t eat bacon every day I do enjoy it in a number of different dishes and completely on its own. In fact we even had bacon tonight as a snack. It’s even one of my son’s favorite foods and he doesn’t like much.

Here’s my favorite way to cook bacon!

Baking Bacon

Directions:

  • – Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • – Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • – Arrange bacon on foil and bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Bacon
  • – Remove from oven and immediately place the bacon on a plate of paper towels to cool.
  • – Enjoy!

Bacon

Doesn’t that bacon look perfect? Wright® Bacon is thick sliced and cooked up perfectly. It is Bacon The Wright Way™ ! Plus, it comes in a resealable pouch. This is definitely my favorite bacon and I’ll be picking up some more at Food Lion the next time we’re there! Check out all these yummy flavors:

  • Hickory Smoked
  • Applewood Smoked
  • Smoked Brown Sugar
  • Bourbon Barrel Smoked
  • Oak Barrel Smoked

Bacon Kids

For delicious bacon recipe ideas head over to the Wright Brand Bacon page. They have tons of ideas that are sure to please your family. While you are there you can cast your vote for the top pairings to go with bacon!

Don’t forget to share your favorite recipes with bacon as the main ingredient and use the hashtag #VoteWrightBrandBacon @WrightBacon on social media.

Malt-O-Meal Cinnamon Toasters Coffee Cake

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Post Consumer Brands. All opinions are entirely my own.

Cinnamon Toasters Cinnamon

Do your kids eat cereal like it’s going out of style? Or maybe you have a husband that does? I know quite a few men who’ve been known to eat cereal out of larger kitchen bowls than a regular cereal bowl. I don’t know about you but we go through a lot of cereal in our house! It’s a permanent item on our store list just like milk and bread. Every time we go to the store we pick up a box or two. Recently, I was encouraged to branch out of my regular boxed cereal and try bagged cereal. I’ve never had anything against bagged cereal but I didn’t know how it would stay fresh without buying a plastic container to store it in. I sure don’t need another thing to store in my kitchen! However, these awesome bags I tried from Malt-O-Meal® have a small zip pouch built in. I love that about it!

Malt-O-Meal

Not only are Malt-O-Meal bagged cereals larger but they’re also more affordable. The large bags are a better value than similarly boxed cereals. Win-win! Moms who say, “We don’t buy that cereal because you’ll eat it all” can now buy the cereal their kids love because they can buy it in bulk and save money doing so!

Cinnamon Toasters Cereal

Malt-O-Meal bagged cereal comes in a slew of varieties too. They have 34 flavors (some listed below).

  • – Apple Zings
    – Berry Bunch Crunch
    – Berry Colossal Crunch
    – Blueberry Mini Spooners
    – Coco Dyno Bites
    – Coco Roos
    – Corn Burst
    – Corn Flakes
    – Frosted Flakes
    – Fruity Dyno-Bites
    – Honey Buzzers
    – Honey Graham Toasters
    – Peanut Butter Cups
    – Raisin Bran
    – Raisin Bran Clusters
    – Tootie Fruities

They have something that every member of the family will love.

cinnamon-toasters

Cinnamon Toasters is the first Malt-O-Meal bagged cereal that I’ve tried but I loved it and look forward to trying S’Mores and Golden Puffs. I loved how good it was dry! This will be a great little sweet snack for my daughter to take to school in her lunch.

malt-o-meal cinnamon toasters

Right now at Food Lion, when you buy delicious cereal you’ll get coupons to save even more on your next cereal purchase.

In-store Catalina offer at Food Lion (ends 9/30):

  • – Buy 1 MOM Brand Cereal get a $1 off 2 MOM Brand cereals on your next shopping purchase.
    – Buy 2 MOM Brand Cereal get a $1.5 off 3 MOM Brand cereals on your next shopping purchase.
    – Buy 3 MOM Brand Cereal get a $2 off 4 MOM Brand cereals on your next shopping purchase.
    – Buy 4+ MOM Brand Cereal get a $2.5 off 5+ MOM Brand cereals on your next shopping purchase.

The more you buy, the more you save!

Did you know that not only does cereal make a tasty meal but it’s also great to serve as a dry snack for the kids and can be used in recipes. Check out this delicious coffee cake recipe.

Coffee Cake Recipe

Coffee Cake Recipe

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

  • – 3 cups Malt-O-Meal Cinnamon Toasters Cereal, slightly crushed
  • – 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • – 1/2 cup pecans
  • – 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • – 1 package yellow cake mix
  • – 1/3 cup sour cream
  • – 3 eggs
  • – 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cereal, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix using water required on package; add sour cream and eggs.
  4. Pour ¼ batter into two greased 8-inch square pans.
  5. Cover batter in each pan with ¾ cup cereal mixture.
  6. Divide remaining batter between cake pans.
  7. Stir butter into remaining cereal mixture and spread over cake batter.
  8. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Enjoy!

Go here to find more Malt-O-Meal recipes.

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