Date night with the kids
It’s not often I get out for dinner with the kids in tow. I know, I know I really should. They deserve a little spoiling here and there. But not too much. Last month, there was a blogger invite to taste test some of the new pork dishes at Rumbi Island Grill in Chandler, AZ. I was a little reluctant to go at first because I do not eat pork and my daughter is also a vegetarian. But once I mentioned it to the boys, there was really no way outta this. And I am so glad we went. As you can see by my children’s awkward faces, we don’t go out much. Or maybe it’s just their affinity for mom taking pictures of them every where we go. (Insert kid eye roll of mothers sarcasm there.) Read more
Taking back the table 101
It’s such an honor to be able to spend time with families that have a strong passion for teaching their kids to cook. (Or in this case, bake!) I had the pleasure of spending one Saturday morning with Katherine Wandell of Katherine Wandell Home Making by Design. She is a wife, mother of three adorable little boys, and author of her own uniquely designed motherhood.
This is my first official “Taking back the table” post. In this series I will introduce you to kitchens around the globe, and the families that fill them with magic. I’ve said it before in previous posts, the kitchen is where my heart is. I believe every kitchen has a story, and every story has an author.
Katherine’s Kitchen Tales
Scrumptious homemade red pepper and tomato bisque soup you’ll make over and over again!
I recently started back up with Produce on Wheels, if you don’t know what that is. It’s a great way to get fresh produce for next to nothing. For a $10 donation you can get up to 60lbs worth of seasonal fruits and vegetables. That’s a lot of produce. As I have used services like Produce on Wheels, I know finding uses or ways to store it all before it goes bad, can be pretty intimidating. So I created this recipe to help you tastefully purpose some of their common veggies available. Read more
Be the Hostess with the Mostest – Easy Lasagna Bites – Perfect game day appetizer
I honor of Super Bowl LI, here is an easy game day snack. These easy lasagna bites appetizer is always a crowd pleaser. But for the sake of realness, I will not be watching the game. I am one of those wives that casually strolls in to see some of the commercials, but otherwise is browsing my favorite online shops. Reading up on new recipes, or in gulped in a good blog post. Thank you internet for keeping me forever entertained.
As a foodie, regardless of loving football or not, I always want to keep the people happy with easy, tasty snacks. I can be a bit of a procrastinator, and was able to throw this simple treat together quickly. So that’s a WIN for me too! Read more
17 Ways to Stay sane and confident in 2017
Going into a new year is either really exciting or really tough. Let’s be honest, how many of us actually get through or stick to our New Years Resolutions? By a show of hands… anyone? Hey, its ok, I’m right there with you. Last year I took an entirely different approach to my New Year. And it worked, I came out of 2016 feeling like (for the first time in a long time) a winner!
Today I am going to share with you some simple changes and challenges that helped me get through another rapid year of flying time. Because the older we get the faster time races past you. These may be things you are already doing, or do every once in awhile, but by making them a little more frequent you can stay sane and even improve your confidence in 2017. Being that we are at the ’17 mark, I am sharing exactly 17 things to stay sane and confident this new year! Read more
Handmade Holiday crafts using scrap leather
What I love most about the Holidays is my renewed sense of craftiness. Every year I try and create unique handmade gifts. This past few years have had me strapped to my computer a little more than I’d like to admit, and I didn’t have a lot of time to make things. Running a photography business during the Holiday season is insane. (The good kind of insane of course!) When racking my brain this year on what I can do that is both simple and unique, my idea basically fell into my lap. While cleaning out my craft room, some scrap leather fell out of a box. My initial thought was “what the heck am I going to do with this leather?”… Read more
National Sandwich Month Roundup
I am gladly welcoming August for two reasons, its national sandwich month, and my kids are heading back to school soon! Double YES! And I really love getting creative with what to pack in my kids lunch boxes. So I’ve rounded up 8 great sandwiches from dinner to dessert. If you have a great sandwich recipe leave the link and I’ll add it to the list!
Fried Eggplant Sandwich
This savory fried eggplant sandwich is both satisfying and filling. A roasted pepper and garlic spread bring the eggplant to life in this mouth watering recipe. A perfect way to celebrate National Sandwich month and impress your family and friends.
Crockpot Sloppy Joes
This recipe for easy and delicious Crock Pot Sloppy Joes is a family favorite. Better than anything from a can!
Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies
Outrageously decadent, these Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies are filled with a dreamy chocolate ganache!
Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich
Head back to your childhood with this Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich. This version is just a little healthier and without the plastic wrapper!
Grilled Caprese Sandwich
This tasty grilled caprese sandwich is perfect lunch or dinner. It’s quick to prepare and is ready in just minutes. It’s warm, filling, and full of gooey mozzarella cheese!
Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Arugula and Strawberry Hot Sauce
Ooey gooey, this pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich with arugula and strawberry hot sauce is packed full of flavor. What better way to celebrate National Sandwich Day?
Marshall Field’s Chicken Salad Sandwich
My version of a classic sandwich from an iconic Chicago Department Store. Roasted chicken is combined with dried cranberries and nuts in a mayo and sour cream dressing and it’s all topped with crisp bacon. Perfect for National Sandwich Day!
Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
These buffalo chicken sandwiches are full of amazing flavor and cook while you go about your day! This simple and tasty weeknight dinner is perfect for busy families.
I believe everyone needs to be photographed in the place they live at least once. This is my dear friend Tina from Time Out With Tina. We have been friends since we were 15 years old. We’ve only lived in the same state one year of our lengthy friendship. I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive. But the most impressive part of this beautiful human being is her giant heart. Tina was born with a heart to serve others. She is just an all around amazing person. So when I approached her about a new blog project I am starting, she was on board before I even got through my second sentence. It was pretty easy to get Tina in the kitchen for me to photograph. Read more
Fried Eggplant Sandwich with sweet pepper and garlic spread
Before you go and get started on this project of a sandwich, let me warn you… it takes some time. Completely worth it in the end. I prefer to make this when I already have left over fried eggplant from the day before. But if you’re in the mood for a delicious, hearty, warm and gooey sandwich, and you’ve got some time to spare…this one’s for you! I am going to give you all the yummy layers to this satisfying Sammy, get ready for a treat.
I like to keep this roasted mini sweet pepper and garlic spread on hand. Not only is it super easy to make and store, it goes great on a lot of things! Pasta’s, sandwiches, and even stuffed into chicken!
Roasted sweet pepper and garlic Spread
To make: Buy a bag of mini sweet peppers and a whole head of garlic. Remove seeds and stems from peppers and cut them in half. Place your chopped peppers along with 4-5 big garlic cloves on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil and sea salt of the top and bake at 400 degrees until golden.
Let it cool and blend in a small food processor. Store in glass jar in your refrigerator for up to two months.
Fried eggplant is one of my favorite snacks. Eggplant is a staple in my kitchen. But I’ve shared this before. To bread my eggplant I give them an egg bath and dip them in a 2-3 ratio of parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Add a pinch of salt to your dry mix. I like to bread all the eggplant prior to starting, this way I am not trying to do two things at once, causing me to burn them.
Fry on both sides until golden brown in some extra virgin olive oil.
Now to the good part, building this amazing sandwich for you to actually enjoy! I begin toasting my bread with fresh mozzarella on one slice, and my roasted sweet pepper and garlic spread on the other. Once my bread is toasted to buttery perfection I add some thinly sliced tomato, handful of spinach leaves, and of course your fried eggplant. Add as many of each as you want. You really can’t go wrong when making this sandwich.
I could eat this sandwich everyday, and not get sick of it. True story.
The kitchen has a very special place in my heart, I was so excited that this months theme was “Kitchen”. My head was just buzzing around with all the ideas I had. But this month truly got the best of me. So I decided I am keeping it real and just sharing a few shots from our kitchen renovation. It has been a long and grueling process. We started this whole home renovation in 2014. We completely gutted the kitchen, all the way down to the bare bones. Just walls and concrete floors. You can see the makeshift kitchen I used for seven months HERE. I am not entirely sure how I survived it feeding a family of seven but I did. (Pats self on back.)
When we first discussed downsizing and moving into our investment home, I had one condition… the kitchen needed to be remodeled. Ok, need is a strong word, but it was poorly designed and lacked a lot cabinet space. At first we thought we’d be able to get the remodeling done prior to moving in. That thought came and went fast, we had a hard time getting our home sold. We then decided to move in during construction. Something I do not recommend. I spend most of my time in the kitchen because I love to cook. So cooking (and living) in a construction zone is quite challenging. When I started designing my kitchen I knew I wanted white cabinets. I wanted the space to feel bright and airy. Since the original kitchen didn’t have a window, installing ours above the sink really made a huge difference.
Let me tell you why the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Food is my daily therapy. Not in an eating disorder way or anything, but the flavors and variety of food really help me deal with life. (Yea and wine definitely helps me cope too.) It’s a creative therapy, I love to find new spices or ingredients and try something I’ve never tried before. Cooking is how I connect with people. If you’ve come to my house, I probably force fed you. I just can’t help it. The kitchen is where I bond with my family and friends. Where every one congregates when we have company, where we laugh, share meals and swap life stories. Its where I appreciate the circle of life in terms of food. Its my safe place. I can fail in there and know that I’ll be right back in there the next day. The kitchen is the heartbeat of my home.
Once the kitchen is all finished I plan to share more of my favorite recipes.
Finally we are starting to see the light at the end of this remodeling tunnel! Here are some shots of the kitchen progress. It’s still not done, there is a cabinet that needs to be replaced, we need base boards, and still need a backsplash. But we did just have the concrete stained grey, a temporary fix to the ugly concrete floors you see in these photos. I’ll save those photos for the final reveal. Hopefully I can find some before pictures to share as well. Before you leave be sure to jump on over to Woodsy Wonders Photography and see her awesome images from this months theme.
And this cute little area is reserved for our #hansencompound quotes. This one reads “Fair is where you go to eat cotton candy and get your face painted”. A life lesson my kids all learned early on. We don’t say things like “life’s not fair”.
Letter board / LetterFolk
Cabinets / Burdette Cabinet CO
Appliances / Spencers
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