Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sausage and Spinach Pesto Baked Ziti



Pasta is made almost weekly in our home. I am always trying to mix up the ways that I serve it. Over the holiday break I made a lot of my baked ziti. It is a favorite of everyone but I was wanting to mix it up a little bit! I had bought some pesto for a spread on BLT's for dinner and spinach for a romaine/spinach mix for my favorite Loaded Italian Salad. I try to use my weekly groceries as best as possible so I added the extra pesto and extra spinach that I had and created this little gem. 
My 8 year old son's best friend was over and decided to stay for dinner with us. I told him that I wasn't sure if he would like it or not but he ate it right up! And so did all 4 of my children! One of my sons did have to pick out the spinach, but hey at least he ate everything else! 





Sausage and Spinach Pesto Baked Ziti

10 ounces ziti 
1 pound of ground sausage
1/2 cup onion, diced (I like to use frozen onions)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced Italian tomatoes
1/4 cup pesto
3 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups)
2 cups (8 ounces) of grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
garlic salt
salt
pepper





Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook ziti pasta according to back of package. Rinse with cold water while you strain and then drizzle some olive oil and garlic salt on the noodles. While the ziti is cooking cook the sausage,onions and minced garlic. Cook through and then add the diced tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes and then sir in the pesto. Season with salt and pepper however much you would like. Grab a large bowl and add the cooked ziti. Top with the sauce mixture. Add the spinach and mozzarella cheese. Mix together well. Grab a 9x13 pan and lightly oil. Pour in the pasta mixture. Top with parmesan cheese. Cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes covered when you remove sauce should be bubbling, then remove the tin foil and bake for 10 more minutes uncovered or until cheese is melted. 




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Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Treats


With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays I always make sure to slow down for a couple of days through out the month to create a few holiday treats with my family. Since my children are all young and love to be involved in the kitchen I always have to mix in a few treats just for them! These reindeer marshmallows are one of them! Along with the donut snowmen below. 

And here are a few other of my favorite things to make through out the holidays. All links to the posts are with the photos! Hope you enjoy them all as much as my family does! 

Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pie

These Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies always remind me of my mom and baking in the kitchen during the holidays! They are a favorite of hers!


In Arizona you have to throw in these Peppermint Frozen Hot Chocolates some days to get the taste of the holiday without the hot drink.



These apple turnovers are another treat that remind me of my family. In particularly my mom and aunt. They both make the most delicious apple turnovers and these little things are definitely a labor of love and on my list of my top 5 favorite treats!



Overnight cinnamon rolls make their appearance in our home almost every single holiday! I have made them multiple times this month and they are always something that is requested my others for me to make! They are easy, melt in your mouth and quite delicious!



Homemade Oreos are unbelievable!! Throw in a chocolate and a peppermint marshmallow and these things are on a whole new level. I have made a lot of these for my neighbors and friends!



These Peppermint Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies were on repeat last year! I could not get enough of them! 


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Christmas Eve Basket



I love working with Stonyfield as part of their blogger program! They decided to do an amazing "giving back" campaign where they sent each of us a gift card and asked each of us to give back some how somewhere. This year my family and I have been a part of quite a few giving trees and giving money to some less fortunate families so I wanted to do something a little different. 




So I took my cute little Cow Visa Card that Stonyfield provided and went and bought some items so that a family in need could share the same tradition that my own family has! Our Christmas Eve Basket! 



I fill it with some treats and some treats, a Christmas Eve book, one of our families favorite Christmas movies, pjs, Christmas socks, a candle, hot chocolate and mugs! 

We have picked out a family that could really use a little holiday cheer and are planning on dropping off the basket Christmas Eve morning! We are excited and can't wait to share our families tradition with another family that will hopefully become a tradition of their own and that they will remember this little act of service that someone else did for them! 



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Monday, December 19, 2016

Milk and Cookie Shots


When I think about New Years Eve recipes I wish it was some glamorous thing! But as a mom of 4 young kids New Years Eve is more about banging pots and pans, blow horns, family friendly food, and trying to make it until the ball drops! So when asked to create a New Years Eve recipe these cookie and milk shot glasses came in mind! These can be filled with all kinds of stuff and are fun for the entire family! My kids (and a few neighbor kids) went crazy over these!




Milk and Cookie Shots 

1 egg
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup chocolate chips
milk






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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD

This morning I had a great opportunity to go deliver some Waffles with a local food truck, Waffleluv, to some very deserving people! We went to a women's shelter, a school in an under privileged area, and a police and fire station.




Tomorrow, December 1st is Worldwide Day of Service. So here is a little heads up so that you can be ready for it! No matter how big or small your act of service is it can make a big impact! This helps unite people to do good for others! Whether is taking in a warm cookies meal, opening a door for some one, or paying for someone in the drive thru line. Everything matters and everything counts! This gives everyone a chance and reminder to brighten someone's day by serving them!


Even though this Worldwide Day of Service is December 1st this is the kick off and start of a bigger campaign! 25 days of Service! You can learn more about this on Mormon.org They even have provided all of us with a calendar and theme for each day to help us get started and have some ideas for ways to serve others! During this busy season sometimes it is hard to slow down and give a little but ultimately doing this will help us and give us the strength to accomplish everything during this busy season!


This week to prepare for this my husband and I had out children help us make kits to the less fortunate. Each of my kids wrote a note and drew a picture on a card to hand to someone this month that we find that are homeless, poor, or in need. 




We have sat down and picked different services that we can do each day to complete the total 25 days of service! 








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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mermaids & Pirates Birthday Party


My daughter turned 4 a few weeks ago! She could not wait for her birthday and had a huge part in the say of the theme of her party. One day she told me that she wanted a mermaid party so of course I started planning! She wanted to be part of every.single.thing! She sat with me as we prepared everything! We began talking about how she wanted to invite 10 boys to her party. So that is when we decided to do the mermaid pirate themed party! Of course we leaned more to the mermaid side for the colors and decor but we had some touches for the boys!


The invitation that we chose was this one! I loved the colors, whimsical feeling, and how perfect it was! Here is the image from her etsy shop! (The name just happens to be mine on the invitation haha)


The birthday was on her actual birthday which seemed to be the day after Veterans Day. Which meant the mail did not come the day before which resulted in a stack of packages that showed up a few hours after the party! 


Some of my favorite things didn't actually end up at the party but I still wanted to share them with you because of course I wish they would have made it!

The backdrop that I ordered was amazing! 8 feet long to hang from the ceilings! I may need to throw another mermaid party just so I can use these!


Along with this mermaid or pirate banner! I think it was originally for a gender reveal party but ultimately it worked with the party theme.


And to top it off these fabulous gold mermaid cupcake toppers. These toppers were just perfect! Perfect size, amazing quality and the cutest things! I was so sad when I wasn't able to use these!


So lets start with the party printables. I decided to match the invitation which rarely happens, but they were just so cute that I couldn't help but use the invitation and the printables from the same shop! Natalie from A Pretty Little Party is beyond creative. I have spent hours looking through her shop and admiring her work! Her shop is definitely one I will be going back to first when I plan my next party! Her mermaid pirate party pack was what I used and it was perfect! It was an instant download; which I always love, and I printed some on card stock and some on a little sturdier paper that Fed Ex had. 










For the place cards I wanted to do something a little more whimsical to match with the printables. So I chose these watercolor mermaid food labels. They have watercolor on both sides. Prints for Events has you email in the food labels that you want and then she customizes them for you and sends you a file to print. The guy at UPS store ended up printing them on regular paper and I was worried that they wouldn't stand up straight but they did! So either regular or card stock will work great! 


I also ordered this Sea Creature Garland to hang over the door and the starfish tags were tied onto the little sand creations that each of the kids made! These are instant downloads and were easy to cut out and assemble! 



Next up I found these amazing jellyfish that Republic of Party creates. They offer some pretty amazing colors that can suite your party and color scheme. I chose to go with the pastel colors! 


But before I attached the jellyfish I first ordered this roll of blue table cloth! I used it on the ceiling along with a few other areas in the party. But I first attached it to the ceiling with push pins. I attached a few of these fishing nets and created little pockets that I could stuff balloons in and then once I added the balloons I closed up the other end with push pins. This is a two person job! These are the balloons I grabbed. I did a few different varieties of blue for the balloons to create an under the sea affect. These turquoise balloons,  along with these turquoise balloons, these clear balloons were used up in the net and hanging down to create bubbles, this variety of blue balloon packet was for the smaller size of balloons. After I put in the balloons I added these starfish. Beware these are very real and smell a little haha they are amazing but I don't think I was really expecting to open them up and get the real ocean/fish smell! 





To seal off the area I took a needle and fishing line and thread different varieties of colors and sizes of balloons to create a little balloon garland. I attached these with push pins. And for the clear bubbles I also took fishing line and i tied knots to each balloon in random order and spacing to create more whimsical bubbles.


I took the jellyfish and tied them to the nets also using fishing line and hung them at different lengths. 


I also used these amazing curly tassel garlands in the pastel colors! I have never seen tassel garlands like this. Usually they are straight but these gave the whimsical look that I was going for! And I loved them so much! As you can tell one of my kids must have messed with them because the spacing is a little off! At one point they were evenly spaced out! I blame it on the little mermaid below! 





I had this rainbow balloon arch at the party also! I used number 10 silver cans, rebar and cement to create a post. Then I took plumbers white pipes and used 3 of them. Each side at the length up and then I used a "elbow" attachment on each side and them attached the pipe to one side and bent it to connect to the other side to create an arch! I watched this video with the help of attaching the balloons to the pipe. I did not make my balloons the same size to create the "whimsical" effect I had going for the whole party. I used the youtube video to create the "quad effect" with the balloons before I attached them. I did not use any helium in this arch. 





I got the Under The Sea balloons from Petite Party Studio! They have a great variety of balloons and they are always my go to party supply place! 

I also took this lime crate paper and taped it to the bottom and then twirled it a little and then taped the top at different lengths to create a little seaweed effect on the wall leading into the party. 


The vinyl fish and bubbles were a special order from Classy Clutter Designs. I had her print a variety of different colors, sizes, fish and bubbles to use on the window under the "Under the Sea" arch, the seaweed wall, and then I also used them in the Under the Water arch leading into the party!







The under the water arch leading into the party was done using the same pipe technique as the balloon arch. Instead there was 4 posts. I got the longest pipe I could find at Home Depot and bent it to create the arch. I did two of those and then took the same blue tablecloth roll taped it to one side and then stretched it to the next pole and then cut it and then repeat it until the whole arch is covered. I attached the vinyl fish and bubbles. I got a #4 balloon from Petite Party Studio, a pink 36 inch round balloon, and then a variety of left over balloons from inside the party! I used a helium tank and filled these balloons up and tied them to a balloon weight. 





Photographs were taken by Lifeisbluthiful.blogspot.com she does amazing photos or parties, events, children, and pretty much everything else! She also took pictures of my Star Wars Party


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