Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cajun Trout

The other night it was my husband's birthday and I wanted to take him some place extra special. I will admit before my husband met me he did not know or appreciate good food. That all changed when he married into my family. My family thrives on good food. We love cooking good food and we love going to tastey new restaurants and enjoying good food!

So my husband and I ventured out to Scottsdale and went to Prado at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. We were blown away by their amazing costumer service. Their staff made an impeccable impression on both of us! Right when I got there I received a sweet letter and a gift every foodie would appreciate! Good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and olives. (Don't worry I will share more about the olive oil later in my recipe!) We then enjoyed some yummy yummy food! My favorites out of everything were the caramelized cauliflower, burrata salad, branzino, and the carrot cake! After dinner my husband and I walked around the grounds of the hotel and sat next to the fire pit that they had. What a great memorable night! Here a few pictures of what we had so you know what you are getting when you visit there next time you are in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Now onto the cajun trout. Each and every family member in our house loves fish! Like it is super weird. My kids eat fish like normal kids eat chicken nuggets. They love it! When I made this easy easy fish my kids ate their piece plus mine. I was pretty upset that I didn't get my whole helping of fish haha. But hey if my kids want 2 servings of fish I will take it!!! This was actually the first time my kids have ever had trout. After my husband and I tried the branzino whole fish straight from the Mediterranean Sea with tail on it and all from Prado. I figured I should venture out a little more in the fish department. And let me tell you I am so glad that I did because my kids just loved it!!!

So first I took my fish and put it skin side down on a baking sheet and brushed my new olive oil from Prado on the top of my fish. Let me tell you that there is a different in good quality olive oil! So go out and get some. At least to use every once in a while! Try this kind! Ok back to the fish, I then sprinkled the fish with cajun seasoning (I did it lightly because I wanted my baby girl to eat it but if you family handles spice you can add more) and turned on the oven to broil mode. And placed the baking sheet about 4-6 inches from the heat and baked for 4-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Top with fresh parsley and serve! Easy and Fast!

If you don't have any cajun seasoning or can't find any at a store close to you here is a recipe for one!

Cajun Seasoning
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Watermelon Cooler

Watermelon and summer go hand in hand in our home! My kids go through about a watermelon a week in the summertime. I almost always have one in our home for days when my kids are playing in the water or swimming that day. Just a easy and refreshing snack for them!

 It is the last week of school for my kids and the weather has just been amazing! So that only means one thing...more time to spend outside before the dreaded summer heat hits! Our grill is about to hit its peak where we spend a lot of our time cooking on it instead of heating up the house with the oven. And when the grilling happens it is always fun to have a summery drink to go along with the food. This drinks just happens to be just that! I recently received a Blendtec blender and have absolutely loved it! They even have some great deals going on if you are looking to invest in a good blender! Here is a link so check it out! So check it out!

Watermelon Cooler

3 cups watermelon-chunked and seeded
1/2 pint lemon sorbet
1/2 tray of ice cubes
2 Tablespoons purple grape juice

Place all ingredients in a blendtec blender and pulse until ice is chopped. Then continue to blend on high speed until smooth.

So whip this drink up to kick off your summer and you will not be disappointed!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow cookers should be a staple in every single home. They make the hard and busy days easier. And the making cooking easier when you want it to be! I am not going to lie I have used plenty of jars of spaghetti sauce in my life time. They are cheap and easy. But with this recipe it is almost as easy as opening a jar of spaghetti sauce and pouring it over noodles. It just takes a little more prep because it does take time to simmer in the crockpot. But it will be worth it!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
14.5 ounce can petite Italian diced tomatoes
28 ounce tomato sauce
15 ounce can "extra thick and zesty" tomato sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 medium onion, cut in large pieces
1 stalk of celery
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in half
1 /2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
pinch of red chili pepper flakes
4 Tablespoons butter

Add all ingredients (except butter) into a medium sized crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves. Take an emersion blender and blend up the onions, celery and bell pepper. Once it is all blended together and smooth add in butter and stir.

Italian Meatballs

2 pounds extra lean ground beef
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons dried sweet basil
3 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Italian bread crumbs

In a bowl mix together ground beef, eggs, salt, minced garlic, basil parsley, oregano, and parmesan cheese. Once it is all combined well together grab some bread crumbs and slowly add some until the mixture is firm enough to form balls. Fry them in a dutch oven. You can save the grease and flavor your spaghetti sauce. Or if you are adding Italian sausage to your spaghetti cook the sausage in the leftover meatball grease.

Once you have your sauce and your meatballs and Italian sausage all done and cooked. Combine them all in the crockpot or a large dutch oven. Cook your noodles as directed on the back of the box. Take the plate of cooked noodles and add scoops of sauce with the meatballs and Italian sausage. Then serve! 

Pair it with these breadsticks and Italian salad for a perfect dinner! 

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lemonade on a Front Porch

There is nothing more relaxing then sitting on a porch sipping on a refreshing drink while your kids play outside with their friends! This time of year in Arizona all the neighborhood kids are roaming the streets. Give it a month or two and no one will be found out front and will have migrated to the back yard for the swimming pool! But for now I am so excited to enjoy this spring time weather.

A few months ago my flower beds were full of just dirt and our patio was empty. When I heard about a Wayfair campaign featuring porches I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Featuring a little sitting area and my Nana's favorite lemonade! My Nana was and will always be the sweetest person I have ever met. And her lemonade recipe will be just as sweet! 

But first I want to show you a few of the things I looked at for my front porch. There is nothing like having a good table and chairs or seating area for your porch. Then check out some fun pillows and cushions to add a pop of color.  Here is a helpful article on how to brighten up a porch and one about decorating with outdoor pillows. And then of course whats next is the best things for outdoor cooking!  

For even more ideas check out my patio idea board!

Now that you have a few ideas and some reading material to help you with your porch here are the before and after pictures of my porch and what I decided to do to give my porch a face lift. 



And now that you have all seen how I brightened up my porch now onto my Nana's yummy Lemonade recipe. The first time I made my husband this he was in shock. He actually instagramed it. haha He could not believe that people actually make freshly squeezed lemonade! Our family went through the whole recipe within 24 hours. Most of that was consumed by my husband! So whip this up and everyone will love you and be in awe as much as my husband was!

Nana's Lemonade

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 quarts water
ice optional
lemon slices optional

In a large bowl or pitcher mix the water, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir very well until all the sugar is dissolved. Taste it to make sure you like the taste. If it is too sweet you can add some water or more lemon juice. Or if you like it a little sweeter (like my husband) add some more sugar teaspoon by teaspoon. Too acidic add water. Then add in some ice and lemon slices. Then serve!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Wayfair and I have been compensated. However all thoughts and opinions and the recipe are my own. 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Easy Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo Sauce is my weakness. I love it so so much. Whenever I order wings or chicken strips anywhere I have to ask for an extra side of buffalo sauce. I am also pretty picky when it comes to the flavor of different buffalo sauces. I have tried quite the variety of different brands. I would have to say that franks is my favorite brand for buffalo sauce....for now that is! 

My little girl and my boys even love to just eat this chicken plain. I try not to make it too spicy so that the whole family can enjoy it! My oldest son loves tacos and so this meal is right up his alley! I made it for my family and then a few days later took the pictures of it. My son saw me taking pictures and got all excited that we were having these tacos AGAIN for dinner! haha so I fed them again to  my family for lunch on a Saturday. My other two kids take a side of chicken with a cheese quesadilla. They don't love tacos like the rest of us! My husband had the chicken on a salad and I had my as tacos! 
This meat is very versatile. Can be served really anyway. Or even on rolls like I have shared before! Hope you enjoy this easy buffalo chicken as much as our family does! 

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos
4 large chicken breasts
1/2 of a 12 oz bottle of Franks Hot Wing Buffalo Sauce

1 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 packet of dry ranch mix

Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. After it is done cooking take out 2/3 cup of juice and set aside. Then shred chicken. Add some of the juice if you would like or you can dump it.

lettuce, finely chopped
avocado, diced
tomatoes, diced
ranch dressing
buffalo sauce

Grab a tortilla and place a handful of lettuce down. Then scoop up some buffalo chicken and add it on top of the lettuce. Top with avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing. If you like it extra spicy add some buffalo sauce drizzle.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Mini Cookies

Peanut butter and Chocolate is always a good idea in my book. These type of cookies have always been a family favorite. My younger brother used to ask my mom all the time to make these cookies for him. And whenever I was at my moms house after I had kids my oldest son always got so excited when Nana made these cookies. He would take home a little plate home and enjoy them that night and then save some for the next day to take to school as his snack.

I feel like recently the candy companies have really been stepping it up with their unwrapped minis. I remember unwrapping peanut butter cups for my mom as she made these cookies. On my most recent road trip I stopped and grabbed some of these butterfingers peanut butter cup minis and right when I got home I knew what I needed to do with the extras! And my husband and children were beyond thrilled!

Here is a little step by step action for you all!

After you mix the dough spray the pans with cookie spray

With a small cookie scoop add dough to the pan and bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes then place the butterfingers peanut butter mini's

Eat while they are a little melty or you can place them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up

I usually eat a few right out of the oven and then I store the rest in the fridge and enjoy some the next day!

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Mini Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup flour
1 packaged butterfinger peanut butter cup minis

Combined butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add in dry ingredients and chill. When cold roll into small balls or use a small cookie scoop and place in greased miniature muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 9 minutes. Press butterfinger peanut butter cups into middle and let cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes. Take out and enjoy! 

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