Friday, February 17, 2017

Flashback Friday: Favorite Homemade Granola

For today's Flashback Friday, I wanted to share a recipe I have been making since 2008. I have made many different versions of granola over the years, but this is my basic, simple recipe. It's just the classic perfection of homemade granola. Don't spend money on store bought granola filled with preservatives and saturated fats. I hope you love this one as much as we do!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vacation Favorites and Traditions


It's been a few days back from our trip and I can't stop thinking about how wonderful it was to relax and be with my family. For journaling purposes (I'm awful about that!) I wanted to share just a few highlights for you ;)

Our trip started in Anaheim where we decided to save our money and not go to Disneyland but went to Knott's Berry Farm instead. We gave annual passes to our kids for Christmas and were surprised at what a great time we had. (Tip: Instead of giving lots of gifts, giving the gift of 'memories' has become our favorite thing to do. Kids will remember experiences more than they will gifts ;) We then headed to Oceanside and spent a couple days at the beach, eating too much and having a great time.
Once we were done in Oceanside we made our way to Indio. It's a small town near Palm Springs that has nothing to do but spend the day in the resort. Our days were filled with exercising (to help counter balance our eating), playing tennis, swimming, watching the Food Network, cooking and eating. Staying in a condo is a must for our big clan. It saves us TONS of money to be able to cook and eat-in all week. 

My family is ALL about eating good food. Some of us may or may not have gained over 10 pounds in 13 days! Yikes. However, we had a great time trying new recipes, eating old favorites and spending lots of time together in the kitchen and being together. Watch for some 'healthy' new cookie recipes coming soon (grateful for Grandma Mary who tries to keep us healthy).

One thing we always do on our trips is search out a new and fun place to eat out (as adults of course!). This year we went to an amazing restaurant called The Flying Pig in Oceanside. It was amazing! They have homemade pastas, great burgers, amazing pork chops, flatbreads and much more! If you're in the area, this is a place to stop by (along with our fave Rockin Baja...yum!).
We also had our annual taste test with the kids. This is something we have done for almost 10 years now and the kids won't let us not do it. This year we decided to taste test orange juice. It was a fun one and the kids loved it! We were a little surprised that Simply Orange (the one we all thought would win had zero favorite votes--bizarre!). The favorite amongst nearly everyone was between Florida's Natural and Tropicana. It was nearly a tie and they both were super fresh tasting and delicious. The least favorite was Donald Duck (not too shocking) and Langer's. So, the next time you're out shopping for orange juice...keep this in mind and watch for our favorites to go on sale ;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2 week meal plan for 7 people...$260 {thanks Deals to Meals}


After coming back from a 13 day trip it was imperative I do some grocery shopping to get some food in our house again. My sister and I headed out shopping and made it to three stores with her two little boys and it was a fun adventure! There were a few basics I needed at Costco so thankfully their pizza kept us all going for a couple hours. Now that our local Walmart are stinkers about price matching, I'm finding it easier to shop at a few of the stores with the best deals instead of shop there. Don't get me wrong, when there are TONS of deals I need, I will still shop at Walmart and price match, but for my less busy shopping days, this method seems to work.


I logged into Deals to Meals, picked the recipes I wanted to cook during the next 12-14 days and created my grocery list. I also kept track of items I needed for my food storage and some meat that was on sale I wanted to stock up on (we're talking 25 lbs. of chicken, turkey, bacon, rump roasts, etc.). After a few minutes we were off and ready to shop.

Here's the loot I got for just under $260. I got SO much food and it's been so fun to make some homemade meals again. I'm focusing on healthy recipes for an upcoming Healthy E-book I'm creating so I can't wait to share some of these with you. I am 2 recipes down out of 12, and so far it's a success! Stay posted for some of these new (and healthy) recipes coming soon. Have a great day friends!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Double Chocolate Crepes with Berry Filling

Okay, bear with me. I have one more Valentines recipe for you (yeah, I'm a little crazy!). Last night I was thinking about Valentines Day and I wanted to do something special for my kiddos. I have come to grips with the fact my kids eat cardboard, sugar cereal for breakfast on a regular basis. I used to be a better mom and make warm, homemade breakfasts for my kids (yes, every day). Who has time for that?! Now that my kids leave super early for high school, there isn't much time for that anymore. So, I set my alarm today and surprised them with these chocolate crepes. It was a simple gesture but I hope they felt of my love. With teenagers you never really know, right? But I'm sure my hungry-hippo teenage boy had to feel a little twinge of love before he headed off to school ;) One can hope, right!
Best thing again about this recipe is the crepes are made from ingredients you have in your pantry. You could even use powdered milk and powdered eggs for a real 'food storage friendly' recipe if you'd like. Fill these delicious chocolate crepes with any filling of your choice. The sky's the limit!
Making a good crepe can sometimes be tricky. The secret is you need the right pan. For Christmas I got a box of two Green Pans from my Mom and they are my new, absolute favorite pans. They are nonstick and cook evenly and wipe out clean in seconds. They are seriously amazing! Very few days go by that I don't use these pans--they're the best! Not to mention they are only $34 for TWO 10 and 12 inch pans. You're going to love them. Check them out here.

Happy Valentines Day to my best friend! Todd, I couldn't imagine life with out you. You make every day a new adventure and with you I know I can do anything. Can't wait to spend the day with you! Love you so much.

(Todd's face is hilarious. Poor guy enjoys a painful diet of only eating one meal a day. Who could be presented with these crepes and not eat them?!? His self control is amazing!!) 

Monday, February 13, 2017

NEW & Simple Valentines Food Ideas--don't miss these, they're adorable!!

Okay, I am a big, fat lier. I just posted this morning that I didn't have any new, and fun, Valentines ideas for you. I decided I needed to do some grocery shopping since I came home to an empty fridge and found a few SUPER SIMPLE Valentines ideas for you.

Did it mean I didn't shower today, exercise, or clean my house? Yeah, but it was worth it! The family thought these were so creative and delicious. I have to thank Pintrest for a couple of the ideas and some good ol' fashion creativity for the others. I wanted to make some lighter and healthier snacks and treats and I was really pleased with the results. Hope you 'love' them ;)

Since this post is coming late, I wanted to make sure these ideas were things you could whip together with items you probably already have on hand. These would be darling too for a wedding shower, Mother's Day or for a brunch with Grandma. No matter when you use these ideas, your kids will think you are the best mom on the planet! We had a night of 'love' for FHE tonight and it was fun to have a dinner revolving around the theme. Just as an fyi, if you need some cute videos to show on love, here's a link for a few that we watched tonight. Have a Happy Valentines Day. I sure love each of you and want to thank you for always stopping by and showing ME love ;)

Cupid Heart Spears

Pint grape tomatoes
2 slices white cheese (provolone, monterey, etc.)
Toothpicks

Of each tomato, cut off the top (stem portion) on a slight angel. Do this to all of them and then hook them together and poke through the center with a toothpick. Cut the sliced cheese into two shapes (a triangle for the head of the arrow and an upside down 'v' for the tail of the arrow. Serve the hearts plain or with a ranch dip.

Tomato Shaped Margarita Pita Pizzas

1 pkg. flat bread pitas (I love the brand they sell at Costco)
3-4 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup pesto
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to season (optional)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay a pita bread on the counter and cut the bread into the shape of a heart (cut out a slight 'v' in the top and cut the bottom to a point). Place the pitas on a pizza pan or stone. Spread a generous portion of pesto onto the tops of each of the pitas. Slice the tomatoes and place onto the pitas. Top each pita with a generous portion of mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper. Place the pan into the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Slice the fresh basil into thin strips and garnish the pizzas. Cut and serve with some balsamic vinegar if you wish.

Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake Cups

4-6 angel food cake cups 
Caramel topping
Toffee chocolate bits
2 (5.3 oz.) Salted Caramel Dannon Greek Yogurt
8 oz. whipped topping (fat free works great)
Dash salt
2-3 strawberries, for garnish
Spray can of whipped topping, for garnish (optional)

Place the angel food cake cups onto a serving plate. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and whipped topping until smooth. Add a tablespoon of the caramel topping and a dash of salt to the mixture and mix until smooth. Spoon a portion of this mixture into the center of each cup. Spray a portion of whipped topping on the top, garnish with the chocolate toffee bits and drizzle with extra caramel topping.

If you're not serving these right away, the yogurt portion can be kept in the fridge for up to a day. Place in the cups right before serving.

Berry-licious Angel Food Cake Cups

4-6 angel food cake cups 
2 (5.3 oz.) strawberry Dannon Greek Yogurt
1 Tbs. strawberry jam
8 oz. whipped topping (fat free works great)
Dash salt
4-5 strawberries, for garnish
1/2 cup blueberries
Spray can of whipped topping, for garnish (optional)

Place the angel food cake cups onto a serving plate. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and whipped topping until smooth. Add a tablespoon of strawberry jam and mix until smooth. Spoon a portion of this mixture into the center of each cup. Spray a portion of whipped topping on the top of each cup. Garnish each cup with the sliced strawberries and fresh berries.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Valentines Chex Mix

16 oz. creamy peanut butter
12 oz. bag chocolate peanut butter chips
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash salt
9-10 cups chex cereal (can use all varieties)
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
1 bag Valentine's M&M chocolate candies

In a microwave safe bowl, add the peanut butter, chocolate chips and butter. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Once melted, stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour in the chex cereal and stir until all of the cereal is coated (doesn't have to be a thick coating). If it is too sticky, feel free and add a little more cereal.

To this bowl, add the powdered sugar and toss with the cereal. Toss until all pieces are coated. Add the chocolate candies and toss. Serve once cooled.

Berry Skewers and Fruit Dip

1 lb. strawberries
1/4 cup blueberries
Skewer sticks
Fruit dip:
2 (5.3 oz.) berry greek yogurt
8 oz. whipped cream topping

Cut off the tops of each strawberry. With a sharp knife, carefully cut a small 'v' shape in the top of the strawberries. Slice the strawberry in half. Poke a skewer through one of the pieces of strawberries. Alternate the strawberries and blueberries. Serve the fruit with a fruit dip (optional).

For the fruit dip, whip together the greek yogurt and whipped topping until smooth. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.


Valentines Day 2017

Hi Friends! Well, since I was playing my days away in California up until Sunday night, I have to be lame and re-post some of my favorite Valentines day recipes from last year. Is that okay? Will you forgive me? I promise next year with our new blog we will be up and awesome and ahead of schedule ;) (That's my goal anyway--cross our fingers!)

Here you go....enjoy and have a wonderfully romantic and special day tomorrow ;)

Valentines Day Recipes

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Copycat Costco's Sweet Kale Salad Mix

Being here in California on vacation our favorite part of being together with my extended family is all of the delicious food we eat. There's not much to do outside our resort, so we spend all day swimming, playing tennis, running, and eating TONS of yummy food! When we went to Costco for some food items, I found this salad mix for Sweet Kale. I have LOVED it for lunch for the past several days and realized this would be super easy to recreate. I wanted to share my homemade recipe for poppyseed dressing and give you a way to make this delicious (and healthy) salad from home. Hope you love!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunny California Get-Away

We have officially ran away from the snow and are spending some time in sunny California--and are loving it! Whether we're playing at the ocean,  spending the day at Knott's Berry Farm, or hanging out at our condo, it's been a great time. One way we try and save money on vacation is by bringing food from home and using Deals to Meals while away. We did a shopping trip at some local grocery stores and bought all of the ingredients we needed for our week's meal plan. We even made homemade pizzas tonight and enjoyed our favorites: Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Thai Chicken Pizza. Yum! Whether you're home, or away, it's never a bad time to use Deals to Meals to save you some BIG money!



Saturday, February 4, 2017

30 Favorite Game Day Appetizer Recipes




Hi Friends! I'm sorry this is coming so late. My family and I have been loving a little sunshine in California and I just realized the Super Bowl is Sunday (obviously, I'm a huge NFL fan-lol!). Whether you'll be watching the game, or just want some fun appetizer recipes, here are 30 of our favorites. Remember to login to Deals to Meals to find out where you can get the ingredients you need to make these recipes at the best prices. Enjoy!


Maple Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes

I don't know about you, but to me, maple and bacon go together like two peas in a pod. I am a huge fan of salt and sweet flavors together, and these pancakes make for a breakfast your taste buds will love. There's nothing overly fancy about these pancakes but they sure are great! Hope you enjoy them too ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Planning the Perfect Party {Menu, Decor, Favorite Things}





Last week was my sisters 35th birthday and we decided to throw her a surprise birthday party. She is a huge fan of birthday's so we wanted to make this one special. Instead of just going out to lunch we wanted to throw a party that would help her feel loved and special. It was such a success I wanted to share some tips that made this party unforgettable. 

I have to give all of the credit to my two dear friends Amber and Betsy. I handled the food and they were in charge of set up and decor (two things I don't do!). Give me food assignments any day, but to make something look beautiful, that's totally out of my comfort zone. Didn't they do such a great job though? It was seriously magical!

Favorite Menu
No matter what party I am throwing, this is my go-to menu of choice. It's easy, can be prepared a day (or two) in advance and is a crowd pleaser for everyone. Here's what we served:
*Fruit Kabobs (any of your favorite fruit on a skewer)
*Sparkling Grape Punch (two 2 liters of Fresca or Squirt & 12 oz. Welch’s White Grape Juice Concentrate)
*Favorite Brownies and/or cheesecake

Place Settings
Betsy did an amazing job mixing disposable items with real place settings. We didn’t want to spend the afternoon washing dishes, so we used a nice square paper plate with the plastic ware that looks like it’s real silver. For the dessert plates, she has collected different eclectic small plates from the local D.I. that all have a soft, antique look. They were darling! She also has collected different shapes and sizes of goblets. The modge-podge look worked perfectly together and made the table seem extra special.
(The biggest problem with planning a party is knowing who to invite. Without hesitation we could have had 50 amazing ladies at my sisters party. Not inviting everyone is the problem--if only my house was larger to hold everyone :/)

Décorations
Betsy put a strip of burlap down the center of the table and had two matching floral arrangements on the center table. Along the other tables were lots of mis-match candle holders with candles in white and gold. The lit candles made the table feel super romantic and elegant. She also printed off small images with the ‘birthday number’ and framed them on the table. You could also print out pictures of the special guest and put those on the table. A white table cloth made the perfect blank canvas for the table.

Favorite Things Party
This was the most adorable idea ever! Each person who comes to the party is asked to bring something that represents their favorite thing about the birthday person (or bride, mother-to-be, etc.). For example, my sister loves to write thank you cards to people, so someone brought a stack of thank you cards for her. Another person brought scripture markers because she loves to read her scriptures. My sister is a great conversationalist and is always giving compliments, so I gave her a big bag of conversation hearts. We told everyone to bring small and simple things but you could be as elaborate as you wish. The sweet part was everyone sharing things they loved about my sister. There were lots of tears and laughs which made the party memorable.

Whether you're planning a future birthday party, bridal shower or baby shower, I hope these tips and ideas make your party a great success!

Happy Birthday Sista!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Great Pork Sale! Hawaiian BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Before the Smith's deal is over tomorrow, I wanted to highlight a super great price they are having on pork roasts. For only $0.99/lb. this is a great time to stock your freezers! Pork roasts make a simple meal that can easily be cooked in your slow cooker. If you haven't tried this recipe for Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, you're going to love them! All of the ingredients are on sale this week, so it's a great time to add this recipe to your weekly meal plan ;) Login to Deals to Meals to see the best grocery deals in your area.



Butter Roasted Rainbow Carrots

I know I am slow to jump on the colored carrot band wagon, but how fun are these?!? Purple carrots, white carrots, red carrots, orange carrots...they are just the cutest things you've ever seen. Not to mention they are super sweet, full of fresh carrot flavor and makes the most beautiful side dish to any meal. Roast these carrots in some butter and fresh herbs and you are going to crave these carrots for many days to come! Enjoy ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wanted to share another favorite recipe I've found in all of my recipe entering on our new blog. I had forgotten about these cookies and how much I loved them. I pretty much am a fan of everything with orange and chocolate together (remember those yummy Terry's Chocolate Oranges you get during the holidays?). These are a cookie version of those flavors and are gooey, sweet and full of citrusy goodness. You're going to love this sweet treat. Great for any weekend craving!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Flashback Friday: Gingerbread Pancakes

Before winter comes to an end (ha! not soon enough for me ;) I wanted to remind you of a winter-holiday favorite recipe of ours. I can't get enough of gingerbread flavors and think these pancakes would be well loved served up this weekend. Top them with whipped cream, bananas and your favorite maple syrup. You're going to love these! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chicken Kale Parmesan Meatballs with Simple Marinara


Okay friends, do I have a recipe for you! I can hardly wait to share this super healthy, crazy-good recipe with you. I can't stop thinking about this dish since I made it for my family. It's one of those recipes that you crave as soon as your bowl is empty. I was legitimately sad to be done eating dinner. Not only is the homemade marinara sauce exactly made the way a spaghetti sauce should be, but these meatballs are out-of-this-world delicious. They are tender, seasoned to perfection and are much healthier than a traditional beef meatball. And guess what, you wont miss the fat AT ALL! In fact, I dare say these are the best meatballs I have ever had in my entire life. I love that they have kale in them as well. A great way to sneak in some veggies in a way your kids won't even know ;)

Visit our website to get this delicious recipe. It's a recipe in this week's new meal planner. Hope you love!

*Also, visit our site to find out where all of the best deals are. Get your canned tomatoes, onions, ground chicken and everything you need on sale for this recipe. 
Serve this dish with some whole grain pasta or serve carb-free with some sautéed zucchini. 
These meatballs were so good my kids and I were eating them like they were candy, right out of the bowl. Yum!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Copycat Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

Do you ever have those recipes you mean to make for years but you just never get around to it? I have had this Applebee's Copycat recipe in my recipe files for probably five years now. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to make this recipe, but I finally had all the ingredients tonight and threw this together for dinner. It was simple to make, made of delicious fresh produce I bought on sale today and was so delicious! Even though a salad wasn't comfort food on such a snowy, cold night, it was nice to eat some extra veggies and have a light meal. This salad is extremely healthy, especially if you use fat free mayonnaise.  This is a great salad to add to your weekly meal planner. Hope you love this salad. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Flashback Friday: Spicy Queso Dip

It has been so fun to spend the past couple months going through all of my recipes from the past 8 years. It's fun to see how my recipes, pictures and style has changed. It's also been fun to remember some of my favorite recipes that I haven't made for awhile. One of these is for this spicy queso dip I posted about several years ago. It's simple to make and is a crowd pleaser. We have some family parties this week and I'm excited to make this dip again. Not to mention, salsa, tortilla chips and cheese is also on sale. Bonus!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Salami Chicken and Pasta Salad and Pasta 50% off!


Check out our website this week for this healthy, delicious Italian Salami Pasta Salad. This is a delicious whole foods recipe that will be great for any of your diets or healthy eating goals. Get this recipe at www.dealstomeals.com. Not to mention, pasta is on sale for a FABULOUS deal this week! It's the perfect time to stock your food storage shelves with pasta of all varieties. At fifty percent off, this is a deal you don't want to miss. Login to Deals to Meals to see where you can get this great deal all around the U.S.


KSL News Story--Coupons vs. Deal Shopping

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Studio 5

Deals to Meals KSL TV News Story

Three Easy Steps to Food Storage