As Halloween approaches, I sit at my computer and reminisce on many fond memories of this holiday.
Quick back story…
Growing up- Halloween was something I always looked forward to. Every year we would go over to my cousins house, have sloppy joe’s (random, I know), dress up, trick or treat, return to dump out & sort our candy, and (if we begged hard enough)…end the evening with a sleep over.
It was the best. Pure childhood bliss. (& yes, I am the frumpy pumpkin)
Fast forward to adulthood, and we have carried on the tradition in the best way that we can. We still get together, dress up, have sloppy joes, laugh, and enjoy each others company. We have the best family, fo’ real. (& BTW I have no idea how the sloppy joe thing started, …but there is no end in sight)
Unfortunately, this year, we are unable to get together. But- it got me thinking. I wanted to share some of the fun ideas that I found for Halloween 2018. In hopes that it will help anyone throwing a Halloween party, not knowing where to begin.
I mean, as long as you have wine- you’re probably set for a good gathering. BUT, if you’re as extra as I am when throwing a party- you will appreciate this post. It’s all about the details- and I’ve got ya covered.
***Disclaimer: all suggestions below are NOT my property or things that I have photographed myself. This post is simply a roundup of awesome ideas that I have cherry picked for y’all. 😉 All photos have direct links to the creators websites. Happy Halloweening.
Step 1. Send a fun invite.
Seriously, who doesn’t love to get mail (especially when it’s not a bill) ? Treat your guests to a snail-mail invite. This way, they will be looking forward to the party in advance- and most importantly- not forget about it. There is nothing worse than planning a party, accounting for guests, and having them not show up or … ‘forget’ about your event… save yourself the trouble and send a dang invite. Bases covered.
I find that downloading a template off of etsy and printing it out at home, or sending it to office depot for printing, works best.
Here is one that I love:
I have learned the hard way…don’t overdo the appetizers when hosting a dinner party. Stick to about 2-3 (max). Too many appetizers result in extra food that does not typically fare well as leftovers. Stick to a few that are the bomb.com and you’re golden. Trust me. Soggy, sweaty cheese squares (you know what I am talking about)…is just plain GROSS the next day.
Speaking of soggy cheese, please do not think that I am cheese-bashing. As a proud Wisconsinite, I LOVE cheese. In fact, my go-to party hosting hat trick is always a unique cheeseboard. So, to be clear, choosing cheese as an app is perfectly fine…and it will get consumed by your guests… IF you don’t have too many other things on the table. Just let the cheese shine, man.
If I were throwing a Halloween party, I would choose one of these cheeseboards, and a ‘hot’ appetizer to go with it.
Now that you have picked out a killer cheeseboard (that Halloween pun thooo), here are a few ‘hot apps’ that would be complimentary. Once again, I would choose just one.
I mean…C’MON…do these get any cuter? YUM. Your guests will love these little jalapeno popper mummies.
Also…this mummy pizza dip? Can’t go wrong. Who does not like pizza? I would serve this with french bread toasts & crackers too. Voila! Delish.
I like to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages when hosting a party. I have found, that the dollar store sells plastic baskets which are perfect for holding drinks. Simply fill with ice, and you’re set. In these baskets, I would stock coke, diet coke, sprite, waters, one white wine, one red wine, and beer.
Bonus find: For your guests convenience, snag a spooky wine spout…they are just one amazon prime click away…. (and under $20!)
Where were we? Ah yes, ALCOHOL.
Here are two Halloween cocktails that look amazing, I would choose just one to prepare for my guests:
How sexy is this blackberry bevvy? O.M.G. get in my belly.
It is hard to go wrong with sangria. This one is is WIN.
All of the goodies in this fall cobb salad do not go unnoticed. Personally, I would use this recipe – sans chicken. If I were to serve this salad as a main dish I would keep the chicken. BUT as a starter, too much protein would leave guests full before dinner even began.
Whenever I get an excuse to make a large pan of ooey-gooey goodness, ya girl is going to take it. This decadent pumpkin mac and cheese is perfect for a chilly Halloween night in- with friends!
(I would make the mac and choose one sandwich to go along with it.)
So, clearly I am going to include a sloppy joe recipe (this one is almost exactly the way my mom makes it). Take it or leave it…but all I’m sayin’… is that it’s an unexpected, hearty, crowd-pleaser. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
However, if you’re uncomfortable serving sloppy joes at an adults-only party, I get it. Another great option would be these caramelized baked ham sandwiches. If you have never had these (or a similar rendition), my condolences. My mouth is actually watering….
(I would select just one to prepare)
How delicious does this chocolate spider trifle look? Most people LOVE chocolate…this is a great make-ahead dessert.
Who else is dying over this red velvet cake? (another terrible pun, I know) Also, the steak knife in the middle is perfect.
Ahhhh, yes. My favorite part of throwing a party: the decor!
Here is the table setting that I would use for a Halloween gathering. I have also linked similar items (all amazon prime, duh) so that you can recreate this look, if you so choose.
I am LOVING this dark, sultry tablescape. I find it spooky, yet elegant. It has me feelin’ some type-a way, that’s for sure. The image below has a direct link to crate and barrel. They have some awesome sales going on right now, however, some items are still pricey.
Here are some affordable dupes for items pictured above:
Get that magical look- for less!!
Simple Black tablecloth ($13.99):
Black cloth napkins ($11.49 for 12):
Tall Black Candlestick Holder ($20.98 for 2):
Black Candles ($13.99 for 12): (deep purple, burgundy, or white would look nice too)
Candle Centerpiece Idea ($12.64):
White ceramic plates ($18.83 for a set of 6):
(most people have simple dinner plates at home- which is what I would use- if you do not, here is a good option)
Placecard Template ($3.95 instant download): I would use these for guests names at the table & to label the buffet area.
Placecard Holders ($10.95 for 12):
Grocery store items: I would pick up red roses and greens at the grocery store, and place one (as pictured) on each place setting. I would also get a few gourds (once again, as pictured) to spread around the table. This is your pop of color against all of the black.
Pro tip: find a ‘spooky Halloween’ playlist on spotify, youtube, or pandora and play it during your party!
One (actually cool) Party Game:
Trivia is always a blast. Print out this free game and enjoy some laughs (and probably some shouting) with your friends.
So there you have it, an entire Halloween party, planned. Now get shopping, decorating, & cooking… there is fun to be had!
Wishing you all,…. the happiest of Halloweens!
So many showers lately- amiright?
I bet everyone reading this has been to at least one or two showers within the past few months. It’s wedding season,…baby season,…wait is that a thing!?..probz not…
…Anyway, my lovely aunt and cousins threw us the most gorgeous wedding shower. I am going to take the easy route on this post…and let the pictures do the talkin’ …enjoy!
…Seriously….the day was a dream (I wasn’t lying, pictures = proof!!!).
Friends and family joined us from near and far. It was so humbling to be surrounded by those who love and truly support us. Every single detail was perfection. We cannot believe that our wedding is less than 100 days away!
This post leads me into a wedding mini-series that I have been working on, and will be releasing next week. I have connected with many brides to help write this piece, and am thrilled to share it with you soon. Essentially… it navigates various ‘sticky situations’ that can occur during the wedding planning process, and how to handle them.
…wedding planning… AIN’T. EASY. Y’ALL.…
Whether you are planning a wedding or not…this relatable series is sure to have you giggling,…eye rolling,…and possibly even tearing up, too. Wedding planning brings out alllll types of emotions and behaviors.
Ultimately: no matter what you do,… or how contentious you are of one’s feelings,…. someone is going to get offended by your choices.
…And *spoiler alert* THAT’S OK.
For those of you who have submitted an email sharing your ‘sticky’ wedding situation, thank you! For those of you who haven’t… please do. Your privacy is completely respected, and up to your discretion when sharing your story.
Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a sticky situation to share. Get ready for some serious tea to be spilled, my loves…
Real talk ahead…stay tuned.
First off, I miss you guys.
With wedding planning in FULL effect…and just life in general- I have totally gone ghost on this blog. But here I am y’all! Back in action.
I wanted to write this post because it is a glimpse into my real life, behind the keyboard, and something I really enjoyed doing.
Quick backstory: My friend (and bridesmaid!) is pregnant with her second child, and this time around- it’s a BOY!! So, I thought it would be fun to completely surprise her with a baby shower!!! I chose a nautical theme….and went WILD….
Let me tell you,…it was…
so. dang. fun.
If I do say so myself, it was a total success. Great friends, good food, sweet gifts, and lots of laughs. Here are some pictures from the day….
the moment of surprise…..
Every baby shower needs a ‘mom-osa’ bar… amiright?!
DIY nautical flags – such a sweet touch.
She’s happy because … cake … DUH! Oh, and I mean…mayyyyybe because of the shower….I’m leaning towards the cake though….
Classic BBQ style summer food- an all around win!
Thunderstorms in the forecast called for an indoor shindig instead of outdoor. It was a bit squishy, but we made it work and had a blast.
She was blown away by all of the generous and heartfelt gifts.
Fun little ‘decorate a diaper & onesie’ station. The results were hilarious…
Our gift and favor table. Guests left with a beachy smelling Bath and Body Works hand soap with a cute little ‘thank you’ sentiment.
So there you have it! A nautical baby boy shower. Almost all decor was DIY and so much fun. Don’t be afraid to pinterest and actually attempt those pins from time to time!
Also, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my mom, fiance, and aunt. Without their help the shower would not have been nearly as beautiful or delicious.
Wishing you all the best,
My fiance and I decided that we wanted to write a book…on meal prepping! For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you have probably seen our cooking videos. We meal prep every Sunday afternoon for 5 days worth of food. This is our special time to crack open a good bottle of wine, rock out to some music, and enjoy each other. We now look forward to Sunday’s (I used to dread them), love to grocery shop, and prepare the food. I mean, anytime I can make a ‘chore’ more enjoyable…I am alllllllll in. #lifehack
So how does meal prepping build relationships you ask?
Here are our notable effects when we meal prep:
We both feel a sense of relaxation during the day, knowing that we don’t have to worry about meals. The thought of having to run to the grocery store after work, or whip something up upon arriving home is an extra stressor which is completely eliminated by meal prepping. Coming home to great meals and being properly nourished during the day, results in mental composure. It is much easier to take on life with a full belly! At the end of the day, we are able to focus on each other, rather than a sink full of dirty dishes or an upset stomach from delivery pizza.
Here is a look at what happens when we do not meal prep:
Basically…“if you have no plan, you are planning to fail”…
HANGER. It’s real. It sucks. It wares on relationships. When we don’t meal prep we feel chaotic, and every night seems to be a scramble. Before we began planning meals, we would ravenously get home…barely even greeting one other. Blinded by hunger while bickering at each other, one would angrily order takeout and end the night feeling bloated, annoyed, and not ready to take on the next day. This was a draining cycle and as our pants got tighter, and wallets and patience ran thin, we realized a change was needed.
As an avid pinterester, I began to watch meal prepping videos online and even purchased a few books of my own. Starting slow, we began to prep meals together on Sunday afternoons. This quickly became much more than just cooking. It became our special time that we spend together every Sunday, which slingshots us into a great week. In life, there are not many things we can control. However, food is one of them. So, by choosing to control this small aspect of our life, it makes other tasks seem a bit easier.
Soooooo why is it a vegetarian/vegan challenge?
Although there are numerous reasons to go veg, ours is simple: we feel physically and mentally nourished completely through this way of eating. We have tried many different diets together. Ketogenic, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, SAD (standard American diet) to name a few. Doing this gave us a real perspective on which type of eating makes us feel best. Most of us shop around before making a big life decision, right? We did the same…except, we ‘shopped’ around for a way of eating! This may sound silly, but we honestly wanted to try all different ‘diets’ before deciding to stick to one. On a vegetarian/vegan diet, we feel full without the bloat, alert, and mentally clear. One thing we noticed right away, was our ability to wake up in the morning and head to work without that ‘ugh I am so tired’ feeling. We also noticed our moods and outlook on life, in general, improved. We dare you to try it too!
If you are interested in meal prepping, getting your spouse involved in cooking, would like more information, or simply want a few awesome recipes…. please download our eBook for a week of free vegetarian/vegan cooking! Cheers!
If you enjoyed this week of eating, we will be releasing a full month of recipes at the end of December gearing up for a healthy January, be sure to check back!
I’ve got a giveaway going on my Instagram right now and wanted to let everyone here know too!! For the longest time, I searched and searched for a delicious vegan yogurt. I tried many; almond, coconut, soy….and none were hittin’ the spot.
After numerous failed attempts, I stumbled upon Forager Cashewgurt…..
Y’all ….. my…..mind. was. blown.
It truly is creamy and delicious! My favorite flavor is the classic vanilla topped with blueberries, Bee Free honey, and cinnamon. However, Foragers vanilla isn’t your run o’ the mill basic vanilla. It’s so legit you can see flecks of real vanilla bean in the yogurt!!! Try it for yourself. Click below and enter !!
Good luck, my loves!!!
Today I’m coming at ya’ with some advice. It is that time of year where most of us inevitably come down with something not so pleasant… So, I wanted to share my go-to cough/cold/flu/allergy remedy in hopes that it helps someone out there!
I have struggled with allergies and asthma my entire life. Because of this, I am incredibly susceptible to upper respiratory and sinus infections, especially. Until I began regularly making this tonic, I was sick alllllll the time. Seriously. Someone could sneeze a block away and I would get it. I was living in hell.
…Until… I started to do a little research and use myself as a test subject. I have played around with the following recipe for over a year and (knock on wood) it works like MAGIC. I went to the doctor over 25 times for Upper Respiratory or Sinus related ailments in 2015-2016.
Twenty. five. times. Typing that just sounds insane!
In 2017 I have gone to the doctor only 2 times for UR/Sinus issues!!!! I have saved myself so much time, pain, and money by drinking this elixir. I promise, it works.
Here are the products I use. I get them all right off of amazon. I prefer to use a capsule version of turmeric and ginger. I have tried all different types of turmeric/ginger and completely feel that I have gotten the best results with this method. I use a bulk Ceylon Cinnamon and Matcha powder too. This seems to be the most cost effective way for me because I drink it daily. You are more than welcome to use whatever you like, these are simply my tips!
Pro tip: Check this little guy out for mixing up your drink! Under $7 dollars on amazon and I LOVE it. Since the ingredients can settle and thicken, I usually will add more hot water and re-stir halfway through drinking.
I make the elixir for myself daily, right when I wake up. If you struggle with Upper Respiratory/Sinus issues regularly I highly suggest you try this out too. If not, maybe try it a few times a week or just use it as a remedy when you feel that tickle in your throat or tingle in your nose coming on….
Please let me know if you give this recipe a try! My hope is that this helps someone out there feeling as hopeless as I was…before I figured out a way to manage my sinus/allergy/UR/flu symptoms.
As I sit, still reeling that I have somehow cultivated plant life and my garden is yielding a sizable crop, …I run into the issue of ….
WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL??
I’m not complaining, as this is a splendid ‘problem’ to have. Nevertheless, I despise wasting food…especially food that I have worked so hard to grow. Anyone who gardens, or gets too handsy in the produce section, knows the struggle. Seemingly everything is ripe at once, and you can only consume so much before trashing it, and calling for pizza.
Case and point, alllll these babies were ready to go yesterday. In a household of 2, I needed to get creative and figure out a way to utilize everything before it wound up in the compost pile….my solution?
Crack open that icy box where unknown creatures lurk…
Freeze, freeze, freeze, baby,…freeeeeeze.
It’s a quick fix that many of us forget about. If you’re like me, and still have mom’s meatloaf from 2007 in the frosty depths somewhere…pitch it, and make room for some garden goodness. Also, I wish I were kidding about the meatloaf. Freezers have a way of harboring frigid fugitives…Please, please tell me I am not alone.
Moving on, I promised to let you in on the recipe for the greatest red cabbage you’ll ever eat. I’m getting there, and won’t disappoint. Pinky swear. Yes, I am that confident in this recipe. Yes, I have zero remorse for how cocky I sound.
Try it, and you’ll see.
Before I share the recipe… I have a confession: I was not a huge cabbage fan… until I rekindled my love for sweet, sour, delicious… German red cabbage.
However, I knew, if I planted it, I would be forced to muster up the courage to prepare and eat it. With my wedding around the corner…I am alllll about fibrous foods, that are figure friendly. Red cabbage is known for it’s *ahem* cleansing properties, so I planted away. Just look at this beaut.
After picking and washing 6 heads of cabbage, I did what any thriving, independent woman would do…
I called my mom and asked her how the heck to prepare it.
Digging through her old recipe box, she dusted off Gram’s recipe for German red cabbage. Instantly, I remembered how I loved this dish. However, it was one of those recipes that I didn’t even try to replicate, after my grandma had passed. I doubted that it would taste the same and feared failure. She typically used recipes only as guidelines. Always one to add a little ‘this and that’, rarely picking up a measuring spoon. Luckily, she truly followed this recipe, and it turned out even better than I recalled. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about it for so long!
This stuff is life changing, guys.
For those of you who aren’t following a Ketogenic diet, feel free to prepare it without the modifications. I am rockin’ the #ketolife right now so you’ll see my tips on making it keto-approved.
Also, I just like eating it with chop sticks..OK?! German red cabbage eaten with chop sticks. Whatever floats your boat, right?
Here is the link to my fave sugar substitute which I used when preparing the cabbage:
Remember: use that freezer! Let’s reduce our waste by conserving food. It is such a simple thing to do, and makes a huge difference for our planet. Also, I challenge you to prepare a recipe which has emotional ties to your heart. If you have a dish that you miss making because of someone who has passed, pay homage to them and go for it! Maybe its uncle Joe’s apple pie, or Grandpa’s roast chicken. Even if it doesn’t taste the same, you’ll be glad you did. Pass your love on by preparing something that brought both of you joy. Take a moment and reflect on how much you value and miss them. Too often we are afraid of these feelings but they are healthy. Cooking is an art which elicits so many memories and awakens the senses. Make a conscious effort to cherish that, instead of running the other way.
Have a wonderful week, and let me know what you think of my German red cabbage. I’d love to hear about recipes that connect you to those who have passed, or are special to you. Please share!
Today we’re diving into some real talk, about food. Mainly, finding success on the Ketogenic diet with major allergy restrictions. A bit daunting, right?
As my wedding day swiftly approaches, I am highly motivated to get my bridal bum in shape. I’ve had about 10 extra lbs of love hangin’ around, and I am ready for them to be gone. My original goal was to be more svelte by summer, butttttttt that didn’t quite happen. So now I’m backtracking.
After some research, I was intrigued by the Ketogenic diet. Everyone’s doing it, and it seems to work. I am always eager to try something that has brought success to others. The Keto diet fit the bill, there was just one hitch….. (cue the horror music)……..
FOOD ALLERGIES. I have a few, which makes following diets, to a Tee, nearly impossible. Keto being no different. My main intolerances are eggs, peanuts, and chicken. I choose to avoid all poultry, pork, and red meats too.
The Ketogenic diet is a way of eating that involves the consumption of high protein/fat, and very low carbohydrates. Therefore, typical Keto meal plans include numerous recipes featuring meat and eggs. Here are some simple ways to make the Keto diet more manageable, for those with food allergies.
1. Use egg replacements. I love eggs and when I found out I was allergic to them I was devastated. My favorite swap is the VeganEgg by follow your heart. Honestly, when using the VeganEgg to make an omelet or frittata, I don’t even miss the real thing. This product works well for baking too. It is especially great for low carb pancakes and muffins. I love it. My favorite way to prepare the VeganEgg is with some colby jack cheese, any veggies I have in the house, a little cayenne, topped with some sour cream and salsa. Tasty and Keto approved. Below you will see two of my fave breakfasts with recipes linked.
Side note: This is what the VeganEgg looks like. Click on the picture if you’re interested in visiting their website. My local grocer keeps these in the refrigerated ‘vegetarian’ section. They do not actually need to be refrigerated though, so you might find them in an aisle.
Did I mention how much I love, loveeee these pancakes? They totally crush my doughy-carby-sweet cravings (and they’re even good for you!!) Top them with some sugar free syrup, and you’ve got a party. YUM.
Here is the perfect frittata recipe. I just throw in whatever veggies I can find and it turns out flawlessly every time.
2. Swap out peanuts for almonds. This tip is so easy to do, and many of you might already. Almond butter is beyond luscious and I
could eat it by the spoonful. I like to make my own, but if I don’t have time, this Barney AB is the bomb. (I order it right on Amazon)
3. Exchange meats for seafood. Substitution has been my savior when it comes to Keto. There are already tons of Keto seafood recipes, but if you’re trying to follow a specific meal plan (like on an app) this helps to stick to it. Since I am so new to Keto, I just downloaded meal plans online so that I didn’t have to do any guess work. Here is a Ketogenic chicken stir-fry recipe that I followed, just swapping out the chicken for shrimp. Viola! Allergy friendly.
4. Utilize meat substitutes, SOME are Keto friendly. I love a Boca patty or Morningstar farms breakfast ‘sausage’, here and there. It’s not something I crave everyday, but it is nice to have options. I was never a huge meat eater to begin with, but seeing tons of beautiful Keto pictures online gives me meat cravings every once in awhile!
These are my favorite Boca burgers. I like to top them with cheese, avocado, pickles, mayo, and sugar free ketchup.
I enjoy these breakfast patties with a side of avocado or vegan eggs. I like to drizzle a bit of Walden Farms sugar- free syrup over them too.
Like I said, I am pretty new to this way of eating. I simply wanted to share a few things that have helped me so far. After only a month of Keto, I have definitely noticed some changes in my body. YEY! This is the first diet that does not feel like a diet at all. Also my mood has remained positive, because protein/fat is satiating. So there you have it! I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for following a modified Keto diet. Please let me know what your favorite Pescatarian Keto recipes are!
AvOHHHcado toast. It’s everywhere.
I am relatively new to the whole ‘avo toast’ epidemic. To be honest, until a few months ago, I just didn’t see what all of the hype was about. That is…until I actually sunk my teeth into some. Whoa, mind blown, I’m a believer, you will be too. I promise.
There are infinite ways to prepare this delight. My favorite ways to enjoy cado’ toast are pretty straightforward. To begin, I like to cut the avo in half and gently peel away the skin. This makes it easy to cut into slices, on a cutting board. I have only recently started prepping the avocado this way. I used to simply cut the fruit in half, make vertical knife cuts, and then scoop the flesh out using a spoon. Although this method is completely functional, I prefer the first way of de-skinning the avocado to the latter. This applies only if you are making toast #1 or toast #3. For #2, cutting the fruit in half and mashing in it’s shell with a fork is perfect, and gets the job done. I like to use the mashed avocado version if my green beauty isn’t so green and starting to bruise…avo lovers out there know what I mean!
So, for toast#1, I simply cut the avocado into slices and lay them on a piece of multigrain bread. A few weeks ago my toaster wasn’t working and I couldn’t get a new one fast enough!! Anyways,for this version, I like to add fresh sea salt and a drizzle of EVOO. The rich flavor of the olive oil pairs nicely with the avocado. The sea salt also amps up the flavor. A resounding win.
Moving on to toast #2. As you can see, I mashed the avocado and put it on the whole wheat toast. I top this one with dots of sriracha and Himalayan pink salt! This is my fiances favorite. He was soooo not an avo guy, but as I started making these constantly, he eventually caved and is a huge fan. Yum! Perfect for anyone who likes to start their day out with some gusto!
My final toast, #3, is for all you minimalist’s out there. This one is obviously veryyyyy basic. Easy sliced avocado, on toast, garnished with a cute little tomato from my garden! I mean, it’s heart shaped, c’mon nature you’re too much, I love it! I make a point to top all of my toasts with salt, on this one I added some garlic powder too. Classic and delicious.
I’d love to hear what your favorite ways to enjoy this tasty treat are! It is so versatile and can be eaten at any time…perfect for snacks, actual meals, and even… dessert? Maybe not dessert…but you get the idea. Please comment and enlighten me, I am ever eager to try new versions of this sweet, sweet, delicacy. All. The. Yum.