Saturday, August 30, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/30/14)

The struggles of having small wrists. My life.

This map of "if each state had an official dessert"=awesome. Ohio got Buckeyes, which makes perfect sense.

This week Michael started school. So far, so good! He seems to really like his professor's and be excited about classes-fingers crossed he stays happy and it doesn't get too overwhelming.

Mostly I've just been working and getting things done around the house this week! I also have been working on setting up florist appointments (and getting sticker shock when realizing how pricey those flowers are gonna be...ugh! And no-silk flowers or no/almost no flowers aren't gonna cut it. *sigh* I am trying to keep it under control with as few of flowers as I can get away with, so I suppose we'll seeeee)

One highlight was Michael doing another groom tux try on with American Commodore-he looked so good! I'm so excited for how handsome he'll look at our wedding! LOVE the tux! AND-that night Michael and I went to eat at The Office (a restaurant we love) downtown. It was one of the only times we've been able to have a nice dinner out just the 2 of us since we moved back, so it was really nice.

Another happy point was Victoria's Secret Swim Sale--woooot for 2 bikinis that cost less than 1 usually does!! Plus...they're both white. Hello honeymoon :D.

Tomorrow I have my dad's family's family reunion-this will be my first time seeing most of that extended family since I moved to NY-I'm excited to see some of the people (but bummed that when people ask if they can see my engagement ring I'll have to show them a picture, since Jared still has it while they make my wedding band).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I Smile-and a #FreshGuard Review #spon

I'm a very bubbly, happy person. I generally have a smile on my face. And it's been a requirement of pretty much every job I've ever had: as a hostess, promotional model, actor, and childcare professional-smiling is key! Even so, I've had people come up and tell me "Why do you smile so much?" "You smile a lot!" etc.
My response? The more I smile the happier I feel! Plus-why not smile? Life isn't perfect but life is GOOD.

Why do I smile?

I have people who love me and that I love. I'm planning my dream wedding to my best friend. I'm home, surrounded by family and friends. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue. The sun feels divine on my skin. Chocolate chip cookies are delicious. My steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare. And I spent 3 years in braces-I might as well show off this smile that it took me so long to get!!

Here's my little dental story: I was 10 and realized one of my teeth was turned almost completely sideways. I went to the dentist. She sent me to an orthodontist. Turns out, I was losing my baby teeth so fast that there wasn't enough room in my mouth for my adult teeth-causing "crowding". Plus, I had an overbite. So then, after I lost my last baby tooth (not too long later, I was still 10-almost 11) I got braces. And a bite plate. And then I had headgear to wear at night for 6 months. I had a variety of bands. I generally went through a decent amount of pain until I was 13 and finally got my braces removed (for the record-it was all worth it)! Then I had to wear retainer (upper and lower) for a year...and ever since I have worn them at night (not every night, but most nights). And after all these years? My retainers got kinda gross.

Fresh Guard™ to the rescue!!

Fresh Guard™ is specially formulated to clean mouth guards, retainers, and clear braces. Fresh Guard™ Soak kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria in just 5 minutes while Fresh Guard™ Wipes offer a convenient on-the-go cleaning solution with no water needed. Visit http://freshguardclean.com/ for more information, store locator and coupons!
Up until now, I've only been able to use a toothbrush to clean my retainers-which doesn't quite pass muster. Fresh Guard™, however, "is specially formulated for retainers, mouthguards and removable braces. It delivers a Complete Clean – 1) prevents the build-up of mouth film for a clean feel, 2) removes odor-causing bacteria for a fresh and clean smell, and 3) reduces yellowing and helps remove stains for a clean look."

Since I only wear my retainer at night-and since it was in such dire need of a good clean-the Fresh Guard™Soak was best suited for me. I just followed the super easy to follow directions and then-in only 5 minutes-my retainers were magically cleaned! Fresh Guard™Soak does say that for especially dirty retainers it may take a couple soaks (and even then some stains are not removable). I soaked my retainers twice (even though they were pretty clean after the first time!)-by the end my top retainer was perfectly clean and the bottom just had a couple stains, which is totally understandable. These things are over 10 years old, so I was very impressed by how clean they turned out! I'm definitely going to be using the Fresh Guard™Soak periodically to keep my retainers sparkling clean and minty fresh-another reason to smile! :)

To learn more about Fresh Guard™ visit their website or view this super informative (and fun!) video. And, an added incentive to try Fresh Guard™, click on this link to get Fresh Guard™ coupons and special offers!

What puts a smile on your face?

(Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fresh Guard™. I received promotional items and Fresh Guard™ products in exchange for my participation. The opinions and text are mine.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No-Churn Fluffernutter Ice Cream-Guest Post with The Spiffy Cookie

I know I know, you thought I was done with the guest posts! But...life got a little overwhelming so my wonderful friend Erin (AKA The Spiffy Cookie) stepped up and volunteered to share a little something with you guys. I've guest posted on her site before so I'm so happy to introduce this super fun, former Buckeye (she still loves chocolate and peanut butter, though!), wonderful blogger/cook/baker to you again! And look! Erin brought ice cream! With pb! and marshmallow! HOORAY!
No-Churn Fluffernutter Ice Cream
Hello again Cooking Actress readers! Erin here from The Spiffy Cookie giving Kayle a break from blogging while she plans for her upcoming wedding. Kayle is such a wonderful person and I couldn't be happier for her. She and Michael are the cutest! I was lucky enough to meet her in NYC last year but now that she has moved back to Ohio I really need to pay her another visit, especially since she lives in the same town as some of my other friends.
No-Churn Fluffernutter Ice Cream
Today I am sharing a recipe for my new obsession, no-churn ice cream. This recipe is so easy and delicious it almost makes ice cream makers obsolete. All you need for the base is 1 pint of heavy cream and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. The churning aspect of ice cream is substituted by whipping the heavy cream with an electric hand mixer. Fold in the sweetened condensed milk and any other flavor additions and it's ready for the freezer. But of course you already knew all of that since Kayle has shared an extensive list of easy no-churn ice cream flavors.

Normally the hardest part of making no-churn ice cream is deciding on a flavor. I did ponder whether or not a browned butter ice cream could be possible since Kayle is the browned butter queen but thankfully Kayle is as much of a peanut butter lover as I am which made the decision much easier. After discovering the magical results of adding marshmallow creme to no-churn ice cream I went with fluffernutter ice cream, complete with marshmallow bits and a magic peanut butter shell.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review

My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review
Here is what I knew I wanted for our wedding guest book: I wanted a photo book, essentially a photo album of our beautiful engagement pictures, guest book (so that for years to come we'll still actually look at it and it won't just sit somewhere gathering dust! Plus I love when things serve dual purposes, and I am obsessed with our engagement photos so any excuse to look at them, really, I'll take.) I wanted the book to be customizable and I wanted it to be inexpensive!

MixBook was 100% perfect for this.
My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review
Mixbook is a SUPER easy and fun website where you can make completely customizable photo books, cards, and calendars (and creating and customizing is entirely free!)
My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review
When I first found Mixbook I decided to get the absolute most inexpensive option for my guest book (book on the right in the photo above)-which was the standard 8.5x8.5" soft cover (and with the 30% off offer at the time, I was able to get the entire thing-including tax and shipping-for just under $24! Pretty awesome). I would also like to note that I chose the budget shipping option and it STILL only took 5 days to get to me, and Mixbook does an awesome job of packaging so that nothing will damage the books during the shipping process. And, while the book I received was lovely and would have totally worked, it was definitely not super durable (if you touched it wrong there were fingerprints, etc. and due to it being a softcover, it was a bit flimsy) so I decided to contact the customer service department: who were UNBELIEVABLY helpful! They offered to refund me the entire price of the book I had ordered and put it back as a credit onto my account-no questions asked (and really, this was in no way their fault)! Instead I ended up having them refer me to their marketing department, who hooked me up in exchange for this review, but regardless they were extremely kind and helpful.

And then I upgraded myself to the gorgeous 12x12" hardcover you see up there on the left.
My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review
The quality...is outstanding. I was stunned by how beautiful my guest book was when it came to me.

The hardcover was lovely and seems durable. The photos are gorgeous and perfect. I'm totally head over heels in love with how amazing it turned out.

Mixbook uses archival-quality, FSC-certified papers, hand-stitched hardcovers, and incredibly detailed print reproduction: which essentially comes down to the fact that they're beautiful, the photos look how they should, and they are going to LAST. Which...ya know...for my wedding guest book...kind of important.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/23/14)

!!! Guys....WE BOOKED OUR HONEYMOON! 
I mean...there are no words for my excitement! We went with Secrets Capri Riviera in Riviera Maya. It's an adults only, preferred club, ocean-front resort and we have an all inclusive package (seriously: flights, stay, food, drinks, activities, taxes, AND gratuities, all included!) It's a "smallish" resort (290 suites which, compared to the 4-500 of most resorts we looked at, is small) and I'm hoping it'll be quiet and relaxing and romantic <3 Mmmm. And we get to spend 7 nights (just a bit over 7 days) there!! I cannot get over it. June cannot get here fast enough!

Oh...and we also published our wedding website (plus a 2nd one because I couldn't choose just 1 :P)-feel free to give a look if you're interested!

We also did Michael's first "groom try on" for his tux-a couple things didn't fit quite right so we have another one for next week but over all-he looks good!! Pretty excited about what a handsome groom I'll have :). Later on we spent some time with his dad and stepmom (and a little bit with his brother and sister-in-law) and then we went to our first marriage prep session with our parish's priest. We learned the results of the test we had taken and found out what areas we need to discuss/work on (and how compatible we are in other ways)--we got some "homework" for that lol.

Additionally I had to get something else fixed on my car. Yippee. Michael also had his orientation day for grad school and his classes start this coming week :( This is going to be a hectic, busy, stress-filled time...I can tell. Ugh. Fingers crossed it all goes ok and is worth it! (That said he said orientation was really nice!)

...I also worked out yesterday for the first time in I don't even know how long. My brother helped me out and we went to my fitness room (finally!) It was great but...ugh...I hate it. Whyyy can't I just look perfect without effort, hmmm? :P

Friday, August 22, 2014

Grandma's Beef Stroganoff-Beef Checkoff #MC #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Grandma's Beef Stroganoff-Beef Checkoff #MC #Sponsored
This recipe should actually be titled: Grandma's Beef Stroganoff, adapted by Mom, adapted further by me. But that's a bit of a mouthfull. My grandma's recipe involves mushrooms. Mom and I are not fans so she adapted this recipe to use gravy and beef broth instead. And then I further adapted it by making stuff a little bit more from scratch (namely...subbing out a packet of onion soup for actual seasonings) and I added more chunks of beef. Because....really...more beef=more better.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First of all...I gotta say it: I'm a beef gal. I love it. If I got out to eat there's a decent chance I'll get a burger, steak, or roast beef. Because BEEF IS DELICIOUS. And the insane thing is...I ALMOST NEVER make beef at home! Something about my inability to grill mixed with my constant butchering of my mom's pot roast recipe have led to a beef drought in this house that HAD TO END.

So I ended it. Thanks to the Beef Checkoff!
Grandma's Beef Stroganoff
What's the Beef Checkoff? It is a national marketing and research program, established in 1985, funded by America's cattle farmers/ranchers. The national checkoff program is directed by cattle farmers, ranchers, and importers and they direct funds to research and promotion to increase domestic (and potentially international) demands for BEEF! Plus it's overseen by The Cattlemen's Beef Board and the USDA. One of the contractors for Beef Checkoff is the National Cattlemen's Beef Association-they manage research and promo programs on behalf of US farmers and ranchers (and are also overseen by the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the USDA)-including the "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" brand--you guys totally know that one, yeah? Yeah!

Here is what I know: The "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" website is AWESOME! Like...I feel like I officially have 0 reasons to not make beef more! The website has a ton of recipe ideas, grilling tips and info (helpful for my grilling phobia!), and even info. about the health benefits of beef (hint: there are tons!) You def. need to check it out and then try to find new ways to incorporate beef into your home cooking too! In my oh so humble opinion.
Grandma's Beef Stroganoff
To celebrate my new commitment to making beef dishes at home I decided to really take it home--I created my Grandma's Beef Stroganoff recipe and served it to my mom and grandma (and Michael, duh!) We had such a fun little dinner party (featuring the use of my adorable new Beef Checkoff oven mitt :P), and I was a little nervous about serving them my version of the recipe that they both have in their regular repertoire! Of course, my nerves were for naught. EVERYONE loved this tasty dish-and my mom said she couldn't even taste the difference with the fact that I subbed out the dried soup! Hooray! It just tastes comforting and beefy (I know, weird adjective, but true!) and flavorful and it's just my idea of the perfect entree.

Seriously, could not be an easier recipe. You throw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot. Let it go. Boil some noodles. SERVE! Easy peasy and a def. new favorite-Michael full on approved and insisted that I should make it regularly as well. Crowd pleeeeaser!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pecan Laceys

Pecan Laceys
This whole "I haven't been able to be in the kitchen too much" thing is super annoying on a few levels.

One of which is my sweet tooth. I am NOT getting enough of my sweets! And...I mean...I've become a bit of a snob about my sweet fixes. No grocery store cookie will satisfy me-I need Kayle-baked goodness!

These Pecan Laceys were just what the doctor ordered.
Pecan Laceys
As Michael so eloquently put it, "I like them! They're gooey-and crispy and crunchy. And messy." Yepp. All true. They're also nutty and buttery and unique. Which is awesome. AND you can totally play around with the fillings you use. The original recipe used milk chocolate. I decided to Nutella-these laceys up. But you know what sounds amazing to me now? Salted caramel in the middle. Ahhhhhh yeah. Goodness.

But guess what? If you want...you can just eat a lacey by itself. Sandwiched-less.

If you want.
Pecan Laceys
I also think they're sort of beautiful. It's the laciness. I don't know if it's that I'm in wedding mode and am thusly drawn to lace or what...but I think they're perty. Speaking of weddings: I think these would be amazing to be served at a wedding or bridal shower (I wonder what the chances are of anyone letting me make anything for any of my bridal showers...hmmm). Or the holidays-pretty sure these look sort of snowflake like too so hellloooo Christmas cookie option!
Pecan Laceys
But really...

we are talking about super think and crispy-buttery and nutty-decadently filled cookies....

do you really need an occasion to eat them?

Methinks no. Methinks the only reason you need is having a rumbly in your tumbly!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Tater Tots

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Tater Tots
These may be the best tater tots I've ever had.

Yeah. I just said it.
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Tater Tots
And you know the best part about these AHMAZING (and oh so addictive) tater tots is? They're not fried. They're not breaded. They're not full of gunk. They're just potatoes, deliciously sweet and smoky roasted garlic, and my fave dairy product: Parmesan cheese. And a dash 'o' salt. Oh yeah.
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Tater Tots
Do you want to know the 2nd best part?

I got to use my cutie-patootie little baby ramekin. Loooook at it! Cuteness.

Seriously though...I couldn't stop eating these. I'm sort of in love. And of all the tater tots that I've made, these might be the EASIEST and quickest too! Even Michael liked them (he said next time he'd like to try them with only potatoes-but at least he didn't say he'd rather have the frozen kind!-SUCCESS!...sorta...I still wanted the garlic and Parmesan....but I guess I could go basic next time ;P).

You should make these for yourself, for your significant other, for your mother, for your kids, for your brother (I ate mine before my brother could get to them-that kid is a bit of a mooch lol), for EVERYOOONE. They are total winners! Imagine bringing them to a barbecue, or having them as an after school snack,  or snacking on these lovelies whilst watching Netflix on the couch....all are great options.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/16/14)

First of all-Robin Williams' passing made me (and Michael) incredibly sad. He was such an amazing comedian and actor and, by all accounts, person-and the world is a lot less bright without him </3

Last weekend working at the Akron Hamburger Festival turned out to be super fun-I ate SO. MUCH. FOOD. Yepp. Good weekend.

This week we ordered our save the dates--Wedding Paper Divas (which is, by far, my favorite site that I looked into-the quality is awesome, and the prices are even better!) had a 40% off sale so we quickly designed and ordered them (and used their super cool "request a proof" feature--for no added fee a designer reviews your order and sends you a proof, sometimes with changes they made for design and etiquette purposes. So glad we did this because they turned out even better after that.) We used the "Chic Photo Band Save the Dates" in Rich Red-and they're postcards so yay for cheaper postage (and-btw-after the 40% off, the total for 100 save the dates was just under $80)! :P And they came in yesterday-super quick! They look great-the colors are a bit brighter than in the original pictures, and they might not be 100% amazing print quality however they look great (especially considering the price) so I'm super excited! Here's a photo (showing the front and back):

We also ordered our guest book...but more on that later ;)

Wednesday was a big day. We went and got some honeymoon information from AAA-all inclusive, inexpensive (relatively), honeymoons that would either be in Riviera Maya or Punta Cana. We're currently trying to weigh benefits and costs and such to figure out which! Then we also went to American Commodore-where we're renting the tuxedos. They were super helpful and are giving us some great discounts! Plus they helped me alter my original plans: I had intended on a red vest and tie for the groomsmen, but after some discussion we decided a black vest with red tie looks more classy and subtle. And then we decided same black vest for the fathers, but with a silver tie. And black tie for Michael. (and a cute little red bow tie for our ring bearer, Timmy!) Finally, we went to Jared to figure out our wedding bands-since my finger is ridiculously small I knew I'd probably need a custom ring again. I was right (they literally will not size rings down that small). We ended up coming up with a pretty thin, delicate, band with some small diamonds that will be curved to fit with my engagement ring. The only downside? They had to take my engagement ring away while they make the custom wedding band---2-3 months! I almost cried. I am SO sad :(. I miss my ring!

Thursday we made some progress on setting up our office/guest room which, up to this point, has just been a room full of odds and ends and junk and boxes. We also went to Cleveland to see my cousin Emily who flew in from NY to work at Maxi's (a lovely restaurant in Little Italy) for The Feast of the Assumption (which she does every year--she worked there in college and always works this event even now that she moved). So nice to see her!

and Friday and today? Work!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Healthy Flourless Nut Butter Cookies

Healthy Flourless Nut Butter Cookies
Here's the breakdown--these cookies have no sugar (unless you sub in sugar), no flour, no dairy/no butter and a crazy short ingredient list. And they're soft. And delicious. And taste like your favorite nut butter. And there's a wonderful bite of dark chocolate (which I guess you could opt out if you want to be really healthy but...antioxidants?) and that lovely contrast from the salt.

Mmmmmm.

And they're paleo? I think? Um....I'm not gonna claim to know much about the paleo diet-from what I understand the deal is you only eat things a caveman would've been able to eat? I think these cookies fit that bill....sorta....I dunno....just go with it, mk?
Healthy Flourless Nut Butter Cookies
The important thing here is how incredibly soft and delicious these cookies are!

They're full of nut-buttery flavor (since you use a full cup make sure you like the flavor of it because it is the predominant taste of these treats!) and then you can taste the honey (I'm pretty sure the maple syrup would be a bit more subtle? And obviously brown sugar would make it taste a bit more traditional cookie-like), but not in an overwhelming way, and THEN the bite of the dark chocolate cuts the little bit of sweetness and the sea salt on top is always our friend. Salt + cookies forevahhhhh.
Healthy Flourless Nut Butter Cookies
And if you want proof that these cookies still taste good (even though they're healthyish): my 5 year old twin flower-girls-to-be tried one of these cookies and they proclaimed "You made these? Good job! They're really good." so there ya have it. 

Children don't lie about liking food.

Neither do I!

Trust me, trust Kate and Evie-you'll like 'em!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

S'mores Lava Cakes

S'mores Lava Cakes
Honestly...these photos were so rushed. When I made and photographed this recipe I was in the midst of calling people and dealing with my car that was at the shop. The repair place gave me a crazy high estimate so I had to call Michael's cousin and then rush and drive my car to Youngstown (which is an hour away) for him to fix it (which didn't work and I ended up having to take it somewhere else and fix something else but...I digress...)and just....these poor s'mores lava cakes did not get the amount of effort that they deserve. Sorry lava cake. I love you.

Forgive me dear friends.
S'mores Lava Cakes
Even taking into account the rushed-ness of this shoot...I mean...just....look at how gorgeous these lava cakes are! They're photogenic, that's for sure! They're just wonderfully chocolatey and full of molten chocolate...and toasted marshmallows....and a buttery graham cracker mixture....mmmm. So rich and heavenly. Ah s'mores desserts. I adore 'em.

I did have to tweak this recipe a bit as it originally said it made three 2-3 oz. ramekins when in actuality I filled up four of my 6 oz. ramekins. Sooo, the recipe below will reflect my personal findings therein. 

Really...end of day...a day with s'mores lava cake is 10,000 x better than a day without.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Hummus

Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Hummus
Remember my family reunion that I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Well, I made a little something for the occasion. My family clan (so: my grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins) was tasked with bringing appetizers and snacks and such, so I decided I wanted to make hummus for the first time!
Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Hummus
Speaking of hummus...up until this point I had been pretty unsure about how I felt about hummus. Like...do I like it? I didn't know! But I figured...if it has roasted garlic and browned butter...what's not to like?

(Side note: when telling this to Michael's stepmom she told me, "You'd eat carpet if it had browned butter."
haaaaa. #sortatrue)
Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Hummus
The good news is: I LOVE THIS HUMMUS! It's kind of funny because at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it and thought maybe the tahini was too strong (and Michael initially thought the garlic was too stron)...but it's one of those things where the more you eat of it, the better you like it. By the end I was all "'OM NOM HUMMUSSSS"!! And it went over really well at the reunion too-everyone said they liked it. Hooray! 

This recipe is very easily doubled-I doubled it for the reunion! (Although turns out that wasn't necessary, but it's ok, I ate the leftovers :P) AND...ya know....kinda healthyish. Chickpeas are good for ya, yeah? And....garlic? Yes? Ok maybe the butter and oil whatever, but it's not much. Yeah. I declare this healthy!

Healthier if you dip veggies in it, but I'm totally ok with it if you use pita chips.

Mmmm pita chips and hummus....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/9/14)

My car is finaaaally fixed (I think)! We took it to the shop where Michael's best friend (who gifted us my car) used to take it and they fixed it quickly and not too expensive-ly! Ahhh sweet relief.

Wednesday we went and registered (!!!) at Bed Bath and Beyond and Target and....I gotta say-while fun and exciting....it was a lot harder than I thought! We actually became concerned because we didn't register for enough stuff (!) Turns out deciding on dinnerware, bed sets, etc. is a bit tricky! I've just been doing a lot of online searching and adding to the registries little by little---I gotta say I AM excited to get some of the stuff! (KITCHEN AID STAND MIXER, I'M LOOKING AT YOU!) Later on Wednesday Michael's youngest brother and sister came over for a slumber party and that was super fun! :)

Thursday we were supposed to have a cake tasting but (when we were literally 1 minute away) got a call that the woman we were meeting with had misread the time and was tied up and wouldn't be back for another hour and a half. This place was 40 minutes from our house and we had plans so we decided to reschedule (she was very apologetic and is offering a discount if we get our cake from her, but still...annoying.) Later Michael's best friend (David-also our best man) and his wife (Edith! Also our friend) and their 3 daughters (their 5 year old twins, Kate and Evie, are 2 of our flower girls, and their youngest, Isabelle, is such a cuuuute little babyy!) and we had SUCH a fun time! Love having friends around :)

This weekend I'm doing a really cool event for Barefoot wine (who I work for) at the Akron Hamburger festival-I'm excited but also kind of nervous. I'm like working 12 hours outside today....eep!

I'm completely loving this flowchart that shows you if you can share a photo based on copyright laws etc.!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cheesy Chive Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy Chive Mashed Potatoes
Can we real talk for a sec?

I feel like I'm drowning. Like I can't keep up with everything going on. I, very seriously, cannot remember ever being this busy in my life. And don't get me wrong-I am having SO much fun! But I feel like I'm constantly behind and failing at stuff around the house. I'm not cleaning so much. And I'm not cooking or baking nearly enough. And the blog is getting hard to keep up with. I feel like I'm running out of recipes to share so I keep trying to come up with other posts and just...it's hard. I really want to keep consistent and keep to our regular posting schedule, but it is getting really difficult to keep up with. I'm thinking/hoping that once summer is over things will let up and I'll have time again, but in the meantime I'm just stressed. Mostly because I feel like I'm failing. Like I'm not taking good enough care of Michael or the house and like I'm supposed to be the girl who is always in the kitchen and lately...not so much. And don't even get me started on the fact that I have yet to see the inside of our fitness room so my plans to lose weight are thus far...not happening. I'm overall super happy, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by all of this. Ya know?

Thanks for listening :)
Cheesy Chive Mashed Potatoes
Now that I'm done using you all as my personal therapists, we can get back to the reason you all are here: quirky banter and FOOD!

I haven't shared a mashed potato recipe on the blog in a little while and I''m gonna be honest about why:

It's not that I haven't made mashed potatoes. I have-a bunch. I just sort of make them, though, recipe-less.

But, due to the aforementioned stress, I was desperate for recipes for the blog and I have an herb garden that is overflowing. An herb garden which includes chives. You see where I'm going with this.
Cheesy Chive Mashed Potatoes
Obviously I needed to spice up my regular mashed potatoes with some chives! And ya know....cheese. Cuz....cheese.

And, in case you didn't know, you can absolutely use scallions/green onions in place of the chives. I feel like they're generally pretty interchangeable (except I think chives flavor might be a smidge more subtle).
Cheesy Chive Mashed Potatoes
Anyway, this recipe is super simple and really one of my most favoritest things. You'll end up with creamy, super flavorful and delicious mashed potatoes! Serve them with pot roast, chicken, pork....or....ya know...just in a bowl. And call it dinner. 

...not that I do that or anything.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Evolution Fresh Juices #MC #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Evolution Fresh. I received coupons for Evolution Fresh juices to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Have you heard of Evolution Fresh yet?? Ooooooh are you in for a wholesome, delicious, treat! Evolution Fresh offers a huge variety of juice flavors that help quench that summer thirst-while keeping you bikini ready and feeling good! 

Evolution Fresh peels, presses, and squeezes raw fruits and vegetables (even though the fruits and veggies used in the juices are raw--the juices are technically not). After chilling, blending and bottling their juices, they use High Pressure Processing (HPP) to help protect flavors and nutrients.(Click here if you want to watch a video showing how the process works.) 
If you check out the Evolution Fresh site you can find a verrryy long list of different juice varieties-however I was only able to sample what was available at my local store (although note that I REALLY want to try the organic orange juice, tangerine, and apple berry!) Although each variety I sampled was super flavorful and tasted extra healthy-our favorite to drink straight was the organic strawberry lemonade! Michael and I would grab a couple bottles to take with us when we hit the pool. And you know how quickly you can feel overheated, worn out, and dehydrated on a hot summer day at the pool? Our little lemonades helped keep us feeling refreshed and happy!

I found that for the Organic V, Essential Greens, Super Green, and Protein Power they were best used (for our pickier palates) in smoothies or....POPSICLES! (Side note: my brother flipped his lid for these! He's super into fitness and health lately so when he came over and found these in my refrigerator he immediately asked permission to make a smoothie. He then sang the praises of Evolution Fresh and asked where he could find some!)
Here's my little non-recipe for the popsicles, but really...you can just make popsicles out of any variety you want, with or without blending anything else in!

Monday, August 4, 2014

65+ Chocolate Chip Recipes for National Chocolate Chip Day

HOOORAY! It is National Chocolate Chip Day! I love this day, because chocolate chips are one of MY FAVORITE ingredients! I throw them 'em just about everything (except for dinner ;P), so I thought-let's see HOW MANY recipes I have, on this blog, that use chocolate chips! And I think I've got them all, feast your eyes and prepare to get hungryyyy....
65+ Chocolate Chip Recipes for National Chocolate Chip Day

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/2/14)

Hmmm....I worked. My neck got sunburned.

Family reunion: saw tons of people and got to introduce Michael to a bunch. It was awesome hanging with family that I haven't seen in years :)

My car decided to not wanna start sometimes and just generally act up. Had to get that taken care of. Except that...ha...didn't get taken care of. So, although I wasted pretty much 2 days on getting it "fixed" I now am looking forward to spending more time to hopefully actually fix it. #imissthesubway

We had our 4th cake tasting and the cake was really delicious (chocolate cake with ganache? Mmm and a lovely white cake too!) but they won't do kitchen cakes (AKA making a slightly smaller tiered cake and then cutting kitchen cakes they have in the back for the rest of the servings we'll need. This is cheaper than having the whole thing from the main cake.)--so I would end up with a giant 5 tier cake that costs at least $100 more than any of the other bakeries. Sooooo nope.

We also helped Michael's cousin and his girlfriend pack up and move some of their stuff--Lisa (the girlfriend) has a job helping wedding/vacation plan for Disney for 6 months and she starts Monday so they're moving down there in the next couple days. It was so fun hanging out and helping and I can't wait until they're back!

And for the past couple days (and finishing up today) I've been working a tradeshow in Cleveland. Super fun but super exhausting!

I don't agree with some of this list ranking the men of Gilmore Girls. But spots #1 & 2?? SPOT ON! #Jessforever

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