Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spinach and Artichoke Hummus

Spinach and Artichoke Hummus
I love spinach artichoke dip, I love hummus. So...really...it just makes sense to combine the two! They're both delicious dips. They're both crowd pleasers. They both took some time for me to warm up to.

Yepp. When I first tried spinach and artichoke dip I was not sold. However, my best friend insisted we share it every time we went to Friday's together so I eventually grew to love it. And hummus I wasn't sold on, until I had my 10th bite. Then I couldn't get enough. Which is exactly what happened with this hybrid. At first I was all, "Ohhh...hmmm...I dunno."

And now I can't stop shoveling it into my face. Same thing with Michael. He was like "Eh, it's ok." 20 minutes later he yelled, "TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME I CANNOT STOP EATING IT!"
Spinach and Artichoke Hummus
Thank goodness we got to the point of being unable to stop eating it becaaause...I totally should have waited to make this until there was a party, because it definitely makes a large party-sized amount. I was a little overwhelmed when I realized how much hummus I had just made. So--be prepared for that. If you're not planning on bringing it someplace, halve the recipe. You'll still have plenty. Not that any that I made went to waste. Oh nooo-I ate it right up. Yes yes yes!

And the taste? Honestly...it's exactly what you'd expect. It's like hummus merged with spinach and artichoke dip. 

So, yeah. That's the story of how Kayle got some veggies into her system thanks to hummus!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Cooking Actress' 4 Year Blogiversary Mega GIVEAWAY (Closed)+ Reader Survey!


OH. MY. GOSH!! Today is The Cooking Actress' 4 year birthday! Where did the time go? 

4 years ago I was just throwing something onto the internet

3 years ago I shared a delicious Buckeye Cake and was already starting to put a semi-amount of effort into food photography.

2 years ago I'd started Something Saturdays and was sharing how far I'd come.

1 year ago, as I prepared to move to Ohio, I rounded up every original recipe on this blog. And we've made even more deliciousness since then!

So, first of all, I want to say: THANK YOU. Thank you for reading. Thank you for giving me a new piece of my identity that I love. Thank you for helping me grow and make delicious food. Thank you for giving me a way to meet wonderful new friends. Thank you for reading my silly ramblings and still coming back for me. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It's because of all of you that I'll, hopefully, have many more blogiversaries to come!

Now, about you: some of you I know. Some of you I don't. And I'd like to change that! I want YOU to have a voice on this blog. I want to know what you like, what you don't like. What could be changed, what you'd like to see next, etc. SO-I created a little survey. I would completely love it if you would take the time to fill it out and help me make this blog the best it can be!




Oh yeah AND--as a thank you for taking the survey and being a reader--I'm giving 3 of you a bunch of cool stuff! Read on:



A bit about the items up for grabs in the mega giveaway:

Nielsen-Massey
Vanilla can be transcendent, and Nielsen-Massey (now available at Willliams-Sonoma!) makes that sort of product. They have been crafting the finest vanillas and flavors since 1907 and their quality is unparalleled (which is why they're preferred by home cooks and professional bakers and restaurants alike!)  You can find more stores near you that carry Nielsen-Massey here.
Waffle Pantry
Waffle Pantry is made up by a small team devoted to bringing high-quality Liege waffle ingredients and tools to bakers. They offer 100% authentic imported Belgian pearl sugar (vegan and vegetarian friendly!), derived from beet sugar. You may remember my love for liege waffles and pearl sugar is a MUST if you want to enjoy them! For more recipes that use pearl sugar and tips and tricks check out their blog!
Peanut Butter & Co
PB & Co and I have partnered up on multiple occasions (since 2012!) so OF COURSE they had to be included in this giveaway! Peanut Butter & Co has a delicious sandwich shop in NYC (which is where I fell in looove with them!) but they are so much more! They make 10 delicious varieties of all natural peanut butter (as well as a bunch of extras-things that go with peanut butter, etc.) that are available in tons of stores (you can find them near you at this link) and also can be purchased online
Golden Girl Granola
You may remember that I reviewed Golden Girl Granola a couple weeks ago. This granola is hand- made in small batches in Massachusetts, it's whole grain, wheat-free (and is produced in a gluten-   free kitchen), is non-GMO, and uses the finest, all-natural ingredients. And--it's TASTY! Click here to learn which stores carry Golden Girl Granola!
Star Fine Foods
I've had a relationship with Star Fine Foods for awhile and I am so excited that they jumped on board for this giveaway! Started in 1898, Star carries olive oils, vinegars, balsamics, olives, capers, vinegars, peppers, and more! They're also now the #1 selling brand of olive oil, wine vinegar and Spanish green olives in retail grocery stores in the Western United States and growing in distribution in the rest of the US. If you can't find them in your store--don't worry! You can shop online!
Uniquely Greek
A couple years ago I came clean about my Uniquely Greek addiction. Uniquely Greek Feta Cheese Spreads are made from a unique blend of domestic feta cheese, garlic, and cream cheese infused with fresh produce. They can be used in sauces, as a spread, etc. but my fave thing is to just dip some crackers in and eat to my heart's content! Learn where you can find it by checking out their store locator!


GIVEAWAY!

(CLOSED)

To celebrate my blog anniversary I am hosting this amazing giveaway and there will be THREE WINNERS! You could win one of these 3 amazinggg prize packages (each of which is over a $70 value!):

  1. (One) 1 lb. bag of Waffle Pantry Belgian Pearl Sugar with bowl scraper
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. The Bee's Knees
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator
    (Two) 14 oz. bags (in your choice of varieties) of Golden Girl Granola
    (One) 8.45 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - Gold Edition
    (One) 17 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    (One) STAR Olive Oil & Vinegar Cruet
    (Four) 6.5 oz. containers of Uniquely Greek spreads. A combo pack of the 4 varieties (Simply Spinach, Fire-Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive, and Spicy Buffalo)
    (One) 2 oz. bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
    (One) 4 oz. bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
  2. (One) 1 lb. bag of Waffle Pantry Belgian Pearl Sugar with bowl scraper
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. The Bee's Knees
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator
    (Two) 14 oz. bags (in your choice of varieties) of Golden Girl Granola
    (One) 8.45 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - Gold Edition
    (One) 17 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    (One) STAR Olive Oil & Vinegar Cruet
    (Four) 6.5 oz. containers of Uniquely Greek spreads. A combo pack of the 4 varieties (Simply Spinach, Fire-Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive, and Spicy Buffalo)
  3. (One) 1 lb. bag of Waffle Pantry Belgian Pearl Sugar with bowl scraper
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. The Bee's Knees
    (One) 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator
    (Two) 14 oz. bags (in your choice of varieties) of Golden Girl Granola
    (One) 8.45 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - Gold Edition
    (One) 17 oz. bottle of Star Fine Food's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    (One) STAR Olive Oil & Vinegar Cruet
    (Four) 6.5 oz. containers of Uniquely Greek spreads. A combo pack of the 4 varieties (Simply Spinach, Fire-Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive, and Spicy Buffalo)

    Giveaway closes May 3, 2015, 11:59PM EST.  After the contest is over, I will send the winners an email (so please make sure you provide an email address or some other way to get in touch with you), and get you your prize package. The winners will have 3 days to respond or another winner will be chosen, all prizes will be awarded. The winner will be chosen via a random number generator, the first to be chosen has first dibs on which prize they receive, the 2nd chosen has 2nd choice, and so on. Open to continental U.S. residents over the age of 18. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

    How to enter: (REQUIRED FOR ENTRY IN THIS GIVEAWAY) 
    Fill out this brief reader survey to tell me what you like, don't like, love, want to change, etc.! Any feedback is helpful so please be honest! Then just comment with the code that is generated after you complete the survey and you're entered! YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT WITH THIS CODE TO BE ENTERED INTO THE GIVEAWAY! 

    Additional (optional) entries: (you will receive one additional entry for each of the following--so if you leave a comment for all of them, you can have a total of up to 8 entries/chances to win!) MAKE SURE TO LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY-these entries are optional, not required.
    **If you already like/follow any of these, it still counts. Just let me know you already follow each in separate comments**

    Disclaimer: Waffle Pantry, PB & Co, Star Fine Foods, Golden Girl Granola, Uniquely Greek, and Nielsen-Massey are providing product for the giveaway. I received no monetary compensation. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or host a product giveaway. My opinions, as always, are all my own. We are not liable for technical failures or typographical errors, or resolving identity disputes related to the winner.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

    Saturday, April 25, 2015

    Something Saturdays (4/25/15)

    Last weekend was so nice-Michael and I spent some much needed time together. We had a meeting with his uncle about our place cards, table #'s, and programs. Then we went shopping and bought Michael a BUNCH of new shorts and shirts (he rarely gets new clothes so this was exciting) and we went out to dinner. Sunday we mostly relaxed and got things done at home but then we had dinner with one of my bridesmaids, Carrie, and her boyfriend, Jon. Michael hadn't met them yet so we were due! And we had SUCH a good time, Michael totally loved them!

    This week was mostly just spent getting things done. There was a last minute update to my dress (added a little bit of lace in between other parts of lace on the bodice to help add a bit of extra structure) and went out with Michael's work friends again. And I worked (and am working today).

    I'm mostly just SUPER excited about tomorrow because it's MY family's bridal shower! All of my bridesmaids (except for Emily who's in NYC) will be there and both sides of my family. I can't wait!

    Oh yeah and as a Disney and 90's music fan this video made my life:

    Friday, April 24, 2015

    Glitz and Garters Review

    Glitz and Garters Review
    Something old...something new...something borrowed...something blue.

    For me those things are being represented by my wedding dress (which used to be my mom's), either my veil, shoes, earrings, or tiara (all are new so...*shrug*), an old rosary that the women in my family all hold for their wedding day and...my beautiful blue garters from Glitz and Garters!
    Glitz and Garters Review
    Glitz and Garters is an Etsy shop that sells, you guessed it, garters!  Ranging in price from $19.95-$39.95 (and that includes 2 garters--one of which would get tossed during the garter toss! However, if you are not doing the garter toss or are not interested in keeping a garter, you can also get just 1 garter at a reduced price) these are by far the most reasonably priced, and prettiest, garters I could find! So I was thrilled when they offered to partner with me for this review and send me a set!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies
    When you just want a classic chocolate chip cookie but you also don't want to a FULL ON unhealthy one because it's the day of one of your final wedding dress fittings and you reeeeally don't want your alterations woman to poke your fat again.

    That's the time for these cookies.
    Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies
    FYI-I got validation that I have lost weight at my fitting so...good news!

    And these cookies-while not as overtly healthy as some others I've been posting (like the chickpea deep dish ones!) are still pretty decent. They have no butter-the fat comes from coconut oil and greek yogurt, and those are pretty darn healthy sources. And there's whole wheat flour! So, not healthy. But not horribly unhealthy either. And they are taaaasty.
    Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies
    I will warn you: these are best warm. Which...is generally true of cookies but when my brother tried a cooled cookie he said it tasted kind of funny. Whereas I always eat them warmed up and they just taste like a good old fashioned delicious CCC to me. So, really, why aren't you eating your cookies warm anyway? What are you-a Michael? (Seriously...that boy. He's a silly silly head.)

    Monday, April 20, 2015

    Smoked Sausage Fried Rice #HillshireSausage

    Smoked Sausage Fried Rice
    Michael is a guy who NEEDS variety in his food life! Unfortunately for him...I errr...don't. And I have a difficult time thinking outside of my chicken/potato box oftentimes. Which is why I was THRILLED when I was forced into some creativity by Hillshire Farms when they asked me to make a recipe using their Smoked Sausage.

    And...wow...it could not have been simpler!
    Smoked Sausage Fried Rice
    Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage requires like...no effort. You just take it out of the package and it is ready to be used! Whether you decide to throw it in a pasta sauce, make a chili or stew, put it on a pizza, etc! The options are endless and kind of crazy easy! For more recipe ideas check out the Sausage So Simple tumblr!

    Now, I decided to make some fried rice with the smoked sausage because Michael loves Asian food and I never make it, so this was a double opportunity for changing stuff up! And it took me no time to make, which means it is the perfect weeknight dinner option!

    The first person who tried this fried rice was my brother and he immediately texted me how good it was! He really loved the flavor the sausage added (which makes sense since Hillshire Farms experts have perfected the pre-seasoning of their sausage over the last 75 years!!) and the fact that it was the perfect post-workout meal (*shrug* he's pretty health conscious these days). And he hoped Michael wouldn't like it so he could have more, hehe. Michael DID like it (a lot), but we were nice and let Josh have some more also. Because when you have the option of making such a quick and perfect dinner...there's no reason not to share!

    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    Something Saturdays (4/18/15)

    My bridal shower was SUPER nice! Michael's family is very sweet and it was nice seeing people (and meeting some new ones) and spending time with all our moms and my grandma. There were lovely potted tulips at every table, which we got to take home one! They also had little organic vegetable seed/planter things that were being given as prizes and-after my grandma won and gave me her prize-I'm now the proud owner of s soon-to-be tomato plant! It was also really fun opening presents with Michael (who brought me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers)--he even enjoyed it! (Which was surprising since he hates attention.) I've already written up all my thank you cards and am excited for the next 2 showers!

    Monday Michael and I had a final check in with our priest, which is always nice. We adore him and it's a shame he can't marry us (different diocese than the church where we're getting married and he's already performing a wedding that day)--he's so funny. He joked that if he could get married he'd wear a white dinner jacket, or just change into one for the reception--and then he grinned and declared himself high maintenance. Ha! Cracked me up.

    Wednesday was one of my final wedding dress fittings--this one actually went pretty well. It looked great and there was even a comment that maybe I have slimmed down a bit. Triumph!

    Thursday night we went out with Michael's work friends-which is fun. And last night I probably worked the easiest job ever (I just handed out free Regal gift cards and they gave me popcorn to snack on and I was done as soon as I ran out of gift cards. Which was pretty quick--but I got paid for the whole shift. Woot!)

    Today we're meeting with Michael's uncle to go over our programs and maybe some other details for things like escort cards, etc. We're also probably gonna do  little shopping for Michael and get some dinner at Outback Steakhouse :P

    And tomorrow night we get to go out to dinner with my friend (and bridesmaid) Carrie and her boyfriend Jon! They haven't met Michael yet and I've only briefly met Jon so I'm excited!

    Friday, April 17, 2015

    The Age of #Adaline #IC

    I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Lionsgate. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


    Have you seen the trailer for The Age of Adaline yet? I've seen it quite a few times and every time I get more and more intrigued. So-to catch us up or refresh your memory-let's start by watching the aforementioned trailer, shall we?



    Adaline Bowman (played by the timeless beauty, Blake Lively) was born at 12:01 AM on January 1, 1908 (hmm...coincidence that she was born the first minute of the new year?). She got married and she had a daughter. Then, at the age of 29, a magical event occurred that would change everything for her: Adaline stopped aging. So, through the film, we watch Adaline move unchanged through every decade. And, out of necessity, she has no choice but to live on the run--keeping her secret. And because of this she's never able to just settle down and find love and peace-it seems that the only relationship she's able to somewhat keep is with her daughter. There's a poignant quote in the trailer where she says love isn't "...the same when there's no growing old together. Without that love is just heartbreak."

    To this hopeless romantic, that is a very very sad statement. But one that makes you think, what would happen to a love when one of you grows old and the other never changes? The hardest part, I think, is the knowledge that one of you will die and the other will be left behind. Which is always the hardest for the person left all alone, having to watch everyone they love die. That's pretty much my worst nightmare. But, as we see in the trailer, Adaline seems to have some hope of love. And-I feel like it's the younger guy. But...I sort of also feel like maybe it's her old friend, Harrison Ford. Either way...I'm super intrigued. And have already told Michael (multiple times) how much I want to see the movie.
    The Age of #Adaline #IC
    source
    And the love story isn't the only reason why! I am a HUGE history nerd. True story. And I love the different fashions of the eras, so it is so cool to watch Adaline transform from the 1920's through present day, and to see the way her look has had to evolve and adapt. And how absolutely beautiful she is no matter what the decade. (And-as an actor-I'm super jealous because this looks like SUCH an amazing role to have the opportunity to play! Blake Lively was the perfect choice.) The Age of Adaline Tumblr has a beautiful look through the years with facts from each decade-so we can sort of get the idea of what the world went through, and all that Adaline has lived through and seen in her 100+ years.

    Whether it's for the magical intrigue of how Adaline suddenly stopped aging, or the love story, or just to see the fashion and beauty and history through the years in one film...there's pretty much a million reasons I want to go see The Age of Adaline. And I will! I might drag Michael with me or I might try to get my mom to go with me or I might just treat myself one day and go solo! Sometimes it's relaxing to enjoy a film with no other distractions, just you and the experience. Whether I take a loved one or go by myself-I know that I will enjoy diving into Adaline's world.


    The Age of Adaline releases nationwide on April 23rd at 7pm!


    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    3 Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies

    3 Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies
    So, as you may know, I had my first bridal shower this past Saturday. One really cute aspect was that every place setting had a little recipe card holder (which was a favor) that held a recipe from THIS blog (and a photo). It was super adorable and made my heart smile to see people fight over who got which recipe and to hear my future mother-in-law tell everyone about my blog in a proud voice.

    The poor thing, though. When she was putting together all the recipes she was trying to find recipes that weren't too long-so that they would fit. It was a bit challenging for her. It's a shame that I hadn't made these cookies yet, because I bet they would have been PERFECT.
    3 Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies
    These are probably one of the shortest recipes I've ever written on the blog, The ingredient list? 3. The preparation? Essentially just mix it together and bake. It's a little craaazy. But also awesome.

    And oh hey-they're pretty healthy. Due to the fact that the only ingredients are almond butter, an egg, and sugar. The sugar is the sole not very healthy factor BUT...there's not much of it.
    3 Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies
    The cookies are chewy and have a perfect texture (kind of shocking, due to the ingredient list). They taste pretty fab also. One major thing to keep in mind, though--make sure you use an almond butter whose flavor you LOVE (you can also sub in any kind of nut butter). Due to the fact that these cookies are mostly almond butter...that's pretty much all they taste like. So, if you like the nut butter, you'll love the cookies!

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    Healthy Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-free, Vegan}

    Healthy Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-free, Vegan}
    I wanted to believe in the whole "chickpeas can totally taste like chocolate chip cookies" thing. I did.

    But there was a part of me that just...couldn't really trust it.

    Until I made these. And now I am a TRUE believer! BECAUSE OMG YOU GUYS IT'S TRUE! IT'S REALLY REALLY TRUE! Not like when people say cauliflour can taste like potatoes (it does not) or that green beans can taste like french fries (NEVER!)--no....hear me when I tell you that these cookies that have no flour, no butter, no eggs, and a whole can of chickpeas....they taste like ooey, gooey, decadent, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

    My life begins today.
    Healthy Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-free, Vegan}
    First of all, a logistical note: you can double this recipe and make it in a pie dish (the baking time would just be a bit longer). However, I love single serving little deep dish cookies in ramekins. So that's what I decided to do. And these are probably the easiest cookies ever. You just throw the ingredients into a food processor and process everything together. Sort of like cookie dough hummus :P And you mix in chocolate chips (because we need those...for life.) and bake these little treats up! And they just taste like a warm, soft, gooey deep dish chocolate chip cookie. No one will ever guess that they're healthy!

    Our little secret ;)

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Something Saturdays (4/11/15)

    Today is my first bridal shower!!! *squeal*! This one is for Michael's mom's side of the family and is in Youngstown, about an hour away (where much of his extended family lives). I'll fill you all in on how it went next week :D

    And let's take a look back at this last week, hmm?

    So Easter was a crazy busy but fun day! We had Mass with Michael's mom and sister and then found our Easter basket with them and Michael's youngest brother. Then we went to Michael's stepmom's family's Easter lunch. Then we went to my grandma's house to see my family. Then we drove an hour+ to go to Youngstown to Michael's grandpa's house to see his mom's extended family. And it was all very fun but very busy. And there may have been some minor wedding crankiness/drama, but all is well-mostly lol.

    On Monday Michael's mom and I went shopping and bought her a dress for the wedding and one for the rehearsal dinner! That was fun and she looks super cute in both of them :) Tuesday I had a little outing with Michael's stepmom and aunt and that was tons of fun and we ate oodles of delicious food (AND I finally got to try Insomnia Cookies! The s'mores cookie was FAB.) My brother's car had some problems this week so I helped him out and ran him around a bit. And Wednesday night Michael's youngest brother had a concert for his program in college (he's in the music dept.) and it was FANTASTIC. Like...he sounded so great. His rendition of "I See Fire" (by Ed Sheeran) was so incredible and then the finale with everyone in the program made me grin so big because the girls sang "Wannabe" by Spice Girls and the guys sang "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys! The girl Christopher is sort of seeing was there and, in a brilliant move, he pointed at her when he sang his line of I Want it That Way. She squealed. That was some good game. I was proud, lol.

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Golden Girl Granola Review

    Golden Girl Granola Review
    I wanna tell you a little tale about some tasty tasty granola. 

    Golden Girl Granola is a family run company, started by the O'Kelly's, that began being sold at farmer's markets in Massachusetts in 2007 and is now available in stores all around New England as well as online for all the rest of us! Even though the company has grown, they still use the finest ingredients and make hand-stirred small batches to achieve the tastiest possible product! 

    Need more reasons that I love this granola so much?
    1. It's whole grain, wheat-free (and is produced in a gluten-free kitchen), is non-GMO, and uses the finest, all-natural ingredients.
    2. Golden Girl Granola is locally produced in MA, and uses locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible!
    3. It's super duper tasty!
    Golden Girl Granola Review
    I was lucky enough that Golden Girl Granola sent me 4 of their flavors for me to try! They sent me chocolate decadence, bluesberry, and home sweet honey. You can enjoy these granolas in a variety of ways (seriously...there's a section of their website devoted to recipes, and they also sent me a little recipe booklet!)--you can eat the granola on yogurt or ice cream, bake it into cookies (which I may do next?), eat it as cereal, use it in pancakes (that's how I used the chocolate decadence and bluesberry--for myself and Michael, respectively), and...obviously...just eat it on its own as a snack! My favorites were the original and home sweet honey to just eat for breakfast or a quick snack, straight out of the bag. The granolas are nutty and crisp and taste wholesome and real. Nothing fake. Just tastiness!

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken

    Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken
    I thought I didn't like Bob Evans. I thought I wad too good for Bob Evans.

    Turns out? I'm not. And I love it. Specifically--I love their pot roast and their deep dish chicken noodles entree. So when I made this recipe (which I found in one of my cookbooks)-I had imagined it would taste somewhat like that.

    I'm gonna warn you-it doesn't. BUT: it's great in its own right. Let's discuss.
    Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken
    First of all: I love how simple and comfy and cozy this is. Like...you'd imagine it would be the sort of thing your mom would make for you. And it's EASY-you just throw some stuff in your slow cooker and leave it alone until it's time to eat! It tastes pretty much like chicken noodle soup, but  creamy chicken noodle soup. AND even though all these pictures show the chicken over noodles...I highly recommend serving it over mashed potatoes! Then it becomes like an almost gravy/soup hybrid with the potatoes...and it makes it even more comfort food. So, next time you have a rainy day--make this slow cooker creamy chicken!

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies-Cookie of the Month {Peanut Butter}

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
    Lighting is super unpredictable and 1 hour makes all the difference...which is why half these photos have way worse lighting than the other half...sorry about that...

    ANYWAY-let's focus on the fact that this is another cookie of the month! And this month's ingredient is PEANUT BUTTER! I love peanut butter. And cookies. So...no complaints here!
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
    As you know...I've got a wedding coming up. And these cookies are not healthified AT ALL. And...of course they're delicious. Dangerously so. Sooo I had to get rid of some of them so I wouldn't have an excuse to eat like a dozen cookies. Incidentally, the day I made these I saw my brother (and made him cheat on his health regimen to have one) and Michael and I got together with his work friends. So I packed them each a cookie! Because I'm totally that person. And everyone was pretty. darn. happy about it! Win win!
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
    These cookies are a great size and they're gooey and chewy and moist and chocolatey and perfectly soft and the peanut butter chips pack in even more peanut butter flavor! And they look pretty when they're all gooey. (Which I 100% endorse serving these cookies warm. If they're leftover you just microwave them for 10-15 seconds.) And now I want one. Which is precisely why I CANNOT BE TRUSTED AROUND DELICIOUS COOKIES!

    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    Something Saturdays (4/4/15)

    Tomorrow is Easter!!! Hooray! Are you doing anything fun? Michael and I are going to church and spending time with his mom and youngest siblings, then lunch with his stepmom's family, then a quick stop-over to see my mom's side of the family, and then we'll end in Youngstown at Michael's maternal grandpa's house.

    Yesterday we dyed Easter eggs at Michael's mom's house. Um...let's just say Michael takes that stuff seriously lol.

    In wedding news: we've started getting RSVP's! Hooray! Fingers crossed the rest all come in quickly! I also got to deal with one of my first wedding crises: one of the hotels we'd reserved a room block with didn't have me in their system. So no block. Luckily-after I forwarded them my contract-they fixed it, and apparently no one has tried to book a room yet so...that's good I guess. Except that it blows my mind that we're like 2 and 1/2 months from the wedding and no one has booked their hotel rooms. I can't handle people.

    This video is so fun! I love all the music through the ages and all the outfits!

    Struggles of being a 90's kid: I RELATE TO ALL OF THESE!

    Have you guys seen Tom Hanks being adorable and acting out all his movies yet?

    How about Ryan Reynolds being the perfect Deadpool?

    Friday, April 3, 2015

    My #WeddingPaperDivas Bridal Shower Invites & Thank You Cards #IC


    I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Wedding Paper Divas. 
    I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

    (Also note that I have edited most of these photos to omit any contact information or addresses to protect the privacy of my loved ones--so that is why there are blank spaces in the pictures.)

    Hello my lovelies! We have some wedding talk happening today! Do you remember when I posted about my Wedding Paper Divas sample kit? WELL now I am going to tell you all about the bridal shower invites and thank you cards that I ordered from Wedding Paper Divas!
    In April I'm having 2 bridal showers: one for Michael's mom's side of the family, and one for mine. This means I needed 2 very important kinds of stationary: bridal shower invitations and thank you cards (for all the gifts I'll be receiving at the showers!) And, as always, Wedding Paper Divas delivered an amazing experience and spectacular results!

    First, we needed to choose which designs to get. For the thank you cards I found the prettiest, simplest, most affordable options and then Michael helped me narrow it down to the Flourish Focus Thank You Cards. For the bridal shower invites I chose about 6 or 7 of my favorite designs and let my mom choose her shower invitation from that and Michael's mom choose hers. My mom went with the Dreamy Details shower invitations and Michael's mom chose the Rose Ring ones. I loved all of them!

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Rice, Cheddar, & Spinach Pie

    Rice, Cheddar, & Spinach Pie
    Ha...I just realized that I'm posting 2 pies this week. I mean...obviously very very different sorts of pie but still...I am amused. And pleased. Because pie is amazing. And we all need more of it.
    Rice, Cheddar, & Spinach Pie
    I have no clue what I'm doing with rice. I did not grow up in a household where rice was served. Pasta-yes. Rice-not so much. And no one I knew really ate much of it until I got older and moved outside of my little circle. And I know Michael likes rice and I know brown rice is good for you so I really am working on figuring out how to use it more and create rice recipes. And this is my first attempt!
    Rice, Cheddar, & Spinach Pie
    First of all--this rice bake can be either a side dish or a main dish, and it can be vegetarian or...not. I chose to throw some chicken in there when I made it so it would be more of a meal for Michael, but you can substitute that (like for sausage or whatever) or omit it completely and let this just be a vegetarian side! It's cheesy, hearty, filling, and super tasty. A rice success!

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    I love it when you try & want to share recipes you found here! Please just rewrite in your own words, use your own photos, & always link back to me! Thanks!

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