How to throw the best (and easiest) Friendsgiving with Tony’s Fresh Market

It’s that time of the year! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, but Friendsgiving is a close second. I love having my friends in our home, catching up and spending time together before the craziness of the holidays. But in reality, our home isn’t huge, specifically the kitchen. After years of hosting this annual tradition, my husband and I have somewhat gotten this hosting thing kind of figured out. I wanted to share some easy recipes and tips we have learned along the way, with some help with all the ingredients from Tony’s Fresh Market. They have some specials on turkeys, their produce is some of the best and I even got some of the table decor there. Best part of it all? You are just having your friends over, so it doesn’t need to be perfect! Some time spent together is really what it’s about.

I am sharing 10 tips along with our brunch Friendsgiving menu below. Welcome to cooking with the Good Life!

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Diapers & Football: Our baby girl’s ‘sprinkle’

This idea of a ‘sprinkle’ is definitely something new for me. As my mom calls it, its very Millennial. Haha. For those that are unfamiliar, it’s just a mini baby shower for baby number 2. There’s no registry and it’s typically just small gifts or diapers. With Noah, we had a traditional baby shower with lots of family and friends and I had never intended on having anything for our next baby. But some of my friends thought it would be a good idea to get together, especially since I may not see some of them before she’s born (and maybe a while after that!). I didn’t want to make it big deal, but thought diapers are always needed and easy for anyone to pick up. Plus the love of football in our house is strong, why not incorporate the two?! Girls can like football too. 🙂

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Tips for throwing a kid friendly football party

NFL is officially back! I actually love watching football on Sundays, one of the best parts of fall. The food, friends and watching my oh-so-sad Chicago Bears. Before kids, my Sunday Funday would be spent out at brunch with bottomless mimosas and greasy food, but time has changed all that. Now, we usually have families here with kids and a few less mimosas. But it’s still so much fun, I look forward to it every week.

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My Thoughts on Amazon Fresh

 I will admit it, I love grocery shopping. Like, a lot. I plan out our meals for the week in advance and shop based around the menu we have planned. But there are times when life happens and getting groceries delivered is a lifesaver. It’s also one of the best registry gifts for newborns (we registered at Buy, Buy Baby and Amazon. I recommend it to everyone when they ask, “what do I get a mom with a newborn?”. Groceries, Grubhub, really anything delivered is always helpful for new moms.

When Noah was an infant, we got groceries delivered a few times and it helped so much. It was winter and there were weeks we couldn’t leave the house. This past week, it was  busy, I had an Amazon gift card, so I decided to try Amazon Fresh for the first time. Why not?!

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Kicking Off Summer with Barritt’s Ginger Beer

And just like that, the summer season has officially arrived. That means BBQ’s, parties, and long days hanging outside. This past Memorial Day, we had a BBQ and it happened to be very very hot (like 95 degrees). I wanted to make some cocktails that are easy and refreshing for really warm day.

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes

To be honest, I am not the best bartender, but I have been experimenting a lot recently. With some recipe research, I found Barritt’s Ginger Beer. This ginger beer helps making cocktails super easy, just adding a few other ingredients. Perfect for a novice like myself. I also liked that they have Diet Ginger Beer option as well.

Diet Ginger Beer cocktails

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes

My husband and his friends are huge bourbon drinkers, so the Kentucky Mule was perfect. It’s one of the easiest cocktails I have ever made. Just bourbon and Barritt’s Ginger Beer, garnish with mint. Really, that’s it. I made these per order, but because they are simple, it wasn’t a problem

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes

For my friends, I have a few that do not drink, so I decided to make a mocktail. I found the Mexican Mule. Another very easy cocktail, just tequila, lime Juice and Diet Barritt’s Ginger Beer. Garnish with lime and jalapeno. I replaced the tequila with lime soda water and it was delicious. I had one and didn’t even miss the tequila. I made a pitcher of it ahead of time (no ice until drinks were served) and guests could add their own tequila if they wanted. Another very easy cocktail and a major crowd pleaser.

Kicking Off Summer with Barritt's Ginger Beer

Barritt's Ginger Beer recipe cocktail for summer

Barritt's Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipes for summer

Both mule recipes turned out to be a huge hit and made our BBQ that much better. Definitely perfect for those hot, summer days ahead of us.

Barritt's Ginger Beer cocktail Recipe for summer

They also have several other mule options that are just as easy like an Irish Mule, Moonshine and of course, the traditional Moscow Mule. Check out some of their recipes and let me know what you think!

Until next time,

Christine

This Instagram post is sponsored by Barritt’s Ginger Beer, but all opinions and views expressed are my own. 

Valentine’s Day: The Family Way

Before having our son, my husband and I rarely went out on Valentine’s Day. It’s so much more fun to stay in and cook a big meal of all our favorites (and also a lot cheaper!). Now with a toddler, we still celebrate with a home cooked meal, but it’s slightly different. If you are staying in with your family, I put together an easy meal for you with a fast cleanup that you and your family to enjoy together this Valentine’s Day.

Drink- Shirley Temples

One of my favorite drinks to order as a child was a Shirley Temple. I always felt so grown up. To be honest, I occasionally still order them. This makes the perfect Valentine’s Day drink because kids love it, it’s festive and adults even make it more “adult” like if they’d like 🙂  I prefer using tall plastic SOLO cups because really, kids and glassware just don’t mix.

IMG_1512.JPGIngredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle Grenadine
  • Ice
  • 1 (2 Liter) bottle lemon-lime soda
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 ounce Grenadine over ice in a glass.
  2. Top with 8 ounces lemon-lime soda.
  3. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Shirley Temple Recipe using SOLO cups for Valentine's Day

Shirley Temple Recipe using SOLO cups for Valentine's Day

Main Dish- Pizza with Heart Shaped Pepperoni

Heart shaped pizza is such a fun Valentine’s Day dinner, but to save time on making it, why not just buy your favorite pizza and make heart shaped pepperoni? It’s easy and you can do it together.

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

You can use a cookie cutter, but I just used scissors and cut the pepperoni into heart shapes.

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Heat it up and serve on SOLO plates. These can later serve as crafts for your kids to color and make their own hearts!

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Dessert- Cake “Fondue”

Now, for the best part, dessert. Instead of the traditional cheese fondue, replace the cheese with frosting. This cake “fondue” is so fun to dip your mini cake pops into different icings and everyone customize their own Valentine’s Day treat.

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Ingredients

  • 1 box Funfetti cake and cupcake mix
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • Cookie sticks (quantity depends on how many you want to make)
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Fruit of your choice (I like pineapple with cream cheese frosting!)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Pink, purple, red and white gel food colors
  • Mini cupcake liners
  • SOLO bowls with lids
  • SOLO plates

Instructions

  1. Bake the mini cupcakes according to the instructions on the box
  2. While baking, make your frosting colors in the SOLO bowls.
  3. Let the cupcakes cool for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Place the mini cupcakes on the cookie sticks
  5. Dip away!

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

For the leftover frosting, stick a lid on the bowl and place in the fridge.

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day meal with your loved one!

Until next time,

Christine

This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!

Game on: A Kid-Friendly Super Bowl

Super Bowl is one of my favorite events of the year, but you guessed right, not for the game. But for THE FOOD. Super Bowl food is the best. I took some classic Super Bowl recipes, fun hosting ideas and made them a little bit more kid-friendly. So whether you have a family or a party with kids, there is a little something for everyone to get you ready for the big game!

Setup
I love hosting. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But if there are a lot of people, especially with little ones, I need easy ideas for setup and clean up. I decided to minimize the dishes and use Solo Cup Products to make clean up easy and less complicated. They are completely disposable, recyclable and really durable. Once you are done with them, they can also be used for kids to write and color on them. It’s a win, win right?

Some fast and easy ideas are a snack bar, pigs in a blanket, tater tot skewers and individual 7 layer dip cups (because nothing says football more than dip).

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

SOLO has write on cups that are perfect to label the snacks. The kids can make their own snack bowls with lids.  These bowls are easy for them to hold and whatever they don’t finish, the bowls serve as to-go cups. The small, clear cups are the perfect size for the individual 7 layer dip cups. Lastly, the paper plates are the adults for the skewers and other snacks. Don’t forget about the red and blue cups for the adult or kid beverages you serve. Plus, they add lots of color to your table.

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

Snack Bar
The best part of a snack bar is that you can customize it to your guests preferences. Since this is more kid friendly, the options are kid friendly, but even adults would enjoy them (I know I do!)

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

Snacks
Here are the snacks I used:

  • kid puffs
  • graham crackers
  • ring pops (everyone’s a champion!
  • M & M’s
  • pretzels
  • Doritos
  • blue corn chips

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

Pigs in a Blanket
This is an appetizer that everyone likes. You can definitely make them with recipes like this or you can buy them frozen, whatever makes your life easier! But either way, they are a great for kids and adults.

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

7 Layer Dip
These are perfect for a few reasons. The cups are very sturdy, so they are able to hold a lot without feeling too heavy. They are great size for those small hands and you don’t have to worry about any double dipping 🙂

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 cup guacamole or homemade guacamole
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup chunky salsa 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (I used both!)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes , diced
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can of sliced olives, drained (Optional- my son doesn’t like olives)
  • (9 ounce) SOLO cup plastic cups
  • tortilla chips (I like blue corn chips)

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl mix taco seasoning with refried beans.
  • Add about 2-2 1/2 tablespoons for each layer
    • Layer 1: beans and taco seasoning
    • Layer 2: sour cream
    • Layer 3: guacamole
    • Layer 4: pico de gallo
    • Layer 5: cheese
    • Layer 6: tomatoes
    • Layer 7: green onions and olives
  • Garnish with one tortilla chip. Store in the refrigerator until serving and serve with chips. Makes around 6 individual dips.
super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

 

Tater Tot Skewers
These are super easy to make and really fun to eat. You can eat them right off the skewer or add it to your SOLO plate. 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees, let them cool and add 4-5 tots to each skewer. You can add ketchup to the small SOLO cups for dipping.

super bowl kid friendly ideas using solo products. Snacks and food

So if you are inviting friends over to watch the Super Bowl or watching it with your family, enjoy the game, whoever is playing….most importantly, enjoy the food with a no fuss clean up.

Until next time,

Christine

This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!

Getting Cheesy: National Cheese Lover’s Day Party

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cheese? It is one of my favorite things to eat and create some really fun dishes with. Since cheese is always such a hit, I decided to throw a cheese party for my friends (and for my son because it’s his absolute favorite). And why not a MAC N’ CHEESE BAR?! I have a few vegetarian friends and this would be perfect. Everyone can customize their own mac n’ cheese bowls and we can celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day!

Setup

Since the holidays, I have been kind of entertained out. Over doing the dishes, the clean up, etc. I also have a toddler running around, so something fast and easy is preferred. I decided to minimize the dishes and use Solo Cup Products to make my clean up easy and less complicated. They are completely disposable, recyclable and really durable. I knew this would be the best option, but still keeping my party looking right.

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They have write on cups that are perfect to label all the toppings. It looks clean and organized in your setup. Everyone can make their own mac n’ cheese bowls with lids Whatever they don’t finish, the bowls serve as to-go plates. Lastly, the paper plates serve for meat and cheese platters. It’s perfect and fuss-free.

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Mac n’ Cheese Bar

And for the best part: the MAC N’ CHEESE. Honestly, you could make it from scratch or get a pre-made box. Whatever makes your life easier. From scratch, I like recipes like this. But you can grab a box and totally add in your own ingredients. I took a box of mac n’ cheese, added mild cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and baked it at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It turned out DELICIOUS!

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Toppings

Cheese is so versatile. It can be paired with so much. Here are the toppings I used:

  • hot dogs
  • salumi
  • bacon bits
  • cheeze its
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • jalapenos
  • green onion
  • cubed cheese

National cheese lover's day party using solo products

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Extras

The more cheese the better right? For an appetizer, I made a meat and cheese plate with salami, cheddar and pepper jack cheese with pita crackers. Really, anything would work; spinach artichoke dip, cheese dip, etc.

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

For the drinks, the best wine to pair with macaroni and cheese all depends on how fancy and cheesy your mac and cheese is. With a regular, old-fashioned recipe, you might just want a simple glass of white wine. An unoaked Chardonnay might be your best bet for an original recipe or even a dry Riesling. If you got a little fancy and added truffles to your recipe, champagne pairs perfectly. No wine drinkers? Cider pairs well with cheese too.

A party that will please everyone with an easy clean up? To go cups already set!

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Doesn’t get better than that!

Until next time,

Christine

This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!

Easy Holiday Appetizer

 

Easy recipe appetizer for honey goat cheese and prosciutto recipe topped with Sunsweet Dates.

It’s the holiday season and I needed to bring something last minute to a friend’s party. I didn’t have a lot of time and needed to throw something together quickly. This bruschetta has 5 ingredients and was a huge party pleaser. It’s sweet and savory, best of both worlds. You could also top it with pistachios or balsamic for extra flavor and a splash of color. Enjoy! Find the recipe here.

When I dip, you dip, we dip

Sunday, November 5th, I threw a party with my friends April from The Tipsy Housewife and Alex @Sassyconfetti. Not just any kind of party. It was a dip party with 30 plus food bloggers. When I mean dip, like the appetizer. Which who doesn’t love? Can you just imagine how good the dips actually were from these bloggers?! DELICIOUS. We compiled the recipes for the 30 amazing dips that were entered into Sunday’s First Annual #TipsySassyGoodlife Dip Contest. These recipes are definitely perfect for the holidays coming up.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

But first, how did we even come up with this whole idea. To be honest, we just met a few months ago through the Instagram world and hit it off. At the J.W. Marriott one night, we spent the night discussing our love of food, wine, our families, and Chicago with a few glasses of wine (maybe more…) and the Dip Party was created!

AngelaGarbotPhotography.Wedding.ChicagoCubs.AngelaGarbotPhotography.Chicago.Event.TipsySassyGoodLife.102-IG.jpg

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

In just one month, we invited 40 of our favorite bloggers and had 8 sponsors to provide with some seriously awesome swag. We work fast.

It was so amazing to see how much creativity and dedication went into each dip. We were totally blown away. I hope you get a chance to check out some of these bloggers and even try some of their recipes.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

Sponsors: 

1. SOLO (yes, we played dip bong. Don’t judge us. And has great Holiday plates and bowls this season)
2. Goose Island (1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago) (tasty beer that goes down sooooo smooth)
3. Salonv Aveda (best salon in the city. Seriously. If you need a place to prepare for the holidays, go! My whole family has been going for years)
4. Revolution Brewing (Christmas Ale is second to none!),
5. Goddess and Grocer (Chardonnay paired well with so many of the cheese dips)
6. Crazy Beautiful Wines (Loca Linda might be my favorite rose now)
7. KOVAL Distillery (alone or with bloody mary’s is a perfect combo)
8. SuckerPunch Gourmet (best bloody mary mix and spicy garlic pickle combo).

And special thanks to Angie Garbot photography for snapping these beautiful photos.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

Tipsy Sassy Good Life Fall Dip Recipes 2017

Now for the dipsters and their Instagram Accounts: 

@bahcallmemaybe – Cannoli Dip

@afoodiegoescleanish – Poor Man’s Caviar

@lookatlindz – Savory Pumpkin Hummus

@marymangia – Hot Sausage Beer Cheese Dip

@suckerpunchgourmet- SuckerPunch Gourmet Garlic Original Pickle and Green Tomato Salsa Dip

@treatjazself – Chocopumpdough

@alyssazeet_ – Cranberry Salsa

@appetite_4_adventure – Trio of Fall Dips: Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip, Warm Butternut Squash and Cheddar Dip, and Ooey Gooey Cheesy Cranberry Dip

@pantrygrubs – Pomegrante & Pecan Brie Dip

@angelagarbot – Sweet Potato Spread

@miyahara_eats – 10-Minute Kabocha Dip

@foodandbevylover – Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Dip

@katie_carrico – Turkey Dressing Dip

@roxypopzchicago – Beet dip with Delicata squash chips

@thesavvygourmand – The Holiday Pineapple

@sadiehill – Sweet Potato Pico De Gallo

@thejollyhostess – Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

@kykyeats – Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

@westloopsoul – Butternut Squash Hummus

@chicagofooddork – Cranberry Cheesecake Dip with Candied Pecans

@chieats – BLT Dip

@msnataliejane – Bacon Beer Dip

@lbell414 – Caramel Apple Dip

@flos_favorites – Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

@feyginphoto – The Feygin Guac

@andreasculinarypassport – Trio of Tapenades

@thedomesticdivamd – Cheesy Squash Dip

@jacksonsdecree – Underseasoned Guacamole

@tefo921 – White Cheddar, Pumpkin and Sage Dip

@sharbear06 – Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Fundido

If you like the dip recipes and you’re on Instagram, make sure you check out and follow all their accounts. They are seriously the best.

Until next time (or next party!).

Christine