Amazon Prime Day 2018: What I am shopping for this year

Amazon Prime Day deals 2018

Amazon Prime Day is here! For those are that are unfamiliar, it’s like Black Friday shopping, but in July. Amazon has some incredible “lightning deals” that are 20%, 30%, even 60% off of items from fashion, beauty and home. The sale is from July 16th at 3pm est until July 17th at 11:59pm. It’s the first time they have ever had the sale for a day and a half, so there will be plenty of things for everyone. Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, they are also having a deal. Spend $10 in-store, get $10 on Amazon from July 11-17th. For Prime members: Scan your Prime Code or use your mobile number at checkout in-store between 7/11-7/17/18 on a single purchase of $10 or more. See more details here.

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Summer Mocktails

I know not everyone wants a mocktail, but in my case, being pregnant this summer, it’s the only choice I have! I miss my wine and margaritas, but with the help of a few other bloggers, I collected a few simple ideas for us non-drinkers! I hope you guys enjoy it. They are easy and you most likely have the ingredients in your fridge. No cooking, no shaking, just simple ingredients for refreshing drinks. Cheers 🙂 And click on the link to follow their pages and blogs for more detail.

mocktail drinks at the kirby hotel in saugatuck

The Kirby Hotel made Lavender infused water, blackberries, and served in a champagne flute

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Recipe: Rice, Asparagus, and Chickpea Skillet

This is one of those recipes I have just thrown together a few times. How did it come about? Honestly, from throwing things together from my fridge and trying to get Noah to eat more veggies. He is in the prime toddler years and veggies are not his favorite (you can read more about that here). It’s also a vegetarian meal, but you could always add a protein like chicken or shrimp.

It’s really fast and a great weekday meal when you need to put dinner together in a rush. Just ready in 15 minutes! Let me know what you guys think…

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Summer Recipes

summer recipes easy

Spring and summer are some of my favorite times to cook. I love anything on the grill, salads, and lighter recipes on warm, summer nights. We cook a few recipes often that I wanted to share with you guys. They are easy (like just a few steps) and could also be great for entertaining. Let me know if you guys make any! I would love to see if you make any 🙂  Continue reading

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. 

Asian Chopped Salad with Steak

Hi! It’s me, your-not-so afraid to admit it salad lover. Especially this time of the year, I love a good, hearty salad. One of my mom hacks is taking a premade meal or any kind salad kit and really make it my own. That’s exactly what I did with this recipe. I used an Asian Salad Kit and a marinade for the steak. There is so much you can add based on what your preferences are. This Asian Chopped Salad with Steak is so good, easy and a perfect weekday meal. You do need some time for the marinade, but definitely something you can throw together before leaving for work.

I hope you guys enjoy it! And if you make it, let me know what you think!

Asian Salad with Steak Marinade recipe

Asian Salad with Steak Marinade recipe

Asian Salad with Steak Marinade recipe

Salad 

You can either use the Dole Asian Salad Kit found at Jewel or Marianos. Aldi also has a great one too. I added avocados, but you can add everything from red onion to more sliced almonds if you would like.

Steak Marinade

  • 1 ( 1 1/2- to 2-pound) flank steak (We only had beef stir fry in our freezer, but it worked out great)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Place the plastic bag in a large bowl and then add the soy sauce, sesame oil and vegetable oil to the bag. Whisk in the honey, garlic, ginger and green onions. Add the steak to the bag, flipping it to coat it in the marinade, and then seal the plastic bag.
  2. Place the steak in the fridge and marinate it overnight, or for a minimum of 10 hours.When ready to cook, remove the steak from the fridge and preheat your cooking surface (grill or stovetop grill pan).
  3. Remove the steak from the marinade, discard the leftover liquid, and sear the steak on each side until it’s cooked to your desired degree of doneness.
  4. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes or so and add it to your salad.
  5. Enjoy!

And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog alerts here. Thank you for following along!

Until next time,

Christine

This was an Instagram post sponsored by Kikkoman, but all opinions and ideas are my own. 

 

Recipe: Brown Sugar and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

BBQ Rehearsal Dinner Invitation

My husband recently was having a rough day at work and I wanted to prepare a meal for him that I knew would make him feel better. Plus, May is National BBQ month, so why not?!

He loves BBQ and Bourbon, so I found Delish’s recipe, Brown Sugar BBQ to make sandwiches. I did some adjusting to it and it made it just right for us.

This is a 6 hour slow cooker recipe with just a few ingredients. In fact, I had everything in the fridge, with the exception of the coleslaw. In all, it took me around 10 minutes to prep. I LOVE recipes that are easy, but able to make it my own and adjust it to our personal taste.

BBQ and bourbon sandwich recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 c. barbecue sauce, plus more for drizzling (Used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. bourbon
  • 1/2 c. Italian dressing (I love Wishbone)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Slider buns (Use Martin’s potato rolls)
  • Coleslaw, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a slow-cooker, add chicken breasts, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, bourbon, Italian dressing, garlic powder and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss until well coated, then cover and cook on high, 6 hours.
  3. Shred chicken and serve on buns with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and a spoonful of coleslaw.

BBQ chicken and bourbon recipe

I was also not going to bother heading to the store for the one ingredient I was missing, the coleslaw. But, this is a must! The combination makes the entire sandwich. For the Italian dressing, I used a generic brand, but would use Wishbone next time. Just because I feel like it is the best and it might have made a difference in the taste.

At 5 hours, I thought it was done and was tempting to stop it. But don’t! That last hour changed the texture of the meat and I am glad I waited. They turned out perfect! The meat melted in your mouth. It was sweet and tangy from the BBQ sauce and smokey from the bourbon.

Definitely one of the best meals I’ve made in a long time. It’s really easy, but not quick meal you can put together. It takes time, but something you can throw in the crockpot before you leave for work.

Let me know how it is! And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog alerts here. Thank you for following along!

Until next time,

Christine

 

Post Holiday: Getting back on Track

Original Post Date- March 2018

Updated- July 2018

Semi-Transparent Pink Box iPhone Layout

I am going to be honest with you guys. Last year I lost the baby weight when Noah was around one years old and somewhere towards the end of the year, I gained some of it back. I didn’t feel comfortable, my skin wasn’t the best and my confidence was low. I made it a 2018 goal to get my health back on track. I find it difficult to get back to eating right and working out after a long holiday, but I want to share a few tips that seem to help me refocus after a break.

I am sharing some workout ideas, snacks and “healthier” recipes now!  Continue reading

Recipe: My MIL’s Puerto Rican Rice

Blue and Cream Rice World Day for Cultural Diversity Poster

Every family has their recipe’s that have been passed down. One that everyone fights over the last bite during the holidays. This recipe is that dish. My MIL makes the best Puerto Rican rice, no matter how many times I have tried to replicate it. It’s fluffy, so much flavor and filled with “love”, as she says.

When I first started dating my husband, I have never had it and now, I don’t think I could live without it during our family gatherings. It’s that good. Although, it has never been written down, this past weekend, I was finally able to get an approximation of what makes it so good.

If you make it, I’d love to see it! It’s such dish that is near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 TBSP of Sofrito (Goya is the best)
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 4 oz can of regular or Spanish style tomato sauce
  • 1 can of gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 1 package of Sazón Goya
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-4 TBSP of Manzanilla olives
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic or garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in pan
  2. Add sofrito and spread through pan, until hot
  3. Add garlic/garlic powder and Sazon Goya and mix until hot
  4. Add rice, tomato sauce, water, gandules, olives, and bay leaf and mix very well
  5. Bring water to a boil and turn down to medium and cover
  6. Keep covered!! And allow rice to cook for 15 minutes and then turn once
  7. Keep cooking until all liquid is evaporated and rice is cooked
  8. Occasionally stirring it or “fluffing” the rice
  9. Enjoy!

Until next time,

Christine

My January Reboot

Like everyone else, I completely overindulged in December. Being a food blogger in Chicago, there is food everywhere! It is kind of hard not to try different foods and restaurants. But this January, I have decided to do a complete “reboot” of my life. My mind, body, home, and LIFE. It isn’t just about losing weight and setting unrealistic goals, but hitting the refresh button in all areas of my life.

Me in 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy

This was me 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy. My goal is make this a priority again.

I want to start the year strong by developing really great habits and so far, I have been really proud. I am taking it day by day, but not without any help. Below are some of the tools I am using. Whether it is at home workouts, barre classes, or recipes, they are all helping reboot my life in January.

Workouts

  1. The Barre Code– This gym offers cardio, strength and restoration classes. Right now, they are having a special for two weeks for $60 at any of their 10 studios in Illinois and beyond.
  2. I started these online workout classes when I couldn’t make it to a class or the gym. It’s perfect when Noah is asleep and he has even joined me sometimes. They range from 15-35 minutes, which is perfect for a busy day.

3. Just get out! Even though it may not seem like enough, you would be surprised how many steps I get in walking around Target 🙂

Mind

This is one that is often forgotten, but so important to have your mind clear and stress free when trying accomplish anything. For me, my workouts are TERRIBLE when I don’t have a clear mind. Below are some things I have done. I know I don’t do this enough and it is a real goal for me this year.

  1. Chill Chicago– This is a completely designated space to just CHILL. I made an CHILL Chicago is a place to meditate and relaxappointment for myself this Saturday and CANNOT WAIT to meditate and relax. The classes range from 30 – 60 min with a focus on breath, insight, rest or yoga and meditation.
  2. Meditation App (FREE)– This is a FREE download on Amazon. This is great to help settle the mind before sleep if you are having one of those day.
  3. Count to 10- Don’t underestimate the power of taking a moment for yourself. I know when Noah is amidst a toddler moment, I am learning to breath and step back (although very difficult). I find creating space for myself can be very beneficial.

Recipes

I have mapped out the recipes I will be making this month. I list 14 recipes of my own and other favorites from Tasty to Delish to Cooking Light.

1. Recipe: Easy Beef and Broccoli Easy recipes: Beef and broccoli meal

2. Spiced turkey meatballs butternut tomato stew- http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/spiced-meatball-butternut-tomato-stew

3. Chickpea tacos- https://tasty.co/recipe/chipotle-chickpea-tacos

4. Spicy turkey tacos- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50920/spicy-turkey-tacos-recipe/

5. Lettuce wraps- https://damndelicious.net/2014/05/30/pf-changs-chicken-lettuce-wraps/

6. Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea salad- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brown-rice-chickpea-salad

FacetuneMy video here.

7. Turkey squash bowls- https://www.skinnytaste.com/turkey-taco-spaghetti-squash-boats/

8. Quinoa Soup- https://cookieandkate.com/2017/mexican-quinoa-stew-recipe/

9. Recipe: Egg Muffins with Turkey Bacon and Kale

easy egg recipes

10. Crockpot turkey chili- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55200/easy-turkey-slow-cooker-chili-recipe/

11. Crockpot chicken noodle soup- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55661/easy-crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup-recipe/

12. Chicken stir fry- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a8866/chicken-vegetable-stir-fry-recipe-campbells-1109/

13. Panko crumb chicken fingers- https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/oven-fried-chicken-tenders/46a69e4d-4c31-485b-9d43-67d40b353f2e

14. Recipe: Skinny Pumpkin Bars

skinny pumpkin bar recipe

If you one of man that are counting calories this month (sigh, yes I am), this Calorie Counter is an affordable, reliable option. I wouldn’t say it is like an Apple Watch (we can only dream right?!), but it gives you somewhat of a range.

I hope some of this will help you this new year! Every day is a fresh start and it will never be perfect, but all we can do it try.

Until next time,

xoxo

Christine