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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3 Fall Recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with cream cheese. I share it often on my Instagram. One cream cheese brand I like is Philadelphia Cream Cheese because of its creaminess and how many different options there are. Since we are mid fall, there are so many recipes you can use that capture all the fall vibes. They have a pumpkin spread that I have been meaning to try! Over the past month, I have used them to create a breakfast toast, a snack and even pasta. That’s pretty much all the best things right?

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My Mom’s Egg Salad

Summer reminds me of a lot of things: bbqs, the pool, street festivals and my mom’s egg salad. It’s something I grew up eating as a kid and I had a serious craving for it this past weekend (yes, those pregnancy food cravings have hit). I wanted to share the recipe with you guys! It’s got a lot of crunch, which I like and haven’t tasted anything like it. I hope you like it as much as I do.

egg salad recipe, easy, home cooking
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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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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. 

 

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!

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.

IMG_1262

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!

Recipe: Kale & Chicken Sausage Acorn Squash Bowls

acorn squash with chicken sausage and kale recipe

Acorn squash is in season right now and I found them for $0.49 cents at the store, why not take advantage?! Since I have been indulging so much lately, I have been trying to eat a little lighter and this dish is perfect for a weekday meal. I find that acorn squash isn’t too sweet and it takes on whatever flavor you combine it with, which makes it very versatile. For a vegetarian version, I think soy chorizo would be great in these. Other fillings that would be good are:  Continue reading