Summer is here and I couldn’t be more excited to explore the city on my days off with Noah. I want to try to soak in as much time enjoying it before the dreaded, tiring, third trimester hits.
There are a few essentials we both use that you could probably find in my diaper bag on a daily basis. I feel like everybody has those few things we all use during the warmer months right? Some of these things you could find at Target, Amazon or even Walgreens. If you have any questions about any of them, send them my way. And I would love to hear some of your go-to-products for the summer!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Cheese is so versatile. It can be paired with so much. Here are the toppings I used:
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.
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!
Doesn’t get better than that!
Until next time,
This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, there are a lot of things we need to do. Whether it is cooking, creating the right place setting or finding the perfect hostess gift, Thanksgiving can be overwhelming. I have rounded out some great recipes and fun gift ideas to make your Turkey Day a little more enjoyable with your family and friends.
Beet Bruschetta with Lavender- Vanilla Honey Drizzle
I don’t know what says more than Thanksgiving than beets. It’s like a must right? So why not take those beets and turn them into something fun that everyone would like?! This recipe is from the Ryanne, the blogger at Pineappple Expression. Her stuff is always amazing and under 40 minutes, it is sure to be a serious crowd pleaser.
Prep and Assembly time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes Prep
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 French baguette loaf of bread
1 (5.02 oz) small package of Boursin Cheese (garlic and herbs flavor is best)
1 medium sized red beet
1 package of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of fresh lavender
1/2 of a vanilla bean
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
First, preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and slice the beet into 1/4 slices. Place the slices on a roasting pan and toss with a light drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. Roast the beets for 30 minutes, but flip after 15 for a more even cook. When the beets are done, pull from the oven and let them cool.
While the beets cool, slice the bread as you would for bruschetta. Coat lightly with olive oil and place in the oven under the broiler for a maximum of 5 minutes. The slices should still be soft, but have a nice golden color to the tops.
In a small bowl, combine the honey, lavender and vanilla bean (scrape the insides out to produce the black flecks) along with the apple cider vinegar. I love this combo!!
After the beets have cooled, chop into cubes as evenly as you can. 1/4 inch on each side. First cut into strips, then rotate the knife as you move through.
To assemble the toasts, use a butter knife to spread a layer of Boursin cheese onto each slice of bread. Next, crumble on a small mountain of the roasted beets. Using a spoon, drizzle a little bit of the honey mixture over the tops of each toast. Sprinkle with some coarse kosher salt or flaky sea salt on top. For more pizzazz, use the sprigs of thyme to garnish the plate.
Thanksgiving Wine Bottle Labels
Whether you are bringing wine or serving it, these Thanksgiving themed labels would get a good laugh from all your guests at the table. A set of 4 is $8.89 and available on Prime. Perfect for all wine lovers. Find them here.
Skinny Pumpkin Bars
Whether a pre-dinner snack or a dessert, these pumpkin bars are delicious. They are not overly pumpkin and the chocolate chips are a great addition. My son devoured three in one day (he’s 20 months) and I am not going to even tell you how many I ate…..
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 50 mins
3 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened (I tried margarine. It doesn’t taste the same)
2 eggs and 4 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 (15oz) can All Natural mashed pumpkin (I like Trader Joes and Aldi)
¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars; mix until creamy.
Add eggs one at a time; beating and scraping bowl with each addition.
Add egg whites; mix until fluffy.
Add applesauce and pumpkin; mix until all blended together
Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until thick consistency.
Add in mini chocolate chips.
Evenly spread into prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool and enjoy 🙂
Thanksgiving T-shirt- Turkey, Wine and Feeling Fine
Ok, I know this technically doesn’t go on the table, but how cute is this t-shirt? And pretty accurate right? Thanksgiving is about turkey, wine and RELAXING. It is available for men and women.
It is $17.99 and available on Prime. You can find it here.
Thanksgiving Party Boxes
I really like these party boxes for either your adult guests or a nice addition to your kids table. It can be filled with candy from a candy bar, leftovers or desserts to go, it is a cute way for your guests to leave with something special from the day. For a set of 12, it is $11.04 and available on Prime. You can find them here.
However you are celebrating, I hope you have a blessed day with friends and family, because in the end, that’s all that matters.
Around a year ago, my son had to wear a helmet from ages 3-6 months. Right around his 3 month check up, we started to notice that Noah’s head shape was starting to take on more of a “flat head” appearance in the back. But it wasn’t until our pediatrician suggested we see a specialist that it really sunk in for me. It was just too difficult to even imagine having him wear a helmet, but even worse, to think about what could happen in the future when he was older. It was not an easy decision. We were seeking the perfect head shape, but it was starting to become very obvious to us that it wasn’t going away. Read more at Motherhood & Family
There are many items we need for the park, but there are a few that we MUST have before we leave the house for long periods of time. Now that Noah is a toddler, some of the items are necessary to keep him entertained and make motherhood just a little easier on our summer adventures.