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!

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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 ūüôā

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 ‚Äď 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

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Egg Muffins with Turkey Bacon and Kale

This simple breakfast is easy, will save you time and toddler approved. Noah didn’t even taste the kale. You can freeze them in an air tight bag and you will have breakfast for the week. Enjoy!

easy egg recipes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Ingredients:
  • 10¬†large eggs
  • 1/3¬†c. milk
  • 1¬†c. reduced fat cheddar or Mexican cheese
  • handful of chopped kale
  • 6¬†oz.¬†cooked turkey bacon
  • 1/4¬†tsp.¬†salt
  • 1/4¬†tsp.¬†pepper
  • Optional: chives

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large glass mixing bowl, combine eggs and milk and whisk well.
  3. Stir in 3/4 c. cheese, cooked turkey bacon, kale, salt, and pepper.
  4. Divide mixture evenly among 12 greased muffin cups. Fill in 1/2-3/4 way.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until centers are set and muffins are beginning to brown.
  6. Enjoy!

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!

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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¬†‚Äď Cannoli Dip

@afoodiegoescleanish¬†‚Äď Poor Man‚Äôs Caviar

@lookatlindz¬†‚Äď Savory Pumpkin Hummus

@marymangia¬†‚Äď Hot Sausage Beer Cheese Dip

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

@treatjazself¬†‚Äď Chocopumpdough

@alyssazeet_¬†‚Äď Cranberry Salsa

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

@pantrygrubs¬†‚Äď Pomegrante & Pecan Brie Dip

@angelagarbot¬†‚Äď Sweet Potato Spread

@miyahara_eats¬†‚Äď 10-Minute Kabocha Dip

@foodandbevylover¬†‚Äď Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Dip

@katie_carrico¬†‚Äď Turkey Dressing Dip

@roxypopzchicago¬†‚ÄstBeet dip with Delicata squash chips

@thesavvygourmand¬†‚Äď The Holiday Pineapple

@sadiehill¬†‚Äď Sweet Potato Pico De Gallo

@thejollyhostess¬†‚Äď Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

@kykyeats¬†‚Äď Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

@westloopsoul¬†‚Äď Butternut Squash Hummus

@chicagofooddork¬†‚Äď Cranberry Cheesecake Dip with Candied Pecans

@chieats¬†‚Äď BLT Dip

@msnataliejane¬†‚Äď Bacon Beer Dip

@lbell414¬†‚Äď Caramel Apple Dip

@flos_favorites¬†‚Äď Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

@feyginphoto¬†‚Äď The Feygin Guac

@andreasculinarypassport¬†‚Äď Trio of Tapenades

@thedomesticdivamd¬†‚Äď Cheesy Squash Dip

@jacksonsdecree¬†‚Äď Underseasoned Guacamole

@tefo921¬†‚Äď White Cheddar, Pumpkin and Sage Dip

@sharbear06¬†‚Äď 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

5 things to take your Turkey Day to the next level

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

IMG_0156 (1)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

Ingredients: 

  • 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
  • kosher salt

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Enjoy!

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.

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Skinny Pumpkin Bars

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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
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 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‚Äôt 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)
  • ¬ĺ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

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 Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt; set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars; mix until creamy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time; beating and scraping bowl with each addition.
  6. Add egg whites; mix until fluffy.
  7. Add applesauce and pumpkin; mix until all blended together
  8. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until thick consistency.
  9. Add in mini chocolate chips.
  10. Evenly spread into prepared cookie sheet.
  11. Bake 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  12. Cool and enjoy¬†ūüôā

Thanksgiving T-shirt- Turkey, Wine and Feeling Fine

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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

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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.

Until next time,

Christine

Healthy PSL Latte

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‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes. Although, you can save yourself some money and calories and just make it at home. You can find the recipe here¬†Restaurant Reviews & Recipes