Saturday, July 30, 2011

Iced Tea Latte...

About a month or so ago my great friend told me about this wonderful drink she's been ordering from The Coffee Bean. Ok -- wait...she had been raving about it for weeks prior to this on facebook so I had to ask her about the drink. When she came to visit we of course stopped at The Coffee Bean to try the Blueberry Pomegranate Tea Latte, but since it was about 108 degrees outside we decided to order it iced instead of hot like she normally has it. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of how we ordered it...they should have just *known* what we wanted...hahah. so we ordered it wrong and only had plain pomegranate iced tea. (not the latte part).

About a week later, I ventured over myself along with the kids and ordered it again, but made sure to order it as a *latte* this time. It came at a bit of a shock to me when the woman at the registered told me it was going to be nearly $5. Of course I paid the lady and waited anxiously to try this so-called *unbelievably delicious* new drink. And boy was my friend was sooooo goood!

Luckily for my pocketbook, the nearest Coffee Bean is way out of my way AND they don't have a drive thru so its not really convenient for me to lug the kids out of the car and go spend money I don't have just to indulge a bit in this liquid goodness. Well, about a week ago I started walking at the mall in the morning to get a bit of exercise in during these blazing hot summer months....and well, The Coffee Bean is right down the every morning, I've been getting this craving, but continue to remind myself that its not convenient nor affordable, plus wouldn't be worth it after working off those calories, to just add them right back on. So last night I went online to The Coffee Bean website to see if I could just make the drink myself...They had a recipe page that listed their tea latte and the special ingredient  in the latte is a vanilla powder! That's IT!!! Of course you can order it online through their store, but once again....too much mula for me.

I made my way to Trader Joe's and purchased some pomegranate tea bags for $4.00. Then headed over to our local grocery store and purchased some French Vanilla Powdered Creamer from the coffee and tea section in the store. Another $4.00. So at 8 bucks, I was sitting pretty happy and came home to create my drink. I brewed some tea, mixed in about a tablespoon of the creamer to about 2 cups of tea, then poured it over ice and vwa-la! Pomegranate Iced Tea Latte!!!! Right in my very own home. So yummy. And the best part, if I want to have it warm, all I need to do is add milk instead of the ice. I am so unbelievably stoked about my new creation...and so is my hubby! lol.

I'm looking forward to trying other flavors on the list...Ginger Pear. Yum!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thankful for...

Thankful very first one.

When I originally came up with the idea to blog about my favorite utensils I knew exactly which utensil I would blog about first. It is not one that I use often, but it does bring me much joy....and even laughter when I use it. I'm sure you're thinking I'm crazy already....but stick with me....


Melon baller....

Can you say that out loud with me? Melon Baller --- Melon Baller .....

Come on, if you didn't smile when saying that something must be wrong. Haha. Or maybe it's me that there's something wrong with. Anyways, my melon baller I am thankful for because of all the fun I have displaying food with it. I have used it for fruit, for sorbet, for vanilla ice cream and each time my dishes come out looking stunning.


A melon baller, once called a Parisienne scoop, is a small spoon-like utensil used to cut round or oval-shaped sections of a melon.

Shown above I used my melon baller on a raspberry sorbet that I then drizzled in a homemade chocolate sauce that my mom had made. It was so delicious.

For a bridal shower I once hosted I made a dense Elvis Presley Pound Cake and cut small cubes out of it. I then balled vanilla ice cream with my melon baller. I arranged the pound cake, ice cream and fresh berries in short champagne glasses that were drizzled in chocolate. They looked and tasty amazing.

Have a little fun and experiment with your melon baller....and as it does for me, I hope you smile each time you think of it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Woo Hoo Taco Bar

I knew I wouldn't be able to wait until next week to blog about my first topic. I'm just so excited. So! For my very first WOO-HOO Wednesday I must first start with a little back story.

I've been bouncing ideas off a colleague of mine about my blog and different topics I could talk about. How-To Tuesdays and Thankful Thursdays seemed like a no-brainer, but for some reason we were both stuck on a clever name for Wednesdays! Emails flew back and forth with ideas --- Wonderful Wednesdays, Whimsical Wednesdays, Wednesday's What Not's -- Until WOO HOO Wednesdays came across in my inbox. I about died laughing when I read this....and here is why....

When I was in high school, probably before the time I was driving my dad and I were driving home from the beach area when I saw a taco shop called Woo Hoo Fish Tacos. I am always and have always read out loud restaurant signs of places I think look yummy so of course I read off this title -- knowing my dad loves fish tacos. In response to me calling out the restaurants name, my dad begins to repeat the name and to both our surprise he CAN NOT - FOR THE LIFE OF HIM pronounce Woo Hoo! His voice would begin to crackle when he got to the high point of "hoo" was so hilarious!! I honestly could not believe what I was hearing -- or actually what I wasn't hearing!! Of course I was not going to keep this between just the two of us, so when we got home I told my mom and brother to ask dad to say "woo-hoo"; at this point we are all laughing at the fact that he really cannot get the words out.

To this day, we still joke about it....and a trooper....he TRIES to say "Woo-Hoo" and his only victory is making us laugh! Thanks Dad!

So of course when I saw Woo Hoo Wednesday I knew the name had to stick!

This post is for you dad! Woo Hoo Taco Night!

*Photo by: Troeger Photography

We absolutely love taco's in this house. They are so delicious and come in so many different varieties.

Tacos are an excellent choice when you're having guests over too, especially if you don't know everyone's likes and dislikes. By having a TACO BAR everyone can make their own plate exactly to their preference. We always fry corn tortillas to make our shells, but feel free to pick up some hard tacos or just use soft flour and corn tortillas if you're having guests over. Ground beef or chicken are great for starters. If you want, toss a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in your crock pot 4-5 hours before your party and pour a jar of salsa over top. You will have delicious shredded chicken, perfect for your tacos.

Next, arrange your taco bar with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, guacamole, refried beans and rice.

OK - so this post quickly turned into a cooking and recipe post, I guess I just can't help myself sometimes.

Some clever ideas for your taco bar would be to


Pick up a sombrero from one of your local party stores. They should be less than $5. When you set up your taco bar, place some tupperware or short boxes in the center of your table to use as lifts and then place your tablecloth over top. Next, lay your sombrero on the lifts and  place your taco toppings all around on the table (not on the lifts). Fill the brim of your sombrero with tortilla chips. It's as simple as that, for as little as $5 you can take a plain old taco dinner and turn it in to a Fun Fiesta!

(for future posts I plan to have pictures of my ideas, but I got so excited to start blogging I didn't have a chance)

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday Wrap Up!

The excitement of my book is increasing and I just got word that my first batch of copies will be here at the end of the week. As I begin to organize my goals and marketing strategy a whole flood of emotions starts storming in - excitement, nervousness, anxiety, thankfulness...oh the list goes on...

First step is vamping up my blog and hopefully driving in more readers...LIKE YOU :) --- hopefully I'm talking to someone haha.

I'm going to start a few weekly topics and I am so excited to do so.

Starting off we will have -


Here I will go over different "How-To's" like I described in my cookbook. This section will be great for those new in the kitchen...but if you're a veteran still stop by...who knows.. you might learn a new trick!

After our How-to's on Wednesday we will have...


Woo-Hoo!!! Half way through the week! Woo-Hoo!! Time to start planning for the weekend! On Wednesdays I will post about party ideas, decorating ideas and who knows what other fun things I can come up with. Party ideas are also another feature that my cookbook has to offer!

Moving on to the end of our week, on Thursdays we will have...


You may have read other blogs with Thankful Thursday, where the author writes about something that week that they were thankful for.....the extra dollar they found in their pocket, the nice card they received from a friend.... in my Thankful Thursday I will be writing about the kitchen utensils, appliances and ingredients that I am thankful go over all their many uses.

And finally, over the weekend we will have the


The Weekend Wrap will be similar to my blog that you are use to reading -- about meals Ive made or restaurants Ive been to. I hope you've been enjoying this section, because it's one of my favorites. I will also be including a few recipes in The Weekend Wrap as well, so stop by on your day off.

I am so antsy to get started blogging about my new topics...I had originally planned on getting started next week, but I might just start tonight!!!!

Feel free to comment below if you have any special requests to fill my 
How-To Tuesday's or Thankful Thursdays!!!

Thank you again for all of your support and for following my blog!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monkey Bread Anyone?

My girlfriend was out visiting and I mentioned to her that I found this recipe for Pizza Monkey Bread....I started to explain that you use the same biscuits that you use for Cinnamon Monkey Bread but instead of the cinnamon and sugar you add pizza sauce, pepperoni's and cheese, and then bake it in a casserole dish rather than the bundt pan. I'm starting to go into detail and she stops me to say that she has never even had regular monkey bread....WHAT? ... everyone's had monkey bread! My husband was in disbelief as well, so off he went to the store to pick up some biscuits.


The bread came out delicious, as always, although it was a bit on the sweeter side for her liking. But still very good.

Soon I plan to test out the pizza monkey bread --- also, want to try to create some other versions of this delicious treat!

** Photo compliments of Troeger Photography

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green Chili Tortilla Rolls


The recipe for these Green Chili Tortilla Rolls is also in my cookbook, Our First Year., but lately what I have been doing is adding chicken to the recipe and it has been coming out even better than before!

I've been mixing together 2 cups of chicken broth (or adding chicken bouillon cubes to 2 cups of water) and then adding lime juice, lemon juice, seasoning salt, cayenne and garlic. Then I pour that over 3 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts in an 8 x 8 casserole dish. Then I cover it with tin foil and place it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. The chicken is so moist and shreds perfectly. I then add about 1/2 cup of chicken to each tortilla roll before melting the cheese in the oven!! YUMMY.

You can use this chicken process with any seasonings to add to many of your dishes.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My parents own an ice cream parlor...

My parents own an ice cream parlor, which tends to be dangerous and non-supportive of my post pregnancy diet and weight loss goals. Well, we haven't visited in quite a while and during that time my mom has been baking all kinds of new desserts. I do most of their marketing so every time she tells me about a new dessert I am practically drooling on my computer keys. Yesterday I took the kids to visit....and well, to satisfy all these cravings I've been having.

Let's just say I went a little over-board! But hey, if we lived closer, I wouldn't have to force all this homemade goodness in to one days worth of my calories. Luckily I've been working out pretty well this week, and coming off of last week of being sick, I'm in a pretty good place to take in a few more calories...hehe. (although it totally wipes out all the work I did prior to yesterday...ugh....weekend power-walking may be called for).

My morning first started with an APPLE PIE MILKSHAKE!!! Um, can you say amazing? They blend together their homemade apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. So delicious. What I found wonderful, was the fact that you could smell how amazing it was going to taste, before it even hit your lips.


My milkshake was quickly followed by lunch, which I played it safe and ordered a salad, but of course had to have a side of my own personal creation. Boysenberry Cheese Bread. Usually I order it with caramelized onions, but yesterday I wasn't feelin it. So I went straight to the homemade boysenberry jam covered in melted cheddar cheese. Yummy.

After lunch I just HAD to try my mom's newest creation - a boysenberry pocket pie served ala mode....


And for the car ride home...and Espresso Milkshake to keep the eyelids open. I also brought my hubby home a slice of my mom's Chocolate Cream Cake!


Talk about amazing!!! So while we're on the subject of my parents ice cream (Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream @ ) I thought I'd post a few more pictures of the desserts mom had yesterday for everyone to enjoy!

Apple Crisp ala mode

Hot Fudge Sundae

Chocolate covered marshmallows

Homemade cookies

Cake pops

Peanut butter cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Peanut butter cup cupcakes

Chocolate cream cupcakes

So are you planning your trip to AZ already?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hearty Lasagna Dinner

Hearty Lasagna Dinner...need I say more?

To be honest, although both my husband and I LOVE Italian dishes, what usually pops out of our kitchen is usually something Mexican.... Tacos, Burritos, Mexican Pizza's, Enchilada's.....but lately we've been on an Italian kick and he has been CA-RAVING Lasagna. I hadn't made my lasagna dinner in quite some time...actually I can't even remember the last time I made it. Had to grab my cookbook (Our First Year) to read the recipe.


As you know, I don't eat red meat, so I made a separate dish just for me and my daughter. Both came out stupendous!


I actually cannot believe I don't make it more often...