Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tea with the Bride-to-Be!

A Bride-to-Be and a Sip of Tea!

In honor of our lovely co-author Grace 
walking down the aisle soon
I thought it was appropriate to share a glimpse into her bridal shower. 

Bridal showers are wonderful.
They are happy
A time to celebrate love

But lets be honest, 
for the bridesmaids who have to plan it
It can be a bit intimidating and a lot of pressure. 

So here are my stress-free tips to planning a bridal shower

Tip #1: Pick A Theme
Parties that have a theme are so much fun! They set a tone for your event 
and it allows your guests to get involved.
 Why not suggest a certain attire? 
 If your theme is a fiesta.. suggest tropical attire or sombreros.
Hosting a brunch?....sundresses
A traditional shower? ..suggest that the guest wear the brides wedding colors.
Make it fun!
For Grace's shower we choose to have a Tea Party theme!
On the invitation we suggested wearing your favorite tea attire of sundresses and hats!
Everyone loved dressing up.

Tip #2: Pick a Color Pallet
By picking a color pallet you can enhance your theme and make everything cohesive.
By adding to make colors in the mix, your decor might end up looking mis-matching and confused. 
Keep it simple. 

For the tea party we focused on light pink and pastel purple.

Tip #3: Details, details, details
Decor can set the mood for your guests. No need to go crazy on the budget. Its amazing what a little tissue paper, candles, and flowers can do. Keeping your theme and colors in mind will help guide you. You cant go wrong.

Try a chalk board sign, homemade bunting banner, and mason jars with flowers for easy decor.

We were so blessed to have our cousin Emily Moher 
create these BEAUTIFUL flower arrangements for the tables!

Tip #4: Food
This aspect of party planning can be the most stressful and lets be honest, pricey. 
The best way to keep your guest and your wallet happy is quantity over variety. Keep your menu simple. 
Most showers are hosted in the afternoon or late morning when its common to have a lighter lunch. 
Think finger food. Something that the guests can socialize and eat at the same time.

We served a fruit salad, veggie platter with dip, deli roll ups (aka pin wheels), pasta salad and a variety of dessert items. This menu was simple and best of all we could do a lot of the prep work the day before. 
 For beverages we served hot tea, ice tea, 
lemon and cucumber infused water and wine (well it is my family after all)

I hope you found some of these tips helpful when planning your event.

Congrats Grace! We are so excited for your big day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Recipe: Bacon Chicken Pasta Bake

As a working  mother of two crazy toddlers
I need dinner ideas that are not only delicious,
 but easy!


what could be better?

What is great about this recipe is that its great as leftovers
so you can easily pack it for lunch the next day.

Bacon Chicken Pasta Bake
Serves 12

What you need:
4  cups uncooked bow-tie pasta 
1 bag frozen broccoli
6 slices bacon
1 large sweet onion, chopped  
1 Tbs Minced garlic 
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh baby portabella mushroom- sliced
2  cups shredded cooked chicken
 *Time saving tip* Cook a whole chicken a head of time, shred and freeze in smaller portions to pull out for other quick meals. 
1 jars (15 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce 
(feel free to add more if you like it really creamy, I prefer it more like a casserole consistency)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
What to do:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. 
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add frozen broccoli last 5 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
3. Meanwhile- Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Set bacon aside and drain the majority of bacon drippings. In the same pan, saute chopped onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms until onions become translucent. 
4. Mix together pasta mixture, Alfredo sauce, onions, mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Spread in prepared baking dish.

5. Top with bacon crumbles and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with a leafy side salad. 


Friday, April 4, 2014

Wellness: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is a breathing technique that I have learned during the Yoga Certification journey I am currently undergoing.  Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed? This breathing technique is a fantastic way to calm the mind and bring clarity to your emotions. Its one that I use to bring myself to the moment when I feel high anxiety. 

  • Balances the right and left hemisphere of the brain
  • Instills clarity to your mind and emotions
  • Guides your thoughts to the present moment
  • Alleviates headaches and feelings of high anxiety
  • Helps to normalize the heating and cooling systems of your body

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Begin with a few rounds of full inhales and exhales. 
Bring your right hand out lifting the pinky and thumb out. Support your right elbow with your left hand.

Place your thumb on your right nostril to close it and exhale out of your left nostril.
Inhale deeply through your left nostril
Hold your breath and release your thumb.

Continue to hold your breath while place your pinky on your left nostril.
Exhale out of your right nostril.
Inhale in your right nostril and hold your breath.
Continue to hold your breath while releasing your pinky and placing your thumb and your right nostril.

Step 4:
Continue this pattern of inhales and exhales. 
It may be helpful to say to yourself " Inhale-left, exhale right." until you become comfortable without guidance.

Health Hint: Do not practice if you have a cold or your nasal passages are completely blocked in any way. If this is the case for you, practice using visualization instead of physically blocking nostrils.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Recipe: Not Your Blue Box Mac and Cheese

Oh mac and cheese, 
Who doesn't love a good comfort food
or have it as a staple as a childhood favorite. 

It's so easy to have mac and cheese these days,
and most people grab for that beloved little blue box.

Sadly, that little blue box doesn't love us back...

.. Most of us forget to turn to the ingredient list 
and see what's REALLY in the food we eat.

.. petroleum base dyes and GMO wheat. 
(scary! this can be proven to link to hyperactivity in children) 

Sorry little blue box, 
you are no more welcome for my family to eat!

But how can you give up your kid friendly go-to lunch?

No need, just make your own REAL mac and cheese.

Its easier than you think and you only need THREE ingredients!
Yes, I did just say three ingredients.. Milk, cheddar cheese and noodles! 

Home-style Mac & Cheese
Serves 4

1. Place 3 cups of milk into a saucepan and combine with 2 cups elbow macaroni (I used organic light wheat)
2. Heat to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender. Making sure to stir here and there so your noodles don't burn. 

3. Once noodles are tender, mix in (roughly)1 1/2 cups of freshly grated cheddar cheese until melted. If you'd like it creamier, mix in a few more tablespoons of milk
*may add a dash of salt if you prefer for taste.

4. Once everything is combined and melted, serve up in some bowls and enjoy!

 ** Want to know about the dangers of the "little blue box" - check out Food Babe and her article warning against it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wellness: The Power of Aloe!

For those of you who do not know me personally,
my daughters and myself suffer from eczema.
My whole life I have been battling my darn sensitive skin
and nothing has seemed to help.
I've tried the different  prescribed steroid base cream,
but putting so much of that on my skin always made me feel uneasy.
 There must be a better and natural way to reduce inflammation.

One way to reduce inflammation of the skin
is changing your diet.
The other is using all-natural remedies.. like aloe!

Oh Aloe, aloe, aloe....
...such a small weird looking plant..
...but so much POWER!!

Many of you know aloe from your makeup and lotions.
It has great healing properties for skin inflammation, burns and sunburns!
(nice, huh?)

Aloe can be bought in stores,
but why buy aloe when you can grow your own?
and it keeps reproducing!!

Yes, ladies! Aloe can be grown as a house plant!

Extracting your aloe is easy. Simply cut off a a leaf and make a slit lengthwise.
Squeeze the gel out and apply to skin!  

 All natural and soothing!

Start your plants now and you'll be set for summer!

Happy natural healing!

*If you are taking other herbal remedies, please consult your doctor to make sure aloe will not interact negatively with your current prescriptions and herbal remedies. Do not have children ingest aloe orally. Please consult pediatrician before use.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Recipe: Avocado Egg Breakfast

Avocados is a great fruit to add to your morning diet. According to avocados have numerous health benefits such as healthy fats, vitamins, fiber and protein. I like to start my morning off with a nutritional energy and protein packed boost and this is my go-to breakfast addition. Its so simple! Tasty additions are salsa, chives or salt and pepper.

Ingredients and Tools:
2 avocados
2 eggs
Cutting board
Muffin Tin

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cut the avocados in half.

2. Take out the pit. Spoon out a small amount of the "guts" to create room for the egg.

3. Place avocados in muffin tin

4. Crack eggs and pour into avocado. 

5. Set pan in oven and let bake for 15-20 minutes.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipe: Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Calling all busy Ladies!!

Here is a great crock pot and freezer friendly meal! 
For those who are just joining us, you will soon learn that I am a little obsessed with freezer friendly meals. Soo easy!

  Today I made Teriyaki Chicken over Rice. SUPER EASY! The best thing about this recipe too is that you can prep it before hand and freeze it all in a Ziploc freezer bag (my new best friend). Thaw and then dump it all into your slow cooker! Dinner is ready when you come home and only one bag to throw away! Easy clean up.

Makes two meals with 4 servings each.
(I made one today in the crock-pot and saved the other in the freezer for an easy meal later this month!)


What you need:
- Ziploc freezer bag (to store second meal)
- White rice
- 1 large can pineapple (undrained)
- 1 large onion (cut into large chunks)
- 1 medium bag of carrots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 green pepper- chopped in large chunks (optional: I have tons in the garden to use up)
- 4 chicken breasts- cut in half (I used tenderloins instead)
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce (if need GF, check label! there are some brands without wheat)
- Ginger powder to taste

Step 1: Cut up all veggies

Step 2: Label extra bag with directions and content.
           -Add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
           -Cook on High-4 hours/ Low 8 hours
           -Serve over rice

Step 3: Add meat to bag and crock-pot

Step 4: Divide veggies and all other ingredients between the bag and cock-pot.

Step 5: Start crock pot for desired time. Press air of our bag, seal and freeze for a later meal (lay flat to freeze)

Step 6: Serve over hot rice when done.

This meal took me 10 minutes to prep. I now have a meal ready with barely any work and PLUS a meal with no prep later this month :)

 **When ready to use the frozen meal. Move to refrigerator to thaw (enough to slide out of bag), place contents of the bag in crock pot, turn on, and dinner will be ready when you get home!

Happy Cooking!
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