Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kiwi Crate Product Review

My sister and her boyfriend gave Lovebug a Kiwi Crate subscription for Christmas a couple years ago and she absolutely LOVED it!  In fact, she enjoyed it so much we purchased a subscription ourselves to continue receiving these lovely green boxes at our door. 

Several months ago, I included Kiwi Crates in one of my So Into posts and said I would provide an in depth product review.  So, I'm finally following through on that promise. 
Kiwi Crate
Just to be clear, I am not affiliated with Kiwi Crate and this is not a sponsored post.  This is a product that we really enjoy and something I would recommend to friends and family.  So, I thought I'd share my thoughts and experiences with you.
Here's how it works:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cake

My Love and I recently celebrated 7 years of wedded bliss and he had one request for our anniversary dinner.   A flourless chocolate cake.  Lucky for him, I happened to have the perfect recipe!  
This Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cake was the first recipe I learned in culinary school and is so incredibly good.   It is rich, decadent and full of velvety chocolate flavor that simply melts in your mouth. 
There is a reason this cake is called Chocolate Decadence Cake.  It is super intense!  Which means, all you need is a small slice with a scoop of your favorite ice cream (I like it with coffee flavored ice cream) or a dollop of whipped cream to cut the richness. Which, by the way, makes this cake a great choice for dinner parties (you can get up to 16 slices out of it).
If you are craving a delicious chocolate cake that is easy to make, look no further.  This cake will satisfy any chocolate craving!

Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cake

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What's for Dinner?

So, a few weeks ago, Littlebug started clapping while I was feeding her.  It was the sweetest, cutest thing to see her slapping her sweet little hands together, happy to be eating.  I was so proud and excited to see he master a new skill, that I couldn't help but start clapping and cheering right along with her.  Of course, it didn't take long for My Love and Lovebug to join in.

We must have looked ridiculous because she looked a bit perplexed at first.   But then she smiled and laughed, which, of course, made us smile and laugh.  Then, she'd clap some more.  So, of course, we'd clap some more and it would just snowball from there.  

Only, it turns out... she wasn't clapping.  She was signing for "more".  It only took me a couple weeks to realize that she would only "clap" when I was feeding her and that's when it hit me.  So, like any reasonable adult, I asked her, "Are you asking for 'more'?" (as I motioned the sign).  Seriously, you guys, I thought the kid was going to jump out of her seat, she was so excited.  

I have no idea why I thought she was clapping when I have been signing "more" and "all done" to her for months.  I just thank God that she can't speak yet, because I can only imagine what was going on in her head...  

Why is this crazy lady so happy I want more food?   And if she's so happy I want more, why won't she stop cheering and just feed me already!

Not my best mommy moment.  But, the good news is that we have figured out the difference between her sign for "more" and her clap.  It looks pretty much the same.  But the key difference is that she is usually staring down food, a bottle or a toy when she is signing for "more".  So, now we know. :)

So, what's for dinner?

Sunday: Veggie Pesto Pizza (pushed out from last week)

Monday:  Spaghetti and Meatballs with steamed broccoli


Thursday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin, smashed red potatoes and green beans (new recipe)

Friday:  Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon, zucchini and salad

Saturday:   Eat out

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall & Halloween Burlap Wreath

Earlier this year, I made a simple burlap wreath to use as a backdrop for seasonal decorations in my home.  Each month, I am changing the embellishments on the burlap wreath to create entirely new wreaths to celebrate holidays, seasons, etc.  

Here is how I embellished my burlap wreath so far:

Since I didn't get my burlap wreath post up last month, I'll be sharing both my September and October wreaths today.  Twice the fun!

So, I thought my September wreath was going to be the easiest one to create because (1) I LOVE fall and (2) fall and burlap go hand in hand, right?   It was going to be so easy.

OMG!  Can I tell you, it might have been the hardest wreath to pull together, to date?   I re-did this wreath I don't even know how many times and nothing worked out the way I wanted it to.  So, I scoured the internet for inspiration and still nothing jumped out at me.  I felt so defeated and frustrated that all the pressure I put on myself had created a bit of a creative block.

So, eventually, I decided to strip it down and keep it simple.  I simply added a brown and gold burlap ribbon I found at Joann's Fabric and scattered fall leaves between the burlap folds.

Fall Leaf Burlap Wreath

Is it my favorite wreath.  Nope.  Do I like it?  Yes.  Do I think that better fall burlap wreaths can be created?  Absolutely.  But, this one worked with the decorations in our home and that was good enough for me. 

Brown and Gold Burlap Ribbon
Decorative Fall Leaves

How I did it:
I simply created a bow at the top of the wreath using the ribbon.  Then, I tucked the decorative fall leaves between the folds of the burlap wreath.  Done!

My October wreath is focused on Halloween for obvious reasons.  Although I am completely arachnophobic...
Quick side story- Did I ever tell you about the time a spider moved into my car?  It was a female and apparently it's egg sack hatched in my car so there were literally hundreds of baby spiders all over.  I called several exterminators to see if they could tent or bait or somehow kill all the spiders, but they said they couldn't.  All I could do was try to prevent any food supply (flies) from coming in and wait the spiders out.  It was awful!  I'm still traumatized from the experience and the kicker is that I was arachnophobic BEFORE this happened.  True story!

Anyway, as I was saying, although I'm completely arachnophobic, most of my Halloween decorations are centered around spiders.    So, when I thought about how I wanted to embellish my wreath this month, spiders were the natural answer to complement my other decorations. 

I picked up some black deco mesh ribbon and added it to my wreath to emulate spider webs.  Then, I threw on a bunch of plastic spiders.  I tossed on a little orange deco mesh ribbon (which I had initially purchased for my September wreath but it didn't really read fall to me so it was scrapped, like so many other ideas) for color and voila!  Halloween Burlap Wreath that I love!  

I still hate real spiders though.  (I tell Lovebug that we shouldn't say we hate things because it is a strong word.  But, I truly HATE spiders so it's appropriate here.)
Halloween Spider Burlap Wreath

Black Deco Mesh Ribbon
Orange Deco Mesh Ribbon
Plastic Spider

How I did it:
I started by tucking the end of the black deco mesh ribbon into the wire frame from the front of the wreath.  I measured about a 4-5 inch length of ribbon, then tucked the ribbon into the frame, pulling about an inch or so through the back to secure. Then, I measured another 4-5 inch length of ribbon, tucking the end of that length into the frame, pulling another inch or so through to the back to secure.  I continued until I made my way around the wreath then cut off the excess black deco mesh ribbon.  Then, I created my bow by mixing the orange and black deco mesh ribbon together and securing it to the frame.  Lastly, I attached the spiders onto the wreath by tucking one front and one back leg into the burlap and/or deco mesh.  That was it! 

Easy-peasy and festive too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So Into / So Over - Episode 17

If you know me personally, you know that I am a very honest person and not at all shy about sharing what I think, whether it is good or bad.  So Into / So Over posts provide me a forum to share my thoughts on things that make me happy as well as things that make me, well, not so happy.  Here's what I've been So Into / So Over this week:

So Into:  Comfort Foods in Fall
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The weather is starting to cool off a bit here in Arizona (we're down to mid to high 80's!), which instantly makes me crave comfort foods.  Soups, stews and casseroles are all I can think about and I doubt the craving will be satisfied any time soon.

I don't know if its the cooler weather, flu season or just thinking about holiday meals?  But, there is something that feels so good about preparing a meal that needs to simmer in a pot all day or bake off in an oven for hours.  It just feels so home-y and makes me feel so at peace.  I love this season and am SO INTO making and eating comfort foods.

So Over:  Broken High Chairs at Restaurants
You know what is frustrating?  Broken restaurant high chairs.  Seriously, who decided that it would be a good idea to use cheap plastic clasps on the seat belts of high chairs?  With the amount of use they get, it's no surprise that the clasps are almost always broken!  

One of our favorite restaurants does not have a single functioning high chair - a fact they are aware of but have made no effort to fix.  The clasp is broken on every single high chair and they have like 10 of them!  Why is that ok?  Would they be ok with every one of their regular chairs being unsafe?  I just don't get it?  It seems like a big liability to offer a chair that is not safe to babies and toddlers, but what do I know.  

I am so over broken high chairs at restaurants.  Is it really that hard to repair or replace these parts?  If so, why not invest in better quality chairs for your littlest patrons?  

I'd love to hear from you!  What are you So Into and So Over?  Products? Projects? Gadgets? Books? Anything really!  Leave a comment to share.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oreo Truffles

I was first introduced to Oreo Truffles about 5 years ago by my coworker, Tami.  Every year, she would bring these decadent truffles in as holiday treats for her very appreciative colleagues.  Word always traveled fast when Tami had truffles in the office. They never lasted long so you either had to get in good with her or move fast if you wanted some! 

The first time I tasted one, I was hooked.   I grabbed a couple more so I could share them with My Love and Lovebug when I got home.  It was no surprise that they absolutely loved them... when they finally got to try some the following year.  

What?  It's not my fault!  Blame the truffles!!  They are so incredibly tasty, it was literally impossible to eat just one!  Besides, My Love and Lovebug didn't even know they existed, so they didn't know what they were missing....  At least I shared them with them the next time I got my hands on them!!!  

Anyway, I couldn't wait another year to have more Oreo Truffles, so Tami graciously shared the recipe with me and we have made them somewhat regularly ever since.  

These Oreo Truffles are fantastic!  They are pretty versatile and they make fantastic gifts for neighbors, coworkers and/or friends.  They are also the perfect thing to take in to teachers for holidays, teacher appreciation or just because.   

Lovebug has figured out that if she suggests we make them for someone else, she will generally score a few as well.  So, we recently made some for her student teacher, who happened to be one of my sorority sisters from college (small world!!), on her last day in Lovebug's class and Lovebug already has plans to make some for our local fire fighters.  :)
Oreo Truffle Recipe

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's for Dinner?

Hello friends!!  How are you?!?

I feel like we haven't talked in for-ever!  I have really missed you!

Apparently, I decided to take the last couple months off.  Actually, it wasn't really a decision, it just kind of happened.  I was busy focusing on family, life, work, etc. and time just got away from me.  But, you were never far from my mind.  While I wanted to post, I just didn't have the time for it.

Luckily, we recently got back from vacation and I am feeling refreshed, organized and ready to get back to it!  I can't promise that I'll be posting six times a week, but I can promise that I will have new content up regularly now that I'm back.  After all, I have two months of projects, recipes, etc. to catch you up on!!  I can't wait to get started!

I hope you've been well!

So, what's for dinner?

Monday:  Steak Salad with Chimichurri  Dressing (recipe coming soon)

Tuesday: Chili with Cornbread

Wednesday: Veggie Pesto Pizza (recipe coming soon)

Thursday: Leftovers

Saturday:   Eat out

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.
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