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Showing posts from February, 2014

Turkey Club Tortilla Pinwheels

We feel so lucky to live so close to (most of) our dear families! We're able to be present in case they need anything (emergency or non-emergency), we have the best free-and-always-willing babysitters around, and we're also able to celebrate life's big moments together as a family. Especially new little babies!

Torellini with Snap Peas in Lemon Dill Cream Sauce

It was the eve of Valentine's Day. Ryan and I had made it a tradition to have a toddler-free dinner on the 13th to celebrate, so that evening Ryan had made reservations for us in downtown Salt Lake City at The Garden. Before we headed out for dinner, Ryan took me down the street to Orson Gygi for a book signing I've been waiting for since 2008.


The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie

I don't mean to be a debbie-downer, but how are those New-Years goals going? Are we keeping everything together? Or have we laxed a little bit?

My "30-minutes-of-exercise" every morning has taken a hit and lacked consistency, but my "eat-more-green-stuff-and-less-sugary-stuff" has dominated. I feel the difference in my day when I start it with a couple bites of whatever is out, versus a green smoothie. It's been amazing! My quest to make the perfect macaron isn't exactly underway anytime soon - but the year is still young!

Our family goals are going very well, too so far. Thanks to our tax return, and Ryan's strict budget, we've been able to save, pay-off, and take care of business in our finances department. They weren't bad in the first place, but we're always striving to prepare ourselves for a rainy day, train ourselves to recognize what wants/needs are, and save up to build/find our very first home.

Ryan's goal of running his f…

Honey Sesame Baked Chicken and Easy Fried Brown Rice

As our Utah weather continues with it's usual schizophrenic tendencies, the choices I've made on "what's for dinner" have become a little more frustrating. 
I plan soup. I make soup. The weather turns to blaring sunshine and all the snow melts. 
I plan something on the grill. I fire up the grill. The weather turns into a full on blizzard of the apocalypse. 
I plan something warm and hearty. I plop something cozy in the oven. The weather is practically springtime within seconds. 
Utah is on to me. I swear it is. 
Fortunately, there are some dinnertime favorites that seem to fit whatever is happening outside my window - blaring hot or freezing cold. Tacos and spaghetti are usually our norm, but recently we've settled on this dreamy plate of sesame goodness. I saw this recipe over on a darling friends blog, and knew right away it had to go on the menu. I wasn't really prepared for what we were about to discover through her genius:
THE CHICKEN WAS OFF THE HO…

20 Mouthwatering Spring & Summer Salads

With spring right around the corner, my favorite way to celebrate is with a big plate loaded with as much colorful splendor as possible (mostly in veggie and fruit form). Whenever a family gathers together for a meal, I bet there's a salad on the table somewhere. Here's my list of salads I've tried over the past year-or-so, and they are ALL DYNAMITE! Some are a little more simple than others, some use a little pasta, some are purely fruit, and others are straight up green salads. However, each are more delicious than the last, and are sure to bring a bounce of color to your plates with the upcoming warmer seasons. 
Pear and Candied Pecan Salad with Bacon and Feta
Chicken Salad Piccata
Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad
Blueberry, Strawberry, and Green Grape Salad
Spinach and Arugula Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Star Watermelon & Blueberry Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
Cranberry Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Poppy Seed Balsamic Vinaigret…

BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

I don't know about all you fine folks, but after all the amazing desserts and expensive fine dining Valentine's Day brings, the only thing I feel like eating is a big salad!

For me, the more colorful the salad, and the more difference in texture, the better. This salad fit that bill perfectly! The bold southwestern flavors, with the soft avocado and eggs, topped with a few crunchy bites of bacon and red onion made this seemingly-harmless salad a HUGE filling dish!


Normally, Ryan and I eat our salads dry-as-a-bone. We're just not big on salad dressing or vinaigrettes (unless they're more of a supporting role to the flavors, versus the dominant). But a sweet little drizzle of that zesty BBQ sauce over the chicken transforms the overall experience! It was so simple, but made a huge impact. You could even toss the BBQ sauce with the chicken before adding it to the salad to get even more flavor!

What I love about this salad, as well, is that it's super easy to prep in …

Caprese Mac & Cheese

I feel like I'm always on the hunt for the perfect pasta dish; one that's not too time-consuming, doesn't use a bunch of expensive ingredients, and one that my husband and toddler's taste buds will both sing for joy upon the first bite.


This pasta dish is most definitely at the very tippity top of that list right now. The sauce tastes INCREDIBLE with zero effort. The mozzarella is impossibly creamy and packs so much rich flavor into the dish. Usually I'd use maybe half the amount of mozzarella in a pasta dish, but using the full amount changed my life! The taste was perfect, and had completely switched the amount of cheese I'll use in my pasta sauces from now on.

I chopped up a few fresh tomatoes (I love buying them vine-on. It helps get that picked-from-the-garden flavor in the dead-tundra-of-snowmageddon we have in Utah every February), and threw them right on the sauce-soaked pasta. I always keep a basil plant in my kitchen by my window, so I just snipped o…

Slow Cooker Red Chicken Enchilada Soup

Sure, sure. Yeah, yeah. We've all probably had some version of this soup - and for good reason. It's killer! However, I think darling Karen had honestly cracked the code to making this soup TOP NOTCH.

For reals, though. I've been making this soup for years, and never ever had I thought to add in a can of none other than...

...refried beans. 
Sounds so simple, right? But holy smokes, friends. It takes this soup to a brand new level of addiction for me. It made the enchilada flavor pop even more, and creamed up the soup without using a bunch of heavy cream or milk. Such a lovely little secret!

Opening the can of enchilada sauce reminded me of my childhood. My Mom makes the most mouth-watering red enchiladas. I'd always watch her, and when she'd turn her back, I'd sneak a tortilla chip right into the uncooked red enchilada sauce can. I could drink that stuff, it was so amazing. So of course, when I made this lovely soup for my family, I just had to sneak a couple…

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cupcakes

This entire week I've been sharing dessert after dessert to get you fine folks ready for Valentine's Day! If you need more ideas, I've been sharing a fun dessert idea daily on Instagram, and have even been giving a sneak peek at my kitchen at new and upcoming recipes for the blog. It's party, I'm tellin' ya. 
I couldn't wait to share these cupcakes with you! They were a complete home run!!
Cherry cordials are honestly one of my favorite desserts to have around Valentine's Day. There's just something so beautifully special about those little pockets of cherry cream, oozing ganache, and a lone sweet cherry, all in a hard-shell pocket of chocolate. It bursts in your mouth when you bite it, and there's no turning back - you just have to pop the rest of it in with one perfect bite.


There just had to be a way to incorporate those beautiful flavors into a cupcake. There just had to be! Or all would be messed up in the world. It was that simple. Cupcak…

Red Velvet Mini Cheesecakes with Oreo Crust and Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! In our home, we don't have a ton of decorations (heck, we usually just put up the ones we make from scrap paper and call it good), but MAN we sure love to bake up as many decadent little Valentine's Day sweets as possible. We don't eat all of them (even though we try, haha), but we sure love tasting them and then giving them away to dear friends and loved ones. That's what this holiday is all about, right? Celebrating love? 
For us, Valentine's day doesn't have to be designated 100% to a boyfriend, fiance, or spouse - we like spreading the love through our whole family. Each year, on the 13th, we do have a dinner & date night just for my husband and I, but on the 14th? We celebrate together as a little family! It's great fun, and has become a dear tradition we look forward to each year. 


These little cheesecakes? I'm almost 100% sure will be on the menu that night for dessert. Sometimes a full slice of…

Cookies & Cream Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Easiest Valentine's Day Dessert ever. 
I know everyone's probably watching the Superbowl. Me? Not so much. But I do love how people can gather in the name of sports and eat delicious food together. I'm all for that. Go crazy, people. Get your queso and guacamole on like it's 1999, man. 
The month of February is already upon us - felt like it snuck right in, didn't it? I don't mind. I love the creamy & decadent desserts that come along with it's star holiday. Mostly because, just like the Superbowl this fine Sunday, people come together to enjoy it with their loved ones. 
These darling little cheesecake bars are super easy to throw together for any Valentine's event you have scheduled this month. The oreo lovers will fawn all over them, and the cheesecake lovers will get just enough of that cheesecake flavor to satisfy. I say that because they didn't really taste like cheesecake to me. My taste buds went straight to the strawberry Jello cream. I…