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Heirloom or Clutter…+ A New Twist on an Old Favorite…Chicken Parmesan as a muffin!

Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!

I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren….but seriously…..you have to think, “Will they want this shit?”

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Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.

Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.

Moving Steve’s mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea….So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.

My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.

On a return flight from Cancun, I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.

Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
  • 2 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ a small finely chopped onion
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup pasta sauce
  • ¾ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
  3. Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!

Until next time…

Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!

🥂Laura

CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING

Those of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with anything NINJA! Check out the latest!…

Ninja Foodi 1400-Watt Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer w/ TenderCrisp Technology, Pressure & Crisping Lid, 6.5 Qt Pot (OP301), Black/Gray by Ninja $229.00 + FREE SHIPPING!

Ninja Foodi Complete Cookbook For Beginners: 150 Amazingly Easy and Delicious Recipes to Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Dehydrate, and More with Your Ninja Foodi. 2019 Paperback – November 20, 2018 $13.49 or for your Kindle $4.99

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4 PC Instant Pot Accessories Pressure Cooker Ninja Accessories with Egg Bite Mold, and Trivet $25.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

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Try These 3 Quick + Easy Healthy Tips!

News Year’s resolutions for me have always centered around diet, exercise and….for those of you who know me….timeliness. This is the first year that not only did I not make a resolution, I didn’t even think to. Maybe my subconscious mind decided that it wasn’t necessary to keep setting myself up for failure, or that my memory was going, or perhaps both, but I’m still committed to these three self inflicted goals.

So here they are….3 simple quick + mindless tips to a healthier and happier you.

TIP 1…..Move.

This is a great tip for the anti-exerciser! Choose 1 commercial on television a day and move your feet side side to sideEXERCISE STEP TOUCHOR

if you have an exercise ball collecting dust in your closet, dust it off, sit it and bounce holding soup cans. (remember to hold the cans close to your body to keep your back in alignment) That’s it!
EXERCISE BOUNCING ON A BALL 2

TIP 2….Make AND take time for YOU.

Take 1 hour a day and do something for yourself. One hour…that’s it! Whether its reading a magazine with your feet up, taking a walk, watching a show on televisions, looking up things on the internet….no matter what it is…take time for you. This time doesn’t need to be regimented every day or even at the same time. That adds to stress. At some point say to yourself…”My time,” and take it.

Personally, my anti stress therapy is an hour walking around Homegoods. I love looking at all of the new dishes, linens and things to decorate my home with. I don’t even need to buy anything (hard to resist) but I just love to look.

This brings us to the all important step…choosing the right foods AND the right way to prepare them.

TIP 3….Making good food choices.

EXERCISE DANCING CARROTS

If you live in an area where I do, we are cooped up in the winter and mindless eating…aka snacking, can be a serious disorder. Essentially snacking isn’t such a bad thing, but just how many carrot and celery sticks can one consume???

I have found that combining tip 2 and tip 3 works for me. Aiming at turning easy + delicious foods into healthy, easy + delicious foods has been a fun and yummy challenge.

Scour the internet and pinterest for healthy foods. Hate broccoli? Find a better way to make it, or skip it and look at something else. I’ve even discovered a healthy version of fettucini alfredo, if that’s possible!

Not a big lover of eggplant, but my Steve certainly is, I recently discovered a clever disguise for one of his favorite dishes on Pinterest…eggplant parmesan. This clever version is super easy and delicious. Slicing the eggplant super thin is the trick….Check it out…

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • julienned fresh basil, optional


Instructions

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Generously salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes.  Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This process will draw out the excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplant.  I have seen some skip this step entirely.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
  3. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the panko mixture onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  4. Drizzle a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil and spread it around to cover the whole pan.  Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded cheese.  Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil right before serving.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by today!

PLEASE feel free to contact me if you are looking for an easy and lighter way to make a favorite dish.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If there is anything to take away from reading this, I hope that you will remember to be good to yourself.

Cheers and Happy New Year,

Laura

Here are a few of my finds for the New Year! Happy Shopping!

Exercise Stability Ball Chair with Hand Pump Use For CrossFit, Yoga, Balance & Core Strength Training, Non-Slip & Anti-Burst Extra Thick Fitness Ball(Multiple Sizes) $17.99 + Free Shipping

EXERCISE STABILITY BALL

Sivan Health and Fitness Balance Fit Chair with ball and pump $63.49 + FREE SHIPPING

EXERCISE BALL CHAIR

Simply Fit Board – The Abs Legs Core Workout Balance Board with A Twist, As Seen on TV $29.90 + FREE SHIPPING

EXERCISE SIMPLY FIT BOARD

Z By Zella High Waisted Blocked Crop Leggings $24.97

EXERCISE ZELLA CLOTHING

 

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ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing,  you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper,  & diced celery 

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt
, 1 t. black pepper
, 1/2 t. white pepper
, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 
1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day.  Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

🍻 Laura

PS: Check out these great finds for your kitchen:

Le Creuset

Le Creuset White Signature Enameled Cast Iron 4.5 Quart Round Dutch Oven $299.95 with free shipping (Comes in a variety of colors)

 

 

 

 

CLAMBAKE POTGranite Ware 6194-1 Enamel-on-Steel 2-Tier Decorated Clam-and-Lobster Steamer with Faucet, 19-Quart $47.70 with Free Shipping

 

 

Seafood Boil Party Plates and Bibs – Bundle of 2 Items: Pack of 4 Plastic Plates and 4 Plastic Bibs (Red Lobster) $18.95 with Free Shipping

LOBSTER PLATTER AND BIBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great time of year to cash in on those summer favorite sales! Check out these adorable flip flops!

 

GUESS FLIP FLOPSGUESS Women’s Tutu Flip-Flop in black, navy & pink. $17.99

 

 

SILVER SANDALSSPARKLING BOW SANDAL – SILVER $17.95 with Free Shipping

 

 

 

 

 

TIGER FLIP FLOPSGuess Women’s Titaney Flip-Flop $17.36 with Free Shipping

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Gimme S’more Lovin’ this Summer!

Ahhhhh….summertime! Picnics and seasonal celebrations calls for putting a twist on your favorite treats! 

All the ‘fixins’ for a desert s’mores buffet seems like a great idea until the next day when the ants have invaded the delicious droppings from the well intended sweet treat. “What was I thinking,” you remind yourself.  

Well, alas, here is an inviting alternative to the work and the mess while preserving the integrity of the sweet s’more…. S’Mores Cookies which I found in a back issue of Cuisine Magazine.

No more long, hot, dangerous pokers prancing around the fire in the dark, carrying a flaming marshmallow in search of that elusive graham cracker and chocolate. This delicious cookie even looks the part!

S’Mores Cookies

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Enjoy the delicious taste of s’mores without the mess with these S’Mores Cookies!

Makes 4 dozen cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. each baking soda and kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (8 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup each granulated sugar and packed
  • brown sugar 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 24 large marshmallows, halved horizontally or the new flat ones 
  • 48 Hershey’s chocolate bar pieces (4 bars)IMG_8128

Preheat oven to 375°.

  1. Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated. Blend in flour mixture on low speed just until incorporated.
  4. Scoop dough with #60
    scoop (about 1 Tbsp.) onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake cookies 4 minutes. Top each with a marshmallow half and bake until golden, 4–5 minutes more.
  6. Transfer cookies to cooling racks, press chocolate pieces on top, and let stand 5 minutes. 

Dear Friends, Cheers to summertime, picnics and all of the celebrations that create great memories! I love this s’mores cookie, because the thought of rescuing the little ones from flaming marshmallows and dangerous sharp pokers is relieving at best! Feel free to shop my latest finds for trends in style for home and you!

Cheers and happy baking!

🍷 Laura

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new shop, FOLIO TRENDS, for the latest in ladies’ fashion. These are a few of my faves + FREE SHIPPING!

COLD SHOULDER LACE BLOUSE $34.99

FOLIO TRENDS OFF THE SHOULDER BLOUSE

 

STRIPED CANVAS BEACH TOTE WITH ZIPPER $24.99

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TWO PIECE DRAWSTRING PANTS SET $36.99

FOLIO TRENDS TWO PIECE DRESSING

S’MORES MAKER $39.99

S'MORES MAKER

 

 

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Spring Break with a Side of Fries

Today was enlightening. My first day of vacation and not only did I wear my usual two piece bathing suit, skirted and high waisted, of course, but I noticed a distinctive sign that I needed to lose weight. The sign wasn’t as blatant as you might think. The scale this morning didn’t yell, “GET OFF OF ME!” ….no one tried to harpoon me on the beach……but the sign was there. You see, every chaise lounge at the pool is equipped with a numbered flag that you raise in order to let the server know that you would like to order food. Yep! You guessed it, mine had no flag.

So, my daughter, Jodi and I decided to have a late lunch of blackened mahi tacos with a mango salsa; healthy, and flavorful. It was happy hour, and we were happy,  so we enjoyed a skinny margarita. Suddenly, our server delivered these amazing french fries to the next table. Jodi and I shot each other a glance and beckoned the server to bring us an order. This little diet destructor was well worth the calories; …….thick cut french fries served with a fresh raspberry mayo on the side. We IMG_7567quickly justified consuming these fat fried bursts of flavor by reminding ourselves that we did water jog🙃.  So, essentially, the moral of this story is “calories in and calories out.” There are, however, good calories and not so good calories, but an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, I often justify these binges by thinking, “If this were my last meal, it would totally be worth it.” It was.

This trip, I decided to create healthy and delicious meals using all of the fresh fish Florida has to offer. At the local fish market, grouper was recommended as a hearty fish that could easily be made into a piccata dish. Wikipedia explains piccata as “meat or fish sliced, sautéed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices”.  Often prepared with veal or chicken, this recipe proved to be a keeper. Enjoy!

GROUPER PICCATA

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  • 4 grouper filets about 4 oz. each,  blotted dry and seasoned with 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon slices

Dredge fillets in flour.
Heat 2 tsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add half the fillets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a platter; tent with foil. Repeat heating and cooking with remaining oil and fillets.
Add wine, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; cook 30 seconds. Off heat, swirl in butter until it melts; season with 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt, add lemon slices until softened.  Serve fillets with sauce over rice or angel hair pasta.

Dear Friends,

On the plane ride home from vacation, we hit a bit of turbulence. The kids on the plane clearly coming home from spring break, squealed with excitement at the sudden dips and turns. The parents, on the other hand looked horrified. Looking for a diversion, I noticed the cloud formations outside of my window and admired the unusual landscape the sunlight created as the rays bounced off of the sloping hills and valleys of the thick clouds.

Snapping a photo of this unusual scenery, placing it in the archives of vacation memories, it occurred to me the way in which this is a reminder of our need to “take time and smell the flowers” as we get older.  For so many years, we simply hurried to our next destination either not knowing or not realizing that life itself is a journey filled with moments worth pausing for celebration.

As always, thanks for stopping by and cheers to enjoying the journey. 

🍹 Laura

P.S. Check out my new store FOLIO TRENDS where you find great styles and incredible prices! Sign up for email alerts to get great savings!

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HOW TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE TAILGATE PARTY

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If you want to know what a ‘thing’ tailgating is, just take a walk through the UK Stadium, or the muni lot outside of Cleveland Stadium before a football game. Being raised by parents from Brooklyn, New York, the concept of eating food served from the back of a pick up truck was bizarre yet fascinating. Actually, tailgating is a serious thing.

Googling the ultimate tailgate supplies was amazing and for many people its much more than a thing….its a huge investment in time and dollars. Check out these rare and unusual finds……

Tailgater Dual Tank Backpack Drink Dispenser 210oz $39.95

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Backpacks aren’t just for books!
Backpack beverage dispenser serves up shots, your favorite brew, or most delicious tailgate kool-aid in style
Lightweight nylon, padded shoulder straps, mesh bag for extra cups
Two 24″ in canister hold a whopping 210 ounce capacity; measures 25½”x12”x4”

Deluxe Six-Pack Beer Belt Holster

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Really………

Hiding that six pack around your waist has never been so easy
It even has a hidden zippered pocket on the back keep your money, license, and credit cards safe
Featuring a classic camo appearance
Measures 43”x4½” and adjusts to accommodate waistlines between 28” and 43″

 

The Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron $19.99 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Get your grill on
Our unique camouflage grilling apron holds everything a real man could want or need for an afternoon of fun.
One size fits all with adjustable strap
Makes a Great Fun Gag Gift
Great for parties

 

Instagate Tailgate In A Box: $19.99 + $6.49 shipping

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#1 game day solution for tailgaters
More than 50 tailgate items in 1 over $50 in value
Includes foldable tailgate grill, 3 bbq tools, minit-lite® charcoal and party supplies
2016 Tailgater magazine game ball award winner
New and improved value and performance

 

And last, but not least….this is actually a good one….

NFL Wooden Tailgate Toss Cornhole Football Field $74.86 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Choose your NFL team

Size: 24 x 48″
Two 24″ x 48″ all-wood target boards
Vinyl shield with a Football field design and your teams favorite colors proudly displayed
Foldable legs for easy storage
Eight 16oz bean bags included

Here’s the million dollar question: Tonight is a gigantic nite for Cleveland sports,  having both the Cavs game after the official Ring Ceremony AND hopefully the last World Series game for the Indians, so do we call it a tailgate party, or is that just a football thing? If we had to rename the snack attack for these sports, we could call it “BASE ‘N BASKET BALL SNACK PACK!” Hmmmm.

Here’s an easy and crowd pleasing appetizer:

PIZZA CUPS

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Ingredients

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
36 wonton skins

Directions

1 Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 18 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2 In 10-inch skillet, brown beef with pizza seasoning and salt over medium-high heat until beef is browned; drain. Return beef to skillet; stir in pizza sauce.
3 Place 1 wonton skin in each muffin cup. Divide half of ground beef evenly among muffin cups. Top each with about 1 tablespoon cheese. Repeat layers starting with second wonton skin.
4 Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

PEPPERONI PIZZA FOOTBALL CHEESE BALL

This Pepperoni Pizza Football Cheese Ball is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a tailgate party!

IMG_3885
Ingredients
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz finely shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 5 oz bags mini pepperoni slices
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped bacon
1 4 oz jar diced pimientos, drained and patted dry

Instructions
Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Mix in half of the pepperoni slices, green onions, bacon, and pimientos.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon cheese mixture into bowl. Press mixture into bowl so that it takes on the shape of the bowl. Use the ends of the plastic wrap to wrap up the cheeseball firmly. Transfer the wrapped cheese ball to a cutting board and use your hands to shape it into a football.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove the cheese ball from the fridge and cover with remaining pepperoni, pressing gently to adhere.
Serve with pretzels, bread sticks, crackers, and veggies.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for popping in! If sports is your thing and you love tailgating, I hope you enjoy these recipes and reading about these unusual supplies to complete your tailgate! 

Cheers to celebrating enjoying all that each season has to offer with friends and family!

Until next time…

🍸Laura

 

 

 

 

 

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THE PERFECT COOKIE

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I have always marveled at those perfectly shaped cookies in the bakery department at the grocery store.  I’m never sure what’s in them or how they got to be so perfect, but I’ve finally found the magic recipe!

Cookies are a personal thing; some like chewy, some like crunchy, but personally, I like them just a little underdone and buttery…Eating a cookie made with fake butter is definitely a waste of calories. Browning the butter is a plus up in the flavor of this cookie.

So, here it is….(drumroll)…

SALTED BROWN BUTTER CINNAMON CRINKLE COOKIES

Makes 36 cookies

INGREDIENTS
10 tablespoons butter, sliced
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Place the butter in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and begins to foam.
  • Continue to cook,  until the butter becomes an amber color, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Add the granulated and brown sugar.
  • Pour the cooled butter into the sugars and mix on medium speed to combine.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing just until smooth.
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
  • Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Divide the chilled dough into 1- tablespoon sized balls.
  • Roll each ball into the powdered sugar and place onto the prepared pan, about 2- inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

DID SOMEONE SAY SHOPPING??? Check out these finds!

Silpat 12 Perfect Cookie Baking Sheet $18.62 Free Shipping for Prime Members

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Ice Cream Scoop – 3 Piece Stainless Steel with Trigger Cookie – Melon Scoop Spoon Set Small – Medium – Large $10.95 Free Shipping for Prime Members

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Home Basics Cookie Jar with Metal Top $19.99 & FREE Shipping

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Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping in. Share a cookie and share a smile to brighten someone’s day. Until next time…..

Laura

 

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7 Quick Back to School Breakfast Bites

With school starting, the search for quick, delicious and healthy morning treats goes on! I honestly don’t know how we survived without Pinterest and Google Search to serve all of our daily info needs! Starting the day off right sets the stage for kids of all ages to have a successful day!

They say, whoever they is, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My Steve used to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because you have a big problem if you aren’t home by then. Not funny but he’s definitely right.

Check out these delicious breakfast bites. With a little planning, your family will look forward to stopping at the breakfast table in the morning!

PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST!

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INGREDIENTS
1 EGG
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fully-cooked breakfast sausage crumbles OR 1 fully-cooked breakfast sausage link or patty, chopped
1 round flatbread (6-inch)
2 tbsp. finely shredded Cheddar cheese
Yields: 1 serving

DIRECTIONS

COAT in 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with cooking spray. ADD egg and milk; BEAT until blended. ADD sausage.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; push cooked edges toward center. MICROWAVE until egg is almost set, about 15 to 45 seconds longer.

CUT egg into 4 or 5 pieces; arrange on flatbread. TOP with cheese. MICROWAVE an additional 10 to 15 seconds to melt cheese. SERVE immediately.

EGG AND SAUSAGE TACO

microwave-egg-sausage-breakfast-taco-930x550.jpg
INGREDIENTS
1 EGG
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fully-cooked breakfast sausage crumbles OR 1 fully-cooked breakfast sausage link or patty, chopped
1 thin flatbread OR tortilla, warmed
2 tbsp. finely shredded Cheddar cheese OR Mexican cheese blend
Salsa, OPTIONAL
Yields: 1 serving
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
DIRECTIONS

COAT 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with cooking spray. ADD egg and milk; BEAT until blended. ADD sausage.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; push cooked edges toward center. MICROWAVE until egg is almost set, about 15 to 45 seconds longer.

PLACE on flatbread. TOP with cheese. FOLD and serve with salsa, if desired.

MUFFIN FRITATAS

muffin-frittata-web-930x550
INGREDIENTS
6 EGGS
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
3/4 cup chopped zucchini or spinach
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp. chopped red onion
Yields: 6 servings/12 muffin frittatas

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS

HEAT oven to 350°F. BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well-blended. ADD cheese, zucchini, bell pepper and onion; mix well. SPOON evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each.

BAKE in 350°F oven until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. COOL on wire rack 5 minutes. REMOVE from cups; serve warm.

BACON AND EGG BREAKFAST GRILLED CHEESE

Bacon_Egg_Grilled_Cheese_930x5502-100x59

2 EGGS
2 tbsp. milk OR water
salt and pepper, as desired
3 tsp. butter, room temperature, divided
4 slices whole wheat OR white bread
2 slices Colby-Jack cheese
4 slices fully-cooked bacon
Yields: 2 sandwiches

DIRECTIONS

BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in small bowl until blended.

HEAT 1 tsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. POUR IN egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, GENTLY PULL the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner, forming large soft curds. CONTINUE cooking – pulling, lifting and folding eggs – until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. REMOVE from pan. CLEAN skillet.

SPREAD remaining 2 tsp. butter evenly on one side of each bread slice. PLACE 2 slices in skillet, buttered side down. TOP evenly with scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon. COVER with remaining bread, buttered side up.

COOK sandwiches over medium heat, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

BAKED FRENCH TOAST

baked_french_toast_web

INGREDIENTS

1½ c Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
10, ¾-inch-thick slices challah or brioche
¾ c milk
4 large eggs
2 T light brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh berries
Maple syrup and powdered sugar (optional)

PREPARATION

STEP 1
Arrange bread slices in a 9×13-inch greased baking dish.

STEP 2
Whisk together Chobani, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread, cover pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

STEP 3
Bake at 375°F until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Slice and serve warm with fresh berries and syrup.

CHOBANI YOGERT PARFAIT

INGREDIENTS

Chobani_parfait

1/2 c Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt
½ c granola
½ c mixed berries

PREPARATION

STEP 1
In a parfait glass, layer ½ the Chobani, ½ the granola and ½ the berries. Repeat.

BACON EGG and CHEESE MONKEY BREAD

BACON EGG & CHEESSE MONEKY BREAD

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter
6 eggs, beaten
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 package (2.52 oz) precooked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (4 medium)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan generously with cooking spray; set aside. In 8-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat; tilt pan to coat. Add eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until firm but still moist, stirring frequently.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 3 tablespoons butter uncovered on Medium-High (70%) 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to bottom of pan, brushing with pastry brush or tilting pan to coat halfway up sides. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into sixths. Coat biscuit pieces with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter; place half of them in bottom of pan. Layer with 1/2 cup of the cheese, half of the bacon, the scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the green onions; add remaining bacon, remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining biscuit pieces.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; run metal spatula around outer and inside edges of pan to loosen. Turn over onto serving platter to serve.

Thanks for stopping in today! Find something to celebrate and enjoy each and every day! Each day is a gift.

Cheers to you! Laura

GREAT FINDS TO CHECK OUT…….

Check out these collections of fashionable and affordable jewelry!

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Gallery

EVERYTHING BIRTHDAY CAKE

Today I’m 61…..  So, let’s talk birthday cake! And cocktails…ok…

BOOZIE BIRTHDAY CAKE COCKTAILS!

There are so many theories about where birthday cakes originated, and even when the first birthday candles were blown out, but the tradition has survived the test of time with newer variations popping up daily. Just check out the Pinterest Birthday Cake board!  So many cool ideas from so many amazingly creative people! 

Click here to see why you get to celebrate your birthday every year!  Go figure that the ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays but only for men! Yikes!

SO MANY CHOICES!! TOO MANY CHOICES? NOPE.

IMG_1800_2

CHEERS TO CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS! recipelarge_uvbdaycake

THE SIGNATURE PINNACLE BIRTHDAY CAKE

birthday-cake1 PART Pinnacle® Cake Vodka 
1 PART DeKuyper® Vanilla Liqueur
1 PART Half and Half
Rim martini glass with multi-colored sprinkles. Shake with ice and strain into prepared glass. pinnacle-cake.jpg

 

 

 

THE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

DRINK-GRID-0090-Upside-Down-Cake-2

2 OZ SMIRNOFF® ICED CAKE
1 OZ ORANGE JUICE
1 OZ PINEAPPLE JUICE
TOP OFF WITH CLUB SODA
GARNISH WITH SPRINKLES + CHERRY AND AN ORANGE SLICE.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

recipelarge_pineappleupsidedowncake
1 part UV Cake Vodka
3 parts pineapple juice

Blend with ice and serve.


THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MARTINI

DRINK-GRID-0046-ICED-STRAWBERRY-SHORT-CAKE-MARTINI12 OZ SMIRNOFF® ICED CAKE
3 FRESH STRAWBERRIES
2 OZ LEMONADE
0.5 OZ AMARETTO LIQUEUR
MUDDLE STRAWBERRIES AND VODKA + ADD THE LEMONADE, AMARETTO AND A LITTLE ICE TO A COCKTAIL SHAKER + SHAKE BRIEFLY BUT VIGOROUSLY +

STRAIN INTO A CHILLED MARTINI GLASS + GARNISH WITH A STRAWBERRY

BIRTHDAY CAKE SHOT
All you need to do now is make a wish.birthdaycake_101ds2

  • 1 OZ Baileys® Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream
  • .5OZ Smirnoff® Iced Cake™ Flavored Vodka
  • Whipped Cream & Multi-colored Sprinkles
  • Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Strain into a shot glass.
  • Add whipped cream and sprinkles.

And…my favorite one….THE EXPRESSO MARTINI that my daughter Jodi surprised me with after an amazing sunset cruise around Chicago last week!

IMG_0029

2 OZ Baileys® Espresso Crème Liqueurcocktails_baileys_espresso_martini

.25OZ Smirnoff® vodka

 25OZ Espresso

Shake over ice and Strain into a martini glass.

Thank you for swinging by today and I hope you enjoy making these boozy birthday creations or some of your own! Cheers to many more birthdays, big and small!

Laura

CHECK OUT MY SUNSET’S SHOPPING…..

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Rebecca Minkoff Avery Cross-Body Bag $150.46 Free Shipping for Prime Members & Free Returns.

 

 

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Rebecca Minkoff Women’s Georgina Gladiator Sandals $63.49 sale price & FREE Returns.

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ALL IN CLEVELAND! THE CHAMPIONS! Today’s Recipes: Shephard’s Pie Party Bites & Apps on a Stick

It was a nail biter till the bitter end! I could hardly watch the last two minutes…..and then…..WE WON! And OMG!!!!! The crowd went WILD! IMG_5017

It’s more than winning a basketball game. It’s more than beating last year’s champs.

It’s personal It’s about Cleveland. You see, Cleveland fans are the ultimate fans.IMG_5077

It was no accident that our fans sang our country’s  National Anthem at the opening of the first Finals home game. It took my breath away.  No need for celebrities to help express our love for our country. IMG_4773

All watched with great emotion as LeBron James dropped to his knees and cried. We have watched this incredible athlete grow from a boy to a man; a man of great values who gives back and has never forgotten where he came from.

I vividly recall what LeBron did for his neighbors when he announced that he would be returning to Cleveland. He hired a small cupcake store to deliver cupcakes to all of his neighbors in Akron as an apology for the paparazzi and interruption of their quiet residential street. 

So now….we can talk about

CLEVELAND EATS!

img_3533Yeah, Michael Simon!

He has taken Cleveland by storm with his amazing restaurants

and has put us on the map!

Check out Iron Chef’s Michael Simon’s Cleveland restaurants here!

This photo was taken with Michael Simon at the Food Network Show in Cleveland this year. He hosted a Tailgate Party venue which featured a variety of samplings from his local restaurants. He is definitely a carnivore! 

Well, foodville is back for more great snick snacks to keep you revealing for your favorite team or just host a small bites party! These are my  PINTEREST  favorites from my GAME DAY BOARD and my APPETIZERS AND BITES BOARD.

SHEPHARDS PIE PARTY BITES

Sheopard's Pie Party BitesI fell in love with these Shepherds Pie Party Bites from Spinachtiger.com.

olive oil
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 clove garlic
1 onion, diced
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup frozen peas
few sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
sea salt
black pepper
dash red chili flakes
¼ cup milk
⅓ cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
olive oil, garlic mashed potatoes or any mashed potatoes
Mini tart shells using your favorite pie crust, Rolled out to 3 inches for a 2 inch cookie cutter pan and baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
INSTRUCTIONS
Place enough olive oil in pan to cover bottom. Add onions and saute until softened. Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Crumble in and stir fry until meat is cooked through. Add milk and stir until milk in cooked down. Add in white wine and turn on low and cook down until alcohol is cooked off, about ten minutes. Add in a tablespoon of butter. At this point meat should be in nice wine sauce. Add in raw kale and continue to cook until kale is softened. Season as needed with salt, pepper and chili flakes.
ASSEMBLE
Spoon mixture into the mini tart shell. Top with mashed potatoes using a pastry bag. Place under broiler just until potato is golden.
Serve immediately.
When making entree, you can use individual dishes or a larger dish. Make sure it’s something you can put under the broiler, like a cast iron pan.
WordPress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe

CHECK OUT THESE

 FOUR INGREDIENT APPS ON A STICK!

MINI APPS

These are all from the Pillsbury website.

Ingredients

1
can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
64
toothpicks
Smoked Salmon with Dill
Dab cream cheese
Thin slice smoked salmon, cut into quarters
Fresh dill weed sprig
Shrimp and Cucumber
Very thin slice English cucumber, cut in half, folded
Fresh dill weed sprig
Small cooked shrimp, tail shell removed
Caprese
Slice small fresh mozzarella ball or string cheese
Half grape tomato
Tiny basil leaf or fresh basil leaf strip
Antipasto
Half slice hard salami, folded into thirds
Slice sweet banana pepper (from a jar)
Kalamata or black olive
Dried Fig and Mascarpone
Dried fig, cut in half lengthwise
Mascarpone cheese star (using softened cheese)
Grated orange peel
Roast Beef Roll-Ups
Rare roast beef slice (spread with below)
Garden vegetable cream cheese spread
Fresh parsley sprig or tiny dill pickle slice
Cheese and Pimiento Olive
Swiss cheese cube
Half pimiento-stuffed green olive
Turkey Club
Lettuce
Crisply cooked bacon
Turkey breast slice, rolled up, sliced
Grape tomato slice
Steps
1
Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough onto cutting board. Cut in half crosswise and lengthwise on perforated lines to make 4 rectangles. Press diagonal perforations to seal.
2
Starting with long side of 1 rectangle, roll dough tightly into 6 1/4-inch roll; press seam to seal. Repeat with remaining dough rectangles.
3
Spray thin serrated knife with cooking spray. Cut each roll into 16 slices. On ungreased large cookie sheet, place 32 slices about 1/2 inch apart. Place remaining 32 slices on second ungreased large cookie sheet.
4
Bake 1 cookie sheet at a time 8 to 9 minutes or until slices are light golden brown.
5
Top baked slices using all 8 toppings and making 8 appetizers of each, or choose your favorite topping options and make as many of each as you’d like. All toppings are quick to assemble, taking only about 4 to 8 minutes to make 8 appetizers.

GET READY FOR YOUR CAVS CHAMPIONSHIP PARTY!

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NBA Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 Finals Champions “Trophy” Signature Photo, 17″ x 14″ x 3″, Bronze
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Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Finals Champions Logo Mahogany Basketball Display Case with Mirrored Back – Fanatics Authentic Certified by Sports Memorabilia Price: $112.99 Sale: $99.99 & FREE Shipping You Save: $13.00 (12%)

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Lebron James Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Adidas Men’s Replica Jersey – Burgundy Price: $26.89 – $70.01

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Thanks for popping in today! Even if basketball isn’t your thing, I hope you enjoy the recipes shared from my Pinterest board! Have a great day, and cheers to the CAVS!!

Laura