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a kitchen favorite. ziploc baggies.

Don’t laugh. This is quick and kind of ridiculous, but I think you should know about it. I am now in the know and do I dare say that I may {or may not} have ordered like a billion packages because I love them that much.

Remember the other week I shared my new jam? You know, my smoothie jam? If you want a delish smoothie recipe that hits the spot look here. And, if you are like me and it pains you to throw out that last bit of smoothie that doesn’t fit in the cup or doesn’t have any takers, read on. Seriously, read on.

The first question… where have you been all my life? Look at these amaze-ing inventions. Hello, genius.

Zipzicles are my new best friend. You can find them on Amazon and I am not lying when I say they are the smartest thing ever. Pour that leftover smoothie in, pop in the freezer and you have some ready for those kiddos when time is ticking.

Can you imagine the fun? Make your own yogurt squeezers for the little kids. Or, maybe some tasty poolside drinks for the big kids. Come on, it’s just too much fun.

Zipzicles, I thank you.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

if you missed my other {morning goodies take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{buttnernut squash muffins}

{blueberry banana muffins}

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morning smoothie. my new jam.

Listen up, folks. I have a new morning routine and it involves a smoothie packed with everything good. I originally found the recipe on pinterest, but have shaken it up a bit because that’s what I do.

Let me start with it’s easy, simple and tasty without having to be filled with sugar. I am not one for eating the same thing each day, so this should be a good indicator that it really is darn good. I have started incorporating it into my morning each day and can now make it {even with my lil’ helper} in under four minutes flat. For a mama on the run, that’s fast. Oh, and did I mention that it has so many goodies in it that I don’t even think about lunch until it’s actually lunchtime.

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{morning smoothie. one for the mini. one for me.}

morning smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 of a lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, quartered
  • 1/2 of apple, diced
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Puree / blend for two minutes, or until completely pureed.
  3. Pour. Drink. Smile.
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No need to stress over that mess you just made. I have a little TIP that makes cleaning up even easier. Cleaning your blenders is as easy as…

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Seriously yummy and it will fill you up without having those early morning cravings for something else. Blend it. Eat it. And then smile because you are just a little healthier and vitamin packed than you were earlier that day. You’re welcome.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

if you missed my other {morning goodies take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{buttnernut squash muffins}

{pomegranate muffins}

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meet my new best friend. you’d like her.

I have a new best friend. I think you will like her. One of my besties, gregory, introduced us. She’s pretty great, but I’m not sure she knows I exist.

May I introduce you to my new bestie, Ali Larter. If I frequented the Hollywood Hills I just know we would be fast friends. We’d probably have lots of dinner parties and meet up at the local farmers market, or maybe catch up over a glass of white wine.

I got her new cookbook from my mother-in-law and I am in heaven. It is seriously the best. I literally read the entire cookbook from our drive from California to Washington front to back. It’s that good. I was drooling. My other half was drooling. And, I now determined to make every single recipe out of the book at least once.

Meet Kitchen Revelry, compliments of Ali Larter.

Not only is she adorable, but her cookbook is broken into months. She focuses on a different theme or menu for each month that is not over-the-top hard. I am already getting excited for hosting some delish dinner parties and get togethers just thinking about it. Imagine the fun. Maybe we should have Varsity Blues playing in the background?

I think you would love it about as much as I do. Get it. Read it. Cook it.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {yummy} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{barefoot contessa.}

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oh yes, more lemons. idea three.

The lemon ideas keep a comin’. If you missed my earlier lemon ideas, you can find them below with links to each of the recipes.

I am still on a lemon mission. One that will use up my bowlfuls of that gorgeous fruit. For today, a dinner idea. And, I might add that ALL of my kids gobbled it up. That tells you something, right?

| idea three. |
{lemon pepper shrimp pasta.}
adapted from all recipes

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lemon pepper shrimp pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package pasta, such as angel hair or linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
  • parmesan for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook based on packaging until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic for 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by at least 1/2.
  3. Mix shrimp, butter, and basil into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked pasta, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated.
  4. Sprinkle shaved parmesan on top and serve alongside crusty bread.
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No joke. A quick and unbelievably delicious dinner recipe. Perfect for those busy weeknights when you have just a little time and a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Oh, and did I mention that my little 7 year old helped the entire time? Kind of adorable and a perfect way to spend your evening with your little ones.

eat. enjoy. share.
Letter J  XO

if you missed my other {lemon ideas} take a lookey loo.
see something you like?

{citrus infused water.}
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{lemon & orange bars.}
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lemons, oh lemons. idea two.

The lemons still overflow. If you missed it earlier this week, I was the grateful recipient of boxes {literally boxes!} of lemons and some mandarin oranges compliments of my sis-in-law.

One word. PRETTY. They are almost too pretty to eat, but a girls got to do what a girls got to do.

Yesterday, I shared a simple trick that is one of my favorites, {citrus infused water}. Put it on the counter and the kids {and husbands} will come running for glassfuls of water. If you missed it, you can find it here.

For today, a serious favorite. A twist on your traditional lemon bar. Think of it as a lemon bar with a twist of orange zest. Seriously, delish. Scouts honor. Try it. You will love it.

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| idea two |
{orange & lemon bars.}
adapted from a recipe from better homes & gardens, may 2013

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lemon and orange bars.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup butter, diced in small cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup {fresh squeezed} lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup {fresh squeezed} orange juice
  • {note. i used mandarins for a sweeter taste}

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13x2 baking pan and line with parchment paper. Press the paper onto the bottom and sides of the pan. For crust, in a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using blender {or hands}, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into bottom of pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, half and half, and 3 tablespoons flour. Divide equally into two separate bowls. To one bowl add lemon zest and lemon juice; to the other bowl add orange zest and orange juice. Pour lemon filling over crust hot crust {immediately pour after removing from oven} and bake 10-13 minutes until set. Remove from oven and quickly pour orange filling over lemon filling; bake additional 10-13 minutes until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. Use paper to life uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars {i like rectangular} and sift powdered sugar over the top. Refrigerate to store.
  4. Eat. Or, package up and deliver to some lucky friends and family.
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These treats are so good you just might need to box some up in pretty packaging for some friends or family. Just look at how cute they are?

Want the label for yourself? Well, you are in luck. Click below for an adorable way to share your hard work with others.

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Trust me. This lil’ sweet treat will leave nothing but smiles and second helpings. You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

if you missed my other {lemon ideas} take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{citrus infused water}
DSC_0377

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a bowl or two of lemons. what to do? idea one.

Lemons. Oh so many lemons. All the lemon talk? Well, my sis-in-law had a few citrus trees in her backyard that were calling her name. Or rather, calling her to cut some of the beauties off the tree.

Lucky me. She dropped off a box or two of the pretties. Seriously the prettiest fruit in the world. If you follow along on instagram you saw my gorgeous gift from her. An overflowing bowl of lemon and oranges. Delish.

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The real questions was, what to do with all those lemons and oranges? For you, a few tasty treats that you might want to try when you, too, have an overflowing bowl of lemons or oranges. For today, the lemons take center stage with one idea just for you.

| idea one |
{citrus infused water.}

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citrus infused water

Ingredients

  • lemons
  • oranges
  • water
  • beverage container

Instructions

  1. Fill container with water and {optional} ice
  2. Slice fruit
  3. Add to beverage container
  4. Let it sit and get relish
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So simple we sometimes forget about it. Try it today and impress those guests {or family} of yours. Tomorrow? More lemon ideas to come. Follow along, lemon style.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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S’mores Pancakes. Spooky Breakfast.

We are all about the spooky, baby. You’ve heard about our spooky dinner and now you get to hear about a spooky breakfast. I seriously can’t get enough of it because I know that sometime in the near future my kids won’t be as excited about it anymore. Oh boo.

Spooky. Simple. SO good. What more could a girl ask for?

spooky smore pancakes

{you will need.}
mini marshmallows
mini chocolate chips
pancake mix
chocolate syrup for serving

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{whip it up.}

 one. heat up your griddle nice and hot.

 two. mix up some pancake batter.

 three. pour pancake batter on griddle.

 four. sprinkle on some marshmallow and chocolate chips.

five. flip pancake.

 six. serve it up with some drizzled chocolate.

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Maybe you want to add a spooky breakfast to your halloween morning. Or, maybe for dinner? A chance to make your Halloween a little bit spookier. Boo.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

Want some more Halloween ideas?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{free} spooky dinner banners

spooky banners with label

{free} printable Halloween tags 

Treat Tags Button

{yum} double trouble cookies
Cookie Button

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peach and blackberry grilled pizza. stop it. so good.

No. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Yes. I am still here. I promise. It’s crazy. This little thing called {summer} hit and I realized that sitting in front of my computer was the last thing I wanted to do.

I am one of those who can’t get enough of summer with my babies. I think it is because there are no routines or schedules or places we HAVE to be. Needless to say, I wanted to spend the last few weeks soaking up the little moments with my little monsters before they headed off to school. I admit it. I am sad. With each year that passes I realize how quickly time is passing. Oh boo.

I am back. Well, for now. And, I just have to share our new favorite kitchen treasure. I owe it all to one of my besties who inspired the evening after we spent a weekend at their house. It all started with pizza on the grill {yumm-y!} and a pizza stone. Let me introduce you to our new weekend staple, Emilie Henry Grilling Stone.

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Seriously. I can’t even tell you how amazing this thing is. I spent a little time in Sur La Table and got this recommended to me over other pizza stones because it is durable {10 year warranty, yo.} and is easy to clean. Oh, and did I mention that you can also cook these tasty treats on it? For the record, no I did not cook all these fabulous things in the last week. You can ooh and awe to Sur La Table for those pictures.

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No. I am not kidding. Look at everything you can make with it, albeit on the grill. That is my type of cooking. Do I think you should put one on your Christmas list? Heck ya. It is that good. Both me and my other half couldn’t stop raving about it all weekend. Sur La Table, we thank you.

Now, here is the good stuff. We tried out a few different pizzas on our new BBQ stone and found one that was a total winner. {translation:  both me and the mr. were drooling} It looks like you slaved over it, but it couldn’t be easier.

If you follow me on instragram I apologize for the repeat, but I figure the recipe will make up for the duplicate picture.

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{ingredients.}

  • pizza dough
    {i use the trader joe’s dough and break in half}
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • basil
  • peach
  • blackberries

{grill it up.}

  • Following stone directions, heat grill to 500° with stone on BBQ
  • Grill peaches until browned on both sides
  • Shape dough into a round circle
  • Spread 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over base
  • Layer with blackberries, grilled peaches, goat cheese crumbles
  • Place on grill {follow stone directions} until fully cooked
  • Remove from grill and add basil
  • Voila!

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Trust me. Too die for. Easy to make and easy on the eyes. What could be better? Doesn’t it make you drool just looking at it? You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

 

Want some other great ideas? I linked up at I Heart Naptime. Take a lookey loo..

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s’mores in a jar. can i get s’more please?

You’ve probably already heard the news if you follow along, but I had the opportunity to guest post on Tatertots and Jello! This girl is pretty excited to be sharing a personal favorite on such a huge blog. Here’s a look into what summer tasty treats we have up our sleeves. And, it is all about summer.

Summer in one word. S’mores. You say it and it takes you back to your younger years sitting around a campfire and roasting your marshmallows to perfection. The only thing I don’t love? The mess. Fun until the mama has to clean up all the sticky fingers.

Maybe you don’t have the campfire, but you can still have the s’mores albeit without the mess. Throw out the s’mores sticks and bring out the mason jars, a personal favorite, and you have yourself a little slice of heaven. But for the sake of pleasing others, lets call it S’mores in a Jar. Um, can you say yum?

{s’mores in a jar.}
adapted from the campfire favorite and a cake recipe of paula deen.
serves six.

s'mores in a jar with label

{ingredients.}

for the crust…

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt

for the cake…

  • 6 {1 ounce} squares of bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 {1 ounce} squares of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 {4 ounce} jars of marshmallow creme

{mix it up. crust.}

  • Crush graham crackers {approximately 1 1/4 packages} into fine crumbs.
    {hint: food processor is a quick way to get fine crumbs}
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl.
  • Add butter and a pinch of salt to graham cracker crumbs. Combine until mixed evenly.
  • Grease 6 small {8 ounce} mason jars.
  • Divide graham cracker mixture evenly into jars, pressing down firmly.

{mix it up. cake.}

Preheat oven to 425°.

  • Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler.
  • Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture.
  • Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the mason jars filled with graham cracker crumbles.

{bake it.}

  • Place in the oven on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes.
  • The key… don’t overcook! Tops will be brown and toasty, inside will be ooey, gooey. Yum.

s'mores topping

{broil it.}

  • Preheat oven to ‘broil’ settings. Place cooked jars onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Spoon marshmallow creme onto the tops of the cake, filling to edges.
    {hint: spoon the cream and wait. it will spread evenly on its own if you give it enough time.}
  • Place in oven on lower rack for 1-2 minutes, checking continuously until tops are browned to your liking.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Serve warm. yum.

s'mores layers

I admit not as easy as the traditional campfire s’mores, but it sure is pretty and tastes like the real thing. So gooey. So yummy. Your guest will surely be asking, ‘can i get s’more please?’

s'mores in a jar

Want the label for yourself? Well, you are in luck. For you? Three different {free} printable s’mores tags to choose from. Which one will you choose?

tags printable label

It’s as easy as print, cut, attach. So adorable and so perfect.

printable labels link

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Trust me. This lil’ jar full of all the s’more fixins’ will leave nothing but smiles and happy campers. You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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4th of july. our plan. are you ready?

Say what, it’s almost 4th of July? Can you believe it? That means that summer is officially in full swing, the sun is out and the kids are starting to get into the summer routine.

Now it is time to start planning the day. Who knows, maybe there will be a few ideas that you like too. I am going simple this year. Easy ideas to make the day feel extra special. And, I am enlisting in the help of a little something called the Internet. No time to come up with creative ideas on my own, so I will look to some crafty mamas and professionals.

Follow along. No need to look for your own 4th of July festivities. My friend, the work has been done for you. Hooray.

{first stop.}
Keeping the kids entertained.

The pool will only last for so long and I am in the market to make the day extra special. I think they are going to love it. Click on the links below to be linked to the creative genius behind each of these projects.

4th kids activities
candy bottle rockets.
patriotic rock art.
straw firework art.
washington sugar cube monuments.

 

{second stop.}
Keeping the kids and adults hydrated.

Fun drinks for the big and little kids. A little something to ring in the special holiday. Find recipes and the masterminds of these tasty drinks below.

4th drinks
layered drinks.
{a science project for kids. awesome.}
red, white and blue sangria.
berry infused water.

 

{third stop.}
Keeping everyone fed and full.

Food is a must. I’m lucky and our guests are helping out with some of the yummy items on our 4th of July menu. The rule? Everyone brings their own BBQ dish and the rest will be just as delicious. Love these too? Click links below to be find the recipes and the tasty chefs who thought them up. Yum.

4th food

red, white and blue chips with salsa
patriotic fruit salad
.
summer crostini.
watermelon and feta orzo salad.
pesto pasta salad.
flag sandwich for the kiddos.

 

{fourth stop.}
Keeping the kids and adults sweetened and smiling.

  4th dessert

flag fruit pizza.
red, white and blue marshmallow pops.

 

There you have it. A snapshot of our 4th of July activities. Hope some of our ideas make your 4th a little easier and a whole lot more patriotic.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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