Friends, Get togethers and Bruschetta

Happy Summer!!! We are out of school and loving our non-schedule living!! This first week we have taken it easy.  I try and let my kids have a break from anything their first week out of school.  I think they need some time to decompress from schedules, to do lists and routine.  It’s all I can do to tell them to get busy and do something, but I’ve told myself to let them enjoy this time.  With that being said, next week we will start our reading challenge and this year I am incorporating a fitness challenge too.  Are you guys like me and have to force your kids to get off the couch? It really kills me and I decided to get them motivated I would have a prize involved.  Prizes always seem to work, even with my big kids!

We’ve already got to have some fun barbecues and get together with friends.  I am truly blessed with great friends! Some live close and I get to see them often, and others live farther away and it’s always a special treat to get to hang with them when they are in town.  Over Memorial day weekend our friends from Arizona came to visit.  We got together for a BBQ and had a great time catching up and spending time reminiscing about all the fun we’ve had together.  I met this great family through my son.  When we moved to Highland Cayden became friends with their son, Mason. He then was lucky enough to learn that Mason had brothers just a year younger and so it was like guy central at their house and Cayden, having all sisters, loved to go over and hang out with the boys.  Daynia and I didn’t become friends until the next year, but hit it off right from the start and our hubby’s did too.  Unfortunately, about a year later they got a job change and had to move, but we’ve been able to travel together and see each other often and we love it!


The clan

the guys

The boys being as cheesy as can be!

I tried a new recipe for our little get together. Strawberry bruschetta.  I had this a few weeks ago at an event and so I thought I’d make my own version.  They were so easy to make and super yummy!

strawberry bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

Crostini bread cut into slices (I just have my grocer cut it for me in the bakery)

ricotta cheese

strawberries, cut into bite-size chunks


basil, minced



Put strawberries, blueberries, basil, balsamic and sugar in a pan.  Cook on medium until balsamic thickens and strawberries break down. Let cool.

Lay crostini on a cookie sheet and broil for a few minutes in the oven. Spread ricotta on top, while warm.  Top each one with the strawberry mixture.



I hope you’ll have a chance this summer to have lots of get together’s with friends and family. And if you do, I highly recommend bringing this Bruschetta to any event!!



4th of July Parfaits

Aww!! I love summer! Can I say it again? I LOVE SUMMER!!

We have been having too much fun enjoying these long, hot summer days! We just got back from a fun filled week at the Oregon Coast. (Recap of my trip will come later). We finally took the boat out last Saturday, and we are looking forward to some 4th of July celebrations and barbecues this weekend.

I love the 4th of July for many reasons.  The red, white and blue. The fireworks. The family time. And of course, the food.  So today I am sharing one of my favorite summer time treats that I think is great for a 4th of July celebration.  I know it’s been done a lot and it doesn’t really involve a recipe, but you can’t go wrong with a strawberry short cake parfait.


sophie and parfait

I decided to use my plastic wine cups for these ones to make it look even more festive.  I basically layered home made whip cream, strawberries, and pound cake.  Please oh please only use home made whip.  It’s the only way to go when it comes to strawberry shortcake.

For my whip I use:

Heavy whipping cream, sugar and the best dang vanilla you have ever had!{ We visited a new chocolate cafe called Taste.  If your local it is on University in Provo.  Let me tell you it is amazing and deserves it’s own post.  But while we were there the owner let us sample their vanilla.  It was so delicious.  You know how vanilla is usually bitter? Not this one, sweet and had a syrupy consistency.  It’s so much stronger than other vanilla that you only need to use a fourth of what a recipe calls for.  It really made a difference in this whip cream and the strong vanilla flavor was heavenly.} I beat the whip cream cream until it has pretty stiff peaks and then I add the sugar and the vanilla.  Yum-eee!!

I topped these babies off with a cute Americana pinwheel to give it some patriotic pizzaz.  So cute and so easy!single parfait

So what ever you do this 4th I hope it’s a good one.  One that you get to spend good quality time with friends and family.  Make some memories you will never forget!

Thanks for stopping by!






Crockpot Italian Chicken

I have to sadly admit that it is a rare thing these days for all of us to sit down at the table together for dinner.  Everyone always told me as my kids got bigger life would get crazier.  As a wife of a dental student with 3 little kids, that was hard to believe.  But fast forward 10 years and I now know what they meant.  We are in the thick of it! The kids are involved in a million different things, homework, Mike’s work and social events have really taken a toll on our dinner time together.  I wouldn’t choose it this way for sure, but I have realized that this is just how it is going to be for the next few years.  So on the nights that a miracle happens and we are all home at the same time for a meal I can’t help but be excited!

Last night I made one of our family favorites! It’s an easy crockpot italian chicken.  The ingredients are simple, but when combined make a delicious combination.  I got this recipe years ago from my sister-in-law and every time I make it my family loves it.  And who doesn’t love a quick, easy, gourmet looking meal that everyone enjoys.Crockpot Italian Chicken

Recipe: Crockpot Italian Chicken

4 Chicken breasts

1 bottle of Italian dressing

Put chicken in crockpot and pour dressing over the top.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  When done, take chicken out and shred.  Skim the fat off the top of the dressing and take out about a 1/2 cup. Put  the shredded chicken back in the crockpot with dressing.Chicken

On the stove mix together:

1 cube cream cheese (8oz.)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can of chicken broth

1/2 tsp. of dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried basil leavesIngredients

Bring this to a boil and then pour into chicken and dressing mixture.  Stir until combined and then cook on low for 20 more minutes. 

Serve with angel hair or penne pasta.  Enjoy!Crockpot Italian Chicken and salad

This would be a great Sunday dinner and it feeds a crowd.  I hope you can take some time out to spend with your families this weekend. Thanks for stopping by!



*If you like this recipe please comment or share, thanks!



Granner’s Cranberry Salad

I’m sure many of you are planning your Thanksgiving dinners and I wanted to post this recipe before it was too late to add to your menu. It is one of my favorite recipes and is special because it came from my Grandma. The tartness of the cranberries and the sweetness from the marshmallows, along with the whipping cream make it so delightful. I have shared this recipe over the last several years and many friends have told me it has become a must at their Thanksgiving tables. If you make it, tell me what you think. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!



Granner’s Cranberry Salad

1/2 lb. fresh Cranberries (ground very fine) 
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped until stiff peaks form
small pkg. marshmallows
1 small can crushed pineapple
Mix sugar and cranberries together. Put in refrigerator for 2 hrs. Mix whipped cream and marshmallows in seperate bowl and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. After 2 hours is up take out of fridge and combine all ingredients and add crushed pineapple. Mix thoroughly. Put back in refrigerator and let chill overnight.


The Most Amazing Stuffing Ever!

I’ve been married almost 16 years! And up until about 5 years ago my husband only stepped foot in the kitchen to eat!  But one day  he caught on to a chef named Fabio Viviani and started to watch his cooking segments.  The way this guy talks and explains his recipes and food is awesome and Mike loved watching him.  After a while he decided to try out some of his recipes.  It started on a Saturday morning with Orange Rolls. (Isn’t he the cutest?)photo.PNG-2And then I think there was an eggs benedict, but he Grand Daddy of them all was a sausage stuffing he made a few weeks before Thanksgiving! It was out of this world and I could not believe that my husband, the taste tester, not the cook, was making something so delicious!! And not only was it delicious, but he decided he liked to cook! It was a Christmas Miracle!! That year for Thanksgiving Mike made the stuffing for the whole family and it, by far ,won the prize.  We have since made this  delectable dish for breakfast, it’s that good! So I thought I would share it with you today.  You can go here to watch a video clip of Fabio entertaining in the kitchen. And you can thank me later for sharing this amazing dish!


(Photo credit: Shine.yahoo.com)

Chef Fabio’s Italian Stuffing


8 cup(s) French baguette or Italian pane rustica, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
1 cup(s) diced yellow onion
2 cup(s) chopped cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon(s) dried basil, crushed
4 tablespoon(s) Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
3 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 cup(s) shredded provolone cheese
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 cup(s) sour cream
1 cup(s) store-bought or homemade beef broth

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add bread to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and dried basil. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 8-10 minutes until the moisture is evaporated and the onions and mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the mushroom and onion mixture to the bowl with the bread and allow to cool slightly.
In the meantime, in the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Into the bowl with the bread, mushrooms and onions, add the provolone and Parmesan cheeses, sour cream, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and beef broth. Add the cooled sausage and stir to fully combine. Pour the stuffing into a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes until brown and crispy.
To serve, spoon the stuffing into a serving bowl.

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite Thanksgiving Dishes are, leave me a comment and I’d love it if you’d  share this post! Thanks for stopping by!




Fright Night Ideas!!

With Halloween only a few days away I decided I need to start thinking about what we’re going to have for our annual Fright Night Dinner! I try to have this all planned before the big day, because, HONESTLY, we all know the day of Halloween is crazy!! So I started to look back through some of my previous years ideas and thought I would share them with you!


Frankenstein dip


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Picture 1: How darling is this Frankenstein dip? My very talented Sister-in-law, Dawn throws great Halloween parties.  She came up with this yummy cheese ball dip.  The hair is olives and the face is made up of veggies and pickles.  So creative and fun!!

Picture 2: The brain jell-o was a hit with the kids.  This is just a brain mold.  I’ve seen them at craft stores and the Halloween Stores and I know you could find them online too.  It’s fun to add some gummy worms to the bottom before pouring in the jell-o to give it an even creepier look!

Picture 3: Shrimp cocktail is always a great one to serve at a party and when stacked on a platter  with red cocktail sauce like this one is, it just screams Halloween!

Picture 4: WHOO doesn’t love cupcakes? And this little owl is perfect for Halloween.  I just baked regular betty crocker chocolate cupcakes and then frosted them.  While frosting is still soft I added the frosting side of two oreos for eyes, (yes, my kids loved me because they got to eat the left over cookies, but you could crush them and use them another time). I then added an orange jelly bean for the nose and chocolate chips for the pupils.  These are a super easy festive treat!

Picture 5: I love caramel apples and when I saw this idea for caramel apple nachos I just had to try it.  Slice apples, drizzle caramel, melted white and milk chocolate and sprinkle with toffee bit, Oreos, cinnamon sugar, mini M&M’s or whatever candy you prefer.  Believe me, these will be gone in no time flat!! Another favorite fall treat for our family is my Gooey caramel popcorn. You can no go wrong with this one!!

Recipe for Gooey Caramel Popcorn:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups brown sugar

1 cube butter

1 cup corn syrup

Cooke on stove at medium heat stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 238 degrees. (This get really hot, make sure to stir the whole time so it will not scorch). Pour over 10-12 cups popped popcorn.

This recipe stay gooey and soft. I usually put mine in a ziplock after it cools and it will stay soft for days!


Picture 6: Sorry this isn’t the best picture, but one year I decided to embellish my drink ware for a party.  I dyed corn  syrup with red food coloring in a bowl, then I dipped the glass rims into the mixture. The corn syrup drips down the glass making it look like blood!

Picture 7: We can’t forget the drinks! I just made a red punch and then again using my brain mold I froze green water and gummy worms and then put it into the punch bowl.  This is a fun easy way to add a spooky effect and the kids loved it!

Picture 8: I ran to Michaels yesterday and all their Halloween stuff was 70% off! Score!! I found all this great skeleton decor and decided that would be my theme for this year. Of course the black, white and silver  goes perfectly with my decorations. I will post pictures of our Halloween dinner!

I can’t wait to to create our Fright Night dinner after looking through some of these ideas!  I’ve also added some links of Fun Halloween food ideas I found on Pinterest.  I will be checking these out and I hope you do too!



So what are your favorite treats or traditions you do for Halloween?

Leave a comment and let me know, and don’t forget to share this post with friends!

Thanks for stopping by!


Easy Pumpkin Cookies

Why not make my first post a recipe!?! Don’t we just love PUMPKIN!! I thought I would try a new recipes tonight and so of course I went to my Pinterest board and searched cookie recipes. I stumbled upon one from Picky Palate. http://picky-palate.com/2011/11/14/pumpkin-toffee-chip-and-rolo-chunk-cookies/. She always has the greatest recipes and so I thought I would try it out. As I looked at the ingredients I realized I did not have the Rolos, so I decided to improvise and this is what I came up with. Instead of only using 15 oz. of pumpkin I used 20 oz. I added in a few sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice, just to give it a little more of that fall flavor. And instead of using plain toffee bits I used heath toffee bits. And to top it off I replaced the Rolos for white chocolate chips. This was my favorite part and thought the three flavors blended so well together with the pumpkin and the spices. This recipe literally took me 7 minutes to whip up and they were delicious!! And that’s my HONEST opinion!


Easy Pumpkin Cookies (adapted from Picky Palate @ www.pickypalate.com)
1 yellow cake mix
20 oz. pumpkin puree
Mix together and then fold in:
2-3 sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups heath toffee bits
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

drop 1 inch dollops 2-3 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden on the top.

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