Family Outings · Uncategorized

Mother’s Day and Birthday Cake

Whoops, these past two months flew by fast. Hello, again:)

I hope everyone had a relaxing Mother’s Day this past weekend. My family spent the day in Richmond, Virginia enjoying brunch at The Boathouse of Rockets Landing. What a fantastic buffet they put on! There was so much to choose from, but I must say the waffles and crab cakes stolen the show.

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I think brunch is held only on special occasions, but we didn’t come across anything that disappointed. Some other selections were; cheesy grits, asparagus, carrots, potatoes, omelet bar, dessert selections, breads, mac & cheese, and acai bowls. The views are also beautiful and you can even walk down to the James River after your meal.

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Momofuku Milk Bar

We actually kickstarted Mother’s Day on Saturday by making a few stops in Washington DC. One of which has been on my bucket list for the past year; Momofuku Milk Bar, located in Logan Circle.20190511_0903227403598603182704740.jpg

I first learned about this place on an episode of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table”. The owner, Christina Tosi started Milk Bar in 2008, and is known for incorporating cereal infused milk into her desserts. The entire segment on Netflix had me intrigued, and my taste buds watering.

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I bought a slice of birthday cake from their selection of pre-packaged refrigerated items. I had read some negative reviews all along the same lines, saying that the place kinda sucks. I was fully prepared to be let down by the cake slice, but Oh. My. Gosh. I was 100% impressed from the first bite. I may have just found my new favorite cake, it was that good. Perfectly moist and the cake/frosting ration was perfect. But, be prepared to open your wallet, people! A single cake slice was $7… kinda pricey in my opinion, but still delicious.

That about wraps up our weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time out with my little clan, getting to enjoy good food! Did you get to do anything fun this weekend?

 

 

Family Outings · Recipes

Weekend Review & PB Protein Bites

We were lucky to have another few days of sunshine and warmer weather here in Northern Virginia, and again took advantage of the chance to enjoy more time outdoors.

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St. Patricks weekend and this is the only green thing I own.

A family walk on the Canal Path in Fredericksburg was first on the docket. I brought J’s tricycle and he loved peddling along the paved path while both Jason and I followed close behind to keep him from riding directly into the ditch!

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We kept the day going with a trip to the Children’s Museum of Richmond at Short Pump. We hadn’t been to this location and were pleased with what the facility had to offer. J loved the dino-dig pit… which is where he stayed for probably 90% of the visit.

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I’ve said it before, but if you live in the Richmond area, a CMOR membership has been such a great investment for us. Not only can you go as often as you’d like, but I don’t feel like i’m wasting $$$ when we go for just a short spur of the moment visit. J’s mind is always stimulated and the way his face lights up when we arrive makes the membership fee worth it!

Before heading home we stopped for a late lunch at Pupatella Pizza, a place i’ve been begging to try for awhile now after seeing them on Instagram. Their pizza looks delicious in the photos, and I was super excited to finally try them. Unfortunately, we both felt the experience was lackluster and we probably won’t be returning. The pizza wasn’t bad, but the flavor just fell kinda flat:( It was definitely a disappointment overall, but I will say their Garlic Mozzarella bread WAS good.

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Peanut Butter Protein Bites

I whipped up a batch of these after craving my homemade PB cups, but wanted to create a “better for you” version that I could grab as a snack between meals. I tweaked the PB Cup recipe and included protein powder to help with hunger control.

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These little bites are delicious, toddler approved, and pack roughly 6 grams of protein and 3 grams fiber per bite!

Recipe:

1.5 C Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Scoops Protein Powder

2/3 C Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 C Powdered Sugar (You can sub an extra scoop of protein powder for this ingredient if you prefer a “No Sugar Added” recipe. 

1 Bag Chocolate Chips (I use Milk Chocolate)

  • Mix the peanut butter, protein powder, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar together in a bowl until well combined. You want to make sure you get a smooth consistency free from lumps.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Put the entire pan of PB balls in the freezer to chill before dipping them in chocolate. 
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring frequently. I use the entire bag of chips and it took roughly 90 seconds for my chips to fully melt. Make sure not to over heat your chocolate! It’s important that your chocolate remains at a safe temperature to touch, you don’t want to burn yourself. 
  • Take your PB balls out of the freezer and one-by-one carefully coat them in the melted chocolate and then put directly back on the wax paper lined pan. I use a fork to maneuver the balls in/out of the chocolate (the fork tines act as a nice drain system for excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl). 
  • Put your “Peanut Butter Protein Bites” back in the freezer until the chocolate hardens, and then enjoy!

These bites keep great in the freezer. I just transfer the entire batch to a freezer bag and take out a few each time I get a craving. 10 minutes of defrosting and they’re perfect!

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Today’s batch was made using Tone It Up peanut butter flavored protein powder and the results were incredible! Seriously, this may be my new favorite protein powder for recipes. There’s no chalky feel, and the PB flavor perfectly complemented the real peanut butter in the recipe.

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*I made my first batch last week using 1.5 scoops Ripple vanilla protein powder.  I really just don’t like the flavor of this brand (think powdered play doh’) and thought the peanut butter would mask the taste.  While the bites were still good the Ripple protein flavor still had a heavy presence.

 

Enjoy:)

 

Recipes · Uncategorized

Spring Weather & Potato Hash Casserole

Hello, Hello!

We’ve had a few warmer days here in Virginia and have been taking advantage, enjoying much needed outdoor time. The family headed to Government Island this weekend to walk the 1.5 mile trail that graces visitors with water views at every turn.

Robelee came along on this pet friendly excursion and loved every second! He hasn’t gotten out for many walks lately since it’s either super cold or wet, so this was a much needed outing for him too, even if was overcast the whole day:(

The trail was super easy, and stroller friendly. Much of the loop was shaded as it winds through the woods, and not far into the walk there is a wide foot bridge that takes you over the water portion of the trail.

We worked up an appetite after going most the day without a full meal. The Beyond Burger “Big Mac” dinner I whipped up when we got home was thoroughly enjoyed. It was paired with dill and feta roasted potatoes and tomatoes.
Potato Hash Casserole

Yesterday I was watching a Travel Channel show that featured a restaurant serving hash brown casserole. It had my mouth watering, so I decided to pop into the grocery store and came up with my own “spur of the moment” recipe. The tv show didn’t divulge the recipe, they only gave a short rundown (cheese, spices, potatoes, etc) so I winged it and hoped the end result would be delicious… and it was.

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26 oz uncooked hash browns

1 can Cream of Onion soup (Campbell’s 10.5 oz)

6 oz cream cheese (I used the whipped version)

4oz sour cream

2 oz milk

1.5 c fiesta cheese blend

1 c sharp white cheddar

1 tbs white pepper (adjust to taste)

1/2 – 1 tbs garlic salt (adjust to taste)

 

Combine all wet ingredients, cheese and spices in a large bowl. Next, slowly fold in the hash browns until well combined with your wet ingredients. Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake at 375 for about an hour. I left mine in for a bit longer, but it came out extra hot, well above 160 degrees.

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So there it is, perfect for breakfast or a dinner side dish. This cheesy potato hash casserole even pleased my picky toddler.

Recipes

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

When my craving for spinach dip hit, we ordered the Applebees Spinach dip using the curbside pickup option. Boy, were we disappointed! What we got was a soupy half filled bowl of slop.

Never again!

The following weekend I decided to do it right! For about the same cost as the Applebees version, I whipped up an even better “Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip” that yielded about 10 times the volume as the crap we got the week before.

Paired with chips or sliced french bread, this recipe is a win that the whole family enjoyed.

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

8oz Cream Cheese (softened)

1/2 C Mozzarella

1/2 C Parmesan

1/2 C Mayo or Sour Cream

1 Tbs Minced Garlic

1 C Drained Spinach (I used a packed cup full, well drained)

14 oz can drained artichokes

A few shakes of Garlic Salt

Salt/Pepper to taste… I used a heavy dose of White Pepper.

*Optional* Ranch seasoning mix for an added kick of flavor.

 

 

 

Combine all ingredients (leave out a bit extra parmesan so you can sprinkle it on top) in a large mixing bowl, then transfer the mixture to an oven safe baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan on top, and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.

I love that this recipe is super simple and can be customized to fit your taste preference. It would be difficult to mess this recipe up too much, so don’t be shy about getting creative and adding your favorite ingredients… Feta, sun dried tomatoes, jalapeño, onion… the list goes on:)

 

 

Uncategorized

Favorite Picks – February Edition

I’m obviously not an Instagram Influencer. More often than not my hair probably looks like a ratty heap. And there’s plenty of days where my OOTD is actually pajamas…. But all that doesn’t mean I’m not crushing on a new lip balm or hair conditioner, and I want to share exactly what those are with all of you!

So here’s Edition #1 of my current favorites. At the end of the month i’ll do a round up post of all the “things” i’m loving lately. I’d love to hear if you love any of the same too:)

1. Mrs. Meyers multi-surface spray: A friend turned me onto this brand last month after raving about them. I’ve hear of Mrs. Meyers tons of times before, but never thought twice about giving the products a try until now…. with a dog and toddler in the house, I needed backup to help keep the place smelling nice. I’m loving the Lemon Verbana scent, and Peony! I have both in the Multi-Surface cleaning spray.

2. Owyn Protein – I’ve wanted to try this stuff for months, but didn’t want to pay a crazy price. Then I found it at Wegmans on sale for $8.99/4 pack. I’ve tried the Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry/Banana… but chocolate is by far my favorite. Smooth, not chalky, and just sweet enough to be delicious! My toddler loves them too, so I usually end up having to share:(

3. “Squeezy Snacker” Pouch – I’ve had this over a year, but it’s just recently been getting tons of use. There is a removable flow restrictor which comes in handy for thin runny fluids. Like Mama like son, we both love smoothies and this pouch is perfect for giving the tot his portion. The soft silicone makes it comfortable for little hands to hold and squeeze. (Available on Amazon)

4. Schick Dermaplane Tool – Taking my skin care routine to the next level. These little razors are great for removing the fine hairs and dead skin cells that coat our faces. My skin looks smoother immediately after using. Quick tip: Use extra care around your eyebrows:( I lost half a brow my very first time using this sharp little razor. Oops!

5. Rodan & Fields Active Hydration Serum – I’m not selling R&F anymore, but still love the products. This stuff has really helped add extra moisture to my face this past month when I noticed a lot more dullness and overall lackluster complexion. I feel like my skin is more plump and supple when I first wake up in the morning, which may be from finally getting the moisture my skin was craving. I use it every night, and occasionally in the morning.

6. Rodan & Fields Lip Serum – My go-to for achieving a more full, supple appearance. I glide this on every night and do feel after about a month, my lips appear healthier!

7. Sugar & Spruce room spray – This little shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia handcrafts the cutest bath products, and the scents are awesome. I was looking for a more natural fragrance spray to help spruce up our home and this stuff is hands down amazing. I chose Sweet Sweet Paris for the scent at maximum strength. Each bottle is scented-to-order, and they have tons of scents to choose from. You also chose the intensity of the scent upon ordering. I have sprayed this just about everywhere and even days later it still faintly lingers, welcomingly:)

8. Manifest (Season 1) – A bit of an odd ball for this list, but Manifest is one of a few shows I’ve started watching this month and it has me super intrigued. After watching the full first season I feel like the story moved a bit slow without offering much resolution towards the main “mystery” but i’m still hooked and ready for season two. The other shows that i’ve quickly become drawn to are “FAM” and “Single Parents”, both half hour comedies.

9. Hair/Scalp Scrubber – I use this in the shower every time I wash my hair. Since moving to our current home I’ve noticed more dandruff and build up compared to when we were using softened water at our previous home. This tool has helped to release some of the yuck and i’ve noticed a decrease in flakes. It also provides a nice massage while lathering up the shampoo on my scalp. (Get it here)

SKIP IT, You Won’t Miss It:

1. Raw Sugar Lip Balm – Love the scent, but my lips never benefit from using this stuff. If anything, they feel more dry afterwards:(

What are your current favorites?