Archive for February 2017

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

February 27, 2017
I took my favorite Irish Soda Bread recipe and made them into these delicious Irish Soda Bread Muffins - perfect for busy mornings year round or to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!


Irish Soda Bread Recipe



The beginning of March is in a few short days and even though we are in the thick of winter right now, this is one of the busiest times of the year for our family. It seems that most of our birthdays are in February and March, and our wedding anniversary is also in March. I actually really like it because I know a lot of people tend to get cabin fever when the weather is cold and you have to stay in the house all day with the kids. It can get depressing after a while!

Mickey Mouse Trail Mix

February 20, 2017
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.


This Mickey Mouse Trail Mix is absolutely adorable! Pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, and M&M's - this munch mix is perfect for your kids to snack on during their first trip to Disney World!



Mickey Mouse Trail Mix


At 16 months old, Reuben has lots of favorite characters. He loves watching Sesame Street for Elmo and Cookie Monster, and Daniel Tiger is another favorite. Of them all, though, Mickey Mouse tops the list! He was obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and now absolutely loves Mickey and the Roadster Racers. He's so cute when he spots a Mickey book or a stuffed animal with his goofy grin. He's adorable!

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

February 14, 2017
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.


These Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies are Trim Healthy Mama compliant! Natural peanut butter, flax, eggs, sweetener, and dark chocolate - these cookies are delicious and super healthy!


Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies



One Touch Latte Mornings

February 13, 2017
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LatteMadeEasy #CollectiveBias

My new favorite coffee in the mornings are my Mocha International Delight® One Touch Lattes! A cup of coffee and a press of One Touch Latte make my busy mornings go so much easier!







Ever since Silas graced us with his presence almost 8 years ago, my morning routine as a mom has been crazy busy. Back then, it consisted of getting both of us fed and dressed and out the door in time for him to get to my Grandparent's house and, hopefully, in time for me to arrive before my 2nd graders opened the door to my classroom. These days, I have three breakfasts to make, two lunches to pack, outfits to find, teeth that needs reminding to be brushed, backpacks double checked, and out the door in time to get the oldest two to school.

If it was one thing that I was unprepared for with Motherhood it was how, from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, I need to be wide awake and ready to get moving! 

Needless to say that by the time I get home from dropping the boys off from school, my coffee has long since grown cold. I will admit, some days I have so much work to get started on that I just roll with the room temperature coffee. I know you do it too, don't lie! :)

I've since discovered my new best friend every morning - International Delight® One Touch Latte. This thing seems to carve out a small coffeehouse right here in my own kitchen! It really is super simple to use, too:


1. Fill cup with 2/3 coffee - you want some room for that delicious froth, trust me!






2. Shake the One Touch Latte can; then press and hold the can above coffee, firmly, for 5 - 7 seconds. *See video tutorial below.





3. Enjoy your delicious latte!











I snagged my favorite Mocha during my last trip through the dairy aisle at Walmart, but I also can't wait to try the French Vanilla. I actually have some ground peppermint flavored coffee in my pantry just begging to be transformed into a One Touch Latte Peppermint Mocha- doesn't that sound just amazing?! These One Touch Lattes sweeten, creams, flavors, and froths your coffee all at the same time. Plus, you are able to get 7 uses out of each can - such a great value for a delicious at-home latte. 





What flavor are you going to try first? Leave you response in the comment section below!




 

Crockpot Beef BBQ

February 7, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KetchupWithFrenchs #CollectiveBias

This recipe for Crockpot Beef BBQ is set it and forget it style! Beef roast slow cooks with vegetables, ketchup, brown sugar, and spices until it shreds wonderfully and is served on rolls!







I HATE chopping vegetables, you guys. I will seriously put off making a certain dinner some nights all because I don't feel like chopping vegetables. It's completely irrational and I'm a baby, but I HATE it!

I look at Reuben, our third little boy, and we watch him approach the "witching hour" every single night around 5-6 pm. My fellow parents of toddlers know exactly what I'm talking about. His new normal at the time of the night is spent walking around the house whine/crying at different levels of loudness for honestly no reason at all. Any sane person would think he might be hungry with this act. Tonight, for example, he ate an entire serving of this Crockpot Beef BBQ, part of a roll, and a cup of applesauce. Oh, and he washed it all down with a full 8 oz bottle of almond milk. 

The non-crying period lasted about 5 minutes. And then he was off walking whine/crying again...

Honestly? I think we all have a "witching hour" at that time of the night. I might not make laps around the house driving the rest of my family mad with the constant noise, but I will refuse to chop vegetables, darn it. At 6pm I'm JUST TIRED and everyone wants to eat, including me, and usually whatever I have planned sounds boring. See? Adult witching hour.






It's recipes like this Crockpot Beef BBQ that save my life during that time of the night. You guys, it literally slow cooks for 8 - 10 hours which means that by the time everyone in the family is getting tired and cranky, all you have to do if lift the lid and spoon it onto some rolls. Stick a handful of veggie chips next to it on the plate and you're done. DONE.


yield: 10 servingsprint recipe

Crockpot Beef BBQ

Roast beef slow cooked in peppers onion, ketchup, brown sugar, and BBQ sauce and served in Kaiser rolls.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 8 hourtotal time: 8 hours and 10 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3.5 - 4 lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 20 oz bottle French's Ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 10 sesame seed hamburger rolls

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Trim larger pieces of fat off of beef roast and place trimmed beef into the slow cooker. Add in all the other ingredients on top of beef, besides rolls. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. With two forks, shred beef. Using a slotted spoon, place shredded BBQ beef onto rolls. Serve hot!
Created using The Recipes Generator





I didn't even mention the fact that this one makes plenty enough for leftovers, even with our family of 5! So lunch the next day is done, too - I love recipes like this!





I used my go-to French's Ketchup in this Crockpot Beef BBQ recipe to balance out the sweetness from the brown sugar and barbeque sauce, and give it a tomato-y tang. Plus, it's super easy to find in the condiment aisle of my local Walmart!





I love the fact that French's ketchup uses real ingredients, like sugar and high quality tomatoes, instead of high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial flavors and colors. No GMOs either! French's is also doing its part in the community through a partnership with Feeding America by donating 10 million meals in 2017. Now that's a company I'm glad to be supporting, how about you? Click here for some great recipe ideas with French's Ketchup.






What's your favorite slow cooker BBQ recipe? Leave your ideas in the comment section below!


Watch this video to see more about French's Ketchup!



 

Crockpot Pork Cacciatore

February 6, 2017
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  and Smithfield, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #seasonofpork http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

This yummy recipe for Crockpot Pork Cacciatore is the perfect winter slow cooker meal! Fresh pork tenderloin, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes served over spaghetti - your family will be asking for this healthy pork recipe again and again!



Crockpot Pork Cacciatore


This winter has been rather annoying, at least in my neck of the woods. Here in Central Pennsylvania, so far this year we've had bitter cold temperatures and wind, but very little snow. 

Now, I'm always one to admit that I'm rare - I actually look forward to winter. I'm an introvert and a homebody. The idea of being snowed in and snuggled up with my favorite people under a big blanket and sipping hot chocolate is pretty much my idea of perfection. Actually, it makes me remember the days when I was a teacher having to take Silas and Wesley to day care in the morning before Paul and I had to get to work. I was SO excited to wake up early in the morning to check the news stations and see if the school I taught had canceled school because of snow. 

It meant that I had an entire day to spend with my babies. 



Crockpot Pork Cacciatore Dinner Recipe



So, yes, I have very fond memories of wintertime with my sweet family. This year, though? No snow to cancel school. No snow to watch the boys play in for hours. Just bitter cold and I'm getting tired of it.

I'm ready for spring! And I'm ready for all the beautiful, delicious spring produce. I can't wait to start planting a garden in our backyard. Unfortunately, it's still a few months away - at least where we live. This is exactly why I turn to wonderfully filling dinner recipes, filled with colorful vegetables that can be found year round. 


Crockpot Healthy Pork Recipe



This Crockpot Pork Cacciatore calls for green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes along with Smithfield® Prime Fresh Pork Tenderloin. It's a simple recipe that's perfect for the busy week ahead - just set it in the slow cooker and allow it to do all the work for you! I served this cacciatore over cooked spaghetti, but it would be wonderful over any pasta you may have in your pantry, or even cooked rice.


yield: 6 servingsprint recipe

Crockpot Pork Cacciatore

Fresh pork tenderloin slow cooked with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes served over cooked spaghetti and topped with mozzarella cheese.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 4 hourtotal time: 4 hours and 15 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 lb Smithfield Prime Pork Tenderloin
  • 16 oz spaghetti
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with green peppers, onion, and mushrooms. Add seasonings.
  2. Rinse pork tenderloin and pat dry. Slice and then cut slices into one inch pieces. Add pork pieces to slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours, or on low 3-4 hours.
  4. Cook and drain spaghetti. Serve pork cacciatore over cooked spaghetti and topped with some shredded mozzarella cheese.
Created using The Recipes Generator


I'm telling you, open the door to your house and smell this amazing dinner wafting it way towards you - your family will be ready to sit down at the table immediately! Plus, with all these fresh and colorful ingredients, it'll be a nice break from the winter blues in your kitchen!



Slow Cooker Healthy Pork Recipe



I can tell you that as a busy mom of 3 that has served pork to my family many times over the years, not all pork is created equal! Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork Tenderloin is 20% more tender and has no added horomones or steroids. It's also a product of the USA and is gluten free - plus the taste is just amazing in this delicious dinner idea. Take advantage of $3 off Smithfield® Prime Fresh Pork thru 2/11, while supplies last, at your local ShopRite store! For more recipe ideas visit the Smithfield website.



Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore



What is your favorite way to serve your family fresh pork? Leave your recipe ideas in the comment section below, I'd love some new ones!




 

Winter Family Getaway to Kalahari Resort in Poconos, PA!

February 1, 2017
I received a complimentary stay on behalf of Kalahari Resorts to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Our family had cabin fever this winter so we took a quick getaway to Kalahari Resort in Poconos, PA - the indoor waterpark was SO FUN!!







A few weeks ago, we picked up the boys from school on a Friday afternoon. We had their tablets charged and sitting on their seats. We told them that I had something for work I needed to do and that we'd be in the car for a while. To sweeten the deal a little, we also told them we'd stop and get something yummy to eat on the road. Our kids are so awesome, we had exactly ZERO hesitation from them over this. I just love their easy-going personalities!

It's January, and unfortunately it gets dark here early. It was extra unfortunate that two hours later when we were pulling into Kahalari Resort in the Pocono Mountains of PA it was both dark AND really foggy! Paul and I held out though and gave them no indication that we were going anywhere special! It wasn't until we literally pulled up to the front parking lot that we had questions. And then when Paul pulled out the suitcases from the trunk - they started to put the pieces together! I will say though, it wasn't until we walked into the resort and saw the HUGE glass window in lobby leading out the indoor waterpark that they started jumping up and down. 

Seeing my kids excited like that just makes me smile!



After we checked into our room, we headed down in bathing suits to the waterpark and we stayed there for HOURS! It was so much fun, and there really wasn't that big of a crowd on a Friday night. The resort provides towels and life jackets for the kids, so no need to bring those with you. We weren't hungry, but there is a restaurant right there in the park, too. I hung out with Reuben in the large little-kid splash area while Paul took the older boys down the lazy river and on some of the bigger slides. Reuben is now 15 months old and could do anything in this area - slides, a huge water table, they even had swings that had water raining down on the kiddos! He had a BLAST!





After our fun in the water, we went back to our room and ordered room service for dinner. The pizza was great and they had lots of options for drinks for the kids, too. Our only slight issue with our trip was getting Reuben set up in a pack & play - the resort has them available to use, but the first one they brought us wasn't working properly. The staff really was amazing with tracking down a new one for us as quickly as they could - and with friendly, smiling faces, too! They truly were wonderful!



I LOVE that they recycle used soaps and shampoos leftover from the hotel rooms! In fact, the whole room was so nicely decorated in a safari theme, too - it made the whole getaway a bit more "authentic"! We'll most likely be booking a two-room suite next time, just to give us a bit more room with the three kids. If you're on a budget though, the Desert Room we stayed in worked just fine with two queen beds and a pull out sofa. The mini fridge was great, too for storing leftover pizza and drinks after dinner.





The following morning we enjoyed a yummy breakfast at the Ivory Coast Restaurant. I ordered croissant french toast and Paul had eggs with hollandaise sauce - both were incredible! The kids meals were great, too and our server was very accommodating with our special order of milk-free scrambled eggs (Reuben is allergic). There are 10 different places to get something to eat and drink at Kalahari, including waterpark dining, a coffee bar, and more - with two new restaurants opening this year!




After breakfast, the boys had a fun time at the arcade winning tickets and picking out prizes. There's even an indoor glow mini golf that we can't wait to try the next time we visit!





I was so excited to be given an exclusive tour to Phase 2 which will be completed on March 7, 2017. In their lobby right now they have a model of the waterpark expansion - it's truly doubling in size to a massive 220,000 sq. ft. and will officially be America's Largest Indoor Waterpark! The lazy river is my favorite, and I CAN'T WAIT to see how awesome it turns out. I'm also excited for the new cabana rentals in the expansion that include a private hot tub! 

They are also adding 520 guest rooms, including some really beautiful family suites which would be perfect if you're planning a trip with a large group. The views from those rooms are absolutely gorgeous - it's in the Pocono Mountains, after all! Also to be completed with the addition is a 40,000 sq. ft. arcade with a virtual reality adventure, an escape room, a new fitness center... I could go on and on! 


Be sure to check out Kalahari's website to book your next getaway! Sign up for their emails here and follow their Facebook page as well - I've noticed that they regularly post lightning deals on last minute bookings that save a lot of money. Keep in mind that waterpark passes for the whole family are included with the room price from the time you check in, through your whole stay, and for the whole day that you check out - even after your check out time (there are family changing areas in the waterpark). It really is an all-inclusive resort and I'm SO HAPPY that it's so close to where we live! Can't wait to go back!









 

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