Creamy Tomato Sausage Pasta {Quick & Easy}

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Here is a quick and easy dinner you can prepare in about 20 minutes .. although it will taste like you spent all day making it!

Here’s what you will need:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
1 onion
1 pound sweet italian sausage (we used links and cut them into pieces)
1  (14oz) can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
1/3 cup parsley
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 pound pasta (of your choice)

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Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cook sausage in large skillet with olive oil on medium/low until just about cooked. Also, start boiling water in separate pot for pasta to cook.
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  2. Then cut sausage into bite size pieces and move to side of skillet. In the center of skillet saute the onions, butter, and garlic.
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  3. Next add dry white wine and simmer about 2-3 minutes. Then add the diced tomatoes in juice, mix together and cook until bubbly.
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  4. Then add whipping cream and 1/3 cheese and cook low for about 4 minutes.
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  5. Once the pasta is just about done cooking (in it’s separate pan) add the remaining cheese and parsley to the skillet with the tomato cream sauce. Keep skillet on low so the cheese does not burn to bottom.
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  6. When pasta is done cooking drain it, then add some to a bowl and top it with your lovely {Creamy tomato & sausage sauce} sprinkle some parmesan cheese as a garnish to the top and enjoy with a glass of wine 🙂And there you have it! Quick & Easy Creamy Tomato Sausage Pasta – Enjoy with your family today!
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Bacon Avocado Panini Melt

I love paninis because you can make so many different kinds and they’re so easy to make. Excuse my bad cell phone photos … this was kind of spur of the moment & they turned out so good I had to share. (maybe I’ll do them again and update the photos) 
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To start of making this panini you will need to make some homemade guacamole first. Don’t worry it’s super easy.

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You will need:  2 avocados, 1 plum tomato, 1/2 onion, and some lemon juice or lime juice. To add some extra flavor (you don’t have to) I use 1 tablespoon of mayo, and 1 tablespoon garlic or a sprinkle of garlic salt as well.

Have you ever cut up avocados? Here’s how I cut mine:

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First, cut it in half, pull it apart. Slice with a knife into cubes then scoop out with a spoon. Mash it up in a bowl with a fork or an avocado tool until smooth and creamy.

Then add the diced tomatoes, the slice/diced onions, garlic. And salt to taste. Don’t forget to add some lemon/lime juice so the avocado does not turn brown.
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Okay, the “hard” (not so hard) part is over. Now just make some bacon like you normally would in a pan, then chop some up into pieces and add that to the guacamole. Mmm it’s so yummy! You can also add slices of bacon to your panini too.

Butter the bread (we use hearty white bread) you want something a little bit firmer so it doesn’t get squashed by the panini press. Next, top the bread with a slice of cheddar cheese, then tomato slices, bacon if you wish, then add your guacamole, and then another piece of cheddar cheese, and lastly bread. 

Cook in panini press for about 4 mins or until cheese is nice and melted.
Enjoy with some chips & dip!

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Valentine’s Mantel & Decor

We took down the Christmas decorations a few weeks ago.. and wow everything looked so bare. Chris thought it would be a good idea to decorate for Valentine’s Day {haha!} … let’s just say I thought he was being sarcastic. Turns out he enjoys the decorations as much as I do! 🙂

I searched around for some ideas on Pinterest and found some cute banners for the fireplace. Here’s how mine turned out:
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Cute right? It was wicked easy.

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I went to Joann’s and found some burlap paper. I cut out a stencil first for how I wanted the shape of the banner to be, and cut out 7 sections. Using some cute and festive valentines day scrap book paper I cut out hearts to hot glue them to the burlap. Next, I used some string and super glued it to the burlap paper by folding the edge of the burlap 1/2 inch over the string. It was a very inexpensive way to make a cute banner. Total cost was about $8 and the supplies made 3 banners (that I gave away to my friends/family). Oh and I always use a 40% off coupon for my most expensive item, you can print yours today online or show them the code on your smart phone at most craft stores.

Next, I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day wreath using my favorite and easiest way , a premade {Grapevine wreath} (you can find these at Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, Micheal’s, and even Wal-Mart). The best part is they cost about $3.99-8.99 depending on the size. I then find some holiday florals and cut them and intertwine them into the wreath. You can add whatever you like, ribbon, flowers, letters, to personalize it any way you like.

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I was lucky and was able to find some left over Christmas florals that were marked down 80% off. Yay!  I mixed red and white to give it a valentines day look.

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Isn’t this saying adorable? ~ “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite” ~ A little too mushy gushy for everyday, but perfect for my Valentine’s day decor. Since this decoration is only going to be used for such a short time ( only about 20 days) I decide to just print out the saying using powerpoint. Then I cut it out and glued it to  some cardboard, wrapped around the same string I used for the banner and also the same cut out hearts.

To make this look personalized, add some pictures of you and your love, like I did. I think the black and white pictures make it look romantic.
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And there you have it ~ my quick, easy, and inexpensive way to add Valentine’s Day decor and a touch of love to your home today!
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Soft & Chewy Hershey’s Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Hershey’s Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies are the best!
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Recipe:
1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 cup crisco + 1 tablespoon water
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cup flour
3/4 brown sugar
3/4 white sugar
1/3 cup Hershey’s coco
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate-chips (semi-sweet or dark)


Want to know my secret to make them {Soft & Chewy} ?

Follow these easy steps:

  1. I use a half butter/crisco combination in all of my cookies because I love the taste of butter, but it can burn easy. Criso helps keep the cookies soft and chewy.
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  2. Beat the butter/criso combination with a whisk wire attachment until fluffy.
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  3. Then add both sugars and vanilla & beat with whisk attachment.
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  4. Next combined both large eggs.
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    Beat until light and fluffy with the wire attachment. (if your using a hand mixer thats okay too just make sure to beat until fluffy)
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    Mmm.. looks soo good like frosting.
  5. If your using a Kitchen-Aid like me switch the attachment to normal mixing attachment for the remainder of the steps. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients (I mix them together in a separate bowl first).
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  6. Add a little bit of the dry ingredients at a time and mix until just blended. (Do not over mix the dry ingredients though.)
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  7. Once all dry ingredients are mixed in well add the chocolate chips. Here’s how the dough should look:
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  8. Okay, now set that aside in your refrigerator for about 20mins so the dough can firm up a bit.
  9. In the meantime turn your oven on and preheat to 375. This is also when I clean up my mess and do my dirty dishes.
  10. Then take out dough and roll into balls about 1 1/2 inch big. Bake for about 10 mins or until the cookie just separates. (You don’t want to over bake your cookie because it won’t be soft and chewy.)
  11. Allow the cookie to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 mins before removing to the cooling rack. This extra time allows the cookie to keep baking without being burned….and {ta-da} ! Fabulous Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies! Just like a pro! Enjoy
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Love with Food box Jan 2014

Subscription boxes are so much fun, they give us something to look forward to each month.

What makes the {Love with Food} box so great?

  • for each box they donate 1 meal to a hungry child in need! (how awesome is that?)
  • the snacks are all organic, all-natural, some gluten-free, GMO-free
  • 8+ healthy snacks to try
  • 25% off coupon + free shipping to buy the snacks you fall in love with
  • earn points by reviewing your samples

Each month the Love with Food box has a “theme” that they base their box on. This months theme was “Wake Up to the New Year!”
love with food 2014 jan
Look at all the yummy (yet still healthy) goodies inside!
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Cards that explain the theme and tell you a little bit about each item you received.

  1. Banana Split Baby Mama Drama from Mama’s Magic Mix
    This low-cal Banana Split mix as naughty as it is nice!
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  2. Pretzo-Change – Original Milk Chocolate Squares from Jer’s Chocolates
    These bite size treats are great when you need a little something sweet.
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  3. Chocolate Chip Cookies from Home Free
    These cookies are so tasty that its hard to believe they are free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and dairy!
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  4. Superfood Chews from Lovely Candies
    The perfect mix of real fruit bits and sweetness make these candies quite Lovely indeed!
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  5. Columbia Supremo from Caffe Borsa
    What a better way to wake up than with a perfect cup of pour over coffee!
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  6. Orange Fruit Bar from Oskri
    This low-cal orange bar is a great way to sneak fruit into your diet.
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  7. Organic Berry Berry Granola Bar from Annie’s Homegrown
    The perfect bar for everyone in the family, these 100% organic bars contain 8g of whole grains per serving.
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  8. Lightly Salted Almonds from Blue Diamond Almonds
    You can enjoy these almonds without worrying about breaking you resolve to cut down on salt.
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  9. Multi-Grain Sea Salt Skinny Sticks from Hi I’m Skinny
    A grain based snack that brings you a heart healthy treat
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    Here’s what the Love with Food box looks like when its shipped to you!

 

How to CLEAN Your Washing Machine

Have you ever cleaned your washing machine? Sounds funny doesn’t it.. we use our washing machine to clean our clothes but it often gets dirty doing the job.

By cleaning out your washing machine not only will your washer look like new, but it will clean your clothes better too.

Here’s  what you will need:

  • old toothbrush
  • cleaning rag or sponge
  • all purpose cleaner (I use Clorox Clean-up)
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • bleach
  • gloves to protect your hands

what you need to clean


how to clean your washing machine

Here’s how:

  1. Using an all purpose cleaner and toothbrush clean the lid of your washing machine. Make sure to get into the crevices but partially closing the lid to get underneath.
  2. Clean all around the lip using an all purpose cleaning, a rag/sponge and some baking soda.
  3. This spot in most washing machines is for bleach (i use mine for downy) either way clean it with all purpose cleaner and baking soda using a toothbrush and sponge.
  4. This is where the fabric softener normally goes, mine however does not have one, if yours does pop it out and soak it a bit to loosen the softener up in the sink so it’s easier to clean. Use all purpose cleaner and some baking soda.
  5. Next clean the agitator,using all purpose cleaner and baking soda with the use of a toothbrush to get in the cracks and a sponge for the rest.
  6. Okay, by this point it should be looking like new again. Yay! But we’re not done just yet. Time to get that musty smell out. Put 2 cups bleach into your washing machine with hot water, large load. Let it run through washing cycle. Stop it just before it rinses and let it sit and soak for an half and hour. Then let it drain.
  7. Lastly, repeat the cycle, this time add 2 cups vinegar and hot water.

    All done. Leaving your clothes looking and smelling fresh and clean.
    Here is my after pic:
    after clean washing

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce

I’m always looking for quick and easy dinners to try. Alfredo sauce happens to be one of my favorites to make because you can add so many different things to make the dish totally different each time you make it.

homemade alfredo sauce

Here is my homemade recipe:

1/2 cup butter
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
1 1/2 cup half/half (or whipped cream if you like it to be thicker)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 tablespoon garlic

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1. In skillet pan melt butter and garlic on medium.

2.Once melted, add cream cheese. (I cut into pieces so it can melt easier. You may want to turn heat to a lower setting until completely melted.)

3. Then add parmesan cheese and half & half until melted and mixed together.

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4. It’s all done 🙂 that easy!

5. Optional- I like to add spinach and tomatoes to mine. Mmm it’s soo good!
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Goes well with white wine too 😉 

Homemade Reese’s Peanut-butter Bars

I love the Reese’s Peanut-Butter shapes around the holidays. This homemade recipe taste just as good but you get way more for your money!  And way more to share with the ones you love. Or you can gobble them all up by yourself.. I won’t tell 😉  But seriously ~ they’re that good!


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Recipe:
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup melted butter
1 Jar of Peter’s Pan Peanut-Butter
2 Cups Confectionery Sugar
2 Cups Graham Crackers (use food possessor to chop them up)
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Directions:
Mix together the melted butter, 1 cup peanut-butter, 2 cups confectioners sugar, and 2 cups graham crackers. Then press mixture into a 9 by 13 pan. Next, melt the chocolate chips and the remaining peanut-butter (about 4 table spoons) together and melt either over a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. Once melted poor over the peanut-butter mixture in pan and spread it out evenly. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
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Once cooled, cut out into squares and enjoy! 🙂

2014~ January Birchbox!

Have you ever tried {Birchbox} ? It’s awesome! It’s a beauty/lifestyle subscription box that comes monthly in the mail. The best part is you fill out a beauty profile so the items you get in your box are unique to you. Who doesn’t love getting surprises in the mail?

The cost is $10 per month. You can pay it all up front for the year or pay monthly and if you don’t like it cancel it whenever you want.  🙂 They also have wonderful customer serivce (another reason why I love this company!)

What you get: 4 to 5 samples (some deluxe and full size!)
1 life-style extra (this is an extra, that birchbox thinks you may enjoy)

You can review your product samples each month and receive 10 points per item. 100 points = $10 Birchbox dollars you can use to buy products online!

Each box is worth well over the $10 and you get to try items you normally would never have the chance to. Every once and a while you will find something you love, its great because it’s normally things I would never expect to like.

Its always a great day when {Birchbox} arrives

Birchbox, THE BOX!
inside of the box once opened

the "theme" card

a list of your products

Yay to the new year!

100% pure mascara

bodycream

tony&guy shampoo/conditioner

Lifestyle extra tea

My birchbox!

Watch my youtube review here: