I am sure most of you are experiencing the same bitter cold and snow we have had in Pittsburgh. The cabin fever has also already set in with my boys! So I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things that get me through these cold winter months.
We love comfort foods in the winter and one of our go to meals every week is soup. Here is one of our favorite recipes.
Chicken Meatball & Orzo Soup
1 lb. Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 TBSP. Garlic
1 TBSP. Italian Herb Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
6 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Orzo Pasta
1-2 Cups Chopped Spinach
1.) Mix Ground Chicken, Parmesan Cheese, Italian Bread Crumbs, Egg, Garlic, Italian Herb Seasoning, and Salt & Pepper in bowl. Once combined roll mixture into meatballs (mine made about 40) (I used a small cookie scoop so all the meatballs were the same size) Then set aside
2.) Dice Onion and saute with Olive Oil over medium heat in large pot. Once cooked add in Chicken Broth and bring to a simmer
3.) Once broth is at a simmer add in Meatballs and Orzo (cook about 10 minutes)
4.) Chop Spinach
5.) Once Meatballs and Orzo are cooked add spinach and cook for 2 minutes
6.) Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese
Last weekend Nick and I had tortillas, jalapeno’s, and some chicken we needed to use up so we came up with these chicken enchiladas which were amazing and we even made them again a few days later because we loved them so much. They definitely are not the healthiest but oh-so-yummy!
1 lb. Chicken Breasts (You can use ground chicken or even cooked Rotisserie Chicken too)
Salt & Pepper
1 TBSP. Cumin
1 TBSP. Chili Powder
Flour or Corn Tortilla’s
Green Enchilada Sauce
Cotija Mexican Cheese
1.) Dice Chicken, Onion, and Jalapeno’s (leave seeds in if you want extra spice!) and cook in skillet over medium heat. Add in Cumin, Chili Powder, and Salt & Pepper
2.) Spread a thin layer of Green Enchilada Sauce on the bottom of your baking dish
3.) Lay out your Tortilla’s and place Chicken mixture in each tortilla and sprinkle each with Cotija Cheese (make as many as you would like)
4.) Roll each Enchilada and place seam side down in baking dish. Spread remaining Green Enchilada Sauce on top of each Enchilada and then top with Queso and sprinkle Cotija Cheese
5.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly
My skin gets so dry in the winter especially my hands. They get dry and cracked so I have to keep my skin hydrated everyday. For my hands & body I love this Shea Butter Body Cream because it is thick like whipped butter & contains shea butter & vitamin E which leaves my skin feeling deeply conditioned.
I swear by Climate Control which is essentially a drink of water for your face and hydration in the purest form. (Can’t get any better than that, right?!) Not only does in hydrate your skin but it helps to bring new skin cells to the surface to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and keep your skin glowing. Plus it has anti-aging properties to keep your skin looking youthful!
I am obsessed with lip products (I am talking I have lip products in every room of the house, car, purse, you name it) and in the winter need something extra moisturizing so that is why I love this Moisturizing Lip Balm. I love that it contains natural ingredients (like all of my other beauty favs!) including coconut oil and cocoa butter which help to soften the skin and protect your lips from any environmental influences.
Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you have to give up a sun kissed glow. I have tried many self tanners and they all left me streaky but I finally found one that doesn’t! I am loving this Self-Tanning Bronzing Coconut Milk. You just spray and gently rub it in and it will give you a glow for days!
Warm and Cozy Must Haves
On these blistering cold days I just love to stay warm and cozy at home with my boys. So these are some things that are keeping me cozy this winter.
This sweatshirt is so soft plus I love the saying! I also love these slippers because even when I am all cozy at home I need a little sparkle! I also pretty much live in these velour pants on those rare days when we have nowhere to go. (Best part is they are on clearance now too!!) Also a hot cup of coffee gets me through the day but I love it even more on cold days. So a great mug is a must have and I just picked up this Valentines mug!
I hope some of my favorite winter must haves will help get you through these cold days too! Stay warm and remember spring will be here before we know it!
This past weekend we hosted a Secret Santa party with our neighbors! It was filled with lots of fun for both the kids and Moms! I want to share with you some ideas for holiday parties. I am sorry I am so late to post this but as you know the holidays are so crazy!
The kids table was filled with lots of goodies for the kids to take home with them including a Santa hat, Reindeer Food, and a cookie from our favorite cookie shop!
If you are local to Pittsburgh you MUST go to GIVE MIA COOKIE for all of your custom cookies! I get them for all of our parties and they make great favors and sweet additions to the dessert table!
Magical Reindeer Food
The Magical Reindeer Food is something fun for the kids to look forward to on Christmas Eve. They just sprinkle the magical food outside and it helps to guide Santa and the Reindeer to your house!
- 2 Cups Old Fashion Oatmeal
- 2 Tablespoons Sprinkles
*Mix together the oatmeal and sprinkles and place in decorative bag with instructions!
I also had kid friendly food including these cute Grinch fruit Kabobs which were a hit!
Grinch Kabobs Recipe
- Green Grapes
- Kabob Skewers
*Place 1 grape, 1 banana slice, 1 strawberry, and 2 marshmallows on a skewer
Hot Chocolate Bar
We also had a hot chocolate bar which would be great for any winter party! Plus it is very easy to put together and was a hit with the kids and adults! I made homemade hot chocolate which was very simple but you can always use pre-mixed hot chocolate as well.
Our bar was filled with marshmallows, vanilla wafer sticks, candy canes, and gingerbread cookies! I had all of the Christmas mugs and bowls already as well as the galvanized metal tins from previous parties. All I added to make it more festive was fresh pine from Trader Joes!
Hot Chocolate Recipe (I doubled this recipe)
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream or half & half
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Dash of salt
- 6 oz. chocolate morsels
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*On stove top mix milk, cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium saucepan
*Cook over medium heat and whisk until sugar and cocoa are dissolved (steam mixture, do not boil)
*Once steaming whisk in chocolate morsels until mixture is smooth
*Remove from heat and stir in vanilla
The Moms received treats to take home with them as well including a wine glass, homemade potpourri, and a cookie from Give Mia Cookie
Growing up my Mom always had a similar potpourri mixture on the stove and it filled our house with the wonderful smell of Christmas! You can customize your potpourri with any scent that you would like.
- 1 Orange
- 1 Cup Fresh Cranberries
- 2-3 Sprigs of Pine or Rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon Cloves
- 2-4 Cinnamon Sticks
*Slice orange and place in a medium saucepan with cranberries, pine, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups of water
*Simmer mixture and turn heat to low. Your house will then smell amazing!
My centerpieces were fresh pine and holiday greenery including holly and berries from Trader Joe’s. I made them into my own with vases I had on hand. I also had Poinsettia’s that I added to the middle of the table as well. This tablescape was very inexpensive. I love getting fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s and turning them into my own centerpieces plus not to mention they are inexpensive and they last a long time.
I have had a lot of fun shopping this year for my boys and all of the kids on our list. It has been so fun to watch Christmas through Peyton and Brody’s eyes this year and cannot wait until Christmas morning! Here are some great gift ideas for all the little ones on your list!
Paw Patrol Lovers
We are obsessed with Paw Patrol in our house and there are some really great pieces you should be sure to add to your collection this year!
For all the new or soon to be babies on your list a personalized gift will be cherished forever! You can have their name monogrammed on anything from blankets to onesies.
Now its time to gift all the ladies in your life. When we moved into our new house last year one of the best gifts I received that Christmas was a fur throw blanket. It is the best blanket to snuggle under on these cold winter days. So I love to gift a throw especially when someone moves into a new house. Here are some of my favorite blankets!
I love to workout and try new fitness studios and all types of fitness classes! So gifting the fitness lover in your life a gift certificate to try a new studio is a great idea. I know I would love this gift! One of my favorite workouts is Barre 3. I go several times a week and you know what else is awesome, they have child care! Right now if you buy a 10 class pass you will receive 20% off! Check them out below!
Another great gift for the fitness lover is a new outfit! There is nothing better than hitting your favorite class in a brand new outfit. I am currently obsessed with these leggings and shirt below from Gap!
For the Traveler
All the beauty lovers in your life need LipSense! It is kiss proof, smudge proof, sweat proof, water proof, cruelty free and more! It is going to last through all of the eating and drinking at holiday parties to a long day at the office! Another must have is a great set of makeup brushes!
For the Jewelry Lover
Kendra Scott is one of my favorite jewelry lines and they are a great price point! They have a color and style for everyone on your list! I recently just got this necklace and earrings for my birthday! I have the bracelet on my wish list for Christmas!
For those of you who don’t know me I love giving gifts. I have been told gift giving is my love language. I love everything from shopping for gifts, to wrapping them, and watching everyone open up their gifts. I try to put a lot of thought into the gifts I give and take note and listen all year long on things that family and friends say they want!
So of course I have been very busy shopping, mainly online this year due to my two crazy boys! I want to share with you some gift ideas for everyone on your list!
For the Man in your Life
Shopping for Nick is fun because I try to get him things he didn’t even remember asking for throughout the year. Nick is really into making Moscow Mules right now so I thought it would be great to get him all of the accessories he needs for his mules!
A gift that is sure to pull on heart strings is a personalized calendar. Every year I make Nick and my Dad a desk calendar of the boys from Shutterfly for them to keep in their offices. I also make everyone an ornament of pictures from the past year. These make great stocking stuffers!
For the movie lover in your life a Sound Bar is a great addition to their big screen tv. I bought this one for Nick last year and he loves watching sports with the sound bar! Don’t forget the Amazon Echo speaker AKA Alexa! Perfect to play music, connect to your tv and more!
I have always had a passion for entertaining and cooking for family and friends. Ever since I could remember Sundays after church were spent at my Grandparents house for family dinners where my Grandma would cook great big meals and send us home with lots of leftovers!
Every holiday had a tradition which included visits from Santa on Christmas Eve to Easter egg hunts in my Grandparents yard. I have so many great memories from all of the fun and joy that each holiday brought.
My Mom always hosted Christmas dinner and she would always make sure to have a memorable favor at each place setting and yummy dishes that left everyone asking for the recipes. She also made a huge display of cookies that are still talked about by family and friends!
When I was in college my Mom was fighting cancer and after she passed away I was determined to keep all of the traditions I cherished a part of our family and continue to create new memories with every holiday and party I threw. That is were my passion came from, keeping her memory alive and continuing to bring lasting memories for our family and friends.
I want to share with you a family dinner we had this past weekend. All of the dishes for this meal have special meaning to me. Growing up my Mom always had snowman plates that she served with Christmas dinner. So several years ago my sister started me with my own collection of Christmas dishes and every year she surprises me with another piece to match the set. Last year was wine glasses, she definitely knows I love my wine! The crystal salad bowls I love to use for all of my family dinners were my Grandma’s.
I love incorporating my Mom and Grandma into every meal so they can be with us! I also add a favor for each guest to their plate to take home. In the past I have individually wrapped frosted holiday sugar cookies to homemade caramel apples. For this dinner everyone went home with a Christmas bell ornament to add to their tree.
For every gathering I like to have a signature drink and a few apps! For this dinner we had Apple Cider Sangria which was so easy to make and so refreshing! I added apples and cranberries to make it festive!
The appetizer we had was so simple. All I did was buy a baguette and Jarlsberg Cheese Spread that was pre-made and I baked them in the oven and served! I always like to have festive plates and napkins!
For dinner we served a strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing which is a family favorite! We also had chicken stuffed with ricotta and spinach. It looks intimidating but seriously so easy! We served the chicken with homemade cheesy scalloped potatoes!
Finally, for dessert I made a pumpkin cheesecake trifle, which again was quick and easy to make!
Thanks for joining me and checking out my first post! I can’t wait to share with you so much more from entertaining, home decorating, fashion, kids, beauty, and more!