Strawberry & Blueberry Bruschetta

We are getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July.  Desserts that include strawberries and blueberries naturally give you a patriotic feeling.  This little recipe was inspired by my friend, Erin at The Speckled Palate.  Jump over to her blog to be completely inspired plus she makes meal planning fun!

This little dessert will leave your family and friends wanting more!  Prep is simple and can be done ahead of time.  Feel free to play with the ingredients and make it your own.  Have a happy and safe 4th of July! -Amanda

20190527_1910524611234774130555535.jpg

2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 pre-made Pound Cake loaf (I purchased a Vanilla Pound Cake at Whole Foods)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

8oz of Cream Cheese,  allow to sit at room temp for 15 to 20 minutes

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Wash & Dry your strawberries and blueberries.  Slice your strawberries.  Toss  strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Slice your pound cake into 1inch (or less) thickness. I made sure to make 12 slices to have enough for dessert.   Brush the pound cake slices with melted butter.  On a preheated grill or grilling pan, toast both sides of your pound cake.  Let the pieces set long enough to get grill lines.  Once all slices are toasted, set aside and allow to cool.  

With a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Once all combined, place in refrigerator until ready to create dessert.

When you are ready to serve dessert, place your pound cake slices on a serving platter or individual plates.  Smear the cream cheese mixture on to your cake slices.  Make sure there is enough cream cheese mixture to allow the fruit to stick to your cake slices.  Then top that with a tablespoon of strawberries and their juice. Add blueberries by giving them a little push to stay on the cake slices.  Serve immediately, or let stand in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

Make Your Own Pizza Night

One item on our summer bucket was “Make Your Own Pizza Night” We have done this several times but we jazzed it up with our head chef, Whitaker!

20190610_2028167234816724152321253.jpg

You can buy pre-made dough or make your own. This is my go to Pizza Dough. If you want to try something different, Trader Joe’s has a great frozen Cauliflower Crust.

We are all about the ingredients in this house. Chop up what you want and add some variety. In my mind there can never be too many toppings. I love them all! Some our favorites: Mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced), pepperoni, olives, sausage (cooked ahead), bell peppers, onions, jalapeños, and mushrooms.

We use pre-made pizza sauce to keep it easy. Once your dough is ready, start adding all the fun. It’s a great way to get everyone on the kitchen.

20190610_2001104166794505130413525.jpg

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

The sight of an overripe banana is not pretty to most. Although the outside is not attractive, we know the inside is ready for a smoothie, dessert, or banana bread. Banana bread is a classic for most but adding chocolate to it gives it a quick upgrade. This recipe is yummy and easy to make. It has a true banana taste so you need to like bananas to like this bread.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

3 overripe bananas

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 t vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup chocolate chips plus 4 T for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with a nonstick baking spray.

Peel and roughly chop the bananas.

Using a mixer, mix butter, sugar, egg, and chocolate in bowl. Then add the bananas, flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix to make sure all ingredients are fully mixed.

Pour into the prepared bread pan. Sprinkle the additional 4 Tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before running a knife around the side of the loaf pan. Allow bread to fall out of bread pan. Cool completely. Slice and serve. Store bread in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

This bread is rich and goes well with a glass of milk.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

It is clear that I live in a house of cookie monsters.  My boys love to see the cookie jar filled with cookies.  This past week we created a new sugar cookie.  I love adding lemon to desserts.  Lemon makes foods taste fresh.  These cookies were easy to make.  The boys loved them and we have decided they will be part of the cookie rotation.

20190518_204108677294873783593460.jpg

 

1 cup Butter cold, cut into cubes

2 cups Sugar

2 Eggs

1 t  Vanilla Extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)

1 1/2 Fresh Lemon Juice

1 T Lemon Zest  (you can add more to add extra flavor)

3 cups Flour

1 1/4 Baking Powder

1/4 Baking Soda

1/2 Salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined.
Spoon about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.
Drop dough onto a prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle the rolled dough balls with white sugar.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is easy to put together.  It’s a great addition to so many meals.  We add Pico (for short) to fajitas, tacos, omelets, and sometimes just love it by itself with chips.  The freshness of the flavors add something to each entree.  This is my simple recipe you can add to or take away.  I make it early in the day to let flavors sit for a little while.  This recipes make a lot so feel free to divide ingredients if you want a smaller batch.

20190407_1836192547342089774265721.jpg

3 white or red onions

12 Roma tomatoes

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves

2 to 3 jalapeños (soak in ice water before using)

1 lime

Salt

Chop up onions and tomatoes. I like to make sure the tomato and onion ratio is about the same.  Chop the cilantro.

Slice 1 or 2 jalapeños in half.  I always wear gloves when chopping jalapeños.  With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and membranes. (If you want it spicy, leave in some of the white membranes.) Finely chop the jalapeños.

Combine onions, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños in one bowl.

Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice from half a lime the bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and stir together until combined.   Do a taste test.  You can make adjustments to your  pico de gallo by adding more jalapeños, salt, or lime.

Hold on Tight! It’s May!

may

Seriously, where did this school year go? How is it already May? Whether we are ready or not, MAY is Here! This month brings mixed emotions to so many. May is a month full of activities. My calendar is full with end of year parties, last chapel, end of year tests, graduations, Mother’s Day, lacrosse tournaments, husband’s travel, and then events I don’t even know about yet! May has a way of stressing us out and getting us excited all at the same time. How are you feeling?

The Holderness Family sums it up for most of us. Watch this video to relate. I had a friend who just said that December has nothing over May. What do you think?

Let’s take this month and realize there might be a couple of ways to calm it down. We know our calendars are completely full. So, DON’T add additional activities. When the last minute plans are made or you get an invite to something extra, stop and consider if it really needs to happen. Many times we feel guilty to saying “No” but saying “No” helps us say “Yes” to other things.

Make a list! What needs to be done each week to feel good and keep the planets in line? What are your “must do’s” for your family? There are usually end of year gifts to buy. Can you do this online? Seriously, Teachers love gift cards! Pick up a gift card at Target and call it a day. Stop at a bakery to buy the cookies you need for the party.

Don’t panic over summer plans! It is truly okay if your children don’t have a plan for each hour of the summer. We get ourselves all worked up over not having their time completely full. If you are working during the summer, make a plan and don’t worry about it. It will all work out and your kids will have a fabulous summer.

What needs to be done before your kids are out for the summer? I have a couple of closets and toy bins I want to conquer before my boys are home. I know how much faster I can take care of these jobs when I don’t have my boys questioning my donation piles. There are a few appointments I want to squeeze in before the summer too.

Team up with other moms! We are all trying to defeat May and the end of the year craziness. If you are already going to Target, ask your friend if they need something there too. When another mom offers help, take them up on it. We are all in this together.

Get your rest! Drink your water! Get to the gym! You have to refuel each day. Fill that Yeti cup full of water each morning and keep filling it up during the day. Don’t stay up catching up on Netflix. Get yourself to bed so you will be ready for the next day. Make a priority to get some physical activity. It will help you with your overall goals and make you feel good.

Pray! Seriously, I know when I stop and talk to God about this craziness, I begin to feel better. He knows how my brain races and how I want to make things perfect for my boys. When I put things into perspective and give them over to God, May has nothing over me. Pray for your friends too. We are all trying to get through this together.

May can be crazy! Don’t let it take over. Try to stop and enjoy the last few weeks of this school year. There is so much to celebrate. You got this!

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day

In a recent conversation with friends, one mom shared she would love for her husband to have their minivan detailed and washed for Mother’s Day.  She did not want breakfast in bed.  She was not concerned about a fancy brunch.  This momma wanted a clean minivan free of  fallen chicken nuggets, crunched gold fish, and lost socks.  Sometimes it is just that simple.  Moms love a handmade card, flowers, and a day with children but it’s time to step it up to what a momma really wants for Mother’s Day.

With the help of my friends, I have compiled a list that can help spoil all the moms out there.  Feel free to pass on to your husband.

What Moms Really Want

  1.  A Day of Pampering- Most mommas love time to be pampered.  A manicure, pedicure, massage or facial will make mom feel refreshed and loved.  Plus this gives mom time to sit and relax for a little bit.  (Hint- Dad use this time to clean up around the house.  Or take the kids to their practices and games. )
  2. Let Mom Sleep In- Like really sleep in.  Get up with kids before mom has a chance to notice.  Take the kids out for breakfast and let mom have time to just lay in bed.
  3. Detail Mom’s Car- Take the time to have mom’s car washed and detailed.  This could take some time but it is so worth it.  Then let mom take her newly cleaned car for a spin before the children enter back in with their sticky fingers and snacks.
  4. Give Mom a Day off from “Mom Jobs”- Seriously, a day with no laundry, dishes, chauffeuring children, and cooking dinner.  Basically give mom a day where she does not have to make decisions and take care of her daily jobs around the house.
  5. Make plans for Brunch, Lunch and/or Dinner- Mom always has the menu ready and the groceries purchased.  Tell her you have it all taken care of it.  Make reservations and go grocery shopping.  Do whatever you need to do to have meals ready.
  6. Complete the “Honey-Do List”- You know that list that mom has of hanging pictures, replacing the light bulbs, and getting something out of the attic.  Well, how about you actually take care of the list.  She will be delighted that the list is done and feel loved that you took the time.
  7. New Shoes- Moms love shoes.  Get ahead of the game and buy her a pair of shoes she would not buy herself.  She will love getting a new pair of sandals or cute summery flats.  Check out Birdies, Rothy’s, and Tory Burch for some of my favorites.
  8. A New Book and Time to Read it- If momma loves to read, purchase a few books she is wanting to read.  Then give mom time to actually read her books.  Let her curl up on the couch or by the pool and get lost in a good book.
  9. Jewelry-  This is sometimes a very easy out on Mother’s Day.  Take time to find something unique for mom.  There are so many talented artisans that can create  beautiful pieces.  If you don’t have time to shop on Etsy, you can always find great jewelry at Kendra Scott, Sundance, and James Avery.
  10. Subscription Box- Everyone loves happy mail.  Get momma a monthly subscription box.  There are so many out there.  FabFitFun, Grove Collaboration,  and Faithbox.
  11. Barefoot Dreams–  Give mom a cuddly cardigan, blanket, or robe.  Barefoot Dreams is the coziest thing around.  She will love curling up in her new comfy cardigan each morning and will thank you for it later.
  12. A Phone Call- Let’s be honest, we love to hear from our children.  It’s easy in the early years because they are always with you.  As adult children, we sometimes forget our moms want to hear our voices.  Moms want to know we are doing okay.  They want to hear about all the silly routines and crazy weekend plans.  Yes, they love to hear about their grandchildren but they want to hear from their own children.  Trust me.  Call your mom!