Tuesday, January 24, 2017

21 Trader Joe's Favorites

I love this list of Trader Joe's Favorites...great shopping list that has everything from Cookie Butter to Greek Yogurt Guacamole!


Almost a year ago, Noah and I discovered the amazingness that is Trader Joe's.  If you've never been, it's a fun grocery store that is full of unique treats.  Most of the things that Trader Joe's is famous for are store-brand items that you can't really get anywhere else!  And, while you would think this would be an expensive place, the prices are incredibly competitive (and cheaper in many cases).  It has quickly become my favorite grocery store to visit.

Like most people that have been, we have fallen in love with a few items that they carry.  The nearest store to us is about 2 hours away (in New Orleans), so every time we make a day trip we stock up now!  Here area few of our must-haves for each trip:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Forever Home: Living Area and Kitchen Planning Preview!

Now that (most of) our finishes are picked out, I can finally start showing off some of the choices we've made for our new home!

Today, I wanted to start by showing some of the design choices we've made for the living areas of the house.  I'm including the kitchen in this, because as you'll see in the floor plan, the kitchen is very much part of the living space.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Savory 3-Cheese Broccoli Souffle

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the happy egg co. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm typically not a fussy recipe kind of girl.  I'm busy, so I need easy recipes that I can use to feed my family quickly (but healthily).  But, every once in awhile, I stumble upon an idea that might look a little more complicated that I just can't resist.

I've never tried a savory soufflé before a few weeks ago.  I am a huge fan of chocolate soufflés (so much so that this one is my favorite dessert on earth), but I've always really thought that these might be a little bit too complicated for a breakfast or brunch.

Let me tell you - I was wrong.


If you're willing to put in a little extra time (I'm talking 30 minutes) prepping ingredients from scratch, soufflés really aren't that hard!  You just have to follow a particular set of steps to ensure a great recipe.

And these little bites of heaven turned out perfectly.  The deep egg flavor is highlighted perfectly with the different notes of cheese and freshness of the broccoli.  If you're a broccoli cheese soup fan, you'll want to try this one.  It would be perfect for a breakfast, but it's a great lunch or dinner too!

Here's the recipe...


Three-Cheese Broccoli Soufflé

Ingredients

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature butter

4 large eggs

1 head of broccoli, florets removed and upper parts of stem chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups whole milk

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

Divide 4 eggs into yolks and whites. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15-20 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Steam broccoli in a steamer basket over boiling water until very tender. (I prepped mine in the Instant Pot with the steam setting and a quick pressure release after 5 minutes.) Let cool, chop into fine pieces, and set aside.

Butter 4 souffle dishes and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the rest of the butter until slightly bubbly. Add in flour, nutmeg, and pepper and stir well for 3-4 minutes, until mixture starts to turn a nutty brown. Whisk in milk (a quarter cup at a time) for 2-3 minutes, until thickened to a gravy consistency and smooth. Add mustard and salt and stir.

Take mixture off of heat and add the cheeses. Stir well. Add in the egg yolks and, again, stir until smooth. Fold in broccoli.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Slowly fold egg whites into remaining ingredients (in 3-4 batches) until no white shows. Be very gentle folding in the whites - only mix until blended.

Gently pour mixture into prepared souffle dishes. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until tops puff up and center is set. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


If I am going to make a recipe that requires from-scratch ingredients, I want to make sure they're the highest quality possible.  That's why I was so happy to stumble upon the happy egg co. recently.  These are true free range eggs - hens (which they call 'girls' - how adorable is that?) are given 8 acres on farms where they can roam as they please. This results in eggs with a deeper, golden color and a richer flavor.  It really comes out in these soufflés - they turned out so rich and yummy with a beautiful color, perfect for a quick breakfast that really packs a flavor punch!



For the happy egg co., raising hens humanely isn’t just a marketing tactic or a misleading mantra.  Not only do they not use hormones, but they were the first free range egg company in the US to be certified by the American Humane Association™!  You'll see the difference in the flavor and the golden yolks for which they've become famous.



You can find the happy egg co. eggs at Safeway, Albertson’s, Kroger, Sams and Walmart. Click here to find your local retailer!

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Ultimate Planning Notebook - Workout & Meal Tracker Printable


So..let's revisit this post from a few months ago, shall we?  It's a post where I vowed to lose the last 5 pounds of baby weight by following through with some pretty easy (but effective) steps.

Fast-forward to today.  Want to know how much of that weight I lost?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jackson at 11 Months



Jackson,

ELEVEN MONTHS!  How in the world?  I was always the mommy that couldn't understand why parents got sad when their children grew up - until my last baby wasn't a little baby anymore.  It's so fun to see you grow up, but a little sad at the same time.  I'm soaking up every last second we have of the baby stage, because I know it's quickly coming to a close!

Here's what you're up to ONE MONTH before your first birthday!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Designing Our Functional, Beautiful Upstairs Bathrooms

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kohler for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Right now, we're right smack in the middle of picking all kinds of finishes for our forever home.  Tons of decisions are being made right now - everything from counter top options to exterior brick.

There are so many things that you never think you'll have to choose before building a home.  I have been borderline obsessed with this process for years, and even I didn't think about things like soffit finishes and mortar colors.  It's a little overwhelming to have to make a thousand decisions all at once (but, it's kind of fun too!).

One big thing we're in the final process of picking is bathroom options.  Our master shower will be a custom tile walk-in shower, but both Emmie and Jackson's showers upstairs will be shower/tub combos.  I've been a little hesitant to share the floor plan (and I still don't think I'll be sharing the whole upstairs floor plan, just to give the kids a little privacy), but here's a peek at their bathroom plans...