Lemon Ginger Blueberry Muffins

Monday, July 21, 2014

From laughs to smiles, giggles to cries, this parenting thing is one heck of a journey. Yes, I have an almost seven month old. Seriously, where did the time go? It feels like just yesterday we were racing to the hospital getting ready to welcome our bundle of joy into the world.

Where's the slow motion button?

Why not pause?

Because watching him change day in and day out is pretty much my favorite thing ever. This kid is awesome and he gets even better with each passing day.

Our lives are filled with teaching, watching, and experiencing him. My ears hear every laugh and cry. My mind is constantly thinking about ways to teach him. My heart pains for him when he's not happy. My hands love to hold him and play with him. My feet love to take him on daily walks around the neighborhood.

My whole being is full of so much love for this kiddo.

Each day, it's incredible to witness all that he's learning. With his attentive eyes, he takes in every last ounce that the world offers to him. He's like a sponge ... soaking up all of the sights, sounds, and smells that encompass his world.

In these seven months, he has learned and has taught us so much. From honesty to patience, happiness to understanding, this parenting thing is one heck of an adventure.

Click here for the recipe.

Muffaletta-Style Sandwich

Monday, June 2, 2014

Disclaimer: Farmer's Garden by Vlasic compensated me for this sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What was one of the hardest things to avoid while I was pregnant? A deli sandwich. I was so terrified about listeria that I wouldn't touch deli meat with a 10-foot pole. When my husband made a sandwich for lunch, I always broke out the disinfectant spray (all natural, of course ... fumes and pregnancy don't mix) and paper towels and scrubbed down the kitchen like a mad woman. It took us quite a while to get pregnant and I wasn't going to let a little listeria get in the way of us welcoming a baby into the world.

Fast forward through the months of pregnancy to when we were finally at the hospital. My parents were in town to help us transition into parenthood. When they asked what I wanted after the baby arrived, my answer was simple, "A turkey sandwich and a cup of coffee." Yes, I avoided caffeine as well. I don't know how I did it (as I sip on my second cup of coffee of the day).

I am all about sandwiches. From turkey to roast beef, salami to veggie, I cannot get enough of sandwiches ... so much so that hardly a day goes by where I don't sink my teeth into a sandwich during lunchtime. Just thinking about a deli-style sandwich, a pickle, and handful of kettle-cooked chips is making my mouth water.

Brunch Bloody Mary

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Disclaimer: Farmer's Garden by Vlasic compensated me for this sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What is a weekend brunch must-have? A spicy Bloody Mary, of course. Whenever my husband and I enjoy brunch, it's very rare that we pass up the opportunity to sip on this tomato-filled beverage. I can't even begin to tell you just how much we love a good Bloody Mary.

Let's just say that while I was editing these photos a few weeks ago, we were around family members and I was showing them the photos to get feedback. The next thing you know a craving started, a trip to the store was made and within minutes, we were sipping on this flavorful, spicy beverage. Yes, we love this drink. A lot.

What is one of my favorite parts of this drink? The garnish. It's all about the garnish. During a vacation that we took a few years ago, in true brunch form, a Bloody Mary was delivered to the table and his jaw just about hit the floor when he saw the garnish. From meats to cheeses, olives to pickles ... the garnish was basically heaven on a stick to him.

Ever since that Bloody Mary experience, we've been trying to see if we can find a garnish that rivals the jaw-dropping garnish. There have been many that have come close but I don't think anything will compare to what he experienced.

Strawberry & Walnut Salad

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Disclaimer: Farmer's Garden by Vlasic compensated me for this sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Is that the warm sun? Is that a higher temperature on the thermometer? Do I really smell freshly cut grass?

With the sun finally shining and the temps on the rise, grills are firing up, boats are being put in the water, and people are spending more time in the great outdoors. There's nothing like waking up to a warm, sunny day ... I feel like I have the world at my fingertips. Don't you?

Blame it on the warm weather, blame it on swimsuit season, blame it on hibernation ... one thing is for certain, a salad on a sunny, hot day is the perfect meal to enjoy. Instead of eating something that will weigh you down, why not opt for a crisp, green, leafy salad full of fruit, nuts, and cheese?

Breakfast Sausage Sandwich

Friday, May 30, 2014

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vlasic. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

From scrambled eggs to breakfast sandwiches, coffee to Bloody Marys, there's just something about brunch that exudes warmth, comfort, friendships, and springtime. As soon as the temperature rises and the sun starts shining, my husband and I grow instantly eager to enjoy a filling and comforting brunch on a weekend morning. When Farmer's Garden by Vlasic asked me to create a brunch-inspired menu using their products, I jumped all over the chance to get the creative juices flowing and the shutter button clicking.

To most, a brunch is not complete without breakfast sausage. In fact, I've noticed over the years that if a dish doesn't come with sausage, my husband will (more often than not) order a side of breakfast sausage to accompany his main dish. Knowing the importance of breakfast sausage, I created a Breakfast Sausage Sandwich recipe (pictured above). For the recipe, be sure to follow this link.

The best part about this sandwich is the pickle, of course. As you probably learned in my last post, I'm kind quite pickle-obsessed so I just had to add a pickle chip to this brunch menu item. The next time you're at the store and you're shopping for brunch menu ingredients, be sure to pick up a jar of the Vlasic Farmer's Garden products. The products are made with only fresh, locally grown cucumbers and authentic ingredients ... all of which emphasize that the simple things in life bring us the greatest pleasure. 

Zesty Hummus Canapé

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Disclaimer: Farmer's Garden by Vlasic compensated me for this sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm a girl of many nicknames. From Jennifer to Jen to Jenni, from Zani to Benji to Suz ... I have countless nicknames and I love answering to all of them. One of my favorite nicknames is Pickles. Yes, Pickles. So, when Vlasic reached out to me and asked me to photograph three recipes for their new Farmer's Garden by Vlasic site,  I immediately welcomed the opportunity.

So, why Pickles? I have always been a huge fan of pickled foods. I used to walk around the house with black olives on my fingertips when I was a child. On my salads, I love to pile the beets nice and high. As for pickles, I could pretty much put them on anything and everything. I even drink the juice. Gross? No way. It's delicious.

One year when I was young, my aunt, uncle, and cousin were headed to a family cottage for a vacation. They asked if I wanted to tagalong and I immediately packed my bags and hopped in their car. When we arrived at the cottage, I noticed that there were pickles in the refrigerator. My mouth started watering. Yes, my mouth waters whenever I see a jars of pickles. I mentioned that I'm obsessed with pickles, right?

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm still in shock that I was able to go my whole pregnancy without having a sip of coffee. Yes, you heard that right. I went from having multiple cups of coffee every day to nothing. Zip. Zero. Zlich ... and hello, caffeine headaches. Wow, did I ever endure some pretty brutal and epic headaches during the early days of my pregnancy.

Some people thought that I was being a bit extreme (and maybe even a little nuts) for quitting the addiction. Even my doctor told me that I could enjoy one cup of coffee a day during my pregnancy. Me, on the other hand? I read too many stories about caffeine and miscarriages. It took us such a long time to view the positive sign on the pregnancy test and I didn't want a little bit of caffeine to get in the way of us meeting our dream come true. So, I quit. Just like that. Boom. One day caffeine. The next? None. Major ouch.
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