Apr 14, 2018

Creating a Recipe Binder + Weekly Meal Planning

Ever since Kirk and I moved into the new house I have been doing so well with meal planning. And I don't mean having everything prepped and made by Sunday evening, I just mean knowing the meals we will be having and having the grocery shopping done. One of my least favorite things is having to run to the grocery store after work. It's always so busy and it just puts me in a bad mood so getting all of my shopping done on Sunday makes my week less stressful.

There are two things that have helped me be successful with meal planning. My recipe binder (vs recipe box) and my weekly meal planner!

I got this idea from a friend (thanks Alyssa!) and it is so helpful compared to a recipe box. The recipes are printed on a full page, there's space to make notes, and it's way easier to print a recipe that I find online than to transfer it to a recipe card. To make a recipe binder all you need is a three ring binder (mine is a 2"), clear sheet protectors, category tabs, and recipes!
These are the categories in mine:
- Breakfast + Brunch
- Appetizers
- Sauces (dressings, marinades, etc.)
- Soup + Salad
- Beef
- Chicken
- Shrimp (or seafood)
- Pork
- Meatless
- Desserts
- Beverages

I've found it's best to sort my "main meals" by meat (or meatless) categories. Typically when I'm thinking of meals I think of what I already have on hand for ingredients. If I know I have chicken in my freezer it's easier to just flip to the chicken section and see what I can make.

The second thing that has helped me be successful with meal planning is my weekly meal planner! Which I've included as a free download! This is the perfect form to fill out the meals I'm planning on making and the groceries I need for the week all in one.

I have it broken down into days of the week but I don't always follow it. Sometimes I switch up the recipes and days but I always know I have ingredients for the five meals each week which is incredibly helpful.

Those are the two things that help me out immensely! Are there any tips or tricks that help you with meal planning each week? Or is that something you don't even do?

Mar 31, 2018

(Yes Way) Rosé Peach Sangria

It's almost April and we're getting closer to the warm spring and summer weather (even though we just got three inches of snow at my house) and I'm starting to crave fruity drinks, especially sangria!  It's an easy beverage to whip up and is my favorite when I'm sitting outside enjoying the fresh air and warm sun. This recipe uses Yes Way Rosé (that I bought mainly because of the super cute packaging) and it was a great base for this delicious drink.

1 bottle Yes Way Rosé
1 cup Svedka Peach Vodka
1.5 peaches, sliced into cubes
1 lemon, sliced

In a large pitcher muddle the peaches and lemon slices. Add the rosé and vodka and mix. Add ice cubes to a glass and fill 2/3 full with the wine/vodka mix then top with sprite. Make sure to add some of the peaches and lemon to your glass.

I add the sprite when serving so I know it will be fizzy when I'm drinking. If you add the sprite to the pitcher it could go flat if it sits out.

Let me know if you try out this recipe! Are you looking forward to the summer weather as much as I am?

Mar 2, 2018

Twelve goals before I'm 28

A few years ago I had made a list of 22 things I wanted to do when I was 22 years old. Fast forward 5 years and I think I crossed off maybe two things on that list. 22 felt like such a big goal and they weren't all realistic things that could be done in one year. So this year I've decided I'm going to make a list of twelve things that I want to do before I turn 28. The pace of one item a month seems less daunting and will give me something to work towards and accomplish this year. I turned 27 on February 6th so I'm already a little behind but I wanted to make sure my list was filled with things I was really excited about and realistic for one year. So, here are the twelve things I want to do before my 28th birthday!

01) Get a DNA test
I've always been so curious to see a breakdown of my ethnicity since my mom is white and my dad is Mexican.

02) Make a hanging planter
This is a DIY I've been wanting to try for a while! I want to make a cute macrame hanger for the corner of my living room

photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/reformfibers/
03) Set up my craft room / office
The boyfriend bought a three bedroom house which means we each have a spare room to do whatever we'd like. I've always dreamed of having a craft room where I can create whatever I want in a space that is designed by me. And I can't wait to have all my craft supplies organized!

04) Start a backyard garden
This spring I am so excited to build a raised garden in our backyard! Last summer we just had a container garden for our plants so I'm looking forward to having a full garden bed to plant all the veggies I want

05) Visit one place I've never been before
This is a goal I want to set every year! This year I have my eye on the east coast. I thinking Boston or somewhere in Maine.

06) Camp at three new state parks
Kirk and I are still set on visiting every state park in Minnesota! Last year with the new house and adopting our dog we barely got out camping. This summer we already have three trips planned (including two new state parks) so this should be no problem at all.

07) Learn how to use my camera
It's embarrassing how long I've had my nice Canon camera and how little I know about using it. I'm giving myself this year to dive into the manual and how-to books to really understand how to use it.

08) Read "The Curated Closet" and create a summer and winter capsule wardrobe
I've been wanting to attempt a capsule wardrobe for so long! And I've had this book for the longest time and still haven't read it. In spring and fall I'll attempt the 10x10 challenges since the weather those times of the year are so unpredictable then eventually build capsule wardrobes for summer and winter.

09) Take an outdoor yoga class
There are so many places in the Twin Cities that offer outdoor yoga classes in the summer. I plan on finding one that I can attend at least twice a month to really enjoy the summer mornings.

10) Master making an iced latte at home
This one seems silly but I've been attempting to find the best way to make an iced latte at home. And I'm determined to find the perfect recipe so I can stop spending money at Starbucks. This definitely won't stop me from visiting some of my favorite coffee shops though!

Iced coffee from two of my favorite shops in the Twin Cities. Misfit Coffee and Quixotic Coffee
11) Have a girl's weekend away
I don't think I've ever had a "girls weekend" with my closest friend which seems crazy. I want to plan one for this summer or fall to get away and relax

12) Create a photo book of camping trips
When I first decided I want to attempt to visit all of the state parks in Minnesota I also wanted to make a photo book with snapshots of each trip. I've been good at taking the pictures but I'm finally going to put them together in a photo album.

I'm so excited to get started on these goals! They are all things that seem realistic for one year and things I'm truly excited about. I'll be sure to document the results on here and share what I've learned on the way.

What goals do you have for your year ahead. Is there anything you'd like to try from my list?

Jan 22, 2018

Spiked Cinnamon White Hot Chocolate

I just got back inside after spending an hour outside shoveling wet, heavy snow. The wind was whipping and my braided pigtails turned into icicles. This is the type of weather that makes me not want to leave the house for an entire weekend and instead just curl up on the couch with a fluffy blanket, good book, and decadent hot chocolate. Even if the weather is decent where you live doesn't that still sound like a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

This creamy white hot chocolate is delicious on it's own but once you add Chila 'Orchata it gets even better! This liqueur adds the perfect amount of cinnamon and is way creamier than it's more well known competitor (Rum Chata).

3/4 cup milk - I used 1% but I'm sure this would be just as good with a non-dairy alternate
1/4 cup Chila 'Orchata
1/8 - 1/4 cup white chocolate chips - start with 1/8 cup and work up from there if you'd like. Just a warning, it can be VERY sweet if you do 1/4 cup so it's just based on preference
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add your milk to a sauce pan and let it warm on the stove. I used a medium low heat. Add the white chocolate chips and vanilla and stir until it's all melted together. Add in the liqueur at the very end so you don't cook out the alcohol, just enough to warm it up. Pour into a coffee cup and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Let me know if you try this recipe out and what you're currently reading!

P.S. I'm currently reading Killman Creek by Rachel Caine which is the sequel to Stillhouse Lake. I highly recommend this series! I was glued to my book in the first one and the same thing is happening with Killman Creek!

Dec 12, 2017

Tis The Season of Engagements!

As we approach Christmas and are deep into the winter months I keep seeing more and more engagement announcements popping up on my social media timelines. This time of the year just feels so romantic (how can it not with fairy lights everywhere) so I'm not surprised a lot of people are popping the question.

This is also the time of the year when money might be tight but it's still fun to congratulate a good friend if they just got engaged. I've put together a list of great gifts that are relatively cheap and simple to throw together to show someone how excited you are for their big news.

My gift included:
- bridal magazine - I chose The Knot
- nail polish - this one is even called Newlyweds!
- picture frame - for an engagement photo
- wedding planner - I made my own notebook that says "little notes for the big day"

Then I stacked all the gifts together and wrapped them with a cute ribbon and it was good to go!

Other gifts you could include are:
- bottle of champagne
- champagne glasses
- ring dish
- Mr. & Mrs. can koozies
- this adorable "totes engaged" tote bag
- a jewelry / ring cleaner
- this cute "does this ring make me look engaged" coffee cup

Oct 3, 2017

Fall Bourbon Cocktails

It's officially October which means I am in full autumnal mood! I've decorated my house with ghosts. pumpkins, and lights, I've taken all of my sweaters out from the back of my closet, and I've started making a lot more comfort food! And on top of bringing fall flavors into my food I've started using them in my cocktails as well.

Today I'm sharing with you two bourbon cocktails that are sure to help you embrace the changing weather and the falling leaves.

Bourbon Cider
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
2 oz Apple Cider
Ginger Ale

In a shaker, add two ice cubes, the bourbon, and the apple cider and shake well. Pour into a tall glass with ice and fill with ginger ale. I added chopped apples to enhance the flavor!

Orange Apple Bourbon
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Apple Brandy
2.5 oz Orange Juice
0.5 oz Simple Syrup

Add all items to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Pour into a short glass with ice and garnish with an orange wedge and sprig of thyme.

Are there any cocktails that you love to drink once the cooler weather hits? I need to start experimenting with winter cocktails next! You never know when the snow will start to fall in Minnesota.