Lemon & Lavender Bubbly Cocktail

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First of all how gorgeous is this sketch? I found this beautiful picture on Pinterest and I feel so sad that there was no link to the artist, but if I find it I will definitely share it. 

Happy Friday Friends! We made it through another week. This was a particularly hard week so it is safe to say that I am ready for the weekend to be upon us. I think we all deserve a drink, so today I am sharing with you one of my favorite light and bubbly cocktail recipes. This drink consists of lavender, fresh squeezed lemon juice, limoncello, and champagne. The absolute PERFECT drink for Spring if I do say so myself.

Remove the lavender flowers from the stem and combine with the limoncello and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the lavender flowers to release the oils. Strain into the champagne glass and top with champagne.

This drink is light and refreshing and perfect after a long week like this. Cheers to another weekend.

xx Casey

Mini Obsession: Knorr Pasta Sides

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Good Morning friends and Happy Thursday! It is great to see you back here on my little blog. Still adjusting to the new posting schedule (I was so tempted to post something on Tuesday!) but we are working on it. Today I want to talk about something that I have recently found and am currently LOVING. I am talking about Knorr Pasta Sides. I know these things have been around forever, and you are probably thinking Casey… what is so great about these things? Well let me tell you.

This week I have tried three different kinds and I am hooked. First of all they make dinner SO EASY. Seven minutes and these bad boys are done. Second, they help you create a full on meal without much effort. Third, they are 99 cents. Let that one sink in. Lastly, to my surprise they actually taste really damn good. So let’s talk about the one’s I have tried so far.

Side note: took pictures of my meals to send to my mom because I was so excited, but they look like a five year old took them so I am not posting them on here. If you are interested and would like me to take some updated pictures of the finished products I definitely can!

On Monday I made a chicken and green bean stir fry along with the Knorr Teriyaki Noodles. I am going to be really honest these tasted so good. They didn’t taste like that fake teriyaki sauce that some cheap Asian noodle sides taste like. This one was a real winner.

On Tuesday I made baked chicken tenders with a side of the Knorr Cheddar Broccoli Rice. Seriously another winner. There were actual chunks of broccoli in there, not just those green little specs that some rice packets pretend is broccoli. I am talking real florets. Also, the chicken tenders that I made were so good that I may just have to share that recipe with you in a future post! Also it totally helped that I had leftover Wendy’s Sweet & Sour Sauce and Chick fil A Sauce in my fridge.

On Wednesday I made Knorr Fettuccini Alfredo with Sautéed Chicken and Cauliflower. Three for three this one was amazing as well! As good as the Alfredo Sauce you can get in a jar and more than half the price. This one was definitely the most impressive so far and all you need to do is add a half a cup of milk.

Tonight I am thinking I am going to give the Chicken flavored noodles a try. Fingers crossed this one is as good as the last three! I am also really excited to try the Cheddar Chipotle Noodles, the Teriyaki Rice, and the Stroganoff.

Now I know these are not the best things for you. Trust me, I read the calories on the back of each one of these. But when your rent and utilities come out the same week and you are on a serious budget these really do come in handy, and it is nice to know you can have a tasty meal for a low price.

Have you tried any of these Knorr Pasta Sides? Let me know which one is your favorite!

xx Casey

Cold Pressed Watermelon Mimosa

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Easter is fast approaching and besides the obvious reasons for the holiday, when I think of Easter I think of family and brunch. This year my cousin and I are not going down to New Jersey to visit family for Easter so we will be holding our first annual Cousins Easter Brunch. We did two annual cousin Thanksgivings in the past and they were a BLAST, so I am very excited to spend the day cooking, eating, and drinking.

So today I am going to share with you a delicious (and healthier?) Mimosa Recipe featuring Trader Joes cold pressed watermelon juice. All you have to do is pour some in a glass and top it off with your favorite Prosecco. A nice Sparkling Rose would also be really good with this and would make the pink color pop even more. SO FESTIVE.

So there you have it, an incredibly simple and delicious mimosa perfect for your upcoming East Brunch. And for all spring and summer long really.. I think this might become a brunch staple.

xx Casey

Winter Golden Beet Salad

I’ve always thought that some of the best recipes come to me while walking through the grocery store. It can be an awesome ingredient or beautiful piece of produce that sparks the idea for a delicious meal. In today’s case this awesome ingredient is golden beets. When I saw these bad boys I immediately thought of whipping up a rustic winter salad with the beets being the star.

To prep these delicious little golden nuggets start off by roasting them whole with the skins on. Once roasted the skins will come right off. I then cut them into cubes and caramelized them with a little butter, brown sugar, and pepper.

I used a mix of spinach and mesclun greens as the base of the salad. I then topped the salad with the beets, some thick cut maple bacon, blood orange slices, brie cheese, and a couple homemade croutons. Lastly for the dressing I used some of the blood orange juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and some spices to taste. The tartness of the blood orange mixes perfectly with the creaminess of the brie and the sweetness of the golden beets.

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This salad has everything, and what makes it even better is that it is seasonal. The quality of your ingredients is always going to better when choosing items that are in season at the time. Winter is all about beets and root vegetables and I am living for it.

xx Casey

Baked French Fries

Guys – to those who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too, you were wrong. I am here today to tell you it is possible to have amazingly crispy french fries while trying to eat clean. How you ask? Let me tell you all about it…

Start off with some new potatoes. And I don’t mean “new” as in fresh .. well yes, I want you to buy fresh potatoes… but I mean the type of potato. New potatoes are great because they have a thin soft skin which you can leave on the potatoes preventing you from having to peel them.

Cut your potatoes in half, and then in three’s. You want to keep them thick – this is part of the trick to keeping them crispy, not soggy. The next thing you want to do is fill a pot with cold water. Put the potatoes in the pot and bring the pot to a boil. Just as the pot begins to boil and bubbles rise to the top of the pot, take them off the stove. This should be about 8-10 minutes.

Drain your potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of flour and your choice of seasonings. I like to use Trader Joes Chili Lime seasoning on my fries but I am thinking some Garlic Parm fries would be awesome too! Transfer potatoes to a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Watch them – I like mine super crispy, so 30 minutes works perfectly. If you want them a little less crispy then check them at 20.

These are seriously the most amazing baked fries I have ever had. I have tried this recipe by halving fingerling potatoes and they turn out great as well. Let me know if you guys give these a try! What kind of seasonings do you put on your fries?

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xx Casey

Merry Christmas & Poinsettia Recipe

Hello Friends! I just wanted to pop in here really quickly and say that I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Happy Chanukah, or whatever you celebrate! I had a wonderful weekend visiting family in New Jersey eating way too much food and drinking bubbly drinks.

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I had to share the super easy/super delicious drink we all had a couple glasses of on Christmas day. My cousin Jennifer let me know that there is actually a name for it – a Poinsettia. How festive! All it consists of is some prosecco and cranberry juice. This may or may not be my drink of choice for the winter. And spring. And summer. I just love bubbles!

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I hope you all had a wonderful weekend wherever you were, whatever you were doing! All I know is we are probably all feeling that Tuesday morning struggle. Thank God for all the Starbucks gift cards!

xx Casey

The Perfect Cheese Board

Yesterday I shared my top holiday entertaining tips with you. Today I am talking about the thing that is going to bring your holiday party over the edge – the perfect holiday cheese board. I love cheese. I love bread. I love everything that accompanies cheese and bread. Creating a beautiful cheese board is an entertaining art form. So I am going to share my top tips to creating an Instagram worthy cheese plate for your holiday get together.

Variety. It is important to have three or four different varieties of cheese on your board. Make sure you have a good mix of soft, semi soft, and hard cheeses. My favorites to incorporate are Brie, Gouda, Parmesan, and Mozzarella. I typically stay away from the cheddar, but it is by no means a negative. Go for what you and your guests will love!

2 Slice It. If you are serving hard cheeses on your board like Parmesan or Gouda, pre-slice it. If it is not sliced, guests are not going to dig into it. No one wants to be the person awkwardly trying to cut into the cheese on the table.

3 It’s More Than Just the Cheese. Hard to believe, but sometimes the star of the cheese board isn’t the cheese at all, it’s the accompaniments.

4 Don’t Skimp on the Crackers.

Now that I have shared my tips, let’s get into my board shall we? I chose four different cheeses: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Gouda, and Brie and two meats: Prosciutto and Pepperoni. I accompanied the meat and cheeses with blackberry jam, fresh blackberries, olives, cornichons, and artichokes. It’s good to have a nice mix of sweet and savory items on your board.

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I also may have eaten half of that board myself… I have no regrets.

xx Casey