Appetizers, Dinner Recipes, Easter, Holiday, Inspired by Mom, Recipes

Cacio e Pepe

A few of my guarantees during the pandemic have been that I have binged a lot of TV, I have cooked a lot, I have tried out many new recipes and I have missed going on vacation. Insert Stanley Tucci here! He actually encompasses all of these guarantees for me. My mom recently recommended his new CNN TV series to me called “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” and I have been in heaven. Not only did I get to pretend to go on an Italian vacation with him during each episode, but he also inspired me to try some new recipes.

Today’s recipe is so simple, I have no idea why I have never eaten it or tried to make it. I only recently heard about it on another cooking show, and watching Stanley make it, I decided to go out in search for a simple recipe to try out on my own family. The recipe is Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti, or “Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper”. Simple, right? Well, if you never eaten it before, think an adult “Mac ‘n Cheese” with a kick (from the black pepper). Everyone, except my son, liked this new recipe, so I have added it to my recipe rotation (and I can just sub out butter only spaghetti for my son, easy enough!) Enjoy Cacio e Pepe. Thank you Stanley for taking us to Italy even during a pandemic and for Bon Appetit for always sharing tasty and simple recipes to make at home!

Cacio e Pepe
This recipe is copied from and compliments of 

Ingredients: salt, 6oz. pasta (such as bucatini or spaghetti), 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided, 1 tsp. black pepper, ¾ cup finely Parmesan, ⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino


1. Bring 3 qts water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

3. Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted.

4. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Blogger’s Tip: I treated this dish as a “side- dish” and served it alongside a simple grilled chicken recipe, similar to how I would with a risotto or pasta salad recipe.

Breakfast Recipes, Desserts, gluten free, Kids, Recipes, Snacks, Treats

PB Cup Smoothie Recipe – Tastes like a Frozen Reese’s PB Cup!

One of my healthier go-to “treats” are my fruit smoothies that I introduced myself to at the start of the pandemic last year. Like many of you, we were avoiding going to the market every week, so I could not get fresh fruit as often as I would have liked. Instead, I started buying frozen fruit varieties and making fruit smoothies with them. I was immediately hooked (using recipes compliments of my friend and they can be found in my blog @ *NEW* Simple Fruit Smoothie Recipes…my new fruit alternative!

Recently, my brother-in-law mentioned combining two flavors in a smoothie, that I would have never guessed, which actually taste like a peanut butter cup…frozen bananas and peanut butter! Who knew? Using what I already had in the house, I ended up creating this *NEW* Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie Recipe. Enjoy!

PB Cup Smoothie
Recipe created by me with items in my pantry, but inspired by my brother-in-law.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup crushed ice, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 TBSP Raw Almonds, 1 TBSP Gluten free oats, 2 TBSP Organic peanut butter

Directions: Combine ingredients into blender or smoothie maker and enjoy!

Birthday Ideas, Breakfast Recipes, Desserts, Easter, Holiday, Kids, Made by Kids for Kids, Recipes, Snacks, Treats

Easy Cadbury Mini Egg Easter Dip

We turned our clocks ahead this weekend, which means Spring is in the air, Easter is around the corner, and Cadbury Mini Eggs are available at your local store! Absolutely one of my favorite chocolate treats that I look forward to every Spring! Unfortunately, they are only around for a limited time, but one blogger decided to use these sweet chocolate eggs in a simple recipe. Check out the recipe I found for Easy Cadbury Easter Dip! Think cheesecake filled with Cadbury Mini Eggs, but easier to make!

Thank you to for sharing this recipe on Pinterest! Thank you also to Cadbury and Hershey for creating my favorite chocolate treat. It was a big hit with my family.

Easy Cadbury Easter Dip
Recipe compliments of

Ingredients: 1/3 cup Brown sugar, 1/2 cup Powdered sugar, 1/8 tsp Salt, 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla, 1 Stick Butter, 1- 8oz Package Cream cheese, 1cup Cadbury Mini Eggs

1. Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth.

2. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla to the butter and cream cheese.

3. Chop Cadbury Eggs and save some for garnishing.

4. Fold in Chopped Cadbury Eggs.

5. Garnish top with Cadbury Eggs.

6. Chill until ready to serve.

7. Serve with Graham Crackers, Vanilla Wafers, Pretzels, or Fruit as recommended by

Tip: We served our’s with Teddy Grahams (Honey flavor) and Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

Birthday Ideas, Desserts, Dinner Recipes, Easter, Gift ideas, Holiday, Kids, Made by Kids for Kids, Recipes, Snacks, Treats, Valentine's Day

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Recipe

A favorite and common restaurant dessert in my family is the Warm Chocolate Chip Skillet topped with vanilla ice cream. As I attempt to copy many of the local restaurant dishes we have been missing, I searched for a copy cat recipe and landed on this sweet and simple recipe on Thank you to Pillsbury for their amazing cookie dough and always sharing recipes!

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Ingredients: 1 Roll of cookie dough (we used Pillsbury Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Dough), 10 inch cast iron skillet (we found 1 for $5 at Home Goods!), vanilla ice cream (or preferred flavor) or whipped cream

Directions (from
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Press dough in bottom of ungreased skillet .
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges.
5. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Blogger’s Tips:

An easy recipe that even little kids can help you with.

For a sweet birthday treat, let the cookie completely cool and decorate with frosting, candles and write a sweet message with gel writer (or decorating bag).

Dinner Recipes, Recipes

Chinese Take-Out Recipes : Chicken Lo Mein

I hope everyone enjoying the easy and delicious Chicken Fried Recipe that I shared last week. Continuing on with my Chinese Food Take-Out recipes, here is another recipe we tried to copy one night. It tasted pretty close to the Lo Mein we order from a local restaurant… enjoy the recipe for Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients: 10 oz Chinese egg noodles, 1 tsp sesame oil, 3 Tbsp canola (or vegetable) oil, 2 chicken breasts sliced thinly, 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced, 2 tsp minced garlic, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 carrot thinly sliced, 1/2 cup onion slices, 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (the Cole Slaw cabbage package I bought already had sliced carrots included), 1 cup bean sprouts

Directions: Copied with some of my own edits from . Thank you for sharing!

  1. Cook the egg noodles one minute shy of the directions.
  2. Drain and toss with sesame oil in a bowl to coat.
  3. Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook the chicken 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through.
  5. Remove from the pan and add in the red bell peppers and garlic and cook them for 1-2 minutes  stirring frequently until just softened.
  6. Add in the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, vegetable oil and oyster sauce into the skillet.
  7. Add in the carrot, onion and cabbage and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding back in the chicken and egg noodles.
  8. Add in the bean sprouts, toss all the ingredients together well and serve.
Dinner Recipes

Chinese Take-Out Recipes: Chicken Fried Rice

My family loves to order take-out Chinese food. I have been trying out new recipes since the new year has begun, so I went in search for Recipes for Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Lo Mein. The recipes I used did not disappoint in flavor and ease of preparation. I did have to update my pantry with many of the “new to me” ingredients. They were both a hit with my family and will definitely stay in our future dinner recipe rotations. Enjoy these two recipes over the next two blog posts.

Today’s Chinese Take-Out Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

Recipe is compliments of along with some of my preferences, thank you for sharing recipes and inspiring others to try new things!

Ingredients: 3 cups of Jasmin, brown or white rice (preferably left over or made ahead), 3/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (sliced into thin strips), 1 Tbsp sesame oil, divided, 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, divided, 1 1/3 cups of frozen carrot and peas medley, 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 eggs, 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 3 chopped green onion (I omitted this)

Directions: Copied from Thank you for sharing!

1. In a large non-stick wok or skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp of the canola oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add chicken pieces (I preferred to cut chicken into thin strips to look like our take-out), season lightly with salt and pepper and saute until cooked through, about 5 – 6 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate or a piece of foil and set aside.
4. Return skillet to medium-high heat, add remaining 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp canola oil.
5. Add peas, carrots, and green onions (if preferred) and sauté  for 1 minute, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
6. Push veggies to edges of pan.
7. Add eggs in center and cook and scramble until just set.
8. Return chicken to skillet along with rice. Add in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Toss everything together and serve warm.

Check back soon for a Chicken Lo Mein Recipe!

Dinner Recipes

Today’s New to Me 2021 Side Dish Recipes

Internet-Famous Crispy Potatoes, Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Simple Green Beans

An easy way to spice up your dinner menu is to compliment your dish with a new side recipe. These three recipes are all delicious and simple to make. The Simple Green Beans and Roasted Artichoke Hearts are recipes I came up with while preparing dinner one night. They both require ingredients I usually keep in my pantry. The Internet-Famous Potatoes is from a college student named Jeremy Scheck that shared this recipe on TikTok and was recently showcased on The Today Show. I have made this potato recipe three times so far and mine do not look as crispy or picture perfect as his do, but the flavor is still great and the recipe is a keeper! Enjoy!

Simple Green Beans

: fresh green beans, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper

Boil water in a small pot. Snip the ends of the green beans. Add green beans to boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes until they are tender. Drain water, sprinkle olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Best served immediately.

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients: 1 can of artichoke hearts quarters (my favorite brand is Pastene Artichoke Quarters), 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley.

Drain, rinse and pat dry artichoke   hearts quarters and add to a small bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Spread out each artichoke heart on baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (for an easy clean-up). Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

This recipe was inspired by the Chicken with Artichokes recipe my Mom shared with me. Recipe can be found at

Internet-Famous Crispy Potatoes

Recipe is compliments of Jeremy Scheck

Ingredients: white potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, Paprika, Rosemary, parsley (these are the spices I chose to use out of his suggested list of spices)

Directions: Visit

Activities, Birthday Ideas, Games and Activities, Kids, Organizing, Technology

Create an Emergency Car Kit for Your New Driver

We all know our children will grow up and eventually begin to drive… but when it actually happens, it is almost imaginable! My daughter turned 16, more than 5 months ago, and is about to embark on a day that she has been dreaming of for years… taking her driving test!

Since I try to be the queen of safety and being prepared, a trait my kids are always thrilled about 😏🙄, I put together a special gift for her this past Christmas… An Emergency Car Kit.

Check out my tips below on how you can build your own kit for your 16-year-old, or any driver in your family.

Gather a variety of safety, hygiene, weather and convenience items to be added to a plastic travel tote and your new driver will be prepared for almost anything! Most hygiene items can be found in the travel/trial sizes at your local convenience or big box store. Most of the safety, weather and convenience items items can be found on

Emergency Car Kit Suggestions:

-first aid kit (Band-AIDS, tweezers,etc)
-snow brush
-fleece blanket and emergency blanket
-phone charger
-phone battery pack
-pen/pencil/Sharpie marker
-Post-it notepad
-reusable tote bag
-disposable face masks
-hand sanitizer
-sanitizing wipes
-disposable hand warmers
-common OTC medication to treat headaches, stomach issues, allergies
-self-care items, such as lip balm, hand lotion, deodorant, face wipes, mouthwash, gum, mints, dental floss, hair accessories, feminine hygiene products
-bug spray and sunscreen
-car air freshener
-gas gift card
-AAA membership card
-emergency cash ($20)
-Laundry items: such as Shout wipes, lint brush, Static Guard
-emergency escape and safety tool, such as Armor All Emergency Tool
-mini screwdriver/tool
-tile Mate -for keys

You can never be too prepared… now, I need to build one for myself! Stay safe and happy driving :)

Dinner Recipes, Recipes

Today’s New to Me 2021 Recipe: Pan Sheet Vinegar Chicken

Tired of your usual chicken recipes? This “new to me” chicken dish is not only colorful and beautiful to look at, but it has a variety of a flavors. A great new addition to my recipe book. I am so glad I watched The Today Show that morning, thanks Valerie Bertinelli! Enjoy a change to your usual chicken dish…

Sheet Pan Vinegar Chicken

Recipe compliments of Valerie Bertinelli on Thank you for sharing new options for chicken dishes!

Ingredients: 3 bone-in and skin-on chicken breast, 3 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs (Note:I also included skinless and boneless pieces and they tasted just as good!), mixed  colored tomatoes, 1 red onion cut into 1/4 inch chunks, 1 1/2 olive oil, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp rosemary, 1/4 cup parsley, 3/4 cup pitted and chopped Castelvetrano olives, 1/2 cup sherry vinegar, 3/4 tsp paprika, salt, pepper,

Directions:  (Copied and compliments of Valerie Bertinelli and The Today Show)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

2. Toss the onion with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil on a large, rimmed baking pan.

3. Arrange the chicken thighs on top and sprinkle them all over with the smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Drizzle the vinegar onto the pan then roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile toss the cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic and rosemary with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and a big pinch of salt. After the 15 minutes, add the mixture to the sheet pan and continue to roast until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 10-15 minutes more.

5. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve the chicken with the vegetables and juices from the pan.

Dinner Recipes

How to Create Your Own “Garage Lodge” this Winter

Due to the pandemic, quarantine requirements, state restrictions and most ski lodges being closed to visitors, my family and I are missing our annual ski trips this year. As most of you know from previous blog posts, my family skis and snowboards, but I choose not to ski. Instead, I hang out in the lodge, sitting by the warm fire, enjoying a good book and hot cocoa!

We all know cold weather and the Covid-19 virus do not mix. Not letting it take over our lives, my husband and I decided to get creative to still see some of our family and friends this winter in a safe setting. We created our own ski lodge. It started with keeping our garage door opened with 3 patio chairs and a space heater for beer with the guys, to bringing all of our patio furniture inside our garage. This created a space to safely host a small Christmas dinner and now, a cozy “lodge” space to gather with a few friends or family for the rest of the winter.

Here are a few tips to create your own “Garage Lodge” this winter:

  • Use patio or deck furniture to create a space to sit and chat with visitors. Other suggestions include beach or camping chairs.
  • Provide fleece throw blankets to add warmth.
  • Encourage visitors to dress warm and in multiple layers including hats, gloves, jackets, long johns…as if they were going skiing or sledding!
  • Provide a basket of instant foot and hand warmers in case visitors need a little extra warmth to add to all of their layers.
  • If possible, buy a space heater to take away a little bit of the chill. 
  • For a little extra coziness, add fairy lights, string lights or Christmas lights to the seating area. Add other ski lodge feels, such has evergreens, lanterns, and candles.
  • As an extra bonus, offer hot cocoa to keep everyone warm and toasty or make it BYOB.
  • Individually wrapped snacks are the best option, if you chose to offer food to visitors. 
  • For those homes that already have one, light a fire pit and offer s’mores for a nice touch, just like they offer at ski lodges.
  • To stay safe, offer hand sanitizers, disposable face masks and anti-bacterial wipes.