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St. Patrick’s Day Family Memories

Happy March!  I feel like we’re getting into the time of year where we’re having warmer days and spring is around the corner.  St. Patrick’s Day is a great way to kick it off! And why not make some easy memories while you’re at it?

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I had a realization recently.  It’s going to take a minute to get there, so sit back and read through the backstory.

My husband and I try to regularly work on our marriage.  This has taken the form recently of asking the question “what is something I could do better for you right now?”

We ask the question knowing that whatever the answer is might upset us.  But we have to hear each other out and take the constructive criticism.

On Valentine’s Day my husband asked me that question and it prompted an answer I hadn’t thought of before.

I told him that I felt like creating memories and gifting fun things to our kids has fallen mostly on my shoulders as the mom.  He took it well and gave me some advice that we both could work on.  Shocker, it boils down to communication.

See, I had gotten a little gift for each of our kids for Valentine’s day and had made pink pancakes for breakfast, heart shaped pizza, etc.  Little things that I hope they will remember.  Or traditions we can do every year.

All of that to say, I realized that I like celebrating the “little holidays.”  You know the one’s like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, etc.

So if you’re like me and want to make some family memories or celebrate a “little holiday” today’s post is for you.

Little Ways to Make St. Patrick’s Day Memories

St. Patrick's Day memories, St. Patrick's day traditions, green treats, easy St. Patrick's Day traditions

St. Patrick’s Day Memories with Food

One of the first ways to make a memory with your family is through your food.  St. Patrick’s Day offers so many great options to make something that fits the theme of the day.

This is also a great way to make a tradition that you and your family look forward to every year.

One of my favorite ways to make these little holidays extra special is with pancakes.

We do pink pancakes for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, and sprinkles and whipped cream on birthdays.

It’s a simple way to do the same thing every year because we already have to eat, so it doesn’t take much extra time or effort to jazz up some pancakes.

Green Pancake Recipe

Here’s my quick green pancake recipe:

  1. Blend 1 cup of water or milk with a couple handfuls of spinach until there are no pieces of spinach.  Just green liquid.  I use my immersion blender for this.  I love that thing.
  2. Mix green liquid with 1 cup of pancake mix and 1 egg.
  3. Once it’s mixed and smooth, cook pancakes on a griddle or pan.

Super easy addition to the pancakes you’re already making for breakfast.  Plus, you’re getting some vegetables in your family without them even knowing.

Don’t have spinach?  You can always just add a few drops of food coloring to your pancake batter.

Make them even more fun with whipped cream and green sprinkles.

Dinner Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day

There are a ton of ways to incorporate a fun St. Patrick’s Day tradition with food.  Try some of these:

  • Classic corned beef and cabbage
  • Shepperd’s pie.  I love this recipe and use it frequently.
  • Pot roast with carrots and potatoes
  • Shamrock shaped pizza
  • Pasta with a pesto sauce (great way to make something green;)

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

Long gone are the days of drinking green beer with droves of people after a St. Patty’s parade.  Now with kids, I’m trying to find appropriate fun things to do with them.

I haven’t done any sort of activity in the past, but created one for you today.  I think it’s going to be a big hit and doesn’t require much work from you.

Just click on the picture below and download the printable.  Once you have a hard copy cut the shamrocks and rainbow out.

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You’ll use the shamrocks in a scavenger hunt around your house that leads to the rainbow.  Put a little treat with the rainbow and your kids will find their own version of a pot of gold.

I’m not planning any elaborate rhyms or clues for my scavenger hunt.  I’ll be doing something age appropriate for my four year old.

Some options I’m thinking about:

  • Writing the letters of her name on each shamrock and she’ll have to find them and put them in order to spell her name.
  • Numbers that she’ll find and put in order
  • Her sight words
  • Her birthday or our address (that’s what they’re working on in Pre-K this month)

For even younger kids try this:

  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Animal pictures
  • Cartoon characters

And let’s be clear.  By scavenger hunt, I mean that I’m going to place the shamrocks around one area of my house (like the living room) in very visible spots that they can’t miss.

We’ve done some activities like this before and both my kids love it, so I’m sure they’ll think this is fun too.  And bonus that they’ll get a little treat when they’re done!

St. Patrick’s Day Treats

Another way I like to make a memory on these little holidays is by doing a themed treat.

I love sweets, so this might be my favorite way to make these memories.  Plus, my daughter usually helps me and it’s a great way to bond together.

We tried our hand at some green and gold themed Oreos earlier this week.  They’ll make the perfect sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day and they’re super easy to make.

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We just bought a package of double stuff Oreos and some green Wilton candy melts.

St. Patrick's Day memories, St. Patrick's day traditions, green treats, easy St. Patrick's Day traditions

I love those candy melts because you can just warm them in the microwave for about a minute then snip the corner of the package and use it to drizzle onto anything.  How easy and convenient is that?

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I actually opened the package all the way to pour the melted chocolate in a bowl making it easier to dip the Oreos in.

St. Patrick's Day memories, St. Patrick's day traditions, green treats, easy St. Patrick's Day traditions

Super easy directions to create your own green Oreo St. Patrick’s Day treat below.

  • Melt green candy melts according to the package
  • Pour melted candy melts into a bowl
  • Dip half of an Oreo into the melted candy ensuring you cover both sides and the gap between the cookies
  • Place on parchment paper and sprinkle with gold sprinkles
  • Let dry and firm up for a few minutes
  • Enjoy!

St. Patrick's Day memories, St. Patrick's day traditions, green treats, easy St. Patrick's Day traditions, Oreos

My Thoughts on Making Family Memories

Just to wrap up I wanted to make sure I shared that it’s easy to make these family memories and celebrate the “little holidays.”

All you need to do is jazz up one or two things that you’re probably already going to be doing for the holiday or theme.

It doesn’t take much time or money to do them either.  And if you do them year after year, your kids will love the tradition.

I’m firmly embracing the realization that I enjoy celebrating these little holidays and plan to do all three of the things that I suggested above.  But here’s permission to do you.  If you don’t have time or don’t care about making a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, it’s totally ok to pass on these ideas.

If you do try any of these, I’d love to see what you do.  Print out the shamrock printable, make a sweet treat, or jazz up your meals.  What are you planning on doing?

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Crowd Pleasing Savory Pumpkin Cheese Ball Recipe

Welcome back from the weekend!  Did you do any fun fall stuff this weekend?  We went to a pumpkin patch and made this fun pumpkin themed cheese ball.

We had beautiful weather this weekend so it was nice to get out and enjoy it a little bit.  It’s so fun watching my almost 15 month old experience things like hay and corn bins for the first time.

He had an interesting time trying to walk on hay covered ground around the pumpkins.  He started sort of scooting his feet, I think because he wasn’t sure about crunching down on the hay when he stepped.

I was also super proud of our daughter for trying the mini zip line at the pumpkin patch.  It wasn’t more than about 10 feet off the ground, but there weren’t any harnesses, just a platform to sit on.  Kind of like on a rope swing.  So she had to hold on tight as she zipped down.

Thankfully, Daddy ran along next to her just in case.  She’s become much more adventurous in the past few months.  That’s exciting to watch!

Seasoned Moms: I need your advice!

Our weekend was also filled with kids’ birthday parties.  I thought a few times this weekend, “is this what our life is going to become?”  Constantly attending kids’ birthday parties?

Don’t get me wrong, I like to celebrate, but I have a feeling our social calendar is going to fill up with 3, 4, and 5 year old birthday parties.

Can any of you seasoned moms tell me how you navigate this?  Do you attend all of them?  Get a gift even if you can’t go?  Limit how many you attend?

It feels like there has to be a cutoff somewhere.  Where is that cutoff?

Either way, one of the birthday’s this weekend was Halloween themed and the birthday girl wanted to dress up as a ghost princess and she was adorable!

Because of the Halloween theme, I couldn’t think of a better appetizer to bring than this pumpkin shaped cheese ball.  Nope, it doesn’t have pumpkin in it, it’s just shaped that way.

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It’s full of savory goodness that’s spreadable on a cracker or easily dipped into with a chip.  It’s a crowd pleaser.  I highly recommend taking it to any of the upcoming Halloween parties you may be attending.

Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 top of a green pepper
  • 1 cup crushed nacho cheese chips

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Here’s what to do.  If you can mix a spoon you can do this.  It’s super easy!

Directions:

  1. Put first 5 ingredients in a bowl and mix together until blended.
  2. Form into a ball on a piece of plastic wrap
  3. Wrap plastic wrap around cheese ball and form into a ball, place in the refrigerator
  4. Once chilled, unwrap plastic wrap and sprinkle crushed nacho cheese chips all over cheese ball until covered and ball is orange like a pumpkin.
  5. Push top of green pepper into the top of the cheese ball to make the pumpkin stem.

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The finished product is so yummy and a perfect make ahead appetizer for any Halloween or fall themed party.

This is such a great time saver too.  Make this a day or two before the party so you can use those crucial last minutes leading up to the party to focus on things other than food.

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Add black corn tortilla chips for an even more on theme party dish!

Get ready for more Halloween inspired posts this week!

I’ll have all of you Halloween procrastinators covered with a big Amazon Halloween haul and last minute costume ideas.  With Prime you’ll be ready for Halloween even if you wait until the last minute.

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Labor Day Inspired Charcuterie Board

Happy Friday friends!  I hope this is the start of a fun filled or relaxing holiday weekend for you.  What are your plans for Labor Day? I’m sure at some point there will be food involved.  And I have a great idea for a Labor Day party appetizer for you today.

Because Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday of September all of the items on this charcuterie board are in season in the month of September.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardA quick google search and I found out that blackberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers are all in season this month.  So I focused my charcuterie board around those items.  And cheese of course!

I composed the board of three distinctly flavored cheeses,.  An aged Gouda, Merlot bellavitano, and a chaumis which is a soft cow’s milk cheese.  I also added in several different flavors of crackers like rosemary, cracked pepper, and sea salt.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardFor the savory component to the board I used prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni, along with a roasted red pepper spread that I made.  I’ll provide the recipe , just keep reading.

The red peppers were extra sweet because they’re in season right now.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread Recipe

I didn’t get too many pictures of this recipe, but it’s pretty easy not to mess up if you read through the directions below.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardIngredients:

  • Red Pepper, I used one, but you can use more for a bigger batch of spread
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place your whole red pepper right on the oven rack and roast it for about 20 minutes or until you see the skin turning black and blistering
  3. Once the pepper is roasted, remove it from the oven, and I love this hack, place it in a zip top bag for about 10 minutes.  This will steam it to make removing the skin easier.
  4. Take pepper out of bag and peel the skin off.
  5. Chop up the pepper, removing the stem and seeds.
  6. Place chopped up pepper in a food processor or blender.  Blend until chunky.
  7. Once blended place the spread in a pot with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  8. Let that simmer for a few minutes until all the flavors are blended together.  Just keep tasting it and adding any additional seasonings if you like.
  9. Ta-da, your done!

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardAs you can tell, I’m not super exact when I cook, so my directions and recipes aren’t either.  The good thing is with only four ingredients you can’t mess this one up too badly.

This spread is great on a bold savory cheese.  It’s also good on chicken, beef, or pork so if you have leftovers use it as a sauce the next time you cook dinner.  If you use it during a dinner party, your guests will be so impressed.

Blackberry Balsamic Jam Recipe

If you want to go one step further and incorporate another seasonal ingredient in your Labor Day charcuterie, try making this blackberry balsamic jam recipe.  It’s even easier than the red pepper recipe above.

Ingredients:

  • Blackberries, I used one 5 oz. container
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardSeptember seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese board

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a pot on medium low heat.
  2. Occasionally stir and kind of mash up the blackberries.
  3. Once the blackberries are mashed up and cooked down to a chutney consistency reduce the heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Ta-da!  You’re done!

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardI recommend tasting the jam throughout cooking it to see if you need to adjust any of the ingredients.  I didn’t really measure when I made mine and it definitely could have used a little more balsamic.

This jam is great with cheese and crackers, but I could totally see this on some warm biscuits, yum!  Or even as a filling in a cake for someone that wants a little bit of a different flavor.

These two spreads really amped up the seasonal aspect of this charcuterie board.

I also used cantaloupe on my board because it’s another September seasonal fruit.  I wrapped it in prosciutto and stacked it up.  The combination is very tasty.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardSeptember seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese board

I hope you’re inspired to try some September seasonal produce, make a charcuterie appetizer, or whip up a new jam from reading this post.  It’s not hard to put in the little bit of effort any of these ideas take to make an extra special dish for Labor Day this weekend.

And this is how I know this child is mine.  He’s obsessed with cheese!  Well basically any food.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardHappy Labor Day, if you make either of these recipes let me know by tagging me on Instagram, Facebook, or commenting on this post.  I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

 

 

 

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Fresh and Fruity Summertime Watermelon Salsa

I’m back today with more watermelon fun!  This week is all about celebrating the end of the summer with the iconic summertime fruit, watermelon!  Earlier this week I shared a really easy watermelon drink recipe and today I’m going to share a delicious watermelon salsa recipe.  It’s so yummy!

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeI got the idea for this recipe from Reluctant Entertainer.  I just tweaked a few things to make it my own.

Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • zest from one lime
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, finely chopped

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeTo make the salsa just dice everything up and mix it together for a refreshing and delicious watermelon salsa.

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Watermelon Salsa Recipe Notes

A couple recipe notes, the original recipe calls for basil, but I think every salsa needs cilantro, and lots of it!  I also think the recipe is sweet enough.  So I didn’t add any sugar or honey like the original recipe calls for.  Trust me you won’t need it with watermelon and mango.

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeAfter serving this with a big bowl of chips I realized it would be perfect over a piece of grilled fish.  One of the very first meals I made my husband before we were even really dating was a similar fruit salsa over grilled fish and rice.  So this salsa brings back some sweet memories for me.

I would also recommend using those hint of lime chips to serve with this salsa.  The lime will give the salsa a little extra zip!

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeThis is definitely a dish that needs to be eaten right away, the longer it sits the more the watermelon will release water and make the salsa turn into soup.  It shouldn’t be a problem though because it’s so yummy you won’t have any leftovers.

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watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeI love the idea of bringing this to a neighborhood watermelon party.  Or just sit on your front porch and enjoy snacking on this salsa.  We tend to want a snack while watching our kids play in the street in the evening.  Thankfully we live in a cul-de-sac and all the neighborhood kids come out to ride bikes and play. Then the parents get to chat and now, snack!

Be sure to come back later this week to see the last thing you’ll need to host your own watermelon party.  Armed with these two recipes and what I’m giving you on Friday you’ll be hosting your party in no time!

 

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Summertime Watermelon Cooler Recipe

As promised (several weeks ago) I have a great end of summer watermelon recipe for you.  In fact this entire week is going to be all about watermelons!

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailI’ve taken a good chunk of time off from blogging to enjoy the end of summer because August is full of work trips, back to school, and getting back into our routine.  When is the end of summer for you?  I feel like it came way to early this year!

There’s no better way to celebrate one last hurrah than with having a fun watermelon party!  I’ll be sharing several recipes with you this week and a fun invitation to share with neighbors and friends for one last porch sitting party of the summer!

Watermelon is a quintessential summer fruit so it’s only fitting!  First up this week is a super easy recipe.  I actually got the idea from the cutest little girl that wants to have her own cooking show.

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailYou can check out Zoe sharing this recipe on In Zoe’s Kitchen here. I found this recipe a few summers ago when I was pregnant and it was so refreshing, so I’ve been making them ever since.  Her mom blogs over at The Miller Five and is an amazing photographer!

Refreshing Watermelon Cooler Recipe

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailHere are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • cubed watermelon
  • limes or lime juice
  • club soda

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailTo make this refreshing drink:

  1. Combine watermelon and lime juice in a blender or food processor, I use an immersion blender.
  2. Once it turns to liquid, pour into a glass or pitcher
  3. Add club soda for a refreshing bubbly drink
  4. Add a lime or more watermelon to garnish
  5. Enjoy!

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailIt’s a super easy recipe, but it’s very refreshing!  Perfect for one of those last hot days of summer.  Or to serve to friends at one more bar-b-que before everyone is back to school and in their routines.

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktail I will say that this recipe is almost smoothie like and you can’t let the drink sit too long or all of the watermelon settles to the bottom, but I doubt that will happen because it’s too good not to drink right away!

And if you have any leftover they make easy popsicles when you pour it into a popsicle mold.  Yet another way to stay cool on those dog days of summer.

Do you think you’ll give this recipe a try?  If so, be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

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Celebrating everyday!