Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Recipe: Panera Copycat Tomato Soup + Homemade Croutons

Usually I don't do two food posts in a row but this one was a definite keeper from last night! I love a good tomato soup with grilled cheese in the winter- it is one of my absolute favorites. This is a breeze to put together, making it even better! 

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 14 oz can chicken broth {or 2 cups}
2 Tbsp sugar
⅓ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
15-20 Basil leaves, chopped

1. Combine the tomatoes, broth, and garlic bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar and butter and mix until they are dissolved, melted and well combined.
3. Very slowly pour in the heavy cream while simultaneously stirring until all the cream is combined and the soup is creamy. Make sure you pour slow and mix each time!
4. Stir in the basil.
5. Serve hot with grated parmesan cheese and homemade croutons {recipe below}.

My special touch is that I add homemade "croutons" to the top of our tomato soup. For these, all I do is take whatever bread we have on hand {preferably fresh made bread from the bakery, not your typical white sandwich bread} and chop it up into crouton size pieces. I sprayed them lightly with Pam, threw them in the pan next to the grilled cheese with a tad bit of butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Just get them lightly toasted on all sides and they are delicious! Last night I used ciabatta bread and they were fantastic!

As you can see I made three different types of grilled cheese last night, for three different tastes. I sprung for ciabatta, Stephen with the white wheat sandwich bread, and my Dad joined us as well with sourdough. I used a combo of sharp cheddar and baby swiss and they were sooo good.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome 2017 + Winter Weekend Food

Well this week just flew on by, am I right? We had a wonderful long, stretch of the holiday season spanning from several days before Christmas to New Years Day, and then boom! Back to normal, and a week just flies by. We all did ok adjusting after the long break {Wednesday felt like a total Monday, actually} but I can't say that I am sad to see the weekend here again!

I am excited for a New Year and a fresh start...sometimes I get those feelings at the beginning of a new year, it and sometimes I don't. What about you? So, it is fun to be looking forward to the year to come! 2016 brought us many, many blessings but not with out some hard times as well. Having the year ahead of us gives me lots of hope and goals to meet that I am going to try for. Hopefully I will get around to sharing some of those here on the blog in the next few weeks!

We are in the South and like most every other southerner, glued to the weather report for this weekends winter forecast! It looks like we won't end up getting much at all, but that didn't stop me from getting a winter menu planned out for the weekend.

I've already put Natalie's White Chicken Chili together for tonight and I'm super excited. We are big White Chicken Chili fans and although I already have several go-to's I enjoy trying a new one as well! I love her idea to serve with Cornbread Croutons, a fun twist!

I am also throwing a pork loin in the crockpot tomorrow to make April's Pulled Pork salad. Y'all this salad is insane! It is so incredibly easy too, you will think you missed a step. It has been a big hit in our house each time I have made it for different crowds. The leftovers are fantastic for making tacos for lunch, nachos, and Weeks enjoyed them too. Love, love!

Last but not least, this may be Sunday's dinner - My Chicken Meatballs. I haven't made them in a while and I am so ready for my fix! If you haven't tried them, a cold winter weekend is the perfect time to whip up a batch!

Stay warm this weekend!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Arriving in Time: For him and her!

I promised y'all some last minute gift guides and I do hope they help you out! I put these together that are all guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve! These are all fabulous finds too, the recipient will not be short changed with any of these wonderful items. Isn't is crazy how busy the UPS man is these days? 

for her

live in leggings the best ever- every woman needs a pair! // roll tab tunic I've heard every woman needs this top as well...comes in so many colors! // circle cardigan perfect for Mom or the MIL that has everything. or yourself!  // cuff bracelet love my Kendra Scott bracelet. So pretty and a great quality piece // lighted iphone case  for the tech lover! this lights up for selfies :) // tassel drop earrings for your sister that loves jewelry- these are a great price!

for him

lounge pant because he needs some comfies for the house too // classic plaid shirt  a man can never have enough shirts- am I right? // bootcut jeans my husband likes designer jeans too! these are on sale too. // bluetooth speaker we use our bluetooth speaker every.single.day. // slippers  these are a bargain- $21!! // beanie for cold workouts, sporting events or even every day wear

I hope you all are inching towards finishing up your shopping...I think I am almost done, thank goodness! Merry Christmas Week! xo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas for the Kids!

Good news y'all...plenty of things are still shipping in time for Christmas! Saturday morning while sitting in bed sipping on coffee and feeding the baby, I ran through my list of gifts in my head for the kids and did some more last minute ordering. It was all here by 12 pm Monday. Super quick! I also have picked out some toys locally which are probably my favorites but these are the ones that I am able to find online {once again, reminding you to shop your local stores!! :) }

Alongside toys, we also are asking for some super useful things the kids need for their rooms and what not! Weeks needs a pair of nightstands for his big boy room, which I am so excited about. Matching nightstands...yes please! I don't even have a pair of those! Frances Ann needs some new shades for her room and we are thinking about wooden mini blinds for her. I loved the look of the bamboo shades in our last house, but the wooden minis might work just fine here! She also has been using a wooden antique high chair which is fine but sometimes I would prefer her to be in a really up to date, sturdy chair with no wonky straps- I like this one! Just seems simpler that way even if the new ones aren't as appealing to the eye. Also needed- a new sleepsack for the the next size up. 

FA is obsessed with tags and so a taggies doll is very appropriate. Also, very into anything that might look like a phone or computer- hence the pink tablet. My, she has learned quick! We also think its a great time to go ahead with the pink trike that she can grow into. So cute.

Fun stuff- a power wheels jeep for my boy {they come with remote controls for parents!} although the one that we ordered is now showing up as $900 which we def did not pay! He also is getting an amazon fire from Mimi and Pop Pop. He has always loved vtech toys and we get a kick out of that cute voice on everything! This play doh set is a great deal too!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Apps

We had our little work party last night and we had just the perfect amount of food. I brought an appetizer tray, themed with a Christmas tree! I know you've probably seen the Christmas tree shaped veggie/cheese/meat tray, and I had too. I decided not to be "pinterest perfect" and just buy what I wanted on my tray and put it together on one of my large cutting boards!

My grocery list included: pre-sliced gouda cheese, pre-sliced sharp cheddar cheese, sliced sopressata, red grapes, 2 english cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, ranch seasoning packet and sour cream (for dipping). Sometimes it is such a relief to not have to be referring to a pinterest link to make something- am I right?

It was just the right amount of snacks and turned out pretty cute too. My tips: buy everything pre-sliced that you can! I cut my veggies around 4:00 and put them in ziploc baggies. When I arrived at the party all I had to do was arrange it on the cutting board, which took a few minutes. {Side note- this cutting board is very similar to mine, ours has a "C" on it to make it a little more personal. It would make a great last minute gift for someone that has everything! I also love this handled cutting board!}We love our veggies with a ranch dip, so I brought that as well. I bought an organic ranch packet and mixed it with the sour cream several hours ahead of time so it had time to blend the flavors ahead of serving.

I also brought one of my favorite dips- Cheesy Hearts of Palm Dip from Laura at the Reedy Review. I can't sing the praises of this dip enough and I can assure you it was devoured. For some reason, I think it makes a great Christmas app. This is the second time I have made it around the holidays and it has been a hit both times! If you are a fan of artichoke dip {raising my hand} then you will love this one!

What are your easy go-to apps for holiday parties?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What's on my Christmas List?

Holy moly! How is Christmas next week? I knew the month of December would fly but I didn't think it would go at such lightning speed. We are finally settling down into the house {bless!}, have decorated a tree, I am able to locate my hair dryer and straightener on a daily basis {when I even need those two items, ha!} and have even cooked a few pretty good meals. There was about a week there where it was pretty crazy and I could not wait for a sense of normalcy. I know this move in phase is short lived and I'm trying to get past the clutter and craziness by embracing sweet moments with these kiddos, even if they are simple and in reality, just the way they should be!

I definitely promised y'all some gift guides. Well here I am. I am your last minute girl. I am pulling together things that are currently in stock {as I post!} to help with any last minute purchases. We do still have a solid 7 days of business day shipping before the big day, afterall! Any requests? Leave them in the comments.

For today, I thought I would round up the items that I have asked for. My family, husband, siblings etc all have circulating lists throughout the holidays and these are some of the items that made my list this year. If you are like me you want everything {of course} but when it comes down to it, it's really hard to "ask" for something. Well these made my list, maybe they will make your last minute list too!

Everyone's favorite earring style this year. I'm not totally sold on most of the colorways I have seen but I totally love this one! It is elegant but fun. Could see it daytime to work or night time for a party!

I love being able to branch out of winter colors via Lilly Pulitzer. This turquoise silk is perfect and I love the fun touch with the shoulders!

Basically, this is the type of shirt I live in so of course I could use another. I asked for the navy, but the red is adorable! 

I sing praises of Ugg slippers every year! I'm due for a new pair and I'm asking for this style to try something new. I live in Ugg slippers and boots while I am around the house in the winter! You can find me cooking dinner, walking the dogs, doing laundry...anything and everything.

Love this pretty cooler to keep your wine cold! My parents have a marble one they use all the time and I realized we don't have anything like it.

Call me crazy, but I want to add another stroller to our list! I need a double jogger and this one fits budgets and in doorways, ha! Anyone have any feedback on it?

A winter staple that I can see myself wearing as much as my Uggs! 

We gutted our master closet and Stephen installed hanging rods and shelves for our clothing. We have yet to do anything for shoes, bags, accessories and I would love to go the professional route. In our last house we transformed our closet with Ikea systems and I LOVED it. Only problem is, we aren't making a trip to Ikea anytime soon. Instead, I am happy to take advantage of this solution! Any tips are welcome!

What made your list this year?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Sales!

Nordstrom's sale selection is not disappointing, and the prices are crazy good! I don't remember them offering these prices ever before so it's a little exciting! I could browse and browse for hours but I rounded up a few items that caught my eye between yesterday and this morning:

live in legging- ordering these // ugg slipper - a Christmas must!! // crop skinny jean - one of my favorite brands of jeans // petty chelsea boot - perfect booties //
  slim signature shirt -I would love an equipment shirt // britten convertible clutch - crazy good price!

J.Crew is offering 40% off everything...what?! I could totally go overboard as they are easily my favorite store but I'm trying not to. I did purchase this sweater below...I think it is perfect for the holidays and since we are NC State fans, it will be great next fall too!

How cute are these socks?

This top is adorable for holiday parties:

I wore this skirt for family pictures last week, it's also available in black and 
emerald which are so pretty! 

Other great deals going on today:

Gap is offering 50% off
Banana Republic is offering 50% off 5 items
Anthropologie has everything 30% off!! 
Serena and Lily has 20% off everything
Loft has 50% off  as well 

Crazy good deals! Don't forget to check your local shops for great deals as well {some of my faves!}

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...we had the best day! So much fun with these 2 sweet kiddos!!