Mom’s Night In: Halloween Inspired Book Club Party

Mom's Night In Halloween Style

Sitting back with friends enjoying delicious glass of wine and some yummy goodies is one of the best ways, I find, to unwind and relax after a long week. There’s something about the conversation with friends and laughter that follows that warms my heart and leaves me feeling relaxed. As I mentioned previously, I hosted a girls night in recently. We hadn’t done a book club get together and it was about time we started up again!

By the way… you don’t actually HAVE to finish (or even start) the book to attend book club. It’s more of an excuse to get out and do something with friends instead of staying at home. But I have found that it’s very motivating to at least try and finish a book before the next meeting. Even when that means reading during nap time, or right before bed while my husband reads my kids stories.

This time of year is perfect for Halloween-inspired books, so if you’re looking for a great book club suggestion, check out the various lists of Halloween books perfect for adults to indulge in and scare the crap out of you.

Mom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club with Woodbridge wine

I may have alluded to the fact that wine is a staple at every book club meet up. While it’s not necessary, it does make the night a bit more fun! Especially as we chat about the happenings around us as well as discuss the books we’ve (tried to) read. I love having both a red and a white on hand to satisfy everyone. I personally love this cabernet sauvignon!

And paired with the wine is the delicious food. I opted to make some “Bloody Fingers” in the form of steak and brie sandwiches with a drizzle of Sriracha sauce on a puff pastry. Literally that simple. 4 ingredients and they pair so well with the cabernet sauvignon. Also served was an artichoke spinach dip (recipe coming soon!) and for a little dessert, the chocolate peanut butter ball monsters I made. It was the perfect amount of food for our little group!

Mom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club bloody fingers steak & brie sandwiches

“Bloody Fingers” Steak and Brie Bites

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 steak, cooked and sliced thinly
  • 1 wheel of brie cheese
  • Sriracha sauce

Defrost puff pastry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper. Grab one sheet of puff pastry and unroll/unfold. Using a knife, cut into half length-wise and thirds on the fold lines. Then cut each third into half. You should have 12 rectangles. put rectangles on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Once finished, carefully pull baked puff pastry apart into two pieces. Top each piece with steak, a slice of brie, and drizzle with Sriracha sauce. Enjoy with a glass of wine!

Mom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club chocolate peanut butter ballsMom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club dip

I also got a little festive with my chalk markers and the plastic wine glasses I picked up at the dollar store around the corner from our house. Non breakable and easy to decorate! The best part? The designs wiped right off with a baby wipe.

My girlfriends told me that next time they want to decorate their glasses so I plan on making it a thing now to put out the chalk markers and let the guests doodle on their glasses to mark which one is which.

The food spread was simple, wine yummy, and friends amazing. Definitely a night I needed!

Mom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club wine glasses

Mom's Night In Halloween Inspired Book Club food spread

What’s the last book you’ve read while enjoying a glass of wine?

Girls Night In Appetizers: Cheese Platter On A Stick Ideas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerToGo #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Girls Night In Appetizers Cheese Platter On A Stick

Friendships are very important to me. Making time for my girlfriends is something I need to do to keep my sanity and with three kids that can get difficult. Especially when one of them is 5 months old and isn’t too good at taking a bottle. So in order to get my girl time in I often have friends come over for girls night in instead of girls night out. Sure, girls night out is fun, but girls night in is just as fun and can save me a little money too.

I love being able to come up with creative ways to make girls night in interesting. From My Favorite Things parties, to pairing afternoon kid snacks with wine, to prepping some appetizers in advance and popping open a box of Black Box wine, there are tons of ideas on making girls night in enjoyable.

Girls Night In Appetizers Black Box Wines to pair with appetizersCheese Platter On A Stick Ideas paired with Black Box Wines

This time I paired my love of cheese platters with an on-the-go solution to enjoying them easily whether we’re at my house, or having a girls night in at one of the other ladies houses. All I have to do is pack them up and grab a box of wine and we have a portable girls night. Easy peasy.

I grabbed a few things we had in the fridge and pantry and paired them with some cheeses and meats I’d normally serve on a cheese platter. The classic combo of flavors found in a caprese salad, some melon and prosciutto with provalone, and my favorite pizza toppings. Each trio pairs perfectly with either a glass of cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay.

Girls Night In Appetizers Cheese Platter On A Stick with fruitCaprese Cheese Platter On A Stick

Cheese Platter on a Stick Ideas

Caprese Salad

  • basil
  • tomato
  • mozzarella
  • sopressata

Melon and Proscutto

  • mint (optional)
  • cantalope ball
  • prosciutto

Salame and Olive

  • mozzarella
  • salame
  • black olive

Girls Night In Appetizers Cheese Platter On A Stick with Balsamic Glaze

The pairing possiblities are endless. Brie, apples, and figs; arugala, gorgonzola, and pear; etc. And each is a great way to bring out the various flavors in the wines we love.

Visit the Simple Entertaining Social Hub for more great entertaining ideas! Black Box has won over 50 Gold Medals for its quality, it’s available for 40% less than comparable bottled wines, and it stays fresh for up to 6 weeks. And don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes to win a trip to the California wine region of your choice. Did you know San Diego has some amazing wineries within driving distance?

What’s your favorite on-the-go appetizers for girls night?

85 Ways to Use Yogurt

Are you a yogurt fan? We’re sharing 85 ways to use yogurt in your everyday recipes!

85 Ways to Use Yogurt

There’s one thing I can always count on to make me happy. Whether it’s morning, noon, or night. And that’s a delicious bowl of yogurt. It’s the one thing I reach for in the fridge when I need a snack or when I’m cooking up a meal or dessert.

I started turning to yogurt more and more as a staple in my home after going through Weight Watchers after having my oldest child. It is such a great substitute for other ingredients in recipes and is full of flavor. Plus… less calories!

And in it’s simplest form, with a sprinkle of granola and some sliced berries, it can make any day better. Plus, when you’re done eating the yogurt inside, you can make something fun out of the container!

Have some yogurt in the fridge like I do? Here are 101 ways to use yogurt!

85 Ways to Use Yogurt

Breakfast

1. In strawberry muffins

2. Sprinkled with homemade granola

3. In a breakfast cereal parfait

4. In brown sugar maple muffins

5. To make a strawberry shortcake parfait a little healthier

6. In banana blueberry muffins

7. Spruced up as pumpkin pie yogurt

8. In greek yogurt blueberry muffins

9. In apple carrot walnut muffins

10. In chocolate chip donuts

Weight Watchers Simple Start anytime snack

11. In a healthy blueberry parfait

12. In overnight oats

13. In a Pomegranate Parfait with Blueberries

14. In cinnamon streussel yogurt muffins

15. In baby bran muffins

16. In banana chocolate chip whole wheat pancakes

17. In these flavorful Pomegranate Pancakes

18. In a blackberry shortcake parfait

19. In these Red Currant and Rosemary Olive Oil Scones

20. In these Whole Wheat Cranberry Sauce Scones

21. Or these Whole Wheat Mango & Ginger Scones

22. And these Whole Wheat Orange Scones with Chia Seeds

23. Or change it up with these Whole Wheat Pomegranate Scones

24. And around Halloween, bake up these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Strawberry Muffins with Greek Yogurt and coffee

 

Lunch

25. To spruce up tropical chicken sliders

26. In a greek chicken wrap

27. In greek style gourmet burgers

 

Dinner

28. To lighten up Pomegranate and Lamb Moussaka with Cardamon

29. In a marinade for Chicken Skewers with Dipping Sauce

30. In a chicken tikka masala recipe

31. In the slow cooker with this butter chicken recipe

32. In a Boneless Chicken Breast Kabob (Joojeh Kabob)

33. With these Filet Mignon Kabobs (Kabob-eh Barg)

34. In this Yogurt Marinated Leg of Lamb

 

Side Dishes

35. Grilled Baby Artichokes with Balsamic Yogurt

36. In carrot raisin salad

37. Mixed with mint on top of a beet salad

 

Snacks

38. In vanilla chai banana bread

39. In an apple blossom parfait

40. In apple cobbler yogurt bites

41. In cranberry orange muffins

42. With a cup of coffee and this Nut Crusted Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie ingredients

Drinks

43. With a straw in a PB Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

44. In an orange creamsicle smoothie

45. Spiced up in a pumpkin pie smoothie

46. In a strawberry smoothie

47. In this Mango-Rum Smoothie

48. With avocados in a blueberry smoothie

49. In a cookies n cream smoothie

50. With papayas in a papaya smoothie

51. In Doogh (Persian Yogurt and Mint Drink)

52. In an Orange Cream Smoothie

53. After a workout in this Mango Protein Shake

54. In a Pomegranate Smoothie

 

Dessert

55. In mandarin orange cream pops

56. For a delicious addition to a Banana Smash Cake

57. In chocolate chip muffins perfect for dessert

58. In a Plum Yogurt Cake

59. To cool down in frozen greek yogurt pops

60. In an Orange Upside Down Cake

61. In churro cupcakes

62. In these root beer float pops

63. In chocolate covered strawberry frozen yogurt

64. In pumpkin spice yogurt

65. In a berry triffle

Mandarin Orange Cream Pops aerial

66. In strawberry frozen yogurt

67. In these Strawberry-Rhubarb Creamsicles

68. In a pomegranate sundae yogurt parfait

69. Frozen in pina colada popsicles

70. In berry cake with coconut rum

71. To moisten Carrot Cake with Walnuts & Raisins

72. With a glass of wine and this Grape Upside Down Cake

73. In a vibrant Lemon Basil Cake

74. In this Red, White & Blue Jello

75. In these mini Saffron & Raisin Pound Cakes

76. In this White Rose Cake

 

Dips and Appetizers

77. In a herbed yogurt cheese dip

78. In a refreshing homemade tzatziki dip

79. In Borani-e Esfenaj (Yogurt and Spinach)

80. In this Hatch Chile Dip

81. In Borani-e Bademjoon (Persian Yogurt and Eggplant)

82. With this Mast-o Khiar (Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers)

83. In chocolate caramel apple dip

84. With apples in this PB Yogurt Dip

85. In peanut butter cinnamon yogurt dip

Mountain High Yoghurt

What’s your favorite way to incorporate yogurt into your day?

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo

It’s a few weeks away from Cinco De Mayo and we’re planning our fiesta! I can’t resist celebrating a day that’s filled with good food, good friends, and fun drinks.

Now I know that this is one of those holidays that’s been taken over by Americans for the fun and excuse to party. But that doesn’t mean that we should skip it and NOT enjoy a fun party.

So grab a few friends and follow these 5 easy ways to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. You may just realize that you want to find more excuses to party!

partida skinny margarita aerial

1. Grab the tequila and make a skinny margarita!

tequila lime pork tacos aerial

2. Turn up the grill and make some tequila lime pork tacos, these easy tex mex cheese enchiladas and some beef and black bean enchiladas.

creamy tomatillo avocado sauce

3. Mix some dips! This creamy tomatillo avocado sauce isn’t only good on my tequila lime pork tacos but it’s super tasty with chips too. And this simple 4 ingredient roasted corn and black beans dip is the perfect accompanyment.

My PB&J Churro Cupcakes

Churro Cupcakes from My PB&J

 

4. Prepare some tasty desserts like these churro style tortillas or churro cupcakes. OMG – I can’ believe how delicious these both are!

diy-geometric-fiesta-garland

DIY Festive Garland from Oh Happy Day!

 

5. Grab that margarita and delicious food, hang up some festive DIY garland, and turn on the mariachi music!

How do you celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

Easy Entertaining with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Appetizers

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This post featuring Easy Entertaining with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Appetizers is written by me on behalf of the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.

Easy Entertaining with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Appetizers

I love appetizers. They’re small, bite-sized, and packed with flavor. So when appetizers become easy enough  to throw together with 2-5 ingredients you know I’m interested!

Last week I was invited to attend a delicious party featuring Pepperidge Farm puff pastry and a handful of recipes. While I mingled with social media friends I was able to try a nibble of just about everything. And this pregnant mama was very grateful for the small bites.

If you’re planning a homegating party or heading to the next game for some tailgating fun, then you’ll love these quick and easy recipes you can whip up in no time.  [Read more…]

Ad: Simple Football Tailgating Food Ideas with Hot Wings and Spinach Artichoke Dip

This shop featuring simple football tailgating food ideas with hot wings has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeHero

Simple Football Tailgating Food Ideas with Hot Wings + an Spinach Artichoke Dip recipeI love football season. But it’s not for the game… it’s for the food. No, seriously. I also like the fact that we have an excuse to get together with friends and hang out. And it gives me an excuse to try out delicious recipes without having to enjoy them all by myself.

And as of this weekend, football season is here with full force. So that means a. I have no control over the remote anymore and b. I get to try out all of the recipes I’ve been pinning over the summer! Starting with a delicious spinach artichoke dip that will complete any tailgating spread.

With any party food I try to keep it simple. My basic rule of thumb is to buy mostly pre-made foods (let someone else do a little of the work) and focus on one homemade recipe to keep my stress level down. Luckily I got some help from Walmart’s deli department this time… [Read more…]

Delicious Summer BBQ Ideas

Summer BBQ Ideas - great additions to any summer bbq or party

Summer is here and that means it’s time to start cooking! The warm weather is perfect for inviting a few friends and family over for a laid-back BBQ cookout any day of the week.

I love how easy it is to BBQ. A good rub or marinade, some meat and veggies, and a hot grill! Plus there are so many great sides and treats to serve alongside the BBQ goodies.

Not sure what to throw on the grill? Try out these delicious ideas for your summer BBQ. Not only do we include what to grill, but we also share what to serve with your BBQ meal. [Read more…]

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad

In the summer I’m all about easy side dishes. Especially when barbecue season rolls around and we have an invitation to something every other weekend. This bacon cheddar ranch pasta salad is my go-to when I’m in a rush and need something quick. Plus it’s absolutely delicious!

If you’re looking for a great dish that has fantastic flavor (come on… bacon and cheddar!?) then this is the side dish for you. Make a double batch or stick with a single for just your family. But whatever you do don’t just sit down with the whole bowl and a fork. Because it will disappear fast! [Read more…]

Hummus Without Tahini from Vegan Beans from Around the World

Hummus Without Tahini

For quite a while I have been on the hunt for the perfect vegetarian/vegan recipes to help change my family’s view of non-meat dishes. My husband seems to think that a meal isn’t a meal without meat.  So when I was asked to review Vegan Beans from Around the World by Kelsey Kinser I thought it’d be a great opportunity to try again and change the way my family thinks about mealtime.

I started small with a few appetizers and sides to test their limits. Then I went straight in and prepared some vegan dishes for dinnertime. And you know what? They ate it! And not only did they eat it… they enjoyed it.

While I haven’t quite convinced my husband that meat does not need to be in each meal, I have gotten him to open his eyes to new possibilities and new flavors thanks to the amazing recipes in this book.  [Read more…]

Creamy Tomatillo Avocado Sauce

I created this delicious #SauceSquad creamy tomatillo avocado sauce as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars by Crowdtap #BottledAwesome

creamy tomatillo avocado sauce with chips #SauceSquad #BottledAwesome
I love Mexican food. Like LURVE it! So when I was asked to create a delicious dish inspired by the new Taco Bell sauces my mind started to go into a thousand different directions before I found the inspiration to create this creamy tomatillo avocado sauce.

What I love about this sauce is that it pairs perfectly with my tequila lime pork tacos. The tomatillos and green chilies in Taco Bell’s salsa verde match the flavor combo found in my tequila lime marinade. And how can this pork not taste amazing coated with this creamy sauce and nestled into a tortilla of love.

And if you have any left overs or want to serve it to a crowd, feel free to serve this sauce as a dip. Because its great as both a sauce drizzled over your meal or as a dip on it’s own. I’m even considering using it as a salad dressing this week with a nice squeeze of lime on top.  [Read more…]



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