Strawberry Lemonade

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshOnTheGo #CollectiveBias

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

Keeping three kids with a 3+ year age gap entertained is no easy task. One of them is always bored. When I was young, the minute I got up, I was outside playing with my neighborhood friends. We do not have any kids in the neighborhood, so my kids have to play with each other which lasts about 37 seconds until they start fighting.

Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade

In order to avoid the constant she said this or he did that, I try to keep them busy with activities! Cooking is always the best way to occupy all of them at the same time. Yesterday I put them to the task of making a Fresh Strawberry Lemonade for our afternoon picnic at the park.

Strawberry Lemonade Park Picnic

It was a great activity that they throughly enjoyed after the preparations. Most importantly, they enjoyed it in peace!

I put my 7 year old to work cutting about a cup and a half of strawberries.

cutting the strawberries

I then made my 3 year old place the strawberries and sugar in the blender and press the button to turn it on.

Making the fresh strawberry lemonade

My 12 year old was in charge of cutting the lemons.

Lemons for lemonade

They all had a great time juicing the lemons.

Making Lemonade!

They 3 and 7 year olds mixed in the sugar.

Making Strawberry Lemonade- fun with kids

Then we added the strawberry mixture and water, et voila. Perfectly refreshing strawberry lemonade in about 15 minutes!

ready snax

We then packed up the lemonade, cups, and some Ready Pac Ready Snax.

Strawberry Lemonade

During the school year, we buy the Ready Pac Salad bowls weekly. My daughter loves taking them for lunch and they are a much healthier alternative to a standard PB&J. While doing my weekly Costco shopping this past week, I found theseReady Pac Ready Snax. With carrots, grapes, cheese, and pretzels, they are the perfect to-go snack and paired perfectly with our homemade strawberry lemonade at our park picnic.

Fun Summer Picnic

The kids had a blast on our mini picnic across the street, and have requested that we do it everyday! It is such a fun way to spend our summer afternoons!

costco snack pax

Strawberry Lemonade


  • 12 large strawberries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons)


  1. Cut green tops off of the strawberries and place in blender.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over strawberries and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to release some of the juices.
  3. Once strawberries have sat, add 1 cup of cold water and blend mixture until smooth.
  4. Juice the lemons, removing the seeds.
  5. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  6. Whisk in Strawberry mixture.
  7. Add 7 cups of water to mixture and whisk together.
  8. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a fun-filled day with lots of delicious food planned! We are just returning from a week in Vegas and are planning to recuperate from the heat comfortably and quietly at home with some burgers and these bars.

Apple Slab Pie

To me, you cannot celebrate the 4th without an All American Apple Pie. But when you are serving a crowd, slicing and serving a pie can be quite cumbersome. These Apple Pie Bars are perfect for cutting up in advance, allowing people to grab their own piece when they please.

Perfect Apple Pie Bars

They have everything you want in a slice of pie, in bar form. The flaky crust and thick apple center. Serve it with a large scoop of ice cream and you have the perfect summer dessert!

Apple Pie Bars and Ice Cream

Every year the when the 4th of July hits, it is only a matter of days before my birthday comes. This year, I am hoping the days move very slowly as it they will be the last days of my roaring twenties :( So please excuse while I indulge in an extra cocktail (or three) today (another reason we are staying home).

Flaky Apple Pie Bars

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Apple Pie Bars


  • 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup butter, cold and cut into 16 slices
  • 2/3 cup ice water
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or water.
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl or your food processor.
  2. Add butter slices and either cut into flour or pulse until it forms small pea like clumps.
  3. Add ice water and mix until dough forms a large ball (do not over mix). This is best done manually that way the dough is not overworked and will be flaky after baking.
  4. Separate dough into two balls and gently flatten. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. While your dough is chilling, make the filling.
  6. On medium heat, melt your butter.
  7. Add apples and sauté for about 3 minutes while stirring.
  8. Pour in sugar, apple juice and cinnamon and allow to simmer until apples are soft on medium low heat, about 10 minutes.
  9. Combine 2 tablespoons apple juice or water with corn starch to for a paste.
  10. Add paste to apple mixture and stir until thick.
  11. Once the filling is nice and thick, remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line one 8x8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
  13. On a clean, floured surface roll out your dough disks into a large square, about 1/4 inch thick.
  14. Lay first dough square in the pan with edge hanging slightly over the sides.
  15. Pour filling into crust.
  16. Top filling with second dough square and gently press to seal with bottom dough.
  17. Cut of remaining dough.
  18. Make a small crisscross cut in the center of the dough.
  19. Beat egg with a fork, and baste the top of the pie.
  20. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  21. Bake pie until crust is brown and apples are cooked, about 40-50 minutes.
  22. Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares.
  23. This recipe makes about 12 bars.

Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingsfordFlavor #CollectiveBias

Cherry plum BBQ Sauce

It is almost the 4th of July, and do I have a killer recipe for you. Take your grilling up a notch with this Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce. It has all of the wonderful sweetness and smokiness of a traditional sauce with a depth of fruity flavor from the cherries and plum. I also added some spice to give it a kick. 

Cherry Plum BBQ Sauce Marinated Ribs

I made a big batch of this BBQ sauce and marinated the ribs for a day. While cooking, I continually smothered the ribs with more sauce, resulting in some succulent fall off the bone style ribs. We served them with a baked potato, and could not resist drizzling the BBQ sauce on the potato too!

Cherry Plum BBQ Sauce With A Kick!

Being a food lover, I have A LOT of cooking utensils. We have a gas grill, smoker, and of course a charcoal grilling fire pit. While I love my smoker, my husband absolutely loves the smoky flavor that comes from the charcoal grill. I think it also has something to do with the fact that he has to make a small fire to get it started. Seriously what is it with men and their fires?!?

Husband and his fire pit

Anyway, we are super excited because Kingsford Charcoal is on sale right now at Home Depot. We tend to go through quite a few packages of charcoal during the summer, so we will definitely be stocking up! From today through July 6th, Kingsford Original Twinpack will be on sale for only $9.88 which is half off of the original price!


So are you in the grilling mood yet? Head over to your nearest The Home Depot store to pick up your Kingsford Charcoal. Click here to find the store nearest you. Will you be cooking/grilling this 4th of July? Click here for some fun recipe inspiration.


Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pitted cherries
  • 1 medium sized plum, pitted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté for four minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes or until it has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once sauce has thickened slightly, remove from heat and carefully place in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  6. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Summer Shrimp Pasta

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Ronzoni, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RonzoniSummer

Garden Harvest Shrimp Pasta Salad

Generally during the year, my oldest likes to put up a fight about the vegetables that I serve him. During the summer however, he waves his white flag. He knows that we have a ton of veggies that need to be eaten from the garden and that every meal will mainly consist of freshly harvested vegetables.

Grilled Veggie and Shrimp Pasta

Getting creative with the same vegetables is hard sometimes. I have made fried yellow summer squash at least 3 times a week for the last month and a half. I have also put it in cakes, quiches, and even smoothies! While I love it, I needed to add another flavor to it. Thankfully, my basil plant was in full bloom, so we made pesto.


So what could be better than a dish of pesto grilled veggies and shrimp, pasta, and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese? Not much I say. Except for the fact that not only we (my kids) getting a full dose of nutrients from the vegetables and pesto on the pasta, but the pasta itself actually contains 1 full serving of vegetables per 4 oz portion! How cool is that! And to top it off, it is pretty good. The orange colored pasta definitely has a mild carrot flavor, and the green pasta tasted like either spinach or broccoli. With the pesto sauce, my kids did not suspect a thing! The Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta comes in three varieties- Tri-Color Penne, Tri-Color Rotini and Trio Italiano. I found them at Walmart.

Summer Vegetable and Grilled Shrimp Pasta

Over all this was a wonderful meal that chock full of nutrients and a great way to use up all of those vegetables from your flourishing garden! If you are looking to try Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta look for a $1.00 coupon off any two Garden Delight items in most newspapers on 6/28/15 (while supplies last) or $0.55 off in store coupon at Walmart starting 6/22/15. Offer expires 8/2/15 (while supplies last). To find a store near you that sells Ronzoni Delight, click here. Enjoy! 

Summer Shrimp Pasta


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 Box Ronzoni Garden Harvest Pasta
  • 1 pound deveined and peeled shrimp
  • 2 cups sliced vegetables (I used peppers, yellow squash, eggplant, tomatoes and onion)
  • Grated parmesan cheese


  1. Using a blender, combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. Reserve 1/2 cup in for pasta.
  3. Rinse shrimp and place in bowl with 1/4 cup pesto. Allow to marinate for 30 minuets.
  4. While shrimp is marinating, slice your vegetables. Place in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of pesto.
  5. Make pasta according to the directions on the back of the box.
  6. Either grill vegetables on high heat (this is what I did), or bake them for 15 min at 400 degrees.
  7. Grill shrimp on high heat for about until fully cooked, about 2 minutes on each side.
  8. To assemble, toss cooked pasta with the reserved 1/2 cup of pesto.
  9. Topped grilled veggies and shrimp and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Twizzler Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TwizzlersSummer #CollectiveBias

Red Velvet Twizzler Cake

For the last 8 years we have had the prime viewing spot for the 4th of July Fireworks. In fact, people used to flock to our building from all around the county because it was their “secret spot.” It was so nice never having to go anywhere which meant that we could have an extra cocktail (or five two).

4th of July Red Velvet Cake

Now that we have finally moved, we have no idea where to go. I’m thinking that we may be able to see some from our backyard, but not sure if we want to risk not being able to see them. However, the thought of driving on the 4th scares me to death! This will be the first year where we have a yard large enough for a party and we really want our guests to stay the whole evening and not have to rush off for fireworks!

Red Velvet 4th of July Cake

The 4th of July is pretty much the only time of year that I make red velvet. It fits so perfectly with the iconic red, white and blue theme. Since cake decorating is not my forte, I turned to my favorite candy, Twizzlers Twists. They add such a cute finish! Not to mention, everyone loves eating them.


I unfortunately was not able to find the special 4th of July Twizzlers Pull N Peel at my local Walmart, so I had to buy 6 rainbow packs in order to get enough blue for the cake, so I turned to my best inspiration friend, Pinterest. Pinterest suggested I make a cute Twizzlers Twists  wreathe and use the remainder in a vase for a flower bouquet. What would you do with extras?

Perfect 4th of July Red Velvet Cake



Red Velvet Twizzler Cake


  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • Red and Blue Twizzlers
  • Red, White, and Blue Sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 4 6in baking rounds.
  2. In a bowl, combine cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mix together.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time.
  5. In a small bowl combine sour cream, food coloring, vinegar and extract.
  6. Alternatively, gradually add flour and sour cream mixture and mix on low until just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Evenly distribute batter into 3 six inch pans or 2 eight inch pans. Bake pans for about 20 minutes or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely.
  9. For the frosting, combine all the ingredients and beat on low for 1 minute.
  10. Increase mixing speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes or until smooth.
  11. Frost cake. Garnish with Twizzlers Twists and sprinkles.

Sriracha Almond Asian Salad

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Sriracha Almond Chicken Salad

Lately, it seems as if every time I reach into the cupboard for a quick snack I find empty boxes. My kids have this horrible habit of eating literally everything in the house and leaving the empty boxes or bags for me to clean up! It drives me absolutely bonkers!

Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds

In order to ensure that I have an afternoon snack/pick me up, I have been having to buy items that I know my kids won’t be interested in. The first time I tried Blue Diamond’s new Sriracha Flavored Almonds, I knew that this would be the perfect kid free snack. They are perfectly roasted with a very very mild kick but tons of flavor. Unfortunately, to my dismay, my 12 year old tried them and loved them leaving me with yet again with a snack I must share.

Sriracha chicken salad

Our garden is flourishing with beautiful lettuce and crisp bell peppers. We have been eating a lot of side salads, but last night I decided to make a dinner salad. However, when I went to put the dressing on the salad, you guessed it, empty (my kids love ranch and carrots)!

Sriracha Almond Butter

I looked around the kitchen for dressing recipe inspirations and a light bulb went off in my head when I saw the Sriracha almonds. Let me tell you guys, this was one of the best salad dressing I have ever made! I have actually been putting it on everything because it is soooo good! So the moral of the story is the next time you are out of an ingredient, look around as you may find a new recipe gem. Also, the next time you are grocery shopping, pick up a can of these almonds!

Asian Sriracha Chicken Salad with Almonds

Sriracha Almond Asian Salad


  • 1/4 cup Blue Diamond Sriracha Flavored Almonds
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or any light, mild oil), melted
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups lettuce
  • 1 cup thinly slice red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup carrot slices
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced thinly
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds, chopped coarsely


  1. Using your blender or food processor, pulse almonds until the form a paste.
  2. Slowly add oil until it becomes a smoothe peanut butter.
  3. Once smooth, add soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, garlic. Blend until smooth.
  4. Place chicken in a bag and cover with soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
  5. Grill on high heat until cooked.
  6. Assemble salad with lettuce, sliced vegetables, sliced chicken, and chopped almonds.
  7. Dress salad with the dressing, toss and serve!

Minion Treats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #The7thMinion #CollectiveBias

Minion Treats

Do you remember when you were little and the highlight of your morning consisted of opening that new box of cereal and dig your hands in to search for that special toy? I remember that the cereal isle was my favorite spot in the grocery store.

Minion Coco Puff Treats

Well it seems that I passed on the cereal excitement to my Minion obsessed child. While shopping he noticed the new 7th Minion toys in General Mills cereals available exclusively at Walmart. He was over the moon excited when I realized that there was a toy inside. Since then, every time we go to the store we have to buy a new box in order to find that 7th Minion!

Minion Toy from Cereal Box

With my little guy at his first week of preschool ever, I thought I would surprise him when he got home. With three full hours of free time, I had a blast making these little treats. The Cocoa Puffs marshmallow treat bottom was a great way to use up all of the excess cereal!

Fun Minion Treats

He flipped in excitement he came home. We ate the snacks and watched the Minion movie in preparation for the release of The Final Minion Movie. I’m not quite sure if he or I am more excited to see it!

Making the Minion Heads

These little guys are quite simple to make and simply require some chocolate dipping and frosting piping. Since I’m not so great at decorating this was the perfect craft to practice with!

Making the Minion Body

Cereal Box Minions

Expect some more cereal inspired recipes as we are still on the search for the FINAL minion!

cereal picture

Minion Treats


  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of Cocoa Puffs
  • 2 cups of marshmallows
  • 15 regular sized marshmallows
  • 1 cup white melting chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • Yellow food coloring
  • 1 can pre maid frosting
  • Black and Blue food coloring
  • Edible eyes


  1. Generously spray a mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot, melt butter on medium heat.
  3. Once melted, add marshmallows stirring constantly until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Remove from heat and add Cocoa Puffs; stir to coat.
  5. Spoon into mini muffin cups, gently pressing down to flatten tops slightly.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. While treat are cooling, make minion heads.
  8. Heat melting chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe dish for 1 minute.
  9. Add yellow food coloring and stir until smooth.
  10. Dip marshmallows and tap to remove excess chocolate. Place on a large piece of wax paper to harden.
  11. Once coated marshmallows are dry, mix the frosting.
  12. Mix 1/2 cup of frosting with 1 drop of black food coloring. Stir and it should become gray.
  13. Place in a pipping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe one or two small circles in the center of the head.
  14. Place the eyes on the gray frosting.
  15. Next, make the black frosting by adding more black food coloring to the gray.
  16. Pipe a smile and a strip that holds the glasses around the head using the same small round tip.
  17. You can also add hair if you would like too.
  18. Allow minion heads to dry for 30 minutes.
  19. Color remaining frosting blue, and frost the tops of the Cocoa Puffs treats.
  20. Place minion head onto and serve!