Spring inspired recipes

Don’t you just love that Trader Joes has out all these different gorgeous flowers for such amazing prices?! Grab a few to brighten up your space and celebrate SPRING!

I love spring! I love all the fresh flowers every where, eating on patios, and especially the yummy spring-inspired food! All things lemon, berries, and salads seem to be everywhere!

If you are hosting, or are going, to a lunch this spring- I have two recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. The first is a spring-inspired salad- full of so many yummy ingredients- but still light and delicious. The second is a lemon berry cheesecake trifle. Yes, you heard that right- and it is just as amazing as it sounds.

Spring Asparagus Lemon Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Asparagus [you want to pick out a bunch on the thinner side}
  • fresh or frozen [defrosted] Peas
  • frozen [defrosted] Lima Beans
  • 5 Radishes- thinly sliced
  • 2 Zucchinis- made into ribbons using your vegetable peeler [avoiding the seeds!]
  • Red leaf lettuce chopped into bit size pieces
  • Mix of baby arugula & spinach
  • Goat cheese
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon and the juice [and another one to slice up to make the salad pretty!]
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Hazelnuts- toasted and cut in half-ish
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine vinegar.

Directions:

  1. Roast the asparagus. Place the asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper on a sheet pan and most in a 375 degree oven just until slightly cooked, 5-10min. You still want them to have a crunch. Let them cool and then slice lengthwise.
  2. Make the dressing. Mix 2 parts fresh lemon juice to 4 parts olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar in a bowl or mason jar and mix/shake. Salt & Pepper to taste. There is no science to this! Add the various ingredients to your liking!
  3. On a large platter arrange the greens, peas, lima beans, radishes, and zucchini ribbons. Top with the roasted asparagus. Sprinkle on the toasted hazelnuts & goat cheese.
  4. Drizzle/Spoon the dressing all over- Little goes a long way! You can always have a pretty bowl next to the salad for people to get more if they would like.
  5. Add the shavings of the parmiggiano region on the top and garnish with some lemon slices!
  6. Prepare to be hit of the party!

 

Lemon Berry Cheesecake Trifle

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This is a dessert that looks and tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen messing up a million dishes, but, you didn’t ūüôā

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 9tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2-3tbsp granulated sugar

Cheesecake

  • 2 boxes [11oz] no bake Jell-O Cheesecake
  • 3cups whole milk
  • 2tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 jars¬†lemon curd [whole foods/trader joes all have good ones!]
  • fresh blueberries, blackberries & raspberries

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar until well mixed. Pour this into your trifle dish [or you could even do¬†little individual mason jars!] and press down into an even layer- but not too hard or you won’t be able to scoop it out!
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the no bake cheesecake mix with the milk and lemon juice and beat until smooth and thick. Pour this over the crust layer in your trifle dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Next, pour the lemon curd on top of the cheesecake layer- however thick you would like the layer to be. Top this layer with your fresh berries!
  4. Then the whipped cream…oh my!! Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. You can even add a little cream of tarter [a pinch or two] to make it hold up a little better. Pour the whipped cream on the very top and try not to eat all of it with your spoon before you do!
  5. Enjoy!!!

 

happy cooking!

xox

aj

 

holiday shoes under $100 & splurge

Hi, our names are Aj & Ashley and we have a problem:

Shoes.

We love shoes.

I’ve rounded up some of our holiday time favorites- in two batches.

The first, a round up of shoes that Ash and I own. Between us both we own most all of these shoes, some in multiples- and there’s a reason. They are our favorites. Yes, they are expensive- but, I will say I used to be the gal that had 7 pairs of “black pumps”, none of which I really liked, they didn’t last, and they were all incredibly uncomfortable. Now, if I had instead invested in one pair of quality black pumps- I would have spent the same amount, they last longer, they are more comfortable, and let’s be honest- I just like them better! So, that is my strategy now. I sometimes will buy a fun, inexpensive pair – but most of my shoes I invest in and replace multiple pairs of shoes in my closet that I then won’t wear.  Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 2.13.32 PM.png

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

The second batch – everything is UNDER $100 and some UNDER $50! Several of them are lookalikes for the expensive ones! Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 2.18.47 PM.png

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Which ones are you going to grab!?

 

xox

aj

glitz, glam, & velvet

Halloween is over and November is here- which means holiday music is already playing in the Starbucks line and Christmas decor is at Hobby Lobby! So, what I do to scratch that Christmas itch without dragging out my tree too earlier is… shop for all the holiday gatherings and parties I will be attending! Now is a great time to do it before everything is sold out. You’ll also grab a look that won’t be crazy popular during December that everyone will also end up wearing.

Asos is a favorite of mine for holiday wear. They have great, unique pieces that are reasonably priced so I don’t feel bad about maybe wearing it a handful of times. Here are my picks from their new party line.

First things first- it’s the holidays!

That means bust out the glitz, glam, sparkle, and velvet! Don’t be shy! You can get away with anything this time of year.

Dresses:

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1 | 2 | 3

4 | 5 | 6

7 | 8 | 9

#3 Р runs small. size up. #4- runs large. size down.

Tops:

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1 | 2 | 3

4 | 5 | 6

7 | 8 | 9

Pants/Skirts:

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1 | 2 | 3

4 | 5 | 6

7 | 8 | 9

Shoes/Accessories:

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1 | 2 | 3

4 | 5 | 6

7 | 8 | 9

happy shopping!

xox

aj

|mostly| diy halloween costumes

A little bit about me- I love halloween Рwhich has been passed down to my daughter because she loves it too! Here are a few DIY kid and family costume ideas from our past few halloweens to get the ideas going for your next costumes!

Little Mermaid & gang

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Flounder{me} | tights | shoes | homemade tutu | yellow bodysuit {hand stitched the blue scales on} | wig | paint

Sebastion{my son} | costume

Prince Eric{good sport husband} | shirt | wig

Ariel{my daughter} | mermaid tail | long sleeve nude leotard {hand stitched purple ‘shells’ on} | wig | plastic crown {dollar store} with glued on seashells & jewels {hobby lobby}

Ursula{my mom!} | black strapless bra with tulle and body paint | wig

Tinker bell

costume | wings | shoes {old shoes we glued green glitter and a silver pouf to!

Confession- This was only a few weeks after my son was born so I recruited someone to make her costume. Last minute Etsy for the win!

Peacock

ruffle blue bodysuit | tights | homemade tutu | feathers {hobby lobby}

Pirate & her Parrot

me | pirate costume | faux leather pants | red lipstick

parrot | sewed felt onto an existing costume!

Happy costume designing!

spooky treats

Those that know me, know I love to throw a party! Especially a halloween one! Today I am going to show you some of my go-to halloween party food items. Easy, fast, and super cute!

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Monster cake, poison apples, mummy jalape√Īo poppers, ‘witch’s brew’ root beer, sugar cookie candy corns, popcorn hands, magic wands, cheetoh pumpkins and spider web cupcakes- oh my! All of these are so simple and fast to make- which is needed when you are throwing a party.

I typically shy away from your “normal” holiday colors. I’m a sucker for purple, black, and green for halloween.

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For instructions on each of these fun party foods- see below!


Mummy Jalapeno poppers

10 jalapeno peppers- slice in half length wise. {I left the stems on and seeds in for an extra kick!}
8 ounces cream cheese- room temperature
8 ounces jack cheese- shredded
1 scallion- finely chopped
2 t. Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
2 eggs- beaten
1 Package candy eyeballs {I purchased mine at Michaels- you can find them at walmart, amazon, target, etc}

Preheat oven to 400¬į F. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, jack cheese, scallion and salt together.¬†Roll out the crescent rolls and separate into 4 rectangles- not the pre-cut triangles-¬†with a perforation in the middle of each. Press your fingers into the perforations to seal them. You don’t want them splitting along the pre-cut areas. Cut each rectangle into 10 long pieces lengthwise.

Fill each jalepe√Īo half with the cheese mixture. Wrap each jalape√Īo half with the dough, leaving a space for the eyes. On some I used a couple pieces of the crescent strips.¬†Brush with egg mixture and place on baking sheet.

Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Once cooked, and slightly golden brown, remove from the oven and press the eyes onto them where you left an opening along the top. Serve while hot!


Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

2 Sticks Butter, softened
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg
2 T. Lemon Juice
2 t. Lemon Zest
1/8 t. Salt
3 c. Flour
1/2 t. Baking Soda
Purple Food coloring
Green Food coloring
Granulated sugar to sprinkle on top

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking soda, beat until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds. Press one-third of the white dough evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan that you have lined with foil, wax, or parchment paper. Place another one-third of the dough into a bowl and add purple food coloring to it. Once it is mixed evenly, press the purple dough evenly over white dough. In another bowl, add the rest of the dough and the green food coloring. Press the green evenly over the purple dough. Cover and refrigerate until firm (2 hours or overnight is best). Once chilled, flip over your loaf pan and unwrap your dough. Flip it back over and get ready to cut! Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using a sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into wedges.

Place 1-inch apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Place cookies straight into a bowl with sugar and coat. Place coated cookies on a baking rack to cool.


Monster Cake

1 of your favorite cake box mixes or your favorite homemade batter
Homemade frosting or store bought!
1 package Oreos
1 package Oreos Minis
Regular chocolate chips
1 Box of Junior Mints

Mix, bake, layer, and frost your cake! Any flavor or colors you like! Once assembled- you can make your monster eyes. Separate all your Oreos and place them in pairs. Then, take some leftover frosting and attach the chocolate chips to the mini Oreos, and the junior mints to the regular Oreos. Once finished, use a little frosting on the back of each cookie to attach them sporadically all over the cake! Super simple and sure to be a hit!


Poison Apples

2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups water
1/2 cups light corn syrup
black gel food coloring
6 {or 12 small} green apples. Make sure they are not waxed!

 

Grease a piece of baking paper and place on a tray/baking sheet. Insert a skewer/popsicle stick/etc in all the apples and set aside.

In a medium pot, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and food colouring and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. It should feel smooth.¬†When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and¬†keep the¬†sides of the pot clean¬†with a pastry brush dipped into clean water to prevent¬†it from crystalizing.¬†Bring the mixture to a boil until a candy thermometer reaches 150¬įc/310¬įF, or hard crack stage.

Carefully dip the apples into the hot candy mixture and place on the wax paper to set and cool. Enjoy your poison apples! Not just for a party but, you could tie a ribbon to the stick and hand them out to friends as a fun treat!


Spider Web Cupcakes

1 box of your favorite cake mix
Homemade {or store bought} frosting & food coloring if you are wanting a color
1 Package Chocolate almond bark
Wax paper
Cupcake liners

Mix and bake cake mix according to directions- in regular size cupcake tins with liners. While they are baking, print out you favorite spider web template from here. You can print a few copies, or just slide it around, whichever you prefer. Place it underneath wax paper. Now, melt your chocolate almond bark according the package directions. Once melted, pour it into a plastic baggie and cut off one of the tips of the baggie- very very small cut! You are just wanting to make a tiny hole. Then, carefully trace your template on the wax paper. Repeat. Let them cool to harden.

Once your cupcakes are cooled, frost them and before the frosting hardens up a bit, carefully push one of your spiderwebs into the frosting. Voila!


Witches Brew Root Beer

2 oz bottle of root beer extract
2 cups sugar
1 gallon of water
Dry ice

Fill your container with 1 gallon of warm water- you want it warm because it will help the sugar dissolve. It also makes the dry ice more effective!

Add the root beer extract and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Add the dry ice {do not touch it with your bare hands!} 10-15min prior to serving. You will need to let the dry ice do it’s thing for at least 10 minutes to cool and carbonate the root beer. Drink up!


Popcorn Hands

1 box unwaxed plastic, clear gloves
Homemade or store bought popcorn
1 bag of candy corn
ribbon
**optional: spider rings

Fill each finger of the gloves with a candy corn. Then stuff popcorn into the glove until full. Once full to your liking, tie off with a ribbon! Feel free to add a spider ring to one of the fingers for an extra spooky touch! Great for kid school parties!


Witches Hats

1 Package Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies
1 Package Hershey’s chocolate kisses
Homemade frosting or a tube of store bought in whatever color you prefer!

Lay out the fudge stripe cookies upside down on the counter/platter. Squeeze ¬†small amount of frosting in the center and press on a hershey’s kiss candy {unwrapped}. Let set- and you’re finished! How simple was that!?


Magic Wands

1 Package of pretzel rods
2 Packages of white or chocolate almond bark (depending on if you are going to add food coloring)
Food coloring in the colors of your choosing.

Melt the almond bark according to the package directions- In mine above, I used the chocolate almond bark- pour it in to a tall cup. Next, dip your pretzel rods into the mixture and lay on parchment/wax paper to cool.

Then, melt the white chocolate (to be like the ones above) and separate into two bowls and add the food colorings of your choice. Once mixed, put the chocolates in to two separate plastic baggies. Cut diagonally across one of the bottom corners and drizzle the chocolate over the pretzel rods. Repeat with the other color(s). Let cool to harden!


Orange Pumpkins/Ghostly Bananas

Cutie Oranges
Bananas
Regular and mini chocolate chips
Black Sharpie

Draw a pumpkin face on each cutie orange with the sharpie.

Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Then place mini chocolate chips for the eyes, and a regular size chocolate chip for the mouth. Finished. So simple! Perfect for kid school parties!


 

Happy partying!

 

xox

aj