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Dorm Room Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup

I feel a bit stagnant these days in the creativity department. I find myself having little motivation to cook for my family let alone cook and bake for my blog.  I seriously have been feeding my family a lot of take out, frozen veggie burgers and Top Ramen. Life has been a tad messy around here, and I can't seem to keep my head above it all. With the chaos I find that my work and my passions are taking a back burner. During the days I have no time or energy to bake, photograph, and write. At nights after the kids go to bed I just want to shut everything out and not worry about clients, stats, and social media.

When these feelings first hit,  I thought I was just suffering from blogger burn out and that's why I wasn't able to put out a couple blog posts a week. Then I stepped back and really LOOKED at life. I'm not burnt out because of blogging. I still enjoy it, and I love my work and I miss it. I'm burnt out because I'm a parent.

All parents will agree, kids add so much joy to your life but with that comes a new set of stresses and work. This past year has been particularly hard. Issues with our public school and my oldest son who is 7, a 2 year old daughter that makes Dennis the Menace look like an angel, and 5 year old son who has a lot going on inside of his little noggin.

Chase (my 5 year old) is a special boy. He is sweet, cuddly, funny, and smart. But over the last year we have started noticing some strange behaviors.  After a couple of Dr.'s opinions we THINK he has  sensory induced tourettes. He still needs to undergo some more observation before we come up with an action plan that will hopefully reduce the frequency of his tics.

Chase is very sensory oriented, he could play in sand or with play dough for hours and hours he loves the feel of it in his hands. During those moments when he is in the moment playing in his sand pit he is at his best. He doesn't act out, he is easily able to express how he feels with words and he has no visible tics.

But then there are other things and feelings he just can not cope with. My days are filled with battles trying to force him to wear a certain pair of shoes, putting on clothes (at 5 he is still naked and won't wear them unless forced) he obsesses over being itchy. He won't cover up with what was once his favorite fleece blanket because it is too fuzzy. He doesn't like jeans because they are itchy on his legs. He won't let us cut his hair because the feeling of the clippers is just too much for him. Brushing his teeth is an unbearable task. He can't handle the feeling of bristles, they tickle his tongue and gums. He claims all toothpaste (even the fruity fluoride free baby stuff) burns. There are so many little behaviors like this that most people would say "oh that's just normal kid behavior!" Well to those people who doubt me and what I have observed with my own son over the last year.... no these are not normal behaviors. Perhaps if there were just a few, but he has dozens of things that cause disruptions, outbursts and facial tics that he can not control.

He has some days where his tics are so bad (swallowing, eye blinking, neck rolling, nodding, clearing of the throat) he can't get his thoughts across to me. On those days we have tantrums and outbursts. I want to take as much time as I can to spend with him and help him control his behaviors but I'm finding it vary hard to do that while juggling the other two kids, school stuff, taking care of the house, and my work.

As a joke last night I told my husband, "I'm going to post Top Ramen on my blog just so I can get a blog post up." It may have seemed like a joke, but I was dead serious! I have nothing else to share with you folks this week because I seriously eat like a broke college student!

This Dorm Room Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup is made up of some basic staples I always have on hand. Ramen, Sriracha, peanut butter, and whatever veggies I have in the fridge.

And guess what.... it is actually really freaking good. This was the best dinner made in under 5 minutes EVER, and I think 2 servings cost about $.80.

Dorm Room Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup

One package Oriental flavored ramen noodles
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbs Sriracha (or other brand of Thai chili sauce)
1 1/2 cups of whatever veggies you have on hand I used broccoli, bell pepper and radish
*other add in ideas, cilantro, scallions, carrots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, peanuts...

Prepare ramen according to package directions.  When it is time to add the noodles, toss in your veggies as well.

Once the noodles are cooked, mix in peanut butter and sriracha. Serve hot with as much or little broth as you like.



Scalloped Root Vegetables with Ham and Crispy Fried Onions

The Following post contains sponsored content. 

With Easter nearing most of us are gathering recipes to help us plan our Sunday dinner. But what about recipes to make use of our leftovers?

As great as a ham dinner is on Easter Sunday. It does not quite top the delicious and comforting dishes made the week after with leftovers. There are three things I look forward to making most of all, split pea soup (I typically throw my ham bone in as well as chunks of ham!), macaroni and cheese, and of course..... super rich and cheesy scalloped potatoes.

Growing up my mom always made a cheesy potato dish with our left over Easter ham and topped it with crushed up saltine crackers. To this day, it is one of my favorite dishes that always reminds me of childhood.

My friends at Smithfield challenged me to come up with a recipe utilizing my leftover spiral ham. The first thing that popped in to my head was "Oh man.... I can't wait to put some of this baby in my scalloped potatoes!"

And I did just that.

I layered several of my favorite root vegetables in a baking dish, poured a garlic cheese sauce over them and then topped them off with crispy fried onions. Now I'm not going to lie the the crispy fried onions were totally addicting. I had to make a triple batch because I kept snacking on them. They are the perfect topping to any casserole!

Scalloped Root Vegetables with Ham and Crispy Fried Onions

1 large red potato
1 large sweet potato
1 large golden beet
1 large parsnip
About 1 lb of your leftover Smithfield Ham cut into small pieces
4 tbs butter
4 tbs all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded American cheese (I asked my deli to slice a chunk of it off for me, so I can shred it at home)
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion (I used red) sliced thin
1 cup flour
oil for deep frying
Sliced scallions for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and preheat frying oil to 365.

Wash, peel and slice all of your root vegetables. I sliced mine to be about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange in the bottom of a large baking dish with leftover ham. Set aside and prepare your cheese cause.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter with your garlic over medium heat, whisk in 4 tbs of flour and form a paste.

Quickly whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth. Heat until it comes to a low boil.

Fold in shredded cheeses and cream cheese, mix until smooth. Salt and pepper cheese sauce to taste. Pour over the top of your casserole.

To prepare onions, toss thin slices (being sure they are all separated) in flour and evenly coat. Fry one small handful at a time until crisp. Remove from oil and set onions on paper towels to drain off an access oil. Lightly salt.

Top casserole with onions and bake for about 35 minutes or until vegetable slices are fork tender.

Top with sliced scallions before serving.

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Smithfield to create this recipe. However all opinions expressed are 100% my own.)



Honey Sweetened Strawberry & Lime Sangria

Strawberry and Lime Sangria with mint and sweetened with a touch of honey. Perfect for spring or summer parties. 

It is not often I host parties at my home. But when I do I like to keep things fresh and simple. Hosting parties are enough work on their own, why stress over menu plans and cooking?

For food, simple is my motto. There is typically a selection of cheese, a variety of crackers and breads. Fresh fruit, sliced vegetables, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, and special dips to serve with  chips. Not a lot of cooking required. A spread that can be simply plated and put out for my guests to enjoy. 

Our fridge is always stocked with a selection of beer, hard cider, and I typically make one big batch of sangria to go around.  Sangria is quite easy to prepare the day before a party and is always a hit. Filled with fresh fruit and sweet wine, is there anything that says warm weather more than a cold glass of sangria?

Today I have teamed up with a group of bloggers and some great sponsors to giveaway a fun Spring Entertaining gift pack. Complete with some of my favorites that will sure to be a hit at your next party. To enter in the giveaway, scroll past the recipe and enter following the directions on  the widget (rafflecopter box) below.

Honey Sweetened Strawberry & Lime Sangria


  • 2 bottles of your favorite fruity white wine (I use a semi-sweet Riesling) 
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tbs honey

In a small sauce pan combine the juice of one lime with the honey and heat until the honey mixes easily into the juice.

In a large pitcher combine wine, the lime and honey mixture, half of your strawberries, the last lime (sliced thin) and half of the mint leaves.

Refrigerate overnight.

Serve over ice and garnish with additional fresh sliced berries and fresh mint leaves.

Be sure to comment so I know you entered the giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway