November 11, 2014

Sausage and Pasta- The One Pot Wonder

Ever have a day where things just go wrong left and right, then towards the end you happen to say "Well nothing can possibly go wrong after the day I've had." ?  Little hint, don't say things like that. It's a jinx, you will forever not want to repeat those words again.

 It's been one of those weeks, and while things will always pick up ( through time)  it's not always easy to deal with. Rough days, too much to do little time on your hands, you need a go to recipe that will get dinner on the table with very little effort . This recipe is a one pot wonder, it's the stove top version of a slow cooker pretty much. Throw things in the pot, cook , sever. No cuts, no buts no coconuts. Quick what movie is that from? You get a point if you reply with the answer, not sure what the point will be used for but a point non the less :)

One Pot Wonders. I haven't done many of these, always leery because it usually always has pasta in it, and I really don't ever want to throw a bunch of pasta in a pan get the kids ready to eat and find out the pasta didn't cook correctly, know what I mean? No worries though, not only did the pasta cook, the kids ate this up quicker than ever. Kid approved, Mom approved!


Recipe time- You could switch out the meat, instead of sausage I'd love to toss shrimp in the last minute, or maybe if I had left over meats, ham maybe or even keep this completely meatless and add some bell peppers in here for some more bulk. It came out great! One pot also means, far less dishes to wash after dinner.

Forgot to put the tomatoes in before the picture, my bad!


Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
1 lb  package smoked sausage, sliced or kielbasa
1 large onion chopped
3 cups halved grape tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan
Pepper to taste

4 1/2 cups water

Directions


In a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat, combine everything together and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling , reduce to a simmer leaving uncovered until the pasta is cooked and liquid has reduced. There will be a little liquid left but it turns into a nice sauce coating. No reason to drain, once done simple season with pepper and sprinkle with parmesan. It takes about 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

One quick note before you go, If you follow me on Facebook you have heard by now I've been nominated for Top Blog Influencer of the Year! If you're up for a quick click just click this link below and hit the thumbs up on my vote page. That's all it takes and I'd really appreciate it! Thanks so much!

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November 5, 2014

Seaside Hearts Book Tour



NEW RELEASE SEASIDE SUMMERS BOOK 2.....

The newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series, featuring a group of fun, sexy, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re funny, flawed, and will have you begging to enter their circle of friends. You met them in READ, WRITE, LOVE, (The Remingtons, Book 5), follow these friends on their search for forever love in the Seaside Summers series.



SEASIDE HEARTS

Jenna Ward is vivacious, spontaneous, and confident—except when she’s around the man who stole her heart years earlier, strikingly handsome, quiet, and reliable Pete Lacroux. After years of trying to get his attention and overwhelmed from dealing with her mother’s new cougar lifestyle, Jenna’s giving up on Peter—and is ready to explore other men.



As the eldest of five siblings, with an alcoholic father to care for, boat craftsman Pete Lacroux always does the right thing and has no time for a real relationship. He’s looking forward to seeing his friend Jenna, a welcome distraction who’s so damn sexy and so painfully shy that she equally entertains and confuses him.



When Jenna picks up a hard-bodied construction worker, jealousy ignites Pete’s true feelings, and he’s powerless to ignore the desires for Jenna he never realized he had. But Pete’s not the quiet guy he appears to be, and his life is anything but conducive to a relationship. Can Jenna handle the real Pete Lacroux—the sexiest, most passionate alpha male she’s ever seen—or will she crack under pressure? And can Pete reclaim the life he once had without tearing apart his family?



SEASIDE SUMMERS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series

My review


First off before my review, if you have followed me since joining up with Beck Valley Books and Melissa Foster you know I adore her books . Previously mentioned in a few other reviews by myself,  I have mentioned you should follow her on Facebook, well just to make it clear- Follow her on Facebook. Ladies, you'll enjoy it trust me,  you get little sneak peaks into books she's getting to start or in the process of writing, or maybe perhaps just a quick flash of some characters that may show up on a cover of her books. It can brighten your day, let's just say that!  *wink*  Moving on...

Seaside Hearts, an addition to the Love in Bloom series brings  Jenna and Pete.
 Jenna is my kind of gal, confident, spontaneous she can handle pretty much anything thrown at her, unless it happens to be the man she's crushed over for years. It also doesn't help that whenever he's around she seems to lose all her spunk and courage. After years of failed attempts to get his attention she calls it quits and makes up her mind to set her eyes on other targets. Little did she know it fired up a light under Pete .

Pete Lacroux is pretty much the perfect guy any girl wants, he's got it all and women drop jaws as he heads through towns, but he wants non of it. The eldest of five, a trouble weighing him down he always does the right thing. There's no time for a relationship, so he doesn't put much effort into it. What he does have time for though is his long time friend, Jenna who is a welcome distraction- that is up until he finds out she's dating some other guy.

Pete can't stand the idea nor the sight of her with another man and just thinking about it has brought feelings flame to the surface that he never knew were hidden away all this time. There is no way he will walk away from her but will Jenna be able to handle the not so shy and quiet Pete? Is he too late for a chance with her? You'll have to read to find out!

I usually write a little more than this for a review but each time it was started it gave away too much which got me thinking about how Foster just whips these books out one by one. How can she do it!? I can't wait for more, yet I'm puzzled how she comes up with such great reads all so different from the last. Must know how her brains works- her inspiration- must interview Foster. Must. * Christmas wish hint !

Seriously though, back on track, Seaside Hearts was a wonderful read. Lighthearted, funny, hot as all her books are but this one had me smiling throughout the whole thing. I loved the main characters, enjoyed how Jenna was this confidence woman yet not so much around the one man she wanted so badly. It made it easy to connect with the book and made it to my favorite list.

  I would recommend any of Fosters' books. Each are stand alone but I highly recommend picking up a whole series, check the links below to find check them out.


**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**



Buy the book from...... 

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of a number of International
bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Cafe. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.




Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child
Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.



Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest
or her personal website.


Follow the Author.....

Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Pinterest



Follow the Book Tour






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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.




ALSO AVAILABLE 
Books 1 - 3 Snow Sisters, Love in Bloom Series #1 - 3

Books 1 - 6 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #4 - 9


Books 1 - 5 The Remingtons, Love in Bloom Series #10 - 14 





Books 7 - 12 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #15 - 20





Books 1 - 4 Seaside Summers, Love in Bloom Series #21 - 24





NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!
Five lucky winners will each win the first two ebooks in the Love in Bloom Series, 
Sisters in Love & Sisters in Bloom

Ending on Sunday 23rd November at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!




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November 4, 2014

Chocolate Trail Mix Bites

We hiked a lot during the summer this year and I had come up a with a ton of new trail mix bars and energy mixes to keep our energy up on the trails. Now that schools back, I get to hike or bike by myself when I get the time. These quick trail mix bites are easy to make and mix up with any fixings you have on hand. Besides healthy nuts and dried fruit you've got the sweet taste of chocolate that will give you the good energy boost you need to keep active. Hike, bike ride, holiday errands and a busy day these little tasty bites are incredible easy to carry around.




Ingredients-
Either Chocolate chips ( dark or milk chocolate)  or Melting Chocolate
  * Depending on how many you want to make - 3 tablespoons of chips will make about 8-10 of these bites, so go from there. 
Choice of dried fruit and mixed nuts, coconut if you wanted even

Directions

Melt the chocolate carefully in microwave for about 15 seconds in a microwave safe bowl, stir, then heat again 10 seconds at a time. You don't want the chocolate to burn or scold, you want it melted. Soon as it's melted grab some wax paper and drop about a quarter size amount down for each bite. Use up the rest of the chocolate.



 Place your dried fruit and mixed nuts to each bite then let cool completely.



 You can speed up cooling time by placing in fridge but the chocolate sets fast. Store in air tight container.


Mix up the flavors, try different nuts, and dried fruit. These would make a great holiday gift as well, as gift for teachers, relatives, your party or dinner host and even neighbors!  Enjoy! 




If you have a minute while you are here I'd Love a Vote for a contest I was nominated for. Earlier this year I came in 3rd place for Top Foodie Blogs, well VoiceBoks is throwing a Top Blogger Influencer  contest and I'd just be thankful for a vote! It just takes a second to click the thumbs up. Follow this link and click, thanks so much! 
http://voiceboks.com/my-side-of-life-influencer/#more-9369
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November 2, 2014

Kids Craft- Leaf Wreath

Always plenty of leaves to go around this time of year, so why not use them in a fun creative way? This is an easy craft, doesn't take much and you probably have all the supplies handy. Younger kids have a great time with this but my older kids still ended up making their own wreath so anyone can enjoy!




What you need:

Leaves
Paper Plates
Scissors
Glue 
String
Pencil/Pen
Hole puncher

Step one- Have the kids collect some colorful leaves on a walk or around the yard. The smaller the leaves the more you will need, so keep that in mind. Encourage them to find different colors and shapes as you go. Try not to grab the already dry and cracked leaves these will not glue well, no wet leaves either or you will have to let them dry. 


Step two-  Cut out the middle of a paper plate to make the wreath and make a hole for the string.  Have the kids write their name on the back of the plates.


Step three-  Time to glue! Have the kids glue the leaves around the wreath until all the white is gone. Layering the leaves makes it look great but the kids can single layer them all, it doesn't matter. Once the wreath is done, cut the desired length of  piece of string and hang up! 


Happy Crafting! 
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November 1, 2014

Creamy Pasta



This is a quick easy dinner to throw together, kids always love it and you can dress it up or dress it down. Many ways to change the flavor is add different things to it, chicken, bacon, sausage, possibly left over ham if you have it on hand. It's a throw together leftover dish and I always love these for that purpose





1 package (16 ounces) bow tie pasta
1 small red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
couple basil leaves minced
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream * you can use milk if you don't have cream
1-1/2 cup of choice vegetables ( corn, peas, asparagus, broccoli, carrots)
1 cup of meat, chicken , ham, turkey , sausage, or bacon . Left over meat will be perfect to use with this dish.

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking saute the onion in butter until tender. Add the garlic, cook about a minute longer. Stir in the broth, seasonings and bring to boil. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about half, then stir in the cream. Keep cooking
 until it thickens just a tad and heats right through. The pasta will be done by now, so drain that and toss in with the sauce.

My kids enjoyed this for lunch.

Enjoy!

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October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Hope you all have a Safe and Happy Halloween!


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October 24, 2014

Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!

Are your kids a fan of Disney Juinor's Jake and he Never Land Pirates? 

Well there is a awesome  primetime special "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!" premiering this Sunday October 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

The beloved Disney heritage characters Wendy, John and Michael Darling make their series debut, with Maia Mitchell (Disney Channel's "Teen Beach Movie" and ABC Family's "The Fosters") voicing the role of Wendy as well as performing new original song "Once Upon A Time." And of course, Peter and Tink also show up!

Jake and his crew take flight over beautiful London to help Wendy get her storybook back from Captain Hook.
Don't miss out on the fun! "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!" premiering this Sunday October 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and Disney Junior!

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Share the Health Expo

Mark your calenders!

The Vitamin Shoppe® will host its popular “Share the Health” Expo on Saturday, October 25, from 11am-2am ( local time) in more than 650 stores across the country.

 Each store will offer its own specialized festivities, including free product samples and consultations with local wellness partners.
 Here's the great part in getting to the events on time! - The first 50 shoppers at each location will be treated to a complimentary gift bag with great product samples from top health and wellness brands.  So be sure to head out early and get there before the gift bags are all gone!  

 Each store will offer its own specialized festivities, such as free product samples and consultations with wellness partners in their communities. Got spesky questions about those vitamins you're looking at? Health Enthusiasts, who strive to be the most knowledgeable associates in the industry, will also be on-hand to help answer any product-related questions you've got. Don't be shy, step up and ask, it's the perfect time to get the answers you need about some products.

Don't know where your local Vitamin Shoppe is? Check out this link and enter your zip code
http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/content/en/stores/index.jsp?intsource=header
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Romancing My Love Book Tour



NEWLY RELEASED........

Book #9 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #18



After months of caring for her terminally ill mother, Rebecca Rivera is left all alone in a world she doesn’t trust—but she’s determined not to let her mother’s death define her. Losing her job, having to pummel some jerk for being too handsy, and living in her car are just temporary setbacks to an otherwise solid plan in finding her footing. Full of pride and used to being in control of her life, she’s certain she can make it on her own. The last thing Rebecca needs is a man to fix her troubles—even if that man is strikingly handsome, wealthy, and charismatic Pierce Braden.



Pierce is a powerful real estate investor on the verge of a major acquisition. As the eldest of six siblings raised by a single mother, he’s spent his life protecting those he loves. He’s used to being in charge and making things right, and although he’d give his life for his family, he treats the women he dates as expendable—until he meets sexy and stubborn Rebecca Rivera, a woman who is as strong as she is vulnerable.



Passion ignites between them, and the two share their most intimate thoughts and desires. It doesn’t take long for Pierce to realize that Rebecca is as determined not to be saved as he is to find a way into her heart. As their love grows, Rebecca must face fears she didn’t even realize she had—and Pierce must learn the hard truth that sometimes less really is more. Is the power of true love enough for Rebecca and Pierce to learn to give up control and allow their hearts to take over?



My review


 We meet Pierce Brandon  a powerful real estate investor who’s used to being in charge and making everything right. He will do anything for his family, and is a protector to those close to him. When he meets fiery and stubborn Rebecca Rivera sparks are flying and he just can’t walk away.

   Rebecca is unlike any woman who’s crossed his paths, though there’s fire in her eyes she wants nothing to do with him at first.  He doesn’t know that she’s grieving and trying to get her life on track and trying to move forwards, only problem is  he finds her crossing his path again and this time he just can’t let her walk away.


Rebecca has to find a place to live and a job , after her mother’s passing she’s left with needing to get her life in gear and fast. Determined not to let anything get in her way, or let her down she heads straight forwards with priorities and they do not include a handsome man at a bar. Meeting Pierce ignites some heat she can’t afford to deal with, can’t even considering her situation. She’s in a tough place in her life but they soon end up crossing paths once again and this time she doesn’t turn away. Problem is, secrets start coming out making  things get more than a little tricky testing out a path they barely even started to head down. Will they survive or will their fiery passion sizzle out before it gets a chance to really heat up? 

For the amount of books that Melissa Foster is pouring out you would think ( I'm being honest now, don't get mad! Stick with me it's good)  that there'd be a few repeat story ideas, or something that repeats, sounds familiar, a twist, a plot anything! If you thought this, you'd be wrong. Just as wrong as I am each time I pick up one of her books for review. Never a repeat, never a "I know what will happen" . Nope, Foster once again deliveries a wonderful read that grabs you from the first chapter. If you need a pick me up or a nice enjoyable read, I highly recommend Romancing My Love.


THE BRADEN COUSINS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series, this is the third of six books.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**



Buy the book from...... 




About the Author

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult romance, LGBT romance, contemporary women's fiction, romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Some say her romance novels are lovingly erotic, she deems them simply loving and real. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Cafe. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.




Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child
Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.




Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest
or her personal website.


Follow the Author

Facebook   Twitter    Google+   Goodreads   Pinterest 




Follow the Book Tour







Photobucket

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


ALSO AVAILABLE 
Books 1 - 3 Snow Sisters, Love in Bloom Series #1 - 3

Books 1 - 6 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #4 - 9


Books 1 - 5 The Remingtons, Love in Bloom Series #10 - 14 





Books 7 - 12 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #15 - 20




Books 1 - 4 Seaside Summers, Love in Bloom Series #21 - 24





NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!

Five lucky winners will each receive Taken by Love ebook

the 1st book from the Braden cousins series !!
Ending on Sunday 26th October at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!





Read more ...

October 20, 2014

No Bake Chunky Trail Mix bars



You know my obsession with granola bars by now, and if not well, indeed I am obsessed with granola bars. There's really no limit to what you could put in them, or how to make them. Mixing up your nuts, fruits and what not, you can make new varieties, sweeter one day fruitier the next day it's all up to you.

Trail mix bars are usually always loaded with a bunch of nuts, fruit and chocolate packing in a ton of things to one small bar and what makes this even better is it's No Bake! Everyone likes a no bake recipe.

Yes my cutting board is marked up. 



Ingredients:

2/3 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup whole cashews
1 and 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup ground flax
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup honey  or maple syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted


Directions:

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.

Using a food processor, pulse the almonds and cashews to make small pieces. You don't want it all small , leave some big chunks in there. Transfer this into a large bowl and add in all the other dry ingredients then set aside. Mix your syrup or honey together with the peanut butter into a glass measuring cup and melting in the microwave and or using stove top. Place the measuring cup in a few inches of boiling water till the butter starts melting. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix well till everything is coated. Scoop this into your prepared baking dish firmly pressing down until it's all even. Make sure it's nice and tight.
Set in the fridge for about an hour or two before cutting. They can be stored at room temp, but I like them better stored in the fridge.
Enjoy!


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