Chocolate Mousse Recipe

The past couple of weeks, my little one has been begging me to make Chocolate Mousse. I kept telling her to remind me to pick up cream at the grocery store. It took a couple of trips, but I finally remembered. The first time I purchased half and half instead of whipping cream and guess where the cream is still sitting, not used?

This recipe can be a bit labor intensive, but a labor of love for sure. So what better time to make it than for the upcoming holiday . . . Valentine's Day. This Chocolate Mousse is the perfect end to a date night with your loved ones.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Sometimes I can make a boxed chocolate mousse and sometimes I pull out the stops and make the REAL homemade version of Chocolate Mousse. This is the good stuff, like real Chocolate Mousse that you roll your eye balls at once you place a spoonful in your mouth.

There are numerous ways to make Chocolate Mousse and I have tried numerous recipes over the years. With just egg yolks, with the entire egg, with no eggs, with gelatinand not adding it, with milk and cream or just with cream.. There are so many versions out there. Not all are great, some a super delicious and some are yuck. This recipe I have here, this one is pure rich chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe | The Best Chocolate Mousse Recipe Ever!

Classic Chocolate Mouse Recipe

Ingredients

  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup black coffee
  • 3 cups whipping cream

Instructions

Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave
  2. Put the better into the melted chocolate one tablespoon at a time until it has been absorbed by the chocolate.
  3. Set the chocolate aside to cool
  4. Whip the egg yolks until they have doubled in size. Pour the sugar in a steady stream into the yolks and whip for another minute.
  5. Add the coffee to the egg yolk mixture and mix.
  6. Place your mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk the yolk mixture until it becomes quite thick.
  7. When the egg yolk mixture has thickened, continue to whip in your stand mixer until the mixture has cooled.
  8. When the egg yolk mixture has cooled, fold it the chocolate mixture until well blended and set aside.
  9. Whip the whipping cream with your mixer until it is fluffier, then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  10. Refrigerate until set.
The Best Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Now I will say this, you may be tempted to eat some of this deliciousness way before it is completely set. I am telling you now, wait. Please wait. Let the mousse set and you will not be sorry you waited for the flavors to hit your mouth.

This is a doubled recipe as well. If you want a smaller portion for just you and your sweetie, simply half everything. But, I have a lot of kids who love chocolate and sometimes if I don't make enough, I don't even get a spoonful!

Chocolate Mousse Recipe


Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations

This Buffalo Chicken Dip post has been compensated by Albertsons. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayMVP #JewelOsco #CollectiveBias

If you are anything like my husband and I, your home is a football home! Are you planning on celebrating game day? Over the past few months, we have been making the most of Sunday football and having mini parties in our home to bring the children into the football fold. I have some amazingly simple solutions for an delicious game day spread to help your family celebrate Game Day.

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVp
I want to keep the kiddos with us instead of them being feelig in another room while we watch football. I created a mini party atmosphere for them, and they really enjoy football games so much more now. I wanted to make something that would appeal to everyone's tastes and I was so fortunate to see a tasty recipe while I was at my local Jewel picking up provisions for the mini Game Day celebration. Jewel had all of the provisions I needed to make a fabulous mini Game Day party for my family and friends.

I know I needed some awesome snacks for everyone and Jewel provided me with all of that AND a great recipe for this football season. I knew the recipe, Buffalo Chicken Dip, would be a BIG hit with my husband and my son. My son literally puts buffalo hot sauce on everything.

Game Day Celebrations Tips #GameDayMVP

BUFFET

I start by setting up the table for the perfect game day atmosphere. A bit of a concession stand at home if I really think about it, except all my goodies are free. Here is a tip that works well for me. I keep the food in another room than the room where the game is viewed. It makes it much easier for family and guests if they can fill up their plates and then go and sit down. Having a HUGE television is also super important for viewing the football game.

Game Day Celebrations Tips #GameDayMVP

Nothing is better than cheesy popcorn and caramel popcorn. We sometimes mix ours together and the mixture tastes awesome! Loads of fresh veggies, various crunchy snacks and some Tostitos Scoops and Tostitos Chunky Salsa make a perfect buffet for game day. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

DECORATIONS

Game Day Celebrations Tips #GameDayMVP
Game Day Celebrations Tips #GameDayMVP

Since most eyes are glued to the television and not my decorations, I didn't go crazy with decorating. I simply added a couple of stuffed footballs, some football whistles for the kiddos and some pom poms. I made a game day banner and hung one I had left over from another holiday that worked well. The simplest table 'cloth' is brown paper. Just purchase a roll of brown paper and roll and tape it to your table. Super easy clean up!

To make the banner, I simply added triangles to a striped paper and cut them to size. I also edited some plain banners I had and add GO TEAM on some colorful paper and glued these to the striped banner. I punched some holes in the striped paper and strung it with twine. A very simple and festive way to add a bit of color to any buffet table.

FOOD

Game day food should be simple to make and simple to eat. I also want to keep my friends and family well nourished for the game.  I don't want all my guests feeling as if they need to use a fork for all the food either. Finger food and easy snacks are best. Remember to make it interesting by adding complimenting colors and flavors. Also, keep cleaning up simple by using plastic utensils and paper plates. Who wants to be doing dishes after everyone leaves?

Game Day Celebration Tips #GameDayMVP

Buffalo Chicken Dip

The recipe calls for my secret arsenal, roasted chicken. Do you know how many recipes you can make using a roasted chicken? It is in the double digits! I usually pick up one or two every time I hit my local Jewel. I can't even begin to tell you just how good this Buffalo Chicken Dip is! I knew my husband and son would love it, but I loved it just as much. I actually had another roasted chicken in my fridge (see, I'm totally not kidding, I keep them around) and made another batch because we gobbled up the first dish so fast.

The Buffalo Chicken Dip tastes great with Tostitos Scoops and Tostitos Chunky Salsa. I was eating by the spoonful, but don't tell anyone!

BuffaloChickenDip.3.-1.jpg
Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe, provided by Jewel
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 8 ounces low-fat or fat-free cream cheese(such as Lucerne®)
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s®)
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt (such as Fage®)
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations

Buffalo Chicken Dip Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, ranch packet, hot sauce, and Greek yogurt until well combined.  (If the cream cheese is hard to mix, microwave it for a few seconds and try again).
  3. Add in the shredded chicken and combine well. Pour mixture into an 8x8 baking dish, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until dip is hot throughout.  If desired, top with sliced green onions or crumbled blue cheese and serve hot!
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

DRINKS

Nothing washes down Buffalo Chicken Dip better than a Wild Cherry Pepsi Float! These hit the spot with the adults and especially the kiddos! I happen to be a fan of anything cherry flavored, so these are my absolute favorites! I'm always first in line for a Wild Cherry Pepsi Float! Extra cherry sauce for me please!

Cherry Pepsi Float for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

Wild Cherry Pepsi Float

Cherry Pepsi Float for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Cherry Pepsi Float for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Cherry Pepsi Float for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

Wild Cherry Pepsi Float Ingredients

3-4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Cherry syrup
1 small can Wild Cherry Pepsi
Whipped cream
Fresh cherries, to garnish

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

Wild Cherry Pepsi Float Instructions

Place a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass. Pour about 2 tablespoons of Cherry Syrup (or more if you like Cherry Syrup as much as I do) over the ice cream. Fill the glass with Wild Cherry Pepsi, pouring slowly to avoid a messy overflow of bubbles. Spray whipped cream on top and add a cherry on top. ENJOY!

What I love about the tiny Wild Cherry Pepsi cans is that the soda in the can is the perfect amount to pour in the glass for a float! I will be honest here and admit I actually had TWO Wild Cherry Pepsi Floats! Don't tell my kids though, because I only let them have one!

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

It's Game Day! Get your family and friends together and create your own mini party. Enjoy the party! Enjoy the game! Have some great food! Enjoy your friends and family! Oh, and remember to hide the remote - nothing shall interrupt the game!

How are you celebrating game day at home with your family?

If you don't have a Jewel-Osco in your area, be sure to visit your local Safeway, Vons, Alberstons or Shaws and get all your Ultimate Game Day needs.

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP
Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

Check out the Game Day Pinterest board for this Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe and more.

Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day Celebrations #GameDayMVP

A New Year With Netflix

A new year has begun. A fresh start for everyone with resolutions in full force. My family has once again cleaned up (or out) our pantries and are on the path of healthy eating and an exercise regime. We are eating loads of yummy salads! (This one is a Fried Goat cheese Spinach Salad - YUM!)

Fried Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

In the coming year, we have big plans full of adventures. My son will be graduating from middle school in the spring and then beginning high school at a Science, Math & Technology High School. He will have BIG changes and loads of adventures in 2016. 

To celebrate his acceptance we will be taking a trip to Washington D.C., New York and Niagara Falls in late spring/early summer. I know we will see plenty of family hi-jinks on this trip.   My girls love watching (and participating) in hi-jinks of all sorts. One family's hi jinks that have been bringing loads of laughs is the Croods. 

You know, the prehistoric crew whose every day is a new adventure or disaster, every time they step out of their cave. The Croods is now on Netflix! My daughter powered through The Croods over Winter break and loved this show! 

A New Year With Netflix #Netflix #StreamTeam

New on Netflix for Kids, Tweens, Teens and Families

Sofia the First - Season 2 (1/3)

A New Year With Netflix #Netflix #StreamTeam

Dragons: Race to the EDGE - Season 2 (1/8)

A New Year With Netflix #Netflix #StreamTeam

Degrassi: Next Class (1/15)

A New Year With Netflix #Netflix #StreamTeam

While my kiddos watched new Netflix shows and series over the winter break, my husband and I watched Jessica Jones. I can't believe we waited so long to watch Jessica in action.  Next week From Dusk Till Dawn Season 2 begins and we can't wait. Also, I am a huge fan of Chelsea Handler and this week she has a special, Chelsea Does, that looks as hilarious as ever. Chelsea Does is a NETFLIX ORIGINAL documentary film series, Where Handler delves into four topics that fascinate her: marriage, racism, Silicon Valley and drugs. 

Netflix’s reboot of Fuller House and nearly all the same cast will be back February 26th. I introduced my kids to Full House and they are excited for the reboot. Dark Matter is now available. After waking up aboard a derelict spaceship with no memories, the crew of the Raza investigates the mystery of their identities and destination. My husband loves Dark Matter.

What new shows will you be watching on Netflix in the New Year? We are waiting for Daredevil Season 2 which premieres Friday, March 18th. AND we are waiting for Judd Apatow's new comedy,  LOVE, coming February 19th. There are so many NEW Netflix originals coming this year. I will be updating you each month to let you know all the new favorites and their debuting dates.

Let me know what new shows you'll be watching on Netflix in this New Year.

 

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

This Chocolate Heart Cut-Out Strawberry Cupcakes for Valentine's Day has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendSweetness #CollectiveBias

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

My daughters are little violinists. Music is part of who they are, even though they are so young. They have both been playing their violins for five years and they love to share their love of music with others. They do this by playing services in our church. They share their love of music with our church music director who is also our organist, Miss Linda.

My daughters adore Miss Linda and love to bring her special gifts and treats for holidays. Miss Linda is recently widowed and retired, although she still plays every Sunday in church. She has no grandchildren of her own and my girls have adopted her so she can have them! Since Valentine's is fast approaching, we wanted to be fully prepared with treats and gifts for Miss Linda for all the time she volunteers getting my girls prepared for services.

First on the agenda was to get some cards. My daughters were looking for Valentine's Day cards and we located the perfect American Greetings® greeting cards for Miss Linda. Both of my daughters, unknowingly,  selected different cards with cupcakes on the front! I was inspired right there in the aisles of Walmart to make some cupcakes as well. How could we give two cupcake cards without cupcakes?

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
We wandered over to the baking aisle so I could get a cake mix and frosting for the cupcakes. My daughters wanted to bake chocolate cupcakes and that was fine with me. We went to the seasonal aisle next to see what we could find for Valentine's Day. While my daughters were looking at Valentine's boxes, I spied some M&M's® Strawberry. I called my girls over and asked if we could switch the chocolate cupcakes to strawberry so I could put the M&M's® Strawberry on top. They thought that a brilliant idea, so we made a quick trip back to the baking aisle to swap out the mixes. Then back to the holiday aisle again for more Valentine's inspiration.
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

We found a gorgeous DOVE® Valentine's Day tin to gift to Miss Linda for Valentine's Day as well. Although, I have been fending off pleas everyday from the girls because they have decided they want to eat the DOVE® Valentine's Day tin instead of gifting it away. I think I will surprise them on Valentine's Day with their own DOVE® Valentine's Day tin!

As we were checking out, my daughter reminded me of the cupcakes we saw in the craft store the day prior. She asked me if we could make Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day instead. They are heart cut-out cupcakes with a chocolate heart in the cut-out area. I thought this a perfect idea!

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

How To Make Chocolate Hearts

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of melting chocolates
  • 1-2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • M&M's® Strawberry
  • Seasonal Sprinkles
  • Dusting Sugar
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 1: Melt chocolates in the microwave with the coconut oil. (I worked in small batches as I only had a couple of heart shaped cookie cutters. You could use a silicon mold if you like) TIP: The coconut oil makes the chocolate a bit smoother and easier to pour into molds.

Step 2: Place cookie cutter(s) on a sheet pan. Pour melted chocolate into the cookie cutter.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 3: Place the M&M's® Strawberry on the melted chocolate inside the molds. Place a couple of seasonal sprinkles around the chocolate and sprinkle with the dusting sugar.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 4: Freeze. Set aside until ready for cupcake assembly.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • frosting + ½ cup powdered sugar
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Stir cake mix, eggs, butter and water until combined.
  3. Pour into paper lined cupcake pan. Fill the cup full with the batter. (Much higher than you may think. You want the cupcakes to be high.)
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes in oven.
  5. Cool before frosting. Open frosting and scoop into a bowl. Stir in powdered sugar to improve the consistency of the store bought frosting. OPTIONAL: Dye the frosting a pale pink.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcake Assembly

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 1: When cool, cut tops of cupcakes off using a serrated knife. Set tops aside.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 2: Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut shape out of the center of cupcake top you set aside.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 3: Dust cupcake tops with powdered sugar. (This can be done now or later: optional)
Step 4: Pipe a layer of frosting on the cupcake bottom. You want enough frosting so when you place the top back on, you will see frosting peeping out the middle.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 5: Take your pre-molded chocolate heart and gently place in the cut-out center of the top of the cupcake you have cut out a heart shape, careful to not disturb the powdered sugar.  USE THE SAME COOKIE CUTTER for both the pre-made chocolate hearts and the cut out. You want your shapes to line up perfectly.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Step 6: Place the cupcake top with the chocolate heart on top of the frosted cupcake bottom and gently position.

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

The Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day turned out so pretty! My daughters are so excited to gift these amazing cupcakes, the DOVE® Valentine's Day tin filled with chocolate and the cupcake American Greetings® greeting cards for Valentine's Day to Miss Linda. This will surely bring her some joy for Valentine's day. Then they can all continue making music with their violins and organ.

Want to make your own Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day?

Check out this COUPON from Walmart to save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) M&M’s® Brand Chocolate Candies, 8oz or larger.
Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Heart Cut-Out Cupcakes for Valentine's Day #SendSweetness

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal

This Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BringYourBestBowl #Target #CollectiveBias

The other morning I woke up to a brisk 10 degrees outdoors. Winter is finally settling in on Chicago. I wanted to get the chill out of my home, so I opened my refrigerator door looking for something to bake. I spied some blood oranges and thought, 'I must roast these this morning'.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

Warm and hearty breakfasts are a thing of necessity here when the weather begins to dip into the single digits. I was hoping the lovely smell of roasting fruit and steaming oatmeal would have my children drifting downstairs in hopes of a warm and hearty breakfast to keep the chill away.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

I am entering my Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal recipe into Quaker's National Bring Your Best Bowl Contest because it was so good! You can enter your favorite Oatmeal recipe into Quaker's National Bring Your Best Bowl Contest too! Just be sure to keep your ingredients to less than five. The prize is $250,000 AND the TOP recipe entries will be created and sold in stores for a limited time in Fall 2016. You can find the rules HERE .

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
  • Contest Start Date – January 2016
  • Contest End Date – March 12, 2016
  • Announce Winner – November 2016
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

for the blood oranges

2 blood oranges
2 teaspoons raw sugar
agave syrup for drizzling

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

for the oatmeal

3 ½ cups water
2 cups Quaker® Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flaxmeal
6 cardamom pods

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

for the breakfast bar toppings

milk
variety of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
variety of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)
variety of berries
dried fruits
chocolate chunks
sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon
honey, agave syrup, maple syrup

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400.
  • Slice the blood oranges in half and run a knife around the edge of the blood oranges, separating it from the peel. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon raw sugar on each half, and drizzle with agave syrup.  Place in a baking dish.  If the halves won’t stay upright, slice a small bit of the peel off the bottom so that it sits flat. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, until the raw sugar and the agave syrup have caramelized.  Remove from oven.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • While the blood oranges are roasting, start your water to boil. Take the six cardamom pods and crack them before placing them in the water. This will give your water a great hint of cardamom before you add the Quaker® Oats. When it simmers, add the Quaker® Oats, brown sugar and flaxmeal and cook, stirring occasionally, until Quaker® Oats are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. When the Quaker® Oats are finished, remove the cardamom pods.
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

Stove Top Directions: Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan with cardamom. Stir in the Quaker® Oats and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the Quaker® Oats begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium-low. Mix in you ingredients and stir. Continue to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until Quaker® Oats are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and spoon up into bowls.

Microwave Directions: Mix together the ingredients in the bowl. Place the bowl into the microwave and high for 2½-3 minutes per serving. Stir the Quaker® Oats well.

Overnight Directions: In the evening, bring water and the cardamom to a boil in a large saucepan. Add in Quaker® Oats, stir to saturate the Quaker® Oats. Cover, remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the pot in the refrigerator until morning. The next morning, stir in brown sugar and flaxmeal. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes until thick and creamy.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

My children made it downstairs just as I was finishing a Sunday morning Quaker® Oats Breakfast Bar for them. I had the Roasted Blood Oranges, the Creamy Oatmeal and a large selection of toppings for everyone. There really is no limit to the number or type of toppings. But I wanted to hit all the flavors; sweet, sour and salty. I also sliced up some Heirloom Tomatoes and seasoned them with a bit of real salt and pomegranate vinegar.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
If you are a loss as to what to include for toppings in your Best Bowl for your breakfast bar, simply head to your local Target. When I was there last week, there was an end cap set up with various varieties of Quaker® Oats. Target has a number of other inspiring toppings right there on the end cap with the Quaker® Oats. That is where I found the agave syrup and the original though crossed my mind that I should roast something with this agave syrup.
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

I scooped portions of the Quaker® Oats into bowls and let the children make their own Quaker® Oats Breakfast Best Bowls. It's fun to see what creation everyone would come up with. They all added milk, sugar and drizzled some honey on top. One added nuts, seeds and fruit. One added more honey and blood oranges segments. One added chocolate chunks. Who knows what everyone will choose; you may even find a combination you would never think of yourself.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl
Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

My husband took a bit of everything in his Best Bowl of Quaker® Oats and I have to admit that I had a hard time selecting what I wanted in my best bowl. But I finally settled on milk, honey and the roasted blood oranges. Oh. My. Stars! Heaven in a bowl!

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

Creamy Quaker® Oats is the best breakfast to warm up your family's bodies on a cold winter morning. I highly recommend roasting some blood oranges and eating these with your next Best Bowl of morning oatmeal. At the end of the day, you will have all the people you love around you satisfied.

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

If you could sum up your Best Bowl of Quaker® Oats in five words or less, what would you say?

Roasted Blood Orange Oatmeal Warm and hearty breakfasts are a thing of necessity here when the weather begins to dip into the single digits. | http://tiarastantrums.com/blog/roasted-blood-orange-oatmeal #BringYourBestBowl

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing

This Warm Goat Cheese, Bacon, & Walnut Spinach Salad post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OneBowlWonder #CollectiveBias

My son kinda has this thing for salads. Miracle of miracles as this child of mine is quite literally the pickiest eater on the face of the planet. When he was three years old, he ate nothing but bacon and tomatoes. Every.Single.Meal. Thankfully these days he will eat a bit more. Nowadays, he eats a spinach salad every day when he comes home from school, with bacon and tomatoes of course.

My family loves spinach, we eat it sauteed with garlic quite often. My daughter loves it on her pizza and on sandwiches. But in its fresh state, it is very tasty for a green salad. I pretty much have huge bins of spinach sitting in my fridge at all times.

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

I have an incredible salad that I make using spinach leaves. Honestly, I didn't think my son would actually eat this salad, but he gobbles it right up, but only with Italian dressing . Since spinach itself is not very filling, I always add some chicken as well. He is a teenager and eats endlessly, so I need to make a big salad for him.

This is a super simple spinach salad with a warm bacon and walnut Italian dressing with chicken breast strips and fried goat cheese. I simply whip it up and have it ready for my son when he gets home from school. He is usually starving as they eat lunch early and by the time he gets home he is ready for another lunch before dinner. Teenagers.

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon and Italian Dressing

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

What You Will Need

I was able to locate all my ingredients at my local Food 4 Less (Kroger in some states). I really wish I had one closer to me as this store is fantastic! They sell these tiny bags of walnuts that are perfect for this salad and for popping in school lunches.

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
  • 5 slices bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 package Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Strips
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Wish-bone® Italian Dressing
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound spinach (I always rip the stems off as they can make the leaves a bit bitter)

Fried Goat Cheese

  • 8 ounce goat cheese log
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg - beaten
  • coconut oil
  • Croutons and Tomatoes - OPTIONAL

Instructions

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

1. In a skillet, fry your bacon until nice and crispy. Just before it is done frying add your walnuts and cook in the bacon grease. Remove the bacon and the walnuts to a dish.

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

2. Place the entire package of Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Strips into the already hot skillet with the pan drippings. Quickly warm the Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Strips. These 100% all natural white meat chicken strips are already fully cooked, so you will only need to heat them through. Remove to a dish.

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

3. In a large bowl add the spinach and add the warmed through chicken strips..

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

4. In a separate mixing bowl combine the bacon, walnuts, the pan drippings, and the Wish-bone® Italian Dressing. I actually put all of my ingredients in a small jar and shake the jar until well combined. This seems to work better for me.

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

5. Pour the dressing over the spinach. Give it all a good toss to evenly distribute the dressing. Place your (optional) goat cheese, croutons and tomatoes on top. 

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

OPTIONAL: This is completely optional to add fried goat cheese. You could just as easily crumble your goat cheese on top of this salad or simply not add any cheese at all.

AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder
AD Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing #OneBowlWonder

Slice the goat cheese in ¼ - ½ inch slices (TIP: To make the cheese easier to slice, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before cutting. Also, run your knife under hot water in between slices. If it does crumble on you, the good thing about goat cheese is you can just mold it all back together.) Put bread crumbs in a small bowl and add some salt. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Dip the sliced goat cheese in the beaten egg. Flip it gently to coat with egg on both sides. Dip the egg covered cheese into the bread crumbs and coat both sides and fry on medium heat with the coconut oil (and do use coconut oil) in a hot pan until golden brown on each side. The other good thing about goat cheese is it will not ooze out over your pan! Remove from heat.

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

I really didn't expect my son to enjoy this salad since he is so picky. Especially with the goat cheese. But all together with the bacon, walnuts and spinach, the awesome warmed Wish-bone® Italian Dressing adds the perfect sweetness to the tangy cheese. This salad is just so delicious! This is an incredible salad, but then again, I am super biased, loving spinach so much.

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

If you are looking for something light and filling, full of flavor and super quick and simple . . . this Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Bacon, Walnut and Warm Italian Dressing will be on a regular meal rotation in your home. You are eating super healthy spinach, preservative-free chicken full of protein and the #1 Italian Dressing.  

AD Easy Spinach Salad - spinach, chicken, bacon, walnuts, goat cheese  and a warm Italian dressing that you can shake up in a jar! This recipe is ALWAYS a hit with my son! Easy and delicious, meets all your needs! | tiarastantrums.com/blog/spinach-salad-with-goat-cheese-bacon-walnut-and-warm-italian-dressing #OneBowlWonder

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016

I grew up in rural Iowa and we literally never went anywhere. Ever, Never! But, as a child, I had no clue, because I was too busy riding my horse in pastures, jumping ditches on my mini bike and snowmobiling it huge snow drifts. 

That's country life for you.

Now, I am fully urban and my kiddos are fully urban. We live in a city with some pretty fantastic museums. Now is the time to renew our yearly memberships. But, if you happen to not buy memberships, here are some FREE days you can spend at the Chicago museums. Just keep in mind this is only for general admission.

Adler Planetarium

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016
  • January 4-8,11,12,15,18-22, 25-29
  • February 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

Here are the details:

  • Where – 1300 S Lake Shore Drive
  • Hours of Operation9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday
  • Cost – Adults - $12.  Kids 3-11 $8.   
  • Parking – Nearby parking lots.

Art Institute of Chicago

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016
  • Free weekdays January 5 - February 10
  • Thurday nights from 5pm to 8pm
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

Here are the details:

  • Where – 111 South Michigan Ave.
  • Hours of Operation – Mon.-Wed. 10:30am-5:pm, Thur. 10:30am-8pm, Fri. 10:30am-5pm, Sat. and Sun. 10am-5pm
  • Cost – $16 for Chicago residence.  Kids under 14 are FREE.  Thursday nights are also FREE from 5pm-8pm.  
  • Parking – We parked in the underground parking across the street at Millennium Park and were able to walk around the city afterwards.

Museum of Science & Industry

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016
  • January 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29
  • February 29
  • June 1-3, 6-8
  • September 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
  • October 4-6
  • November 3, 10
  • December 1

Here are the details:

  • Where – 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
  • Hours of Operation – Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Cost – Adults - $18.  Kids 3-11 $11.   
  • Parking – Underground parking available.

Field Museum of Natural History

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016
  • January: 3, 13, 18, 23, 24
  • February: 1-29 

Here are the details:

  • Where – 1400 S Lake Shore Drive
  • Hours of Operation The Field Museum is open from 9am-5pm every day of the year except Christmas Day.
  • Cost – Adults - $22.  Kids 3-11 $15.   
  • Parking  - Parking lots available.

Shedd Aquarium

FREE Museum Days in Chicago 2016
  • January 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
  • February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29
  • June 6, 7, 13, 14
  • September 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27
  • October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
  • November 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29

Here are the details:

  • Where – 1200 S Lake Shore Drive
  • Hours of Operation Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Cost – Adults - $8.  Kids 3-11 $6.   
  • Parking  - Parking lots available.

This list is not all inclusive by any means. Chicago has so much more to offer. But these are our favorites.

 

My 2016 Weight Loss Plans

Weight Loss Plans Turbo10 Nutrisystem  #NSNation #Turbo10

I don't know about you, but with winter officially here in Chicago, my first thought is -- I'm going to gain so much weight! I'm going to gain weight because it is too cold to be outdoors and I simply sit indoors stuffing my face with comfort foods.

This year I am going to change my (backward) way of thinking and I am going to learn how to manage my weight and my stress levels -- together. Stress and weight gain do go hand in hand with me. My weight loss plans for 2016 are in motion now.
Weight Loss Plans  Turbo10 NutriSystem #NSNation #Turbo10

You all know the effects that stress can have on weight loss, right? Well, stress activates the adrenal glands in our bodies. The body's response to stress is then activated by cortisol and adrenaline hormone release; resulting in hormone surges, that inject energy into our bodies. Cortisol tends to hang around for a long while in our bodies when we are stressed AND this hormone increases our appetites. Then we crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension. Vicious little cycle, eh?

I have been in this mode for awhile now. I have developed a bad habit of eating once a day and pretty much eating only high carbohydrate foods when I do eat. I am now interrupting this cycle, breaking the stress and stopping the weight gain. I'm not getting any younger and I really want to be as healthy as I was just a few years ago.

How do I plan to get healthy in the New Year?

1. Eat a balanced diet -- and never skip a meal: I developed this really bad habit in high school of not eating during the day - like ever; and I still do it today. I only eat dinner and then snack at night. In truth, I have been depriving my body of necessary calories and nutrients it needs. My body is now in survival mode, storing fat and conserving energy by slowing my metabolism down. I regularly met with a nutritionist to help me figure out what was going on with my weight gain and I found out all of this information.

Weight Loss Plans Turbo10 Nutrisystem  #NSNation #Turbo10

Since I have not eaten lunch or dinner for the better part of the past 20 years, I really need help in this area. The all-new Turbo10 from Nutrisystem is perfect for getting my healthy eating back on track.  Turbo10 is a four-week program that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks delivered right to my door.

Plus, I will get the all-new Turboshakes™ that are packed with protein plus probiotics to help support digestive health and bust belly bloat. I am really excited about the NutriCrush® shakes since I am used to drinking lattes and frappes all day long. I can't wait to lose (up to) 10 pounds and 5 inches in my first month!

Weight Loss Plans  Turbo10 NutriSystem #NSNation #Turbo10

2. Exercise: This is key for me as I constantly say I don't have time to exercise. As a home educating, work-from-home momma, I really do need to carve out some ME time for exercise. My family is going to be fully supportive of this and will give me my privacy and time for exercising.

Exercise will help regulate the amount of insulin released into my body. Exercise will also help me relieve stress ans sleep better. Exercising is key to my weight control because it burns calories. If I burn off more calories than I take in, I will lose weight. It's as simple as that.

Weight Loss Plans  Turbo10 NutriSystem #NSNation #Turbo10

3. Sleep: I don't sleep well and haven't for over a decade. Since I am always tired, I crave carbs from the lack of sleep. I will be putting a very strict sleep schedule on myself this year! Early to bed and early to rise will make me healthy and wise!

4. Avoid Caffeine: This will be the hardest for me to give up. I love my coffee and lattes and frappes and soda pop. I fill myself up all day long with caffeine because I don't eat food. This is going to change. I will be eating the healthy Turbo10 from Nutrisystem meals and avoiding caffeine all day long. I'm pretty sure once I completely eliminate caffeine, I will sleep better as well.

I won't have to worry about what to eat for breakfast or lunch any longer as the all-new Turbo10 from Nutrisystem weight loss meal plan has a perfect meal plan already selected for me. Nutrisystem has over 150 foods to select. The meals come delivered right to my door step and are frozen for easy storage. Each meal is balanced with protein, fiber and smart carbs. I won't have to worry about the calories, if it is healthy or how much to eat because Nutrisystem has already figured all of that out for me with their meal delivery plan.

5. Relax: I also happen to think once I am not hopping around from my high caffeine intake, I will be able to relax more as well. Once I relax, I will be able to sleep better as well.

Weight Loss Plans Turbo10 Nutrisystem  #NSNation #Turbo10

I am off to a strong and healthy beginning in 2016 with my weight loss plans in place using the Turbo10 program from Nutrisystem and my personal goals to keep me on track. I'm super excited for a healthy new year.

Are you making a New Year’s weight loss resolution? If so, who or what is motivating you to get healthy in the New Year?

If you are not sure where to start, check out the Turbo10 program from Nutrisystem as an option for meeting your weight loss goals in 2016.

Be sure to follow Nutrisystem on Twitter and Facebook for all new product announcements and any special offers they may be having.

This My 2016 Weight Loss Plans has been compensated by Blog Meets Brand and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NSNation #Turbo10

New Year's Eve Party Inspiration

Who's ready to pop the bubbly? (I would if I drank, right?) We are gearing up for an end-of-the-year celebration here filled with confetti, sparkle, sips and dips and loads of fun! I am no longer scrambling with the Silly Season; but am happily and peacefully dreaming and counting down the last few moments of 2015.

NYE Party Inspiration
NYE Party Inspiration
NYE Party Inspiration
NYE Party Inspiration

images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

What are you planning for the New Year - 2016?!

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Holiday Feasts #MedievalTimes

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Show highlights bravery, honor and epic battles of steel and steeds for two hours. The action packed show is filled with horses, jousting knights, kings and princesses, an amazing falcon, serving wenches and a delicious feast.

During the Silly Season (the month of December), life can be quite hectic. I don't want to forget that my kids still need to spend time with their parents, just enjoying each other.  What better place to do that than at a Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Holiday Show!

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Elf on the Shelf Brings Cards From Santa

NINE DAYS! I always have somewhere to be getting to this month, like school, or church or a holiday party, and less fun things like work and groceries and I still need to get my holiday cards out! Nine more days to shop for the lists my children have provided me. Oh, and nine more days to send out my holiday cards.

One thing I haven't been putting off is the Elf on the Shelf antics in our home. He has been very good this year and surprising my kiddos with all sorts of goodies and giggles. My youngest daughter is really loving the adventures the Elf brings this month. She is still a firm believer and I want to hold on to that magic for as long as I can.

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