10 Things I've Learned After 60 Days of Being a Homeowner

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On March 31st Tom and I signed our names a bunch of times and eventually were handed over some keys because we crazily decided to buy the second house that we looked at.

We spent the first weekend doing a couple of projects and moving in a lot of our stuff and finished up the second weekend with the rest of our furniture. And crazy person that I am, we hosted Easter dinner the following Saturday.

They say that buying a house is one project after another. I thought that was for like, fixer upper houses, not ones where the contractor has completely remodeled the house and it's essentially move in ready. House 1, Nichole 0.

Coming from living at home and then living in apartments for 8+ years where other people are responsible for problems, this has not been an easy road for me. Before we officially turned in the keys to the apartment complex, I seriously debated going back there and refusing to leave. It was a very trying weekend, don't judge me.

I believe I've reached a point where this stuff is now funny or at least amusing because we've gotten through it, so I thought I'd share with you some of the things we experienced. And please, feel free to laugh at us if you've owned a home for years and knew all of this. We're still painfully naive.

I've taken a lot of before and after pictures so eventually I'll chronicle some of our updates, but for now let's just share the issues we've encountered, starting from the first day.

1. Paint: Those commercials that claim to sell one-coat paint? You know the one where the guy has the artwork back on the walls the same day? I call serious bullshit on that. We painted an accent wall. Dark aqua over generic beige. It took three coats and an entire day to dry.

I painted the laundry room a light blue color. Another claim for 1 coat paint from another brand. It took 2 coats, which is better than 3 so at least we know which paint company to go with when we paint the rest of the house.



2. Sliding Glass Doors: whoever thought it was a great idea to sell screens separately to get you for more money is a complete asshole. Especially when the name of the door brand is not anywhere visible on the door and the contractor doesn't remember. So despite measuring three times, you buy and return three generic screens that are meant to fit "all sliding glass doors". You know, except ours. Tom eventually made it work by removing the spring from the top and bottom and now if you barely touch it, it shoots off down the track faster than a horse at the Kentucky Derby. Whatever...

3. Mailboxes are the devil. Never assume that just because a house has a mailbox means that it was properly installed. Our mailbox adventures went as follows:
  • Determine mailbox is rusted shut. Purchase replacement mailbox to sit on existing post. 
  • Find out someone stripped the screws in the plastic piece the attaches the mailbox to the post and that the plastic piece needs to be replaced. 
  • Find out the plastic piece is not sold individually and only comes with the post. (Of course)
  • Purchase a new post, making the total cost of the mailbox and the post more than if it had been purchased as one piece. 
  • Remove old post only to find that the 4x4 that the post is supposed to sit over, doesn't actually exist so you still cannot have a mailbox despite filling out a change of address. 
  • Wait one more week until father in law arrives, husband purchases post, and then it's finally installed. 


4. Installation of items after the inspection can mean laziness. One of the things we negotiated was to install a garbage disposal, which was done after our home inspection. The first weekend here, I tried out the dishwasher only to find out that instead of draining into the sink/pipes, it poured water all over the new hardwood floors. Angrily, I posted this on Facebook and my awesome neighbor popped over and removed a tiny little cap.

Do you know what that tiny little cap does? Allows a dishwasher to drain properly. The garbage disposal and dishwasher are next to each other. It's not like they didn't know we had one and removing that cap was necessary.

5. Outlets make terrible noises. I'm still waiting on this one to be fixed, but the light switch that controls the outside outlet makes a terrible grinding noise when turned on. We thought we had fixed it, but it came back and now I'm patiently waiting on the electrician to return my call.

6. Outside lights randomly fall off. This was fun, I came home from work one day only to find that our outside light had cracked completely in half at the bracket that holds it onto the siding. Currently waiting to hear from the home warranty people because while I don't expect much, I think lights should stay affixed for more than 2 months.

7. Gutter cleaning is optional. We couldn't figure out if the gutters were clogged or if the tree in front of the house was creating the massive waterfall in front of the front door every time it rained. Tired of dealing with it, I called a guy who came out and cleaned them that day. And he found that the front gutter wasn't just entirely clogged with your generic gutter materials, but with shingle soot, meaning they replaced the roof and didn't think to clean the gutters afterward. Maybe I'm being picky here, but seriously? That's like washing the outside of your car and dumping a full trash bag inside.

8. Spiders don't share. I am quickly waging a war against all 8 legged creatures who are currently residing here. None of them pay the mortgage and prefer to be large, hairy and pop out at the most inconvenient of times. A monthly service to a exterminator is looking better and better every day.

9. Storm door instructions are liars. Now, this is more about the door itself than the house, but I wouldn't have a storm door if I didn't have a house, so here it is. At the bottom of the door was the tube and spring that stopped the door from flying open. It had a little button that said press to keep open, and I thought what that meant was you pressed the button and it locked the door in the open position and it wouldn't swing shut. Instead what that meant was the hing part would shear off completely and now the door swings open whenever it desires.

10. There is a never-ending list of random small projects. Ours includes replacing the ball and spring to keep the closet door closed, replacing the drain stopper thing in the shower that randomly broke off, shaving off the bottoms of all the bedroom doors because they catch on the carpet and don't allow for air flow, patching small holes in screens, and applying caulk to damn near everything because apparently there was a shortage on caulk when they remodeled this house because it's not anywhere it should be. 

Carrot Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing #SharpenYourKitchenIQ

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Over the years I've spent in the kitchen, I've learned which brands of kitchen tools I like to use and which ones I don't mind passing on to others. Last year I was introduced to the KitchenIQ V-Etched Better Zester and within a few seconds I packed up the two other zesters in the drawer and made this the only one allowed in the kitchen.



When I found out KitchenIQ was looking for bloggers to use some of their new products, I signed up right away, extremely curious to know what they were going to send me.

In addition to another V-Etched Better Zester, I also received a Grate Ginger Tool and a V-Etched Spice Grater.



Disclaimer: I received three complimentary products from KitchenIQ for the purpose of a review. Receipt of the product has no influence on my review. All thoughts are my own. No further compensation was received. 

I used to not be a fan of ginger. I thought the powdered version had an odd after taste, that the pickled version that comes along with your plate of sushi was disgusting and that fresh ginger had a spicy kick to it that I was simply "weird". And then somewhere along the way, my taste buds changed and now I actively seek out ginger in all forms, even going as far as to make my own ginger simple syrup. (I'll share that recipe eventually...)

I thought about what type of recipes I could make with the tools that we were given. Ginger, was an obvious choice, as was the zest of something. Lemon pairs so nicely with ginger I decided that going much further out side of the box of pairings was not needed and I could easily find a recipe including both of those ingredients.



Carrot Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and spiralized
    • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
    • juice and zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 packet Stevia
    • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, grated ginger, apple cider vinegar, and stevia until combined.
2. Pour over carrots in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Top with fresh cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, but up to overnight. The flavors will intensify the longer they mingle together.
4. Salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.


Raw carrots have been one of my favorite vegetables to eat for as far back as I can remember. Spiralizing them is not as easy as one would imagine, so I completely understand if you go the easier route and simply peel them into ribbons.

The lemon zest and juice brighten up the dish and the spicy kick of the fresh ginger compliments so nicely against the sweetness of the carrot. I could easily eat this salad every day. It whips up in no time at all and is sure to please any crowd of people you serve it to.


*Fast Metabolism Diet: recipe is compliant for Phase 1. Portion sizes are dependent on the size of carrots used. Two tablespoons of olive oil can be whisked into the dressing to be compliant for Phase 3. 

What fun is talking about kitchen tools if you don't have the option to win them? The awesome people at KitchenIQ are willing to give away the same tools I received. 

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older. The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter and announced here. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. Cookaholic Wife and KitchenIQ are not responsible for items lost in the mail. 



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#GOMO: Go Out More Often AKA 2017 Bucket List

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If I didn't participate in an online message board or have coworkers a decade+ younger than me, I'm fairly certain I'd have no idea what new slang terms and acronyms are now being said.

Okay, let's be real. I still have to ask what exactly those mean, because apparently this is what happens when you're 32 and not on Snapchat. But for all I know, Snapchat isn't even cool anymore and there's some new app.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Perhaps you've heard of FOMO - fear of missing out. (I'd actually heard of that one!!) As trends go, FOMO is totally out and now it's all about the GOMO - Go(ing) Out More Often. What does that mean exactly?

It's kind of like the hip-2017 version of a bucket list. It's not about spending money on things (Amazon and Target, I'm looking at you) but more about having experiences like going on a ghost tour or your communities local art festival.

As much as I like shopping and buying things I may or may not need, experiences are really what sticks with you when you take a little trip down memory lane.

Eventbrite, a hugely popular event site, is behind GOMO, seeing as they offer the ability to create your own events, rsvp to an event and buy tickets for an event all in one nifty little spot.

I'll be honest, that whole "buying a house" thing has put a bit of a halt in my ability to GOMO, but nevertheless, here is what I'm hoping to accomplish this year.

My 2017 GOMO 

Monkeys and MaCaws in Honduras: As part of the cruise we went on, we did an excursion where we got to walk through an animal preserve and have monkeys and macaws sit on our shoulders. The monkeys were less nosy than the macaws and personally, I preferred them, but how often do you get to have a cute little monkey sitting on your shoulder eating sunflower seeds the trainer is handing her?



Chacchobben Ruins in Mexico: This was another cruise excursion, but a totally cool way to see history. We literally got to climb up ancient Mayan ruins and see where families slept and spent their time. Ir was amazing and enlightening.



Sightseeing in New Orleans: Tom and I fall further down the outgoing scale into the homebody category, so honestly, the entire trip to New Orleans and seeing all the city has to offer was out of our usual comfort zone, but wandering around the gorgeous city from Bourbon Street to Jackson Square to the Garden District and Frenchman Street was amazing. I simply cannot wait to come back to the city.



Local Art Festival: I live in what's referred to as a bedroom neighborhood in Maryland. Our limited shopping options are on the main street (only a mile or so away) but once you get past that, it's nothing but houses, apartments, parks and churches. Next month, some community members have planned a local arts festival to be held at one of the parks and I'm excited to go and meet some neighbors and see what kind of cool stuff they have to offer.

Brunch with Friends: I've always wanted to be part of that crowd that gets together and goes to brunch. Except, all of my friends have kids and busy schedules and we never get the time to really make it work, but I'm determined to find a Saturday or Sunday this summer where we can all get together, drink a few mimosas and eat all the brunch foods!



Concert: I'm not sure who or where yet, but it's on my list to make it to a concert this year. Perhaps I'll get really lucky and manage to win a set of tickets off the radio. Cross your fingers for me?

Gardening: Well, this is really more about not killing plants. I have a brown thumb. It's definitely not green as I kill most flowers and plants, but it's not black because I can keep a cactus and herbs mostly alive. My mom planted a bunch of flowers in my yard and now I need to figure out how to keep them living through the summer until she comes back in the fall and tells me what to do with them then.



Harford County Wine Festival: I attended this once a few years ago and it was delicious and amazing and I'd love to get some friends together and go back for another day there.



10K Across the Bay: When I was a kid, my cousin convinced my mom and I to do a 10K walk across the Bay Bridge and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. If you're not a Maryland local, you probably know this bridge only because it comes up as one of the scariest bridges to ever cross. It crosses the Chesapeake Bay and only has the standard guardrails you would see on the road. They've recently brought back the event and I've found a friend to drag along with me.



Grinchmas: This is entirely dependent on our financial situation toward the end of the year, but Tom and I both love the Grinch and would absolutely love to go to Florida, or more specifically, Universa Studios during December, when they host Grinchmas.



Head on over to Eventbrite.com, type in your city or zip code and see what cool stuff is happening in your area, then create your own GOMO list!






Fajita Chicken Bowl

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Do you ever have a recipe idea pop into your head that persistently hangs out and pops up into the most random thoughts until you finally create it? That's what happened with this recipe.

As I've mentioned before, I frequently eat the same thing for lunch for an entire week and I'm always looking for new recipes with great flavors that reheat nicely and keep me full throughout the work day.



Craving something fresh and different that used chicken breasts which I've gotten in 10 packs at awesome prices recently, I came up with this recipe that you can whip together in around 30 minutes (depending on how fast you can slice up the onion and bell peppers!).

I always cook rice in large batches and freeze the leftovers, which also helps to cut down the cooking time on this recipe, but if you don't have any in your freezer, there are a lot of quick cooking rice and rice blends that come together in 15 minutes or less that you could easily cook on the stove while the rest of this recipe is coming together in the oven.



Fajita Chicken Bowls
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • For the Chicken:
    • 4 - 6oz. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • 3 tbsp coconut vinegar (rice, white, and white wine vinegar also work)
    • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
    • For the Veggies:
    • 6 bell peppers, sliced in ½ inch strips
    • ½ large red onion, sliced in ½ inch strips
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp cumin
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp oregano
    • ½ tsp pepper
    • For the Rice and Toppings:
    • 4 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa or your favorite rice)
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro
    • Optional Toppings: guacamole, sliced avocado, cheese, sour cream
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a half jelly roll pan (or two large baking sheets) and an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick foil.
2. Combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, vinegar and lime juice together in a small bowl to form a paste. Place the chicken breasts in the 8x8 baking dish and brush the spice mixture on top.
3. Combine the chile powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the bell peppers and onion in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet(s) and sprinkle the seasonings on top.
4. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork tender. (The vegetables may be done 5-7 minutes before the chicken depending on how thick each chicken breast is.)
5. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 1 inch strips.
6. Divide rice evenly onto plates. Top with bell pepper and onion mixture, followed by the sliced chicken. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top and garnish with fresh cilantro. Top with any additional toppings.


Made as is, the recipe is compliant for Phase 1 of the Fast Metabolism Diet. For Phase 2 the grain can be removed and more vegetables added in. Phase 3 can be accomplished by using wild rice and reducing the amount and adding guacamole/avocado or cheese. *P3 lunches do not include grains, but they are optional with dinner. 



The combination of the spices and herbs is incredible while this is cooking up. Tom came into the kitchen and asked me what I was making that smelled so incredible. He was a bit disappointed to find out that he would not be trying this as I was taking it for lunch, but I promised to make it for dinner soon. I had some coworkers gather around after I pulled this out of the microwave wanting to know what smelled so good, so if you are someone that first eats with you nose, this recipe is right up your alley! 

Sorry for the boring pictures in plastic containers. I didn't initially plan on blogging this until after I'd made it a time or two, but once it was in the containers I realized how perfect it was and didn't want to mess it up by trying to transfer to a plate to photograph! 

#BrunchWeek: Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone. 




With all of the craziness associated with buying a house and moving into it, I never got around to sharing with you how Easter went. First, I always host and I wasn't going to let the little thing of just purchasing a house stop that. But I also knew that I needed to be realistic. This was not the year for elaborate, time consuming recipes.



And then I saw a post on Facebook from the local farm, saying to let them cater your Easter dinner instead. I checked the price and realized it was significantly cheaper to allow them to prepare the ham and three side dishes compared to me buying the ingredients and making them. So I immediately placed an order and decided I would make easy appetizers and desserts to go along with our catered meal.

An image of stuffed cherry tomatoes showed up on Pinterest not long later and I was intrigued. I made them for Easter and they were devoured, so when the assortment of cheeses from Cabot cheese showed up, clearly the only option was to make them again. I may have ate 5 but you won't judge me for that right?


Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:12-24 tomatoes
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 12 campari cocktail tomatoes or 24 cherry tomatoes
    • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • ¼ cup Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • green onions, chopped

Directions:
1. Slice off the tops of each tomato then use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the inside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, grated cheddar cheese, garlic powder and onion powder until combined. Add in crumbled bacon and chopped green onions, reserving a small amount of both as an additional garnish.
3. Spoon or pipe the mixture into each of the tomatoes, garnishing each with remaining crumbled bacon and green onions.
4. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 1 day in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.




Wanting a heartier appetizer, I chose campari cocktail tomatoes because they're slightly bigger than your standard cherry tomato, but either will work fine.

Cheese, bacon, chives and tomato. Really, what could be better than that? If you're looking for a recipe to easily throw together and bring along to your next cookout or party, I definitely suggest these. I guarantee I'll be making them again and bringing them along to my mom's for one of her pool parties.



Disclaimer: Thank you to the #BrunchWeek sponsors, Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.


Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Fresh Citrus Smoothie from Gluten Free Crumbley
Mango Sorbet Bellini from The Redhead Baker
Rose Water Lemonade from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Sparkling Mojito Lime Rickies from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Chive and Cheese Popovers from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Jalapeno Cheese Scones from Girl Abroad

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Apple, Grape, and Pecan Chicken Salad from Love and Confections
Asparagus & Bacon Grilled Cheese from Sweet Beginnings
Breakfast Sausage Balls with Maple Apple Butter from The Barbee Housewife
Breakfast Egg Rolls from Palatable Pastime
Cheddar Croque Madame Waffles from Cooking with Carlee
Tater Tot Crusted Casserole with Eggs, Cheese, and Asparagus from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes from Cookaholic Wife
Spring Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from The Crumby Cupcake

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Baked Lemon Blintzes with Triple Berry Sauce from Cooking in Stilettos
Caramelized Pear Crepes from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Zabaglione alle Mandorle from Culinary Adventures with Camilla


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#Brunchweek: Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melt

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone. 





I love the combination of apple and cheddar together. It's one of my favorite sweet and salty pairings, only made better in this recipe with the salty addition of ham and the tang of dijon mustard. If you're a fan of grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese, you're sure to love this version as well.


I am still working my way through the assortment of cheeses that Cabot sent to us but unfortunately my Lady Alice apples from Rainier Fruit are all gone.


Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melt
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2 sandwiches
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 4 slices hearty Italian bread
    • ⅓ lb deli ham, sliced thin
    • ¼ brick of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
    • ¼ Lady Alice apple, thinly sliced
    • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp butter, softened

Directions:
1. Place a medium skillet over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Spread butter onto one side of each slice of bread.
3. Divide dijon mustard evenly over the bread slices, opposite side of the butter.
4. Place a piece of bread butter side down. Arrange 3 thin slices of the cheddar cheese on top, followed by 3-4 slices of the deli ham, then 2-3 slices of the apple, followed by 3 more thin slices of the cheddar cheese. Top mustard side down with another piece of bread.
5. Repeat to create the second sandwich.
6. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Flip both sandwiches over, reduce the heat to medium low and place a lid on top of the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes more or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.
7. Slice sandwiches and serve immediately.


The cheese gets perfectly stringy and gooey while the apple still maintains that perfect crunch. 




Disclaimer: Thank you to the #BrunchWeek sponsors, Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.
Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blackberry Mint Bellinis from Sweet Beginnings
Cardamom Rose Cocktail from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Lemon & Blueberry Mocktail from Girl Abroad
Mango Pina Colada from The Spiffy Cookie

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheesy Asparagus Bacon Quiche from The Nifty Foodie
Creamed Asparagus Omelet from Wholistic Woman
Eggs in Hell from kimchi MOM
Roasted Asparagus and Cheddar Frittata from My Catholic Kitchen
Spring Veggie Quiche from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Cream Cheese Danish from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Apple Cinnamon Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Apple Waffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
Banana Bread Pancakes from Love and Confections
Blackberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls from Pink Cake Plate
Brown Sugar Poptarts from Big Bear's Wife
Creme Brulee French Toast from The Barbee Housewife
Cherry Almond Coffee Cake from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Yeast Rolls from Family Around the Table
Cinnamon Apple Danish from Nik Snacks
Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake from Books n' Cooks
Mocha Eclairs from The Redhead Baker

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Country Ham Biscuits with Peach Mustard from Palatable Pastime
Country Skillet from Feeding Big
Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melts from Cookaholic Wife
Smoked Salmon & Herbed Cream Cheese Pizzas from Sarcastic Cooking
Yumbo Sliders from Cindy's Recipes and Writings

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Rhubarb Crunch from Cooking with Carlee

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Apple Crisp Ice Cream from From Gate to Plate
Biscuit Bar with Flavored Sugars from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake from Hardly A Goddess
Thumbprint Donuts from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

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#Brunchweek: Lemon Cheesecake Parfait

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone. 





I love lemon flavored desserts. Most people tend to make them during the spring and summer, but I'll enjoy a lemon dessert any time of the year. This is a perfect dish to whip up when you don't have a lot of free time but really want to impress the lemon-lover in your life with a tasty dessert.



The most time consuming part of this recipe is waiting for the cream cheese to soften, but after that, you can pull the recipe together in about 30 minutes.



Lemon Cheesecake Parfait
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:6 servings
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • for the whipped cream:
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp lemon extract, such as Nielsen-Massey
    • for the cheesecake:
    • 2 8-oz. Packages cream cheese, softened
    • ½ cup granulated sugar, such as Dixie Crystals
    • 1 cup lemon pie filling
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • for the parfait:
    • 1 pound cake or lemon pound cake
    • 1 cup berry of your choice (blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc.)
    • fresh mint leaves
    • 6 thin lemon slices

Directions:
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the heavy cream and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and lemon extract and mix until combined, increasing the speed until stiff peaks form. Remove from bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer (same bowl can be used without cleaning it), add the cream cheese and granulated sugar and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
3. Add the whipped cream, lemon pie filling and lemon zest to the mixer and beat on low speed until just combined.
4. Cut the pound cake into small squares. Place a couple of the squares into your serving container. Top with a few berries and then ⅓ to ½ cup of the cheesecake filling. Repeat the layers again and top with a few berries, a mint leaf and lemon slice.
5. Repeat with remaining containers.
6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cheesecake parfaits will keep in the fridge overnight if covered.



I first made these for Easter and they were gobbled up so quickly I didn't even get to enjoy one! When I made this again I made sure to hide one in the back of the fridge just for me to enjoy! 





This dessert can be place in mason jars, large wine glasses or any dessert cup of your choice. I used 5 oz. plastic tumblers that I found on Amazon.



Disclaimer: Thank you to the #BrunchWeek sponsors, Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Almond Joy Iced Coffee from Hardly A Goddess
Rose Water & St. Germain Champagne Cocktail from The Barbee Housewife

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Asparagus Topped Eggs with Hats from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Huevos Gratinados from Palatable Pastime

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Banana Streusel Bread from Family Around the Table
Crispy Apple Cheesecake Danish from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Gooey Lemon Blueberry Pull-Apart Bread from Girl Abroad
German Apple Pancake from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Overnight Raspberry French Toast from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Peach Custard Tart from The Redhead Baker
Pecan Gingerbread Buns from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Pineapple Sweet Rolls from Cooking with Carlee
Raspberry and Chocolate Grilled Cheese from Brunch-n-Bites
Cinnamon Apple Sourdough Waffles from My Catholic Kitchen
Southwestern Style Farro Breakfast Bowl from Cooking in Stilettos


BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Apple, Grape, and Walnut Chicken Salad from Love and Confections

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Apple & Grape Breakfast Salad from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Fully Loaded Stuffed Potatoes from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Champagne Pound Cake with Rose Water Frosting from Sweet Beginnings
Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits from Cookaholic Wife
Lemon No Bake Cheesecake from Feeding Big


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Improv Cooking Challenge: Cookies and Cream Poke Cake

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Happy Thursday! Late last month the participants of the Improv Cooking Challenge and I decided to make a change to our posting date. Many other blogging events occur on the third Thursday of the month, so we voted and decided to move up our posting date by one week.



Now you'll be able to check out the awesome recipes one week earlier! The ingredients for this month were cookies and cream. I decided to go pretty classic with this and make a cake I knew my coworkers would enjoy.



While there are tons of cake recipes out there that are perfectly sculpted, evenly frosted and very pretty to look at, I simply don't have that talent. So, insert the poke cake -  A simple cake made in a 9x13 baking dish, has holes poked into it and then is covered with a sweet concoction, like sweetened condensed milk.



Cookies and Cream Poke Cake
Source: Butter with a Side of Bread
Servings:16-20 slices
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Ingredients:
    • 1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared, baked and cooled
    • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
    • 4 oz. box cookies and cream instant pudding mix
    • ½ cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
    • 8 oz. whipped topping, slightly thawed
    • 1 ½ sleeves Oreo cookies, crushed

Directions:
1. After the chocolate cake has cooled, used the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake. (A plastic straw will work as well!)
2. Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake.
3. Whisk together the cookies and cream pudding mix and whipped topping until combined. Spread in an even layer on top of the cake.
4. Sprinkle crushed cookies in an even layer on top.
5. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to overnight before slicing and serving. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge.

I used unsweetened almond milk in this recipe in place of regular milk because it was what we had in the fridge. 


I realized a little too late that the super common wooden spoons with tiny ends that nearly everyone on earth has in the kitchen, I don't possess, so I ended up using a massive wooden spatula end. After nearly all of the holes were poked, I realized a simple plastic straw (which I have hundreds of) would have worked much better, hence the note in the recipe. 

The cake is rich and sweet and perfectly chilled to enjoy on a hot summer day. (Or a chilly spring day, as the weather would have it this week.)



#Brunchweek: Asparagus Salad

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone. 

I stalk the asparagus at the grocery store. (Ha, stalk. Pun not intended.)

At the end of winter, it's still the big fat stalks that take longer to cook and are more fibrous than their skinnier counterparts. And then, the day comes where the asparagus display is full of thin, skinny, little stalks and the price drops and bundles of them appear in my cart.



For years I hated asparagus and then one day the taste buds changed and it became one of my favorite vegetables. Roasted, sauteed, grilled, baked, covered in cheese, it doesn't matter how you serve it, if there is asparagus I'm coming to eat it.

I don't typically think of asparagus and salad together, but back in my Whole30 days, I made a recipe that treated the asparagus like the lettuce in a BLT, just in a salad form and from then on I was hooked on asparagus in salads.


Asparagus Salad
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:1 serving
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • for the salad:
    • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 3 tbsp unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
    • 2 slices nitrate-free turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1-2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
    • for the dressing:
    • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
    • 1-2 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Add the chicken or vegetable broth to a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the asparagus pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender-crisp.
3. Add in the cherry tomatoes and cook for 1 minute more, stirring as needed.
4. Drain the liquid from the saucepan and transfer asparagus and cherry tomatoes to a bowl.
5. Top with sliced hard boiled eggs and crumbled bacon.
6. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the dijon mustard and tamari until thin enough to be poured over the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper, careful of salt as tamari is very salty.
7. Salad can be eaten warm or refrigerated and eaten chilled.



I went with a similar route this time by adding bacon and egg to the salad, but instead of cooking the asparagus and cherry tomatoes in oil or using an oil based dressing I opted for simmer in broth and a mustard based dressing.

Fast Metabolism Diet: to be P2 compliant, omit cherry tomatoes and egg whites. For P3, vegetables may be cooked in oil or another healthy fat may be added. Portions for turkey bacon and eggs may need to adjusted based off weight loss goals. 






I nearly forgot to photograph this salad because as soon as I finished making it, I took a bite, then another, then another and then I needed to artfully arrange the asparagus in the bowl to look like ther was more than what was actually in there. 

Michigan Asparagus, one of our sponsors, wanted to provide us with asparagus to use, but we're not quite into the season yet. Instead they sent us gift cards, which I used to purchase the asparagus and turkey bacon for this recipe.




Disclaimer: Thank you to the #BrunchWeek sponsors, Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Pineapple Citrus Smoothie from It Bakes Me Happy.
Southern Spiked Mango Iced Tea from The Crumby Cupcake.

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheddar Asparagus Mini Quiche from Amy's Cooking Adventures.
Goat Cheese and Asparagus Breakfast Souffle from Palatable Pastime.

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Chop Bread from A Day in the Life of the Farm.
Apple Cinnamon Buns from Books n' Cooks.
Apple Lekvar Sweet Rolls from Cindy's Recipes and Writings.
Apple Hotteok (Fried Stuffed Pancakes) from kimchi MOM.
Apricot Danishes from Sarcastic Cooking.
Braided Apple Ginger Danish from The Spiffy Cookie.
Bourbon Banana Waffles from Forking Up.
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen.
Easy Popovers with Honey Butter from Hardly A Goddess.
Glazed Cinnamon Buns from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Rolls from Wholistic Woman.
Ultimate Cheese Muffins from Jane's Adventures in Dinner.

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Breakfast Loaded Tatertot Casserole from Big Bear's Wife.
Grilled PBJ with White Cheddar and Bacon from Nik Snacks.
Steak and Eggs Oscar Style from The Redhead Baker.

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Aloo Tiki with Apple-Tamarind Chutney from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
Asparagus Salad from Cookaholic Wife.
Asparagus Caprese Salad from The Barbee Housewife.
Cheesy Potato Asparagus Tart from Sew You Think You Can Cook.
Garlic Roasted New Potato and Asparagus Salad from An Edible Mosaic.
White Cheddar Pimento Cheese Spread from Love and Confections.

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Chocolate Rose Truffles from Cooking with Carlee.
Coffee Almond Fudge from Family Around the Table.

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