Category Archives: food

Isaiah & Samuel’s Star Wars Birthday Party

As I have been planning Isaiah’s 6th birthday party (coming up at the end of the month!), I realized that I never blogged his 5th birthday party. Oops! Yes, it’s almost been a year, but I want to still share it. Better late than never, right?

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Isaiah and one of his best buds, Samuel, both wanted Star Wars parties for their birthday. Rather than having two of the same themed party 3 weeks apart, my dear friend Holly (samuel’s mom) and I decided to combine forces and have a joint birthday party. It was so much fun planning a birthday party with a friend and we were thrilled with how it turned out.

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The birthday boys, all dressed and ready to party:

 

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Luke & Yoda:

 

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Hudson killed me in that Yoda costume (that his head was WAY to big for):

 

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A big focus of the party was having all of the food be Star Wars themed. We got lots of ideas from scouring Pinterest and then came up with a few of our own as well.

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Geoff, Samuel’s dad, made all of the fun labels. We got the free printable for the lightsaber napkins here.


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Boba Fruit:

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Leia buns:

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Vader Tators:

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Falcon Ship Dip:

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Pizza the Hut (instead of Jabba the Hut… I know, kind of a stretch, but just go with it):

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Ewok snacks:

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Yoda Soda: (recipe found here. We searched all over for the lemon lime Kool-Aid or Hawaiian Punch- I ended up finding it at Wal-Mart)

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Holly made the cute R2D2 cups (modeled by a cute little Luke), using a free printable we found here.

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The dessert table:

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I made the banner (The V means “Happy Birthday episode V) and it can be custom ordered through my shop.

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How stinkin adorable is the cake that Holly made?

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The little peg dolls are from Bubba’s Basics (who will be at The Queen Bee Market!!):

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We made marshmallow stormtroopers (so easy- found the idea here) & I found the big Yoda marshmallow pops at Michaels:

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To make them stand up, I got a cheap tray from the Target dollar section, put a piece of styrofoam inside and spray painted it all black. Then just stick in the pops and they are ready to go!

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Holly had the Williams Sonoma Star Wars cookie cutters, which are awesome, and Isaiah and I made the cookies together.

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I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe, which is great for things like this because the cookies don’t spread out while baking.

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We also had Han Solo Rolos. This one made us giggle.

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Geoff let us use all of his awesome childhood Star Wars toys as decor:

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Each guest got to pick a pool noodle light saber:

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They also got a Jedi Training certificate, which Geoff & Holly made personalized for each child:

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For favors, we put together little buckets for each child. Since it was around Halloween, I was able to find black buckets in the Target dollar section & I just spray painted over the jack-o-lantern faces. We filled them with big glow sticks that looked like light sabers (also from the Target dollar section), Star Wars pez (which we had to hunt down online), Star Wars fruit snacks (sold at Stater Bros), coloring sheets we printed from the web and little R2D2 crayons.

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We made the crayons using a silicone mold we found on Amazon. We chopped up old broken crayons and then baked them in the molds. It was tricky getting them popped out without breaking those little legs- Holly was way better at that than I was :)

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I loved Abby’s Leia costume:

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We did a couple of games. The first was attack Darth Vader (aka my husband) with the foam lightsabers. I think this was their favorite :)

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We also had a meteor shower. The adults threw crumpled up balls of foil at the kids and they had to deflect them with their lightsabers:

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For the last game, we tied a balloon on each kid’s leg. They had to try to stomp on the other balloons and pop them before someone else popped their own. We told the kids that their balloons were death stars and they had to try to get rid of all of the other death stars :)

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Geoff & Holly made a death star pinata by covering a soccer ball pinata that was on sale with foil.

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We forgot a blind fold, so we made the kids where a jedi robe backwards while trying to hit the pinata :)

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We had so much fun planning this party and the boys had a blast, which is the most important thing to us. On his 6th birthday last week, Samuel told his parents that the highlight of being 5 was his Star Wars party. And that, my friends, is why we do what we do. Yes, it is fun for us crafty moms to plan detailed birthday parties, but we do it for our kids. Because they remember those details. It’s all about creating memories for them. I still remember little things about the parties my mom threw for my childhood birthdays and I hope to create the same treasured memories of celebrating my boys.

InstaFriday- Monday style

Oops. I missed Friday. Happy Monday! Linking up photos from my past 1.5 weeks with Jeannett at Life Rearranged.

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We leave in 3 WEEKS FOR ITALY!!!! I’m so excited. We are staying in Grosetto and taking trips to Rome, Siena, Florence and Cinque Terra. Any recs on places to eat, things to see and kid friendly activities? Isaiah is coming with us but we are leaving Hudson with my parents (nervous already to be apart from him that long!). Since he just turned two, it would have been over $1000 to take him on a trip that he would not remember, so we made the tough decision to leave him here. I know it will be better in the long run, but I am going to miss that curly haired character!

Thanks to my friend Jenetta for the fun vintage italy book :)

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Last weekend we had friends over and Daveed taught Holly how to make pasta from scratch.

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Little bits of Spring around the house:

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Last week was spring break for Isaiah. We started it off with a 3 hour park playdate with a ton of friends from church. The boys had SO much fun!

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Later that day, we met up with Daveed at Sea World for a few hours. The boys favorite exhibit lately has been the arctic. Hudson loved watching the walrus and polar bears swim.

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Isaiah had been asking to make a star wars terrarium (daygoba) for a long time. We finally ran to Home Depot and whipped it up.

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He had a tough star to the week with listening. As a result, he ended up loosing all of his star wars stuff. Shirts, books, toys, everything. He still found a way to “play” star wars :)

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When we were visiting my family this weekend, my mom pulled out my old lite brite. I spent so many hours on that thing as a kid. Isaiah loved it! I wish that the new ones were even half as good as the old ones.

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Date #11 out of 50: A hike at Torrey Pines. One of my favorite spots in San Diego and it was such a nice time to connect and enjoy nature. (if you are new to my blog, you can find out more about our 50 dates project here.)

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Saturday was a great day to fly a kite at the park with good friends.

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Since we were going to stay down in San Diego for Easter, we spent some time with my family in Orange County on Saturday decorating eggs. You can bet there were a few star wars ones.

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One of my least favorite things on holidays? Trying to get a good family picture. I’m know that my boys are little, wiggly and full of energy (especially with lots of holiday sugar) but, nonetheless, I still always fight to get a quality picture. At first, I thought that this was the best one we got yesterday, my eyes almost closed and all:

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Then, as I was looking through the photos on my camera, I came across this gem and realized that I like it even better. We are not perfectly posed, but that is real life. This captures my boys personalities and I love it.

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Hudson was much more into our neighbor’s dogs than finding eggs:

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Cookie decorating (the tongue is always out when he is super focused):

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My husband was inspired by a dish he saw Mario Batali make on Iron Chef and he decided to recreate it yesterday. It was his first attempt at homemade ravioli and it was delicious! They were egg-shaped with goat cheese, sage and an egg yolk inside. He cooked them perfectly- when you cut into them, a bit of the yoke ran to mix with the butter & parmesan to create a sauce. I was highly impressed!

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Happy April everyone!

Instafriday!

There are still two hours left of Friday, so I am sneaking in an InstaFriday post just in time :)  Linking up with the lovely Jeannett at Life Rearranged to record some of my favorite moments from the past week (errr… two weeks… because I missed last Friday…)

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So, after the washing machine breaking, the shower shattering and my whole family having strep throat, I was ready for a break. Thanks to my parents and my wonderful neices, the hubs and I got to sneak away for two nights to Big Bear with one of  my husband’s best friends and his wife. It was my big gift to my husband for Christmas and was SUCH a needed break- we had so much fun! Snowboarding together also counted as date #2 out of 50 in 2013 (for more info on that, check out my last instafriday post).

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After a great day snowboarding, resting & reading, we had a tasty dinner to celebrate Sean’s 30th birthday

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Back home, our house decided to kick us down again. Plumbing issues. Like water coming from the ceilings in the bathroom and no toilets flushing issues. When my husband was out of town. And I was supposed to leave for the weekend in an hour. 9 hours later… the plumbers were gone, everything was fixed, and I was scrubbing crap off the walls with a toothbrush. Literally. So I definitely deserved these before falling into bed:

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These two sweet faces were so good that day- which helped me retain the ounce of sanity I had left.

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My husband is the sweetest and left me this note the other day:

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And after finishing reading Gone Girl today, I am extra thankful for my amazing husband. And that I’m not crazy. All good things.

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This kid got his first loose tooth last week. I got tears.

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We had our winter party last weekend. I’ll post more photos and details on Monday, but here is a sneak peak for now:

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Father-son carrom game. Melts me. And, yes, that is Isaiah’s favorite new shirt. (thanks grandma!)

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I got to recreate the suite from Hudson’s first birthday party for two customers. Such a fun set of banners, mini banners & cupcake toppers. One of the birthday boys even had the same name as my hudson! So random.

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Date #3/50 in 2013: a mellow, at home dinner after the kids were asleep (mainly due to the fact that my husband now had major bronchitis. a week after having strep throat. fun times). My hubby is an incredible cook- he can throw together a pasta like no one else I know. This was a bolognese sauce he made from scratch, including bacon, caramelized onions and aged balsamic. It was so good! After we had dinner, we sat around talking for the rest of the evening. Such a sweet quiet night together!

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I made the largest happy birthday banner I’ve ever made: over 18 feet long! It was a special order for the OC  mart mix’s anniversary celebration.

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Hey dude- no drinking & driving.

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Any time it rains, Isaiah requests hot chocolate. Even if it’s 80 degrees and just barely sprinkling. At his request, my husband made the best hot chocolate and whipped cream from scratch last night. Seriously the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Apparently, I should have just titled this post “let me tell you how rad my husband is”.

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And- with that- I’m off to bed. Trying to fight off the bronchitis mr amazing husband passed on to me :)

Happy weekend!

InstaFriday

Friday! Linking up with Life Rearranged’s InstaFriday.

 

My week started off with strep throat. Not fun. Moms aren’t supposed to get sick, right?

 

While I was napping, Isaiah drew me a picture and hid it next to my bed so it would cheer me up. I love that kiddo!

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I didn’t mind the trip to urgent care too much- it meant I got to lay down in silence for about an hour and read magazines. A sick mama’s spa day :)

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After a shot in the booty and lots of help and care from my awesome husband, I was on the mend by the end of the weekend. Adios strep!

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I was so happy to feel well enough to get off the couch and play with my boys. Isaiah and I made a rocket ship craft and we went out to the field by our house to fly it around.

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I made simple & delicious little peach crisps for the hubby & I to have after we put the kids to bed. So tasty!

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We had friends over for a BBQ and Star Wars soundtrack listening party. Our friend has this original soundtrack vinyl and they wanted their kids to hear because they are headed to the Hollywood bowl today to hear it live! (Awesome!) Hudson was SO into it! He is saying “whoa!” in this picture :)

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Every once in a while, I find an absolute gem in the Target $1 section. This week, it was these darling polka dot gable boxes. I love them!

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After the sick part of the week, our days got super fun! School, visits from both grandmas, Princess Bride movie night at Stone Brewery, back to school night and, yesterday, we went to the races!

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It was more fun than I thought it would be. Living so close to Del Mar, it made me feel like a real San Diegan :)

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Of course we had to wear some big hats. Holly borrowed hers from her son’s orthodontist (ha!) and it was all sorts of awesome.

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Happy weekend!

 

 

 

Our Summer Party

Every season, my husband and I throw a party to celebrate what we love about that time of year. We started our tradition 4 years ago and you can see past parties here, here and here.

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When the time came for this year’s summer party, we had just moved two weeks prior. I still had not found my tablecloths (in a box somewhere in the garage), had no idea where our good camera was, and had not touched my boxes of vases and decor. We wanted to still have the party, just in a more low-key way with minimal pressure on myself to make it creative and cute :)

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It turned out being super fun and relaxing. We decided to make it a housewarming party as well and had friends over for a BBQ at our new place. I didn’t take many pictures, but grabbed a couple with my phone.

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We had a hamburger bar, with caramelized onions, an amazing avocado and goat cheese spread my husband makes, heirloom tomatoes, along with the normal fixings. I made my family’s famous cheesy potatoes (my favorite side dish) and our friends brought some amazing side dishes and salads- all with a summery theme. We made frozen margaritas, mango sun tea and a refreshing watermelon cucumber cooler. I didn’t want to water the watermelon drink down, so I had the idea to freeze cubes of watermelon to put in. It worked great!

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For dessert, our friends brought mini fruit tarts, frozen chocolate coffee cheesecake bars and I made vanilla and pina colada sorbe (using this recipe). It was all delicious!

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This is a tradition my husband and I hope to continue for decades. It is such a highlight of every season for us. We already cannot wait for our fall party!

Pinterest Wins, part 2

A while back, I shared some of the recipes I had found on pinterest that were winners. I am back with some more pinterest  finds that were a hit in our house.

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For Hudson’s birthday, I used this recipe for a light and fluffy vanilla cake & vanilla frosting. It was delicious!

source: sweetapolita.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Crockpot balsamic & onion pot roast. Super easy & really tasty. I especially loved the onions. I threw in some fingerling potatoes that were left over from the night before (added to the crockpot during the last hour).

source: kaylnskitchen.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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The famed Baked brownie. I usually make boxed brownies. Yes- these were more work. Was it worth it? 100%. I usually don’t love brownies unless they are fresh out of the oven. These were even better the next day.

source: browneyedbaker.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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I’ve made two brussels sprouts recipes found on pinterest recently. The first was The Pioneer Woman’s brussels sprouts with balsamic & cranberries. Delicious.

source: thepioneerwoman.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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The second was a recipe from Chenin Boutwell for honey-roasted brussels sprouts. Easier than the balsamic sprouts and super tasty as well.

source: fudgebananaswirl.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Cheddar beer chicken tacos. Made in the crock pot- another easy & tasty recipe. I had pretty much everything on hand, which was awesome.

source: howsweetitis.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Smitten Kitchen’s buttermilk roast chicken. Some of the best chicken I’ve ever made. You’ve got to plan ahead because letting it marinade is key to the tenderness & flavor. It was SO good!

source: smittenkitchen.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta. So good. I used orecchiette pasta because trader joe’s did not have any shell pasta and it turned out great.

source: heatovento350 via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Goat cheese and rosemary mac and cheese with chicken. We are really loving all things goat cheese right now. This recipe included. My sauce was a little runny, so I’ll play around with the recipe a bit next time. Definitely not the most low-fat dish, but oh so good.

source: mybakingaddiction.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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I don’t make many casserole style meals because my husband is not a fan of most. I did try this recipe for a cheesy chicken and rice bake with corn and black beans though and he didn’t mind it :) A good kid-friendly, quick mid-week meal.

source: tastykitchen.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Last but not least, I made these peanut butter & chocolate bars for my bible study and they were really good. Really heavy, but good. Like a big, smooshed reeses.

source: onemoremoore via courtneytoney on pinterest

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Now I’m hungry.

 

my stomach is a fan of pinterest

For months, I resisted the urge to join pinterest. I knew it would be just one more thing to steal my time away from me.

 

I gave in. And I love it. (I’m Courtney Toney on pinterest if you want to follow me)

 

Yes, I often loose a half hour staring at crafty ideas, home prettiness or tasty recipes. So far, though, it’s been worth it. Mainly for the food.

 

I am not what you would call a great cook. I call myself a cook-in-progress. My husband? He’s an amazing cook. He can throw things together on a whim and it i always delicious. I need to follow a recipe. Closely.

 

In the past few weeks, I have made it a goal to cook recipes that I have pinned and had some good successes! I thought I’d share them today so that you can go check them out and loose hours to good old pinterest. You can click right to my pin of each by clicking on the photo.

 

First up, is the most simple, yet amazing chicken thighs.

source: bonappetit.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Fudge Banana Swirl, but forgot about it until I was reminded of it on pinterest. Seriously- it was amazingly tasty and SO SO easy! And thighs are pretty cheap so it’s cost effective as well. We had lots of left overs to make salads and sandwiches the next couple of days.

 

Next up, Quinoa with corn & scallions.

source: justataste.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

I had never made quinoa before, but have had a box sitting in our pantry for months. I did a little pinterest search and happened upon this little recipe. It was really really good. I was pleasantly surprised how much flavor it had and my husband loved it too. Again- lots of left overs.

 

These cheddar biscuits were delicious. Didn’t take too long to prep and I got to use my pastry blender which always makes me excited.

source: sitckaforkinit.blogspot.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

 

Simple Bite’s apple cider braised brisket is one of my most favorite dinners I have ever made.

source: simplebites.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

It takes a bit of time and you have to start cooking early, but it actually works really well for me to prep food when my boys nap around 2:00 and let it simmer on the stove for hours. Less craziness right before dinner and it was amazingly tender & flavorful.

 

I have been trying to use my crock pot more so that I can prep dinner during my baby’s morning nap. I’ve made a couple of really great soups lately and I love how they smell up the house all day long. One day last week, I didn’t have time to go to the store and had nothing planned for dinner. I found some frozen chicken in my freezer and remembered that I had pinned how to make bbq chicken in the crock pot from frozen chicken breasts.

source: stickaforkinit.blogspot.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

Was it amazing? No. Did it get the job done? Yes. A good thing to have for days when you are desperate. The cheddar biscuits above made up for the chicken’s lack of excitement.

 

I never thought I’d get so stoked about broccoli. This broccoli has been called “the best broccoli of your life” and I agree 100%. It’s delicious.

source: amateurgourmet.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

 I tend to steam my veggies and serve them as-is with a little salt. Boring. That will never cut it for broccoli again. Seriously delicious.

 

Another amazing side dish? These green beans wrapped in bacon and topped with a brown sugar topping. They were super yum.

source: justcookalready.com via courtneytoney on pinterest

That’s it for now! I’ve made a few other pinned recipes and have some more planned for this upcoming week, so I’ll be back next week to share some more.