Get. In. My. Belly #pregnancy cravings revealed!

I know that I have mentioned my cravings a few times, here and there, but when I got thinking about it...they're a wee bit manic.


There are times where I just have.to.have freshly baked pretzels, and will make them on a whim. There are other times, or stretches of weeks, where I want nothing by hard boiled eggs.

Then there are the weird ones, like the salami and swiss cheese craving that I had a few weeks ago. And the constant ones of fresh strawberries sprinkled with a little bit of sugar.

They are certainly all over the place, and a trip to the grocery store can sometimes look like this...


Kind of random, right? But what baby wants, baby wants! And usually, as soon as I satisfy a craving, it goes away. Every now and then when we are out grocery shopping, I will see something and just HAVE TO HAVE it, and I definitely have been known to text my husband while he is grocery shopping with super random requests for rootbeer floats, Cadbury creme eggs, pickles and MM's.

More often than not, I crave healthy things, primarily fruit like strawberries or peaches, and definitely my juice in the morning. 

Alot of the time, I feel like I am not myself. Pop (or soda...) is not something that I would typically have, but the amount of Dr. Pepper, rootbeer and cream soda consumed during this pregnancy has been super strange to me.The fresh juices are helping to curb that sweet craving, and water definitely helps as well.

Trying to stay healthy while having pregnancy cravings can be challenging. Again, the juices help, but so do things like cheese and eggs. Protein, especially in the latter part of second trimester and into third trimester, is super important for baby's development, so this is a craving that I happily indulge in!

First trimester was all about carbs, so to keep it healthy I opted for whole wheat english muffins with peanut butter or sugar free jam and that seemed to satisfy.

What did you crave while you were pregnant? Anything that made you think why in the heck do I want to eat that?!

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Delicious Easter Brunch Recipes

Hosting Easter brunch? Then you need to check out these delicious recipes!


As if the sheer sight of them wasn't enough to put them on your list, here they are in detail.

I made the two bite breakfast cups from the recipe at The Noshery for Easter a couple of years ago, and everyone loved them. The recipe looks a little daunting, but I assure you, it is actually quite easy! I baked my bacon in advance so it really was just assemble, bake and enjoy!

This recipe has been on my list for a while now. Flaky layers of crescent dough, cream cheese, cinnamon sugar. Sounds like heaven right? It's called Sopapilla Cheesecake and My Yellow Umbrella has a sinful recipe for it!

What is Easter without chocolate? This make ahead fudge recipe from Lemon & Chocolate produces a super smooth fudge that everyone will enjoy. Skip the store bought, foil wrapped eggs and let them indulge in this!

Baked brie is a staple when we host our family for a brunch or dinner. It's such an easy and versatile appetizer, and everyone loves it. Here's my recipe for Apple Brown Sugar Baked Brie.

And last but not least, muffins. Again, another versatile thing to have on your Easter buffet table, and also one that you can make in advance, and pop in the freezer until the day of your event. These ones are my Cheddar Rosemary Muffins. Just serve with some softened butter and enjoy!

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Aphrodisiac Recipes for #Valentines Day! #recipes #food

Today's lovey dovey Valentine recipe comes from Dawn, author at READ eat DEW write. You can connect with Dawn on her beautiful blog, or on Twitter!

My grandmother always advised me, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I was probably a little too young for her to add that getting through to his libido wouldn't hurt. Over the years, I've had fun (and success) preparing romantic meals, so this Valentine's Day, I decided to revisit a few of my favorite aphrodisiac recipes in hopes of helping you (and me) catch Sir (or Ms.) Valentine's attention.
aphrodesiac images copy
I can't locate my copy, but there is a fabulous book called Intercourses, which aside from having tastefully erotic photos, is full of interesting tidbits about foods classified as aphrodisiacs, and easy to prepare, delicious recipes. The recipes featured here are not in that book, but once you start to learn about the different aphrodisiac foods, you can play around and create your own tantalizing dishes. First, you have to lose the kids (or the roommate). And get to the market.
Note: The weekend during which I intended to prepare and photograph the complete menu shared here, Philadelphia was experiencing a power outage of historic proportions. All photos featured here were borrowed from the "free to share and use" Bing library.
Cocktail Hour... lemon-rosemary martini; figs with gorgonzola and pine nuts, warmed in the oven and drizzled with honey
For the martini:
Combine simple syrup and in a shaker with vodka or gin (2 oz. simple syrup to spirits). Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glasses. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a lemon twist. Optional: coat rims with sugar.
lemon rosemary martini
For the figs:
  • 2 whole, ripe figs, tops cut off to expose flesh & allow for cheese & pine nuts to be stuffed inside
  • small wedge of sharp gorgonzola cheese, softened
  • 1.5 tbsps. lightly toasted pine nuts
  • plain, lavender or orange-scented honey, for drizzling
  1. Press cheese and pine nuts into the top of each fig. Place in preheated oven (350°) and cook for about 10 minutes. The goal is to soften and warm the fig, and for the gorgonzola to melt inside and over the fig
  2. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately on a small plate with a tapas size fork. Or, get a little messy and devour with your hands (finger licking up to you).
 
The Main Attraction... lollipop lamb chops w/vanilla-balsamic drizzle; caramelized fennel w/arugula
*Lollipop chops are simply a cut up--and cleaned up--rack of lamb. For two people, plan on 4-6 chops.
**The "drizzle" is made by steeping balsamic vinegar with an open vanilla bean. Since it's delicious on other foods as well (including vanilla ice cream) start with a ratio of one vanilla bean to 1.5 cups of balsamic. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Easy. Peasy.
For the chops:
  • Lightly dredge chops in a salt-pepper-flour mix. (I use Wegmans' gluten-free pan-searing flour.)
  • Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high until almost smoking
  • Sauté chops 1-2 minutes per side
  • Either plate chops and drizzle vanilla-balsamic glaze over each, or drop about 1.5 tbsps. of glaze onto each plate and place chops on top.
  For the caramelized fennel & arugula salad fennel 1 large fennel bulb 1/8 cup olive oil Kosher salt black pepper 1/4 lemon
  1. Cut the top and bottom from the fennel bulbs; remove tough or bruised outer layers
  2. Slice bulbs in half and remove the cores from the fennel. Cut the fennel lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
  3. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and fennel slices
  4. Spread the fennel out in the pan to encourage browning
  5. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping the fennel slices every few minutes, until golden brown
  6. Remove the fennel from the pan and place on paper towels to soak up any excess oil; season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice
  7. Place a handful of arugula on a plate and top with a generous spoonful of fennel. Pour just a touch of extra-virgin olive oil over top, along with a squeeze or two of lemon. For an over-the-top version, add a medallion of fried goat cheese and sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.
 
Dessert: Strawberries w/aged balsamic vinegar, black pepper & honey whipped cream
For those of you who like exact measurements, I am not always the girl to go to; I am generally an "eyeball it and taste it" cook, except when it comes to baking. For this recipe, I trust you'll do just fine playing around.
strawberries and balsamic
To start off, buy yourself some plump, juicy strawberries, and bring them to room temperature before you start dousing them with balsamic and pepper. Next, grab a couple of your prettiest cocktail glasses or dessert bowls and fill them with hulled, sliced strawberries. Be generous; you're going to like these.
Just before serving, cautiously pour about a tablespoonful of balsamic over the strawberries and toss to coat. Next up, grab your pepper grinder and generously shower the strawberries. (I like to do this in a separate bowl then scoop into my cocktail glasses.) Scoop the berries into your serving vessels, and top with a hearty dollop of honey whipped cream. For the ultimate dessert high, pull out a tawny port or smoky scotch. The pros might not recommend that, but it's a crazy good combination. As is this entire decadent meal...
Happy seducing...
red-heart-4

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Announcing TRISCUIT, the official #FlyDIY party sponsor!

You know you love them...the salty crunch of woven grains...so yummy when topped with a variety of cheese, proteins and other delicious goodies.


Well folks, Triscuit has come on board as the official sponsor of FlyDIY!!

What will you find at the party this Friday at the Sheraton Chicago? A lovely spread of Triscuit canapes including these delicious pepper jack corn salsa ones!

And these ones. But you best be staying away from them, because I.Want.Them.All!


Make sure you stop by the Triscuit station before getting crafty!

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Food&Wine Friday: Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon

Taking a queue from my Hubs' favourite wine, the Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon, this week. Just check out this label!



It's super simple, being in black and white, but what I find really inspiring are the vines and tendrils in the centre diamond graphic.

I absolutely love working tendrils into my pieces, especially the sculpted rings.

Be they abstract with a tendril or two on top for a three-dimensional effect....


or a sculpted flower with tendrils coming in and out of it, like it was intertwined in a flowering bush...



I find that it really makes a piece, or wine bottle, come to life!

Food&Wine Friday: Creamy Brie Cheese

While definitely not a cheese that screams summer with its melty, gooey goodness, there's something to be said for the colour and texture of a good brie cheese.


It's almost a rustic white on the outside rind...as if someone has tried to scrape it off. It reminds me of chalk...which takes me to a place of burlap, chalkboards, hay bales....a rustic vintage glam wedding.

When I see the brie pictured above, I see a rustic cheese board lined up with artisan breads, red wines and brie wheels...just waiting for wedding guests to dive in during the cocktail hour.

I also see a gorgeous wedding gown with a lace overlay....a sculpted dahlia in the brides hair...her bridesmaids with matching dahlia rings...


Layers and layers of delicate petals come together to create it, similar to the layers and layers of heavenly cream that come together to create a beautiful wheel of brie. What could be better at your rustic wedding...not many things, I tell ya...not many things.


SWH4T$: Apple Cheddar Honey Pinwheels

Are you drooling yet? Well...you should be, because these are some of the most delicious appetizers that I've created in a long time and what's even better...you can make a tonne of them on the cheap!





Ingredients:

Crescent rolls
Apples - chopped {I left the skins on}
Shredded aged white cheddar cheese

How To:

Crack the seal of your crescent rolls, and unroll the dough so you have 4 rectangles {basically two triangles, squish the seam together, and voila! rectangle!}.

Fill the rectangles with chopped apples and lots of shredded aged white cheddar cheese.

Roll up tightly and slice. Each rectangle will make approximately 4-8 slices depending on how tight you roll and how full you fill!

Bake as per the package instructions, then cool slightly.

Once you've transferred onto a platter, drizzle with local honey....ah-mazing!

It's a little take on my favourite dish from the Hunt Club...an upside down apple tart with aged white cheddar, local honey and proscuitto {add that to your mixture above...delish!}, but costs a fraction of the price!

Enjoy!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday: Minnie Mouse Party

Another party that I've had the pleasure working on this year is a Minnie Mouse themed party.


Super cute banner for Miss N. I especially love the orange polka dot ribbon!



Handcut Minnie garlands!


Now, obviously it's super fun for me to make all of the decorations....but what is even more fun is to talk to the Mama's during their party planning process and talk about all of the other elements going on with the party.

Set up
Activities
Food
Loot Bags

It all plays a part in making your party perfect.

In this case, I talked to Miss N's sweet Mama about the food. what goes with Minnie Mouse?

BOWS!

BOW-tie pasta
Polka Dot salad (everything cut in circles)
Pink Lemonade

Cute, right? I absolutely cannot wait to see how the party comes together!

SWH4T$: Easy Toddler Breakfast

Happy Thursday, mamas!! Last week I discovered a recipe that will please even the finickiest of eaters...and I'm SO excited to share it with you today!

It's so easy to link up, here's how:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".


3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!



SWH4T


Easy Toddler Breakfast

Today's post isn't so much about saving money and time (though this is a super frugal and fast breakfast to make any day of the week) as it is about saving your sanity.

Like most other 20month olds, my son has become a veggie-free-zone. Put steamed or roasted veggies on his tray and he looks at you like you have three heads.

Put berries, carrots or bananas in pancakes, and he's your man! He'll gobble it up! Well...until recently when even that form of trickery stopped working.

Then I found this recipe on Pinterest...and man oh man!



What you need:
1/4 cup oatmeal (recipe calls for instant oats, but I used rolled oats)
1 egg
a small handful of whatever fruit you'd like to add in...or veggies! That'd work too! I used blackberries and raspberries

Mix everything together in a microwave safe coffee mug, then microwave on medium high for 1 minute. If it's not firm enough and the egg is still runny, put it back in for 30 seconds.

Chop into big chunks and serve warm!

Saving time, money and your sanity...one toddler breakfast at a time!


Link up with us!






Mompreneur Monday: The HopeFULL Company

I am absolutely thrilled about our Mompreneur team today!! They are a dynamic duo of moms, who are bringing a message of hope...and full bellies...into the world!

Meet Jessica and Stephanie, sisters and owners of the HopeFULL Company. They have created the cutest ways to help kids eat more whole foods with the idea of eat happily ever after.

What do you do?

We are both mothers to two young children and we're on a mission to help kids eat more whole foods!
Lately we've been busy launching our newest product, The BellyFULL Kit, which helps parents make nutritious and delicious frozen whole food pops at home with their kids.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Get up before the kids do! It's not always easy getting up early, but those extra couple of hours before the kids get up really helps us get ahead.

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

Finding balance is always a challenge. We love our work, so sometimes it's hard to turn off the computer or take a day off! We make a point to schedule time for ourselves, and we make quality time with our families a priority - time where we are present and enjoying the moment.

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Be patient - it doesn't happen over night! We've also learned that just like parenthood, it takes a village. There are many wonderful resources out there for women entrepreneurs. Legal Corps, Women Venture, SCORE to name a few. Reach out, network and make connections. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride!


Is there anything additional that you'd like to share?

We'd love to offer a BellyFULL Kit giveaway to one random new "liker" on our Facebook Page! Just head to https://www.facebook.com/thehopefullcompany, "like us" and post "Sweet Stella's sent me!" to qualify!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday: Carrot...Fries??

Yes, you read it right! Carrot FRIES!

My son absolutely adores Sweet Potato Fries, and would eat them all day long if they were offered.

So I figured...why not make fries out of another vegetable, say carrots?



They look just like sweet potato fries!

I julienned the carrots, then coated them with canola oil, corn meal, and some spices (I used nutmeg and ginger for these ones) and then baked them for 20 minutes at 425F.

Now..the verdict on these is still out. My son did not like them, but I will definitely try them again, but mix them with some sweet potatoes to maybe pull the wool over his eyes. I will also try them with oregano, basil and rosemary next time!

Fabulous Finds Friday: Sugar and Spice Popcorn

Last week, I was chatting with my friend Libby from Elf Family Blog, and she mentioned sugared popcorn.

Intrigued, I set off on a quest on Pinterest to find out what this potentially yummy concoction was. Clearly, yes I've heard of caramel corn, but sugared popcorn was new for me.

How freaking fabulous is this?!



And I don't even like popcorn!! However...this loveliness may change that!

You can find the recipe here!