Olive's Baked Potatoes

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When we made our move across the country, we stopped by my Great Aunt Ann’s house in Memphis, TN. She inherited all of my Great Grandmother’s recipe books and I was eager to have a look through them! The diamond from my engagement ring was passed down to me from my Great Grandmother so even though we never met, I feel a special connection to her. I couldn’t wait to read her recipes written in her own handwriting. I jotted down quite a few recipes before my hands gave out on me! Many of my Great Grandmother’s recipes came from her dear friend Olive. The recipe I am sharing today is courtesy of Olive! 

Baked Potatoes are a classic side dish that pair well with so many main dishes. These baked potatoes are changed just enough to make an impact while still retaining the classic flavors that will pair beautifully with a nice juicy steak or Thanksgiving dinner. 

Olive’s Baked Potatoes

8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 ½ Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
½ Teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place Breadcrumbs and Krazy Salt in a blender or food processor and process until very finely ground.
3. Peel potatoes then roll in melted butter.
4. Roll buttered potatoes in breadcrumbs and place in a well-buttered baking dish.
5. Cover baking dish with foil and cook for 60 – 70 minutes.
6. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, butter, or anything else you would load into a baked potato!


Hey! Guess What?!?!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Florida 2015 - Day 3 - Legoland

Sunday, March 29, 2015


I was very excited for us to visit Legoland! I might have even been a bit more excited about planning to go to Legoland than I was planning to go to Disney. (Have you tried to plan your first trip to Disney? Hello... Overwhelming!!!) . I really enjoy building Legos with my girls! So much so that Claire's birthday theme was Lego! Also, all 4 of us love the Lego movie, we watch it all the time and have yet to get sick of it! 

Legoland Florida has this great thing called Homeschool Mondays! Kids tickets are only $10 each and adult tickets are $25 each. That is an amazing deal and I am so thankful that we got to take advantage of that! 

Legoland also has this fun thing called Minifigure trading. Most of the employees around the park have minifigs on their name tags and they will trade with you! In preparation for that we made some necklaces for the girls to wear that would hold their minifigs! I let the girls pick out their favorite color 2x6 plate piece and then Brian drilled a hole in them, we attached jump rings, and then threaded them with some rainbow colored elastic cord. I chose the 2x6 size so that they could have 2 minifigs to trade with in case they fell in love with one right away I wanted them to have options. :) 

I made the girls Wyldstyle inspired shirts with my Silhouette machine! 

Our first ride was the carousel! We loved that the carousel was Lego horses! So cute! 

Then it was off to driving school! One of the great things about Legoland is that a lot of the rides are designed for kids to ride by themselves! Both girls loved that they were in control! I feel like it is so good for them to be able to experience things on their own and I really loved that aspect of Legoland! 

We got to meet Wyldstyle!! 

I used some scraps to make a Lego shirt for myself as well :). I couldn't be left out! 


All of the Lego statues around the park are so cool! Claire thought this was Belle :) 


Legoland has kept part of the botanical gardens from when the park was Cypress Gardens. Midday we took a little walk out there to check out the Banyan Tree! The HUGE Banyan tree behind us was planted as a seedling in 1939. The massive size was breathtaking in person! 

Legoland's hours on the day that we went were 10-5 so by the end of the day we were rushing to squeeze everything in! 

Since Mommy likes Lego it was pretty easy for the girls to convince me to pick up some Legos to bring home with us!  
Sweet Claire was really excited to see the bathrooms because she thought the toilets would be made out of Lego! haha!  

Here are the Minifigs that Kenley ended up with! 

Our only complaint about Legoland was that the employees were not efficient about loading and unloading the rides. It was very time consuming to wait for an employee to lock your seatbelt before the ride, then come check it, then after the ride come to unlock your seat belt... even on smaller rides. The carousel was especially time consuming. I'm all for safety but this was a bit much. I think that if they had at least 2 employees per ride this would be alleviated a ton! That way 1 person could control the ride while the other person did all the seat belt checks and that kind of stuff! 

Also we would have LOVED more time!! 5pm came MUCH too quickly!! 

Some things we LOVED at Legoland:
  • The Legends of Chima water ride! It SOAKED us! It was a hot day so that was really welcome!
  • Kenley loved all of the rides even though she is our thrill ride seeker! Claire was too short for 2 rides so Kenley got to ride the big ones twice in a row. She loved that! Their child swap system was better than at Disney! 
  • Claire is our hesitant ride rider but she liked the dragon roller coaster! She was even telling me about it today! There was no one in line behind us so we got to ride it twice in a row!! 
  • The kids could ride lots of rides by themselves! 
  • The wait lines had kid waiting areas with Duplo tables for the kids to build with while their parents waited in line.... GENIUS! 
  • Lots of Legos for sale! There is a whole store dedicated to clearance Lego and one to pick-a-brick! 
  • Minifigure trading! You probably aren't going to come away with the minifigure of your dreams but this was a super fun aspect for the girls! (Even if the minifigs aren't what I would have chosen) Claire brought home a Lego with a cowboy hat, bomber jacket, and a peg leg and she couldn't be happier with it! 
  • Claire also loved the Beetle Bounce :) She actually enjoyed all of the rides! Legoland really is the perfect park to take small children to! 
I can't wait to start planning a trip to Legoland California!! 

Cream Cheese Filled Dates

Friday, March 27, 2015

I'm kind of obsessed with dates... Both the out with the husband kind and the fruit kind. :) 

Today I am going to be talking about the fruity kind! Dates are definitely not the most appetizing looking of all the foods. Let’s be honest, they resemble cockroaches! Despite their undesirable exteriors, dates are sweet and taste similar to brown sugar. This little snack is great at providing that quick energy burst that I so often need in the afternoons! I love that I can make a whole plate full to share with friends or I can quickly just make one for myself! 

Give this little snack a try! 
Quick Snack Idea: Cream Cheese filled Dates

Medjool Dates
Light Whipped Cream Cheese (about 1 teaspoon per date)

1. Slice date down the middle on one side and remove the pit.
2. Fill empty space in date with desired amount of cream cheese.
3. Serve and enjoy.

I also like to fill dates with sunflower seed butter, almond butter, and/or
cinnamon ghee... Pretty much anything can be stuffed in a date and taste good!

English Muffin French Toast

Do you ever get a recipe or craft idea stuck in your head and you just can’t stop thinking about it until you have gone to the store, bought the supplies, and then accomplished that task? This happened to me the other day while I was browsing Pinterest. (Doesn’t it always happen after browsing Pinterest?!?) This time it was English Muffin French Toast. I love all things breakfast-y so this looked like something I would love! Swapping out the typical bread for English muffins adds a new delicious twist to French toast that is sure to make it a regular at your breakfast table!

English Muffin French Toast
Inspired by this recipe on The Kitchn

8 English Muffins, split
4 Eggs
¼ cup Milk
¼ cup Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, divided
Berries, Powdered Sugar, and Maple Syrup for garnish

1. Turn oven on to 200 degrees. Add a sheet pan to the oven and allow to preheat while you cook the French toast.
2. Add 2 Tablespoons coconut oil to the bottom of a large cast iron pot or pan placed over medium low heat.
3. Add eggs, milk, orange juice, vanilla, and cinnamon to a blender and pulse until well combined.
4. Pour egg mixture into a 8x8 or similar glass dish and dip each English muffin half for about 1 minute per side.
5. Cook soaked English muffins in coconut oil until golden brown on each side. I had to add another 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to my pan halfway through cooking the English Muffins. Once each English muffin has cooked through, immediately transfer it to the sheet pan in the oven so that the they will all stay warm until it is time to serve.
6. Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, fresh berries, and warm maple syrup


Florida 2015 - Day 2 - Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I don't have many pictures from our first day at Magic Kingdom because it was pouring down rain so the only pictures I have are the character and ride ones. We decided to purchase the Memory Maker package from Disney which is pricey but you get every picture that is taken of you! It was totally worth it for our first trip and I am still so glad that we did it! 

Even though it was pouring rain all day and we were soaked to the bone it was actually a great day to be at Magic Kingdom because there were basically no lines!! It was great we could practically just walk on to most rides! 

The girls first view of the castle! 

The first character we met was Pluto! 

Tinker Belle was the sweetest! I usually don't put the girls names on shirts for them because I worry that a stranger could call their name and they would come... but having their names on their shirts at Disney was amazing! I wish I would have put their names on all of the shirts that I made! The girls really thought that Tinker Belle knew their names when she said "Nice to see you Kenley! Hello Claire"! Priceless! 

Brian kind of looks like a giant :) 

Next we saw Chip & Dale! 

We brought a white photo mat and a bunch of Sharpies to have the characters sign for us! 

Then we walked past Splash Mountain and saw that it was only a 5 minute wait so we had to go!! So... Splash Mountain was the first ride we went on! Kenley loved it! Claire not so much... even though we probably rode it 5 more times throughout the trip :)

We actually waiting in line the longest that day to meet Ariel.. 

We ate lunch at the super yummy Be Our Guest restaurant! It was actually a lot more affordable than we were expecting and the food was super yummy! 

After lunch we met Cinderella... 

Kenley was so shy with the characters... 

Meeting Rapunzel...

Claire was not shy at all! She chatted up a storm with each character! 

The Buzz Lightyear ride... 

 (all the ones with the girls and Brian the girls faces are blocked by their guns)

The most hilarious thing happened while we were in line for this ride! Claire was a little nervous to go on rides since we started her out on such a big one. So I told the girls that this wasn't a ride with drops but that where we would use guns to shoot bad guys... Then Claire said SUPER loud... "Daddy did you bring your gun?" hahahaha! Then we had a conversation about it not being that kind of gun. haha! 

We rode almost all of Magic Kingdoms rides and then called it a day a little early since we were all soaked and cold! Even though it was rainy it was still a magical day :) 

Quinoa Berry Salad

Have you tried quinoa yet? Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is often touted as a super food and for good reason, it is a complete protein meaning that in and of itself it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. 

Best of all quinoa is very tasty! The texture is similar to rice so I like to swap it out for rice any chance I get! Quinoa has a fairly neutral flavor so when I prepare it to serve with savory dishes I like to cook the quinoa in chicken broth rather than water to boost the flavor. Today, I want to share a sweet way to enjoy quinoa! 

Quinoa Berry Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup apple juice
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup blackberries
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette (I used Trader Joe’s)

1. Rinse quinoa well. I like to put my quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse it under the faucet until the water runs clear.
2. Combine quinoa, apple juice, and water in a medium saucepan.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
4. Fluff quinoa with a fork and place in refrigerator until chilled.
5. Combine strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, almonds, and coconut in a bowl. Gently stir mixture into the quinoa.
6. Drizzle vinaigrette onto quinoa and stir until combined.
7. Serve room temperature or chilled.


Ranch Dip Mix

Monday, March 23, 2015

This warm weather has me craving raw veggies and what goes better with raw veggies than ranch dip? The first 3 ingredients in Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix are maltodextrin, salt, and MSG. Not exactly ingredients that I want my family to top their vegetables with! My Ranch Dip Mix contains all whole food ingredients and it takes just a few minutes to whip up a batch of mix that will yield 9 cups of Ranch Dip! 

Ranch Dip Mix

¼ cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
¼ cup Dried Parsley Flakes
2 teaspoons Dried Dill
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Dried Basil
½ teaspoon Black Pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse mixture into a fine powder.
2. Store mixture in an airtight container.

To prepare Ranch Dip:
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Ranch Dip Mix
1 tablespoon Mayonnaise  (Optional)
Salt to taste

Refrigerate until ready to serve! This dip gets better with time. I like to prepare it at least an hour in advance of serving time.


Avocado Chicken Salad

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I have a great recipe to add to your lunch rotation today! Avocado Chicken Salad! Not only do I love avocados because of how they taste, I also love avocados because of their many health benefits! Avocados are high in the good fats that we need for our hair and skin, they are high in fiber, and they are rich in B, K, and E Vitamins! You know that I am often doing Whole30s, which are all about eating protein, vegetables, and good fats all at each meal. With this Avocado Chicken Salad, I have all those bases covered and it is delicious! It is so hard to tell that I swapped the mayonnaise out for avocado! Even my chicken salad and avocado hating husband told me that he really liked this dish and would gladly eat it anytime! 

Avocado Chicken Salad

1 lb cold cooked chicken
1 ½ medium avocados
½ cup chopped raw pecans
½ cup diced celery
½ cup quartered red grapes
½ cup quartered green grapes
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste
Spinach for serving

1. Add cold chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn to the slowest setting and let chicken shred into desired size pieces.
2. While continuing to mix, add avocado to the bowl.
3. Once the avocado and chicken are well mixed, gently stir in pecans, celery, grapes, and pomegranate seeds.
4. Season with lots of salt and pepper.
5. Serve on a bed of spinach.

Strawberry Blossoms

Friday, March 20, 2015

Do you need a last minute dessert idea? Try these Strawberry Blossoms! My Mom has been making variations of these Strawberry Blossoms for as long as I can remember. I have simplified my Mom’s recipe by using ready to eat cheesecake filling. It makes this dessert a cinch to throw together at the last minute! 

Strawberry Blossoms

Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling

Pastry Bag fitted with Star Tip

1. Remove green tops from strawberries.
2. Slice strawberries in half lengthwise.
3. Fill pastry bag with cheesecake filling.
4. Pipe cheesecake filling onto strawberry halves.
5. Serve right away of chill until ready to serve


Tooth #4!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

 Once again Mommy pulled it out :)

I've mentioned it before but growing up my tooth fairy left origami money for us so now the girl's tooth fairy is carrying on the tradition :) 

Tooth #1 was a glitter dollar
Tooth #2 was a ring dollar
Tooth #3 was a heart dollar
Tooth #4 is a peacock dollar! 
Though it kind of looks like a turkey :) 

Florida 2015 - Day 1

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time for some trip recaps! We left for Florida on a Thursday right after CC and drove all the way down to Florida. After a Dunkin Donuts stop and a long wait for dinner at Ruby Tuesday, we finally arrived around 1:30 AM. Since we knew we would be getting in late we decided to have Friday be a non park day. 

We headed to Downtown Disney for lunch at the TRex restaurant! It's pretty much concept the same as the Rainforest Cafe except with Dinosaurs. The girls really liked seeing all the "electricity" dinosaurs! 

After lunch we headed over to the Lego store and took some pictures with the giant Lego statutes and then the girls just played with all the Legos until Brian and I got bored. :) (The girls would have played for hours and hours!) 

We did some more window shopping...

The girls had been so sweet so Brian decided to reward them with cotton candy :) We also got them some Mickey cake pops because they were just so cute! Luckily for me Claire was only interested in the cotton candy so I got to eat hers! :) 

Then it was back to the hotel to get an early bedtime so that we could be ready for Disney World bright and early!