Thursday, May 30, 2013


Original pin found here.
I made this dip for a Memorial Day party this weekend and it was a HUGE hit! So tasty and so easy to make. Let's get started shall we?

Alright, so, first things first, gather up all of your Ingredients! That includes:
  • 1 pound bacon - cooked, drained, and crumbled. {I used two 6 oz. pkgs of crispy turkey bacon; who says you can't get healthy-ish with this, right? Right.}
  • 2 {8 oz.} packages of cream cheese, softened. {Again, I used light cream cheese to kinda cut back on the fat.}
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • 2 cups shredded Fontina cheese. {I ended up just using 4 cups of mozzarella cheese because I had no idea where to find Fontina cheese.}
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream.
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise. {or miracle whip or greek yogurt, whatever your healthy -or unhealthy- heart desires.}
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.
  • salt & pepper to taste.
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped, seeded tomatoes.
  • 1 cup shredded Iceberg lettuce.
  • Your choice of dippers: Toasted bread rounds, crackers, or pita chips. {I used Green Giant Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt. YUM!}

Then follow the directions:
  • (1) Cook your bacon. This process could even be done the night before or sometime in advance, because it really is time consuming.
  • (2) Recruit back-up to help chop your lettuce and tomatoes while you cook the bacon.
  • (3) Realize you forgot to add 3 ingredients to your picture of all of the ingredients for this recipe.
  • Not pictured: Preheat oven to 350* and spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Also not pictured: Set aside 1/2 cup of crumbled bacon.
  • (4) In a large bowl, combine remaining bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, sour cream, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard.
  • (5) Stir it all up!
  • (6) Spoon into baking dish.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  • Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining 1/2 cup of crumbled bacon, and Iceberg lettuce over hot dip.
  • Serve immediately with your choice of dipping vessels.
  • Enjoy the best dip EVER. Seriously, the whole thing was gone between the Memorial Day party and taking leftovers to my parent's house for dinner that evening. So good.

Linking up today with Stephanie and Katie for Saw It, Pinned It, Did It!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Recap {it's a long one!}

 Warning: This post is going to be an overload of pictures, just so you know.

Alright, now that you've been forewarned, let's get this started! Why don't we have long weekends more often?! This three day weekend was awesome. Just awesome.

Friday Night:
We started off the weekend listening to some Christina Perri {A Thousand Years} and "walking down the aisle, with Easter eggs instead of flower petals." She is always talking about how she wants to get married. {Babygirl, Momma's gotta get hitched before you do!} But it sure is fun to watch her dream. Insert happy Momma sigh here.
Saturday Morning:
We set off bright and early for Papa Ron & GiGi's house to meet them for our Grand Adventure to NYC! {aka Peyton's first trip to the big apple!}

{A quick stop at the same Dunkin' Donuts we stopped at last August when we took my sister up to college.}

{Basically the only pictures I got of the city.}
And by "Grand Adventure" I mean, a total of an 8 hour drive to just spend 1 measly hour in the city packing up my sister's dorm room and hightailing it back out of there. Not my idea of a trip to the New York, but at least we got to go as well as pickup my sister so she's {FINALLY!} home for the summer.
{The many faces of Peyton.}
{Babygirl checking out the view from Aunt Nenna's dorm room.}

However, there is nothing {and I mean absolutely nothing} like coming home. The view from my parent's house never gets old. Never. Ps-the next two pictures of the view, are not edited at all! Gosh, I love where we live.

{just a quick photo with my love... wish he had 86'd the transition lenses for the photo op, though. silly guy.}
 Since we got home at a reasonable hour, the family then all went to Red Lobster for dinner. We stuffed our tummies with some delicious salmon, scallops & shrimp alfredo, chicken tortilla soup, and OF COURSE the Cheddar Bay Biscuits! I have a recipe for homemade CB biscuits and they just aren't nearly as good as the real thing... although, they're pretty dang delish!

Sunday Night:
Sunday morning I worked from 11:30 to 3:30 at "the Pier" {aka: Pier 1 Imports} and Peyton went to her Dad's for a family cookout. So, I went home, changed, and Nick and I made our way over to my parent's house to hang out. My Dad's nephew was visiting and whenever they get together, they end up shootin' guns off the back porch. {We live in the country, so it's not like they're shootin' it up with any neighbors close by.}
So, we joined in on the fun and drank some 'bock and shot a few rounds at some pie plates... We go hardcore. Obviously.

Then, my manager at Pier 1, Jen, was having a Memorial Day/Pier 1 get-together at her house that evening. The ladies I work with there are SO MUCH FUN. Seriously, so. much. fun. They're all beautiful and hilarious. I don't know why we don't party together more often.
I mean, they even took me out for my 21st birthday... who can say they've done that with their coworkers?! {Who, by the way, are all technically old enough that they could be my mothers.} But don't let their age fool you. They are the craziest and most fun group of ladies I know!
After leaving said super fun party, we picked Peyton up from her Dad's and all headed home to pass-the-fudge out. Thank goodness for having Monday off because that weekend was draining! {But worth it.}

Monday morning was spent cleaning/organizing Peyton's room. Lordy lordy, that took about 3 hours longer than it was supposed to -kinda like this post, right? Just neverending, so sorry! Anyways, we got it all put away and rearranged some furniture and voila! now you can actually walk around her room again! Haha. Then, I threw together a Pinterest-inspired BLT dip for the Memorial Day/Housewarming Party we were attending that afternoon.
Recipe to soon follow!
The party was for one of my YTI classmates, Katie, and her husband. They were married last May, moved into their new house this past February and are expecting their baby boy this August! So many exciting things happening for them. :) Another classmate of mine, Melissa, was there for the party as well. Loved catching up with them!
Also: I am insanely jealous of the massive amount of trees on Katie's property. So beautiful.

That evening we went on over to my parent's for steaks {and to enjoy their company, of course!}. I forgot to show you an up-close picture of Peyton's adorable Memorial Day dress... which is a dress we bought last year and haven't worn yet, haha. Luckily, it still fit this year.
Yes. I know. Weird combination of pictures, right? Let's just go with it. Okay? Ok.

Anywho, that was our weekend. Probably far more than you needed and/or wanted to know and see. But hey, I deserve a pat on the back glass of wine for finishing it all! Go me.

That my friends, is the longest Weekend Shennangins post in the history of ever.

Sami's Shenanigans

The end. Now, where's that wine...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Letters

Dear New York City- I can't wait to see you tomorrow! However, I can say that I'm NOT looking forward to lugging all of my sister's junk out of her dorm room and back into the same ginormous van we rented back in August when we took her up there. BUT! I really am so thrilled to be taking Peyton there for the first time! I wonder what she will think of the city, the buildings, all of the people, and all of the traffic... I can't wait. {sidenote: Dear Sister- YOU FINALLY COME HOME TOMORROW! yay. yay. yay!}
The day we dropped her off last August.
Dear Peyton- I am loving this stage of your life right now. You are so grown-up! You've become my little best friend who I can carry on a full-blown conversation with rather than just my little baby. I love you {to the moon and back}. Dear blog- I think you are in serious need of a new blog design, one that isn't just from the free templates section on Blogger. I'm working on that. Promise. Dear thunderstorms- You make me so very happy. I would be content to sit on the {covered} porch and listen to/watch you all day, everyday. Dear Friday- Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally being here! I am so over work-drama and can not wait to just be with family all day tomorrow {& it doesn't hurt that I have Monday off as well! Helloooooo three day weekend!} Dear Turks & Caicos- just a mere 40 days left until my family and I grace you with our presence! Hallelujah. I am wayyy overdue for a vacation.
My dad and sister have been to Turks & Caicos before. This is a picture from their trip {I can't recall when they went.} This is the EXACT beach we will be on when we go {we are staying at the same condo they stayed at when they went}. Peyton and I will be on this beach! In. 40. days. To say I'm beyond excited is a total understatement.

Dear anyone who read this- Thank you :) & I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, and fun-filled weekend!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

SPD: Crispy Ranch Chicken & Baked Asparagus

Monday night, I made this delicious Crispy Ranch Chicken via this pin
and my favorite and super simple way to make asparagus via this pin.
To make the chicken:
{sidenote: I tweaked the recipe from the original pin a wee bit!}
1. Gather all of your ingredients
- about 8 chicken tenderloins {or about 5-6 chicken breasts}
- 1 cup of Ranch dressing {I ended up doing about 2/3 cup of Ranch and 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt to try to cut down on all of that Ranch-y texture. Next time, I will likely make it with just Greek yogurt and a packet of Ranch dressing mix.}
- 1.5 cups plain bread crumbs
- 1.5 cups lightly crushed corn flakes
2. Set up an assembly line!
- in a wide bowl, pour in ranch dressing
- in a second wide bowl, combine bread crumbs and corn flakes
3. Procede with coating the chicken
- dip chicken evenly into ranch on both sides
- dip ranch covered chicken into dry mixture
- place on top of wire rack on baking sheet {this helps to get the chicken crispy on ALL sides!}
4. Bake at 350* for 35-45 mins
OR until chicken is tender and cooked through.
Now, to make the asparagus:
 {Two quick words: YUM. YUM.}
It's really rather simple.
Take the fresh/raw asparagus and season with:
-olive oil
-a sprinkling of parmesan cheese
-and {this time} I added toasted sunflower seeds.
Lay flat on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400* for about 8 minutes.
That's it!
Easy as asparagus pie, right?
You're welcome.
You can add whatever other side dishes you enjoy.
We chose some nice chunky applesauce {because we're still kids at heart, obviously}.
One more sidenote:
Doesn't it just kill you when you have a sink full of dirty dishes,
and you go to put them in the dishwasher...
only to find a dishwasher packed full of clean dishes that you have yet to put away?
 Luckily, I got it all taken care of quickly while the food was in the oven.
{& just in time to have to clean up all of the dirty dishes from the rest of dinner.}
Moral of story: I do not like doing dishes.
Linking up today with Stephanie {Katie's off vacationing!}, of course.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Favorite Photo.

The Blog Everyday In May challenge for the 17th was: A favorite photo of yourself and why.
Well, I'm a little late in posting, but {BUT!} only by a few minutes. So, it's no big deal, right? Right.
One of my favorite photos {since I can never narrow anything down to "just one"} is this one:
This particular photo is a personal favorite because... well, just look at it! 

I was either on my way to classes or coming back early, and my baby {yes, she was a baby then!} was giving me some love. She nearly tumbled down the steps, she was just coming right for me.
I love her.
I love her hugs.
I love this picture.
I miss her being a baby.
She is growing up so fast. Too fast.
Before I know it, she'll be a teenager.
Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves here...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Something I Miss.

{Day 12 of the Blog Everyday In May Challenge:}
The something I am currently missing is a place. A place known as:

My Dad, Sister, Nick, and I all went there as my graduation-from-YTI present.
 {Fun fact:  we were actually there this time two years ago!}
 We spent countless hours snorkeling and immersing ourselves in the sea life as much as possible.
We spent one night being totally silly/crazy thanks to a very talented {as in got us drunk. fast.} bartender named Segi.
We soaked up the Caribbean Sun and had tan lines {oh, how I miss being tan}.
We ate delicious food.
We swam with and fed stingrays {from our hands!} at Stingray City.
We enjoyed every. single. minute.
To say we are long overdue for another vacation is a total understatement.
Thankfully, in no less than 52 days, we will all {including Peyton and my mom} be headed to Turks & Caicos for 10 whole days!!
I can not wait to take Peyton on the plane, to show her the clear blue waters, and to hopefully get her to do some snorkeling and see all of the beautiful fish under the sea!
It'll be even better than our Grand Cayman trip, I'm sure {and that's saying something!}.

Happy Mother's Day!

For Mother's Day, we celebrated yesterday with brunch:
 For eats there was:
 Pecan Praline French Toast, Southwestern Egg Casserole, bacon, sausage, and a fruit tart.
And of course, there was Mimosa Punch and Iced Coffee for drinking.
We all had marvelously stuffed tummies by the time the party was over and we just really enjoyed being able to spend the time together. Whenever my Aunt is involved, there's almost always a round or two of Catchphrase to be played. And I love it.
My cousin's little boy. He's getting so big!
My baby, Me, my Momma {GiGi}, my Grammy, and my Aunt.
 I hope that everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day today and that you each get at least a backrub or enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in peace this morning!
Much love to you and your little ones!
To my Momma:
 You are so amazing. Truly, you are. I can not thank you enough for always being there for me and for everything that you do for me, Jen, and Peyton. You are the most caring, selfless person I know and if anyone deserves breakfast in bed, a thousand foot rubs, and a bouquet of flowers {EVERYDAY, not just Mother's day} it's you.
Thank you for being the best Momma I could've ever hoped for. 
I love you to the moon and back.