Friday, August 22, 2014

Date Night & Family Night Made Easy with Chili's® At Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chili's® At Home and Bellisio Foods, but all opinions on how delicious the meals were are 100% mine! 

When you have a busy schedule date nights aren't easy to plan, but thanks to Chili's® At Home frozen meals we can now enjoy one of our favorite restaurants without even leaving the kitchen! Well, I did have to go grocery shopping first, but I can do that without the hubby. 

I picked up two Chili's® At Home meals, one for us to enjoy during a romantic date night and another for all four of us to try (hoping our teens would like the choice I made!). If you have picky kids, no need to worry here...what's not to love about chicken and rice?! Plus they have plenty of other kid friendly options to choose from like Bacon Mac 'N' Cheese, Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce, Pepper Jack Mac 'N' Cheese, Nacho Potatoes with Beef & Bacon, and many more. 

Okay, enough about the kid friendly flavors, let's get back to date night! The big and bold flavors of the chicken fajita rice filled the air as soon as I opened the bag. It's actually one of Chili's® BOLDEST At Home meals to choose from according to the bold meter on the back of the package, and I totally agree! The aroma of the fajita sauce was so amazing I felt like I was sitting in Chili's® Restaurant while enjoying the comforts of home.

Chili's® fajitas are a favorite menu choice of mine and now I get to enjoy the bold taste of them at home without worrying about dressing up for date night...sorry honey! So, is your go to selection from Chili's® menu now available for you to enjoy during date night at home? Check their website and enjoy a coupon to use, then come back here to tell me about your favorite meal! 

Up next was the chicken bacon ranch frozen meal that we enjoyed together as a family (I cooked two meals in one week, go me!). I really love the variety of sizes and flavors Chili's® At Home has to choose from, plus a frozen meal with broccoli in it is on top of every mom's shopping list! 

The girls were really impressed with this meal, I may have loved the fact that it included broccoli but they loved that it had bacon in it! 

Date night was made easy thanks to Chili's At Home and so was family night, these are definitely frozen meals I'll buy again. You really can't go wrong with a one pot/pan meal...I know they're my favorite, how about you? 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chili's® At Home and Bellisio Foods, but all opinions on how delicious the meals were are 100% mine! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Zucchini Recipe Round Up...obsessed with this veggie much?!

As if you weren't tired of my zucchini posts already, today I have a zucchini recipe round up for you! You know you're obsessed with this awesome vegetable when your friends start tagging you in recipe posts they find on Facebook! Would you believe that we just received another large zucchini from our neighbor's garden...

Well another zucchini means more recipes to find, so that's why I thought it would be a good idea to put together a Zucchini Recipe Round Up...

I'm not sure if there are other recipes out there that can top the three I've tried already, but I'm willing to do a taste test! If you missed out on these great zucchini recipes I featured check them out at the links below...

Today I'm going to the sweet side again with zucchini and baking chocolate zucchini bread. This won't be my first time making bread, I've pretty much mastered banana bread, but it will be my first time making chocolate bread....with shredded zucchini! 

{Chocolate Zucchini Bread by Six Sisters' Stuff}

I was looking for a recipe that didn't call for too much and included ingredients I already have on hand. Fingers crossed that this turns out as good as it looks in Six Sisters' Stuff's photo! PS, I'm not using chocolate chips in my recipe since they tend to get too gooey in everything I bake! 

I really loved the baked zucchini fries, still one of my favorite ways to cook zucchini. But, another popular way of making them instead of going the "fry" way that I want to try is to cook them chip style...

{Zucchini Chips Four Ways by The Copper Collective}

These all look so good, I need to get some chipotle powder because that just sounds amazing. 

OK, if your mouth wasn't watering already, take a look at these...

My parents used to make stuffed peppers all the time, a recipe I have yet to try on my own. But perhaps I can make my own version of their stuffed peppers with zucchini! 

Well, now I have just seen it all; zucchini waffles...say what?! Yep, ZUCCHINI WAFFLES....

{Zucchini Waffles by The Law Student's Wife} 

I wonder if my husband would be interested in trying these....we do have a waffle maker! So far we've made banana and blueberry waffles, but I would love to try something more savory, then I won't feel so bad when we have waffles for dinner! 

Hmm, should I make the chocolate zucchini bread today or this delicious looking spiced zucchini cake...

{Spiced Zucchini Cake by My Baking Addiction

Fall is almost here and lately it feels like it already is here (it was 48 degrees at 7 am last Saturday!). Plus, did you hear that Starbucks is bringing out their Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier than planned for people who participate in their Twitter challenge! So, with Fall on the brain I am ready for this Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, who's with me?! 

Okay, I'm off to bake some zucchini goodness, I hope you enjoyed my zucchini recipe round up and stop back to let me know if you try any of these! 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waking Up with Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

From savory to sweet, zucchini isn't afraid to go in either direction! Now that I've cooked it both ways, could I tell you which style I prefer? Well, as long as the final results are tasty and edible, what's not to like...right?! I really enjoyed (more like devoured!) the baked zucchini fries and dipping sauce, but could also wake up to a cup of coffee and these delicious banana zucchini chocolate chip muffins any day! Zucchini muffins for breakfast then zucchini fries for lunch...hmm that might be too much zucchini, even for me! 

I know I promised you this recipe last week, but we're in the middle of downsizing and getting things ready for a garage sale, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging y'all! 

Are you guys ready for a serious confession here?! This was my very first time using a food processor....gasp! My mom bought it for us a few months ago, and while my husband has been using it to make shredded hash browns, I have been contemplating what to use it for. True Story! But, oh how I love using it now since shredding my zucchini, who wants to give me some food to process?! 

I searched on Pinterest for zucchini muffin recipes and saw many that were just chocolate chips and zucchini, but I was hoping to find something that was more interesting. That's when I spotted the name of this one from Peanut Butter and Peppers blog and fell in love! Okay, maybe not love...well, what's not to love about bananas, zucchini, and chocolate chips all rolled together into a muffin?! 

I'm not really sure what was going on with the shape of my muffins (okay, don't go there!), but little weird tops aside, the overall taste was amazing. I was impressed with how moist they turned out, no one likes a dry muffin! 

Our oven temp is a little kooky and likes to spike up in the middle of cooking, which may be the reason for the gooey looking chocolate chips. Next time around I may reduce the number of chips I put in the recipe so I can taste more banana and zucchini and not just melted chocolate. I know what you're thinking, "Did she just say less chocolate taste and more zucchini and banana?" You must think I'm crazy!

Stop by Peanut Butter and Peppers blog for this recipe and many more. She recently posted a baked pickle recipe, and here I thought zucchini was an interesting food to test out with fun recipes! 

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lunch Date with Baked Zucchini Fries and Dipping Sauce

I'm on a zucchini roll y'all! Last week I shared an on the whim ziti zucchini recipe I cooked up and mentioned a baked zucchini fries recipe from Inspired by Charm that I was hoping to try. Well, I didn't just pin this recipe and say, "Yeah, maybe one day", I actually made baked zucchini fries! PS, I posted them on my Instagram page and tagged Michael from Inspired by Charm...and he left me a comment!

I have to warn you first if you are thinking about making this recipe, the fries and dip are addicting! 

You first start off with your zucchini chopped into sticks. You want them to be thick enough to absorb the Panko mix after dipping them into the egg.

Michael recommends spraying your baking sheet with cooking spray, which I didn't but should have. I thought they would be okay since I was covering the cookie sheet with aluminum foil, wrong! Some of the fries stuck to the foil a bit, so if you cover your sheet with foil like I did make sure to spray the foil...lesson learned here folks!

The dip he included with his recipe is amazing, I couldn't get enough of it! If I didn't eat the entire plate by myself, with a few leftover for my husband to try, I bet I could have gotten my step-daughters to fall in love with zucchini as well. This zucchini recipe is a great way to introduce your kids to vegetables they haven't tried before, plus what kid wouldn't love green fries!? 

Stop by Inspired by Charm for the complete recipe and come back here on Friday for a banana zucchini chocolate chip muffin recipe from Peanut Butter and Peppers blog that I'm going to share with you!

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ziti with Chicken Sausage and Zucchini

 I was inspired to get creative with new recipes a few days ago when our neighbor gave us two large zucchinis from their garden. I enjoy eating zucchini, but have never actually cooked with it. Growing up, I loved the zucchini bread my mom made, a recipe I'll have to ask her for, and didn't mind eating zucchini when it was in a vegetable medley. I shared a photo of my zucchinis on Facebook and asked my friends if anyone had a favorite recipe to use them in. I couldn't believe the response...I have been missing out on the zucchini recipe craze!

Here are my zukes (as a friend on FB called them!)... 

A popular way of cooking zucchini is to just slice and cover with Parmesan cheese and crust them with Panko bread crumbs, like this baked "fry" recipe on Inspired by Charm. Looks and sounds amazing, right?! I plan on making them this weekend, I'm telling you my family is going to be sick of zucchini for a while after trying all of these recipes! 

I wanted to experiment first before getting all fancy, so I took a look in my cabinet to see what I had on hand. I was thinking pasta, but didn't want spaghetti. Luckily, I had an extra box of ziti that I purchased when I made my mom's baked ziti recipe two months ago! I planned on making the baked ziti again since everyone loved it, but never got around to it.

I also had three half packs of Aidells chicken sausage in the fridge (total of about 7-8 links); Mango, Italian Style with Mozzarella Cheese, and Habanero & Green Chile. We love cooking with these for any meal, even breakfast! The sausage links are fully-cooked, so you don't have to worry about under cooking them.

How delicious does the chicken sausage look? I love that you can see the mozzarella and other ingredients when you slice it. 
I sliced the zucchini in half, then started to cut the halves into quarters but thought they looked too small. I didn't slice up too much of the zucchini since I was only experimenting with this dish.

I'm not a food blogger, well really I blog about anything...but I'm not a "foodie", so I don't think about taking photos of my food until later on. That's why you're looking at an iPhone shot of my dish, still looks tasty right?! 

As you can see I added red tomato sauce to the recipe, we love Classico® brand whether it's red or white sauce. Then I topped the dish off with shredded mozzarella and dinner was served! 

When my neighbor offered us zucchini my husband said he wasn't a fan, but knew that I would enjoy cooking with it. Well, I may have changed his opinion with this recipe, he couldn't keep his fork out of the pot! 


  • 1 lb of Ziti (or pasta of choice)
  • zucchini (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 packages of fully-cooked chicken sausage 
  • dash of pepper
  • red tomato sauce
  • shredded mozzarella (for topping)


  • Cook pasta as directed in a very large pot.
  • Slice up zucchini and chicken sausage to your liking.
  • Add olive oil to a large sauce pan, warm to medium heat. 
  • Toss in your zucchini and dash them with pepper, then add in the sausage. (you may need to cook the sausage first then remove it to add in the zucchini if you don't have enough room.) Use the same pan to absorb the sausage flavor into the zucchini. 
  • In a medium sized sauce pot heat the red tomato sauce on low-medium heat. 
  • Drain your ziti and add heated sauce to the ziti pot. Then add in your cooked zucchini and chicken sausage. Mix well and plate. 
  • Top off your plate with shredded mozzarella and enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by today, would love to hear a few of your favorite zucchini recipes. 
Have a great day! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Am Still Here

 I Am Still Here. I am still breathing, moving, thinking, dreaming, and living. Every day may not go the way I want it to; they say that normal is boring...right, but I am still here. I wrote in multiple posts, here and here, that I wasn't going to sweat the small stuff. While I am trying not to sweat the small stuff, there have been a few not so small, sweat worthy things that I just can't help but feel down about the last few weeks.

It hasn't been easy, and although I have been feeling pretty lost and empty, I pushed myself to get up and exercise to my Jillian Michaels DVDs or take a bike ride. I could have chosen to sit still and fill my void with food, but I was determined not to do that. I have been doing enough stress eating this year and I am putting a stop to it. 

I Am Still Here.

Everyone battles some type of struggle at some point in their lives; weather it's the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, home, etc., and we all deal with these things in our own way. I am trying to take this stress and walk it out, ride it out, and exercise it out. Sometimes when days are really tough, I write it out. 

Today, I am pushing through and turning the page. I Am Still Here. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Five Things: Does Summer Have to End?

I'm still trying to find motivation and inspiration for new DIY post ideas, I just feel a little lost and unsure of what's next. My awesome Five Things link up co-host Tairalyn suggested that I might need to step back, take a break from the blog, maybe even give The World Around Her a little face lift, and then come back refreshed and ready to rock n' roll! 

So I think this might be my last Five Things link up post for a while, but that doesn't mean that you can't still link up with my girl, so be sure to stop by her blog Little Miss Mama while I'm on hiatus. 

1. Five Things link up is posted every Thursday at Midnight EST. Share any five things that are on your mind right now. Whether it's something you are obsessing with on Pinterest, a new and exciting event going on in your life, or even sharing five of your favorite books; it's totally up to you. 

2. Please put the Five Things button on the post you're sharing for the link up; sharing is caring, the more players involved the more fun we'll have.

3. Please follow both your hosts Diana from The World Around Her and Tairalyn from Little Miss Mama via Facebook {here and here} and/or Twitter {here and here}. As it’s not mandatory it is greatly appreciated.

4. If you tweet about your post or Instagram it, feel free to tag me or Tairalyn and use the hashtag, #FiveThingsParty

5. Check out the other bloggers who have linked up, show them some love and comment on at least one other bloggers link-up post.

Shall we get the party started...

1. Shorts and tank tops are my life right now! Oh and how amazing is the sand sculpture behind us? Atlantic City, NJ hosted the Sand Sculpting World Cup for the 2nd year in a row and my husband and I were lucky enough to enjoy it last year as well. This time we took my youngest daughter and her friend along for the trip. You never know if teens are going to be into something you like, but thankfully they loved it as much as we did!

2. Everyone one is talking about the Super Moon this week, myself included. And while I did capture a few great photos of it, it is not my favorite shot of the moon that I have in my collection. I just stumbled upon this incredible shot of the crescent moon I took from July 4th week when we were on vacation. Sometimes I take so many photos that I forget about the really cool ones until I finally upload them onto the computer! 

3. Unfortunately we didn't get to see fireworks on vacation because of Hurricane Arthur making the seas a bit too rough for Ocean City to set them off from the barge in the water. However, our local town did a pretty fine job with their own show the weekend after. I have to say, fireworks are one of my favorite parts about vacationing during July 4th week, when we don't see them it just doesn't feel right!

4. My Zinnias are in full bloom and I can't believe how much they have sprouted up. When we left for vacation they were only about 2-3 inches tall, and when we returned home they were about 8-10 inches if not taller! I'm so proud of my little garden; I don't do too well with potted plants, but give me a garden outside and I'll grow you a field of flowers! 

5. Have you ever tried a soft shelled crab? I LOVE THEM! My first experience eating one was in Maryland a few years ago and I have been hooked ever since. If you have never tried one, it's a must! You eat the entire crab, legs and all! The chips that came with the crab were really good as well, I had to push the plate away before I gobbled them all up! If you're ever in Ocean City, NJ you can find them at Ike's Famous Crabcakes on the boardwalk. 

So, do you think I should change the name of my blog or just the look? What are some things you would like to see in the design? What do you like best about my blog? 

Alright, now it's your turn to link up...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... it's easier said than done, right?! I mentioned in my last post that I wasn't going to let silly little things get to me, and that I wasn't going to sweat the small stuff any more. A mess in the kitchen made by someone else, don't sweat it. Silly drivers on the road doing crazy things, don't sweat it. A number on the scale you never thought you would see again, never wanted to see again... don't sweat it. Breathe, and move on. 

It was a pound here and there over my goal weight that I finally reached at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013. However, recently it has been more than a few pounds. I told myself I would not see that number when I turned 30 or ever again (I'm now 31!), so I purchased a few Jillian Michaels DVDs that my friend recommended and got to work. I was so proud of myself for sticking to it; I changed my eating habits and worked out at least 4 times a week in 2012 to 2013. You can read about the start of this journey here and here

At first I didn't sweat the few pounds I had gained, why let it bother me when I could still fit into the same sized clothing? I tried to promise myself that I wouldn't see that number again, but since about the end of last year I have stayed over it. I got tired of keeping up with the food journal and only kept up with my work out routine every other week.  But now after three weeks of not keeping up with my workout routine and eating like there is no tomorrow, my clothes are starting to feel a little snug. Oh, and these love handles...what's to love about them?! 

 I know, I know, we are not a number on a scale. But, when I see the number I know that I am not being healthy and therefore I am not happy with myself. The clothes may have fit, but I knew I wasn't eating healthy and I saw that my body was changing. My thighs were getting bigger and I could see that I was just losing the curves and shape I had worked so hard for two years ago. 

So, why am I not keeping up with it? Well I am a big time stress eater, which is why I'm trying to learn how  not to sweat the small stuff!! 

Big time, life changing stressful events happen and sometimes those things get the best of us (GOD knows I had a few of those at the end of last year)...but I can't keep worrying about the little things that I can't change. 

I'm not sure if I'll start with the food journal again, but I did start my workout routine again. Yesterday was Day 1...