June 24, 2016

27

Tuesday is my birthday!

Crazy how fast another year goes by, right? I feel like I was JUST turning 21 and now here I am, officially entering my late 20's! I can't complain though - life is awesome and I wouldn't change a thing. I have my family, friends, health, a beautiful home, and the best husband in the world. If this next year is half as good as this one has been, I'll be one happy camper!


On my birthday you will find me working, but this coming weekend you can find me doing all my favorite things: having a big breakfast, picking up fresh flowers, shopping at Marshall's and Home Goods, seeing my mom and sister, and having dinner with my husband. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend as well!

June 22, 2016

Pesto and Goat Cheese Bell Peppers

It has been so brutally hot here in Arizona. You know it is bad when the weatherman says "tomorrow is when the decent weather ends." Decent weather being a high of 106. Non-decent weather you ask? 117-120!

That being said, I do not want to make anything in the oven, on the stove, or blow dry my hair. It is just too hot and my poor AC bill is just crying.

So enter the grill! Sweet bell peppers and goat cheese were on sale so I got creative. My husband did say this dish is more of a side dish (instead of a dinner), but he really enjoyed it!

So maybe serve these with your brats and burgers for the fourth! That would be amazing!


Ingredients:

2 sweet bell peppers (orange, red, or yellow)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of pesto
4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese

Directions:


Combine in a bowl olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pesto.

Clean and chop bell peppers. Coat the bell peppers in bowl mixture.

Place the rest of the bowl mixture on the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Place bell peppers in skillet.

Grill on high (about 350-400 if using an oven) for 10 minutes. Then add cheese crumbles into bell pepper. Keep on grill for a couple more minutes until a little melted.

Serve immediately and enjoy!


What are some of your favorite summer sides?
How do you stay cool when it is unbearably hot out?

June 20, 2016

How to Make Your Grocery Store Flowers Last

Living in the desert, flowers are often few and far between. Therefore, often if I want any blooms in my home I need to go to the grocery store. When I do that, I have to grab bunches and head home and arrange them.

But sometimes you bring home the flowers from the grocery store and the flowers die one or two days after and it is really disappointing. My little sister is a really incredible at arranging flowers. I can dream to one day be as good as her. However, I can give some tips on how to extend the shelf life of fresh flowers.



Properly prepare the vase. 
Fill it with about four inches of cool to room-temperature water. If it comes with floral food (the small packet that occasionally comes with a bunch of flowers), take a moment to add it to the water.
Always cut the stems diagonal. This will give your stems more surface area to absorb the water and take in nutrition. If there are any thorns, don’t remove them.


Keep in a safe place. 
Put the finished arrangement in a cooler area, away from direct sunlight or gusts of air. Don’t forget about the water. Always make sure your fresh beautiful flowers have enough water. Change the water out every 24 to 48 hours. If leaves fall in, remove them immediately because those wilted leaves can put bacteria in the water.


Use household items to extend the flowers life. 
There are a couple of ways to extend the life of your flowers:

Drop a penny into the vase of water to keep your fresh bouquet looking its best. The copper’s acid acts as a natural antibacterial agent that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in flowers. 

Adding aspirin, soda, or sugar is a good way to combat the aging process in fresh plants. The sugar and soda provide nutrition and the aspirin increases the acidity
in the water, which will help the water fight against gravity to make its way from the bottom of the stem to the rest of the plant. 

Vinegar and alcohol can protect plants from mold and bacteria by keeping the water disinfected. If you are using a clear vase, use clear liquids like white vinegar, lemon-lime soda, or vodka.



What is your favorite bloom to have around the house? 
How do you make your floral arrangements last?

June 17, 2016

I Married Someone Like My Dad

Some people say you marry a man who reminds you of your own father. This isn't in any gross Freudian way and it is absolutely not a proven theory. Some people may marry the exact opposite.

I thought I did in some ways, but as I grew up with my husband, I realized I married someone like my dad. As most of you know, I met my husband when I was 16. 

They are patient.
They may roll their eyes and say funny things, but they ultimately take our nagging and our dramatics in stride. (Sorry mom, you know it!)

They are hardworking.
They will put in the hours needed to do it the right way the first time. Both are computer oriented engineers which means they are both very organized (in most things) and logic driven. Both work jobs to keep their families comfortable but also put in the time and work with their family. I appreciate their hard work!

They aren't wimpy about anything.
They aren't scared of bugs, love being outdoors, and can lift heavy things. They aren't worried about getting dirty and absolutely leave girly things like shopping to us girls.


They are chivalrous.
They will always open a door for you and put us girls first.

They clean up well.
I mean really...

They know when to say the right thing.
They aren't overly affectionate but they know when to be. They will say I love you at just the right moment, give you a hug when you need it most, and quite honestly I will never forget my dad's incredible speech at my wedding. It was perfect.

They love me.
I am their girl!


So thank you Dad for being an incredible role model and one with many qualities that a father should have. Whether I was conscious of it or not, you showed me what to look for in a man to marry. I think I did pretty good!


Happy Father's Day!

June 15, 2016

Fish Tacos

Once upon a time, Lauren didn't even eat fish. After my dad made me scallops and I started experimenting with them myself and eating shrimp.

My husband loves fish, therefore, I should start to make fish and learn to love more fish. Mahi Mahi was on sale so I bought it. Fish tacos just feel like a quintessential summer dish. Making them was super easy and I surprisingly gobbled it up! My husband loved them too!

So I guess I have learned that I should try new things in the kitchen outside of my comfort zone more often. My husband surprised me on our anniversary making salmon. I liked it too! It was soft (I did have to have him eat the part near the skin, it was a little less soft and I didn't like that texture.) But yeah, anyways, non-fish lovers, TRY THIS!


Ingredients:

1 (12 ounce) bag of mahi mahi
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of red chili powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
your favorite taco toppings such as cheese, lettuce, salsa, or guacamole
steamed corn tortillas

Directions:

Combine all the dry spices to create a rub for the mahi mahi. Coat all sides of the fish with the rub and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and add the fish fillets. Cook until opaque (it is hard to see) and firm to touch. This will be about 4 minutes each side.

Then use a fork to flake the fish. Then build your tacos and enjoy!


Do you have any foods you eat now that you never liked?
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