Our Mini Family

Jul 3, 2015

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 26

Happy 4th of July weekend! 

And happy Friday! It's a bit weird to be starting the linky party a day early, but it's totally for all the right reasons! I know that Adam and I will probably be celebrating all weekend long, so I can imagine that you all will have plans at some point throughout this weekend too; I wanted to be considerate of that and hopefully we can still party together this week since I'm doing it a bit early :-)

I'm so excited to see your posts from this week! I shared a few updates on the blog this week, but my favorite was for the fried macaroni and cheese bites hands down! They are so tasty!! If you like mac and cheese I definitely suggest you check it out, and maybe even pin it!


Check out this week's features and link up to join our party! 

Jul 2, 2015

No Bun, Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burger

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#GrillWithATwist #CollectiveBias

July is here, and we're well into the summer grilling season! For most of us, grilling season is filled with yummy hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, sausages, and any other kind of meat you can think of. But it's important if you're hosting a grilling get-together that you keep your guests' dietary needs in mind, too. Veggie cuisine doesn't have to be boring or difficult to accommodate. Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a no bun, roasted garlic and quinoa burger--a solution for guests who prefer veggie burgers and don't eat bread.


One of my closest friends, who prefers veggie cuisine, says it's hard for her to enjoy the summer BBQ season mostly because hosts often neglect her dietary concerns. When she told me this, it made me really sad and I promised her I'd come up with a fun, delicious meatless grilling recipe for her and her friends to try out at upcoming BBQ and grilling parties.

Jul 1, 2015

How Arizona Became My Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias

Do you remember knowing with absolute certainty where you wanted to live when you were 18? Well, I did. And I am so thankful that I realized very early in my life where I am happiest. As I sit here by the pool drinking my morning cup of tea, I can't help but think about my journey to Arizona.



Growing up in Massachusetts, I was exposed to some seriously extreme weather. Between the frigid winters filled with inches upon inches of snow, to the beyond humid summer heat that felt like Mother Nature's sauna, I knew that weather didn't have to be this miserable. I remember growing up and reading novels that took place in Arizona; I always imagined myself standing in the Arizona desert with the sun warming my face, and the dry air feeling like a comfy blanket wrapped around me. Junior year of high school, I had to start considering where I wanted to go to college and I already knew that Arizona State University was on my list. When my mom and I traveled to Phoenix for the first time when I was 17, I remember tears filling my eyes as the plane landed at Sky Harbor Airport. I was home.

Jun 29, 2015

Fried Macaroni and Cheese Bites

Another weekend is gone and another Monday is knocking at the front door. 

I'm in denial. I feel like I should still be in bed and sleeping in until it's time for brunch. But alas, it's back to work we go since Monday is here. And today, I'm sharing a comfort food that makes even Mondays look good: fried macaroni and cheese bites!


Adam bought me this awesome deep fryer (affiliate link) last week, and ever since I got my hands on it I've been experimenting and concocting some stellar recipes. Today I'm sharing my fried macaroni and cheese bites--they are soooo good, and if you ask me they're totally worth the calories!

Jun 27, 2015

Carnitas & Strawberries Salad with a Chocolate Olive Oil Drizzle

Special thanks to Del Real Foods for providing me with free ingredients for this recipe.

I know what you're probably thinking--carnitas, strawberries, AND chocolate? But trust me. It's not as much of an overpowering flavor pairing as you'd think. Chocolate olive oil can be used in many ways besides desserts--think of this recipe as one step closer to adventure from your standard balsamic; it's sweet and savory, but it's got a little kick to it to make it memorable.


Carnitas are a incredibly diverse ingredient if you can think outside of the box. Me personally, I love having them with something a little sweet (i.e. strawberries with just a hint of chocolate flavoring). The Del Real Food Carnitas were perfect to work with, since I could just throw them in the microwave.

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 25

Good morning and happy Saturday! I hope you're all having a great morning so far!


**Just a quick head's up** We'll be opening up the party early next week, since I know many of you probably have 4th of July plans! Yay! We'll have the linky party next week starting on Friday at 6am PST, and run through Wednesday at midnight like it normally does.

Speaking of which, I got to embrace my love of DIY projects like many of you do, and I worked on a patriotic home decor item! What do you think? I was so pleased when DecoArt provided me with free paint supplies so I could paint my 4th of July flower vase--I hadn't realized I didn't have many red white and blue decorations until this month!




And speaking of 4th of July!
Check out this week's features and link up to join our party! 

Jun 25, 2015

30 Minute Asian Wonton Soup

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EverydayEffortless #CollectiveBias

I have a confession to make, y'all: I like eating soup even if it's 100 degrees outside. Yes, it's true. I have to say, it feels good that I was able to get that off my chest because I've been dying to share my 30 Minute Asian Wonton Soup recipe with all of you! It is very easy and convenient to make--which is great for busy individuals like myself.


Most of the time, when I want to make soup, I stop myself because I know just how long it can take to get a great tasting soup. Some recipes I've tried take hours in the crock pot, and really I don't have time for that these days! I'm incredibly busy, so if I have a hankering for some soup, I make this recipe with Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets and Birds Eye Protein Blends

Jun 24, 2015

Refrigerator and Freezer Cleaning Checklist

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RealLifeClean #CollectiveBias

Every week or so, usually right before I go on a big trip to the grocery store, I like to clean out my refrigerator and freezer. Keeping the place where I store my foods clean is not only appealing, but it's also important to keep my meals from ever being contaminated. Today, I'm sharing my very own refrigerator and freezer cleaning routine with all of you, and I've made my cleaning checklist available for download!


Jun 23, 2015

DIY Fourth of July Painted Flower Vase

Special thanks to DecoArt for providing me with free paint for this DIY project! 

Fourth of July is sneaking up on us really quickly! June is nearly over--Father's Day was this past Sunday, and pretty soon it will be time to celebrate Independence Day. And that's when it occurred to me that I should start decorating our place with some red white and blue! 


I had this flower vase lying around and hadn't started any projects with it yet. I remember finding it outside the garbage area at our apartment complex and thinking, "now why would anyone throw this away?" I checked it to see if there were any cracks--filled it with water and no leaks! Such a waste. But alas, I adopted this lonely flower base and gave it some life this past weekend when I painted it with some fireworks!

Jun 22, 2015

Spicy Summer Pasta Salad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias

Summer is such a great time for taking my regular recipes up a notch--since it becomes unbearably hot outside in Arizona this time of year, I find myself spending a lot more time indoors looking for things to do.  Recently, I amped up my regular pasta salad that I make with some El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce and it was incredible! Adam was excited that I wanted to make our pasta salad spicy too, since he prefers his food on the extreme side of the hotness scale. Today, we're sharing our hottest and spiciest pasta salad recipe, along with a deluxe grilling sweepstakes giveaway!