Date Night at Home

When you don’t have family around to babysit for you, and don’t have a lot of disposable income, going out for date night isn’t always feasible. I mean, it sure is fun, but there is the cost incurred of paying a sitter and whatever you actually do for your date night. That can add up quickly.

One thing that my husband and I have been making an effort to do at least once a month is to have date night at home. It isn’t always (rarely) fancy, and it’s definitely not expensive, but it’s an evening where we feed the kids and get them to bed, and then have our own evening plans. This post is sponsored by Dr. Oetker.

Usually, we’ll make an adult-friendly meal, which may be take out, delivery, or something we make.  Someday, maybe we’ll make something together. We’ll often set the table, or at least get out placemats, my china, and light a candle.

date night at home
We enjoy a meal together, just the two of us.  No plastic cups (unless we decide to dine al fresco on the grass in the yard), no kids spilling, no cutting anyone’s food — just a husband and a wife, reconnecting over a nice simple meal. This past weekend, I wasn’t feeling well (again) so we did super simple.  We had Ristorante Pizza Spinaci and Pizza Mozzarella with some salad and ice water (normally, that would be wine in my glass!).

Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante pizzas are one of my go-to meals for our stay home date nights.  They are quick and easy, with more sophisticated flavor varieties, and oh so delicious.

We had a movie night after dinner. And nope.  No romance here.  Unless you consider Catching Fire romantic… although the time snuggling on the couch with phones, tablets, laptops off and just the two of us sharing some popcorn was romance enough for this girl. I just like the dedicated time to be just the two of us, as a couple, husband and wife, and not just mom or dad.  It’s really important to work on that relationship while parenting too!

 Ristorante Logo

Make your Perfect Date Night at Home with Ristorante pizzas! Visit the Dr. Oetker USA Facebook page for your chance to win the Perfect Night In sweepstakes and take home everything you’d need for your dream night in.

To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

 

Do you have date night at home?  What do you do for your date nights?

 

 

This is a sponsored post about having date night at home on behalf of Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nut Job Healthy Trail Mix Recipe #TheNutJob #giveaway

This healthy trail mix recipe post is brought to you  by our friends at The Nut Job.

The-Nut-Job-movie-poster

The Nut Job, featuring  WILL ARNETT, BRENDAN FRASER with LIAM NEESON and KATHERINE HEIGL, opens IN THEATERS JANUARY 17.  We’re very excited to see this new animated movie as a family!  It looks funny but also has lots of action sequence and more subtle humor for the adults too :) We can’t wait to see MORE of it!

There’s a whole lot of nut-eating critters in the city and when Surly, a spunky little squirrel, goes to sneak some free nuts from a nut cart in the park…and gets himself banished from said park…well, things go haywire and mayhem ensues.  Panicked about their food source, the critters find a food source (Maury’s Nut Store) that’s armed against critters like themselves and, much like the Italian Job movie, there’s a very elaborate (and hilarious) plot to rid the Maury’s of their nuts and save the critters of the city.

To get MY kids even more excited to see this film, aside from the viewing of the trailer approximately 3234 times already, we decided to come up with a Healthy Trail Mix Recipe that’s sure to please the whole family and add to The Nut Job excitement in the house!

healthy trail mix gluten free

Ingredients:

2c Rice Chex

1 c Unreal Candy Coated Chocolates OR Dark Chocolate Chips

1 c Mixed Nuts (we’re partial to peanuts and almonds in our house)

1c raisins

Alternative Ingredients for a Healthy Trail Mix Recipe:

pistachio trail mix recipe

Ingredients:

2c Rice Chex

1 c Pistachios

½ c dark chocolate chips

½c white chocolate chips

1 c dried cranberries

(finished trail mix images)

Directions:

Toss ingredients together and serve. Store in airtight container if you have leftovers.  (IF).

That’s it.  A fun, easy, healthy trail mix you can make to get you and yours excited for this new animated family movie coming to a theater near you January 17th.  It looks like a fun time for the whole family!

You can find The Nut Job Movie on Facebook and Twitter– I’m following so I can catch new trailers and sneak peeks first!


One reader will win a $50 AMC Gift Card so you can bring your own family to see The Nut Job! Enter on the Giveaway Tools form below

Miniature Spinach and Cheddar Quiche Recipe

This crustless quiche recipe filled with fresh spinach and shredded cheddar cheese is a delicate addition to breakfast or an elegant, easy-to-carry appetizer at a social function. For perfectly cooked quiche, bake until the eggs are just barely set, then remove from the oven to cool; the quiche will continue to cook for a brief period of time after removed from the oven.
miniature spinach and cheddar quiche recipe
Recipe:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh spinach, lightly chopped
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
pan spray as needed
Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a sauté pan, lightly cook the fresh spinach in the butter.
Combine the cooked spinach, eggs, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and vigorously mix the ingredients together.
Spray a miniature muffin tin with pan spray, evenly coating the walls of each “well” in the tin.
Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin, filling each “well” halfway to allow for expansion. You may not use all the egg mixture depending on the size of your muffin tin.
Bake the quiche in a 350°F for approximately 8-14 minutes, or until the eggs have just barely set. Remove from the oven to cool slightly, then serve while still warm.
5.0 from 2 reviews
Miniature Spinach and Cheddar Quiche Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mini quiche recipe with spinach and cheddar cheese
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, lightly chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground pepper
  • pan spray as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a sauté pan, lightly cook the fresh spinach in the butter.
  3. Combine the cooked spinach, eggs, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and vigorously mix the ingredients together.
  4. Spray a miniature muffin tin with pan spray, evenly coating the walls of each “well” in the tin.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin, filling each “well” halfway to allow for expansion.
  6. You may not use all the egg mixture depending on the size of your muffin tin.
  7. Bake the quiche in a 350°F for approximately 8-14 minutes, or until the eggs have just barely set.
  8. Remove from the oven to cool slightly, then serve while still warm.

Coconut Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

This Coconut Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting Recipe will satisfy your craving for coconut- and with some festive nonpareils, make a delightful treat for your Valentine!  You can also make them sans coconut if you aren’t a big coconut lover.

Coconut Pink Nonpariel Cupcakes (2)
Ingredients:
Cake:
1 box cake mix with their suggested ingredients and a few quick adjustments/additions:substitute the oil for unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw whole flake coconut
add one additional egg
*for all of the eggs needed, including the additional one, only use the egg white

Topping:

1-2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks/1 cup unsalted butter softened, not melted
½ cup marshmallow fluff
2 cups confectioners/powdered sugar sifted

small pink nonpareils
raw whole flake coconut

Directions:

These cupcakes will come together in no time by using a box mix, the adjustments listed above will make it something your sweet heart will really enjoy!  The unsalted butter and extra egg will give them a full and luxurious texture and flavor that is full without being heavy.  Follow their instructions for other ingredients, mixing and baking.  Cool on wire racks fully before frosting.

Coconut Pink Nonpariel Cupcakes (4)

In your mixer, cream the sugar and for about 3 minutes or until smooth.  Add the marshmallow and vanilla, continue whipping until you have the desired consistency.  Fill a piping bag with about half of the frosting, working with less at a time will make the final step easier.  Use a large round or a ‘rose’ tip (basically a large open tip with a clear circle).

Coconut Pink Nonpariel Cupcakes (1)

Start in the center of each cupcake and swirl clockwise outward until the entire top of the cupcake is covered.  Don’t stress if there are gaps, they can easily be covered when you gently press on the coconut flakes and sprinkle the nonpareils.  Store in an air tight container large enough that they do not tough one another.

Coconut Pink Nonpariel Cupcakes (3)

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Coconut Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Semi-homemade coconut cupcakes
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • Cake:
  • 1 box cake mix with their suggested ingredients and a few quick adjustments/additions:substitute the oil for unsalted butter
  • ½ cup raw whole flake coconut
  • add one additional egg
  • *for all of the eggs needed, including the additional one, only use the egg white
  • Topping:
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 sticks/1 cup unsalted butter softened, not melted
  • ½ cup marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups confectioners/powdered sugar sifted
  • small pink nonpareils
  • raw whole flake coconut
Instructions
  1. These cupcakes will come together in no time by using a box mix, the adjustments listed above will make it something your sweet heart will really enjoy!
  2. The unsalted butter and extra egg will give them a full and luxurious texture and flavor that is full without being heavy.
  3. Follow their instructions for other ingredients, mixing and baking.
  4. Cool on wire racks fully before frosting.

 

 

Gluten Free Pancakes Recipe for Valentine’s Day

This Gluten Free Pancakes recipe is perfect for your gluten free sweetie on Valentine’s Day!

gluten free pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 eggs
1/4 coconut oil (plus coconut oil for greasing the pan or skillet).
3.5 cups water

Dash of quality food coloring

Directions:

Add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and carefully dry whisk together.  Make sure all of the lumps are removed and the powders, sugar and flours are thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs until fluffy, add the rest of the wet ingredients to the eggs and mix until combined.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until the lumps are all gone.  Add in a dash of food coloring, we  prefer powdered food colorings, just double check the labels!

Heat the skillet or pan to medium, add a bit of coconut oil and pour batter onto the skillet.   When small bubbles have formed and then popped its time to flip (check before that by lifting with a spatula for a quick peek to ensure the coloring is right).   Serve immediately with fresh berries or pure maple syrup.  Makes about 15 pancakes depending on the size you make them.
Check out our other Gluten Free recipes!

Gluten Free Pancakes Recipe for Valentine's Day
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gluten free pancakes recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour
  • ⅔ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup dry buttermilk powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ coconut oil (plus coconut oil for greasing the pan or skillet).
  • 3.5 cups water
  • Dash of quality food coloring
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. Add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and carefully dry whisk together.
  3. Make sure all of the lumps are removed and the powders, sugar and flours are thoroughly combined.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs until fluffy, add the rest of the wet ingredients to the eggs and mix until combined.
  5. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until the lumps are all gone.
  6. Add in a dash of food coloring, we prefer powdered food colorings, just double check the labels!
  7. Heat the skillet or pan to medium, add a bit of coconut oil and pour batter onto the skillet.
  8. When small bubbles have formed and then popped its time to flip (check before that by lifting with a spatula for a quick peek to ensure the coloring is right). Serve immediately with fresh berries or pure maple syrup.
  9. Makes about 15 pancakes depending on the size you make them.

 

Penguin Love Valentine Treat Recipe

This little Penguin Love Valentine Treat Recipe is so easy and fun to make, and the best part? The kids can totally help! It’s just a few simple items you need and all are easily found at your local grocery store.  Cute, fun, and easily allergy friendly!!

Penguin Love (1)

Penguin Love:

 

Ingredients:

 Penguin Love Supplies

*Oreo Cookies

 

*Different color heart sprinkles

 

*White Icing

 

Directions:

 Penguin Love (12)

  1. Place an unbroken Oreo cookie in front of you.

 

  1. Put icing on most of the cookie, having the top part be the shape of the top of a heart.

 

  1. Add two of the same color hearts to be the eyes.

 

  1. All on two of a different color to the bottom to be the feet.

 

  1. I used a drop of yellow writing icing to make the nose!

 

  1. ENJOY YOUR CREATION!!! :)

 What’s your favorite Valentine Treat Recipe?

Penguin Love Valentine's Treat Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Easy to make Valentine Penguins
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • *Oreo Cookies
  • *Different color heart sprinkles
  • *White Icing
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. Place an unbroken Oreo cookie in front of you.
  3. Put icing on most of the cookie, having the top part be the shape of the top of a heart.
  4. Add two of the same color hearts to be the eyes.
  5. All on two of a different color to the bottom to be the feet.
  6. I used a drop of yellow writing icing to make the nose!
  7. ENJOY YOUR CREATION!!! :)

 

Cupid’s Arrow Non Candy Valentine

This sweet homemade Non-candy Valentine is not only adorable but it is a thrifty craft for you to do with your kids. I have also included   a simple printable tag for you to add to your Valentine’s to personalize them for friends. These are perfect for making a couple dozen to take to school for the Valentine’s exchange.  All the items can be picked up at your local Dollar Tree, or may very well already be in your craft supplies

cupids arrow non candy valentine

Supplies Needed

Cupid’s Arrow Valentine Tag printable

Pencils

Construction paper

scissors

tape

arrow valentine craft materials

Cut 1 ½ – 2 “ strips from construction paper (the short side)

arrow valentine craft in progress

Using scissors “fringe” the paper all the way across by  cutting it about every 1/8 of an inch to  about an 1/8th to ¼ away from the edge.

arrow valentine craft fringe

Tape the end of the fringe to the eraser end of your pencil, roll fringe  around itself on pencil until completely wrapped-tape off end.

arrow valentine craft rolling

Fan fringe out with your fingers.

arrow valentine craft end

Cut 2 triangles from red construction paper, wrap clear tape with sticky side facing outwards around the writing end of your pencil, press triangles into either side.

arrow valentine craft tip

Print tags, cut them out, making a point at the end to resemble and arrow tip.

aim to make you mine valentine printable

What kind of Valentines are YOU making this year? Are you going the non candy Valentine route as well?

Diet-to-Go 1000 Meal Giveaway!


With the new year comes resolutions for many of us to lose weight, be healthier, eat healthier. Note that I said US.  That includes me, although I really don’t make full blown resolutions. Regardless, navigating your way around diet programs and weight loss plans can be a little overwhelming- and expensive.  That’s why Diet-to-Go is having a 1000 meal giveaway (which comes to $9000 in free meals!!) That’s a LOT of food! But, it also means that the winners can give the program a try before they buy to make sure it’s something that will be a good fit for their lifestyle.  Eating is not a one size fits all activity, you know?

1000mealGiveaway-300x250px

The 1000 meal giveaway runs from January 1st-31st of 2014.  Enter for your chance to win 50 different prizes from Diet-to-Go including free weeks of meals and $50 gift cards. 5 lucky grand-prize winners will receive an entire month of free meals from Diet-to-Go!

Prizes:

    5 winners will receive a free month of meals

           20 winners will receive a free week of meals

    25 winners will receive a $50 Diet-to-Go Gift Card


 

 Please also join us for a Twitter Party TONIGHT!

Details:
When – Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 9 p.m. EST
Where – Twitter: Use hashtag #diettogo to enter
Follow @diettogo and @CaitlinHendee so you don’t miss any tweets.
We’ll also be providing a special discount code for Twitter only at the end of the party – $50 off your first order!
For every tweet, you’ll be entered to win one of four great prizes:
One tweeter will win choice of a: Fitbit Force Wristband or Fitbit Scale
Three tweeters will win: One week of free Diet-to-Go meals
(*Winners will be announced at the end of the one-hour party).

 

 

Ombre Pancakes for Valentine’s Day

Here’s a fun and sweet way to make breakfast- Ombre Pancakes for Valentine’s Day!

Ombre Pink Pancakes (2)
Ingredients:

1 box or package of your favorite pancake mix (for best color adding results, a lighter mix (not wheat) will work best.
Many pancake mixes ask for different ingredients so take a quick look before heading to the store.  These are usually basics that many people already have on hand.

Baker’s food coloring in three different coordinating shades.  Or one quality food coloring that can be used at different strengths.   We used 3 different ones by Wilton.

Ombre Pink Pancakes (5)

Directions:

Prepare the pancake batter as directed then split into three (or however many different colors you would like) even parts.  Start by mixing in just a little bit of food coloring into one of the bowls to see the strength of the color.  Judge from there if you want to add more or less to determine if this will be your light, medium or dark batter.  Do the same for the additional bowls of batter.   Follow package instructions for cooking the pancakes the way you normally would. Try for uniform sizes when making them, using an ice cream scooper will help with this. Stack up and enjoy the love!

*Tips: mix all of your colors before cooking any pancakes.  Cook all of the batter from the first bowl before moving on to the other colors.  We used a slightly slower heat and did not use butter or oil for obtain the prefect coloring that didn’t brown.  The pancakes were still tasty-and you can add the butter when eating.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Ombre Pancakes for Valentine's Day
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Holiday themed pancakes
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ngredients:
  • 1 box or package of your favorite pancake mix (for best color adding results, a lighter mix (not wheat) will work best.
  • Many pancake mixes ask for different ingredients so take a quick look before heading to the store. These are usually basics that many people already have on hand.
  • Baker’s food coloring in three different coordinating shades. Or one quality food coloring that can be used at different strengths. We used 3 different ones by Wilton.
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. Prepare the pancake batter as directed then split into three (or however many different colors you would like) even parts.
  3. Start by mixing in just a little bit of food coloring into one of the bowls to see the strength of the color.
  4. Judge from there if you want to add more or less to determine if this will be your light, medium or dark batter.
  5. Do the same for the additional bowls of batter.
  6. Follow package instructions for cooking the pancakes the way you normally would.
  7. Try for uniform sizes when making them, using an ice cream scooper will help with this.
  8. Stack up and enjoy the love!
  9. *Tips: mix all of your colors before cooking any pancakes.
  10. Cook all of the batter from the first bowl before moving on to the other colors. We used a slightly slower heat and did not use butter or oil for obtain the prefect coloring that didn’t brown.
  11. The pancakes were still tasty-and you can add the butter when eating.

 

Satisfy your sweet tooth at P.F. Chang’s

This post brought to you by P.F. Changs. All opinions are 100% mine.

So Valentine’s Day is coming up verrrry soon, my friends.  And listen. I’m not all mushy, gushy, lovey dovey on Valentine’s Day.  I also have I think gone out to eat ON that day exactly one time. I’ve also never ever been to a P.F. Chang’s restaurant. (I know, right? What’s wrong with me?) So I have devised a very sneaky plan.  Don’t tell anyone. I’m going to take my husband on a date, TO P.F. Chang’s, and we’re going to enjoy some of the mouth-watering, amazing foods that I have heard so much about.  And then….

We will satisfy our sweet tooth.  With Vanilla Bean Wontons maybe.

Or a Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake perhaps? Maybe both?

Maybe it’ll be a cold night and we’ll want to enjoy a nice Peppermint Mocha Cappucino.

After we’ve indulged in our sweets, I’m planning for us to go see a movie.  Hopefully we’ll have indulged our sweet tooth enough by then and will just relax and enjoy the show!

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What new P.F. Chang’s menu item are you most excited to try?

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