Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Perfect Fall Fashion Finds for Kids: A Pike and Rose Experience #BlogPikeAndRose

Just as school was getting started, I had the opportunity to do a bit of shopping at local shopping district Pike & Rose in North Bethesda. It's probably one of my favorite local getaways. I say getaway because I dwell on the other side of The Capital Beltway in gorgeous Prince George's County, so, getting to Bethesda is a tiny drive for me....not so bad though and it's nice to change it up a bit. My first visit to Pike & Rose was this past spring when both Thing 1 and Thing 2 participated in a Minecraft Gamer Experience at iPic Theaters (which is amazing and if you live in the DC/MD/NOVA area you you must visit at least once).

The first time I visited Pike & Rose, and keep in mind, it was over a series of weeks, I really didn't experience the shops. I mainly dragged my kids (not) to their Minecraft tournies and then stopped by one of the eateries for a quick bite to eat before dashing home. So, this time around, I was glad to get a good look at the shops. I had no clue how fabulous they were. The shopping experience was awesome. The staff and customer service at each store I shopped in was pretty darn spectacular. There are just a handful of shops at Pike & Rose and the pace and flow of the area is very relaxing. There aren't too many people....I noticed it this time and the last visit with my kids. Not to say that it's not busy, it is, but it's a good busy.  Like I said an easy getaway and break from busier shopping districts in the area.

While shopping at Pike & Rose I visited three shops where I found very cute fall fashions for my kids. I fell in love with the cute styles, gifts and toys at Yogaso. The staff was so helpful and attentive and I could tell that the quality of the items available were top notch. I found the most adorable jelly purse clutch for my daughter. It comes scented and small charms can be purchased to add on that gives it a very custom look!  There are also book bag style versions of the jelly bags, as well, which are too adorable!

My next stop was at The Gap.  I had a plan to get a few uniform pieces for my kids.....but I honestly had a bit of sticker shock.  I haven't been to a Gap store in years so, I had to do some bargain hunting, but on the plus side, there were tons of sale items and clearance items....which was so AWESOME and let me say, the staff here was super amazing and helpful.  I found cute pair jeans for myself....and what a deal - they were $9.99....a milestone for me - I haven't been in a size 14 since college.....that low carb eating plan is REALLY working out for me! I also walked away with a few items for my kids and a simple tee for my dear hubby all for under $100....and even saved a bit with a 15% coupon!  Mama went home with a big bag of awesome deals!  SCORE!

 At the Nike Factory Store, I found the perfect pair of Nike Zoom Pegasus for my son.  I was on the hunt for a decent pair of sneakers for my son that he could wear to school and that would last.  He's a boy and goes through sneakers very quickly.  I love the Nike brand and I still have a pair that I bought in college, so I knew that these would hold up.  I was very excited to score these for just $64.99 - marked down from $89.99!

If you are ever in the North Bethesda area or visiting Washington, DC take a trip to Pike & Rose and be sure to visit Seasons Tap Room while you're there....this unique eatery has a host of the finest Olive Oils from all over the world....and again, a lovely staff to boot!

My shopping experience at Pike & Rose was pretty doggone stellar.  I loved the mix of small boutiques and Nationally recognized chain stores.  While the price points of most of the shops were normally more than I'd spend on my kids, the amount of deals available coupled with the full on shopping and eating experience is definitely worth it.  I've definitely included Pike & Rose in my favorite local shopping districts!

I received gift cards as part of my participation in the Pike & Rose shopping experience. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Join us for our first Blogger Open House at Pike & Rose.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pumpkin Cheesecake Fat Bombs

It's FALL YA'LL and you know what that means....'tis the season for Pumpkin ERRRTHANG!  Today, I'm sharing a delicious recipe for Halloween/Pumpkin Cheesecake FAT BOMBS for The Cupcake Diaries '30 Days of Halloween' series.

Don't let the name fool you, fat bombs are a tasty option for anyone following a LCHF or Keto-adapted diet.  They're packed with healthy fats and delicious flavors.  If you haven't had one before, you're going to enjoy making - and eating these.  You may remember I mentioned my new way of eating earlier this year (which has REALLY paid off in a major ways....more on that in another post).....A few weeks ago when I signed my crazy self up to participate in the series and share a Halloween recipe....I didn't take into account that Halloween = Sugary treats.  Welp.... in short, I have kicked sugar to the curb (sorta - yet another story for another post) so, after I realized what I'd done, I was sort of kicking myself.  How can I, who no longer indulges in sugary snacks,  share a sweet Halloween recipe?  Well, I soon had a moment of clarity and it suddenly occurred to me; I can easily share a sweet treat with ya'll....and it can be healthy!

Funny thing....growing up I NEVER liked pumpkin anything, in fact, Pumpkin anything wasn't really a 'thing' back then.....unless it was Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread....oh, wait - I did love me some PUMPKIN SEEDS and PUMPKIN PICKING  -  but that was probably my limit.  Honestly, I was (and kinda still am) a sweet potato girl.  However, these days, with all things pumpkin popping up errrrwhere, I have come to adopt a love for all the pumpkin, this is how we arrived at Pumpkin Cheesecake Fat Bombs

I created this treat based on a few Fat Bomb recipes I've seen around the web and adapted the filling from a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake I've made before.....follow along.....

To start, melt 85% Dark Chocolate with Coconut Spread (you can also use coconut butter).  I personally LOVE the chocolate brand, Moser Roth that can be purchased at Aldi.  It has a great snap when you bite into it and the flavor lingers on your palette!  Once the mixture is melted over a double boiler, you can drizzle about a tablespoon of it into teeny mini muffin cups and refrigerate for about 10 minutes!

This filling is super simple to make.  The mixture is pretty much a one-bowl deal.  Melted grass-fed butter (I like Kerry Gold), coconut oil and cream cheese  start things off and then mix in pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice mix, sweetener, vanilla, and pecans. You can use canned puree or make your own.  Also, if you don't want to use a low carb sweetener, add sugar or honey....I'm not a sugar Nazi....not trying to steal anyone's joy....I'd say about 2-4 tbsp of  either - to taste - should suffice.  I recommend adding the sugar or honey in with the melted butter before adding the puree and other ingredients.

For some weird reason, there wasn't ANY Pumpkin Spice Mix on the supermarket shelves when I was shopping for this recipe.  It could be that I wrote this post a few weeks before it was officially 'Pumpkin Spice Season' and the stores simply didn't have any.  So, I shopped my pantry instead.  I blended my own spice mix by adding fresh ground nutmeg, cloves and allspice to 1 tbsp each of ginger and 2 tbsp of Cinnamon with a pinch of salt.  I had to bust out my trusty muddler to grind up everything, but you can always use a spice grinder if you have one on hand.....I didn't.....and it worked out fine.

If you're allergic, I'm sure I don't have to convince you that you don't need to add the pecans.....but if you aren't and you love them....have at it!

Once all the ingredients are mixed just put a heaping spoonful of mixture into the refrigerated cups. They should stay cool as the chocolate ones tend to melt.   If you prefer to not make these with the chocolate cups, you can add the mix to snack cups.  Be sure to refrigerate these again for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.  They can stay refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If not serving right away or for a few days, it's a good idea to place them in an airtight container and freeze them.  These keto-friendly fat bombs are a delightful treat and can be enjoyed a little at a time if kept frozen.

Print Recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Fat Bombs


LET'S GET SOCIAL!  Find more celebrations and Halloween fun @cwbdparties on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Thanks to Alli of the Cupcake Diaries for inviting me to join in on this fun this year.  You can view more delicious recipes and get printables from the 30 of Days Halloween series.  Be sure to follow along and use the hashtag #30DaysofHalloween.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Family Style Spiced Ribs That Anyone Can Grill

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

Summertime is MY TIME OF YEAR because this here mama throws down on a grill like nobody's biznass!!! WERD.  My family knows, during the summer, they can get plenty of good meals out of me.  I grew up with grilling women in my life.

I was raised by both my mom and grandmother and we were Warrior Lady Grillers!  (that's totally a thing).  Growing up in Connecticut, you have to savor the summer months, because they don't last very long. As soon as the air is warm enough and the sun starts shining, my grandmother would pile up on charcoal and we'd commence to grilling!

My job as a child, was to always be the prep cook and to keep an eye on the meat as it cooked. Watching my Warrior Grilling Mamas, I learned when to put the meat on the grill how to listen to the sound and smell of whatever was cooking and to always keep an eye on the food so, it didn't burn (badly).  I lived for those moments on our small little concrete porch, with green turf carpeting, and a cool glass of lemonade or tea, talking to my mother and grandmother about our day - it was the best.

Now that I have my own family, I try to take moments like the ones I had with my mom and grandmother and build them with my kids and hubby.  The only good part is that I live a little further south and our summer days are much longer than those Connecticut summers!

Any given day of the week, you can find me getting my family around the patio for a delicious grilled meal.  Being the festive person I am, I always like to make summer dinners extra fun.  So, I set up a fun BBQ Blending Station with sauces and fresh ingredients to make our own flavored sauces.  We just add them to already delicious KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce to kick it up a notch.  Nothing says summer like saucy smoked ribs loaded with BBQ Sauce, right?

To get ready, I headed out to get some Extra Tender Smithfield Ribs.  These have always been our go-to ribs for grilling and you can find them at Wal-Mart.  What I personally like about Smithfield Ribs is that they don't have any added hormones or steroids, they're also hand cut, so all the work is pretty much done for you and they always, always come out super tender and juicy!

I know some people are intimidated by ribs and grilling in general.  You do not have to be.  The process is super easy.  All you need to do is follow my lead.  Light up your charcoal on one side of your grill.  You will know it's time to put your ribs on the grill when the coals have turned white and have a red glow to them.  Since all grills work differently and cook at different speeds, you will want to make sure you keep an eye on things.  I'll be honest, I sat down to have a little mini 'wine-tasting' and may or may not have scorched my ribs a teeny bit.  It's all good, because, these ribs were still tha bomb dot com.

When I grill my ribs, I like to rub them down in my own spice mix - you can find my spice mix recipe at the end of this post.  Once I do that, what I like to do is put a good sear on both sides of the ribs while the grill is super hot  - so, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  You might see some flames, if you do, just be patient and watch the flame die down.  Once both sides are nice and seared, you will want to put your ribs onto the side of the grill WITHOUT  the charcoal.  Then, close the lid on your grill and let those babies smoke for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours....keep an eye on them and check about every 20 minutes or so.

You can always tell when the ribs are done.  The meat will pull easily from the smallest bone.  Don't be afraid if you see any pink near the bone of the rib, this just means your ribs are perfectly smoked! This picture does the ribs NO JUSTICE!  Maaan, the meat was flavorful, juicy and tender.  YEAH BABY!  Be sure to put your ribs onto a pan to rest and let the juices go back into the meat.  While you're waiting - grill some veggies, cause those are awesome too!

The ribs came out perfectly juicy and tender.  I'm telling you, Smithfield never disappoints on tender, taste and flavor.

*GRILLING TIP: If you ever over cook your ribs, place them in an aluminum pan and place them in any type of broth....the juice will return to the meat and it may just fall right off the bone!  Sauces make ribs even more delicious.  Here's an idea I came up with for flavor pairings to add to our favorite KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce.

You don't have to get all fancy and festive as I did, but you definitely want to put out some really delicious fresh ingredients.  My husband LOOOVES KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, but I notice he's always doctoring it up with fresh ingredients.  So, I figured, I'd add something fun to the mix and set up a BBQ Blending station to go with our grilled ribs.

I set out a variety of sauces along with fresh ginger, lime, crushed pineapple, brown sugar and red pepper flakes to add a bit more kick to the sauces.  This ideas is also a great alternative to people who want to maybe make their own bbq sauce.  On a chalkboard, I listed some 'recipes' for creating a sweet, tangy or spicey blend  for the sauce.

The kids really enjoyed this part of family time and got very creative with adding the different sauces and seasonings to make their own blended bbq sauce.  We even let them brush on their sauce and warm the ribs on the grill for a few minutes.  It was good and messy fun!

This was my how I whipped up my sauce and it was so good....sriracha, lime, a small bit of crushed pineapple and red pepper!!!!  I added fresh grilled veggies to my plate, because.....veggies.

Since we grill out so often, I like to make a huge batch of BBQ Spice Rub and store it in small jars. The jarred spice also make really nice gifts especially if you have guests come over for a summer cookout or you're invited to one.  My recipe is super easy and can be printed here.  Use round chalkboard labels and a white gel pen to hand write the name of your special rub mix.

I hope you enjoyed these easy tips for grilling ribs.  Don't be intimidated by it, there are no mistakes, remember slow and steady wins the race here, folks......enjoy.  Hey, PS -  Father's Day is coming up - try grilling the special dad in your life some delicious ribs and let me know how they turn out!  I'd love to hear from you!  

Do you have any grilling questions for me?  Ask me on Facebook - I'd be happy share more of my tips!

Be sure to check out Smithfield's HogWild Throwdown Contest whether you're an amateur or pro griller you have a chance to win one of 2 Ford F-150's.  Get on board and don't miss out, celebrity grill talents Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone are brand ambassadors for this event!

To learn more about the Smithfield Family of products visit:



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