About Me

My photo

Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Four Cheese Rigatoni Recipe

Ok, so this isn't the cheapest or the most healthy of all recipes....BUT, it's extremely delicious and just plain yummy comfort food.  I had a friend bring us this dish while my husband was recovering from surgery and it totally made our night!  Thank you Karen for sharing this recipe with me.

Four Cheese Rigatoni

1 package (16 oz) Rigatoni pasta
2 cartons (10 oz) refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 carton (15 oz) Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup Romano Cheese
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
1 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

  • Cook Rigatoni pasta according to package, drain and return to pan
  • Stir in Alfredo sauce and sour cream
  • Spoon half of pasta mixture into lightly greased 3 quart baking dish
  • In a small bowl combine eggs, Ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, & parsley.
  • Spread over pasta.
  • Top with remaining pasta mixture;sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Uncover, and bake 10 minutes or until bubbly.

*You can also use the Five Italian Mix shredded cheese instead of the Mozzarella.

The refrigerated Alfredo sauce can be the most complicated part of the recipe.  Not all stores carry this yet and it can be pricey.  I've seen it go on sale 2 for $4 before so I would stock up and freeze it if this is a dish that goes over well with your family.  This meal costs me right around $20 to make and that is with all the items on sale.  I hope your family loves it as much as mine does!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

$25 or 20% Off Gymboree Coupon

Save $25 off your purchase of $100 or more at Gymboree.com.  This coupon code expires on October 28, 2012 and is only good for one use.  If you use the code, please post in comments that it has been used so other viewers don't waste their time.  The code is 12CKQ0JPW494781.

I also have a 20% off your entire purchase coupon.  The code is 12V34G8D5790455.  This coupon also expires on October 28th.

Ty's costume from Gymboree came in today.  He's already in love with it!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Apple Picking

We have a favorite place to go apple picking every year, Sky Top Orchard is about 45 minutes away from our house.  It's the most beautiful apple orchard I've ever been to.  The only con is that it's very hilly and with a one and two year old boy, that can be a workout.  I wish I could post all of the pictures we took but due to privacy reasons for our 11 year old son and 2 year old son (we are their foster parents), their faces can't be shown.  Sky Top also has the most delicious apple cider donuts.  They are so hot and fresh which makes them very addicting.  Ty had 3 donuts within 10 minutes and I'll admit that I had 3 myself. Yummy goodness!

All ready to go apple picking!

My incredibly strong husband pulling the wagon.

Dylan was always walking ahead looking for the biggest tree with the most apples.

The shadows in the orchard and a squirmy boy made for very difficult pictures.

Big Bite!

He carried those 2 apples with him almost the entire morning.

Ty had to look for the perfect apple.

Bradley and his mischevious look

We'll be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary at the end of this month!

One of my favorite!  Bradley loves Dylan and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual even though Dylan doesn't like to admit it.

Best Pizza Dough Recipe Ever

We have become very spoiled with the convenience of ordering take out or delivery pizza.  It always happens when I don't plan the menu, I had a hard day at work, or I just don't feel like cooking.  I've got a pile of pizza coupons laying around and Dominos or Papa John's is just a phone call away.

Several months ago, I saw a pizza dough recipe on my all time favorite blog, Moneysavingmom.com and I decided that if Crystal said it was easy and delicious, then it just had to be.  And the bonus was that the dough could be frozen which makes it even better!

After the first try, the entire family agreed that this recipe was a winner.  My favorite part is that it's super easy, cheap to make, and I know what ingredients are going into the dough.  The best part about switching over to homemade pizza is that I can't remember the last time I called Papa John's or Dominos. 

Freezer-Friendly Homemade Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, Canola, or olive oil)
  • 5 cups flour (can use all whole-wheat, half white/half whole-wheat, or all white)
Pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to dissolve.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
Dump onto a floured surface and knead dough for two to five minutes until smooth and no longer sticky.
To freeze: Cut lump of dough in half and place each half in an airtight freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4-6 weeks.
To bake: Place frozen dough in a greased bowl and thaw at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. Roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan.
Add pizza toppings of your choice. Bake at 500 degrees for around 10 minutes (until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned).
If you don’t want to mess with freezing the dough, take the kneaded dough and roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan. Add pizza toppings and bake as directed above.

I keep it really simple and use spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce (whatever is on sale).  One of these days I'll master my own homemade pizza sauce but until then, store bought works just fine.  Our all time favorite pizza toppings are black olives and bacon!