Eat. Drink. Love.

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Skinny Parmesan Dressing

Skinny Parmesan Dressing

My salad game has really been picking up lately. I can’t get enough and am back to mixing them up just about every day for lunch and loading them up with all sorts of veggies and fruits, meats, nuts, avocado, etc..Basically, anything I can find lying around the pantry or fridge!

I love experimenting with different dressings to help keep my salads interesting. It’s so easy just to throw things together in the food processor or blender and be done. I was recently thinking about how much I like the House Parmesan dressing from Carrabas and wanted to try to recreate my own lightened up version at home!

Skinny Parmesan Dressing

Instead of using a ton of mayo, this recipe also has protein-rich Greek yogurt and reduced fat mayo, low fat buttermilk, fresh garlic, freshly grated black pepper, and of course, Parmesan cheese!. It’s perfectly creamy and flavorful with a nice tang from the Greek yogurt and buttermilk. Aside from pouring it on my salads, it also makes a great dip for veggies!

Skinny Parmesan Dressing

Chicken Caprese Pasta

Chicken Caprese Pasta

Is there anything better than a caprese salad? I mean, really, is there? Fresh and ripe tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic vinegar. Gah! It’s just dreamy and one of my most favorite warm-weather dishes to enjoy.

Chicken Caprese Pasta

My friends at STAR Fine Foods recently me a bottle of their new Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Gold Edition to try. This balsamic vinegar is not your typical vinegar. The Modena Gold is aged in oak casks which results in a thicker vinegar with richer and more distinct flavor.

With the increasing temperatures, I knew I wanted to do something caprese so I made a quick and simple pasta dish! The Modena vinegar was be perfect for drizzling all over my pasta. I loved that it was a little thicker because it saved me the trouble of having to make a glaze. It also added such amazing flavor and was perfectly sweet and tangy and I kept finding myself drizzling more and more over my bowl!

This chicken caprese pasta might become a regular meal on my summer monthly recipe rotation. It comes together quickly if you use pre-cooked chicken (like rotisserie). It’s also just light and fresh and doesn’t weigh you down like other pasta dishes. And those bites of melty mozzarella? Heaven!

Chicken Caprese Pasta

Maddie’s Baptism: Easy Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® PLUS A Giveaway 

We started planning Maddie’s baptism before she was even born. We don’t have any family in town with us so we had to plan in advance since people would be coming from out-of-state. At first I just figured it would be my mom’s family, but then my dad and sister, aunt and cousin, and my husband’s family also decided to come. I was so super excited that so many people were coming to celebrate our baby girl! Since I don’t get to see our families very often, I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to do as little work as possible for the party. I thought about cooking, but quickly changed my mind once the guest list started to grow.
And since I decided to take the least-amount-of-work approach for the food, the tableware also had to be stress-free! I did not want to spent hours washing dishes and cleaning up.

The timing of the party was perfect because I received a huge box of Chinet® products, including Chinet® Cut Crystal® dinner and dessert plates, cutlery, stemless wine glasses, Comfort Cup® by Chinet® coffee cups and the new Chinet® Classic White® Chip & Dip Party Tray tableware to use for the party! I wanted Maddie’s baptism party to be simple, girly, and somewhat elegant. For the main colors, I went with cream, light pink, and some hints of gold.  I found pretty baptism confetti for the tables on Etsy and hung pretty pink and white party poms everywhere. The Chinet® Cut Crystal® line was super easy to match to the decor since everything was clear.

We didn’t do much in the way of appetizers. We put out a veggie tray with olives and dip and then some cheese and salami.  The dip tray Chinet® sent was perfect!  I didn’t know a disposable dip tray even existed so I was weirdly happy about this one. It was perfect for the veggies and dip and I could just toss it out after the party!

Chinet 1

For the main dish(es), we ordered a huge tray of lasagna and a platter of chicken strips and made a big salad with fresh bread. My mom and I prepped the salads and veggie tray in the morning before the ceremony so all we had to do afterwards was pick up the platters and just set everything out. Super simple!

Chinet 2

Let’s talk about the Chinet® Cut Crystal® dinner plates! Have you ever tried eating pasta on a flimsy paper plate? Yeah, that doesn’t work so well and you can end up with a big mess if the plate doesn’t hold up or if sauce soaks through the plate. The plates are nice and sturdy and were perfect for using with pasta! At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use clear plates thinking they would be too boring, but the quality of these is surprisingly nice and has a nice little swirl pattern around the edges! You almost can’t even tell that they are plastic.

Chinet 3

For drinks, we had water, sodas, wine, and sangria.  How great are these new Chinet® Cut Crystal® stemless wine glasses?! You guys know me and my wine! The wine glasses are so fun and cute! It wasn’t super hot outside, but it was warm enough and sangria was the perfect cocktail to serve.

Chinet 4

Oh, and what party would be complete without cake?! The Chinet® Cut Crystal® dessert plates were a great match for the pretty cake! I also left some out for the dinner as well as some guests preferred to graze on the food throughout the party taking smaller portions at a time.

Chinet 5

It was such a great day with our loved ones celebrating our sweet baby girl and I have to give big thanks to Chinet® for helping me make this party a success and for saving me tons of time on clean-up duty! I was so happy to be spending the day with family instead of being stuck in the kitchen!

Maddie Baptism Collage

For more party inspiration, visit the Chinet® website for more great ideas!

Sweepstakes: Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a Chinet® gift pack (valued at $50)!!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me how you would use Chinet® Cut Crystal® to elevate your next event!

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/4/15 – 6/14/15.

Be sure to visit the Chinet brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round Up

It’s May! And in just a few days, it’s time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite Mexican dishes for you guys. Want to know what the great thing about these recipes is? They are much healthier than eating out as everything is baked instead of fried and with lighter sauces and toppings. But, don’t worry, there is still plenty of cheese!

Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round Up

Madeline: Five Months

Madeline: Five Months

This five month update is over a week overdue, but we have been so exhausted lately, I haven’t had the energy to write it up!

So, five months! I know I’m biased, but this girl just gets more adorable and scrumptious with each month. She’s getting lots of delicious baby rolls that I want to nom on all day long. She’s about 2 seconds away from growing out of her 3-month clothes.

This month has been kind of hard actually. Generally, she just seems more irritable and crabby. I’ll start with our sleeping woes. I have read about the dreaded 4-month sleep regression and think we may have been/still are in the midst of it at 5 months instead. Maddie has not been sleeping as well as she was at 4 months. These past few weeks, we’d put her down in her Rock ‘N Play and she would wake herself up a few times and would start squirming a lot in the early mornings. I’d find her all scrunched down in the Rock ‘N Play and she just looked uncomfortable. We also felt like we were disturbing her more easily when we would come up to bed. We knew the time had come to really get her out of both the swaddle and the Rock ‘N Play and into her own room. While she has not exceeded the weight limit of the RnP, she is getting taller and doesn’t fit in it as comfortably as she used to. So first things first, the swaddle! It was kind of funny because I was putting her to sleep one night and told myself the next night, I would start swaddling with one arm out the next night, but that same night when I went to wrap her, she would not let me wrap her left arm! It was like she had decided on her own to be done with it. She squirmed a little more than usual, but overall, she was fine without it. I did one arm out for about a week and then took out the other arm and just wrapped her body so she could still have it as a blanket. This was a really easy transition because she was clearly ready for it.

Tortilla-Crusted Chicken

Tortilla-Crusted Chicken

So Cinco de Mayo is coming up next week and you guys know what that means, right? Mexican food! If you regularly visit this blog, then you also probably know that I am totally obsessed with all things Mexican.

Tortilla-Crusted Chicken

My friends at Food Should Taste Good asked me to create a yummy dish for Cinco de Mayo and they sent me a big box of their tortilla chips to use!

I had never tried their products before, but I was immediately drawn to the brand because they are made with all-natural ingredients, no GMOs, no trans fat, and are also gluten free. My husband and I have basically been inhaling these chips since we got them, that’s how tasty they are!

Instead of doing tacos, enchiladas or more a traditional casual Mexican dish, I’ve got something a little “fancier” for you today! I mean, can one consider tortilla-crusted chicken “fancy”? This tortilla-crusted chicken is just what it sounds like, chicken breasts are coated in crushed tortilla chips and then baked! This was the first time I used tortilla chips as a breading for chicken and let me just say, I need to do this more often because they make the perfect crispy coating! It’s also super simple to prepare.

For added awesomeness, I then topped the chicken with a white chili sauce that is magically creamy and cheesy. I have no shame in admitting that even though I spooned it on top of the chicken when serving, I poured extra into a bowl and we just keep dipping in there for more of the sauce!