Menu Plan Monday :: 10.31.2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! I sound a lot more excited than I am. Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I like decorating, but other than that, I find it stressful since becoming a parent. The whole costume thing always throws me into a panic, but it has gotten a bit easier since my girls have gotten older.

Anyway, we are prepping for vacation, so this week's meal plan is very abbreviated. I thought about not doing one at all, but I know lots of readers are curious about where we eat while we are away. So, this menu plan is a combination of what we'll be cooking and where we'll be eating out.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - English Muffin mummy pizzas with a side salad. I wrote this post for Jersey Bites several years ago, and it's still our favorite Halloween meal. They are fun to make, and you can customize the toppings for the face based on the meats and veggies that you like.

Tuesday - Lasagna soup. Since we'll be spending the night packing and getting things ready for our house sitters, I'm sticking to whipping up something easy like this lasagna soup. Plus, the leftovers will be perfect to leave in the fridge for the house/pet sitters.
Photo credit: Cooking Classy

Wednesday - Rib City. We are staying in Fort Myers for two nights before we head out to Captiva Island to stay at South Seas Island Resort for a week. Rib City is next to the Embassy Suites where we stay and it's an easy walk. I'm not a big fan of ribs, but the Hubs and kids are, and they've been wanting to try this place for a few years.

Thursday - We are going to the Miromar Outlets to do some shopping. We plan to grab dinner at one the full service restaurants there.

Friday - We'll have a late lunch at the Bubble Room in Captiva, Florida. We generally overeat at the Bubble Room since dessert is a MUST. We are never hungry for dinner.
Photo credit: Bubble Room

Saturday - Grilled chicken with avocado tomato salad. Since our place at South Seas is equipped with a full kitchen, we cook most of our dinners at home. Plus, we like to eat lunch at the restaurant by the pool, so cooking dinner helps to keep our expenses in check. This is an easy meal to pull together after a full day at the pool or beach, wherever we end up that day!
Photo credit: What's Gaby Cooking

Sunday - Linguine with marinara sauce, a salad, and garlic bread. Although we do cook while in Captiva, we do try to keep the meals easy. This one is super easy and doesn't require a lot of ingredients that we won't use again at some point during our stay.
Photo credit: Pioneer Woman
What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Friday Fun: Halloween Bark With A Bite

Friday, October 28, 2016

I'm always looking for easy-to-make festive treats for the kids around the holidays. This weekend in preparation for Halloween, we are making this Halloween bark with a bite! This treat comes together quickly. But it goes quickly too!


1 pkg. candy melts (can be purchased at a craft store)
Assorted candies (candy corn, gummy worms, licorice, coarsely chopped candy bars)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt the package of candy melts according to package directions. Spread melted candy onto the cookie sheet.

3. While the candy is melted, press pieces of candy into it. Allow to dry.

4. Break and enjoy!

Recipe appears courtesy of FamilyFun magazine.

Best Online Reads

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to plan the perfect girl's trip via A Pair & A Spare.

2. An awesome video campaign that encourages women to exercise via Do You Yoga.

3. Inspiring insights on healing from a cancer survivor (must read!!) via Clementine Daily.

4. Ten hilarious food pranks to try on kids this Halloween via Redbook.

5. The 5 worst misconceptions about living alone via Apartment Therapy.

6. Ten pressing questions for ob-gyns via A Cup of Jo.

7. How to winterize your skin via How Does She.

8. Career lessons from powerful women via Forbes.

9. Why hangovers get worse as you age via The Science of Us.

10. How to be happier one page at a time via Design Sponge.

10 Pumpkin Recipes To Make This Fall

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

This year more than any other I am seeing a plethora of pumpkin spice flavored everything. From cereals to coffee creamer to crackers, it's everywhere I look. While I'm not big on all the pumpkin spice products, I do love me some genuine pumpkin flavored goodies. I've gathered my favorite pumpkin recipes in one place. From now until Thanksgiving, I'll be making it a goal to whip up each of these.

Top Row: 
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls via The Novice Chef.

Pumpkin Crumb Cake Muffins via Sally's Baking Addiction.

Mini Pumpkin Pies via Home Is Where The Boat Is.

Middle Row:
7-Layer Pumpkin Magic Bars via Bakers Royale.

Melt-In-Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies via Dear Crissy.

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie via Skinnymom.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Browned Butter and Pecans via A Chef's Kitchen.

Bottom Row:
Pumpkin Spice Truffles via Sally's Baking Addiction.

Pumpkin Scones via Cooking Classy.

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping via Chelsea's Messy Apron.


Menu Plan Monday :: 10.24.2016

Monday, October 24, 2016
The weather has taken a turn for the chilly here in New Jersey which means we'll be making more soups and comfort meals this week. We have a super busy week as we go about our regular weekly business and prepare for a vacation next week.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. This pasta is so rich and decadent. Use as much or as little sage as you like. I like to use cheese ravioli, but this time of year a pumpkin ravioli would be absolutely delicious!
Photo credit: Taste of Home

Tuesday - One-pot chicken Alfredo penne. I am all about the one-pot meals lately. Not only are they super easy to make, but the clean up is a breeze!
Photo credit: Pillsbury

Wednesday - Homemade baked mac & cheese with a side salad. What I love about this meal is how easily I can customize the mac & cheese. I bake them in individual ramekins because Emma doesn't like the bread crumb topping, but Harper does. So, I can please everyone!
Photo credit: Food Network

Thursday - Baked potato soup. This soup is one of my favorites, but this will be the first time I'm trying the Skinnytaste recipe. It's such a calorie-heavy soup, so I'm excited to try Gina's thinned down version.
Photo credit: Skinnytaste

Friday - Dinner out or take out

Saturday - Mexican shredded chicken tacos. This recipe looks super easy. But if you are pressed for time, stop at the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken. You'll shave even more time off the meal preparation!
Photo credit: What's Gaby Cooking

Sunday - Flank steak lettuce wraps. We are winding down grilling season with one of our favorites. Top them however you like, but we love scallions, red pepper, cilantro, shredded carrots, and teriyaki rice.
Photo credit: Food Network
I'm feeling a baking session coming on. These pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies are the perfect fall treat to enjoy with my evening tea! 

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Friday Fresh Picks: Natural Life® Gift Sets {Giveaway}

Friday, October 21, 2016
It's finally Friday! This week seemed to drag on. Although it was a productive one, I'm happy to put it behind me and kick off the weekend in a few hours.

Speaking of happy, I received the cutest (and I mean absolute cutest!!) Happy Box from 
Natural Life® recently. I stumbled upon Natural Life® a few years ago while browsing a local boutique in my town. Natural Life® makes small treasures and trinkets for women from 8 to 80. The treasures invoke a positive vibe and a free spirit in the form of clothes, accessories, items for the home, and cherished gifts.

I've been a Natural Life® devotee ever since I bought my first item, which was an air freshener for my car. I've amassed quite a collection of Natural Life® treasures. But one of my favorite items from the Natural Life collection is a gift set. They are perfect for anyone (mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, teacher, or friend) and for any occasion. You'll see exactly why after you take a look at the contents of the Happy Box. Oh, and I'm giving one Happy Box away, so don't forget to enter to win at the end of the post!!!


Best Online Reads

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Eight things new parents should never post to social media via PureWow.

2. How to load a dishwasher via Food52.

3. The best hot chocolate destinations in the U.S. via domino.

4. The best shoes to wear with skinny jeans via WhoWhatWear.

5. What to do after you've made a mistake at work via Refinery29.

6. Public speaking tips that anyone can benefit from via ManRepeller.

7. Everything you need to buy at Trader Joe's right now via Thrillist.

8. Seventeen daughters wore this same dress on picture day over a 51 year span via NY Post.

9. The best concert venues in the world via Business Insider.

10. The best place to staycation in every state via Town and Country.

Easy Entertaining: Soup and Salad

Monday, October 17, 2016

 I remember the first time I hosted a playdate. Emma was two years old, and we invited a friend from music class and her mother to join us for lunch. I labored over what to serve. As the mother of a toddler, I didn't have tons of time to spend in the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal. But on the other hand, I wanted to make a good impression.

What did I finally decide on for our lunch? Soup and salad. Sounds really simple and unimpressive, but let me tell you, they loved it! I made a basic tortellini in broth and a simple mixed greens salad.

These days, I rely on the simple comfort of soup and salad for lunch time entertaining. It's always a crowd pleaser. For those times when I can't spend all day in the kitchen whipping up a batch from scratch, I head straight for a box of Good Natured Soups from Progresso. Good Natured Soups are hearty, vegetable-based soups made from the fresh and real ingredients. There are no GMOs, artificial colors and flavors, or preservatives.

Menu Plan Monday :: 10.17.2016

This week is a busy one. With something going on everyday after school, I'm going to be relying on super quick and easy meals this week. Everything from an easy soup recipe to tasty paninis will find a place on this week's menu plan.

Check it out:

Monday - Southwest potato corn chowder. Potato and corn chowder is one of my favorite soups. I love that this one has a spicy Southwestern spin on it.
Photo credit: Betty Crocker

Tuesday - Caprese panini. This is one of my favorite sandwiches to order out, but I rarely make it at home. This week we are making it at home and serving it with a side salad.
Photo credit: Food Network

Wednesday - Pasta with fresh tomato sauce. Is there anything better than pasta with a simple but delicious tomato sauce? No! You can use some of the basil that you buy for the Caprese paninis in this recipe. Double duty ingredients!
Photo credit: Real Simple

Thursday - 12-minute chicken with broccoli. This is a house favorite, and it takes only 12 minutes to make!! Now that is my kind of dinner.
Photo credit: Gimme Some Oven

Friday - Tex Mex stuffed peppers. Lately, it's just been the Hubs and I on a Friday night. The girls are usually with friends. Since they don't like stuffed peppers, I am making these...we love them.
Photo credit: Girl Gone Mom

Saturday - Take out. The Hubs and I are going to a concert. So, we'll get take out for the girls before we meet up with friends for the concert.

Sunday - Crock-Pot roast with veggies. It's been a while since I've made a beef roast in the slow cooker. It's time to do it! My family loves it. The girls especially love the veggies. I usually prepare mashed potatoes as well. It's the perfect Sunday comfort food.
Photo credit: Yummy Healthy Easy

I'm all about the pumpkin desserts lately. To satisfy your sweet tooth, bake up a pumpkin layered magic cake. YUM! YUM!

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Sunday Sales - Kate Spade 25% Off

Sunday, October 16, 2016
What goes best with your Sunday morning coffee? A little online shopping, of course. The sales are really hot right now, and as the holidays approach, they will only get bigger and better.

Today's best bet is the Kate Spade sale. This is a great opportunity to save on a tote or pair of shoes that you've had your eyes on.


Best Online Reads

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The ten stories from around the Web that I am loving this week:

1. The 25 best Halloween candies via Apartment Therapy.

2. How to choose paint for furniture via Sunset.

3. The right way to disagree with your boss via Fast Company.

4. What the Amish can teach us about modern medicine via Mosaic.

5. Your personality may determine your lifespan via The Guardian.

6. Twenty movies to see before awards season via Cosmopolitan.

7. The Obama family's White House life in pictures via The Cut.

8. This pouf from Target is perfect for around the fire in winter.

9. How much should you weigh via Redbook Magazine.

10. The app that will help you finally declutter your Inbox via The Washington Post.

Playing Favorites

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Playing Favorites is a new monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment that I am loving.

1. Mini Brie Bites from Trader Joe's - These have become my latest food obsession. Since I love Brie but no one else in my family does, they are the perfect way for me to have my cheese and eat it too. It's real Brie cheese. In a little cup. Just for me.

2. Amanda Knox on Netflix - I have to admit that I wasn't glued to the TV when this story broke years ago, but I am fascinated by the Netflix documentary from the perspective that I learned more about the crime itself and how Italian officials handled the investigation and trial.

3. Clean & Clear Deep Action 60-Second Shower Mask - This steam-activated shower mask offers superb cleansing powers and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and as soft as butter.

4. Cactus Prints - I'm having a major succulent moment. I'm wanting to hoard live succulents, fake ones, and even these adorable prints found on Etsy.

5. Siren Moonlit Orchid Candle - This woodsy candle has a surprisingly light, fresh scent that's utterly addicting. It's the perfect scent for fall and winter.

6. Photoshop Fix - No need to purchase the pricy full Photoshop suite when you can download the Photoshop Fix app for free. I love the basic retouching and restoration features and the easy of sending images from phone to desktop.


What To Wear On Game Day

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Once September rolls around, every Sunday in our house becomes game day! Before we had kids, my husband and I were New York Jets' season ticket holders. We went to every home game, and just like everyone else, we were decked out in Jets gear.

But it wasn't always that way. I'll never forget attending my very first Jets game wearing a black turtleneck. Gasp! What was I thinking? At the time, I didn't own a thread of Jets clothing. I had recently moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania, and the Jets were barely on my radar.
The morning following my very first Jets game, I made it a priority to purchase a Jets sweatshirt. I wasn't taking any chances showing up at the next game without a show of team pride. makes it easy to wear your passion for your team however you wish. The 2016 NFL Apparel collection features a wide range of styles from jerseys to jackets to hoodies to hats. I recently purchased a few new items since some of my Jets gear was getting a little old and outdated. I love the wide selection of items for women from yoga pants to t-shirts to hats and socks.

A small sampling of t-shirts available on

Lately, I am loving the look of vintage tees, so I was hoping to find a Jets t-shirt with a retro twist. I was so excited to find this one. It was right up my alley! The distressed screen print graphics added the vintage touch I wanted in a game day t-shirt.

You don't have to be a diehard fan to show your team spirit. You can show your team pride once a year or every day of the year with the 2016 NFL Apparel collection at

The other item I wanted was a hoodie. They are so versatile and are great for layering on game day...whether you are home watching the game or at the stadium. Our season ticket seats started out in the sun, but by game's end, we were deep in the shade where it was cold. A hoodie is perfect for throwing on over a t-shirt once the sun goes down.

I love the detail on the sleeve. It keeps the front of the hoodie clean so that the Jets logo is the focal point but still adds interest to the sweatshirt.

It was difficult making a decision. There are so many fabulous possibilities on for women. But since I knew exactly what I wanted, my decision was more or less made for me.

I also love the offers styles for all ages of women. I am in my mid-40s, and I had no problem finding pieces that were age appropriate. And I love that the clothes are made for female bodies. They are fitted in the right places to flatter our bodies.

What you wear reflects who you are and the team that you want to win. Choose your NFL gear on and show your pride! Own your team spirit and display it proudly.

What's your favorite game day outfit?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Menu Plan Monday :: 10.10.2016

Monday, October 10, 2016
After a dreary weekend, we are finally waking up to some sun here in New Jersey. Today is a holiday for us, and aside from having two appointments, we plan to do some shopping with my sister and my nephew and some prep for a busy week ahead.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Orange chicken. One of my favorite family-friendly cookbooks is Weelicious. It has so many recipes that are wonderful for both adults and kids. This one for orange chicken is a crowd pleaser in our house and often compares to Panda Express.
Photo credit: Weelicious

Tuesday - One-pot bucatini Bolognese. One of my favorite pasta sauces is Bolognese. It's so flavorful but generally takes hours to simmer to reach the height of flavor perfection. This recipe takes a fraction of the time and offers up the same robust flavor.
Photo credit: Food Network
Wednesday - Breaded chicken cutlets with penna vodka. This is my FAVORITE penne vodka recipe. It's super easy to make and feeds a ton of people. Plus, it's not a heavy, creamy sauce. It's light and it coats the pasta evenly without drenching it.
Photo credit: Williams-Sonoma

Thursday - Lemon chicken orzo soup. I love a bowl of steaming hot soup on a chilly fall day. This soup really is good for the soul!
Photo credit: A Dish of Daily Life

Friday - Take out or dinner out

Saturday - One-pot taco rigatoni. I love this twist on taco night. Same great taste, but a lot less mess! I'm excited to try this recipe. I'll let you know how it goes over in our house.
Photo credit: Betty Crocker

Sunday - Slow cooker seasoned chicken, potatoes, and green beans. I've been relying on slow cooker meals on the weekends so that we have more time to enjoy fall activities. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it included all of our favorites. It seriously couldn't be easier!
Photo credit: The Magical Slow Cooker

To satisfy your sweet tooth, why not bake up a batch of these pumpkin magic bars? They look mouth watering!!

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.