Category Archives: Food

Date Day!

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Date Day!

Hello! At least every other week, Johnny and I like to have a date day over the weekend before our regularly scheduled game nights. Whether it be going out to lunch or dinner, having a drink at our favorite bar, or shopping around at some of our go to game stores, it’s just nice to be out and about. This past weekend, we decided to go middle class fancy and hit up the Red Lobster before a rousing game of Legend Of Zelda Monopoly:

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^^^ Lol, peep that Pablo Cruise shirt! 😀

Johnny and I have a very similar sense of humor and are constantly making each other laugh. When we first started dating, he told me a story about how he went to Red Lobster with a girlfriend and her dad and had a laugh attack about something that no one found funny. He was so tickled by the fake newspaper “The Daily Catch” that his fish and chips was wrapped in and he didn’t even receive a titter from anyone else. He got a huge belly laugh from me, though!

On Saturday, he must have been craving fish and chips something fierce and texted me when I was at my parents if I wanted to go to “The Lob” for lunch. I had no idea what he was talking about and thought it was a new restaurant that had opened so I said sure. When I was informed that it was Red Lobster, I couldn’t deny him his Daily Catch and he had also scoured the menu to make sure there was something that I could eat there as a vegetarian. Such an angel. ❤

We hit up The Lob and I was honestly so surprised by how much I enjoyed the food. The cheddar biscuits were out of this world and my pasta dish was delicious with a lemon and garlic sauce. The drinks weren’t bad, either, and I got a Margarita while Johnny went for a Bahama Mama. Unfortunately, his fish and chips didn’t feature The Daily Catch which was the whole point of going but we still had a blast.

In my area of Ohio, the majority of restaurants are chain ones like Red Lobster, Applebees, and TGIFridays. Our date day was such a typical Midwest middle class fancy outing and like everything, we could find the humor in it. Will we be dining at Red Lobster all of the time? Probably not. Will I be excited every time Johnny suggests The Lob now? Absolutely! 😀

What is your favorite chain restaurant? What is a middle class fancy outing for you like? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Blogging Bestie Birthday Gifts

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Blogging Bestie Birthday Gifts

Hello!! When I first began lifewithlilred almost eight (!!!) years ago, it put me in touch with the amazing Kate of Live In The Nautical. We became fast friends and bonded over our Gemini twinhood, figure skating, shopping, and a shared love of Harry Potter. Ever since, it has felt weird to have a day when we are not in touch and I live for our FaceTime dates.

Kate is, truly, the best friend a gal could ever ask for and we love spoiling each other for gift giving occasions. And, spoil me she did with these glorious gifts:

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My love for Taco Bell knows no bounds and if I wouldn’t blow up like a balloon, then I would eat there every day lol. Kate knows this all too well, which is why she went with that theme for my birthday gifts! Her and I both love collecting coffee mugs so I was thrilled to be able to add a new one to my always growing coffee mug shelf. And, yes, my princess name absolutely would be Taco Belle. 😀

I also received an amazingly comfy cute sweater that featured my favorite color and my favorite place on the graphic on the back of it. I can’t believe I’m saying this because it still feels so foreign but it actually gets chilly in my new apartment! This was far from the case in the old one where the heat was suffocating. It feels so good to cozy up in this sweater in the air conditioning. And, of course, I can’t wait to rock it while out and about this fall!

My almost decade long friendship with Kate will always be the best gift that I could ever ask for. She brings me so much joy and I am thankful for her every day – especially since we talk literally all day every day! Her birthday gifts to me are so thoughtful, hilarious, and perfectly showcases everything I hold dear lol. Make sure you check out her page at Live In The Nautical! ❤

Who is your best friend? What do you admire about them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Super Yummy Veggie Lo Mein

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Super Yummy Veggie Lo Mein

Hello! Over the past several months, I have taken to consulting Pinterest for recipe inspiration. It’s like having a cookbook on your phone! I have always loved to cook and the kitchen in my new apartment is much more prep friendly because it has a lot more counter space. While cooking in my old kitchen was fine, it was hard to be limited to just one small area to prepare meals with!

With room to spread out in the kitchen, it has turned cooking back into something really fun rather than cramped and slightly annoying lol. This past week, I tried out a delicious recipe by Momsdish for Veggie Lo Mein. It was a huge hit for me and Johnny as well as my parents who enjoyed the leftovers I brought by later that evening. Check it out:

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Of course, when I’m scouring Pinterest I save recipes that look yummy but I also look for ones that don’t take an entire grocery cart’s worth of ingredients to make. Not only was this Momsdish recipe a huge success but it was made with a little over ten ingredients which was totally doable. It also helped make cooking a recipe that I haven’t tried before less overwhelming because the prep work was minimal and it took only a half hour to make. That’s what I’m talking about!

I followed the Veggie Lo Mein recipe almost to the T with a few exceptions. The carrots that I had went bad so that was a no go. I also added way more garlic than what was called for, as always, as well as ginger to add some more oomph. Johnny and I were both very surprised by the end result because it had so much flavor for so few ingredients. The sauce was tangy, the recommended veggies were perfect, and I can’t wait to make it again.

I am already day dreaming about this Veggie Lo Mein and I also plan on adding my own twists to it:

  • First and foremost, I will be making a double batch because just one was not enough!
  • I’d like to try precooked Lo Mein noodles next time.
  • Using carrots, definitely, as well as adding bamboo shoots or bean sprouts.
  • Garnishing with peanuts and sesame seeds.
  • The brand, Gardein, makes a yummy fake orange chicken to have as a side dish.

If you are looking for a super easy and super delicious dish, then I cannot recommend Momsdish’s Veggie Lo Mein recipe enough. I am so proud of how it turned out and I think that you will love it!

Where do you like to find new recipes? What is your favorite vegetarian friendly dish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza (SO Good!)

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Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza (SO Good!)

Hello! This past weekend was mine and Johnny’s housewarming/birthaversary party and we had the best time! We worked hard for almost an entire month to get our place into tip top shape for guests and it was so nice to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor… And also, actual fruit. The evening before the party, Johnny was on a cleaning spree and, myself, a cooking and baking spree.

Rather than ordering pizzas or pre-made dishes, I decided that I wanted to be the one making the food for the party. I spent about five hours in total making cold veggie pizza, pasta salad, spinach artichoke dip, and sugar cookie fruit pizzas. I had made everything but the cookies before and was pleased, as always, with how the dishes turned out. The cookies are definitely what I was most proud of, though:

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I found this recipe from Cooking Classy on Pinterest.

When it comes to baking, I like to leave that to my mom and sister because they are both excellent at it. I much prefer to cook but you can’t have a party without some sweet treats! Prior to the big event, I spent a lot of time scouring Pinterest for party dishes and thought that the sugar cookie fruit pizzas would be perfect for a warm day. Not to mention that any leftover fruit could be used as garnishes for drinks… I am nothing if not economical!

For my take on Cooking Classy’s delicious recipe, I used the Pillsbury pre-made sugar cookie dough to save time. I also have never baked sugar cookies before and didn’t want my first time being an epic fail. That is the only thing I strayed from, however, and used the recipe for frosting that was provided and the recommendations for fruit toppings. And, I hate to toot my own horn BUT it turned out amazing and was, easily, the biggest success from my spread.

I am really not a huge dessert girl and am all for savory treats, instead. I don’t like things that are overly sweet and that wasn’t the case with these cookies at all. The cream cheese frosting used salted butter in it to balance out the powdered sugar. And, as my mom always taught me, I added a lot more vanilla extract!

This not too sweet base was ideal for the variety of fruits that Cooking Classy used as a topping. I went with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, pineapple, and kiwi and the only thing I left out was grapes. This medley of fruit provided for a sweet/tart sensation thanks to the zippy flavor of pineapples and berries paired with the softer strawberries and peaches. SO. Good.

I would happily make this recipe by Cooking Classy again and her page is full of yummy recipes so do be sure to check it out. I can’t recommend these cookies enough for your next party or event and they are sure to be as big of a hit as they were at mine!

What is your favorite dessert? What is your favorite food to make for a party? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Best Snack EVER!!

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Best Snack EVER!!

Hello!! A couple of weeks ago, Johnny began purchasing this little bag of deliciousness from the gas station and we are OBSESSED:

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The first day that Johnny bought the Snak Club Tajin seasoned peanuts, he almost ate the whole bag at work. However, he is a thoughtful angel and saved some for me to try when I got home and it was, truly, love at first bite (Seriously, how sweet is he?). I just had to share this with all of you because it has become our new go to snack and one bag never feels like enough!

A couple of years ago, I tried the Mango Outshine popsicles that were seasoned with Tajin and they were a massive disappointment. The melting fruit juice flavored with the chili lime seasoning did nothing for me and I threw away the entire box after a few bites. The peanuts with a Tajin cracker shell are an entirely different story, though, and it is always painful to throw away a finished bag lol.

This peanut snack is filling and has just the right amount of kick to it to keep things interesting. You have the Lil Red Guarantee that you will not be able to eat just one and I can’t recommend them enough. In fact, I have a bag of them sitting right by my computer as I type this… I think I’ll have one (or ten) now! 😀

What is your favorite snack? Do you prefer sweet or savory treats? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Best Chocolate EVER!!

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Best Chocolate EVER!!

Hello! Whenever Johnny’s amazing Aunt Elaine comes to visit from Boston, she always comes with delicious treats from Phillips Chocolates in tow. For Easter, Johnny and I returned home with a huge haul of chocolates from Aunt Elaine and I just had to share them with all of you. Of course, the chocolate tastes divine but they are so pretty I almost didn’t even want to eat them! Lol, check it out:

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My Johnny has a huge sweet tooth. Myself, on the other hand, prefers more savory and I always would rather have more dinner than save room for dessert. All bets are off when it comes to Phillips Chocolate, though, and I seriously think that I could eat an entire box full. They are the most decadent, rich chocolates that I have ever had and, now that our supply is gone, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I miss them. 😦

The box of truffles we got literally made me gasp when I took off the lid. They were so beautiful and before Johnny and I took a piece, I had to take pictures of them. I apologized to Johnny for momentarily standing in the way between him and chocolatey bliss but he told me he would have done the exact same thing. Is he the best blog husband, or what?

The truffles were all chocolate filled and they were melt in your mouth heavenly. My favorite thing from Phillips, however, is the assorted box which features chocolate turtles, caramels, nougat, fruit, nuts, and all of the chocolatey goodness you can imagine. Johnny and I worked our way through our favorites in the box then, when they were gone, we started telling each other to “surprise me”. As long as it wasn’t a fruit one, we were fine with whatever!

If you are looking for a gift for a special occasion, as a thank you, or just because, I can’t recommend Phillips Chocolates enough. Just be sure to order a couple of boxes for yourself too! 😀

What is your favorite sweet treat? Do you prefer sweet or savory? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Dinner Time!

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Dinner Time!

Hello! Something that brings me great joy is cooking and I love making delicious meals for Johnny and our friends and family. This past week, my sister and niece joined us for dinner and it was an absolute delight. I texted her a list of options that I could make and she chose lemon pasta. I was excited because I have had that saved on my Pinterest for forever and really wanted to make it!

I prepared the pasta dish with garlic bread and salad and it was a raging success. I also made air fried Oreos for dessert. These pictures are actually of leftovers because I was so hungry I forgot to snap some pics when it was fresh lol:

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You can view the entire recipe for lemon pasta at Contentedness Cooking!

The lemon pasta was an ultra easy and super tasty dish that I most definitely plan on making again. It is nice and light and will make for a perfect meal on a warm spring or summer day. It also tasted great leftover too and was even more lemony after it had time to sit.

When cooking a new recipe, I tend to follow it pretty closely. Then, I add my own variations if I like it enough to make again. The only thing I did differently when making the lemon pasta was use way more garlic than what was called for because we all know that three cloves is simply not enough! The taste of this dish was so yummy but we all agreed that it could use something extra. The next time I make it, I plan on adding the following:

  • Feta cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Fresh parsley
  • Pine nuts

Any type of pasta is my favorite food and this recipe is one that will be enjoyed by anyone who shares my sentiments. It is really good as is but if the recipe looks a little too bland for you, adding extra veggies or herbs will help to kick things up a notch (In the eternal words of Emeril Lagasse)!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? How did they turn out? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Curbside Shopping Pro Tips

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Curbside Shopping Pro Tips

Hello! Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnny and I have still been using curbside pickup to do our grocery shopping and it is, honestly, the best. I definitely don’t miss squeezing in grocery shopping during my free time, hauling around a big cart, and playing Tetris with all of my purchases to load in the car. I also love any type of online shopping so it’s kind of fun too even if it isn’t scouring the shoe selection on TJMaxx’s website!

Curbside shopping saves time and I know for a fact that I’ve saved money from it too so I thought that I would share some of my pro tips today for the next time you shop curbside:

Plan Your Menu:

Like many, the first thing that I do before I begin my shopping is plan what I would like to cook for dinner. This includes looking over my saved pins on Pinterest, revisiting old favorite recipes, and coming up with new ideas in my head. I make a list of the dinner items that I need and those are usually the last things that I add to my cart because I can just type in what I want into the curbside search bar.

Evaluate What You Already Have:

The beauty of online grocery shopping is that you can consult your fridge, freezer, and pantry while placing your order to see if you already have something that you plan on buying. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve done in store grocery shopping and returned home with something that was hiding in a nook or cranny! When I’m shopping curbside, I am always double checking what I already have so that I don’t have to pay for it twice.

Promotions/E-Coupons:

I buy my groceries at Giant Eagle and their store ad and E-coupons are conveniently located on the same site to shop curbside. You can also see the promotions running on each item while you’re shopping. Before my shopping, I’ll clip any coupons that I might need and check the ad for any good deals. To be honest, the E-coupons tend to leave a lot to be desired because it’s money off of items that I don’t need (baby care, pet care, etc.) but I have saved money from them on occasion.

Like many grocery stores, Giant Eagle has a rewards card where you earn money off of your next purchase or at the gas station when you spend money. If your grocery store has something similar, I can’t recommend signing up for their emails enough. Although emails from stores can be annoying, you will be notified of when you can earn some extra savings.

For example, Giant Eagle will do double points days and sometimes even five times the amount you earn on your next purchase. The last time I went to the store for some odds and ends was on a five times perk day and I ended up getting close to fourteen dollars in free money. My perks total resulted in forty-five dollars off during my last curbside order!

Double Check Your Cart:

When shopping in store, it’s almost impossible to go through a full cart and remove what you decide you don’t need. This is, of course, not the case with curbside and you can go through your cart at any time to add or remove items. After I have shopped through all of the categories, I will go through my cart at least two times and begin to dwindle down my order. It’s so nice to be able to see what you already have right in front of you, be able to look through what you have at home, and add or remove as needed. I never end up buying everything that was originally added into my cart which is a definite money saver.

At Giant Eagle, you can add or remove items into your cart up until your curbside shopper begins working on your order. This is also great because how many times have you returned home from the store to realize you didn’t get something that you needed! Make sure you find out the rules for your store so when you realize you need something at the last minute you can get it.

Remember:

While your curbside shopper is working on your order, you will communicate over text message if an item is unavailable or if there is a suitable replacement. The shopper will typically send you a picture of the replacement item so don’t forget to turn your data on if needed. The first time I shopped curbside with my smartphone, I didn’t realize I wouldn’t receive pictures from a non-iPhone without my data being turned on so I never got the pictures that were being sent. Whoops!

In my opinion, curbside shopping is the way to go when it comes to your groceries. I used to dread my trips to the grocery store but now I always find myself looking forward to my next curbside order!

Do you prefer in store or online grocery shopping? What is on your dinner menu this week? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How Does Your Diet Lead To Better Health?

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How Does Your Diet Lead To Better Health?

The human body is a fantastic machine with the ability to heal itself when given the correct type of nourishment. Unfortunately, as a society and individuals, we’re increasingly eating foods that aren’t in line with our body’s natural needs. We’re not getting the nourishment we need, which results in a weakened immune system, digestive problems, fatigue, and stress.

Here’s what you need to know to start working on improving your health right now:

What is a healthy diet?

We’re not talking about restrictive diets or eating like a rabbit. A healthy diet is all about eating foods in line with your body’s natural needs, which will help you feel more energized and happier. To get started on that journey, the best thing you can do is remove the bad stuff from your diet. What are the “bad” foods? Foods with high amounts of sugars, animal products, and processed foods.

Understanding Nutrients:

First and foremost, your diet needs to provide you with essential nutrients. These nutrients include protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium, to name a few. If you’re not getting enough of these vitamins and minerals, it can lead to several problems in your body. Also, it’s essential to understand that every nutrient is necessary for your health in different ways. For example, while vitamin C is vital for immunity, magnesium helps with muscle function and tiredness.

Understanding Macros:

Macrobiotics is all about balance, which can often be defined as a state of harmony between opposing forces, such as yin and yang. It also promotes the consumption of whole grains and other plant based foods while limiting or eliminating meat, dairy, processed food, sugar, and salt.

It’s a great way to start understanding how your diet impacts your health because it’s based on the idea that everything in life is interconnected – plants, animals, and humans. For example, eating an animal product or processed food (which is low on the totem pole) might take away from what you can eat higher up on the totem pole, like plants. That could harm your health because it affects the balance in your body, which could leave you with more inflammation or disease.

Understanding macrobiotics will help you better understand balanced eating and help you work towards a healthier life. Talk to a consultant such as Denny Waxman to make sure you eat the right foods to improve your diet.

How to start improving your diet:

Before you can start improving your diet, you need to know what your diet currently looks like. The easiest way to do this is by keeping a food journal. A food journal is a notebook where you write down everything you eat and drink for at least two weeks. Once you’ve finished that, it’s time to make some changes.

1) Start by eliminating the worst offenders from your diet:

First, identify the most harmful foods in your diet: these are the ones that are high in sugar and processed ingredients.

2) Add more vegetables into your everyday meals:

The next step is to add more fresh vegetables to your daily meal plan. These vegetables should be colorful and rich in vitamins and minerals – so green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, and zucchini are excellent options.

3) Drink enough water:

Finally, make sure you’re drinking enough water every day (aim for eight glasses). This will help flush out toxins from your system and keep things running smoothly inside of you.

After a couple of weeks of a more balanced diet, you will be amazed at how much better you feel. Use the tips above to help you get started today!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Dinner Time!

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Dinner Time!

Hello! When I go grocery shopping, I try to get enough fresh ingredients so that I can cook dinner several times per week. Once the fresh food is gone, Johnny and I will turn to our frozen options until it is time for another curbside pickup. One of our favorite meals that I cook has got to be jalapeno popper quesadillas (Peep the recipe here!).

My mom used to make these back in the day and I always have to buy the fixings to whip them up for dinner:

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*Note: I substitute the regular tortilla chips in the quesadillas for Nacho Cheese Doritos, instead.

The popper quesadillas are a bit of a tedious meal to make between cutting and broiling the jalapenos, assembling the tortillas, and frying them. Especially because I make several extra ones because Johnny loves to take them for lunch at work. However, it is so worth it once the finished product is complete. They are cheesy with the perfect amount of crunch thanks to the chips. Broiling the jalapenos and the cream cheese also takes away a lot of the spiciness, which allows for a fairly mild level of heat.

As a side dish for the quesadillas, I made some nacho bites out of scooped shell tortilla chips. These consisted of a dollop of queso, salsa, and shredded cheese and then I broiled them for about two minutes. The nacho bites were a little something that I came up with and were just as tasty as I imagined them to be. They are the perfect appetizer for a Mexican meal or could be great for snacking on during your favorite show. I will definitely be making them again!

Although I have been branching out with new dishes, you can’t go wrong with tried and true favorites. The jalapeno popper quesadillas are a wonderful dish to spice up your dinner time!

What is your favorite thing to cook? What are some of your favorite meals? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah