Category Archives: Recipes

Guest Post: A Staycation Smoothie

Today Alyssa from The Glossy Life is guest posting and I couldn’t be more excited to have her! Shortly after finding each other’s blogs, we became super fast blogging buddies and I never miss a post from her. If you haven’t checked her out yet, definitely hop over to her blog for some tasty recipes and loads of fashion inspiration!

Hi twenty-something readers! I’m Alyssa, stopping over from The Glossy Life while Steph is on vacation with her guy (lucky lady!).

I have to admit, when I first heard she was sailing off to the tropics, I was a little jealous. OK–I’m still a little jealous, but two things have been helping me get by. One: the fact that we can check back in a week and see all of the gorgeous pictures she takes throughout her trip (seriously, the girl is so talented) and two: simply faking that I’m on vacation, too.

As a little girl, I was notorious for packing up my beach bag, donning my bathing suit and shades, and catching some rays. In my living room. In the dead of winter (see below if you don’t believe me!).

I’ve since graduated to more “adult” forms island-hopping; namely, this smoothie. It’s funny how a simple drink or meal can transport you, and this does just that. Make it, and you’ll feel like you’re on the pool deck of your own private cruise ship. You should know, in this fantasy, Ryan Gossling is slathering you with sunscreen and complimenting you on your bikini bod. Hey, girl–dream big.

The best thing about this is it’s customizable to whichever fruits you prefer. I’ve made mine with the ingredients that evoke the most “tropical” feel–coconut is obviously a must!

You’ll need:

½ cup frozen mango
½ cup pineapple
½ cup strawberries
¼ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons agave
Coconut milk as needed

Simply combine all your ingredients in a blender, adding the coconut milk as needed (I like my smoothies really thick, so I don’t use much. It’s completely preference!). If you get really brave, add a handful of kale or spinach (my choice). I guarantee, with all the tropical fruits, you won’t even be able to taste it!

Serving suggestion: Drink slow (prevents brain-freeze, duh), while burning this candle and listening to this song (raise your hand if you’re having MK & Ashley flashbacks). Enjoy!

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups: so delicious I had to share

When I saw these delicious peanut butter cups over at Champagne Dreams, Boxed Wine Budget, I knew I had to make them. John loves peanut butter, I love chocolate, so I couldn’t resist. Even better was the simplicity of the recipe (find it at Blue-Eyed Bakers here), requiring only a few ingredients, a microwave and a refrigerator. And the total time required to make these? About 10 minutes. Not only are these just about the easiest thing I’ve ever made, they’re also delicious. So delicious in fact that I’ve already made 2 batches since finding the recipe (they won’t last long in your house either). Ready to make them yet? Good, you won’t be sorry.

Since I’ve made these 2 times and have now obviously mastered the art of microwaved/refrigerated baked goods, I’d thought I’d share a few tricks for all of you interested in trying these out.

  • The recipe will give you about 12 peanut butter cups if you use a regular muffin pan. Use a mini muffin pan if you want fun sized peanut butter cups and double the goodness.
  • I made these with regular creamy peanut butter the first time and natural creamy peanut butter the second. Regular peanut butter seems to firm up a little better, but they both worked fine.
  • If you don’t have a muffin pan available, use a baking dish. These would be every bit as yummy as peanut butter bars as they are peanut butter cups.
  • The recipe says they’re ready to eat after 45 minutes in the fridge. In my opinion, this wasn’t long enough (they were pretty gooey and super rich). I let the rest sit in a tupperware container in the fridge overnight and these peanut butter cups definitely taste better the longer they stay in the fridge.

I hope I’ve left you with no reason NOT to make these, so get to baking, er…microwaving. You’re welcome. 🙂

What’s your go-to recipe for dessert?

The best darn BBQ chicken pizza

I developed a quick obsession with California Pizza Kitchen from the moment I first dined in the restaurant. John and I frequented CPK and fell in love with their BBQ chicken pizza, until we figured out that we could easily make it at home for ourselves.

We’ve experimented with multiple crusts (Naan bread, Boboli, fresh dough from the store), but just this past weekend we tried Pillsbury’s thin pizza crust in a can and it was so amazing I felt obligated to share the recipe!

What you’ll need:
-Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce
-Shredded cheese (I prefer a five cheese blend)
-1 can Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough
-1 medium red onion, chopped
-1 lb chicken tenders

  1. Coat chicken tenders with BBQ sauce (to your liking) and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Grill chicken (or cook on a George Foreman) until cooked all the way through.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, chop onion and saute until golden brown. Preheat oven according to package instructions for the pizza crust (the Pillsbury crust requires a 5 minute prebake).
  4. Once the chicken is cooked and your pizza crust is done prebaking, remove the crust from the oven and coat to your liking with BBQ sauce. Add cheese, chicken and red onion.
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, slice, and enjoy!

This pizza is an easy summer meal AND it’s incredibly delicious. This has become a go-to meal in our household. Enjoy!

Avoiding Jello Catastrophe…and having festive jello shots to show for it

Everything you need to know to make festive jello shots without lighting your alcohol on fire, spilling jello everywhere, and burning your mix.


I’m not sure what inspired me to make red, white and blue Jello shots for July 4th this year, but the idea struck me in a car ride and that was that. There were only a few slight problems: 1) I had never made Jello. Yes, I know this is sad and shocking. 2) I had never made Jello shots. 3) The thought of layering Jello combined with the fact I had never made Jello/Jello shots was frightening. Nonetheless, I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe and found my inspiration/recipe here from a fellow blogger.

After lighting my vodka on fire, burning milk/sugar, and covering my stove in red, white and blue Jello mix, I tweaked the recipe slightly the second time around and have included it below along with all of my steps to preventing a Jello bomb from exploding in your kitchen. While it’s now the 4th, I figured I’d share this anyway because you can always use different colored Jello to make these for any party year-round.

Tools you’ll need:
-A loaf pan (I opted for a 9”x5” deep enough for the size of the cookie cutter used)
-Nonstick spray
-Star shaped cookie cutter
-Mini popsicle sticks (find at Michael’s or any craft store)

Blue Layer
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup vodka
2 small boxes of berry blue Jello mix

  1. Bring your 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add both packets of blue Jello and allow to dissolve completely.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Once cool, add 1 cup(chilled!) vodka.
  3. Lightly grease your loaf pan and pour the blue mixture into it. Place in the fridge and allow to set for 1 hour.

*Avoid catastrophe by: placing your vodka in the freezer to get it extra chilly before adding to your Jello mix. Also, let your mix cool for a minute or two before adding the vodka, otherwise you risk lighting it on fire (which I did the first time around).

White Layer
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup vodka
2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin

  1. Pour your milk into a saucepan and add your packet of Knox gelatin. Let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes. Gently stir the milk and gelatin together and turn the stove on to a low heat setting.
  2. Once the gelatin has dissolved, add 2 tbsp sugar and allow to melt completely.
  3. Remove from heat and let mixture sit for 5 minutes to cool. Add vodka and stir.
  4. Pour the white layer over the blue and place in the fridge to cool/set for 1 hour.

*Avoid catastrophe by: using LOW heat! The original recipe said medium, but for my stove medium was too hot and I burned my first mixture. Using a low heat will take longer, but you won’t burn anything. Also, always allow each mixture to cool before pouring it into the loaf pan to ensure you don’t melt any of the layers.

Red Layer
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup vodka
2 small boxes of cherry Jello mix

Repeat steps 1 and 2 presented in the directions for making the blue layer. Once your red mix has cooled completely, pour it into your loaf pan on top of the white layer and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.

*Avoid catastrophe by: not letting the jello mix boil over the top of your saucepan. Doing so will cover your stove in Jello (and take approximately 20 minutes to scrub off).

Finishing touches:
Star shaped cookie cutter
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Mini popsicle sticks

  1. After your pan of Jello has set in the fridge overnight, you are ready to complete your jello shots. Remove the pan from your fridge and place it in warm water for 2-4 minutes (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan).
  2. Remove the pan from warm water and use a butter knife along the edges to loosen the jello from the pan. Quickly flip the pan upside down over a cutting board so that the mixture comes out of the loaf pan.
  3. Cut the mixture into slices (like bread) and use a cookie cutter to make the star shapes.
  4. Insert a popsicle stick into each star and place on a lightly greased serving dish. Place in the fridge if not serving immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

I can’t wait to see how you tweak this recipe and I also invite you to make fun of me for being so kitchen-challenged. What other great ideas do you have for fun and festive Jello shots?