Recipe Monday: Goat Cheese and Honey Appetizer

This is another gem from my friend Mindy- she made this for me and it was AMAZING! I am always looking for yummy appetizers- this one is...delightful! Enjoy and Happy Monday! Thank you Mindy!!!

Goat Cheese and Honey Appetizer
This recipe is inspired by an appetizer that I recently had at a little bistro near my office.

It is soooo simple, it almost isn’t a recipe, but I make it all the time and it is always a hit. It is such a simple appetizer that you can throw together in just a couple of minutes. If you are into growing your own herbs, it is a great way to get some use out of your rosemary plant!
4 to 6 ounces of Goat Cheese
2 to 4 teaspoons of honey (truffle infused honey {YUM} or other flavored honeys can be used as well)
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
2 teaspoons pine nuts
Sourdough baguette
Let goat cheese soften to room temp. Place cheese on plate, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with rosemary and pine nuts. Serve with thin baguette slices or crackers.


My 10 Most Exciting Products for Spring!

I am so excited for spring, we were so blessed with a mild winter- but I am ready for flip flops and no coats! We just got back from Scottsdale and I have had a little time to invest in my new spring beauty routine and I am excited to wear non-maternity spring clothing- so here are some things that get me excited for spring (or just excited in general!):
1) My new flip flops- I have a thing for yellow!
2) My new Lip color of the season: Trish McEvoy Vibrant Pink, I love Trish lipstick- it is really moisturizing and this one smells delicious! Some have SPF, some are sheer- but they are all wonderful! I am pretty sure this color would look good on anyone!
3) My SIL introduced me to the Clarisonic Deep Pore Cleansing Brush- I had no idea my Clarisonic could go deeper! I love it!
4) I am excited about this make-up primer by Smashbox- it only takes a little bit but it really helps make up not sink into pores or wrinkles (which I notice more of every day!) It has SPF, which I like- I really wanted to dislike this product and return it, but it is awesome and it will last a long time with the small amount needed to prime!
5) Colored denim- I am excited to slip into some coral Baldwin Denim- when they come out!
6) We don't watch a lot of Nickelodeon in our house- but my friend Katie introduced us to "The Fresh Beat Band" so I downloaded a season from ITunes and the girls watched it on the airplane- I must say, it kept them entertained the whole trip- no need for the case of DVD's!
7) I started using the Trish McEvoy: Golden Glow Face Color it is really lovely- it is bronzer and blush in one swoop- the perfect glow for spring!
8) I have a "make-up friend" (MUF) at Neiman Marcus in Scottsdale (she is actually my mom's MUF but I love her too) and I always order my Dior make-up from her because she is awesome- last time she accidentally sent me regular DiorShow so I have been using that instead of my regular DiorShow Blackout- anyway...I ran out of DiorShow so I purchased the Blackout again and WOW, what a difference- Blackout is WORLDS better- I have tried every mascara on the market and this one is worth every penny!
9) This really doesn't have a lot to do with Spring- but I am still excited about "all Free & Clear Mighty Pacs"- It is laundry detergent in little pacs that dissolve in the wash- I just love them and love avoiding the measuring and mess!
10) I finally tried a "BB Cream" and I am really excited about it- although I haven't tried enough of them to know which brand is going to be my favorite- (if you have a favorite, let me know). If you haven't heard of BB Creams, apparently they are the hottest thing in beauty right now- a little more coverage than tinted moisturizer but not a foundation. They claim to do everything: brighten, prime, SPF, anti-aging, absorb oil, even skin tone..you name it. I tried the Smashbox BB- but I look forward to trying more! Here is some more info on them: {LINK

There you have it, 10 extremely exciting things! I can honestly say that spring is my favorite season- I love everything about it! 


Recipe Monday: Pasta Salads!

Happy Monday! I am delighted that one of my favorite friends (and former roommate), Mindy, has agreed to do a Recipe Monday! She is an amazing cook, always coming up with creative dishes that I love! (she is responsible for my Chicken Enchiladas)
Enjoy! -jenica

I have never been a fan of pasta salads.  Something about that traditional corkscrew pasta salad topped with bottled Italian dressing just never appealed to me. But in recent years I have discovered some creative recipes for more fresh, veggie filled pasta salads that I have found both yummy and inspiring. I recently came across this recipe for an Orzo + Broccoli Pesto Salad posted by Sara at Sprouted Kitchen (one of my fave recipe blogs) that I am SO excited to try. And this recipe by the one and only Ina Garten herself has now become a staple summer barbecue side dish for me. Now that spring has sprung in Southern California all I have been thinking about are the upcoming barbecues with friends and family, seasonal eats and dining al fresco.  So the dish I want to share with you is a super simple, fresh and delicious pasta salad recipe that I think is the perfect side dish for any spring or summer meal. 

Lemony Spinach Orzo Salad
1 c. uncooked Orzo Pasta
2 c. fresh spinach leaves, thinly sliced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
¼ c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ c. garlic infused olive oil
1 c. Shredded Parmesean
½ c. Pine Nuts

Cook pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.  While pasta is cooking, combine lemon juice and garlic oil, shake to combine. When pasta is done cooking, rinse with cold water and drain. Combine in a large bowl with spinach, tomatoes and dressing. Refrigerate for a couple hours. Before serving, mix in pine nuts and cheese.

**I had some leftovers of this salad so the next night I added some additional spinach and sautéed it just to warm it. Added a squeeze of lemon and it served as a great warm side dish to the Chicken dish that I was making.


All Kinds of Random Thoughts!

Happy Spring Break! This is just a quick little brainstorm of things before I forget! 

1) I, of course, LOVE Pinterest (if you are not on it, you need to get on there- so much good info!)...but my affections are being shared with houzz- basically all of the cool house stuff on Pinterest is from Houzz. It is awesome- you need to check it out. Now if only my actual house could look like my Pinterest or Houzz house! (there is a free houzz app for the iPhone and iPad too- hours of fun!)
2) How cute are these TOMS for spring for the girls: 

3)  Tomorrow,  3/15 DVF for Gap comes out (Diane Von Ferstenberg) I don't know that I will purchase anything from her line full price (it is Gap after all and they will have it on sale before we hit the check-out button) but it is cute stuff! Here are a couple of my favs: 
4) Just a follow-up, lent is going well- I am just hating not being "in the know" on Facebook, but I am loving the hourly reminder to check in with God and praise Him for the sacrifice of His son. I do feel out of the loop though! oh FB! [LENT LINK]
5) I just ordered my spring/summer flip flops and lip color- I feel like a new woman with some fresh highlights, a new lipstick and bright flips on my hot pink toes! I love spring time! I have a shopping philosophy and it seems to work for me- PPW=Price Per Wear. I think it is worth the money to buy quality on things that you wear or use the most often: Sunglasses (daily), jeans, handbags, some shoes (running shoes, flip flops, uggs- the shoes you wear daily not just on a special occasion). If you invest in an item that you really love and is not a seasonable fad- you will wear it for years to come and the PPW is really nothing! 
6) A little while ago I memorized Deuteronomy 31:8 "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I can't tell you how many times I have referenced this scripture- it never gets old- I have been reading the Bible for 20+ years and I learn something new every time I open it- it really is a blast to walk with the Lord and learn from him! 

That is all for now- I am so excited and hopeful for this spring! 


Recipe Monday: Lahvosh Pizza

Ok friends, I am so excited, my friend Katie agreed to do a "Recipe Monday" this week- she is an amazing cook and I am really trying to convince her to do this every week...hint hint Katie! :) I am so excited for you to try this recipe, she made it for us a couple of weeks ago and it was delightful!  
Enjoy and thank you Katie!

I'm so excited that Jenica asked me to write a blog post for recipe Mondays.  I love cooking and trying out new recipes, especially ones that are easy to put together.  This recipe was one I had years ago and I happened to run across the recipe the other day.  I'm so glad that I did.  I actually made this the other night for some girlfriends and it was a hit.

Lahvosh  Pizza
A note about Lahvosh....you can find it in the deli section of most grocery stores.  It comes in a pack of three.  It runs about $11 for the pack but it lasts a long time so it makes it worth it.

1 piece Lahvosh
1 brick cream cheese, softened
1 container basil pesto
5 or so Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely  diced
1/4 cup red onion diced
A bag of the shredded Italian blended cheese

Mix together the cream cheese and pesto.  Spread this mixture on the bottom of the Lahvosh.  Top with diced tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle cheese on top.  Place under the broiler and watch carefully, it will brown quickly.  Depending on how long you let your broiler preheat, it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.  Cut into pieces just like you would a normal pizza.

There are endless toppings you can do with this....add chicken, sun dried tomatoes, capers, artichokes, olives, shrimp, feta cheese, walnuts, etc.

One of my favorite pizzas is chicken, roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. I am going to try that on Lahvosh this week but instead of mixing cream cheese and pesto I am going to try cream cheese and cumin or maybe even taco seasoning.

A buffalo chicken pizza would also be great....just use plain cream cheese and mix in franks hot sauce, chicken, blue cheese and maybe some shredded carrots.

Just a few ideas to try, but really whatever your family likes on their pizza will be great.


Service: 40 Great Ideas!

As we enter the Easter season, this is a great list I found for things to do to serve in our communities. It is a great reminder that we can be the hands and feet of Christ right here at home! I am excited to do some of these things with my girls, I want to instill in them a heart for service from a really young age!

LIVE the Word – The Micah 6:8 Assignment
40 Serving Ideas for 40 Days in the Word
  1. Ask your mayor or a city official about your community’s greatest needs and what you could do to address them.
  2. Cook a meal for an individual or family who is sick, recovering from surgery, recently had a baby, etc.
  3. Contact your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter to ask how you can serve veterans in your community.
  4. Make cards for seniors in a nursing home or convalescent facility.
  5. Volunteer to spend time with children at a local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club.
  6. Mow the grass or clean up the yard for your neighbor.
  7. Call a local non-profit to ask what their organization’s greatest need and then offer to help
    with it.
  8. Help your neighborhood grocery store by collecting their shopping carts that have been
    taking off of their lot.
  9. Offer to babysit for a neighbor so that they can have a date night.
  10. Collect unused make-up, perfume, and other cosmetics for a center for abused women.
  11. Volunteer at your library or local school to help a child learn how to read.
  12. Assemble a new parent’s kit for the arrival of a newborn.
  13. Bring comfort and relief to patients and caregivers by volunteering through a local
    hospice agency.
  14. Teach classes or tutor those who are learning English as a second language.
  15. Work with local officials to paint over graffiti in your city.
  16. Contact the local fire and police department to find out how you can bless the servicemen and
    women in your community.
  17. Write letters or create care packages for soldiers who are serving overseas.
  18. Collect backpacks and school supplies to give to children of families who can’t afford them.
  19. Sports clubs are often responsible for upkeep on their fields. Offer to help clean up their
    sports/recreation areas.
  20. Bake some cookies for a neighbor that you haven’t met as a means to introduce yourself.
  21. Create hygiene kits (toothbrush & toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) and give them to homeless
    individuals or families in your community.
  22. Contact your city’s juvenile court system and offer to mentor an adolescent on probation.
  23. Get in touch with your local Habitat for Humanity chapter about helping them build houses
    for those in need.
  24. If your community doesn’t have a food bank, work with local officials to start one.
  25. Host or participate with a vocational training for community members out of work.
  26. Volunteer at a local agency that works with children with disabilities.
  27. Help a neighbor make repairs to their property or home that they are unable to do themselves.
  28. Sign up to serve as a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister”
  29. Clean up trash at a park, beach, or river. 
  30. Contact a local school principal to find out how you can best serve their school.
  31. Spend time visiting with seniors in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
  32. Ask for permission to paint your town’s fire hydrants.
  33. Look at your city’s community events calendar, pick an event, and find out how you can serve at it.
  34. Organize a community dog wash.
  35. Offer to pick up groceries with/for a senior citizen.
  36. Make “Get Well” cards for kids in a local children’s hospital.
  37. Get permission from city officials to paint a community mural.
  38. Put together a clothing drive to benefit people in need.
  39. Help fix a run-down playground.
  40. Use your computer or social media skills to teach a class or tutor those who want to learn. 


Recipe Monday: Taco Salad (dinner inspiration)

I realize this is a basic EASY recipe, but in case you have never made taco salad- it is so easy and really yummy- and I love that you don't have to use salad dressing with taco salad. Everyone in my house has been sick lately, so I am lacking inspiration for my Sunday cooking, I will have to get back on that soon! So this is really more of a "dinner inspiration" than a recipe! 

Here is what I do: TACO SALAD
- 1lb lean ground beef
- 1 package taco seasoning
(make beef as suggested)
- 1 bag of lettuce (or cut your own- I use Romaine)
- 1/2-1 can of corn (make sure to check ingredients, some cans sneak lots of salt and some sugar in- if you like a touch of spice, get mexican corn)
- chopped carrots (as many as you like)
- chopped celery
- chopped tomatoes
- 1 can black beans rinsed (I like low sodium, I also like to warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds)
- crushed fritos (optional, I also like Triscuit Thin Crisps crushed)
- shredded cheddar cheese
- guacamole (package or fresh if you find ripe avocados)
- sour cream (dollop)
- salsa (I like my salsa [HERE] any salsa you like works)

Put lettuce in the bowl (I like to use kitchen scissors and chop it up really small for the girls), add corn, carrots, celery, tomatoes. Add beef and beans then cheese (the cheese melts over the warm beef and beans), add some guacamole, sour cream and salsa- stir all together (no need for dressing, the guac, cream and salsa add plenty of moisture) crumble fritos on top (or tortilla chips or triscuits) and serve!

Happy Monday!

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