FestiGals : New Orleans

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Summer is drawing near, and there is no better time to plan a fun weekend girls’ getaway! One of my favorite destinations for a quick trip with a few of my favorite ladies is New Orleans!  There is so much to see and do, yet this special city still maintains a laid back casual vibe.  That atmosphere is an ideal combo for having a blast and doing a bit of kicking back and relaxing all in the same weekend.

nola girls weekend

FestiGals, happening June 11th through 14th, is the perfect opportunity to head to NOLA with your best friends, mom or sisters for a weekend of fun for a great cause!  FestiGals is a nonprofit organization for women.  They have been hosting this fabulous event since 2011, educating and inspiring women from all over the country while raising awareness and resources for breast cancer related nonprofits.

This year, the conference will take place at the JW Marriott.  I have stayed there several times, and it is an amazing venue with an unbeatable location.  A full schedule  is available on the FestiGals website.  There are tons of exciting events happening over the weekend.  You can purchase tickets for the entire package or pick and choose the seminars, parties and entertainment you would enjoy the most.  The stiletto stroll and after party sounds like a can’t miss party.  I can’t even imagine the delicious food and beverages that will be offered!

I cannot wait to head to New Orleans for the weekend this summer to make some new memories and visit a few of my old favorites like St. James Cheese Company, The Ruby Slipper and of course, Cafe Du Monde.  I won’t lie, my Nola trips always revolve around food!

festigals

5 Pinterest Recipes I Make Over and Over Again

I have pinned over 300 recipes to date.  What?  I think I need to get a life!  Seriously though, that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the number of mouthwatering thumbnails floating through cyberspace just begging to be added to those little boards of culinary inspiration.  I decided a few months ago to make it my mission to start going through my recipe board and actually trying the dishes I had pinned.

On average, I have been trying one new Pinterest inspired recipe per week.  It will take me a while to get through them at this rate, but I have already had some major successes and also some major flops.  I will focus on the positive today and only share the ones that were so good I have repeated them.  These five recipes have made their way onto our table a minimum of three times each so far.

They all meet my general “recipes to try” criteria which includes three key words… CHEAP, FAST and EASY!  Maybe I should come up with better words.  I do also consider that they are healthy and not packed with sugar or fake ingredients.

5 pinterest recipes i make over and over again

Baked Greek Chicken – I absolutely love Greek food!  I eat some combo that includes feta and hummus several times per week, so when I saw this recipe from the Wander Lust Kitchen, I knew I had to try it.  It is a great dish to serve to guests since it is a one dish deal that bakes in the oven leaving plenty of hands free time for you to greet and visit while it cooks.

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad – Salads are my favorite lunches because they are quick, easy and not too heavy for the middle of the day.  I really like the ones that I can make in a big batch and spoon out a bit every day for a week…. read lazy lunches.  I often get into a rut with the regular old lettuce, tomato, cucumber combo.  This delicious asian inspired one from Le Creme De La Crumb incorporates some sweeter flavors along with fruit and nuts. Yum!

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole – The southern lady in me is a sucker for a hearty casserole, but I try to stay away from canned soups, mayo and all that other “bad” stuff as much as possible.  This recipe from A Household Almanac caught my eye because it is creamy comfort food without any of the preservatives or saturated fat.  On top of that it is easy and freezes well!

Chickpea and Tomato Salad – Another fresh, simple salad with few ingredients, this has become a favorite lunch entree or dinner side!  I make it in a big batch and eat it for a few days.  The original recipe from Green Lite Bites calls for a dressing made from honey, red wine and apple cider vinegar.  It is delicious, but I actually prefer making it with just a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic.

Crock-Pot Salsa Verde Chicken – This easy slow cooker recipe from Wetherills Say I Do has become one of my husband’s favorites.  This is so shocking to me because he doesn’t normally eat bell peppers.  Slow cooking the peppers in green salsa with chicken then combining it with rice and cheese just makes them irresistible!  This is another one that works well for freezing or delivering to friends.

What are your favorite Pinterest recipes?  I would love to add a few new ones to my list!

What I Really Want for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day weekend upon us, everyone has been buzzing about the perfect gifts for moms.  I personally think flowers and food are always a good idea because they are beautiful, thoughtful and just perfect for the time of year.  Pretty blooms are a cheerful addition to a spring porch or table and what mom wouldn’t love a night off from preparing dinner or a sweet treat?

My son turned 2 yesterday, but this is actually my third year as a mom since he was born a few days before this special holiday.  My husband always does a fantastic job of picking out gifts for me, and I know that I will love whatever he chooses this year.  When I was thinking about my wish list though, I realized that all the things I truly want this year are not things at all.  Maybe it is because I am big and pregnant and seriously lacking energy or because chasing a two year old all day every day has really gotten to me.  As much as I love and cherish days with my little man, all I really want this year is some alone time.

Before becoming a mom, I always heard women say things like, “I can’t even go to the bathroom alone” or “I only get to wash my hair twice a week.”  I am ashamed to admit that I judged those women and thought things like, “well, wake up a little earlier” or “just teach your kids to leave you alone.”  Yeah… my attitude has completely changed after experiencing 2 years of motherhood myself.  If my child isn’t following me into the bathroom then my dog is scratching at the door.  Sometimes when my husband is home, I sneak in there, lock the door and just sit on my vanity chair reading a book because it is the only place I can find a quiet minute.

mother's day 2015

This mother’s day, I would consider an afternoon in the hammock listening to the birds chirp with the actual ability to read a book or close my eyes for twenty minutes just as fantastic as a day on a Caribbean beach.  A morning to get showered and dressed on a normal timeline and not at record breaking speeds while multitasking makeup, laundry, childcare and email would be sort of like a day at the spa.  Coming home to a spotless house with no hidden clutter piles or dishes waiting to be unloaded would be like winning the lottery!

While I am certainly not complaining about my everyday role as a wife, mom, housekeeper, laundress and chef, a few hours to completely check out would just be pretty amazing.  Isn’t it funny how quickly life changes and how you really do have to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while to understand their attitudes.  I would just like to publicly apologize to those moms that I judged a couple of short years ago.  I am eating my words now!  You were so right!

mother's day