4.27.2016

Eat // Sausage Smashed Burger + Wonton Sausage Cheese Bites

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jimmy Dean®. All opinions are entirely my own.



Remember how I like to eat? Well guess what, nothing has changed. I'm still over here doing just that. So here's the thing - I'm a meat girl. Always have been, always will be. There's just something about biting into a juicy burger or snacking on little bites of protein that resonate very well with my stomach. When I was shopping recently at my local Meijer store, I found myself smack dab in the refrigerator section staring at Jimmy Dean® Roll Sausage and I knew it was my time to get creative in the kitchen. People seem to associate sausage with breakfast, however it goes way beyond that people. Lunch, dinner, snacks...bottom line is that sausage is king. The first big decision though - which flavors to get? Regular/Original, Country Mild, or Hot?


I settled on the regular/original and hot because what's life without a little spice right? And that's when it went down in the kitchen.... here's what was hand crafted just for your pleasure. Okay, and mine.



First up, the sausage smashed burger complete with pickled cucumbers and sprout slaw. Also known as amazing. Here's all the details on how to make your own [believe me, your husband will love you after this].


Sausage Smashed Burger Recipe
This restaurant trending burger is coming to your home. Use Jimmy Dean® Roll Sausage with caramelized onions smashed together in a skillet or char-grill and topped with jarlsberg cheese. Layered between brioche bread, charred tomato, pickled cucumbers, shaved Brussel sprouts with garlic mayonnaise.

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Inactive time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
½ cup Homemade Pickles, see recipe below
1 cup Sprout Slaw, see recipe below
4 cups diced onions
2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup unsalted butter
8 slices brioche bread
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded jarlsberg cheese

Homemade Pickles
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
½ cucumber, seeded and sliced

Sprout Slaw
2 cups shaved Brussels sprouts
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon garlic paste

Instructions
1. Combine sugar, vinegar and water in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add cucumber slices. Refrigerate for an hour before use, the cucumbers will be tender yet still have texture.
2. Combine Brussels sprouts, mayonnaise and garlic paste in a mixing bowl; keep refrigerated until use.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onions, butter and cook on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often until onions are tender. Drain and reserve excess butter to toast bread slices, refrigerate onions until cooled.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of reserved onion butter in the same skillet over medium. Toast 2 slices of bread at a time until desired doneness, repeat with remaining ingredients and set aside.
5. In the same skillet, heat the tomato slices until a slight charring occurs, set aside.
6. Combine the sausage and caramelized onions together in a mixing bowl. Divide the sausage mix into 4 equal parts and roll into individual ball-shapes. Using the same skillet, smash the sausage into the skillet with a flat spatula until you have your desired thickness. Cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until the natural juices run clear. Finish with the shredded cheese and let melt before removing from the skillet. You can cook them all in the same skillet or two at a time. Layer the burger between toasted bread with tomatoes, pickles and slaw. Enjoy!


Is your mouth watering yet? Good, lets continue.

Next up is the easiest party appetizer of all party appetizers which has been on repeat in my kitchen lately. So easy and so delicious. Not only do they look like you know what you are doing, but they taste like you do too. Only 5 ingredients and around 15 minutes to make, you will love them. Promise.


Serving size: 25
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 (25 count) package wonton wrappers (found in the produce section typically)
1 pound Jimmy Dean® Hot Roll Sausage, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
3/4 cup ranch dressing

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press wonton wrappers individually into a muffin tin and bake for 5 minutes until light golden brown.
2. Remove from the oven and place onto a cookie sheet. Repeat until all wrappers are baked.
3. Mix the sausage, cheeses, and ranch dressing until well blended. Spoon into the wonton wrappers.
4. Bake 5-10 minutes, serve warm. Enjoy!


And there you have it, two awesome sausage recipes you need to make now. Which recipe will you be trying first?


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4.24.2016

Shop My Closet // Recent IG Looks + Sales!

If you follow me on Instagram [both here and here, because just one account would be boring] you have probably noticed several of these outfits below. However, I am a firm believer that looking at anything via blog posts is much easier than looking via a tiny square on Instagram. Not only that, but several of these looks are now on major sale and how tragic would it be if you never knew about such sales? Saving the world, one blog post at a time. 

Without further ado, I present to you - shop my closet round one. Expect to see these from time to time, assuming you're cool with it and all. 
blazer [use code FRIEND for 25% off + free shipping] // blue top [buy one, get one 50% off, use code 1305 if you spend over $100 to get $25 off and free shipping] // pants // purse // heels [similar, on sale for $30] // maxi dress [sold out of black, available in grey] // denim jacket [best one I've ever owned!]

jacket - size up one if you teter between sizes [spend $50, save $10!] // green tank from stitch fix [similar] // jeans from stitch fix [similar, 40% off] // purse from stitch fix [similar] // heels [only $16.50!]

 pink top [on sale for $35, use code RAIN30 for extra 30% off] // jeans [spend $50, save $10] // nude heels [on sale for $25]
bell sleeve top [similar, 30% off only $17.50] // jeans from stitch fix [similar - currently 40% off] // heels [only $16.50]


shoes - beyond obsessed with these! 

beautiful dreamer tank [less than $13!] // cardigan [similar] // jeans from stitch fix [similar, 40% off] // purse // wedges [similar, under $30]
sweatshirt - size up 2 sizes // shorts -[on sale for $15, size up]// shoes - wear these all of the time!

 dress [available in 3 colors and under $100!] // heels 

 shirt [similar, buy 1 get 1 50% off] // pants [buy 1 pair get 2nd pair for $40] // heels [great in the blush color] // dress from stitch fix [similar] // heels 

 dress [similar] // denim jacket

 kimono [similar, love THIS cover-up] // swimsuit top and bottoms , use code SHIP50 for free shipping over $50 // hat // sandals [similar

And on that note, I'm off to hit up the Old Navy 40% off sale because you know, necessary ;) 

ps. unless noted, everything above fits true to size. I am 5'4 and typically wear a size small in shirts and 2-4 in pants. If you have any additional questions on fit, shape, color feel free to drop me a comment below and I'll respond here! Happy shopping!

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4.21.2016

When You Have No Clue What You Are Doing With Your Life...

tee from metal marvels

I'm one of those "in the moment" type of people, but not necessarily in that good type of "in the moment" way. I more so mean, one moment I want to do this and the next moment I want to do that. Maybe a better term for this would be lack of contentment, clarity, vision, or figuring out what in the heck I want to do in this life. I think I have it all figured out and then twenty minutes later I'm all "why did I think that was a good idea?! I clearly don't want to do that...I want to do this!" and then another twenty minutes passes by and I've made up my mind that I now want to do both or neither at all. Really, the only thing I am completely ever sure of is what I want to eat for my next meal and all that's gained me is a lot of calories and empty drive thru bags #guilty.

The past few days, weeks, okay it's been months I have felt this unsettling feeling of not having a real understanding of what I want to do be doing from a day to day basis. Do I like this whole blogging thing enough to commit my career to it? Doesn't that seem really lonely and quiet though? Do I want to work outside of the home more? Doesn't that seem like a lot to balance though? Should I have a baby to make things a little more clear? Worst idea ever. Is taking pictures of outfits every day for Instagram actually fulfilling? Haven't I always wanted to own a cute little home decor shop? Sounds expensive. Do I want to add more to my plate or take away from it? And the questions go on and on and on and on. And then I get lumps in my throat and small little tears in my eyes because IT'S ALL SO CONFUSING. And then I start to get jealous of people who have this whole thing figured out. Like maybe working a normal 40 hour job is a lot less confusing? But what about traveling and afternoons in the sun? How does that work out? I want the best of all worlds while not even knowing what the best of all worlds would actually consist of. 

I'm ready to get to that point in my life where I stop questioning it all. You know, the point that I have thought for the past 10 years is right around the corner? Where I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing, where I feel fulfilled, challenged, inspired and just sure of things. But then maybe that would be boring too because what fun is life if there isn't an ever changing adventure attached to it?

I guess I'm writing this today not to get an answer [but I mean if you have one, I'm all ears...] but hopefully to relate to some of you who struggle with this too. To know that it's okay that not everything is cut and dry. That it's okay we don't always understand our own thoughts, desires and dreams. That even if we never get to that seemingly impossible point, we are living up the highs, learning from the lows, praying through the confusion, toasting to the accomplishments and laughing through the WTFs. Oh life, you are confusing to me but I sure do love the heck out of you. To whatever is next...

ps. the amount of I's in this post is disturbing. maybe that's my first problem, turn away from yourself Erin...noted. 

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4.20.2016

The Boat Is Back And I'm Gonna Get In Trouble...


Please sing the title to the tune of "my boyfriend's back and you're gonna get in trouble..hey la, hey la, my boyfriends back." Okay, now begin reading. 

This past weekend Indiana blew our freaking socks off [literally, we were barefoot all weekend] and surprised us all with 80 degree temps and nothing but that shiny ball of sun. I tried counting clouds all weekend and I kept coming up with zero. Well played weather man, well played. 

Being that we were wise enough to put our boat back in the water a few weeks ago when it was still snowing outside we had the upper hand advantage among many of our neighbors who couldn't see past the freezing temperatures and white powder on the ground meaning come the middle of April, we were out cruisin' on the pontoon all weekend. 



Long story short, I am a little bit excited that the best time of the year is now upon us and that the only thing I need to worry about is if I should bring mini bottles of wine, beer, or a captain and diet out on the boat with me. She votes beer. 


To celebrate the beginning of all good things, we invited my family over for a good ole fashioned Sunday boat ride and cookout to kick things off into high gear.  We added a new little sail mate to our crew this year and so far, so good. I think he's diggin' this whole summer lifestyle thing so far.  



As for the rest of the gang, I think they liked it too. We've got a 4 year old driving the boat, a 6 year old trying to keep goldfish out of a dogs mouths and men doing what they do best - not paying attention to any of it ;) 


This weekend also marked the christening of the new patio - the space is now huge meaning we could all eat peacefully and didn't even notice when the youngest one spit up all the place. FREEDOM. We are in the waiting stages of being able to get this bad boy all decked out with our new patio furnishings from hayneedle.com and the polywood adirondack chairs that arrived yesterday. While it may not be completely set-up to our liking yet, it didn't stop us from dominating some serious summer food [burgers, baked beans, pasta salad, chips, veggies, etc]. You know, all the healthy stuff.

 lit up anchor found here // excuse the not showered, no make-up look. it's sexy,  I know. 


And there we have it. The first official "best weekend ever" of the spring/summer/whatever the heck we are in underway.


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4.18.2016

3 [Cute] Ways To Wear Tennis Shoes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Foot Petals for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


I never used to be a tennis shoes girl - heels, boots or sandals were my jam. I just never felt confident or cute in tennis shoes and really didn't understand how to wear them other than with running shorts, sports bra and tank top. It wasn't until recently that I fully embraced the comfort of tennis shoes and have gotten creative on how to dress in a way that didn't look like I was about to go for a ten mile run [good joke I know]. This is especially convenient on weekends when running errands because lets be real, grocery shopping in 3 inch heels isn't necessarily the most practical or comfortable of looks. 

Another reason why I didn't gravitate towards this whole tennis shoe trend was the sock issue. Who wants your socks to show in cute little tennis shoes but on the flip side, the thought of not wearing socks wasn't entirely desirable because of things like sweat and stuff. And then I found my favorite lifesavers, Foot Petals Sock-free Saviors. Commando for the win! 


Allow me to explain these babies to you - these shoe cushions not only provide extra support but they are made out of antimicrobial protection which in layman's terms means that they have odor fighting properties that won't wash away every time you throw them in the washing machine [yes, yes you can wash them]. They are ventilated to keep your feet cool and dry and can be trimmed to fit your shoe size perfectly! I love that these can be easily taken in and out of any of your shoes, thrown in the washer and worn over and over again while you never have to worry about how to wear tennis shoes out and about without your socks sticking out ever again! 


So now that you know my secret on what keeps my feet my fresh, lets take a look at three different ways to wear those comfortable shoes of yours!

1. Preppy
similar cardigan / plaid top / similar jeans / new balance shoes 

I love this easy yet put together look with a simple plaid top with an open cardigan over top. Dress it down a bit with distressed jeans and tennis shoes for a perfect running around town look. 

2. Edgy 
jacket / tee / similar jeans / michael kors slip-ons

When gallivanting around Chicago recently I wore a very similar look and I loved how comfortable yet trendy it was. Simply put a moto jacket over a basic tee and slide into some slip-ons and you're ready to get out and go! 

3. Sporty 
sweatshirt [size up, wearing a medium] / similar jeans / converse 

And the classic tennis shoes outfit - a cute cozy sweatshirt, jeans and some converse. You can never go wrong with this choice, especially on a day running around town, hitting up sporting events, or hanging at home.

Thanks to Foot Petals for stepping up my shoe game!

ps. Did you know that National Walk to Work Day was April 1st? Thank you Foot Petals for bringing awareness to this day and helping us celebrate our walk to work! Be sure to check out this video below for more information about Foot Petals and check out Foot Petals Facebook!

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4.17.2016

The Cutest Little Gathering Anybody Can Create

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


This past week was spring break up in our neck of the woods meaning my little nieces had the week off from school. Unfortunately, the weather decided to be freezing [literally], snowy, windy, rainy and that was just on a good day. Because of those unfortunate circumstances there wasn't a whole lot that those hyper active children could do besides drive their mom semi-crazy. Or at least that's what I'm envisioning would happen if I were in charge. Bless you moms.

To put a little star at the end of their week, I invited my sister, her girls and the newest little addition to the family, baby Corban, over for a Mexican fiesta of sorts. I wanted the day to feel a little more special than normal and because I had just picked up a brand spankin' new Brita water pitcher a few days ago [has anybody else noticed the fun vibrant colors these pitchers now come in? purples, oranges, greens, etc!] I decided to throw together a cute and festive "hydration station".  I picked up some other coordinating colorful accessories to make this party complete and bam - here she is. 


Here's what I added to the hydration station to make it a fun experience for my cute little party guests - plastic cups, straws, lemons, limes, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries and mint. We let them go wild with their water [such party animals I know] allowing them to throw anything and everything into their cups. They got real fancy and learned how to muddle their own mint meaning they are now eligible to travel to some exotic island and bar tend basically. 


It was so fun to see their creativity come out to play and to see what drink concoctions they came up with for all of us adults. Once we were equipped with our fruit-filled drinks, we made our way into the kitchen to partake in all things chicken tacos [recipe coming soon], chips and salsa, and of course - oreo pie. 


By the end of the gathering this little one was tuckered out...


and this little one was ready to dance for taco shells...

[all photos shot by the crazy talented tina herschberger photography]

It was such a fun afternoon spent with these people that I love and I can't wait to continue on this "hydration station" theme for other gatherings.

What other fun gathering ideas do you have? I'd love to hear them so we can keep this party goin'! Be sure to check out the gather now page for loads of inspiration!

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