11.21.2018

Brussels Spouts Gratin

When I was a kid, you couldn't pay me to eat Brussels Sprouts.
But as an adult? I LOVE them.
The key to making Brussels is roasting them. 
They taste even better when roasted and smothered in cheese, like this when they are made as a gratin. 
Here is what you need:
- 2 lbs of Brussels Sprouts, trimmed & sliced in half
- 1 cup White Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 T butter
- 2 T minced garlic
- Sea Salt, Pepper & Olive Oil to coat

Directions:
Cut brussels sprouts in half and trim the ends:
Place them in a gallon ziplock bag. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Shake to coat.
Put brussels on a cookie sheet and roast for 18 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
While the brussels are roasting, its time to make the cheesy sauce! 
Add minced garlic & 2 T of butter to a pan.
 Add the flour & whisk:
 Whisk together on low heat:
 Then, add the milk and keep whisking it.
Shred your white cheddar cheese:
 Add the shredded white cheddar cheese and both types of Parmesan cheese.
 Stir until all melted and remove from heat:
Once your brussels are done roasting, add them to an 8x8 baking dish:
 Add the cheese mixture on top:
Then stir it up to coat the brussels:
Sprinkle more Parmesan on top:
Bake at 400 for 20 more minutes until the top is brown.
 Let cool for 5-10 minutes & then serve.
This Brussels Sprouts Gratin is so yummy, it add a new level to roasted Brussels Sprouts.
 If you want to put them on an even higher level, add some chopped bacon to the gratin!
These Brussels Spouts would be a perfect side side for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas or just because!
Enjoy!

11.16.2018

Friday Favorites {Feeling Thankful}

Happy Friday!
Today I'm linking up with Friday Favorites!

Hosted by: AndreaErika & Narci

I am SO happy it's Friday.
This has been A WEEK.
It's the week before Thanksgiving break which is crazy for a teacher.
But, it was extra crazy because of the smoke from the fires.
No air conditioning or heaters were allowed to be used in our classroom because of the terrible outside air quality. No PE or outdoor activities allowed.
Needless to say the students and my kids have been a little stir crazy.
They actually canceled school for us today because the air quality index was over 250.
It's so awful, but feeling thankful we are safe from the fires and that we have a roof over our heads.
Here is the view from our backyard...it's so smoky :(

{ONE}
Family Photos are my favorite. Monika took them 2 weeks ago ....she has taken our family photos every Fall since Luke was born. 
Here is a behind the scenes picture of the photo shoot. 
 I can't wait to get the pictures back. She has sent me some sneaks & I love them so far!
  
{TWO}
waAs you can tell our colors where gray, white & den{TWO}
I know Halloween was 2 weeks ago, but I never posted about it. 
Halloween is one of my favorite nights of the year.
This year we had a Candy Corn Queen, Bumblebee the Transformer & a 50's girl!
 
 Kate is such a middle schooler....she went trick or treating with her own friends and no more cute pumpkin trick or treat bag...she insisted on using a pillowcase. Ahhhh. So bittersweet.
Our friends had a Halloween party and then we went trick or treating.

Such a fun night!
 
{THREE}
On October 1st I decided to make a random goal for myself to run everyday in October (for at least 10 minutes) and to run 100 total miles in October. I barley made it, but I did it. 
 
It was actually fun....except for the 10 minute treadmill run in Vegas the last weekend of October, that felt harder than a 10 mile run. LOL!
 
Does anyone else do random challenges for themselves?  
Good thing I did this challenge in October and not November. 
Because of all the fires here in California, we have had unhealthy air quality so outside exercise is not recommended. I haven't gone running since last Thursday because of the air quality.
Keep praying for California. It's so devastating.


{FOUR}
Time Hop is one of my favorite apps.
It's an app that lets you know what you posted from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, iCloud and Dropbox each day of the year. 
So, when you click on the app, it will tell you what you posted on that day 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years ago, etc.
This week I hit a 2 year streak of checking my Time Hop each day...730 days in a row.
I don't know if I should be ashamed or proud. LOL!
Do you have this app? It's free!

{FIVE}
One of the traditions I do for our kids teachers & our neighbors for Thanksgiving is make them pumpkin bread with a little printable I made:


You can find the printable & recipe {HERE}

{SIX}
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.
I have a firm "No Christmas anything before Thanksgiving rule"
 My co worker posted this an I thought it was perfect!!! LOL!
I am so excited for next Thursday, I love Thanksgiving. I love Christmas also, but I wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas.

 .Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite meals of the year. 
Here is our menu:
Turkey, Sausage Stuffing, Baked Corn, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Cheesecake....I LOVE it ALL!

{SEVEN}
Our family “rule” is you have to wait until you are 10 to get your ears pierced. 
Claire’s 10th birthday was 2 months ago, but it was right in middle of soccer season which meant she had to wait until soccer was over to get her ears pierced. 

It finally happened last weekend and she couldn’t be more excited. 
Our favorite place to get ears pierced is at a Tatoo & Piercing shop. 
That is where we had Kate's done and it is so much cleaner (and professional) than having it done at the mall. 

{EIGHT}
Hallmark Fall Movies are our favorite...they are holding us over until next Friday.
 Because we can't go outside because of the bad air quality & now that soccer is over we have been spending lots of time inside watching movies. 
 My girls (and also Luke) love Hallmark movies.
Once Thanksgiving is over we will watch all the Hallmark Christmas movies...I already have some on my DVR :)

{NINE}
The Reverse Regimen is a favorite of mine, especially during Fall & Winter...it helps get rid of any sun damage you got during the summer months.

Just like these Before & After photos, Reverse has gotten rid of my sun damage &  pregnancy melasma.
 I am also loving lash boost as well.
 I am also loving the fact that 1 tube of Lash boost has lasted me over 5 months!!!!!

For my April special, all new preferred customers get $20 cash back, 10% off their order, a free mini eye cream & a free mini facial.

 We have products for all skin types....anti aging, sun damage, acne & sensitive skin.

We have special going on this weekend where you get Radiant Defense for HALF PRICE ($30!) when you buy a regimen. 
This is good for new, old or current customers!

Find out what products are best for your skin HERE

 Email me to place an order or if you have questions!
melissa_larson17@yahoo.com

{TEN}
If you love pumpkin as much as I do, be sure and check out my Pumpkin Bar recipe that I posted this week.

They have a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and they are to die for!
They are delicious! Check out the recipe HERE.

So, there you have it..some of my favorites lately.
And, please....keep praying for the fires in California.
My cousin is a firefighter for Cal Fire and lives in Chico which is right next to Paradise so this is right in his backyard. His wife's parents lost their home in the fire and my other cousin's wife has a brother who lost their home in the fire.
Several of you have asked how you can help.
Right now they don't need any donations of "things" there is no where to put all the donations of clothing, furniture, etc.
The best way to help is gift cards, especially for food.
I am going to send a package up to Chico for them to hand out to people in need. 
If you would like to send any giftcards or if you would like to contribute via Paypal or venmo, let me know!
Giftcards that would work in that area:
In N Out Burger
Wendy's
McDonalds
Arby's
Safeway
Target
Walmart
Trader Joe's
Amazon

Send me an email if you would like to be a part of this.
melissa_larson17@yahoo.com

Have a great weekend and TGIF!


11.14.2018

Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

October and November means that I am baking all the pumpkin things!
September is all about apples & December is peppermint & chocolate, but October & November are reserved for pumpkin, pumpkin & more pumpkin!
I am excited to share this recipe with you....moist Pumpkin Bars with a (Cinnamon!!!!) Cream Cheese Frosting!
Here is what you need for the bars:

- 4 eggs
- 1 can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups flour
-2 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 2 t cinnamon
- 2 t pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, brown sugar & pumpkin puree.
Mix until combined.
In another bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice:
Sift it together:
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin/sugar/egg mixture:
Mix until all combined:
Spray a jelly roll cookie sheet with cooking spray and then spread the batter:
Make sure it's as even as possible:
Bake in a 350 oven for 20-22 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)
While it's baking, its time to make the frosting!
Here is what you need for the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
-  1 stick of butter, softened
- 8 oz Cream Cheese (I use 1/3 fat), softened
- 2 t vanilla
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
- About 1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, mix the softened butter & softened cream cheese. Once mixed, add the cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.

Add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency. You will use about 1.5 - 2 cups of powdered sugar.
Wait until the pumpkin bars are cooled (about 15-20 minutes) and then frost!
Slice them into squares and serve!
 I am not usually a frosting person, but I LOVE THIS FROSTING!
I make a similar frosting for my carrot cake. All 5 of us love these pumpkin bars.
We may or may not have had them for breakfast one day over the weekend :)
I hope you love them as much as we do!
ENJOY!

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