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Friday, May 26, 2017

Enjoy a Home-cooked Dinner in 30 Minutes

Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield® Marinated Fresh Pork. The opinions and text are all mine.


This time of the year is so much fun.  We are really blessed with an amazing backyard that allows our family to enjoy the warm summer evenings playing, creating and running around the yard.  Once we get home from work we head outside which is always fun but after an hour or so of running the kids' hungry tummies remind us that we have to figure out dinner.  Oh yeah, that whole parenting thing.  Ha!  So, that is the challenge, finding a dinner that can be prepared quickly and easily.  
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Enter our favorite Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. I truly believe that Smithfield knows what busy families like us need. We need delicious, fresh and easy to prepare pork for our families. For summer evenings when we are enjoying our backyard we usually prepare our dinner on the grill. Thankfully, Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork can literally be thrown on the grill and done cooking in less than 30 minutes. Smithfield does the work for you. The prep work is done because it is slow-marinated and perfectly seasoned in a variety of delicious cuts and flavors.  I love getting real flavor real fast with Smithfield!  Our Applewood Smoked Bacon Pork Loin Filet was perfectly grilled after 25 minutes.  Delicious! 

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Our new favorite is the Applewood Bacon Pork Loin Filet from Smithfield.  It is crusted with pieces of bacon and once it is grilled the pork is so juicy and tender.  Perfect!  Less work but a meal that has us all ready for seconds.  

While the pork is super easy, I am always left wondering what easy side dish to prepare while the family plays outside and the pork is grilling.  I decided to try something a little different the last time we had our Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork.  I created little mini foil pockets and filled them with potatoes, veggies and cheese!  Opinions from the family?  LOVE!

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Grilled Potatoes & Veggies Pockets

Free printable recipe here. 



Ingredients:

Baby Dutch yellow potatoes - sliced in half
Broccoli florets 
Cauliflower florets
Shredded cheddar cheese
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP Garlic powder 

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Directions:

1.  Create mini foil pockets by folding up the edges of a sheet of foil into a rectangle.  

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2.  Prepare the potatoes by slicing them in half and placing them into a gallon size bag. 

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3.  Pour melted butter and garlic powder over potatoes and seal bag.  Shake bag to coat potatoes with garlic and butter. 

4.  Place a few spoonful of potato slices into each foil pocket.
  
5.  Prepare cauliflower and broccoli and place a few spoonful of each in the foil pockets as well. 

6.  Sprinkle each pocket with shredded cheddar cheese. 

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7.  Place Potatoes & Veggies Pockets on a warmed - out of direct flame. 

8.  Grill for 20-25 minutes.  

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9.  Serve with prepared Smithfield Applewood Bacon Pork Loin Filet and enjoy!

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I am so glad that I tried this recipe because it made getting dinner on the table so easy.  We were able to get our main dish grilled along with our side dishes in less than 30 minutes.  So easy!  And, I cannot wait to try other potato toppings for these fun grilled potato foil pockets.  Oh, and let me tell you, the lack of messy clean-up is amazing.  

Once the pork is cooked to perfection we slice it up and enjoy the perfect flavors of Applewood bacon and marinated pork.  It is so good.  For a family of four we get two meals out of this pork loin which is also a big plus for us.  

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Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is available at Safeway in the fresh meat section and can be found in a number of different cuts and flavors. Like I said, the Applewood Bacon is our favorite although we are big fans of the Roasted Garlic Herb Pork Loin Filet as well.  This is an item that we have on our grocery list every week.  It can be used in so many ways, grilled, roasted, sautéed, and even slow cooked.  It really is a great versatile pork item to add to your menu plans and recipes.  This is the perfect option to get Real Flavor Real Fast!

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Ready for a challenge?

Smithfield is challenging you to see what you can do with Marinated Fresh Pork to get a flavorful meal ready in about 30 minutes with their “What Can You Do With 30?” meal and tip contest.  Think you can get creative with your 30 minute meals? 


To submit your original recipe for a chance to win great prizes head over to the Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork "Real Flavor, Real Fast" website.

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Tell me, what will you create with 30 minutes using Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork?


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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Sticks

Finding recipes that are easy, on budget and kid approved can be difficult at times.  Recently, I asked my kids what their favorite thing was to eat, they responded with, "PIZZA"!  I wasn't surprised but we cannot order pizza every week if we want to stay on budget - more on our big budget changes soon!  

So, long story short, I picked up a few pizza essentials and created a some finger food that mocks their favorite meal!!  Pizza me!!  

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Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Sticks

Free Printable Recipe Here.   

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Ingredients:
Refrigerated Pizza Dough
Turkey Pepperoni Slices 
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
4 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 TBSP Italian Seasoning 
Marinara Sauce 

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Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

2.  Prepare a baking pan with cooking spray.  

3.  Take refrigerated pizza dough out of canister and lay flat on parchment paper. 

4.  Spread dough out as much as possible and cut dough into 10 equal rectangles.  

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5.  Place rectangles on baking pan and top dough with 4-5 pepperoni slices. 

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6.  Top each layer of pepperoni with a cheese stick. 

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7.  Roll up the pepperoni and cheese stick inside the pizza dough.  Place the stick seam side down on the baking pan. 

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8.  Combine butter, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.  Brush each pizza stick with the butter mixture.  

9.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

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10.  Enjoy warm with a side of Marinara sauce.


These pizza sticks were a hit with the whole family.  I plan on making another batch but fill them with other toppings like veggies and sausage.  Such a great recipe that can switched up depending what we have on hand at home. 

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What creative recipe do you rely on when the budget is tight but your kids want FOOD?!?

Post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through my link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Residence Inn Marriott - Surprise Arizona

Last month we took a family vacation to Arizona to visit Jeremy's parents and sister's family.  It was a big family reunion!  It was so much fun to enjoy the sun with the whole family.  Since Jeremy's sister lives in Amsterdam we do not see her family often so it was a great weekend of the cousins just playing and enjoying one another.  

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While it would have been great to stay all in one house, there just was not enough room so we decided to reserve a hotel not far from my in laws house.  After searching around we decided on the Residence Inn Marriott in Surprise Arizona.  We decided on this because of the close location but also that it had separate rooms so we would not have to go to bed at the same time as the kids.  Boy were we surprised by this hotel - it was pretty much an apartment!  So perfect for our needs.  

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Residence Inn Marriott - Surprise Arizona 


When we first checked in the front desk gal was so nice.  It was super late, like almost midnight due to our late flight out to Arizona and even with that she was ready to help.  She gave our kids a little treat and a juice which was really nice since they both had such a long day.  

When we booked this hotel we were expecting a sitting room and a sleeping room because it was listed as a two room hotel.  Well when we walked into our home away from home we were surprised at the apartment feel. 

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This room had a full "living room", an eat in kitchen, and two master suites with bathrooms - including bathtubs!  Wow!  Now, we did not use the kitchen much as we were eating with Jeremy's family but now that we know we have an option like this, it would really allow us to stay for longer extended stays if it ever worked out that way.  That being said, there was also a Continental breakfast included with our stay.  My kids LOVED the chocolate eclairs.  Such a treat!

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Having the living room was really nice, it helped us keep the kids entertained and out of their bed!  Perfect for those mornings when we are trying to all get ready for a big family activity.  Plus, Netflix was available on our TVs so we just signed in with our account and let them watch their favorite Netflix shows!  Love that option! 

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As a parent, it is always important to have a bathroom with a bathtub - we had two!!  Great sized bathrooms as well.  We never had to fight for who was going first!  

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Oh hotel beds, hit or miss.  This one was a HIT!!  We all slept great in these beds.  We had the King size and we believe the other bed was a full size.  Not sure but it was plenty big enough for both of the kids.  

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The price of this hotel was a bit more than we would have spent on a regular 2 bed one bedroom hotel room but it was well worth our money.  It will be hard to stay in any other type of hotel room with our kids now that we have had this experience.  The room was very well taken care of and updated.  The kitchen was a kitchen I would love to have in my own house!  

While we didn't get a chance to enjoy our hotel pool it was certainly a pretty space.  It was fun to see families enjoying the pool and pool area through out the day.  

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We would recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in the Surprise area of Arizona.  Thank you for a great stay Residence Inn!!  

What is your favorite type of hotel room to have while traveling as a family?


This is NOT a sponsored post. 

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Monday, May 22, 2017

A Cap, A Gown, A 1st Grader

Last week we celebrated a close of the school year with seeing Jude "graduate" from Kindergarten.  The day was so much fun.  He felt very special and grown up in his cap and gown and now he is moving on to bigger and better!  


In 2015, Jeremy and I made the decision that we would be "holding" Jude back a year in Preschool to allow him some extra growing time before moving on to Kindergarten.  While there has been some days that I wondered if we did the right thing, at this point we are so encouraged with our decision to make Jude older in his class.  Jude has grown both emotionally and educationally.  He is so ready for 1st grade and he is going to do great!

That being said, I do foresee him having some struggles as he goes through school due to his size.  Jude is about a head taller than all of the kids in his class!!  Crazy!!  But, it was a great learning year for him!  His class for Kindergarten was a class of 10 boys!  JUST BOYS!  That was a great experience for him and his buddies. 


After the graduation ceremony we headed to Cold Stone for an ice cream celebration!  I find it so hard to believe that we will be jumping into grade school routines in just a few months!  I know everyone says this but...It goes so FAST!!  In about a month he will be 7!!  AHH!!  Not possible. 


Congratulations Jude!!  We are so proud of you!!  


Did your kiddos have any end of the school year celebrations?


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