Building Our Story Yum

Friday, July 22, 2016

Back-to- School Lunchbox Salsa Roll-ups

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias


In just four short weeks I will be sharing a first day of school picture of the kids - FOUR weeks!  How is that even possible?  It feels like summer just started, guess that means we have had a fun and busy summer.  As those summer days tick away, I sit with my growing back-to-school lists.  Lists for things to accomplish before school starts, lists for school supplies, and lists for lunches on busy mornings.  Back-to-School isn't just for the kids, the whole family has to get out of summertime mode and back into school mode. 

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As the day nears I begin stressing about getting through those crazy mornings - YIKES the morning!!  Summertime is just so much more relaxed for everyone, I love it.  Thankfully Walmart keeps my Back-to-School lists in check - coupons for so many great lunchbox meal ingredients are a must CLIP for all of our family lunches. 

There are a lot of new changes this year - new classrooms, new teachers and a new job for Jeremy.  His current office is no where near any places for lunch so we will not only be packing the kids lunches but also his which in turn means I need to jump on the lunch taking bandwagon!  So the question is - What is in your lunchbox?

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One lunchbox item that my husband and I have used for years is a Salsa Roll-Up recipe.  It is such a simple lunch and super easy to make for the whole family the night before.  We love easy lunchbox ideas! I always thought of this as an appetizer recipe but since we always use Pace Thick and Chunky Salsa I knew it would be a perfect lunch for the whole family.  Pace is made with hand picked vegetables and is guaranteed to add a kick to your snacking and cooking - delicious!  Oh and did I mention - EASY!


Lunchbox Salsa Roll-Ups

Free printable recipe here. 

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Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese - softened
Whole wheat tortillas 

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Directions:

1.  Let cream cheese soften and whip slightly for ease of use. 

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2.  Add Pace Salsa to the softened cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. 

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3.  Mix cream cheese and salsa well - mixture should be a nice pink color when mixed well.

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4.  Spread about 1/2 cup of mixture evenly on a whole wheat tortilla.  

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5.  Roll filled tortilla and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. 


6.  After rolls have chilled, cut rolls into 3 inch pieces. 

7.  Serve chilled.

I made these the evening before and simply cut them into 3 inch pieces in the morning.  It was a great lunch for the whole family and travels great in a lunchbox.  I know this will be one of the go-to school lunches we use in a few weeks as those busy school mornings get started.  A must add to your lunchbox menu!

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Now that we have lunch covered I am also thinking about how we will get dinner on the table when all the crazy after school activities start up again.  Grabbing items like Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and Prego Italian sauces are a must!  Both of those simple products can create delicious dinners in just minutes!  Last school year we ate out WAY too much, this school we are focusing on eating at home.  Oh my goodness - I am already feeling the back-to-school sleepless nights.  Finding my natural energy while enjoying some of my daily fruits and veggies is so simple by enjoying a V8+Energy drink.  Like I said, Walmart has this list making mom in check!  Bring on those lists!!

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What is your favorite back-to-school dinner recipe?



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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Perfect Potato Salad Recipes

Summertime is winding down but there are plenty of weekends left for some BBQs and get-togethers before fall rolls in.  As you plan those special times with family and friends you have to decide what to put on your menu and one BBQ staple is Potato Salad.  With everyone getting creative in the kitchen there are so many different recipes that are a must try!


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 Check out these delicious and Perfect Potato Salad Recipes and get planning!!

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Best Potato Salad Recipe by Foodie Crush 

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Deviled Egg Potato Salad Recipe by The Gracious Wife

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Fresh Dill Red Potato Salad with Feta by Through Her Looking Glass 

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French Onion Potato Salad Recipe by A Dash Of Sanity 

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Garlic Herb Potato Salad Recipe by Cooking Classy

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Loaded Baked Potato Salad Recipe by Swanky Recipes

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad Recipe by Averie Cooks



Which potato salad are you hoping to try this summer?


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mount Evans Scenic Byway - Colorado

Last weekend I was reminded of the beauty I am surrounded by every day - the amazing Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  My bloggy BFF Heather, from Terrell Family Fun came for a visit so we could see Adele in concert together (AMAZING!) and we had one day to do some mountain exploration.  I wasn't sure where to take her because the mountain traffic on Sunday afternoon is terrible but after talking to a few friends I decided to do the Mount Evans Scenic Byway drive with her. 

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About Mount Evans Scenic Byway:


The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, just 60 miles west of Denver, is the highest paved road in North America. A day trip to the top is a journey that snakes and climbs through nearly 9,000 feet of elevation gain, from the high plains of Denver through five climate zones to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans – one of 54 peaks in Colorado that soar to 14,000 feet and above – the famous “fourteeners.”
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I am a native of Colorado and this was my first trip to Mount Evans and now this is my go to day trip for anyone that comes for a visit because WOW!  First, look at this photo above, that winding paved road is SMALL and narrow - hello cliff!  Second, look at this view - it is only just beginning.  

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Heather was kind enough to capture my white knuckle driving up the incline!  HA!  This was a whole new experience for me, I have driven in the mountains my entire driving "career" but this trip was different.  We kept saying #JustDontSneeze - seriously!  

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Once we made it up the road we entered a whole new environment and climate.  It was 95 degrees in Denver that day but up on Mount Evans it was a nice brisk 45 degrees.  You could totally tell who wasn't from Colorado because they were the people dressed in snow suits and hats!  That fresh cool breeze felt so refreshing.  CLEAN air!!  Also, notice there are no trees - at 14,264 feet above sea level we were above timberline.  

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Mountain Goats roam around the summit.  We didn't get any photos but there were some adorable little baby goats too.  

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The moments we spent looking around and taking in the views were totally refreshing and perfect.  Its days like this that we all need - take a moment and look around the space you live in every day.  All I can think about is how amazing it is that we live in a state that you can drive up a mountain and feel like you are at the top of the world.  

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Tips for visiting Mount Evans Scenic Byway:


  • Take Water - altitude sickness is real
  • Stop at all of the "viewing areas"
  • Bring a camera
  • If you do not like the cool weather - pack warmer clothing
  • Wear hiking shoes or tennis shoes 
  • Admission is $15 per car
  • Have a driver comfortable with intense driving
  • Plan for at least two hours for drive up and exploring


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Purple Mountain Majesty!  

A beautiful breathtaking view.   For those really dedicated mountain explorers you can also hike to the summit just like any of the fourteeners in Colorado.  

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If you are looking for a great day trip when in Colorado you must add this to your list - hey natives I am talking to you too!!  


Have you taken a trip to a Fourteener in Colorado?


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ninja Turtle Popcorn Recipe

As I shared last week, we had a fun Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party for Jude and it was full of themed food and decorations.  One of the easiest "side dishes" I made for his party was the Ninja Turtle Popcorn.  

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This is not the first time I have made a popcorn recipe like this, in fact we did a Princess version for Teagan's party last year all thanks to my friend Heather from Terrell Family Fun's recipe.  

Basically I just changed the color of the chocolate and sprinkles to create the fun Ninja Turtle Popcorn for the birthday and once again, it was the most talked about and asked about item on the food table.  People are always surprised when I tell them how to make their own.  

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Ninja Turtle Popcorn


Ingredients:

Bag of Microwave Popcorn - no butter
Small bag green melting chocolate
Red, Orange, Blue and Purple sprinkles 
Disposable Roasting Pan
Wax paper 
Paper popcorn boxes

Directions:

1.  Pop bag of popcorn, pour into roasting pan and make sure to remove all unpopped kernels.

2.  For each bag of popcorn, melt one bag of green melting chocolate. 

3.  Pour chocolate over popped popcorn and "toss" to cover each piece of popcorn with chocolate. 

4.  Place a layer of wax paper out and pour chocolate covered popcorn onto wax paper. 

5.  Carefully sprinkle red, orange, blue and purple sprinkles on the popcorn. 

6.  Let chocolate dry and harden before placing in popcorn boxes. 

7.  Popcorn can be kept for a few days if sealed in a container or bag. 

8.  Enjoy and wait for the popcorn question!!  

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Seriously the easiest treat to make for a party.  You can custom your popcorn to any theme party or colors too.  Get creative and have fun!!!  


What color or theme would you like to try?


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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Finding good but fast dinner recipes during this busy season in our family has been difficult but recently I have found a great casserole that not only tastes amazing but is super easy to make after a long day at work.  This Chicken Parmesan Casserole is ready in 30 minutes or less and for us creates one dinner plus a ton of left overs for lunch!  BONUS!!  

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Free Printable Recipe here. 


Ingredients:

4 cups fully-cooked chicken, cubed
24 oz of marinara sauce 
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray.

3. Layer the chicken in the bottom of the casserole dish. 

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4. Pour marinara sauce over the chicken. 

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5. Top sauce with both cheeses until all the chicken is covered.

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6. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper. Combine well. 

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7. Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over the top of the cheese. 

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8. Bake casserole uncovered for about 25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.

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9.  Enjoy hot over a bed of pasta. 

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Looks great right?  If you love freezer meals, this is a perfect option as well, simply follow the directions and instead of baking the dish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.  The day before you want to eat this casserole, take the dish out of the freezer and let the dish thaw in the refrigerator and prepare as directed.  


What are your go to casserole dishes for busy seasons in your life?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jude's 6 Year Old Stats and Pictures

This is Jude....

I love sharing our yearly stats and pictures of both Jude and Teagan on the blog.  It brings us back to the whole reason we started Building Our Story in 2009, growing a family and building our story.  Here we are 7 years later writing an update about our 6 year old little guy!  Amazing how time passes so quickly.  Today I am sharing the usual stats, professional pictures and things I do not want to forget about this time period in Jude's life  


Once again we had his pictures taken at our local Target portrait center, he did so well that it literally only took 15 minutes!  All of his photos totally show is growing personality!  I especially love this one with his adorable smile. He is one handsome guy.  


Jude's 6 year old stats:


Height -  50 inches (99%)
Weight - 65 pounds (98%)


Well it is no surprise that Jude is above average on his height and weight but just as we expected, he is one healthy growing boy.  His doctor and I did talk about his growing anxiety and worrying - the best part about this conversation was that she was not reactive in our discussion.  We will continue to allow him his "worry time" and work on small coping skills as he continues to learn about his anxiety.  


Things I do not want to forget:

  • Wears size 8-10 boys clothes
  • Wears a size 2 shoe
  • Has his yellow belt in Taekwondo (Tigers)
  • Still has to cuddle with his Pooh Bear and burp cloth blanket for bed
  • Adores Teagan
  • Loves playing with his neighbor buddies
  • Lego master!
  • Space, Mummies, and science 
  • Imagination that never stops
  • Caring and gentle 
  • Can read level 1 & 2 books
  • Swimming level 2 
  • Creative
  • Ready for all day kindergarten
  • So smart
  • Loves knock knock jokes



This guy he has always brought a special light into our family and we couldn't be more proud of the handsome young man he is becoming.  We are super excited to see how he going to do this coming school year and know he will continue to surprise us daily. 

Happy 6 buddy!!!


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Monday, July 11, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday Party

For Jude's 6 birthday he decided he wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday party. I was super excited about this theme because of all of the easy but creative decorations and food ideas I found. We did our traditional summer birthday we have done for 6 years now with Jude. Backyard pool party with friends and family. Once again it was a hit and everyone had a fantastic time.



Here is our big guy on his special day. His 6th birthday actually feel on a Saturday so he was lucky enough to have his birthday party on his actual birthday party! I found a Ninja Turtle swim shirt and trunks so we decided to give him those as an early present so he could wear them for his party. He matched perfectly!

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Our finished food table. Thanks to Oriental Trading Company our table was filled with bright colors all themed around the Ninja Turtles. I stayed pretty neutral with the green table cloths for the background backdrop and table but then used Red, Orange, Blue and Purple napkins, "silverware" and crepe paper. It looked so great, and was not a hard set up at all. 

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Using green round lanterns I created 4 turtles with large googly eyes and crepe paper. Super easy but everyone that came into the house loved our ninja turtle lanterns! I simply used orange, red, blue and purple crepe paper and glued a piece around each lantern. Then I used large googly eyes to finish the turtle face - used packing tape to do this. We hung them up around the food table for some extra fun!

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Oriental Trading has everything I needed to create a great food table and decorations to make our little guys birthday party perfect.

Oh and pizza - our main course was pizza of course.


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And now on to one of my favorite creations of the party. Our Ninja Turtle veggie and fruit trays. I saw this idea all over the internet and decided I had to make these. I sat down and decided which fruits and veggies would match the colors of the turtles and this is what I created.

For Raphael: Cucumbers, Black Olives, and Tomatoes. Eyes are made out of ranch dressing with sliced olives in shot glasses!

For Leonardo: Green Grapes, Blackberries and Blueberries. Eyes are made out of yogurt fruit dip with blueberry eyes in a shot glasses.

For Donatello: Honeydew melon, blueberries and purple grapes. Eyes are made out of yogurt fruit dip with blueberry eyes in a shot glasses.

For Michelangelo: Broccoli, black olives and carrots. Eyes are made out of ranch dressing with sliced olives in shot glasses!

Once again, these turned out great and these trays were able to feed a very large crowd. I loved hearing the kids looking at the trays and figuring out that they are turtles!



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Cake time! I am blessed with an amazing friend who can create spectacular cakes for our birthday parties. This time Julie, totally made a masterpiece. Jude told us that he wanted all of the ninja turtles on the cake and she did just that. They were so cute coming out of the sewer!

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Every year that she makes a cake for us we get a million compliments on our cake. This one was so fun!

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On top of the pizza and the fun veggie and fruit trays I did some other themed items for people to enjoy.

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The Ninja Turtle confetti and centerpieces added so much to our table.

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Mutagen Ooze! This was a perfect side dish that the kiddos loved. Green Jell-o!!

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Turtle Popcorn! I got so many questions about this recipe - I will be sharing it later this week. Yummy!! Simple option for any party!

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Sewer lids! HA! Yes, Oreo cookies worked perfectly for this!

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Even though pizza was our actually main dish, I decided to make a Pizza Cheese and Cracker tray too. Simply layer cheese, ham, turkey and pepperoni on a tray and then using crackers make a crust. Such an easy item to create but it was full of creativity and perfect for our theme!

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We had a great day celebrating Jude with friends and family. Once again, we listened to what he wanted and tried to make it work and as usual it turned out perfect for him. I love being able to do that for him!



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If you have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party planned make sure you grab these free Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle table tents to add a little fun to the food table.


Download table tents here.



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Happy 6th birthday buddy!

What birthday party themes are you working on this year?




Disclosure: This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

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