Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hello Fresh Delivery Service

Ladies at work introduced me to a new service. Hello Fresh. 3 meals, all the ingredients, portioned, and the recipes all delivered in a box.
The service for 3 meals for 2 people costs $69. It seemed pricey until the other night we felt lazy and didn't want to go to the store and went out to dinner, which cost $45. The cost made sense.
This is what we received...

The meals are boxed separately and on ice. A book with each of the recipes is included to guide you through the process. Each recipe says that it takes between 35-45 minutes. My husband tagged teamed in the kitchen and it took just a few minutes longer than the recipe cards stated but not too long.
Meal One
Turkey Tetrazzini 
Meal Two
Soy-glazed Steak and Wasibi Mashed Potatoes
Meal Three
Tuscan Ribalotti 

Overall, I am pleased with this service for the products and the convenience. Once you sign up, you can see 3 weeks worth of menus. You get 5 options for your 3 choices. If you are busy, out of town, or just want to skip a week, you can pause the service. If it is not the right fit for you, canceling is easy as well.

Use this link below to save $40 on your first delivery.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Gifts for Students

After 6 years of teaching, I always struggle this time of year to decide what to do for the kids. I always buy books from Scholastic Bookclubs but feel like I should do more. With so many teacher friends out there, I am looking for advice on if this is too much or if you do something different. I want the gifts to be purposeful, fun, and personal.
This is what I did this year-
Mechanical Pencils
Colorful grading pens
Holiday Pencils
Novelty erasers
Candy Canes
A couple of small candies

Created these little bags-
Ordered books to encourage reading!

This year, I had a promo code for $20 towards Christmas Cards, so I made them personalized cards.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Black Friday Personal Score

Black either love it or despise it. Usually I just avoid it all together but I needed a couple of small gifts for work and saw an email from The Body Shop offering a few sales, free shipping, plus their signature bag you can buy at a discounted rate.
This bag was totally worth the $35 because it is packed with items I actually use and in the scents I usually use on a regular basis. The big winning product is the Drops of Youth serum that is never on sale is normally $36 on its own, so it's like buying that one product and getting 8 awesome products plus a lined tote for FREE!
I just had to share!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friends-Giving Casseroles and Movies

Living 1,200 miles from our families, we have embraced Friends-Giving for years. This year we changed it up a bit. My husband and I spent the holiday with my brother and a really good friend but made sure to save our leftovers for another celebration. 
Recently, we caught an episode of "Southern at Heart" with Damaris Phillips, entitled "Friends-Giving Leftovers." The episode was packed full of recipes using leftovers from Thanksgiving to create casseroles to share with friends while watching movies and relaxing. We loved the idea and created our own version.
I chose one recipe and our friends brought over theirs as well. We watched movies and snacked on casseroles for most of the day. Perfect for a chilly Saturday after Thanksgiving.

My version
Leftovers and eggs...
Cooked and ready to enjoy!
*Super yummy, but my pan was a little too big so I know now, I should stick with the pan size in the recipe...
Enjoyed the casseroles and now for the movies!
My choice

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Semi-Homemade Stuffed French Toast (fall edition)

A couple of months ago, I found Pepperidge Farm's Blueberry Swirl Bread. I used a simple french toast recipe for dipping custard that I dredged the bread in and made blueberry french toast, added cream cheese and fresh blueberries to make Blueberry Stuffed French Toast. I was instantly in love!
This is the link to the previous recipe post-
Semi-Homemade Stuffed Blueberry French Toast

I felt the need to recreate that dish but no more Pepperidge Farm Blueberry Swirl Break...instead they had PUMPKIN SPICE SWIRL BREAD!!!
Again, I used a traditional french toast recipe for the dipping custard and used a little cinnamon sugar to flavor the whipped cream cheese and made a fall version of my stuffed french toast.
It honestly tasted like pumpkin cheesecake!!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Best Patios in Fort Collins (according to The Coloradoan...Verified by Me (plus my husband and friends) 2nd Blogaversary!)

Happy Blogaversary! Two years ago, I created this blog!
Thank you following me on this journey!
Recently The Coloradoan newspaper posted an article of the 15 best patios in Fort Collins. A few rankings I agreed with right away but others I decided I had to check out! About two weeks left of summer vacation and 2 weeks before my 2nd Blogaversary, I decided to hit as many, if not all of those patios. These are my opinions of what The Colorado a stated as the 15 best patios in Fort Collins. These are their rankings and my opinions of those rankings.
15. The Moot House, 2626 S. College Ave.
(I did not make it to The Moot House during the 2 week period I gave myself before my blogaversary, but I finally made it to their patio last week,)
The patio sits on the east side of the restaurant. You can easily forget that you are right on College Avenue. The patio is covered over the main part closest to the bar and then a more causal section with comfy chairs and sofas with umbrellas on the other section.
The patio also has a t.v. outside in case you need to check the game while getting some fresh air. Nice option for football season during these warm days.
Great Happy Hour specials on food and drink. a little bit of everything from salads to wings and a few surprise options like homemade felafel an humus. Could definitely make a dinner out of the options without feeling guilty.
 Gas firepit adds a nice touch.
14. Restaurant 415, 415 S. Mason St.
(Have been previousLy to both patios but did not make it during this blog research)
13. Blue Agave, 201 S. College Ave.
Fun patio right on college and the Oak Plaza. Jeff and I sat on the larger patio on the Oak Plaza side. We were surrounded by greenery with music playing through near by speakers. Very pleasant and great service. 

12. C.B. & Potts Collindale, 1441 E. Horsetooth Rd.
Located off of a golf course offers a great backdrop for this patio. 
The patio is a bi level, offering multiple views and experiences.
11. The Backporch Cafe, 1101 E. Lincoln Ave.
This patio is like hanging out in your back yard, with a lot of construction... Lots of trees and shade offer a quiet little place for a lovely brunch. The menu is packed with specialty smoked meat entrees, perfect for the outdoor setting. 
View when walking in from parking lot-
There is also an upper deck that offers a bit more privacy. It is a less shaded spot, so it is a bit warmer spot.
My date-

10. Equinox Brewing, 133 Remington St.
Great little brewery in Old Town. Wide open inside and have one of the first Beer gardens in Fort Collins, that I know of...
It is well shaded and pleasant, even on days when it is 97 degrees. They have live music, pretty often inside but outside as well.
Met a friend for a little outing to check it out on this patio adventure.
           Well spaced out with a view of the brew tanks.
Just a cool gate towards the alley.
Gotta love Fort Collins, a singing rickshaw went by. Sorry it's not a great picture, but it was an afterthought to grab my phone for a picture.

9. The Mainline, 125 S. College Ave.
Right in the center of Old Town, the Mainline offers a quaint, rooftop patio. This patio surprised us with an over lovely experience. The retro walls and original brickwork give it an urban feel. 

8. Austin’s American Grill, 2815 E. Harmony Rd. 
Austin's on Harmony is not a usual place for me to frequent because it is on the South side of town, and I never think to dine in that area when I am running errands. Well, this patio was worth the stop.
My friend Angie joined me for lunch. The patio is almost fully canopied, it has fans and misters. What really stood out to me about this patio, besides the cooling features listed above, but the tables were well laid out  where the tables were not crowded andan ambiance that seemed well thought out. I forgot that we were right on a major road.
The canopies and ceiling fans
The planters that helped to create that uncrowded feeling and added to the ambiance
My lovely friend Angie
My awesome salad that was ginormous!

7. Cafe Vino, 1200 S. College Ave.
The patio is multi leveled, with large umbrellas, lots of plants, which offers privacy between tables, plus other features. It is located across from CSU on a College Avenue, just south of Old Town.
A favorite place for a group of my friends. We enjoy Cafe a Vino for all the great things they are known for like tapas, dinners, wines, desserts, and so on. This was our first time on the patio. There is usually 6 of us, so I reserved a large table. Only three plus a baby were able to make it, but we're got to keep our larger table. Sorry, giving you a little back story to work up to the perk of a larger table. When you sit at a larger table, it has a water/fire feature which was the only place at all the patios I checked out to have such a feature. 
My friends Kim and Jordane (and baby BRiggs) joined me at Cafe Vino's patio
Lots of Umbrellas
Giving Baby Briggs some attention.
The water/fire feature and oh yeah, they serve awesome food. It may not look pretty here, but I highly recommend the Pork Belly!
6. Rainbow Restaurant, 212 W. Laurel St.
My husband and I ventured out for a Sunday breakfast and decided to try Rainbow Restaurant for the first time. Honestly, we were shocked we had not been sooner. The food was great! The menu was vastly packed with interesting options. Of course, we waited for a patio table, which was worth the wait. We were seated by one of at least 3 raised bed gardens. I love the idea of farm to table but it is just a bit cooler when you can see the food being grown around you. What made it a GREAT patio was that it was shaded, with umbrellas at almost every table and trees that created a natural canopy.     
*Extra perk that we wish we knew about was it was dog-friendly, we even watched servers bring out dog bowls.
My date.
The Patio.
One of the raised garden beds.
My breakfast, The Ultimate Latkes-awesome! 
Jeff's breakfast:Special Omlet of the Day-Guacamole Omlet with a Cilantro Cream Sauce
The Top 5 (according to The Coloradoan)
5. Illegal Pete’s, 320 Walnut St.
Great roof top patio! It has been updated this summer with an awning, misters, and new furniture. There is lots of seating and ample views of north Fort Collins.

4. CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, 5 Old Town Square
In the center of Old Town, Coopersmiths has two restaurants/pubs with 2 patios each. We opted for the pizza/pub side. The patio was well shaded and unexpectedly pleasant. Only down side was the construction in the Old Town Square.
Bonus! We went on a Monday night and it was $10 Pizza night!

3. Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 143 W. Mountain Ave.
The Rio patio may have been my most disappointing patio. I hate to argue with the ranking that many people voted on but... Our table was sqeezed up against the stairs to the second level and our table rocked like crazy, causing out drinks to splash. 
Astestically, it is a lovely patio with the trees and the large water fountain. 
Traditional and fun foods. Menu seems recently updated.
My dates for the evening! 

2. Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St.
The newspaper listed the runner-up for Fort Collins’ best patio as Avogadro's Number. There are lots of tables, an outdoor concert stage, ample shade from canopies as well as trees, a water feature, and a private gazebo.
I use to go to Avogadro's back in college but somehow it has been forgotten by me over the past several years. I truly don't know why because the food is great, location is close, the beer is tasty, and the patio is pretty awesome!
My date-      A panaromic view of the patio.
The other side of the patio.

1. Odell Brewing Co., 800 E. Lincoln Ave. 
As far as the order of the other patios I believe that some could change a step or two but O'Dells is by far the best patio in Fort Collins. Truly feel that there is not a bad seat unless you can't find a seat, then it is time to make new friends!
The patio has multiple levels, a large fire pit, a live music stage, games, and my favorite trucks!
This patio was so high on my list, that I actually went three times during my patio adventure.
First outing, this is the day I read the article in The Colorodan, I decided to do this Best Patio Blog while hanging out with my lovely husband!
Welcome board, made me laugh.
The view from the street side of the patio.
My friend, Sara out on my patio adventure on my second trip to O'Dell's
The view from building...
The fire pit...
My date the third time...
It is so popular that we ran into several friends while we were there.

My favorite food truck! There is a different one everyday!