Sweet & Spicy Tortellini Carbonara

One day, I wanted to try making a pasta carbonara, but when I searched for recipes, I realized it was made with a raw egg – kind of scary. So, I decided to create a combination of two different recipes. I would use the tortellini and bacon from the pasta carbonara recipe with the sauce from our favorite meal –  Spicy Shrimp Penne.

So there’s the story of how Sweet & Spicy Tortellini was invented.

Ingredients

Pasta:

20oz package Buitoni 3 cheese tortellini

Sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 packet of soy sauce

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Topping:

3 slices of bacon

1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

  3. Put bacon slices on the baking sheet and cook in oven for 15 minutes

  4. Boil pasta on the stove (be sure to add a sprinkle of salt and a tsp. of oil so it doesn’t stick) Pasta usually takes about 10 minutes on medium-high and tortellini will float to the top as it finishes cooking

  5. While pasta and bacon are cooking, mix together in a bowl olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, red pepper, and parmesan cheese

  6. Pour the sauce mixture into a large skillet and heat to medium long enough for the cheese to melt. Turn the heat down to simmer

  7. Once pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the large skillet with the sauce. Toss the pasta to make sure it is coated in sauce

  8. Once bacon is crispy take it out of the oven, let it cool, then pat it with paper towels to remove the grease.

  9. Put pasta on plates to serve

  10. Crumble bacon and sprinkle parmesan cheese and parsley to top the pasta

 

Pour a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy!

Linking up with The Blended Blog for Tasty Tuesday

Glossies Made Me Do It

Glossies made me do it...!

I read several magazines each month and often find myself pinning recipes and decorating ideas from their pages. When I discovered this fun, monthly link-up “Glossies Made Me Do It” (“Glossies” are what our British friends across the pond call magazines – especially those related to fashion & beauty) I knew I wanted to join in.

Glossies Made Me Do It is hosted by Cat Eyes and Skinny Jeans, Shooting Stars Mag, and Happy, Pretty, Sweet starting on the 1st Friday of the month through the 24th

Here’s what I thought of  March’s magazines:

Essence

This ad for Maybelline’s  The 24K Nudes made me think of  Urban Decay’s Naked 3 pallet.  Have any of you beauty bloggers tried it?


Oprah

“Gooey, Crispy, Melty and Glorious Grilled Cheese” on page 130 made me pull out the panini press to make my own sandwich creation. This mix of cheese, bacon, guacamole and tomato was so melty and messy it had to be eaten with a knife and fork.

 

 

Redbook

“The great plastic basket makeover” on page 20 made me want to decorate.  I love that this basket looks so simple and cheap to make (#styleandsavings). Craft Cord comes in a variety of colors – you can choose one to match your color scheme.  

 

Join the “Glossies Made Me Do It” link-up  through March 24th and come back on the first Friday of next month for April’s issues.

 

California Dreamin’

While snow on the ground in the middle of March, I’m getting more & more excited for our upcoming Spring Break trip.

We’ll be heading to San Francisco, California!

I haven’t been to San Francisco but there are plenty of pop culture references that make this look like a fun place.

Full House

As a 90’s kid, I loved watching this show and clearly remember the theme song. I was an even bigger fan of Mary-Kate and Ashley and all of their VHS movies, especially the ones where they played detectives and solved mysteries.

The town house filmed in the show wasn’t a set; it’s a real house located in San Francisco. At the end of 2016, the creator of Full House purchased it for over $4M. Read more here

Photo Credit: thefullhousemedia.blogspot.com              Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Rice A Roni

Rice A Roni logo

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

 The commercial’s  jingle “Rice A Roni – The San Francisco Treat ” brings back another childhood memory of a  red plastic wind- up toy cable car I played with. Now I think of Rice A Roni as an easy to make side dish that has inspired many Pinterest recipes.

Wake Me Up in San Francisco

In 2011, not long after Katy Perry’s California Girls was a hit, the group Cascada had a similar sounding California – themed song called “Wake Me Up in San Francisco”. If you like catchy, upbeat pop music – enjoy the official music video on YouTube.

The Mindy Project

Photo Credit: Fox

In 2015’s Season 3 of The Mindy Project, several episodes took place in California, which I mainly remember by the amusing wordplay title of Episode 13: “San Francisco Bae”. For more cute pics of Mindy & Danny’s sight seeing adventures click here.

I’m still working on our itinerary, so let me know in the comments if you have any restaurant recommendations or sight-seeing tips.

 

When in NOLA

 

nola

To celebrate Mardi Gras, today’s post is a recap of our Spring 2015 trip to New Orleans. We’re bringing you 5 recommendations of fun things to do and see.

  1. Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel bar

  2. Café du Monde and Jackson Square

  3. Mardi Gras World

  4.  The French Quarter & Hurricane’s at Pat O’Brien’s

  5. The French Market

Hotel Monteleon’s Carousel Bar

After seeing Hotel Monteleon’s Carousel Bar on a travel channel show, I knew I wanted to go there during our trip.

The carousel bar is a real functioning  revolving carousel that moves at a pace more comparable to the Earth than a carnival ride as not to displace the bottles & drinking glasses. The carousel completes one rotation every 15 minutes.

Being a popular location it was very crowded and at first it was hard to find a seat. We ordered our drinks at another bar area that was farther back from the carousel. Luckily, an older couple was kind enough to wave us over to their table as they were leaving. We sat at a small, round table for two and crunched on Gardetto’s snack mix that was served with the drinks.

The Sazarac – the official cocktail of New Orleans: whiskey, sugar, bitters and absinthe

Café Du Monde

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to Café du Monde. It’s an open air café with lots of tables close together under a green and white striped awning. The lines for to-go orders and for seating seemed equally long and we wanted to have the experience of eating at the famous café. The menus are printed on the napkin holders and it’s best to be ready to order when the waiters come by. Napkins are essential – as you can see in the photo, these airy doughnuts are covered in piles of sweet powdered sugar. Yum!

  

Jackson Square

Café du Monde is found near Jackson Square, which is a park located in the French Quarter. The St. Louis Cathedral, a well-known New Orleans landmark is surrounded by beautiful greenery and gardens.

Mardi Gras World

At Kern Studios’ Mardi Gras world – it’s Mardi Gras all year long. For a family friendly activity, you can tour the factory where floats are made. As soon as the current year’s Mardi Gras parade is over, float builders are back to work creating for the next year. It’s amazing to see how large-scale the floats are along with the talent and intricate attention to detail it takes to decorate them.



Before the tour begins, there is a short presentation about the history of the holiday and traditions of the parade. King Cake is a coffee-cake like iced pastry served only during Mardi Gras season (but of course Kern Studios has it specially made for every tour group). Following tradition,  each King Cake has a small plastic baby baked inside. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is the host of the next year’s Mardi Gras party.

The French Quarter

The French Quarter is the fun, touristy area known for nightlife on Bourbon Street. The truth is that New Orleans is a party even during the daytime. One afternoon we sat on the patio enjoying the sunshine at Pat O’Brien’s Courtyard. While the Sazarac takes the title of official New Orlean’s cocktail – I would argue that the hurricane is a more well-known drink outside of NOLA. The hurricane was created at Pat O’Brien’s Bar  in the 1940’s and many would say they still make it better than anywhere else.  Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes are sweet and strong. Ours were served in plastic cups instead of the namesake glass – which is fine because unlike the Midwest, New Orleans allows alcoholic drinks to-go and it’s not unusual to stroll down the street with a drink in hand.

nola-bourbon-st

The French Market

The French Market is lined on both sides with vendors selling all kinds of souvenirs, novelties, food & drinks. We enjoyed a piña colada and a frozen daiquiri from Organic Banana – they offer a variety of daiquiri flavors along with non- alcoholic fruit smoothies.

You can find a  variety of items ranging from the expected tote bags, shot glasses, and keychains (many of which were covered in the fleur de lis) to alligator head bottle openers. Most vendors offer low prices, making The French Market the perfect place for souvenir shopping before you return home.

Have you visited New Orleans or celebrated Mardi Gras?

Tell me in the comments!

Book Discussion: The Mothers a Novel

The Mothers.jpg

The Mothers a Novel by Brit Bennett is one of the best written books I have read in a long time – maybe ever. I would place it among the ranks of The Secret Life of Bees. If you enjoy this book as much as I did – it will stay in your mind after the last chapter closes.

Thought provoking topics provide the foundation of the story which also has unexpected twists and secrets that unravel slowly. Brit Bennett didn’t take the easy way out by writing in detail about the milestones a reader would expect, which makes this novel so interesting.

The following questions are intended for book discussion and may contain spoilers:

1 – Why is this book titled The Mothers?

2 – Why didn’t Mr. Turner keep Nadia closer after her mother’s death?

3- Why wasn’t Mrs. Sheppard more compassionate towards Nadia?

4- Both Pastor Sheppard and Mr. Turner dedicated lots of time to the church. Is it good to serve the community as an example for  children or bad to take time away from raising them?

5- How were Luke and Nadia affected by their decision ?

6- When Aubrey first started visiting Luke, why didn’t Nadia tell Aubrey about their past? Would you have told your friend if she started dating your ex?

7- Why didn’t Luke tell Aubrey that he used to date Nadia?

8- Why does Luke treat Aubrey better (in the beginning of their relationship) than he treated Nadia ?

9-What made Nadia & Aubrey’s friendship last after the day at the beach when Nadia admits to hooking up with Luke in high school?

10 – Nadia imagines what her mother’s life would have been without her. Do you think Nadia gets married and/or raises a child one day?

11- Why did Aubrey desperately want to be a mother?

12 – Should Luke and Nadia have ended up together?

After reading this novel, I wanted to learn more about Brit Bennett. Through various magazine articles, I found that she grew up in Oceanside, California where the novel takes place and like Nadia,  also went to college at the University of Michigan.The Mothers is her very first novel and she was 27 years old when the book was published in 2016.  It is inspiring to see a young black woman author with so much talent and I look forward to reading more of her work.

 

 

February Friday Faves 2.17.17

Welcome to the third Friday in February! Here’s a recap of my favorite parts of the week.

Cooking

This chicken recipe falls into the Semi-Homemade category because it uses the pre-cooked Tyson chicken strips. The sauce is pretty easy to make with a few simple ingredients. I pinned this on my Restaurant At Home board, because they are a close copy-cat to Chili’s Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers.

For Valentine’s weekend I cooked brunch  using a cast-iron skillet (a wedding present) for the first time. These breakfast potatoes were pretty easy – I like making recipes that don’t require lots of ingredients and use what I already have in the kitchen. I think the key to these potatoes is adding enough olive oil in the beginning and watching carefully so that the bacon doesn’t burn. I also made this recipe again too – it may be becoming a favorite.

Reading

This week I started reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett. I had seen it on a couple of other blogs (it’s a very colorful and photogenic book cover) and it was in the Quarterly Literary Subscription box recently. So far I can see why this book is so popular – there’s no boring lead-in or build up – the action starts immediately. I read 4 chapters in one night!

the mothers.png

Photo Credit: Quarterly

Wearing

One of the besties gave me this Coach Love perfume sample in my Christmas gift. Coach is one of my favorite brands. The scent is floral without being too young and girly and it fits the romantic spirit of February.

Drinking

Although we didn’t get to spend the actual holiday together – I’ll be making  Strawberry Lime Margaritas with my sister as a toast to  Galentine’s DayI would love to have a party like this to celebrate one year….

 

Cheers to the Weekend!

 

Self-Made Success: Kenny Kendall’s Gourmet Popcorn

self-made-success-2

If you’re a popcorn fan, you’re familiar with Garrett popcorn – the Chicago based gourmet popcorn retailer. While Chicago is a 2 hour car ride away from Lafayette and a popular weekend trip, you don’t have to venture even that far to get freshly popped, delicious popcorn.

Thanks to LaTarsha (Tarsha) Hendrix-Johnson & family, Lafayette has its own gourmet popcorn kingdom.

Photo of Kenny Kendall's Gourmet Popcorn - Lafayette, IN, United States. "FROM THE SEED, TO THE SERVICE!"

Before getting into the popcorn business in 2015, Tarsha successfully operated the Virtuous Woman Salon and Beauty Spa located in downtown Lafayette. After 20 years of bringing beauty and confidence to her clients, Tarsha had an idea for a new business inspired by her sons Kenneth Jr. and Kendall.

Kenny Kendall’s is conveniently located in Tippecanoe Mall near H&M (one of my favorites). As we approached the Kenny Kendall’s kiosk, I was impressed by the variety of popcorn flavors offered. With 12 flavors ranging from Strawberry Cheesecake to Spicy Smokehouse Cheddar, there’s something for every popcorn lover.

On a recent visit, we were greeted with a warm smile and offered samples to taste. I also had the opportunity to ask Tarsha a few questions about her experience as an entrepreneur to share with the readers.

1696

What is rewarding about being an entrepreneur?

Tarsha Hendrix-Johnson: As an entrepreneur you have the ability to lead others in the right direction. Leading by example is the one of the most important factors in leadership and entrepreneurship. The  most rewarding (accomplishment) would be able to establish a business for generations to come. My husband and I are planting seeds now for them to grow into something great in the future for the next generation which would be to leave inheritance and generational blessings for my children and their children.

What do you like most about what you do?

THJ: Being able to serve others.

Your family pictures are beautiful, do you hope for your sons to be involved in the business?

THJ: Yes I do. Actually my 17 year old is already involved. He works for the business and actually operates a shift by himself.  We are learning and growing together. My 3 yr old just eats all the cheese popcorn he wants, so I guess you can say he’s involved too! 🙂

Where do you see Kenny Kendall’s in the near future (1 – 5 years from now) ?

THJ: Within the next 5 years I see Kenny Kendall’s with 3 locations and serving others  with love, patience, gentleness, meekness, temperance, goodness, kindness, and joy “from the seed to the service”!

 

We wish the Hendrix-Johnson family the best and hope that Kenny Kendall’s is here for years to come. My new favorite flavor is the Boiler Mix – you’ll have to taste it !

For more of the Self-Made Success series: 

Self-Made Success: AMPsConnected

Self-Made Success: Simply Wright

Self-Made Success: ShopLauren’sPlace