Let’s Celebrate the 4th!

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Are you considering hosting either a brunch or BBQ for the 4ht of July?  Are you looking for a healthier menu? If you are, I have you covered!

I love brunch and luckily there are so many ways to lighten up your menu!

Brunch Menu

  • Sausage and Egg Muffin– 12 servings (1 muffin/ serving)
    • 1 Cup, Shredded Potato
    • 3 egg, Egg Whites
    • 3 large, Egg
    • 0.25 cup, 2% Milk
    • 0.25 cup, Shredded Mexican Cheese
    • 3.00 links, Johnsonville Turkey Sausage
    • 0.50 oz, Red Bell Pepper
    • 0.25 cup, Mushrooms
    • Bake the shredded potato in a muffin pan at 425 Degrees for 15 mins or till crisp edge, the add all the veggies and diced sausage on top. Then add the mix of eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. I also added some fresh basil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 mins of until egg is done.
    • Macros: 76 cal/ 3g F/ 4g C/ 5g P
  • Chicken and Protein Waffles (birch benders protein pancake mix, per instructions on package) – For a quick cheat on the chicken I purchased Chic-Fil-A chicken strips and use 2 chicken strips.  I top it with 1/4 cup of sugar free syrup.
    • Macros: 415 cal/ 10g F/ 45g C/ 30g P

And/Or

  • Red, White and Blue Protein Waffles with Turkey Sausage- I follow the instructions on Birch Benders Protein pancake mix for waffles and toss and few blueberries into the mix. Serve with strawberries on top, sugar free syrup and Johnsonville Turkey Sausage, 3 links.
    • Macros: 341 cal/ 9g F/ 42g C/ 28 g P
  • Red, White and Blue Yogurt- 1/4 c blueberries
    • 1/4 c strawberries
    • 1/2 c fat free greek yogurt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • Macros: 192 cal/ 1 g F/ 40g C/ 13g P 
  • Pasta Salad: 11 servings (1 cup per serving)
    • 1 Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper
    • 2 Tbs, Onion Green Whole
    • 1 tbsp, Basil, fresh
    • 1 g, Pepper
    • 1 Tablespoons, Salt
    • 1 bunch, Broccoli, steamed
    • 0.25 container (60 tomatoes ea.), One Single Cherry Tomato
    • 1 container (32 tbsp ea.), Free Zesty Italian (Fat Free Dressing)
    • 1 container (5 3/10 cup dries ea.), Whole Grain Pasta Rotini
    • Boil pasta per box instructions and let noodles cool. Then mix all the above in a large bowl and chill for at least an hour before serving.
    • Macros: 180cal/ 1g F/ 35g C/ 6g P
  • Caprese Bites: 2 servings (4 each)
    • 8 cherry tomatoes
    • 1 low fat mozzarella stick
    • 8 fresh basil leaves
    • 1tbsp olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix (I use a dipping oil mix with spices)
    • Macros: 86 cal/ 11g F/6g C/ 4g P
  •  Fresh Fruit- Watermelon is always a good choice and I added sprigs of mint leaves for presentation . 1 cup of watermelon
    • Macros: 86 cal/ 0g F/ 22g C/ 2g P

BBQ/Cookout Menu

Planning a BBQ ?! I have the best burger recipe for you! There is a key special ingredient, Home Grind that perhaps myself or Kevin can introduce you! Home Grind is an amazing blend of peppers to add a little heat to your burger.

  • Venison Burger: 7 servings- 1 burger per serving: Video for prep below
    • 1 lb(s), Venison (sub lean ground beef/turkey burger-macros are for venison)
    • 1 large, Egg
    • 0.50 cup, Oats
    • 6 g, Pepper
    • 1 tbsp(s), Garlic, raw
    • 1.50 tsp, Original Flavor Salt Free Seasoning Blend
    • 1 tsp(s), Spices, garlic powder
    • 2 Tsp, Seasoning Chupacabra
    • 1 pinch of Home Grind
    • Macros: 114 cal/ 5g F/ 5g C/ 13g P

Utilize the brunch menu and serve with the pasta salad, caprese bites and watermelon. Sun tea is always a good choice to add!

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For dessert I recommend Red, White and Blue angle food cake.

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  • Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake: 1 serving
    • 1 Slice, Angel Food Cake
    • 0.25 cup, halves, Strawberries, raw
    • 0.25 cup, Blueberries
    • 2 TBSP , Fat-free Whipped Cream –
    • Macros: 181 cal/ 0g F/ 41g C/ 3g P

I hope you enjoy celebrating the holiday with these lighter menu items! Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

XOXO,

Cecee

Thirty, flirty and thriving

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Did you watch 13 going on 30 with Jennifer Garner? Early on in the movie 13 year old Jennifer (can’t recall the character name) has a famous plea to be thirty, flirty and thriving. Suddenly I am 30, embracing being flirty and thriving!

I will turn 30 this week and my life has taken a turn from what I had envisioned and that is ok. This is 30, a new decade and new adventures.

This year will be full of travel, new experiences and treating myself! I have worked hard for what I have and I am proud of my accomplishments, which is why I am taking this year to spoil and rediscover myself!

The emotional impact and hit to my self-esteem from a divorce was devastating. I needed to pull myself out of the slump. A less conventional  way to see myself in a beautiful, strong and confident way was through a boudoir photo shoot.  I have had boudoir photo shoots before, but this shoot was different. This shoot was solely for me and a start of my self discovery.

Rachel Anne  posted about a special on her  facebook page on one of the days I was really struggling and I reached out to her to book that day.  I had planned on doing a This is 30 shoot, so we went ahead with the birthday shoot even though it was August.

I knew from working with Rachel in the past that just getting my hair and make-up done by her would instantly make me feel better. Rachel was fantastic in listening to me and truly understanding my insecurities, which her images helped me see past and see myself. I saw myself for the strong, independent, confident, and beautiful soul that I am.

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Working with Rachel is empowering and uplifting. This shoot was a step towards knowing it is ok that my plan didn’t work out and I am going to be ok.  Boudoir images will help you see yourself in a fun and flirty light, which I really needed now that I am out in the scary dating world!

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The new fun plan is to celebrate my 30th birthday to the fullest! I have started by celebrating with one of my best friends/Big, who also happens to turn 30 this week! We started the kick-off of birthday week with a fun shopping spree. I really took treat yo self to heart with new clothes, makeup and an iconic piece of jewelry for an iconic birthday.

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My dad has a birthday this week as well! I missed being born on his birthday by an hour, so for the past 30 years we always celebrate our birthday together. Yesterday we celebrated our birthdays with more shopping and lunch together in Bloomington. This shopping trip Pippa made out like a bandit with new toys and treats!  We will celebrate our birthdays again this summer with a fishing trip. We are all about summer fishing vs ice fishing, which is why it is a delayed gift.

This week I am looking forward to celebrating by getting a massage, revamping my hair, lunch dates with friends, my birthday party at The Cake Bake Shop and traveling to San Diego!  Happy dirty 30 to me!

A recap of my birthday week and vacation will occur next week, so stay tuned!

XOXO,

Cecee

Friendsgiving 

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The holidays are quickly approaching and to me it always feels like after Halloween everyone skips straight to Christmas.  My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and I do not start celebrating or decorating for Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed. I have always loved Thanksgiving as it is a time to not only enjoy wonderful food, but a time to look around and be truly thankful for the blessings and people in my life.

As I have gotten older and moved around I have come to love my friends as family and count them as a blessing. For the past 3 years I have hosted a Friendsgiving and though some of the faces around the table have changed the gratitude I have remains the same.

I begin by planning my tablescape. I always do a formal china setting with the cranberry and gold china with cloth napkins to match. The napkins, napkin rings, placemats and tablecloths come from TJ Maxx. Each year my centerpieces vary from fresh cuts or pumpkins and gourds. This year I went with candles and fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s as they always have the best floral selection.

Each year I provide the main course and appetizers while my guest each provide a side item or dessert. I give assignments for type of items to bring as I know I want a salad, vegetable, dessert, bread and drinks to arrive. In hosting and asking people to bring a dish if you do not provide more specific direction you could end up with 5 desserts versus the variety you want!

Appetizer table included Oyster Rockefeller , charcuterie board with supplies from Trader Joe’s, and apple brie bits.

If you are looking for great seafood around Indianapolis I recommend Caplinger’s as that is where I purchase my seafood.

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Charcuterie included crackers, salami, herbed goat cheese, 3 pack of cheese from Trader Joe’s (can’t remember the types), olives, pickles, jam, honey, peanuts, cashews and chocolate covered expresso beans.

Apple and Brie bites- Crostini from Fresh Thyme with apple butter spread on top then add thinly sliced apples and cubes of brie and bake until brie melts. Then add another thinly sliced apple on top with crushed pecans and drizzle honey over, then serve.

For the main course my assistants, Christy and Jordan helped me make lasagna, tuscan shrimp,  pasta and mussels in a white wine garlic sauce.

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Sharing a meal and laughs with people I love brings so much joy to me. I am beyond grateful for the many friendships that I have. Not all of those friendships were around the table this year, but the love and support I feel from my friends mean more than I could ever express.

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Enjoy the holiday season, count your blessings and gather with a grateful heart!

XOXO,

Cecee

 

 

Wine About It

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This weekend was so much fun! 

My lovely, spunky and oh so fun bestie celebrated her Dirty 30 the only way we know how… with wine and so many laughs! 

Ebeth has the best husband, amazing family and a wonderful friend group, if I do say so myself. That being said how could you not have the best time when you are with the best people! 

Ben (Ebeth’s hubs) did a great job organizing a Michigan wine tour for 19. Out of the 19 of us on the wine tour 17 of us had a massive slumber party at our friend, Doug’s home. I’m impressed by the gracious hosting and planning these two guys did! Feeding and housing that many people for a full weekend with activities is hard work and the guys more than exceeded! 

Friday was a travel day with friends and family traveling from MO, IL, WI and IN. We enjoyed pizza, catching up and watching all the pups interact that night as Saturday morning would come so soon! 

Saturday morning began with mimosas and coffee around 7:00 as 17 people needed bathroom time before the bus arrived at 9. Poor Doug will probably be finding strands of hair from the dozen of us girls getting ready all throughout the house for the next year haha! 

The cooler was packed with beers, mimosas, sandwich items and other snacks for the day as we all geared up with Birthday garb to head out! 

Our first stop was the Lazy Ballerina in St. Joe, which was the cutest town. I want to go back and explore more as just the quick glimpse caught my eye! 


Quick tip if you are with a large group and you get to keep your tasting glass be sure to ask for a box with dividers to put the glasses in. As you can guess from looking at this group a broken glass (or 3) is waiting to happen. Of course it did times 3, but not on the bus with our tasting glasses! 

Our next stop was to Baroda Family … Groupon for the win on tasting savings oh and who doesn’t love hoping on a saddle!?


Next we ran across the street to Lake Michigan Vintners, which is where the first glass went down.  I skipped this tasting and opted for a glass of wine instead. 


Then we hoped on the bus to head to Tabor Hill, which was gorgeous! I would love to go back and enjoy dinner on the patio there at some point as below is the view on the patio.


We had a private tasting room set up for us downstairs, which is sadly where 2 more wine glasses met the trash. 


We then continued to our final winery in the 90 degree heat that was not air conditioned 😳 equating to hot AF in a big barn! On a cooler day and not being a final stop I think I would have enjoyed Round Barn winery more as the structure was beautiful. 

We then enjoyed our bus ride back to IN with some fun jams while the true champs napped through our terrible singing while the music blasted! 


We then grilled out.  As you can imagine after all this fun that items ended up a little charred, but it all pretty much was consumed ! 

We continued the fun with some sun on the lake today before our journey home! 


Big thanks to Doug for opening his home and taking us out on the lake! 


Big thanks to this cute couple for including me in the fun and for Ben organizing the fun!


The happiest of birthday wishes and all the love to this gorgeous gal! Happy 30th Ebeth! I am so grateful for our friendship 😘 love you! 


Now to get ready for the week after so much fun! Why is recouping so much harder now!?! All the muscles hurt from air mattress sleeping and exhausted, but it was worth the memories and fun! 

Xoxo,

Cecee

Labor Day Fun

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Labor Day weekend has always provided wonderful memories full of family time! Growing up my parents typically hosted the Labor Day cookout and now that I have my first home I have hosted the past 3 years. 

The menu included a basic salad, baked beans, macaroni salad, hot dogs and blended burgers, watermelon from my parents garden, dessert from Fresh Thyme- cookies and angel food cake.

For the burgers I decided I wanted to try something different! I took 1 piece of applewood smoked bacon, 1 piece of sirloin steak and 1 lb ground beef and blended with Weber gourmet burger spice and 5 leaves of fresh basil.When using a meat grinder be sure to cut the meat into small strips. A hamburger press is so helpful when making your own burgers! Side note I love my KitchenAid mixer and all the attachments! 


My wonderful dad was then the grill master for me and burgers turned out amazing!! 


Of course for the holiday weekend we needed some patriotic decor, paper products and I always love having fresh flowers around! 

We have been fortunate for perfect weather each year to enjoy the pool and a cornhole tournament! My cousin Bonnie and I were the champs this year!


I am beyond grateful for any time spent with my wonderful family. Time with them is full of laughter and smiles. They are the most positive, loving and kind people I know. 

Enjoy family and the last of summer!

Xoxo,

Cecee 

Art of Gifting 

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The art of finding the perfect gift for loved ones takes time. They say it’s the thought that counts, but who really wants something that ends up in the regift pile 😜. 

Step 1- Know your budget. Depending on how close the person is to you and the type of event you are celebrating will play a factor.

 Step 2- Know the person’s top 2-3 hobbies and style.If you are getting a gift for an event that has a registry for goodness sakes buy off the registry! They told you what they want and there is no need to be creative! 

Step 3- Go shopping at places you know they like to go or have expressed interest in. 

As I have mentioned I am approaching 30 so as you can imagine lots of Dirty 30 Birthday celebrations. 

Here are a few ideas for some Birthday gifts:

For that friend who loves a lot of the same things as you gather a few of your favorite things! One of my best friends will be celebrating her last 20’s birthday this week and luckily we love a lot of the same things! We are both dog moms so the card must have dogs! We both hardly function without our coffee, so kcups. Fashion is our favorite, but instead of getting clothes I got her awesome lip color for her fall wardrobe that will look amazing with her skin tone! All of the previous items listed are from my favorite, TJ Maxx. Every day she lights a candle when she gets home so a candle with a funny saying that ties to an inside joke is perfect! This fun candle came from a local boutique in Fishers called Blue Peppermint. 


For the beer connoisseur turning 30 you can do 30 Beers for 30 Years. The reusable drink tub came from FiveBelow for less than $5 and I also bought the gold construction paper there for $1. I then printed the font and traced it on the gold paper so the letters would be even. I used tacky glue to glue onto drink tub. I then did a variety of beers for a total of 30 beers. I wrapped each in tissue paper partially for fear of bottles breaking and also wanting it to look decorative. Also be prepared this will be heavy!



Other ideas are themed gifts such as:

  • Golf- golf balls, tees, glove and ball markers
  • Pampering – bath robe, slippers and face masks, I love Dr. Jart brand! 
  • Cooking- go to a local restaurant or grocery store that sells spices and marinades to go with a cookbook or apron
  • Fitness- water or shaker bottle , fun saying workout top, gym bag 

I will do a future post on care packages. I tend to make care packages for those who are struggling with something. For example in the past I have made packages for friends going through a breakup, health struggles and even if they just need a pick me up. 

Happy gifting! 

Xoxo,

Cecee