Tuesday, March 24, 2015

10 Ideas for the Cutest Easter Baskets. Ever.

Easter is right around the corner, and I can practically smell the ham baking in the oven! With all the menu planning, Easter decorating, and spring outfit shopping you have to do, the last thing you have time for is Easter basket creativity! But don’t let that get in the way of giving your kiddos the cutest Easter baskets ever! 

We've done the searching for you and have found 10 of the best ideas for creating cute and unique Easter baskets they (and you!) will save forever!





I have to agree with Julie, the Happy Home Fairy, that Easter is really about Jesus; not just bunnies and jelly beans. So this Christ centered gift basket is both super cute and centered around the true meaning of Easter.


For the little baker, I love this idea from A Night Owlblog.


A simple way to personalize and brighten up a simple plain basket. This is from Good Housekeeping. Fill it with a few of their favorite things.


If you want to lighten up on the sugar in the basket, here are some great ideas from Creatively Christy for non-candy gift ideas.


These adorable, personalized buckets are found on Etsy.  I love the bunny silhouette!


With a little creativity, you can paint or glue craft your own design to turn a basic wicker basket into an adorable keepsake (from Tip Junkie).


For your fan of Frozen, My Sister’s Suitcase has an awesome DIY idea for a Frozen theme Easter basket.


If someone you know is heading to the beach, this beach towel basket from For the Mommas might be just the right style.


This one is a bit more work, but for your little ballerina, it just might be worth it! 


For the little gardener, we put together this awesome Getting Started Kids Gardening Kit. A nice alternative to the traditional Easter basket, and we’ll even customize it with Easter candy and a beautiful Easter bow!  

Have a happy day!

Friday, March 20, 2015

10 Activities to Welcome Spring

Today is the first day of spring. How are you welcoming the new season?

As I look out my window, the sky is gray. We had a bit of sunshine peek out today, but there’s still a chill in the air, and the clouds seem to be beating out the sun for front row in the sky!


Regardless, today is the first day of spring, and I plan to bring that spring feeling into our home this weekend with a few of the following activities and a few more of my own. 


















Spend an afternoon at your local botanic or nature center:
(no link here, that's just me below :)






Make a spring salad and enjoy with white wine. 






Go for an early morning walk and enjoy the birdsong.



Have a happy day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lindy Lamb Giveaway

Just in time for Easter, we're giving away this adorable 10" plush lamb. 

Hop on over to our Facebook page and enter to win!

 Lindy Lamb Giveaway

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Favorite Recipe: New Found Love for Brussels Sprouts

Contrary to my chosen title for this post, I actually love Brussels sprouts. I even love them simply steamed with a bit of butter. However, I'm always looking for new ways to make favorite foods even better. 

Now Ken likes a good turkey dinner a few times a year. Doesn't matter if it's Thanksgiving, Easter, or a random Sunday in March! We decided to have a family dinner this past weekend and turkey was on the menu. 

As I was searching through Pinterest for a different veggie side to make, I came across this gem of a recipe from Blogging over Thyme. Laura describes it as the Brussels sprouts dish for Brussels sprouts haters. And she just might have something there. These veggies are caramelized silly, until they taste like candy. (Okay, I exaggerate) At any rate, these are delicious. Give them a try now, and next Thanksgiving you'll have your veggie planning done!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette


Picture taken form Blogging with Thyme
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • two pinches of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butternut squash chunks and halved Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and toss them with your hands to distribute the oil evenly.
  2. Sprinkle the vegetables evenly with kosher salt and pepper, and toss them again with your hands. Spread the vegetables out evenly onto the baking sheet (tip: flip the Brussels sprouts so they are cut side down, they will caramelize much more evenly this way).
  3. Roast the vegetables at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing them gently 1 to 2 times during the roasting time to ensure that they caramelize evenly on all sides. Scatter the dried cranberries onto baking sheet in the last five minutes of roasting time. Place the baking pan on a rack, toss the vegetables with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the Dijon vinaigrette.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and rice wine vinegar. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking continuously with your other hand, until the ingredients are emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Gently place the roasted vegetables in large bowl. Pour on the Dijon vinaigrette and toss the vegetables gently until they are lightly dressed. Serve warm, lukewarm, or cold.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Favorite Comfort Food Recipe: Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

Some recipes truly stand the test of time. The first time I made this soup was when Ken and I were dating, about 10 years ago. In fact, I think it's one of the first dishes I made for him. He loved it, and I made it many times after that. Turning the clock forward to today, I don't think I've made it in a good 5 years now. Go figure.

Anyway, I came across the recipe in my file and pulled it out to be sure to make it now. And with that, I also thought it's a great recipe to share with you.

Recipe was adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I use mild, and if you buy links, remove the casings)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups zucchini
  • 8 ounces tortellini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
Directions:
  1. In a 5 quart dutch oven, brown the sausage. 
  2. Remove sausage from pan and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings.
  3. Saute onions and garlic in reserved drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. 
  4. Bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  6. Skim fat from the soup if needed. Stir in zucchini and parsley. 
  7. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  8. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. 
  9. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. 
  10. Enjoy with crusty Italian bread!


Have a happy day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: 50 Reasons to Exercise

We are winding down heart health month here at Thoughtful Presence so I leave you with these 50 reasons to exercise. I found this great inspirational post at Inspire My Workout. So get out there and make it happen!