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Vegetable Lasagna and a visit!

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 22, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)


I had a wonderful visit with my girl Jennifer Kesler today!  She had her breast cancer surgery last week and is now at home recovering.  


I stopped by Starbucks for a vanilla latte to start the day. Jenn was able to get up and move around a little, while mama Camilla made egg sandwiches for breakfast.  As usual we all gathered in the kitchen and I got busy making some delicious Vegetable Lasagna.




2 cups of chopped vegetables (your favorite - I use squash, zuchinni, onion, carrots)

2 jars of your favorite tomato sauce

lasagna noodles

15oz. ricotta

2 eggs

2 cups of mozzeralla cheese

1 cup parmesan cheese


Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Chop the vegetables, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder.  Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.  While your veggies are roasting.  Pour both jars of sauce in a saucpan and cook over low heat.  When the veggies are done roasting add them to the sauce.  In a separate bowl mix together ricotta, eggs and 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Now start layering the sauce, uncooked lasagna noodles, ricotta mix and repeat. End with a layer of sauce and then cover with aluminum foil.  Bake covered on 375 degrees for 50 minutes then take off foil and top with the remaining mozzeralla and parmesan cheeses.  Bake UNcovered for another 10 minutes then let rest 10 minutes. ENJOY!!


While I worked on the lasagna, Jenn and I caught up on the in's and out's of surgery.  We shared our stories and as usual laughed and joked.  We then moved into the den for some relaxing.  See, Jenn is on the couch......looks comfy, right?



I also brought along some chicken salad and croissants for lunch and they were so yummy!


I love you Jenn and I am praying for your speedy recovery!  (and hair growth--even though it is already so long)

~nik nik

Public Service Announcement!

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (1)


I am sure many of you love the plug in smell good units that make your home smell lovely.  I too adore the aroma of clean linen, floral arrangements or ocean breeze.


THESE PEEL PAINT!!!  Now that seems crazy, right?  But here is proof.  Here is a picture of the wall unit.....



I took the wall unit out and put it upside down (accidentally) on a black shelf in my bedroom.  I left in there for a day, forgetting to move it to the other room.  When I remembered, I went to the shelf and found the liquid inside had drained out and down the wall.  When I used a paper towel to clean up the mess....... the paint was gone and left was a gooey, disgusting mess.  Look at the shelf......




Here is a picture of the entire shelf so you can see the other sides that were not damaged (and look at the drip down the wall that also took the paint off)....




If this stuff can peel paint......what is it doing to our lungs????????


Just wanted you to know.

~nikki



Stingrays National Champs

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 20, 2012 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

As many of you know my daughter cheers competitively for the Stingray All-Stars here in Marietta, GA.  These girls train year round and our biggest competitions are Atlanta Cheersport and NCA in Dallas, TX.




Well, this past weekend was Cheersport and the girls looked fantastic!  They won and are the proud owners of Nationsl Championship jackets. 



No matter what sport or activity your child chooses from Beta club to baseball....it is a proud moment when your child accomplishes their goal and all their dreams come true!! 

So proud of you Bonnie girl ~ :D

Cheers...it's my SITS day!

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (34)


Welcome SITS-tahs!


Thanks for stopping by to "meet" me. I am thrilled it is my featured blogger day! I am so honored!


My name is Nikki and I am a business women, mom, wife, yogi, friend, cook, foodie and hopeless romantic! I hope you will take a look around, get to know me and become a fan. I try to post lots of recipes, life lessons I've learned and generally anything on my mind.


This picture should sum up my attitude towards life! 


As you can see from the picture above, I try to stay positive in the face of adversity.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37 so I decided to finally get that mohawk I had been wanting!!!  Not really but what's a girl to do?  I was always a "long-haired" girl and I wasn't sure I could handle being bald.  So I threw out every negative thought in my head and decided to HAVE FUN!

Here is the "before" me with my daughter....



And here is the bald me.... (margaritas cure baldness, hahaha)


Yep, being bald was not so fun but ya know what.... not nearly as bad as I anticipated.  Having cancer teaches you things you couldn't learn any other way.  I learned people have huge hearts.  I learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  I learned I love my life, my family and myself.


Above I am pictured with my daughter but you need to meet the men in my life Griffin & Greg...



Here I am today with the hair growing back out...




I am certified to teach yoga and give back to the community by teaching a free class every Monday evening!  I believe yoga is wonderful for the mind, body and soul.


I am also a self-taught home cook and a full-blown foodie. I love to try new recipes, create my own --- so much so I wrote a cookbook.  I self published it.  if you are interested in purchasing one just sent me a quick email.  The name of the cookbook is All About the Food....because it always is!


I truly hope you enjoy my site and I can entertain you and bring a little smile to your day with my tips, stories and life discussions.  Thanks for stopping by and I will always answer questions on cooking, yoga, breast cancer, organizing, mom duties, marketing, public relations and training! I'm here to share my life and meet new friends along the way and become your go to girl for any questions you would like to ask.


~nikki


Want more information about SITS?...

SITS is a great community of bloggers that support one another with comments and advice.  Do yourself a favor and join this great resource.  You will learn tips, get advice and have the opportunity to meet great women!

Easy weekday breakfast

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 15, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (4)


Breakfast can be tough during the week when we are all rushing out the door for school and work.  Here is a quick and easy recipe for "egg muffins".  


As with most of my recipes, swap out the veggies if you do not like the ones I choose.  For me, bacon makes everything better...even broccoli.  


1 bag of "steam in bag" broccoli

1/2 bag of shredded hash browns

Steam the broccoli and then chop it up into small pieces.  Then mix it with the hashbrowns.

 


Beat 10 eggs with 1 cup of milk.  Next salt & pepper to taste.  I had a bag of bacon from Costco.  I use it in broccoli salad, in soup or in this case, my eggs.  Use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup depending on your love of bacon.  





Finally, pour the eggs into the hashbrowns and mix together.  Add about a 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese...cheddar, parmesan or whatever you have on hand.  Pour the mixture into muffin cups, large or small.  Fill the cups almost to the top and bake on 375 for about 20 minutes.  Depending on your oven, you may need a little longer but cook until the eggs are set and not runny.





You can enjoy these little jewels now or put them in the fridge and let the kids warm them up in the microwave before school.  They are even great with a side salad for dinner.  Change up the ingredients to suite you and your family.

~nikki

**remember that other half of the hashbrowns??? Mix it with cream of chicken soup, cheese and top it with crushed Ritz crackers for a great hashbrown side dish

Catalina Island Camps

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I am entering to win a session of summer camp for my son and daughter at Catalina Island Camps from The SITS Girls!


They are offering a FREE camp and I'd love to win.  Catalina Camps are amazing!  It is a camp for boys and girls entering 2nd through 11th grade participate in one to four week sessions. Our program is designed around a two week session and nearly two-thirds of our campers attend for two-weeks or longer.


I have a son named Griffin and he is 12 and my daughter Bonnie is 10.  Both of these children are active in sports and extra-curricular activities.  They have always wanted to visit an out of town, overnight camp but we just don't have the funds to swing it. I had breast cancer last year and my children were angels.  They brought me dinner, helped me clean the house and handled the pressure of this disease with style and grace.  My children deserve a treat and a wonderful opportunity to spread their wings. They have been through so much in their short little lives but continue to hold their heads high and meet the challenges of school and life. What child wouldn't love to boat, hike, dance and best of all meet new friends!  Look at some of the great activities at Catalina Island Camps.....




It is sooooo beautiful isn't it?  Please visit this amazing website and check out these details for yourself. You can find them at http://catalinaislandcamps.com 


And keep your fingers crossed that Bonnie and Griffin get the chance to experience such an great camp.  A place they can experience new activities and grow into wonderful teenagers.


~nikki

Easy Leftover Soup

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (1)


It has been so cold the last few days here in Atlanta and for me nothing says comfort food like SOUP!  


Let me start by saying..."you can cook"!  This leftover soup is what was in my fridge (literally). Do not hesitate to change a view ingredients, add a few or omit a few.  Making soup can be one of the easiest things to do!!



This particular soup includes...

leftover black beans

leftover black eyed peas

leftover ham (diced)

Leftover bacon (about 2 stripes diced)

Leftover baked potato (chunked or diced)

1 can of corn

1 can of tomato puree

Seasonings --- salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder or real onion, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. brown sugar



That's it....it's that easy.  Clean out your fridge and throw it all in a stockpot.  Here are my tips to "making it work"....


1. Use like items that you would normally put together in a meal.


2. Use like seasonings. For example, if the ingredients leftover in your fridge are like mine then you will be seasoning the tomato puree.  You might need to add a little water to thin out the soup. When I use tomatoes, I always add a couple of tbsp. of butter and a couple of tbsp. of brown sugar.  Use salt, pepper and garlic powder in EVERYTHING.  And of course add about a 1/2 cup of diced onion if you have it.


3. Example #2, if you have left over chicken and a few vegetables, throw those in a pot for the start of Chicken soup. Then throw in leftover pasta or rice.  Add chicken stock or even a can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom...whatever you have on hand). Remember we talked about seasonings so for chicken soup I always add Montreal Chicken Seasoning.


4. Example #3, use your left over chicken or ground beef to make Taco Soup.  Add whatever ingredients remind you of your favorite mexican dish.  Corn, green peppers, onions, rice, avacado, chicken broth, tomatoes, cilantro. Ok now for seasonings.  For Taco Soup you can use a taco flavor packet or you can add garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin and of course salt and pepper. Don't forget...you make the rules in your kitchen.  


5. You can't make it wrong!  It is your soup, made to your liking. So add more veggies, less veggies, pasta, no pasta.  Just trust yourself and enjoy the freedom to add whatever ingredients you like.


BE BRAVE and feel free to contact me if you have questions. Happy Soup Day!

:D~nikki

3 ingredient pasta salad

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Pasta salad is always a great staple for tennis parties, potluck dinners or even just a quick lunch during the week.  This is so easy it's sinful.

Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions.  Next heat up steam in the bag vegetalbes.

Next add your favorite dressing....Italian, Balsamic Vinaigrette or Asian Sesame.

Enjoy!

~nikki

4 ingredient lunch or dinner

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 9, 2012 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Quick and easy quesadillas and only 4 ingredients!! 


Defrost a box of spinach and drain out the water  & then sqeeze out the water.  You want the spinach as dry as possible.  Then open a can (yes, a can) of chicken and drain the water from that also.  Then mix the chicken and spinach.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Next, heat up your skillet and add a tortilla.  Top half the tortilla with your favorite cheese and then the spinach/chicken mixture.  


Heat until the cheese starts to melt, then fold the quesadilla in half and heat for another 2 minutes.  Then flip the tortilla and heat for 2 more minutes.


Cut your tortilla into triangles just like your favorite mexican restaurant. 




My daughter LOVES these and the ingredients are easily interchangalbe. Make quesadillas with a sliced up apple, chicken and blue cheese.  Or maybe use corn, black beans and cheddar.  Whatever you choose....ENJOY!


~nikki



Limo Food....for pre-teens

Posted by Nikki Brown on February 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Girl time is sooo much fun!  


There is nothing quite like the laughter and friendship that goes with turning the music up loud and dancing in the car.  My daughter and I have another mother-daughter we like to hang out with and do just that....girl stuff!!!


So it was Cameron's birthday and she wanted a limo ride for the girls at the party.  I am the resident chef in this friendship so it was my job to feed the girls while we were in the limo.  Sounds like no big deal....right?  


Well, problem #1 kids do not eat like adults so a cheese tray with crackers and grapes wasn't going to cut it.  Pintrest to the rescue.  I have seen so many good ideas and I am an hors d'oeurves LOVER anyway.  I believe anything that you could serve at a party can also be make into an individual hand-held serving.


So I started with mini mac and cheese "muffins". Make your favorite mac and cheese, spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Then sprinkle in parmesan cheese and then fill the cups.  My only advise here is make sure the mac and cheese is really cheesy and sort of "wet" --after cooking in the oven they will dry out.  Bake on 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until you can see the muffins have set-up.


Dish #2 was easy....fruit.  But to make it "Oh, So Cute", I arranged them in rainbow colors and put them on skewers for easy eating.



Dish #3 Salami & Cheese sandwiches...again on skewers for ease.



Dish #4 Peanut Butter & Jelly Dip with Pretzel Rods - this was so good!!!



Dish #5 Taco Bites  -- again so easy.  Just make ground beef and add a taco seasoning pack.  Then take a tortilla and sprinkle it with your favorite cheese and top with ground beef.  Roll up the tortilla and stack all the tortillas together until you are ready to heat them.  When you are ready heat the tortillas in the microwave for about a minute to melt the cheese and make everything stick together.  then cut them into thirds.



You can then put each sliced roll into your travelling container.




Dish #6 Dessert Pizza!!!  This recipe is easy and up to you and your taste.  I started with a premade thin pizza crust then topped with vanilla icing.  Then top it with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and almonds.  Then bake on 350 degrees until melted.  You could also add marshmallows or drizzle with carmel ice cream topping....whatever tickles your tounge.




Good luck with your party planning and never hesitate to shoot me a quick email if you have a question.

"Party Rock Is In The House Tonight"....this song is still ringing in my ears!!

~nikki


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