Hot Pink Zebra Baby Shower!

Last month I threw a baby shower for my younger sister, Heidi. I am so excited for her, she’s due at the end of this month! She’s having a little girl, and Heidi has been crazy about zebra-stripes for a long time now, so we made her shower a hot pink zebra theme!

It was a beautiful day in the middle of summer, so we held the baby shower outside in my mom’s backyard. There were about 20 guests that showed up, and we had a lot of fun. Each guest had a Ghiradelli chocolate waiting on their seat when they came in.

Chocolate

I made a wide array of food and treats for Heidi’s party. Here’s a list of what was offered, followed by some pictures!

Chex Muddy Buddies (one of Heidi’s favorite things!)
Pretzel Sticks dipped in White Chocolate, with Pink Sprinkles
Hot Pink Sugar Cookies with a {zebra-striped} Hershey’s Hug on the tops
A Cake that was zebra-striped on the inside!
Deviled Eggs
Fruit with Fruit Dip inside of a Hollowed-Out Pineapple
Veggies with Ranch inside of Hollowed-Out Peppers
Pita Chips with a Cream Cheese & Sweet Chili Sauce Dip
Greek Feta Dip with Sliced Baguette
Cous Cous Salad
Pretzel Sandwiches with Reese’s PB Cups inside
Pineapple Lemonade Punch
Personalized Water Bottles

I’m still kicking myself because I never took a picture of the inside of the cake! ARGH!

Refreshments

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For the décor, my mom strung a giant clothesline across the yard and hung all new little girl outfits on it for Heidi to take home! I also had pink & black balloons, zebra-striped plates with matching napkins & silverware, a clear vase with zebra paper and hot pink flowers, and a zebra ribbon strung across the treehouse that showcased all of the maternity photos that I had taken of Heidi the day before!

Decorations

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Here’s a great shot that we took from the porch of the treehouse, of the entire party scene:

Party

 

And here’s my cute little sister, the guest of honor…(she’s already practicing her baby-holding skills!)

Heidi

 

For the shower activities, I had a large mason jar full of candies and guests had to guess how many were in the jar. I also did a diaper raffle where guests earned a raffle ticket for each pack of diapers that they brought, and then I picked a winning ticket.

We played a paper game where guests had to write what the baby name of each animal is (for example, a baby dolphin is called a “calf”), and Heidi’s sister-in-law hosted a candy bar “memory” game where everyone got to leave with a full size candy bar!

Amber

We also played “Pass the Present.” This was a fun activity where the guests all stood in a large circle and one of them starts by holding one of the prizes, and as I read the poem, they have to hand the prize to whomever fits the poem description. When the end of the poem comes, whomever is left holding the prize gets to keep it!

Here is the Poem:

1. The news is out, quick send a cable, the gift goes to the lady across the table.
2. If someone wears a dress of blue, she must take this gift from you. If blue cannot be seen, it goes to the one wearing green.
3. I will now read another verse…please pass to the gal with the largest purse.
4. We are getting tricky, here is a real humdinger! Pass it to the one with the most rings on her fingers.
5. Wow! What a success! Pass it to the guest with the most buttons on her dress.
6. Alas, this gift is not for you. It now goes to the one with the largest shoe.
7. Let’s get this party started girls…pass it to the one with the cutest curls.
8. Mommy is anxious. Daddy is nervous. Now pass this to the lady who drove the furthest.
9. There won’t be time to practice, there won’t be time to rehearse. Pass this prize to the gal with the most money in her purse.
10. We hope you all are having fun. We tried to include most everyone. From the largest purse to the largest shoe, pass this gift to the right of you.
11. We’re ending this rhyme, this is the last poem…the gift you are holding is yours to take home!

I had never done the poem game at a shower before, but I will definitely do it again because everyone loved it!

The last big game that we played was “Sculpt A Baby!” Everyone got a small tub of PlayDoh and they had 5 minutes to mold a baby. Then Heidi got to pick her favorite one and the winner got a prize!

Dough Babies

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After all of the games were played, it was time for Heidi to open her gifts! The baby girl got spoiled with lots of cute stuff!

Baby Gifts

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Congratulations little sister! I can’t wait to meet my niece! 🙂

September 10, 2013. Food, Parties. Leave a comment.

Bridal Shower for My Beautiful Sister-in-Law, Victoria!

I had the honor of throwing a bridal shower for my sister-in-law before she married my brother in July!

I wanted her shower to be really special so that she would know just how excited we are to welcome her into our family! I made tons of food and we played a lot of fun games. There was a lot of laughter, and even some happy & sentimental tears!

My sister-in-law’s name is Victoria, and she LOVES cupcakes! So I did her shower in a cupcake, hot pink, and teal theme.

Invitation

Cupcake Streamers

Here is the menu of food that I made and served at the shower:

Green Salad
Fruit Salad
Pasta Salad
Deviled Eggs
Chicken Salad Croissants
Garlic Cream Cheese Chicken Puffs
Chips & 7-Layer Dip
Chex Muddy Buddies
Cupcakes
Moscato, Soda, & Juice

Foods

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I had SO many people compliment the Garlic Cream Cheese Chicken Puffs, and they were all eaten up very quickly! They are the easiest things ever. Here is the recipe:

You’ll need: 1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls, 1 can of cooked chicken, garlic powder, and 4oz (half block) of cream cheese. You mix the chicken, cream cheese, and as much garlic powder as you like all together. Spread out the crescent rolls and cut each triangle in half. Now put a lump of the cream cheese mixture in each triangle and close up the dough, forming a ball. Place all of the filled crescent dough balls on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Anyway, back to the party…

On the food table I had placed a large mason jar full of chocolates, and as everyone loaded up their plates, they wrote down a guess as to how many chocolates were in the jar. The winner was the person who guessed closest to the correct number of chocolates (I had pre-counted them) and they got to take home the jar full of goodies as the prize.

Guess the Number

Guess the Number

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A fun activity that we did at the party was a toilet paper fashion design contest! We split up into teams of 4, and each team had a model that they had to “dress.” They had to create their most beautiful wedding dress using nothing but rolls of toilet paper, teal streamers, and scotch tape! Once the time was up, all of the models showed off their dresses and Victoria got to pick her favorite one, and the winning team members all got prizes. This activity was a HIT!

TP Dresses

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We also played a paper game, where the guests had to correctly match the foreign ways to say “I Love You” to their correct country’s language. For example, “Ich Liebe Dich” is German.

After the games and activities were done, and everyone had full bellies, Victoria opened her presents. She got a good assortment of new stuff for her house as well as some fun little sexy things for her honeymoon! 😉

Victoria

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Congratulations Kevin & Victoria! I love you both! 🙂

September 10, 2013. Food, Parties. 3 comments.

Showers Galore!

In the past few months, I have thrown 3 baby showers and 1 bridal shower! I love throwing showers so this was fun for me. I think I love the planning & prepping stages even more than I love the actual shower itself!

Two women at my church were both expecting girls, so I threw them back-to-back showers. One on Monday evening and one on Tuesday evening! It was a lot of fun because it was really just a great excuse for all the women of my church to get together, chat, play games, and eat good food! I had both of the showers be potluck style and it worked out great! We had lots of yummy food both nights and I took care of the decorations, games, & prizes.

Baby Bumps

On Monday night I threw Kathryn’s shower. (She just had a baby girl named Ahlora). Her colors were pink and green, with a baby animals theme.

Kat

Kathryn's Family

A friend of mine from our church was a HUGE help to me for this shower…she made fantastic cupcakes that looked like ice cream cones, made a diaper cake, took maternity photos of Kathryn and brought a poster-board to the shower with the maternity photos arranged on it so that we could all write notes of congratulations on it!

Tabbi

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During the shower, we played a few fun games. We did a “paper game” where the guests had to write the correct baby name for each animal (example: Goose – Gosling, Goat – Kid, Seal – Pup, etc.) I always do one paper game at each shower, because they are easy and everyone can participate at the same time, which is important if there are a lot of guests. (There are some super fun activity games, like finding tiny baby pins in rice while blindfolded, but when each person has to go individually it can take a long time).

During the shower, we also did the “baby pin” game where each person starts out with one pin on their shirt and you can’t say the word “baby” or your pin gets claimed by whomever catches you saying the forbidden word.

After the baby animals paper game, each guest had 5 minutes to sculpt their best baby out of PlayDoh. That was so much fun, and the creative babies that were molded were awesome! Kathryn got to pick her favorite baby and the sculptor of that baby won a prize.

PlayDoh Babies

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One other game that we played at Kathryn’s shower was the “Guess the Baby Food” game, where guests pass around 6 jars of baby food and they have to write down their guesses as to what kind of baby foods they are. They can smell, taste, touch…whatever they want to do to determine what’s in the jars! This is always a fun game! 🙂

Baby Food

Here are some more pictures of the games, and the prize bags. I put the prizes in pretty tote bags so that the bag is a reusable prize in itself.

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Games

Prize Bags

After the games, Kathryn opened her gifts and enjoyed herself. Overall it was a very fun evening! 🙂

Gifts

On Tuesday night I did Meg’s shower. (She just had a little girl named Lorelai). Her baby colors were bright pink, teal, and bright yellow, so I went with that theme.

Again, we had a delicious potluck, fun games, and lots of gifts. We also did the baby pin game again, where guests couldn’t say the word “baby.”

We played the game where each guest has to tear off a length of toilet paper that they think represents how big the mother-to-be’s tummy is, and whomever is the closest wins a prize. This is a game that made everyone laugh as Meg walked around getting measured!

Toilet Paper

We also had a baby-sock-folding-championship! I had a bunch of little baby socks all mixed up on the table, and two people at a time would sit at the table and have 15 seconds to match up as many pairs of baby socks as they could! This continued until everyone had faced-off, then the winners from each round went up against each other until there was one champion! 🙂

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Baby Socks

The third game that we played was another PlayDoh sculpting game, but Meg wanted everyone to sculpt baby elephants. Let the molding begin!

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Baby Elephants

After games, Meg opened her gifts and we all had some more nice hang-out time together.

Presents

Presents

So…those were the first 2 showers that I threw this summer. I think I will cut this post off here and make new posts about the other showers, because this post is long enough already!
I hope you enjoyed seeing these baby showers, because I sure had a ton o’ fun throwing them!

🙂

September 10, 2013. Food, Parties. Leave a comment.

Jack’s 3rd Birthday Party – Pirate Edition!

Well, Jack’s 3rd birthday was last November…and it’s now almost November again and time for his 4th birthday…and I’m just now putting up a post about his 3rd birthday pirate party. Blog FAIL 😉

But better late than never, right?!?

I was pretty proud of how Jack’s pirate party turned out, and so was my little pirate captain. All of the guests had a scallywaggin’ great time, and the kids got to engage in fun activities, like walking the plank, decorating treasure chests, and digging for treasure.

I rented a large meeting room and basically turned the room into a pirate zone. I went to Dollar Tree and got one of those giant-sized coloring books about pirates and I colored a bunch of pirate pictures, cut them out, and hung them on the wall for decoration. The I left other pirate coloring books and crayons out for the kids to color too. Other décor included a jolly roger flag, pirate birthday banners, a pirate tent for the kids to play in, and random other pirate-y things!

As far as the food went, I made lots of pirate grub. Each dish was labeled with a pirate-y name to make the party more authentic.

I put a big “X” on the floor where people entered, so they knew that they had come to the right spot:

"X"

Some kids even came dressed up for the occasion!

Z Pirate

I’ll show you the food & treats that I made for the party:

I made pirate flag cupcakes, a pirate ship cake (with Playmobil pirates manning the ship), and matey cookie pops. There were also chocolate gold coins scattered on the table.

Pirate Flag Cupcakes

Pirate Ship Cake

Matey Cookie Pops

Dessert Table

To be completely honest, the pirate ship cake fell apart as soon as we started cutting it! I followed instructions from a website to shape the cake, but since it was mostly held together by frosting, it wasn’t too sturdy. At least I got a good picture of it before it became a crumbly mess…and even though it didn’t look pretty after it was cut, it sure tasted good! 🙂

Here are some pictures of the pirate food that I made. I came up with cute names for each dish, and a few months ago I was checking out my friend’s blog post on a pirate party that she did (she named her pirate food too) and she had even more cute names that I didn’t think of. After the pictures, you’ll find a complete list of her & my food names.

Here’s an overall view of the food table:

Food Table

Some close-ups…

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H2O

Here’s a list of the food that I made:

Taquitos – “Peg Legs”
Cheeto Balls – “Cannon Balls”
Hershey’s Kisses – “Mermaid Kisses”
Goldfish Crackers – “Catch of the Day”
Lil’ Smokies – “Dead Man’s Fingers”
Fruit Kabobs – “Fruit Swords”
Chicken Wings – “Grilled Parrot”
Blowpops – “Matey Suckers”
Orange Pepper on Hummus – made into an octopus
Juice in a big dispenser – “Pirate Grog”
Gummi Sharks – “Shark Bait”
Skinny Pretzels – “Salty Bones”
Ring Pops – “Gleaming Booty”
Gold-Wrapped Chocolates – “Treasure”
Chips & Salsa/Dip – “Ships ‘n Dip”
Deviled Egg “Sailboats”
Green Salad – “Seaweed Salad”
Meat & Olives on toothpick swords – “Sword Kabobs”
Veggie Tray with Ranch
Pasta Salad
Personalized Water Bottle Labels

Here are some more Pirate Food Ideas (from my friend’s blog):

Cheddar Cheese Cubes – “Pirate Gold”
Ritz Crackers – “Polly’s Crackers”
Black Olives in toothpicks – “Cannon Balls”
Fruit on a skewer – “Crowned Jewels”
Punch – “Pirate Punch”
Bowl of Tortilla Chips mixed with Goldfish Crackers – “Fish & Chips”
Bowl of the bagged popcorn called “Pirate’s Booty”
Gummy Worms – “Sea Snakes”

As you can see, it’s a lot of fun making pirate-inspired food! haha 🙂

All of the little pirates that were at the party got their very own “treasure chest” that I made out of strawberry containers. I saved up the plastic strawberry containers all summer and painted them black. Then I wrote each pirate’s name on them with a white paint pen, and drew a skull & crossbones. When the kids got to the party I had stick-on jewels that they could use to decorate their treasure chest with. Then each child had to take their decorated treasure chest, walk the plank to the treasure dig area, and then dig for treasure to put into their treasure chests. The kids got to take their filled treasure chests home with them as a party favor.

For the “treasure dig” I got 4 buckets/bowls of clean sand and buried all sorts of fun things in each one. Some of the items I buried were Mardi Gras necklaces, small plastic toys, plastic gold coins, mini canisters of Play-Doh, bouncy balls, etc.

Here are the kids decorating their treasure chests:

Decorating Chests

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 Walking the Plank:

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Plank

Digging for Treasure:

Treasure Dig

Digging

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Dig!

Another activity that I had at the party was fun for the children and the adults alike! I had a photo area with props. I brought tons of pirate props (hats, swords, parrots, eye-patches, etc.) and set up a background of fabric and “creepy cloth” and had everyone get their pictures taken.

Here’s the background:

Backdrop

And here are some of the fun pictures that people took!

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Pirates!

Here’s Jack blowing out his 3 birthday candles!

3 Candles

Another major part of a party, of course, is the present-opening! Jack loved that part and he had lots of nice presents to open.

Presents

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Overall the party was a huge success. I had tons of balloons floating all over the room for the kids to play with, everyone ate lots of food, Jack got spoiled, and the kids all got to leave with lots of goodies. On top of the treasure chests, they each got a goodie bag, a bag of chocolate gold coins, pirate blowers, and pirate jewelry! 🙂

For the Kiddos

Kids

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I hoped you enjoyed seeing our Pirate Party…stay tuned for a Lego/Ninja/Ninjago themed party coming up in 2 months! 😉

September 10, 2013. Food, Jack, Parties. Leave a comment.

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

So it’s February now and I’m finally sitting down and getting caught up on my blog…on stuff from December! Oh wow…I really don’t have any good excuses. But I’m glad that I’m back on board now.

I had a gingerbread party at my house and it was a smashing success. First of all, my cousin was SUCH a huge help to me. I couldn’t afford to go out and buy a pre-baked gingerbread house for each of my guests, so she came over a couple days before the party and helped me bake, cut, and assemble 8 houses, plus 4 small ones for the children. This was the first time that either of us had made gingerbread before, and it was a lot of fun and tasty too. Overall, a good experience. But to be honest, next year I will be using the pre-baked ones. I went to the after-Christmas sales and snatched up 8 of them, for only $3 each. Nobody eats them anyway, they’re just for decoration…so who cares if they’re stale? 😉

Jack wanted to help too, of course:

And when we were done, we had 8 of these:

On the day of the party, I set up the table with each place setting having a house, a plastic wine glass, and a mini personal bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. All of the candies and frostings were in the middle of the table.

Here’s how the kids’ table looked:

And of course, we had to have some good snacks to counteract all of the candy that would surely be making its way into our mouths…! The gingerbread shaped sandwiches were pb&j for the kids. The bowl in the middle is a delicious dip of cream cheese with Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce poured over the top. It’s PERFECT with pita chips…a crowd favorite!

Everyone had a fun time decorating their gingerbread houses and afterward, I took a picture of each person holding their completed house.

After everyone was done decorating, we cleared off the table and played some BINGO! I had wrapped up some small Christmas-y prizes and played Bingo using the leftover candies as markers. Everyone got to take home a decorated house and some prizes. It was a wonderful evening!

February 15, 2012. Baking Adventures, Food, Holidays, Parties. Leave a comment.

Autumn Shindig!

Last weekend we had a fun get-together at my friend Sarah’s house. We called it the “Autumn Shindig” because it was a mix of all Autumn events…Halloween, Octoberfest, Thanksgiving, etc. We had a delicious dinner together, tried different beers and ciders, and played board games. The winners of the games even got prizes – it was a lot of fun.

My task was to bring a snack and a dessert. For the snack, to keep with the theme, I decided to make a spiderweb layer dip. It is super easy and delicious! I put the sour cream in a squeeze bottle and drew a spiderweb with it. Then for the spiders, I just used olives! (Since I didn’t use the whole can of olives, I just brought the extras with me for people to eat seperate).

For the dessert, I also wanted to stick with the Autumn theme, so I made Pumpkin Cupcakes. This is the easiest recipe in the world – just 2 ingredients! All you do is mix a box of yellow cake mix with a 15oz. can of pumpkin! That’s it – no eggs, water, or oil. Just the cake mix and the pumpkin. The batter is thick, more like a muffin batter. Bake them like you would bake a regular cupcake, at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, and they come out moist, rich, and delicious. I put a little bit of cream cheese frosting on the top, and everyone LOVED them!

Here is our lovely hostess, Sarah…followed by a group shot. It was a fun evening!

October 23, 2011. Baking Adventures, Food. Leave a comment.

Spectacular Products from Trader Joe’s

I was puttering around the kitchen one day recently when I realized that I have a lot of food items from Trader Joe’s that are so delicious, I wanted to make a blog post about them. If you’ve tried any of these items, let me know if you agree with me that they are amazing…and if you haven’t tried any of these items, I strongly suggest running to your nearest Trader Joe’s and picking them up!

1. Organic Shells and White Cheddar (Macaroni & Cheese):

These noodles kept me alive during my college years. I almost always had a box of them in my room because they are quick and easy like your standard box of mac ‘n cheese, but they are so much more delicious and healthier too (I’m pretty sure)! The cheese packet isn’t neon-orange, so that’s saying something right there. It’s real white cheddar and instead of  elbow shaped noodles, they are little shells. The flavor is so good, and it’s even better (in my opinion) if you don’t mix the cheese packet until it’s completely creamy, but rather leave little chunks of the white cheddar. The little chunks will hide in the middle of the shells, and when you get one of those bites, you get a flavor-blasted bite! YUM! 🙂

 

2. Island Soyaki Sauce:

I first saw this sauce in one of TJ’s flyers and it sounded so good the way that they described it, I just had to buy it. The sauce did NOT disappoint! It is delicious. It’s so simple too. I poured half of the bottle in an oven-safe pan, put some chicken breasts in it, and baked it for about an hour. (I also turned the chicken over once, to baste it in the sauce). While it was baking, I made rice and then when the chicken was done I just put a chicken breast and extra sauce over a plate of rice. It was a hit! Simple and delicious. I will have a bottle of this sauce in the pantry at all times. It’s a quick and easy dinner for my family, or a sure-hit if you have company come over.

3. Hold the Cone! Mini Ice-Cream Cones:

These were another feature in TJ’s flyer, and I thought they sounded great. These are now one of my very favorite treats to give Jack because they are just his size! My son is a treat-monster, he would eat sweets all day if you let him. So he thinks he’s pretty special when he gets a whole ice-cream cone to himself. These little cones are about 3 inches tall and only 70 calories each, and they come in a couple different flavors. Of course in our household, we get chocolate! There are 8 cones in a box, and each box is only a couple dollars.

 

 

4. Four Cheese Mac ‘n Cheese:

This is another delicious Macaroni and Cheese dish. When me and Brady lived in Seattle, we ate this pretty frequently, as we had a TJ’s right by our house. This dish is in the freezer section and it tastes best if you bake it in the oven. It takes 25 minutes, but it’s worth the wait. This is Brady’s favorite macaroni. It is very rich, and one tray will keep you full for many hours. There are 4 cheeses in it: Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, and Havarti.

 

 

5. Cilantro Salad Dressing:

I love salad dressings. I love all sorts of bottles of dressings that you can buy at a store, and I love making my own. So when I saw this new cilantro dressing, I definitely had to try it. I love cilantro anyway, so I was excited. (I’ve heard that cilantro is a touchy thing – people either love it or hate it. So needless to say, if you aren’t a cilantro fan, you probably won’t like this dressing.) I was a bit afraid that this dressing would be too strong, since cilantro has a strong taste, but I tossed a salad with it, and it was very light and refreshing. Brady loved it too. It has the perfect amount of flavor to add to a salad, but not take away all of the other flavors in your salad. In my salad, I typically put a lettuce/spinach blend, chopped avocado, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, shredded parmesan cheese, and croutons…then tossed with a dressing of choice. I usually always use a dressing that has balsamic vinegar, but even though this dressing was cilantro-based, not balsamic-based, I enjoyed it just as much!  (Don’t mind this picture – the bottle is half empty! I didn’t have a full bottle to take a picture of).

 

6. Gone Bananas! Chocolate Covered Banana Slices:

This is another great treat for Jack. These are little slices of banana that are dipped in chocolate and frozen. I don’t feel that bad about giving these to Jack, because they are bananas after all! (This reasoning comes from a mom who loves treats just as much as her son! haha)

 

7. Carne Asada Autentica:

This is just what it says it is: carne asada. It’s pre-seasoned and thinly sliced. Perfect for grilling and making Mexican food with! In fact, we just had this for dinner tonight. We made delicious quesadillas. Brady put the carne asada on the grill and I fried up some red, orange, and yellow peppers with sliced garlic. Then we put sour cream, cheese, avocado, and the sliced beef and peppers between 2 tortillas and pan-fried them to make the tortilla crispy. The end result was fantastic! There’s a lot of meat left over, so we refrigerate the rest of the carne asada and chop it up the next day to put it into a salad or in some pasta.

Grill it up with some peppers and garlic:

 

There are many many MANY more products that I absolutely love from Trader Joe’s, but I will sum up this post for now. Mostly because I don’t have any more yummy things from TJ’s right now to take pictures of! 🙂

I would love to know if any of you have tried any of these items and if you love them as much as I do, or if you have any other TJ’s items that you think are wonderful and think I should try, let me know!

Nikki

September 20, 2011. Food. Leave a comment.