Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer Stuff

I have always been a Summer lover, but it's especially sweet with my little sidekicks. It's hard to believe that August is just around the corner!! Thankfully, we still have a good chunk of Summer left. 

We have spent tons of time at the pool, seen lots of friends and have been hitting all of our favorite Charlotte spots. Will and Kate are at such great ages right now and truly so much fun.

Will got some caterpillars for his birthday and we had fun watching them turn into butterflies! The entire process was about 20 days and well worth the wait. We let them go free on July 4, which was fitting since it was Independence Day. I ordered this Insect Lore kit from Amazon and it couldn't have been easier. The kit comes with a voucher to order your caterpillars once you are ready for them. Will is already asking when we can order more caterpillars and we will definitely be doing it again in the near future!

Another fun find of the Summer has been this Ice Cream Ball. I swear, this thing is genius. This was another birthday present that Will got from some friends and it has been a huge hit. You fill one side of the ball with ice, and the other side of the ball with the ice cream ingredients, then roll it around for 20 minutes. Making kids work for their ice cream- this is an idea I am totally behind! 

Mark and I even got to sneak away to Asheville for a dear friend's wedding and it was wonderful! Any excuse for some quality time together and a weekend away with friends.
 Shortly after that, we spent another weekend in the mountains with some more good friends. Mark played in a golf tournament and Will, Kate and I enjoyed a little escape with friends in the crisp mountain air. There is nothing like the mountains in the Summer! 

I think that my favorite part of the Summer has been watching Will and Kate become best friends. They have always loved each other, but their little relationship has grown so much over the past few months and it brings me so much joy to be a part of it. Their conversations are pretty hilarious and they ADORE each other. 

I want to remember these sweet Summer days forever. Hope you all are enjoying them, too!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Save your Summer Memories with Chatbooks!

I love everything about Summer. The lazy days, the longer nights and plenty of sunshine to enjoy. We are making so many wonderful memories and I am soaking it all in as I know these two little ones of mine will only be this little once. Can't Summer stay forever!? Luckily, I have tons of photos of their sweet smiling faces and all of the fun we are having. 

I read an article once about how photos rarely get printed these days because we just take SO MANY OF THEM. Out of the whole article, this line has always stuck with me; "don't let your photos grow up to be jpeg files". I say that in my head nearly daily as I snap photos of moments that I want to remember, both big and small. With our cameras quite literally in our back pockets at all times we are hoarding ALL THE PICTURES. Get those files off of your phones and cameras and into photo books for your family to enjoy for years to come.

A few years ago, I discovered Chatbooks and immediately fell in love. They make it so easy to get your photos printed and bound and shipped right to your door. I subscribe to my Instagram photos, which immediately get shipped to me every 60 photos, and I have made a few other custom books, too. We have quite the collection now and Will and Kate LOVE looking through them- they are perfect for tiny hands. They have become my favorite memory books to flip through.

These cute books also make great little gifts!

The Chatbooks Semi-Annual Summer Sale is live now and you can get 20% off of EVERYTHING through July 31, 2017.  The sale includes their new collaboration with Rifle Paper Company which I cannot wait to get my hands on! I am drooling over all of these gorgeous floral prints. Use code: GROW 

Download the Chatbooks app to get started. Don't let your Summer memories hibernate on your phones and cameras!

*This post is sponsored by Chatbooks. All thoughts and ideas are my own. I received free product for writing this post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Charlotte Eats: Siano Mozzarella Demo at Zia Pia Imports!

 {image via The Charlotte Agenda}

If you are local to Charlotte and if you love good food (fresh mozzarella, anyone!?), you are going to want to check out this event tomorrow night, July 20, at one of my favorite local spots! Zia Pia Imports, located in the 7th Street Public Market uptown, is featuring a fresh mozzarella demo that is sure to be as entertaining as it is delicious.

"Watch as Siano Mozzarella demonstrates how they make their delicious, locally made mozzarella di bufala, burrata and stracciatella! For those of you who don't know stracciatella, your life is about to change. Nada's Italy will present this impressive region whose sites include Mt. Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, ancient Greek temples and one of the most breathtakingly picturesque coastlines in the world, with towering cliffs. Check out this amazing Nada's Italy tour to Campania. Rosa, Alfonso's mother, will perform a cooking demo with their freshly made stracciatella!"

{image via Siano Mozzarella}
Thursday, July 20, 5pm
Free to attend :: $25 to eat
Three courses include:
Antipasto featuring Siano's fresh mozzarella di bufala 
Pasta from Gragnano with Stracciatella, cherry tomato and fresh basil
Dessert of Burrata freshly made on site as you watch!

Check out each of these local Italian companies and make sure you like them on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Chicken Parmesan

I've gotten into the habit of trying at least one new recipe a week which has added a ton of new favorites to our ever expanding dinner rotation. Fast and fresh is my favorite in the Summer, so that we can maximize our time outside after naps!

This lightened up Chicken Parmesan is comforting and totally Summer-fied. The original recipe inspiration came from this Cooking Light recipe here, but I cleaned it up even more swapping out the panko for almond meal. I also added a layer of marinara on top of each chicken breast to brighten it up and, if I'm being honest,  because my kids love anything with a little sauce! Everyone in the Moore house loved this meal. Swap out milk for almond milk and leave out the cheese for a Paleo/Whole30 approved dinner.

Summer Chicken Parmesan
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup almond meal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
3 chicken breasts, filleted
salt + pepper
olive oil
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
handful fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup marinara sauce
shredded mozarella cheese

Preheat Broiler and place oven rack in the middle.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and 1/4 cup of milk. Place the almond meal in a pie dish and season with a little salt and pepper, and mix up with a fork. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. 

Create a dipping station, and dredge each piece of chicken in egg, then the almond meal mixture. 

Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Cook each chicken breast for about one minute on each side, transfer to a baking sheet prepped with cooking spray or parchment paper. Top each chicken breast with a layer of marinara sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes.

In the skillet, heat a little more oil and add garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and basil. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to get soft. Serve chicken with veggies on top and more fresh basil if desired.