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It’s been a while, a long while, since I’ve posted. I’ve really missed blogging. I’ve missed being in the kitchen and cooking/baking beyond crockpots and microwaves. But it’s been hard to find time with the girls. In the evenings I’m usually too tired and the weekends are all about family time.

I’ve also missed my big, beautiful DSLR camera. I hardly ever take it out but when I did this weekend for this recipe, I remembered how much I love photography. I really need to get back in the game. Not just for food photography but also so I can capture images of Juliet and Rosie, beyond what I take on my phone. It’s not that I lack photos of the girls (um, my camera roll on my phone is 24,000 deep) but I definitely lack really high quality photos, that can only really be taken with a DSLR.

But I digress. What really inspired this post was the opportunity to create a recipe around potatoes, specifically hashbrowns for dinner. I read about the opportunity and thought hello, this is so perfect for me. Potatoes are my favorite food (give me all the French fries! Preferably dipped in bernaise) and I’ve talked countless times how if I had to choose a food to marry it would be potatoes. What would yours be?

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We eat potatoes for dinner a lot; roasted red potatoes usually. They are easy and always good. And we eat hashbrowns for breakfast pretty much every weekend. But why not hashbrowns for dinner? The nice thing about hashbrowns for dinner is that they are super easy, and you can use them as a base for a one skillet meal. Less dishes? Yes please.

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I dreamed up this meal in my head and then consulted Pinterest for more practical inspiration. Not only do I have a major love of all things potatoes, but I’m also obsessed with buffalo chicken (pretty much every opportunity I get I’ll order a buffalo chicken sandwich when I’m out at a restaurant) Turns out it isn’t a totally original recipe (I mean, everyone loves buffalo chicken and every variation of the meal has pretty much been made). I put a little twist on buffalo chicken and used turkey tenderloin that I cooked in the crock pot with chicken stock and buffalo sauce. Yum.

This was a pretty easy meal, that truly could be a one skillet meal if you substitute rotisserie chicken with turkey tenderloin (which removes the step of cooking the turkey in the crockpot). Either way you make this meal (turkey tenderloin or rotisserie chicken) it’s a quick and easy dinner recipe using hashbrowns.

Erik loved it (and he’s not a fan of blue cheese so I wasn’t sure if he would like this meal but he really enjoyed it). Juliet and Rosie liked the turkey, I removed some of the turkey before adding more buffalo sauce because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t spicy for them.

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I’m going to be completely honest and say when I first received Hungry Jack Hashbrowns and realized they were dried potatoes I thought to myself, hmmmm this is a bit weird. And if I didn’t like cooking with them or the taste, I wasn’t going to do this post.But then I thought, well most all of the pasta I make is dried. And I actually did like cooking with them because they were super easy to make (just add hot water, drain, then cook on a skillet). What I really like about these is that they are something you can keep in your pantry at all times (when we want hashbrowns on the weekends we usually have to make a last minute trip to the grocery store because we don’t have any in our fridge/freezer). And having hashbrowns on hand for an easy dinner (or breakfast of course) is always a good idea. And these hashbrowns taste great. We made ours moderately crispy and they were a perfect base for this buffalo turkey skillet.

I used original Hungry Jack Hashbrowns for this recipe but they are also coming out with a new black pepper and onion flavor soon that sounds good. Check out their website for recipe  ideas. I want to try this Denver Omelet Hashbrown Bake for my next brunch. You can find Hungry Jack Hashbrowns at Super Target (this is where I do 90% of all my grocery shopping). To check out other stores that carry Hungry Jack potatoes, check out their store  locator.

Hungry Jack has a contest starting on May 9th – June 19th so be sure to check out this link for all the deets and enter for your chance to win a trip to a Nascar race and other fun prizes.

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Definitely check out this Buffalo Turkey with Hashbrown Skillet for an easy, weeknight meal. Leftovers taste great, too!

4.7 from 3 reviews
buffalo turkey hashbrown skillet
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs of turkey tenderloin
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup buffalo/hot sauce (I use Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce), plus more for drizzling
  • ⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar
  • 2, 4.2 oz cartons of Hungry Jack Hashbrown Potatoes
  • 3 TBSP olive or vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup diced celery
  • 2 TBSP of anch or blue cheese dressing, optional
Instructions
  1. In a small bown, mix together the chicken stock and ¼ cup buffalo sauce. Place the turkey tenderloin in the bottom of a crockpot and pour the chicken stock/buffalo sauce mixture on top. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (Note, my crock pot cooks crazy fast so it only took 4 hours, yours may take longer).
  2. Remove the turkey and shred and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Fill the containers of hashbrowns with hot water and let sit for 12 minutes, then drain excess liquid (per the directions on the carton).
  5. Using a large pan (make sure to use a pan that can transfer from the stove to the oven. I like using a cast iron skillet) add oil (on medium-high heat) and allow to get hot. Add the hashbrowns and spread evenly, patting down gently with a spatula. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes (or until they are as crispy as you like them), then flip over and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the shredded turkey on top of the hashbrowns and top with the shredded cheddar. Place in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is totally melted.
  7. Remove from oven and top with blue cheese crumbles, celery, a drizzle of buffalo sauce and a drizzle of ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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These fall weekends are all about cozy baking, lots of quality time with my family, and coffee. Always lots of coffee. Last weekend Juliet and I did a really easy ghost craft made with coffee filters to add some Halloween pizazz to our home. My original thought was to string them up and make a banner, but I thought they looked cute standing on the foyer table (plus it was easier and faster this way).

I also made a homemade pumpkin spice latte, which was delicious, and dare I say, even better than the coffee shop variety. And healthier, too, much less sugar. I made the latte using Lavazza espresso and it was awesome. I eat (and drink) pumpkin everything at least until Thanksgiving, sometimes even Christmas and these pumpkin spice lattes are going to become a new addition to my weekend routine.

This is my last post of my Lavazza partnership. Be sure to check out my earlier three posts here, here, and here. I’ve really enjoyed this partnership and have honestly become a loyal Lavazza coffee drinker in the process. It’s the only kind of coffee we brew at home. I buy the packages three at a time. This is also because in our sleep-deprived state we can’t risk not having coffee in the house. We literally never leave the house in the mornings with our mugs filled to the brim. Even my husband who used to not be a huge coffee drinker.

I always notice when restaurants serve Lavazza, I think to myself, they know what’s up.

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I don’t always have whipped cream with my pumpkin spice latte but when I do I thoroughly enjoy it

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A little ghostie peeking out

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Juliet, Erik, and I also made this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting together last weekend. It has 4 cups of shredded carrots in it, which makes it so moist and basically just perfect. It’s the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever made. Juliet’s favorite type of cake is carrot cake and she asks for it all the time. Whenever we shop at Target she runs off to the bakery and finds the carrot cake and yells “CARROT CAKE”. Every once in a while we indulge her and let her buy the cute, round cake with carrot frosting on top. But I prefer to make it homemade whenever possible.

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The ghosts are easy peasy. Supplies needed:

Coffee filters and a black marker

Form a ghost shape and make two eyes and a mouth with the marker (I used a water bottle to place the filter on top of to help form the shape).

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I finished off the latte with a little dash of pumpkin spice.

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When Juliet and I were making the ghosts we kept on saying “booooooooo” and she would giggle and giggle.

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You can get really fancy and make a double layer cake instead of a flat cake. I prefer the easier method although Erik is really good at frosting double layer cakes. Maybe next time.

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We dug into the cake and it was delicious.

Click here for the recipe I used to make the pumpkin spice latte (note, I make my latte unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

Click here for the carrot cake recipe.

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by Lavazza and is a part of an annual Lavazza Passionista partnership I have with them. All opinions are my own.

2 comments

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I’ve been in a bit of denial that summer is just days away from being over. Fall is just around the corner, but it’s still in the 80’s here in Minnesota. And that to me still screams summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. It’s probably my favorite season. So I am taking the approach of savoring the last gorgeous days of summer while anticipating fall.

I’ve partnered with Blue Bunny to help spread the word of their Final Cone-Down contest, which is all about savoring summer to the very last cone. Now this is something my three year old can get really excited about. When she woke up from her nap  on Sunday (yes, my 3.5 year old still naps! Such a beautiful thing) she came downstairs to see an ice cream table set up and the promise of an ice cream cone with gold sprinkles.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you know that my daughter Juliet is an ice cream fanatic. I supposed most 3 year olds are. If it were up to her she would eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And while I do sometimes let her over-indulge I don’t quite let her enjoy her favorite treat that much.

This partnership was a perfect match and made my daughter a very happy little girl.

IMG_5843Because every little girls wants sprinkles on top of their ice cream cone. Besides sprinkles, Juliet is a purist when it comes to ice cream. She loves vanilla and strawberry best. 

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I invited my family over on Sunday afternoon to savor these last summer days and enjoy an ice cream buffet.

It included:

Gingersnap pumpkin spice ice cream sandwiches. What? Yes. You heard that correctly. Recipe below.

Pumpkin spice shakes

Pumpkin spice affogato

Mini apple pies with a scoop of pumpkin spice ice cream

Pumpkin coffee cake with streusel topping and a maple vanilla glaze  

Vanilla ice cream cones with gold sprinkles

It was all quite indulgent and delicious. Pumpkin spice ice cream!!! So easy to make using a really good vanilla ice cream.

One thing I learned the hard way, photographing ice cream is not easy! It melts. Like really fast.

My approach to most dessert tables is a mix of store-bought and homemade elements. Because I’m a working mom of two and I’m busy. I don’t have time to make everything homemade. Incorporating both is a good balance I think.

The star of the dessert table, and the base of most of the desserts was the pumpkin spice ice cream. The recipe is below and is super easy and super delicious. You know you all have cans of pumpkin in your pantry, here is another way to put it to good use that doesn’t include baking.

IMG_5814A pumpkin spice shake. Easy peasy. All you need is vanilla ice cream, pumpkin spice (if you don’t have it you can use cinnamon) and canned pumpkin puree. Recipe at bottom of the post. 

IMG_5796For you coffee lovers. A scoop of pumpkin spice ice cream with hot, steaming coffee poured on top. 

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IMG_5773Super easy gingersnap pumpkin ice cream sandwiches. Made with store-bought cookies. 

IMG_5855She was so patient as I made her wait to eat her cone while I took photos! 

IMG_5862Until September 22nd you can participate in the Blue Bunny Final Cone-Down to win prizes like personal electronics and other gear. Entering to win is super easy. Just take a photo enjoying the last days of summer and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #FinalConeDown and #BlueBunnyWinBig. Full details are available on the contest page.  

And the fun doesn’t stop here. I’m giving away 5 vouchers for Blue Bunny ice cream. Because everyone needs 5 quarts of ice cream in their freezer, am I right?

To enter simply leave a comment below with how you’re savoring these last days of summer. Be sure to leave your email address. Eligible to US residents only. Contest will end at midnight on 9/22/15.

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by Blue Bunny. As always, all opinions are my own. 

5.0 from 2 reviews
pumpkin spice vanilla ice cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1.75 quart of blue bunny premium vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until incorporated.
  2. Scoop into a cup for malts.
  3. Add between two cookies for a sandwich.
  4. Add coffee to a scoop in a mug for an affogato.
  5. Serve on top of apple pie.
  6. Serve immediately.

 

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quiche

Often times on a weekend morning you can find me making a quiche or egg bake or egg casserole. Glass pie plate, eggs, milk (or better yet cream) and cheese. 45 minutes later and I serve up a savory, delicious breakfast that fuels me (and my family) for the day. And usually on the weekends I need a hearty meal to start the day. Because I need to be on my A-game. I’ve got a whole day ahead with two little girls. And probably not a lot of sleep. So I need a good meal, like this sausage and egg casserole loaded with veggies. And coffee. Obvi. Lots of coffee.

This is my third post in my partnership with Lavazza coffee. Over the past 6 months my husband and I have not drank any other coffee at home. We’ve been spoiled. And I can honestly say we’re obsessed. Especially Erik, which is funny because he never used to be a huge coffee drinker. He’d drink it out of necessity but never for the pure and simple pleasure coffee brings. But since we’ve had Lavazza he is the first one to head downstairs in the morning and brews a big batch for us. By the time I head down with the kiddos he’s on his second cup. He loves it. The flavor is great and since we switched from using our one cup coffee maker to a slow drip machine, it tastes even better.

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This month, Lavazza is the official coffee of tennis lovers. They are an official promotional partner and exclusive coffee of the US Open Tennis Championship. I’m not actually a huge fan of tennis. Let’s face it. I don’t really exercise much these days (does carrying around a 3 year old and a baby count?). But if you’re a big fan, you can enter to win a trip to the Men’s Final at the US Open.

And while I don’t play tennis or even regularly exercise, I still need to eat healthy and fuel up for what is typically a busy day with two little kiddos. So I created this recipe with that in mind. It’s loaded with mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli…plus sausage and cheese to give it a savory, salty kick and of course bread, which is a staple for an egg casserole. To keep it on the healthy side I used multi-grain bread and swapped out heavy cream (which I usually use in my egg bakes) for milk.

 

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Juliet liked this a lot. And I am bringing leftovers to work for breakfast. Because I need to be on my A-Game on Monday mornings at work, too!

Don’t forget to serve this egg casserole with a big ol’ mug of Lavazza coffee. Because who can be on their A-Game without coffee?!

Be sure to check out Lavazza coffee, you can purchase it online or at select retail locations. You can also follow Lavazza on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

broccoli, cheddar, and sausage egg casserole
 
Ingredients
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 package ground breakfast sausage (I like Jimmy Deans natural)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 4 slices of bread (I used whole wheat)
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Brown the breakfast sausage in a large skillet until fully cooked
  3. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook for about 4 minutes
  4. Drain the excess liquid from the pan and set aside to cool to room temperature
  5. Slice the bread into cubes and add to a large bowl
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk and about a ½ teaspoon of pepper. Mix well
  7. Add the egg and milk mixture to the to the bread. Add the cooled sausage and veggie mixture and combine everything thoroughly
  8. Add in the cheese and broccoli and stir to combine
  9. Spray a pie dish with cooking spray and add the egg/sausage/veggie mixture.
  10. Place in oven for about 45 minutes. Begin checking at about 35 minutes and check every 5 minutes until top is lightly browned and center is firm to the touch.
  11. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  12. Optional: top with hot sauce

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by Lavazza and is a part of an annual Lavazza Passionista partnership I have with them. All opinions are my own.

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My family and I try to have a lot of little celebrations all summer long because let’s face it, we live in Minnesota and we need to celebrate every second that snow isn’t covering the ground. Summer doesn’t last long and little celebrations help us savor these precious days when the sun is warm, babies are slathered in sunscreen and the kiddie pool is filled to the brim.

Being parents of two, our summers sure aren’t what they used to be.

But I wouldn’t trade those days for what we have now for anything. I’m so glad we had that time in our twenties and early thirties to be carefree but I love what we have now with our little ones even more. Life is a different kind of fun. The splash pad and zoo and playdates kind of fun. Little ones love being outdoors so in the summer that’s where we spend our time. When evening rolls around we are tired and happy. We celebrate another wonderful weekend coming to a close by opening a bottle of wine on Sunday evening  and taking an extra hour to make a really good dinner.

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For our Sunday dinner, I decided to make shredded turkey tacos with queso fresco, farmers’ market tomatoes, queso fresco, cilantro and lettuce. It was HOT on Sunday and I didn’t want to be working in the kitchen with the oven or stove on so I made the turkey in the crockpot, which was easy and makes a very flavorful, moist, shredded turkey.

We paired the tacos with Middle Sister Wines Pinot Grigio. In the summer I switch exclusively to white wine, because it’s hot and I like my beverages chilled. Pinot Grigio paired well with these turkey tacos, especially with their spicy flavor against the crisp and light notes of the wine.

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I was hoping my sister Katie and her husband Drew would join us for dinner, but they had other plans. So yes Erik and I drank the whole bottle to ourselves. After the girls went to bed, of course.

A little about Middle Sister Wines

– Did you know that birth order is commonly believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development? WE DID!!! And that is why we have dedicated a wine to the sister in the middle – the one who always seems to have a personality of her own, and steals the show. Not everyone has a wine named especially just for her…some people are just born lucky! Enjoy these sassy wines with your favorite family meals.
– Crafted by award-winning winemaker Nancy Walker (a middle sister herself), the portfolio includes a wide variety of delicious red, white and sparkling wines from California and Argentina.
– The Middle Sister brand is based on a series of quirky “middle sister” characters who each claim their own varietal and personality. – The various sisters are engaging and entertaining.
– Middle Sister just received a brand makeover and now features “Drops of Wisdom” which are a dose of inspiration right on the front label.

I’ve talked about my sister A LOT on the blog over the years. She and I are really close. I basically tell her everything. She lives a mile down the road from me. I am so grateful to have a sister. It makes me so happy that my girls have each other. Of course, when we were younger, we weren’t always the best of friends. She is 5 years younger than me and I always found her to be quite annoying. She was always stealing my diary and spying on my boyfriend and I (in high school). We actually didn’t become friends until we were well into our twenties. That’s just how it goes with sisters.

We are also both middle sisters. We have an older brother and a younger brother. Judging from the description of the middle sister above, I’m not sure it really describes either my sister or I, but definitely not my sister. Maybe me a little bit.

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Katie is notorious for buying wine based on how cute the label is, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she has picked up a bottle of Middle Sister Wines in the past. And this Drama Queen Pinot Grigio couldn’t be more relevant because when Katie was younger she demanded that everyone call her Queenie. No I’m not joking.

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A bottle of wine that would entice gals like my sister who purchase based on how cute the label is

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I was pretty proud of myself with this dinner. It was really freaking good. And now we have leftovers for days.

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Queso fresco brings tacos to a whole other level. Just trust me.

IMG_5574Are you hungry yet? And probably thirsty, too.

IMG_5575Middle Sister Wine can be found at many liquor stores as well as in most Targets (where alcohol is sold). As if you needed another reason to love Target, right? You can also go to their website and type in your zip code and find a retailer near you.

shredded turkey tacos with queso fresco and radishes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package turkey breast tenderloin (I used Jennie-O, came with 2 breasts)
  • 1 bottle of beer (any kind, I used Corona Light, you can also use 2 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 1 bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1-2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1 package of queso fresco, (you will only need about ⅓ of it), crumbled
  • 1 bag of shredded lettuce
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • 1 package of corn tortillas
  • Optional: sour cream, hot sauce, salsa
Instructions
  1. Add the turkey breast tenderloin, bottle of beer (or chicken stock) and packet of taco seasoning to the crockpot. Stir to incorporate. Turn to low, cover and cook for about 5 hours, or until tender and done (should shred easily with a fork.)
  2. Transfer turkey to a large bowl and shred with two forks
  3. Warm the corn tortillas for about 30-45 seconds in the microwave.
  4. Assemble the tacos with the turkey, lettuce, radishes, queso fresco, tomatoes and cilantro.
  5. Enjoy!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 comments

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My family celebrated Father’s Day a week early this year. Everyone was available which isn’t always the case for holidays so we decided to go for it.

Erik and I had all my siblings, their spouses, kids and my parents over for appetizers and dessert. I wanted to do a “dads’ favorite things” theme so we had each family bring an appetizer that represents a dad’s favorite food.

Let’s cut to the chase, the food! Oh wow the food was awesome at our gathering. My family and I are huge fans of appetizers so we went heavy on the apps and also had dessert. No main course needed.

On the menu:

Mini BLTs (represents Erik, dad to Juliet and Rosie)

Mini egg rolls and pot stickers (represents my dad)

Mango and black bean salsa with tortilla chips (represents my brother Ron, dad to Chloe)

Chicken wings (represents my brother Joel, soon-to-be dad in about 3 weeks!)

Cold Stone Creamery’s Tall, Dark and Delicious round ice cream cake (represents Erik)

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Erik loves ice cream cake. His favorite dessert is a toss up between cheese cake and ice cream cake. And this cake from Cold Stone is as delicious as it looks.

This was a large round cake and it is called the Tall, Dark & Delicious cake. It had layers of devil’s food cake, sweet cream ice cream with brownies and chocolate ice cream with Oreo cookies with white frosting and fudge ganache.

Seriously so good.

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I found this Dad art project idea on Pinterest and Juliet loved it. We taped the word Dad on a big white piece of paper and let Juliet go to town with paints. Once it dried we tore the tape off. Easy peasy. I printed a bunch of my recent favorite Instagram photos of the girls and Erik and hung them up with clothes pins.

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Not all the food fit on my foyer table, but here is a glimpse of our delicious spread. The centerpiece was definitely the cake.

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I’ve made these mini BLTs so many times. They are easy and always a favorite. Erik could eat, like, 20 of them.

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Take breakfast biscuits and bake for 10 minutes, add a slide of roma tomato, lettuce, one piece of bacon and a tiny bit of mayo.

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I love that this cake is part cake and part ice cream. It’s the best of both worlds. Oh and the chocolate ganache on top was amazing. I called and ordered the cake over the phone a couple days in advance, you can also order online at ColdStoneCakes.com. They typically also have cakes in the freezer that you an pick-up same day, too.

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Erik and his Rosie.

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Let’s just say it’s not easy getting a decent photo of both girls.

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Let’s cut this cake! I’m so glad we have leftovers.

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My lil’ bro is about to become a dad so we give him some practice with Rosie.

I love entertaining and celebrating holidays with my family and adding personal touches to make them extra special. The dads in my life definitely deserve a little something to show how I appreciate them.

Erik is a truly awesome daddy to our girls. And he’s a good husband. Have I ever mentioned that he cleans our house? As in, he cleans and I don’t. I hate cleaning. I stink at it. He likes it and is good at it. And it’s just one of those things he does and never complains. He also makes breakfast for us every Saturday and Sunday morning. And reads Juliet’s books every night. As much as we can be, we are pretty balanced and 50/50 when it comes to our kiddos and our home.

And I can’t say enough good things about my dad. He’s always been a supportive dad. He always made me and my siblings feel like we could do anything we put our minds to. And he’s an awesome grandpa. Juliet calls him Baba Wally and she loves him dearly.

What are you doing this weekend for the dads in your life?

For more ice cream goodness be sure to check out Cold Stone’s Instagram.

Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery. As always, all opinions are my own (but since this post is in part about ice cream it also includes the opinion of my 3 year old and husband!).

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