Sophia’s Kitchen

Do you cook with your kids?

Sophia has been cooking with me since she was 1. Yes 1! She started out with mixing with the wooden spoon to learning to crack her first egg before her second birthday. I remember she made her daddy cupcakes for his birthday in April all by herself. She turned 2 that August. It was incredible to see such a little person in the kitchen. I of course helped her in areas that she could get hurt like around the oven or stove and when using sharp objects, but other than that she has always been independent in the kitchen. At four years old her cooking has expanded into her creating her own recipes and even trying to make her very own cooking show segments. We watch Food Network together and she loves to see how the stars make up recipes. She says one day she will have her own show. I honestly think she can some day. She impresses me with her creations and her love for cooking. Today we had so much fun with her new Sesame Street cooking set. She followed the recipe in the cook book to make yummy, healthy cookies and was so proud she made them all by herself. I encourage moms to get in the kitchen with their kids and teach them to cook. Watching Sophia not only learn to cook, but to have pride in what she makes is so amazing. When she was done today she washed every single dish herself… and it was self prompted. There is something to be said about being proud of your accomplishments. So moms … find a simple recipe and get your kids in the kitchen!

Jack- O- Lantern Peppers

Tonight’s dinner was festive and fun! I wanted to make a quick and easy dinner that I could prepare before I left for dance class. I prepared these stuffed peppers and a quick squash side dish and left them on the counter for my husband to pop in the oven before we came home. The entire process of ” prep work” took me about twenty minutes and I was out the door! This dinner was not only delicious but so much fun to eat!!! I hope your family will enjoy this festive treat as much as we did!

Stuffed Taco Jack- o- lanterns 


1 lb ground beef

1 small onion

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

Mc Cormick taco seasoning

1 can Black beans

4 orange peppers

1 package of minute rice in microwave container ( brown rice)

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

1 tbsp olive oil 

Handful scallions ( topping) 

Avocado ( topping) 

More cheese ( to top ) why not!!!!


Dice red pepper, green pepper, and onion and place in pan with olive oil. Cook till slightly transparent . Add ground beef and cook together until golden brown. Add taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add black beans and cook for another 2 minutes. Microwave rice for 1 minute and add to mixture. Turn off heat and add 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Set aside. Cut tops off orange peppers and take out seeds. Carefully cut a jackolantern face on each pepper. Fill each pepper with taco meat filling and add to glass dish. Cook pepper lids on the side. Cook in oven at 375 for 25 minutes. Take peppers out and top with avocado , scallions, more cheese and sour cream! Be creative! Enjoy!!!! 


Rustic Charm… my favorite find!

On our weekend getaway I came across the most amazing shop on the antique trail in Woodbury, CT. Nestled in a shopping center on Main St was this adorable store called Rustic Charm. I had to go inside when I saw the rustic decor displayed on the sidewalk! When I walked in I felt like a child on Christmas morning. This store has it all from the most adorable kitchen towels to handmade signs, and even custom made furniture. I could have spent my entire day there. Charlotte the owner was absolutely amazing as she showed us around her store. You can tell she is so proud of every piece she makes. There is something so special about a store of this kind. It has a little bit of everything and even some hard to find one of a kind pieces from family and friends. I saw adorable baby onesies and candles… along with some wedding gifts too! This shop is an absolute must when you are traveling through CT. If you happen to live within the distance of Woodbury, CT and are able to stop in the store for one of the awesome in house classes they offer you would not be disappointed. She currently offers wood sign, floral design, and wreath making classes with several more amazing ones on the horizon. There is always something exciting going on at this shop! If CT happens to be too far away no worries you can visit Rustic Charm by following the link below to her website!

https://www.rusticcharmhome.com/

Heritage Hotel Special Occasions & Weddings

When planning your special day you want the perfect location and setting. If you live in New England you tend to lean towards the fall months. This is when the weather is considered perfect and the leaves on the trees change to yellow, orange, and red. The scenery couldn’t get much better! The Heritage hotel has many different ball rooms to accommodate guests and parties of any size. My favorite room happens to be the Timbers room. It has the most idealistic rustic charm with wood beams and just the right lighting. The hotel has beautiful gardens for ceremonies and recently added their very own winery! Just when you think this hotel has thought of it all they go ahead and add something else incredible. When we stayed at the hotel there were two weddings going on. It was so awesome to sneak a peak at the bride and groom getting married in the gorgeous garden. With the vast scenic backdrop and so much to choose from I can see why this hotel is a top choice for weddings in CT. The hotel also offers pretty amazing holiday brunches. They have a gorgeous Mother’s Day brunch and a Thanksgiving Day brunch coming up in just a few short weeks! For more information on the special events at the Heritage Hotel please check out my link below !

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/weddings-en.html

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/dining-en.html

Photos from @heritage hotel website and booking.com website

Heritage Spa & Athletic Club

There are hotels that are a step above the rest. The Heritage Hotel is just that. The amenities make this hotel perfection. The spa and athletic club are truly remarkable. I had the opportunity to tour the Spa and try two of their services. As a mom of two young girls I cannot tell you how excited I was for my morning! I desperately needed this hot stone massage. It was perfect! The massage therapist did a phenomenal job. She was so friendly and welcoming. She made me feel relaxed from the moment I entered the doors. After my massage she walked me to the room for my facial and introduced me to the esthetician. I absolutely loved my mini express facial. My esthetician explained what she was using on my face and was phenomenal at work. I will have to come back sometime and book a full length facial. After my Spa treatments we took a guided tour of the Athletic club. I could not believe all this club and spa had to offer to its hotel guests and members. The club has a full gym and fitness classes, locker rooms with a sauna and steam room. There is an indoor pool and jacuzzi and an outdoor pool for the warmer months. The facility also offers a 9 hole and 18 hole golf course and tennis courts. As a hotel guest these extra perks come at a discounted rate. There is also a membership offered to Southbury residents who desire to join the athletic club. This is an amazing opportunity to use all that the hotel’s club has to offer for a very reasonable monthly fee. This is a great place for adults and families! My girls loved swimming in the pool after dinner and can’t wait to go back to the Heritage Spa!

Photo from @ Heritage Hotel Website *

Check out my links below for more information!

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/athletic-club-overview-en.html

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/golf-en.html

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/spa-en.html

Our Weekend Away ( Heritage Hotel )

This weekend our family was invited to stay at a beautiful hotel in CT! The Heritage Hotel is located in the quaint town of Southbury. This town is surrounded by antique shops and adorable restaurants. The New England weather could not have been more perfect for our Fall getaway! I started our stay with a little special “mommy” time in the Heritage Spa. As a mom of two little girls you truly need to take time for yourself to recharge and relax. This is exactly what I did at the spa. I started with a fabulous hot stone massage. My gosh my back needed this more than I can say. After the magnificent massage, I headed over for an express facial! This was perfection! The staff was incredible! After my spa treatments we had a quick lunch at the Heritage Deli. I love how everything is so close by. It is like there is a little special town where the hotel is located. Everything you need is right there. The deli had delicious sandwiches and excellent service! We were right outside and enjoyed the view of the trees changing color. Perfect for an October day in New England. We checked into the hotel and began to explore! The hotel was gorgeous inside with its rustic charm. There was a beautiful wedding happening on the grounds and the girls were so excited to see the ” princess” bride all dressed up. The staff was incredibly friendly and we were excited to go on a guided tour of the hotel. The hotel has two pools, one indoor which of course we had a blast in, and one out side for the warmer months. There is a beautiful vineyard on the grounds and the resort is packed with other amenities likes tennis courts and two golf courses that run aside the Pomperaug River. The hotel also offers one of the nicest fitness facilities I have ever seen. All of these amenities are complimentary to the hotel guests. After our tour we went to one of the restaurants on the hotel premises called The Tavern. We started our meal off with warm house made chips… my gosh these were amazing!!!! The food was delicious. The girls loved their Mac and Cheese and we absolutely loved our dinners! I had a delicious salad with steak and Jason had their homemade meatloaf that came highly recommended by our waiter. The service was wonderful and the vibe of the restaurant was relaxed and welcoming. It is truly a pub where you can have a drink and a meal and unwind on vacation. Our room for the night was very comfortable and we even had a view of the golf course! If you are visiting CT or the Antique Trail I highly recommend you stay at the Heritage Hotel in Southbury , CT!

http://www.heritagesouthbury.com/

Be on the look out for my other posts about the hotel’s amazing special occasion venue and a little more about their recreation center and spa!

Super Mom kinda feeling

This morning I got that feeling… you know that Super Mom kinda feeling. We are in the middle of our renovation and and our house is upside down. I’ve been feeling like I have lost control of it all. This morning though… it all clicked. I was packing Sophia’s school lunch and she jumped for joy to see I finally found the right juice boxes. I guess the ones ShopRite had on sale were the ones she had been hoping to see all along. She couldn’t wait to show her friends. We moved on to packing her snack and she found out mommy bought her favorite paw patrol yogurt. She hugged my legs and told me I was super mommy!! I was feeling pretty good at that moment while I cut her sandwich into an apple shape. Then she asked me if she could wear her new paw patrol outfit to school today… that was the oh no moment of this rainy Monday. It was dirty in the hamper from Saturday. I had exactly 35 minutes before she needed to get dressed for school. I ran to the laundry room and put her outfit on the speed wash cycle. She watched as it finished washing and we put it in the dryer on the quick dry cycle. She was running through the house screaming .. ” My Mommy is the Super Mommy”!!!! Yes my friends that felt amazing!!!! I was able to get her dressed for school with a pretty awesome lunch and snack with a special note from mommy inside and to school before 9 am! I did all of this while hubby is away on a business trip too! I have to say I am feeling like a little bit of a Rock Star Super Mom this Monday Morning!!!!

Traditions

I love traditions especially family traditions. There is something so special about a tradition that is passed down among generations and cherished among family members. I look forward to our family wine making every single year. It’s a two weekend process and every step is so exciting! Making wine has been in our family for generations. The steps have been the same for many years. We have the grapes shipped here and we spend the first weekend removing the stems and allowing the grapes to sit so the juices will release. The following week ( today) we press the grapes! This is the most fun day! The entire extended family comes for a day full of wine, food, and friendship. We eat yummy Italian food and bring out the old pressing machine. This machine has been in our family for generations and is over 100 years old. The children all take a turn cranking the handle to press down the grapes and get the wine out. It is such a fun day filled with laughter, food, and drinking last years wine. Traditions are such an important part of life and something I am proud to pass down to my children. I would love to hear about your family traditions too!

Tonight’s dinner was a hit!

I have always preferred my beef stew on the stove top! I have tried to make it a few times in the crockpot … and have always ended up throwing it on the stove to finish it off. It just never comes out right for me. I just don’t know what I am doing wrong?!?! 🤷🏻‍♀️ I love to caramelize the meat before starting my soup! It just gives an added layer of flavor and love to my dinner. There is something that says fall when beef stew is cooking all day on the stove top. I whipped up this delicious dinner quickly between my errands today and left it cooking on low all day. I also prepped my mom’s potatoes for my husband to throw in the oven while we were at Taekwondo. This meal came together in just minutes when we got home tonight and was so warm and yummy. I couldn’t wait to get the girls to bed and share it with all of you. I always wondered what made my moms potatoes so amazing… and I could never get them right…. now I know the secret ingredient and I’m going to share it with all of you. It’s vinegar!!!!! Yes and they are the best roasted potatoes you will ever eat!!!! Trust me!!! Once you try them please reach out to me and let me know what you think! 🙂

Beef Stew

1 package of stew beef cubes

1 package of stew veggies ( or you can chop your own) * potatoes , carrots, onion, celery

1 packet Mc Cormick beef stew seasoning

1 32 ounce beef stock

1 table spoon butter in large pot. Toss beef cubes in light coating of flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Just enough to dust beef. Pour into pot and cook on Medium high heat till golden brown. Add veggies. Cook till transparent. Add beef stock and seasoning packet. If you want to add extra potatoes you can add those too! Cook covered all day. 🙂 or at least 3/4 hours on low. You want the veggies and beef tender to break with fork.

My Moms 🥔 Roasted Potatoes

White potatoes

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Red wine vinegar

Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Place in bowl. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with generous amount of salt and pepper. Drizzle with red wine vinegar. Stir with spoon. Place in sprayed glass pan. Bake at 375 for 45 – 60 min till golden brown and crispy!!! These are amazing 😉

Chicken Fajita Soup 🤤

Sunday dinner is usually a meal I make that takes a long time to prep and hours to cook. Today was an exception. We spent the day running errands and ended up at our favorite store Stews! Walking around seeing the fresh produce and of course a rotisserie chicken got me thinking about a quick dinner that would taste like it took me hours to make. We wanted to spend time playing outside as a family so I knew this was the perfect meal. It took me five minutes to throw together and simmered on the stove until we were ready to eat. It could have been ready in 20 minutes but we let it cook while we played on our playground out back. I wanted to share this yummy soup that was a family favorite!

Chicken Fajita Soup

1 yellow pepper

1 orange pepper

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 jalapeño pepper ( omit if you don’t like heat )

1 medium yellow onion

1 package Mc Cormick fajita seasoning

1 32 ounce chicken stock

1 can black beans

1 rotisserie chicken

Chop veggies and cook in pot with olive oil until slightly soft. Pick apart chicken and add pieces to veggies. Add chicken stock and seasoning packet. Add black beans. Bring to boil them let cook on low for 20 minutes or however long you would like. I served with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, and avocado 🙂 yummy!!!!