Cupcakes and Sunshine: May 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Life Lately - Summer Edition

Summer is here!!

A lot of fun travel plans are ahead, but in the meantime, I've been...

...creating a summer recipe bucketlist. These are some recipes from some favorite bloggers I want to make before the summer is up!

1. Chloe's Cookies:
Accidentally stumbled across this couple on Instagram one evening, and they are THE best hosts and have the best recipes/ cheese board ideas. Chloe's cookies are on my bucketlist to make this summer:

2. This Tropical Jerk Chicken from Halfbaked Harvest. Ugh yum.

3. Pinch of Yum's Date Night Rigatoni. This looks like a dream.

....trying to cut down on my screentime, and purchased this digital alarm clock to prevent any screens from entering the bedroom. So far, so good. Love not having a phone near constantly, especially when it's time to wind down at night.

....currently reading: How We Love and Prodigal God.

These are pretty quick reads. Any summer reading suggestions!?

...spending most of my days at Black Swan. Definitely wouldn't call myself an athlete just yet, but I have found a new hobby, and it's been a lot of fun seeing growth and getting stronger each week.

...dreaming of this copycat taco recipe from a few years back.

...listening to Leon Bridges on replay. Much love for Leon. I love tidying the house with Leon. Or Penny and Sparrow. Or, my girl Beyonce'. new 3-ingredient meals from Trader Joe's. This one was so easy. Guess I've been craving a lot of Indian food lately!

  • TJ's  New Amba Mango Sauce
  • Chicken
  • + side of cauliflower gnocchi. 
(Ignore poor photo quality. BUT SO GOOD. PROMISE) 

Toss chicken & sauce in crockpot on low for 6 hours. Pair with rice, veggies, or TJ's cauliflower gnocchi!

And that's a little bit of life lately! What do you have going on this summer? Any big travel plans? Happy 3-Day weekend, friends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chimmichurri Flank Steak + Cilantro Lime Rice

A few rainy days this past weekend resulted in a lazy Saturday + coffee + then Chimmichurri Flank Steak made inside, instead of on the grill.

but then the sun decided to show just in time for dinner:

And now I'm so glad to know I can make delicious, easy steak inside in ~15 minutes using the broiler. (which is technically an indoor upsidedown grill, right?)

Chimmichurri is a VIBRANT sauce that could possibly scare away the pickiest of eaters due to its bright green color. (thanks, parsley) But no doubts about it, it is the most flavorful accompaniment, and like Frank's Red Sauce, I want to put this stuff on everything.

The TJ's ingredient lineup:

Due to the rainy weather, I was thinking of making fajitas, and pre-sliced the steak before deciding on Chimmichurri-ing it. However, I'd recommend cutting the steak (against the grain) AFTER cooking.

Marinate flank steak for ~one hour, place steak on top of a cooling rack and place on a baking sheet.

Pro tip: line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up 🙌

Broil in the oven ~6 minutes each side, and remove. Plate and top with Chimmichurri sauce.

For the Chimmichurri sauce:

You'll want to use all fresh ingredients. Parsley, cilantro, garlic, a few red pepper flakes.

Blend, blend, blend: (or you can go for a more coarse chimmichurri sauce)

and serve with cilantro lime rice.

For the rice: cook according to package, add 1-2 Tbs of coconut oil, a squeeze of lime, fresh cilantro, and salt + pepper.

This meal also makes for really great leftovers, and is easy to take with you for lunch the next day.

Some life celebrations to catch you up on:

A few bridal showers, and a couple of my favorite seminary grads!!

Thankful for celebrations, good food, and great friends always!! 

The Recipes: 

Steak Marinade: 
1/2 cup oil 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. lemon juice
salt + pepper

Chimmichurri Sauce: 
3/4 cup of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of cilantro
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh garlic chopped
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Cilantro lime rice: 
Cooked rice
1- 2 Tbs coconut oil (or Kerrygold butter!)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt + pepper

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Food + Friends (Trader Joe's Haul!)

I realized today that I definitely have more pictures of food on my phone than I do people. It's probably a 5-1 ratio. 🤣 I thought I'd share some of my favorite Trader Joe's finds as of lately that I've been loving! And some photos of some favorite friend + food moments I've been loving thrown in here too.

These are my FAVORITE^^ Forget Reeses Eggs and Christmas Trees. In college I knew all of the workers at Trader Joe's, and I've been working on knowing the TJ Crew members in Dallas too, but it's a bit harder in a bigger city, and when you Trader Joe's hop.

However, friends, I've had some great success....

I am now known as the "Sunflower Buttercup Girl" at our closest TJs. I come in and buy packs of them. As I go through the line, "'re the one that buys packs of those..." oops. Yes. That is me.

I think the best weekends are full of good friends + good food

living out all my foodie dreams^

A couple weeks back, we had a Trader Joe's party and each of us brought a TJs item we've always had our eye on, but just hadn't purchased yet.

Our party featured watermelon jerky, a Greek Spiral, Cinnamon Churros, Cream Cheese Blitzes, a deep dish cookie pie, almond spread, some crackers, tamales, and a few more items. Thinking we should make this a regular event, okay friends!?

And back to the food haul! In addition to Sunflower butter cups, I also purchase bags of Cauliflower Gnocchi to have on hand. Love this stuff!!

Super versatile, healthy, and easy. **DO NOT** follow the instructions on the bag to make it.
Instead, add a tablespoon of Kerrygold Butter to a frying pan (or regular butter/ olive oil, but highly recommend Kerrygold!), add in frozen gnocchi on medium heat. While gnocchi is cooking, slice TJ's Italian Chicken Sausage (LOVE the hints of fennel + spicy kick!) and toss in once gnocchi starts thawing and continue heating until gnocchi & sausage are evenly browned. The easiest lunch!

I've been wanting to try this carrot juice for a while. Didn't love it alone, but added a packet of True Lemon (from Target, not TJs) since the juice itself doesn't have sweetener.  This juice definitely has a KICK. Pretty sure it has black pepper and chili powder? But I love it with lemon!

Just purchased this one today, and have not yet tried, but I can not wait. I'll keep you posted.

***UPDATE: this stuff is GOOD. Probably some of the best hummus I've ever had.

Tried out the jerk-style plantain chips a few weeks back, and I'm super sad to say I didn't love them. They taste like the burnt-toast chips in Chex mix...

 and I usually avoid those. BUT if those are your favorite part of Chex mix, I highly suggest the Jerk-Style plantain chips.

This is one of my favorite easy lunch meals as well. To mix things up, I'll make a meat sauce of browned sausage + spaghetti sauce, and then cook the crust alone. Once crust is baked, slice with a pizza cutter into triangles (like the picture on the box^^), and then DIP in the meat sauce. Switches things up a little :)

Ending this haul with some of my favorite TJ's instagrammer's to follow for new products and some really great ideas!!!
Happy Trader Joe's-ing!


&Mix+ Match Mama's TJ's favorites


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