Delicious and Nutritious Early Spring Veggies to Add to Your Meal Plans

spring vegetables at a farmers market

Spring has finally arrived, the weather is warming up, and we can finally get excited about fresh spring vegetables hitting the market!

That’s right! Although it may seem a bit early for planting gardens and harvesting crops, early April is actually peak season for many delicious veggies.

If you’re tired of microwaving frozen green beans or purchasing canned corn, listen up! We’re about to share with you our top 5 favorite early spring vegetables that you can buy fresh in your local grocery today!

Check them out…

#1 – Artichokes

artichoke

Artichokes are the buds of a plant that comes from the thistle family. They have been given their name due to a small, inedible, fuzzy center of the vegetable that would likely cause you to choke if you attempted to eat it.

The peak growing season across the U.S. is typically in March, and they can be harvested anytime from April through May.

Artichokes contain up to 28% of your recommended daily fiber intake, which make them a great vegetable for keeping your system clean and regular.

They also contain high levels of vitamin C and K.

Recommended Cooking Strategy: We personally recommend roasting artichokes. Simply clean the vegetable, toss in oil, salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning), and bake until the artichoke is tender and delicious.

#2 – Asparagus

asparagus

Asparagus is a herbaceous, perennial plant and is native to most of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia.

This particular veggie enjoys growing in cooler climates and is ready to harvest in most places, including the U.S., starting in February.

Because April is the peak season for this vegetable, you may notice prices on this pricey veggie begin to drop. If you’re looking to pinch some pennies, we suggest buying the veggie in bulk when it’s cheap, blanching it, and then storing it in your freezer for a later date.

Asparagus is low in calories and sodium. This makes it a great side dish option if you’re watching your waistline.

It’s also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber and protein.

Recommended Cooking Strategy: We believe that asparagus tastes best when cooked on the grill. Marinate this veggie in a little oil, salt and pepper, and then throw it on your grill for 15 minutes, and it will be ready to eat.

#3 – Beets

beets on a cutting board

Beets are a root vegetable that have been enjoyed in food dishes since the Middle Ages.

Fun fact: During the middle of the 19th century, wine was often colored with beetroot juice.

Like most root vegetables, beets prefer the cool seasons of fall and spring. They are typically ready to harvest in the U.S. by late March or early April.

Besides tasting great, beets are often eaten due to their unique source of betaine–a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress.

They are also high in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium.

The only downside to eating beets is that they are high in sugar. For this reason, we recommend you eat them in moderation.

Recommended Cooking Strategy: Steaming beets is one of the best ways to preserve the vegetable roots’ nutrients. Simply steam this vegetable in a veggie steamer and follow your veggie steamer’s guide for optimal results.

#4 – Chicory

Chickory growing in rows in a field

Chicory is member of the endive family.

Because chicory is a leafy green vegetable, it grows best during the cool seasons and is often planted so that it can be harvested in the early spring.

This leafy veggie contains a natural source of inulin, a strong prebiotic. For this reason, many people consume chicory in order to ease their digestion problems and heal their guts.

Chicory leaves also contain a large amount of vitamin K–a vitamin that’s essential for healthy bone growth.

Recommended Cooking Strategy: Get the most out of consuming chicory leaf by simply adding it to a salad. Be sure to add in other leafy greens and veggies as this veggie often has a bitter taste when left unbalanced with other veggies.

#5 – Rhubarb

rhubarb stalks

Believe it or not, most rhubarb that we eat in the U.S. is grown in hothouses and is called “hothouse rhubarb.” Every year growers plant hothouse rhubarb in the fall, and it’s ready to harvest and sell to consumers in early spring.

The reason this veggie is grown in abnormal conditions is because, when it’s grown in a hothouse over the winter months, the rhubarb stalk ends up becoming sweeter and less bitter.

In the past, the Chinese would often use rhubarb for medicinal purposes. Today, many people enjoy eating it roasted, in pies, or shredded on top of salads.

Rhubarb is full of antioxidants. In fact, it’s a fantastic source of beta-carotene and other polyphenolic compounds that work to protect the skin and eyes from free radicals.

Aside from antioxidants, it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy diet.

Recommended Cooking Strategy: If you have a sweet tooth, we advise you to try making a rhubarb pie. Not only will it be sweet and delicious, but your will also be able to feel good about eating a pie that’s made out of veggies!

Click here to check out one of our favorite rhubarb pie recipes!

What is your favorite spring vegetable? Let us know in the comments below!

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction Gives Answers to Commonly Asked Breast Reconstruction Questions

Having breast reconstruction surgery is a big decision.

It’s only natural that there may be many questions floating around your head about having this procedure. Questions like…

  • How much does the surgery cost?
  • Will my insurance pay for the surgery?
  • How long will it take me to heal and recover?

In order to get these questions answered, we highly encourage you to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get all the details.

In the meantime, however, our expert surgeons give some great insight into some of the most commonly asked questions.

Here’s what they have to say…

How Many Doctor Visits Does Reconstructive Surgery Take for Out of Town Patients?

Poinsetta

Our P.A. Audrey and N.P. Lindsey spend a lot of time on the phone with out-of-town patients (and their local healthcare providers) before we ever see them, making sure that nothing important is overlooked before you make the trip to Charleston.

At some point, our surgeons have a phone consultation with future patients, so that they will have an opportunity to directly ask any questions they wish.

We usually see out of town patients for the first time the day before surgery. On that morning, they get an MR angiogram at Imaging Specialists of Charleston and then bring the disc to our office to help us plan their flap.

We operate the next morning, and our patients usually spend 4 nights in the hospital.  You will typically follow up with your surgeon in our office 2 to 3 days after discharge.

We do our best to minimize the number of follow up visits by remotely managing post-operative care.  Travel is a significant risk factor for blood clots, which is a risk of the surgery (as it is for many other surgeries).

Keep reading…

Why Won’t Insurance Pay for Reconstruction?

Yellow Lily

Original Question: I don’t understand why the insurance company doesn’t pay for reconstruction if you’ve had a lumpectomy. With radiation, your breasts shrink a lot and you are all out of proportion.

Answer: Not getting insurance coverage is not always the case, especially with a lumpectomy.

If the surgery results in a significant defect or radiation negatively impacts the tissue, most times we can submit your case to your insurance company along with photos of the affected area, and they will indeed cover a reconstruction surgery for you.

Keep reading…

Would Reconstruction Be Successful for Me?

two white lilies

Fortunately, a history of radiation (and/or multiple failed attempts at implant reconstruction) does not at all decrease the success rate of subsequent reconstruction using only your own tissue.

We have successfully reconstructed hundreds of women who have had bad experiences in the past.

It is important to realize that natural tissue reconstruction is not just an operation, but a process. The first operation, the microsurgical transfer of the flaps, is by far the largest. It usually takes 6-8 hours, requires a 4-day hospital stay, and a total stay in Charleston of about a week. Recovery takes approximately 6-8 weeks.

After you have healed fully from the first surgery (usually 6 months if you have been radiated), 1-2 additional surgeries are required to achieve optimum results. These are much less involved, ordinarily requiring only one night in the hospital, and you can usually go back home as soon as you are discharged.

While the process can be lengthy, once you are done, you are REALLY done. Most women reconstructed with their own tissue come to regard their reconstructed breasts as their own, and are finally able to put the issue of breast cancer behind them.

Keep reading…

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here!

3 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes That Make Cooking Dinner a Breeze

Crock pot Chicken

It seems that no matter who you are, what you do, where you work, etc., you’re always running out of time. And, when you’re strapped for time, this can make simple things– like cooking a meal–a real challenge.

If you’re tired of constantly reheating leftover pizza or cooking easy mac on your stovetop, you’re not alone.

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction desire to come home to hot, nutritious, home-cooked meals after a day at work. And, we’ve found a solution that will let us prepare meals ahead of time in order to achieve that goal.

The solution: Using a slow cooker to cook premade dinners while we work.

If you’re someone who works long hours, is always on the run, or who simply doesn’t want to have to think about cooking dinner every night, we hope you’ll give some of our favorite slower cooker recipes a try.

Enjoy…

Honey Dijon Chicken Recipe

Honey Dijon Chicken

The following recipe creates a family-sized portion of tender, juicy honey Dijon chicken.

We recommend that you cook up a side of rice or a vegetable, or grab some dinner rolls to turn this chicken dish into a complete meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. chicken breasts (4-6 depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 gallon-sized freezer bag

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a freezer bag.
  2. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. When ready to use, thaw bag of ingredients overnight. Then, place in crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low.

Recipe Source: http://www.plainchicken.com/2014/08/freezer-meal-honey-dijon-chicken.html#dxRXwFhdo1ysjF8r.99

Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin

This mouthwatering honey soy pork recipe will feed up to 6 people.

If you’re cooking for 3 or less people, we recommend cutting the tenderloin in half and using the marinade ingredients to create two freezer bags’ worth of this meal.  

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 tbs. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 cloves minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch ground ginger
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • 1 (2½ – 3 pound) pork tenderloin

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and throw everything into a freezer bag.
  2. Freeze meal. You can freeze this meal for up to 3 months.
  3. When you’re ready to use the freezer meal, spray your slow cooker insert with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Set slow cooker for 6 hours on low setting.

Recipe Source: https://addapinch.com/honey-soy-pork-tenderloin-recipe/

Chicken Soup Recipe

Chicken Soup Recipe

You simply can’t go wrong with having hearty, warm, and delicious chicken soup freezer meals on hand for the days you’re chilly or not feeling well.

Grab a loaf of fresh bread on the day you plan to cook your soup, and you’ll have a hearty, wholesome meal that took little to no time and energy to prepare!  

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
  • 3 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients, except egg noodles, into a bag.
  2. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, dump ingredients, except egg noodles, into your crock pot and cook for 7 hours on low.  
  4. 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add in your egg noodles.

Recipe Source: https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/10/best-crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup.html

What is your favorite slow cooker recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

 

3 Ways to Support a Friend with a New Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In the past, we’ve talked about how you can help someone who is in the midst of battling breast cancer.

It’s amazing how simple things like cooking a meal or sending a card can really make a difference in the life of someone who is undergoing treatment.

In this article, however, we thought it would be nice to give some advice on how to be a friend when someone is newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

After all, while a battle with breast cancer is certainly challenging, the initial shock of being diagnosed is downright difficult.

Many times, we are quick to jump in and say, “Everything’s going to be fine” out of the kindness of our hearts. But, that’s not necessarily true or helpful.

Keep reading to discover 3 powerful ways you can help someone who is coping with a new cancer diagnosis.

Be a Good Listener

Humans are verbal creatures, so sometimes it’s our natural instinct to start blurting things out like “You’ll beat this,” “You’re tougher than cancer,” or “Everything will be fine.”

But, in the midst of a new diagnosis, these words are very cliché and unhelpful.

No one knows what the future holds, and your friend has just started the battle of a lifetime. Now is the time to sit quietly and listen.

Take in what your friend has to say and only chime in when appropriate.

Don’t push for details on what type of cancer she’s been diagnosed with or how bad the diagnosis is. Your friend or family member will reveal that information if she wants to in her own time.

It’s possible that your loved one won’t want to talk about her diagnosis at all. Perhaps, she needs some time to get her mind off the matter and focus on other things.

Let your friend or family member direct the conversation.

Make Yourself Available

Processing a cancer diagnosis is mentally draining.

And, as treatments begin, a battle with cancer becomes physically draining as well.

This is why making yourself available to a friend who has been newly diagnosed is so valuable.

A friend or family member might need you to sit and talk with her as she processes her diagnosis.

Or she might just need you to watch her kids, walk her dog, etc., so she can get in a nap when she is feeling drained and exhausted.

Making yourself available to jump in and help whenever and wherever help is needed is one of the best gifts you can give someone.

It’s possible that your loved one will be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. For this reason, be sure to extend the invitation to help so she doesn’t have to ask for it.

If your loved one declines the help, make it a point to let her know that you’ll always be there for her as time goes on in case she needs an extra hand later.

Be a True Friend

Being a true friend means being honest, open, giving, and readily available when needed.

It also means not gossiping about your friend’s recent diagnosis or sharing things that shouldn’t be shared.

We understand that it can be hard to not discuss your friend’s personal matters with others who are close to you. After all, it’s likely that you’ll need time to process a friend or family member’s cancer diagnosis, too.

But, it’s important to remember that your loved one who has been diagnosed is sharing difficult and often deeply personal information with you–information that she might not want shared publicly.

Always ask permission before you share information.

For example, you might be a part of a religious group that wants to pray for the friend or family member who has been diagnosed.

This is a lovely thing to do. But, before you tell your entire prayer circle about your loved one’s diagnosis, make sure it’s ok to share.

Your loved one who is battling cancer needs someone who she can confide in and depend on.

Be a true friend.

How have you supported a friend or family member who was diagnosed with cancer? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day This Year

Women are amazing.

From working full-time jobs and raising families to caring for those in need and having to deal with awful things like breast cancer, women are powerhouses.

We don’t let life get us down, and even in the midst of a struggle, we keep our heads held high.

For that reason, it’s no surprise that International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, was established in order to celebrate women from all walks of life.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve won a Nobel Peace Prize, or if you’re simply the peacekeeper in your home.

You (and all of your lady friends) deserve to be recognized and honored.

During the week of March 8, we invite you to celebrate International Women’s Day with us.

Not sure how to celebrate? Check out some of the fun suggestions below!

Bake an International Women’s Day Cake and Host a Party

No celebration is complete without a cake!

This year, bake your favorite cake, decorate it, and then host a party for all your favorite gal pals. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by cake and good company.

If you’re worried about making enough dessert for everyone, ask your friends or family members to all contribute a small cake or dessert of their choosing. Doing this ensures you’ll have enough food and that everyone at your party will be able to enjoy their preferred dessert.

You could also ask people to contribute things like drinks, plates, or plastic silverware.

Volunteer at a Women’s Shelter

Serving women is one of the best ways to celebrate women. After all, many women are nurturers by nature and are great at loving on others and building them up.

The best way to serve…volunteer at a women’s shelter.

From homeless women’s shelters to domestic violence and abuse centers, there’s no shortage of places that could use a helping hand.

The best part…you don’t have to have a special talent or gift in order to volunteer.

Whether you’re serving a meal, helping with laundry, providing entertainment, or just spending time with someone who could use a friend to talk to, your presence will be greatly appreciated.

Gather up your girlfriends and make a day of it while giving back to the women who need your help.

Tip: Be sure to call around to your local shelters and women’s centers to see what they need help with. Some places might need volunteers, while others might need physical donations like blankets, soap, or food.

Enjoy a Chick Flick Movie Night Starring Your Favorite Female Leads

A long time ago, women’s movie roles were often limited to wives and love interests.

However, in the past few decades, women have really started to make headway in the film industry, taking the lead and starring as strong, independent, and intelligent characters.

For this reason, we think it would be fun to have your girlfriends and female family members over for a chick flick movie night that features female actresses.

Here are a few movie suggestions that feature female leads…

  • Thelma & Louise
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Legally Blonde
  • The Help
  • The Heat
  • Miss Congeniality

Enjoy a Spa Day with Your Girlfriends

Every lady deserves a day of pampering. And what better way to be pampered than with a mani/pedi, massage, or new haircut?

In honor of International Women’s Day, get your best girlfriends together and make a day of it at the spa.

Splurge on the gel nails or foot massage–you deserve it!

Tip: Make your spa day even more extravagant by enjoying brunch before your appointment or lunch and drinks after your spa day.

Give Your Kids a History Lesson on Amazing Women

Harriet Tubman courageously led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for research on radioactivity.

Amelia Earhart was a fearless female pilot.

These are just three examples of amazing women role models that we should be teaching our children about.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we encourage you to talk with your kids about the brave, intelligent, and powerful women who have helped shape our country.

It’s so important that kids (especially young girls) understand that women can do anything that men can do.

How do you celebrate the women in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Ways to Support Someone with Breast Cancer in Your Community

Breastcancer.org states that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

Therefore, the likelihood of you knowing a family member, friend, or neighbor who has breast cancer is very high.

So, here’s the million-dollar question…

What can you do to help when someone in your family or community is diagnosed with breast cancer?

Certainly, there are many ways you can lend a hand to someone in need. However, here are a few examples of things that we’ve heard breast cancer survivors have found most helpful during their time of need.

Check it out…

Act of Service #1 – Take Care of Someone’s Yard Work

Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, trimming shrubs, weeding gardens…

Yard work is a big chore!

And if you don’t stay on top of it, it can get out of hand really fast.

Someone who is battling cancer isn’t going to have the strength and energy to mow her lawn or tend to her garden, which makes volunteering to do yard work a perfect way to serve a family member, friend, or someone in your community with breast cancer.

Grab some of your closet friends, throw on a pair of work gloves, and get to work! When everyone pitches in, it makes light work that will make a huge difference to someone in need.

Act of Service #2 – Make and Donate Oven-Ready Meals

Cancer treatments are draining and can make a person downright sick.

And feeling ill and having no energy makes cooking a dinner a really big chore.

That being said, people have to eat. And if the person who is battling cancer has children, skipping meals is simply out of the question!

A great way to serve a friend, family member, or someone in your community is by putting together freezer meals that can quickly be popped in the oven or microwave for dinner.

Having a freezer full of these meals ready to go takes the stress of someone needing to cook, prevents someone who is feeling tired or ill from having to grocery shop, and ensures that everyone will go to bed at night with a full belly.

Tip: We advise that you let the person you’re bringing meals to know that you’re going to do it in advance. That way she can give you a list of the meals they enjoy and can make sure she has room in the freezer for the meals you bring over.

Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started!

Act of Service #3 -Volunteer at Your Local Hospital

If you don’t personally know someone with cancer, but have the desire to help someone in need, we recommend that you volunteer at your local hospital.

Visiting patients, reading to kids, or bringing in a service dog to comfort people is a great way to bring some cheer to those in the hospital.

Give your local hospital a call and see what they need help with! We guarantee they’ll have something they could use your help for!

Act of Service #4 – Send a Happy Motivational Card to Someone

It’s always such a wonderful feeling when you go to your mailbox and pull out a letter from a family member or friend instead of junk mail or a bill.

So, we recommend you spread some joy while sending happy motivational cards to those battling breast cancer.

If the person you’re sending a card to lives a long way away, sending a card by mail is great.

However, if the person you’re giving a card to lives in your community, personally drop it off.

If you know the person well enough, this is a great opportunity to give her a much-needed hug, have a conversation if she needs to talk, or just brighten up her day with a visit.

We do recommend if you’re going in person that you call ahead of time to make sure the person you’re visiting is up for having someone stop by.

Act of Service #5 – Offer Transportation

Last, but not certainly not least, offering transportation is a wonderful gift for someone who is battling cancer.

If the person you know is undergoing chemo treatments, offering transportation to and from her appointment is a big help. Especially because it’s common for people to feel sick and tired after a treatment.

Offering to take someone to and from doctors’ appointments, to the grocery store, to the bank, or anywhere else is also a huge help as it can get tiring walking around a store.

And, of course, if the person you’re helping has kids, offering to transport to school, sporting events, practices, and other activities is a big help.

After all, anyone who has kids knows how demanding and time consuming their schedules can be.

What services do you think would be helpful for someone who is battling breast cancer? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Family-Friendly Movie Ideas for a Cold Day

We’re all for having fun outside and enjoying the great outdoors! But, during the winter months, there are days that are just too darn cold!

So, what do you do on a day where you don’t feel like braving the weather?

Personally, we love a good indoor movie, complete with popcorn, warm blankets, and the ones we love.

If you’re looking for a few movies to add to your family-friendly movie list this year, here are a few of our favorites! Check them out.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins, produced in 1964, is an oldie but a goodie.

Both adults and children can enjoy this fantasy-musical based on the story of a magical nanny that was sent to care for a pair of mischievous children.

Not to mention, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke star in this classic film. You just can’t go wrong with a film that stars both of those actors!
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Incredibles

Love superheroes and animated movies? Then The Incredibles movie is a great choice for you!

This very funny Disney Pixar film follows the adventures of Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and his wife, Helen, (Elastigirl)–the world’s greatest crime-fighting superheroes in Metroville.

Will they ever get to live the quiet suburban life they desire? Or will an evil villain get in their way?

Watch the movie to find out!
 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web is a very famous story of a pig and a spider who become friends while living on the Arable’s farm.

Throughout the movie, Wilber the pig also forms a relationship with an adorable little girl named Fern who saved Wilber when he was just a tiny piglet.

This movie is originally based on the classic Charlotte’s Web book written by E.B. White.

So, if you have a few more cold days heading your way, we also recommend you check out the book.
 

 

 

 

 

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is a very cool animated science fiction comedy-drama film that was created using both traditional animation and computer animation.

This movie tells the story of a 9-year-old boy who discovers a robot (The Iron Giant) after an object from space crashes into the earth.

Over time, the Iron Giant and the little boy form an inseparable bond. Check out the movie to see what adventures they will have together!
 

 

 

 

 

The Sandlot

Baseball fans…if you haven’t seen the classic movie The Sandlot, you’re missing out!

This 90s film follows the adventures of a kid named Smalls who learns to play baseball so he’ll fit in with a group of neighbor kids.

One day, Smalls hits an amazing homerun. However, the ball (a signed trophy ball) unfortunately lands in a yard that contains a giant beast that Smalls and his friends are all afraid of.

Will they ever get their ball back? And will Smalls get in major trouble from ruining his dad’s autographed ball? Watch the movie to find out.
 

 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite movie night movie? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Delicious Homemade Pizza Recipes

Did you know that, according to pizza.com, Americans eat over 100 acres of pizza each day?

Sounds crazy!

But, as pizza lovers ourselves, that number doesn’t surprise us.

In fact, we love pizza so much that we often make it from scratch at home.

If you’re looking for some delicious pizza recipes, we suggest you give these a try!

Enjoy…

Classic Margherita  Pizza Recipe

In 1889 during a visit to Naples, the Queen Margherita of Savoy, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi, and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red, white, and green.

They named the pizza after Queen Margherita, and the rest is history…delicious history!

If you love melty cheese, tomato sauce, and basil, give this recipe a try.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour for dusting
  • 2 cups pizza sauce
  • 20 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 20 leaves fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Stir flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand until yeast begins to form a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir half the flour mixture into yeast mixture until no dry spots remain. Stir in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When dough pulls together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl, and then place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (80 to 95 degrees F or 27 to 35 degrees C) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch dough down, divide into 4 equal pieces, and form each into a ball.
  6. Preheat oven with a pizza stone to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
  7. Stretch out and pat 1 dough ball to form a circle 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Place dough on a lightly floured pizza pan. Top with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and spread to cover within an inch of the edge of the dough.
  8. Arrange 5 slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the tomato sauce, and then place 5 basil leaves on top.
  9. Drizzle pizza with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Repeat for 3 remaining dough balls.
  10. Bake until cheese is bubbly and the underside of the crust is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Recipe Source

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipe

Packed with protein and lots of flavor, this grilled buffalo chicken pizza recipe is always a hit whether you’re cooking it up as a game day appetizer to share with friends or your family dinner.

The best part…this versatile pizza can be customized with pickled jalapenos, banana pepper rings, black olives, and blue cheese crumbles so everyone can get the flavor they desire.

Check out the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 pinches Montreal steak seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 2 pieces tandoori naan bread
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese,
  • 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 roma (plum) tomato, seeded and chopped

Directions:

  1. Season chicken breast with Montreal steak seasoning.
  2. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce into the bag. Seal bag and rub hot sauce into chicken.
  3. Transfer bag to the refrigerator and marinate for 12 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  5. Remove chicken from the bag and discard marinade. Cook the chicken on the preheated grill until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 5 to 7 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Dice chicken into bite-size pieces. Toss chicken and remaining 2 tablespoons hot sauce together in a bowl.
  7. Brush each naan with olive oil; cook on the grill until golden and toasted on one side, 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low and transfer naan pieces, toasted-side up, to a baking sheet. Spread blue cheese dressing on the toasted side of each naan. Top each with diced chicken and red onion.
  9. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.
  10. Return naan to grill and cook until cheese is melted and bottom is toasted and golden, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  11. Remove from grill, slice into pieces and top with lettuce and tomato.

Recipe Source

Breakfast Pizza Recipe

The only thing better than a delicious slice of leftover pizza for breakfast is a pizza that you actually make for breakfast.

This breakfast pizza recipe, filled with cheese, ham, breakfast sausage, and bacon, is a hearty meal that will keep you energized all morning long.

Check out the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup milk
  • 6 ounces shredded yellow cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 ounces deli ham, sliced into 2-inch strips
  • 3 ounces cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 5 breakfast sausage links, chunked
  • 1⁄4 minced onion (optional)
  • chopped chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F
  2. Lay out premade pizza dough on a sheet pan.
  3. Beat the eggs with the milk, and pour over the center of the crust. Use your fingers, or a pastry brush to evenly disperse the egg.
  4. Evenly cover the egg with the strips of ham.
  5. Scatter the sausages, and if you want to have them, add the onion. Salt and pepper it lightly.
  6. Add a blanket of the Mozzarella cheese, then the Cheddar.
  7. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon.
  8. Put this wonderful pie in the oven on the center rack and check it after 15 minutes.

Recipe Source

What is your favorite kind of pizza? Let us know in the comments below!

Valentine’s Day Date Night Ideas


We can’t believe it’s already February and that one of our favorite holidays–Valentine’s Day–is just around the corner!

This super fun, love-filled holiday certainly snuck up on us. And it’s possible that it snuck up on you, too!

Not to worry though.

If you haven’t had the time to think about what you want to do this Valentine’s Day with the ones you love, we’ve got you covered.

Today, we’re going to share some affordable, fun, and easy-to-put-together Valentine’s date night ideas that can be enjoyed with anyone–from your significant other to friends and family.

Check it out…

Enjoy an At-Home Movie Night with Your Favorite Takeout

Going out for dinner and to see a show is always a great Valentine’s Day idea.
However, in an effort to make this classic date night activity a little more intimate and a whole lot more affordable, we suggest ordering your favorite takeout and renting a movie.

After all, what could be better than eating your favorite food in the comfort of your own pajamas while cuddling up in front of a fire and watching your favorite movie?

Not much if you ask us!

Turn Back Time with a Retro Date Night

Looking to turn back the time so you can relive every precious moment you’ve ever spent with the ones you love?

Well, unfortunately, we don’t have the technology to send you back in time. But, we can suggest you turn back the clock by going on a retro date night.

Going to the drive-in movies, roller skating rink, or out to your local speakeasy or soda shop are all great retro date night ideas that we think your partner, kids, or group of friends would love.

Cook a Swanky Homemade Dinner

Night after night of cooking spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches, or mac-n-cheese gets boring fast!

This Valentine’s Day, put down the macaroni and pick up some filet mignon, lobster tails, or whatever decadent food you desire.

It’s okay to splurge a little on the ones you love!

If you’re cooking for your partner and have kids, we advise that you put the kids down to sleep before you eat so you can enjoy a romantic dinner together.

If you feel bad leaving the kiddos out, cook them their own special meal earlier in the evening.

Or, if you’re hosting a Valentine’s dinner with friends or family members, we recommend that you ask everyone to bring a side dish or drinks, or chip in for the expensive entrees.

This way everyone can partake in a fun Valentine’s celebration without anyone being burdened by food costs.

Take an Overnight Road Trip

There’s nothing more fun than getting out of town for the night–which is exactly why we think an overnight road trip is a great Valentine’s date idea.

It’s as easy as finding a fun or romantic destination that’s only a few hours or less away from your home, packing up your bags, and hitting the road.

And, with many nice hotels averaging around $100 per night, it’s a surprisingly affordable activity as well!

If you’re traveling with a significant other, we recommend going somewhere you can book a couple’s massage, enjoy a spa day, or spend time doing an activity (like hiking or skiing) that you both love to do together.

If you’re traveling with your kids, spending the night at an indoor water park or visiting a museum is a great choice.

And last but not least, if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with your best girlfriends, traveling somewhere you can get mani-pedis, grab a nice brunch, and do some shopping is always fun!

At-Home Spa Night

An at-home spa night is a great idea for both ladies and men!

And with so many spa products available at your local store, it’s easy to host an at home spa night without breaking the bank.

We recommend you grab these items at your local grocery store…

  • Candle
  • Nail polish
  • Bubble bath
  • Face mask
  • Massage oil

If you’re spending an evening with your significant other, break out the candle and spoil your partner with a luxurious massage and a warm, cozy bubble bath.

If you’re celebrating with your kids or girlfriends at home, mani-pedis and face masks are always a fun activity.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day activities? Share them with us in the comments below!

3 Family-Friendly Cocktail Recipes for Your Next Party

Everybody loves a good cocktail at a party.

However, not every cocktail is a good match for all of your party attendees. Especially cocktail recipes that contain alcohol.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with mixing up your favorite spiked drink recipe.

But, as a party host, it’s always a good idea to have some family-friendly cocktails on hand for any children or adult party attendees who don’t/can’t drink liquor-based cocktails.

Ensure that everyone is able to participate in enjoying a delicious cocktail, and mix up some of our favorite family-friendly cocktail recipes below!

Frozen Watermelon Mint Daiquiri Recipe

A daiquiri is a classic, frozen, fruity cocktail that can be enjoyed year-round.

This specific virgin daiquiri is so flavorful and fresh, we have a feeling that people will be asking you for your secret recipe! Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. Freeze watermelon.
  2. Once frozen, combine the watermelon cubes in a blender with 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of mint syrup and 1/2 cup of lime juice.
  3. Serve in stemmed glasses with a sprig of mint.

Mint syrup recipe:

  1. Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved, strain what’s left through a sieve and let cool.

Recipe Source: https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/5-cool-kiddie-cocktails2.htm

Shirley Temple Recipe

A Shirley Temple is one of the most classic cocktail recipes of all time.

This light and refreshing drink, made with lemon lime soda, grenadine syrup, and a cherry, is always a crowd pleaser. Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces lemon-lime soda
  • 3 ounces ginger ale
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • maraschino cherry for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pour grenadine into a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Top it with equal amounts of lemon-lime soda and ginger ale.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.

Recipe Source: https://www.thespruce.com/shirley-temple-cocktail-recipe-760600

Appletini Recipe

If you prefer your cocktail to be tart and tangy, this alcohol-free appletini recipe might be right up your alley.

Made with fresh apple juice, simple syrup, and a hint of lemon, this recipe is bound to  impress your party guests. Here’s how you make it…

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces apple juice (freshly pressed)
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • Garnish: sugar (for rimming)
  • Garnish: 1 apple slice

Directions:

  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass.
  5. Garnish with an apple slice.

Recipe Source: https://www.thespruce.com/designated-appletini-recipe-non-alcoholic-760355

What’s your favorite family-friendly cocktail recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!