Theresa's Mixed Nuts

Friday, July 21, 2017

Meatless Meal: Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

It's been one year since I've started my journey as a vegetarian. Due to health issues, I was kind of forced into the decision, so the adjustment took some getting used to. Looking back, I think about how I struggled with the diet change, but fast forward a year later, in all honesty, I don't miss my old eating ways. I used to cook the same dishes over and over, just making a few slight changes here and there to make things feel fresh, but once I had to give it all up, I realized how boring our meals used to be. My world was opened up to many new and exciting foods that I never would have tried before like lentils, chickpeas, and using cauliflower for hot wings (so good!) Now, what was once an afterthought in the supermarket is now a dinnertime staple. One thing I never tried before this year was eggplant. The name alone is a turn off for me, but after reading a lot of vegetarian and vegan websites, I learned that eggplant is an awesome meat substitute in some dishes. So, when I saw this Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant recipe on Golden Blossom Honey, I knew it was a must try dish. 

Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant

Roasting the eggplant gave it a meaty texture that blended well with the pasta and sauce. I usually make a small helping of ground beef for the family to add to their spaghetti, but opted to skip it this time and served everyone the eggplant substitute and nobody complained. 

Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant

 I am sure the sauce can also be made with your home grown tomatoes, but sadly, my garden sucks this year and I only see about a quarter of the tomatoes that I usually have by now. So much rain early on has really done a number on my veggies :( Fingers crossed I'll at least be able to recoup the cost of the plants in produce by the end of the season!

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 Tablespoons olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes with their juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons capers
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 pound spaghetti


Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant

You can find this recipe, as well as many more delicious recipes right on the Golden Blossom Honey recipe page! Be sure to follow Golden Blossom Honey on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions.

If you like this recipe, be sure to come back every Friday, where I feature a new recipe from Golden Blossom Honey!

*A reminder that I will be vacationing with my family for the next 10 days and won't be online much, if at all, until we return. Be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram and Insta Stories if you want a sneak peek of everything we'll be up to! 

What are some of your favorite meat-free dishes?


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Inexpensive Graduation Party Ideas

We finally got around to hosting a graduation party for Mariah over the weekend. After already hosting one big party this summer, I was a little worried about finding the desire to pull off another. But, since you only graduate high school once, I put on my superhero mom cape and got it together. To save on time, I decided to skip baking my own food, especially since I ordered a huge cake, and stuck with making a few crafts and party props that would help the guests have a more memorable time.

Graduation Party Ideas

I did buy a bunch of decor from the $1 store to perk up the house, but I also quickly whipped up this ribbon wrapped wreath to add a more personal touch to the decorations. If you are planning on dollar store decorations, buy them as soon as they hit the shelves. Most of the items were gone withing weeks of my store putting them out on the sales floor.

Using cheap graduation streamers from Walmart (97¢ each), I hung them on the wall to create a small photo booth area. Top with balloons and inexpensive photo booth props from Amazon, guests had fun posing for silly snapshots.

Graduation Photo Booth

Graduation Photo Booth

We also made a frame with a piece of foam board from the $1 store for more photo opportunities. Dress it up with a little ribbon and graduation year numbers cut from decorative paper.

Graduation Photo Booth Prop

I found this decorative box for $7 at Michael's Craft Store and dressed it up with some heat transfer vinyl for a keepsake that Mariah could take to college. I printed out some index size cards that I had the guests write out advice and well wishes to the graduate so she could have a little love from home with her while she's so far away this fall.

I knew there were going to be a lot of kids at the party, so with inspiration from Pinterest, I set up a candy station that I knew they would love. I found the tins for $2 each at Michael's, but I'm sure you could get them for $1 at the $1 store as well. I created some labels with cute school phrases I found on Pinterest to accompany each candy flavor.

Graduation Candy

Having the party in July helped keep costs down. I was able to find a lot of decorations for 1/2 off since most grads already had their parties earlier in the season. I found 12 packs of graduation bubbles for $1.25 each that the small kids really enjoyed playing with.

Graduation Candy Station

I did splurge and bought the largest photo cake at the bakery. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't fill up the bottom portion of the cake with more flowers or use bigger lettering to fill in the extra white spaces, but as quickly as it was gobbled down, it really didn't matter in the overall scheme of things. Instead of writing the standard congratulations greetings, I had them put a quote on the cake from Mariah's favorite film, Peter Pan.

Including the cake and cookout food, we were able to stay under our $250 party budget. I'd call that a success!

What are some of your favorite party activities?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month With Strawberry Ice Cream Cake!

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

Happy National Ice Cream Month! I can't think of a better month than one that promotes the indulging of ice cream for an entire 31 days. If every day started with ice cream, I'm sure the world would be a much happier place, wouldn't you agree? I've been on a roll trying my hand at homemade ice cream recipes here and there and have come across some really tasty favorites this month (if you haven't tried the Moon Pie Ice Cream yet, you're really missing out!) As I was flipping through my ice cream recipe stash, I came across this Strawberry Ice Cream Cake recipe from Golden Blossom Honey that I had saved to make for Easter, but never got around to doing. Now that we are in the middle of National Ice Cream Month, there was no better time to give it a go. 

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Made with layers of pound cake, a sweet strawberry sauce, and creamy strawberry ice cream, this is the most perfect summertime ice cream treat. Even though I've been trying to maintain my beach body for our upcoming Cali trip, I simply can't resist sneaking a slice of this heavenly treat every day. It's soooo good!

1 (10 3/4 ounce) package frozen pound cake, thawed according to package directions
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 gallon strawberry ice cream, softened or 2 pints strawberry ice cream and 2 pints vanilla ice cream
1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Straberry Ice Cream Cake

You can find this recipe, as well as many more delicious recipes right on the Golden Blossom Honey recipe page! Be sure to follow Golden Blossom Honey on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions.

If you like this recipe, be sure to come back every Friday, where I feature a new recipe from Golden Blossom Honey!

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Moon Pie Ice Cream & Utter Nonsense

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

I just heard they are getting ready to close down the duck pond at one of our parks since the upkeep is starting to get out of control. I can understand why they want to close it, but I admit that I feel a little sad to hear it will no longer be a part of our community. I remember when I was little, grandma drove the special needs bus that would pick the kids up from the school that is located directly across the street from the pond. On days she would let me ride with her, we'd get there a little early to feed the ducks and eat our own snacks while waiting for the kids to come out. One of my favorite summertime snacks were Moon Pies and grandma was awesome about buying me some here and there. After hearing about the closing of duck pond and reminiscing about the good old days with grandma, I remembered that I had a recipe for Moon Pie Ice Cream that I have been wanting to try. I mean, what says summer like ice cream and Moon Pies? Combining the two creates one heck of a good summertime treat.

Moon Pie Ice Cream

A chocolatey ice cream layer, followed by a marshmallow layer, then sprinkled with a crushed graham cracker layer gives this no-churn ice cream a flavor reminiscent of Moon Pies. Or, if you are a fan of S'mores, calling it S'mores ice cream works too.

Moon Pie Ice Cream

Moon Pie Ice Cream

print recipe

Moon Pie Ice Cream (No Churn)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 13oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1 cup graham crackers, coarsely crushed
Melt the chocolate chips in a double broiler over low heat, stirring constantly, until you reach a smooth consistency. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, milk, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, unsweetened cocoa powder, and pinch of salt. Set aside.In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture. Transfer 1/3 of the mixture to a freezable container. Spread 1/2 of the marshmallow fluff over chocolate mixture, then top with 1/2 of the crushed grahams. Repeat layers one more time to fill the container, ending with a final chocolate layer on top. Gently cover the container with plastic wrap, making sure to press the wrap on top of the chocolate ice cream. Freeze for 6 hours. Serve. 

Original Recipe adapted from No-Bake Treats by Julianne Bayer

Another thing I loved doing on summer nights with grandma is play board and card games. Now, I'm long past the days of Hi Ho Cherry O and Old Maid, but I still love family game night that runs into the late hours. Nothing beats chowing down on sweet treats, kicking butt at games, and laughing until your tummy hurts. Even though our game stash is pretty huge, one game that we've been using a lot lately is the hilarious accent game called Utter Nonsense: Family Edition.

Utter Nonsense

Utter Nonsense originally funded on Kickstarter with an adult version, has now gone PG. In this family-friendly card game, players combine silly voices with even sillier phrases to create sayings that are just plain ridiculous. The game contains 50 Accent Cards and 450 Phrase cards which players combine and act out. Don't worry about being good at accents. Make each one your own because the best performance wins.

Utter Nonsense

Pictured below are a few examples of the cards. The green card is the accent card which is drawn by the judge. Once everyone knows what accent they should be trying to imitate, they then draw a phrase from their deck of cards that they think would be the funniest pairing with the accent. Each player acts out their phrase in said accent. The judge then makes the final decision on which phrase acted out was the most hilarious. The person to win 5 rounds is the overall winner.

Utter Nonsense

The game is suggested for ages 8 and up so kids can read the cards, but the humor is appropriate for all ages. This is the most perfect game for family game night, back yard BBQ's, sleepovers, campfires, or anytime you just want to have a good time with lots of belly laughs.

Utter Nonsense: Family Edition is exclusively available at Target stores and online, with a retail of $24.99. If you would like to learn more, visit Utter Nonsense online.

What's your favorite snack to eat on family game night?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Calls for Fresh Green Bean & Potato Salad

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

Who's still recovering from the 4th of July holiday? This girl, right here. From Friday through Tuesday, we were booked to the max with social gatherings. Thankfully, I didn't have to host anything myself (especially since I just hosted a huge 50th wedding anniversary party and am putting the final touches on Mariah's grad party that's coming up), but that didn't mean I could be a crummy guest and show up to the other parties empty handed. I did a quick search on Golden Blossom Honey to see if I could find something simple, but delicious, that I could double or triple without a problem so I didn't have to spend all day in the kitchen cooking up dishes to take to multiple events. I came across this Fresh Green Bean & Potato Salad recipe that was exactly what I needed. Since we were traveling out of the city for a few gatherings, I didn't have to worry about keeping the dish warm. Just pop it into a cooler and away we went. And, since this dish isn't made with the traditional mayo base that standard potato salads are made with, it made for a light, summery dish that didn't weigh the tummy down so everyone could eat, then enjoy the outdoor games. 

Green Bean Potato Salad

Fresh green bean potato salad is a great potluck offering, or BBQ side dish. There's a beautiful blend of flavors in this dish, you'll want to make it all summer long.

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons Golden Blossom Honey Mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Set aside.

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half (if potatoes are large cut into quarters)
2 tablespoons white wine


Green Bean Potato Salad
You can find this recipe, as well as many more delicious recipes right on the Golden Blossom Honey recipe page! Be sure to follow Golden Blossom Honey on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions.

If you like this recipe, be sure to come back every Friday, where I feature a new recipe from Golden Blossom Honey!

What's your favorite summertime side dish?


Monday, July 3, 2017

Oh, Baby! New Baby Gifts Parents Actually Need

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

We will be welcoming a new addition to our family tree this fall, and we couldn't be more excited! My cousin is expecting her first baby (a boy!!!), but what makes his arrival even more special is his rainbow baby status. My cousin has been longing to be a mother for many years. Years of loss and grief and heartache, so you can see why this pregnancy is such a blessing and an overwhelming joy for our family. We'll be welcoming the bundle of joy in just a few short months, so I've been loading up on practical gifts that I know that the new parents are going to use and appreciate. Now, I say practical because when I think back to my baby shower, I remember the mounds of gifts that I received, but a lot of it was what I call "fluff" gifts. Gifts that were lovely, but I didn't get much use from. At the end of the day, I went home with more newborn outfits than my daughter was able to wear before outgrowing them, newborn sized diapers that I had to take back to the store to exchange for a bigger size because babies do grow fast, a million bottles of lotion that I swear we are still using even though my daughter just turned 18, and feeling a little sad that some of the practical gifts I registered for were passed over for "cute" gifts. 

Don't get me wrong. I will be the first to admit that shopping for a new baby is fun. I often feel pulled to buy that oh, so cute stuffed animal or frilly dress, but after thinking back to what I would have liked to have received at my shower, I stick with buying the gifts that I know the new parents will get use from.

Another bottle of lotion? Gee, thanks.....

If you are attending a baby shower soon, these are all wonderful gift suggestions that won't break the bank and new parents will surely be glad to receive.

1. Diaper Bag. Even if mom already has one, I often found that having a backup bag came in handy. Lotions break, bottles spill and having an extra bag on hand to use while the other one is being washed made life a lot less stressful. 

2. Size 1 and up diapers. Honestly, I usually go with a size 2. I received nothing but newborn sized diapers that my daughter quickly outgrew. It's a hassle to have to exchange diapers for a bigger size when you are a new parent, so you can't go wrong with opting for a size 1 or 2. 

3. Baby Wipes. Since these are used for more than cleaning a tushie, we went through a TON of baby wipes.

3. Diaper Rash Cream. Even the most pampered booty will get an occasional diaper rash. You want to start treating it as soon as it surfaces, so a stash of high quality creams is a great idea. I always swore by Boudreaux Butt Paste for my girls, but any of the name brand creams will help soothe a rash.

4. Umbrella Stroller. A fancy stroller with all the bells and whistles is good and fun, but can be a hassle for quick trips because they tend to be bulky and heavy. I found I got more use out of a cheap $20 umbrella stroller than I did from my pricey, top of the line stroller.

5. Baby Record Book. Babies grow so quick, new parents are going to want to record every milestone as soon as they happen. A baby record book will surely get used and filled up quickly and will be a gift that will be treasured for many years. 

6. Crib Sheets. I subscribe to the thought that you can never have enough crib sheets. Dripping bottles, spit up, vomiting, diaper blowouts. These are things that happen often and I think the bulk of newborn laundry comes from washing sheets from those messes. Having several sets on hand is a real sanity saver.

7. Receiving Blankets. See crib sheet explanation on why extras are important. 

8. Baby Carrier. My second daughter wanted to be held all. the. time. Being able to keep her happy while keeping my hands free was a huge blessing I received by wearing a baby carrier. 

9. Thermometer. It's scary how quickly a baby can become ill. A good quality thermometer is one of the most practical gifts new parents will be glad to have on hand.  

10. Car Seat Canopy. Babies need lots of sleep and while it's ideal to leave them at home for uninterrupted slumber time, it isn't always practical. New parent or not, errands still need to be done and sometimes you just have to bring baby along. A car seat canopy is a great way to allow baby to continue to sleep soundly when you have to be out and about.

I first saw a car seat canopy at my nieces baby shower and was jealous as all get-out that I hadn't even heard of them when my girls were babies. I thought it was the most genius baby product ever! You can keep baby tucked away in a cozy, dark setting so their sleep isn't disturbed by simply attaching the canopy to the car seat and snapping it closed, keeping baby snug in a cocoon of peace. 

Car Seat Canopy

The most adorable car seat canopies come from BayB Brand. I simply love the many fun, bold, modern prints that BayB Brand offers on each of their canopies. Each one is made with 100% cotton outsides, and lined with super soft polyester minky dots material on the interior. 

Car Seat Canopy

Since the material is of perfect weight, not too thick for summer heat or too thin for cold winters, these canopies are perfect for year round use. The adjustable straps make these canopies compatible with any car seat model, and they are machine washable making care super easy for those inevitable messes. The easy open, easy close snaps allow for baby to stay snuggled up or allow for parents to quickly access their little one. 

In addition to these handy dandy car seat canopies, BayB Brand also offers matching blankets made from the same material. The design I chose for my cousin is this gender neutral Gray Arrow with Green.

There are many other fun colors and prints to choose from, such as this Blue Chevron or Pink Cheetah.

BayB Brand Car Seat Canopies and Blankets are definitely a practical baby gift, and under $20 each, are a quite affordable option, too! If you would like to learn more about the BayB Brand line of products, including those featured here today, be sure to visit their website


One lucky Theresa's Mixed Nuts reader is going to win a BayB Brand Car Seat Canopy and Matching Blanket Set in the design of their choosing. The giveaway is open to residents of the US (No PO Boxes will be accepted) and will run through 7/19/17. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is selected. Please enter on the giveaway widget below.

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