Mixtiles (A Review)

Guys,

It’s been a minute right?

This post won’t be long and I won’t go into all the reasons why I haven’t been writing. It’s a LONG and tedious story of how I always feel inadequate when I sit down to this laptop and think about writing a post.

Well, bad feelings aside, I love writing, and I am challenging myself to make one post a week. Will anyone read it? I don’t know, but still I will write…

Okay, so the real reason for this post, MIXTILES!

I know everyone has seen their ads on Facebook once or twice or a lot, and think, hey those look cool, but then you decide not to buy them because they seem gimmicky.

Not everyone? Just me and Mr. Foodie, huh… Sure.

See what had happened was…

My camera alerted me on my phone, and I had seen that a package had been delivered; I just didn’t know what it was.

Mr. Foodie got home ahead me from work and said, it was a surprise.

Okay a little backstory… I’m not a surprise kind of girl. I mean, if you’re going to surprise me with 43,000,000.00, I’ll take that, but just regular old surprises give me anxiety. One, because if I don’t like it and it shows on my very expressive face and hurts the feelings of the person surprising me, I’ll feel terrible, and two, because I will feel the unavoidable need to reciprocate, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but still and I digress.

So I come in from the garage, head to the kitchen and on the island is a box from Mixtiles.

At first, I give him the side-eye, like, you didn’t do this, did you, and he patiently smiles back at me and says, “They were one sale, and I think you’re going to like this.”

I cautiously open the package and my heart leaps into my chest. The pictures were so precious, and I not only liked them, I LOVED them. The quality is great and they look really good on my wall.

I really like the fact that they will travel well. We are a military family, and moving a few more times is definitely in our future, so I have the peace of mind knowing that these photos will be okay during transitions to new places.

He bought a pack of 12 photos and with each layer I unboxed, I felt myself getting more and more emotional, especially since he included pictures I had not seen, but with the last layer I just lost it.

Earlier this year, I lost my person, the Yang to my Gray, my sister, my heart, my best friend to suicide. Knowing that I miss my friend every day, he surprised me with one of my favorite pictures of her and me. I was a mess. I lost it and cried. UGLY cried.

It was so sweet and so thoughtful of him to do that for me. I love him.

I am also grateful for a company like mixtiles that allowed him to create and gift me a beautiful memento without breaking the bank.

Pretty cool, right?

I recommend checking MixTiles out and if you do end up ordering, be sure to share what you order with me. 🙂

Until next yum,

Foodie Finds Home

Third Post of the Year

Good grief, how is it possible that the last time I posted was in January. Ugh… How did I let myself get that busy? Never again, friends, never again.

I have been debating about posting here on this blog because well… I always get nervous about posting. I keep wondering where that 2004 blogger is that I used to be that posted daily about anything and everything. When did I get self-conscious about sharing who I really am, what I all about, and what means the most to me? I am not sure when this happened, but going forward, I plan to be unapologetically me. I hope you like it, but if not, then that’s okay too.

Anyway, so much has happened between the last post and this one, but I don’t plan to make this a long drawn out affair on Easter Sunday. I have a bit of time in between dishes that I am making the most use of it by writing on here.

Our dinner is super simple today. My husband is smoking salmon and grilling steaks. I have made a couple of salads, and green bean casserole (by request) and I ordered pies for dessert from Village Inn. French silk and apple, just in case you were wondering.

I made a summer salad to feel warm vibes because the middle of America doesn’t exactly have Florida weather right now. Ha!

I look forward to catching up over the next few months, especially while we’re in a teleworking quarantine kind of reality right now.

And I will leave you with this super simple recipe that I know I’ll be using again later this week.

Summer Salad Foodie Finds Home Style
Ingredients
2 cans of corn (I like to use Fire Roasted)
1.5 cups of halved cherry tomatoes
2 cucumbers diced
2 avocado (optional) diced
Crumbled feta cheese (I didn’t measure, but if I were to guess, I’d say half to one cup, blue cheese also works well)
3 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 Tbsp Lime or Lemon Juice (either is fine)
1/2 Tsp Salt, 1/4 Tsp Pepper

Directions
Drain water off of the corn and place it in a bowl
Add tomatoes, cucumbers, and if you’re using it avocado, set aside.
Mix together the EVOO, Lime/Lemon Juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl pour over the salad, add feta, then mix together and enjoy.

*If you’re feeling really adventurous, adding garlic and shallots take it up a notch, and also adding chili powder to the dressing is yummy too.

Edited to add a picture. 😂
Here is a snapshot from our porch picture session and a promise to write again soon.

Until next taste,
Foodie Finds HomePorch Pictures

It’s Okay to Say No…

Friends,

In 2020, I’m sharing a life-changing thought with you…

“It’s okay to say no.”

Crazy right?

Friends going out to a bar and you want to stay in? Say no.

Invited to something you loathe the thought of going to? SAY NO!

It’s radically mindset shifting when we begin to say no to the things we don’t want, maybe to the things we might want, and an unapologetic yes to the things we love.

In 2020, it’s okay to say no, maybe, yes. It’s okay to choose ourselves, to not answer the phone calls or texts, to break plans, and to save yourself if you’re drained, overwhelmed, and tired.

Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love and respect yourself. It’s okay.

Some people are draining and they don’t even know it… That’s okay. You can make the choice to protect yourself from that energy. It’s okay.

I hope that this message carries you through 2020 and beyond. I hope this post gives you the permission that you don’t really need, but might just need to hear, it’s okay.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy this snowy four day weekend with The Foodie Fam.

Until next taste,

Foodie Finds Home

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The Tiniest Foodie saying, “It’s okay to say No!” 😉 

2020 Word of the Year: Restore

Hi friends,

The past few years have been interesting, to say the least.

In 2017 I lost my Father in Law,

In 2018, I lost my Mother in Law

In 2019, we had my Mother in Law’s funeral, found out we would be moving after only a year in Florida, and a whole lot of other things happened that would make this blog post way longer than it needs to be.

In 2020, I have begun the restoration project in my life. Between 2016 and now, I have lost a lot, I have lost more I thought I would, and mostly in the process of grieving, caretaking, parenting, wife-ing, and being, I lost me.

I have been the most watered-down version of myself to keep myself from having a complete breakdown.

I had to be the strong one. I had to be the present one. I had to be the logical one. All the things… The hardest part about being the strong one is that there is no one to be the strong one for you.

Outside of the minimum times, I could speak with my husband, who was an ocean away, I had no one.

The past few years of my life were the hardest I had ever gone through.

I have been homeless, I have been kidnapped and raped, I have grown up with a mother hooked on drugs and alcohol, that took me to the drug houses with her. I have seen things that I never ever want anyone I love to see. My life has been hard, but nothing prepared me for the pain of losing important people to you, especially when you are the one doing everything you can to keep them alive.

By the grace of God, I survived, and I am grateful for that.

My word for last year was growth. I grew, thankfully, despite all of the stumbles and falls, I was still able to grow. I grew as a person, as a wife, as a mom. I am thankful for all the moments that allowed me to grow, and I am grateful that despite it all, I remained focused and devoted to helping my family thrive throughout the transition.

We are now settled in our new house in the Mid-west (more on that later), the kids start their new school tomorrow, I have an excellent job with fantastic coworkers, and my husband is living his calling of being a Chaplain.

As I reflected on the past years, one thing kept repeating to me. It was this quote, “I will make beauty from the ashes.”  This quote is from Isaiah 61:3, and the full verse goes like this:

To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Every time I read this, I believe that 2020 will be my year of joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. Restoration of the losses, rejuvenation of the spirit, the remaking of me.

So friends, with that, what is your word of the year?

 

Until Next Taste,
Foodie Finds Home

Here’s to an amazing 2020

New Home On The Horizon

Yep, you read that right.

We are leaving Florida shortly for a new destination. Huzzah!!!

I am excited. I tend to usually get excited about starting somewhere new.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Here’s what really happens, let me know if you can relate…

I get anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, and I overthink all of the things for about 24 up to 48 hours…

Once the initial shock has worn off I get into preparation mode. I google EVERYTHING!
Best schools, neighborhoods, diversity, job opportunities for me, activities for the kids and churches to visit.

Once the research of all.the.things. has been done, I pour over Zillow and Trulia. I join FB groups and observe… I try to catch the vibe of the community I am about to enter… I ask questions like; are they welcoming, will my family be okay, should we engage or just keep to ourselves…

As an ambivert, the idea of keeping to myself seems welcoming to my introverted nature, but my extroverted side wants to get to know everyone and make all the friends… I tend to end up somewhere in the middle no matter where we go. I make a small super close group of friends, but I interact with everyone. Are you like this?

But I digress… The purpose of this post was to announce our departure from my beloved home state of Florida to a new destination where we continue to make our home our favorite place to be one delicious bite at a time.

Stay Tuned,

Foodie Finds Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to School (Foodie Style)

Well, it’s that time again.

The weather is getting cooler just kidding. I live in Florida, and it is somehow getting hotter, but I digress.

It’s time for school!

This year we had probably one of the most lowkey summer’s we’ve had in a loooong time and if I’m being honest, it was absolutely amazing.  No plans, no traveling, no nothing, but whatever we felt like doing and it was glorious. No camps, no traffic, nothing. We read lots of books, played games, went to the pool, ate ice cream for breakfast and did all the things that we don’t do or put off during the school year. We slept in… WE SLEPT IN!

Guys, the sleeping in thing was huge. The Tiniest Foodie who was 4 up until July had a really interesting habit of waking up at 5 AM EVERY morning, no matter the day. She turned five and like magic, she started to sleep in. It’s incredible and well long overdue for this mama, and also quite bittersweet. My baby is slowly but surely becoming no longer my baby.

She is a Kindergartener! The Artist, a Freshman, The Athlete, a Middle Schooler until we PCS, and The Foodie Critic, a First-Grader.

BTS 19

One thing that I try to do during the school week is to have easy access for the kids to make their own lunches. It saves me a bit of time to do other things and also gives them the opportunity to be responsible and make their own choices based on their tastes.

Lunch Boxes
Lunchboxes go out the night before school.

I try to make sure that the kids have access to all they need to make a healthy meal.

 

Sandwich Stuff
I’m not a big bread eater, but my kids LOVE a good variety of choices for their sandwiches. 

Fruits are a must or the natives will get restless if this fruit bowl dare be empty. LOL

Fruit
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… Or something like that… 

And last but certainly not least, one must have a treat or two in the house. They also have items in the fridge, but we’re not on that level yet for me to show you that crapshow… Not yet, maybe at the new duty station, but certainly not here in Florida. LOL

Snacks
The Skinny Pop has been hit or miss, ZBars are a staple, and so are the Annie’s Bunnies. What snacks are staples in your pantry? 

 

So yeah, the kids do lunches and I do my makeup. Ha! Not. I get to make breakfast and spend time chatting about the upcoming day with them, which I love doing. It gives us a peaceful, yet productive start to our day.

You guys, it has been bittersweet having all of the kids out of the house. I miss them during the day. The chaos, the laughter, the conversations they have about everything and nothing at all.

I always thought I would relish this season for the sheer reason that I can do whatever I want for 6 incredible hours a day… And don’t get wrong, some days I do, but most days I miss them.

Do you ever feel that when your kids are at school? Do you miss them or do you deliciously delight in your peace?

 

Share your thoughts with me.

Until Next Taste,
Foodie Finds Home

Ljubljana The Foodie Paradise

Come away with me, the best is yet to be was definitely the theme when we visited Slovenia.

The country of Slovenia will surprise you in the best of ways.

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We took a stroll through a farmers market and the produce was fantastic!

 

For starters, Slovenia has some of the best water in the world.  I’m being so serious right now. I know you’re like what? Water, but guys… Seriously the best water in the world. People fill it up from taps in the street and take it home. Order the water at any restaurant and it’s sure to be a treat. I wanted to take a hundred er… a couple of gallons with me when we left. Water so phenomenally good that it deserved its own paragraph.

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The Artist with the rock sculpture she did during our hike in the Vintgar Gorge.

 

Now that we’re over the water, let’s discuss the food.

My Sister in Law, a mutual friend of ours, and I all decided before we visited Slovenia that we were going to be all about learning through eating. We chose to book a food tour with Top Ljubljana Food Tours and OMG are we glad that we did.

The group that we toured with was so much fun. We had couples from Australia, England, Scotland, and The Netherlands. The conversation that flowed while walking through the beautiful city of Ljubljana was incredible and I swear by this: If you want to get to know someone, eat with them.

I do believe we made some great friends that day and our tour guide Tina was super knowledgeable, as well as fantastic at engaging with the group to draw out the fun side of our personalities.

Guys, if you’re ever in Slovenia I highly recommend this tour and if you are interested in traveling and have questions, please reach out to Tina here at Go To Slovenia Travel.

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Mr. Foodie talked me into doing this. The Athlete and The Artist are in the lift behind us. The view was incredible from the top.  Straza Bled, Alpine Coaster.  (Lake Bled)

I can’t wait to get back.

Slovenia definitely has my heart.

Until Next Taste,
Foodie Finds Home

Below you will find a list of the restaurants we visited while on the tour. The tour lasted around 4 hours and we ended at a rooftop restaurant where our group hung out for a couple of hours after the tour and enjoyed each others company along with some fantastic desserts.

 

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Visit Slovenia.

 

1. DRUGA VIOLINA RESTAURANT
zlikrofi = dumplings with potatoes filling
Wine: bele strune = white strings from Goriska Brda
2. GÜJZNA (Possibly my favorite dish, so simple yet so full of flavor)
Bujta repa = turnip stew with pork and millet
Wine: zeleni silvanec
3. KLOBASARNA
Kranjska klobasa = Carniola sausage or Kranjska sausage
Wine: cviček from Lower Carniola SE Slovenia (the belly of our chicken)
4. RESTAURANT RIBCA
Sardines and Adriatic squids with Trieste sauce

Wine: Malvazia

5. UNION CAFE
Prosciutto on white bread
Wine: red wine Teran from Karst
6. NEBOTICNIK (Rooftop Restaurant/Bar)
Prekmurska gibanica = over the Mura moving layered cake

The Athlete’s Dream Birthday (Paris, France)

When I was little, I always wanted to be a singer. I loved Whitney Houston and had been told I sounded like her when I sing. I still get that compliment, but alas, I’m not a multi-million album selling singer (much to my chagrin).

I say all this because clearly this blog is called Foodie Finds Home.

Well, in this house, the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

My son, The Athlete is very much an athlete, but in his spare time, he is my petit chef.

He has his own chef knife, and he puts in a lot of work honing his skills in the kitchen, and one of his favorite things is to come up with new recipes.
As a chef in my own right, I am one proud mama, but I digress…

Mr. Foodie and I wanted to do things a little differently for his 10th birthday. The Athlete was entering double digits, and it was a special time, so we wanted to celebrate accordingly.

We were living abroad and knew that our boy loved to travel and always wanted to see Paris, so the challenge was making Paris even more special than it already is…

So how does one that?

Well, for us after much research, it became a no-brainer. We decided to take our aspiring chef to the holy grail of culinary arts. Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

It was providential that they happen to have a class scheduled on his actual birthday.

So we woke him up a bit early, and said, “Hey Buddy, get dress, we’re going on an adventure today.” He was happy, but not amused because we did get up very early.
We got the other kids off to school, notified babysitters and were on our way.

The ride to Paris was cool, from France to Germany there are these neat little sculptures along the road, which makes the drive not so monotonous, and about 3.5 hours later we were at our destination.

The funny thing is we arrived in Paris, and he thought okay cool, we’re here to see the Eiffel Tower, eat some escargot, and possibly visit the Louvre. He was perplexed when we started walking the opposite way of the Eiffel and started to ask lots of questions. We dodged them pretty good and didn’t say much until we arrived at the school. He saw the sign and freaked out. It was the best birthday surprise that I believe we could ever give him. We went inside, and it smelled divine. He met his Professor and got on with the course. We left him there for a few hours and explored on our own and felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do something so unique and so aligned with his world. He still speaks of this birthday, and I do not believe that we will ever be able to top it, but birthdays are important in the Foodie House so we will definitely make sure every birthday is special.

How do you celebrate birthdays? Share with us!
Want more info about Le Cordon Bleu courses?
Visit the website here and Facebook here!

Until Next Taste,

Foodie Finds Home

Petit Chef Le Cordon Bleu
The Athlete taking it all in before his class started. The tall gentleman in the back was the instructor.

Mr and Mrs Foodie in Paris
Mr. Foodie and I exploring Paris while The Athlete was in class. ❤

 

Little Chef Le Cordon Bleu
Our Petit Chef after his birthday surprise. He had so much fun and we hope that we can visit Le Cordon Bleu again soon!

 

Peach Bruschetta Blue Grilled Cheese

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite and easy summertime supper recipes. Everyone that tries this raves about it, and I love making the peach bruschetta as an appetizer or even as a topping for salmon or chicken. The bruschetta is such a versatile little dish and packs a flavorful punch. I hope you have fun trying it! Try to get Georgia peaches if you can!

Peach Bruschetta Blue Grilled Cheese

Ingredients
3 Peaches, pitted & diced
2 Tbsp Basil, chopped
3 Tbsp  EVOO
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp crumbled blue cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices bread
2 Tbsp butter or cooking spray for bread

Directions

1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper in a small bowl and whisk.

2. In another bowl combine peaches, basil, and the dressing that you just made. Try not to each the mixture by itself. 😉
(Note: This dressing is good for several things, and it also doubles as a marinade.)

3. Butter one side of bread, place it in the skillet on medium-low heat.

4. Top the non-buttered side with shredded cheddar first, then with a slotted spoon to remove the extra juice, place the peach mixture on top of the cheddar, then top with more cheddar and a tsp of blue cheese. Place a piece of non-buttered bread down on top of the cheese, then butter the top.

5. Wait a few minutes, three to four and then slowly flip the sandwich to the other side, and allow it to get a golden crunchy crust to it, don’t smash the sandwich and be delicate. There is a whole lot of goodness in there that you don’t want to smoosh out. 😉

Remove the sandwich from the skillet, repeat with the remaining ingredients for a second sandwich and enjoy! Double the recipe to make four to five sandwiches. We hope you love the sweet and savory deliciously decadent treat as much as we do in the Foodie House!

In fact, I think I’ll treat myself to one right now! 😉
Until Next Taste,

Foodie Finds Home

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Villa Trapp – Salzburg, Austria Adventure!

Visiting Salzburg, Austria was probably one of my favorite things to do. Staying at the actual Von Trapp Villa was bucket list worthy.

Pulling into the Von Trapp Villa
Driving up to the front of Villa Trapp

The grounds were extensive and a load of fun for tiny travelers to run and play. The history found inside the home was incredible, and of course, we had to sing on the stairs. (No video, but it did happen! So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye, ha!)

Von Trapp Villa
The Sitting Room that overlooks the grounds. It was so lovely and serene.

The staff there were so friendly and accommodating. We had a large party of 6 adults and 6 children traveling together, and that presented its own set of unique circumstances.

 

Foodie Fam on Von Trapp Villa Stairs
My MIL, My SIL, and The Foodie Family on the Von Trapp Stairs

However, our brief time in Austria was incredible. The sights, the sounds, the food to die for.

 

Baked Cinnamon Apples
Traditional Austrian Dessert: Baked Cinnamon Apples… Oh so light and delicious

Austria has so many beautiful cities, but there is something about Salzburg that is just simply special. If you ever get the chance to visit go.

 

Sound of Music Horse Statue
My SIL and The Artist at the Sound of Music fountain, Salzburg, Austria

More information about the Von Trapp Villa can be found here:
Villa Trapp Website
Villa Trapp Facebook

 

Until Next Taste,
Foodie Finds Home

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The Tiniest Foodie having a Sound of Music moment. Ha

 

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