Easy Grilled Shrimp and Spring Vegetable Salad

One thing that I have loved about this quarantine is watching all of our local businesses innovate ways to stay connected to the community and to generate business.  Last night, Chad and I had a fun mid-week date night at home via a virtual cooking class.

Local favorite, Summit Grill, in partnership with Strongbox Wealth, teamed up to present #CookingForACauseKC, which was a live, hands-on, virtual cooking class.  This was also an opportunity to raise awareness for the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

We had the opportunity to learn from the Summit Grill Executive Chef, Conrad Barbera, as he demonstrated how to make a Grilled Shrimp and Spring Vegetable Salad.  It was so easy and so delicious!  I posted a few pictures on my Instagram, and people were dying for the recipe, so I decided to share it here.  Full credit to the chef on this creation, and I was honest about where we modified to match our culinary skill.

We purchased all ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

First step is to prepare your shrimp.

Herb Marinated Shrimp:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Hot Sauce (We used Sriracha)
  • 1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 lb Large Shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Instructions:

  • Combine Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hot Sauce, Garlic, Tomato Paste, Oregano, Salt, and Pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Add shrimp and marinate in a freezer bag for 4-8 hours.  (We did 4 hours.)
  • Before cooking, coat in the Parsley.
  • Cook shrimp in grill pan for 7-10 minutes.  Do not overcook.
  • Add Lemon Juice after cooking.

At the same time you are cooking your shrimp, cook your vegetables.

Grilled Spring Vegetables:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle Asparagus
  • 1 bag Sugar Snap Peas, cooked
  • 1 bag Spring Peas
  • 1 bag Edamame
  • 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper

Instructions:

  • On a hot grill pan, cook asparagus over medium-high heat until lightly charred.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium and add Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Peas, and Edamame.  Season with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Mix thoroughly and cook 2-3 minutes.

Remove everything from heat and prepare your dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Poppy Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Honey (We used Agave.)
  • 1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.

Prepare your salad.

Salad:

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Mixed Greens Salad
  • 2 tbsp. Toasted Almonds
  • 3 tbsp. Shaved Manchego Cheese

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, mound mixed greens.
  • Drizzle generously with Dressing.
  • Mound cooked vegetables on top of greens.
  • Place shrimp around the salad.
  • Top salad with almonds, cheese, and more dressing if desired.

 

We had tons of leftovers, and it reheated very well!

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

4 Ways to Style a Leopard Dress

Okay truth be told, it’s hard for me to pass on a piece of leopard clothing.  But when I saw this leopard slip dress on its hanger in the store, it went straight into the try-on pile.  I was so delighted with the fit and instantly started thinking of ways to style it.  The possibilities are really endless, but here are four styles that I’m loving right now.

Wear it solo!  Throw on some sandals and a colorful accessories for a little interest, and let this cutie stand on her own.

With a Denim Jacket.  Throw on this closet staple and some sneakers, and you’ve got a casual everyday look.

With a Leather Jacket.  This is a dressed up option with a little edge that can also work year round.  Wear with some strappy sandals in the Spring and Summer and with some booties or over-the-knee boots in the Fall and Winter.

With a Graphic Tee.  Everyone’s favorite trend works well here too!  Another great way to wear this dress is as a skirt, with your favorite tee or sweater over the top.  It creates such a flattering silhouette, and you get more bang for your buck.

I’m seriously giddy thinking of all the ways to wear this dress!  It’s definitely more than worth the $25 price tag!

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 5-11-2020

What a weird season we’re in right now. And whether you’re a planner or not, this much uncertainty is making all of us very uncomfortable. So on any given day, many of us are struggling to find the bright spots. When we’re stressed, sad, anxious, insert negative emotion of the moment, it’s so hard to remember all of the positive things that are happening in our lives.

I’m big on making lists. And not just to do lists, lists for everything, of everything. (If you could only see the Notes app on my phone. Seriously wondering if there is a maximum number of Notes one can have. Guess we’ll find out…) Recently, I’ve been trying to keep more of a record of the things that are bringing me joy, both as a reminder of the bright spots, but also a reminder of things I can do when I need some joy.

Also, I often gain ideas of things to try from seeing things that bringing joy to others. We never know who we’re inspiring or influencing, and this is no exception.

So that’s when it hit me: The Happiness Report. You can now join me here every week for a quick recap of five things that have made me happy in the past week. I’m hoping that these things will bring you joy and will serve as a reminder that even the little things can make us happy.

Things that made me happy in the last week:

  1. Self Care Sunday. Sunday has always been a day of rest around here. With the exception of church and lunch, we don’t do much of anything or go anywhere. But now that our church is virtual and restaurants are currently closed for takeout only, we’re not going anywhere! I’ve been using this extra time–and the fact that I’m not seeing anyone except my immediately family–to do some extra self care treatments. A bath, a deep conditioning hair mask, a facial, a pedicure, whatever I feel like doing. It is so relaxing and refreshing, and it’s also a great escape to our master bath for some peace and quiet.

 

2. Virtual Coffee Date. One of my girlfriends and I meet once a month for coffee at our favorite local coffee shop. It’s typically only an hour, but between our full time jobs, our kiddos, our husbands, and everything else, it is often difficult for us to make or keep our date. However, I texted her one morning and asked if she could do a virtual coffee date to catch up, and we were able to schedule and keep it with no problem. It brought me so much joy to see her face (although via FaceTime) and to catch up. Friendships aren’t cancelled.

3. Our Air Fryer. Look, I know I’m years late to this party, but Quarantine Molly does some new, different, and sometimes weird things, so here we are. This air fryer has been sitting in our pantry, in its original box, for several months. But it took one Pinterest recipe for cauliflower gnocchi in an air fryer for me to bust that thing out. Chad and I had fun figuring out our new kitchen appliance (it’s pretty simple, so not much figuring…) and are now brainstorming all the things we want to air fry, because it was so easy! (And yummy.)

4. At Home Date Night. I told Chad last week that I needed some romance. One thing that I love about my husband is that he is actually very affectionate–hugs, hand holds, kisses, freely and often. But romance? Well sometimes he has to be prompted. And with us being together EVERY.SINGLE.SECOND., I felt us slipping into a roommate situation. We’re really good about date nights in a normal environment, and try to go out at least once per month. But since that’s not really an option right now, we had to get creative. We got takeout from a local restaurant, and while Chad went to pick it up, I took care of putting the baby to bed and getting dolled up. And I even made a charcuterie board for a pre-dinner appetizer. Chad put on his date night attire too, so it actually felt like a real date. We started with wine and the board on our deck, moved into the dining room for dinner and dessert, and finished back on the deck for a night cap. No phones, no interruptions, just us, reconnecting. So needed and so much happiness.

5. Mother’s Day. Yea, this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not in the way you might think. As someone who had a lot of years of very sad Mother’s Days, longing to be a mother, it’s a day that I am overcome with joy, but also sensitive to the feelings of others. But what really brought me joy this year was the way I saw women rally around the idea of motherhood in multiple capacities. I saw graphics of expanded definitions of motherhood–moms, dog moms, stepmoms, trying to conceive moms, moms of angels, and the list went on. Additionally, so many social media captions that were intentional to call out that this day may be difficult for others. It brought me so much happiness to see this widespread demonstration of empathy.

 

I hope this made you smile, and I would love to hear what’s bringing you happiness this week!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Single Serving Rice Krispie Treat

Yes, you read that right. With only 3 ingredients, you can be the proud eater of your very own Rice Krispie Treat that you don’t have to share with anyone! Check this out!

Ingredients:

20 mini marshmallows

1.5 tsp butter of choice

1/2 cup Rice Krispies (You can also use Fruity Pebbles, Trix, Chex, whatever cereal you want!)

Instructions:

Place marshmallows and butter in a large mug and microwave for 30 seconds.

Add cereal and mix ingredients.

Press the mixture down to form the treat.

Let cool and set for 10 minutes.

It’s so good! And you can mix in chocolate chips, peanut butter, sprinkles, whatever you want!

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Crockpot Farro and Butternut Squash Chili

Another cold and rainy Spring day in Kansas City had me craving some chili. Plus with the COVID-19 outbreak, I’m trying to make things that are easily frozen and reheated. So I decided to grab a bunch of things things that I had on hand, dump them in my crockpot, and hope for the best.

Y’all, I’m so excited about how this turned out! Such an amazing blend of flavors! And…wait for it…our mini foodie loved it too!

Ingredients:

16 Oz butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp onion powder

5 garlic cloves, minced (approx 5 tbsp)

2 (15 Oz) cans diced tomatoes

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 (15 Oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 Oz) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

8 Oz farro, uncooked

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.

Enjoy!

One Pot Meal: Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Risoni

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–Give me any recipe with minimal dishes to clean! So I’m always trying to create as many one pot meals as possible. I had these ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a shot. The result was delicious, and I’ve been dreaming of the leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 8 oz carton sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 minced garlic gloves (aprox 3 tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I used almond.)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 box risoni (I used Trader Joe’s, and you can also use orzo instead.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Optional toppings: grated parmesan, parsley

Instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil over high heat in a non-stick pan.
  • Add mushrooms and cook until softened (3-5 minutes), remove from pan, and set aside.
  • Lower the heat to medium and melt the butter in the pan.  Add garlic, onion powder, and flour and stir together into paste.
  • Add the milk and broth and whisk together.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, add the risoni, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir, put on lid, and bring to a simmer.
  • Leave to cook for 8-10 minutes or until the risoni is cooked and is still saucy.
  • Remove the pan from the stove.
  • Stir in the parmesan, spinach, and mushrooms.
  • Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Easiest Crockpot Tortellini Soup!

When I saw this bag of frozen tortellini on the Shatto Home Delivery website, I knew I had to have it! Obviously there are a lot of ways you could prepare it, but this week’s cold rainy weather had me craving soup like crazy! I threw this together in the crockpot, and our entire family loved it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen tortellini from Shatto Home Delivery
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 block cream cheeses

Instructions:

  • Spray crockpot with cooking spray.
  • Dump bag of tortellini into crockpot.
  • Layer on the bag of spinach.
  • Pour in vegetable broth and tomatoes.
  • Cube cream cheese and spread on top.
  • Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  • Stir and serve.

 

This was a huge hit and will definitely be a frequent fix in our house!

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

One Pot Fusilli with Spinach, Sundried Tomatoes, and Capers

Okay so any meal that requires minimal dishwashing or cleanup is totally my jam! This delicious pasta dish has minimal ingredients and only requires one pot! You’re going to love it!

Ingredients:

8 Oz Fusilli pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic (approximately 3 tbsp)

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

3 tbsp capers drained

2 cups fresh spinach

1/3 cup pine nuts

Instructions:

Cook fusilli using package directions and drain.

In the same pot, heat 2 oil on medium heat.

Add garlic, tomatoes, capers, and nuts and cook for 2 minutes.

Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Add pasta and cook on low for 1 minute.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Easy Black Bean Rice Bowl

Doesn’t it seem like you always have a random box of rice in your pantry? What happened there? You’re at the store like, “Oh yea, probably need a box of rice too.” You know, so it can sit there until it expires…

But I’ve been trying to make an effort to use the food in our pantry before adding to it, so I used that random rice for this super easy Black Bean Rice Bowl that I know you’ll love too!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 tbsp onion powder

1/4 tsp Sea Salt, divided

1 package rice of choice

1 1/3 cup vegetable stock

6 sweet mini peppers, cut into rings

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions:

• In a medium pan, heat one tbsp olive oil over medium heat.

• Add onion powder and 1/8 tsp sea salt and stir.

• Stir in rice to coat the grains with oil and spice mixture.

• Add the vegetable stock, bring to a quick simmer, and turn off heat. Cover and allow to sit for 12 minutes.

• In a small saucepan, heat 2 tsp olive oil.

• Add the peppers and 1/8 tsp salt.

• Cook for 2 minutes or until peppers are soft. Remove from heat.

• In a medium saucepan, warm the black beans over low heat with 1 tbsp of water. Keep warm until rice is finished.

• After 12 minutes, stir the rice.

• Add the lime juice and 1 tsp olive oil to rice and mix thoroughly.

• Stir in black beans.

• Divide the rice and bean mixture between 4 bowls and top with peppers and cilantro.

This could easily be served with a meat or meat substitute.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

PS—Toddler approved and seconds requested!

Meet My Glam Squad: My Experience with Lash Extensions

I hate mascara.  Seriously.  I hate the way it never completely comes off when you remove your makeup.  I hate the way it flakes into your eyes and gets stuck to your contacts.  I hate the way it smudges and makes me look like I got even less sleep than I actually did.  I just hate it.

Okay, I know this seems like a lot of negativity for me, and perhaps a little dramatic.  Hang with me…

Because although I hate it, I know how much better my makeup looks when I wear it.  And the older I get, the more I rely on its help.  It makes my eyes look more awake, and it brightens up my entire face.  So begrudgingly, I wear it.  Until now.

Over the past year, I’ve been on a quest to experiment mascara alternatives.  (I told you I hate it.)

First, I tried a lash serum.  A very large MLM was the first company I knew about that offered such a thing outside of a med spa.  And yes, I bought it.  Remember, I am always honest with you…it worked.  Like really worked.  It worked so well that I actually had to trim one of my lashes, because it grew so long that it was touching my eyebrow.  My lashes looked incredible!  But it’s expensive and the tube only lasts about a month, since you have to apply it each day for it to last.  I loved the way my lashes looked, but I could not justify paying $140 a month, no matter how much I despise mascara.  After that experience, I tried several other dupe serums from Amazon, and ultimately could never find anything that worked as well.

(I want to be clear that this was MY experience alone.  I do know people who have had allergic reactions to these serums, so please speak to a professional before trying anything.)

Next, I tried a lash lift and tint.  The process was quick (less than 30 minutes), easy (just lay there), had very little downtime (12 hours before getting wet), and does not require any aftercare.  Essentially, a lash lift is a perm for your lashes that curls your lashes to open up your eyes.  A tint is an application of dye to your lashes.  Together, this gives the illusion that you are wearing mascara.  This procedure is projected to last 4-6 weeks, depending on lifestyle.

Overall, I really liked it.  My lashes definitely looked best right after the appointment, and for the first week.  The color lasted almost 5 weeks, but the lift only lasted about 3 weeks.  Full disclosure, I workout 6 times per week and sweat a lot, I shower every day, and I double cleanse my face, so I expose my face (and lashes) to a lot of moisture.  Someone with a different lifestyle would likely be able to make their lash services last much longer.

And finally, lash extensions.  You know these, as they have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, as they give the daily illusion of longer, fuller lashes.  I liken them to the look of false eyelashes, which I love to wear for photos and special events to really make my eyes pop.  Much like fake lashes, extensions come in different lengths, fullness, colors, and textures.  This seemed like the natural next step in my lash adventure!

KC Lashes is a local Kansas City woman-owned lash salon in Park Place in Leawood.  They offer lash extensions, lash lifts, lash tints, as well as brow services.  KC Lashes owner Tasha Socin, Owner says, “At KC Lashes we are more than just lashes.  We believe in making every single one of our clients feel better beautiful inside and out.  That’s why we focus on having superior service, standards, excellent customer service, amazing products, and making sure each clients leaves feeling their absolute best.”  After researching them and talking with Tasha, I knew this was the spot!

During my first visit, I met my lash artist, Jazzmin, and she asked me a lot of questions to ensure that I had the best experience possible.  She asked about my lifestyle and the look I was wanting to ensure that I got the lash look that was right for me and would match my activity level.  After she got that information, she walked me through the procedure–what she would do, what I would do, what it would feel like, everything!  From there, it was time to get gorgeous!

During a lash extension application, you lay on a padded table, similar to that of a massage table.  The tables at KC Lashes are covered in plush blankets, and there are blankets available for you to cover up if you like.  It’s clear that they are all about your comfort!  Which is great, because your initial application can last up to 2 hours.  The artist will tell you that most people fall asleep, you’ll laugh, and then about 15 minutes in, you’ll fall asleep too.  It’s just so cozy!

During the procedure, your eyes are closed, and the lash artist works their magic.  They thoroughly clean your eye area, they apply the lashes that you selected, and they get you cleaned up.

After my lashes were applied, Jazzmin handed me a mirror, and I was in love!  (Okay that sounded super vain.)  It was clear that she really listened to what I wanted, and I was blown away with the look of my new lashes.  Once she was confident that I was happy with my lashes, she went over my after care.

With lash extensions, you do have to be cautious and treat them with care.  They cannot get wet within 24 hours of your appointment.  (This includes sweat and shower.)  Rubbing your eyes is a no no.  (Which you will undoubtedly forget on the 3rd day when your alarm goes off at 4 AM…)  You should be cautious about the skincare products and makeup you use on your eyes.  (The lash artist will ask about these and make recommendations in those initial pre-application questions.)  And it’s a good idea to comb through them at least once per day so they maintain their shape and separation.

After your initial application, you should return after 2 weeks for a fill.  (Very similar idea to when you have acrylic nails.)  The fill is to inspect how well you are maintaining your lashes and if adjustments should be made, to fill in lashes that are lost over the 2 weeks since application, and to adjust the look if you would like.  After that 2 week appointment, the lash artist will recommend you return every 2-4 weeks for a fill, depending on how well you are maintaining your lash extensions.

After my initial application, I maintained about 60% of my extensions.  We identified that the facial cleanser I was using was tough on my lashes, so I purchased a new cleanser that would prevent any damage.  Additionally, as I mentioned, I sweat a lot and frequently, so it was anticipated that I would lose more than some customers.

Currently, I am on my 3rd fill, and I could not be happier with the look and my experience.  Every time I go, I’m excited to see Jazzmin.  She is so sweet, and she always remembers what we talked about the last time, and she always asks about my kiddo.  I am so relaxed during the session.  And the salon is absolutely gorgeous!

So here’s some great news for all of you!  New customers can get $20 off your first full set of lash extensions at KC Lashes when you mention my name at booking!  This is a big savings, and I know you’ll fall in love with the team and with your lashes.

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you visit KC Lashes!

XOXO,

Molly B.