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Four Local Pittsburgh Restaurants That Are Worth the Money

By Food No Comments

Pittsburgh is full of restaurants, and luckily tons of local restaurants to try! That means that you have plenty of ordering options and could try new things for a long time! I haven’t had the ability to try every restaurant in town, but here are my favorites. I realized after looking at my list that my personal favorites are on the southside, but that’s where my favorite local joints are at! Below are my four must try restaurants, I hope you enjoy and if you have tried them or have your own Pittsburgh recommendations, leave them below in the comments!

First Pittsburgh Restaurant: My Thai

Website: Home (mythaipittsburgh.com)

This restaurant has some of the best Thai food around! They have an easy ordering system and their food always hit that Thai food craving. My husband and I’s personal favorite at this restaurant is the Thai Noodle Curry with beef at the level 3 spice. Literal perfection, not too hot and the beef was very well cooked. I’ve also tried the Duck Soup which was very very good. However, it comes in several containers if you get it to go. Make sure you SHAKE the containers and get all the spices out before you heat it up! In their regular entree section, the Garlic option was really good. Packed with veggies and your choice of meat and spice. We got it a couple different ways, but this was my favorite dish for my daughter. We got the lowest spice level, and it was easy for her to eat without any crazy heat! Also, a lot of times restaurants make accidental mistakes, My Thai was amazing at rectifying the mistake and also giving us a milk tea for our inconvenience. Ya’ll… that milk tea became a craving for me it’s so good. I don’t love the boba’s so mine came without it and I was so happy with it.

Second Pittsburgh Restaurant: Riley’s Poorhouse (Reubens)

Website: Riley’s Pour House – Irish Restaurant in Carnegie, PA (rileyspourhouse.com)

Let me be very upfront here, the entire reason we go to this restaurant are for the Reubens. We used to be avid fans of Penn Brewery, however they got rid of their classic Reuben, so we had to look elsewhere. After trying a few places, we were given the recommendation of Riley’s Poorhouse. Riley’s Poorhouse is definitely a hole in the wall location, which as you know tend to be the best. That is exactly how Riley’s is for their Reubens. The sandwich is huge, filled with meat and honestly gives me about 2 meals every time I order it. They do have limited sides, mainly fries or tater tots, which isn’t bad but nothing to write home about. While I haven’t tried any of their local brews, they do offer them, and their atmosphere would make for fun dinner with friends!

Third Pittsburgh Restaurant: Venice Pizzeria

Website: Venice Pizzeria (venicepizzeriaonline.com)

Okay so we have tried several different pizza places, usually based on what friends/locals have ordered for us when we were hanging out. But we found this Venice Pizzeria that was down the street from our house, and it instantly became a family favorite. Our go to pizza is the Meateaters Pie. We get a large/extra-large, so we have leftovers for the next day. It’s stacked full of meat and is on a thinner crust. It does make the crust a bit flimsy so be aware of that. However, the flavor paired with the Ranch dip they give you is perfection. We’ve had all of our family members try it, it’s that good. I’ve also tried their standard pizzas (cheese and pepperoni and was equally happy with both). Venice Pizzeria also offers food options outside of pizza, but just like any other restaurant, I tend to stick to the restaurant’s strengths, in this case their pizza.

Fourth Pittsburgh Restaurant: Mike and Tony’s Gyros/The Original Gyro

Websites: Mike & Tonys Gyros – Mike & Tony’s Gyros – Greek Restaurant in PA (mikeandtonysgyros.com)/The Original Gyro | 2 Locations | Greek Food, Pizza, and Hoagies (ogpgh.com)

My husband and I are big fans of Gyro’s and I have to say I have two favorites in Pittsburgh. They would be Mike and Tony’s Gyros and the Original Gyro. Mike and Tony’s are a sit-down restaurant that offers beer and TVs to watch the local game. They have a very nice restaurant, easy parking (which is rare in Pittsburgh) and really wonderful service. I opt to get their Original Gyro with coleslaw on the side and am never disappointed. They also have a great kid’s menu with a broken-down gyro which is perfect for young kids and also comes with a ton of meat. My husband also tried their steak gyro the other day and said it was tied with the original gyro in flavor!

As for The Original Gyro, they are more of a takeout location, which is completely ideal some days! They are very fast and their gyros are full of meat and flavor. They also come with fries and a drink as part of their combo which makes it a great deal. Now I’m not going to lie, the fries and not good. I’ve been many times and I could live without the fries every time. You may end up liking them, but in my opinion, you’d be better off getting some McDonald’s fries to pair with it if you really want fries!

Don’t just try through Pittsburgh, make sure you take the time to stop in try some local Pittsburgh restaurants and experience all that Pittsburgh has to offer!

Cultivate Confidence has tons of recipe reviews, make sure to check them out on our page here: Cultivate Confidence Recipe Reviews.

How to Make Mini Pecan Pies

By Food No Comments

Mini pecan pies are the perfect answer to, ‘I don’t want a whole slice, but I want a taste’. Easy to make and they are the perfect sizing for a group setting. The taste of the filling was really good and very simple to make. This is definitely an easy recipe that you can do if you are in a pinch. The taste of these pies is also incredible, taste just like your favorite pecan pie just in a smaller version!

Mini Pecan Pies Overall Review: 4/5

Overall, these mini pecan pies tasted good, were easy to make and didn’t require a ton of ingredients. The biggest downside is the amount of filling. I’m sure that the goal was to not overfill the mini pies, but we found they ended up lacking in filling. Personally, I believe doubling the filling (not the amount of pecans) would help tremendously. Even if you don’t use all the filing, you need more than what’s listed in my opinion. HOWEVER, if you like quite a bit of crust these are perfect as is. The taste is really good don’t get me wrong and they are so easy to make you won’t regret doing it!

Check out more of our recipe reviews here: Cultivate Confidence Reviews

Mini Pecan Pies

Recipe From Mini Pecan Pies – Belly Full

  • 2 Pie crusts (From 14 oz Refrigerated box)
  • 1/4 cup Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/3 cup Light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • pinch Salt
  • 1/2 cup Chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan (normal size) with nonstick spray.

  2. Roll the pie crusts out of the package and cut circles with glass cup or cookie cutter to 3.5 inches in diameter. (I had to use a coffee mug as it was the only thing I had that size!) The goal is to get 6 circles per pie crust. I got 5 before I had to reroll the crust together.

  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, melted butter, beten egg, corn syrup, vanilla extract, salt and pecans. Mix well.

  4. Fill each pie crust with 1 1/2 tbsps of filling. (Mine really only made enough for 1 tbsp per pie. If you want a very full mini pie, you would need to double the filling –not the pecan amount though).

  5. Bake for 25 minutes until center of pie starts to solidify and isn't jiggly.

  6. Cool completely in pan.

  7. To get out of pan, gently run a knife to loosen any parts that are stuck. BE CAREFUL doing this so you don't break the flakey crust off.

  8. Enjoy!

How to Make the Best Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls

By Food No Comments

Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls. Ya’ll, these might be one of the best recipes I’ve ever tried! Everything is made from scratch which I also love. If I’m going to make something I want to be able to say I made it all from scratch. This was my first-time making cinnamon rolls from scratch, and I will say it turned out to be easier than I was anticipating. The dough itself is going to be your biggest hurdle to overcome. Read the directions carefully before you start and be sure not to mix to the correct texture. The recipe called for the dough to be kneaded until smooth and elastic. Personally, I wasn’t entirely sure what elastic dough should look like, so I googled some pictures to help me get to the right consistency. I highly recommend doing so if you aren’t comfortable with what that dough texture should look like.

Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls Overall Review: 4.8/5

Overall, I found these to be some of the best cinnamon rolls. There is plenty of flavor, which makes it absolutely perfect for autumn or the holidays. I might even make these again Christmas morning as a yummy treat! The small downsides are the price, good apples and good apple cider, as well as the number of calories per roll. It’s definitely not a healthy option, so be sure to have lots of people to share them with to spread the wealth! If you decide to try out these apple cider cinnamon rolls, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Check out more of our reviews here: Cultivate Confidence Reviews

Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Taste of Home – Fall Baking 2021

Cinnamon Roll

  • 3 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 pkg Quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup 2% Milk (I used whole milk )
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider (or apple juice)
  • 1/4 cup Butter softened
  • 1/3 cup Butter softened
  • 1 Large Egg (room temperature)
  • 2 cups Finely chopped peeled tart apples
  • 1 1/4 cups Packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tsp Ground cinnamon

Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups Apple cider (or apple juice)
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 pkg Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup Butter (softened)
  • 1 cup Confectioners' Sugar
  1. Take a large bowl and combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside

  2. In a saucepan, heat milk, cider, and 1/4 cup butter (to 120-130 degrees). Add to the dry ingredients you set aside and beat until just moistened. Add egg and beat until smooth. Take your remaining flour and add a small amount at a time. You are looking to add just enough to make a soft dough (sticky dough—I used about all that was remaining).

  3. Put dough on a floured surgace and knead until smooth and elastic(I recommend googling what elastic dough looks like for a better idea). Should take around 8 minutes to do. Cover the dough and let sit for about 10 minutes.

  4. Roll your dough into a 15×10 rectangle and spread remaining butter to about 1/2 of the border. In a small bowl, combine your apples, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. Once combined sprinkle over the butter.

  5. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side. Pinch the seam to close. Cut into 12 slices (somehow, I only cut 11 haha). Place the cut side down on an a greased/parchment lined baking pan or dish. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes

  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until golden brown (30-35 minutes).

  7. Frosting: In a small saucepan bring the cider and cinnamon stick to a boil. Let cook(stirring frequently) until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (20-30 minutes depending on your stove). Remove cinnamon stick and cool the cider.

  8. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and your reduced cider. Combine until smooth. Spread over warm rolls (watch how much you put on or you will overpower the cinnamon roll taste).

The only thing I would caution you on is how much frosting to put on top, the recipe makes a ton of icing for the cinnamon rolls. My husband and I think about 1/2 to 3/4 of the frosting made is what you actually need to properly frost the cinnamon rolls. If you are a huge icing fan, make the whole thing as it does taste great! It can just overwhelm the cinnamon roll if you aren’t careful.

Attempting the Harry Potter Inspired Pumpkin Pasties

By Food No Comments

Do you count the first day of fall as September 1st or September 22nd (the official first day)? All the pumpkin flavored drinks are out, the boutiques are selling fall clothes and Hobby Lobby has Christmas Decor out! Guess that means it’s time to start working on fall foods! If you’ve ever seen or read Harry Potter, you will be familiar with the term Pumpkin Pasties. HOWEVER, I had no idea what they were supposed to look like, so this turned out… interesting to say the least. I definitely did my best, but this was a rough go around. The dough was real sticky no matter how much I floured the surface. I’m going to have to retry this recipe or find a better dough recipe.

Pumpkin Pasties Overall Review: 3/5

The pumpkin pasties dough was so sticky and hard to work with, I double checked I put all the proportions in right and it just didn’t seem to want to work. I don’t know whether it’s worth trying this recipe again and seeing if I made a mistake this first time or trying a different recipe where I might get a better dough to work with. Mine was nowhere near as thick as pictures that you see of Pumpkin Pasties online. It was really disappointing to work with and frustrating trying to get it to work. Now the taste was really good! I thought the filling was sweet but not overpowering and I loved the flavor of the dough with it. It was simply that it was so hard to work with. I am no expert at pastries or baking, so this is a very ametuer review. But want to be very clear before you try this one that it’s a bit more difficult than meets the eye. If I choose to try another recipe/retry this one, I will post an update below letting you know if it was me that made a mistake or not!

One more note, this is why you need pictures of the final product with recipes, so you know what you are trying to accomplish! I think that would have helped the shaping as I had no clue what I was going for! haha! I will be trying another recipe to see if I can get a better outcome for these pumpkin pasties. If you’ve made them before, what recipe did you use? Leave them below in the comments! xoxo-Kayla

Check out more recipe reviews here: Cultivate Confidence Recipe Reviews.

Pumpkin Pasties

Recipe from: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Pasty Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 5 tbsp Cold Butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 4-6 tbsp Ice water

Filling

  • 1 cup Canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  1. In a food processor, place the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse until combined. Evenly distribute your butter and shortening pieces into the food processor. Pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal with no white powdery bits (its recommended 15 pulses but it took me closer to 20).

  2. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Then add your 4 tbsps. of cold water. Mix with a spatula until it starts clumping together. If it's too dry add 1 tbsp of cold water until it clumps, it's okay if it's a bit wet. Gather the dough into a ball, pat into a disk, and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.

  3. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Take out your chilled dough and on a well-floured surface roll the dough until 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into 6-inch circles.

  5. Put 2-3 tbsp of filling in the center, moisten edges with water and fold dough over and crimp with fork to seal edges. If you are nervous, start with 2 tbsp for your first pasty. I highly recommend looking up a photo of pumpkin pasties for a better idea how to fold, but basically your fold should be on one side NOT the center to crimp. You then want to cut slips in the center to vent the pasties.

  6. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes or until browned.

How to Make the BEST Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

By Food No Comments

Are you looking for a new recipe to make your pork chops taste even better? Well look no further! These salt and pepper pork chops seem simple and don’t seem like they would taste good, but this recipe far exceeded all my expectations. You can honestly use those cheaper pork chops at the grocery store or invest in a bit thicker/better quality pork chops. Either way, this is an easy to make pork chops that packs a ton of wonderful flavor. I’m not saying that these are exactly like Chinese takeout, because they are better. Homecooked, full of flavor and worth every bit of love you put into them.

Overall Review: 5/5

I honestly have zero complaints about this recipe, its everything I could have asked for and more. My husband and I loved it so much I made the recipe twice in a week and a half. I found that it does take bit for the pork chops to cook to that nice crispy level, but it’s worth the wait to do them in sections! These pork chops were served with brown rice and topped my bowl with soy sauce and my husband’s bowl with siracha. I think it just adds an extra kick, but they are perfect on their own as well! If you try these pork chops, let me know in the comments below!

For more recipe reviews head to our page here: Recipe Reviews.

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops (椒盐猪排) – Omnivore's Cookbook (omnivorescookbook.com)

Pork Chop Marinade

  • 1 lb Boneless Pork Chops – cut into irregular pieces (1/2"-1")
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (I used any wine I had on hand- a dry wine would be perfect for this)
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Pepper Salt

  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

Cooking Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Conrstarch
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil -Enough to cover half of the pork
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Jalapeno (you can use 2 if you like it spicier) (thinly sliced )
  1. Combine the cut pork with the oil, wine, tablespoon cornstarch and salt. Mix until pork is completely coated. Marinate for 15-30 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the salt and pepper and set aside.

  3. In your cast iron(or medium sized pan) add oil and heat over medium heat until hot. Oil will bubble some but not be boiling. Have a plate lined with paper towels close to your pan.

  4. Once your oil is hot, add your sliced garlic and jalapenos and fry until garlic is a pale golden color and jalapenos start to crisp up. It took me about 3-4 minutes but depends on how hot your pan is. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining the excess oil, and place on your prepared plate. Once cooled transfer to the salt and pepper bowl.

  5. Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch to the pork chops and coat evenly. Then add the pork to the pan in sections so you don't overcrowd them. Cook until crispy and slightly browned. Remove from pan and drain excess oil as you remove the pork. Place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all pork is cooked.

  6. Transfer your cooked pork the salt and pepper bowl and toss to coat all of your pork. Add more salt & pepper to taste.

  7. Serve with brown rice and enjoy! I top ours with soy sauce or siracha to give an extra punch, but totally up to your preference!

10 Easy to Make Toddler Meals That Are Sure to Be a Hit

By Food No Comments

Feeding a toddler three meals a day, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY., can be overwhelming. When you feel. overwhelmed, here are 10 easy to make toddler meals that will help you and your toddler have a stress-free meal. My key to a great meal is to keep it simple. The way I handle toddler meals is that every meal has three parts, a main and two sides. The two sides are generally a fruit and veggie, that way there is balance in the meal no matter what the main is.

10 Easy to Make Toddler Meals

  1. Sausage and Cheese Quesadilla
    • Breakfast sausage is my preferred choice for this quesadilla.
    • My daughter prefers pepperjack cheese which gives an extra kick to this meal.
    • To make, heat your griddle to medium/low heat. Add a small dab of butter and let melt, add your small soft taco shell and sprinkle the cheese on top. Let the cheese start to melt and then add your cooked sausage on top of the cheese. Once cheese is fully melted fold the shell into a quesadilla and cut into 4 sections. This makes it easier for your toddler to grab and eat.
  2. Spinach, cheese, and shredded Chicken Quesadilla
    • To make, heat your griddle to medium/low heat. Add a small dab of butter and let melt, add your small soft taco shell and sprinkle the cheese on top. Let the cheese start to melt and then add your cooked chicken and spinach on top of the cheese. Once cheese is fully melted fold the shell into a quesadilla and cut into 4 sections. This makes it easier for your toddler to grab and eat.
  3. Scrambled Eggs with Shredded Cheese and Sausage
    • Take your favorite pan and heat over medium/low heat and spray generously with Pam Spray.
    • In a separate bowl, break the eggs and add about 1 tbsp of water per egg in the bowl. Whisk together until pale yellow. Add a touch of salt and pepper to the egg mixture and then add it to your pan. Let the eggs sit for a minute and cook and then start scrambling them together.
    • Once they are about 80-90% cooked, add in your preferred shredded cheese and allow the cheese to melt while your eggs finish cooking. (you can add small bits of already cooked breakfast sausage with the cheese if your toddler likes meat).
  4. Shredded Chicken and Rice
    • I make sure the rice has butter on it to help make it appealing. I’ve also tried rice and veggies like green beans so feel free to substitute the chicken for your toddlers favorite veggie.
  5. Chicken Bites with Chick-fil-a Sauce
    • Chicken bites, are cooked chicken breasts lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, then cut into toddler size bites. Once cut into bite size pieces use the at home Chick-fil-a sauce bottle and add sauce on top of the chicken. Toss to combine and serve. The sauce is key, I don’t put a ton on, but it makes all the difference!
  6. Butter pasta with/without ground beef
    • Butter pasta is easy to make and my daughter loved it. I add salt and pepper to help with the flavoring as well.
  7. Ham & Cheese Sandwich (slightly toasted and cut into 4 squares)
  8. Cut up Meat – Simple but a fan favorite!
    • Deli Meat – My daughter’s absolute favorite
    • Breakfast sausage
    • Chicken
    • Ground beef/turkey
  9. Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots
    • Make sure they are soft and the pot roast is broken into small sections.
  10. Macaroni & Cheese
    • Don’t feel bad about this one, kids love it, and it makes for an easier meal for you! I highly recommend only putting in about half of the packet of cheese flavor, still tastes good without all the artificial flavors.

Side Ideas

  1. Oven Roasted Broccoli – Cut into medium/small bites, toss in a bit of olive oil and salt and place on a baking pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  2. Avocado/Guacamole -If you haven’t offered your toddler this, you need too! They actually make guacamole in individual small containers so you can keep them longer. They are the perfect size for a toddler meal and taste great. Here is a link to an example: Single Serving Guacamole
  3. Fresh or Canned Fruit – Here me out on this one, I prefer fresh fruit. I tend to give my daughter fresh blackberries, strawberries, watermelon, etc. However, on busy days, or when I’m out of fresh fruit having canned fruit options is a huge blessing. She still gets fruit servings and its easily available whenever I need.
  4. Cottage Cheese -sprinkle a little salt and this is a big crowd pleaser!
  5. Yogurt -You can freeze this into popsicles they can enjoy as their ‘dessert’ or you can offer yogurt as a side option. Either way its healthy and an easy side to add on to their meal.
  6. Cucumbers (peeled and cut into circles) -My daughter LOVES cucumbers, and they are the perfect side especially if you are on the go.
  7. Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes – To make them even better coat them in butter and brown sugar before baking (400 degrees F, about 20 min or until tender)
  8. Roasted carrots –Make sure these are well cooked, easily mashed between two fingers. I add a touch of butter to make them more appealing.
  9. Boiled green beans – Similar to carrots, just make sure they are easily mashed between two fingers.

If you are interested in more from Cultivate Confidence, check out our recipe reviews here: Cultivate Confidence Recipe Reviews.

3 Aldi Dinner Recipes You Need to Try

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With today’s inflation being out of control and everyone looking to shop on a budget, I wanted to share 3 Aldi Dinner Recipes that you need to try! These are recipes you should be able to pick up at any Aldi grocery store (or grocery store near you). Aldi is a budget grocery store where I live which is why I am referencing it. Below are my three tried and true recipes that are perfect for any weeknight dinner. You can customize the stir fry listed with any meat of your preference; the kielbasa is a cheap but great option which is why it’s one of my staples.

1.) Ham & Cheese Sliders

Ham and Cheese Sliders are without doubt one of my favorite recipes to make and its simple and quick to assemble and bake! I highly recommend you try it. This recipe makes 12 sliders, which feeds my husband and I easily. However, if you are feeding more than two (or are really hungry) I would double the recipe.

  • Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1 pound of Ham
  • Pepper jack Cheese Block (cut into thin slices)
  • Mayo
  • Hot Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Optional: Pepperoncini (Cut into slices)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Gently cut your Hawaiian Rolls in half horizontally. Be as even as you can be. Place the top to the side and place the bottom on an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Spread your mayo mixture on the bottom layer of rolls. The Mayo Mixture is 3 parts mayo, 1-part hot sauce and about a 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce.
  4. After your mayo sauce is on, layer on the entire pound of ham as evenly as you can.
    1. Optional – Add pepperoncini slices here if you desire
  5. Cut your pepper jack cheese into thin even slices. Place your cheese evenly on top of the ham.
  6. Place the top half of the Hawaiian Rolls on top of the cheese
  7. Mix 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper together and using a brush; brush the mixture on top of the rolls.
  8. Place the rolls in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and rolls are golden brown.
  9. Slice the rolls into individually sandwiches and serve immediately. Enjoy!

2. Kielbasa & Veggie Stir-fry

Kielbasa is almost always available and reasonably priced. One of my go to dinners is chopping up a Kielbsa and veggies together, its a quick one pan dish perfect for busy weeknights.

  • 2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Kielbasa
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 1-2 Peppers (Orange, Yellow or Red)
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2-3 Whole Carrots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prep your veggies. Chop your onion into small pieces and set aside. Cut your peppers into long thing strips, I find they cook better and are easier to eat evenly with your meat. Chop your zucchini into fourths and then into smaller sections, not as small as your onion but not too large that they won’t cook evenly. Peel your carrots and chop into small circles as evenly as you can. Set all your veggies aside.
  2. Prep your meat. Cut your kielbasa in half and then cut that into about 1/2-inch half-moons to make them able to evenly cook.
  3. Heat your cast iron (or cooking pan) over medium heat and then add your extra virgin olive oil. Once heated throw in your kielbasa and allow that meat to sear on one side, once its seared flip to the other side and add in your onion and carrots. Once the other side of the meat is seared and your onion is slightly translucent.
  4. Then add your peppers and zucchini and cook until veggies are tender but not falling apart, between 8-10 minutes depending on your stove and preferences.
  5. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Serve warm and add hot sauce or other condiments based on your preference.

3. Traditional Fettuccini Alfredo

I’ve made this alfredo several times and it is SO different than alfredo in the states. I really love this type as its lighter and easy for your stomach to handle. It’s very easy to make, it just requires doing things a bit different than your traditional pouring canned alfredo into your pot. If you’re interested in pictures from the time I made it, check out our post here: Traditional Alfredo.

  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (Diced)
  • 4 oz Parmesano Reggiano (or Parmesan) Cheese (Grated)
  • 1 pound Fettuccine Pasta
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add fettuccine pasta and cook until al dente. DO NOT DRAIN!!
  3. In a separate large bowl, dice the butter and add the grated cheese
  4. Using tongs add the pasta on top of the butter and cheese.
  5. Add a half cup of the pasta water to the pasta, butter, and cheese bowl. Mix with tongs until combined and creamy. Add more pasta water if you want a creamier texture.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Grate some extra parmesan on top and serve immediately! Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed my 3 Aldi Dinner recipes and if you have your own suggestions/favorite Aldi recipes leave them below in the comments for us to try! xoxo-Kayla

How to Make Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones

By Food No Comments

One of my favorite bakery treats to go with my morning coffee is scones. They are the perfect complement to a piping hot cup of joe. My mom sent me this Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones recipe from Half Baked Harvest and I knew I needed to try it ASAP! I think the hardest part of these scones was finding the dried lavender. I went to three different stores with no luck so I ended up ordering some on Amazon. Just an FYI as you go into this recipe and try to find all the ingredients. Additionally, the recipe isn’t hard to make but there are a few more steps than some of the other scones I’ve tried. I’d highly recommend reading through all the instructions once before starting so you know what the plan is.

My favorite part of these Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones is that there are so many flavors in every bite. The tartness of the blackberry is offset by the white chocolate chips and the lavender glaze really brings all the flavors together. The original recipe calls for additional butter once the scones are done, I felt that the scones didn’t need butter with all the other flavors that are present. Of course, you are free to add anything to your scones, but I recommend leaving them as is, at least for the first bite!

Overall Review: 5/5

These scones were a huge hit with my husband and his co-residents! My husband is not a huge lavender fan, and the balance of flavors was absolutely perfect. The lavender is not overwhelming, and you can easily adjust how potent the lavender taste is based on your preference. If you love scones, I would highly recommend you make these Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones. You will not be disappointed!

If you enjoyed this recipe review, check out the rest here: Cultivate Confidence Recipe Reviews.

Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest

  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Baking Sheet
  • Saucepan
  • Parchment Paper

Scone Mix

  • 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 12 tbsp Cold Salted Butter (Grated)
  • 3/4 cup Cold Cream or Buttermilk
  • 1 Large Egg (Beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cups Blackberries
  • 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips

Lavender Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Dried Lavender
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 cups Powdered Sugar ((I only needed 1))
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add grated butter and toss in with the flour, doesn't have to be perfect, large crumbs is perfect. Add the cream or buttermilk and egg. I combined the beaten egg and cream first and then added to flour mix. Mix until just combined, DO NOT OVERMIX. Fold in the blackberries and white chocolate chips, expect blackberries to burst as you do this.

  3. Put dough on floured surface, pat into a 1-inch-thick square. Cut into 9 squares which will be your scones sizes. Place each square on a baking sheet and then brush a bit of cream on each scone. Do not overcrowd your baking sheet, do in batches if needed. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown. You can test with a toothpick as well to be sure they are baked completely.

  4. For the glaze.

    Warm milk and butter in a small saucepan that's set over medium (low-medium) heat. Heat until steaming about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lavender. Then cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer and then discard the lavender. Stir vanilla and powdered sugar into your lavender mix.

  5. Serve warm with glaze drizzled on top. You can add a bit of butter, but these are great on their own!

Mia’s First Birthday – How to Get a Perfect First Birthday Cake Smash

By Food No Comments

My perfect, beautiful daughter just turned one! It’s crazy how fast time flies by! There was one thing that I promised myself I would do and that was a first birthday cake smash photoshoot. As with most women I knew I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration and found all of these adorable teepee cake smash photos! That was when I knew that was the route I wanted to take. Our photographer was completely on board (she even had a tent already) and boy did she deliver! I’ve listed all the items that you will need for your own first birthday cake smash below, as well as all the links I could find.

Items Needed for the Perfect First Birthday Cake Smash

  • Smash Cake – Mine was $7 at my local bakery. I got mine from Oakmont Bakery in Pennsylvania.
  • Birthday outfit – Mias Outfit is from Bailey’s Blossoms
  • White Teepee- Mine was provided by our photographer, but here is a great option on Amazon! White Teepee option
  • Chalkboard & Easel – Target $5 Section Find!
  • Kick Butt Photographer – Victoria Isabel Photography just KILLED THIS CAKE SMASH!
  • Wood and flowers – Items I had at the house. I encourage you to repurpose as much as you can for these shoots, but if you need to buy them, here are the links.

How to Make Your Photos Go Off Without a Hitch

Once you have all the items for your photos, you need to ensure that your day of photos go off without a hitch. That means, choosing the right time of day, and preparing in advance. Below are my five tips to getting your baby prepared for these photos!

  1. Eat First! I made sure that we fed Mia dinner before we headed to the park that way, we didn’t hit any hungriness before the photos.
  2. Arrive 10-15 minutes early so that your kid can get out and move around before the photos. Give your baby some time to decompress so they are ready to have fun and pose for photos.
  3. Change diapers, have snacks and milk ready and available during the shoot. Be okay with taking breaks to help keep your baby happy.
  4. Don’t put the cake down until all of your decorations are up, the photographer is ready, and all family photos are done. The cake smash should be the last thing you do (if you do family photos). As soon as the cake smash is over, be prepared for your baby to be tired, overstimulated, and on a sugar high. We got her cleaned up and, in the car, and she was out like a light, trust me it went so smoothly you will want to leave right away!
  5. Have fun! The more fun you are having, the more fun your baby will have. In the first two pictures below, I am jumping up and down make a fool of myself to make Mia happy and ready for the photos.

Remember to have fun with this! The entire goal of this shoot is to remember your baby at this age and to watch them eat cake. Even if everything doesn’t go the way you imagined, it will be the perfect first birthday cake smash because its your baby. If you did a first birthday cake smash, comment with a picture so we can all enjoy the cuteness! Can’t wait to see all their adorable faces! xoxo- Kayla

How to Make Chicken Florentine – Magnolia Table

By Food No Comments

Chicken is a dinner staple in my household, so finding new and more flavorful chicken recipes is a must. This Chicken Florentine from the Magnolia Table cookbook is one of my new favorites and was instantly added into our dinner rotation. The biggest and best part about this recipe is the sauce. The use of white wine is what really brings it over the top and makes for a great dinner for guests or just for yourself. I used a cheaper dry wine that I found at the grocery store, but this is a dinner that will be enhanced by a better wine. So don’t skimp if at all possible!

One negative that I will say about this Chicken Florentine recipe is that the recommended way of cooking the chicken in this recipe does require quite a bit of time. You could definitely cook the chicken earlier and then heat it before you serve dinner. The sauce itself won’t take you long so I would prepare that right before you are about to eat. We ate the entire thing in one sitting so I’m not sure how it tastes reheated but my guess is it would be just as good if not better so you could make both pieces ahead of time and then combine and heat right before heating. This Chicken Florentine would be great paired with some roasted broccoli, carrots and asparagus to add some veggies into your meal.

Overall Review: 5/5

This Chicken Florentine was a huge hit! My parents and sister were over when I made this, and everyone loved the flavors and how great the dinner tasted! Was definitely worth every spare minute in the kitchen. There are far less pictures of me making this recipe than normal, that would be because I was busy talking to family while making it and we devoured it too quickly to take a lot of photos! If that tells you anything it should tell you that it’s an amazing dish!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe review and if you are interested in more reviews, check out our page here: Recipe Reviews.

xoxo-Kayla

Chicken Florentine

Recipe from Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Minced Shallots
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 Lemon cut into wedges
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with pepper and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Cover the chicken in flour and shake off any extra.

  2. Work in batches and place chicken in skillet to cook. Turn once until golden brown and a thermometer inserted reaches 165 degrees. Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.

  3. Reduce heat to medium and melt the butter in the skillet. Add shallots and garlic and sauté. Stir often until everything is softened. Add wine and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until liquid is reduced by about half. Add cream and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture coats the back of a spoon.

  4. Remove the pan from heat, add spinach and remaining salt. Stir until spinach is wilted.

  5. Cut chicken against the grain into diagonal strips about an inch wide and 2-3 inches long. Return to the skillet and sprinkle with parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.