Delicious Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread has been becoming more and more popular this year and for good reason. It’s a super simple thing to make and makes such a great snack for the morning. This recipe is so moist and spongy it’s as if it could have been bought from any professional bakery! As for me, it’s usually my go-to treat for when I have visitors from out of town simply because this recipe is so dang good, everyone scarfs it down within the first day!

What’s also great about banana bread is you can really add whatever you want to it. My mom personally loves to add chocolate chips to it but something that is also very popular is to add walnuts. This recipe below doesn’t have any add in’s to it which means your taste buds can really guide you to whatever you feel is necessary. I personally think this recipe is so great on it’s own that it doesn’t really need much of anything else!

The Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

The Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and spray 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside
  • Add flour, salt and baking soda to a small bowl, mix and set aside
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, sugar and oil. Stirl until well combined
  • Add the dry ingredients in with the wet and stir well. The mixture will look very thick and dry which is good.
  • Off to the side, mash the bananas very well and then add into the mixture along with the milk and vanilla. Stir together very well
  • OPTIONAL: This is where you can add in anything you want. Whether it be chocolate chips or walnuts. I’ll be keeping mine plain but let your personal taste buds guide the way here!
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when checking. I suggest start checking at 1 hour but if it needs more time, like my oven requires, then definitely do so. (I usually need to go for the full 75 minutes)

After the banana bread is taken out of the oven, I suggest letting it cool for at least a few hours. I enjoy my banana bread the most after it’s been sitting for at least over night. To keep my banana bread soft, I VERY lightly cover it with foil to trap in some of the heat after it’s been taken out of the oven.

And that’s it!

Happy Baking!

The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

Everyone knows this one. That soft, gooey center with chewy golden brown edges, sprinkled with chocolate chips. Their are probably thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes, but it’s because this is an all American past time recipe that will, without a doubt, never go out of style. With so many different combinations of these ingredients, you usually have to decide if you want crispy or chewy, gooey or firm, chunks or chips. That’s what makes these one of the best cookies around! This recipe here is going to be the most perfect combination of what makes that chocolate chip cookie so famous.

To make the perfect cookie, it’s always best to use the middle wrack of the oven to ensure an even baking. What can also help is to only bake one sheet in the oven at a time. 

Many times when baking cookies, people can use cookie scoopers or ice cream scoopers to make that perfect ball shape. While that is important to ensure all cookies are the same size, I just roll the dough with my hands and it works just the same. 

When that amazing chocolaty smell starts to flood your kitchen then you know it’s time to take these bad boys out of the oven. Try not to dig in right away and give it a few minutes to cool down and settle. 

The Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups chocolate chips

The Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper and then set aside
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda
  • In a separate bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined
  • Add in eggs and vanilla into butter mixture until well beaten and fluffy
  • Mix in the dry ingredients and make sure it is all well combined
  • Add in as many chocolate chips as you like, although the recommended amount is about 2 cups. Mix together well
  • Roll together about 2-3 Tablespoons worth of dough into your hand and form it into a ball. Place them all evenly spaced on the prepared baking pan
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
  • Let sit in the pan for about a minute or two before removing onto a cooling wrack.

And that’s it! It’s a pretty basic recipe that truly feels so rewarding when you finally have that finished product. This is one of those treats where it’s so great to have a “go to” recipe on hand, and I hope this is the one for you and your family.

Happy Baking!

The Perfect Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

Living down south can have some brutal summers. The mornings are hot and sometimes having a freshly brewed cup of coffee just doesn’t sound as appealing during these temperature rising months. What I tend to gravitate towards each morning is this peach and strawberry smoothie and it truly is one of the greatest parts of my day. It’s consistency is a perfect combination of thick and creamy which makes for a delicious and healthy breakfast for on the go or lounging out on the front porch. 

With barely any time in the kitchen and just a few small ingredients to work with, this smoothie is so perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth while staying guilt free. Which is so exciting! If you would like to use fresh, non frozen fruits then you certainly should. I would just suggest adding in some ice so you can get more of a thick and colder consistency. If you plan on sharing this smoothie with more than just yourself, I would recommend doubling these ingredients.

Here’s how to make it:

The Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup frozen peaches
  • 2 Cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 Cup almond milk
  • 1 Cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of honey (to taste for sweetness)

The Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender
  • Blend until smooth and no chunks (unless you like chunks)
  • Transfer into glass and enjoy

And that is literally it! How easy is that?! Feel free to use your creativity with garnishes to make it look exactly how you want it. Again, this smoothie has no extra added sugars which makes it such a great treat.

Calories: 184kcal | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | SaturatedFat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg |  Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 27g Calcium: 173mg


10 Ways To Help Have A Perfect 4th Of July

The biggest summer holiday is almost here which means it’s time to for some amazing barbecue, patriotic clothing and lighting up the sky with fireworks. When I think of the Fourth of July I think of warm summer nights surrounded by friends and family, Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful and snacking on anything watermelon related. It’s what perfect summer nights are made of. This is the holiday that calls for being outside and channeling our inner patriotism, so lets do it right!

I’m a sucker for traditions and this summer holiday is no stranger to the classics that we all know and love. Here I wanted to give some of my ideas on how to celebrate this holiday and make the most of the together time we’re able to have with all of our loved ones.

1. Fourth of July parade

This is such a perfect and classic way to start your Fourth of July morning off right. Usually every town around the country has a parade to celebrate the holiday. Go check it out! The kids will love seeing all the floats and everyone dressed in their best patriotic attire. Growing up we always would bring a bag for all the candy that was thrown from all the floats and try to collect as much as we could. We still attend every year to help get pumped up for activities planned throughout the rest of the day.

2. Get that block party going

If you live in a neighborhood with close neighbors and cul de sacs then what an amazing opportunity to get everyone together for one big party. Block the street off and set up those tables with some amazing pot luck style foods and sparklers lit for all to enjoy. Music is a must here so once you set an awesome playlist then you’re really ready to have a great time.

3. Make it a lake day

A day at the lake is priceless and being there on Fourth of July makes it that much more special. You can spend the day out on the water while being secluded with your family and friends or check out the local happenings around the community.

4. Decorating the house

Not able to take a trip somewhere? That’s okay! Make the most of your time at home and put your best foot forward with the decorations. Nothing gets me more in the mood for a holiday then being surrounded by festive decor.

5. Holiday attire

How often do you get to wear tons of American flags on your pants while sporting a sequin covered shirt and a red, white and blue top hat? Probably once a year so let’s make that count. Getting into the spirit of the holiday is one of the greatest ways to get pumped up for activities throughout the day and will also help put smiles on everyone else’s face.

6. Themed Desserts

Is it even a holiday without some sweets involved? This is definitely one of my favorite ways to celebrate the summer holiday. You can get so creative with how you display the desserts or you can go super simple and just stick some American flags on top. Either way you go, it’ll be so much fun.

7. Fire up the grill

It’s always about food, isn’t it? But that’s because it always makes the party! Having a classic cookout is what my ideal Fourth of July includes and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is usually a grill master somewhere in the vicinity and they will be more than happy to supply us the goods.

8. Dancing to the music

Every household has to experience a good ol fashioned kitchen dancing night. No time better than the Fourth of July! Get the speakers plugged in and play your favorites to set the festive mood. If your town has it, head down to the local festivities and listen to some live music and dance the night away!

9. Watch the fireworks!

It doesn’t get more 4th of July than this and is such a no brainer for how to celebrate. This really only happens once a year so make the most of it! Don’t feel like dealing with the crowds? Not a problem! Sparklers are perfect mini, personal fireworks that you can have a blast with in your very own yard. You could also get everyone together and do the release of sky lanterns.

10. Get to know the veterans in your area

We truly do owe it all to those who sacrifice their lives every day just so we have the ability to celebrate holidays like this. The United States of America is such a unique country and it is our freedom that we cannot take for granted. Talk to those who have served and hear their stories, say thank you and offer them a hot dog. No time better then now to all come together.

Happy 4th of July!

Tips On How To Have The Best Road Trip This Summer

It’s road tripping season! With so many people often taking flights to their destinations, sometimes it’s so refreshing to take that old fashioned road trip and really spend that quality time together. If we don’t take the time to travel on the road, their could be so many beautiful things we would be missing if traveling any other way. There are so many wonderful things to be seen and learned from when hitting the road, especially in our very own southern backyard! In fact some of my greatest memories all started with packing everything into the car, leaving when the sun is still sleeping and taking in the views from the car window.

These memories with the family are so important, especially to the kids which means it’s best to have as little worries and stress as possible. To make the most of your time on the road, I have put together some of my best tips for making this the easiest and most enjoyable adventure.

1. Check your vehicle

I cannot stress how so incredibly important this is. Before you do anything, you must bring your car in and have everything checked to ensure your car is ready and safely prepared for a long journey ahead. Usually the most important things to double check on are your breaks, tires, having enough wiper fluid and if an oil change is needed. Make sure that spare tire is fully filled and you have all the other necessary emergency equipment on hand like jumper cables. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have everything get a quick run through!

2. Start packing a week before

I know, I know. I get strange looks when this is said to be on my list, but let me tell you, it seriously helps me SO much to stay organized. Right now I only have a dog and husband to worry about. But when kids get into the picture, this step will only become that much more important! I’m not talking about cramming everyone’s suitcase, but starting little baggies for the dog, or preparing some snack bags for the road can really help to not only stay organized but also (most importantly) making sure you don’t forget anything. If you start the dogs bag now or making sure there are enough blankets, etc., then you have all week to double check and make sure you have all the little things you need leaving only the big suitcase packing for later on.

3. Have the car be sparkling clean

It’s a known fact that cleanliness actually does create happiness. When spending long amounts of time in a confined space, having done a quick cleaning job really can make all the difference. Go ahead and clear out those scraps of paper or trash that you said you’d grab later. Well now it’s later and it’s time to make this car a happy space. Making sure the dash is dust free and the floors are nice and vacuumed are some of the lessons I learned from my dad right before taking a long road trip and it’s one I’ll definitely be continuing. It’s inevitable that over time the car will start to accumulate trash during your trip, which is fine! That’s part of a road trip. But have a spare bag available to put everything in.

4. Load up and get a full tank of gas the night before

There’s that old joke that goes “if we want to leave at 6:00 then let’s plan on leaving at 5:30”. It’s almost always a guarantee that we will be running late the morning we want to leave. No one likes to be rushing around last minute, especially if it’s super early in the morning! Pack everything into the car the night before, leaving out those little necessities like a tooth brush and PJ’s. Why leave it all for the last minute? (This would exclude an ice cooler for obvious reasons) Same thing goes for getting gas.I always want to hit the road quick without stopping immediately. So turn that half a tank to a full tank the night before and enjoy your open road.

5. Don’t always go with the flow of traffic

Unless your my father-in-law who always drives 10 mph under the speed limit, usually everyone tends to go a little over what the sign says when driving. No one EVER wants to get pulled over, but sometimes it just happens. During my most recent road trip I was unarguably going with the flow of traffic, when BAM! those blue and red lights start flashing behind me. My stomach sank onto the floor as I had to wake up my husband from his nap in the passengers seat to tell him I’m getting pulled over by the cop. Luckily I had all the documentation needed for me to just get the ticket and go. Even though I was super bitter about it because I literally was going the speed limit that everyone else was, it was still my fault for not just using the cruise control on our car. If your car has it, definitely use it. You won’t have to worry about inching faster and faster and you can drive worry free about speeding.

6. Get those music jams set and loaded

Next to getting the mechanics of your car all squared away, this is definitely the next most important thing for a great road trip!! It’s pretty much a rule of thumb that the one riding shot gun is usually the DJ, so get those playlists all ready to go so you can enjoy your time on the open road. I’ve been a CD kind of girl since, forever, and always had a great mix tape at the ready. Although that method of jamming out is great, the Bluetooth setting on my phone has also become one of my best friends… Spotify is SO great for choosing the music you love and you can easily hook it up to your Bluetooth setting in the car! They even have pre-made road trip playlists if you so choose. If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth then stick to those mix tapes!

7. Know when to stop

Sometimes we can feel super ambitious and want to do the entire trip in one go. But one of the beautiful things about a road trip are the stops! You can hit up big cities or discover charming small towns and get to know more areas than just the destination that you’re trying to get to. See a billboard for Mammoth Cave in Kentucky? Ruby Falls in Tennessee? Stop and check it out! Not only discovering the unknown beauties of the area you’re in, but also it can be a really big safety check. Driving from 3AM to 11PM sounds daunting. So cut it in half. No sense in getting into an accident from tiredness when we’re all trying to have a fun vacation.

8. Have a plan but have it loosely

It can be a good idea to have goals, but a lot of times those goals can be changed due to delays, which is inevitable. Road construction is a constant when cruising down those big highways which usually consists of lots of merging, inching forward and taking detours. Plan for it! It’s okay if you didn’t make it to the halfway point because things change and we are ready to roll with it. Thanks to GPS systems, we are able to find quick routes that can help avoid the traffic and take lesser traveled roads to our destination. If you don’t have a GPS system and can read a paper map then put your skills to the test and find that unknown detour. (Also that is super impressive nowadays and you would deserve a major reward for that)

9. Take TONS of pictures

I don’t know where I would be without my camera. With smartphones at the ready, it is easier now more than ever to capture those precious memories. I’m talking more than just Instagram pics. I recently invested in a Polaroid camera and have never looked back. (Click here for the one I have). Getting that instant gratification along with some awesome vintage nostalgia is something that I cherish and will keep using forever. When heading on a long road trip, take the time to capture those giggles, smiles and unusual stops along the way. Looking back on these times of adventure will be so worth it.

10. Keep yourselves entertained!

People often find that road trips can have a certain lull at times, but let’s keep that from happening! Some of my favorite road trip games are Mad Libs. They are so much fun and keep us laughing for hours. You can also try to figure out some games that can correlate to your surroundings. Like how many times you can find a billboard that says Ruby Falls. (We did that and there were a LOT) Get creative with it.

11. Have a spare key

Could you imagine losing your only key to the car during your road trip? This would seriously put a damper on things. Better safe than sorry and grab that spare key!! No one wants to be stranded.

12. Leave some space for goodies

One of the best reasons for taking a road trip instead of flying is the chance to take some awesome treasures home! Who knows, you could come across something that you just cannot live without and luckily you’ll have plenty of room for it in the car. If I’m heading down to Savannah, GA then you best believe I’ll be browsing around some antiques that could NEVER make it on a plane.

Soon I’ll be constructing the perfect road trip around the South that will hopefully inspire you to get out and adventure around our great nation. So many great things to see, so little time!

Safe travels and happy open road!!

Homemade Whipped Cream

This may be in fact the most simple recipe I have on hand, and it’s probably one of the most used! When it comes to desserts, it’s so easy to just grab a can of instant whipped cream. We all use it. It’s just one less step that you have to do. But let me tell you, having your own homemade whipped cream recipe can really come in handy to avoid an extra trip to the store. It also beats the taste of a can any day!

With this recipe I usually end up doubling it. I feel that it’s good to have it in this size though in case you really don’t need that much. But because this recipe is so tasty, the entire family will always end up sneaking a finger swipe in the bowl and before you know it, most of it is gone!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Instructions:

  • Before starting, place mixing bowl and beaters in freezer for about 10-15 minutes to chill
  • In the bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract
  • Start mixing on low speed, then increase the speed to a medium-high until stiff peaks form.

And that’s it! If you’re feeling fancy, this whipped cream recipe is so great for piping. It also could look really great just being used as a dollop on top of an already made dessert. Let your creativity shine!

Happy Baking!

17 Best Things To Do In Tampa, FL

People often think of Florida as this tropical beach oasis with palm trees and a warm summer breeze all year long. Which, they wouldn’t be wrong. But often times people can forget the metropolitan side of Florida. The skyscrapers, city buses and bustling financial districts are all a part of what makes Florida such a diverse state. Tampa is no substitute to the city/beach life. With the dolphin filled waterways laced with tall buildings along the coast, it’s Tampa that has developed to be the best of both worlds.

Nestled along the Hillsborough river and near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay has began to create a magnificent name for itself as one of the best places to visit when heading down South. With St. Petersburg and Clearwater being home to some of the best beaches in the world, you really can get the best of both worlds when staying in Tampa Bay. As for me, becoming a local to this city has been one of the best experiences. With an abundance of places to eat, things to do, and festivals to attend, Tampa will without a doubt be the new “it” place to travel. In many cases, Tampa has even been put on the map as one of the greatest places to call home as well. The real estate market in the city has seen a significant boom within the last few years making it the second largest metropolitan area within the state.

Here I have come up with a list of some of the best ways to celebrate your time while in the Tampa Bay area. Their are so many different faces to this city and I feel it’s great to try and hit every single one of them.

1. Hillsborough River Walk

This is one of the best ways to really experience the city! The river walk can start from Sparkman Wharf all the way down to Armature Works. Along the way you can learn about the wildlife that resides inside and along the river. You also can get some of the greatest views, especially while stopping at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. This is a great location to get your barrings because it’s right next all that’s happening in the downtown area.

2. Sparkman Wharf

Within the channel district of downtown, this is a modern waterfront hangout that is constantly being updated and made brand new. Here you can get an up close look at all of the cruise ships that park for vacationers while getting some magnificent views of the water. With its beautifully manicured lawn, here they have live music, street food stands, and some awesome bars and bowling.

3. Go To The Beach

Would it really be visiting Florida without a fun and relaxing beach day? Tampa Bay is a tri-city area that tag teams with St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The beaches here are voted the number one beach in the country and one of the top 20 beaches in the entire world. Along with it’s silky white sand in between your toes, the Gulf of Mexico has some of the warmest waters to venture into. Clearwater also is home to the famous boardwalk Pier 60 which is host to some of the greatest fishing spots on the Gulf. Once evening starts, it’s boardwalk is lined with live music and little pop up shops to enjoy.

4. Hyde Park Village

Hyde Park Village is where my daydreaming really kicks in. The houses down the streets of Bayshore are what dreams are made of and are just absolutely stunning and magical. Walking through the streets draped with old oak trees and around it’s outdoor shopping area early in the morning is one of the most relaxing ways to start a day. With the high end shops, dine-in movie theater and top rated restaurants, it’s deemed a must see around Tampa.

5. Walk the University of Tampa Campus

Dating back to the 1800’s, this private university (formerly a luxury hotel) is home to the Henry B. Plant Museum. This is one of my favorite places in the city to show visitors due to it’s jaw dropping architecture and beautifully manicured lawn. It’s dripping with incredible history about the city and explanations as to how this magnificent facility came to be. This is located just across the river from Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park which will give gorgeous views of the entire city.

6. Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

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I love this zoo so much I actually became a member! The zoo in Tampa was featured on National Geographic’s Secret Life of the Zoo during it’s third season which showcased just how well these animals are cared for and the level maintenance that goes into this facility . Here you can see all different kinds of animals from all around the world and even feed the giraffes for just a tiny additional charge. (I think it was around $5 with my membership pass). Visiting here can easily take up about half the day and it is totally worth it.

7. Gasparilla Festival

If you plan accordingly, you could be in Tampa during the biggest festival of the year, that being Gasparilla. This usually takes place at the end of January each year and is so huge, it’s known as Tampa’s Mardi Gras. Originating in 1904, this pirate themed invasion starts with the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship shooting canons off into the city and “taking over” Tampa Bay. Then starts the four mile parade followed by a night of festivities while everyone is in their full pirate garb.

8. Cross Bay Ferry

This is the most fun way, in my opinion, to get from St. Pete’s to Tampa. Enjoy a drink with the wind in your hair and the views of the bay while making the trek from the beach to the city. Currently the ferry is only running from November to the end of April but because of its growing popularity, the city is working on making it a year round means of transportation.

9. The Florida Aquarium

Right in the center of it all, the Florida aquarium in downtown Tampa is the perfect way to get educated on marine wildlife while still having fun! As a nonprofit organization, the aquarium does lots of coral research and does incredible work to restore the declining population of coral along with sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation work.

10. Visit the Hillsborough River State Park

Maybe it’s time to venture further out of the city and get a feel of what the true old, southern Florida used to look like before modernization. The park consists of almost 3,000 acres and within that, have just over seven miles worth of trails to explore. These old southern bayous, draped with vines and surrounded by wetlands and mangroves are home to so many varieties of animals. You can camp in the state park and go canoeing down the rivers, just be sure to watch for the occasional splashing of the alligators.

11. Tampa Theater

One of the greatest historic landmarks our city has. This gorgeous theater first opened in 1926 and hasn’t slowed down since. On occasion they host events that you can attend, but on a more daily basis the theater showcases a wide range of documentaries, foreign, and independent films. You can also catch a live show which feature comedians and musicians from all over!

12. Busch Gardens

When you want some more Adrenalin for your day! This African themed animal theme park has been a go-to spot for many years around Tampa. If terrifying and adventurous roller coasters aren’t your thing, theirs plenty of low key activities you can do like soaring on the Skyride, catching a show, or riding the famous train to get an awesome view of the exotic animals that are home to the park.

13. Ybor City

The place where the Cuban sandwhich calls home. Historic Ybor is certainly one of the most unique areas of the city with it’s cigar scented streets, historic architecture and vintage style boutiques. While honoring it’s Cuban and Latin American history, Ybor is most popular for it’s nightlife and is home to many very famous places to stop into such as Columbia Restaurant which dates back to 1905, and Tabanero Cigars where you can watch people hand roll each and every cigar made.

14. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

Going to an outdoor concert is probably one of the most fun things on my list of what to do. Luckily Tampa has an AMAZING outdoor amphitheater that hosts some of the biggest names from all over. Just a short 10-15 minutes from downtown, here you can enjoy the sunset, lay in the grass with a drink in your hand and listen to one of your favorite artists.

15. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Couldn’t resist putting this on the list! This museum is located in the center of it all, just next to Curtis Hixon Park. FMoPA showcases national and international photographic artists and can also offer lectures from notable experts on specific exhibits that may be currently showcased. This was one of the fist date nights my husband and I had when first moving to the city and it was one I’ll always remember. Visiting here is such a great way to experience different cultures and appreciate different genres of photography.

16. Catch a sports game

Tampa Bay isn’t a stranger from the professional sporting world. Amalie Arena is in the heart of downtown and is home to the Lightning hockey team. Here they also host many huge concerts which can be SO much fun. Along with hockey, we also have an awesome baseball team! The Tampa Bay Rays are a part of the American League East division and you can catch a game with them at Tropicana Field. This year the city is also very excited to welcome Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to The Buccaneers family. In the year 2021, Tampa will be host to the Superbowl!

17. Visit Park and Rec

Located near the Channel district downtown, this ‘adult playground’ is such a fun way to let loose and rediscover your inner child. You can really experience that college party vibe while stopping by their four bars, grabbing some awesome food and watching one of their 45 TV’s. Here they also feature retro arcade games, classic lawn games like giant beer pong out on the patio, and a dance floor with VIP booths.

With this just being a few of the fun things to do around the city of Tampa Bay, there is also an abundance of amazing culinary ventures to experience. To check out some of the amazing food options for all meals of the day, click here!

The Best Stove Top Chili

If you are interested in a super quick and easy recipe for your family that also is great for leftovers, then PLEASE look no further than this chili recipe. The first time I ever tried this was at my boyfriends house (now husband) and his mom made dinner for everybody. Before trying this, I have actually never tried chili before in my life, but let me tell you, my now mother-in-law totally changed my taste buds for I now LOVE chili!

This could possibly be the most simple way to make chili, but sometimes you really just need something quick and I feel like this is such a great way to do it.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 3 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 large + 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 package chili mix

For optional toppings:

  • Diced onion
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream

The Instructions:

  • Fry beef in large pot and then drain the grease after fully cooked
  • Place beef back into the pot and add the drained black beans , tomato sauce and chili mix
  • Stir all together and bring to a boil
  • Put stove top on simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

Serve with raw diced onions, cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl. These are optional toppings which means you can absolutely use whichever ingredients you like best.

Happy Cooking!

Super Easy No Bake Lemon Pie

When I think of summer, I think all things lemon! This super simple recipe is so perfect for your next summer time gathering and will be such a show stopper for everyone. Living here in Florida, I can testify that this has been such a great cold and refreshing treat to keep in the refrigerator. It’s cold and creamy texture will be perfectly created in just 5 minutes of combining ingredients, then it’s just a game of waiting in the refrigerator!

This recipe can be a bit versatile in the ways you want it constructed. For the crust, you can easily just pick up a pre-made version from the grocery store (which I have done here), or add a more personal touch and make your own graham cracker crust. You could also either do a dollop of Cool Whip on the top when it’s finished cooling, or go a little step further and add your own whipped cream. It really just depends on the time we have during the day, but in truth, either way you do it it’ll taste amazing!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 (6 oz) Frozen Lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding box
  • 1 (8 oz) cool whip
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 graham cracker crust

The Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the two boxes of vanilla pudding and milk. Use a hand whisk to mix together.
  • Add the thawed lemonade and whisk together until pudding is thick. Should be about 2 minutes of time
  • Fold in the cool whip and then pour into crust
  • Cover the pie and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours

How easy is that?! For me, the fun part is always decorating your desserts to make the presentation just the way you want it. This is where your creativity can really shine! What I did here was used my homemade whipped cream recipe (you can find that recipe here) for the center, then used some berries that I thought could really pop with color. Since it’s a lemon pie, feel free to use some lemons to garnish with as well along with a sprig of mint for that pop of green for summertime.

Happy Baking!

Cheesy Southern Style Potatoes

If you’re like me, you usually pay so much attention to your main dish that you end up totally forgetting what to accompany your awesome meal with. It can be fun though trying to decide the perfect combination for you and your guests plate.

These potatoes are SO tasty and can pretty much go with any kind of dinner you have planned. I got this recipe from my mom and when I’ve made it for people, they say that these are called “funeral potatoes”. I never really cared for that name because (for obvious reasons) it’s kind of a downer! So since these are southern style potatoes, we’re changing the name.

What’s also so great about this dish is that it almost tastes even better the next day. My husband even says that he gets so full from these potatoes that he forgets to eat everything else on the plate!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs frozen southern style hash browns
  • 1/2 Cup margarine (save 1/4 Cup for corn flakes
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • Dash of onion salt
  • 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 Pint sour cream
  • 1 Cup Corn Flakes

The Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix in all the ingredients listed above except for the Corn Flakes and the 1/4 Cup balance of margarine
  • Melt 1/2 Cup Margarine and put into a large bowl (keeping 1/4 Cup for Corn Flakes)
  • Put mixed ingredients into a 9×13 baking dish that has been pre sprayed with a nonstick spray.
  • Crush corn flakes (try not to make it into a dust consistency) and mix with melted 1/4 cup margarine
  • Drizzle over top of the potato mixture
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (or until it starts to bubble)

Happy Cooking!