I actually tried one of those viral recipe videos, and here’s what I found…

We’ve all been scrolling through Facebook and seen one of those videos… you know, the kind that show a creative, yet simple recipe in 30 seconds or less. We all think to ourselves “hey, I’m kind of an idiot in the kitchen, but I bet I could make THAT!” And then we share it on our own wall or a friend’s, save it in our mental archives, but then probably never actually make it. Well, I decided to take the #1 shared recipe video from Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” Facebook page and see if it actually does turn out that delicious looking if I made it myself!

Artichoke Bread Ring Dip

The recipe I chose was for a Cheesy Spinach And Artichoke Bread Ring Dip (find the video here). Mmmmm drooling just typing that. The video is 50 seconds long, and features a straight-forward, easy-to-follow recipe for this awesome looking appetizer. You only need one bowl and one skillet, so I figured this would be the perfect tester.

What’s nice about these videos is that the recipe is written out for you directly underneath the video, so I didn’t have to rewind and pause to follow along. I did watch the video for a few instructions – how much to mix the ingredients, and how to place the bread rolls, but other than that, the written recipe was my main source.

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

After I re-watched the vid to make sure I did everything correctly, I popped my creation in the oven for 25 minutes and Voila! This is the end result. Pretty spot on, right??

Artichoke Dip Ring


Overall, I learned that these videos can be more than just another random post on our Facebook feeds. Use them! Try them out! Pick your favorite TODAY and go grab all of the ingredients. It was really fun to follow the video and recipe, and I love this 21st century-style cookbook. :)

Cheesy Spinach And Artichoke Bread Ring Dip (from Tasty)

Whatcha Need

  • 12 Frozen Dinner Roll Dough Balls
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese - Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 14 oz Can (1 1/2 Cups) Artichoke Hearts - Drained and chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Frozen Chopped Spinach - Thawed and drained of excess water
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - chopped
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Olive Oil

Whatcha Do

  1. Coat a 10 inch oven-safe skillet with olive oil. Place the Dinner Roll Dough Balls in a ring around the skillet. Cover and let rise until thawed and doubled in size.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella, Sour Cream, Artichokes, Spinach, Garlic, Basil, and Red Pepper Flakes.
  3. Once dough has thawed, uncover and scoop the dip into the center of the skillet. Brush the rolls with olive oil, and top with an additional sprinkle of cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 375˚F for 25 minutes. If the bread browns too quickly, lower oven temperature to 350˚F or cover the bread with a ring of foil. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Zip Recipes Plugin

SISTER TIP: For this particular recipe, you needed 12 frozen dinner rolls, but I could not find any at the store, all they had were 6 large-sized rolls. Being the genius that I am, I simply cut the rolls in half and lined them around the skillet. They’re not perfectly round anymore, but I actually like the size of these better, if you can’t find mini rolls!

Date Night Ideas for December

Everybody needs a lil R&R, but there’s other times when you really just wanna get out there with your boo thing and have a good old fashioned date night! Date nights are an amazing way to bond with your significant other. You build memories, experience new things, and spend quality time with each other in a meaningful way. I’ve talked with friends and family about their favorite unique date night ideas for the month of December! Each of these is perfect for a fall-winter transition before the hectic holiday season i upon us.

Date Night Ideas

Low Budget

  • Drive through the city to see holiday decorations and Christmas lights.
  • Take part in a community service project, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, or creating packs with warm weather gear to give to homeless shelters. (This is my favorite website to find volunteer opportunities!)
  • Bake some goodies together to pass out to your neighbors. Who wouldn’t love getting some homemade treats? Try out this easy banana bread recipe!
  • Watch Ted Talks and discuss your thoughts with your partner. This one’s my favorite!
  • Is there an Ikea near you? Walk through it to get some ideas and get some fantastic cheap grub in their cafeteria.
  • Create a “power outage date night”. No lights, no phones, no laptops, no TV. Be creative!
  • Make a video and put it on YouTube. What a fun way to capture something unique to both of you. Look forward to the comments section.

Medium Budget

  • Sign up for a date night cooking class. Homemade pasta making is a must!
  • Check out Groupon’s “Local: Things to Do” category for all sorts of unique date night deals. BYOB paint night or a Segway experience sound fun!
  • Beat the winter blues by working out together! Get a sweat in at your local gym, or try something new like taking a Yoga or Spin class.
  • Comedy clubs are my favorite way to spend a weekend. Improv allows you to really be a part of the act!

High Budget

  • Be a tourist! Drive to your closest big city, book a fancy hotel, and sightsee all the romantic things the town has to offer.
  • Splurge on great seats to a sporting event.
  • Indoor skydiving is a great way to expend all that pent up adrenaline the winter months bring!
  • Give each other a $200 budget and you each get to spend it however you like. Shopping? Dinner? Drinks? Show?
  • Have an extravagant five-course meal at different restaurants. Grab a pre-dinner drink at a bar, an appetizer somewhere else, meal, dessert, and night-cap. See what your area has to offer!

Do you have unique winter date ideas to share??

Mid-November Midi Skirt

Meet the midi skirt.Maxis are too summery and minis are certainly not working in this midwest weather. Midis are fall’s easiest to style fashion piece and a must for any girly girl wardrobe! The midi skirt is exactly what it sounds like – MID calf length.

Eva Mendes Collection

If you need the perfect November midi, you must go to New York and Company and order this Eva Mendes Collection Clare Full Skirt. Plus right now it’s 40% off, so it doesn’t break the bank and you’ll look fabulous all season long!

Eva Mendes skirt


What midi skirts will you wear this fall??

Seeing Red

It’s that time of year again…! Finding appropriate clothing to wear to family functions that both screams “I’m festive!” and “I’m an adult!” while still saying “But feed me and buy me presents!” I’ve never really gone for red clothing. I didn’t think it looked great against my skin tone, it just seems so harsh!

New York and Company Red Suit

But this weekend, I found this amazingly chic holiday red pant suit from New York & Company and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, work Christmas parties, or just a nice night getting together with friends.

New York and Company Red Jacket

The thing I love about New York and Company is the uniqueness of their looks. I swear they have the most well-fitting and creative patterns and styles out there, particularly for the holidays!

Red Jacket

They just get me and know how to dress a lady. :)

New York and Company

Buy my red Studio Pants here $41.97
Buy my red Design Studio Jacket here $48.96

Bake 425: Unique Bake-at-Home Pizzas in Chicago

Bake 425 Review

I was so excited to try Bake 425 because I LOVE love love their business model and unique idea to sell bake-at-home pizzas fresh to order. What an awesome idea! Buy a pre-made artisanal pizza, pop it in the oven (yes at 425 degrees, get it?) when you get home, and you have fresh, piping-hot za for dinner! Plus, they use organic, locally sourced ingredients with no GMOs, no chemical preservatives, and the meat is antibiotic-free. Wait, why have I not been ordering a pizza from here every night of my life?

Ok, all that fancy amazing healthy stuff aside, the pizzas from Bake 425 are just plain delicious. The topping choices and combinations are among the most unique I’ve ever seen. The crust is a game changer, it’s so fresh and crunchy, I couldn’t believe it came from my own oven, ha! Check out this menu.

Bake 425 Menu

Super creative and fantastic. Friends have commented that the Omnivore is the best pizza they have ever had. I chose to try out the 14″ Braised Short Rib and lemme tell ya. It was. Incredible.

Braised Short Rib Pizza from Bake 425
Braised Short Rib Pizza from Bake 425

I also ordered the Farmstand salad, which was fresh and fantastic (perfect for leftover lunch), and the absolute best part of this experience…. drumroll please….


Chocolate Chip Cookie from Bake 425

Oh man this is so revolutionary! Pop this gigantic cookie in the oven as soon as your pizza comes out, and it’s all gooey and warm and ready for you by the time you’ve had a few slices. Genius.

Check out Bake 425 

544 Lincoln Ave
Winnetka, IL 60093 (b/t Prospect Ave & Elm St)
(847) 501-5000

Caramel Apple Fondue Bar

Caramel Apple Fondue

Fall get-togethers are so much fun! There’s a ton of party ideas that are ideal for October and November, and the possibilities to entertain guests are endless. I knew I wanted a unique dessert treat for a fall party this week, so I put together a fun Caramel Apple Fondue bar! Who doesn’t love dipping delicious yummies in warm, sweet caramel? :)

Caramel Fondue

I found this recipe from Taste of Home, which is my go-to website for easy-to-follow recipe. The best part about this treat bar is the amount of options you have for sweet and salty dippers.

Caramel Apple Fondue

Here are some ideas for your caramel fondue bar:

  • Sliced apples
  • Marshmallows
  • Pretzels
  • Sliced bananas
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Animal crackers
  • Graham crackers
  • Strawberries
  • Pound cake
  • Angel food cake

Caramel Apple Fondue

If you need a cute fondue pot that’s versatile and easy to use, I recommend Fondue Mugs. They use a tea light to keep it warm, and they’re so darn cute and the perfect size for a small get together!

Caramel Fondue

Caramel Apple Fondue

Whatcha Need

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water

Whatcha Do

  1. In a saucepan, mix brown sugar, butter, condensed milk, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Cook and stir frequently 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Transfer to a fondue pot and serve warm. Enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Zip Recipes Plugin

Ready in 10 Minutes Pumpkin French Toast

I’m pretty much the most impatient cook ever. 10-hour pork roast? Count me out. 5-hour simmered soup? No thanks. But ten-minute pumpkin french toast?? I can get on board with that! 😀

Ready in 10 minute pumpkin french toast

I found this recipe on the side of the canned pumpkin I bought on sale last week, so I thought I’d give it a go. The reason I love this recipe so much? The pumpkin taste isn’t overwhelming at all. On the contrary, it adds just enough flavor to make this breakfast perfect for fall, without overdoing it or being too sweet.

If you need a breakfast (or want a unique dinner like I just had!) try out this ready in ten minutes french toast. You won’t regret it!

Ready in 10 Minutes Pumpkin French Toast

Ready in 10 Minutes Pumpkin French Toast

Whatcha Need

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 can canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 slices Texas Toast

Whatcha Do

  1. Heat butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Soak each piece of bread in the mixture, then place in prepared skillet. Brown 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat with each remaining slice of bread.
  3. Serve warm with maple syrup and powdered sugar!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Zip Recipes Plugin

Minnie & Alice: Easy DIY Disney Halloween Costumes

If you’re a female and need an easy Halloween costume to celebrate the best week of the year, look no further! I’ve posted DIY Halloween costumes each year, and this year, our staff theme at work is Disney, so I knew I had to post my two top choices for easy costumes you can make right at home! The only thing I had to purchase was a blonde wig, so I consider my wallet in pretty good shape, considering Halloween can be one of the most expensive holidays to celebrate!

DIY Disney Halloween

For my DIY Alice costume, I used all things that I already had at home, which was a great money saver! Grab the tutu from Windsor here, the black bow headband here, and my fun storybook character blonde wig here!

DIY Alice

Minnie is super easy, and I’ve seen tons of people already prepare this costume so far! You can add anything you want to make this costume more detailed – white gloves, red polka dot skirt, and even yellow shoes. I kept it simple with some Minnie ears, a pearl necklace, and a polka dot button down. Oh, and don’t forget to dab some eyeliner for a cute little mouse nose. :)

DIY Minnie

What will YOU be for Halloween this year???

Chicago Bloggers on a Fringe Binge

The best part of my summer was getting to know tons of Chicago bloggers and getting to go to events all over the city! Two of Chicago’s finest fashion bloggers are Samantha from Gold Coast Girl and Peggy from Hallways Are My Runways. The best part about these chicks is they’re teachers by day and bloggers by night, just like me! 😀 I also met Katherine from Engineering In Style, which is a super unique fashion blog from the perspective of one smart cookie engineer. :)

Chicago Bloggers

Our last girls’ night out, we shared our latest fall obsession, which is fringe fringe and more fringe. I thought I’d share our unique takes on fringe this season, and hopefully you can gain some inspiration for yourself!

Have you worn anything fringe this fall?? Is fringe back in….ge?

"Fringed" - Hallways Are My Runways
“Fringed” – Hallways Are My Runways
"Shake it Off" - Gold Coast Girl
“Shake it Off” – Gold Coast Girl
"Fringe" - Engineering in Style
“Fringe” – Engineering in Style
"Fringe Binge" - Pepperminting
“Fringe Binge” – Pepperminting

Turkey, Brie & Grannysmith Panini

Although I’m not a huge sandwich gal, I love myself a good panini. Paninis have a nice crunch and texture to them and you can pretty much customize them any way you like, with leftovers and any meats or veggies you might have around your house.

Turkey Brie and Grannysmith Panini

I was in the mood for a perfect fall meal last week, and what is more appropriate for the start of October than cranberries, turkey, brie and apples?? The total cost for four sandwiches was less than $20, and I served with a simple side salad made with baby spinach, arugula, pepper and fresh lemon juice.

SISTER TIP: If you don’t have a panini press, a large pan on the stovetop works too! Preheat it on medium heat, and simply weight down the sandwich while it cooks.


Turkey, Brie & Grannysmith Panini

Turkey, Brie & Grannysmith Panini

Whatcha Need

  • 1/2 can of whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sandwich:
  • 8 slices of fresh Italian bread, sliced
  • 2 ounces of a brie, sliced
  • 1/2 Grannysmith apple, thinly sliced
  • Freshly shaved turkey, or 8 slices of deli turkey
  • Cooking spray

Whatcha Do

  1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard and cranberries in a small bowl. Preheat panini press and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread one side of each bread with sauce. Top with turkey, apple slices, and brie. Top with another slice of bread.
  3. Place 1 to 2 sandwiches on the panini press. Cook 4-6 minutes until brie is melted and bread is toasted golden. Serve warm!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Zip Recipes Plugin