Super Easy Sangrias for a Crowd

As I said in my last post on Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies, we had friends over for Nacho Night last night. That definitely called for sangrias.

I looooove sangrias! So I whipped some up. Or maybe I should say: I bought some sangria and fruit and put them together. So here’s my “recipe” since my friends asked for it last night.

Super Easy Sangrias for a Crowd


  • 2 bottles of Sangria (I used the Sam’s Club Members Mark brand and it was pretty tasty)
  • 3 limes, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • Ginger ale (I used diet)


  • Cut up all the fruit and evenly distribute into three pitchers or one large drink dispenser. Pour the sangria over the fruit.
  • Add enough ginger ale to fill the pitchers or if one big container about a half a bottle will do nicely.
  • Mix it up with a spoon that you can slightly muddle the fruit with.
  • Refrigerate all day or overnight, if possible.

There you have it. Now you can make your own Sangrias for a crowd. Make this your own by using whatever fruit you like (or have).

We enjoyed them as our children ran around like wild animals all night.


Sweet Saturday: Salted Carmel Pretzel Brownies

Today I’m gearing up for Nacho Night. More on that in a separate blog. I had some boxes of Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix that have been calling to me. Judge me if you must but if you’ve not tried this mix, found at Sam’s Club, you are missing out. They’re super easy and every time I make them for something I get requests for my recipe. So, you’re in luck. Today I’m sharing my guilty, cheating “secret recipe.”

They’re also great for doing different spins on the traditional brownie. That brings me to today’s “experiment. ” Once again I am working to use what I’ve got on hand and the first thing that jumped out at me was a bag of pretzels that needed to be used. My mind instantly flew to creating salted caramel brownies and I remembered that I had a jar of salted caramel from my cousin Kim’s wedding (which was AWESOME and Kim, if you’re reading this, please send me the recipe.)  Best wedding favor EVER!

Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Wedding Favor

Of course, now I had to break one of my cardinal rules of hosting a dinner party: never try something new on guests. And tonight I broke it twice since I also made Pumpkin Sopapilla Cheesecake.

Ok, ok. Enough back story. On to the my made up, super easy, half-cheating recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies.


  • 2 bags Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cup pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel


Follow the recipe on the back of the box of brownies (see below) except at 25 minutes into the baking, stop and top the brownies with the broken of pretzels. Then drizzle with the salted caramel and bake the remaining time or until the brownies are finished. Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesBest Brownie Mix Ever

The back of the box says it makes 40 brownies but in reality with the large pan I used and the size brownies most people eat it’s more like 25-30. Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies

You could do the same with another brand of brownies or even from your own scratch recipe if you’re an overachiever like that. I’m sure it would still work. The key is getting the pretzels and caramel on there at the right time so they sink into the mix a bit but not too much.

I whipped up some real whipping cream and, together, they were pretty delicious (sorry to sound braggy.) Ice cream would’ve been equally delightful with them straight out of the oven or even microwaved. I happen to be thinking about how good they’d be paired with a big, cold glass of milk for breakfast!

They do come with a warning: These are really rich but, being the girl that waits all year for Starbucks to start serving their salted caramel mocha again, I loved them. My guests said they were good too but I think when it comes to something like this some people love them and others not-so-much.  If you’re looking for something less chocolately but still really tasty in the “brownie family,” check out these blonde brownies.  They’re always a hit too!

I hope your Saturday was as sweet as ours. More on our nacho night later!

Disclaimer:  I didn’t get paid in any way for this blog post.  The opinions and randomness are completely my own doing.  Feel free to share!

Mommy Review Monday: ezpz Happy Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate

DISCLOSURE: Due to the recent iPhone update my i’s are now malfunctioning. I️ am NOT going back through to fix. I’m too frustrated. Sorry folks.

It’s borderline Migraine Monday instead of Mommy Review Monday so this will be a sort one today so I can get off to bed. I should apologize to those who get actual migraines because I️ realize my headache isn’t really a migraine since I️ can manage to look at the screen.

I’ll thank the black beans all over the floor and the screaming toddlers for the tension headache. With that said, I’ll move onto our review of the day, the ezpz Happy Mat, without which there would’ve been many more beans on the floor.


  • Cost. $24.99 may seem like a lot but if you use I️t every meal, I️t pays for itself pretty quickly.
  • Hardiness. It’s made of silicone so you know it’s tough. And unlike your friends’ fake boobs, these don’t have to be hand-washed. You can stick them in the lower rack of your dishwasher time after time.
  • Dividers. Since so many kids are funny about not mixing foods, this is a great feature.
  • Protection. The full placemats give your table the armor it needs against banging silverware and/or sippy cups.
  • Stay-put-ness. I️ realize that’s a made up word but you get the point. No pates thrown across the room. As I️ said earlier, had we served black beans on a regular plate, they would’ve been everywhere. This plate-mat stayed in place throughout Clara’s mid-dinner temper tantrum.


  • Fit on High Chair Trays. They don’t fit on high chair trays. I️ know that’s not really what they’re made for so I️ really have a hard time declaring that a con but I️ do want to make sure no one assumes they’ll work that way. They do make a smaller version, the Mini Mat but it still may or may not work on your high chair tray.
  • Only Stick on Hard, Level Surfaces. Again, this seems common sense but they don’t stick or suction themselves down to fabric tablecloths or very unlevel surface. They’re still nice to use to protect your nice fabric tablecloth but there is the chance they could still move. We used a nylon table cloth at Halloween though and it still worked pretty well.

All together, these Happy Mats are what the brand name explains, ezpz. They’re a great gift idea, especially paired with these bibs. I’d buy another. In fact, I may buy another set for when one set is dirty. I’m not sure if that’s lazy or smart.

Happy Monday!!!

Icebox Oreo Pie

This is another one of my “throw together what you’ve got” recipes. A few weeks back I bought a couple of chocolate pie crusts off of the clearance rack and put them in the freezer. 

Cheapskate, frugal, thrifty. Call me what you want. I was glad I had them the day we decided to have friends over for Cilantro Ranch Chicken and Baked Parmesan Crusted Zucchini!


  • 2 chocolate cookie pie shells
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 12-15 Oreos, more if you want it more chocolately (Is that a word?)
  • Vanilla pudding, prepared
  • Whipped topping, about half large size container or full small 


In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until whipped and light. In a separate bowl, prepare pudding with milk as directed. Crush Oreos or use processor to make into crumbs. Pour Oreos and prepared pudding into the large bowl and mix well with the cream cheese. 

Pour mixture into equally into the two pie crusts. Top with whipped topping and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. 

I could probably eat one of these by myself in one sitting. You just can’t go wrong with Oreos and cream cheese. 

The greatest thing about this is how easy it was. Sometimes it really does pay to be lazy. 

Baked Parmesan Crusted Zucchini

I love zucchini any way it’s cooked. Growing up, my Grammy made the best fried zucchini. My mouth waters just remembering it. 

I rarely make it because the frying isn’t all that healthy and it’s also kind of a pain. I decided to take a stab at doing an oven baked, slightly-altered version with some fresh Parmesan and bread crumbs that I needed to get rid of.  Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4-5 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise 
  • 1 cup garlic bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan 

Preheat over to 425. Spray a large baking sheet or pan. (I also cover mine in foil because I’m lazy and it’s an easier cleanup) Melt butter. Slice zucchini thinly lengthwise. Toss in a large bowl with the melted butter. 

In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, pepper, and cheese. Dip and coat each strip of zucchini in the mixture. Lay them on the pan in a single layer. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they brown. If you want some good color, use the broiler for a few minutes. 

It isn’t the same as Grammy’s fried zucchini but it was prett tasty….and much healthier. It went well with Sriracha Honey Chicken and a salad. 

What’s your favorite zucchini recipe?

Spicy Zucchini Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I’ve been planning to cook zucchini spaghetti for two months and never have actually done it, despite it being on the menu. Tonight I finally did since I had plenty of zucchini in the fridge to be used.  

 I went into this not having a plan but I  knew that I had to use whatever I had at the house because it was too late for a grocery run. I also felt like whatever I cooked needed some good spice, which is why I decided not to go with a traditional Italian spaghetti sauce.   

Since I had a Pei Wei salad for lunch today, I knew tonight called for light meat. I just happened to have a Sam’s Club size bag of turkey meatballs that I figured would be a perfect addition to the zucchini spaghetti.   


  • Frozen turkey meatballs, about 30
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies (Rotel)
  • 5 zucchini, make into noodles 
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt 
  • 1 tsp red crushed pepper flakes 
  • 1 tsp black pepper 
  • Parmesan cheese, about 1/4 cup


Put Frozen meatballs, crushed tomatoes, and drained Rotel into a big pan. Add spices and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes. While that cooks, make your zucchini noodles. After 20 minutes, add noodles and mix well so they are coated with the sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes on low. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.  

It turned out pretty well. A few things worth noting:

  • It’s pretty spicy. If you don’t like things that hot I suggest using mild Rotel and omitting the red pepper flakes. 
  • The sauce will seem thick but the juices from the zucchini thin it out nicely. 
  • You could substitute another meat easily. Garen suggested Italian sausage but I’m not a fan. 
  • If you use turkey or another light meat, it should be pretty healthy, although I didn’t calculate the nutrition facts to check. 
  • I used my Veggetti noodle maker. There are different brands that do the same thing. I’ve had this a while and it works well enough. 
  • You could use this sauce for almost anything. It’s fast, easy, and flavorful. 

Grilled Sriracha Honey Chicken

  Because I knew Garen Grillmaster was already going to be grilling Cilanro Ranch Chicken for us last night, I went ahead whipped some sauce up for him to cook some Grilled Sriracha Honey Chicken. 

Garen loves Sriracha…He puts it on an estimated 40% of his food, so when I saw the pin of Sweet Sriracha Chicken from Kacey at The Cookie Writer, I knew I had to try it. Only, I did an adapted version of it because I did these things different:

  1. I love fresh cilantro and used that rather than dried basil. 
  2. I had crushed pepper flakes instead of crushed red pepper. 
  3. I didn’t have soy sauce (shocking, but true). 
  4. I use pre-minced garlic (because I buy it at Sam’s, it stores forever in the fridge, and it saves a little time).

Warning:  This recipe packs some heat so if you don’t do well with spiciness, my friends, this recipe is not for you


  • 2 lbs chicken breast, about 4-6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp,  minced garlic


Mix all ingredients well together in a bowl. Brush about half of the sauce onto the chicken. Cook on the grill around 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat, until cooked through (Garen Grillmaster handled this part).  Brush on more sauce a couple times during the cooking. 

 It was spicy, yet sweet and very tender. We will have it again. Next time probably with some grilled corn and potatoes.