Game Day in 20 Minutes

Saturday morning Luke and I left my Grandma’s house with both a food and literal hangover (things got rowdy at the legion the night before with family). Our goal was to get back into town to watch the Gopher vs. Badger football game (a big rivalry for us Midwesterners) and we were tracking to get back with about 30 minutes to spare.

On the way we decided we wanted to have a couple of people over, and much to Luke’s dismay I can’t just order pizzas when I “host,” so I was challenged with finding a few things to whip-up in a short amount of time.

Over the years I’ve learned to have a few staples in the house at all times: Chips, Sour Cream, Salsa, Crackers, Cream Cheese, mayo, ranch/Italian dressing mix, and shredded cheese. There is so much room for activities with these!

With these basics (plus a quick stop at the store) I made a beer dip and pickle dip (was craving pickles wrapped in cream cheese/salami – aka MN Sushi – but it would have taken too long):

Beer Dip

– 16 oz. cream cheese (I subbed dairy free)
– 1 Packet ranch dressing Mix
– 2 Cups shredded cheese (I skipped this)
– 1/3 Cup beer

Mix together and serve with pretzels!

Pickle Dip

– 8 oz. cream cheese (I subbed dairy free)
– 8 oz. sour cream (I subbed Greek yogurt to make it a bit healthier)
– 1/4 Cup pickle juice
– garlic powder to taste
– 1/2 to 1 Cup diced pickles
– 1/2 to 1 Cup diced salami

Mix together and serve with crackers!

I also leveraged a few Thanksgiving leftovers – I tend to over-do it, and bought a Costco-sized bag of cherry tomatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes (which was highly unnecessary). So I also made my mom’s AWESOME veggie dip and loaded sweet potatoes:

Veggie Dip

– 1 Cup mayo
– 1 Cup sour cream (I subbed Greek yogurt to make it a bit healthier)
– “lots” of dill weed (I started with 3 Tbl then added to taste)
– seasoning salt to taste
– onion powder to taste

Mix together and serve with veggies (also really good with potato chips).  It’s best if it can sit for an hour or so.

Loaded Sweet Potato Bites

– 1-2 sweet potatoes – peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
– seasoning salt
– olive oil
– preferred toppings (bacon bits, cheese, sour cream, green onion, etc.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put sweet potato rounds into a large ziplock bag and coat with about 1 Tbl olive oil and seasoning salt.

Place sweet potato rounds on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until soft in the middle but crisp on the outside

Top with your preferred toppings and bake until melted (another 4-5 minutes)

Serve with sour cream!

Unfortunately, my spread wasn’t enough to help the Gophers win, but it hit the spot in terms of hangover / game-day food!

Maybe next year Gophers….

DIY Alcohol Ink Ornaments

I love a good DIY Christmas gift, but I want it to actually be cute, not cost a ton of money, and something I can accomplish in a Sunday afternoon.  This probably seems intuitive, but can be hard to find!

Last year my mom (who is super crafty by the way) came across these really unique, elegant ornaments as a craft to do with her sorority group.  She handed them out to our family at Christmas and they were a huge hit, so I decided to make them for my new team at work (with her help)!

The shopping list is pretty simple for these:

  • Alcohol Ink (found at craft stores – I got mine at Michaels, here is link as an example)
  • Air duster (Can be found at Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc)
  • Clear glass ornaments (also got mine at Michaels, here is a link as an example)
  • Old clothes / tablecloth – when you spray the ornament the ink can spray out!

Here are the Instructions:

1.) Remove the top from the glass ornament and put about 3 drops of the ink into the inside, rotating the ornament as you put the drops in

Tip: It is easiest to start with a lighter color first, as it has more coverage and the darker colors work best as an accent later / can take-over the ornament if added first

2.) Position the air duster “straw” inside the ornament and spray in short bursts, rotating the ornament until you get your desired pattern


3.) Add another complimentary color – usually a darker color works best – then spray again in short bursts

Tip: start with one drop at a time, because the color sometimes can take over

4.) Repeat until you get the coloring you like.  It works best to finish with a metallic color – the metallic colors add some shine and also help cover-up areas where the air makes weird markings, etc.


5.) Flip upside down and let dry for a couple hours, then viola you have your ornament!


Shout out to my mom, helper and hand model!

I found a couple unique shaped ornaments that required some tweaking but also turned-out really cool!


As you go you get the hang of what technique you like best – and sometimes the ones that you hate at first turn out the best!

Happy Crafting!


Freezer Meal Friday

This #FMF is a bit of a #FBF since I made these a few weeks ago, so it works right?

Regardless, I hate that moment on weeknights when you come home from work starving just to stare blankly into the fridge.  As a whole I try to eat healthy, but if I don’t plan my will power usually doesn’t last very long.  Lately I’ve also felt super busy – not sure what we are filling our time with but taking the extra hour to stop at Target on the way home, then prep, then cook, then wait, then eat just doesn’t seem feasible these days.

So long story short I’ve jumped on the freezer meal train and I’m loving it.  Essentially you pre-plan, spend half a day cooking, and you get a bunch of grub for your buck!

Although it was 70 degrees in Minnesota (Global Warming isn’t so bad?!), fall was in the air and with that comes my desire to light a pumpkin candle and cook.

Luke is a true MN Vikings fan and every Sunday watches the game, which means Stella pup and I have 3 solid hours to catch-up on Bravo, nap, be productive, and in general just do our thing.


A couple Sundays ago felt like a cooking day for us (Stella napped in her Vikings jersey).  I met-up with my friend Jen (remember the one who adopted Andy!) in the morning and we went grocery shopping together to catch-up.  Note if you hate grocery shopping and love spending time with friends like me, I recommend this!  You get to chit chat AND feel productive!

I picked the meals out ahead of time and made my grocery list based on what was already in my cupboard.  Then once I got home I separated the ingredients by meal.


I’ve done a few rounds of freezer meals, and find it is easiest to determine which items need time to bake, marinate, etc. and start with those (in this case the sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, and pork).  I also will browse the recipes to see how the ingredients need to be prepped (chopped, sliced, etc.) and pre-prep everything to get it out of the way (this is partially because I hate chopping).  Another approach is to just pick a meal and prep it start to finish, whichever floats your boat!


Below is the list of recipes I made this time (some new, some repeats):

  • healthy-meat-sweet-potatoes– I freeze these in individual serving and take them to work, its great and usually lasts me two days.  I also subbed the ground beef for ground turkey
  • asian-pork-and-apples – This was good because it was something a bit different!
  • chicken-and-veggie-enchiladas – I subbed the chicken for ground turkey, the sour cream for greek yogurt, and put minimal cheese since I’m somewhat lactose intolerant
  • chicken-noodle-soup – (Per Luke’s request) I skipped the potatoes and evaporated milk
  • Spaghetti Squash Casserole – I was craving something with spaghetti squash so kind of made this up, but it was similar to this recipe on Pinterest (Big difference is that I used ground sausage and skipped the cheese re: lactose intolerant reference above)

Tip: If you know you like a meal, make it a double – half the work is prepping so you might as well maximize your time!


All-in I spent $110 at Target and got 25+ meals – less than $4/person – and it included some spices which will last more than these meals!  Boom.

This makes weeknight meal planning so much easier, and is a great gift for expecting moms or a fun friend activity as well!  Happy #freezermealfriday 🙂



Let’s Get Saucey

OK so that title is pretty lame, but I felt “Spaghetti Sauce” was just too boring, so I’m going with it.

When my parents lived in Wichita, Kansas my dad got to know a “true New York Italian” named Craig.  Craig apparently moved to Kansas to play football at a Junior college, fell in love, and never went back to the big Apple!  He was kind enough to share his family’s “basic” red sauce recipe with my parents and they have been making it ever since!

In my opinion there is nothing basic about it – It is garlicy, cheesy, tomato-y, did I say garlicy? goodness that kicks Italian dishes up a notch.

My parents would make this sauce growing-up with my all-time favorite pork parmesan and since winter is coming (not a Game of Thrones reference, for real winter in MN is coming) I was craving some comfort food.

The beautiful thing about the recipe is that is makes 1 Gallon, so there is so much room for activities!


Italian Red Sauce

  • Servings: 1 Gallon
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


– 2 small cans tomato paste
– 4 large cans tomato sauce (28-32 oz.)
– 1/4 to 1/2 Cup oil – vegetable or olive
– 2 heads finely minced garlic
– 1/2 to 3/4 Cup parmesan cheese
– 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Romano cheese
– Oregano or italian season to taste (start with 1 T, then add more if needed)
– 1 Onion – minced
– Soup bones – beef or pork (pork preferred)


1. Heat oil in a large pot
2. Add garlic and stir until garlic begins to brown
3. Add tomato paste and stir until well blended
4. Add tomato sauce and 1 or 2 cans water (it will cook down)
5. Stir in cheese, spices, salt to taste, and onion, then bring to a boil
6. Add soup bones (for flavor) and simmer 4-6 hours on very low heat until sauce has thickened

As you can see from the above, this recipe has a lot of garlic!  My parents made it one time in high school and when my sister and I went to school the next day, our lockers stunk-up the whole hallway from our clothes!  I would recommend putting your coats outside while making it, especially if you want to avoid embarrassing your kiddos at school 😉

I didn’t have soup bones just laying around, so the night before I made this crockpot pork meal – it was great!

While it was simmering, I also prepped two batches of Eggplant parmesan and two batches of pork parmesan!

Eggplant / Pork Parmesan

There really isn’t a recipe, its super easy.

For the eggplant:
– Cut into 1-inch slices, sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 30 min. (it removes some of the excess water)
– Wipe the excess off with a paper towel then they are ready to go.

For the pork:
– Pound boneless pork slices so they are very thin


– Mix one-part parmesan cheese to one-part bread crumbs plus add Italian seasoning to taste
– Dip the eggplant/pork in egg then into the parmesan/bread crumb mixture
– Put a little bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan
– Add the pork/eggplant, they layer with mozzarella cheese
– For the eggplant I layered spinach and mozzarella between two slices
– Note one eggplant makes 8 servings stacked two high

Bake the pork for 40 minutes, and the eggplant for 20 minutes at 375 degrees (you can also fry it, I was trying to be healthy 🙂 )

After a Sunday morning I had 4 freezer meals (16 total servings) and a bunch of extra sauce – Thanks Craig!

America, Meet the Stroopwafel

A little background – my fabulous cousin Ashley and her husband, Scott, moved to Amsterdam almost exactly a year ago for Scott’s job from Virginia.  When I lived outside of DC  for a few years I became kind of their resident third wheel and LOVED it.  So when I found out I was heading to France for work, I made a pit stop in Amsterdam to spend a few days with them (and their French bulldog Frank)!

Many people seem to think of Amsterdam as a place to get high and walk down the Red Light District, but in my two trips there I have seen a very pretty, relaxing, fun, and friendly city.  This trip we enjoyed taking Frank to the dog park, eating a FANTASTIC brunch at Bakers and Roasters, and overall just hanging out with one another.  But since I was back, I had to buy some Stroopwafels to bring home to Luke.

For those of you who haven’t tried Stroopwafels, you are missing out.  According to Wikipedia, a Stroopwafel (literally “syrup waffle”) is:

a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle

But I think they are best described as carmely, waffley crack cookies.  A quick google search told me that (surprisingly) you can buy them online at Wal-Mart if you are interested in trying them!

OK so while in Europe I did actually do some work.  I spent two days visiting local Powersports dealerships outside of Paris.  I was amazed that despite being across the world and having unique market needs, the Powersports Industry here is very similar.  I had the pleasure of sipping champagne with a few local customers and just loved how even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I could see and feel their passion for riding.


It was a moment of gratitude and appreciation for my job and the people that I get to meet!

Now even though I’d love to stay and explore, I’m selfishly super excited for my flight tomorrow.  It is the one time where my only priority in an 8-hour time period is to sleep, watch movies, drink wine, and munch on the stash of Stroopwafels I packed 🙂

and Then There was One…

Today is a bittersweet day at the Fox household – our foster pup Mr. Chance is now with his forever family, so we are down from three dogs to one!


To give a little background, we adopted our dog, Stella, from Safe Hands Animal Rescue in July 2015.  While looking for a dog, I started following several of the local Minneapolis rescue organizations on Facebook.  This means that while I’m catching-up on my friends’ lives (or let’s be honest stalking random people) on Facebook, often pictures/stories of dogs will pop-up on my newsfeed.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a bit of a softy, especially when it comes to dogs (just hearing that Sarah McLaughlin song brings visions of sad animals to my head and tears to my eyes).  I try my best not to get caught up in it, but the photo below and story from Secondhand Hounds broke my heart (don’t worry this story has a positive ending so stick with me!).

This was Chance’s “before” picture – he was brought to a partner shelter in Alabama with a skin condition, stab wound, broken jaw, and had his lips cut-off at some point.  I mean WTF is wrong with people?!  Unfortunately with situations like this they often don’t know where the dogs came from to prosecute the terrible people who do things like this.


So essentially I lost it (like, ugly cry lost it) when I read this, and after I showed Luke we decided we wanted to help this poor little dude.  There were almost 200 comments on the photo so I didn’t expect that my inquiry would go far.  But it turned out he didn’t have a foster yet AND he had a brother that was also looking for a foster.  So Luke and I went from having one crazy pup to having three!  Despite their horrible past, these dogs were loving and spunky from day one, and our dog Stella LOVED playing with them.  True proof of the forgiving, loyal nature of dogs.

We had Andy (now Bauer) for about a month, and he got adopted by my best friend and her family so the best part is that we get to continue to see him!


Andy with his new “brother” (my Godson, Carter) and dad Bryan!

Chance had dental surgery on Monday to correct residual issues from his broken jaw and now is ready to be adopted.  Since last night was our last night with him, I made a puppy cake from Pinterest that was super easy to make!  He and Stella ate it in one bite (it was actually quite impressive) 🙂  Luke and I also got as many puppy snuggles as we could with him.



As I reflect on this experience, it’s funny how in the beginning Luke and I set out to help Chance, and in the end I feel like he gave so much back to us.  As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like he and I found each other.  He helped Luke and I find this love of fostering that has brought us closer as a couple.  He also is the definition of forgiveness and loyalty, and touched the hearts of everyone he met with his goofy ears and smile.

Although I’m going to like having a cleaner house, less “mess” to pick-up in the backyard, and more room in our bed at night (yes, he slept with us much to Luke’s dismay!), we are going to miss this sweet pup.

BUT he is going to the most perfect family and will get the life and all of the attention he deserves.  They asked if it would be OK if they sent updates on him – it took everything in me not to scream YES so I contained myself and casually said “yeah, that would be great” while beaming ear-to-ear. (Did I mention these guys are PERFECT?!)


Chance and his forever parents!  They fell in love as soon as they met him


We are going to take a break from fostering for a bit and give Stella some one-on-one love, then get back into fostering after the Holidays.  We also agreed our next dog is going to be a yippy dog we don’t like so the goodbye isn’t as hard!

Thank you Chance and Andy for making our first foster experience a memorable one, you will always have a place in our hearts!






Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  This was the first year we were actually home for Halloween since we moved into our house so we were excited to celebrate with the neighborhood!

Last year was our first Halloween in our house, but the Gophers had a home game so we celebrated there (as Minnesota gnomes!)12187785_173610879652798_4790766136693572581_n

This weekend I went up to Detroit Lakes, MN to hang out with my parents and had a little fun with my mom forcing my pup Stella, our foster pup Chance, and my mom’s pup Gracie to dress up!


(Gracie is a crab, Chance a bumble bee / ice cream sundae, and Stella is a bumble bee)

To make our Monday more festive, I made some mini dirt cakes (I found on Pinterest at this blog ) – they were a huge hit and super easy to make!  I also used carving pumpkins as an activity to multi-task during my favorite movie – HOCUS POCUS!

And finally we had some fun with the Trick-Or-Treaters!  We seem to accumulate a TON Of Fox things given our last name, so we kept with the theme and greeted the door as foxes (Thanks Aunt Jean for the ears / tails!!)

Hope you had a fun and festive Halloween!!