Semi-Homemade: Naked Red Velvet Cake

Last month we celebrated Brando’s first birthday with a farm-to-table foodie themed birthday party. Brando has ONE major interest right now and that is food, so the theme was super appropriate and really simple to pull off at my Grandmother’s property where they used to raise cattle in Plant City. I thought a naked red velvet layered cake would make the perfect dessert for this rustic party, and it turned out super delicious and was REALLY easy to put together.

While I really like taking my time and making things from scratch, I made EVERYTHING for this party, so I knew time wise, using a store bought cake mix would be much easier for me. While you can use any store bought mix, I prefer Duncan Hines for Red Velvet because the red color is much richer than other brands. I followed the directions on the box to prepare the cake, except I used chocolate milk when it called for water. This made the cake much more moist and enriched the cocoa flavor of the red velvet.

I used 2 boxes of cake mix which netted me 3 8in rounds, which I used for the main cake and 2 6 in rounds, which I used to make Brando’s smash cake.

Since cream cheese icing is very simple to make from scratch, I made that myself so that the cake did have that extra “made with love” feel to me. Here’s my easy recipe:


8 oz cream cheese

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 cup butter (softened slightly warmer than room temp)

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Beat together butter and cream cheese until perfectly smooth, make sure there are no clumps or lumps whatsoever.
  2. Add in vanilla extract and lemon juice
  3. Beat in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, until smooth

Since this was a “Naked Cake”, I made sure to let my cakes cool extra long (overnight) to ensure that when they were leveled and iced there would be absolutely no crumbs showing. I was heavy handed with the icing in-between each layer to ensure that the icing:cake ratio was on point since I didn’t ice the sides of the cake. If you have a little pour over with your icing like I did, just use a butter knife to smooth it out, honestly I think it just adds to the homey feel of the cake, so don’t stress out if it isn’t perfection.

Finally to top each cake and flow with the farm-to-table theme, I sugared some berries to add to the top. This is super simple and fun way to top a cake. Simply dip berries in fruit juice of choice (I used lemon juice), then roll them in white sugar, then freeze for 1+ hrs. The longer you freeze them, the longer they will look nice and icey. Being in the FL heat my berries unfortunately didn’t hold their “glittery” look for long, but they still looked great.

This cake is great for any kind of occasion and if you’re not a red velvet fan you could also try this with a great spice cake or carrot cake for the fall. I’m really happy with how it turned out. So many people at Brando’s party came up to me to compliment the cake and couldn’t believe I made it myself. It’s a great way to impress your guests that’s for sure and Brando LOVED having the whole smash cake to himself!



All photos were take by Laura Davis Photo. She’s freakin’ amazing guys.


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Birthday Chip Frapp

This post was sponsored in part by Social Spotters on behalf of Shamrock Farms, all opinions are my own. 

With Brando’s 1st birthday party quickly approaching I wanted to pick a theme that matched what he’s in love with. After a lot of deliberation we decided to have a “This Little Piggy” foodie themed birthday. So basically, we skip out on all the kitschy party decor, and go straight to what matters most: good food. While Brando won’t be partaking in this beverage, I wanted to create a non-alcholoic foodie friendly beverage for the party. This is an adults-only drink because of the amount of caffeine in it, but it’s so fun and festive for his birthday party.

Coffee drinks are my jamm, and I’ve literally only met like 3 adults in my life who didn’t LOVE a good coffee beverage, so this idea seemed perfect to match the foodie theme, and be a fun treat for our party people.

This recipe makes 4 drinks so adjust for the amount of party-goers if you’re preparing ahead of time.

What You’ll Need:

2 cups of ice 

1- 12 oz bottle of Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee & Milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

How to make it: 

  1. Fill blender with 2 cups of ice.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender- save 1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles for garnish
  3. Pulse blender until ice is good and blended, then hit “smoothie” setting for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour into glass and top with leftover sprinkles.
  5. ENJOY!

This was such a delicious treat to kick start my mid-week slump, and it will be such a delicious treat for our baby boy’s party guests! Combining all of our favorite flavors (coffee, birthday cake, and chocolate) made for one spectacular concoction.

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Strawberry Mini-Pizzas

strawberry pizza recipe

strawberry pizza recipe

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s, all opinions expressed are my own. #AmericanIcons 

Pregnancy Cravings are no joke. Before I got pregnant with Cash, I just assumed “cravings” were all in a pregnant woman’s head and she could use them as an excuse to eat whatever whenever she wanted. Now I know that the craving is so strong it actually feels like a need. It’s hard to separate mentally what you can live without vs. what you absolutely need to consume in the moment. Lately, since I reckon towards the end the baby is putting on fat, I have been craving everything and anything sweet & fruity. I love watermelon, pineapple, cake, cheesecake, ice cream, waffles…all of it. haha. One of my biggest loves has hands down got to be the strawberry though.

strawberry pizza recipe

I know in Florida berry season is quickly fleeting, but I don’t mind paying a little more for California berries at this point to satisfy my sweet tooth without having a lot of refined sugars. Since I’m 5 days away from delivery at this point now though, I felt like today was a good day to indulge a little and make something really treat worthy.

strawberry pizza recipe

My mother always made the coolest recipes for us kids and family gatherings. My family seriously doesn’t consider a holiday complete without her famous potato casserole, and before social media was even around she was crafting “semi-homemade” sweet treats. Strawberry Pizza was one of those sweet treats and I remember being in 6th grade the first time she made it and loving every single bite. The first time she made it was for a 5th Sunday Dinner at church and I remember being so proud of how delicious her dessert was, I wanted to make sure everyone I knew tried it.

strawberry pizza recipe

Since I don’t have a giant pizza pan, I decided to make my own twist on her classic recipe by making single serving individual “pizzas” easily enjoyed by the family. This was brilliant, and a ton of fun not just for me, but also for Cash as he helped in part of the recipe making!

strawberry pizza

Strawberry Mini-Pizzas


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (washed)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1 package pre-portioned sugar cookies
  • pinch of powdered sugar for decoration


  1. Slice entire pint of berries thinly and mix in 1/2 cup sugar. Set in fridge to let sugar to break down with berries. This creates your “pepperoni” topping.                                                                                         strawberry pizza recipe
  2. Bake Cookies according to package instructions. Be sure to leave adequate space in between each cookie, so you get a great circle shape.                                                                                                                  minipizza1
  3. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth, refrigerate while cookies bake.           strawberry pizza recipe
  4. Once cookies have cooled (10-15 minutes out of the oven), spread cream cheese frosting on top of cookie, then add sliced berries, and finish off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

strawberry pizza recipe

This is one of my favorite dessert recipes and I love that it’s something passed down from my mother, that I will pass on to my kids eventually. Macy’s also shares a love of strawberries and family memories, which is why this summer they are launching Strawberry Shortcake Day at Macy’s!


Macy’s is celebrating the joys of summer and American Icons with a tribute to one of the most classic and iconic desserts of all time! On June 14, 2016 at the Citrus Park Mall I will be participating in one of the most exciting events Macy’s is offering this summer: Strawberry Shortcake Day! This is a totally free event, and there are several going on around the country. You don’t have to RSVP, but to ensure a great seat you can do so here. Don’t fret if you’re not in the Tampa area either, you can find an event in your area by clicking here.

I’m so excited for this event, and even more excited to dive into this plate of cookies!


Sweet as a Berry,



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Sharing Snacks with Grandma- Give a Box of Cheerios™.

Cheerio's Snack Mix Grandma

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiveABox #CollectiveBias

special grandmother

I’ve always had a really great and close relationship with my maternal grandparents. As the daughter of a teenage mother, we spent the first few years of my life living with my grandmother. While my mother worked on the weekends to provide for us, my grandmother used her weekends off to spend quality time with me & care for me. We went yard-saling every Saturday morning, then scoured the sales at the mall in the afternoons. On Sundays we got dressed up in our best dresses and went to church.

special grandmother

When we moved out of my grandmother’s house, I still loved spending weekends with her. She had TONS of silky nightgowns and I adored sleeping in them. I would spend the night most Saturday nights before church on Sundays and she would throw us what I called “Princess Parties”, where we would both wear lipstick, a gorgeous silky nightgown, and drink our juice out of her “fancy” china. She made me feel like the most special little girl in the entire world on those weekends.

special grandmother

As I’ve grown from a “young lady” to an adult, I cherish those memories and truly appreciate the sacrifice my grandmother made in giving her weekends to me. Now that I know what it’s like to work and take care of a home all week, giving your entire weekend to a rambunctious little girl obsessed with wearing all your clothes has got to be considered saintly, and I’m forever grateful. My mother tells me all the time how similar I am to my grandmother. Our emphasis on a wholesome lifestyle is one of the biggest passions we share.

Grandmother is special

My grandmother is now 71 years old, but she doesn’t look a day over 50! She lives an active lifestyle, and eats nutritional foods. Our family often pokes fun at how small she keeps her indulgence portions, I’m talking a sliver of cake so small a mouse wouldn’t even be satisfied! Now, Cheerios™ is offering a special promotion exclusive to Walmart that’s a perfect way to let my grandmother know I’m thinking about her.

Cheerio's Snack Mix Grandma

For a limited time, you can  purchase a box of Cheerios™ at Walmart, enter a code and fill out an E-card online for someone special to open and receive a coupon for a free box of Cheerios™ at your local Walmart.

Cheerio's at Walmart

To celebrate this Buy a Box, Give a Box promotion, I came up with a great recipe to share with my grandmother along with the box of Cheerios™ I’m sending to her inbox.

cheerios snack mix

Cheerios Snack Mix

Sweet & Savory Snack Mix

  • 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios™
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup mini pretzel rods
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  1.  Toast Honey Nut Cheerios™ with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sea salt  in oven on 350 for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove toasted Cheerios™ from oven and place in large serving bowl
  3. Add Cashews, Cranberries, Pretzel Rods & Chocolate Chips to Toasted Cheerios™ and mix well
  4. Enjoy a handful or a bowlful at a time!

The Buy a Box, Give a Free Box promotion is available exclusively on specially marked family sized boxes of Cheerios™ at Walmart. To learn more click here for details.

Cheerios Snack Mix

Cheerios™ Snack Mix

This snack mix is great for any occasion. It only takes about 12 minutes (including toasting time) to put together, making it perfect to put together quickly while you’re meal prepping for the week! It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty, without being over-indulgent like some salted carmel snacks can be.

Cheerios Snack Mix

I can’t wait to share this snack mix with Grandma when she gets her big box of Cheerios™ that I’m giving to her!

Cheerio's Snack Mix

For more details on the Buy a box, Give a Free box promotion click here for details. Who would you share a box of Cheerios™ with? What flavor is your favorite: Original, Honey Nut or Apple Cinnamon?

Make Someone Happy,


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Cold-Brewed Coffee At Home


This family runs on coffee. While I am pregnant and only consume about one cup a day, my husband will clear the rest of the pot before 10am, and sometimes we’ll enjoy a cup for dessert as well. While piping hot cup of coffee is something I can enjoy when it’s a little chillier, hot beverages in general are difficult for me to enjoy when it’s 87 degrees outside. While I have tried brewing coffee and pouring it over ice with cream, the ice melts leaving you with watered down flavored coffee water, which is not my jam, so I decided to try cold-brewing coffee at home. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was an easy task and worked perfectly! Here’s how simple it is:

  1. Scoop 4-5 tablespoons of ground coffee into the bottom of your French Press, then fill the remainder up with water.
  2. Set French Press in fridge for 12-24 hours, the longer it sets, the richer & bolder the coffee flavor becomes.


That’s it! That’s all you have to do to brew some delicious cold brew at home for those days you can’t stomach the idea of a hot cup o’joe.

I finished off my cold brew with half of a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup half&half, and poured it all over ice. It stayed cool and non-watery all morning and was a great refreshing way to start the day, and kick Monday’s butt!



Have you tried cold-brewing coffee? What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee in the morning?


Roasted Beans & Vanilla Cream,



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Egg Hunt Cupcakes


This is literally the FIRST time I’m using box cake mix in a recipe on my blog! While I love making things from scratch and putting the extra love and effort into things, sometimes I just want to make something because it’s fun, and not worry about the nutritional aspect of it! I mean, from scratch or not, this IS a cupcake full of sugar, it’s 100% okay to skip a step here and there sometimes for the sake of time!


Since I was able to spend less time preparing the cake mix, I was able to spend more time on decorating, making them adorable and perfect for Easter! Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake mix is awesome! I found it at Wal-Mart for just under $3. The kit even includes real carrots and raisins to put into your cake, so the “semi-homemade” aspect feels more relevant with this mix. For these adorable cupcakes here is what you will need!


1 package Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake Mix

1 can cream cheese frosting

pastel gel food coloring

1 package (12) Bunny shaped marshmallow Peeps

4 oz white chocolate chips

seasonal sprinkles

1 package edible Easter grass

1 80z package Cadbury Mini-Eggs

12 2in “sticks”- I used paper straws that I cut into thirds.


1. Melt 4oz of white chocolate chips in microwave, in 30 second intervals, stirring in between heating. Separate sprinkles you want to use in individual cups. Open Peeps and pull them apart


2. Dip the Peeps lower half into white chocolate, then dip into sprinkles, push halfway into bottom half while chocolate is melted. Lay on flat surface, let cool in freezer 30 min.


3. Following the directions, prepare the cupcake mix according to the box. Allow cupcakes to cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

4. In 3 separate containers divide frosting and mix food coloring in pastels you want to use. Frost cupcakes


5. Push in blades of edible grass, Push Peeps bunny in, and add Cadbury Eggs to the top! The batch makes about 18 cupcakes, and I only had 12 Bunnies, so I made some that just looked like Easter eggs next to blades of grass in a field!


These really are such an adorable cupcake to make! I enjoyed making them, and Cash is enjoying devouring them! I can’t wait til my family sees them on Sunday!!



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7 Minute Organic Peanut Butter Eggs

I’m not always about pre-made, not-100% from scratch food. It’s typically something I tend to stay away from. However, around the holidays, there are so many different things to do that revolve around bringing a dish. It can be so hard to create aesthetically appealing food for these events, (you know you want everyone to compliment you on how good it looks) that is healthy and delicious and easy to make in a pinch!


A great recipe I’ve come up with is these holiday shaped chocolates peanut butter snacks. While they do only take about 7 minutes to make, you’re going to need to let them cool in the refrigerator for about 1 hr before serving, just to let the chocolate set. This is such a simple treat, and they are so fun to make!

Organic Peanut Butter Eggs


2 cups organic peanut butter (you can also use cookie butter, nutella or almond butter depending on your preference)

1 1/2 cups organic almond flour

1 bag (11.5 oz) Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Baking Chips

1. Combine Peanut Butter and Almond flour in a bowl little by little until the texture is more “dry” and not so sticky.


2. Mold peanut butter mixture into seasonal cookie cutter of choice.


3.  Place peanut butter shaped eggs in freezer to harden. In a separate bowl, melt chocolate by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.

4. Remove Eggs from freezer and gently cover in melted chocolate, making sure to cover each and every side of the egg. I used some white chocolate too, so I could make them extra Easter-y with sprinkles!


5. Allow to chill for 1 hr, then remove and enjoy!


These tasted awesome, and they honestly aren’t the most unhealthy treat to munch on during the holidays! I love how simple they were to make! These will definitely be coming back for every holiday now!!!


George Washington Carver,


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A Cowboy Sandwich

I’ve never used a slow-cooker before, and certainly never cooked a cow butt before, but we got a ton of free rump from family and I wanted to put it to good use and try something new. Now I typically make everything from scratch, but this was pretty amazing regardless. All I did was toast Texas toast in the oven, put the beef in the slow-cooker with a huge bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce for 24 hours on low (turning occasionally), and throw a slice of Sargento Ultra Thin Cheddar on the top. The result surprised me, the beef is so full of flavor and the sharpness of the cheese with the garlic bread really compliments all the flavors. This was amazing, I definitely recommend trying this one night if you have a slow-cooker. Also is great for upcoming holidays like Memorial Day or The 4th, the BBQ has really got me looking forward to summer!


The Sargento Ultra Thin Cheese was something I got from Influenster to try out. They have several other varieties like Mozzarella, Swiss, and Colby Jack, I picked the Cheddar because it’s something we use on almost a daily basis, and it was nice with the BBQ sauce! These ultra thin slices are awesome for melting on burgers, or keeping cold on a lunch wrap. Yesterday James and I made hot Ham & Cheese for lunch in the panini maker, and while we did have to use 2 slices per sandwich to get the desired melty-cheese effect, it was also an amazing meal.

What would you do with Ultra Thin Cheese?


Baked Beans and Creamed Corn,



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Delicious Oven “Fried” Chicken

A few weeks ago the Heavens opened up a Trader Joes in Tampa, FINALLY! A place we can get organic, healthy, non-GMO foods that isn’t gouging us like Whole Foods?! THANK YOU JEEESUSSSSS!! We just went to get some basics and check out the place, and Boy Howdy, I’m in love. While we were there, along with amazing deals on raw kale, spring greens, spinach, and a massive display of every cheese you can think of (12 different kinds of Brie ALONE), I happened to find a 2 lb package of chicken drumsticks that was only $2.60! Now, we usually just buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and freeze them, so drumsticks were new to me, I’d never cooked them before, you know with skin and all that, but I figured a little experiment never hurt anyone, especially with such a good deal on the meat ( I can AFFORD to mess up dinner lol). This is how I ended up stumbling into the best chicken I’ve ever made in my life, ever! and it was so simple!

I took 3 bowls, one filled with a 50/50 mixture of Coconut Oil and EVOO, one with some Italian Breadcrumbs, and one with salt, pepper, a little whole wheat flour, and almonds that I ground in the food processor. I took each chicken drumstick dipped them in the Oil Mixture, then coated in my Almond/Flour, back in the Oil, then a sprinkle of the Italian breadcrumbs. Baked them for 45 min in the oven on 375, flipping the chicken over half-way through, to get an even “crunch”.

The chicken came out cooked so perfectly, had tons of natural flavors and juices, the skin was the perfect amount of tender and crispy. James DEVOURED this meal, and I’ll definitely be making it again soon!


Finger-Lickin' Good!
Finger-Lickin’ Good!

I also have found my favorite way of cooking Green Beans. We bought a bag of frozen organic french green beans at Trader Joes for $2, and it’s HUGE! I still have 75% of the bag left!

All I did for the green beans was warm a sautee pan with a tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper, then I put some garlic and sundried tomatoes and let them simmer just for a minute on their own, then I threw some green beans I had set out to thaw for about an hour. I added some lemon juice, and covered the sautee pan with a lid, turned the heat down to low and let them steam cook for about 10 minutes. Once they were ready I sprinkled them with just a little parmesan cheese and they were delicious!


Next time you want to experiment, get some good food at Trader Joes and see what you can come up with! I’m excited and motivated to try more new recipes out!


Fried Chicken and Green Beans (obvi).


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Scrumptious Sunday #3: Rocky Road Brownie Pie

Had a bad day? That time of month? Is a baby taking over your body? Did someone break your heart?
Whatever you’re suffering from this is the chocolate recipe to make your day all better. Today I’m making a rocky road inspired brownie pie. It’s extremely chocolatey so savory lovers beware this isn’t for you, but I am 9 months pregnant so I made this recipe specifically to aide my last few weeks blues.

To start we’re making brownie mix from scratch.
1 2/3 cups pure cane sugar
3/4 cups (1.5 sticks) melted butter
2 tbsp. water
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups self rising unbleached flour
3/4 cups baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl

I mix it with a fork until the color and consistency are batter like and deep

2. Pour into a greased pie dish

Bake in oven on 350 for 25-30 min

Now to make the rocky road topping

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
20 large marshmallows

1. Melt butter on stovetop in saucepan
2. Reduce heat add in almond milk
3. Add in cocoa powder, mix well
4. Slowly add in marshmallows, reduce to low heat

5. Stir as marshmallows begin to melt


6. Continue to stir on low heat til icing forms


Pour icing onto brownie, top with crushed almonds and marshmallows as desired.

My Prego self is going full-throttle fatty and enjoying this a la mode with chocolate ice cream!



Marshmallow Fluff and Other Stuff,

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