Shrimp and Goat Cheese Linguine

shrimp linguine

shrimp linguine

One of our first dates when we moved was to Pappadeaux.  They were advertising a shrimp bruschetta as an appetizer. We were thinking fresh tomatoes ,basil, grilled shrimp, and toast. To our surprise they delivered a platter of grilled shrimp, garlic bread, lemon wedges, and piping hot marinara sauce smothered in goat cheese. That combination to this day is still one of our favorites. Shrimp linguine

Since then I have tried different combinations to recreate those flavors. This is one of my favorite versions. Sauteed garlic and pepper shrimp over fresh linguine. Marinara with herb goat cheese broiled on top. Fresh lemon juice squeeze over everything with fresh cracked pepper. This dish is so fresh and rich at the same time. If you are feeling extra fancy garlic bread would be perfect on the side.

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Linguine
Recipe type: Pasta, Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Rich marinara and goat cheese topped with sauteed shrimp over linguine.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of medium peeled shrimp
  • 1 tbsp fresh shopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • 1 cup of marinara
  • 4 ounces of herb goat cheese
  • fresh linguine (dry works I just prefer fresh)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • basil
Instructions
  1. Prepare the pasta and set to the side.
  2. In a saute pan heat the butter/oil.
  3. Add in the shrimp and garlic.
  4. Top with cracked pepper.
  5. In a separate pan heat the marinara and top with goat cheese.
  6. Once the marinara is heated put in the oven and broil the cheese until bubbly.
  7. Top the linguine with the cheese and marinara.
  8. Add shrimp.
  9. Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp.
  10. Add cracked pepper and basil.
  11. Serve!

Once you try this combo there is no going back. I really have not found anything else that delivers this perfect amount of spice, tang and texture. Try and it let me know what you think!

If you really cannot stomach the thought of goat cheese – Parmesan works too. Not as good as the goat cheese… but it will still go great. This dish will also work without the pasta. You can serve with bread on the side!

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Moist Chocolate Cake With Brightly Colored Buttercream

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Today I am bringing you the best chocolate cake I have ever made. So light and moist with a fudge-like flavor.

What you need:

1 3/4 cup of AP flour

2 cups of sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup of boiling water

1 cup of 2% milk

3/4 cup cocoa

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix on medium until just combined. No more then 2 minutes. The batter will be VERY thin. (Seriously, to the point that you think no way this creates a cake) Pour into two greased 9 inch baking pans. I drop mine onto the counter to get the air bubbles out. Bake for 30 minutes until just set.

Now for the icing!  I saw a few pictures online recently of tie dye cakes that I was really excited about. I love the pinks, purples and blues. I have had a jar of tie dye butterfly sprinkles that I have been really wanting to use, but how often would I really have the opportunity?

I used a basic vanilla buttercream, filled the layers and did a quick crumb coat then put the cake in the fridge. I divided the remaining icing into three bowls. I mixed in the different colorings then pulled the cake back out. I randomly covered parts of the cake with the icings and used a metal spatula to cover the entire surface. This mixed the colors just enough to tie dye. I used my piping bag with a star tip and put all the remaining icings inside. When you push the icing through the star all the colors swirl together creating this magical cake.

This cake was a huge hit with “P”s kids. It definitely helped me express my inner child 😉

Adapted from the original Hersey’s chocolate cake recipe.

Want to know what products I used for this recipe?

Wilton 8 inch cake pan set of 2

Wilton Cooling Racks Set of 3

Nestle Cocoa Powder

Neon Food Coloring

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Banana Cranberry Muffins With Cinnamon Streusel

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How many more times can you hear about how much someone loves fall time? You are about to hear about it one more time! The season brings very sentimental memories for me. It started in highschool. Football, pumpkin patches, hot chocolate, haunted  corn mazes … then as I grew it became more about salted caramel lattes and makeup. (Side note: Pumpkin spice lattes have been a serious trend the past few years. When did it start trending that PSL was uncool? I am not saying it has to be starbucks or even a latte, but I am team pumpkin spice all the way!)

“P” and I met last fall- so if I was obsessed with the season before it is times ten now. Cool crisp air, cozy blankets, changing leaves… these all remind me of when we first began dating. Somehow anything cinnamon or brown sugar reminds me of warmth which in turn brings me to these “fall” inspired banana cranberry muffins.

You can make them even healthier by skipping the streusel topping. I will not be doing that, but you can. 😉

The first time I experimented with this recipe I did not even get to try one. That’s right… 12 muffins… zero for me. “P” sampled a few then gathered them up and shared with his office. They are incredibly easy to make and I assumed their disappearance meant they were good enough to make again.

What you need:

4 very ripe bananas

1 tbsp of honey

1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup of AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

3 tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Streusel topping:

3 tbsp cold butter

1/2 flour

1/2 brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 12 muffin tin with non stick spray or fill with liners. Mix sugar, honey, egg, and cooled butter with the banana. Add in the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and cranberries.

Very important not to over mix. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 of the way.

For the streusel mix all the ingredients until it forms little crumbles. Sprinkle on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

These are just as good the next day. I like to individually wrap them to keep them extra moist.

Enjoy!

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Tangy Pepper and Olive Pepperoni Pizza




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 As much as I try I just cannot go a week without pizza. I even considered a cheese-less kale pizza to try and justify my cravings. This pizza has half the fat of a pizza from a local chain and is bursting with flavor. The mild garlic olives infused with the spice from the jalapenos and splash of sweet from the banana peppers. Such a winning combo. I added in a few boarshead pepperonis because they are my all time favorite.

What you need:

For the dough:

1 Cup of AP Flour

1/2 packet of active yeast

1/2 cup of warm water

1/2 tsp italian seasoning

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp salt

For the toppings:

banana peppers

jalapenos

garlic marinated olives

boardshead pepperoni

mozzarella

pizza sauce of your choice

How to make it:

Preheat your oven to 375.

I used a bread machine and just dumped all the ingredients in the machine on the dough setting. This dough does not need more then 20 minutes of rise time. We are making a fairly thin crust.  If you do not have a bread machine just mix your sugar, water, and yeast together. Let sit for 2 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.

Roll your dough out as thin as you prefer. I did about 1/2 an inch thick.

Top your pizza with the sauce, cheese, peppers, olives and pepperoni. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust has a deep golden color and cheese is bubbling.

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Just try to only have one piece 😉

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Fall Living For Less




Fall is my favorite time of year, well second to Christmas! I love decorating for the seasons, but it can definitely get expensive. I always make a list of items I need for a season update, but then end up walking around trying to justify $20 worth of smell good pinecones. I decided this year would be different. I wanted a pottery barn look for cheap and I wanted to go with a color theme that could transition into winter.

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  These candle holders are a very sturdy black iron. I picked them up at the pottery barn outlet for less then $20. The leaves and white pumpkins I found at Michaels. It is always better to check the sales before buying. When you go late September/ early October you can find pumpkins for 60% off.

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   This vase I found at Kirklands. It is actually a hurricane. I removed the candle holder. The flowers and lemons are from Walmart.

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  I knew I wanted to try and get a lot of white pieces. White candles, blankets, pillows, flowers, ect… This will make it really easy to move into winter. Once it starts getting colder I am going to pick up about 4 more white blankets. I want them to all have different textures. This will give the living room a cozy feel. I honestly usually have about 5 pillows on the couch. P and I end up squeezed into a corner of the couch while the pillows take over. For the sake of my relationship I scaled back to 2 per chair. Pillows are the most expensive pieces usually. I change my mind so often I knew I could not justify $30 a pillow to get the cozy white feel that I wanted. I waited until the Hobby Lobby decor sale. They already have great pillow cover prices, but on sale you rarely spend more then $5 per case. All 4 of these cases are from Hobby Lobby and are still available on the website! The gray and white blankets are from Home Goods. Blankets and pictures frames are the best deals at Home Goods.

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  Finally, the scarecrow. I usually only have one of these. I found these leaves, flowers and the scarecrow pick at Michaels. The vase is old, but also from Michaels.

I hope I inspired you to decorate this season while saving a few bucks! I will update as I add more pieces!

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Jalapeno Honey Butter and Spicy Fried Chicken




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   Honey butter is one of my favorite indulgences. The richness of the salted butter combined with the sweet smooth honey flavor just cannot be beat. This brings back memories of Sunday dinners when I was growing up. My mom usually paired a comforting bowl of chili with corn bread twists and hot honey butter. I wanted to spice things up a little bit and added some jalapeno. It ended up being the perfect balance of salty, sweet and spicy. This entire meal was built around this jalapeno honey butter to be honest. Just try not to eat it all! Savory toast smothered in this butter topped with crispy chicken breast. The side dish possibilities are endless.

What you need:

For the jalapeno honey butter-

1 fresh jalapeno – seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped

2 tbsp salted butter

1 tbsp honey

For the chicken-

2 chicken breasts

2 cup of flour

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp italian seasoning

1 egg

1 cup of milk

peanut oil for frying

Sourdough Bread

Directions:

For the honey butter:

Melt the butter and mix in the jalapenos and honey. Once combined place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the chicken:

I preheated a deep fryer with the peanut oil at 375. Mix together the egg and milk. Add chicken and soak while the rest of the ingredients are put together. In a separate bowl mix together flour and spices. Drop chicken into the flour mix and cover entirely. Fry the chicken until internal temp is 155 (the chicken will continue to rise to 165 once you let rest). My chicken was about 1/2 inch thick and took around 15 minutes to fry. Remember to flip the chicken half way through for even coloring.

Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes then slice in half.

Toast the sourdough bread and top with the chilled butter.

Serve alone or with your choice of side.

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Smashed Avocado Havarti Bacon Grilled Cheese With Wickles Relish


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Sometimes you just need to smash some avocado. In celebration of my new (improved) website I wanted to share something delicious. Something cheesy, covered in bacon, and spiced up with Wickles relish. This is not a sponsored post. I just LOVE Wickles. When I was shopping today I came across the spicy relish and knew I wanted to make something ASAP. This is what appeared shortly thereafter.

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What you need:

Your favorite sandwich bread

6 slices of crispy bacon

Once sliced vine ripened tomato

Ripe avocado

4 slices of havarti cheese

Wickles Relish

Mayo

salt and pepper

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How to make it:

    Butter 4 pieces of sourdough bread, mine is from publix bakery. Heat your frying pan to over a medium flame and add the bread 2 pieces at a time. Top bread with havarti and leave in pan until the cheese starts to melt. Set bread to the side to cool. Cut your avocado in half and scoop onto 2 pieces of bread. I used a fork to smash the avocado lightly. Add mayo, salt, and pepper to your liking. I used about a tsp of mayo and liberally seasoned. Top with tomatoes, bacon, and about a tsp of the relish.

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Press your 2 sides together. Cut and serve! Makes 2 servings. Prepare to fall in love!

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20 Minute Tuesday






What do you do when you are starving, but really just do not feel like putting the effort into cooking? I usually keep a few staples around the house just in case I have a night when my fingers start itching to dial delivery.

#1. Grilled Chicken. I usually buy huge family packs of chicken and freeze them in individual bags for the week. I try to grill off at least 3 chicken breasts to keep in the fridge ready to add to a meal. My favorite marinade is salt, pepper, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

#2. Pasta. We try not to eat pasta more then once a week, but some how I always have a plethora of pastas in the pantry. I like whole wheat linguine and fiber enriched angel hair. Gluten free options are great as well. Just remember not to cook those as long.

#3. Bottled Organic Marinara. Tomato sauce is huge in our house. We eat it on everything. I just discovered Bertolli premium sauces at Target. The caramelized onion and balsamic vinegar sauce is the best!

#4. Parmesan Cheese. Enough said.

I completely forgot to plan something for dinner tonight. When I got off work I was so tired and just did not want to think about cooking anything. When I started looking through the pantry I realized I had plenty of things to make one of my favorite meals in a matter of minutes. 20 to be exact.

What you need:

Pre grilled chicken breasts (2)
One jar of marinara
Whole wheat linguine
Fresh mozzarella
Fresh Parmesan
Crushed red pepper
Sea Salt
Crusty garlic bread (optional, but sooooo worth it)

How to do it:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring some salted water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook as directed. In an oven safe pan/skillet add 2 cups of marinara, sliced grilled chicken, and fresh mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 a cup of pasta water. Add pasta and reserved water back into the water pot. Pour the skillet of sauce, chicken and cheese into the water pot. Toss everything together. Season with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy with bread. You can thank me later 😉

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Sweat Proof Makeup- How I Get My Makeup To Last Outside





Wearing a full face of makeup in the Georgia heat is tricky. I filmed a tutorial so you can see step by step what I did before spending the day in the sun. This is not a “by the pool” look. This is a full makeup look for those days when you are going to be outside, but still need to look your best. 
First step- moisturizer 
I washed my face and used a light moisturizer about 30 minutes prior to starting my makeup. This is going to give your makeup something to stick to. 
Using a long lasting foundation. Relvon color stay whipped is my favorite formula for outside. It does not budge!
Apply cream products with your fingers. I applied my concealer, bronzer and highlighter with my fingers. Heating the product with your fingers really allows you to push it into your skin. 
Waterproof eyeliner to tight line
Setting cream with powder. I used powder versions of each product to set my creams. This is going to prolong the wear.
Use a matte lip stick or just lip balm. If you want to do a bright color stay with a stain or matte product. I also love gloss for easy touch ups. 
Setting spray. I use rose water spray, but anything to set your makeup will help keep it from streaking.
I hope you enjoyed my tips! This look lasted 2 hours at an outdoor festival in 90+ degrees without any need for touch up!
Products used: 

Revlon color stay foundation

MAYBELLINE lumi concealer
Rimmel translucent powder
Urban decay basics pallet
Buxom blush
Lorac tantilizer bronzer
MAYBELLINE bb bronzer 
Buxom liquid highlight 
The balm mary loumanizer highlighter
Urban decay perversion mascara 
MAYBELLINE matte lipstick 
Mac eyeshadow texture
Mac gloss (discontinued) 
Rimmel scandal eye liner bronze 
Kat Von d water proof eye kohl 

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Lazy Sundays





Normally, I am stuck at work on Sunday mornings. This weekend we went to the Atlanta BBQ festival and I decided to take a long weekend. 
Our church message today was on finding happiness. I felt like it was completely appropriate seeing as how that is typically what everyone is striving for on a day to day basis. 
Isn’t it funny how every time you are going through something you are suddenly given the exact message you need to hear? Whether it be a sermon or devotional, a news report, even just a friend calling to check on you the exact time you need someone. 
Two months ago I was having a hard time seeing what was in my future. In reality you can never know what the future holds, but it is good to have goals. 
Some of my goals were to find a job that I truly loved, to invest more time to blogging, to consistently go to church, to finally live the healthy live style I knew so much about.
I’m happy to say that these goals really pulled me out of a tough spot. A lot of opportunities have presented themselves and I am excited to see what my future holds. 
Do not be so hard on yourself. Today I enjoyed pancakes, steak, hashbrowns, and eggs. Not really part of my diet, but the pancakes are an organic mix from trader joes, the steak was a half portion of extra lean top round, the hashbrowns were cooked in a little light butter rather than oil. There are lots of things you can do to enjoy a “cheat” meal without feeling like you have ruined the whole day. 
Set goals. Do what makes you happy. Stop living a life that doesn’t feel like your own. 
Enjoy your Sunday!

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