Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Her

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Sharing my top picks for Valentine’s Day gifts for the gals in your life, or ideas for your own personal wish list! Please share any of your ideas in the comments!

Hey hey! Happy Monday! How was the weekend? We went to Phoenix for a fancypants event for the Pilot’s work, went on a family hike, and tried the Original Chop Shop for the first time. I hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend!

For today’s post, I’m sharing some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for her! Whether you’re shopping for someone special, or sharing this list with your partner, there are tons of great ideas here. Please share any gift ideas in the comments below or anything that’s on your personal wish list!

Gifts for the fitness fanatic:

Our favorite wireless headphones. The Pilot and I both have these and love them! They’re awesome for travel and workouts.

An Oura ring makes an amazing gift

My favorite yoga mat and mat towel

A cute yoga tank

The best workout leggings

A Beyond Yoga set

A sauna blanket! My liiiiiiiiiiiife. I use this magical creation 2-3 times per week and it feels amazing. I sleep so well and it makes my skin glow. Use FITNESSISTA15 for 15% off!

The red light face mask makes a perfect Valentine’s gift, too. You can use FITNESSISTA15

The best crosstraining sneakers

– or my fave barefoot sneakers

TRX suspension training system

A theragun

-A lululemon belt bag

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Italian Grinder Sandwich

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Savory deli meats are piled high on a toasted hoagie roll, then topped with an unforgettable tangy slaw and gooey provolone cheese to make this Italian Grinder Sandwich your new favorite lunch.

Close-up on sandwich

Italian Grinder Sandwich

The slight crunch and crackle of toasted bread, soft and warm meats topped with gooey, melted cheese, crisp onions and peppers in an incredible slaw. What’s not to love? Put them all together and it’s pure lunch heaven.

Toasted hoagies are bursting with incredible flavor and all of my favorite grinder sandwich ingredients. This Italian grinder sandwich may be the best sub sandwich I’ve had in the past year.

Sliced cold cuts sandwich

This recipe is extremely versatile, making it great for large gatherings. Everyone can pick out their favorite lunch meats, just swap out the turkey for roast beef or pepperoni, etc. Or, you can just pile them on. I won’t judge.

Kids adore this quick lunch. But, especially for little mouths, cured sliced meats can be difficult to chew. If you chop up the meats, it makes it easier to manage. And, what child wouldn’t want their own, special “chopped” grinder sandwich?

Bread with salami, prosciutto, and cheeseRead more

Sizzling Italian Dipping Oil for Bread

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Sizzling Italian Dipping Oil for Bread

a photo of a shallow white bowl full of bread dipping oil fill of finely chopped fresh herbs and minced garlic.

Sizzling hot, full of fresh herbs and garlic with a little drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar…the most irresistible dipping oil for bread. It soaks into the bread just a little and is the perfect appetizer or side dish for any meal.

Years ago when I was in college I was dating a boy that enjoyed cooking and baking. We had a lot of fun trying new recipes and because we were dating, my parents gave me a fancy set of oil and different seasonings for bread for one of my Christmas gifts. The relationship didn’t last but my love for bread and dipping oil totally did! Haha!

Take 10 minutes to make this dipping oil recipe, pull a fresh loaf of focaccia bread or a crusty artisan bread loaf out of the oven, and you have an elegant start to your authentic Italian bolognese dinner! You’ll feel like you’re sitting at a fancy Italian restaurant!

What Goes into Italian Dipping Oil?

Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:

  • Olive Oil – extra virgin, make sure it is good quality (from Italy or California is the best), extra virgin olive oil has a deeper and richer flavor
  • Garlic – fresh, not from a jar
  • Fresh herbs – parsley, oregano (or marjoram), rosemary and basil all minced really fine
    • PRO TIP: We love this combinations of fresh herbs, but you could use any combination you love! It’s so versatile! Add some thyme, omit the parsley…seriously whatever your family enjoys!
    • If you need to use dried herbs, double all the measurements for each herb.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – feel free to add more if you like more heat
  • Kosher Salt – adds flavor
  • Balsamic Vinegar – adds the most lovely hint of sweetness and acid to cut through the oil
  • Bread – I have been known to dip just about any bread into this oil. Heck, I’d dip a slice of white Wonderbread! See section below for specific suggestions.

The measurements for each ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

What Type of Olive Oil is Best for Dipping Oil?

You want a top quality, extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Extra virgin olive oil will hold up the best to all the flavors of the fresh herbs. Look for EVOO that is from Italy or California. EVOO can be expensive, but you only need 1/3 cup for this recipe, so buying the best is recommended and will last for a long time.

Can Other Types of Oil Be Used?

No, I would definitely not recommend using any other type of oil for making a dipping oil for bread. Other types of oil just don’t have the same rich flavor that you get from olive oil. Olive oil is also one of the healthiest types

My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

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My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

a photo of a serving of layered hearty meat lasagna on a white plate topped with melted cheese and chopped parsley

We have been long overdue for an update to this hearty meat lasagna recipe! I have been working on making it the BEST classic lasagna recipe ever, and this is finally it!

We layer this lasagna with our authentic bolognese meat sauce, a creamy bechamel sauce and 2 types of cheese all tucked between layers of lasagna noodles. You’re absolutely going to love this easy lasagna recipe!

It was 2009 when I first posted this recipe…2009…15 years! SO much has changed since then…we’ve expanded our family. We’ve moved (three times). We’ve progressed from toddlers and tantrums to teenagers and still tantrums 🤪. It seems natural that this lasagna recipe should change a little too. It’s now better and bolder and everything a homemade lasagna should be.

Ingredients for Hearty Meat Lasagna

I’m going to divide up the ingredients list between the three different parts of this recipe – the meat sauce, the bechamel sauce and the items needed to assemble the lasagna. Here is what you will need:

Meat Bolognese Sauce

  • Butter and Olive Oil
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Celery, Red Onion, Garlic
  • Proteins: Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
  • Tomatoes: Roasted Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Fire Roasted Tomatoes (canned)
  • Milk and Heavy Cream
  • Cooking Wine
  • Lemon Zest and Juice
  • Seasonings: Nutmeg, Bay Leaves, Salt and Pepper

Bechamel Sauce

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Lasagna Ingredients

  • Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Don’t be alarmed! You did not read ricotta cheese in that ingredients list. We actually found that we preferred the lasagna without it! Keep scrolling to the end of the post for the measurements for each ingredient.

How to Make Homemade Meat Lasagna

To Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Prepare the bolognese sauce as instructed in that post and set aside.

For the Bechamel Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour continuously whisking it in until a paste forms and it bubbles a little.
  3. Add in the milk slowing still whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens.
  4. Whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

For the Lasagna

  1. Prehea

The Little Things Newsletter #402 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Switzerland 402

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! It’s been a whirlwind of a week in Switzerland, exploring the area around Lausanne, enjoying the ballet, and eating copious amounts of cheese, chocolate, and pastries.

I’ll be sharing more in a full post on the blog after I’m home again, but in the meantime, let me just say that the Alps are gorgeous, the architecture is fascinating, and the weather has been lovely.

ON THE BLOGS THIS WEEK: This dairy-free Pineapple Banana Smoothie is light and refreshing, perfect with breakfast or as a snack any time throughout the day.

Fluffy pancakes are infused with the juicy flavors of ripe pineapple, sweet coconut, and a sprinkle of crunchy macadamia nuts, kicking these Hawaiian Pancakes into high gear.

Tender, savory beef simmers with a medley of herbs and earthy veggies under a golden, flaky pie crust in this simple Beef Pot Pie.

A handful of simple seasonings transform frozen green beans into a wonderful side dish with these Italian Green Beans.

The rich and hearty flavors of cabbage and root vegetables combine with savory beef in a simmering pot of Cabbage Beef Stew. This is the kind of comfort food that warms you right down to your toes.

Bursting with the sweetness of fresh apples and spiced up with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, these old fashioned Apple Cinnamon Cookies take you right back to grandma’s kitchen.

This creamy, rich Blueberry Ice Cream is filled with chunks of dark chocolate that will melt in your mouth. This ice cream has been my weakness for several years now. Make this as soon as possible – you will not regret it.

What I’m CRAVING: Salads! Just about every time I travel, I start craving fresh vegetables and salads like mad by the time I’m ready to head home. This Spinach Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese needs to happen asap, as does this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

My FAVORITE THING this week is my pocket size pill organizer. I’ve been using this tiny pill case for a few years now. This might be the mo