Greek Pasta Salad

I am NOT adventurous when it comes to cooking and trying new foods.  So the fact that I made this pasta salad AND liked it is still a miracle in my mind.

My family has recently discovered Penzey Spices. This spice store will overwhelm your senses; I’ve been known to sniff a few too many spices and seasonings and end up in a sneezing fit.  There is a great variety of sodium free options, although this recipe was not inspired by one.  This recipe was inspired by the Greek Seasoning: a traditional blend of lemon, garlic, and oregano.

This past Sunday was a warm and cloudless day that was perfect for sitting outside while grilling and catching up with family.  I wanted to make a contribution to the meal so I decided to be inspired by a seasoning.  I found a great Greek Salad Dressing recipe from Penzey and added it to a pasta salad.  Here is the recipe and proof of my actual cooking:

Greek Salad Dressing:

Mix 2 Tablespoons Greek Seasoning with 2 Tablespoons water and let it stand for 5 minutes
Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup salad oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons water, and 1 Teaspoon sugar
Stir the dressing into cooked Rotini Noodles
Let the noodles cool before adding in Black Olives and Feta Cheese as you desire

Feel free to add in other veggies or cheeses to your pasta salad.  Black Olives and Feta Cheese were as adventurous as I was willing to get.  And honestly, I picked MOST of my Black Olives out.  I tried a few though, so I’m calling it a win! ENJOY!



I am always thankful for the Green Bay Packers. Not as a die-hard fan that needs a win every week to be happy, but as someone who has grown up around the Packers and has a lot of fond memories revolving around them.

The Green Bay Packers have brought my family and friends together on more than one occasion and I am forever thankful of that.  From attending Packer training camp for 10 years in a row to watching Aaron Rodgers win his first Super Bowl with whom would become my college roommates, the Packers have been good to me.


WIN or lose today I will forever be a Packers fan.

Holiday Gifting

Nothing gets the Holiday Season started like the panic of buying the perfect gift. It never fails, the Holiday Season will creep up on me and I blank on all the great ideas accumulating in my mind. When November rolls around the panic sets in because I can’t remember my gift ideas or how many gift I need to give. If gift giving causes you anxiety or turns you into the Grinch, I’m here to bring you back on board the sleigh with the big red guy in red.

It is never too early to start planning and buying gifts. Whether it’s just making a list of who you’re buying for or hitting up some early sales, the sooner the better. I’m not ashamed to admit I bought a gift this year way back in July. Sometimes an idea will hit you like a cold December wind or the prices are too good to pass up. My suggestion to get started early is to make a list of everyone you need a gift for. This way, you can easily keep track of whom you still need to buy for.

Next, don’t break the bank on gifts this year. Spending more than you can afford will only cause more anxiety and diminish the magic of the Holiday Season. Personalizing gifts or following a theme can help you save money and impress the one receiving your gift. Keeping a theme among a few, small, well thought out items will mean more to someone than an average gift you potentially spent too much on. Fun themes to follow can be color, scent, or hobby. If a friend enjoys baking, a colorful cupcake tin, cute oven mitts, and ingredients for funfetti cupcakes would be a cute and reasonably priced gift. Personalizing the theme to the person makes the gift more exciting and special. Spending tons of money isn’t necessary to guarantee a great gift.

Gifting on a budget can also be easier if you watch sales and collect coupons. If you find a great item on sale, snap it up right away. It’s better to be prepared than scrambling on Christmas Eve. Collecting coupons is a great way to knock out multiple gifts in one purchase. Coupons and deals around the Holidays are fairly easy to find. A great deal to look for is when you spend a certain amount you can get $10-20 off your purchase. I get these types of deals in my emails so keep an eye out for those. In fact, I received a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $35 at Charming Charlie’s. Stay tuned to see how I turned that deal into five different gifts.


Lastly, don’t forget the presentation. The presentation is the first impression of what could be inside. For presents that simply need wrapping paper, be sure to have clean corners and use enough tape. It is also important to avoid rips and tears in the wrapping paper. When using gift bags, wrap fragile items in tissue paper and then use one or two pieces to fill the bag. A trick for the tissue paper is to push the center of the sheet into the bag and bring the corners up to poke out of the bag. Gifts that are large or oddly shaped can prove to be difficult. Sometimes the easiest remedy for large gifts is simply to add a large bow and decorative gift tag. A cute addition to any gift is to use a Christmas ornament as a decoration; it can be tied to the handle on a gift bag or taped to a wrapped present along with the gift tag.

Hopefully with these tips for gift giving you can spend less time stressing and more time with family and friends.

With my $10 off $35 purchase from Charming Charlie’s I bought five scarves, necklace, ring, and a set of earrings. After using my coupon and shopping the sale rack, my total came to $31 and I had the start of five different gifts. Here are my five gift ideas based on my purchase from Charming Charlie’s.











Black & White Scarf

Seasonal Scented Candle

The scarf came in under $4 and a Seasonal scented candle from Bath & Body Works ranges from $4.50 to $20 depending on the size. This gift would work great for a co-worker or roommate.











Yellow Scarf with Blue & Yellow Tassels

Recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes

Again, the scarf was less than $4. The recipe for Gingerbread pancakes is very festive and freeeeeeeeee. Any Gingerbread pancake recipe on the Internet will work: I prefer the one on A cute way to present this gift is in a mason jar. This gift can be given to a relative or any friend that loves cooking.











Blue & White Chevron Scarf

Travel Coffee Mug

Hot Chocolate Mix

Who can say no to a $4 scarf? You can find a nice travel mug at Wal-Mart for about $10 and a single packet of flavored hot chocolate is about $1. This $15 gift is great for any chocolate lover on-the-go.












Pink Scarf

Ring & Necklace

Charming Charlie’s should really pay me for this….This entire gift can be found at Charming Charlie’s. The ring and necklace were both on the clearance rack so this gift came in at under $12. Roommates, co-workers, or siblings would love to receive this gift.












Brown & White Chevron Scarf

Mini Liquor


The novelty mug can be found for a range of prices. It all depends on what you are willing to spend. The mini bottle of liquor is just a few dollars and turns any cider or hot chocolate into an adult beverage. The scarf was obviously $4. I would love to receive this gift, so I’m guessing anyone over 21 would too.