Tex-Mex Baked Pierogies

Since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, I couldn’t resist but to make a festive dinner. It only seemed right. Who doesn’t love an excuse to cook or eat Mexican food? We have tacos and quesadillas a lot so I was on the hunt for something slightly different. I came across a recipe for Tex-Mex Baked Pierogies… intriguing. We always have a big bag of frozen pierogies in the freezer so I already had the main ingredient. I went on to read the rest of the ingredients- enchilada sauce, corn, onions, cheese. All the things that make Mexican food so great. As you probably guessed already, I just had to make it. And Cinco de Mayo was just the most perfect time as ever to do so.

It’s a ridiculously easy recipe, great for a busy night. And it’s also very tasty. It’s the perfect recipe for when you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary but using all very ordinary ingredients. Many ingredients in which you probably already have. It could have only of been better with a margarita in hand (mental note for next time).

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Ingredients:

1 can of black beans (I didn’t use these because my husband doesn’t care for them and it was still delicious)

1 can of enchilada suace

1/2 cup of frozen corn

2 scallions (I forgot to buy these so I just chopped up some onion instead)

1 16 0z.-package of frozen pierogies (or about 16 pierogies)

1 cup of Mexican shredded cheese

1 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro (optional- I didn’t use this either)

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine the beans, sauce, corn, and scallions/onions in a bowl.

3. Spread half of the mixture onto the bottom of a baking dish.

4. Add pierogies.

5. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce mixture.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

7. Remove the foil and coat the top with Mexican cheese.

8. Put back in the oven uncovered for 5 minutes.

9. Top with cilantro before eating if desired.

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P.S. I actually took my own pictures this time! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Beach Bumming

With the holiday and “last” summer weekend upon us the beach has been on my mind. There will be many people heading to some sort of body of water this weekend (myself included) whether it be the ocean, a pool, lake, or pond. Unless you have the luxury of your own private sanctuary you aren’t going to be alone. There will be many other families, friends, and lovers trying to enjoy their long weekend too. I know, the last thing we want to do it worry about other people on our time off but we can’t escape the reality. Wherever you may find yourself this weekend, there will be other people around you and it’s only right to respect their time and space as well. With a few small tips it’s actually pretty easy and it will make yourself look pretty good (and who doesn’t like that?) because unfortunately there are many selfish and oblivious people out there that have no respect whatsoever for others. I put together a quick list of a few guidelines that I try to follow when I’m at the beach, collected after experiencing many annoying and joyless beach trips. Hopefully this will help you vacation with more ease and confidence this weekend and many more weekends to come.

1. Before you stake your spot pay attention to your surroundings. First, try to leave a considerable amount a room between the other people on all sides of you. I understand that some beaches have limited room and even more so on busy weekends but try to make an effort to spread out. There are very few people who like being in arms lengths of people they don’t know, especially for long periods of time. I’m sure you don’t like it either, so why make everyone’s day miserable? People like to feel like they have a space that is all theirs. Have a particular spot that you like? Make sure to get there early to claim your spot instead of trying to squeeze in later. Being closer to the water, bathrooms, or snack bar is not worth the hassle of the huffs and puffs of other people around you. You should also pay attention to the wind and tide. You don’t want to sit too close to the water if the tide is due to come in soon. You can potentially lose your spot and may not find another one, or may need to squeeze somewhere else you really shouldn’t be. The wind direction is very important for those with umbrellas. As you can imagine, its not fun to get smashed in the face with a beach umbrella during a nice afternoon nap, especially if that beach umbrella is not yours. Just be aware and you will be fine.

2. Be cautious. If you are wearing flip flops or any type of sandal/shoe that isn’t secured tightly to your foot you should remove them as soon as you step onto the sand. Most sandals kick up a lot of sand as you walk and no one likes a whole pile of sand to the face- yuck! It’s also important to be cautious when shaking out your towel whether you are packing up or just re-adjusting. You make not realize it yourself but a lot of sand sticks to your towel and will get carried in the wind to the people next to you and maybe even beyond that. Take your towel to an open space and then shake it out.

3. There is no reason to yell- unless there is an emergency of course. Your voice carries on the shore so even if you think you are talking in a normal voice everyone around you can hear what you are saying. I don’t know about you but I really don’t care which muscles are sore, what you ate last night, or how horrible your job is. I go to the beach to relax, not listen to other people’s gossip.

4. If you are using a radio or speakers keep the volume low, just loud enough so the people you are with can hear it. Honestly, the best solution is an iPod and headphones but I realize that for larger groups people want to be able to socialize and hear each other without earphones getting in the way. So, if you do have a radio going just be mindful that other people may not want to hear your music. Also keep in mind what type of music you are playing, especially if you are in a heavy family populated area with children around.

5. Don’t smoke at your towel. The wind carries the smoke and you are in very close proximity to other people. Some people have allergies, asthma, and others just simply don’t like smoke blowing in their face- understandable. If you need to smoke find an empty spot on the beach, go for a walk, or head out to the parking lot.

6. If you want to get some exercise in with a football or frisbee pick your spot wisely. I hate having to constantly pay attention to those playing around me to ensure I don’t get slammed in the face. I want to close my eyes and relax or read a book. I don’t want to go home with a bruised eye or broken nose and I doubt you want to cause that to happen to someone else. Getting some exercise while at the beach is great, just pay attention to where you choose to do it.

7. If you are at a beach where dogs are allowed, keep your dog leashed. Not everyone thinks your dog is cute as you do. Also, don’t feed other animals. This includes other people’s dogs and the seagulls- ESPECIALLY the seagulls!!! If you like getting swarmed by seagulls then good for you but I can promise you that very few other people share that joy.

8. Lastly, clean-up. Before you leave your spot at the end of the day make sure all your trash is picked up and disposed of in the proper place. Beaches are beautiful, wonderful places but they won’t be for long if we don’t take care of them.

See, I told you (women love being right). These are all very simple things that only require minimal common sense. You can still enjoy your vacation the way you want to while respecting other fellow vacationers at the same time.

Enjoy your long weekend, get some sun, and relax. I will see you all next week!

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Be A Rockstar Guest!

The holiday parties may be over until next year but those New Years parties are just around the corner. You already know how to host an awesome party (see my last post) but what about being a guest? Don’t just be another face in the crowd, be a rock star!Here are a few tips to help you stand out in the spotlight:

*If an RSVP is required, respond immediately. Many people put the invitation in their purse or on their refrigerator and say they will call in a few days but why not do it right now? The faster the host knows how many people are attending, the better they can plan for their party.

*If you say you are coming, come! Last minute cancellations are not acceptable unless there is a real emergency (and no, laundry, lack of sleep, or cleaning are not valid excuses).

*Never bring people who were not invited (this includes your children). If the invite is just addressed to you, double check before you bring a date. If it is addressed to you and a significant other that means your kids were not invited. Only bring your kids if the invite is addressed to your family or if the host tells you to.

*Always bring a hostess gift, even if it’s just a candle or a bottle of lotion. Keep it simple. Bottles of wine are always a safe resort (that is if the host drinks alcohol).

*Every host dreads the question: “What do you want me to bring?” The host already has too much to think about so if you are offering to bring an appetizer or dessert make your own decision. If you know that the host really likes something that you make, offer to bring it.

*Arrive on time. If you arrive too early you will stress out the host, while late arrivals give off the impression that you don’t care about the party.

*Don’t just talk to your group of friends. Try to make the rounds and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. If you only talk to people you know other people may think you are stuck up or anti-social and that is definitely not our goal here.

*PLEASE don’t whisper! I don’t care what you are talking about, just don’t do it! People will think that you are talking about them or the party even if you’re not.

*Make sure you compliment the cooking, even if it’s the worst food you ever ate.

*Don’t be picky about the food. The only time you should refuse to eat the food being served is in cases of religious or medical conditions. If you really can’t eat the food, do so politely and don’t draw attention to it. If you do have a religious or medical condition you may want to warn the host ahead of time or bring a dish you know you will be able to eat.

*Offer to help put out the food or clean-up. A good host should never put their guests to work but you still need to offer.

*Before you use anything, ask for permission. If you want to turn on the television to catch up on a game, ask. Even if you want to use the bathroom, ask. It’s not your house and you need to respect their property.

*Stay till the end of the party. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours there, but wait until most people are done eating, dessert was served, or presents were opened (if applicable).

*Lastly, ALWAYS remember to say thank you (more than once if you can). The host went through a lot of effort and chose to invite you so let them know that you really did appreciate it.

The next time you attend a party, try some of these tips out and I promise that you will have a list of party invites in no time. Every host loves a guest who makes their life easier and they will surely invite you back again. Don’t forget to return the favor and invite them to your parties as well. Happy New Year, remember to be a rock star!

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!