Homemade Pesto

If you’re anything like me, you love Pesto but have always been afraid to make it on your own.
I used store bought for years and finally caved and bought a basil plant a few weeks ago in an attempt to keep it growing and finally make Pesto from scratch.

It is incredibly easy and cheaper than store bought and you can even substitute the pine nuts for chopped walnuts since pine nuts aren’t very easy to find.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (No stems)
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or food chopper.

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Once everything is blended and combined, add salt & pepper to your liking.

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Store in jars and seal tight and keep in the fridge if you are storing for later or use as sauce for pastas, flatbreads, pizza, or toss in pasta!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Slow Cooker Pork Sirloin

Hi everyone!

On today’s blog, I am sharing the easiest pork sirloin recipe with you that’s simple, tasty and budget friendly.
I typically cook at home to save from eating out so much but there are times when I am buying ingredients for a new recipe and it can be costly. This recipe won’t break the bank and you more than likely will already have the ingredients at home.

Ingredients:

  • Pork Sirloin (Mine weighed 1.44 lbs)
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Garlic Salt Seasoning
  • Fajita Seasoning
  • 7 oz. can of canned Jalapeños (Green Pickled Sliced Jalapeño Peppers)
  • 1 small onion

Directions:

Place your pork on a cutting board.

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Make slits in your pork sirloin but make sure not to cut all the way through and then flip over and make slits again but in the opposite direction.

Next you will sprinkle your Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Garlic Salt, and Fajita Seasoning  all over the pork. Make sure you rub and massage seasonings into the slits.

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Once you have finished, slice your onion and place the slices into the slits.

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Place your pork sirloin into your slow cooker and open your can of Jalapeños and pour the juice all over the pork and into the slow cooker. If you’re thinking this will leave your pork very spicy, you are wrong. This adds to the flavor and will help the pork become very juicy. If you are still uneasy about the Jalapeño juice, add 1/4 cup of water or less to help dilute. I also add a few Jalapeños from the can and place them in between the slits as well.

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Cover and place on High for 4 to 6 hours or Low for 7 to 8 hours.
Pull apart with fork and let it absorb all the juice and serve however you would like.
You can add BBQ and make pulled pork sandwiches or add into a baked potato, make tacos or quesadillas, or serve just as it is with a few sides.

With love,

– R. Vargas

Pretty Planner Party

For the last two years, I have thrown a Pretty Planner Party for a group of friends that enjoy crafting and planning in their planner as much as I do.
We get together and enjoy good & wholesome association, we share washi tape, stickers, coloring pencils, tips and tricks, etc.

Typically I hold the party at a public place but this year I was fortunate enough to host the party at someone’s home which gave me a chance to decorate and plan a menu. I bought the majority of my decorations at The Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only Store and I highly recommend these two stores if you are ever planning any type of party.

Here are a few pictures I took:

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This was my third year hosting the Pretty Planner Party and I feel like this was the best year so far.

I’m very grateful for the turnout and everyone who brought a dish and supplies to share!

With love,

– R. Vargas

Indoor Tulip Tutorial

Spring is right around the corner and soon flowers will be blooming!

Tulips are perennials, meaning they return year after year when planted into the ground but if you are not able to plant them in the ground and still would like to grow them, this is a perfect tutorial for you.

All you need is a vase, decorative gems or pebbles, water and of course tulip bulbs.

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Place a few gems or pebbles in your glass vase and set a few aside. Next take your bulbs and position them so that the pointy end is facing up.

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Take the rest of your gems or pebbles and align them around the bulbs to help set them in place.

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Take 1/2 a cup of water and pour into your vase until the water reaches right under the bottom of the bulbs. Try and keep the bulbs as dry as possible while pouring the water in the vase.

Place in a sunny location indoors and after a few days, you will notice the stem start to sprout and the bottom of the bulb will take root into the water. The roots will look like thin white strings so if you start to see this after a few days, your tulip is growing!

I will update pictures over the next few weeks but this easy tutorial will help you to get started!

With love,

– R. Vargas

 

Slow Cooker Chili

After reviewing quite a few chili recipes, I decided to adapt a few and make my own. Keep in mind this is a beginner recipe and someday I would like to add chipotle and adobo sauce and tons of peppers but until I master chili, this quick and easy recipe will do for now! This recipe is perfect for potlucks and great for Super Bowl Sunday!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs. of lean ground turkey
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 small clove of garlic,  minced
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 29 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinse & drain
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, rinse & dried
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp. of Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Prepare slow cooker by spraying well with cooking spray or lining with a plastic slow cooker liner.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Add the ground turkey to the skillet and cook until brown. Make sure to break up the ground turkey as you cook it and sprinkle the garlic powder on top.

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Drain and add the turkey to the bottom of the slow cooker.

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Add the remaining ingredients on top.

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Stir well and combine then cover with lid and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Once it’s ready and served, top with cheese, chives, and the rest of your favorites.

I used this recipe to enter a Chili Cook Off at work and it was a favorite!

Have you ever made chili? If so, what do you put in yours?

With love,

-R. Vargas

Hico Happenings

To start off my year right, I took a quick road trip to a small town called Hico, which is about an hour away from my hometown.
I made banana nut muffins the night before and packed a bag with a few more snacks to eat on the road and made hot chocolate in the morning to take with me.

I’m more of a scenic type of girl so I take back roads until I reach my destination.
Many of you may have never even heard of Hico, I’ll admit I didn’t know it was even a town in Texas until I stumbled upon it last year while making my way to San Antonio. At the time I was not able to explore it the way I wanted to and I knew someday I would visit again.

When I finally arrived in Hico, I made my way to the Koffee Kup which is one of Hico’s landmark restaurants.

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Each meal is served with fresh rolls and cornbread and everything is homemade and from scratch.

Next I visited Opera House Antiques which was the towns former Opera house dated back to 1895!

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Afterwards, I walked through downtown and saw this cute shop called, Hico Popcorn Works.

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There are so many options to choose from and best of all, you are able to sample them all! In addition to popcorn, the shop also sold homemade fudge.

While walking through the town, I realized that most of it is untouched with it’s old charm and vintage advertisements still painted on the side of the brick walls of buildings.

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If you are looking for a quick and quiet getaway with tons of antiquing, Hico is the town for you!

With love,

-R. Vargas

On Relationships….

You may have noticed that even though I am in a relationship, I am very private about it.
While I am very proud and privileged to be with my partner, I do not feel the need to broadcast our relationship and here are the reasons why:

  1. It is nobody’s business.
    This is the primary reason and will always be the primary reason.
  2. Nobody cares that you are dating. If someone is that interested in your relationship, more than likely it is because they do not have one of their own and if they do, could it be that maybe they are trying to compete?
    While there are some people who are genuinely happy you are dating, there will be several bitter ones who try to stay close for the wrong reasons. Be careful.
  3. I choose to not broadcast every single thing because I know there are many great men and women who view my content whether it is my blog, Instagram, Snapchat, or just talk to me on a personal level who yearn for a special someone but who have yet to make that connection. It is very difficult and hurtful to see someone or hear someone constantly throw their relationship in your face.
    You do not have to act like you are single or never speak of your partner, maybe just limit yourself and put their feelings ahead of your own.
  4. I feel like when you constantly broadcast what and who you have, it backfires on you. Whether it’s a breakup or you leave room for someone wanting to interfere in your relationship. It all causes damage. So again, I limit myself and set boundaries. Social media can be great but it can also be very dangerous when involving your partner.
  5. I truly feel that if you have a great partner, a great relationship and you are truly happy, you’re not going to need to post or constantly talk about how happy you are. People will know, people will feel that love when they see it.
    Real recognizes real.
    If you have to constantly put your business out there, who are you trying to convince? Others or yourself?

Remember these are my personal beliefs and opinions, you do not have to agree with me or like what I said.

With love,

– R. Vargas