Reflecting on Blessings: A note


Hi there, its been awhile. 

Busy schedules—work and law school—have kept me pretty preoccupied lately. Not only am I busy, but my hardworking, loving and selfless husband is also back in the saddle, taking on his MBA:Healthcare Management, all while working more hours and striving harder to support our family. All this to say, cooking has fallen to the wayside (though I kept the wine part around—ya know, just to keep it real).

Now, generally I try not to bore the online community with my unabashed sarcasm, politically incorrect ideals (ok, maybe I don’t try so hard with those first two) and unwarranted convictions—but today I decided to let you in. Just this once (then I’ll get back to the food and drinks—priorities people!).

As I sit here thinking about quirky ways to engage you, my friends, I can only manifest one thought to completion: I am blessed beyond measure. 

They say that a woman’s worth can be found in what she dares to leave behind. Her legacy, her family. Her strong convictions, her relentless work ethic. They say you can look at a woman’s blessings and see her, the real her.

When I think of the blessings I have been given, I can’t help but realize that I am the fool—let me expound.

I am the fool who lets her emotions control her destiny.

I am the fool who takes her blessings with an open hand, as if they were a well-deserved handout all along.

I am the fool who carries her convictions like a cross too heavy to bear. 

I am the fool who has treated friendships like burdens.

I am the fool who touts her reflective perceptions as laws to be abided by.

I am the fool—but I would venture to guess you are too.

You see, I don’t say all of this to garner attention. I don’t do it to shed light on all of my insecurities, missteps and failures. I say this because it needs to be heard.

You. You with the life full of joy. Yes, your sadness, weeping and mourning may have lasted a night. But joy came in the morning.

Every day you wake up to see the sun rise. Every day you breathe another breath—you have been blessed beyond measure.

You see, I have spent far too long carrying burdens for attention. I throw my blessings in the mud just to feel justified in my complaining. I have carried my friends through the fire just to reserve the right to show my scars. I am the fool who needed saving.

So, here we are. Here I am: Blessed beyond measure.

Sometimes life is not about being perfect. We are all the fool. We all need saving. We all will make mistakes—be it a job, a relationship, a friendship or a decision. We all will fall…but I will always get back up.

Lest I lead you astray, this isn’t a disheartened reflection on a regretful history. This is my anthem. This is where the strength to overcome is born. In understanding that I am not a product of my circumstance. I am not a product of my choices. You are not a product of the wounds that left you those scars.

You are an overcomer. You are blessed beyond measure. When your heart is beating, when your children are laughing, when those same children are crying—when your husband isn’t hearing you, when your career is booming, when your job is draining—you are blessed.

So, from one blessed fool to another, thank you. Thank you to those who have supported me, to those who have chastised me, for those who have forgiven me—and even for those who have pushed me out of your life.

It is from each of you that I have gained the wisdom to overcome, and the revelation that I am blessed.

You cannot understand the significance of the rain if you’ve never experienced thirst in the drought.

So, for those of you who are like me, a little hard-headed—ok, maybe a lot—, I challenge you to take the time to recognize your blessings today, rather than focusing on your trial.

You never know, it just might make you see your life through a whole new lens—and maybe that will be just enough to warrant a little table talk.

xoxo Ashley Kate

Five Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin spice muffinsThe only thing better than pumpkin muffins is five ingredient pumpkin spice muffins. I mean, you really can’t go wrong when you can count the ingredients on one hand, right? I think I have already established my abundance of love for fall. Now that the temperatures are starting to drop there is literally no holding me back. Windows open, coffee brewing and candles lit. I have really fallen for autumn this time around. Last week I shared my famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, and if you liked that, you are going to LOVE this. I have turned my ordinary muffins into a pumpkin spice delight, and it was as easy as repurposing a few of those same ingredients you used for your first #psl of the season. pumpkin spice muffins My sister in law turned me on to substituting liquids with fruits and pumpkin about two years ago. The recipe she gave me called for chocolate cake mix and a few other deliciously dirty secrets (including one can of pumpkin puree). Let me tell you, to. die. for.  But, after making a few batches of her recipe this year I decided that I wanted to branch out a bit. That coupled with my love of fall, and I think you can see how I ended up here. What is there not to love about pumpkin spice?! The rich textures, spicy flavor and gooey warmth. Mmm! You just tell me its pumpkin and I’m sold like a cheap car at the used car mart. When you marry that with the fact that these are sorta  healthy (I mean they don’t have any butter, oil or eggs!), I think you just may have found the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that won’t leave you feeling larger than a house. So, without further ado, here is my (soon to be famous) five ingredient pumpkin spice muffin recipe! muffins

Ingredients (makes 24 muffins):

  • One box vanilla cake mix
  • One regular size can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

(add water to achieve desired consistency if needed–usually 1/4-1/2 cup)


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients into bowl and mix until the batter achieves a smooth and whipped consistency.
  3. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Now tell me you are not dying to try these?! They are definitely worth a little table talk. What is your favorite fall recipe? Let me know below! xoxo Ashley Kate

Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte   Yes. Pumpkin. Spice. Latte. Please hold while I die a little. Lately EVERYONE has been talking about the famous #psl. And the secret is out, I make a killer  homemade version. To back up a bit, there is probably not much that I love more about Fall than the pumpkin spice latte. Starbucks, Dunkin, Einstein… You name it, I’ve had it. But, one thing that always gets me (other than the $4 price tag) is that I don’t know what is going into that deliciously delectable drink. Now, now. I know, since when do I really care?! Well, though I love my chemicals, when I am drinking 2-3 of these suckers a week, I get to wondering what exactly I am doing to myself, especially when those nasty infographics start circulating on Facebook. So, I decided to take it upon myself to create an equally (more than equally, actually) delicious drink that I can dissect without getting out a dictionary—oh, and it only has 5 ingredients. Yep, you read that right, 5. So, come on—read on. I introduce my famous pumpkin spice latte. pumpkin spice latte   Mmm. I want one just looking at it. Creamy with just enough spice. *sigh* So, can making this gem really be that easy? My answer: yes it can. With a little bit of practice and preparation this delicious treat can be yours, any day of the week! And better yet, it costs less than $1 per serving! This lovely recipe takes three distinct steps. First, you will need to cook the pumpkin spice mixture on the stovetop. Then blend it to “steam” the milk, and finally you will need too brew your strong coffee or espresso. steps pumpkin spice latte   That’s it, just three easy steps. And the plus side is that is takes way less time than driving to Starbucks, waiting in line and driving home. In my book? That’s a win. And the best part? Almost all of these ingredients are most likely already in your pantry! With the exception of pumpkin pie spice, but if you can’t run to the store, there is a great recipe here. ingredients So, without further ado, here is the recipe for the easiest, and best pumpkin spice latte!

Ingredients: (serves two)

  •  2 cups milk (I used 1%, but any kind will do)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the fake stuff today, but any type will do!)
  • 3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  1. Start on the stovetop. Add your milk, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree and sugar to the pan. Heat until sugar resolves, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and add mixture to blender. Blend for 30-45 seconds.
  3. Brew 1/4 cup of extra strong coffee, or two shots of espresso.
  4. Mix espresso and milk mixture.
  5. Serve plain (or “skinny”), or add whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice.
  6. Enjoy!

Now that my friends, is worth waking up early—and a little table talk. xoxo Ashley Kate

5 Ways to Decorate for Fall on a Budget

Ways to decorate for Fall on a

Fall. Oh, how I love Fall. Not to mention the boots, scarves and sweaters. But the pumpkin treats, decorations and candles. Ahh! There is honestly not much that I love more than decorating. Well, maybe cooking and sipping on a great glass of wine, but other than that, decorating takes the cake. So naturally, when Fall rolls around the first thing I want to do it prepare the house, but if you are anything like me, that means on a budget (my least favorite word).

I know I generally stick to recipes around here, but sometimes a girls gotta decorate, if ya know what I mean, so bear with me (and maybe you’ll get my famous pumpkin spice latte recipe out of it tomorrow!).

So it is September 10th. I have been ready for Fall since mid-August (but that is a different story.) And thinking back to all of the ways I make my house a home for the holidays, I realized there are five things that I do to ensure that I am ready for Fall, without breaking the bank. So, like the sharer that I am, here are 5 tips sure to help you jump into fall, without falling into debt.

  1. Be thrifty– No, I am not saying that everything you buy has to be second hand, but sometime you can find the best decoration at your local Goodwill! I always look for tablecloths, runners, decorative art and cute table pieces like pumpkins, turkeys and leafs.
  2. Check under the Tree– The Dollar Tree that is! This is my  best worst kept secret when it comes to decorating. Everything from my wreath to my table decor comes from this place. I mean seriously, who can beat $1?! fall centerpiece
  3. Go with candles– Nothing says welcome-to-my-Fall-filled-home better than some season-inspired candles. Favorites on my list are vanilla, apple spice, pumpkin (duh) and cinnamon. Best yet? I generally pick up these fall-inspired scents at Ross, making them much less expensive, and just as delicious!Fall candle
  4. Make your wreath yourself Yes, I know that not everyone is crafty, but making your wreath can save you TONS of money, and it ensures that you will have a unique piece that welcomes people into your home in a way perfectly represents you. (I’ll be posting an easy DIY wreath making blog over then next week, so be on the lookout!)fall wreath
  5. Stick with featured areas– Rather than stressing about redecorating each part of your home, stick with small spaces that really stand out. For instance, I decorated my dining room by accentuating the table with a runner and centerpiece (costing less than $10 total!!). I will add small touches with pumpkins and candles throughout the main level of our house, but I make sure to keep a balance so that my regular decorations still work with my theme.

Also, as a bonus, I utilize chalk boards to add season-inspired messages throughout my home. Because these are already worked into my regular decor, they don’t cost a thing!

How do you decorate for fall on a budget? Let me know!

xoxo Ashley Kate

Chicken Croissants: A healthier approach

Chicken Croissant


So, these are to. die. for. Seriously.  I have been wanting to share these for awhile, especially after becoming overwhelmingly addicted to their distant cousin found here. Yes, I am sure you have all seen those Pinterestingly delicious baked croissant goodness. But, being the health conscious  easily guilt ridden person that I am, I had to find a better, less self-hatred inducing alternative.

Introducing my chicken croissants.

chicken croissant

I mean come on. Those could not look any better if I paid a professional photographer—ok they totally could. I do have a DSLR…I just choose to be an iPhone freak. #Lazy.

Anyways, onto the recipe.

I started with the base, because I knew I had to be healthier than the creamy, gooey deliciousness of the original recipe. So I went with chopped onions and green bell pepper—which I love by the way, and I added the chopped chicken to the pan as well.

chopped onion and peppers


I seasoned it with salt, pepper and red pepper—just for kicks.

This healthy base gave me the freedom to stick with the croissants that make the show worth watching, if ya know what I mean.



Now, I LOVE cheese. Like, the kind of love that makes you jump out of airplanes and swim with sharks. Ok, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but regardless, lets call it an affair.

One of my favorite types of cheese? Feta, despite my husband’s distaste. So, if you are like him and wish to swap the feta out I won’t judge, but trust me feta rules the roost on this one. After I added the cheese I drizzled each croissant with a bit of honey, killer idea.  Best ever. Forrealzzzz, worth more than a little table talk.

Ingredients (serves 4, makes 8):

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 package of croissants
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • drizzle of honey
  • salt, pepper and red pepper to taste


  1. To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (duh, this is totally my go-to).
  2. Chop the chicken, green pepper and onion into smallish (see picture) pieces, and cook until chicken is no longer pink on inside and peppers are soft.
  3. Open the croissants and unroll each.
  4. Place 1/8 of the chicken mixture onto of the unrolled croissant, add 1/8 of cheese and roll up. Repeat until all are filled.
  5. Drizzle tops with honey.
  6. Back until croissants are golden brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

xoxo Ashley Kate



Tortizzas: The future of homemade personal pizzas.

tortilla pizza| tortizza

Lets be honest, who doesn’t like pizza? Whether you’re having a party, feeding the kids or just plain hungry (which is usually where I fall on the spectrum)—tortizzas will literally change your life.

Ok, so now you are probably thinking:

  1. Who the heck is this chick, and why does she keep saying “tortizzas” like that is a real thing?!
  2. Get to the point or I’m leaving.
  3. Shoot. Now I want pizza!

Well, without further ado: Meet the tortizza.


My mouth is watering just looking at them again. And the best part? These delicious creations can be made using as little as 3 ingredients. Now tell me that isn’t the perfect number?! 

To begin, preheat the oven to 370°. Let the oven get nice and hot before you put your pizzas in. If you are like me that may sound like a skippable step, but just trust me, you want these to get crispy and delicious.

Now, take your tortilla and place it on a baking tray, pizza stone or pizza pan (I used our pizza pan in this picture).


Now, I know what you are thinking—tortillas are for Mexican night, not pizza night! Well, you’re wrong. Just trust me. If you are going for the three ingredient version, just add your sauce (duh, I used the store brand jar for my husband’s red sauce and Prego Alfredo for mine—sale!) and some mozzarella cheese.


Those look good, right? Well, if you are anything like me and my husband you are never caught red eating a plain-jane cheese pizza—so load ‘er up!

I tried out an alfredo/white pizza version that was auh-maze-ing. (That was all that we had left by time we thought to take a picture….) I’ll throw the recipe for that one in here too!


For a dinner this deliciously quick and easy, I paired a smooth Cabernet Sauvignon—under $10 a bottle and oh so yummy!

For best results, drink one glass while preparing, one while cooking—and er, you get the point! Tortizza’s…now that is food worth a little table talk.

Ingredients (plain cheese):

  • White flour tortillas (choose sized based on hunger)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese


  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Peperoni
  • Onions

White pizza:

  • Alfredo sauce
  • Seasoned chicken (pepper, salt, garlic powder to taste)
  • Spinach leaves (raw)
  • Sautéed onions (1/4 of an onion depending on preference)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Honey drizzle (on top)

 xoxo Ashley

A potato-ish affair: Potatoes worth a little carb loading


So, confession: I. love. carbs. There, I said it. Come on, I know you do too. So delicious, filling, stuffing. Mmmm. Well, when I want to pretend that I am not cheating on my low-carb wannabe diet, I make potatoes. Sometimes I make potatoes that are the polar opposite of everything healthy and clean that I want to be. But, today I made potatoes that are just close enough to the line that you may feel like you haven’t even cheated. This, my friends, is my potato-ish affair. In. its. glory.

Healthy Potatos


Whenever we have friends over I always feel like there should be something carby and delicious on the table, I mean, come on…no one actually likes most of what we pretend to have to eat. So, Instead of making my signature crack potatoes—oh yes, I will definitely be sharing those soon—I decided to branch out and try something more natural and just as delicious.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love cooking healthy. I love turning boring food into delectable food, all while saving time and money. But sometimes a girl’s gotta eat, ya know?

I started with six smallish potatoes. Just rinse and chop, no need to peal. Once I had these in my pan, I added some of my favorite chicken seasoning, just to shake things up.



Then I sprinkled the potatoes with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. This really added the tangy-goodness that I was looking for. I wanted to marry the salty seasoning and starchy potatoes, lemon and fresh mozzarella did just the trick!



Now tell me those don’t look fantastic! What’s  your goto when it comes to a sorta-healthy food affair?


  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chicken seasoning
  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. Rinse and chop potatoes, place in an oven-safe pan.
  3. Season with seasoning and lemon juice, mix well.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Crumble mozzarella cheese on top.
  6. Cook until potatoes are soft, generally 50-60 minutes (you can boil beforehand to speed this time up).
  7. Enjoy!

Now that, is worth a little table talk! You know what I always say, ok so I’ve probably never said it before but you get the point, if you’re gonna cheat on your diet, you might as well make it delicious and at least semi-nutricious! Share it, love it—eat it!

xoxo Ashley Kate 

Stuffed Sweet Pepper Appetizer: Hello house party

Appetizers. We all hate love to love them. From cheesy gooey crescent bites to the traditional cheese and crackers every one of us loves a good chow down before dinner. Why do we love appetizers so much? Here’s my theory: what you eat before you sit=no calories, no worries, no “I can’t button my pants today,” just plain old no problemo. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Plus, appetizers give you something to do with your mouth other than letting your jaw drop to the floor as you listen to someone you kinda really don’t like talk about their cat as you try to ignore the cat litter precariously strewn across the dinner table—real life story. But I digress. Any of you have a story worth a little unladylike table talk? Let’s here ’em in the comments!

Now, on to the food.

Introducing the easy and healthy: Stuffed Sweet Peppers

stuffed sweet peppers

Yes, I know. Delish. Best part? These little babies are really guilt free. Three main ingredients, and you are on the way to #besthostever status.

So, I started with a few fresh sweet peppers. You can grab them at any major grocery store. How amazing do these look?! After rinsing your peppers, go ahead and gut ’em. Yes, this is a bit difficult given their dainty size, but it is worth it!

sweet peppers
 Ok, I already wish I had some more of these—warning: they were gone within 5 minutes of serving. No joke! So, once you have them all nice and gutted it is time to start on the filling. I used a basic mozzarella and red onion blend, but my husband suggested adding some type of meat next time. Don’t worry, I told him to never critique my food again. Just kidding—kinda. 

Mozzarella filling

Once you have this yumminess all mixed together, simply stuff the peppers and you’re on your way to appetizer heaven—but really. These appetizers are good enough to make any guest beg for more.

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

And, in typical fashion I forgot to snap an after shot before these little guys were devoured.. Guess you just have to make them to see them in their full glory!

Check out the full recipe and instructions below!


  • Sweet peppers
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • 1  cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp Cilantro (I used dried)


  1. Preheat over to 350°
  2. Wash and gut peppers
  3. In a bowl, mix mozzarella, spices and onion together
  4. Stuff the gutted peppers with the cheese mixture
  5. Place in a baking pan so that peppers stand together (this prevents any unnecessary spillage)
  6. ENJOY!

I paired this with a delightfully cheap moscato. And that, my friends, is worth a bit of table talk. Take it, share it, love it.

xoxo Ashley Kate

Clean Eating: Asian Flank Fry

Hi. My name is Ashley. Now, normally I wouldn’t introduce myself on a blog, but seeing as this is my first post, I figured we would all be a little better off if I just broke the ice. Before I jump into the stir fry creation that might will, literally, change your life, let me tell you a bit about why I am here.

For the past 24 years I have been a creator. I love painting, creating new content (mostly for websites), and of course creating recipes.

When I cook I have a nasty habit of not measuring, taking shortcuts and drinking wine. (The latter I highly encourage.) All of this to say that my food is generally delicious, easy, fast and relatively inexpensive.

Lately all (ok maybe just 3-4) of my friends have been asking me for my recipes. They have been asking me how I find inspiration—why I’m never bored in the kitchen. So I decided that there is no better way to help them out other than to chronicle my favorite concoctions here. So, now that you know me , you can definitely believe me when I say that this stir fry will change. your. life.

healthy asian stir fry

{Disclaimer: Ok, so first, you have to excuse the picture quality. I promise  this is not an indication of the deliciousness nor future photo quality of my recipes! My DSLR was D.O.A today, hence the iPhone lack of focus.}

Eating healthy—I mean no one can honestly say that that sounds fun. Seriously. But, as I head into my third year of marriage…well let’s just say that marriage makes the freshman 15 seem like a kiddie ride at the fair. So, we try to eat healthy here and there. Enter: this fantastic asian flank stir fry. Today I knew I wanted to make a healthy meal. Something high in protein, low in fat—and most importantly cheap.  Now, the #1 rule of cooking on a budget is to figure out your local grocery store’s mark-down routine. Today I found all of these ingredients on Food City’s “Deal of the Day.” Food City Deal of the Day In total, this meal cost me less than $5.00 to create, feeding two. Now that’s a deal. I began by lightly sautéing my vegetables. I used a bit of apple cider vinegar for taste, as well as a small amount of olive oil. Once my veggies were nice and softened, I added in the steak. I used flank steak because it was on sale, but you could easily substitute this for another cut if desired. Sautéing Now, I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons that I despise dislike eating healthy is that I generally feel that healthy food is bland, boring and—well, just plain not worth it. So, I knew my sauce was going to be the staple of this creation. Now, let’s be honest. I don’t have time to create some magic sauce from air and water (that is how it works in the moves isn’t it?). So, I used four ingredients that almost every one of you already have in your fridge or pantry. Yes, 4 ingredients.  I know, anything under 5 is music to my ears. Sauce ingredients Yep. Apple cider vinegar, raspberry preserves, barbecue sauce and a touch of siracha. And let me tell you. Life. Changing. I may have turned to the dark side of healthy food and clean eating—hahahah ok, that was funny but, seriously. Delicious. I was tasting tis sauce between sips of my favorite dry riesling—and yes, a red would have been a better pairing, but I had the white open, and let’s face it I’m cheap. Please tell me I’m not the only one breaking the cardinal rules of white and red pairings?! So, without further ado, here is the full recipe and instructions! Healthy Asian Stir Fry Ingredients (stir fry):

  • 10 ounces of steak sliced thinly (season with salt and pepper)
  • Once green bell pepper
  • One sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 avocado


  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tbsp raspberry preserves
  • 2 tsp siracha (more or less to taste)


  1. Begin by adding the apple cider vinegar and olive oil to your pan. Heat together on medium while slicing your vegetables.
  2. Add vegetables to your pan and sauté.
  3. Once vegetables are soft, add in steak and cook until lightly browned.
  4. Mix all sauce ingredients together and add to your sautéd steak and vegetables.
  5. Heat until sauce cooks down and meat is medium to well done.
  6. Slice avocado and serve on top of the stir fry.
  7. ENJOY!

Now, that is a meal worth a little table talk. Take it, share it and most of all let me know your thoughts! xoxo Ashley Kate