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Showering Baby Liliana

Party PlanningCason Rainwater

Joanna, Kat, and I hosted a baby shower fiesta this past weekend. Our BFF for life, Holly, is expecting her first baby (GIRL!) in May. As some of you know, I’m kind of an event planning freak. (I mean that in the WORST way possible.) All the little details completely consume me and I go a little crazy. Poor Joanna and Kat always get roped into my crazy ideas. BUT if anyone deserves to have the most fabulous baby shower fiesta you ever did see, it’s Holly. Holly is one of the most kind, tender-hearted people I know and I’m so thankful she’s mine. If baby Liliana is anything like her mother, we’ll all be in love in no time!

If you’re looking to throw a fiesta, you have come to the right place. I’m sharing allllllll of my fiesta knowledge with you! Let me go ahead and get my shameless plug out of the way. Take a look at the invitations Kat and I designed for the event!

First thing’s first, THE FOOD. My mom made a batch of her famous Cowboy Caviar for guests to snack on when they arrived.

For the main meal, we had Willy’s cater for us. Best decision we ever made! I found it to be super affordable and insanely delicious. They literally deliver everything you need – steak, chicken, taco shells, salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, chips, rice, beans, and guacamole! I knew Holly was a fan of street corn so we added this recipe to our spread. SO GOOD. For dessert, we ordered churros from Kakao. If you’ve never heard of Kakao, just stop. Clear your morning and get there for a breakfast burrito. I guess we kind of cheated a little bit on the food by having everything catered – but it just meant we could focus on the atmosphere more!

We found tons of elaborate piñata garlands on Etsy and Pinterest but they were like $40 a letter. Sorry Liliana, I’ll think about spending that much on a garland for you when you are old enough to remember it. SO, we found this great alternative on Etsy. The letters are made of tissue fringe but it’s not actually a piñata – much more budget friendly! We also picked up tons of these papel picado garlands from this website.

Joanna has an awesome outdoor space at her house that she let us decorate. We schemed with both of Liliana’s grandmothers to get baby pictures of Holly and JP. There were definitely some photos they will have to reenact with Liliana!

I know this isn’t realistic for everybody, but if you just so happen to have a trip to Mexico planned while you’re in the midst of planning a fiesta themed event, it’s really helpful. This photo was THE inspiration for Holly’s shower so I just had to have these table runners. I actually found tons of Etsy shops that sell similar blankets….for $50 each. Kat and I were on a mission to find these blankets in Mexico and found them for $8.50! Yeah, I said $8.50. So we bought one blanket and had my mom turn them into table runners. Thanks, Mom!

So cactus’ are kind of expensive – you know I love you Pike but I just couldn’t spend $8 per cactus. We found a supplier out in California that ships mini succulents and cactus plants all over the US for weddings and events. I was super impressed with this company! We were able to get 30 baby cactus plants for the same cost as FIVE at a nursery here in GA. Other than the cactus thorn I had in my finger for 2 weeks, everything with Cactus Limon went smooth and I’d highly recommend them. Kat and I hand painted each of the pots and then let guests take them home as a party favor.

What’s a fiesta without a piñata? I’m not sure if Holly loved it or hated it, but we filled this gold star fringe piñata with lots of goodies for baby Lily. (We added our own tissue tassels. I’m a total weirdo and can’t just leave things alone.)

We love you Holly and can’t wait to meet baby Liliana in just a few weeks. I love her so much already!

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

RecipesKat Rainwater
spaghetti squash pizza bake

Cason and I tried spaghetti squash several months ago and it was a total dud. I was looking forward to the “noodle” like consistency and it turned out to be a soggy/wet mess. After much encouragement to give it another try (maybe I overcooked it or it was a bad squash) I bought another one! Cason found a spaghetti squash pizza recipe she wanted to try so we altered it a bit and created our very own recipe. Needless to say, the outcome was delish! If you’re craving pizza and want a “healthy” version you’ve got to give this recipe a try.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake:

:: 1 large spaghetti squash
:: 1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey or Italian sausage depending on what you prefer)
:: 1/2 onion chopped
:: 1 teaspoon minced garlic
:: 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
:: 1 teaspoon dried basil

:: salt and pepper to taste
:: 3 eggs, whisked
:: 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (I used veggie cheese and it worked great but feel free to use the real thing!)
:: turkey pepperoni’s

Step 1 | Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise (Be Careful!) and scoop out seeds. Season with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once squash is done remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

best spaghetti squash recipes

Step 2 | Shred spaghetti squash and place in an 8 x 8 greased baking dish.

cooking with spaghetti squash

Step 3 | In a large pan cook ground beef, onion, and garlic on medium high heat until no pink remains. Add pizza sauce, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the pan and mix well.

Step 4 | Add meat sauce mixture to the spaghetti squash strands and mix well.

Step 5 | Add whisked eggs to the baking dish and mix everything together until you no longer see eggs. Place in the oven and bake 1 hour. When there is about 15 minutes left on the timer, top with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni’s then continue cooking.

Step 6 | Let rest 5 minutes before serving!

easy spaghetti squash pizza bake

This dinner hit the spot and I can promise you I’m adding it to my list of regular weeknight meals!

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Veggies

RecipesCason Rainwater

Do y’all ever find yourselves in meal rut? Sometimes it feels like Kat and I rotate through the same meals and I’m just craving something different. While perusing Pinterest searching for new dinner ideas I stumbled on to this SkinnyTaste recipe and I knew we had to try it. It just screams spring. Roasted veggies and fresh herbs? Yes please! I altered Gina’s recipe a little (We used chicken breasts instead of dark meat and changed up some seasonings.) and absolutely loved the outcome! If you’re looking for an easy, week-night dinner, you’ve come to the right place!

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables | Serves 2

:: 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, sliced in half to thin them
:: 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
:: Fresh black pepper, to taste
:: Cooking spray
:: Asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in half
:: 1 Onion, chopped in large pieces
:: Carrots, sliced long and cut in half
:: Sliced mushrooms
:: 1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
:: 2 Tablespoons olive oil
:: 1 Clove of garlic, chopped
:: 1/2 Teaspoon sugar
:: Fresh rosemary
:: 1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano

Step 1 | Because we used chicken breasts instead of legs and thighs we brined our chicken so it didn’t dry out in the oven. We’ve never tried this before but loved the outcome. Here’s the site we used to tell you how to brine chicken.

Step 2 | Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spray a large baking sheet (or 2) with oil.

Step 3 | Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Arrange everything onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Make sure the vegetables are not touching the chicken so that they properly roast.

Step 4 | Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are roasted and tender.

One pan and it tastes delicious it doesn’t get much easier than this!

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

RecipesKat Rainwater

Can we talk about how much I love ice cream? Especially in the spring and summer when it’s warm and light outside for longer…gah, I’m getting excited just thinking about it! I remember every year for my birthday begging my mom to make me a batch of homemade because it was SO much better. Fast forward to present day when my doctor ruined everything and told me I was lactose intolerant. What a jerk. I’ve been searching for a good ice cream substitute and I finally found it. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. (Did you sing it like the Gwen Stefani song? Because I did.) I know what you’re thinking…Puh-lease. I read somewhere that frozen bananas blend into the texture of ice cream and it’s true. Who knew? I was a little skeptical at first so I tried it out and it was all kinds of wonderful! (You may have even seen me Snapchat it- that’s how much I loved it!)

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream | Serves 2

:: 2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen

:: 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Step 1 | Slice up your ripe bananas, put them in a freezer safe container, and freeze for at least 2 hours or until frozen. ( I alway freeze them overnight.)

Step 2 | Put your frozen banana slices in the blender. If you don’t have a powerful blender, I would use a food processor. It definitely takes some work to puree the bananas to the correct consistency so you want a good machine.

Step 3 | Blend! (Scrape down the slides.)

Step 4 | Keep blending! (This is the dippin dots phase, scrape down the sides and keep going.)

Step 5 | Just keep blending it…you’re almost there. (You will reach a moment when you think “OMG! Bananas make this consistency?”)

Step 6 | Once the bananas are smooth and creamy add your peanut butter and blend one more time. Then serve! (If you like your ice cream harder you can stick it back in the freezer for a bit too.)

You’re seriously going to be so amazed at the deliciousness of this dessert! And the best part is you can spruce it up however you want. Instead of peanut butter add a scoop of Nutella, or honey, or dark chocolate…I think you get the idea. You can thank me later!

New Fave Beauty Products

BeautyKat Rainwater

I never EVER switch up my beauty routine. I often find that I’m in a beauty rut because I don’t make any changes. I fall in love with something (i.e. Trader Joe’s moisturizer) and am still using it 4 years later. I’m sure new and better products are out there but I’m too nervous to try any because I’m just not gifted when it comes to make-up. Well, get ready to be impressed because I have stumbled across some new and favorite beauty products.

1. Urban Decay- Revolution Lipstick | I honestly don’t know if I will ever wear another brand again. This stuff does not come off. Once it’s on, it is on! I hate re-applying when I’m on the go because I can never keep it in my lip line. (My top lip is basically nonexistent.) And I’m currently crushing on the color Anarchy. Seriously, I can’t get enough. I try to plan outfits that will allow me to wear this bright fuchsia shade!

2. Rosehip Oil | I’ve added rosehip oil to my nightly routine and it works so great. I’m not one that’s really into the whole oil scene. It confuses me and I can’t keep anything straight. (I was also terrified to use oil because I have such oily skin.) But fear not because this stuff is way better than any crazy expensive night cream. Rosehip oil particularly helps with anti-aging, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and helps with sun damage. For this freckly face, it was a no brainer!

3. Too Faced- Better Than Sex Mascara | If you had asked me 6 weeks ago what mascara I use, I would’ve said They’re Real. I don’t think I’ve switched mascara’s since I discovered it years ago…until now. I tried Better Than Sex mascara several weeks ago and I’m OBSESSED. The outcome is just as good as They’re Real with half the work. A couple of swipes of this mascara and it looks like you’ve been working on them for 20 minutes. I swear.

4. Redken Wax Blast 10 | I LOVE this wax spray! It’s basically a texturizing spray that you use after you blow-dry and style your hair. It gives your hair that not-so-perfect-messy-tousled-curl that I covet so much. It adds volume and texture and you really can’t go wrong when you use it.

5. Evian Mineral Water Spray | Yes, this is literally water. You use it to rehydrate your skin and revive your makeup. Don’t ask me how, but spray this on your face a couple of hours after you’ve done your makeup (and you’re starting to feel like a hot mess) and you suddenly look/feel fresh again. I keep it in my carry-on because it’s perfect for long flights. If you ever feel like your face is drying out or just icky…you’ll love this!

It only took me a whole year to finally try enough beauty products to share with y’all. These 5 were definitely my faves and they’re here to stay!

Wallpaper Wednesday

Business, Free DownloadsCason Rainwater

When I started doing this series several months ago, I remember asking myself if it was something I would really want to keep up with. (So flaky to come up with “Wallpaper Wednesday” and then only do it once, right?!) BUT, it’s really been the best excuse to get creative and learn new design techniques. The best part is that they have been rolling over into actual When it Rains Paper products. (Like this new notepad!) Win for you guys AND a win for me. Go ahead and give your tech devices a makeover with these 3 new designs I’ve been swooning over lately!

Happy Wallpaper Wednesday!

Healthy Crockpot Beef Stew Recipe

RecipesCason Rainwater

Every time I hear the words “beef stew” it reminds me of a terrible, no good, very bad day I had 10 years ago…

I was on the way to take one of my very last college finals and was rear-ended as I pulled onto campus. As we got out of our cars, the girl who hit me handed me her phone and asked that I talk to her dad. He begged me not to call the police. He did a not-so-good job of trying to convince both myself and his daughter that we did not want to be late to our finals and we could worry about fixing my car later. Because I’m not a total idiot, I didn’t disregard the red flags. After being a complete jerk on the phone with my mom (he threatened her!) the police were finally called. I got into my car afterwards and just sobbed. I had just lost my dad and a girl is supposed to be able to call him in these situations. (Bugs and car stuff, duh!) He would know what to do. He would have put that jerk in his place so fast but in the most respectable, ethical way possible. They’d be shaking hands by the end of the conversation, Mr. Jerk would have two self-help books to read as a homework assignment, and he would have vowed to be a better person. Mr. Jerk would be sitting at home later that night asking himself whether he just encountered the biggest smart ass on the planet or the most intelligent and kind human being in existence. (It’s both. I speak from experience.) Either way, he would have never seen it coming.

After my final, I got a phone call that I didn’t get a job I had applied for. It would have been my first “adult” job and I reeeeallly wanted this one. I think I cried on the phone with my mom the entire way home.

That day sticks in my head for a million reasons. I remember feeling sorry for the poor girl that hit me. She was so embarrassed by her father’s behavior. I remember having my first day really wishing I could talk to my dad. Mostly, I remember driving home that night and mom cooking beef stew for dinner. As the two of us sat down to dinner, she told me she figured I could use some comfort food. And it was perfect.

This isn’t my mom’s recipe but I promise to share that one with you sometime. (Seriously, THE BEST but we were aiming for something a little healthier. If you’ve seen my mom, you know she doesn’t have to worry about this.) In typical Cason and Kat fashion, we search Pinterest high and low and basically combine 10 different recipes to create our perfect version. Here is where we landed! SO GOOD.

Crockpot Beef Stew

Ingredients:

:: 2-3 lbs beef chuck, cut into large pieces
:: 1 lb carrots, cut into 1 pieces
:: 8oz of mushrooms, halved
:: 1 large onion, diced
:: Fresh Market “Anything Goes” Spice Rub
:: 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
:: 2 tsp Dijon mustard
:: 2 cups beef broth
:: fresh rosemary sprigs

:: salt and pepper, to taste
:: olive oil

NOTE: If you’re not eating low carb like the Rainwater Casa is, I definitely recommend adding potatoes to your crockpot and serving with warm crusty bread. (In the words of Cameron Diaz, “I just want to eat carbs without wanting to kill myself!”)

1 | Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Working in batches, add a few pieces of beef to the pan and brown on all sides. When browned, transfer to the crockpot. Repeat with remaining beef.

2 | Place carrots and mushrooms in with the beef. Generously season with “Anything Goes” spice rub.

3 | Add onion to the pan you browned the beef in. Stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add balsamic, Dijon, and broth. Stir until well combined.

4 | Pour the whole mixture into the crockpot over the beef, carrots, and mushrooms. Place rosemary sprigs on top.

5 | Cook stew in the crockpot on low for 7-8 hours. (LOW AND SLOW is the secret to tender beef in the crockpot! ) Shred beef with two forks in the broth mixture. Serve when ready!

Because I love a happy ending, my car did get fixed AND I got a phone call just a few weeks later from the same company with a second job they wanted me to apply for. I got it J

SkinnyTaste: Chipotle Chicken Zoodle Soup

RecipesKat Rainwater

Hi my name is Kathryn, (Hi Kathryn) and I’m addicted to skinnytaste.com. While perusing Pinterest the past couple weeks searching for healthier (low carb/dairy free) meal ideas, SkinnyTaste kept popping up. I’ve heard about Gina’s website before but never really dug in and searched through all of her different recipes until now. If you’ve never visited her site, you have got to sit down and take a look. The founder, Gina, provides healthy recipes with some being specific to different types of diets (Weight Watchers, Paleo, Whole 30, etc…), she posts a meal plan for each week, and recently came out with a cookbook…she basically does it all. Cason and I have been trying out several of her recipes and we haven’t been disappointed yet. One of our favorites that I wanted to share with you was chipotle chicken zoodle soup, it’s perfect for this time of year! Cason and I altered the recipe a little bit by leaving out the cilantro (don’t hate us but we really don’t love the flavor) and we left out the crumbled queso fresco (It sounds amazing but I’m trying to cut back on dairy because of food allergies) but you should definitely put it on your soup because…YUM!

SkinnyTaste Recipe: Chipotle Chicken Zoodle Soup (serves 4)

:: 16 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
:: 1/2 tsp kosher salt
:: fresh, black pepper to taste
:: 1 tsp olive oil
:: 1/2 cup chopped onion
:: 3 cloves minced garlic
:: 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
:: 8 oz. can tomato sauce
:: 1/2 tbs chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
:: 1 tsp dried oregano
:: 1/4 tsp cumin
:: 2 bay leaves
:: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
:: 1, 7 oz. zucchini
:: 1 medium avocado, sliced
:: 2 oz. crumbled queso fresco

Step 1 | Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the crockpot.

Step 2 | In skillet over medium heat, saut__e onion and garlic in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Transfer onion/garlic mixture to crockpot along with chicken broth, tomato sauce, chipotle, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and half of the cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. *disclaimer- Chipotle chile in adobo sauce is very spicy. If you don’t love spicy try adding just a pinch instead of 1/2 tbs or substitute with a jalapeño pepper.

Step 3 | Spiralize your zucchini on the smallest noodle setting and cut zucchini into 6 inch strips.

Step 4 | Discard bay leaves and remove chicken from crockpot, shred chicken and add back in along with zoodles and cook on high for about 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender and crisp. Serve and top with avocado slices and crumbled queso!

If you need a warm, healthy meal idea this week, this one is for you. Have a great week!

Garlic Shrimp and Sausage Zoodle Recipe

RecipesKat Rainwater

Cason and I have jumped on the #newyearnewme bandwagon in 2016 and we’re trying to fix healthier meals! That basically means we’ve officially gone low carb. (Insert terrified face.) In case you didn’t know this about me, I’m addicted to pasta… like I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner hence why I need to cut back some. Pinterest keeps insisting that instead of spaghetti noodles I can spiralize a zucchini and it’ll taste the same. Who do they think they’re trying to play?! I was craving my mom’s garlic shrimp and parsley pasta and figured it was time to bite the bullet and give these zoodles a try. It was a hit! No lies. It doesn’t taste like a bed of angel hair pasta so you have to get over the difference in texture but other than that, it tasted delicious! I altered my mom’s recipe a little bit by using less olive oil and adding in some chicken sausage for extra protein. We always use Adel’s chicken and apple sausage because it’s so good! Obviously, I switched out the pasta for zucchini and the results were just as good but without the guilt!

Garlic Shrimp and Sausage Zoodles (recipe serves 2)

:: 3 medium-sized zucchini
:: 2 teaspoons of olive oil, divided
:: 8 ounces of shrimp, peeled and deveined
:: 2 links of Adel’s chicken and apple sausage
:: 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped, divided
:: salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
:: freshly chopped parsley
:: freshly squeezed lemon juice

best-zoodle-recipes.jpg

Step 1 | Use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini into noodles.

Step 2 | In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tsp of olive oil and half of the minced garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Add shrimp, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and sauté shrimp until they have turned pink (around 5 minutes), then set shrimp aside. Cook sausage according to package directions and set aside to add at the end.

Step 3 | Add the remaining olive oil and garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add zucchini noodles and a little salt and pepper to taste. Stir zoodles for 2 minutes and remove from heat. (Tip: don’t cook zoodles for more than 2 minutes or they can become watery. Once my zoodles were cooked, I even got a paper towel and absorbed some of the water so it didin’t get mixed into my final product.)

Step 4 | Toss together zucchini noodles, shrimp, sausage, parsley, and fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately!

Zoodles for the win!

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

RecipesCason Rainwater
christmas-cookie-recipes.jpg

How is Christmas next week?! As if I haven’t said it a million times already, this is my FAVORITE time of year! This month is filled with so many traditions and to be honest, I’m kind of a weirdo about traditions. Don’t you dare tell me we’re not having lasagna on Christmas eve! Whether it’s going to the Christmas eve service with my family or our annual girlfriends Christmas dinner, I get so nostalgic for each event and look forward to them every year. Since Kat and I have become roommates, we’ve started our own sister traditions! We have a wrapping party that always consists of pizza and watching Home Alone. We bawl like a baby every year watching the Family Stone and we ALWAYS make a batch of our favorite thumbprint cookies! You might remember Kat blogged about these cookies for Valentine’s Day. We always seem to find a way to make these work year round. They are THAT good!

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

:: 2/3 cup sugar
:: 1 cup butter, softened (We ALWAYS use Kerrygold Butter in this recipe. It’s like $7 a stick but we swear by it!)
:: 2 egg yolks
:: 1/2 teaspoon salt
:: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
:: 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Frosting

:: 1 cup confectioners sugar
:: 1/4 cup margarine
:: 1/4 cup cocoa
:: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
:: 1/4 cup milk

Step 1 | Cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour (we always sieve our flour) and salt separately. Slowly add dry mix to the dough, mixing well. Chill the dough for around an hour.

Step 2 | Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press thumb in each cookie leaving an indentation. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do NOT brown.

Step 3 | Let the cookies cool while you whip up your frosting! For the frosting, melt the margarine then add the cocoa. Stir well. Slowly add the confectioners sugar and milk, mixing well. Depending on the consistency you might need to add a little more confectioners sugar or milk. You don’t want the icing to be really thin or it will run off the cookie and you don’t want it to be too thick or it just gets weird and won’t really pour. I typically end up adding around 1/4-1/2 cup of confectioners sugar to make the icing thicker. Mix in vanilla.

Step 4 | Using a teaspoon, fill indentions with frosting. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, make sure you do it right after you pour the icing. This frosting will set so if you try to use sprinkles later on, they won’t stick! Make sure to leave the cookies out for about 1-2 hours so the icing can dry before you store them in an air-tight container.

Between babies and businesses, the girls at YCSWU are in desperate need of some rest. This will be our last new post of 2015 so that we can spend a little more time with friends and family this holiday season. From all four of us, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. We will see you refreshed and ready to go in 2016!