Venus Trapped in Mars

30 November 2015

Holiday Entertaining || Baked Fontina Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasyHolidayEats #CollectiveBias
Baked Fontina Christmas Dip Recipes

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we were lucky enough to have my Mom visiting for the entire 4 day weekend. She lives in Richmond, Va, so it is so wonderful anytime we get to be together, but especially special having her in our house for 4 days. We hosted Thanksgiving for CB's family and my family on Friday, which left Thursday open for grazing on food and of course watching football all day long. 



Since I knew we would be doing the whole big Thanksgiving smorgasbord on Friday, I knew I needed something quick and easy to serve and prepare for lunch on Thursday. I went to Walmart the Wednesday before my mom flew in and picked up a couple of Red Baron® Thin & Crispy pizzas to make my first Thanksgiving holiday hosting a little bit easier. Red Baron offered three different pizza topping options: pepperoni, five cheese and supreme.



While the family was watching football, I unwrapped the pizzas and popped them in the oven, and just like that they were done and absolutely delicious.






I'm a firm believer that you can't have football and pizza without also having a dip of some sort, so I had my mom give me a hand making this ooey gooey baked fontina that is absolutely to die for. It was perfect for dipping the pizza crust into, and it too was incredibly easy to prepare. 







Start by preheating your broiler and make sure that your oven rack is positioned about 5-10 inches from the heat. You'll need about a pound and a half of fontina, and be sure to remove the rind and dice your cheese in about 1 inch cubes.

You'll also need to mince about a tablespoon of fresh thyme and a teaspoon of fresh rosemary. 



Pile your fontina cubes into a cast-iron skillet, distributing evenly. 




Drizzle 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil evenly over your fontina cheese. 


Combine about 6 cloves of minced garlic, with your thyme and rosemary and sprinkle evenly. 


Toss about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper evenly on top. Place under your broiler and bake for about 6 minutes or until cheese is melted and begins bubbling. 





Serve your baked fontina hot, right out of the skillet with fresh bread and your Red Baron® Thin & Crispy pizza. 








Baked Fontina Recipe
adapted from Barefoot Contessa


This Baked Fontina, paired with Red Baron® Thin & Crispy pizza is a crowd-pleaser perfect for your Holiday party! 

Plus, duh, all of the cheese. Because... cheese for president. 



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27 November 2015

How To Get The Best Cyber Monday Deals

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

In my opinion, there is nothing more stressful in this world than Black Friday. My vibe as a shopper is not one of hustle or panic. When I go shopping, it's a leisurely event for me. I like to look at every last thing on the rack, one-by-one. I'll place my hand on each individual hanger, touch the material, pull the sleeve out to see if it's long or short, admire the back of the garment... then move that piece out of the way, and repeat the process all over again with the same speed and care.

Leisurely is how I prefer to shop, and this is exactly why I'm more of a Cyber Monday kind of girl. 

You COULD.... Get out of bed at 3am in the frigid November temperatures and fight off most of Dallas Fort Worth in an attempt to get your hands on that limited quantity 4K television you've been eyeing since they announced the sales November 1st only to find out that they're sold out by the time you reach the front of the line.......

-OR-

You could stay cozy in your dreamy bed with a cup of coffee, the scent of a Fresh Apple American Home candle wafts through the air, a cozy blanket draped over your feet and the warmth of the laptop on your legs as you kiss on your puppies while surfing those exact same deals in the privacy of your own home. 

"I choose option B, Sarah!"

I thought you'd say that! 







American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand candles are a great way to stay calm and set the mood while you're shopping for Cyber Monday deals. Candles can be super pricey, but the one's that I got -- Fresh Apple, Fresh Balsam Fir and Winter Morning Fragrence -- are an awesome value at just around $14 for a 19oz two wick candle and are conveniently sold on walmart.com!









As you can see on my computer screen above, I was able to shop for the American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand collection of fragrances and candles at walmart.com!

American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand actually has a limited time Holiday 2-Pack offer exclusively for Cyber Monday. Beginning November 30th, their 2-Pack is just $22 and includes a 19oz. large jar Fresh Balsam Fir and a 19oz. large jar Sparkling Cinnamon Spice. There will be a limited quantity released, and this deal only applies while supplies last.




You'd never do black Friday shopping by yourself would you? No way. Now that you've got the mood set for a day of cozy shopping, I've enlisted some of my girlfriends to give their tips for the most effective way to shop Cyber Monday, because no one should go holiday deal shopping alone! 




1. Follow What Your Favorite Fashion Bloggers Are Linking To
Here is my personal tip: Although I might not be a fashion blogger myself (a girl can dream right??!) I still follow a ton of them via Instagram and Facebook. Some of my favorites who will definitely have the hookups on the best deals and certainly the best gift ideas are: Gal Meets Glam, Bows and Sequins, Modaprints, Lonestar Southern, Lemon Stripes, Lake Shore Lady, Penny Pincher Fashion, A Southern Drawl and McKenna Belu

2. Make a List and Plan Your Attack Ahead of Time 
This tip is from my bestie, Magen. She said she is buying almost all of her Christmas presents online this year because it is the easiest way to knock everything out. She's already made a list for Cyber Monday and knows exactly what she is getting, and from where. Some of her favorite online shops have already announced what sale they'll be having, and has written down every "stop" she wants to make so she won't forget anything! 

3. Stick to a Budget
My friend Larissa supplied this tip. She said, "Stick to a Budget!" Larissa said she sets a budget for each person she knows she has to buy for well before she spends her first penny on gifts. Doing so keeps her from overspending during the time of year that is the most brutal on our wallets. 

4. Search For Codes
This is another tip from me! I do this tip year round, not just on Cyber Monday. Anytime I'm about to checkout and up pops a "coupon code" box, I'll do a google search for that retailer to see if they are offering any coupons like free shipping or an extra 25% off. I almost always find an extra discount by doing htis. 

5. Don't Forget the Thrill Of The Hunt
This tip is from my Mom! The best part about Black Friday is bragging to your friends about the amazing deals you got. Just because you're in your pajamas doesn't mean you can't still brag to your friends or family. Tell a friend about the deals you got and give yourself a big pat on the back and have some fun with this whole "Cyber Monday" thing. 

6. Leave Items You're Unsure of in Your Cart, You Might Get an Extra Discount
This tip is  from me! Just yesterday I left an item in my "cart," but left the site without actually making a purchase. I was emailed about 2 hours later encouraging me to come back to complete my purchase, and given an extra 25% off to do so. It was an unexpected surprise and I did end up buying that itme. 

7. Get Social
Here is one last tip, and it's a final one from me! Share everything on social media. Ok, well maybe not everything, but keep an eye out for companies that reward you for referrals and generating sales. I have one online home store boutique that I shop on, for example, that gives me $15 in store credit anytime I refer a friend that makes a purchase. If you see an item you think a friend might like, pin it on pinterest, share it via twitter or send it directly to them in an email using your refer-a-friend code!


What's your plan of attack this Cyber Monday?
Any deals you've found that are MUST HAVES?


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