Second Chances Girl - a Miami family and lifestyle blog!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November Birthdays

Hi! It's been a little (well A LOT) crazy here lately as it always is during early November since both boys have a birthday within a day of each other, November 10 and 11 to be exact!! It's usually 3 to 4 days of celebrating and cake and crazy and I am beat by the time we are done. This year was no different.  Adrian's birthday is first on November 10th. This year he turned 10! 10 y'all. That's not even funny. I have never been teary-eyed or emotional during a birthday but this year I couldn't contain it. 10 is BIG!!

First we celebrated on his actual birthday at school. Yes, for those that have read previous birthday posts, he actually went to school this year on his birthday (never does but there was a field trip this year, so he went)!

I pulled all three kids out of school once we got back from the field trip, we picked up JC at work and headed to the movies!!

We watched Dr. Strange and loved it! It was intense and funny and really enjoyable! Going to the movies on his birthday will be our new tradition!

Friday, November 11th was Gian's birthday and he turned 9! Since November 11th is Veteran's Day, there was no school. He spent all day with his mom and then we planned a birthday party with friends at GameTime that evening!

GameTime bithday parties are super fun if your children are into video games. All I had to do was show up with a cake and favors (Pac-Man cookies that I made) and they did everything else. It is so fantastic! 

Saturday morning I was up bright and early and 2 counties away because Ivanna had a soccer game! By 1 pm, we were back in Miami and getting ready to head out to Adrian's birthday party at Ninja Lounge! Ninja Lounge is based on American Ninja Warrior and it is full of obstacle courses, trampolines and all sorts of crazy fun stuff that the kids really enjoyed!

So excited!

Starting the kid's obstacle course!

 Private dodgeball game between him and his friends!

Up the warped wall (child-size)

Posing with his much requested Pokemon cake. This was another party where all I had to do was bring cake and favors!

His favors were chocolate-covered pokeballs made by a dear friend of ours and each child received a pack of Pokemon cards (which I bought at Dollar Tree, of all places!)

Pokemon party favor: chocolate-covered Pokeballs

We had an INCREDIBLE time at both parties. It was a strenuous couple of days but it is one of the best weekends of the year. Check out past parties here: Avengers, Mario, Big Hero 6 and Lego!

Next up, Thanksgiving, Amberly's birthday party and Christmas!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing

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

Thanksgiving is a little more than 2 weeks away and I am thrilled. This is my holiday to break it down in the kitchen and make my family a traditional Thanksgiving meal. When you grow up in a Hispanic home, Thanksgiving isn't celebrated the same way so I have made it my goal to have a traditional Thanksgiving for my family every single year! Along with a delicious turkey and potatoes, I always make stuffing. Stuffing is honestly my favorite part of the meal and every year I make the same Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing.

Thanksgiving in our home is a big deal. We have Thanksgiving dinner around 6pm and the table is set for at least 20! Cooking for this many people isn't easy and if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd, make sure you start early.  I always brine my turkey two days ahead of time, make desserts on Tuesday and Wednesday and make as many sides as I can beforehand. My Sausage and Cranberry stuffing is made the night before and put in the fridge. Then around 5pm on Thanksgiving day, I bake it in the oven. Simple and delicious, my favorite kind of food!

Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
Serves 8-10

1 bag of cubed bread or 15 slices of loaf bread, cubed
1 onion, chopped
5 tbsp butter
5-6 maple sausage
1 large red apple
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup chicken stock

Cook sausage according to package directions, chop and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat. add butter and onions. Cook about 2 minutes. 

Add bread crumbs and mix together. Add chicken stock and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

I know some people cook their stuffing in a casserole pan but I prefer to use a baking sheet. I like my stuffing a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with baking spray. Spread bread mixture on pan. Top with chopped sausage.

Add cranberries and chopped apple pieces. Combine and bake in oven for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool. 

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving are leftovers.  Now to be honest, when you cook for a family like mine, there are rarely leftovers but I am always prepared just in case. While I am shopping for my Thanksgiving dinner prep, I make sure to pass through the aisle that has all the food storage items. I purchase different sizes of storage containers and enough for everyone. This year, I purchased the new Rubbermaid Brilliance containers. They look super fancy and I love that they are leak proof! I don't want my guests food to spill on the car ride home. 

Rubbermaid Brilliance food storage containers are the new standard in food storage. They are 100% leak-proof, stain and odor resistant and feature enhanced durability and aesthetics. They also have built0in vents for easy splatter-resistant microwaving. No mess!!

I am so excited for Thanksgiving! I can't wait to cook an amazing traditional dinner for my family, make my incredible stuffing and show them how grateful I am for each and every one of them! First though, gotta make a Target run for more Rubbermaid storage containers and ingredients for more stuffing!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Easy Holiday Recipe: Cuban Picadillo

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

The holidays are here and I am super excited. I love hosting guests in our home and shop ahead to make sure I have everything on hand to make easy holiday recipes to feed a crowd. One of my favorite holiday recipes to make for guests is a classic Cuban Picadillo. 

Picadillo is a rich, tomato-based ground beef dish that is easy to make and can feed a crowd. When you make tomato-based dishes like picadillo for guests, I do suggest you have some Nexium® 24HR on hand to help treat heartburn. I keep it on hand for my dad, he loves picadillo, but suffers form heartburn. With Nexium, I can let him enjoy his favorite Cuban food often! Just one pill a day provides all -day and all-night relief from frequent heartburn. No one wants guests to feel uncomfortable so being prepared is always key to hosting!

Back to the picadillo recipe:

Cuban Picadillo
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tbsp of green pitted salad olives
1/2 cup white dry cooking wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium-sized potato, peeled and cut into small pieces

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Add carrots and olives.

Add tomato paste and stir together.

Add ground beef, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and combine. 

Add cooking wine and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add your potatoes, lower heat to medium and cover pot. 

Cook for another 20 minutes or until potatoes have softened.

VOILA! Super yummy and easy to make picadillo. Picadillo is awesome for a quick dinner or for a holiday party. 

Picadillo is also very versatile. Once I make it, I service it with white rice and beans. I always make enough for leftovers which can then be used in empanadas, burritos or in a sandwich!!

Disclosure: Nexium® 24HR may take 1-4 days for full effect. It is not immediate relief!

Nexium® 24HR is available at all Walgreens nationwide. From November 1-30, take advantage of these amazing coupons and deals:

  • November 1 – 30, 2016 – In-Store Walgreens coupon - $2.00 off Nexium 24HR (48 ct.)
  • November 1 – 30, 2016 – Special price in-store – Two Nexium 24HR (28 ct.) for $40.00


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