Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

Embarque’s Homemade Ice Cream

Good Day, Embarquers!

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you (which is beyond delicious)!

Click play, and enjoy!


Embarque’s Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Ice Cream



Makes: 1.5 Quarts

Duration: 1 hour 30 Minutes


  • 1 C Whole Milk
  • 2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Crushed Graham Cracker
  • 1/2 C Mini Chocolate Chips


1.) Mix together the milk and heavy whipping cream. Add in the sugar and vanilla, and combine.

2.) Set the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

3.) Pull out your ice cream maker and cream mixture. Pour the mixture into the frozen canister (which comes with with ice cream maker), churn for 17-18 minutes.

4.) Slowly pour the crushed graham cracker and chocolate chips in the ice cream, and let the machine churn until mixed together (approximately 2 minutes).

5.) Take the canister, transport the ice cream into a freezable container, and enjoy!


With Love,



Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert

Embarque Chocolate Eclair Dessert

Servings: 20 for a 9×13 pan

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes


  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 1- 8oz. carton of whipped topping
  • 2 packets of instant vanilla pudding
  • 3 C of milk
  • 1- 1lb chocolate frosting
  • Chocolate shavings (if you’d like)


1.) In a large bowl, mix together the pudding mix and cold milk. Beat until smooth.

2.) Add in the whipped topping, and mix until smooth. Set aside.

3.) Place graham crackers at the bottom of your 9×9 or 9×13 pan.

4.) Add a layer of your vanilla mixture.

5.) Alternate layers of the vanilla topping and graham cracker layers (3 layers of graham crackers) ending with graham crackers on top

6.) Warm up the chocolate frosting  and spread on top of the top graham cracker layer. Add some chocolate shavings if you’d like for added decadence.

7.) Chill for a minimum of 2 hours. ***Better if made the night before serving.


With Love,


Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

Boozy Book Club

Goooooooood Day, Embarquers!


Last week, I hosted book club in my home, and decided upon a summer theme. Let’s be honest, do we really discuss the book at book club? Maybe for 5 minutes… We’re much more concerned about the food and drinks.

Items on the menu were: Pork-filled Jalapeño Poppers, Charcuterie Skewers, Fruit Kabob Skewers and Sarasota Lemonade.

Ready to get started? Let’s do this!


Pork-Filled Jalapeño Poppers:

Servings: 12



  • 12 Jalapeños (halved and de-seeded)
  • 1- 8 oz. package of Neufchatel Cheese
  • 1 lb of ground breakfast pork, browned
  • Cheddar Cheese (to taste)


1.) Brown the ground pork over medium heat


2.) Drain and pat the excess fat


3.) Add in the Neufchatel and mix together thoroughly, and set aside.


***Note: WEAR GLOVES WHEN CUTTING AND CLEANING THE JALAPEÑOS!!! I made the dumb mistake of not wearing gloves, and my hands were burning days later, so… don’t be me, and learn from my mistake.

Moving on…

4.) Wash the jalapeños, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds (I use a tomato scooper)


5.) Scoop the pork mixture into the jalapeño boats. Optional: Sprinkle with cheese


6.) Cook the jalapeños at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, and enjoy!



Charcuterie Skewers

Servings: 12


  • 12 slices of each, Italian Meat Variety Pack (Salami, prosciutto, capocollo)
  • 24 Mozzarella balls
  • 24 Black and Green Olives
  • 24 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 12 Wooden skewers


1.) Pick your favorite combination of the items above.

2.) Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and serve!



Fruit Kababs

Servings: 12


  • 12 wooden skewers
  • A variety of your favorite summer fruits


Sarasota Lemonade Recipe


  • 2 bottles of sweet white wine (I recommend a Riesling over a Moscato)
  • 1 can of frozen pink lemonade from concentrate
  • ~3 cups of Sprite (more or less depending on how much you like Sprite)
  • Raspberries (for added tartness and to make a beautiful drink)


  • Mix the ingredients together in a glass pitcher, and enjoy!


With Love,


Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere-My Favorite End-of-Summer Cocktails

Happy Friday!

Even though it may be September and people can barely keep calm about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I am someone that likes to keep summer going as long as I can (since it’s so short in Minnesota). Here are some of my favorite adult beverages for warm weather

Let’s get to it!

Embarque & Co’s Pink Lake



  • Cocktail glass
  • Pestle
  • Small Blender (I used a Nutribullet)
  • Ice (~5 cubes per glass)
  • Your Favorite Vodka (a shot or two, depending on how rough your day is going 😉 )
  • Minute Made 15 Calorie Pink Lemonade (1 Cup per serving)
  • 4 Strawberries
  • Fresh Mint (~6 leaves per cocktail)
  • Collander


1.) Grab your cocktail glass, your mint leaves and pestle. Throw your leaves in the glass, muddle the leaves with the pestle until thoroughly crushed

2.) Grab your blender, Toss in the strawberries and fill with lemonade and vodka, and blend until liquified


3.) Take your cocktail glass, place your cubes and muddled mint in the glass. Place the colander over your cocktail glass, and strain the blended mixture (so the chunks from your drink stay in the colander and not in the finished drink).

4.) Garnish and enjoy!


Embarque’s Summertime Wine 



  • White Wine (pick your favorite, I love a good sauvignon blanc from New Zealand)
  • Your favorite fruit (I suggest peaches, raspberries or strawberries)
  • Pestle
  • Colander
  • Custard cup (or small bowl)
  • Wine glass (of course)


1.) Grab a handful of your fruit of choice, clean it, and toss it in the colander, and rest your colander on your custard cup

2.) Muddle your fruit and make sure the juices from your fruit land in your cup

3.) Take your wine glass, fill your wine glass, pour the fruit juice into the wine glass and garnish with the same fruit and enjoy!


Sarasota Lemonade


-2 bottles of sweet white wine (I personally like a Sauvignon Blanc-to take out a little bit of the super sweet taste- but the recipe calls for a Riesling)
-1 can of frozen pink lemonade from concentrate
-~3 cups of Sprite (more or less depending on how much you like Sprite)
-Raspberries (for added tartness and to make a beautiful drink)

1.) Mix the ingredients together in a glass pitcher. I put this in a large drink container (purchased at T.J. Maxx for $20) for a larger get together.





I hope you try out one (or all) of these cocktails while you unwind this weekend!


With Love,


Inspiration · Life · Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

7 Ways to End Your Summer

Happy Friday, Ya’ll!


The weekend is here! I was thinking that since there’s only so much time left in the summer, it would be fun to create a list of fun things to do with the rest of the days left. These are not only fun date ideas but also great ideas to do with your friends as well.

Let’s get to it!


1.) Paddle Boarding/Kayaking on a Local Lake

  • Who doesn’t enjoy spending the day with friends on the lake with some ice cold refreshments? 😉
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2.) Go on a Segway Tour of your City

  • I know this may sound a little silly, but let me tell you, I don’t remember laughing so hard as I did doing a Segway tour in Austin. Believe me when I say you should forget about looking dorky for a day, and just get out there and do it!
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3.) Go to a Local Brewery on a Steamy Night

  • I don’t know whether there’s anything better tasting than an ice-cold beer on a hot and humid night.
Photo Credit:


4.) Tube down the Nearest River

  • Last weekend, I went tubing down the Cannon River with my family, and it was such a memorable afternoon filled with so many laughs. This is a great way to spend a hot afternoon with a group of close friends.
Photo Credit:


5.) Make your Own Homemade Ice Cream

  • Ice cream and summertime go together like PB&J, so why not put the extra effort in and make it from scratch. Click HERE for some awesome recipes from Real Simple.
Photo Credit:


6.) Enjoy a Free Local Concert

Harriet bandstand, summer concert.
Photo credit:


7.) Throw an End-of-Summer BBQ

  • Gather a group of friends, have everyone bring their favorite summer dish, make a big ‘ol batch of sangria, and let the fun begin!


Photo credit:


It’s time to make the most of what’s left of summer, and live it up to the fullest! Enjoy!


With Love,






Lovely Host(ess) Gift Ideas (Under $50)

Good day, Embarquers!

One of my girl friends and I were talking about how sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what to get a host -and no, I most definitely am not talking about the generic bottle of wine- although, a lovely bottle of wine is always welcome in my home. 😉

I’ve decided to put together a list of ideas that use for the next party you’re attending:



Herb Garden KitWilliams Sonoma ($30)

This kit contains the containers, so I would go to your local home improvement store and pick up packet of seeds and soil disks

herb kit



Cheese ($35)




Spa Kit- ($38)

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice aromatherapy set?



Board or Card ($25)

(Please only give this gift to someone that has a good sense of humor)




The Ultimate Cocktail Bar ($40)

This is the only pocketknife of your minibar will ever need. I think we all have someone in our lives who would appreciate a device like this.



Personalized Cookbook- ($18)

There are thousands of cookbooks out there and only one you want to give to your host(ess)… Pick something that is straight to the heart of that person.

For example, if you’re going to a party being thrown by an amateur mixologist, then pick a highly rated recipe book full of inventive recipes.




Spice ($38)

If your host knows their way around the kitchen, they will LOVE using these spices in their next dish. I’ve given these to my Mom and she loves how they take her meals to the next level.

Penzey's Spices




Keep this list in mind the next time you are invited to someone’s home for an intimate gathering. There’s a very good chance you’ll be invited back 😉


With Love,




Host with the Most for Overnight Guests

Happy Tuesday, Beautiful Embarquers!

I always try my best to do posts that apply directly to my life in the exact moment (with hopes it can help my readers as well). If there’s ever something you need help with (when it comes to the home and entertaining, please let me know- all I ever want to do is help my readers.

This week my Mom is coming down from Minnesota to stay with me for my birthday as well as Mother’s Day. Whenever I host (whether it be family or friends), I always want them to feel as though my home is their home- I guess you could say that hosting is my love language. 😉 Hosting isn’t always common knowledge, so I wanted to put together a checklist of items that will be helpful for when you are hosting family or friends in your home.

Ready? Let’s get to it!


Hostess with the Mostess Checklist:

  • Sleeping Situation:
    • Bed: If you don’t have an extra bedroom for your guests (or a pull out couch), please pick up a blowup air mattress for your guests. This will allow them to get a much better night’s sleep
    • Bedding: Personally, I always purchase white sheets (be sure to dress the bed with a fitted sheet, lose sheet and comforter or duvet). Why?
      • 1. You can bleach them (keeping them extra clean all the time)
      • 2. Replacement sheets are always available
      • 3. It reminds me of a high-end hotel
    • Sleeping with Ease: If your guest isn’t sleeping in their own room, have sleeping mask, and earplugs ready (you can find these at the dollar store)
    • Light Reading: Keep magazines or books near the bed to nurse sleeplessness
    • Flowers: a small vase of flowers (from you local grocery store) will bring the space to a new level


  • Food:
    • Allergies: learn about any food allergies your guest(s) may have
    • Breakfast: breakfast can be quite tricky sometimes (with all the options available), so be sure to know what your visitor enjoys eating
    • Drinks: this applies to adult beverages and non-adult beverages. Be sure to have bottled water available in your guest room/sleeping area
    • Snacks: make a small midnight sweets basket to enjoy
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  • Primping:
    • Toiletries: Whenever I travel to hotels, I try and keep the little shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body lotions for my guests. I keep a fully stocked cupboard in the guest bathroom in case your loved ones forget these items at home.
    • Medicine: I keep my medicine in the linen closet across the hall my the guest bedroom in case your visitor get a stomach or headache in the middle of the night
    • Bathing: Be sure to have a clean bath sheet, hand towel and wash cloth for everyone
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  • Entertaining:
    • If your guest has a rental car (or there’s public transportation near your home), a list of great restaurants and areas of interest left on your visitors bed helps keep everyone busy and happy
Photo credit:


My wish for you is that these checklist items help you with your next guests that spend the night.


With Love,




How to Throw a Memorable Bonfire

Hey Ya’ll! Hope you’re having an awesome day!

I had a bonfire party with some of my girlfriends the the other week and we had a great time! A bonfire party is a fun, and inexpensive way to celebrate life with those you love. I know certain areas of the northern hemisphere aren’t exactly ready for bonfire season, but if not, you can keep this stored in your entertaining archives.


Mandatory Party Items:

  • Dry firewood
  • Kindling (Dry twigs)
  • Tinder (dead leaves and pine needles)
  • Matches or lighter
  • Newspaper
  • Lighter fluid (in case the fire doesn’t take)
  • Speakers and music
  • S’mores Ingredients (graham crackers, marshmallows and candies)
  • S’mores roasting sticks
  • Blankets (incase the air is chilly)
  • Decor to set the mood (I set candles up around my home to create an intimate and comfortable environment)

Step 1: Pick a theme or tone you want to convey 

Since this was an intimate bonfire with about 7 ladies, I decided to take more of a relaxed environment with candles.

Step 2: Pick the menu

This this is a bonfire, so I decided to go with a s’more bar. I picked my friends’ favorite candies to add instead of just chocolate (I bought Reese’s, Snickers, Hershey’s with and without almonds, Ghirardelli chocolate with sea salt, Milky Way and Twix)

For beverages, I had white wine, red wine, beer (I love the Shiner Birthday Pilsner) and sparkling water. This covers almost all the bases your guests could ask of. If your guests would like something more specific, I wouldn’t worry about it- they are more than welcome to contribute to the party.

2016-03-19 18.40.012016-03-19 18.40.122016-03-19 18.40.48

Step 3: Pick the music

This should be consistent with the theme. I chose (my favorite Pandora playlist), Hipster Cocktail Party. It’s a great combination or Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, as well as a nice mix of today’s music from The Black Keys, The Lumineers, Of Monster and Men, and other great artists.

Step 4: Prep the fire

The best (I personally believe) way to build a fire is by building the teepee style structure.

It starts with newspaper, tinder and kindling in the middle. Above this, build the teepee with the firewood and more kindling.

Photo credit:

Note: Make sure you have a backup plan for if your bonfire isn’t starting (we ended up roasting the marshmallows over the gas oven 😉 I didn’t have any kindling)

Once your guests start to arrive, just light, turn on some tunes, roast your s’mores and enjoy!

With Love,


Parties/Entertaining · Recipes

Rich and Simple (No Bake) Dessert Truffles

Merry Christmas Eve,

I’m so happy you’re able to spend a little bit of your Christmas Eve with me. I want to share a very simple and decadent dessert with you all. This my family’s favorite, and I make it for them every Christmas.

Oreo Truffles


  • 1-16 oz. bag of Oreos
  • 1-8 oz. package of Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
  • 1 package of chocolate almond bark (10 squares needed)
  • 1 package of vanilla almond bark (2 squares needed)
  • Additional items needed (Rolling pin, hand mixer, 2 ziplock bags, pyrex measuring cup, parchment paper, a large mixing bowl, spoon)



1.) Put your container of Oreos in a Ziplock bag (with all excess air out), and roll the bag until the bag are in a powder form (this takes a little while). When I like to do is hit the Oreos with the rolling pin in hammering motion, then roll the pin away from myself once the cookies are crushed.



2.) Add together the Neufchatel cheese and crushed Oreos


3.) Using a hand mixer, blend together the two ingredients until the mixture is black with no white specks.


4.) Scoop into ~1″ balls and place on a cookie tray covered in parchment paper. Freeze for 1 hour



5.) Place 8 chocolate squares in a Pyrex measuring cup (or a microwavable safe bowl), and heat for 30 second intervals- stirring until smooth (it generally ends up taking 3 minutes total, or 6, 30 second intervals). Drop the ball into the chocolate almond bark, roll until completely covered in chocolate and place on parchment paper.




Note: As you can see, this gets quite messy, so don’t wear your nice new sweater while making this 😉

6.) Melt two bars of white almond bark (using same method as above). Scoop into a plastic baggie, cut a tiny corner, and drizzle.

You could you many cute designs with this, but I just did a simple zigzag.




7.) Let sit for about 10 minutes (or until the bark dries).

Personally, I like to keep these in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh. These truffles should be served chilled.


I hope each of you have a very Merry Christmas with your family, and have plenty of rest and relaxation.


Merry Christmas,




Christmas Entertaining with Ease

Good Day!

I’m glad I can be a part of your holiday party planning. This can be a very stressful time of year, especially for those entertaining for Christmas Eve and/or Day. The best way to relieve this stress is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time.

By starting to prepare for the event several days ahead of time, you leave less to go awry last minute.

The best way to start is by looking back at Set Your Table the Thrifty Way for starters. From there, we will customize for your party.

Table Setting:

Like stated before, it’s a great idea to keep your plates simple and add color and zest in your napkins and centerpiece.

The napkins were purchased at Target, plates were purchased at HomeGoods, and the flatware is Oneida.

I took spruce clippings (two types), placed on the napkin, and tie with a sheer ribbon (an alternative to a napkin ring)

Below is a simple and inexpensive (>$14) centerpiece for the dining room table:

You’ll need:

  • Floating Candles -$2
  • Glass bowl or vase – $5
  • Cranberries- $1.50
  • Spruce needles- $5


  1. Sprinkle a handful of needles on the bottom of the bowl or vase
  2. Fill  3/4 full of water
  3. Fill with cranberries
  4. Place floating candles on top and light (once you’re ready to enjoy)


To decorate the rest of the table, simply, go to your local florist, buy a bundle of spruce clippings, and lay the table with cranberries sprinkled about.




Whenever I entertain, I have to have background music. The best soundtrack for the season is definitely the Frank Sinatra (Holiday) Radio on Pandora Radio.


I strongly suggest having a veggie tray for an appetizer. This insures the kiddos stuff their face with veggies and not a filling cheese ball. You can either go to your local grocery store and buy a pre-made tray, or you can pick your veggies, cut them the day before (keep in an airtight container in the fridge) and place on a tray the day of your event.

Here is an adorable veggie tray from Mom Endeavors

veggie tray

The Meal:

The best way to be stress-free is by putting your main dish in the Crock-Pot. This is an awesome way to set it and forget it.

I’ve attached a delightful and easy recipe for you:

The Frugal Girls Best Crock Pot Ham Recipe

crockpot ham




I always suggest having a variety of games for your party. This is a great way for people to get to know one another if there’s a variety of friends and family that don’t know one another. This will also keep the family from talking about religion or politics 😉

  • Minute to Win It Games– This is a wonderful ice breaker that can be played in teams. Click HERE to see the variety of games used with common household objects
  • Catch Phrase– this my family’s favorite. This is a fast-paced game where one person is given a word or phrase and the people on your team must guess the word by giving them clues
  • Cards Against Humanity (Adults only)- An adult version of Apples to Apples (Make sure everyone playing has a good sense of humor)



By doing these ahead of time, you will be much more at ease on the day of your get-together.


Merry Christmas,