HELLO
Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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RECIPE: Pizza Pasta Salad Featuring Barilla

Nothing makes me feel more like a super-mom than opening my pantry door and whipping up an impromptu dinner with items I already have on hand. Some days are so full, I forget to meal plan – but that’s when being smartly saves the day. I must admit, most of these last-minute meal decisions involve pasta, but I’ve recently learned that there’s a more wholesome way to be prepared in the pasta department. I’ve teamed up with Barilla to share an easy, yet tasty pasta recipe that also happens to be very kid friendly (mom-win!). Pizza Pasta Salad , using Barilla ProteinPLUS Farfalle Pasta, can be served as a side-dish, but’s it’s hearty enough to be a perfect main course on a warm evening.

The idea of eating pizza in any form other than by the slice, is so hilarious to Iris that she usually cleans her plate. It’s also a recipe that’s easy to get her involved with. From picking the fresh basil, to combining all the ingredients, Iris loves to help out in the kitchen.

Available at Walmart, Barilla ProteinPLUS isn’t your typical pasta. it’s a good source of lean protein from a simple blend of egg whites, grains, lentils and chickpeas. Barilla ProteinPLUS provides 17g of protein (per 3.5oz portion) from all natural vegetarian ingredients. Not to mention, it’s a good source of Fiber and ALA Omega-3. Ingredients aside, Iris loves it (as do I) and Barilla’s wholesome pasta line-up doesn’t stop there. Barilla Whole Grain Pasta and Barilla White Fiber Pasta are all options that as a mom I can feel good about. Barilla Gluten Free pasta has even recently been named one of Parents Magazine’s “Top 25 Allergy Free Foods”.

Now on to the recipe!

Ingredients:
1 package of Barilla ProteinPLUS Farfalle Pasta
1 (5 oz) package of mini pepperoni
1 (8 oz) package of mini mozzarella balls
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 bell pepper
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1 (2.25 oz) can of sliced black olives
7-10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup your favorite Italian dressing
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
– Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
– While your water is heating, wash and prep the fresh veggies (roughly chop the fresh basil, medium dice the bell pepper, & slice the cherry tomatoes)
– Boil pasta until al-dente, approximately 10 minutes
– Let pasta cool, add back to the pot and combine with other ingredients
– Serve at room temperature or chilled

For more ideas on using Barilla Pasta, visit the recipe section on their website and Pinterest for more inspired dishes. And be sure to check out Barilla on Ibotta for some savings too!

This is a paid post, however all opinions are my own.

Skin Care – An Update!

So for those of you following along, I wanted to give an update on my advanced skin care journey with NWA Center for Plastic Surgery‘s skincare center. It’s now been almost seven months since I started getting serious about caring for my skin. Since then, I’ve had dermaplane about once a month, Botox about every three months, various peels, and a new obsession with SkinMedica products. Once my skin had adjusted to my new routine, my esthetician introduced me to the Nordlys laser. I just had my third overall treatment, plus Fraxel laser on my nose, so I’m excited to share the end result once those treatments are complete! Spoiler alert – I can already tell that my overall complexion is smoother and brighter… stay tuned!

Annie’s Love

Spring has sprung, and so have our schedules. With our calendars in full bloom, our days are bustling from sun up to sun down. The older Iris gets, the busier our schedule gets and, of course I swear Iris is growing by the minute. That means not much time goes by without her tiny voice requesting a snack. Thankfully, as a long-time Annie’s fan, I have easy choices that I can feel good about. Whether it’s as soon as she gets home from school, during a back-yard picnic, or on-the-go, it’s comforting having snack choices that not only does Iris love, but that I know are better for her than many other options out there.

Available at Walmart, I was excited to see that Annie’s has an assortment of new treats. Located near the breakfast and snack bars, Iris is pretty keen on the new Organic Chewy Granola Bars. Since I already make a Walmart run at least once a week, I consider this a win-win.

I learned early-on to keep a packet of Cheddar Bunnies in my purse for any emergency grumpy situations that may arise, and now I’ve added Iris’ new fave (quite literally) to my back-pocket. This weekend we are going from work events, to play-dates, to the grocery store, so looks like another whirlwind of fun (and snacks) is in store!

This post is sponsored by Annie’s, a brand we have loved for many years.

California Bound!

As a parent, there’s nothing more fun than to surprise your kid with awesomeness. So when we booked a trip to California, we kept it a secret for a little while and told her that in two weeks, we’d be packing our bags and heading to the west coast. Our besties at the Loews Hollywood Hotel are hosting us and we’re going to explore Universal Studios while we’re there (Iris is a recent Harry Potter fanatic, so she’s super pumped). Here’s a little video of how we told her! She’s just starting to read, so I thought it would be fun for her to sound it. As for Cali – any other places we must visit? We can’t wait to explore!

TRAVEL LOVE: 21C Museum Hotel

Iris and I ventured just 30 minutes away from our home in Fayetteville and treated ourselves to a mini girls’ getaway right here in Arkansas. I’ve been dying to experience a 21c Museum Hotel since I first heard about them, so when they offered us a media rate to stay this past Saturday, I knew it was meant to be. Todd was backpacking through the wilderness for the weekend, so I thought Iris and I would have our own (much more comfortable) adventure. We were given the Kids Exploration Package, which included tickets to The Amazeum and even milk and cookies delivered to our room!

Speaking of our room, there were plenty of restaurants and shops to walk to, but I would have been perfectly happy staying put right there for the entire time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m a bit of a hotel snob. Through my work and blogging travel I’ve gotten to experience the best of the best and I’ve really grown to appreciate a good hotel.

The beauty of 21c is that the hotel also doubles as an art museum. There are things to experience and take in throughout the building, like our favorites – the huge green penguins that mysteriously always seemed to be moving around the property when we weren’t looking. There’s also The Hive restaurant and bar, which made a killer pomegranate lemonade for Iris and of course had plenty of wine for me. Our package also came with an I spy card, which was a nice way to explore the hotel with a kiddo.

While certainly tempted, we didn’t stay locked in our room the entire time. We had a lovely brunch and dinner just a short walk away, a fun-filled trip to The Amazeum, and of course we had take the short stroll on the Art Trail to Crystal Bridges. The entire weekend was perfect – the location, the weather, and of course the company. As sad as I sometimes get realizing how big my only “baby” is, it’s so amazing seeing her bloom into such a lovely girl and share experiences like this past weekend with her.

While I did pay a media rate to write about my stay, all opinions are all my own.