Peppy Pasta

Ever find yourself in that riiiiight-before-dinner-dance...wondering...pondering...questioning...should I pirouette with pasta or should I leap with lo mein? Should I samba with sketti or should I tango with teriyaki? Should I shimmy with stir fry or mambo with manicotti?

You get what I'm sayin', right?
Your mind's on Milan, but your belly's on Beijing.

MAMA MIA! It can be madness.

So!!!! I have a recipe to releve' you back to reality, bambina. It's a very interesting dish. SO interesting, that it doesn't even have a name! I had to make one up for it. It's a fab lil fusion of Italian and Asian goodness...two very distinct flavors that when paired together become quite a perfect performance.

Just trust me. K?


Props go out to my {MIL} for this lil nifty number. She has cooked many a delectable dish for me over the years, but WHERE THE HECK WAS THIS ONE THE WHOLE TIME?!!!!! Wowza! She whipped this one up during her Easter visit this year, and I haven't stopped making it since.

I'll admit...when she said the main ingredient was PASTA, a few of my Italian red flags went up...but my Midwestern homegirl knows her way around the kitchen...so I was intrigued, and decided to listen.

After just one bite, I was smitten. SMITTTTTTEN. As usual, I ate like a monster. It was definitely a 2-plater night, thankyouverymuch.

Make this when you're feenin' for some comfort food. Make this on a cheat day! Make this on a Monday..and a Tuesday...and a Wednesday. Make this when you're HANGRY. Make this for friends. Make this for enemies! JUST MAKE THIS!!!!!!

{Peppy Pasta}
1 package Angel Hair Noodle Nests
1 jar Hoisin sauce
1.5lb. ground chuck
2 bunches of scallions

Fab Four.

{Step 1}
Fry up the meat. Drain. Mix in the entire jar of Hoisin sauce.

It's like a smokey, sweet, savory, glazey goodie.

{Step 2}
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

{Step 3}
Boil the pasta nests according to the package. Drain. It's ok if they've split apart a bit. Place them in the casserole dish. They will act as the base of the dish.

So cute!

See? They'll probably split apart.

{Step 4}
Pour the meat/Hoisin mixture all over the top of the nests. Cover the whole darn thing! Make sure the mixture gets smooshed into the nooks and crannies.

Like an international Hamburger Helper almost!

{Step 5}
Dice up 2 bunches of scallions and sprinkle them all over the top of the meat/Hoisin mixture. Pop the dish into the oven and bake it on 350 for about 10 minutes. Serve with crab rangoons.

These scallionss will wilt down into little honeys from Heaven.

It's seriously going to smack you right in your mouth. Mangia!



It happened just a few years ago maybe?

Not sure.

As I scrolled through nightly Facebook posts of food pics, memes, OODs, beach shots, Starbucks selfies, dogs, more beach shots, baby announcements, baby arrivals, baby's first food, and baby's first birthday parties {the majority of those were mine, lol}...there emerged an interesting pic from my friend {JNW}.

This effervescent gal is my sorority sis - a fellow New Yawka who also landed in the middle of the Midwestern cornfields for college and was equally as smitten by everything due south of 75. I use the term effervescent for rare cases. It's so spectacular of a word to me, that I only bestow it upon the cream of the crop.

So... I think she's pretty special.

There I was - 9 p.m. - RHONJ on the tellie - casually soaking up a little bit of prime time FB action with a bowl of Wegmans Chocolate Nutty Cone to my right. In a Newsfeed filled with commonalities, there reigned a royal gem of a post.

What exactly am I looking at here? 

Are those her gams?

Is this a ... legging selfie? {#leggie}

Class was in session. I was about to be schooled.

There stood a snapshot of "buttery soft" leggings, as she described. "LuLaroe" to be exact. {Lula-what?} Very interesting. Very interesting, indeed, I thought. You see, I'm a leggings chick. A deeeeeeply devoted mother hen to those angels. Always have been. Always will be. I don't care what age you are - rock em if YOU want to.

But...let's get one thing clear. 

I envision my future Nursing Home closet filled with florals, bursting with brights and primping with polkas. Drawers filled with capri-length cuties to match California caftans. Thirty-One cubes stocked with stripes for Grammie D. Shelves tipped with tunics to romance my ruby reds.

As {JNW} went on to praise this brand, something about the term "buttery soft" found its rightful spot in the back of my mind. I meant to ask her more about them, but in recent years, my memory has shrunk down to the wee size of a single pellet of Nerd candy.

I forgot!

Fast forward a few years - this year, to be exact - and LuLaroe leaped her whimsical way back into my life. I kept getting invited to online "Pop Up" shops. I saw a fun friend of mine "gRoeing" throughout her pregnancy {Hi Shan!}. Another friend of mine commented about her "Cassie" {umm...is that code for something?!} One more showed how she turned a skirt into a SCARF?!!

Bah! I realized this was the stuff of magic my homegirl {JNW} posted about. Now I remember! So, I turned to the 'Book and asked my peeps to gimme the scoop so I can be in the Lula loop.

And, wow did they shovel up some schtuff.

30 or so of my Tootsies filled me in on lovely LuLa. Each new comment notification was like my Birthday morning. All da feels, ya know? Gimme more. I need more! Pics they shared of their favorite Lula pieces were the icing on the cake.

You know the kind.

Here are the deets...

1. LuLaRoe specializes in classy COMFORT. {Bend 'n stretch, yo.}

2. They offer lines of dresses, tops, maxis, shawls...and...LEGGINGS. {Remember what I said...who the H cares how old you are. Wear the damn leggings!}

3. They only make so many pieces of a certain pattern. {Wah!!! But, that means you might be the only sweetie rockin' cupcake-print legs at preschool pick up. You go, sugar.}

4. Can't find the pattern you LOVE anywhere? Well, sassypants, that print is now called your Unicorn - that's LuLa slang for an elusive little slice 'o sparkle that you just have to have. {Keep the faith. You'll find her someday, babe.}

Found mine. Big and bold, baby!

5. It's pricey. And, I'm one frugal fox. Never in my LIFE did I ever think I'd be telling people to go buy $25 leggings and $30-plus shirts. Ever. Could you imagine what you could buy in the Target Dollar Aisle with that? I could redecorate my living room! Plan 3 birthday parties! Put mason jars in every inch of my house! In the words of Uncle Jesse Katsopolis...lawd have mercy. I digress though. You HAVE to try on these clothes to know what I mean. Go 'head. Do it, honey. {#investment}

6. Skip Panera 2 times a month...give up a few coffees...wait for that new J-Law movie to come out on Redbox. Before you know it...there's a piece of LuLa at your doorstep. {You didn't need that broccoli cheddar bowl, boo. But, you DO need a chevron, arrow and paisley Amelia.}

7. There's no storefront. You have to find a consultant to buy your LuLa goodies. {Befriend these lil fairy godmothers. Stat!}

8. You can host or attend an in-home or online "pop-up" shop. {Do both!}

9. You can also snatch 'em up on eBay too. {But, if your friend sells LuLa...support her instead.}

10. Not sure about your size? See if you can find a multi-consultant event, a friend who's a fan or stop by a party. Don't be scared. Lots of "inventory" will be there, so you can take your pick. {Wear a maxi dress to the fitting. If there's no dressing room, you'll have easy access to slap on those leggings right underneath or put a dress on right over the top. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.}

11. Get yourself an Irma and a Perfect T. Depending on your height, both will cover your toosh and fall mid-thigh. Both have sleeves that go to the elbow. The Irma is more flowy, all around, and the Perfect T is more fitted at the top. {Swoon.}

12. They have a kids' collection. {Gah!!!!}

13. They have a Mommy and Me collection. {Double GAH!!!}

14. Join VIP Facebook groups. Consultants will frequently post their stock, and they'll often host giveaways. {See? I told ya they are little angels! Good luck!}

Look how it could be wrapped!

15. Go on YouTube and watch some of the reviews. My faves are by a gal {DD} who shows you how to re-style some classic LuLa pieces. Totally worth a look. Subscribe while you're there! {Click here}

16. I was a little worried about the "One Size" leggings. Umm...suuure, that little rosebud there is going to keep its shape and not turn into looking like an extra large sheet pizza. {Incredible. I still dough not believe it!}

If you made it this far, thanks doll! I'm no LuLa expert, and I will forever remain a nerdy newbie, but I had to take time tonight to share my spin on things. This cute company has captured my attention, so it was time for us to dish. I'll pop back here every so often to update that lofty list, but in the mean time...live life leggy, love!

*** If you're up for some more hurricane-style convos, I'd love for you to subscribe or join my CoCoNuts on my Facebook page! {Click here}! xoxoxo

Thanks and love if you click above!



Alright - so every now and then, I like to shout out my love for the South...and that I am a complete self-described oxymoron. I scream in  East Coast, but I whisper in Southern Sunshine.

The fam and I trek to Myrtle Beach each spring for our annual vaycay. We have a blast with each other! Such a pick me up! Super refreshing is an understatement.

My sis {SheShe} went to college in North Cackalacky, but she claims BOTH Carolinas as her second homes. South-C welcomes her with open arms. I called upon all of my superpowers of Yankee persuasion to try to get her to join me in the Midwest back in the day, but that Belle wanted none of it. She was already working on the proper use of "Bless Your Heart" the first day of 10th grade. {My bribing didn't stand a chance!} She was sold on the South at an early age.

We always enjoy traveling with her down there because she's a natural. Her darling drawl pops out, her eyes light up with that first sip of sweet tea and to hear her say "Sir" and "Ma'am" to people is sort of surreal for us. {The only way we ever used this phrase while growing up, was in fine smack-talk fashion.} We look to her for guidance on all things "suthun" and she never disappoints.

Here's a tiny MB lunch re-cap...

One afternoon, our dear debutante suggested we have lunch at a place called Zaxby's. Since I'm a Cancer sign, Miz Crab is a stubborn, sentimental snacker. I wanted an old stand-by... Panera? Five Guys? Subway? I dunno. Meals need to be experiences, ya know? My noshings need to be nifty and feel like a gifty. I have my faves. I know what I like. Once a craving sets in...it's ova.

Well...my brat-factor was running extra brat-tastic one vaycay day, and it just so happened to collide with Sheesh's suggestion to try Zaxby's. {Cue my 'tude.} What? No thanks. Bye. My mind was already blissfully set on the beautiful bites of a Bacon Turkey Bravo...and it's totes hard to pull me away from my sandwich slumber.

I could sense the fam was getting bored of my shenanigans. Basically - because they were ignoring my whines and pulling in to a prime parking spot.

The nerve!


The utter nerve! haha

Guess I'll give in.

I walked in to a nice big fat slice 'o humble pie, yo. {This is naaaaht easy for me to admit!} I saw a {Black and Blue Chicken Salad} on the menu and said a quick bye bye to my perfect Panera plans. Zaxby's was flippin' FAB! Fun! Festive!

{Front entrance pic from zaxbys.com is much prettier than mine!}

Here's the scoop...

I'd describe it as a fast food Applebee's. 

You order at the counter and seat yourself. 

Chicken is the HBIC.

Salads are GIANT, and they're served on actual plates.

You get tiny ramekins of dressing and real flatware. 

Sides of bread = Texas Toast!

They have crinkle cut fries. 


Onion rings.

They have fried pickles.

Again... they have fried pickles.


{A pickle pic from restaurantnews.com }

Don't get me started on their ICE! I know...very random, but I'm one of those gals that likes that teeny tiny crunchy ice. No real way to describe it...but for some reason, it's the bomb-diggs. This Zaxby's had one of those cool Coca-Cola machines where you can choose your soda and swirl in different flavors. {#CherryGameOnPoint}

Sheesh notes that she likes to get take-out salads because it's fun to toss on the dressing, shut the container lid and shake it all up! It helps to coat everything evenly.

Don't forget ZAX sauce on the side. for everything. It's a nice lil remoulade that packs a nice lil punch! Fantastic on fries. Chippy on chicken. Surprising on salads.

A final selling point for me is their play on words. {Zalads! Zappetizers! Meal Dealz!} Nice way to incorporate that {Z} into titles. They also have cute Zaxby-themed wall art. I dig it. Gimme more.

Welp! There ya have it. Are you a ZAXBY's fan? Have another Southern charmer you think we should know about? Tell me!