Who am I (as a blogger)?

Last week, I was the featured blogger on the Sunday Supper blog (here). It was fun to be part of their new segment, the Blogger Spotlight, with Janet Keeler, and it made me think about how this blog started; how far it has come, and where it is going.


Before this site was Casa de Crews, it was Newlywed Nichole. I was so dang proud of that name, too. But after a year, and coming to the sad realization that I was in fact, no longer a newlywed, I decided to change the name. Whenever we invite friends over, we always say, “Come to Casa de Crews!” Neither of the Crews’ are Spanish, but living in Tampa, more often than not, people assume we spell our last name “Cruz”, and for whatever reason, it just stuck. Since my blog at the time was a hodge podge of thoughts, coining it Casa de Crews, just made sense. It started as a blog about our life, The Crews Family.

Since my first post in 2011, this blog has grown, and evolved. Some of my most favorite people are bloggers, and while I have some of the best non-blogging friends around, there is something in blogging that fulfills my creative side that only my blog friends can relate to.

I think it’s more than safe to say that I have changed as a person a lot since my first blog post. For starters, I am tougher. I always tried to make friends with everyone I ever encountered. Both in blog world, and non-blog world. What happened is I stretched myself too thin and put too much time in to friendships that were so not worth it. I know now it’s great to make a good, quality friend, but you’re not going to be besties with everyone, and that is okay!

I still share the occasional random life post, but my passion for cooking, and improving my photography has grown so much in the last few years. I have always loved to cook. I’m the oldest of four, and helped a lot growing up in getting dinner on the table. I used to love to plan dinner “parties” for my parents, complete with menus and place settings. And my siblings and I would put on a show for mom and dad. I learned to love cooking for my family because of my mom, and dad. My mom is the main “chef” nowadays, but there was a time when my dad cooked more for the family, when we were younger, too. The passion to cook was forgotten once I lived on my own at eighteen, and I was just hoping I could afford groceries for myself! The desire to cook, and create came back to me once Jason began law school. I had to prep meals, in order for us to have decent meals.

I’m so over blogging about losing weight, but damn it, I still need to, so that hasn’t changed so much on the ol’ blog. How I try and lose weight has changed though, as has my way of thinking on it all.

I like pretty things. Pretty homes, pretty spaces, pretty pictures. I just do. I like things to be nice, but sometimes after work, I don’t want to do much of anything, which most of us can definitely relate to.

If I had more time to blog, I’d like to share more cleaned up recipes. I am falling in love with lightening up classic recipes with cleaner ingredients. It’s fun, and I love turning others on to it.

I’d love to share more party and home decor photos, and ideas.

I’d love to shed some real weight once and for all.

I love my city, and sharing my Tampa adventures.

I like to think I’m a lady, but I also drop the “F” bomb, way more than I should.

I love my husband, and being his wife. Some days, marriage is real work, but most days, I know I made the right decision in marrying Jason. I am quite fond of him.

So that is ME, and Casa de Crews as a blog, in 2015. A little older, and wiser. A little better with blogging, still busier than ever.


Have you and/or your blog changed since you first started it?

French Onion Dip, with Greek Yogurt for #SundaySupper

Fact: I hate onions. Like, I loathe the smell, taste, texture, etc. I even made my sister feel really bad eating a burger with raw, white onions one time. A long time ago, but she still likes to remind me of this incident, every now and then.

Lightened up French Onion Dip, with Greek yogurt for #SundaySupper

When my mom makes her famous potato salad, I beg her to puh-lease make a small batch sans onion for me. When I first met Jason, he loved him some raw, nasty onions in a dish, and I would refuse to kiss him if he ate them. I was so nice, wasn’t I?

So imagine everyone’s surprise when they saw me eat French Onion Soup, (and all time fave of mine!), French Onion Dip, and onion flavored bagels. The people who I have onion shamed, wanted to kill me.  I can’t even blame them.

It turns out, if an is onion cooked down and/or carmelized, I can handle it. Who knew? #thingsyoulearnafter30

Lightened up French Onion Dip, with Greek yogurt for #SundaySupper

I have always loved the French Onion Soup Dip that comes in a packet, that you add to sour cream. It’s a classic that everyone loves, right?! It’s still a fave of mine, but I did discover a Greek yogurt version in the store that Oikos made…and it was spot on. It tasted pretty close to the sour cream/packet dip I love so much. But with less ingredients, less preservatives, and less calories. Then….this dip disappeared from the shelves. I can never find it, and needed to create my own, stat!

And so after THREE attempts, I did. The not so secret ingredient is Worcestershire sauce (I learned this after finding this recipe), and it changed my world, ya’ll. Side note: You could totally use sour cream instead of Greek yogurt if you prefer, but for me the Greek yogurt version is not only ‘cleaner’, but has less calories (about 35-40 less for every 2 tbsp).

This dip is perfect for a picnic, and all of your upcoming summer shindigs! Because really, who doesn’t love French Onion Dip?

Lightened up French Onion Dip, with Greek yogurt for #SundaySupper [Read more…]

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Egg Cups

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Egg Cups

Mini Frittatas, Egg Muffins, Egg Cups, Omelets…call em’ what you want, they’re all pretty much the same thing at the end of the day,morning?

I have been making some variation of these Egg Things for several years now. They’re easy to make, low in calories, and carbs, and high in protein. I make them on Sunday afternoon or Monday night (should I have too much fun on Sunday to meal prep properly. I digress). They’re also perfect in a pinch for brunch! I have brought these Egg Cups many a time – I have several inexpensive cake platters that I’ve bought at Marshall’s, Home Goods, and Target that pretty up the display.

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Egg Cups

I make them so often that friends have asked for this recipe. But honestly, you don’t need a proper recipe! Throw in what you like. I will share with you how I layer these Egg Cups because for me it took a while to get them how I liked.

I also highly recommend a quality non-stick muffin pan. One where you don’t even need non-stick spray. I bought a pricey one from a co-worker who had a Pampered Chef party, and I swear by this pan! I have another cheaper, non-stick pan that I use when I want to double up a batch, and they never, ever turn out as good.

Today’s Egg Cup combo of sausage, spinach, and cheese is one I make the most often. I prefer bacon, but Jason likes sausage. I try and find fresh pork sausage to add my own seasonings to. I also hand shred cheese, as blocked cheese has less ingredients/preservatives. In this recipe, I don’t get all “clean” on you. You’re an adult, and you’ll buy what you like, right? If you’re not into making your own breakfast sausage (I promise, it is so easy), a pre-packaged roll of breakfast sausage will just fine.

Sausage, Spinach, and Cheese Egg Cups [Read more…]

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper

Cheese is pretty much my all-time favorite food. Bread (um, all carbs?) is a close second. While I seem to be okay with only occasionally eating bread, I beg you not to ask me to give up cheese, please.

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper

I’m not sure how I didn’t know it, but April is National Grilled Cheese Month – you read that right; month. Not a day, my friends. An entire month devoted to honoring the Grilled Cheese Sandwich! That has to mean everyone loves the Grilled Cheese Sandwich as much as I do.

As a kid, my favorite lunch was a Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich that I could dunk in a bowl of Tomato Soup, after playing outside, in the snow. This sammie consisted of the processed American Cheese that comes in a wrapper, and the canned soup that you simply add water to. It was quite tasty for a kid, and still a fond food memory of mine, but my tastes, oh how they have changed.

As an adult, I still like a good ol’ Hot Ham and Cheese like my mom used to make, but now opt for a more grown-up version with a better quality of ingredients. And wine, because remember, I’m all grown up now. :)

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper

So what is my version of the perfect grown-up Hot Ham and Cheese? A nutty Gruyère, thinly sliced, salty prosciutto, and tomato to pay homage to the Tomato Soup that I love!

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper

Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese for #SundaySupper [Read more…]