Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sweet potato brownies #Choctoberfest


Disclosure: Imperial Sugar is a gold sponsor of #Choctoberfest and provided me with sugar. All opinions expressed are my own.

Guys, can you believe all the amazing chocolate recipes there are for #Choctoberfest already?! I hope you are all following along this week with our hashtag on all your favorite social media platforms. I'm excited to share my next recipe with you today -- Sweet Potato Brownies! Pumpkins are amazing and all, but sweet potatoes deserve fall love, too. They can be used in a lot of baked goods which may normally call for pumpkin. But, the humble sweet potato is often overlooked (except for its amazing pie). So, let's change that by using it in more delicious treats like these brownies. These brownies have a sweet potato topping gently swirled into the top of the brownies as well as a bit of sweet potato in the brownie batter itself. They are super moist, sweet with a touch of warm spices, and chocolaty, too. Plus their colors make them fun for Halloween party treats! Thanks to Imperial Sugar for inspiring these brownies which will certainly become a fall favorite for our family. In case you missed my Instagram post when I received my sugar, my little goblins were excited to help me out in the kitchen and to be taste testers for these yummy brownies!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spooky double chocolate eyeball cookies #Choctoberfest


Disclosure: I received a complimentary container of Gourmet Baking Cocoa from Rodelle, a #Chocotoberfest sponsor. I was not required to make a recipe or post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Eye, I mean, I always feel like somebody's watching me..... I'm kicking off #Choctoberfest with these fun and spooky cookies! Not only are they fun and spooky, but they are also super tasty! I made these cookies with Rodelle's Gourmet Baking Cocoa. Their cocoa is Dutch-processed making it very rich and dark (as you can see from the cookies - they turned out perfect for Halloween). My husband and I both couldn't stop smelling the cookie batter and the cookies themselves once they were baked because the chocolaty aroma was addictive! The flavor was unmatched to some of the cheaper grocery store cocoa powders I've used in the past.

These cookies were made for our annual family apple picking day. Each year I make a treat, usually some sort of pumpkin cookie (chocolate chip, oatmeal, snickerdoodle, just to name a few), but this year I surprised everyone with something different and they were a hit! The kids liked the eyeballs (you can leave these off if you so choose - they are just for fun, but the cookies are amazing without them). Take these to a Halloween party or on a fall outing with family or friends! It's like eyes are peering at you through the dark autumn night. I modified this recipe and the below version will make about three dozen cookies.


Monday, October 16, 2017

#Choctoberfest 2017 Welcome & Giveaway!

Choctoberfest-2015-2 
Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because it is the official start of #Choctoberfest. This is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar and the other sponsors listed below. Over 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting 200+ chocolate recipes over the next week. Keep your eyes peeled, visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, where we post chocolate recipes all year long. You can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack. Thank to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Banana spinach oat blender muffins


It's been a while now since I posted a baby and/or toddler food recipe. This is mostly because my twins are now pretty much eating what we eat most of the time. However, now that they are toddlers, they are starting to show some food preferences. They are still pretty excellent eaters, but I will never miss an opportunity to get a little more good stuff into them however I can (especially when lately more vegetables end up on the floor rather than into little mouths). I found this recipe recently and used it as a guide for making these muffins. Let me tell you how tasty these muffins are -- so yummy! Sweet from the banana, a little earthy from the spinach and flax, and a touch of warm spice from nutmeg and cinnamon. Nutmeg is a spice I love with bananas and I frequently use with greens, so it was a must-have in these. I love the vibrant green color from the (pretty much liquefied) spinach! It makes them so pretty. They would be fun for Halloween as well (maybe add some dark chocolate chips). These muffins have been twin tested and approved, but they are great for the whole family. This recipe will make about 16 muffins.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Slow cooker eggplant "baked" ziti


This ziti is "baked" because well, it's not baked.... But, it is just like the baked ziti you know and love, except it is made in your slow cooker rather than the oven. I love my slow cooker so much. I use it all year round and to make all kinds of dishes. I've seen a lot of recipes for slow cooker baked ziti over the years. This version uses eggplant because we often have a lot of it this time of year and also because I like to add extra vegetables where I can. The eggplant also adds extra moisture to the dish. What I like about making "baked" ziti in the slow cooker is that when it's done cooking you can put it on warm and serve it at a party or potluck, or, like me, when your family sometimes needs to eat dinner at different times of the evening, and it will still be warm to eat. This recipe will feed about 6-8 people. Serve it with a side of garlic bread and/or a side salad to stretch it even more.

A note on cooking pasta in the slow cooker like this - it won't taste exactly the same as when you boil the pasta and then add it to the sauce. Cooking it together in the sauce, the pasta will retain more of a starchy flavor. This is not something that we mind, but some people may. I use a 4 quart slow cooker and this recipe just fits in it perfectly. Cooking time will vary a little depending on your slow cooker.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

October dessert plan

Hi everyone! It's almost time for my favorite month of the year: October!! Halloween, apple picking, pumpkins, crisp colored leaves, cooler weather, apple cider, and all that fun stuff! Get ready with all these fun and spooky dessert and treat ideas!

092417 October-main

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Honey cheddar beer bread w/ honey butter


September's Fantastical Food Fight theme is: HONEY! I was really excited when I saw this month's theme because we really love honey around this house. We've been avoiding it over the past year since it's not safe for babies to eat until one year of age, but now our twins are over that so I can incorporate honey into my food and cooking again. I was going to make a dessert, but then I was leaning toward something more savory and decided since we had chili on our meal plan menu this week that a beer bread with honey would be perfect. Also, honey butter because, yum! Beer bread is such a quick side dish to whip up during soup and chili season. You'll have a quick, easy, and hearty side dish. Use a light colored beer (I used a lager) that doesn't have a super strong flavor so you don't overpower the bread. I based my recipe off of this one because I was intrigued by the addition of melted butter into the baking pan which I don't usually do when I make beer bread. It turned out delicious! This recipe will make one loaf of bread.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Baked pumpkin oatmeal


A warm and inviting autumn breakfast - baked pumpkin oatmeal is delicious and easy, plus it makes your house smell like fall! My current obsession with baked oatmeal continues with this fall flavored version. Just last month I posted two baked oatmeal recipes - peanut butter and zucchini bread. We've been eating these a couple of times a week because all four of us love them. I knew a pumpkin version was in my future because pumpkin is amazing and also it's almost time for all things pumpkin also known as FALL! My favorite time of the year! We had a streak of cooler days, but now we are back to more summer-like weather, but cooler nights. Our big maple tree is starting to turn orange and red. We now have pumpkins and mums on our front stoop and I hung up a Halloween banner on the front door. So, I'm ready for fall-mode now! Let the apple picking, pumpkin spicing, blanket snuggling, leaf peeping, and everything else fall-fun related begin! First up, a tasty hearty breakfast.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chocolate chip zucchini banana muffins


Banana bread and zucchini bread collide in these ultra-moist muffins studded with mini chocolate chips. Well, folks, another summer is winding down. Fall is the season I look forward to most every year. I love living somewhere with four distinct seasons (even if they have been getting a little muddled the past few years). This year though, I'm feeling a little disappointed and a touch sad that summer is over. My babies' first birthday has already come and gone. They are growing so quickly. I think maybe it's something to do with finally having children, but I'm more acutely aware than ever of the swift passage of time. Time is our most precious non-renewable resource. I want to soak up every minute with my children because they are growing and changing so much every day it seems. At the same time, some days I'm counting down the hours or minutes until my husband comes home or until nap time haha. The odd dichotomy of motherhood. I'm looking forward to doing fall activities with them this year though like apple picking, pumpkin picking, playing in the leaves, etc.

This may be my last zucchini recipe for this summer's zucchini season, but it's a great one! If you have zucchini lingering, give these tasty muffins a try. You won't be disappointed. This recipe will be 12 standard sized muffins.


Monday, September 4, 2017

One pan stuffed peppers skillet


Stuffed peppers were always a late summer staple in my house growing up. My mom made them probably every year with peppers from our garden. I think she always froze a couple batches too for easy winter time dinners. They were always a meal everyone enjoyed! This version takes a lot of the leg work out of the meal, but still gives you all the stuffed pepper flavors in a one-pan dinner. Yes, one pan is all you need - no separate pot to cook the meat, separate pot to cook the rice, and then separate baking dish -- all one skillet! I used ground turkey in this version, but you can use the traditional ground beef, of course. My mom never put cheese on our stuffed peppers, but I thought it would be a nice touch for this version. This dish will serve 5-6 people. Add a side of crusty bread, if desired.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Yellow squash and apple bread


The summer to autumn transition can be made a little sweeter with a loaf of this lightly spiced quick bread made with yellow squash and apples. There are always lots of zucchini recipes popping up this time of year to use up all those garden monsters, but not so many for yellow squash. My father-in-law often grows a lot of crookneck squash, so we are usually looking for ways to use those up around the same time as zucchinis. I took my zucchini bread recipe and modified it slightly to come up with this version using crooknecks and apple. I used a Granny Smith apple which provided a nice sour note and light green flecks through the bread. They looked pretty alongside the yellow flecks. I love quick breads - there are a ton of them on this blog already! They are perfect with your morning coffee and some scrambled eggs or as a mid-morning or afternoon snack with tea. The flavor combinations are pretty endless and they are a simple way to use up produce. This recipe will make one loaf of bread.

The weather the past few days have been a touch cooler and it's getting darker noticeably earlier now (which is nice for putting kiddos to bed). I smell fall in the air. This summer has been a lot of fun for me and I'm not really ready for it to end just yet. But, I do love autumn and am getting excited for apple season. I'm going to be re-reading one of my favorite books to prepare.

 


Friday, August 25, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Balsamic chicken caprese pasta


A delicious summertime pasta dinner made with garden fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, and balsamic glazed chicken! This pasta dish can be enjoyed hot, warm, or cold straight out of the fridge. It's a lovely dish for a late summer evening, especially if you are lucky enough to have garden fresh grape or cherry tomatoes and basil. Our basil plant is one of the few things doing really well in our garden this year and while we have been getting a few grape tomatoes, I still had to buy some of those for this dish. Hopefully next year's garden is more successful, though a lot of it has to do with the crazy weather we've been having here this summer, so who knows. What I do know is that this dish was a hit, even with two toddlers (I just cut it up nice and small for them). I was somewhat surprised they liked the vinegar flavor, but then again not really because they tend to like almost everything!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Baked zucchini bread oatmeal


The flavors of zucchini bread baked into your morning oatmeal! I am on a bit of a baked oatmeal kick lately. It started with the peanut butter one that I posted on a couple of weeks ago and now we are onto zucchini. With fall coming, I see many more versions (pumpkin! sweet potato! apple!) making an appearance in our kitchen and in our bellies in the near future. This time of year, many people are trying to find ways to use up their zucchinis. We love zucchini bread, and I figured that it would make a delicious baked oatmeal as well. Also, as I've mentioned before, we are always looking for meals that our twins can easily feel themselves. This method makes it easier for them to get the oatmeal into their mouths all by themselves (because they aren't fans of being spoon fed anymore). This zucchini version was a hit with all of us! We like to serve ours scooped into a bowl with a little milk, or just cut into a square for the little ones.


Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18th Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

Friday Frenzy
Welcome to the Friday Frenzy, the Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web. Why is it the best?
  1. Well when you link your favorite posts to the Friday Frenzy your posts will be seen across 9 blogs, for NINE TIMES the exposure.
  2. We ask all linkers to pin the featured posts of the week for even more exposure
  3. Our host bloggers are all part of an inclusive and support group on Facebook, we welcome all bloggers big or small and we actively promote other bloggers, so bring on your best links

Monday, August 14, 2017

Cheesy Italian zucchini & turkey casserole


Zucchini season is upon us. In this dish, zucchini is used to make a cheesy base for the casserole topped with ground turkey, spaghetti sauce, vegetables, and more cheese. You will see similar versions called a Zucchini Pizza Casserole, but to me there is nothing pizza-ish about this casserole. My version uses the same base idea, but the toppings are different. Maybe more like a spaghetti bake? I don't know. So I'm just calling this version a Cheesy Italian Zucchini & Turkey Casserole. Naming dishes can be tricky sometimes. Too wordy? Not an adequate description? Haha, I don't know. I do know that this dish was a huge hit in our family and was even completely gobbled up by two one year olds, so that's a win for me! Whatever you call it, it's delicious! It's definitely a keeper and a way to use up some of your garden's zucchini. This recipe will serve about four to five people as a main dish. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and/or a side salad to stretch it a bit more.

We are usually inundated with zucchini at this time of year, but the odd weather has left many in our area with gardens that aren't producing as well as they usually do. So, I actually *gasp* bought zucchini from a farm stand. It almost didn't feel right!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

Applesauce barley infant cereal mini muffins


I've been on a quest lately to perfect a mini muffin recipe for my one-year old twins that uses up some of our leftover opened containers of infant cereal. I guess there comes a point where all babies start to reject the baby cereal and/or being spoon-fed, and we hit ours a month or so ago. Since I'm striving to be a frugal mama and really loathe food waste, I have been looking for ways to use up what we have opened instead of throwing it away. I've made a few batches and they turned out just OK... The cereal soaks up a bunch of moisture, so you need to get a good ratio of flour to cereal and also liquid to dry ingredients. They still ate them, but I wasn't satisfied with the results until this version. Keep in mind, these aren't bakery muffins - they aren't super pretty, they are a little bumpy, and they don't rise a ton, but they are a great way to use up your baby cereal and to give your toddlers a finger food to feed themselves. I used barley cereal, which was my twins' favorite, but you should be able to sub oatmeal, rice, or multigrain versions. I give these to them whole and they are soft enough that they can easily take bites or break pieces off to eat themselves. This recipe will make approximately 22 mini muffins. I like to give them one as a snack, or a couple with some cut up fruit for an easy breakfast.


Friday, August 4, 2017

August 4th Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

Friday Frenzy

Welcome to the Friday Frenzy Link Party

You've just joined the Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web and we are so glad to have you here!!! 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Baked peanut butter oatmeal


Creamy peanut butter, oats, brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon baking in the morning will make your whole house smell wonderful. Lately I've been on a quest for easy and nutritious breakfasts that my twins (and my husband and I) will eat. They love scrambled eggs with vegetables, pancakes, and cut up fruit, but they've recently become resistant to being fed from a spoon and don't have much interest in learning it for themselves yet. So oatmeal, cream of wheat, and other hot cereals they used to eat are becoming harder. They will still take yogurt though - they love yogurt! I decided to try out baked oatmeal with them so that they are still eating the oats, but can pick it up themselves. This peanut butter one is a hit with the whole family. The peanut butter flavor is perfect with the lightly sweetened oats. The twins ate theirs cut into a square with some halved blueberries and my husband and I ate it scooped into a bowl with blueberries and milk. We ate it cold cut into squares again the next day. It's slightly crumbly, but also very soft so it's great for toddlers. This recipe will serve about 4-6 people, depending on age and hunger level.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

August Meal Plan

It's the last Sunday of the month, so that means it's time for the monthly meal plan. Here are some recipes for August - easy dinners and breakfasts for back to school time!

August Meal Plan-main 

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28th Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

Friday Frenzy

Welcome to the Friday Frenzy, the Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web. 
Why is it the best?
  1. Well when you link your favorite posts to the Friday Frenzy your posts will be seen across 9 blogs, for NINE TIMES the exposure.
  2. We ask all linkers to pin the featured posts of the week for even more exposure
  3. Our host bloggers are all part of an inclusive and support group on Facebook, we welcome all bloggers big or small and we actively promote other bloggers, so bring on your best links

Monday, July 24, 2017

Three-cheese turkey & spinach mac


Ground turkey and fresh spinach are added to this stovetop macaroni and cheese, making it a more nutritious meal and also extra tasty. My twins are turning one this week!! I can't believe it. This past year has been amazing and crazy and a whirlwind. It's true what everyone tells you - the days can be long, but the weeks are fast. It's so cool to watch them grow and change. They are learning new things all the time. I love watching them interact with each other (when they aren't hurting one another) and seeing their very different personalities develop. So far we've been lucky in that they both love, love food and eating. So I'm always trying to come up with baby and toddler foods that they will enjoy and also can eat/chew safely. This meal was a big hit for them as well as my husband and I. I love meals that are all-in-one. Just put a couple scoops in a bowl and you're good to go. This meal will easily feed about 5-6 people. So if you are like us you will get a bunch of lunch leftovers.

Enjoying our dinner!

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21st Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party


Welcome to the Friday Frenzy!!

The Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web. Why is it the best?

  • When you link your favorite posts to the Friday Frenzy your posts will be seen across 9 blogs, for NINE TIMES the exposure
  • We ask all linkers to pin the featured posts of the week for even more exposure
  • Our host bloggers are all part of a blogging support group on Facebook. We welcome all bloggers, big or small, and we actively promote other bloggers, so bring on your best links!!