July 20, 2018

July 18, 2018

Beet pancakes

Sweet, earthy beets are used to add color, flavor, and sweetness to these pancakes made with whole wheat. Long-time readers and friends know I have a bit of a pancake obsession and I've shared quite a lot of pancake recipes over the years - in fact this is my third so far just this year. I keep thinking I'm going to run out of ideas, but it hasn't happened yet! I've been kinda into beets lately, especially after making this amazing beet lemonade, so I figured it was time to make some beet pancakes. As a mom of twin toddlers, I'm always sneaking vegetables into foods and pancakes are a really easy way to do it. The beets turn these pancakes a really lovely shade of pinkish and they taste delicious. The kids enjoyed them (as they do all pancakes) and my husband and I did as well. This recipe will serve about four people.

July 13, 2018

July 12, 2018

Candied watermelon rind

Candied watermelon rind is a fun treat and a terrific way to use some of your food scraps and turn them into something you'd want to eat! I saw this recipe over at Sew Historically and knew I had to give it a try. Watermelon rind is edible, though not especially tasty raw. My twins are watermelon monsters so I buy one every week in the summer, leaving us with A LOT of rinds to compost. In the past I've canned watermelon rind pickles, but these days I don't really get as much canning done as I used to, so I loved finding a new way to use the rinds. The process to candy the rind took about 4 days, but most of the time is completely hands-off. I scaled up the recipe to make more and I added some drying time in the direct sunlight. It's an imperfect process that you have to play by ear; a dehydrator may be helpful here and cut down on drying time, but mine turned out delicious! We've been eating them out of hand for a few days just as a little treat - they are almost like a fruit snack in a way (also somewhat reminiscent of a gummy worm! Sweet, a little tart, and a touch chewy.

July 9, 2018

Roasted balsamic radishes

Radishes roasted in olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar are a tasty way to change-up your radish eating routine! My in-laws had a whole bunch of radishes in their garden that needed eating. We took some the other day so I could finally make roasted radishes. These have been something I've wanted to make for a while now, but I never seem to have enough radishes at one time to make a decent sized batch. These radishes had a good amount of heat to them when eaten raw, but roasted mellows and changes the flavor. They reminded me of a roasted turnip that was extra juicy. The balsamic added a nice tang to the radishes and I topped them with a sprinkling of fresh parsley from the garden. We enjoyed eating them like this and will be having them on the menu again when we have an abundance of radishes. I feel like radishes are rarely used outside of eating a few out of hand or in a salad, so this is a fun way to try them in a new light. This dish will serve about 2-4 people as a side.

July 6, 2018

June 29, 2018

June 29th 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?

July Recipe Round-Up {Cookout & Fourth of July + Giveaway}

Welcome to the July Recipe Round-Up! This month's round-up brings you recipes for a backyard barbecue, with a sprinkling of patriotic inspired recipes perfect for celebrating the 4th of July! Our bloggers are sharing their favorite recipes with you, including breakfast, side dishes and snacks, main dishes and ((of course)) dessert. Come check out what we are bringing you this month! Plus we have another amazing GIVEAWAY that you don't want to miss!!

June 28, 2018

Beet lemonade {#CookoutWeek}

Sweet, tart, and a little earthy, beet lemonade is a delicious and different drink for a hot summer day! I had beet lemonade out at a restaurant last year and have been wanting to recreate it at home ever since. I was waiting for #CookoutWeek because I knew it would fit in perfectly with all the summery cookout, grilling, and picnic recipes. While this drink was new to me, there are recipes on the internet already (like everything!) so I read a bunch of them and played around until I got the flavor I wanted. You can adjust it very easily by adding more or less sugar, more or less beet, and more or less lemon juice, and also with more or less water. I like to use less water because I really enjoy the flavors, but you can dilute it more if you want. You can also top it off with a bit of sparkling water for some bubbles (or maybe even a splash of vodka). It's all up to you and your taste buds. This refreshing drink recipe will make about 6-8 servings. And, as always when working with beets, remember that they can and will stain!

June 27, 2018

Easy creamy grape salad {#CookoutWeek}

Make this cool and creamy side dish for your next cookout or picnic! I'm sharing this classic grape salad as part of my #CookoutWeek recipe contributions (don't forget to enter the exciting GIVEAWAY). There are versions of this recipe floating around all over the web and probably in many people's own family collections, so I don't know exactly where it originated, but this is the version I make since discovering it last summer. Gasp?!?! Last summer, you say?!?! Yes, last summer was the first time I had ever seen or tried this grape salad and now I'm hooked. So, this is the perfect time to share it with all of you. It's so easy to throw together plus it's nice and cool for a hot day. Get the firmest grapes you can find - it makes a difference - you want them to "pop" in your mouth (not squish) when you bite them! This recipe will make enough to feed a crowd - probably about 20 people as a side. It's always a winner at our family gatherings.

June 26, 2018

Honey cinnamon summer berry crisp {#CookoutWeek}

Disclosure: Chef Shamy provided me with two flavors of their butter as a #CookoutWeek 2018 sponsor. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a favorable review.

Four kinds of fresh summer berries are baked together with honey and cinnamon and topped with a crisp made with seriously the most amazing butter ever -- Chef Shamy's Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Honey Butter. You guys, I'm not kidding at all when I say this butter is amazing. I may have eaten a little directly from the spoon because it is so flavorful and delicious! I knew I wanted to use this butter to create a summer berry dessert because I thought the flavors in the butter would mesh so well with the berries. It took a little playing around with the crisp topping since the butter is already sweetened, but I think I nailed it with the final product. This dessert highlights summer's seasonal berries and it's a perfect sweet treat to top off your next summer picnic or party.

Chef Shamy is giving all of our #CookoutWeek readers a special discount on their butters! I'm super excited and I really hope you all give it a try! Aside from this Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Honey Butter, I also have their Garlic Butter with Parmesan Cheese & Basil and it is fabulous on corn on the cob (popcorn, too). It would be another perfect addition to your summer cookouts. They have many other flavors as well and I know I'll be trying more (like Strawberry Honey Butter!).  

Visit Chef Shamy for more information and use the discount code 10BUTTER10 to get 10% off your butter order on Amazon. The code is good from June 25 - July 4, 2018.

June 25, 2018

#CookoutWeek Welcome & Giveaway!

#CookoutWeek 2018 is here! During the next week, I am joining over 50 of my blogger friends to celebrate summer by posting delicious cookout-themed recipes. If you love grilling, frozen treats, picnics, berries, s'mores, campfire meals, and other summer goodies... you are in the right place! This week, we are also hosting a HUGE giveaway thanks to our generous #CookoutWeek sponsors. Enter below to win. Here's what one lucky will will receive:

June 22, 2018

June 20, 2018

Salmon burgers with lemon-chipotle mayo

Today I'm sharing these salmon burgers as part of June's Fantastical Food Fight hosted by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. This month's theme is seafood! I love to make salmon patties with canned salmon. I think they are delicious and salmon is so healthy for you (and canned salmon is an economical seafood choice). I was inspired by those patties to make them into something like a burger. Also, I'm so very excited to report that both of my kids ate them (I put ranch on theirs instead of the chipotle mayo). I made the burgers mild because we were feeding two toddlers as well, but otherwise I would have added more chiptole to the burgers themselves (feel free to add a pepper if you like). Making burgers from canned salmon is also a time-saver! They salmon is already cooked and there are no bones - all you need to do is add flavor, form the patties, and give them a quick fry in a skillet. This recipe will make four burgers. I topped ours with lettuce and tomato and served them on a kaiser roll with a side of sliced pickles and roasted local asparagus.

June 15, 2018

June 12, 2018

Rhubarb oatmeal bread

Rhubarb season will be winding down in our region soon, but it's not too late to enjoy it! This quick bread has just a hint of spice which combines nicely with all the tangy rhubarb. This recipe is a spin-off of my blueberry oatmeal muffins, but this time baked into loaf form (to allow the rhubarb a bit more time to break down). It is loaded with rhubarb, and it's crumbly, moist, and best eaten within a couple of days of baking (which is never an issue in our house). One of my kids absolutely goes wild for muffins/quick breads. But, thankfully, he's also been gobbling up asparagus spears, too. So far he seem to have inherited his parents' love of food!

For my local readers, I've created a new Facebook group - WNY Seasonal Living & Cooking. It's a group for all of us in the western NY region who enjoy local and seasonal food. So please join us in you are interested in learning and sharing all that our region has to offer.

June 8, 2018

June 7, 2018

Old-fashioned rhubarb crumble

Sometimes simple is the best in my book. This dessert combines humble, tart rhubarb with sugar, a little bit of spice, and a delicious buttery crumb topping for a classic family favorite. Rhubarb is often combined with strawberries or other fruits, but for this dessert, it's rhubarb all the way. I've shared quite a few rhubarb recipes in the past, including this rhubarb recipe round-up. Rhubarb is something we grew up with - there was always a giant plant growing in our backyard and backyards of pretty much everyone in our area. Strawberry rhubarb pies were the most common way I ate it as a kid, but now I'm using it all different ways, even in savory recipes. The best part of this rhubarb crumble? That my kids gobbled it up and then another bowl the next night, too. I guess I'm not too surprised since they do like other tart things like cranberries, but I wasn't sure if they'd handle the potent sourness of the rhubarb - but they made a few funny faces and devoured it! This recipe makes enough for about 6 or so people. Serve it as is or topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired (I really like it with a little ice cream, especially when still warm from the oven).

June 4, 2018

Roasted maple blueberries & a review of "The Fruit Forager's Companion"

Disclaimer: Chelsea Green Publishing provided me with a review copy of this cookbook. All opinions expressed are my own. 

When I saw that Sara Bir had a new book coming out dedicated to recipes for foraged fruit, I was super excited to say the least. But, this isn't just a book of recipes, it's full of information - why people forage fruit, doing so respectfully and safely, and also what makes these wild fruits special to us. Sara's writing is informational, quirky, and fun! The Fruit Forager's Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond combines my love of fruit, local food, nature, seasonal ingredients, frugality, and cooking all in one! My readers know that we dabble in foraging and that I'm a bit obsessed with U-Pick orchards and farms, especially apples and blueberries. We planted three pawpaw trees three years ago now and are anxiously awaiting their fruits in a few years. I try to get over to my father-in-law's to snag currants and raspberries before the birds get them all. You get the picture. We like fresh, seasonal fruits and we like to pick them ourselves when we can.

Sara's book is loaded with lovely recipes for fruits you are probably very familiar with like lemons, apples, blueberries, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries as well as others which you may not be as familiar with such as hackberries, mayhaws (new to me!), loquats (Japanese plums), pawpaws, spicebush, sumac, crab apples, and barberries, along with many others. I chose to make the Roasted Maple Blueberries recipe for my review. Here in the WNY region, we aren't quite ready for foraging fruits just yet, so I had to buy them at the store (our freezer stash from last summer is depleted). The blueberries were absolutely delicious and super simple to make. We all enjoyed them with some pancakes for lunch. I'm looking forward to trying more recipes including Curried Crab Apple Sauerkraut Salad (hello, yum!), Five-Spice Pickled Cherries, Pawpaw Pudding, Cranberry Ketchup, and Persimmon Bread, just to name a few! Sara's book definitely deserves a spot on your bookshelf, especially if you like nature, fruits, and exploring new culinary ideas and recipes.

June 1, 2018

May 31, 2018

June Recipe Round-Up {Father's Day & A Big Giveaway}

Welcome to the June Recipe Round-Up! This month's round-up features recipes for Father's Day and for all the dads in your life! Our bloggers have shared their dad's favorite recipes, recipes that remind them of their dad, and recipes that are perfect for the guys you celebrate this month. Plus we have another amazing GIVEAWAY that you definitely don't want to miss!! Continue reading to see all the recipe ideas for June and enter at the bottom.

May 29, 2018

Purple sweet potato and blackberry pancakes

I've had some purple sweet potatoes in my pantry for a while now. They are a little expensive, so I don't get them often, but I really love the color so sometimes I will splurge on a bag. I'm always trying to work different produce colors into our diet. I use them mostly for smoothies (just bake, peel, and you have a delicious and lovely colored smoothie ingredient). Since I am always happy to have sweet potato pancakes, I figured why not try them with the purple ones and some blackberries for extra color, flavor, and texture. Plus our twins are pretty much pancake fanatics so I knew these would be a big hit at our house (and I hope they will be at yours, too). These are another way to get your kids to eat something they may not otherwise eat and sneak in some extra nutrition. Fun fact, when you cut up the blackberries and add them to the batter, they will start to turn everything a strange greenish-blue color. It's not the color I was expecting of these pancakes, but they still taste good! This recipe will serve about 4 people.

May 25, 2018

May 23, 2018

Picnic macaroni salad

Whip up a batch of this macaroni salad for your next cookout or picnic. Bell pepper, celery, and green onions add flavor, color, and crunch. This salad is simply seasoned and is not a sweet macaroni salad. It goes perfectly with pretty much any cookout food- hot dogs, burgers, sausage, chicken, ribs, etc. This weekend is the unofficial start of summer so it's a perfect time to make macaroni salad! This salad will feed about 10 or so people as a side dish. It's best made the night before or at least a few hours ahead so it can chill and the flavors all get happy together.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my post recently about lacking inspiration lately. I've been having a lot of trouble finding inspiration and time to create new recipes. My posts have been a little sparse because of that. It is a challenge each day with the almost 2 year olds to get time to work on my ideas. This is not a complaint - simply a fact! Or when I do make something I'm just not in the proper head space to measure and take notes. My husband works odd hours so eating regular meals together doesn't happen a lot these days. And, folks, it was a long, long, cold winter. We just had our first local asparagus! I'm hoping that the longer days, warmer weather, and arrival of fresh produce will help me kickstart my creativity again. I'm going to try to plan better to use some time on my husband's days off to focus on my cooking more again. I want to do it and make it a priority when possible. I have a lot of ideas. Ideas are not the challenge! I hope to create and share more family-friendly recipes as well as more healthy toddler foods.

May 18, 2018

May 11, 2018

May 8, 2018

Fresh garlic & herb dip

Cool, creamy, and full of fresh garlic and herbs, this dip is sure to get you to eat more vegetables! Now that spring weather has finally arrived here in the Western New York area, the first of our garden is sprouting up chives and flat-leaf parsley. Using fresh herbs in your food makes such a flavor difference and I'm glad to be able to have easy access to some again. Also, now that we have some sunshine, I'm starting to want to eat more fresh vegetables and salads. This dip is a terrific and tasty way to make sure you eat a few more. About once a week when we are pressed for time coming home from the kids' library class and my husband getting ready to leave for work, we will have a simple lunch of things like cheese, crackers, grapes, pickles/olives, and/or raw vegetables. We had this dip with our lunch and my husband and I both ate more vegetables than usual (the kids are not quite into raw vegetable territory yet - they will lick them and sometimes eat cucumbers, but that's the extent so far - though they did lick some dip). This dip would also go well with pretzels, pita chips, crackers, or spread onto a wrap with vegetables and turkey.

May 4, 2018

April 30, 2018

Italian sausage, potato, & pepper sheet pan dinner

Sheet pan dinners are all the rage these days and for very good reasons. They are super easy to make, eat, and clean-up! One of my favorites is this Kielbasa, cabbage, & potato version. We have that one relatively frequently. This one with Italian sausage reminds me of foil packets we sometimes make for camping - full of sausages, potatoes, and peppers (sometimes onions, too). We have had such a very long and cold winter this year. It even snowed a little this morning again and it's almost May! I'm ready for things that make me think of warmer weather and this type of dish reminds me of campfires and grilling. It makes for a simple yet flavorful dinner or lunch for about two to three people, but can easily be adjusted for more just by adding more of what you like. I like to use two sheet pans to help everything brown up nicely instead of steaming. However, you can try to put everything on one if you prefer.

April 28, 2018

May Recipe Round-Up (Mother's Day)

Welcome to the May Recipe Round-Up! This month's round-up brings you recipes in honor of the moms in our lives because Mother's Day is coming soon. We have recipes for breakfast, drinks, sides, main dishes, and desserts that are perfect for your Mother's Day celebrations. Please continue reading to see them all and to enter this month's amazing giveaway!

April 27, 2018

April 20, 2018

April 16, 2018

Chicken Tinga {Secret Recipe Club Reunion}

Tacos - who can ask for more than tacos?! Everyone loves tacos, right? Chicken and onions cooked in a spicy fresh tomato sauce make for an extra yummy taco! This post is part of the Secret Recipe Club Reunion! Man I have really missed this event! I always looked forward to getting my blog assignment every month. I have so much fun perusing other people's food blogs and picking recipes to try! This time was no exception. I was given Shockingly Delicious as my blog assignment and really enjoyed looking through Dorothy's extensive collection of recipes. Before I decided on the Chicken Tinga, I was also thinking of making her Mac n' Cheese Impossible Pie, Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf Cupcakes, or her Scotch Tea Cookies (I'm still going to make these sometime soon). We were not at all disappointed in these tacos - they were delicious! I had never even heard of Chicken Tinga before finding it on Dorothy's blog. I love trying out dishes that are completely new to me. These tacos were easy to make and very flavorful with a kick from the chipotle. We topped ours with sour cream, crisp shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, and avocado. This dish will serve about four people. The only changes I made to this recipe was the addition of some salt and slightly more chicken.

April 13, 2018

April 6, 2018

April 5, 2018

Whole wheat kale applesauce toddler muffins

Kale, applesauce, and whole wheat flour are blender together in these green-hued muffins perfect for getting toddlers (or others) to eat some greens. Please don't let the kale scare you if you are not a fan. It's barely detectable (and I'm not a huge kale fan either)! I'm now considering myself the unofficial muffins queen because my muffin creations apparently know no bounds these days. I love finding new ways to get my toddlers to eat some vegetables and some whole grains in a way that they actually enjoy! They love muffins so as long as that continues, so will the recipes. Don't forget I (and others) share lots of terrific baby/toddler recipes and ideas at my Facebook group Baby & Toddler Food Recipe Share - so come join us!

These muffins are a twist on a favorite of ours: Banana Spinach Oat Blender Muffins. I bought a giant bag of kale that I've been using in our morning smoothies (follow me on Instagram where I post our morning smoothies almost daily in my stories). But, I just knew when I grabbed it that I'd be finding a way to get it into a muffin as well. My kids like them for a snack or I will give them one along with scrambled eggs or plain yogurt for breakfast. This recipe will make one dozen muffins.