Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cranberry apple crisp


Traditional apple crisp is enhanced by the addition of tart little cranberries in this dessert. We are almost finished with our apple haul from our picking trip this year, but we had some Rhode Island Greenings hanging out in the fridge, which are perfect for desserts like pies and crisps. Apple crisp is always a must-have during the fall season for us. But, as we approach late fall or get close to winter and I see fresh cranberries appear in the store, I become compelled to put them in more things besides cranberry sauce. I feel like cranberries are often overlooked, but completely delicious (and also so pretty.) I think I've inspired myself to try to use them more frequently. Maybe that will be a winter mission for me this year! Cranberries in everything! They do pair really perfectly with apples like in this dessert (or in this pie.) This would be a simple dessert to make for Thanksgiving or the holidays if you don't feel like making a pie crust. This dessert will feed about six people. Serve it as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream while it is still warm for an extra-special treat.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Slow cooker ranch chicken & rice bowls


The slow cooker is my food best friend lately. I've been using it several times a week. It does, of course, require menu planning so that I know what to thaw, put in the slow cooker in the morning, and what ingredients I need to have on hand. But as a frugal mom of toddler twins, it's essential for me to plan ahead so that our meals go as smoothly as possible and I resist the temptation to order take out. I also like versatile dishes where I can use up some things in the fridge and pantry to create a delicious meal like this ranch chicken. It's versatile because you can add or remove vegetables based on what you have. I use chicken, corn, peppers, and onions - you can use any/all of these and/or others like black beans, pinto beans, jalapeno, green onions, etc. I topped mine with cilantro, cheddar, salsa, and sour cream, but other options are avocado, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, pickled jalapenos, etc. It's also nice served with a side of corn chips (or sprinkle crumbs from the bottom of the bag on top for a little crunch). You can also wrap it up in a burrito shell! Easy family friendly meals like this are what work in our life right now. This recipe will serve about four people, but can easily vary (stretch it with beans or make more rice).


Friday, November 3, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Jack O' Lantern cheese quesadillas


Are you looking for a fun, simple, and kid-friendly Halloween meal? Look no further than these cheese-filled quesadillas! You simply "carve" your Jack O' Lantern face into a tortilla, fill it with cheese, and pop it in the oven. These will be a hit for a quick Halloween dinner or lunch for kids and all Halloween lovers (like me)! I like to serve these with a side of salsa and sour cream or guacamole as well as some fresh vegetables because you can use slices of green bell pepper (or an avocado) to give your pumpkin a stem. They also go well with a bowl of tomato soup which is perfect if it's going to be a chilly Halloween.

The below recipe is per quesadilla. You can make as many as you need or want for your family. I can fit two quesadillas on a standard baking sheet and bake two trays side by side in the oven. The longest part of this meal prep is making your Jack O' Lantern faces. I like to lay a tortilla on a large wooden cutting board and cut with the point of a sharp paring knife. You can toast up the leftover carving pieces and dip them in your soup or salsa as well. I use a mix of sharp orange cheddar cheese (for color and flavor) and mozzarella (because it melts well and gives it the "gooey" factor). You can use whatever cheeses you like best, but try to use some orange.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

November Meal Plan

It's time for the November Monthly Meal Plan Menu and that means Thanksgiving recipe ideas! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. I am already getting excited for the food and thinking about our menu. Here are some great ideas!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20th Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

friday frenzy link party 
Welcome to the Friday Frenzy, the Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web. Why is it the best?

Hot chocolate pancakes #Choctoberfest


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

This is my last #Choctoberfest 2017 recipe, but it's a goodie! I hope you have been enjoying all the delicious chocolate recipes this week and that you remembered to enter the sweet giveaway (link at the bottom of the post). This recipe is for a sweet chocolaty breakfast treat for your family! Hot Chocolate Pancakes are lovely for the holidays, or Valentine's Day, or anytime you need a special breakfast for the chocolate lovers in your life. I feel like these pancakes require a side of bacon or breakfast sausages to contrast all the sweetness. They are also flexible -- you can tailor them to be like your favorite hot chocolate. I topped mine with mini marshmallows, powdered sugar, and real maple syrup. However, you can use hot fudge or chocolate sauce for extra chocolaty goodness, add a touch of cinnamon to the batter or sprinkled on top, or put some peppermint extract in the batter -- whatever you like in your hot chocolate.

This recipe will serve about 4 people. Thanks to Imperial Sugar for inspiring me to make some delicious chocolate treats this week! Check out other sweet seasonal recipes on Imperial Sugar's website.


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.