December 31, 2018

January Recipe Round-Up {Cozy Winter Recipes}

Happy New Year, everyone! We are planning to continue our monthly themed recipe round-up in 2019 with some returning bloggers as well as several new faces. We are all excited to share recipes with you each month to help you meal plan and prepare for upcoming holidays, seasons, etc. through the year. This month we are featuring cozy winter recipes -- recipes and meals to warm you up on cool January days. Please continue reading to see all the recipe ideas and comfort foods.

December 29, 2018

A look back at 2018

As in years past I'm showcasing my favorite recipes from each month of the year, followed by my husband's favorites (the official taste tester). I always enjoy seeing if we choose the same recipe each month or not. 2018 have been a great year for my blog - I've enjoyed teaming up with some talented people and events, and making (and eating) lots of tasty food. Please keep reading to see our favorites from each month (this year we have 4 out of 12 the same).

December 28, 2018

December 28th - Final Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

This is the last of the posts from all of us at Friday Frenzy....for good. Thanks to Laura from Little House Big Alaska for organizing it all and for inviting us to join in on all the fun!

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

December 21, 2018

December 19, 2018

Eggnog truffles

Decadent and creamy truffles full of eggnog flavors are a lovely treat for the holidays! I made these eggnog truffles for this month's Fantastical Food Fight where the theme is candy. Candy isn't something I've made a lot of in the past, but I've been trying more and Christmas time is the perfect time to work on my candy making skills. I really wanted to use eggnog for its seasonal flavors, too. I read a lot of eggnog truffle recipes, but very few actually contained any eggnog. I saw this recipe and modified it for the recipe below. I made 18 large truffles, but you can make about 36 smaller ones if you prefer. They are rich enough that smaller is probably a perfect bite, but I made large ones mostly to fit my truffle paper holders. They are nice for a homemade holiday gift or to add to your Christmas cookie platter. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and time with their loved ones. Happy Holidays to you all!

December 17, 2018

Chocolate holiday mint M&M cookies

Holiday Mint M&M's in a minty and chewy chocolate chocolate chip cookie are perfect for the holidays and for the mint + chocolate lovers out there! I am a huge fan of chocolate + mint together, especially around Christmas. Every year I snag a bag (or two) or Holiday Mint M&M's when they appear in the stores. They are one of my favorite splurges around the holidays! For years now I've been telling myself I'm going to make them into a delicious chocolate mint cookie, but I usually end up eating them all before I get that far. This year, I was strong and I saved them for a new Christmas cookie and I'm glad I did. These cookies are delicious - soft and chewy with a hint of peppermint in the batter and then extra when you bite into the candy. I also added some semi-sweet chocolate chips for an extra chocolate boost. Plus the colors make them a festive addition to your cookie tray this year! My toddlers helped with making this batch. They enjoy helping with my baking projects and, of course, sneaking as many chocolate chips as they can in the process. This recipe will make about 4 dozen cookies.

December 14, 2018

December 12, 2018

Persimmon gingerbread loaf cake

This warming gingerbread loaf cake is full of robust molasses, spicy ginger, and sweet & sticky persimmon for a simple yet satisfying holiday treat! Gingerbread is a favorite flavor of mine around the holidays and I've been wanting to pair it with persimmon for an extra special Christmas or yuletide cake. And since it's my 9-year blogiversary I decided it was appropriate to make myself a cake!! I seriously can't believe I've been filling this little blog with recipes for nine years now! I never would have thought that would be the case, but here I am with no shortage of ideas.

I've seen a lot of gingerbread loafs, but they are missing the molasses, which is critical for a gingerbread in my opinion. This quick cake is full of ginger and other spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. I like my gingerbread to be intensely gingery -- if you don't you can cut it down a little, but I want a supremely flavorful gingerbread that fills the entire house with a molasses and ginger smell while it bakes in the oven. Persimmons are quite a treat this time of year - they can be pricey - so we don't get them very often. I used Hachiya persimmon here and you want it to be super soft and orange so that it is sweet and delicious. This cake is sure to please any gingerbread fans you know. It's lovely as a holiday dessert, or to bring to a potluck, or to serve as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee to your holiday visitors. It will make one loaf cake.

December 7, 2018

December 4, 2018

Flourless black bean chocolate cake

This gluten-free chocolate cake is made with black beans as the secret ingredient! It's my mom's 63rd birthday this week and just like last year she requested this chocolate black bean cake without any frosting (she never eats frosting). My mom provided me with a recipe for the cake she wanted me to make for her birthday last year, but she wasn't sure where it came from and this is my modified version of what she gave me. This cake is a hit with everyone who has tried it. To me, it's like a cross between a cake and a brownie - a little dense, but still with a cake-like texture. You can't taste the beans at all - no one guesses what the secret ingredient is in this cake. You can definitely double this recipe and make a layer cake with frosting if you would like, but since my mom doesn't like frosting, I simply dusted it with a little powdered sugar and cocoa powder and put a dollop of whipped cream on for serving - a really simple and rustic cake. The morning you are making this cake, set aside a tablespoon of coffee for the recipe. This recipe will make one 9-inch round cake.

November 30, 2018

November 29, 2018

December Recipe Round-Up {Holidays + A Giveaway}

Welcome to the December Recipe Round-Up! I truly cannot believe that it's December again already! This month's round-up brings you those warm and cozy holiday-themed recipes and dessert recipes for fun holiday baking! Our bloggers are sharing their favorite holiday inspired recipes with you, including breakfast, side dishes, main dishes and ((of course)) dessert...because what would December be without a little overindulgence? Plus we have another amazing GIVEAWAY that you don't want to miss! Keep reading to see all of this month's recipes and enter to win.

November 28, 2018

Cranberry orange bread

Cranberries and orange are a classic holiday flavor combination and they shine in this easy quick bread that is perfect for a holiday breakfast, brunch, or potluck. I don't know about any of you, but I'm still confused as to how it is the holiday season again already! I mean, where did fall go? We barely had one here with all the rain we've had. It doesn't seem right... But, it's almost December and that means it's time for all things festive, including festive foods! This bread is high on the list of easy and delicious holiday foods to make this season. Fresh cranberries are a staple in our house from the first time I see them in the store until they are no longer available (and I always grab up some bags to freeze). So I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to enjoy them. My kids also love cranberries - they were even eating them raw and plain as I was chopping them for this bread! I tried one and well, I'll stick to eating them in things... I love the smell of this bread too - both as it bakes and after - the orange zest and light spices do make you feel all warm and cozy. This recipe will make one loaf of bread.

November 22, 2018

November 21, 2018

Baked gingerbread oatmeal

All the flavors of gingerbread baked into oatmeal for a perfect winter breakfast! This baked gingerbread oatmeal is my contribution to this month's Fantastical Food Fight where the theme is gingerbread - perfect for the upcoming holiday season! I was trying to think of something gingerbread to make as I already have a couple kinds of cookies, Guinness gingerbread, and pancake recipes on the blog.... So, when I doubt I go with baked oatmeal! It's something that our whole family enjoys, including the toddlers, so it's always a win for me to have a new one up my sleeve. This breakfast is perfect for a wintery morning with a cup of steaming coffee or tea. My husband commented that a glaze would go really well on this oatmeal and I have to agree, though I try to keep breakfast in the somewhat healthy realm most of the time! Plus the bonus is that it makes your house smell like the holidays while its baking. This recipe will serve about four to five people, depending on hunger levels.

November 16, 2018

November 13, 2018

Roasted honeynut squash pie

Honeynut squash is roasted in the oven, pureed, and turned into the best winter squash pie ever in this twist on pumpkin pie. Honeynut squash have been popping up more and more in seed catalogs and at farmer's markets, and recently at our local Wegmans. They look like a miniature butternut squash with darker skin. But, they are the sweetest winter squash I've ever had. You can eat it plain without any additional butter or sugar - it's that yummy! The dense flesh and deep sweetness make it a perfect choice for pie. If you see honeynut squash definitely grab some and try this pie for Thanksgiving dessert or any other time you need a special autumn treat. This pie is lightly sweetened and lightly spiced so that the flavors of the squash really comes through. I roasted the squash first instead of just baking it to intensify the sweetness even more. It will serve about 8 people. Top it with some whipped cream, if desired.

November 9, 2018

November 9th Friday Frenzy Food & Craft Link Party

 It's Friday, so welcome to the Friday Frenzy! If you've never been here before, Friday Frenzy is the Best Food and Craft Link Party on the Web because:

November 5, 2018

Pumpkin Alfredo pasta with chicken

Creamy and savory pumpkin Alfredo sauce with sage, chicken, and pasta is a delicious autumn dinner. We've been gifted quite a few pie pumpkins this season, so I've been baking them, pureeing them, and freezing the puree. We use pumpkin puree all fall and winter not only pie, but for things like pancakes, muffins, pizza dough, brownies, smoothies, soup, and more. Now I've used it to make this super comforting pasta sauce. You can of course use canned pumpkin puree in place of the homemade stuff. Your sauce will probably be a little more orange if you do because the pie pumpkin puree is light orange in color so it almost disappeared into the cream and cheese.

This autumn-inspired dish is really delicious - all four of us like it a lot, and the two year olds had multiple helpings. It's so creamy with a hint of pumpkin, nutmeg, and sage for a nice fall twist! We will be making it again and again! This recipe will serve about 4-6 people, depending on age and hunger level, of course. You can serve it with a side salad and/or some crusty bread for dipping to stretch it more.

November 2, 2018

October 29, 2018

November Recipe Round-Up {Thanksgiving + Giveaway}

Welcome to the November Recipe Round-Up! This month's round-up brings you Thanksgiving and fall themed recipes with pumpkin recipes galore! Our bloggers are sharing their favorite Thanksgiving inspired recipes with you, including breakfast, side dishes, main dishes and ((of course)) dessert...because what's Thanksgiving without some pumpkin pie?! Check out all the terrific recipe ideas we have for November along with another amazing GIVEAWAY that you don't want to miss!

October 26, 2018

October 25, 2018

Spider and monster face Halloween pizza

Black olive spiders and monster faces made of pepperoni, green olives, and red onions make for super fun Halloween pizza toppings! I love Halloween and I'm excited to be able to start some fun holiday family traditions now that our twins are toddlers. We just helped them carve a pumpkin tonight and their favorite part was pulling out all the seeds and goop from the inside. They are dressing up as a butterfly and a bee and will be going to a few houses in our neighborhood for their first trick or treat this year! They don't really understand it all yet, but they've really been enjoying seeing all the pumpkins, scarecrows, and other decorations going up in the neighborhood plus going to places like our local pumpkin farm. I've made monster face pizza in the past for Halloween for just my husband and I, but I thought incorporating some spiders would be fun as well! It's not perfect -- as the pizza cooks some of the toppings shift in the cheese, but that's okay - it's still cute! This recipe will make two approximately 12-inch pizzas and should feed about 4 people. The topping amounts will really depend on you - I'm providing a guideline here - you can add more/less of anything depending on your preferences. We usually have a salad with our pizza dinners, or raw vegetables and dip.

October 19, 2018

October 18, 2018

White chocolate and walnut apple snack cake

This snack cake is so simple to put together and filled with warm fall flavors of apples, walnuts, cinnamon, ginger, and also white chocolate. I'm a huge fan of white chocolate with warm spices and pumpkin flavors, so I figured I'd like it with apple as well (and I was correct!). This is my last #Choctoberfest recipe and it's actually a modified version of an apple snack cake my toddlers helped make at our Waldorf school parent-toddler program we attend once a week. It's so simple that two and three year olds can make it (with help, of course), but is still very yummy! It's also something that is really easy to make for a quick dessert or to take to a potluck gathering. It's made with some whole wheat flour and maple syrup as the sweetener, making it pretty much acceptable as a breakfast food in my opinion. It goes well with a cup of coffee or tea on a chilly fall day.

October 17, 2018

Chocolate banana baked oatmeal

This post is sponsored on behalf of #Choctoberfest and our generous sponsors. I received free product from Barlean's. As always, all opinions are my own.

Chocolate and banana baked oatmeal is sure to be a family favorite and this one is even extra special because it's made with Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens Powder. That means it contains not only fair trade cocoa powder, but also natural plant fiber from chicory and flaxseed as well as nutrients from more than a dozen fruits and vegetables. Perfect for adding an extra nutrition boost to your oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, and even chocolate treats. My family and I love baked oatmeals (like pumpkin, peanut butter, carrot cake, and even zucchini bread), especially my toddlers, so I was glad to be able to make them a chocolate version using this powder. It tasted delicious - not really any different than using a regular cocoa powder. I used bananas for some fruit and sweetness because they pair so nicely with chocolate. This will be making a frequent appearance on our breakfast menu for sure!

October 16, 2018

Beef and butternut squash chocolate chili

This post is sponsored on behalf of #Choctoberfest and our generous sponsors. I received free product from Divine Chocolate. As always, all opinions are my own.

This chili combines beef, two kinds of beans, butternut squash, and is simmered in a sauce of warm spices and creamy chocolate for a delicious Halloween or autumn meal. I was super excited to be able to work with Divine Chocolate on a post for #Choctoberfest! I've always enjoyed their products and the fact that they are a Fairtrade certified. Another thing about this company is that they are the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers! They also make some truly delicious chocolate and want their customers to #MakeSomethingDivine. Once I saw that I received one of their new 100% Unsweetened Baking Bars, I knew I wanted to make a savory chocolate recipe and more specifically a fall chili. Since the chocolate is unsweetened, it's really a great option for adding depth of rich flavor and creaminess to savory dishes. I used butternut squash to add some sweetness to the overall chili, as well as some autumn color (and an extra dose of vegetables). This recipe will serve about 4 people.

October 15, 2018

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2018 with Imperial Sugar

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, because #Choctoberfest is finally here! From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate - milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa! We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:

October 12, 2018

October 10, 2018

(Un)Stuffed banana pepper macaroni and cheese

I've talked about stuffed banana peppers on this blog before when I posted my super popular (Un)Stuffed Banana Pepper Soup. They are a regional specialty at bars and pizzerias here in Western New York. Ever since making and posting my soup version, I've been meaning to do a mac n' cheese version. We've been getting a lot of hot banana peppers gifted to us recently, so it was time. My soup recipe uses pork, but with the noodles I kept this dish meatless. I made this dish with all hot banana peppers because that's what we had, but you can use mild/sweet banana peppers or a mix of sweet and hot depending on your heat preference. Ours was pretty hot, even with all the noodles and cheese, but we like spicy hot foods every now and again (I made some separate plain mac n' cheese for the toddlers). I will admit that it isn't the prettiest looking stuff or the most photogenic meal, but it tastes delicious. Creamy and gooey macaroni and cheese with a kick! This recipe will serve about 4-5 people as a main dish with a side like a salad, or more people as a side dish.

October 5, 2018

October 3, 2018

Pawpaw bread

If you are lucky enough to have pawpaws and have some to spare, this quick bread is a delicious way to use them. We usually only get a few pawpaws during their short season from a local farmers' market, so I don't cook or bake with them very much. But this year we were given a big box so I had the opportunity to try them in a quick bread. This quick bread is somewhat similar to a banana bread but with the distinctive tropical notes and aroma from the pawpaw. If you are not familiar with pawpaws, they are a fruit that is native to the eastern U.S. and they are custard-like in texture with flavor somewhat like a cross between a banana and a mango (I sometimes get some pineapple smell). They have a beautiful aroma and could be growing in a neighborhood or woods near you. We have three tiny trees in our yard, but they are still several years away from fruiting. You can read more about pawpaws here and in this fascinating book. It used to be grown and eaten much more frequently, but it still has its fans and even festivals in the regions where it grows. And rightfully so because this native gem is a delight! This recipe will make one loaf.

September 28, 2018

Apple cream pie with oatmeal crust

This post is sponsored on behalf of #appleweek. Our generous sponsors, Swiss Diamond, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, Nordic Ware, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal, Nairn's and The Spice House have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.


A mix of tart and sweet apples are wrapped in cream, vanilla, and cinnamon and baked in a crust that tastes like a big oatmeal cookie in this delicious autumn dessert. This pie is closing out my #AppleWeek recipes and it's worth the wait! I hope that you are all loving #AppleWeek as much as I have been. I felt that doing a week of apple recipes just wouldn't be complete for me without a new pie recipe. Pies are kind of a thing with me. I enjoy trying out all different pie filling flavors, but also different types of crusts. I was really nervous about this pie - very unsure if the oatmeal crust would work, but it turned out perfectly! We decided that it tastes like a giant oatmeal cookies and a big bonus is that it's a snap to make - no chilling, or rolling, or using a food processor for this crust! The apple cream filling was kept very simple with a hint of cinnamon and some deep vanilla flavor using Rodelle's gourmet pure vanilla extract and the crust is made with Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal. Apples, oats, and vanilla are a lovely flavor profile. You can't beat the vanilla flavor you get with Rodelle's pure vanilla extract. And, Flahavan's oats are a family favorite - we love eating them for breakfast - they make the creamiest and smoothest oatmeal. They are also terrific for using in recipes like this. This pie will serve about 8 people and it's a perfect dessert for using up apples after apple picking this fall.

September 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?

October Recipe Round-Up {Halloween Recipes + Giveaway}

Welcome to the October Recipe Round-Up! This month's round-up brings you Halloween themed recipes with fun desserts and easy dinners for the family. Our bloggers are sharing their favorite Halloween and fall recipes with you, including breakfast, side dishes and snacks, main dishes and ((of course)) dessert...lots of desserts and treats for that sweet tooth! Continue reading to see all this month's recipes -- Plus we have another amazing GIVEAWAY that you don't want to miss!