Monday, December 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Smoothie

As a lover of anything with peanut butter I am happy to say that I am glad I found a breakfast and snack that I can actually feel good about eating.  This could even suffice as a dessert.  It is filling and delicious!  The peanut butter can be substituted with any nut butter you prefer.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Recipe modified from My Whole Food Life

2 bananas
3/4 c. almond milk
2 Tbsp. peanut or almond butter
1 heaping Tbsp. cocoa
1 Tbsp. chia or flax seeds
1 tsp. honey
1 c. ice

Combine all items in blender and puree until smooth.
Serve immediately.
Makes 1 large serving.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

We are not usually big brussel fans, but this recipe was wonderful!  It takes some time to dice them up, but it's worth it!

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Menu Managed Original

2 Tbsp. olive oil (or bacon grease)
2 Tbsp. butter
3 c. brussel sprouts
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Slice brussel sprouts into even pieces (I chopped each one into 6 pieces).
Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly translucent.
Add brussel sprouts and season with salt and pepper.
Continue to saute for 15-20 minutes, until onions and sprouts are caramelized.
Sprinkle chopped bacon on top, mix and serve.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Crockpot Pesto Chicken

I don't know that I can make any meal made in the crock pot actually look appetizing, but this dish has 4 ingredients and it tastes amazing.  Double points for being able to have the crockpot do all of the work.

Crockpot Pesto Chicken
Recipe from Picky Palate

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 oz. basil pesto
1 ranch seasoning packet
1/2 c. chicken broth

Line bottom of slow cooker with chicken thighs.
Combine pesto, ranch packet and chicken broth and mix to combine.
Pour over chicken.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Layered Party Punch

Aside from the ridiculously delicious and refreshing taste, the best thing about this punch is the way it looks.  Somehow it magically stays separate enough to view layers of individual colors.
Once you dig in and start serving it up however, the raspberries turn it a bright pink.  Its a win win.
I served this for my sisters baby shower, and it was a huge hit!
The juice concentrates can be substituted for whatever you can find in your local store - An equal mix of orange and pineapple juice (no water added) is also fantastic!
Layered Party Punch
Recipe from No Biggie

1 can frozen pina colada concentrate, thawed
1 can frozen orange pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
4 cans of water
4 liters diet lemon-lime soda (I found a pina colada flavored one that made it take on the green/blue hue)
Ice
4 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Pour thawed concentrates into punchbowl and stir.
Use one of the empty concentrate cans and fill it up 4 times with water, add to the punchbowl and stir.
Add soda to the mixture.
Do not stir.
Add ice - you can really add as much or as little as you wanted, I add about 16 cups.
Top with raspberries.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Apple Chips {Oven Baked}

Before I dive into this, be sure to head on over here to view the Biggest Food Storage Sale of the Year.  There is a giveaway and a chance to earn some free product as well.

Apples are one of those fruits that don't last very long at our house.  My 5 year old eats at least 3 a day.   I have to hide them from him.  In an effort to get something more than the regular applesauce, apple slices, apple pie filling and apple juice we tried dehydrating for the first time.
One day I will get myself a dehydrator.  But not this year.  We used the oven instead. 
These apple chips make for a great snack, and are a good way to preserve what is abundantly in season at the moment by baking in the oven.
Apple Chips
apples
cinnamon
sugar

Use a mandolin, or slice apples as thinly as possible.
Remove seeds, but don't worry about cutting away the middle section altogether (I love the star shape that it makes!)
Layer individually over silicone lined baking sheets.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at the lowest temperature your oven will allow (for me that is 170).
Time will vary on the thickness of your slices.
I baked mine for about 5 hours, and then turned the oven off but left them sitting overnight with the oven light on.
If you used a mandolin they could be done in 2-3 hours.
Cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Waffle Iron Hashbrowns

This is not necessarily a recipe, but if you think crispy crunchy hashbrowns are a must, and you hate waiting for them to get that way standing over a skillet then this is for you!
These can be made in either the traditional or belgian waffle makers.

Waffle Iron Hashbrowns
Idea from Nature's Nurture

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.
Layer shredded potatoes on iron, about 1/4" thick.
Season with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning that suites you.
Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins

These muffins were amazing... Are amazing.  I was really worried about the tartness of the cranberries, but the orange and almond flavor mellowed it out nicely and the honey gave it just the right amount of sweetness.  These were great plain, which I prefer, but would be fantastic with butter or a drizzle of extra honey if you want something sweeter.

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins
Recipe modified from Chef in You

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest from 1 orange
3/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 c. orange juice
2 eggs
1/4 c. applesauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and orange zest in a bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine honey, orange juice, extract, eggs, applesauce and olive oil.
Whisk wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Make a well in dry ingredients and add in the honey mixture.
Gently fold into each other, careful not to over mix.
Fold in cranberries and almonds.

Divide among 12 muffins.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coconut Lime Chicken and Quinoa

I was hesitant to try this recipe at first.  My husband is not a lover of sweet and savory dishes, so I wasn't sure how he would react to the coconut milk, and neither of us are major curry fans.
My only regret now however, is that I didn't try it earlier in the year.  As winter approaches it means less time cooking out on the grill, and this simple chicken dinner is amazingly delicious!  So much in fact that I will now have to try it in a frying pan throughout the colder months.  It was moist and flavorful and came together quickly.  
I came up with a great quinoa side using the same flavors as the chicken to soak up the extra sauce.  It was a perfect pair.

Coconut Lime Chicken
Recipe from Pinned by dani

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
3 Tbsp. olive oil
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 c. coconut milk
pinch cayenne
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges, optional

Mix all ingredients except chicken and cilantro in a quart ziplock bag.
Add chicken and marinate in fridge for up to 2 hours.
Cook chicken on grill, reserving marinade.

Pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drizzle chicken with reserved marinade and sprinkle chopped cilantro over everything.
Garnish with fresh lime wedges if desired.
Serve over coconut lime quinoa.

Coconut Lime Quinoa
Menu Managed Original

1 1/2 c. quinoa
1 1/4 c. coconut milk (remaining from can used to make marinade)
1/4 c. chicken broth or water
1 can diced green chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. onion, minced
1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Soak quinoa for 30 minutes in cool water and rinse thoroughly to remove bitter coating.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except quinoa and cilantro and mix thoroughly over high heat.
Add quinoa and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Fluff with fork.
Stir in chopped cilantro.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chili Mac

This grown up mac and cheese with chili is quick, delicious and filling.  It makes for a great leftover, and we all loved it.  If you don't have cheese powder you can use 2 boxed macaroni and cheese mixes.  Prepare as package directions state and omit the butter, milk, cheese powder and noodles from the recipe below.
Chili Mac
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

1 lb. groud beef
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cans tomatoes, drained
2 cans beans (I used kidney and canellini), rinsed and drained
13.25oz box elbow macaroni (about 3 1/2 c.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 c. milk, plus more if needed
salt and pepper to taste
large handful cilantro, chopped
sliced green onions

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles until al dente, drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.
Add beef, onion and seasonings, and cook until meat is no longer pink.
Drain any fat, and add tomatoes and beans, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until heated.

Once noodles have been drained, add butter and cheese powder to the noodle pot.
Whisk in milk.
Stir in drained noodles and coat in cheese mixture.
Add noodles to beef and been mixture and stir to coat evenly, adding more milk if needed.
Sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
Recipe modified from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1 quart seasoned diced tomatoes
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. water, divided
1 15oz. can chicken broth
12 oz. pasta of choice 
1 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. cooked cubed chicken
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

In a large oven proof skillet, add tomatoes, pepper flakes, broth, 1 c. of water and the pasta.
Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese and the chicken.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If the mixture seems dry, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.
Sprinkle mozzarella and remaining parmesan over the top.

Bake at 475 for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and mixture is bubbling.
Garnish with fresh chopped basil.

Monday, November 4, 2013

5 Grain Cereal

I grew up on oatmeal and germade.  Surprisingly, I also grew up hating both of them.  As a mother, I understand completely why my own served it to me regularly.  Cheap, filling and so much better for you than the alternative cold "sugar" cereal.
I have been experimenting with different hot cereal variations to try and find something that I personally like.  This is my favorite option so far, which completely came as a shock to me since it has the same texture/consistency as germade.  But the flavor is SO much better!  I also like the fact that it uses grains that I typically don't consume very often.

5 Grain Cereal
Recipe from Blendec

1/2 c. millet
1/2 c. barley
1/2 c. brown rice
1/2 c. cornmeal

Add all ingredients to blender in order listed.
Press "speed up" to Speed 4, let run for 10-12 seconds, and press "pulse" to stop.
**If you don't have a blendtec, just blend it up until it is cornmeal consistency

To prepare hot cereal:
Whisk 1 c. water per 1/3 c. cereal in a saucepan.
Reduce heat, ans simmer for 3-5 minutes until thickened.

I like mine with a drizzle of honey, fresh fruit and milk.

Store unused cereal in the freezer to maximize shelf life and nutrient level.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken and Veggie Rice Bowls

These quick rice bowls are a perfect throw together meal.  Practically any vegetable you have in your fridge will work well, and I always use leftover chicken.  The sauce is simple and delicious, and I love that it is sweetened with honey.  We go back to this quiet often at our house.

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Bowls
Recipe modified from Eat Good 4 Life

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb chicken breast, cooked and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. broccoli
4 carrots, sliced
red pepper flakes, to taste

2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

In a small bowl mix the ground ginger, soy sauce, water, honey and cornstarch together.
In a large skillet, heat oil.
Cook carrots, about 5 minutes, and add in the garlic and the chicken.
Once chicken is heated through, add in the teriyaki sauce and stir.
Add broccoli on top, but do not stir.
Bring to a boil, cover, and steam the broccoli for about 4 minutes.
Remove lid, stir and season to taste with pepper flakes.

Serve over rice.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Just as its name implies, this simple casserole is exactly what you would expect: Chicken, cauliflower, cheese, green onions and bacon bits.
It is incredibly easy and a great tasting weeknight dinner.  

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Recipe from Rachel Schultz

2 c. cooked, cubed chipcken
1 large head cauliflower
1 c. cheddar, shredded
1 c. pepperjack, shredded
2-3 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces (I left mine fairly large)
Steam cauliflower until tender (or roast at 400 for 30 minutes)
Combine cheeses and set aside 1/4 of the mixture.
Stir chicken, green onions and garlic into cheese bowl.
Stir cooked cauliflower into cheese mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Pour into a greased 9x13" baking dish, and top with reserved cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with bacon, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Biscuit Breakfast Casserole

More often than not, breakfasts that contain meat, like this one, are usually served for dinner as our main dish rather than in the morning.  This is a great casserole for either, in my opinion.  Fast and delicious.

Biscuit Breakfast Casserole
Recipe modified from Culinary.net

1 tub refrigerated Pillsbury biscuits (8 count)
1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 c. shredded cheese (cheddar/pepperjack/mozzarella)
6 eggs, beaten 
3/4 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange biscuits on bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish.
Press down to seal any gaps and layer evenly.
Top evenly with sausage.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper and whisk.
Pour egg mixture over everything.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until set.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mandarin Lemon Cake with Pineapple Pudding Whipped Topping

This is the perfect recipe for taking a collection of pre-made packages and creating something that tastes homemade.  Not only does it take a regular boxed cake mix to the next level, it comes together quickly and definitely makes an impression.

Mandarin Lemon Cake with Pineapple Pudding Whipped Topping
1 boxed Lemon cake mix
Ingredients required on cake box
1 can mandarin oranges, drained

20oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
6oz. package vanilla pudding
8oz. cool whip
1/2 c. coconut
chopped pecans

Prepare cake batter according to package directions.
Gently fold in drained mandarin oranges.
Bake according to package directions.

Mix vanilla pudding with crushed pineapple until blended.
Fold in whipped topping and coconut.
Frost cake and top with chopped pecans.
Keep refrigerated.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oats and Apples

This recipe was originally meant for the crockpot, but there is just no way I am going to remember breakfast at bedtime - it wont even hit my radar.
This is basically your regular oatmeal breakfast, but with added apples, cinnamon and sugar.  Comes together quickly and I love the flavor from the spices and the crunch from the apples.

Oats and Apples
Recipe from Fabulous Food Blog

2 slices apples
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. regular oats
4 c. water

Layer apples, sugar, cinnamon, oats and water (in that order) in a medium saucepan.
Do not stir.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until oats are cooked.
Stir everything together and serve warm.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Taco Pizza

My sister served up this pizza at our last family vacation.  It is delicious and it feeds a crowd!  Mix up the toppings however you would like, this is a winner!

Taco Pizza
Recipe modified from Life as a Lofthouse

1 pizza dough recipe
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 16oz can refried beans
3 c. shredded cheese
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. sliced black olives
4 green onions, chopped
1 c. corn, optional - I liked it better without

Prepare pizza dough and spread out on large baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, brown beef in a large skillet until no longer pink; drain.
Add taco seasoning to cooked beef.
Heat up refried beans, stir, and spread evenly over the top of the warm pizza.
Top with cooked ground beef.
Sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes olives, green onions and corn.

Return to oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Honey Citrus Cold/Flu Fighter - Plus a Giveaway!

I love autumn.  The cooler weather, the colors, and the beginning of soup season.
I don't so much love the cold and flu season that inevitably follows though.
This is a simple home remedy to combat the onset of sickness.  It is incredibly easy, delicious, and safe for kids.  It is all natural, and a great alternative to medicine.

Honey Citrus Cold/Flu Fighter
1 tsp. honey
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop On Guard essential oil

Scoop or pour honey onto a spoon and drop the oils onto the honey.
Suck mixture off of spoon.
Repeat a few times throughout the day to combat a cold or flu, or at the onset of sickness.

**Essential Oils are very potent, and OnGuard is spicy!  If you are afraid that this will be too much for you or your kids, try mixing this concoction in water and drinking it instead.  Especially do this if you accidentally drop more than 1 drop of oil on your spoon! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Laundry Stain Remover

My husband gets bloody noses at night.  In his sleep.  Its weird.
Usually he wakes enough to clean up his pillowcase, but the other morning I woke up to him saying "uh-oh".

I love Zout.  It is by far my favorite stain remover, and I never thought I would find an equal replacement.  Now was the time to test the strength of this home made version.
 Even more so disgusting than the nose bled stained pillowcase was what I discovered after it was washed.  As you can see, not only did it completely remove the stain, but you can clearly see the lines where the stain remover had run vs. where it hadn't.  Yeah, I know, gross.  The pillowcase was that dirty.  Even after being washed.  I ended up soaking the whole thing in hot water with some of this stain remover to get the entire thing clean again.

I have one of these bottles in my bedroom to spot clean before I put clothes into the hamper, and one in the laundry room.  I also use it to pre-treat the collars of button up shirts, as well as the armpits of white shirts before they are washed.  It is a great, inexpensive version that works wonders!

Laundry Stain Remover
Recipe from One Good Thing

1/3 c. dishwashing liquid detergent (dawn/palmolive)
1/3 c. ammonia
3 Tbsp. baking soda
1 c. warm water

In a spray bottle, dissolve baking soda in warm water.
Add remaining ingredients.
Shake before each use.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad

I love a great marinade that can double as a salad dressing.  This meal screams summer to me.  Light and delicious.  The salad is definitely worth making even without the chicken.  The tomato marinade turned it a gorgeous pink color, and the flavors were light yet satisfying.  It is a great make ahead meal as well, just pull the chicken out of the fridge, grill and dinner is ready!  We'll be returning to this one again and again.  

Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad
Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

4 chicken breasts (I used thighs)
3/4 c. dried barley
2 c. corn kernels
1 1/2 c. halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. minced red onion
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper

Cherry Vinaigrette:
1 c. halved cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red onion
salt and pepper

Cook barley according to package directions (I cooked mine in chicken broth).
Fluff with fork and place into a large bowl to cool.
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
Place 6 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette into a quart ziplock bag and add the chicken.
Set in fridge to marinate.

Stir the corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion and bacon into the cooled barley.
Add enough reserved tomato vinaigrette to coat and stir well.
Gently fold in the avocado and season with salt and pepper.
Place in refrigerator.

Grill chicken and serve over salad.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cantaloupe Jam

I over did it on melons this year.
I realized I had a problem when I had 4 in the fridge, 8 freshly picked, and 7 more in the garden that would be ready in a week or so.  Not to mention that we had eaten at least 1 per day for the last couple of weeks.  We love summer produce.
I had heard about cantaloupe jam, so I surfed over to Pinterest and found lots of ideas.
I settled on this recipe because it uses a relatively small amount of sugar and sugar free pectin, which I replaced with Ultra Gel.  I was also really intrigued by the addition of vanilla.  
It turned out beautifully.
I was all sorts of worried about the consistency; I just thought for sure it would be a runny mess.  But it is smooth, and perfect, and oh so delicious!

Cantaloupe Jam {with Vanilla}
Recipe modified from the Boulder Belt Blog

12 c. cantaloupe puree with chunks
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. ultra gel
3 1/2 c. sugar
1-2 Tbsp. butter

Pour cantaloupe puree, lemon juice and vanilla extract into a large stock pot.
Stir in ultra gel (or pectin) until dissolved and bring to a rolling boil.
Quickly stir in sugar.
Return to a rolling boil.
Boil and stir constantly for 4 minutes.
Add butter and stir until melted and mixed in.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars.
Top with sterilized lids and screw on the bands.
Steam or water bath for 15 minutes.
Remember to adjust for altitude.

Makes 12 half pints, plus more for immediate use.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Grilled Garlic-Balsamic Crusted Pork Loin

I was a bit hesitant about this recipe at first because I am not a huge balsamic vinegar fan.  I worried that it would overwhelm the whole dish, but that was far from the case.  In reality, this was such an amazing marinade; resulting in some of the best pork I have ever eaten.  Seriously, it was phenomenal!  Just don't over cook it!  Aim for exactly 160 degrees for an internal temperature!

Grilled Garlic-Balsamic Crusted Pork Loin
Recipe from Kitchen Confidante

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pork tenderloins, about 2 1/2 lb total

In a large ziplock bag, combine garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil; shake to combine.
Add pork and marinate for 2 hours - overnight.
Heat grill.
Sear tenderloins on all sides, then grill for about 20-30 minutes, rotating every 10, until internal temperature is 160 degrees.
Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Honey Cloud Pancakes

This breakfast.... it was such a nice change from the everyday.  And quick, which is a must for breakfast at our house.  One large pancake is spread with soft fruits and baked to perfection.  It was as delicious as it looks.

Honey Cloud Pancakes
Recipe modified from Things We Make

5 eggs, separated
3/4 c. warmed milk
3/4 c. flour
heaping 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 c. soft fruits (I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
extra fruit for garnish
honey and powdered sugar

Separate 3 eggs, putting whites in a small glass bowl and yolks in a medium bowl.
Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.
Add remaining 2 eggs, flour, salt, vanilla and honey to egg yolks and whisk to combine.
Fold in whipped egg whites.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
When skillet is hot, melt coconut oil, spreading to coat the bottom and up the sides.
Pour entire bowl of batter into pan and cook for about 5 minutes; until the sides start to set.
Evenly distribute fruit over the top of the pancake.
Transfer skillet from stovetop to oven, and bake for 10 minutes, until cooked through and golden on top.
Slice into individual servings.
Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve with extra fruit, if desired.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bubble Solution

In case you are like me, and you cant ever remember the perfect combination of soap to water for making bubbles, this recipe is for you.
The glycerin makes sturdier bubbles.

Bubble Solution
Recipe from Come Together Kids

4 c. water
1 Tbsp. glycerin
1/4 c. liquid dishsoap

Gently mix all ingredients together.
Let sit, uncovered, overnight.

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Peek Beef Tips

My crockpot is not functioning as well as it once did.  My low setting cooks like it is on high, and my high setting cooks like it is super high.  The result?  Not so tender fast cooked meat.  Kind of defeats the purpose.
So... I set out in search of a non crockpot method for tender beef, and I found this recipe.
It is a great switch up from regular roast beef, comes together really quickly, and is a meat and gravy dish all in one (which I loved!).  Super fast and delicious.  We served ours over mashed potatoes.

No Peek Beef Tips
Recipe from Discount Queens

2 lb. cubed beef (steak, roast, stew meat, chuck, etc.)
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet onion soup mix
1 c. water

Put meat in a greased 9x13" baking dish.
Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over meat.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours (no peeking!)

Serve hot over mashed potatoes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gak

Here is a quick gak recipe that your kids can make practically all by themselves!

Gak

8 oz school glue (Elmer's)
1 tsp. borax
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. warm water
food coloring

Empty glue into a large glass bowl.
Fill empty glue bottle 3/4 of the way with water, screw on lid, and shake to get remaining glue mixed.
Pour into bowl with glue and stir.
Add food coloring until desired color is reached.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 c. warm water with borax until slightly dissolved.
Pour water/borax mixture into the bowl and stir (I found it easiest to use my hands after it becomes hard with the spoon).
Fold out onto wax paper and knead (like bread) until smooth and elastic.
You can add more water if it is too hard/lumpy, or sprinkle SMALL amounts of borax into the mix if it is too runny.

Store in a resealable plastic bag.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Nothing can replace a homemade chicken cordon bleu.  But they can be time consuming to make, which isn't the best for feeding a crowd.  This casserole is a great alternative.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff

4 c. chopped, cooked chicken
3 c. broccoli flowerets
2 c. cooked, chopped ham
6 slices thin Swiss cheese
1 6oz. pkg. chicken flavored stuffing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Prepare stuffing according to package directions.
Mix soup and mustard in a large bowl.
Stir in chicken, broccoli and ham.
Spread into a greased 9x13" casserole dish.
Top with cheese slices.
Top with stuffing.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until heated through.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Brownie Coconut Chocolate Cream Trifle

This particular recipe has been on my to make list for months.  Months.  But the original recipe was a pie, made in a spring form pan, which I do not have.  It wasn't until I was dusting off my trifle bowl during a kitchen cleaning that it struck me...

And I don't think you can beat a trifle when it comes to presentation.
Especially when it is topped with toasted coconut. 
I am kind of in lust with coconut these days... 
If you DO have a spring form pan and want to make a pie, follow the recipe exactly, just don't cut up the brownie layer first.

Brownie Coconut Chocolate Cream Trifle
Recipe modified from Barefoot and Baking

Brownie:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
pinch salt
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp. flour

Melt butter in a medium bowl.
Add sugar and eggs and beat together.
Add remaining ingredients and mix.
Pour into a greased 8" cake pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool slightly, and cut or break up brownies and layer in trifle bowl.

Coconut Cream Filling:
14oz. can coconut milk
1/2 c. cream
3/4 c. whole milk
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flaked coconut
1/4 tsp. coconut extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

While brownies are cooking, combine the half and half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a sauce pan.
Cook over medium low stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about 8-10 minutes.
Once thickened, remove from heat and add extracts and coconut; stir to combine.
Pour over brownie layer.
Place plastic wrap directly on coconut cream layer to keep a film from forming and chill for 2-4 hours, or until completely cold.

Chocolate Mousse:
1/4 c. butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (or 4oz)
1/2 c. sugar
pinch corn starch

Melt butter in a medium bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water).
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, cream and vanilla.
Once butter is melted, slowly whisk in the yolk mixture.
Continue whisking over simmering water until mixture thickens, like pudding, about 8-10 minutes.
Once thick remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add in sugar and cornstarch.
Whisk 1/4 c. of egg white mixture into the chocolate.
Gently fold in remaining egg whites until blended completely.
Pour mousse over cold coconut cream layer, and put back into fridge to cool.

Whipped Cream:
1 c. whipping cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.
Layer over chocolate mousse.
Let set in fridge at least 4 hours.

Toasted Coconut:
1 c. coconut

Pour coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted.
Cool completely.
Add to trifle just before serving.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bubble Solution

This bubble solution is my go-to recipe.  The glycerin makes them "stronger", so your kids can actually catch bubbles if they put socks on their hands.

Bubble Solution
Recipe from Play at Home Mom

2 c. water
2 Tbsp. dish soap
2 Tbsp. glycerin

Mix together gently and let stand, uncovered for 24 hours before use.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes

These delicious potato boats are super simple, hearty comfort food at its finest.  I mean... at its easiest.  I love these for a quick weeknight meal.  We served ours with sauteed greens and fresh fruit.

Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Inspiration from Slimming Eats

4 large baking potatoes
1 can chili con carne (or whatever chili you prefer)
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
green onions and sour cream for garnish


Bake potatoes in oven or microwave until cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat chili in small saucepan until warmed.
Once potatoes are cooked, cut in half lengthwise.
Scoop out centers of each potato, leaving at least 1/4" of potato flesh around the edges.
Discard or save insides of potatoes for another dish.
Arrange potatoes on a large baking sheet.
Evenly divide chili among potatoes.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over chili.
Place under broiler for 5 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Garnish with sour cream and green onions.

Monday, July 15, 2013

White Chocolate Cheesecake Trifle with Berries

I've had this trifle recipe pinned for a while.  Raspberry season is in full swing at our house, so I decided to throw this together for the 4th of July.
It was delicious!

White Chocolate Cheesecake Trifle with Berries
Recipe modified from Taste of Home

1 loaf prepared angel food cake
2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
1 3oz package white chocolate instant pudding mix
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 c. milk, divided
3 c. sliced strawberries
3 c. raspberries, divided
4 whole strawberries

Cut angel food cake into 1" cubes.
Beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, adding vanilla and sugar at the end.
Combine cream cheese and 1/4 c. milk and beat until smooth.
Add remaining 1 c. milk and pudding packet and beat for 1 minute.
Gently fold in half of the whipped cream into the pudding mixture.

Arrange 1/3 of the cake cubes in the bottom of your trifle bowl.
Top with half of the pudding mixture.
Arrange half of the sliced strawberries around the sides and on top of the pudding.
Top with 1 1/4 c. of the raspberries.

Repeat the layers as outlined above: 1/3 cake, remaining pudding, sliced strawberries, raspberries.
Top with remaining cake cubes on the outside edge of the trifle bowl.
Spread remaining whipped cream in the middle.
Arrange remaining berries on top.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pork Chops with Golden Applesauce

This is my all time favorite pork and apple recipe.  It is also a repeat here on the blog because I absolutely LOVE it!
I almost always use dehydrated/freeze dried apples for this to cut down on prep time, but fresh is always fantastic as well.

Pork Chops with Golden Applesauce
Recipe from Rachel Ray

4 golden delicious apples, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. lemon juice
handful raisins
ginger to taste
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 c. apple juice or cider
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. oil
4 pork chops
2 Tbs. butter

Add apples, lemon juice, raisins, ginger, brown sugar, apple juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a pot over medium heat.
Cook until a chunky sauce forms, 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once apples are soft and sauce forms, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, add oil to a skillet over medium-high.
Add chops and season with salt and pepper.
Brown and carmelize chops 2 minutes on each side.
Reduce to medium heat, and cook 5-6 minutes, until juices run clear.
Remove chops from the pan and put on serving platter.

De-glaze the pan with a splash of apple juice (from the applesauce, or just plain juice) and add the butter.
Pour pan sauce over chops.
Top chops with generous portions of warm apple sauce.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie

This was my first attempt at making a cheesecake.  Which means this was my #1 choice of all the cheesecake recipes that I have bookmarked to make.
It was rich and divine and mouthwatering and all of those wonderful things that a good cheesecake should be, with 4 layers of yumminess!

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie
Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

Crust:
24 Oreos, crushed
5 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine the crushed cookies and melted butter.
Press into a greased 9" pie plate.
Refrigerate until filling is made.

Cheesecake Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream

Blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Add the egg, yolk and vanilla, mixing until combined.
Blend in the sour cream.
Spread filling over the cookie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until edges are set and center is slightly firm.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Mousse:
1 c. heavy cream, divided
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

Heat 1/2 c. cream in a small saucepan until just simmering.
In a small bowl, heat proof bowl, whisk egg yolks.
Whisk a few Tbsp. of heated cream into the egg yolks, continue whisking until completely combined.
Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with remaining cream, whisking constantly, and return saucepan to a medium-low heat.
Cook and whisk constantly, until cream/egg mixture bubbles and thickens 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted.
Let mixture cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally to avoid skin forming on top.

When completely cool, beat remaining 1/2 c. cream to stiff peaks and gently fold into chocolate mixture.
Spread mousse over cooled cheesecake pie and refrigerate while making ganache.

Ganache:
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Combine butter and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture is simmering.
Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate chips, stirring until melted and smooth.
Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.
Spread ganache over the mousse layer and refrigerate pie until ready to serve, at least 1 hour.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Oriental Chicken Salad

This salad has such a great combination of flavors and textures.  Perfect for lunch or dinner!
You can use any leftover chicken you have available, but I especially prefer this Crispy Oven Fried Chicken that I posted last week.


Oriental Chicken Salad
Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff

2 c. sliced chicken (see above link)
3 c. shredded cabbage
3 c. spring salad mix, or other lettuce
1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. shredded broccoli stem (broccoli slaw)
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Mix greens with carrots and broccoli.
Arrange on individual plates.
Top with mandarin oranges, chicken and almonds.
Drizzle with dressing.

Oriental Dressing
6 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. mayo
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
Whisk together until smooth, refrigerate until ready to use.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Baked Fried Chicken

This recipe is one of my favorites!  Anyone who knows me knows that I DO NOT have favorites.  On average I try a new recipe for dinner at least 4 days of the week.  It is uncommon for me to make something more than once a month.
But this chicken...  It is just. So. Delicious.
The kids love it.  The hubs loves it.  I love it.
I make it at least once a month.
I've taken it for moms with new babies / a sick neighbor.
I've made it on busy weekdays and when company is coming.
It is fantastic, moist, wonderfully easy, and you will not be disappointed!
Photo courtesy of Our Life Uncommon
Baked Fried Chicken
Recipe modified from Our Life Uncommon

4 chicken breasts
2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cornflake crumbs

Place chicken breasts in a bowl and cover with milk.
Add lemon juice.
Let soak for 20-30 minutes.

In a large ziplock bag, mix remaining ingredients.
Allow excess milk to drip off of chicken before placing in the bag.
Seal and shake bag to coat chicken evenly.

(Coated chicken in the bag can be placed in the fridge for 24 hours, or until ready to bake).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a 9x13" casserole dish, drop 3 Tbsp. of butter.
Allow butter to melt in pan inside oven while preheating.
Spread melted butter to ensure bottom of dish is evenly coated.

Arrange chicken in dish.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Turn each piece over and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Everyday Natural Yeast Waffles

Have you heard of the health benefits that come from using Natural Yeast?  For all of you gluten intolerant folks out there, I would highly recommend looking into it.  You can start by reading this post.  That is a very brief yet fascinating overview that will provide you with more information.  After that check out the link below.

As for me, I have been experimenting for MONTHS using the stuff.  This is by far my most used recipe.  I love waffles, and these ones do not disappoint!

   
Everyday Waffles {Natural Yeast}
Recipe from Melissa Richardson

2 c. natural yeast start
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk

Combine all ingredients and pulse in blender (I use an immersion blender) until smooth.
Batter will be runny.

I have noticed that these take a little longer to cook than regular waffles.  I let mine go an additional minute in the waffle iron after my green light comes on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

What it is about mac and cheese that people get so worked up about?  Seriously folks, it is noodles with cheese.  That's it.  I must have tried 10 different recipes that claimed they owned the title for best macaroni and cheese recipe.  Blah...  I pretty much gave up on finding one that satisfied me enough to call it a meal, let alone one to rave about.

But then, as it always does, Pinterest saved the day.
Enter Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese.
It is filling and spicy and delicious and chock full of veggies.
It was everything I never knew I ever wanted.

Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese
Recipe Modified from Comfort of Cooking

5 c. chopped veggies of choice
(I used what I had on hand: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, parsnip, bell pepper, corn, zucchini)
2 c. dried pasta (I used mini penne)
1/4 c. olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp. for drizzling
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/4 c. pepperjack cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Chop vegetables into evenly sized cubes.
Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
Drizzle lightly with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain and set aside.
Combine grated cheeses and mix.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat remaining 1/4 c. oil.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.
Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in all but 1/2 c. of the cheese mixture.
Continue stirring until melted and smooth.
Add red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently stir in cooked noodles and roasted vegetables.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. cheese mixture over the top.

Place skillet under the broiler until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This soup has everything I love about a baked potato; cheese, green onions, bacon, sour cream...  
Obviously, the potato itself isn't the star of this dish.  The toppings just make it wonderful.
Also, this soup gets a thumbs up from the hubs; which means that it is dense and thick and hardly resembles a soup at all.  Very filling pure comfort food.

This recipe is all over the internet and pinterest, but I wanted to try it most after viewing it at my sister in laws blog, Cupcakes with Sprinkles.  And seriously, if you haven't been over there to check it out it is worth it!  You might end up making a dessert instead of dinner, but is that entirely a bad thing?


Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 onion, diced
5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cans chicken broth
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. black pepper

For garnish:
green onions, cheddar, sour cream and bacon

In a large pot cook bacon until crisp; remove and dry on paper towels.
Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender; remove excess grease if necessary.
Add potatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove 1 c. of potatoes to a small bowl and mash with a fork.

In a small sauce pan melt butter and stir in flour to create a roux.
Cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in the milk.
Bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened.
Slowly stir into the soup pot along with the bowl of mashed potatoes.

Add 1/2 c. of the cheese, three-fourths of the bacon and pepper to the pot.
Stir to combine and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with desired toppings.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Apple Pancakes

I have such a love/hate relationship with breakfast.  I love breakfast foods, but I hate taking time to prepare it in the morning.  These came together faster than I imagined, and they were a great alternative to the "plain" pancakes that my 7 year old constantly requests.

I was worried that the pancake batter would overpower the apples, but that wasn't the case.
It was a great mellow flavor that paired perfectly with maple syrup.

This is a great way to use up leftover pancake/waffle batter as well.  Just slice your apples, dip and cook.

Apple Pancakes
Recipe from Heat Oven to 350

2 medium apples, cored and sliced thin
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. buttermilk

Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl.
Whisk in egg and milk.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low and spray with Pam.
Dip apple rings into batte and allow excess to drip off.
Cook rings until golden brown, tuning once, making sure apple is softened slightly (do not cook too hot).
Serve with maple syrup.