Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash and Black Beans

This Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash and Black Beans has been a tried, true and tested recipe in our household. A batch will be made and eaten on for a couple days and it never disappoints! It is definitely a family-favorite recipe! I made this just a couple weeks back and my husband was SO excited about it. He even went as far as saying that it is one of his top favorite things that I make! You know it’s gotta be good when that is said :).

Keep on reading below for the original recipe posted last year with some updated pictures. We just harvested 64 butternut squashes from my mom’s garden, so I thought it would be VERY fitting to update this recipe and pictures! If you have any ways to use up butternut squash, shoot them my way because we are up to our eyeballs in them.

Eating healthy and what’s good for your body doesn’t mean you should have to give up comfort. Drum roll please… Turkey Chili with Black Beans and Butternut Squash! Put all your fears of only crunching on celery and slurping down kale smoothies aside and put your pjs on because we are about to get comfy. Not only is this chili loaded with flavor, warmth and is good for your soul, but it carries a lot of healthy protein from the turkey and black beans and friendly fiber and potassium from the butternut squash. Healthy, delicious chili and snuggles, what more could you possibly need?


This recipe originally came to be on whim. I was out at my parents house on the farm, the menfolk were working outside and my mom had made a quick trip into town. So, with dinner time nearing and having been decorating their Christmas tree all day and being in the mood to get in the kitchen, I got to cooking. There was nothing laid out or defrosted, so I started scrummaging through the freezer and cupboards to see what I could put together. And voila! The turkey chili of our dreams was born.

I love how not only is this a healthy alternative, but it is definitely a crowd pleaser. I mean, we’ve already made it twice this week with no regrets! As any soup does, this chili gets better and better with time. The leftovers heat up perfectly (may just need to add a bit of water to thin it out) and it is a great go-to to have for dinner. We’ve been snarfing this down with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and green onions as our toppings, but any chili toppings you desire would go great with this bowl of goodness. Avocado anyone? I’ve been making this recipe on the stovetop, but I don’t see why you couldn’t throw it all into a crockpot as well. Snuggle up with a blanket and enjoy this delicious bowl of chili!

 

Turkey Chili with Black Beans and Butternut Squash 

Ingredients: 

  • 16 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: 

  1. In the bottom of a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the ground turkey and cook until browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Add both cans of the tomatoes and the butternut squash into the pot. Stir and let simmer on high for 5-8 minutes. Add in the garlic, chili powder, dried basil, cinnamon and black beans. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover the pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for at least 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with your choice of toppings.

 

KJ’s 1K Giveaway!

Welcome to the first giveaway here at KJ& Company! I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to be here and it’s all because of YOU! I am so crazy blessed to have every single one of you follow along, make recipes, comment, like, share and encourage me along the way. KJ & Company wouldn’t be what it is without everyone who has supported me! An endless amount of thanks and gratitude.

Now, let’s get to the fun part! I’ve partnered up with Luke from Lumberjack Luke to have a little giveaway for all of your love given to KJ & Company! That’s right, this GORGEOUS Hickory Cake Stand and Serving Set is up for grabs! The cake stand is about 12 inches in diameter of pure hickory wood and all sorts of beautiful. Luke created it just as he would with his wooden cutting boards, so you can use it with ease knowing that it is going to last! And for the Hickory Serving Set, they are the perfect matching companion to slice up and serve a piece of scrumptious cake (or any dessert!) on. The pure, natural hickory wood has a perfectly rustic look that is hard to beat. It is the perfect addition to any table setting, party or home!

The giveaway is primarily being hosted on Instagram (@kjandcompany), but I couldn’t resist posting about it here on kjandcompany.co! So, head on over to Instagram and find the giveaway post to see how you can enter! But, I still wanted to do something a little extra here on kjandcompany.co, so here is how to get 5 BONUS ENTRIES!

  1. Sign up to get recipes and posts from KJ & Company straight to your inbox by entering your email address into the email bar located on the right side of the screen.
  2. Comment below on this post that you signed up and it’s as easy as that!

That’s all you have to do to get 5 BONUS ENTRIES for a chance to win this beautiful hickory cake stand and serving set! (insert all of the heart-eyed emojis).

The giveaway is starting 9/16/17 and will run till 9/19/17. Winner will be announced and contacted via Instagram, so make sure you are following along!

It was just so fun to make this cake and get ready for this giveaway.

PS: if you are looking for an AMAZING funfetti cake recipe, Molly Yeh’s Funfetti Cake recipe turned out deliciously perfect! From the sprinkles to the decadent white frosting on top, this recipe is one you just gotta have! She is the funfetti cake queen as she has tried every possibility to make sure she had the most perfect funfetti cake! It even kept her awake at night so you know it’s going to be good.

So, let’s get this funfetti cake, hickory cake stand party started!

Thank you again for ALL of your love and support! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Sangria

This Caramel Apple Sangria is one of the most highly requested cocktails to date for any fall gathering that we go to. It’s just so fun, festive and full of fall flavor that you just can’t resist! Even ask my Grandma, she drank two full glasses of it last year at Thanksgiving! Not only is this sangria all sorts of delicious, but it’s vibrant colors and festive smell will have you ready to snuggle up in a blanket next to a fire while you watch the leaves drop outside.

I originally posted this recipe last year on KJ & Company and it just has been so good that new pictures were necessary. I’ve already whipped up a batch this year and oh boy, it went down smooth! This sangria is perfect for football parties, fall dinners, campfires, Halloween parties and even Thanksgiving. It’s basically the cocktail to carry you through the fall season and holidays!

It’s all the wonderful flavors of a caramel apple in a glass without the caramel sticking to your teeth! You all know what I mean when you bite into a caramel apple – you have to be ready to get the caramel unstuck. The smooth sweetness from the caramel, the fruity kick from the apples and the warm coating at the back of your throat from the cinnamon makes this sangria the perfect concoction.

This is the perfect, easy, fun and festive cocktail to have up your sleeve this fall and holiday season to please a crowd. Twist up your fall menu or bring some fun in a glass to Thanksgiving. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Caramel Apple Sangria

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups caramel vodka
  • 1 bottle Riesling wine (750ml)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 Gala apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a deep pitcher and stir to combine.
  2. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving and up to 24 hours in advance. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Sheet Pan Veggies with Italian Sausage and Creamy Polenta

Ok, so this sheet pan dinner may have a long name, but I promise that it takes half the effort of writing it out! It’s such a wonderful thing when you can just put dinner in oven and forget about it for an hour. That’s right – these veggies and Italian sausage medallions get roasted for a full hour until they are caramelized and all sorts of delicious. Just think of everything else that you can do during that time!

If you want to serve it up on the creamy polenta (which you just need to do!), then you will need to just use about 20 minutes of that hour to whip it up. The recipe calls for regular corn grits/polenta instead of the instant polenta. Don’t be alarmed by this process, though, because you will be a polenta queen after you make this batch of creamy goodness. Follow the simple steps to perfection and you are there. Voila!

This is the perfect meal for a hassle-free weeknight dinner, having friends or family over (serve it up family-style and dig in!), or when you are just in the need for a good meal. It’s also a fun way to sneak in a lot of veggies into one delicious meal! Everything is better when topped with cheese, so a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese never hurt anyone. This sheet pan dinner is also very flexible as it can adjust to whatever you have on hand. You could swap the sweet potatoes out for regular potatoes, the broccoli for cauliflower, onions for bell peppers, and the list could go on!

Serve up this sheet pan dinner and you will draw a crowd with no leftovers to spare. Although, leftovers would be quite delicious the next day warmed up or even for breakfast with an over-easy egg on top…a girl can dream!

 

Roasted Sheet Pan Veggies with Italian Sausage and Creamy Polenta

Serves 4 adult portions

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups broccoli florets (approx. 2 heads of broccoli)
  • 3 cups sweet potatoes (approx. 1 med/large sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 19 oz mild Italian sausage links (about 5 links) cut into 3/4 inch rounds
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups polenta/corn grits
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, toss together the broccoli, sweet potato and red onion with the olive oil and seasoned salt.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the veggies in an even layer on the baking sheet. Nestle the Italian sausage rounds on top of the veggies in an even layer. Roast the veggies and Italian sausage for 55-60 minutes, or until caramelized, browned and cooked through.
  3. While the sheet pan is in the oven, bring the water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat. Slowly stir the polenta into the boiling water to make sure that it does not clump together. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Let the polenta cook on low with a lid for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times in between to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat even lower (if you can) to a simmer. Stir in the milk and sour cream until combined. Leave the lid on and let the creamy polenta cook on a low simmer for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to be served. If you have a few extra minutes before serving, the polenta can be left on the stovetop with the lid on and the heat off and will hold up nicely.
  5. Serve the roasted veggies and Italian sausage over the creamy polenta with Parmesan cheese as a garnish. Enjoy!

 

Beef and Cream Cheese Enchiladas

Enchiladas will always hold a special place in my heart as they were one of my Grandpa’s specialties. He would pull you into the enchilada assembly line of dipping tortillas, adding the fillings, rolling them up tight and tucking them into the ban to be baked into wonderful goodness. Everyone would gather around with a plate in hand once those puppies came out of the oven to eat up as many as they could. It’s such a wonderful memory of a simple comfort food made with love and bringing family together that I will never forget. I can’t wait to show our own kids that someday!

Another thing about enchiladas that was my Grandpa’s specialty was lettuce. Lettuce was rolled up in every single enchilada with beef and cheese. It was so darn simple, but SO so good! A beef enchilada just isn’t the same without lettuce in them! You just have to try it for yourself to believe in this savory goodness.

And oh buddy, cream cheese is always the way to go! When you have all of the goods rolled up together in one perfect pan full, you just can’t stop eating them! The perfect comfort food and the way to the heart of everyone who digs in. It’s just like a pan-full of love. Food is memories and comfort and this is the perfect dish to serve for a weeknight meal, football party, Sunday dinner or any occasion that you just need some good ol’ comfort for.

Roll these up and bake them to perfection to serve up to your family and friends and fill their hearts and their tummies.

PS: I used my Homemade Enchilada Sauce to make these and it was SO good! If you don’t have the time to make the sauce homemade, then use your favorite canned version will work perfectly!

 

Beef and Cream Cheese Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 cups enchilada sauce
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups baby romaine lettuce
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup to top the enchiladas with
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and the beef and cook until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Prepare an assembly line to make your enchiladas. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 pan. Spread another 1 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a round plate, pan or platter (whatever works!) that is large enough to dip the tortillas into the sauce.
  3. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip both sides into the prepped enchilada sauce on the plate to coat both sides of the tortilla with enchilada sauce. Splitting the filling ingredients (ground beef, cream cheese, lettuce and cheddar cheese) evenly between the 8 tortillas, fill the dipped tortilla with the filling ingredients, roll it up tightly and place into the prepared 13×9 pan. Continue until all of the tortillas have been dipped, filled, rolled and tucked in the baking dish.
  4. Pour the remaining 4 cups of enchilada sauce over the top of the prepared enchiladas, making sure that all of the tortillas are covered. Using the separate cup of shredded cheese, sprinkle an even layer of cheese over the top of the enchiladas.
  5. Bake the enchiladas for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese topping is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Enjoy!

Caprese Zoodles

Ok, I finally jumped on the zoodle wagon and I am so glad I did! They are SO fun to make! I could just watch them spiral all day. Just don’t ask me to say “Spiralizer” because it’s a real hard word for me to say, but pretty darn funny to listen to. You should’ve been there when my husband was talking me through how to say “cinnamon” correctly. The struggle is real!

Needless to say, I had a blast making these zucchini noodles. There are so many possibilities of what you can create with them! Leave them raw, boil them, saute them or bake them up and you will be happy, happy, happy! I love the combination of leaving half of them raw and quickly blanching the other half and tossing them together. You get the perfect amount of crunch to the perfect amount of cooked.

Mozzarella pearls, baby heirloom tomatoes, and a dash of balsamic vinegar make these zoodles sing. The caprese salad is such a classic and vibrant combination, and tossing the ingredients together with the zoodles creates a delicious and healthy dish that can be served as a cold “salad” or warm with some grilled chicken laid over the top of it. Serve this up as a delicious side dish, salad, lunch or mid-day snack and you won’t be disappointed!

I haven’t experimented much with zoodles, but these did start to get a little soggy after a day in the refrigerator, so I would recommend eating these up the day of. Unless you are a zoodle master and have figured out how to correctly keep them, then do that!

These Caprese Zoodles are a bright and healthy dish that will make you feel good from the inside out.

 

Caprese Zoodles

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 10 oz baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lightly chopped basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Using a spiral attachment or device, spiral the two zucchini to make zoodles according to the device instructions.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Quickly boil half of the zucchini noodles for about a minute and then remove from the water and let cool. Lightly toss the raw zoodles and the cooked zoodles together in a large bowl with the lemon juice to keep the noodles from browning.
  3. In a separate small bowl, toss together the tomatoes with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to the zucchini noodles and lightly toss until all of the ingredients are combined. Lightly drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peach Pillows with Strawberry Coconut Glaze

Peach pillows? Oh yes please! I’m never much of a breakfast eater (a granola bar and my coffee and I’m good to go!), but I’ll splurge every once and awhile and it’s just gotta be fun! And let me tell you what, peach pillows are FUN. They are simple to throw together and a creative little pocket of joy that you can customize however you want. Don’t be intimidated by the strawberry coconut glaze, though, because you can whip it together while the peach pillows are baking away in the oven and be ready to eat as soon as they are golden brown and delicious.

Easy Peach Breakfast Pillows with Strawberry Coconut Glaze

Not only are these little pillows delicious, but they are simple to put together and deliver the wide-eyed, big grin reaction from others when you serve them up. I used peaches, strawberries and sprinkles to decorate mine with, but you could certainly have a plethora of toppings ready to go! Coconut flakes, blueberries, white chocolate chips, raspberries and honey just to name a few. Have everything set up and people can have fun decorating their peach pillows after you bring them out of the oven. Talk about a fun breakfast for the kids before they head off to school or for yourself to bring out your inner kid before you have to put your grown-up pants on for the day!

I seriously have the best friends, too, who understand my food blogging and cooking obsession. How awesome is it that they have their nails painted before they come over just in case they need to lend a hand to a food picture?! The best. Friends are amazing and happy and fun just like these peach pillows and rainbow sprinkles.

Serve these peach pillows up for a fun breakfast and they will certainly be asked for again!

 

Peach Pillows with Strawberry Coconut Glaze

Makes 4 – 3×5 pillows with leftover dough for smaller ones if desired. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 sheets puff pastry dough, defrosted to package instructions
  • 4 peaches, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons strawberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Topping Ideas:

  • Sprinkles
  • Sliced peaches
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix until the peaches are coated and combined. In a separate small bow, whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash.
  2. Working with one puff pastry sheet at a time, lay it flat on a counter top and cut two 3×5 rectangles (or desired size) out of the sheet. Continue onto the other sheets until you have 8 rectangles. There will be a little extra dough that smaller pillows could be made out of if desired.
  3. Working with two rectangles at a time to have a top and a bottom layer, lay 1/4 of the peach mixture on the bottom puff pastry sheet but leaving at least 1/4 inch on all sides open. Lightly brush some egg wash on all four sides of the bottom puff pastry sheet that you left open. Slightly stretch out the top puff pastry layer in your hands and then lay it over the top of the peaches to match the bottom layer. Press it down on all four sides with your fingers to seal all the edges. Then use a fork to “crimp” all of the edges and leave a decorative touch. Carefully move the peach pillow to a sprayed baking sheet and lightly brush the top with more egg wash. Continue this processes until all the pillows are made.
  4. Bake the peach pillows for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. While the pillows are baking, whisk the confectioner’s sugar, strawberry jam and coconut milk together in a small bowl until smooth, about a couple minutes.
  5. Remove the peach pillows from the oven and let cool for about 3-5 minutes. Decorate the tops with the strawberry coconut glaze and any other toppings that you desire. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I’m all for the ease of access of twisting open a can of enchilada sauce to get dinner done in a flash, but boy-oh-boy, I just may never go back to canned sauce after making homemade!

This homemade sauce is homemade down to the nitty gritty. That’s right, roll up your sleeves because we are going to be conquering blanching, peeling and seeding tomatoes! I promise you guys, it is not as bad as it sounds! As long as you set aside the appropriate amount of time, have your stations set up for the blanching, peeling and seeding process, you will be a-ok. I will forewarn you, though, if it has already been a long or stressful day or if you are in a time crunch, this process will take you to church and test your patience. So make sure everything is good to go and you will be so proud of the outcome!

I tell ya, it is such a rewarding feeling to make your own sauce and then turn around and roll up a batch of enchiladas in it to serve up for dinner that night. Its prime tomato season and this sauce just couldn’t get any better. Whether it’s fresh tomatoes from your garden, or from the grocery store, this sauce will win your heart over. Take your time and take it all in. It would even be a fun little task to have your little ones help with! Or your friends and family! I love getting to help my mom process her garden goodies and that is the inspiration for this homemade enchilada sauce.

So roll up your sleeves and get ready for a big ol’ pot of deliciousness!

 

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Makes 6 cups. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 pounds roma tomatoes
  • 2 small jalapenos (or 1 medium size), roughly chopped, seeds and inside ribs removed
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes in juice

Directions:

  1. Set aside at least 30 minutes to complete the blanching, peeling and seeding process. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Make and ice bath in a large bowl with ice and water. Have two separate medium bowls ready to use for the skin and seeds discards and the tomato pieces to keep.
  2. Using a small knife, slice an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, just enough to puncture the skin. Working in small batches, boil the tomatoes for 1.5-2 minutes. Immediately transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Let them cool slightly and then use your fingers or a paring knife to peel the tomato skin from the “X” towards the other end of the tomato. Keep doing so until all of the skin is removed. Slice the tomatoes in half and use a spoon to scrape the seeds out into the same bowl that you discarded the skins into. Set the good tomato aside into another bowl for later use. Continue this process until all the tomatoes are done.
  3. In a large, deep pot, bring the tomato pieces, onion, and jalapenos to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is cooked down and soft. Add in the water, canned tomatoes, cumin, salt, chili powder, garlic and sugar and stir until combined. Using either a food processor or an immersion blender, blend the tomato mixture until smooth. Let the sauce simmer for another 20-30 minutes on low heat.
  4. Use the sauce right away, or let it cool prior to pouring it into containers to be refrigerated or frozen. If you are wanting to can this sauce, please research the correct process of doing so and make sure to have the correct acid levels in the sauce to insure a safe canning process. Enjoy!

Strawberry Peach Sangria

You guys, fall is just around the corner! YES. It’s by far one of my favorite seasons of the year because of the beautiful weather, trees turning color, comfort food, family, the anticipation of the upcoming holidays and that it’s socially acceptable to wear yoga pants and sweats anytime. But as you know me, right now is also one of my favorite times of the year because of PEACHES. Just when I was down and low because the peach guy said that he was out of peaches and selling pears instead (what?!!), my Mom came through with a pre-ordered lug of peaches that she had already purchased! A whole new lug of peaches to fuel my love/addiction! :).

If you have never gotten a case of fresh, Colorado peaches straight from the source (not the grocery store, they just aren’t the same!) then you need to get your hands on some! They are so fresh, sweet and juicy – they just don’t compare! This sangria certainly benefits from their sweet, juicy goodness. The addition of fresh strawberries just makes this a glass full of goodness.

With Fall just around the corner and football season starting up, it’s the season for family and friends to gather around. The weather is still nice enough for grilling out and a pitcher of this sangria is the perfect addition to bring some life to the party. Casually sip on a glass of this sangria while you make your way through the Crock-Pot line and pile on the little smokies. We all know that we just gotta have the lil’ smokies.

Slice up the fruit, pour in the goods and just let this sangria do its thing – thats all you have to do! Its simplicity wins.

 

Strawberry Peach Sangria

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 peaches, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1 bottle of Chardonnay wine
  • 1/2 cup coconut rum
  • Pick your fizz! Either: 2 cups of tonic water, 2 cups of champagne, or a can of lemon-lime soda (only choose one)

Directions:

  1. Place the sliced peaches and strawberries in the bottom of a pitcher.
  2. Pour the wine, rum and your choice of fizz over the fruit and lightly stir to combine all the ingredients together.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!

 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Nut Muffins

Apparently its #NationalDogDay and it’s only fitting that I’m sharing a zucchini recipe on such a glorious day. Wanna know why? Because our yellow lab, Darbi, absolutely LOVES zucchini! Between zucchini and bananas, she is happy, happy, happy. There was one year where she just went crazy for them. She would literally run down to the garden and pick them herself and we wouldn’t dare leave our freshly picked harvest within her reach. We had to cut her off, though, because she was pretty addicted. It was too funny watching her lay out in the yard chowing down on a big ol’ zucchini from the garden. Now, she will gladly munch on the butts of the zucchini that I cut off and toss to her along with some freshly peeled banana. Anyone else out there have crazy, vegetable-loving dogs?! Charlee (jack russell) won’t even touch them – she prefers Greenies.

Besides our dog loving zucchini, we are huge fans as well. I resist buying any from the grocery store, because I know my Mom’s crop will be so much better! But, let’s be honest, they grow like wildflowers and you’re up to your eyeballs in zucchini before you know it! Do not fear, because these delicious and healthy muffins are here to help you out. They are the perfect balance between banana and zucchini to make a delicious medley. I love making a batch of these for the week because then you have a grab-and-go breakfast that will keep you full and satisfied!

The hint of cinnamon plus the crunch from the walnuts accent the naturally sweet flavor of these muffins. Whip these up and get them in your oven because you don’t want to miss out! They are perfect for breakfast, school lunches, a mid-day snack or pre-workout fuel.

 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Nut Muffins

Makes 12-15 muffins depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla exract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium/low speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Add in one egg at a time and beat until combined.
  2. Add the ripe bananas to the creamed butter mixture and mix on low speed until the bananas are broken down and combined with the mixture, about 30 seconds – a minute. Add in the whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and lightly mix until smooth and combined.
  3. Using a rubber spatula fold in the shredded zucchini and the chopped walnuts into the banana bread batter. Mix until full combined.
  4. Using rounded tablespoonfuls, scoop the batter into lined muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy! Let the muffins cool completely prior to packaging/storing them.

Mom’s Peach Tart

This peach tart is in the top 2 reasons as to why I LOVE peach season so much! I just can’t get over it and crave it 365 days a year. This recipe is near and dear to my heart as my Mom has passed it down to me and I couldn’t be more thankful. We both make it numerous times during prime peach season and will send each other pictures of our tart creations. Its just this simple: you need this recipe in your life! Its the type of thing where you have no shame when you realize that the “taste bite” you just took ended up being a quarter of the tart pan. Below is my original post from last year, but with update pictures! Yay! It was so fun having my Mom hang out with me while I shot these pictures and to have a pro taste-tester in the house.

Read the original post below, look at the yummy, new pictures and make this tart for yourself! 🙂

“This peach tart is the peach tart of all peach tarts. The big shabang, the frosting on the cake, the cherry on top, the alpha dog, the king of the hill. Seriously, this tart sends my tastebuds into overdrive! Mom sure does know best on this one. She has been perfecting her recipe over the past couple years and she handed the recipe over to me! Peach season has always been one of my mom and I’s favorite time of the year, and this tart sure won’t disappoint! There is just something about it though – I can follow her recipe to the “T” and it still just isn’t the same as when she makes it. She’s got the touch! (And the most perfect white ceramic tart pan which I am insisting she wills to me).

Let’s start with the crust. The thought of making a tart crust can be daunting and full of work, but not this time around! This is one of the easiest crusts to whip up and use right away, and there is no butter involved! Don’t skip out on the almond extract – it is what dreams are made of when it is combined into this crust recipe. It bakes out perfectly and almost has a sugar cookie feel to it. For the filling, let the peaches shine. They are the star of the show just on their own! Make sure to use perfectly, ripe and juicy peaches, otherwise the tart can lack moisture of the peaches aren’t juicy enough. If this happens to you while you are baking your tart, pull it out and sprinkle it with a little bit of water to add in some moisture before putting it back into the oven. Disclaimer: if you are ever-so-needing to make this tart outside of peach season, frozen peaches will work just fine as well! You can choose to leave the skins on or off, but I just can’t eat a peach without the skins on! There’s just something about that slight fuzz. Plus, the skins help create a beautiful color scheme. The crumbly, buttery sugar topping is the perfect pairing to help the peaches shine even brighter.

After you have resisted eating this scrumptious tart as it bakes, don’t cover it! The longer it gets to sit out the better. The sugary topping and natural sugars from the peaches caramelize together to form a perfect caramel consistency. The crust tends to soften too much as well if you cover it too soon. This can be refrigerated and eaten the next day shamelessly as lunch (I may or may not have done this).

 

Mom’s Peach Tart 

Ingredients: 

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable oil will do)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For the filling

  • 5-6 peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons flour

Directions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crust and mix them together until a loose dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of an 11-inch tart pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is slightly brown.
  3. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the crust in a pinwheel-fashion from the outside to the center, saving the smaller pieces for when you get to the middle of the pan.
  4. In the same bowl as the crust, combine all the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the peaches and sugar topping have caramelized together.

Honey Ice Cream

Ok, you guys, we’re putting our big girl pants on today and making REAL homemade ice cream. Thats right, we’re bringing out the big guns. Step aside, no-churn, we are conquering new fears today. Do you have a fear of making real, homemade ice cream? Thats ok! I did too! But you know what, its a pretty awesome feeling once you scoop that spoonful straight from the ice cream churn and its CREAMY DELICIOUSNESS. 

I know this isn’t your average make-at-home recipe that you will whip out every week, but its fun to do for a special occasion and you may just become a pro at it. As long as you have the correct tools (a good thermometer, a couple whisks and a strainer go a LONG ways in this recipe!) and a little bit of patience you can do this. Guess what? I made this the first time and it was a breeze and everything worked like a charm. Made it a second time to have a batch for pictures and… I had to re-do it 3 times!! Thats right, THREE. I figured out my failing point: I was over-heating the milk which caused the eggs to curdle, even though they were tempered, which in the end caused the custard mixture to separate into this watery, curdled mess. Third times the charm and I got it! Its ok to make mistakes – that is how you learn!

I adapted the recipe and technique from The Kitchn’s article and it was life-saving. I am not the type to figure out a custard base by myself! They have wonderful step-by-step techniques, recipes and FAQ’s that you can turn to if in need of help.

I absolutely love the addition of honey to your regular ice cream. Ever-so-slightly sweet and scrumptious in every bite you take. It goes perfectly with cobblers, tarts and pies!

PS: my mom is the best for coming over to help me drizzle honey 🙂

 

Honey Ice Cream

Recipe and technique adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons good honey
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Freeze your ice cream churner bowl according to package instructions. Recommended to freeze up to 24 hours in advance. Along with that, put a freezer-safe mixing bowl into the freezer 1 hour prior to making the ice cream.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they become smooth and a light yellow color. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla and honey over low heat until it comes to a low simmer. Using a 1/2 cup of the heated milk, slowly pour the heated milk into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling. You can then slowly pour the egg mixture into the rest of the heated milk in the sauce pan while whisking. Slowly whisk the egg and milk mixture while you bring it to a very low simmer. You want the mixture to thicken slightly, but not overcook. Heat until the mixture reads 170 degrees without the thermometer touching the bottom of the pan.
  4. Instantly remove the mixture from the heat and strain into the chilled mixing bowl that you had in the freezer. This will insure that the mixture is smooth and bring down the temperature to prevent it from cooking any further. Whisk in the heavy cream and set the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes while you get the ice cream churner bowl out of the freezer and ready for use.
  5. Pour the ice cream mixture into the frozen ice cream churner bowl, and churn on low according to device instructions. It should take about 20-25 minutes if the ice cream mixture was prepared correctly. (If the mixture does not cool enough prior, it will take longer to churn.)
  6. Serve immediately if a “soft-serve” consistency is desire, or freeze 5-6 hours (covered) to have regular ice cream consistency. Enjoy up to 2 weeks in the freezer.

Shop Ashley LeMieux

I’m not a fashion fanatic by any means, but I am definitely all for clothes that are comfortable, affordable and make me feel confident and beautiful in my own skin. Shop Ashley LeMieux (SAL) fits the bill perfectly! I found SAL last year via Instagram and my closet is slowly being overcome by SAL pieces and I have no problem with it at all. I love how every item I purchase from Shop Ashley LeMieux is comfortable yet flattering, modest yet promotes confidence, makes you feel like a million bucks yet doesn’t hurt your pocketbook. And the hubs loves them too! So its a win win situation for me :).

Shop Ashley LeMieux

Black Floral Jumpsuit (size small)

Seriously, you guys, I just can’t say enough about how much I love all of my SAL pieces! It has truly taken the hassle and worry about what I am going to wear in the morning as you can just throw them on and go about your day. From midi dresses, maxi dresses, shirts, pants, jumpsuits, jackets to even swimwear, there are so many choices to choose from!

Shop this Dinah Midi Dress in Navy (wearing a medium)

The size and fit of everything is pretty true to size and I am either a small or medium depending on the fit of the item. If it is going to be a more snug/tight dress or shirt, I may size up to a medium to stay comfy. And they have pants that fit both my waist and my booty!! I will always say yes to that! Everything has washed well and I couldn’t be happier.

Perfect Day Dress in Brick (size small)

Not only are the clothes great, but Ashley LeMieux is the greatest. I love her motto for the clothes and lifestyle which is, “For Women Who Do”. And its SO true! The clothes she supplies and the community she has built with SAL promotes “women who do”. If thats either in the workplace, at home or out and about, it doesn’t matter as everyone is in this together.

Alice Plaid Midi Dress (size small)

Speaking of community, she started a private Facebook group that you can request to join (or send me a message and I’ll add you because you need in on this! :)) where Ashley and others can share their pictures in their SAL, talk about upcoming new releases (she even gives you a head start to shop before she releases to the public!), ask questions about fit and sizing and just share your SAL love. There is also a separate Facebook group you can request to join where you are able to buy, sell and trade your Shop Ashley LeMieux items with other SAL girls. I’ve done it a couple times and its easy breezy! You just communicate everything through PayPal and its an easy way to snag something that may have sold out or pass something on if it doesn’t fit the way you were hoping (there is also a return process). If it can’t get any better, theres also an affiliate program that you can join to make some money for your SAL referrals! How much better can it get?!

Mauve Linen Pants (size small) Floral T-Shirt (size small)

AND THERE’S A TUESDAY DEAL OF THE WEEK. That means every Tuesday she launches a product that is typically under $20 and goes FAST, so you gotta snag it if you want it! When New Arrivals launch, they typically go quick so get it that puppy in your cart. If an item sells out, you can request to join a waitlist and if they get more in stock they will notify you! You guys, pictured below is the first Shop Ashley LeMieux dress that I ever bought (it got me hooked!) and she just got a surprise restock in!! GO GET IT. I have the blush one and I may just have to snag the mint one :).

Audrina Dress in Blush (size small)

So, if you couldn’t tell, I sorta love all of my Shop Ashley LeMieux items and you will most likely see me wearing them if I’m not in my sweats. You can find items perfect for all of life’s occasions. I’ve worn them out on a date with the hubs, holidays, church, funerals, weddings, work and even to the county fair. Go check it out and I hope you love it as much as I do! 🙂

Shop Ashley LeMieux

 

Fresh Peach Smoothies

Peaches, peaches and more peaches please! I just can’t get enough of them! Shhh, no one tell my husband, but I think I’m going to get another lug of them tomorrow – I just can’t contain myself! That’s ok though, he loves me and my peach addiction so all is good. My cousin in Alaska said she wasn’t sure if she would be able to find any good fresh peaches up there, and after receiving that dreadful news I seriously considered what it would take and how much it would cost to get a lug of fresh peaches sent up to her. Poor soul, no one should ever live without fresh peaches at least once a year in their life! I may still be considering how we could make this happen…

This smoothie is a great mid-day refresher and pick-me-up. The fresh peaches shine through and give it a great sweet and tangy taste.  Its light and velvety all at the same time! If you really can’t get ahold of any good fresh peaches, or if you just gotta have this smoothie outside of peach season, frozen peaches will do. I would just lower the amount of frozen mango that you use so that it doesn’t become too thick. Weird fact about me: I absolutely LOVE peach skins. Peaches just aren’t the same with out them! I don’t know about you, but I just gotta have them! This recipe calls for the peach skins to be left on, but if you are someone who can’t stand them, then feel free to peel your peach prior.

The recipe listed below is for one smoothie serving, so if you are making it for a crowd just double it per person you are serving. Or just make them all individually because who doesn’t love getting to blend things up in a blender and pour into mason jar with a colorful straw? Ok, I may just be talking about myself.  Anyways, this smoothie is like sweet, sweet summertime and you just gotta have it. Oh, and it’s dairy-free!

 

Fresh Peach Smoothie

1 serving size listed

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh medium-large sized peach, seeded and cut into slices with the skin left on
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 3/4 cup ice
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If necessary, add in more pineapple juice to keep the smoothie the correct consistency.
  2. Enjoy!

 

Palomas

I am, by no means, a cocktail/alcohol expert. When I have a bottle of wine in my house it is either going into a pitcher of sangria or being used to cook with (or lets be real: its from when we had guests over and they accidentally left it).  A lot of my family and friends think its funny when I post cocktails or alcoholic beverages since I don’t drink that much myself, but at least you know that if I post one it’s gotta be good because the alcohol needs to be invisible for me to like it! Hands down my favorite drink: Amaretto Sour. I will never attempt to make it at home because I don’t want to risk ruining it for me, but will occasionally enjoy one when we go out to dinner.

Since I’m not much of an alcoholic beverage drinker myself, you better believe I am not going to spend much time making one at home if I’m going to. With that being said, its paloma time! I was so excited when I first saw these because I was like, “Hey! I could make that!” And so I did. And they are pretty dang tasty if I don’t say so myself. With all of the guidelines that I mentioned earlier about me liking an alcoholic beverage (sweet, quick, and no trace of alcohol), this little paloma fit the bill. Depending on the tequila you use, you may be able to taste it more depending on it’s strength, but my hubs made sure to have the smooth stuff on hand for me to use. I sound like such a pansy… oh well its who I am! 🙂

Hang onto summer with this sweet, refreshing citrus drink. You can even enjoy it all year round! Make one quick for yourself to sip on after a long week at work, or whip up a batch for a crowd of family or friends. These palomas are fun and easy and won’t disappoint!

 

Palomas

Measurements per 1 glass serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges
  • Grapefruit wedges

Directions:

  1. Fill the cocktail glass 3/4 of the way full with crushed ice.
  2. Pour the grapefruit juice, lemon-lime soda and tequila over the ice. Give the drink a quick stir to combine the ingredients.
  3. Serve the paloma with a lime and grapefruit wedge to squeeze over the top.

Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits

Just a little disclaimer before we get too far into this: this is probably one of the most un-traditional shrimp and grits recipes and there are most likely people down south rolling in their graves about it, but it is THAT GOOD. Ok, disclaimer over. Talk about a dish packing a punch with flavor and homey goodness! Take a weeknight meal to the next level with this recipe and don’t even work up a sweat, because you can get this done in 30 minutes! Oh yeah, thats right! Serve this up with a smile on your face, because you better believe people are going to want seconds. And if they don’t, too bad for them because that means more for you, or if you want to bring some to me I will gladly take it.

The cauliflower takes place of the grits in this recipe, and they are so good that you won’t even notice! The cauliflower takes on a potato-like consistency, so you won’t miss not having a starchy companion to go along with your shrimp. Simple ingredients tossed together to make a delicious meal. Looking for the perfect dish to mix up your weeknight originals? Look no further! Surprise your family and friends with a little punch of heat from the cajun shrimp and coolness from the creamy cauliflower. It goes quick, so you may want to make double!

If you have access to good, fresh shrimp, go for it! Otherwise, since I live in Nebraska, I typically buy frozen, de-veined, raw shrimp from the freezer aisle and it works perfectly.

And as if this healthy, quick and delicious meal couldn’t get any better, it reheats like a charm. Thats right: double up, meal prep or just eat lots of it because you can microwave it and still have a southern party in your mouth.

 

Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup light beer (I used Modelo)
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Green onions for garnish, thinly sliced
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large, deep pot, bring enough water to a boil to submerge the cauliflower florets in. Boil on high for about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for a couple minutes more, or until the cauliflower florets are soft enough to puncture with a fork or knife. Drain and place the cauliflower in a blender or food processor.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add in the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes or until they start to turn pink. Season with the cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Deglaze the shrimp by pouring in the beer and making sure to scrape anything off of the bottom of the pan. Simmer on medium heat for a couple minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Add in the butter and let simmer very lightly until the butter is melted.
  3. Blend the cauliflower with the milk, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high for a couple minutes to ensure a smooth, creamy texture.
  4. Serve immediately with the shrimp and sauce ladled over the cauliflower and topped with the sliced green onions.

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

My love for peaches runs deep…and pretty crazy. If you know me or have been following along, you know my love for peach season! IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST! Seriously, far better than Christmas in July. Here in NE, I make myself wait until the Colorado peaches get delivered and you better believe I buy more than one lug. Anything from fresh peaches, cobblers, smoothies, grilled peaches, crisps to crumbles, I gotta have it! 

Peaches and blueberries are a classic combo to me and I love how the blueberries accent the peaches perfectly. Think of a 3-1 ratio of peaches to blueberries – the peaches are the star of the show and the blueberries are the back-up dancers. Let’s talk about the topping (because we all know its the best part). It’s the perfect mix between a cobbler and crisp, so you get a crumble! Sugar cookie – like and all sorts of buttery deliciousness. This is the perfect dessert to gather around with family or friends and just dig in. We for sure did it today when we pulled this puppy out of the oven! And let’s be honest, we’re going to be re-heating this for breakfast as well. Its healthy enough it has fruit, right?

Top it off with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt if you’re pulling this pan out for breakfast in the morning.

An hour may seem like a long time for this pot of gold and blue deliciousness to bake away in the oven, but trust me, its worth every single minute! If you don’t have fresh peaches and blueberries, feel free to use frozen! That way you can make this dessert all year long.

 

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

 

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 6 peaches, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crumble

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine all the ingredients for the filling together in a 9×13 pan, making sure that the peaches and blueberries are evenly coated with the dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble topping. Working with your hands or a pastry cutter, cut/crumble the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly combined and the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Top the peaches and blueberries with the crumble topping mixture and spread out evenly. Bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is lightly browned and the peaches and blueberries are cooked down and edges are slightly caramelized. Let sit for 20-30 minutes prior to serving to let the juices set. This can be made a day in advance and re-heated as well. Enjoy!

 

My Fitness Journey Part 1

Let’s be honest, I never used to enjoy fitness. Growing up, I was a farm kid and would ride my horse all day if I could and would definitely clean a stall before I ever cleaned my room. The only sports I was ever involved in were horse riding, cheerleading (yes, it is a sport – especially when you are hiking girls up over your head!) and cross country. I about died with the last one listed there (raise of hands if you were ever the one bringing up the rear of the running pack!). Really exerting myself physically wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but more so felt like I had to if I wanted to “stay thin”.

The summer between junior high and my freshman year of high school, I struggled with an eating disorder. My food intake was small portions, very (if any) low-fat, and few calories. I wasn’t eating what was good and right for my body, but rather what I thought was healthy at that time (guess what, it wasn’t). I remember weighing myself and the little flutters of joy when I saw that I weighed less than I did the last time. 98 pounds was the lowest I ever saw on the scale – and for a little background info: I started at 140. It was not healthy. My love for cooking dimmed and I was consumed with my body image. I am so very blessed to have loving and supportive parents and family that made me realize how I wasn’t taking care of my body, but rather hindering it from growing into who I truly was meant to be. I remember the first time I ate something that I had forever deemed “unhealthy” and it was my Mom’s infamous chocolate mocha cheesecake. A bite of cheesecake has never been more freeing. I have always grown up in a family that created healthy meals for dinner that were packed with good-for-you proteins, fats, starches and veggies, so it was pretty easy for me to get back on track with eating foods to build my body with their support.

All of that was never something that I really wanted to talk about. I just sorta moved on with life and my love of cooking came back with it. It’s not a journey to share to get sympathy, but rather one to share to encourage strength as we are growing up in a world that is pounding into our heads that our body isn’t good enough. I have learned to listen to my body and to know what feels good for it to do, and not to do. It’s definitely not easy, but I think it’s something that we all need to do. Listen to what is good for YOUR body, not what the media is telling you what would be good. Because you know what? I tried it, and it wasn’t good.

Fitness came to be a love of mine around my senior year in high school. When I started working out the way that I wanted to instead of the way I thought I had to, I was hooked. To me, fitness makes me feel SO good. Even now, my husband (and I) can tell when I have and have not worked out in awhile as my confidence and well-being spike when I have.

I’m no fitness coach or guru by any means, but I do have a desire to continue to work my body to stay healthy. This can look like many things to me and here are a few of my favorites: walking (even if thats all you get out and do, just do it!), stair climbing, weights, hiking, running, push-ups/planks/squats etc, healthy and meaningful eating and napping or going to bed early.

Let’s break it down:

  • Walking – I absolutely love it! If its on a treadmill for an hour, or walking with the hubs on the farm at the end of the night, it just makes me feel good!
  • Stair Climbing – I’m addicted, I admit. I love the way it challenges me and makes my booty feel when I’m done (real talk!). I typically cool down after this by walking. This is also an easy respiratory workout for me to do (more explained under “Running”)
  • Weights – Definitely an area of growth for me as I feel out of place doing so, but helps me work on toning my muscles and makes me feel all “beasty” after doing so! (oh yeah, I got this!)
  • Running – Ever since I was born I have always struggled with asthma. Its never been bad enough to the point to have an asthma attack, but has always been there looming over my lungs. On my bad days I can have as low as 66% lung usage, and in the upper 80’s-lower 90’s on my good days. Needless to say, running hasn’t always been my friend. BUT I am adapting and training my mind and body to work through it. Very rarely will you catch me running on a treadmill. I’ll wait until it’s nice enough outside 🙂
  • Push-ups/planks/squats etc – these are some of my love-hate favorite things to do! I love having different workouts that I can do in my own home if I am not able to run outside or make it to the gym. 30 minutes is all you need to get nice and sweaty!
  • Healthy and Meaningful Eating – as you know, I LOVE to cook. I will always try to have a healthy meal prepared, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to live a little and have my cake too. My day can consist of a granola bar, coffee, spinach smoothie, leftovers from the night before for lunch and Chick-Fil-A for dinner (ok, we are trying to space it out to only let ourselves go there every two-three weeks 🙂 )or it can look completely different and I have had to learn that it is OK for it to do so. I want to put food into my body that is going to nourish it and make me feel good after eating it.
  • Napping/Going to bed early – I am not a frequent napper (they typically make me feel lazy), but I have had to learn that along with listening to my body with fitness and food, it is also with rest. Let your body get the rest it deserves!

So, here’s me. Feeling all exposed and vulnerable as this is not something I’m used to doing. But, here is also me: full of energy and excitement to be sharing part of my fitness journey with you!

It’s SO so easy to get sucked into the world and what it tells you on how your body should look. I know I fall into that trap every day. Looking into the mirror, I am my worst self-critic, pointing out things that I want to change. I am still learning, but God has been laying it on my heart to shift my eyes. See myself fearfully and wonderfully made. Be the woman He created me to be. Be the woman and wife that my husband sees. I’m not saying its easy to adjust our thinking, but at the end of the day our bodies are a temple to take care of and to glorify Him with.

 

#foodtographyworkshop

You guys, I can’t tell you enough how much fun I had at the #foodtographyworkshop! Ann Arbor was the perfect little town to host this food blogger get-together and Sarah Fennel (Broma Bakery) is packed full of knowledge and insight. She was certainly the “hostess with the mostest” as she and her assistants provided a wonderful weekend for us, and I’ll tell you what, we never went hungry!

Sarah is the face behind Broma Bakery and if you have ever gotten to lay eyes on her food photography then you will understand why I was so excited to make this trip! Not only is her photography (and knowledge about photography) inspiring, but also her keen eye for food styling and baking AMAZING cakes. She was fun and light-hearted and made everyone feel at home. In fact, I think everyone felt at home amongst one another because you were never alone being the “weird person” standing on their chair at a restaurant to get the perfect picture of the plates below you. Pictures were snapped, boomerangs were done until perfected, and food was typically eaten cold by the time you were done photographing it but it didn’t matter because you had a happy tummy and wonderful company around you.

I’m not going to spill all the beans of everything we learned, but I am so excited to put everything into action! And OH MY GOODNESS she taught me how to properly use my Canon 6D! Me and Betty (the 6D) weren’t getting along too well so I kept defaulting back to my Nikon that I was more comfortable with. I still love my Nikon, but Betty and I are pretty tight now… you could say that its gotten pretty serious between us.

Here are a few of my favorite snaps from the weekend that I hope you all enjoy! If you ever get the opportunity to gather with fellow food bloggers and photographers jump right on it – you won’t be disappointed!

PS – see if you can tell the difference in the photos from when I switched from the Nikon 5300 to the Canon 6D 🙂

 

 

Grilled Pita Pizza Pockets

Oooo you guys let me just tell you how excited I am about these pita pizza pockets! Say that five times fast: Grilled Pita Pizza Pockets! Its a tongue twister, but a tummy pleaser! Summer and grilling season are in full swing and no one wants to have to turn on their oven. Still want your favorite slice of pizza? Pack the goodies into one of these pita pizza pockets, toss it on the grill and you are set to go! Talk about a fun and effortless dinner for a weeknight meal, summer bash, family bbq or your next campfire. Thats right, these little babies can be quickly tossed over your next campfire. Not only are they delicious but they are healthy (depending on your fillings 😉 and portable. The hubs was mowing the lawn when his pita pizza pocket came off the grill and he grabbed it and went on his way to finish up the lawn. Talk about a major win.

Pack up the ingredients for your next camping trip or have them on hand for when you need a delicious dinner in snap. Let everyone help and build their own pocket! I love the taste and health benefits of using whole wheat pita bread and you should be able to find it in the bread aisle of your grocery store. You can make these meat-packed, meatless, vegetarian, vegan or whichever way your heart desires. Have some leftovers to get rid of? PERFECT. Create a leftover grilled pocket!

This is going to be a little different as I am not going to post specific recipes for each kind. Use these as guidelines to create the pita pizza pocket that will make your heart happy!  HAVE FUN. Cook without boundaries.

 

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Working with one pita round at a time, lay it out on a 10×10 inch piece of foil (or enough foil to wrap it up once filled). If you are putting these over a campfire, I would recommend using heavy duty foil. Using the side of your hand, gently but firmly crease the middle of the pita to create a natural fold so that it won’t break in half when you fold your pita pocket.
  3. Place your fillings on one half of the pita round. Fold the top half over the filling ingredients, making sure to keep the ingredients tucked inside so they do not spill out. Tightly fold and wrap in the foil to create a pocket.
  4. Grill the pita pocket about 4-5 minutes on each side depending on strength of your grill.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Here’s a few of our favorite combos:

 

The KJ Special

  • Whole wheat pita
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Pepperoni
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Diced green bell pepper

 

The Midwest Classic

  • Whole wheat pita
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Pepperoni
  • Cream cheese (YASSS)

 

The Veg

  • Whole wheat pita
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Feta
  • Small broccoli florets
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced mushrooms

 

 

Grilled Peaches with Mulled Blueberries

John and I are binge watching Friends on Netflix because we have never seen it before (yes, yes everyone gasp) and we are averaging 5 episodes a night with no shame. I would totally be Monica (germ freak and cook, duh) and John is a mix between Ross and Chandler so it averages out in the end. A little game of hide-and-seek on a Friday night in between episodes keeps things spiced up. Don’t worry, its the old-fashioned, innocent, genuine type of hide-and-seek, but when I told my Grandma about it and everyone was having a good laugh that we were actually playing hide-and-seek in the first place and they were informed that clothes were still on she says: “Well, wheres the fun in that?!” Oh Grandma… haha!

Just so everyone knows, I was the official winner of our hide-and-seek game.

Anyone who knows me knows that I freak out when fresh peach season rolls around. We get them by the lugs when the Colorado peach season is at its peak (we’re almost there!!) and my heart couldn’t be happier. So, here I am writing about a grilled peach recipe that I whipped up and daydreaming about what I can do with the other fresh peaches I have sitting on my counter in front of me. I’m a peach freak and proud. I love summer, grilling and being outside and couldn’t wait to get some peaches on our new grill! This recipe is such a fun and simple dessert that can be whipped up in a flash and feed a crowd (or just yourself).  If you don’t get the perfect grill marks on the peaches, don’t worry about it! They still develop a warm, juicy flavor that pairs perfectly with a dollop of ice cream and the mulled blueberries. Let the blueberries simmer away on the stovetop while you grill up the peaches and you have a worry-free dessert ready in no time!

Now, what are we going to do with ourselves when we finish Friends and peaches go out of season?

 

 

Grilled Peaches with Mulled Blueberries

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 peaches, halved and pitted
  • Canola oil
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon peach Schnapps
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (try to go for the sweeter kinds, any will do)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, Schnapps, wine, sugar and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and let boil for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to low to let the mixture simmer. The longer it simmers the more syrup-like it will get.
  3. Brush the peach halves generously with the canola oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill grates. Grill the peach halves for about 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your grill and flame. You want them to be warmed through and to try to get the grill marks on them. They will also start to caramelize.
  4. Serve the peach halves with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of the mulled blueberries.

Sugar Cookie Dough Truffles

In elementary school, I was always the kid who had a pocket full of quarters that I stole out of my dad’s coin jar. You wanna know why? Because the kid with the quarters was always the one who could buy the little cups of cookie dough at the end of the food line! They were $0.25 a scoop and you better believe that I always had at least $0.75 in my pocket. You could choose between sugar cookie with sprinkles, chocolate chip or peanut butter. My scoops of choice were always sugar cookie and chocolate chip cookie dough. The lunch ladies loved me.

Needless to say, I needed these little cookie dough balls back in my life! They are like scrumptious, cakey gumdrops of happiness. You know whats even more great? They are pretty darn easy to make! I mean, just think of all the cookie dough truffles you could be eating right now! Low maintenance and ingredients that you most likely have on hand. No excuses to not make them! Even if you’re on a diet, you gotta have at least one! I had to try to not eat all the dough while I was making them!

My mom said they tasted like Christmas cookies so they are officially “mom-approved!” My husband thought I was a little crazy, but he obviously didn’t grow up with a few quarters in his pocket to buy himself some dough.

This is such a kid-friendly little treat that you can have your littles help you roll them up and decorate them however they please. You’ll only just have to find something to do while you wait for the dough to set in the fridge for 20 or so minutes. Its basically like a lifetime, but they are worth they wait. We’re calling them truffles to make them ultra fancy and special.

 

Sugar Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons), softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Sprinkles (I used sanding sugar sprinkles)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread the flour out evenly on a baking sheet and toast the flour for a couple minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the almond extract, vanilla extract and salt and blend until smooth. Mix in the flour and the mixture will become crumbly. Beat in the milk and beat until the dough is smooth, about a couple minutes.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for 25 minutes. Using rounded teaspoonfuls, roll the dough into balls and roll in sprinkles as desired. Refrigerate the dough prior to serving and let sit at room temperature at least 5-10 minutes before eating if the dough has been in the refrigerator for more than an hour.

Candied Waffles with Blueberry Apple Compote

I don’t know what it was, but I never grew up eating frozen waffles! We either made them homemade or went over to Grandma’s house to get Mickey Waffles with chocolate chips. I personally more of a pancake gal myself (I’m weird and I love raw pancake batter, like really love it), but I’ll make room for a waffle! Needless to say, when we were grocery shopping together for the first time for the new house a few weeks back and our cart was quickly filling up with multiple flavors of ice cream and frozen waffles I just smiled and shook my head. My husband is a five year old.

You do have to give him kuddos, though, because he did end up grabbing organic 7-Grain Kashi waffles and I have to say that I was pretty impressed. For a frozen waffle, these things are good! Yesterday was just one of those days where there was quite a bit going on and I just needed to cook something. I saw apples sitting on our counter and knew I had a pack of blueberries in the fridge begging to be used. And then it hit me – we have all of these waffles sitting in our freezer that we haven’t even touched! It’s waffle time. The toaster is still packed away in a box, so making them in the oven was my only option and oh boy, it is a good option. I loaded these puppies with brown sugar and caramelized them in the oven until the topping was warm and crunchy. Simmering the apples and blueberries together with sugar and cinnamon creates the perfect medley to top off these waffles. Apples are so good during the summertime, don’t let their only shining moments be in the fall!

The colors are pretty great if I don’t say so myself. And talk about a quick and easy breakfast or brunch to get on the table in a snap! You don’t have to worry about whisking up waffle batter or dragging the waffle maker out of the cupboards. All you gotta do is toss some fruit and goodies together on the stovetop, let them do their own thing for a bit, and top off some candied frozen waffles with a deliciously beautiful blueberry apple compote. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and a swirl of honey and you are the master of breakfast and brunch. It’s not just a frozen waffle!

PS: this recipe serves 2, but you could easily double it or triple it to feed family and friends!

 

 

Candied Waffles with Blueberry Apple Compote 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen waffles of choice
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 1 apple, cored and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water, apple, blueberries, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons regular sugar, cinnamon and salt to a boil. Let boil for 5-8 minutes and then reduce to a low-boil or rough simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and has created a syrup-like consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before serving.
  3. While the fruit is simmering, line your waffles out on a baking sheet. Top each waffle with a tablespoon of brown sugar (if you are not a huge brown sugar fan then reduce this amount). Bake the waffles for 5 minutes at 425. Turn the oven off and turn your broiler on high and broil the tops of the waffles until the sugar starts to caramelize and get crunchy. The timing on this will be different depending on your stove, so keep an eye on them to not let them burn. Remove from the oven when the tops are slightly browned, about 2-5 minutes.
  4. Top the waffles with the blueberry apple compote, Greek yogurt, honey, nuts or whatever else your heart desires.

 

No-Churn S’mores Ice Cream

Summer is almost here! Its been so darn hot out that it may as well be! You know what that means? Time for campfires, grilling and of course the classic s’mores! You just can’t go through the summer without having one. If you’re either a burnt marshmallow or a golden mallow lover, this simple dessert is not only delicious, but full of memories, friendship and family. I mean, how often do you eat a s’mores on your own? Not very often! You are typically surrounded by those you love, new and old friends, the great outdoors and a gooey, sticky s’mores in your hand while someone is spraying bug spray because the mosquitos are starting to come out.

A memory that I have growing up and have always loved is of my parents letting us make s’mores over the gas range stove. When you’re a little kid and just gotta get your grubby, little hands on a s’mores but aren’t anywhere near a campfire, this is the way to do it! A big mallow grin will fill your face as you skewer some marshmallows, roast them golden brown over a flame in the house, and squish them in between graham crackers and extra chocolate to make the perfect hand-held dessert. John and I have had an electric stove top since we’ve been married, so when we were stove shopping you know right what I went to. You could say that my excitement level was pretty high the other night when these childhood memories flooded into my mind and I remembered all the possibilities of what we can do! I just knew that I had to make this ice cream.

I love the simplicity of no-churn ice cream and the satisfaction that it gives serving it up. People will say, “You made ice cream??” YEP! No-churn or not, its special to say that you made it. And guess what, this s’mores ice cream made non-s’mores-loving people love it! (I know, I know, its hard to believe that there are non-s’mores loving people out there). It’s so s’mores filled and scrumptious that you won’t be able to pass it up! There wasn’t even enough left for me to have a bowl after everyone had gone through it, but that just shows the love!

Let this decadent, sweet treat satisfy your sweet tooth and bring out your inner kid!

PS – this is VERY kid friendly 🙂 Let them have fun making it with you!

 

No-Churn S’mores Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 – 16 oz bag marshmallows
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 milk chocolate bars (approx 6 oz total)
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until light and fluffy and stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and very lightly spray with cooking spray. Spread the marshmallows out evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes or until the centers start to get gooey. Turn your oven to broil and broil the marshmallows until the tops are golden brown (or slightly charred if preferred) and the centers are cooked through, about another few minutes. This time frame will depend on the strength of your oven and broiler. Just make sure that you keep your eyes on it during this process. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
  3. In a separate separate small bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk with the gooey marshmallows until combined. Fold the marshmallow mixture gently into the whipped cream until combined. Add in the graham crackers and fold until combined. Making sure to not over-mix.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted. Try for 30 seconds, then stir, then another 30 seconds until melted. Let the chocolate cool for about 3-5 minutes, and then gently swirl and fold the chocolate into the ice cream mixture. You don’t want to combine it completely as you will wants some “globs” and swirls of chocolate to freeze into the ice cream mixture instead of turning the base of the ice cream chocolate.
  5. Freeze the ice cream in a freezer safe bowl, container or pan that is covered for at least 6 hours and up to a couple days in advance. Serve with roasted marshmallows on top.

Summer Sangria

Woohoo! The first blog post in the new house! 🙂 Whew! This has been a whirlwind start to June, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Boxes still have yet to be completely unpacked and the basement is currently the only furnished area in the house besides our mattress on the floor of our bedroom. But do not fear, we will be getting some new furniture coming our way! It’s been kinda fun – like a big ol’ sleepover/camping in our new home. We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on June 6 (yippee!) by eating a frozen pizza on the couch and falling asleep to a movie. Nothing glamorous, but so what we needed together.  Between packing, cleaning, moving, cleaning, unpacking and more cleaning, I was wanting a little drink to tickle my tastebuds. So I said forget unpacking – I’m making sangria! How could you not want a glass (or two) of the delicious drink with this gorgeous, hot, summer weather?! I invited my mom over (she was very willing because no one should ever day drink alone) and we did dishes and kitchen work while sipping this sangria all before 4 in the afternoon. It was great – I laughed the rest of the night!

Its fresh, juicy fruit marinated in fruity wine and alcohol, so it can be deliciously dangerous! The hubs even said it was the best sangria I’ve made to date. WIN. This cocktail is perfect for summertime sipping on the patio, large get togethers, or to have for a little date night (or obviously day drinking with your mom ha).  You can make it a day ahead and she just gets better with age. Yes, this sangria is a she. The fruit will break down and get mushy after a few days, so I wouldn’t recommend not making it too far in advance. Let this stress-free summertime cocktail be the star. She really wants to be. I had all these cute mason jars that I had just unpacked so it was perfect timing to whip this up! Regular wine glasses and pitchers will do just fine as well, but I am in love with my giant mason jar pitcher! You can typically find this size wherever you get your canning goods. Its perfect for serving up this summer sangria!

After you finish your glass you get to eat all the yummy, alcohol-soaked fruit so its like a drink and dessert at the same time. And it screams summer. You need it.

 

Summer Sangria

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle Pink Moscato wine
  • 4 Tablespoons peach Schnapps
  • 3 white peaches, cored and sliced
  • 6 oz fresh blueberries
  • 8 oz fresh strawberries, quartered (about 6-8 strawberries depending on size)
  • 1 12 oz can lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the lemon-lime soda into a large pitcher and stir gently to incorporate all the flavors. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a day in advance.
  2. When you are ready to serve, add in the lemon-lime soda and stir gently to combine. Enjoy!

 

Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp

Our move-in date got pushed back a week due to typical finishing touches that needed to get done, but we still haven’t packed a single thing. We are officially the world’s worst packers! I mean, how much laundry can I possibly keep doing?! It seems as though it is endless! I now have a realization of how many blankets we have. We have a blanket problem. You can bet those buggers are going to be put to good use of being cushions for packing dishes. Please do not allow us to buy another blanket. Needless to say, I couldn’t bare to pass up any more fresh produce in the grocery store! I have been doing so good on not re-stocking our pantry and fridge, but come on, how do you expect me to go through nectarine, blueberry, cherry and all other sorts of goodie’s season without eating some?! I caved. But it was SO worth it. The hubs thought so too. We’ve put one box together so thats progress. Still can’t figure out how to use that packing tape thingy though – I can bet we will be YouTubing that later today.

If you’ve been around me during peach season, then you KNOW its love. My giddy excitement can’t be contained! So, when I laid eyes on these nectarines (insert heart-eyed emoji) it was love at first sight. You know whats so great about crisps? You can put any of your favorite fruits in their and its guaranteed goodness! It wouldn’t be a crisp without that buttery, crunchy, cookie-like topping. Its like the crouton to a salad – you just gotta have it. I went for a oatmeal cookie feel with this one here. Another great thing about crisps (or cobblers…or pies…)? It can be breakfast, lunch, mid-day snack or dessert! How more versatile can you get? Top it off with Greek yogurt for a mid-day snack and break out the vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert. You basically win on all levels with this. I make a similar recipe with peaches, so if you are a peach freak like me you know you will be whipping this recipe out once you’ve got some fresh peaches in hand.

Frozen blueberries make great crisps and cobblers. Fresh is always great, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about the consistency and how frozen blueberries break down into a nice, thick sauce. You can certainly sub the frozen blueberries in this recipe for fresh, but if you are not in peak blueberry season and they are a little more pricey to get the fresh ones, then I would spend less and get the frozen for just as good quality. Heck, if you are wanting this in the dead of winter and there are no fresh nectarines (or peaches) or blueberries around you, then grab a bag of each from the freezer section! You won’t be disappointed. Or if your super-duper smart like my momma, buy some extra nectarines or peaches during peak season and freeze your own! Brilliant.

PS – I also used up every last speck of flour I have in this house for this recipe so we are moving an empty flour canister. It was rewarding and depressing at the same time. You should never have an empty flour canister.

 

Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp

 

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 4 large nectarines, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 12 oz bag frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together all of the filling ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until all the fruit is coated with the flour and sugars. Pour the fruit mixture into desired baking dish. I used an inch thick tart pan, but a 13×9, 9×9 or casserole dish can be used for desired thickness of the crisp.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar and brown sugar for the topping until evenly combined. Using your fingers, a knife or a pastry blender, cut or “massage” the butter cubes into the dry ingredients until loose clumps form and the butter is broken down into smaller pieces.
  4. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the top of the fruit and bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving with ice cream, whipped cream or mascarpone.
  5. Reheat leftovers for breakfast or mid-day snack and serve with yogurt 🙂 Or reheat for dessert the next day if any of it is left.

 

 

Spinach and Salmon Mac N Cheese

Spinach and Salmon Mac N Cheese, or fancy words for salmon and noodle casserole. You know, like the old-fashioned tuna and noodle casserole? Everyone who knows me just had their jaws drop to the floor – did she seriously just say casserole? Yep, I did. This casserole-banning girl just said casserole. Maybe I’m ok with it because it doesn’t have any “Cream of…” soups in it, or that the spinach can make an arguable healthy statement, or maybe because Molly Yeh from Molly on the Range made casseroles cool again. Or maybe because its just THAT GOOD. Whatever it is – I caved. But I’m still going to call it mac n cheese…even though I topped it with crushed potato chips…

You could definitely say that I’ve hit the “building a house and moving and packing” speed bump of all speed bumps. Because we haven’t even started packing yet and I’ve hit a wall! I’ve been resisting and holding myself back from going to the grocery store, so you could say that its been a struggle. All of this fresh produce around me and all I want to do is cook! But, I must stay focused and eat up what we have on hand so that we can restock the new house with fresh groceries. So that is what got us here. I opened up the cupboard and fridge and this is what I found: a half used box of macaroni shells, packs of salmon, a half used bag of spinach in the fridge, a goat cheese log that only had a tablespoon left to give, and a bottle of heavy cream that was begging to be used before summer comes around. BOOM. Spinach and Salmon Mac. How is this not the best weeknight meal?! Just open up your fridge and pantry and use what you have on hand. Don’t have spinach? Cool, use frozen peas or whatever green veggie you have on hand. Tuna instead of salmon? Ok! Bowties instead of shells? You get the picture. Customize it and make it your “moving and building” mac – or “whatever is going on in your life” mac. Because sometimes we just need some mac n cheese.

Please note: this recipe is going to be measured by half-used products that you may have in your pantry for kicks and giggles :). If you are using “whole” ingredients (such as a whole box of pasta), then simply double the recipe below.

 

Spinach and Salmon Mac N Cheese

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 box (8 oz) macaroni shells (or a 16 oz box if doubling the recipe to use a full box)
  • 5 oz packaged salmon (I used 2 -2.5 ounce packets)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 1oz bags potato chips, crushed (or 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, boil the pasta according to package instructions to cook to al dente.
  3. In a separate sauce pan while the pasta is cooking, bring the heavy cream to a low boil. Whisk in the mozzarella until smooth and creamy. Reduce the heat and whisk in the goat cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and place back into the saucepan used to boil it over very low heat. Pour the heavy cream mixture over the top of the pasta and stir to coat. Add in the salmon and spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and pour the mac n cheese mixture into an oven safe baking dish such as a tart pan, pie dish, 9×9, or a 9×13 if doubling the recipe.
  5. Sprinkle the crushed potato chips evenly over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Enjoy! Saves and reheats great as leftovers!

 

 

Grandma’s Texas Sheet Cake

Every year growing up when I was asked what I wanted to eat for my birthday my response would be simple and to the point: “Grandma’s Texas Sheet Cake and homemade ice cream”. My birthday is July 5, so outdoor activities and grilling up burgers and dogs was typically involved, but you know what I was all about. Gimme that cake! These weren’t just any regular Texas Sheet Cakes though. They were my Grandma’s sheet cakes. Big difference. You had your usual candles to blow out, but they weren’t unaccompanied by any means. You would have all of your favorite things topping that cake. Anything that you loved or were crazy about, you would find it on top of your sheet cake. Mine were topped off with little rubber horses (you know those ones you find at TSC?! Thats Tractor Supply Co. for you city folk), dogs, spoons, spatulas, sprinkles, barns, flowers, and you better believe your name was on that cake! The decorations didn’t even have to match because everything made sense together. Every one was just so special and baked and decorated with all the love in the world.

The flavor and the simplicity of this cake is just unbeatable. Literally, you don’t even have to beat it! It was so fun being able to read the recipe off of the little, hand-written recipe card that my Grandma gave to me (you better believe that cursive was on point) and to also be able to text her and send her pictures of the process. You can have a whole cake baked, frosted and decorated in 30-40 minutes. How crazy is that?! I think its da best. The cake is so rich and moist and chocolately and perfect in every single bite. I can just dream of it now. By the way, I made this for my husband’s birthday AND HE TOOK THE LEFTOVERS TO WORK. WHAT WAS HE THINKING. WE COULD HAVE EATEN CAKE FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER. I’m not biter about it at all being that we’re moving in a week and I’m not going to buy any more groceries so therefore I can’t just make this cake again because I don’t have the ingredients. I still love him though.

Plus, this is like a slab of cake. Who doesn’t want a slab of deliciously moist, decadent cake? You can feed a crowd and a family with this thing.

This recipe is so so so special to me and I hope that it can be for you and your family too. My Grandma has perfected her recipe over the years and its just unbeatable.

 

Grandma’s Texas Sheet Cake

 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 sticks butter (16 Tablespoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cup mini marshmallows (or 20 large ones)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

 

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and salt. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the water, oil, cocoa and butter. Bring to a boil and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix together until smooth. Add in the eggs, baking soda, buttermilk and vanilla and whip together until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter onto a sprayed baking/cookie sheet (the large size, not the small size). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the frosting:

  1. While the cake is cooking, use the same small sauce pan used prior to bring the evaporated milk and sugar to a low boil over medium heat. Add in the marshmallows and stir until smooth. Reduce the heat to low. Add in the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth and silky.
  2. After the cake is out of the oven and still warm, spread the frosting on top of the cake. Be careful to not let it sit too long, as it will be harder to spread on the cake once it has set.
  3. Top with sprinkles, nuts, little rubber horses, flowers, candy, streamers, or whatever your heart desires.

Cake Smash

20 minutes.

1 couple.

1 funfetti cake.

1 photographer.

GO.

We signed up for a photoshoot, but wanted to do something a little out-of-the-box. Funfetti cake it is. We took some “normal” pictures, but then dove right into that layered funfetti cake (it was delicious by the way). How can a whole container of sprinkles not make you happy?!

Loving how all of these pictures turned out by Vanessa Thomas Photography – thank you Vanessa!

PS – loving my hubs and wishing him the best 23rd birthday that he could have! I love that we talk to each other more in our Nacho Libre voices than our normal voices. Wouldn’t be able to do life without you.

 

Italian Salami Flatbread with Balsamic Reduction

To be honest, my go-to pizza dough is a pre-bought crust mix from Hyvee. And guess what, this is what you can make out of it! I just love how something so simple (and like less than a $1) can be transformed into something delicious to put on your table. Flatbreads are a great dinner to serve up because the options are endless! Just think, you could throw anything you have in your fridge or leftovers on a flatbread and call it good! Or you could go with this version: Italian salami and all the goodies.

Italian salami has such a great taste, especially when it gets all nice and crispy. Its a little bit more mellow that pepperoni, but pepperoni can be substituted if need be. Goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil make this flatbread come to life. Now lets talk about this balsamic reduction, because this is like LIQUID CRACK. This sauce is THAT good. I mean, its right up there with Chick-Fil-A sauce…and thats a big deal. You can find me shamelessly licking out the bottom of my Chick-Fil-A sauce container, and you can find me licking off my plate after this balsamic reduction has been on it. They really go hand-in-hand if I don’t say so myself. I originally saw a recipe for a balsamic syrup from Giada’s Family Dinners  and have been obsessed ever since. You just have to try it for yourself. Side note on the sauce: do not let it sit in a pan or on a plate overnight or you will be scrubbing the dickens out of it!

I also had a pretty great helper and taste-tester. This is what real life looks like when I am trying to get a picture from above. My little Charlee girl just has to be front and center!

 

Italian Salami Flatbread with Balsamic Reduction

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza dough crust (either mix, store bought or homemade)
  • 5 oz Italian Dry Salami slices
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese (you can buy a 4 oz log and use half)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped or chiffonade (long, thin strips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roll your pizza dough out onto a sprayed baking sheet into a thin rectangle. The sides can be rustic and not straight-edged. Brush the top of the pizza dough with the olive oil.
  3. Layer the Italian salami over the top of the pizza dough in an even layer. Top with the goat cheese and tomatoes and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown and crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Reduce the mixture until it has a syrup-like consistency or has reduced about half. Adjust the temperature as needed during this process to prevent from boiling over. About 12-15 minutes.
  5. After the flatbread has been taken out of the oven, sprinkle the top with the fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side as wanted.

Spring Chicken Pot Pies 

I love chicken pot pies. The perfect forkful of flaky crust, creamy sauce, plump chicken and veggies is hard to beat. Just close your eyes and dream of it – isn’t it the best?! Well, at least I think so (extra crust for me please!). Warm weather is here and summer is right around the corner, but I don’t want to give up my chicken pot pie. Fall is full of comfort and feel-good food and I just had to bring this classic into spring. Plus, they’re called spring chicken pot pies! Get it? 😉 Spring Chicken. I crack myself up.

Store-bought pie crust is a lifesaver to me, so that is what I went ahead and used for this recipe. As always, please feel free to sub in your favorite pie crust recipe if you so desire. The combination of the lemon and white wine in these cute, little pies will take your tastebuds on a twirl. A bright, airy version of your classic pot pie! I also love how versatile this recipe can be. If you don’t have little ramekins to bake these up in or would rather it be served family-style, then a pie plate or baking pan will work just fine. Do what fits best for your family table!

 

Spring Chicken Pot Pies 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 -1.5 lbs chicken breasts/tenders cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium eat and add in the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the onion into the same pan and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in the carrot and continue to saute for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan while doing so.
  3. Add the chicken back into the pan along with the heavy cream, 2 cups chicken stock, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, thyme and lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of chicken stock with the 2 tablespoons of flour to make a paste (roux). Whisk the roux into the chicken mixture and continue to stir for a couple minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add in the peas. Simmer for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. Pour the mixture equally into ramekins (or desired pan) and cover the tops with a piece of pie crust. If using ramekins, you will need to cut the pie crust into circles to fit the tops of the ramekins, otherwise fit the pie crust to the top of the desired pan of use. Use a knife to slit small holes in the middle of the pie crusts to let air out while baking. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl and brush the tops of the pie crusts with the egg wash.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the crusts are golden brown.

 


Jumble Chip Cookies

I just love these little jumble wumbles! But seriously, these are an all-in-one cookie. That’s my kind of cookie. I originally tried a jumble nut cookie from Whole Foods and just knew I had to make some at home! You have the chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, oatmeal and delicious cookie base all in one perfect, little package. What more could you ask for? Well, I asked myself for more…more chocolate that is! Because chocolate is life and when I eat dessert I want all the chocolate I can get. So, I turned down the nut ratio and amped up the chocolate chips to let them shine.


I love how the raisins compliment the chocolate chips and brighten the cookie up just the right amount. The nuts provide the perfect crunch and the oatmeal base carries the whole thing to victory. You have to eat at least one warm out of the oven! You wouldn’t want to miss out on all the gooey chocolate. You can certainly adjust and play with the chocolate chips to raisins to nuts ratio to fit your fancy. No matter how you combine it they are going to be loved!


Get your oven prepared and your butter softened, because you are going to want to get these baking as quick as you can!
Jumble Chip Cookies 
Ingredients: 

  • 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 10oz bag multi-chip morsels (milk,dark and white chocolate combined)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about a minute or so. Beat in one egg at a time until they are both combined into the butter mixture. Add in the vanilla extract.
  3. With the speed on low, beat in the flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Add in the raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto an un-greased baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown and cooked through. Let the cookies cool slightly on a cooling rack prior to serving.

 

Chicken Fajitas

Looking for the perfect weeknight meal? Here you go! This is definitely a go-to meal in our house and is something that can get dinner on the table in a flash. Its full of comfort, flavor and a little spice to make it nice! My husband who used to HATE bell peppers LOVES these fajitas! It was a glorious moment for me.

Not only are these delicious, but look at how gorgeous and fun these can be! A family-style meal where everyone can have fun with their toppings and creativity. Lets take a second to talk about this chicken. YOU NEED THIS CHICKEN IN YOUR LIFE. This recipe is so used in our house that I am comfortable just pulling some frozen chicken out of the freezer, adding my seasonings and tossing it in the oven to let it do its thing. Its a lifesaver and turns out delicious every single time. Use it for whatever your heart desires.

Fajitas may not be anything spectacular, but they sure can deliver a whole lot of happiness. A work friend of mine and his family were facing some medical circumstances and he wanted to do something special for his wife for Valentine’s Day. He knew how much I loved to cook and asked me to make Valentine’s Day dinner for them. I was so excited to be able to do something to help him and his family out that of course I said yes! Instantly my mind started dreaming up all of these fancy Valentine’s Day dinners that I could make for them. And you wanna know what he asked for? Fajitas. Fajitas, people. I was instantly humbled and reminded that food can be SO memorable, comforting and healing.

I hope that this recipe can bring your family happiness, ease and comfort the way that it has for our family! Plus, whats better than smelling like a chicken fajita after you have made these? And the leftovers are just as good!

 

Chicken Fajitas

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 bell peppers, such as red, green, orange or yellow – sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole wheat tortillas (or tortilla of choice)

Topping Ideas:

  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avocado/guacamole
  • tortilla chips
  • radishes
  • fresh bell peppers
  • jalapenos
  • lettuce

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a 13×9 baking pan, coat the chicken tenders with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, seasoned salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, preheat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining olive oil. Saute the bell peppers in the skillet for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and slightly caramelized. Add in the garlic and season the bell peppers with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and continuing cooking and stiring until the bell peppers are cooked through and caramelized, about 10 minutes total. If you enjoy the flavor, you can let the bell peppers char slightly.
  3. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and turn the broiler on high. Remove the foil from the pan and put the chicken back in the oven uncovered underneath the broiler. Broil for a minute or so and remove from the oven. Chop the chicken into 1-inch pieces inside all of the natural juices that came off of the chicken in the 13×9 pan. Stir to coat the chicken pieces in the natural sauce and serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberry Galette

If you know me, my all-time, favorite, go-to every night dessert is Nutella and bananas (‘Tella and nanas). It’s my dessert love and I don’t mess with it – just slice up a banana and eat it with a nice dollop of Nutella. It makes me happy happy happy and I will not eat Nutella any other way as a dessert. But then I made No-Churn Nutella Ice Cream, and that very slightly started to open me up to the idea of eating Nutella and any other way. And then I made this galette…what is wrong with me?! Oh Nutella, how I love you so. I will always resort back to my ‘Tella and nanas.

I love LOVE galettes, because let’s be honest, its a lazy pie. And lazy pie is a good thing. You just roll out the crust, fill it on up with goodies galore, fold over the edges and let the oven do the rest of the work. Sounds good to me! Strawberry season is up on us and this is such a fun, nutty, chocolatey way to enjoy them. Plus, it’s minimal effort so you can give a wow with a little how. Wow, how, now, pow. You get the idea. You just need to make it for yourself to believe it. And trust me, it won’t last long!

You can slice it and serve it up nicely, or just pass some forks around and let everyone dig in. Dollop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and call it a party.

This post is not sponsored by Nutella – I JUST LOVE IT THAT MUCH. 

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberry Galette 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 round pie crust (store bought or favorite homemade recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
  • 16 oz strawberries, tops removed and cut length-wise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll your pie crust out onto a baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup of the chocolate hazelnut spread in a circle starting at the middle of the pie crust and leaving 2 inches of crust on the sides.
  3. Layer the strawberries in a flower-like pattern on top of the chocolate hazelnut spread until all the strawberry pieces are used. Fold the extra 2 inches of pie crust over the strawberries to create a folded edge. Work your way all around the strawberries in this fashion.
  4. Sprinkle the top of the strawberries and crust with the brown sugar and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the strawberries are cooked through and starting to bubble. Don’t worry if the juices leak out of the bottom.
  5. Microwave the remaining chocolate hazelnut spread for about 20-30 seconds, or until it is more smooth and runny. Drizzle the top of the galette with the melted chocolate hazelnut spread and serve while still warm.

 

 

Skillet Chicken with Lemon-Herb Pan Sauce

Winner winner chicken dinner! But, in all seriousness, this chicken dish is a WINNER. There is an explosion of flavor in every bite, but made with the ease of a weeknight meal. This is a meal that you (and everyone around you) are going to want over and over again. A new dinner staple? I think so! Also, I think its super fun to make and my house smelled like wine, butter, garlic, herbs, lemon and chicken and it was a very wonderful thing.

I love how versatile this chicken dish can be. I ended up serving it with parmesan couscous and asparagus, but it could be served with any veggie of your choosing and any starch of your choice. Pasta, rice, potatoes, and risotto are all excellent choices in my opinion. Whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever you are whipping up to go along side, this chicken will shine. Now, lets talk about the sauce. YOU NEED THIS SAUCE IN YOUR LIFE. Making it in the same pan that you cooked the chicken in is vitally important for the depth of flavor that you will achieve in making this sauce. I literally wanted to lick it off the plate. My husband loved it, I loved it, and the leftovers were equally as delicious (meal prep, anyone?).

The chicken can either be cooked in a cast iron skillet, or a large skillet that you have on hand. You can slice the chicken diagonally and serve it up with the sauce swooshed over it as a scrumptious garnish, or you can serve it on a platter family-style for everyone to pass around and take their own.

Make this skillet chicken dish a winner at your house.

 

Skillet Chicken with Lemon-Herb Pan Sauce 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper

 

Directions:

  1. In the bottom of a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts in the skillet, turning them after the first side is browned, about 8 minutes. Continue cooking the other side until equally browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a plate and set aside.
  2. Pour the white wine into the skillet to de-glaze the pan, scrapping the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Add in the butter, tomatoes, parsley, garlic and lemon juice and bring to a quick simmer.
  3. Add the chicken breasts back into the pan sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and let cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are cooked through and tender.  Remove from the heat.
  4. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.

 

Very Berry Pie

You do not have to be a professional pie maker to make a pie. I repeat: you do not have to be a professional pie maker to make a pie! To me, making a successful pie was like reaching the ultimate threshold of family cooking. My Grandma has always been the pie maker in the family, so if you could make a pie as good as Grandma’s you were set for life. And by golly, this past Thanksgiving I made an apple pie with store bought pie crust, and my Grandma LOVED it! She, in fact, went back for seconds and never would have guessed that it was a store bought dough (same thing happened with my Caramel Apple Sangria). But, with that being said, if you are wizard pie crust maker, or picking up a pack of it in your local grocery store, you can be the professional pie maker you desire to be.

I love the combination of mixed berries instead of just having one berry shine throughout the pie. They each brighten each other to make it a very berry delicious pie! I will have to admit, I’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty with my husband lately (yes let your jaws drop) and this pie came to be on a perfectly lazy Sunday filled with church, coffee, video games and pie making. You could say that my husband was on cloud nine. Also!! These pictures were taken at our new house that is being built! Its crunch time and we couldn’t be more excited (month to move-in!). House pictures to come on another day, but for now here is some pie.

This is the perfect pie for any family occasion or any just-because. I used Sarah Kieffer’s “All Butter Pie Crust” recipe from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book and it was TO DIE FOR. Seriously, so good. Turn to your favorite pie crust recipe, even if its store bought! You just gotta get this pie in the oven.

PS – these cute, little plates are from a local antique store. You never know what you will find!

 

Very Berry Pie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 double-crust pie dough
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 6 oz blackberries
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water)

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pie crust as directed for your recipe of choosing.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch until evenly combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes prior to baking.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with your first half of pie dough so that the dough is pressed evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and up the edges. Evenly pour in the berry mixture.
  5. Top the berry mixture with the second half of pie crust. It can either be done in lattice or a full pie dough crust with slits in the middle to prevent it from puffing up. Crimp the edges of the two pie doughs together to seal it. You can either press the edges with a fork, or crimp them with your fingers to add a decorative edge. Brush the top pie dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining Tablespoon of sugar.
  6. Bake the pie for 30-35 minutes, reducing the heat to 375 if need be to prevent browning too quickly. Let the pie rest at least 4 hours prior to serving.

 

PB & J Cinnamon Rolls

Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! If you know what song I’m talking about, no baseball bats are involved in this today, but peanut butter and jelly most certainly are! You guys, I can’t tell you how amazing this crazy combination tastes. The cinnamon adds just the perfect amount of warmth and feel-good to the jelly, and a peanut butter cream cheese frosting? Oh yeah! That frosting can just be eaten with a spoon. Theres peanut butter in it so really, it does have some health benefits. The classic PB&J flavors amp up the classic cinnamon roll for a little PBJ/Cinny party in your mouth.

Minds will be blown. Hearts will be won. Tastebuds will be satisfied. You can be super fancy-dancy and toss in some fresh berries with the filling to get perfectly plump and baked sweetly into the cinnamon roll dough. It would be extra special. But give me some plain ol’ jelly and that makes me happy! Grape please (but you can use flavor of choice). Then theres the debate between creamy peanut butter or crunchy. Whatever side of the battle you choose to stand on (creamy for me!), you can use either in the frosting. The crunchy would add a nice crunch element (ha) to the jelly/cinny roll. You could even go as far as topping it off with some roasted peanuts…if you wanted to go that far.

I had my two little helpers with me, Darbi and Charlee, and they couldn’t resist taking a bite out of these! I guess I’ll let it pass because it was pretty darn cute staring into those puppy eyes. These rolls have officially been pup-approved.

 

PB & J Cinnamon Rolls

 

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar, plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm/hot water
  • 1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup jelly (grape, raspberry etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, 1 Tablespoon sugar and warm water together until combined. Set aside to let the yeast activate.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt 1/2 cup butter and the milk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and the salt until combined. Slowly whisk in the butter and milk mixture followed by the yeast mixture. Fold in the flour until the dough is combined and forms a loose ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm area (top of stove, sunny window) to let the dough rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Evenly spread the filling’s 2 Tablespoons of butter across the surface of the rectangle. Lightly mix together the remaining filling ingredients in a small bowl and spread as an even layer across the dough.
  6. Starting at one end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log until reaching the other end of the rectangle. Slice the roll into 12-15 individual cinnamon rolls and place them in a sprayed cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown on top. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, whip together the frosting ingredients until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting on top of the cinnamon rolls once they have cooled for awhile after coming out of the oven.

 

 

Creamy Spinach Lasagna

A one-pan-wonder. We all need them, we all gotta have them. And this lasagna certainly is one of them! What is a one-pan-wonder you ask? Well, let me just tell you. A complete meal of a protein, starch and veggie all wrapped up in one package to serve up to your family. Simply put, a one-pan-wonder! You have all you need for a complete meal in one scoop. What more could you ask for? CHEESE. Yes! The more cheese the better. It has spinach in it, so you could basically say its healthy.

Sometimes just setting a big ol’ pan of lasagna on the table is all you need to not only feed a crowd (and have leftovers!), but also feed the soul. Theres just something about it! I grew up watching and helping my mom make homemade lasagna and I always have the way hers taste stuck in my mind to compare all lasagnas to. She’s the queen of lasagnas to me (and many other things if you’ve ever met her – she’s awesome and has a t-shirt that says it). But no matter what was thrown into the sauce or filling in between sheets of lasagna, you always always had to have cottage cheese. It just isn’t lasagna if you don’t use cottage cheese. Think we’re crazy? Go try it! And never turn back. Also, make sure you salt your noodles right after you drain them! Theres nothing better than a salty noodle.

I love how versatile lasagna can be. It literally can be clean-out-your-fridge type of meal where you go crazy and dump everything in (YOLO), or it can be sophisticated because in the end its noodly, cheesy goodness. If you’re in a time crunch and don’t want to make your own sauce and let it simmer away, your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce will work just fine. This is a meal meant to feed a family (even if its just a family of one!), so do whatever you gotta do to get it on the table…or couch…You just gotta eat it!

Side note: you may have some extra lasagna noodles leftover depending on how you layer things. That is A-OK because a little pasta snack never hurt anyone while waiting for their lasagna to bake to golden perfection.

 

Creamy Spinach Lasagna 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 16oz box lasagna noodles
  • 1 15oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 12oz container low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned, about another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano into the ground beef mixture. Stir until combined and bring to a very low boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or during the time that it takes for the pasta to cook. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Boil the lasagna noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to package instructions. Lightly salt the noodles after draining.
  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Layer these ingredients evenly afterwards: lasagna noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese (all of it), 1 cup spinach, lasagna noodles, sauce, cottage cheese (all of it), 1 cup spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and the asiago cheese.
  6. Bake the lasagna for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese on the top is melted and bubbly. Let sit for a few minutes prior to serving and top with fresh basil as a garnish.

 

Carrot Oatmeal Cream Pies

How is it April already?! March flew by (March does not usually fly by- longest month ever it seems like). Oh well, bring on the sunshine! Take for example these Carrot Oatmeal Cream Pies, how does that not scream sunshine and happiness? The perfect amount of carrot mixed into cinnamony-sweet oatmeal cookie being hugged by another cookie with silky-smooth cream cheese frosting as the glue. Hand me one, please! I’ll take a Carrot Oatmeal Cream Pie hug. Lots of them too.

These little hugs are perfect for any time of the day treats. Easter is coming up and these will definitely be on the menu! A fun cookie to grab and take with you as you are making the holiday hug rounds through the family. Hug a family member, smile and answer some questions – take a bite of a carrot oatmeal cream hug (spirits lifted) and proceed.

I was originally making these carrot oatmeal cookies to have a cream cheese drizzle laced across the top of them. When I started that thought process as the cookies were baking and cooling and my cream cheese was whipping up in the nearby Kitchenaide, I said no way! These cookies are going to be smooshed between a layer of cream cheese frosting. Only a drizzle of cream cheese frosting? What was I thinking – you need a whole swoop of it! But if you want to drizzle thats fine to. We all know inside that the cream cheese frosting is the best part of a carrot cake.

 

 

Carrot Oatmeal Cream Pies 

Makes 24 cookies or 12 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 6 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 sticks of butter together on medium speed with the sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Beat in the baking soda, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, salt, flour, rolled oats and the carrot until combined.
  3. Scoop the batter in rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cooked through and slightly golden brown on top. Set the cookies aside on a cooling rack to cool completely prior to building the cream pies, at least 20-30 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining stick of butter and the cream cheese together on medium speed to make the frosting. Beat for a couple minutes until they are combined and smooth. On low speed, mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. Assemble the cream pies by spreading at least a tablespoon of frosting on the bottom side of half of the cookies. I would recommend splitting the frosting in between all of the cookies evenly if you prefer more frosting.
  6. Take the other half of the cookies and partner them bottom side down onto a frosted side of a similar sized cookie. Lightly press them together to seal the frosting on all sides of the cookies evenly.

 

Plum and Almond Chia Pudding Parfaits 

Chia seeds are the “in” thing right now and I just had to try this pudding thing with them. Let me tell you something, this is a bandwagon you need to jump on! Yes, chia seeds are packed full of all sorts of things that are good for you, but I just can’t get over the texture and taste that these little seeds make in a pudding! They puff up like little pearls of joy and take you back to your childhood of eating tapioca pudding at your Grandma’s house. BUT THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU AND TRENDY.

I don’t know what my deal is, but give me some almond extract and I’ll be happy. The addition of the almond to the chia pudding sweetened by a hint of honey is something to sing about. I could eat it just like that (and I did). Plums in season are so juicy, sweet and decadent and make the perfect pairing to my obsessive almond chia pudding. If you don’t have access to good plums, you could pair it with berries, peaches or even pears. Think of all the possibilities! Get really fancy and sauté some apples in a little cinnamon butter and oh boy oh boy look what you just did. Maybe I’ll do that next…

The chia pudding does need at least a couple hours to set up in the fridge to make the pudding consistency, and they can soak overnight as well. Take a few minutes the night before to whip this up and then you have a scrumptious breakfast to wake up to. The chia pudding can be served in cute little cups, jars or bowls. Or all you need is a spoon.
Plum and Almond Chia Seed Pudding 


Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 4 plums, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Directions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, Greek yogurt, almond extract, honey and chia seeds.
  2. Refrigerate the chia seed mixture for at least 2 hours to overnight to set.
  3. Layer your chia seed pudding with the plums and sliced almonds in a cup, jar or bowl. Enjoy!

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned classic in your life. We were driving down the road the other day when I turned and said to my husband “I need an oatmeal raisin cookie” and by golly that started it all. A good ol’ raisin never hurt anyone and I was just needing that cinnamon-y goodness to go along with it. Its just one of those things that you close your eyes every time you take a bite and savor the wholesomeness of it. Plus, my theory is since it has oatmeal and raisins in it, it is completely acceptable to eat for breakfast, lunch, mid-day snack, dinner and dessert. You have all sorts of choices.

Baking these will make your home smell warm and scrumptious. You just won’t be able to resist! These little cookies are the perfect ratio of oatmeal, to brown sugar, to cinnamon to raisins and your tastebuds are going to sing for more. A batch makes 27 cookies and we may or may not have eaten them all within 3 days…

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

makes 27 cookeis

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter (16 tablespoons), softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about a minute or so. Beat in one egg at a time until they are both combined into the butter mixture. Add in the vanilla extract.
  3. With the speed on low, beat in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oats. Add in the raisins and mix until just combined.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto an un-greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly golden brown and cooked through. Let the cookies cool slightly on a cooling rack prior to serving.

 

 

 

 

Citrus Sangria

AKA mimosa on steroids! I don’t know how much fresher you can get. Oranges, grapefruit and lemons take this sangria to the next level and is perfect for springtime and summer! Refreshingly sweet and tangy with the warmth of the wine running down your throat. Your kitchen is going to smell like tropical paradise after you are finished making this because of the citrus galore.

This sangria is perfect for any brunch that you are throwing to take your usual mimosa to the next level. Need an Easter cocktail? This is the one! You will love the familiar mimosa flavor amped up with extra oranges, grapefruit and lemons. Not only does this sangria go down easily, but it comes together in a snap. If you are making it ahead of time for a crowd, wait until you serve it to pour the champagne in. You don’t want to ruin the bubbly! Like anything, the longer this baby sits the more condensed the flavors are going to be.

I am a lightweight myself, so the wine and the champagne are enough for me. But if you would like to up the alcohol content even more, a splash of Triple Sec or Lemoncello will do the trick.

 

Citrus Sangria

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle riesling wine
  • 1 bottle champagne
  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

 

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large pitcher, excluding the champagne.
  2. Give the sangria a good stir to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed together. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes prior to serving. The sangria can be kept in the refrigerator up to 2 days prior to serving.
  3. Top the sangria off with the bottle of champagne and serve.

 

 

No-Churn Funfetti Cake Ice Cream

Sprinkles everywhere! What could be better? How ’bout adding in some cake, ice cream and of course some ice cream cones! I just can’t get over how fun this little dessert is! The idea of it came to me while I was laying in bed wide awake dreaming of funfetti cake and then ice cream and then LIGHT BULB in my head. Mind blown – Funfetti Cake Ice Cream. Dreams made. I was then content with myself and rolled over and fell asleep all snuggled up next to the hubs.

I, of course, had to make it a no-churn version because sometimes simplicity is key. This fun dessert can take you less than 20 minutes to whip up, but then you just have to have the self patience to wait until it sets in the freezer. Best action plan is to whip it up before you go to bed so then you can just fall asleep to funfetti cake ice cream dreams and wake up to frozen, creamy perfection. You shouldn’t have to torture yourself that way of having to actually be awake while you wait for this beauty, but if you have no other option I wish you the best luck.

Birthday celebrations or just for fun, this ice cream will win hearts and take names. Plus, who doesn’t love sprinkles?! They just make your life happier and full of sunshine. Since the recipe only calls for 2 cups of cubed yellow cake, I would recommend either buying a pre-made yellow cake (pound cake would work great) or you can mix up your own batch and have some extra cake to nibble on while you wait for the ice cream to freeze. Both are great options if you ask me.

 

No-Churn Funfetti Cake Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yellow cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles
  • 1 – 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cake cones for serving if desired

 

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the sweetened condensed milk, cake, sprinkles and vanilla into the whipped cream, careful to not over-mix.
  3. Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer-safe vessel (I use my loaf bread pan) and top with a few extra sprinkles prior to freezing.
  4. Freeze the ice cream for at least 4-6 hours prior to serving. It will keep well in the freezer for about a week.

Parchment Baked Salmon with Squash and Asparagus

“Salmon en papillote” if you want to be classy and precise (aka salmon in parchment). Whatever you want to call it, cooking salmon in parchment paper is going to be your new favorite! It certainly is mine. This dish is mind-blowing to me and in multiple ways! First, you are not going to believe how simple this dish is to prepare. Second, its going to be a flavor bomb in your mouth. And third, the salmon turns out so unbelievably tender that you are going to ask yourself why you have never done this before! Unless you have done it before, then you know what I’m talking about.

My inspiration for this dish came from something similar that I had at Pig & Finch in Omaha, NE (so if you are ever in Omaha you gotta try it!). I left the restaurant wide-eyed and determined to create my own little package of perfection. Speaking of which, not only does the parchment paper make the ultimate boat to cook and steam your salmon to fork-tender goodness,  but doesn’t it look great too?! It makes a rustic serving vessel for your decadent salmon. Definitely a wow-your-guest kind of deal. Or you could just wow yourself. I noted below the way that I was able to get the parchment folded to create a little packet, but if you find an easier way, then by all means. Sometimes that parchment paper can have a mind of its own.

We also watched the movie “Catch Me If You Can” for the first time while eating this for dinner so I will probably always think of that movie now when I eat it. I had to re-heat it in the microwave for dinner because I made it earlier in the day (anything for the picture) and was shocked about how tender it remained! I had tasted it earlier in the day when I was taking pictures of it (you have to check if its poisonous or not) and had mentally prepared myself for it to be drier when we reheated it for dinner, but what was I thinking! Obviously don’t nuke it, but it does handle well be warmed back up.

Cooking salmon in parchment is my new friend. It should be yours too. Just keep in mind of building your layers when you are putting the parchment packages together. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and you can layer things however you would like. Just like cooking a po’ boy over the open fire if you are from the midwest (meat and potatoes wrapped in foil and thrown into the fire). Not like the po’ boy sandwich from Louisiana (but also very tasty).

Oh and by the way, if things just couldn’t get any better, its topped off with a mushroom duxelle butter sauce. You’re welcome.

 

Parchment Baked Salmon with Squash and Asparagus

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 6oz salmon filets
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large sheets parchment paper, each about the size of a regular-sized baking sheet

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the butternut squash on a baking sheet and coat evenly with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Using one sheet at a time, fold the parchment paper one-third of the way across itself to create a bottom for your package. Starting with the butternut squash  and dividing all the ingredients evenly between the four parchment packages, build your layers on the folded portion of the parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches from the edge of the parchment to the ingredients. Top the butternut squash with the asparagus, keeping it as even as possible so that the salmon can sit on top of it. Top the asparagus with the salmon filet. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and layer a couple lemon slices on top. Top the salmon with the mushroom duxelle butter sauce, allowing the butter to overflow to the bottom ingredients.
  4. Fold the single layer of parchment paper over the top of your ingredients and crimp all of the edges together to seal it (like a calzone). Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Place the parchment packages on a baking sheet and bake for 20-23 minutes depending on desired doneness of the salmon. Open the parchment packages to reveal the salmon and vegetables and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with Blackberry Cream

Ooo la la this tart! Guys, talk about a show-stopper, drop-dead delicious dessert that you (or your guests/family) won’t be able to resist! Rich, creamy, flaky and perfectly fruity all wrapped up in one perfect little shell. The rich and creamy dark chocolate ganache filling gets paired with the blackberry cream of your dreams and you just won’t be able to stop yourself. It has blackberries on it, so that makes it somewhat healthy, right? Keep telling yourself that and the world will be just fine.

Not only is this tart gorgeous and delicious, but it comes together in a snap! This is the perfect dessert to serve for a party, get together, or a holiday. It needs time to set up in the fridge, so making it a day in advance is only to your advantage. All of your guests will be asking for more! My husband sure loved it, so much so that I shouldn’t exactly quote what he said, but he’s a big fan.

If you have a favorite or go-to pie crust recipe, then feel free to use it. I love the ease of just swinging by the refrigerated section of the grocery store and picking up some pie crust that tends to turn out every time. Blackberries have a subtle sweetness thats surrounded by a little tartness that cuts the chocolate at just the right amount. If blackberries aren’t in season or if you prefer a different berry, then use the same process as listed below with your berry of choosing.

The inspiration for this tart of joy originally came from doing a collaboration with Haley Chicoine Photography and Ali Marie Photography to create a moody wedding photoshoot. I used the same recipe, but little tartlet pans instead of a larger tart pan and they were the perfect little sweetness for our moody scene. Check out these lady’s websites to see the whole shebang!

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with Blackberry Cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made pie crust (or one pie crust recipe of your choosing)
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 6 oz blackberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup sugar

 

Directions:

  1. In an 11-inch round tart pan, pre-bake the pie crust at designated temperature written on the pie crust’s instructions until it is golden and light brown. Make sure that you poke the bottom of the pie crust with a fork several times prior to baking to prevent it from getting air bubbles while baking. Once golden, set aside and let cool.
  2. In a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, bring 2 cups of the heavy cream to a very low boil. Reduce the heat and whisk in the dark chocolate chips. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, continuing to whisk to prevent clumping.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate ganache filling into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
  4. Prior to serving the tart, make the blackberry cream. Puree the blackberries with the sugar in a food processor until smooth. Strain the blackberry mixture to remove any seeds or skins.
  5. In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. Gently fold in the blackberry puree into the whipped cream, careful to not over-mix.
  6. Top the tart with the blackberry cream and extra blackberries, or serve with the cream on the side. Enjoy!

 

 

Slow Cooker Chipotle Peach Pork Roast with Coconut Rice

Need a go-to dinner recipe to have up your sleeve? Here you go! Chipotle Peach Pork, Chipotle Peach Pork, Chipotle Peach Pork, Chipotle Peach Pork…try saying that five times fast! I sure can’t! Little tidbit about me: I couldn’t say cinnamon right for the longest time! It would take me awhile to get this one down. Even if it can be a tongue twister, it is a tastebud pleaser! This somewhat accidental recipe has turned into a new family favorite and I am completely ok with that.

Not only is this recipe jam-packed full of flavor, but you guys YOU CAN EAT IT LIKE 2736192486 different ways! Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you can seriously eat this pork so many ways! Top it off in a burrito bowl, salad, taco, roll it up in an enchilada, slice it up and serve it fancy with gravy from the drippings and mashed potatoes, toss it in to make a pork roast pot pie, serve it up for breakfast with a sunny-side up egg, crumble it into a hash, whisk it into a quiche, and the list could keep going. You’re welcome.

Here are my two favorite ways to serve it:

Taco/Burrito Style and Fancy Style (sliced).

If you are going to serve it up fancy style, just simply slice the roast after the appropriate amount of cook time and serve it with a gravy made out of the drippings left over in the slow cooker. Simply ladle the drippings into a sauce pan over medium-high heat and reduce the liquid down, skimming off any fat in the process. Make a roux out of a tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of drippings, and whisk it into the reduced drippings. Voila! There’s your gravy. Serve it up with mashed potatoes and a green and you are all set.

Or take it taco style, which is obviously what I chose to do here, and serve it up with the Coconut Rice. Here are some must-have topping and pairing ideas:

  • pico de gallo
  • mango salsa
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro/green onions
  • black beans

and the list could go on.

So whatever way you choose to serve it or top it, I hope that it becomes one of your family favorites as well. Plus, its made in a slow-cooker and is better the next day as leftovers, what could be better?

PS – this recipe will also work great even if your pork loin roast is frozen as well!

 

Slow-Cooker Chipotle Peach Pork Roast with Coconut Rice

 

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • 1 3-4lb pork loin roast
  • 16 oz frozen peaches
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock

For the rice:

  • 2 cups rice (white or brown)
  • 2 cups water
  • 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

 

Directions:

For the pork: 

  1. Place the pork loin roast in the bottom of a medium-large slow cooker and top the loin roast with the chili powder, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Cover the pork with the peaches, onions, garlic and the chicken stock.
  2. With the lid on, set the slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours. Shred or slice the pork loin roast before serving in the cooking liquids to retain moisture.

For the rice:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and coconut milk to a low boil. Add in the rice, cover with a lid and reduce to a medium simmer until all the liquid has been cooked into the rice. About 20 minutes.
  2. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the green onions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Sometimes you just need a little boost of energy, a mid-day snack, or a pre-workout jump to get you going and these little bites are just the thing! Not only do they come together easily, but they sure disappear just as easy! I love the fact that you can make your own energy bites (or bars!) and know all the goodies that are going into it. Wholesome little treat that you and your family will love! You just won’t be able to resist walking by these without popping one in your mouth (or two!).

Depending on the type of protein powder you use, you may need to refrigerate these little bites. Most protein powders will note if they need to be refrigerated, so just go by the instructions listed. Otherwise these little bundles should be good to last you awhile! That is if they last that long. This recipe can take any form, so bites or bars will both work great! If you are making bars, you just simply press the mixture into the bottom of 9×9 or 13×9 pam (depending on thickness level desired) that is lined with parchment or wax paper. Top them off with some extra chocolate chips and nuts and you are set to go!

 

A wholesome little recipe that you can have up your sleeve, and they are good for you too!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bites

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 serving protein powder (typically around 31 grams)

 

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until equally combined.
  2. Working in 1 tablespoon increments, roll the chocolate peanut butter protein mixture in between your palms to form balls until all of the mixture is used. Let sit in a covered container for about 30 minutes prior to serving to allow the oats to soften slightly. Continue to store in covered container until eaten.

 

Mango Matcha Green Smoothie

I don’t know what my deal has been lately, but all I’ve been wanting is spinach, spinach and more spinach. So much so that on my lunch break last week I just had to run to Whole Foods and pick up the necessary ingredients to make my go-to green smoothie. I’ve never been much of a tea drinker, but I’ve been seeing this matcha stuff popping up everywhere and I had to see what it was all about. Plus, it makes a perfect companion to all that spinach I’ve been wanting.

I am completely and totally hooked on matcha. Not only is it packed full of nutrients, but it also has a natural caffeine level to it to help give you a boost for your day! This could be the perfect morning smoothie to give you a kick start, or if you are more like me and gotta have your coffee in the morning, this is a perfect addition to your lunch or midday snack. A healthy, nutrient packed smoothie that also gives you some natural caffeine – what more could you ask for?!

This recipe is also dairy-free if you utilize the soy milk. If you are wanting to achieve a more creamy texture without the addition of greek yogurt (which is a great addition!), simply add extra frozen mango to your recipe. It makes the smoothie more thick and creamy without having to add in any extra ingredients. I love using honey as a natural sweetener to many of my dishes and this smoothie is just the same. Sometimes you can find me pouring the honey in last right into the top of my glass and letting it sink to the bottom. The honey gets nice and cold from the smoothie on the way down and creates little frozen honey crystals (delicious little nuggets of joy and honey).

 

Mango Matcha Green Smoothie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup spinach (1 large handful)
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey

 

Directions:

  1. Starting with the frozen mango chunks, add all of the ingredients into the bottom of a blender.
  2. Blend on high for several minutes or until the smoothie is to the desired texture and consistency. More soy milk may need to be added depending on desired consistency. Enjoy!

 

 

Butter Tomato Soup with the Creamiest Grilled Cheese and Balsamic Roasted Veggies

We all need this classic in our life. Sometimes you just need a good, big bowl of tomato soup and a crispy, ooey, gooey grilled cheese to dunk on into it. Its a must. My inspiration for this recipe came from The Flourishing Foodie and her Butter Onion Tomato Soup with Pasta and Parmesan and the fact of making a butter tomato soup just blew my mind and I was hooked on the idea. I just had to see what this was all about! And oh boy, it is SO worth it! I went down a more traditional route with the soup to make it a more classic tomato and basil combo, and I just can’t get over the depth and flavor of this soup! We’ve had it like 4 times in the past couple weeks and there is no shame at all.

You just can’t have a bowl of tomato soup without having a grilled cheese to go along with it. Thats just like having macaroni with no cheese – it just isn’t right! A grilled cheese needs to have the perfect, golden-brown crust that cracks open to reveal a cheesy, gooey center ready to be dunked into a perfect bowl of tomato soup. My secret ingredient to my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich is a nice smear of cream cheese on the bread before you top it off with the classic cheddar cheese. Shhhh don’t tell anyone. Its that good.

The addition of the balsamic roasted veggies helps make it a more rounded meal to me. It just completes the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo! Plus, what a great way to sneak in some more veggies for your kids! I like the combination of butternut squash, kale and cauliflower, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand! Broccoli, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes any of it will do. What I love about all of these elements is that you can fondue-style it. I mean if you really think about it, dipping a grilled cheese sandwich into your tomato soup is almost like fondue – a tomato soup fondue. Dip those veggies just the same! Or stir them all into the velvety soup to get complete coverage and add some more depth to your soup.

This meal deal is the perfect weeknight, weekend, make ahead or re-heat leftovers kind of deal. You could even let the soup sit all day in the slow cooker so that all you have to do when you get home is roast some veggies and crisp up your grilled cheese! I love making this and then my husband and I treat ourselves to the leftovers the next couple nights. Are we eating too many grilled cheeses? Don’t even answer that.

 

 

Butter Tomato Soup with the Creamiest Grilled Cheese and Balsamic Roasted Veggies

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 32oz carton vegetable stock
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the grilled cheese:

  • 1 loaf sliced sourdough bread
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • Garlic salt to taste

For the veggies:

  • 3 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring the diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, 1/2 stick of butter, onion, and tomato paste to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Using either a blender, food processor or an immersion blender, blend the soup mixture until smooth. Return the soup to the original pot (not applicable if using an immersion blender) and stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Taste the soup and add more seasoning as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. When the soup is in the last 15 minutes of cooking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the veggies with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Spread them on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes or until the veggies are soft and slightly caramelized.
  3. Using two slices of bread for each grilled cheese, spread the remaining softened butter on the outsides of each slice of bread being used for the grilled cheese. Dividing the ingredients evenly amongst the number of sandwiches, continue to spread the cream cheese on the inside of one slice of bread per sandwich. Layer the cheddar cheese on top of the cream cheese and lightly sprinkle with garlic salt. Top the cheddar cheese with the second piece of buttered bread.
  4. Preheat a non-stick skillet over high heat and cook the grilled cheese sandwiches buttered side down until golden-brown and crispy on both sides and the cheese is melted, flipping only once.
  5. Serve the tomato soup with the roasted veggies either on the side or on top of the soup, and the grilled cheese sliced and ready to dunk. Enjoy!

 

Homestyle Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting 

There is honestly nothing better than a batch of cinnamon rolls baking away in your oven. You can see the original cinnamon rolls I grew up on here, but sometimes a girl (and guy!) just needs some cream cheese frosting on top of those fluffy rolls of cinnamon! I absolutely love the simplicity of this recipe and how easy these rolls come together. That’s why I call them homestyle! The base sweet roll is my Grandma’s recipe and boy, she sure knows how to make a good cinnamon roll! I’m glad I got the family gene.

I had never baked cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet before and it seemed to be the cool and hip thing to do nowadays, so I gave it a whirl. Honestly to me, it’s more so for looks and a “homey” feel for your rolls, but there was not much cooking difference between using the skillet or a baking pan. If you are using a cast iron skillet, make sure it has been properly seasoned prior.

Cream cheese frosting, to me, is the best of all the frostings out there. I add just a little vanilla to mine, but also go down the almond extract road every once in awhile instead. The rolls are always best right out of the oven with a smear of cream cheese frosting melting away into the ever-so-coveted center piece.
Homestyle Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting


Ingredients: 


  • 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, plus 3 Tablespoons all at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Instructions: 


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, 1 Tablespoon sugar and warm water together until combined. Set aside to let the yeast activate.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt 1/2 cup butter and the milk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and the salt until combined. Slowly whisk in the butter and milk mixture followed by the yeast mixture. Fold in the flour until the dough is combined and forms a loose ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm area (top of stove, sunny window) to let the dough rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Melt the 3 Tablespoonsof butter and spread a thin layer of melted butter across the surface of the dough, approximately 1/4 of the melted butter. Dust the top of the buttered surface with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in an even layer, followed by the cinnamon in the same method.
  6. Starting at one end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log until reaching the other end of the rectangle. Slice the roll into 12-15 individual cinnamon rolls and place them in a sprayed cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown on top. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, whip the remaining one stick of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together in a medium size bowl until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting on top of the cinnamon rolls.

 

No-Churn Samoas Cookie Ice Cream

The time has come – Girl Scout cookie season is upon us! We all know those little boxes get us. Especially one little box in particular. The green boxes, yellow boxes and orange boxes are all wonderful in their own way, but that little purple box stacked full of those shortbread cookies perfectly coated in caramel, coconut and drizzled with chocolate. They have a way to my heart, and every year I have to get my hands on at least a couple boxes. So why not turn one of my favorite cookies into an ice cream? Count me in! Girl Scouts don’t have anything on me after this ice cream! Just kidding…they have everything on me.

I’m also on a no-churn ice cream kick and I am completely ok with that. So is my husband. The creaminess of the ice cream swirled with the toasty coconut flakes and fudgy chocolate are what dreams are made of. No-Churn Samoas Cookie Ice Cream dreams to be precise. Not only does this ice cream come together in a jiff, but it will fulfill any Samoas cookie cravings that you may have! Even if you don’t have any Samoa cookies or Girl Scout cookies on hand, this ice cream won’t disappoint. But if you do have the cookies on hand, layer those puppies on in between the ice cream and chocolate! The more the merrier if you ask me.

Toasting the coconut helps deliver a full nutty flavor to the ice cream, and the sweetened condensed milk will give it a caramel touch. Waiting for this ice cream to freeze is the hardest part. You may need to make a double batch, or at least I do in my household because my husband sits down and eats it straight out of the container with a spoon.

Also, completely in love with my new ice cream scoop from Lumberjack Luke! All of his work is fantastic and he custom-made the ice cream scoop pictured above to my liking! Don’t worry, theres still more ice cream scoops, cutting boards and goodies to go around.

 

No-Churn Samoas Cookie Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • Crushed Samoas cookies

 

Directions:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. During that time period, lightly toast the coconut in a small saute pan over low-medium heat until light brown. Set aside to cool.
  • Fold the sweetened condensed milk and the coconut into the whipped cream until evenly combined. In a bread pan or any other freezer-safe bowl/dish/pan, pour 1/4 of the cream mixture into the bottom and spread evenly. Drizzle 1/4 of the melted chocolate on top of that base layer of ice cream and sprinkle with the crushed cookies and continue to layer in the same fashion of pouring the ice cream mixture and then drizzling with chocolate and sprinkling with cookies until it is all used.
  • Freeze the ice cream mixture for at least 6 hours prior to serving.

 

 

 

 

Homemade Chicken Ramen 

Ok I admit, I had never eaten ramen until last year. Yes I know it’s crazy that I never had the well-known salty noodles growing up, but let me tell you where my ramen-eating journey started. Last year, my husband and I went to San Francisco for our anniversary trip and were taken to a ramen bar by some friends and locals to the area. Oh. My. Goodness. I crave it still every day of the year! (That’s 365 days of craving ramen from Iza Ramen) It is mind-blowing good and from then on my perspective of ramen was forever changed. We then came home from our trip and my husband convinced me to try the little package guys of ramen, and even though the saltiness helps cure some cravings it just wasn’t the same.


So, for the past year I’ve been dreaming up some homemade ramen concoctions. Trying to decided how I was going to pull off the perfectly boiled egg that still has a soft center and chunks of nori that I would have swimming around in my bowl. It was almost daunting. The task of making the most perfect ramen bowl was just so burned into my mind that I avoided doing it. And by golly the other night, I did it. It was done more so on a whim. I had absolutely no intentions of making ramen for dinner that night and it just happened and I’m sure glad it did! Do you know how easy it is to develop those deep, crave-worthy flavors in your own kitchen?! You can do it! (And all for around 30 minutes of your time!) You don’t have to plate up anything fancy or have the worlds best egg or double-fried pork loin floating on top of your ramen bowl (but if you want to then YES.) but you can make a simple, flavorful and much healthier version on your own! With ingredients that you may already have in your fridge.


If you have access to a local store that provides authentic ramen noodles, then definitely take advantage of that! Otherwise, since I live in Nebraska I just used the pre-packed ramen noodles you can find at any grocery store (flavor packs tossed). Also, swing by your grocery store’s Chinese food section and snag a couple pairs of chopsticks to help you slurp down these noodles. Mix up your usual week-night meals and blow your ramen-loving family and friends minds with your own homemade version.

Homemade Chicken Ramen 


Ingredients: 

  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 – 3 oz packages ramen noodles, flavor packets removed.

Directions: 


  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock, water and bouillon cubes to a low boil. Add in the chicken breasts and poach them until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Add in the green onions. At this point, the stock and chicken can be reduced to a simmer and cooked for 1-2 hours to develop more flavor, or can be moved onto the next step.
  2. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside. Add the mushrooms, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper into the pot and cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the ramen noodles into the pot and use a fork to string them apart as they cook. Cook the ramen noodles for 3-4 minutes and reduced the heat to low.
  3. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and place the slices back into the ramen noodles to be warmed through. Serve with green onion garnish.

No-Churn Nutella Ice Cream

Dear Nutella,

You have been my faithful friend – my go-to at the end of the day no matter what. My tastebud’s companion. My right hand man. Where would I be without you?

Sincerely,

Your favorite daily consumer.
A little much? Oh well. It’s Nutella! How could you not? My love for Nutella runs deep. So, why not Nutell ice cream? Nutella and ice cream in the same title. You’re welcome.


I love how creamy and delicious this ice cream turned out. Get your spoons ready, because you are going to want to dive into this one! Plus, it’s no-churn so it’s easy-peasy and you have Nutella ice cream in front of you in no time. Ok, you do have to wait for it to freeze which can feel like forever, but it is definitely worth the wait! If you can’t wait for it to freeze all the way, then there’s nothing wrong with soft serve Nutella ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with Nutella ice cream at all. Three simple ingredients is all that you need to have this delicious, lucious bowl of wonderfulness in front of you. Drizzle it with warm Nutella before you dig in and you are set to go.



No-Churn Nutella Ice Cream


Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cups Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Directions: 

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and Nutella until combined. Fold the Nutella mixture into the whipped cream until evenly combined and creamy.
  3. Pour the ice cream into a bread loaf pan or any other freezer-safe pan that you would like to use. Freeze for 6 hours prior to serving.

Banana-Berry Smoothie Bowl

Aren’t smoothie bowls just the greatest? I’m mean think about it – who would of thought to pour their favorite smoothie into a bowl, top it with goodies galore and have it be the new biggest thing ever in the smoothie world? I bet it happened on accident. Yep, I can see it now. Smoothie pour over situation gone wrong and a bowl to the rescue. However it happened, I’m sure glad it did! Smoothie bowls are such a fun and decorative way to get those healthy fruits and veggies in you! This Banana-Berry version sure does not disappoint. Packed full with nutrient-rich blueberries and blackberries, this smoothie bowl is just waiting to be topped off with your favorite choices and enjoyed.


You can adjust and tweak the recipe however you would like, but I love the addition of cinnamon and honey to give the berrys some warmth. Plus, when you are eating a smoothie bowl in the middle of January in Nebraska, you are going to want some comfort and warmth. Either way, it’s delicious! It almost, almost, is like eating blueberry pie. But we won’t go that far because let’s be honest, a smoothie will never be the same as pie. Or cake. Or brownies. Oh geez, that’s a bad trail to go down! Setting all dessert cravings aside, this smoothie bowl will be the perfect treat, lunch, snack or go-to recipe for you! Also, what better way to have the kiddos help you out in the kitchen and get some healthy goodies in them!


Top this smoothie off with whatever your heart desires. The possibilities and combinations are endless! The contents of the smoothie can also be adjusted to adapt to what you have on hand or what flavor combos you like. A handful of fresh strawberries or some frozen peaches wouldn’t be bad at all! You can also add in your favorite protein powders etc. to amp up this smoothie even more. Make eating healthy fun!

Banana-Berry Smoothie Bowl

Makes 2 servings 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Topping Ideas: 

  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Coconut flakes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chopped nuts (I used honey roasted almonds)
  • Chia seeds
  • Mango

Directions: 

  1. Put all the smoothie ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with desired topping. Enjoy!