This is my kind of day. A day totally dominated by sugar and sweets. As much as I'd like to deny it - I too am a girl dominated (or at least motivated) by sugar.
This sugar addicted girl is stocked up on candy to hand out to the kiddos and sugar cookies for any chaperones looking for a little treat. Halloween can be a long night for parents who accompany their little trick or treaters - I feel like they deserve a little sugar too.
If you're in my neighborhood - stop by my house and say hello. We've got our pumpkin carved into an airplane with a working propellor of course, our dog is sporting a new costume and we've got PLENTY of sugar ready to share with all of you.
If you wake up tomorrow with a sugar hangover and you feel like you need to balance all of that sugar with some healthy food - I've got just the recipe for you. Made with whole wheat flour and no butter or oil but tons of rich, fudgey, chocolatey flavor, these chocolate banana muffins are perfection.
Eating these muffins won't make up for the fact that I may or may not raid any candy left in the bottom of the bucket after all of the trick or treaters have left - but it may keep me from grabbing a Hershey bar for breakfast tomorrow morning.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
Bake 25 minutes at 375.
Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
These muffins are so scrumptious and delicious that you won't even miss the butter and oil. The chocolate chips add just enough sweet decadence that you'll never feel deprived when eating these muffins. They do have some white sugar in them but they've also got fruit so that makes them healthy - right?
Enjoy your Halloween friends!
Throw on your favorite sweater, light the fire and grab a latte - it's Fall!!! Woohoo. Crisp leaves, chilly temperatures and salty pumpkin seeds - these are a few of my fav-or-ite things.
Spring is my favorite season but there are a lot of things that I love about Fall too. Trips to the north Georgia mountains to pick apples, long afternoon hikes through the woods, spending way too long choosing the perfect pumpkin from the patch, wandering aimlessly through a corn maze with my family, sitting around a campfire with good friends - I could go on and on.
I got my closet ready for Fall last week. Locating all of my sweaters, jeans and boots that I strategically stored throughout the house for the summer was not an easy task. Seriously, why in the world did I think that I stashing my sweaters under my sons bed was a good idea?
Now that I've rediscovered my Fall wardrobe, it's time to get my kitchen - Fall ready. I'm stocking up on crunchy apples, cans of pumpkin and loading my freezer with hearty Fall soups. It just doesn't seem like Fall until I've got a giant pot of creamy soup loaded with delicious vegetables and lean protein simmering on the stove. I have a designated pot that I use almost exclusively for soup and it is HUGE. We eat it for dinner and lunch for a few days until we tire of it and then I put the rest in small containers in the freezer. There's something strangely comforting about having soups in the freezer that are ready to heat and eat at a moments notice.
This Greek Chicken Soup is one of my new favorites. It is super creamy and delicious but it has no milk or cream. It gets that unique consistency from eggs! It may seem like an unusual way to thicken soup but it is really delicious and as an added bonus - it ups the protein content.
Greek Chicken Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup cubed carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 cups baby spinach
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons chopped dill
Fill 6 bowls with soup and garnish with parsley.
I want to know what's on yourFall bucket list? Send me your favorite Fall activities or recipes that you like to make.
I'm a food blogger and I run a catering business so OBVIOUSLY all of my recipes turn out perfectly every single time. (Hey, family - you can stop laughing now.) We're laughing because we that that statement couldn't really be any farther from the truth. Because of this food blogging gig, I make more first time recipes that the average person and that just gives me even more opportunities to mess things up. Sometimes, I make little mistakes that can go relatively undetected. And sometimes, I end up with a completely unsalvageable (and inedible) disaster.
One Sunday evening, I decided to whip up a quick cheese omelet for my daughter before she headed back to college. As part of the mom code, I've vowed to always send my kids back to school with full tummies and a heaping bag of leftovers. I do recognize that they are more than capable of feeding themselves and they do exactly that on a regular basis. BUT I still enjoy cooking for them and since I don't get that chance very often I take advantage of every opportunity that I can. What can I say? I love being their mom.
As my sweet girl packed up her car with baskets of clean laundry and more shoes than she could possibly wear in one weekend, I examined the refrigerator for ingredients that I could pull together into something quick that I could feed her before she began her trek back to campus. I didn't have much to work with so I settled on a simple cheese omelet. Fast forward 10 minutes and I plopped a pile of very unattractive cheesy eggs on her plate. After a good laugh - she gobbled it up and declared it "delicious." (You gotta love the willingness of college kids to eat ANYTHING.) Not exactly the omelet that I had pictured in my head.
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
Fold unfilled half of omelet over cheese half to create a half moon.
I'm not sure that I ever truly figured out what I did wrong on my first omelet. Other than the fact the pan was a greased a little better the second time around, I used the exact same process for both attempts. Sometimes, there's just no explanation for why a recipe flops. I've learned to just pick myself up and try again (and again) until I get it right. I figure that if I make something enough times, it's bound to turn out eventually.
I want to know - are you a "buy the inexpensive pumpkin at the supermarket" kind of person or are you the kind of person who travels further to a proper pumpkin patch to purchase an identical pumpkin for twice the cost?
If I'm being honest - I do both. I usually pick up a couple of supermarket pumpkins to put on display on my front porch but we also like to take a family trip to the pumpkin farm to pick out pumpkins to carve for Halloween. I know they're more expensive at the pumpkin patch but it's all about the experience. Am I right? The question is, "Is it worth it?" This year I took the kids to pick out pumpkins from the bin at Trader Joes. Not quite the experience of wandering through the pumpkin patch but easy on the budget.
I would never even consider passing up 2 or 3 grocery stores and drive to a further store to purchase identical groceries at a higher cost. That would be ridiculous. But for some reason, it seems perfectly normal to do just that in search of the perfect pumpkin to carve into a Jack O'Lantern. I also don't ask my family to pose in front of the giant cardboard box full of pumpkins in front of the Kroger entrance but I do make them stand in the pumpkin patch holding their prized gourd every year.
It's come to my attention that grocery stores recently have caught onto the pumpkin photo trend because I see more and more fall "displays" that are certainly worthy of a great Fall photo. Maybe the days of driving to the pumpkin farm are over. Maybe next year, we'll all get dressed in our cutest Fall outfits and head to the Sprouts store to snap some super fun Fall photos in front of their awesome pumpkin display.
Either way, you can bet that there will be pumpkins on our front porch this month. It' just doesn't seem like it's really Fall without them. It also doesn't seem like Fall until I've made lots of hearty, warm soups and casseroles. This chicken cassoulet is definitely one of my favorites. If you've never tacked a cassoulet - here's your chance. This recipe has a lot of ingredients but it's easier than you think to put together and it's incredibly delicious.
1 pound dried Great Northern beans
3 bay leaves
3 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
12 ounces cooked Italian chicken sausage
2 cups chopped white onion
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces multigrain baguette, torn into pieces
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cassoulet. Bake 15 minutes at 425.
What stores near you have the best Fall displays? Have you ever taken your kids to the grocery store just to get a picture of them in front of the pumpkins? Curious minds want to know.
No matter how hard I try, I can never out-bless my parents. They truly are one of the great blessings in my life.
When they found out that Ben and I were planning a trip to Hawaii, they offered to travel 700 miles to our house in Georgia and dog sit our crazy Weimaraner for the week and a half that we were gone. That in and of itself is a full time job but while they were here, they also tackled house and yard projects that had been on our to-do list for quite a while. At the end of our fabulous trip, we came home to a sparkling clean home (and driveway) and an extremely exhausted pooch.
In preparation for their house/dog sitting visit, I put together a couple of simple casseroles and soups for my parents and put them in the freezer. I had no idea that while we were away, my mom would restock our freezer with her own amazing food for us. There's nothing like coming home from vacation to a well stocked refrigerator and a homemade apple pie and homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs in the freezer. Did I mention that it's impossible to out-bless my parents?
Even when I'm not expecting house guests, I like to make quick breads to keep in my freezer. One of my favorites is this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I love this bread because it's dairy free but it's rich in wonderful warm Fall spices and flavors - and chocolate chips!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
14 ounce can pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
This recipe made one big loaf and two mini loaves of breed. My large loaf of banana bread sunk in the middle as it cooled. That is usually an indication it's underbaked and could have used a few more minutes in the oven. That certainly didn't stop us from eating it though.
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