Cooking Healthy Food, Super Sides, Uncategorized

What’s the Best Time of Day to Eat Almonds?

When Is the Best Time of Day to Eat Almonds_

The answer to this question, I think, really depends on your main purpose for eating the almonds. Almonds are wonderful additions to any diet because they are high in fiber and heart healthy fats and minerals. They can generally be eaten at any time of the day, but certain individual characteristics may dictate the best time of day to eat the almonds.

If you are eating almonds strictly because of the heart health benefits, you can incorporate them at any point during the day – with a few conditions. Almonds, because of their brown coating, can be difficult for some people to digest. For this reason, it’s generally better to avoid eating almonds on an empty stomach. You can always try drinking a glass of almond milk instead. Silk is great, but I also really enjoy making my own almond milk using water and raw almonds in my Ninja Master Prep. Note: the almonds should be raw, and you should soak them first in the same water you’re going to blend them with for at least two hours.

If you’re eating almonds to help boost your athletic performance, it’s best to eat a handful after each workout. So, if you work out in the morning, you should eat almonds in the morning. Likewise, if you work out in the evening, you should eat almonds in the evening.

And speaking of evening, did you know eating a small handful of almonds before bed can actually help you sleep? They contain a significant amount of magnesium, which induces sleep and improves its quality. Because of the magnesium, eating almonds at night also helps to control blood sugar, which may especially help you if you have diabetes or weight issues. You won’t even be hungry when you wake up in the morning, because the fiber in the almonds helps keep you feeling fuller longer!

No doubt about it, everyone could benefit from eating almonds every day. The best time of day to eat the almonds really depends on your main reason for including them in your diet, but you don’t want to waste another day before making them a personal nutritional staple.

best time of day to eat almonds.jpg

If you liked this post and want to learn even more about nutrition and wellness, head over to my health and wellness site, WhyWellnessNow.com.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

Cooking Healthy Food, Super Sides

The Surprising Truth About Canola Oil

The Surprising Truth About Canola Oil

For years now, canola oil has gotten a very bad rap, and somewhat undeservedly so. The truth is canola oil can actually be good for you – in some cases even as good as olive oil, and it is much, much cheaper. This makes it a healthy and economical alternative to olive oil.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of canola oil, which comes from the rapeseed plant:

  1. It is low in saturated fat and contains no trans fats, so it is much better to cook with than standard vegetable oil or other types of oil high in saturated and trans fats.
  2. Canola oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and plant sterols, which decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.
  3. It has been shown to both increase levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and decrease levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the body, thus promoting a healthy lipid profile.
  4. It is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for the growth and development of the brain, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the body against stroke and heart attack.
  5. Clinical trials and studies have shown that consumption of canola oil in place of other edible oils benefits the body greatly by increasing overall metabolism.
  6. Canola oil can reduce joint stiffness and tenderness, as well as inflammation due to chronic arthritis. It can also reduce the inflammation caused by asthma and intestinal disorders.
  7. Canola oil is rich in vitamins E and K, which help with skin problems such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne, blemishes, eczema, etc. It is often used as a base in creams and lotions because it makes the skin soft and radiant.
  8. To adequately moisturize dry, flaky skin, stir in some canola oil with a few drops of your favorite essential oil and use it as a body oil. Alternatively, you can put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your skin after a hot shower.
  9. Research and scientific studies show that lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the skin and joints of the body are constantly being destroyed by the immune system, can be treated with a combination of fish and canola oil. This research is currently still in its infancy, but the results indicate a huge potential benefit.
  10. Hot oil treatments using canola oil can be inexpensive and highly effective remedies for hair that is dull and damaged. The oil moisturizes the hair shaft and repairs damage to the strands, and it provides a protective layer against dirt, pollution, and sun damage. A mixture of canola, olive, and almond oil can be used to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.the-suprising-truth-about

To maintain the oil’s effectiveness and nutritional value, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location to minimize exposure to light. If this isn’t possible, you can try wrapping the bottle with a dark, dry cloth. If stored properly, one bottle of canola oil can last for up to two years, which puts its economical value heads and tails above other oils like olive, sunflower, and peanut. Get some today, and try it out for yourself!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

lychee fruit
Cooking Healthy Food, Exotic Flavors, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Super Sides

Lychee Nutrition Facts and Recipe

My family and I love to go to the local Chinese buffet. It’s a Sunday afternoon, after-church tradition now. We’ve been doing it for over seven years! You’d think we’d get tired of the same old, same old, but this particular restaurant switches up their menu just enough to keep things interesting. Our favorite things (the sushi, the coconut shrimp, the fried dumplings, etc.) are almost always there, but every once in a while they introduce something new to the spread.

Like yesterday, when they had these strange-looking little round things sitting out at the dessert table. I figured it much be some sort of fruit, but I didn’t have a clue what it was. Still, I’m an adventurous type, especially when it comes to food, so I thought I would try it. Our server came by the table before I’d taken a bite, and I asked her what they were.

“Lychee,” she said, pronouncing it “lee-chee,” or at least that was the way it sounded to me. She smiled at me like she didn’t really believe she was having to tell me what it was. What could I say? I was a lychee virgin.

I’d heard of the fruit before, but I’d never seen it in person, so I’d certainly never tasted it.

I speared one little fruit with my fork and cautiously stuck it in my mouth. Immediately, I tasted the ginger, and I wondered it if that was part of the fruit’s natural taste, but some later research online told me that probably wasn’t the case. They’d probably added ginger to it when they baked it.

My first overall impression? It was quite different from anything I’d ever had before, although the texture was somewhat reminiscent of baked pears, I thought. And it was spicy! But that was okay by me because I happen to like spicy food.

When I got home, I hit the Internet looking for more information about lychees. Turns out, by not knowing anything about this fruit I was really missing out! Lychees are amazingly nutritious!lychee fruit

For example, they:

  • Offer a great source of Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, and phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, indoles, isoflavones, lignans, and polyphenols
  • Provide high amounts of folate, iron, magnesium, and manganese, which are all required for the formation of red blood cells

Please note, however, that lychees are really high in sugar, which may prove problematic for some diabetics, so consume with caution – and ALWAYS in moderation.

During my Internet search, I even found a yummy baked lychee recipe to try at home. So, I made my husband go out and find some lychees (which was no easy feat in Louisville, KY), tweaked the recipe by adding some things, and baked my lychees in the microwave (like I bake everything else).

Baked Lychees
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 lb lychee fruit, peeled & seeded
Instructions
  1. Spray a Pyrex baking pan with Pam cooking spray.
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the butter.
  3. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger to the butter, and stir together thoroughly.
  4. Roll each lychee in the sugar mixture, and set on the baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining sugar mixture over the lychees.
  6. Put the dish in the microwave and cook on medium power for about three to five minutes, until sugar is caramelized.
  7. Serve immediately, and refrigerate any leftovers.

If you haven’t yet tried lychees, I highly suggest giving them a try. They’re a really different taste sensation at first, but in a delicious way – especially baked. Try this out, and see for yourself!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

Breakfast, Salads, Super Sides

Do Something New with Your Easter Egg Leftovers

easter egg leftovers

Tired of Hard-Boiled Eggs?

If your family is anything like mine, you have about three different Easter celebrations. When I was a child, we’d celebrate Easter at our house and then go to each of my grandmother’s homes to celebrate, as well. Guess what that meant? We had a lot of leftover food and a lot of leftover hard-boiled Easter eggs!

After a while, I started to hate those eggs because I ate them plain – well, my mother would shake a little salt and pepper on them, but that was about it. As I got older, I began adding mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish for single-serve deviled eggs. Even this got boring after a while, though.

So, what do you do when you’re sick of plain hard-boiled eggs – or even deviled eggs? How about some of these tasty ideas?

leftovers

Spice Up Your Egg Salad

While egg salad is not that much different than deviled eggs on the surface, you can mix it up by adding exotic ingredients.

What would you think about adding a little curry to your egg salad? Or even some mashed avocado or grated cucumber for added, non-egg-y flavor.

Use your culinary imagination, and the sky’s the limit!

hard boiled egg recipes

Top Your Cooked Vegetables

Chop up some hard-boiled eggs and throw them on top of steamed vegetables. Chopped eggs are especially tasty, and aesthetically satisfying, on top of green vegetables (beans, broccoli, asparagus).

I’ll admit it. At first, I was nervous about trying this, but I was pleasantly surprised. Hard-boiled eggs really do make a yummy garnish for cooked vegetables.

hard boiled eggs

Don’t Forget the Cold Vegetables!

Sure, we all know we can chop up hard-boiled eggs and throw them on our lettuce salads. And most people add hard-boiled eggs to cold potato and tuna salad. But what about other cold salads?

Eggs can be a great addition to macaroni salad, shrimp salad – even cole slaw. And have you ever had cauliflower salad? This is something else I was afraid to try, but it turned out to be a delicious new addition to my cold salad repertoire.

pickled eggs

Pickle Your Eggs

Now this may be an acquired taste because not everyone likes pickled eggs. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of them, but they do hold a certain nostalgic value for me.

My grandmother always had pickled eggs on the table at Easter. Well, her pickled eggs always included pickled beets and onions, but there were always eggs in the mix.

Pickled eggs can be eaten by themselves or as a cold salad accompaniment. If you’ve never had one before, try them. You might really like them.

Simply Organic French Onion Dip, 1.1-Ounce Packets (Pack of 24)

Add Some Protein to Your Dips and Sauces

Finely chop your hardboiled eggs (yolk and all) and add them, along with some sour cream or plain yogurt, to your favorite dip seasoning mix. I think they’re best in French Onion dip or Ranch dip. You hardly even know the egg is in there, depending on how many you use.

Or how about some chopped hard-boiled eggs in a hollandaise sauce, or even a chicken a la king? You can easily sneak in the nutritional goodness of the egg without cluing in any egg-haters to their presence.

boiled eggs

Egg Up Your Main Dishes

You can always chop up your hard-boiled egg and throw it in with your favorite meatloaf mixture. Or you could spice things up a bit, Spanish-style.

Combining potatoes and eggs is a very popular culinary trick in Spain and in most of South America. That’s where I had my first Tortilla Española and absolutely fell in love with the flavor combination.

You can replicate the flavor in a casserole dish. Use equal numbers of boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. Throw them in the dish with some cooked sausage, peppers, onions, and spices. Layer the sliced eggs on top of the mixture with some milk-soaked bread and cheese. Repeat and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Delicious spicy breakfast (or dinner) casserole!

Some New Egg Ideas

Now you have some ideas for unique ways to use your leftover Easter eggs. You won’t be stuck eating just plain hard-boiled eggs, like I was for so many years! So go out and buy a few dozen and have fun decorating them for Easter. Or, if Easter’s a long way off, just decorate them for the heck of it. Why not?

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

chocolate chip muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Chocolate Chippy Chunk Muffins

chocolate chippy chunk muffins.png

This past weekend, my oldest daughter asked for some chocolate chip cookies because she knew I had a full bag of chocolate chips in the house – well, sort of full (more on that later). My oven’s still not working, so I asked her if muffins would be okay because I know I can do muffins in the microwave. chocolate chip muffinsShe said yes, so I decided to go with that. But I waited too long (a whole day), and she and her sister broke into my bag of chocolate chips!

By the time I got around to making the muffins, I found that most of the bag was empty. So, I had to improvise when it came to adding the chocolate to the recipe. I used about 1/4 of a pound of the coconut oil fudge I’d made a few days before. The end result was pretty surprising and wonderful!

I also happened to be out of eggs, so I searched online and found that you can actually substitute flaxseed (3 tablespoons) and water (1 tablespoon) for one egg. The nice folks at Viva Labs sent me a free bag of ground flaxseed in exchange for an honest review. And, my honest opinion is, it’s a great product! Nicely packaged. It tastes great, and it works in a variety of food products (I’ve used it to make meatballs too). Soon, I’ll be using it to make soap (which I’ll probably talk about over at my CoriaCoco site), so keep an eye out for that post if you’re interested. Plus, I think the Amazon price is totally reasonable for the quality you’re getting, especially if you have access to the free Prime shipping.

I knew I had the flaxseed available, so I decided to try that out as a substitute. It worked pretty well, I think…and my kids and husband both really enjoyed them, so I guess we can call this eggless recipe a winner.

Know someone with an egg allergy? They can still have muffins (as long as they’re not allergic to anything else in this recipe). Here’s what I used and what I did.

Chocolate Chippy Chunk Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 6 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 14 muffins
These muffins are made by substituting a flaxseed and water mixture for the egg, so anyone with an egg allergy can enjoy them, provided they are not allergic to anything else in the recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil fudge (see recipe linked above)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Make the egg substitute mixture by combining one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons water. Stir and let sit for at least one minute while you get the other ingredients together.
  2. Line mini muffin cup wells with mini cupcake liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave (high for about 30 seconds).
  4. Stir in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Pour in the chocolate chips and fudge (cut up into bite-size chunks) and stir well.
  6. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir until combined thoroughly.
  7. Fold in the flaxseed and water mixture.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin cups and put into microwave.
  9. Cook on high power for between 3 and 4 minutes (test for doneness with a toothpick).
  10. Transfer done muffins to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining batter (I had enough left for about 2 or 3 other muffins – these won’t take as long to cook).
  11. Cook remaining muffin batter on high power for about 2 minutes.

After you cook these, if you don’t eat them all right away, you might want to put them in a sealed container. I didn’t, and I found that the next day some of them were really, really hard. A couple of seconds in the microwave softened them up, but it was still something I wasn’t expecting. I hadn’t experienced that before with any of the other muffins I’d made in the microwave. Maybe it was the coconut oil in them (which hardens at room temperature). Maybe I needed to add more milk or water or something. I’m going to try that the next time I make these.

Did you try these? I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you have any suggestions for keeping these from turning rock hard the next day, that would be great too.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

cabbage soup
Soups, Super Sides, Vegging Out

Creamy Cabbage Soup

creamy cabbage soup.png

Sometimes it’s hard being the only one in a family of four who actually enjoys food – all kinds of food. If it’s edible, I’m willing to try it – except if it has eyeballs. I leave those types of things alone. At any rate, I don’t consider myself to be at all picky, but I live with three very picky (and somewhat unpredictable) eaters. They won’t touch a lot of things I want to fix, so I end up having to eat it all myself (and most of the time, that’s just fine with me).

Take, for example, the other day when I wanted to try out a recipe for potato salad slaw I found in one of my husband’s grandmother’s old cookbooks. I bought a head of cabbage, my husband took one look at it, and wrinkled his nose in distaste. Now, keep in mind, I know for a fact this guy does eat slaw (I also know he doesn’t eat potato salad, but this potato salad recipe didn’t have anything in it he wouldn’t eat, so I thought it was worth a try). Silly me! He just shook his head and said, “I’ve never met a potato salad I liked, and I don’t think I’ll like this one.” I love that man. I really do, but oh that comment made me so mad!

I had a head of cabbage I had to do something with, so I decided to cook it up with some bacon and cheddar cheese. That’s the Southern way to do it, you know. Everything’s better with bacon and cheese. But I found that I had a lot of chopped cabbage, and since I knew I was the only one who was going to be eating it (my girls took one look and ran out of the room), I thought I might vary the cabbage cooking a bit. That’s where this creamy cabbage soup comes in. It doesn’t have bacon or cheese, but it’s every bit as delicious as my old standby cooked cabbage recipe. Here’s how to make it:

Creamy Cabbage Soup
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
This creamy cabbage soup recipe is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. It’s an excellent alternative to traditionally cooked cabbage, and it can even be altered to make it a vegetarian dish.
Ingredients
  • ½ chopped medium green cabbage (about 12 ounces, total)
  • 2 ounces of butter
  • 2 chopped leeks
  • 1 potato, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable or bone broth)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano flakes
Instructions
  1. Chop half the green cabbage up into small cubes.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring about 2 inches of lightly salted water to a boil and add the cabbage cubes
  3. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the chopped leeks gently for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender.
  6. Add the sliced potato and cook for another few minutes.
  7. Pour in the broth, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  8. Pour the cabbage and the liquid into the potato and leek mixture.
  9. Cook everything for another 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Remove pan from heat, and add the milk and oregano.
  11. Stir well, cover, and set aside for about 15 minutes.
  12. Pour half the soup into a blender, and blend gently for about 30 seconds.
  13. Return the blended portion to the saucepan and stir thoroughly.
  14. Heat on medium low heat until heated through.
  15. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

 

acorn squash recipe
Super Sides, Vegging Out

Stuffed Acorn Squash

 

stuffed acorn squash

I recently went on a field trip to Huber’s with my younger daughter’s preschool class, where I got to enjoy some of the delicious apple butter that inspired my own Kentucky Apple Butter recipe. I was also introduced to something I’d never heard of before – acorn squash. I’m a big fan of regular summer squash, so when I heard about acorn squash I was naturally curious to try it.

Turns out, this yummy vegetable is sweeter than summer squash, so it has more of a glycemic load, but it’s very nutritious in its own right. It has very little saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6, and C.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 7 mins
Total time: 17 mins
Serves: 2 servings
This is a delicious apple-stuffed squash recipe that makes an excellent side or main dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 – 3 apples, sliced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings.
  2. Add ½ inch of water into a microwavable casserole dish, and place the two halves face down.
  3. Microwave on High (Power Level: 10) for about 4 minutes.
  4. Place the apple slices in a large bowl, and stir in the brown sugar.
  5. Turn the squash halves over and fill with the apple mixture.
  6. Top with the butter, nutmeg, and salt.
  7. Cover with wax paper and microwave on High for 3 more minutes.

Cutting the squash and scooping out the insides is a pretty messy business – not unlike carving a pumpkin – but it’s absolutely worth it. I made this as a side dish along with some baked chicken, but you could easily serve this as a main dish with a fresh green salad. It’s an excellent way to celebrate the tastes of the season.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

apple cider
Drinks

Apple Cinnamon Cider

apple cinnamon cider.png

It’s no secret by now that I’m a major fan of anything flavored with apple and cinnamon. And since this is fall, it’s the perfect time to indulge in a little apple cider – or maybe a lot, if you really like it. Hot or cold, hard or soft, cider appeals to people of all ages and all walks of life.

And this apple cinnamon cider is going to be a family favorite for years to come. My girls have already told me they want me to make this again…and again…and again. That’s a sure sign of a fabulous recipe, and here’s how it’s done.

Apple Cinnamon Cider
Recipe Type: Drinks
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 17 mins
Cinnamon and other spices give this delicious apple cider recipe an extra kick. And the orange juice gives it an extra health burst.
Ingredients
  • 4 apple cinnamon herbal tea bags
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Place the tea bags in a sauce pan.
  2. Pour in the orange juice and apple juice.
  3. Place the pan over medium heat.
  4. Stir in the cloves.
  5. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the tea bags, and serve either hot or cold.

I prefer my cider chilled, and so do my children, so I always put a few ice cubes in the pan right after cooking to speed the cooling process. If you prefer warm cider, you can drink this immediately after cooking. But if you don’t get to it right away, you don’t have to worry too much. This is just as good (or maybe even better) reheated because the flavors have had longer to blend together.

Now you tell me: what’s your favorite way to drink apple cider?

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

potato casserole
Super Sides, Vegging Out

Bacon and Potato Casserole

bacon and potato casserole.pngCasseroles are the ultimate comfort food, and they’re especially yummy when they include potatoes, cheese, and bacon. This loaded potato casserole recipe can be cooked up in no time in the microwave, and the easy prep makes this a perfect main course for a busy week night. Alternatively, you can serve it as a hearty side item along with ham or beef steaks.

Bacon and Potato Casserole
Recipe Type: Main
Serves: 4
Loaded baked potatoes are wildly popular for one very good reason – they’re yummy! This easy microwavable casserole puts all those flavors together to make a meal that’s sure to be a family pleaser.
Ingredients
  • 4 medium potatoes, either peeled or unpeeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 pound bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Spray a microwavable casserole dish with Pam cooking spray.
  2. Arrange the diced potatoes on the bottom of the dish.
  3. Sprinkle the rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper evenly over the top.
  4. Stir slightly to combine.
  5. Layer bacon and cheese over the top.
  6. Bake for 17-19 minutes on high heat (Power Level 10) until potatoes are tender and bacon is crisp.

I don’t peel my potatoes because I like the skins, and I always appreciate cutting down on the prep time. But some people don’t like eating potato skins, and this recipe is just as good without them, so that’s completely your call.

I don’t serve this dish as often as I would like to because I have one very picky eater (my husband) in my household who doesn’t like cheese. The kids and I love it though, and if you don’t have any family members who hate cheese (or one of these other ingredients), I’m sure this will be a hit. I’ve found it also goes really well at potlucks and church suppers.

I’d love to know what your family and friends think about it, so leave a comment and let me know if you try it.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

pumpkin muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Pumpkin Muffins

 

pumpkin muffins

A couple of years ago, my girls discovered the Little Bites pumpkin muffins from Entenmann’s. They absolutely fell in love with them, and I went through about a box every other day or so. Let me tell you, that got expensive. Also, things turned distressing when December rolled around, and the pumpkin muffins disappeared. Turns out, this was just a seasonal flavor. My girls were heartbroken, and I wondered how I could possibly satisfy their little toddler cravings for pumpkin muffins.

I found a recipe for pumpkin muffins using canned pumpkin and cake mix, and those were yummy, but I wondered if there was another way to make them – preferably from scratch. Turns out, all I had to do was look through my Grammy’s old microwave cookbooks. I used the basic muffin recipe and tweaked it by adding pumpkin and some other yummy stuff, and this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 22 mins
Serves: 36
These pumpkin muffins are so good and easy, you’ll want to make them all the time, even when it’s not “pumpkin muffin season.”
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredient mixture.
  3. Pour the eggs, cooking oil, milk, applesauce, and vanilla into the center of the well.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, and stir to combine thoroughly.
  6. Insert a silicone mini muffin tray into a large Pyrex baking dish.
  7. Spray the tray with Pam non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Fill each muffin well about 2/3 full with batter.
  9. Microwave on High (Power Level: 10) for 5 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of each muffin comes out clean.
  10. Remove the muffins from the tray, and repeat the process for the rest of the muffin batter.

My whole family loves these, although my husband admits he thinks they could be a little sweeter. I think they’re just fine as they are, and I like the fact that I can serve my family muffins for breakfast and not feel too guilty about it. These also make a nice after-dinner treat.

However, if you have a real sweet tooth, like my husband, you might want to consider doubling the sugar in this recipe, or perhaps adding icing. I think you could do so without ruining the muffins. Whether you add more sugar or not, I do hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

fluffernutter
Cooking with Kids, Just Desserts, Sandwiches, Super Sides

Five Fun Fluffernutter Facts

 

fluffernutter facts

Today is National Fluffernutter Day! Admittedly, before today, I’d never heard of this delicious PB&J alternative. But I thought I would give it a try, because ever since I learned how to make peanut butter fudge using marshmallow creme, I’ve been a big fan of the combination of peanut butter and marshmallow creme together.

And in my quest for more information about the fluffernutter, I came across some very interesting facts:

  1. Marshmallow creme, which forms the basis of the fluffernutter sandwich, was first invented in Massachusetts in the early part of the 20th century. Sugar shortages due to war hindered its production for a time; however, the gooey treat never really fell off the radar.
  2. The fluffernutter (also known as the “Liberty sandwich”) was actually developed, and the first recipe for it was published, by marshmallow creme co-founder Emma Curtis during World War I (hence, obviously, the presence of “liberty” in the sandwich’s name). Emma Curtis was the great-great-great-granddaughter of Paul Revere.
  3. Because of its vast popularity and its rich local history, the fluffernutter has been named the “unofficial state sandwich” of Massachusetts, and real steps have been taken to make that title official.
  4. In 2006, the fluffernutter inspired some severe anti-junk food legislation in its home state when State Senator Jarrett Barrios found out his son was being served fluffernutters every day at school. The amendment limited the serving of fluffernutters at school to once a week.
  5. Fluffernutters aren’t just popular here on Earth. Astronaut Richard Michael Linnehan, who was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire, enjoyed a fluffernutter while he was onboard the International Space Station.

I guess, since I’m not from Massachusetts and don’t really know anyone who is, it’s understandable I’m not very familiar with the fluffernutter. Well, that is, I wasn’t familiar with it until I decided to make one for myself today to celebrate this delicious holiday. I made some modifications, though, to the traditional white bread, marshallow creme, and peanut butter sandwich.

First of all, I didn’t have any white bread in the house, so I used wheat. And I’m such a PB&J fan, I just couldn’t bear the thought of substituting the jelly with marshmallow creme alone. So, I got the bright idea to add raisins (about half an ounce), since they are made from the same fruit grape jelly comes from.

fluffernutterI was a bit skeptical at first, but it really was an excellent idea. The raisins were amazing in this sandwich! And I got to feel a little bit better about my indulgence in the “unhealthy” sandwich my adding something healthier to it – well, in addition to the whole wheat bread.

All in all, I’m glad I was introduced to the fluffernutter. It’s not going to be my go-to sandwich when I get a hankering for peanut butter. PB&J will always win out over the fluffernutter, as far as I’m concerned. But I can definitely see the appeal of this sandwich. And I love the many possibilities that exist in terms of fluffernutter variations. For example, I ran across several mentions of fluffernutter cookies.

Also, in the process of researching this sandwich, I ran across this delicious cake recipe. I have not had a chance to make it yet, but I’m filing it away for later. It just looks too good to pass up!

Now I want to know: What are your experiences with the fluffernutter? Do you prefer it over the PB&J, or is it the other way around? Talk back to me in the comments!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

mcdonalds frappe
Drinks, Just Desserts

Copycat Recipe: McDonald’s Caramel Frappe

mcdonald's frappe
A few years back now, McDonald’s introduced something that would soon become one of my favorite drinks EVER – the caramel frappe! I don’t know what it is about this drink. Maybe it’s the coffee. Maybe it’s the caramel (incidentally, I think the caramel frappe is SO much better than the mocha frappe, so it might actually BE the caramel that does it for me).

So, when my husband bought me the Ninja Master Prep as an early anniversary present, and then I found out this was National Frappe Day, I immediately started trying to figure out how I could replicate my favorite drink. I came up with what I thought was a delicious facsimile, but my husband tried it, and said it was good but “it could use a little more sugar.” So, if you’re really into sugar, like he is, you might want to add another couple of tablespoons of sugar…or maybe even double the amount of sugar in this recipe. I’m going to try that the next time I make this, and maybe that’ll satisfy my little sugar monster.

Copycat Recipe: McDonald’s Caramel Frappe
Recipe Type: Drinks
Serves: 2 servings
I’m so excited to bring this copycat recipe to you because it’s a variation of my very favorite drink ever – McDonald’s Caramel Frappe!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup frozen brewed coffee (about 4 ice cubes)
  • 1 cup ice (about 6-8 cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons caramel syrup
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Reddi-Whip and caramel topping for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pour 2 cups of brewed coffee (this fills about 4 cube squares) into an ice cube tray and fill the rest of the tray with water.
  2. Freeze for a few hours, or overnight.
  3. Put the coffee and plain ice cubes in the bottom of a blender.
  4. Add the caramel, sugar, milk, and yogurt.
  5. Blend for about one minute, or until well blended and smooth.
  6. Top with Reddi-Whip and drizzle with more caramel.
  7. Serve immediately.

The caramel I used for this recipe was the same caramel I made for my microwave caramel custard recipe. I really liked how it turned out then, and it was absolutely amazing in this recipe – and surprisingly similar in taste to the caramel McDonald’s uses in their frappe (at least as far as I can tell).

All I know is, from this point on, McDonald’s may lose a lot of my frappe business because now I know how to make my own delicious caramel frappe (and I have the tools to do it with).

Want to see more restaurant copycat recipes? Check out Foodaplenty’s guide to making 30 favorite restaurant-style meals at home. It’s only $4.99, and it includes dishes from Olive Garden, IHOP, Cinnabon, Cheesecake Factory, and so much more!copycat restaurant recipes

30 Restaurant Copycat Recipes

Want to see more before you buy? You can grab your very own copycat recipe of Red Lobster’s Crab Alfredo by clicking here!

 

 

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

veev
Cooking Healthy Food, Drinks, Fruit for Dessert

Vive le Veev!

vive le veev

Today is National Vodka Day! Admittedly, it’s not one I enjoy much. I used to drink screwdrivers back in the ’90s with Absolut and Smirnoff, but they never did very good things to my body. I could drink any other type of alcohol – and sometimes a LOT of it – and I was always a happy drunk. I was the “designated drunk” among my friends because I was so darn happy… except when it came to vodka. If I drank even a little vodka (but enough to get drunk, obviously), I’d turn into a manic-depressive, sometimes violent, psychopath. No one wanted to be around me then. I didn’t even want to be around myself. So, I quit drinking vodka. Actually, I haven’t had any sort of alcohol at all since before I conceived my oldest daughter – more than 7 years ago now.  And I don’t miss it. Not at all. Cigarettes? That’s another story. I miss them like crazy, but I’m completely okay with being a teetotaler.

But I signed up for this grocery shopping rewards program not long ago, ibotta, and I noticed that one of the rebate deals featured any restaurant where this Veev vodka was served. I’d never heard of this vodka before, so I thought I would do some research and find out more about it.

Unlike my old grain-based vodka nemeses, Veev is made from acai berries (although it does contain some winter wheat, as well). I like their assertion, “We are not ordinary, nor do we want to be.” I love the idea of a vodka that’s out of the ordinary.aronia berries

It’s a 70-proof liquor that’s completely carbon neutral, which means there is no net carbon release owing to its manufacturing process. It’s eco-friendly and relatively healthy. Acai berries are full of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

Is that enough to make me run right out and try some? Not exactly. Like I said, I’m not a really big fan of alcohol (certainly not when there are two little girls running all over the place that I have to keep up with every day). The $1 rebate from ibotta wasn’t even enough to entice me out to buy it.

However, I am intrigued by this new type of vodka featuring the delicious and wonderfully healthy acai berries. So, if I ever do decide to drink alcohol again, this is going to be a first on the list that I want to try. Perhaps my body will react better to the fruit-based vodka than it does the grain-based vodkas. Of course (unfortunately), I won’t know that until I try.

So, what about you? Have you tried Veev? Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

blueberry muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Fruit for Dessert, Microwave Baking

White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

 

white chocolate blueberry muffins

There’s not much I like better than a good blueberry muffin, and I make some of the best (if I do say so myself). So, when I heard that this is National White Chocolate Day, I thought: What could be better than combining white chocolate chips with my favorite blueberry muffin recipe? And, of course, I had to try out baking these in the microwave. I’m becoming very fond of baking with a microwave. Turns out, these muffins were amazing! Here’s how to make them:

White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 18 mins
Serves: 12-24
White chocolate gives my favorite blueberry muffin recipe an extra special touch. Make these any time you want to wow brunch guests!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Sprite
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Spray a microwave-safe muffin pan (I use a silicone mini muffin pan) with Pam cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, yogurt, egg, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Fold in the white chocolate chips and blueberries and stir gently.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups (6 regular-sized muffins or 12 mini muffins).
  7. Microwave on Power Level 7 for 2-4 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.
  9. Repeat for process of greasing the muffin pan, pouring the batter, and microwaving on Power Level 7 for 2-4 minutes to bake the remaining batter.
blueberry muffins


My mother-in-law first introduced me to the joys of the silicone muffin pan, and I’m so glad she did. This versatile pan can be used in the regular oven, as well as the microwave oven, so it’s perfect for all kinds of recipes. If you use it in the regular oven, though, you might have to put a metal cookie sheet or something under it for added stability. Happy baking!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

apple dumplings
Breads, Cooking Healthy Food, Cooking with Chicken Leftovers, Exotic Flavors, Old Family Recipes

Chicken and Apple Dumplings

 

chicken and apple dumplings.png

Today is National Apple Dumpling Day, and it’s also National Chicken Month, so I thought it would be neat to combine those two ideas into one scrumptious post with this chicken and apple dumpling recipe. I found an old dumpling recipe in a scrapbook my husband’s mother had made for us as a wedding present, and I decided to stuff those with a filling of apples, spices, and (you guessed it!) leftover crock pot chicken. And the best part is, you can use the leftover broth from the pot that you cooked the chicken in!

Here’s how I did it:

Chicken and Apple Dumplings
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 2 hours
Serves: 40 dumplings
This is a fresh take on an old-fashioned recipe I inherited from my husband’s grandmother. So good! You’ll definitely want to make this the next time you have company. You’ll impress their socks off!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 2 medium-sized Gala apples, diced
  • 2 tbspns apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbspns water
  • 3 tbspns brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 2/3 cups milk
Instructions
  1. Chop up the apples and shred the chicken into tiny pieces.
  2. Combine chicken and apples together with the water, vinegar, sugar, and spices, in a medium-sized microwavable bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for two minutes, and then stir.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and milk with a fork.
  5. Flour a flat surface well.
  6. Spoon and flatten out a small portion of the dumpling dough.
  7. Add a teaspoonful of the chicken and apple mixture.
  8. Spoon out another layer of dough and connect the two.
  9. Add the dumpling to hot, but not boiling, broth in a large stock pot on the stove.
  10. Repeat this process until all the dumplings are formed.
  11. Cover and simmer the dumplings, 8 at a time, for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately, and spoon the gravy in the pan over the dumplings, for extra flavor.
apple dumplings

The idea to reuse the broth from the crock pot pan is not really my own. I got that from a blog post I read the other day, but I absolutely love it. You can reuse your leftover chicken AND the broth. That’s a double win!

Admittedly, this recipe takes some time and effort, but it is so worth it! Note: These dumplings are pretty big (about the size of a biscuit), so two per person makes a pretty decent serving size. This recipe can be halved, or even quartered, if you don’t want to make so many dumplings at once (or if you don’t want to spend so much time in the kitchen).

 

51-wy1JrHcL

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

thai peanut sauce recipe
Cooking Healthy Food, Cooking with Chicken Leftovers, Exotic Flavors, Super Sides

Delicious Thai Peanut Sauce

 

delicious thai peanut sauce (1)

There aren’t a lot of Thai restaurants where I live, so we don’t eat this type of cuisine regularly, but my husband did take me to a Thai restaurant once, and we both enjoyed it. One of the things I loved most was the peanut sauce served with the chicken. Yum!

So, when I thought about celebrating National Peanut Day today, one of the first things I thought about was that peanut sauce. It’d been a long time since I’d had Thai peanut sauce, so I hit the Internet looking for easy-to-make at-home recipes. There’s a wide variety out there (seems that way for almost any recipe you find these days – everybody has their own take on things), but I took what I thought were the best, combined them, and created my own.

This sauce is a wonderful way to add some zest and flavor to dull leftover chicken. And if you’ve been following this blog long, you know I’m all about sprucing up chicken leftovers. And it’s totally easy. No special cooking skills required!

Here’s the recipe:

Delicious Thai Peanut Sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 6 servings
This version of Thai peanut sauce is so easy, anyone can make it. It’s an exciting addition to leftover chicken.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (either crunchy or creamy)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 8-oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (halved)
Instructions
  1. Add the peanut butter, honey, coconut milk, lemon juice, and soy sauce to a blender jar.
  2. Blend for about 30 seconds on medium speed, and then reduce speed to low for 30 more seconds until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan.
  4. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, red pepper, garlic, basil, and peanuts.
  5. Heat over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until heated through and completely combined.
  6. Serve immediately by spooning over shredded leftover chicken and prepared jasmine rice.
thai peanut sauce recipe

Like I said, it has been a long time since I went to that Thai restaurant, so I can’t attest to how close this recipe is to restaurant quality…and I certainly can’t say how authentic it is, since I’ve never been to Thailand. But I can say, for certain, that this makes for a yummy dinner. Even my kids like this sauce (they love peanuts, peanut butter, and soy sauce).

It looks like this is one recipe that might stay in our monthly dinner rotation for a long time!
//

Cooking with Kids, Drinks, Just Desserts

Happiness in a Glass: Chocolate Milkshake Day

 

chocolate milkshake day

Today we get to celebrate one of my girls’ favorite drinks. It’s National Chocolate Milkshake Day! We’ve made them promise, though, that they will eat a decent dinner before we partake of the cold, creamy, chocolaty goodness. My husband, as a matter of fact, may forbid me from enjoying one because my sinuses are currently wreaking havoc on my system, and he’s afraid that the milkshake will just make things worse for me. He’s trying to look out for me, not punish me by keeping me away from something I love…at least, that’s what I keep trying to tell myself.

The chocolate milkshake is such a simple dessert drink. Here’s all you need to make it:

  1. A blender
  2. Milk (white, or chocolate)
  3. Chocolate syrup (if you use white milk)
  4. Two scoops of ice cream (either vanilla or chocolate)

Still, it’s one of the most amazing dessert drinks ever created, and it has a long and fascinating history.

chocolate milkshake day

The term “milkshake” was first coined back in 1885 to refer to an alcoholic whiskey eggnog-type drink. By the early 1900s, however, the milkshake had lost its alcohol and gained a number of delicious flavors, like the classic chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Also, at this point, ice cream was included in most of the recipes. And why not? Ice cream makes pretty much everything better.

The history of the milkshake is inextricably connected with the history of the blender. The modern blender was first invented in 1922, and up until that point milkshakes retained their eggnogg-y form because they were mostly hand-shaken. The blender revolutionized the way milkshakes were made and served. Today, I wouldn’t even think of making a milkshake without a blender.

Milkshakes and “malteds” were all the rage in the 1950s, and it was about this time that a successful milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc bought exclusive rights to Earl Prince’s 1930s-era Multimixer and went on to use it to speed up milkshake production at his McDonald’s restaurants, which still proudly serve chocolate milkshakes.

Of course, in today’s more health-conscious society, the traditional milkshake is often ignored in favor of milkshake-like “smoothies,” which include more nutritious ingredients (and less refined sugar), but you can still get your chocolate fix with a smoothie. Just throw a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder in with a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt and a banana. Blend that together for 30-60 seconds, and you’ll have at least a pretty good chocolate milkshake substitute that will allow you to satisfy your craving with no guilt!

Now, tell me: Did you celebrate National Chocolate Milkshake Day? If not, why not?

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Spicy Honey Microwave Beet Bread

 

beet bread

My girls love beets. I mean, they really, really do. So we eat a lot of them around here (usually of the canned variety). The other day, I opened a can to put some in my older daughter’s lunch (and to give my younger daughter for breakfast). As I pulled out the vegetable slices with a fork, I contemplated the liquid left over inside the can.

What should I do with it? I didn’t want to just throw it out, if there was any way I might be able to use it. And then my thoughts naturally turned to the microwave breads and cakes I’d been making. What if I could make a beet bread using this leftover juice? Well, it turns out I could…and I did. Here’s my spicy honey microwave beet bread recipe.

Spicy Honey Microwave Beet Bread
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 17 mins
Serves: 8 servings
What do you do with the juice leftover from a can of beets? Just throw it out? Why on earth would you do that when you can make this wonderful spicy honey microwave beet bread?
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups beet juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey (preferably local)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Grease a glass loaf pan.
  2. Pour the beet juice into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the two eggs and combine thoroughly.
  4. Pour in the sugar and honey and mix together well.
  5. Stir in the yogurt, flour, baking soda, salt, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  7. Cover the pan with wax paper.
  8. Cook in the microwave on medium (power level 5) for 10 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through cooking, if your microwave does not have a turntable.
  9. Cook, covered, on high for two minutes.
  10. Remove and serve immediately.
SpicyHoneyMicrowaveBeet Bread (2)

This bread is a bit spongier than the other microwave bread recipes listed on this site, but I think that’s because of the honey. Still, I think it’s delicious, and the honey makes this recipe a bit healthier than some of the other bread recipes I’ve posted so far. The spongy texture is a small price to pay for the obvious health benefits.

And it’s an AMAZING breakfast treat with vanilla yogurt spread on top. I just had some this morning!microwave beet bread

Don’t have access to local raw honey? Check out manuka honey. It’s touted as a extra-super version of that amazing liquid gold superfood.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Healthy Food, Drinks

Apple Cider Vinegar Honey Drink

apple cider vinegar honey drink

It would be remiss of me to not include a post about one of my favorite ways to consume honey in my celebration of National Honey Month. I first learned about apple cider vinegar at some point last year and started drinking it daily as a pick-me-up. I was out of honey at the time, so I mixed in maple syrup with it instead.

I soon found out that (contrary to my prior belief), I really did enjoy the taste of this natural energy drink. Just one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (it has to be organic, and with “the mother” – I’ve found Bragg’s to be the best-tasting brand, by far) and one tablespoon of honey (honey, for me, just tastes better with this than maple syrup – the maple syrup is just too strong) mixed together in water does the trick.

I’d heard of apple cider vinegar in the context of weight loss. I haven’t found it to do much for me, in that respect, but weight loss for me is less important than the other benefits I’ve discovered. These include:

  • sinus infection treatment – like, total green, thick snot eradication
  • sore throat reliever – almost instant relief
  • excess water (bloating) relief
  • irritable bowel symptom relief (works for both constipation and diarrhea – it just regulates it all)
  • menstrual flow minimizer and cramping relief (as I get closer to menopause, my periods are getting ridiculously heavy and hard to deal with – I keep my apple cider vinegar close by me at all times during that most horrible of weeks)
  • slight stimulant – but not in a jittery, unpleasant way – I just get a natural lift at the most-needed times (usually a few hours after lunch)


In the Braggs’ apple cider vinegar book, they recommend drinking the apple cider vinegar and honey water two to three times a day, but I find all those benefits just drinking it once a day. I only drink it once (sometimes, if I have a really bad sinus infection, I’ll drink it twice a day) because of the only thing I don’t like about the apple cider vinegar. It has a tendency to crash your blood sugar, if you lean at all to the hypoglycemic side (and I do). This effect would be great, however, if you have a major problem with high blood sugars. But I always have to eat something with some carbs and protein when I drink the apple cider vinegar honey water (which may be why I’ve not seen much weight loss with it).

Apple Cider Vinegar health drink recipe

Still, the good outweighs the bad, in my opinion, so the apple cider vinegar honey drink stays in my daily routine. I even cook with the apple cider vinegar. I throw it into any recipe that calls for any kind of vinegar (and even some that don’t). I just enjoy it that much.

Now I want to know: have any of you tried the apple cider vinegar and honey water? What have you experienced? Talk back to me in the comments!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

natural skin care
Cooking Healthy Food, Super Sides, Vegging Out

Six Cool Folk Remedy Uses for Potatoes

folk remedies potatoes

For National Potato Month, I thought it would be fun to post an informative post about potatoes. I thought about publishing something on the history of the potato. But then my husband shared a tip with me he read the other day about using Vicks VapoRub to treat mosquito bites, and that got me thinking about folk remedies…which naturally led me to thinking about folk remedy uses for the potato. So, I started doing some research, and here’s what I found out.

Potatoes

1. A powerful natural treatment for many health problems

Instead of just tossing out the water you boil your potatoes in for salad, you should consider drinking it. I know, that sounds totally gross, but it really might be the best thing for you, especially if you suffer from certain ailments, like:

  • ulcers
  • heartburn
  • upper body spasms
  • sprains
  • gout
  • sciatica

Drinking potato juice can also help you flush out toxins from your body. If the idea of drinking straight potato juice sounds too gross to bear, you can add a little bit of apple or carrot juice to make it more palatable.

potato juice

2. A natural cure for headaches

I’ve never tried this, but now that I know about it, I’m going to do it the next time I get a headache (I get them all the time!). Cut a raw potato in half and put each half on a temple. Gently rub the potato halves against your temples until the pain goes away.

3. An inexpensive natural beauty treatment

  • Use the insides of potato peels to remove your eye makeup.
  • Reduce dark circles under your eyes by placing cut potato over them for about 5 to 10 minutes every morning.
  • Wash your face daily with potato juice to prevent wrinkles.
  • Cut a potato in half and put the cut side against your skin to reduce the appearance of acne.
  • Rub a piece of cut potato on your sunburned skin for immediate relief. Potatoes are supposed to work even better than aloe vera for sunburn!
  • Got a wart? Potatoes will take care of those too. Just cut the potato and rub it against the wart every day until the pesky thing is gone.

natural skin care

4. A natural, non-habit-forming sleep aid

Potatoes help you sleep somewhat indirectly. They prevent stomach acids from disturbing your sleep at night. Just eat a boiled or mashed potato with milk before bed to have a peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

5. A natural berry and beet stain remover

Is there anything harder to get out than beet or berry stains? I haven’t seen anything yet – well, exceopt for maybe red Kool-Aid. But a peeled raw potato provides a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to get rid of these stubborn stains. All you do is take the potato and rub it against the stain until it disappears.

6. A natural glue remover

You know when you’re working on a craft project, and you get glue all over your hands (or is that just me)? You can use raw potato to remove glue or any other sticky substance from your hands – even chewing gum!

Who knew potatoes were so magical? I didn’t. I just know I love to eat them. And now I think I might eat them more often!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Old Family Recipes, Salads, Super Sides

German Potato Salad

 

german potato salad

I’m at least 1/16th German. My great-great-grandparents came over on a boat from Germany before my great-grandfather was born (my mom’s mom’s maiden name was Woehler). So, naturally, I’m drawn to all things German.

I’ve had German potato salad before, but I hadn’t had it for a very, very long time, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate National Potato Month by posting my favorite German potato salad recipe. This is, at least in part, in honor of my great-grandfather. I never got to meet him. He died 10 years before I was born, but my grandmother told me he always had to have potatoes of some sort at every meal.

I guess it’s a German thing. I had a coworker once whose parents were German, and she said she grew up having potatoes at every meal.

Anyway, here’s my take on the traditional German potato salad:

German Potato Salad
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: About 12
This delicious German potato salad can be served either hot or cold.
Ingredients
  • 5 strips of turkey bacon
  • 6 medium-size russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet over high heat until mostly crisp.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan in enough water so that the potatoes are covered by about an inch or two for 13 minutes.
  3. Drain the water from the potatoes.
  4. Pour the potatoes out into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble the bacon over the potatoes.
  6. Add the onion powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, and sugar.
  7. Pour the apple cider vinegar over the mixture, and combine well.
  8. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate to heat later (or to serve cold, if preferred).
German Potato Salad

You can peel the potatoes before cooking, if you prefer. I didn’t because I like eating potato skins. Also, I think they add some nice color and character to this salad. Besides that, I like to save myself as much time and work as I can in the kitchen. 🙂

For more information about how to boil “perfect” potatoes for salad, check out this article.

I made this potato salad and told my husband he had to at least try some (he’s notorious for not eating potato salad of ANY kind). As he puts it, “I’ve never met a potato salad that didn’t have something I won’t eat in it.” But this one DOESN’T have anything he won’t eat, and I told him so. He gave it a try and pronounced it, “Not bad.” LOL!

My four-year-old wouldn’t touch it, and my six-year-old took a bite and said it was a little too “spicy” for her. So, for now I’m the only one who really appreciates this dish. Not surprising, really. I live with a bunch of picky eaters!

If you give this a try, though, I’d love to hear what you think of it, so do leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.