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Food

Lunch Hacks for Lazy People Like Me

In order to achieve some balance in my life, I want eat a little better. I mean who doesn’t right. It is a new year after all. However, this doesn’t only apply to the kinds of food I’m eating, but also eating at regular intervals. 

Since I started working from home, I have to admit, I got into a really bad habit of eating lunch 2 out of 5 working days a week. This means that after a breakfast of coffee and maybe a bagel or a banana, I am waiting until dinner to eat and by then I’m famished from all the things that I accomplished that day.On the days that I was eating lunch, I was grabbing anything that was within my reach (ie donuts). This is not healthy, balanced, or a good example to set for my kids. 

Part of my struggle with lunch, is I am the only one home all day and I’m working through lunch, taking my lunch break to go for a walk, or take care of another responsibility. I am trying to maximize the time I have while the kids are at school, so that when they are home, we can enjoy each other and not spend it doing other things. 

Also, truth be told, I’m super lazy. To me it seems like a lot of effort to break out a bunch of stuff, dirty some dishes, heat something up, and put it all back again for one person. I know that is like the epitome of laziness, but I know I cannot be the only one who feels this way. Right? I hope. I mean, if that were the case, fast food restaurants and convenience foods would not be in business.

So, I made a list of Lunchtime Food Hacks for Lazy People Like Me that I think will help me get out of this skipping lunch rut.

1.) Make lunch when you make the kids lunches in the morning. Pack up a lunch for yourself too. Even though you may not be leaving the house, it is nice to just be able to grab pre-washed fruits and veggies and some cut up cheese right out of the fridge. 

 

2.) Make lunches a week at a time. If you go on Pinterest, this is a hot trend right now. Take a few minutes on Sunday night to wash and cut up veggies, fruits, make a pasta salad, or pre-measure things in a container to grab and go.

3.) Pack up dinner leftovers in smaller containers. When you’re putting away leftovers after dinner, put lunch sized portions in smaller containers or even mason jars to reheat the next day.

4.) When prepping dinner, prep lunch too. Sometimes when I’m making fajitas or stir fry, I cut up additional veggies and then put them in a container to grab and go the next day. I already have the cutting board and knife and all the food out, I might as well chop away to save time later.

5.) Keep foods on hand that don’t need any prep. Clementines, apples, bananas, and greek yogurt are some of my favorite whole foods that take no time prep. They are already grab and go!

6.) Keep small sized containers, snack size resealable bags, mason jars, and other food storage solutions on hand.

7.) Double up recipes. This is one of my favorite tricks to do for meals like chilis or soups. I serve some for dinner, and then freeze the rest in smaller containers to thaw and eat for lunch.

This hacks have already helped me keep some balance in my life. I’m eating lunch again!

What are some of your favorite lunchtime hacks?

Faux Noodles and Kitchen Gadgets: Zucchini Noodles with Shallot and Parmesan Cream Sauce

A few months ago, sister from another mister, Samantha Schultz of The Peanuts Gang got in a pretty heated exchange. I am a pretty passive person, and even as the presidential primaries edge closer, I still remain pretty even tempered. However, there are two topics on which I will debate fiercely: Food and Television. That’s right. Topics that matter. Samantha and I got into it about kale “chips.” Not whether they tasted ok or not, but whether or not if they were, in fact, chips or not. I was trying to explain to her that while by definition they weren’t “chips” in the American sense of the word, that in the U.K. chips are fries and sometimes fries are baked in the oven. She argued by definition chips are only potatoes deep fried and are delicious. After much heated discussion, eating of various foods, and a discussion about cutesy made up words like “staycation” (which bother me) she swayed me.

Which brings me to vegetable noodles, zucchini noodles, or zoodles (baahhhh!). For those that aren’t on top of their food trends, zucchini noodles by definition is zucchini (or even other veggies like, yellow squash, carrots, eggplant, etc) cut to look like noodles and then covered or cooked in some sort of sauce that might also be used to cover a tradition pasta. As I am a newly converted food purist, I have decided these aren’t “real noodles” they are fancy cut vegetables, but it doesn’t change that they are delicious. So I made my own recipe using one of the many gadgets I received this holiday season. 

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For my birthday and Christmas, I received all things cooking and kitchen. George got me The Pioneer Woman: Dinnertime and my mother-in-law bought me a KitchenAid hand mixer so I can finally make my Grandma Nano’s 7 minute frosting recipe. Brian who loves to be my taste tester, went overboard this year. He decided to purchase for me some new Williams and Sonoma Oven Mitts, a KitchenAid Pasta Press Attachment, and a KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment.

I have made tons of pasta, peeled lots of potatoes and apples, and have pretty much lived in the kitchen since my birthday. I’m ok with it.

There is one problem, however, someone has to eat all this food I’m cooking and baking. It is the New Year after all, so if I am going to make a cream sauce, perhaps I should give these fake noodles a try. Which is why instead of making another pasta in my pasta maker to go with this Shallot and Parmesan Cream Sauce I made up, I thought I would use my spiralizer to make zucchini “noodles” for something a little lighter (as if you can lighten up a cream sauce containing butter and cream, but I can try dammit).

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Zucchini Noodles (or vegatables) with Shallot and Parmesan Cream Sauce

3 or 4 very large zucchini

1 small shallot minced

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS unsalted butter

2 TBS all purpose flour

2 cups cream or whole milk

4 oz grated Parmesan cheese 

pinch of nutmeg (1/8 tsp)

Salt and Pepper to taste

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Using your machine of choice (a spiralizer or even a vegetable peeler) cut zucchini into “noodles” and set aside.

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(My sous chef measuring how long the spiralizer can make the zucchini)

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In a large pan over medium low heat, add butter and olive oil.

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When the butter has melted, add the minced shallot and sauté stirring consistently until the shallot is soft. This should take about 2 or 3 minutes.

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Next, sprinkle the flour into the pan. Stir the mixture for about 1 minute. This helps to create a roux, but also helps to remove the raw flour taste from the flour. 

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Then, slowly stir in the cream. Cook this mixture stirring often until you have a warm sauce that can coat the back of a spoon. This should take about 2 or 3 minutes. 

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Finally, stir in the Parmesan cheese and toss in the zucchini “noodles”

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Pro Tip: Zucchini is mostly water, so when you toss it in the sauce, don’t leave it in there too long. Just enough to heat through and get coated, otherwise the sauce gets watered down.

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Serve immediately with a few Parmesan shavings for garnish.

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My taste tester, Brian said it was delicious, but he wished it was a bit heartier and suggested next time I add some chicken. I was thinking maybe even a chicken or turkey sausage? What say you? Would you try faux noodles? 

 

 

 

 

We Don’t Have to Sneak Cereal Anymore

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AwakenYourTastebuds  #CollectiveBias

When I was a kid there were a few things we were obsessed with: playing whiffle ball in the backyard, getting to sleep on the screened in porch in the summer, cereal, and Star Wars™. I think the main reason why we loved cereal so much is because it was a perfect food for before school, after school, and for when we were watching movies like Star Wars™ late at night.

However, my Dad was an extremely frugal man. So frugal, in fact, that he had a brown expandable file folder dubbed the “coupon caddy.” He lived by a few simple rules, one of them being: Never Pay Full Price. When you’re a kid of the 80’s and 90’s and you have a stodgy Dad, this was not cool, and hipstery, and Pinterest worthy like it is now. It was a bummer. Sometimes it meant being deprived of our favorite cereals.

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When I was about six years old, and my older siblings were teenagers old enough to be left in charge, my parents went out for the night and left us some money for dinner. Rather than order a pizza or grab fast food, the older ones had the genius idea to walk up to the store and get our favorite cereals. You know kids love cereal when they have cash for dinner and a million different options, and they still would rather walk to the store to get whatever cereal they like. Afraid our parents would be upset with our breakfast for supper choice, we hid the leftover cereal in our toy closet. Then, forgot it was there. Months later, Dad found it when cleaning the toy closet, and instead of being in trouble laughed at our cleverness.

Now, that we are adults and don’t have to sneak cereal anymore and the new Star Wars™ movie is days from being released, I had a genius idea!

Star Wars Movie Gift Baskets for my Star Wars™ and cereal loving siblings!

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At Walmart, I found Star Wars™ Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal®, Star Wars™ Go-Gurt®  along with a bunch of other fun Star Wars™ cereal products and a few other things to surprise my brothers and sister.

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My favorite part of this surprise was that the Star Wars™ Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal® came with a droid toy, jus like when we were kids.

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While I am sure everyone would be happy to just eat a bowl a cereal while watching a movie, I thought upping the ante and creating a sweet and salty snack mix for this time of year to add to their baskets would add some seasonal flair while sitting by the tree and watching the original trilogy and gearing up for the new movie.

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Snack Mix

5 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal®

5 cups any shape pretzels (I used pretzel sticks)

2 cups dried cranberries

1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 stick of butter melted

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter.

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In a large bowl, add Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal® and pretzels.

Pour melted butter over the cereal and pretzels and toss gently until all the pieces are coated.

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Place the cereal and pretzels on a baking sheet, and place in the oven and bake for 12-17 minutes.

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Remove from the oven and place in a clean bowl to cool to room temperature.

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When the mixture is completely cooled, add the dried cranberries and chocolate chips, and then toss it together.

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Store in an airtight container (I used a Mason Jar for easy transport) or serve immediately.

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Are you going to hunker down the new few nights and watch Star Wars™? Do you have a favorite cereal you can eat any time of day? For more ideas for movie cereal treats, you can visit General Mills.

More Vanilla Please: Traditional Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #NestleHolidayBaking  #CollectiveBias

Sometimes, I think it is fun to add some new holiday recipes into my repertoire. Let’s face it, I am a pinning, FacebookingInstagramming and did I mention pinning junkie this time of year. Which is why, with the help of NESTLÉ® and Pinterest I have added a few recipes to my arsenal this year.

All of these wonderful resources are really inspiring me to create some awesome things in the kitchen. These are recipes that I will be nice to have in the house for when friends stop by, or even keep on hand to give to a neighbor when I see them out and about. The only problem with recipes like this, is sometimes they are so delicious it will be hard for the kids me to sneak these awesome treats while staying up late to watch my favorite Christmas movies. Especially, this awesome treat I recently made.

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One of our favorite treats is home made vanilla ice cream. It is a home made staple in our house because we like our vanilla ice cream, very vanilla-y (is that a word?). I have made several different versions. Our two favorites are a Philadelphia style version requiring no eggs, and this more complicated version using NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk, eggs, and a little cooking. This version has a creamier texture and is perfect for the Holiday season.

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When I was at Walmart to pick up the supplies to make this ice cream, I saw these NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Red and Green Morsels next to a whole host of awesome NESTLÉ® baking products.

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I went a little crazy and bought a bunch of things I needed to get ready for the season. Won’t these Red and Green Morsels be a cute and festive treat for Brian who likes to stir in all kinds of toppings into this classic flavor?

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Traditional Vanilla Ice Cream (makes about 4 cups)

Pro Tip: Before you begin please note this version of ice cream does require an ice cream maker. Please prep your bowl ahead of time in your freezer according your your manufacturer’s instructions. Also, please make sure you have a freezer safe container in which to store ice cream. I used wide mouth freezer safe Mason jars with plastic lids.

1 12 oz can NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

2/3 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean split and seeds removed

3 tsp pure vanilla extract

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In a large mixing bowl, add ice water. Set a smaller bowl inside this bowl with whipping cream. Set aside.

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In a sauce pan over medium heat and stirring occasionally, add evaporated milk and vanilla seeds.

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Heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the milk is about 160 degrees with a candy thermometer. You will notice a slight skin form on the top of a the milk.

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While the milk is heating, in a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt for a few minutes until completely combined.

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When the evaporated milk has reached the optimal temperature, lower the heat to low. Then, ladle one spoonful into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously and continuously for about 30 seconds. Repeat this step until about 2/3 of the milk mixture has been added to the egg mixture. Pro Tip: This is called tempering the eggs. If you do not ladle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture slowly and continue to stir the egg mixture will scramble. 

Next, add the tempered egg mixture to remaining milk mixture on the stove on low heat. Stir this mixture continuously for 3-5 minutes over low heat. This mixture will get frothy. You will want this mixture to reach a temperature of 175 degrees in order to cook the eggs.

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Once the egg mixture has reached optimal temperature, add this mixture to the chilled heavy cream mixture sitting in the ice water bath. Stir with a spatula slowly and continuously for about 5 minutes until the mixture has completely cooled. Pro Tip: If you want, you can pour the egg mixture through a fine sieve into the heavy cream to remove any lumps for an extra smooth texture. 

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Next, add the vanilla extract.

Finally, turn on your ice cream maker, and pour in the final mixture.

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Once, you have churned the ice cream. Put the ice cream into a freezer safe container (I used wide mouth Mason jars with plastic lids).

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Freeze for at least two hours. This will keep in your freezer for about 2 weeks.

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Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

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I was able to get enough ice cream to fill two Mason jars, which is perfect! Now, I have one for us and one to share. There is no better gift than something made in the kitchen, and NESTLÉ® has you covered in more ways than one. Not only was I able to get all my ingredients, but check out these adorable gift tags I was able to print out and attach to a jar of Vanilla Ice Cream for my neighbors.

Nestle 4I cannot wait to gift this to my next door neighbors.

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So, after you make the most delicious and vanilla-y ice cream, with some NESTLÉ® morsels stirred in, what else will you be making? Don’t forget you can head over to the Flavorful Moment Pinterest Board for plenty of ideas!

 

 

 

Cyber Monday Brunch: Apple Cheddar Mini Quiche

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #LoveAmericanHome  #CollectiveBias

As I write this I’m sure many of you have already started your Christmas shopping by hitting the stores for some Black Friday Deals. I love a good sale! However, I love my pajamas more.

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I also love a good brunch. So, this year, I think I am going to do Cyber Monday right. I can actually enjoy shopping from the comfort of my computer, have everything delivered right to me, and be able to maybe enjoy a Cyber Monday Brunch with anyone who will join me.

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One of the things I will be purchasing this year for Cyber Monday are American Home™ by Yankee Candle®  brand candles at Walmart online. These will make great gifts for hostesses, teachers, and coworkers. They have so many wonderful fragrances like Lovely Lavender, Ginger Pumpkin Pie, and my absolute favorite Fresh Apple that is perfect for an apple themed Teacher gift.

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While shopping online, I was able to find the small tumbler candles for $4.93 each, and the fragrance beads for only $3.43 and the large 19 oz two wick candle for $14.93.

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Also, for Cyber Monday and a limited time, American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand is running an awesome deal for two 19oz jar candles in two beautiful holiday fragrances, Balsalm Fir and Sparkling Cinnamon Spice, for just $22 starting November 30. You can check out this great promotion here, and get them delivered right to your door in time to gift them to all your favorite people. You’ll still get to be in your jammies, people.

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Don’t you love that I can even turn Cyber Monday into an excuse to drink warm cozy beverages and eat an easy brunch treat while shopping. For this brunch I kept it simple and everything could be eaten with one hand so you could have your other hand free for hunting for deals on your laptop or smart phone. I even created a small hot beverage area complete with tea, cocoa, and marshmallows so my gal pals can have plenty of refills on cozy drinks while they shop.

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A recipe that I thought would be fun was an easy and a nod to my favorite Fresh Apple American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand candles that I will be buying are Apple Cheddar Mini Quiches. They are so easy and so delicious, and perfect combination of sweet and savory.

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Apple Cheddar Mini Quiches (makes 12)

6 eggs beaten

1 cups milk (I used whole)

1 large apple finely minced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups butter round cracker crushed

4 Tablespoons butter melted

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine cracker crumbs with melted butter, and spoon and pat into the bottom muffin tin. Pro Tip: If you really want to make the crackers seem like a real crust pat the crumb and butter mixture down with the bottom of a glass.

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Divide chopped apple and shredded cheese among muffin cups.

Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until combined. Divided evenly, pour over apples and cheese.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes or until set.

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I cannot wait to serve these on Monday. I made this video to remind myself of all the steps I used to make them.

These mini quiches would be a great brunch idea for out of town guests staying with you too!

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What will you be shopping for on Monday? Are you looking to score a great deal on electronics or a specific gift for a loved one? Don’t forget to buy a few hostess or teacher gifts, and take advantage of American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand at Walmart for this great deal!

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I know I will!

 

For more great brunch recipes you may also like: Oatmeal with Almond Butter and Berries or this Thirsty Thursday favorite HOT VANILLA

All About the Sides: 7 Awesome Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I adore the Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my family, but there’s something about the glow of candles and being a little overheated from being in front of the stove all day that makes a person enjoy the meal a little more than normal. Everyone knows that Turkey is the star on Thanksgiving, but let’s face it,we all know we are there for the sides that we only have the patience to make once a year.

This year I have been enlisted to make a few side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, and I thought I would share my 7 favorite side dish recipes from the internet that I have made over the years. It’ll be ok if you’re Turkey is a little dry and playing second fiddle to these all stars.

  1. Cranberry Fluff from My Baking Addiction is so sinfully fluffy and delicious. Also, the pineapple helps to balance out the tartness of the cranberries. Oh, and don’t forget you’ll need whole berry cranberry sauce for this recipe (which is a bonus since everyone wants the jelly stuff this time of year, it’s easier to find).
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    Photo courtesy of My Baking Addiction.

     

  2. Corn Pudding from Taste of Home is pretty rich, but it is a holiday after all. I have made this a couple times, and every Thanksgiving it is GONE!

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    Photo courtesy of Taste of Home.
  3. Not Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole from Alton Brown is time consuming but so so worth it. You might not ever eat the canned soup version again after trying this awesome scratch variety.

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    Photo courtesy of The Food Network.
  4. Speaking of green beans, if you want something a little quicker and a little lighter, you can try my Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic. They are easy, light, and oh so healthy.Stouffers-12
  5. I have also tried my hand at a couple different dressings in my day. My favorite is this Apple and Onion Dressing or Cornbread Stuffing. Both are variations on what my grandma used to make.Apple-Stuff-4
  6. Let’s not forget something that has been at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. The old Broccoli Cheese deliciousness. I make this once a year, and every year I have to ask the grocer where the processed cheese is in the store, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without this blast from the past.

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    Photo courtesy of Kraft.
  7. Finally, I adore this recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It is my favorite to put on a Day after Thanksgiving Day Sandwich. (Maybe I will show you how to make one of those soon). If you want to dress up this recipe, add a tablespoon or two of amaretto.

What is your absolute favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Giggle All the Way: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

I know it is not even Thanksgiving, and typically I don’t like to even think about Christmas until I have stuffed myself full of Turkey. However, when I see something that reminds me of someone I love, it is hard for me to not want to buy it knowing that the holidays are coming. I had wandered into the Christmas decor section at Walmart, and I found some Hallmark Ornaments that brought to mind some funny childhood memories. I knew I had to buy them, and along with them, I decided to bake a little treat that I also hadn’t had in forever too!

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Walmart has Hallmark Ornaments in 16 different styles that include resin ornaments of all of your favorite characters like Holiday Barbie and some gorgeous decorative figurines, but what caught my eye were the ones from some of our favorite movies that we watched when we were growing up.

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I couldn’t help but think of all the hours we spent watching Star Wars, Caddyshack, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation together.

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In fact, I think most of our conversations to this day are basically spoken in our favorite lines from Caddyshack.

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Like Clark Griswold, I might have overdid it.

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I even found these adorable Hallmark cards nearby to send with my gift idea.

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After my purchase I went home and made a classic cookie recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, one that I have perfected over time, and have decided to send these ornaments and cookies along to my siblings for a pre-Christmas giggle. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a good laugh and some cookies.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (makes 3 dozen)

2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature

3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup boiling water (I’ll explain)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

 

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In another smaller bowl, add raisins and cover with boiling water.

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Set aside for a few minutes. This helps to make the raisins plump up a bit and are extra delicious in the cookies.

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Drain the raisins and set aside.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well incorporated. Then, carefully mix in eggs and vanilla.

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Then, add flour mixture and mix until barely incorporated.

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Next, add oats and raisins. Mix until all ingredients form a dough.

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Next, scoop dough onto reserved parchment lined baking sheets (about 1 1/2 tablespoons).

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Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Cool on wire wrack before packing to send.

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I cannot wait to send these cookies with the funny Hallmark Ornaments I found. I think my siblings will love them.

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What ideas do you have for Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart this Christmas season? Will you decorate an entire Star Wars themed tree? Will you send a fun gift to a pal with golf balls and a Caddyshack ornament? Share in the comments.

 

Any Night Can Be Fancy: Green Beans (Haricoverts) with Lemon and Garlic

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #StouffersHoliday  #CollectiveBias

Does anyone else feel it coming? The avalanche of planning, working, after school projects and activities, the preparation, the shopping? The Holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season, and I really enjoy snuggling by the tree to read a good book with a cup of hot chocolate in my hands, but I also know that we still have a long way to go before I am watching a holiday classic on TV in my jammies. There is just so much going on. So, in an effort to keep things simple, and to focus on what is really important: time together, this is the time of year that I work on planning my simplest of dinners.

Like a Lasagna with Meat Sauce served with Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic.

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I know that doesn’t sound simple, but…

I did something I haven’t done in forever. I bought a STOUFFER’S® Family Size Entree. When I saw they had a Family Sized Lasagna with Meat Sauce at Walmart on Rollback, I thought it would be a time saver and a money saver. I could just pop it in the oven while I help the kids with homework or work on some holiday cards. So, with STOUFFER’S® in the freezer section at my local Walmart, I decided to grab one and make a simple plan for a quick but fancy weeknight dinner.

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You heard me correctly, even a weeknight dinner can be fancy. While in the store I grabbed all the ingredients to make one of my favorite side dishes to Lasagna with Meat Sauce. Green Beans (Haricoverts: that French for thin green beans) with Garlic and Lemon. They are a cinch to make and dress up any meal.

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You can light a few candles too, and trick anyone into thinking that it’s the weekend.

Green Beans (Haricoverts) with Lemon and Garlic

1 pound green beans trimmed and cleaned

2 small lemons

2-4 cloves of garlic (peel the garlic cloves but keep whole)

4 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

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Steam the green beans in the microwave or in simmering water for 3-4 minutes. Cold shock them in ice water and set aside.

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Zest and juice the two lemons.

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In a large saute pan over medium low heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted add the garlic cloves and let them cook a few minutes until fragrant.

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Next, add the green beans and lemon zest, tossing until well coated with butter and zest.

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Finally, finish with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove garlic cloves. Toss again.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges as a garnish.

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What fancy pairing will you whip up with a STOUFFER’S® Family Size Entree? If you want more inspiration for a great pairing, visit the Flavorful Moments Pinterest Board. You will be able to find this great recipe and so many more to dress up this busy holiday season for your family!

 

Pulled Pork Nachos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy  #CollectiveBias

Now that Halloween is safely behind us, my mind is already focussed on holiday parties. Is there anyone else that loves this time of year simply because of the appetizers? I love being able to grab my favorite beverage and a few tid bits to munch upon. Eating this way, just makes the conversation flow a little more naturally. Speaking of things that are a bit more natural, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese is a more wholesome approach to topping all of your holiday appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and snacks. If you need some more tips and tricks for surviving this time of year, Walmart and Kraft have your back.

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Since this is the season of small bites, I decided to combine a comfort food classic with  go to appetizer and create Pulled Pork Nachos. They are satisfying, delicious, and will have your guests begging for this simple recipe.

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This time of year I am particularly short on time. I am often running from event to event, beginning to decorate, and keeping up with our normal routines, and it is nice to be able to do some one stop shopping. Along with being able to find Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese at Walmart, I was also able to find everything else I needed for this recipe too.

Pulled Pork Nachos Store Photo FINAL

Pulled Pork Nachos (enough for a small get together)

For Pulled Pork

1 small pork tenderloin (you may use shoulder too, but tenderloin is less fatty)

3 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

juice of two limes

1 cup water

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In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pat the tenderloin dry. Then rub the spice mixture onto the tenderloin.

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Then, place the pork into a slow cooker and cover with the lime juice and water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours.

Remove from cooker and shred with two forks. Set aside.

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For Nachos

2 cups (or a couple of handfuls) tortilla chips

1 to 1 1/2 cup Kraft Natrual Shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar)

1/2 cup pickled jalapeno peppers

2 tablespoons cilantro

lime wedges

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chips on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cheese.

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Bake for five minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Then, top with shredded pork.

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Add pickled jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

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Looking for more cheesy ideas for the holidays? What is your favorite cheesy appetizer? What will you be making this holiday season? Tell me in the comment section what you will be cooking up, I’m looking for more ideas for the holiday season.

 

 

Splitting the Difference: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

There is a trend among bloggers to celebrate weird National holidays. I’m not sure these days are even holidays, but more of an excuse to just celebrate or be aware of a given thing. These days include National Granola Bar Day, National Tempura Day, and even a National Greasy Food Day. For a complete list of days that bloggers try and get trending here is a complete list from Serendipity and Spice.

I like the idea of celebrations, and having these days can be fun (or as an excuse to eat as many doughnuts or fried foods seems legit). Also, as a writer it is sometimes nice to have a jumping off point for an idea or a recipe. However, I also feel that it can sometimes be a bit much to keep up with all of the different holidays and celebrations. I mean I don’t even have all of our costumes ready yet (Amazon guaranteed delivery tomorrow for the football shoulder pads).

This week happened to be a big week. Yesterday was National Pumpkin Day. Tomorrow is National Chocolate Day. So, today, I’m splitting the difference.

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I made Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread to satisfy both days. This recipe is so cake like and delicious it is one of those foods that you can have for dessert, but can convince yourself to have for breakfast because I decided to call it a bread and bake it in a loaf pan.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (yields two loaves)

3 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter softened

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree

1 10 oz bag of mini chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand as they are allergy safe)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

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In another bowl toss together a spoonful of the flour mixture and the chocolate chips and set aside.

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In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy.

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Add eggs and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. This should take about 1 or 2 minutes.

Next, add pumpkin.

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Then, with the mixer on low, slowly add flour until barely mixed.

Turn off mixer, add chocolate chips and turn mixer on for a few seconds until incorporated.

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Divide batter evenly into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

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Cool for 20 -30 minutes.

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Enjoy!