Recipes

Dinner time: Sweet Potato Italian Bake

There’s a few things I cannot live without in this world, and Italian food is at the top of this list. ((Right next to peanut butter cups)). However, I don’t enjoy all the carbs and useless calories in noodles. It’s great to splurge, but not every night.

I was craving pasta horribly, but after eating junk all weekend I couldn’t justify another bad meal. As usual I stared at what we had and just went for it. I made an Italian Sausage Sweet Potato Bake in the skillet. It turned out phenomenal and it will now be added to our rotation. Loaded with veggies and meaningful carbs.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 peppers
  • Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Proves cheese (optional)
  • Directions:
  • Peel and cube sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. Cut onion and peppers into slivers. Mine were about 1 inch long and 1/4″ wide.
  • Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Place turkey sausage in skillet with 1/4 cup water. Bring to boil and cook until finished.
  • Add sweet potatoes to skillet with olive oil. Cover with lid and allow to cook.
  • When sweet potatoes begin to soften, add peppers and onion.
  • Season potatoes, peppers and onion with garlic and paprika. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • When sausage is finished cooking, cut into slices. Add sausage to potato mixture.
  • Stir everything together. Add marinara to liking. Stir again.
  • *optional* top with cheese and allow to melt.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Kids Corner · Recipes

Food Fun

Let’s face it feeding a toddler could be considered an Olympic support. Between the pickiness and ever changing opinions it’s hard to keep up. So, call me a sucker but I’ve turned meal time into a craft some days because everyone has to eat.

Below are a few of our latest mealtime creations. Each has been surprisingly easy and every last bite has been eaten by our little princess. It’s a win-win in my book.

Fox Sandwich

A toasted peanut butter sandwich for the head accompanied with cheez-its for the body and carrots for the tail. A few mini chocolate chips for the nose and paws.

Poppy Pancake

Add a little food coloring to the pancake batter and pour desired shapes. Seriously these were the cutest. We used strawberries to make her dress and blackberries for her headband. My daughter devoured this meal up.

Bunny Pancakes

Again, just pour the pancakes in desired shapes and create away. We used whipped cream and fruit for the accents.

What have you been doing to get your kiddos to eat??

Recipes

What’s Cookin

Today I’m talking about a random skillet sensation that I threw together in a pinch. This turned out to be simply amazing and has managed to become one of our favorites rather quickly. The best part is the ingredients we already had on hand. If you’re looking to add a quick and family friendly recipe to the mix, this is for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground hamburger
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup red pepper jelly
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (we actually use palm sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper to your liking

Directions:

  • Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Then cut in half and cube sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • In skillet, brown hamburger and chop it up. When finished cooking, set aside.
  • Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into skillet, turn skillet to medium heat. Pour cubed sweet potatoes into skillet.
  • Add in all the seasonings while the sweet potatoes are cooking and stir.
  • Cook sweet potatoes, they will be soft with a fork.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, add hamburger back to the skillet. Stir to mix everything together.
  • Add in 1 cup of spinach and red pepper jelly to the skillet. Mix together.
  • When spinach turns a brighter green, turn off the skillet.
  • Plate the meal and enjoy!!
Health & Fitness · Recipes

Açai Bowls

Açai berries have been one of the hottest ingredients for the past few years.  The acai berry has been deemed a “superfood”, which basically means it is packed with essential vitamins for you.  Right now, people is Southern California cannot get enough of something called an açai bowl and for good reason.

First, let’s just review a few simple things. An açai berry is a purple berry found in in Central/South America.  This delicious little fruit grows on acai palm and the fruit is now used as an ingredient in juices, smoothies, powders, etc.  Some people are actually calling this little purple/red berry “purple gold” because of all the punch it packs for such a small piece of fruit.  Acai berries are high in antioxidants, richer than the typical strawberries and blueberries you already know so much about.  Additionally, acai berries are low in sugar and provide a wonderful source of calcium for your body.

With all the health benefits and seeing how popular this fruit has become, I decided to make my own acai bowls at home.  Even a good thing can be a bad thing and when I was looking at calories/sugar content of an açai bowl from local smoothie stores I realized I would be better off making my own.  Let me tell you, this was DELICIOUS! My picky two year old stole this gorgeous snack from me, so I ended up making a second. Not only does it look delicious, but it is loaded with things that are good for you.

To make this smoothie I purchased a bag of the frozen Jamba Juice Protein Smoothies Berry Awesome Açai.  Açai berries can also be found on its own in the frozen food section at some grocery stores (I wasn’t so lucky, but is available at other grocery stores nearby).  Since making this though, I have discovered the açai powders they sell online and I will be using a scoop of that mixed with my own greek yogurt from here on it.  The powder is much more cost-effective and still provides the same nutrients as the frozen berries.  Simply mix half the bag with 8 oz of liquid, I chose coconut water, a little ice and blend it up.  Once you reach desired thickness, pour into bowl and top with fruit/granola.  I have seen people use everything from mango to coconut shavings on their açai bowls.  I think it truly comes down to your personal preference.  In my opinion, the granola adds a nice little crunch to the bowl.  (My daughter would agree, because she kept requesting more in her bowl.)

If you’re looking for a new snack or breakfast item, give these delicious bowls a try! Have you already tried them? What do you think?? I am LOVING how beautiful the food looks and how delicious it tastes!

Recipes

Korean Beef Bowls

Ughhh. It was dinner time again and the standard question appeared, “What’s for dinner?”. Seriously, the most dreaded 3 words any wife wants to hear at the end of the day. Despite my best efforts, meal prep didn’t go as planned this week. Luckily, I had plenty of standby meats ready in the refrigerator. I knew hamburger meat was going to be the fastest thing to make, but I wasn’t feeling the standard tacos or hamburgers.

So to google I went and I landed on Korean Beef Bowls. Then, I hit another obstacle because I didn’t have half the ingredients required.  However, the picture looked amazing and I officially only wanted to eat Korean Beef for dinner so I went and modified the recipe using things I actually had handy.

Now, I may be biased but this turned out to be absolutely AMAZING. You know its a hit in this house when leftovers aren’t an option.  For this dish, I was lucky to even get a small serving of seconds.  The sweet and spicy flavor was spot on and we now have a new recipe to add to our meal rotation.  I attached the recipe I modified/made for you, in case you want to give it a whirl.  TRUST ME, you want to give this a whirl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice (we used brown long grain)
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 1 cup spinach (fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped or shredded carrots
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (optional)

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (you can use regular or possibly liquid aminos)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (more if you like garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used Franks)

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice as directed on box.
  2. Brown hamburger. While hamburger is cooking, prep the sauce.
  3. Cut carrots and wash spinach.  Place carrots in skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil to sauté.
  4. Once hamburger is 80% of the way cooked, drain.  Then, pour the sauce over the hamburger.
  5. Sautee spinach for 20-30 seconds, just enough to make the leaves warm and a darker green color.
  6. Place 1/2 cup rice in bowl. Top with beef, vegetable, and egg.  Sprinkle additional red pepper flakes on top.  Enjoy!

Yes, it really is THAT easy. Fast, delicious, and homemade. All the key components of a winning weeknight dinner in my opinion. I am sure you could use other vegetables like zucchini or broccoli in place of spinach or in addition too.  This beef would also be perfect for lettuce wraps/cups.

Let me know if you try it!

Recipes · Uncategorized

Snackin So Good

Snack time can be a delightful time or a vicious cycle of “what haven’t see had in a while?”. I try my best to keep from falling into a rut, but as a working mom I don’t always succeed. However, I try not to beat myself up over it because kids have had fruit snacks and crackers with peanut butter for a snack for decades and it hasn’t hurt anyone yet. I mean, at least I purchase the dye-free fruit snacks-right??

This past week I did my best to get our nutrition back on track.  By actually planning out meals and going to the grocery store(s) I was able to have a stocked kitchen, which in turn made snack time a total breeze.  It didn’t hurt that I had a bonus day off this week, so I was able to really channel into our healthy eating lifestyle.  Below are two extremely simple recipes, using items you more than likely already have just laying around OR items that are fairly inexpensive to add to your grocery list.  I hope you enjoy these snacks as much as we did.  When a 2.5 year old gives her stamp of approval, you know you did something right!

Banana Boats:

Take your favorite fruits and turn them into a dessert-esque treat!

  • banana
  • blackberries/blueberries (or strawberries)
  • peanut butter
  • granola
  • mini chocolate chips
  • caramel/honey/ or chocolate sauce (I made my chocolate sauce using Cacao Powder and coconut oil)

Directions:

Cut banana in half.  Lightly spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on the side of the banana that is face up.  Place berries on banana.  Sprinkle with granola and chocolate chips.  Quickly glaze in sauce of your choice.  We served ours with yogurt on the side with additional fruit. Enjoy!

I told you it was really going to be THAT easy. 🙂

Avocado Bruschetta

This dish is the perfect twist on a typical bruschetta. All of the flavors work together to create a delicious Italian snack, appetizer, or light lunch.

  • 2 pieces of bread (of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 cup cubed chicken (cooked)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast bread in toaster to speed process up OR you can place the toast in the oven when it is preheated and toast bread in oven for 10 minutes.

Cut the tomato into 1/4″ slivers, then cut in half.  Slice avocado in half. Take avocado and spread across bread, one side only.  Place the bread avocado side up on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top of avocado and place chicken as desired on bread.  Top with tomatoes and lightly drizzle olive oil on top.

Place toast in oven for 4 minutes, checking to see if the cheese has melted.  Once cheese has melted, broil for 1-2 minutes so the bread can become a little crispy.  Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar as desired.

Hope you enjoy these quick and easy recipes that can add a little variety to your everyday snacking.  Let me know if you try it! Do you have a similar recipe or favorite snack? I would LOVE to hear them.

Recipes

Super Snack Sunday

99% of Americans refer to this day as Super Bowl Sunday. I, on the other hand, refer to it as Super Snack Sunday. To be honest, I love football but essentially tune in for the commercials and bottomless bowls of food. (This year, Mr. Timberlake will be the highlight 💙). The Super Bowl is right up there with Thanksgiving when it comes to food. Even if we don’t go to a party, which by the way we aren’t, I will make enough food for at least 10 people. Why? Because it’s fun and, why not.

Everyone knows the perfect app keeps you coming back for more and more. A favorite in our household is anything that involves dip. Healthy? No. Delicious? Always.

Dish number one for snack day: Nachos. We recently purchased an air fryer oven, you know the “as seen on tv” contraption. Well, let me tell you it is absolutely amazing. Before this, I topped nachos with queso and called it good. Now, with the air fryer, we load our chips with real shredded cheese, meat, onions, beans, etc. Using the air fryer it only takes 8 minutes to make restaurant worthy nachos.

Red Lobster Style Fried Broccoli and Peppers: Confession, this is the only reason I go to Red Lobster.  I am obsessed with the calamari and veggies appetizer.  So, to be “healthy” I plan on making this LOL.  Lightly dip the veggies in an egg wash, then top with panko seasoning.  We flavor our seasoning with garlic, black pepper, salt, and a splash of cajun seasoning.  Throw it in the air fryer for 12 minutes and serve with ranch or marinara, YUM!

Buffalo Chicken Dip: A staple in our household. 2 packages of cream cheese, 1 large can of chicken (shredded), 1/2 cheddar jack cheese, Frank’s hot sauce, and 1/4 cup ranch.  Melt cream cheese and chicken together.  Mix in 1/4 cup ranch and hot sauce to your liking. Place in oven-safe dish, topped with cheddar jack.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  YUM.

Dessert(s): Mini Fruit Pizza Cups

To make these you need a roll of sugar cookies, 1 package cream cheese, 1 container cool whip, vanilla extract, and you favorite fruit.

Break sugar cookie roll into 1 inch sections. Roll sugar cookie into a ball. Place into greased mini muffin tin. Gently press thumb into center of each cookie ball. Place in oven at 350 for 8 minutes. Check, if they look finished take them out. They may need to cook a minute or two longer. They’re ready when the cookie form a muffin shape. The center of the cookie will drop to make a bowl shape as they cool.

Allow cookies to cool. Mix together 1/2 package of cream cheese (softened) with a small container of cool whip. Add in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Spoon filling into cookies. Top with fruit as desired.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

What are you making for the food driven holiday?? Send pictures or comments. We’re totally “foodies” and would love to see.