Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Butter Biscuits

I made these to go with our Valentine's Day dinner...
aren't they cute?
I made some round ones too.

They were pretty darn delish.

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Butter Biscuits adapted from Pumpkin Biscuits @ Sugarcrafter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat **
1 T. baking powder (yep, that's a tablespoon)
3/4 t. salt
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. butter
3/4 cup sweet potato puree **
1/2 cup milk
2 T. pumpkin butter **

1- Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Blend in the butter using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives).

2- In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, milk and pumpkin butter.

3 - Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed together.  Knead lightly on a floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thickness.  Using a biscuit or cookie cutters, cut out shapes/circles, whatever your heart desires :) 

4 - Place biscuits on prepared pan and bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. (They actually don't change color all that much, so if unsure, check the bottoms of the biscuit...they will brown more)

**Notes - can use all AP flour if you want, or a mixture of white and wheat.  If you increase the wheat flour, I would probably increase the sweet potato a little.  Pumpkin can be used in the place of sweet potato.  I cooked my sweet potatoes in the microwave, then pureed them in the food processor with just a little bit of water.  Maple syrup, honey or apple butter could be used in the place of the pumpkin butter.
mmmm, nice and soft, with a hint of spices
and they were really good the next day with some ham & Dijon mustard.  
yeah, baby - Mama be eatin' good up in here!

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I'm linking this recipe up over at Blue Cricket Design, Lady Behind the Curtain, This Chick Cooks, Ginger Snap Crafts, The NewlywedsIt's a Keeper, Feeding Four, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, A Little Nosh

Wordless Wednesday - Beware of cuteness

yes, congratulations are in order.  
I am expecting a new addition to the Mo'Betta clan in a couple of weeks :)

and just to make you go 'awwww'...
Must have
So cute!

So cute I can't stand it!  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pizza Monkey Bread

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I had about a half a bag of Rhodes rolls in the freezer and decided I would try making pizza monkey bread.  I've seen it all over food blogs and Pinterest and I knew it would be a hit with my kids.  Especially since they are so 'anti-sauce'.  Weird, I know.

Any dough would work really. You could use biscuits, homemade pizza dough, store bought dough, or any thawed frozen bread dough.  I love a versatile recipe!  I took my frozen rolls and stuck them in the fridge the morning I was going to make them.  That afternoon, I pulled them out and cut them in half.  After we got back from karate, the girls and I took the pieces of dough, flattened them out into small circles, and placed cheese in the middle.  I cut up a variety of cheese sticks I had, so we had mozzarella, colby jack, monterey, and cheddar.  What can I say, we like cheese.  I cut them into about 1 inch pieces.  We also added some mini turkey pepperonis to some of them.  

After adding your cheese/pepperoni, just seal the dough around the filling, making little balls of cheese-y goodness.
I sprayed a bundt pan with cooking spray, then added a layer of cheese filled dough balls.  Then I lightly sprayed them with olive oil and sprinkled on a little garlic powder.  Then we added the next layer, spraying with olive oil again and adding a little more garlic powder.  Then I sprinkled on some oregano.  After using all the dough (which only ended up being about a half a pan), I baked it up until golden brown...
The kids enjoyed this....
Cheese please!
You can also warm up some pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

I will definitely be making this again!

I'm linking up today with It's a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace, From Mess Hall to BistroEat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight - frozen rolls/bread dough)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spicy Red Pepper Ravioli with Maple Apple Chicken Sausage

I wanted to call this 'clean out the vegetable drawer pasta', but considering some of the unidentifiable things I've pulled out of my veggie drawer...I decided that wasn't a good idea!  One of my goals has been to decrease the amount of food that gets wasted in this house.  However, when you try to eat healthy, and cook with fresh know that fresh stuff just doesn't last that long!  I have a tendency to be really ambitious at the store, and buy a HUGE container of spinach - vowing to drink 'green monster smoothies' every morning...but then, more times than not, I do not want spinach for breakfast.  Silly me.

This is one of those dishes that will utilize all those remaining veggies...and still taste yummy.  It also comes together pretty quickly, which is always a bonus.
This is more of an outline than a recipe - since it can be modified to what ever you have on hand, and you can make as much or as little as you want.

The playas....
meat (optional)

I used spinach, 'matchstick' carrots, onion, garlic, maple apple chicken sausage, cheese filled ravioli, spicy red pepper spaghetti sauce.

Cook your (meat) chicken sausage in a skillet.  When almost done, turn heat down and add a little olive oil, if needed, and saute your (veggies) carrots, and onion.  When onions are translucent, add garlic.  Give it a good stir, and allow garlic to cook for a minute or two. While the meat and veggies are cooking, boil water and cook the (pasta) ravioli according to package directions.  Add sauce to meat and veggies and simmer. You can use whatever sauce you like.  I happened to see a new jarred sauce - Spicy Red Pepper (I forget the brand) and wanted to give it a try.  Drain pasta.  Serve pasta with sauce and added red pepper flakes if desired, and cheese!  I skipped the cheese since I used cheese filled ravioli.  Even though you really can't  have too much money chocolate cheese!

I liked the combination of the sweet from the chicken sausage, and the spicy from the red pepper.  I also liked that I was using those remaining veggies instead of letting them go to veggie heaven in the crisper.  Since I was the only one who ate the sauce - b/c I have kids that refuse to eat sauce on their pasta - I had leftovers.  I threw that on some naan bread, with more cheese, and baked it up....
I love naan.  And cheese.  So I can pretty much turn anything into a 'pizza'.
And check out my fine china.  Don't be hatin'. 

The giveaway for FIVE boxes of General Mills cereal ends tomorrow.  Go enter!

I'm linking up today with Everything Under the Moon, Homemaker on a Dime, Beyer Beware, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl Creative, Life as Mom

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Zenni Optical


Is that an awesome deal, or is that an AWESOME deal?!  If you wear glasses, (or have had to buy them for your kids) then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  I just found out about this deal from Zenni Optical and I was happy to share the news with you guys!  I mean, $6.95 prescription eyeglasses? That's pretty incredible. With those prices, it would be easy to take advantage of the deal they have going on now - Buy 2 pairs, and get a 3rd pair FREE (of equal or lesser value of course).  Prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, fashion could have them all!  Zinni Optical also offers tinting for only $4.95!

With these prices, you don't have to agonize over one frame to go with every outfit and mood - you can have more than one pair so you can switch it up!

723319 Acetate Full-Rim Frame with Stainless Steel Temples
Feeling pink?
737616 Stainless Steel Full-Rim Frame with Acetate Temples
378911  Rimless Pure Titanium Frame

There are SO many affordable eyeglasses in all different styles.  Also, you can virtually 'try on' the frames you like with the Zenni Frame Fit!  Just pick the "model" with your similar facial structure and try on any pair of frames to get an idea how they will look.  I love that feature!  I 'tried on' several :)  I also like that they have so many frames to choose from for kids too.  I saw a pair with peace signs that my girls would love.  Thankfully, they don't need glasses right now, but since my husband and I both wear glasses - they are probably in their future.  At least I know where to look when the time comes!

So, if you are looking to buy new eyeglasses, I suggest you check out the incredible deals from Zenni Optical!

I am receiving compensation for writing this post, however, all opinions are 100% my own.  To see my full disclosure policy, please refer to the Disclosures Tab.

Egg free Waffles

The other night the kids wanted waffles.  Yes, I said night - we often eat breakfast for dinner!  The problem with pancakes and waffles is almost all of them contain eggs.  Eggs are not our friend in the Mo'Betta house due to Mr. Three's allergies.  (Actually, the rest of us love eggs, but they really don't love my little man.)  So, I'm often on the hunt for new recipes that are egg free, yet delicious, AND somewhat healthy, that the whole family can enjoy.  Thanks to Pinterest, and some awesome 'pinners' and bloggers, I have found lots of vegan and other egg free recipes!

No Egg-o Waffles adapted from Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes

Dry Ingredients
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or a mixture of all purpose and wheat)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Whisk these together in a bowl and set aside.

Wet ingredients:
1 1/2 cups soy skim milk
2 tbsp ground flax whisked with 5 tbsp water
2 tbsp apple sauce
6 tbsp canola olive oil

Whisk the wet ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix together but let some lumps remain.
Heat a waffle iron and spray lightly with cooking spray. Make waffles per instructions for your waffle maker. 
Enjoy with syrup or fruit, or....
just pick them up and eat them plain!  
For some reason, he has decided that he no longer wants syrup (which is fine by me!) and doesn't want them cut up.  Whatever.  As long as he is eating something other than chicken nuggets and cereal!

These waffles were a hit with everyone.  Next time we will double the recipe.  They had a great texture - crisp on the outside, but tender on the inside.  I would also recommend using a light olive oil b/c I could taste the EVOO a little.  You can also use canola (which I rarely use anymore), and probably coconut oil, which I've never tried before - but it's on my grocery list!

Have you used coconut oil before? What are your thoughts on it?

I'm linking up with Cybele Pascal for Allergy Friendly Friday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrimp and Grits

On blogs everywhere I am seeing the most delicious looking foods celebrating Mardi Gras.  Since I pretty much no nothing about Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, have never been to New Orleans, nor am I cajun...I really don't have much to offer today.  However, I do have a shrimp and grits recipe that is SO good.  It's as close as I can come to sharing in the spirit of the day!
Shrimp and Grits - adapted from Joy the Baker

4 cups water
1 cup stone ground grits (or polenta)
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter *I used Smart Balance Light
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined without the tails
6 slices bacon  *al fresco apple maple chicken sausage
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large garlic clove, minced

Bring water to a boil. Add grits to the boiling water while whisking to prevent clumps. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Lower heat, bring to simmer and cover until water is absorbed. Follow the directions on your box of grits or polenta. Cooking times vary. Once thick, remove from heat and stir in butter and shredded cheese.

Rinse and pat shrimp dry. Cook the sausage in a large skillet. When cooked through remove from the pan and add shrimp into the grease pan (I had very little grease from chicken sausage, but it was fine). Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, sausage, scallions, garlic and parsley. Cook for another three minutes.

Spoon the grits into a serving bowl and top with shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.

This has just made me seriously hungry.  And I'm pretty absolutely sure I would love beignets.  Which has nothing to do with this recipe, but I always think of them whenever I hear anything about Mardi Gras!  *sigh*

What are your plans to celebrate?  Anyone giving something up for Lent?  I'm not Catholic, but with my pants so tight, fasting sounds like a really good idea.  I need to learn more about this!

Student Loans

Thanks for the guest post by Jo Levy

I graduated a couple of years ago, and obviously I’ve been paying my student loans every month, but I hadn’t been paying that much attention to the balance or how much longer I had to pay. As part of a New Year’s Resolution I decided I’d try to get a better handle on my finances, so I sat down with my loan statements and had a good look at them. And then I promptly almost had a heart attack. Because as it turns out, after paying on my loans for a couple of years, they have actually gone up. If you are feeling shocked by that, I can assure you that I know how you feel. I called my dad immediately to try to have him explain the situation to me, and I have to say he was a little condescending. I guess the idea of interest accruing is a fairly simple concept, now that I think about it, but the problem is I didn’t think about it! I resolved to start cutting costs everywhere I Could to get the loans paid down as quickly as possible. I checked out a few websites my dad recommended to help me out, and one of them has actually made a pretty big difference— In Texas, we can evidently select our own energy providers and can save a pretty decent amount of money doing so. Who’d have known?

See Disclosure Tab for full Disclosure Policy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meyer Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This is definitely my new favorite soup!
The fresh taste of Meyer lemons combined with classic, comforting taste of chicken soup....ahhhhhh, it just makes you all warm and cozy and happy all at the same time :D  Yes, my emotions are tied up tightly with food.  It's a problem, I know.  This however, is a guilt free meal that you can enjoy every day. And I did.  Now it's all gone, and I'm sad.  However, I will be making more today!  

Meyer Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup 

slightly adapted from My Kitchen Adventures

1 tsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped 
3 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf (or 1/2 tsp. crushed dry bay leaves)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 - 32 oz. boxes of fat free, low sodium chicken stock
8 oz. 1 lb cooked and chopped chicken breast
8 oz. orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh meyer lemon juice 
zest from one lemon *I took one of the Meyer lemons that I juiced and minced the whole thing (peel & all). I wouldn't recommend this if you are using regular lemons!
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. organic baby spinach
lemon slices and Parmesan cheese for garnish ( optional ) 

In a large stock pot heat olive oil on med heat.  Add the onion, carrots and celery.  Cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add in the bay leaf, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper.  (to taste)  Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in broth & chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer.  Let simmer for about 30 minutes, then bring back to a boil, add in orzo.  Reduce heat, add lemon juice and zest, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes or until orzo is soft.

Before serving, stir in baby spinach and allow to wilt in hot broth.  Add salt and pepper if needed and remove bay leaf if used.  Garnish with lemon slices and Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Verdict? FABULOUS! Head over to Renee's blog for Weight Watchers/nutrition info! 

I'm linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl CreativeDelicious Dishes, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday ,Blue Cricket DesignGinger Snap CraftsLady Behind the Curtain,  These Chicks Cooked, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, A Little Nosh,  EKat's Kitchen, Simply Delish, Feeding Four, It's a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoSix Sisters' Stuff, The Sweet Details, Life as Mom, Finding Joy in my Kitchen (Ingredient Spotlight - Citrus)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls!

(for lack of a better name)
Look how cute they are!
Better yet, look how chocolate-y they are...
And guess what else! They are healthy(ish) ;)

Come check out the recipe I have posted over at FaveHealthyRecipes!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Nothing says comfort food like chicken and rice!  This is another variation of the chicken and rice casserole, that was approved by 2 out of 3 children in the Mo'Betta household.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole adapted from

  • 1
    ounce package long grain and wild rice mix box Rice-a-Roni Wild Rice Mix
  • 1
    medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) *I used 1/4 cup
  • 1
    stalk celery, chopped
  • 2
    tablespoons butter olive oil
  • 1
    10 1/2 - 10 3/4 ounce can condensed chicken with white and wild rice soup or cream of chicken soup or homemade cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2
    cup sour cream plain yogurt
  • 1/3
    cup dry white wine or chicken broth *I used chicken broth 
  • 2
    tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 2
    cups shredded cooked chicken (or turkey)
  • 1/3
    cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

- Prepare rice mix according to package directions.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook onion and celery in hot butter olive oil over medium heat until tender.

-Stir in soup, sour cream yogurt, wine chicken broth, and basil. Stir in cooked rice and chicken.

-Transfer mixture to an ungreased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.

I'm linking this up over at Life as Mom for the Ultimate Recipe Swap & Eat at Home


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