Friday, September 28, 2012

Overnight Pumpkin Oats

I really like oatmeal.  Cold, hot, baked, plain, flavored...I like it all.  During the summer, I enjoyed overnight oats frequently with blueberries. Now that it is Fall..I thought I would give pumpkin a try.  I love pumpkin spiced oatmeal (cooked version), but haven't tried it cold.  It is super simple, healthy, and delicious...b/c even thought it's Fall...the temps are still holding on to summer. We've had ONE cool morning!

Overnight Pumpkin Oats

1/4 steel cut oats
1/2 cup milk *I like unsweetened almond-coconut milk
1/4-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)

Add oats, milk, pumpkin and spice in a jar or covered container overnight in the fridge.  In the morning, stir and eat. That's it! Super simple.

Happy Friday :-)

I'm linking up at Eat at Home for Ingredient Spotlight - Pumpkin!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mexican Style Chicken and Rice Soup with Roasted Vegetables

This is a recipe that came about by accident.  It started as a wildly popular recipe I saw on Pinterest....that was a complete and utter failure :-(  I'm not going to link to the original post, b/c I did not follow that person's cooking recommendations, just comments I saw on Pinterest. It involved seasoning packets (ranch and taco seasoning) and cooking chicken in the crockpot. I think cooking it in the crockpot with the seasonings was my mistake.  It was SO salty that it was almost inedible.  So I had 2 lbs of salty taco-ish flavored chicken that I did not want to waste.  I decided the best use of it would probably be in soup, b/c my soup usually isn't salty enough anyway!
I decided to make this Chicken Tortilla Soup again.  But I wanted to change it up a little.  I wanted to add brown rice, and I wanted lime juice.  So....chicken and rice soup with a Mexican flair.  However, the flavor from the broth of the original Chicken Tortilla Soup was really good with the poblano and jalapeno peppers, so I wanted to keep those.  Then I had another little brain storm...how about roasting all the veggies before adding them to the soup?!  YES! So now it's Roasted Vegetable Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup! That is quite a mouthful for a title...how about we just call it RVMCR Soup.  Nahh, that sounds like some new virus or something.

Anyway, the soup turned out amazing!  I mean, seriously delicious, and I am just hoping that I can remember everything I did so that I can recreate it now that it is Fall! (sorta Fall...supposed to be in the mid 80's today!)
Mexican Style Chicken and Rice Soup with Roasted Vegetables

1-2 lbs boneless, skinless cooked chicken breasts*
1 poblano pepper, seeded
2 jalepeno, seeded
1/4 large yellow onion, cut in half
2 cloves unpeeled garlic
1 can of Rotel Tomatoes with Cilantro and Lime
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth1 cup brown rice*
salt & pepper to taste
lime juice (optional)
cheese (optional)
cilantro (optional)

*Simple method is to cook chicken in the crockpot with a packet of low sodium taco seasoning. I cooked one cup brown rice in my rice cooker, then added it to the soup. I'm sure you could cook it in the soup, but you may need to add a little extra liquid and increase cooking time.
Directions:
Place peppers, onions and garlic (and any other veggies you want to add, I threw in a few carrots too) on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss around to cover with oil. Roast vegetables at about 425 degrees for approx 20 mins. (This will depend on how many and what types of veggies you used) 
While veggies are roasting, add the can of tomatoes (juice and all), cumin, and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer.  Add the chicken broth and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. 
Once the vegetables are done, allow to cool for a few minutes, peel garlic, and toss them all into a food processor (or blender). You can also add a big handful of cilantro if you are on Team CilantroIsAwesome.  If not a fan, use just a small amount or omit.  Pulse until desired texture is reached.  I don't like big chunks of veggies.  Add pureed vegetables to simmering soup.  Add prepared brown rice.
Simmer for about 30 minutes, giving all the flavors a chance to get to know one another.
To serve, give the soup a big squeeze of lime, salt and pepper if needed (I did not add salt), garnish with a little sour cream (or plain yogurt), a sprinkle of parmesan or cheese of choice, and more cilantro!
SO GOOD!!! I wish I had some right now!  Plus, I was able to salvage a recipe fail and turn it into something fabulous!
What is your biggest recipe fail? What did you do with it?  I hate to waste food, but I've been known to feed the garbage can on more than one occasion.

Linking up with Life as Mom, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, The Mandatory Mooch, Eat at Home

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rolo Cereal Treats with Brownie Mix

brrrrr! It actually feels like winter Fall this morning!  Since my puppy did not get the memo that I am NOT a morning person, he had me up and outside at 5:30am....and I had to grab my coat!  Granted, this is the South, so if it drops below 70, it's cold.  But I dare say, it was in the 40's! (Of course, it's supposed to reach the upper 70's later today).  Anyway, enough about the weather.  It's just that the chill in the air is finally making me accept the fact that Fall is here, and right around the corner is Halloween!  So...I made you some "spooky" treats.
But not just any cereal treats...ones with gooey candy pieces, and brownie mix.  And spooky sprinkles.  And Cheerios mixed with Rice Krispies...b/c I want to lower your cholesterol levels.  Ok, maybe that last part isn't entirely true.  Not that I want you to have high cholesterol...but...well, never mind.
I must say, adding Rolos to cereal treats is pretty brilliant.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to come up with this...but let's just pretend I am ;-)  And adding brownie mix....well, you know how I just made the Brownie Biscoff Puppy Chow...I'm a little obsessed.

Rolo Cereal Treats with Brownie Mix

  • 6 cups cereal (I used a combo of Cheerios and Rice Krispies)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 bag of miniature marshmallows (minus a few my kids ate)
  • 1/4 cup brownie mix (*I will use 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1/2 cup Rolos candy - frozen and halved (optional)

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Once melted, add marshmallows and stir until almost melted. 
  2. Add brownie mix and stir until marshmallows are completely melted and brownie mix is incorporated.  Remove from heat and add cereal.  Mix until coated.  
  3. Add frozen candy pieces and stir.  You have to do this  fairly quickly b/c the mixture begins to cool and it is difficult to get the candy mixed in.  (but is it a bad thing to have a few clumps of chocolate and caramel candy? Not in my world.)  
  4. Place mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan (can use parchment/wax paper/aluminum foil for easy removal if desired.)  Mash cereal treats into pan, I like to spray my hands with cooking spray and use my hands.  But utensils are okay too.  Top with sprinkles if desired. 
  5. Let treats cool, then cut into squares.  Store in airtight container.  They lasted about 24 hours at my house.  If that.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall Favorites Round-Up

So guess what?! It's Fall y'all!  Ready or not, apples, pumpkins and latte weather is here.  I'm not sure where my summer went, but time to put away the iced coffee and beach umbrellas and pull out the jack-o-lantern's.  Since I am seeing so many Fall recipes on Pinterest, I thought it would be a good time to look back on the things I have made that will get me in the 'Fall spirit'!










Homemade Caramel (for caramel apples)



Wow, I think I have a thing for pumpkin!
Now that it is a little cooler, and I have bought my pumpkins and mums for the front porch, guess I will be whipping up some of these recipes.  Especially the pumpkin oatmeal!!

What are your favorite Fall foods?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brownie Biscoff Puppy Chow!

Puppy chow, muddy buddies....whatever. You are going to love me or hate me for this one :-)


My kids LOVE me for it!

This is definitely a keeper!  Check out my post over at Eat at Home for the recipe!


Everything, including the kitchen sink!

I know we just moved into our new house, but...it's not exactly new.  So I am already entertaining (read 'pinning') remodeling ideas.  One of the things I want is a NEW KITCHEN SINK!  The one I have now is sooo shallow, and I am constantly managing to spray/splash water all over everything.  Also, none of my larger pans fit in it well AND it fills up so fast that I feel like I constantly need to do dishes. Blech!  I mean seriously, I want a big sink that will hold lots of dishes, so they can sit there for a while ;)

In looking around, I have seen several farmhouse sinks that I like...also called the apron front sink.  I like how these are made, and there are so many style options to choose from.

Herbeau 4614
photo source
I like the idea of one large sink.  But I also like having a double sink. How cool is this copper one?
Native Trails CPS.74 Double Bowl Hammered Copper Farm / Apron Kitchen Sink
photo source

and I really like this one
photo source

But then I'm sure I would want new counter tops.  And then I would need new flooring.  And then the adjoining dining room would have to be updated to match...and then my husband might start having chest pains. Better take it slow :-)

Feel free to share your remodeling pins/ideas with me!  I need to post some pics of my kitchen and bath so y'all can help me out!  Just don't tell my husband about all my plans....


This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rolo Brownies


Chocolate. Again! I know, I should be ashamed.  Remember these?
Yep, this is when I discovered brownie mix + 1/2 cup plain yogurt = low fat, egg free, scrumptious brownies!!  So....I've sorta been making brownies....a lot.  Oopsies.

I actually made these before I moved to take to a friend's house.  
She made us this amazing salad-
Grilled chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, poppy seed dressing. It was delicious.

And my contribution. 
To counteract all those fruits and vegetables.
I made them for the kids of course. *wink wink*

Rolo Brownies
1 box of your favorite brownie mix (I always buy the family size box)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use the non-fat)
24 Rolo candies *frozen 
(*this helps keep them from melting too much. I did not do this b/c I am not that organized and was throwing these together last minute, so it is not an essential step.)

Preheat the oven to the temperature on your brownie box.  Grease/spray a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray or use mini cupcake liners.  Mix the brownie mix with the yogurt and the amount of water called for on your box of mix.  Do not add eggs or oil.  Fill muffin cups about 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Add frozen Rolo candies to center of filled muffin cups. Bake until done at temp on your box of mix.
**If you want your Rolo candy in the middle/inside of the brownie...add a little brownie batter in each muffin cup, place Rolo in the center, then cover with brownie batter.

Needless to say, brownies + candy = happy children.  Except for Mr. Three, who likes to keep his brownies 'pure'.  No additions for him! So, if you have any super picky kids, keep a few plain :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fiber One Chewy Bars & a GIVEAWAY!

Now that the kids are back in school, and we are getting into the routine again, I've already started with the age old question: What to pack for lunch?!  My kids take their lunch to school everyday. So everyday, I try to come up with nutritious, tasty lunches and snacks.  This is not easy when you have super picky kids.  It doesn't take long for the lunch routine to become monotonous, and I start searching for new things to pack.

That is where new Fiber One Chewy Bars come in.  They come in Chocolate and Strawberry PB&J varieties, and my girls love them both!  I love them b/c they are a great source of fiber (which most of us need more of), they contain NO HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), and did I mention...my kids love them?!  A healthier snack option that they ask for! Score!  (Also, 110 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of sugar or less, depending upon the variety!)

Interested in trying these out? Head over to http://bit.ly/F1CLBTS and print out an .80 cent off coupon!

Also, while you're here...enter to win this great Fiber One Prize Pack!
  • (1) Box of Fiber One Chewy bars in Chocolate
  • (1) Box of the Fiber One Chewy bars in Strawberry PB&J
  • Water Bottle
  • Lunch Tote
  • Sandwich Bag
  • Mini Lunch Notes
  • Notebook Mate
Just enter via the rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Fun Finds

I haven't done this in a while, but here are a few things I have recently discovered and love (they may or may not be new products...it takes a while for things to show up down in these here parts!)
Unsweetened Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend
source
A blend of almond and coconut milk...this stuff is so good! I don't know why I have suddenly developed a love for all things coconut.  I blame it on coconut oil.  Not only is this yummy, it is only 45 calories/serving. It is good in cereal, overnight oats, and iced coffee!  It would be a great replacement for milk in recipes, but my son can't have it :-(

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail With  Hint of Lime, 64-Ounce (Pack of 8)
source

I have been drinking cranberry juice on occasion since my kidney stone drama.  I tried this the other day, and it is yummy! I think it would make an excellent 'adult beverage' as well.  Send vodka and I will let you know ;)
Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon Peppered (4.3 oz. pouch)
source

It's bacon and pepper! Two of my favorite flavors :)  Okay, so it has no redeeming nutritional value, but  it is so good! I've been adding it to salads, eggs, wherever I want some bacon!
source

I haven't actually used these yet, but they jumped into my cart at the grocery store yesterday. I will be testing them out ASAP.  But how can you resist something that says "experience delicious chocolate layers in each bite!"  Layers, people!  They are large discs of chocolate that are supposed to melt evenly in layers while baking.  Hell yeah!  Sorry, chocolate excites me.

And just to leave you with one thing you SHOULDN'T try. Ever.
I tried to replace Miss Two's daily PB & J with this stuff.  She was very upset with me when she got home.  She said 'what WAS that stuff?! It was hoorrrrible!'  I said it can't be that bad...I took a little, tiny taste (b/c I'm not supposed to eat peanuts).  It was bad.  Reallll bad.  Like motor oil meets soy butter with some weird texture thing going on.  It is such a good concept, but back to the drawing board on taste!  (If you have ever tried this, I would love to hear your opinion. Maybe it is just us, or we had a bad jar or something?)

Well, that's it.  Happy Friday!


**This was NOT a sponsored post. I bought the above products with my husband's hard earned money and tried them out of curiosity.  All opinions are 100% my own, or that of my children ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Yes, another chicken casserole to roll outta my kitchen. I can't help myself, I love a casserole!  This was something quick and easy to get on the table, and it was mild enough that my kids also enjoyed ate it.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole 
adapted from Homemaking Challenged

(2) 10 3/4oz cans of cream of chicken I used this homemade version
(1) 10oz can of dice tomatoes and green chilies I used Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilies SAUCE (it's new and great for my crowd b/c...no chunks!)
(12) 6in corn tortillas
3 cups of cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine the cream of chicken and Rotel, then set aside. 
(If using the homemade cream of chicken, heat it up on the stove until it starts to thicken, then proceed with recipe)
Chop up the tortillas into bite sized pieces.
Layer 1/3 of the tortillas onto the bottom of a 3 quart pan.
Place half of the chicken on top of the tortillas
Then spoon 1/2 the soup mixture on top of the chicken.
Repeat layers and top with the rest of the tortilla strips.
Cover and bake for 40 minutes,
Top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes until the cheese melts.
*or you can not read all of the recipe instructions and add the cheese on top of the casserole then bake like I did! I just took the foil off and let if cook the additional few minutes uncovered.  It's all good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Panzanella Salad

I can't say I'm a huge fan of salads, but I am all about some bread.  So, give me a bread salad and I'm pretty happy.  Of course, 'bread salad' sounds boring, so we'll call it by it's Italian name....Panzanella Salad.  That makes it sound all fancy....except I white-trashed it up by adding bacon bits. (so now it's sorta a BLT-nella salad, but let's not get technical.)
As you can see, I went a little heavy on the bread!
I also added spinach and arugula. (ok, AND bacon)  
What can I say? I'm not Italian.

Panzanella Salad (or BLT salad) loosely adapted from A Foodie Affair
  • 4 cups stale (1 to 3 day-old bread) Italian-style bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes*
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced  I used cherry tomatoes and cut them in half
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 whole roasted red peppers in the jar I omitted b/c I forgot to pick some up at the store
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow peppers I used green pepper since that is what I had on hand
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata or Nicoise olives, pitted  I omitted b/c I hate olives
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese  I used Asiago since that is what I had
  • Peppered bacon bits (optional)
  • Spinach & Arugula (optional)
*I bought my bread from the clearance bakery items at Wal-Mart & I think my cubes were closer to 1" than 1/2!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer; drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil just to lightly coat cubes. Dry in oven approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Make dressing with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. I used an envelope of Good Seasons salad dressing based on A Foodie Affair's recommendation.
  3. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green peppers, basil, coarse salt, and pepper. Toss the ingredients gently to coat; let stand for at least a half-hour.
  4. Panzanella can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours. Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before serving and bring the salad to room temperature. Before serving, add bread cubes and sprinkle with Asiago cheese and bacon if using! Add salad dressing and serve on a bed of spinach and arugula if desired.
The salad was delish, whatever name you want to give my version!

And let's not forget...today is SEPTEMBER 11th.  I don't care how long it has been...the very thought of what happened on 9/11 sends chills down my arms, gives me a heavy heart, and makes me want to scream and cry all at the same time.  I did not know anyone who lost their life during the attacks of 9/11, but I mourn for them. I remember them. And I cherish their memories and give thanks to all the heroes of that day.
I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN.
MAY GOD BLESS THE USA!

I'm linking up today with Naptime Creations, Mandy's Recipe Box, It's a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pillsbury Artisan Pizza & a GIVEAWAY!

I love pizza. I mean, really.love.pizza.  It makes a great meal for my family too, b/c it can be easily diversified to suit everyone's picky taste buds.  (No sauce for Number One, Light Sauce for Miss Two, only cheese for Mr. Three....you get the point.)  Also, when made from scratch, I can control the ingredients, making healthier choices for the fam than if we were to order pizza out.  (Such as 2% cheeses, turkey pepperoni, chicken sausage, whole grain crust, etc)  The only hard part I have found is making homemade dough.  It's not hard, but it takes prep time, therefore making it a meal that I have to plan for - not suddenly decide last minute to make.

HOWEVER, Pillsbury has changed all that!  Since I prefer to use whole grains when making my pizza dough, I rarely buy the premade or refrigerated pizza crusts. But now, Pillsbury has come out with Artisan Pizza Crusts with Whole grains! Whole grain pizza dough, ready to go!  It contains 16 grams of whole grain per serving, and is available in the same area as the crescent rolls, biscuits, etc.  It is so easy to use, that my 11 year old had no trouble spreading the dough out.  You just pop open a can, spread it out to desired thickness (you could make a deep dish or spread it out a lot to make a large thin crust).
We made 2 pizzas...one customized for the kids and one for me and the hubs.  I thought we would have leftovers since each can made a good size pizza crust...but I was wrong. We ate it ALL!  Everyone loved the crust...that's a 5 out of 5 approval rating...that rarely happens in the Mo'Betta house!
Yum. I wish I had this right now. Fresh basil is crazy good on pizza.

To try this immediately, go HERE and download a printable coupon for $1.25 off.

I am also hosting a giveaway for the following prize pack....
  • VIP coupon (free!) for New Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain
  • $10 gift card (for your favorite ingredients)
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven mitt
  • Pizza cutter *which I will admit broke the very first time I used it...however, I'm sure that was just a fluke!
Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form.

Disclosure:  The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monster Magic Bars

You know how sometimes you get those crazy intense chocolate cravings that have to be satiated immediately?  Please tell me I am not the only one.  Mine usually hits when it's getting late, and I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or do not feel like going to the store for a particular ingredient.  

Enter Monster Magic Cookie Bars!  They have a short ingredient list and I knew with chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, they would be delicious.  And I was right.  Again.  (I know my sweets peeps!)

When I first saw these at Something Swanky, I drooled all over myself.  Her pics are amazing!  Those bars were pinned in a flash, and called my name until I relented.  Okay, that sounds a little creepy.  I'm not hearing voices or anything.  But, ya know what I mean.  These bars had to be made.

Monster Magic Cookie Bars 
slightly adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients:
  • 9 full reduced-fat graham crackers
  • 4 tbsp. butter  *I used 2 T. butter and 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • approximately 3/4 c. (old fashioned) oats
  • approximately 3/4 c. M&Ms
  • approximately 3/4 c. chocolate chips *I used mini semi-sweet choc chips
Instructions:
  1. In a zip top bag, crush the graham crackers using a rolling pin.
  2. Once crushed, add the 2 4 tbsp. butter & coconut oil to the bag. (not necessary if your coconut oil is already in a liquid state - then you can add after you heat the butter)
  3. Place in the microwave and heat up for about 20-30 seconds.
  4. Remove from microwave, let out the air and make sure the bag is sealed (be careful, it's hot!), and "mush" the butter, coconut oil and graham crackers together until fully incorporated.
  5. Press the graham cracker crumbs into a well-greased and parchment lined (I did not line mine with parchment paper) 9x13 baking dish.
  6. Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker layer.
  7. Sprinkle the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips evenly over the sweetened condensed milk and gently press in a little.
  8. Bake at 350ยบ for 30 minutes or until browned and pulling away from the edges.
  9. Let cool and serve.
Someone was very eager to give these a taste test....
Moving in.... 
a little closer... 
Yay! Mom is finished taking pictures and I can have one!

Another perk to this recipe, it's egg and nut free!
(M&M's do have a warning on the bag that they may contain an occasional peanut. However, I still let him have them. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who has a severe nut allergy.)



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