Football Party With A Baked Potato Bar

20161016_150927 (3)

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

Football season is one of my favorite times of year and it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family. This year I wanted to plan a party with a baked potato bar because I love party foods that let me enjoy the company and the football game instead of being stuck in the kitchen for hours. Along with the baked potato bar I’m sharing three of my favorite loaded baked potato recipes and information about Nexium® 24HR which provides all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so I can enjoy my favorite baked potato toppings (even the spicy ones!) all season long. Of course, my love of themed parties means I have to share all the party decorating details and three easy, but delicious, dessert ideas!


Walmart has a plethora of football tableware and decorations and I chose to do some quick DIY projects as well. I made a colorful banner that says “Go Team” using some green paper and letter cutouts which I hung from string using cute little clothespins.

Silverware holders can be created out of mason jars with a piece of ribbon wrapped around the top and football shaped confetti at the bottom of the jar. I also made labels for all of the bowls on the table from little wood place settings by adding a football sticker and writing the names of the food on them. BAKED POTATO BAR

I love a good baked potato with the typical butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon toppings but there are so many other delicious toppings out there, too. I set out a variety of choices that would appeal to a number of diets, from vegetarian to meat lovers.

I also included options for every palate- from mild to spicy. I bought condiment bottles so I could offer a variety of sauces including hot sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.

Speaking of spicy…do you avoid spicy foods because they give you heartburn? I used to avoid a number of heartburn inducing foods, knowing that as soon as I laid down I’d be regretting my dinner choices, but now I don’t have to anymore! Just one pill a day and you can get all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn with Nexium® 24HR* (*Use as directed. *May take 1-4 days for full effect.)

So now that you aren’t worried about heartburn, I wanted to share three of my favorite baked potato topping combos.

Buffalo Chicken Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chicken
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Blue Cheese

Mix your chicken and buffalo sauce together. The more sauce you use the wetter and tangier the potato will be. Once done, cut your potato open and add in the chicken and blue cheese then drizzle with more buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

BBQ Pork Baked Potato Ingredients

  • Baked Potato
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Fried Onions

This baked potato is really easy to make! Slice the baked potato and then put the pulled pork inside. Sprinkle cheese on top and fried onions and then drizzle barbecue sauce on top of your baked potato.

Chili & Cheese Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chili
  • Shredded Cheese (or Cheese Sauce)
  • Corn Chips
  • Green Onions
  • Sour Cream

If your fall go-to meal is chili you’ll love this chili topped baked potato. Just add your favorite chili and top it with shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream and corn chips.


No party is complete without appetizers and desserts! I found cute popcorn containers that had a football design and put popcorn, corn chips and tortilla chips in them. I also used a football serving dish for the dips and set out salsa, cheese sauce and guacamole.

For dessert I made a few different treats with store bought bakery items. To keep with the football theme I used a football shaped cookie cutter to cut football shapes out of brownies and then I used white icing to draw “laces” on them.

I used the excess brownie pieces to make trifles by layering brownies, chocolate pudding and whipped cream in cups and then topping them with green hard candy sprinkles. Since my kids love cupcakes I got some of those and put them in football cupcake wrappers and added brown and green chocolate candies to the top of them.

To drink I offered two options- water and root beer. I tied a festive straw on to the bottles with football themed ribbon.

So now that you are prepared for a football party with decorations and food, don’t forget to take Nexium® 24HR daily for all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so you can enjoy the party and all the football fun!

Nexium® 24HR is the #1 Choice of Doctors and Pharmacists* for their own frequent heartburn. (*Among PCPs and Pharmacists who use a branded OTC PPI) You can find 42 count packages of tablets or capsules at your local Walmart store by the other over the counter medications. Each box has 3 smaller bottles inside with 14 days worth of capsules/tablets.

What foods would you serve at your football party? Whatever you choose, don’t get sidelined by frequent heartburn! Make sure to get ready for tailgreatness and take your Nexium® 24HR daily to ensure you can enjoy all of your favorite party foods.

*May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Use as directed.

Hawaiian Pork Sliders

20160922_141255 (4)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield® Marinated Pork. The opinions and text are all mine.

With the nights getting even busier as the school year continues, I’m trying to add more easy recipes to my menu plan. I normally make meals in the crock pot that cook while I work. But sometimes I don’t start thinking about dinner until after I’ve picked the kids up from school, and by then it’s too late to throw something in the slow cooker. Thankfully I’ve discovered the best recipe for nights like that- Hawaiian Pork Sliders!

These sliders can be made with less than 15 minutes of prep time which make them perfect for dinner on busy school nights. They are also a great lunch recipe because you can whip them up quickly before sitting down to watch the football game on Sunday afternoon with your friends and family. I also like that any leftovers can be enjoyed the next day for lunch either as a sandwich or even recreated into Hawaiian Pork Fried Rice. Since I’m really focusing on making sure that I don’t skip lunch it’s always great to have some leftovers in the fridge, and pork is such a versatile ingredient.

To make the sliders I used Smithfield Marinated Sweet Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin. The pork comes already marinated so it didn’t need any additional flavoring or spices added to it which makes busy nights easier. This also helps keep the ingredient list for this recipe low. All you need to create these delicious sliders are four ingredients!


Makes about 8 sandwiches.


  • Smithfield Marinated Sweet Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
  • Can of pineapple slices
  • Bottle of honey barbecue sauce
  • Small round rolls


Take the pork tenderloin out of the package and slice it into ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices out onto a foil covered pan and cook the pork in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.

While the meat is cooking you can sauté the pineapple in a sauce pan. Start with a hot pan and cook the pineapple slices for one minute on each side.

Once the pineapple and pork are cooked you are ready to assemble your sandwich. Cut a roll in half and on the bottom piece set a couple pieces of pork, a pineapple slice and a drizzle of barbecue sauce, then top with the other half of the roll.

Hope your family enjoys these sweet Hawaiian Pork Sliders!

You can find Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork products at your local Kroger store in the refrigerated cases of the meat department.

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is made from 100% fresh pork and is packed with protein. Their products are available in Loin Filets, Sirloin, or Tenderloin cuts and a variety of flavors including:

  • Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb
  • Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper
  • Smithfield Sweet Teriyaki
  • Smithfield Southwest Style Peppercorn
  • Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite

While at the store, we also bought the Smithfield Marinated Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Tenderloin. I’ll be putting that in the slow cooker tomorrow with some potatoes and carrots so we can come home from sports practice to a hot, home cooked meal.

Need more meal ideas? Visit Smithfield for recipes you can make on busy school nights. Their #RealFlavorRealFast recipe index has a bunch of great ideas including Veggie-Stuffed Pork Loin with Creamy Mustard Sauce and Filet Mignon Pork with Buttery Mushrooms. Those sound delicious and are perfect for busy nights because both can be made in 30 minutes or less. They look so fancy, though, and your family will think you slaved all afternoon in the kitchen! Instead, use that time saved to play a new game with your kids, curl up on the couch with a good book or go out to lunch with your friends. You deserve it, Mom!

What Real Fast recipe do you want to try first?


Mini Pumpkin Cake Bites

20160925_165711 (1) (2)

I’ve been seeing lots of pictures in my Facebook feed of all my friends at the pumpkin patch with their kids and I can’t wait to go pick pumpkins with my boys this year. I thought it would be fun to make some pumpkin mini cakes to celebrate this wonderful time of year (and the fact that fall temps are coming to Chicago this week)!


  • Box Cake Mix (any flavor) and ingredients needed to make the cake
  • Frosting (any flavor)
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Orange Colored Chocolate Candy Melts


  • Make your cake mix according to the directions on the box and let cool.
  • Crumble cake mix into a large bowl.
  • Add in one can of frosting and stir together.
  • Form into teaspoon size balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, melt candy melts according to the package.
  • Using a fork, dip cake balls into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Cut a tootsie roll in half and place on top of the cake ball in the middle.

I chose to use a Funfetti cake mix with Halloween sprinkles for my cake bites but you can make them with any cake mix you’d like. I think a pumpkin flavored cake mix would be fantastic in this recipe.

Candy Corn Haystacks

20160925_122614 (4) (1)

Butterscotch haystacks are one of my favorite cookies and one I make often because they are so easy to make. These no-bake cookies only need a few ingredients and, while the inclusion of noodles in this cookie may make you question them, they really taste delicious! They are also versatile. I first shared the recipe for them on my blog in 2010 as a Christmas treat idea. Then this past March made them into nests topped with PEEPS for an Easter treat. Now I’m transforming them into the perfect fall treat by adding a Halloween candy staple to them.

Makes 15-20 haystack cookies.


  • 1 package of butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1½ packages (18 ounces) crispy chow mein noodles
  • Candy corn


Melt butterscotch morsels in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave for 30 seconds on high power, then stir. Continue melting for 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth.

Stir peanut butter into melted butterscotch and thoroughly combine.

Place crispy chow mein noodles into a large bowl and add butterscotch/peanut butter mixture. Combine until all noodles are coated.

Drop a tablespoon of chow mein mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Top each haystack with a few candy corn.

Refrigerate until the haystacks harden, about 30–60 minutes and store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

It’s amazing how the crispy, kind of salty flavor of the chow mein noodles mix with the butterscotch and peanut butter flavors to form one sweet Halloween treat. Hope you all enjoy them!

Mummy Pretzel Sticks

20160924_152411 (1) (1)

Looking for a super easy snack for Halloween parties? These Mummy Pretzel Sticks take less than 10 minutes to make and can be a fun afternoon activity for children to help with. Kids (and adults!) will love these spooky treats.

Recipe yields 15-20 Mummy Pretzel Sticks


  • Pretzel rods
  • Package of white chocolate candy melts
  • Candy eyes or black icing (found by the sprinkles)
  • White icing (optional)

Melt the white chocolate candy melts according to the directions on the package

Dip the pretzel rods in the white chocolate and lay them on wax paper

Use the icing to pipe zigzag lines across the white chocolate

Add two eyes to each “mummy” using either the candy eyes or dots of black icing

Aren’t these fun?! What’s your favorite Halloween treat?


Monster Krispies

20160914_142110 (2) (1)

Now that the kids are back in school we are getting ready for the next big things in our life- our family vacation and Halloween. Since my Disney Halloween playlist is getting so many views the past couple weeks I figured many of you all are in the Halloween mood as well. I wanted to share a super fun, quick Halloween treat that your kids can help you make.

I am calling this treat “Monster Krispies” because they are rice krispy treats designed to look like monsters. You can make homemade rice krispy treats or take the easy way out (like I did) and use the premade treats. No judgement here :)

Along with rice krispy treats, you will need colored candy wafers (found by the cake supplies at Michaels and Hobby Lobby) and candy eyes (found by the sprinkles). Now a word of caution here: I recommend finding wafers that are the color you want. I thought I’d get creative and use white candy melts with food coloring but the extra stirring caused the candy melts to turn into a frosting like paste which will not work for this recipe.

To start, melt your candy wafers according to the packaging. You’ll want to stir every so often and get out all the lumps.

Once melted, dip your rice krispy treat in the melted chocolate and completely coat the rice krispy treat. (I recommend putting a stick or skewer into the rice krispy treat for easy dipping.)

Let the excess candy drip off the rice krispy treat and then lay it out on wax paper or parchment paper.

Immediately put the candy eyes on the treats. I chose to make mine look like monsters with many eyes.

Let the Monster Krispies harden and then put in an airtight container once done.

What’s your favorite Halloween treat to make?

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad On A Pita

20160901_132853 (1)

This post was made possible by iConnect and Litehouse Foods. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. #SoldinCold


Lunch has always been a meal that I tend to skip because I’m so busy working that I forget to eat. I’ve started making “eat lunch” an appointment on my calendar to remind myself to take a break and eat something. Since I only have about 15 minutes or so to eat I try to make things that are easy and quick. Today I chose to make myself a chicken bacon ranch salad wrap for lunch and it was so delicious I had to share it with you all!


To make:
  • Slice your chicken, onion, tomato and pepper
  • Layer your veggies, bacon and chicken on your pita
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Drizzle with Litehouse dressing 

This lunch was filling and delicious. I love Litehouse’s Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing but had never had any of their ranch dressings before. I love this one flavored with avocados and real bacon. They also have Homestyle Ranch and Jalapeno Ranch flavored dressings. You can find Litehouse products in the refrigerated produce section of your local supermarket.

What is your favorite lunch recipe? I’d love for you to share in the comments below since I can always use more ideas!

Autumn Snack Mix For Happy Snacking

20160808_104133 (1)

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

In preparation for back-to-school I decided to come up with some new after school snack ideas. I wanted to make something that we could easily bring with us to afternoon sports and activities. Since Lucas loves Goldfish® crackers so much I wanted to incorporate them into a snack mix and, with fall around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a fall harvest themed one.

I used two varieties of Goldfish crackers- the Mix (which includes Xtra Cheddar and Pretzel Goldfish crackers) and the Original Cheddar flavor.

Along with Goldfish crackers I included a handful of other items that reminded me of fall. Since apple picking is a favorite Autumn activity I added some dried apples into the mix, along with raisins and dried cranberries. For a sweet touch, I also added in orange, yellow, red and brown chocolate candies and a bit of sprinkles in little leaf shapes. To add an extra crunch I included some plain popcorn in the mix.

To make the snack mix just add each ingredient to your bowl and then stir it together!

Lucas loved the mix I had created and I love that I found a fun snack that he and Jacob can enjoy all year long. There is nothing better than seeing my kids smile with joy over something I’ve created for them!

Another simple snack the kids enjoy is Goldfish crackers paired with fresh fruit. Their favorites are grapes and strawberries and personally I like to pair mine with apple slices. It’s such a simple snack the whole family can enjoy.

Bulk boxes of Goldfish crackers are on rollback now for $5.98 at Walmart! I love that I can buy them in bulk because they are a staple in our house! You can also save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Bolthouse Farms® 10 oz. Baby Carrots or Bolthouse Farms(® 11 oz. juice when you buy any ONE (1) Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers 30 oz. or larger.

Which Goldfish crackers variety is your favorite?

Ghostbusters Themed College Care Package

20160816_123322 (2)

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

This year my little sister will be a junior in college. It’s hard to believe because I can still remember the morning my mom went into labor and the months of hospital trips to the NICU that followed to visit this little one pound, fourteen ounce miracle baby. She’s turned into a beautiful woman and I’m so proud of the amazing, caring person she has become.

Since the new school year is just starting I thought I’d send her a college care package. When I was in college I loved having movie nights with my roommate and friends in my dorm so I thought it would be fun to send her a movie themed package she could enjoy with her friends. With the new Ghostbusters movie out in theaters, and the all-women cast of leading ladies, what better to send for a movie night with girlfriends than a SLIME-tastic college care package?!

When trying to figure out what to put the care package in I chose to use a clear container that my sister could reuse for storage. I started by loading it with a ton of candy. I added in some fun Ghostbusters M&M’s® bottles that I had found plus a variety of other chocolate favorites like SNICKERS®, Twix® and Milky Way®.

I then added in two of the old Ghostbusters movies. Since both Ghostbusters 1 and Ghostbusters 2 came out before her and her friends were even born, I thought they should watch those before they went to see the new movie. I also included a green portable speaker so that they could get better sound when playing the movies from their computer. This little Stay Puft Marshmallow Man character was the perfect addition as well and will put a smile on the face of anyone who sees him.

Another thing that is a must have while watching movies is popcorn. I added some microwavable popcorn packages in the care package and decided to take it a step further by sending additional supplies to make “slime” popcorn. It was super easy to make and can be sent in separate containers so that it can be made fresh whenever they are ready for movie night!


Mix green food coloring into the marshmallow cream until you get your desired shade of green.

Pick out green M&M’s® candies from the bag.

Put both the marshmallow cream and the candies in their own separate containers.

Once they get to your student it’s easy for them to make the microwave popcorn, drizzle the green marshmallow “slime” on the popcorn and top it with green M&M’s®. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and salty!

The last thing I added in was a Ghostbusters tin container and a container of green Peanut M&M’s®. Feel free to add in anything else your college student needs while they are away at college or that they could use for a fun girls night!

I found all of the chocolate, and everything else I needed for the college care package, at Walmart. Look for the fun Ghostbusters M&M’s® display near the front of the store and keep an eye out for the in store coupon with savings of $0.75 off 1 M&M’s® Bottle now through September 30th!

Have you ever sent a college care package? What would you have added to it along with the chocolate?

Cereal Coated Fruit Pops Recipe

PicMonkey Image (12) (2)
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RealDelicious #CerealAnytime #CollectiveBias

We love cereal for breakfast but one of the best things about cereal is that it’s really perfect for anytime of day! I love snacking on cereal while I work and the boys like eating it as an after school snack. We even sometimes have it at dinner with some fresh fruit or at dessert time, sprinkled over ice cream. One of the ways I enjoy cereal is as a topping on yogurt parfaits so I thought it would be fun to try making something different with those three ingredients and came up with cereal covered fruit pops.

Cereal covered fruit pops are just what they sound like- fruit (coated in yogurt) that is then covered with cereal. When I was at Walmart I bought a few varities of Post cereal and decided to try this recipe out with a couple of them. I chose to use Fruity Pebbles and Berry Colossal Crunch since both were fruity flavored and would go well with fruit. I let the boys pick out the fruit we’d use for this recipe and they chose apple slices, strawberries and grapes.

To start, you’ll want to gather all of your ingredients. You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of cereal
  • 2 small cartons of yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • Fruit of your choice (we used 1/2 a bag of presliced apples, 1/4 of the grapes in a bag, and 1/2 a carton of strawberries)
  • Lollipop sticks

How to make the cereal covered fruit pops:

1) You’ll want the cereal to be in small pieces for this recipe. Fruity Pebbles piece sizes or smaller are fine but anything larger (like Berry Colossal Crunch) needs to be broken into smaller pieces. To do so, put the cereal into a ziploc bag and use your hands or a rolling pin to crush the pieces into smaller bits.

2) Put a lollipop stick into the middle of a piece of fruit, about halfway through

3) Dip the fruit in the yogurt, fully coating it

4) Sprinkle the cereal on the fruit

5) Put the cereal coated fruit pops in the freezer for about two hours

This would be perfect for an after-school snack because you can make it in the afternoon and it will be ready by the time the kids come home from school! You could also make it with the kids in the afternoon and they could enjoy it as an after dinner treat.

If you are looking to recreate this recipe, or just have a household of cereal lovers, you’ll want to visit your local Walmart for great deals on Post cereal. With all the money we are spending on back-to-school supplies it’s nice to save a bit of money on essentials like cereal!

What is your favorite time of day to enjoy cereal?

Blueberry Chicken Salad Recipe

20160615_140600 (2)

I was challenged by Nature’s Harvest bread to come up with a Finding Dory themed sandwich recipe to share with my readers in this sponsored post.

Disney – Pixar’s “Finding Dory” is almost out in theaters! Are your kids as excited as mine? I wanted to add a little Dory fun into our typical chicken salad recipe so Sinisa and I created this amazing blueberry chicken salad recipe. Typically, if chicken salad has fruit in it, it’s either grapes or apples but I figured why not add some blueberries instead to celebrate the movie coming to theaters since Dory is blue! I love the mix of flavors that this sandwich has.

Here’s what you will need to make the sandwiches:

  • Nature’s Harvest Bread
  • 3 Cups of diced chicken
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1/2 cup of green onions
  • 1/2 cup of mayonaise
  • 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of pecans
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This chicken salad is easy to make!

1) Mix together all ingredients other than the blueberries (and bread of course)

2) Gently fold in the blueberries

3) Put between two slices of Nature’s Harvest bread


Select packages of specially-marked Nature’s Harvest® bread will feature the lovable characters from Disney• Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” which hits theaters this Friday.


For kid’s sandwiches you can use a cookie cutter to cut out a fish, whale or seashell from the bread before you put the chicken salad on the bread. Serve with goldfish crackers for a fun lunch!

Want even more Finding Dory fun? Nature’s Harvest® bread is hosting the Make A Splash with Whole Grains Sweepstakes on its Facebook page now through July 7th, where fans can enter for a chance to win weekly prizes, including movie tickets, autographed posters and more. No purchase necessary. See official rules here.

Have you ever added blueberries to your chicken salad? If not, would you try it?


PEEPS Nests Recipe And Peeps-a-licious Cookbook Giveaway


I am so excited to share about this new cookbook that came out called Peeps-a-licious that features 50 fun recipes made with PEEPS. I’m honored to have been asked to contribute to this cookbook and have shared three delicious recipes in it. I’m sharing my favorite one below along with a giveaway where five people will win a copy of this new cookbook.

Makes 15—20 Nests


  • 1 (11-ounce) package butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1½ packages (18 ounces) crispy chow mein noodles
  • 15–20 PEEPS® Marshmallow Chicks, assorted colors
  • 1–2 packages JUST BORN® Brand Jelly Beans, or your favorite variety (you just need white jelly beans)


  • Melt butterscotch morsels in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave for 30 seconds on high power, then stir. Continue melting for 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth.
  • Stir peanut butter into melted butterscotch and thoroughly combine.
  • Place crispy chow mein noodles into a large bowl and add butterscotch/peanut butter mixture. Combine until all noodles are coated.
  • Drop a tablespoon of chow mein mixture onto a baking sheet or plate lined with wax paper. Make an indent in the middle of the mixture to form a nest shape. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  • Refrigerate until nests harden, about 30–60 minutes.
  • To finish the nests, add 3–5 jelly beans in the center of each nest and top with a PEEPS® Chick


Five readers will each win 1 copy of the Peeps-a-licious cookbook


Share this giveaway on social media and leave a comment below with the link and why you want to win

Giveaway ends April 1, 2016 at 11:59pm CST.

Mango Baked Beans Recipe

mango baked beans final

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The National Mango Board.

The easiest way to break out of a routine is to try something new. That is especially true for food. I enjoy trying new foods and introducing my boys to them.

One fruit I recently introduced to my children were mangoes. In order to learn a bit more about mangoes and how to prepare them easily I went to a cooking presentation with my son Luke. The event was sponsored by The National Mango Board. It was very fun for us both and very enlightening.

Most people do not realize there are 6 variety of mangoes in the USA and that mangoes are one of the few fruits available the whole year round. Besides just being very delicious and versatile when it comes to their use, mangoes are actually very healthy. They have as much Vitamin C as oranges. One cup of diced mango contains 100 calories, 1 gram protein, 0.5 grams fat, 25 grams of carbohydrate (23 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber), 100% of the daily need for vitamin C, 35% for vitamin A, 20% of folate, 10% of vitamin B-6 and 8% of vitamin K and potassium. That’s a lot of goodness in one fruit!

Together, Luke and I learned and created awesome mango snack recipes from a culinary expert.Here are some tips we were given:

  • Selecting: Don’t judge a mango by its color – red does not mean ripe. To find a ripe mango, just squeeze gently. A ripe mango will be slightly soft like a peach or avocado. A firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days.
  • Prepping: To cut a mango, simply slice off the sides of the fruit, avoiding the large seed in the center.  Once you have these two sides, you can get to the flesh and slice or dice as needed. Then, simply scoop it out of the skin. For more on how to cut a mango or delicious new recipes, visit
  • Storing: Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature. Never refrigerate mangos before they are ripe. Once ripe, mangoes can be moved to the refrigerator to slow down ripening for several days.

And some fun facts I didn’t know about the tasty Mango:

  • Mangos are one of the most popular fruit in the World
  • Mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago
  • Mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
  • The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of a mango
  • A basket of mangos is considered a gesture of friendship in India
  • Legend says that Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree
  • Mangos are related to cashews and pistachios
  • A mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet
  • The bark, leaves, skin and pit of the mango have been used in folk remedies for centuries.

Luke learned how to make a Cinco De Mango Quesadilla and Frozen Yogurt Dipped Mango Pops. At first Luke was shy about the Mangoes but then once he realized how sweet and juicy they were he was hooked. .

As we were both delighted we decided to make a tasty dish with mango at home very soon. We received a great cookbook full of flavorful mango recipes. I chose to try out the Mango Baked Bean recipe this week.

This is a very easy recipe. The prep time is just a few minutes. I started by gathering all the ingredients. I chopped the bacon and onions and the mango. While the bacon was frying, I started to make the sauce.  It’s a very sweet sauce with molasses and brown sugar.

As soon as the bacon was crispy and onions were clear, I added the beans and combined the sauce. The last thing to add was the mango (mango can be pureed or in chunks). Everything needs to be stirred well together and then it needs to be baked in the oven.

While the beans are baking you can go ahead and make anything you wish to use as the main entree. I chose to grill up some steak and shrimp because it was a nice day and fresh grilled meat sounded fantastic.

I hope you are a fan of mangoes. If you just became one, head out to a grocery store and pick up a few. Make a dish, juice them, or best of all eat them freshly cut up. I would love to hear what you came up with.

Pasta Carbonara and Tuna Cake Recipes

pasta carbonara and tuna cakes

This post was sponsored by KRAFT and I was compensated to write it. Regardless, what I have written is my own opinion and experience, and I hope you find it of use.

Dining out at a nice restaurant can be one of the best experiences a family has together but, during the school year and sports season, it can be hard to find the time to dine out with everyone’s hectic schedules. I myself find my own family pressed for time but wish to have a great dinnertime bonding experience over a delicious dinner that was made quickly. I discovered that KRAFT had recipes online that could help me  ‘Twist That Dish’ while saving time and money.

With KRAFT products, many ordinary items that are already in the pantry or the refrigerator can be turned into amazing restaurant quality dinners in just 10 to 15 minutes. When the kids ask for seconds you will know you have won big time. The biggest time saver for me is shopping at Sam’s Club and getting KRAFT products in bulk so at any time I can make many different recipes with a new twist on favorites.

I fell in love with two recipes on the website that when put together create a gourmet dinner worthy of sit down restaurants. I chose PHILADELPHIA Quick Pasta Carbonara and Tuna Cakes.

As with all great dinners a good deal of multitasking is involved but, with recipes provided by KRAFT, everything was simple and easy. I started by mixing the tuna cakes mix. I gathered all the ingredients and mixed them. I did this first because the mix needs to rest in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

While the mix was resting I got started on the Pasta recipe. I cooked the pasta according to the instructions on the box of fettuccine noodles I had in my pantry.

Just before the pasta was completely done I got to working on the sauce. The first step was to fry up the bacon. I used Oscar Mayer Bacon with Maple which made the pasta a bit sweeter (which is my trick for the picky kids).

Once the bacon was done, I stirred the rest of the ingredients in the grease as per the recipe provided by KRAFT. The key to this sauce recipe is to make sure the sauce is creamy and consistent and the cheese does not burn.

Once the sauce was ready I added the cooked noodles and the bacon and stirred well.

Once the pasta and the sauce were combined it was time to fry up the tuna cakes. To do this, use a non-stick skillet and an ice cream scoop to make portions. Cook them on both sides until golden brown.

The hardest thing about creating these KRAFT recipes was trying not to eat anything before plating the food.

 Everything turned out amazing and even the kids loved it. I am glad all KRAFT food products needed for these recipes can be purchased in bulk  online and in-club at my local Sam’s Club. I hope you enjoyed these recipes and will check out Which recipe will you try tonight?

Shrimp Tacos With Mango Salsa Recipe


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Jewel-Osco. The opinions and text are all mine.

Getting started on a meal menu plan is not an easy task. When planning meals for the whole family there are so many things to consider especially when you have little kids. As much as I focus on kid friendly meals there is at least one meal a week that is designed for my soul. This week is no different. I personally love fish and would love to eat it every day, so for this week I chose a simple recipe for shrimp tacos with mango salsa. Most of my shopping is done at Jewel and with the help of Jewel’s new app MyMixx. It helps me to remember everything by creating a grocery list and inspires me with recipes and even sends me paperless receipts.

This is a very easy to make recipe and importantly all the ingredients are available fresh year round. All the ingredients blend perfectly together to make you fall in love with your meal. Shrimp is great because it will keep its texture and stays juicy through the cooking process and it can be flavored in so many ways.

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 1 mango
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno fine diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cucumber chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 20-30 medium size shrimp without the tails


In a medium bowl combine the onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro with a pinch of salt. Mix well and drain.

Once the mix is drained well add the chopped mango pieces.

 Next add the cucumbers, sugar and the lime juice. Mix everything together so you can see all the colors. Chill the salsa before serving.

While the salsa is being chilled, the shrimp can be prepared. Lightly heat up a teaspoon of olive oil and toss the shrimp in a skillet. Season to taste with either a fajita seasoning or a hot sauce. There is no wrong choice. I chose to make today’s meal not spicy.

Once the shrimp is heated through, heat up the tortillas and serve. Place the shrimp on tortillas and top with mango salsa. Add cheese and sour cream if you wish to.

This was a tasty, light meal. Very easy to create and even easier to buy the ingredients. With Jewel’s MyMixx app I save so much time and I get inspired to create awesome meals using only the finest ingredients. The whole family loves the app and we can’t wait to see more recipes and the deals that come out weekly.

Chocolate Lovebug Cupcakes {Recipe}


Valentine’s Day is coming up and what better way to celebrate than with these adorable Chocolate ‘Lovebug’ Cupcakes! Enjoy!

active 15 min  total 25 min (plus decorating)

makes 24 mini cupcakes

cost per cupcake 27¢


  • Mini paper liners
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Icing and decorations


  • Heat oven to 400°F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. 
  • In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy, then whisk in the oil and vanilla. Add the egg white mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in the chocolate.
  • Divide the batter among the lined muffin cups and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks. Decorate as desired.

Per cupcake 99 cal, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0 mg chol, 51 mg sod, 1 g pro, 18 g car, 0 g fiber

Thanks to Woman’s Day for sharing the recipe with me. You can find this recipe and more delicious Valentine’s Day treats at and in their magazine. (Image courtesy of: Kat Teutsch)

Bread & Butter: My Italian Dinner Staple


Today I’m partnering with La Brea Bakery, as part of their Breaking Bread with La Brea Bakery tour stop in Chicago, to show how easy it is to make flavored butter and create a bread banquet for a large Italian meal. I’m not Italian but I love eating pasta (like my mom’s homemade cheese lasagna recipe). To start I headed to Jewel to buy bread from the bakery department. There was a whole La Brea bread display so I picked up four different varieties: Italian loaf, French loaf, three cheese, and a garlic loaf.

I bought five different cheeses and then decided to do something I’d never done before….make my own flavored butter! I bought some crushed garlic, green onions and fresh herbs. I had planned to make a savory butter to go with my garlic and cheese breads but once I got home from the store I decided to make a sweet butter instead. Since my favorite thing to add to toast is cinnamon and sugar I thought this would be a nice addition to the spread.

The flavored butter was extremely easy to make. I let a half stick of butter soften at room temperature before I cut it into large chunks in a small bowl. I then added a packet of seasoning I had in my spice cabinet that consisted of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla beans. The last step was to whip the butter and spices together and refrigerate once they were all mixed together. You can do really any combination of flavors that you think sound good. The next one I’m going to make will be garlic and parmesan cheese flavored.

Once your homemade butter is made you can transfer it to a prettier dish or container. I chose to use little plastic sauce containers that I put into red polka dot cupcake wrappers to go with my red, white and blue themed table. This worked well for the spreadable herb cheese that I bought as well. No ugly store bought plastic containers allowed on the table ;)

The next step was to set out all the sliced loafs of bread and cheeses. I used little cheese stakes in the cheeses and cute decorative toothpicks in the bread so everyone would know what flavors they were eating.

Here was the finished bread banquet:

Learn more about La Brea Bakery on their website. If you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, try free samples of La Brea Bakery’s delicious bread June 12th-15th and June 18th-21st.

Game Time Snack: RITZ Pastrami and Corned Beef Mini Sandwiches


Check out this amazing game time appetizer that the folks at Ritz shared with me. This featured recipe is the snack-size take on the famous Carnegie Deli signature dish. Yum!

Find the recipe here.

Meatloaf Sandwiches {Recipe}

meatloaf sandwiches

With the big game coming up I wanted to share this perfect sandwich created by Executive Chef John Brand of Mokara Hotel and Spa and Ostra restaurant. Chef Brand created this recipe with LoSalt instead of regular salt which is an easy way to reduce sodium intake.

Serves 6 people


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Serrano Pepper seeds removed fine chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon LoSalt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup JRB BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Veal stock
  • 3 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan Reggiano
  • 4 Slices Applewood Smoked Bacon

Liquid Mixture:

In a small bowl, combine JRB BBQ sauce, ketchup, Balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and veal stock.

Meat Mixture:

In a large bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onions, green bell pepper, parsley, chopped garlic, egg, seasonings, 3/4 cup of liquid mixture, and Parmesan cheese.

Form into loaf. Place into shallow 7 by 10 in. pan or bread loaf tin, lightly oiled. Top with bacon Slices and glaze with some of the remaining liquid mixture to coat.

Bake in a 350°F oven for one hour and 15 minutes, basting occasionally with remaining liquid mixture or straight barbecue sauce. Drain off excess rendered fat as needed during cooking process.


Toasted potato or challah buns, small, slider size.  Serve 3 oz warm meatloaf slice on a bun with sharp white cheddar.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this recipe but this recipe was provided by LoSalt.)



Getting Kids To Try New Vegetables {Veggie Pinwheels Recipe}

veggie pinwheels

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

My boys are leery of new foods and if I put any on their dinner plate they eye them, poke them, and smell them and then say “I don’t like this”. I remind them that they won’t know if they like something unless they taste it and that usually gets some grumbles but they eventually end up trying the new food. They’ve discovered a variety of new favorites this way. Jacob especially loves red, orange and yellow peppers and Lucas has found he likes a variety of different fruits and that sweet peas are pretty good too (especially when he can pop them out of the pod).

One vegetable the boys had never tried before was radishes. Even as an adult I can’t remember a time when I had a radish on anything other than a salad. Duda Farm Fresh Foods makes Radish MiniSticks. They’re ready-to-eat shredded radishes that are very crunchy and juicy.

I was challenged to try to integrate this veggie in a recipe. I remembered one of my favorite way to eat cucumbers is with ham and cream cheese and then I immediately thought about making a kid-friendly wrap for the kids. I used cucumbers and peppers along with the radishes but if your child has a vegetable they prefer you can substitute it. I thought the hint of sweetness worked perfect with the tangy taste of the radishes.


  • Cucumber (sliced thin)
  • Bag of Radish MiniSticks
  • Sweet Peppers (sliced thin)
  • Ham (lunchmeat)
  • Provolone Cheese slices
  • Cream Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Toothpicks (optional, makes cutting easier)
  • Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a tortilla
  • Sprinkle veggies on the cream cheese
  • Add a couple of slices of ham and cheese
  • Starting at one end, roll tortilla
  • Stick toothpicks in the top of the roll to make cutting easier
  • Cut roll into slices making sure a toothpick is in each slice
  • Remove toothpick before eating

The verdict? Yum! The pinwheel sandwiches are a fun alternative to normal lunches and are full of crunchy veggies! What vegetable filled recipes have you tried with your kids lately?



Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna Recipe

barilla 3

Disclosure: This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable

When I was growing up I used to love when my mom made lasagna. It was my favorite meal that she made and it’s really hard to eat lasagna any other way. Meat in lasagna? No way! ;)

I’ve been craving lasagna for a while now and I kept pushing it off because I’ve been too busy to cook anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to make. I remembered yesterday though, while making it, how easy it actually was to put together. Also, since it makes more than my family can eat at one time, I have a couple days of leftovers so in the end I’ve saved myself cooking time.

My mom (with Jacob)

Today I want to share my mom’s homemade cheese lasagna recipe. It should be noted that my mom spent her last years of life sick and slowly losing her memory with every seizure she had and during those years rewrote a lot of her recipes. This one I believe was one of those rewritten ones because sliced provolone cheese was the fourth kind of cheese she used and it was omitted from the new recipe. I made it without provolone and it was delicious but you can add it in if you want the flavor of another cheese.

Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna

Oven: 350 degrees

Bake Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes


  • 4 Eggs
  • 30 oz Ricotta Cheese (2 small tubs)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (2 cups for mixture, 1 cup for topping)
  • 2 tbl Basil
  • 2 tbl Parsley
  • 2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce (I used Barilla® Sauce)
  • 1 Box of Lasagna Noodles (I used Barilla® Lasagne noodles)


  • Cook noodles according to directions on box, set aside
  • In large bowl, mix 3 cheeses (just the first 2 cups of the mozzarella), eggs, basil, and parsley together
  • Spray an 11×17 baking dish with non-stick spray
  • Layer ingredients: sauce, then 4 noodles, then 1/3 of cheese mixture and continue to repeat. Note: the top should be noodles covered with sauce
  • Bake covered in pre-heated over for 2 hours 15 minutes at 350
  • Once that time is up uncover it and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese
  • Return to oven uncovered and let back for another 15 to 30 minutes for the cheese on top to melt and brown a little
  • Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving

I used Barilla sauce and lasagna noodles for this recipe. You can find them at your local Safeway store. They are having a special: $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake Pops With PEEPS {Recipe}

Peeps recipe with wording

I was so excited when Peeps reached out to me to participate in their online advent calendar and asked me to create a recipe using PEEPS from their holiday line. I love that PEEPS have expanded past their status as an Easter treat and was excited to bake with them. PEEPS sent me their Candy Cane flavored PEEPS that were dipped in chocolate. I decided to make cake pops with them and love how they turned out!

Here’s the recipe to make these Chocolate Candy Cane flavored cake pops!

Yield: 30 Cake Pops

Materials needed:

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix and any ingredients required (water, eggs, oil, etc)
  • 2 bags of candy melts
  • 6 PEEPS
  • container of chocolate frosting
  • lollipop sticks
  • candy canes or sprinkles (optional)
  • Piece of styrofoam


  • Prepare cake mix according to box directions and let cool
  • Once cool use your hands to crumble cake into bowl
  • Cut 6 PEEPS into small pieces
  • Add PEEPS pieces and container of frosting to crumbled cake and stir together
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls
  • Melt about 15 candy melts and dip one end of lollipop sticks in frosting and then push into cake balls
  • Place balls in freezer for 30 minutes to one hour to harden
  • Melt ½ of the candy melts in a bowl and dip cake pops using the stick as a handle.
  • When done with each cake pop stick the opposite end of the stick in the Styrofoam so that candy melt coating can harden. At this point add sprinkles or crushed candy cane if desired.
  • Melt more candy melts as needed.

If you enjoyed this recipe make sure to follow along in December when PEEPS features 24 recipes (including mine) on their Facebook page. To find more PEEPS recipes, crafts and other fun holiday ideas visit

(Disclosure: As stated above, I recieved PEEPS to use in my recipe.)

Apple Betty with Almond Cream {Recipe}

apple dessert

Prep: 15 Min.
Cook: 2 Hours
Makes: 8 Servings


  • 3 pounds tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 10 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract


1. Place apples in an ungreased 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the bread, brown sugar, butter, extract, cinnamon, cardamom and salt; spoon over apples. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until apples are tender.

2. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar, lemon peel and extract; beat until soft peaks form. Serve with apple mixture.

Recipe and image reprinted courtesy of Taste of Home and their new cookbook, Taste of Home Recipes Across America

Halloween Spider Bites {Recipe}

spider bites pic


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1 package black rope licorice cut into short 1” pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small tube of green (or color of choice) decorating gel
  • Toothpicks


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar, water, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add eggs into the mixture and blend.
  • Slowly mix in flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder using low-medium speed.
  • Drop tablespoon helpings of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets and roll each helping into a ball.
  • Bake 9 minutes at 375 degrees. The batch should produce around three dozen cookies.
  • Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes. Then using a toothpick, create four small holes in either side of the cookie.
  • Still using the toothpick, push one end of a piece of the cut licorice into each hole, creating the “legs” of the spider.
  • Once all eight pieces are in place, create eyes or decorate at will using the green decorating gel.
  • Then serve and enjoy!

Recipe idea adapted from “The Braces Cookbook” by Pamela Waterman. Image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Goblin Goodies {Recipe}

goblin goodies


  • 1 small box rice cereal
  • 1 small box corn or wheat cereal
  • 1 small box rice puffs cereal
  • 3 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of milk


  • Line a cookie sheet or large baking pan with tin foil
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, putting margarine in the pan and the pan in the oven as the oven preheats so that the margarine will melt.
  • Remove pan from oven and add pretzels, rice puffs and corn and rice cereal – slowly stirring to coat with melted margarine or butter.
  • Once all the cereal and pretzels are in the pan, place pan uncovered in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Once the snack mix is finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool. While cooling, in a small sauce pan, over low heat, melt milk chocolate chips with one cup of milk, adding milk slowly until melted. Repeat for white chocolate chips.
  • With a spoon, drizzle melted milk and white chocolate over the snack mix and allow to firm. Once chocolate is more firm, toss and serve. Store cool in airtight container for future snacks.

Recipe and image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Sinfully Sweet Cinnamon Apples {Recipe}

cinnamon apples

Cinnamon apples are the perfect Fall treat. Enjoy!


  • 6 Fuji or Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cinnamon sticks


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Core apples to ½ inch of the bottom of the apples.  It helps if you have an apple corer.  If not, simply use a paring knife.  Cut out the stem area first, then the core.  Use a spoon to dig out the seeds.  Make the holes about ¾-inch wide.
  • Mix apple juice concentrate and vanilla.  Pour into cored center of each apple.
  • Place a cinnamon stick in the center of each apple.  Place apples on nonstick baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.

(Recipe and image courtesy of Pritikin Longevity Center.)

Sweet Potato Clam Chowder with Bacon {Recipe}

Sweet Potato Clam Chowder (1)


  • 2 dozen Medium clams such as Manila OR 3 dozen Small clams such as Littlenecks
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 12-ounce bottle of clam juice, as needed
  • 1 cup Diced raw applewood smoked bacon: about 4 to 5 slices
  • 1 tablespoon of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3½ cups Raw sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2-inch chunks (about ¼ pound)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Half and Half


Scrub the clams well. Spread them in an even layer in a large 12-inch frying pan with a lid. Add the water, cover, and bring to the water to a boil. Set a heatproof bowl nearby to hold the cooked clams. Cook the clams until the shells open, about 2 to 5 minutes. As a clam opens, remove it from the pan with tongs and plop it into the waiting bowl. Give the clams 5 minutes more to cook, transferring clams as they open. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and discard any clams that remain closed. Pour the pan liquid through a fine-meshed sieve or cheesecloth to strain out any grit. You should have about 1 1/2 cups clam cooking liquid. If there is less than that, add enough bottled clam juice to equal this amount. Set the liquid aside. Transfer the clams, still in their shells, back to the pan and cover it with a lid to keep the clams from drying out while you finish the chowder.

Cook the bacon in a 3-quart soup pot until crisp and brown. When the bacon is done transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pot. Discard the rest of the bacon fat. Using the same soup pot in which you cooked the bacon, pour back in the 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, add the olive oil and heat over a medium flame for a few seconds; add the onion and celery. Cook vegetables until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, clam cooking liquid, the bay leaf, salt and pepper. (Save the cooked bacon to sprinkle over the chowder just before serving.) Cover the pan and simmer just until the sweet potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the chowder simmers, remove the clams from their shell. You can use a paring knife or even a grapefruit spoon to scrape them out of their shells and into a bowl. Discard the shells. When the sweet potatoes are perfectly done, add the clams to the chowder. Pour in the Half and Half, heat gently until the chowder is piping hot, and ladle it into individual serving bowls. Sprinkle bacon around the edge of the chowder and serve.

Recipe and image courtesy of Celebrity Chef Cat Cora.

10 Easy Breakfasts Kids Will Love

Breakfast banana split

Cold cereal again? If you are in a breakfast rut like we are, check out these 10 easy breakfast ideas courtesy of Target that your kids will eat up (literally!)

Omelette on the go

  • Omelette on the go. Fried, scrambled and boiled may be more traditional egg preparations, but did you know you can bake eggs? Whisk together your favorite omelette mixture (eggs, tomato and cheese is ours), pour into silicon muffin cups, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge.
  • Cream of wheat with rainbow sprinkles. Your kids will find a way to sneak sugar into their breakfast cereal. Why not let them have fun while they’re at it?
  • Breakfast burrito with turkey sausage.  A whole wheat wrap stuffed with scrambled eggs with turkey sausage, low-fat cheese and a little mild salsa is a crowd-pleasing breakfast that also happens to travel well.
  • Apples with brown sugar yogurt. Dip sliced apples into a mixture of Greek yogurt and brown sugar (about a tablespoon per cup of yogurt). Let’s call it breakfast fondue!
  • English muffin pizza: Pizza for breakfast? Yes, please! Top an English muffin with leftover spaghetti sauce and mozzarella (or any cheese, for that matter). Bake in the toaster oven until the cheese has melted.

Breakfast banana split

  • Breakfast banana split. Just like it sounds—swap Greek yogurt for ice cream and honey for chocolate syrup. Top with crunchy granola or fresh berries.
  • Griddled corn muffin. Corn bread is one of life’s simple pleasures. It should be served accordingly—toasted with butter and honey.
  • The Elvis (for beginners). Elvis loved his peanut butter-bacon-banana sandwiches and for a good reason—they’re delicious. For a healthier twist, cut back on the bacon, substitute almond butter and use whole wheat bread. Bonus points for grilling on a panini pan.
  • Eggy pita pocket. The self-contained breakfast sandwich: Stuff scrambled eggs and any additional toppings (grated cheese, bell pepper, diced tomato) into a toasted pita pocket.
  • Strawberry coconut Bircher muesli. Mix plain yogurt, rolled oats, coconut flakes and strawberries with any nuts or sweeteners (like maple syrup or honey) your kids like. Pour into small single-serving jars or plastic containers, and leave overnight in the fridge.
Want even more ideas? Check out the rest of them on Target’s blog here.
(Disclosure: Images and ideas courtesy of Target.)


Pumpkin Mousse {Recipe}

pumpkin mousse 02


  • 15 oz. Pumpkin Puree ( Libby’s)
  • 1 oz. sugar free, fat free vanilla
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 2 cups of heavy cream ( for whipped  cream)
  • 2 teaspoons confectionary sugar (for whipped cream)
  • 1 Cup crumbled ginger cookie
  • Chocolate chips (optional)


  • In a mixer, whip the heavy cream with the confectionary sugar. Start at a slow speed then increase speed to make the mix firmer. Do not mix for more than 5-6 minutes. Refrigerate the whip cream for about two hours.
  • In another mixer bowl add all the other ingredients and mix at medium speed for about five minutes.


  • Choose a medium high 12 oz. clear glass and pipe in the pumpkin mousse then add the crumbled ginger cookie, then pipe in the whip cream. At this point the glass should be half way full, use the same amount one more time and top with the cookie. Add chocolate chips for garnish if you’d like.

Recipe and image courtesy of Maria Zoitas, catering director at Westside Market NYC and creator of Maria’s Homemade, a line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Pumpkin Pie Dip {Recipe}

Pumpkin Pie Dip


  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 21/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of seasalt
  • Sliced fresh fruit and/or salted whole wheat pretzels


  • In a food processor, combine cream cheese and yogurt; blend until smooth. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients except fruit and pretzels; blend until well mixed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days. Serve dip with fresh fruit or pretzels.

Recipe and image courtesy of  HealthBarn USA‘s Founder, Stacey Antine, MS, RD.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp {Recipe}

Apple Crisp


  • 6 large tart apples (Pippin or Granny Smith)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter


  • 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4-inch slices. 
  • Put the apple slices into a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the top. 
  • Add the tapioca starch, cinnamon, five-spice, ginger and salt and toss together to evenly coat the apple slices. 
  • Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, dot the top with pieces of the butter and set aside. 
  • To make the topping, combine the flours, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, five-spice and ginger in a mixing bowl. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix in the butter until it is uniformly incorporated into the flour mixture. Stir in the oats and pecans.
  • Crumble the oat topping evenly over the apples. 
  • Bake until the topping is golden brown and set and the apples are warm and bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes.

Note: You can prepare everything ahead of time. Refrigerate the apple filling and keep the topping frozen until ready to assemble and bake. Don’t refrigerate the unbaked topping overnight since the millet flour will interact with the butter and taste and smell cheesy when it’s baked.

Recipe and image courtesy of: Kyra Bussanich, two-time winner of The Food Network’s hit show, “Cupcake Wars.” She graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu and opened her award-winning bakery, Kyra’s Bake Shop, which features gourmet, gluten-free sweets. She has branched beyond desserts to other gluten-free goods in order to help those with celiac and other autoimmune diseases enjoy quality treats.

Pineapple Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps {Recipe}

Pineapple Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Start to Finish: 15 Minutes


  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Fruitful™ pineapple yogurt (get a coupon here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion (2 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 6 leaves Bibb lettuce


  • 1. In medium bowl, mix yogurt, salt and pepper. Stir in all remaining ingredients except lettuce until combined.
  • 2. Divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce leaves (about 1/3 cup per leaf). Serve immediately.

Recipe and image are courtesy of Yoplait.

Peachy Pancakes {Recipe}

peach pancakes with text

This post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Start to Finish: 20 Minutes


  • 1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Fruitful™ peach yogurt (get a coupon here)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup real maple or maple-flavored syrup
  • 6 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • Whipped cream, if desired


  • Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 350ºF. Grease griddle if necessary. In large bowl, beat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with whisk. Stir in milk, yogurt and egg. To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.
  • For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until pancakes are puffed and dry around edges. Turn, and cook other sides until golden brown.
  • Serve topped with syrup, pecans and whipped cream.

6 servings (3 pancakes each)

Note: To toast pecans, sprinkle in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until pecans begin to brown, then stirring constantly until pecans are light brown.

Recipe and image courtesy of Yoplait.

Cherries and Berries Frozen Brownie Dessert {Recipe}

cherry chocolate dessert

This recipe post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Start to Finish: 6 Hours 15 Minutes


  • 1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix 
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box 
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips 
  • 1/3 cup hot fudge 
  • 4 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait® Fruitful™ cherries & red berries yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips 


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Make brownies as directed on box for 9-inch pan, except stir 1/2 cup chocolate chips into batter before spreading in pan. Cool 15 minutes on cooling rack. 
  • Spread hot fudge over brownies. Place in freezer 30 minutes. Spread yogurt evenly on top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Place in freezer about 4 hours or until firm. 
  • Just before serving, cut into 9 pieces. Store any remaining dessert tightly covered in freezer up to 1 week. 

Makes 9 servings.

Get a coupon for the Yoplait Fruitful yogurt here.

(Recipe and image provided by Yoplait.)

Oatmeal Is No Longer Only A Breakfast Food: Hearty Sweet Corn & Pancetta Oatmeal {Recipe}

hearty oatmeal

(Disclosure: I am happy to be partnering with Quaker again. I did receive compensation but thoughts are my own.)

Quaker has always been synonymous with breakfast in my mind but recently I learned they made delicious snacks and this week I even discovered someone making dinner recipes with Quaker oats. Samantha Stephens, founder of the world’s first oatmeal bar, Oatmeals, in New York City was just announced as Quaker’s new Creative Oatmeal Officer!

I found Sam’s story interesting. While in college, she was trying to eat healthier and save money and she discovered oatmeal was the way to go and started eating it for every meal. Since opening OatMeals in Greenwich Village in New York City in 2012, Stephens has sold more than 100,000 of her inventive hot oatmeal bowls – including her signature Pumpkin Pie and Indian Spiced & Savory Truffle RisOATto – along with other oatmeal-based products like oatmeal cookies and biscotti. That’s a lot of oatmeal! I can’t wait to try it out the next time I am in NYC.

Sam is teaming up with Quaker  to show foodies everywhere that the possibilities are endless when creating recipes with oatmeal, such as the first exclusive recipe created by OatMeals for Quaker – Hearty Sweet Corn, Tomato and Pancetta Oatmeal.


  • 1 cup Quaker steel cut oats
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh corn (approximately 3 ears) or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced (bacon, prosciutto, or ham can be substituted)
  • 2 small shallots, diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grated pecorino or asiago cheese


  • In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. 
  • Add pancetta, corn, and cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Remove this mixture from the pan and place in a bowl to the side. 
  • Into the same pan add the butter, shallots, and garlic and cook for two minutes at medium heat. Add Quaker steel cut oats and stir continuously for two to three minutes, until lightly toasted, golden, and fragrant. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. 
  • Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are al dente. 
  • Add the pancetta, corn, and tomato mixture to the cooked oats and stir to combine. 
  • Season with black pepper to taste and top with grated pecorino cheese. 

Makes four servings. See a video of the recipe being made on Quaker’s YouTube channel.

(Disclosure: As stated above, this is a compensated post.)

Big Island Teriyaki Burger With Grilled Pineapple {Recipe}


Happy National Cheeseburger Day! This recipe features lean ground sirloin and a distinctive Hawaiian twist with homemade teriyaki sauce with grilled pineapple, scallions, ginger, honey, and sesame oil—a combination that really makes this burger unforgettable.

Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 30 min
Yields 4 serv.



  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 Peeled and cored pineapple, cut into wedges
  • 4 Scallions
  • 2 cups Baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 1 pound 95% lean ground sirloin
  • 2 ounces Link lean sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 2 Slices Canadian-style bacon, halved
  • 4 Hawaiian sweet or whole wheat hamburger buns, halved and toasted
  • 2 tablespoons Crumbled blue Cheese


  • To make the grilled pineapple teriyaki, coat a grill pan with nonstick spray and place over medium-high
  • Heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill and get it very hot. Put the pineapple wedges on the hot grill and cook until the fruit is charred on all sides, turning with tongs, about 10 minutes total.
  • Remove the pineapple from the grill, chop into small pieces, and put into a mixing bowl.
  • Next, lay the scallions on the hot grill and char on both sides until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the scallions from the grill, chop, and add to the pineapple. Keep the grill hot; you’ll need it to cook the burgers.
  • To the pineapple mixture, add the spinach, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and sesame oil. Toss well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Set aside to let the flavors meld.
  • To make the burgers, in a large mixing bowl combine the beef and the turkey sausage. Add the onion powder, oregano, cloves, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Mix gently by hand to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
  • Gently form the meat mixture into four burgers. Spray the grill pan or grill with another coating of nonstick spray. Grill the burgers for 4 minutes per side for medium doneness. The burgers should turn easily without sticking. Remove the burgers to a clean side plate and hold warm.
  • Arrange the Canadian bacon slices on the grill and cook for 1 minute on each side, until they are scored with grill marks.
  • To assemble the burgers, lay the hamburger patty on the bottom bun and top with bacon and about . cup of the pineapple teriyaki. Finish with a sprinkle of blue cheese and top with the other half of the bun.

(Recipe and image courtesy of Recipe Rehab.)

Swamp Dip {Recipe}


It’s football season! Enjoy this delicious dip at your next party!


  • 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ½ cup drained and chopped roasted red bell peppers
  • 8 ounce container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 packet dry vegetable soup mix
  • Pepper to taste
  • Dash ground red pepper, optional


  • Thaw spinach completely, and squeeze dry in paper towels.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and add red peppers, sour cream, mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, vegetable soup mix, pepper, and ground red pepper, if using.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with tortilla, pita, or bagel chips.
(Recipe and image courtesy of eMeals.)

Menu Plan Monday {Week of 9/16}

menu plan monday

I haven’t menu planned in a while but I need to get back into the swing of things. If I don’t plan I have found that we eat fast food, something we eat for other meals (ie cereal, sandwiches, or waffles), or leftovers. Our current non-menu plan is just not working for me and I’m quite embarrassed to admit how often we currently eat one of the above items.

One thing I realized though is if I have activities in the evening I need something simple or something I can start during the day to have ready for the night. If Sinisa is not working that day I can put something more complicated on the menu for him to make. Here are the meals we will have this week:

Monday: Gyros

Tuesday: Shredded BBQ Chicken Sliders from Carrie Elle

Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Taquitos from Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour

Thursday: Spaghetti Casserole from World Traveling Military Family

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Out to eat as a family


Perfect Peanut Pasta with Chicken and Veggies {Recipe}


Serves 4


  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti, reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded and julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts, unsalted (optional)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (optional)


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt if using.
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and reserve ¼ cup cooking water. Briefly rinse pasta under warm running water. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl whisk peanut butter, reserved pasta cooking water, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes until smooth and creamy. Pour over warm pasta.
  • Toss the pasta with chicken, cucumber, red bell pepper.
  • Sprinkle each serving with scallions and 1 tsp. chopped peanuts.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Per serving: 523 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans), 41 g protein, 3 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 500 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrates, 72 mg cholesterol

(Recipe and image courtesy of the National Pasta Association.)

Caramel Popcorn {Recipe}


Make your own homemade caramel sauce to top popcorn! Yum!


  • 10 Cups popped popcorn
  • ¾ Cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¼ Cup light colored corn syrup
  • ¼ Cup Teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven at 300⁰F.
  • Put popcorn into a 12’’x 8’’x 1’’ roasting pan to keep popcorn warm while the caramel sauce is being made.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup – creating the caramel sauce.
  • Cook and stir at medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil; let it boil for five minutes.
  • Remove sauce pan from heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla.
  • Pour caramel sauce over popcorn and stir gently to coat them.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Recipe courtesy of Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Chicken Avocado Wraps {Recipe}


Need a quick meal idea? Try these yummy chicken avocado wraps.


  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • ½ cup cubed red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 4, 8-inch tortillas
  • 4 red leaf or Boston lettuce leaves


  • Combine chicken, tomato, cilantro and hot sauce in a medium bowl and toss well.
  • Add avocado and toss again.
  • Divide chicken mixture among tortillas and top with lettuce leaves.
  • Roll up and cut in half.

Recipe and image courtesy of Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Steak, Bean & Pasta Soup {Recipe}


(Disclosure: I am taking part in the Beano “Be Natural” Virtual Cook-off. I was compensated for posting and received free products but thoughts are my own.)

Looking for the perfect Fall soup? Try this delicious steak and bean pasta soup for a hearty meal.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 whole red sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 pound of mushrooms
  • 16 ounce can of beef stock
  • 1 pound of flank steak
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1/2 pound of uncooked pasta
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • water (as needed)


  • In a large pot, saute garlic, onion and red pepper in olive oil
  • Grill or broil steak until it’s cooked to medium rare (about 5 minutes)
  • Once steak is cooked, add steak to garlic, onion, pepper mixture
  • Stir in mushrooms, corn and beans
  • Stir in seasonings
  • Add beef stock and red wine and bring to a boil
  • Add uncooked pasta, 3 cups of water (you can add less if you want it thicker or more if you want it soupier), and tomato paste then turn down heat and simmer until pasta is fully cooked
  • Spoon into bowls and serve with bread if you’d like to.

It’s well known that beans make you “toot”. There is even a silly song to go along with that saying that many kids sing but did you know that many other foods cause gas, too? When I was given a list of gas inducing foods I was shocked. Pasta and sweet peppers (two foods I love) were both on that list! The recipe above has beans, pasta and some vegetables that are known to cause gas but if you’ve taken Beano before eating it you don’t have to worry about having gas, bloating or discomfort. Beano contains a natural food enzyme that breaks down the complex carbohydrates found in many foods, making them easier to digest so they don’t cause gas.

The recipe above was created as my entry into the Beano “Be Natural” Virtual Cook-off. This fun cook-off between a group of bloggers has a fun prize. At the end of the cook-off one lucky blogger and a guest will get to attend classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received compensation for this post.)


10 Peach Recipes

peach recipes

Fresh fruit is one of my favorite things about Summer. Sadly, when I go to the grocery store for fruit I don’t find fruit that lasts very long. When I read an email asking me if I wanted to review fresh peaches from The Fruit Company I started thinking of all the delicious desserts I could make and searched Pinterest for ideas.

Here are some delicious peach recipes I found:

Once I received the box of peaches from The Fruit company I opened it and found six HUGE peaches. Each peach was more than double the size of what I find in my local grocery store. I read more about the peaches and learned that each peach is hand-picked from an orchard located in Hood River, Oregon. Each order comes in a pretty watercolor gift box.

 The peaches were really juicy and very sweet. We decided to make the peach crisp linked up above with three of the peaches. I chose it because it was easy, fairly quick to make, and I had all of the ingredients on hand. It was delicious but I definitely would recommend peeling the peaches first.

The Fruit Company will have peaches for sale on their website until the 3rd or 4th week of September so you can enjoy peach recipes for the next month or so. You can find the Oregon peaches here. They make great gifts for family and friends, too!

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received a box of peaches from The Fruit Company. All thoughts are my own.)

Healthier Banana Crepes {Recipe}

Pritikin Banana Crepe


  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour-Whole
  • 3 each Large Raw Egg White-Each
  • ½ cup Skim Milk
  • 3 oz-wt Apple Juice-Frozen Concentrate
  • 3 each Banana , peeled & sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon-ground
  • ¼ teaspoon Cloves-Ground
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon splenda
  • Pam non-stick spray


For the Banana filling

  • In a large hot skillet place banana.
  • When the banana starts to brown add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook until the liquid is gone and the bananas are golden brown.
  • Roll the banana filling inside crepe and serve warm.

For the Crepe

  • In a blender mix flour, egg white, milk & 2 tablespoons of apple juice concentrate until smooth.
  • Let batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
  • In a small omelet pan spray with Pam.
  • Ladle a small amount of batter to make a thin crepe.
  • When crepe starts to bubble slightly on the inside turn over.
  • Cook for 10 more seconds and lay out on a baking sheet.
  • Serve hot

(Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center.)

9 Ways To Make Over Mac & Cheese Cups

mac and cheese cups

I loved Mac & Cheese cups in college and when I lived on my own. Even now they make a quick dinner for the boys when we get home late or have somewhere to be and I realize I need to get dinner ready asap. Target shared this great post with me about 9 ways to make over mac & cheese cups. Seriously, where were these ideas ten years ago?!

Find all of the mac & cheese add in ideas on the Target blog.

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches {Recipe}

barbeque chicken sandwich

This family favorite recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, which are full of flavor and moisture. When combined with homemade barbecue sauce, the tender shredded chicken takes on a sweet smokiness that’s far better than anything you could find in a bottle at the grocery store.


Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 60 min
Yields 6 serv.



  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 pounds pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato puree
  • 1 cup no-salt-added ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 (1 ounce) slider burger buns



  • To make the chicken, preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts side by side in the prepared baking pan and drizzle the olive oil all over the top; season with pepper. Bake the chicken until barely pink in the center, about 40 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, put a pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic.
  • Cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until fully incorporated. Stir in the vinegar, loosening up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the tomato puree, ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar blend, paprika, mustard, chili powder, and water. Bring the barbecue sauce to a simmer, stirring, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Allow the cooked chicken to cool slightly, then peel off and discard the skin. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and discard the bone.
  • Add the shredded chicken to the sauce and stir to incorporate. Simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chicken has soaked up the sauce and is heated through. Divide the chicken among the buns and serve.

Recipe and image courtesy of Recipe Rehab.

Southern-Style Drumsticks {Recipe}

50-Southern Drumsticks

This “fried” chicken has been rehabbed by coating the chicken in flour and spices before baking it in the oven. The secret to creating the perfect skin is to place the coated legs in the refrigerator so that they dry out a little before baking—the skin crisps up in the oven once the moisture has evaporated from its surface. This recipe is perfect for a family friendly dinner.



Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 60 min
Yields 4 serv.



  • 1 cup cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Hot sauce, for serving


  • To make the chicken, in a large resealable plastic bag add the flour, baking powder, garlic and onion powders, paprika, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it to mix the dry ingredients well.
  • Add the drumsticks to the bag, seal again, and toss for about 1 minute to coat.
  • Set a wire rack insert inside a roasting pan. Remove the drumsticks from the bag, shaking off any excess flour. Arrange them on the baking rack and put them in the fridge for at least 45 minutes, uncovered, to dry out. (You can do this the night before.)
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil evenly over the top of the chicken legs and place them, still on the rack, in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and drizzle the remaining 1. teaspoons of oil evenly all over them. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until deep golden brown and crispy.


Calories 335
Saturated Fat 4g
Sodium 510mg
Dietary Fiber 1g
Total Fat 16g
Cholesterol 118mg
Protein 30g
Calories 335

(Image and recipe courtesy of

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie {Recipe}

chocolate pecan bourbon pie pin

Pie image courtesy of Delightful Pastries

Did you know that August has two pecan “holidays”? Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and today is National Pecan Torte Day. I had to share this delicious pie recipe from Delightful Pastries,  a family-owned and operated Chicago bakery.

Delightful Pastries’ Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

By: Executive Pastry Chef & Owner, Dobra Bielinski


  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces pecan halves
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 9-inch pie shell


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar till smooth. Add the corn syrup and molasses, then the flour and mix well.
  • Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down after each egg; add the vanilla extract and salt. Fold the pecans and chocolate by hand, add the bourbon.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, till the top is dry and the filling is barely jiggling. Let cool. 8 servings.


If you live in the Chicago area, Delightful Pastries is celebrating the “holiday” at all three of its locations (Chicago French Market, N. Wells St., and Jefferson Park) by offering their delicious Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie ($5.25/mini pie; $25/8-inch pie) by executive pastry chef and owner Dobra Bielinski. Delightful Pastry also has the Chocolate Pecan Pie available without Bourbon.

Unfried Chicken with Spicy Slaw {Recipe}

unfried chicken

Who doesn’t love chicken? While chicken alone adds nutrition to any meal, ingredients such as breadcrumbs and unhealthy cooking techniques such as deep-frying add unwanted fat and calories to your meal! Check out this chicken recipe from that is sure to keep your meal healthy and wow the whole family’s taste buds: Unfried Chicken with Spicy Slaw, a yummy dish that features skinless chicken breasts coated in healthy egg whites, rolled in cornmeal, and pan-seared on the stovetop.

Cook Time 15 min
Prep Time 30 min
Yields 6 serv.



  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cornmeal, such as Bob’s Red Mill whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s/Best Foods
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard, such as Zatarain’s
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels, either fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1.       To prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Coat a large baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2.       Prepare a breading station: First, put the flour on a large plate. Pour the egg whites into a wide, shallow bowl and whisk until foamy. On a separate plate, combine the cornmeal, parsley, lemon zest, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork.

3.       Put the chicken in between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan, pound the chicken until 1-inch thick.

4.       Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess; dip in the egg white; then dredge in the cornmeal mixture to coat both sides. Set the breaded chicken on a side platter.

5.       Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add two pieces of the chicken; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set on the prepared baking pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. (Chef Tip: Deep-frying meat adds a tremendous amount of calories and fat. Most often, the taste and texture can be replicated by pan-frying and finishing the meat in the oven. A cast-iron skillet is a great tool for this technique, because cast iron distributes heat evenly and can go from stovetop to oven–and even to table–effortlessly.)

6.       To prepare the slaw, in a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, hot sauce, and mustard. Stir to blend the ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, combine the green and red cabbage, carrot, corn, and onion. Pour the mayonnaise dressing over the slaw and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

7.       To serve, slice the chicken and divide among six plates. Serve with the slaw on the side.


Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce {Recipe}

Baked Fish Sticks

Serves 4 to 6. Makes 1 cup of dipping sauce.

Both kids and grown-ups like crispy fish sticks, and this recipe is just about as fast as heating frozen fish sticks. 

Ingredients for Fish Sticks

  • 2 teaspoons of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea Kalamata D.O.P Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cups corn flakes, preferably organic, plus more if needed
  • 1/ 2 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/ 2 cup all-purpose fl our
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cod or snapper fillets, cut into 2-by-4-inch strips

Ingredients for Dipping Sauce

  • 3/ 4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/ 4 cup honey
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

 Directions for Fish Sticks

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Using your fingers, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking sheet with Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea Kalamata D.O.P Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  •  To crush the corn flakes, pour them into a large re-sealable plastic bag. Press down on the bag to push out most of the air, seal, and crush with a rolling pin. Stop rolling when the flakes still have some texture and pour them into a wide bowl or onto a plate.
  •  In a shallow bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the mustard and garlic powder. Pour the flour into a separate shallow dish or onto a plate and add the salt and pepper. Rinse each piece of fish, pat it dry, and dredge it in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour and dip the fish into the buttermilk mix, then dredge it in the crushed corn flakes.
  •  Place the fish strips on the baking sheet about ½ inch apart.  Bake until cooked through and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Directions for Dipping Sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, and lime juice. Serve the fish, either with the sauce in one bowl or in individual ramekins, one for each 
Recipe and image courtesy of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea. Her range can be purchased at and select retail stores.