November 28, 2018

Zuppa Toscana (Instant Pot Recipe)


On Friday, I'll be 30 weeks pregnant!  There is 14 years' difference between my little sous chef and our little... oh!  I just realized that I never announced the baby's gender!  We're having a...


That's right; we're having a baby boy!  We are so thrilled!  Anyway, as I was saying, there will be a difference of 14 years between my children, so you can imagine how we're having to start all over again with baby stuff.  I've been finding some great deals and have been blessed with so many things from friends and family for the little man.  So, hopefully that will explain my absence from posting recipes.  Between morning sickness, life in general, and nesting, I've been pretty busy!  

We also have another addition to our family... an Instant Pot!  I've been hearing so many great things about them, so I snatched one up at a great deal on Amazon on Black Friday.  I. am. in. love.  My first meal in it was a pot roast, and it turned out fantastic!  Also, I'm super excited to make baby food in it when the time comes, too!  

I made this Zuppa Toscana last night for dinner in the Instant Pot, and my family loved it!  I adapted the recipe from  Pinterest... which, by the the way, has a whole slew of wonderful Instant Pot recipes just begging to be tried!  If you're on the fence about whether or not to get an Instant Pot, I would say to take the jump and get one!  



Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil 
  • 1 c onion, diced 
  • 1 lb ground sausage 
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced 
  • 6 c chicken broth 
  • 3 large Russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices 
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil 
  • 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste 
  • 2 c fresh spinach (or kale), roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c heavy cream 
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish 

Directions:

Press the saute function on your Instant Pot.  Once hot, swirl around the oil.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Drain the sausage.  Deglaze the pot with the chicken broth, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom.  Add the sausage back to the pot and add the potatoes.  Season with the parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. 

Put on the lid and lock it.  Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.  Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, followed by quick pressure release.  

Stir in the spinach and cream.  Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.  

Enjoy!  

September 20, 2018

Baked Cheesy Pesto Chicken


In a few days, I'm going to hit the halfway point of my pregnancy, and I have been having some serious cravings!  Mostly good things like apples and grapes... some not-so-good things like chocolate milkshakes and fries.  Another weakness of mine recently has been pesto.  I could seriously slather that stuff on anything!  I decided to make a baked pesto chicken for dinner tonight and add some cheese and tomato freshly picked from my garden.  Oh, my goodness, was this fantastic!  If you're a pesto lover, this is a must make!  


August 20, 2018

Zucchini Crisp - Tastes Just Like Apples!


'Tis the season for zucchini!  As much as I love a good zucchini cake, after a while, I get tired of the same old zucchini desserts.  Enter Zucchini Crisp.  Shh!  Don't tell anyone, and I promise they'll never know that this crisp has zucchini in it.  It tastes just like apples and the consistency is just like apples, too!  Really?  Really!  My daughter, who HATES zucchini, gobbled it up and absolutely loved it.  Once I told her what was really in it, she had a complete look of disbelief on her face and said, "How did you get apple flavor inside the zucchini?"  She even continued to finish and have seconds after the secret was revealed to her.  Give it a try... you will not be disappointed!  

Notes:  If you use a very large zucchini from your garden, make sure to remove the seeds from it after you cut it lengthwise.  Small zucchini don't need to be seeded.


July 16, 2018

A Life Update...

If you happen to be wondering why you haven't heard from me for a while, it's for an important reason.  There have been some major changes in my family that have affected every facet of my life.  These changes have affected my marriage, my little sous chef, my church ministries, my family, my health, my job, it will affect my homeschooling, and it has even affect my gardening and other hobbies, too.  I recently found out that we're pregnant!  We are over the moon and cannot wait to meet our Valentine's Baby!  

It's been tough to hold down food the last several weeks, let alone cook, which is why I haven't been posting much.  Another recent, minor change is that I decided to stop the Keto diet, especially since crackers and cereal seem to be the only things that help with the nausea!  But I'm not complaining... looking on the bright side, it's only temporary, and it will all be worth it in the end!     

Anyway, I just wanted to jump on here and share the exciting life update with you guys!




May 30, 2018

Keto Cheddar & Broccoli Soup


We are officially through our home school year!  My, that went by quickly!  Now that it's summer break and I have a little extra time on my hands, I hope to post recipes more frequently than I have been.  

It's been four months since I started on the Keto diet.  I originally intended to use it as a tool to lose the extra weight that I put on over the winter months.  After losing the extra pounds, I decided that I'm actually going to stick with it.  It's hard to put into words exactly how, but I overall feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically while on this diet.  I feel like I have more clarity of mind, which is super important while home schooling... and working and adulting in general.  Don't get me wrong, though; I still have mom brain from time to time!  

This Keto Broccoli & Cheddar Soup came out fan-flippin'-tastic!  It's rich, creamy, and so delicious that it feels like I'm cheating on my diet while eating it!  This was my first time using xanthan gum as a thickening agent, and it worked like a charm!  


March 22, 2018

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fat Bombs (Keto)


Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a little gem that gets me through those times when I'm craving something sweet and naughty.  Ever heard of a fat bomb?  I hadn't until I started my Keto diet journey.  They sound kind of gross, don't they?  Actually, fat bombs are so high in fat and low in protein that they help your body burn more fat for fuel and stay in ketosis.  And when I say "fat," I'm talking about healthy fats.  Here's the homeschooling mom coming out... we need these healthy fats to help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K.  Thanks, Apologia science!  Anyway, back to the recipe.  These chocolate and peanut butter fat bombs are amazing!  1 gram of carbs never tasted so good!    

Notes:  The mixture will sweeten as it sets.  Carb count will vary depending on the size of your silicone molds.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


March 14, 2018

Cheddar Cheese Taco Shells (Keto)


A few weeks ago, we had some wonderful teases of spring weather.  I was super excited to take my dog for a long walk and drink in the sun.  I got out some shorts and -- gasp!  Uncomfortably snug.  It was obvious that I packed on some winter bulk over the long, cold months while hibernating in my home.  I had been avoiding the scale... avoiding exercise... but not avoiding 1/2 price donuts.  Oh, glorious donuts, how I sought after thee.  *End sob story*

I decided to drastically cut carbs and sugar from my diet to kick-start some weight loss, and it's really been working quite well!  The first several days were very difficult, but now it's pretty much been smooth sailing!  I've been experimenting with all kinds of low-carb recipes, and I stumbled across this idea from Pinterest.  I honestly was debating on whether or not to post this because it's not technically a "recipe", but it's too good not to share!  It's also very easy.

Storage:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


January 22, 2018

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks


The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!!  That was a fantastic game!  There were so many moments last night, where my husband and I would look at each other in disbelief of what we were witnessing.   

What made the game even sweeter were these sushi stacks!  Don't let the picture fool you; these babies are a lot bigger than your average piece of sushi.  The ingredients are layered in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Perfectly seasoned sushi rice is topped with a cool, creamy, crunchy, avocado and cucumber layer, and then it's topped off with delectable, spicy, creamy, shrimp.  Delicious!  They are also very versatile.  You can swap out the shrimp with raw salmon, tuna, or cooked chicken.  My gears were turning as I was making these, and I've decided to make a buffalo chicken version for the Super Bowl, replacing the avocado mixture with a blue cheese and celery mixture and replacing the spicy shrimp with buffalo chicken!  

Note:  For an extra kick of heat, up the Sriracha to 1 tbsp.  


November 28, 2017

Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese


The Christmas tree is up, our coal stove is roaring, and my Pandora Christmas jazz station is softly serenading us.  This is the time of year when I most relate to the hibernating bear... not the sleeping part; the part where he doesn't leave his den.  No, I'm not depressed... it's just that after we deck our halls, our den is at its coziest, and I hate to have to venture into the cold, dark-too-early places on the other side of my walls.  A simple reality check reveals that our schedule has us out every night of the week.  A girl can dream, can't she? 

This time of year, I also find myself using my oven a lot more than usual.  We had this Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese last night, and it really is amazing.  I mean, can you really go wrong with these ingredients?!  I couldn't wait until lunch today to have it leftover, and it was just as good!  Give it a try; you won't be disappointed!

A crisp salad, garlic bread, and steamed vegetables are perfect complements to this dish!


October 16, 2017

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars


It's finally feeling like a crisp, fall day; let the baking season commence!  These salted caramel apple pie bars are to. die. for.  Imagine with me.  Buttery, shortbread crust topped with a sweet layer of apples, cinnamon streusel, and a delectable salted caramel drizzled on top.  Perfection.

Note:  Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you.  Most of them are repeated.  There really are only 10 total ingredients (including the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).


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