Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze

Yet another great pumpkin dessert found on Pinterest (from the blog sweetpeaskitchen).
 I made some alterations (suprised, anyone?) to mine but I wish I hadn't this time. I used splenda instead of sugar and the scones weren't very sweet. They tasted more like a shortbread. I only used one of the icing glazes instead of both, and I wish I had used both. Take a look at the ingredients...

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze 


2 c all-purpose flour 
1/4 c plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1 Tbsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
1/4 tsp ground ginger 
6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes 
1/2 c canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) 
3 Tbsp half-and-half 
1 large egg

Glaze #1: Powdered Sugar Glaze
 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Glaze #2: Spiced Glaze 
1 c plus 3 Tbsp powdered sugar 
2 Tbsp milk 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 
1 pinch ground ginger 
1 pinch ground cloves
  1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.

2) In large bowl (or stand mixer using paddle attachment) stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. 

3) Add the butter & toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half & egg. 

5) Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, & form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface & form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches. 

6) Use a large knife to slice the dough making three equal portions. Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (corner to corner, making four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. 

7) Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

8) Start the powdered sugar glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a pastry brush to spread plain glaze over the top of each scone. Allow to firm.

9) While the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

YUM! I took these to work and people loved them. They sell a similar version at Starbucks but why pay for one when you can pay about the same for a whole batch to enjoy for a week and to also share with your friends!

*Click HERE to print this recipe from sweetpeaskitchen.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars-best ever!

This is only the best pumpkin recipe I've yet to make. Hands.down! I made D take some to work, and I took some as well, for the sole purpose of getting them out of the house so that I didn't finish them all off myself! They were THAT good. This recipe was adapted from www.bakeat350.blogspot.com

I was very iffy about mixing pumpkin (which I love) and chocolate (which I also love) together in one dessert, but I heard it was good. Plus, brownie-type desserts are my favorite, so I gave it a shot. I also had to make a few changes to the original recipe list (see footnotes) and it still turned out delicious, and a bit healthier, too!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
This was before they went into the oven

2 c all purpose flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1 c unsalted butter @ room temperature
1 & 1/4 c sugar
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 c pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
12 oz chocolate chips (11.5 oz bag)
* To simplify, I used 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice instead of what the recipe called for: 1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cloves

*To cut the sugar, I used 1/2 c Splenda, 3/4 c sugar

*I only had 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp butter, so I added 1/4 c canola oil + 1/4 c unsw. applesauce to round it off 
to 2 cups

1) Preheat oven to 350 & line the bottom and sides of 13x9" pan with foil (you want the foil to come up over the sides so that you can easily remove it from the pan later)
2) Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
3) Cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high. 
4) Add the egg & vanilla to the creamed butter/sugar and beat until incorporated. 
5) Do the same for the canned pumpkin/pumpkin puree (may look lumpy-don't worry!)
6) Add the dry ingredients (1/3 at a time) on low speed until just combined. 
7) Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
8) Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread with rubber spatula until smooth. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Cool completely in the pan, then cut into bars!
Fresh out of the oven. I wish I would've taken a picture of the inside! So good!

I wasn't sure how these would turn out  with all of the substitutions (intentional and unintentional) that I made, but they were absolutely amazing!!

*Click HERE to view/print the original recipe from bakeat350


Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Just as I promised in the last post, I give you Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. Sounds too good to be healthy, right? Think again. You will feel like you're having dessert for breakfast. Check out the ingredients-modified from www.goodlifeeats.com.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
 picture from goodlifeeats.com. Isn't it fancy?

Ingredients (my simplified version)
1 packet cinnamon spice oatmeal (mine was lower sugar)
1/4 cup low-fat milk (could technically use water, like oatmeal is usually made)
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin/pumpkin puree
*2 Tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
*Chopped pecans/walnuts (optional)

Ingredients (original recipe)
1 cup old fashioned oats, not quick cook
1 Tbs whole flax seeds, optional
2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter, softened
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk

1) Mix oatmeal and milk/water together in a ramekin/small microwave-safe bowl
2)  add vanilla, butter, pumpkin & flax (if using) and mix well
3) Place in microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. 
Stir well, top with pecans, if desired.

*Click HERE to print the original recipe.

You will seriously love this one. Perfect to try on a Saturday morning--it's way quicker than pumpkin pie!


Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

I whipped these up in no time, and they were the perfect snack! They are actually healthy, too! This recipe was modified from SkinnyTaste.com. Check it out!

Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Cookies
Picture from www.skinnytaste.com (once again I forgot to snap a pic of mine!)

I took these cookies on a trip and they were a hit! Great aroma, too!

1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 large egg
6 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350°
2) spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper or a silpat.
3) In a medium bowl, combineflour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice and cinnamon
4) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed with electric or stand mixer   
5) Add the egg, then pumpkin, and vanilla extract
6) Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and no streaks of flour remain (if adding pecans, stir in here)
7) Drop dough by tablespoon-full onto prepared baking sheets. 
*Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
Cool completely on wire rack.

Gina (at skinnytaste.com) has already done all of the math for you. Thank you, Gina!
Here's what she came up with (and this is with pecans):
Makes 32 cookies, 1 tbsp each.  
Servings: 16 • Serving Size: 2 cookies • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 165.2 • Fat: 6.3 g • Protein: 3.3 g • Carb: 26.3 g • Fiber: 1.6 g • Sugar: 13 g
Sodium: 149.4 mg 

*Click HERE to print this recipe

Just think, if you omitted the pecans like I did (only because I don't like nuts in my baked goods) you saved some calories there. But who's counting anyway? :) I even ate a couple of these for breakfast one day. It was like pumpkin oatmeal to-go! Speaking of pumpkin oatmeal, I've got a good recipe for that coming up soon!

Until the next pumpkin dessert!


Taco Tuesday- Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

I love a good taco soup. And this recipe was just that! It comes from the blog Smashed Peas and Carrots.

This is so, so simple to make and the flavor is outstanding!

Chicken Taco Soup
  • 2-4 chicken breast (no need to thaw!)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chili beans or light red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (rotel)
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12oz bottle of beer (or chicken broth)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
1) Drain/rinse corn, black beans & kidney beans
2) Place all  ingredients into the crockpot and mix well. I left the chicken breasts on bottom after mixing ingredients together.
Set on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4. Take 2 forks & shred the chicken (I did this while still in the crocck pot, but you can take out and shred, then place back in).
Top with cheese & sour cream, serve with cornbread, tortilla chips or eat by itself. It's delish!

Thank you, Smashed Peas & Carrots!
*Click HERE to print this recipe.


3 Musketeers Candy Bars

So I made the mistake of showing my husband these recipes for candy bars on Pinterest one day. They have one for Butterfingers, one for Twix, one for Reese's cups, Snickers, York Peppermint Patties, and 3 Musketeers. At least those are the ones I've pinned so far. After seeing this, he immediately asked if we could make the 3 Musketeers (probably because the ingredients list consisted of a total of 3 items). I told him that I had bought bite sized Twix & Milky Way bars for work, so he was satisfied with that at the time. And then one night I noticed him trying to whip up something in the kitchen after dinner. It was the 3 Musketeers bars.

This recipe comes from Monster Mama's blog.

(picture from www.monstermama-monstermama.blogspot.com)

Unfortunately, my husband's version didn't look as neat as this, and I forgot to take a picture. We've yet to discover the neat way of dipping things in chocolate. We will have to work on that!

3 Musketeers
  • 2 c semi sweet choc chips 
  • 1 (8oz) tub of Cool Whip 
  • 2 c choc  candy coating wafer melts (most stores sell them in baking department)
*We used chocolate almond bark vs. the wafer melts. Also, I felt that the inside of the candies were too chocolate-y (what!? I know..), so next time we'll use less chocolate chips.
(picture also from Monster Mama)

 1) Line an 8x8" square pan with wax paper. 
2) In a medium bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power for ~30 seconds. Stir  microwave  for 30 more seconds on 50% power. 
3) Beat melted chocolate for 30 seconds on high with an electric mixer. Add the Cool Whip to melted chocolate & beat just until combined and fluffy (~30-60 seconds).
4) Spread evenly into 8x8" pan & place in freezer for about 30 minutes. 
5) Remove from freezer, remove candy from pan & cut into squares. Return back to freezer.
6) Melt candy wafers/almond bark in microwave following package directions. 
7) Take the frozen squares of cool whip/chocolate & dip into melted chocolate, then place on baking tray lined with wax paper. 
8) Place in refrigerator/freezer until chocolate sets/hardens. 
*Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

You can't beat 3 ingredients! This can be dangerous, however, to have home made candy bars that whip up so quickly! Maybe we'll try out the other candy bars sometime and share with you!

*Click HERE to print this recipe.


English Muffins

I know it may sound crazy that I made English muffins from scratch, but I eat these things just about every morning and they were not hard to make at all! They do require yeast/time to proof, but it's mostly just time between proofing that you don't have to spend in the kitchen. I made these on a Sunday and it was no big deal. I did have to "wait" a while and be home so that I could go back to the kitchen every few hours, but I it worked out perfect because I could do laundry/watch TV/go walking, etc while they were rising.

This recipe came from the blog Budget Bytes.They even broke down the cost of ingredients. You can't beat $0.68/recipe, $0.08/muffin!

English Muffins
Ingredients list/cost breakdown-straight from the website!
1 tsp active dry yeast $0.11
1 Tbsp sugar $0.05
1/2 cup milk $0.18
2 Tbsp butter $0.05
3 cups flour, divided $0.18
3/4 tsp salt $0.05
1/4 cup cornmeal $0.05
as needed non-stick spray $0.05

Directions (copied from Budget Bytes' blog)
STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let sit about 5 minutes or until foamy on top.

STEP 2: While the yeast/sugar mixture is resting, combine 1.5 cups of the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt. In a second small bowl, combine the milk and butter. Microwave the milk/butter for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir the butter until it melts into the warm milk.

STEP 3: Pour the yeast mixture and the milk mixture into the flour. Stir until it has combined into a pasty mix. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in more flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. I added about 3/4 cup to get it to this point.

STEP 4: Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean countertop and coat your hands in flour. Dump the soft ball of dough out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the countertop while kneading. Adding too much flour will yield tough muffins. I found that a very slight sprinkle was all that was needed to keep it from sticking (see photos below for an example).

STEP 5: Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated in non-stick spray. Lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in size (about 45 min - 1 hr).

STEP 6: Punch the dough down, shape it into another ball, cover the bowl/dough and let rise a second time (45 min - 1 hr or until double).

STEP 7: Punch down the dough again and turn it out onto a well floured countertop. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it is about 3/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, opened (and cleaned) can, or a large round glass, cut the dough into circles. When you can't cut out any more circles, gently ball the remaining dough, roll again and cut more. It gets more difficult to ball and roll out each time so fit as many circles in the dough as possible before balling it up again.

STEP 8: Place the cut dough circles onto a sheet pan that has been liberally covered in cornmeal. Sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover loosely with a damp towel and let rise, once more, until double in size (another 45 minutes).

STEP 9: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins to the hot skillet with a spatula. Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side. Make sure to keep the heat low so that the outside browns slowly, allowing time for the inside to "bake." I cooked mine for about 7 minutes on each side but this will vary from stove top to stove top.

STEP 10: Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to slice open. Toast the split muffins in a toaster, slather with butter and jam then ooze with happiness!

 You just can't beat the taste of home-made bread of any kind! Will I be making these on a regular basis? No, but I will surely make these again! Thanks, budget bytes, for this recipe for a home-made favorite of mine, and also for the cost analysis!

 *Click HERE to print this recipe.


Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Donuts. PUMPKIN donuts. BAKED pumpkin donuts. The most delicious pumpkin-y thing I've whipped up yet! I can't take any of the credit, though. This recipe came from The Blue Eyed Bakers. Yes, they are baked vs. fried, BUT they are dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon & sugar. So not your healthiest option, but you can definitely skip the final touches and enjoy the plain baked donut. I'm sure it would be good, just not as good as these. Ok, I'll get down to the recipe now.

But first, go ahead and make a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond (or wherever in your town that you can find one of these pans) to purchase a donut baking pan. I know, how often will you actually use this thing? A lot since you can just as well whip up a muffin recipe and cook it in the donut pan instead of your muffin tins :). And it cost a whopping $6.99.

Baked Pumpkin Spiced Donuts

For Donuts:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

For Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
2) Butter a mini donut pan & set aside.
3) Mix flour, baking powder, salt & spices together in a medium bowl & set aside.
4) In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin & milk until combined. 
5) Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture & stir just until combined. Do not to over mix.
6) With a spoon, fill each donut cup with the batter. The donut cups should be fairly full, but not overflowing. 

Bake for 8-9 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed (if you're using a larger donut pan, allow them to bake for 12-15 minutes).  Place baked donuts onto a wire rack & allow to cool.
While the donuts are cooling, melt butter in one bowl & combine the sugar and cinnamon in another.  When donuts are still hot (but not too hot to touch), quickly dip each donut in melted butter, then coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Serve immediately.

There are no more words. You just have to go make them. You will thank me (& the Blue Eyed Bakers)!

*Click HERE to print this recipe.


Spicy Honey Chicken

I tried this chicken recipe on a SUPER hot day this summer, and this was the perfect accompaniment. It was fairly simple, too, thanks to www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com!

Spicy Honey Chicken
spicy goodness!

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2lbs (I used breasts)
2 tsp canola oil

2 tsp granulated garlic (I used garlic powder)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (found in the spice aisle, look close)

1/2 cup Honey
1T Cider Vinegar

1) Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.
2) Use kitchen shears to trim off any excess fat from the chicken pieces. Pat dry. 
3) Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces. Then toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there! 
4) Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
5) While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it's not so thick. 
6) Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2T honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.

I used a stove-top grill and these turned out perfect. The website suggested making a spicy honey chicken salad with a citrus vinaigrette. 

*Click HERE to print this recipe/visit the website for the salad recipe.


Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Muffins

Baon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Muffins. What a mouth-full! I am going out of town for the week (probably should be packing instead of blogging right now!) and decided to make these for the week so that my husband doesn't starve. Awww, what a sweet wife I am! They are the perfect breakfast to grab & go, or you could eat them as a snack. These were so simple to whip up and they taste amazing!
Thanks to Pinterest (recipe from cookingwithmykids.com) for this great recipe!

mmmmm :)

All you do is fry up some bacon (any kind)

Cut out biscuits (10-12). I used Bisquick to make my dough, and ended up with ~15, so I had leftover dough for plain biscuits.

Place biscuits in a pre-greased muffin tins, making sure to press down and up the sides.

Divide the cheese among the muffin tins.

Whip up eggs + spices and pour over top. Top them off with crumbled bacon!


  • 4-5 slices of bacon, fried & crumbled/chopped (I used turkey bacon)
  • 10-12 biscuits (can buy pre-made or make from Heart Healthy Bisquick like I did)
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( I used spicy habanero cheddar)
  • 3 eggs (or 3/4 cup egg beaters)
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • pepper to taste (or any other seasoning you'd like)

1) fry up bacon & chop/crumble
2) roll out biscuit dough and use cup/biscuit cutter to make 10-12 circles (slightly larger than muffin tins)
3) place biscuits in pre-greased muffin tins pressing against bottoms & sides 
4) sprinkle cheddar cheese, dividing among muffin tins
5) beat eggs + milk + spices and pour among muffin tins (it won't seem like much in each tin)
6) top with bacon bits

*Cook on 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

It won't seem like you are adding much to each muffin tin. In fact, they should each only be about 1/2 full. You will feel like you are barely putting any cheese/egg mixture in each tin, but remember, the biscuit dough on the bottom will rise!

*Click HERE to print this recipe from cookingwithmykids.com



Razorback Mac & Cheese!

Yesterday we stayed home at watched the Hogs play Alabama (in Tuscaloosa). Other than the outcome of the game, we enjoyed a lazy Saturday at home on the couch. It.was.nice!!! We enjoyed some wings & some special mac & cheese. RAZORBACK mac & cheese. 
I came across Razorback-shaped pasta at one of my favorite shops in Benton-Smith-Caldwell Drugstore (and yes I left the price sticker on and it cost ~$7...well worth it!). This store has the most awesome selection of gifts, from bridal registry-type items, to kitchen, to baby, to clothes. I seriously spent over an hour looking around the first time I visited!

 it's dyed to match the school colors

 and they are tiny, but in the shape of Razorbacks!

 Razorback pasta-cooked

This pasta came packaged with a packet of seasonings to mix with oil & vinegar, but I decided Velveeta mac & cheese with Rotel sounded much better at the time. Also listed were several other pasta recipes to take to the tailgate. I will be buying this again and hope to make it to the tailgate with it this year!

Crock Pot Bean Recipes

I've come across TONS of crock pot recipes on several blogs and I'm just getting my feet wet trying some of them. One thing I've noticed is that there are an abundance of fall/winter crock pot recipes, since that's the time of the year most of us use our crock pots. One ingredient I see used the most is beans. Several dishes are actually based on beans, rather than meat. The reason beans are usually used in place of meat is because they are a source of protein, and when paired with another ingredient like rice, they make up a complete protein. Here are two bean-based recipes that I've tried so far. Of course, they're probably the most simple bean recipes (that's why I tried them first!). They are both from crockpot365.blogspot.com.

Baked Beans w/ Apples & Jalapeno
I know, this sounds weird, but it has a lot of flavor. My husband loved this one! 
(picture from crockpot365.blogspot.com)

  • 1 lb bacon, divided (I used turkey)  
  • 2 cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed  
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced  
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and diced (no need to peel)  
  • 1 or 2 canned jalapeños, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced  
    • 1 tsp dry mustard 
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt  
    • 1/4 cup ketchup  
    • 1/3 cup apple juice  
    • 2 T molasses  
    • 1 T brown sugar 

    The Directions.
    1) Put 2 pieces of bacon into the bottom of your crockpot
    2) Layer in the
    beans, jalapeño, onion, and apples. 
    3) Sprinkle dry spices on the beans. Add the ketchup, molasses, and apple juice. Stir gingerly to combine.
    4) Add 2 more pieces of bacon to the top of the beans. 
    *Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8. This is finished when the onions and apples are translucent and the flavors have fully melded.

    Cook the remaining slices of bacon on the stove top and crumble over the top. Stephanie O'Dea (from crockpot365) served these with cornbread muffins!
It is a little on the sweet side, which most people prefer for their baked beans, but I think I'll take out the brown sugar or some of the apple juice next time. It was a little sweet for my taste.

*Click HERE to print this recipe

Beans & Rice
When I first glanced at this, I thought it was going to be red beans & rice. Nope! Just another meatless Monday bean recipe. It was pretty good!

  (picture from crockpot354.blogspot.com)

  • 1 can of black beans  
  • 1 can of pinto beans 
  • 1 cup of rice 
  •  1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes 
  • 1 T olive oil 
  • 1/2 t kosher salt 
  • 1 t Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 T dried onion flakes

1) put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot
2) add the rice. Swirl the rice around in the olive oil, until it is coated nicely.
3) drain and rinse the beans, and add them
4) drain the tomatoes, but reserve the liquid in a measuring cup. You should get slightly less than a cup of tomato juice. Add the tomatoes.
5) add water to the measuring cup with tomato juice until you have a total of 2 cups of liquid. Add to the crock.
6) add seasonings, stir well, and cover.

*Cook on low for about 6 hours, or on high for 3-4.  It is done when the rice is tender. Brown rice or wild rice will take longer to cook than white rice (unless you use instant).

This one is so simple and tasty.
*Click HERE to print this recipe 

Enjoy your meatless crock pot meals!


Taco Tuesday-Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

"Taco Tuesday" was a real day at the Chi Omega house on 940 West Maple Street at the University of Arkansas. It was my favorite meal of the week! Oh how I miss that home and those girls. Maybe I should bring that tradition into my own home? Hmmm...that would require me to commit to yet another new thing and I'm pretty much enjoying not having scheduled commitments at this point in life (other than go to work and come home). We shall see :/

This was seriously THE first crock pot recipe I tried. And it came from....(drumroll)...Pinterest! 
(originally pinned from The Larson Lingo blog)
It had no name, so I named it "Mexican Chicken."
Again, for this one, all you do is dump everything in the crock pot. Anyone can make this.

Mexican Chicken

  • Bag of frozen Chicken Breast Tenderloins (2.5-3lb bag)
  •  8 oz block of cream cheese (don't use Fat Free! 1/3 less fat or regular is fine)   
  • *I used 1/2 block of 1/3 less fat cream cheese + 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  • Can of Black Beans, drained & rinsed.
  • Can of Corn, drained.
  • Can of Rotel (with juice)
  • Additional: 2 cups chicken broth + 2 cups rice
1) Put frozen chicken in the crock pot.
2) Put Cream cheese on top of the chicken.
3) Dump in the Black Beans (make sure they are drained & rinsed!!!), corn & rotel
4) pour chicken broth in
5) dump in rice & stir to cover
*Cook on low 6-8 hours  
The original recipe does not call for the rice & chicken broth, rather, it cooks all other ingredients (turns out a bit soup-y) & serves over rice to soak up some of the liquid. I thought that cooking with rice (I used brown) worked out perfect! You can throw this over soft tortillas or chips, or just eat as a rice bowl. 


Crock Pot Mediterranean Chicken

This was one of the first crock pot recipes I tried from Stephanie O'Dea's list of 365 crockpot recipes...and it was a hit! Derek, my Pa & my grandmother all loved it! Only thing is, I didn't get to try it! I trust their judgement, though, and will be making it again soon. It was so simple!

Mediterranean Chicken
(picture from www.crockpot365.blogspot.com)

  • 3-4 frozen chicken breast halves 
  • bag of frozen artichoke hearts (I used 2 cans artichoke quarters)
  • half jar of green olives (no juice)
  • large can of tomatoes (with juice)
1) put all ingredients into the crock pot
2) cook on low for 8 hours (or on high 4-6 hrs)

THAT'S IT!!! Simple, right? Even the men in your house could make this one!


Last minute summer meals

I just realized I haven't posted many of the new things I've tried in the kitchen this summer. I wanted to make sure and post them before I get into all of the wonderful fall foods (especially PUMPKIN). I'm just itching to tackle all of the pumpkin-y recipes I've tagged on Pinterest! If you read my blog last year, you know I love me some pumpkin....and some more pumpkin :) Anyway, here are a few more light and summery dishes to enjoy before we head into the fall season. They are all very simple, but flavorful.

Greek Caponata
(recipe from Giada de Laurentiis-foodnetwork.com)
This is a simple dish full of colorful vegetables (which you can alter according to your preference) that makes enough to eat on for a few days when added to a main dish!

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 summer squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2) Pour the canned tomatoes into a 3 1/2-quart baking dish and spread to cover the bottom. 3) In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients (excluding the bread). Toss to coat. 4) Pour the vegetables over the canned tomatoes in an even layer. 5) Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the edges of the vegetables are golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

6) Serve alone as a side, or over toasted sourdough bread for a main dish.

*Click HERE to print this recipe.

Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes, & Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

(picture & recipe from the Ezra Pound Cake blog)

  • 8 ounces whole wheat linguine (or your pasta of choice)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium (8-ounce) zucchini, cut into thin strips (3 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, like a big stick of gum)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1)  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook about 9 minutes, or according to the package directions. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and set it aside. Drain the pasta. Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, Parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
3) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and cook just until wilted, flipping them over occasionally with a spatula. (The zucchini will be soft and somewhat see-through.)
4) Use a spoon or spatula to push the zucchini aside so a space on the bottom of the pan is clear. Add the garlic, and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, until golden but not really brown.
5) Mix the garlic into the zucchini.
6) Stir in the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
7) Transfer the zucchini mixture to the yogurt mixture, and stir to combine. Add the drained linguine, and toss gently to combine. Add the reserved pasta cooking water a tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to thin it. Divide among four bowls and serve.
*Click HERE to print this recipe

Whole Wheat Spaghetti w/ Lemon & Basil
Zucchini & Yellow Squash with Parmesan
These were two recipes I combined and served with Tilapia one night. It was delish!

Ingredients (spaghetti)
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
 `) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. '
2) Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. 
3) Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest & juice. Toss to combine.

*Click HERE to print the recipe for spaghetti

Ingredients (vegetables)
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup parmesan

1) wash & slice zucchini & squash
2) In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, squash, salt & pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
3) Sprinkle on parmesan & turn off heat.
4) Add to spaghetti or serve alone as a side.

I sure plan to enjoy the rest of summer while it's here, but I'm fully anticipating fall and all that it brings!


Crock Pot Jambalaya

Last week for my Pa's 87th birthday, I made Jambalaya...you guessed it, in the crock pot! I am loving another great blog with tons of great crock pot recipes! Literally, you can make ANYTHING in a crock pot. Well, almost anything. My grandparents were staying in Little Rock for Pa's medical treatment at UAMS, so I brought the jambalaya, along with the delicious moist chocolate cake I blogged about last week. They were both winners! 

Crock Pot Jambalaya
Serves 6-8 (depending on portion size)

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 lb smoked sausage cut into 2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun or Creole spice mix
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • parsley, optional
*1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined (I omitted, due to a shellfish allergy)

    1) Combine chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, spice mix, thyme and oregano in a large (5-quart) slow cooker. 2) Cook on low for 5 hours. 3) Add shrimp and rice; raise heat to high and cook for 30 minutes more. 4) Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired. 
    Thanks, American Family blog, for this great recipe. Enjoy!


Game Day @ Home

If you know me or my family, you're probably wondering what in the world I'm doing watching the Razorbacks play football from home. I know, shocking. We decided to sell our tickets and watch the game from the comfort of our own home (on the couch!). This will be our last weekend we don't have anything (weddings/football games) until Thanksgiving!! You heard me right, we are about to be full speed for the next few months!

We do, however, have this hanging on the door today to show our Razorback spirit!

And in the crock pot, I've got bacon-wrapped ranch chicken with baked potatoes! YUM!!
(this was when I first put it in-frozen)

It was so simple, and I just sort of threw it together this afternoon.
  • Chicken breasts, frozen (however many you will serve)
  • bacon (1-3 slices per breast, it's up to you)
  • chives (fresh/dried)
  • cumin
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
  • 2 Tbsp Ranch (dry mix)
  • baking potatoes (however many you will serve)
1) Spray the crock. 2) Season chicken breasts with chives, cumin, & pepper. 3) Wrap each in bacon and place in the bottom of the crock pot. 4) Mix ranch mix & sour cream together and dollop on top of chicken breasts. 5) Wash potatoes and pat dry. Then wrap in foil & place next to chicken in the crock pot. 6) Cook on high 3.5-4 hours.
(I checked the chicken and took it out when I thought it was done). If cooking on low, I would cook for 6+ hours.

I can't wait to share more crock pot recipes and show you the rest of the burlap door hangers I've been busy working on for fall!

Wooooooooooooo PIG SOOIEEE!!!!!!



Ok, I'll make this short and sweet, because that's exactly what this recipe is. If you love chocolate, you will love this. It is the perfect chocolate cake.

(picture by www.foodess.com)

For once, I didn't alter the recipe. You can find more detailed directions for this recipe at www.foodess.com.

Moist Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water, or simply 1 cup boiling water)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Grease two 9-inch baking pans and set aside. 
3) In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
4) Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract; beat 2 minutes on medium speed. 
5) Stir in hot coffee. 
6) Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on middle rack of oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. 
7) Cool completely on wire racks before frosting. 

Seriously, you've got to make this cake!!  Have a great weekend!


Crock Pot Creations

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I am enjoying the day at home. I got to sleep in, bake a cake, catch up on my DVR'd shows, and I'm about to go walk in this AMAZING 70 degree weather that hit us this morning!

Yesterday, I slaved away in the kitchen. Well, sort of. I've found this blog that has 365 crock pot recipes and I've been spending some time going through the list of recipes, checking out the ingredients, and "pinning" the recipes I like onto my Pinterest board that I've titled "Crock Pot Creations." This has been a lifesaver because I can spend a few hours on Sunday, or 30 min each night of the week, chopping and pouring the ingredients into gallon ziplock bags that I put in the freezer and then dump into the crock pot the next morning. When I get home and I'm exhausted, I don't have to stand on my feet for an hour in the kitchen. I just open the crock pot and enjoy. I still have to do a few dishes afterward....wah wah

When I think Crock Pot/Slow Cooker, I think Fall/Winter dishes. Soups, Stews, etc. BUT...I've found a few recipes to use up my summer vegetables and they were delicious!

*Don't forget to spray your crock pot with cooking spray or put some olive oil on the bottom before layering in your meal!

1) Balsamic Chicken with Spring Vegetables
 (photo from crockpot365.blogspot.com)

4-6 boneless skinless frozen chicken thighs (I used breasts)
1 whole head of garlic
2 zucchinis
2 yellow squash
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1) Salt & pepper your chicken & place in the crock pot/slow cooker (my chicken breasts were frozen). 
2) Wash & cut all vegetables and place in a large mixing  bowl. Toss vegetables in balsamic vinegar & Worcestershire sauce. 
3) Peel the head of garlic, leaving the cloves intact, & toss into the crock pot. 
4)Pour vegetables on top of chicken in the crock pot. 
5) Cook on low 6-8 hours

Serve with whatever grains you'd like. We ate this over brown rice. This had great flavor, but was still a light dish from the lean chicken and the vegetables. My husband loved it, so that must mean it's good!

2) End of Summer Harvest Soup
 (photo from crockpot365.blogspot.com)

4 cups chicken broth (vegetable stock is fine!)
1 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 cup water
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 zucchini, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 yellow summer squash, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/3 cup dry white Cannellini beans (I used 1 can)
1/2 cup pasta (to add 20 minutes before serving)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with Parmesan and Romano cheeses 

1) Wash squashes well, and slice in rounds. Place into slow cooker, with diced onion and tomato wedges. 
2)Rinse your beans in hot water, and add to cooker (must also rinse/drain if using canned beans).  
3) Add broth, pasta sauce, and water. Stir in Italian seasoning. 
4)Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans have reached desired tenderness. 
5) 20 minutes before serving, stir in raw pasta. 
6) Serve with grated Parmesan and Romano cheese.

This dish was also very delicious and the husband approved! He took the leftovers for lunch.

3) Pesto Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
 (photo from crockpot365.blogspot.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
4 garlic cloves
2 cups fresh basil (I used assorted leafy greens found in my fridge)
2 tablespoons pinenuts, or walnuts, or sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 chicken thighs, or breast halves
sliced mozzarella cheese (I used shredded)
aluminum foil or parchment paper
4 small sweet potatoes, washed well, skin on

1) In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients for your pesto. When liquidy, taste. If you need to add more citrus or salt or pepper, do so now.
2) In the bottom of a large slow cooker, arrange your chicken pieces. Mine were still frozen. 
3) Layer on the mozzarella cheese. 
4) Pour pesto evenly on top. 
5) Cover with a layer of foil or parchment paper. 
6) Scrub sweet potatoes well, prick with a fork, and lay them on top of the paper or foil. 
7) Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 4-5. (If your chicken is frozen it will take a bit longer.)

Thanks to Stephanie O'Dea at crockpot365.blogspot.com for taking the 365-day crock pot challenge and providing these wonderful recipes, as well as "the verdict" on how they turned out! I'm so happy to have a go-to list since I'm crunched for time!