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Pumpkin chia butter

November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Chia Butter

I discovered chia seeds and hemp seeds over the summer, and I can’t rave about them enough.  The health benefits are incredible and they really are one of nature’s perfect foods.  I loved the blueberry chia jam I made, but with the arrival of Fall weather and pumpkin recipes everywhere, I got a little creative and made pumpkin chia butter.  It’s delicious on top of toast, but I also love it stirred into Greek yogurt or as a topping for waffles or pancakes.

Recipe:  Pumpkin Chia Butter

(inspired by and adapted from

1 29-oz. can of pumpkin puree
3/4 c. apple juice or apple cider
1/2 c. light brown sugar  (If you have more of a sweet tooth than I do, you can add another 1/4 c. of brown sugar.)
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3-4 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine pureed pumpkin, apple juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium saucepan.  Mix well.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chia seeds and continue to simmer until thickened, about 10 more minutes.  Stir frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Allow to cool slightly and transfer to small mason jars or reusable containers.  Pumpkin chia butter should be stored in the refrigerator.  Pumpkin chia butter can also be frozen, but be sure to leave a little space in the top of the jar if freezing to allow for it to expand a bit.

Turkey fun

November 17, 2012

I made these yummy turkeys a couple years ago, but wanted to share them in case you might be looking for a silly way to get the kids excited about Turkey Day.   They were both huge hits with kids and teachers alike, plus they’re healthy snacks.  And frankly, just plain fun!

Paper Bag Popcorn Turkey and tutorial found at one charming party.  

Fruit turkey directions from Family Fun magazine.

Rolo stuffed ritz crackers

November 15, 2012

Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers

I am so addicted to Pinterest, aren’t you?  Not only do I find decorating and crafting ideas there, but the food pins are enough to make you drool.  That’s where I stumbled upon this brilliant little gem.  A melted Rolo sandwiched inside two salty Ritz crackers.  Mmmmm.

If you ever need a last minute treat for anything, you’ll be happy to have this idea in your back pocket.  Trust me.  Salty and sweet?  A match made in Heaven.

Recipe:  Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers

(from something swanky)

Place Ritz crackers on a cookie sheet, and top each one with a Rolo candy.
Place in a 350º oven.  Remove when Rolos are melted and top with a second Ritz.
Let cool.

Rotisserie chicken at home

November 11, 2012

Rotisserie Chicken

Since I’ve gone back to work, I’ve tried to make better use of my crockpot in getting a good meal on the table during the week.  Schedules are getting crazy now that basketball practices have begun for both kids, and with me working again, I’m finding it more of a challenge to get us all to the table to share a meal.  I like that the crockpot can do most of the work for me, so I’ve always got my eyes out for a tasty recipe.

This flavorful rub and a roasting chicken that fits into your crockpot will give you a meal that rivals the rotisserie chicken you buy from the grocery store.  And the perk is that you’ll probably have leftovers for sandwiches, salads, or soup for a couple of days.  That’s a total win.

I tear off 4 pieces of foil and wad them into balls to put in the bottom of the crockpot, then rub the spices all over the chicken (inside and out), and put the chicken on top of the foil balls.  The house smells amazing when we get home and the chicken literally falls apart coming out of the crockpot.

Recipe:  Rotisserie Chicken at Home

(recipe from busy mommy)

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-4  lbs.)
2 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 cloves of diced garlic (or 2 Tbsp. garlic powder)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and add water by the teaspoon until a paste forms.  Stir until well combined.  Place foil balls in bottom of crockpot and lightly spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.  Rub  entire chicken with spice rub and place in the crockpot, on top of the foil balls.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours.


Caramel corn

October 25, 2012

Caramel Corn

This is one of the treats I make every Christmas, but a luncheon with a World Series theme brought it out of the recipe box a little early this year.  See the connection?  ♫By me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks….♫  But this version is waaayyyy better than the one you find in the little box, let me tell you.  It’s not difficult to do from scratch either, though you do need to give yourself about an hour.

I found this recipe years ago at allrecipes and the title alone grabbed my attention right away.  It was called “My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn.”  That’s actually what I still call it, but my husband pointed out that I don’t really have an Amish friend, so I shouldn’t make claims that indicate that I do.  Says it’s misleading.  But we like this recipe so much that in my heart, I feel like I do have an Amish friend and I did get this recipe from her.  So that being said, it will always be referred to as “My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn!”  So there!

Recipe:  My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn  ☺

(from, submitted by AnitaLouise)

7 quarts plain popped popcorn  (I make 2 batches in my hot air popper.)
2 c. dry roasted peanuts, optional
2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place the popped popcorn and peanuts onto two shallow, greased baking pans.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend.  Once mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Immediately pour over popcorn and stir, but don’t worry about not getting every piece of popcorn covered.  Bake for 1 hour, removing pans every 15 minutes to stir popcorn and turn pans.  When finished, pour the caramel corn onto waxed paper and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.


Deep dish chocolate chip cookie

October 20, 2012

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

After the smashing success of the chocolate-chocolate chip cookie in a cup I made back in July, we thought we’d give that recipe’s inspiration a go.  Hands-down, though, our adaption over the summer was our favorite.  We all thought this tasted more like raw cookie dough, than an actual cookie.  Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, because we love raw cookie dough around here, but the texture was just off for it to be a cookie we’d want to make again.  I do have to give some kudos to its creator for thinking outside the box and even attempting to make cookies in the microwave.  I wouldn’t have given it a thought, but it’s a fun activity to do with the kids and I’m glad I happened across her idea.

Recipe:  Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

(from no. 2 pencil)

1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
3 drops of pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Melt your butter in the microwave.  Add sugars, vanilla and salt.  Stir to combine.  Separate your egg and add the yolk only to your cup.  Stir to combine.  Add flour, then stir again.  Add the chocolate chips, and give a final stir.  Cook in microwave 40-60 seconds, start checking for doneness at 40 seconds.  Mine takes 50 seconds.  Serve warm.

Caramel apple cake

October 15, 2012

Caramel Apple Cake

When people ask you for the recipe for this cake, you’re going to have to decide whether or not you want anyone to know how incredibly easy it is to throw together.  It’s what’s known as a “dump cake” because you really just keep dumping ready-made ingredients into the pan, pop them in the oven, and this cake emerges a while later.  No one would ever guess that you didn’t make the whole thing from scratch!

Recipe:  Caramel Apple Cake

(from tablespoon)

2 cans apple pie filling
1/4 c. caramel sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 c. melted butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Add apple pie filling, caramel sauce, lemon juice, and cinnamon to the pan and mix together.  Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top.  Next, sprinkle the pecans over the top.  Cover with melted butter, making sure to cover the whole surface.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  (Mine actually baked for 45 minutes.)  Remove from oven and cool, or enjoy warm with ice cream.


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