Monday, December 22, 2014

Peanut Butter & Bacon Soup

What could possibly be better than Peanut Butter in a soup recipe?!?!
Ummm...found it!!!
Peanut Butter and BACON in a soup recipe!!!!

Now I know at this moment you are either scratching your head or turning up your nose, but just go with me on this one for a minute.  Take your traditional soup recipe with beans, carrots, celery, and a tomato sauce and chicken broth base.  Then throw in a little bacon.  Sounds good right!?!?  Now, get that soup bubbling hot and add some peanut butter.  Your soup just went from good.... to..... AWESOME!!  

The creaminess of the peanut butter will give your soup a nice texture and the taste could almost be compared to that of Thai food.  We liked this recipe so much we ate it all before I got a picture of it and had to make a second batch later in the week.  The second time I did get a picture, but the soup did not last long.  
This recipe came out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  Stay tuned after the holidays because I will be giving away a copy of this book!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Alex the Elf has been up to

The Elf on the Shelf has been living with the Ott family for the past month and having quite the time keeping tabs on Little Miss MacchiOTTo and shOTT of Espresso.  At our house the Elf has been named Alex.  Alex reports to Santa each night and then first thing every morning we find what Alex was up to while we slept.  MacchiOTTo has done well finding the Elf each morning and tries to guess what room Alex will be each morning when she wakes up.   Here are a few of the places and things Alex has been doing.
 Alex gets tangled up easily in lights, tinsel and toilet paper.  
 Alex makes friends easily with the other toys at the house and likes to go for rides.
Alex likes to eat and got into the Christmas cookies, candy, and even went our for McDonalds.  

One time Alex even ziplined across the bathroom but we didn't get that one caught on camera.  And then just today we found Alex dancing with our musical snowman.  So with 6 more days till Christmas I'm sure Alex has more trouble to get into between now and then, but I also know on the last day Alex will deliver a letter from Santa telling the kids if they made the nice or naughty list.  (It's a close call right now so we'll just have to wait and see.)   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pepper Jack Crab Bisque

Soup season is upon us... and I love this recipe I recently made out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  Firstly, you can never go wrong with Pepper Jack cheese.  It gives your taste buds that extra kick, so anytime I see a recipe with Pepper Jack... I know it's going to be good.  And the creamy tomato bisque pairs nicely with the crab meat that makes for a rich yet spicy soup to warm up to on a cold winter night or perfect for your holiday luncheon menu.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mexican Turkey Crescent Bake

I love a good crescent bake recipe.  
What is a crescent bake you ask???
  Think of it as a casserole wrapped up in a crescent roll. 
Now doesn't that sound good?!?!  
We make these often at our house as they are quick to make, quick to bake and tasty to eat.  
You simply take a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls and lay them out in a circular fashion and then pile meat, veggies and cheese on top.  Wrap up in a circular fashion and then bake in the oven.  
I adapted this recipe out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  The original recipe was with similar ingredients but you braided bread dough.  As a busy mom of 2 small children I didn't think I had the time or coordination to braid dough, so I incorporated the crescent rolls in and it worked out great.  The turkey in this recipe is a great way to use up leftovers after your holiday meals.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Overnight Crock Pot Apple French Toast

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Around the holidays who doesn't love an easy breakfast, that skimps on the calories?!?!?  I'm happy to be working with Sara Lee® and sharing a recipe using their new 45 Calories & Delightful bread.  And this recipe is sure to make your Christmas morning less stressful as it cooks in the crock pot while you sleep.  I love putting all my ingredients in the night before turning it on and then going to bed.  And throughout the night you can start to smell wefts of apples and cinnamon. Then come morning simply make yourself a pot of coffee and spoon up a helping of this Apple French Toast.

Around the holidays it can be a challenge to eat healthy.  But I think any time you can shave a few calories off a dish it helps.  Sara Lee® new 45 Calories & Delightful Bread is a great way to do just that because each slice is only 45 calories.  As a new mom to our 2nd child loosing the extra baby weight as we head into the new year is something to think about and work at everyday.  But with daily exercising and making healthy eating a priority it can be done, and thanks to this Sara Lee® bread I know morning toast and lunch time sandwiches will have a delightful taste and texture, are heart healthy and provide an excellent source of fiber, and will all help me reach my goal.  I found this Sara Lee® line at Wal-Mart and it comes in the flavors of Oatmeal, 100% Whole Wheat, Multi-Grain and Wheat.

So what are your fitness goals as we head into 2015?  Are you going to drink more water, get more sleep, maintain a workout regime?  Whatever you plans head over to the Sara Lee® 45 Delightful People program and enter to win a free t-shirt and a chance to win some great prizes including the grand prize of $4,500.  Every entrant will receive a t-shirt so share your story, journey or even goals by December 15th.  
And like I mentioned before...busy mornings with 2 little kids can be quite hectic so to help I make a healthy breakfast in my crock pot which saves me time and calories.  The whole family likes it and I know they are getting a warm and hearty breakfast before the day begins and I'm keeping with my healthy eating goals.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday gift: Carmel Apple Jam

With the holidays right around the corner, homemade gifts are a great idea to give to loved ones as presents or hostess gifts.  They are unique and come from the heart and are sure to be cherished. Since I love to can; preserved goods are usually on my homemade list and who doesn't love a jar of jam to enjoy all winter long?!?!  One of my all time favorite jams recipes is this one for Carmel Apple Jam. It's easy to make and taste great.  But before I get to the recipe I wanted to let you know that I'm working with Jarden Home Brands to promote their 25 Days of Making & Giving.

This contest runs November 28th - December 22nd and each day readers can enter to win a daily prize.  And let me tell you there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs.  Like todays prize is the Collection Elite Canner with Rack.  And each entry during the 24 days also grants an entry towards the Grand Prize; a FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System (valued at $299.)  To enter simply visit and follow the instructions.  Then be sure to check out Ball Cannings Pinterest and Facebook pages for more great homemade holiday gift giving ideas.  
 And as a side note I wanted to share that with this recipe you can use whatever variety of apples you like.  Simply make sure you add 2 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice to recipe just to assure the pH is low enough as different apples vary in their pH levels.

the big arrival of shOTT of Espresso

It's hard to believe 2 months have gone by, and I have not blogged about the BIG arrival of our shOTT of Espresso.  I apologize for not sharing the news or photos sooner, but most days when faced with the choice between blogging and a nap... the nap wins out every time.  So today, I am finally announcing shOTT of Espresso is here, healthy and always... hungry.
Just like with MacchiOTTo we wanted to keep the gender of our baby a surprise.  And the pregnancy's of both kids were the same (morning sickness, cravings, tiredness, etc.) until week 28 when I started measuring big with shOTT of Espresso.  At 30 weeks we had an ultrasound that confirmed it was going to be a big baby.  Both the baby and I were healthy and the gestation dates for the baby were accurate, it just got some big genes and both weighed and measured BIG.  We had 3 more ultrasounds over the rest of the pregnancy to monitor it's growth.  When I went in for my last ultrasound at 38 weeks I distinctly remember the doctor saying "You're going to have a humongous baby!"  I jokingly said, "Well we were hoping for a linebacker."  And the doctor responded with, "I think you need to change your roster and make it a defensive tackle."  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sausage Cranberry Quiche

I am sampling recipes out of the new Gooseberry Patch 303 Round the Clock Recipes and found this one for a Sausage Cranberry Quiche.  Now I don't know about you, but there is something about cranberry's that just says Christmas to me.  And while I know you could eat Cranberry's year round... if you are looking for a breakfast or brunch dish to make around the holidays this is the one for you.  I love the combination of savory sausage with the sweet cranberry's as it will excite your palate and make the morning meal memorable.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

I love to be on the lookout for recipes that are unique.  Different.  Out of the ordinary. And if you've read this blog more than once you probably caught on quick to how I like to think outside the box when it comes to using Apple Butter.  (that's right people... it's more than a topping for your burnt breakfast toast.)  So when I found this recipe for an Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie I knew I was on to something good.  I knew I would never be able to go back to eating a traditional pumpkin pie.  And I knew variation needed to be added to our holiday dessert tray.
And I was right.  Everyone loved the extra sweetness and spices the apple butter gave the Pumpkin. It turned out to be a perfect blend of flavors and had everyone asking how I made it.  I even heard someone say.... "hashtag best pie ever!!!"  (That's right we talk in hashtags around here.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

marshmallow sunflower cupcakes

I am making cupcakes to have as a dessert option for thanksgiving this year.  And, earlier this fall I stumbled upon these candy corn shaped marshmallows.... so after thinking of something to use them for, I finally came up with the idea of making sunflowers with them to adorn cupcakes.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Garlic Tomato Sauce

There is just something about making your own pasta sauce that just makes dinner taste all the better.  My favorite meal would probably be a warm plate of pasta with a salad, bread stick and a glass of wine.  And the Tuttorosso brand has tomato products that are perfect for your homemade pasta sauce recipe.  And to help you make your own sauce they are sponsoring a "Celebrate the Sauce" giveaway on the Tuttorosso facebook page.  Each week they are giving away aprons, wooden spoons and one grand prize of a Martha Stewart Cookware set.  And Tuttorosso is giving away one Sauce Kit on this blog to one of my lucky readers.  

But before we get to that I wanted to mention that Tuttorosso has lots of recipes on their website and one of them I adapted for our dinner table.  This is a recipe for Garlic Tomato Sauce using Tuttorosso's peeled plum Italian Style tomatoes and their tomato paste product.  I loved the aroma of basil and garlic in my kitchen as I prepared this dish.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies

The holidays are here and my oven is getting fired up and ready to start baking.  This year I'm kicking things off with a cookie that can easily fit in with your thanksgiving dessert tray or be used as a Christmas Cookie as well.  And I'm using I Can't Believe It's Not Butter®as a healthier alternative in my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies.  The new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® spread has 40% fewer calories and 70% less saturated fat than butter. As with all of the brands spreads, sticks and sprays, the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® contains 0g trans fat per serving, no cholesterol and no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

I love the sweet pumpkin flavor that the pudding mix gives this cookie and when it's paired with butterscotch chips you know that everyone will be eating more than one this holiday season.

The new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® is made from real, simple ingredients – 100% taste, 0% artificial preservatives – and is still unbelievably delicious! This new recipe is offered in the Original, Light, and Olive Oil varieties and is made with plant-based oils and are a source of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as a good source of omega-3 ALA. Unilever spreads can be part of an overall healthy, balanced diet and provide a source of good fats, similar to the good fats found in avocados, walnuts and almonds.  Plant-based oils are one of the primary ingredients in their spreads. Overall I found the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® offers a fresh butter taste to add flavor to any meal, and can be used for spreading, topping, sautéing, cooking or baking. 

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