Can I confess something?
I've been avoiding my computer.
I've been wanting to write about something and the words just wouldn't come. So, I put it on hold and now I am working on catching up on my regular posts. I take it back. The words came. . . in the shower. When I sat down the next day, they were gone. I know I am not the only one. Right? So until they come back to me, let's resume regular scheduled posts. Ones that are guaranteed to make you drool and might even make your kids drool!
It's that time of the month, where I show you what went down in my kitchen last month. There was a lot of yummy food consumed and there was a lot of just the basics. It ended up being a pretty busy month with Weston's birthday, a day at the World Ag Show, Valentines Day, soccer, art club, and more! You can find more of our go-to dinners here and how I menu plan here. So let's commence the drool fest!
Oh and just a reminder, most of these recipes are amazing finds that we tried this month via Pinterest. There are so many recipes out there and this is where I highlight some of my finds from the previous month. The pictures and links are not my own.
Jalapeño Turkey Burgers
I had pinned this recipe months ago and had completely forgotten about the package of ground turkey I had bought the month prior (oops!). When I pulled the ground turkey out, I knew we were going to have these and they were so good! These would be super good with a bun, too. We ate them without because it was one of our whole 30/eat Paleo nights and we really didn't notice the lack of bun. These weren't too spicey and just were so flavorful. In fact, most of the recipes we've tried that are whole 30 are so incredibly flavorful that the lack of sugar and grains is really not noticed.
Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Pesto Stuffed Prosciutto Chicken
Ethan loves Prosciutto. He's become such a foodie and it just makes this food loving mom so thrilled that he is developing a love for good food. Lately, he has been a lot more brave in trying new things and now he just eats whatever. So, moms out there who are frustrated with a kid who only wants to eat dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets or hot dogs, I hear you! I still have one and every now and then he surprises me. It does get better. I promise!
This chicken was so easy. Oh and I cheated. Because I am not actually doing a traditional whole 30, and we are just incorporating the recipes into our normal menu plan, I really don't mind taking shortcuts on nights where I just don't have the time to make a good clean pesto from scratch. I found this one at our neighborhood grocery store and it was delicious and it was pretty clean for being store bought.
I also should note: if you are buying a pesto from the store, there is basically a 99 percent chance that
there is dairy because of the Parmesan or other hard cheeses. You know your body and you know what you can handle once the dairy is baked. Trader Joes has a vegan pesto (I haven't tried it yet), if you need to make a shortcut for dairy free pesto.
This recipe was super easy and ended up being a pretty easy/low maintenance dinner which gave me time to work on other things while the food was cooking. Low maintenance and delicious. . . I call that a win.
Also, I used the Against All Grain recipe from this book. It's not online, so I am linking you to something that is super similar.
This recipe is one straight from my head. I've never really written it down, but I was inspired by the chicken avocado Cobb salad that used to be on Panera's menu (sad face). So, basically it is lettuce, avocado chunks, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, bacon (of course!), and chicken. My favorite way to make this one super quick was True Story roasted chicken slices. I also love it with the Olive Garden Italian dressing. This is so good. You should make it.
We made these this month and they were fantastic! Well, I guess I wouldn't share the links with you if I didn't think so. ha ha! These were our favorites!
Lemon basil pasta - this one is actually on my blog and dairy free! You can easily substitute regular ricotta if dairy doesn't cause you problems.
Lemon Garlic Asparagus - it is definitely spring around here and asparagus is so cheap right now. I feel like we've been eating it one way or another for the past few weeks! Also, my lemon tree is on steroids and so I am trying to find all the ways to use them up! There are tons of pins on Pinterest and I have no idea which one I made. And really, they are almost all the same, so be brave and pick one. \
I hope that this helps with your meal planning. Enjoy and let me know what you are cooking up!
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Well, it might.
If you don't like chocolate, I am not really sure what to tell you. Maybe I should apologize because it's THAT good!
Today I bring you the February Bakealong challenge recipe from the King Arthur website.
Last month's BakeAlong was this delicious Chocolate Mousse layer cake with a raspberries and it looked amazing. I made it for Valentine's Day and modified the mousse so it was dairy free and it turned it okay. The cake part though, that's what stood out as the best part. So, I thought that for this blog post, I would try the cake recipe out and bake it in the form of cupcakes.
I also needed an excuse to make cupcakes. Thankfully, I needed some
Let's talk cake. Because that really is the star of the show. This cupcake batter bakes the most incredibly moist cake with pretty close to perfect sponge. I just want to eat it over and over again (but I won't because moderation). These also baked really flat tops, which is amazing! Most boxed cakes will often times give you a dome, which really isn't ideal for frosting.
I didn't have enough cocoa powder, I had to modify the buttercream frosting to make it vanilla. It turned out perfect and my husband raved on how it wasn't too sweet, but perfect frosting. So, even though they didn't turn out the way I had envisioned this cupcake to go, I think that now have a new chocolate cake/cupcake recipe that will be my go-to.
adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk*
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder**
Preheat oven to 325. Carefully measure out your dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Add all the wet ingredients carefully and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute until you have a nice smooth batter. If you are using a stand mixer, I recommend stopping 30 seconds in and scraping the sides of your bowl to make sure it all gets mixed in. Add your eggs and beat some more. The batter is really thin and that's perfect!
Line muffin tin with your favorite liners. Fill each liner up about half way. Too full, will give you a muffin top, which is not as much fun with cupcakes. Bake for 12-17 minutes, depending on your oven. Use a tester to make sure it comes out clean and touch the top of one and see if it has a little bit of spring. If it doesn't just bake for a minute to two longer and then check again.
Let cool for 5 minutes before taking out of pan and then place on a wire rack to continue cooling.
I was able to make about 30 cupcakes with this recipe.
*I am way too cheap to keep buttermilk in my fridge for times like this. Pour a little less than a cup of milk in your measuring cup and top it off with a bit of vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and do a happy dance because you now have buttermilk. Easy Peasy!
** I use the King Arthur Brand and it is so worth the cost. But, you can also substitute the boiling water for a fresh brewed cup of coffee. The coffee does not give the cake a coffee flavor, but creates a miracle of enhancing the flavor of the chocolate.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
(if you are going to pipe all 30, you might want to double your recipe. Otherwise, this is enough to spread a bit of frosting on each one.)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (unsalted), at room temperature
pinch of sea salt
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla (or more. . . you decide)
Cream together butter and shortening until nice and smooth. Add sugar, salt and give it a couple rounds on the mixer. Slowly add milk in to get the desired consistency. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Frost as desired.
I sprinkled mini chocolate chips on each one after each pipe. If you wait to long, the chocolate chips won't stick.
Also, the original recipe, found here, has a delicious mousse that would be fantastic if you used it as a filling. Just an idea.
Enjoy! And Happy Baking!
Friday, March 02, 2018
Right now I am fighting every urge to go throw on my comfy clothes and snuggle under a blanket with a good book. . . or movie. . . or both. I am not picky!
But first, we should have a little talk about this recipe. I remember making this pasta back before we were home owners. Back before we were parents. Back, when I was just a newly married gal wanting to make her hubby delicious things. Back when my body said dairy was cool. I'm not sure which magazine I found it in (it was either Food Network or Rachael Ray), but I know it was from the fabulous brain of Rachael Ray and most of her recipes have been really good.
Let me start by saying, this blog post is not endorsed by anyone, any company. It's just me, sharing a recipe, with a product that I love. Kite Hill is a company out of Northern California that is really breaking grounds in plant based deliciousness. I have been impressed with everything they have come out with. Seriously. I am even sad that they stopped making their brie (Yes, you read that right. . . brie). One of their products is Ricotta and can I just say how wonderful it is to be able to make lasagna and other cheesey dishes, when using the real deal will make you sick? I used the ricotta for this recipe and no one noticed that it wasn't dairy free. My 9 year old gobbled it down and even took some in his lunch the next day! Can we say win!!!
So, let's commence the drool fest.
this brand and stock up at Eataly or this brand from Whole Foods. ). I know it's weird, but the quality of pasta you get will make your recipe just a step up. From there, you just add some Kite Hill Ricotta, toast some pine nuts, zest a lemon, and julienne some basil. Seriously easy and just as good for leftovers.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad
adapted from Rachael Ray
1 package of pasta (I used rotini)
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 package of Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup (or more) fresh basil, julienned
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and toss in olive oil. Add in cheese, pine nuts, basil and lemon zest. Toss and then add in salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe is super easy to half (it's what I did for a family of 4, and we had a little bit left over.)
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
We are in the middle of painting and giving the boy's bedroom a makeover and my kids are sleeping in random places. There are no complaints on their end. . . it's all so exciting! I think I am going to do an in process post because there are so often times when we just see the finished product and not all the stuff that happens in between.
The season of Lent started and I love it like I love Advent. The preparation of our hearts for Christ's death and resurrection are just as important as preparing our heart for His birth. It is so much more than giving up something for 6 weeks. We are working our way through Exodus with She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth. The cards they created for the kids are just so neat! The kids honestly cannot wait until we do another card, and how much they remember is my favorite. We will definitely be using this as an excuse to watch the Prince of Egypt when we are done!
This year, I was put in charge of Bible Memory for our Bible Study and I will have to tell you that I absolutely love it. It's an area where I actually struggle in and am loving finding fun ways to inspire the ladies (and myself) to memorize our theme verse! I am loving the exercise of coloring a verse. It is not only relaxing and fun, but it also is time to pray through the verse and work on memorizing it while your hands are busy being creative.
Here are some other little tidbits:
Outside my window the rain that happened earlier is now drying up and the sun in peeking out from behind the clouds. The lemons are extra pretty right now as they soak in that warm sun! In other news, our plum tree is enjoying our spring like conditions and has started blooming. Baby plums are on their way!
I am thinking of how peaceful it is right now and how I had better not get too soaked into my writing time and forget to go pick up those sweet boys of mine. Ha Ha!
From the kitchen I made these granola bars last night, which I haven't made in quite some time. They were a huge hit, especially since they are dairy and soy free! My husband brought home some meyer lemons that are screaming to be made into something as well as the 2 ripe bananas on my counter. I only have so much flour until thursday. . . so what to make?
I am wearing yoga pants right now (i was painting), but here's one my favorite outfits right now: these cuffed jeans, striped t shirt, and a sweater. Absolutely loving the basics right now!
I am creating a big boy room for my two boys. They share a bedroom and there were just some changes that needed to be made in order for it to be more functional and fit the personalities of our quickly growing boys. Stay tuned to my instagram to see the play-by-play or wait patiently for the wrap up blog post.
I am going to coffee with a friend tonight. That sounds just so frivolous, but it is seriously one of the best things. Time with friends is just as valuable to your soul and well being. I am a much better person because of the people I surround myself with.
I am reading nothing right now. Well, I started a book by Loraine Snelling last week and haven't picked it up since. Ha ha. Tomorrow, I am going to start a Wrinkle in Time with Ethan (since the movie looks amazing!) and I am reading Charlotte's Web with Weston before bed. I also have a pile of magazines to peruse through.
I am hoping that it rains some more this week. We haven't had enough and they are my favorite days. period.
I am hearing the kids do their chores. For some reason it sounds like dinosaurs are invading. The reality is: I am a mom of boys! (also, I didn't forget to pick them up. . . in case you were worried!)
Around the House there is chaos. We are in the middle of a room redo and last week and the floors are desperate for cleaning. I will be honest with you, some days are like that. In fact, things have been a bit crazy, so when one of my kids specifically asked for a cuddle date, we dropped everything for some cuddle time. Sometimes there are more important things than clean floors!
One of my favorite things is my bike. I've only ridden it once, but I might be in love. There's nothing fancy pants about it, just a hybrid cruiser from Target. And a cup to carry my coffee, obviously. My helmet came in the mail yesterday and now we can go on family bike rides, since everyone can officially ride a bike!
A few plans for the week:
: finish painting
: enjoy the rain
: have coffee and pastries with the hubby
oh and make cupcakes. Because, we can.
What I am listening to right now is the Disney Hits station on Apple Music. It has been my painting music because I can blare it full blast. . . and sing along, because nobody's home! (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?) I've also been listening to Dianne Michelle. Dianne did the worship at the Aspire conference that was held at our church last weekend. She has a beautiful voice and is was paired quite wonderfully with the laughter of Anita Renfroe!
Now, it's your turn! Grab your coffee and let's connect! You don't have to do them all! I can't wait to hear from you! You can even private message me if you don't want to make it public.
Outside my window
I am thinking
From the kitchen
I am wearing
I am creating
I am going
I am reading
I am hoping
I am hearing
Around the House
One of my favorite things
A few plans for the week
What I am listening to
Friday, February 23, 2018
It's probably no surprise to you, that I am a big fan of bread making. I will confess though, that the idea of baking Challah was a little intimidating. It's just so pretty! I can totally braid hair, but bread? I baked up this bread twice before I got it ready for posting. The first time, it came out wonderful, but when I was adding yeast, I realized that I didn't have the full amount (less than half, actually) and I had already had all the other ingredients in and so I just went with it. Oops! It came out wonderful, but I wanted to try it out again with the full amount of yeast to see what would happen.
The first loaf, I made trying out the 6 strand braid. I struggled with that one. There are so many video tutorials and I kind of just felt lost about half way through. It still came out gorgeous and delicious (even with out all the yeast!). The second loaf, I just did the basic 3 strand braid and that was easy and only took a few seconds! Maybe I will just bake Challah every week so I can get some braiding in. . . ha ha!
This bread was amazing! We all found ourselves snacking on the loaf as soon as it cooled enough to touch and managed to save enough to make some french toast with it. Sweet Readers, can I tell you a little secret?
My kids are obsessed. They just finished up the last of what I froze from the last loaf this morning. In fact, when I pulled out some French Toast I had made with some leftover dinner rolls, my oldest (who has been suffering from some tween angst this week) made it very clear that that was not good enough. Oh, man, I feel bad for his future wife. We've got a little foodie growing up under our roof! Ha Ha!
Anyway, I wanted to get this recipe to you all because it is definitely worth your time this weekend. Make this. Slice it. Snack a little. And then make French Toast. For Dinner. Because you should also sleep in and enjoy your weekend. Really. Make it first thing in the morning, then get ready for your day, while it rises. After lunch, roll it out and bake! Bam. Super easy.
(King Arthur Flour Bake Along: January 2018)
1/2 cup warm water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast*
Measure out your flour by scooping and leveling. Don't let it be overflowing.
Mix the ingredients in your mixer, using the dough hook. The dough will be kind of rough looking. Keep kneading in your mixer until it turns nice and soft. Grease a bowl, and place the dough in it. Cover and let it rise for about 2 hours. It will get puffy, but not double in size.
Decide on how you will braid the bread. The bake along blog shows how to do the 6 strand, plus there are a ton of tutorials on you tube for making a Challah braid. Find the one that works for you.
Divide your your dough in to the amount of strands you want. I recommend weighing your dough on a food scale so you have equal dough strands. Shape each of your pieces into a log. Cover those babies up and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Roll each piece into long, skinny ropes. I found that when they seemed to stop getting longer, I let it rest for a few minutes and then continued to roll them. There's something scientific about letting the gluten relax. . . I dunno, but it works.
Attatch your strands at the top and follow the tutorial of your choice, depending on your braid. The King Arthur Flour Blog tutorial is great! The three strand braid is just like you would braid a little girls hair. Easy Peasy.
Place your loaf on a your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let it rise for another 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 375 and brush your bread gently with an egg wash (whisk an egg and a splash of water together). Bake for 20 minutes. Check to see if it is a deep golden brown. If it is, place a tented piece of foil over the top. If not bake for 10 more minutes and then tent. Once you've tented it, bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.
Let it cool. . . if you can. Just make sure you don't burn your fingers. This bread is wonderful!
*original used instant yeast, I used active dry yeast.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Needless to say, when you have a sick kid, plans don't always go as planned, so I thought I would sit here and finish this blog post I started earlier in the week. Weston turned 7 on the first and planning his parties is always so hard so soon after Christmas. This year, when the kids decided they didn't want our Crayon Lego Valentines, I knew we had to use up our old crayon stash somehow and so I thought about using them for favors for a Lego themed party. Let's just say the idea was well received!
This year, we kept things a little bit simpler and hosted the party for family and a few friends. Small and sweet with plenty of activities and games to keep the kids busy. We had a few snacks, including some delicious popcorn from a local popcorn company. For the most part, I kept things super simple.
I also had planned a race a lego car station, but that never happened. Partly because I couldn't find anything to be my track. Bummer, but I don't think we would have had time!
And that's Weston's party. A HUGE thank you to my BFF Stephanie for capturing the day with her camera! It was so nice to not have to worry about taking pictures so I could be fully present at my son's birthday!
Have a great weekend!
Monday, February 12, 2018
I know that Pinterest is full of wonderful ideas for Valentines, and we always opt for non candy treats. I'm not exactly sure when Valentines switched to being treat plus card, but it does make it fun and teaches our kids to be generous and thoughtful and I am okay with that. I'm not really okay with all the candy that makes its way into our house and I kind of feel bad that the majority of it goes in the trash (I am totally that mom!). But, I know that my kids jump on the crazy train with too much dyes and so we avoid a lot of those candy. Weston also has a food allergy, so really most chocolates (even the darks) that you buy at Target have milk in them and most of the candy has soy (even dum dums). Thankfully, we always keep a stash of friendly candy so they don't seem to care.
The past few years, we have made crayons using fun silicone ice cube trays with our old crayons and it has been so much fun! We don't spend tons of money on them and they always are a hit. I was full on ready to start making crayons when the kids ganged up on me and said NO MORE CRAYONS. I was kind of sad because how else was I going to get rid of our stash? (I solved that problem very quick!). You can find those printables on this page and the tutorial here.
Here's how to make them. Click on the link below and print them out on card stock and in color. I ordered them on Office Depot's website and picked them up the next day. Their copies always turn out super pretty! It also doesn't waste my ink and I had to print them for two classes. Then, I cut them out and whole punched them using a regular sized punch. I did this while finishing up the IF:Gathering streaming. If you have bigger kids. . . totally put them to work! The kids wrote the to and froms on the back and I put the glow sticks in because I didn't want them to break before they made it into their friends collection. Super easy. It also ended up costing about $10 all together for two classes. Not too shabby, I think!
Also, I feel should say this: Please use these for your own personal use.
Post your finished product on instagram or Facebook and tag me @jolieklassen or use the hashtag #outoftherightbrainblog. . . I love to see what you all come up with!
Happy Valentine's Day!