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Food & Recipes

Our Family’s All-Time Favorite Biscuits

March 6, 2019

Hi friends! I can’t believe that I don’t have this recipe up on the blog. It’s our family’s absolute favorite biscuit recipe and the recipe that my mom made for me growing up, too. I realized I do have a version of this recipe up on the site from years ago, but for some reason I made them with whole wheat flour rather than all purpose flour, a decision I don’t really understand since these biscuits really should just be made with all purpose flour. They are flaky, buttery, perfectly delicious.

Every single time I ask Joe on the weekends, “What would you like for breakfast?” He gets a sly little smile on his face and says, “You don’t want to make biscuits, do you?” Thankfully, they are so easy to make that I am usually happy to oblige. And once you have the method and recipe down, it’s easy to remember and recreate from heart, no recipe needed!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2%)
Additional milk for brushing on top of biscuits

Directions
Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper OR use a cast-iron skillet for baking biscuits. If you use a cast-iron skillet, you can skip the parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add butter to flour mixture and use pastry blender or fork to work butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with some slightly larger pieces remaining.

Add milk to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Turn mixture out onto countertop and bring mixture together with your hands. Knead 3 to 4 times until dough comes together. Flatten into a 1/2-inch-thick disc. Fold dough in half crosswise to make a double thickness of dough.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut biscuits from dough. Place on baking sheet or into cast iron skillet. Brush biscuits lightly with milk, if desired. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and fluffy.

Serve with butter, jam or honey!

Easy Beef + Bean Enchiladas

February 26, 2019

We might as well just call these “pregnancy enchiladas” since this seems to be one of the few foods that regularly sounds good to me. Even 16+ weeks into this pregnancy I’m still feeling pretty sick to my stomach most days and enchiladas are one of the few foods that I can count on to sit well with me.

While I tend to prefer enchiladas from a taste perspective with regular-old white soft taco shells, for the sake of health seeing as that I’m eating SO MANY enchiladas these days, I’ve been reaching for the whole wheat shells instead. Either will work and both taste delicious!

Easy Beef + Bean Enchiladas
Makes 8 enchiladas
INGREDIENTS
1 can (19 oz) red enchilada sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced (for ease and weeknight cooking, I buy jarred garlic)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained but not rinsed
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or sharp cheddar, divided
8 whole wheat or white standard-sized soft taco shells (8-inch)

DIRECTIONS
Heat oven to 375°F. Pour 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish and spread to evenly coat the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef; drain excess grease. Return beef to pan and add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more or until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat. Add in the black beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, onion powder, water and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Stir until combined.

Spoon mixture by 1/2 cupfuls into the center of eat taco shell. Roll up and arrange filled shells in the prepared pan. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce; top with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until bubbly and edges are just slightly crispy and browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving.


Healthy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles

February 18, 2019

Friends! Do you ever find yourself craving something sweet at the end of the day but aren’t quite sure what you want/you want something sweet that won’t totally derail your healthy eating efforts? I hope it’s not just me who suffers from this issue. Actually, over time and years of healthy eating, most nights I don’t want something super sugary or indulgent because my body prefers lower-sugar sweet “treats” now that I consume less sugar day-to-day.

Usually I reach for regular old dark chocolate, but lately I’ve been craving something different. So what’s a girl to do? Create her own treat, of course! I mixed a batch of these up over the weekend, and then another batch because I felt they could be just a bit better if they were covered in chocolate, of course, rather than having the chocolate chopped up an mixed into the truffles. The result was delicious, healthy and satisfying!

HEALTHY CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES
Makes 14 truffles
INGREDIENTS
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate protein powder (I used Beachbody’s Chocolate Recover)
3 tablespoons honey
3 oz. dark chocolate (I used a Lindt Dark Chocolate Coconut bar)

DIRECTIONS
Place oats in a high-powered blender and process until a fine flour forms with no clumps remaining. Transfer oat flour to a bowl. Add peanut butter, chocolate protein powder and honey to the bowl.

Use a spatula, or better yet your hands, to evenly combine the mixture into a dough. Shape dough into 14 balls.

Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Drop truffles, one at a time, into the chocolate, turning to coat. transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Family

Homemade Valentine’s Cookie Bouquet

February 8, 2019

This post is sponsored by Soapbox Influence in partnership with Vanilla Gift Cards.  As always, all opinions are my own. I carefully select which sponsored posts to take on with YOU, my awesome readers in mind! I hope this party helps inspire you this holiday season. #VanillaValentine #VanillaGiftCards

This is the first year that Ainsley has been in any type of formal school (she is in 3-year-old preschool this year) and as my kids have gotten into more and more activities I’ve realized how my mindset around holidays has shifted as well.

While Valentine’s Day in my 20’s was all about romantic love, boyfriends, eventually my husband and things we did as a couple, the last couple years there has been a definite shift toward class parties, Valentine’s Day card exchanges, teacher gifts and more. Don’t get me wrong, I still make plenty of time to show Joe that he matters most to me, but the focus on what I’m getting out of Valentine’s Day has become less and less important.

Since I’m never really the “do things in advance” type mom (and I’ve come to accept this about myself and my life stage) I’m usually doing a craft with Ainsley at the last minute to get ready for “Love Day” as Ainsley likes to call it.

Decorating cookies is a favorite activity in our house, no matter the time of year, so I decided to take Ainsley’s favorite thing to do and put a fun Valentine’s Day spin on decorated sugar cookies! We made a DYI cookie bouquet with heart-shaped cookies, put the cookies in a decorative vase, and paired it with a Vanilla Gift Card from Walmart for a little extra something special. This would be a perfect gift for kid’s teachers, family members, Sunday school teachers and more. I mean, who doesn’t love cookies and gift cards?

If left to my own devices, I would have probably done fancier decorated cookies, but since this was a mommy + me craft, I let Ainsley have full creative control with the cookie toppings of sprinkles and decorative pink frosting. 😉

DETAILS //
I bought a wire vase pre-wrapped with burlap at our local craft store and put a florist’s block (the green foam) inside. Then I stuck each cookie into the foam and taped the gift card onto one of the craft sticks and inserted it into the foam as well. It was SO easy!

CUT-OUT COOKIE RECIPE //
(from a really old “Christmas Cookies” book by Southern Living)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Desired vanilla frosting of choice and toppings, such as sprinkles and colored frosting

Directions
Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, blending well (dough will be very stiff)

Divide dough into thirds; roll each portion to 1/4-inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with heart-shaped cutters and place 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Firmly press a paper craft stick into each cookie. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Frost as desired.

Roasted Tomato Soup

February 5, 2019

I’m super thankful that although I’ve felt horrible this pregnancy (worse than the girls!) I haven’t really had any food aversions like I did with both Ainsley and Collins. Food doesn’t really sound good or satisfy, but it’s pretty universal across all food groups. So, with that said, I’ve still been eating plenty of vegetables and relatively healthy options.

About a month ago Joe said tomato soup and grilled cheese sounded good, and I have to agree that it’s sounded appealing this entire pregnancy so far. So I made a batch of homemade tomato soup, and then I tweaked it a bit and made it again and again. And now, I’ve got the method down and think I might make tomato soup every week until warmer temps are here.

Joe LOVES this recipe, as do I, and I love that it’s made with really clean ingredients and no cream, yet it still tastes remarkably hearty and satisfying on a chilly day. It also works great as leftovers throughout the week and is fantastic served with toasted sourdough.

Full disclosure: The girls do not care for tomato soup, but I torture then with it anyway and can usually at least get them to agree to the grilled cheese it’s often served with.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Ingredients
3-4 lbs. Roma tomatoes, halved (I estimate this – enough to fill a 13×9-inch sheet pan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup salted chicken stock
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Caramelized Onions
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Additional grated Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet with foil. Place halved tomatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the minced garlic on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes generously with salt and ground black pepper.

Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until tomatoes are very tender and slightly shriveled around the edges.

Meanwhile, make the onions. In a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, combine the onions and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Place onions and 1 cup chicken stock in a high speed blender along with the grated Parmesan and blend on high 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to stock pot.

When tomatoes are done, working in two batches, place tomatoes in the blender and blend on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture is nearly smooth and no large chunks remain. Place pureed tomatoes in blender with the onion mixture.

Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, adding additional salt and pepper if needed, until flavors are combined and mixture is hot. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.