Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Glazed Double Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

       It is NO secret that I am not much of a baker.  BUT, Uncle Bee is much more patient than I, and he loves to bake!  So we spent a couple of hours yesterday cooking together and baked this AMAZING bread.  Oh my goodness!  No words can describe how delicious it turned out and how wonderful it made my house smell!!!!  It was also incredibly easy as well.  If you only bake 1 thing this month, it needs to be this recipe!  BRING ON FALL! 

Glazed Double Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
1.5 cups canola oil
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
For the glaze
1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream 
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in both kinds of chocolate chips.  
Pour into two greased 8x4 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans onto wire racks.  Cool for 2 hours before glazing.  Prepare the glaze by mixing confectioner sugar and cream.  (You may need a little more or less cream depending on the thickness you want)  Drizzle glaze over both and slice and serve!  
*Note* The white chocolate chips seemed to disappear after it was baked, but the taste was SPOT ON!  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Loaded Macaroni Salad

Good morning!  Today I am sharing one of my all time favorite salads.  I was hesitant to blog this recipe because I have never made it the exact same way twice, but ultimately decided it was just too yummy not to include!  I am OBSESSED with the dressing in this salad.  You can definitely adjust this recipe to your tastes.  I use whatever veggies I have on hand that need to be used up!  I hope y'all enjoy it!  

Loaded Macaroni Salad
2 cups macaroni noodles, measured dry then cooked al dente
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, or half of a large onion, diced
extra sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
For the dressing
Apple Cider Vinegar
salt and pepper 
Prepare macaroni noodles and cook bacon while you are chopping your vegetables.  Drain noodles VERY well.  Combine noodles, bacon pieces, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumber, and onion.  Stir to combine.  Mix up your dressing in a separate bowl.  I did not include amounts for the dressing ingredients, because it is really a personal preference and best if you find the perfect balance for your own tastes.  Once you get the dressing right, stir it into your salad and give it a taste.  Adjust accordingly.  Once your salad is cool enough, add the cubed cheese.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  ENJOY!!  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

{Sweet & Sour} Pork Chops & Vegetables

Long gone are the lazy days of summer!  'Back to school' is one of the busiest times of the year for families.  I find myself including more and more 30 minute, slow cooker, make ahead and super fast clean up meals in our weekly meal plan.   I LOVE the Reynold's Oven Bags and have used them for years, especially when I worked outside of the home and had even less time for cooking and clean up!  The oven bags aren’t just for turkey – you can prepare your main or side dish in a Reynold's Oven Bag for easy prep and easy clean-up.   I was thrilled to be asked to share one of our favorite Reynold's Oven Bag recipes with you guys! 

{Sweet & Sour} Pork Chops & Vegetables
Reynold's Oven Bag
2 Tbsp flour
4 boneless pork chops (about 1.5 lbs)
2 small heads or 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup granulated Sugar
4 tablespoons Ketchup
¼ cup White Vinegar
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
3 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, ketchup, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, chicken bouillon, and garlic. Set aside.  Place flour into an oven bag, keep bag closed tightly and shake the bag around.  Place bag in a 13x9 pan.  Place pork chops in a single layer in the bag.  Put vegetables on top of pork chops, then pour sweet and sour sauce over the vegetables and pork.  Mix it around a little with your hand outside the bag to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed.  Use the tie to close the oven bag.  Cut 6 half inch slits on the top of the bag to allow steam to escape. Tuck the ends of the bag in the pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until pork is completely cooked through and veggies are tender. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.  

As you can see, Reynolds Oven Bags aren’t just for baking a turkey or chicken. They’re an easy solution for delicious meals with very little clean up.

Try one of these other simple meals that are sure to please the entire family without messing up the kitchen:

Italian Sausage
Prep Oven Bag according to directions on the box.
Fill oven bag with your favorite type of sausage and roughly chopped peppers and onions.
Cook until sausage is well done and vegetables are fork-tender.
Serve with fresh bread.

Mushroom Risotto:
Follow instructions to make Mushroom Risotto on ReynoldsKitchens.com

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Busy Bee's Workouts: Week 3

    This week I completed week 3 of the Couch to 5K program.  I just peeked ahead at week 4 and it's  about to get REAL.  This heat wave we are currently having isn't doing me any favors either, but I did notice a lot more energy in the evenings.  I started taking the kids for a walk after dinner and they love that.    I  am really excited for the coming weeks!  
      I have had a couple of questions about my diet, so I figured I would address that here.  I am not 'dieting', but a couple of months ago I stopped drinking artificially sweetened iced tea and switched to water. Another thing I am doing is trying to up my veggies and fruit intake.  These are simple things I can do, that don't leave me feeling deprived or like I need to eat everything in my fridge at 8pm

My phone broke and I went 2 days without a cell phone, so I moved my runs around because I wasn't comfortable running without a phone. So that is why a couple of my runs are back to back when I usually stagger them.  Here is what my week looked like:

One big difference coming up this week in my workouts is, I feel ready to up my strength training from the couch potato 5 minute plan I have been doing the past few weeks, to full body weight strength training on Wii fit.  I will do this on alternate days from my runs.  

For those of you that have completed the couch to 5K program: What did you do after?  Did you become a regular runner?  Move on the a different exercise?  The program I am doing is 8 weeks so I am nearly halfway through it and trying to decide what to tackle next!

<3 Aunt Bee  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beer Cheese Spread

      I couldn't drink a whole beer if my life depended on it.  I just can't stand the taste.   But you give me some beer cheese and I will eat your under the table.  :-)  This dip/spread is SOOOOO ridiculously good!  I have heard it is an 'acquired taste' but I 'acquired' a taste for it after just 1 bite.  

Beer Cheese Spread
1/2 cup FLAT BEER
1/2 cup whole milk
16 ounces of cheese (freshly grated, not the prepackaged stuff!)
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
The night before, open the beer to let it go flat before making the dip.  To make the dip combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.  You can add a couple of tablespoons more of milk if you want it smoother, but we like it chunky!  Serve with veggies and crackers!

For more delicious football food and party appetizers, check out Tailgate Touchdown!

Greek Yogurt & Dill Veggie Dip

          I am convinced anything made with Greek yogurt HAS to be healthy.  This veggie dip is so good, you can ACTUALLY eat raw veggies with it!  Who knew???? This recipe is from my fabulous sister (who just so happens to be an awesome photographer!  Anyone in the Birmingham, Alabama area look her up!)   I have found that, if I have a yummy homemade dip or dressing in the fridge, I am SO much more likely to snack on veggies!  I hope y'all like this dip as much as we do! 

Greek Yogurt Dill Dip
1/2 cup Stoneyfield Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Mayo
1/4 cup Fresh Dill, chopped
3 TBSP Feta
3 Garlic cloves, chopped
3 TBSP Onion, finely diced (Can substitute dried minced onion)
Salt to taste
Mix all together and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. Serve with veggies and crackers!

For more delicious football food and party appetizers, check out Tailgate Touchdown!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meat Lover's {Ultimate} Rigatoni Bake

        I have been making this pasta bake for YEARS and can't believe I am just now getting around to posting it!  This recipe is so delicious and extremely easy, because it uses jarred pasta sauce!  No one would ever believe it came from a jar though because of 1 little secret ingredient>>>>> a splash of red wine!  Give this one a try!  :-)  We served this with a salad with Creamy Italian Dressing and Parmesan Ranch Garlic Bread.  

Meat Lover's {Ultimate} Rigatoni Bake
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 oz pepperoni, chopped
48 oz (6 cups) of your favorite pasta sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
12 oz rigatoni noodles, cooked 1 minute less than al dente
16 oz cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese (I really just dump a ton of cheese on top without measuring Ha!)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Add oil to the pan over medium high heat.  Add crumbled Italian sausage and onion and cook until brown.  Add minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.  Add wine, pasta sauce, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, cooked bacon, and pepperoni.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from heat and stir in cooked noodles.  In a 13x9 pan, sprayed with pam, add half of the noodle and meat sauce mixture.  Top with cottage cheese then the other half of the pasta mixture.  Finally, add the mozzarella cheese then the parmesan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.  
Edited to add: If you DON'T want to cook with red wine, you CAN sub 1/4 cup beef broth :-)

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