In the midst of moving and packing and renovating while trying to keep life as close to normal a possible, I caved and tried out sheet-pan dinners. And I am IN LOVE! Read More
I’ve been a little lacking in keeping up with this blog since we found out we were moving back home last year. It’s been a whirlwind—hubby’s new job offer came while we were in Disney last September, and three and a half weeks later we were packed and moved. Easy-peasy, right?
The weather in NC was fabulous–but that wasn’t enough to make up for all the family events we missed out on when we were far away. Of course, that was one of the main reasons we jumped at the opportunity to move back to PA a few months ago.
The months since we are back have flown by–birthday parties, drinks, and dinners, weddings, holiday get togethers. All things we had to either plan months in advance or skip when we lived far away.
It has been beautiful in PA–60s and 70s two weekends in a row. It is showing us what summer will hold–playing outside with the kids, pool parties, baseball games, and more fun in the sun.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you live close to your family? Have a lot of family events? If not, how do you chose what events to travel for, and which to skip out on?
For years, Hubby and I have tried to eat a primarily from-scratch diet with lots of fresh veggies and fruits. Over the last year or so, we have tried to cut back on sugar a bit too.
It’s not that we never have an all out sugary dessert–we do, though we have tried to cut back on portions. But, we have also looked for other, healthier options to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I have never been a ricotta cheese fan, but a few of my favorite traditional desserts (mmm, cannoli) are ricotta based, so when I heard about this one, I decided to give it a go.
This is super-simple, and can be made with any fresh or frozen fruit. I like to use whole milk ricotta, but part skim works, too. (With the full-fat ricotta and frozen cherries, this is approximately 170 calories, with 24 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 7 g fat (5 g saturated), and 6 g protein.)
Cinnamon Ricotta Cherries
- 1/2 cup Frozen Cherries
- 1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1 tsp. Honey
- Dash Cinnamon
- Slightly defrost the cherries, either by placing in the microwave for 30 seconds or allowing to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix cherries with a dash of cinnamon.
- Top with Ricotta.
- Drizzle with honey. If desired, sprinkle with more cinnamon.
I use a 2 Tbsp. cookie scoop to serve the ricotta–2 scoops equal 1/4 cup. This is also great with fresh strawberries or mixed berries, fresh or frozen blueberries, or (hubby’s favorite), fresh pineapple. A little treat without a ton of added sugar. 🙂
Do you have a favorite quick sweet treat that is a little on the healthier side? A go-to shortcut dessert? Let us know in the comments.
We are buried under a half-foot of snow in eastern Pennsylvania, but this week still showed some early signs of spring. Yes, I know that technically spring is still over a month away, but a girl can dream of warm, sunny days even in February, right? 😉
Wednesday was beautiful – 61℉ with mostly sunny skies. I went for what started as a short walk–and finally strolled back in the front door 6.4 miles later.
Unfortunately, as soon as the sun went down, temperatures plummeted, and by midnight it was snowing. I really can’t complain–this is really the first storm of the year. Until now it has been a very mild winter (almost North Carolina like).
Of course, I expect snow this time of year–it is February in the Northeast. But, I also know that there is one other awesome sign of spring that happens this time every year. Truck Day!
If you aren’t a baseball fan, you may be looking at the screen like I am insane right now. Heck, you may be doing that anyway. 😉
Truck Day is the day the MLB teams pack up all the equipment for spring training and head south, in most cases to Florida or Arizona.
I woke up on Monday morning to this:
I am a Phillies fan, but Hubby is a Red Sox fan, so this just made my week! Wednesday, the Phillies truck followed behind.
I love that Phanatic!
Next stop, Spring Training! Pitchers and catchers report on Monday. ❤
Are you on the lookout for signs of spring? What are some of your favorites?
As much as I love to cook, there is one meal hubby and I have never quite gotten the hang of–breakfast. For years, we skipped breakfast more often than we ate it, but in recent years we try hard to start our day with a decent breakfast.
We walked in the grocery store on Saturday to a huge display of butternut squash from a local farm. Hubby and I looked at each other and both said, “risotto.”
I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman a few years ago, and it is so good, I barely make any changes to it, other than how I make the butternut squash. To save a little time, I roast it in a yummy spice rub while I make the risotto. (I wasn’t planning on posting this until I got a few requests for the recipe, so I don’t have a lot of pictures.)
The spice rub is easy–2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon each sage, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. I know it sounds weird, but it works–trust me.
Dice the butternut squash (I should add that I use a whole butternut squash, not just a half, since we like this for a meatless entrée), then spread it on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Add the spice mix, and toss together until evenly coated.
Pop the baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until tender and golden brown.
While that roasts up, add a but of butter to the pan, sauté some onion, add the arborio rice. Make the risotto per the original recipe (found here). At the right time, add in the roasted butternut squash, then finish off the recipe. Yum!
For the record, I have tried the recipe without the cream (I actually use half and half). It is still good, but the cream definitely adds a texture and flavor that makes the extra calories so worth it. 🙂
Roasted Butternut Squash
|1 Medium||Butternut Squash|
|1 Tablespoon||Olive Oil|
|2 Teaspoons||Chili Powder|
|1 Teaspoon||Dried Sage|
|1 Teaspoon||Ground Cinnamon|
|1 Teaspoon||Kosher Salt|
|1 Teaspoon||Black Pepper|
|1 Teaspoon||Brown Sugar|
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Peel, remove seeds, and dice a whole butternut squash. Spread on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss together.
- in a small bowl, mix chili powder, cinnamon, sage, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Sprinkle entire mixture over the butternut squash. Use your hands to coat completely.
- Roast in the oven about 20 minutes until tender and golden brown.
- Add to your favorite recipe (such as this risotto) and enjoy!
This roasted squash is also great on its own as a simple side dish, or tossed with some store-bough ravioli, a little cream, and some parmesan cheese for a quick meatless meal.
Do you have a favorite butternut squash recipe? Any go-to ingredients when putting together a meatless meal? And are you as excited as I am to be seeing all of this lovely fall produce in the stores? #yum
I found myself with a touch of a sweet tooth after work last week, and editing my culinary cozy mystery was not helping the issue. When my main character whipped up a batch of biscotti, it seemed like the perfect time to try a new recipe.
This makes a lot of biscotti, but they freeze up very nicely. Just take them out for a half hour or so before you want to eat them. Home-baked treat whenever you want them. 🙂
Chocolate Chip Pecan Biscotti
|2 Cups||All Purpose Flour|
|1 tsp.||Ground Cinnamon|
|1 tsp.||Baking Powder|
|4 Tbsp.||Cold Butter, cut in chunks|
|1 Cup||Good-quality Dark Chocolate Chips or Coarsely Chopped Dark Chocolate|
|1 Cup||Chopped Pecans|
|1 tsp.||Vanilla Extract|
|1/2 tsp.||Almond Extract|
|Course Sugar (Optional)|
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, and Salt. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or 2 butter knives until incorporated and crumbly.
- Add eggs, and stir until incorporated. Stir in remaining ingredients, then knead in bowl until fully combined.
- Place dough on a floured surface. Knead a few more times, then divide in half. Shape each half into a log about 2 inches wide and 1 inch tall.
- Place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice each log into 1/2 inch slices, cut on a diagonal. Lay each slice on its side on the baking sheet. They can be close, but not touching the other cookies. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm.
- Cool completely on cooling racks. The biscotti will continue to harden as they cool.
- Enjoy! 🙂
Off to work–with a tasty treat in my lunch bag. Hope you have a wonderful day! ❤️
Hubby and I have felt a little under the weather lately, thanks to a brutal allergy season. Nothing serious–just the usually stuffy head, sore throat, watery-eyed fun that comes with walking out the front door in the morning. 😉
I started out thinking I would make a standard hearty chicken noodle soup, but until I got all the veggies and chicken in, there was no room for noodles!
This was super-easy to throw together–I just roasted a bunch of vegetables, browned the chicken, added the roasted veggies and a bit of wine, cooked a few minutes, and added the stock. Just before serving, I added a splash of cream and a bit of fresh-grated parmesan cheese. Easy-peasy!
Easy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder
|1 lb||Creamer Potatoes, cleaned and quartered|
|3 Cups||Mushrooms, Cleaned and sliced|
|2||Leeks, halved and thinly sliced|
|2 Tbsp.||Olive Oil, divided|
|1.5 lbs.||Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1-inch chunks|
|1.5 tsp.||Montreal Steak Seasoning|
|1 bag||Frozen Mixed Vegetables (12-16 oz)|
|1 cup||Dry White Wine|
|1 box||Chicken Stock (4 cups)|
|1/4 Cup||Half and Half|
|1/2 Cup||Shredded Parmesan Cheese|
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Prepare Potatoes, Mushrooms, Leeks, and Onion and add to a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Mix with your hands and spread the vegetables on the baking tray evenly. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken with the Montreal Steak Seasoning (or other seasoning blend of your choice). Let sit 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining Olive Oil to a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the frozen vegetables and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the Dutch Oven. Add the wine and stir. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add the chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover the pot and cook 20 minutes.
- Stir in the Parmesan and Half and Half. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve and enjoy!
I used salted chicken stock (I prefer Kitchen Basics brand), and the Montreal Steak Seasoning has a lot of salt, so I went light on the salt on the veggies and didn’t add any more salt to the chicken or mixed vegetables. I did add extra pepper. Hubby thought it was perfect, though I did salt it a bit at the table.
Do you ever get a soup craving in summer? Have a go-to dish when you are feeling blah? Please share! 🙂