September 30, 2013

#Sponsored: McCain Potatoes Bring Families Together

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCain Foods. I received a sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

Growing up my dad was insistent on big Sunday breakfasts. He worked a hard blue collar job during the week and on Sundays he wanted pancakes, bacon, sausage and most of all fried potatoes. The fried potatoes were the star of meal for him. He was so picky that I wasn't allowed to touch them. Apparently I have a tendency to over flip roasted potatoes, making them not have that great crispy brown bottom. This same problem has been expressed by my husband, who also insists on making the fried potatoes himself. Needless of who prepared the potatoes, potatoes were a central part of our family meals growing up. We were a meat and potatoes kind of family and my dad insisted on potatoes every way they could be made. Now that I am grown up and have my own family, my two boys have the same philosophy. They love potatoes and will eat them as much as I offer them. While I love making most things from scratch, my family loves frozen potatoes and my boys request them frequently. Plus frozen french fries are vastly more convenient than making them from scratch. While there are several brands of frozen potatoes, my family tends to stick to just a few. McCain potatoes are a favorite of my kids and I use them both in recipes and by themselves.
McCain potatoes come in a variety of flavors. They are all natural and are great alone or in recipes. While most people are familiar with using frozen potatoes as sides, casseroles or breakfast dishes they can also be used in desserts. Since I love to bake I made a gluten free Potato Spice Cake using their whole baby potatoes.
Click for Recipe for Gluten Free Potato Spice Cake
Gluten Free Potato Spice Cake

Here is the link to the recipe.

My kids love the smiley face potatoes. They taste like mashed potatoes and are a nice side to red meat or chicken.
Image of Smiley Face Potatoes
Smiley Face Potatoes

Right now McCain Potatoes is having a McCain Grocery Goodness Giveaway. Winning free groceries is always nice, here are the details:

"McCain Potatoes is running a Facebook Contest where they will select 1 winner each week (8 winners total) to receive a $500 grocery store gift card! Contestants can also check out the Grocery Goodness Giveaway tab for to receive a $1 off coupon off any 1 bag of McCain Potato products!"

Here is the link to enter the giveaway and links to their facebook and website:

September 28, 2013

#Sponsored: Pompeian Olive Oil and a Recipe for Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

 received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 here! 

Growing up my mother used a ton of olive oil. She would buy the huge drums of olive oil and bake, cook, and even use it on her skin. When olive oil gained popularity my mother found it funny since she had always been an advocate of its many uses. Olive oil is a staple in my house too. I use it in dressings, for grilling, pan cooking and desserts. It has so many great uses and I love that it's heart healthy. Recently I was given the opportunity to try Pompeian Olive Oil and use it in a few recipes.

Here is a little background on the company. "After establishing a headquarters in Baltimore in 1906, Pompeian began importing olive oil in bulk, then blending and bottling it fresh daily here in the U.S., we're the only national brand olive oil producer to do so." They have a variety of products other than olive oil also including vinegars, grapeseed oil and cooking wines. I used the olive oil that I received to make a salad following one of the recipes on their site, it is as follows (printed with permission):

Click for recipe for Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

  • 3 medium beets
  • 3 tablespoons Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Pompeian white balsamic vinegar pomegranate infused or pompeian balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 1/3 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 2 ounce of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim beet stems, leaving 1 inch attached. Place beets on a small sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of water over beets and seal foil. Place foil packet on a small baking tray and roast in preheated oven for 1 hour or until beets are tender. Open packet and cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until blended. Peel and dice beets.

Place baby spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with diced beets, crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnuts. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

The salad turned out great. The only thing I would change is to use roasted garlic instead of fresh. The fresh garlic was a little too strong. I also used pecans instead of walnuts, but that is just a personal preference.

So what did I think of the olive oil? The flavor was great in the salad dressing. I have also used it to saute and in a baked good. They all turned out great and the olive oil had a nice taste without being overpowering. I like that it is easily available in my area (trust me that can be a big thing!) and that the cost is reasonable. Now I just need to see if they make the giant drum size containers since I go through a ton of olive oil! 

Here are a few links to check out:

September 27, 2013

Pumpkin Fudge from Allrecipes Magazine

Click for Recipe for Pumpkin Fudge
Pumpkin Fudge

We had to put our oldest male dog to sleep today. He got a very aggressive form of bone cancer and within a month could no longer walk and was barely eating. It was time. My two sons cried for almost 2 hours straight this evening. I felt horrible for them and wish that I could have taken away their pain. Tomorrow we are going to paint a brick and make a gravestone for our backyard. They are intrigued by this idea and I am hoping it will help them with the grieving process. When we lost our oldest female dog a few years back they were too young to remember or understand. Today was very different. I spent most of the evening explaining what it means when something passes away. That is such a hard topic for anyone to process so I hope I did an adequate job. My husband and I adopted our dog from the pound a year after we were married. We had just graduated from graduate school and were looking for work. It was a rough year, we both worked 3 jobs at the mall to make ends meet. Our male dog brought joy into a stressful period. I will always remember him as the bumbling 60 pound puppy that would jump into the air when he was excited. He was the right dog at the right time for us. Since today has been stressful I have done a lot of baking. I bake when I am stressed. After my mother passed away I made 10 dozen cookies. It's my form of therapy and stress relief. This week I tried a new recipe for Pumpkin Fudge from All Recipes Magazine.
Image of Rotary Park Sign Huntington, WV
Rotary Park Sign Huntington, WV

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 16 squares. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, I only made two change. First, I used parchment paper instead of foil. I find that foil shreds too easily when cut upon. Second, I found that I had more than 16 squares when cut. They must have made some very large pieces of fudge in their test kitchen. I also added the 1/8 teaspoon of salt suggested by the magazine.
Image of Rotary Park Overlook Huntington, WV
Rotary Park Overlook Huntington, WV
My family loves pumpkin. I make a ton of pumpkin recipes during the fall and winter, but I had never tried fudge before. My two boys really liked this fudge. It is very different than traditional chocolate fudge, with a nice subtle pumpkin and cinnamon flavor. This would be a nice recipe to take to a party or to host a Halloween get together.

For the recipe go to Pumpkin Fudge.

Pumpkin Fudge

Recipe Type: Dessert
A creamy recipe for Pumpkin Fudge. Great for fall or a party.
Cooking Time: 0h, 20m
Total Time: 1h, 20m
Yield: Serves 16

September 26, 2013

Soft Pretzels from the Food Network Magazine

Soft Pretzels
Soft Pretzels

So apparently I no longer know how to do elementary mathematics. I went through upper level calculus in college, but my 7 year old had to explain his homework to me last night. Just so you don't think I'm a total failure let me give you the background. He was adding three number together (so lets use 4+5+9). I told him to add the first two and then add it to the third. He looked at me and told me I was wrong. What? Then he had to spend 10 minutes explaining how they learned to do it (completely different than I learned). I was so confused until I finally understood it. I laughed telling my husband the story, who still doesn't understand what my son is talking about. I'm just glad that I went to school in the 80's since everything is apparently turned upside down and backwards. The same thing has happened on other assignments. Apparently even though I have a Master's degree I would fail elementary school. My son finds it hilarious, I just remind him if the answer is the same I don't see why it matters how I get to it. It doesn't help that both of my in-laws taught school for 40 years a piece so I am surrounded by teachers. Luckily they don't know how to do his worksheets either. That at least makes me feel slightly better. This has been a long week for my household so I decided to reward my kids with a new recipe for Soft Pretzels from the October 2013 Food Network Magazine.
Image of Rotary Park Huntington, WV
Rotary Park Huntington, WV

This recipe has 6 ingredients. I takes 3 hours of total time, an hour of which is active and makes 12 large pretzels. I followed this recipe pretty closely to the original. I did make a few minor changes. First I found that I only needed 5 cups of flour and I added two more tablespoons of warm water. My dough would not come together with less water. Additionally, I used bread flour instead of all purpose. I turned my oven down to 400 since they browned way too quickly at 425 for the first batch (I baked my pretzels in two batches).
Rotary Park Huntington, WV
Rotary Park Huntington, WV

My husband really thought that these pretzels would go great with beer, mustard or as a sandwich bread with ham. They would also go well with any German dishes especially those with sauerkraut. My two boys loved these pretzels and ate them as soon as they were cool. They do get a little less firm after they are stored so they are best served warm.

For the recipe go to Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

Recipe Type: Snacks
A delicious and straight forward recipe for Soft Pretzels. Great with mustard.
Preparation Time: 2h, 45m
Cooking Time: 15h, 0m
Total Time: 3h, 0m
Yield: Serves 12

September 25, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes

A nutritionist has been talking to my oldest son's class. While this would seem a good thing with most kids, not so with my son. He has decided that all he is now going to eat is salad. Apparently the kids have been told that they need to eat salad with low fat dressing and lots of green veggies. I would see this as great advice for households that rely on a lot of pre-packaged goods. We are not one of those households. The only thing that I buy pre-packaged is cereal. My son is not eating junk food at home and is very thin. He has decided that he should now never eat any red meat or anything high in fat. I'm really not happy with the lesson plan. I understand that our state is overweight. My city has been listed as one of the fatest in America. However, my family is thin. We eat a variety of foods and everything is made from scratch. That also means that I have no problem with my kids enjoying a homemade brownie or french fries from a fast food restaurant occasionally. I am a big proponent of moderation. I also wish that we could educate families about proper nutrition such as recipe selection etc instead of making my thin child think that he can't eat certain foods. I grew up eating red meat, home baked goods and my mother's mean lasagna. If you ask anyone that knows me I am also thin and exercise everyday. The food has not made me fat, I eat decent servings and don't eat to the point I am too full. I hope that my son moves out of this phase. I talked to him about healthy food choices and that those choices can include higher fats as long as there is balance. Today's recipe is an example. My youngest loves pancakes, I love him eating foods with vitamins. So I tried a new recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes from the Food Network.
Disc Golf Rotary Park Huntington, WV
Disc Golf Rotary Park Huntington, WV

This recipe has 14 ingredients (I only followed the part of the recipe for the pancakes). It takes 30 minutes all of which is active (different than the original recipe) and makes 4 servings. I made a large number of changes to the original recipe. The original recipe had a syrup and whipped cream, I prefer my kids to only have butter on their pancakes since too much sugar can make them a little wild. Additionally I made this batch gluten free using gluten free all purpose flour. Whenever you convert to gluten free you need to add more liquid, I added more buttermilk until the batter had a thinner consistency. I substituted low fat buttermilk for the half and half and used all canola oil instead of butter. I made the pancakes on my griddle, it's a great way to ensure nicely browned pancakes. Finally, I reduced the sugar to an 1/8 cup since my youngest doesn't like things too sweet.
Look Out Tower Rotary Park Huntington, WV
Look Out Tower Rotary Park Huntington, WV

I doubled this recipe so my youngest had enough to snack on the rest of the day. They turned out very nicely and had a great pumpkin taste. Instead of topping them with syrup we ate them with melted butter and they were perfect. They are a nice way to celebrate fall and pumpkin is great since it is full of vitamins A and C. If you aren't a fan of pancakes I use pumpkin all the time in smoothies and they are delicious!

For the recipe go to Pumpkin Pancakes.

September 22, 2013

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Click for recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Traditional Irish Soda Bread

I live in the state of West Virginia. Not Virginia. I have only been to Virginia once in college for a conference in Richmond. It was nice, but not my state. All of this has to do with an experience I had a couple of weeks back. I had a bad experience at a major fast food chain and went to their Facebook page to complain. I went to the drop down menu on the complaint form and my state wasn't there. There was a state abbreviated as WE. Ummm, okay that must mean that South Carolina is SO, oh wait that means that South Dakota would be the same abbreviation. It just doesn't work and there is no legal abbreviation of West Virginia that makes it WE. This experience only reminded me that my state is often the forgotten state. We make the news for being over weight, poor or having beautiful scenery and not much else. I wish that would change. West Virginia is a beautiful state, but it is much more than that. It is the state that I moved 2500 miles away from home and decided to make my life 'home' with my family. It's the state I am raising my kids. We are kind, smart and educated people. While we might talk with an accent we aren't stupid. Most West Virginians would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. While the pace might be a little slow, or people like to sit on their porch in the evenings it isn't because we are lazy. We have learned what it means to enjoy the journey.  I hope that by the time my kids are adults that West Virginia has stopped being the forgotten state and has started being recognized for so much more. West Virginians have a wealth of knowledge and kindness to be offered if given the chance. Many states could learn a lot by being a little bit more 'West Virginian'. Now onto the food (WV also has great food!). Last week I made one of my favorite recipes for Irish Soda Bread. I make it frequently for my family and it's so good.
Image of Harris Riverfront Park, Huntington, WV
Harris Riverfront Park, Huntington, WV

This recipe has 4 ingredients. It takes an hour of total time, 15 minutes of which is active and makes 16 servings. I have made this bread for years. There are always a few changes I make to recipe. First, my husband and kids prefer the recipe with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. I use bread flour for this recipe, it gives it a nice texture. If you use the 14 ounces of buttermilk in the original recipe the bread can be a little hard to put together. I normally add 2 more ounces so the dough sticks together and forms a ball. Make sure to make a cross on the top of the bread for a nice crust.
Image of Huntington, WV Flood Wall
Huntington, WV Flood Wall

I have been making this recipe for years and my family loves it. It was one of my favorite bread recipes when I could still eat gluten (now when I make wheat bread I wear gloves and make sure not to cross contaminate etc). If you prefer whole wheat flour you can also make brown soda bread. I have made it a few times and it is also very good. Make sure to eat the soda bread within a day or two, it dries out very quickly.

For the recipe go to Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Recipe Type: Bread
A simple recipe for traditional Irish soda bread using cake pans. Great crust!
Preparation Time: 0h, 15m
Cooking Time: 0h, 45m
Total Time: 0h, 60m
Yield: Serves 16

September 18, 2013

Chicken Stew with Turnips and Mushrooms from Eating Well Magazine

Click for Recipe for Chicken Stew with Turnip and Mushrooms
Chicken Stew with Turnip and Mushrooms

I love fall. Hot weather isn't something I do well with and most of the summer I stay indoors. Growing up in Seattle it was never overly hot and the humidity was low. Then I moved to West Virginia. The humidity and heat almost did me in the first summer. It didn't help that we had a heat wave and the day my husband and I got married it was almost 100 (and yes my husband and I met and got married in only 11 months - sometimes things just fall into place). Fall is a total other story. I love fall in my state. The leaves are beautiful here and the weather is mild. Plus it means lots of soups, stews, and chili. It is by far my favorite time of the year. Tonight I tried a new recipe for Chicken Stew with Turnips and Mushrooms from the October 2013 issue of Eating Well magazine.
Sculpture Ritter Park Huntington, WV
Sculpture Ritter Park Huntington, WV

This recipe has 14 ingredients. It takes 45 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 6 servings. I only made a few modifications to the original recipe. First, I used baby kale. I was so happy to have found  washed and ready to eat baby kale at the store this week. It's a new item and I scooped it up. So much easier than washing and cutting regular kale. In order to have the turnips fully cooked it took approximately 10 minutes more than the recipe suggested. I really don't like the texture of undercooked turnips. I served the stew with homemade Irish soda bread.
Bridge Ritter Park Huntington, WV
Bridge Ritter Park Huntington, WV

My whole family enjoyed this stew. The flavor was great and the fact that it had mushrooms was the selling point for my two boys. They are both obsessed with mushrooms. The stew was perfect for a cool evening and serving it with Irish soda bread was a nice combination since the bread could sop up the stew. This is definitely a recipe I would make again. If you aren't a fan of turnips this recipe would also work well with potatoes, sweet potatoes or parsnips.

For the recipe go to Chicken Stew with Turnip and Mushrooms.

Chicken Stew with Turnip and Mushrooms

Recipe Type: Main
A filling chicken stew recipe with baby kale, turnips and mushrooms. Perfect for fall and winter!
Preparation Time: 0h, 15m
Cooking Time: 0h, 30m
Total Time: 0h, 45m
Yield: Serves 6

September 17, 2013

Living with Gluten Issues

Sorry for the lack of recipe posts in the last week. My gluten issues struck me hard last weekend and I was very sick for the last three days. As you know from reading my recipe modifications I don't eat gluten. What I don't really talk about is what that means for my life in general.

This weekend I ate out with my family. I was tired and didn't look up the gluten free menu ahead of time. It is always hit or miss with eating at restaurants to begin with. Someone might use the same knife on a wheat sandwich and then cut my salad. While this might not effect me 8 out of 10 times, the other 2 times I will get a very bad reaction. Last weekend was one of those times. We got home, I went to bed and woke up very sick. For the next three days my intestines were in agony. I get sweats, cramps and what basically feels like the worst case of food poisoning you've ever had. That was what happened to me the last three days.

After the reaction has run it's course I am fine. I have had it happen to me many times over the years before I was formally diagnosed. My mother used to think that I just had a sensitive stomach. Luckily last year I was finally able to figure out what has been a life long struggle and was formally diagnosed. I was also luckily that I knew that celiac disease ran in my family and that gluten issues could be a genetic issue for me. Going into the doctor I knew what blood tests, symptoms etc I needed to discuss. A lot of people go a lot longer without being diagnosed formally. 

So I'm sorry that I have been a little MIA. Life is back to normal and I should have regular recipe posts starting tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a great week!

September 16, 2013

Fashionable Kids Clothes at Alex and Alexa

Disclaimer: I received compensation in exchange for this post. As always all opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Growing up I was a clothes horse. My mother was too, she was great at finding reasonably priced fashionable clothes. I assumed after I had kids that it would be easy to find great clothes and shopping would be fun. Then I had two boys. While there are great options for girls at just about every store, finding fashionable clothes for boys can be a little more difficult. Plus I have two vastly different children when it comes to style. My oldest is preppy and loves fedoras, my youngest has long hair and likes laid back skater clothes and trucker hats. I allow them to pick out their own looks and they rarely agree on anything with regards to clothing. A few years back I began buying pieces on-line. I like the convenience and that I can find a larger selection of boys clothes. This is especially nice when I want to spend a little more for a great piece for a more formal occasion or a gift. One site that has a great selection of boys clothes is Alex and Alexa.

Alex and Alexa has a variety of clothing for babies, girls, and boys. I created a wish list for my two boys. I like that the site has options that both of my boys would love. First up is my youngest son. My oldest son is 4 1/2 and this is the wishlist I created for him.
Alex and Alexa Wishlist for My Youngest - 4 1/2 Years Old
Wishlist for My Youngest - 4 1/2 Years Old

I love how many styles the site has available and my son pointed out many of my selections. He really loves the Batman hat and sweater. I might have to pass it on to my in-laws for Christmas gifts.

Now for the selections for my oldest son. My oldest son is 7 1/2 and has a more preppy style than my youngest. This is my wishlist for him.
Alex and Alexa Wishlist for My Oldest - 7 1/2 Years Old
Wishlist for My Oldest - 7 1/2 Years Old

I love that the site has hats. My oldest son is obsessed with hats and has more than I can count. Plus the styles are varied which is extremely important when you have two very different sons like I do. 

In addition to the great boys clothes that I picked out they have a large selections of girls and baby clothes, as well as nursery, toys and home items. If your looking for well made clothes and products Alex and Alexa is a great place to shop. The clothes would also make a great gift and they have reasonable shipping prices. Go check out the site for yourself!

September 12, 2013

Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins
Gluten Free Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins

I got stuck in a thunderstorm with a scared and crying 4-year-old today. It seems that every time we have a late summer storm it hits right before I have to go to the bus and wait for my oldest to come home. Now it wouldn't be as bad if the bus actually came in front of our house, it doesn't. I have to walk a block down the street and across to wait for the bus. Plus the bus is never on time so I have to arrive 5 minutes early. Today there was lightening, horrible rain and wind waiting for me as I stepped out the door. My 4-year-old was terrified and by the time I got to the bus stop I was sopping wet. It only got better as the tree across the street got struck by lightening and my oldest stepped off the bus crying. It wasn't the best weather scenario to be stuck in. Luckily the nasty weather brought our temperature down 25 degrees from yesterday's high, so I will take the cooler weather. Cooler weather always makes me think forward to fall and most of all fall baking. This week I tried a new recipe for Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins from Martha Stewart Living.
Ritter Park Sign Huntington, WV
Ritter Park Sign Huntington, WV

This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 1 hour of total time, a half hour of which is active and makes 12 muffins. The original recipe was for 8 mini loaves. I have never owned mini loaf pans, with two boys mini loafs just aren't something that would be eaten in my house. Muffins on the other hand are very popular. Plus they are easy for my boys to grab from the kitchen on their own, which is much easier than cutting a loaf of bread for them. I ended up with 12 muffins and my baking time was approximately 20 minutes. I also made a batch of gluten free muffins. For the gluten free version I used gluten free all purpose baking mix. I do make my own gluten free baking mix on occasion, but this time I used pre-made boxed mix. The baking time for the gluten free muffins was around 25 minutes. I did not garnish the finished muffins with sage. I figured the sage flavor would be too intense and I know my two boys would comment and refuse to eat them.
Ritter Park Huntington, WV
Ritter Park Huntington, WV
The funny thing with this recipe is that the gluten free muffins turned out higher than the regular muffins. They were crumbly, but that is normal with gluten free baking. The regular muffins were a little intense on the sage flavor for my two boys. It is definitely more of an adult taste, with the browned butter and sage combination. However, I loved the gluten free muffins and ate two while they were still warm. This recipe would also make a great full size loaf, just increase the baking time to about an hour.

For the recipe go to Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins.

Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Muffins

Recipe Type: Muffins
A simple recipe for pumpkin muffins with fresh sage and browned butter. Great for fall baking!
Preparation Time: 0h, 30m
Cooking Time: 0h, 30m
Total Time: 1h, 0m
Yield: Serves 12

September 11, 2013

Alpina Greek Yogurt Review and Recipes for Greek Yogurt Cheesecake and Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins

received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 here!

I am not a big breakfast eater. Since I was in college I have always pretty much gotten up, had a cup of coffee and started the day. I know it's not great, but old habits die hard. One breakfast food that I can eat all day is Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt, it's taste thick and creamy and is high in protein. A few years back I started baking with Greek yogurt and discovered that it's a great way to reduce fat without sacrificing taste in recipes. Recently, I was given the opportunity to try and review Alpina Greek Yogurt. Here is my review and a few great recipes to try.

I had never seen Alpina Greek yogurt in the store so I was excited to have a chance to try it first hand. In my area only two flavors were available, Honey with Chai Granola and Blueberry. Since I had two flavors I used the blueberry to try a cheesecake recipe and the honey for yogurt muffins. Here are the recipes:
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake


Pie Filling Ingredients
  • 4 Alpina Greek Yogurts (pick one of the following flavors: Mango, Peach, Blueberry,
  • Strawberry or Plain. Equal to 2 cups)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional – recommended if using Plain Greek Yogurt with Superfoods granola blend)
Pie Crust Ingredients
  • 4 Artisan Granola domes (taken off yogurt package)
  • 1/3 cup of nuts (Which nuts to use? Use the guide below: Superfoods=Walnuts |
  • Almond Berry=Almonds | Tropical Chai=Cashews)
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F
  2. In a food processor, chopper or magic bullet, combine the granola, nuts and sugar.
  3. Finely chop. Add butter, if desired, and mix evenly throughout the chopped mixture.
  4. Place into the 10” pie pan and create an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  5. In a blender, combine the yogurt, eggs, salt and sugar (add vanilla if you are using Plain). Blend until smooth. Add cornstarch to mixture and blend again. Pour filling into crust in pie pan.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool then chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.
  8. Once cheesecake is cooled, garnish with fruit if desired.

Yogurt and Granola Pairings: Strawberry and Blueberry Greek Yogurt = Almond Berry | Plain Greek Yogurt = Superfoods | Mango and Peach Greek Yogurt = Tropical Chai.

This recipe originally appeared here.

Here is the recipe for Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins:
Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Muffins
Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Muffins

  • 2 containers of Alpina Revive Vanilla Bean Greek yogurt with Chai Spice granola
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large fresh apple, diced in small chunks
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Pre-Heat Oven to 400 degrees
  • Line a standard size muffin pan with, cupcake paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, Greek yogurt, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, apples, canola oil, vanilla extract. Until well combined.
  • Add flour, granola from the top of the re-start yogurt, baking powder and salt.
  • Slowly stir mixture with whisk until just combined and a few lumps remain.*
  • Spoon batter evenly into the 12 muffin sections.
  • Bake for 15-19 minutes in until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin has no crumbs attached to it.
* Over mixing causes the muffins to be tough and rubbery

This recipe originally appeared here.

My whole family was impressed by these yogurts. The cheesecake was a great gluten free option. I love that the granola is gluten free, it can be very hard and expensive to find gluten free granola. Many brands I have tried have not been crunchy or lacked flavor. The granola with these yogurts was very crunchy and worked well flavor wise with the yogurt. I would definitely buy these yogurts again. I hope that in the future they might be more widely available in my area with a larger selection of flavors. I would love to try the vanilla bean flavor since I am a big fan of vanilla yogurt.

If your interested in trying Alpina yogurt for yourself you can follow the link below:
For more information on the yogurt you can follow the following links: 

September 10, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Strata

Cinnamon Raisin Strata
Cinnamon Raisin Strata

I don't sit still well. I never have. If I don't have a project or something to do, I get bored. Very, very bored. I also fidget all the time. I am one of those people that is always tapping their foot or fingers. It drives my husband nuts. He loves to take naps in the middle of the day, but I just can't do it. The moment I try to lay down I think of something that needs to be done. At any given time I have at least 3 projects that I am working on. Today I decided that I needed to make new covers for the pillows in our living room. This weekend I started re-upholstering our chairs. Last week I painted the bookcase. My brain has the habit of always seeing what needs to be updated or fixed. There are many days that I wish that I was more like my husband. It would be nice if I could sit down and relax occasionally. Cooking is one of the many ways that I distract myself. Last week I tried a new recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Strata from the Eggbeaters website.
Ritter Park Huntington, WV
Ritter Park Huntington, WV

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes 9 1/2 hours of total time (including fridge time), 10 minutes of which is active and makes 9 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First, I made my own cinnamon raisin bread from scratch. Homemade bread is always better than store bought. I allowed the bread to sit in the egg mixture overnight and then cooked it for a little over an hour. I like to have the outside of my strata to turn slightly crispy and brown and cooking it for a little longer than the recipe suggested allowed for this to happen.
Water Fountain Ritter Park, Huntington, WV
Water Fountain Ritter Park, Huntington, WV

I like that this recipe is lower in fat. Per serving it has 9 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein, making it a nice breakfast option. My youngest was a big fan of this recipe. However, I would suggest adding vanilla and more maple syrup, especially if you like your bread dishes sweet.

For the recipe go to Cinnamon Raisin Strata.

Cinnamon Raisin Strata

Recipe Type: Breakfast
A very easy breakfast recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Strata. It has 13 grams of protein per serving.
Preparation Time: 0h, 10m
Total Time: 9h, 30m
Yield: Serves 9

September 6, 2013

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili from Taste of Home Magazine

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili
Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

This morning my youngest ran into the kitchen and announced "I love bacon". Then he ran away into the other room. That's how my household is, the three males in my house have a minor bacon obsession. As I was writing this post my husband went into a 5 minute one sided conversation about how he will only eat crispy bacon and that he judges Tudor's Biscuit World locations (a popular WV breakfast biscuit restaurant) by if they have crispy or chewy bacon. I should be used to this by now since growing up my father insisted on two things for Sunday breakfast, crispy bacon and fried potatoes. Neither of which I was allowed to cook, my bacon was never crispy enough and I have a bad tendency to over flip fried potatoes. A couple of weeks back I made a chocolate cake with bourbon glaze and chocolate covered bacon. My family is still talking about it and honestly I think it might be their favorite thing I have ever made. Maybe I should just cook bacon at every meal and then everything that I make would be well received. My youngest ended the day by informing me that he had seen a sign for bacon donuts and that he wanted one. It looks like I will be spending part of my weekend tracking down this alleged donut or I won't hear the end of it. While the rest of my family is bacon obsessed, I am obsessed with fall foods and in particular pumpkin and apples. Last week I tried a new recipe for Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili from the September/October 2013 issue of Taste of Home Magazine.

Church in the Southside Neighborhood of Huntington, WV
Church in the Southside Neighborhood of Huntington, WV
This recipe has 13 ingredients. It takes 4 hours and 20 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 10 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I made my beans from scratch. I prefer this method since I can control the amount of the salt. I also used my own chicken broth. I don't salt the broth to cut down on sodium. Finally, I didn't add cubed avocado since my kids refuse to eat it currently and I used grilled chicken thighs instead of turkey. I rarely have frozen turkey leftovers, but I frequently have leftover chicken so the substitution was a nice way to save money.

Julian's Market Southside Neighborhood Huntington, WV
Julian's Market Southside Neighborhood Huntington, WV
With only 5 grams of fat this recipe has a lot of protein (16 grams) while being low in fat. Plus since it's all done in the slow cooker it's very easy to prep and makes more than enough for multiple meals. With fall being right around the corner this recipe will be great when the weather turns cooler.

For the recipe go to Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

Recipe Type: Main
Review of Sow Cooker Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili from the September/October issue of Taste of Home magazine. Great for fall!
Preparation Time: 0h, 20m
Cooking Time: 4h, 0m
Total Time: 4h, 20m
Yield: Serves 10
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