Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie

23 Nov

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie
Yesterday  we hosted a Fakesgiving (fake Thanksgiving) at my house for my parents and brother to celebrate together since we are traveling to my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year. I originally planned on doing a scaled-down meal but I just can’t leave well enough alone and ended up with a big ‘ole dinner instead. Noah’s been dying for some pumpkin pie so we whipped this up together the night before.

I wanted to fancy up our pie a bit and you all should know by now that I kind of have a thing for streusel (as evidenced here, here and here….) so when I saw this recipe, I just had to give it a try. I tweaked the recipe a bit and used store-bought pie crusts instead of making my own. The original recipe made a homemade crust in a springform pan for an ultra-deep dish pie and well, as good as that sounded I just didn’t want to go there. I also replaced the walnuts with pecans because that’s what I had in my freezer.
Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie
I’ve eaten a many pumpkin pies in my life but this was my first homemade one and I have to say, it was quite delicious. The addition of the pecan streusel gave a nice texture that pumpkin pie usually lacks.

And the added bonus is that this recipe makes 2 pies so you can keep one for yourself and give one away. Noah’s teachers are going to have a pumpkin pie surprise tomorrow!

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie
recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
yields 2 9-inch deep dish pies

2 9-inch deep dish pie crusts
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
29 ounces (one large can) pure pumpkin puree
12 ounces (one can) evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the pecan streusel:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the streusel: combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and pecans. Cut in the butter until it resembles course sand. Refrigerate until ready for use.

2. For the filling: in a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice. In another bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, heavy cream and vanilla. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until just mixed. Divide the filling evenly between the two pie crust. Cover crust with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Top with streusel and bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until pie is set but still a bit wobbly in the center. Cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole {Clean Eating}

13 Nov

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 3
I’ve had a hard time finding big fancy breakfasts worthy of a lazy Saturday morning that are still clean and healthy. These waffles are pretty darn tasty but most of the time I am more of a savory breakfast kind of person. Not only is this recipe clean but it’s also gluten and lactose free along with paleo friendly. Boom, I’m pretty sure that covers it all.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 1
Plus, this can be whipped up the night before then refrigerated and baked the next morning. Joel’s family makes a yummy egg and sausage casserole but it involves bread so this is a nice alternative to keep it clean and avoid carbs.

The original recipe called for more onion but the first time I made it the onion was a bit overpowering so I reduced the amount. I added cheese to half the casserole to reduce the chance of whining from that husband of mine. He’s not a fan of sweet potatoes and healthy versions of things. He’s getting over it slowly but surely. Or at least learning not to complain so much.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole 2
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole
recipe slightly adapted from Plaid and Paleo

1 1/2 lbs. breakfast sausage
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
12 eggs 
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1/4 large sweet onion, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook sausage until no longer pink.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper and almond milk. Stir in sausage. Sprinkle with cheese if using.
3.  Pour egg/sausage mixture into a 13×9 pan greased with additional coconut oil. At this point you can bake the casserole at 375 degrees for 45 minutes then cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes. Or you can do what I did and cover and refrigerate overnight. Add an additional 5-10 minutes to baking time if you have made it the night before.

Hot Black Bean Dip {Football Food}

3 Nov

Hot Black Bean Dip
Those that know me well know that chips are my downfall, my nemesis, that one food I just can’t resist. I seriously have a hard time practicing self control when they are around. Which is why they are only in my house on rare occasions. Football games being such times since they are the perfect snack to inhale while watching the game. And although I would be perfectly happy with a bowl of chips (sea salt kettle chips to be precise), it’s nice to whip up a dip so that I can say I had black beans for dinner instead of just chips……
Hot Black Bean Dip
Tortilla chips are the perfect vehicle for this spicy, smoky, cheesy black bean dip. This dip takes a few steps but it’s very simple and can even be prepared ahead of time then put in the oven right before kick off, giving you time to whip up more delicious food to chow down on during the game. Because I guess eating chips and dip for dinner is not the appropriate adult thing to do.

And if for some totally indescribable reason you don’t like chips (I’m not sure we can be friends anymore), this dip is also very tasty atop crispy baked sweet potato fries.
Hot Black Bean Dip
Hot Black Bean Dip
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed well, divided
2 canned chipotle chiles, minced + 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
¾ cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
6 ounces sharp Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking pan (I used an 8×8) with non-stick spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and salt, cooking until softened and translucent (about 4 minutes).Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Stir in 1 can of black beans, chipotles and adobo sauce, water and tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.

3. Transfer the black bean mixture to a food processor or blender then add the vinegar. Process until smooth then pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining black beans, corn, half of the cheeses, 1/2 cup cilantro and pepper. Dump into prepared pan then top with the remaining cheese. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and serve – if you do this add 5-10 minutes to the baking time). Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Top with remaining cilantro for garnish.

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds

30 Oct

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds 2
We had quite the eventful day on Tuesday that brought a visit to the E.R. with our first major injury. Noah fell out of his bed and hit the right side of his head, splitting it and requiring 2 staples. It was pretty traumatic for both of us but I kept it together (for the most part) and he was incredibly brave. I’m pretty sure it took a good 3 hours for my blood pressure and heart rate to get back to normal and I still wince every time I see his poor little head.

He skipped school yesterday since his head was hurting so we decided to whip up some decadent pumpkin seeds from our jack-o-lantern carving. Because sugar makes everything better. Am I right?
Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds 1
These are a fun, easy last minute Halloween treats using ingredients most of us have in our pantry already. Noah had a great time making sure the pumpkin seeds were in a single layer for roasting (OCD much? perhaps he gets it from his mama?) and mixing up the sugar and spice topping. If you have little ones helping, make sure they stand back during step 2 as some of the pumpkin seeds may pop or spatter.

And just for reference, we got a little over 2 cups of pumpkin seeds from a large and small pumpkin.
Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds 3
I hope you enjoy these pumpkin seeds, or pepitas if you’re fancy like that.

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds
recipe adapted from All Recipes

2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

2. Melt coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar. Stir and cook for about 45 seconds, or until dissolved (do not allow to brown or burn).

3. Pour pumpkin seeds into sugar and spice mixture, tossing to fully coat. Allow to cool and enjoy.

 

Take the Crown Cookies

26 Oct

Take the Crown Cookies 3
Has baseball taken over your house like it has mine? Joel grew up in Kansas City and therefore is a big Royals fan. The last time they were in the World Series, he was not yet 1 (and I wasn’t alive). He has always had “see the Royals play in the World Series” on his bucket list and last Monday night he got to mark it off. Unfortunately, they lost game 1 but he still had a blast and couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere.

So needless to say, my house has felt like a bundle of nerves as we have watched these games play out. We’re sitting watching the game as I write this. After last night’s loss, we needed a little pick me up so when we were at the grocery store, Noah and I picked up the Blue Velvet cake mix that he begs for every time we go to whip up something festive. After discussing ideas, Noah thought cookies would be best so we went to work.
Take the Crown Cookies 1
This time around we decided to mix in some quick oats and chocolate chips. White chocolate would have been great with the buttery vanilla (blue) cake mix but alas, we didn’t have any…what kind of food blogger am I? Nuts would be a great addition too but the biggest Royals fan in our house doesn’t like nuts so we skipped them this time. He got lucky.
Take the Crown Cookies 4
These are dense and seem like cookies that would dry out quickly, so eat them within a day or two. We shouldn’t have a problem with that…..

Let’s pull it together Royals and take that crown! Otherwise I might have to move out for a couple of days because it will be grump city around here.
Take the Crown Cookies 2
Take the Crown Cookies
recipe slightly adapted from All Homemade Cookies

1 cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (and/or nuts, raisins, white chocolate…)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together, dough will be very thick.

2. Scoop onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to rack to cool completely.

 

Steak and Eggs with Guacamole {aka my new fav dinner}

20 Oct

Steak, Eggs and Guacamole 8
I’ve been MIA this week because my baby girl turned 1 on Tuesday! I know it’s clique but it’s unbelievable how fast this past year has gone by. We celebrated with family and friends on Saturday with a circus themed party. We ate lots of circus food (kettle corn, soft pretzels, funnel cakes and more), took funny pictures in the DIY photo booth and watched sweet Hannah absolutely demolish her cake. It was all over her, the floor, walls and door behind her. When she was done, she threw it on the floor. Man that girly has a lot of personality!
Hannah's Party
Hannah's Party
Buffet
With all the cooking and commotion this weekend, I wanted to keep dinner simple last night so I turned to one of our new favorite meals. I’ve had this ridiculously easy and delicious recipe in my back pocket for months and am just now sharing it. Lame. Especially since it involves grilling which won’t be happening for too long around here. But it would still be great cooked in a skillet or under the broiler.
Steak, Eggs and Guacamole 6
My aunt texted me a picture of a dinner she made a few months ago. Yep, we roll like that. Anyway, it was a grilled steak topped with an egg and chopped avocado. I was out shopping for some new clothes but made sure to stop by the grocery store on the way home so that I could whip this up for dinner the next night. That’s how excited I was about it.
Steak, Eggs and Guacamole 5
Joel and I aren’t huge fans of plain ‘ole avocado so I mixed it up a bit and whipped up some quick guacamole to top it with instead. And I have to tell you, the hot sauce makes all the difference. Steak and eggs are a no brainer together but then add the creamy, citrusy guacamole and some zip from the hot sauce and you have a match made in heaven.
Steak, Eggs and Guacamole 7
Steak and Eggs with Guacamole

2 ribeye steaks
2 egg
1/2 recipe guacamole
hot sauce, optional

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat. When grill is ready, place steaks on grill and season with salt and pepper. Remove steaks from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

2. While steaks are resting, preheat a skillet over medium heat and cook eggs to your liking (I made ours with the yolks just a bit runny).

3. Slice steak and place on a plate. Top with egg and a dollop of guacamole. Top with a few shakes of hot sauce if you would like.

 

Crispy Baked Pork Chops {Clean Eating}

11 Oct

Crispy Baked Pork Chops 1
So, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a few months due to a certain little girl. A little girl that is going to be one next week! She should totally be sleeping all night, am I right? Well, she did last night and I have to tell you, I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m actually a pleasant person today. Have I told you me without sleep is not a pretty picture? For reals.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 3
Getting enough sleep means I still have energy by the end of the day to cook a decent meal. And this meal totally screams fall to me. Hearty, pork chops covered in homemade whole grain breadcrumbs with a huge helping of broccoli mashed potatoes on the side.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 4
And did I mention this deliciously filling meal is healthy and clean? You’re welcome.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 5
Crispy Baked Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Sugar and Spice by Celeste

4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices whole grain bread bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, place bread into a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and garlic. Mix until well combined. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool to room temperature. Bump oven temperature up to 425 degrees F.
2. Once crumbs are cool, mix in parmesan cheese, thyme and parsley. Next, set up an assembly line of ingredients. Place flour in a pie plate, mix eggs and mustard in another pie plate then breadcrumbs in another. Roll pork chops in flour, eggs then breadcrumbs and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 17-25 minutes or until cooked through (mine took 20 minutes).

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

9 Oct

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
You know what’s weird? Having to tell your child that he’s eating mashed broccoli because if he knew there was potatoes involved he would have nothing to do with them. Yep, a four year old that doesn’t eat potatoes…not even fries. Sometimes I wonder if he’s really my child.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
These broccoli mashed potatoes are light yet flavorful. The sour cream adds a nice tang and the onions bring flavor to a dish that would otherwise be bland. I added a bit of parmesan to help sell these to the oldest member of the family, yes the almost 30 year old.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

I served these alongside some crispy baked pork chops (I’ll share that recipe later this week) for the perfect, healthy fall meal.

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
recipe adapted from Everyday Light Meals

1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, skin on and cubed
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1/2 onion, shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop broccoli florets and some stem into small pieces. After 10 minutes, add broccoli to potatoes and cook another 10 minutes.

2. In a saute pan, melt butter and cook onion until soft and slightly browned. Drain potatoes and broccoli then put back in the pan. Add onions, sour cream, parmesan, salt and pepper and mash together until smooth.

Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes

4 Oct

Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes 8
Let’s talk about carbs. Delicious, tasty, incredible carbohydrates. This is my open letter to carbs: I can’t quit you. I recently had a conversation on Facebook with my aunt’s friend who is doing a very low carb diet and was craving apple pie. She was wishing that a yummy no-carb apple pie existed and the conversation pretty much ended with me saying “there’s no such thing, #carbsforlife.”
Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes 4
With all that being said, I do limit my carbs and the vast majority of the time I stick to the good for me ones. After our conversation I had apples on the mind and remembered a recipe I needed to share with you all that just might satisfy the apple craving a bit.
Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes 7
We went to the annual apple festival in a nearby town a couple weekends ago and had a great time picking apples, enjoying a hay rack ride and inhaling hot apple doughnuts fresh from the oven. They were delicious and magical but not something we could indulge in every day. So when Noah requested apple doughnuts later that week, I told him yes, but on my terms.
Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes 3
These apple doughnuts, cooked in a cake pop gadget for instant gratification, are made with very little sugar, just a bit of butter and are half whole wheat. I skipped the whole dip in butter and roll in cinnamon sugar to keep them on the healthy side but you could go ahead and do it if you wish. Just don’t tell me because I’ll be jealous. And don’t worry if you don’t have a cake pop cooker thingy, I’ve provided instructions on baking them in the oven as well. These are slightly sweet with a hint of apple. And you don’t have to feel so bad when you devour 3 or 4.

So here’s to a healthier way to get your carb on.
Healthy-ish Apple Doughnut Holes 5
Apple Doughnut Holes
recipe adapted from Chew Out Loud

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. regular butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 small (or 1 large) apples; peeled, grated, and squeezed dry

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees or preheat cake pop maker. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small bowl, mix milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and apples together. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold until just mixed.

2. Either grease mini muffin tin or cake pop maker with nonstick spray. Fill 2/3 full and bake in oven for 7-8 minutes or 2-4 minutes in cake pop maker.

*For butter and cinnamon sugar coating instructions follow link above to the original recipe.

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

30 Sep

Cheeseburger Quesadillas 1
Besides cooking and photography, one of my big hobbies is crafting. I guess I have a love for creating and capturing. Recently I have been working on a quilt that I have grown to love; every time I pick it up to work on it, I adore it even more. I know quilting is an uncommon hobby for a 20-something but I am kind of addicted and I’m not afraid to say it. Call me granny if you wish but I’m creating awesomeness around here. The concept of this quilt started at Christmas when Joel’s mom was given 12 quilt squares made by her grandma and great grandma. She wasn’t planning on doing anything with them so she offered them to me to create something with them. After several months of brainstorming, I came up with a concept and created 18 of my own quilt blocks to go along with the vintage ones. Each and every square has a different fabric yet they look like they were made for each other. Along the border are names, places, dates and special family jokes quilted to evoke memories each time it’s used. It’s a quilt decades in the making and something I am so proud to have had a part of creating.
heritage quilt
Just like this quilt, I love dreaming up and creating in my kitchen. The quilt nourishes my soul and these cheeseburger quesadillas nourish our bellies. They come together in less than 30 minutes and will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Even my impossible 4 year old ate these without complaint and he almost never eats meat. I’m telling you, tortillas are magic makers in getting your kids to eat. The fact that they taste like a rich, meaty cheeseburger helps too.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 3
Cheeseburger Quesadillas

8-12 whole wheat tortillas
1 lb. lean ground beef
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. worchestershire
S&P
1-1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (1/4 cup per quesadilla)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until cooked through. Drain grease then stir in ketchup, mustard and worchestershire.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the skillet then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, desired amount of ground beef (we divided this to make 6 quesadillas but if you want yours a bit meatier, add 1/4 of the ground beef mixture), bacon and another 2 tablespoons of cheese then top with another tortilla. Cook until brown and crisp then flip and cook other side until golden. Remove from skillet and cut with a pizza wheel. Serve with pickles on the side.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 4

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