food

Sunday Scoops: Simple Strawberry Shortcake! Happy Mother’s Day!

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This week’s addition of Sunday Scoops is dedicated to my Mom who is truly the most beautiful person inside and out.  She is my best friend, a loving and nurturing Nana to my little ones and is such a compassionate and kind person that the world is genuinely a better place because she is in it.  My brother and I are so very blessed to have her as our Mom. #bestmomever

Since I was a little girl we have shared many desserts, but I think the one that stands out the most in my mind as a real treat from my mom was always Strawberry Shortcake.  Maybe because it was a quick go-to, tasty recipe with very few ingredients.  It was great to whip up no matter the time of year for a busy working mom and has always been a real treat for our family.  So listen, I know there are a ton of homemade from scratch recipes out there that I could share, but you know what, I am going to go with exactly what my Mom whipped up for us in no time flat.  Keeping it simple, budget friendly and true to one of my sweetest childhood treats.  Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  Love you forever and always!  ~ Lisa

1) Fresh strawberries.  Chopped, then mashed. Leave it chunky with juice to spoon over cake. (if desired, add sugar to taste)

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Photo credit: makeit-loveit.com

 

2) Cut and plate angel food cake (Store bought or recipe at Sweet & Savory) or dessert cups

3) Top with Whipped Cream or Cool Whip.  Voila! YUM!

 

 

Sunday Scoops: No-Bake Energy Bites! Great snack!

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Oh my goodness you guys….do these look yumm-o or what?!  So I confess, my worst eating habit is that I love to graze through the kitchen late in the evening….these may be just the option to satisfy my habit and make it a little healthier.  They also will make the perfect snack for my little ones.  I will definitely use them as a quick breakfast option that would be great paired with yogurt or fruit…especially on the mornings that feel a bit rushed and let’s face it…weekday mornings at my house….well, we aren’t exactly cooking up eggs and waffles!  It’s go, go, go!  😉

Enjoy! ~Lisa

energy bites

Prep time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 18-20 bites
WHAT YOU NEED:
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
HOW TO MAKE IT:
  1. Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!
  4. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  5. **You can substitute almost anything for any of the ingredients to work around food allergies, special diets, etc. Soybutter, almond butter, cashew butter, sun butter, etc all works in place of peanut butter. You can use creamed or liquid honey, or agave nectar or even maltitol syrup in place of the honey. If you do not like or cannot eat coconut try some type of crushed cereal, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, granola, cocoa powder…the possibilities are really endless. If you cannot find ground flaxseed you can buy it whole and grind it yourself in a coffee grinder or magic bullet or you can substitute any other dry ingredient in it’s place. Yes, the mini chocolate chips can be regular sized or carob or you can use raisins, cranberries, goji berries, or crushed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc) of some kind.

Recipe and Photo Source: Smashed Peas and Carrots

Sunday Scoops: One Pot Burrito Bowls

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This is definitely on my menu this week!  I stumbled on it as a friend had shared it on Facebook.  So glad I did!  This One Pot Burrito Bowl recipe by I Heart Naptime will be a perfect new go-to, quick (only 30 minutes!) and easy recipe to feed my family’s love of Mexican food!  Yum!  I can’t wait to make this!  Have a great week friends and as always thanks for reading! ~ Lisa

Homemade-burrito-bowl-recipe

One Pot Burrito Bowls

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

1 pound lean hamburger

1/3 cup Old El Paso Medium Thick n’ Chunky Salsa

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz can corn, drained

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 4 oz can Old El Paso diced green chiles

1 cup jasmine rice (or any long grain)

1 Tablespoon taco seasoning

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 cups chicken stock (chicken broth works too)

1 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese

S & P to taste

Optional toppings:

Sour cream

Cilantro

Green Onions

Tomatoes

Avocado

Directions:

In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions and red peppers. Add in hamburger and cook until browned. Stir in salsa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, jasmine rice, taco seasoning and chili powder. Pour in chicken stock and then bring to a light boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is all the way cooked.

When rice is done, S&P to taste. Top with your favorite toppings. We like to serve over lettuce in a salad bowl and eat with tortilla chips.

Sunday Scoops: Slow Cooker Meatloaf

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meatloaf

 

Oh how I love a delicious and easy slow cooker meal! This is one of my favorite Pinterest recipe finds by Recipe Chatter. With minimal prep…and I’m talking like 10 minutes max, set my slow cooker and voila!…dinner is served!

I substituted the Ritz Crackers used in the original recipe with Bread Crumbs because it is what I had on hand.  I’ve even diced up carrots and mushrooms for more of a “hidden veggie” type of meatloaf. Gotta get those veggies in where you can! This is a super yummy go-to recipe for my family. Everyone loves it, even my pickiest eater!

Enjoy! ~ Lisa

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

 

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, green pepper, onion, eggs, salt, cracker crumbs, and 3/4 cups of the ketchup. Use a spoon or your hands to incorporate the mixture.
  2. Line your slow cooker with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf and place in slow cooker.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (or 170 internal temp-well done). In the last 15 minutes, mix together remaining ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and spread on top meatloaf. Let cook for remaining 15 minutes.
  4. Let cool, slice and serve.

Image & Recipe Credit: Recipe Chatter

Weekly Whims: Meal Train! Brilliant!

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I feel like I may quite possibly be one of the last people to have heard of this, but regardless I am so glad to have discovered it and to share it will all of you.

We all have had friends and family that have had life events and/or circumstances that have left us feeling like we want to help them in some way.  For many, just having a meal made for them is a huge help and often is profoundly welcomed.

Recently, some dear friends of ours had their third child and I was happy to set-up and participate in a Meal Train for them.  In fact their meal is cooking away in my crock pot as we speak!  You can utilize this wonderful resource for anyone for just about any reason under the sun.  I have included some of the basic details below, but definitely check it out for yourself.  It is very user-friendly and allows you to even enter special dietary needs and/or instructions for participants.  I especially like the reminders that it sends to those that sign-up to make a meal.  I received my reminders which helped plan to pick up ingredients that I needed.  Plus, it’s FREE!

Create a Meal Calendar for:

Arrival of a new baby Welcoming a new neighbor
Injuries/Surgeries Military deployment
Extended illnesses Condolences

A meal train is the act of organizing meal giving around significant life events.

But what does this really mean?

When a friend is in need, everyone says “What can I do to help out?” The answer is usually to help them with a meal. When many friends give a meal, this is a meal train.

Think about it like this,

Friends going through a difficult or challenging time due to a birth, surgery, illness, etc., could use some help. Willing friends, neighbors, colleagues, and congregation members would love to meet this need, if they only knew what to do. An organized meal train gives them a way to show they care by cooking and taking a meal to a friend or family member.

But why should I use mealTrain.com?

To help eliminate the confusion related to meal giving. No longer are questions like; What do they like? When are they available? What have they already had? left unanswered. Providing each giver this information helps simplify the process so they can focus on supporting others with meals.

SAMPLE MEAL TRAIN

samplemealtrain

Sunday Scoops: Sausage, Gravy & Biscuit Breakfast Casserole

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I know this recipe is a “breakfast” casserole, but I actually made this for dinner as my family is a bunch of breakfast lovers.  Just about once a week we have what we call “Brinner”!  I kid you not, there were only two small servings leftover that were promptly gobbled up the next morning.  Super easy and super yummy!  I will definitely make this often and will serve it up the next time we have overnight company in town.  It was a wonderful Pinterest find by  Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

I didn’t tweek the recipe at all and it was perfect-o, even for the pickiest eaters!  Enjoy!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 12 ounces of buttermilk biscuit dough (we used Grands, which are slightly bigger)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 (2 3/4 ounce) package peppered gravy mix (makes 2 cups)
  • 1 lb sausage, any flavor
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13×9 pan
  2. Brown the sausage in skillet and drain thoroughly.
  3. Cut biscuit dough into 1″ pieces, and line the bottom of the pan.
  4. Layer cooked sausage over the biscuit pieces,
  5. Layer shredded cheese over sausage.
  6. Whisk eggs and milk, add salt and pepper and pour over biscuit/layers.
  7. Make gravy according to instructions, and pour over everything.
  8. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs and biscuits are cooked through.
  9. Serve warm (leftovers are excellent too!)

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Weekly Whims: 7 Foods To Boost Your Mood

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P1090406We all have days, myself included, where even that lovely morning cuppa joe just doesn’t do the trick.  On a whim this morning, I thought about how flattering it is to hear people say…”you are always so happy”… “upbeat”… and “bubbly”.  I wondered what foods are out there that actually can help boost our mood.  I was jazzed *insert jazz hands* to find at HuffPost Living Healthy that I am a big fan of most of the 7 foods shown to boost your mood.  There were a couple that I eat seldomly and will definitely consider eating more of now.  I love that these are natural resources of mood boosters that are delicious, because honestly, I love food and love to eat!  If I can eat happiness well hey….count me in! 😀

Do you have a favorite food that you find invigorates your mood?  Please share!

 

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WHOLE FOODS
“Emerging research in the fields of neuroscience and nutrition show that people who eat a diet of modern processed foods have increased levels of depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity, and a wide variety of other mental and emotional problems,” wrote HuffPost blogger and psychiatrist Dr. Drew Ramsey.  One way to combat the ill effects of a processed diet is simply to start with a whole, unprocessed one. Cooking one’s own meals out of natural ingredients is a good way to take care of the body and the brain.
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SALMON
Salmon and other fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA could play a role in overall mood and well-being. Research shows that these fats have a protective effect against depression and in one study helped reduce the anxiety experienced by medical students.  Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include walnuts and flaxseed, which are both high in ALA, which the body may partially convert to DHA and EPA, which the body may partially convert to DHA and EPA, according to a Harvard report.
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ALMONDS
Almonds are high in a compound called tyrosine, which is one of the building blocks for the production of dopamine and other mood-associated neurotransmitters. That means eating a handful of these healthful nuts will not only improve cardiovascular health, thanks to their richness in fiber and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids — it could also help your mood.
Other tyrosine rich foods include: chicken, turkey and cheese.
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APPLES
Apples are rich in quercetin, a compound that defends your brain cells from free-radicals that can damage the lining of neurons, CNN reported.
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CHOCOLATE
Everyone knows that chocolate is delicious and full of antioxidants. But it can also help to reduce anxiety. In those who suffer from anxiety, milk chocolate was found to help reduce symptoms. For those with no history of anxiety, dark chocolate was most helpful, the study reported.
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SUNFLOWER SEEDS
These seeds are another source of tyrosine, and are also rich in heart-protective vitamin E and selenium.
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TOFU
Soy is another rich source of tyrosine, but also provides a heart-healthy dose of protein and can help benefit everything from bone health to reducing symptoms of menopause.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   While I am not much of a drinker of alcohol this maybe good news for your beer lovers!  The article on HuffPost Healthy Living also says this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The taste of beer — without the inclusion of alcohol — may be enough to trigger the release of a pleasure hormone, dopamine, in the brain, according to a study released yesterday.

“We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centers,” the study’s lead author, David Kareken of the Indiana University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

In this particular study, 49 men were given sips of beer that were small enough to taste, but not large enough to cause an effect with alcohol. The researchers evaluated fluctuations in neurotransmitters, finding that just a taste was enough to increase levels of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with feelings of well-being and also with memory and decision-making.

~Interesting!  My husband loves a good cold beer now and then.  Who new it would be a true bottle of bliss!?~ 😀

Food Images Source: HuffPost Healthy Living