Fall Recipe Roundup

Even though it’s balmy and tropical feeling around here these days, I am starting to get anxious to make some comforting fall recipes. Fall is one of my favorite seasons if not my all-time favorite, and it really is just around the corner!!!

The weather is supposed to cool down next week so guess what I’m doing today? I’m putting together a little fall recipe roundup! It’s time to gather some comfort food recipes so that I can get to work in the kitchen once the weather cools!

A couple of these recipe are my very own, and the rest were gathered thanks to Pinterest!

Heerrrrrrre we gooooooooo!

  1. Broccoli White Bean Soup

white bean broccoli soup

 

I haven’t made this soup in forever but absolutely need to. So good!

 

2. Brown Sugar Butter Syrup

brown butter syrup with waffle 2

This recipe reminds me of my favorite syrup from a local restaurant! The thought of making it in the comfort of my own home, in my sweatpants and a messy bun, sounds that much more enticing!

3. Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Cheddar

poblanos

 

Say what?! That savory deliciousness looks beautiful.

4. Chicken Pot Pie Soup

chicken-pot-pie-pin-image

I need this in my belly.

5. Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast 

crock pot beef pot roast

Let the slow cooker do all of the work for you. Nothing says comfort like beef pot roast.

6. Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti

creamy garlic

Decadent. Cheesy. Perfection. Hand me a fork.

7. Apple Crisp

apple crisp3

Apple crisp WITH oat topping. Because. Just because. Omm yum yum yum.

My mouth has been watering during this entire post! These aren’t all the most “figure-friendly” recipes, but you better believe I’m going to be hitting the streets running to balance out these goodies! 😉

I can’t wait to get COOKING!

What are some foods or recipes you are looking forward to making once cooler weather rolls around?

Random Bits…

Oh hey! This little blog o’ mine has been seriously neglected lately. As I write, I have a little one trying to type on the computer. Bode is now 10 months old and is crawling and standing up on furniture. He likes to hold on to whatever he can get his hands on and walk too! We are in for some serious craziness. It is so fun watching him change and develop. Everyday is something new! He is saying “dada” and just recently will blurt out a “mama” too! I obviously got a little too excited about that.

I can’t believe this summer is drawing to a close. I truly mean it when I say that as time goes on and I get older, times just moves faster. I am really doing my best to cherish every moment along the way.

I thought I would share some random bits and updates from my life for something fun today. So, here we go…

1. After aLLLLLL this time I am still drinking my same smoothie for breakfast every day. I guess I have changed it a little.

  • Frozen banana
  • Frozen blueberries or cherries
  • Frozen kale or power greens (costco)
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Powdered peanut butter or peanut butter
  • Cocoa powder
  • I also add in my probiotic powder and glutamine powder     chocolate peanut butter smoothie

It turns out looking like mud and tasting delicious everytime! 😉

2. Ever since having Bode, some chemistry in my body must have changed because I can no longer wear earrings without getting crazy itchy ears. Albeit, I haven’t tried wearing super expensive earrings, but I never had a problem with this in the past! #random

3. We find out today what our closing date is on our new house. Right now we have a “soft” closing date of October 9th but we will find out for sure today at our meeting! It is looking like a real house now. Dry wall goes up this week! I still kind of can’t believe it’s happening! I am so excited to get in there and organize all of our stuff!

4. On the subject of the new house, we have been shopping for a new couch for our main living area and let me tell you, that is quite the task. Things to keep in mind when buying a couch: coil versus foam cushions, fabric, style (we know what we want there), easy to clean fabric, warranties, durability, etc. Not to mention, the fact that we aren’t able to see our home completed with paint and carpet and such before placing the order because it takes 1-2 months for custom orders. Of course we know the colors of the house (since we picked them out), but it’s hard just imagining all of it and not seeing it and then having to choose fabric color, it’s challenging. I know, ohhhh the problems we have. 😉

5. I ran in my first running race post-partum a few weeks ago. I ran the Esprit de she 5k with my girlfriend Stacy and Annie (check out Annie’s blog: http://www.maddashannie.com/!!!). My goal was to run it in 30 minutes or less and I was bummed that I didn’t cross the finish line until 30:12. I’m blaming it on the evening run (I’m not used to that) and running in hot weather. I get to have excuses right? Give me a cooler fall morning race and I will definitely be stomping that goal! 🙂

esprit de sheesprit de shemelanie esprit de she

There you have it for some random little bits and updates from me! I hope you are all well and I do hope to write more often. It’s such a fun creative outlet and I do miss it!

xoxo

 

(Healthier) Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Oh, hey!

The weekend is drawing to a close, it’s hotter than hot these days, so how about a quick and easy recipe to kick off the week and cool you off? It’s a no-brainer. Of course you want to keep reading…

This is a simplified version of my favorite chocolate peanut butter smoothie that includes only 5 ingredients and is a bit more decadent thanks to chocolate Almond Breeze.

This concoction is peanut buttery and chocolatey, and in my opinion, that’s really all you need :wink:. I’m calling it a healthier chocolate peanut butter shake. Super creative, I’m fully aware.

almond breeze easy smoothie

(Healthier) Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

  • 1 medium/large frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen kale
  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk*
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or powdered peanut butter

Blend all ingredients together until fully smooth and combined; there should be no lumps and it will be thick! Add more milk if necessary. Drink through straw and enjoy!

*You can always substitute unsweetened vanilla almond milk plus a little bit (or a lot!) of cocoa powder if you don’t have chocolate almond milk on hand!

This “shake” can be considered a breakfast, a snack, a dessert, whatever you wish. It literally is all whipped together in about 2 minutes thanks to the help of the blender. It’s a great way to sneak in another dose of veggies too!

I have to be totoally honest here…it is VERY rare that I ever measure out ingredients, so if you need to add more or less of any of these 5 ingredients, by all means, DO! My shake comes out just a tad bit different everytime, but always tastes fabulous.

What are you waiting for? Get shakin’!

 

This “Easy as Breeze” post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. For more “Easy As Breeze” recipes made with five ingredients or less, visit Almond Breeze on Facebook (http://facebook.com/almondbreeze), Twitter (http://twitter.com/almondbreeze), Instagram (http://instagram.com/almondbreezeus) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/almondbreeze).

Some Favs from the Week!

I don’t usually say this, but this week seemed to last forrrrever. Forevvvver (name that movie). I am thrilled that today is Friday and I have a super fun weekend planned!

Although this work week seemed slow, there was a lot of fun that was had. I am linking up with Katie’s Friday Favorites. Let’s get this rolling.

Speaking of rolls, I enjoyed a cinnamon roll and coffee while catching up with my dear friend Haley. She is now a mama and her and I had lots to discuss as I prepare for this baby’s arrival!

coffee and cinnamon roll

An omelette made by Dana definitely makes my Friday Fav’s. It was loaded with veggies and topped with homemade salsa.

omelette

Finding new ways to use essential oils. This makes me oh so happy. Here’s the link to my post on my oil blog for carpet freshener: Freshen and Purify Your Carpets

essential oils carpet purifier

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes made by mi mama in honor of my brother Kevin’s birthday. That was one heckuva birthday meal request that I am thankful for! SOOOO good! It’s everything baby wanted. Homemade mashed potatoes made me super excited for Thanksgiving too!

meatloaf

Happy Birthday, Kevi!!

kevin melanie kevin and melanie and dana

 

Building excitement for my state fair visit. This is one I really want to try!

state fair food

Dinner with old friends at Peoples Organic. I got the Peoples Best Veggie Burger and neglected to take a photo of the actual burger due to being overly hungry and absorbed in conversation, but it was pretty, and it was tasty!

people's organic

Another favorite this week is imagining baby smiling inside. Now (at 29 weeks) is the time that they start to smile!

I’ll have to update you with a bump photo soon. Baby and mama are growing like crazy!

Happy Friday my friends!

Friday Favorites

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins (w/ Blue Diamond Almonds)

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of months or so, you have learned that I am already into the hardcore “nesting” mode. I am wanting to organize everything in sight, I can’t stop thinking about the baby room and projects I want to tackle to decorate, I clean the house on Friday nights….yea that’s what’s happening.

Another part of nesting is food prep. I plan to make a handful of freezer meals to have on hand for when baby arrives. I’ve got a little list going of meals I want to prep in the next month or two (I will share this with you hopefully!).

I began my fresh freezer food stash this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a package from Blue Diamond which included two new flavors of almonds: Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle. The honey chipotle ones have been a serious hit for me. I love snacking on them. They are spicy and sweet and my taste buds are very happy with that combo.

The honey roasted vanilla are incredibly tasty too. I had to ration them because I knew I wanted to use them in a baking experiment, and the baking experiment turned out to be a success.

Enter: Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins with Blue Diamond Almonds. A fully loaded recipe title.

honey nut banana oat muffins

I used the food processor to process oats and Blue Diamond’s honey roasted almonds to use as my flour!

honey nut banana oat muffins

The muffins are sweetened naturally with bananas and honey.

honey nut banana oat muffins

They take very little time to prepare and only 25 minutes to bake!

honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins

These babies turned out fabulous. I kept a few out to enjoy now, but froze the rest so I could have a quick and healthy snack to grab from the freezer upon baby’s arrival!

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins
Print
Makes 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup plus 2-3 Tbsp. ground honey vanilla almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 12 muffin, muffin pan.
  2. In a food processor, process oats into flour consistency. Mine turned out to be a little coarse and that worked out just fine too.
  3. In a medium bowl combine oats, ¼ cup ground almonds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  5. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Beat to combine.
  6. Pour mixture evenly into muffin pan. Sprinkle with remaining 2-3 Tbsp. of ground almonds.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin (towards the middle of the pan) comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy as is, with butter, peanut butter, honey. They are a perfect on the go breakfast or snack.

Keep an eye out for these new flavors. They are very palate pleasing!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was given samples for free, however all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

Diet Changes During Pregnancy

My appetite currently in pregnancy is great! I’m nearly 28 weeks now. I wake up hungry or famished most mornings, eat breakfast, sometimes eat a snack mid-morning, always eat lunch, a snack in the afternoon usually, dinner, and a snack before bed.

Baby and I get pretty lethargic if we don’t get food when we are hungry, so I try and remember to always pack snacks when I am out and about.

I learned quickly that the snack before bed is a must otherwise I wake up insanely hungry in the middle of the night. My go-to bedtime snack is Greek yogurt with honey. Protein and carbs to tide me over for a while.

My diet has changed a few ways in pregnancy. I am eating more whole grains and not all of them are gluten-free. My body is tolerating the gluten and although I’m not going overboard with it, I am still eating regular bread, cereal, and snacks sometimes.

Also, I never know what I’m going to want to eat which makes planning meals ahead of time nearly a thing of the past. Dinners are usually pretty spontaneous these days. I’m still trying to clean out the freezer too! It’s going well!

Another thing I’m starting to notice, is that I feel much better when I eat smaller meals frequently opposed to large ones less often. This isn’t always completely doable with work, but I do my best.  My stomach is getting smooshed and appreciates smaller quantities at a time.

What I’ve Been Eating…

I think this baby gets some pretty tasty eats. Time to check out what I’ve been eating lately. I’m linking up with Jenn today!

One day I was suffering with terrible allergies and had no inclination to make food but I knew I needed food. I had pulled up pizza delivery on the computer and was all ready to order. Then the light bulb went off and I decided I would make my own mini healthier pizza instead, and that it wouldn’t be that much work either.

I topped a gluten-free brown rice tortilla with leftover meaty spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, onions, and green olives. I baked it for 5-10 minutes or so and then broiled it. As simple as it was, it tasted so good. Sometimes simple is best.

tortilla pizza

I’m STILL drinking this smoothie every.single.morning. Not sick of it yet! This is a record for sure.

 

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

We had a perfect green bell pepper from our garden waiting to be used so I bought some farmer’s market tomatoes (we didn’t have enough ripe tomatoes in our garden yet) so that I could make a batch of fresh salsa.

homemade salsa

And it was delicious.

I can’t get enough of the frozen spinach cooked to steaming hot with a little butter and salt. Popeye would be so proud.

salsa shrimp spinach

I’m really enjoying my egg sandwiches still slathered with yellow mustard some time type of cheese.

egg sandwich

The southwest salad made an appearance this week! It’s as good as I remembered.

southwest salad

Yesterday I made myself a heaping veggie wrap. I packed it with cucumbers, red onion, banana peppers, pickles, Muenster cheese, spinach and arugula, tomatoes, mustard and mayo. This thing was massive, messy, and SO good!

veggie cheese wrap

 

There’s been a fair share of sweets being consumed lately. My go-to has been ice cream and frozen yogurt. Summertime just screams, “eat ice cream!”

 

frozen yogurt

 

There’s been no lack of good food consumed over here per usual. I haven’t been super creative in the kitchen, but find ways to make do. We’ve been going out to eat more often than before pregnancy too. I’m okay with this though since it’s at most once a week.

What are some of your favorite quick summer meals?

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

Remember how I told you I treated myself this weekend to some time in the kitchen baking, cooking, etc.? Well one of my goodies that I baked up was two loaves of gluten-free sandwich bread.

I used my nutty gluten-free bread recipe but substituted in some brown rice flour for the almond flour (recipe is below). The end product was a loaf of bread which wasn’t quite as dense or moist as the full almond flour bread. It has more of a sandwich bread consistency. I was pretty pumped about this! At first bite it tasted a bit to me like corn bread, and to me, that was a good thing!

gluten-free sandwich bread.jpggluten-free bread gluten-free bread gluten-free bread gluten-free bread

It would be perfect with some deli sliced turkey, mustard and veggies, and of course you can’t go wrong with a pb and j.

What I love about this recipe, and the nutty gluten-free bread recipe, is that they are SO easy. You literally put everything into one bowl at one time, mix it all together, and bake it. That’s it. No need to dirty up any extra bowls for this one.

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
Print
Makes two small loaves.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients (I use a hand-mixer).
  3. Pour into two lightly greased bread loaf pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

You could try making this in one loaf pan for a taller loaf, but I can’t make any guarantees how it would turn out and of course baking times would vary. Feel free to experiment though!

Enjoy and happy Thursday!

What is your favorite sandwich? 

I love a good old turkey sandwich from Subway with all of the veggies (minus jalapeños) with a little bit of mustard. That is another thing I have actually kind of been craving during pregnancy but since I am staying clear of deli meats, I will have to wait another five months. I am PERFECTLY okay with that! Hehe. I also really like any sandwich with melted cheese. Pb and J is a fav too. Oooo and Cubans. NUM!

EAT! Getting Summer-y Around Here.

If you’re hungry, I apologize in advance because this post is going to make you even more hungry. There have been some serious delicious eats happening around here lately and it’s about time I caught you up on some of them.

No need to get too wordy. Let me show you what I’ve been eating lately!

Tilapia, dirty rice, and broccoli made by mi madre, so obviously it just tastes better!

tilapia

Almond butter and apricot jam toast.

almond butter toast

Grilled veggie burgers in a gluten-free tortilla, a lazy attempt at coleslaw, and baked beans. It’s feeling summery around here and you can tell by my meals!

veggie burgers coleslaw beans

An absolutely amazing breakfast! French toast gluten-free waffle with peanut butter and syrup. YES!!

french toast waffle with pb

Steak kabobs and grilled french fries. Summer, summer, summer!!!

steak kabobs

Panera’s poppyseed salad. You know the temperatures are warming up when Panera gets this on their menu. It is a must for me to get at least once a summer.

panera poppyseed salad

Broccoli cheese soup from Panera. 🙂

panera broccoli cheese soup

Apple with peanut butter. There may have been a couple of mini chocolate chips added to this snack.

apple peanut butter

GF waffle with pepper jack cheese, mustard and a fried egg. Probably my favorite quick go-to these days. It’s easy, fast, it’s salty and spicy and packs some nice protein with the egg and the cheese!

egg sandwich

Beef taco salad!

taco salad

What do you think? Not too shabby, right? Are you hungry yet?

 

Thanks Jenn for hosting the WIAW!

I’m always looking for new quick meal ideas. Any go-to’s for you all lately?

Mother’s Day, Spring Rolls, & Smores Cookies

Happy Mama’s Day! I realize I am a day late but every day should be mother’s day anyway, right? 🙂

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was great as always. Here is my quick little recap for you all to enjoy.

Breakfast at Jensen’s Cafe. I got the usual: eggs, potatoes, pancakes (with their AMAZING caramel syrup) and fruit. I left feeling slightly stuffed. Dana and I had a few errands to run and it felt great to walk after this big meal.

breakfast at Jensen's Cafe Saturday involved a lot of house work, yard work, and relaxation in the evening.

Oh, not to mention this dinner. Homemade spring rolls with peanut sauce and shrimp. I added quinoa to the rolls and instead of putting peanut sauce inside of the roll I just used it as a dip instead. NUM!

spring rolls and shrimp

spring rolls and shrimp

 

On Sunday I met my mama for our annual Race for the Cure tradition.

race for the cure 2014

For you locals, Julie Nelson and Jerrid Sebesta from Kare 11 were at the race start. Local celebs!

race for the cure 2014

 

Mom and I after finishing the walk. We love our mother-daughter tradition! I love her so much.

mom and melanie race for the cure 2014

We spend the afternoon out at my parent’s new house. It backs up to a lake and has the most gorgeous view. We all enjoyed kicking back and hanging out while celebrating mama’s day!

I made these cookies which were a huge hit: Four Ingredient Smores Cookies

Dana and I hit up the grocery stores on the way home, finished a few more things around the house, and then crashed.

Another great mother’s day weekend to go down in the books!

How was your weekend? 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This ugly-looking smoothie deserves some major recognition. I’ve mentioned my favorite smoothie over and over, but I’ve never dedicated an entire to post to it. Considering I eat this smoothie at least 4-5 times a week, it’s time to give it some credit.

I’m talking about my chocolate peanut butter smoothie that I eat for breakfast. It tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake except it’s wayyyyyy healthier.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie.jpg

 

It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, chocolatey, and knocks my socks off.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

I’m not one to measure ingredients when I’m making smoothies, but I will do my best to share what I think are the approximate measurements for each ingredient. Feel free to play around with it though!

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 handfuls frozen kale (approximately 1 cup?)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 heaping spoonful of ground flaxseed
  • almond milk (as much as you need to cover the ingredients

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed above. I use the personal-size cups in my Ninja Ultima Blender and it is perfect.
  2. Blend until smoothie.
  3. Enjoy right away!

It’s as easy as that! I always feel good about getting some fruits and veggies in right away in the morning! It’s a great way to start the day.

QOTD: What are your current go-to breakfasts?