Thursday, February 11, 2016

Easy Split Pea and Kielbasa Soup

I am a big split pea soup lover.  As a kid, I remember my Grandma making pots of split pea or bean after a ham and thinking it was delicious.  It is the type of soup I will get a craving for, but do not always have a leftover ham sitting around to make a soup. I came across this recipe from Taste of Home and immediately put it on our meal plan because it sounded easy and delicious.  I had not tried kielbasa in my pea soup before and knew it would be something I would enjoy.  I opted to use a turkey sausage to lighten up the soup a little bit, but if you prefer regular it will be just as tasty.  The only other change I made was to use a bit of chicken broth and add a little additional water because the soup is pretty thick.  I didn’t find that I needed to use additional seasoning beside what is list below.  Ron and I loved this soup and it re-heated great for lunches. Kellen was a little apprehensive because of the color (which is odd because he loves green veggies), but happily ate the sausage, carrots, celery and onions from the soup. Kids are so funny sometimes.

This week has been flying by and I can’t believe it is Friday tomorrow!  This weekend my sister is hosting a Blessing Way for me and the babe.  A Blessing Way is somewhat of an alternative baby shower.  Traditionally,  a Blessing Way was a Navajo Ritual created to support and empower the mother for her journey of birthing and motherhood. However, many times it is now alternative to Baby Showers. Many times the baby shower focus is gifts and baby and a Blessing Way focus is on the mother and her journey.   Our road to this baby was not as long as some, but it certainly had hurdles. I am really thankful that I am able to have another child and an afternoon of support with people I love is really exciting to me.  And there will be cake and nachos because like I said this is about the mother and this mother loves a little cake and nachos.  There are going to be some other activities and I can share them with you in Sunday after the party.  I am so flattered that my sister is putting this together and am so excited for Saturday!

Tonight, we are laying low and I need to get Kellen’s Valentine’s together for his Friendship Party at school. They are having ice cream sundaes and he is in charge of the M&Ms… I wish parents were invited- yum!


Ingredients

1 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into ¼- ½ inch pieces
1 pound dried split peas
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 bay leaves


Instructions

Cut sausage in half lengthwise. Place in a soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until peas are tender. Remove the bay leaves. 

Makes 2 quarts. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Big Sky Bran Muffins

As mentioned in my meal plan post, my family went to the Wisconsin Dells last week and each time we go I try to pack healthy snack for the kids to enjoy poolside, for lunch, or for breakfast. This time I made some banana bread, Ham Salad and this muffin recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Kellen loves muffins and I loved that this recipe was packed with bran, fresh fruit and low on sugar. The original recipe used strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, but I opted to use chopped raspberries and blueberries and it was delicious. The muffins were a big hit with my family and we all loved having them around for a quick snack or a light breakfast before heading out to play for the day!  I loved the flavor of this muffin and the lightly sweetened fruit in the middle was the more delicious part!  These were so easy to make and I can't wait to make them again. Next time, I am thinking of adding a little banana and they will certainly be on the docket once strawberry season arrives to my area! 

Last night, I met a few girlfriends for sushi and it was a blast as usual. I am trying to get some time to myself before little man arrives because, as I learned with Kellen, adjusting to a newborn and learning their schedule and preferences keeps a mom very busy! I am also trying to get  lots of time with Kellen because I know more juggling on my part will have to take place in the not so distant future! This weekend I am taking him to Disney on Ice and I think we will really enjoy it! Ron and I also have a few date nights on the calendar before baby boy gets here to we get a little time just together as well. Tonight, we have swim class and then coming home for a bath and a little relaxation. The week certainly flies by when you are off work on a Monday! 


Ingredients

1 1/3 cups buttermilk 
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups  wheat bran (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar, divided
3/4 to 1 cup berries (I used blueberries and halved red raspberries)


Instructions

Heat oven to 425 degrees and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Whisk  egg, oil, brown sugar in a medium medium bowl. Next, slowly whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.

Spoon two 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 2 teaspoons fruit to each (dividing it evenly) and sprinkling the fruit with one of the teaspoons of granulated sugar. Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit and sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining teaspoon of sugar.

Bake muffins for a total of 16 to 18 minutes, rotating pan once midway through baking time for even browning, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not over-bake. Let muffins cool in pan  for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 2/8 - 2/14

What a fun weekend! It makes me sad when Monday comes so fast! 

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who entered the #FreshTastyValentines- such a fun event!

This past Wednesday we hightailed it out of Green Bay and headed for Wisconsin Dells for a little fun at The Wilderness. We went to The Wilderness over my birthday last year and I was excited to go back again! We spent our days there relaxing, swimming, playing in the arcade and eating. It was a great trip. Kellen has a an absolute blast and so did the adults. We returned home on Sunday (my birthday) to grill brats and watch the Super Bowl. It was a great week and now back to reality. Here are a few snaps from the weekend:




I took Monday off to relax and organize- I also go to grab sushi and a pedicure with my friend for her birthday!

This week I am grabbing dinner with a few girlfriends, bringing Kellen to swim, my sister is throwing me a shower/blessing way on Saturday and Kellen and I are going to Disney on Ice! I am really excited to celebrate this little man with family and friends. I can't believe that we will be meeting him next month (potentially unless he is fashionably late like his brother)!

Have a good week everyone!


Monday: Chili with all the Fixin's
Tuesday: Out with Girlfriends and Subs for the boys
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Muffaletta Beef Roast, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Thursday: Gyro Bowl and Pita Bread
Friday:  Out for Dinner
Saturday: Baby Shower/Blessing Way thrown by my Sister! Pizza for Dinner before Disney on Ice!
Sunday: Valentine's Meal: TBA!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Easy Apple and Meyer Lemon Tart #FreshTastyValentines

Welcome to #FreshTasyValentines!

This week filled this space with fresh and tasty recipes- perfect to share with your valentine and today is our final day! Don't forget to check out the prize package below and enter! 

I introduced this event, sponsors and bloggers in my preview post and please click here to visit and learn more about our sponsors. Also, I want to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventure with Camilla. This lady has worked so hard to put this event together and deserves many rounds of applause- head over to her blog and show her some love!

I decided that I needed to end the week with a dessert. Apples are a favorite of mine and I am loving all seasonal citrus this time of year- especially the Meyer Lemon.  I decided that combining the two to make a tart would be a perfect end to my weeks sharing #FreshTastyValentines recipes with all of you. 

Envy Apples generously sent me 3 of their delicious apples, an apple corer and a tote bag. Envy Apple uses natural plant-breeding, non-GMO methods and crosses Braeburn with Royal Gala apples. The company started in New Zealand and has expanded to Washington State. The apples are amazing and I was lucky that my 3 year old didn't snag them before I had a change to make my tart! 

KitchenIQ generously sent me a BetterZester and Strawberry Tool. I used the zester for this recipe and the zester is wonderful and has a slightly curved design and a bonus container for easy zest removal. I used seasonal Meyer Lemons for my tart because I love the combo of citrus and apples together. 

This tart is so quick and easy! The flavors are crisp and sweet from the apple and a bit tart from them lemon. I really like having a lighter dessert and this is a perfect end of the meal for me.... if you wanted a little more richness a scoop pf vanilla ice cream wouldn't hurt! 

I want to thanks Camilla one more time for all her hard work. I have done a few of these recipes challenges with Camilla and you would not believe all the work she does to get these up and running! I also want to thank all of our sponsors again. They are so generous to us and provide such wonderful products to share with all of you. 

Check out the blog hop below to see what my fellow bloggers are sharing today and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 


Ingredients

1 piece frozen puff pastry, cut into 3 pieces and thawed
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
Juice from 1 meyer lemon (2 Tbl)
2 Tbl brown sugar
zest from 1/2 meyer lemon
raw sugar
1 egg beaten


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together lemon juice, and brown sugar. Brush the lemon mixture over the puff pastry. Layer the thinly sliced apples on the puff pastry. 

Combine raw sugar and zest and mix so it is well combined. Sprinkle over the apples.

Brush exposed pastry edges with egg wash and place tarts on the baking sheet. Bake 13-17 minutes or until pastry is golden and underside is completely cooked.  Remove from baking sheet, slice and serve. 


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Friday, February 5, 2016

BBQ Tangerine Hatch Chile Roasted Cornish Game Hens #FreshTastyValentines

Welcome to #FreshTasyValentines!

This week I will be filling this space with fresh and tasty recipes- perfect to share with your valentine next week. Don't forget to check out the prize package below and enter! 

I introduced this event, sponsors and bloggers in my preview post and please click here to visit and learn more about our sponsors. Also, I want to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventure with Camilla. This lady has worked so hard to put this event together and deserves many rounds of applause- head over to her blog and show her some love!

Today I am sharing a perfect recipe for two using one of my favorite poultry proteins- cornish game hens.  I have shared cornish game hens before because I think they make a lovely meal and always look impressive. They are much easier to prepare and cook much quicker than chicken and are usually have a very reasonable price point at the store. I normally roast mine with butter, salt and pepper but this was a perfect time to show-off a few of our sponsor ingredients! 

NotKetchup sent the bloggers a bottle of their newest product: Tangerine Hatch Chile  NotKetchup Sauce. The sauce is a fantastic all-purpose sauce that has no added sugar, no artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners, nothing artificial and no preservatives.  In Fact, the sauce is only sweetened with real fruit like tangerines, apples and dates and there is only 1g sugar per serving. I sampled the product right when we got it and couldn't wait to get cooking! I opted to mix mine with a little mine with a little tangy bbq sauce and the flavors were amazing! 

KitchenIQ generously sent me a BetterZester and Strawberry Tool. I used the zester for this recipe and the zester is wonderful and has a slightly curved design and a bonus container for easy zest removal. The added lemon lest in my sauce worked perfectly with the tangerine and brought out the citrus in the NotKetchup!

Ron, Kellen and I loved this meal and Kellen loved dipping his serving in extra sauce- we are so lucky he is in a stage that he likes to try food because with toddlers you never know what you will get! We served our hens with a side of roasted broccoli and wild rice. This is a perfect meal to share as a family or as a romantic dinner for two. 

I am so excited to share all of the recipes for #FreshTastyValentines! Also, check out the other bloggers on the hop below for more recipes! 


Ingredients

2 Cornish Game Hens
1 fresh lemon, quartered
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup
1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Lemon zest of a 1/2 lemon


Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together NotKetchup, bbq sauce and lemon zest. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the hens dry and stuff with lemon quarters. Season with salt and pepper and truss if desired. Place in a roasting pan and roast for about 60 minutes or until the temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

When the hens are in the last 20 minutes of roasting, generously brush the hens with the BBQ sauce. Return to over and allow the hens to finish roasting. 

Remove from the over and allow the hens to rest 5-10 minutes before carving and serving.




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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Butter #FreshTastyValentines

Welcome to #FreshTasyValentines!

This week I will be filling this space with fresh and tasty recipes- perfect to share with your valentine next week. Don't forget to check out the prize package below and enter! 

I introduced this event, sponsors and bloggers in my preview post and please click here to visit and learn more about our sponsors. Also, I want to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventure with Camilla. This lady has worked so hard to put this event together and deserves many rounds of applause- head over to her blog and show her some love!

So far, I have shared delicious a main course and a side dish highlighting our sponsor's donation. I wanted to share a frequently forgotten part of a meal- butter. Not just any butter, but a flavored butter. Flavored butters are great for enhancing dishes and adding touches of flavor. I love the use them on warm rolls, steaks and other meats, potatoes, green veggies....the list goes on and on. A few years ago, at one of my favorite places in town, I was served a red wine butter of the top of my steak and it was amazing. I love red wine and red meat together, but this butter put the steak over the top and it is still one of my favorite meals. I wanted to create a butter for this challenge because they are versatile and can be used in so many different ways. Plus, who won't get impressed if you are serving a roasted garlic and red wine butter? 

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi sent me a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Nior.  I am not drinking much these days (less than 2 months to go till baby boy is here!), but I love to cook with wine! For this recipe I  used the Pinot Noir to make a delicious butter. 

Casabella was generous enough to send me a Garlic Roaster and Clip 'n Strip Shears. The garlic roasted is designed oven and dishwasher safe and roasts the garlic with no mess to clean afterwards!  I love to roast garlic and this tool is a fantastic addition to my kitchen. I am always hesitant to buy specialty kitchen tools for fear it will take up too much space or I won't use it, but this is a tool I know will be frequently used in my household! 

I am so excited to share all of the recipes for #FreshTastyValentines! Also, check out the other bloggers on the hop below for more recipes!


Ingredients

1 stick salted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 Tbl Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir
1 large clove roasted garlic
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper


Instructions

Add butter, wine, garlic and pepper to a food processor and pulse till smooth and evenly mixed. If you do not have a food processor a hand mixer will work. 

Serve whipped at room temperature, or roll in wax paper to make a log and store in the fridge till firm. Butter can also be frozen till ready to use.

To Roast the Garlic: I used my Casabella Garlic Roasted and it was fantastic. If you do not have one click here for an alternative roasting method.




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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Honey Garlic Ginger Glazed Sugar Snap Peas #FreshTastyValentines

Welcome to #FreshTasyValentines!

This week I will be filling this space with fresh and tasty recipes- perfect to share with your valentine next week. Don't forget to check out the prize package below and enter! 

I introduced this event, sponsors and bloggers in my preview post and please click here to visit and learn more about our sponsors. Also, I want to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventure with Camilla. This lady has worked so hard to put this event together and deserves many rounds of applause- head over to her blog and show her some love!

Side dishes are often long forgotten after thoughts and I wanted to share something quick and delicious that is a perfect accompaniment to any main course. I turned to Mann Packaging's Stringless Sugar Snap Peas and Gourmet Garden's herbs to create this delicious and fresh side!

Mann Packaging was generous enough to send coupons to me to try out their products. I have always been a fan of Mann's Stringless Sugar Snap Peas even before this challenge! They are cleaned, washed and make for easy snacking for Kellen and I- perfect for car rides between work, daycare and swim! Click here to check out all of their different and amazing products!

Gourmet Garden was kind enough to send participants 18 different herb products (stir-in pastes and lightly dried) for this challenge.  I was lucky enough to use Gourmet Garden's product in a previous blog challenge and was thrilled to have a chance to work with the product again. This time, along with stir-in paste, Gourmet Garden included 6 lightly dried herbs. I love this product because they last 4 weeks after they are opened, but are void of moisture and freshness like a fully dried herb.

 I served this recipe with a Cornish game hen recipe I will be sharing tomorrow. The fantastic thing about this side dish is it comes together in a snap (haha) and isn't your everyday steamed veggie with a little butter or salt. I used sharp flavors of garlic and ginger, but mellowed them out with a touch of honey. I like to lightly saute the pea pod so they maintain a slight crunch. My three year old adored these and devoured almost 2/3 of the entire pan- I would say that is a hit in my book!

I am so excited to share all of the recipes for #FreshTastyValentines! Also, check out the other bloggers on the hop below for more recipes!


Ingredients

1 (15 oz) bag Stringless Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbl butter
1 1/2 tsp raw honey (regular will work fine)
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic Stir-In Paste 
1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden Ginger Stir-In Paste 
1/4-1/2 tsp salt


Instructions

In a large rimmed skillet, saute the snap peas in butter for 2 minutes. 

Stir in the honey, garlic and ginger. Allow the glaze to thicken while cooking over medium-low heat for about a minute. Season with salt, to taste, and remove from heat. Serve immediately. 




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