3 Things That Are Not In My Grocery Cart

It’s been a few days since I released the FOREVER Grocery List.  Have you had a chance to check it out yet?

Take one look at that list, and I think you will realize that I’m WEIRD when it comes to grocery shopping.  It’s true, and I admit it. I’m very fine with my own weirdness in this area.

I graduated from college in the height of the recession. After turning in about 200 job applications, a family connection landed me a job as a cashier at a grocery store.

I’m picky about what I buy, because I’ve seen what people buy.

I really don’t care if you make a million dollars a year or if you have to dump a jar of pennies on the counter to pay, BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT.  It’s the only way to get ahead and make your money work for you. I don’t throw away money at the store; instead, I try to go in with a plan and stick to it.  I’m a careful shopper, and I make sure that every dollar I spend is on nutrient-rich foods that give me my bang for my buck.

That being said, I don’t always buy the cheapest or easiest option.  We are all voting with our dollars, and there are some highly unethical practices that appear on grocery store shelves today.

The biggest issue has recently been cleaned up, but only just this year: we were purchasing goods made by slaves in other countries.  That just baffles my mind! Another: we have been purchasing items where the farmer/rancher in another country was not fairly compensated or in an unsafe environment. So many items are available through fair trade certified route: alchohol, beans, grains, chocolate, coffee, fruits and veggies, spices, honey, nuts, sugar, tea. The products that are not fair trade certified are probably corrupt.

The last issue I am going to bring up: the average food travels 1500 miles before it lands on our plate, and that’s just not ok. It’s contributing to environmental issues and global warming, and consumers have no idea what they’re actually putting into their bodies. I buy from local farmers and ranchers whenever possible. And know what? The quality is AMAZING! Gotta love life in Kansas!

So here are a few things that are typically not in my shopping cart.

Here’s a disclaimer: I’m no nutritionist.  I took one class in college, and I read, but I don’t know your specific circumstances, and I’m not at all qualified to give you nutritional advice. If you have questions at all, I would advise that you speak to a medical professional.

Here are 3 things that are not in my grocery cart:

1. Snacks!

No chips, no crackers, no cookies. Or at least, very sparingly.

Why?

(1) These foods are typically high in sodium. Did you know that 90% of Americans are eating WAY TOO MUCH and it’s probably killing us? These foods are also high in calories and low in actual nutritional value.

(2) These foods are EXPENSIVE.  You can easily spend $20 or more and with 30 minutes of mindless eating, it’s all suddenly gone. And you’re hungry again an hour later.

2. Foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.

I have a fear of high-fructose corn syrup (and yes, it’s different than the corn syrup you can buy in the baking aisle, btw).

While the rest of America is fretting over our new clown epidemic, the thought of high-fructose corn syrup hiding out in my kitchen cabinet watching me has my knees knocking.

It’s in our juice, our soda, our breakfast cereal, our yogurt, our salad dressings, our bread, our candy, our energy snacks, our tomato sauces including ketchup, our peanut butter.

Basically, our society is consuming toxic levels of this stuff, but it’s not allowed in my house.

3. Meat.

Here’s a famous, old headline for you: the U.S. could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat.  But, it’s true.  It’s much more efficient to eat plants than the animals who eat plants.

I’m picky about meat.  I don’t eat chicken that is injected with saline (paying $1.50/package for salt water, btw).  I don’t eat beef that wasn’t grass fed.

I actually barely eat meat at all!

Bonus: Yogurt.

Ok, this is a bonus, because I haven’t actually made my own yogurt before, but I plan to very soon!

Did you know that you can make yogurt?  Apparently it’s easy, but I haven’t tried yet!

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The FOREVER Grocery List!

I have hinted that I was planning a FOREVER Grocery List. A lot.

Sign up by clicking HERE or on the photo below!

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I get it, you’re busy. I can help. Here’s how: the Non-Chef Blog is committing to making delicious meals from a standard list of common ingredients that can easily be stockpiled in a pantry.  

A well-stocked pantry is the first step to simplifying your meal prep.  So, I created a Forever list!

WHY THIS LIST?

  • Free yourself by eliminating the foods from your diet that leave you feeling badly!
  • It’s easier on your budget by allowing you to stockpile the items you use while they are on sale.
  • Save time shopping by limiting yourself to easy to find ingredients.
  • MOST OF ALL, save time on planning meals and cooking because you will already have everything you need in your pantry!

You will already have EVERYTHING you need in your pantry!

 

BUT… WHAT ABOUT SNACKING???

If you’re first thought was about snacks, you’re not alone. Snacking was the first thing my husband and I struggled with when we started playing around with this idea. It takes some adjusting, but we’ve discovered some amazing benefits.

  1. Limiting snacking saves money.
  2. We have lost excess weight and feel healthier!

Turns out prepackaged cookies, crackers, fruit snacks, candy, and all the other mindless snacks are not only empty calories, they’re entirely unnecessary! Instead, here are a list of snacks included on this list that are always on hand:

  • Apples
  • Baby carrots
  • Bananas
  • Bell peppers (green and red)
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate chips

WILL I GET BORED?

Not at all! The possibilities are endless!  I’ve been sticking to this list for a couple of months now, and I haven’t gotten bored yet! By stocking your kitchen with this list, ALL of the Non-Chef recipes are already hiding in your Forever pantry including:

Do you actually keep ALL of these ingredients on hand all the time?

No way, Jose! We’re always out of SOMETHING. And, we actually don’t each much meat, so I only stockpile if I land a major sale. I do try to keep the ingredients we use most often stocked: rice, beans, cereal, milk, bread, frozen fruit/veggies, peanut butter, spices. Adjust the list to make it work in your kitchen!

Sign up to receive your Non-Chef Forever Grocery List today!

Cookbook Review: Southern Pantry Cookbook

This review of The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen by Jennifer Chandler includes a FREEBIE RECIPE for Weeknight Red Beans and Rice! Don’t miss out!

I didn’t intend to buy this book. I was bored and flipping through cookbooks looking at the food photography was a way to pass the time while my husband shopped.

Now, I don’t impulse buy things.  I’m a thrifty person, and I normally think long and hard before I make a cookbook purchase. I read amazon reviews. I check my local library.  My cookbook shelf is reserved for a very select few permanent figures.

I bought this book upon first glance, and I’ve had ZERO regrets.

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This book has nestled in comfortably among its peers on the shelf, but it hasn’t stayed on the shelf for very long! It’s extremely useful.

For instance, this delicious Weeknight Red Beans and Rice dish only took 20 minutes in its entirety. So easy and yummy!

For instance, this delicious Weeknight Red Beans and Rice dish only took 20 minutes in its entirety. So easy and yummy!

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I have fallen in love with the idea of using existing pantry ingredients creatively.  I was already compiling the Non-Chef FOREVER Grocery List before this book–which will be ready early next week! Yay!

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Weeknight Red Beans and Rice

(Or, like this photo, black beans and rice, because that’s what I had on hand.)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb Andouille smoked sausage, sliced thinly
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, rinced and drained
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 4 cups brown rice

Instructions

0. If you would rather use dried beans, put beans in water to the brim in a crockpot on low in the morning and allow beans to soak in water for 8 hours. While preparing dinner, rinse with water before adding .

1. Start cooking the rice per package instructions.

2. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, warm oil. Add the sausage, onion, green pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

3. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in oregano, thyme, and bay leaf (or, if you were out of oregano and thyme like I was, substituting a tsp of Italian Seasoning mix was still absolutely yummy). Salt and pepper to taste, and add beans and stock.

4. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow flavors to meld for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Discard the bay leaf, and serve beans over rice.

TIP: If you are watching your carb intake, I have read that you can substitute black soy beans, which have a lower carb and higher protein trade-off.  Also, give cauliflower rice a try! 🙂

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Cookbook Review: Breakfast for Dinner

This week’s cookbook review is over Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More! with a recipe for Huevos Rancheros Tacos!

I love breakfast so much! It’s what I ask for on my birthday, and it’s something I look forward to on Christmas. If, for some reason, I was allowed endless ingredients for only one food category on a dessert island, it would be breakfast foods.

I am no stranger to eating breakfast for dinner. I have cracked an egg over a pizza before.  I keep pancake mix in the cabinet primarily for when I need a quick weeknight meal or a late night snack for a crowd. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to savory waffles (a secret board, of course, because it’s getting embarrassingly obsessive).

I took one look at the huavos rancheros tacos recipe, and immediately added it to the meal plan this week. (It doesn't hurt that my fridge was filled with eggs I found on sale for about 60 cents/dozen either.) These tacos were MESSY but in such a good way! If you’re not a fan of runny egg yoke, my husband, Adam, made some awesome cheddar garlic scrambled eggs to fill the rest of our tacos.

When you’re not morning people, breakfast doesn’t often happen before 10 am or so. After 6 pm is even better!

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I am LOVING this book! Lindsey Landis and Taylor Hackbarth came up with some very creative breakfast food spins.  Cornflake-crusted chicken tenders, mini pesto quiches, lemon poppy seed thumbprint cookies, dessert pancakes. I didn’t have time to make everything I wanted to this week!

I always appreciate a cookbook that has a full page picture of every recipe, too.

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I took one look at the huavos rancheros tacos recipe, and immediately added it to the meal plan this week. (It doesn’t hurt that my fridge was filled with eggs I found on sale for about 60 cents/dozen either.)

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Seriously, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, where have you been all my life? That little can of peppers is the real hero in the ranchero sauce!

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These tacos were MESSY but in such a good way! If you’re not a fan of runny egg yoke, my husband, Adam, made some awesome cheddar garlic scrambled eggs to fill the rest of our tacos. I’ve included the recipe below!

Ingredients

Ranchero Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 largejalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce + 1/2 tbsp sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Tacos:

  • 1 (15 oz) can of refried beans
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • 8 large eggs

Cheddar Garlic Scrambled Eggs:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 c cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan, add onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat until beginning to soften. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, chipotle, adobo sauce, and oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the sauce simmers, heat refried beans per package instructions, either on stovetop or in microwave.
  3. Use olive oil to grease a skillet or a griddle. Arrange a single layer of 3-4 corn tortillas and crisp over a medium heat 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the edges are browning.
  4. After sauce has simmered, blend in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Cook the eggs last.  Sunny side up can be made four at a time in a covered skillet over a medium-high heat for 4 minutes (5 for firmer yokes).  Scrambled eggs can be made all at once: crack eggs into skillet over medium-high heat, add milk, and stir constantly. Add cheese and garlic when eggs are almost firm.
  6. Spread beans on the tortillas and top with eggs and ranchero sauce. Enjoy!

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Cookbook Review: The Veggie-lovers Sriracha Cookbook

I have an extreme fondness for this cookbook: The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch. Why?

My mother owns it and cooks for me from it.

Mom and I both LOVE a kick in our veggies, so this pretty much knocks our socks off every time.  Props to the genius who gifted this to mom! (Anna, was it you?)

In a blink, it was done. Seriously, 5 minutes of occasionally stirring sauce on the stovetop; the peppers need a couple minutes under the broiler — and, done!

When I received a large number of chili peppers from my produce co-op this summer, my mom suggested the perfect recipe for me: Grilled Shishito Peppers with Sriracha Satay Sauce

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It started with a purple onion on a yellow cutting mat. I have an afinity for when opposites on the color wheel come together.

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In a blink, it was done. Seriously, 5 minutes of occasionally stirring sauce on the stovetop; the peppers need a couple minutes under the broiler — and, done!

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Just one of the many delicious recipes I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy because of this cookbook.

Ingredients

Sriracha Satay Sauce

  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 c natural peanut butter, crunchy
  • 1/3 c Sriracha
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar

Grilled Peppers

  • 4/3 pound Shishito peppers
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

“To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, Sriracha, onion, garlic, [soy sauce], and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a bubble and stir to incorporate the peanut butter. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for at least an hour.”

I personally skipped the refrigerating step. I imagine it thickens the sauce?

“To prepare the peppers, preheat a grill, grill pan, or broiler to high heat. In a large bowl, toss the peppers with the oil until evenly coated. Spread the peppers in a single layer on the grill or boiler pan. Cook until the skin is lightly charred and blistered.”

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Cincinnati “Skyline” Chili

This recipe has been in my family for almost 30 years! This spiced meat sauce is cooked for at least 4 hours and then served over spaghetti. Traditional toppings include cheddar cheese, diced onions, oyster crackers, and beans (we skip the beans).

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It is absolutely gorgeous in Kansas right now. I took a drive the other day and had to pull over to capture this rainbow on a sunny day. So perfect!

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I just love these hills.  Deep breath.

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Despite the beautiful, understated view, I have not been feeling very inspired to post recently.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. I’m dieting. Sort of. The baby’s half birthday came and passed. Along with that came the realization that I won’t have the metabolism of a breastfeeding mother forever. My goal is to reach the healthy BMI range, and I still have about 12% of my body weight to lose. Ug.

2. Flu season started early, and I was the only person healthy in my house. Let me tell you about how much leisurely free time I had to cook and write. None. Yup.

3. I haven’t felt inspired. My produce service was temporarily stopped. I tried some new foods, but I wasn’t happy with the results. I’m in a creative rut.

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Finally, I had an idea. A non diet friendly idea, but that’s ok once in a while.

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Instead of a new recipe, why not turn to one of the oldest recipes in my possession?

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I was born in Cincinnati. My parents lived there while my dad attended grad school and my mom taught inner city. Then they whisked me on a tour of the country that ended in a red brick house in Kansas.

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But my story started in Cincinnati, and I LOVE this chili.

There’s nothing quite like Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili. Just take a look at the ingredient list, and that’s evident.

Just try it. You won’t be sorry!

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • Cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, diced onion for toppings

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, crumble the  raw hammer into the water.
  2. Add everything else.
  3. Simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain/scoop off excess  water and grease. Cook spaghetti per package instructions.
  5. Serve  over spaghetti with desired toppings.

Popcorn Trio

Introducing the popcorn trio: Dark Chocolate; Parmesan and Olive Oil; and Smoked Paprika, Rosemary, and Olive Oil.  Air popped popcorn with a light sweet or savory coating is a snack that will let your junk food craving be satisfied without excess calories, fat, and sodium. It’s as fun to make as it is to eat!

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This post is the third in a series about a six course dinner served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, KS.

Click here to read the Non-Baker contribution to this series.

When planning this event, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a salad that incorporates acorn squash and make Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni. I was stuck on a third dish.

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I wanted my final course contribution to be low in calories after heavy pasta. More than that, I wanted this dish to be something fun to make and eat.
I went to a local restaurant recently, Bourbon and Baker, and was thrilled to find truffled popcorn on the menu! Popcorn is one of my all time favorite foods! Another fun way to have a taste of Christmas in August, a savory and sweet popcorn trio! Everyone can find a popcorn that they enjoy!

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Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn

I always forget that chocolate is messy! I was finding chocolate everywhere after making it, including on the baby, oops. The good thing is that I made every mistake, so you don’t have to.

An air popper is the easiest way to control fat and sodium intake with this snack, but pan popped or microwave popped popcorn will work.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn (or 1 microwavable bag)
  • 1 standard candy bar of dark chocolate (or less, I had more than enough)
  • 2 gallon ziplock storage bags
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn.
  2. Put the popcorn into one or two storage bags depending on how much there is after it pops. You want each bag to be half full or less.
  3. Put your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl microwave on high for 30 second increments until the chocolate is just about melted, then stir until completely melted. Chocolate burns easily, and burned chocolate is just sad, so make sure to keep an eye on it.
  4. Turn on your favorite dancing music. Pour the chocolate in the bags and shake until distributed evenly. (A workout and a fun snack rolled into one!)
  5. Place bags of popcorn in the freezer until the chocolate hardens. It should be fine after 10 minutes or so. (This was the important step that I unfortunately wasn’t warned of.)
  6. Pour into a bowl and enjoy with friends!

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Parmesan an Olive Oil

The second in the trio. Finely grated parmesan would probably work better than what I used, but they’re equally tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 c fresh parmesan

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn!
  2. Put popcorn into a gallon ziplock bag. Spray popcorn lightly with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and enjoy!

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Smoked Paprika, Rosemary, and Olive Oil Popcorn 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpopped popcorn
  • olive oil spray
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprica
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pop your popcorn!
  2. Put popcorn into a gallon ziplock bag. Spray popcorn lightly with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with spices and shake bag until dispersed. Test and adjust to taste.

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Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta.  This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas.  Best of all, it’s budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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This post is part of a series of posts about a six course dinner served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Please click here to view yesterday’s Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad.

 

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta. This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Best of all, it's budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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My sister Anna (the non-baker) and I served a six course meal to our family at the historic Iron Clad building in Wamego, Kansas.  Yesterday, I wrote about a Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing.

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Today is about this pasta. This recipe is a winner with a crowd. It’s a recipe I would consider to be restaurant quality except it’s terribly simple.

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Dinner with extended family in a beautify venue isn’t something that happens every day.  We  are mindful eaters, but we splurged and celebrated with spicy yet creamy sauce over fun to eat pasta.

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We treated ourselves, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Well, most of us did anyway. One person at the table was limited to rice cereal, and he was less than thrilled about it.

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But, he was excited about being all together.

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Except, don’t eat that butter.  There’s a line, folks.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz package of rigatoni
  • 1 c Alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1/2 a package of frozen peas, or 1 can
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Boil pasta per package directions.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, combine the next four ingredients in a sauce pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. After the pasta has been drained, drizzle with olive oil to keep noodles from sticking. Spoon into bowls and top with Parmesan.

 

Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing

This salad–kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing–is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event.  It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy! Thank you to Iron Clad in Wamego, KS for allowing us to use your beautiful facility!

This salad--kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing--is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event. It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy!

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My sister, Anna at Non-Baker, and I are celebrating the end of summer with a six course dinner for our immediate family at Iron Clad in Wamego, KS.

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Life gets busy again over the next couple of weeks. Schools will be resuming, and pools will be closing.

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Almost all of the family works in education in some capacity. We have the blues because summer is ending.

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This salad welcomes fall flavors with outstretched arms.

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Thanks to Iron Clad Coworking and Events for allowing us to use this beautiful facility. Keep them in mind for your next event. Or, consider coworking in their facility if you work from home or crave work in a beautiful creative space. They are great to work with!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 pears
  • 2 large bunches of kale, or one large prewashed bag
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/3 c dried pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c goat cheese crumbles

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tsp dijon mustard (or 1 tbsp + 1 tsp… I was trying to save you from having to wash two measuring spoons for 1 ingredient.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the acorn squash, and pierce the skin with a knife in 10-20 places. Place on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 10-15 minutes on 5 minute intervals, depending on the microwave. (We just want to soften the squash so that it’s easier to slice.
  2. Once it is softened, cut off the top and slice into rings. Use the knife to remove the seeds and pulp.
  3. Lay out rings onto a greased cookie sheet and bake about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Slice pears and combine other ingredients while squash is baking. Combine all dressing ingredients into a mason jar and shake.
  4. Place squash atop salad and serve.

Read Anna’s post on Monday Inspiration: The Importance of Family Togetherness!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too!  Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld — it’s a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too! Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld -- it's a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

I didn’t plan on baking this and photographing this in the middle of the night, honestly.  Last week, when I promised to share the recipe in which I used all the leftover sandwich crust from our teaparty, I did not imagine my pajamaed self tip-toeing around the kitchen, silently, desperately cooking in the middle of the night.  Oh, parenthood.

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So don’t mind my dark pictures here.  Just get a chuckle at imagining me fumbling around trying to take the time to photograph this before gulping it down.

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I feel like I’ve been hungry since the day before the baby was born.  The other night, when a sleepy meltdown monopolized the evening and overtook dinner, I was starving.

I was so glad that I had this casserole in the fridge ready to just pop into the oven!

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Because who says that you can’t enjoy breakfast for dinner?

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Seriously, who?  I need a name?  Because I’m pretty sure that person is Bizzaro Brohgan.

(Don’t worry, I’m using the term “bizzaro” correctly.  I looked it up.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Note: I’ve had this recipe on my Pinterest board for ages. I think it originally came from a forum about favorite holiday recipes?  I don’t have the link to the forum, but here is the jpg for the original recipe:

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Thank you, Sherry McClure, whoever you are!

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 slices of bread, cubed (if you have leftover crust for some reason, like I did, you basically need enough to fill the casserole dish)
  • 1 lb sausage, browned and drained (I recommend turkey sausage.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 c milk
  • butter flavored cooking spray

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients and put into a well-buttered baking dish (I used spray to save calories!).  Let set 12 hours in refrigerator. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Whether it’s Christmas morning brunch or the middle of the night in summer, serve and enjoy!

Another Note: don’t use multigrain bread or bread with seeds that doesn’t have a soft texture. I did that once, and the change in texture isn’t something that I would recommend. I’m normally willing to  sacrifice in the name of health, but this just wasn’t worth it. White bread or soft wheat bread is best.

-Brohgan