Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Oh, hi! Nice to see you again! So, um, I guess I haven’t posted much recently. I blinked and 11 months just disappeared! Isn’t it funny how that happens?

You know what else is funny? All of the plans I had for life after baby. One of my plans was to continue blogging regularly, maybe even more! After all, now I had a new way to relate to readers. I was going to blog all about the meals I was making, the homemade baby food my baby was going to love to eat, the DIY projects I was going to start, maybe I would even write about the cloth diapers I obsessed over my entire pregnancy, and the way I reorganized my life to fit both new mommy me and old me. Some of my favorite blogs are written by moms! They seem to be able to do it all!

But the truth is… I haven’t quite found the way to reorganize my life to seamlessly fit new mommy me and old me. It’s a work in progress.

The truth is, I make dinner, but not every night. Sometimes the recipes are new but a lot of the time they’re old standbys. And my baby didn’t like homemade baby food (or really any baby food, she preferred baby led weaning). And DIY projects? Ain’t nobody got time for that. And I love cloth diapers. I really, really do. But I went back to work in January and now only use them part time. And blogging? Yikes!

The truth is, I WANT to blog. I do. I just haven’t found that magical place where motivation meets time and energy.

But recently I got a little nudge. The cooking board I am on decided to bring back recipe swaps and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to see if I can manage to fit in a little old me. I’m happy to say that other than a minor hiccup (where I wrote an entire post and WordPress randomly decided to eat it), I managed!

My assigned blog was Dough See Dough, run by Jenni. To say that I spent a LOT of time scouring her pages for the perfect “back to blogging” recipe is an understatement. So many things caught my eye. These Chinese BBQ Pork Buns. This Turkey & Rice Taco Skillet. These Snickerdoodles… So what would I choose?

Clearly these delicious Iced Pumpkin Cookies won. After all, ’tis the season! And what better way to get back to blogging than with pumpkin?

I think these cookies were really a great choice. I made very few changes, only adding dairy (Jenni’s version was dairy free!) and substituting some white whole wheat flour for all purpose flour. Because doing that makes me feel like I’m making a healthy cookie (just humor me) that I can eat for breakfast (and I have). Hopefully you enjoy them just as much as I have!

 

Just because, here is my sweet, energetic, fun, wild, beautiful little TODDLER!! Rocking her pumpkin wear.

Chicken and Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta and a Giveaway!

Update: I plugged the numbers into Random.org and a winner has been chosen! The winner is comment #24! Rachel said, “I love eating it with granola for lunch.” So check your email Rachel! If the prize isn’t claimed within 5 days a new winner will be selected. Thank you for all of your entries!

I’m sure that my recent lack of posts has made it pretty obvious that I’ve been in a cooking/blogging funk lately. I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of the baby or this cold weather that’s getting me down, but I just haven’t had a whole lot of creativity or motivation in the kitchen. It feels like I’ve just been rotating the same 5 meals lately. Needless to say, I was so excited when my friend Jessica, from My Baking Heart, invited me to join a Virtual Cooking Party! Perfect opportunity to get some excitement back into my kitchen!!

For this party we all put our own spin on the same recipe, featuring Stonyfield Greek Yogurt. I am a HUGE fan of cooking with Greek yogurt, I often use it as substitute for sour cream in recipes and as a topping. I’ve even used it to replace the mayonnaise in a cole slaw recipe! It’s a great way to make some of my favorite recipes a little bit healthier without making a sacrifice in taste.

The recipe chosen for this Virtual Cooking Party was Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta. I love pesto because it is always so fresh tasting and it’s packed with layers of flavor. This recipe is no exception. I even told Jessica that I would happily just eat spoonfuls of this pesto for dinner. :) But, since I live with a meat and potatoes man, I used pasta AND chicken. The chicken seemed to grab onto just the right amount of the subtle lemon flavor. And as it turns out, the swirls of the rotini pasta made perfect pockets for holding on to the delicious pesto. I thought the Greek yogurt was the perfect way to add creaminess to the pesto. The slight tang of the yogurt perfectly balanced the fresh basil and powerful garlic. To help make dinner a little more economical, I substituted walnuts for pine nuts. All in all, dinner was a huge success! Big thanks to Jessica for bringing a fresh new recipe to my kitchen! Be sure to stop by her blog to see how the other party-goers put their own spin on this recipe!

For this party I was happy to get my hands on some free Stonyfield Greek Yogurt, and I’d love for you to be able to get your hands on some as well! Because what’s a party without a fun prize/giveaway?! Stonyfield has generously agreed to offer one lucky reader a case of Stonyfield yogurt and a Stonyfield Cookbook!

The giveaway is now closed and a winner has been announced!
How to enter:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to use Greek yogurt!
Sorry, only US residents please

Deadline & Winning Information:

The deadline for entry will be 11:59 pm Saturday, February 1
Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced at the top of this post on Sunday, February 2
The winner will receive an email from me (so be sure to enter your correct email address!) and will have 5 days to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:

I was offered free Stonyfield Greek Yogurt as a part of this Virtual Cooking Party. However, the opinions and review are my own!

 

 

 

My Favorites – 2013

Yesterday I shared the top 3 reader favorites from 2013! I was really happy to see that readers enjoyed some of my favorites but I also want to showcase some of my other recipes! So, today I share some more of my favorites from 2013!

My Top 3 Favorite Savory Dishes from 2013

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This Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili became one of my new favorite meals after making it last January. It is so, so easy to throw together and it’s filling AND it’s good for you! I love it so much I even froze some before the baby was born, so now I know it freezes well!

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2013 was all about the easy weeknight dinner. My second favorite dish is Shells and Cheese with Kielbasa and Peas. This is a meal we have at least once every few weeks, in fact, I think I could make this meal in my sleep.

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It might seem weird to include something as ordinary as Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells in my favorites for 2013, but these were just so delicious. After devouring this meal the first time I was so glad that I had made enough to freeze. And just a few days after the baby was born I was even more thankful to have this delicious dish to just throw in the oven! Yum! Simple and delicious.

My Top 3 Favorite Sweet Treats from 2012

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There is nothing about this ice cream that I do not like. It’s sweet and creamy with chocolatey crunch. Winner winner! Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

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Once again I have to toot my horn and include my birthday cake in my  top 3. I put a lot of thought into my birthday cake each year and I usually make something really, really indulgent. This year was no exception. Incredibly rich, indulgent, over-the-top, delicious, Tuxedo Layered Cheesecake.

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Choosing a third sweet treat was especially hard this year. I had a major sweet tooth during my pregnancy and it didn’t really go away after she was born. But, I think this Peanut Butter Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel is pretty high up on my list. I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Well that’s that! With pregnancy, moving, moving again, finishing my bachelors program, and adjusting to a new baby, it was a relatively quiet year, but I am still proud of the recipes I was able to share and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Thank you for visiting, commenting, sharing, pinning, and making these recipes throughout the year! Hope you and yours have a happy and healthy 2014!!

2013 Recap

To say that 2013 has been a whirlwind year would really be an understatement. Our life is so completely different, but in so many good ways. Two years ago we rang in the new year in the middle of a pile of boxes, ready to move around the world to China. Last year we rang in the new year back in San Diego, with the excitement of expecting our first child. This year we ring in the new year as a family of 3 (or 5 including the cats). We’re in a different home, in a different city, with a different job for Jesse, and a new degree for me… It’s so crazy how quickly EVERYTHING can change. And I know it’s horribly cheesy to say, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

With all of the major life changes we have had in last year, this poor little blog has been terribly neglected. Usually when I sit down to write my yearly recap I have a pretty good idea of what the top recipes will be. This year I had NO CLUE. Some of the most popular reader favorites were a little surprising, but that’s a good thing! It’s fun to see how reader trends correlate to my own favorite recipes. So let’s jump right in! Today I’ll share the top five reader favorites! Tomorrow I’ll share my favorites!

Top 3 Reader Favorites of 2013

IMG_8163Homemade Italian Dressing -

I don’t know why this one surprises, I guess I just didn’t expect a simple salad dressing to be such a hit! But it is deliciously easy so I really shouldn’t be surprised! Having a go-to homemade Italian dressing was a lifesaver in my first trimester when only zippy and tangy salad dressings sounded good!

IMG_7816Spicy, Sticky, Sweet, Asian Meatballs –

I was really excited to see that this was so popular with my readers. This was a recipe I was extremely proud of. We love the way they taste and I love that they are still relatively good for you and easy to make. Triple winner in my book.

IMG_7246Avocado, Bacon, and Cheese {ABC} Puffs

Another super simple recipe. Perfect for football Sundays. With the playoffs coming up I won’t be surprised to see even more pins and hits on this recipe!