Yesterday was bittersweet. Eleven weeks ago, our cat, Pepper, had four adorable kittens. We knew when we got her that we were going to allow her to have one litter of kittens. The last few months have been such a wonderful experience for all of us. It is truly remarkable how Pepper’s motherly instincts kicked in immediately and it has been such a joy watching her care for her babies.
We of course became quite attached to the kittens, but since day one we told the kids that we would not be keeping any. Earlier this week we had all the kittens fixed (including Mama cat) and shots administered, which meant it was time to go to their forever homes.
Yesterday, a sweet newlywed couple came to pick up the two boys. We know that they will be in good hands, but it wasn’t easy. The kids cried for hours after they left. I felt absolutely horrible!
Baking seems to always change the mood, so we set out to bake these Pumpkin Snickerdoodle cupcakes in honor of our sweet tabby that we called Pumpkin. The kids love to bake, so they jumped on the opportunity to help. I knew my daughter would be eating these, so we used gluten free flour. The results were just like a regular cupcake, crumbly and moist. These are great cupcakes to kick off fall!
Did you really think that I would let summer pass without posting a popsicle recipe? Well, it may have actually happened had it not been 1000 degrees and 150 percent humidity these past couple of weeks. Every year we Californians experience a few weeks of extreme heat. During this time, we all sit around and complain that it is too hot to do anything. There is always someone who tries to tell us that most states go through this extreme heat all summer long and we have to remind that person that most people have air-conditioning. Most so-cal beach city residents do not…and we’re dying!
Pretty much the only thing coming out of my kitchen these days is frozen. Hell, if we could eat a frozen dinner we probably would! This whole no cooking thing is killing me. All I want to do is make a cake, but I am pretty sure my family and probably neighbors would kill me if I turned the oven on.
So until the heat goes away, you will find us eating these Raspberry Pudding Pops. They are refreshingly sweet and super easy to make. We used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk Coconutmilk to make the pudding. I love using this dairy free milk in my baking and cooking because it tastes delicious with less calories.
What’s great about these pudding pops is that you can make them with anything. We made one batch with raspberries and another with fresh bananas and caramel sauce. The kids love getting creative when making them!
Strolling through my Instagram and Facebook this week, I found that 99% of kids started school. We still have 2 weeks before school starts, which means that we can hit up our favorite touristy spots and not have to deal with lines!
But before we do so, we have to get fully prepared for the school year. One of the things that I always do is send my kids to their first day of school with a little edible gift for their teacher. Normally this ends up biting me in arse, because somehow from there on out I am always in charge of the baking for the class events. However my daughter loves this gesture and loves helping me bake for her new teacher.
Since I started working with Blue Diamond Almonds at the beginning of summer, we have a great time trying all of their new flavors. The kids LOVE getting the “Almond Boxes” and helping me create a fun recipe while snacking on them.
We wanted to create a recipe for the new teacher that was fun and flavorful. Although this recipe does contain sugar, it is also packed with nutritious almond butter and dried blueberries. We dipped the cookies in white chocolate and sprinkled some chopped Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored almonds for an extra boost of blueberry! They came out absolutely delicious!
Since we also received a package of the Salted Caramel Almonds, we omitted the dried blueberries in some of the dough and replaced them with some chopped salted caramel almonds. We made far less of these cookies because the almonds were so good that we did not have enough for a full batch!
We can’t wait to make these cookies again the day before school starts!
I am starting to come to the realization that I have a hard time living in the now and prefer to live in the future. With produce that is. Whenever there is a sale or we go picking, my first thought is to stock up so that I can make jam and pie filling. Next, I think about actually eating the fruit and enjoying its summer freshness. Kind of backwards don’t you think!?
There is just something about homemade jam and pie filling that gets me so excited. You know how annoying “name droppers” are, well I am a total food/ experience dropper. “You like that spaghetti sauce? Well it is made from tomatoes from our garden.” Wow, just writing that makes me realize how annoying I must be. But the thought of serving a dozen summer fruit pies at Thanksgiving, with produce that we picked and canned, makes me proud.
After I made a huge batch of this Peach Pie filling, my husband insisted that I make a fresh pie to try it out. I had my eye on this Raspberry and Cream Pie from Stetted.com. Since we were fresh out of raspberries, I swapped them out with the peaches. The pie was creamy and delicious. So much so that my husband actually hid it in the back of the fridge to insure that our monster eating machine children would not eat the rest before he got home from work. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ZiplocBackToSchool #CollectiveBias
The kids’ school supplies and new uniforms have been purchased, which means back-to-school preparations are in full swing! I signed everyone up for their extracurricular activities, and let me tell you, I am going to be one busy mama!
In an effort to reduce time and stress at dinnertime, I invited some of my friends and family over for a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. We all joined forces and were able to prep a week’s worth of dinners. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this will reduce stress during the first week of school.
Packaging is essential when it comes to pre-prepared meals, because the last thing we all have time for is cleaning up a spilled mess in the refrigerator or freezer. Ziploc® brand Storage bags and Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs are perfect for meal prep parties! When planning a meal prep assembly party, organization is essential. If you have an itty-bitty kitchen like me, it is even more important. I set up different stations for every meal. One table, called the chopping block, was where all of the chopping and prep work was done.
I tried to prep as much as possible. I compiled a collection of recipes and listed the steps to complete them.. I also made sure to forewarn everyone to clean out their freezers to make room for everything. I did my shopping at Ralphs two days prior to the party. That way, I could pre-cook items that I knew would take too long to make while the guests were here, namely the chicken and pie crusts for the chicken potpies. The morning of the party, I started the pulled pork and set the crockpot to high.
When my guests arrived, I promptly put them to work. Each dish had the recipe printed and in less than three hours, we all had many meals to enjoy on busy nights. We all had so much fun and plan on making this a monthly occasion.
Here are some of the things that we made:
Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches are great, extra quick meals. Simply pull them out of the freezer, baste the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with ranch powder and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They turn into crispy, cheesy delicious sandwiches. Serve with a side salad for the perfect, simple meal.
Chicken Pot Pies are wonderful for a chilly evening after soccer practice. It is a comfort meal at its finest. Since I was only storing these for a short period of time, I used Ziploc® brand Storage bags. (For a longer freezing time you can use Ziploc® brand Freezer bags.) I took the pot pies out of the freezer and popped them in the oven. Within 30 minutes, you will have a delicious home cooked meal. I used the faithful recipe from ThePioneerWoman.com and quadrupled it to make eight seven-inch pies.
Turkey Chili is a staple in our house, and it freezes beautifully. We used tomatoes from the garden in place of canned diced tomatoes. . Now we can all enjoy the summer harvest in the fall.
For the final recipe, we made my favorite: Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. It is easy to make and can be frozen for up to three months when using Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags with Easy Open Tabs. Again, we used Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs because ours was only frozen for a few days. Once thawed, I use it in sandwiches, stir-fries and even Hawaiian style with sliced cabbage and rice. It is one of our favorite proteins and is really inexpensive to make.
So if you are a busy mom like me, I highly suggest planning and hosting a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. Not only is it a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, but it is a huge time saver on those busy nights.
Finally for all of your back-to-school sandwich bag needs, there will be $0.50 off regular retail price of Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs between 8/9 and 8/30. Now there is no excuse to not do some meal prepping!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias
For a while now, my husband and I have been looking to move out of California. However in the case that it ever does come to fruition, I made it my life’s mission to master the art of Mexican cuisine. Growing up in southern California, Mexican food is just something I cannot live without. Trust me, I have tried, and it is not physically possible.
Chipotles in adobo sauce add one of my favorite flavor profiles ever. The chiles add a depth of smoky heat to any dishes. I will often add a pepper or two to chicken dishes and even pasta dishes. One of my favorite recipes is a chipotle white sauce with grilled peppers, shrimp and pasta. It is fantastic! Needless to say, whenever I am at Walmart, I always pick up a few extra cans of La Morena products (found in the hispanic food isle) to have on hand.
I was having people over this past weekend and I wanted to make something fresh and delicious. Skirt steak or flap meat are a few of my favorite cuts to prepare for a crowd. They soak up the marinade perfectly and cook on the grill quickly. For this marinade I wanted to add the smokiness of the chipotle peppers but also add a bit acidity from the pickled peppers to tone done the spiciness. Added with a few other ingredients such as onions, garlic, cumin, etc., this marinade turned out perfect and is definitely worth adding to my recipe collection.
I also made a fresh mango salsa to add on top of the meat. I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect the sweet, spicy, smoky flavor combination was! If you are a cranberry sauce and turkey kind of person, this is your perfect summer combination.
For the salsa I used a fresh mango, handful of cilantro, thinly sliced radishes for crunch, salt, and fresh lime juice. I also added in a few La Morena pickled jalapeños for spice and the acidity. It definitely toned down the sweetness of the mango slightly, and made it a bit more savory.
Latino inspired recipes are always bursting with flavors and are usually easy and quick to make, making them the perfect style meal for your next backyard BBQ!
Last month I turned the big 3-0. I had originally planned on throwing a huge Flamingo party, but in the end I realized I just didn’t have the energy. Instead, I invited everyone over for a fun backyard BBQ.
Since ice cream sandwiches are my favorite dessert, I had to have them at my birthday party. I made dozens of cookies to go with the Safeway Open Nature Ice Cream, and set up the table so that everyone could make their own concoction.
What you do not see here are the platters upon platters of cookies that didn’t fit on the dessert table and were placed on the table next to it. I wanted to make sure that every flavor of ice cream had at least two cookies that it could potentially be sandwiched together with.
Also, I have this horrible fear of running out of food during a party so I always make waaayyy more than I should. In the end, I made about 26 dozen cookies, and was left with 18 cookies after the party. For once I actually got it right!
Safeway’s Open Nature Brand Ice Creams come in some amazing flavors. Their Gelatos are absolutely delicious. I noticed many people were doing a tropical combination of mango or coconut sorbet and lemon coconut cookies. Another favorite was the Salted Chocolate Chip cookies with the Salted Caramel Butter Pecan Ice Cream. I had everyone write down their combination, and we can’t wait to try them out later!
Overall it was a wonderful party and a great way to celebrate a new decade!
Thank you Safeway for providing the Ice Cream for my Birthday Bash!