Dec 1

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

Thanks to OXO for once again including us in Cookies for Kids’ Cancer! We love our new cupcake set, and especially love the cause it represents!

We made these delicious cupcakes with this delicious cream cheese frosting. Perfect for the holidays 🙂


Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes
from Allrecipes

2 cups AP flour
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger; set aside.

Beat butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Posted in cake, cream cheese, cupcakes, pumpkin | Leave a comment
Nov 17

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

This dish screams fall!! Delicious and comforting. Acorn squash has been one of our favorites this season…if you haven’t tried it yet, you need to!


Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
adapted from Prevention RD

2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground sage, divided
1 pound pork sausage
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
handful of dried cranberries
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon sage. Brush inside and outside of each squash with the butter mix. Place the squash on a cookie sheet, cut side up, and roast for 50-60 minutes, or until fork tender.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage. Remove from pan and set aside. In same pan, add onions, celery, and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes.

Return the sausage to the skillet then remove from heat. Season with 1/4 tsp sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in panko, cheese, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Add the egg and stir to combine.

Divide stuffing evenly among the four squash halves. Bake for another 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted in main dishes, pork, squash | Leave a comment
Aug 24


Happy Monday! And happy (or maybe not-so-happy) end of August! Summer is flying by and before you know it, there will be all things pumpkin and apple. Until then, I’m enjoying what’s in season and plentiful.


This is one of those dishes that brings me back to my childhood. There’s nothing better than Mom’s stuffed peppers. As hard as I try, it can never be exactly duplicated! But I usually come pretty close 🙂

Staying low carb while duplicating some family recipes can be tricky. With a little help from Closet Cooking, I was able to do so, and impress my guests with a hearty, healthy meal. Paired with a Greek salad, you’ve got a delicious dinner that can be made in advance.


Can’t beat Jersey tomatoes this time of year! You can also use zucchini, eggplant, or other types of peppers in this recipe. Anything goes! I like to put grated Pecorino Romano cheese and believe it or not, Worcestershire sauce, on the table as optional toppings. Delicious 🙂

slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

8 peppers and/or tomatoes (or any other vegetable that can be stuffed)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup chopped herbs (I used mint and parsley)
1/4 cup arborio rice
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
1 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops off of the peppers and tomatoes and remove the seeds from the peppers and the insides of the tomatoes, reserving them.

Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute or two. Add the reserved tomato guts, crushed tomatoes and oregano. Simmer until it thickens, then remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix the tomato sauce, herbs, rice, ground beef, salt and pepper. Stuff the mixture into peppers and tomatoes and place in a baking dish.
Pour the water and olive oil into the baking dish, drizzling a bit of oil on top of the peppers and tomatoes.

Bake until liquid has evaporated and the peppers and tomatoes are roasted until slightly caramelized, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Posted in beef, Greek, low carb, main dishes, make ahead, peppers, rice, tomatoes | Leave a comment
Aug 10

Hamilton Beach Wave-Action Blender Giveaway!

Yes, it’s another giveaway! And what an exciting one this is! This product is terrific, and one lucky reader will be able to see that first hand 🙂


The Hamilton Beach Wave-Action Blender is perfect for all of your blending needs. The 48 oz. glass jar is big enough to make your favorite smoothies, shakes, dips, etc. and is super easy to clean! Plus, it comes with a three year warranty. Bella was thrilled when I told her we were making copycat Starbucks Frappuccinos, which is one of her favorite treats.


To enter, please comment below, mentioning what you’d make first in your new blender! For additional entries, each being separate comments, feel free to enter as follows:

– Share this blog post on Facebook, then comment with the link of the share page
Follow me on Instagram, then comment with your IG user name
Follow me on Pinterest, then comment with your Pinterest user name

***PLEASE NOTE: When you comment, fill out all the fields, including your EMAIL ADDRESS, so that I can get in touch with you if you win!!!

Giveaway ends on Sunday, August 16th at 6pm EST. US residents only. I will contact the randomly drawn winner and also post the winner on my Facebook page, so keep an eye out!

Good luck!!

Posted in giveaway | 21 Comments
Jul 28

Arnold Bread “America’s Better Sandwich” Contest/Giveaway!

Arnold Bread is having a great contest that you should enter! Readers can submit their recipes HERE for the opportunity to win a grand prize of $25,000 – that’s a whole lot of dough! Additionally, the sandwich in each of the five categories with the highest overall score will receive a $5,000 Category Prize.

In addition, Arnold Bread has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway here on my blog. The winner will receive:

– $25 Visa gift card
– One coupon, valid for $5.00 off the purchase of any Arnold® Whole Grain Sliced Bread of choice
– One coupon, valid for $4.00 off the purchase of any Arnold® Sandwich Thins® Rolls of choice
– One coupon, valid for $5,00 off the purchase of any Arnold® Healthfull® Bread of choice

To enter, simply leave a comment here telling me what kind of sandwich you’ll make! And PLEASE don’t forget to sign in and leave an email address, otherwise I won’t be able to contact you if you win!

For a second entry, leave another comment telling me you follow me on Pinterest (leave your user name). For a third entry, leave another comment doing the same with Twitter. And hey, why not, leave a fourth comment if you follow me on Instagram!

Giveaway ends on Tuesday, August 4th at 5PM EST.

By the way, the sandwiches I made were delicious! One was tuna salad and the other was pulled pork. SO GOOD. The bread is soft and tasty, and healthy, too!



Thanks Arnold Bread, and good luck to all who enter!

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Arnold® Bread so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Arnold®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Arnold® Bread.

Posted in giveaway | 51 Comments
Jul 16

Sesame King Tahini Giveaway!

Are you familiar with tahini? If not, this is the perfect time to try it…and if you are, even better!


Tahini is a sesame paste made from hulled and roasted sesame seeds. High quality tahini pastes are made out of 100% pure ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are sifted, cleaned, roasted and ground to perfection!

Sesame King is the leading brand of 100% pure, ground tahini pastes, made from the finest sesame seeds. Each Sesame King tahini is all-natural, with a subtle, delightful aroma, rich with texture and delicious taste. Each flavor is rich in proteins and vitamins, made with no additives or preservatives, peanut free, Trans fat free, gluten free, Kosher Certified and Non-GMO.

Sesame King Tahini come in the following 7 flavors: Garlic, Olive Oil, Cajun, Honey, Chocolate, Light Roast and Roasted. One lucky reader will have their choice of two flavors. Simply comment on this post telling me which flavors you would like.

For another entry, follow me on Pinterest, and leave your user name in a separate comment. You can also leave a third comment with your Twitter handle if you follow me there.

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 22nd at 5pm EST. Continental US residents only.

By the way, the hummus pictured below was made with the cajun flavor…and it was DELICIOUS!!!


Posted in giveaway | 5 Comments
Jun 26

Strawberry, Basil & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

One of my favorite fruits this time of year is the strawberry. There is nothing better than a sweet, juicy, delicious one in the summertime!


Even though they are so good in their natural state, sometimes your mood has you looking for something a bit different. That’s when this recipe comes in handy. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two, or a large group!

Strawberry, Basil & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
from Ambitious Kitchen

1 baguette, sliced about 3/4 inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle slices of bread with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Place on baking sheet and bake for around 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.

Stir berries and vinegar together in a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Spread goat cheese on bread, top with berries, and add basil.

Serves 6-8.

Posted in appetizers, berries, cheese, goat cheese, QuickAndEasy | Leave a comment
May 6

Warm Bean Dip

Hope everyone had a great Cinco de Mayo! We had a delicious lunch at work where people contributed their Mexican dishes. Everything was great! And I quickly realized I shouldn’t have halved my recipe…


I couldn’t snap a pic fast enough! Lesson learned.

This will take you less than 5 minutes to make and about the same to cook, if you do so in the microwave. Perfect for a quick and easy snack anytime!

Warm Bean Dip
slightly adapted from Andrea Rodgers

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cans refried beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
(or sub all above spices with a packet of taco seasoning)
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (or sub half with monterey or colby jack)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Add beans and spices and mix until completely combined. Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan.

Top with cheese and bake for around 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

***This can also be made in the microwave – cook on high for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.

***Recipe can be easily halved and served in a pie plate, as seen above.

Posted in appetizers, beans, cheddar, cheese, cream cheese, dip, low carb, make ahead, Mexican, QuickAndEasy, snacks | 1 Comment
Apr 30

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach has a great new product and I was fortunate enough to test it, and even more lucky to give one away to a lucky reader! This 2-Way coffee maker is perfect for everyone…it’ll brew one cup, or a 12 cup pot, and it’s super easy to use!


You can use K-cups or your own coffee for the single serve brewing function (which brews a 14 ounce cup!). It even comes with a reusable single serving cup. And of course, you can program it ahead if you’re brewing a pot. It’s pretty compact too for such a versatile appliance. Great if you’re short on counter space!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me how you take your coffee. For a second entry, follow me on Instagram, and leave a separate comment with your IG user name. Giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 6th at 5pm EST. US residents only.

Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | 57 Comments
Mar 31

Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

With Easter coming up, I had to share this recipe. For most of my life, we’ve had lamb for the holiday, and I think this is an excellent way to prepare it! Not to mention, it’s super easy, for those who may be intimidated by cooking it. Only 5 ingredients in this recipe!!


It’s juicy and delicious and the gremolata gives it a nice fresh flavor. Serve on a bed of mashed potatoes and you’ve got a feast fit for any holiday!


Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata
slightly adapted from Country Living

for the lamb:
one rack baby lamb chops
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs torn mint
3 cloves garlic
freshly ground pepper

for the gremolata:
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Place lamb, olive oil, torn mint, garlic, and pepper in a plastic bag. Toss to coat lamb chops and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove lamb, wipe off excess marinade, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Broil chops on high until medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

To make the gremolata: crush garlic, lemon zest, and salt into a paste using the side of a large knife or a mortar and pestle. In a small bowl, stir together garlic paste and mint leaves with olive oil.

Transfer chops to serving plate, drizzle with mint gremolata, and garnish with fresh mint.

Posted in garlic, lamb, lemon, low carb, main dishes | Leave a comment