Kids in the Sink

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

quinoabites1Quinoa.  How do you say that again?  QUIN-OH-AH.  Haha, no, just kidding.  It’s KEEN-Wah.  It’s a super healthy grain that is way better for you than rice or other starches and so… we’re trying to like it.  Well, Heather is trying to like it.  I, Melissa, actually really enjoy it in most of it’s forms.  We liked it raw in these muffins and also cooked in a yummy summery salad.  It’s pretty surprising that although we cook with quinoa fairly often, we’ve only blogged it twice.  Until now.

To continue with our appetizers for the month of December, we’re coming at you with a healthy little snack.  This is one that’s been a staple in the house for about a year now.  This is the quinoa dish that finally brought Heather around to enjoying it!  She likes the quinoa cooked in some sort of broth, that’s a must for her.  I don’t necessarily cook it in broth every time, but I prefer it that way too.  It’s just not a deal breaker for me.  But if you don’t much like quinoa, you should probably cook it in some sort of broth so it has lots of extra flavor.

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Then there’s the veggies.  And the cheese.  Use what you have.  The recipe that follows uses cheddar cheese with spinach and carrots but I’ve also successfully made these using roasted broccoli and parmesan and even sweet potatoes and cheddar.  Yum.  A tiny bit of flour and two eggs bring this little snack together to form a pretty well-balanced dish.  In fact, my little guy eats these for lunch at least once a week.  Because that’s right, folks, they freeze well too! I tray freeze them for him to have on days where lunch is crazy and unplanned.  I can just pull out a healthy meal for him and it’s thawed in less than an hour, or in 30 seconds in the microwave.  Can you bring these to a party with your friends?  I think yes. People will be pleasantly surprised that there are actual veggies in it rather than just cheese and bread.  Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese and bread.  At all.

-Melissa

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Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Makes 12 large bites in a muffin tin or 24 mini bites in a mini muffin tin

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased muffin tin and with the back of the spoon, pat each cup down so that it’s well packed.
  4. Bake mini bites for 15-20 minutes or large bites for 20-25 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then remove from tins and serve hot.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Curvy Carrot

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Faith Friday + Oreo Truffles

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Now that I’m a stay at home mom, (Ahhhhhhhhh!!! My dream come true!) I decided to start waking up at 0’dark thirty when the husband gets up to read the Bible.  What’s wrong with me? I don’t know.  Whatever.  But I have to do it some time because if I waited until I have a free moment, that would be never.  The devil would win and that’s not good for business.  Do you have a routine for quiet time? Any tips for me?  I was struggling to figure out a good time and that’s what I came up with.

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So anyway, this morning during my quiet time, I flipped open my Bible to Job.  I figured, that’s a good book to read again.  Wrong.  That book is sad!  I only read the first chapter and good grief, I was depressed.  Then I had to think about it a little more and really let it sink in.  God allowed Satan to test Job using all of his things, but wouldn’t allow him to actually lay a finger on Job himself.  God had such faith in Job, knowing that he wouldn’t falter or curse His holy name, even when everything he had in his life was taken away.  And guys, Satan really brought his A game.  Satan took all of his animals, which were his livelihood, and even his precious children.  But still, Job praised God.  Not just praised Him, but fell to his knees to praise Him! Wow.  Just wow.  Is anyone else feeling a little… guilty?

The thing Job remembered, even when it seemed like his life was being torn away from him, is that our God is sovereign.  Why would God allow such a thing to happen to such a faithful servant of His? Well, friends, that’s not for us to know.  That’s where faith comes in.  We have to believe that His plan is so much better than ours.  Like, SO much better!  It’s so easy to get bogged down by stuff.  When someone messes with our stuff, that’s when things get real.  We get serious. Seriously angry or depressed.  But do we ever get serious about praising Him when things get all messed up?  Do we ever throw ourselves down on our knees and just worship Him for what He is?  I’ve seen a few people in my life that praise Him even in the worst of storms, but it’s definitely not the norm.  It’s not our natural instinct.  It’s something we have to work at and ask God to improve in us.  It is what He expects of us, and I pray that during this Christmas season, we could remember that.

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It’s so easy to get caught up in this “season” and make it about stuff.  This Christmas, if things don’t go exactly our way, let’s remember Job.  And not just because his story seems so tragic, but because he served the Lord the way that we all should.  He believed in God’s timing and never spoke a curse about it. I bet if we give that kind of faith a try, we would all benefit.  Happy weekend, friends.  Be blessed!

-Melissa

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Oreo Truffles aka Oreo Crack Balls

Ingredients:

1 package Oreo cookies
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil (or shortening)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, process whole Oreo’s until they are finely ground. You could even put them in a plastic bag and bust out the rolling pin. Go old school. Either way, try to get them as finely ground and smashed as possible.
  2. Place ground Oreo’s into a large bowl with the cream cheese. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until it is well combined and all of the crumbs are moistened.
  3. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out Oreo mixture and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator.
  4. While the truffles are chilling, place your chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth and glossy. You could also do this in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
  5. When the chocolate is melted, take the truffles out of the refrigerator and  coat them in the chocolate. I used a spoon to coat them and picked them up with a fork, shaking off any excess chocolate. Return to refrigerator to chill until set. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Seriously, they can last a while. But they won’t. Trust me.

Source: A recipe we found somewhere on the Internets a looooong time ago

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Pizza Muffins

pizzamuffins1Heather – Is there an acceptable way to make cheesy pull apart bread a main course?

Melissa – Lol, I don’t think so.  I made it with pasta, I think. Is there any way to make hot sauce a beverage?

Heather – Lol, yes I think so.

Melissa – I want that.

Oh friends, this is our daily life together via texts.  We like each other.  What, you might be wondering, does cheesy pull apart bread and hot sauce have to do with today’s post? Well, that would be big fat nothing.  We’re just random.  You can get behind that, right?  It appears that you already have gotten behind it, so just embrace it.  Love us for who we are.

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Alright.  To the food.  This appetizer we’re bringing you today is one that all the kids are going to love you for.  Bring this to your party or family gathering and the kids, as well as adults, will be all about them.  Pizza muffins.  Although, I don’t really care for that name because the idea of pizza in a muffin sounds gross to me.  So what we’ll call these is pizza’s in a muffin tin, since that’s what they’re prepared in.  They’re like two-bite pizzas, perfect for easy transport, and they’re even delicious if you have to serve them at room temperature.

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Just look at that melty, cheesy goodness.  You’re welcome, in advance.

-Melissa

Pizza Muffins (or Pizza Made in a Muffin Tin)

Makes about 16-20

Ingredients:

1 lb pizza dough, room temperature
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce
10-15 pepperonis, cut into quarters
olive oil, for brushing crusts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. Roll out dough to a rectangle, approximately 18 x 12.  Using a knife, cut the rectangle into squares, about 3 x 3.
  3. Put each square of dough in the mini muffin tin, making sure that each corner of the dough square is sticking out of each muffin cup. Brush each crust with olive oil and bake for 8 minutes, until partially cooked.
  4. Once crusts are par- baked, put a teaspoon of sauce in each crust and top evenly with cheese and pepperoni (if desired).
  5. Bake for 5 more minutes and remove from oven once the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or room temperature.

Source: Weelicious

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White Cheese Dip

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Have you ever dreamed about food? Like really dreamed about it.  For two nights in a row.  Where every time you woke up in the night, you had to figure out exactly how many hours until you could finally consume whatever food it is you’re dreaming of.  Well, that is how this dip happened to me.

Remember a few days ago when we told you we got together to enjoy copious amounts of food in the name of the blog?  Well, this dip is another fabulous creation that came out of that day.  But two nights before that, I had vivid dreams of drippy, cheesy goodness.  It was almost too much to handle.  I was excited to spend a day and a night with my best friend but I was maybe just as excited about the cheese.  Since the dreams started on Friday, I had kind of a long way to go until Sunday.  In fact, let me share with you how long I still had to go.

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Heather came to town because she was attending a Christmas party with her family and asked me to watch the kids Saturday night.  Sure! No problem, right?  If you guys remember, for an entire year, Heather watched my kids for me while I was gone to work for 4 hours during the day.  She started when Kale was 4 months old and Ella was only ONE month old.  Crazy woman that she is, she dug it.  She was into the insane, screaming ridiculousness that four children, ages 2 and under bring to the table.  My. Best. Friend.  She’s good. I, on the other hand, am not that good.  I’m ok with mine, but add two more to the mix and I’m in over my head.  Don’t let me forget to mention, also, that the two youngest, Kale and Ella, are now both into scaling furniture, jumping off whatever they can find, and just basically getting into any kind of shenanigans they can find.  Oh, and then there are Pilot and Bailey (now almost 3 and 4, respectively).  You would think they were pretty self sufficient, right?  Wrong.  Big, fat wrong.  Pilot, is newly potty trained and Bailey is (and always has been) an overly emotional, often irrational little girl.  Put those two together, who have basically grown up as siblings, and you get one big screaming “MINE!” match, and maybe a certain little boy peeing in the backyard.

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To say that I love these children, all of them, would be a drastic understatement.  I, though, am not cut out for the four of them alone.  Half way through the evening, I texted Heather to tell her I would be having a large glass of wine after the kids went to bed. Don’t judge, dudes.  Don’t judge.  You weren’t there.  So what kept me going?  What kept me from throwing myself off a bridge, you ask?  The thought of a big glass of wine giant bowl of cheese dip that I knew I would be able to consume the next day.  Yep, that was enough.  So maybe you have a big term paper due, or a giant work project deadline, or even a holiday party you’re dreading attending (what? It can’t just be me).  As a gift to yourself, make this dip and eat it.  And make sure you have someone to share it with because otherwise, that could be problematic.

-Melissa

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White Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 (12 ounces) blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
8 ounces provolone cheese, freshly shredded
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place sliced tomatoes on prepared sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the cream cheese, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  Stir in garlic, pesto, thyme and oregano and mix well to combine.  Stir in roasted tomatoes, gently.
  3. Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  4. Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips, or toasted baguettes.

Source: How Sweet It Is

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Faith Friday + Candy Cookie Pizza Just Because

candypizza1Last Sunday, I was sitting in church, minding my own business, trying to get my God on, when God got all.up.in.my.face.

In a bad kinda good way. You know; the kind of way where He reveals something to you that you really didn’t want to hear, but you needed to hear, but it was hard to hear so really you would’ve rather not heard it, but it’s good that you did? Yeah. That kind.

It started with 2 Peter 3 and there were a couple things that really made me stop and shudder at how I act towards God, like, daily. And then immediately want to get on my knees in repentance.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3: 8-9)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Wow. What is your definition of slowness? Because in this fast-paced world, I know mine is very different from God’s. To me, an hour can drag on forever. Waiting can feel like torture. But to the Lord, he’s barely blinked. He doesn’t see time the way we do, friends. We can’t understand all of the wonders and mysteries of Him, heavenly time being one of those things. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: i.am.not.patient. It is something I am constantly struggling with and something I wish I would get, because I am tired of lessons in patience. And so often I go to God, angry, asking why my prayers haven’t been answered. Why hasn’t He heard me? Why isn’t He talking back? Why isn’t He doing something?! How self-righteous that sounds to me as I type. How selfish. But praise God because of the second part of those verses. He is patient with us, so that all may come to repentance.

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He could destroy us now. I could shout and complain and sin and He could destroy me instantly. I certainly deserve it. But He doesn’t. He is patient with me, allowing me to learn and bend and mold into the person He wants me to be. Allowing me to repent. Giving me that opportunity. The opportunity to once again, fall down on my knees and throw up my hands and say I am sorry. I am sorry. Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. He is patient where I am not. He is loving where I do not deserve it. His days are short where mine are long, but it is ALL FOR ME. And when I say me, I don’t mean me. This is for us. This is for everyone. So that everyone comes to repentance.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. (2 Peter 3: 14-15)

Our Lord is patient so that we may have salvation. He is withholding His wrath from us when we do not deserve it. He has the power to destroy with the mere blink of an eye. But He doesn’t! So what can we do to thank Him? What does He want us to do? How does He yearn for us to live? His wish for us is clear. He wants us to be at peace. To be blameless, spotless. He is there waiting with arms open wide to cover us in grace and mercy and love over and over again until He calls us all home. When we run to Him in repentance, He gives us peace. It is His promise to us. Don’t squander that precious gift. Run to Him. Lean on Him. Repent. He doesn’t work on our timetable, because our timetable is flawed. But His is always perfect. Always.

-Heather

Candy Cookie Pizza

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 roll (16.5 oz) of sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup m&m’s
1/2 cup coarsely broken pretzels
20 fun sized candy bars, cut into fourths (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12 inch pizza pan.  Roll out the cookie dough into a large circle.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool completely.
  2. While cookie pizza crust is baking, make frosting.  Cream together cream cheese and butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat for several minutes until nice and creamy. Set aside.
  3. When cookie pizza crust is completely cool, spread frosting onto crust.  Sprinkle with broken pretzels and chopped candy bars.  Drizzle melted chocolate over finished product and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from Pillsbury

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Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Crostini

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Oh friends.  Brussels sprouts are gross, huh?  I (Melissa) tried to like them.  I really, really did.  They were another thing I never ate growing up.  So then I grew up and I was a foodie.  And my foodie friend and fellow blogger, Heather, tried to tell me how good they were.  So a few times, we roasted them with some balsamic vinegar (which normally, I love) and it was only meh. I didn’t love it.  I hardly even liked it.  I wouldn’t make it again. And that’s saying a lot because roasted vegetables make my world right.  I just didn’t like them.

Then this past weekend happened.  Heather and I got together and we actually planned the month of blog posts.  Gasp. We were organized. It felt good.  And since we were together, like old times, we decided to make a bunch of appetizers all on one random Sunday afternoon, take pics, and eat entirely too much cheese.  It was a good day.  I decided to give brussels sprouts one more chance.  A recipe I had seen piqued my interest.  It involves bread, roasted garlic, and cheese.  That’s kinda hard to screw up, if you ask us.

We got to work right after church making these little babies and I was excited about it because the day before, I had roasted the garlic and couldn’t wait to dig into it!  Poor Heather was busy taking pictures and I was so seriously addicted after one little bite, that I couldn’t stop.  Heather is slaving away behind the camera and I’m all, “Oh my gosh!!!! I love brussels sprouts! I can’t stop.  Ohhhhh friend.  Eat this!”  It was probably quite a sight to see.  And she might have hated me for enjoying it before she could.  Although, I did try to pop one into her mouth while she was still shooting, but she couldn’t enjoy it or focus on it’s wonderful-ness.

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Friends… don’t be a brussels sprouts hater.  Don’t remember those nasty, slimy(?), steamed little green balls your mom used to serve you when you were a kid.  Eat these, instead.  Be a lover of brussels sprouts. A brussels sprouts convert, if you will.  I’m serious. Take it from a former brussels sprouts hater!

Oh, and one more thing.  Just to let you guys know, this month on the blog we’ll be featuring a bunch of appetizer recipes.  Our Faith Friday’s will continue to be sweets but we figured since everyone else is doing mostly sweets this month, we’d switch it up, turn the blog world on it’s ear, and do savory appetizers. Because guys, you need something to take to those holiday parties.  So, stick around because it’s about to get sooooooo good.

-Heather and Melissa

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Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Crostini

Ingredients:

4 bulbs garlic
1 large baguette
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced or shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
shaved parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut off the top portion of the garlic bulb to reveal the cloves.  Rub away as much of the paper from the cloves as possible and drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil onto each bulb.  Let sit for 10 minutes, while oven preheats.  Wrap bulbs tightly in foil and place in a baking dish for about 45 minutes, or until garlic is roasted and golden brown.  Let cool completely and start working on the rest of the dish.
  2. Slice baguette into thin slices and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until crisp.
  3. While the bread is toasting and the garlic is cooling, bring the remaining olive oil to medium heat in a large skillet.  Add brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and toss it all together to coat.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring and tossing frequently, until slightly browned and wilted.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan, until well combined.
  5. At this point, the garlic should be cool enough to handle. Unwrap foil packet and pinch out the bulbs into a bowl.  Mash roasted garlic with a fork until it resembles a paste.
  6. Spread a little bit of smashed garlic onto each toasted baguette slice and top with cooked brussels sprouts.  Top with freshly shaved parmesan slices and serve.

Source: How Sweet It Is

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Taco Dip

tacodip2This is the party food.

You know the one. The go-to that you take to every party or get together. The one everyone heads straight for. Yeah, that one. This is it. At least, it is for us.

We found this recipe when we were trying to come up with appetizers and party food for a baby shower. It was either Bailey’s or Pilot’s, we can’t remember which. But it was years ago that we found this jewel of a dip.

We could have blamed it on the fact that pregnancy makes everything taste 1000x better (or worse), but the fact that everyone devoured this dip the first time we made it. Like gone in seconds.

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Since then, we have made this dip for every party, baby shower, and get together that we have thrown or attended. And now we know this is the kind of dip that goes so fast you better pile it high the first time around, because seconds just don’t exist with this in the spread.

So next time you get together with friends, or have a party, or want to eat dip for dinner, make this. And expect to fight for the last scoop.

-Heather and Melissa

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Taco Dip

Ingredients:

1 (1 oz.) package taco seasoning (You could use homemade, but we really like the fake stuff)
1 – 16 ounces can refried beans
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces sour cream
16 ounces salsa
1 small head of lettuce, shredded
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together about half of the contents of the taco seasoning package with the canned refried beans.
  2. In different medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, and the rest of the taco seasoning until well combined.
  3. In a large, 9×13 dish, spread out the refried bean mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the dish.
  4. Next, spread an even layer of cream cheese mixture on top of the beans, being careful not to mix with the beans.
  5. Spread salsa on top of cream cheese layer.  Sprinkle shredded lettuce on top salsa and then sprinkle shredded cheese on top, to create the final layer.

Source: All Recipes

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Spinach & Potato Hash with Eggs Sunny-Side Up

Hey guys. Are you five pounds heavier, too? Yeah, me either too.

You know what the best part about Thanksgiving is besides the turkey and family dysfunction donotdenyityouKNOWyouhaveittoo? No, it’s not the leftovers, although I too enjoy not having to cook for a month after, and it’s not the sweet potato casserole, although ours is pretty tight.

Let me just tell you guys what I’m dealing with over here. It’s really an act of God that you get a blog from me at all. Every other word, I am fighting off a child who is trying very hard to make it to the computer and destroy everything I’m working on. Sometimes, they win.

No. It’s the desserts. The chance to make desserts that are really bad for you and the opportunity to share them with others so that you don’t have to eat a whole pan of brownies yourself so that, ya know, they don’t go to waste. Wait, what?

And desserts are my Thanksgiving thing. It’s what I do since I don’t actually host a Thanksgiving and I may have a teeny problem making enough desserts for a family gathering of 30 when I only have a family gathering of 9. Whatever. It means I get to take home a lot of leftovers, including desserts.

So, here’s the deal. I may have almost single-handedly polished off 9/10 of the desserts that we brought back home. In, like, a day. But I mean, I wouldn’t want them to go to waste. Feel me? So, instead of eating brownies for lunch, I’ve been making this hash and oh.man.loving.it. You can pretty much throw any leftover potatoes and veggies that you have lying around and make it into a delicious and much better for you than brownies lunch or dinner. It’s a relatively easy and quick meal that will leave you feeling full and with the ability to resist that last pecan pie bar.

Maybe.

-Heather

Spinach & Potato Hash with Eggs Sunny-Side Up
Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1 1/2 cups various types of potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (Just use whatever you have lying around.)
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
1/4 tsp cayenne, more or less to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  2. Add potatoes and red pepper strips to skillet. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute, turning often, until potatoes are starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place skillet in preheated oven and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. (I don’t have an oven-proof skillet, so I wrapped my handle in aluminum foil and it works just as well. Just don’t forget to use an oven mitt when you take it out!)
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat other tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Crack the egg into the skillet, and step away. Let the egg do it’s thing. It is ready when the edges start to curl and the whites are set. The yolk will be set, but still wobbly.
  5. When the potatoes are done, place them on a serving dish and toss with the spinach. The heat will wilt the spinach slightly and make it wonderful.Top with the egg and enjoy.

Source: Kids in the Sink original

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Bean Flautas

It’s the week after Thanksgiving.  You’re probably still tired of cooking (unless you’re like me who enjoys long and drawn out meal preparations, for the most part) and you’re definitely still full.  Maybe your pants aren’t fitting quite right… maybe that part is autobiographical.  Anyhow, we’re here to rescue you from the probably still leftover turkey and stuffing.  We’re bringing you a simple, healthy meal that’s as yummy as it is easy to make.

Bean flautas! They’re thin, crispy, and full of beany goodness.  Pair it with greek yogurt or sour cream and some salsa or hot sauce and I’ll be darned if you don’t have a delicious meal.  I also enjoy the amount that this recipe makes because it’s leaves plenty leftover for the rest of the week’s lunches.  I’m not sure about you but my favorite week day lunches come from the nights before.  Hot lunch? Yes, I think so.  Oh! And one more bonus! These freeze well! Just tray freeze them for an hour or so and then put them in a plastic freezer bag for storage.  They reheat crispy if you use an oven or toaster oven.  You’re welcome.  Happy week-after-Thankgiving-and-two-weeks-before-it-becomes-acceptable-to-eat-sugar-like-it’s-going-out-of-style! Eat well, for now.

-Melissa

Bean Flautas

Ingredients:

2 cups refried beans, or 1 can (we use homemade black beans and mash them)
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
12 6-inch flour tortillas
olive oil, for brushing finished product

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Mash together all ingredients except tortillas.  A potato masher works well for this and a food processor does a good job, too.
  3. On each tortilla, spoon out about 2 tablespoons of filling in a vertical line along the bottom half of the tortilla.  Tightly wrap each tortilla and place them seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Once all tortillas are rolled, brush each flauta with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.

Source: slightly adapted from A Couple Cooks

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Faith Friday + Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends! We just wanted to take a moment to share the things that we’re thankful for this year.  I (Melissa) will go first!  Although this year has been a roller coaster of events and emotions, I wouldn’t change a thing.  This year I’m thankful to have seen my children grown up while only having to work part time.  I’m thankful that Bailey is becoming more and more her own person every day, even when that person wants to contradict what her mother says.  I’m thankful that Kale, in the last couple of months, has started becoming independent and not so dependent on me.  He’s starting to cling to his daddy and it’s so fun watching those two boys play together.  I’m thankful for my husband and that he’s right where he should be – home safely.  I’m thankful that in a time that is so hard for so many people, I have everything that I need and then some.  Although I’ve enjoyed my job and the experiences that it has brought me, I’m very thankful that next month will be my last month.  I’m so excited (and a little scared) to start my new adventure as a stay at home mom and hopefully a home schooling mama.  Lastly, I’m thankful for this blog and the people who continue to share with us, pray for us, support us and read about our shenanigans each day.  Oh, and I’m thankful for the other half of this blog and the friendship that we share.  Woof, friend!

Woof to you, too, friend! This year has been a roller coaster for the both of us. We’ve seen things unfold that we couldn’t have imagined ourselves and we have watched the Lord work in both of our lives this year. I (Heather) am thankful for so much, but not nearly often enough. Thanksgiving is a great day to give thanks, but it also causes me to pause and take note of all the days throughout the year in which I am not thankful enough. I’m thankful for the Lord and his unfailing, unwavering, and unconditional love. It’s His unconditional love that loves me even though I am whining, complaining, and rebelling. Even when I push Him away, He loves me still. And that has happened more often than I would like to admit this past year. I’m thankful for my husband, who had to humble himself, swallow his pride, and give up on “dreams” to support and provide for his family. I’m thankful for the job that was rewarded to us as a result and the wonderful town we have relocated to. I am thankful to be out of my mom’s house and into one of our very own. On that same note, I’m thankful for my mom and stepdad, who took us in for waaaay longer than they were supposed to and never once complained or made us feel like we were imposing.

I’m thankful for my children. For my little boy who is potty training now, becoming a big boy. For my little boy who hardly needs me at all, but still calls me mama, strokes my face, tells me I’m pretty, and doesn’t let go when he calls me at night, wanting me to stay just a little while longer. I’m thankful for my girl, for a whole year with her. I am thankful that she is learning to walk (literally) away from me, but I am thankful that I still get to nurse her, watching her as she sleeps, snuggled up against me and playing with her hair. I am thankful for those little hands that reach up to me and call me Mama.

I am thankful for my friends. All the new friends I made at Manna Church before I left, and the new friends that I will make here in Wendell. I am thankful for my best friend, who has helped me in every single way imaginable, over and over and over again. Who loves me when I forget to charge my camera and realize that after we’ve set up a shot. Who loves me when I forget things days in a row. Who loves me despite the fact that I am completely unorganized and chaotic, and she is…not. Who loves me despite the fact that I am kind of pretty much totally neurotic. Who just loves me. (And again, I’m thankful for my husband. Because he deals with those things AND lives with me every day.)

I am thankful for heat on cool nights and air on hot days. For hot showers. For comfy couches. For clean clothes and good food. For dark chocolate. For Apple products. Except maybe the iPhone, because mine continues to jump off of things and further shatter it’s screen. I am thankful for deep mixing bowls and good-ish kitchen knives. I am thankful for the library and nice days to walk there. I am thankful for sippy cups that don’t leak and the fact that my pre-Ella pants still fit. I am thankful for the treats that I continue to make, apparently to challenge that. I am thankful for life. For my health and the health of my family. I am thankful for the air in my lungs and the blood in my veins and the heart that beats for my Savior. I am thankful for a son who loved me enough to offer one last sacrifice for all, Himself.

-Heather and Melissa

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the caramel sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tbsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

For the frosting:
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Directions:

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally until brown flecks form. Once you see the brown flecks and smell a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and brown butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the cups, filling 3/4 of the way, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling wrack and let cool completely before removing the cupcakes.
  6. For the caramel sauce: Take all of your ingredients out and have them ready. Once you start, you will need to be careful not to burn the sauce. This can happen quickly. Also, you might not want to do this in the middle of potty training or your caramel sauce will come out a little darker than you intended. Just sayin’.
  7. In a heavy 2-3 qt saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking. The sugar will clump, but keep whisking and it will continue to melt. Once it is mostly melted, stop whisking and swirl the pan to melt any remaining.
  8. Continue to cook, swirling the pan as necessary, until the sugar is a deep amber color, or 350 degrees. Watch it very carefully at this stage, because it can go from golden delicious to burnt in a second.
  9. As soon as the caramel is a deep amber, carefully add the butter and whisk until melted.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream until combined. Whisk in the sea salt and let cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing to a container.
  11. For the frosting: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  12. Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined.
  13. Turn off the mixer and add the caramel sauce. Mix on low until combined, then beat on medium-high until light and airy, about 2-3 minutes.
  14. Frost the cooled cupcakes and drizzle with caramel sauce. Enjoy!

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

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