1
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
2
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
3
For The Love of Pineapple
4
Gingerbread Popcorn
5
Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos
6
Mexican Fried Ice Cream
7
Tortilla Soup
8
Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice
9
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
10
Delicious Taco Casserole
11
Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole
12
My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich
13
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
14
Fresh Spinach Cupcakes
15
WOWZA Baked Beans + Bacon
16
Lunch Time – Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans
17
Irish Potato Candy
18
Frozen Pesto Cubes
19
Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches
20
Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This is my go to, make you weak in the knees, mashed potatoes recipe.  I started making these a few years ago when I wanted to try a new mashed potatoes recipe for Thanksgiving.  I made them and all our dinner guests gave rave reviews, making these the must have for holiday dinners.  

I believe this recipe is unique for a few reasons:
-There is cream cheese involved.  In my younger days, cream cheese wasn’t commonly used in our mashed potatoes.  Now I have to say I don’t like cream cheese by itself, it scares me, but I love these mashed potatoes.  Go figure.
-There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  What?  There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  Seriously.  How do they get so creamy then?  Next point..
-You boil these potatoes for a pretty long time until they’re almost ready to fall apart.  This makes a hand mixer not necessary, as just a spoon and a potato masher makes them blended pretty quickly.
-You can make these ahead of time, no problem.  For holidays I usually make these the night before so the actual holiday cooking is a little more relaxed.  I just throw them in the oven 30 minutes before we’re ready to eat.  

If you are looking for a mashed potatoes recipe to try, please give these a chance.  They make me very happy.

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 pounds Russet Potatoes (half a bag)
  2. 1/2 cup butter + few slices on top
  3. 3 oz. cream cheese
  4. 1/4 cup Half-and-Half
  5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. Pinch of sea salt
  7. fresh or dried parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and then cut them up into about equal sizes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes. Keep boiling and cook these for 30 minutes. They’re going to be so soft your fork will just slide into them.
  3. Drain the potatoes.
  4. Put your potatoes that you drained back into the pot and put back on the burner, low heat. You are now going to just mash them with a spoon or potato masher.
  5. Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.
  6. Mix and whip these until creamy.
  7. Add in your salt and pepper, mix more.
  8. Put your potatoes in a oven safe baking dish.
  9. Add a few slices of butter on top of the potatoes.
  10. Put foil on top and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
  11. Add fresh or dried parsley to garnish before serving.
Notes
  1. If you want to make them the night before, put foil on top and store in refrigerator. Take them out of the fridge 2 hours before baking to bring them to room temperature. Continue then baking for 25 minutes at 350 (or until completely hot in the middle).
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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You will use half a bag of potatoes for this recipe.  If you are having  a large dinner, duplicate the entire recipe and use a whole 5 pound bag.

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One of the worst things in my life: peeling potatoes.  Agh, I never look forward to this.

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Compost the peels if you can!

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Then we cut them up into similar size pieces.  This will assure everything is cooked about the same with equal softness.

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Pretty potatoes.

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Now boil for 30 minutes.  Turn your oven a little down if it starts to spit water at you.  I know 30 minutes seems like a while, but we want to get these potatoes soft.

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So soft that a fork will just slide through..

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Drain, then put back onto your burner on low.  Take a potato masher or spoon and break the potatoes up.  Because they were cooked so long they should fall apart pretty easily.

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No mixer, just a potato masher.  Look how soft they are already!

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Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.

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Now stir, stir, stir.

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Look at the creaminess already.. Oh my!

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Add salt and pepper.

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Stir more.  How beautiful they are!

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Put them into a baking dish.

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Put a few slices of butter on top.  Why not, you know?  YOLO.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

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These glorious potatoes will come out of your oven.  Garnish with fresh or dried (what I used) parsley.  

Serve and enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  Are there any words more beautiful?

After I made the first batch of chocolate chip granola bars, my mind started to wonder to the wonderful world of peanut butter.  Soon later it floated to the island of pretzels.  There peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip granola bars was born.

 About these delightful bars:

Do you enjoy chocolate + salty at the same? I do!  These are for you.
Do you like a bit of crunch in your granola bars? I do!  These are for you.
These are dangerous to have around your house.  Proceed with caution.
I don’t listen to my own advise and made multiple batches.   We annihilated these batches.
I have given these to friends as a “hey you are pretty cool” gift.  Friends swoon.
After the first time I made them I declared “These might be the best thing I ever made”.  

 So now I present you.. the future love of your life that will always be there for you, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

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 Is there a better afternoon snack than this?
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  3. 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
  4. 1/4 cup butter
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. Chop your pretzels up and mix with oats and cereal.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  6. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  7. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  10. Cut into granola bar sizes.
  11. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you would like to make a larger batch, use a 9x13 pan and double everything, except use 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
  2. Store these in the fridge.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 

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Here’s all the ingredients you need!  Note: When I use peanut butter in recipes like this I usually get the cheap stuff and don’t use my gourmet peanut butter cinnamon swirl magic that I usually eat on bread.  The cheap stuff does the job for these, very well!

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Do you love pretzels as much as I do?

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We need these chopped though, so I put them in a baggie and get a potato masher and just take out all my frustration on these poor pretzels.

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Add your pretzels with your quick oats and cereal.

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And give it a good stir to mix everything around.

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Now we create the delicious peanut butter cream.  When  making this unicorns will arrive at your home, sparkles will fall, the clouds will open, rainbows appear.  I’m not kidding. This creates magic.

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Take this magical peanut butter mixture and add it to your oats/pretzels/cereal.

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Now mix, mix, mix, mix.  Nope, still not done, mix it more.  Make sure every single piece of oat, cereal and pretzel is sticky.  This is going to hold everything together.  Think of it as a glue that you can eat.

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Then put it in your pan and pat it down with a spatula so it’s flat.

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Add your chocolate chips and push them down too.  You want them inserted in the granola mixture.

Now you throw them in the fridge for 1 hour while walking around anxiously whispering “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up”.  You can even lay in the middle of the floor and whisper this.

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And when they’re ready, HOLY MOLY.

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Cut them into granola bar sizes, or squares if you’d like.

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While cutting the bars I smile nonstop.

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I also smile inside because my belly is waiting for this..

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The granola bars are firm and hardly crumble at all.

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When you flip it upside down you will see there’s good pretzel distribution as well.

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These granola bars are hard to just eat one.  I’m warning you.

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I wrapped some up and gave to friends.  Friends will have a hard time just eating one at a time.  Warn them!

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And then 2 days later I made a double 9×13 batch because I like to live life on the wild side and can’t get enough of these!

Give these granola bars a chance, I think you will love them. 

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

For The Love of Pineapple

Do you love pineapple? I do.  Pineapple is beautiful and delicious, the 2 best qualities in food.     I got this gorgeous pineapple from my local grocery store for only $2.50.  It’s enormous! My arms tired carrying it home.

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But then after I bring it home, I always fall into the question “What should I do with it?”

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So you cut off the top and admire the beauty.  (Note:  We were going to plant the pineapple top but I cut  too high, oops.)

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Then you cut it into slices.  Your fingers are sticky, the pineapple aroma is building.  But what are you going to do with it?  

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One solution that I usually always fall for is just eating pineapple by the slice.   Nothing else.  Just plain ol great pineapple slices.  

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The other solution is cubed pineapple with a little bit of shredded coconut on top.

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MMMMM!

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For breakfast I like to add some blueberry granola, shredded coconut and dried apples to it.  This breakfast is super filling!

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My other favorite pineapple use is blended up. I throw some chunks in the blender with 1/2 half an apple (cut up) and about 1/4 cup of orange juice.  Blend until smooth.  You can even throw some mint on top.  I love this drink for a mid afternoon pick me up!

How do you like to use pineapple?
Anyone have any great pineapple recipes? If so, please share them in the comments, I need ideas!

 

Gingerbread Popcorn

We recently got a air popper which is changing our lives.    With a air popper you don’t have to use any butter or oil.  It’s fresh, low calories and each kernel is so puffy and light.   Not to mention it’s so quick to pop.  The product claims you can pop 18 cups in 2.5 minutes – wow!  For now we have stuck to single servings or a bowl for both of us, but because of how quick it works for us, I trust it can do that amount too.  On the calorie side, one big bowl of popcorn for one clocks in at 110 calories plain.  It always fills me!  On our counter now sits a 12 pound jar of popcorn ready for you to scoop and pop!

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A few nights ago during the night I whispered to my husband “give me your phone”.  There I sent myself a email that only had a subject line.  The email looked like this:
gingerbread

I knew when I woke up the next morning I would understand it, I needed to make gingerbread popcorn.  But where to start?

I had a few rules:
-Needs to taste like gingerbread
-No butter
-No oil of any kind

The result: A  simple gentle ginger tasting popcorn which was eaten in a few minutes.  I have a bunch of popcorn thoughts in my head so stay tuned for more popcorn recipes!

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Gingerbread Popcorn
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn
  2. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  3. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 single packet of Splenda
Instructions
  1. Use a air popper to pop your corn. Put in a bowl.
  2. Mix ginger, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon and splenda in a bowl.
  3. Mist your popcorn with water 1-2 times.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over popcorn and toss popcorn around.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe is for one serving. Duplicate for as many as you need.
  2. If you'd like to use real sugar or Stevia you can use that instead of Splenda. A packet of Splenda measures a little less than 1/2 teaspoon, so measure accordingly.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Air popping.. 

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Your gingerbread spices..

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If you aren’t using oil or butter, the seasoning is not going to stick to your popcorn.  The solution to keep this oil and butter free is to mist your popcorn with a water mister (or a cheap one from the dollar store) 1 times, toss it so the bottom is now the top, mist again.  Misting it 1-2 times will not cause your popcorn to get soft.  The water will allow the seasoning to stick to it, plus it will keep your popcorn low calorie. 

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Eat as a afternoon snack..

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Or while you’re watching your favorite television show…  The only 2 shows I watch right now is Game of Thrones and Mad Men.  What do you watch?

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Enjoy every single piece! (PS.  My nails are supposed to look like this – I’m lying). 

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos.  I know that’s a mouthful, but a very delicious one!

We are big taco lovers in this house, but there are only 2 true taco recipes we love.  One is a pepper steak where we cook on the stove, the other is chipotle chicken slow cooked for many hours causing delicious smells all day long.   I have messed with this recipe over the past few years and it’s now become a staple.  Not only do we love it, but we have served it at get-togethers such as Christmas, New Years Eve or NBA Finals taco parties and it’s always a hit.  The tacos are slightly spicy, very moist and full of flavor.  

This recipe makes a good bit of meat, it’s easily 4 meals for us.  So whatever is  left over, we put into freezer bags and freeze.  Isn’t it the best when you are feeling lazy but can still pull out a amazing homemade meal out of your freezer, defrost it and you’re set?  This recipe I tell ya, it gives and it gives.

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Here’s all your ingredients.

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You will need to get some dried ancho chiles.  You can usually find these in the produce section.  They are cheap.

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Aren’t they beautiful?

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You need them soft, so throw them in some boiling water for 10 minutes.  They will soften up right away.

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You will also need some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  blogIMG_0859
You only want the sauce, not the peppers or seeds (warning: hot!).  So just fish them out and try to keep as much sauce as possible. 

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There’s still a little more than half of the can left of sauce.   You can toss the peppers/seeds. 

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Now we want to start to  make the Chipotle sauce.  Add all your dry ingredients + garlic + oil to a food processor.

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Then add your adobo sauce.

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Then add your soft ancho chiles.

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Pulse a few times until smooth.

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That easy, your sauce is done.

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It’s beautiful and smells delightful.

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Grab your breasts.  (*shakes head*)

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Put some stab marks into each one.

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This will make sure the sauce is going to sink down and get all the meat moist.  It will be full of flavor.

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Then cut each breast into fourths.  I find this makes it even more flavorful.

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Put your chicken into a crockpot.

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Add your chipotle sauce, smear all over the chicken.

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Add water.  This will make sure the chicken doesnt dry out.

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High Power, Lid On, Walk Away.

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Write down the time you started to remember.  As you can see I have made this recipe quite a few times here… This time I started at 2:45PM.

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After 5 hours (and a house that smells so darn good) you will look at your beautiful chicken and sigh.

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It’s moist, it falls apart, it’s just great.

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Spoon out of your crockpot (careful, it’s hot).  Keep the sauce mixture in the crockpot, you will still use this!

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Shred up with a fork into pieces that you prefer for your tacos.

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Yeah, this is good. I ate a few nibbles here..

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Then push it all back into the crockpot.

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And mix around in the remaining chipotle sauce/water mixture.    Your meat will soak this all up – nothing will be wasted!  Cook 1 more hour on low.

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Now get ready to make those tacos.

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Flour burrito – hello.

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Chipotle Chicken – you are delicious. You are magical.  I love you.

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Then add some pinto beans and some cilantro lime rice (recipe here).  Just thinking about this gets me all worked up.

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Then fold your burrito up. Thanks Matthew.

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One big beautiful burrito – it’s all yours!

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I like to soak mine with salsa verde too.  I love the kick. 

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Matthew loves this chicken so much he even eats a pile of it on the side.  It’s that good.

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I’m more of a rice-a-holic myself. 

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 ounces of dried ancho chiles
  3. 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you only want to use the sauce)
  4. 1 teaspoon pepper
  5. 2 teaspoons cumin
  6. 2 teaspoons oregano
  7. 6 cloves garlic
  8. 2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  10. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Soften your ancho chiles by boiling them for 10 minutes. Drain, cut open chiles and remove the seeds.
  2. Remove the peppers and seeds from adobo sauce – you only want to keep the adobo sauce – you can toss away the actual peppers and seeds.
  3. Add all your ingredients (except your chicken) in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  4. Poke holes in chicken and cut each breast into fourths.
  5. Put your crockpot on high. Add chicken, then pour Chipotle sauce on top. Spread all over chicken.
  6. Add one cup water. Stir chicken so everything is marinated in the water/sauce.
  7. Cook on high for 5 hours.
  8. Take chicken out of crockpot carefully, shred up.
  9. Put back into crockpot, mix around in sauce and cook on low for 1 more hour. Your chicken is going to soak up all the juices now.
  10. Serve on flour tortillas with pinto beans, rice, salsa and whatever else you'd like.
  11. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Whatever is leftover, you can freeze in freezer bags.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
Enjoy friends!

Mexican Fried Ice Cream

Two weekends ago Matthew had a craving for a childhood favorite, Chi-Chi’s fried ice cream.  Does everyone remember Chi-Chi’s?  It was a popular Mexican chain restaurant.   In 2004 Chi-Chi’s closed all their restaurants after many incidents, but their salsa can still be found in stores.  As a kid I remember going to Chi-Chi’s quite fondly with my parents,  Matthew’s memories are the same.  One of the best memories of this trip for him was the fried ice cream.  I never had fried ice cream (ever) so I was intrigued by his description of it.  After he linked me to many pictures of the ice cream online with lots of happy faces and love hearts, I got the hint: I had to make him fried ice cream.   Because it was his birthday soon enough, I promised him for his birthday I would have him a fried ice cream sundae.  With a little practice, I think I got it just right.   I asked Matthew to supply a quote of what he thought of it and he told me “magical cinnamon crisp amazingment”.   So let’s make some…

Few things:
Working with ice cream and taking pictures  is not easy.  I felt a little stressed out.
You can serve the ice cream in a bowl, but to get the true authentic feeling try serving in a tortilla bowl – I included directions below for that too.
This post is picture heavy because ice cream is so pretty.
I made this for his birthday dinner, and then the next day made it for a afternoon snack.  Please stop me.

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Fried Ice Cream
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  3. 4 ounces vanilla ice cream
  4. 1/4 cup corn flakes (crushed)
  5. 2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon and crushed corn flakes in bowl.
  2. Scoop 1-to-2 inch ice cream balls and roll ice cream in sugar mixture.
  3. Pat down to shape balls and transfer to wax paper.
  4. Put ice cream balls in freezer. Let in the freezer for at least one hour to set.
  5. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees.
  6. Take ice cream balls out of the freezer and drop in oil for 2 seconds. Immediately remove.
  7. Serve in tortilla bowl, covered with whip cream, chocolate syrup and a cherry!
  8. Enjoy!
To make a tortilla shell bowl
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Microwave 10 inch flour tortilla shells for 15 seconds to get them soft and flexible.
  3. Spray each tortilla with non stick spray on both sides.
  4. Turn cupcake pan upside down and center each tortilla in between 4 cups.
  5. Bake 9-12 minutes - until slightly brown on edges - watch them carefully before they burn.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Measure your corn flakes out.  Because of this recipe, I’ve come to love corn flakes again.

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You want to crush them up into tinier pieces, so I like to put them in a plastic baggy and just pinch them with  my fingers. 

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Prepare your cinnamon, sugar, cornflakes mixture. I totally made a mess.

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Grab your vanilla ice cream.  Try to get it out of the freezer right when you’re ready to begin.

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Scoop 1 to 2 inch balls of ice cream.

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Drop into corn flake mixture and roll around.  I like to pat them with my hands to roll into a more “perfect” ball shape.

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Throw on your cookie sheet that you have wax paper down on.  Now you have to work quick, time is not on your side.

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I made enough ice cream balls for 2 big sundaes.

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Ok, they are starting to melt, but one more picture quick.

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Ok into the freezer, now let them set for at least 1 hour.

If you have a deep fryer – 350 degrees.
If you don’t have a deep fryer like me, you can totally do this on the stove.  If I had a deep fryer I would make french fries and bbq wings every single day so it’s best I don’t have one.

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Grab a thermometer and put it in the pot, I use a candy thermometer as it goes high.  You need to know when the oil is 350 degrees.  If you don’t have a thermometer, throw a piece of corn kernel in the oil and when it pops into popcorn, then you know it’s 350 and ready to go.

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Now this takes some time to get this hot. Mine takes about 15-20 minutes of crazily watching the thermometer.

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225.. 125 degrees to go.  Please be careful with this, the oil is spitting a bit and is very very very hot.
Once it’s 350 degrees, drop a ice cream ball into the oil for 1-2 seconds.  Yes, that quick!  Do  not do any longer or it will melt.  You literally drop it in, pull it right back out with a spoon.

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I like to put them directly on a paper towel to get the excess oil off.  Then you start to build your sundae.  Again you should do this pretty quickly, but the ice cream won’t melt as fast once it’s been fried so you have a little more time.

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Throw your fried ice cream balls into your tortilla bowl. 

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Spray whip cream on top.  Matthew then took the whip cream canister and squirted more in his mouth.  Boys.  Girls would never do that (ahem).

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Oh and Hershey’s chocolate syrup! We got the “Lite” version because obviously we are worried about our figures when are eating fried ice cream with whip cream on top.

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Add a cherry! Please do! Add 2 if you’d like! Add 3!

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Oh baby, baby, then just spoon it into your mouth.  Just take a minute and enjoy this.

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You beautiful ice cream you.

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Keep spooning it in.  Crack off some of the tortilla shell, use that as a spoon too.  Go wild. 

To make the tortilla shell bowl, it’s quite easy.  
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Grab a 10 inch flour tortilla and lightly spray both sides with cooking spray.

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Grab a cupcake pan and turn it upside down.

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Push your tortillas into the cupcake so it touches 4 of the cupcake holders.  Press it down – this is what shape your tortilla bowl will become.

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Put it into the oven.  (Omg, my oven is a mess, I know, embarrassed, but  think about how much love it’s received, we spill too much corn meal for pizza).   You want to keep a eye on these, generally mine usually take 12 minutes, so watch yours anywhere from 9-12  minutes.  Once they have a slightly brown edge, they’re done.

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When they come out of the oven, you’ll see how they have hardened.  Let them cool so you can touch them.

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Pretty cool and easy, right?

Enjoy your fried ice cream! It’s a winner.

Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup – love, love love.  
I used to get tortilla soup all the time from a local Mexican restaurant but one day I got some near closing time and it was a big disappointment   It was like they gave me the entire bottom of the pot that was sitting all day long with every ingredient soggy.  I was very upset.  That night I told myself I would match their tortilla soup with my own.  I would set up a table outside their restaurant serving small cups of my own soup and compare it theirs.  The neighborhood would love mine.  They would put me on their shoulders, parading me down the streets while chanting “tortilla soup, tortilla soup!”.  Well one of those things came true, I came up with a tortilla soup recipe that (dare I say) is better than theirs.  *High Fives*

 This soup is delicious.  It’s easy to make with a few canned goods.  It doesn’t take much time, minus some simmering here and there.   Please give this soup a chance.  

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Tortilla Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  3. 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  4. 1 1/4 cup water
  5. 10 oz chicken broth
  6. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1 15 oz can of white hominy
  9. 1 15 oz can of black beans (rinsed/drained)
  10. 1 4 oz can of chopped green chile peppers
  11. 1 cup yellow corn kernels (cooked)
  12. 2 cubes frozen cilantro (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh)
Optional for on top
  1. Sliced Avocado
  2. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  3. Crushed Tortilla Chips
Instructions
  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute in minced garlic until slightly brown.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, water, chili powder and oregano. Stir well.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in hominy, black beans, corn, chile peppers and cilantro. Stir well.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve into bowls, serve with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices and shredded cheese on
  8. top.
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can turn this into chicken tortilla soup by adding 1/2 pound of boneless chicken breast. Cook it, cut it into small pieces and add in the pot when you add the beans/corn/hominy/peppers.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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These are all the ingredients you’ll need.

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You might also want some cheddar cheese or a avocado. I would highly recommend this direction.

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Start by browning some garlic in a big pot.  Who doesn’t love the smell of garlic cooking?

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Once it’s brown, add in your water.

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Then your chicken broth.  I showed the steps above because I usually always  make my chicken broth from bouillon cubes.  I find it much cheaper and just as good. 

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Open up your crushed tomatoes.  San Marzano is the best in my opinionblogIMG_1445
Then stir into the pot.

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Add your oregano.

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Then your chili powder.

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Stir all your ingredients together, bring to boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.

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Start to prepare your other ingredients.  Open up your black beans and rinse  and drain them.

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Add your hominy.  Do you love hominy as  much as I do? I eat it by the spoonfuls.

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Then add your corn.  I use frozen corn and cook it right before.

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Then add in your green chiles.

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Put all these ingredients into the pot.

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Last but not least, get your cilantro.  I usually use the frozen cilantro cubes as I find they work well in soups.  You can use fresh if you’d like.blogIMG_1469
Add your cilantro.

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Then stir again and let simmer for 15 more minutes.

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When it’s done, spoon into bowls.

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The truth is that I always go back for seconds.

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You can eat it plain if you’d like, it’s totally delicious that way.

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Or you can add some cheese which will melt quickly causing you to fall madly in love.

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Or you could grab a avocado and add some cubes in too.

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This is totally the way I like it.  I love that the soup is hot and will cause the avocado to melt slightly. 

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I have been known to eat a entire avocado this way. 

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Hope you will try this amazing soup – let me know how it works out for you!

Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice

I could eat cilantro and lime rice by itself for dinner, and I have.  You can also have it as a side dish, especially with tacos.  Or you could make some chicken to put on a flour tortilla and add this rice.  Oh wow, the 3rd idea is really a favorite.  Later this week I will be sharing a marinated chipotle chicken recipe to make in the crockpot, which this rice will go perfect with.  I  love the taste of the sour lime and the kick of cilantro – this is a favorite.  

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Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. 1/3 cup lime juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 cup white basmati rice
  6. 2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Saute rice in vegetable oil for 2 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil.
  2. When water begins to boil, turn the heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn heat off completely, leave lid on, and remove from burner. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix together salt and lime juice, you want the salt to dissolve.
  5. Pour salt/lime over rice, mix around. Add cilantro and toss.
  6. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Here’s your ingredients.  When you buy cilantro in the grocery do you immediately smell it in the produce aisle while people stare? I do.

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Basmati rice is the best to use in this recipe in my opinion as the rice does not stick together like regular white rice does. Also, basmati has such a special aroma.

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Cook in some oil, stir, then add water.

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Once done, take off the stove and let sit for 30 minutes covered.   NOTE: Do not peek!  I know it’s tempting.

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Cut up your cilantro. I use scissors as I find it easiest.

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After the rice is done sitting, take the lid off.  We’re almost done here…

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Mix your salt into your lime juice.  Make sure all the salt is dissolved, so keep stirring it until it is.

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Then add your lime juice/salt and cilantro to the rice.  Use a fork to mix it all up.

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The smell of the lime makes me so happy.   Don’t you love it?  You can have it just like this, a big ol spoonful for a Mexican dinner side dish would be great.

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Or put on a burrito with some chicken and pinto beans.  This is magical, it’s a favorite meal of mine. 

Try some cilantro + lime rice soon, I hope you like it.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

We love Quaker Granola bars in this house! Our favorite are the chocolate chip bars, which are great for a quick snack.  I can’t tell you the amount of boxes that we have bought in the past years.  One thing though I’ve never liked, the price.  A box of granola bars usually ranges in the $4-$5 range which is pretty expensive considering it’s made with pretty basic ingredients.  So before I would go to the store and buy more, I decided to try to make my own.  I’m so glad I did because not only are they (much) cheaper, but I find them more filling.  Plus it’s a great feeling knowing every single ingredient (and being able to pronounce them) that’s going into them.  

These are easy and quick to make! The part that takes the most time is letting them set.  If you’re a fan of these, I recommend making a few batches at once to save on the dirty dishes.   Bonus: You can also freeze granola bars!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  3. 1/4 cup salted butter
  4. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  5. 1/4 cup honey
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar and honey on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  5. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  6. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  9. Take out and cut into bar sizes.
  10. Store in airtight container in refrigerator to keep them fresh.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Here are your ingredients.  It’s likely you might already have all these ingredients already.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I have to give this honey a shout out because it’s from Ohio.  Matthew is from Ohio and his family sent it to us.  It’s quality honey.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Spray your 8×8  pan. I like to grab a paper towel and rub it in so it’s on the sides too.  Set aside.

 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Pour your oats into a bowl.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Then your crispy cereal.  Feel free to get the generic kind, you will save a few dollars.  Stir together.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Put your brown sugar, honey and butter over medium high heat.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When it melts..

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
It will soon start to bubble. Turn it down immediately to low, you don’t want it to burn.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Take it off burner and add vanilla.  Note to self: buy more vanilla extract, I’m always running out.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour the wet mixture into your dry mixture.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!And stir, stir, stir.  I can’t say this enough.  You want every single piece to be coated or it won’t stick which will make crumbly granola bars. “Crumbly Granola Bars” would make a cute band name.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour your mixture into pan and push down with spatula to get it even.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Then take your spatula or a back of a spoon and press the chocolate chips down into the mixture.  This will make sure they don’t fall off. 

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Wrap plastic wrap on top and chill for at least 1 hour.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When they’re set, cut them up into bars.  You can also cut them up into smaller squares if you’d like.  They would be super cute for a kids party like that.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Because you sprayed the pan and let the granola bars set, they should slide out pretty easily.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I cut it up into 10 delicious bars.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
These will be a hit! You won’t ever buy the ones in the store again.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I was quickly down to 9 bars as Matthew scooped in and grabbed this one. 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Make sure you grab one…


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Before it’s too late.  Don’t worry though, I saved you one.

Enjoy!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Delicious Taco Casserole

This recipe is up there in the favorites.  When I first made it, we had it 2 more times that following week. Since then we’ve had it almost once a week.   Even though there’s only 2 of us, we usually finish a entire casserole ourselves.  We really really really really love it.  Who doesn’t like tacos? Who doesn’t like casseroles? Who doesn’t like cheese on top?  It’s like a dream world scenario!

More reasons why this makes me have happy dreams at night:

It’s easy to make.
You can make it early in the day, store it in the fridge and then cook it at night.
It’s pretty – the red and green colors are lovely!
It has cheese on top! Did I mention that already? Sorry.

Feel free to customize it too.  You can add a onion if you’d like.  Maybe throw some crushed chips on top, or some avocado slices.    Just please try this! 

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Taco Casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 cup (8 ounces) of elbow macaroni noodles
  3. 1 medium sized green pepper (chopped)
  4. 1 10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup
  5. 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  6. 1 package of taco seasoning mix
  7. 3/4 cup shredded taco blend cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, set aside.
  3. In a pan cook ground beef with chopped green peppers until meat is brown.
  4. Mix in tomato soup, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning. Mix real good.
  5. Stir in pasta. Mix real good.
  6. Put mixture into a baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle cheese on top of the entire casserole.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.
You can also
  1. Add a onion (same time you add the green pepper)
  2. Sprinkle crushed up tortilla chips on top
  3. Add avocado slices on top
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Here’s all your ingredients.   You might even have everything you need already in your cabinets.

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Measure your elbows (the noodles)..

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And boil until al dente.

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Drain, and set aside.

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Chop up your green pepper. If you’d like to add a onion, this would be the time to chop that up too.

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Put it in your pan..

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Add your ground beef.

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Then mix it all around so everything gets that delicious green pepper taste (and smell!) to it.

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After the meat is brown, add your tomato soup.

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Then  your diced tomatoes.  In the summertime I will make these fresh but for now the canned version will do.

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Then add your beloved packet of taco seasoning.

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Mix it all around.  Oh man, the smell, you can’t beat it.

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Then add your elbow noodles.

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And mix it good so everything is covered in that sauce mixture.

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At this time it’s totally ok to test it. You should.  I did.  Even two spoons.  Noone is looking.  We’re all friends here.

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Transfer the casserole to a baking dish.

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Measure out your cheese.

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And spread it on top.   At this time I usually take a big handful of cheese from the bag and eat it too.  Cheese, I love you.

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Because I planned on making it that evening, some plastic wrap went on top and into the refrigerator it went. 

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Right after I put it in the refrigerator I spotted this guy and snuggled with him for a few minutes. 

When you’re ready to make it..
Pop it into the oven and then enjoy! It’s really that easy!

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One cheesy taco casserole will be yours.  All yours! Ok, you probably have to share.  

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Serve, make sure you get some of that cheese on top.  If any cheese falls off into the casserole dish, fight for it.  You deserve it.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe! When I told Matthew what I was making, he broke his concentration from editing and did this reaction.  It’s a major winner.

Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole

You’re about to become everyone’s favorite at any gathering!

I love green bean casserole.  It reminds me of holidays, friends, smiles.  I also love it because it’s green and beautiful.  A few days ago around midnight, Matthew came into the bedroom where I was reading and asked if we could have green bean casserole “tomorrow”.  I told him we would gather the ingredients the next day.  Then I came to thinking how I made broccoli casserole last year and I loved it so much, so why don’t we mix these beans and brocs and make a delicious green bean and broccoli casserole?  I can’t be happier about how it came out!  In the recipe below I am using frozen vegetables which adds simplicity in the time saving department.

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Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 11 oz frozen green beans
  2. 11 oz frozen broccoli florets
  3. 3/4 cup milk
  4. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  5. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1 1/2 cups French's fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Mix soup, milk and pepper in a baking dish.
  3. Stir in frozen beans, frozen broccoli and 1 cup fried onions. Stir good.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. (Make sure it's hot inside)
  5. Stir it, then top your remaining 1/2 cup onions on top.
  6. Bake 5 more minutes until your onions are golden brown.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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We are getting down to the nitty gritty with saved frozen vegetables from the garden last year.  I found these guys hiding in the back of the freezer, they are the last bag.  

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Here are all your ingredients.

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Cream of mushroom soup – I love you.

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Does anyone eat cream of mushroom soup by itself? I don’t but I can imagine how good it would be as I always lick the spoon clean after scooping it out.

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Then add your milk.

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Mix it! Arm workout!

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Add pepper and stir again!

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Add your frozen beans..

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Then your frozen broccoli…

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Here are your fried onions.  Truth: I don’t like onions.  I’m really picky about them.  But for some reason I’m 100% fine with these fried onions – how that makes sense, I have no idea.

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Sprinkle your onions in..

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Then more arm power and keep mixing..

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Until you have a creamy beautiful  mixture that looks like that. Into the oven it goes..

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Then 40 minutes later, this lovely smelling dish comes out.

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We want to add some more onions to crisp the top. This will really make the casserole extra special!

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5 more minutes until they’re slightly browned on top.

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Oh man, about this time Matthew just happily showed up in the kitchen.  I slapped his hands away.

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Many people serve bean/broccoli casserole as a side, but we had it for a man dish with some toasted garlic bread/bread rolls.  There is creaminess residing in the casserole so you want to have some bread to dip in..

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Serve away! Just wait for the “ooohs” and “aahhs” and “iloveyous”. 

 

My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich

Hello, I’m Pamela and I love this breakfast sandwich.  

I have 2 things I really want to say about this beautiful egg and cheese sandwich.

1).  I debated posting this on the blog for a long time because of how easy it is.  Finally I decided simple or not, it’s special to me and deserves it’s own glory in a post.

2).  I really really love this sandwich.  Let me tell you how it all started…

A couple years ago we started teaching a early AM digital photography class.  Prior to this I did not eat breakfast as I would usually wake up later in the morning and go straight to lunch, but needing something to eat in the morning and wanting to sleep in, I started a dangerous route in eating breakfast sandwiches from 7-11.    This would be my breakfast right  before class began:
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Now don’t get me wrong – I love 7-11 breakfast sandwiches, after all it started my love affair with making my own, but one day I took a look at the nutrition facts on these and looked at my scale rising and realized these were not going to be good in the long run.  So I set out to make my own.   My rules were they had to be quick to make and delicious. I wanted them to be better than 7-11, it was a competition (7-11 just didn’t know about it).

So I gathered the simplest supplies at the grocery store:   Thomas English Muffins, American Cheese Slices, Eggs.  There the love of my life was born, my favorite breakfast sandwich in the world.  To say I am crazy in love with these would be a understatement.  I have approximated I have eaten 325 of these in the past year.    I find I actually eat healthier when I start my day off with sandwich because I consider it a favorite treat so by 1PM, I feel like I have spoiled myself.  Then for the rest of the afternoon I can snack on fruit and nuts and totally be happy with it.   Just thinking of this egg sandwich makes me so happy. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning!

How much do I love them?
When I wen to London, I made them every single morning for breakfast:
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I ate one for Christmas breakfast last year:
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I ate one for Easter breakfast this year:
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Do you see the path I’m leading you down? I’m trying to make you love his egg sandwich as much as I do so you can have 30 pictures of the same egg sandwich on your phone like I do.

So here it is, your 260 calorie breakfast sandwich.   

My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 Thomas' Original English Muffin
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 1 slice of American cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crack your egg into a bowl, whisk it and microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Take your English Muffin and cut it in half.
  4. Take your egg out of the microwave, remove it with a fork and put on bottom part of muffin.
  5. Take your cheese, rip in half, and put on top of the egg.
  6. Put top half of muffin on top of sandwich.
  7. Put in toaster oven until the top is slightly browned, this usually takes about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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These are your ingredients, simple. I love Thomas’s, I love them more when they are on sale.  A word about cheese, I’m a Kraft singles girl, I can’t help.  I bought some organic American cheese slices from Trader Joe’s last week and was underwhelmed so I use it on Matthew’s egg sandwich when I make him one.  For me, it’s Kraft all the way.

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Take an egg.

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Crack it in microwave safe bowl.

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Whisk it with a fork.  Now put the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.  
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What comes out is one cooked egg that is easy to get out with a fork.
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Cut your muffin in two.  Get your cheese slice ready.

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Throw your egg on the bottom part..

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I like to rip my cheese in half as it assures no cheese will be wasted melting off the sides.  I want all the cheese!

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Put the top of the muffin on..

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Then into the toaster oven it goes..

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There is a smell the muffin makes when it is ready. You will learn to love and appreciate this delicious smell.

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Oh beautiful, how are you doing?  Be careful and let it cool for a minute or the cheese will burn you.

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This is  my go to breakfast usually served with dried fruit and decaffeinated tea.  

Treat yourself to one tomorrow morning.. Enjoy!

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a favorite of ours to snack on, especially Matthew’s.  I’ve found a number of sharp tortilla chip crumbs in bed that stab me to know he likes a good bowl of chips to snack on while reading before bed.  With the chips running low, I set off to create our own.   There are a few great things about making homemade tortilla chips.  You get to mix and match! You can try a bunch of different flavors instead of just picking one flavor in the store.  The other great thing is the price!  Tortilla chips usually cost us $4-$5 for a bag, more if they are gourmet/fancy flavored.  A bag of 30 (!) corn tortillas in my local grocery store cost me $1.25.   I haven’t done the price comparison by weighing them yet but I can bet you I’m saving more than a few dollars here.

I wanted to try a few different flavors with these so I did made 3 kinds:
Regular Salted
Cinnamon Sugar
Parmesan

I thought I was going to have a winner on picking but when trying to pick a favorite I can’t.  The salted were expected to be great and they were.  The cinnamon sugar was like a dessert chip, it hit  my sweet tooth that needs daily love.  The Parmesan was savory.  

Next time I’m going to try to make some seasoned with cumin – can you imagine cumin tortilla chips with salsa?  Oh my.  I think I just created my new favorite snack.

Make these for your snack. 🙂

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Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Print
Ingredients
  1. Corn Tortillas (one equals 4 chips so use as many as you need)
Seasonings (This is up to you!)
  1. Sea Salt
  2. Cinnamon + Sugar
  3. Parmesan Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stack tortillas and cut them into 4 triangles.
  3. Spread them out on a on a cookie sheet. They need to be 1/4-1/2 inch apart from each other.
  4. Put desired seasonings on top.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes (check every minute after 8) until edges are brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Grab your handy bag of corn tortillas.  Can I tell you how much I love pepper steak tacos on these? That’s another post though…

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Take them out the bag, it’s up to you how many you want to make.  Each tortilla will make 4 hearty chips.

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It’s totally ok if your tortillas are weird in shape, it adds character.

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Grab a knife..

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Cut in half..

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And again..

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Gather your pile of soon to be delicious chips.

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Now, something important.  To get them to bake crisp you need to make sure there is at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch in between each one.  If they are closer, they are going to be soft.  We want crunchy for these.

Now on to the seasonings..
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You can do sea salt, just a sprinkle goes a long way.

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Or a little bit of Parmesan cheese.  You can add some Cheddar too – yum!

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Or possibly my favorite (I haven’t decided yet), cinnamon sugar!

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First the sugar..

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Then the cinnamon! Oh my!

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Throw them  in the oven and keep a eye on them.  They should take 8-10 minutes until the edges turn brown.  Mine took about 9 minutes.  Watch them for every minute after 8. Seriously, keep a eye on them, keep checking, don’t be too careful – they will burn quick.

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These are the sea salt chips.  Just a simple taste of salt…

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These are the Parmesan cheese…

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And these are the magical cinnamon sugar! I’m still not picking a favorite..

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Pull up a chair, let’s eat a few together!

 

Fresh Spinach Cupcakes

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won’t believe how good these are!

Now before you go reading the title and thinking I’m crazy, I just want to make it clear that I’m a genuine cupcake lover.  I’ve been known to go to Crumbs, get the biggest cupcake in the display with vanilla frosting, rainbow sprinkles and eat it up in a couple bites.  I’ve been known to go  back for seconds.  I love sweets, I love cupcakes.  So when I found a recipe a few months ago saying  I could make cupcakes with fresh spinach and it would taste amazing, I didn’t quite believe it.  Even while making these and mixing the spinach in, I still was worried.  Really, I could make cupcakes full of spinach and it was going to be good? Really? Well folks.. I have the verdict..

YES YOU CAN.

THESE CUPCAKES ARE AMAZING.

WE ARE TALKING  “OMG THESE ARE MADE WITH SPINACH?! WHAT? ARE YOU LYING TO ME? NO IM NOT. “

They will probably change your life.

I have had a post-it note on my desk since June to post the recipe and finally today, I am!

Rejoice! Bake these cupcakes.  They will change your life.  I’m totally serious
These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

Fresh Spinach Cupcakes
These cupcakes will change your life.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of applesauce
  2. 4-5 cups fresh raw spinach
  3. box of store bought yellow cake mix
  4. icing and sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line your cupcake tins with baking cups.
  3. Puree the applesauce and spinach in a food processor.
  4. Put cake mix in a bowl, then add your spinach puree to it.
  5. Beat with mixer until it’s combined evenly.
  6. Fill up your cupcake baking cups.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, put a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
  8. Let cool, decorate with icing and sprinkles.
  9. EAT THEM. ALL OF THEM.
Notes
  1. I used spinach picked from our garden - if you can pick it fresh, please do!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
These are all your ingredients for the cupcakes.  Can it get simpler?

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Puree spinach and apple sauce.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
It will look like this.  Very green.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Add your puree with your cake mix.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Mix it up.  It will look light green now.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Add to your baking cups… into the oven it goes.  Can you believe we’re making spinach cupcakes?

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Out it comes, exactly how you imagined!

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Aren’t they beautiful plain?

 

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
I put my icing in a plastic bag so I can pretend I’m a pro cake decorator when I put the icing on them.



Look at these beautiful cupcakes.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Now add your sprinkles..

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
There you go, you just made spinach cupcakes.  I know, it’s amazing.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Now try one. I KNOW, IT’S AMAZING.  Life changed, right?
These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

 

WOWZA Baked Beans + Bacon

Two weekends ago Matthew made these amazing baked beans.  I’m going to give credit where it’s due, these were the hit of the picnic.  I was in love with them, so much so that I made him save some here for me to eat later.  So when I came home from the picnic after eating too many beans, I immediately sat down and continued to eat more beans.  They are so amazing!
The original recipe comes from here.  Matthew said he followed the ingredients and instructions pretty spot on.
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Lots of onions and green peppers in this. I was worried because I don’t like onions.  Boy, was I wrong!

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BBQ Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar.  I was worried because I don’t like apple cider vinegar. Boy, was I wrong!

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Glorious bacon. Bacon is one of the best foods, ever.

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Mix the beans and peppers/onions together…

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Then the BBQ Sauce mixture..

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You need a big pan, just a warning.

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I needed to taste test. It’s very important.  Or something.

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Then pour into pans/pots that you can bake.   This makes quite alot of beans..

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Then put the glorious bacon on top. You can either bake this right away, or we let it sit in the fridge over night and baked it the following day.

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ENJOY!

Lunch Time – Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans

Say hello to my new favorite lunch and hopefully yours too! This is low in calories but high in flavor.
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Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. salt + pepper
  5. 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  7. 1/2 cup frozen edamame
Instructions
  1. Defrost Shrimp.
  2. Chop up Cilantro.
  3. Mince garlic.
  4. Pour olive oil in your pan on medium heat. Heat up until hot.
  5. Add your shrimp to the heated oil and heat up for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add salt/pepper.
  7. Flip each shrimp over to get the other side.
  8. Add minced garlic.
  9. Heat these up for another 2 minutes.
  10. Move your shrimp to a plate.
  11. Add your lime juice. Since lime is intense I like to add 1/8 tsp and keep building up by adding a little bit more at a time.
  12. Add your cilantro on top.
  13. Then toss everything all around.
  14. Add your edamame on the side, or mix together with shrimp.
To Cook Edamame
  1. Edamame are young soybeans. The beans are young and green when they are picked, so they are soft when you eat them. To make them just simply bring water to boil, add your beans and some salt and then continue to boil for 5 minutes. Drain and serve. I don’t even put anything on top of them, they’re that good by themselves.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Ok, yes, I don’t mind if I do…

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Irish Potato Candy

Irish potato candy is a favorite where I’m from in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.  There used to be a candy store in the mall that sold these that I would crave every time we walked by.  The candy has the sweet smell of cinnamon.  They are best serve chilled, and when you take a bite you will taste the sweetness mixed in with coconut.  Irish potato candy is a magical experience to eat.  As a kid I used to actually think they were made of potatoes, but boy was I wrong.  There is nothing healthy about these, warning.  But they are very good, so have one or two for dessert.  If you make these there is a strong chance you will declare your love for me, so give them a try.

These are easy to make – there is no cooking, just chilling involved.  There is also some mixing involved so you will have some bowls to clean (preferred to clean by mouth first).
Why are they called potato candy?  Because they look like little cute potatoes!  These would be extra cute to make for St Patrick’s Day!
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Hey little beautiful spud.
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And when you take a bite…. just wait!
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Irish Potato Candy
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup butter softened
  2. 8 ounce cream cheese
  3. 4 cups confectioners powdered sugar
  4. 2 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. few tablespoons of ground cinnamon to roll them in
Instructions
  1. Beat your softened butter and cream cheese together with a mixer until it’s smooth.
  2. Add your powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep beating until this is smooth.
  3. Mix in the coconut, with a spoon or your hands.
  4. Roll into potato shapes with your hands. I like to keep them about 2 inches big.
  5. Roll in cinnamon to make them brown.
  6. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator.
  7. Store in a container in refrigerator.
  8. ENJOY!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Simple ingredients.
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Mix your butter and cream cheese.  It’s a little hard to do, use power.
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Then mix  in vanilla and powdered sugar. Then take a beater and lick it clean.
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Add your coconut.
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Mix it with your hands.  You are going to get dirty.  Totally ok.
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Roll in cinnamon.  Add more as you need it. You will only need 2-3 tablespoons.
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Put your little potatoes on wax paper and chill.
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YUM!

Frozen Pesto Cubes

If you are growing herbs in  your garden then right now you might have alot and not sure what to do with them. Do you dry them? Do you use them as is? How about we make delicious pesto and freeze them? Yes, let’s do that!  Here we will use our fresh parsley and basil.  Just think about in December when it’s freezing out and you’re in a bad mood because your boot has a hole in it and you stepped in a big slush pile.  You come home, cranky, boil some pasta.  What to put on top.. pesto… from your garden.. oh the summer time  memories.. everything feels better now. 🙂

What can you do with pesto besides put in pasta? Use it as a pizza sauce.  Marinade chicken or steak or shrimp in it.  Use it as a vegetable dip.  Make soup.  So many options!

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Frozen Pesto Cubes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups fresh parsley
  2. 4 cloves of garlic
  3. 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup walnuts
  6. 1/2 cup fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours. Take out and then package in freezer bags. Can it get more simpler?
What you’ll need to freeze
  1. Ice Cube Trays
  2. Clear Wrap
  3. Freezer Bags
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Let’s make some pesto and freeze it!

Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours.  Take out and then package in freezer bags.  Can it get more simpler?

From the recipe/ingredients above I made 2.5 batches of it which equaled 6 cups of fresh parsley and 1.5 cups of basil. I also made a quick batch of just basil pesto.

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Gather your supplies.

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I have 2 bags of walnuts just in case.  I totally didn’t need all those but I’m overly prepared (in life).  I have so many bottles of soy sauce in the pantry.. just in case.

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Beautiful fresh parsley and basil, picked minutes before.  MMMM. Smell it!

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Parsley, I love you.

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Basil, I love you.

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Put your herbs and your garlic in your blender/processor.

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Add your cheese.

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Add your nuts. I like to use walnuts,  some people use pine nuts.  Whatever.

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Put your olive oil in.  Look at this.

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Blend, blend, blend.

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Take it out and put it in a plastic bag.  Seal it shut.

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Get your ice cube trays and some scissors.  Cut the bottom corner of your plastic bag, you’re basically going to make it into a cake icing bag.

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Start to fill them up…

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All done? Yay! Cover them up with wrap and put them in the freezer.

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Magic, they are frozen now!

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Now you need to work quick when you take them out of the freezer because they like to melt pretty quickly.  Work them out of the trays.

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Put in bags. Label them if you must.

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Hooray, frozen pesto cubes!

Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

I made these for a tea date lunch that I had with some dear friends.

Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches
Print
Ingredients
  1. 8 Pieces of Bread – I used Arnold’s Whole Wheat
  2. 8 oz Ricotta
  3. 5 Fresh Fresh Basil Leaves + Extra Basil On Top
  4. 3 Garlic Cloves
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Salt/Pepper
Instructions
  1. Marinade slices of tomatoes in olive oil, salt/pepper mixture overnight.
  2. Mince garlic and some basil (leave some for the topping) and mix with ricotta. Store overnight.
  3. Cut your bread into hearts with a heart cookie cutter.
  4. Add some ricotta on top.
  5. Add either a fresh basil leaf or a marinated tomato on top.
  6. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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You want to marinade your tomatoes overnight.  Just a little tablespoon of olive oil goes a long way.

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Mince your garlic and basil.  Smells so good!

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Add your ricotta.  Store overnight.  Tastes so good!

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Right before your tea date, get your bread ready.  You will basically be able to do one heart per piece of bread.

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Well aren’t they lovely…

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Now put some ricotta on top of each one.

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Top with a fresh basil leaf..

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Or a marinated tomato.

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Serve fresh or throw in the refrigerator if your friends like to be late (*cough cough*).

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Have a great afternoon! 🙂

Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

I love pumpkin pie.  I just don’t love it, I LOVE it.  Thanksgiving to me means pumpkin pie.  It’s really the only time of the year I make a full pie and eat the entire thing. Ok, I lied about that part, I do it more than once a year.  So with us picking so many pumpkins from our garden, I decided  to make my favorite pumpkin pie from scratch.  From seed to pollinating to picking to baking – this is completely made out of love.

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 The pie is so tasty due to the freshness of the pumpkin!  This is one of those recipes where it’s so near perfect I probably won’t ever try another pumpkin pie recipe again! 

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

If you can use fresh pumpkin please do, it really elevates the taste of a homemade pumpkin pie! If you’ve never made fresh pumpkin puree before, here’s a DIY post I made.  It’s easy – I promise!  Even better, it freezes great so you can continue to use it for baked goods throughout the next few months.  If you can’t make your own pumpkin puree, that’s totally ok, grab some at a farmers market or use canned pumpkin.  

 Either way – enjoy!The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 15 oz fresh pumpkin puree
  2. 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 9 inch unbaked pie crust
Optional
  1. Whipped Cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
  3. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Decorate the top of the pie with whipped cream.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

 

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