It’s been super chilly in Nashville the last few days, so Fearless Baby + I haven’t been able to get out as much as usual. So, what have we been doing? Lots of baking + cooking! Now that Baby is crawling, she follows me constantly from room-to-room in the house. When I cook/bake in the kitchen, she’s happy to stay within a few feet of me, playing gleefully at my feet with spatulas, tupperware containers, + spoons. I can’t deny that it’s pretty darn adorable. =)
Yesterday we had an hour until Baby’s morning nap: a perfect opportunity to sneak in a little baking! I remembered these awesome Banana-Chocolate-Coffee Muffins that my friend Alexandra had shared with me last month, + decided to give them a try. Until I realized I had no bananas. Nor buttermilk. Nor cacao nibs. So, I got creative, substituting applesauce for the mashed banana, chocolate milk for the buttermilk, and more chopped chocolate for the cacao nibs. So, how did my adapted muffins turn out? Really tasty! They have a delicious, earthy flavor from the whole wheat flour, with awesome notes of chocolate + coffee, + an almost fruity flavor from the olive oil. Texture-wise, they were incredibly light, fluffy, + moist. They’re super versatile, just as perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up as they are as an early morning treat. Hope y’all try ‘em + love ‘em!
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Today, I’m participating in a fun blogger event — the Secret Recipe Club. How does it work? Every blogger is secretly assigned another blog + chooses a recipe from that blog to make. On reveal day (today!), all of our posts go up at the same time, + everyone gets to see who was assigned to their blog, which recipe they chose, + how it turned out. Fun, huh?
I was assigned the blog Enriching Your Kid by Shirley. She has a ton of wonderful recipes, but her Homemade Wheat Thins caught my eye immediately. I’ve made Homemade Cheez-Its before, + they turned out SO wonderful (really, put ‘em on your to-make list!), so I was intrigued to try another homemade cracker. I had all of the ingredients already in the house, so I got bakin’. The dough came together super quickly, it was simple to roll out + cut, + they baked up in no time. And y’all, the end result was delicious. A crisp, flavorful, hearty little cracker with a teeny bit of sweetness + a burst of salty bite. We absolutely loved them! As you can see in the picture below, I made half with the traditional Wheat Thin shape (flat edges) + half with crinkled edges. Both were delicious, but I prefer the slightly fancier-looking crinkled edges. =)
Thank you to Shirley for introducing me to this super scrumptious snack + to the Secret Recipe Club for connecting me, yet again, with fantastic bloggers + amazing recipes! For all my previous Secret Recipe Club recipes, click here – there are TONS of awesome ones!
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As y’all may know, I love a good crock-pot recipe. In the fall + winter, I typically make at least one slow-cooker meal a week, + I like to alternate between new recipes + time-tested favorites. I’m constantly bookmarking + pinning crock-pot recipes, so when I saw a recipe for a crock-pot Chicken + White Bean Chili on my friend Rachel’s fantastic blog, I knew I had to make it ASAP.
So, how was it? Mighty tasty! I made a few small changes from Rachel’s original recipe, substituting a red bell pepper instead of green (my husband is a green pepper loather), upping the amount of spices/seasonings, + adding cheese to the recipe. The end result was a super yummy, pretty darn healthy, + very easy-to-make meal. This is the perfect dinner for a busy weekday, as you can just pop everything in the slow-cooker in the morning, then it only takes a couple minutes to shred the chicken right before serving it. We served our chili with salsa + more cheese on the top (can you ever have too much cheese?), a couple lime wedges, + tortilla chips on the side. And it was great!
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I can’t believe I haven’t updated y’all on Fearless Baby since October! She has grown + changed so much since then. For my last update + pictures (newborn through 4 months old), click here.
So, what’s 8-month old Fearless Baby up to these days? Moving, constantly! Unless she’s sleeping, she is always in motion — barrel-rolling, scooting, bouncing, dancing to music, or rocking on her hands + knees, *almost* crawling. She’s very vocal these days, making lots of ma-ma-ma + ba-ba-ba sounds. And she’s eating solid food – she’s tried lots of fruits + veggies, but her favorite food thus far is Greek yogurt – the more tart, the better. And bread! Give her a baguette + she’s happy for hours.
We have a solid schedule that we follow every day, which pleases the super-organized me immensely. =) In between her morning and afternoon nap, we have a 3-4-hour awake block, + we almost always go out + socialize during that time — we go to Kindermusik, storytime at the library, lunches + coffee with friends, or run errands. And every evening, in the hour before we start her bedtime routine, I put her in her doorway jumper in the kitchen, and she bounces, laughs + watches me prep dinner. It’s one of my favorite times of the day, as I get to combine my two favorite hobbies — cooking, and spending quality time with my sweet little daughter.
If you love baby updates, you can follow me on instagram and twitter, where I post lots about the little lady. I’ll do another Baby update here in 4 months, when she’ll be *gasp* ONE YEAR OLD!
Like many people, my husband + I watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday. Even though it was just the two of us (Baby was already asleep), I still wanted to cook some tasty football-watching food to make the evening feel special. I had a big pot of Beef + Three Bean Chili simmering, and knew we needed some sort of sweet treat, too. I had a hankering for cheesecake, so I debated making either Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars, or Raspberry-Swirl Cheesecake Bars, but in the end, I decided to try a new-to-me-dessert: Skinny Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars.
And y’all, they turned out SO wonderful! They are so creamy, rich, + flavorful, you’d absolutely never guess that they’re a lightened-up recipe, with a mere 130 calories per bar. With a buttery, crumbly graham cracker base + a smooth, creamy, thick cheesecake layer packed full of tasty chocolate chips, these are perfection! My husband raved about how fantastic they were, and I loved them because they were delicious, waistline-friendly, AND super simple to make. All in all, a fantastic cheesecake bar recipe that I’ll definitely be putting on regular rotation in my kitchen!
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