Category Archives: Recipes

SnoSpice Review!

As a blogger, I get a lot of comments and solicitation to my email address, but sometimes I get really cool start-up companies offering to send free stuff. And when those products involve ice cream, you know it’s going to be good. Thank you Brett from SnoSpice for sending us these yummy flavors for free and giving us a chance to review them!

SnoSpice Ice Cream Infusions were created to add fresh flavors to vanilla ice cream. All natural, no sugars, and vegan and lactose free; these are perfect for so many diets and best of all, Made in the USA (yes!!!)!

Directions: Sprinkle on ice cream, Stir and Enjoy! Ya’ll know recently I’ve been working on minimalism and one of the concepts I have really tried to adopt is carefully choosing products that are high quality and also serve multiple purposes. That means limiting spices and condiments as well for the sake of simplicity and space. So at first I thought perhaps these specialty ice cream spices wouldn’t quite fit into my cupboard. However, after testing them out I have found great uses for recipes far beyond ice cream. Yep, these flavor mix-ins are keepers for sure. Here are just a few of my ideas for spicing up your diet with SnoSpice!

*Homemade Banana Cream: This is a recipe my kids adore and it is amazing how deliciously smooth and creamy it is with only two ingredients: frozen bananas and milk! I can’t wait to try SnoSpice as an extra little kick to give us some different flavor options!

*Smoothies: We make smoothies ALL the time in our Vitamix and absolutely love trying different flavors. SnoSpices will be perfect for adding a little extra “something” to these healthy combos, especially since we try to keep added sugar very low.

*Gourmet Oatmeal: I’ve talked before about how much we love our oatmeal (check out one of my favorite recipes of all time here). I buy a HUGE carton at Costco and keep our pantry stocked at all times. The secret is adding a nice scoop of butter and whole milk; I promise you will never feel the same about oatmeal again. At this very moment, my Instant Pot is full of raisin oatmeal that my son flavored using Cinnamon for Optimists. We will definitely be using the other SnoSpice flavors in the future for our breakfasts!

Dairy-free Desserts: When I was breast-feeding my son, I had to cut out dairy, soy, grains and eggs. For awhile it felt like fruit and veggies were all I was eating and boy did I miss ice cream. I did finally find delicious coconut ice cream but the flavors were super limited. SnoSpice would have been perfect to “spice up” the vanilla and add some variety to an already pared down diet!

Fried Apples: I happened to be making this delicious copy cat recipe of Cracker Barrel’s fried apples (totally recommend, by the way). Instead of plain cinnamon, I added Cinnamon for Optimists as well as a few shakes of Lemon+Basil. These apples were a huge hit for the whole family and my husband told me to ditch my apple pie recipe and just use this dessert as filling in my homemade crust!

*Coffee stir-ins: Confession: I am addicted to coffee and am trying to break my equally strong addiction to coffee creamers. In effort to simplify my diet and cut out extra chemicals, I have been sticking with sugar and half & half. It turns out I absolutely love the Pumpkin Carriage SnoSpice for coffee! I am not usually a huge pumpkin fan but this is delicious without having that artificial taste and it helps me cut back on calories by adding less sugar.

*Soups: last week I made Meatball Tortellini Soup from Great Food Fast in our Instant Pot. I used homemade bone broth from a good ole’ Costco rotisserie chicken and seasoned it with Lemon+Basil SnoSpice. Let me just say, this was the best version of this recipe we’ve made and it just might be because of the SnoSpice.

*Ice Cream: My entire family (four year old, ten year olds, hubby and me) really enjoyed stirring these flavors into vanilla ice cream. The children all loved Pumpkin Carriage the best, but surprisingly enough Lemon+Basil was my favorite! It’s the best of citrus plus sweet plus a little something else (obviously, the basil!). It’s nothing I ever would have thought to try but I can’t wait to taste it again. My husband preferred the Cinnamon for Optimists. Honestly, Turmeric’d was the only we tried that wasn’t a big hit for us, however, I am still very interested in using it in different recipes to take advantage of the health value I keep hearing about!

SnoSpice sent me their products to try out for free,  but this review is 100% honest and written by me. Thanks, SnoSpice!

EASY Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Did you know that you can make hardboiled eggs in the instant pot? No watching the stove and the finished product leaves you with eggs that peel so easily! My kids love hardboiled eggs, deviled eggs and even egg salad but I never found a cooking method I liked. I tried everything to make them easy to peel (add vinegar to the water, adjust cook times, time the cold water bath) and even started baking them in muffin tins in the oven but making them in the instant pot is by far my favorite method of all!hardboiled.eggs.instant.pot.2

All I do is add 1.5 cups of water to the inner pot, then put in a steamer basket or the steam rack and pile up the eggs. Seriously, just add as many as you want. I usually cook about 15. hardboiledeggsinstantpot

Set the manual setting for 5 or 6 minutes (personal preference). After they have cooked, give it another 6 minutes before you do a quick pressure release. Then add some cold water to the inner pot along with a bunch of ice and just stick it in the fridge to cool completely. You will LOVE peeling these eggs!

perfect.eggs.instant.pot.3

Prime Day Deal Alert Instant Pot only $70!

Here’s another chance to grab my fav. kitchen item at a steal! Instant Pot $70! What do I use it for?
Pasta, beans & rice, soups of all kinds, hard boiled eggs, potato salad, roasts, ribs, yogurt, anything you would use a steamer for, anything you would use a crockpot for, anything you would use a warmer for. Easy, fast, stainless, programmable, auto set, busy-mom cooking magic right here! I can’t say enough good things!

Prime Day is shaping up to be pretty Awesome! If you don’t yet have an Instant Pot, this is your CHANCE! $69.99 down from $120 and worth every penny. You won’t regret it! (Aff-link:)


Check out my Pinterest Page for Recipes!

Ribs in the Instant Pot

Delicious Ribs in the Instant Pot

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience)

Quick and Easy Ribs in the Instant Pot! This was my first time ever cooking ribs and I was pretty excited at how simple it was in my trusty Instant Pot. I loosely followed a recipe from Great Food Fast, which I highly recommend. I used two racks of country style ribs, seasoned them up really well with garlic, salt & pepper, and onion powder.

Great Food Fast Ribs Instant Pot

Great Food Fast

I added a cup or two of chicken broth plus a squirt of ketchup to the inner pot, closed it and set it for manual 15 minutes. I preheated the oven to 375, I waited 15 minutes for the pressure to come down, released the excess and then put them in the oven for about 20 minutes, then under the broiler for maybe 5 until they browned up beautifully. (These gloves are awesome for lifting out hot stuff with your hands!) I am sure they didn’t need the 20 but I was trying to time dinner a little later (sometimes the Instant Pot is seriously TOO fast!!).

With outside temps being close to 100 this week, I was not going to make my poor husband stand over the grill but these ribs turned out so good I will probably make them this way every time from now on! Total rib success!

Perfect Corn on the Cob

What else can you serve with ribs but Real Mac & Cheese and crisp/tender corn on the cob?  I think I have finally nailed corn on the cob after realizing I had been seriously overcooking it for many years! The trick is to add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the pot along with a generous sprinkling of salt with your ears of corn. Then once it comes to a boil, only let it go for about 1-2 minutes before pulling it off the stove and scooping out to serve! Perfect every time and the spoonful of sugar is the key to sweet corn.

Ice Cream for breakfast

My kids are pretty excited that I let them have Ice Cream for Breakfast. This is an incredibly easy and healthy recipe that really shows how powerful the Vitamix is. So healthy we can serve it at breakfast!

2 frozen bananas (for easy blending, slice and freeze for at least 30 minutes)

12 frozen strawberries

1/2 – 3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp. of vanilla

Toss frozen bananas, then frozen strawberries into the Vitamix, then add 1/2 cup of milk. The trick is to use the tamper constantly to make this recipe. It will be loud and angry, but the results are yummy! Start blending low and then move up to high, constantly tamper-ing the contents down until you get a smooth creamy texture that can be scooped. (Add additional milk if needed).

strawberrycreamcollage

 

 

 

How We Do Dinner Part 2

Welcome to my new blog, Chasing Santee! I’m working on the design bit by bit so thanks for your patience while my content has been on hold. I realized I was becoming more and more frustrated with blogging and that was because I hadn’t been writing as much, I had been researching and tweaking and transferring. But what I have re-discovered in 2016 is that I must write. It’s vital to my emotional health! So I am coming back to posting and trying to tie up the loose ends of some of my two part posts. So, without further ado, here is Part 2 of How We Do Dinner.

In Part 1, I talked about some of our quick meals. For this post, I’m linking to some of our current favorite recipes; some are new and some I have used for the last thirteen years! A few are just quick guidelines (I would like to update with full recipes later). We can really recommend these! (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, some of these may make you want one!)

  • Easy Cheesy Veggie Lasagna: Delicious and freezes great. We really like this better than traditional lasagna.
  • Salad for the win: Our favorite product from Sam’s Club is their huge tub of Organic Spring Mix.  We also grab the big bags of sliced almonds, craisins, crutons, and real bacon pieces. I used to make salads in bowls for each person, but I finally gave in and started tossing my salad together with dressing and tons of toppings in a big bowl. It is JUST BETTER, trust me. There are a million variations, obviously, but we have found keeping those ingredients available with different fruits and veggies means the salad actually gets served….and eaten, rather than languishing in the produce drawer. If some of the spring mix needs to be finished up, I throw it in the freezer for smoothies.
  • Balsamic Chicken Thighs: You will need an Instant Pot for this, but you will love the results. Tender, tangy and perfect with jasmine rice.
  • Wrap it: One of the fun things I realized when I worked at Tropical Smoothie was that almost anything makes an awesome wrap. Flour tortillas are cheap and last forever in the fridge, so I always stock up at Aldi. Try: Chicken salad with fresh spinach and onions, breakfast burritos, leftover turkey, cranberries & dressing (even gravy tastes delicious), and chicken Caesar salad.
  • Mac & Cheese: Ok, I have obviously shared this before, but it’s good enough to repeat. SO easy.
  • Oven Roasted Veggies: These easy instructions work for pretty much any veggies, and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar make them extra irresistible.
  • Healthy Chili: So easy the kids can make it!
  • Homemade pizza: We love the pizza dough sold in the Publix bakery cooler. This way you can really load up on the veggies and cut down on the grease.
  • Taco Soup: One can of chicken, one can of corn, one pack of taco seasoning, one pack of ranch dressing, one can of beans. Dump all together (no can-draining) in a pot,  bring to a boil and simmer for like 20 minutes. Awesome camping recipe! (I imagine….I have never slept outdoors in my life). Serve with chips, sour cream, and , of course, cheese.
  • Copycat Chick-fil-a Sandwiches: It’s fun to try copycat recipes and the pickle juice marinate and powder sugar in the breading bring this pretty close to the real thing. Honestly, we’d rather just go to Chick-fil-a but there is something empowering about re-creating a restaurant favorite!
  • Quick Chicken Pot Pie: Saute your chopped veggie trio (onions, carrots, celery), add some chicken broth and bring to a light boil, add a spoonful cornstarch and stir until thickened. Throw in a bunch of chopped cooked chicken (or make it easy on yourself and use a store-cooked rotisserie chicken. ) Season by preference. Pour it all into a crust (DIY or buy Pillsbury), top with a second crust and bake.
  • Beans & Rice: I have mentioned this recipe before because it is one of our favorites and it literally takes three minutes to throw in the Instant Pot.
  • Stir-Fry: A big bag of broccoli slaw from the grocery store makes the quickest stir fry ever. Throw in whatever veggies you have and lightly saute with EVOO. Add some rice or pasta and leftover pork or chicken. Don’t forget to serve with kid-friendly chopsticks! It makes the whole experience 10 times better (the rule is parents must eat with chopsticks also).
  • Cabbage & Buttered Noodles: This may not sound great, but trust me, served with savory kielbasa (we just buy these from Hillshire Farm) it’s a crowd-pleaser. This was a recipe we started making when we were over-run with cabbage from our CSA and we still love it!
  • Chicken Salad: Chopped Rotisserie chicken or canned chicken plus mayo, salt, pepper, & seasoned salt makes a great chicken salad. Add any of the following: chopped celery, craisins, raisins, grapes, chopped apples, or sliced almonds (again from Sam’s Club) and you’ve got an awesome meal.

That’s it for now! What are some of your go-to family favorites? I’d love to try them!

So-Easy-the-Kids-Can-Make-it Chili

Even my nine year olds can handle this super easy, quick & delicious chili recipe. Pin it for an easy meal in only 20 minutes!v-8 chili

2 lbs. ground beef (or 1 lb ground beef plus 1 lb spicy sausage)

3 medium onions, chopped

3 tbls. chili powder

3 cups Spicy Vegetable Juice (V-8)

1/3 cup ketchup

2 cans beans (any combo of kidney, chili, garbanzo, white chili, etc.)

1 can corn (optional)

Bacon (ok, this is definitely optional, but if you don’t add it, you’ll wish you did)

Cook beef and onion at medium heat in the bottom of a dutch oven on the stove. Drain fat, then add chili powder (sometimes I throw in some extra seasoning like garlic, etc). Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and cook for 15 minutes. This is another one of the most flexible recipes of all time (kind of like my Magic Oatmeal Cake). You can pretty much throw in any beans & meat and this is always a hit!

Real Mac & Cheese in the Instant Pot

This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products I truly believe in or desperately want to try.

This is a crazy easy alternative to boxed mac and cheese.

While it’s not a health food, it is REAL food with real ingredients and definitely tastier than the microwave version.

And guess what you cook it in? That’s right…my favorite thing: the Instant Pot (affiliate link). Are you tired of hearing about this appliance yet? Sorry….not sorry. I can’t help raving about something that saves me SO much time. *note: if you want a normal size portion, you are going to want to half this. I supersize everything.

Real Mac & Cheese Instantly

5 cups elbow macaroni noodles

4 cups water

2 cups half and half (or whole milk)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 tbls. butter

1 cup half and half (or whole milk)

5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Spray the inner pot with cooking spray and stir in 5 cups uncooked noodles, 4 cups water, 2 cups half & half, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dry mustard and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Give it all a good stir, close the pot and seal the vent. Push manual 7 minutes or HIGH pressure 7 Minutes depending on your model. When the timer beeps, do a quick pressure release (QPR). (be careful, this spurts up pretty high so I throw a dishtowel over it.) Next stir in 4 tbls. butter, 1 cup of half & half, and 5 cups of shredded cheese.

That’s it….shouldn’t take more than 25 minutes from start to finish. Enjoy!

Flour-Free Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

We have had a fun spring break that has been full of relaxing, family time, waiting around for a nephew to be born, and playing at the park. Before school starts tomorrow, we thought we would have one more treat-fling. These are crazy-easy, surprisingly delicious, grain-free cookies! I stumbled across an easy recipe for peanut butter cookies nearly thirteen years ago, and have repeated it ever since. Tonight I tweaked it a bit and we think it’s the best version yet!

PBcupcookies

Flour-Free Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter

1 cup Almond Butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk chocolate chips

4 tbls. additional sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F
  2. Beat 1 cup Peanut Butter, 1 cup Almond Butter, 2 cups sugar and 2 eggs together thoroughly in a large bowl.
  3. Gently stir in 1 cup chocolate chips
  4. Form dough into balls and roll each in additional sugar.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool thoroughly.
  6. Enjoy! Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

How we do Dinner: Part 1

  • Omelettes: We do a lot of breakfast for dinner:eggs/grits/fruit or omelettes & fruit (I spent a long time googling omelettes and finally found a perfect photo tutorial on how to make them easily, but they removed the link). Options: sausage, bacon bits, onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, broccoli etc. I have also made omelette kits and put them in the freezer with small bags of fresh veggies/shredded cheese/cooked sausage/onions and put it all in a big ziplock to grab in a hurry. This makes it crazy easy and  cheap because you have just enough of everything right when you need it.
  • Oatmeal Bar: Sometimes we even do a “gourmet” oatmeal bar with tons of toppings. Yes, I give my kids a bowl of oatmeal for dinner but if they have a small sprinkle of chocolate chips and some sliced strawberries they say “best dinner ever”. The secret to delicious oatmeal is a big plop of real butter and a drizzle of half and half or whole milk/cream. Options: fruit, brown sugar, nuts (huge bag of sliced almonds from Costco lasts forever and goes into lots of our recipes), coconut, rainsins/craisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter.
  • Nacho Night: This is also an effort free meal that somehow gets my kids very excited. We often do Nacho Night on a blanket on the floor and have movie night, so that could be a big part of the appeal! Aldi has tortilla chips for like $1.20 a bag so we are never without these. Options: shredded chicken (canned works), beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, veggies, ground beef. Nachos “outside the box” can include breakfast toppings (my friend Katy does sausage, eggs, cheese on nachos), or chicken salad with chips (super delicious and lower carb than chicken salad sandwiches).
  • Just add a smoothie! When we have slim pickings for dinner (the end of leftovers, or something my kids aren’t thrilled to eat), we add a smoothie to round out our meal. After years of smoothies, my kids still LOVE them and I can make it healthy to add  to a not-so-fab meal OR decadent to add to a healthy but not exciting meal (big spinach salad with tons of toppings is great with a chocolate peanut butter smoothie on the side). This is when having a vitamix is 100% worth it for us. Seriously, it’s like a magic bullet at our house: “We are having salad…..AND A SMOOTHIE” *big cheers* (affiliate link).
  • Fruit side/treat: Another thing we have been doing is swapping a side out for fruit. So say we have grilled chicken and rice as our main course. Instead of adding broccoli, we add fresh pineapple which is a big treat for us. Suddenly our meal is exciting and  I have found this really helps me not feel like I need dessert also, so it’s a win/win.

Like I said, these are not original ideas or revolutionary ones, but they are in our current rotation and are working for us now. Cooking for a family gets so tiring with all the other obligations of parenting, so anything that makes it easier is valuable in my book! I’d love to hear any ideas you have and I’ll be adding Part 2 soon!

Loaded (with Veggies) Potato Soup in the Instant Pot

This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products that I use or want to try for my own family.

If you are looking for a gorgeous recipe post with mouth-watering photos and fancy cooking terms like “roux” and “parboil”….well, then you are at the wrong blog.

If you are interested in a quick, healthy recipe that tastes good, then proceed.

This meal was my way of using up some veggies that needed to be eaten without having to run out for more ingredients. It’s amazing what I will do to avoid having to go to the grocery store on a Monday afternoon. So this is really Loaded with Veggies Potato Soup.

This was made in my Instant Pot and is incredibly easy to put together. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I don’t know what else I can do to convince you. I’ve already raved all over Facebook, Pinterest and anywhere else I can think of. Check out my review here at EveryWomanBlog.com and then (affiliate link) head on over to Amazon and order one.

I just wish I had bought an Instant Pot sooner because I use it all the time.

Loaded Potato Soup in the Instant Pot

2 chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 head of fresh broccoli

lots of peeled, cubed potatoes (by lots I mean, about as many as I can put in the pot)

2 (14.5 oz) cans of chicken broth

salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg

a dash of half and half

optional: chives, shredded cheese, and bacon

  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute and saute celery & carrots for about 5 minutes with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Or butter. Or both. Add onions and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and pour chicken broth over everything. Close lid, close vent, and set for Manual 5 minutes (or high pressure for 5 minutes).
  3. You can either open the IP and let the pressure release (QR) or let it release slowly (NR). Once pressure is released, open it and cream up your soup. To do this, you can use a stick blender, a regular blender, or be super ghetto like me and stick a hand mixer in there. Sure, scalding hot soup may splash at you, but, hey, you’re on the clock here. You can blend it up really creamy or leave lots of chunky pieces in there, it’s really your call.
  4. Add broccoli, give it a quick stir, close the lid, close vent and set it for Manual 1 minute then NPR. (this method leaves the broccoli a little on the crisp side. If you want it to be really blended in with your soup, do a little more time or add it earlier in the recipe. Or leave it on Keep Warm for awhile because you really can’t believe dinner is already done.)
  5. Add, salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and some half and half to taste.
  6. Serve with cheese and, if you REALLY want to go wild, BACON.
soup

Magic Oatmeal Cake

I probably won’t be sharing a ton of recipes here, because cooking is really not my forte (I’m not sure what my forte is, but I’m sure I will one day discover it). This recipe however, is one that I’ve made many dozens of times and tweaked enough that it barely resembles the original I came across years ago. It also has a wonderful flexibility in quantity and ingredient that has made it a go-to breakfast at our house for years. You just can’t fail with this “Magic Oatmeal Cake”.  It’s easy, versatile and healthy. It’s great to reheat on cold mornings, or sometimes I will make it the day before and have my husband throw it in the oven before he goes to work so it is ready when the kids get up.

Magic Oatmeal Cake

Combine:
4-5 cups of oatmeal
 1-2 cups of yogurt
2 cups warm water

Let this sit on the counter for a few hours or until you get around to baking it. Sometimes it sits on my counter all day long.

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine in a separate bowl:
1 cup sweetener: sugar, honey, molasses, turbinado, or whatever you want
3/4 cup oil (applesauce may be substituted)

4 eggs
1 Tbls cinnamon
1 Tbls baking powder
2 Tsp. vanilla

Add the above to oatmeal/yogurt mixture, then add:
1-2 cups of milk to desired texture: more milk makes it custardy, less makes it cake-like.
 1-2 cups fruit of choice (fresh, dried, frozen)

Dump it in a 9″ x 13″ greased pan, bake for 1 hour. Let cool, then keep in fridge, you can reheat or eat cold.

Ideas for add-ins: frozen blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, applesauce, chopped apples, pears, peaches, raisins, golden raisins, canned pineapple, walnuts, almonds, wheat germ, bran, flax seed. Dessert version: cherries and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy!