May 18, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Snack Cake

This is the perfect little treat to kick off strawberry season! It is so moist, dense yet fluffy and perfectly sweet! Your whole family will enjoy this snack cake and there are so many possibilities of what you could make with this cake batter.
The batter honestly tastes like sugar cookie dough, which is amazing! And the strawberries complement it so well.
I had some leftover toasted coconut lying around so sprinkle some on if you're into that sort of thing. I loved the addition of the coconut!
If you're in need of a perfect summer dessert to take to your next family get together then this is it! It's so easy to throw together and everyone will be so impressed.

Fresh Strawberry Snack Cake
Slightly Adapted from The Baker Upstairs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and quarter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together the butter and 1 cup sugar, until light and fluffy. 3. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt mixing until just combined.
4. Spread the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Arrange the strawberries, cut side down, on top of the batter, spacing them close together (it's okay to overlap a little if you run out of room). Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
5. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. Bake an additional 50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

May 15, 2017

Bacon and Potato Soup

Ok so this soup may not having been the easiest to photograph since the color palette isn't the prettiest, but it was so good! I have always loved loaded potato soup with all the fixin's, but I wanted something similar without all the calories.

This soup has so much flavor for being a basic broth soup and it's perfect any time of the year. I loved the addition of the bacon and cheese to the individual portions so everyone can personalize their own. I added a dollop of sour cream to mine and loved it!

In other words, your family will love this easy and tasty soup. Be sure to give it a try!

Bacon and Potato Soup
Adapted from All Recipes
Makes 4-6 servings
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. oil
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 small red potatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, optional

1. Add oil to a large saucepan and turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and carrots and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Top individual bowls of soup with bacon, cheese and sour cream if desired.

May 11, 2017

Grilled Cuban Mojo Chicken Quinoa Bowls with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Ok you guys, this meal was INCREDIBLE. Not only was it delicious, but it's healthy, too, which makes it even more amazing. It's awesome what a creative use of spices and natural foods can do to a meal.

So you've got yourself some nutrient-dense quinoa, yummy seasoned black beans, Cuban mojo chicken and some amazing grilled pineapple salsa. (I'm seriously drooling...)
And let me tell you the pineapple salsa can definitely stand on its own. Sooo good!
This recipe may look complicated, but it comes together easier than you think especially since you can grill the chicken and pineapple at the same time while your quinoa is cooking and your beans are warming up.

You NEED to try this recipe as soon as possible!!

Grilled Cuban Mojo Chicken Quinoa Bowls with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Adapted from Closet Cooking
Serves 4
3 tsp. garlic, minced
3/4 cup sour orange juice (or 1/2 cup orange juice + 1/4 cup lime juice)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 3/4 cup water (or broth)
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
1 (15 oz.) can seasoned black beans, drained but NOT rinsed and warmed in a small pot

To Cook the Mojo Grilled Chicken:
1. Combine the garlic, sour orange juice, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and place in a sealed container with the chicken breasts to marinate overnight in the fridge or for at least 1 hour.
2. Heat a grill to medium-high heat and cook the chicken 4-5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. Slice into thin strips and set aside.
To Cook the Quinoa:
1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is nice and tender, about 15-20 minutes. (Or if you have a pressure cooker, use this recipe, but be sure to adjust the liquid!)
Grilled Pineapple Salsa:
1. Heat your grill over medium-high heat. Lightly brush the pineapple slices with oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side.
2. Dice the pineapple and mix with the onion, jalapeño, lime juice and zest and cilantro.
To assemble the Quinoa Bowls:
1. Layer each bowl with a scoop of quinoa, seasoned black beans, chicken and pineapple salsa. Enjoy!

May 9, 2017

Pressure Cooker Quinoa

This is my first pressure cooker recipe on the blog, but not the first one I've tried at home. There are so many pressure cooker varieties and while the Instant Pot seems to be the most popular, I have this Cuisinart pressure cooker that works great and it's not as expensive.

It's honestly really exciting to try new recipes in a pressure cooker, but the ones I've loved the most so far are basic like this one.

While I am new to the whole pressure cooker game and honestly the quinoa game, I found a winner recipe for both! I love that quinoa can be a healthier substitute for rice and it still fills you up. It also soaks up the sauce in your lunch or dinner oh so beautifully. ;)
This is such a simple recipe and if you're a pressure cooker beginner like me, this is a perfect one to try out. Plus the quinoa turns out perfectly! I promise you'll love it!

Pressure Cooker Quinoa
Adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking
Serves 4
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
1 pinch salt
1. Place the quinoa in a *fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for a few minutes using your hands to rub the grains together.
2. Place the quinoa, water and salt in an electric pressure cooker. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. 
3. Cook for 1 minute at high pressure. Unplug the pressure cooker and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down (about 15 to 20 minutes). 
4. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve.

*If you need a good fine-mesh strainer, I purchased this one last week and love it.

April 29, 2017

Currently {April}

LOVING : Being able to actually ride the rides at Lagoon since I'm not pregnant this year, warm spring days, getting my hair cut after over a year of awkward lengths.

READING : Maisie Dobbs (I loved this book!), Eat, Pray, Love, When Breath Becomes Air and The Great Gatsby

LISTENING TO : Apple Music (I'm doing the 3-month free trial and LOVING it), James Arthur's album "Back from the Edge" (this guy can SING and I love the mood of his songs), Shawn Mendes (kind of have a crush on this kid) and John Mayer's new album (so good)

SNACKING ON :  This banana cake (and that amazing frosting), graham crackers and rainbow chip frosting, Texas Sheet Cake and ice cream, Parmesan Goldfish (my favorite flavor), Annie's strawberry fruit tape, Annie's Honey Bunnies, Red Vines, Voortman's coconut wafer cookies/so good!, Hillshire Small Plates and Kind Bars.

WATCHING : General Conference, Last Man Standing, Modern Family, Amazing Race (Is anyone else watching this season?? It is hilarious and some of the contestants are so awful...AKA Shamir), The Zookeeper's Wife (This is about an amazing story and it's well-done film, but it was a little too graphic and intense for me. My stomach was tight the entire movie and I even gasped a few times...)

PLANNING : My second boy's birthday. We're trying to keep it simple and stay close to home. 

HIGHLIGHTS :  My little boy's 5th and 3rd birthdays...they're getting so big, our weekend trip to St. George (which was so nice and warm), celebrating Easter with my boys, swimming with our baby who ended up loving the water, being in the hot sun, park days, starting a Instagram account about my favorite books, going to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden with my mom and boys and paying off our car!

LOOKING FORWARD TO : More swimming with my boys and weekend getaways

NEED TO FINISH : Downtown Abbey (it's taking me forever because I rarely have time to sit and watch it by myself. My husband's not interested.)

WISHING : I wasn't always tired,

WANTING : To paint the interior of my house gray, but I want to hire someone ($$) because who has time to paint??

FAVORITE FINDS : My new olive t-strap flats from Roolee (in love), some basic tees from Target for my momiform (they are the BEST) and this Eva-NYC Soften Up Conditioner at Costco (it makes your hair so soft and it's so CHEAP).

EATING OUT : Yummy Coconut Curry Chicken from Blue Lemon, another amazing ice cream sandwich from The Baked Bear, the best pizza I've ever had from Rigatti's, Viva Chicken and the most AMAZING churro, a incredible strawberry creme cupcake and Greek salad from TwentyFive Main and some fantastic Italian ice from Kilo's in St. George.