Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mom's Famous Strawberry Bread

When I think of Christmas growing up and the things we did or the foods we make, one of them that stands out most in my mind is strawberry bread. My mom made it every year for as long as I can remember. We only make it at Christmas time and I look forward to it every year. Of course it can be made at ANY time during the year. Its funny because every time I mention this bread to someone they always get a confused look on their face and say "strawberry bread?!", it may not be a commonly made bread but it seriously should be!

Serving Size: 2 loaves

2 containers of fresh strawberries, slightly mashed with a potato masher
2.5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/3 cup canola oil (or any oil if your choice)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup walnuts (I have used pecans too)


Grease loaf pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium/large bowl mix strawberries, eggs, and oil.

In a stand mixer combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nuts.

Add strawberry mixer, stir until blended. 

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. 

Bake for one hour or until bread passes tooth pick test. 

Your welcome. Don't blame me when you become highly addicted to this stuff! :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dreams do come true

As some of you know if you have been following me for a while, it took my husband and I SIX long years to welcome our little boy into the world. During those six years there was countless hours of day dreaming and picturing what our life would be like with a child. Those dreams were especially prevalent during the holiday months. Louie and I are holiday obsessed. October/November/December are our favorite months of the whole year. There is just something about these last three months of the year that just make me happy. I always imagined the traditions we would start, the activities we would do, and the places we would go once we had a family.

The dream has finally come true for us. We now have Lincoln. Our beautiful *almost* 7 month old little boy who is the best thing EVER, and all those things I dreamed of doing we can start doing! Last weekend we went to Oak Glen, CA and visited an apple farm and pumpkin patch with my parents. Although the place was busier than a summer day at Disneyland we still had a good time. Next year we intend to plan better and go up earlier in September AND on a weekday though I will say! Lincoln was so curious with all the new things to see. The corn mazes, the apples on the trees, the pumpkins in the ground-he loved it all! It was SO hard to get a picture of him looking at the camera! 

Since we didn't get a pumpkin at Oak Glen, I found a local pumpkin farm that was local and we decided to go there and check it out. There wasn't too many left on the vine there either but we did have a really good time. They had some animals there Lincoln enjoyed watching and it was fun to visit a 'real farm'. We ended up getting one big carving pumpkin, 2 pumpkins that we were told we best for pies, 1 pumpkin that is apparently the best for pumpkin bread and 1 baby pumpkin for Lincoln of course. He again was so curious with the straw on the ground or the pumpkins around him it was hard to get a picture of him looking at the camera! We can't wait to continue going to these places together every year. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crockpot Potato Soup

This soup is so easy and delicious. The first thing my husband said after having it the first time was to definitely put this on the rotation! Although it IS a crockpot recipe, its one of the faster crockpot recipes out there. Which can be good for those days where you forget first thing in the morning to get the crockpot going!


1.5 bags frozen hashbrowns
32 oz chicken broth 
1 can cream of chicken soup
8oz light cream cheese
1 cup diced carrots
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup milk


Dice your onion & carrots.

In a steamer add your carrots and onion until softened. You can also saute them in a little olive oil if you do not have a steamer.

Once softened add carrots, onion, garlic, chicken broth and frozen hashbrowns into the crockpot and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.

After one hour, stir, and turn your crockpot to LOW and cook for 1 hour.

Cube your cream cheese so it melts a little easier, remove lid and add to crockpot. Add your frozen peas and cook for 30-40 minutes on low.

Add your cup of milk and let cook for an additional 15 minutes and your done!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lentil Bruschetta Dip

Today I'm going to share with you a dip I discovered that I am now o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d with. It is SO good. Not only that but it actually is a healthier option than say a dip made with a whole carton of sour cream or cheese. Not that those aren't delicious, but you know what I mean ;). 

So we do all our shopping at Trader Joes. If you didn't already know I'm somewhat in love with the store. It's the BEST. They always have samples of their products in the store, similar to costco, and a few weeks ago they had some sort of dip, I noticed it said lentils, and I love lentils, so I tried it...and oh my...gosh! A flavor explosion was happening in my mouth. It was SO good. SUPER simple to make as well! 

-I buy the prepacked cooked lentils for this, but you can absolutely make your own. You'll need about 2.5 cups lentils if you cook them
-1 6oz package of feta cheese
-1 container of bruschetta sauce. Now if you do shop at TJs. Buy the fresh. It turns out MUCH better than getting the jar bruschetta. 

Mix all your ingredients in a large bowl!

 And serve with pita chips! TJs also sells pita crackers which also go really well with this dip.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pumpkin Pancake "Muffins"

So fall is one of my favorite times of the year, I love the change in weather (this cali girl HATES summer, go figure) the smell of fall, the pumpkins, apples, spices. All of it. Especially because it leads towards my FAVORITE time, Christmas time. But that's not what this is about. Usually on the weekend my husband makes a special breakfast. If we don't have time in the mornings because it's busy on the ranch that day, he will make breakfast for dinner. That was the case today. I also decided to make homemade apple sauce in the crock pot so fall was in the air at our house. He mentioned to me he might want to make pancakes but it's such a mess we figured to just put them in the muffin tins. Since fall is approaching, and the applesauce was cooking away smelling SO good I told him we should make pumpkin pancakes since the can of pumpkin puree in our pantry has just been staring at me lately. 

Holy moly. I had no idea the deliciousness we were about to experience. The pancake "muffins" turned out SO good that I had to share them with you all. They would be fantastic to make the night before also and have for quick on the go breakfasts in the morning as well.


  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4-5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Directions:

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    In one large bowl mix your milk, pumpkin, egg & coconut oil until combined. If the pumpkin or coconut oil is a little lumpy that's ok. 

    In a separate large bowl combine your flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice & salt.

    Slowly incorporate your dry into your wet ingredients. The important rule of thumb here is to not over-mix. Once the wet and dry are mixed together you're pretty much good.

    Spray your muffin tins with non stick spray.

    Use a 1/3 cup to scoop your pancake mix into the tins. All together this ended up making 17 pancake muffins for us. 

    Bake for 13-16 minutes, or until it passes the tooth pic test. I want to add that our bottom rack cooks faster than our top rack so watch out for that with your oven. Our bottom rack was done at 13 minutes and our top rack was done closer to 16-17 minutes. 

    These were SO moist and delicious. 

    But putting a little syrup on top took them to a WHOLE other level! 

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Quick & Meaningful Grandparents Day Gift!

    This is Lincoln's first Grandparents Day and I wanted to make something that would be fun and meaningful for my parents from him. But with Lincoln only being 5.5 months old we were limited on what *he* could make. Louie and I brainstormed and came up with the idea of his footprints in a frame with a picture of Lincoln and my parents. We LOVED the result, and more importantly they did also.

    Its so easy to do, and more than likely, you'll probably have everything you need at home! This could absolutely be a gift for anyone, any holiday also, not just grandparents day. 

    8x10 frame
    Toxic Free Ink
    4x6 photo 
    Printer (optional)

    So what I did first was put my cardstock in my printer and I printed out the words "Grandparents Day 2013", but you could write that out on the paper if you have lovely handwriting...which I do not. ha!

    I printed out the photo of my parents with Lincoln from his 1 month photos. I felt I should have a more up to date photo of them all, but its such a good picture I couldn't resist. 

    I just simply taped the picture on the cardstock underneath the words and then used the ink on the bottom of Lincolns feet and pressed them underneath the photo. Which is a feat within itself let me tell you! We did get a couple smudges but its homemade, it gives it more character right?...right? 

    Make sure to let the ink dry for a few minutes before placing it in the frame. And your done!

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    Easy & Delicious Shepherds Pie

    This is a dish I've been making for years, and even though I seem to not make it that often, its definitely a family favorite. Especially my husbands. (Its meat and potatoes, duh). For those of you who don't know my husband and I were actually vegetarian for about a year and a half not to long ago and I still made this dish! Our favorite meat substitute was Trader Joes meatless ground beef. Just an FYI ;)

    1 lb ground beef 
    1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
    1 onion
    2 potatoes
    About a cup of cheddar cheese give or take
    Brown Gravy Packet
    Heaping spoonful of sour cream
    2 tablespoons butter 
    Splash or two of milk
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

    In a large pan cook your ground beef and diced onion until cooked through. Drain fat.

    In a large pot or saucepan cook your peeled and largely diced potatoes, I never time this, I just generally stick a fork in them from time to time to check. Probably about 10-15 minutes.

    Add your frozen mixed vegetables to your beef, season with salt and pepper. **I usually add a few cloves of minced garlic in at this point but I didn't have any this night* 

    Start to make your gravy, I usually always use the packets you can find in the spice aisle, but you can use your favorite brand of gravy. 

    Once your potatoes are done add them to a large bowl with your butter, milk, sour cream and season with salt and pepper. (I always usually also sprinkle in some garlic powder and cayenne pepper to my mashed potatoes but use whatever YOU like)

    And mash! Sad day in our household. My hand mixer broke! Womp Womp Wooomp. But look at me doing it all old fashioned like ;) it works just as well!

    Add your gravy to your meat mixture.

    Spoon mixture into a 13x9 baking dish and spread evenly.

    Spread your mashed potatoes on top!

    Then, add your cheese.

    Add to your preheated oven, and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.

    Let cool and serve! Enjoy :)