Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

Allergy Information: This post contains tree nuts! :)

So of course, I don't make this pie for my kids, but I DO make it for my hubby, only to be eaten after the girls go to bed. :) I happened upon this recipe pre-kids and it is, hands-down, one of our all-time favorite pie recipes in the whole wide world. It's seriously THAT good. I made it once or twice, post-kids, for the holidays when we were hosting family, but honestly, though everyone was so careful, it made me too nervous to have around even though of all tree nuts, pecans are probably the safest to have around this house. Little Sis is severely allergic to peanuts (supposedly tree nuts are ok, but I never dared to test it out especially with so much cross-contamination) and Big Sis is allergic to tree nuts (severely to cashews, pistachios and macadamias - all the yummy ones :( and mildly to a couple others, but pecans and peanuts are ok). ANYWAY....

SO, it sadly no longer makes appearances over the holidays to be shared with friends and family, but it does make occasional night time appearances for the hubby and I to enjoy. On more than one occasion, the hubby has said that we was really in the mood for chocolate chip pecan pie and then guess what? I'd whip one up. Though the baking time is long (close to an hour) it takes less 15 minutes to throw in the oven from start to finish, if you skip the fancy pecan dipped chocolate part, so it's definitely spur-of-the-moment do-able!

So here's the recipe, Pillsbury's Chocolate Pecan Pie. Serve with a dollop (or larger) of homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and watch out, waistline! Hope you love it too. :)


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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Topping



Thanksgiving is fast-approaching so I just need to share with you one of my favorites. It's not your typical recipe of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. In my opinion, this is far better. And I believe this because so many people I've made this for have told me that even though they don't like those typical sweet potato casseroles, they LOVE this one and then proceed to ask for the recipe. :)

I'm always happy to share with them the recipe I found at Epicurious.com: Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar-Pecan Topping. It's sweet but not TOO sweet. It's the perfect amount of sweet. :)

A couple notes: I've made this both with fresh sweet potatoes and canned. The canned of course is much quicker, but I think the fresh is tastier but either way is just delicious. When I used canned sweet potatoes, I actually double to triple the amount of sweet potatoes called for. I drain it and don't even have to boil it, because it mashes in an instant, but I do melt the butter for easier mixing and w/ the recipe from there.

I used to make this with the pecans, but since having kids who have nut allergies, I just leave out the pecans and it still tastes heavenly.



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Hope you guys love this one, too! Happy almost Thanksgiving! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sweetie's Lunch

I typically don't make lunches for Sweetie since he usually just grabs it in his cafeteria at work. And even when he works for home on Thursdays, he quite often ends up making ME lunch! But every once in a while, I'll beat him to the punch - like yesterday!

He's a pretty healthy eater at lunch (so he can load up on the "good stuff" at dinner, dessert and/or snacks) and thus I made him our "usual" salad.


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In this lunch:
  1. Chopped Baby Spinach Salad topped with: diced carrots, broccoli slaw, diced green peppers, grape tomotoes, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese, ALL from Trader Joe's. I THINK I got it all...
  2. Crunchmaster's Multi-seed Gluten-Free Crackers (I'm seriously addicted to these!)
  3. Sabre's Classic Hummus (we must eat like 50 lbs of hummus a year, at least!)
Here's my hubby so graciously posing for me with his lunch.


And here he is actually working (ie on a call), while I hover and snap up pix. I swear, he's really working and not just posing for me. haha!



Be sure to check out Kelly Lester of EasyLunchboxes and her awesome: Man Up Your Lunch post about lunch box ideas for men!

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

http://www.easylunchboxes.com/


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Here's Lunch #19: Korean BiBimBap To Go

Heeeeeere's lunch! :) MY lunch. And I was sooooo hungry for this today that I actually ate it at 10:30am. :) I guess that's what happens when you skip breakfast (bad Mommy) because you are busy running around. Boy, did it hit the spot. And let me add that not only is this lunch delicious, it's pretty darn healthy as well, made with brown rice and a ton of veggies: green peppers, carrots, zucchini, onions, kale and mushrooms in addition to some Korean Beef BBQ aka Bulgogi and a fried egg to top it off. And though BiBimBap isn't quick and easy to make the first time around, the leftovers sure are! :)


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In this lunch:
  1. Korean BiBimBap
  2. Sugar Snap Peas from Trader Joe's
  3. Organic Grape Tomatoes from Trader Joe's
Click here for more yummy Korean food recipes from my blog.  :)

* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!



Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Bento Lunch's What's For Lunch Wednesdays
Lunchbox Dad's Throwback Thursdays
Becoming a Bentoholic's Leftovers on Fridays
Eat's Amazing's Fun Food Friday

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Here's Lunch #18: Pinwheel Wraps for Dinner

Heeeeeere's lunch! Ok, dinner this time. :) I made this for Little Sis one night last week, but I don't exactly remember why!


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In this dinner:
  1. Steamed organic broccoli
  2. Pinwheels wraps with Applegate Genoa Salami and Applegate Provolone Cheese wrapped in Banderita Whole Wheat Tortillas
  3. Del Monte Canned Carrots
  4. Organic Red Seedless Grapes
  5. 2 Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies
* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

http://www.easylunchboxes.com/

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Box Accessories Food Pick Cute Animal Fork 8 pcs Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart Food Decorating Pick Long Pix Stix Assorted

Applegate for providing natural (and organic varieties, too) nitrate-free yet oh-so-convenient pre-packaged deli meats. Check out my FB post professing my love for them: FB post professing my love for Applegate :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's Lunch #17: Quick, Easy and Yummy Breakfast-On-the-Go

Heeeeeere's lunch! :) Well, breakfast, actually, from last Tuesday, the girls' first day back to school after being tracked out for 3 weeks. That meant it was a day of running non-stop errands, so I took my breakfast with me. I had very little time in the morning, what with getting the girls off to school, but managed to whip up this quick breakfast. I didn't have time for anything other than my eggs and veggies, so I just stuck my precious coffee in one of the empty EasyLunchbox compartments. Fit perfectly, too!


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In this breakfast:
  1. Eggs topped with shredded Mexican cheese alongside sauteed green peppers, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes
  2. COFFEE!! :)
What makes this so quick and easy (and delish, btw) is having pre-sauteed veggies on hand in the fridge and using egg in a carton. :) So then it's as simple as pouring egg into a pan and then warming up some veggies along with it. Throw some cheese on top and poof! And easy omelet on the go.


* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Baked Banana-Chocolate Chip Donuts



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Had some neighbor friends over last night and decided to make them some tasty donuts as their treat. This time I went for the Banana-Chocolate Chip variety, thinking it was sure to be a hit and sure enough, they were. The kids couldn't wait to get their hands on 'em:


... and before we knew it, poof! they were gone!

So sorry for Little Sis' improperness in this pic. :)

I found this recipe for baked donuts on Pinterest: Janie's Kitchen's Banana Chocolate Chip Donuts. Love baked ones because they are so easy to make that better than the deep-fried ones. I followed the recipe, using mostly organic ingredients, and added my usual ingredients to make these even that much more wholesome (2 Tbsp Wheat Germ and 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed).

I mixed up the batter, piped them into my donut pan using my pastry bag with my giant gaskets in place but no tip. Here a picture from another variety I made before, with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. I didn't do that to these.



Once baked and cooled, I dipped the tops in a mixture of powdered sugar, milk and a splash of vanilla (I used about 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 tsp of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla) and then topped them with sprinkles before the icing hardened. If your mixture comes out too thick, add a splash more milk at a time. If it's too thin, add more sugar.


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Click here to check out my Baked Apple Cinnamon Donut version. :)


I had some batter left over from last night so I decided to save it for the morning. With Daddy gone on a trip, the girls had the fun idea of doing a sleepover downstairs in our living room. They got a few games of Guess Who in before hitting the hay.


And I got a little crazy and actually decided to go to bed when they did, which meant we ALL fell asleep at around 10pm - that's about 3 hours earlier than my usual bedtime! Well, that of course led to me being wide awake at 5:30am when Big Sis said she was cold. But that was a small price to pay for falling asleep with my babies while holding their hands. :)

So here's their breakfast this morning, served on plates I made at "Paint Your Pot". Little Sis' just got done 3 weeks ago while they were tracked out and picked up just yesterday. I was happy to cross that one off the list, finally! Now if I could only get to their baby books! :)


Well, they're at it again - camping out on the living room floor once more! ...but this time, I'm NOT going to bed now. Works out well since Big Sis has an 8am soccer practice tomorrow morning. This way I can just get them goin' quicker in the morning, maybe by making a racket in the kitchen or something. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here's Lunch #16: Healthy snacks for school

Heeeeeere's lunch! Ok, snacks, actually. :)

This one's for Little Sis who will actually eat fresh fruit. I'm always thankful that at least I have one. :)

My Epicurean Adventures: Healthy School Snacks #lunchbots

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In this snack packed in our LunchBots Quad:
  1. Fresh organic strawberries, blueberries and pineapple (not organic)
  2. Organic Broccoli and carrots with a side of ranch dressing
  3. Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
  4. Trader Joe's Sociable Crackers with MOMveeta cheese (aka homemade Handi-snacks!)
And here is Big Sis' Snack packed in our LunchBots Trio. She is not a lover of fruit, especially fresh, so her substitute is Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters. Crunchy, yummy and organic!

My Epicurean Adventures: Healthy School Snacks #lunchbots

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In this snack packed in our LunchBots Trio:
  1. Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
  2. Doctor Yum's Homemade Granola Bar
  3. Organic Broccoli and Carrots with a side of Ranch Dressing
  4. Trader Joe's Social Crackers with MOMveeta cheese (aka Homemade Handi-snacks)
  5. Peeled Snacks Apple Berry Clusters
Homemade Handi-Snacks you say? Why yes! And they are DELICIOUS, and far better for you than that yucky processed cheese.

My Epicurean Adventures: Homemade Handi-Snacks

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* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
LunchBots - for some seriously awesome stainless steel lunch-transporting gear!

Shop LunchBots

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup           Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P          

MOMables - for sharing so many delicious and healthy recipes with us!

DoctorYum - for sharing so many healthy and delicious recipes with us!

Annie's Homegrown for so many delicious and wholesome foods I love feeding my girls.

Peeled Snacks for a healthy fresh fruit alternative (for Big Sis)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cauliflower Cheese Casserole

My Epicurean Adventures: Cauliflower Casserole - sooooo gooood!

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I love food. I love all kinds of food, but I gotta say that Thanksgiving food is about my all-time favorite. Not sure if it's the food itself or the love of spending time with family and friends around a table filled with lots of yummy dishes, but I just love it.

I also love to host and cook up all those delicious dishes. I've amassed quite a collection over the years that are more often than not followed up with requests for the recipes. Here is one I just discovered a couple months ago and you can bet it is now on my list of must-make Thanksgiving foods. I'm not hosting this year, but I will definitely be making this to take to dinner! Thanks to Louanne's Kitchen for sharing this delicious recipe: Louanne's Kitchen's Loaded Cauliflower Casserole that even my kids LOVE! :)

Only thing that I will add here is that if you follow this recipe exactly, you get a reeeaaaaalllly cheesy casserole. Though many of you may love that, it was a bit too cheesy for me, so when I make this, I either double the amount of cauliflower used (ie 2 heads instead of 1) or I just half the amount of cheese for 1 head of cauliflower. (Update 6/4/2015: Actually, I've found that reducing the cream cheese to 6 oz and each of the shredded cheeses to 6 oz is just perfect for us!) But really, any way you make it, it's a keeper!

I've been informed that the link to the recipe is no longer working, so here's the recipe:

Louanne's Kitchen's Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
brought to you by: happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures

Ingredients:
2 lbs cauliflower florets
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
8 oz block cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 bunches green onions, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam cauliflower florets until tender.
  3. While cauliflower steams, cream together 6 oz of the shredded cheddar, 6 oz of the Monterey Jack, cream cheese and heavy cream.
  4. Stir in sliced green onions, chopped bacon and garlic and set aside.
  5. Drain any liquid from steamed cauliflower and add hot cauliflower to cheese mixture.
  6. Stir cauliflower and cheese mixture together.
  7. Taste for seasoning and add as necessary.
  8. If you want a finer texture, give a few mashes with a potato masher.
  9. Pour into a 2-3 quart casserole and sprinkle on remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.
  10. Covber dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Enjoy!

Pre-oven pic
 Forgot the right-out-of-the-oven pic, but I was able to snap this up!! Doesn't it look just perfect against these cloth napkins I just made for a craft show I took part in? :)

My Epicurean Adventures: Cauliflower Casserole - sooooo gooood!

Come visit my Facebook page where, over the next couple weeks, I'll be posting my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I've been making over the past many many years. :) or find some them here on my blog by clicking here: More Thanksgiving Recipes from My Epicurean Adventures. Happy cooking (and eating)!!! :)



Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some affiliate links to the products I love and use on a daily basis. Well, I don't use ALL of them everyday but I do use at least 3 every day... you know what I mean! :) Feel free to ask me about any of 'em!

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :)

Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)


Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

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My Craft Show Lunch

Had fun participating in my first craft show in years and years. Overall it went well! The first day was reeeaaallllly slow so you can bet how happy I was when business picked up on day 2. WHEW! Unfortunately for me, there were 4 other huge bow vendors so alas, I didn't sell a single bow or headband, but I did sell lots of Easylunchboxes and was so excited to see other people excited about them too!

First off, here was my table at the show:


 A bunch of handmade items made years ago by myself and my friend Cat back when we made baby stuff and briefly did the craft show circuit. :) Shown here are knitted and sewn purses, scarves, kiddie bags and backpacks as well as toddler-sized hooded towels with matching bath mitts and washcloths. There are even a couple baby blankets on the lower shelf.


My Mix and Match Hairbows and Sporty Headbands. The Sporty Headbands are perfect for active girls because they just don't slip. They've been tested out repeatedly by my very own soccer-playing girls. Friday evening (the very same day of this craft show - yes I was beat by bedtime), we hosted a "Carbo-loading Pre-Soccer Tourney Party" for Big Sis' soccer team and fed 12 hungry girls lots of pasta and had lots of fun. The hubby and Big Sis planned games for them and capped off the evening with the 1999 Women's World Cup Team video from ESPN (Nine For IX: Exclusive Clip From 'The 99ers') and Oreo Cupcakes, of course! I thought the SportsBands would be a perfect little gift for the girls the next day and pretty much gave them all out. Let me tell ya, seeing the looks on those girls' faces as Big Sis handed them out after the first day of games was far better than selling them out at a craft show (though that would have been pretty cool too. haha). They were SO excited and it just put a big smile on my face to see that. :) You know what time it is now... time to make some more! ;)


Here's my random little gifts section. Magnetic picture frames and votive candle holders I've made and amassed over the years.


And the part I was most excited about: EasyLunchboxes kits along w/ extra cloth napkins for purchase. So glad these were a hit! :)


And finally, the lunch I packed for myself in my EasyLunchboxes, of course! But the funny thing is that I never got around to eating it. After pulling it out of my cooler so many times, I figured I'd just go ahead and save it for the next day and just used it as part of my display. :)

My Epicurean Adventures: My Craft Show Lunch #Easylunchboxes

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In this lunch:
  1. Applegate Turkey and Provolone Cheese rolls on skewers
  2. Organic green pepper sticks
  3. Organic Grape Tomatoes
  4. Fage fat-free Greek yogurt
* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)


Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

    

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart Food Decorating Pick Long Pix Stix Assorted Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

This post has been shared at:

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)