FOOD | Nutella Cinnamon Rolls

I feel like any introduction I write to this post will be completely ignored in order for you to scroll down faster towards the recipe (and rightly so! Nutella is not to be ignored!). This has continued to be one of those simple + easy + constantly hitting it out of the park recipes that I turn to time and time again. I make these cinnamon rolls for brunches, play dates, and last week I made them for a staff breakfast at school. Everyone always loves them and I never have leftovers after making these scrumptious little bites (which can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing). I honestly feel a little bad that I haven’t thrown this recipe up on the blog sooner because it’s just that good. I promise that you will not be disappointed and those you make these sweet treats for will leave with satisfied, chocolate-filled tummies. So I won’t continue to bore you while I wax poetic about my love of buttery bread and melted, gooey, hazelnut chocolate and we can just get on with the show.

IMG_3851

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients: 

  • 2  cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough (I use Pillsbury Original)
  • roughly 1/2 c. of Nutella (reserve about 2 tbsp for drizzling)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • powdered sugar to garnish

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (following the oven temperature on the cans of dough).
  2. In the microwave soften Nutella until it is almost runny – I usually pop it in for 10-15 second intervals until I get the consistency I desire.
  3. Spread out crescent roll dough on a lightly floured surface and press together seams of crescent roll triangles to make one connected piece of dough (I know Pillsbury made an un-seamed crescent roll dough for a while but I haven’t seen it in a while – this would be perfect for that!)
  4. Using the back of spoon spread out Nutella on crescent roll dough to make a thin layer. I’m always tempted to over do it and really lay that Nutella on thick but this is a case where less is more and makes it easier to roll up later on.
  5. Dust cinnamon and all spice over Nutella evenly.
  6. Roll up crescent roll dough length wise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I can usually get about 12 little cinnamon rolls per long roll of crescent dough.
  7. Space cinnamon rolls 1/2 inch apart on a lined baking sheet (either using a Silpat or parchment paper) and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
  8. Take out, let cool a bit, drizzle with remaining nutella and dust with cinnamon.

I have also made a vanilla glaze using confectioner’s/powdered sugar + milk + vanilla and drizzled that over the top of these rolls… I find that it makes it a little too sweet for my liking but it was still pretty good! I mean, you really can’t go wrong with carbs + chocolate in breakfast form, right?!

IMG_3854

Happy eating!

Advertisements

FOOD | Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

One of my goals in this new year is to use our slow cooker more on Sundays. We have always had a pretty hectic evening routine on this particular day of the week because my husband and I both participate as band members for the youth mass at our parish. While this has been a part of our Sunday norm for almost nine years now we haven’t ever really had a regular Sunday night supper tradition.

In college, when it was just me singing at mass and going to the weekly Newman Catholic Ministry meetings on campus – pizza satiated my appetite on a regular basis. Then as a young working and engaged couple my husband and I both volunteered as Core members with our parish LifeTeen ministry so we always ate what the teens ate after mass. Then we got married and continued volunteering and it wasn’t until having a child of our own, and giving up other commitments after mass that I realized that we hadn’t established a Sunday meal ritual as a family. I also didn’t realize how important that was to me as a mother. I don’t want to give up our time singing and worshiping on Sunday evenings but I also want to provide a warm, delicious meal for my family to gather around as we begin a new week together.

Now here’s the kicker…after rehearsing songs, attending mass, cleaning up sound equipment, chatting with friends, etc. by the time we make it home it’s really hard to get the meal of my dreams on the table without someone getting hangry in our family (usually it’s a toss up between me and the toddler)…so in comes the wonderful, magical, fantastic invention that is the slow cooker. It’s a kitchen tool I use so often, yet I feel like I’m seeing it in a new light ever since mentally committing to making an effort toward Sunday night dinners. Seriously, it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to toss some ingredients together earlier in the day, give it a little stir, and then that evening be the domestic goddess I have always dreamed of being by serving my family a yummy meal. If I wore an apron and matching oven mitts while plating everyone’s food then I would really be achieving some major goals.

A few weeks ago we tried this fun little enchilada casserole/bake in the crockpot. I was inspired by this recipe that I initially found while browsing the wonderful world that is Pinterest. I really liked the idea of mixing it up a bit by using quinoa instead of rice when cooking a Mexican dish. I honestly was a little nervous to see how it would turn out or be received by the rest of my family but I can now say that the quinoa cooked perfectly and the recipe was an all around winner with both my husband and my toddler! We also had leftovers for dayssss so plan accordingly.

IMG_7150

Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Casserole
Adapted from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen – Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s Organic White Quinoa)
  • 1 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Frozen corn and it added some really good flavor!)
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans – drained and rinsed
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 16 oz. jar of mild salsa (if it were up to me I would have amped up the spice a bit – but tried to keep this as toddler friendly as possible)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican Cheese blend divided (1 cup will be mixed in and leaving 1/2 cup for topping later)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish (optional – we opted out this time around and instead used up some halved cherry tomatoes!)

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef in a skillet until completely cooked through. Add ground beef and remaining fat in skillet to slow cooker.
  • Add the following ingredients to the slow cooker: quinoa, fire roasted tomatoes, frozen corn, black beans, garlic, yellow onion, green bell pepper, water, and salsa. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add spices: chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste – mix once again until well combined.
  • Add 1 cup of Mexican Cheese blend and mix until completely combined.
  • Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours until liquid is absorbed.
  • Then stir casserole one more time to ensure there’s no liquid on the bottom of the slow cooker and to fluff the quinoa. Top with remaining cheese and put lid back on slow cooker for about 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
  • Plate by topping with cilantro for garnish.
  • This casserole can be eaten by itself or served with tortilla chips for dipping. It’s also really great the next day spread over a flour tortilla and cooked as a quesadilla!

Happy eating!

IMG_7151

004 | inventory

IMG_3858
Making: lots of banana bread muffins lately (recipe coming soon!) + easy dinners that go along with our busy schedule right now. Last weekend we made personal pizzas for a bachelorette party/sleepover and it was fun, fresh, and so yummy. They were so good I think we are going to put them in our weekly rotation as a family. We usually make Friday nights our pizza night so it would be easy enough to tuck them into our meal plan.
IMG_4259Drinking: iced coffee in the morning, la croix in the afternoons, not nearly enough water throughout the day, and gin & tonics when my husband is kind enough to whip one up for me. They are by far my favorite summer indulgence and taste even better if I happen to find myself sitting on a patio enjoying a warm breeze and the company of good friends.
 
Reading: Something Other than God by Jennifer Fulwiler, my beloved Real Simple magazine, and because I am volunteering at our parish VBS this week I have also been reading the daily devotionals for that. We have been frequenting our local library weekly this summer to make the most of story time (read: free entertainment, indoor activity, keeping a toddler busy during the heat of the day) and have picked up a few cute reads for the littlest member of our family. Currently we are digging: Llama Llama Red Pajama, Dig Dig Digging, and Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes.

Wanting: more time (especially to blog!) and energy during the day. This summer has been seriously full + busy. I don’t really mind the busy part of it so much but I just feel like every.day.is.jam.packed. It’s a lot and I am always wishing + wanting for things to slow down. After looking at my calendar for the rest of the month I don’t really see that happening anytime soon. At least not for the rest of the summer…so I suppose I should scratch the ‘wanting more time’ part out and just focus on the more energy part!

Listening: to The Gilmore Guys Podcast (o b s e s s e d) + Fountains of Carrots. I mentioned to a few people in Instagram that I would do a round up of my current favorite podcasts soon in the form of a blog post – I promise, it’s coming! I have also been listening to our V BS soundtrack on r e p e a t this week. Nothing like a good ol’ vacation bible school jam + coordinating hand motions to motivate you throughout the day. *wink*

Eating: lots of raspberries lately and some other fresh fruit when I think to pick up more produce at the store. As I mentioned earlier, we have been so stinking busy lately my meal planning has been kind of off and lacking in whole foods. That is something that should be remedied no matter the fullness of our days. But when I haven’t been able to eat like I would typically want to I have been enjoying the guilt-free feeling of our NatureBox snacks. I am pretty obsessed with the Dutch Cocoa Sun Crunch.

Smelling: the sunscreen + chlorine smell that seems to permeate the air every summer. Also, looooots + lots of bug spray lately.

Enjoying: pool days + the local splash pad with my girl, in-home date nights with my husband, reading before bed (a habit I always had growing up but fell by the wayside in college, something I’m happy to be getting back to).

Loving: the language development happening with Miss M right now. She is communicating SO much and it is incredible to experience and watch. I have been having a lot of those flashback-to-last-summer moments and it really is just insane how much a child can change in such a short amount of time. Lately she has been making all sorts of animal sounds (favorites include: rooster, horse, and cat.) She has also been telling me when her diaper is dirty which is always appreciated.

Hoping: for good things this coming year with our mom’s ministry at church. A friend and I have taken over the leadership of the group and we are excited and daunted by all of the things that need to be done. We are really hoping to grow our membership and help more mom’s in our parish.

Feeling: tired. VBS has been exhausting for me + my girl this week. Combine that with watching my nephew twice this week and just the regular hub bub of life and early bed times have been on everyone’s agenda this week!

Wearing: anything and everything that is Texas-summer-heat-friendly these days. While it has only his triple digits a handful of times (so far) this summer it has still gotten to that point where getting in and out of the car is preeeeetty much the worst and I feel like I am constantly coated in a layer of sweat (you are so welcome for that visual;).

Noticing: just how grown up our little girl is starting to seem. I hate to be all emotional-mommy-cliche but…where the heck did my baby go?? The weekend of the fourth we had a little pre-birthday celebration for my nephew and chasing her around the Dallas Children’s Aquarium I realized we have a full blown K I D.

IMG_2843

Bookmarking: any and all gardening tips. We just recently finished revamping our backyard garden (left behind by the previous owners) and are so excited to start planing and growing herbs and veggies!

IMG_4008

new week, new recipe: southwest loaded sweet potatoes

I think I should start this post by being completely honest and admitting that I have never been one of those people who has been able to come up with a recipe off the cuff.

My creativity in the kitchen has always been limited to altering seasoning amounts or adding more chocolate chips than necessary when baking. I am always so jealous of those creative minds who so effortlessly create these amazing, healthy, delicious meals…without a book or Pinterest or family recipe to fall back on. Seriously people, how do you do it? I feel like I could pull the teacher excuse and safely say that by the end of the day all of my creative juices have been put towards making math lessons more exciting and breaking up tattle-tale fights…

Well, I’m not sure what happened but while grocery shopping this weekend I had a sudden burst of foodspiration in the target canned food aisle and came up with the following recipe all. on. my. own. Applause? High Fives? Please?

Anyways, I will say that I was somewhat inspired by Lauren’s Instagram and her super adorable blog that I just recently started following. I am always drooling when I scroll through her IG and am always wondering how she can make a sweet potato look so delicious in so many different ways!

So behold my Southwest Loaded Sweet Potatoes (while they may not technically considered “clean” I thought we got pretty darn close!)

Ingredients:

-1.5-2 Chicken breasts (I used about a pound and a half)

-Two medium sweet potatoes (I actually went ahead and made three so we would have leftovers)

-Plain greek yogurt (I used two single servings of 2% Fage)

-1 can of black beans – drained and rinsed

-1 can of whole kernel corn -drained and rinsed

-half of a yellow onion – diced

-1 green bell pepper – diced

-1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip seasoning

-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

-Cilantro (unless you are one of those unfortunate people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap and for that I am very sorry…use parsley)

-A few glugs of olive oil

-Salt/Pepper

1. Ok, so start by chopping up your chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper and saute over the stove in olive oil. Like so:

Image

2. While you are cooking your chicken bake/soften up those sweet potatoes in the microwave. I poke a few holes in my taters, put them in the microwave for about 3 minutes, flip over and then finish them off for three minutes. Then they are perfectly cooked and ready to go.

Image

3. After your chicken is done remove it from the pan, add a few more glugs of olive oil and pour in your canned corn, black beans, onion, and bell pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. (I had already made this beforehand for another recipe).

4. In a small bowl combine your greek yogurt with your ranch seasoning to make your “sour cream.”

Image

5. Then load it on up! Slice open your potato, slather on your fake yet delicious “sour cream” concoction, spoon on your black bean/corn/onion/bell pepper mixture, some chicken, a little sprinkling of cheddar cheese, and a spring of cilantro (unless you lead a sad soapy tasting cilantro life – again, I’m so sorry for you!).

Image

Image

Happy eating!