Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Penne

I found this recipe a couple of years ago on Pinterest and it has become a favorite in my house. You can find the original recipe HERE. This pasta dish is so tasty and so easy to make! When I make this recipe, I typically double it and freeze half for a quick dinner later on. Here is how I do Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Pasta:

Start by roasting 1 cup of red bell peppers. (*Note that I was doubling this recipe, so I used 4 peppers, but if you want a single recipe, you could roast 2 peppers) Roast the pepper by broiling them on high for about 30 minutes and flipping every 5 minutes. The skin of the peppers should begin to char but not the actual flesh of the pepper. Once the peppers are roasted, peel off the skins - it is sometimes easier to peel off the skins after letting the pepper sit in a paper bag for 15-20 minutes. Once the peppers are peeled and ready to use, set them aside until they are needed.
In a food processor, combine 1/3 cup of pine nuts, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of basil leaves, 1 cup of roasted red bell pepper, and salt & pepper to taste. Slowly add in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil. The picture above is from before I added in the red peppers, the sauce does get much less green.
Cook 1 pound of penne pasta. Once the penne is cooked, stir in the sauce and 1/4 cup of heavy cream and then you are good to go! How easy is that!? Enjoy!

1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup roasted red bell peppers (approximately 2 peppers)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 lb penne pasta
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Roast the bell peppers by broiling them on high for 30 minutes and flipping them every 5 minutes. Peel the skin off the roasted peppers and set them aside.
2. Combine the pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, basil, roasted red peppers and salt & pepper in the food processor. Slowly add the oil to the food processor.
3. Cook penne pasta. Once the pasta is cooked stir in the sauce and heavy cream.

See you tomorrow with a delicious soup recipe!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top 5: Shoes Edition

Today, I'm sharing my favorite shoes. I was initially going to try to make a list that included a healthy balance of practical and fun shoes but my list ended up being completely made up of practical shoes because they are the shoes that I really put on my feet everyday. I have many not-practical/fun shoes that I love and I will make a note to post about them soon!
1. These UGG boots are my go-to all winter long! I love that they keep my feet warm & dry without looking like the typical clunky winter boot. You can find the exact pair that I wear HERE.
2. My Hunter Boots were my first big splurge, I bought myself a pair 4 years ago and they are still going strong. I wear these pretty much everyday in October/November and March/April when the weather is transitioning and everything is a big wet mess outside.  You can find my exact pair HERE.
3. My TOMS are my go-to summer shoe. When I am running out of the house between June and September, I most likely have a pair of TOMS on my feet. They are so comfy and so easy to slip on. I have a grey pair, a navy pair and a light blue pair, but I would have a pair in every color if I could! You can find TOMS slip-ons HERE!

4. So, I realize I just said that TOMS are my go-to summer shoe BUT I got Birkenstocks earlier this month and they are putting up a good fight. They are just as easy to throw on as TOMS and they offer a little more support. You can find the exact Birkenstocks I wear HERE.
5. I blogged about my new found love for converse shoes in June and I am still loving these! I love that they are a more sporty shoe without having to fully commit to wearing a running shoe. They are light and so so comfortable! I have a pair in lilac and I could not find them anywhere on the converse website, but if you are looking, they are dainty low-tops & they come in several other colors!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes & Butterceam Frosting

Back in June, I shared my all time favorite chocolate cake/cupcake. I cannot say enough good things about this recipe - it is so easy to put together and it tastes great every single time. Well back in June, I neglected to provide icing options for these cupcakes, so that is what I'm doing today! I can promise that there will be more to come because this cupcake is such a great base for so many different icings. Today I'm sharing my go-to buttercream frosting recipe & how I frosted these cupcakes.
First, you can find my chocolate cupcake recipe HERE! One of the reasons I love this recipe so much is it transitions so well - I have used it for cupcakes, cake pops & just plain old cake and it works out great every time! If you follow the recipe I posted, you will end up with 24 cupcakes or 2 full 9" cakes.
I usually make my cupcakes the night before I need them so they have ample time to cool over night. I always ice the cupcakes on the same day that they will be eaten so that everything is as fresh as possible! I make the icing by whipping together 1 cup of softened butter*, 4 cups of icing sugar, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream with an electric mixer.

*It is key that the butter is softened and not melted because this will greatly affect the consistency of the icing. I soften butter by pouring some boiling water into a bowl, allowing the water to sit for a minute, pouring out the water then placing the butter in the warmed bowl.

Once the frosting is light and fluffy, I prepare a piping bag with a larger star tip. I am not very adventurous with piping tips, I tend to stick with what I know. I love the result the star tip gives - I love that it's easy and consistently looks presentable.
I piped the frosting on in a circular motion, then I added some sprinkles and they were good to go! This icing also works great dyed - I have dyed it several times using Wilton's gel dyes but I have never used a liquid dye on this icing so I don't know how that would turn out. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favorties: Wisdom Teeth Edition

Happy Friday! I'm sharing some of my favorite things from this week with you! I got my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday, so I am looking a little like this:
And I would have to say that my number one favorite thing this week is... ADVIL!!!! I mean, thank goodness for Advil!! I am off solid food for a while, so I have been enjoying smoothies and applesauce and I have been watching a whole lot of Full House!
Full House is one of my favorite TV shows and it is definitely making the pain a little less miserable.
Earlier this week, I met some friends for brunch and grabbed one of Sherry's Trail Bars on my way out to snack on in the car. You can read about why these bars are my favorite and find out how to order some here!
I made a blueberry cheesecake pie this week and it was SO good! Can you tell that I miss real food!? You can find the recipe for it here! This pie is a favorite of mine and I can't wait to make it again in the near future!

***I'm Linking up with Katie from Cup of Tea, Della from Della Devoted, Tif from Bright on a Budget for High Five for Friday and Andrea from Momfessionals, Narci from Grace and Love blog and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything from Friday Favourites!

See you on Monday!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


This lasagna has been one of my favorite meals for as long as I can remember. As a 4/5 year old, I went through a phase of not wanting any of my food touching and not wanting sauce on my pasta BUT this lasagna was an exception. My Grandma has been making this lasagna for me forever & I finally spent a day with her last year to learn how to make the lasagna myself! So, today I am sharing it with you!
Start by chopping 1 bell pepper, 1 stick of celery and 2 cloves of garlic in the food processor. One of my favorite things about learning family recipes is hearing the stories that go along with them. When my grandma was instructing me to put the veggies in the food processor I asked why not just chop them up by hand (because I am always looking for ways to make less dishes). She told me that she has always puréed them in the food processor because when my uncle was younger, he would not eat the lasagna if he found pieces of vegetable. So, I use the food processor just to follow tradition but if you don't mind seeing your veggies, you could just chop them up with a knife.
In a large pot, start cooking 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat over medium heat. Once the meat is cooked, drain the fat from the pot.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of marjoram, 1 teaspoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder into the meat.
Stir in 1/2 cup of ketchup and the pureed veggies.

Then stir in 1 jar of Garden Select (640 mL), one 680 mL tin of tomato sauce, one 540 mL tin of diced or crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of tomato juice, 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of cinnamon.
At this point, you can let the sauce simmer on low heat for up to 2 hours. I usually leave it on the stove for about an hour before starting to make the lasagna. While the sauce is simmering cook the lasagna noodles - I typically use 16 noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the water and blanch the noodles.

***You could choose to use this sauce as spaghetti sauce instead of making a lasagna. I always have left overs after making the lasagna, so I freeze the leftover sauce and use it on pasta later another day.
After the sauce has been left to simmer for some time, start the lasagna by lining the bottom of a casserole dish with a layer of sauce.
Then put down a layer of noodles,
followed by another layer of sauce,
and a layer of cheese. I repeat this process 4 times, resulting in 4 layers of lasagna noodles. I usually use a mix of cheeses that I have in the fridge. This time, I used Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar and Parmesean. You can use any combination of cheeses that you like. I never measure the amount of cheese that I use, but I think it's about 3-4 cups total.
The lasagna can be refrigerated until you are ready to cook it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the lasagna covered in tinfoil for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the tinfoil and continue cooking the lasagna for another 10 minutes.

1 bell pepper
1 stick of celery
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 pounds ground meat
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup ketchup
1 jar garden select (640 mL)
1 tin of tomato sauce (680 mL)
1 tin diced or crushed tomatoes (540 mL)
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup water
16 lasagna noodles
3-4 cups grated cheese (I use a mix of Cheddar, Mozzarella, Gouda and Parmesan)

1. Purée bell pepper, celery and garlic in the food processor or chop up by hand.
2. Begin cooking meat over medium heat. once the meat is cooked, drain the fat from the pot. Stir in Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary and garlic powder.
3. Stir in ketchup, garden select, tomato sauce, diced/crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, water and cinnamon. Once all of the ingredients are stirred together, allow the sauce to simmer for up to 2 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Cook 16 lasagna noodles, drain the water and blanch the noodles in the strainer.
5. Line the bottom of a casserole dish with sauce, add a layer of noodles, top the noodles with sauce and then top the sauce with mix of cheeses. Repeat this layering process 4 times.
6. Store the lasagna in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Cover the lasagna with tinfoil and cook it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes remove the tinfoil and cook the lasagna uncovered for another 10 minutes.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

My parents celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary on Monday and I made this pie to celebrate! The original recipe calls for Cool Whip, but I don't love using Cool Whip so I replaced it with whipped cream. The end result was delicious but messy - if you choose to use cool whip, the pie will hold together much better than when using whipped cream.
Apparently this is the week of the graham cracker crust! I shared a Key Lime Pie recipe on Monday and I used the same graham cracker crust for this pie! 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Once these ingredients are mixed together, press them into the bottom of a 9 inch pie dish.
In a medium sized mixing bowl whip together 4 cups of cool whip or whipped cream, 1 cup of cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice using an electric mixer. When these ingredients are well combined, fold in 4-5 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries.
Pour the whipped cream/blueberry mixture into the pressed graham cracker crust and let the pie set in the fridge and serve chilled. This pie keeps well in the fridge - so if you have leftovers you can enjoy them for days to come!
I chose to use whipped cream instead of cool whip and it made the pie messy! It tasted so good BUT serving it was kind of a nightmare. As you can see in the picture above, by the time it was served it didn't even look like a pie anymore! So, if you want a pie that looks like a pie cool whip is the way to go!!

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 cups whipping cream (or cool whip)
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4-5 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small mixing bowl. Once mixture is combined, press into the bottom of a 9" pie dish.
2. Using an electric mixer, whip together whipped cream/cool whip, cream cheese, sugar, salt and lemon juice.
3. Fold in blueberries.
4. Pour the whipped cream/blueberry mixture into pressed graham cracker crust.
5. Place pie in fridge to set & serve chilled.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

My family went blueberry picking two and a half weeks ago and we are still enjoying blueberry treats. I have two blueberry recipes to share this week - These muffins & a yummy pie! The pie recipe will be up tomorrow!
Start by stirring together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3/4 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Add in 1 egg, 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of melted butter without stirring between each ingredient. Once all the wet ingredients have been added stir the batter together until it is just combined - it's important to not over mix these muffins. Fold in 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries.
Fill a muffin tin with batter, filling each cup to be 3/4 of the way full. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, rolled oats and brown sugar together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Add in egg, milk and melted butter without stirring between each added ingredient. Once all of the wet ingredients have been added stir the batter together until just combined. *Do not over mix!
3. Fold in blueberries.
4. Using a spoon fill a muffin tin with batter - filling the cups to be 3/4 of the way full of batter. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

See you tomorrow with another blueberry treat!