Recipe: Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve gotten in the habit recently of cooking one meal that can get us through a couple of lunches, and a couple of dinners. This is necessary mostly on busy weeks like this one, where if I don’t plan things out, we can easily end up eating out 2 – 3 days per week.

This week I wanted to bust out the slow cooker. In the fall and winter, it’s one of those things I like to do every couple of weeks. Our slow cooker is a total tank and takes up a lot of counter space so I tend not to use it as often as I probably should but unlike other appliances we got for our wedding (I’m looking at you waffle maker that Hubs has used TWICE in the five years since we got it). My favorite slow cooker meal? Chili.

I tried a new recipe, my boss had mentioned a slow cooker pumpkin chili so I took the idea to pinterest for some inspiration. Pinterest never fails, let’s be honest.

slow cooker turkey pumpkin chili

Turkey Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

1 -2 lbs ground turkey
1 bag frozen chopped peppers (or 1 each of red, green and yellow peppers sliced)
1 can (28 oz) Tomato sauce
2 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cans beans (I used 1 each of dark red kidney and black beans) drained
2 T chili powder
1 medium onion diced
8 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic puree or 2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

Brown ground turkey with garlic and onion.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker (tomatoes & sauce first, beans, veggies, meat mix, pumpkin, spices), stir well.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir.

slow cooker pumpkin chili

I love to eat my chili over either brown rice or a sweet potato, quinoa is another great choice. I top with a little bit of shredded mexican blend cheese (cheddar based) and sour cream. Hubs uses greek yogurt instead of sour cream and loves it – you could use either.

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Autumn-y Apple Fritters

I am failing miserably at all of my goals for the month.

But in my defense, I have not bought anything new and we’re 20 days in and we just tried our first new recipe last weekend. We hit up Larriland Farms with some family friends up in Howard County, picked pumpkins, took a hayride and generally enjoyed the season.

 

We also saw cows! Ethan has started mooing which is highly amusing.

We did not pick Apples (that would have been a nightmare with little man) BUT we did buy some fresh picked ones and so Hubs has been in full on apple baking mode. His first mission? Apple fritters. Cue Pinterest. Thank sweet baby jebus for Pinterest.

I’m not a HUGE apple fan but these? Were amazing. I’m not going to post the recipe since it was NOT my own but I am going to link back to it and tell you it was easy (Hubs isn’t the best at following directions and I don’t usually trust him to bake, but he baked these incredibly well without burning anything so huzzah!)

neon

 

{Recipe here}

And no, this recipe does not require a deep fryer. Just a lot of vegetable/canola oil. It was super simple. Not hugely messy and not incredibly time consuming. So huzzah! A+ on all fronts!

apple fritters

He also made apple dumplings but ehhhh I wasn’t so down with those. And not just because half of those pots and pans are STILL in my kitchen sink uncleaned.  BUT, we still have a good 6-8 apples left so we’re trying to figure out what to make next. I may get him to make more apple fritters – those were AMAZING!

What’s your favorite Apple recipe for the fall?

 

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A Weight Watchers Recipe Win

Last week, I had  a girls night in with Liz which involved some delicious enchilladas, some wine and a lot of girl talk.

I had originally suggested a weight watchers recipe that I saw on the weight watchers website but she wasn’t feeling pasta so we substituted and the enchilladas were a huge hit!

However, I went back to the pasta dish tonight – because easy dishes on nights when it’s just little man and I are key and this one was a big fat win. Not so much for Ethan but definitely for me. I couldn’t find the recipe so I improvised.

weight watchers spaghetti

Meatless Meat Sauce and Whole Wheat Spaghetti

Ingredients 

1/2 box whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti)
1 jar your favorite sauce (I used organic vodka sauce)
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 T garlic paste)
1 package tempeh – grated
1 T. Olive Oil

Directions

Heat pan with olive oil, garlic and onion for 3-4 minutes. Add tempeh. Stir until coated. Add sauce. Bring to simmer while stirring frequently.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Mix and top with cheese.

Enjoy!

1 serving (~1 c. pasta & 1/2 c. sauce) = 6-8 Points Plus 

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Meal Planning Monday

With hubs gone, meal planning has been necessary. I’ve been cooking things with leftovers to make it easier to prep Ethan’s lunches (which I usually do the night before).

So I decided to give my hand at sharing my meal planning ventures with y’all because well…why not right? Especially now that I’m really focused on trying to lose weight.

meal planning

 

Last night I prepped the macaroni salad – a recipe I found on weight watchers, 3 pp per serving (1/2 c. is one serving) so even if you go for 1 c. you’re not breaking the points plus bank.

macaroni salad

The recipe was super easy – we’ll see how tasty it is. Will follow up with a full review later this week!

The enchilladas I got last week at a meal swap that my moms group held (miraculously I found the time during Sunday’s nap time to make five dishes of stuffed shells. Yummmm.) and taco salads are an easy go to that give plenty o’ leftovers for both E and I.

I used to over think meal planning – thinking that all recipes that were worth it were complex. But that’s just not true. As a working mama, ain’t nobody got time for that. I like to find healthy recipes that a. don’t require a lot of prep. b. give leftovers (though not required definitely a plus) c. are something that E might eat. Which is sometimes a feat.

Do you plan out your meals each week? What type of recipes are your go-to’s? 

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Recipe: Sausage Zucchini Boats

God bless pinterest.

I mean really, it’s like an encyclopedia for life. In search of the best cookie recipe for the holidays? Search and seconds later, half a dozen amazing (and easy!) cookie recipes are at your fingertips. Need to know what to make with your {insert random vegetable/grain/meat here}? Pinterest’ll tell you what to make for dinner – the only thing it won’t do is cook it for you. Need workout inspiration? Hundreds at your fingertips waiting to be completed. Welcome to the internets my friends.

We’ve made it a point to eat healthy this year. So this week I planned out our meals and took my meal planning to pinterest to try something new. Voila! This whole meal planning thing means we’ve eaten in every meal and tonight, the new recipe I had on my meal plan was made – something my lazy bum hasn’t done in ages.

Had Ethan not had a diaper explosion and/or demanded bath time in his grunting and angry ooo-ing ways, he would have gotten to try some of the deliciousness. But while it baked and wafted delicous marinara smells into our kitchen, homeboy got his bath and was down to bed by 7p.

Anyhow, I’m going to link to the recipe, since I didn’t alter it. SkinnyMom is a favorite website for easy, healthy recipes, if you’re not a reader of them yet, I highly recommend for all things related to being a healthy mama.

Here are my unattractive, but still delicious looking zucchini boats. It was like lasagna…but with zucchini and not pasta. So slightly healthier if Hubs hadn’t doused it in cheese. Mmmm cheese.

Also, the zucchini was smaller, so they didn’t hold all the “stuffing” very well. Silly out of season veggies. Whoops?

{recipe here}

All in all, a pretty easy meal that was super delicious and mostly healthy. I highly recommend!

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Recipe: Pumpkin Fudgey Brownies

Happy friday friends!

A few weeks ago I made a delicious dessert inspired from pinterest. I wanted it to be seasonal and since I was meeting many coworkers for the first time, I wanted to make sure it was deee-licious. On the contrary to that, being a work at home mama, I don’t often have time to bake so I wanted to make sure my recipe was easy-peasy and something I could start after bedtime that wouldn’t take me all night to bake.

So here’s my easy-peasy pumpkin fudge brownies. Thanks pinterest! (I can’t credit one recipe because I picked like three and picked and chose my ingredients…)

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies

Ingredients
1 box of your favorite fudge brownie mix
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 t. pumpkin pie spice

Directions (lolz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together brownie mix and 1/2 c. of pumpkin pie puree. Add pumpkin pie spice and chocolate chips. Mix well.

Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with the chocolate chips. I always do.

Spread out over a 13×9″ pan – or whatever size you want really. Add remaining pumpkin puree and swirl throughout.

I should note i added all my pumpkin initially but i had not intended to. Whoops.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cut into squares. Enjoy.

These were super yummy – like a chocolatey pumpkin pie. Everyone really enjoyed them, hubs enjoyed them. I enjoyed them.

Looking for an easy peasy recipe for a Halloween party with seasonal flavors? Try this out. Pumpkiny chocolatey goodness.

 

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Recipe Share: Pumpkin Meatballs

This recipe isn’t original but I had to share for it’s full of autumny and gourdy awesomeness. Also, it counts for one of the four new recipes I wanted to try this month. You can bet this one will be a regular in our kitchen for the next couple of months.

Spaghetti Squash & Pumpkin Turkey Meatballs {via We Are Not Martha}

The recipe was easy enough to follow and wasn’t terribly time consuming. I simply replaced the ground chicken for ground turkey and cooked the spaghetti squash a la my microwave method which happens to be my favorite way because it takes 15 minutes versus an hour in the oven.

It was…divine. We ate all of it. It was surprisingly healthy – even including the bacon. It simply added divine pieces of bacony awesomeness.

Be sure to also check out We Are Not Martha for other amazing recipes – their blog is one of my go to’s for deliciousness!

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Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash

I’ve been on a super seasonal food kick. Between butternut squash and sweet potato purees for baby (he likes them too), and roasted squashes for us. It’s seasonal foodie heaven in these parts if you will.

I had some mashed roasted acorn squash down in South Carolina that my step mom made and it was delightful and perfectly sweet and squishy just like mashed squash should be. So here’s my take on roasted acorn squash.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients

1 medium sized Acorn Squash
2 T brown sugar
2 small pats of butter
maple syrup

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees on bake.

Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds.

Place in square dish with about 1″ of water.

Add sugar topped with butter to middle of squash halves. Drizzle with maple syrup to taste.

roasted acorn squash

Roast for 45-60 minutes or until sugar is caramelized or until a fork can easily be stuck in the squash.

We chose to east these out of the skin but you could definitely scoop the squash out and mash them as well.

We enjoyed as a side to soy maple glazed salmon. It was one of the best meals we’ve both eaten in a long time.

What’s your favorite way to cook squash?

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Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Muffins

My mom’s group is the best. Really. We’re always sharing amazing articles, pictures, and best of all –  recipes to help boost supply which are always super helpful. You may recall these cookies also stemmed from that group.

Anyhow, when someone posted a recipe banana oatmeal muffins and saw a mama post about how they boosted her supply I thought, huh, I need to try these out. Banana anything is yum, and oatmeal is a super lactofriendly food. I’ve had some texture issues with oatmeal since I apparently can’t cook it on it’s own but in cookies, breads and muffins, oatmeal and I are go!

I made a few modifications to the recipe posted to my moms group (and the one that those were based off), but over all they were a huge hit (we’ll see how they affect the supply but they taste yummy!)

Banana Oatmeal (Chocolate Chip) Muffins

Ingredients

2.5 c. oats
1 c. greek yogurt (plain non-fat)
2 ripe bananas
3/4 c. sugar (or 1/2 c. honey)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T. ground flax seed
1 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional, i added this just for kicks)
2 eggs
1 c. chocolate chips (optional)

banana oatmeal muffins ingredients

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line muffin tin with either non-stick spray or line with foil liners.

Put oatmeal in a food processor, grind oats. Make sure they’re really fine. Mine could have used some extra grinding.

The other two recipes call for you to just blend all of the ingredients in a food processor. I could have used my kitchen aid but it was late and I didn’t feel like breaking out the beast that is our kitchen aid mixer. So I mixed them together by hand. Expect lumpier muffins. I was cool with that though.

Add in all of the ingredients and mix well. Add in chocolate chips (or walnuts).

Divide batter. You could make 12 larger muffins or 24 smaller muffins. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean. Ever notice you never have toothpicks around when you bake? I never think to have toothpicks around because I never serve finger foods that require them so I always use a knife. /end random thought.

banana oatmeal muffins

Let cool on a rack, then enjoy! They tasted delicious as the chocolate chips were still melting, would also do great toasted with some butter. Just a touch – don’t want to mess with the chocolate.

Don’t want chocolate chips? I would also try peanut butter chips, or any sort of nuts (walnuts or shaved almonds) would also be tasty.

Enjoy!

If you’re a nursing mama and try these out, let me know if they help your supply! I had the saddest pump last night though not likely because of the muffins but because Ethan got a late bedtime nursing, and I don’t think my water intake was what it should have been.

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Chili

Last week I hosted my Junior League council meeting here at my apartment.

I hadn’t ever done this before since our apartment is not really fancy, is often a cluttered disaster, and errs on the smaller side.

But with it being a Tuesday, hubs had class and so I offered up if we could push our meeting a touch later so I could get bedtime done with which the girls were okay with. It was really a blessing because it forced me to clean up in these parts more so than I had been doing recently. More like a deep clean if you will.

But hosting my council meant serving a dinner. I knew one of my pals on the council is gluten free so I wanted to serve up something I knew she’d be able to eat. After a bit of research, looking at a few different recipes I figured out sweet potato chili would be a perfect meal. The great thing about chili is not just that it’s gluten free, but  that it’s so flexible – the flavors are to taste, and all it takes is a bit of chili powder, various peppers, some veggies and beans.

It’s so easy and screams autumn to me.

Lucky for me, the girls all happened to love it too!

Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients

1 lb meat (optional – i used ground turkey)
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can red kidney beans
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis
3 medium sweet potatoes cubed
2 peppers (i used one red and one green) diced
1 medium onion diced(I use sweet yellow)
2 cloves garlic pressed/minced
chili powder (i add to taste – usually 1-2 T)
cayenne pepper (again, to taste usually 1 t.)
paprika (again, to taste but about the amount of the cayenne pepper – 1t. or a few dashes)
dash of nutmeg or all spice (optional – i didn’t use it this time but i have in the past and would go really well with the sweet potato)
salt and pepper

Directions

Cook meat until just browned with onion and garlic
Add meat, beans, tomatoes, peppers and spices to slow cooker. Mix well.
Cook in slow cooker on high for 5 1/2-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours

I served it up with some sour cream, cheese, and some black bean & quinoa chips from Trader Joes. I got about a weeks worth of meals out of this batch so it makes a decent size.

Next time I’d serve it up over some quinoa, or a baked sweet potato. Would also make a great base for chili nachos if you’re serving up some football Sunday apps!

Enjoy!!

(No i didn’t take any other pictures. Foodie blogger wannabe fail)

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