Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Must-Make: Apple Dumplings + Apple Recipe Round-Up

I can't believe I'm doing this but I'm giving up my most prized apple recipe.
Because really, good food is meant to be shared.
This recipe is so nostalgic for me because it's my mom's and she makes
it even better than I do.
So without further ado, I give you:
Apple Dumplings

I love this recipe because there's not much in it but it's so super delicious.
- Jiffy pie crust mix
- cooking apples (whatever you prefer)
- brown sugar
- cinnamon

I think the other reason I love it is because there's no measurements for the filling part.
I'm an eyeball it kinda girl. And that's why I usually prefer cooking for the eyeball-it, intuition, non-precise, forgiving nature of it. 

Step 1: Peel and cut apples into small pieces.
I usually do about 4-5 apples depending on the size. Again, eye-balling it.

Step 2: Place apples in a bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Step. 3: In a separate bowl, mix Jiffy pie crust according to box.
You could make your own piece crust or use store bought but I honestly think
this Jiffy crust is what makes it so delicious.

Step 4: Roll pie crust out into a rectangle on a floured surface.

Step 5: Cover pie crust with apples and sprinkle with small pieces of cold butter.

Step 6: Roll into a tight log

Step 7: Cut log into pieces
Sometimes I do 6, sometimes I do 8. Depends on how I'm feeling.

Step 8: Grease an 8x8 pan and place pieces in apple side up

Step 9: Make your sauce.
Boil together:
-2/3 C sugar
- 1 1/2 C water
- 2 TB butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Let boil 3 minutes.

Pour your sauce over your slices.

Step 10: Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned

Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Best served a la mode. Duh.

And here it is all in one place:
- Jiffy pie crust mix
- cooking apples (whatever you prefer)
- brown sugar
- cinnamon
Sauce ingredients:
- 2/3 C sugar
- 1 1/2 C water
-2TB butter
-1/4 tsp cinnamon

- Mix Jiffy pie crust dough as directed on box.
-Roll out onto a floured surface into a rectangle
- Use cooking apples; peel and cut into small pieces
- Place apples onto pie dough covering the whole thing. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and small pieces of butter.
- Roll into a tight log.
-Grease an 8x8 pan and cut log into pieces.  Place in pan apple side up.
-Combine sauce ingredients in a pan, stir & bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, then pour over top of pieces.
-Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy!


I've also teamed up with some of my favorite mama bloggers to bring you 7 more amazing recipes
to try with your apples this fall! Be sure to click through and add these to your 
must-make list this fall!

Monday, September 19, 2016

DIY Seasonal Placemat Pillow

 Switching things up and making your place feel new again at the beginning of each season is so fun to me. And who doesn't love a seasonal pillow? How about for about $5?! 
I shared this easy DIY seasonal placemat pillow last year on my Instagram when I wasn't blogging and I had so many people tag me showing me how they did it too and it made my heart happy!

So this year I thought I'd share a more thorough breakdown and some of this year's 
placemats that I think would make the cutest seasonal pillows this fall!

Here's the super-easy steps:

1. Go to Target (or home decor store of your choice)
I'm just saying Target because they are carrying this placemat again and have other cute options for placemats.

2. Get some pillow-fill from the craft store (less than $3 usually)

3. Seam-rip a hole just big enough for your hand to be able to fill the placemat 
with poly-fill (I suggest the bottom right-hand corner)

4. Fill 'er up nice and full.

5. Sew back uptake section you opened

Took me less than 5 minutes by hand.

6. Enjoy your new seasonal pillow! And it's even got fringe!

Tag me on Instagram if you make one! I love to see homes being made cute and cozy on the cheap!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

10 Tips for Clean Eating Without Wanting to Die

I recently finished Whole 30 and it was haaaaaard.
(Spoiler alert: I accidentally cheated with corn.
I even read through all the rules and for some reason it 
didn't click that corn was a no-go.)
You see, I'm a sugar fanatic. I used to dump several spoonfuls of sugar in my coffee every morning. And I could not for the life of me finish a meal without craving something sweet after.
So for me, this was more of a sugar detox.

Honestly, lunch was the hardest. I normally ate a turkey sandwich so that was out.
And there's really nothing to snack on.
So I found a few helpful tricks to help me eat clean for a whole month without wanting to die.

1. Make eggs your best friend.
You might get sick of them, but they are a great source of protein to fill you up.
Learn to make them every which way and love them.
I would make deviled eggs without the mayo and I thought they were super good.

2. Learn that nuts and fruit taste like candy.
When you're not eating refined sugar, nuts and fruit together begin to taste like the sweetest candy on earth. They are delicious and that became my go-to side and snack!

3. Make lettuce your bun.
You'd be surprised how much you can still eat when you ditch the bread in favor of lettuce.
So my normal turkey sandwich became a turkey, pickle, mustard, lettuce wrap.
We only grew one thing this summer and it was lettuce and our leaves were huge and perfect
for bun substitutes.

4. Make it easy on yourself
I was totally fired up to do this clean eating for a month. I filled up my Pinterest board and was pumped to make these new meals. But man oh man, it requires so much more chopping and prepping and kitchen time than I was used to. And some of the meals I wanted to make I knew my kids wouldn't touch and I am not in the business of making two dinners.
So I found a rotation of family friendly meals and I carved out some time to prep before hand and it made it so much more manageable for me.

5. Sweet potatoes are everything.
Plain, made into baked fries, mashed, loaded with meat. They are everything.

6. Coffee with almond milk is better than no coffee.
So the biggest thing I took away from this month of clean eating was it transformed the way I take my coffee. Almond milk was tough for me, I don't love the taste of it.
But it was better than no coffee at all. And it really did help me change how much sugar I was taking in every day. I switched back to regular milk in my coffee and it's amazing.
Coffee with a splash of milk is the new me.

7. Make these Zucchini Taco Boats
This recipe was my absolute favorite. I made a huge batch and
we ate leftovers for lunch. I just omitted everything that was non-compliant
and it was still so delicious.

8. La Croix. 
I felt mediocre about it before. And now I'm a full-fledge fan.
When you can only have coffee and water, you'll take what you can get.
And the carbonation helped me feel full during my normal snack-time.

9. Breakfast for dinner
I quickly learned that instead of thinking of tradition breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was easier to think in terms of protein, fruit and veggies. So we ate a lot of breakfast-y type foods for dinner.

10. Make it fun.
Clean eating requires a TON more prep work and kitchen time than I'm used to.
But I would schedule out time and put on some tunes and go to work.
I also went above and beyond to make some fun date-night meals for Josh and I.
This date night salad was definitely as good as it looks.
That homemade cilantro lime dressing is the key!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Easy Statement Cake + Printable Numbers

We celebrated our Griff's second birthday this past weekend!
It is so much fun when birthdays fall on the weekend because then we're free to celebrate without lame things like work cramping our style. ;)

We just had a small family party for him and so I didn't really do many decorations.
I just wanted to get some fun balloons and a fun birthday banner and call it good.

But day-of I realized I didn't think about anything for his cake.
Then I remembered a simple trick I had done for Grady's 2nd birthday party and
decided to do the same thing for Griff's cake.

It is so simple and really comes out cute and makes a statement in a pinch!
Here's all you need for this cake:
- sprinkles
- card stock paper

That's it. And I've made it easy for you by creating a document with printable numbers 1-9 in a nice thick, sans serif font. 

Download your number, print it on card stock paper, cut it out, and then lay the number on top of your already frosted cake. You want your frosting to still be a tad sticky so the letter lays flush. And this is important so that your sprinkles stick too. Dried frosting will be a sprinkle disaster, trust me.
And I like to fold up one tiny corner of the number so it's easy to take off after the sprinkles go on.

Other helpful tips: Lay down a dish towel around where you'll be sprinkling because it's easy to catch the strays and then throw them away after and avoid unnecessary sweeping.

Once your number is laying flush on your cake, go to town with the sprinkles. Sprinkle your heart out. And make sure they especially fill in around the outline of your number.

When your cake is sufficiently sprinkled, take your folded up corner and slowly peel off your number.
Use an icing knife to smooth any icing that came off.
And behold your super easy statement cake!

I still like to add cake flags because I can't help myself.

And seeing my sprinkle-loving boy light up is the icing on the cake. ;)

Trying hard to blow out those candles.

Happy Birthday to my Griff, Griff.