Immunity Smoothie

Immunity Smoothie

It has been a couple of REALLY bad weeks in my house. The cold from hell is still around and I can’t believe how long this thing is lasting. We’ve been cooped up in the house and are really starting to go a little nuts, especially the girls. We’ve made a few trips out of the house, but not for very long and I’ve missed so much work.

You’ve probably already heard the flu shot this year was only 10% effective and there are a record number of sick people this winter. I’ve been making these Immunity smoothies on repeat over the past week because I need ALL of the Vitamin C I can get!

Immunity Smoothie

This immunity-boosting smoothie is packed with oranges and believe it or not, even some carrots! Both of these are super high in Vitamin C! I also tossed in a frozen banana which gives the smoothie a dreamy ice cream-like texture, some strawberries, and some Greek yogurt for some protein. I actually didn’t feel the need to add any sweetener, but of course you can add honey, agave, or whatever your sweetener of choice would be!

One quick note about the carrots, I added raw grated baby carrots. The raw carrots do add a pulp-like texture to the smoothie. If you don’t want that, you can steam your carrots first before adding them to the blender and that should help them blend up more smoothly. It’s totally up to you though! I also added about a cup of liquid to the smoothie to thin it. I used a splash of apple juice and milk. You can use water, any kind of milk, or fruit juice for this and just add more until the smoothie reaches your desired thickness!

Immunity Smoothie

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much since the new year. That is because my family and I have been battling what can only be described as the cold from hell for two weeks now. It’s been so awful and exhausting with all of us being sick, especially the baby, she’s up so much lately in the night and is so uncomfortable.

I honestly haven’t been doing much cooking, but I did manage to make this soup last weekend and I was pretty happy with how it turned out so I snapped a few photos so I could share it. This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is perfect for when you want a soup that’s a little more exciting than plain chicken noodle, but still has all of the comforts of the traditional version!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I used a lot of shortcuts for this recipe by using premade broth and rotisserie chicken. If you want something more homemade, feel free to use your own broth and your own roasted chicken. I call this soup creamy, but it is really not that thick at all. With us being sick, I didn’t want something too heavy and this soup is a great in-between soup I’d say. It has slightly more thickness than a regular broth-based soup and then I stirred in some fat free half and half at the end which gives it it’s creaminess. Again, you can be flexible here and use fat-free half and half, full fat half and half, heavy cream, or any kind of milk. Obviously, more fat will make the soup creamier so it’s up to you!

To finish it off, I squeezed some fresh lemon juice in my bowl which I highly recommend doing! It’s a nice twist and cuts some of the creaminess. And like the Italian girl I am, I always sprinkle some Parm on my chicken noodle soup!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Baked Veggie Nuggets

Baked Veggie Nuggets

I resolve in 2018 to continue to work my butt off to convince my 3-year old that veggies rock. I mean, seriously, I sit there and wonder almost daily how the heck this kid is still alive. She barely eats anything, yet she somehow keeps growing? I’ve had a number of people assure me that she will eat someday, but until then, I’m going to keep making these baked veggie nuggets.

Baked Veggie Nuggets

I love these little guys so much! I made these with kiddos in mind, but I found myself wolfing them down too! First, they are loaded with fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots! I add some cheddar cheese for good measure because cheese makes everything better! These are so simple to make too. All you need is a food processor and your oven. I use raw vegetables in this. Once you finely chop them up in the food processor and mix them with everything else, they cook in the oven. If you’d rather though, you can always steam them a bit first. I prefer to dip them in some ranch dressing, but ketchup is also a great option.

Another great thing about these nuggets? They freeze beautifully which means you can make them in bigger batches and freeze for quick meals or after-school snacks when needed. These veggie nuggets are the perfect way to work in some veggies for your kids or even yourself!

Baked Veggie Nuggets

Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

I know, a salad for the first recipe of the new year. It may be cliche, but I’m all about the salads this week because I have been feeling so gross from all of the holiday indulgences and I’m SO ready to get back on track ASAP! If I see any more ham, roast beef, pasta, or pizza, I might just lose it.

I had a bit of a craving for goat cheese the other day and decided to use it on a nice winter salad. To make things a little fancier though, I sliced the goat cheese and rolled it in some crushed almonds and lightly toasted them. I tossed some packaged sliced almonds into the food processor for a minute or so until it was broken down into chunky crumbs and rolled the goat cheese in it and toasted them on the stove for a few minutes. It’s really super simple, but seems more elevated which is great if you are having any dinner parties coming up!

Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

I saw a huge display of mandarin oranges outside my store and bought a ton of them. They are so perfect right now and along with those pretty pomegranate seeds, makes this the perfect winter salad! I mixed up an even simpler lemon dressing. If you want to make this more of a meal on its own, you can add grilled chicken and certainly other toppings like tomatoes or sliced avocados.

Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

Natalie: Eight Months

Natalie 8 Months

December is always such a whirlwind month with Christmas. This month was so busy, but also full of fun things for this little bug! She’s been standing up every chance she gets. She loves crawling up to coffee tables and pulling herself up to see what’s on the table. We’ve been trying to be extra careful with small things like pieces of food or little toys. She’s also been trying to move herself along and will try standing against the ottoman to moving herself over about a foot to the couch. She definitely wants to walk!

Natalie took her first plane ride to Cleveland last week to celebrate her baptism and Christmas with my family. She did okay on the plane. She really wanted to get down and move around and spent a lot of the flights pushing off of me. Of course, she was also really tired. She fell asleep on me a few times, but they were all really short naps. Really though, she behaved pretty much like I expected her to so I can’t really complain! She loved meeting more family including her great-grandparents which was such a treat for me! The 3-hour time change is obviously throwing us off a bit. I tried to keep her on Pacific-time which worked pretty well.

Gingerbread Cake Pops

Gingerbread Cake Pops

Remember that gingerbread cake I posted a couple of weeks ago? What I didn’t tell you guys in the post was that the first time I made it, it was kind of a disaster. I had accidentally set my oven temperature a bit higher and was not patient enough when I tried to transfer the cake out of the pan and it completely fell apart on me. Ugh!

I’m not a baker and this is totally the perfect example of why! Ha. Anyway, I tasted the cake and kept thinking, hey, this is really delicious despite the fact that it’s in a bunch of pieces. What better way to use up crumbled cake than in a cake pop?!

Gingerbread Cake Pops

I definitely do not consider myself to be a cake pop expert, but I did my research and learned one important tip in making perfect cake pops. Many people add way too much frosting to their cake pops which results in the cake pop falling off the sticks. If you have a really moist cake, you likely won’t need much frosting. I tested this out when making these and tried rolling them into a ball without any frosting and found that they held their shape pretty decently, so I only added about 1/3 cup of frosting to these with about 3 cups of crumbled gingerbread cake.

In the directions, I placed a link to my gingerbread cake recipe if you want to use it to make the cake pops, however, if you have a favorite gingerbread cake recipe or even if you want to use a boxed mix, feel free to save yourself some time! I dipped these in some white chocolate and then covered them in festive sugar! These cake pops are so much fun and people of all ages love them!

Gingerbread Cake Pops