Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Do you ever make a dish that you kind of know isn’t going to be all that exciting, but ends up being really fantastic? This Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad was one of those dishes that I figured would be good, but not really a big deal. I was really wrong though because although it is indeed quite simple, it is seriously delicious! I love how light it is, but it has great flavor and texture…pretty much everything I want in a salad like this!

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

It’s quite simple to make too! First, you are going to roast some butternut squash. Then you just mix it in with some fluffy quinoa, dried cranberries, golden raisins (or currants!), crumbled feta, red onions, and fresh parsley. Since you have the added step of having to roast the squash, just make sure you plan your time carefully and you can totally make this salad the day before you plan to serve it too. I like it best served either slightly chilled or at room temperature.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be my go-to potluck dish this fall and holiday season. It’s a salad, but obviously not a green salad, so it’s a unique dish to contribute. It’s also nice and light and vegetarian-friendly! I also loved bringing this salad to work for lunch and it maintained that nice fresh flavor for days after too. My plan originally was to make a dressing, but honestly, it doesn’t need it. If you taste it and think it needs some though, feel free to add some olive oil and lemon juice or any light dressing.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Baked Turkey Cheddar Sliders

Baked Turkey Cheddar Sliders

Now that we are well into the latest football season, I’ve been itching to share more game day-friendly dishes for you guys. Truthfully, this has not been a good football season for me. I’m a triple alum of Florida State and the Noles are just awful this year. And, for the NFL, well, I’m from Cleveland, so yeah, the Browns. Do I need to even say anything else? Since I can’t count on my teams to do well, I can at least drown my sorrows in delicious football eats!

These Baked Turkey Cheddar Sliders are a new favorite for us and are definitely being added to my game day recipe rotation. These would be fantastic for any party really though!

Baked Turkey Cheddar Sliders

These guys are made with Hawaiian Rolls, sliced turkey, cheddar, and a homemade garlic chive mayo. Then you just throw it all in a baking dish and top with a melted butter mixture with more chives and deliciousness and bake until perfectly melty and wonderful! You can easily double the recipe for a bigger crowd too.

If turkey isn’t your thing, these would also be really yummy with ham or roast beef or you can do a combo of meats! You really can’t go wrong with these sliders and I promise your family and friends will gobble them up fast!

Baked Turkey Cheddar Sliders

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Now that it is October, my mind is all on Halloween and the upcoming holiday season that will be here before we know. While a lot of people are all about all things pumpkin right now, I’m dreaming of this Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast. Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin, but apples are also just perfection during the fall and holiday season, especially when you bake them with cinnamon! I’m not sure there is any better smell than apples and cinnamon baking away.

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Like my Baked Pumpkin French Toast, this recipe is all prepped the night before, covered, and all you have to do in the morning is bake it! That makes this recipe absolute perfection for lazy weekend mornings when you want to be all cozy at home or for when you have a house full of guests! You can easily double this in separate baking dishes if you need to feed a big crowd.

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

To make it, you just need some good French bread, apples, milk, eggs, and some spices. I do like to also add a touch of heavy cream or half and half as well, but it’s not totally necessary. The crumb topping is also to-die-for and really gives the French toast that extra special touch!

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Crock Pot Ranch Chicken Tacos (or Pressure Cooker)

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Fall= crock pot season. My crock pot has been living on my counter these last few weeks. I love how easy it makes my life! Throw a bunch of crap in the pot, turn it on, and come home to a delicious dinner. How awesome would it be if there were crock pots for other things in life? Like…cleaning your house, paying bills, jury duty, you know, pretty much one for everything you hate doing in this world.

Let’s talk tacos. Tacos are rad. I could eat tacos every day…maybe….

These crock pot ranch chicken tacos are pretty flippin’ awesome! The chicken is so flavorful, I could just eat it with a fork and totally skip the tortilla. Aside from tasting awesome, they are also low in fat! Choose your toppings wisely and you will have yourself a healthy and seriously tasty meal! These tacos are in our regular dinner rotation in my house and we make them 2-3 times a month. And while I used to make this all the time in the slow cooker, I now make it in my Instant Pot in 25 minutes so I’ve included instructions to make it either way!

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

The ranch flavor isn’t too overwhelming in these, but you can definitely taste it. If you want a stronger ranch flavor, you can use less of the taco seasoning and/or extra ranch seasoning. Or you could also drizzle some ranch dressing on your tacos in place of sour cream! And of course, this chicken can go in more than just tacos! Use it for nachos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or on a Mexican salad. I have also found that leftovers freeze wonderfullyjjjggg with some of the leftover liquid) and reheat easily in a pot on the stove!

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Natalie: Five Months

Natalie Five Months

I can’t believe this baby is already almost 6 months old. I’m just going to get straight into this update!

Sleep stuff has not been as great the last few weeks honestly. Natalie has definitely grown out of her rock and play. She’s been trying to turn over in it because I suspect she would rather sleep on her tummy or side. So, it is time for the crib! In last month’s update, I talked about our stress with our housing situation. We’ve realized that leaving the crib in our loft is just not going to work. Although it stays pretty dark in there, it’s too noisy. Sean and I like to watch TV, talk, cook, and are often cleaning dishes after the girls are in bed so we don’t want to live on eggshells with noise. We are moving our dresser out of our bedroom and are going to put her crib in our room for now. I’m hoping this set-up will work for her during this transition and eventually to sleep training as I am assuming I will need to do at some point with her.

This girl has been doing so many new things physically. First, she is just about able to sit up on her own. Sometimes she can sit up for a few minutes unassisted before toppling over. I know this opens a whole new world for her in terms of being able to see things and play with her toys. She also really wants to spend time on the floor so she can roll to her tummy and just practice moving around. She actually has been getting a bit more frustrated if we just sit her on our laps for a while like we have always done, she wants more independence. She wants to crawl so badly and manages to pivot, scoot, and roll herself all over the place now as I often put her down in one place and and find her in a different place when I look back.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

It’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season and while everyone is lined up to get their PSL fix, I’m over here at home mixing up glasses of this amazing Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie! The truth is even though I am a total pumpkin addict, I’ve never really been a big fan of the PSL. I know, call me crazy, but it’s just not my favorite. I think it’s because it doesn’t really have much actual pumpkin flavor. Plus, there’s way too much sugar in those things!

This smoothie though? It will totally satisfy your pumpkin pie cravings without all the sugar and calories. And better yet, this smoothie is also packed with protein meaning you can satisfy your pumpkin cravings and not feel guilty about it!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

The base for this smoothie is a frozen banana, which, if you haven’t tried it, makes your smoothies so incredibly creamy and ice-cream like! Then there is all the protein thanks to the Greek yogurt and protein powder. And of course, you’ll also add a good dose of pumpkin puree and spices! I use maple syrup to sweeten this and find that 2-3 tablespoons is plenty sweet for me, but feel free to adjust that. The same goes for the milk- any type of milk will do and you can also adjust the milk to thicken or to thin the smoothie to your desired thickness. This smoothie is the perfect meal replacement for the season!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie