Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff

Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff

Hi friends! First, I want to apologize for not posting my regular two weekly recipes these past few weeks. Life has been so crazy! Maddie is starting preschool and we’ve had to do some classroom visits for her orientation. We also celebrated Natalie’s first birthday last week and Maddie also started ballet! Between all of this and work, I’ve been exhausted. I’m back with a seriously delicious recipe today though!

I’ve made stroganoff recipes before, but only ever with the good ol’ cream of mushroom soup cans, onion soup mixes, etc. and I mean, yeah, it’s still yummy, but I don’t really like to use all of that processed stuff if I can avoid it so I’ve been working to create a more natural beef stroganoff recipe and this Instant Pot version is simply divine!

Greek Chicken Salad

Greek Chicken Salad

I love, love, love chicken salad! It’s one of my favorite things to eat for lunch on some good bread or over greens. I’ve posted a few chicken salad recipes (see here, here, and here). It’s one of those foods though that can be kind of tricky as everyone has different preferences. For me, I don’t want anything sweet in it. No grapes or other fruits for me please. Oh, and NO mustard, that’s also a hard pass for me! This version combines two of my favorite things: chicken salad and Greek flavors!

Natalie: Eleven Months

Natalie Eleven Months

I’m not sure how this is happening, but this little babe is going to one year old in less than a week and I’m just not ready!

She is sooo close to walking. She’s been taking a number of steps unassisted and then gives up, but she’s almost there and I suspect within the next week or two, she will be off on her feet. I can’t wait because the weather is warming up and we like to bring the girls to the park and Natalie gets frustrated that she can’t climb and play. Speaking of climbing though, her favorite activity currently is to play on the couch. We have a sectional and she has a blast just climbing all over it and over pillows. We’ve also signed her up for Gymboree classes so I think she will really like that too.

This little love chunk loves to eat. She takes her sweet time with eating and it often takes us a good 30 minutes to finish up meals, but she just keeps going and going. For breakfast, she loves blueberries, scrambled eggs, and blueberry waffles from TJ’s. Dinner is interesting because we typically feed the kids before we eat so I’m often making them other things and with Maddie being so picky, I worry that I am not giving her enough variety, so I’ve been prepping our meals earlier to give her some and just make veggies and other things I think she will eat, regardless of whether Maddie will also eat it or not. With the exception of pouches, we are off baby food. I’m also looking forward to dropping formula soon since it’s so expensive! With teeth, I think she has about 7-8 teeth with most of them on top and only two on the bottom! She really won’t ever let us get a good luck at her mouth so it’s not easy to tell, but she chews food pretty good.

She’s still doing pretty well with sleep, however, we’ve been experimenting with just giving her one nap a day because her second nap has been either non-existent or by the time she falls asleep, it’s well after 5pm, which is way too late! We are trying to push her morning nap back a bit so that she might sleep a while longer in the afternoons. I can tell she is really tired by 5:30-6, but her mood is still pretty good so I’ve moved up her bedtime to closer to 7:30-7:45 and that seems to be working okay. She’s still sleeping 11-12 hours a night.

Natalie Eleven Months

We had the girls’ pictures taken a couple of weeks ago and my goodness, what a mess that was! First, Maddie just seems incapable of looking at the camera. You ask her to say “cheese” and whatnot and her eyes are all over the place! And even though I scheduled the photos early in the morning thinking Natalie wouldn’t be tired yet for her nap, she spent the entire time crying and trying to crawl away. Oh well!

Ricotta Pie

Ricotta Pie, Italian, chocolate chips, cheesecake

Growing up in an Italian family meant every holiday was always filled with delicious classic foods and desserts. My great-grandma and grandma used to make an array of desserts for each holiday and this Ricotta Pie was one of them. I hadn’t had in so many years, but I’ve always remembered it and wanted to make it myself this year. I called up my Grandma for the recipe and tips and got right to work making this classic Easter dessert!

Ricotta Pie, cheesecake, Italian, chocolate chip

It’s called Ricotta Pie, but honestly, it’s not really a pie, it’s definitely more like a cheesecake, which is fine by me! The special thing about this recipe too is the crust. You will notice it is not a traditional pie crust recipe, it’s sweeter, has baking powder, and no butter. It’s the same type of dough that is used in Shadone, which is a meat pie and another traditional Italian Easter recipe.

If you are worried about making the crust, you could use traditional pie crust if desired and given the cheesecake-like texture of this dessert, I bet even graham cracker crumb crust would be okay too! When I made this recipe, I actually made a bit too much of the crust and it ended up being a bit thicker than desired, so I’ve tweaked the recipe a tad so you won’t end up with too much.

Oh, and one really important tip here is that you must drain the ricotta cheese before mixing up the pie. This step is crucial! You can use a cheese cloth to wring out the liquid or let it sit in a strainer for a couple of hours, pushing down with a fork every so often to push out the liquid. I also added a couple of tablespoons of flour to my version to help it be a bit more stable!

My family never did the chocolate ganache on top either, but I wanted to make this pie a bit prettier and who doesn’t love chocolate ganache?! If you want to skip that part though, it’s not required!

Ricotta Pie, cheesecake, dessert, chocolate chip, Italian

Easter Bunny Dirt Cups

Easter Bunny Dirt Cups, Pudding, Chocolate, Oreo

Dirt cups are basically the classic kid-friendly dessert. What’s not to love about them? Chocolate pudding and Oreo cookie crumbs with candy toppings? I mean, they are also pretty adult-friendly too.

Maddie and I made these sweet little Easter Bunny dirt cups last weekend and I’m just obsessed with how adorable they are! I’m not a fan of Peep-anything, but those little bunnies are so adorable and made for topping these dirt cups! These little cups are pretty easy to make once you get all of your ingredients prepped.

Easter Bunny Dirt Cups, Pudding, Chocolate, Oreo

I used Instant pudding, but you can make it from scratch if you’d rather do that. I used 9-ounce clear plastic cups for serving. It’s a big serving for a kid though so if you are planning to make these for younger kids, I’d see if you can find something a little bit smaller to serve them in.

The grass is just shredded coconut with a couple of drops of green dye. Of course, this is a fun dessert to make with your kids. They can spoon the pudding and Oreo crumbs into the cups and can have fun decorating the tops however they please! While I love the bunnies on top, the Peeps chicks would also be really cute! I’m just obsessed with how colorful and fun these dirt cups are!

Easter Bunny Dirt Cups, Pudding, Chocolate, Oreo

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

St. Patrick’s Day is over and now in just a couple of weeks, Easter will be here! It always throws me off when Easter falls earlier in the year. But, Maddie and I have been having fun making Target trips to raid the Easter section for fun activities and candy, and all of that good stuff!

Do you guys color eggs each year? Of course we do and even though I love throwing hard boiled eggs on salads and things, I can never seem to eat all of the eggs we dye and I end up throwing too many away each year. I don’t think that is going to happen this year though because I made these bacon avocado deviled eggs a couple of weeks ago and I have a new plan to use up all of those eggs!

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

What’s not to love about these? The classic deviled egg is whipped up with dreamy and creamy avocado and then I topped them with crispy crumbled bacon. Gah! It’s so easy, but the avocado and bacon just give them that little something extra that makes them more addicting! Be sure not to skip the lime juice in these, it doesn’t alter the flavor, but will help keep the avocado from browning. I’m loving these little guys for Easter and pretty much every kind of party, especially showers!

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs