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

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Casserole

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Casserole

What do you guys eat for breakfast on Christmas morning? Is it a big deal in your house? I love making a special breakfast for Christmas morning. It’s the perfect way to top off an early morning of opening presents with a huge mug of coffee or hot cocoa. Even better though? Not having to do any work in the morning and being able to enjoy time with family while breakfast is baking away!

Enter the breakfast casserole! You can prep it all the night before, stick it in the fridge overnight, and then transfer it directly to the oven in the morning to bake!

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole starts with cooking crumbled breakfast sausage along with some bell peppers and onions. Then, you just have to add the frozen potatoes and egg mixture! It couldn’t be easier to prep! I think I prefer savory breakfasts more often than something super sweet so this casserole is perfect if you want to go the savory route!

This casserole is nice and hearty and how perfect are the little red and green specks of bell pepper for Christmas?! You can also add some crumbled feta on top if you also want to work in some white!

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Casserole

Baked Pears with Oat Streusel Topping

Baked Pears with Oat Streusel Topping

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while because life just got in the way, but it’s SO simple and yummy and the holiday season isn’t over yet, so I’m squeezing them in as a bonus weekend post for you guys! I think pears are totally underrated. Apples always seem to get the spotlight during the fall and holiday season, but pears are so dang good and just perfectly ripe this time of year!

I love making individual desserts and these baked pears make for the best little individual dessert to serve. First, they are a bit lighter than a big heavy piece of cake or pie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL about cake and pie, but sometimes after a really big meal, it’s nice to just finish with something lighter.

Baked Pears with Oat Streusel Topping

These couldn’t be easier to make! The trick is to find pears that are not super hard, but also not super ripe. If you try to use really ripe pears for this recipe, they may come out mushy after baking. I like to look for pears that are just lightly soft to the touch. Then I cut them in half, scoop a bit out, and brush them in cinnamon butter and then they are stuffed with a totally delicious oat streusel topping and baked! Need another reason to make these? Your house is going to smell AMAZING while these guys are baking. The oat topping gets nice and crispy on the outside, but is soft in the middle.

After baking, I just drizzled some caramel sauce over mine, but whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be even better!

Baked Pears with Oat Streusel Topping