On a chilly fall day there is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of creamy soup–no cream in this Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup recipe, though! 

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

I’m always looking for a quick and easy lunch. Even better if I can make it comfort food that doesn’t make my waste line look like I’ve been consuming lots of comfort food! I love pureed soups, and tend to always eat my fill of them on cruise ships–but rarely ever make them at home. I decided I wanted a big bowl of comfort but with out the heavy cream and all that goes with comfort food.

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

I would like to call this soup fall in a bowl. The mix of pumpkin and butternut squash with a dash of nutmeg reminds you that fall is definitely here. And here in Florida we have actually had a few “fall like” days out. The cooler weather forces me to turn on the oven and make comfort food. I devoured a big bowl of this soup for about a week straight at lunch time. Some days I would pair it with a salad and other days a flatbread or sandwich.

Katie Original Recipe

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 6

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz cooked butternut squash, frozen and thawed
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 32 oz chicken broth

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Then add in the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Add in the pumpkin, butternut squash, and spices. Mix well and then add in the chicken broth. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.
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The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide - The Foodie

The holidays are right around the corner and what better way to help guide you in the right direction than to take a look at a variety of gift guides. I’m sharing with you my picks for The Foodie in your life. Even better if you scroll to the bottom you’ll have a chance to win some of the items I’m featuring in my 2014 Foodies Gift Guide. And you can also get ideas for a wide variety of topics from 22 other bloggers (and enter their giveaways too)!

2014 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide - 25 Gifts for Foodies

1. Zoku Ice Cream Maker: I’ve been making ZOKU ice pops for a few years now and now I’m so excited I can make single serve ice cream!!! Make individual portions of ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, or sherbet in as little as 10 minutes with the Zoku Ice Cream Maker
2. OXO Twist Top Bottle: This is my go-to use everyday water bottle. Everyone needs a good water bottle in their life! The large opening makes filling, cleaning and adding ice easy.  The 24 oz Twist Top Bottle features a soft, non-slip carrying loop that is angled downwards for a natural, comfortable hold and is perfect for attaching to backpacks. Convenient measurement markings help track how much you’re drinking and can be used as a reference when adding supplements.
 
3. Silpat Mat: I’ve been using Silpat® Non-Stick Baking Mats for the past two years. I bake everything on my Silpat! They are designed for every type of oven. From savory to pastry baking, nothing sticks to Silpat®. It is reusable for thousands of uses and provides even heat transfer to baked goods.

4.Lindt Celebrations Chocolate Basket: Everyone loves chocolate and who doesn’t love Lindt Chocolate? The basket gives a little bit of everything and holds the most popular recipes, including LINDOR truffles, EXCELLENCE bars and diamonds and SWISS LUXURY SELECTION.

5. Peugeot Annecy Cheese Mill: I love freshly grated cheese and this is one of my favorites! Exclusive mechanism grates hard and semi-hard cheeses effortlessly; chocolate, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and more.5. I Like Pig Butts Multi Pack Can Coolies: Everyone needs a coolie to keep their drink cold. If your at the Food Trucks or tailgating you will appreciate this for sure. This vintage style can cooler is perfect for keeping your drink cool while the party heats up.

6. OXO Little Salad Dressing Shaker: I love this smaller version of a salad shaker. Perfect for a one-dinner salad dressing with no leftovers. The watertight Shaker offers a clean, neat and convenient way to mix, serve and store dressings, sauces and marinades. The top unscrews to reveal a wide opening ideal for adding a range of ingredients like oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, onions and spices. The Shaker is made of a BPA-free, break-resistant and dishwasher safe material.

7. Spiceologist Block™ – Starter With Spices: I had to include this into my holiday gift guide for foodies. This company of amazing spices was created by a fellow food blogger Heather from Farmgirl GourmetKnife block meets spice rack in this beautiful European Beech block filled with 22 glass vials of fresh spices.  Beautify your kitchen in one easy step!  It’s not only gorgeous, but it will help you be creative in the kitchen by keeping your most used spices close at hand.  Each cork is hand stamped and every tube is hand filled.
8. Peugeot Spring Cradle: If you are a wine lover you will love this stylish wine bottle holder.  A beautiful piece that underlines discreetly yet graciously your most beautiful wines. Spring holds all styles of bottles in the ideal position, highlighting the label.
9. OXO SteeL Wine Stopper/Pourer Combination: To follow up with the foodie wine lover you need this wine stop and pourer in one. The OXO SteeL Wine Stopper/Pourer Combination is the perfect two-in-one gift for anyone from the wine connoisseur to the casual entertainer. Combining function and elegance, the sleek, brushed stainless steel Stopper/Pourer Combination reduces drips and spills while pouring and allows for even and consistent wine flow.
10. Wine Club by Whole Foods Market: Who doesn’t love wine delivered to their door? Whole Foods Market is now offering six extraordinary, hard-to-find wines. Carefully curated by their two Global Wine Buyers. Delivered to your door four times a year for $125 per shipment.

11.Skillet Bacon Jam Bacon Spread 7 0z. – 3 Jar Pack: Most foodies (like me) love bacon. Give a little bacon this holiday season. Made from Uncured Bacon, No Nitrite or Nitrates added and an incredibly flavorful, tasty condiment!

12. CDN ProAccurate Waterproof Pocket Thermometer: Every foodie MUST own a thermometer and what better than one that is waterproof! For home cooks who want a highly practical cooking thermometer, the long stem provides accurate temperature readings with a fast 6-second response.
13. Frieling Black Cube Fry Pan: Ever since I’ve received this frying pan I haven’t stopped using it. This is the first of many other pans coming out from Frieling–once you cook with this frying pan you will never go back to anything else. The Ultimate Cooking Surface – A world’s first: Black Cube™ combines all the benefits of stainless steel and nonstick cookware.

14.Molecular Mixology Kit – Cocktail R-EVOLUTION: If you know someone who loves a good cocktail this is the kit for them. This kit comes with 5 food additives (50 sachets), 5 pipettes, 1 slotted spoon, 1 set of measuring spoons, and 1 DVD of 30 recipes.

15. OXO Small Silicone Spatula: Every foodie needs a good spatula in their life (or a dozen like me). Easy-to-clean silicone covers the head and neck of the Spatulas and they are heat-resistant up to 600°F, so they won’t discolor, warp or melt.
16. Welcome Home Brands Paper Bakeware: I’m all for disposable and cute bakeware!!! The free-standing, disposable bakeware eliminates the need for metal bakeware, offering a whole new way to bake, serve, store, and give all in one unit. It’s oven safe to 400°F and freezer safe.

17.LETTER PRESSED Type-Style Cookie Cutter/Stampers: If you know a foodie and font lover you know they will love these cookie cutter stamps! These cookie cutters are made of strong durable food-safe plastic, packed in reusable storage trays, makes 26 different designs, and are fun and easy to use!

18. OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer: My absolute favorite go-to tool that I use EVERY single day! Use the soft knob to adjust to the desired slice thickness, and slide the food over the stainless steel blade for perfect, even slices. The Hand-Held Mandoline features a clear surface that shows slices accumulating below.
19. Kitchen IQ Better Zester: I’ve bought this zester for all the foodies in my life. The only way I’ll zest! The V-etched Zester blade is made up of over 300 tiny V- shaped teeth and is covered with a non- stick coating. The food- approved coating allows the zester to smoothly glide across the surface of all types of citrus, while finely zesting the outer layer of skin and not the bitter pith. The Better Zester includes a “fresh zest” storage container with squeegee. This additional accessory gathers the fresh zest as it is grating and the squeegee helps remove the moist zest from the back of the blade. The clear container is marked with measurements in TSP and ML.

20.Misto Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer, Tomato: Get your spray on. These olive oil sprayers are awesome! Perfect for the foodie trying to watch their weight and still want to indulge in a little EVOO. Or simply just want to mist on the olive oil while cooking.

21. Totally Bamboo 3-Tiered Salt Box: I love having salt right next to my stove when I’m cooking. What better way than a 3-tier salt box. Pivoting three-section storage box holds sea salt, spices and more. Designed with weighted base for better balance when open. Keep multiple salts or other seasonings near the stove and ready to use when cooking or baking
22. OXO Locktop Lunch Set: Every foodie needs a sturdy container to store their lunch or leftovers in. LockTop™ Lunch Containers were designed with leakproof, airtight lids that snap on easily and confidently. Just push the outer frame down onto the lid to engage the inner locking tabs and silicone ring for an instant, secure seal. Durable, BPA free Tritan Container bodies resist warping and staining, and are crystal clear to reveal contents inside.  The lids are also clear to make contents viewable from above.

23. Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit for Beginners- Make Mozzarella, Ricotta, Crumbly Goat Cheese, Creamy Chevre, Paneer or Queso Blanco in 1 Hour!: I’ve always wanted to make my own cheese and what better way then to give this gift to the foodie lover in your life–or cheese lover for that matter. Kit includes: Instruction& Recipe Handbook and Unlimited Email Support. Fine Mesh, 100% Cotton Cheesecloth also known as Butter Muslin. Glass Dairy Thermometer (alcohol not mercury). Gluten-free, Non-GMO Vegetarian Rennet Tablets. Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Citric Acid. Pure, Non-Iodized Flake Salt. Makes at least 30 batches of the listed cheeses.

24. Kyocera 6-Piece Slicer Set: Grate cheese or vegetables with ease of knowing it’s contained in one place! Kyocera’s handy six-piece set equips you with everything you need for a variety of slicing and grating tasks.

25. I Like Pig Butts 2 Pack Can Coolies Magenta- perfect doozie to have if you are frequenting the food trucks for a meal! Holds 12 oz cans or 12-16 oz bottles. Folds flat for easy storage. Machine washable. Neoprene material allows for beverages to stay cool.

foodie ultimate gift guide giveaway

Now for the giveaway. ONE reader will win some of my favorite foodie gifts this holiday season. If you win you can choose to keep them for yourself or give them as a gift to the foodie of your choice! Must reside in the USA and be 18+. Must enter the mandatory entry to qualify to win. One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends 11/9/14 at 11:59 pm EST.

Giveaway items up for grabs:

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The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide Bloggers


I hope this helps get you in the spirit and ready for the holidays!

Disclaimer: We did not receive any compensation to create this gift guide. All prizes are donated from our favorite brands that we love. As always all opinions are our own. There are affiliate links in this post, if you buy from the links we will receive a percentage of the sale. 

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip
Today I’m sharing my easy recipe for Hot Pimento Cheese Dip. A southern classic appetizer fit for your next date-night in with the one you love. I’m sharing a little bit about the one I love and my favorite kitchen essentials that I received when we got married 6.5 years ago!

For those who don’t know, my husband and I have been together for 12.5 years and married for 6.5 of those years. Now with a new baby we are finding that we are having way more date-nights in. Even before baby we always liked to have a date-night in a few times each month. When we got engaged neither of us lived on our own yet. We both lived with our parents, worked full time day jobs, and went to college at night. We were not the typical college student nor did we live that lifestyle. My husband popped the question 4 years and 9 months into us dating. I may have told him that by the 5 year mark if he didn’t know that he wanted to marry me that we were going to call it quits because I didn’t want any more of my precious years wasted. Yes, true story. Harsh, but let’s face it–reality. If your with someone for 5 years you should know by then if you are going to marry them.

engagement and wedding collage

Jon, sealed the deal and got down on one knee March 15, 2007 on the white sandy beach of Meagan’s Bay in St. Thomas, USVI. Of course I said yes… well more like “is this for real”? My inlays graciously threw us an amazing engagement party a few months later. Prior to our engagement party we had to create a registry. We were starting from scratch since we had never lived on our own. Thankfully, between our engagement party, bridal shower, and wedding our kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom was just about furnished for us. 6.5 years later and I’m still cooking with the same pots and pans we registered for and my trusty KitchenAid Ultra Power 4.5 Qt Stand Mixer. I use it daily. It’s a work horse and I’m so grateful that my parents bought me the stand mixer of my dreams!

12 Must Have Kitchen Products for the Perfect Date-Night In

Since I’ve been married for a while I figured I would put together my picks for the ultimate wedding registry for those of you who might be at the point where you need to register for gifts for the kitchen. All of these items will help you create the ultimate date-night in any day of the week for the rest of your life.

  1. KitchenAid Ultra Power 4.5 Qt Stand Mixer
  2. Threshold™ 45 Piece Sydney Sand Flatware Set with Caddy
  3. Threshold™ Sherbrook Classic Glass Drinkware Set of 12 – Clear
  4. American Atelier 16 Piece Dinnerware Set
  5. Crock-Pot® Programmable Slow Cooker
  6. Pyrex 19 Piece Bake and Store Set – Clear
  7. Ninja – Professional Blender – NJ600
  8. Olde Thompson 16 Jar Square Rotating Filled Spice Rack
  9. Threshold™ Glass Cylinder Canister Set of 4
  10. Target Seasonal Products
  11. Calphalon Kitchen Essentials 20pc Utensil & Gadget Set
  12. BakerEze Nonstick 10-pc. Baker’s Basics Set

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip 1

So let’s talk about what make’s a good date-night in? Of course being with the one you love and food. Our typical date nights consist of appetizers or snacks and a movie. Since having, Ryder, my husband, Jon, now helps a lot more in the kitchen. He is my sous chef and will prep meat, chop veggies, mix, and do just about whatever I need help with in order to get dinner on the table in a timely manner. The same goes with date night. If we have a date night scheduled he will prep our appetizer or snack while I’m feeding and putting the baby down to sleep. Typically, Ryder is asleep by 8-8:30 and wakes every 3-5 hours. Perfect for a movie and appetizer in with the two of us!

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

My recipe for hot pimento cheese dip is a classic one. Perfect for cooler nights. You can use crackers, tortilla chips, or a whole wheat crusty bread to scoop up the cheesy goodness. I use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer and put in all the ingredients to make this dip. Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly and our appetizer is ready for our date-night in.

Katie Original Recipe

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar + 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimentos
  • 2 tbsp green onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a stand mixer combine the cream cheese, 2 cups grated cheddar and mayonnaise. Mix until well incorporated. Stir in the chopped pimento, green onion, salt, pepper, paprika, and hot sauce. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Spray an oven safe dish with cooking spray. Place the pimento cheese dip mixture in the dish. Top with a tablespoon of shredded cheddar. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve with crusty bread, crackers, or chips!
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One lucky reader can enter to win a $50 Target eGift Card to help stock your kitchen for your next date-night in. Please wait for the rafflecopter widget to load. If it does not load please click on the rafflecopter link. To be eligible you must answer the mandatory question. One reader will be chosen at random. Giveaway open to USA residents only 18+. Giveaway ends on Thursday, November 5 at 11:59 pm EST.

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Gone are the days of boiling noodles and layering  and baking… make my One Pot Lasagna Bolognese recipe and you’ll have dinner ready in under an hour!

One Pot Lasagna Bolognese

Get ready for the easiest lasagna recipe on the planet. I started making this One Pot Lasagna Bolognese once Ryder was born and have been making it since (at least once a month). Over the past 7 months I’ve perfected it. Wait, let’s stop right there. How is my baby 7 month’s old today!?!?! Time is flying and I would officially like it to stay still!

Back to the One Pot Lasagna Bolognese… It’s so good that I’ll be making it during the holidays when my family is in town. Easy dinner that can be made in under an hour. No boiling noodles in one pot, making sauce in another, then spending the time to layer the noodles and sauce and cheese only to have to wait for it to bake in the oven for an additional hour. One pot and taste just as good if not better. What more can you ask for?

One Pot Lasagna BologneseEven better it tastes amazing the next day. That is if you actually have leftovers. I find that a skillet typically gives us 4 servings. Perfect for dinner and then lunch the next day for a family 2 (and a half). I fear the day that Ryder can eat and eat meals like this. I’m sure he will be just like his dad, and eat me out of house and home. I know he will one day enjoy this One Pot Lasagna Bolognese as much as we do.

Katie Original Recipe


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Use up your leftover Halloween candy and make my easy recipe for White Chocolate Halloween Candy Bark for your family and friends.

White Chocolate Halloween Candy Bark

What do you do with the bags and bags of leftover candy your children get after a night full of trick or treating? Of course, you could hide in a closet and eat it all or you could whip up a batch of white chocolate Halloween candy bark. It’s easy to make and transform your plain old Halloween candy into something a little more. Who knows this could even be your new after-Halloween tradition. Make a batch just before you have to clean-up the decorations and fuel your clean-up with this bark.

White Chocolate Halloween Candy Bark

I love the mix of white chocolate and milk chocolate. I list specific chocolate bars I used for this recipe, but any chocolate bars will do. You can double, triple or even quadruple the recipe as you choose.  Have M&M’s? Great… throw them in the bark. What about some roll’s? Great, those will work too. You can even do sour or chewy candies too. The sky is the limit.

Katie Original Recipe

White Chocolate Halloween Bark

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 36 minutes

Yield: 12

White Chocolate Halloween Bark

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Baker's Premium White Chocolate
  • 3 of each "fun size" Chocolate bar, Kit Kat, Reese Peanut Buttercup, Snickers, and Almond Joy
  • 1 tbsp Halloween Nonpareils
  • 25 candy eyes

Directions

  1. Unwrap all of the fun size bars. Cut into bite size pieces and set to the side.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave (follow the directions found on the box). Pour the melted white chocolate on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the white chocolate evenly. Begin to place candy bar pieces throughout white chocolate. Sprinkle the nonpareils and place the candy eyes around the bark.
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy.
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Looking for a festive fall breakfast dish? Use up the homemade pumpkin cream cheese and pair it with pumpkin swirl bread to make the most divine Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

A few weeks ago, while doing my Monday mid-day grocery shopping I saw that swirl bread was buy-one-get-one-free. We love cinnamon raisin swirl bread so I always buy it when it goes on sale. As I reached for the two bags of cinnamon raisin swirl bread I spotted bags of pumpkin swirl bread. Say what!?!?! I had no idea they even made such a fabulous seasonal bread. So I did what any good wife would do and bought one cinnamon raisin and then one pumpkin swirl. After making homemade whipped pumpkin cream cheese and slathering it on said pumpkin swirl bread, I decided I would make french toast with the bread and then stuff it with the decadent homemade cream cheese.

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

That my friends is how this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast was created. I’ve stuffed french toast before. It’s kind of my thing. I can’t help it I love cream cheese and I enjoy french toast. You can find my other stuffed french toast recipes like Pineapple Stuffed French Toast with Coconut Syrup or my recipe  for Cinnamon Raisin Banana Stuffed French Toast and Buttermilk French Toast Stuffed with Golden Plum Cream Cheese.

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Katie Original Recipe

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 slices Pumpkin swirl bread
  • 1/2 cup Whipped Pumpkin Cream Cheese
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Maple syrup

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet on high heat. Spray with buttered cooking spray. Then mix together the eggs, milk, and pumpkin spice. Place a piece of pumpkin swirl bread in the egg mixture. Coat on both sides and place in skillet. Cook on both sides for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Repeat until all the bread has been cooked.
  2. Place one cooked piece of french toast on a plate, then scoop 2 tablespoons of whipped pumpkin cream cheese on the toast. Top with another cooked piece of french toast. Repeat until you have four stuffed french toast pieces. Cut in diagonals, sprinkle with powdered sugar and pour on the maple syrup. Enjoy immediately.
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Make my recipe for Iced Pumpkin Coffee in the comforts of your own home. Best of all you won’t be spending money every day at the coffee shop after you make this! 

Iced Pumpkin Coffee

Are you addicted to all things pumpkin? Do you count down the days until you can get one of the coveted seasonal iced pumpkin coffees? If so, my recipe for iced pumpkin coffee is your year-round ticket. No need to wait until the fall to get your favorite coffee. You can now have it every day if you choose. Yes, I know that’s crazy talk but it’s true. My recipe is just as good as the big box stores (ok, maybe even better) and cheaper! Gone are the days of paying $5 a day for a pumpkin flavored coffee. You can make them in the comforts of your own home.

Iced Pumpkin Coffee

What makes this coffee a success? I found Pumpkin Pie Sauce during my last trip at World Market. This syrup is the bee’s knees. If you can’t find this or don’t want to spend the additional money you could use traditional caramel sauce; however, you won’t get the same intense pumpkin flavor like you will if you use this sauce. You can even make a big batch of this coffee and keep it stored in your refrigerator for up to one week. That way in the morning all you have to do is swirl a little pumpkin pie sauce in your cup, add ice, and pour the pumpkin coffee in the cup. Making coffee in the morning is now much easier.

Katie Original Recipe

Iced Pumpkin Coffee

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2

10 oz

Iced Pumpkin Coffee

Ingredients

  • 16 oz freshly brewed coffee, chilled
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pumpkin pie syrup
  • ice
  • whipped cream

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix together the chilled coffee with half and half, powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk until incorporated.
  2. Pour the pumpkin pie syrup around the rim of the glass, moving around in a circular motion. Then add ice, fill the glass with pumpkin coffee. Top with whipped cream and more pumpkin pie syrup. Enjoy
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Looking for a quick and mess-free meal? Try my recipe for One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Asparagus and Green Pea Pasta.

One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Asparagus and Green Pea Pasta

If you love pumpkin then your in luck. I’ll be sharing pumpkin recipes all week along with a bunch of my other food blog friends. If your on social media just search for the hashtag #pumpkinweek. Today, I’m sharing with you a delicious one-pot pasta! This pasta happens to have a pumpkin cream sauce that is out of this world! And guess what… no one will know they are eating a pumpkin pasta unless you tell them. Trust me, it’s so good. This is a very savory pumpkin dish not sweet at all. I did add a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon to the dish just to round out the flavors and it worked beautifully. Also, the bright green veggies; asparagus and green peas make this an ideal meatless meal!

One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Asparagus and Green Pea Pasta
So let’s talk about the health benefits of pumpkin for a second. According to the University of Illinois Extension school, pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.

So for the pumpkin haters out there, just know that pumpkin is so good for you. For us pumpkin lovers we get lots of health benefits for consuming a ridiculous amount of pumpkin during the fall months!

Katie Original Recipe


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 Whether you want a delicious breakfast or make this for “brinner” this recipe for Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet will have your stomach satisfied. 

Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet

Do you love breakfast as much as I do? I could honestly eat it 24 hours a day. Every weekend I always make a hot breakfast that always consist of at least eggs and potatoes. I try to switch it up every now and then and surprise my husband with a new breakfast recipe. He too loves breakfast. However, he isn’t the biggest fan of grinner. You know, breakfast for dinner. I on the other hand LOVE me some brinner.

Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet

We rarely go out to breakfast, but when we do dine out my husband always gets one of those meaty skillets. You know the ones that have hash browns and full of meat. So I decided to make a breakfast skillet for him. I defrosted a few breakfast sausage patties, broke them up in the skillet and then added some diced bell peppers and onions. Once the sausage was cooked I added in a bag of hash brown potatoes. I always keep a bag or two on hand–you can find them in the refrigerated section in the grocery store. I then mixed the sausage and peppers in with the hash browns and let it fry on one side for five minutes. I flipped it over and let it fry another five minutes, turned off the heat, and topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese. I figured I was going with the Italian theme and well, that’s the only type of shredded cheese I had on hand. I topped his skillet with a few fried eggs and breakfast was served. Even better, the baby was taking his morning nap, so we got to have breakfast in silence! It was like the old days, minus the baby toys spread all around our house and the monitor blaring in between us.

Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet

If you love breakfast skillets when you go out to eat, you should definitely think about making one of these at home the next time you make breakfast (or breakfast for dinner).

Katie Original Recipe

Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2

Potato Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Skillet

Ingredients

  • 5 breakfast sausage patties *about 1/2lb
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored bell peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 bag of Simply Potatoes O'Brian Hashbrowns
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. In a skillet on high heat cook the sausage patties, breaking them up into bite size pieces until almost cooked all the way through (no pink should be showing) about 5 minutes. Then add in the onions and mixed bell peppers. Stir and reduce heat to medium, let cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter and the package of hashbrowns. Season with paprika, black pepper, and parsley. Mix well and cook and one side for five minutes. Flip with a spatula and then cook for an additional 5 minutes until crispy. Top the skillet with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  3. Serve immediately and with eggs on top if desired.
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Belly up to a big old plate of homemade Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos. Gone are the days that you need to go to a restaurant to make nachos this good. 

Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our first family vacation with our son, Ryder. We spent 4 days on a Royal Caribbean cruise. We had a great time. Of course much different than past cruises together–gone are the lazy days spent sun up to sun down lounging on lido deck, or endless adult beverages. But I’m ok with that… well at least the second part. We spent breakfast and lunches at the buffet because that was the only way we were both able to eat lunch without full melt downs. On the last day at sea, Ryder, spent the morning at the nursery while my husband and I enjoyed a few quiet adult hours poolside. We also grabbed a quick (and light) lunch at the deli. I enjoyed the most delicious creamy carrot soup and a fruit salad and my husband had a hot pressed sandwich. We rushed over to the nursery to grab Ryder before they closed and found ourselves with one cranky baby.

Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos

Back to our cabin we went and all of a sudden it was family nap time. 3 long glorious hours later and it was 3:30 in the afternoon before everyone was up and ready to have fun again. Recharged and starving the only thing open was the buffet. They had a “snack” hour from 3-5pm. Mostly for the piggies who like to eat all day and night. Thankfully we were able to grab a snack too to fill the void of our light lunch. They happened to have homemade nachos on the buffet bar along with chili, a watered down queso dip, freshly diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sour cream. My husband grabbed a chili cheese dog–I on the other hand made myself a giant plate of chili cheese nachos.

Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos

I don’t know what it is about nachos, but I love them. If I’m super hungry there is nothing that satisfies my appetite more than nachos. Bring on the piled high nachos at the chain restaurants. Everyone also can make room for a few nachos. And the more loaded the better in my opinion (hold the jalapeno’s though).

Shredded Cabot Cheese

A few days after we returned from our trip I was still craving nachos. I knew that we weren’t going to go out to a restaurant just so I could enjoy a big plate of nachos so I decided to make some at home. Plus, it worked out well because I had chili for later on in the week for dinner. I shredded a block of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar. A little about this cheese:  A bold and creamy Extra Sharp with a Northeast Bite! This cheese delivers lush and rich taste in a mellow, well-defined, slightly crumbly body. Balanced flawlessly, this artisanal-grade cheddar whispers with subtleties that are evocative of our farmers’ valley fields. As in the best cheddars, classic sharp notes linger appealingly through each bite. Since I’m not one to like really sharp cheeses this farmhouse reserver is perfect and gives just the perfect amount of creaminess that is needed to make these loaded chili cheese nachos complete. Of course my husband never boycotts nachos for lunch, so that’s exactly what I did after returning back from our vacation. We had a big old plate of chili cheese nachos that we enjoyed one-by-one until they were all gone!

Katie Original Recipe

Chili Cheese Nachos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 2

Chili Cheese Nachos

Ingredients

  • 4 cups corn chips
  • 2 cups pre-cooked chili
  • 2 cups shredded Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup lettuce, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler on high. Re-heat chili if needed. Prep toppings while chili is reheating.
  2. Place corn tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Pour chili on top and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 2 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
  3. Remove from the oven and top with diced tomatoes, lettuce, and cilantro. Place sour cream in zip lock baggy, cut a small piece of the corner off the bag and drizzle on top. Enjoy.
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