homemade vinegar & honey sore throat and cold remedy

Being pregnant and/or nursing for most of the last 3 years has made cold season a little more miserable than usual...

So when my friend Nazra (who blogs over at MakeItBakeItCreatIt.blogspot.com - go check her out!) gave me this recipe that her family has used for years to soothe sore throats and help combat cold season, I had to give it a try!

I have already been taking straight shots of organic apple cider vinegar (or diluted in water) for the health benefits this cold season, but let me tell you...  it's not so fun.  So when Naz mentioned that she takes this remedy of honey and vinegar mixed with hot water, I just had to try it!

I immediately fell in love (well, as much as one can love a cold-remedy that is!) as it tasted great and every sip soothed my very sore throat!

And since I already know the health benefits of raw organic apple cider vinegar and honey (and I added a little salt to her recipe for the additional throat healing!) I know this recipe is a keeper and will be used for years to come in my family!

Thanks Nazra!!

**Click here for a website with more information on the health benefits of Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, for those of you who hadn't heard this before!!**

Vinegar & Honey Sore Throat and Cold Remedy Recipe

2 tablespoons organic raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons raw local honey
pinch of kosher or sea salt
boiling water, to taste

Measure out the first three ingredients into a mug.  Pour in the boiling water, stirring well to combine.  Drink as soon as it has cooled off to 'drinkable'!  (This makes one serving.)

Take at least once a day during cold season, or more often if you have a sore throat!


slow cooker beef & mushrooms

The snow just keeps on falling...  which in my world means the slow cooker must keep on cooking!  There's just something cozy about the smells and warmth a slow cooker gives off all day that I just love.

Today I was craving some good hearty beef.  I found some beef stew meat in the freezer and this meal was born.  Similar to a beef stew, but with more meat and mushrooms and less 'gravy'...  perfect for a cold snowy day!

Slow Cooker Beef & Mushrooms Recipe

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb whole button mushrooms
1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
splash of red wine (optional)

Throw everything into the slow cooker, stir to combine, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Serve with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes...  whatever you'd like!


slow cooker cinnamon applesauce

It's dumping snow outside and I needed to put something in the slow cooker to warm up the house and fill it with cozy smells.

This applesauce did the trick...  filling my house with amazing smells!  And the best part?  It took all of 5 minutes to get this into the crockpot and my toddler is going to love it!!

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe

6 medium apples, peeled, cored & sliced
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Dump eveything into the slow cooker, toss to combine and cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 5-6 hours.  Turn off the slow cooker and mash the apples with a potato masher to your desired consistency.  Serve warm  or cold!


slow cooker lemony chicken noodle soup

I'm re-posting this recipe in honor of its mention on today's Tasty Kitchen blog! :o)


(You can also find this recipe over here on Saveur.com where it was featured several months ago!)

"Adding Parmesan cheese rinds adds a richer texture and extra umami to soup stock, which can be used in this easy chicken noodle soup." - Saveur

This is a perfect use for leftover turkey or chicken, especially when you are looking for comfort food with a twist... something a little different than you're used to! 

This soup is satisfying, comforting and fresh...  and best of all, simple!!

Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

8 cups turkey or chicken stock
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey or chicken (or raw, cut into small pieces!)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 parmesan cheese rind*
1/2 lb noodles - short, or long and broken**
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Throw everything into your crockpot, stir to combine, and cook on low for at least 4-6 hours, until the soup is hot, rind is melted, and noodles are soft.

*If you don't already save your leftover parmesan cheese rinds...  PLEASE do! Toss them in the freezer and add them to your soups.  They add such a great layer of flavor to your soups!

**If you want use egg noodles, please cook them separately and add them into each bowl of soup when you serve it... they dissolve when cooked too long!


pink & brownies for my love...

Today is our 4 year anniversary!

To celebrate, I made my husband these...

my fudgy dark chocolate brownies with a simple pink buttercream frosting on top, since pink and brown were our wedding colors.  Cheesy, I know...  but I was in a cheesy mood last night!

Come to think of it, I would have made these brownies for our wedding if I had thought of it!!

Happy Anniversary honey...  I love you so much!


carrot cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake is one of my favorite treats of all time!  But I think if I'm honest with myself, it's all about the frosting.  I just adore cream cheese frosting in any form...  on cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, or just by the finger-full... and cupcakes seem to be the best excuse to pile it on.  

As you can see, I don't skimp on the frosting with these cupcakes.  You could definitely get away with less, if you'd like...  but why?!

Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

for the cakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, melted & cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs
3 cups very finely grated carrots
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
for the frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted**

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line two muffin pans with papers (to make 24 cupcakes).

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and butter until well blended, then whisk in the eggs one at a time. 

Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots and coconut. Divide the batter among cupcake molds, filling about 3/4 of each.

Bake the cupcakes for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then remove to a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing them.

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Spoon into a gallon ziploc bag and chill for 10 to 20 minutes.  Pipe the frosting out onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut.

**To toast the coconut:  Spread the coconut on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 5-8 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven until lightly golden brown.  Let cool before sprinkling on the cupcakes.


quick and easy truffles

I'm re-posting this recipe today because it's Valentines Day, and what says "Happy Valentines Day" better than truffles?  And for all you procrastinators like me that have not planned tonight's menu yet...  ;o)

These decadent truffles are so simple and quick to make, you can easily have them ready for dessert tonight!  


Why do we spend so much on fancy truffles when they are so easy to make at home? Probably because we've never done it before! The trick to perfecting these incredibly simple treats is in the ingredients.

As with all recipes, but especially those with so few ingredients, the end result will only be as good as the ingredients you put into it. With that said, please use the best ingredients you can afford (but don't feel bad if - like me - you can't afford the very 'best')! Use good quality chocolate (I like bittersweet, but you could use any!), pure extracts or liqueurs (no artificial flavorings, please!!), and fresh heavy cream and butter.

Oh and as for the cocoa powder to roll them in... I use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa because it's just... well, prettier... but you can use what you want. You could even roll these in powdered sugar, finely chopped nuts or colored sugar if you'd like!

I like these to look very rustic... because it's more fun,
and because it simplifies the whole process.
And I am all about simple!
You could make perfect little round balls,
but really... would it taste any better??

Simply Rustic Chocolate Truffles Recipe

1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter, diced
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon almond extract or other flavoring
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Stir in the butter until melted, and then stir in the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until melted and smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the extract or liqueur of your choice. (This is your place to play, so try something fun! I love everything almond, but I have also made these with peppermint schnapps and with hazelnut liqueur!)

Pour into a shallow bowl, cool and then cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until the chocolate is firm. Using a small spoon, scoop out chocolate, roll in cocoa powder and place in a waxed paper lined container. These will keep, covered in the fridge, for 2 weeks... if they last that long!

**For extra-creamy yumminess, take these out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before you plan to eat them!**


mushroom & garlic quinoa

I bought a big bag of organic quinoa at Costco a while ago, just because I kept hearing about how good it is for you.   When I got home I threw together a dish... and it was a big flop.  And I mean throw-it-in-the-trash big!  Not the quinoa's fault, but needless to say - the bag moved to the back of my cupboard and was quickly forgotten.

If you're not familiar with quinoa, like I wasn't... here's the scoop.  Quinoa is a grain, that is prepared and used much like rice, but is much healthier.  Full of protein and essential amino acids, it is a great pantry item to keep on hand for quick, healthy meals!

I found the bag today and decide to try again.  Keeping things simple this time (which I'm sure was my problem with my first try!) I decided to let the grain shine without too much competition.  I had some mushrooms calling my name in the fridge, and the combination ended up being a winner!

The best part about this dish, besides how easy and good for you it is?  Even my super-picky-almost-two-year-old toddler loved it!  It doesn't get much better than that!  :o)

Mushroom & Garlic Quinoa Recipe

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse the uncooked quinoa really well.  Dump it into a medium pot, pour in the stock and salt & pepper and bring to a boil for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from the heat, cover and for about 5 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking,  heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Put the olive oil and butter in the skillet, heat them until the butter is melted and then toss in the sliced mushrooms.  Let the mushrooms cook, stirring once or twice, until tender and golden.  Stir in the garlic and let it cook for a few seconds until soft.

Toss the mushroom & garlic mixture into the cooked quinoa and serve!


buffalo chicken mac & cheese

This is perfect game-day food.  Guy food at its most basic...  spicy buffalo chicken and rich, creamy macaroni & cheese combine to make a fun, new twist on two favorites.  I love this combination!

This is what I'm bringing to our Super Bowl festivities today...  what are you having?

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese Recipe

1/2 cup butter, divided
1 pound short pasta (rotini or penne)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 chicken breasts, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter a 9x13" baking dish.  Boil the pasta, according to the package directions, until al dente.  (It will continue to cook in the oven!)  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet oven medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook a few minutes, until softened.  Stir in the chicken and garlic, cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside, then add 3/4 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly reduced.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth and light golden brown.  Whisk in the cream and milk, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses and sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the pasta in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining pasta.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly all over the top.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir together with the panko until moistened.  Sprinkle over the pasta and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 minutes!


rotini pasta with brussels sprouts, bacon & cashews

I love brussels sprouts, but tend to forget about them.  They really just don't cross my mind very often... (except around the holidays, of course!)

Well, the other day I was in Trader Joe's and saw this beautiful bag of already washed, ready to go brussels sprouts.  I bought them, just because they looked so good... but I didn't really know what I would do with them.

I knew I wanted to do something with bacon and cashews, because I had seen a recipe with those two ingredients and it intrigued me.  But, I also knew I wanted to make it a meal, with some pasta and a nice, light and creamy sauce...

This dish is what came out of all those thoughts, and it turned out so good!  It will definitely be in our rotation of favorites!

You may wonder why this recipe only calls for a 1/2 pound of bacon, when we all know it usually comes in 1 pound packages?  How annoying, right?

Well, not exactly...  because in this house it is impossible for bacon to be cooked without a large portion of it being 'tasted' by all the sneaky fingers around!  :o)  So, my recipe calls for 1/2 pound to allow you to cook 1 pound and snack on half of it without feeling too guilty!

OK... maybe you will still feel guilty about eating a 1/2 pound of bacon, especially if no one else is to blame, but at least it won't ruin your recipe this way!  ;o)

Rotini Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon & Cashews Recipe

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
(2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound short pasta (rotini or penne works great!), cooked al dente
1 cup lightly-salted cashews, toasted and chopped*

Place the bacon pieces in a cold, large skillet.  Turn the heat to medium, and brown them until they are crisp.  Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let it drain while you prepare the rest of the dish.

If there is too much grease in the pan, drain off some of it leaving about 2-3 tablespoons (along with all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan...  that's where all the flavor comes from!).

Sauté the onions in the reserved bacon grease until softened, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally to scrape up the yummy brown bits off the pan!

Dump in the brussels sprouts and continue to stir and sauté until they are tender, seasoning with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

When the brussels sprouts are almost done (it's better to undercook them, as they will continue to cook in the hot pasta!), turn the heat to low and stir in the chicken stock and cream.  Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced a bit and coated all the brussels sprouts.

Toss in the cooked pasta, and just before serving add the bacon pieces and the cashews!

*To toast the cashews, preheat a dry skillet to about medium heat and put the cashews in the pan in a single layer.  Let them brown lightly, stirring once or twice, until they are toasted, being careful not to let them burn!  Remove them to a plate and set aside until you are ready for them.  (They can, of course, be chopped either before, or after, they are toasted...  it makes no difference!) 


2 months...


my sweet baby boy...
I can't believe it has been 2 months since you were born!  It seems like it has been forever and at the same time like it was yesterday.

In some ways, I can hardly remember life without you...  and I love that!  But I can also still remember every moment of your labor and birth like it just happened, and I love that too!

We are so in love with you, sweet boy!  You have the sweetest, most loving personality already.  You love to smile and 'talk' to us, and you love to be held and looked at...  if you're not having a deep 'eye-contact' conversation, you're just not happy!

Bjørn especially loves being a big brother to you.  He asks for you often and calls you "mah bb!" (my baby).  His favorite thing ever is to give you big sloppy kisses on your mouth.  And it MUST be your mouth, or he is just not satisfied!  :o)

I'm so excited to see watch you grow and show us more and more of your personality.  You are such a gift to this family, and we love that you are a part of it!

Thank you for being my son.  Thank you for trusting me and for giving me those sweet, sweet smiles!

I love you SO much!!



healthy slow cooker chicken & brown rice

Sometimes I just want a crockpot meal that is simple, yet still a healthy dinner to serve my family.  Let's face it... with their usual canned soups, simple carbs, etc. - the easiest meals are often not the healthiest.

Now, this is definitely not a fancy meal, but it is filling, delicious and healthy.  And best of all... takes minimal effort and clean up!

Feel free to switch up the veggies and meat.  This would be great with shredded beef and broccoli, or ground turkey and corn!

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Brown Rice

1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups frozen peas
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Grease the slow cooker insert (to help keep the rice from sticking).  Put the chopped onions, garlic and chicken into the slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken stock, rice and seasonings and microwave until just boiling... around 4-6 minutes, depending on your microwave!

Pour the rice/broth mixture over the onions, garlic and chicken in the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.  About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas and cook until they are just heated through.

Serve warm with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, if you'd like.  So comforting!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails