March 27, 2018

Carrot banana bread

Banana bread is made even tastier and prettier with tons of little flecks of sweet orange carrots in this moist and delicious loaf! As readers of this blog know, I love playing around with and creating "new" quick bread and muffin recipes. I like it even more now because my kids love them so much, so I'm always looking for ways to sneak in those veggies and reduce the sugar to make them at least somewhat healthy. This bread is simply a modification of my Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Muffins which are also a big hit in our house. Once you have a good quick bread recipe down, you can always play with it to create new flavors. Carrots instead of zucchini, walnuts instead of chocolate chips, baked in a loaf pan instead of a muffin pan - Bingo! As readers know I really want to raise adventerous eaters and kids who will at least try and not fear food. My twins are only 20 months old and while they ate pretty much everything when I was making baby food, toddlerhood is a different story. We try, but inevitably there are protests and food throwing and tears at times. We always offer everything we eat and encourage them to try things. I rarely make them an alternative "kid" food, but I always make sure to offer something I know they love - like fruit, cheese, or yogurt, along with a unfamiliar foods so they don't feel overwhelmed. It's a learning process for all of us to say the least! And while I love to sneak extra vegetables into things like breads, muffins, and pancakes, I also want them to be exposed to vegetables in their whole form. We also have this Eating the Alphabet book which gets them excited to learn fruits and vegetables of all kinds! But, I don't think I'll be stopping the extra vegetable "sneaking" anytime soon. This recipe will make one loaf of quick bread.

March 21, 2018

Baked carrot cake oatmeal

All the flavors of carrot cake put into a hearty and delicious baked oatmeal breakfast. This recipe is my contribution to this month's Fantastical Food Fight hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. March's theme is: Carrot Cake! I am a huge carrot cake fan. I have sometimes requested my mom to make it for my birthday and we even had it for our wedding cake. I knew I wanted to do something a little different than making a traditional carrot cake for this event (though now I really would like a carrot cake). Over the past year I've been making baked oatmeal more frequently because my kids really enjoy it (I've made peanut butter, pumpkin, and zucchini bread versions for them). Plus, lately I've been putting vegetables into basically everything, so I thought our oatmeal breakfast would be a perfect place to showcase all the flavors of a carrot cake (even a cream cheese topping). We usually eat our baked oatmeal scooped into a bowl with a little milk, or cut into squares as best as possible (as it can be crumbly). For this version, I like it with just a big dollop of the cream cheese topping!

March 13, 2018


Spätzle are a soft egg noodle found in German, Austrian, Hungarian, and other cuisines. When we make Spätzle it is usually as a side to German dishes like German meatloaf, Schnitzel, sausages with sauerkraut, Rouladen, etc. If you follow me over on Instagram and were checking out my stories recently, you saw that I was was having fun making these over the weekend. As I've mentioned here before, one of my favorite cookbooks is the classic The German Cookbook. The base Spätzle recipe comes from that book. I have a Spätzle maker that used to belong to my husband's grandparents, but they are not necessary for making Spätzle (although they are fun and help to make more all at once). You can serve them right out of the boiling water, or you can transfer them to a skillet and toss them with some melted butter and parsley, as I did here. They are terrific to serve with dishes that have a gravy and sauce as well. This recipe will feed about 4-6 people as a side dish.

March 8, 2018

Sheet pan kielbasa, cabbage, & potato dinner

This easy meal filled with smoky sausage, sweet carrots, cabbage, and potatoes and drizzled with a maple, mustard, and apple cider vinegar sauce is a simple and filling weeknight dish! I've been making this dinner since I first got inspiration over at the amazing Budget Bytes about a year ago. I've changed it over time and also scaled it up a bit to feed our hungry family of four and it remains one of my favorite simple and budget-friendly dinners. I'm trying to post more frugal recipes on my blog lately as being a frugal mama is where I am these days. Since we are getting close to St. Patrick's Day, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots tend to be on sale and even more budget-friendly than usual, so this is a great time of the year to try out this meal. It's also very adaptable - you can easily add more or less of the vegetables that you wish. You can use red or russet potatoes instead or yellow. I use turkey kielbasa (a great Aldi find!), but you can use your favorite kind. This meal will feed about four people depending on age and hunger level.