Snow is coming – get your bowls out!
Today is Giving Tuesday – a day for giving back and donating after the crazy consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, instead of highlighting cool kitchen gifts, I wanted to showcase some gifts that will make a difference in someone’s life. These are all reputable groups that help a variety of causes – perfect for the foodies on your list.
International Rescue Committee is on the ground across the world helping in a variety of humanitarian crises, including the current Syrian refugee crisis. You can support their efforts by buying a symbolic Rescue Gift this holiday season. For $53, you can provide emergency cook stoves to eight uprooted families. $68 will provide a month of emergency food packets for 50 children. $135 will provide a refugee farmer with the tools needed to start a farmers’ market stand. IRC will send a card announcing the gift to the recipient.
Mercy Corps works throughout the world helping those suffering poverty and rebuilding communities. They’re also assisting with the Syria refugee crisis both in and outside of Syria, in addition to helping provide food security in Mali and Niger, giving mobile technology to farmers in Indonesia and Uganda and other efforts. Their symbolic gifs – called Mercy Corps Gifts – also send a card to the recipient. A donation of $25 supplies an entrepreneur with the equipment needed to run a Tea Booth. $30 helps grow an acre of rice in a community. Or, you can equip a bakery for just $65.
Oxfam is working toward a world without poverty in more than 90 countries. In the US, works to expose the injustice of poverty and offer solutions. Their symbolic gifts include a pair of chickens to help feed a family for $18 and, for $30, the resources to plant a vegetable garden. All gifts are acknowledged with a card.
Feeding America does exactly what their name suggests. They run a variety of programs to combat hunger in the US. A donation through their gift catalogue goes to providing nutritious food through their food bank network.
Gifts that Give Back
Unicef strives to give all children a fair chance at life through programs that combat hunger, provide immunizations and support education. Gifts purchased through the Unicef Market benefits children in need around their world and they have a variety of great options to dress up your table. The purchase of this pitcher, for example, can provide 141 sachets of oral rehydration salts, which can help children combat dehydration and diarrhea.
Feed My Starving Children helps feed malnourished children and has worked in nearly 70 countries. 92% of their donations go directly into the food program. Their marketplace has a variety of gifts that support their programs. These spoons, handmade by artisans in Swaziland, provides 62 meals to children in need.
FEED raises money through their product lines to provide meals. They help fund school meals, emergency relief, mother-child nutrition and man more projects. Their signature bags make great shopping totes but they also have wine totes, which would be great for holiday gifting, and beautiful kitchen gifts including this cutting board.
All Across Africa is a benefit corporation that creates market-driven employment opportunities to improve and empower the lives of rural and poor people across Africa. They have a whole shop of beautiful, fair-trade kitchen items, including these gorgeous baskets made in Rwanda.
Food for a Cause
OneHope Wine gives a portion of their sales to charitable causes – each bottle helps something different. Their California White Blend helps fight cancer while their Pinot Noir helps get clean water to people who need it. Or, this gorgeous, glittery bottle of sparkling wine provides 15 meals to a child in need.
That’s Caring donates one weekend’s worth of meals to a food insecure child in the US for every gift basket purchased. Why weekend bags? Students that rely on school lunches don’t have access to those resources during the weekends – and these help fill the gaps. Their wine and cheese baskets are a great option to send to far-flung foodie friends.
Lambs Farm creates a safe working and living environment for people with developmental disabilities. All of their products are made by the people of Lambs Farm and support their programs. They have fudge, preserves and even treats for the foodie fido!
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer helps fund research on pediatric cancers. Cookies ship the same day they’re baked – a great holiday treat. Order a package of your favorite flavor or join the cookie of the month club.
Women’s Bean Project employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women through transitional employment. Their products include soup mixes, baking mixes and fun gift bundles. They are made by women in the program and help support the program’s future.
Sharing meatless meals on Fridays during Lent has become my favorite blog series over the years. I love finding new things to try and love hearing that the ideas help others break out of the stereotypical pizza or pasta with tomato sauce rut. And the annual Ash Wednesday post rounding up some of my favorite meatless meals from the previous year has been some of the most popular posts on my blog.
Today is Ash Wednesday so, of course, I’m sharing the annual round-up. And Friday will kick off the Lenten dinner series for this year.
On Saturday, Eat at Home is hosting a Virtual Freezer Cooking Party on Facebook. So fun! This is a great excuse to try out some new recipes, fill up your freezer and get to chat with other people while you do it. We stocked the freezer before Jake was born and it was so, so helpful that I’ve kept it going. The last few weeks have been busy so we’ve depleting our stash fast. I’m so excited for this excuse to restock!
I haven’t narrowed down exactly what I’ll make for this party, yet, put I did pull together some of my favorite freezer-friendly recipes on the blog for inspiration. If you’re looking for some new or different freezer recipes, this should give you some ideas!
Dump-and-Freeze Crockpot Recipes
For all of these, you can add all the ingredients straight to a gallon freezer bag and pop in the freezer. They can go straight from the bag to the slow cooker!
Casseroles are just perfect for the freezer. Prep up until the final baking step, then toss in the freezer.
Baked Ziti with Sausage
Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Lazy Lasagna Bake
Taco Stuffed Shells
Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Freezable Burritos and Enchiladas
Tex-Mex is my go-to freezer food cuisine. Enchiladas I’ll divide into smaller pans with 2-3 servings. Burritos I’ll wrap individually in foil and then group in a gallon freezer bag. Many of these start with cooked, shredded chicken – it’s easy to throw in the crockpot and cook the night before so you have less to do during your big freezer-cooking day.
Garlic Beef Enchiladas
Bean and Rice Burritos
Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos
Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos
BBQ Pork Enchiladas
Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Baked Chicken Mole Enchiladas
Baked Chicken Burritos
Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas
Burger Patties and Sandwiches You Can Make and Freeze
I often freeze extra burger patties so we can enjoy the meal again later. I will prepare the patties, wrap them in freezer paper individually and then place them in sandwich or quart size bags. Buns go into another bag – as will any sliced cheese or other freezable toppings. I’ll group all of these bags into one gallon bag so that the whole sandwich stays together in the freezer.
Hawaiian Hula Pork for Sandwiches
Barbecue Chicken Burgers
Chicken Parm Burgers
Kickin’ Chicken Burgers
Teriyaki Chicken Burgers
Chicken Caesar Burgers
Jalapeno Popper Burgers
Black Bean Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers
These can all be baked and frozen – reheat for an easy morning meal.
Get these baked or prepped and package them by individual servings before freezing for easy treats.
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
Mini Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie Pies
“Fried” Ice Cream
No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Monster Magic Cookie Bars
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you’ve tried to use the recipe index page in the last year or so, you’ve probably noticed it was a hot mess. It was ugly, hard to navigate and updated incredibly infrequently. I apologize if it annoyed you – it annoyed me too.
So, I spent a whole bunch of time and moved everything over to Pinterest to create a visual index. Now you can browse a variety of categories with colorful pictures, instead of just the recipe name. And in addition to the basic categories I’ve been using – Breakfast, Dessert, etc. – I’ve created a slew of new ones, including one devoted entirely to pizza. Yes.
As an added bonus, if you’re a Pinterest user, this will make it super easy to follow every recipe I post and pin your favorites!
I’m a visual person so this works for me. I hope it works for you guys, too.
Clicking “Recipe Index” at the top of the page will take you there. Or, click here to check it out.
If you run into screwy links or anything, let me know and I’ll get them fixed up. And let me know if there are other categories you’d like to be able to browse by. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in general, too!
On Saturday, I hosted one of the most fun get-togethers I’ve had in a while – a soup swap party. It was like a cookie swap, but more appropriate for January weather. Everyone brought 4 1-quart containers of soup for swapping and then some extra to sample.
As everyone arrived, I noted their soup on a chalkboard right outside the kitchen for everyone to see.
To go along with the soup, I set up a DIY grilled cheese bar for lunch. It was super easy and super fun.
Since things were super causal, I just laid out ingredients on a disposable table cloth and made quick notes to explain the flow of things and label ingredient choices.
1) Grab some bread – I had out wheat and white.
2) Add some cheese – there was a choice of American, Jalapeno Cheddar and Swiss.
3) Top it off – personalize your sandwich with regular mayonnaise, garlic mayonnaise, sriracha mayonnaise, ketchup, tomato slices, roasted red peppers, pickles, caramelized onions, pear slices, bacon and ham.
4) Heat it up – I had out two panini grills for toasting the creations.
And 5) Grab some soup. We heated up some of everyone’s soup and divided them into shot glasses. Add mini spoons and they were perfect for sampling!
After we’d eaten, we voted on soup awards and the winners took home mini bags of chocolates as recognition.
For favors, I found microwavable soup mugs at my favorite dollar store. I added mini loaves of homemade bread too, since they seemed like the perfect soup accompaniment.
For the kids that came, I filled their soup mugs with baby Goldfish crackers and picked out some fun coloring books.
At the end, we divided up the soup so everyone left with 4 quarts of soup.
It was such a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon – I’m already looking forward to next year’s soup swap!
Yesterday, I shared the recipes that were most popular with readers in 2014. Today I’m highlighting some of my favorites. I would highly recommend all of these recipes! They’re some of the best things to come out of my kitchen this year.
I love a good fondue. We really love this Golden Pizza Fondue, so I don’t do much experimenting with other cheeses, but this one was a huge hit.
These were my favorite meatless meal of the year and officially became my go-to meatless burger.
This was on my to-make list for so long it’s shameful. I’m always a sucker for chocolate/peanut butter desserts, but this one is particularly awesome.
These quick, easy kabobs were a go-to all summer. And I made the avocado cream sauce every time I could, even if it wasn’t for these. Such a fantastic combo!
I was thrilled to track down this recipe and make these after a few year lapse. These are going to be a regular in our summer rotation. And looking at that picture is making me miss grilling weather!
This is another dish I’ve made several times and finally got around to blogging. I’m glad I finally shared these, because I really do love them and they make a great freezer meal.
Oh, summer, how I miss you! These were part of my ongoing quest to switch up our side dishes and they were so, so good.
Another new side dish – this one first appeared when we had an abundance of green beans in the garden, but I keep making them because they’re so addictive.
Chicken tenders are a comfort food for me and this sweet-and-spicy version was absolutely awesome.
These were amazing, and quite possibly my favorite dessert of the year. I’m thrilled to have a go-to recipe!
Now, that we’ve looked back, some looking forward: What will Kate’s Recipe Box look like in 2015? Mostly the same, I think.
In 2014, I ended up focusing a lot on meals that were quick, could be made in the slow cooker or were freezer-friendly. Now that we’ve sort of settled into life with a baby, these are dominating our meal plans. Of course, special meals and treats will always find their way in, too!
I’m also going to work on a mini cooking bucket list for the year. I know trying to make homemade bagels will be on it – I’m still debating what other new things I want to tackle.
Do you have any cooking goals or resolutions for 2015?
I’ve been looking forward to this recap for a few weeks now. This year has felt both so long and so short. I spent the first half pregnant, and the second half adjusting to motherhood. In my head, I haven’t done much cooking so it’s been nice to look back on the blog and see that wasn’t really the case. Here’s a rundown of the most popular recipes I blogged this year.
10 – Dill Pickle Dip
I’m thrilled this one made the list – if it hadn’t been here, it would have been on my list of favorites. We polished it off embarrassingly fast. If you like pickles, you’ll love this.
9 – Ranch Veggie Dip
This is another great dip that I’m glad made the list. Once you try this, you’ll never buy a pre-packaged version again.
I had forgotten about this dish, which is one of the reasons I love these look-back posts. With a string of solo dinner nights coming up in the next few months, I’ll definitely be making this again.
This was one of the meals I stocked the freezer with before Jacob was born and it was probably my favorite of all the meals we pre-prepped. That pineapple slaw is really something special.
This was an adaption of my favorite Strawberry Sour Cream Pie, made when we had an abundance of cherries. It was fantastic, and I’m glad this made the list.
This was another dish I’d forgotten about that I need to make again soon. Thanks, readers, for reminding me of this one!
I was a bit surprised this one made the list. While I like playing around with snow ice cream flavors, I generally prefer the classic version. I’m glad to see that my readers enjoy the variations!
These were a delicious part of our St. Patrick’s Day menu – and will probably turn into a yearly tradition.
The third dip to make the list – I guess you guys like your dips, huh? It’s cool, because I do too. This one was super decadent and a fun treat while watching football. It’d be a lot of fun to track down M&Ms in applicable team colors for the Super Bowl.
I feel like these are a really fitting dish for the most popular of the year. My biggest pregnancy craving was pizza, so it’s nice to see one of my indulgences top the list.
Did your favorite recipe of the year make the list? Check in tomorrow to see my favorites of the year.
From my family to yours, I hope you have a wonderful holiday full of good food and good company.
For the last several years, Eating Rules has hosted October Unprocessed– a challenge to forgo processed food for the month. This year, I’m joining in.
We do a fairly good job of eating like this on a normal basis, but there are always things that find their way into the kitchen that could be better. Going completely unprocessed has been a goal of mine for a while and this seems as good of an excuse as any to bite the bullet and actually try it.
What is considered “unprocessed”? We’re using Eating Rules’s kitchen test – if a person with reasonable kitchen skills could make it in a home kitchen with whole food ingredients, it’s unprocessed. What does that mean in layman’s terms? It means things like canned tomatoes, peanut butter and humus I don’t necessarily have to make myself – I just plan on buying versions that I could make, if I really wanted to.
We will have two exceptions for the month – we’re going to two weddings and will be partaking in the festive food, whatever that may be, but any of our own cooking and eating out will be as unprocessed as possible.
So, for the month of October, I’m going to be sharing recipes that fit the bill for the challenge. It’ll be a little different than usual, but it should be interesting!