Peaches and Cream Popsicles

improvchallengeToday, I’m jumping in with a fun, new-to-me group – Improv Cooking Challenge. Each month, there are two ingredients to use – and you can make any kind of dish you want. I’m really excited to jump in and create some fun things in the coming months!

This month’s ingredients were peaches and cream. My first thought was a pie or cake (and I’m kind of hoping some of the other bloggers did this so I can drool over their treats!) but it’s been so ridiculously hot here that popsicles sounded like the best bet. These were delicious – and a relatively healthy treat to boot. Jake and I both loved them!

You can check out all the other peaches and cream dishes bloggers made here:

 

PeachesCreamPopsicles

Peaches and Cream Popsicles
(from Pint Sized Treasures)
Makes 4

2 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Broccoli Apple Salad

Does anyone else crave fresh produce in the summer? I’d blame it on pregnancy, but this happens every year. Farmers’ markets become crazy dangerous because I just want to buy everything.

Summer also makes me lazy, though. I can’t tell you how many times I end up cooking up those impulse farmers’ market just before they go bad. Salads like this that require no cooking are always my best bet.

To my surprise, the toddler really liked this too. I fully expected him to just pick out the cranberries and apples, but the dressing was just sweet enough that he would happily eat it all.

BroccoliAppleSalad

Broccoli Apple Salad
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6-8 as a side

4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 large Gala apples, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrots, onions, apples, pecans and cranberries.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the broccoli mixture and toss until evenly coated.

Refrigerate until serving.

Nutella Topped Rice Krispie Treats

I haven’t had many have-to-have it pregnancy cravings, so when I get one I’ve been indulging. A few weeks ago, it was rice krispie treats. The day after we’d finished off the pan, I was chatting with a friend and mentioned them. She was like, oh yes! I smothered mine in Nutella while pregnant. Which, of course, sounded fantastic so then I needed some like that.

These were, of course, fantastic. Just the right amount of chocolate. I found a fun box of red, white and blue Rice Krispies, too, so they’re extra festive for today! If you need a last minute dessert, I highly recommend these.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

NutellaToppedKrispieTreats

Nutella Topped Rice Krispie Treats
(adapted from Liv Life)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1/4 cup butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Grease a 9×13″ pan. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir often, until melted. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Transfer to the prepared pan and press down evenly.

In a smaller saucepan, combine the Nutella, chocolate chips and shortening. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over the top of the Rice Krispie treats and spread out evenly. Let sit until the chocolate sets then cut into bars.

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

Another great company I was introduced to via #CookoutWeek was Swine Dining. They specialize in small batch, made-by-hand spice mixes – and they’re awesome. They sent us three spice mixes to try and we loved them all.

Their signature blend is “Wimpy’s BBQ Rub” – called Wimpy’s because there’s no heat. We used it last night to make up a batch of our favorite pulled pork. We didn’t miss the heat – and it made it much more toddler-friendly. It was an awesome dinner for the whole family. Wimpy’s is currently available via their Etsy shop. They have plans to launch the other two spice mixes we tried – Jamaican Me Hungry (which I used in these burgers) and Dilly Dust – via Kitckstarter.

As soon I as I saw they sent us a jerk seasoning, I knew I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato burgers. The patties were too soft to place directly on the grill so I opted to bake them and they came out fabulous. If you wanted to get the grilled flavor, you could make them ahead of time and reheat on the grill.

JerkSweetPotatoBurgers

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original}
Serves 8

2 large sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Swine Dining’s Jamaican Me Hungry jerk seasoning
Fresh sliced pineapple
Lettuce
Burger buns

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until very tender. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

Mash half of the black beans and mix into the sweet potatoes. Mix in the remaining black beans, quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg and jerk seasoning until thoroughly combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, flipping halfway.

Serve on a bun, topped with pineapple and lettuce.

SwineDining

 

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake #CookoutWeek

Every good cookout needs a fun dessert – and this is my new favorite.

Cherry Vanilla Coke just reminds me of summer so I was smitten when I saw this cake. It really does capture the flavors nicely. It was my first time making a poke cake, but I have to say I’m hooked. It was so moist! I made this a day ahead and it was perfect on the day of our cookout.

I also loved how easy this was to put together. I always plan ambitious menus for our cookouts so having something this easy was a definite bonus!

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake
(from The Recipe Critic)
Makes 1 9×13″ cake

1 French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 large box cherry flavored Jello
12 oz. Coca Cola
1/2 cup cold water
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for topping

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Once baked, let cool for 15 minutes and then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 1 inch apart all over the cake.

In a bowl, combine the Jello mix, coke and water. Whisk until dissolved and then pour slowly over the cake, filling up the holes as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least half hour.

After the cake is chilled, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping and then ice the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and cherries.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans #CookoutWeek

One of the fun parts of #CookoutWeek has been getting acquainted with some of the sponsors. I got the opportunity to try out True Made Foods sauces and I’m a total convert.

If you haven’t heard of them, the gist is this: they infuse their sauces with vegetables and cut back on the sugar to make a product you can feel good about. Why am I so obsessed with this? I have a toddler that LOVES to dip anything and everything. If I can get some extra veggies in him while he slathers his dinner in ketchup, I’m all about it. This isn’t just a toddler ketchup, though – they’re really good and will easily please a more sophisticated palate. Wins all around.

I used two of the sauces they sent – the ketchup and the bbq sauce – to make up a batch of slow cooker baked beans. They were amazing. While most baked beans are loaded with sugar, these are pretty modest – but you don’t miss it at all. They’re full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any cookout.

CrockpotBakedBeans

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 8-10 as a side

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup True Made Foods Ketchup
1/2 cup True Made Foods Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Add beans and onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over beans and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Vent the lid for the last 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce, if desired.

Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions #CookoutWeek

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for weeks because I wanted to save it for #CookoutWeek – I’m so sorry I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, I’ve officially found my favorite way to grill up sausage.

In the past, I’ve always sort of failed at sausages on the grill. It would sound like such a good idea and then they’d end up undercooked on the inside or overcooked on the outside – or both. Braising them on the grill and then just transferring them to direct heat at the end eliminates all of that – and it’s absolutely delicious.

I had picked up these sausages on a whim at the farmer’s market and they were hands down the best impulse purchase I’ve made in a long time. I already can’t wait to make these again!

SausageSweetSourPeppersOnions

Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions
(from Serious Eats)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 sweet Italian sausage links
Rolls, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced peppers and onions and toss to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes – until softened and browning. Stir in vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Light one side of a grill and allow to preheat for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the peppers and onions to a 10″ disposable aluminum pan. Push the sausages into the pepper mixture.

Place the tray on the heated side of the grill until simmering. Move to the non-heated side and close grill. Cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes, flipping the sausages halfway through.

Use tongs to remove the sausages from the peppers and onto the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning often, until browned – about three more minutes.

Serve sausages in rolls, topped with peppers and onions.

Welcome to #CookoutWeek + the chance to win an awesome prize pack!

_CookoutWeek_Logo2

Guys, this is going to be such a fun week around here! I’ve joined forces with around 50 of our blogging friends for #CookoutWeek – an entire week filled with yummy summer recipes perfect for your next cookout, along with a fun giveaway, courtesy of some awesome sponsors.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I love a summer cookout. Grilling weather is my favorite and I’m happy to get outside for a meal – whether it’s just the three of us or we’re hanging out with family and friends. Summer was just made for cooking and dining al fresco!

So, let’s talk about that prize – because you know you want it. It’s super easy to enter and one lucky winner will get:

It’s pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It’s a prize pack worth over $300! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible.

Enter now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As #CookoutWeek rolls on, I won’t be the only one posting #CookoutWeek recipes – there are nearly 50 bloggers signed on to make this week a real party! Make sure you check in with them to see what they’re dishing up. Here’s the full list of participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Day in the Life on the Farmaddicted 2 recipesAimee Broussard & Co.Amy’s Cooking AdventuresAngels Home Sweet HomesteadBakin’ and EggcerptsBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedCheese Curd In ParadiseCindy’s Recipes and WritingsCook With 5 KidsCook. Craft. Love.Cookaholic WifeCricket’s ConfectionsCrumb: A Food BlogEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Everyday EileenFairyburgerFood ParsedGet the Good Stuff!Goodie GodmotherHezzi-D’s Books and CooksHome in the Finger LakesJennifer CooksJessie WeaverKate’s Recipe BoxLife on FoodLittle House Big AlaskaLittle Scratch KitchenMaking MiraclesMoore or Less CookingRhubarb and HoneySavvy In The KitchenSeduction in the KitchenSimple Food 365Style IslandThanks for Cookin’!The Food Hunter’s Guide To CuisineThe Hungary Buddha Eats the WorldThe Spiffy CookieThe Weekday GourmetThis is How I CookTramplingroseVintage KittyWest Via Midwest

Check back every day this week for some awesome cookout recipes – I’m really excited about what I’ll be sharing! And happy summer!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This pie, you guys, this pie.

I whipped this up for my husband’s birthday and I’m pretty sure it was more well-received than any cake I’ve made him. It’s hard to argue with creamy peanut butter, chocolate and an Oreo crust. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter lover like me, you need to make this ASAP. It’s really just that good.

PeanutButterChocolatePie

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
(from Kevin & Amanda)
Makes 1 pie

1 package Oreos
1 cup butter, divided
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Crush the Oreos in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Stir together with 1/2 cup melted butter. Press into a pie pan or spring form pan. Freeze for 10 minutes or until set.

While the crust is in the freezer, beat together the remaining butter, 1 1/2 cups peanut butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar, until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the crust and gently smooth. Place back in the freezer.

In a heat-proof bowl, add the chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter.

In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Let stand for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth out. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving.

 

What’s Baking: Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars

whatsbaking

I’m officially less than 2 months from my due and I’m starting to feel the crunch. I’m pretty sure by this point with Jake everything was mostly set up, the freezer was filling up with meals and I was (not so) patiently waiting for his arrival. This go, all the baby stuff is still in the basement, there’s list of stuff we still need to buy and any meals that make it to the freezer are retrieved within the week for nights I can’t keep up. I’m pretty much just praying I make it to my due date again because those last two weeks I may finally have some time to get things done.

ChocolateChipPecanCookieBars

One of the things that has been hitting me hard is that my days of me-and-Jake time are coming to an end. He’s at such a fun age right now and I really love spending the day with my little buddy. He’s been super into helping me in the kitchen lately so I’ve been trying to pick recipes that he can be really hands-on with.

The latest theme for What’s Baking was “bars” – and these are perfect for a toddler assistant because there’s no risk of over-mixing and if the quantities aren’t measured out perfectly, that’s just fine. And they only take about five minutes to throw together, which is pretty much how long his attention lasts these days.

TasteTesterJake

Besides being easy, they’re delicious. My little taste tester couldn’t wait to get his hands on one and then all I heard was, “Yum! YUM!” as I packaged them up. I’m sure they’ll be making repeat appearances at our summer barbecues.

TasteTestJake

Want more bar ideas for your summer baking? Check out our host for the month, Cookaholic Wife, for a roundup of all of the goodies the other bloggers made!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars
(adapted from South Your Mouth)
Makes 1 8×8″ pan

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick spray and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set. Let cool completely, then cut into squares. Roll each square in powdered sugar.