Review: Cave Tools Kabob Skewers Rack

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Are you grilling this weekend? We have plans to kick off summer with a barbecue. I’m super excited about more dinners on the grill being put into our weekly menu!

If you’ve been reading the blog for a bit now, you know that meat on sticks is a thing around here. I love kabobs and they’re frequently found on our summer menus so I was really excited to try out the Cave Tools Kabob Skewers Rack.

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This was really a dream in making kabobs so, so easy. The meat threaded on much easier than our normal bamboo skewers and I loved the food removal disks. (See those round things on the skewers? You push on them to get all the food off of a skewer – genius!)

The rack is very sturdy, which makes it really easy to transport things to and from the grill. You put the whole rack on the grill – everything cooks as normal but you don’t have to worry about anything sticking (or toddlers complaining about grill marks on their food). It also folds flat for easy storage.

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As an added bonus, it’s dishwasher safe. Because after you’ve survived making dinner with two little kids around, the last thing you want to be doing is scrubbing more.

We loved this and will be using it a ton this summer!

Looking for some inspiration? Some of our past kabob favorites include Chicken Satay Skewers, Chipotle Chicken Kabobs with Avocado Cream Sauce, and Sweet and Sour Chicken Kabobs.

If you want your own kabob skewers rack, they can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code KABOBSET15 to take 15% off. They can also be purchased via Amazon. Cave Tools also has a lot of other fun grilling accessories, I recommend checking them out while you’re browsing!

Sweet Potato Brownies #RecipeMakeover

Jake gets such a kick out of being my sous chef that I let him pick my last project for #RecipeMakeover week.  He picked brownies. Challenge accepted.

These, admittedly, still aren’t the healthiest brownies ever – but they’re a solid step in the right direction. This recipe uses less sweeteners than most and sneaks in some sweet potato to boot. And while I didn’t plan it this way, they’re vegan, too.

I mashed my sweet potatoes with a fork so they were still a little lumpy going into the batter. Jake isn’t picky (and is thrilled with anything chocolate), so he didn’t mind at all, but if you’re catering to a finicky crowd, pureeing the sweet potatoes would be a better way to hide them!

SweetPotatoBrownies

Sweet Potato Brownies
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
Makes 1 9×9 ban

1/2 cup unrefined organic cane sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the almond butter, sweet potato, syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. Fold in chocolate.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan and smooth out evenly in the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top looks dry and puffed. Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Dust with additional cocoa powder, if desired.

Cranberry Honey Banana Bread #RecipeMakeover

Disclosure: I received products from Barlean’s free as part of #RecipeMakeover week. All opinions are my own.

While I’m pretty decent at whipping up a healthy dinner when need be, my baking projects are decidedly different.  Tackling a makeover of one of my most-frequently-baked items – banana bread – seemed like the perfect challenge.

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As I was working on this recipe, I turned to products from #RecipeMakeover sponsor, Barlean’s. Their Butter Flavored Coconut Oil can be subbed 1:1 for butter – so that was a great place to start. Roasting the bananas brought out some more natural sugars, and using Barlean’s Digestive Blend punched up the flavor while adding some good-for-you stuff to the bread (it’s a mix of ground flaxseed, chia seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a pumpkin blend that is remeniscint of pumpkin spice!) My added sweetener here was a local cranberry honey (fun fact: New Jersey is the 3rd biggest cranberry producing state in the US!) – I Iiked the flavor it added, but if you don’t have this available any honey would be great in this recipe.

The result? A banana bread that was really good – and much better for you than my usual go-to loaf.

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Cranberry Honey Banana Bread
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 loaf

4 medium bananas
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Barlean’s Digestive Blend
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cranberry Honey (or regular honey)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line  a baking sheet with foil. Prick the banana peels with a fork, place them on the baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, Barlean’s Digestive Blend, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil, and honey until well combined. Mash bananas and add to the wet ingredients – stir until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the everything is just moistened.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Basil Pancakes #RecipeMakeover

I love pancakes. And my toddler has inherited that love. They used to be something I only made occasionally – on a lazy weekend morning or special occasion – but with Jake requesting them they’ve been in the rotation much more frequently. And, of course, my favorite recipe includes a heavy dose of sugar – and then I slather them in syrup.

Perfect candidate for a recipe makeover!

Instead of sugar, this version is packed with protein – eggs and Greek yogurt make these a great, filling option for the morning. Instead of being slathered with syrup, they’re topped with a compote of fresh strawberries and basil – and just a little honey.

The result is a fresh, filling breakfast that satisfies the pancake cravings in a much healthier fashion.

StrawberryBasilPancakes

Strawberry Basil Pancakes
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
Serves 4

3 cups sliced strawberries
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain Greek yogurt

In a bowl, combine strawberries and honey. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries start to give up their juice. Stir in the basil just before serving.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs and yogurt. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until all moistened.

Drop batter by 2 Tbsp. heaps into a lightly-greased frying pan and spread out a bit. Cook until the edges are dry and flip, cooking an additional minute or so.

Serve pancakes warm, topped with the strawberry basil compote.

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Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu #RecipeMakeover

Disclosure: I received this product for free as part of #RecipeMakeover week. All opinions are my own.

We are grill-obsessed in the summer, so when the opportunity came up to work with Smokin-Os, I was beyond excited. I tend to slather my grill creations in sauce – usually one that’s loaded with sugar. Barbecue, teriyaki, and sweet and sour sauces end up in heavy rotation. With Smokin-Os, though, that’s not necessary.

Smokin-Os are a ridiculously easy way to get all the flavor of smoking with minimal effort. They pack a huge flavor punch without adding any calories. You can see how to use them here.

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When I started brainstorming what I wanted to try and makeover for #RecipeMakeover week, I kept coming back to Chicken Cordon Bleu. I love it, but it’s usually fried and often comes with a heavy sauce. As soon as I got my hands on the Smokin-Os, I knew they’d be a great way to pack a lot of flavor into my dish, while ditching the frying. I was so excited how these turned out!

To find out more about Smokin-Os, like them on Facebook!

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Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu with Smokin-Os
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original
Serves 4

4 thin-cut, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt, pepper, and oregano, to taste
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
4 slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 Original Smokin-Os

Prepare the grill according to the Smokin-Os package directions.

Season chicken breasts to taste with salt, pepper, and oregano. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, and olive oil.

When the grill is ready, spray with non-stick spray and add chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip, brushing the top with the honey-mustard mixture. Cook another 3-4 minutes, flip and brush again. Add 1 slice of ham, topped with one slice of Swiss cheese to each chicken breast and cook for another minute, until the cheese melts.

 

Welcome to #RecipeMakeover Week!

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After a long winter of heavy dishes and sweets, spring is the perfect time to get back to the basics – delicious, whole foods and dishes packed with fruits and veggies that are great for you.

This week, I’ve joined forced with 40+ of my food blogger friends to present #RecipeMakeover. During this week, we’ll all be sharing our favorite better-for-you alternatives. Follow along on any of the blogs below or with the hashtag on social media to find nutritious dishes that are packed with flavor.

I’m going to be concentrating on re-working some of our family favorites using less sugar, healthier preparation methods, and even sneaking in some good stuff to dessert.

A huge THANK YOU to our sponsors, who have made #RecipeMakeover possible! They’ve provided a number of awesome products that you can win by entering our #RecipeMakeover giveaway below.

Just follow the instructions below, and you could win the following prize pack:

  • Butter-flavored coconut oil and digestive blend from our sponsor Barlean’s – Barlean’s butter-flavored coconut oil is an organic, dairy-free alternative that can be used as a 1:1 substitution for butter. Their digestive blend is an organic, vegan combination of flaxseed, chai seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a proprietary pumpkin blend, that is delicious sprinkled into salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and more.
  • Sampler pack of original, mesquite, and applewood Smokin O’s from our sponsor Smokin O’s – Instead of frying, choose a healthier cooking option like grilling! Smokin O’s is an innovative new product that allows you to add a natural wood taste even if you are using a propane grill, and they work great in charcoal grills and smokers too. No soaking, no mess, no wait – just delicious wood flavoring from a 100% natural product with no binders or chemicals.
  • 4 flatbread pizzas from our sponsor American Flatbread – Choose from any of America Flatbread’s 15 all-natural, handmade pizza varieties, available at your local grocery store. These pizzas feature 100% organically grown wheat crusts and are topped with fresh herbs, vegetables, and cheeses (no rBST growth hormone!). They’re all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.
  • 5 containers (48 oz) of ice cream from our sponsor Turkey Hill – Ice cream for a health food event? Try out their line of no-sugar-added products for a sweet treat without the guilt or their line of light ice creams, which have a rich taste with a fraction of the fat. They also have a rainbow sherbet option, which is Vitamin C and naturally low in fat. These all make great dessert options for special occasions. Turkey Hill also believes in implementing green initiatives to cut down on waste, reduce packaging, and minimize outputs into the environment.
  • 15 tuna creations pouches from our sponsor StarKist – StarKist tuna pouches all have at least 13 grams of protein, and their BOLD line now includes three gluten-free varieties: Tuna Creations® BOLD Thai Chili Style; Tuna Creations® BOLD Jalapeño; and Tuna Creations® BOLD Hot Buffalo Style.
  • Mueller Spiral-Ultra 4-Blade Spiralizer from blog hosts, The PinterTest Kitchen – this 4-in-1 gadget allows you to spiralize your favorite veggies, and it also has extra attachments for a juicer, mandolin and grater.

This prize pack is valued at over $200, and one lucky winner will get it all! This giveaway is open world-wide except where prohibited. A winner will be randomly drawn on April 29, at the conclusion of #RecipeMakeover, and the winner will be contact via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all of our participating bloggers. Click the links below to find out what recipes they’re cooking up for #RecipeMakeover:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchRosie Discoverscrave the goodZesty South Indian KitchenThat RecipeThe Domestic DietitianAuthentically CandaceEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Body RebootedCindy’s Recipes and WritingsFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFeeding BigNatural ContentsSeduction In The KitchenEveryday EileenFamily Around The TableFairyburgerJane’s Adventures in DinnerKitchen Counter ChroniclesKate’s Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin’ MamasMeadoe Out on a LimbStrawberry Blondie KitchenMel ClaireCookaholic WifeFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook’s HideoutTwo Lazy GourmetsInk and SugarCookingwithsapanaThe Chef Next DoorSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFrankly EntertainingPalatable PastimeOur Good LifeThe Food Hunter’s Guide to CuisineA Day in the Life on the Farm

Stay tuned to see all of the delicious recipes bloggers create during #RecipeMakeover!

Greek Pizza

Today is Good Friday and the last installment of the Lenten dinner series for the year. And I saved the best for last.

One of our local pizza places makes a salad pizza – it’s basically a warm crust with a garden salad on top and it’s amazing. This is pretty much the Greek salad version of that. There’s something amazing about the contrast of the warm, melt-y feta against the cold crunch of the vegetables. Seriously, if you don’t already have dinner plans, you need to make this tonight.

In the interest of speeding things up (because I have zero patience on Friday nights), I used a pre-made pizza crust for this. You could also use your favorite pizza dough and just bake until the dough is golden brown – probably a few extra minutes.

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Greek Pizza
(slightly adapted from Cooking Classy)
Makes 1 pizza

1 prepared pizza crust
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 oz. shredded mozzarella
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the olive oil and garlic and brush over the prepared crush. Sprinkle the crust evenly with oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Top evenly with mozzarella and then feta.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden. Immediately top with red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, olives, onion, and parsley and serve.

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns

I’m sure none of my long-time blog readers are surprised to see that pizza has made it’s way into the Lenten dinner series. I’m a pizza fan. It was bound to happen.

The beauty of these is – like pizza – you can top them however you want. If it wasn’t Lent, I would have added some pepperoni on top. Ham and pineapple would also be good. These are a great idea if you’re looking for a meal that will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!

QuinaPizzaBurgers

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns
(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Serves 6

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1 cup cooked or canned pinto beans, drained and mashed
6 burger buns
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp. pizza sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and cook for 14 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Combine cooked quinoa, tomato paste, spices, and mashed beans. When well  combined, divide into six equal parts and form into patties.
Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and cook patties over medium heat until both sides are browned and patties are heated through. Top with 1 Tbsp. pizza sauce each and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cheese melt.
Meanwhile, spread melted butter over the cut side of the buns and sprinkle evenly with garlic powder. Broil until toasted.
Serve burgers on toasted buns immediately.

Chocolate Bunny Brownies #ChocolateBunnyPledge

Are you working on filling Easter baskets this week? We are. I’m so looking forward to stocking up on jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies for my crew. You know what won’t be in our Easter baskets? Any live animals.

Each year after Easter, animal shelters and rescue groups get countless requests to take in baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies that were gifted in Easter baskets. It might seem like an adorable idea, but those animals aren’t toys – they’re a lot of work.

The Bunny Hutch is one of these groups and this year they’re asking people to take the #ChocolateBunnyPledge. Will you commit to making your Easter basket fillers candy instead of live animals? Sign the pledge here.

ChocolateBunnyBrownies

And if you’re looking for the easiest Easter dessert ever – featuring a chocolate bunny! – look no further. This is a standard brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe – I love this one.) Take it out of the oven during the last two minutes of baking and press a chocolate bunny and some Cadbury mini eggs into the brownies. Return to the oven for 2 more minutes to let everything meld together. Voila! Easy Chocolate Bunny Brownies.

No-Bake Oreo Pie

It’s been a while since we had something sweet around here. Would you like a slice of pie?

This was actually our pi day pie. Made in the middle of the Nor’easter. I knew we’d be stuck in the house, so I picked a pie that Jake could help with.

We all really enjoyed this and while a frozen pie wasn’t necessarily the best choice for a snowstorm, it’s going to be perfect for summer barbecues!

OreoPie

No-Bake Oreo Pie
(adapted from The First Year)
Serves 8

1 premade Oreo crust
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
10 Oreos chopped, divided
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed, divided
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Stir in half the container of Cool Whip. Stir in 6 chopped Oreos. Spread mixture in the premade crust and freeze for 3 minutes.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a microwave-safe container, microwave heavy cream until just starting to bubble. Pour over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth.  Let cook to room temperature. Pour over the top of the pie and smooth out.

Spread remaining Cool Whip over the pie and then sprinkle remaining chopped Oreos over. Cover and return to the freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove a few minutes before serving.