Butternut Squash, Kale & Turkey Sausage Crockpot Soup

Here's a quick crockpot soup that's absolutely delicious and full of all kinds of good stuff.  I use my crockpot(s...I have six) all Fall/Winter long and this creation was a favorite with the entire fam.  Enjoy!  Feel free to make it vegetarian by substituting Vegetable Stock and omitting the Turkey Sausage.  But don't leave out my secret ingredient...just a bit of applesauce!  It gives it a tiny bit of sweetness that tastes amazing. This also makes a huge batch, feel free to halve this (but I like leftovers).
Butternut Squash, Kale & Turkey Sausage Crockpot Soup

3 cups chopped Butternut Squash (bite-sized pieces)
3 cups chopped Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups Kale, torn in small pieces
1.5 lbs Turkey Sausage
64 ounces Chicken Broth (homemade or storebought)
1/2 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, diced
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
1/2 cup Rainbow Quinoa, uncooked
Shredded parmesan, optional, for serving

Brown turkey sausage in a medium saucepan until cooked. (this is actually optional but I like to cook my sausage first).  Place  all other ingredients in a 6-quart Crockpot and cook on low  heat for 6-8 hours. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese and with crusty bread.  Serves 10.


Back to the Future Cake

Great Scott!!
Is it really 10/21/2015?
I haven't been posting much except on Social Media but couldn't let today go by without a Back to the Future Cake!  So, grab three (yes, THREE) ingredients and let's go on a culinary adventure...no need to put your shoes on, where we're going we don't need roads.

Doc's Tab Soda & Toffee Chocolate Dump Cake
1 Can TAB Soda (or any soda)
1/2 cup Toffee Bits
1 box Betty Crocker Triple Fudge Cake Mix
Icing (optional) or Whipped Cream, for garnish

I'm almost embarrassed at how easy this is.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan.  In a medium bowl, combine cake mix and soda, pour into pan.
 Sprinkle toffee bits over cake batter.  Bake 35-40 minutes until set.
It's delicious served up just like this w/ a little whipped cream!
Since this was ridiculously easy, if you want to you can get crazy and frost the cake "Welcome Home Uncle Joey" style.

If you want to download and print this DeLorean Time Clock, click on the image below or HERE.
Have fun and The Future is YOURS, make it amazing!!


Blondies, Turkey Meatballs and Insta

Hey Foodie Friends!

I know I haven't posted on here in forever. However, I love sharing food things with all of you and hearing from you!
To help keep the food ideas and conversation flowing, I've been posting more on social media sites, a ton of you are already there but if you haven't yet, come follow me on Instagram! It's fast, fun, and I'm sharing quick recipes and fitness ideas (and also I can multi-task by stalking my tween's friends;)). Or, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Here are couple recipes we recently posted, come join the conversation and please share your own food photos/ideas that you'd like featured!

 Turkey Meatballs 

So easy to throw into pastas, soups, on top of salads, you name it.  I make up a batch of these bad boys almost every weekend!
-32 ounces ground turkey
-2 cups shredded veggies (whatever floats your boat--I used a combination of zucchini, yellow squash, orange bell pepper and onion)
-1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
-salt & pepper to taste
-and the secret ingredient: 1 Tbsp sugar free grape jelly!! (Do it, I swear it's good)
Mix all together, roll into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Makes 50. 

One-Bowl Blondies

 So easy the kids can make them while you get a Sunday nap. If you don't have this recipe in your go-to collection, give it a try! They're fantastic and a staple around this joint.

One stick (4 ounces, 113 g) Butter
1 cup (218 g) Brown Sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup (125 g) white flour
1 cup TOTAL of your favorite mix-ins: chocolate chips, raisins, pecans, white chocolate chips, the possibilities are endless. (I used dark chocolate chunks and pecans for these)

Directions: preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease an 8" x 8" square pan or a 9" round pie pan. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl for 60 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set. Cool and cut into bars.

Notes: no, it wasn't a typo, there isn't any leavening (baking soda or powder) in these bars. Just sugary, buttery goodness.



 Is it a brownie...a cookie?....it's BOTH! 
Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?I tweaked my favorite triple chocolate brownie recipe to make it a more dough-like consistency, combined it with our favorite chocolate chip dough and voila!  Magic!
This recipe is for perfect for our Colorado high altitude, there are slight changes for the chocolate chip dough (see notes) if you're at sea level.  Enjoy!

Brookies Triple Chocolate Brownie Dough
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (approx. 6 oz) Dark chocolate chunks
1 cup (approx. 6 ox) semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, place 8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips, 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.   Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar until light yellow and thick, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt. Fold in melted chocolate mixture, then add baking powder and flour. Add dark chocolate chunks and semi-sweet chips (Note: If you can’t find dark chocolate chunks, substitute semi-sweet for all).  Place batter in the freezer to cool while you make the chocolate chip cookie dough.

Brookies Chocolate Chip Dough

2 sticks Butter (1 cup)
¾ C. Granulated Sugar
¾ C. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Eggs
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
2 ¾ C. Flour
1 ½ C. Chocolate Chips

Whip butter until creamy, then add sugar and beat. Add salt, vanilla & egg. Sift flour and soda then add to mixture. Add chocolate chips and stir well.  Note: This is for HIGH ALTITUDE. For sea level, increase baking soda to 1 tsp., reduce flour to 2 ½ c. and only add one egg.

To bake Brookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop out heaping teaspoons of each dough then roll gently into a ball.   Place on Silpat baking sheet (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet.  Repeat for each cookie. 
 Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cookies sit on pan for several minutes before removing to cooling racks.  Makes approx. 4 dozen large Brookies.


Quick Halloween Treats

HALLOWEEN is here and my dear friend Caryn (aka Sassy Mama) and I whipped up some quick last minute treats on Oklahoma City News9!  Here are two ideas your spooks are sure to scream about!
And of course, we had to do it in costume as...
First up, how about some
Caramel Apple Nachos
I love caramel apples but if you're feeding a crowd it would take an insane amount of time to make. We spread sliced apples on a platter and added all the ooey-gooey ingredients that make caramel apples delicious.  I also love that I can have portion control...just a few slices to satisfy my sweet tooth!  Check out just how quick we put them together (and some silliness!):

  • 2 packages pre-sliced apples (I got mine at Sam's Club)
  • 1 jar caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 package Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 package M&M's
  • gummy worms
  • mini marshmallows
  • any other toppings you want!
  1. Place apples on a large platter. Drizzle with ice cream topping then top with crushed cookies and candies. Serve!
Next, I made up some cute Black Cat Crunch labels that you can print and attach to sandwich bags for super cute spooky snack mix!  Watch Caryn and I whip it up HERE!
Click HERE to download/print the snack labels.  
GO HERE for Caryn's Meow Mix recipe

You can watch Caryn weekly on Oklahoma City News9 for fun recipe ideas or follow her food blog adventures HERE.


Tru Mooooooo for Halloween!

In October, all my ghouls and goblins are on the prowl for treats!  I love having fun goodies at Halloween but I always find myself looking for ways to have spooky treats that's a little more healthy.  So, imagine how excited I was when I spottted
Limited Edition Halloween TruMoo Chocolate Milk and  
TruMoo Limited Edition Vanilla Milk!
 My kids loooove TruMoo and got really excited about the fun Halloween packaging...are those fangs I see?
 (I love it because TruMoo contains 35% less total sugar than the leading chocolate milk, contains no high fructose corn syrup, and is a great quality milk...but don't tell my little Vampire that.)
I think TruMoo is a great treat on it's own but if you want to spook it up a little bit more, try out a Spooky Smoothie:
We are definitely going to use TruMoo for our annual
Spooky Cereal Buffet

This spooky buffet also a great idea for a school class party!!
Also, now through October 31, you can win a Haunted Hollywood Vacation from TruMoo

Now through October 31st, you can find a unique code located on the cap sticker of specially marked Limited Edition TruMoo Halloween Vanilla (tinted orange) and Chocolate milks. These codes can be entered online at www.TruMoo.com for a chance to win a Haunted Hollywood Vacation trip! Also, when you enter the code, you will have the option to receive $2 off any Goosebumps DVD. 

To enter your code:
1. Go to the TruMoo website at www.TruMoo.com
2. Once you are on the site, click on the "Enter Now" button on the home screen
3. You will then be directed to the Sweepstakes page where you can enter your code!

Disclosure: I was given information and was compensated by TruMoo for this post.  All opinions, as always, are my own.


Tailgate Bonanza with Pork and Kroger!

There's not much I love more than a great Tailgate Party!  Our friends and family are quite divided fans but regardless of what team we cheer for, everyone loves great food and great company on Game Day!  I wish there was a way every one of you could come on over to try some of the amazing things we've cooked up with Pork
 Since you all can't be here in person, to celebrate Pork and Tailgating, I’m giving away a

so you can stock up on plenty of Pork and other party supplies at Kroger!
Here's what we'll send to you:
-One portable outdoor grill
-Taylor digital thermometer
-Tailgate cooler (contains divided areas to keep your drinks and food separate, storage pockets and an attached bottle opener)
- $100 gift card to Kroger Supermarkets.
Time's up! We have a winner! 

who said..."
I tweeted
Now, back to the Paaaaaaartay!...
We started at King Soopers (our local store in the Kroger Family) to stock up on great Pork products and party supplies.
 They had everything we needed, including some Broncos gear (We're NFL Broncos Fans and NCAAF Ohio State Buckeye fans all the way!)
Now on to the menu!  The stars of the show were definitely the Marmalade Ribs

and Smoked Pork Sliders

We also whipped up a batch of our family-favorite 50 Yard Fiesta Dip

as well as some Spicy Corn Bake

Throw your favorite drinks in the cooler and bring along treats (High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies) and you've got one great tailgate!

BBQ Marmalade Ribs
4 lbs Pork Ribs

Rib Rub:
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp paprika
1 T garlic powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper

BBQ Marmalade Sauce:
3 C your favorite BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray)
2 T honey
¼ C. orange marmalade 
combine all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
To prepare Ribs in either an oven or smoker:
Conventional Oven:  Preheat to 300 degrees F.  Coat ribs with rub mixture.  Wrap ribs in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 2 ½ hours.  Remove from oven, coat ribs generously with BBQ Marmalade.  At this point, I like to put the ribs in the fridge (can make ahead up to 24 hours) then when it’s Tailgate time, put them on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes each side to heat them up and sear the sauce. 

Smoker: If you have a smoker, here’s our favorite way to cook these ribs.  Set smoker to 225 F.
Coat ribs with rub mixture, place in smoker for 3 hours.  Remove ribs, coat with a thin coating of BBQ Marmalade and wrap in aluminum foil.  Continue smoking for 2 hours.  Remove ribs, coat generously with sauce and smoke for 1 additional hour.

Smoked Pork Sliders
We created a "Sliders Buffet" so everyone could make their own creations!  This is great for a crowd, especially if you have kids in the mix.

Pork Loin, around 3 lbs.
coarse Kosher Salt
liquid smoke (in the spice aisle)
24 King's Hawaiian Rolls or other small rolls
3 cups your favorite BBQ Sauce
Honey Mustard
Creamy Horseradish
Butter Pickle Slices
Sliced Olives
Cole Slaw (homemade or storebought)
Sliced Provelone Cheese

Directions:Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Lay out two large sheets of aluminum foil. Lay two large sheets of plastic wrap on top of foil. Placepork loin on the plastic wrap (this keeps the moisture in! It's an amazing slow-roasting secret!:)). Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and liquid smoke, rub all over pork loin. Wrap up plastic wrap tightly around pork loin and then wrap with aluminum foil. Place in large roasting pan. Repeat with other loin half. Bake at 225 degrees 7-10 hrs. until done.  Remove from oven and shred pork.  At this point you can refrigerate or freeze for later use.  To make sandwiches, place Pulled Pork in a slow cooker.  Add BBQ Sauce and heat on low until pork is warm.  Place remaining ingredients in seperate bowls along with a basket of rolls.  Let guests place desired amount of pork on a roll then add toppings to create their own smoked pork creations!

Need More Tailgate Inspiration?  Check out the Tailgating with Pork and Kroger Pinterest board!  You can even repin your favorites for a chance to win a $250 Gift Card!

Disclaimer: I am being compensated by the National Pork Board and Kroger for this recipe and tailgate promotion.