Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Doing the Whole30 sure has been eye-opening. I’m eleven days in and super happy with the changes (non scale victories) and most of all, the food. Especially my favorite meal of the day, breakfast! I’m all about quick wins for the morning, so I spent some time today prepping this sweet potato breakfast casserole to eat throughout the week.

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

To make this savory (Whole30 Compliant) breakfast (that I’ve also had for lunch and dinner), you’ll need:

  • 8×8 casserole baking pan (this one is great because it has a lid for saving your leftovers) and a cookie sheet (treat yourself to a good set like these), each greased with EVOO spray
  • 2 large sweet potatoes – 1 cut in thin slices and 1 cut in cubes
  • Veggies of choice (recommend onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or spinach)
  • 8 large eggs

Start off by roasting your sweet potato slices in the 8×8 pan (line it with the slices) and your vegetables on the cookie sheet. This happens best in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes (recommend stirring the veggies at 10 minutes in).

SweetPotatoBreakfastCasserole_0011

While the veggies are roasting, whisk the eight eggs together. If you like spicy, mix in some red pepper flakes or garlic.

Once the veggies are roasted, pile them into the casserole dish on top of the sweet potato slices (they’re going to serve as the “base” / what bread normally would do here).

I really could have just ate these veggies…

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Now pour the whisked eggs over the veggies and put the casserole dish back in the oven for another 20 minutes. You’ll want to be sure the egg cooks all the way through.

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You can now cut and store this (I still was enjoying four days in), eating it when you need a quick-win meal.

If you are not doing the Whole30, you might be all like WHERE IS THE CHEESE?!?!? Let me tell you, as a cheese addict, I was skeptical at first. Try it first, the sweet potato gives it something special, something that cheese would cover up. Just trust me.

PRO TIP: If you are doing the Whole30, perhaps you’ll want to pair this with some fruit or top with a compliant hot sauce. Totally recommending both. This is hearty and delicious! Need a compliant hot sauce? Tessamae’s is a choice of many Whole30 vets! Click the photo to get it shipped right to your door from Amazon! 

What is your favorite breakfast casserole? 

Holiday Oreo Truffles

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MerryMeals #CollectiveBias

holiday oreo truffles

Every year I go crazy getting things *just right* for the holidays, especially when it comes to cookies and treats. I have a weakness for chocolate and think that everyone else should enjoy it like I do, too. Thankfully my neighborhood Giant Eagle is close enough to home and work to help when I’m shopping for the ingredients I need.

This holiday season will be no different. I’ve already started preparing for things – like teacher and hostess gifts. My holiday Oreo truffles have been a go-to since the year Evan was born and I stayed up all night making them for Christmas morning. (Why? Because myself, Pop-Pop, and Aunt LiLi were eating them as fast as I made them.) I’ve learned my lesson and like to keep some on hand to pop into holiday themed bag and pair with a card for those last minute events.

The preparation started on Black Friday. Greg and I were shopping and we ran over to Giant Eagle to get our ingredients. For sure, I needed the Oreos. When we got to the cookie aisle, I was overwhelmed with the choices of flavors available this year. Greg decided for me – Red Velvet to remember our wedding cake.

Find your favorite Oreo flavors in the cookie aisle at Giant Eagle!
Find your favorite Oreo flavors in the cookie aisle at Giant Eagle!
Look at those choices!
Look at those choices!

Next up were the holiday storage bags. Giant Eagle has a great option in their store brand bags, so we went with that. (If you’re looking for these specific ones in your store, look for a special display!)

bagaisle

 

While I was looking for the cream cheese, I decided some cheese cubes and crackers were also something good to have on hand for holiday visitors, so I picked up some Club Crackers. (Bonus? The twins love munching on these!)

 

club crackers

We headed home and I called upon my ‘lil helpers to get the Oreo truffles going.

Holiday Oreo Truffles

To make holiday Oreo truffles, you will need:

  • 1 package of Oreos – your choice of flavor
  • 1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese – I like to lighten it up with reduced fat, but the truffles are a little mushier with this option
  • 3-4 squares of almond bark (found in the baking aisle)
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil or shortening

Step One: Using a food processor, finely crumble the Oreos. (You can also do this with a storage bag and a rolling pin, but I’ve found that it leaves the filling stuck to the bag.)

oreoprocess

Step Two: Mix in the {softened} cream cheese until fully mixed.

oreoprocess2

Step Three: Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

Step Four: Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on a freezer-safe dish with waxed paper and store in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to set.

oreoballs

Step Five: Melt the almond bark with 2 TBSP of your oil of choice (see ingredients).

Step Six: Remove the truffle balls from the freezer and cover with the melted chocolate. Return to the freezer safe plate. Place the dish back in the freezer until the chocolate hardens (30-60 minutes).

oreocover

Step Seven: Enjoy, or store in holiday storage bags until ready to share at holiday gatherings or as gifts. (Bonus – I like to pair them with a Hallmark Holiday greeting card when giving as teacher or hostess gifts!)

truffles

oreotrufflegift

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It’s great to have treats on hand for visitors and parties, but I also try to stay balanced. That’s why I added Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt drinks to my holiday shopping list. They’re great to wash down these truffles or to just have on hand for a snack when you want to raid the fridge of all the yummies! What’s YOUR go-to for being happy and healthy during the holidays?

oikos

Check out other holiday recipes from more Giant Eagle shoppers, then come back and tell us your favorite!

Pumpkin Carving Snacks

It’s that time of year when the evenings are cool, the orange and purple lights are hung, and the kids are amped up on sugar. These are the days leading up to our first fall holiday, Halloween. Perhaps you and your family are gearing up to hold a night of pumpkin carving to celebrate.

A few nights ago, we had a pumpkin carving design session where we started to scope out what we’d like to do with pumpkins this year. I ordered some pumpkin carving snacks to enjoy while we created our project list of tools, designs, and “just the right” pumpkin. (More to come on this!)

fall cake pops

Cake pops are always a favorite in our house.

And not that the kids need more sugar, but I couldn’t resist but get these cookies for the kids. How cute are the Frankenstein and mummy?

fall cookies

Do you have a pumpkin carving tradition with your family? What pumpkin carving snacks would you pick? If you’re looking for some snacks while pumpkin carving (whether you’re having a party or just turning your kids’ drawings into the block’s spookiest jack-o-lantern), check out Sheri’s Berries for fall treat ideas that can be delivered to your door on the day of your carving.

Vegetable Chili with Kale and Quinoa

There is no denying that the days are getting colder and darker. These are the kind of days that our family loves to enjoy eating a bowl of piping hot chili while under a comfy blanket and watching a good movie. You? Recently Hormel sent me a recipe for Vegetable Chili with Kale and Quinoa, a healthy alternative to your standard chili recipe. It sounds absolutely delicious, so I decided to share it with you.

Vegetable Chili with Kale and Quinoa
photo courtesy Hormel

Vegetable Chili with Kale and Quinoa

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans HORMEL® chili
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale

Directions: 

  1. In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Sauté onion, carrot and celery 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in zucchini and next 3 ingredients and sauté 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in chili, quinoa and kale and simmer 15 minutes.

Enjoy! xoxo

 

Gerber Lil’ Beanies for the (Twin) Win-Win

Hey there. We’re the ‘lil Burghers twins and of course we do everything exactly alike. You know. How twins do. We’re best at eating all of our meats, fruits and veggies and Gerber snacks.

Gerber

Believe them? Ha! We’ve been struggling with getting both twins to eat like they should. Ava loves meats. Isla loves carbs. They both are “eh” about getting in all of their fruits and veggies. They both love some snacks.

Ever since birth, I’ve been keeping my eye on their nutrition. Not to keep them from having weight gain issues, but the exact opposite. Most of you probably remember when they were “failure to thrive”, measuring in the first (and less) percentile of weight for their age. That was some scary times. So it’s no surprise that when I see them throwing food around, I get a little cranky.

Luckily, they both love some snacks. Tricking them into getting their veggies and other key nutrients in through snacks has made for a win-win situation. We introduced Gerber® Lil’ Beanies™ and now they get goodness from this snack made from navy beans. For the twins, this means flavor and nutrition. For mom, it means I get to say yes to the twins more often when they beg for a “nack”.

Take for instance when we went to Target to grab some supplies for our upcoming vacation. We knew the Gerber Lil’ Beanies™ would be perfect for a road trip snack, but the girls thought that the road trip was right then and there and didn’t understand why they couldn’t just dig in and eat up. There might just have been a mini meltdown in the baby aisle.

lil beanies

We grabbed two flavors, both equally loved by the girls. Isla was ready to chow down on the Original while Ava was begging for the White Cheddar & Broccoli to open itself and get in her belly.

toddler snacks

It was so mean of us to make them wait until they got home, huh?

eatingsnacks

We know that good things come in twos, so we’re sharing a way for you to get a discount on your next Target purchase of Gerber Lil’ Beanies™. First, you’ll need to login to iBotta and grab up this offer to earn cash back on the purchase of Lil’ Beanies™ (while supplies last). Next, head out to your local Target. Find the baby aisle (in ours, we always forget that baby food and diapers are up front and not with baby furniture and clothes) and look for these cans of win-win choices. Your toddler will thank you and you’ll feel better about giving into the ‘nack. (Oh, and after you check out, be sure to go back to iBotta and submit your purchase so you get that cash back! Win-win!)

gerberlilbeanies

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About Lil’ Beanies (information from Gerber):

The first bean-based snack in the baby aisle, Gerber® Lil’ Beanies™ is made from the goodness of navy beans to deliver 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value), 1 gram of fiber, and 10% Daily Value of Vitamin E per serving. A delicious and nutritious treat, your little ones will love it for its taste and you’ll love it for its nutrition. Gerber® Lil’ Beanies™ Snack is baked, not made with genetically engineered (GM) ingredients, and is naturally flavored!

We’ll just be over here, enjoying our snacks! xoxo, Ava & Isla

Brown Sugar and Garlic Green Beans

This summer has been full of gardening complimented by trips to the local Farmer’s Markets. We’ve been canning, but hadn’t received our pressure canner. I knew I had to do something with the pint of green beans we picked up last weekend, so I decided to saute them up and season them. Thus, brown sugar and garlic green beans were born!

Brown Sugar and Garlic Green Beans

Brown Sugar and Garlic Green Beans

I rarely get the chance to share a recipe with you that I haven’t even had a chance to have Greg try hot, but it’s so worth you giving this a try without one more opinion. You see, he was off at his Fantasy Football Draft with church, doing “man stuff”. I was barefoot in the kitchen, cooking up a storm. He missed out on these fresh from the pan (which is the best way to enjoy them).

What will you need? 

  • Pint of fresh green beans, rinsed and ends snapped
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar (I use Splenda’s brown sugar for less calories)
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic (fresh would be GLORIOUS)
  • 2 tsp paprika (trust me here)
  • small pot (LOVE this one from T-fal – it’s dishwasher and oven safe!)
  • water

green beans cooking

I have this thing with snapping my beans. It’s like therapy for me, something relaxing about feeling them pop as I prep them for the eating.

What will you do? 

  • Bring water to boil in the pot.
  • Add the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes (until the beans are soft).
  • Drain all the water off the beans.
  • Spray pot with cooking spray and return beans to pot.
  • Continue cooking, adding in the brown sugar, garlic, and paprika.

seasoned green beans

  • Allow the seasonings and beans to get to a syrupy, golden brown.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy!

cooked green beans

These are delicious, bringing a sweet savory side to your standard “meat and potatoes” kind of night. (I paired mine with my secret turkey meatloaf – beg that recipe out of me!) Enjoy! xoxo

These green beans were from Robinson’s Greenhouse & Farmer’s Market outside of Kittanning. It is well worth the drive! 

Fruity Pebbles Bundt Cake

In case you’re in need of a dessert to take to a gathering today, let me share with you the Fruity Pebbles Bundt Cake I put together this weekend. If you’ve got ‘lil ones in your house, you most likely have everything you need to make it, too! If not, it’s a chance to remember your childhood with a crunchy yet crumbly sweet treat. ++ This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% our own.

Fruity Pebbles Bundt Cake

This cake was an idea that came to me after seeing a friend on Instagram share a breakfast bread she’d made with fruity pebbles. I wanted something fun for Homestead Jenn‘s birthday party (if you are local and don’t know my friend Jenn, it’s time you learn.). This fit the bill, I think!

Fruity Pebbles Bundt Cake

What you need: 

  • Box of cake mix (I used white)
  • Ingredients as per cake mix (I swapped in egg whites, 2 per egg on the box)
  • 2 cups + 2 cups of Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • Cake Pan – I love the look of this with a bundt pan!
  • Vanilla icing (I used a can, but you could make your own)
  • Cake Carrier (we use this one – great for carrying to church potlucks!)

 

It’s going to look like you are making breakfast. That’s okay! *wink*

cakemix

What You Will Do

  • Pre-heat the oven as instructed on cake box.
  • Grease bundt pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix the cake as directed on box.
  • With a mixing spoon, fold in 2 cups of the Fruity Pebbles.

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  • Pour into bundt pan.
  • Cook cake according to box directions.
  • Once cooked, allow to cool and then set it on your cake carrier. (Tip – pop the cake in the freezer to cool faster. The kids learned this on Nailed It!)
  • Ice the cake with the icing – it’s perfectly fine to be messy here. You’ll see!
  • Sprinkle the other 2 cups (give or take) of Fruity Pebbles on the iced cake.
  • Enjoy! Bonus if you enjoy with a friend celebrating a milestone birthday. We recommend decorating and eating the same day. It’s crunchy on day one, but by day three it was softened  (though still tasty).

fruity pebbles cake

If you liked this recipe, be sure to share it – both by baking for a friend and sharing online!

 

Perfect Pudding Pops (a #BacktoSchoolSimple Recipe)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BacktoSchoolSimple #CollectiveBias 

Oh, Back to School. How is it less than a week away? We’ve gone through Kindergarten Orientation, started earlier bedtimes, bought new clothes / shoes, and did our back to school food shop at our local Giant Eagle. Grabbing everything we needed for lunches, snacks, and a special first day of school treat (see the Perfect Pudding Pops, below!) was easy and convenient at Giant Eagle. (Bonus? I got to add some fun, healthy snacks to my lunches, too!) We set out to grab quick win items, and the Bigs had control over what went in the shopping cart. Everything on our list was checked off in one quick and easy stop.

Perfect Pudding Pops

Pudding Pops

I wanted to be sure the kids had a fun first day of school treat, so I asked my chef-in-the-making (Arianna) to look at our list and help me come up with a fun recipe. She wanted to fill Snack Packs with some of the fun Oreo and Goldfish treats we found while at Giant Eagle, and Evan chimed in that we needed some healthy additions, too. We ended up deciding to grab some strawberries to mix in, then put them in the freezer for a cool treat (as the first day of school is of course forecast to be a hot one).

To make our Perfect Pudding Pops, we needed to pull our ingredients together:

  • Snack Pack Pudding cups (we wanted chocolate and vanilla)
  • Goldfish crackers (assorted, we chose Chocolate Mint + Pretzel and s’mores)
  • Mini Oreo Cookies
  • Strawberries
  • Optional, Popsicle Sticks
  • Optional, popsicle molds

ingredients_pp

The Bigs were pretty excited about those Goldfish, by the way.

goldfish

 

Putting together the Perfect Pudding Pops was pretty easy, too. We simply:

  1. Open Snack Packs.
  2. (Optional) Spoon into the popsicle makers.
  3. Crumble add-ins.
  4. (Optional, if not using popsicle makers) Add in popsicle stick.
  5. Cover.
  6. Put in freezer for about 6 hours – perfect for during the school day. Pro tip – don’t let these sit for longer than a day – they do get a bit crunchy! 
  7. Push out of the cup or mold and enjoy!

filledpopsicle

Yum!

ariannapuddingpop

The Lunch Station

Beyond having a super fun first day of school treat, we wanted to build a station that would help with packing lunches once or twice a week, so the Bigs looked for favorites like Schwebels Bread, JIF Peanut Butter, Smuckers Fruit Spread, Frito Lay snacks, Goldfish Crackers, and Entemanns Little Bites. Of course, we had to be practical and pick up the bags to tuck the goodies in, too!

Back to School Simple

I think we did pretty good, don’t you? What would you have added?

lunch station

The After School Snack Station

To make life easy on Greg, we decided to pick out After School Snacks that stuck with our family theme – a healthy choice and a happy choice. The kids will get to pick one of each from this station in the pantry. No questions asked, except asking when can we go back to Giant Eagle to fill it up! *wink* (Check out gianteagle.com to find your local store.)

after school snack

Personally, I was over the moon with these portion packs because I’ll be using them to get back on track with right sized snacks for me, too! I showed Arianna how to weigh a serving of Goldfish, then we made some portion packs filled with her favorite treat from our shop.

portionsnack

Up Next? The first day of school!

I *think* that we are ready, at least when it comes to food. Thank goodness we have Giant Eagle as our local headquarters for back to school shopping! Check out how others are using Giant Eagle as their one-stop-shop for back to school.

What’s still on YOUR Back to School To Do List? Share below!

 

Copycat S’mores Blend

Did you know that I have a horrible addiction to coffee? Coffee itself is not so bad, but I am hopelessly devoted to two brands (including this one that currently has an AH-MAZING S’mores drink that is almost 600 calories but I’ve had two in the past two weeks and oh why can’t I drop this weight woes surround)…yeah it’s like that. I could really do fine on just black coffee and it not be a problem. It wasn’t from 2011 to 2015. But lately I’ve been bad. Hence, I needed a copycat s’mores blend drink to help me kick my habit and start making some healthier choices.

Copycat S’mores Blend

This drink is packed with protein (your favorite powder, I’m no longer partial) and can make you feel like you are being bad when you are being good. What I created fit in my snack range 150-250 calories, but could also be a breakfast drink paired with some fruit or a greek yogurt.

copycat s'mores blend

Ingredients (to make a 16 oz drink)

  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 8 oz brewed and chilled coffee
  • 2 + 2 TBSP non-fat whipped cream
  • 1/2 TBSP mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 of a graham cracker, chopped up

Instructions

Blend all but a few of the chocolate chips/graham cracker and 2 TBSP of the whipped cream until consistency of your choice. Top with the whipped cream, chocolate chips, and graham cracker. Enjoy, with no guilt, your copycat s’mores blend beverage. Smile.

Energy Balls

Did you know that today is National Chocolate Chip Day? I decided to celebrate by making two of my favorite recipes that make me feel like I am indulging while still eating healthy. Today I’ll be sharing my recipe for Energy Balls, but tomorrow’s post has a small sneak peek over on my Instagram if you’re impatient and like guessing games.

energy balls

So, the energy balls. These babies became a staple back when I was eating for health, but when I was nursing the twins, I put in a milk making “secret” ingredient (that I’ll share below). They are no bake, but do take some patience. Today, for example, I had to go to and from the refrigerator several times before I had it just right and the mixture was firm enough to make balls. But, as a mom who is always needing to go to the kitchen to feed one of the six mouths in this house, it doesn’t really impact my life. Anyways.

What do I love about them?

  • They are filled with protein and really do make me feel full and energized.
  • They are quick to pop in a snack-size bag and take with on a trip to the gym or commute.
  • Feeling dried cherries and white chocolate today? No big deal – just sub them in for the “original” ingredients I’ve listed.
  • They freeze REALLY well. I took a whole batch with me (frozen) on our road trip to Nurin’s wedding last summer. They survived four days in the car (to and from) as well as Charleston June sunshine, thanks to freezing ahead and putting in snack bags.

And now, for you to also fall in love with them! I highly recommend sticking to the recipe below for SIZING, but feel free to sub in (I’ve listed some options). Note that I say this from experience. Again, I have six mouths to feed, so I am known to cook for an army. This isn’t the time to do so. Enjoy!

Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (uncooked) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I LOVE semi-sweet, but you can use your favorite – white, milk, etc)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (today I went for The Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter in Chocolate which is great if you have nut allergies in the house, but I do find a crunchy peanut butter or almond butter works best)
  • 1/3 cup honey (our’s is a local find – can’t wait for farmer’s market season!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup add-ins (dried berries, coconut flakes, sliced almonds, chia seed, flax seed all are tasty)
  • * If you are a nursing mama, I suggest adding in 1 TBS of Brewer’s Yeast to help with milk production

Aren’t they so pretty together? 

energy balls

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes to “set” – this makes the forming easier!
  3. Ball up the mix – I like to use my cookie baller for this and place on a baking sheet with wax paper.
  4. Freeze until set (about 1 hour) and then eat, portion for the week, or put in a freezer safe container until it’s time to enjoy!


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