Archive for the ‘Food & Recipes’ Category

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

It’s no secret that this girl loves musical theater and one of the productions I did in high school was ANNIE.  It was one of my favorite movies growing up and Carol Burnett was someone I hoped to model a theater career after. To say that the musical is special to me would be an understatement.  I think it is important to admit that I had low expectations for the new ANNIE movie.

How could anything ever live up to the original?

Imagine my surprise that this movie was as charming as the first.   This movie really DID deliver, even for an original Annie-lover,  and in honor of the film’s DVD release today, I wanted to share a special treat you can share while watching the movie!

If you haven’t seen the film yet, it really does honor the classic songs that we all love, but adds its own unique spin often involving fun sound effects, hand clapping, and a more hip hop beat to the music. There are original pieces that are worked into the music that really flow seamlessly into the original music and the film has been updated with current themes, while embracing the sweetness and wholesomeness of the original ANNIE.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In this film, Annie believes that she will be reunited with her parents,  at an Italian restaurant where they left a note on a receipt with the heart-shaped locket that any wears. Each Friday she visits the restaurant that serves the homemade cannoli that the couple shared on that night, waiting and hoping that they will finally come to retrieve her.  As she sits upon the curb, the owner comes out and tells her that they haven’t come and hands her a little to-go box of cannolis to take home. It is a ritual that is repeated in the movie and a truly sweet scene.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In honor of this moment in the film, I am sharing a fun recipe that you can make with a prepared pie crust and a homemade cannoli filling that is perfect to share while watching the film together.  This would also make an adorable treat for a birthday party or as a party favor in little to-go boxes tied with butcher twine.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bowl of Pho today for providing the to-go box and note to make this pretty photo for my cannoli display.  If you are a local, it’s a must in our town to head there and get a bowl-as-big-as-your-head of chicken noodle soup.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Walmart is sharing this adorable exclusive DVD set that comes with a mini plush Sandy that would be a perfect little Easter treat to share with your Annie-lover this year. The price on this set is $29.96. Wouldn’t this be the sweetest gift? Sandy even made it out of for show-and-share this week!

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat and can pick up this film! I guarantee that it is one that the whole family will love!

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48 servings
 
A sweet treat to share while watching Annie! These can be made gluten-free with a simple substitution of a gluten-free pie crust!
Ingredients
  • 1 container (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (you can also substitute with gluten free pie crust)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Place filling in 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag; refrigerate while making cups.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured work surface, unroll pie crusts. Sprinkle each crust with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll rolling pin over sugar and cinnamon to press into pastry. With 2½- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out pastry rounds. Lightly press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cup.
  3. Bake about 10 minutes or until pastry cups are golden brown. Cool completely in pans, about 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling racks.
  4. Just before serving, remove filling from refrigerator. Cut 1 bottom corner off bag; pipe scant tablespoon filling into cooled pastry cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Store any remaining pastry cups at room temperature and filling in refrigerator.

Source: Pillsbury
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Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays and I love crafting, decorating, and especially the eating for this holiday.  Longtime readers know that I have a love affair with Peeps that have included a wreath made out of Peeps and I have even found a way to make Peep Martinis that taste divine.  Let’s just continue the mad love affair with Peeps and make a hilarious Easter surprise cupcake for your kids!

Supplies:

1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 unbeaten egg whites
12 Peeps (any color)
Melon Baller

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.

Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcaks and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com easter-surprise-peep-cupcakes-17

Don’t you hate it when your Peeps lay their eggs in your cupcakes? Ha! What a funny surprise for you kids and a fun food craft to do together as a family! I hope you love this idea and remember that you can pick up all the supplies at your local Walmart store! Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A fun Easter surprise cupcake that you just so happens to be gluten-free. Fill it with your favorite egg candy and top with a marshmallow Peep!
Ingredients
  • 1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 unbeaten egg whites
  • 12 Peeps (any color)
  • Melon Baller
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.
  2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.
  4. Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Recipe adapted from tablespoon
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Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site! 

Last month I shared with you that I have been on a quest to replicate some of our favorite restaurant dishes in our kitchen to help cut down on our dining out budget. Shrimp Scampi is one of those dishes that I absolutely love when I go out for seafood, but I don’t always love the price tag that comes with it. Today I wanted to share with you an easy Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi that is a delicious dish you could share during this Lent season for a Friday night feast that the whole family will love.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com

The shrimp can be dredged in a gluten-free flour to add a little bit of coating to the shrimp or they can just be quickly sauteed in the delicious wine and butter sauce, then tossed with fresh Italian parsley. I love to put the shrimp scampi on top of some gluten-free pasta and serve it all with a side of roasted green beans. Thanks to the garlic in the scampi, it coats and adds flavor to your pasta beautifully.

In case you have been on the hunt for the gluten-free products at Walmart, I actually have found the section at the end of the candy aisle. They have a section dedicated specifically to gluten-free eating that includes a lot of my favorite snacks, pastas, cake mixes, and even loaves of gluten-free bread. I have found the prices really do beat out the ones at other supermarkets and specialty shops so I stock up when I go.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com

Slice up a few lemons and dress the plates with a sprig of flat-leaf Italian parsley to really make it feel like restaurant dining. This isn’t the only dish that we have here that would be perfect for a meat-free evening or to be enjoyed on your Fridays during the Lent season.  In fact, I have quite a gathering on the site.

30 Fish & Meat Free Meal Ideas from MomAdvice.com.

If you are on the hunt for more delicious dishes, be sure to check out this link for 30 Fish & Meat-Free Meal Ideas! I have tried to include a big variety so that you are never bored for your evening meals. I hope these dishes inspire you and that you can give this easy shrimp scampi a spin for a quick weeknight meal!

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (2½ oz./75 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (found the gluten-free section of the store), can omit if you prefer to not have a crispy exterior to your shrimp
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1½ lb. (750 g) jumbo or extra-large shrimp, peeled and
  • deveined, tails intact
  • 12 Tbs. (1½ sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, the ½ tsp. salt and the ¼ tsp. pepper.
  2. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil.
  3. Toss half of the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat evenly, shaking off the excess. Add to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining shrimp, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 2 Tbs. of the butter and the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the wine, lemon zest and lemon juice, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to very low. Whisk in the remaining 10 Tbs. butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, letting each addition soften into a creamy emulsion before adding more. It will become very creamy, like a sauce.
  6. Return the shrimp to the sauce and mix gently to coat well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and gluten-free pasta.

Walmart Mom Disclaimer

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5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday and I can’t wait to share this super easy and adorable treat with you. The best part? This one can be made gluten-free! Yay!

Head to the Kenmore Blog today to see this fun 5-minute St. Patrick’s Day treat tutorial!

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How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

Today I wanted to share an adorable gift idea for someone special in your life. Today’s tutorial is how to make beautiful chocolate coffee spoons that you can pair with a big basket of coffee for gift-giving. This gift is perfect for any occasion and can be made in less than 30 minutes. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.  I’m so excited to be partnering with them again on this project.

In case you missed my Maple Coffee Bacon post from last week, I had the opportunity to try out all of the new coffees from ALDI and create some fun projects using this newly launched line at their store.

This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this month.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Nothing pictured here is over $5 (even the Fair Trade coffee) which means it is quite the steal. In the past, I have relied on these bags of coffee for easy hostess gifts and breakfast baskets for new homeowners. It is an excellent gift to give especially to a tired new mom or a new college student.  I thought it would be fun to dress these baskets up a bit with beautiful chocolate coffee covered spoons that you could package in your basket.

Let’s get started!

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 bag Baker’s Corner Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 bag Baker’s Corner Milk Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 cup Baker’s Corner White Chocolate Baking Morsels

½ teaspoon Carlini Pure Vegetable Shortening (or more, if needed)

Edible sprinkles of your choice

Ribbon

Pastry/candy decorating bags

Candy wrappers

Antique spoons or plastic spoons (I got these six for $5 an antique store)

*Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips (the whole bag) over a steam bath or in microwave. Melt chocolate slowing, stirring frequently. If chocolate clumps or doesn’t melt smoothly, add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to help smooth it out.
  2. Dip your spoons into the chocolate and then rest them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

 

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com 3. Decorate with your choice of milk chocolate, white chocolate and/or various garnishes. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (using my pastry bag) and then shake on some edible pearls so they would stick. Let these set completely before placing into decorative bags and tying with beautiful ribbon.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

We placed these beauties into a basket with a variety of our favorite Barissimo coffees, exclusively from ALDI. A pretty dishtowel on bottom pulls it all together and acts as bonus gift.

These spoons add another level of richness to your coffee giving you a rich chocolate flavor. These also would make a fun addition to your cocoa.

I hope you enjoyed our fun series with ALDI this month and that these ideas have inspired you to give their new coffee line-up a try! I promise that you won’t be disappointed, not just in the incredible taste, but the incredible amount of savings to be had for your family!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

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Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe & a NEW Coffee Line from ALDI!

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe
Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

If there is one thing I have learned over my years of surfing on Pinterest it’s that anything bacon and anything coffee is always a hit (and not just with me!).

Today I wanted to pair these two flavors together in a Maple Coffee Bacon that your whole family will love. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.

Since you know I am a regular shopper, I had noticed the new line on the store shelves and was intrigued. The packaging is beautiful and the product feels very high-end, but a whole bag of ground coffee is a mere $3.99.  It is, seriously, a steal!

This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this week.

Barrisimo Coffee Line from Aldi

The Barissimo line, available exclusively at ALDI, includes the following (and here are the prices on these items too) for my fellow frugal shoppers:

Ready-to-drink Iced Coffees (French Vanilla, Mocha and Coffee) – $1.19

Whole Bean Coffee (Morning Roast and Donut Store) – $3.99

Fair Trade Coffee (Medium and Dark Roast) – $3.99

Donut Store Ground Coffee – $3.99

12 oz. Bag Coffee (Breakfast Blend, House Blend, and French Roast) – $3.99

Assorted Flavored Coffee (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.99

Flavored Coffee Cups (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.79

Regular Roast Coffee Cups (Breakfast and Donut) – $4.79

Specialty Roast Coffee Cups (Fair Trade Colombian and Dark Roast) – $4.79

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Ever since a trip last year to NOLA, I have been thinking about the embarrassing pile of praline bacon I ate in one of the local restaurants that my brother took me too. Bacon that tastes like candy? How could that be bad?

I loved the candied sweetness of the bacon, but I love to add on to that layer of flavor with something to cut the sweet and I decided the Fair Trade Dark Roast Coffee paired with the thick sliced Maple Flavored Bacon would be a delightful combination.

If you haven’t tried the coffee itself, the dark roast is delightfully full-bodied and strong.  It’s the kind of coffee that a mom who has to get her kids on the bus in the morning can really embrace.

As I had suspected, this delicious dark roast coffee was just what this sweet bacon needed to balance it out. The coarseness of the ground coffee adds an element of texture and the brown sugar glaze made from freshly brewed coffee and brown sugar is brushed on to each side of the bacon to create that delightful layering of flavors.

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Since this bacon is so sweet, you don’t want to pair this one with another sweet breakfast item.  I recommend an easy frittata for balance, a little fresh fruit, and a big mug of coffee (of course!).

Now run over to your local ALDI and snag a bag of this delicious coffee for yourself- at a price like that, you have nothing to lose!

Maple Bacon Coffee Tutorial

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Maple Bacon Coffee
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Specially Selected Maple Thick Sliced Bacon
  • 1 tablespoon Barrisimo Fair Trade Dark Roast Ground Coffee
  • ½ cup packed Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly brewed Barrisimo Fair Trade Dark Roast Ground Coffee
  • Note- *Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment or waxed paper and set a flat rack on top. Lay bacon strips on rack, overlapping slightly if needed. Sprinkle top of strips evenly with ground coffee. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and brewed coffee, stirring just to blend to a paste. Brush top of strips with half of sugar mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Turn bacon over and brush with remaining sugar glaze. Bake until crispy, 10-15 minutes more.

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33 Copy-Cat Starbucks Drinks

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

It’s no secret around here that I love a good coffee drink and you all know I love a good way to save – especially when it’s easy. Making your own versions of coffee shop drinks gives a particularly good return since most DIY drink recipes take only a few minutes to make and are only a fraction of the cost of buying. And the no-guilt feeling while you’re enjoying your beverage? That’s right – priceless.

33 Copy-Cat Starbucks Drinks

So I’ve rounded up some of the best copy-cat Starbucks drinks recipes for you from our own Mom Advice archives and other fabulous blogs so you can save some of your hard-earned money and enjoy a coffee (or non-coffee!) break at the same time. Here are 33 copy-cat Starbucks drinks categorized into four sections for your convenience – Hot Coffee Drinks, Hot Non-Coffee Drinks, Iced Coffee Drinks, and Iced Non-Coffee Drinks (as always, please pin individual pictures from the original source):

Copy-Cat Starbucks Hot Coffee Drinks

homemade_salted_caramel_mocha

photo: Salted Caramel Mocha Latte @ Mom Advice

Gingerbread Latte @ Mom Advice

Peppermint Mocha @ Mom Advice

Pumpkin Spice Latte @ Mom Advice

Caramel Macchiato Starbucks Copycat @ Babble

Caramel Brûlée Latte @ Brewed Daily

Cinnamon Dolce Latte @ Farm Girl Gourmet

Starbucks Eggnog Latte @ Copykat

White Chocolate Mocha @ Kitchen Concoctions

 

Copy-Cat Starbucks Hot Non-Coffee Drinks

homemade-chai-tea-latte via Live Simply

photo: Chai Tea Latte @ Live Simply

Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice @ Cincy Shopper

Chocolate Chai Tea Latte @ A Lazy Girl

Quick & Easy Starbucks Hot Chocolate @ My Frugal Adventures

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate @ Bright Green Door

Copy-Cat Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks

salted caramel mocha frapp via Girl Cooks World

photo: Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino @ Girl Cooks World

Iced Peppermint Mochas @ Mom Advice

Mocha Frappuccino @ Around My Family Table

Healthy Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino @ The Lemon Bowl

Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte @ Simplee Thrifty

Iced Caramel Macchiato @ Milo and Me

Mocha Cookie Frozen Coffee @ Bubbly Nature Creations

Light Frappuccino @ Food.com

Iced Caramel Snickers Frappuccino @ Savvy Saving Couple

Coconut Mocha Frappe Cappuccino @ Food.com

 

Copy-Cat Starbucks Iced Non-Coffee Drinks

Vanilla-Bean-Frappe via The Black Peppercorn

photo: Vanilla Bean Frappe @ The Black Peppercorn

Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino @ Blommi

Green Tea Frappuccino @ Raining Hot Coupons

Iced Chai Latte @ The Grant Life

Very Berry Hibiscus Tea Refresher @ Hip2Save

Green Tea Lemonade @ Momtastic

Passion Tea Lemonade @ The Pin Junkie

Chai Tea Frappuccino @ Flour On My Face

Cool Lime Copycat @ Just A Pinch Of Ginger

What is your favorite coffee shop drink?

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas

When you go gluten-free, there are only a handful of fast food restaurants that you can eat at and really enjoy without feeling rotten. Chipotle is one of my favorite places  and has been our go-to spot for a quick to-go dinner on busy weeknights for delicious gluten-free dishes. As I went to plug in our usual order this week though, I discovered there was a supplier issue of our family favorite…carnita meat isn’t at our location.

To be honest, I had a sneaking suspicion that this was eating away at our budget (thanks to its delicious convenience & a handsome Chipotle runner at my disposal) so I had been thinking of recreating this dish at home to save our family some money.

Necessity birthed creativity as I went on the hunt for a yummy replacement.

It seems fitting since our focus is money management this month for the m challenge that I could break a fast food habit with this yummy homemade alternative. Money. In. The. Bank.

gluten-free-slow-cooker-carnitas

This meat couldn’t be easier to create and the best part is that once you rub in the spices, this is a completely hands-off recipe. What isn’t easier is how freaking good it smells in your slow cooker all day which drove us absolutely crazy until dinnertime. The combination of spices is delicious, complex, and comprised mostly of ingredients I already had in my pantry. Garlic, red chili pepper, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and beer.

slow-cooker-carnitas-4

I love the burrito bowl and making it couldn’t be easier. I just did a layer of brown rice made in my rice cooker (world’s best invention- here is the one I use for less than $25), a layer of black beans (canned or slow cooker homemade Mexican Black Beans), carnita meat, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and I do a mean scoop of plain greek yogurt with a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lime. Serve this giant bowl up with tortilla chips for scooping and you are done.

Since this makes such a large amount of meat, I divided and freezed it for our month. No more Chipotle runs (averaging $22 per pop) and leftovers for a week of meals? Um. WINNING.

What was even better was that everyone in our family thought these were better than Chipotle. I was hoping to just have a nice substitution on days where we need to save a little, but now carnitas at home are better than the ones we bought out and we save a lot of money in the process.

I hope you can give these a try too!

slow-cooker-carnitas-3

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas
Author: 
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Carnitas just like Chipotle for a fraction of the price. Serve as a burrito or bowl and enjoy the savings!
Ingredients
  • 4-5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (optional- we left it out because we are wimps)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces gluten-free beer
  • ½ cup salsa (I used a garlic salsa from ALDI- feel free to experiment with your flavors)
Instructions
  1. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Roughly chop the garlic and rub it all over the pork (top and bottom)
  2. Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork until they are well incorporated.
  3. Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Shred meat with two forks directly in the slow cooker (or take out, shred, and replace in sauce). It should fall apart easily.
  5. Remove the meat and put into a serving bowl, pouring some of the drippings over the top to moisten the meat.
  6. Serve with tortillas, tortilla chips, or as a rice bowl (instructions above)

Slightly Adapted from Pinch of Yum

 

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Ditch the Juice Box: Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This was originally published in July of 2013 and goes so well with our focus challenge on health that I thought you’d enjoy it again – fruit-infused water is refreshing any time of the year!

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Back-to-school means back to the grind of packing lunches. Today I wanted to share a healthy alternative to juice boxes and recipes for creating a fun fruit-infused water for lunches any time of the year. Fruit infused waters are frugal, fun, and a healthy alternative to the traditional juice box.

Packing a healthy lunch is always a top priority in our house. You may recall my fun lunch box station that I created in our house just for this reason? I am happy to say that this lunchbox system is still performing so well in our house and I am looking forward to packing lunches with it again.

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

What is Fruit-Infused Water?

Have you ever infused water before? It truly could not be easier and you can mix up any flavors that you love and personalize these to your own personal taste. Pictured above are some mix-in ideas we tried in our house. We purchased mint, basil, berries, limes, oranges, and lemons to create different flavor combinations for fun fruit waters. We like to keep things simple with just plain water, but you can also make it a little sweet with a little liquid stevia.

Seltzer can also be a fun switch-up, but carbonated drinks are always a gamble in our lunchbox, since they tend to get a lot of shaking and movement on the way to school!

I am displaying these in mason jars to show the colors, but when placed in your child’s lunchbox, I would recommend a leak-proof stainless steel water bottle or thermos to keep these nice & cold. Here are a couple of fun options that Walmart stocks! (Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Flip-Top Water Bottle, &  Silver One Red Stainless Steel)

How Long Does Fruit-Infused Water Last?

Fruit-infused water is best enjoyed after two-four hours or after it has had a chance to infuse overnight. The length of time it lasts depends entirely on the type of fruit and herbs you use. Basil, for example, only lasts for three days while heartier varieties like rosemary or thyme can last up to seven days.

You can reuse the same fruit and add another batch of fresh water over it once you have gone through your first batch.  The fruit can be used (typically) up to three times, but it will also depend on the freshness of the fruits you are using. If the fruit starts to look bad, it’s best to toss it and start with a fresh batch.

Citrus fruits are best cut fresh for your batches because the rind can add bitterness to your fruit-infusions. I like to keep my lemons, limes, and oranges fresh for that reason while reusing my berries for several batches.

It is really a matter of preference though and once you get the hang of making your own batches of fruit-infused water you will have a better idea of timelines.

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Fruit Infused Water Combinations

The beauty of making your own infused waters is that you can create any combination that your heart desires and add as little or as much fruits and herbs into your drink as you like!  Get inspired by the fruits and herbs that are on sale that week in the supermarket flier to help inspire new combinations and keep your fruit-infused waters frugal!

If the recipe calls for muddling, it just means bruising your fruit or herbs to release the flavors. I just use a wooden spoon for this.

Here are a few of our favorite combinations we tried:

Blueberry & Mint

2 cups blueberries

2 sprigs of mint, muddled

2 quarts of water

Strawberry & Basil

10 strawberries, thinly sliced

3 basil leaves, torn into quarters and muddled

2 quarts of water

Citrus Blend

1 orange, thinly sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

1/2 a lemon, thinly sliced

2 quarts water

Just The Berries

10 strawberries, thinly sliced

2 cups blueberries, slightly muddled

2 quarts water

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ditch the juice box and create a healthy fruit-infused water for your child's lunchbox. Check out our fun flavor combinations in my blog post!
Ingredients
  • Fruit & Herbs (check the blog post for combination ideas)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Ice
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Pitcher
Instructions
  1. Place the fruit and herbs, in the bottom of your pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon, if directed.
  2. Fill the pitcher with water, cover, and refrigerate two hours or overnight, for maximum flavor.
  3. Fill a glass or thermos with ice. Pour your fruit infused water over the ice and enjoy!

Have you infused water before? What is your favorite infused water combination?

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Galette des Rois: Kings’ Cake

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com A recipe for the Northern French frangipane tart version of Kings’ Cake. Often eaten at Epiphany in January, Kings’ Cake is also closely associated with pre-Lenten festivities surrounding Carnival/Mardi Gras.

We spent our holidays with family, bundling up and piling in the car again and again, a jumble of hats and mittens and frosty noses hidden underneath. We carried silver trays piled high with cookies, slow cookers filled with simmering produce, and stacks of Christmas cards to be hand delivered to doorsteps up and down the state. In the end, all the family members had their fill of children laughing and squealing in delight over even the smallest of festivities. With five family holiday meals, one groom’s dinner, and one New Year’s Eve wedding behind us, we all but collapsed on the couch at home. Just in time for school to start up.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com
With all the running, we didn’t seem to get time to do what we do best as a family, so on Epiphany, we huddled around our kitchen together, rolling dough, mixing fillings, slicing and chopping, and getting back to what makes us tick.

Sitting down around the table piled high with roast, brussels sprouts, salads, and with a timely cake waiting on the sidelines for dessert, it finally felt like we were starting a new year, just as it should begin, with us coming together and doing the things that keep us together like family dinners around the table. I do believe we started a new Epiphany tradition for us. We’ll see you here next year. Same date. Same place. Same tart.

I hid an almond in my galette des rois, rather than a small trinket or la fève. Tradition says you cut this tart into the number of people present plus one, the remaining slice being reserved for God, the Virgin Mary, or the poor. The one who has the trinket in their slice of tart becomes king or queen for the day…or they are responsible for bringing the tart next year. Either or. Regardless, I’ll be on the lookout for small trinkets to bake inside for my kids to find next year.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com

Galette des Rois: Kings' Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 2 sheets puff pastry (or 1 recipe gluten-free puff pastry)
  • 2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 whole almond, if desired
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cream
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the alond flour, sugar, arrowroot flour, and salt. cut in the butter until incorporated. Stir in the egg and cognac. Chill.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  3. Roll the two pastry sheets to 10" squares. Using a pie plate or other round object, cut 2 10" circles.
  4. Place one circle on your lined baking sheet. Spread the apricot jam in the center, leaving a 2" edge. Top with the chilled almond filling. Place the almond in the filling.
  5. Brush water over the edge of the bottom circle. Top with the second pastry circle and pinch along the edge to seal.
  6. To crimp, use your thumb and pointer finger together, pressing the back of a paring knife into the edge to create the crease. Continue around the entire tart.
  7. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Brush over the entire tart. Decorate the tart by scoring the tart with a pairing knife to leave an indentation.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

 

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