Thursday, December 31, 2015

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Happy New Year's Eve! What a year it has been for us - moving to a new state, starting a new career, starting new schools, making new friends, and finding a new community. It has not been easy, but it has been fun. We look forward to many new memories in 2016! I hope you have a wonderful year!

I hope to find more time to update my blog this year and hope to share a link to purchase my sweet husband's Christmas gift to me - my blog as a published cookbook! I was so surprised and touched he compiled a majority of the recipes on my blog and made a pretty cool cookbook out of it. I'm a book!

I'm a book!

This is a hearty meal that tastes delicious. If you want to add meat, I would recommend some ground turkey or chicken, but it still tastes great without meat! My kids even enjoyed this lasagna. But we did have regular meat and red sauce lasagna a few days later and they seemed to enjoy that a tad bit more - kids!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna


Butternut Squash Filling:
- 2 cups butternut squash, boiled in a pot of water for 14 minutes or until soft
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Spinach Filling
- 8 oz. steamed spinach
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- pepper to taste

- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning
- Paprika
- Basil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray your 8" x 11.5" baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Mix your soft butternut squash, ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg in your blender to make a puree. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix your spinach, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, garlic, salt and pepper together and set aside.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook your lasagna noodles according to directions on package.
5. To assemble the lasagna spread 1/3 of the butternut squash filling on the bottom of your dish, sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese, place 3 x noodles on top and half of the spinach filling on top of the noodles. Top lightly with more mozzarella cheese and 3 x more noodles.
6. Spread 1/3 of the butternut squash filling on top of the noodles, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and spread the rest of the spinach filling on top. Sprinkle it with some mozzarella cheese.
7. Top with 3 x more noodles and spread the remaining butternut squash filling on top.
8. Sprinkle lasagna with Italian seasoning, paprika, basil and parmesan cheese.
9. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

 Spinach Filling

 Butternut Squash filling  before pureed

 Pureed Butternut Squash Filling

 1/3 butternut squash filling on bottom of dish sprinkled with mozzarella cheese

 Noodles and spinach filling on top

 Completed Lasagna prior to being baked

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal

I was looking for a something different to try out for breakfast that my kids would eat - and Bakerella sent me an email for this "Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal." Super easy to throw together and bake beforehand. I just cut slices up the next day and re-heated them in the microwave. My kids loved it! I also used Craisins instead of real cranberries. Perfect breakfast for a cold winter morning (or 60 degrees here in Philly...)

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal

- 2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 cup cranberries, I used Craisins
- 1 large banana, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8"x8" dish.
2. In a bowl mix oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt and baking powder and pour into dish.
3. Using same bowl, whisk egg, vanilla, milk, and maple syrup together. Add melted butter, mix and set bowl aside.
4. Place cranberries and banana slices in dish and toss to distribute.
5. Pour milk mixture gently over your oats.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

 Dry Ingredients

 Milk Mixture

 Cranberries and Banana added

 Milk mixture added

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal


Friday, December 4, 2015

Butternut Squash Pasta

It's getting colder outside these days, so why not make something hearty and warm? This pasta sauce is surprisingly delicious and will leave you wanting seconds! I bought a container of already diced butternut squash at Wegman's - which made prep for this meal even easier!

Butternut Squash Pasta

- 1 butternut squash, diced and peeled
- 12 oz. linguine
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup vege oil
- sage or rosemary
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your squash and some salt to it. Let cook 12-15 minutes.
2. Fry your sage leaves with some olive oil. Or you can just add rosemary to your sauce as it simmers, it smells so good!
3. Using a slotted spoon, take your squash out of the hot water and place in a separate bowl.
4. Add pasta to the water the butternut squash was in and cook according to package.
5. Using a blender, puree your butternut squash until smooth. Add vege broth until sauce reaches your desired consistency.
6. In a deep skillet, add your olive oil and sautee your onions and garlic until flavorful. Add your pureed butternut squash and stir in your parmesan cheese.
7. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
8. Add pasta to your sauce and stir to coat. Add your sage or rosemary and serve hot.

Butternut Squash sauce with pasta added

Butternut Squash Pasta with rosemary


Monday, November 16, 2015

Kinley's 5th Camo Birthday Party

My son is 5! I can't believe it. I'm almost in denial. These last 5 years have gone by so quickly and I am so impressed with the little man he is today. He is obsessed with Army guys and legos, loves to go to school and learn, and is a great big brother (even when his little brother wrestles him). It is so fun to watch him learn and ask questions I think I didn't even worry about at 5. What a wonderful kid he is. We absolutely love being Kinley's parents and can't wait to see what this year has in store!

Army guys. Soldiers. Camouflage. Tanks. No problem buddy!

I made soldier cupcakes for Kinley to take to school and we invited a few kids to come over and celebrate his birthday this past weekend. It was a small party - which was perfect for our small house!

Here are the details from our Soldier Camouflage Party!

 Traditional "Kinley is 5" shirt from Etsy

 Goody Bag: Soldier gummy bears and camo sunglasses

Tank Balloons

Craft: Make your own pinata candy bag - sponge painted brown paper bags

 Tank pinata from Party City

The kids loved it!

Camouflage Cupcakes

- 1 box cake
- 1.5 cans frosting
- brown and green frosting gel
- 3 piping bags
- large star frosting tip

 Juniper Green and Brown frosting gel

 Separate cake batter into 3 bowls and dye two of them brown and green

 Take turns with each color spooning them into the cupcake liners - I used white liners

 Camo Cupcakes

You can see the camo through the white liner!

 Dyed frosting green and brown and placed in separate piping bags. Placed both piping bags inside 1 piping bag to get both colors to come out.

 Added a toy soldier to the top!

 Cupcake Army

Kinley celebrating at school!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kids Halloween Party

Happy Halloween week! This year is different for our family, because my brother in law is getting married on Halloween... so I have two little boys who will be wearing tuxedos instead of trick or treating this year. To make up for missing out on schools parties and trick or treating, I decided to invite some of our new Wharton Vets Club friends over for chili and pumpkin painting! The kids wore costumes and enjoyed some fun Halloween themed food - pretzel bones, spider pizza, brain cake, and pumpkin dip!

Have a great Halloween!

Brain Cake

*recipe found here

- strawberry cake mix, baked on baking sheet
- 1/4 pint Mason jars
- raspberry jam
- frosting dyed grey, 2 drops black and 1 drop pink food coloring
- piping bag with #5 round tip
- free printable found in link above

1. Make strawberry cake on a baking sheet and cut out circles of cake with the Mason jar, once cooled.
2. Place a piece of cake at the bottom of each Mason jar.
3. Place 1 tbsp of raspberry jam on top of the cake.
4. Cover the top of the jam with frosting and line the edges of the jar with the frosting.
5. Place a smaller circle cake in the center of the icing and then top the cake off with frosting.
6. Add a printed label to the top.

 Mason Jar with cake and jam

 Gray frosting "brains" 

 Brains in a jar!

With Label

White Chocolate Pretzel "Bones"

- pretzel sticks
- mini marshmallows
- white chocolate

1. Place mini marshmallows on the end of the pretzel sticks.
2. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Place pretzels and marshmallow in the white chocolate and cover with a fork. 
3. Place on parchment paper and put in the fridge for 10 minutes to finish hardening.

 Pretzel with marshmallows

 Being dipped in white chocolate 

 White Chocolate Bones

Dig in!

Spider Pizza

*spiders made from pepperonis and olives
- Pizza dough made from here 

 Spider Pizza

Pumpkin Spice Dip with Apples

- 8 oz. Cool Whip
- 15 oz. can of pumpkin
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all ingredients together and serve with fruit of our choice. 

Pumpkin dip with apples

Candy Pumpkins

- orange tissue paper
- 9" cake pan
- scissors
- green tape (I used painters tape)
- pen
- candy

1. Using 2 pieces of orange tissue paper (I used one orange and one white), outline the 9" cake pan on the paper and cut it out. 
2. Place candy in the center of the circle and gather the top together and secure with green tape. 


 Candy in the center of the cut tissue paper circle

 Tissue paper gathered and secured with green tape

Candy Pumpkins!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowl

This meal is easy to make and has a huge amount of flavor! I would recommend giving yourself enough time to make the Thai rice noodles - they take about 30 minutes. Recently, we have been on an Asian food kick so I hope to be sharing more recipes!

We traveled to West Point this past weekend for Kyle's 10 year reunion and had the best time! It was so nice for Kyle to catch up with his classmates and we got to see an Army WIN! Such a beautiful time of year to be in New York - Fall is the best!

Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls

- Thai rice noodles
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 lb. flank steak, sliced thinly
- salt and pepper
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 3 cups coleslaw mix
- 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, minced

1. Make your noodles according to the instructions on the bag.
2. Mix your soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and chili pepper flakes together and set aside.
3. Heat a wok with 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil and place some of your sliced beef on top. Season meat with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on both sides.
4. Repeat above step with the remaining batches of meat and sesame oil.
5. Heat another 1/2 tbsp. of sesame oil and place your coleslaw mix in the wok. Cook until it begins to wilt and add the ginger and garlic.
6. Add drained noodles to the wok.
7. Add your sauce to the wok and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve!

 Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowl

The United States Military Academy in the Fall


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

If you are craving a delicious deep dish pizza and have the time to make homemade pizza dough and sauce - this is the recipe for you! The dough made enough for 2 pizzas, so I made one deep dish pepperoni, and one with mushrooms and green peppers. A traditional Chicago style pizza is pretty much upside-down pizza if you ask me - you put your cheese on the bottom, your toppings and your sauce on top!

This pizza was a big hit in my family! Get creative and try other toppings - I know I will next time I make this.


- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened)
- Olive oil for coating


- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp. sugar


- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- pepperoni, pepper, mushrooms, sausage, bacon... etc.

For Dough:
1. Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in your KitchenAide Mixer with your dough hook attachment. Add the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Stir dough together on low speed until dough is soft and falls off the hook.
2. Remove your dough and form it into a ball. Place the ball of dough in a large mixing dough coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with foil and allow to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm environment.
3. Once dough is has risen, place it on a floured surface and knead it and roll it out to a large 15"x12" rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log and cut it in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place them back into the greased mixing bowl. Place foil on top of the bowl and allow to rise in the refrigerator for an hour.

For Sauce:
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add your onions, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Allow onions to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add your garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For Pizza:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 x 9 inch cake pans.
2. Roll out one ball of pizza dough on a floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
3. Place dough over the cake pan and press the dough into the pan using your fingers.
4. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.
5. Repeat with second dough ball.
6. Place 2 cups of cheese on the bottom of each pan.
7. Add your pizza toppings.
8. Place half of your sauce, about 1 1/4 cups, on top of your toppings.
9. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese on top.
10. Bake for 25 minutes.

 Pizza dough before it was placed in the warm oven to rise

 Dough rolled out and soften butter spread on top and rolled into a log

 Cut log in half

 Form 2 balls and place in refrigerator to rise for an hour

 Dough rolled out and placed in deep dish cake pan

 2 cups of mozzarella cheese

Pepperonis added

Peppers and mushrooms

 Pizzas topped with sauce and parmesan cheese

 Baked for 25 minutes

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza