Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pina Colada Granita and a Giveaway!

With the temps and humidity finally climbing in Minnesota, I have found my pregnant self craving frosty, cold treats.  Let's be honest, my body still associates feeling nauseous all the time (yes, I am 31 weeks pregnant today and still face "morning sickness" all day) with being hung-over so I'm not craving a beer, but cold treats, yes!  

I was sent this Pina Colada Slush Drink Mix from Tastefully Simple and knew that it would be the ticket.  I made a simple Pina Colada Granita with it and it really hit the spot.  Here is how I did it...

The drink mix comes in it's own little bucket so all you have to do is rinse it out
Pour in the mix
Add water
And stir until it is completely dissolved
I popped it into the freezer over night
And the next day had a brick of Pina Colada
Which I then scraped the heck out of with a fork
Spooned it into an adorable little glass and went to town
It had the perfect consistency of a shaved ice and the taste of the tropics.  I am so happy I have a bucket of this ready to scrape and enjoy at will!

There are a few other recipes on the bucket and at using the drink mix that, yes, include alcohol for all of you folks who like to booze it up!

But, how about a little giveaway to really kick off this summer season!?  Tastefully Simple has generously offered their Triple the Fun drink bucket mixes for a little giveaway!  How fun is this!?  One winner will receive this prize pack of Lovin' Lemon Slush Drink Mix, Juicy Watermelon Margarita Mix and Mango Breeze Margarita Mix!  These are perfect for the hot summer evenings after work or for entertaining!  Just enter below and I will pick a winner the evening of Monday, July 7th.  Please note that you will need to respond to my email saying you won within 24 hours or I will pick a new winner!

Good luck and HAPPY SUMMER!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclaimer: I was provided with product and compensation for this post as a blogger in Project Simplicity.  All opinions are 100% authentic and are my own.  As always, you can't buy my love, baby.**

Friday, May 23, 2014

Caramel Macchiato No-Bake Cheesecakes

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that not too long ago, coffee and I became friends again.  After quite a long hiatus, (18 weeks to be exact), my pregnant body decided it needed to try again.  So I made myself a nice tall iced decaf coffee and haven't looked back since.  Ahhh to be "normal" again!  

Since then I have had a coffee every day (decaf--quit judging me) and when I spoke with Tastefully Simple about today's post, I knew I had to try the Caramel Macchiato Frappe Drink Mix! Oh my word you guys, this stuff is heavenly.  The original use is to take the mix, combine it with ice and water in a blender and you have the most heavenly frozen coffee drink you will ever sip on.  I drink a lot of these, take my word for it!  

But, for today, I used the mix to make these adorable Caramel Macchiato No-Bake Cheesecakes.  They could not be easier (note: pregnant and tired) to make and they received rave reviews by my husband, sister and niece!  Here's how to make them

Start out with crushing a few Oreos.  I think the single-stuff Oreos would work better but let's be honest, you will only use about 8 and then have a package of single-stuff Oreos in your pantry?  Worthless.  Get the double-stuff.
I roughly crushed them like so, with my fingers in a plastic bag.  Set aside
Next you will need whipped cream cheese.  You could use regular cream cheese but this was so much easier to incorporate.  Use whatever you have on hand.
Plop it in the bowl
Next you will want to tear open this bag of heaven.  
Sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of the mix
And combine with the whipped cream cheese using a hand mixer.  You don't have to use a hand mixer it just yields a better consistency.
Next, you will need a tub o' whipped topping
Add that to the bowl as well, mix with the hand mixer.  Don't over mix this, you don't want to loose the fluff.
Then it is time to assemble.  Take a few of the Oreo cookie pieces and place them in the bottom of your jar
Layer in the caramel macchiato mixture (drooling…)
Next comes this amazing Creamy Caramel Sauce.  Seriously, I am not a huge caramel fan (I know right?) but this stuff is so good.  So good.  I actually tastes home made and doesn't have that weird from a jar caramel taste.  Love!
Pop the Creamy Caramel Sauce in the microwave (WITHOUT THE LID) for about 20 seconds so it is easier to drizzle.
Drizzle it over the caramel macchiato mixture
Top with a  little more whipped topping and a few more crushed Oreos.
And there you have it!  Fancy looking with minimal effort= happy pregnant lady.
Oh and it is also coffee flavored?  
Win! Win! Win!

Caramel Macchiato No-Bake Cheesecakes

8 Oreos (double or single-stuffed)
8 oz cream cheese (whipped cream cheese is easier to use)
5 tablespoons Caramel Macchiato Frappe Mix 
8 oz whipped topping (lite is okay!)
3 tablespoons Creamy Caramel Sauce

Start by crushing the Oreos in a plastic bag.  You don't want them pulverized, just crushed.  Set aside.

Add the cream cheese and Caramel Macchiato Frappe Mix into a large bowl, combine using a hand mixer for best results or by hand if you don't have one.  Add in all but about 1/4 cup of the whipped topping and mix again with the hand mixer.  Don't over do it, you don't want to loose the fluffy quality of the mixture.

Pop the Creamy Caramel Sauce into the microwave (without the lid on it) for about 20-30 seconds so it is drizzle-able.

To assemble, take about a tablespoon of the crushed Oreos and place them in the bottom of your jar.  Spoon in about two tablespoons of the caramel macchiato mixture on top of the Oreos.  Drizzle a few teaspoons of the Creamy Caramel Sauce over the top.  Spoon on a tablespoon of the reserved whipped topping and sprinkle with a few more crushed Oreos.

These can be served right away or chilled for later.


Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz

**DISCLAIMER:  As part of Project Simplicity, I was provided with product for this post as well as compensated for my time.  I however truly love these products and all opinions are my own.  As always, you cannot buy my love, baby.**

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lush Lemon Pudding Cake

To be honest, I haven't had a lot of cravings with my pregnancy.  I have to say I have had more aversions (to food in general--except for mac and cheese and Ramen…poor baby) but the one flavor I have continued to crave is LEMON.  Luckily spring is lemon season.  

And, speaking of, Tastefully Simple came out with their new Spring and Summer product line and I was given a choice of products to review.  The Lush Lemon Pudding Cake Mix jumped right out at me.  I made it last weekend for my two equally lemon-loving family members (my husband and mom) and we all gave it rave reviews.  

As usual, this dessert couldn't be more simple.  Considering I feel like I'm going to toss my cookies at any given moment, I am thankful for the ease of the Tastefully Simple products.  A little cold and hot water, some mixing and this baby was in the oven.  Let me show you how easy it is… 

First, the packaging, seriously cute right?  Love the light blue and yellow.
Take packet 1 and pour it into a bowl
Combine with cold water and stir.
Spread into a greased 8x8 pan
Sprinkle with packet 2
Pour hot water over everything.  Into the oven it goes for 30-35 minutes
And it has transformed into a pudding cake; crispy on top pudding on bottom.  So good.
I garnished the dessert with a little whipped cream and twist of lemon. 
And it was lemon-y perfection.
I have a feeling I will be making this again in the very near future…for the baby of course :) 

**DISCLAIMER: I was compensated for this post since I am a blogger in Project Simplicity for Tastefully Simple.  I was also provided with the product.  But, as always all opinions are my own since you cannot buy my love, baby.** 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

Oh hey, remember me?  Yeah, I used to blog here!  Well, that was before I was pregnant and could eat food…let me clarify…look at food without having the sudden urge to puke.  I'm 19 weeks today and I think I might be feeling a tad better.  I really don't want to jinx myself but this might be the real deal.  

The other day I had the energy and lapse of nausea I have been dreaming of for quite some time and made these delicious Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce.  Holy pregnant lady happiness!  They are a slight adaptation to my traditional Stuffed Shells recipe and I have to say this adaptation is freaking amazing.  I licked my plate clean…this sauce, you guys, THIS SAUCE is amazing.  It is perfect with the shells and cheese but would be outstanding on any type of pasta you have in your pantry.  

So, let's get to it.

 Start with finely chopping an onion
 Pour a little canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet
 Add in the onion and sauté until they are translucent
 Like so
 Add in a pound of ground turkey.  You can use ground beef if you would like but I really like ground turkey in these.
Be sure to season with plenty of salt and pepper.  Cook the meat until it is no longer pink.  Set aside for now.  
 While the meat cooks, your can start on the sauce.  Add a little butter to a medium sauce pan
 Finely mince some garlic, add that to the pan as well.
 Let it cook for just a few minutes.  Be careful this can burn quickly.
 Once the garlic has had a chance to cook, pour in the heavy cream.
 Add in grated parmesan cheese.
Give it a quick stir
 Add your noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the box.  You want them al dente since you will be putting the whole kit and caboodle in the oven.  (Did I really just say that?)
 Season the sauce with pepper
 And a pinch of salt
 Then you add in your favorite jarred marinara sauce.  For real. Give it a stir and bring it to a quick simmer…not a boil but simmer while the noodles cook.
 Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  You will need ricotta
 Shredded mozzarella cheese
 Pour in the ground turkey/beef, it is okay if it is still pretty hot, it will just help melt the cheese
 Sprinkle in a teaspoon of Italian seasoning
 And grated parmesan cheese.  I'm sure shredded would be fine as well.
 Give it a really good stir so it is completely combined
 Drain the pasta and drizzle with a little olive or canola oil so they do not stick.
 Prepare your baking dish by spraying the heck out of it with cooking spray and quite a few ladles of the luscious sauce.
 Stuff the shells.  I found the easiest way to do this is by using a large tablespoon and literally stuffing them.  The filling acts almost like glue and is easily molded into the shells.
 Arrange them in a baking dish.  As you can see there is quite a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan, enough to go about 1/2 way up the sides of the shells.
 Sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese.  Into the oven it goes
 Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.  Do you see why I told you to spray the heck out of the baking dish!?  I promise it was super easy to clean up because I did it.
 I garnished with a bit of dried parsley
 Look at how pretty these are.
 If you can believe it, they taste even better than they look!

Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce 
(Makes about 24 stuffed shells.  We eat two for dinner with a nice salad)

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil, separated
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, separated
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
24 medium shelled pasta
15 oz ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
3 cups mozzarella cheese, separated
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Dried parsley, optional for garnish

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

Place a large skillet on medium high heat.  Drizzle in the oil and add the onion.  Saute until translucent.

Once the onion is cooked, add in the ground turkey/beef.  Season with salt and pepper, cook until no longer pink.  Set aside once cooked.

Add the butter to a medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add in the garlic.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant but not browned.  Be careful, this can burn easily.  Once the garlic is cooked, add in the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a bubble but do not boil.  Once bubbling, pour in the marinara sauce.  Stir and bring to a simmer, again don't boil it.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  You want it to be al dente since you will be baking it all later.

While the pasta cooks, combine the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, ground turkey/beef, italian seasoning and 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan cheese in a large bowl.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive/canola oil so the pasta does not stick.  Using a large tablespoon, stuff the shells with the filling.

To prepare the baking dish, spray liberally with cooking spray.  Ladle in the pasta sauce so there is a good amount at the bottom of the dish.  Place as may stuffed shells in the dish as you can fit.  Top with the last cup of mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.  To serve, garnish with dried parsley.


Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz

**A few notes:

1. This reheats beautifully for left overs
2. This makes a TON.  I usually make this recipe then freeze half of it, ready to go in the oven.  I prepare it in one of those tin foil baking dishes, cover with Press and Seal and then tin foil.  When I'mr ready to make it, I try to remember to take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the day before.  Then I bake it at 350 for about 45 minutes or so with the tin foil covering it, REMOVE the Press and Seal.  If I forget to defrost it, I put it in a 350 degree oven with the tin foil (no Press and Seal) for about an hour or so to ensure they are fully cooked through.
3.  The sauce reheats well so if you have additional sauce, save it, freeze it and use it for a different recipe!