Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet & Salty Snack Mix + Giveaway


I’ve recently teamed up with Annie's Homegrown to become a #teamannies Brand Ambassador. I just love these products as they incorporate healthy eating into our lifestyles. They use organic products which are free of artificial flavors, coloring, and preservatives. And y’all know I try to keep my eating healthy, except for the sweets, but hey, baby steps for me {smile}.


 I think they also must have heard that I cannot (for the life of me) make homemade macaroni & cheese and maybe felt a little sorry for me. Because in my care package, they sent me three boxes of Annie’s mac & cheese! Oh, I’m a happy girl! I can whip up a mean box of mac & cheese!

My Annie's care package

I also got some of their cheddar snack mix which combines their infamous bunny cheese crackers and pretzels...Yum! Now I know what you're thinking..."I want one of these care packages too", because if I were you, I would be thinking that right now {wink}.

Well, today must be your lucky day because Annie's is letting me host a give away where one lucky winner will receive:
  • 3 boxes of Annie's Mac & Cheese
  • 2 boxes of Annie's snacks
  • Annie's Homegrown Coupons
  • a chino bag (very cool and handy!)
  • and a Team Annie's spork (who doesn't love a spork?)
All you have to do is follow the rules listed below in the Rafflecopter Give Away and enter by leaving your answer to the following question, "How do you incorporate Annie's Homegrown ingredients into your meals?" in my comment section below. Make sure you get credit for answering the question by marking the appropriate box in the Rafflecopter section. Giveaway ends October 24, 2014 so hurry up and enter and let your friends know too. And be sure to check back for results following closing date. This giveaway is currently only open to U.S. residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So I got to thinking, why not add a little sweetness to my cheddar bunnies and pretzels? Oh yea, the perfect blending of a little bit of sweet and a little bit of salty. The perfect combination to help satisfy my monster sweet tooth cravings!

My intention was to keep it healthy with coconut chips, dried mangos, banana chips, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. But the little devil on my shoulder threw in a bag of Reese’s pieces and candy corn M&M’s when I wasn’t looking. Much to my surprise when I got back home from the store and found them in my grocery bag.


But that little devil sure had the right idea because this trail mix is unquestionably delicious! Satisfying any sweet and salty cravings you might have.

Plus, you can feel good about this snack mix because Annie’s products are made with organic ingredients and you’re the one making it, giving you the option of how much and what to put into it. So you can regulate the sweets, but still have a little taste to satisfy your cravings.


Happy snacking and Good Luck to all who enter the Giveaway!

Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Serving size - 2 and 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 cup Annie's Cheddar Snack mix of cheddar bunnies and pretzels

1/4 cup banana chips

1/4 cup dried mango

1/4 cup roasted & salted pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup Reese's pieces

1/4 cup Candy Corn M&M's

12 strips of coconut strips, broken into bite size pieces

Directions

Add all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Enjoy!

*Helpful Hints*

- I cut my mango pieces into smaller bite size portions.

- can divide up and place into sandwich bags for individual snacks to take on the go.

- All measurements are US


Join #teamannies ~ a fun social community where fans share their love for Annie's and get special access to Annie's world. Click here to Join Team Annie's.

Disclaimer - #spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between my blog and Annie's Homegrown. This could include Annie's providing me with content, product, access or other forms of payment.


All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt


Ever since I made my first batch of Pumpkin Butter this year, I just can’t get enough of it, after all I only make it once a year. And this year, I’ve been trying it on almost everything I eat, with my latest being in my morning yogurt.

Since peach season is officially over {sad face}, I’m trying new ways to wake up my morning breakfast. And I think I found it here with this Pumpkin Spice yogurt.

It’s everything I’m loving right now and makes for the perfect breakfast as it combines my favorite Fall flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, with a sprinkling of  pecans. All mixed together with my favorite Greek yogurt.


Not only is this healthy, but it’s also a quick and easy recipe to make and you can even prepare it the night before, so in the morning you can just grab it and go with your morning coffee or tea.


Or you can do like me and slowly savor every scrumptious, creamy bite while catching up on episodes of 'The Blacklist' with my morning coffee {smile}.

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt

Makes 1 serving
Ingredients

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

3-4 Tablespoons pumpkin butter

1 Tablespoon chopped pecans

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Enjoy!

*Helpful Hints*

- You can find the recipe for my Pumpkin Butter here.

- If y’all follow me, you know I only use Fage plain Greek yogurt as its creamy with no bitterly sour taste like other plain yogurts.

- If preparing the night before, mix in a small bowl and transfer to an airtight container. And if you prefer your pecans a little crunchier, you can leave the pecans on top and mix in right before you eat.

- All measurements are US

Disclaimer - I was not paid for use of Fage yogurt in this recipe nor am I a spokesperson for Fage. I just love their creamy yogurt and think its the best!

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
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Shared with: Gluten Free Fridays - #113, Savoring Saturdays #36

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie


I’m loving these cool, brisk nights of October. And when the weather starts cooling down like this, I find it’s the perfect time to break out my crockpot. Ah, yes my beloved crockpot, maker of many delicious soups and chile.

One of my favorite cool weather meals when I was growing up, and still, is Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. Oh, how I love it! The flaky pie crust with chicken and vegetables in a deliciously thick, golden sauce. Mmmm…


But the one thing I don’t like about them, is that no matter how long you’ve cooked the pies, the bottom crust remains partially uncooked. I usually put foil around the edges of the pies so I can get the bottom crust cooked all the way through because I like a golden colored crust, more on the lighter side, not burnt. But this usually takes about 90 minutes. And who wants to wait that long for dinner when the directions state "ready in 45-60 minutes"? Not this girl!

So this year, I decided to try and make my own chicken pot pie. After all, how hard can it be? Come to find out, not very hard at all. Pretty easy if you ask me {smile}.

Of course, I cheated a little by using a store bought crust. But if you’re into that whole “I like making my own crust” thing, then feel free to go ahead and do that for your crust. But for now, I’m using store bought crust as it’s much easier and not as messy or time consuming.


As for the “filling” for my chicken pot pie, I was inspired by Pillsbury's Classic Chicken pot pie recipe. I tweaked the recipe to my own liking, making this recipe more like Marie Callender’s classic chicken pot pies.

And the crust, well, I decided to try something a little different by literally thinking outside the box. You see, I was going to make this like the classic pot pies but then I remembered how the bottom crust would always be undercooked. So I thought, why not just make the “filling” and serve it like a soup with your crust on the side. So you end up with a delicious golden, flaky crust every time!

Look at that flaky crust!

It might not look as pretty as a classic pot pie in the pie shell, but your taste buds will tell you differently. As it tastes as good as, if not better, than Marie Callender’s classic chicken pot pies!

Ingredients

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 and ½ lbs.)

1 – 32 ounce carton of Chicken Broth

1/3 cup butter

½ cup sweet, yellow onion, chopped and diced (about ½ of a whole onion)

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup milk

¾ cup flour

1 package whole, fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 Large package frozen peas

1 – 12 ounce package frozen peas and carrots (or mixed frozen vegetables)

1 box refrigerated pie crust – cook as directed on the box label.

Directions

Place chicken breast, broth, butter, onion, salt and pepper into crockpot and place on Low setting. Cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove chicken breasts with fork and place on a clean plate. Shred chicken with 2 forks, as it will be hot to the touch. Place shredded chicken back into crockpot.

Add remaining ingredients and cook for another 1-2 hours on Low setting.

About 20 minutes before chicken & vegetable broth is complete, cook pie crust as directed on box label.

Season chicken and vegetable broth to taste with additional salt & pepper, if needed.

Serve up in bowls and place pie crust on the side or crumble over the top. Enjoy!

You can also serve without pie crust as it makes for a delicious chicken vegetable soup.


*Helpful Hints*

- I don’t care for corn in the mixed vegetables, so I used peas and carrots. You can use any frozen vegetable you and your family like.

- You can buy the sliced mushrooms to save you time.

- You can make your own pie crust.

- You can use less or more flour to make the soup base thin or thicker.

- All measurements are US

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.

Shared with: Tasty Tuesday Recipe Link Up, Simple Supper Tuesday #84

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pumpkin Butter


Fall has finally made its presence here in Georgia with the shorter days and the cool, crisp nights. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes are popping up everywhere and Fall festivals are taking place. Have I mentioned this is my favorite time of year? I love Fall {smile}.

One of my favorite foods of Fall is pumpkin. I was making pumpkin cookies and roasting pumpkin seeds when I was growing up, many years before they popped up on every food blog. But that was the extent of my cooking with pumpkin.

At least until these last few years, as I’ve gotten creative and started using pumpkin for many recipes. After all, pumpkin puree is similar to apple sauce, or so that’s my way of thinking.

You can only imagine how happy I was when I first heard of pumpkin butter! Yes, I said Pumpkin. Butter. It reminds me of everything Fall….pumpkin and all the spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves, which are used in many recipes this time of year. I love these spices and this pumpkin butter is bursting with that robust Fall flavor. You can always cut the spice measurements in half if you want a more subtle taste of the spices.


It has a similar consistency to that of apple butter. So if you love apple butter, then you’re going to flip over pumpkin butter. It’s a one of a kind pumpkin experience!

Now you can always take the easy way out and purchase a ten ounce jar from Trader Joe’s for about $10.00. Or you can make your own, like I do, for much less. The best part being that it has no added preservatives, no granulated sugar, or salt and you can spice it up and sweeten it to your liking.

It also makes for great gifts for the upcoming Holidays (yes, that time of year is knocking on the door), as you can get creative personalizing the jars. Mason jars work great for this as they come in different sizes and have that old fashioned, rustic look.


But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. After all, Fall has just arrived and there’s still time to enjoy the leaves falling on these cool, sunny days while picking out pumpkins in the pumpkin patch with your kids and finding your way through the corn mazes.

Of course after your breakfast of pumpkin butter on your morning toast {smile}.


Pumpkin Butter

Makes about 1 pint

Ingredients

1 – 14.5 ounce can pumpkin puree

1/3 cup sweet Apple Cider (not apple juice or apple concentrate)

¾ cup honey

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Dash of nutmeg

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring continuously.

Once mixture starts boiling, turn down to Low heat, cover, and let simmer for 2 and ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken as it cooks so cooking time depends upon how thick you desire it to be.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator.

Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator up to 1 month.

Makes a great topping for toast and bagels.


*Helpful Hints*

- This recipe does not taste the same with other sugars. I just made a batch with coconut sugar and it had a completely different taste. This recipe is intended to be made only with honey.

- All measurements are US


All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
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Featured at ~ On Display Thursday Linky Party #16

Shared with: Share it Sunday {48}, Wake Up Wednesday, Wine'd Down Wednesday 56, Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays Link Party, Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends #49, Pin Junkie Pin Party #88, Foodie Friends Friday Recipes Linky Party #116, Pretty Pintastic Party #24, Pinworthy Projects Link Party #37, City of Links #40, Inspire Us Thursday Link Party #70, On Display Thursday Linky Party #15, Great Idea Thursdays 69, Let's Get Real Friday Party #60, Savoring Saturdays #35, Skip the Housework {Link Party}, Sweet and Savoury Sunday #83, Snickerdoodle Sunday #50, Munching Mondays #60, Busy Monday 135, Simple Supper Tuesday #83, Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday {22}

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Pudding Parfaits


I hope you didn’t have too much of a bumpy ride this week as we finally reach our final destination at Peanut Butter Land! That’s right, anything and everything peanut butter! So all you peanut butter lover’s grab your spoons as we are about to dig into some…


wait for it…


Peanut butter pudding! It tastes just like it sounds, creamy, peanut buttery pudding. I’m drooling right now just thinking of it!

And what’s better than peanut butter pudding, you ask? Well, grab some of the peanut butter cookies and peanut butter whipped cream I made a few days ago…


combine them all together, sprinkle a few Reese’s pieces and candy corn M&M’s in between, and you have a peanut butter lover’s creamy dream in this peanut butter parfait!

Ah yes, our travels are complete here in Peanut Butter Land…and my taste buds and tummy are happy {smile}.

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Pudding

2 cups Almond-Coconut milk (can use any type of milk you prefer)

2 Tablespoons Creamy peanut butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon sea salt

3 egg yolks, in a separate bowl

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions for Peanut Butter Pudding

Without placing on burner, add your sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and mix together. Set aside.

Separate egg yolks from egg whites and place in a small bowl and beat the yolks until they are blended. Set aside egg yolks. *You will not be needing the egg whites for this recipe so place the whites in refrigerator for another use.*

In a small saucepan, add milk and peanut butter. Over medium to high heat, melt peanut butter in milk, stirring often. You do not want milk to burn.

Once peanut butter is melted. Slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients in medium saucepan.
Continue cooking over medium heat until mixture boils.

After it becomes thick, cook an additional 2 minutes longer.

Remove from heat.

Add 1 Tablespoon of hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Once combined, add in another Tablespoon of hot pudding mix into egg yolks, stirring until mixed completely. Add egg yolk mixture into pudding mixture, stirring well.

Return to medium heat and cook for another 2 minutes, while gently boiling and continuously stirring.

Remove from heat.

Add in butter and vanilla. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.

Pour pudding into bowl and cover with wax paper. Place in refrigerator and let cool.

Best if it sits overnight so flavors can combine.

Directions for making Parfaits

Place peanut butter cookie crumbs in the bottom of dishes, layer with peanut butter pudding, peanut butter whipped creampeanut butter cookie crumbs, and Reese’s pieces and/or Candy corn M&M’s.

Can top with chopped peanuts, M&M’s, peanut butter syrup, salted caramel coconut sauce, or chocolate syrup. Enjoy!


*Helpful Hints*

- All measurements are US

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
Follow Julie's board Sweet and Spicy Monkey on Pinterest.