Mini Apple Pies

We are nearing the end of the 2013 Fall Bucket List! This weekend I crossed another thing off  the list and made Mini Apple Pies inspired by Little Bit Funky’s recipe!  I decided that mini apple pies would be a lot easier for Monte’s hands to eat and carry around. Of course I made some changes and also halved the recipe.

Makes 18 individual apple pies

Ingredients 

4 cups chopped apples – Approximately 4 apples depending on the size. You can also peel the apples, I chose not to.

7 Tablespoons flour

3/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into smaller pieces

2 boxes of Pillsbury pie crusts – not frozen, refrigerated

Directions 

1. Peel (if you choose to) and chop up your apples into bite size pieces. Approximately 1/2 inch in size.

2. Place apple pieces, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl and combine well.

3. Unroll first pie crust. Use the ring of a mason jar. Make sure you use a QUART ring, NOT pint. Her recipe did not specify this and I started using a pint ring and my circles were way too small for the muffin tins. I was little mad after spending all that time making perfect circles :/ Using a quart size is perfect!

4. Place the circles into each muffin slot. Pinch the edges on top creating a hammock in the muffin slot.

5. Place your apple mixture into the center of each crust. Fill until slightly mounded.

6. Take your butter pieces and add a piece on top of each pie.

7. Take whatever leftover dough, you may have and place strips on top of each pie.

8. Brush with melted butter.

9. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. You may give or take a few minutes depending on your oven!

I love how well these hold together! I was concerned they would not stay together well and crumble. You could make all varieties of pies using this basic recipe!  Enjoy!

What variety of pie would you make?

2013 Holiday Bucket List

I have added all of the events in the Des Moines Metro area where Santa may be this holiday season! Let me tell you, he is going to be one busy guy! There are a lot of events this holiday season for the whole family and even a few date night opportunities. Make sure to check out my events calendar on the right hand side of the page for EVERYTHING!

I posted my DIY 2013 Holiday Planner, now I just need to share our 2013 Holiday Bucket List!

2013 Holiday Bucket List 

1. East Village Holiday Promenade

2. Visit Santa

3. Drink Hot Cocoa

4. Bake and decorate cookies

5. Decorate Christmas tree and house

6. Watch Elf

7. Donate toys

8. Make a homemade craft

9. Watch Frosty the Snowman & Rudolph

10. Make a Gingerbread house

11. Make Epping Family Toffee & Dateballs

Make sure to check out the Bucket List tab on the top of my page. This is where I will keep track of everything we accomplish!

What items are on your Holiday Bucket List? 

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I know it’s not Monday, but my week usually starts on Tuesdays 🙂

Anyways, I want to share another awesome fall recipe I found on Pinterest. I made it Sunday morning for breakfast. It was such a beautiful day Sunday that we sat outside and enjoyed our rolls out on the patio.

While I was baking Monte enjoyed himself, while reading a People Magazine 🙂

I found this recipe here. Of course I added a little something to change it up a bit!

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

2 packages/cans  crescent rolls

4 0z cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Frosting

4 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles. Pinch the seams together to create one large rectangle.

2. Place the cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon into the mixer. I also added some dried cranberries! Beat it until it is well combined.

3. Split the mixture evenly among the rectangles and spread until about 1/2 inch from the edge.

4. Starting at the long end, roll them up and then cut into 1 inch pieces. I was able to get 3 small rolls out of each rectangle.

5. Place the rolls around 2 – 9 inch cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray. Place them along the edges, leaving the middle open so they can expand.

6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix up the ingredients for the frosting in a mixer until well combined.

7. When the rolls are done baking, pull them out and frost the rolls immediately so the frosting can melt on top of the rolls. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

These cinnamon rolls are pretty small, but I really only needed 1 pan instead of 2. If it’s only going to be 2-3 people you can probably get by with halving the recipe.

I hope you enjoy them!!

2013 Fall Bucket List

 

2013 Fall Bucket List

 

Today is the first day of Autumn! Monte and I have created our 2013 Fall Bucket List.

In previous posts, you may have noticed I mentioned our 2013 Summer Bucket List. Since I started my blog late in the summer I did not share our whole bucket list with everyone, BUT we are definitely going to share them here on out!

I love creating bucket lists because I always want to do so many different things and our bucket lists help organize all of these activities.

2013 Fall Bucket List 

1. Center Grove Orchard

2. Carve/Decorate Pumpkins

3. Pick Apples

4. Make homemade applesauce

5. Trick or Treat

6. Drink apple cider

7. Play in corn pit

8. Hay rack ride

9. Make homemade apple pie

10. Wills Family Orchard

11. Eat a caramel apple

12. Play in leaves

13. Go on a bike ride

14. Make chili

15. Make pumpkin pancakes

16. Pick pumpkins

17. Watch the Thanksgiving Parade

18. Do a Fall/Halloween craft

19. Watch – It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

20. Watch Nebraska football!!!

Make sure to check out the Bucket List tab on the top of my page. This is where I will keep track of everything we accomplish!

What things do you want to do this Fall?

Fall Off the Bone Apple Butter Ribs

I made an awesome crock pot recipe this weekend that I want to share with all of YOU!

I made Apple Butter Ribs! They were delish and perfect for our entrance into fall.

Ingredients 

  • 7 lbs Pork Baby Back Ribs
  • (1) Vidalia Onion
  • (2) Apples
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg
  • (2) 16 oz jars Apple Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Serves about 5 people, using 2 crock pots.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your ribs by lightly sprinkling salt and pepper on each side. Place onto a cookie sheet. You may have to cut your slab of ribs in half and use more then one cookie sheet depending on how big the slabs are.

We purchased our ribs from a local place called B & B Grocery Meat & Deli. They always have the best meat available and also have some AWESOME sandwiches to try out!

2. After the oven is preheated place the slabs into the oven for 7 minutes each side. This browns the ribs and reduces the fat.

3. While they are browning wash and chop your onion and apple. I used an apple corer/slicer for my apple to create wedges.

4. Once the ribs are done browning sprinkle both sides of the ribs with nutmeg. I generously sprinkled each side, it may have been more then 2 teaspoons.

5. Take about 1/4th of your onion and apple slices and layer on bottom of crock pot. Place one slab of ribs. Then layer another 1/4th of onion and apple slices. Place another slab of ribs.

6. Open one jar of apple butter and mix in 1 tsp of minced garlic. You may use more depending on how garlicky you want it.

We purchased Apple Butter from a local place too! Iowa Orchard is located in Urbandale and has cider, pies, apples, apple butter, BBQ sauces, and more! They also have nectarines, sweet corn, and other produce available through out the year. Pumpkins will also be available very soon!

7. Pour the apple butter mixture over the ribs so each slab is covered. Put lid on and set at low for 8-10 hours.

8. Repeat with the second batch in the second crock pot.

I put these in the crock pot, on low 8-10 hours at about 10 am. At about 3 pm they were cooked thoroughly. We were not ready to eat yet, so I turned the crock pots to warm.

When I got everything ready to eat, the meat was literally falling off the bone! My house smelled amazing and the ribs tasted delish!

I took two glass bowls and split the ribs up into each bowl, then spooned out the sauce, onion, and apples and poured it all over the ribs.

What is your favorite crock pot recipe?

Veggie Loaded Pasta for Meat Lovers

There has been another heat wave in the Midwest! Thankfully, it rained a little last night. When I went outside for work this morning, I could feel a difference in the air. There is a cool down coming our way! BRING ON FALL!!

Last night was Monte’s first night back to Kindermusik and he had so much fun! I cannot explain how much I love the Kindermusik program. I will definitely have to write and tell you more about it soon!

Afterwards, since it was so hot, we stopped at the local YoGo, a serve your own yogurt bar. It was sooooooo yummy and felt great on such a hot evening.

I have an awesome new-ish recipe for you! I must say I am pretty proud of myself because I did not follow a certain recipe to create this concoction. It’s loaded with veggies and meat, so it makes everyone happy 🙂

You can pretty much put whatever you want into this dish, but this is what I used.

Ingredients 

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • chopped mushrooms (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 jar of Newman’s Own Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • 1 box of Veggie Pasta

Directions

1. Grate your carrot and zucchini and chop up your mushrooms. Set aside.

2. Start a pot of boiling water for your noodles.

3. Brown ground beef with a little olive oil, until it’s a little pink. Then drain the grease.

4. Next, add your grated and chopped veggies to the ground beef. Let saute for awhile.

5. At this point, your water should be boiling for your veggie noodles. Go ahead and boil the noodles until they are al dente.

6. Add your sauce to pan with ground beef and veggies, cover, and let cook for a bit longer.

7. Drain noodles, and place into pan with ground beef, veggies, and sauce. Cover.

8. I turned off my burner and let sit, so it would cook the noodles a bit longer and stay warm until the hubby came home.

9. Top with a little mozzarella cheese and enjoy!

The hubby and I enjoyed this dish, but Monte was being a picky eater again. He ate some of the noodles and the shredded cheese off the top of it. I’m for sure any other toddler would like this, but Monte is going through this weird eating stage 🙁 Anyways, the dish is even better as leftovers!

Do you guys have any problems feeding a toddler? How do you get your toddlers to eat?!? 

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day! Yes, it’s Wednesday! We have made it through half of the week and I am looking forward to the weekend.

Have you made it out to the Iowa State Fair yet? If you have not, you have only 5 days left to check it out! You do not want to miss the “one and only”.

This week has been gorgeous out. The weather is hinting towards Fall and it is getting me more and more excited. Yesterday, I opened up our whole house and it felt so nice to get some fresh air. Monte is also enjoying the nice weather. He has been playing outside a lot!

If you look verrrry closely … Monte is down underneath the willow tree playing. He loves it under there!

Yesterday I worked on some Pinterest projects around the house. One project I have been working on since Memorial Day! I HAVE to get it done soon! I will definitely share them, when they are finished.

I also did some baking and cooking. I made Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins and Greek Marinated Chicken. They both turned out great!

I started with the muffins. I have been craving some baked goods in the morning, so I found this recipe to see if it would curb that craving. It is also healthier! So far, it has worked! They are delish!

The original recipe for the Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins can be found here. But, below are the small changes I made!

Ingredients:
2.5 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP ground flax seed

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
2. Place the oats in the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients to the food processor.

3. Process until everything is mixed together and oats are smooth.

4. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I started by taking the oats and flax seed and placed the ingredients in my Vitamix (which I LOVE).

I pulsed it until it was a flour mixture.

Then I added all the ingredients INCLUDING dried cranberries! This made 18 large muffins!

I also made the Greek Marinated Chicken. I made a few changes to the recipe, which you can find below but the original recipe can be found  here.

I used Greek plain yogurt and I used only about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken. The recipe called for 3 1/2 – 4 lbs of chicken, but while I was making the marinade, I felt that if I added more chicken you would not be able to taste much flavor. I also did not marinade for 30 minutes in the fridge. I took everything, mixed it really well in a large bowl and made sure the chicken was coated. I then placed the chicken directly into a 9×13 baking dish and placed it into the oven.

Boy was I right! I am glad I only used 1 1/2 lbs of chicken because the flavor was wonderful! Our house smelled amazing too! We even had a little leftover, so I can put in a Flat Out with baby spinach and a laughing cow wedge! I definitely recommend this recipe!

What new recipes have you tried this week?

Unique Beer, Cooking & Baking

The Iowa State Fair has begun! If you don’t live in the area, you may not be familiar with the Iowa State Fair, but it is the Mother of all fairs. It’s almost like a holiday! We are going on Saturday with Monte and then going another day without Monte to enjoy adult activities. I will make sure to post ALL about it!

This week has been a pretty laid back week. Nothing too much going on and Travis was home basically every night (which is unusual). He usually works until about 9ish or later 3-4 times a week.

It’s been so nice out and in the evening has been getting to about mid 60’s. It makes me REALLY want fall here! If you do not know, I LOVE fall! I love everything about it, not just because my birthday happens to land in October BUT I love the smell, atmosphere, and college football (Nebraska, of course!). Anyways, I was craving a pumpkin beer. So I called two different local beer stores to ask if they had any type of pumpkin or fall seasonal beer available. Beer Crazy had a Pumpkin Ale! So, we took a family outing to get some beer 🙂

Beer Crazy is a pretty neat local store. They sell all sorts of beers by the bottle. They also sell supplies to brew your own beer at home, which my father and Travis have done a few times. If you live near by, you should check them out!

Not only did we pick up Rogue Pumpkin Ale but we also found a Rogue Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale! Boy, was that different! I enjoyed the Pumpkin Ale, but the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale was a little dark for my tasting.

 

Wednesday afternoon was so nice, not extremely hot and I needed to get some exercise in (I have been slacking the past few weeks). I decided to take Monte with me and go rollerblading. We have a bike trailer that turns into a jogging stroller. I have taken Monte a few times and he really enjoys it. It’s great for me to get out and burn some calories and he gets some fresh air.

I ended up burning 294 calories in 32 minutes! Wow! I took a picture of it with my Polar watch (which I LOVE) but it came out blurry. If you do not have a Polar watch you NEED to get one!

Afterwards, I developed a bunch of energy that I needed to burn (because I didn’t burn enough energy rollerblading??), so I started cooking and baking!

I made two new recipes which turned out delish!!

The first was Sweet Potato Salad from Momables which you can find here.

It’s a “kid” recipe, but I made it for all of us. Monte is a huge fan of sweet potatoes and loved this! I paired it with black beans and we put it into tortillas and ate “Sweet Potato Burritos”. I also omitted the mayo because I did not have any and also to make it a bit healthier. If needed you can add some more Greek yogurt to make it more creamy.

I also made Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Bread (wow! what a title!). The recipe can be found here.

It was sooo good and tasted just like chocolate cake. After I made it, I noticed you could sub applesauce instead of the oil which would make it even healthier! I always forget applesauce can be subbed for things!

Overall, it’s been a good week! Looking forward to the weekend and making an appearance at Iowa State Fair!

Are you going to the Iowa State Fair? What things do you look forward to doing while there?