Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes & Coconut Cream Frosting

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have discovered an awesome little company called Simple Mills that makes awesome gluten free/paleo baking mixes. I made the Banana Muffin & Bread Mix a week or two ago and added a real banana and some walnuts and made the most delicious little banana bread muffins!

I also got this Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Mix and made some sweet little cupcakes out of them. The cake mix has such simple ingredients, so I don’t feel a bit guilty for indulging in these (6 SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: Almond Flour, Organic Coconut Sugar, Arrowroot Powder, Organic Coconut Flour, Baking Soda, Sea Salt) I also made some refined sugar and dairy free coconut cream frosting to top them. SO MUCH YUM, people.

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Ingredients for the cupcakes:

– 1 box Simple Mills vanilla cupcake and cake mix
– 3 eggs
– 1/3 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
– 1/3 cup water
– 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put cupcake liners in cupcake pan and fill the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Ingredients for frosting:
– 1 cup full fat coconut milk
– 1 cup agave nectar or honey
– pinch sea salt
– 5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
– 1 tablespoon water
– 1¼ cup coconut oil

I found this coconut cream frosting on Elana’s Pantry. You can find directions on her blog. I also topped the frosting with some unsweetened shredded coconut.

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I was super skeptical about the frosting. I am a buttercream addict! That is literally the only frosting I consider to be real frosting. So nothing to me really lives up to that…but this coconut cream frosting is actually really delicious, sweet and creamy. The cupcakes are moist and fluffy…YUM!

Also, shout out to my MOM for gifting me this cute little cupid inspired cupcake set and cupcake/cake-pop stand! You the best, Ma!

Alrighty, I hope you have a super special V-Day doing whatever it is that you will be doing…whether it is going out with your S.O. or your girls, or your boys, HAVE FUN! Don’t forget that the day is all about love, so go ahead and spread a little kindness!

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Tropical Greens Smoothie

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Happy Monday! I don’t know about you guys, but now that Christmas and New Years is over I am ready for spring! I am ready for dresses, sandals, warm sunshine on my skin and NOT being freezing all the time. (I know wah wah you live in Southern California and the coldest it ever gets is 50 degrees wah wah) Whatever, I am definitely not equipped for the cold. But it truly has been uncharacteristically cold and rainy here is SoCal.

The dreary, cold weather has been making me dream of warmer temps in tropical places (like my vacation to Cancun in October). So, I whipped up this tropical inspired green smoothie to (sort of) satisfy my tropical cravings.

I have mentioned before in my Acai Bowl post that Cody and I keep lots of smoothie ingredients stocked up in our house so that we can kind of mix-n-match and grab-n-go pretty much anytime we would like. I think if you truly want to elevate your wellness, health and veggie intake you should jump on that smoothie train, too! It is SO easy and fun and so very good for you! So pick your favorite veggies, fruits, and additives and keep them stocked up in your fridge, freezer and pantry.

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Ingredients:

– 1 cup kale
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/4 frozen pineapple chunks (I used TJ’s)
– 1/4 frozen pineapple chunks (TJ’s)
– 1/2 banana
– 1/2 avocado
– 1 tbs coconut butter
– 1 tbs ground flax seed
– 1 tbs chia seeds
– 1 tsp bee pollen
– 1 tsp matcha powder
– 1-2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen peptides
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 handful unsweetened, shredded coconut flakes
– 1/2-1 cup water (optional)

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a nutri-bullet cup or a blender and blend until you reach desired consistency. If you would like it a little thinner, I would add 1/2-1 cup water. Put into cup and sprinkle the top with a bit more of the bee pollen, chia seeds and coconut flakes. ENJOY!

***This recipe creates a rather large smoothie. You can make it all and freeze the other half for later, or you can just cut the ingredients in half.

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Yep, this is definitely my current favorite. I have been craving it as soon as I wake up in the morning! A close second is a blueberry, pear, walnut smoothie that I also am kind of obsessed with! Should I post that one too? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend. As always, thanks so much for reading, and for the support!

Have a very happy Monday!

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Acai Smoothie Bowl

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Lately Cody and myself have been ALL ABOUT mixing those good ole greens into our smoothies…Cody calls them “shakes” or “juice.” I love sippin’ on them when I sit in traffic every morning (most of the time double fisting with coffee). It fills me up, give me a big ole dose of healthy green goodness first thing in the morning and just gets my day off to a really good start.

Sometimes I will treat myself a smoothie or acai bowl from nekter or another juice place. This particular morning I had the bright idea to make my own bowl! I went over to whole foods and picked up a few things and made these, and I think they turned out really good! I am going to share approximate measurements of of what I used…but really play with it if you want to! Add your fav smoothie additives, your favorite fruit and your favorite granola. Or, even better, make your own granola! The possibilities are literally endless. We mainly make all of our smoothies in a nutri-bullet, so that is what I will be using to mix our bowls.

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Ingredients:
This makes 2 bowls:
1/2 cup almond milk
4 4.oz Acai packets
1 and 1/2 bananas
10-12 strawberries
small container blueberries
small container pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons finely ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
3-4 table spoons bee pollen
1/4 walnuts
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen peptides (I only put this in my bowl, not Cody’s)
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 cups Purely Elizabeth blueberry hemp ancient grain granola (LOVE THIS GRANOLA!)
10 ice cubes

Directions:

Chop up all of your fruits (excluding pomegranate seeds) and put to the side, somewhere easily accessible. Divide up all of your measurements of seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, and bee pollen into tiny containers so it is easier to stick to appropriate portions when assembling the smoothie.

Start by emptying two of the packets of frozen acai into the nutribullet cup. Then go ahead and put half of everything into the smoothie (excluding pomegranate seeds, bee pollen, granola and honey). Blend it to your desired consistency. **If you are doing two servings at once in a blender simply put all of the measured out portions, instead of just half. You will also leave out the excluded items mentioned above.

I would also recommend adding a scoop (or two!) of the Vital Proteins collagen peptides to the smoothie bowl, as well. It is tasteless so it will not alter the taste of the smoothie at all.

Once your smoothie is blended put it in a bowl, or a container to eat out of. Spread a nice layer of the granola over the top of the smoothie. Take the strawberries, blueberries, banana, pomegranate seeds, coconut flakes, and bee pollen and sprinkle ass you wish over the top. After that is done drizzle your desired amount of the raw honey over the top. Eat, and ENJOY!

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SO GOOD!

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They were seriously so filling and yummy. I think you could add some nut butter or a scoop of vanilla protein powder, as well if you wanted to bulk it up a bit. The Purely Elizabeth granola is seriously my favorite. I love just eating it with some almond milk first thing in the morning with my coffee. YUM!

I know it seems like a lot of ingredients, but I actually had a lot of the stuff already, as we do eat smoothies often. I find that I like to accumulate a lot of additives so that I can mix and match them. It is so much fun, I feel like a smoothie mixologist! I would totally love to know your favorite smoothie additives, too! Please leave them in the comments below! Are there any I can’t live without?

Have a great Wednesday! Home stretch to the weekend! It is Cody’s birthday this weekend, and I am treating him out to dinner like he does to me, often…sweet man! Ok, have a great weekend!

As always, thanks for reading.
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Skillet-Charred Fish Tacos

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Ingredients:

For the Spicy Mayo:

– 1/2 mayonnaise
– 1/4 cup Sriracha

For the Fish:

– 3 tablespoons chili powder
– 1 1/2 tablespoons minded garlic (about two cloves)
– 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 3 tablespoons oil
– 1 1/2 lbs. tilapia fillets (or another white fish)

For the Green Pepper Sauce:
– 4 serrano peppers (hot)
– 6 cloves garlic
– 3 tablespoons fish sauce
– 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
– juice and zest of 1 lime

For the Tacos:
– 8-10 corn tortillas
– 1 cup shredded red cabbage
– 2 small tomatoes, diced
– 1/2 cup sliced scallions
– cilantro for garnish and lime wedges for serving
– Avocado, radishes (optional)

Directions:

1. Make the spicy mayo: In a small bowl mix mix together the mayo and Sriracha until blended and smooth.

2. Cook the fish: In a medium bowl combine the chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Rub the spice mixture over all of the fish filets. Heat a skillet with the other 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium to hight heat. Place the fish filets in the hot oil. Cook on each side about 3 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred. You may need to do this in a few rotations depending on how large your skillet is. After fish is cooked put on a plate and gently flake it with a fork.

3. Make the green pepper sauce: Add the peppers, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar and the lime zest and juice to a blender or food processor. Pulse to chop up the peppers, then blend until smooth.

4. Assemble the Tacos: Grill the tortillas over a gas stove using thongs. Place the flaked fish on the tortilla. Top with the scallions, cabbage, tomato, spicy mayo, green pepper sauce and cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

I LOVE TACOS. I think I crave them more than any food in the world. To some people comfort food is chicken noodle soup or mac n’ cheese. My comfort food is tacos. I especially love fish tacos. I have made several versions of a fish taco, with all different toppings, sauces, torrillas, etc…but this recipe I think is my absolute favorite I have made. There is so many flavors and a good kick of spice. The recipe is a tad bit time consuming, but these are PERFECT for a weekend at home dinner-date!

This recipe does have a lot of components, but it is beyond delicious! Cody loved it, too! Fresh toppings, a creamy spicy mayo and a green sauce with a kick atop crispy, flaky and spicy fish with a fire charred corn torilla. BOOM! so good! Do it! Use it as that gap meal between Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving this week. We paired ours with refried black beans and a rice and orzo pilaf. Magnificent! My tummy was for sure happy after this meal!

I hope your Monday is wonderful! I hope your (hopefully) 3 day week is amazing!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Sausage Meatloaf, Smashed Potatoes & Roasted Broccolini

Cody is a pretty good sport eating some of the stranger things I cook or make. When I went through my spaghetti squash phase, he ate every bite. Every time I want to substitute rice with cauliflower rice or flour with coconut flour, he always obliges. So when the man asks for a meat and potato meal….you give him a meat and potato meal!

I recently got Chrissy Teigen’s cook book– Craving’s and so I told Cody to look through it and pick out a few things that he wanted me to make him for dinner. He chose the Spicy Italian Sausage Meatloaf and the Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic. I then just roasted some broccolini in the toaster oven. It was a well balanced and hearty meal that my boy really enjoyed.

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What you’ll need:

-food processor, blender, nutri-bullet
-bigger bowl, medium bowl, small bowl
-measuring spoons & cups
-cooking spray or butter

Ingredients:

For Meatloaf:
– 3 slices white sandwich bread (I had sourdough lying around, so I used that)
– 1/3 cup whole milk
– 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
– 1 lb. hot/spicy Italian sausage (bulk or casings removed)
– 1 lb. ground beef
– 1 cup finely chopped onions
– 1 large egg
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 teaspoons koshersalt
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup ketchup
– 3 tablespoons brown sugar

For Smashed Potatoes:
– 2 and 1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes
– Kosher salt
– 1 stick (4 oz.) butter
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 15 large cloves (1/2 cup) roasted garlic
– 2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the Roasted Broccolini:
– 1 package broccolini
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of your choice
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika

Directions:

For the meatloaf:

1. pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor, blender, or nutribullet (which is what I used) process the bread into fine crumbs. Transfer them to a large bowl and pour the milk in and let it sit for 5 minutes.

3. Also mince the mushrooms in the processor or blender until fine. Add the breadcrumbs along with the sausage, beef, onions, carrots, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes and and black pepper. Gently mix with your hands until combined.

4. Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or butter (I found that I had enough mixture for two 8×4 loaf pans, which is what I had). Put the mixture into the pan(s).

5. In a small bowl combine the ketchup and brown sugar and spread it over the top of the meatloaf.

6. Bake until the meatloaf is cooked through and the glaze is slightly dry on top, about 1 hour.

7. Let cool a bit before slicing.

For the Smashed Potatoes:

1. In a large pot combine the potatoes with water to cover them by 3 inches. Salt the water until it tastes good. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork.

2. When the potatoes are almost cooked, heat the butter, cream, pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and keep it warm over low heat.

3. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and add the roasted garlic. Using a potato masher, mash until chunky to smooth, then stir in the cream mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the fresh chopped chives.

For the Roasted Broccolini:

1. Preheat your toaster oven, or regular oven to 375 degrees.

2. Trim the very ends of the broccolini off. Toss in the olive oil and generously sprinkle with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika.

3. Toast in the oven or toaster oven for about 20-25 minutes, then remove from oven, toss them, and place them back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes on broil.

Original recipe for the meatloaf and potatoes is from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Cookbook.

It was the moistest and most delicious meatloaf I’ve ever had. The potatoes were a smashing success, as well! There was plenty of leftovers and cody took it for lunch the next week. I would say it was a great success!

I have been sharing a lot of recipes on the blog recently, because I am truly finding a passion for cooking. I would super love some feedback from y’all regarding what type of recipes you would like to see. More vegetables? Less carbs? More baked goods? LET ME KNOW in the comments below or shoot me an email….trust me, I am always up for a challenge!!!

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Shrimp & Pork Dumpling Soup

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It is officially fall, which means it is SOUP SEASON! Yes, be expecting a lot of yummy soup recipes here on My JennaRaetion. I have spoken of my love affair with soups in the past when I shared my Mexican chicken soup recipe, (link recipe!) but my love for asian soups is a completely different story. Dumplings, noodles, egg drop soup, it’s all good in the hood! This soup, in particular is unique because it includes both shrimp and pork, which in theory sounds really strange but actually comes together quite effortlessly to create an asian flavor explosion in your mouth.

This soup is definitely one of my favorite recipes to make and it never fails to be a crowd pleaser, even to the pickiest eaters! It is slightly time consuming, so I would recommend saving it for a weekend, or a weeknight when you aren’t pressed for time. It can easily serve 4 or 2 with plenty of of leftovers (my favorite leftovers ever!). Just make it and I promise you will not regret it for one second!

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What you will need:

A large pot
A slotted spoon or ladle
small bowl for water

Ingredients:

– 8-12 oz. (or 2 1/2-3 cartons) cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
– 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, divided
– 1/2-3/4 pound cleaned shrimp (no tails!)
– 1/2-3/4 pound ground pork
– 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely minced
– ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
– 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, divided
– 1 tablespoon Sriracha
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large square (6 inch) egg roll wrappers
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Firstly put the chicken broth, 1 table spoon of the fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of the chili flakes into the pot and give it a stir. Bring that to a boil.

2. Finely chop the shrimp (into thirds or fourths). Also finely chop the shiitakes, cilantro, ginger and scallions.

3. Combine those chopped ingredients (shrimp, cilantro, shiitakes, ginger and scallions) with the pork, 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil, teaspoon of Sriracha, the other table spoon of fish sauce and salt until incorporated.

4. One at a time fill the wrappers with about a spoonful of the mixture right in the middle. Then take your pointer and middle fingers and dip them in the water to wet all four edges of the wrapper.

5. Take two corners of the wrapper and fold them together over the mixture and pinch together at the top with wet fingers. Take one of the remaining corners of the wrapper and fold it behind and pinch it together at the top with the other two corners. Take the remaining corner and fold it over the front and pinch the corner at the top with the other three corners. Repeat this until the mixture is complete. Will likely make about 8-10 giant dumplings.

6. Once all the dumplings are formed and the broth is boiling go ahead and gently drop each dumpling down into the pot so that they are all side by side at the bottom.

7. Cover the pot and let the dumplings simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the wrappers are transparent.

8. Once the dumplings are cooked, take your slotted spoon and gently remove the dumplings one-by-one and place in a bowl. Take a non-slotted ladle and pout the broth over the dumplings in the bowl. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.

Yes, it really is as good as I say it is….I promise! It is the absolute best on a chilly Sunday evening. You will definitely have enough for lunch the next day.

What are some of your favorite soup recipes? Tell me in the comments below!

Happy Monday!

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Homemade Pizza Hot Pockets

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Oh, Hot Pockets….you delicious, cheesy, sauce-y, nostalgic little crispy dough balls of goodness…

Every week Cody and I make our lunch for work. We do it mainly to be frugal, and also so that we know what we are eating, because we do love to know what is in our food. Cody is a bottomless pit, and struggles to find meals that have enough calories and fill him up. I googled “man lunch recipes” and found this recipe for homemade hot pockets. Let me tell you, it was an AWESOME discovery!

Ingredients:

-4 cups flour
-1½ tsp salt
-1½ tbsp yeast
-3 tbsp olive oil
-1½ cups warm water
-1 package chopped up pepperoni
-1 package cheese of your choice
-1 jar marinara or pizza sauce

**You could also do ham and cheese instead of pizza if that is your jam

What else you’ll need:
-hand mixer or stand mixer
-bigger bowl
-rolling pin
-baking pan
-cooling rack

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. You will begin by adding your flour, salt and yeast to a big bowl. You can combine those three with just a wooden spoon. You will then add the olive oil and mix that in with your hand mixer or Kitchen Aid Mixer. Then add the warm water and mix that in.

3. After the dough is all mixed together, take the dough out of the bowl and grease it with oil or butter, whichever you prefer. Put the dough back into the greased bowl and let the dough rise for about 30-45 minutes.

4. After the dough rises take hand fulls of the dough out of the bowl and roll them into a ball with your hands. You will then roll the dough flat with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Once the dough is rolled out, you will go ahead an put a few spoon fulls of sauce into the middle of the dough. Sprinkle some cheese over the sauce, then add your pepperonis and another layer of cheese.

6. After it is filled, fold the dough over to form a half-circle. Take your finger and press around the edge of where the sauce, cheese and pepperoni is in the middle to form a crust. Place your finger on the edge of the crust and grab the piece of crust next to your finger and fold it over your finger and pinch it down. Do this repeatedly across the entire rounded part of the half circle, it will end up looking braided. Cut three slits in the top.

7. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Once baked, take out of oven and place on cooling rack for about 15 minutes before eating (WAY too hot inside…ya know, like the microwaved ones always are!)

YUUUUMMMMYYY! Seriously, so good. Just as good, if not better than the frozen ones you buy at the grocery store. You can also put these in a gallon zip-lock bag and freeze them and save them for later; just heat them up in the microwave.

As I get older I love to find recipes for my favorite childhood foods, just for nostalgia’s sake. It makes me and my tummy very happy! What are you favorite childhood foods?

As always, thanks for reading!

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Pumpkin Scones With Maple Glaze

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Since The first day of fall was last week, and I have been craving baked goods pretty much everyday for breakfast I decided to go ahead and just make these yummy pumpkin scones. I LOVE scones. The petite vanilla scone from Starbucks is one of my favorite sweet breakfast treats, and I cannot help but get one to accompany my favorite vanilla latte’ every time I get one.

I always think of them as some super-difficult-to-bake fancy pastry. However, they are surprisingly easy. I feel like they are just like baking cookies, or muffins.

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Pumpkin Scones With Maple Glaze:
Makes 8

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt (1/4 tsp. if butter is unsalted)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. high quality maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place butter in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. While oven is preheating go ahead and add all of your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder & spices) to a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

3. Take the butter from the freezer and cut it into chunks, as picture above. You will then add the butter to your bowl of dry ingredients then work it together with a pastry cutter or fork until butter breaks off into small, pea-size pieces.

4. Add pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Stir well with your spatula or wooden spoon. You will likely need to mix it with your hands towards the end.

5. Lay down a piece of wax paper on a flat, hard surface (I used my cutting board). Sprinkle some flour on the wax paper. Pick up scone mixture and mold into a ball with your hands. Put the ball into the wax paper and squish it down with your hands so it becomes more of a really, really think pizza shape.

6. Take a longer knife and cut the dough in half, then in quarters, then into eigths. Place the eight scone dough pieces onto an oiled pan to go into the oven. (I also added some brown sugar in top of each piece before I put them into the oven)

7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 16-18 minutes. Once they are done, take them out and put them on a cooling rack.

8. While the scones are baking go ahead and add all the glaze ingredients to a smaller bowl and whisk together with a small whisk or fork.

9. When the scones are all cool on the cooling rack, take the same pan you baked the scones on and put it under your cooling rack. Take the glaze and drizzle it over each scone.

They were so yummy right out of the oven. Do you have any favorite fall scone or muffin recipes? Tell/link me to the in the comments below!

If you want another awesome recipe, check out my Baked Blueberry Donuts!

As always, thanks so much for reading! XO

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Toaster Oven Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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Growing up, I would say that I was not a picky eater. I would pretty much eat any vegetable my mom put on the dinner table in front of me; broccoli, green beans, spinach, corn, etc…. However, when brussels sprouts landed on my plate, I REFUSED. I thought they were like disgusting little heads of bitter tasting cabbage. YUCK!

Fast forward to adulthood, where I actually prepare and eat my own vegetables without parental influence. I admitted to myself that I may have been too harsh on the mini heads of sour cabbage as a kid, and reluctantly sauteed myself some brussels. Still, disgusting. That was it, I had officially given up on them. For good.

Then, I had a vegetable epiphany!

In May Cody, his friend Collin and myself took a trip down to the San Diego Zoo for my birthday (where I, of course, fed the giraffes and it was the most magical moment of my life so far). That evening we met up with some of Cody and Collin’s other high school friends and had dinner at this super awesome little bar restaurant called Bayside Landing. There was like 8 of us in the party and a bunch of different appetizers were ordered. Someone ordered their crispy brussels sprouts. Somehow the universe knew how I felt about brussels sprouts and they landed on the table right in front of me. I immediately gave a disgusted face and the waitress must have seen it, because she asked me “you don’t like brussels sprouts?” I shook my head no. She said “well, you’ll love these, everyone does. They are the most popular appetizer!” I was thinking, ok lady, I am not your kid and you can’t make me eat these. But then everyone else started digging in and gushed about how delicious they were. So, I stabbed a few with my fork and took a bite. OH MY LANTA! They were crispy, yet squishy and perfectly seasoned with just a little bit of tang to them.

Here is my best rendition of the crispy-tangy brussels that changed my mind about brussels sprouts forever:

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What you’ll need:

-1 bag Brussels Sprouts (mine are from TJ’s)
-5 table spoons olive oil
-3 table spoons balsamic vinegar
-Salt
-Pepper
-Smoked Paprika
-Garlic Powder
-Small toaster oven sized tray/pan
-Thongs for tossing

Directions:

Preheat your toaster oven (or regular oven) to 450. Cut off the “butt” of the brussels sprout and then chop it length-wise as seen in the photos above. I would cut it into thirds if it was a bigger one, and into halves for a smaller one. Once you have all of the Brussels cut up, put them into a small/medium sized mixing bowl. Add 5 table spoons of olive oil, and 3-4 table spoons of balsamic vinegar. Toss well with your thongs to evenly coat all of the brussels in the olive oil and balsamic. Then you will evenly spread all of the chopped and coated brussels onto your mini tray/pan. After the brussels are evenly spread onto the the pan season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoke paprika. Give them a toss. Sprinkle again with the pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika, but not the salt. Put them into the oven for 25 minutes on broil. Toss with thongs every 5-10 minutes.

They will come out so crispy and delicious! They may look a little over-cooked in the photos, but that is just the crispy-ness. YUM!

You can use a regular oven for these, as well. I just like to use the toaster oven because the regular oven makes our apartment SO HOT during the summer.

They are so easy and quick to make. Sometimes I will prepare these first if I am also preparing something else to go with them so that they can cook while I am cooking. Cody and I probably have these for dinner at least 2 times a week!

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read my little bloggy! I hope you enjoy these brussels as much as I do!

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Clean Mexican Chicken Soup

You know those people who can eat soup all year round? Yeah, I am one of those people…

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I am so serious, you name it; ramen, pho, tomato bisque and dumplings. I could probably eat soup every day. So I am super stoked to insert this healthy number into the rotation of most loved soups.

It has super simple ingredients and is AWESOME for lunch left-overs for the rest of the week. Here is what you will need:

Ingredients:
-2 containers chicken broth
-1 large can hominy
-Hatch Valley Salsa from TJ’s or any other green chili sauce
-1/2-3/4 rotisserie chicken (shredded)
-1 container Mirepoix from TJ’s(chopped carrots, cilantro and onions)
-1 bunch cilantro, chopped
-lime juice, avocados, and a cheese of your choice for garnish

Utensils:
-Large pot (but maybe not as large as the one I used…haha!)
-cutting board and knife to chop your chicken and cilantro

Directions:
First thing you will do is saute the carrots, celery and onions at the bottom of the pot a bit with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. let them get a little toasted. Then you will add both boxes of broth and bring the soup to a boil. Boil until the vegetables become tender, for about 10-15 minutes. Next, add the drained can of hominy and the shredded chicken. simmer for another 15-20. Then you will add your can of salsa/chili sauce. Then you can garnish with cheese, cilantro and lime juice.

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Yes! I loved this recipe. Cody had 2 servings at dinner, I had one and there was even enough for me to eat it at work for lunch for 3 days. I am totally craving this right now!

Hope you enjoy! As always, thanks so much for reading!

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