Easy and Delicious Tortellini Soup

It’s the first week of November and I’ve already put up the Christmas Tree. It was the best decision I’ve made this year. The glow of those lights bring so much joy and warmth into our home and it was just what we needed during this season of 2020. Anyone else feel the same?

You know what else brings me warmth and makes me feel all cozy and comforted inside? Soup! (Well, it’s not the only thing, but it’s the thing I’m talking about in this post.) Maybe it’s because soup season, in our home, also means colder temps outside, snowflakes drifting to the ground (if we’re lucky), being wrapped in our favorite cozy blankets near a roaring fire, and homemade hot cocoa with all the sweet toppings. Soup season just feels magical to me. Do you have a recipe that does this for you??

This Tortellini Soup is definitely one you will want to add to your soup season collection. 😉 It’s an easy and delicious meal that you can have in bowls and on the table in under 45 minutes. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top and and a side of garlic cheddar biscuits. You’ll have your whole family asking for seconds. 😉

Tortellini Soup

  • 2lbs of Italian Sausage
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 – 32 oz boxes of Chicken Broth
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 – 9 oz packages of cheese tortellini

Directions

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven pan. Add chopped onions and sauté till soft.
  2. Add sausage and cook till no longer pink.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add tortellini and spinach and cook for another ten minutes.
  5. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top and a side of garlic toast or drop biscuits.

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:48

Chocolate Pecan Pie Brownie Bars

When I think of Pecan Pie, I think of my momma. It is her specialty. And it is THE Thanksgiving dessert that our family and friends always request that she makes. Sitting here picturing her in her apron, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, preparing these delicious and beautiful pies brings such a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

But here’s the thing. I am not a big fan of pecan pie. Shocking right? I don’t even think I’ve ever made a pecan pie. One, because momma always makes them and two, they aren’t my favorite. I will, however, choose pumpkin pie. Every. Single. Time.

That is until I made these brownie bars. YA’LL! I may not be a big fan of pecan pie, but I AM a fan of combining a chocolate gooey base of a brownie with the sweet and crispy top of a traditional pecan pie. This dessert completely flips the script and will now be a new addition to our Thanksgiving table.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Brownie Bars

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Brownie Mix (I use Ghirardelli)
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Corn Syrup
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Mix brownie mix according to package directions.
  2. Pour brownie batter into a greased 9×13 pan and bake @350 for half the cooking time directed on the box.
  3. While brownies are baking, combine sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a bowl or warm up in a sauce pan on the stove. Mix together thoroughly then add pecans.
  4. Remove brownies from oven after pre-baking and pour pecan pie filling over top of brownies. Spread evenly.
  5. Return brownies back to oven and baked for 25-35 minutes.
  6. Allow brownies to cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.

I’m so thankful I live in a world where there are Octobers………

I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t look forward to October. Even as a little girl, I anticipated the season of the leaves falling and blanketing the grass, counting down the days till my birthday, and of course that one night me and my friends would dress up in handmade costumes (right out of our own closets) and spend hours out in the neighborhood collecting candy and memories.

As an adult, it’s no different. I still live for the days the air turns crisp, the colors begin to change, and for the pumpkins to make their home on our front porch. I even dress up with the kids!

2 Halloween’s ago

Though this month has been super busy, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen creating new recipes for you all, however, it’s been the most special by far. My sweet son said, “I DO,” to his precious bride, we adopted a new family member, and I will be celebrating my 45th birthday. Even typing it out it seems so surreal.

This month has been a beautiful reminder that even in the midst of a pandemic, and the uncertainties of the unknown, there is still something lovely woven into the chaos.

Our new family member!

Tell me something lovely going on in your world right now.

Low Carb Taco-Stuffed Bell Peppers

My husband and I are in our first week of the Faster Way to Fat Loss program and it has been an eye opener for sure! We are using My Fitness Pal to track our macros and we quickly realized that we have NOT been eating ENOUGH food. Not enough of the right foods. So we had some favorite meal nights that we needed to get creative with and that is where this recipe comes in.

Our family keeps Taco Tuesday on the weekly calendar. It might actually be one of our favorite night’s of the week. Pizza night comes in a close second. With the Faster Way to Fat Loss program, the goal is to get the majority of our nutrients (if not all of them) from whole foods. And since Taco Tuesday falls on one of our low carb days, my goal was to ditch the high carb shells and find something more compatible but just as delicious.

BELL PEPPERS are a fabulous substitute!

I chose the colors that are sweeter in taste and easier on the digestive system. 😉 I cut the tops off, cut them half, and scooped out the seeds. I then placed them in a casserole dish, drizzled olive oil over them, a little salt and pepper and baked the empty peppers @350 for 5-10 minutes.

While the bells were baking, I went to work on the filling. You can do ANYTHING you want with the filling: add the protein of your choice (I used grass fed beef), a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, and a can of pinto beans (you can use black beans too), add your seasonings and let heat through. *You can make this recipe on a regular macro day and add rice to the filling. DELICIOUS!

So here’s the thing, if my husband and I are going to change how we eat and fuel our bodies, we are going to set this example for our children too. Which means, whatever I make for dinner, I make for the whole family. Besides, who really has time to cook two different meals??

Now that you have your bells filled, cover them with foil, and return them to the oven @350 for 20 minutes. This is enough time for me to clean up my cooking mess (makes after dinner clean a breeze), or help quiz a kiddo for an upcoming test, or better yet, enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee with the hubs on our patio.

After 20 minutes of baking, covered, remove the foil and sprinkle cheese over your bells. Return to the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes, uncovered, till your cheese is melted. Garnish with a small dollop of sour cream, hot sauce for an extra kick, or guacamole.

Leave a comment if you and your family give this recipe a try. Would love to hear what you think!

Low Carb Taco-Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 6 Bell Peppers (any color)
  • 2.5 lbs of protein (ground chicken, turkey, or beef)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can of beans (pinto or black) drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbls cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Wash and cut tops off bell peppers. Then cut in half.
  2. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place in a casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over bells then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Put in preheated oven @350 and bake for 5-10 minutes.
  5. While bells are cooking in oven, brown your meat. Drain grease. Add the remaining ingredients, mix till combined, then heat till bubbly.
  6. Fill bells with taco filling. Cover and return to oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Uncover and sprinkle shredded cheese over bells. Place back in the oven (uncovered) for an extra 10 minutes till cheese is melted and peppers are tender.
  8. Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Ridiculously Delicious Oatmeal and Molasses Bread

My first born got married this past weekend! His bride was absolutely exquisite and the ceremony was perfect. It had all the right elements with some precious humor sprinkled in. I can’t wait to share more as the photos start streaming in.

For The Love Of Kamut

As much fun as we had, the excitement and anticipation and planning, left me straight up exhausted. So I took a day off from work to stay in my pajamas, nap, and recoup. Unfortunately my body wasn’t getting the memo. Maybe I was too tired to rest??

Of course, I did what I do best, BAKE! It sounds crazy, but baking and cooking relax me. Especially when it comes to making bread. This is another recipe from The Food Nanny’s Cookbook “For The Love of Kamut.” I’ve mentioned before, in previous blog posts, how much I love this flour. It’s so much easier to digest and I don’t have negative reactions regarding my thyroid like I do with other flours.

This bread reminds me of the loaf you get at Outback Steak House. Only, this one is sooooo much better. The combinations of brown sugar, cocoa powder, honey and molasses is what makes this bread a favorite around the dinner table. The aromas coming from your kitchen will have everyone standing in line for that first sample. Including your neighbors! 😉

I have never made bread before this year and now I can’t seem to make it enough. For something that was once very intimidating to me, now is one of my favorite things to make. (I think these would make yummy Christmas gifts/treats wrapped in a beautiful package. Add a jar of gourmet honey or butter and voila!) Besides there is nothing better than warm homemade bread right out of the oven.

We served this bread with cinnamon and honey butter: 1 stick of butter softened, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1-2 tsp of cinnamon. Mix well with a spoon and spread over a warm slice of Oatmeal and Molasses Bread. Your family will thank you!

*For the bread recipe, head over to The Food Nanny’s website.

Fall Fashion Favorites

(I have no affiliates or partnerships with the links I’ve provided below. Just simply sharing my favorite things with you.)

Let me start by saying that I am in no way a Fashion Blogger. I LOVE to shop, but a stylist, I am not. I leave that to my many fashion blogger friends whom I adore and gain inspiration from. However, when you find a good thing, or several, you want to share! That’s what this post is…..a sharing post.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been working on creating a more minimalist wardrobe. I already wear the same 10-15 outfits on a regular basis, why not remove the access and keep only the things that I love that bring me comfort and style? Over this period of downsizing my wardrobe I have slowly come to recognize what my style is. Classy. (with a few graphic tees for work)

Cool Neutrals

My color palette is very simple: black, tans, whites, and blues (denim, navy). I am drawn to these colors and feel more myself when I put an outfit together. This Fall I wanted to bring in a few more pieces to help complete my wardrobe. (I have a rule: when I buy a piece of clothing item, I remove a piece of clothing item. This helps me from having an abundance of items that don’t get worn.)

  1. Let’s start with the black blazer. I have not owned a blazer in quite some years, but knew it would be an essential piece to completing my outfits. Pair it with a denim shirt, a white blouse, a lightweight camel color sweater, dress up a graphic tee, or even go for the Johnny Cash look and dawn all black. Either one, you can’t ever go wrong with a good quality jacket.

2. The perfect Wide Leg Jean Trouser. Jeans are my LEAST favorite things to shop for, in fact, they rank right up there with swimsuit shopping. (not a fan) But when you find the perfect one for your shape, your style, and your comfort, well, it’s enough to write a blog post about. 😉 I LOVE these jeans from Ann Taylor and currently with the code BIGDEAL you can get 50% off your purchase.

Dry Goods

3. This soft knit tunic top was not an item I was on the look out for, however, when I saw it I knew it needed to be apart of my Fall Wardrobe. Wear it with your favorite leggings or jeans and a pair of ankle boots. PERFECT outfit for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

Target

4. Ankle Boots are a must for any Fall (even winter) outfit. Choose from any colors and comforts that best fits your style!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you bake it they will come. Along with their laundry, grocery list, and homework. It’s a bit strange navigating this new season of life having my first girl in college, three still at home, AND my first born getting married! WHAAATT?!! You go from holding your newborn in your arms to watching them say “I Do” in 30 seconds flat. Word of advice: don’t blink. EVER.

While big sister was home, from college, I took a day off from work and spent it with her, just the two of us. It was wonderful. We tried a new little breakfast café, window shopped, bought her groceries, window shopped some more, and ate lunch at the cutest little deli. I am truly enjoying this new season our mother/daughter relationship is in.

My heart feels so full when all my kids are home and around our table. So much so that I immediately want to bake their favorite dessert or cook their favorite dish. So of course I did that very thing this weekend. Well, technically, I made new recipes…..but they did become new favorites.

I have been wanting to find or create a recipe for a cookie that tasted like pumpkin pie. I think I found it! Recipes of Holly’s Pumpkin Cookie is where it’s at! The scents, alone, were so delicious you could taste the cookie without tasting the cookie. Know what I mean?

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour (I used 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 10 Tbsp of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 Tbls butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand up mixer, mix together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Mix in egg
  5. Add pumpkin and vanilla then mix till fully combined.
  6. Add in flour mixture and mix together.
  7. Scoop dough out onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. I used an ice-cream scoop to drop the dough onto the cookie sheets. (These do not spread out and bake like other cookies, so I recommend pressing gently down on each cookie to create a smooth top for your icing.)
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Then cool on a wire rack.

Frosting

  1. Using a hand held mixer, whip butter and cream cheese in a bowl till smooth and fluffy.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla till combined.
  3. Spread on cookies and sprinkle extra cinnamon for decoration (optional).

Easy and Delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells

My favorite month has arrived! OCTOBER!!!! Time to bring out all the comfort foods. And pumpkins. And cardigans. And Fall scented candles. And your Fall decor if you have waited this long to do so. (My Fall decor was out the first day of school. ;))

This week for our Italian Night, I put together an easy dish of stuffed pasta shells. The combination of ricotta cheese filling, marina sauce, and melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese was just as close to perfection as you can get.

As I was assembling the shells, it dawned on me that I have NEVER made this dish for my family before! WHAT?!! When I began this blog and choosing recipes to share with you all, I have discovered so many recipes that I have not made in a long, long time. So I’m excited to re-introduce them to my family and to you guys.

The most time consuming part of this dinner is stuffing the shells, however, if you use a piping bag with a large round tip, it will cut the filling part time in half.

This month is a bit busy for my family: my son’s wedding, Homecoming, Halloween, and my birthday. So dinners that can be assembled quickly and easily are going to be key to keeping my family around the table instead of the drive-throughs.

This dinner can be on the table within 45 minutes from start to finish.

Easy and Delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells

  • 1-2 boxes large pasta shells (depending on the size of your family)
  • Large container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Bowl pasta shells according to package directions
  3. Mix ricotta cheese with spices and 2 eggs.
  4. While the pasta shells are boiling, brown ground beef in a skillet till all pink is gone. Add crushed tomatoes, a little salt and pepper and garlic to taste.
  5. Drain and rinse the shells with cold water.
  6. Coat the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with a spoonful or two of the meat sauce.
  7. Fit a piping bag with a large round frosting tip, fill bag with ricotta cheese mixture and begin filling the shells.
  8. Once all the shells are filled and placed in the casserole dish, top with meat sauce and shredded cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted.

ENJOY!

When your week feels long and it’s only Tuesday……

….grab some take out and go to the park. But be sure you double check your bag!

We got all the way to our favorite city park, found a great little spot to camp out for dinner, and MY food wasn’t in the bag!

I don’t know what it is about this week, but it has felt somber. Blah. My sweet friend said, brittle. YES to all the above. All I wanted was to be outside, in this Fall weather, soaking up fresh air and afternoon sun. We did just that.

We headed to the best city park in all the land! This is a place you MUST experience for yourself. Since September, the park, has been working on a Pin Wheel exhibit that is gorgeous and whimsical all wrapped in one. You couldn’t help but smile as you walked by all the different colors.

HOPE

The girls tried their hand at a wooden obstacle course. Future America Ninja Warriors, anyone?

There is nothing that makes me feel more like a kid and carefree than being on a swing. Am I right? I remember how much I loved it as a child, competing with my friends to see how high we could go and who could jump the farthest….FROM THE SWING!

The kids and I took turns pushing each other and chatting about random things. Life felt normal.

I think we will make this a weekly occurrence. However, I’ll double check my bag before leaving the drive-thru. 😉

The Best Homemade Pizza Dough

Friday night’s are pizza nights at our house. We either order delivery or visit our favorite pizzerias for dinner on their patios. But this past weekend, we made our own and dined on our own patio!

This was the first time I’ve made homemade pizza dough and it was no where near as intimidating as I had believed it would be. It was very easy to prepare. The longest and maybe hardest part was leaving it alone for 2 hours so it could do it’s thing and double in size. Thank goodness I had a few projects, (decorating our front porch), to keep me busy so I wasn’t constantly taking a peek at the dough’s process.

The recipe I used for this homemade pizza dough comes from The Food Nanny and their cookbook that features all things Kamut Flour. If I haven’t mentioned this in my previous posts, KAMUT Flour has changed my world! It’s so much easier to digest so it hasn’t affected me as most bleached flours do. And the taste is unbeatable, in my opinion.

Step 1: In a large bowl mix lukewarm water, lukewarm milk, stir in sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on and let sit for 5 minutes while it gets bubbly/foamy.

*I purchased this Baker Dough Whisk about a month ago from Amazon and it has become my favorite tool in the kitchen!

Step 2: Stir in the Olive Oil, salt, and Kamut Flour. Use a wooden spoon, or baker dough whisk (MY FAVORITE) to combine ingredients together. Start kneading. The dough will come together. I prefer to knead mine by hand, by dusting a service with flour and kneading for 10 minutes. You may also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Step 3: Pour a drop of Olive Oil in the bowl you mixed the dough in and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a light weight dish towel and let rise for 2 hours.

The kids were so excited to build their own pizzas. My husband fired up the grill and purchased a stone just for this occasion. We sat outside and played card games while each of our pizzas took turn to cook.

Step 4: Punch the dough and divide into 3 parts (or 6 for individual size pizzas, which is what we did.) Let these portions rest for 15 minutes. Then begin building your pizzas.

Since this was our first time making pizza from scratch, I kept the toppings pretty simple. The kids and hubby reached for the traditional toppings of pepperoni, olives, and cheese. While momma went for a more light version with olive oil, pesto sauce, tomatoes, and mozzarella. It was delicious!

We had a blast staying home and making this meal together. Not to mention the money we saved! 😉 If there was one thing I would want my blog to represent, it’s this…….FAMILY meal times. This time around our table whether it’s out on the patio or around our farmhouse table is priceless to me. It’s telling jokes and guessing riddles. It’s sharing our days, our dreams, our hopes. It’s giving thanks to all that God has given us. It’s depositing coins in our memory banks. It’s part of what holds our family together.

White Kamut Pizza DoughThe Food Nanny

  • 1/2 cup of warm milk
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups White Kamut Flour
  • 2 teaspoons French gray course salt

Directions

  1. Heat grill to 350 degrees. Allow stone to heat up for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Warm milk to lukewarm. In a large bowl, combine lukewarm milk and lukewarm water. Stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast on and gently stir. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the olive oil, flour, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or Baker’s Dough Whisk. (You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.) Begin kneading for 10 minutes. If dough is still sticky, add a little dusting of flour to a flat surface and until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil in the same bowl your dough was mixed in. Place dough in bowl and cover with a light weight kitchen towel to rise for 2 hours.
  5. Punch dough and divide into 3 parts (6 for individual size pizzas.) Let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Take your portion of dough and begin to shape it till your heart’s content. Build with your favorite toppings and place on stone for 10-13 minutes.

Have fun and enjoy!