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A couple of weeks ago, my husband decided he wanted to try the low-carb lifestyle. We saw an old friend at a party and he talked him into it. I call it a lifestyle, because it is different than a diet in that there are still so many things that you can eat and not feel hungry all the time. I have been reading a lot, trying, modifying, and creating recipes and supporting him 100%. I really enjoy all of this recipe work so it's fun for me, a little challenging at times, when I have to go to an additional store or order something online, but that's only because I have been doing some low-carb baking too. This new low-carb lifestyle is very doable. I don't know if we'll always follow it so strictly, even The Rock has cheat days, but for now it is something we are doing.
I have been mostly following this new low-carb lifestyle too and I already see a lot of benefits. We are eating a larger amount and variety of vegetables and really enjoying them. The biggest thing is we are not eating sugar! It seems crazy to type that, my husband has always had a sweet tooth and I have always had a weakness for chocolate, but we haven't had sugary food in over two weeks and we feel fine. I have made a few things with stevia or monk fruit, but that is it.
I asked my husband a couple of days ago if he still had heartburn. He always had heartburn before. He even took proton pump inhibitors almost daily for it. He stopped to think about it, then said it's been a couple of weeks since he had heartburn. It's early to say if this new way of eating is why he hasn't had heartburn, but also very promising.
Since we are going low-carb, I made this million dollar spaghetti casserole with spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti pasta. It was amazing and I didn't even miss the pasta. We devoured the entire pan (kids too) in a couple of days. This is so yummy leftover!
Spaghetti squash is so easy to prepare. Simply poke holes in it with a fork microwave 7 minutes. Flip it over. Microwave another 7 minutes. Slice in half, scoop out the seeds then scrape the inside out with a fork pulling the squash strands to make "spaghetti".
When you buy pasta sauce if you are paying attention to carbs and/or sugar, look for sauce that says "no added sugar" and read the label for carb grams and sugar grams. You can probably find something without added sugar if you look.
1 large spaghetti squash
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
1/2 lb. ground venison or beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (25) oz. jar marinara sauce
8 oz. cream cheese*
1/2 cup sour cream*
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian style cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Poke holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork then microwave 7 minutes. Flip it over. Microwave another 7 minutes. Slice in half, scoop out the seeds then scrape the inside out with a fork pulling the squash strands to make "spaghetti". Put in a bowl and toss with salt. Drain any water if needed.
3. In a skillet brown meat, onion, and garlic.
4. In a bowl mix cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning.
5. Add basil and marinara sauce to browned meat.
6. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with olive oil (amazon link) or cooking spray.
7. Layer half the squash in the pan.
8. Layer all of the cheese mixture.
9. Layer half the meat sauce.
10. Next, layer the second half of the spaghetti squash.
11. Layer the rest of the meat sauce.
12. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
13. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
*If you would like to substitute ricotta cheese for some of the cream cheese and sour cream you can.
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Since Charcuterie boards are all the buzz these days, I decided I wanted to make one. I planned on creating a charcuterie board for our Christmas open house, but had so many other menu choices and limited time so it never happened. Since I had already purchased several things to make a charcuterie board, I threw one together for dinner one night last week to serve with our butter bean soup.
A charcuterie board is really just a fancy meat and cheese board. This is a simpler board created for our family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children). You can find images of epic charcuterie boards online that are huge and overflowing with goodies. I made this one with kids in mind. I left some space between things on this board so that little hands could more easily reach for things without touching everything else. I also included things I knew the kids would love like ordinary (sliced which is easier) cheddar cheese, blueberries, and yellow tomatoes. The kids actually tried and like most things on this board, but I wanted to make sure to include some favorite foods.
I started by putting my large cheese selections on the board to anchor everything else around. I used small dishes for some items to keep them from rolling off the board. Charcuterie boards can get expensive, but I purchased most of what you see here at Aldi. The nuts were on clearance at Walmart after Christmas.
Here is the breakdown of what's on my simple, kid-friendly charcuterie board. Cherry-size yellow tomatoes, cheddar cheese, whole grain club style (Kroger brand) crackers, almond nut-thins, double creme brie, mascarpone cheese, and blueberries
The other side: cashews, parmesan wedge, prosciutto, garlic stuffed olives, hard salami, and kalamata olives
In this picture you get a behind the scenes look at how I stage and photograph food. I photograph in our sunroom because it has the most light of any room in our house. I usually shoot closer to the windows, but when I photograph in the afternoon, I get shadows near the windows so I shot these pics on our dining table. This white board is one of my photo boards which I bought at a resale store years ago and painted. I can move it closer to window light or further away as needed to get the best shot.
I prefer to shoot in the daytime for better light, but I have a light that makes nighttime photo shoots possible. I will post an amazon link below. It is expensive, but I have used mine for years and it works great for quick and easy night shots.
This is always on my sidebar because it is such a great resource for anyone interested in food photography. Tasty Food Photography by Lindsey from Pinch of Yum is the best resource I have found for improving food photography.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a fabulous charcuterie board. You can make it simple or more complex, just be sure to include some things you know your family and guests will enjoy. Some more ideas I did not include are dried fruits, a small pot of honey or jam, and some fresh vegetables like sugar snap peas or sliced cucumber.
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Disclosure: This post contains sponsored content and may contain affiliate links.
This has to be the simplest candy to make, but it will really wow your guests. Planning something fun like Mom's Night In or to cheer on your favorite team? You can make this simple cranberry and pistachio bark in no time and enjoy all of it’s yummy goodness.
Sweet cranberries and salted pistachios in sweet almond bark make a delicious sweet and salty snack good enough for any occasion. Or just because...no reason needed to enjoy this delicious treat.
All you need to make this is almond bark, dried cranberries and pistachios. Three simple ingredients! If you want it a little saltier to counteract the sweet almond bark, simply add some fresh ground salt on top.
You line a sided baking sheet, like this one from Amazon, with parchment paper then spread the melted almond bark in the pan. Top with chopped dried cranberries, pistachios, and fresh ground salt if desired. Chill then cut into pieces.
1 pkg. Almond bark
1/2 to 1 cup chopped dried cranberries (you can buy them chopped)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pistachios (you can buy them shelled and they are easy to chop)
Fresh ground salt (optional)
Jelly Roll pan
1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt almond bark following package instructions. This is so easy to do in the microwave.
2. Spread melted almond bark in a parchment lined sided baking pan.
3. Top with chopped cranberries and pistachios. Then add fresh ground salt if desired.
4. Set pan in the fridge to harden, then lift bark out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board to cut into pieces. It comes out easily with the parchment paper.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but any opinions are my own. #usapears
This is one of my favorite desserts of all time. Pear crisp is really simple to make, although it does take some time to peel and slice the pears. Totally worth it when you taste each delicious bite.
Warm pear filling with crunchy, buttery sweet topping, it doesn't get much better than this. Unless of course you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some fresh whipped cream.
I love cooking with pears, especially when it's cold outside and warm desserts are the most comforting. This pear crisp will be the hit of your Christmas festivities, but make sure you get some before it's all gone. I made this pear crisp several times this fall for potlucks and the pan was emptied each time.
4 pounds pears
1 tsp. dried orange peel (sold in spices) or some zest of a fresh orange
2 tablespoons orange juice or apple juice
Juice and zest of a lime
1/2 cup granulated sugar*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar*
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 X 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish. (A 9 X 13 rectangular baking dish will work just fine too.)
2. Peel, core, and slice the pears. Combine the pears with the zests, juices, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour into your buttered baking dish.
3. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or two butter knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the pears.
4. Bake for about an hour or until the filling bubbles and the crisp topping is golden brown.
*I usually substitute coconut sugar for some of the granulated sugar.
Visit www.usapears.org to learn more about cooking with pears.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my affiliate links, I will be compensated.
A couple of years ago I wrote a popular post...The Best Gifts for Foodies, Moms, and Bloggers. There is still a lot of great stuff in that post, but I have some new things to add for moms. So here goes.
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So this post comes from my 43 year old perspective of wants, likes, needs and won’t appeal to everyone, but these are all things I love and hopefully you’ll find something of value here. Some of my favorite things...
Every mom needs a great pair of jeans, and these are great jeans. I have practically lived in these jeans since I first reviewed them on my blog in 2016. Yes I still wear the pair I reviewed and a second pair I asked for at Christmas time a year later. I have two pair of prAna jeans and they are my most worn wardrobe items by far. I have a pair of Kayla jeans and a pair of Kara jeans. Both are wonderful. The Kayla jeans have a mid-rise waist so they sit just below the natural waistline which means you won't have to pull them up at the waist. The Kara jeans are a lower waist and so comfortable. I ordered a new pair of Kayla jeans to gift myself under our tree this year, but I ordered them in midnight and the fabric is not my favorite (not exactly denim) so they are on their way back to amazon. I already ordered a new pair in denim this week since my other prAna jeans are so loved (worn) and I would like a fresh new pair. Read this post for my completely honest review of prAna clothing.
I love my Pact Organic socks! Everyone needs socks, yes even moms and these are the softest, sturdiest socks. I first found out about Pact organic from a blog review I wrote a few years ago and I have loved them ever since. In fact I am wearing my favorite Pact organic lounge pants and some of their socks right now as I type this poolside at swim practice. Their underwear is great too. My husband and I both have their underwear and it’s his absolute favorite brand of underwear. I have already bought some Christmas sock gift boxes for gifts and yes there is one for Santa to put under our tree for me. I get one every year since they are my favorite cozy socks. They also have great sales this time of year and if you order through my link you will save 20%. They have been offering free shipping too. You can read my full review of Pact Organic here.
As many of you know we used to live in Murray, Ky. There is a wonderful women owned small business from Murray called Farmhouse 31. They make the cutest Christian themed shirts in what I would call a trendy modern farmhouse style. Ten percent of all of their sales go to charity and they sometimes offer an item for sale with 100% of the profits going to charity. I recently became an ambassador for Farmhouse 31, so if you make an order, use my coupon code FAITH10 to save 10% off your first order. I follow Farmhouse 31 on instagram and they have been having daily Christmas sales worth checking out.
I have been wearing this “Merry and Bright” Christmas shirt for a couple of weeks and I love it. It is made of the softest cotton blend. I have this shirt in size small and while it feels great on, I generally like my shirts a little looser around the waistline so as not to accentuate my “work in progress” tummy. I have a farmhouse 31 logo shirt in medium and it fits well too without being too loose around the waist. I would probably get this shirt in a medium next time, but it is really comfy and I wear it all over town (even with it being a little snug in the waistline). They have so many cute and comfy styles and designs to choose from which would make the perfect gift for the women in your life. You can also follow Farmhouse 31 on facebook.
I am tall which makes shopping for long sleeve shirts a bit of a challenge. I actually order most of my long sleeve tops online so that I can get tall sizes. For several years, I have been a big fan of Land’s End. I know that I can consistently order small tall tops and they will always fit. I have several Land’s End sweaters which are so cozy in cold weather and four of their flannel shirts. My new favorite is the flannel tunic (pictured above) which I just recently purchased. I loved my first one so much that I ordered a second. This top is so easy to wear with jeans or leggings for a casual look. I even wore one to church last week. I love their tall dresses too. I can order timeless dresses that actually go to my knees. I have several everyday dresses that I wear all the time in the summer. And if you are not on the tall side they have regular and petite sizes too.
Another thing I love about Land’s End is the sales. I think I paid $10 for each of my new flannel tunics. Since I love Land’s End so much, I subscribe to their email list so I get emails with great coupon codes quite frequently. I always order through Rakuten and get cash back then I use my coupon codes from my email combined with my Rakuten cash back. You can read all about how I use Rakuten here. I usually get 50% off my order with free shipping. They always have free shipping on orders over $75, but they occasionally have coupon codes for free shipping with no minimum. They also have a great “on the counter” section with last call clearance items.
Moms need to feel pretty, but tend to not spend much time and money on themselves. Honestly, I don't spend much time getting ready because time is precious and I just don't have much spare time, but I do use a handful of products that help me feel more put together. I have a couple of recommendations for the 40+ moms in your life. I have recommended this before, but it is still my favorite cosmetic product that I use and although it is expensive, it is worth every penny. I started using Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in light 2 vanilla when I had my 20th high school reunion in 2014. Since then I switched to Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer in light 2 vanilla which is a little thicker for more coverage. I do use a makeup brush to apply my concealer. I originally wrote about how I found this concealer (which my sister now uses too), here if you are interested. My Favorite Gifts for Foodies, Moms, and Bloggers (Updated)
As I have gotten older I have noticed that my skin needs more moisture than it used to. I have made it part of my daily routine to moisturize with a good skin cream and have tried several over the years. I generally try to use more natural products and look for creams with vitamins C and E. This fall I started using Trim Healthy Mama Orange Silk Hydrating Cream, which my sister got me for my birthday. This is the ingredient list: Aloe Vera Gel, Infused Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Calendula, Plantain, St. John’s Wort, Goldenseal, Myrrh Gum, Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E, Safflower Seed Oil, Xanthan, Potassium Sorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid.
I love this moisturizing cream. I use it everyday and it makes my skin feel healthy and smooth even in the colder weather. It smells good too. My husband asked me why I smelled so good the other day and finally I figured out that he liked the scent of my orange silk hydrating cream when he said I smelled like fruit.
Another great gift idea is simply a gift card to her favorite salon or store. So often moms don't buy things or do things for themselves because their priorities are their families and they are too busy with work and taking care of others to put much thought into themselves.
I hope you all find the perfect gifts for your loved ones and have time to enjoy the Christmas season and celebrate God's greatest gift, Jesus. Merry Christmas!
Disclosure: I received complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.
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You may remember I reviewed a set of these dinosaur pajamas last May. See my post: Just Like Clark Griswold in My New Dinosaur Pajamas and Enter to Win Your Favorite PJ's! They are still my comfiest, coziest pj's so when I was asked if I wanted to review something for the Christmas season, I decided my husband could use a matching set. Now our three year old thinks we are the coolest parents in the universe in our matching dinosaur pj's.
Remember the attic scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation when Clark got stuck in the attic wearing these dinosaur pajamas. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation is one of our favorite Christmas movies of all time and now we have our own dinosaur pajamas just like Clark Griswold! I haven't watched it yet this year. I can't wait to snuggle in my new pj's and watch the best Christmas movie ever, National Lampoons of course.
My husband ordered extra large and they seem to fit him well. He loves his new pj's and wears them all the time. Mine are medium, but the small probably would have fit just fine. I am on the tall side so I wanted the extra length of a medium. These are made from soft velour fabric. The pants are elastic at the waist and the top is button front. These are super comfy, the coziest pajamas!
You too can be as cool as us in our Clark Griswold dinosaur pj selfie. LOL. Find these pj's and many more fun Christmas themed pajamas and sweaters at UglyChristmasSweater.com.
Want to win your own favorite pajamas from UglyChristmasSweater.com? Winner's choice!
Disclosure: This post contains referral links. If you make a purchase through my referral links, I will be compensated.
I don't usually share this kind of thing, but I am sharing my favorite cash back shopping site with you since today is cyber Monday and the deals are too good not to share. I started using Rakuten last year when I was doing my online Christmas shopping. It used to be called ebates. It is really easy to use. Simply go to Rakuten and sign up. If you sign up through my referral link, you will receive $10 when you make your first purchase of $25 at one of your favorite stores in addition to your cash back. I get the Rakuten emails which helps remind me to shop through their site for cash back.
Each time I shop online I go to Rakuten first and see if the store I am going to shop has a cash back offer that day. I click on the link for the store and shop as usual. After I make a purchase, I receive an email from Rakuten with the amount of my cash back. So far, I have earned $33.63 cash back.
Since it is Cyber Monday, the cash back amounts are huge today. Some stores are 20%! My favorite stores that use Rakuten cash back are Land's End, Walmart, Shoes.com, Gap, and Amazon.
Whew! We're getting close to Thanksgiving and if you are hosting this year, the pressure is on to have everything ready, the house cleaned, menu planned, maybe some Christmas decorations up...you know the drill, lots of lists, shopping, and more lists of all of the things that need to get done. And on top of all of this, you want to have something amazing to serve your guests. This is no ordinary pecan pie, it is truly the best pecan pie. So make this pecan pie and maybe this brown butter pumpkin pie and call it a #thanksgivingwin.
To start this pie, you need a good crust. I have been having really good luck with this never fail pie crust recipe, but I use half butter and half palm oil shortening instead of all butter for a flakier crust. This is a great crust recipe. My husband keeps going on about how good it is and he should be a food critic. If he says it's good, it's really good.
This pecan pie recipe is really simple to make (like most pecan pie recipes). You just mix everything together and pour it into your pie crust then bake. What sets this recipe apart, is that I use half maple syrup and half corn syrup instead of all corn syrup making it so flavorful.
I don't even know how to describe how good this pie is. Buttery, caramelly, with a perfect texture balance between the sugary filling and the pecan layer against a flaky, salty crust. It's perfection.
The Best Pecan Pie
1 unbaked pie crust
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. light corn syrup
1/2 C. maple syrup
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. pecan halves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk ingredients together to combine and pour into unbaked pie shell.
3. Bake 40-45 minutes until crust has browned and filling has set. I use a pie shield, but you can make foil pie shields to cover the crust edges and protect them from over-browning and leave them on for most of the baking time. Let pie cool before serving.
Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!
This is the palm oil shortening that I use. I have purchased it at Kroger, although the amazon price is comparable. This is the same pie shield that I use. It works great and is so easy to set on the crust and not have to worry about over-browning. I think I paid about the same price in the grocery store for mine.
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One of my favorite things that I look forward to at Thanksgiving every year is oyster stuffing. I love good homemade stuffing, oysters or not, but when you add oysters its a whole new level of deliciousness.
I use a baguette to make this dish because the bread texture works really well for soaking up broth and baking into delicious stuffing. I cut the bread pieces kind of big because it's easier than cutting them smaller, but you can cut them smaller if you like. Also, you can cut the bread the day before and let it sit in a bowl in the open air to dry out a little, making it perfect for adding to stuffing.
I know that oysters can be hard to find this time of year and they can be a budget buster. I can't tell you how many times I have run from store to store the week of Thanksgiving only to find that oysters were sold out everywhere I looked.
Here is a tip I learned from my mother-in-law that will save you time and money. You can buy oysters on sale and freeze them. I have several pints in my freezer that should get me through the holiday season. I just put the whole container in the freezer when I bring them home from the store. If they expand and pop open simply put them in a ziploc bag when thawing in the fridge. I put them in the fridge a day or two to thaw before I will need them for a recipe.
2 ribs celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage (if you have fresh, just mince a sage leaf)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 baguette, cubed
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 pint fresh oysters, drained and chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a skillet, saute celery and onion in butter until golden and tender. Move to a large bowl.
3. Add parsley, poultry seasoning, sage, pepper, and bread cubes to the onion mixture.
4. Mix eggs, broth, and oysters then add to the bread mixture. Stir to combine.
5. Spoon into a greased (I use butter) 2 qt. baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
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Disclosure: I received products to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.
This kefir labneh is so creamy, rich, and flavorful. It's perfect when you want a healthy snack or appetizer. If you are not familiar with Labneh, it's a creamy middle eastern dip. This kefir labneh is not only delicious, it has all the beneficial probiotics of kefir.
Made from strained kefir, salt, olive oil, and za’atar (a middle eastern seasoning), this Labneh is so easy to prepare.
Simply strain kefir in a colander or strainer lined with cheese cloth. This will separate the liquid from the cream which will be the consistency of sour cream.
Then mix in some za’atar seasoning and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
I serve with our favorite, warm naan, cucumber spears, and olives. This is often served with pita bread.
You can purchase Lifeway Kefir products at Walmart Supercenter, Kroger, & Neighborhood Co-op Groceries. For more delicious recipes and tips follow Lifeway on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and instagram.
32 oz. Lifeway plain whole milk kefir
Extra virgin olive oil
Nann or pita bread
1. Stir a dash of salt into the kefir.
2. Place several layers of cheese cloth (I use 4) in a strainer or colander.
3. Place the strainer or colander in another bowl that is deep enough that when the liquid drains off the cream it will not sit in the liquid. Pour the kefir over the cheese cloth in the strainer. Wrap, fold, or tie the cheese cloth edges over the top of the kefir. Place the entire straining system in the fridge. Leave in the fridge for 18-36 hours or more. It will be thicker the longer you leave it.
4. Remove from the straining system. Scrape the labneh cream into a bowl.
5. Mix in some za’atar seasoning. Start with 1/2 tsp and season to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and top with more za’atar.
6. Serve with nann, pita bread, cucumber spears, olives, pita chips and anything else you like.
Refrigerate any leftovers.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned work at home Mom blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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