Slow Cooker Saturday – Beef Stew with Orzo

Oh man, I love my slow cooker. Yes, I am ever so slightly leery about leaving something plugged into my house while I am not there, but I try to get over it, because slow cookers absolutely ROCK, and every meal is always tender and flavorful!

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a45271/slow-cooker-beef-stew-orzo-recipe/

I actually love Orzo… my mom got me hooked on it! Does this sound like a hearty meal you would try?

Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe you could share? I am ALWAYS looking to add new ones to my collection!

Try It Tuesday – Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

You guys… I swear… I would never fib to you. So I am serious when I say, if I didn’t know this was made with butternut squash and was healthier, I would have no idea. It works, seriously, and it is SO delicious.

My husband and I made it last week because I have been craving mac n cheese, and then a friend posted this recipe in our Challenge Group so my mind connected the dots and voila, dinner idea!

We didn’t use parsley, but it was optional anyways. I personally prefer cavatappi for my mac and cheese’s, and I have yet to find whole wheat cavatappi, so even still with it being healthier, it was still a splurge (but if you follow my blog you know by now that I firmly believe in splurging and not denying myself – portion control is key here!)

We used our immersion blender and it worked perfectly. Husband was even impressed, which always makes me happy! Delicious and we will make it again, absolutely!

Have you ever tried Butternut Squash? It’s a great way to sneak veggies in for kiddo’s who may not be a fan of them, too. For the record, I’m not advocating lying, I am just saying, sometimes, with some picky eaters, what they don’t know not only WILL NOT hurt them, but will help them! 😉

With a rich array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as significant amounts of digestive fiber, Butternut squash is up there as one of the most nutritious veggies you can have!

butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese

Tip Tuesday – Fall Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Fall brings beauty, cooler temps, an abundance of seasonal foods… and yep, things like colds, allergies, and all that other jazz.

Now, if you are like me, your allergies get worse every year, starting earlier in the season and extending further each year, so I try to get all the boosts I can in addition to a fairly sensible lifestyle (but like anyone else, I am not perfect and am always a work in progress!)

Seasonal foods rich in antioxidants give a nice boost! Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which prevents them from damaging healthy cells and causing inflammation that leads to chronic illnesses.

Do you have any favorite recipes using some of these?

antioxidant-rich-fall-foods

Tasty Tuesday – Pumpkin Pancakes

I know, it seems like I am tossing a lot of pumpkin stuff out at you, despite saying I am not crazy about pumpkin everything (I’m still not), but I really do pick and choose my battles, plus plenty of my readers are crazy for pumpkin, so here we are!

Pumpkin Pancakes

I mean, who doesn’t love a seasonal pancake? I know I definitely do (okay fine, I have never met a pancake I didn’t like!)

It’s nice because this is a cleaner recipe, and you can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers; they freeze pretty well!

Sound like something you would try? Are you already sick of pumpkin yet?

Slow Cooker Saturday – Red Bean Vegetable Soup

It’s Fall. In New England.

It’s the most amazing time of year. Now, while I am a huge fan of my slow cooker all year round, I use it way more in the cooler months. I of course prefer to grill in the warmer months. But we are entering, in my opinion, prime time for slow cookers. And soups, stews… warmer meals, but we don’t want to get bogged down too much.

I love this recipe because I adore kidney beans, and a nice veggie soup is always nice. The beans (and flavor!) are plentiful, which is the way I like it. And it’s no secret how I feel about bell peppers!Red Bean Vegetable Soup

Do you use your slow cooker a lot? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Friday Favorites – Traveler’s Jacko Shandy

Every Fall, we are inundated with Pumpkin beers… (and pumpkin-everything-else…), and while I don’t drink beer much (I am not much a drinker), this is one of my favorite Pumpkin beers. The pumpkin is there without being overbearing, and a nice little sugar/cinnamon rim (remember, this is a splurge for me, haha) makes it awesome.

There are so many out there, and I haven’t even tried a fraction of them, but this is one I enjoy very much – perfect fall beer, for me. It does have 13g Carbs and 5g Sugars, so it’s not something I drink often, or a lot of, but every once in a while I like to drink my Carbs (it’s all about balance!)

Do you like pumpkin beer? Do you have a favorite?