Hurricane Soup

One of my favorite soups passed on from my sister Jen is her Blizzard Soup.  It’s the perfect soup when there is a blizzard headed her way. I’m all the way south in Florida and dream of a blizzard somedays, but usually all we get are hurricanes. Most of the time we all frantically rush to the store to stock up on all the pantry items that we can get our hands on. If we are lucky we have no need to dig into that stash and have a full pantry once the scare of a hurricane passes. This soup came about after our last scare. I refused to go to the store again and came up with this pasta e fagioli “Hurricane Soup”. Now this is on rotation weekly because it is cheap and easy!  Two of my favorite kind of dinners. I usually serve this with a loaf of crusty bread or garlic bread.  

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Hurricane Soup

Ingredients

  • one onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of low sodium white Northern beans and 1 can of low sodium red kidney beans(drained), or any similar beans you have in your pantry
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes
  • a small can (8 oz.) of tomato sauce
  • 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • a half a bag of baby spinach
  • two cups of pasta(I prefer a smaller pasta like ditalini, but again you can use anything you have in your pantry)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese

Directions

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onion until tender.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. 
  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the pasta and grated cheese.
  5. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta and cook per directions on the box.
  7. Serve in individual soup bowls and top with grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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Soup Season

 

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Pumpkin Muffins

I regularly make Whole Wheat Banana Muffins. They are healthy and delicious. We eat them for breakfast and can easily pack them in the lunchbox for school. But when the season of fall arrives I like to switch them up a bit and make Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins. We all love them just as much as the banana muffins and it gives us all the feelings of fall.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon(You can definitely use pumpkin pie spice mix instead if you prefer.)
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup of quick oats plus a little more for sprinkling on top.
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin or use paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin and almond milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats. Then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

If you love these, you’ll also love…

Smoothie Bowl

Acai Bowl

Make Ahead

Apple Cake🍎

apple cake

I have been waiting to get my hands on my mom’s old cookbook. It was in storage for a couple of years while they got settled here in Florida. Now that I have it, I may not give it back.

The first recipe that caught my eye was Apple Cake. She has a couple of apple cake recipes she pulled from newspapers from the 80’s. The funny thing is I never had apple cake and certainly don’t remember her ever making it. When I asked her about it she said she used to have it when she was a kid. And it was one of her favorites. So of course I had to make it for her and give it a try myself.

Being in Florida we don’t really have an apple picking season, but if we did, now would be the perfect time to start picking and baking! I love the smell of baked apples and the taste is even better.

This cake was just how my mom remembered it and delicious. The cake was moist and layered with baked apples. This is a recipe we should all keep on file to welcome the season of fall. 🍎

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 8 McIntosh apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 tbsp. of sugar
  • 3 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour, unsifted
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 cup safflower oil
  • 3 tsp. of baking powder
  • Chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl combine the apples, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and the cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, 2 cups of sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil and baking powder. Mix until well blended.
  4. Spread one-half of the batter into a large square or rectangle baking pan. (I baked mine in a round pan, but I recommend a large square or rectangle baking dish.  Therefore, in each bite you will get less cake and more apples.)
  5. Add one-half of the apple mixture to form a layer.
  6. Then spread the remaining batter on top of the apples.
  7. Arrange the remaining apples and juices on top.
  8. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. This cooking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of your pan. You will need to check the batter to make sure it is done. If it is not done, keep baking at 5 minute intervals until the cake tester or butter knife comes out clean.

Enjoy this most lovely fall dessert. This apple cake would be perfect paired with coffee or tea or served at brunch.

 

 

Ravioli Soup

If you haven’t noticed, I make a lot of soup. Soup is usually easy, quick , comforting and delicious. There are two things that are a must have in soup if you intend on feeding your family at dinner time. Meat and Pasta of course! Without them a soup is more of an appetizer than a family meal. My family can eat, so I have to be able to fill them up or I’m in trouble.

Every time I go to Trader Joe’s I make sure I pick up a bag of mini Ravioli in their pasta section. I always have them in my pantry. They are really tiny, so they are perfect for kids and soup. Feel free to use any ravioli you have on hand, just adjust the cooking time per directions on the package.

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Adapted by:  Feel Good Foodie

Ravioli Soup

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. of mild italian sausage(ground, out of casing)
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste or crushed tomato sauce(either or will work)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s mini ravioli(16 oz.)
  • fresh basil and parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • grated pecorino romano cheese

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute until tender.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the sausage and cook until brown. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into little pieces while it is cooking.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and stir.
  7. Add the tomato paste or sauce and stir, while scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add the water and stir.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  11. Add the basil and parsley and the ravioli.
  12. Bring to a boil and cook per directions on the package.
  13. Remove from the heat and serve. Top each bowl with grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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Kid-Friendly Breakfast Options

I feel the most important meal for kids is breakfast. They get rushed off in the morning and are expected to have energy and patience all day while they learn. That certainly can’t be done with a big bowl of sugary cereal or a cinnamon bun in the morning. Way back before I had kids, I was a teacher. I saw the difference between the kids that had a nutritious breakfast and the kids that did not. I taught kindergarten for a year and I used to get in trouble because I let them rest their heads on their desks in the afternoon. Most of them fell asleep. Poor babies needed a nap. Guess that’s why I’m not a teacher anymore. Lol.

But there are so many options for breakfast. It just might take a little time to make ahead each week.

I made a list of some of my favorite kid friendly breakfast items that will give your kids the energy they need to keep their brains on point all day. Most of these can be used for  lunch or snack as well!

  1. Eggs: When I eat an egg or two I am full for hours. It gives me energy and prevents me from snacking like I usually do.
    • Hard Boiled Eggs: I usually hard boil 6 at a time. These can be eaten with just salt and pepper. I love them dipped in mustard as well. That’s usually my mid morning snack while I’m rushing around. My son loves deviled eggs. Take the yolk out and mix with a little mayo, salt and pepper. Put the mixture back in the middle of the egg and sprinkle with paprika! Hard boiled eggs can also be used in salads or to make a quick and simple egg salad. I also love chopped egg and avocado. Chop one of each and stir together. Sprinkle with Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning and that is it!
    • Egg Muffins: My son Dominick has two for breakfast and sometimes two before bed. He’s growing and always hungry!
  2. Muffins: The muffins we buy at the store have some scary ingredients.
    • Whole Wheat Banana Muffins: These are filled with great ingredients and taste delicious! I have to hide them from my husband because he will eat the whole batch! My son Matthew has one as a snack in school and two for dessert.
    • Pumpkin Muffins: It does not have to be Halloween to enjoy pumpkin muffins! If bananas aren’t your thing, all you need is a can or two of pumpkin…
  3. Bring on the smoothies! I am a big fan of smoothies. I love that you can customize them with what you like. They can also be prepared in freezer bags and placed in the freezer. All you have to do is dump it in the blender and add your choice of water, milk or juice!
    • Triple Berry Smoothie: This is my go to smoothie that everyone in my family enjoys. I love that there is a big bunch of spinach in it!
    • I also make a very simple kid friendly smoothie some mornings that both of my boys love. No spinach, but a great big serving of fruit!
      • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
      • 1 frozen banana
      • 1 cup of watermelon
      • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of orange juice
    • Smoothie Bowl: If sometimes your kids need a little bit more crunch to their breakfast, you can make a smoothie bowl. We enjoy it with peanut butter and granola with some sliced bananas on top. Simple and delicious.
    • Strawberries and Cream: The perfect deconstructed smoothie for your picky eater.

 


  • Ok, so this one simple tool will assist you with all these healthy foods.  Egg Slicer 
  • And if you are in the market for a muffin pan, this would be perfect!
  • This Ninja Blender will make your life a lot easier when you start on your smoothie adventure!

***My posts contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

 

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

I have two boys that are growing fast and are always hungry. I’m constantly looking for healthy snacks and meals to fill their bellies up so they stop eating! I found a healthy recipe for whole wheat banana muffins about a year ago (I can’t find the original recipe online, but it was great) and we got hooked. I made very little changes and they are perfect! If you buy muffins in the store, the ingredients are actually scary… These ingredients are simple and clean! I usually freeze them for the week and pull out a few each day. I  have one for breakfast with my smoothie or throw one in the kids lunch boxes. My son Matthew will pick one of these muffins for dessert over ice cream, believe it or not. I am not a baker and these come out perfect every time!

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk(I use almond coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup of quick oats plus a little more for sprinkling on top.
  • A handful of chopped walnuts
  • A handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin or use paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and almond milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix.  Throw in the walnuts and/or chocolate chips(tastes great with both).  Mix them in.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats.  Then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Other healthy breakfast options…

Pumpkin Muffins

My Go To Smoothie

Tropical Delight

Super Pretzel PB&J

Boy have we enjoyed this summer…

My boys are getting bigger, so I don’t have to entertain them all day like when they were little. We slept late and stayed up late. My husband was even able to take a month off from work and we all got to visit family and friends in Long Island for three weeks! We feel grateful for the time we spent together as well as rested and relaxed, but now it’s back to reality!

Back to school. I can just hear my kids whining when I say that. It stinks in one way, but it will also feel good to get back to a schedule. That schedule will include waking up early, homework, and after school activities. I will be back to packing lunches, prepping dinners and preparing after school snacks.

With the first day of school right around the corner Rachael Ray Magazine editors challenged me to come up with an after school snack using Super Pretzels. 🥨

So this got me thinking. What comes to mind when I think of back to school? Peanut butter and jelly.

So we started on our taste testing journey. Things got messy. That’s for sure. Especially when I started complicating the recipes. My mind was all over the place and honestly nothing tasted perfect. After a week of trial and error and lots of trips to the grocery store I figured it out.

Keep It Simple Stupid(K.I.S.S.) – I heard the K.I.S.S. Principle from my dad while he was probably giving me a pep talk regarding something. And it is great advise. So I went back to my first thought.

Peanut butter and jelly.

And it is perfect. And delicious. And nutritious! And so simple…

We all tasted it and agreed. It really is a perfect after school snack to fill the hungry bellies before they are off to their activities. My kids come home from school like they haven’t eaten all day. So a small bag of fruit gummies isn’t gonna do it for them. The snack has to have some substance to it. I like that the pretzel will fill them up and the peanut butter will give them protein. I used a natural peanut butter with no hydrogenated oil and a non-gmo natural concord grape spread with no high fructose corn syrup. So I would really feel comfortable feeding this snack to my boys. Of course any chance I get I serve them fruit. So a side of fruit and a big glass of milk was served to complete this perfect after school snack.

This back to school campaign with Rachael Ray and Super Pretzel has helped us get back into the back to school groove!

Hope you think of this Super Pretzel PB&J when you’re in a rush and looking for something to fill the kids bellies up until dinner.

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Super Pretzel PB&J

Ingredients

  • 4 big Super Pretzels
  • peanut butter – no stir with no hydrogenated oil
  • jelly – non-gmo natural concord grape spread

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place 2 pretzels with the top side up and 2 pretzels with the top side down.  (Top side meaning the side you salt)
  4. Lightly moisten the top of the 2 pretzels that have the top side up.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 4 minutes.
  7. Broil for 2 more minutes.
  8. When it’s done take a wide metal spatula and flatten each pretzel so it’s thin and crispy. (I like everything crispy.  It also makes it easier for the kids to hold and eat.)  
  9. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes so that the peanut butter and jelly don’t slide right off.
  10. Spread peanut butter on the 2 pretzels without the salt.
  11. Carefully spread the jelly on top of the peanut butter.
  12. Place the salted pretzels on top of the unsalted pretzels to make a sandwich.
  13. Slice in half and serve!

I served each half with a side of fruit and their choice of milk(plain, chocolate or strawberry).


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