You know I love a good theme. In fact the only thing I love more than a good theme, is to bring that theme to life with fun food ideas. Weekend football viewing is sort of a big deal around here, and so I’m always thinking of fun ways to make snacks for these cozy fall gatherings around the TV (and then I store all of these ideas up for that realllly big football game that happens in February so you guys can make them at home!). I have a new one to add to my files that I can’t wait to share with you here today – mini football crab bites! I mean, these are pretty darn cute, right?

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I  got so many nice messages about my hidden-veggie post I shared last week (gotta trick those toddlers, man!) that I thought I’d keep my sneaky-veggie-hiding streak going today with another easy recipe. I’m always brainstorming dishes that I can make ahead since I do a lot of my recipe testing during Jane’s nap time. If I can find a recipe that works well and can be prepped in advance, I feel like I’ve got a winner. There is nothing better than pulling an already prepped dish out of the fridge and popping it in the oven for dinner. This recipe is perfect for prepping advance: I baked the butternut squash the night before when my oven was already on for another meal, and then I prepped the lasagna filling and pasta quickly during nap time. With everything rolled up and resting in the dish, all I had to do was put it in the oven to get the cheese and sauce bubbly hot, and dinner was on the table. As an added bonus, it’s packed with spinach and butternut squash (hidden, of course, under cheese and pasta). Get the full recipe below!

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It is that delightful chilly time of year when all of my favorite comfort foods come back into the kitchen. My favorite fall comfort food to make is a big pot of chili (let’s be honest: I’m in it for the toppings — cheese, please!). We had a bunch of leftovers in the fridge recently from smoking a whole chicken, and my husband and I were brainstorming what to add to our dinner plan with the extra chicken. He suggested a chicken-chili, and I was craving enchiladas so we compromised and this recipe was the result! An easy, chicken enchilada chili that is packed with flavor from the spices, enchilada sauce, and sautéed peppers, onions and chilis. If you don’t have leftover chicken, just grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for this recipe! I served it with all of my favorite toppings (cheese, duh) and some warm corn bread muffins on the side. Get the full recipe below: read more

I often throw together quick meals for dinner, little experiments, and forget to take the time to write down my recipe to share. It’s the extra-fast, throw-everything-in-a-pan, kind of meals that take me a few times to record, because I’m usually making them when I’m in a rush to get dinner on the table anyway! This is one of those recipes. I’ve made a few variations of this dish before it felt share-worthy, and when it came together this week I knew it was ready. It’s part stir-fry, part fried “rice” and it only takes one pan and about 20 minutes to get it on the table – my ideal weeknight meal! read more

This is by far my most-requested blog topic to date: how the heck to feed toddlers their fruits and veggies without losing your mind. We are very lucky that Jane is a great eater, but even our foodie-baby goes through ups and downs at meal time. I’m always trying to think of creative ways to pack more vegetables into our meals in sneaky ways that won’t deter her from eating. Truthfully, these tricks help me get in more fruits and veggies too! Here are a few of my favorite ways to hide veggies (and fruit!) in tasty meals that even the pickiest toddlers will enjoy: read more

Almost every weekend this summer we seemed to be packing our bags to head out for the beach or the mountains or to visit family.  We were constantly on the road! As autumn rolls in, I’m happy to see that the calendar has us staying much closer to home the next few weeks. It makes me excited for some cozy Sunday afternoons watching football on the couch, getting ready for Halloween festivities, and finding plenty of reasons to entertain family at home. And for all of those reasons to celebrate, I’ve been thinking about some tasty fall snacks to serve at home. read more

Dinner is always a challenge, but recently I’ve been a little more frazzled getting a meal on the table. A certain toddler in my life may have something to with that? I’ve been trying to do a little bit of meal-prep on Sunday afternoons so that we have at least one meal in the fridge that we can use for lunches or a quick dinner for busy weeks. My favorite kind of meal-prep recipe is one that I can make once and use in a few different meals, and this flavor-packed garlic and herb turkey meatball recipe is one of them! read more

I have been nursing a cough and a cold for over a week – the change of the seasons always gets me! Add to that a week of cool, rainy weather, and I’ve been gravitating all things cozy and comforting. Lots of tea, early bedtimes, and a craving for soup that I just couldn’t ignore. I’ve been thinking a lot about one soup in particular that I just couldn’t get out of my head – an amazingly balanced potato leek soup from a farm store near my parent’s house. I had it for lunch a few weeks back, and couldn’t get it out of my head. We ate it with crusty bread and slices of sharp herbed cheddar cheese and it was so flavorful. I knew I had to recreate it home – and decided to combine the best parts of this unforgettable lunch into one pot: a potato leek soup infused with those sharp cheddar and herb flavors. read more

I feel very protective of my autumn weekends now. I try so very hard not to overschedule them so that we can enjoy quiet Sundays at home. I’m not much of a football person, but I do love the idea of hanging out with my family on the couch and eating tasty homemade food. The game is on in the background, but I’m really here for the lounging and the snacks.  My husband got a smoker earlier this year, and we have been firing it up on weekends to make all kinds of slow-smoked dishes. One of my favorite things we’ve made on the smoker is pulled pork. It is full of flavor and moisture, and the outside gets the most delicious crispy bark. read more

I had a perfect fall Sunday — we picked up some pumpkins for our porch, played outside with Jane, and watched football. During Jane’s nap time I had a few items on my to-do list that needed to get done, so of course I decided to procrastinate and do a little baking. That perfect autumn weather was calling me — it was so nice to turn on the oven without worrying about heating up out kitchen. I was craving something sweet and pumpkin-y, but had a bunch of too-ripe bananas that needed to be used up. So I tested a banana-pumpkin batter to make these tasty little muffins. They have the density of banana bread, a sticky moist texture from the sour cream, and all of the flavors of sweet pumpkin spice. Jane woke up from her nap and was delighted to find the results of my to do list procrastination, she gobbled up a muffin in minutes and was standing on her tippy toes to grab a second one off the counter. Get the full recipe below! read more