Thursday, February 15, 2018

What's for Dinner Thursday Addition~Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

This week's What's for Dinner is a special Thursday addition, since Valentine's Day fell on a Wednesday.  I hope all my friends were spoiled by a loved one in some way yesterday.  And those missing a loved one, I pray God smiled down on you and made your day a little brighter.

I am a huge fan of slow cooker meals during the winter months.  Something about being able to throw a few ingredients into the pot, and then walk away for hours to come home to a hot hearty meal.  A win in my book.

This is a new to us recipe.  Since #2 and I's food sensitivity tests have us taking beef and turkey out of our diets, we are out to find meatless hearty dishes so we don't overdo the chicken and fish.  We have learned that overcompensating for one sensitivity with a certain food generally leads to that being on the list the next time. So we really try hard to rotate our proteins especially.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Prior to cooking.  Look at all those gorgeous colors!


1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, cored and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 C good quality vegetable stock (we use Kitchen Basics)
4 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (we use Eden organic-be sure to by the SOY free version)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
***optional toppings:  chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled corn tortilla chips, diced avocado, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar (dairy free, if making this soup vegan)


1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours, until all of the vegetables are cooked and tender.  Remove the bay leaf.

2. At this point, you can either:
    1. serve the soup as-is (brothy and chunky)
    2. use a blender or food-processor to puree the soup completely (uber-thick and smooth)
    3. use a blender or food-processor to puree about half of the soup (so that it's thick and smooth but          still a little chunky)

3. Serve the soup warm, garnished with your desired toppings.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

Original recipe can be found here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day~2018

Hello my loves!  Popping in today to wish each and every one of you a Happy Valentine's Day!

I know this day is not popular with everyone.  For some it is a day they would prefer to skip.  I get it.  Past hurts, missing a loved one, feeling unloved. 

For those feeling a bit down today, I wanted to share this with you.  Each of us has been given the BEST VALENTINE gift ever!  Jesus.  His love is unconditional, unchanging, and the best love of all.  

So, if today finds you a bit sad, maybe lonely, or even happy and satisfied, remember who you belong to.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Oatmeal Cranberry Pecan Cookies~

Good morning friends.  I pray all are well, and staying healthy.  Gosh this flu season has been a doozy!  While I am never one to wish away time, Spring can't come soon enough.

Today I thought I'd share a hearty cookie recipe with you.  We are not big sweet eaters in our house, but we do on occasion like a homemade cookie.  These are great with a cup of coffee, and could be considered a "breakfast" I don't want to have to cook cookie. I love that they can easily be changed up by choosing different mix-ins.

Oatmeal Cranberry Pecan Cookies


1/4 C unsalted butter (we use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
6 TBS neutral flavored oil (canola, melted coconut, etc)
1 tsp vanilla extract ( we sub with maple syrup due to sensitivities)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C plus 2 TBS brown sugar
1 large egg (we sub with a flax egg-1 TBS ground flax seed to 3 TBS water, let set up)
2 C old fashioned oats + 1/4 C hot water (we use Bob's Redmill gluten free rolled oats)
1 cup all purpose flour (we use Pillsbury gluten free all purpose flour)
1 TBS cinnamon (we used 1/2 TBS cinnamon and 1/2 TBS nutmeg-cut down on cinnamon due to a sensitivity)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix-ins-dried cranberries, chopped pecans (could use raisins, other chopped nuts and chocolate chips)  equal to 1 C total.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, combine butter, oil and vanilla.  Mash until butter is soft.  Add in sugars and stir to cream them together, and then stir in an egg.
3. In a separate bowl, combine oats and hot water and let sit for 5 minutes until oats are slightly softened. Add them to the wet mixture.
4. Add in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and stir to combine it all with the wet mixture.  Add in your mix-ins (no more than 1 cup total of assorted mix-ins).
5. Refrigerate dough for at least 10 minutes.
6. Measure out tablespoon -sized cookies, and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake for 12 minutes, or until bottoms are golden (in our oven that was 14 minutes).
7. Let the cookies cool fully before removing them from the baking sheet. 

They stay moist overnight in an airtight container.

Original recipe can be found here.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs~It's What's for Dinner

Hello my friends!  It's been awhile since I lasted posted.  We are all well, just crazy busy.  I don't think I've had a day without something on the calendar in weeks! 

I shared this recipe on Instagram, and several asked for the recipe.  So I am popping in today to share it with you all. 

My #2 and I are dealing with new food sensitivities, so we are once again learning to be creative in the kitchen.  The good news is that most of our sensitivities, at least on the big things like proteins, are the same! 

We are really enjoyed this recipe.  I think it is a great one for both adults and kiddos alike.  Always a win in a busy household.

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

Not the prettiest plating, but it was delicious.


2 pounds ground chicken (you can use turkey as well)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 large eggs (or egg substitute, we make flax eggs-1 TBS ground flax seed to 3 TBS water, let set up)
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (we use gluten free, you may find you need a little more if mixture is a bit sticky)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder

Firecracker sauce:

1/2 cup hot sauce (we use Texas Pete's)
1 C light brown sugar
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on spice preference)


1. Position rack near center of the oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the firecracker sauce over medium high heat, allow to come to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers.  Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow sauce to cool.  The sauce will thicken as it cools so don't worry if it looks thin.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together.  It's easier to tell when the ingredients are combined when using hands.  DO NOT OVERMIX, it will result in drier meatballs.

4. Shape the meat mixture into a ball, about 3 TBS of meat per ball.  You can also use an ice cream or cookie scoop. Place shaped meatballs on prepared baking sheet, bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked.

5. Brush each meatball with the firecracker sauce. Place back in the oven and bake an additional 1-2 minutes.  Drizzle or brush with additional sauce as desired.

Original recipe can be found here.

I'll be back tomorrow with a hearty breakfast type cookie. Enjoy!!