Monday, September 30, 2013

Giveaway--The Family Flavor: 125 Practical Recipes For the Simple & Delicious

I read a good cookbook like others might read novels or historical fiction.  I linger over each page, soaking in the words, and all the better if the cookbook has beautiful pictures:

This is the best cookbook I've read in a long time.  It has stunning pictures of food, but more importantly, really tasty recipes too.  How do I know?  I am slowly cooking my way through the cookbook and haven't been disappointed yet.

The recipes in this cookbook reflect my favorite food philosophy:  really good cooking is simple, fresh and delicious.  Written by Whitney Ingram, a mom to three young children, she understands the harried life and how to create simple family-friendly meals that are not run-of-the-mill.

I love this cookbook so much I want you to share in the joy of cooking through it too.  I have a spare copy of The Family Flavor sitting on my desk that I'd love to send to you!

I'll give you 2 opportunities to enter this giveaway:

1.  Leave a comment on this blog post--if you don't have an account, just leave an anonymous comment and leave your first name and last initial in the comment.

2.  Like Sweet Peas and Pumpkins on Facebook and leave a comment on the SP&P Facebook about the giveaway.

I will choose a winner this Friday, October 4, at 2pm EST and pop the cookbook in the mail to the winner!

Peas and Love,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Health Weekly Meal Plan: A Fun, Full Weekend

Flu shots, soccer games, practices, a wine tasting (woo!), Tae Kwon Do, Cub Scout popcorn selling, church, a big Buckeye game and SPH's 5 year reunion with his MBA class (is this possible--it has been *5* years??).  A very full, fun weekend.

Oh, and a few errands to run too.  I'll be ready for the grocery store with my meal plan in hand:

Here's Next Week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Slow Cooker Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup, Cornbread, Orange Segments

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries

Pasta Carbonara with PeasRoasted Brussel Sprouts, Apple Slices

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream Sauce and Lime, Refried Beans, Mango 

Sesame Lime Noodles or Quinoa, Fresh Pineapple

Chicken Parmesan, Steamed Broccoli, Pear Slices

Have a great weekend!

Peas and Love,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homemade No-Bake Raw Energy Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

My recipes for Homemade No-Bake Carrot Cake BitesPeanut Butter Energy BarsSuper Bars and Raw Bars are family favorites.

But these new No-Bake Raw Energy Bars could be my favorite bars yet, because:

They're super, duper easy.

They're delicious and sweet.

They're good for you!

The boys absolutely love them...

and I love that they're eating chia, flax, whole grains and good plant-based protein and happy about it!

Did I mention that they're super, duper easy?

These bars don't last long in our family, but we love having them on hand for a great power-up snack before soccer practice, a long run or Tae Kwon Do.

Homemade No-Bake Raw Energy Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

1 cup gluten-free whole or quick oats (traditional is fine if you don't need GF)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut (or you can use extra oats)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (or you can use extra flax)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (they work well to hide the chia seeds)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower all work well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or agave nectar

Using a food processor (or you can mix in a bowl, but the food processor makes very quick work of this recipe), process the oats, flax, coconut, chia seeds, chocolate chips and cocoa powder:

Add the nut butter, vanilla extra and honey (or maple syrup or agave) and process until fully combined:

Does the mixture appear too wet?  Add a few tablespoons of oats or flax and reprocess.  Too dry?  Add a touch more nut butter or honey.  Reprocess:

Press into a glass dish and place in the fridge to set, if desired (and if you can wait!):

Cut into bars:


Makes 12 bars.

Peas and love,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: Soccer Moms

And so it begins...the soccer season starts this weekend, so until early November, I will be up to my eyeballs in shin guards, water bottles, cleats, and the like.  Go.....Team!  :)

Here's a week's worth of meals for a busy soccer (or ballet, hockey, scouting or musical) mom!

Next week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas, Mango

Fancy Grilled Cheese (usually with gourmet cheese and greens, bacon or tomato), Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup 

Shrimp and Grits, Green Beans, Orange Slices 
Falafel with Yogurt Tahini SauceHummus, Raspberries

Quinoa with Sauteed Kale, Chef Salad, Fresh Pineapple 

Chicken Paprikash (Slow Cooker), Sauteed Broccoli, Apple Slices 

Peas and Love,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Slow Cooker Carolina Pork Barbecue (Gluten-Free)

This recipe is a long, long-time Sweet Pea family favorite.  Pulled Pork the slow cooker.  It's been on my blog for years, but I've updated the recipe to include more pictures.

Of course, our favorite way to do pork is in the smoker, but if you don't have hours upon hours to babysit the smoker, this slow cooker meal is a very close second!

It is also one of my favorite meals to share with others, especially families who have had new babies or just need some help with dinner.

My favorite story about this recipe is when I made it for a friend from MOPS who had just had her third baby.  Her husband called me that night to say "thank you!!"  

People, this recipe is goooood.

I can't really take full credit for the recipe, for my sweet Southern husband was the first one to fine tune it.  Thanks honey!

Slow Cooker Carolina Pork Barbecue

1 - 5 to 7ish pound bone-in pork butt or shoulder (my boys get all sorts of giggly if we buy a "butt.")
1-2 medium onions, quartered

Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika, preferably smoked paprika (if you can find it)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worchester sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

Trim any extra fat from the edge of the pork butt:

Thanks to R for taking this picture...I have yet to figure out how to grow a third hand for pics like this!

Quarter onions and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the dry rub in a large bowl:

Add the pork and rub the spices all over it:

Add to the slow cooker.  

Mix ingredients for the Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce in a jar with a lid, give it a good shake or two, and pour 1/2 of it over the pork:

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  Remove the pork and let rest 15 minutes:

Begin shredding the pork with two forks; it is so tender, it will just fall apart:

Use the remaining sauce for the shredded meat, which you can either serve with or without a bun:

We're loving it without a bun these days...

Serves 12.

Peas and Love,


Friday, September 13, 2013

Healthy Meal Plan: Good-bye Summer, Hello Fall

This week I've chosen a meal plan with a mix of summer-y and autumn main dishes.  We've gone from temperatures in the 90s to the 60s in a matter of 2 days, and I have to tell you I'm loving the cooler weather.

Bring on fall!

But for all of you "just-can't-get-enough-of-summer" folks out there, don't worry, you still have a little bit before you'll have to admit summer is gone.

Here's next week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Pizza Margherita, Tossed Arugula Salad, Raspberries

Chana Masala, Jasmine Rice, Pineapple:

Baked Tilapia with Mango Salsa, Guacamole, Caramelized Onion Quinoa:

Make-it-Your-Own Baked Penne Pasta, Green Beans with Garlic, Peaches:

Mexican Barbecue Chicken, Grilled Vegetables, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Kiwi:

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup, Bread, Apple Slices:

Have a great week!

Peas and Love,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Quick and Easy Frozen Chocolate Strawberry Pops

I could keep this post really short and sweet and write, "here's an idea: freeze chocolate covered strawberries on a toothpick for a different type of frozen treat."

But instead, I'll share some detailed directions and pictures, because you really do eat with your eyes first...

Quick and Easy Frozen Chocolate Strawberry Pops

6 large, ripe strawberries
1/2 cup quality chocolate chips
6 toothpicks

First, wash and pat dry your beautiful berries and place a toothpick in each one:

Next, pour the chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat on HIGH for 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until the chocolate is fully melted:

Begin dipping the strawberries, using a spatula to fully cover each one, if needed:

Place in the freezer to freeze (takes about an hour) and then share with your kids and have happy campers:

Makes 6 pops.

Life is sweet,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Healthy Meal Plan for Back-to-School

School's been in session for a bit now and we're slowly falling back into our school year routines.  And after a summer off, I'm ready to begin sharing Weekly Healthy Meal Plans each Friday.

Why meal plan?

Let me count the ways:  you'll eat healthier, they'll be less week-day stress, your food budget will most likely shrink and you'll avoid running (hopefully) around like a chicken with your head cut-off at dinnertime each day.

Check in each Friday for new, original, seasonal meal plans each week!

This week I feature recipes that are easy to prepare, most of which can be made ahead or held for kids coming home from practices at different times...or enjoyed best-of-all, with the whole family together.

Next Week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Quick Vegetarian Black Bean Posole, Avocado, Fresh Mango

Cherry Tomato, Basil and Corn Pasta Salad, Fresh Peaches

Grilled Vegetable Risotto, Raspberries

Chili-Lime Salmon, Herbed Chickpeas, Sauteed Broccoli, Pineapple

Smoked Turkey, Swiss, Potato and Red Cabbage Salad, Kiwi

Balsamic Glazed Herb Grilled Chicken, Zucchini Boats, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon

Peas and Love,