Stuffed Pepper Soup

When we were first married, Ryan and I took turns cooking dinner. We cycled through some of the same meals most of the time, but sometimes I'd have time in my busy undergrad schedule (yes, I was that idiot who took 23 credits in a semester with special approval from the department of Music - bad, bad, idea. But it had to be done if I was going to graduate within 4 years with a Music Degree at BYU!!!), to try a brand new recipe. I think this era was when the small seedlings of Baking with Blondie were planted, and my love of trying new recipes was born. 

They weren't all successes at first, though, I totally BOMBED dinnertime plenty of times. I remember burning a pan of orange glazed chicken so badly that I called Ryan crying. We threw the pan away, and agreed to get our weekend date-meal that night at Cafe Rio. I felt like a total failure! Little did I know that only a few years later, I'd be able to make that same chicken with ease, along with a crazy toddler "helping" along the way. 

One night I remember making stuffed peppers for dinner. I used some green peppers, and stuffed them with just about the same ingredients that are in this amazing soup...


Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

There's a lot of things we like to do around Halloween time. As a little family with a son who is definitely old enough to remember almost every detail (he still talks about last Halloween), I have been trying extra hard each year to make our traditions stick. Its important to incorporate some of our childhood traditions into our little family, but with all respect, I think it's also super important to make our own, on our own, as our own in little family unit, too. 

This year, so far, we've stuck to the plan of carving our pumpkins on the Monday before Halloween. I usually like to carve a couple, while Ryan (the non-pumpkin-carving-kinda-guy) listens to each and every demand the three-year-old has to say about where the eyes should go on the face. It's amazing how much detail that little guy has for just a simple little pumpkin! 

We also like to make the yearly trip to Cornbellys or a pumpkin patch. This year, though, we have to hold off a week on the Cornbellys visit. I mean, it's super fun, and there is always lots to do there, but GOOD NIGHT the price is just ridiculous (especially on a weekend, and with a kid over three). We weren't able to fit it into this month's budget. Next month, though, we're SO there! 

Also, we LOVE to go see the witches at Gardner Village. Each year, a fleet of ladies dress up like witches (some go all-out!!!) and have a sugar pumpkin cookie on our way out. We usually go with Nana, and it's always a hoot. 

Next, I like to make some kind of Halloween-themed dessert in the kitchen with my son. He seriously loves to be in the kitchen, and insists on helping me with everything (kitchen set for Christmas, me thinks?). This year, we made some sugar cookies with our new pumpkin/bat/ghost pumpkin cutters, and frosted them together. Little man is getting better each year with frosting cookies, and quickly learned, too, that the sugar cookie dough is just out-of-this-world amazing! 

I LOVE all these little Halloween traditions so much, but sometimes they take up a lot of time. Dinner isn't always the first thing on my mind, but I don't want to spend the day worrying about what we're having dinner and when we're going to eat it. That's when the slow cooker once again takes stage... 


Pick Your Prize Giveaweay!!

Happy Monday, everyone! I am SO excited to finally be doing a giveaway on here for you amazing readers! I've teamed with some of my favorite bloggers to give away one seriously amazing prize. If you win, YOU have the choice between a 1. KitchenAid (I use mine in some way almost every. single. day. and it is simply my favorite kitchen tool), 2. an iPad Mini (these are SO awesome!!!) or even $275 cash in your PayPal account (this would ROCK with the holidays coming up so quickly). Any of these are amazing, and the winner is going to have a super-tricky time choosing their own prize! Good luck, everyone! 

Enter the giveaway below, to win. 


Cajun Chicken Pasta

My son was showing some heavy signs of sickness - a nasty fever, he was super lethargic, he wasn't giggling/talking constantly, he didn't want to run around like a wild thing, he didn't cough very often but when he did it was really scary, and overall he just wasn't his usually crazy three-year-old self. This usually means we are just going to stay in for the rest of the day. These days don't happen very often, but when they do, we milk it like crazy and allow his little body to heal as much as possible without interruption. 

I can only take cartoons so much, so when he's dozing off, I quickly flip the channel over to the Food Network. Well, thankfully I did! Darling Ree from Pioneer Woman was going to town in the kitchen, and THIS amazing pasta dish was on the menu. I watched in wonder as she effortlessly assembled, cooked, and tossed together all the beautiful ingredients to this Cajun Chicken Pasta. My mouth seriously could not stop watering, and I immediately wished there was some way I could just reach through the screen and taste this amazing food she was making. 

I knew right away what was going on the menu the next week, and let me tell you.... 

it was even better than I imagined it would be. 


Crunchy Taco Salad

As a food blogger, there are a few times a week (especially when we get a little closer to those dark winter evenings) I make our dinner at lunchtime. The light is much better in the afternoon/morning/evening than around 7ish when we get around to dinner in our family. This also gives me a chance to plan something else for dinner if the recipe flops. Thankfully, this taco bowl was one of the WIN recipes! I was able to reheat the meat perfectly at dinnertime, crunch some new tortilla chips, grab the pico de gallo, cheese, and guac from the fridge and BAM, dinnertime was on the table within minutes. 

It saves so much time, and we end up with an awesome dinner without any stress at all at crunch time. 


10 Ways I Save Money in my Kitchen

(image by Tracy Hill Photography, graphic by me)

Ever since we were married 7 years ago (we were practically babies!) we've been on a very strict budget. We're not financial experts, but we have found some things (through a lot of trial and error) that work extremely well for us & saved us money in the long run. I figured that knowledge could be helpful to anyone looking to save a bit of money in their kitchen. This, after all, IS a food blog! I make a TON of food every week, and in doing so have had to figure out how to still keep our weekly/monthly food costs within our budget.

A great deal of what I make, photograph, and share on this blog starts with the simple basics of budgeting, time-management for dinner time to prevent last-minute-eating-out, and getting the best out of my grocery visit. I've learned a lot about how to stretch that dollar as far as it can go (without spending hours couponing, etc), and I think I've locked down 10 main practices that have worked financial magic in my kitchen! Let's get started, shall we?