Yogurt Bark with Berries

I kind of stumbled across making this recipe today when I realized that my pint of yogurt was practically full and was about to go to waste because the expiration date was quickly approaching.

My son loves yogurt and loves berries and the occasional granola every now and again, I had just finished making some Chia seed pudding for the next morning so I was already on a roll for some healthy delicious snacks and breakfast alternatives for the next morning.

So I started off with cutting up some berries that I had on hand, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Next I put my yogurt in a bowl ,maple syrup and vanilla extract with a of salt and lemon juice and I mixed all my wet ingredients together.

Then I lined my cookie sheet with some parchment paper or if you don’t have that on hand you can use aluminum foil.

I then pour the yogurt mixture on the cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper and distribute evenly. Once the yogurt is evenly distributed, I then add the sliced berries along with a handful of granola and sprinkle it all over.

Once you add the berries and granola you will now put The cookie sheet in The freezer for the next 3 to 4 hours until the bark is hard. After the 3 to 4 hours and it’s hard, you can now break up the yogurt park and enjoy this little refreshing healthy snack.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Strawberries sliced
  • Blueberries
  • Granola
  • Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine yogurt, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Transfer yogurt mixture to the previously prepared baking sheet and spread it around to an even thickness.
  • Top with berries.
  • Garnish with granola.
  • Freeze for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.
  • Break into pieces.
  • Keep in the freezer before serving,
  • Serve and enjoy!

The Best Beef Chili for a Crowd

Have you ever cooked for a crowd? Or maybe you just decided it was too much preparation so you opted for getting the party catered. Well I decided for my son’s first birthday that maybe it would be easier to make the food all myself. Yes, you read that right, I decided to cook all the entrees AND dessert for my sons first birthday for 75 people. I am not exactly sure what award I thought I was going to win by doing this but I did it. And if I do say so myself I did a fan-tastic job, well so I was told. Maybe they we’re being nice or maybe it was true but I do know one of the entrees that I made that went SO fast that I knew it had to be THAT good. It was my beef chili.

Like I mentioned, I thought cooking for the party would be easy and to some extent it really was. My husband and I decided that since the party was going to be right smack in the middle of October we should do fall themed meals, different types of soups and two types of chili, beef and vegetarian. As I mentioned above, my beef chili went so fast I barely have any left overs AND I made it with 30 POUNDS of beef in a 160 QT pot! The video below will provide you a realistic look at how much chili there was.

This recipe was so good and everyone, kids and adults loved it so much that I walked away from that party with barely any left overs. I made the big pot of chili and also provided all the toppings for the Chili Bar. Below is the recipe for the chili and the options for the toppings, you may not be looking to feed 75 people and you can scale this recipe down to the number attendees you will have at your own party.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 30 pounds ground chuck
  • 8 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 green pepper, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 10(8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cup chili powder
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 4 (16-ounce) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)

Toppings: (Optional)  sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sliced ripe black olives, avocado, and chips.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook ground chuck, in batches, in a large skillet over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Put back in pot, stir in onions, next 12 ingredients, and, if desired, beans. Cook, covered, at HIGH 3 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with desired toppings.

 

Step 2

To freeze: Let chili stand 30 minutes. Evenly divide chili mixture into 3 (1-gallon) zip-top plastic freezer bags; seal and lay each bag flat. Stack bags of chili in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw frozen chili overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave. Pour thawed chili into a 9-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap, and fold back a corner to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 6 to 7 minutes or until bubbly, stirring after 3 1/2 minutes.

Pickle This

Now that the gardening season is no longer in the full swing of things, I had a lot of vegetables that are still somewhat growing or have just about stopped producing.

One of my vegetables that just stopped producing was my peppers. I literally had about 6 pepper plants and they all sort of stopped growing at the same time, and I figured since the holidays are coming and I come from a big Italian family that has antipasto with every holiday meal and one of the favorites among it is the pickled vegetables I figured why not try my hand at pickling my peppers for the first time. I did eggplant last year and it came out AmAzInGg! So, why not try my hand at the peppers!

To begin, I sang a sweet song to the peppers, haha Just Kidding! I washed these bad boys and let them drain, while I waited for them to completely drain, I began to cut up and mince two (2) cloves of garlic, you know us Italians, we LOVE our garlic!

I then packed the peppers in ever so tightly in a hot sterilized jar I had, leaving about 1/2″ headspace. If you would like now is the time to put in at least 4 heads of fresh dill, or if you don’t have fresh dill you can use 2 tablespoons of dill seeds.

In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Mix in 2 tablespoons of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, bring these bad boys to a boil.

Once the mixture has come to a boil, you will than pour the hot pickling liquid over the peppers, again leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Adjust the lid and put the closed jar in a boiling water bath for 10 minuets. Once its been 10 minuets, take the jar out of the bath and cool it down before putting the jar in the pantry. Wait about 2 months and then you can enjoy your delicious pickled veggies!

Luckily, in two months my pickled peppers will be ready to eat on December 23, perfect timing for Christmas Eve Dinner!

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Ingredients you will need:

  • 1lb red peppers or 1 lb green or 1 lb yellow hot pepper (8 cups)
  • 4heads fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dill seeds
  • 3cups water
  • 1cup  white vinegar
  • 2tablespoons salt
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • 14teaspoon crushed dried red pepper

 

 

 

 

Green thumb

Every spring and summer I not only enjoy the warmer weather but I enjoy planting seeds into the ground and watching how they grow into something that nourishes your body. Last spring was my first time planting a garden in my very own home, I used to have to ask my father if I can plant fruits and veggies in his backyard when I still lived at my parents home, so to be able to plant whatever I wanted and how ever big I wanted was a dream come true. Well, spring and summer came and went and my garden that I was so excited about produced about 15 tomatoes (i hate tomatoes, so those got given away) 4 heads of lettuce, 10 cucumbers, 4 eggplants, and 6 squashes, not bad for my first garden but it really only lasted me to about the second week in August. So after a not so successful outcome I informed my fiance that I wanted a better garden for next season, luckily around the end of September my father was replacing all the old windows in our 3 family home and asked us if we wanted them for anything, gave me the idea, lets build a greenhouse! We discussed it and looked into some pictures and ideas and what I thought we decided on was a relatively small greenhouse and then I would use the rest for DIY projects (we will get to that project in another post). One Saturday morning in early October I wake up from hearing saw and electrical noises outside, I spring up and look out the window to Justin and his friend building what looks to be a house! I run outside and say “What are you doing?!?” he informs me to go back inside, dont look out the window, go out if I can, and come back in about 3 hours. When I came out 4 hours later (because I really didnt want to walk out into another shock) I am blown away! He made this amazingly beautiful greenhouse out of all the windows from my childhood home and now we would be able to start to plant and grow our seeds, so come spring our yard will be flourished with greenery, vegetables, and fruits!
So here we are June 8 and my garden and the greenhouse are doing great! I couldn’t be happier seeing all the progress and hard work pay off, I can’t wait to see how much we are able to harvest this year.

We planted:
2 different types of Lettuce
Arugula
Brussel Sprouts
Cucumbers
4 different types of Peppers
Tomatoes
Onions
Garlic
Strawberries
Squash
Grapes
Asparagus
Carrots
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