October 25, 2016

Carrot Blueberry Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Carrot Blueberry Bundt Cake | The Naptime Chef

It took a few tries for carrot cake to become one of our favorites. I initially served my family the classic version and after the very first bite my children insisted I omit the raisins and nuts the next time. The second time around was better, but was deemed “boring.” Then, after they developed a sudden, and unexpected, obsession with blueberry pancakes I was asked to add berries to their cake to liven it up a little. Finally, with a few adjustments made to the frosting technique, we were set.

These days this newfound variation on carrot cake is very popular in our household. So far we’ve made it “just for fun”, for a dinner party dessert, and for a bake sale. Some may balk at the idea of grating all those carrots but I have a secret trick: I use Cascadian Farm Organic Multicolor Carrots and shred them in the food processor. In fact, the entire batter is made in the food processor, which makes it a very easy one-bowl cake.

October 24, 2016

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce | The Naptime Chef

It is well-known in grade school land that October is the month of teacher conferences and half-day dismissals which is means that carefully laid routine of September is basically thrown out the window for a couple of weeks. It is an incredible pain in the a** for busy parents and the best way to deal with the food aspect of it, at least in my opinion, is with the slow-cooker. Prep food early in the day, let it cook while you scurry around to early pick-ups and coordinate playdates, and then serve dinner once everyone is finally able to wind down.

October 20, 2016

5 Tips for a Healthy & Sweet Halloween

Halloween is quickly approaching and the excitement in our house is palpable. Costumes have been selected, trick-or-treating strategies mapped out, pumpkins carved. I’ve even purchased a few bags of candy and stuck them in the basement in preparation for the busy night on our street!

I am all about letting the kids embrace the holiday, they only tricky part for me is making sure they balance the sweet with the healthy. Candy is a fact of the holiday and I don’t want to fight it, but I do want to keep our children somewhat in check with the sugar intake. Here are a few things I do to maintain a balance in our household throughout the month while still enjoying the holiday.

Balancing Halloween | The Naptime Chef

Healthy First: My children always have to eat their chicken and vegetables before they get dessert and that stands true for Halloween candy. Yes, I let them have a little candy after lunch, but not before they’ve eaten their sandwiches and fruit. Even though there are often whines for candy around 4pm, I stay strict on the healthy-dinner-first rule. Negotiations can be difficult – even I crave candy at 4pm – but I stay strong and it all ends well.

Balancing Halloween | The Naptime Chef

Focus on the Fun: There is a lot of talk about candy during the month of October but I also try to focus on the other fun parts of the holiday. We are big fans of decorating mini-pumpkins for our table, carving pumpkins for the doorstep, crafting chains of witches and goblins, and so much more. There is no end to the Halloween fun you can have at home that doesn’t involve candy or sweets at all.

October 18, 2016

Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Almond Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Almond Cookies | The Naptime Chef Cool fall days call for warm, chewy cookies. As the temperatures dip I find it easier to turn on the oven and let the kitchen warm up with it. These chewy cranberry oatmeal almond cookies are a new recipe I found in a terrific new cookbook, Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations. I am going to showcase the book next week but this recipe simply can’t wait.

October 13, 2016

Pumpkin Maple Yogurt Loaf

Pumpkin Maple Yogurt Loaf | The Naptime Chef

Last spring we skipped making our own maple syrup because we had such crazy weather. It warmed up early and the sap started running. But then it suddenly stopped when we had a late spring frost, and never really had a chance to start again since the weather transitioned from winter straight to blistering hot summer. Instead, I invested in a big jug of real maple syrup in Cooperstown and have been doling it out ever since. Last week I used some syrup to make this Pumpkin Maple Yogurt Loaf for some friends. Though we use maple year round, it feels like such a fall flavor to me and with a little added pumpkin it was the perfect cake to kick-off the fall season.

October 12, 2016

Crispy Chicken & Parmesan Oven Fries Sheet Pan Dinner

Crispy Chicken & Oven Fries Sheet Pan Dinner | The Naptime Chef

This post is sponsored by Cascadian Farm

The most convenient kind of dinner recipes for any busy household are the ones when the whole meal can be made in one dish. Whether it be an eggy casserole, or a pot of soup, anything that be transferred straight from the heat to the table with ease is bar-none the simplest way to cook. One of my favorite dishes that achieves this is my favorite Parmesan chicken and fries sheet pan dinner.

October 11, 2016

My Fall Favorites for 2016


I thought I’d stop in with a few fall favorites today. It is always fun to share what I’ve been reading and hear what you’ve been up to lately. Here are some of my favorite things from around the web these days!

A fun article about my friend Suzanne from the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits.

My absolute favorite face treatment lately.

When we went to Napa in 2015 we had some delicious wine and this little winemaker is still a favorite.

This Madewell x Sézane fashion collaboration is my favorite, I love it when a new capsule collection debuts.

Some books I’ve pre-ordered have started arriving and they are fabulous so far.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this Denim Wash is worth every penny, my jeans smell amazing and stay so soft!

Have you ever read any Jo Nesbo mysteries? I highly recommend!

Forever and always, it’s time to break out my favorite Fall Baking Gear.