February 11, 2018

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | The Naptime Chef

Mac-n-Cheese is quite possibly the most wonderful comfort food. There is nothing not to love about pasta baked with cheesy sauce topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. Personally, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t adore this comfort food! The problem, of course, is that the dish can lean on the heavy side, so it is really more of a treat than a regular menu item. Unless, of course, you can sneak some vegetables in!

Something I tried recently is puréeing butternut squash into the cheese sauce to make a truly delicious, slightly healthier, vegetable-laden dish. The process is easy. It starts with softening the squash in Skim Plus milk on the stovetop. Then it is puréed until smooth and made into a delicious béchamel sauce. I use Skim Plus milk because it has a lovely creamy texture with 37% more protein than whole milk and 34% more calcium. The creamy sauce is then folded together with fresh cooked pasta and baked into a yummy casserole!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | The Naptime Chef

February 5, 2018

2018 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Him & Her

FOR HER:

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

The cutest shirt to wear all year long.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

A super fun subscription to Birchbox so she can discover her new favorite lipstick.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

The pouch she can use for just about anything.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

Sea Salt Chocolate Truffles that are just about the best treats ever.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

A luxurious candle that makes the whole house smell like roses.

FOR HIM:

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

The most amazing ski socks to enjoy for the rest of winter.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

A lovely bottle opener and some good beer to go with it.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

A computer sleeve to make business trips that much easier.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

The roll that will finally solve his watch storage problem.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018 | The Naptime Chef

A best travel mug and plan a fun hike together!

February 1, 2018

New Year, New Goals

Hi! It’s been a while since I’ve popped in for a big check-in. 2017 was a busy year, I’ve been planting lots of seeds, enjoying some non-Naptime Chef freelance work, and hanging out with the kids. I’ve also been thinking of the best way for this site to evolve since, obviously, my kids don’t nap any longer. I’ve decided to relaunch my newsletter with more helpful tips and recipes, and be fully upfront that my kids don’t nap any longer but I still cook a lot. Getting a good meal on the table definitely requires just has much maneuvering as ever these days!

Also, last fall my website was hacked and there have been some terrible re-directs taking place. I am so sorry! The malware has been removed and I am just waiting for Google to re-crawl my site and then it will be back to normal again. Hopefully the Google Gods will be on my side and do it soon. It’s never easy!

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet do so right away because a big giveaway will be going out next week. Also, you can still find me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. As you’ll see, last week Krusteaz sent me an awesome box of goodies and we had fun making breakfast for dinner!

Happy 2018!

January 16, 2018

Warm Winter Corn Chowder

Warm Winter Corn Chowder

This new year started off with a wintery bang – a bomb cyclone storm followed by frigid temperatures. Being from Cooperstown, I am no stranger to crazy cold and snow, but it is always a little jarring to readjust to winter when it comes on so fast. In the kitchen, this means breaking out my cold weather cooking repertoire and bringing on the hearty stick-to-your-ribs food we all love.

One of the comfort classics in our house is corn chowder. We love its warm, creamy texture and rich flavor. It definitely warms you up, even down to the tips of your toes! I can vouch for this because last week, I ate it immediately after I shoveled snow in four-degree Fahrenheit weather. If there is any time you want warm food, it’s then!

The word “chowder” can strike fear into the heart of many foodies because it brings up images of heavy cream and calorie counts, but I lighten mine up – without sacrificing flavor – by using Skim Plus Milk and Skim Plus Half & Half. Not only does it give this dish the hallmark creamy texture of a classic chowder, it also adds protein and calcium benefits. Skim Plus actually has 37% more protein than whole milk and 34% more calcium than whole milk. It really is a win-win.

December 28, 2017

Flavorful Popcorn for New Year’s Eve Fun

GH Cretors | The Naptime Chef

We’ve had a fantastic and busy month, but the fun isn’t over yet! We still have New Year’s Eve this weekend if you are anything like my family you are all about easy-peasy family entertaining. One of my go-to’s this time of year is lots of gourmet snacks. Instead of going crazy with homemade from scratch everything, I reach for a few of my favorites off the shelves.

December 7, 2017

Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Gingerbread Bundt Cake | The Naptime Chef

My daughter’s favorite holiday flavor is ginger. She loves all kinds of ginger flavored things including cookies, ice cream, whipped cream, and, of course, gingerbread. There is just no form of ginger she doesn’t love. For a recent celebration, I decided to make her a ginger dessert she wouldn’t forget: Gingerbread Bundt Cake with a Chocolate Glaze.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake | The Naptime Chef

The bundt cake is perfect because it serves a crowd, which is exactly what we needed to do. If you don’t need to serve a crowd, you can also make this recipe in two loaf pans and glaze them. Give one away as a holiday gift, but be sure to save one for yourself!

Gingerbread Bundt Cake | The Naptime Chef

One of the secrets that makes this cake so good is the addition of Skim Plus milk. It adds moisture to the cake, and I also use it in the glaze. I love using this milk because even though it is fat-free, it still has a creamy texture and flavor. It even has 37% more protein and 34% more calcium than whole milk. This means I don’t have to go out and buy full-fat milk just for baking! It is so nice to be able to us Skim Plus for our morning cereal and for making holiday treats, too.

This rich cake is extra moist and delicious and is bound to be a hit this holiday season.

November 28, 2017

10 Faves: Gifts for Grandparents

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

A comfy buffalo check blanket, $129, perfect for cozy nights by the fire.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

A Champagne club that sends amazing bottles of champagne to them everyone month (prices vary).

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

Blocks with photos of the grandkids, $28.99, for fun memories.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

A gorgeous coated canvas French tote, $58, perfect for the beach or farmers’ market.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

Hands down the comfiest sleep shirt, $175, in all the land.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

A coconut cake, $130, that will last the entire winter and is worth every single calorie.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

A stylish hot water bottle, $78, for tucking into sheets to stay warm all night.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

Gorgeous potpourri, $80, from the South of France.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

Delicious candy, $36, from Paris.

Gifts for Grandparents 2017 | The Naptime Chef

Seawicks candles, $24, to remind them of summer vacation in Maine.