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.

October 10, 2016

Egg in Tomatoes with Zoodles

Eggs in Tomatoes with Zoodles | The Naptime Chef

We are back in the weeknight swing and I’m working on some new dinner recipes to add to my current repertoire. Over the summer we got into two dishes: zoodles, and shakshuka. Both are simple to make and taste delicious. Up until now I’ve been serving them separately, but this week I decided to combine them into one easy dish. My plan was to bake the eggs in the tomatoes and serve them over zoodles for an easy, healthy dinner.

October 6, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake for Fall

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake | The Naptime Chef

We are big fans of all things pumpkin in our house. Nothing in my kitchen is safe from a swirl of pumpkin and maybe a touch of browned butter. Nothing! I know I am not the only one with this tendency and it was no surprise to find a whole selection of pumpkin recipes in the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. (Martha and her editors totally get me!) The first to the dozen recipes I clipped was this Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. It was screaming my name and when we invited friends over for dinner I knew it would be the perfect thing to serve for dessert.