Naptime Everyday: Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Baking
As you’ve probably noticed, I don’t go overboard with Halloween food. Yes, I go crazy with pumpkin flavored things, but that extends throughout the fall well past Halloween. Anyway, this year my daughter and I had a blast with all of our favorite Halloween crafts. When it was time to bake we decided on a simple orange and brown swirl cake which we called “Witches Cake.” The idea came from the thin chocolate lines which reminded us of creepy trees, and the dark chocolate glaze flecked with gold.
I’ve noticed a waffle trend around the web recently and I am enthusiastically jumping on board. We love using our waffle maker and the idea of using it to make savory toasted sandwiches is the coolest thing ever. Sure, we make Paninis at home, too, but the waffle sandwich is just so interestingly savory with a touch of sweet. To get use to the process, we made our first batch with slices of Arla Dofino Creamy Havarti and regular smoked deli ham.
A couple of years ago I shared a nice chat I had with Jennifer Tyler Lee regarding her genius kids toy, Crunch-a-Color. Since then Jennifer has written a new cookbook and it is being released this season. It is called The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, and it keeps with her theme of finding great ways to get your kids to try new, healthy foods. Each week she encourages kids to pick a new food to try and provides some great family-friendly ways to prepare it.
I am so happy that I finally have a reason to make spritzer cookies year-round. I am not sure why, but to me they’ve always been exclusively for my Christmas cookie platter. All the disks I have are in Christmas shapes so that is the only time I’ve ever made them. However, now OXO has gone and improved upon the everyday cookie press, as only they can, and they’ve made a whole suite of disks with fall shapes. Triumph! Spritzer cookies for every season!
Looking for new ways to enjoy old favorites is an ongoing challenge for me. Sometimes it really isn’t about the food, but the way it is presented. This is true for my family for everything from vegetables to pasta to even your basic French fry. I rarely fry at home so when I make them I often turn to a simple bag of frozen ones. With minimal ingredients they are just as good as fresh ones I’d make at home, plus, they can be served so many different ways.
Fall salads are my favorite because I can load them up with strong flavors to match our favorite roast chicken or soups. To give mine a little kick, I use slices of fresh pear, thin slices of red onion, chunks of Arla Dofino Gouda, sweet caramelized pecans and a mix of dark green lettuces and spinach. I toss it all with a homemade vinaigrette and serve it up in big heaping bowlfuls. To show you just how easy it is to prepare this gorgeous salad I’ve prepared a little video for you!
There is no limit to the amount of apples I want to cook/eat/bake this time of year. We’ve even been working double-time to acquire them. I’ve been buying them up at the grocery store and farmer’s market, and picking them straight from the source. I would worry that we are drowning in apples if I didn’t have some many things to make with them. So far I’ve revisited a few old favorites and made this new one. It is a simple apple loaf studded with a brown sugar streusel. But instead of being flavored with chopped apples throughout, the apples are spread in one even layer near the top of the loaf. So when you cut into it and find the apple layer it is like a sweet little surprise inside.
One of the few kitchen appliances I’ve never purchased is a rice cooker. I am pretty good at cooking rice on the stovetop so it never seemed crucial to have one. Would we eat more rice if I had one at the ready all the time? Probably. So when Panasonic asked me to test out a SR-DF101 rice cooker and participate in their #RiseandShine Better Breakfast Month I figured it was a good idea. It was the perfect opportunity to finally test this appliance everyone loves and see just how versatile it is.
This year I started a fantastic partnership with Arla Dofino because I love their cheeses. They are naturally delicious and align perfectly with my mission of incorporating good food into my family’s life every single day. Back-to-school is one of the busiest times of year and Arla Dofino totally gets that. To make naturally delicious meal planning a part of your new routine and add any wholesome Arla Dofino cheeses to your shopping list and cook up some great food. Better yet, enter this sweepstakes for the chance to take home a semester’s worth of Arla Dofino cheeses – perfect for snacking or packing into school lunches! SIGN UP HERE
I am still getting used to quinoa. It is a not a food I grew up eating. In fact, I didn’t really try it until maybe five years ago. It wasn’t because I was purposely trying to avoid it, it was just so off the beaten path. And, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d have time to master it given that I was still on baby #1 and trying to get quick meals on table. Fast forward a few years and now I am braver and more intrigued. I like quinoa. It serves a great backdrop to lots of flavorful healthy foods and can be used in so many dishes. I still, however, look for recipes using quinoa for ideas on what to make. I am not a pro at whipping up amazing quinoa salads with no guidance whatsoever. So when I saw this recipe on Megan’s website I knew I had to try it. It was full of flavor and green vegetables and perfect for getting on the table in a jiffy.
Not only does back-to-school season necessitate lots of new lunchbox packing ideas, it also calls for easy, family-pleasing weeknight meal recipes. My family loves pizza in all shapes and sizes, so we took our love for pizza one step further this fall with these cool pizza pockets. I use fresh store-bought pizza dough from our local pizza parlor, lots of naturally delicious Arla Dofino cheese, pizza sauce and any other toppings we want to try.
I am busy stocking up the fridge with goodies for the lunchbox and yesterday I made one of my daughter’s new favorite things: tapioca pudding. It is a dessert we stumbled on by accident. She tried it at a friends house and adored it. She instantly feel for the rich vanilla flavor and interesting texture. In fact, initially she thought it was some kind of warmish ice cream until I explained it was pudding. Perfect for the lunchbox and easy to make I was eager to recreate it at home. It is ideal for tucking into a lunchbox for a sweet and hearty snack.