Country Potato Chowder

This is the perfect soup for a cold winter evening! Pair it with a warm loaf of sourdough bread, or biscuits fresh from the oven and it’s the perfect comfort food!

Country potato chowder:

12 small potatos

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1/2 onion

2-4 garlic bulbs

1 cup heavy cream

3-4 tbs flour

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper.

Dice carrots, celery, and onions. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, until they are translucent. Add chopped garlic in the last couple minutes of sautéing to avoid burning. Chop potatos, and add potatos, broth, salt, pepper and garlic powder to large pot. Bring to a boil. Once veggies are sautéed, (this adds lots of flavor) combine with potatos and broth. Once potatos are tender, after about 45 minutes, use a potato masher to break them up a little. Combine cream and flour, and stir into soup carefully to avoid lumps. Allow to thicken, stirring often to avoid sticking.

Top with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon and enjoy!

It’s a quick easy dinner, but packed with veggies, and flavor! Perfect for weeknights, and cold winter evenings. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

With love,

Becca

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I’ve been shopping at Trader Joe’s a little more lately, and last week I picked up a package of the microwaveable butternut squash Mac and cheese, on a recommendation, and it did not disappoint! It was creamy and full of warm spices, just so delicious! So I decided to try to make a homemade version inspired by that. This was delicious, and bonus points for sneaking veggies in, and my kids gobbling it up!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

1 package of pasta, cooked.

1 cup cooked butternut squash. (I cooked mine, quartered, in my instant pot for 25 minutes high pressure, and the scraped off the skin.)

3 tbs of butter

1 tbs of flour

1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

A dash of thyme powder

And a dash of cayenne (up to a 1/4 tsp depending on how much heat you like it!)

-Boil pasta according to package instructions.

Sauce:

-Start by melting the butter, and adding flour to make a roux. Then add butternut squash and cheddar cheese, and let the cheese melt. Add the spices, and let simmer for about 3-4 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the noodles and enjoy!

It’s super easy, but so delicious! Perfect for a fall lunch, or pair it with some chicken or steak for a hearty dinner!

Love,

Becca

Becca’s Apple Pie

This pie is a classic dessert year round, but especially in the fall! It’s so comforting and awesome for holidays, or just to brighten gloomy rainy evenings! The addition of clove and vanilla give it extra flavor and compliment the tart apple flavor so well!

Pie crust:

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 cup of butter, cold and cubed

6-8 Tbs of cold water

1 tsp of sugar

1 tsp of salt.

Mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until they are a coarse crumble. (Not completely mixed together, pea sized clumps. Add cold water, mix gently until dough comes together in a ball and can be handled without being super sticky. Use plenty of flour to roll it out into a round dough to fit your pie plate. Fold into 4ths, to transfer to plate easier. This recipe works awesome for both sweet and savory pies!

Apple Pie filling:

4-5 large Granny Smith apples

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of clove

Peel, core and chop apples into thin wedges. Mix flour, sugar and spices (minus vanilla) together. Sprinkle over the apples, and mix. Add the vanilla and mix again. Spoon over the pie crust, add a top crust, crimp shut, and make sure to cut two ventilation slits on top, and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. (May need longer/shorter bake time depending on your oven. I set a timer for 45 minutes and check every 5 minutes after that until it is perfectly golden!) Enjoy with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream!

Happy baking!

Under the Weather Chicken Soup

I just started exploring using my instant pot more over the past 6 months and I love making soups with it! They come together so quickly, which is handy for busy days or when you’re just not feeling great! This is a great one for cold days, or when the family is under the weather and needs some extra immune support! The bone broth, garlic and turmeric are so good for you.

4 cups chicken broth (or bone broth)

3 carrots

5 stalks of celery

1/2 an onion

2-3 garlic cloves

2 chicken breasts

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp dried parsley

Dash of turmeric (it’s so good for you and gives the soup a pretty color!)

1 drop of lemon vitality essential oil (Optional, from young living. Vitality oils can be ingested.)

1/2 box of pasta ( I like the gluten free simple truth fusilli. You could use any kind, 1/2 cup of rice, or orzo pasta.)

Dice carrots, celery, onions, and garlic fairly small. Add to instant pot along with broth, chicken and spices. Attach lid and cook on manual for 9 minutes. Release the pressure, add the pasta, stir in. Close the lid and set manual for another 5 minutes. Release the pressure, shred the chicken and enjoy! (I shred chicken in my kitchen aid mixer, using the whisk attachment. It takes about 30 seconds and comes out perfectly every time!)

*this can easily be made on the stove top too!

My experience with the Whole30

I just finished my first Whole30. I thought I would write out my thoughts on the whole experience, in case it helped anyone else!

1. Starting: I would recommend just starting, not waiting until the beginning of the month, or trying to work around any time in particular. Once I decided I was going to do it, and set the date officially (the following Monday.), I actually followed through and started. I’ve found that when I put it off to long, I usually talk myself out of it.

2. Put the whole family on it. (Modified for kids.) It’s a lot harder to be consistent and successful when you’re having to cook multiple meals. Just cook whatever you’re going to eat that is approved, and don’t worry about how you’re spouse will react. In my experience, they will eat the dinner that is prepared, or if it’s really that big of deal they will stop for a hamburger on the way home. I made sure I was careful about what I was eating, but I had my toddler eat normally for breakfast and lunch.

Roasted chicken, potatos and Brussels sprouts

3. Keep approved snacks on hand that are easy to grab! Nuts, Lara bars (a few are approved), dried fruit, and plantain chips for occasional crunchy/salty cravings were a life saver when I was especially hungry between meals or while out and about. If you have snacks that are whole30 approved on hand, you will be less likely to cave and eat whatever you can find.

4. Don’t be afraid to be repetitive. Kendra Adachi talks a lot about living in your season, and the whole30 is a season. (At least for me.) Pick a number of dinners that work, and do them several times. It takes the guess work away from trying to prepare dinner, because you know at least a couple dinners you can just throw together that are plan approved.

5. Find someone to keep you accountable. I have started posting a bit about my health and fitness goals on my Instagram, and it’s helping me stay accountable for my goals. Even though no one is going to bother me about them on there, I know that people know about my goals, and that alone helps keep me motivated.

Whole30 omelet (eggs, peppers, onions sautéed. Salsa on top.)

6. Qudoba and Chipotle both have whole 30 menus, and they taste pretty good. They’re a great alternative if you are out and about and need something quick, (If you get hangry like I do.) or if you just need a break from cooking!

7. Don’t freak out if you have to cheat one meal. I had one day where it was just unavoidable. And I ate the food happily and didn’t worry about it! You can keep going after that meal and it isn’t going to matter in the long run! Give yourself some grace! “Diets” are hard, and the Whole30 is more about eating habits and lifestyle than dieting. So don’t sweat it.

I hope that was helpful! I’m glad I did it! I saw some health benefits, lost a bit of weight, and it really was a great way to work back into eating more healthy again! I would recommend it to anyone with similar goals!

Smoked Roast

I love making a roast! It’s so easy to dump everything in the pot, stick it in the oven, and come back several hours left to a juicy, tender roast and perfect potatoes! It makes the best dinner for cold evenings, or a mouthwatering lunch after church on a Sunday! This one is just a little elevated, and super delicious!

You start by putting a dry rub on the roast, And then let it smoke for about 90 minutes.

Once it has a nice bark on it, you’ll take the roast out and put it in a large Dutch oven along with your broth and vegetables. This will go back in the smoker or in your oven for another 4+ hours. (with the lid on tight.)

When the meat is very tender, it’s ready to serve!

Dry rub:

3/4 tsp. Each of salt, garlic and pepper.

Other ingredients:

Chuck roast (or really any kind of roast!)

4-6 potatoes (depends on how many you can fit in your Dutch oven.)

4 carrots

1/2 onion

3 garlic cloves

3 cups beef broth

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp rosemary

Preheat smoker to 180°.

Sprinkle dry rub on all sides of the meat , place in the smoker, and let it cook for 90 minutes.

Then, you will pull the meat off the smoker, and place in a large Dutch oven. Raise the temperature to 275°. Add potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic, rosemary and thyme, (make sure the lid can close completely.). Pour your broth over the top of it all, be sure the meat is covered.

Cook for about 4 hours, until the meat is very tender.

I like to serve pot roast with the potatoes and carrots cooked with it, but you could also do mashed potatoes, instead of cooking them in the pot. Add a garden salad or some garlic bread and your family will be delighted! Enjoy!

Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

We are obsessed with spatchcocked chickens! They are so easy, take only about 2.5 hrs in the smoker, and taste amazing every time! And while they look and taste impressive, spatchcocking a chicken is incredibly easy!

I buy our whole chickens from Costco, they come in a 2-pack for about $10, and it’s the best price I’ve found! We buy a several at the beginning of the month, and I usually do at least a couple this way.

Spatchcocking is just cutting the backbone out, so that the chicken can lay flat on the grill, so it gets that good smoky flavor all over, and it cooks way faster than it would as a whole chicken. (I am 100% sure you could also do this in the oven and it would turn out great! We haven’t had an oven for over a year now, so I cook everything outside on our Traeger.)

I use a pair of kitchen scissors and just cut along both sides of the backbone. (you just want to go slowly, because you are cutting through some bone, so you don’t want them to jump around.)

Smoked Spatchcock chicken:

What you need:

Kitchen scissors, basting brush

Oil (I use olive)

Salt and pepper

BBQ sauce (my favorite right now is the Private selection Kansas BBQ sauce from Fred Meyer

Directions:

Preheat oven or grill to 350°

Begin by cutting the backbone out. Discard, along with the pieces inside the bird.

Oil the entire chicken, inside and out, and coat with salt and pepper.

Place on hot grill, laid flat, breast side up, and cook for an hour.

After and hour, it should be golden. Brush with some bbq sauce, (both sides) and then place back on grill. Turn heat down to 300°. Brush with more sauce after another 30 min.

Check internal temperature at 2.5 hrs total, but leave it on the heat until it reaches 180° internally.

Take it off the grill, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then serve!

I like to serve it with mashed potato’s, and steamed veggies! (Right now we are on a whole30, so I will just serve it with some steamed veggies, and a chopped salad.) Enjoy!