“30 Clean Quick Dinner Recipes” eBook Giveaway!


image from ifoodreal.com

It’s the start of a brand new year, and people everywhere are resolving to do life better. For me, this year, my main resolution is to successfully getting this baby OUT of me sometime soon. Seriously, one of us has got to go; we’re running out of space. For others of you, you may be looking to change the way you eat, which is why I’m so happy to be offering this giveaway!

In the past few months, I found the blog iFoodreal by Olena. Her tagline is “Clean and Simple Recipes” – and the blog is full of them. She knows how it is to take care of two little people all day and still try to put real, healthy food on the table for dinner. I have loved her recipes, and I’m so excited about the eBook she recently put together: 30 Clean Quick Dinner Recipes. 

image from ifoodreal.com

image from ifoodreal.com

All of the recipes are practical, family friendly, and done in under 40 minutes. This lady speaks my language. Here are some other features that totally grabbed my attention:
13 crockpot recipes!
12 vegetarian recipes!
20 gluten free recipes!

image from ifoodreal.com

image from ifoodreal.com

Plus, she includes storage and freezing instructions where applicable, nutritional information, and recipes that lend themselves to easy substitutions (read: I am NOT going out into this polar vortext for just a lime).

Okay, how can you win this goodness? Complete as many of the tasks below as you want. You’ll receive an entry for each item you complete.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close Sunday, January 12 at 12 a.m. (CST), and the winner will be announced here later that day.

Additionally, if you order the eBook today or tomorrow (by January 10th), you will receive 20% off the original prices of $7.99. (P.S. If you buy the ebook and happen to be the giveaway winner, you will receive a full refund!)

image from ifoodreal.com

image from ifoodreal.com

New to the world of ebooks? Me too.
An eBook is a PDF file that will work on your computer, iPad, tablet and smartphone. It has not beed designed for print. On your computer, the PDF file will go to your Downloads folder upon. Click to open it, then save. For mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone please use iBooks or Adobe Reader. Android users can use Adobe Reader.

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Feta, Dried Apricots, and Candied Nuts

Warm Red Cabbage Salad I’ll be honest with you. I sat down tonight to try to write a clever post – you know, maybe a funny story, or to tell you about something that happened over the holidays – but really, my brain pattern looks a lot like this these days:


You get the idea. I kind of feel like once Christmas was over, suddenly all the things had to get done. Instantly. Because the baby is coming (said much like Paul Revere in regards to the Redcoats).

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Countdown to 2014: Readers’ Favorite Recipes

2013-BEST-OF-READERS-FAVORITES For this final week of 2013, we’re feeling reflective. About food, of course. So we’ve been taking a look back at some of our favorite recipes from the year, along with lots of other bloggers on Finding Joy In My Kitchen.

Each day, we’ll be looking at a different category:
December 26 - Favorite Breakfast Recipes
December 27 – Favorite Soup & Bread Recipes
December 28 – Favorite Main Dish Recipes
December 29 – Favorite Snacks and Appetizer Recipes
December 30 – Favorite Dessert Recipes
December 31 – Readers’ Favorites

Today we’re looking at some of your favorites, broken down by various categories. Enjoy!

1. Most Pinned Recipe of 2013 (Easy Apple Crisp)

Easy Apple Crisp

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Countdown to 2014: Favorite Dessert Recipes

Favorite Recipes of 2013  - DESSERTS For this final week of 2013, we’re feeling reflective. About food, of course. So we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite recipes from the year, along with lots of other bloggers on Finding Joy In My Kitchen.

Each day, we’ll be looking at a different category:
December 26 - Favorite Breakfast Recipes
December 27 – Favorite Soup & Bread Recipes
December 28 – Favorite Main Dish Recipes
December 29 – Favorite Snacks and Appetizer Recipes
December 30 – Favorite Dessert Recipes
December 31 – Readers’ Favorites

Let’s get to dessert before those New Year’s resolutions kick in, shall we?

1. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake


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Season’s Eatings: Bacon, Apple, and Brie Panini


This last week, I shared one of our very favorite panini recipes over at This HeArt of Mine. We’ve been doing paninis like two times a week this past month because it’s possibly the world’s fastest dinner, and this has possibly been the world’s busiest month. And, well, brie+bacon+apple=bliss. So there’s that too.

Head on over to check out the recipe, and be sure to check out Amy’s fabulous holiday DIY’s!

Opal Apple & Pecan Stuffed Maple-Glazed Pork Chops

opal-apple-stuffed-maple-glazed-pork-2 Let’s talk crushes for a second, okay?

Recently, Owen’s taken to carrying a picture of this little lady everywhere around our house. Seriously, whether he’s playing blocks or climbing on top of the couch, he finds a way to sneak this picture into the mix, eventually setting it down on his bookshelf, more loved and slightly more crumpled.
Owen has a crush…of sorts. Whaaaa?

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Homemade Laundry Detergent – a guest post on Cheap Recipe Blog


It’s no secret around here that Haley of Cheap Recipe Blog authors one of my favorite and most-used blogs. Her recipes are fantastic and her frugality, inspiring. I’m happy to be guest posting on her blog today with one of my most-used “recipes” – homemade laundry detergent.

I’ve been making my own for a few years now…and…spoiler alert: It costs 2¢ per load, and takes about 15 minutes per 56-load batch to put together.

Head on over to check out the recipe, and be sure to check out Haley’s other fantastic work while you’re there!


graceThere is grace in the warmth of Eric’s body next to mine, as we sink into the valley that has become the middle of our couch. He sits next to me, goes to bed with me, and drinks coffee with me each morning, even though my words to him are too often impatient and critical. His peace-based optimism, his ability to forgive and truly forget, his sincere affection for me – all of this is grace.


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Thanksgiving Thursday #6: Baked Brie with Maple-Roasted Cranberries

thanksgiving-thursday1 Baked Brie with Maple-Roasted Cranberries

We have rules about Christmas music around here. Well, really one rule.

Not until after Thanksgiving.
(Exception: Unless it’s beautifully snowing outside.)

And thus far, neither snow (beautiful or otherwise) or Thanksgiving have arrived. However, maybe it has something to do with being pregnant and overly emotional sentimental, but I am pining away for Christmas music this year. (Puns win again).

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On the Cooking Club: Fall Pear Salad with Maple Bacon, Gorgonzola, and Toasted Nuts


This month on the Cooking Club, I shared one of our household favorites. This salad has got it going on, my friends. Of course, there are greens. But then we make maple-glazed bacon, which is so easy we wonder why we don’t do it everyday. And then add all sorts of other goodies, like Gargonzola, toasted nuts, and of course, pears.

I made a really simple cranberry vinaigrette, and loved the zing of the cranberries over this salad. But you can make this salad as simple (store-bought dressing for the win!) or as complex as you want.

Head on over for the recipe! 

Season’s Eatings: Cheesy Italian Winter Squash Bake


For this month’s seasonal eating post on This HeArt of Mine, I trashed up some winter squash with some serious cheese. I made this Italian Winter Squash Bake because I was seriously craving some lasagna but we had like sixteen winter squash lying around, just asking to be thrown around like balls by Owen. Loved the result – like lasagna with the nuttiness and creaminess of squash!

Head on over for the recipe! 

Thanksgiving Thursdays #5: Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip


Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip

The story of this dip is that I went to Williams Sonoma last month to buy a gift (we never go there for ourselves, amIright?) I had Owen with me, and as soon as walked in the store, we headed for the checkout counter.

We did this because I had called to have them set the gift aside for me…and because of their array of samples. Owen blew kisses at the ladies behind the counter while I tried the first sample: some kind of pumpkin cream cheese dip that came with its own pretzel chip.

Pumpkin - Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip

The sample I tried was probably 1 teaspoon’s worth. My mouth really would have preferred a 1/2 cup. However, I couldn’t play that game where I take six laps around the store, trying to blend in and sneaking over to the sample counter every few minutes because…well, like I said, Owen had been charming the ladies behind the counter. By that point, I was highly and regretably recognizable.

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Roasted Pork Loin with Easy Apple Cranberry Sauce

roasted-pork-loin-cranberry-sauce-2 Over the summer, I’d often find myself talking to people I didn’t know at the park or the pool, and eventually, I’d share that I was pregnant with my second.

They would invariably ask: How old will your son be when the baby’s born?

My answer: 20 months.

And then, I would get one of two responses. Every single time.
#1. Wow! (wincing) That’s so….close.
#2. That’s wonderful! My kids were 19 months apart, and I loved it! 

Today, despite the fact that our baby girl is still safely growing inside of me, was definitely more of a #1 kind of day.

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Thanksgiving Thursdays #4: Butternut Squash Bruschetta (with bacon, sage, and gruyere)

thanksgiving-thursday1 Thanksgiving - Butternut Squash Bruschetta So, it’s November. A fact of reality that I’m still struggling to realize is true. And this means we’re 21 days from Thanksgiving, 48 days from Christmas, and approximately 79 days away from my due date.

Anyone else out there hyperventilating into a paper bag at this point?

Last November, we did a little series called Thanksgiving Thursdays each week leading up to Thanksgiving, with recipes that were some new takes on old favorites. We’re back at it again, but this time, we’re focusing on appetizers. Because really – isn’t that the worst part of Thanksgiving? All day long, you’re smelling that turkey, and you’re starving. And personally, with the appetite this baby inside of me has, I know that 18 handfuls of peanut M&Ms are not going to cut it this year. So I’ll be sharing three Thanksgiving-worthy appetizer ideas with you (which could also be served as fabulous sides to that noble bird)…and today, we’re starting wtih this butternut squash bruschetta.

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Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Oatmeal Fudge Bars Let’s just be real about these oatmeal fudge bars: I make up reasons to bake them.

People coming over for dinner? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Just broke your favorite coffee mug? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Oh, it’s Tuesday, and it’s supposed to snow tonight? Oatmeal fudge bars.

Our friend Erin from church brought these bars to a dinner over the summer, and we’ve been making them pretty regularly ever since. Not only are they a salty-sweet, fudgy play on a brownie (with hints of coffee, people, coffee), but they’re easy. Like, my one-year-old-helped-me-make-them easy.

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Creamy Potato, Sausage, and Vegetable Soup

Creamy Potato, Sausage, and Vegetable SoupI don’t know about you all, but our Minnesota Halloween was chiiiiillly. We hadn’t really planned on trick-or-treating with Owen…you know, because he’s one, and doesn’t really get it.

But then our friends that we were having dinner with were going with their kids, and we decided to join in for a few blocks, because we had already dressed him up for dinner, and we decided it wasn’t fair to hide his cuteness from the world.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
We’re keeping things pretty low key today, but a few Halloweens ago, we spent one Saturday working on one of our very favorite projects for this blog – the stop motion video above. It took us about 7 hours and I’d say about 1,000 images, and is probaby the singlemost telling piece of evidence of the fact that we used to not have a kid. As we look ahead to having even less time on our hands in a mere !13 weeks!, we thought we’d share this little Halloween gem from Carpé Season’s past.

May your Halloween be full of Reese’s and noticeably lacking in Laffy Taffy.