Recipe Round Up: March

It has been a bit since I've shared some recipes with you, so I thought it was high time I get on that! As always, you can find these recipes pinned on our Pinterest here. march roundup 1

1.) ORANGE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE. I really shoot for making most items in our kitchen from scratch, but for some reason salad dressing has been super slow to hop onto that train. I'm not sure why because they are super simple. So my goal this year is to start making my own dressings. This one is great for a salad with fruit on it (as pictured). I like to make my dressings in repurposed jars so I can easily pop the lid on and shake it before serving. Be sure to try this one as berries come in season!

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2.) ISLAND SPICE PORK TENDERLOIN.  I recently reintroduced myself to pork. I probably haven't cooked it (at least on a regular basis) for three or four years easily. Having little kiddos around that need protein and getting bored with the same chicken and beef dishes, I finally ventured into the world of pig with encouragement from a couple friends that it was, in fact, a delicious world. I definitely had a few flops, but I also found a few keeper recipes for my files. This recipe is EASY and FAST, DELICIOUS, and only requires ONE PAN! Those are all wins to me!

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3.) BASIC BANANA BREAD. I have been making this banana bread for years. To me, it is one of those recipes that doesn't need any tweaks, and I have zero desire to find something different or better out there. There is also a peanut butter version, which is delicious. You can cut back the sugar if desired-- I've used half the amount with no problems. I also omit the glaze because it doesn't need it.

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4.) EXTRA CRISPY OVEN BAKED FRENCH FRIES. Your search for healthy french fries has ended. No seriously. I've tried a number of different recipes, but they don't seem to get crispy enough. This one is it! The key is baking first at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then increasing to 425 degrees for an additional 20 minutes. It's a little heavy on time, but worth the effort! I do 3-4 potatoes between two pans, stir half way through each temperature setting and switch pans. I have yet to try these with sweet potatoes, but am hoping to in the near future! The seasonings mix on her recipe is great, but I've also just done a heavy sprinkling of salt which was fine too.

Have any delicious recipes you'd like to share? Did you grill anything fabulous during the few days of warm weather? Please share!


taking care series :: move

We invited you to come alongside of us as Rachel chats about anything and everything *taking care* over the next few weeks. Pour yourself a cup of something and pull up a chair. So happy you are here.   Since ringing in the new year, I can count on one little hand how many days I have not worked out. The old me (cliche anyone?) would've hollered that it's a miracle of miracles, but the new me isn't all that surprised. The combo of  1) making the decision and commitment to move everyday and  2) knowing myself and what works best for me, have led me to a happy, sweaty place of truly enjoying and craving exercise.

What, what?!! I know.

My routine is very simple. I wake up early. This is key because I know how I tick. If I wait until the day and it's activities are well underway, I lose the motivation and may not fit it in. So while my hubs and son are still snoozin' away in warm beds, I rub sleep from my eyes and hop on the treadmill for a few miles while I catch up on all my favorite Netflix and Hulu shows. Another key! I've discovered that running + entertaining television = I keep moving. It's a win win in my book! Once the warm weather comes, I plan on taking my runs outside in the fresh air. The treadmill is a huge lifesaver for me in this bitter cold, but there's nothing like pounding down our open country roads, the sun on my face and good tunes in my ears.

When I'm done on the treadmill, I do basic strength training using my own body weight or hand weights 4-5 days each week for about 20 to 30 minutes. I use the Max Capacity Training App on my phone for this and LOVE it! Because left to my own devises, I can be a clueless mess. I need to be told exactly what to do (push ups, lunges, squats, yada yada) and exactly how long to do them (thank you, timer!). I also love using fellow hen Kelly's Summer Sweat Circuit or her HIIT for the Holidays. Every once in a while, I will pop in a workout video or follow a routine I found on Pinterest to mix things up, but the majority of the time I stick with my normal routine because it works for me.

taking care exercise hhh

If you're struggling, but it has been on your heart to make the commitment to move more often, I would suggest that you pray to God to help you and guide you! That is not a strange prayer at all. He is there for you in every single aspect of your life and maintaining a healthy body is a big part of it! He will give you the strength you need.

I'd also recommend discovering what works for you :: at the gym or at home. group classes or on your own. all at once or broken up throughout the day. jogging or Pilates. organized sports or walks around the block. outside or inside. morning or evening. I'm 100% convinced that in order to stick with a commitment to move, you must know yourself when it comes to exercise. What works well for others will not necessarily be the best for you! I know that I enjoy working out solo at home in the mornings. Knowing that about myself, it would be a silly move to get a gym membership and sign up for all sorts of evening group classes because I will dread going or not go at all. Once you know what works for you, you can build a routine and then eventually branch out from there, pushing yourself to maybe try something new.

So that's that! So simple, but so effective. In the last few months, I've seen great benefits from moving every day. I don't smile through every workout and I'm not perfect or hardcore or super fit. But I feel strong! I feel more energized! I've lost weight! It's almost like our bodies were made to move. : ) Taking care of this one body, this temple God has made is becoming more and more important to me. This is a wonderful way I can bring Him glory! And thank Him for His goodness. And not only do I feel good and confident, my positive mood is a benefit to my family and all those around me. All that from less than an hour of moving each morning? I think I'll keep it up. : )

A Taking Care Challenge For You :: Think about a fitness goal you would like to achieve (ie run for 2 miles) and then write down a plan to help make it happen (ie what time of day you'll run, how many days per week). And then do it!!

Read more chatter on taking care: taking care :: a series taking care :: fill me up, pour me out


Sweet Potato Pancakes with Toasted Pecans and Crumbled Bacon

Breakfast for dinner is always a huge hit in our house. "Pancakes?! I LOVE PANCAKES MAMA!"

I'm not going to lie... I much prefer shouts like that over the usual refusal to eat, but I am not really a fan of usual breakfast fare. It's typically pretty sugar laden, and I just hate that there are not any vegetables! So when I came across this recipe, I was pretty pumped. Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, full of Vitamin A and Potassium, and I love that they are naturally sweet (i.e. my toddler loves them!).

This recipe has so many stellar attributes. First, it has sweet potatoes (that are quite hidden for those that might need that)! Second, it makes a big batch! We fed our family of four twice and then a little lunch for the kids besides. Third, you can make it ahead of time, and it keeps well in the fridge. I see no problem with healthy pancakes on tap. Lastly, they are pretty versatile. We have added blueberries or chocolate chips. We have eaten them with syrup or without. I like to have a good staple recipe and be able to switch things up as we want to.

So give them a try, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Sweet potato pancakes recipe

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Toasted Pecans and Crumbled Bacon


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 cups buttermilk (I use regular milk and add about a tablespoon of white vinegar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Toasted Pecans

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-2 teaspoons butter
  • pinch of salt


Whisk dry ingredients (flours, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mash peeled sweet potato with honey, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Mix with the rest of the batter. Allow to sit for one hour, or overnight.

Bake pancakes as usual, though these take a little longer to bake than regular pancakes.

To toast pecans, heat small skillet over medium low heat. Add butter until melted. Add pecans and salt. Stirring frequently, cook until fragrant and toasted, usually about 3-5 minutes. These will burn easily and quickly, so watch closely.

Serve pancakes, topped with toasted pecans and crumbled bacon pieces and drizzled with maple syrup... or however you feel like it. :)

Click here to print!

Source: Adapted from Food Network



Recipe Round Up: January


Do you follow us on Pinterest? If not, you should! I recently added a new board of Round Up Recipes. All the recipes I list on my Round Up posts are linked there so you can quickly look them up, re-pin them to your own boards, and easily try them out!

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ONE.) Potato Bread Perfect for Toasting. I have made this bread many, many times and love it so much. I use my bread maker, so it is super easy to whip up. It is also convenient because it makes two small loaves. I usually use one and pre-slice the other and throw it in the freezer. I have made a few adjustments to the recipe -- I use 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup water instead of plain water and omit the dry milk powder that the recipe calls for. Also, instead of regular potatoes, I use sweet potato for a little more nutrition (and I like that it's a teeny bit orange). Finally, I replace 1 cup of the regular flour with white whole wheat flour. We use this for peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese or any grilled sandwich, and french toast, or just sliced with butter. It's delicious!

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TWO.) Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, Lightened Up. This recipe is a little more work than my usual muffin recipes, but was worth that added effort for sure! The recipe makes 24 muffins, not 12, which is nice in case you want to freeze these. I liked that they had a little pizazz with the sneaky cream cheese center, so I felt a little fancy bringing them to Bible study. :)

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THREE.) Roasted Butternut Squash Bacon Soup. Bacon and butternut squash together is amazing. To me, they don't seem like likely companions, but I guess you really can never go wrong when it comes to bacon. This recipe was excellent! I did add a carrot the second time I made it along with cutting the thyme a teeny bit and adding a couple shakes of cinnamon-- I feel like the cinnamon added a little more depth to the overall flavor. Also, I wasn't a fan of the goat cheese on top, but I am not a fan of goat cheese to begin with. Feta probably would be good substitute.

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FOUR.) Baked Oatmeal with Fruit.  I was looking for a new baked oatmeal recipe-- one that was a bit easier than the last one I had been using and less wasteful. The previous one made too large of a pan for my little family, used egg whites only (I hate separating egg for no real reason!), and used up a ton of a milk. This recipe makes a smaller pan (my family of 3.5 eaters finished it in one sitting), uses one full egg, and only one cup of milk. I didn't make any changes to this recipe, although depending on the sweetness of the berries/banana that you use, 1/4 cup of maple syrup could be reduced a little. We served with a side of homemade yogurt.

Have any recipes you'd like to share? Please comment with the link!




Recipe Roundup: November

I'm back with another hodge podge of recipes to share with you this month. There really isn't a theme to these recipes, just a bunch I've tried and loved and wanted to share. Hope you will give them a glance! 1.) Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling. This is kind of a strange frosting recipe-- you actually cook flour and milk first and use granulated sugar instead of confectioner's, but it's worth the hassle. When I make this (for birthday parties usually), I cook the flour/milk portion and refrigerate overnight. Then I make the frosting the day of but have that step done already so it's pretty quick. It's amazing-- super light, fluffy, and just the right amount of sweet. I am pretty sure I ate an entire bowl of it plain the last time I made it.

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2.) Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes. I will confess that I have actually never eaten this. I don't like chocolate cake, or much of chocolate anything, but my family (tiny ones included) rave about these.

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3.) Chicken Tortilla Soup. I was alerted to this recipe by one of my best friends, who was on a year long search for the best chicken tortilla soup recipe. This is definitely it! I added chopped red and yellow pepper in with the onion because I had it in the fridge. It also makes a pretty big batch so expect leftovers (which reheat well!)

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4) Homemade Larabars. I just recently started making these after visiting one of my BFF's from college. They are so stinking easy and delicious, and healthy too! We've tried the chocolate brownie, gingerbread, cappuccino, and oatmeal raisin cookie. My toddler asks for one for dessert, as you see her snitching during my photo session...

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5.) Homemade Tortillas. This is an oldie, but still a goodie! I continue to regularly make tortillas from scratch over here. I have used combinations of white whole wheat flour and regular flour with success. I have also recently switched to using melted coconut oil instead of olive or canola oil with great results. I often double the batch and freeze a portion for a meal at a later time. You should absolutely try this! Except,  you may never go back to buying them.

Hope you enjoyed this month's edition of Recipe Round up! Have any recipes to share? I'm always looking for a new one to try! Comment with the link, please!