• Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

    I feel like pickles are one of those foods that people either love or hate. I don’t hear people say often that “pickles are okay”. Do you? Everyone in my family loves them! And when I was pregnant with Tyler I ate hamburger dill chips like they were going out of style. I would take a tupperware container of them to work with me and eat them all day long.

    And I will eat them in any form. Dill, sweet, bread and butter, relish…. I love pickles!

    I made this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad for the first time last year after going to a bbq and wanting to bring something different from my ordinary salad choices.

    It was a total hit and I ended up making it many more times over the summer because we just couldn’t get enough of it!

    You guys already know that things that are easy to make are my jam! And this one is no exception. It is one of those salads that you toss everything in a bowl, mix and stick in the fridge to chill.

    Now we haven’t had it all winter long and I know as the weather warms up more and we start to bbq more often I will be making this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad again.

    • 8 oz. dry pasta (about 3 cups)
    • 3/4 c. sliced pickles
    • 2/3 c. cheddar cheese , diced
    • 3 Tbsp chopped onion
    • 2 Tbsp fresh dill
    • 1/2 c. pickle juice

    Dressing:

    • 2/3 c. mayonnaise
    • 1/3 c. sour cream
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 4 Tbsp pickle juice
    • salt & pepper to taste
    1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.
    2. Pour a 1/2 cup of pickle juice over the cold pasta, mix and set aside.
    3. After a few minutes drain juice from pasta.
    4. Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl then add to pasta, mixing well.
    5. Refrigerate at least one hour to chill before serving.

    What is your favorite way to eat pickles? Or do you like them at all?

  • Ranch Pasta Salad

    It may only be February, but I am dreaming of sunny days full of hot hot sunshine. Anyone else?

    Winter hasn’t been near as bad as past years, but I will take the heat over cold any day of the week. And because our summers fly by, I am making plans already to fill my days with lounging at the lake, relaxing in the back yard with a cold drink and lots and lots of play dates with kids screaming with laughter as they slide down the slip n slide.

    One thing we do a couple times a year is have back yard bbq’s with our family and friends. And I am always looking for the perfect BBQ food! Pasta salads are always a must and this BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad is definitely a favorite.

    Originally I found a recipe for BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad over on Spicy Southern Kitchen, but after I couldn’t find the same dressing I had to change things up a bit.

    Ranch Pasta Salad

    And because I had never had the original dressing, I wasn’t missing out! This dressing was delicious!!

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    It really couldn’t have been easier to make! Which are another favorite things of mine! Quick and easy pasta salads are awesome!!

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    This is all of the ingredients mixed together except for the pasta and corn chips.

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    • 16 oz pasta, cooked per package direction – I used elbow and sprial because that is what I had!
    • 1 cup of Southwestern Ranch Dressing
    • ⅓ cup sour cream
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup canned corn, drained
    • ½ red bell pepper, diced
    • ½ small red onion, finely diced
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup corn chips
    1. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl.
    2. Stir together dressing and sour cream and pour over pasta. Mix together
    3. Add all remaining ingredients, except corn chips, and stir to combine.
    4. Refrigerate until ready to serve and sprinkle corn chips on top just before serving.

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    I wish I had gotten a better picture of this when I originally made it! Because this picture doesn’t really do it justice!  Maybe next time!

    What is your go-to pasta salad?

  • Circus Animal Cheesecake

    Last summer for my sister in laws birthday we had invited her over for dinner and I asked what kind of cake she wanted. She sent me a pinterest picture for this Circus Animal Cheesecake and I was immediately excited to make it! I probably never would have made it for my kids so this was a fun chance to make it. And this way I could send half of it home with her!

    Even though there are several steps to get this Circus Animal Cheesecake made, it is completely worth it! Though it is extremely rich! Again…. totally worth it!

    I felt like it was so pretty that I kept taking pictures of it and didn’t really want to cut into it!

    Recipe from Life, Love and Sugar

    CRUST

    2 1/4 cups frosted animal cookie crumbs
    2 tbsp salted butter, melted

    FILLING

    24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    3 tbsp all purpose flour
    1 cup sour cream at room temperature
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    4 large eggs at room temperature
    2 cups chopped frosted animal cookies, divided

    WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

    6 oz white chocolate chips
    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    Pink gel icing color
    Sprinkles

    WHIPPED CREAM

    1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
    4 tbsp powdered sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    DIRECTIONS:

    CRUST

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F
    2. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
    3. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl.
    4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan.
    5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
    6. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in.
    7. Set prepared pan aside.

    CHEESECAKE FILLING

    1. Reduce oven to 300°F
    2. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and flour until well combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    3. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, mixing on low speed until well combined.
    4. Add the eggs one at a time, beat slowly and scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg.
    5. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of chopped animal cookies just until mixed, so the colors from the sprinkles don’t mix into the batter too much.
    6. Pour a small amount of batter into the bottom of the crust in an even layer, then add the remaining 3/4 cup of chopped animal cookies.
    7. Pour the remaining cheesecake filling into crust, over the cookies, and spread into an even layer.
    8. Place springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
    9. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes.
    10. Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 30 minutes.
    11. Crack oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
    12. Remove cheesecake from oven and chill until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight.

    TO FINISH OFF THE CHEESECAKE

    1. When the cheesecake is cool and firm, remove from the springform pan and set on a serving plate.
    2. To make the white chocolate ganache start with putting the white chocolate chips in a bowl.
    3. Microwave the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If it doesn’t melt completely, microwave for 10-20 seconds, then whisk until smooth.
    4. Color the ganache with a little pink gel coloring.
    5. Pour the ganache onto the cheesecake and spread into an even layer.
    6. To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl. Mix on high speed until stiff peaks form.
    7. Add dollops of the whipped cream on top of the white chocolate ganache.
    8. Top the cheesecake with frosted animal cookies and some sprinkles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    The only thing I was bummed about it not getting a well lit picture of it sliced! It was already getting late by the time we cut into it, but it is still pretty and I was pretty darn proud of how it turned out!

    If this Circus Animal Cheesecake sounds amazing or if you love cheesecake as much as I do, check out The Perfect Cheesecake, Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake, Caramel Apple Cheesecake, and Mini Snickers Cheesecakes.

  • Kid Friendly Lunch Ideas

    This post has been compensated by IHelpMoms.com and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

    As a busy mom of three, kid friendly lunch ideas are so important because the last thing I want to spend a lot of time on is packing lunches. And while my kids like to eat sandwiches they get bored with them so I am always looking for ways to change up lunch time.

    I am super lucky that none of my kids have food allergies to date, but Tyler is my picky kid so sometimes I have to get creative with lunches. He occasionally has school lunch, but I would say at least half of the time he doesn’t like the option and wants to pack a lunch so I wanted to share a few of his favorite lunches to take.

    That is why I love this bento lunch box set from Bentology. The five separate compartments leave lots of room for food for my always hungry kiddos while keeping everything portion controlled.

    And the fun patterns that they come in keep the kids laughing and entertained! They love their emojo set! And I think I need the Flamingo Set!

    Weekly Menu ideas, Recipes, and more on the blog: https://bentology.com/resources/bentology-blog/

    Make sure you look for Bentology on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST

    This one is totally Summer’s ideal lunch! And Tyler won’t touch mac n cheese!

    They aren’t just for school lunches! Sometimes if we are going to be out and about running errands I love to pack a lunch before we head out the door. I know it is just a matter of time before I hear someone from the back seat say, “I’m hungry” and now I am more than prepared!

    Purchase your own kit with a 25% discount right now through 1/22/18! Use the code ihelp25

    And feel free to check out a few of my past Kid Friendly Lunch Ideas and Nutter Butter Ice Cream Cones.

    Right now you can win a Bentology Bento Kit of your very own! Check out the Giveaway below to enter to win!! You have lots of chances to get your name in the running!

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  • Overnight Blueberry Oats

    Breakfast for myself is one of the most difficult meals of the day. I have never been much of a breakfast eater but when I do it is usually a bowl of cold cereal, or a cup of coffee.  And I like oatmeal, but typically covered in butter and brown sugar. So these overnight blueberry oats is something I can get on board with.

    I was raised in a house of breakfast eaters. My dad would make big elaborate breakfasts on the weekends full of pancakes or waffles, french toast, hash browns, eggs and bacon.  The rest of the week my breakfast might consist of a nutrigrain bar.  It is just one of those things that I never made time for.

    While I feel like I go in spurts of wanting breakfast I have done a lot better than in the past mainly because I have chosen to be better about meal planning and making it happen. And making breakfasts like these Overnight Blueberry Oats is definitely a way to keep me on track!

    Overnight Blueberry Oats

    It really is as simple as it sounds.

    1/4 cup dry steel cut oats
    1/4 cup almond milk
    3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
    1 cup blueberries

    1. Mix everything together and cover
    2. Cover and refrigerate overnight
    3. stir and eat (heat for 1 minute if you’d rather eat them warm- I think they are delicious either way!)

    One thing I love about these overnight blueberry oats is that you can replace those blueberries with one cup of strawberries, or peaches or many other fruits to change it up for everyday of the week!

    21 Day Fix: 1 red,  1 purple,  1 yellow for these delicious overnight blueberry oats.

     

    I don’t know about others, but I have a hard time eating greek yogurt because of the texture. I don’t like the thickness of it and I never eat it unless it is in a recipe.  Check out a few more recipes that include Greek Yogurt like this Buffalo Chicken Bowl, Berry Parfait, Ranch Dressing, Slow Cooked Creamy Mexican Chicken, Chicken and Spinach Bake.

    What is your favorite way to eat your oatmeal?