Peach Panzanella Salad

My family has been on a bit of a salad strike – especially my son. He went from loving salad to HATING it. I thought I’d give a panzanella salad a try. No luck with him, but the rest of us loved this salad! It was so refreshing and bright. It’s simple to make and delicious! I loved the combination of sweet peaches with the saltiness of prosciutto and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella. The vinaigrette is really good too – I’ll definitely make it again.

My husband is not a fan of fruit in salad, but I think I have may have converted him with this one! I can’t wait to make it again before local peaches are no longer available.

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Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

Somehow Fall went by and I didn’t make one loaf of pumpkin bread. I know…it’s crazy! I bought a 3 can pack of pumpkin at Costco and decided it was about time I make loaf regardless that the calendar says December and all things pumpkin are on the way out.

I found this copycat Starbucks version of pumpkin bread. but only it’s much more healthier than the real thing…. but tastes just as good, if not better! The amount of sugar was reduced and there was a few substitutions to make it healthier. Trust me, you won’t even notice the swaps – this bread is moist, packed full of pumpkin spice flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness. My son absolutely loves it, except for the pepitas which need to be cut off before he enjoys a slice of this bread.


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Apple Bread

It’s apple season! I love all things apples and I’m excited to spend more time in the kitchen this coming month. My kids fall sports seasons are coming to an end, which means I won’t be coaching, cheering or driving my kids to practice or a game 5 nights a week. While I love seeing how much fun they’re having, it’s been a long couple of months of rainy, muddy weather … that hasn’t been the best for cheerleading or soccer.

But back to this delicious and healthy bread. It’s loaded with cinnamon and chunks of fresh apples. It’s super easy to make, it’s healthy and makes your house smell delicious. I used  whole wheat flour, because that’s what I had on hand; feel free to use any type of flour – all-purpose, whole-wheat white or a combination.

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Focaccia Bread

For the past 7 weeks, it has rained on the weekend and that’s left me wanting to do some baking. Last week, was a busy week with the school year ending for the kids, the last 2 t-ball games, lots of work projects happening and of course, the usual hustle and bustle of our busy lives. We all needed to recovery on Sunday and it was the perfect day for that – another rainy day. I made a new recipe for dinner and was inspired to make focaccia bread after watching a Pioneer Woman episode on Food Network.

I haven’t made homemade bread in months and it was so relaxing. Does anyone else find baking relaxing? This recipe was really easy to make since I had all the ingredients on hand. My husband and I dipped it in olive oil, but it would be perfect for grilled sandwiches.

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Chocolate Babka

Babka has always been one of those recipes that I want to try, but it looked so difficult. I got over my “fear” of making homemade breads a couple of years ago, so I decided it was time to make babka for #choctoberfest! This Eastern European yeast-risen cake has lots of steps and takes all day to make – but it’s so worth it! There’s a rich chocolate filling that is swirled in brioche-like cake. This version has a little orange zest in the cake and topped with an orange syrup for a little bit of freshness and adds a touch of sweetness.

Imperial Sugar helped make this recipe possible with their generous donation of sugar as a sponsor of #Choctoberfest. You should have seen my face when 88 lbs of sugar arrived at my house. I’ll be set for all my baking this holiday season with my kids! Thanks Imperial Sugar!

Chocolate Babka | Join Us, Pull up a Chair #choctoberfest

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Ricotta Parmesan Garlic Bread

Sometimes you need to indulge a little and this bread is exactly that! This was a HUGE hit with my family – even my picky kids. I guess if you spread cheese – even cheese they don’t like – over bread, they’ll love it. It makes for a great appetizer or compliments an Italian dinner. I’m planning to make it for my next wine tasting! I have the perfect wine to pair with it!

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Ricotta Banana Bread

Once again, I found myself with almost a full bunch of bananas that were on their way to being overripe. I should learn that when my kids ask for bananas, they only want 1 or 2 and not to buy a bunch, since they never eat them all. I decided to wipe up a loaf of banana bread last night to use up a few and then cut the rest into slices, frozen them and they’ll be used for smoothies. I also picked this recipe since it uses ricotta and I had some leftover from another recipe that needed to be used.

The bread came out super moist and you would never know there was ricotta in the batter. It’s really good warm with a little smear of butter. With a slice of this bread and a cup of coffee, it’s a great way to start the day!

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Apple Fritter Bread – Secret Recipe Club

I’m excited to share today’s recipe with you! It’s a really, really good one and it’s also extra special because I was able to help with a Secret Recipe Club rescue. I jumped at the opportunity since I knew I had some time before this recipe had to be posted. The blog, I was assigned was Cooking with Sara. Sara lives in the Midwest and loves to cook and bake old and new recipes. She also uses every day ingredients and most of her recipes are family-friendly…perfect fro me! I started looking for recipes and immediately knew what I was going to make – Apple Fritter Bread! I had plans to stop at the orchard to pick up apples and knew this would be the perfect recipe to feature them. What was even better – we had new neighbors move in over the weekend and I was able to give them the extra loaf as a welcome gift!

The bread is so good. It’s packed full of apple and the glaze makes it! Seriously, go get some apples and make this today!

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Pretzel Rolls – The Secret Recipe Club

One of my favorite times of the month is here…reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club! This month, my assignment was “It’s Yummy to my Tummy.” Heather’s two kids named her blog and I love it! Such a fun title!  Heather and I have a lot in common. We both started our blogs to organize our thoughts and experiment. Plus, we both use cooking and baking to relax.

After looking through all the recipes on Heather’s list, I decided to go with pretzel rolls. They’ve been on my list to make for a while, so I figured it was time. I had also considered making her pancakes and sausage muffins, apple bellini and asian lettuce wraps. I’m thinking the Bellinis would be perfect to serve on Thanksgiving.

The rolls were easy to make, since I’ve made pretzels before. The texture of the rolls were the right consistency and I loved the little bit of sweetness from the brown sugar.

Pretzel Rolls | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 1/3 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda
kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup water with the yeast. Allow to stand and get foamy. Add in the remaining cup of water, milk, melted butter and brown sugar. Stir the mixture around until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add in the flour and mix well until your dough forms. Since I was using my stand mixer, I let it knead for a minute or two so I didn’t have to knead it by hand. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces, approximately 2 inches wide. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then place a damp towel on top. Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes.

Take each piece of dough and form it into a roll or knot. Place back on the lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or until they have grown in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large stock pot, bring the water to a boil and add in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble and make a mess, but trust me, it’s worth it! Drop in two rolls at time and allow to boil for 30 seconds or less. Remove the rolls using a slotted spoon and allow to drain before placing onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all rolls have been boiled. Sprinkled with kosher salt. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on the top rack until the rolls are the desired color. I baked mine so they were on the darker side for a crispy outside. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Check out all the other great recipes in this week’s reveal using the link below!