About Me

About Me

Hi, my name is Alison. I live in a small town in the Midwest with my wonderful husband, Matt; our three beautiful children, and our cat, Willow.

I want to start this blog with a little bit of background about me. I have a degree in physical therapy, which I still do on the weekends, however, I started this blog to publicize other passions and hobbies that are apart of my life; Parenting and baking.

I began to be a stay at home mom after the birth of our second child, and during my time at home I discovered a love and passion for cooking, baking, and creating an overall healthier lifestyle for my family.

I am self taught, with the help of my grandparents teaching me how to cook when I was growing up, but I have had quite a few people express interest in my delicious recipes. So I have decided to create this space to share my recipes, tips and tricks for getting picky eaters to enjoy healthier foods, and reach others that share my passion!


Delicious and Easy Cranberry Orange Butter Cookies

These cranberry orange butter cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and they will make your home smell amazing when they are baking! Made with fresh orange zest and cranberries, these cookies give off the slightest fragrance of orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 10 minutes Total time: 20 minutes Servings: 30 cookies

Ingredients: 3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups AP flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tbsp orange zest

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Crystallized sugar coating: 1/2 cup white sugar

1 tbsp orange zest

Instructions:

  1. Line 2 cooking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Soften butter in a microwave safe bowl for 15 seconds, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Using a mixer combine butter and sugar until creamy and smooth.
  5. Add in the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture.
  6. Add the cranberries and orange zest to the butter mixture and combine well.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well.
  8. Place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp orange zest in a bowl
  10. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and roll into 1 inch balls and roll each one around in the sugar mixture until each one is well coated.
  11. Place each cookie dough ball 1 inch apart on the cooking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes or until the outside of the cookies are light brown.
  12. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: Do not overbake these cookies or they will not be soft and chewy on the inside. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


Amazing Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze!

These pumpkin bars are soft, moist, and oh so delicious! They are perfect for any holiday family gathering. The best part? They take under an hour to make! Who doesn’t love a super easy and delicious dessert?

Prep time: 5 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes Total time: 25 minutes Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients: 2 cups AP flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze Ingredients: 1/2 cup powdered cane sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish by spraying it with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl, then add to the wet mixture and combine well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well.
  6. Add the walnuts to the batter and combine well.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool entirely before adding glaze.
  9. While the bars are cooling, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze into a bowl and mix until everything is smooth and spreadable.
  10. Once the bars are cool, take a spoon and drizzle the glaze evenly over the top of the bars.
  11. Cut the bars into squares and serve.

Recipe Notes: Store pumpkin bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These are delicious with the glaze, but also with a cream cheese icing. Do not overbake these otherwise they will become dry. For a healthier option, white sugar may be replaced with coconut sugar and butter may be replaced with coconut oil. You may leave the walnuts out of the recipe and it will not affect the taste.


Sweet Potato Chili: Sweet, Spicy, and Super Easy!

This easy and delicious sweet potato chili is full of nutritious vegetables and gives you all of the fall flavors with notes of cinnamon, sweet potato, and chili powder. It is so easy to make and can be made on stove top or crock pot!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients: 1 medium yellow onion

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

3 sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

16 oz chicken broth

1/2 cup milk of your choice

1 15 oz can of black beans or kidney beans

1 can of sweet corn

sea salt

pepper

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Brown meat in a skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Drain meat and transfer to a soup pot or crock pot.
  3. Wash and dice the onion then sauté it in 1 tbsp of olive oil, once onion is a golden color, move to the pot.
  4. Drain and rinse the beans, then transfer to pot.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes to the pot.
  6. Drain the corn, then add it to the pot.
  7. Add the chicken broth to the pot, then cover and turn on high and bring to a boil.
  8. While the pot is being brought to a boil, wash, peel, and dice the sweet potatoes.
  9. Place the sweet potatoes in a frying pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, then transfer to the pot.
  10. Add all of the seasonings and the milk then cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  11. Remove from heat and serve with cheddar cheese, and avocado, or toppings of your choice.

Recipe Notes: If you want to make it in the crock pot, repeat all of these steps and then cook in the crock pot for about 2 hours on low or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with toppings of your choice.


Halloween Series: Cheesecake “Blood Splatter” Brownies, Easy and Spooky!

These are perfect for spooky season y’all! They are sure to spice up any Halloween party or even a birthday party, and to top it off: They are so easy to make and even your pickiest eater will love them!

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Servings: 20 brownies

Ingredients: 1 1/2 sticks of butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp vanilla

pinch of sea salt

1 cup AP flour

extra chocolate chips

cooking spray

Jell-o cheesecake mix

strawberry sauce

Instructions:

  1. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and melt in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, stir, and then warm for another 15 seconds or until the chocolate chips and butter are completely combined and melted well.
  3. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, espresso powder, white sugar, and brown sugar to the chocolate mixture. Combine well.
  5. Add the eggs and egg yolk one by one, stirring well between each one.
  6. Add the vanilla, and salt to the batter and stir.
  7. Add in the flour slowly and combine well.
  8. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips into the batter, and combine. Add as many as you want.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the center comes out clean.
  10. While the brownies are baking, Add 2 cups of cold milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the Jell-o cheesecake mix.
  11. Whisk the mixture until it begins to thicken.
  12. Place the cheesecake mixture in the refrigerator and remove the brownies from the oven, let cool completely.
  13. Once the brownies are completely cool, cut them into shapes of your choice.
  14. Place cheesecake mixture into a pastry bag with a wide tip and use to spread it across the brownies evenly.
  15. Once all of the brownies have a cheesecake layer, place a small amount of strawberry sauce on a spoon and gently flick the spoon sideways over the brownies as many times as needed to make a nice “blood splatter” pattern.
  16. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: You may use box mix brownies for these if you want, but be warned the brownies from that mix may be less firm and harder to cut into even shapes. Homemade no bake cheesecake mix will also work with this recipe. Homemade strawberry reduction or sauce will not affect the taste of the recipe, but may alter the thickness of your “blood splatter”.


Fall Flavors: Easy Crock Pot Pulled Chicken

This pulled chicken recipe is so easy, and it can be left in the crock pot to cook while you are gone! Top it with your favorite toppings and serve! It’s that easy! And so delicious, there won’t be any left!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 6-7 hours Total time: 6-7 hours and 15 minutes Servings: 4-6 servings

Ingredients: 1 lbs of antibiotic free chicken tenderloins (or chicken breast)

1/4 cup of ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup cup of chicken broth

1 tbsp of garlic powder (or 2 fresh garlic cloves)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flake

Cole Slaw Topping Ingredients: 14 oz bag of cole slaw mix (or freshly chopped cabbage)

1 tbsp honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in crock pot.
  2. Add ketchup, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flake, and brown sugar to the crock pot.
  3. Add chicken broth to the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through and reaches 165 degrees.
  5. After the chicken is done, turn off crock pot, let sit for 15 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, combine all of the cole slaw ingredients in a large bowl, mix well.
  7. Shred chicken, construct sandwich on bun of your choice, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: Make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly and reaches 165 degrees internally before serving. You may serve with toppings and sides of your choice, but my family’s favorite is topped with the cole slaw mixture, and served with cooked sweet carrots and homemade potato wedges.


Fall Flavors: Easy! Cake Mix Apple Pie Cupcakes

This apple pie cupcake recipe is made using cake mix for a quick and easy fall dessert that everyone will love!

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 15-20 minutes Total time: 30-35 minutes Servings: 30 cupcakes

Ingredients: 1 box of white cake mix of your choice

3 egg whites

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup of water

1 tbsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of nutmeg

vanilla icing of your choice

caramel sauce

Filling Ingredients: 4 apples (mix of gala and granny smith for best results)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup AP flour

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

Instructions:

  1. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners, set aside. Preheat oven according to temperature recommended on cake mix you choose.
  2. Prepare cake mix batter according to instructions on box. Mine uses 3 egg whites, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup water.
  3. Add 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg to cake batter.
  4. Pour cake batter into prepared cupcake pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove cupcakes from oven and while they are cooling begin making apple pie filling.
  6. Wash and peel apples, then cube them.
  7. Place cubed apples in sauce pan and add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.
  8. Cook filling mixture on low until apples are soft and tender and liquid begins to thicken.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside.

Instructions to construct:

  1. Cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes, and remove center until a hole about 1 1/2 inch across is present and cuts down until at least half way in the cupcake.
  2. Spoon apple pie filling into each hole of the cupcakes until the filling is even with the top of the cupcake.
  3. Top the cupcake with vanilla icing of your choice, decorate how you choose, and drizzle caramel sauce over the top of each cupcake.
  4. If there are any apple chunks left over, top each cupcake with one and then sprinkle the top of the apple chunk with nutmeg.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: If not eating right away, these cupcakes keep best in the refrigerator. This recipe also works with homemade vanilla cupcakes or homemade vanilla icing. These cupcakes are great topped with vanilla icing and caramel sauce, but also great topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!


Fall Flavors: Amazing and Easy Pecan Apple Cake!

This easy and delicious pecan apple cake will make your house smell like all of the wonderful flavors of fall while it is baking! This is a favorite for my family, it never lasts more than two days! Even my super picky seven year old tries to eat it for breakfast!

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 60 minutes Total time: 75 minutes

Ingredients: 3 eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 cup coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups unbleached AP flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

4 apples, peeled and chopped (mix of Gala and Granny Smith works best)

1 cup chopped pecans

cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Spray a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash, peel, and chop apples, set aside.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  4. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Pour apples into the wet mixture, stir until well combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well.
  7. Fold the pecans into the batter mixture.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly throughout.
  9. Bake for about 60 minutes or until the center comes out clean.
  10. Serve topped with maple vanilla whipped cream, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: The pecans can be replaced with walnuts, or you can leave the nuts out all together. Coconut oil can be replaced with oil of your choice. The cake tastes great by itself or served with maple vanilla whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream on top!


Fall Flavors: Easy and Delicious Chicken and Dumplings!

This chicken and dumplings recipe is super easy to make, and it takes under an hour! It is delicious and full of great immune boosting ingredients to give your body the boost it needs to feel great!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Total time: 40 minutes Servings: 6-8

Ingredients: 2 chicken breasts (or 2 breasts from a premade rotisserie chicken, this is what I use)

2 32 oz chicken broth

2 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp butter, cold

1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, divided

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 garlic clove, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)

salt and pepper

1 cup milk

Instructions:

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a soup pot on the stove on high, bring to a boil.
  2. While the chicken broth is being brought to a boil: If using a premade rotisserie chicken, then shred the chicken breasts at this point. If using raw chicken, then cook the chicken breasts all the way through with a method of your choice, and shred.
  3. Add the chicken and garlic to the pot.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of turmeric in a large bowl.
  5. Cube the butter and use your hands to combine it with the flour mixture, until the mixture is a crumbly texture.
  6. Add the milk to the flour and butter mixture and combine well.
  7. Flour a clean counter top and flour a rolling pin.
  8. Place the dumpling dough on the well floured counter top, and roll out the dough into a square shape, about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick.
  9. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 1 inch squares.
  10. Put the dumplings back into the bowl and collect the extra flour on the table into the bowl.
  11. Place each dumpling one at a time into the pot, stirring in between.
  12. After all of the dumplings have been added to the pot, pour the remaining flour from the bowl into the pot, and add the rest of the turmeric, ginger, and salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Turn the stove on low and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
  14. Once all of the dumplings are a tan color and floating at the top of the pot, they are done cooking.
  15. Remove from heat and serve!

Recipe Notes: If using raw chicken in this recipe, make sure it is fully cooked and at 165 degrees before adding to the soup. You may leave out any of the seasonings in this recipe, and it will still work. This is great served with a side salad or garlic bread! And if you wish to save and reheat the next day, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

**Side Note: Turmeric and ginger are fantastic ingredients to add to any recipe when you are sick or just want an immune system boost!


Fall Flavors: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip “Muffin Top” Cookies, Fluffy, Soft, and so Easy!

These “muffin top” cookies get their name because they are soft, fluffy, and moist, just like the top of a muffin! They are full of delicious pumpkin flavor, and taste and smell just like all of the delicious spices of fall!

Prep time: 5 minutes Bake time: 15-20 minutes Total time: 20-25 minutes Servings: 30 cookies

Ingredients: 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla

2 cups AP flour (I use unbleached)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp milk

chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray cooking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, white and brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  3. Add egg to sugar mixture and combine well.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  5. Add milk to wet ingredients and combine.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and pecans and combine.
  8. Make 1- 1 1/2 inch dough balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared cooking sheets.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are light golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: Fresh pumpkin puree works just as well in this recipe, do not overbake these cookies or they will be tough. Any kind of chocolate chips work for this recipe, including white chocolate chips. Store these in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.


Fall Flavors: Wonderful Apple Crisp, Easy, Quick, and Delicious!

This apple crisp is the perfect addition to your evening meal or even a brunch! It is quick and easy to make in under an hour and SO delicious by itself or topped with ice cream!

Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 35 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 5-6 apples (mix of granny smith and gala for best results)

1/4 cup AP flour

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp butter, cold and cubed

1/4 cup lemon juice

Topping ingredients: 1 cup rolled oats (quick or old fashioned)

1/4 cup AP flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

caramel sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a 9 by 9 casserole dish with cooking oil or line with foil, set aside.
  2. Wash, peel, and cut apples into slices, then place in a large bowl.
  3. Pour lemon juice over prepared apple slices and mix.
  4. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cold butter to the bowl with the apple slices and mix until well combined.
  5. Pour the apple mixture in the prepared dish and spread evenly.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans, and mix.
  7. Add the melted butter and vanilla into topping mixture and combine until crumbly.
  8. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the apple mixture.
  9. Bake for about 35 minutes on 350 degrees, or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes and then drizzle with your favorite caramel sauce.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: You may replace all purpose flour with almond flour and white sugar with coconut sugar, and butter with coconut oil for a healthier option. It is delicious by itself, but also delicious topped with vanilla ice cream.