Archive for August 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Frosting

August 31, 2014
Amazing homemade yeast cinnamon rolls with pumpkin and topped with stove top salted caramel frosting - the perfect fall twist to a classic breakfast and brunch favorite!




I have been, and always will be, a pumpkin fanatic. By that I mean I could eat the stuff year round. Usually when cans of pumpkin go on sale sometime in the fall, I majorly stock up. I think last year I had something like 12 cans at least on my pantry shelves that I keep in the basement.

I opened up the very last can of pumpkin this past weekend to make these babies - and OH MAN was I not disappointed!

Honestly, I knew immediately I wanted to share them with you ASAP. But in reality - school literally just started, we're at the very beginning of September, and while I could consume loads of pumpkin desserts year-round, I wasn't so sure you were ready yet! 

My solution? A good old fashioned Facebook poll. Ok, well maybe Facebook polls around exactly old fashioned, but nevertheless it worked! I asked out of the three amazing recipes I have to share with you this week, which one would you like to see first? You're looking at it now! But don't worry those of you that voted for the other recipes, stick around this week - you WON'T be disappointed!





These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the fall season. If you've never made anything with yeast before, it's really not all that hard - I'm definitely not an expert, but if you have questions please ask in the comments below. Whatever you do, do NOT skip the salted caramel frosting - it's simply amazing!


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

For the cinnamon rolls:

3 1/4 cups flour, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 oz package) active dry yeast
1/2 cup pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the salted caramel frosting:

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar


In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast, set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together pumpkin, milk, sugar, salt, and two tablespoons butter. Heat on medium low heat, being careful not to boil, until very warm (about 120-130 degrees) - the butter will be almost melted and should be very hot, but not burning, to the touch. Pour pumpkin mixture along with the beaten egg over the flour in the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until mixture is wet. Gradually add remaining 1 3/4 cup flour while mixer is on medium speed. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour if needed, the dough should be pulling away from the sides and the bowl should be almost clean. Keep the mixer on medium speed and knead for 8 minutes. Turn dough out into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour or until doubled. Punch dough down and roll out onto a floured surface into a large rectangle, about 12 x 10 inches. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and spread over dough, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up starting with the long side as tightly as possible and slice into 12 slices. Place slices cut side down in a 9 x 13 baking pan and allow to rise 30 minutes, covered. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, cool completely. For frosting, melt butter over medium low heat. Stir in brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Continue to cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioner's sugar. Drizzle over rolls. From Taste of Home.





Ok, ok, I know that seems like a BOAT LOAD of instructions - but really I just wanted to be as specific as possible. These babies are delicious, addicting, and worth every bit of effort I'm telling you!! Seriously, one of these rolls warmed with a hot cup of coffee enjoying a chilly fall morning. Perfection!


Here are some more of my favorite fall recipes:


Autumn Cheesecake Dip




Sugar Free Honey Clove Applesauce




Pumpkin Apple Butter




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Healthy Cheeseburger Vegetable Soup

August 28, 2014
This hearty and healthy soup combines the goodness of squash and carrots with the yumminess of cheese and beef - your family will love this one!





Well, it's official for us, summer time is over! Silas and Paul are both back to school. Silas started Kindergarten on Monday and Paul began he first official classes of seminary. Add in to that pre-school library story time for Wesley and soccer practice twice each week for Silas, plus a myriad of other things... in a matter of 24 hours we are catapulted into a world of carpooling, Google calendars, and booked weekends. 

No wonder I found myself in Walmart for the the third time this week today. :/

We had our best summer yet and while I'm sad to see it go, I'm so excited for the fall. It truly is my favorite season. The colors, the flavors, the cooler weather. I'm seriously looking forward to sitting in my camp chair on the sidelines with my cup of coffee watching Silas play soccer. And of course you guys know me, I'm in love with all things pumpkin and apple! Get ready people, because they're coming your way, too!





I can't say that I'm looking forward to warm soups, because I'm not kidding - we eat soup year round! My boys are huge soup lovers and I love making it for them because most soups are so much healthier than other dinner options. This Healthy Cheeseburger Vegetable Soup totally fits into that category! It's hearty, filling, and just cheesy enough to mask the veggie goodness hidden inside. The shredded carrots give the illusion that there's more cheese in there, but packs on tons of flavor. Your family will go crazy for this one!


Healthy Cheeseburger Vegetable Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced small
2 large yellow squash, halved length-wise and then sliced
1 cup shredded carrots 
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt & pepper to taste

Brown ground beef in a large stockpot and drain leaving some of the grease still in the pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add in squash, carrots, tomatoes, beef broth, water, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Add in whipping cream and one cup cheese. Simmer for an additional 1 hour. Serve with additional shredded cheese sprinkled on top and salt and pepper to taste.
*adapted from Grassfed Mama
I can just imagine it now. Sitting in my camp chair on a cool fall evening, watching Silas kick the ball around the soccer field, with my hot coffee in my hand. A batch of this soup ready to reheat up when we get home from practice. Love it - can't wait!


Here are some more of my favorite soups:


Green Enchilada Chicken Soup




Tomato Pumpkin Bisque




Crockpot Loaded Baked Potato Soup




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Show & Share Wednesday #93

August 27, 2014


Hello everyone! Well I made it, Silas' first day of Kindergarten was Monday, and I made it through with just a couple of misty eyes. My baby is growing up and I can't deny it anymore! 




I'm so excited though for him to experience new things and meet new friends. It's going to take me a while to get used to not seeing him every morning, though!


Let's take a look at the features from last week's party:

Chocolate Peanut Butter - The Paper Heart Studio







Cafe Rio Chicken - I Thee Cook







Buttermilk Biscuits - 3 Little Greenwoods







Simple No Bake Fruit Tart - A Dash of Sanity







Show & Share link party rules:

  • Link up your newest recipe, diy project, kid activity, anything you are proud of and want to share. Please, no more than THREE links per blog.
  • While I love Etsy shops and giveaways, they are not in the spirit of this party.
  • I reserve the right to remove any link that is not family friendly.
  • Grab a button below to display on your post or provide a text link back either in the post or on your link party page.
  • Some link-ups will be featured on Mostly Homemade Mom's Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you follow both. Check back next week to see who gets featured!



Grab button for Semi Homemade Mom



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Sugar Free Honey Clove Applesauce

August 26, 2014
This applesauce simmers on the stove top with clove and cinnamon and sweetened only with honey. The perfect sugar free alternative to the store-bought stuff!




What is it about applesauce? Little boys and husbands love the stuff. I'm not even kidding. When we're at a restaurant and you get to pick two sides, more often than not, Paul asks for applesauce as one of his. I mean come on, applesauce instead of sweet potato fries? Garlic steamed green beans? 

I don't know, he's weird.

I'm traumatized by store-bought applesauce though, I think. A few times as a kid I remember my mom trying to mix in whatever medicine I needed to take in with applesauce. Of course I could tell right away. This was probably her last resort because I remember simply refusing to take anything that wasn't "bubblegum" medicine. Because for children of the 80's there were two different types of medicine that existed: bubblegum medicine and non bubblegum medicine.

Which pretty much shut out anything in pill form - forget that business. I tasted Silas' children's Tylenol and let me tell you - kids today have it EASY! Really, it's like drinking candy. Every little bump and bruise he's begging me to take medicine.

And then there's my poor mom sprinkling this awful medicine in my applesauce. I was a real joy, can you tell?

The applesauce from a jar always makes me remember that wondrous time in my life. Have you made stove top applesauce though? Oh my word, you have to! This one is sugar free and would make for an amazing ice cream topping, that's how good it is! Plus you know exactly the ingredients your kids are getting in this - what a great lunchbox snack.


Sugar Free Honey Clove Applesauce

4 medium sized apples
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole clove
2 tablespoons - 1/4 cup honey (to taste)


Peel, core, and slice apples and place in a saucepan along with the water. Heat over medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes until apple pieces are soft and are falling apart in the pan. Turn off the heat and transfer apples to a heat-safe bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until your desired consistency (the chunkier the better for me, but the boys like it really smooth). Return the apples to the saucepan and add cinnamon, clove, and 2 tablespoons of honey. 



Taste (be careful, it's hot!) and add up to an additional 2 tablespoons depending on how tart or sweet your apples were. Cook over medium heat again for another 5 - 10 minutes or until applesauce has thickened. Remove clove. Serve warm, or cool and store in the refrigerator.





I'll probably double or triple the next batch I make and then freeze small portions for lunches and snacks - yum!


Here are some more of my favorite apple recipes:


Apple Peanut Butter Cookies




Pastor's Wife Apple Crumb Pie




Cake Mix Caramel Apple Cake




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Graze Snack Box Review & Free Promo Code!

August 25, 2014
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graze.com for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I absolutely love trying new fun and exciting foodie products from time to time. Mostly, I love to incorporate my favorite products and shortcuts into recipes that I share with you all. I just tried a snacking service called Graze and I really can't wait to tell you about my yummy experience!



The amazing geniuses behind Graze.com will send yummy snack boxes to your doorstep, weekly or bi-monthly, according to your likes and dislikes as well as any food allergies you may have. They sent me a box to try for myself in my mailbox (no signing necessary), and oh my word, I was seriously blown away by the unique combinations in my snack box - not to mention the super cute box itself. It was totally Christmas for a foodie right in my mailbox!




The instant I opened the box and saw the Salt & Vinegar nuts section, I dove right in! I used to eat salt and vinegar chips constantly in high school. These nuts were my absolute favorite snack in this box, they were SO good! The Chocolate Orange Flapjack was really yummy too, I loved the combination of orange and chocolate.




They also included Texas Corn Salsa snack mix, which was probably my second favorite. Honestly, that is saying something because I typically don't like things that are too spicy, and this one had a kick to it, but the flavor was awesome! The last one in my box was the Cheese & Chive Oatbakes with Caramelized Onion Marmalade - it was interesting, but probably my least favorite from the box.




After I was done sampling my yummy snacks, I logged on to Graze.com to order my next box - I was amazed at the variety of choices available on the site. They have over 90 unique snack creations to choose from. You can rate your favorites, the ones you didn't like, and any that you'd like to try. It was addicting rating the various snacks on the site - really fun! They actually even have an in-house nutritionist to ensure each snack is either an ample source of protein or contains essential vitamins and nutrients. And honestly? The choices just sound incredible to me!

Wouldn't you like to try a Graze snack box? They are offering a special promotion where you can get your First Box Free! Just use promo code SUMMERBOX13 when you log onto the site. Which snack are you most looking forward to trying?


Here are some of my favorite snack ideas right here on Mostly Homemade Mom:
















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Veggie Loaded Chicken Cacciatore Bake

August 23, 2014
Seared chicken over diced tomatoes and sauce, topped green peppers, mushrooms, and garlic for this incredible weeknight casserole bake!



Ok everyone, this one here's not pretty. Ha! I'm keeping it real today here on Mostly Homemade Mom. I like things that are neat, pretty, clean, uncluttered. In fact, around my house, too many knick knacks bug the crapola out of me! When we moved to our new house in April, I only put out a few of the pictures and decor that I really loved and the rest stayed in boxes in the basement.

One long basket above the entertainment center with some greens. My wedding box, our photo books, and two decorative flower pots on the book case (oh and books). Just a simple white basket serving tray and a ceramic vase with some fake flowers on the coffee table.

And you know what?

I love it that way! It actually gave me a while to rethink the style I was going for and what colors and patterns I really like. Although, sometimes it takes me a REALLY long to time figure that out, haha!



Now this casserole? It's not any of those things. Messy. Cluttered. Sloppy. You name it. I'm sharing it with you anyway because it's THAT GOOD! Don't like mushrooms? Keep them out. Have one lone zucchini hanging out in your fridge? Slice it up and throw it in! I love how versatile and affordable this meal is!


Veggie Loaded Chicken Cacciatore Bake

4-6 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
4 bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained


In a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Pat chicken dry and place in pot to sear in juices (they will finish cooking in the oven). Turn after 3-4 minutes or until browned. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Add onion to stock pot and cook until translucent, stirring up the chicken bits with the onion at the bottom. Add in the peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to get soft. In the mean time, pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place chicken pieces on top. Spread vegetables over the chicken. Cover with foil, and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, or until chicken is done. Allow casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving.





I chose not to serve this with pasta or rice for dinner, but for leftovers I combined the rest of the sauce with 2 cups of brown rice and it was awesome! I was able to get dinner and about 3 lunches out of this casserole - score!


Here are some more of my favorite casseroles:


Homemade Cheesy Beef-A-Roni




Creamy Ham & Noodle Casserole




Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole




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Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

August 21, 2014
Classic peanut butter cookies get an apple twist! Perfect for the lunch box or to dip in your morning coffee!





Apples dipped in peanut butter. Whoever thought of that combination was a genius right there! Apples have the right flavor and are sturdy enough to dip into thick peanut butter. Such a great snack!

I remember a while ago, I was in the supermarket with Silas and in the produce section near the bagged salad, they had these snack packs for $1. One kind was sliced apples and a small container of caramel, and the other was sliced apples and a small container of peanut butter. Silas BEGGED me to get him one, and as opposed to something sugary at the register, I gave in and got both him and Wesley one.

Well, when we got home you would have thought I had prepared the most delicious dessert for them - they were raving about the apples and peanut butter. It finally dawned on me: this food blogger mom and NEVER given these boys apple slices with peanut butter to dip! Mommy fail, am I right?! 





Needless to say ever since then, most days alongside their sandwich for lunch, they'll have apple slices and a big mound of peanut butter. Sometimes, Wesley doesn't even touch his sandwich and just levels the apples - I'm ok with that!! 

These cookies though? Apples and peanut butter in cookie form, I'm telling you! They're really simple to make and the little apple chunks keep the cookies semi-moist. Your kids will love finding these in their lunch box and you will love dipping them in your coffee while they're at school, haha!


Apple Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup diced apple 


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add in egg and vanilla extract and beat well. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to stand mixer while it's turned on low speed. Stir in diced apple. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a criss-cross pattern on the tops with a fork, if desired, and bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes. Cook on wire racks and store in an airtight container. *Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.





These cookies were pretty much leveled by our family and our neighbor's family in just about one afternoon! Such a great way to welcome fall and apple season, too!


Here are some more of my favorite apple treats:


Cake Mix Caramel Apple Cake




Autumn Cheesecake Dip




Caramel Apple Shortcake




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