Archive for May 2015

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

May 28, 2015
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods, LLC. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Rotini pasta tossed in a ranch sauce along with chicken, cherry tomatoes, and bacon - the perfect side dish to your next picnic or BBQ!

I've always been a pasta salad fanatic. Potato salad, too. I know usually with the guys, the grilled meats are the hit, but in our family the girls tend to gravitate towards the salads! 

My mom has always made a KILLER potato salad, one that no one would even attempt to top or recreate. But I have to say over the years, we've tried various different versions of pasta salad and all were... meh. Boring, I suppose would be the word to describe them!

Just in our immediate family along, with our husbands and kids, we already have 11 people together pretty much every weekend during the summer. Dad usually grills burgers and hot dogs, and my mom, sister, and I are left with figuring out the rest of the spread that my mom usually lays out on her kitchen island. 

I can guarantee that this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad will become a HIT at our next weekend BBQ together! The bacon and the tomato really POP with flavor against the pasta and ranch sauce. And the chicken just takes it over the top. You really have to try this! 

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
  • 16 oz rotini pasta, cooked and cooled under running water
  • 8 slices Hormel BLACK LABEL Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 oz can Hormel Chunk Chicken, drained
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water. In a separate bowl, mix together bacon, mayo, ranch dressing mix, tomatoes, and chicken.
  2. Pour over pasta in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Keep refrigerated before serving.

I love using Hormel Chunk Chicken in recipes, it's just so easy and adds great-tasting protein to meals and side dishes. And of course Hormel Black Label Bacon is always exceptional quality, it comes in traditional bacon varieties, fully cooked bacon, thicken cut bacon, & Canadian bacon. Something for every recipe!

Be sure to check out the Hormel Foods website for more information on their products and their Easy Recipe Ideas site. You can also sign up for the Hormel Newsletter to be delivered directly to your email inbox! They also share tons of recipes on their social media Facebook and Pinterest pages as well.

Here are some more of my favorite picnic recipes:

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Mocha Cappuccino Cooler

May 27, 2015
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

A delicious way to use up the cold coffee in the pot! Blended with chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup, this is one of the best iced coffees I've ever had!
#SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

I finally did it.

You guys, seriously. I finally did it. I figured out a way to use up the last of the coffee left in the pot from the morning! Ok, ok maybe you DON'T have any coffee left in the pot from the morning - but we definitely do!

Ever since we've had the newer Keurig model that brews pots, we never drink the whole thing. Well I probably would drink the whole thing if I could actually finish one cup without it going cold. 

Now I KNOW most of you have that problem, too!

We have one more week left of school for Silas and I'm excited to get my mornings back! I'm definitely one of those moms who, in the beginning of the year, had him get all his homework and word practice done in the afternoon that he brought the assignment home. Now that it's the end of the year, I panic 20 minutes before he's out the door that we probably forgot to have him do something.

I think I need summer break just as much as he does!

Basically, what I'm saying is, DO NOT dump the rest of the coffee. Put it in the fridge for when the kids are eating their ice cream that night and whip this Mocha Cappuccino Cooler up for yourself. Yum!!

Mocha Cappuccino Cooler
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups Blue Bunny chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups cold coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • ice
  • whipped cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Place ice cream, coffee, and chocolate syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice in cups and pour drink over ice. Top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

I would call this drink a cross between an iced coffee and a frappe. It's SO good!

Blue Bunny ice cream is one of our favorite treats to have in the freezer when the temperature rises in the summer! The boys and I headed to Walmart this past Saturday and attended a Blue Bunny demo with yummy vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit. 

Notice the chubby hand about to grab MULTIPLE samples. These kids are ice cream crazy, I tell you!

It was the perfect way to get through our boring grocery shopping. They will be holding another demo in Walmart June 4-7 featuring Blue Bunny ice cream sandwiches and Wet Ones, a perfect combination if you ask me! Be sure to follow Blue Bunny on Pinterest and Facebook for more great ideas for summer!

Here are some more of my favorite drinks to cool you off this summer:

Mint Cookies N Cream Frappe

Strawberry Lemonade Slurpee

I'd love to hear your favorite ice cream flavor! Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Bacon & Kale Minestrone

May 26, 2015
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

This delicious soup is incredibly healthy and packed with flavor! Bacon, stewed tomatoes, white beans, garlic, kale, and cheddar - the perfect way to get some healthy veggies and protein into your family's diet!

You guys, I was so excited about this post. I LOVE that show Chopped on TV and my favorite cheese brand Sargento® is having a Chopped at Home contest - and I was asked to participate!

If you're not familiar with the show, contestants are given a basket filled with a few choice ingredients and they have to quickly come up with a delicious dish that incorporates all the ingredients. I'll admit, I had a bit of time to come up with my dish - but this was SO FUN. 

Wanna know what my Chopped at Home ingredients were? I thought so! 

Along with bacon, I had:

Oyster crackers.

Kale. (so pretty)

And Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar (a mixture of sharp Wisconsin cheddar, sharp Vermont cheddar, sharp New York cheddar, and mild California cheddar).

At first I was leaning towards a salad, but I settled on some kind of a soup because I LOVE oyster crackers piled on top. It's a little bit embarrassing how much I pile them on, ha! I honestly don't think I'd do well with the time constraints of the ordinary competition, though - I need time to get my creative juices flowing. And I have to say, I totally hit it out of the park, if I do say so myself!

This is a wonderful soup that is ready is under 30 minutes from stove to table. We love soup so much we eat it year round - no complaints here! It's a great way to get delicious nutrition to your family, and with all the great deals at farmer's markets lately you really can't go wrong!

Bacon & Kale Minestrone

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 15 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 15 oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 cup miniature penne or shell pasta
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar
  • 2 cups oyster crackers
Cooking Directions
  1. In a soup pot, saute chopped bacon over medium high heat until cooked through. Carefully add chicken broth (it WILL splatter at first!), chopped stewed tomatoes with juice, garlic, beans, cale, pasta, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen all the yummy bacon bits and drippings. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes or until pasta is done.
  3. Serve with a generous helping of cheddar and sprinkling of oyster crackers.

So fresh and delicious!!

You can get in on all the fun too... for a chance to win $10,000 courtesy of Sargento! Be sure to click here to enter and find out all the details on the Chopped at Home contest. And of course Sargento has TONS more recipe ideas on their Pinterest page, so be sure to follow along!

Here are some more of my favorite soup recipes:

Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

Green Enchilada Chicken Soup

Available in 30 versatile varieties, unique blends and distinct cuts, Sargento Shredded Cheese is always cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese. For more inspiration, check out the Sargento Pinterest page or visit for more information. The Chopped at Home Challenge gives viewers a chance to create their best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Red, White, & Blue Cupcakes

May 22, 2015
White cake mix and food coloring make these adorable and festive cupcakes. Topped with buttercream frosting and sliced blueberries and strawberries!

Last night we went to Silas' t-ball game dressed in long jeans, sneakers, long sleeve shirts, and hoodies over top. I'm sorry, did I completely sleep through summer and now it's fall again?! What in the heck happened??

Apparently it's supposed to be 90 degrees here on Memorial Day, but I'll believe it when I feel it. I'm actually hoping it does - my poor tomato plants need to get in the ground if I'm going to have any kind of a yield this year!

If it really is going to be that hot, I think we'll break out the kiddie pool and the sprinklers at my Mom's house to have the kids cool off. I picked up a few water balloon sling-shots at the dollar store the other day. THAT should be fun to watch. :D

If you're looking for an easy dessert to celebrate Memorial Day or the 4th of July, with little effort but BIG impact, these cupcakes are for you! It only takes a few extra minutes to color the batter. I'll tell you one thing - the strawberries and blueberries on top MAKE these awesome cupcakes pop with flavor. 

Red, White, & Blue Cupcakes

  • 15 oz box white cake mix (plus ingredients called for on box)
  • red food coloring
  • blue food coloring
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat white cake mix with ingredients called for on box. Place 1 1/3 cup batter into three separate bowls. In one bowl mix in 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring. In the second bowl, mix in 1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring. Leave the third bowl plain. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Layer each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon red batter, 1 tablespoon white batter, and 1 tablespoon blue batter. Bake at 350 for 14-19 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. For frosting, beat butter until smooth. Add in salt. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add 1-2 tablespoons milk to get a creamy consistency. Pipe or spread frosting on cupcakes and top with sliced strawberry and blueberries.

These cupcakes are just insanely good - and the kids LOVED the color inside when they took a bite!

Here are some more of my favorite Patriotic treats:

Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Torte

Patriotic Ice Cream Soda

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Buffalo Chicken Triscuit Bites

May 18, 2015
Buffalo chicken and blue cheese dressing topped with cheddar and served on Triscuit crackers - the perfect snack!

Buffalo Chicken Triscuit Bites

  • 1 can chicken in buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 Triscuit Original crackers
  • 3 teaspoons ranch or blue cheese dressing
  • 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small strips
Cooking Directions
  1. Even spread a generous amount of chicken on each Triscuit. Top each evenly with one teaspoon dressing and two strips of cheddar cheese. Serve immediately.

*Please note: one serving size is two Buffalo Chicken Triscuit Bites.*

Right now, buffalo chicken hot wings are IT for me! Not the super spicy kind, just the mild with ranch dressing on the side. It's actually pretty weird.

Mainly because, I don't like hot wings.

Yep you read that right! I don't know what it is, but each pregnancy I revive my temporary love for hot wings and it is glorious, people! Before I even knew I was pregnant with this third blessing, I made hot wings in the Crockpot twice and everyone looked at me slant-eyed.

We should have put the puzzle pieces together right then and there, ha!

Back when I was pregnant with Silas (my first) I had literally never had hot wings before, and yet I craved them! I remember making Paul run out late one night and picking us up some for dinner. That was pretty much the pregnancy from bliss. No morning sickness, no nausea AT ALL, no heartbearn... it was amazing.

Fast forward to Wesley and this bugger and MAN do I miss those days!

It's a good thing I created these little Buffalo Chicken Triscuit Bites - it's the perfect snack for the hot sauce flavor I'm craving all the time without overindulging! These little bites would be perfect for watching your favorite game or to put out as an appetizer for your next party.

Three of these bites are the perfect serving size for these awesome flavors!

I've always been a huge fan of Triscuit crackers, I love how many things you can put on them - usually for me it's just a slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Such an easy snack!

There are SO many other great snack ideas on Triscuit's Pinterest site! Head on over there to check them out. Be sure to also follow them on Instagram and Twitter for even more yummy-ness!

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

Triscuit believes in simple things coming together to create something more.  Whether it’s just three ingredients on a Triscuit or about life, we believe that you (and Triscuit) are “Made for More”.
Triscuit sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

Best Ever Chip Dip

May 14, 2015
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cape Cod® Potato Chips.

This simple chip dip takes 5 minutes to pull together, and is SO much better than those little packets - cheaper, too! Sour cream, mayo, and herbs... bring on the chips and veggies!

The boys and I hate it when Paul has to spend time away. Thankfully it's not that often at all, but I realize how much I rely on him for every day things when he's gone! Funny how that is... 

When it's time for the boys to clean up their millions of toys laying around the living room, I can ask and ask and ask... and they might clean up *some* of the mess. What is it though when Dad comes down and asks, they get it done?! I'm glad they listen to him, but it's SO frustrating for me! He's also the one who walks Silas to school most days so I can sit and enjoy my coffee while getting my morning blog work done. And of course, while I have to remind and nag and remind some more, he'll take out the trash and carry laundry baskets up and down the stairs for me. Baby #3 is getting bigger every day and I'm already having a hard time lifting!

One thing I can take a bit of a break on when he's away is menu planning. When it's just me and the boys, we do a lot of snacking around here. A LOT. Potato wedges, cucumbers and tomatoes with dressing, granola bars, and of course popcorn and chips and dip as a treat at the end of the night. Usually accompanied by a showing of Wreck It Ralph, Thomas and Friends, or Elf. Yes, we watch Elf year-round in this house, don't you?

This Best Ever Chip Dip is PERFECT to go along with a movie night for the family. No need to buy those expensive dip mix packets - I'll bet you have most, if not all, of these ingredients already in your pantry! And it tastes LOADS better than any tub dip you'd buy at the supermarket!

Best Ever Chip Dip

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together well. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with chips or cut up veggies.

I really like to grab smarter choices for snacking at home with the kids and I love Cape Cod®'s Reduced Fat Original Chips and Popcorn. 

They also have Sea Salt & Vinegar variety that I can't wait to try - my favorite! Cape Cod's tagline is, "Home of Ridiculously Good Chips" and I have to agree! I like that they use simple, all natural ingredients, are gluten free, and contain no preservatives as well. Be sure to follow Cape Cod on Facebook!

Here are some more of my favorite dip recipes:

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cape Cod® Potato Chips.