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One of my contributions for this year’s Thanksgiving was my Grandma’s cinnamon rolls. I’ve only made them once before and was super excited to make them, but also a little unsure of everything since the one time I made them was about 4 years ago.

I made sure I had all my ingredients and was ready to start the dough. Once you have it all mixed and ready to go, you have to let it rise in a big bowl. Ideally, there is a sunny, warm place to put it. Unfortunately, that’s a bit difficult to find in Chicago at the end of November. I set it near one of the heating ducts in the kitchen and called it a day.
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Here’s the dough pretty much risen. It never rose as much as I remember it rising as a child. Maybe my bowl was bigger than grandma’s? Maybe it’s the lack of heat/sunlight? Either way, you let it rise once, poke it down, let it rise again and then you roll in cinnamon and sugar and tie into knots. I didn’t take pictures of this because my hands were all gooey.
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Once you have your dough coated in goodness, tied in knots and put in their baking dishes, you let them rise until they’re double in size. (Lots of rising and waiting involved in this recipe.) Once they’ve risen this third and final time (which is what you see here), you pop them in the over for a few minutes and…
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Viola! Warm, gooey, sticky goodness.
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Here’s one of the pans of the finished product. This recipe made at least 50 cinnamon rolls on Wednesday and they were all gone by Saturday morning. So much work involved, but I kind of can’t wait to make them again soon. So worth the work…and waiting…and rising.
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A couple weeks ago I went on a mission to find some new, healthy recipes on Pinterest and I stumbled across this Pork Tenderloin recipe that combines a bunch of things I really like, so I figured I’d give it a try and I am SO happy I did. It was so easy and so so so good!

I was looking for a crock pot recipe that I could effectively set and forget. I found the recipe here and I actually forgot to take an after picture because it was so good.

Here’s the before picture. I love that you can see all the fresh rosemary I used. First time I’ve used rosemary from my plant!
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I definitely suggest checking this out if you’re looking for a healthy, easy, super yummy new dinner recipe!

A few years ago, I decided to try to break out of my rut of cooking the same few dishes all the time – just to switch things up – and find more recipes to include in our dinner menu options. I think we were pretty successful – we now make anything from Pasta with sausage and veggies in it with garlic bread to Chicken Chili Rellenos to Chili to Honey Glazed Chicken Stir Fry.

Earlier this year, I was trying to think of more things I enjoy eating that we might want to add to our repertoire and I thought of things like Jambalaya, Risotto & Paella (are you picking up on the rice theme?). I looked up some recipes on Pinterest and came across this recipe for Mushroom Risotto that looked sooooo good!

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I was a little worried about how laborious the process of making risotto would be, but it really wasn’t hard – you just have to pay it constant attention. I snapped a few pics along the way of cooking my mushrooms and my Arborio rice (lots of white wine and lots of stirring) and then the process of putting it all together.

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Doesn’t it look yummy?! Honestly, it was surprisingly easy.

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I was a little worried about this when I set out to make it because I really wasn’t sure how the hubs would receive mushrooms or risotto. I think he was a bit iffy, but once he took a bite, it was all over. We didn’t even have left overs for lunch the next day – he ate it all! This is definitely something we will make again.

What’s your favorite dinner recipe to make? Send it my way!

For Mother’s Day, the hubs and I took a trip down to Houston to visit my parents and while we were there, we stopped by my parents’ neighborhood party one afternoon. My mom had these black bean burgers that she said I just had to try, so I did. Holy cow were they good. So, what did I do? I came home and bought them immediately, but rather than eat them as an actual burger, which I do rarely, I was inspired by my old roommate. She would make veggie burgers at night for dinner and put them on a salad or eat them with something else. I decided this black bean burger would make for a ridiculously good breakfast.

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Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was totally right. Here’s what I’ve been eating for breakfast on the weekends since we went to Houston. It’s SUPER easy. You just need:

Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers
Eggs
Trader Joe’s Original Salsa (my favorite salsa)

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I just prepare the burger in a frying pan as it directs on the box, then in the same pan, with the burger set aside, I make myself some fluffy scrambled eggs. I’m sure it would be good with an over easy egg too. Then I pour on as much salsa as looks good. It’s really quick and easy to make and makes for SUCH a good breakfast! Try it out, you’ll like it, really.

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What’s your favorite homemade breakfast?

For the last three years, I have made Thanksgiving dinner and this year, for the first time, I spent it at my in-laws house. It felt weird not contributing, so I asked what I could bring/help with. It was decided that I would bring a pumpkin pie, but then I got the itch to make this delicious cranberry cake that my aunt makes, so I made that too.

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Really, this is just a cake pan full of butter and sugar. I was shocked when I made it (this was the first time). Because of that, it is, of course, super yummy! And I think the secret ingredient is almond extract. It just adds a little something that you don’t get from vanilla. So, here’s the cake, the homemade cream cheese frosting, and the cake all put together and cut.

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Here’s the finished pumpkin pie. I attempted to make a pumpkin for the middle of the cake with a little of the left over crust. Looks more like an apple, huh? Tasted good though!

On Friday, I actually ended up making our own little personal Thanksgiving meal so we could have the leftovers at home to eat throughout the weekend. My MIL sent us home with some turkey and sweet potatoes on Thursday, but Thursday night before we went to bed, the hubs had already devoured the turkey. It worked out well and we had leftovers to eat all weekend. Now the countdown is on until Christmas!

Last weekend was our first weekend in our new apartment and after spending all day Saturday unpacking miscellaneous boxes, I really had the urge to make Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I’m not sure what it was.  Maybe it was that my mom used to make them, seemingly, every Sunday, so they make it feel like home.  Maybe it was just that I wanted the smell of something homemade in the apartment.  Either way, while the hubs spent hours playing video games, I ran to the store and got all the goods I needed to make cookies.  I might have eaten a little dough in the process too!

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I’m not really sure where this recipe came from.  My mom has been making it as long as I can remember and it’s really, really good.  Give it a go.  Let me know what you think!

Put 2 sticks of butter in a mixing bowl and let them soften.
Add 1 cup of crisco (they sell 1 cup packages in sets of 3).
Mix.
Add 1.5 cups brown sugar, 1.5 cups white sugar, 1 Tbsp vanilla.
Mix until smooth.
Add 4 eggs, mixing after each.
Add 1.25 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp salt.
Mix.
Add 4.5 cups of flour mixing after each cup. I usually mix by hand after 4 cups because my mixer just can’t handle the thickness. You can add a little extra flour if needed.
Fold in 1 bag of chocolate chips or M&Ms.
Add nuts as desired.
Bake at 350 for about 11-12 minutes.
(Makes a ton!)

A year or two ago, I got on a new recipe cooking kick and tried out a Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup that was really, really good.  I don’t normally eat soup in the summer, I generally just prefer a salad or burger, but I have been craving this soup lately, so I decided to make it for dinner this weekend.  So good!  You should definitely give it a try and let me know what you think!  Plus, bonus: it’s a slow cooker recipe!  You can prepare it all at night, turn it on in the morning when you leave for work and when you come home, Voila! Dinner!

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Ingredients
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 can black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

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  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, black beans and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

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AllRecipes says this is only 262 calories per serving.  I sprinkle some shredded cheese, add a dollop of sour cream, and slice some avocado in mine, so I’m sure it’s closer to 400 calories, which for dinner isn’t so bad!