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Princess Bread

I’m sure you won’t be shocked to learn that my three year old daughter, E, loves pink and purple. Purple is her very favorite right now, because Sofia the First wears a purple dress, and E thinks Sofia hung the moon.

We incorporate pink & purple into her clothing, her accessories, her bedding, and even her food. Ice cream and suckers are chosen for what color they are, with no thought whatsoever given to flavor. We’ve even made purple waffles for breakfast before, and that gave me the idea to give another food the “princess” treatment – bread!

I call this Princess Bread because it incorporates pink & purple, and because my daughter will instantly love bread that sounds like it’s something Sofia would eat! This is a typical sandwich bread recipe, but you could put strawberry or grape preserves on it for added princess flair. And imagine how fun it’d be to surprise your child with this bread on her sandwich at lunch!

Here’s how to make Princess Bread with step-by-step pics – and the recipe itself will be shared below!

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Six Delicious Pancake Recipes With 5 Ingredients or Less

We eat a lot of pancakes in our house (largely because it’s something all three of my kids will actually eat!). Saturday morning pancake breakfasts are a tradition we’ve all come to love, and maybe your family is the same way. As much as we love our standard pancakes, though, it’d be nice to upgrade our breakfasts to something a little more special. And thanks to my friends over at FamilyFun magazine, I have six great pancake recipes to share with you – and none of them use more than 5 ingredients. Just take your standard dry pancake mix (our favorite is this Kerbey Lane buttermilk mix) and cook the pancakes as you normally would after you’ve added the extra ingredients listed for the recipe you choose.

Easy and delicious? Love it!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT-BUTTER CHIP

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • ? cup peanut-butter chips
  • Water

RED VELVET

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. red food coloring
  • water

Red Velvet Pancakes

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Super Soft Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maybe it’s because we just had Valentine’s Day, but when I was trying to think what we should make for Mini Chef Monday this week, chocolate was involved in every idea I had. Ultimately, though, I settled on super soft double chocolate chip cookies (try saying that five times fast) because they’re easy to pack in the kids’ lunches throughout the week – and they’re chock full of chocolate flavor.

They’re really easy to make, and E was eager to help as always. The batch we made creates 24 small cookies, but you can easily double this if you want more. I like this smaller batch, because it really doesn’t require much in the way of ingredients. You’re likely to have all of this on hand at any given time, so you can get your chocolate fix at a moment’s notice.

If you need an endorsement for how good these cookies are, they made two boys stop playing Minecraft to come over for a taste!

Kids-Chocolate-Cookies

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Homemade Pesto Ravioli

PestoRavioli-FrugalNovice

Ahh, ravioli. If you read my recent post about our basil fettuccine recipe, you know we love making pasta. That’s probably our favorite, but we like to venture out into trying other recipes, too. The fettuccine was originally shared on my old food blog, as was the ravioli I’m sharing with you here today.

My favorite ravioli has always been four cheese. I mean, combining cheese and pasta – two amazingly delicious things – is pretty much the pinnacle of flavor, right?

Well, we figured out a way to top that.

Pesto.

Yes, my friends, that’s right. Forget spooning pesto on top of the pasta.

That’s for amateurs.

We put the pesto right in the filling.

And it. is. fabulous.

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Homemade Basil Fettuccine Recipe

I’m a little giddy about this recipe because it combines three things I adore – basil, garlic, and pasta. Brian and I have made semolina pasta dough for years now, but hadn’t ever tried flavored pasta until 2014. It was a bit of an experiment, but it worked out beautifully and we now have an addition to our pasta repertoire that we’ll have made again and again.

I shared this recipe first on a food blog I ran for a while, but since most of my focus is on Frugal Novice, it only seemed fitting to share it here, too.

This basil & garlic fettuccine is flavorful – you don’t even really need more than a light butter sauce to go along with it – and the flecks of basil in the dough really make the pasta prettytoo.

As with so many recipes, homemade pasta was one of those things that seemed really overwhelming to me until we gave it a try. Several years ago our friends Kit and Peter came over one Saturday with their pasta machine, and we were immediately smitten with the process (and end result!) of making pasta from scratch. You know you’ve found kindred spirits when you have friends who want to spend the weekend cooking!

Making homemade pasta is something we really enjoy doing, and the kids love to help with it, too. We have a pasta machine we purchased and absolutely love. It’s hand-cranked and easy to set up wherever you’d like to use it – we just mount ours to the dining table – and it comes with an attachment that lets you cut the pasta, too. I would highly recommend buying one if you think you’ll make pasta more than a couple of times (you will, by the way – it’s addicting!).

Here’s what our pasta machine looks like – and you’ll also get a glimpse of our sweet yellow lab/golden retriever, Sally. She likes to hang around under the table when we make pasta because  she knows we’ll inevitably drop a piece here or there. Smart dog.

Pasta-Roller

Making pasta from scratch is really fun to do with friends, too – we make the dough ahead of time and then when friends come over we do the rolling and cutting with them. Fresh pasta cooks really quickly, so we’ll just have the sides, sauce (if we’re using any), and bread all taken care of ahead of time, and then once our group finishes the pasta we can get to cooking it – and eating it – almost immediately.

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DIY Macarons: A Step-by-Step Guide

Our kids are kind of obsessed with macarons right now, and to be honest, I am too. They hadn’t even heard of them until a recent episode of the Kids’ Baking Championship on Food Network, where the contestants had to come up with unique macaron flavors. We all watch the show together each week, and that episode had us all talking about what flavor combinations we thought would be best. Our 8 year old mentioned he’d never tried one, so we made it our mission to find a macaron bakery on an upcoming trip to Dallas.

Macaroons! Err…. macarons! Either way, delicious. #yum #macarons #chocolate #instafood

A photo posted by Christi (@frugalnovice) on

We discovered JOY Macarons, and had a field day picking among the many flavors they offered.

JoyMacarons

We bought half a dozen, started sampling, and then went back to buy a dozen more. We were hooked. In fact, while we were still in Dallas I ordered a silicone mat with a macaron template on Amazon so we could make our own macarons at home.

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Carrot Cake Cookies – Sneak in Veggies for Your Kids!

Hi everyone! It’s the first weekend in February, which seems unreal to me – 2016 is already off to a fast start! If you’re still looking for a fun Valentine’s cookie recipe, don’t miss my chocolate & sprinkle coated shortbread cookies I shared a couple of weeks ago. They’re perfect for kids’ parties!

Of course, with it being February I’m also thinking a lot about spring, and so this week for Mini Chef Monday I’m re-sharing a recipe that’s perfect for this time of year – plus it lets you sneak veggies in for your kiddos (my carrot-hating son even ate these cookies) – just don’t tell them what they’re called!

Carrot-Cake-Cookies-MCM

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Raspberry Lime Sorbet: Mini Chef Mondays

Hi all! If you saw my post last week, you know we’re already thinking about Valentine’s Day around here. This week’s recipe is another great sweet treat perfect for February 14 – and beyond. I’ve got to give credit for the idea to Brian – when I was brainstorming for this week’s post, he immediately thought raspberry sorbet would be perfect. I decided to add lime in to the mix because I think the two flavors are great together. And this raspberry lime sorbet just has four ingredients!

Sorbet is a perfect dessert to pair with a Valentine’s Day meal, which can often be heavy. It’s light and bright, and this combination of raspberry and lime is sure to wake up your taste buds!

Raspberry Lime Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions:

 

  1. Get out a large pot, and add your raspberries. Be sure you buy more than 4 cups if your little helper plans to eat a few a ton.
  2. Add the sugar, water, and lime juice, then stir.
  3. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the raspberries have softened a bit.
  4. Use your immersion blender to mix everything up until it’s a smooth liquid. If you don’t like seeds, you’ll want to run this mixture through a fine strainer, but we don’t mind them at all, so we keep them in.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled for about 10 minutes, pour it into your ice cream maker and let it run for about 45 minutes.
  6. Let the sorbet set up in the freezer for 3 hours or overnight, then serve!

Step-By-Step Photo Instructions:

Get your raspberries ready – and while I’m thinking of it, if you’ve got a little helper like I do, you might want to get a good step stool for the kitchen. We found ours at IKEA, but there are some on Amazon too that are nice. E loves being up at counter height to help out!

StandingStepstool

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Homemade Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce

Back when Brian and I were still newly married, making homemade soft pretzels was one of our first forays outside of our cooking comfort zone. We hadn’t really ever cooked with yeast before, and for some reason the idea of making pretzels from scratch seemed like it would be a challenge. A fun challenge, though – and we decided to go for it. We were successful on our first attempt, and pretty pleased with ourselves. The pretzels were really good! And then we didn’t make again them for another seven years. Crazy, right? Life just sometimes gets in the way of pretzel-making, friends. Then one day a few months back we were at Central Market – because when we visit Fort Worth, we have to stop at Central Market; it’s essential, y’all – and we bought a mix for making pretzels. The mix was decent, but we remembered how much better the pretzels were from scratch, so we got back in the kitchen just a couple of days later to make a homemade batch of pretzels. SO. MUCH. BETTER. The best part? It really is an easy process, albeit one with several steps. Once you make the dough (recipe below!) you’ll want to divide it into eight fairly even pieces. We’re slightly perfectionistic, apparently, and we like to get out our food scale to make it pretty accurate, but you can totally just eyeball it.

Pretzel_Dough

Then, as you can see above, we roll the dough out into a long rope, 24? long. We set out the tape measure to make sure we’re getting the dough to the right length, because you want an ample amount to work with for the twist and we like the pretzels to be fairly uniform. Continue Reading…

Wolfgang Puck’s Homemade Potato Chips and Blue Cheese Dip Recipe

Thanks to Wolfgang Puck for sharing this great recipe for y’all! This would be a perfect snack for a Super Bowl party, don’t you think? By the way, this and many more recipes can be found as video lessons presented by Wolfgang in his new cooking school, WolfgangPuckCookingSchool.com.

Wolfgang Puck’s Homemade Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dip

Serves 12

Making your own potato chips fresh at home will really impress your guests. It’s incredibly easy with a thermostat-controlled deep fryer. I find a mandoline is the fastest, easiest way to get uniform thin slices. A quickly made blue-cheese dip is the perfect accompaniment.

Ingredients:

Potato Chips:

  • 1 1/2 pounds baking (Idaho) potatoes
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • kosher salt

Blue Cheese Dip:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 pound blue cheese crumbled
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

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Roasted Garlic Stuffed Pasta Shells

Italian food has a special place in our family. Every Christmas we forego turkey and ham, and instead we make homemade pasta. It’s a tradition we love, and I hope one day the kids will cherish those memories of making pasta together, and of the sauce simmering on the stove all day.

We don’t just eat Italian food at the holidays, of course. It makes its way to our table at least once a week, because it’s something our entire family eats well. It’s a treat having a meal each week that we know our kids will eat well without complaint. Family meals around the dinner table are a vital part of our week, and  our kids know that our tradition at these meals is to have them each share the best part of their day and the worst. We get more insight into their days, and they get the opportunity to share, uninterrupted, with the family.

I’m always looking for new ideas to incorporate into our dinners beyond just pasta and sauce (which we do have on a regular basis, since the kids love it so much), and last night I tried a new recipe that was a big hit – roasted garlic stuffed pasta shells.

Ragu-Pasta-Shells-Finished

These are delicious and have a surprise burst of flavor with a hidden clove of roasted garlic. Your family – and guests – will love them! They’re easy, too – here’s how to make your own:

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Spicy Shredded Beef Quesadillas: Mini Chef Mondays

Happy 2016, everyone! I’m writing this on Sunday evening, and am not quite sure how our Monday will go – it’s the first Monday back after two weeks off of school for the kids, and it’s hard getting back into routine. We’re organized, at least, so hopefully we’ll get out the door on time, and with no tears from any of the 5 of us. :)

This week’s Mini Chef Monday recipe is one that uses leftovers, so it piggybacks off of the simplest Crock Pot recipe ever. We modified a Pioneer Woman recipe to make it even easier than Ree’s, and we think it’s pretty great.

Put about 1.5 pounds of stew meat in your Crock Pot, then follow that with a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a carton of beef stock. If the meat isn’t fully covered, add a little water, too. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8. Drain most of the liquid, pull out the peppers, and chop up the meat to serve on sandwiches, over grits, or however you like.

Our leftover recipe uses the meat and gives us spicy shredded beef quesadillas. These are SO good, and also nice and simple. You could dress them up with all sorts of things, of course, but we just have tortillas (buttered, because, um, butter), beef, shredded cheese, and caramelized onions (the sweetness really cuts the spiciness nicely). Cook these in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted and both tortillas are golden and crispy. Sooooo good! Here’s the process step by step:

Butter one side of two tortillas; we do this and then face the buttered sides together so then E can put all the toppings on them while they’re still on the plate rather than over the heat of the stove.

Quesadillas-SpreadingButter

E-Tortilla

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