Monday, February 6, 2017

Roasted Kielbasa & Veggies

This recipe is more of a... general instruction. I saw the idea on pinterest, and then just did what I wanted for it. ;) None of this is precise-- use whatever veggies you want, and whatever seasonings you want! I love the combo of cauliflower and broccoli. I'm not a big cauliflower fan (except deep fried!), but I loved it here. Roasted is great!

This dish was enough for both my 4yo & my 2yo to announce "cauliflower is my favorite veggie!" And really, that should be enough of a reason for everyone to try something similar. ;)

This is definitely something I'll be making fairly often, with varying veggies! I'll probably leave out the kielbasa a lot, and use it purely as a side dish.

Remember, comments are loved! What's your kiddos and/or your favorite way to cook veggies?

Roasted Veggies & Kielbasa

  • 1 pound kielbasa or other similar sausage, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare a large baking pan with a silicon mat, or cooking spray.
  2. In a large saute pan,  cook the kielbasa over medium-high heat, turning frequently. When at the desired brownness, remove from heat.
  3. Spread kielbasa, broccoli, and cauliflower evenly throughout the baking pan. Sprinkle with Garlic Garlic and Seasoned Salt.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.

6 servings
45 minutes
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically

Source (for original): unknown

Tastefully Simple info: If you are interested in making a purchase, you can purchase through my page, or just search and select "Serena Lee" as your consultant. Obviously, if you are not local and already have a consultant.... purchase through them online, or contact them! Shop local, as always! Disclaimer: I am paid a small amount with each purchase, based on sales, made through myself as a consultant. You are helping to support my baking addiction, thank you! ;)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Strawberry Swiss Cake Roll

Let me preface this post by saying I'm not really a fancy kinda girl. (And now I have "Fancy" by Reba going in my head!) I'm a hillbilly, and quite happy about it. Once in a while though, I have the desire to try something that's fairly fancy. 

I've never made any "roll" before. No pumpkin roll, etc. However, I got silicon mats recently (some just before Christmas, and more for Christmas) and I thought that would make it easier, so.... I jumped out of my box. 

And whoa, was it worth it. This swiss cake roll is heavenly. You can use any freeze-dried berries or fruit, so you can change the flavor as desired. (I found strawberries at Aldi's, so that's what I went with.) Personally, I think that it could use more strawberry flavor, but that's a preference thing. 

I do think the use of silicon mats made this process much easier than without. If you don't have any, sub parchment paper in the pan and a clean towel for after the cake is done. 

Comments are loved! What's your favorite "fancy" dessert?

Printable Recipe
Strawberry Swiss Cake Roll

For the batter:
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup + ⅓ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup water
For the Filling:
  • ½ cup freeze dried strawberries, crushed finely
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the Ganache:
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the Topping, optional:
  • Redi-whip or cool whip
  • fresh strawberries, chopped

For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 10”x15” jelly roll pan with a silicon baking mat and grease heavily.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add in ½ cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks. Beat for 3 minutes, then add remaining ⅓ cup sugar and vanilla. Beat for 2 more minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Alternately add flour mix and the ⅓ cup water to a large bowl with the egg yolks. When thoroughly mixed, fold the batter into the egg whites a little at a time.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until toothpick come back clean and cake springs back when lightly touched.
  5. Meanwhile, coat a silicone baking mat with powdered sugar.
  6. When the cake is done, immediately invert it onto the mat. Remove the first silicone mat, and then roll up the cake starting at the narrow end. Let it cool completely.
For the Filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl using a whisk, beat heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove to a separate bowl.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in ¾ cup powdered sugar, strawberry powder, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Fold in whipped cream until combined.
  4. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the filling evenly over the entire surface and then roll the cake back up.
  5. Place cake roll on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
For the Ganache/Finishing:
  1. Heat the whipping cream in microwave for 45 seconds or until hot, then add the chocolate chips. Cover and let it sit for two minutes; stir until smooth. Let the ganache cool slightly before pouring and spreading over the cake.
  2. If desired, top with more redi-whip or cool whip and strawberries.
  3. Slice and serve. Store leftover cake in the fridge.

12 servings
5 ½ hours (start to finish)
Nutrition Facts

Source (for original): Spend With Pennies

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

So.... confession time. This loaf of bread did not even last one full day in my house. 

It's a quick bread, so smaller than a regular yeast bread, and that makes it okay... right? ;)

With things like this, it's hit or miss with my husband. He might love it, or he might not. He's not much of a sweet bread kinda guy. This, however, is clearly an exception. I think he and I did the most damage to it. The boys each had a few big pieces as their afternoon snack, so they definitely contributed too!

This is definitely a quick bread worth making. It was SO easy, and obviously a hit. (I had hoped to take some for a snack tomorrow to work.... that's clearly not happening.) 

I made some changes to the recipe to make it slightly healthier and more likely to be enjoyed by my family, but if you are looking to gain some pounds check out the original link at the bottom. This is not a low calorie food. ;) 

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite quick bread recipe?

Printable Recipe
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup cinnamon sugar mixture

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix applesauce, butter, and sugar until well combined. Stir in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and buttermilk. 
  3. Remove ½ cup prepared batter from bowl and place into a separate smaller bowl, then add cinnamon.
  4. Pour half of the prepared batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Spoon half of the cinnamon batter on top of the batter, then swirl with a butter knife. Pour remaining batter on top, then remaining cinnamon batter. Swirl again with butter knife. 
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool 10 minutes, then loosen edges and remove from pan. Carefully place on a plate or cutting board, and sprinkle all sides with cinnamon sugar mixture. (This step must be done while the bread is still warm!!)
  7. Slice into pieces and serve warm.

16 servings
1 ½ hours
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically


Source (for original): Lauren’s Latest

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Strawberry Cinnamon Muffins

I love strawberries. When strawberries are in season here in northern Michigan, we usually buy at least 2 flats... so over 20 pounds. At least. I make 3 or more batches of jam, we eat strawberries for days, and then I freeze whatever is left. Last year, Gabriel & I picked some vs doing the pre-pick, but I think this year I'll have to just buy some that are already picked. I'm due June 25th, so... picking probably isn't going to work out. I'm still hoping that making strawberry jam & freezing strawberries is going to be doable. If baby comes early, this might get interesting. ;) 

After starting to buy local, fresh strawberries a few years ago, I just can't buy them in the store anymore. They just aren't comparable! 

The best thing about getting so many and freezing them in the summer is having strawberries all winter! Then, when I stumble across a strawberry recipe... I don't have to use mediocre ones from the store. 

This recipe is fabulous! These muffins are perfectly sweet, and full of strawberries! My one complaint is that, using frozen strawberries, they seem to be a bit soggy. That didn't stop anyone else from devouring them, though! (Didn't stop me, either.) I always warn people if I'm slightly less than satisfied with the way a recipe is turning out, and everyone told me with this that they will gladly take my rejects. ;) 

If you use frozen strawberries, cut down slightly on the milk. If you use frozen sugared strawberries, the 1/4 cup sugar is not needed! (Unless you want it, in which case I won't judge.) 

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite summer strawberry recipe?

Printable Recipe
Strawberry Cinnamon Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar *cut out if using sugared strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk *cut down if using frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped into pieces
  • Cinnamon Sugar Filling/Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease or line a 15 cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, combine applesauce, egg, and milk. Add to the dry ingredients, and fold in strawberries.
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Reserve half and fold the other half into the batter. Fill each muffin cup with about ¼ cup of the batter. Top with remaining cinnamon sugar filling.
  4. Bake for 12-20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

15 muffins
45 minutes
Nutrition Facts

Source (for original): The Recipe Critic

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nutella Ribbon Pie

There are some things I've made, that I have old pictures for, that I apparently did not post. Some are intentional-- waiting to make again for a better picture, etc. Some are not intentional-- like this Nutella Ribbon Pie! I definitely thought I had already posted it... oops. Apparently I've been holding out on you guys. ;)

One of my friends showed me this recipe ages ago, but it was a video on facebook... in another language. So I had to come up with this on my own, based on the video! It's actually very easy, although it looks slightly complicated. Worth making!!

Essentially, this is thin layers of pie crust, layered with Nutella. Thin layers of flaky, delicious pie crust, smothered in Nutella. It's heaven.

I discovered that this wasn't on here the other day, when I made two--one for my family, one for me to take to work. (Just in case you were wondering just how awesome it is to work with me.) Of course I have to post it now! This is an old picture, however. I like to double it and make two, but I didn't have enough Nutella for that. (Scandalous, I know. Don't worry, I got more Nutella when I got groceries this weekend.) I knew I should take one to work in addition to the one for home, so I just made them both smaller. Thus, no picture.

This is something you definitely should make!

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite thing to do with Nutella?

Nutella Ribbon Pie


  • 1 ¼ Cups all-Purpose flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ Cup shortening
  • 4-5 Tablespoons cold water
  • ¾ cup Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper/silicon mat.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea size.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture, gently toss with a fork. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Form pastry into 5 balls. 
  4. Warm Nutella slightly in microwave for 20-30 seconds. DO NOT overheat, just enough to make it more spreadable.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, slightly flatten one pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a very thin circle. Using a medium sized bowl, cut out an even circle. Transfer to cookie sheet, then spread with a very thin layer of Nutella. Repeat for 4 layers of Nutella; top with final layer of pastry.
  6. Set a small glass on top of center of pie, then cut ½” strips out from center, making a sun. (Approximately 12-15 strips.) Remove cup. Do not separate strips from center. Twist each strip twice, then press end back down slightly to hold. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then very carefully remove to plate. Enjoy!
13 servings
45-50 minutes
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically

Source (for original): unknown

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup

I am, truthfully, not a big soup fan. I'll eat it, occasionally; but not a fan. For some reason, this one got my attention, so I thought it was worth a shot.

It is, most definitely, worth making! Nate was at work when I made it, so he hasn't had it yet, but it was a huge hit with the boys and I! I was lazy/in a hurry when I was putting it together, so I did not dice the potatoes very fine, but I just mashed them a bit in my bowl. The boys didn't seem to have a preference--they were eating the pieces until they saw me mashing it with my spoon, then they mashed theirs too. ;) I would recommend cutting the pieces smaller, but it did work this way if you don't have much time to prep.

Adrian absolutely loved it, and Gabriel announced that the spinach was the best part ever. ;) (We may not be perfect parents, but so far we are at least raising them to be less fussy than their mama was/is!!)

One tip/suggestion/comment-- this does not need to be a crock pot recipe! Next time, I am just going to try stove top, and see how that works! I would recommend simmering all ingredients but the spinach & whipping cream for maybe 20-30 minutes, then adding them for another 15-20. However, since I haven't done that yet, you should definitely watch your times!

Remember, comments are loved! What's your go-to soup recipe?

Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • ½ tablespoon Garlic Garlic, or 1 clove fresh, diced
  • ½ tablespoon Onion Onion, or 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 4 potatoes, diced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups spinach/kale (Original called for kale, but I usually have spinach on hand)
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Parmesan

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage. (If using fresh onion/garlic, add here and saute for a few additional minutes.)  Drain grease from skillet.
  2. In a large crockpot, place sausage, Garlic Garlic, Onion Onion, potatoes, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Add additional water to cover potatoes as needed. 
  3. Gently stir, then cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-4 hours. 
  4. Add spinach/kale and whipping cream, stir, then continue to cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve hot, with parmesan. 

8 servings
3-7 hours
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically


Source (for original): Homemade Hooplah

Tastefully Simple info: If you are interested in making a purchase, you can purchase through my page, or just search and select "Serena Lee" as your consultant. Obviously, if you are not local and already have a consultant.... purchase through them online, or contact them! Shop local, as always! Disclaimer: I am paid a small amount with each purchase, based on sales, made through myself as a consultant. You are helping to support my baking addiction, thank you! ;)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

So, if you follow me on facebook, you saw the teaser photo yesterday. I actually meant to take another photo last night, but the loaf that I originally meant to keep for us... was mostly gone. Between Nate, the boys, and I, we ate most of it in one afternoon. I'm eating the last couple pieces for breakfast. Doesn't look like we're sharing all of the other loaf now... oops.

Yes, it's really that good. 

This is actually my Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe, but it's almost like monkey bread. I got the idea from another blog, but I prefer my cinnamon swirl bread recipe, so I adapted it for that. Funny thing is that my cinnamon swirl bread never goes this fast. When it's in this form, it's SO easy to snack on. (So, tip: if you want it to last, but want the same flavor, do the swirl bread.) 

Warning: this is addictive. I'm sorry. This only makes one loaf, but I basically always recommend doubling it. 

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite cinnamon sugar goody?

Printable Recipe
Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. In small saucepan, warm milk and 1 tablespoon butter until butter is melted. Set aside until lukewarm. In small bowl, mix water and yeast until yeast is dissolved. In large bowl, add 2 tablespoon sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Pour in milk and butter. Mix until sugar and salt is dissolved. Stir in yeast and water. Mix in 2 ½ cups flour. Turn out onto floured board and knead in the remaining flour or until the dough is soft and smooth.
  2. Put dough in greased bowl and turn dough so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 60 minutes, or until double in size. Grease and flour a 9”x5” loaf pan.  Set that aside.
  3. Punch down the dough, and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to approximately 12”x20”. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter on top of the dough, then sprinkle remaining cinnamon & sugar on top. (Or however much you want... I don't measure.)
  4. Slice the dough into approximately 20 equal sized pieces. Layer them in the loaf pan like a flip book, with the cinnamon sides all facing the same direction. Place a clean towel over the pan and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or almost doubled in size. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  (BE CAREFUL. It is easy to under bake this, but it's just as easy to over bake. Keep a close eye on it around 40 minutes, and test the soft looking pieces slightly for doneness.)
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. If needed, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread, and invert onto a clean board. Using a clean plate, carefully invert so that it’s right side up. (This part's hard, and usually messy. I use my hands, to be honest, it's easier that way.)

1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 45 minutes
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
108/2 slices

Source (for original): idea and instructions: Joy the Baker, bread recipe: unknown, I've had it for years.