Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecans

I was in the mood for a nice fall dinner tonight and loved how it turned out. However, it was absolute chaos while making and eating it... I think at one point all three kids were crying at the same time. The worst is when you work really hard getting dinner made and then it doesn't even turn out. So, even though it was pretty crazy tonight, I was still pleasantly surprised that I didn't destroy it during the many interruptions. 

I never did get to take a picture of the whole meal finished. I found this AMAZING recipe for a Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onion from Inspired Taste. I will be making it again, and this dinner would be great for a Fall dinner party. The pork tenderloin is rubbed with dijon mustard and fresh thyme, served over sautéed apples and onion. It is full of flavor, and the pork tenderloin is so tender and delicious! I served it over a colorful multigrain rice, I like to buy the frozen bags of rice at Trader Joe's. They take three minutes to cook in the microwave and I never have to clean an extra pot. 
Along side the pork tenderloin I made this roasted butternut squash. It added beautiful color to the plate and the toasted pecans on top added a great flavor and texture. A bit of brown sugar created a sweet glaze that coated the squash. You can find the recipe for the squash below and follow the link above for the pork tenderloin recipe, you won't be disappointed!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecans


-1 butternut squash, cubed
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-Salt and Pepper
-1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel your butternut squash and slice it lengthwise down the center. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Cut the squash into 1/2" to 1" cubes. Place in a baking dish and toss with the olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the over for 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, place your pecans in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and chop. When the butternut squash is done remove from the oven and add pecans. Toss well to cover the squash and pecans with the glaze that was created from the brown sugar. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Decor

My boys get really excited for Halloween, so I have fun decorating the house with them. Hudson loves when we bring out the Halloween bin! Each year we add a few new items to it. I have found great Halloween decorations at the dollar store, Target, thrift stores, and some are homemade. You can find more details below.

I decorated the entry table with cobwebs, old books, white pumpkins, and some other Halloween decor we've collected over the the last year. The Happy Halloween banner I made with my sister using burlap, stencils, black paint, black ribbon, and a glue gun. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Banana Muffins

My boys love to bake with me and this is a recipe that we make together quite a bit. They love to mash the bananas, crack the eggs, and line the muffin tins with muffin liners. Sometimes we will even put dark chocolate chips in them, which makes them more like dessert than a snack or breakfast! I top them with oats and walnuts or you can find a yummy mascarpone cream frosting recipe here. The recipe comes from one of my favorites, Giada De Laurentiis. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Turkey and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Now that the weather is starting to cool off a bit, I am enjoying making some Fall and Winter meals again. This is a great dinner to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. It is also a dinner that I will often make for friends in need of a meal. Once it is prepped it is easy to transfer to bake. The recipe makes quite a bit, so if you won't be eating all of it in one night, I will often freeze the stuffing. When you are ready to use, let it thaw, stuff some peppers, and bake as directed below.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Organizing the Laundry Room on a Budget

I have been working to get different spaces of the our new house more organized this last month. We have plans to eventually add custom cabinets and a sink in the laundry room to the left of the washer and dryer, but for now I just needed to get the space functional. I spend way too much time in there for it to be a mess. I used some affordable organizers to help, you can find the details below. 

1. Wall Shelving: Creates a safe holding place for cleaning supplies, fabric softener, bleach, lint rollers, and more that is out of reach of little hands.

2. Mason Jar: Having a designated place for collecting items from pockets before going in the wash keeps those small items from piling up and cluttering the space. The jar can be emptied as it fills.

3. Iron Hanger: Keeping your ironing board in place and the iron and cord tucked away makes the space much tidier. 

4. Broom Holder: Holds mops, brooms, broom pans, and dusters in place. Keeps them from falling all over and also makes them much easier to grab when needed.

5. Glass Jars: I love the look of detergents stored in large glass jars. You can also get creative with creating a cute label for the jar. I used a vinyl chalkboard label. 

6. Small Basket or Tin: To hold fabric sheets.

7. Cabinet: Hidden storage is great for hiding away smaller items in the drawer and larger below. I store two laundry baskets stacked in the cabinet. Great for grabbing when I am unloading the dryer.

8. Hamper: It is nice to have a place to toss dirty clothes and rags, instead of on the floor.

9. Light: Letting in some natural light by opening blinds can really make the space feel cleaner and brighter.

10. Inspirational Verses or Quotes: There is something to having a bible verse or favorite quote written out and in front of you to read on a daily basis. Especially when it is in a space where you spend a lot of time. Decorate your walls with something that will encourage and inspire you throughout your day!

For those of you who are interested, I thought I would include a before and after picture of the laundry room when we bought the house to now. 

Even though we haven't finished the space exactly how we want it to has come a very long way! We completely demoed what was already in place, including some walls! Put up new drywall, flat textured walls, new paint, new windows, new lighting, and new flooring. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kids Command Center

Since moving into our new house, one of the things I knew I needed to create was a command center for the kids. My oldest thrives on a structured routine with lots of positive reinforcements. If I don't have a space to organize all of that it becomes much harder for me to create that kind of environment for him. We use this space for behavior charts, chores, a weekly calendar, other school calendars, the kids art work, and also a space for the boys to "cool off". The space it mostly used for Hudson, who is five, but as Max and Piper get older we can incorporate more for them as well. You can find more details about the space and how I created it below.