The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

With each week that passes, baby day [May 10, not that babies are punctual] comes a little bit closer! Exciting, and a little bit scary. Ben and I have been busy getting Baby Volde’s nursery ready… at least in our heads–and on Pinterest. :) [And to clear up any questions… our nickname for our baby boy has been “Volde,” as in Voldemort, since Ben loves Harry Potter and there’s no chance in the world I would ever agree to a Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/video games/insert other pop culture icon name. So that’s baby’s nickname for now… and will probably be how I refer to him on the blog too. :)] But back to the nursery, and our lack of actual preparation in getting the nursery ready, save the purchase of a crib and the cleaning out of a dresser. Baby steps, right? In my mind, preparation=decoration, especially for a baby. So that’s why I was so excited to hear from my friends at UncommonGoods. They emailed me to share their new Valentine’s Day collection, available here, as well as some fun Host and Hostess gifts that you can see here. You may be wondering what Valentine’s Day has to do with a nursery for a baby boy… and the answer is: everything!

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Well, maybe not everything, but everything uncommon. :) Ben and I haven’t ever been huge Valentine’s gift givers so it was a treat to have UncommonGoods offer to send me a Valentine’s Day gift! Awww! I was so pleasantly surprised by their generosity. I shouldn’t be, because this Brooklyn-based company is the epitome of generous. Aside from a crazy-great Better to Give program that has donated over one million dollars since 2001, they share their generosity with their employees and suppliers. Their lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage, and they strive to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. Most products are made in the USA, and many are made by hand and/or with recycled/upcycled materials. What a great company! Psstt… UncommonGoods wants to be YOUR valentine too! They’re offering a $150 gift certificate as part of our #FreshTastyValentines giveaway, ending today, so be sure to enter now!

Though I was impressed by so much in their Valentine’s Day collections, as well as their Kitchen and Bar collection, like this Personalized Cutting Board [how fun!], my eye was immediately drawn to the Kids portion of their website. What better Valentine for a new mama-t0-be than gifts for her baby? :)

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Ben and I knew from the beginning that we wanted the nursery to be decorated in some sort of animal theme, but the question was: what types of animals? Safari, farm, woodland…? When I saw this Fox Clock, I knew we had to go with a woodland animal theme. I mean, how cute is this clock?!? So now, thanks in part to UncommonGoods, we know our nursery will be filled with cute ‘lil woodland critters like foxes, raccoons, rabbits, owls, and wolves. Awww! I can’t wait to show you the finished product. And I’d like to see it myself. Ha!

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Once the baby arrives to fill that woodland nursery, we will be keeping track of all the key moments in this baby book! If you’re on the market for a unique baby book, this Baby Journal fits the bill! It has space for anything you want to document about your baby’s first year of life… and the illustrations are darling. :) It also has spaces for friends and family to contribute, so it’ll be fun to pull out at my baby shower for people to write in.

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Despite all the fun that has gone into crafting this nursery for our new arrival, I couldn’t let the chance pass by to surprise my #1 Valentine with this gorgeous State Slate Cheeseboard! This Ohio guy can’t wait to break it with some fun appetizers. :) No matter your needs for Valentine’s Day, a baby’s nursery, or that special someone’s birthday, UncommonGoods has great well-made gifts and a wonderful approach to doing business so I hope you can check them out sometime soon! I already have some gifts in mind to give in the future! :)

Though this is the last day of #FreshTastyValentines, you can still find some great recipes today at the link below!

Find UncommonGoods

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from UncommonGoods for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to UncommonGoods for their sponsorship of this event!

Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples #FreshTastyValentines

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! 

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

Apples and peanut butter go SO well together. I started typing just a minute ago about how they were a great childhood snack, blah blah blah–then erased it because I realized I eat apples and peanut butter as a snack or add on to a meal several times per week. And I am most certainly not a child! :) When I found out that Envy Apples was one of our sponsors for #FreshTastyValentines, my first thought was: I don’t want to BAKE with a new variety of apples. I want to eat them by themselves, dipped in peanut butter. But a blog post about that would be pretty boring. So I went with the next best option: pancakes.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

If you  know me, you know I’m a breakfast girl. And pancakes are my breakfast food of choice. Homemade or at a restaurant–it doesn’t matter… and I must say, sharing a pancake recipe today is especially fitting because February 5, 2016 is the eight year anniversary of our first date: breakfast at Bob Evans, where we both ordered cinnamon pancakes [Ben copied me because he was too nervous to figure anything else out to order! What a guy! :)]. I’ve already made several versions of apple pancakes before–but then, yesterday, I had the genius idea to play up the apple PEANUT BUTTER element. And voilà–these pancakes were born.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

They’re not just your average pancakes–these babies are thick, hearty, and filling. Adding peanut butter to whole wheat pancakes will do that to ya, and stirring in some protein-rich Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts [also another fabulous #FreshTastyValentines sponsor] makes them even better! These pancakes have the perfect blend of sweetness and nuttiness. I topped mine with some easy sautéed cinnamon apples and maple syrup, and oh man… what a breakfast! I used a combination of Envy apples and Gala apples in my apple topping [since Envy apples are a Gala-Braeburn hybrid, and I wanted to save one to try on its own]. If you can find Envy apples in your grocery store, snap them up quickly because they’re great–so crisp and sweet. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win great prizes–including Envy Apples and Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts! :) Happy Friday! And make these pancakes part of your weekend!

one year ago: Potato Rosemary Knots
two years ago: Lindsay’s Chicken Noodle Soup
three years ago: 60 Minute Sandwich Buns

four years ago: Loaded Sweet Potato Fries 
five years ago: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

pancakes adapted from my Go-To Pancakes

Ingredients:

for pancakes

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter [I used a honey roasted peanut butter], melted in the microwave for 15 seconds if too thick to stir
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple [I used Envy Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • butter or canola oil, for cooking
  • maple syrup, for serving

for Sautéed Cinnamon Apples  

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 medium apples, thinly sliced [I used Envy Apples and Gala Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, hemp seeds, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and fold together gently to incorporate. Stir in apples until just combined. Batter may be lumpy. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.

While batter is resting, heat griddle over medium heat for cooking pancakes.

In a separate 10 inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When melted, add apples and top with cinnamon, vanilla, and water. Stir to combine, then cook over medium heat, uncovered, until liquid starts to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and get slightly caramelized and juices thicken. Then reduce heat to low to keep warm while pancakes cook.

Pour batter onto hot skillet in 1/4 cup increments. Cook for two to three minutes on the first side until bubbles form, then flip and cook on other side until golden brown. Batter makes about 14 pancakes.

Serve pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples and maple syrup.

Notes:

You can use all-purpose flour in place of the whole wheat and white whole wheat flours, or use all white whole wheat flour too.

If you don’t have the hulled hemp seed hearts, you could substitute in flax or chia seeds, or some chopped nuts, or just leave them out.

Check out the other awesome recipes that our #FreshTastyValentines blogging crew have come up with at the link below. :)

Find Bob’s Red Mill

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here

Find Envy Apples

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for their sponsorship of this event!

Tangy Sweet Potato Hash #FreshTastyValentines

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things… sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! 

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

I love recipes that work for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hashes are one of those classic recipes that can work for any meal, especially when you throw a fried egg on top. I used to make these meals almost every week pre-pregnancy. If it wasn’t a sweet/regular potato hash, it was arugula salad with fried potatoes and a fried egg… or fried rice with a fried egg… or a fried egg sandwich… or… you get the picture, huh? These days, I eat fried eggs oh-so-rarely. I have really tried to not be paranoid about the dietary restrictions with pregnancy [I’ll admit to licking the bowl when baking, and over Thanksgiving I accidentally ate a cobb salad with cold deli meat on it without thinking] but I don’t want to take too many unnecessary risks. I’m too much of a rule follower for that! Not to mention how devastated I would be if something I chose to ate hurt the baby. I know you can’t prevent everything [listeria in peanut butter or salad, anyone?] but I can prevent eating too many fried eggs. I think. :)

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

So that being said, you know that if I chose to eat a fried egg [yes, singular… before baby it was two :( tear!] it’s gotta be for a good reason. And this sweet potato hash is a GREAT reason! It’s pretty much the best hash I’ve ever tried. [Umm, sorry if that sounds weird.] Sometimes hashes can get a little too mushy, but this one doesn’t because I had the *genius* idea to a) roast the sweet potatoes instead of cooking them in the pan, b) layer them with the black bean and red pepper mixture, and c) top it all with bacon and the said fried egg. #mmmm

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

If that’s not genius, then I don’t know what is! Oh wait, yes I do. :) In the summertime, part of what makes a sweet potato hash so darn good is that you can put half of your herb garden in as seasonings. Well, we are dead in the middle of winter here so I used the next best thing: Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Herbs and Spices! They’re one of our lovely sponsors for #FreshTastyValentines, and to spice up [ha] this dish, I used cilantro, ginger, and chili. So good! I also added some fresh grapefruit zest [love that lately!] for some zing.

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

That zing was intensified with the special sauce that took this already great hash out of the park! Not Ketchup is ANOTHER one of our amazing sponsors for this fun blogging event, and I have to admit that I was a wee bit skeptical of the Tangerine Hatch Chile sauce they sent my way. Until I opened up the bottle and tried a wee bit with a roasted sweet potato. Then I was in tangerine spice heaven! Unlike how it sounds, this sauce is NOT spicy, but is the best blend of sweet and savory tang. I thought about stirring the sauce into the hash from the get go, but the aforementioned soggy, mushy sweet potato hash I was trying to avoid nixed that idea. Instead, I drizzled a hearty helping over the hash after the egg had been broken, and OH MAN was it good! Out of all of the Not Ketchup flavors I’ve tried, this one is by far my favorite… and I love that it has no added sugar; it’s only sweetened with real fruit [tangerine, apples, dates]. It is so delicious! Hope you give it a try–with or without my sweet potato hash. :)

one year ago: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf
two years ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
three years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
four years ago: Caramel S’more Cups
five years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Tangy Sweet Potato Hash

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, then roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Flip after 10 minutes for even cooking.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain almost all the grease from the skillet, then add diced onion and chopped red bell pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until tender. Stir in black beans, cilantro, ginger, chili, and grapefruit zest. Reduce heat to low, and heat through, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Season with black pepper.

At this time, prepare 2 eggs per person as desired–fried or poached would be best. Also, chop bacon into bite size pieces.

When ready to serve, place a layer of sweet potatoes on a large plate or shallow bowl. Top with a layer of black bean/veggie mixture, a piece of chopped bacon, and two eggs. Serve with Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup for dipping!

Be sure to enter our #giveaway here! And check out the other awesome recipes that our #FreshTastyValentines blogging crew have come up with at the link below. :)

Find Not Ketchup

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here

Find Gourmet Garden

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary sauce from Not Ketchup and herbs & spices from Gourmet Gardens for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Not Ketchup and Gourmet Gardens for their sponsorship of this event!

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake #FreshTastyValentines

Brighten up your Valentine’s Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! It’s even frosted too!

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

Winter is made for citrus, is it not? Or citrus is made for winter… no matter how you put it, citrus brings warmth and energy to otherwise dull, cold, dreary days. I know a lot of people associate citrus flavors–lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit–with summer [lemonade sure helps there!] but I’ve always been in the winter=citrus camp. In junior high and high school, we sold citrus fruits in the winter to raise money for orchestra [yup, I was an orch-dork! #Violin #ThenViola]. And, how many classic books talk about children reaching into their stockings on Christmas and being THRILLED to receive an orange? Yup. Winter=citrus. So it was only fitting that my snow day baking last week involved this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

This cake reminds me, a little bit, of a classic lemon cake… tangy and sweet all at once, but remixed with the unique floral notes of a grapefruit so you know it’s something special! Since grapefruits have a certain degree of tartness to them, you definitely need the sugar and cinnamon in this recipe to balance out the flavors. This cake uses all of the grapefruit–zest AND juice–to make the grapefruit flavor really stand out.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

At first, I wasn’t sure if this would be a good recipe to contribute as part of #FreshTastyValentines [read all about it here–and be sure to enter the giveaway!]. After all, it’s a snack cake–made in a sheet pan–and doesn’t look all that fancy. But then I realized that Ben and I don’t really do fancy. Cozy nights at home are our thing. We’ve been together for eight years, married for nearly seven of them. I’m sure once baby boy comes in May we will look forward to date nights out more than we currently do, but for now, sheet cake in the fridge [that we can snack on all week] is perfectly fine with us! Plus, grapefruit is pink soooo it’s festive enough, right? Another point that tipped the scale towards “recipe for #FreshTastyValentines” was the fact that I used one of our sponsor goodies in the making of this recipe! Duh, better include it. :)

KitchenIQ is one of our fabulous sponsors, and generously sent the bloggers involved in this event a Strawberry Tool [can’t wait to find some good looking strawberries to test out this strawberry slicer!!] and a wonderful Better Zester! This zester was wonderfully easy to use and was so sharp that it hardly took any effort to zest a whole grapefruit. Love it! Thanks for your support in #FreshTastyValentines, KitchenIQ! You can find Kitchen IQ on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest… and be sure to enter the giveaway by February 8, 2016 for a chance to win some of their great products. :) I hope you win so you can make this festive grapefruit-walnut snack cake! The grapefruit cream cheese frosting is NOT to be missed. Enjoy!

one year ago: Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas
two years ago: Chili Relleno Casserole
three years ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
four years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto Parmesan Toast
five years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake

  • Servings: 18
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from a magazine… I think Southern Living :)

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit – zest and juice, divided
  • 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for grapefruit cream cheese frosting

  • 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened [I used the 1/3 less fat variety – Neufchâtel]
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • reserved grapefruit zest and juice [from cake, above]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12-16 ounces powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Begin by zesting and juicing the grapefruit. You’ll need 3 tablespoons zest [this was about 3/4 of the grapefruit zested for me] and 10 tablespoons of juice [the whole grapefruit–I was actually a wee bit short so I added about a teaspoon or two of water and zested the whole grapefruit to make up for it].

In a small bowl, stir together 8 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the melted butter and 1/2 cup water. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add butter mixture, 2 tablespoons zest, walnuts, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan, then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. [Original recipe suggested 20-25 minutes bake time; mine took a full 30.]

Cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.

When ready to frost, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add vanilla, 1 tablespoon zest, and 2 tablespoons juice and beat for 30 seconds to blend. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached, beating on low until blended. Frost cooled cake and enjoy! Store covered in the refrigerator.

Be sure to check out all of the other recipes that are part of #FreshTastyValentines today at the linky below! :)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Better Zester! and Strawberry Tool from Kitchen IQ for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to KitchenIQ for their sponsorship of this event!

#FreshTastyValentines is here!

 
#FreshTastyValentines is here! A group of 22 talented food bloggers will be posting recipes for an entire week that, we hope, will inspire you to make some healthy Valentine’s Day treats for your loved ones. Here we are…
 
The Bloggers
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)
 
From February 1st through February 8th, not only will you find nearly a hundred recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See rafflecopter below.
The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)

 

The Giveaway For…
FOURTEEN Different Prizes
(click here for prize descriptions)

begins February 1st and ends February 8th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are those of the bloggers.