Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Applesauce {Unsweetened}

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What do you do when your mom gives you a huge bag of apples?
Make slow cooker applesauce!

I use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in a lot of my baking recipes, so I
thought I would make my own and freeze it for baking this winter.




































Homemade applesauce is super easy and my unsweetened applesauce recipe only
has 3 ingredients!
The hardest part is peeling all of the apples!
The best part is how amazing you house smells while the apples are cooking!

I used a combination of gala and green delicious, but any apples will do.
I also used a potato masher a few times while the apples were cooking to mash them
up a bit.  If you prefer your applesauce to be really smooth, you may want to use an
immersion blender or food processor, but that's totally up to you :)

What are you waiting for - go pick some apples!



Slow Cooker Applesauce 
{Unsweetened}

3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Gala and Green Delicious)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon

Place peeled, cored and sliced apples into a slow cooker.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the apple slices.
Toss apples well to combine.
Cook on high for 3 hours.
I used a potato masher in the slow cooker to mash the apples up a bit.
I like my applesauce a little on the chunky side :)
If you prefer a smoother applesauce, you may want to use am immersion blender
or place the cooked apples into a food processor.
That's it!

Healthy applesauce with no added sugars or preservatives!
Keep in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to six months.

Enjoy!


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Hello Monday

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It's been FOREVER since I have done a Hello Monday post!
Let's get caught up a bit :)

Hello Fall mums.
Flowers in mason jars are my fave.


































Hello red velvet ice cream.
You were a nice weekend treat!


































Hello to meal planning.
I try to be a meal planner, but I don't always succeed.
Pretty clipboards, pens and notebooks make it easier :)




















Hello pretty white pumpkins.

Hello to making Skinny Pumpkin Muffins.
Recipe coming soon!




















Hello to my little globe collection.
I only have 3, but am having fun looking for more!




















Hello to eating oatmeal.
Every.Single.Day,
I {puffy heart} oatmeal :)



















Hello to taking pictures of my girl.
She keeps getting older, but I don't - ha!





































Hello sweet readers!
Thank you for coming to my little space on the internet.
I'm glad you're here!
Happy Monday!!

Linking up with the lovely Lisa Leonard and Hello Monday.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

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I've got a thing for cookie cups.




















I mean look how cute they are!
How can anyone resist a cookie cup??

I made this recipe the last time I had my girlfriends over and they were a big hit.
Just the perfect bite-size of sweetness.





















They look so pretty on a pedestal or platter too, which makes them perfect for a
baby or bridal shower or any type of party really.
You can't go wrong with a cookie cup :)
























Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C butter, unsalted
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.
Add egg and vanilla.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until combined.
Fold in mini chocolate chips.
Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough into prepared mini muffin cups.
Bake for 7 - 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Using a Pampered Chef mini
tart shaper, I make small indentation in the dough for the frosting.
Cool in the muffin pan for about 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to continue
cooling.

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 cups Dixie Crystals powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T whipping cream or milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes.  Add whipping cream or milk and beat for another 5-8 minutes until light and fluffy.

Pipe buttercream into cooled cookie cups.
Top with a fresh raspberry and mint leaf.

You may also want to try some of my other cookie cups:

Snickerdoodle Cookie Tarts

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups





















Fruit Pizza Cookie Cups




















The possibilities are endless!
Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pantry Organization #Poptober

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When we remodeled our kitchen last year I decided that when the time came to put the kitchen back together I would only unpack items that we used on a regular basis or things that I really loved.
What was left would be sold at our neighborhood yard sale or donated.

My counter tops were clear and my cabinets were neat and organized.
I loved the look of our new, clutter-free kitchen!



















Well it's been one year now and the kitchen has stayed pretty neat and tidy.

































The pantry is another matter!!

































I want to go into fall and the holiday baking season, with an organized, well-stocked
pantry.  OXO and The Container Store gave me just the tools that I needed!
OXO Good Grips Pop Containers.



















OXO Good Grips Pop Containers have flat lids that are easy for stacking and the square
and rectangular shapes make Pop containers space efficient.  The pop open lids make the
containers so easy to use, you can even open them with one hand!



















I started my pantry overhaul by removing everything.  As I did this, I came to the realization that I am a canned diced tomato and pasta hoarder.  I have spaghetti, penne, quinoa penne, small shells, large shells, ditalini, rigatoni, wagon wheels, macaroni, bow ties, rotini and lasagna (no-bake and regular).
What the heck?
Well I guess if we are ever snowed in for weeks, we can survive on pasta :)
Anyway, back to my pantry organization.



















I love these OXO Cereal Dispensers.  They're available in several sizes and they
keep cereal and snacks fresh, while making it easy to pour too.

I used a label maker to identify the contents of the Pop Containers and when that ran
out, I used washi tape.  I have a lot of baking supplies and ran out of Pop Containers.
I see a trip to The Container Store in my near future!!



















I've already started a Pinterest wish list for more OXO goodies.
Check it out.


Follow Lynda @Me and My Pink Mixer's board The Container Store OXO Storage & Organization Wish List #Poptober on Pinterest.

The Container Store has everything you need for organizing your pantry and kitchen.
Pop Containers are available at The Container Store locations nationwide.

Well here's the after photo.
Much better don't you think.

































All of my baking supplies, except my sprinkles (and that's a whole other post),
are conveniently located on one shelf.  My fifty packages of pasta are with the canned goods and spices.  Now I know exactly what is in my pantry.  It feels great to open the doors and be able to quickly grab what I need without searching all over the place.
The clear OXO Pop Containers make it easy to find what I am looking for.

Bring on the holiday baking!  I'm ready now!

How would you like to win a Prize Pack worth $500, including OXO Storage and
Organization tools (up to $250), as well as a $250 elfa gift card.
The giveway will run from Monday, October 13 - Friday, October 31st).
Click HERE to enter.

Good luck and happy organizing!!!

Disclosure - I was sent OXO Pop Containers from OXO and The Container Store to organize my pantry.
I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas and a Giveaway

Now that the weather is cooler here in Virginia, there's nothing like coming home from
work to the smell of a nice, warm dinner ready and waiting in my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker.

Like most families, our fall schedules are crazy busy.  My husband and I both work
outside of the home.  He also helps coach football at our local high school, so when
he finally gets home in the evening he's pretty hungry!
My slow cooker is a life saver!



The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker has three choices for
easy, automatic cooking, program, probe and manual mode.

Program mode is so convenient for those busy days when I'm not quite sure when I will
be home.  Just program the time and when it's up, the slow cooker automatically changes
the setting to warm.  How great is that!





















This recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas couldn't be easier.
Just place everything in the slow cooker that morning and when you get home
that evening dinner is ready!

When the chicken is done you can leave the breasts whole if you like, but I prefer
to shred the chicken with two forks and spoon the spicy goodness into warm tortilla shells!





















Most of the time I serve the fajitas with rice and black beans, but they are totally fine
on their own.  Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas are also yummy served over tortilla chips!

























Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg. fajitas seasoning mix
1 small onion, sliced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1/2 C salsa
flour tortillas
optional toppings: cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine salsa and fajitas seasoning packet; set aside.
Place the chicken, onion and peppers in a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 qt.
Programmable Slow Cooker.  Pour the salsa and seasoning mixture over the chicken and
peppers. Cover with a lid and cook 6-7 hours on low or about 4 hours on high until
chicken is cooked through.  Using two forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
Spoon mixture into tortillas and add toppings.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!
It's time you had a new Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 qt. Programmable Slow Cooker
don't you think?


HOW TO ENTER
To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post and answer the question:

“What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?”
You can receive up to THREE additional entries to win by doing the following:

1. Become a fan of Me and My Pink Mixer on Facebook. Come back and let me know you became a fan in an additional comment on this post.
2. Follow @meandmypinkmixer on Instagram. Come back and let me know you follow in an additional comment on this post.

4. Follow @mypinkmixerblog and @HamiltonBeach on Twitter. Come back and let me know you follow in an additional comment on this post.
Deadline to enter: Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.
Open to U.S. Residents only.
Winner: The winner will be notified via email; if the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.

Disclosure - I was sent a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget  6 qt. Programmable Slow Cooker to review. 
I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are my own.

Giveaway has ended.
Congrats to Wendy Rozema for winning the Slow Cooker!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Grain-Free Granola

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Yogurt and granola is one of my favorite snacks.
I love to make my own granola, but I have always used oats as my base.
You know how I LOVE my oats!
This recipe for grain-free granola had me intrigued, so I thought I would give it a go.






























Instead of oats, grain-free granola is full of nutty goodness like almonds, walnuts,
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and unsweetened coconut flakes.






















It is lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup and it is delicious!
I loved this granola!
I didn't even miss my oats.
The grain-free trend maybe on to something :)























Grain-Free Granola

3/4 C raw almonds
1/2 C raw walnuts
1/4 C raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 C raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 T chia seed
1 T ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 T coconut oil, melted
1/4 C pure maple syrup (I used coconut oil)
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine almonds, walnut, coconut, chia seed and flax seed.
Pulse 4 to 5 times or until roughly chopped.
In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt.
In a large mixing bowl, add chopped nut mixture, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds;
tossing to combine.
Pour syrup mixture over the nuts; tossing until well covered.
Spread mixture out evenly on your prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Stir and bake for another 10 minutes or so, watching carefully so it doesn't burn.
Place baking sheet on a wire rack to let the granola cool.
Store in an air-tight container.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Applegate HALF TIME™ Review and Giveaway

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I'm a big fan of Stonyfield, Applegate and Annie's, so when I was asked if I would like to
review a new lunch kit combining products from all three I said YES please!

Applegate natural and organic meats has teamed up with Stonyfield and Annie’s to create the first ever natural and organic lunch kit – HALF TIME™.


HALF TIME™ includes Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers, Annie’s Butter Rich crackers and snacks along with Applegate meats and cheeses. They come in 3 varieties – Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese and Bologna & Cheese.













Applegate HALF TIME™  is a lunch on the go kit that you can feel good about giving to your family. 
Applegate HALF TIME™ is marketed mainly towards kids, but my husband totally loved them!  In fact he ate one of them before I had time to take my photos.  
That's a food blogger spouse no-no :)













We try to eat organic, natural foods as much as possible, so I love that Applegate HALF TIME™ lunch kits are made from products free of preservatives or artificial flavors.  They are so convenient to take to work, school or on a road trip.
You can find these tasty lunch kits at Target and other national retailers.  
Now for the giveaway!  
One of my readers will win the following:
  • All three varieties of HALF TIME: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese
  • A draw-your-own lunch bag
  • A set of permanent markers
  • Coupons
  • Activity book
Giveaway is now closed.

Open to US addresses only. Winner will be notified via email and has 24 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is drawn. Good luck!

Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 7th at midnight, EST.

I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.

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