Healthy, Simple Family Friendly Meals: Meatloaf

One of my passions is cooking, I just love to be in the kitchen. Since I’ve had children though it’s not easy or practical to spend hours in the kitchen just to cook dinner. So, for this season of my life I’m focusing more on meals that are quick to prepare and are kid friendly. Raise your hand if you have a picky pre-schooler in the house? Anyone out there besides me? Finding things my three year old will willingly eat that are healthy is such a challenge. Today I’m going to share a meatloaf recipe that even he will eat {usually}.

{Side Note: Does anyone else think of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers yelling, “Maaa, the MEATLOAF!!” whenever they hear the word ‘meatloaf’?…Or is that just me? I’m not even a huge fan of that movie but every.single.time that quote pops in my head.}

Okay, back to the recipe. It’s simple, delicious and juicy. It DOES take a while to cook, but once it’s mixed up and in the oven it’s pretty hands off. Just add a couple of veggies and you’ve got an easy meal that’s healthy and yummy for your family. Some of my favorite vegetables that would work with this are sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. If your family is a ‘meat and potatoes’ type of family you could whip up some mashed potatoes or for a healthier spin cut up some baby red potatoes and sauté them in a little extra virgin olive oil. I usually season them with some black pepper and some rosemary.

Ingredients for the Meat Loaf:

  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
  • black pepper
  • ketchup

Some notes on the ingredients:

I highly encourage you to purchase organic, grass-fed beef when possible as it’s the healthiest option for your family. The majority of grocery stores are selling it now, my Kroger sells is for $7 a pound which I consider a great price.

You can make your breadcrumbs but usually I just use the store-bought breadcrumbs in a can. I don’t know about you but the time I’m cooking dinner always seems to be when the baby is clingy or the pre-schooler is grumpy so I look for as many ways as possible to shave off time spent in the kitchen. Buying the breadcrumbs pre-made is one of those time savers for me.

Did you know that black pepper is an antioxidant? It also has antibacterial effects and promotes digestive health. So, if your family enjoys the taste of black pepper there’s no need to hold back on it. Limiting salt intake is always wise but we don’t have to worry about if we add too much pepper.

Now for the steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Add the EVOO to a pan and heat over medium heat.

3. Finely chop the onion and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally while cooking and watch so the garlic does not burn.

4. Take the onion and garlic mixture off the heat and allow to cool some.

5. Mix the beef, milk, egg, salt and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add the onion and garlic to it. *You can mix the meatloaf together with a spoon, but to be honest I’ve found that it gets better mixed by hand. That’s why you need the garlic and onion to cool a little first.

6. Form the meat mixture into a loaf and put in a lightly greased loaf pan. *I don’t cook mine on a baking sheet, I use the loaf pan because I feel that the meatloaf is more juicy this way.

6. Sprinkle the top with black pepper and put it in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes.

7. Remove it from the oven and lightly coat the top with ketchup.

8. Bake it for 15 more minutes. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving it.

Well, now you have another easy family-friendly recipe to add to your cooking repertoire. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does. Bon appetit!

Do you have a kid friendly recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love for you to include it in the comments.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

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Shabby Chic Baby Girl Shower

I realized today that I haven’t written a post since sometime in March!…it’s July! Spring and summer just seems to be such a busy time of the year. Although I’m leaving to go to the beach tomorrow and should be packing, I thought I’d do a post about the Shabby Chic Baby Girl Shower that I did in April…or was it May? I can’t remember!

This was such a fun shower to throw and gave me the perfect excuse to go antiquing for more milk glass! I LOVE milk glass and buy it whenever I find it. What about you? Do you have anything vintage that you collect?

For this shower I chose a color scheme of mostly pink and green and other gorgeous pastels. I made a wreath for the door and gave it to the mother-to-be to put on her front door when baby Brooklyn arrived. The letter “B” is just a wooden letter that I painted pink and sprinkled glitter on for a little bling.

I found the most perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby; it was a pack of 5 different fabrics that color coordinated but weren’t too “matchy-matchy”–I used them throughout the party and they really added to the shabby chic feeling I think. The pendants were cut out and glued on twine. The letters were stenciled on with brown paint. Overall I was pleased with how it turned out.

The baby’s nursery is decorated in pink and green owls so I was super excited when I found this cute owl box. At the shower I asked everyone to write a note to baby Brooklyn and put it in the box.

To decorate the room where the food was I made a garland out of strips of fabric; I simply tied them on and then added a little pink tutu and a couple of bibs.

The shower was a brunch so I served Preggo Mimosas which was just a mixture of orange juice and Sprite and in the South you simply can’t have a party without sweet tea!

I thought it would be darling for us to drink out of old fashioned milk bottles but I didn’t want to spend $4 per bottle…so I drank a bunch of Starbucks Frappuccinos (hmmm, is that spelled right?!) and used Goo Gone to get off the label. Then I tied a bit of lace and some twine around them and added a pink straw. So cute, cheap and reusable for another time too!

The menu for this brunch was inspired by Paula Deen. Most of the recipes were from her book, Paul Deen and Friends. I served Praline French Toast casserole, Garlic Cheese Grits casserole, Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes, Sausage Balls with Mustard Dip, Frozen Fruit Cups and a Doughnut Cake.

All of those items are yummy but you’ve just GOT to make the Praline French Toast–it’s amazing! Here’s a link to the recipe. I mean just look at it!

The Frozen Fruit Cups were served on cute little milk glass plates–so excited when I found a set of 5 of these pretties at Queen of Hearts antique store in Buford.

I added pink frosting and sparkly sprinkles to the dozen Krispy Kremes. What could be better than doughnuts with icing on them?

I made a mini version of the fireplace banner as a cake topper and used cute stickers to spell out the name.

Other elements that I feel added to the “shabby chicness” of the party was the burlap table runner and the “Plain & Simple” caddy I had the silverware in.

The favors were simple lollipops; typically I make cake pops as favors for parties but I was a little short on time so I purchased this kit at Party City.

This really was such a fun party to throw. Party planning and cooking are my passions so if you need help with the next shower or party that you’re hosting, please contact me as I would be happy to help. Of course, this only applies to the Greater Atlanta, Georgia area. Simply email me at AnneRains@gmail.com

Have a blessed day!

Cinnamon Crunch Cupcakes

Do y’all love cinnamon and sugar as much as I do? That sweet little combination is one of my favorite things…I love cinnamon toast, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon Toaster Strudel, you get the idea! When I found this recipe for Cinnamon Crunch cupcakes on Pinterest that is made with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal I knew that I had to make them! Luckily for me (and my waist, hips and booty) we had a dinner with friends coming up that I could make them for…wouldn’t want to have two dozen cupcakes just lying around the house, ya know!

Look at these…don’t they look divine?

These are so yummy and the cinnamon buttercream frosting is so tasty. I don’t like cream cheese usually but this icing is so delicious that if I hadn’t made it myself I wouldn’t have even noticed.

So I know that you’re going to want this recipe too…so scoot over to the Your Cup of Cake blog for a bit (sooo many fabulous cupcake recipes there!). Click here for the recipe: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

*Just a quick tip, add the single cinnamon toast square to the top of the cupcake RIGHT before serving. I made the mistake of just putting it on when I decorated and by the time my friends ate them the cereal was a bit soggy.

Enjoy! Do you have a favorite cupcake recipe you’d like to share? Add it to the comments!

Vintage Tea Party Baby Shower

Throwing parties and showers is my kind of thing; I’m not trying to brag when I say it just comes naturally to me, so I get super excited when I have the opportunity to throw one…I just LOVE when friends and family get married or have babies!! I get excited about planning everything out…making lists–guest list, decorations list, food list, etc. And the implementation is the most fun part! When possible I do all the food myself because cooking and baking is my passion and I enjoy creating decorations too.

My best friend is having her second baby and this time around she’s having a boy. My friend, Laura Birney, and I had an awesome time hosting her shower. We chose to do sort of a Vintage Tea Party theme using a pink, gray and green color scheme with lace accents. And if I can say so, it turned out beautiful. I got to break out my platinum and white china and my crystal glasses. It had a very elegant look to it.

Classic tea party food was served for the most part, including chicken salad croissants, cheese straws and petit fores. Other items served were spinach and artichoke dip, raspberry jam straws and lemon cups. This was all washed down with pink lemonade with raspberry ice cubes.

The decorations included a banner I made from scrapbook paper that also had the cutest little home-made ruffled bloomers hanging on it (my mother-in-law makes them if you need some, just email me).

I also found a wreath on Pinterest that I duplicated–so cute and easy to do. Just get a styrofoam ring and lots of cute ribbons. Cut the ribbons in pieces and tie it on the ring until it’s fully covered. Paint a little wooden sign and include the baby’s name on; hang the sign in the middle of the wreath. We hung the wreath on the door and afterwards the mother-to-be took it home to put on her front door when the baby comes.

The table had a runner made out of ribbons and lace and was the perfect accent to all the gorgeous flowers. In addition to the main centerpiece arrangement, there were also sweet little arrangements sitting in tea cups scattered around the table. It was darling! Laura did the flowers and the table and she just did a fabulous job! She also created the most beautiful paper products, such as the invitations, the food labels, etc…contact her if you need any, she will create you beautiful ones.

Cake pops were the favors to take home; they were individually wrapped and tied with a pink ribbon. We also had a place for everyone to write a sweet little message to the baby. We played a fun game that involved matching up celebrities with their baby names…they sure do come up with the strangest names, don’t they?!

Most of my recipes came from the Paula Deen Celebrates! cookbook but here’s a link to the Raspberry Jam Straws recipe since I found it on Pinterest.

I hope this inspired you for the next shower or party you throw! Have to host one and don’t really have the time to plan it? Contact me if you’re in the Greater Atlanta area, I can help! Whether you need full party planning or just catering or cake pops, I’m here for you just email me at AnneRains@gmail.com.

Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce

I hope you’re not already all “turkeyed” out…even though Thanksgiving is a week away. Well even if you’re tired of turkey, dressing and sweet potatoes and the other yummy foods we stuff our faces with this time of the year, here’s a turkey recipe that’s a little different. This turkey recipe is definitely worth trying because it’s made in a crock pot and if you’ve been following me blog you know that I LOVE the crock pot!

The crock pot is currently my favorite kitchen appliance and is used pretty regularly around here. I just love how tender meat is when it comes out and the time saving aspect of putting together dinner is also a perk. This recipe is Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce and is delicious.

I love the combination of the rosemary and garlic mixture that is rubbed on the turkey breast before cooking; it pairs well with the orange sauce. Cooking the turkey slow and low for so many hours of course makes the meat very tender and juicy. Turkey is a very lean meat, especially with the skin removed, and is therefore a healthy choice for dinner. Try this recipe; I think your family will like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 boneless skinless turkey breast (about 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 C. orange juice

Directions:

  1. Place onion in crockpot. Combine garlic, rosemary and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut slices about 3/4 of the way through the turkey at 2″ intervals. Rub garlic mixture between slices. Place turkey, cut side up, in crockpot. Pour orange juice over turkey. Cover; cook on LOW 7-8 hours
  3. Serve sliced turkey with the orange sauce.

{recipe is from Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes}

Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie Pie

This past weekend some friends invited us over for dinner and I brought dessert. I wanted to bake something but didn’t have much time as I’d spent the day shopping for a dress to wear to an upcoming Christmas party. So on my way home, I pulled up Pinterest on my phone and looked through my Sinfully Sweet desserts board.

That’s where I found the recipe for this yummy Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie recipe. It’s more like a brownie pie with a yummy chocolate sauce on top. I only needed to pick up a few ingredients from the grocery store and then I was on my way to making this delicious and easy dessert.

The brownies are made with Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream candy bars and after it bakes it’s topped with sweetened condensed milk and a layer of mini chocolate chips. So yummy and it only took about 10-15 minutes to assemble, 17 minutes in the oven and then a minute to top it with the chocolate sauce. Easy!

Okay, so here’s how you make Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie Pie:

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (1 1/2 of King sized bars or 4 regular size candy bars) Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream candy bars
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 C. mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree and grease a 9″ pie plate
  2. Melt candy bars, sugar and butter over medium low heat
  3. While ingredients are melting, lightly whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl
  4. Once all is melted, turn off heat and whisk in eggs and vanilla
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix until well combined
  6. Pour batter into pie plate and bake for about 17-20 minutes (or until fork comes out clean)
  7. After the brownies are cooked, immediately pour the sweetened condensed milk all over the brownies and add the chocolate chips
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

These brownies were equally good the next day warmed up a little and enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Mmm! You just have to try these!

{original recipe found here: Fahrenheit 350}

Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops

These Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops were such fun creating! You may be wondering, “what in the heck are Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops?!” So let me first explain, the idea of having a Baby Gender Reveal party is catching on quickly I think. Basically, instead of finding out the sex of your baby at the time of the ultrasound, the nurse will put the ultrasound pictures and also a note whether the baby is a boy or girl in an envelope. Then the parents-to-be take the envelope to a bakery so they can create a cake that reveals what the baby is. On the outside of the cake (or cake pops in this instance) you can’t tell what the baby is, but the inside cake will either be dyed pink or blue…girl or boy. How fun is that?!

So one of my best friends is preggo with her second child and thought having a Baby Gender Reveal party would be fun this time around. She asked me to create cake pops for the party and I happily obliged. Oh what fun!

I made these cake pops with a dark chocolate coating to ensure the inside color would not be revealed ahead of time and then decorated them with adorable blue and pink polka dots. Each cake pop was individually wrapped and tied off with either a pink or blue ribbon. I wasn’t about to give any hints to spoil the big surprise!

The cake pops were displayed in a glass vase that the Mom-to-Be set out at the Baby Gender Reveal party. I loved making these cake pops and would love to make some for you too. Just shoot me an email at AnneRains@gmail.com and we’ll coordinate the details.

As you can see, this friend is having a girl. Which is pretty perfect since her first was a boy; how great to have one of each! I’m ecstatic for her and will be spoiling that little girl since I only have a son as of right now!