Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014
This past weekend was the 4th Annual Fall Food Cook-Off. Each year there is a special ingredient and the dish that best uses that ingredient wins the prize. This year the special ingredient was Sweet Potato and my Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Chili brought home the trophy. I was honored to win the award and wanted to share this easy fall recipe with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did!
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 2 15 ounce cans of pinto bean
- 1 15 ounce can of black beans
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 12 ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 2/3 cup of chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- salt and pepper
- Cook the ground sirloin in a skillet over medium heat. Drain any remaining liquid from the pan. Add to slow cooker.
- Dice the sweet potato into 1″ pieces. Add to slow cooker.
- Rinse and drain the pinto and black beans. Add to slow cooker.
- Chop the onion. Add to slow cooker.
- Mince the garlic. Add to slow cooker.
- Add all the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and mix.
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours (or until sweet potatoes are cooked). Stir occasionally.
Tip: To thicken the chili you can take the lid off at the end for about 30 minutes.
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Thanksgiving is less than two-weeks away and it is time to finalize your Thanksgiving menu. I know I’ll be making one alteration to our family Thanksgiving menu this year by adding this Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad to the menu. The Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad is light, full of flavor, and will add a great pop of color to the table.
This wonderfully delicious recipe is from Two Peas and Their Pod. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Cup pomegranate arils
- 1/2 Cup pepitas
- 1/2 Cup feta cheese
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
For the pomegranate dressing:
- 2 Tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until sweet potatoes are well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add pomegranate arils, pepitas, and feta cheese.
- In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle dressing over sweet potato salad. Gently toss. Serve immediately.
photo credit: Two Peas and Their Pod
Posted Monday, March 31, 2014
When I found out my dear friend Jenny was moving to Australia I knew I had to send her off in style. Since Jenny is a true lover and connoisseur of ice cream, I decided on a DIY Ice Cream Party.
The first DIY item for the party was to create a bunting sign for the mantel. I’ve always shied away from making my own bunting assuming it would be too difficult to make identical triangles, but it turns out I’m a bit of a bunting master! I’ll have to share my expertise on bunting and the two tricks that can make anyone a bunting master in a future blog post.
Next on the DIY agenda, creating containers worthy of holding the star of the party… the ICE CREAM! I found small galvanized buckets at Michael’s and Target that were the perfect size to hold one carton worth of ice cream. I took these photos before adding the ice cream so you’ll just have to imagine how good it looked.
Since I was already on a roll with the bunting, I decided to make little bunting labels for each ice cream bucket. I will admit, initially my plan was to make bunting to label every topping but then I decided I had better things to do with my life. : )
Feeling extra crafty after realizing I could make bunting, I was trying to come up with some crazy way to display the ice cream cones that involved them hanging from the wall… and then I realized I needed to take a break. After a much needed crafting intervention, I regained my taste and sense of style and concluded that something simple would be best. I wanted to add more height variation to the table so decided to use two cake stands to display the different types of cones. I put each cone in a patriotic cupcake liner to add a pop of color. The best part about this table decoration… it took about 15 seconds to set up!
Make sure to go grocery shopping with a list in hand! Because it is pretty easy in the store to convince yourself that just about anything would make a good ice cream topping. The toppings I used included marshmallows, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, crushed oreos, nuts, and of course sprinkles. I used a variety of containers to hold the toppings including mason jars, glass shooter glasses, and decorative jars.
This DIY Ice Cream Party was really easy to do and could be done on a budget if you plan ahead. Happy hosting!
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014
So it may not officially be Spring yet, but I couldn’t wait to post these DIY Eggshell Succulents. Easter is only 40 days away so while you endure the last bit of winter might as well do some indoor gardening/decorating.
You can plant all kinds of succulents in white and brown eggshells to create a similar design to the one in these photos. Once you have made these little planters you can display them in an egg carton on your kitchen table or put a few in a small decorative dish and place them around the house.
These eggshell succulents would also make a lovely hostess gift or a nice birthday gift for a co-worker. If you do plan on giving these eggshell succulents as a gift I recommend making an extra for yourself. After you make this adorable spring decoration you probably won’t want to give it away.
You can find the photo tutorial for these DIY Eggshell Succulents by clicking here.
photo credit: Le Robins Nest
Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I am usually indifferent about gender reveal parties, but this one I had to share! I think my childish obsession with cotton candy is the main reason I decided to feature this as the first ever gender reveal party post on Holiday Helpings.
This Cotton Candy Gender Reveal Party is an adorable theme and one I haven’t seen before. The use of pink and blue cotton candy is a creative and simple way to add the color contrast between boy and girl. I also love that guests are greeted with a sign saying “Pink or Blue – it’s up to you – take your pick and grab a cotton candy stick.” Right away guests get to guess what gender the baby is and enjoy some delicious cotton candy.
Hope you like this cute and simple Cotton Candy Gender Reveal Party as much as I do!
photo credit: CB&J the blog
Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Traditional boxed lunches are less than glamourous… I will let you insert your own horrible boxed lunch story as we all have them. There should be a support group : )
Now, this chic boxed lunch setup I saw on Southern Weddings is a whole different thing! I think we’d all get behind this boxed lunch event. I am always pleased to find someone’s fresh approach to something traditional and making it better.. and in this case, exponentially better!
This table setting is effortlessly elegant. I love the use of color and the different patterns and textures that cover the table. The simple wildflower arrangements scattered around the table add a wonderful touch of nature and the tomatoes used as decor add a hint of that “farm to table” atmosphere.
The boxed lunches are filled with biscuits, sweet potato wedges, tomato sandwiches and other delicious things. You can get creative with the food you include and your food choices can incorporate your theme. If you were doing a French theme you could pack these lunches with cheeses, baguettes, small sandwiches, etc. Just make sure whatever foods you include won’t get soggy or squished because no one wants that.
Often it is the little embellishments that make all the difference when you are hosting a lunch. Adding a note inside the box is a wonderful surprise for guest and will have them admiring your attention to detail. You can write the same message on the inside of every box or personalize it for each guest.
A great space saving trick when setting the table is giving objects multiple purposes. In this case, the box serves as the menu, place card, and the “plate” leaving space on the table for flowers, candles, and other complimentary decor.
This chic boxed lunch idea can be used for so many events! You can play off this idea for so many different occasions like a bridal shower or a baby shower. I can’t wait for my next boxed lunch event!!!
photo credit: southernweddings.com
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I’ve been having so much fun with my holiday party supplies by Kiwi Tini Creations that I thought it was about time I wrote an adoring post!
I have put the Kiwi Tini Creations’ treat bags to work this holiday season. The Deer Kraft Bags make wonderful party favor bags for cookie exchange parties. Add one delicious homemade cookie, seal the bag with one of the French Manicure Clips and you’ve got yourself an adorable party favor! You can display these party favor bags by clipping them to a garland to festively adorn your mantel.
The Red Striped Favor Bags are great for gift cards! Using the French Manicure Clips you can attach the gift card in the favor bag to your christmas tree. These little bags can also be used to wrap up little stocking stuffers or you can use them as advent bags.
Next on the list of products I adore, the Gingerbread Man Cupcake Toppers. If you plan to make cupcakes this holiday season these little guys and gals will add some fun holiday flare. They also look cute popping out of a wreath centerpiece.
Giveaway Alert: As an added bonus, these Gingerbread Man Cupcake Toppers will be featured in a giveaway this week! You can enter the giveaway by clicking “like” on any photo, post, or status on Holiday Helpings’ Facebook page this week. The more you “like” the more times you are entered to win. We will announce the winner on Friday!
This holiday season I have been all about glitter! So naturally I love these Glitter Place Cards! They are wonderful for labeling cookies at a cookie exchange party or for any holiday buffet. And they work wonderfully for their obvious purpose… as name place cards!
I just adore all these wonderful creations by Kathy of Kiwi Tini Creations. You can check out her site on etsy by clicking here.
Posted Monday, November 25, 2013
It takes a lot for a new dish to be added to our Thanksgiving menu… especially one that is Paleo. Initially I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having something healthy take up space on our Thanksgiving table but as soon as I tried these Roasted Squash Bites I decided I would make an exception. Seriously, this is the most delicious healthy thing I have ever had!!! My mom found the recipe for these Roasted Squash Bites in the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook by Sarah Fragoso and I’ve shared the recipe with my notes below.
Oh, and if being healthy and delicious wasn’t enough… this dish will also make your house smell like the holidays with all that cinnamon! It is like the triple threat of Thanksgiving side dishes.
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or real butter*)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt the ghee and in a small bowl whisk together the ghee, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Pour the seasoned mixture over the cubed squash and toss until all the pieces have been covered.
- Spread the cubed squash into a large glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
* We sometimes use real butter for this recipe and will use real butter for Thanksgiving, but by using real butter it is not considered Paleo.
photo credit: everyday paleo family cookbook
Posted Friday, November 22, 2013
It has never been so easy to make a difference. All you have to do is click. That is it! Help spread the word by sharing with your social network. Remember the more likes and followers, the more we can donate!
About the Cause: Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001 and their families. The Wounded Warrior Project’s vision is to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” For more information about the cause please visit their website by clicking here.
*Holiday Helpings will donate up to $250.
Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013
There is something I like to refer to as the circle-of-gifting. And no, I am not referring to re-gifting so get your mind out of the dirty gifting gutter. The circle-of-gifting is when you receive a gift yourself, fall in love with it, and then end up buying the exact same gift to give to someone else.
The One Line A Day Journal is a great example of the circle-of-gifting. Two years ago, my roommate in college, Maddie, gave me the One Line A Day Journal for my birthday. She thought I would like to keep a journal but knew that a traditional journal would be a bit daunting for me and I would likely stop after a week or two. She knows me well : )
The One Line A Day Journal was the perfect gift for me. Only being “asked” to write one line a day makes it really easy to stay up to date with the journal. I keep it next to my bed and write in it as part of my bedtime routine.
The One Line A Day Journal has enough space for five years. During my first year with the journal I skipped a few weeks here and there but in general did a pretty good job of filling it out. Now that I am on the second year, I am so grateful for each of my past entries and have made an effort not to skip days. Seeing where I was or what I was doing exactly a year ago is a really neat comparison. I’ve started to even notice some patterns just in these two years and a couple funny coincidences. For instance, I wrote an entry and then read what I had done the year before on that day… I had dinner with the same friend at the same restaurant!
I have been so taken by the journal and ended up giving it as a gift to my dear friend Kate for her birthday this year. She has heard me talk about it and was so excited to have her very own One Line A Day Journal. The circle-of-gifting at its best : )
The One Line A Day Journal would make a great holiday gift for a new college student so they can remember the “glory days” or perhaps to a new mom so they can quickly jot down all the joys that come with parenting. But really, the One Line A Day Journal would make a great gift for just about anyone.
You can find the One Line A Day Journal on Amazon, Anthropologie, or at Barnes & Noble by clicking here.
photo credit: knittymummy.blogspot.com