November 27, 2013

Crock-Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee

What better way to start off Thanksgiving than with Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the Crock-pot? Super easy, delicious fall flavor, and perfect for a crowd this recipe will quickly become a family favorite for you like it has for us! 


Makes approx 8 servings
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 pot strong brewed coffee, about 10-12 cups
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  whipped cream and cinnamon, for garnish


  1. Combine milk and coffee and pour into the Crock-pot. 
  2. In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar. 
  3. Pour into the Crock-pot. 
  4. Mix together well, cover, and keep warm.
  5. Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
* You may have to whisk or stir the pumpkin that settles at the bottom before serving. 
Fill a Crock-pot with milk and fresh brewed coffee.
Whisk together pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl. 
*I did this step ahead of time in a plastic container and took it with me to a holiday party. Then I made the coffee and mixed in the milk at the party!
Add pumpkin mix to Crockpot, cover, and keep warm.

Serve in mugs with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
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New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwich with Olive Salad

In honor of our giveaway this week with Louisiana based Hartley's Moms Monogram Mania 
I wanted to make a Louisiana speciality, the Muffuletta sandwich. Ever since eating my first Muffuletta as a child at Central Grocery in the French Quarter in New Orleans, I have been hooked on this hearty, flavor packed monster sandwich!
 Be sure to enter the giveaway below!
The bread is crusty, covered in sesame seeds and about 10 inches around. It is usually cut in quarters (enough for one person), halves or served whole for 2-4 people. I bought mine from my local McAlister's Deli. They get the Gambino brand Muffuletta bread shipped to them fresh and I was able to buy just the bread from them for a couple bucks.
If you can't find the traditional Muffuletta bread you can use crusty French bread or even an herb Focaccia bread would be delish! For the olive salad spread, which is absolutely essential for this recipe, you can create your own by mixing olive oil, peppers, olives, and pickled veggies or go the easy route like me a buy a jar of Olive Salad. I love the Boscoli brand!


2-4 servings
  • 10 inch round Muffuletta bread loaf (or substitute French or Focaccia bread)
  • 1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 lb provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 lb ham, sliced
  • 1/4 lb salami, sliced
  • 1/4 lb capicola (or substitute mortadella), sliced
  • 1/2- 1 cup olive salad
  • optional: 2-4 tbsp spicy brown mustard


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Split the bread loaf in half.
  3. Spread olive salad on the inside of the top half.
  4. Add all sliced meat on the bottom inside loaf.
  5. Top with sliced cheese.
  6. Optionally you can add a few tablespoons of  spicy brown mustard to the top loaf (my Mom likes to add this!)
  7.  Place the top loaf on top of meat cheese and place on a baking sheet.
  8. Toast in the oven until golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
  9. Cut into fourths and serve warm.

Olive Salad makes this sandwich! 
You can usually find it in the condiment aisle or you can make your own.  
  • 1 gallon large pimento stuffed green olives, slightly crushed and well drained
  • 1 quart jar pickled cauliflower, drained and sliced
  • 2 small jars capers, drained
  • 1 whole stalk celery, sliced diagonally
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 small jar celery seeds
  • 1 small jar oregano
  • 1 large head fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jar pepperoncini, drained (small salad peppers) left whole
  • 1 pound large Greek black olives
  • 1 jar cocktail onions, drained
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or pot and mix well. Place in a large jar and cover with 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 Crisco oil. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Allow to marinate for at least 24 hours before using.
Recipe from 
Here's a great tip: buy your bread from your local deli instead of the grocery store. I knew my local McAlister's Deli ordered Gambino's authentic Muffuletta bread loaves. So I stopped by and asked if I could just purchase the bread instead of the full sandwich. They were happy to sell me the bread. The best part- I got the full 10 inch round loaf for $2!

Spread meat then cheese on the bottom split loaf.

Spread olive salad generously on the top sliced bread loaf.
Add the top loaf on top of the bottom half and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
Optionally you can add spicy brown mustard on top of the olive salad spread.
That is one monster sandwich!
 Have your napkins ready and give your taste buds a party with this Mega Muffuletta!

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November 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Stuffed Artichokes

I was one of those funny kids that loved my veggies. Actually I loved any and all food and definitely wasn't a picky eater. If you asked me at age 5 what my favorite foods were I would probably have said artichokes, lobster, and sushi!
 A true foodie even as a child! Let's hope Ava follows in my footsteps!

Don't know how to eat an artichoke?   My favorite way to eat an artichoke is simply steamed for about 40-60 minutes depending on size with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with a side of melted butter for dipping. You simply dip each thick leaf in butter and scrap the meat of the artichoke on the bottom of each leaf off with your teeth, discarding the tough exterior leaf. Once you get to the center you scoop out and discard the thin leaves and furry center choke with a spoon and then you have the heart of the artichoke. This is what is usually available in cans in the store and served in the more common Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

I am still surprised when people do not know what an artichoke is. I am shocked every time I get asked by the grocery store cashier "what vegetable is this?" when she is ringing up my artichokes!  So I challenge you, if you have never tried an artichoke, try an artichoke for dinner today! For this recipe I went one step further and stuffed the artichoke with breadcrumbs and cheese and then steamed and baked it. Then I simply eat it the same way as above. It makes a delicious appetizer or even light main entrée for Meatless Monday.


Makes 2 servings
  • 2 artichokes, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 heaping tbsp. Philadelphia Cream Cheese Italian Herb cooking crème (or sub cream cheese with additional Italian seasoning)
  • sea salt/pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • Optional: melted butter or olive oil for dipping
 Stuffing amount and cooking time may vary depending on artichoke size.


  1. Rinse artichokes to remove any dirt.
  2. Slice off long stem on the bottom and any smaller leaves so it sits flat. Also remove with a knife or scissors the top tips of the leaves from the top. They are spiny and can poke you so best to cut them off!
  3. Next using a steamer pot or steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot, fill the pot with about 4 inches of water or about 1/4 full.
  4. Place artichokes in the pot, cover, and bring water to a boil.
  5. Steam for 40 minutes or until tender.
  6.  Drain well, laying upside down on a paper towel for a few minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Meanwhile, sauté diced onion and garlic in a sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil until softened.
  9. Add cooking cream, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to the pan and stir to melt and combine.
  10. Place the artichokes in a large baking dish and spoon in filling to the center and the outside leaves.
  11. Optional: before filling you can remove the inner inedible thin purple leaves and furry choke with a spoon so you have more room to stuff the artichoke!
  12. Top each artichoke with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  13. Bake artichoke for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and stuffing is golden. Serve warm.
  14. Optional: serve with additional lemon slices and melted butter for dipping.
    Rinse the artichoke then cut off the steam and pointy top tips of the leaves,

Add a pinch of sea salt and  a squeeze from half a lemon to the artichokes, then add to a steam pot filled about 1/4 full  of water.

Cover, bring to a boil, and steam for 40 minutes.
Saute 1/2 diced onion and one clove garlic in a sauté pan with olive oil until softened. 
I am a huge fan of Philadelphia Cream Cheese's Italian Herb flavored Cooking Crème. If you can't find it you can substitute softened cream cheese and Italian seasoning. 
Mix in panko breadcrumbs and cooking crème and season with salt and pepper.
Once that is melted add Parmesan cheese and stir.
Place the artichoke in a baking dish and spread the leaves and center. Spoon in filling in the outer leaves and the center, stuffing to the top.
Optional: before filling you can remove the inner inedible thin purple leaves and furry choke with a spoon so you have more room to stuff the artichoke! 
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees until golden. 
Serve warm with a slice of lemon and melted butter!
Happy Meatless Monday!
Don't forget to enter our latest giveaway with Hartley's Moms Monogram Mania

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