Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: May 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The ALDI Test Kitchen: What I Learned & What I Ate

I was provided a trip to the ALDI headquarters in Batavia, IL.  All travel and accommodations were provided by ALDI.  This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

If you missed my first recap to my trip to Chicago and visiting the ALDI headquarters, stop right here!  Go back and give it a read.  I gave a full tour of a typical ALDI store, what they offer and how to make it your number #1 go-to grocery store.

Today, I'm focusing on what information I received at the ALDI Test Kitchen while on that Chicago trip.  The other lucky bloggers and I were given the royal treatment and were literally stuffed to the gills in delicious food from their Test Kitchen chefs.  Just when we thought we couldn't eat another bite, out came another tray...and we just kept reaching for another bite!

Our day started out with taste testing ALDI products vs. other national brands.  You know those commercials you see where a random guy is out on the street asking people to sample his products?  He'll have two yogurts, both with their labels covered, and he'll ask the person which one they prefer.  And almost every time the one they pick isn't the one they were expecting.  Well, we got to do this!

As we traveled around sampling, we marked down which one we preferred.  I really thought I had a few nailed.  Some were products that we as a family buy on a weekly basis – tortilla chips, granola bars, yogurt, etc.

But, of course, much to my surprise, I was that lady on the street, shocked that chose one over the other, it's hard!  What was even more neat, was that after the unveiling, they told us the price difference of the two products and the amount of money saved by purchasing the ALDI product.  Some were over a 60% savings, but most are up to 50% savings!

You know the ALDI team kept us busy, soon after test sampling, we sat down to listen to two guest speakers.

Chef Brigitte Nguyen {a hoot, that girl is!} left corporate accounting for culinary school and later found herself on two seasons of Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown hosted by Guy Fieri and later winning the $50,000 grand prize in the National Chicken Council cook-off.  She now has her own show on the Cooking Channel and has hosted over 150 episodes of a weekly cooking show in her home state of Kentucky.

Brigitte taught us her techniques for eating for energy, knowing our hunger and getting those healthy fats in so we feel full longer.  What a wealth of knowledge she was!  While she made a few dishes for us to sample, she chatted along the way – giving us tips on saving time in the kitchen.  My favorite quote from her was, “You wouldn't wash just one shirt at a time – you do a whole load of laundry.  So why not prep all of your produce at once?”

Makes total sense, right?  I am really going to try and do more of that for sure!  Her favorite recipe of mine was a chicken and sweet potato sausage patty.  One that is great to double, freeze and pull out for easy breakfasts.  Stay tuned – I'll be creating my version of it soon!

Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N, also joined Brigitte and tag-teamed her healthy recipes with her wealth of nutrition knowledge.  Tara is the co-host of Emotional Mojo, a national television show, the author of Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition for Dummies and co-author of Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies.  She is also the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic NBA team and nutrition consultant to the University of Central Florida Athletic Department.  She has appeared on various television stations and shows, radio and online publications.

Tara made is all seem so simple.  Eat good, healthy food, in small intervals every 2-3 hours.  Easy enough, right?  I know this may sound trivial, but when she told us, “snacks are NOT intended to fill you up – they should just give you 1-2 hours and tide you over until the next meal”.

Ding, ding, ding! That makes so much sense.  A snack, is exactly that, a snack.  Of course a healthy fat snack will keep you fuller, longer, but don't intend for it to keep you full forever.

After speaking and getting to know Brigitte and Tara, we quickly moved to the kitchens.  It was our turn to make something!

In a fun challenge, us bloggers, had to recreate a healthy, fun, yet unique “salad in a jar”.  An array of food was presented before us {seriously, SO much food}.  Once glancing around we were given 15 minutes to gather our ingredients, make a dressing, chop our food {with the help of a sous chef} and make it presentable for Brigitte and Tara to judge.

I went the steakhouse route – spinach, grilled chicken, bleu cheese, hardboiled egg, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, all tossed in a homemade honey mustard dressing.  The winner of the timed event won a $100 ALDI gift certificate.  Sadly, I didn't win.  But I did hear the judges say they really liked it!

Once our challenge was over, they circled us back to the banquet room for dinner.  I'm pretty sure we were all completely stuffed, but honestly the aromas of dinner cooking was enough to entice anyone to eat more.

My dinner plate consisted of grilled steak, a chicken/veggie pasta, cauliflower rice and pasta primavera.  All so, very, very good.  Dessert I took home in a to-go box {definitely a first for me, I must have been full!}.  A delicious strawberry cupcake.  Maybe I ate it the next morning before breakfast?  Don't judge.

By this time it was getting late, we were all a bit tired {and stuffed}, so we hopped on the shuttle taking us back to the hotel.  But of course, being bloggers {hello....chatty!} many of us stayed up at the bar socializing and talking blog.  You can learn so much by talking to other bloggers – programs to use, ways to increase page traffic, companies to steer clear from – the list is endless.

In the end, I made many friends for life.  I got a night away to myself.  I learned ways to help my blog.  And most importantly, I learned the back end of ALDI.  Why they are such a great store and company – how much work they put into the quality of their product and the wonderful employees behind the scenes working their tail feathers off.  I cannot say enough about how well they treated us and how much they love their customers.  Hats off to ALDI!

*Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

This four ingredient cake will become your new summer staple.

strawberry upside down cake (

Did I tell you our littlest turned one almost two weeks ago?  Well, she did.  As most parents say, it was hard to imagine, the year went extremely fast.  You'd think being the third child I would know that, but it still snuck up on me.

You can read her birth story here, if so inclined.

We ended up being a bit all over the place traveling the days leading to and after her birthday so we ended up not throwing her a birthday party, but rather celebrating it small with family here and there. On the actual day I made this cake.

Oh, this cake.

It is one of my new favorites.  I originally thought of using blueberries, as the recipe I tweaked it from used them, but with strawberries in season {well, almost in season here}, I just couldn't resist.

And can we just talk about strawberry season for a moment?  I have two plants in my garden and I cannot wait to eat those soon.  And right after that I'll be headed here to pick many flats for my annual jam making.  I love this time of year.

strawberry upside down cake (

With just four ingredients {minus the whipped cream topping} a dead person could probably make this cake.  Seriously.  My four year old and I made this, with the birthday girl watching.  It's a fun, easy cake to make with kids!

And like I said, using any fruit would work - blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pineapple, heck, even bananas.  But if you're like me, I like using what is in season and right now that is my favorite fruit.


strawberry upside down cake (

I honestly meant to give some of this away, as I made it just for the five of us, but, well, that didn't happen.  It's so light and airy we found ourselves having a piece after every darn meal!

Minus breakfast of course.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering did the birthday girl like it?

Frankly, I think she gave it a 'C'.  It was either here nor there for her.  She hasn't had many sweets, so I'm pretty sure she was just more interested in the sweet potato and mac and cheese for dinner that night.

But, I will turn her around.  Don't you worry.

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

Print this Recipe!

4 c. fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 regular sized package yellow cake mix

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
3.  Layer the strawberries on the bottom of the pan, sprinkle on the sugar and then layer on the marshmallows.
4.  In a bowl prepare the cake batter mix according to directions.  Pour this over the fruit mixture, spreading evenly.
5.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes.  Invert the cake onto a serving tray, slicing and serving with whipped cream.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

FREE Ice Cream! Introducing Blue Bunny's Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Blue Bunny, an Iowa and nationwide staple, has introduced some new products!
Read on, to find out a bit more and for a chance to win!

The town of Le Mars, Iowa is known as "The Ice Cream Capital of the World".  More ice cream is made there than any other place on the planet!  Did you know that?

Yep, we have much more than corn, pigs and cows.

When Blue Bunny reached out to my family about trying their new dairy free line of products, do you think I hesitated?

Not a chance.

Of course I agreed!  Who doesn't want free ice cream?

My family is very lucky and we do not have any food allergies, so the fact that this new line of product is dairy free is rather here nor there, but I have many friends and family with certain allergies so I know just how important this ice cream could be for them.

Ice cream is a treat in our house {i.e. I don't buy it often as it would get eaten quicker than you can say hello}.  So needless to say when we do have it the kids go bonkers.  Like, freak out.

Especially when mom buys it in adorable cute 16 oz. containers.

For my Iowa readers, this ice cream can be found at Hy-Vee and Fareway.  For Blue Bunny products where you live, you can check their store locater here.  If your dietary needs need to be dairy free and you want some of this ice cream {you should} then I would then recommend calling that store to see if they are carrying it.

Chance are, they probably are!  Our local store had multiple varieties and the "frozen foods guy" {I'm sure I'm butchering his title} took me right to their display.  Easy peasy.

My kids gave this ice cream two thumbs up!  If you look closely, I also served them this chocolate cake.  Another dairy free goodie {I'm not sure what has gotten into me!}.  Anyway the cake is great too.  Just saying.

The Blue Bunny Dairy-Free ice cream provides a rich, creamy, delicious flavor you'd come to expect. It is a smart choice for anyone that needs to be lactose free, has certain diary allergies or just wants to experience the health benefits of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.  They make it with almond milk, which makes it an excellent source of calcium, containing healthy fats and it is cholesterol free.

I found the ice cream to be light, airy and refreshing.  We purchased classic Vanilla and Mocha Fudge, but it also comes in Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Chip.  I will say the Mocha Fudge went darn well with the chocolate cake!

So how about some FREE ice cream?

I'm giving a couple of readers FREE coupons to buy some of this ice cream for themselves.  The generous folks at Blue Bunny want my readers to know just how good this stuff is!

You have multiple chances to win via the Rapplecopter link below.  I will pick two random winners on Wednesday, May 27th.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Unstuffed Egg Roll Bowls

All the blessings of a delicious egg roll, but eaten in a bowl!  This mixture is addicting folks.

You know how Chipotle has their taco or burrito bowls?  Heck, I've even made my own version here. It simply gives you all the fixings of a taco without the tortilla.

Same concept with this recipe.

I treated my family to homemade egg rolls a few nights back and as usual I had extra filling leftover {I can never judge those things right!}.  Anyway, instead of running to the store for another package of egg roll wrappers, I decided to wing it and serve the rest over rice.

Best.  Idea.  Ever.

When the husband started stealing fresh egg rolls off the counter before I was ready to serve I wasn't even mad! Because I had secret leftover filling to eat ALL BY MYSELF.  Okay, I let them have some too, but I made this my main meal.

I kind of played it off like, "oh, you guys go ahead and have more, I'll just eat the leftover filling, I'm not that hungry anyway".  They fell for it hook, line and sinker.

The flavor will definitely rival any of your favorite Chinese restaurant joints, hands down. And the best part of making homemade egg rolls, or just eating the filling, is that it's easy!  I understand to many it may seem daunting or difficult, but trust me when I tell you it's not. In fact, making the filling is a one-pot meal.

There was even some leftover for lunch the next day and you better believe I jumped all over that before anyone could catch me.  

Now, I always, always, always use ground pork in my egg rolls.  It's the traditional way {I think} and to me it just tastes right.  You can certainly substitute ground beef, shredded chicken or omit meat all together and throw in some more veggies.  I'm pretty sure I'd eat it any one of those ways.

So, coming up.  Here is what is on tap!  Strawberry Upside-Down Cake {your local angels will be singing}, a fun, new Blue Bunny ice cream product review and giveaway and another {much requested!} 2-Week Meal Plan.  This one will feature prices and be very budget friendly.  You don't want to miss it.

Anything you'd like to see from me?  I'm taking suggestions!!!  Please leave me a comment telling me what you're craving.  Slow Cooker desserts?  Summer appetizers?  Kid-friendly dinners?

Unstuffed Egg Roll Bowls

1 lb. ground pork
2 10 oz. bags of cabbage slaw {includes green and purple cabbage, carrots and broccoli}
1/2 onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 t. worchestershire sauce
cooked rice

1.  In a large skillet cook the pork, along with the onion and garlic, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
2.  Add in packaged slaw, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and worchestershire sauce.  Stir fry for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
3.  Add in salt and pepper, turn off the heat and serve over warm cooked rice.

*You can also go all Laura Ingalls on this one and shred up your own cabbage and carrots instead of buying the pre-packaged mix.  I did that this last time and it was also very easy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

No-Bake Banana Nut Bites

All the flavors of banana bread, yet without flour, sugar or even baking!

I'm pulling out my "crunchy" recipe today.  Not because of the nuts in these bites, but because these are super healthy.  These isn't a hint of added processed sugar, no flour and heck, they aren't even baked!

And guess what.  I had to bring out the yelling voice when the kids wanted to eat EVERY SINGLE ONE in one sitting.  Then they thought it'd be funny and started running around the table in circles chasing each other, only to have my oldest literally run straight into the wall leaving a goose egg on his forehead with his banana nut bite sent sailing into the family room only to land on the carpet.

And then it was MY fault it now had dog hair on it.

{I vacuum, I swear, a couple of times a week, but it is impossible to keep up with.}

Despite all of this drama, these are good.  Really, really good.

Does anyone else, every time they walk buy the produce aisle in the grocery store, want to grab a 99 cent bag of over ripe bananas?

Yeah, me too.

The husband complains that I have this "need" to always have bananas sitting on the counter.  Not sure why this bothers him as bananas are pretty cheap, it's not like I want bottles of expensive wine sitting around {wait...maybe I do?}.  

Thankfully my kids eat bananas like candy, me included, and these mounds of bananas on our counter never last too long.  But when I do have a few that get super ripe I'll throw them in the freezer.  My number one go to recipe is this BEST banana bread.  After that this chocolate version is always a hit.  And last fall I made this banana zucchini cake with browned butter frosting.  I don't have to explain how good that one was.  And just this weekend I made these pancakes.

Okay, maybe I am a bit banana obsessed?

These though are simple.  You don't even have to turn on your oven!  They are perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.  Or grab a few if you are rushing out the door and forgot about breakfast.  And don't forget about kid's lunches!  They can end their meal with what they think is a "sweet" treat.

If they only knew how healthy they were for them.

Enough of my rambling.  Here is the recipe!

No-Bake Banana Nut Bites
Print this Recipe!

2 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1 mashed ripe banana
2 T. honey
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 T. milk

1.  In a food processor combine the oats and almonds, pulsing until it resembles fine crumbs.
2.  Combine the oat/almond mixture, cinnamon and salt.  Add in the mashed banana, honey and milk, stirring to combine a wet "dough".
3.  Using a cookie scoop form into 1 inch balls.  Place on a plate and put in the fridge to firm up, for at least 30 minutes.  Makes 10 bites, give or take.  Keep in the fridge.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Shopping at ALDI: What They Have, How to Shop There and Why I Love It

I was provided a trip to the ALDI headquarters in Batavia, IL.  All travel and accommodations were provided by ALDI.  This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

As most of you know {since I had been shouting it from the rooftops}, I was invited to the ALDI Headquarters in Chicago in April. I felt honored and privileged to attend this blogger event {we are all pictured above}. As a long time ALDI shopper, I was intrigued to know their back story and see, up front and personal, how their store really works.

I'm not going to lie. They took very good care of us. From the flight there, to the travel to and from the hotel, to filling our bellies with delicious food, it was pretty much a vacation for me. I love my family to death, but it sure was nice to have a night away to myself! I won't bore you with the details but it did involve a scenic room view of the Fox River, turn down service that included a cozy robe, slippers, cookies and milk and care packages that lasted me through the headaches of travel. The people of ALDI really know how to treat a blogger like royalty.

But back to the purpose I was really there. To learn more about ALDI! And to give all of that information back to you.

Today I'm going to speak about what YOU all see. The store! ALDI gave us a grand tour of their store in Geneva, Illinois. This store was very similar to mine, as far as set-up and appearance, so from the start I felt very comfortable. 

And that is just one thing they do – they keep all their stores, for the most part, in the same set up, so if you visit one and then a different one a week later they look the same. They also house their warehouse in the same way. The aisles there mimic the aisles in the store. Everything is kept in the same order from distribution to your store aisles. This reduces time wasted on moving items from aisle to aisle and trying to figure out where in the store it is housed.

In case you've been living under a rock, ALDI takes great pride in their low price, high quality items. As this photo says, “We don't match other stores' prices because that would mean raising ours.”

There are many ways ALDI saves money, in order to keep giving us low prices. Things that other big boxed stores just do not do.

  • They do not provide plastic sacks, nor do they provide people to sack your groceries for you. The cashier will scan your items and then place them back in your cart. You then pack your groceries on a long table, using your own bags or boxes that you find off the store shelves.
  • When you arrive you put a quarter in a line of grocery carts, it releases one and you are off to shop. When finished shopping you push your cart back into the line, lock it up and it releases your quarter back to you. This saves on hiring a person to corral carts all day long.
  • Products are taken off the truck and placed directly on the shelves in open-faced boxes or packaging. No one is hired to “face” the shelves.
  • Items have multiple bar codes on the bags/boxes, allowing the cashier to scan the product quickly. No need to look for the bar code or type it in if the packaging is crushed.
  • ALDI designs their own packaging, in house, therefore eliminating the “middle man” {usually an ad agency} to make their product visually stimulating.
  • You will find just a few employees in their stores – a couple cashiers and a store manager.
While in Chicago, we did a lot of blind product taste testing {which I'll talk about in another post}, but the short version is this. Their stuff is good! Many of us could not tell the difference between an ALDI product vs. a national brand. And most times we liked the ALDI product better! Because of this ALDI has gotten a huge cult following.

Here are some of the reasons.

  • ALDI is committed to removing certified synthetic colors, trans fat, and MSG from all ALDI exclusive brand foods and more than 125 ingredients from SimplyNature products by the end of 2015.
  • Over the next five years, ALDI plans to unveil 650 new stores across the country, including expanding to Southern California, bringing its total number of stores in the US to nearly 2,000 by 2018.
  • They will continue to bring “Special Buys” into the stores. These items are a test product to see if buyers are interested. Many of these items become so popular they become permanent staples {think the Simply Organic brand and other gluten free brands}.
  • They provide a Double Guarantee. They replace the product AND refund your money.
  • Did I mention their ridiculously low prices?

In ALDI stores, as previously mentioned, they keep the set up the same. When you walk in you are immediately hit with crackers, chips, chocolate and alcohol.

I could probably live on those alone.

The middle aisles are kept for seasonal items {right now it's gardening}, canned goods, bakery items {the best!}, cleaning products, household items and other drinks {juice, soda, etc.} Produce, dairy, meat and frozen items flank the outside aisles of the store.

I want to mention some of my favorite go-to items in ALDI. How about coconut oil for $4.99? Cereal for $1.69? Ready made HUGE pizzas for $4.99? Organic frozen blueberries for $2.99? All of these are great buys. The prices cannot be matched anywhere.

And goat cheese {$1.99}! Did you know they have a huge selection of speciality cheeses? We buy pounds and pounds of string cheese and block cheese every two weeks. We like our dairy. And for those that have asked they do have organic milk {we buy that too}.

Their organic section is growing daily, I feel like every time I go, there is a new product. We often feast on their organic avocados {$3.99 for a bag}, carrots {99 cents}, bananas {69 cents/lb.} and grass fed beef {$6.99/lb.}. ALDI did not say this, but I honestly feel like the whole store will be organic someday.

Another favorite product is their BACON. Their new Never Any! brand is vegetarian raised and antibotic and preservative free. I would probably cook with bacon for every meal if my hips allowed it.

Shopping at ALDI does take some getting used to. Walking in the first time will be a bit confusing. It looks a bit different and you will need time to start recognizing their products, but trust me, one day it will all “click” and you'll be back again and again.

And you know what? It is not as overwhelming. Take a trip to your local grocery store. Go to the condiment aisle. Cruise the mustards. How many are there to choose from? 15? 20? At ALDI there is one, maybe two or three. Your mind will not have to go back and forth, trying to pick the one you need, plus do different price variations. You simply grab your mustard and move on.

Shopping at ALDI will save you time. Once you get a handle on where and what you like purchasing there, you'll be in and out in a snap {and the cashiers, move SUPER fast, it is pretty neat to watch}.

And lastly, you know what else? I love getting behind a store that loves it employees. Since their inception in the 1970's they have been paying their employees well above minimum wage. They also offer all full-time and PART-TIME employees full benefits.

As we were finishing up our tour that day and mingling by the door waiting for our shuttle, a store employee came over to us and asked if he could say something to the group.

He said, “I just want to thank you for coming here today and for what you guys do, because of that I have the best job.”

I almost teared up. He was so grateful for his job. You could tell he absolutely loved what he did, day in and day out. Why can't we all be that way? Just happy to HAVE a job? And even better, one that we love?

He ended our day on the brightest of bright notes.

I'll end with this. If you haven't been to ALDI yet, just go. Give it a whirl. Still on the fence, give it another try. It will takes a few trips to get the hang of it. And then one day it will click and you'll never turn back.

Stay tuned to Part II of my ALDI trip, where I'll focus on our product testing day, which also included guest speakers and so much more!


I was provided a trip to the ALDI headquarters in Batavia, IL. All travel and accommodations were provided by ALDI. This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sweet Heat Chicken Asian Slaw

Disclosure: This post is part of my relationship with the Stubb's Insiders Program.  
Product and compensation have been provided, but all opinions are my own. 
#ad #sponsored

Barbecue chicken + springy salads.  Why not put them together?  We can certainly put our love of summer barbecue and fresh, crispy salads in the same bowl and merry them together. Because guess what?  It's works!  And it's delightful.

May is National Barbecue Month, so I'm kicking it this recipe with barbecue sauce of course!

This year I joined the Stubb's Insider Program.  Stubb's being this incredible Texas barbecue sauce company, won me over with their first hello.

Their sauces have quite the cult following and soon after you try them you know why.  Not only are they delicious, but all of their sauces, rubs and marinades are certified gluten-free, made with real ingredients and contain no artificial ingredients, flavors, colors, MSG or high fructose corn syrup {the number one ingredient in most national brands of barbecue sauce}.

I hope you enjoy following me this year with Stubb's.  About every two months I'll be creating a new recipe with their products and sharing some of their own.

In my first package I received their Original Bar-B-Q Sauce {a tangy mix of tomato, vinegar, molasses and black pepper}, their Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce {molasses and brown sugar balanced against chipotle peppers} and their Beef Marinade {a blend of soy, lime, ginger and red pepper}.

I have to admit, trying to choose which sauce to feature was difficult.  They all sounded so good! But...anything with a bit of heat will always jump out to me.  I have always been a fan of barbecue sauces with a bit of a kick.  Nothing that sends me screaming for a glass of milk, but a sauce that leaves just a hint of pepper on my tongue.

Obviously, I picked up the Sweet Heat bottle and got to work.  I wanted to come up with something light for the warmer months that are emerging, yet still allowed for the depth of barbecue sauce.  This dish is it folks!  It combines the flavor of light, crispy cabbage, sweet peppery chicken with the crunch of almonds.

This slaw is definitely one I could see being served at any event - a girl's night out, at a brunch, a spring potluck - heck, do I even say it, a restaurant menu?  It's fun, unique and tasty.

And since the dressing is poured on right before serving, you can easily make this ahead, packing it up for lunches during the week or a late dinner.

Sweet Heat Chicken Asian Slaw
serves 4

1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. honey
2 T. oil
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. honey mustard dressing
1/2 c. Stubb's Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce
16 oz. packaged coleslaw mix
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper

1.  In a bowl combine the soy sauce, honey, oil and vinegar, whisking until combined.  Pour half of this mixture into into another bowl, combining it with Stubb's Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce.  Set both bowls aside.
2.  Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Generously sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Spray the pan with cooking spray.  Cook chicken 4-6 minutes a side until cooked through {shorter or longer depending on thickness of chicken}.  Pour barbecue sauce mixture over the chicken, coating on both sides.
3.  While chicken is cooking combine the honey mustard dressing with the remaining soy/honey mixture in a large bowl.  Toss in coleslaw mix and almonds.  Slice the cooked chicken and toss it with the coleslaw mix.  Top with any remaining almonds.  Serve immediately.

****This post was sponsored by Stubb's, as part of the Stubb's Insider Program.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Coconut & Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Still need an item for Mother's Day Brunch?  Ding, ding!  This one pleases all types.  
Rich, dense and flavorful, it will make that special Mom in your life love you forever!

Coconut & Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt, moist and perfect for brunches, Sunday breakfasts, wedding showers and more! (

Let me start by saying I have NO IDEA why I registered for a castle-type, pointy-looking bundt cake pan for my wedding back in 2006.  Why?  I really don't like it, in fact it keeps me from making bundt cakes!  And if someone from my family, hometown or a friend is reading this....cringing....knowing you bought it for us, I'm sorry I made you do such a thing!

Long story short, a bundt cake pan is on my long list of things to get someday.  {Which will probably be never, as really, who goes on a special shopping trip for bundt pans?}

Now, for the 200 readers I've already lost because I'm taking about bundt pans, let's move on.

I needed a dessert to take to a brunch a few weeks back.  I wanted something easy, yet tasty, but also something I could make the night prior and not have to scramble with in the morning.

Coconut & Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt, moist and perfect for brunches, Sunday breakfasts, wedding showers and more! (

I turned to an old cookbook my sister gave me back in the day.  You know the ones.  Where a company asks all their employees to submit their favorite recipes, they collect them on typed paper and bind it at Staples.

Hey, don't knock 'em!  Some of the best recipes {without photos mind you} are found in these cookbooks.  This one happens to be a banking association.  These recipes are ones that have been passed down over the years and are very loved.

It's a recipe I've made before but I kicked it up a notch this time, adding in sweetened shredded coconut, almond extract and why not....a sugary glaze!

Coconut & Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt, moist and perfect for brunches, Sunday breakfasts, wedding showers and more! (

I'm headed to my hometown today to spend some time with family and attend a cousin's graduation party, oh, and a Mother's Day Brunch on Sunday before we head back.  If I had planned it a little bit better I would have brought this with me!

Save or pin this recipe for that special day you have coming up!

And do yourself a favor and read this tuitorial on How to Make Buttermilk.  So many variations!  Did you know there are 9 different ways to make it?  Such a great read with many, many recipes to boot.

Coconut and Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

1/2 c. melted coconut oil
2 c. sugar + 3/4 c.
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk + 2 T.
2 t. almond extract + 1 t. 
2 t. baking soda
4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1 c. powdered sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the bundt pan well with cooking spray.
2.  In a stand mixer combine the coconut oil, 2 c. sugar, eggs, 2 c. buttermilk and 2 t. almond extract.
3.  Add in the flour, baking soda, salt and shredded coconut.
4.  Pour half of the batter in the bundt pan.
5.  In a bowl combine the 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle half over the half batter in the pan.
6.  Pour in the remaining batter.  Sprinkle on the remaining sugar/cinnamon mix.
7.  Bake for 50 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a plate and remove from the bundt pan.  Place the cake on a dish that you will be serving it on.
8.  In a bowl combine the powdered sugar, 1 t. almond extract and 2 T. buttermilk.  Mix to form a glaze, adding more buttermilk if too thick.
9.  Pour glaze over the cake allowing it to dip down the sides of the cake.  Keep cake covered until ready to slice and serve.  It will stay fresh for 2-3 days covered.

Coconut & Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt, moist and perfect for brunches, Sunday breakfasts, wedding showers and more! (