Some days a simple chocolate chip cookie doesn’t cut it. Some days call for a thick, crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie bar. On those days you just want something extra…this recipe is for you!

This is my grandma’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies, just baked in a rectangle pan – so if you’re also looking for a stellar chocolate chip cookie, how fortunate that you’ve stumbled upon this space. It’s one I have memorized and bake on a whim or for special occasions alike. There’s just something wonderfully comforting found in a family recipe passed down. Every time I make these, I hear her laugh and smell the amaretto coffee she sips as she offered simple directions over my shoulder as a child in her kitchen. And her tip was to always add extra vanilla. To every recipe. I heed that quite liberally, as you’ll see in the recipe below.

When I make these, my girls rush to the kitchen waiting for a spoon full of cookie dough. If they’re not already there helping me bake them. I encourage you to do the same with your friends or family; share with the people you love and practice hospitality one bite at a time.

Tip: I enjoy thicker, gooey bars. So I use a 7×9″ pan. Hence the longer bake time. If you use a 9×13, cut the bake time down to 15-17 minutes.

cookie dough


  • 1 cup butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs at room temp
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 cups AP flour (for my gluten free friends, I sub a 1:1 GF flour)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

*as a side note; I’m a believer that quality of ingredients always matters when it comes to making a recipe shine. When possible I use minimally processed or organic ingredients and stay away from artificial ingredients.


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 7×9″ rectangle pan with non-stick cooking spray. (*see comment above about pan size and cooking time alterations. Optional: line your pan with parchment paper as well.)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together 1 minute to combine with your mixer or in your KitchenAid fitted with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla and milk, scraping down the sides until combined.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
  6. Transfer to your baking dish and smooth out until even. (Please be sure to reserve a spoonful or two to test!)
  7. Bake 27-29 minutes – noting it will be slightly under baked. The bars will cook more as they cool. Cool completely before cutting and serving.


Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If they last that long.


Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you bake these @girlmeetskitchen using #girlmeetskitchen 

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This post is sponsored by Nature’s Bakery.

I know it’s January and everyone is filling your feeds with cleanses, whole30 and the like…but posting a new chocolate dessert recipe is way more my style. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge healthy lifestyle advocate, but I see healthy living as more of an intuitive eating (that includes occasional sugar), more plants than meat, move your body regularly kind of plan. Which is why this recipe for chocolate pot de creme is coming at you in January!

This recipe is so very simple, and is made using seven ingredients; six of which I’d bet you already have on hand in your kitchen! The best part of these is the Nature’s Bakery Double Chocolate Brownie Bars, however. They bring a slight texture and a delicious flavor from cocoa, real dates, and wholesome whole grains. These are such a sweet treat on their own, but added to these Pot de Creme Desserts brings them to the next level! Be sure to grab your own at a store near you and enjoy them both ways!

Recipe yields 4 desserts. 

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  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour (you can substitute a 1:1 gluten-free flour as well!)
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk. Want to make them Vegan? Substitute 2 cups dark chocolate almond milk instead.
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 packs of Nature’s Bakery Double Chocolate Brownie Bars, crumbled and divided.
  • Optional toppings: miniature marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, nuts – be creative!

pot de creme 5 horizontal


  1. Crumble the Brownie Bars from one package (each package yields 2 brownie bars) and add to the bottom of each of the 4 serving dishes*. 
  2. Place the first 6 ingredients into a small saucepan on your stove top and turn it on low heat. Whisk the ingredients together occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the sugar has dissolved (approximately 3 minutes.)
  3. Continue to heat on low, whisking constantly but gently until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes. It will turn into a thick custard. Remove from heat.
  4. Immediately pour the custard evenly divided into your 4 serving glasses. Cover with plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. 
  5. Remove from fridge and add the second package of the crumbled Brownie Bars to the top of each dessert, along with any other desired toppings and serve!

*I used 7.5 oz glass tumblers from amazon, but any small glass dish will do!

pot de creme 4

pot de creme 3

pot de creme

Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make this recipe
@girlmeetskitchen and use the #girlmeetskitchen!


This post is sponsored by Crunch Pak®

Christmas morning is typically a flurry of excitement and magic now that I have little ones. It’s always been a magical holiday, but there’s just something about watching your children enjoy the season that makes it so much better. We love every ounce of December from the snow to the family gatherings, and everything in between! 

Not surprisingly, food plays a key part in our celebrations as well. Christmas morning carries so much excitement, so our breakfast has to match those vibes. I also believe it shouldn’t be a morning where you spend hours in the kitchen, so I’ve developed this baked apple french toast that you can prep the night before and pop it in the oven Christmas morning! Your family will thank you for it, and you can sit back and sip that morning coffee while the smells of apple cinnamon goodness spread through your house.

The star of this apple french toast bake is and should be the apples! Crunch Pak® has the most delicious apples because they’re grown in Cashmere, Washington (a.k.a the epicenter of apple perfection!) I used their certified organic pre-sliced apples, which boast the perfect fresh and crunchy sweetness on their own – but also hold up nicely to the saute and baking process for this recipe. 


So go ahead and sleep in as long as the littles will allow you Christmas morning! Prep this recipe the night before, refrigerate it, then take it out of the fridge while the oven warms up and bake while everyone opens their gifts. From my home to yours, I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a joy-filled Holiday season!



  • 1 loaf brioche or hawaiian bread, cubed
  • 2 12 oz bags of Crunch Pak® Organic Apple Slices, cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
  • 1 stick butter, cubed and divided
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water




  • Add 1/2 stick of butter, diced apples, cinnamon and 1/3 cup of water to a skillet and saute over medium heat, stirring often on your stovetop for 7-8 minutes. Add the brown sugar to skillet and stir until dissolved, about 1 minute.

  • Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Place a layer of bread cubes evenly into the baking dish. Top with the other half of the stick of butter and half the apple mixture in an even layer. Top with remaining bread cubes and remaining apple mixture.

  • In a large mixing cup, whisk together milk, eggs, maple syrup and the zest of 1 orange. Pour over the bread cube and apple mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350. Remove the dish from the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or at least while your oven heats up!)

  • Bake slightly covered with tinfoil for 20 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown and the center is firm.

  • Serve immediately and top with powdered sugar and maple syrup!





Traditions are what make the holidays magical in my opinion. Whether your traditions are cutting down a tree every year or baking with friends and family, it’s those very memories that you likely hold onto and look forward to all year round. It’s probably no surprise to you that one of our traditions is a day spend baking Christmas treats. Everyone contributes some ingredients and we get to work rolling, cutting, mixing, baking and decorating. It’s a full day with all hands on deck from littles to adults.

From sipping coffee to sampling cookies, it always brings me back to baking in my grandma’s small apple studded kitchen in North Minneapolis. The laughter was loud, the coffee was hot and the conversation never lulled. I can still remember her buckets of homemade frosting and the way she would tip her head back when in full laughter mode. Those very memories are ones I cherish and am trying to recreate for my girls.

These cookies were always a part of the Christmas baking repertoire – and while you can certainly enjoy them year round, to me they’ll always represent Christmas. I encourage you to invite some loved ones over, put on a pot of coffee and bake together!

Recipe yields 2 dozen cookies.




  • 12 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup flour (gluten-free? Sub a 1:1 GF flour!)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Mix the first 4 ingredients until smooth
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined
  4. Roll the dough into even sized balls (I use a cookie scoop for consistency) and roll them in sugar
  5. Place the sugared dough balls onto the lined baking sheets and using your finger, drop one drop of water onto the tops of every cookie
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes
  7. Wait 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack, then cool for 15 minutes
  8. Store in a cool, dry place or freeze


Be sure and tag me if you make this recipe on Instagram @girlmeetskitchen and use #girlmeetskitchen 

NB 2

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Bakery

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day, and because of the fast paced nature of motherhood mixed with work, it’s also usually my heartiest meal. From the moment we wake until late at night life brings a frenzy of activities and demands, so I need meals that both energize and provide the right nutrients to keep our family going. Smoothie bowls are a great way to meet these needs! 

I love mixing different fruits together to introduce my girls to a variety of flavors, but my favorite combo is this acai smoothie bowl. It’s loaded with acai berries (great little powerhouses of antioxidants), bananas, and mangoes. The really fun part is the toppings + I let my girls get creative when it comes to what they choose! Think all the fun of an ice cream toppings bar but with heartier, wholesome ingredients like these new Nature’s Bakery Oatmeal Crumble Bars. They come in a variety of flavors like cherry, strawberry or apple cinnamon and the oat-topped whole grains make any morning as happy as happy can be – especially when topped on these smoothie bowls!

Aside from eating them on our morning smoothie bowls, my girls love their wide variety of snack bars. I love that they’re wholesome, non-GMO dairy-free, nut-free, gmo-free, soy-free, and made with hearty whole grains and sun ripened fruits. They also have Double Chocolate Brownies for the occasional sweet treat made with dates, cocoa and whole wheat.


The Fig Bars are a huge hit for snacks in our home (they also offer a gluten-free variety!).They’re plant-based and perfect for on the go and the entire family!

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Grab the recipe for the acai smoothie oatmeal crumble bowls below, and happy snacking from my kitchen to yours! Recipe yields 2 smoothie bowls.


  • ½ cup frozen acai berries
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup juice of choice (I used pomegranate)
  • ½ cup frozen mango chunks, plus another ½ cup partially thawed
  • 2 Nature’s Bakery Oatmeal Crumble Bars in any flavor, cut into 2” squares
  • Optional: protein powder + toppings of choice!


  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients (and optional protein powder) in the blender and whir until smooth.
  2. Divide between 2 bowls + top with the oatmeal crumble bars.
  3. Add any other desired toppings and enjoy with loved ones!

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Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make this recipe @girlmeetskitchen and use the #girlmeetskitchen 


This post is sponsored by Taylor Farms

What does Autumn mean to you? When fall arrives, my head immediately begins to imagine gathering around the table with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. From fall birthdays to Friends and Thanksgiving and even the everyday ordinary…these are the moments where the world seems to slow down, people connect, the outside stressors melt away and we mindfully practice tuning in.

Traditions vary from house to house, but we have a Thanksgiving tradition in my family that has stayed the course of time. Our Thanksgiving meal is lunch, but the understanding is guests stay all day and nosh on the leftovers again at dinner. There’s football on in the background, a competitive game of scrabble or two, slow sips of wine or champagne and a variety of food. 

This year, we’re mixing it up when it comes to some of the sides. Sure to be featured will be a few bright and hearty salads like this Taylor Farms Maple Bourbon Bacon Chopped Kit served inside a hollowed out butternut squash. Taylor Farms wants to bring friends and families back to the dinner table by offering up an easy, healthy alternative found through its salads and produce. Their Chopped Kits are the perfect fresh dish for the holidays, and the variety of flavors in each kit will compliment any menu – traditional or non traditional!

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The squash and maple notes are a natural pairing and the bacon and bourbon round it out with just the right amount of smoky + salty flavors. Not to mention, the dish is vibrant and adds the most amazing punch of color to the table!

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Another salad that will be on the table is their Spiced Apple Chopped Kit (available at Sam’s Club.)

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The salad is perfectly bright and autumnal as is, but pomegranate arils compliment the flavors of apple and it all pairs so well with the carved turkey! The colors sing in the bowl and all those flavors together don’t fail to delight the taste buds. Simply mix the ingredients in the kit together and add fresh pomegranate arils!

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When it comes to menu planning, I follow a few simple rules. First, include your guests. Have each bring one item like an appetizer or side dish to help you lighten the cooking responsibilities. Second, focus on a few dishes that will be tasking and plan out the timing for them. In our case, it means brining and cooking the turkey, the homemade stuffing, etc. Lastly, grab some sustainable and fresh items like these Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits to brighten up and elevate the flavors of your side dishes.

Whether your menu is traditional or nontraditional, extravagant or simple – I’m wishing you the most beautiful holiday gatherings! Find the recipe for the squash salad below. Cheers from my kitchen to yours!

Maple Bourbon Bacon Squash Salad



  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. After you’ve halved and seeded the butternut squash, run a sharp knife halfway through the squash in cross sections and drizzle each half with 1 tbsp. EVOO
  3. Place them meat side up on two baking sheets, add 1/2 cup of water onto the pan and cover loosely with tinfoil.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes.
  5. On another parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out the halved delicata squash pieces and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the same oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender and browned on the bottom.
  6. Let the butternut squash sit for 15 minutes, then use a large spoon to remove the squash from the exterior layer. Cube the cooked squash and set aside.
  7. Mix together the Maple Bourbon Bacon Chopped salad in a separate bowl and dress it. Add to the hollowed out squash halves and sprinkle with the bacon + golden honey almonds. Finish by topping with the cubed squash + delicata halves.


Scoring the squash aids in cooking and makes it easier to remove!

squash 2

For more information on where to buy your Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits, be sure to visit their site!

If you make this maple bourbon bacon squash salad recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram @girlmeetskitchen!


Just in time for all your Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving gatherings – here is the promised recipe for apple crisp! If you follow me over on Instagram, you may recall we did a poll about how you prefer your apple crisp. I’m a girl who likes it tart and not overly sweet. I know it’s dessert…but apples are already sweet. When you compliment that natural sweetness with spices and a hit of bright acidity, they really shine and make a recipe sing.

When I did the poll, however, a lot of you prefer it sweet – so I’ll give you direction on which apples to use that will change the notes of the dessert more to your liking without over doing it on the sugar.

Best Apples to use for Tart Apple Crisp: Gala, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith

Best Apples to use for Sweeter Apple Crisp: Mutsu, Jonagold, Golden Delicious


For this recipe, I used Honey Crisp…because I wanted it to be celebratory in honor of Friendsgiving. The more cost effective alternative with bright tart notes would definitely be the Granny Smith. A mixture of 1/2 of each also works great here.

Let’s get to the recipe for the best apple crisp, and we will discuss the table setting after that.


For the apple filling

  • 2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced into half-moon uniform pieces (see above for apple choices for sweet vs. tart!)
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cubed
  • juice of 1 lemon

For the Topping:

  • 1 stick of cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamom
  • 1 cup AP flour (gluten-free sub a 1:1 GF flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar

apples 2

apples 3


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter or spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Add the sliced apples to a large bowl, then add the lemon juice and stir.
  3. Combine all spices and sugar together, then stir into the apples until evenly coated. Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, add the topping ingredients and combine with a fork or pie crust mixer. You can also use clean hands. The idea is to get the ingredients combined to a crumble consistency.
  5. Add the apples to the sprayed/buttered pan and add the 4 tbsp. of cubed butter throughout the apples. Then top with the crumble topping.
  6. Bake 55-60 minutes on the center rack of your oven. Serve warm topped with your favorite ice cream.


When planning your Friendsgiving…follow a few simple rules: keep it simple, include your guests and borrow what you don’t have!

When I say keep it simple, I mean everything from the menu to the table setting. Simple can be fancy – I’m referring to simplicity on your budget and using what you have. The main dish was Ham instead of turkey because it’s more cost effective during Thanksgiving season, and simpler to cook. The rest of the menu consisted of a variety of roasted veggies, collard greens, scalloped potatoes, a wild rice salad, a cheese platter all paired with some crisp Rosés. We ended the evening with the warm apple crisp.

I included my friends by assigning them a dish or beverage to bring, making it interactive for them as a guest. It could be as simple as a bottle of wine to a cheese platter or side dish – but odds are your guests will love being included and it helps you as well.


For the table setting: I have China from a zillion years ago, so I used that for both the adults and the kids. Finally, I texted a few neighbors for plate chargers and one of them had the most amazing variety that added dimension to the tablescape.

friendsgiving table 2

I decided to use a tablecloth I had purchased on amazon for my girls’ birthday party a couple years ago that is 100% sparkle and over the top, which is linked here. Layering texture for visual affect, I added a burlap runner on top followed by a yellow leaf garland and a few white pumpkins from Target’s dollar section. Finally, I brought it all together with some white unscented candles that bounced the best light off the glitter of the tablecloth and chargers.

friendsgiving table

There you have it: a recipe for the best apple crisp plus a few tips on how to host your own Friendsgiving. More importantly than what’s on the table, however, is those who gather around it. Wishing you a beautiful fall season celebrating with friends and family alike!

This pumpkin bread is a favorite fall recipe packed with cinnamon and spices!

I love a good pumpkin recipe, and this pumpkin bread is a family favorite that doesn’t last long when baked. They also request it year round, not just in the fall months. It’s really moist, full of spices and pairs nicely with a cup of morning coffee.

Share it with those you love even though you’ll be tempted to eat the whole loaf by yourself. Sneaking piece after piece in your pantry to avoid your littles seeing you. I’m just going to jump straight to the recipe: because we all know that’s why you’re here!

Enjoy from my kitchen to yours! Recipe yields one loaf or 12-14 muffins.

pumpkin bread 2


  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used avocado, but feel free to use a coconut or canola)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 3/4 cup AP flour (for the GF crowd, I use a 1:1 gluten free flour and it turns out perfect every time!)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix sugar + oil together, then add in eggs and pumpkin.
  3. Sift spices with flour, then add.
  4. Add water. Mix until combined.
  5. Bake 1 hour or until a cake tester comes clean from the center of the loaf.
  6. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan, then allow to cool completely before cutting.
  7. Serve with coffee or ice cream. Enjoy!


pumpkin bread 3

Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make this recipe @girlmeetskitchen and use #girlmeetskitchen 

Try these other favorite breakfast recipes:

Every Day Pancakes
Baked Apple French Toast

The back to school shuffle is real! Any parent can attest to the very real change in routines and schedules when the kids start school again…which can sometimes lead to less time for meal planning. If this is you: rest easy! This is a recipe round-up of some simple + delicious meals from breakfast to dinner in partnership with Roth Cheese.


I don’t know about you, but I tend to stick my emotional head in the sand when back to school comes around each year. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the never ending, on-the-go schedules when fall arrives.

This year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create an environment in the kitchen and house that was decisively celebratory…especially when it came to packing lunches and planning meals. This meant creating a fun environment when we packed lunches. We crank the tunes and include the kids, which inevitably turns into a kitchen dance party. Making the potentially mundane memorable was exactly what we all needed to kick the back to school blues away!

Here are a few recipes to add to your meal planning this month, featuring Roth Havarti cheese. They have a variety of Havarti cheeses from mild to bold and spicy that are sure to add the perfect depth of flavor to any meal!

Now: let’s get to the recipes…

Breakfast: Cheesy Dill Grits with Blistered Onions + a Jammy Egg

Roth: Dill Polenta Breakfast bowl

I’m a big fan of savory breakfast, and a warm bowl of cheesy grits made with Roth Dill Havarti topped with blistered onions and a jammy egg hits the spot. This cheese pairs well with just about everything, but brings such a unique flavor to creamy grits that satisfies you long into the late morning hours. Recipe serves 2.


  • 1/2 cup grits
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 4 oz Roth Dill Havarti, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)


  1. Add 2 eggs to a small saucepan and cover with room temp water. Bring to a boil and turn the stovetop off. Let sit for 5 minutes and 50 seconds. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a small skillet atop your stovetop, add 2 tbsp EVOO and add the sliced onions. Cook 8-10 minutes or until the onions are slightly crunchy but not blackened.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate medium saucepan, add chicken stock, grits and salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off and stir in the shredded dill havarti. 
  4. Divide the grits between 2 bowls and top with the crispy onions and one peeled jammy egg cut in half. Enjoy!

Lunch: Jalapeño Havarti BLT

Roth: Jalapeno BLT

We pack our girls a lunch every day, and sometimes it’s easy to get in a rut. Changing up a traditional sandwich option like a BLT by adding Roth Jalapeño Havarti turns an everyday lunch into a delicious surprise. The Havarti is so creamy that there’s no need for any mayonnaise, which makes it easier to pack for littles.

We make our bacon in the oven and refrigerate the leftovers, which makes prepping meals like this one so simple. Substitute spinach for regular lettuce for added vitamins and fiber. Recipe yields one sandwich.

Jalapeno havarti BLT


  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon
  • 2 slices of tomatoes
  • 6 thinly cut slices of Roth Jalapeño Havarti
  • 8-10 spinach leaves


  1. Pretty simple here: layer the ingredients between two pieces of bread. Cut in half. Enjoy!

Dinner: Hearty Chili with Chipotle Havarti

Chipotle Chili: Roth

Don’t get me wrong, these are all mouth watering recipes. But this one…she’s the prom queen. My family requests this recipe the most of anything I make. And I love that it’s loaded with so much goodness like sprouted beans and lentils, fresh vegetables and 3 different kinds of beans. My husband requests it with grass-fed beef, but I typically make it vegetarian. Either way…it’s a quick and delicious flexitarian meal everyone will love!

It’s especially tasty topped with Roth Chipotle Havarti. The smoky notes of the cheese compliment this hearty bowl of chili so well, and the pairing was a total “When Harry Met Sally” moment. Or for you younger generations, consider it that moment when Hermoine Granger and Ron Weasley finally paired up in “Harry Potter.”

This recipe makes a very large stockpot of chili – which is my preferred way to make it. However, I know many of you are asking for make ahead or little prep meals, and this can most definitely be made in a crockpot! It will also yield you at least 3-4 meals for a family of four, plus it freezes and reheats well…. I mean, what more can you ask from a recipe?

Answer: nada.

Roth: Chipotle Chili


  • 1/2 bag sprouted bean and lentil medley (I use Tru Roots)
  • 15 oz each can of kidney, pinto and black beans, including the liquid
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery hearts, diced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (I use 85/15 blend) optional
  • 1 x 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 x 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 5 tbsp. chili powder. (Every chili powder is different. This will make the flavor of the chili and I’ve grown to love Target’s Simply balanced organic chili powder.)
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock
  • Roth Chipotle Havarti cheese, shredded (don’t skimp here!)

Optional toppings: fresh or canned jalapeños, cilantro, green onions.

Chipotle Chili: Roth 2


  1. Brown the beef with the diced onions, celery and carrots until the beef is cooked throughout.
  2. Cook the sprouted lentil/bean mix per the directions on the package on the stovetop in a medium saucepan.
  3. If making this in a crockpot: add the browned beef and cooked vegetables plus cooked lentil/bean mix into the crockpot with all remaining ingredients. Stir well and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. If cooking in a stockpot on the stovetop, brown the beef and vegetables, then stir in remaining ingredients – including the cooked lentil/bean mix. Simmer on medium low to low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dish out into bowls and top with all the shredded chipotle havarti cheese.



Cheese and crackers, cheese and apple slices, cheese and veggies, a miniature kid’s-sized cheese board…treat them like they’re miniature versions of you. I want to raise humans who eat more than chicken fingers and fries (time and a place for these too, though!) so I continue to introduce all foods to my girls as often and regularly as possible. Spices, bold flavors, unique combinations…they will try them all (even if they don’t like them yet!) 

Not every meal will be gourmet…but the most important thing is that every meal will be made with love. I firmly believe there is a reason for food being a big part of life: it brings people together. And that, my friends is where the magic happens. When you’re gathered together around the table with people you love. Some of the fondest memories I have are in those very moments.

From my kitchen to yours, wishing you a very memorable and smooth transition back into the school year.

To grab your very own Roth cheeses, visit their site to locate the retailer nearest you!


*This post is sponsored by Roth Cheese, but the recipes, opinions and immense enjoyment of the food is 100% my own.



Fermentation is one of my very favorite ways to experiment in the kitchen. From a wild yeast sourdough, to fermented vegetables from the garden to kombucha. The entire process is a lesson of time, patience, the right ingredients – and much like in life, varies greatly based on the conditions of the environment.

We’ve been discussing all things kombucha this summer over on my Instagram. Giving you a re-cap of how to make it yourself would be great…but I thought it would be even better to give you a cocktail utilizing your homemade kombucha!

Making kombucha at home really is quite simple. It’s also cost effective versus paying $4-5 per bottle on store bought kombucha. You’ll need a few supplies, some readily available ingredients and a SCOBY.

SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Put bluntly: it may look disgusting, but its the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. The SCOBY bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a fizzy, slightly sour fermented (but mostly non-alcoholic) beverage that is relatively low in calories and sugar.

The recipe I followed with a few tweaks can be found on the kitchn’s site. From there, I was given a few tips and tricks from the help of my friend, Laurie.


Tips for making kombucha:

  1. I use a 1/2 organic green tea + 1/2 organic black tea combo for a fizzier kombucha.
  2. Once your kombucha has fermented the appropriate amount of time and flavored, bottle them in long neck bottles to prevent it from going flat.
  3. Your fermentation process will vary based on the climate in which you live, and also the humidity levels and temperature of your home. A cooler, less humid room will slow the fermentation process. Because of this, begin checking the flavor at the 7 day mark. The first batch I did took 13 days to reach my desired flavor. For a sweeter kombucha, ferment for a shorter duration. For a more tangy kombucha, ferment for a longer time.
  4. Don’t use any steel or metal objects when fermenting, stirring or straining the kombucha. Using metal increases the chance of killing off the good bacteria necessary for the process.
  5. Refrigerate the finished kombucha once bottled to slow the fermentation process down. Note that it will continue to ferment even after it’s bottled.
  6. After the initial ferment, I use roughly chopped fresh fruits, vegetables or herbs in large mason jars and allow it to ferment an additional 2-3 days covered with a paper towel and rubber band.


Ingredients + Tools needed for Kombucha:

  1. Black and Green tea
  2. Sugar
  3. SCOBY. I bought mine from my local co-op but amazon also sells them.
  4. Fermentation jar. I purchased this one from amazon for $15, which also includes a cheesecloth and rubber band for the top.
  5. Long neck bottles. I purchased this set of 4 from amazon for $18.99. Ikea also has some for $2.99 each.
  6. Funnel. I purchased this duo from amazon for $6.99.
  7. 2 cups reserved already made or store bought kombucha.

Margarita recipe


I love spicy margaritas! The spicier, the better. This packs a good punch, both from an infused tequila, as well as from the strawberry jalapeño kombucha. You can certainly tone it down by using a plain tequila if you’d like.

The kombucha is infused with 2 diced jalapeños and 6-8 diced strawberries to one large mason jar for 2-3 days. It’s by far my favorite kombucha flavor I’ve made to date. For a less spicy version, infuse it for 1 day. Be sure to include the seeds as the capsaicin is what brings the heat.

To infuse your tequila, grab 8-10 peppers you’d like, be it jalapeños, serranos or habañeros. Slice them into halves and put them in the tequila bottle and let them work their magic. A good infusion takes place anywhere from 7-10 days, but you can get some good kick in as little as a day.

From there, you’ll just need a couple limes and some sparkling water. I’m not one for overly sweet margaritas with sugary mixes. This one is the perfect balance of spice, acidity and the slightest touch of sweet from the strawberry in the kombucha. Recipe yields 2 margaritas. Enjoy!



  • 4 oz. infused or plain silver tequila, divided
  • 4 oz. strawberry jalapeño kombucha, divided
  • Juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 4 oz. lime sparkling water, divided.


  1. Grab 2 tall glasses, rims lined with salt + filled with ice.
  2. Pour 2 oz. each of the infused tequila and kombucha over ice in each glass.
  3. Add the juice from one lime to each cocktail.
  4. Top with 2 oz sparkling water. Give each a light stir. Cheers!



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