CIC: Pears & Red Pepper Flakes


I’m {finally} back with another Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

This month’s mission: to combine pears and red pepper flakes.

As I informed my husband of the task at hand I was also creating my menu and grocery list. I thought about the proteins that were in the freezer and the lightbulb went off.

Barbecue pork!

Why not make a barbecue sauce with the pears and add in the red pepper flakes for kick?

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

I made the barbecue sauce in the morning and then added it to the slow cooker along with my bone-in pork shoulder. I shredded the pork when it was ready, put it in a container, and headed out the door to Pure Barre. When I came home, all I had to do was assemble a sandwich on my favorite pretzel bun for an easy dinner.

Well, actually, I had to first put the boys to bed. But then I got to eat my sandwich! I had more for lunch the next day, too. Having the pork for lunch was really the best thing about it!

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C tomato paste
  • 1 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 2 red Anjou pears, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 2 1/2 – 3 lb bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of extra fat
  • 6-8 pretzel buns


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt, and saute until translucent. Add the fennel seeds and cook until the onion become golden. Stir in the cinnamon and tomato paste and cook 3 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, pears, and pepper flakes. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until pears are tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Transfer sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. (If the sauce is still warm, be sure to cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel.)
  3. Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker. Season pork with S+P and place in slow cooker. Cover with 1 C of the pear barbecue sauce. Cook on LOW 8 hours.
  4. Shred pork with two forks. Serve with extra barbecue sauce on a pretzel bun.

*The barbecue sauce is adapted from*

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Busia’s Sloppy Joes

Happy Halloween!

And Happy 4th Annual Sloppy Joe Recipe on Sew You Think You Can Cook Day!

It’s totally a thing. We should make it the world’s longest hash tag. It’s that recognized.


img_1062Today’s sloppy joe recipe comes from my grandmother via my aunt. Last year or so, when my aunt finally got a computer, she was introduced to my blog and has been supporting me ever since! When she discovered that, for me, sloppy joes are synonymous with pre-trick-or-treating fare, she immediately sent me an email with Busia’s sloppy joe recipe.

I didn’t get a chance to make them last year as I was in the hospital with my then one-day old.  Seriously, how is my Treat a year old already!?

This sloppy joe recipe is as simple and comforting as it gets. It’s on a regular rotation at my aunt’s house and I can definitely see why. She enjoys hers with a slice of American cheese on top.

This recipe makes 6 sandwiches.

Busia’s Sloppy Joes


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 3/4 C ketchup
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • sliced American cheese (optional)


  1. Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. When translucent add the ground meat and brown until fully cooked. Drain.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the kethcup, water, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar, salt, Worcestershire, chili powde,r and pepper. Add to the cooked, drained meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes.
  3. Serve on hamburger buns. Add American cheese, if desired.

Classic Sloppy Joes | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

Sugar-Free White Sandwich Bread

My husband was gone on another business trip this week. So naturally it’s a great time for the battery in the carbon monoxide detector to die. At 5:15 in the morning. When my boys were amazingly sleeping through the night. I desperately worked as quickly as possible to remove the battery cover to see what kind it needed. That battery cover is screwed on. While I was unscrewing the cover it started beeping even louder – clearly it didn’t like my hot hands covering up the sensor. The single beep that finally emitted from the detector was almost literally ear splitting. An hour later, my ear is still ringing and in pain. How the boys slept through that baffles me beyond words. I rushed the thing outside to continue working as quietly as I could.

No use trying to go back to sleep for only an hour. Might as well write a blog post about bread!

We had a “heat wave” this week. Meaning it wasn’t quite the opportune time to have scheduled that soup!

I actually didn’t find it to be too hot this week, though. The low humidity levels really don’t make the almost-90 degree weather unbearable. I’m too used to the humidity of Florida and Alabama. A little extra sunscreen and water kept us going to the playground!

That being said, we don’t have air conditioning. It hasn’t been an issue because we just leave the windows and doors open to let in the ocean breezes. But those breezes that are usually chilling me too much in the early afternoons have been missing and the sunshine has been pouring in making our living room quite warm.

Running the oven makes my tiny kitchen a sauna! So, I started this bread at 6 am. My bread rose much more quickly here in warm California than anything ever had back in Ohio!

It’s been hard to find Sugar-Free bread so I decided to follow through on our unprocessed challenge. Making this bread was actually really quick and easy to do. I simply followed the recipe on the back of the bag of bread flour, omitting the sugar. There really isn’t any excuse not to bake bread at home with the technology of the stand mixer! The real test will be to see if Firecracker will eat his PB&J off of homemade bread.

This recipe makes 1 loaf.

Sugar-Free White Sandwich Bread


  • 1 C water
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 3 3/4 C bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Combine the milk and water in a glass measuring cup. Microwave in 10 second intervals until it reaches a temperature between 105-110 degrees F.
  2. Add the yeast to the warm liquid and let proof, about 10 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir the flour and salt. Mix in the yeast and knead until the dough comes together around the hook.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough, form into a loaf and set in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover again and let rise until it domes above the edge of the pan.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake bread 45-50 minutes, until an internal temperature of 190 degrees F is reached.

Sugar-Free White Sandwich Bread  Sew You Think You Can Cook


Dijon Chicken Salad 

Some days are just plain harder than others. It’s those days I’m thankful for cable TV, delivery pizza, and leftovers. Or for the incredible technology that is my phone which allows me to attempt to stay on top of my blog! Yes, I am writing another post from the fabulous WordPress app.

Or I should say I’m trying to.

Firecracker is napping and instead of getting to catch up on some of my own sleep, too, I’m fighting with Treat who can’t decide if he wants to nurse or not! The poor guy has a stuffy nose and can’t seem to get comfortable! As a result I’ve already found and fixed some crazy typos from flying infant hands, but if I missed any let’s blame the 3 month old. 😉

Chicken salad is a great way to utilize miscellaneous leftovers in your fridge and makes for an easy lunch. That’s a win-win in my book! I’ve adapted this recipe from Jeff Mauro and it’s my new favorite. I’ve become a little addicted to it actually.

This recipe makes two 10″ wraps but can easily be multiplied. Eat it as a wrap, as a sandwich, on top of salad, with crackers, or as-is. I like it best enveloped in a spinach tortilla.

Dijon Chicken Salad


  • 1 C cooked, cubed chicken breast
  • 1/4 C dried cherries
  • 1/4 C glazed walnut pieces
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1/8 C mayonnaise
  • 1/8 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 10″ tortillas (serving suggestion)


  1. In a bowl toss together the chicken, cherries, walnuts, celery, and onion.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, yogurt, and mustard. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Gently fold dressing into the chicken mixture. Wrap in tortillas to serve (optional).

Dijon Chicken Salad  Sew You Think You Can Cook

#EVOOChallenge: Olive Oil Sandwich Bread

We’re halfway through the #EVOOChallenge! This challenge, in which we make foods with the only cooking fat being olive oil, was issued by Spartan Olive Oil. The goal is to highlight the benefits of using olive oil over its less healthy counterparts, I’m looking at you butter and vegetable oil. Search the hashtag on social media to see more great recipes!

While both olive oil and vegetable oil have 120 Calories and 14 grams of fat per tbsp, olive oil has 10 grams of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) whereas vegetable oil has only 3 grams of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is actually good for your health; it reduces bad cholesterol and provides vitamin E. (Source: American Heart Association)

This unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is made from the olives of 700 year old trees in Sparta, Greece. The flavorful oil has a rich golden color and smooth texture. I wanted to highlight the nutty, fruity flavor of the oil in my recipes this week.

I really wanted to make bread during this challenge. I had found a recipe for olive oil bread and tried that originally. It wasn’t quite a success. The recipe went against my instincts and my changes didn’t quite work out. I powered through and baked it just to check. It was dry, flakey, and crackery. So instead of trying again I decided to take a recipe I could trust and simply do a fat swap. I took the butter (or vegetable oil) and replaced it with Spartan Olive Oil.

My rise time took a longer than the recipe indicated but given the major snow day I wasn’t surprised. The dry weather also meant I had to add a little bit more water to the dough for it to come together. Another note: the loaf pan I have is 9.25″ x 5.25″ instead of 8.5″ x 4.5″ so I don’t have the classic domed sandwich bread shape.

This homemade sandwich bread is fantastic! It’s light and spongy with a beautiful golden crunchy crust. It makes for delicious toast topped with jam, simple bread and butter, and even a flavorful BLT.

Olive Oil Sandwich Bread 


  • 1 pkt active dry yeast
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C milk mixed with 1/2 C warm water
  • 1/4 C olive oil


  1. Dissolve yeast in 1 tbsp warm water.
  2. Place all ingredients, including yeast, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead until it forms a ball around the hook and comes away from the bowl. Add a little extra water if the dough is too dry.
  3. Oil hands and knead dough until smooth. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Allow dough to rise 1-2 hours until almost doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and form into a log just slightly shorter than the loaf pan.
  5. Line loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it. Place dough in prepared pan, cover, and let rise until the dough domes above the pan, another 1-2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes, or until an internal temperate of 190 degrees F is reached.
  8. Remove loaf from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

*This recipe is adapted from*

Olive Oil Sandwich Bread for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: By participating in this 5 day challenge I received a bottle and pouch of Spartan Olive Oil. 

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

It’s Halloween and if you’ve been a faithful reader from the beginning you know that means it’s time for my annual Sloppy Joes!

Today I’m sharing Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.

I’m not here to start a debate on if these are “real”. I’ve never had the Cheese-Wiz version of a Philly and I quite enjoy the kind with thinly sliced steak, grilled onions, and provolone.

We had these sandwiches last year. (Let me say, I’m pretty excited to finally pull these pictures off my camera.) My parents came to town to witness the little man’s first Halloween and this twist on the classic was a huge hit enjoyed by all.

If I’m not in the hospital delivery baby boy #2 then I’ll be awaiting trick-or-treaters with one of my grandma’s sloppy joes in hand. (That’s a teaser for next year’s Halloween post!) At least, I hope to get trick-or-treaters. I was seriously disappointed last year! We got 7, that’s right, I counted, kids at our door. I’m going to pretend it was the freezing rain that yielded such poor results and keep up hope for this year.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 C beef broth
  • 3 tbsp steak sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices provolone cheese


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Once cooked, add the onions and peppers and saute until tender. Strain excess fat.
  3. Add the broth and steak sauce and bring to a boil. Allow sauce to thicken to desired consistency.
  4. Place hamburger buns on a baking sheet. Top the bottom buns with sloppy joe mixture and a slice of cheese. Place under broiler for 30 seconds until cheese is melted and top buns are golden.

*This recipe is adapted from Emily at*

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes | Sew You Think You Can Cook


SRC: Stromboli


 It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I had the ultimate pleasure of being assigned Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Fantastical Sharing is written by none other than the leader of the Secret Recipe Club, Sarah! Sarah is a busy mom of 3 who manage to find the time to not only keep up with her extensive blog, but to also keep all of the SRC members in line. I don’t know where she finds the time! I do know from her Instagram account that she is a list maker and planner organizer. She has inspired me to purchase washi tape and beautify my Erin Condren planner, too!

I struggled finding something to make from Sarah’s blog, not because there wasn’t anything that interested me, but because 90% of her recipes are the types of foods we eat in my house! A lot of things I already have recipes for on my blog. But when I spotted her Stromboli I knew I had to make it! My husband and I are avid Cutthroat Kitchen watchers and earlier last season there was a stromboli challenge, my husband didn’t know what stromboli was so I explained that it’s essentially a rolled pizza, and that I’d been wanting to try making one. Checking this item off my culinary bucket list is why I didn’t pick her homemade ranch dressing mix, chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oatmeal, mozzarella sticks, or even Butterbeer! (If you know me but at all you know how hard that last one was to pass up.)

The stromboli was exactly what I was imagining it’d be. I took a little help from the grocery store and used a store-bought refrigerated dough, conveniently already in the shape of a rectangle. I also swapped the ham for deli-sliced pepperoni (not the small pizza sized pepperoni). I ran out of Parmesan cheese the night before so sprinkled the top of the stromboli with kosher salt instead.

We demolished the stromboli watching Auburn football – a perfect game day meal or appetizer!



  • 1 pizza crust (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/3 C marinara sauce (store bought or homemade), plus more for serving
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • hard salami
  • deli pepperoni
  • 1 egg, beaten (egg wash)
  • dried parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Roll pizza dough into a rectangle, approximately 10×16″.
  3. Spread marinara sauce on the bottom two thirds of the dough.
  4. Top the sauce with shredded cheese, deli meats, and another layer of shredded cheese.
  5. Brush the uncovered portion of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the edges of the dough and brush with egg wash.
  6. Roll from the bottom up, like a jelly roll or roulade. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt and parsley flakes.
  7. Bake 10-20 minutes, until dough is fully cooked. (The cook time will vary based on your dough recipe.) If the stromboli starts to burn, tent with aluminum foil. Allow stromboli to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with additional marinara sauce if desired.

*This recipe is adapted from Sarah at*

Stromboli for Secret Recipe Club from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

CIC: Goat Cheese and Mushrooms


It’s the 20th of the month and that means it’s time for another Crazy Ingredient Challenge reveal! The winning ingredients from the polls this month are Goat Cheese and Mushrooms. I know, it’s not really that crazy of a combination, but it’s still a good one!

I didn’t think I would partake because I don’t like mushrooms. If you read this blog you already know that. If you read this blog then you also know that the two boys in my house do like mushrooms.

Last week my mother-in-law and brother-in-law’s girlfriend came to visit. I asked if they had any dinner requests and they wanted my Ravioli with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts. I made a huge batch so bought 2 lb of mushrooms. With help in the kitchen I forgot to mention we wouldn’t need all of the 2 pounds to be diced but before I could remember that a massive pile of diced mushrooms were awaiting my next command. (Having help is awesome!)

Now I had a baggie of chopped mushrooms hanging out in my fridge. No one used them in their eggs the next morning so I decided to get some goat cheese and answer the challenge.

Earlier this week my husband worked a half day so I decided to make lunch. You know, something other than a bagel and cream cheese. I made a quesadilla with the two mandatory ingredients and added sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese for some sweetness and cheesiness. I purchased an herb and garlic flavored goat cheese to add a little pizzazz to the quesadilla.

My son has been in a highly picky phase right now. I’m hoping it’s related to his teething and we return to his more adventurous appetite soon. Foods that we know he likes he’s not wanting. He has been living on a diet of bread, cheese, and bananas. It is with immense relief that I tell you he ate this quesadilla – I just had to call it a sandwich to get him to consider trying it! Win!

Also a win – I liked this quesadilla, too! Looks like this blogging thing might turn me into a mushroom liker (I can’t quite say lover just yet) after all!

The following recipe is for 1 quesadilla.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Quesadilla


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C diced mushrooms
  • 2 8″ whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 oz herb and garlic goat cheese
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms in olive oil until tender, about three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Spread 1 oz of goat cheese onto each tortilla.
  3. Place one tortilla, cheese side up, in a large skillet over medium heat. Distribute the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes over the tortillas. Add the shredded mozzarella and top with the other tortilla, cheese side down.
  4. Cook quesadilla until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

*This recipe is adapted from Andrea at*

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Quesadilla for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce

As summer vacations are winding to a close there’s some denial in the “back to the grind” busy schedules. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on perfect summer fare just yet!

Pulled meat (typically pork) sandwiches slathered with barbecue sauce are one of those meals that have you thinking of picnic tables and summer get togethers.

I have adjusted an Anne Burrell recipe from the January/February 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine (Anne Burrell’s Pulled Pork Sliders) to utilize the slow cooker, meaning you don’t need to turn on the oven or be stranded at home while it roasts away. You could even make the BBQ sauce in advance if you didn’t wan, or have the time, to be at the stove 30 minutes before dinner. I used chicken instead of pork because that’s what I already had in my freezer, if you want pork she used a 3 lb Boston butt pork roast.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken


  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) beer (I used a summer ale)


  1. Season chicken with S+P. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
  3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
  4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap or salad with thinly sliced apple, red onion, lettuce, and apple cider vinegar bbq sauce (recipe below).

Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce


  • 1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed (I used 1 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic paste)
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved (I used 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden lightly dried chili pepper)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce | Sew You Think You Can Cook


Blogger CLUE: Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

blogger CLUE

The sun is shining, the warm air is blowing, and Blogger CLUE is hitting the grill!

This month I was assigned the blog Anna Dishes. Anna’s blog is so bright and cheery it just invites you in to take a look around. She has a wide variety of recipes, beautiful floral arrangements, and even some travel posts!

I was on a mission to find something to throw on the grill and I settled on her Sriracha and Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers. I made a couple of changes to her recipe, though. Instead of Lawry’s seasoning and garlic salt I used Caribeque Island Thyme. I also omitted the Sriracha from the burger itself and instead made a Sriracha mayo as the burger’s condiment. The reasoning behind doing so was to control the amount of heat in the patty for my 1 year old. I am disappointed to say my little man did not have any interest in the burger and hope that he’ll try the leftovers with me for lunch tomorrow! My husband and I greatly enjoyed the unique flavor profile of this burger. The sweetness of the potato pairs with the subtle spiciness of the Island Thyme and helps keep the burgers perfectly moist.

Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers


  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used 85/15)
  • 3/4 C mashed sweet potato (I peeled, boiled, and mashed)
  • 3/4 C panko
  • 2 tsp Caribeque Island Thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
  • cheese (optional)
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • favorite burger toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, etc


  1. In a large bowl combine turkey, potato, panko, seasoning, egg, and olive oil until fully incorporated. Form in 6 equal sized patties.
  2. Grill 5-6 minutes on each side, or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached. Add cheese during last minute of cooking time if using.
  3. Make sriracha mayo: whisk mayo, sriracha, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Assemble burgers: place burger toppings on bottom bun, top with patty, and spread sriracha mayo on the top bun.

*This recipe is modified from Anna at*

Sweet Potato Turkey Burger for Blogger CLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month:

Disclaimer: I received Caribeque Island Thyme in participating in #HotSummerEats. All opinions are my own.