Blueberry, Banana & Spinach Smoothie

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year & Hello, 2017!

What are your resolutions for the new year?  Do you make them?  I don't usually... but this year, I feel like I need a reset.

 I know it's totally cliché, but I am starting the new year off with healthy goals in mind.  I want need to eat better and get back to exercising.  Lately, I am far too dependent on sugar & carbs for quick fixes to get me through the day.  Most days when I sit down to dinner, I realize it's the first actual meal I am having that day.  What?! That ain't right! 😉 Not only am I doing myself a disservice, I'm doing my kids one too.  If I'm not being a great example for healthy eating, how can I expect them to eat healthily?  Aside from that, when I'm hungry, I'm short tempered.  A short temper around toddlers is like locking a raccoon in your garage, it isn't going to end well!

SO... my goal for a better me is 30 min of exercise at least 3 days a week & one healthy smoothie every morning.  Smoothies are fun and versatile.  I can throw in whatever fruit & veggies I have on hand, add in some sneaky tid-bits for extra nutrition, and in just a few seconds I have a beautiful little concoction of goodness.  Usually my girls will share it with me, so we're all reaping the benefits.

Below is one of my all-time favorite combos.  With a gorgeous deep purple color, it is just plain fun to drink.  I am always a bit bummed when it's gone!

Blueberry, Banana & Spinach Smoothie

Recipe by Katie Olesen
Rich in antioxidants, fiber & nutrients this smoothie is not only delicious but packs a healthy punch!
Yield: 1 serving
  • 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon each Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Water
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk or Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Ice Cubes
  • 1 drizzle Honey
  1. In the order listed, place all ingredients into high powered blender jar. Blend on high until very smooth. Enjoy immediately!
For a printable version, click here.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I am so excited to be making soup again!  Oh, how I love a bowl of creamy soup!  When I made this, I had to sneak it in on a night that it was just me and the kids.  I love, love, love broccoli cheddar soup!  It's one of my favorites, but sadly it's one of my husband's least favorites!  Ugh!  Sad face emoji!  He's just not a huge fan of overly cheesy or creamy things... I know, right?! But we make it work.  ;)

I'm pretty sure I've eaten this a hundred times at Panera in that delightful bread bowl they have.  A bread bowl is really the only thing that could have made this recipe better!  This broccoli cheddar soup recipe may actually be even better than Panera's... but you'll have to judge that for yourself.   My version is so perfectly easy and so perfectly delicious.   It only takes about 30 minutes, start to finish.  To go along with it, pop one of those half-baked loaves of french bread in the oven.  Once it's golden, you're... golden!  Comfort food at it's best, waiting for you!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar SoupKatie Olesen
I really love broccoli cheddar soup! I love getting it in a bread bowl at Panera. The great thing is that it's so easy to make at home, there's no need to go out in the cold!


  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 lb head of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz mild cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Finely dice the onion, shred the carrots, and chop the broccoli into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the vegetables. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring for 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer on low until the carrots and broccoli are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Once the vegetables are soft, be sure heat is turned to low. Stir in the cream and cheddar cheese. At this point, taste to see if it needs any more salt or pepper.  Once the cheese is melted, the soup is ready to serve.  The soup can be eaten immediately or taken off the heat and reheated for later.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Friday, October 14, 2016
A must for family get togethers or just a cozy football Sunday.  Italian beef sandwiches are easy and crowd pleasing.  It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like this! 

Italian beef is one of those things that tastes so good, you think it must be challenging to make. Truth is, it's not.  At all.  It's one of those magical recipes where you just dump stuff in a pot and go about your business for a few hours and voila, you look like a genius.  Then everyone gathers swooning over the tantalizing aroma, only to devour your delicious sandwich.  Then they beg for more and after that, the recipe.

I prefer to use chuck roast, which yields a shredded beef sandwich.  For best results, cook low and slow.  If you pull the beef out of the oven or slow-cooker and it doesn't want to just fall apart easily, put down the fork and let it keep cooking!  The magic number is 205° if you're into meat thermometers, like I am.
Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Katie Olesen
These tasty Italian beef sandwiches are a crowd pleaser. Make them in the oven or the slow-cooker, both with equally delicious results!


  • 2.5-3.5 lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 jar sliced Pepperoncini peppers (with juice)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Deli rolls, such as hoagie
  • Provolone cheese, optional


  1. Heat a dutch oven or skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Liberally season the roast with kosher salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Brown the roast in the pan on all sides, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the onion and bell pepper, peel & smash the garlic cloves.
  3. Oven method: Heat oven to 325°. Sprinkle the onion, bell pepper, and garlic around the roast in the dutch oven. Then pour in the Pepperonchini peppers with the juice, the can of beef broth, and the Worcestershire sauce. Cover with the lid and roast for 4 hrs, or until the roast is tender and easily falls apart, 205°.
  4. Slow cooker: Place the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the bottom of 6 quart slow cooker. Place the browned roast on top. Then pour in the Pepperonchini peppers with the juice, the can of beef broth, and the Worcestershire sauce. Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 6-7 hrs or high for around 4 -5 hrs, or until the roast is tender and easily falls apart, 205°.
  5. Remove the roast and shred with two forks. Return the meat to the juices in the pot, keep warm until serving. Serve on buttered and toasted deli rolls. Optional: Place a slice of provolone cheese on top and melt under the broiler.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Friday, September 30, 2016

These pepperoni pizza puffs are so stinking cute!  I think I love to eat them as much as the kids do!

I'm always looking for something fun and different to make the kids for lunch.  What is it about lunch?  It's such a chore sometimes!  It can be so easy to get into a rut so I try to keep it fun, simple, and exciting.  These pepperoni pizza puffs sure hit the mark.  The kids love pizza and dipping, so it's really not a stretch!  They also truly love anything in muffin form.  It is an odd phenomenon.  I can put pretty much anything into a muffin, especially a mini-muffin, and they will eat it.  I mean, I've made spinach muffins and you'd swear they were eating cake.  

All you need is some Bisquick mix, a few seasonings, and your favorite pizza toppings stirred up with some milk and an egg.  After 15 minutes in the oven you'll have a little pillow of cheesy goodness.  Give a girl some marinara to dip and call it lunch!  These pepperoni pizza puffs are really kind of magical. The batter is very liquid-y when you put them in the pan, to the point you may wonder if they'll even turn out.  Rest assured, after a few minutes in the hot oven they will puff up! Then when you break one open and see those yummy strings of melty cheese?  Oh, so dreamy!

Obviously my little eater loved her pepperoni pizza puffs for lunch, but these aren't just for lunch.  Pizza puffs would be fun to serve during a football game or at a party.  Of course you can change them up with your favorite pizza toppings, but ours is pepperoni!

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
When pizza and muffins collide... fun is sure to follow!


  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 2 oz mini pepperoni
  • marinara sauce, warmed for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.
  2. Stir together the Bisquick, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Whisk together the milk and egg. Then stir the wet into the dry mixture. Finally, stir in the cheese and pepperoni.
  3. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin cup. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce for dipping.
  4. Note: Be sure to grease the pan well.  The cheese makes them want to stick, so you may have to run a knife around the edge to get them to pop out.

Avocado Toast

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I'm a little late to the game (what's new?) but I tried my hand at avocado toast.  It was really delicious.  I have seen so many images across my feed of this full on food trend.  Everything from plain avocado toast to avocado toast topped with anything and everything.  The toppings run the gamut from a dash of hot sauce to eggs to shrimp to veggies or fruit.  I've always thought it looked delicious, so I'm not sure why I waited so long to just give it a try!  I went for something simple with ingredients I had on hand; avocado, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  

Here's how to make it.  Toast two pieces of bread either in the oven or in the toaster.  Half of an avocado then gets mashed across the two slices of bread.  Top with slices of grape tomato, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  Add a dash of hot sauce if you like things with a kick.  It is simple and delightful!  
Avocados are an extremely nutritious food loaded with fiber, packed with healthy fats, and they contain more potassium than a banana.  Avocado toast... what an easy and delicious way to enjoy this superfood! 

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Salsa verde... green salsa.  I never knew what it was.  I knew it was good but that was about it.  Then one day, bored at work (haha), I was reading a magazine.  I stumbled upon some celebrity chef's Mexican feast.  In it was a recipe for tomatillo salsa.  Huh, I thought.   I was amazed to actually find tomatillos, this odd fruit/vegetable that I had never heard of before, at my small midwest town grocer.  Who knew?!  That salsa was amazing.  I've been making some version of it ever since.

Duplikate: Mickey's Massive Burritos - Mini Ensalada

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
You guys.  I did it.  I duplikated the lime vinaigrette from Mickey's Massive Burritos!  Yes, that sweet and tangy dressing that I can never seem to get enough of, I made a pretty good dupe!  

Taco salad with Lime Vinaigrette - the tangy and sweet home-made vinaigrette is what makes this salad mouthwateringly delicious |
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