Food | Reviews

4 Ways to Remix Breakfast with Hiland Cottage Cheese

By on March 1, 2019

This post is sponsored by Hiland Dairy but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

We've been in a breakfast rut lately. Do you ever find yourself in those? I've been looking for ways to revitalize our routine, but it needs to be quick and healthy if it's going to make the cut.

I have all of these creative teens in my house, so I thought that a little friendly competition in the spirit of some of their favorite cooking shows might be the perfect inspiration! Enter the challenge ingredient: Hiland Cottage Cheese.

Hiland cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is a high protein, low calorie super food. It is packed with nutrients like calcium and B vitamins. I picked Hiland Cottage Cheese because of Hiland's commitment to freshness and environmentally friendly farming practices...and because I needed to be reminded why I love it!

Which Option Will Win?

Here's where we need your help. My kids want to know which is your favorite?! Which would you pick for your breakfast remix? Here are four ways my teens came up with to take cottage cheese challenge:

Hiland Cottage Cheese

1. Tomato & Cottage Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

I love English muffins for breakfast. My first contestant designed a beautiful open faced savory breakfast sandwich that is light, fresh, and so tasty.

Hiland Cottage Cheese

This is a great alternative to some heavier breakfast sandwich options, yet it's still packed with protein and flavor.

Tomato & Cottage Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

A light and fresh breakfast sandwich featuring tomatoes and cottage cheese.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 English muffin
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 1 drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 drizzle balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Toast one half on an English muffin.
  • Slice your tomato.
  • Top the toasted muffin with ¼ cup cottage cheese. Sprinkle seasoning on cottage cheese. Top with tomato slices and then drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and green onions.

2. Creamy Apple Crisp

You know that I love the fall and apple picking, so apple crisps are some of my favorite things to eat. My next contestant knew this and worked it into her Hiland Cottage Cheese flavor profile.

Hiland Cottage Cheese

She just used fresh apples, granola, and a sprinkle of cinnamon to whip up this tasty breakfast. My husband claimed this one as his winner. He was surprised at how completely satisfying this option was for being such a light breakfast option. And he's not much of a breakfast eater, so this was a good thing!

Creamy Apple Crisp

A light and fresh twist on an apple crisp for breakfast. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 person

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hiland Cottage Cheese
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1/4 cut apple
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Mix 1 tsp of liquid stevia (a squirt) into ½ cup of Hiland Cottage cheese.
  • Top with apple, granola, and cinnamon.

Notes

This would also work well with warm apples, peaches, blueberries or anything you might find as a cobbler! Yum!

3. Avocado & Egg Bowl Blast

My next contestant brought another savory treat featuring boiled eggs and avocado. Pretty much this is my girl that will eat avocado every chance she gets. Paired with the egg, tomato, and creamy Hiland Cottage Cheese, this breakfast is pure luxury in a bowl.

Hiland Cottage Cheese

I thought this would also be good with a little bacon, but as is, it was completely satisfying. Not to show my bias, but this one I remade for myself because I'm also a sucker for avocado...and I don't like to share!

Avocado & Egg Bowl Blast

Creamy cottage cheese is paired with sliced avocado, hard boiled egg, and tomato for a fresh and savory breakfast bowl. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hiland Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 1 egg hard boiled
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add ½ cup Hiland Cottage Cheese to a bowl. Top with sliced avocado, egg, and tomato. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste!

4. Berry Best Breakfast Bowl

My last contestant went all out with berries, another of my favorite breakfast foods. This made it incredibly hard to pick only one option for breakfast.

Hiland Cottage Cheese

Berries and cheese are really a great combination. Sweeten it up with a little honey and cinnamon, and this is really a breakfast treat!

Berry Best Breakfast Bowl

A berry medley tops creamy Hiland Cottage Cheese for a sweet breakfast dish. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hiland Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup berries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Add ½ cup Hiland Cottage Cheese to your bowl. 
  • Top with a mixture of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (or whatever is in the fridge).
  • Drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon to finish the dish

So Who Will Win?

Now it's your turn to let us know. Which dish would you use to remix your breakfast routine?

What do my kids get for winning? Bragging rights.

However, you can be a winner too! Check out Hiland Dairy *here* for a chance to win prizes worth $200, earn savings, and learn new recipes!

Continue Reading

Food | Simple Style

Simple Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day Date Night at Home

By on February 4, 2019

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Bertolli®

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate; however I don't love the expense or the crowds of a night on the town. With kids and crazy schedules, the best gift I can give my husband is an evening of my undivided attention. The beauty is that don't have to be elaborate to be perfect.

Blend Two Sauces For Simple Perfection

A simple way to elevate your Valentine's Day meal is to combine Bertolli® Organic Traditional Tomato & Basil Sauce and Bertolli® Organic Creamy Alfredo Sauce in one pasta dish. The good news is that it is flavorful and fast. For this mama, that means I won't be exhausted by slaving over a hot stove, and I'll have a tasty meal to serve my sweetheart.

Here's what you need:

All you do is cook the tortellini according to the package instructions, and then mix the two jars of Bertolli® Organic Traditional Tomato & Basil Sauce and Bertolli® Organic Creamy Alfredo Sauce together to make a tasty Rosa sauce that is creamy and rich in flavor.

Both of these sauces are USDA organic products made with non-GMO ingredients and bring authentic homemade flavors to your meals. If you want to take your recipe up a notch, try some of these tasty ideas:

Setting the Stage for a Romantic Dinner

If you're like me, the one thing that really gets in the way of truly enjoying a romantic evening at home is my kids. While I love having them around, often the reason we go out is so that we can actually finish sentences and finish our food before it gets cold.

Here's my plan:

1. Set up our dinner in a remote location

If the weather is tolerable, we'll be outside on the deck. In Texas, we can do this kind of crazy thing! We set up our Christmas family dinner out there, and with the fire pit glowing and the heater turned on, it was a beautiful space under the twinkle lights.

If the weather is bad, we'll set up our meal in a location where we can close the door. There are rooms in our house that while not typically set up for dining, can double as a romantic eating space with a little adjusting! Just a couple of candles and some flute glasses can elevate the space instantly.

2. Get the Kids Settled Early

With little kids, it may mean an early bed time and a later dinner. However, my kids are past that point, so I can take care of them by renting a new movie for them to enjoy (or borrowing one from the library for free!). Having a game plan for keeping them happy and settled will help keep the dinner interruptions to a minimum.

3. Make a Romantic Dinner Playlist

Background music is a great way to tune out the sounds of kids and help me focus on good conversation with my sweetie. There are so many great apps out there that give you the ability to make the equivalent of a mix tape like the old days, but just with much less time and effort involved. Look for Valentine's Day options that people have already made! We love the smooth jazz selections because they are relaxing without being overly sleepy or distracting from our conversations.

Enjoy Valentine's Day Date Night at Home

It doesn't take much to have a memorable evening at home with your loved one. The beauty of it is that you save time and money when you keep it simple at home.

Continue Reading

Food | Holidays | Reviews | Simple Style

Loaded Mashed Potato Poppers with Stella Cheese

By on November 26, 2018


This post is sponsored by Stella® Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family! If your family is anything like mine, we had tons of leftovers after our feast. Now my mind is looking towards Christmas and all the events that lead up to the big day. If you happen to have some leftover mashed potatoes, my husband and I came up with the perfect repurposing of those tasty spuds in some Loaded Mashed Potato Poppers topped with Stella Cheese for a classy way to present a classic favorite.

Last year we discovered Stella Cheese when we created a glorious cheese board. This year I'm getting inspiration from Stella Cheeses again with these fun appetizers.

Building Your Loaded Baked Potato Poppers

What I love about this recipe is that it is more of an art than a science. There really isn't any right way to make this. Load up your mashed potatoes with your favorite toppings and then proceed from there to make your poppers. Here's what I used:

Stella Cheese holiday recipe

Making the Poppers with Stella Cheese

I used a small cookie dough scoop to make my mashed potato balls. Next, we rolled each ball in a whisked egg, then in the panko bread crumbs which was mixed with my chipotle seasoning.

Just before you cook them, top each ball with Stella shredded parmesan cheese. My husband loved this process. He's so funny about his mashed potatoes!

Holiday Cheese Recipes

I'm sure you could put these little cuties into the oven and brown them up, but we opted to use our new air fryer to make them crunchy and tasty. Oh they were so good!

Stella Cheese recipes

We cooked them for three minutes at 370° in our air fryer. This is a great way to add another hot appetizer if your oven is occupied!

They came out golden brown with the crispy parmesan cheese as the crowning beauty!

loaded mashed potato poppers with Stella Cheese

You can serve these with some bacon ranch dip (you know the little ranch packet you mix into your sour cream).

This is a great way to repurpose leftovers into a gourmet appetizer your friends will love!

Find out where to buy Stella Cheeses near you!

Continue Reading

Family Life | Food | Organization

Save Time & Money by Cooking Once & Eating All Week

By on October 15, 2018


For the past couple of months my family has been experimenting with the concept of cooking once and then enjoying the fruits of our labors all week with healthy meals. It's been pretty revolutionary. We've been eating better than we were before and totally saving money by not eating out as often. Even better, when we have to "pack a lunch" we just grab something already prepped and head out. I love it!

Initial Investment

I've done the freezer meals route of precooking for a week or a month. While that's great, it still requires someone to pull it out on time to cook for dinner. I've struggled finding time during the week to cook while accommodating everyone's work schedule. We have seven eaters in our house this year and three of them are teens with jobs. It's really hard to all get on the same schedule.

So we spend two hours each Saturday working together to prepare meals that we portion out into individual servings. When we started, I purchased to-go containers to hold all of our meals. This also helps me with portion control! We've used the same containers for the past two months and they're still going strong.

Making it Work

First of all, I do all of my grocery shopping online. I've started using Kroger's ClickList to order my groceries. Thirty minutes before we're going to do our great meal prep, I go pick up my groceries. It takes me about 15 minutes. This way I don't waste money on non-essentials or energy on shopping!

We pick a few meals for the week and make a double batch of everything. Our cooking prep covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for seven people. Then there are no rules for how many times you have to pick each meal. If you like one more than another, you're welcome to have it every night! If I find a meal isn't getting picked by anyone, it doesn't make the list again. All of our meals end up being under $1.50 per meal. That is a steal!

Here are our best options:

Hot Meals

I find sometimes I like hot meals for lunch better than I do for dinner. However we have a hard time all agreeing on the same meal at the same time, and I don't have time to whip something up for everyone at lunch time. I need something quick so I can get back to homeschool!

The number one favorite hot meal when I polled my family was Egg Roll in a BowlBasically all it is is 1/4 cup of rice, a sauteed bag of coleslaw mix (with soy sauce), and some teriyaki meatballs that I buy pre-made from Costco. It is really so good.

Add some fresh green onions once you've heated this baby up, and it is a great brain boost for hitting the books again!

We've also loved:

Salads

All girls desiring to eat healthy know that salads can be great options for getting in the greens. Since we're prepping so many meals, it's nice to have one that is a quick fix and a good price. We've loved these little Chicken Salad On the Run boxes from Bumble Bee. It is a surprisingly satisfying little meal, and paired with some greens, it is such a fast and easy salad to pull together.

Other salads we've enjoyed:

  • Chef Salad: chopped up chicken deli meat, boiled egg, black beans, tomatoes, and cucumber
  • Protein & Green: spinach, chick peas, edamame, grilled chicken, roasted asparagus, with goat cheese

Copycat Meals

I really do love eating out, so it's nice to have meal options that feel like something we might pick up while we're out. I love burrito bowls from Chipotle, so that's one of our favorites. I always make sure to have some avocados around so that if someone wanted to upgrade their burrito bowl, that is available to them!

Sandwiches

I have to admit that sandwiches are generally not my favorite. I finally realized that it was due to the bread to meat ratio. When I found these little Flatout Foldit flatbreads, I changed my mind. We spread a little wedge of laughing cow cheese on the flatbread, top it with 2 oz of lean lunch meat (which is the serving size...and a surprising amount of meat), and a little lettuce. We save the dressing for later (but I generally don't add anything else), and these are great little premade sandwiches.

We've also made wraps, which are just as quick and yummy. I have to be careful to not include these to the menu every week though because we can get worn out on them quicker than other options.

Sandwich Alternatives

Of course what really got me going on this type of meal prepping was finding meals that knocked me out of my typical white bread sandwich with Cheetos. If I'm going to avoid that cheesy goodness, I need some healthy variety. One of my husband's favorite sandwich alternatives is what we call Mediterranean Mix. 

It includes all of my favorite things: naan bread (we found these cute little "dippers" at Costco), hummus, bell peppers, and grilled chicken. It's so yummy!

Soup

Each week we make sure to include a soup option. This is so easy! Lately my girls have LOVED these Snapdragon Japanese Pho bowls. They just add whatever veggies we had left over from making the other meals to own this meal. 

Other soup options we've tried and loved:

Breakfast

We love the Bistro Boxes from Starbucks, but they are pricey. We've made several different varieties of these, but lately we're loving the fruity mix. We have little Smucker's Peanut Butter cups that are easy to add to this if we switched the cucumber out for celery.

Basically it just has Greek yogurt (sweetened with a bit of stevia), berries, Kind granola, a mini cucumber, and a hard boiled egg. This option works any time of day because it is so light and snacky.

We also make breakfast burritos every week. If you keep them in the fridge, you only have to reheat them about 35 seconds in the microwave to have a hot breakfast ready to go.


For our family, having all of the week's meals prepped in advance just lifts the burden of making healthy choices when we're all worn out. It also saves so much money because we're not just opting to eat out when exhaustion hits and nobody has any more brain power to think about cooking.

Do you do anything like this? What are some of your favorite options?

Continue Reading

Food

7 Make Ahead Dinners for the Whole Family

By on January 24, 2018


I've been sharing some of my tips for taming the meal plan beast this month. While it helps to have the right tools, my favorite tip is getting your kids involved. It's so important to not only feed your kids healthy meals, but also to equip them with the knowledge of how to plan, prep, and present a healthy meal for their future families. By the end of the day, it's much easier to think about going to pick up some fast-food solution, or reheating some pre-made dinner option.

Since ease is a priority in the evening, why not set your self up with some make ahead dinner options. Prepping options when you have the energy and brain space can really set you up for success for making the best choices during the week. It's also a huge budget saver as you're not mindlessly splurging on fast food. I've been there...I still do this.

Need to conquer meals but have no idea how? Eleanor explains, "That’s what I learned over the years of cooking on an often-tight budget, for a family that eventually grew to seven children—there is no substitute for A PLAN!!" Find 3 tips for beginners on The Koala Mom.

7 Simple Freezer Meals for Dinner

You don't have to have all of your dinners planned out as freezer meals, although we've tried that and it was awesome. Tame the dinner beast by prepping a few simple freezer meals once a week.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas - prepare these easy 4 ingredient enchiladas by Make and Takes in minutes. Then, simply reheat in your oven.

Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken - a delicious meal with an unfortunate name! Try an easy freezer meal recipe from One Good Thing.

Garden Vegetable Quinoa Soup - prepare this healthy, vegetarian dinner in just one pot. Freeze in bags or containers and heat it up for a warm and filling dinner.

Muffin Tin Calzones - a great alternative to pizza night, these mini calzones are sure to please the entire family. Add everyone's favorite topping, and you're sure to have no complaints!

Lasagna in a Jar - a delicious and easy, individually portioned recipe for your family to grab when they're coming home late from practice or work.

Healthy Chicken Pad Thai - this individually boxed pad thai recipe is a great meal for grown-ups and kids who enjoy a little spice in their dinner. Got a picky eater? They get the above lasagna!

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole - taco Tuesday can be any day of the week with this delicious make-ahead casserole recipe.


Continue Reading