Full Belly Sisters

Friday, October 9, 2015

Slow Cooker Taco Stew

My blogger buddy—Michaela, from the wonderful An Affair from the Heart—had this really fun idea: Freaky Friday! On this special day, 15 bloggers do a recipe swap: we are each assigned someone else's blog and we select a recipe to try and then share. It's all a big secret who is assigned to which blog. Until now! Drum roll, please, for the big reveal...

I was lucky enough to be assigned to Who Needs a Cape? This blog is special because it is run by a group of moms. And "Not Your Average Super Moms," either. These Super Moms all met online a few years, during their respective pregnancies; they've since become great friends, although some of them haven't even met in real life yet. Bevin, Heather, Lori, Rebecca, and Sherry all pitch in with the creation of blog posts, so readers get a fantastic variety of great ideas.

Who Needs a Cape? is full of yummy snacks, simple family meals, and delicious desserts. There were lots of recipes that were calling my name: the Triple Berry Quinoa looked like a wonderful, easy weekday breakfast. This Mango Salsa Pulled Pork is just the right balance of sweet and savory. And at some point I'm totally going to tackle their 40 Meals in 4 Hours Crockpot Freezer Meals (their #1 post of all time!).

But then...I spotted Heather's Slow Cooker Taco Stew. Now, my husband is positively obsessed with tacos. And a bowl of stew is probably his favorite cool-weather meal. So tacos and stew together? In one mind-blowing meal?! I knew I had to make this for him. 

  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 package taco seasoning (or try a homemade blend!)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • diced avocado and chopped scallions, for garnish

Just place everything in the slow cooker and cook on low for six hours. THAT'S IT. So easy, right? And super yummy, too.

NOTE: I made a few minor adjustments. I used less celery and more onion, and I substituted a jar of salsa for the can of tomatoes.  Just little tweaks to make the meal an even better fit for my family's taste buds. I'm sure this would also be great with some chopped bell peppers, or maybe a jalapeno for some heat. 

Instead of topping it with cilantro (I'm one of those people who are genetically predisposed to hate the stuff), I topped my bowl of stew with diced avocado and chopped scallions. They were the perfect, fresh accompaniments to the tender, tasty, hot stew.

And, of course, my husband loved it. "This is definitely going into the dinner rotation," he proclaimed.

Check out all the fantastic bloggers participating in this #FreakyFriday event: A Dish Of Daily Life || A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures || An Affair from the Heart || Aunt Bee’s Recipes || Belle of the Kitchen || Cooking on a Budget || Full Belly Sisters || Honey and Birch || LeMoine Family Kitchen || Pic-Nic || The Flavor Bender || The Foodie Affair || The Magical Slow Cooker || Who Needs A Cape || Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Truffles

It's #Choctoberfest, people! Woooo-hoooo!!!! We're celebrating with an amazing chocolate-packed giveaway (contest is open through October 11, 2015) and some fantastic new recipes. Like these Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Truffles.

Yeah, man, you heard me right.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Truffles. A super healthful, nutty energy bite covered in beautiful dark chocolate or cocoa. These gorgeous truffles feel indulgent—but they're packed with nutrient-dense ingredients to give you a wholesome boost of energy. And they take less than 10 minutes to make. Easy, delicious, and nutritious. Boom.

Just Hemp and Divine Chocolate are sponsors of Choctoberfest so I got lots of goodies from them. I'm happy to include Just Hemp's Hulled Hemp Seeds and Divine Chocolate's Fair Trade cocoa and 70% dark chocolate bar in this recipe. 

Makes about 12 one-inch truffles
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (you can substitute other nut, seed, or no-nut butter)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons total of flaxseed meal, hulled hemp seeds, and/or chia seeds (or any combination of them—I used 1 Tablespoon of each)
  • a good pinch of salt 
for chocolate covering
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cocoa 
  • about 1 ounce dark chocolate

TIP: Spray the inside of your measuring cup with oil before measuring your peanut butter—the oil with help the peanut butter to slide right out of the cup!

Mix the peanut butter, honey, seeds, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir until blended. Add the almond meal and stir until fully combined. It should feel like a very firm dough. If it seems too wet or sticky, add some more almond flour; if it seems too dry, add a bit more honey or nut butter.

Place in the fridge for a few minutes; it's easier to roll into balls when chilled.

While the "dough" is chilling, prepare your chocolate coating. If you want cocoa-dusted truffles, spoon some cocoa onto a dish. If you want to dip or drizzle your truffles, break or chop the dark chocolate into small pieces in a small bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments—stirring after each 30 seconds—until the chocolate is melted, smooth, and glossy.

Remove the peanut butter mixture from the refrigerator. Scoop heaping tablespoons into your hands and form into one-inch balls. Place them on a plate covered in wax paper. 

I made my chocolate truffles three ways, so my dozen had some variety. Or you can just choose one preparation. They're all easy! 

Cocoa-dusted: Roll the truffles in the cocoa, pressing gently until the balls are fully coated.

Chocolate-drizzled: Using a teaspoon, drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the protein truffles. Place in the freezer or refrigerator to firm up.

Chocolate-dipped: Slide the edge of a fork under the ball, lift it, then drop it into the melted dark chocolate. Push it around gently, ensuring the whole ball is covered in chocolate. Then pick up the ball again, balanced on the end of the fork. Slide the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl to clean off any excess chocolate. Tilt the fork over your wax paper-covered plate so that the ball rolls off the fork. (Here's a video of this process, for you visual learners out there.) While the chocolate is still wet, add a sprinkle of almond flour on top for a little decoration. Then place in the freezer or refrigerator for the chocolate to harden.

The cocoa-dusted ones do eventually soak up some of the moisture from the peanut butter balls. You can re-roll them or just, you know, eat 'em faster.

That's it. They look pretty fancy, right? Yet they take less than 10 minutes to make! Kids love to help make these—and then gobble them up. And, even though they look like dessert, these truffles are nutrition-packed (providing protein, omega-3s, and antioxidants) and can legitimately be enjoyed for breakfast or as a post-workout snack.

Place the truffles in an airtight container and store in the fridge or in the freezer. Grab and go when you need a quick bite or a healthy energy boost!

Which one would you choose: cocoa-dusted, chocolate-drizzled, or chocolate-dipped?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Brain-Boosting School Lunch #PureLifeRippleEffect

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone.
#PureLifeRippleEffect #CollectiveBias

Brain Boosting School Lunch hero.png

As a mom and a certified health coach, I know the importance of hydration—especially for school-aged kids. Our brains' neurons (which drive thinking and learning) need good fats, protein, complex carbohydrates, micronutrients, and water. If we expect our kids to do their best in school, we must provide them with the proper fuel for their growing bodies and brains!

But what’s the best way to do that? Well, according to a survey conducted by Nestlé® Pure Life®*, a majority (57%) of kids say they prefer a homemade lunch over a school-bought lunch. This preference for packed lunches offers moms a fantastic opportunity: packing a bottle of water and a healthy, hydrating lunch can help increase our kids’ water intake each day.

So, how do I fuel my seven-year-old son’s school day? With a Brain-Boosting School Lunch full of kid-friendly foods and water to feed those neurons!

My son is a grazer and loves to munch different finger foods. It’s actually a great way to get a variety of nutrients into one meal. In this lunchbox, I’ve got some tuna salad with cucumber slices for scooping; red ants on a log: celery sticks with nut butter and dried cranberries (it’s my take on the classic with raisins); a hard-boiled egg; grape tomatoes; and some dried blueberries. And, of course, lunch always includes a bottle of water.

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This Brain-Boosting School Lunch provides a variety of colors and textures, lots of protein and omega-3 fats, and plenty of hydration. It nourishes my son’s body and his brain.

Is your child more of a sandwich lover? That’s great, too. My son loves when I pack him an AB&J (almond butter and jam). But instead of potato chips or a sugary granola bar to go with it, just pack some hydrating fruits or veggies on the side. Carrots, cucumbers, grapes, and apples are all simple to prep and pack and most kids love them. Toss in a Nestlé® Pure Life® Water—they’ve got fun labels that my son thinks are super cool—and you’re good to go.

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My son also brings a morning snack to eat in his classroom, a couple hours before lunchtime.  I always include hydrating fruits or veggies, some protein, and definitely water! Here’s one of my son’s favorite packed snacks: red grapes and snap pea crisps.

healthy snack kids.jpg

I also pack extra water in his backpack, so he has a drink ready after recess or when we stay after school to play in the playground.

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This means I’ve got three opportunities to pack water for my son each day. And all those bottles—in his morning snack, in his lunchbox, and in his backpack—act as reminders. Even when I’m not with my son, he’s getting my message: “Don’t forget to drink your water!” Reminders are a crucial part of building healthy hydration habits. But it turns out that only about half of moms (52%) surveyed by Nestlé® Pure Life® said they regularly remind their child to drink water.

Of course, one of the best ways to remind your kids to drink water is to lead by example. Every time you grab a drink of water, offer one to your kids, too. As registered dietician and hydration expert Robin Plotkin notes: soon, it will be the kids asking the parents to join them for a water break!

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I got my 12-pack of Nestlé® Pure Life® Water Juniors at Walmart; you can find it in the bottled water aisle (of course!).

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In fact, Nestlé® Pure Life® is committed to helping all families make healthier choices, starting with hydration—that’s why they proudly support the Partnership for a Healthier America's Drink Up initiative.

We know that establishing healthy habits in early childhood has lifelong benefits. We call this The Ripple Effect. At PureLifeRippleEffect.com, moms can share tips and tricks that they use to teach their kids about the importance of staying healthy and hydrated. With this movement, moms will be empowered to send their kids off to school each day fueled and hydrated.

To ignite The Ripple Effect movement and encourage kids to get the water they need throughout their day, Nestlé® Pure Life® is providing water to kids this school year through After-School All-Stars, an organization that strives to keep children safe and healthy through after-school programming. Nestlé® Pure Life® has committed to provide nearly one million 8 ounce servings of water to kids this school year at over 20 participating schools in select markets across the country through After-School All-Stars.

Do you want to become a part of the Ripple Effect? Visit PureLifeRippleEffect.com and share your tips for healthy hydration using the hashtag #pureliferippleeffect.

nestle pure life water bottles.jpg

For more great tips, follow Nestlé® Pure Life® on Facebook!

I've shared some of my ideas on how we use Nestlé® Pure Life® Water to create a delicious—and hydrating—back-to-school lunch. What is your favorite way make it part of your family’s routine?

* © 2015 Nestlé® Waters North America Inc. Online survey was conducted in June 2015 of 1,077 moms of kids ages 6-12 overall, including 254 Hispanic moms of kids ages 6-12. 1,077 kids ages 6-12 from the same household were also surveyed, including 254 Hispanic kids ages 6-12.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#Choctoberfest 2015 Giveaway

Check out FBS' "Pump Up Your Milk" Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe!

I am beyond excited today, because it is October 5.... and that means it is the first day of #Choctoberfest!


#Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What's not to love? Here's what this event is all about! #Choctoberfest would not be possible without our sponsors, starting with our 2015 Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens since 1843. Their sugar products and sweeteners are made from non-GMO cane sugar and ensure consistently delicious results. We'll be using Imperial Sugar whenever we use sugar in our recipes this week, and can't wait to share the sweetness with you! You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Make sure you visit the recipes section of their website for some sweet inspiration, and you can also find coupons on their website if you want to try out Imperial Sugar yourself. Imperial Sugar and our other sponsors have banded together to contribute some awesome prizes for our #Choctoberfest giveaway! Entering is simple - just click below to follow us on Pinterest. Here's what you could win:
We also have a nonprofit sponsor this year - Rescue Chocolate! They make vegan chocolate treats and donate 100% of their proceeds to animal shelters.

Enter now to win the #Choctoberfest prize. Hurry, because we're picking the winner on October 12 at 8:00 AM, so if you don't sign up before then, you'll miss your chance! a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of the other blogs participating in #Choctoberfest 2015. Check out their blogs throughout the week for chocolate recipes you won't be able to resist: The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin' MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmAloha FlavorAmy's Cooking AdventuresAngels HomesteadBalancing MotherhoodBless this MessBusy-at-HomeChocolate SlopesCoconut & LimeColie's KitchenCookaholic WifeCooking In StilettosCooking With LibbyCookistryCopyKat RecipesCravings of a LunaticCrumbs in my MustachioCulinary CoutureCupcakes Take The CakeDeliciously SavvyEat It & Say YumFairyburgerFamished Fish, Finicky SharkFarm Fresh FeastsFood Hunter's Guide to CuisineFull Belly SistersGet Off The Couch and CookGrumpy's HoneybunchHey What's for Dinner Mom?Honey and BirchI Can Cook ThatJane's Adventures in DinnerJessie WeaverLife on Food Life, Love, and Good FoodMajorly DeliciousMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMother Would KnowOr Whatever You DoPoet in the PantryRecipes Food and CookingRhubarb and HoneySassy Southern YankeeSavory TartSeduction in The KitchenSerena LissySumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeThatsSoYummyThe Chonchudo FilesThe Crumby CupcakeThe Dinner-MomThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiced LifeThe Spiffy CookieThe Two Bite ClubThe Weekday GourmetVintage KittyWendy PolisiWhat A Girl EatsWhitBit's Indian KitchenWit Wisdom & FoodZesty South Indian Kitchen
Are you a blogger who is interested in joining us during out next community event? Sign up here now!
We'll make sure you get an email about our next blogger event.


Full Belly Sisters will be sharing some great new recipes this week to celebrate #Choctoberfest. In the meantime, check out some of our favorite chocolate recipes!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Autumn Apple, Cheddar & Fig Jam Crostini

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias

I love entertaining in the fall. It's a busy time of year—back to school, back to team sports, back to PTA volunteering—so it's important to take time out to socialize and enjoy the season's simple pleasures. Crisp, cool weather; evenings around a wood fire; hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick; the changing color of the leaves...and, of course, apples. In my book, if you want to highlight the deliciousness of an apple, you should pair it with a sharp cheddar like Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese. Autumn is delicious in so many ways!

To celebrate this most wonderful of seasons, I've made a lovely crostini: toasted baguette, fig jam, thinly-sliced apples, and Kraft Natural Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese melted over everything. It's a simple, seasonal, and beautiful snack that gives you plenty of time to be with your guests.

You can make as many or as few of these nutritious crostini as you need. Having a friend over to hang out while the kids are at school? Make just a few crostini. Having a couple of families come back to your house after the kids' soccer game? Make the whole baguette! For each crostini, you should figure: one slice of baguette + 1/2 teaspoon fig jam + 2 thin slices of apple + 1 Tablespoon Kraft Natural Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar.

  • baguette, cut on the bias into 1/4" slices
  • Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  • fig jam
  • Kraft Natural Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • olive oil, for brushing on the bread 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Brush each slice of baguette with some olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for about five to seven minutes, until the bread is golden brown, then flip and bake for about five more minutes, so that both sides are toasted.

Take out of the oven and, on each toasted slice of baguette, spread fig jam. Place apple slices over the jam, then sprinkle the
Kraft Natural Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar over the top. Place the sheet of crostini back in the oven and bake for about three to five minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.

Remove from the oven and serve right away. I served mine out on our deck, alongside some mugs of hot apple cider. Autumn rules!

Have you ever had a piece of apple pie with cheddar on top? Well, this wholesome crostini tastes just like that—a wonderful mix of sweet and savory, toasty and creamy. 

Such a satisfying and easy approach to fall entertaining, right? I love simple meal solutions that look good but require very little energy. I even use the cutting board (on which I sliced the apple and baguette) as a serving platter. The less time spent in the kitchen, the more time you've got to sit with friends and family and just soak up the season.

To that same end, I like to put out some extra slices of the apple, as well as a block of Kraft Natural Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese on my serving platter. That way, when the crostini runs out, guests can just nibble on the apple and cheese—and I don't feel pressure to run back into the kitchen.

And, hey, if "fall entertaining" means "football" to you, head to your local Walmart on September 26 and check out a Game Time demo for fun tailgating and home entertaining recipes. You can find the Kraft Natural Cheese right in the refrigerated cheese section. Then you'll be all set to host your own party!


My crostini recipe is super versatile. If you'd prefer it to be more savory, try using honey mustard instead of the fig jam. If you've just gone apple picking and have a different breed of apple on hand, use it instead of the Granny Smith. And, while I really love the bite that sharp cheddar gives to this simple snack, you can use any kind of cheese you prefer—there's a great variety of Kraft Natural Cheeses to choose from. 

When you make this recipe (yup, I'm confident you will), please share a photo on social media and hashtag it #fullbellysisters. We love to see what you create! And be sure to check out more Kraft Natural Cheese recipes for your next tailgating or home entertaining occasion.

How do you celebrate fall at your house? Have you tried any Kraft Natural Cheeses before?

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