Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes (One Pot Meal)

Fall brings with it the desire to indulge in comfort foods. One of my go to comfort foods is soups and stews. Not only do they hit the spot on a cool Autumn day but they make wonderful leftovers for lunch. With the weather getting colder and colder, I'm challenging myself to take our favorite soups and lighten them up a bit. Today I want to share with you a beef stew that is full of flavor but low on SmartPoints.

This recipe makes a ton of stew which makes it perfect for get togethers or for dinner two, maybe three times a week. You could even freeze a portion for later. You'll get 9 servings at 3SP per 1 cup or 7SP for 2 cups. Pair with warm bread or a grilled cheese (you all know I love a good grilled cheese) and you have the perfect meal to keep you warm this season.

{3 Smart Points for 1 Cup}

1 pound lean trimmed sirloin roast, cut into cubes
2 cups red potatoes, cubed
2 cups carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 8oz cup lite grape juice
6 cups fat-free beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare vegetables by washing and dicing into bite sized pieces. Set these aside. Trim any excess fat from meat. Cut into 1" chunks. Lightly season beef chunks with salt, pepper, and onion powder. In a large pot or Dutch oven* lightly sear seasoned beef on all sides. Use 1/2 cup of beef broth in place of oil when cooking.Once the meat has seared and is mostly cooked through (7-8 minutes cook time), add in grape juice and beef broth. Cook on high for additional 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients to pot/Dutch oven and stir well. Simmer mixture on medium heat for 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent vegetables and meat from sticking and to help flavors blend together well. 

*You could easy put this in your crockpot as well. Cook the meat before and simply add the ingredients, cooking on low for 4-5 hours. 

Looking for more Fall recipe ideas? I've got you covered. A handful of bloggers and I have put to together a Fall Recipe Blog Hop. You'll find more recipes than you know what to do with but you'll also have no shortage of meal ideas. Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

October ... How I Love Thee!

We are mid-way through October and for the first time in a long time, I just want to freeze time. While I am usually more than ready for the Christmas season to arrive, this year I'm really loving Fall and the fun our trio has been having! So much is happening and I don't want to miss out on sharing those details so that's what I'll be doing today. Here's a bit of this and that from our month so far...


I will never NOT love pasta. I've mentioned before that we are huge fans of Chef'd's meal delivery and our love continues to grow. This month we tried the Cajun Chicken Pasta and the Summer Pasta. Both dishes got 2 thumbs up from James, myself and my Mom. The Cajun dish is full of flavor, with just enough kick. We served it with a veggies to balance it out a bit. The recipe as is is perfect. The summer pasta dish was equally as tasty. I opted to add chicken to the dish for more protein. The summer squash and zucchini were a fun addition to pasta for us. Both dishes provided us with leftovers. If you'd like to try Chef'd, here is $10 off your first order*.


Last week, James and I surprised Connor with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and to see PJ Masks Live. You would have thought this little fella has one the lottery! He was beyond excited. We agreed that this would be our birthday gift to him. Turning 5 is a bit deal so we decided to splurge a bit. And if I'm being honest, James and I had just as much fun as Connor. The show was awesome and spending 2 days at the water park wasn't too hateful either.


We've nailed down Connor's costume for this year and it's not at all what I thought he would pick. He toyed with the idea of being Steve from Minecraft but that didn't stick. He then said he wanted to be Owlette from PJ Masks (and I was okay with that) but ultimately landed on something else. I won't spoil the fun but I do plan to recap the holiday and hope you will join us! Swing back by November 3-10 and link-up all your Halloween fun!


Life is full of to do's and often times we our focus is on parenting, work, blogging and just live in general and don't always make our relationships with our spouses are top priority. James and have been having monthly date nights since January and I cherish our kid-free nights. We get to just be us - James and Stephanie, husband and wife. While I know date nights can be hit or miss for many, I thought I would share 10 ways to say I love you, I appreciate you or I'm thinking of you easily throughout the day/week.

I love the Honey Bee flowers* I sent to James. Flowers for men can be tricky but 1-800 Flowers.com has so many fun options. Be sure to check out their Party Animal collection. There is an adorable cat design that would be perfect for Halloween.


October has brought with it cooler temperatures and I couldn't be happy! I've shared before that I've been picking up new pieces to add to my wardrobe since losing weight and this outfit from last week was one that I'll be repeating often! Let me share the details of this outfit: black boyfriend tee (Old Navy, size down) and jeans (Old Navy, found at Goodwill for $4.99), my $17 WalMart oversized “Grandpa” cardigan and Target slip on’s. I’m no fashionista but I think I do pretty well every once in a while.

The remaining half of October is going to be packed full -- 2 birthdays and Halloween -- and I am eager to celebrate my 2 best guys and usher in the holidays. I am also in awe that the New Year is just 10 weeks away! 2017 has flown by, hasn't it?

I am teaming up with a handful of other bloggers today to share with you what we are loving this month. Feel free to stop by their space and let them know Stephanie sent you! 

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated to share my review of these brands. I was given both products at no cost to my family to then share with you. The opinions are my own and as always, I would never share something with you if I wasn't a fan!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake

'Tis the season for comfort foods, family gatherings and pumpkin picking. When looking for a sweet treat infused with pumpkin this Fall, I have you covered. Today I want to share with a recipe that includes Stevia In The Raw®, my go to baking sugar. This Bourbon- Spiked Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake has all the Fall flavors you know and love!

This twist on the classic bundt cake is worth the extra work. It's full of flavor, combining the pure pumpkin with the bourbon (or apple juice) and the caramel topping. You have to give it a try; it's perfect for this time of year!

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake made with Stevia In The Raw®

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Stevia In The Raw®
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 can 100% pure pumpkin (15-oz.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 Tbsp. bourbon or apple juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 325°F. Spray 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Beat brown sugar, Stevia In The Raw®, oil and eggs until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking powder; beat on LOW just until mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine caramel and bourbon/apple juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake and sprinkle with pecans

Nutritional Information
Per Serving: 460 calories, 24g fat (2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 60g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 3g dietary fiber, 190mg sodium, 18g sugars

Why do I prefer Stevia In The Raw®? Here are some perks of using this particular sugar for your baking needs:
  • Stevia In The Raw® is a zero-calorie sweetener, perfect for any baking and cooking needs. It contains an extract from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant 
  • Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag measures cup for cup with sugar so it can easily be used in recipes to reduce sugar and calories with no conversion necessary 
  • Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag is formulated so that 1 cup has the same sweetness as 1 cup of Sugar 
  • When using Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag for baking recipes, it is recommended that the user replace about half of the sugar in order to achieve the proper browning, rising and caramelizing that only sugar can provide 
  • Up to 700 calories are saved for every cup of sugar that is replaced with Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag 
I love pulling in the flavors of the season -- give me all the pumpkin! -- when baking! What pumpkin flavored dessert are you looking forward to making this Autumn?

Don't miss out on my In The Raw giveaway!
Good luck! 

Disclosure: The opinions shared are my own. I was provided free product along with gift cards for today's post. As always, I only share with you products we know, love and fully support.