My Favorites: Fall Edition


For some of us, fall means changing leaves, cool weather, and busting out sweaters. For those of us in the South West, it means nothing has changed. EXCEPT: Santa Ana Winds, and fire danger is LIEK WHOAH.

None the less, there are some things that to me mean that fall is here! And here are just a few of my favorites:

Torani Sugar Free Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup– I love this stuff, especially in hot coffee with a little half and half. It’s like a cinnamon dolce latte but without the big price tag.

This stuff is also pretty tasty in oatmeal too.

And a bottle this size will last a few months.

24oz_Cup_Plain_WM_IcelandicCreamSkyr-400x400.pngSiggi’s Plain Skyr Whole Milk (Yogurt)– This stuff is THE BEST yogurt I’ve ever had. I love Greek Yogurt, but it’s got nothing on Siggi’s. It’s thicker, richer, and creamier than any other yogurt. It’s a great substitute for sour cream, and when mixed with fruit and granola (Like this stuff from Bear Naked– which is another one of my new favorite things), it’s heaven.

Slow Cooker Liners– Fall usually means that your Slow Cooker/Crockpot gets a lot of use. Nothing sucks more than scrubbing crusty stuff off the bottom of a slow cooker.

Enter the Slow Cooker Liner- it makes clean up soooo much easier. It’s kinda like a baking bag, but less crinkly.

Santa Ana winds and fire danger. Not fun for the environment. Also, not fun for people. The hot dry air makes your skin dry, it makes your lips chapped and cracked. UGH.  My favorite product hands down to combat the dry weather shenanigans:

Bag BalmIt’s awesome for your hands, feet, and lips. Slather some on your feet, cover with some cotton socks, and hop into bed. The next morning, your feet will look and feel a million times better.


Talk Back: What are some of your favorite items this fall?

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Hearty French Beef Stew Recipe!

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Who needs a filter when you’ve got steam?

Earlier in the week I made beef stew. It was so good that I had a hard time waiting the full 10 hours until dinner  to dish myself up a bowl! I cooked it on the stove, but it can definitely  be cooked in a crockpot after the initial browning of the meat.

I based my recipe on my mom’s boeuf bourguignon recipe, but I omitted the bacon, as we didn’t have any in the house.


  • 1.5 cups white onions, diced
  • 3/4 cup each carrots and celery, diced
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (tops only, stems may be discarded or saved for a later use)
  • 2 T. Air Dried Shallots
  • 1 T. Minced Garlic
  • 4 T. Butter or Olive Oil (your choice), divided
  • 2 lbs. Stew Beef, cut into bite sized pieces (chuck roast works great)
  • 1/2 c. AP Flour
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 Bottle Red Wine (approx. 4 cups), your choice.
  • Spices: 1 Bay leaf, 1 T. French Tarragon, Pinch Rubbed Sage, 1 T. Thyme, Salt, Pepper


  1. In a Large Stock pot, melt 2 T. butter/heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cook on medium/low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are clear and veggies have sweated.
  3. While veggies are cooking, rinse meat and toss gently in AP Flour to coat.
  4. After veggies are cooked, scoop out of pot and set aside, add remaining butter/oil, and brown beef over medium heat.
  5. Add cooked veggies back in and stir/scrape browned bits off the bottom and sides of pot.
  6. Turn heat up to medium/high and add in about half the wine. Scrape off as much of the browned bits off the bottom and sides as you can as the wine cooks.
  7. Add remaining wine, stock, and herbs. Cover pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. If you wish, you can transfer everything to a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  8. Serve with hot, buttered bread, and a green salad. It is soooooo good. If you have leftovers (hahahaha), it is great re-heated and served over rice or buttered noodles.


Crockpot Chicken Stock recipe!

Wondering what to do with the carcass of the rotisserie chicken from last nights dinner? Got in the fridge, with a little meat clinging to the bones? Here is an easy recipe that makes delish stock and a great bowl of soup!

No rotisserie chicken? You can use your thanksgiving leftovers! Just save the bones and make sure they have SOME meat on them!

2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil, your choice
Two onions peeled and chopped
Four cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
Five stocks of celery cleaned and chopped
2 cups carrots chopped
4 bay leaves
One chicken carcass with at least 2 cups of meat still on the bone (chicken needs to be cooked, they were rotisserie chicken is perfect for this.)
10 cups of water
salt and pepper


  1. In a large sauce pan or skillet melt butter or poor oil. Add all chopped vegetables except garlic.
  2. Sauté on low for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pork cooked veggies into slow cooker, top with chicken carcass, Bailey’s, salt and pepper, and water.
  5. Place lid on slow cooker, and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Turn slow cooker off, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Strain solids off, using a colander or assistive. Discard the solids, leaving behind rich, fragrant, delicious, homemade chicken stock.
  8. Stock will need to be seasoned, most likely with additional salt and pepper, and any other spices you would like. I like additional spices like Rosemary, and basil.

To turn into delicious homemade chicken soup, add 1 to 2 cups additional chopped cooked chicken (or turkey) meat, any veggies you would like, and 1 cup uncooked noodles.

Cook on low to medium for 20 minutes to half hour, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. This makes approximately 8 cups of broth, and approximately 6 to 8 servings of soup.img_9953

Bay Leaves!

Recipe: Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.51.25 PMThis is a total time saver! I do this twice a month. It really saves time when it’s time to cook dinner. And on those days when you are just going going going, it’s nice to know that you’ve got something easy and tasty waiting for you!

It’s so easy, All you need is a crockpot, a food scale, and two forks!


  • 3 lbs of chicken, whatever is on sale (I used chicken breasts- bone-in with skin)
  • 1 c. broth or water
  • Seasoning to taste- I use a little dehydrated onion ( I like this one from Penzey’s), a little garlic powder, and a little pepper.


  1. Cook in the crockpot on low 6-8 hours. Allow to cool.
  2. Shred it with a fork (removing bones and skin).
  3. Grab ziploc bags (I like the snack size ones), our Digital Kitchen Scale, and a glass bowl. I use a measuring cup to scoop the meat (and juices) into the glass bowl, but I am measuring by weight.  The measuring cup is just my scooping tool of choice.
  4. Place the glass bowl on the scale, then turn the scale on- I only want to weight the food, not the glass bowl.
  5. After I weigh the chicken (into 4 ounce portions), I pour it into a snack size ziploc bag, seal it (and squeeze out the air), and put them in the freezer.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.55.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.55.58 PMThen when it’s time to make quesadillas, chef salad, or pretty much any time we want chicken (Hubs like to top his frozen entrees, like this one with a little bit of chicken for added protein), just grab a bag and defrost it in the microwave!

Frequently, I’ll get a larger Ziploc bag and measure out 2 cups- this is just enough for a casserole. Just defrost, mix in the other ingredients and cook!

I also like to make and portion out ground turkey cooked with black beans and fajita blend frozen veggies flavored with Taco Seasoning. It’s great on salads, quesadillas, or in chicken broth for a quick tortilla soup!