Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have so many loved ones that cook and do it well. We talk about food and how to make meals better all the time. Okay, when I say meals I mean sweets! Please don’t judge me! It’s okay if you indulge every once in a while. RIGHT?

I am a strong believer in living life to the fullest which, to me means having a few treats once in a while.

I will never enter my fall season without a good meal and a banging treat. I can’t explain the joy that I feel when I’m in the kitchen with candles lit, the fireplace going, soft music playing, the oven on and fresh homemade cookie dough going into the oven.

Allow me to backtrack and give you the story behind this cookie. I was on the phone with my niece and she was making cookies with her daughter. So, of course, I had to ask what kind. I almost dropped the phone when she told me pumpkin chocolate chip. I just knew that this was a home run and could not wait to make it. My niece was going crazy over the texture of the cookie and how many cookies she was able to make.

Needless to say, she was right. I hope you all love these cookies as much as we do. But the best part is you should have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already, with the exception of pumpkin puree.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can of Pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsalted Butter
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 bag of chocolate chip

Serving 2 dozen cookies

Cook Time 12 mins on 350 degrees

In a large bowl add dry ingredients and slowly add in the pumpkin puree, egg, butter, and vanilla extract. Lastly, add chocolate chips and then roll the entire batter on parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. The longer the dough rest the more the flavors will infuse into the dough.

Grease your pan or use parchment paper. Roll the cookies and place 6 to 8 on the sheet at a time.

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored!

~BellDonna~

Jumbo Stuffed Pasta 🐚

My love for Italian food is ridiculously crazy. If I don’t make it once a week, then you know something is wrong with me. I have made everything from Manicotti to Baked Ziti, Ravioli, Tortellini, Lasagna, Italian Meatballs, and everything in between. Did I already say that I LOVE pasta? Oh okay, I think you get it.

If you follow me on Instagram and check out my insta stories you will see that I make pizza a lot. I make it so much that I can do it in my sleep. So based on that you might think that pizza is my favorite Italian meal. NOPE! You would be wrong.

Hands-down one of my favorite meals to try are stuffed jumbo shells. I have had them stuffed with cottage cheese and spinach, lobster, shrimp, ground beef, and Italian sausage. There is an endless number of options! But let me tell you two secrets to having a fantastic shell.

Step one….. do not overcook the shell that is the absolute worst thing you can do. Overcooking your shell’s will cause them to become limp and making it impossible for your ingredients to stay inside.

Step two…..stuff the heavens out of your shells. No one wants a half stuffed shell at least not me!!!

Ingredients

  • One box of Jumbo Shells
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • Two teaspoons Black pepper
  • Teaspoon Salt
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Boil your pasta shells for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.

In a heated pan add olive oil and sauté your spinach.

Any large bowl mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, black pepper, salt, and spinach.

Begin to stuff shells 🐚, place them in your pan and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover and Bake on 375° for 20 minutes

Uncover and broil for two minutes.

Please refer to my previous post on amping up bottled pasta sauce or making homemade sauce.

To complete your meal add either my crusted Parmesan salmon Or fettuccine, thin pasta noodles or baked chicken.

I always add a large Caesar salad with this meal. Just adds that bit of a crunch that you need.

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored!

~BellaDonna~

How I Amped Up My Pasta Sauce

Do you find it difficult to make your own pasta sauce? Or do you find yourself opening up a store-bought can of sauce and pouring that and only that, over your noodles or meat? It’s okay if you fall into either category.

Please don’t feel bad or feel like you aren’t preparing a great meal. If you are cooking then you are already winning.

BUT WAIT!

Let me talk about Sodium first. When I use bottled products I can feel my feet and hands slowly start to swell. Unless, I am drinking tons of water. In order to prevent this, I use the recipe below. Or I mix one bottle of sauce and half of each ingredient below. Do not feel overwhelmed with this recipe. Put your health first and take a look at the labels on the back of everything you are using. You don’t have to go without but just use a little less of that product and a little more of natural ingredients.

OKAY NOW LET’S GO

Follow me if you want to step out on faith and believe that making your own sauce isn’t just for Martha Stewart.  You don’t have to a pro to do this and do it well. It really doesn’t require much but it will taste like you slaved over the stove all day. That’s the key right… You want people to think that you were in the kitchen stirring this sauce and caring for it for HOURS.

  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 5 Fresh Basil leaves

On medium heat add olive oil, onions, green and red peppers, once they are sauteed add garlic. Immediately stir in your wine and cook down for 10 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes, kale spinach, seasonings, and herbs.

If you have a favorite sauce, then go ahead and use it, but amp it up and make it your own. When I use store-bought sauce I still use the above list and in the same order. The only difference is your final step. Which is adding your can sauce to the pan.

Please try either way and let me know how it turns out.

You could have read any blog but you chose mine and I’m honored!

~BellaDonna~

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No Comparison

We are living in a superficial society. Who has the best butt on Instagram or the best breast? What part of me should I expose so that I can get more followers and get that one person to notice me and “Fall in Love”.  We are always comparing ourselves to the next person. Please believe me when I tell you that males do this too.

Instagram is flooded with some of the most beautiful people in the world and trying to keep up with filtered images can be tiresome. Trust me I know. I am so guilty of scrolling and scrolling and then questioning my entire existence. I remember this one day I was feeling so good about me. I was having a good hair day, my thighs were looking more firm because of all my squats. Don’t even get me started on how my stomach was looking flatter and I saw a couple of ABS exposing themselves. Then I did the unthinkable…. I opened Instagram!!!!

Instantly, I became fat, not so attractive, my makeup looked as if a blind man applied it. Needless to say, I felt like I needed a complete makeover. But that isn’t even the worse part.  I kept scrolling and read uplifting, positive posts and then I felt like hmm, okay it’s not just my external that is in need of a makeover but my internal as well. At this point, I need an entire redo of my whole self!

I don’t know about you but I hate feeling like I’m not good enough.  When deep down you know that you are. We are so hard on ourselves and I think it comes naturally to most of us to give compliments and praise. Then look down on ourselves.

So let’s flip the script and make a pledge right now.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and exhale

  • Give yourself 5 compliments.
  • Make a quick mental check of things that you are good at
  • What are the things that come naturally to you and others may find difficult to do
  • What are the things that make you happy (what energizes you)

Once I started to do this and think positive about myself I felt like I was winning. There isn’t one picture of someone else that can make me question my worth. Not internally nor externally. I’m able to scroll through IG and maintain my confidence.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m a mother of 3! Two of which are teenagers and need a mother that is confident and not second-guessing herself. My main job as a mother is to teach them to be self-confident. So in order to do that, I think I need to be as well.

If you aren’t able to see the beauty in you then stop scrolling and back away from social media! You have been warned.

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored!

~BellaDonna~

Rae’s Veggie 🍔

Oh my do I have a treat for all of you. Let me begin by saying this, my daughter decided that she no longer wanted chicken beef pork or anything else besides seafood. So I had to step out of my comfort zone and learn how to make vegetarian meals and this one is a winner.

I have mixed and matched all types of ingredients together to make my veggie burger and I haven’t been satisfied until now. I mean you know I want to eat a veggie burger without knowing its a veggie burger. My daughter really enjoyed eating a good beef burger but she hated the way it made her feel. So, with me being the best mom ever (self-proclaimed)I had to try to make this veggie taste like beef.

Since there are three other people in my household that would prefer beef, this meal worked out perfect.

As I prepared my veggie burgers the beef burgers were cooking on a low to medium heat. That’s trick number one!

Trick number two is to cook your veggie burgers in the same pan that you cooked your beef burgers. Let the oil from the beef sink into your veggie burger.

Please watch the video below and let’s get started.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 cups of veggie mix
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • Guacamole
  • Hawaiian rolls
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Pickles

Makes 6 burgers

In your food processor mix black beans and veggie mix.In a large bowl mix ingredients from the food processor, corn, egg, and seasonings. Form your patties and place on a medium temperature. Cook each side for 10-15 minutes. Add a little barbecue sauce and flip one more time. Then add guacamole on top and of course a few pickles!

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I am honored!

~BellaDonna~

Shrimp Tacos 🌮 and Burritos 🌯 🌯

Ummm No I will not wait for Taco Tuesday to have some fun. I dive into my tacos any day of the week. I will mix up my main ingredients so that I can keep it fun and tasty. I like to try healthy light options so that I won’t feel guilty. Not to mention it allows me to have a few chips, queso and a margarita!
Enough chit-chat, let’s start digging into these tacos and burritos.
Here is the quick and easy recipe. Don’t be afraid to switch up the ingredients and have fun with it.

Ingredients

    2 cans black beans
    4 ounce can green chilies
    1 chopped green pepper
    1 chopped red pepper
    1 can refried beans
    6 ounce can enchilada sauce
    2 tablespoons cumin
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    2 teaspoons garlic
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    30 to 40 shrimps
    10 whole wheat soft shells
    Pack of hard shells
    Romaine Lettuce
    Guacamole
    Sour cream

Heat oven to 350°

Bake burritos for 15 minutes and broil for 3 minutes

In a heated pan add extra virgin olive oil and green pepper and red pepper. After those are sautéed add black beans, Refried beans, green chili peppers, enchilada sauce and seasonings.

Lastly add shrimp. It only takes a good four minutes for shrimp to cook.

When I made the tacos, I wanted my family to have more lettuce in their hard shells, so I thought of a creative trick. I placed a whole piece of lettuce inside the taco shell and then added my shrimp mixture. It worked perfectly!!!!

Please watch the video below (uh oh fixing video) and leave me a comment and any questions you may have. Please don’t forget to follow and watch all of my other yummy videos.

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored!

~BellaDonna~

Makenzie’s Deadliest Chocolate Frosting

When I bake I have an idea of what I want my creation to taste like. I usually know what ingredients I am in the mood for. Then I go on Pinterest and type in specific details and watch the recipes roll in. I always use a combination of recipes and create my own little mix.

Before I go any further let me remind all of you that I am a huge fan of chocolate. The darker the better! I work out like a horse and eat healthy all the time so when it comes to my treats…DON’T PLAY WITH ME!

So without further ado let’s get to this recipe. Only three ingredients are needed to make this delicious, mind-blowing frosting.

Ingredients

  • 2 12 ounce packs of dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 half stick of butter
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Put your heat on low add the butter, after it’s fully melted add chocolate chips. Continue to stir slowly and make sure everything is melted.

In a mixing bowl add 2 cups of Heavy whipping cream. Whip until peaks are formed and then add to your chocolate mixture. Gently fold for two minutes. The purpose of this is to make sure that everything is melted and smooth.

Add the mixture back into your electric mixer.

Now at this point you have a couple of options. Option one, placing your chocolate into the refrigerator for two hours. This will make the chocolate thicken and spread easily onto your 3 layer cake.

Second option serve it warm onto your three layer cakes.

Please watch the short video and enjoy making Makenzie’s Deadliest Chocolate Frosting.

Please refer to my previous post for the 3 layer chocolate cake recipe.

You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored.

~BellaDonna~