summer and ice cream treats; the way to my pregnant heart.

hi friends! how was your weekend? i spent the whole thing balancing a bowl of ice cream on my belly bump while relaxing by a lake. it was as good as it seems, thank you for asking!

we spent our 4th of july holiday (well, the weekend leading up to it) at the cabin of our lovely family friends, and it was absolutely magical. seriously, what a treat to be able to be with family and friends in a gorgeous setting, doing absolutely nothing but enjoying ourselves for three whole days in a row. add in the fact that miss amelia was (mostly) an angel and it’s the recipe for a perfect weekend.

family time on the lake

[but seriously how about that view?]

if you know me, you know that there are a few things in this world that i love with a deep, deep passion. number one is my family (big duh there). number two is summer in minnesota. number three is ice cream. and ice cream in the summer with my family all at once? it’s enough to make my pregnant heart skip a beat. if you’ve been around for a while, you know that i basically kept our local ice cream store in business when i was pregnant with amelia. so get ready for some photos of real deliciousness from the past few days.

kemps cherry fudge chunk and mint cow tracks

kemps ice cream #itsthecows

we’re lucky enough to live in a place where kemps ice cream is readily accessible to us as a way to celebrate national ice cream month (which is apparently what july is, how did i not know this??), and it was the ideal treat to get while we were at the cabin. kemps has been around for a looooong time, and is known in a big way for their 40(!) flavors of ice cream. they literally have something for everybody. (click here to see if kemps is available near you. if it’s not, i’m very sorry for introducing you to this goodness but i had to, you know?)

kemps ice cream family treat

kemps ice cream family treat

in between all of our swimming and reading and relaxing over the weekend, we obviously did some serious eating, because summer weekend at the cabin, duh. we did the usual burgers, brats and fish fry, but for dessert, we opted for some mint cow tracks and plenty of cherry fudge chunk ice cream, and we were not disappointed.

after an informal poll, it was decided that baby zee preferred the cherry fudge chunk, while amelia liked the mint cow tracks a bit more. i’d like to lie to you and say that i only had one bowl, but i think we all know that wouldn’t be the truth. i’m only showing you one of my empty bowls though.

kemps mint cow tracks ice cream

kemps ice cream treat cherry fudge chunk

and now for the fun part…a giveaway!

because july is national ice cream month, kemps is letting me give away five $5.00 coupons for kemps ice cream to you guys! YES, I KNOW IT’S AMAZING. to enter, just visit the kemps website to take a look at all of their 40 ice cream flavors, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which flavor (or flavors) you want to try the most. it’s that easy. the giveaway will be open until July 19th, and i’ll pick the five winners randomly at that time. good luck!

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gluten-free pumpkin muffins.

oh hey everyone! guess who’s back in the baking game? this pregnant lady.

if you follow me on snapchat (find me at username hooleywithaz) you might have seen some of my gluten and dairy-free baking shenanigans lately. long story short, and which i will be going into in more detail in the future, we’ve been battling some pretty severe eczema with Amelia over here. the good news is that thanks to some dietary changes and some amazing topical treatments (both of which we hope are temporary after some months of working everything out), she is now a happy, itch-free toddler who can wear short sleeves and run around in her birthday suit.

toddler mama picnic

we are starting to slowly transition gluten and dairy back into amelia’s diet, starting with dairy, but because it’s slow, i’m still doing a lot of modified cooking and baking. and while there are a lot of great commercial gluten-free products out there, sometimes you just want to bake something homemade, you know?

enter the savior: mama hools. my mother has a special set of skills, many skills. one of these skills happens to be cooking for people with food allergies. and i’m talking real food allergies, not “i want to lose weight so i’ll tell myself i’m allergic to gluten” allergies. she also happens to know how to adjust recipes to make them taste delicious, even when they’re free of anything seemingly tasty. she’s a magical fairy, i’m telling you.

she has many amazing recipes, but one of our favorites is her gluten-free (and dairy-free) pumpkin muffins. they are moist, flavorful, and freeze beautifully, which makes them the holy grail of gluten-free muffin recipes. she found the original recipe at gluten free goddess, but modified it a lot to accommodate some additional allergies and in my opinion, made it easier and better. i would choose to eat this pumpkin muffin recipe, and i’m not even gluten-free.

i posted a picture of this deliciousness on my instagram and got so many requests for the recipe that i thought i’d share it here. if any of you are gluten-free, or just looking for an awesome pumpkin muffin recipe, i highly suggest that you make these. let me know if you have any questions on the ingredients or the recipe, just leave a comment and i’m happy to help!

gluten-free pumpkin muffins

gluten-free pumpkin muffins (makes 12-16 regular muffins)

dry ingredients

  • 2 C. all-purpose gluten-free flour (w/ xanthan gum added, my flour called for 1 1/2 tsp. for this amount of flour and type of recipe)
  • 1/3 C. organic coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 C. coconut sugar (mix it with enough maple syrup to make it packable)

wet ingredients

  • 1/3 C. olive oil or coconut oil (i used coconut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. almond or coconut milk (i used almond)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree

preheat oven to 350 F. whisk together dry ingredients. add in wet ingredients, mix well by hand or mixer, making sure all dry ingredients are incorporated. if desired, stir in by hand 1/2 C. roughly chopped pecans, walnuts, raisins or chocolate chips.

line a muffin tin (regular or mini) with liners or grease well. spoon batter into tins, filling close to the top. smooth the tops with the back of a wet spoon. bake 15 minutes for mini muffins, 22-25 minutes for regular muffins. let cool and remove gently. store in a tupperware, or freeze. to defrost: 5-10 seconds for mini muffins, 10-20 seconds for regular muffins. keep an eye on them though, i’ve burnt my fair share, they go faster than you think!


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buffalo chicken dip pizza.

this shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. all opinions are mine alone. #HomeBowlParty #CollectiveBias

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

i have a confession to make: i mostly watch football games for the snacks. yea, the sport itself is fun and all, but when it comes right down to it, it’s easier to sit through if there are some good eats and drinks. i normally don’t get too fancy with said eats and drinks. we’re very much a chips & salsa, crackers & hummus, cookies & milk family over here. it’s pretty easy to get in a rut of laying out whatever’s in the pantry, and that’s fine for any old football game.

but the big game warrants a little something extra. a little planning, a little recipe testing, and (dare i say it?) a little solo trip to Target for some treats. oh, solo trips to Target. you are my favorite. i’ve been known to take two hours to just wander around the store, even though all i end up buying is some laundry detergent and snacks for amelia. blissful does not begin to describe it. but i digress. this post is about football game food, not my deep love for shopping by myself.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

for any of you Target lovers, you can save 15% at Target on Coca-Cola brand 6-pack 500ml bottles using the Cartwheel app (until 2/13)! and REESE’S cups footballs are also 15% off at Target using the Cartwheel app (from 1/24-2/13)!

one of the most fun things for me is to find ways to combine foods i love into one great recipe. i love buffalo chicken dip. i love pizza. so of course I’m going to love buffalo chicken dip pizza, right? RIGHT! i’m pretty proud of this pizza you guys. when i had the idea, i had a feeling it would taste good, but then i made it, and had severely underestimated the deliciousness factor. it’s two wonderful football foods that have been married into one even more wonderful football food. be still my heart. when Mister Man tasted it, he couldn’t stop raving about how good it was (and then he had two more slices).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

this pizza is basically a deconstructed buffalo chicken dip in pizza form. so while most buffalo chicken dip recipes have you throwing everything together in one pot to heat up and melt together, we change things up a bit to make this. the sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce are mixed together to act as the sauce for the pizza. the chicken and mozzarella cheese are added as the toppings. i also threw on a cilantro garnish at the end for some color and fresh flavor. i think that the secret ingredient here is in the puff pastry crust though. it’s fluffier than most pizza crusts and really adds a nice twist!

i opted to use better-for-you ingredients in this recipe, because there are usually a lot of snacks hanging around on game days and i figured a more balanced list of ingredients would be a good idea. feel free to mix and match ingredients to make this recipe work for whatever you have on hand though. it’ll still taste great!

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

full disclosure, this pizza is DELICIOUS, but it’s also SPICY and SALTY. i highly suggest serving it with something refreshing to cool your mouth off, as well as something sweet to balance out the flavors. Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs are solid choices, and pretty classic from a football food perspective. pizza and Coca-Cola? so classic. REESE’S cups shaped like footballs? so perfectly thematic. take my advice and serve this combo during the big game (whether it’s for a party or just for you, i won’t tell).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza recipe (serves 8)

prep time: 10 minutes (does not include thawing time for the puff pastry dough)

total time: 35 minutes (includes cook time and cool down time)

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry crust, thawed and rolled out a bit
  • 1/2 C. buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 C. light sour cream
  • 1/4 C. light ranch dressing
  • 6 oz. light cream cheese, cubed
  • 1-2 C. cooked, shredded chicken (can use rotisserie chicken if desired)
  • 1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • cilantro, for garnish

make sure to thaw your puff pastry crust fully before beginning, whether overnight or for at least 45 minutes. preheat oven to 415 degrees F. in a small saucepan, mix buffalo sauce, light sour cream, light ranch dressing, and light cream cheese. heat over medium heat, stirring often, until all ingredients are fully melted and mixed together into a smooth consistency. while the sauce is heating, lay your puff pastry dough on a baking sheet, and with either your hands or a rolling pin, flatten out slightly. once your sauce is ready, spread it onto your puff pastry dough, reserving a little for dipping. top the sauce and dough with your shredded chicken and mozzarella cheese. bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the ends of the crust are puffy and the cheese is starting to turn golden brown. let the pizza cool, and top with chopped cilantro for garnish. slice into 8 pieces and serve as a snack during the big football game.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

what are your favorite eats and drinks for the big game? are you more of a sweet or savory snack person? i’d love if you shared some ideas!

(don’t forget to take advantage of the Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs Cartwheel deals, both ending 2/13!)

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grandpa’s sauerkraut soup.

i’ve had some awesome feedback on the blog lately about including vegetarian options for my soup recipes. so i’ve decided to start posting a note at the end each recipe to let you know how to make any of these recipes vegetarian-friendly (if possible). that way, even the non-meat eaters can enjoy grandpa’s recipes. keep an eye out for this change going forward!

classic recipe for sauerkraut soup (with options to make it vegetarian friendly!) |

okay people, i know what you’re thinking…sauerkraut soup? no. just….no. why would you think we’d like that erin? sauerkraut in a soup does not sound good. i’m going to skip this post.

just do me a favor and give this one a chance. have i ever led you astray? i would tell you if it was weird, i promise. i mean, i know that i like sauerkraut by itself, and i know that’s a bit goofy, but i had multiple people who were not sauerkraut lovers try this, and they all loved it. it really is more like a cabbage soup, because the sauerkraut doesn’t have a strong taste. I wouldn’t lie to you, so trust me on this one and keep reading.

sauerkraut soup is actually quite popular in the northern european cooking heritage, and when i looked into it (because i was curious if this was a common type of recipe), i found that there’s a huge array of sauerkraut soup recipes out there…who knew! apparently it’s pretty popular, especially in this part of the country, where so many germans, norwegians, swedes and czech settled.







this soup is a classic recipe, using rinsed sauerkraut, lean beef and only a small amount of dried herbs to flavor it. if you look at the recipe, you’ll notice it includes ingredients that would be readily available during the cold winter months in a northern climate; things that could be kept in a cellar, or canned. and because they had to ration their dried herbs all winter, instead of using a larger amount of them to flavor the soup, they use a small amount tied up in a cheesecloth bag, but let it stew in the soup for a very long time to make them go further.

this was the first time i’d ever cooked a soup that called for a Bouquet Garni. if you haven’t heard of that before, you’re not alone, because i hadn’t either! a Bouquet Garni is basically just a fancy way to say “a bag of herbs mixed together”. by putting them together in a cheesecloth bag, it allows the flavors to steep in the soup when cooked for a long time (like a teabag), and also allows you to remove them all when the cooking is done so you don’t have to fish around for a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. bonus: it looks really cute when you make it, and makes you feel like a fancy chef, so i’m a big fan.

how to make a bouquet garni




as usual, my favorite part of making this was getting to read a little note from my grandpa about a memory he had of cooking this soup (i included it below). i’m so happy that i decided to record this little project of mine here, because when i write the recipes down and talk about what the day was like, or what the occasion was for cooking a particular soup, it gives me memories of making each one, just like he had. and i think that’s what’s amazing about cooking any special recipe…it sticks in your heart, and just thinking about a meal can bring up wonderful memories of your life when you cooked it.

so promise me if you’re looking for an interesting recipe to try, one that’s easy to just dump in a pot and leave on the stove all afternoon, you’ll give this one a go. maybe it’ll become a favorite for you like it was for my grandpa!





sauerkraut soup (makes a large batch without doubling)

  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinsed in cold water and drained
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 10 C. beef broth
  • 3 lbs. lean beef, cubed
  • Bouquet Garni of 5 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and 1 pinch of thyme, tied in a small cheesecloth bag (see above for photos of how to make a Bouquet Garni)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • boiled tiny potatoes or boiled whole potatoes cut into chunks with skin on (enough for whoever will be eating at that particular meal…should be freshly cooked, as you serve the soup over these)

in a large soup pot, cook onions and celery until vegetables are tender. add sauerkraut and cook over low heat until it’s golden. add the beef broth, lean beef and Bouquet Garni, and cook covered over low heat for at least two hours. at serving time, remove Bouquet Garni and add salt and pepper to taste. serve over freshly boiled tiny potatoes or potato chunks (with skin on).

note from grandpa: the aroma of this soup brings back fond memories of a winter getaway we had as a family. staying in a log cabin, we snow mobiled, ice fished and cross-country skied…and almost froze in the process! we cooked this soup to warm us up after a long day outside in the cold.

vegetarian substitutes:

  • use vegetable broth instead of beef broth
  • omit the beef (can also add a cup of brown lentils to add protein and bulk if you’d like)


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grandpa’s beef and wine soup with dumplings.

seriously, this is the perfect soup during the cold winter months. beef, wine, vegetables and homemade dumplings...but it only takes 40 minutes to make. yes please! |

if i was ever going to compare eating soup to putting on socks warm from the dryer, this soup would be the one i was talking about. beef and wine soup with dumplings is classic, simple home cooking – you can throw this recipe together from prep to table in about 45 minutes. it’s fancy enough that it will make you feel like a real chef, and i know i love dishes like that.

this soup is seriously really easy, but it tastes like you spent a ton of time on it. if you’re hosting a winter dinner party, this soup, plus a winter salad, some crusty bread, cheese and good wine for drinking would simply be heaven.


if anyone is interested, i am just shy of being 1/3 of the way done with cooking all of my grandpa’s soup recipes. there are 35 soups total, and i have cooked 10 of them to date. interestingly enough, i’m the most behind on the vegetable soups…i never realized how many different recipes/ingredients there could be for vegetable soups, so i’m going to have to get on that. i’ll have to spin it to Mister Man some way so that he is okay with the meatless meal thing. men, i tell ya.


beef and wine soup with dumplings should only be made when you’re cold and craving heartiness in your life. i’m even going to go out on a limb and say that this recipe should only ever be made in the winter. i mean, it’s delicious, but it just doesn’t belong anywhere else. it’s like black-eyed peas on new years eve…they just aren’t the same any other time of year. i can just imagine my grandpa making this for his family after a frozen day playing outside in st. cloud, minnesota. they always got a ton of snow (they still do), and this would have warmed his family of ten up in no time.


now, you can absolutely feel free to make this without the dumplings if it feels too scary for you…it’s still good without them. i’d also recommend using whatever cheap red wine you have on hand. as with all my cooking with wine recipes, i highly support the use of three buck chuck from trader joes (charles shaw for all you who aren’t in the know yet). one last tip – remember to cook your beef as you’re prepping. i forgot and had to scramble while everything was already in the pot! that’s what i get for not reading the recipe close enough at first.




beef and wine soup with dumplings (makes a large batch without doubling)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 C. onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 C. celery, chopped
  • 22-24 oz. beef broth
  • 2 C. red wine
  • 2 C. tomato juice
  • 2 C. cooked lean beef, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

dice the beef and cook in a large pan. when done, set aside. in a large pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the butter until soft (5-6 minutes). stir in broth, wine, tomato juice and beef. simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. season to taste with salt and pepper. serve with crusty bread and cheese, and maybe a winter salad if you’re feeling adventurous.

for the dumplings (you can also use bisquick for an even quicker dumpling)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

in a bowl, mix butter, eggs, flour and salt until smooth. drop mixture by small teaspoonfuls into the soup. cover and simmer for 10 minutes until cooked through.



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