Random blogging thoughts & what direction to take?

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Since the end of September I’ve found myself in complete rebellion with documenting our every move and sharing it on Instagram. I’m not sure if it’s burnout or just complete and utter shutdown of that instinct that’s been very much a part of me since I launched my Instagram account in February 2012. I’ve found myself craving more intimacy with my children and family, and really living in the moment. As an avid picture taker always, I didn’t really feel like Instagramming our moments was that intrusive. I could do it quickly and quietly. And I loved that I could glance through the pictures and really catch the highlights of our lives.

For some unexplainable reason, I almost completely stopped until late November. Since then I have shared maybe 18 pictures, which may seem a lot, but definitely not for me. It’s really bizarre. But it’s as if I’ve shut down. I periodically share a status on Facebook, but it’s like I truly have a sense of wanting to keep our moments private. Wanting to quiet my mind and soul from constant documentation. And with that I stopped writing here, and I’ve felt my voice slip away. Is it Writer’s block? I don’t know. I’m just quiet. Still.

I’m still cooking, and usually take pictures of my food. It’s just everything related to my blog and social media came to a screeching halt. I like it, and though it’s given me time to clear out mental clutter….I know I want to find my way back to blogging eventually. My roadblock is how to go about sharing again in this space. What do I want it to look like? After blogging for 4 years, I feel a need and urge to change this space. I love the food blogging community, and I know I definitely still want to talk about food and share recipes. The part I’m not sure about is what else do I want to share? And how do I want to share it? And the desire to create a community with you all.

It’s time for a clean & fresh facelift for Creative Kitchen. It’s time to tidy things up a bit. I have so many ideas…..so many thoughts swirling around in my head, but at the end of the day…….ROADBLOCK. What to say, when to say it….how to jump back on here and communicating with you. Are you even out there? I know every blogger goes through this at some point or another. I am just stuck, and don’t know how to get unstuck. A little help is MUCH appreciated……

Friends….I need your HELP!

so the question is……..

What matters to you? When I continue writing in this space, what do you want to see? A big part of me wants to tie in more about where I live (Florida), and I’ve always enjoyed writing these types of posts:

I like sharing what inspires me in my daily life. I like encouraging and motivating others. I love the outdoors, and spending time in nature…..spending QUIET time alone outdoors renews my spirit. Highlights of life with my girls…. a focus on healthy living, travel, adventure, and of course still the food and recipes. That’s part of who I am, and I don’t see it changing. We’ve been on many camping trips these past couple years, and I have several camping posts half written in the recesses of my mind.

Okay friends……any ideas of where to start?

And as a blogger…..what helped you get through the transition; any tips for me?

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Cheesy ham sliders with onion butter {Secret Recipe Club}

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It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!! I can hardly believe I’ve left you with a QUIET month here. I certainly didn’t plan it that way….but do you ever draw in closer to your family, and completely try to drown out the “noise” of the world? As much as I love blogging (and will never give it up), I’ve really enjoyed this break and the solitude from the “blog” world. Can you relate?

I’m excited that the holdays are around the corner….excited that the temperature in South Florida is finally dropping a bit…..excited about spending time with family and friends. This month I was assigned Mommy’s Menu. Toni loves to cook and is a stay at home mom to 7 children! Wow!! There were so many tasty recipes to choose from, but I finally settled on these easy ham sliders. I’m sure we’ve all had a variation on these before, but the onion butter completely puts them over the top……you have to try these! These cheesy sliders are a perfect addition to any holiday party you may attend this year.

Cheesy ham sliders with onion butter {Secret Recipe Club}
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 16 dinner or potato rolls
  • ½ pound ham, any (sliced thin or chopped)
  • ½ pound cheese, any variety that melts well (I used cheddar and monterrey jack)
  • ONION BUTTER:
  • 1 stick butter, salted
  • ½ cup finely minced onion
  • 3 Tbsp prepared mustard (I used dijon)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Instructions
  1. To make the onion butter, combine ingrediens in a small sauce pan and heat gently just until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Preheat oven to 300.
  3. To prepare the sliders, cut open all the dinner rolls and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Spread onion butter on all the bottoms of the rolls (this will use about half of the onion butter).
  5. Place thin slices of monterrey jack cheese on roll bottoms.
  6. Add ham. Then top with thin slices of cheddar cheese.
  7. Use the rest of the onion butter on the insides of all the tops of the rolls.
  8. Cover all the rolls with the top of the buns.
  9. Cover sliders with foil, and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts and the sliders are heated through.
  10. Sliders can be assembled up to 2 days in advance.

 

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Muhammara {Secret Recipe Club}

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I’m in total shock that it’s already Secret Recipe Club time again! I’m embarrassed that it’s been almost a month since my last post. I know we’ve been extremely busy between serving at Marriage Encounter weekend and getting sick for almost 2 weeks out of this month. Wow…..I fought like crazy to stay well, but this sickness really took a lot out of me. I’m feeling better now, thank goodness! Time slipped away, and while I certainly wanted to be here….well time didn’t permit. I hope this recipe makes it up to you though. This dip is INCREDIBLE!! I just know you’ll love it.

How many of you have heard of Muhammara? It’s a middle eastern dip made with roasted red peppers, and it is out of this world good! Last spring, hubby and I went to the downtown area of West Palm Beach to visit the green market. It was at the height of our Daniel Fast while we were eating healthy and cutting out sugar. I was enjoying the beautiful morning weather, and being up and out so early on a Saturday morning together. My hubby was impressed with the abundance of fresh green veggies and great prices of them. At one of the booths, a greek restaurant was giving out samples of different dips on pita toasts. Muhammara was one of them, and I was blown away. I was hoping one day to recreate it, but never thought it’d happen.

Imagine my surprise when I was cruising through the wonderful recipes on Manuela’s blog “Manu’s Menu” and stumbled onto the recipe. Yay! I’m thrilled to now make this dip whenever I want to. I was excited to see how easy it is, and the one unique ingredient….pomegranate molasses….was easy to find at Whole Foods. I loved pouring over Manuela’s blog. She’s from Italy, but lives in Australia. She loves cooking, and shares many authentic and diverse recipes from all over. I hope you’ll check out Manuela’s blog….and definitely make this easy dip. It’s such an impressive recipe.

Muhammara {Secret Recipe Club}
Author: 
Recipe type: Dip, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 7 oz jar roasted red peppers
  • 2 Tbsp plain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Toast walnuts on low heat and set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients to food processor and mix until well combined.
  3. Refrigerate until cold and serve with pita chips or other toasted bread or flatbread

 

If you enjoyed this post or recipe, please pass it along! There are many ways you can SHARE. One of the most popular options is to PIN it on Pinterest or to LIKE it on Facebook. It really makes my day! To make sure you don’t miss a post or recipe you can either follow Creative Kitchen on Facebook or Pinterest. Or subscribe by RSS subscription or Email in the sidebar. It’s FREE! Thanks for reading….I love having company in the kitchen!

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Chicken taquitos & camping fun! {Secret Recipe Club}

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We just got back from another wonderful weekend camping with friends! I just love camping, and have been dying to share it with you guys….just haven’t had a chance yet. We did 3 camping trips last year (our season here in Florida is October to May), and just kicked off this year a little early camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground with many of our homeschool family friends.

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We always have so much fun, and the kids of course have a blast! They roam and roam all weekend, completely “unplugged” from all their electronics…out in nature playing together. These weekends remind me of my childhood. I can’t wait to do a series of posts on camping….from where we camp to tips for smooth camping to camping foods and meals. Is that something you’d like to see? Are any of you avid campers or outdoor enthusiasts?

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This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned the blog Cook with Sara. Sara loves to cook & bake and started at a young age. Sara had many recipes I couldn’t wait to try, and I had a lot of fun reading through her blog. I almost chose the Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, but these Chicken Taquitos won out when I realized it would be the perfect meal to bring camping with us.

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These chicken taquitos are super easy to make. I even made the chicken and cheese filling ahead of time, and rolled and baked the chicken taquitos the next day. And because they’re baked, they’re healthier too. They were a hit with my family, and were perfect dipped in sour cream and salsa. They also traveled well, and were easy to heat up at the campsite.

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Chicken taquitos & camping fun!
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Lunch, Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup green salsa
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-6 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (I omitted)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced green onions (I omitted)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (4 chicken breasts)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheese
  • 24 6" corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, mix softened cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic. Combine well, and add in cilantro and green onions if using. A mixer would make this step go quickly.
  2. Add chicken and cheese and mix thoroughly.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 (or use a toaster oven like I did).
  4. To soften tortillas, heat 10 seconds on each side in a skillet.
  5. In assembly line fashion, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the front third of the tortilla in a straight line, and roll each taquito tightly.
  6. Place tortillas in seam side down on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil spray. Continue rolling until all tortillas have been filled.
  7. Spray taquitos with more olive oil spray, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp.
  9. Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.
  10. Makes 24 taquitos.
  11. Can freeze these in a single layer on a baking sheet, and then placed into quart size freezer bags. If cooking frozen, 425 for 20-25 minutes without thawing.

If you enjoyed this post or recipe, please pass it along! There are many ways you can SHARE. One of the most popular options is to PIN it on Pinterest or to LIKE it on Facebook. It really makes my day! To make sure you don’t miss a post or recipe you can either follow Creative Kitchen on Facebook or Pinterest. Or subscribe by RSS subscription or Email in the sidebar. It’s FREE! Thanks for reading….I love having company in the kitchen!


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Pumpkin cheesecake mini trifles {Walkers Shortbread}

A large box appeared on my doorstep last week from Walkers Shortbread! Excited to see what surprises lay in store, my girls and I carried the box into the house. When we finally got the box open we were stunned at the vast quantity of goodies Walkers had sent our way.

Walkers Shortbread cookies
My mind started reeling with thoughts……I wanted to create a fall recipe this time using some of the Walkers Shortbread cookies. But there are so many possibilities…..cranberries, apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, hmm……

My girls love cheesecake, and I was eyeing these stem ginger shortbread cookies………..

Walkers stem ginger shortbread cookies
And lately I’ve been obsessed with pumpkin….that’s when it came to me. Pumpkin cheesecake mini trifles. There are several steps to this recipe, but let me say upfront the result is WORTH IT!! And these stem ginger shortbread cookies are incredible! I love the taste of ginger, and not only is that flavor abundant with each bite, but there are little bits of dried ginger sprinkled throughout. Mmm….love ginger!

Walkers wants to share an exclusive promotion with you to use on their website. If you purchase any of Walkers cookies between September 16 – September 23 you will receive 25% off your total purchase (excluding sale items). The promo code is: CKFRUIT. To keep up with Walkers, be sure to follow them on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Mini Trifles

Pumpkin cheesecake mini trifles {Walkers Shortbread}
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Rich and creamy, these trifles are an incredible taste of fall. There are several steps to this recipe, but let me say upfront the result is WORTH IT!!
Ingredients
  • CRUMB TOPPING:
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¾ cup oats
  • ¾ cup brown sugar + 1 Tbsp
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • FILLING:
  • 2 8 oz soft cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • WHIPPED CREAM:
  • 1 half pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • CRUST:
  • 2 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1 package Walkers Stem Ginger Shortbread Cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make CRUMB TOPPING:
  3. place pecans in food processor and pulse to finely chopped. Add in oats and pulse to finely chopped.
  4. Put brown sugar, salt, ginger, soft butter and flour into food processor.
  5. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Spread this mixture out onto a greased cookie sheet about ½ inch thick.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, and then cool on cooling rack.
  8. Crumble should harden and be able to break into pieces to form a crumb topping.
  9. To make FILLING:
  10. In mixer bowl, add softened cream cheese, sugar, and pumpkin and mix for a minute or two until creamy and well combined.
  11. Add in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Mix well and refrigerate until needed.
  12. To make WHIPPED CREAM:
  13. In mixer bowl, add cold whipping cream and using whisk attachment start whipping at highest speed you can go without splattering it everywhere.
  14. After liquid begins to thicken a bit, add in vanilla and sugar.
  15. Whip about 3-5 more minutes until you have thick whipped cream. Don't go too far or you will have butter.
  16. Refrigerate until needed.
  17. To make CRUST:
  18. Add the package of Walkers Stem Ginger Shortbread Cookies and pulse until you have all crumbs.
  19. Add in softened butter and mix until well combined.
  20. TO ASSEMBLE TRIFLES:
  21. In one large dish or several small dishes, layer the trifle with all components.
  22. Crust first, then pumpkin filling, then whipped cream and top with crumb topping with a little bit of the crushed walkers cookies sprinkled on top for extra ginger taste.
  23. This recipe made 5-6 small trifles with leftovers of everything. You can spread the leftovers into a small pyrex dish in layers and cut into bars, eat straight out of the containters, or freeze in layers. You can use leftover crumb topping for yogurt parfaits or other ice cream desserts.


Disclaimer: Though Walkers Shortbread sent me these cookies to sample, I did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

If you enjoyed this post or recipe, please pass it along! There are many ways you can SHARE. One of the most popular options is to PIN it on Pinterest or to LIKE it on Facebook. It really makes my day! To make sure you don’t miss a post or recipe you can either follow Creative Kitchen on Facebook or Pinterest. Or subscribe by RSS subscription or Email in the sidebar. It’s FREE! Thanks for reading….I love having company in the kitchen!

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