Baked Potato Bar

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by Angela

With being a wife of a pastor, I often serve lunch or light dinner for a meeting. Sundays after church are a great time for meetings! Yet people are ready for lunch. One of my favorite meals to prepare is a Baked Potato Bar.  With food allergies or likes or dislikes, a lunch where people can pick their own toppings is a must! The prep is easy, the potatoes can cook while I am church, the cost is good for a crowd, and the results are yummy!! Here are the steps I follow.

I like to do as much prep as early as I can, especially for larger groups. Clean those potatoes the day before. And use your Norwex Fruit and Veggie cloth. What? You don’t have one? You will want to get one. It makes cleaning potatoes really easy. I have a Norwex lady so let me know if you need her information. 


Next you will want to poke some slits in the potatoes and rub some sea salt all over the outside skins. Place them on a large cooking sheet and set them aside until you are ready to put them into the oven.


Now, the best part of the Baked Potato Bar is all the toppings!! These are some of the goodies you will want to include on your grocery list. (grated cheese, broccoli and cheese, french fried onions, sour cream, chili, butter, bacon bits)


When you are ready to bake your potatoes, you will want to cook them long and low. Bake 350 degrees for 75- 80 min. I am often at church on Sunday mornings when I am ready to cook the potatoes so I set my oven on the delay start to come on while I am gone. Check out your ovens delay start settings. You can do some creative cooking with it.


Once you are ready to serve the meal you will want to get all those toppings ready. (I usually serve some fruit or bread to go along with the lunch.)


Take the potatoes out of the oven and place on some platters. (I slit the potatoes completely so that its easy for the guest to fill them with all the toppings.) I also offer a few sweet potatoes for those who have food allergies or if they prefer not to have the carbs.



That is it!! Easy, I tell you. And a hit!! Potatoes heat up well too and make great leftovers the next for day lunch.


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Easy Caramel Dip Recipe

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by Angela

This recipe makes  THE.BEST.CARAMEL. dip. It is my favorite, and its easy, and it is delicious with granny smith apples.

Start with a can of sweet condensed milk. Put it into a pot and fill it with water, covering the can completely. I use one of my older pots as the glue from the can label can get on the pot and it takes extra scrubbing to clean.


Lightly boil for a while. A long while. Like 4 hours- awhile. (There are some crock pot versions of this recipe, but we tried it and our crock pot didn’t cook it hot enough- so it was an epic fail-ha). You will want to refill the water several times and turn the can over with tongs a few times during the 4 hour cooking time.

Next, take the can out and let it cool for a bit. Then you get to see the magic- from sweet condensed milk to caramel.


This caramel is sooooo soft, sweet, and creamy. It really doesn’t compare to the pre-packaged caramel dip. You don’t need to buy it ever again when you have a recipe this easy! Put the dip into a cute fall bowl and plate add some extra fall decor- because food should look pretty too!


And then serve it to your friends of course! Because things this delightful are meant to be shared!


Some of our blog readers taste testing the creamy sweet caramel at our Cultivate Study!!! They approved 🙂

If you want more caramel and apple ideas check out these blogs. Can you have too many caramel recipes? No the answer is no? 🙂

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Pumpkin Patch Pudding

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by Laura

The leaves are changing colors up here in Midwest land while my Vegas friends are experiencing their new season, Wind.  No matter what kind of weather you are in, these little pumpkin patches are a very sweet treat for you to whip up with the kids this weekend.  

What do you need to make these?  15 minutes and a few ingredients.  

  • 2 boxes instant pudding
  • 1 package oreos
  • candy pumpkins
  • green frosting
  • plastic cocktail cups



Whip up 2 boxes of instant pudding and let it set in the fridge for five minutes.  I told you guys this was easy.  I didn’t even know you could make pudding in five minutes, but who am I to question these things.  


Crush up 1 package of Oreos in a food processor, blender, or a ziplock bag and some agression.  

Layer the pudding and crushed Oreos in a small cup.  You can tap the cup as you go to disperse the pudding and Oreos.  On the top use some green frosting to create a vine and then place your pumpkins on the vine.


This recipe makes about 14 pudding cups.  You can eat them immediately, but if you have to wait keep them in the fridge. 


They are so fun for a pumpkin carving party, classroom treats, or a surprise neighborhood drop off.  Have a happy fall with this totally adorable treat!  

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Butternut Soup Recipe

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by Angela

My family and I experienced a trip of a life-time a year ago to visit some special friends in New Zealand. One of those friends had us to stay for a few days and made us some wonderful Pumpkin Soup. I loved it, my family loved it and I came home needing to find a way to duplicate it!! Pumpkin is a bit different in a NZ, than America, so I substituted with Butternut Squash and couldn’t be happier with the results. We had it almost every week last Fall and can’t wait to begin enjoying it on the Dinner Meal Planning again this Fall. Scroll all the way down for Recipe Card 🙂

Start with the Butternut Squash (obviously!) Cut the skin off and cube it up.


Heat up some olive oil so you can start cooking that squash up.


And while its heating up, start slicing your onion and potatoes to add to your squash


At this point I am tired of peeling and chopping, so I substitute peeling and dicing carrots for baby carrots.


Add those easy carrots into the colorful delightful-ness and listen to that pot sizzle!!!


Give a few stirs every so often as veggies get tender. I love stirring a full pot.


Once tender, transfer to crock pot…look at those roasted veggies.


Add Chicken Bouillon over top.  This is my favorite brand to use…better-than-bouillon

Poor boiling water over and let that crock pot do its thing. Warning you will enjoy delicious smells from the kitchen.


Now you can sit back and relax all afternoon knowing that dinner is cooking. Ok, maybe not. Maybe you should work on the things you’ve been putting off on your to do list instead.

Ok, once you are about ready to eat. Use an Immersion Blender to blend the soup together.


Add in some salt and pepper to season and continue blending until smooth. It is so smooth and creamy and sweet we don’t ever add in half and half cream. You just don’t need it, I tell you!


Serve the soup up and enjoy. It’s like a Harvest in your Bowl!



Helpful Tip:

When I first made this soup, I was not sure how to even cut into an uncooked Butternut Squash to cut it into cubes. So I did what all 2016 women do, I YouTubed it. Here is the link, incase you don’t know how to either.

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Butternut Squash Soup
Delicious Fall Soup
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  1. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 medium- large Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
  3. 1 medium onion, sliced
  4. 1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  6. 8 cups of boiling water
  7. 3 tsp Better than Bouillon Chicken Base, or 3 tsp chicken granules
  8. Salt/ pepper
  9. Ground Cardamom (optional)
  10. 1/2 cup half and half (optional)
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat oil and saute squash, carrot and potato until they begin to soften. Transfer to a crock pot. Add the chicken stock over top of veggies and pour over boiling water. Stir. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. (Modify to your crock pot for cooking time). Use a immersion blender to liquefy soup. Season with salt, pepper, and ground Cardamom, (opt) to taste. Can add cream if desired.
  1. Gluten, soy and dairy free, (if you don't add cream).
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Caramel Apple Pops

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by Laura

Tradition in our family for the first day of Fall, is making Caramel Apples.  

We decided to try something a little different this year and it was a HIT.  

First I needed to gather my supplies.  Normally I make caramel from scratch, but I didn’t have time this year. I wasn’t super excited about unwrapping 100 caramels, but when I got to the caramels in the grocery store Kraft became my best friend.  


YOU GUYS.  They have these caramel bits that you just add a little water to and microwave for 2 minutes.  So much better for mama and the dishwasher, (also mama).  I found some popsicle sticks and parchment paper for easy apple retrieval. As for toppings, I went a little crazy this year as you can CLEARLY see here:


Our apples were a little small, but the treat is a sugar fest so small is ok for me.  I started out by slicing off the ends which we cut in half for bite sized caramel dunkers, and then I was able to get three slices/apple of workable material.  I removed the seeds from the middle and extra stem/base but if you have one of those cylinder alligator teeth apple corer things this would be what you would want to use.  To insert the popsicle stick I started a slit with a knife and then the popsicle stick slid right in.    


We invited some friends over for Caramel Apple night and my friend wrote everyone’s name on their popsicle stick-totally helpful after they were all decorated, and then we dunked the apple into the caramel.  


Laid it on the parchment.  And went to town with toppings.  


The fridge firmed up the caramel in about 10 minutes and we were ready to taste test!  


Everyone agreed these were much easier to make and eat than the traditional apples.  Hope you guys are ready for fall!  



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