This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Hillshire Brands Company. All opinions are entirely my own. 

How do you take a holiday from good to great?

I’m pretty content as long as I have my family, my dogs (#crazydoglady), and really yummy food.

I make pretty much the same meal for each holiday and each time, I look forward to the cornbread dressing most of all.

It is absolutely in the top 10 list of foods. I love any variety, I love the baked ones, I love the ones made on the stove, I just love them all.

This Sausage and Cranberry Cornbrad Dressing is such a delicious version. It has the cubed cornbread, leeks (which I use in all my dressings – you have to try it if you haven’t already), dried cranberries, and pecans. Plus, the star of the show, Jimmy Dean® Regular Sausage!

The savory sausage with the sweet cranberries is so delicious and then all the different textures… seriously, it doesn’t get better than this!

You can find the Jimmy Dean® Regular Sausage in the refrigerated meats section at your local Walmart and be sure to check out the Great Value products. I just love how easy Walmart makes shopping – especially this time of year when you’re constantly rushed and just need to get everything at one place. Walmart is perfect for that!

Check out for more recipe inspiration!

How do YOU bring #joy2themeal?

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This article has been compensated by PAM Cooking Spray. All opinions are mine alone. #PAMCookingSpray

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the anticipation of the holidays and holiday meals. I’ve had a forever long list of Thanksgiving menu ideas on my desk since August.

Last year it was kind of up in the air whether my husband would be home in time for Thanksgiving (deployment) and he ended up coming home on Thanksgiving. So it was super simple since the boys and we spent several hours at the welcome home ceremony. This year though? I wanna go all out. Because next year my husband will probably be gone again. So why not?

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

One of my favorite and most important ingredients in my cooking, especially around the holidays, is PAM Cooking Spray. I use it pretty much every day of my life but because I use my vintage Pyrex dishes (handwash only!) for all holiday meals, I am most definitely spritzing everything with PAM Cooking Spray. PAM Cooking Spray leaves 99% less residue than margarine or bargain-brand sprays so clean up is quick and easy! It just makes life so much easier. Really, who wants to spend time scrubbing dishes after the Thanksgiving meal?

*vs. leading cooking sprays (except olive oil), after spraying on glass bakeware, baking at 400°F for 30 min, cooling, and then washing in standard home dishwasher with detergent and repeating 4 times.

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

These Twice Baked Red Potatoes are something you could serve for a holiday meal or just with a regular weeknight dinner! My husband and I used to make these when we lived in our very first apartment before we had kids. We’d make baked chicken with a salad and these potatoes and we felt like real adults. Because we bought raw potatoes and cooked them ourselves.

The recipe is super simple. Just bake the potatoes on a PAM Cooking Spray coated pan until their fork tender. Scrape out the insides and mix it with all kinds of cheesy goodness (and bacon!) and then put it back in the potato shells. So easy and so yummy! You can’t go wrong with potatoes with cheese and bacon!

For more information on PAM Cooking Spray, visit Follow PAM on Facebook and Pinterest for recipes and cooking tips!

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

Click for the full recipe


I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for my time in developing this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.

Have you started thinking about the holidays yet? I cannot even believe how fast the year has gone and I feel like fall totally snuck up on me! I had big plans to be super organized and have my entire Thanksgiving menu planned out by now. But yeah, didn’t happen.

I’m slowly coming up with ideas and then trying to figure out if my family will actually eat them. You know how it goes. Normally when you have a carrot casserole, it’s loaded with sugar and butter and it’s scrumptious, but I’m looking for a more savory carrot dish this holiday season.

For this dish, I cooked carrots and shallots and then pureed them until smooth and delicious. I stirred in some Nielsen-Massey Lemon Extract for some brightness and a few eggs for that carrot casserole texture we all know and love.

The Nielsen-Massey Lemon Extract is perfect for adding that little touch of lemon flavor! My husband is forever using all my fresh lemons for his water so I love having the lemon extract in my kitchen as a substitute. Half a teaspoon of the extract is equal to a whole tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest! It is so convenient.

And then the topping! Butter, fresh breadcrumbs, sage, and garlic! All my favorites! That is just mixed up and sprinkled on top before baking. It becomes a little crunchy during baking which is the perfect complement to the silky smooth casserole.

The casserole is absolutely delicious! If you are searching for a new side dish to try for Thanksgiving, definitely give this one a go!

For more recipe ideas and inspiration, visit the Nielsen-Massey Facebook page orPinterest page! Want more ways to use the Nielsen-Massey Lemon Extract? Check out their Uses and Pairings page for lots of ideas!

I’m the Paleo Fanatic over at Food Fanatic (although this recipe is definitely not Paleo)! This Carrot Casserole with Crumb Topping recipe is one of many I’m sharing over there so make sure you check back!

Click for the full recipe


Easy Homemade Apple Butter recipe - only 5 ingredients!

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Ours was good. Found all the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor chips. Spoiler: the Truffle Fries one tastes just like sour cream and onion chips. Laaaaaame. However, the Reuben one? Amazing.

I also decided that it’s too hot in Texas. I’d really like to go anywhere with snow right about now. The dogs end up looking like this at the end of our walk, no matter how early or late we go. Seriously, 95 degrees at 7 pm is stupid.

Dear Army gods, please send us far away from here. Colorado would be fabulous. Thanks.

Easy Homemade Apple Butter recipe - only 5 ingredients!

Despite the heat, I’m all in on fall foods. I had apples and pumpkin going in the kitchen this weekend and it was amazing.

First up was this Easy Apple Butter!

My husband’s been obsessed with apple butter for probably all of his life. Like, he’ll take a jar and eat the entire thing with a spoon. Side note: my mom makes this awesome strawberry freezer jam and he also eats entire jars of that with a spoon.

I’m not really sure what’s wrong with him.

Anyway, he saw me making this and was all “WAHHHH! I CAN’T EAT THAT! IT’S NOT PALEO!” so I ended up making this recipe as written below and then another batch with no added sugar. Obviously, the one with sugar is yummier but the one without wasn’t bad at all.

And it is seriously so easy! Only 5 ingredients and it takes less than an hour from start to finish. The hardest part is peeling the apples!

Easy Homemade Apple Butter recipe - only 5 ingredients!

Click for the full recipe


Mexican Rice - an easy and delicious recipe that goes perfectly with tacos, enchiladas, and burritos!

We’ve officially been in Texas for 2 months. 

And that’s nuts. I simultaneously feel like we just got here and that we’ve been here for 10 years. 

Overall, I don’t hate Killeen like everyone said I would. Seriously, everyone I came in contact with told me how bad it would be. I still meet people that tell me that. At my last doctor’s appointment, the doc actually said, “Ugggghhhh, I’m sorry!” when I told him we’d just arrived from Colorado. 

But yeah, I don’t hate it. 

What I do hate (and don’t be mad at me) is the food.

I cannot find a good Mexican place to save my life. We’ve tried every place on the first page of Yelp. 

No. I won’t go back to any of them.

I tried to order a drink at the last one BECAUSE THEY WERE ON THE MENU and they looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Uhhh, we don’t have drinks.”

And I was all, “Waaaaaaaaiiiiiiit a minute, how is it possible to have chips and salsa without a margarita?”

I’m just not into it. I need to venture down to Austin soon but gahhh, who has time to drive anywhere?!

Anyway, I’ve been craving a really good enchilada since we had our last once at our fave Mexican place in the Springs. Last night I finally admitted defeat and made my own. 

I used to make this Mexican Rice recipe once a week years and years ago (had to track down my first blog to find the recipe!) and it was just as good as I remembered. And no, that’s not a pea, it’s a jalapeno.

(Texans, whyyyyy are there peas in your Mexican rice?!)

Mexican Rice - an easy and delicious recipe that goes perfectly with tacos, enchiladas, and burritos!

Click for the full recipe