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Welcome!

“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or “sweetness.” 

― Marion Woodman

Welcome to my blog, a safe place to practice imagination, love, and sweetness. I will be using this blog as a place for me to share my passions for cooking and teaching the littles! Stay tuned for sweet and savory recipes, updates from my crazy life as a teacher, and a little bit of magic!

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Peace, love, and cupcakes! ❤

Awestrucksquid

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About the Author

My name is Allison, but I’m better known as Alli, or Awestrucksquid! I LOVE cooking, especially baking sweet things like cakes, cookies, and pies! I get more enjoyment out of making them and taking pictures than I do out of eating them! Haha!

I also work full-time as a teacher. I absolutely love the little humans and they have SO much to teach me! I have taught kindergarten, and now I teach third grade. I’m just trying to find where I’m best suited. So far, kindergarten has been my favorite! There is something magical about teaching little people how to be humans!

I wanted to share my love of cooking and joy of teaching with the world, but didn’t know know how to combine the two and actually get it out into the world, then I found out about blogging! I was heavily persuaded by my family and friends to actually do it, so here I am! I hope you enjoy what I have to offer! I will be sharing some teaching ideas, tips and tricks (that will be helpful whether you are a teacher or a parent!) and recipes, photos and ideas from things I cook. Please look forward to it!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes! ❤

AwestruckSquid

Recipe: Homemade Cheesy Pizza Pockets

Today, I’m going to show you a super easy snack/lunch/dinner idea you and your kids will love!

I used to buy a ton of Hot Pockets every week, even though I knew they weren’t really the best for me, health-wise. Then, I learned how to make my own! It’s a favorite in my house and I often serve them when friends are over and they are always a hit! You can replace the filling with anything you want, to make your own easy, homemade Hot Pockets!

What you will need to make this is:

  • 1 refrigerated pizza crust (I use thin, you can use whatever strikes your fancy)
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni (or any other topping of your choice)
  • Shredded cheese (you can use mozzarella or make life easy and use a blend of your favorites!)
  • Italian and garlic seasonings
  • Olive oil

With so few ingredients and endless possibilities, this recipe is a great and fun last-minute meal or snack! Now, on to the recipe, with step-by-step pictures and instructions!

Step 1- Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Open and unroll your pizza crust on the sheet. I stretched mine out just a bit so it would be longer. Preheat the oven to 425F.

Step 2- Cut the pizza crust into six squares. You can even make smaller or bigger ones if you want, just cut less or more pieces.

Step 3- Add a dollop of pizza sauce, some cheese, and pepperoni or your topping of choice to the top of the pizza crust squares. Try to keep it on one side so it’s easier to fold later. I used 2 pepperonis per pocket, but you could add more or less if desired. Sprinkle with garlic powder and the Italian seasonings.

Step 4- Fold over the top corner of your pizza crust to make a triangular-shaped pocket. Press down the corners with your fingers or a fork. Brush the tops with a little olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, Italian spices, and some cheese.

Step 5- Bake at 425F for 10-13 minutes until the tops are golden.

Step 6- Serve with pizza sauce for dipping, as pictured below.

Make these and then watch them disappear!

Until next time, Peace, Love, and Cupcakes! ❤

AwestruckSquid

Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Breast

Another love of my life is my Instant Pot! I got it as a birthday present and it’s one of the BEST cooking appliances I’ve ever used. Cuts cooking time waaaay down, and can cook frozen food in minutes! (Great for when I forget to thaw.) Plus, I don’t have to use the oven in this already sweltering summer weather.

Today, I’m going to show you a simple way to cook juicy, tender, flavorful chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. This can also be done in an oven, it will just take a little longer and you will need to sear them in a frying pan before baking. This is a great weeknight meal, paired with your favorite sides as it only takes 10 minutes or less! It’s also extremely versatile, you can use any seasonings or liquid that you want! (Word to the wise: the Instant Pot requires that you use at least 1 cup of liquids when pressure cooking!)

Let’s get started! Step-by-step instructions and pictures are below!

What you will need:

  • Instant Pot with trivet insert (a trivet came in the box with my Instant Pot, you can also buy one on Amazon for around $5)
  • Chicken breasts (use as many as you need for who you are feeding, up to five breasts, you may need to increase cooking time a little for more breasts)
  • Seasoning mix: Any mix of seasonings you want. I used dried chives, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, Italian blend, paprika, and Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning)
  • Olive oil
  • Broth (any broth you want to use, I used vegetable)

How to make it!

Step 1- Mix your seasonings in a small bowl with 1 table spoon of olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of your broth to make a paste.

Step 2- Trim your chicken breasts and place on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Cover the breasts (both sides) with your spice mix. Try to get it as even as possible.

Step 3- Set your Instant Pot to saute and add some olive oil. Wait a few minutes for it to heat up, then add your chicken breasts. Sear on each side for about 2 minutes, enough to create a delicious crust on the chicken. (This is not a necessary step, but it makes the chicken taste sooo good!) If you’re short on time, you can skip this.

Step 4- Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and place on a plate. Set aside for a moment. Add 1 cup broth of choice (vegetable, chicken, beef, or just water) and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot. (Those bits from the chicken will add flavor!) Put in the trivet and place the chicken breasts on top. The trivet should sit right above the broth.

Step 5- Put the lid on your Instant Pot, make sure the valve is set to sealing, and press the button for pressure cook. Set the timer for 5 minutes (10 if your chicken is frozen or they’re really large breasts) and make sure it’s set to high pressure. Allow the pressure to release naturally, this will take about 10 minutes. This is how you get juicy chicken, it also allows the chicken to continue the cooking process.

Step 6- Serve with sides of your choice! You can make mashed potatoes, rice, veggies, anything that fits the flavor you’re going for. Pictured is my chicken breast served with sauteed Swiss chard, garlic, onion and fennel fronds! (Chard and fennel compliments of Misfits Market, it’s something I threw together to use some of my veggies. Use my code below to get 30% off your box!)

Join me on my mission to help end food waste by signing up for Misfits Market! Click here to see what they’re all about and sign up using my code to get 30% off your first box! You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time, Peace, Love and Cupcakes! ❤

AwestruckSquid

Recipe: Cheesy Chip Chicken

It’s no secret- I love chicken! Due to a sensitive stomach and just the cost in general- I don’t eat a lot of red meats. Chicken, pork and recently turkey, are my go-tos for most of my meals. It’s cheap and versatile, as I’m about to show you…

What you will need to make this is:

  • Chicken breasts, cut into 3 large chunks (use as many breasts as you think you need depending on how many people you’re feeding!
  • 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers or other variant. I used the Food Lion brand.
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 cups of cheddar cheese
  • Italian seasonings (to taste)

For the sauce:

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used light butter)

Now, on to the recipe, with step by step pictures and instructions!

Step 1- Preheat you oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks, especially if yours are big like mine were. If you have smaller chicken breasts, you could cut them in half.

Step 2- In a food processor, grind up the crackers into a fine, almost bread-crumb like consistency. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can put them in a zip-lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or by hand! They may not be as fine as you’d like, but it works!)

Step 3- Pour the milk, cheese, and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small bowls. Add salt, pepper, and any seasonings you’d like and mix them with the cracker crumbs. Grease your pan with cooking spray and have it ready to place your chicken.

Step 4- Dip each piece of chicken into the milk, then the cheese, pushing it on the chicken with your fingers. Some of it will fall off, it’s okay! Press the chicken in the cracker crumbs, then place it in your pan. Repeat the process with the rest of your chicken. The cheese has trouble sticking on, but it will still turn out okay even if some falls off. Sprinkle Italian seasonings over the top.

Step 5-Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

Step 6-In a medium saucepan, combine the cream of chicken, sour cream, and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the sauce is hot. Serve it over the chicken. (Shown here with a size of air-fried ranch radish wedges)

Ya’ll, this meal is heavenly! I’ve already mentioned how much I love cheese and chicken, and this combines two of the best things in the world into one dish. Packed with cheesy flavor and the crunch of the cracker crumbs, made even better by the sauce on top…this is a meal anyone would enjoy. You can even substitute the cracker crumbs for Nacho Cheese Doritos crumbs (hence the name, Cheesy “Chip” Chicken for an even more flavor-packed meal.

The radishes for the side are compliments of Misfits Market, you can learn more about them here. Don’t forget to sign up using my code for 30% off to get fresh, affordable, organic fruits and veggies delivered to your door once a week (or every two weeks, whatever you choose!) to be on your way to creating more healthy and plant-based meals for your family!

My referral code is here.

Until next time, peace, love and cupcakes! ❤

AwestruckSquid

Recipe: Eggplant Rollatini (Involtini)

Today, I am going to show you how to make Eggplant Rollatini, or as it’s called by the Italian name, Involtini. I am proud of my Italian heritage, and love to show it through cooking Italian food. What can I say? I love saucy, cheesy, pasta-y goodness!

What you will need to make this is:

  • A 1 pound eggplant, cut into 8 slices.
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Italian seasonings
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Shredded Italian cheeses
  • 1 jar (32 oz) of Pasta/Mariana sauce (use more or less depending on how much you like sauce)

Aren’t my cat salt and pepper shakers cute? Yes, I love shopping at Food Lion! I’m a sucker for cash rewards and coupons, which I get an abundance of with my MVP membership there! (I like to see how much money I can save!) *Not a sponsor. 🙂

I got the eggplant from a food delivery service called Misfits Market. Ya’ll, you should check them out. Visit their website here to see what they are all about. All of this was possible because they sent me an eggplant, which I would have never thought to cook with before. I also put my referral code down below so that you can save 30% if you subscribe! Everything I have gotten is SO fresh and tastes great!

Now, on to the recipe, with step-by-step pictures and instructions!

  • Step 1 – Preheat oven to 425F. Cut the top and bottom off of your eggplant(s) and slice lengthwise into 6-8 slices, about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Step 2- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, place your sliced eggplants in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake these for 13-15 minutes or until they are soft enough to roll. Set aside to allow time to cool. Please do. Don’t get any burns. Not on my watch.
  • Step 3- While those are in the oven, begin making the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, seasonings, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and some of the cheese in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Step 4- Spread about 1/4 cup (depending on the size of your baking dish) marinara sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. When the eggplants are done (and cool), place them on a work surface and scoop about a tablespoon of filling on the wide side and roll up. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
  • Step 5- Place rolled eggplants seam side down in your baking dish. Pour remaining marinara sauce over the eggplants and cover with the cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. You can garnish with fresh basil or seasonings if you’d like, or more cheese! 🙂

Finished product!

These were SO good, and vegetarian (lacto-ovo)! Great for Meatless Monday or a light mid-week meal. If you want to add meat, I’d suggest using a meat sauce or maybe adding ground beef or sausage to the filling! I haven’t tried it, but I’d like to next time. This can also be made using chicken or veal in place of the eggplants.

If you are interested in signing up for Misfits Market, my referral code is: http://misfitsmarket.refr.cc/allisonnunnally

I am NOT a sponsor (yet) but I just love them that much. ❤

Click on over there to sign up and get your 30% off! You’ll be glad you did. Really. Their stuff is amazing, and you’ll be saving a ton on your grocery bill and won’t even have to leave your house to get fresh fruits and veggies! It’s a win-win all around.

I’m going to enjoy this Eggplant Rollatini.

Until next time, peace, love and cupcakes! ❤

AwestruckSquid

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