Start Your Year Refreshed with Healthy Snacks at Albertsons

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #StartYourYearRefreshed #CollectiveBias

It’s the New Year! Can you believe it? Don’t you just love a fresh start? It makes me feel like I can conquer my loftiest goals!!

After the holidays have died down, the kids go back to school, and it’s time to get back into a routine. For me, I need to meal plan. Otherwise we end up eating out way too much! I have to plan down to the snacks I have on hand because my girls come home from school absolutely starving.

After school today, I was cutting apples while the girls ate snack number one. Lola asked, “Mommy, why are you cutting apples? We already have yogurt!” I responded, “Because I know the minute you are done with your yogurt, you’ll still be hungry. When you ask me for another snack, the apples will be ready for you.” Sure enough, Lola giggled as she threw away her yogurt cup and grabbed her plate of apples!

Albertsons makes having healthy snacks on hand so incredibly easy for you! Have you ever seen their fresh sliced fruit packs? They’re in the produce section near the deli.

They have many different combinations ready to grab and go. Right now, Albertsons has a promotion where if you buy $15 worth of participating items, you get $4 off your Fresh Cut Fruit via Catalina.

That means when you check out, you will receive a coupon/credit for your next purchase of Fresh Cut Fruit! I let the girls each pick out a bowl for our fruit salad.[Continue Reading…]

Black Forest Bacon Quiche

For my sister’s Bridal Shower, I created this Black Forest Bacon Quiche recipe. It turned out so well that I had to make it again to share! It was really nerve-racking not being able to taste it before it was served at the shower (can’t really cut a slice out and then bring the rest to the party), but it was a winner. Whew! Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Everything for the recipe can be found at Trader Joe’s! The Black Forest Bacon is so flavorful; you have to be careful not to eat it all before it goes into the quiche :) Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Cook up the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Quiche is squishy enough, you want to add some depth to it. Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Caramelize the onions in the bacon grease, because why not?! Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Bake all of the goodness up in a springform pan Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

And remove it once cooled to show off the beautiful crust. Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Slice and enjoy!

Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Black Forest Bacon Quiche
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and any special occasion.
Recipe type: Quiche
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
  • 12 ounces Uncured Black Forest Bacon
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pie crust
  1. Remove pie crust from freezer to thaw according to package directions.
  2. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with non-stick spray and lay pie crust inside. Prick multiple times with a fork to ensure it doesn't bubble up and bake at 450 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Chop bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook over medium heat in a cast iron skillet until crispy.
  4. Remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pat off any excess grease.
  5. Leave bacon grease in the skillet and add the onions, turning heat down if necessary, and cooking until soft and caramelized.
  6. Remove onions to a plate and set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt.
  8. Stir in the cheese, bacon, and onions until combined.
  9. Pour into baked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until set at the edges and slightly wobbly in the middle.
  10. Cool on a wire rack until completely set and gently remove the springform pan.
  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy!


Perfect Timing & Progress

Recovering from being sick is crazy. I always think, “Yay! Glad that’s done and over with. Now to do everything I didn’t do while I was sick.” Commence cleaning, doing dishes, folding clothes, then the shutdown. I was trying to catch up on everything Monday but I was so tired! I got a text from my mom in the morning right as I was about to make “TOAS and EGG” for Lola that said, “Come over if you or the girls want pumpkin waffles!” Um, yes please and thank you! I literally had the first egg in my hand, ready to crack. Perfect timing! I got us all dressed and we walked over to Nonnie’s house for some delicious waffles. It felt so good to get outside and move…all I did was sleep and lay around for two days while sick – yuck. 

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My mom graciously watched the girls while I went home to shower and get ready. Amazing how nice it feels to clean the shower & get ready without any interruptions!

I even hung this mirror over the rosebush from hell: 

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It’s a temporary fix, but it’ll do until I can paint over it. I’ve been thinking a lot about chalk painting the cupboards, pantry doors, and this door…who has done it? 

Oh how I love Lola’s chubby little hands on my cheeks! She is so snuggly when she wakes up & rests her cheek on my face :)

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Today Ada helped me hang a mirror over the fireplace. Progress, people! Almost out of boxes…almost.

That little hammer was mine when I was Ada’s age! I literally remember carrying it around as a 3-year-old on the deck my dad built in Smyrna, Tennessee. 

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I made some chicken & salad for dinner that I’ll be sharing on here soon! Already looking forward to leftovers for lunch :)  

What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Are you a DIY-er or pay someone to do it type of person?

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits

You should make these these, and soon. They are not overly-sweet because the dough is a true biscuit dough and the chocolate is dark and semi-sweet. With a little sprinkle of sugar and melted butter on top, they are just perfect!

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits

I found this recipe on Bakerella’s site, and she found it in the book Deep Dark Chocolate by Sarah Perry. Thank you! These were so good that as we were leaving church, I saw Matt pulling out a baggie with two biscuits in it. I said, “Oh, little snack for later?” and he replied, “Well, I actually brought them for Ada, but then decided I wanted to eat them instead!”

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12
  • Dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Topping (optional)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • Sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat mat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  3. Using fingers, two forks, or a pastry blender, work butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
  4. Add the milk and stir with a fork until a loose, sticky dough forms.
  5. Turn dough out on a floured work surface. Flour your hands and form dough into a ball. Then gently knead it 8-10 times.
  6. Flour surface and hands as needed, and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13x11 inch rectangle.
  7. Place the dough with the long side in front of you.
  8. For the filling, spread softened butter over surface. Sprinkle dough with sugar and cover with the chocolate.
  9. Roll the dough up like you're making cinnamon rolls, and cut into 10-12 equal sections. (Do the best you can, mine weren't perfect but it's okay!)
  10. Place cut biscuits on your baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  11. Add topping if desired. Mix egg yolk and milk together and brush on tops. Then sprinkle with sugar.
  12. Bake for about 18 minutes or until biscuits are golden and puffed up.
  13. Serve warm with more butter on top. Enjoy!

Top 5 Recipes of 2012

Here are the top 5 recipes on Kara in the Kitchen this year! Thank you WordPress for compiling the data for me so I didn’t have to do the leg work :) I’d also like to thank all of YOU, my readers! I love sharing recipes with you and connecting with old and new friends through food. Thank you for supporting me and making this all so much fun!

Here’s to many more recipes on Kara in the Kitchen to come! I’d like to hear from you…what would you like to see more of in 2013? Let me know in the comments & thanks again for being so wonderful!

1. Crêpes


2. Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes


3. Peppermint Brownies


4. Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast


5. Peanut Butter Blossoms


Greena Colada Smoothie

Would you believe me if I told you that this smoothie tastes just like a piña colada?

Well, it does. I know it sounds crazy, but you can’t even taste the spinach! You taste coconut and pineapple. It is such a treat and a regular I love to make as a snack after church, for breakfast, or in between lunch and dinner.

The inspiration for this recipe came in the BlendTec cookbook, but it calls for actual coconut meat. I never have that on hand. So, it’s been modified to fit what I usually have in my kitchen.

Greena Colada Smoothie
Serves: 2
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • Juice from half a lime (I've made this without the lime juice and it's still great)
  • 3½ cups frozen pineapple
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  1. Add ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend until smooth, blending longer if you prefer less coconut texture. Serve and enjoy!


Nutella Banana Shake

I LOVE NUTELLA! It is my goal to see how many things I can get it into. So, when my friend Erinn posted this shake on her blog, you better believe I was making it that night! I changed it up and added peanut butter and chocolate milk mix, taking some inspiration from a recipe in the cookbook that came with my VitaMix blender. Matt got me one to replace our possessed blender for my birthday, and we’ve been smoothie & milkshake obsessed ever since! Ada likes hers topped with people sparkles (purple sprinkles).

I like mine straight up. Can you say that for something non-alcoholic?

Yield: 1 serving

Nutella Banana Shake
  • ½ c. milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutella
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tablespoon Nestle Quik powder
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  1. Put ingredients in blender in order listed. Push ice crush/milkshake button or blend until there are no more chunks of ice. Pour into glass and enjoy!


Chewy Granola Bars

Matt was skipping out on breakfast to get 20 minutes of extra sleep in the morning, so I wanted to make him something he could grab on the way out the door. I’d bookmarked this recipe from Deb over at smitten kitchen a while back and thought I’d give it a try. Turns out I should’ve made them LONG ago; the whole pan was gone in 3 days! These are great because you can change what you put in every time, and adjust the recipe according to your tastes. I’ll make them again for next week and double the batch!

Chewy Granola Bars Recipe

Adapted from smitten kitchen

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
1/3 cup oat flour (make by blending oats in your food processor or blender until flour-like)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup Craisins
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the sides of the pan. Lightly spray the parchment paper with Pam.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the chocolate chips, coconut, and Craisins. In a separate bowl, stir together the vanilla, melted butter, honey, and corn syrup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the peanut butter, and stir until the mixture is evenly coated. Pour into the prepared pan, pressing down firmly with your spoon or spatula to flatten out.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown around the edges. They will still be a little soft, but will set completely after cooling completely on a rack. Once cool, use a serrated knife or dough scraper to cut the bars into squares & enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

We had a week of rain here in Santa Cruz. Welcome, Spring! After three days, I decided to pretend like it wasn’t freezing cold and make smoothies. It definitely helped with the cabin fever…and now the sun has returned!

Ada loves smoothies and declared this one, “So nummy, Mommy!”

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice (or juice of your choice)
  • 7 large strawberries, rinsed with stems removed
  1. Put banana, ice cubes, and juice in blender. Blend until no large chunks remain. Add fresh strawberries and blend until combined. Makes one full blender.

Stick a straw in, pretend like you’re somewhere warm, & enjoy!


Matt served a mission for our church in the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands mission. He spent most of his time in northern France and fell in love with fresh baguettes, good cheese, and crêpes. When I ask him to say it in French, it sounds like, “day crehp” and makes me laugh. He cut this recipe out of a magazine when he was in the city of Arras, France, a two-hour train ride north of Paris. We have loved making these over the years and hope you love them too!

Don’t worry if your first few don’t turn out picture perfect. After a few crêpes you get the hang of it and it becomes fun!

My precious Nutella is pictured below. Mmm!

Other favorite fillings include:

– Cinnamon sugar

– Nutella & strawberries

– Nutella & bananas

– Powdered sugar

– Brown sugar

Savory fillings (don’t add sugar into batter for these)

– Brie cheese

– Chicken & broccoli

  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Put the flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk in a bowl and mix well with a wire whisk. The mixture should be liquid, but still a little doughy. Add melted butter or canola oil, vanilla, and beat well. Let batter rest. (You can make this the night before and let it sit in the fridge until breakfast. I usually make the batter and cook them right away and they are fine.)
  2. Before cooking, mix well with whisk. Oil the pan with a paper towel or spray and place over high heat. Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter and swirl to cover pan. Let cook until the crêpe is browned at the corners and starts to pull back and release easily from the pan. Then, faite-la sauter (make it jump)! Or - flip over with a spatula. Let other side cook until browned.
  3. I like folding them into triangles like you get from the street vendors. Fold in half, then fold both outer sides into the middle in thirds. Put filling of choice in and enjoy!