[Recipe] Easy Slow Cooker Soup

warming slim down soup | sunshine & the bear I can’t begin to explain how exciting it was to come back home after a long day at work and an evening at the gym to a warm dinner…because this morning I made prepared the easiest meal ever: the Tone It Up Warming Slimdown Soup!

It has all kinds of great, healthy ingredients: carrots, parsnips, scallions, etc. and delicious rosemary and thyme herbs to make it so amazingly perfect for a cold night! It warms your insides. If you want to add turkey or chicken, you can – but it’s also delicious just as a vegetable soup! Personally, I like broth-heavy soups, so I added more liquids.

You throw everything in the slow cooker and boom, dinner is warm and ready when you get home! WHY don’t we use our slow cooker more?! I had to share!

[Recipe] Easy Slow Cooker Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 parsnips (peeled & thinly sliced)
  • 1 C carrots (peeled & chopped)
  • 1½ C portabello mushrooms (chopped)
  • ⅔ C scallions (chopped)
  • 3-4 C low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T fresh thyme (stems removed)
  • 1 T fresh rosemary (stems removed)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t hot sauce
  • S+P
  • 1 C white chicken/turkey meat (cooked and shredded) - optional
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
  2. Set on high for 6 hours.
  3. Enjoy!


[Recipe] Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

YEP. You read that correctly…Cheddar crust.
As if having a delicious pie wasn’t enough, you had to make it more tasty by adding cheese. haha 

apple pie with cheddar crust | sunshine & the bear

One of my coworkers recently hosted a ‘friendsgiving’/housewarming party and I wanted to bring something tasty, besides the obligatory bottle of wine. Since finding the amazing salted caramel chocolate chip cookies on Spoon Fork Bacon, I’ve been obsessed with their recipes! I looked and found this tasty looking fall recipe and thought I’d take a stab…

I haven’t made many pie crusts from scratch, so this was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. BUT it was super easy! Instructions are below – keep in mind, the crust mix and the filling mix need to sit for at least an hour before you start working them together, so just prepare your timing! :)

And yes, my pie plate has my name on it. Because my mother-in-law is awesome and got me this super cute gift for Christmas last year! You can get one too from Red Envelope – totally a perfect gift for a foodie, chef or just someone who really loves pie.

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

Courtesy of: Spoon Fork Bacon 
Needs: Mixer, pie plate(s)
Ingredients (crust):

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon pure cane sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
    3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
    2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients (apple filling):

  • 4 granny smith apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
    4 golden delicious apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    2/3 cup light brown sugar
    1/3 cup pure cane sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons of tapioca starch or cornstarch
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted browned butter, cooled

Ingredients (additional):

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons water


  1. For the crust, first place flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Add butter and gently incorporate into the flour mixture until a fine mealy texture forms.
  3. Fold in cheese until just combined and stir in water.
  4. Turn mixture onto a clean, lightly floured surface and gently knead the mixture into a disc. Cover dough disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. For the filling, place all ingredients, except for the butter into a large mixing bowl and fold together until well combined. Set aside and allow mixture to sit for about 1 hour.
  6. Once crust has sat in the refrigerator, divide in 1/2. Cover 1/2 and set aside.
  7. Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and roll dough until about 1/8 inch thick.
  8. Gently lace the dough in your pie dish. Press dough into shell, cutting off any excess around the perimeter. Crimp the edge using your fingers and knuckles.
  9. Add melted/cooled butter to your pie filling and mix well.
  10. Pour filling into pie crust, forming an even layer.
  11. Roll other half of dough until about 1/8” thick and cut into 10 strips of 3/4″x 11”.
  12. Gently lay 5 strips of dough across one direction of the pie, spacing them each even from one another. Form a lattice by arranging the remaining strips through the first strips. Trim the edges and gently press the ends into the crust of the pie.
  13. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water then brush the egg wash over pie.
  14. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes.
  15. While your pie is setting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  16. When you’re ready, place the pie onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  17. Reduce temperature to 375˚F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  18. Remove pie from oven and cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm if you can!
  19. Enjoy! :)

[Recipe] Brussel Sprouts with Rosemary & Pistachios

Sigh, it’s fall. Like actually fall. The perfect 75 degree days have faded…But it’s not all downhill!

Besides being excited to wear my new puffy vest, fall brings around some of my favorite seasonal foods and flavors! One of which being Brussel sprouts! While you see them a lot all year (at least on my table), they’re often regulars on fall and winter menus.

And let’s not forget about how versatile they are – I love this list of 50 Ways to Eat Brussel Sprouts All Day, Every Day from Huff Post! I often use them raw in salads or roasted as a tasty side or chopped up in a light pasta!

We had a team potluck lunch at work today and I wanted to find a healthy side dish. I found this recipe that used brussel sprouts with pistachios and it seemed perfect for the fall weather! The original recipe came from Refinery 29, but I really love to roast them so I changed it up a bit! :)

roasted brussel sprout ingredients Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Pistachios

  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts (bottoms removed, halved)
  • 3/4 C pistachios (chopped)
  • 2 1/2 t sugar
  • 2 1/2 t sherry vinegar
  • 6 t olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • S+P


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place your pistachios in a baking pan and put in the over for approximately 10 minutes. Remove to cool, chop coarsely and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar and 1 tablespoon water over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar caramelizes to a mahogany brown color. Remove from heat and immediately add the vinegar, standing back to avoid splatters (it will splatter!). Whisk briefly, pour into a small heatproof container and set aside.
  4. In your baking pan, add your chopped sprouts, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix.
  5. Roast in your oven for 30 minutes (or until your desired brown).
  6. Add pistachios, mix and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the sugar-vinegar gastrique to your mix and toss to coat and serve.
  8. Enjoy!

roasted brussel sprouts


[Recipe] Summer Sliders

HAPPY SUMMER! The weather is warm. The sun is out (mostly). And summer food is all over! I love spring and summer because it brings a myriad of amazing fresh foods to eat! We’ve been noshing on watermelon, cucumbers and more all day!

Blue Apron has jumped on the fresh summer foods band wagon as well…Special this week for 4th of July, they gave us a great recipe for chicken sliders! Fried chicken, fresh cucumbers, yummy coleslaw…plus little American flag toothpicks! LOVE it! I had to share!

blue apron chicken sliders
Summer Chicken Sliders with Homemade Pickles & Coleslaw 
From the kitchen of: Blue Apron

  • 6 potato slider buns
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts (washed, trimmed, cut into thirds)
  • 1 carrot (peeled, cut thin like matchsticks)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled, smashed)
  • 1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 head green cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 C white vinegar
  • 1T sugar
  • 2 T mayonaise
  • 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 T Tabasco/hot sauce
  • 1/2 C water
  • S&P


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the cucumber slices in a heat safe bowl and add half the vinegar. Place chicken in a small bowl of buttermilk.
  3. In a small pot, combine the garlic, sugar, salt and water and heat to boiling.
  4. Once the mixture is boiling, gently pour the liquid over the cucumbers. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, mayo and remaining vinegar. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fill a small bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk and let excess drip off then completely cover in breadcrumbs.
  7. In a large nonstick pan, heat 1/4 inch of oil on medium high until hot
  8. When the oil is hot enough, add the breaded chicken (breadcrumbs should sizzle immediately when added) and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown/cooked through
  9. Towel off excess oil with paper towel lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Meanwhile, place the slider buns on a sheet pan to toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
  11. Plate fried chicken on buns with a few pickles and a dash of hot sauce if you like
  12. Enjoy!


[Recipe] Orange Maple Salmon

Now that it’s been a little over a week since the wedding, we’re starting to get back to our normal routines. One of the things we’re trying to get back to doing is making food at home. It’s SO easy to just go out or order in…not only does that get expensive, but excessive! I feel like I just keep eating when we’re out…so many things I want to try! :)

Anyway, getting back to cooking at home is easier when you have food to cook. We’ve been running around with the wedding, then our mini moon to Cape May then work…there’s really no time to head to the store. Luckily, we have Blue Apron!

This week, they sent a recipe for Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon with Watercress, Orange, Parsnip Salad and it was SO delicious! I think the salmon is great for any day – so I wanted to share!

katekatebear orange maple salmon

Orange Maple Salmon

  • 3 scallions (chopped, separate green and white)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 1″ piece of ginger (chopped)
  • 1 orange (zested approx 2 t, chopped pieces)
  • 1 T sunflower seeds
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 2 T olive oil
  • S&P


  • Blot the salmon filets with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Wash and chop scallions, garlic and ginger. Separate white and green pieces of scallions.
  • Zest orange, then peel the orange. Discard the rind and cut the segments into bite sized pieces.
  • Add olive oil to pan and heat to medium.
  • Place salmon in pan and cover with orange zest.  Cook through, approximately 3-5 minutes each side.
  • Remove salmon from pan, and add remaining olive oil.
  • Add scallions, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook until the mixture thickens, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add salmon filets back into mix and spoon liquid on fish.
  • Serve with salad or side veggies.
  • Enjoy!