Easy, Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

This recipe for Easy Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce makes a delicious sauce. It’s perfect for serving over noodles, turning into soup, or using in any recipe that calls for canned tomato sauce. You’ll love how easy it is to make your own roasted tomato sauce!

This easy homemade roasted tomato sauce is perfect on pasta and in soups. It only uses a few ingredients and is a pretty hands off way to make a fabulous tomato sauce.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

I first shared this post in 2012 and it’s been a popular post. I make this recipe a lot during the gardening season, so it’s high time I updated it with more specific cooking instructions and beautiful photography. Enjoy this “new post.”

Easy Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

I love to can tomatoes, but it takes an awful lot to make canning worthwhile, in my opinion. So, when I have too many tomatoes to eat, but not enough to can, I make this recipe. It’s also a great recipe to preserve though, so sometimes I make it even when I have tomatoes coming out the ear! I just turned an almost full 5 gallon bucket into this recipe. It made enough sauce for 2 meals and 6 quarts for my freezer. Perfection.

ingredients for homemade roasted tomato sauce

One thing I love about this recipe is it uses produce I generally have an abundance of in my garden: fresh basil, paste tomatoes, and garlic. In addition to those three main ingredients, you only need pantry items to make a fabulous sauce. High quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. That’s all you need to make this easy homemade roasted tomato sauce.

roasted tomato sauce

You can use whatever tomatoes you want, but a good quality paste tomato works best in the sauce because they aren’t as watery. To make this sauce, simply halve or quarter your tomatoes (cut off bad spots and take out the stem – I just cut off the top of the tomato). Put everything on a high rimmed baking sheet or in a 9×13 in pan. You don’t want to end up with a mess in your oven! Bake for 1 hour at 425.

process roasted tomato sauce in the vitamix

Let the tomatoes cool for 15 minutes, and then process in your blender. I love my Vitamix! If you love smoothies and making your own soups and sauces, I highly recommend the Vitamix.

Easy, Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce
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  • 10 cups Fresh tomatoes, preferably Romas, but cherry tomatoes work too. Halved or quartered.
  • 5-6 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup high quality EVOO
  • Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp REAL salt
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash tomatoes and cut them in half (or quarters for large tomatoes) - leave cherry tomatoes whole.
  3. Put tomatoes in a 9x13 baking dish or a high rimmed cookie sheet.
  4. Peel garlic cloves and place them whole on the tomatoes.
  5. Add fresh basil, salt & pepper.
  6. Bake for 1 hour.
  7. After they have roasted, let the tomatoes cool a bit.
  8. Put them in a blender and pulse a few times until combined.
  9. Season with more salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Enjoy on your favorite pasta.

finished roasted tomato sauce

This sauce results in a rich, creamy pasta sauce. It’s awesome as a quick, meatless lunch, or great to use as a base for any sauce. It also makes a fabulous roasted tomato soup! After we’ve eaten a serving, I put the leftovers in glass canning jars and freeze for another day!

Do you make roasted tomato sauce? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What can you make with Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce?

Lasagna Soup, Delicious One Pot Soup

Make Ahead Lasagna with Cottage Cheese & Hidden Veggies

This easy homemade roasted tomato sauce is a perfect recipe. It's a great way to use up extra tomatoes you may have and is delicious on pasta and in soups!

Homemade Blackened Seasoning Mix Perfect for Fish & Chicken

I just started making my own homemade blackened seasoning mix and it is so good! Perfect for fish and chicken and additive free. It also takes very little time to whip up a batch of this mix to store in your pantry.

Homemade Blackened Seasoning Mix Perfect for Fish & Chicken premade

Homemade Blackened Seasoning Mix

One very popular recipe on the blog is for a homemade rotisserie chicken seasoning mix. That mix is great for homemade rotisserie chicken of course, but it’s also delicious in chicken noodle soup and a lot of other recipes.

blackened salmon tacos

Since the other spice mix recipes are so popular, I decided it’s high time I shared another homemade seasoning mix, so here’s a delicious way to make your own blackened seasoning mix. This mix is great for fish and chicken. We love to use it on blackened salmon tacos! Nom Nom! As with most things I make, I like to double or quadruple this recipe so it’s ready to go when I need a quick meal. I encourage you to make up a big batch of this and store it in a air-tight container!

Why Make Your Own Spice Mixes?

That’s a good question! I like to make my own spice mixes so I can control ingredients. Often MSG is hiding in the pre-made mixes you buy at the store, so make sure to check ingredient list before buying. It’s also a way to save money! I’m all about saving money especially on groceries which seem to be getting more and more expensive. And honestly, it just doesn’t take that much time to do.

homemade blackened seasoning mix

By the way, if you don’t already use flat measuring spoons that fit inside spice jars, GET SOME! They will revolutionize your LIFE! I got mine at World Market, but haven’t seen them there since. I did find these Spring Chef Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Metal Measuring Spoons for Dry or Liquid, Fits in Spice Jar, Set of 6 on Amazon though, and they look just as amazing as mine!

Blackened Seasoning Mix

Homemade spice mixes are so easy to make. It takes longer to pull the spices out of the cabinet than it does to actually make the mix. Just make sure you have an airtight container to store your homemade seasoning mixes to keep them fresh! When you’re ready to use this mix, measure out 2-4 TBS per pound of meat.

Here’s the printable recipe for homemade blackened seasoning mix, perfect for fish and chicken.

Homemade Blackened Seasoning Mix Perfect for Fish & Chicken
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  • 2 TBS ground paprika
  • 1 TBS cayanne
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp basil


  1. Simply combine all spices in an airtight container. Shake to combine. When you're ready to cook, use 2-4 TBS per pound of meat, depending on how spicy you want your food!

Want more homemade spice mix recipes?

The Perfecct Taco Seasoning

Rotisserie Chicken Rub

Save Time in the Kitchen with these 25 Genius Meal Prep Ideas

Save Time and Money with these Homemade Baking Mix Recipes

There are many benefits to making your own spice mixes - being able to control ingredients and cost! This recipe for Homemade Blackened Seasoning Mix is perfect for fish and chicken. It's oh-so-good! Make up a big batch today.

5 Delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities

Are you looking for Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities? If so, these five delicious options have you covered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! With restaurants located in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington, you’re sure to find something to excite your taste buds wherever you happen to be in the Minneapolis/St.Paul metro area!

Spoonriver bar and restaurant in downtown Minneapolis

*I received a few free meals in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are mine, though. The food was truly amazing!*

5 Delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities


Last month I went on a fantastic trip to the Twin Cities area. Nicky – Little Family Adventure, Lisa – Walking Tourist, Natasha – Houseful of Nicholes and I toured Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington. Afterward, we met up with more bloggers for a FAM trip of Roseville and the Minnesota State Fair. One of the most delicious elements of the trip was eating at all of the fun farm-to-table restaurants in the Twin Cities. I love companies dedicated to sustainability, and these restaurants do amazing things with locally grown food. If you enjoy farm-to-table restaurants too, you won’t want to miss any of the options on this list!

Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities Perfect for Breakfast 

Gardens of Urbana at the Hyatt Regency in Bloomington, MN

Urbana Craeft Kitchen in Bloomington

The Urbana Craeft Kitchen is the hotel restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Bloomington where our group stayed for a couple of nights during our trip to the Twin Cities. We ate the most delicious breakfasts here two days in a row. I wish I had someone to cook like this for me at home!

breakfasts at the Urbana Craeft Kitchen in Bloomington, MN

The Urbana Craeft Kitchen prides itself on sourcing locally grown food. They even grow some of their own in a straw-bale garden located right out the restaurant door. We were really impressed with all of the breakfast food. Three favorite breakfasts were the Minnesota Morning – choice of aebleskiver (Scandinavian ball pancakes) PLUS bacon and eggs, the Avocado & Smoked Salmon plate, and the Potato Crusted Quiche.

Colossal Cafe in St. Paul

Breakfast at the Colossal Cafe in St. Paul, MN

We had a wonderful brunch at the Colossal Cafe on Como Avenue in St. Paul on our last day in the Twin Cities. It was the most delicious send off we could have asked for! The weather was gorgeous, so we ate outside. Of course, the portions were enormous and delicious, the coffee was great, and the atmosphere was a lot of fun. Nicky loved her Apple, Walnut, & Brie Pancakes! Don’t they look divine? And I really enjoyed my omelet with sausage, green onion, tomato, cilantro, and pepper jack cheese. The food was served with thick slices of homemade bread or delicious homemade biscuits. Best of all, the homemade jelly was the icing on the cake.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities Perfect for Lunch

Spoonriver Restaurant . One of the most delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities!

Spoonriver in Downtown Minneapolis

Located at 750 South 2nd St (at Chicago Ave S) in the downtown Minneapolis Mill District, this chic restaurant and bar serves excellent food and is committed to sourcing as much fresh and locally grown organic food as it can! We really enjoyed sitting outside on the patio on a gorgeous late summer day. Spoonriver is conveniently located in the same building as the Mill City Museum, right across the street from the Guthrie Theater, and just a couple blocks from the US Bank Stadium – home of the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the perfect place to stop after a morning or afternoon of sight-seeing! We ate lunch here, but it would also be a great spot for dinner.the Spoonriver Cookbook - Farm-to-Table Restaurant Minneapolis MNWe loved sitting outside and talking with owner, award winning chef and cookbook author Brenda Langton, about her work establishing the Mill City Farmers’ Market. I commend Brenda for her efforts to promote organic agriculture! Organic food production is near and dear to my heart. <3quesadilla at spoonriver restaurant in minneaplis

But the food is what you want to know about, right? I had the Nicoise Salad which really hit the spot! Nicky had the Herbed Wisconsin Chevre Salad, and Lisa and Natasha both enjoyed the Shrimp Quesadilla with Coconut Lime Salsa. Natasha’s kids enjoyed delicious quesadillas and hummus with veg from the kids’ menu.
The special desserts Brenda served were also out of this world. We all agree! Spoonriver is a must on any Twin Cites Farm-to-Table Restaurants list!

Red River Kitchen at City House in St. Paul, Minnesota

Red River Kitchen at City House in St. Paul

Located on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, the Red River Kitchen is really a portable kitchen (food truck) so it can drive off in case of flooding! The City House is a restored grain elevator and flour mill that sits right on the Mississippi River. It’s a beautiful location to head with your family. Featuring a patio overlooking the river, games, and picnic tables, the venue is really cool! I know my kids would have a great time playing bags here and looking for barges on the river.

Food at Red River Kitchen at City House, St. Paul Minnesota

The food is also quite delicious. We sampled a little bit of everything, from Cubano sandwiches, All-Beef Elote Hot Dogs, Lentil & Broccoli Salad (with almonds, feta, and citrus vinaigrette), and spicy Chicken Tinga Tacos! I enjoyed the tacos the most. But everything was a hit. Red River Kitchen also serves an assortment of Minnesota beers, homemade lemonade, and wine. So it’s a fun place to relax after work too!

Farm-to-Table Restaurants Perfect for Dinner? Here’s a great one!

Fire Lake Restaurant at Mall of America

FireLake Restaurant at Mall of America

FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar is an upscale restaurant located inside the Mall of America perfect for an evening out. They were kind enough to host Nicky, Lisa, and I for dinner one evening and we had a great time! Of course, we appreciated their fantastic cocktail and wine list. But the food was also a huge hit. You must know that FireLake sources locally grown Minnesota produce, cheeses, and meats! Delicious food at Fire Lake Restaurant at Mall of America

Make sure you try the Dirty Fries if you go! We also really liked the Half & Half Board (housemade charcuterie, local sausages, local cheese), the Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Ribeye (local bison), and the walleye special which came wrapped in parchment paper! I had the dirty fries and a steak. Delicious!

Do you seek out Farm-to-Table restaurants? And if so, what’s your favorite? Have you eaten at any of these Twin City favorites? Please let me know in the comments!

If you're heading to Minnesota, here 5 Delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants you must try in the Twin Cities. USA

Traveling in Style: Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago!! #WhereDoYouprAna

 I’m traveling in style on Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago! In fact, I’m actually sitting on the train right now, writing this article. And I’m loving the train! #WhereDoYouprAnaTaking Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago For a Girls Trip!! #WhereDoYouprAna

Thank you to prAna for sponsoring this article about traveling in style. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Taking Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago!!

A dear friend of mine is having heart surgery in a few weeks. It’s always scary when your loved ones have to undergo any type of medical treatment, but heart surgery is particularly scary. To put our minds at ease over her upcoming surgery, we decided to meet in downtown Chicago and enjoy each other’s company for a few days. She took an overnight train from New York, and I took Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago. We’re going to see what sort of trouble two 40+ year old women can get into in the big city for a few days!Taking Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago For a Girls Trip!!

Normally, when we go to Chicago, I drive. It’s only 3 1/2 hours from my home, so it’s not super far. But when Robin told me she was taking Amtrak, I thought genius! I took my little girl scout troop on a trip to Chicago via Amtrak a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. And there are so many benefits to traveling by train!

Benefits of Taking Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago

  • $37 round trip! Seriously. That’s all my ticket cost. It costs more to park my car for ONE day in downtown Chicago than the entire ticket. Since we’re staying in downtown Chicago for several days, I’m saving a lot of money by not driving in.
  • Lots of legroom! Way more legroom than in an airplane. I’m 5’9 and it’s seriously comfortable!
  • I’m working! I have a table. I’ve plugged my laptop in, and I’m working. Seriously better than driving!
  • Outlets! My phone and laptop will be totally charged when we arrive at Union Station.
  • There’s an observation car and a snack car. It sells wine. Need I say more?! 😀
  • Bathrooms! I don’t have to stop and pee. 😉

sporting prAna on Amtrak #wheredoyouprana

Traveling in Style with new clothes from prAna

Of course, I’m not just on a train. I’m also traveling in style in new fall clothes from prAna. I shared a summer dress prAna sent me a while back, comfy workout wear they sent this summer, and prAna just sent two more lovely tops, perfect for fall weather and travel. Today I’m showing off my new Daria Sweater Hoodie in muted truffle. Isn’t it cute? This sweater is made out of organic cotton, Merino wool, and nylon, and I love the color! It’s lightweight and warm. Today I have a simple tank on under it, but when it gets colder it will be really cute with a long sleeved tshirt underneath. In fact, I think this sweater is so fun that I updated all of my social media profiles a few days ago with a picture of me sporting this hoodie!

Traveling in Style: Amtrak from Galesburg to Chicago!! #WhereDoYouprAna

I really like prAna and their commitment to eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. I enjoy every piece of clothing they send me and commend the company for using organic and recycled fabrics, making clothing with hemp, and sourcing fair trade. prAna wants you to save 15% off your prAna purchase with code MHMMM15! 

Head over to prAna to Save 15% off your purchase with code MHMMM15! 

Again, many thanks to prAna for sponsoring this post. I hope you’ll pop over and check out their beautiful fashion choices for fall!


Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

This delicious Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner combines all of my favorite flavors and makes a delicious meal. With a quick prep, it’s great for busy week nights too! And best of all, it’s kid approved at my house, even with the kids who don’t care all that much for salmon.Farm-to-Table Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!* 🙂

Welcome back to the next to last Tuesdays in the Garden for the year! It’s hard to believe we’re almost finished with another gardening season. Especially since I have YET to harvest a single ripe tomato. It’s true! 🙁 But I have harvested a nice crop of garlic, potatoes, peppers, and herbs, so from that harvest, this dish was created – and it is DELISH! Check at the end of the post for more farm-to-table recipes form the Tuesday gang. They all look fabulous.

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

I’ve been incorporating a lot more salmon recipes into our diet because of all the health benefits! The other day after staring at all of the potatoes in my kitchen (I grow a lot of potatoes!) and wondered what to do with them. I thought about the Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Meal recipe I shared a while back and decided to try one with salmon. Hence, busy week night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner was born. And it is a keeper!  🙂salmon sheet pan dinnerI love sheet pan meals because they come together pretty quickly and my family seems to enjoy them. After one small prep I can have an all inclusive meal on the table with little effort. The cooking time on this sheet pan meal is a little longer because the potatoes take longer to cook than the salmon. Even so, it’s still pretty easy to put this sheet pan meal on your table.

Here’s how to make this delicious Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner!

prep potatoes for Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
Pre-heat oven to 425 and prep potatoes and onions by slicing. Combine them in a bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, and then spread them on a sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Add salmon and other veggies to sheet panAdd the salmon and other veggies, top with crushing garlic and remaining olive oil from potatoes. Bake for 8 more minutes. By the way, not all salmon is created equally. If possible, buy wild caught salmon (preferably Alaska sock-eye) over farm raised salmon. Wild caught salmon has a better fat ratio, fewer contaminants, and more nutrients.

add tomatoes and feta cheese. Bake for 5 more minutesFinally, add tomatoes and feta cheese. Top with juice of one lemon and bake for 5 minutes more. That’s it! Enjoy!!

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner finished

Yields 4-6 servings

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

10 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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  • 1 lb wild caught Salmon
  • 2 lb baby potatoes, halved or quarterd
  • 1 onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 small peppers
  • 2 TBS fresh oregano, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 425. Combine potatoes, sliced garlic, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper until the veggies are coated.
  2. Put the veggies on a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Move the veggies to the side and add the salmon, peppers, sliced lemon, and oregano. Pour any remaining olive oil from the potatoes on the salmon and top with crushed garlic. Bake 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, feta cheese, and top everything with the juice of one lemon. Bake 5 more minutes.
  5. Enjoy!


Tuesdays in the Garden

Be sure to check out the other fall inspired Farm-To-Table Recipes! Just click the link or photo to take you to each blog post.

hearth and vine

Patti at Hearth & Vine – Cooking Collard Greens!

homemade food junkie

Diane at Homemade Food Junkie – Stuffed Squash Blossom Stir Fry

frugal family home

Shelly at Frugal Family Home – Ginger Garlic Green Beans

angie freckled rose

From Angie at The Freckled Rose – 15 Fall Inspired Garden-to-Table Recipes

an oregon cottage

Jami at An Oregon Cottage – Harvest Vegetable Ham Bone Soup

What’s your favorite recipe with salmon? Have you tried a sheet pan meal yet? Let me know what you think!

This Greek salmon sheet pan dinner recipe cooks on only one pan for quick clean up! Prep is pretty easy and the dish is so delicious! Try it tonight!

How to Train Great Pyrenees – 5 Useful Tips

Great Pyrenees are notoriously stubborn and strong-willed, but they can be trained. Here are 5 useful tips on how to train Great Pyrenees! We’ve learned these lessons over the last four years of owning this amazing breed. How to train your great pyrenees dog

This post is sponsored by Petmate® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about Petmate’s JW Hol-ee Gourmet™ line of interactive dog toys , but SimplifyLiveLove.com only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Petmate™ is not responsible for the content of this article.

How to Train Great Pyrenees - 5 Useful Tips

How to Train Great Pyrenees – 5 Useful Tips

1. Understand a Great Pyrenees’ temperament 

It’s important to realize that Great Pyrenees are bred to guard livestock They want to have a purpose and many will do better if they have a job. The very first training tip is to consider your Pyr’s aptitude before bringing her home! Some make better pets than others. They’re also very loving and loyal, and bond fiercely to their pack. Keep this in mind as you’re training your Pry for better success.

Use positive reinforcement to train Great Pyrenees

2. Your attitude matters

With all training, patience and consistency are key. Dog training can be very frustrating as dogs will pick up on your attitude and frustration. Both of our Pyrs went through a phase where they refused to walk on a leash. As frustrating as it was for us, we worked through it with gentle, positive reinforcement and eventually they didn’t mind the leash anymore.

5 things you must know about how to train Great Pyrenees

3. Use fun, positive reinforcement to train Great Pyrenees

Make dog training fun using positive reinforcement. Our Pyrs aren’t overly motivated by food, so you may have to work to find a treat they go bananas for, but do find something they love. It could be a toy, food, or loving. Reward all good behavior as quickly and consistently as you can. Your Pry needs to enjoy training or he won’t train. 🙂

4. Don’t force them

It’s important not to force your Pyrs to do anything as these stubborn giant dogs will double down and win. You’ll need to find creative ways to trick Pyrs into doing what you want! So make sure you are very creative during training sessions.

Hol-ee Gourmet is a durable, rubber two-in-one treat toy

5. Mental stimulation will help you train Great Pyrenees

Bored dogs get into trouble (especially if they’re left in the house) so make sure your Pyr isn’t bored. Dogs that are “on” are just easier to work with and train! One way to keep dogs engaged is to provide them with stimulating toys. While toys don’t keep our Pyrs’ attention for a super long time, they do enjoy toys for a while. Nora and Harry recently got a shipment of  Hol-ee Gourmet ™ from Petmate®.

Hol-ee Gourmet is a two-in-one toy that encourages interactive and rewarding play. They help keep Pyrs mentally stimulated and come in three designs – a turkey leg, a steak, and a peanut. Harry and Nora like them because they can be filled with larger treats or smeared with peanut butter! These treats keep them engaged for about 15 minutes, which is a long time for a pyr! 🙂 Our dogs work better when they’re happy, active, and mentally engaged. And that just makes for a much more rewarding training session.

Hol-ee Gourmet is giving away a set of toys!Holee Gourmet dog toys

Want to win a set of these fun dog toys? Enter the facebook giveaway for a full set of all three fun, flavorful toys! Head over here to enter today! Winner will be chosen September 15.

You can also get 15% off your purchase of Hol-ee Gourmet dog toys using code BLOGPAWS at Petmate! Head on over today to take advantage of this special offer. Follow Petmate on on Pinterest for lots of fun animal tips.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetMate. The opinions and text are all mine.





Want more information on Great Pyrenees dogs?

What you need to know about feeding Great Pyrenees

What you need to know about grooming Great Pyrenees

Tips for introducing a new puppy to an adult dog

How to keep your dog happy 

Useful Tips for Training Great Pyrenees Dogs pin

Yummy Green Smoothies Your Kids Will Love {Freezer Friendly!}

Simplify your back to school breakfast routine with these kid friendly green smoothies for the freezer! Having a quick breakfast to grab and go {that is healthy and kids actually LIKE} is key to a smooth school morning. And the best part about this recipe, your kids will love helping you prep and make it!Green Smoothies your kids will love

Kid Friendly Green Smoothies for the Freezer

Did you know it’s possible to freeze smoothie packets to simplify the smoothie making process? It sure is! When I learned this little tidbit of information, it rocked my world! Okay, maybe it didn’t rock my whole world, but it has simplified the back to school breakfast making fiasco! smoothies your kids will love

I have found that smoothies are a great way to get my kiddos to eat fruit and veg they might not otherwise eat. This summer, we ate a lot of smoothies, smoothie bowls, and nice cream. While they don’t take a lot of time to make fresh, I can save 5-10 minutes in the morning with frozen smoothie packets ready to go. Not having to chop and prep {not to mention the clean up} the smoothies is huge.

ingredients for kid friendly green smoothies for the freezer

How to freeze smoothie ingredients in glass jars

Enter the prep ahead smoothie! This really is a genius idea, guys. Grab some quart sized glass jars with secure lids, prep your fruits and veg, add them to the jar, and freeze. Smoothie packets are also a great way to reduce food waste. Got a bag of spinach or some berries on the verge of going bad? Make this smoothie recipe! It’s so simple. On the day you want to make the smoothie, pull the jar out of the freezer, dump it in your blender, add whatever ingredients you need to add, and blend until smooth. YUM!Green smoothies for the freezer to simplify back to school

One of my kids’ favorite green smoothies is really easy and has a surprising ingredient: Cheerios! Yes, Cheerios. I can hear you now. Why on earth would you add Cheerios to a smoothie. I’m so glad you asked! 😉 They’re made with 100% whole grain oats which are rich in fiber and protein to help fill the kids up}. Plus, the Yellow Box Cheerios which I prefer to use has only 1 gram of sugar per serving and zero GMOs. It’s a nice way to add a little bit of sweetness without actually adding that much sugar. And my kids just like Cheerios. They are so thrilled to add them to their favorite green smoothie recipe and snack on them when they help me prep their morning smoothies. Which they totally do, because: Cheerios.

freezing smoothies in glass jars

Are you ready to make this easy recipe and fill your freezer? Here’s how. There are just a few caveats as you get going.

  • Do freeze the fruits and veg and blend them frozen.
  • Make sure you slice the banana before you freeze it because a whole frozen banana just won’t blend well.
  • It’s fine to freeze the Cheerios, in our opinion.
  • But do NOT freeze the yogurt. Studies have shown that freezing yogurt can kill some of the wonderfully healthy probiotics. So it’s best to add the yogurt the day you make the smoothies.
  • If you take the jar out of the freezer 15 minutes before you want to blend it, it will make it easier to get the ingredients out of the jar. 🙂Green smoothies for the freezer to simplify back to school

Yields 1 large serving

Kid Friendly Green Smoothies for the Freezer

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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  • 1 cup berries {blueberries, raspberries are our favorite}
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Box Cheerios
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • *1/2 cup whole milk yogurt


  1. To make the smoothie, simply combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. To make the smoothie freezer packets, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the yogurt and freeze. When you want to blend the smoothie, add the yogurt and all frozen ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Cheerios for sponsoring this recipe for kid friendly green smoothies for the freezer! For more quick breakfast, snack, and lunch ideas, head on over to their website!

Yummy green smoothies your kids will love. Plus tips for how to freeze smoothies in glass jars.


30 Free Things to do at Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love

There are so many free things to do at the Minnesota State Fair that it’s impossible to list them all and even more impossible to do them all in one day. Here’s a huge list of things that your family will totally enjoy at the MN State Fair plus a few tips to help you save money and maximize your time!30 Free Things to do at Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love

*Many thanks to Visit Roseville MN for sponsoring my trip to the MN State Fair. All opinions are mine.*

I’ve shared my excitement for State Fairs before. We are a State Fair Family having attended the California, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Missouri State Fairs. Dan was raised on a farm and showed livestock and 4H projects at the Iowa State Fair. Our kids have had 4H projects make it to the Iowa State Fairr the last couple of years.  And wouldn’t you know it, I made cotton candy and corn dogs, and cleaned up an awful lot of beer cups during high school when I worked at the Missouri State Fair!

#VisitRosevilleMN Fam Trip

There’s just nothing quite like a fun State Fair! Many thanks to the Roseville, MN Visitors Association for sponsoring an amazing FAM trip for a huge group of bloggers! With an annual attendance of close to 2 million people over 12 days, the Minnesota State Fair is very popular. I was really impressed with all of its amazing attractions – a lot of which are totally free with your paid admission. Compared to the Iowa State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair is bigger and has more visitors. The Iowa State Fair has a greater emphasis on agriculture, but I appreciated Minnesota’s emphasis on local and organic. They seemed to be quite focused on sustainability at the Minnesota State Fair.#onlyinMN selfie spot at the Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is really too big to experience in only one day. There’s just too much to do so you’ll need a game plan before you arrive to make the most of your visit. Make sure to download the MN State Fair App before you go. It’s really easy to use and will put all of your favorite foods, events, and activities on a map so you know exactly when to go where.

Once you get to the fair, you might also want to buy a $5 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. It’s full of coupons for food, merchandise, and attractions for 150 different vendors. Before you buy it though, I’d recommend using the app to see if anything you plan to buy has a coupon. It might save you money, but then again, it might not. The App clearly shows which food vendors accept coupons! It’s really cool. Without further ado, here’s the tip of the ice berg on free stuff to do once you get in to the Minnesota State Fair!

30 Free Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love

With so many free things to do, you really don’t need to spend much money on entertainment. Save the cash for food-on-a-stick and maybe a ride or two. If you think you’ll have to pay for a lot of extras, check out all of this fun that comes with your fair admission! Your kids will really enjoy the attractions on this list. And they’re all FREE with admission. Did I mention that? 😀

1. Visit the Eco Experience Building for learning demonstrations and hands on fun. Your kids can play Climate Connection Bingo and Go even make tote bags from Tshirts for free several times a day!

2. Swing in a hammock in the Nature Adventure Play Space (outside the Eco-Experience Building)

3. Play The Number Game and other fun interactive math games at Math on a Stick. Your kids won’t even know they’re learning!


Take a selfie in a viking hat at the Go RVing booth with a good friend

5. Take a selfie in a viking hat at the Go RVing booth with a good friend or family member. Nicky from Little Family Adventure was my partner in crime at the Minnesota State Fair.

6. Dig in the Great Big Sandbox

7. Listen to a free music concert at the Ramberg Center

8. Climb at the Boy Scouts of America Summits Ropes Course – This is totally free and looks really cool!

9. Catch one of the 3 daily Timberworks LumberJack Shows

Meet with a new children's book author each day in the Alphabet Forest and play lots of interactive learning games.

10. Meet with a new children’s book author each day in the Alphabet Forest and play lots of interactive learning games.

11. Watch the annual Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest at 6 pm each night of the fair

12. Sing a song at the Giant Sing-A-Long

13. Pretend to be a farmer in the Little Hands Farm and earn “money” to spend on a snack in the farm store

14. Watch the Thank A Farmer Magic Show

15. Catch one of the 3 daily All Stars Stunt Dog Splash Shows

make sure to see the animals in the barns at the Minnesota State Fair

16. Milk a cow and see baby animals in the Moo, Baa, & Oink BoothsYou can also sign up to participate in Agrilympics like wool stuffing, butter carving, etc.

17. Learn how a chicken lays an egg and see lots of baby animals in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center

18. Take a Fine Arts Scavenger Hunt

19. Catch the Daily Parade each day at 2 pm to watch high school marching bands, floats, animals, and many other performances!

20. Make sure you catch the schedule for the Arts A’Fair performances and go see one of the drumming, dancing, or theater shows!

Check out the horses in the horse barn and the Minnesota State Fair

21. Walk through the horse barn’s Aisle of Breeds to learn about horses and pet a horse!

22. Catch a livestock or horse competition at the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum 

23. Go see the butter sculptures in the Dairy Barn

Flower Kaleidoscopes at the minnesota state fair

24. Look through the Flower Kaleidoscopes in the Agriculture / Horticulture Building

25. Find the biggest pumpkin at the Agriculture / Horticulture Building

26. Catch a free act on the Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park

27. Pick one up a brochure at the Minnesota Historical Society booth or any of the 12 stops located around the fairgrounds and take a Minnesota State Fair History Walking Tour.

28. Pop in EquiMania for interactive displays on horses

DNR's fish pond at the Minnesota State Fair

29. Make sure to walk through the DNR Building’s display of Minnesota taxidermy to learn about wildlife and check out all of the fish in the fish pond!

30. Climb the DNR Fire Tower for a bird’s eye view of the fair.

Minnesota Wine tasting at the Minnesota State Fair

31. The 21+ crowd will enjoy sampling free Minnesota Wine and food every day of the fair and attending the free presentations at 3 pm each day! They’re serving candied bacon donut slides, fried brie, fried kale, and more! Find them at Minnesota Wine Country!

bacon on a stick at the minnesota state fair

Food-On-A-Stick and Rides

Of course, it’s impossible to go to the Minnesota State Fair only for the free things – food-on-a-stick anyone? So don’t forget to try a new food and ride one of the permanent state fair rides. You can take the Midway rides or leave them, in my opinion, but the Giant Slide, Sky Chair, Big Wheel and Ye Old Mill are good fun. 🙂 I also highly recommend squeezing an organic peach or nectarine {make sure you buy it first} at the Produce Exchange. Their Kombucha is also fabulous! If you’re looking for more info on food, head over to Little Family Adventure and check out Nicky’s top 10 picks that cost under $5 each!

The Produce Exchange at the Minnesota State Fair

Again, many thanks to the Roseville Visitors Association! Roseville, MN is conveniently near all the fun stuff and their hotel taxes are the cheapest in the area. Just sayin’.

I’d love to hear about your experience at state fairs! What do you love!?

30+ Free Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair



5 Types of Heirloom Garlic to Grow this Fall

If you’re wondering what types of heirloom garlic to grow in your garden, here are 5 kinds I have successfully grown and highly recommend! Many thanks to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for sending me out this seed garlic to plant in my garden last fall! I can’t wait to plant more soon.5 Types of Heirloom Garlic to Grow this Fall

5 Types of Heirloom Garlic to Grow this Fall

Garlic is one of my favorite plants to grow in my garden. For some reason, I think plants that grow underground (like garlic and potatoes) are just so easy. I plant them once and then pretty much forget about them until it’s time to harvest. Here are 5 amazing types of heirloom garlic you should consider planting in your garden this fall. Make sure you brush up on growing garlic with this handy garlic growing guide – everything you need to know about growing garlic in your garden!

types of garlic to grow in your garden

German Red Garlic

We really like German Red Garlic. It’s a hardneck variety and grows well in colder regions like Eastern Iowa. Pictured above is garlic from a good friend who lives in Upstate New York. German Red has a rich and spicy flavor and it’s easy to peel!

Chamisal Garlic

Chamisal Garlic is another beautiful, red hardneck variety found growing wild in New Mexico. It is supposed to set the standard for a true garlic flavor!

5 types of heirloom garlic to grow in your garden

Russian Giant Garlic

Russian Giant Garlic is a huge hardneck variety that stores well! I love growing food that stores well and that’s why I will grow Russian Giant again next year. It’s also quite pretty – with a silver red color and easy to clean bulbs. It has a mild flavor and is excellent for roasting. I used it in my Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing!!

Inchelium Red Garlic

Inchelium Red Garlic

I was surprised that I also really liked a couple of softneck garlic varieties as well. I wasn’t sure they would grow as well in Zone 5, but they did just fine too. Inchelium Red is one variety I recommend you try. It was originally grown by Native Americans in Washington and has a buttery flavor. Curious about the difference between hard and softneck garlic? Read this.

K's Backyard garlic

K’s Backyard Garlic

The other softneck garlic variety that I really liked is K’s Backyard Garlic. The bulbs are huge and the taste is rich and classic. Baker Creek says this variety of garlic was found in Sante Fe in 1998 and is their largest softneck garlic. It did quite well in my garden!

Elephant Garlic

Bonus – Elephant Garlic!

Not really a garlic at all, but an amazing variety of leek to grow! This “garlic” has huge cloves and a very mild flavor. It also produces little seeds on the garlic bulb which you can collect and re-plant year after year. My father grew this variety for years from a single plant my grandmother gave him! I grew it for the first time last year and love it! Elephant garlic will be a staple in my own garlic garden for years to come.


Tuesdays in the Garden

If you’re looking for more fall gardening inspiration, look no further. My garden buddies have put together a great mix of information for you, as usual! Please click on over and support their sites too.

Fall Garden Chores from Shelly at Frugal Family Home

an oregon cottage

Fall Gardening Ideas from Jami at An Oregon Cottage

hearth & vine

Pruning Perennials – Fall or Spring from Patti at Hearth & Vine

angie freckled rose

5 Blooming Plants for Your Fall Garden from Angie the Freckled Rose

homemade food junkie

Fall Garden Harvest & Planting Tips from Diane @ Homemade Food Junkie

Wondering what type of garlic to plant this fall? These 5 types should be staples in any garlic garden!

Tropical Nice Cream – Delicious & Healthy Dessert

Summer’s not over yet! Be sure to enjoy these last dog days of summer with a healthy serving of delicious tropical nice cream! Not only is the recipe a great way to eat several servings of fruits, but its also sneaks in a healthy antioxidant punch using Barlean’s Strawberry Kiwi Superfruit Greens and Omega Swirl Pina Colada Fish Oil!Tropical Nice Cream - Delicious & Healthy Dessert

*I received compensation and product for this post as part of a Barlean’s Blogger Program. All opinions are mine.*

Tropical Nice Cream

We started eating Nice Cream this summer and love it. From Triple Berry Nice Cream to Simple Blueberry Nice Cream, Nice Cream (which is basically frozen fruit blended to an ice-cream like consistency) is perfect for those times when you want dessert, but want to avoid added sugar and empty calories.

tropical nice cream

This Tropical Nice Cream is the most creative I’ve been with Nice Cream so far. As a Barlean’s Blogger, I was challenged to #chillwithbarleans using a couple of ingredients that I might not necessarily think to add to a dessert recipe, but I’m glad I did. Barlean’s Omega Swirl fish oil adds heart healthy omega-3s without any fishy taste or oil texture. And the Strawberry-Kiwi Superfruit Greensmade with antioxidant-rich, berries, fruits, and vegetables with no added sugars, help sneak in a few veggies and greens your kids might otherwise balk at.

spoonful of tropical nice cream #chillwithbarleans

Adding both of these items to the frozen fruit and coconut water gives this yummy dessert an even bigger health punch than it already packs! My kids cheered over this newest recipe when I served it to them. They had no idea I snuck in a few healthy additions like the omega swirl and the superfruit greens! You really couldn’t taste either in the finished product.healthy tropical nice cream

Making this recipe is so easy. Just put all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until you’ve reached the desired consistency. If you use all frozen fruit, you’ll achieve a more ice-cream like consistency. Want a softer consistency? Mix and match fresh and frozen fruit. I used fresh pineapple when I made this and we loved it! You don’t have to serve it in a pineapple bowl, but how fun is that presentation? It’s more effort that I’d probably go to on a day to day basis, but if you really want to impress someone, serve this nice cream in a pineapple bowl and see what they think!

Yields 2 filled pineapple haves

Tropical Nice Cream – Delicious & Healthy Dessert

5 minPrep Time

3 minCook Time

8 minTotal Time

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  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  2. Serve in a halved out pineapple and top with desired toppings. Enjoy!
  3. Yields enough to fill 2 pineapple halves

Many thanks to Barlean’s for inspiring this recipe! Do you like Nice Cream? Let me know what you think!

This Tropical Nice cream is the perfect delicious pick-me-up for those days when you need a healthy boost of omega-3s and antioxidants! #chillwithbarleans #ad @barleans