The Importance of Active Play Time

The Importance of Active Play by TheHillHangout.com

Fall and Spring are busy times of the year around the Hill Hangout. Our homeschool year kicks off, and so do all of our extra-curricular activities. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me during those super busy times to focus on what “needs” to be done and neglect active play time for my kids.The importance of active play time really can’t be minimized. Kids need to get moving in order to stay healthy. One of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes is, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” Children need time to play. They need time to create and imagine and move their bodies. They need time with friends to run and kick a ball and talk about silly things. We would all do well to remember the importance of active play time.

Why is it so important to build in active play time? Take a look at this from LetsMove.gov: “Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.”

Yikes! Those stats are startling!

How did we get here? Read on: “Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.” Play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities.  70% of moms played outside when they were kids; 31% of their kids play outside today.

I’m convinced. We gotta get our kiddos moving.

The Importance of Active Play

Your family may have its own favorite play activity, but ours is soccer. My girls LOVE some soccer! And I’m happy for them to play because it gets their activity level up (way up!!), teaches them to work with a team, helps with critical thinking and strategy, and gives them a terrific community of girls. Soccer certainly isn’t the only sport that gets kids moving. Maybe your kids are into basketball, volleyball, football, lacrosse, gymnastics, or cheerleading. All excellent options. Not a sports lover? Try one of these:

  • Walking around the neighborhood after dinner.
  • Have a family dance party.
  • Play a game of freeze tag.
  • Go on a nature hike.
  • Find a new workout video on Youtube.
  • Get the neighborhood kids together for a game of kickball.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Learn yoga.

Need a little motivation? Why not make it a family competition? Give each family member a pedometer or Fitbit and compete for the highest number of steps daily. Instead of video games or movies, give gifts that encourage physical activity like balls, jump ropes, or gymnastics mats.

Importance of Active Play Time by THeHillHangout.com

And while you’re encouraging your kiddos to move, don’t forget to properly fuel them up. As my girls get more active, they really do prefer healthier meals that give them the energy to play hard. They DESPISE being sluggish from too much sugar and starch. So we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and try to stay away from too many fried or sugary foods. And they require lots of healthy snacks between meals to keep their energy level up. My girls love CLIF Kid® snacks, especially a CLIF Kid Zbar®. CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. Whether on the run from soccer practice, or in between homework sessions, CLIF Kid Zbars are perfect for growing kids (and busy parents!).

The Importance of Active Play

It’s difficult to fit playtime in around all the other activities back-to-school brings, but by getting creative and establishing a routine, you’ll be sure your kids are healthy and thriving all year long.

The Importance Of Active Play

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Vidalia Onion Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AD #Tailgreatness #CollectiveBias

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

A couple of weeks ago, my team played my husband’s team in our annual college rivalry. It’s always a fun game because he and I celebrate our “house divided” with great food and great friends. When we are watching our favorite game of the year, the last thing we want is to be sidelined with heartburn from the rich and spicy food. Thankfully, I have Nexium 24HR so I’m always ready for Tailgreatness! Nexium 24HR is for the treatment of frequent heartburn. Since it can take 1-4 days for full effect, I take just one pill a day and I’m covered for whatever kind of spiciness I get into. For this week’s game, that spiciness included my Vidalia Onion Dip.

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Vidalia Onion Dip super simple to make, and it only includes five ingredients. You’ll need two vidalia onions, an 8 oz block of cream cheese softened to room temperature, half a cup of mayonnaise, half a cup of grated parmesan cheese, and 3 cups of shredded cheddar.

The first step in making Vidalia Onion Dip is to chop the onions in a food processor or blender.

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Pour the onions into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar, and mayonnaise. Mix until well blended.

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Pour into a greased baking dish.

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges.

Vidalia Onion Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Serve with Fritos Scoops, pita chips, toast rounds, or your favorite cracker.

If you need to stock up on Nexium® 24HR Capsules 42 count before your next tailgate, head on over to Walmart and look for the antacid and heartburn aisle in the pharmacy.

Vidalia Onion Dip

Get all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn with Nexium® 24HR. Use as directed. May take 1-4 days for full effect.

Vidalia Onion Dip
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Ingredients
  1. Two vidalia onions
  2. 8 oz block of cream cheese softened to room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  4. 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  5. 3 cups of shredded cheddar.
Instructions
  1. The first step in making Vidalia Onion Dip is to chop the onions in a food processor or blender.
  2. Pour the onions into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar, and mayonnaise. Mix until well blended.
  3. Pour into a greased baking dish.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges.
Notes
  1. Serve with Fritos Scoops, pita chips, toast rounds, or your favorite cracker.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Easy Weeknight Dinners

Easy Weeknight Dinners

It’s back-to-school time around the Hill Hangout, and we are getting back into the busy fall routine. Soccer has started, as well as dance and church activities, which doesn’t leave us a whole lot of time to cook elaborate meals during the week. If you’re like me, you can benefit from some new recipes for easy weeknight dinners. I polled my favorite food blogger friends who graciously shared their most popular quick and easy meals with me so that I can pass them on to you.

First up is Chicken Fajita Casserole from my friend Stacey at Southern Bite. If you keep cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer (LIKE I’VE BEEN TELLIN’ Y’ALL!), then you can have this mouth-watering meal on the table in 30 minutes.

Easy Weeknight Diners

My friend Cris at Recipes That Crock brings our first slow cooker recipe – her Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup. Simple ingredients you will love!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

One of our family favorites is my Greek Chicken Pot. Throw it all in a bag in the morning, and bake it when you come home in the evening. Super simple and quite healthy!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Another of our family favorites (as in, we have it at least once a week!) is Spicy Drip Beef. You can eat it on a bun as a sandwich, or as an entree with whatever starch and veggies your family loves. We love it cooked in the oven, but you can also use your slow cooker on low for eight hours.

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Paula at Call Me PMc has a fantastic Cheesy Chicken Pasta that only requires, drum roll please… ONE POT! Goodness, I do love a one pot meal. Don’t you?

Easy Weeknight Dinners from TheHillHangout.com

Mmmmm! Leah at Beyer Beware has a fabulous Crock Pot Sloppy Joe recipe. I think the sloppy joe is the unsung hero of the sandwich kingdom.

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Stephanie at Plain Chicken is known for her “Cracked Out” recipes, and for good reason. People LOVE them. Here’s her Cracked Out Chicken Tater Tot Casserole.

Easy Weeknight Dinners

Donya at A Southern Soul is one of the sweetest food bloggers I know, and you’ll love her Pasta Carbonara!

Easy Weeknight Dinners

If you’re a seafood lover like we are, you know that a weeknight seafood dinner is hard to come by. My Crawfish Stew is a super simple dump and cook recipe that our entire family devours.

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Why go out for BBQ when you can have it ready when you walk in the door? Melissa at Served Up With Love shows us how with her Crock Pot Pork BBQ!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Another favorite from Served Up With Love is Melissa’s Pizza Casserole. This one is definitely going on my menu soon!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Spice up your weeknight meal with Tamale Pie from Brandy at Aunt Bee’s Recipes. Doesn’t this look heavenly?

Easy Weeknight Recipes from TheHillHangout.com

One of my favorite dinners is oven roasted chicken with veggies, and this one from Donya at A Southern Soul looks right up our alley!

Easy Weeknight Dinners from TheHillHangout.com

Have y’all ever used an Instant Pot? I have heard a lot about them, but have never bought one. I might change that since seeing this Cheesy Chili Mac from Mary at Chattavore!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

Yum! Take a look at Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Teriyaki from Christy at Southern Plate!

Easy Weeknight Meals from TheHillHangout.com

I hope your fall is off to a good start. I know it’s a busy time of the year for us all. It’s definitely the time of year I lean hard into Jesus and ask Him to order our days. My time with Him is more important to me during the busy seasons than ever if I’m going to keep in step with Him!

Happy cooking, friends!

Creamed Kale

Creamed Kale from TheHillHangout.com

When I first started hearing all of the interwebs about kale, I was more than a little hesitant. I hate greens. In fact, the first time I tried kale as a salad, it was a definite no go. However, kale has been labeled a superfood that will do everything from fight asthma, cancer, and auto-immune diseases to promote world peace and harmony among nations. Okay, maybe that last part is taking it a bit far. But the benefits of kale are so touted that I decided to try again. We love creamed spinach (especially with a hot, juicy steak), so I thought I might be able to make a thing of creamed kale. It did not disappoint. This stuff is terrific, and we can’t wait to have it again.

While anything with whole cream in it might not be labeled “healthy,” my creamed kale recipe is about as healthy as a creamed vegetable can be. Listen, we are trying our best to take care of the temple God has given us. Baby steps. Try the kale. Hope you love it as much as we do.

16 oz bag of frozen chopped kale
4 Tablespoons of butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of each)
A dash of cayenne pepper
A dash of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of Stevia
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen kale, Stevia, and spices.

Creamed Kale from TheHillHangout.com

Let saute until kale is heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Add the cream and Parmesan and stir to mix thoroughly. Leave cooking for about 1-2 minutes to let cream thicken. Serve immediately.

Creamed Kale from TheHillHangout.com

Creamed Kale
Think you don't like kale? Think again! This delicious dish is loaded with vitamins and minerals, but the taste is what will keep you coming back for more.
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Ingredients
  1. 16 oz bag of frozen chopped kale
  2. 4 Tablespoons of butter
  3. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of each)
  4. A dash of cayenne pepper
  5. A dash of ground nutmeg
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of Stevia
  7. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  8. 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen kale, Stevia, and spices. Let saute until kale is heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Add the cream and Parmesan and stir to mix thoroughly. Leave cooking for about 1-2 minutes to let cream thicken. Serve immediately.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Cookie Butter Cobbler

**This post was sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. Opinions, as always, are completely my own.

Cookie Butter Cobbler

Have you been introduced to cookie butter yet? This decadent treat has gained a huge fanbase in recent years, and many of us are wondering how we ever made it without it. It came to the US from Europe, and it has been enjoyed there for many years. My chickadees love cookie butter on pretzels, toast, and bagels. When Sprouts Farmers Market asked me to create a recipe for them using cookie butter, I knew my family would be all over it. Thus, Cookie Butter Cobbler was born.

Label

Cookie Butter Cobbler isn’t a super sweet dessert. If you want a really, really sweet desert, please feel free to add an extra half cup of sugar. If you’re a fan of nuts, Cookie Butter Cobbler would be delicious with a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. We topped ours with real whipped cream, but a big scoop of vanilla ice cream would also be a great way to go. As with all of my recipes, please feel free to make it your own.

To make Cookie Butter Cobbler, you’ll need:

1 jar Sprouts Cookie Butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together all ingredients except whipping cream and powdered sugar. Mix until a soft dough is formed. Press dough into an iron skillet that has been sprayed with baking spray. Bake on 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Whip together the whipping cream and powdered sugar with a stand or hand mixer until it is thick. Spoon a dollop over the top of the baked cobbler. Serve immediately.

Cookie Butter Cobbler from TheHillHangout.com

Cookie Butter Cobbler
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Ingredients
  1. 1 jar Sprouts Cookie Butter
  2. 2 cups all purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 stick butter, softened
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla
  8. 1 cup granulated sugar
  9. 1 cup whipping cream
  10. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together all ingredients except whipping cream and powdered sugar. Mix until a soft dough is formed. Press dough into an iron skillet that has been sprayed with baking spray. Bake on 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
  2. Whip together the whipping cream and powdered sugar with a stand or hand mixer until it is thick. Spoon a dollop over the top of the baked cobbler. Serve immediately.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Cookie Butter Cobbler from TheHillHangout.com

Layered Mexican Dip

This post for Mexican Layered Dip was sponsored by Sprouts Farmer’s Market. As with all sponsored posts, all opinions are my own.

Layered Mexican Dip

Some of the best parts of any big ballgame are the food and friendship. Even for those of us who might not get into sports, the big game is still a terrific time to invite over a few friends or neighbors. And, of course, it never hurts to have plenty of good food to share. Layered Mexican Dip is a favorite of ours to serve while watching a big game with friends because it requires very little cooking and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Layered Mexican Dip

The only cooking you’ll need to do for Layered Mexican Dip is to brown the hamburger meat and add the taco seasoning. Once that is done, you just simply have to layer the ingredients in a dish. So simple!

The good thing about Layered Mexican Dip is that you can substitute ingredients as you like, and you will still have a terrific dip. Not a fan of guacamole? Leave it out! Don’t want it too spicy? Drop the jalapeños. There are still lots of other layers to provide a full flavor.

To make Layered Mexican Dip you will need:

1 can of refried beans – I used canned refried pinto beans from Sprouts, but you can use refried black beans if you prefer
1/4 cup sliced jalapeños
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 package taco seasoning – I made my own using this recipe.
1 jar salsa – I made my own using this recipe.
1 8 oz container of guacamole
1 8 oz container of sour cream
1 8 oz block of your favorite cheese, grated – I used colby jack, but cheddar or pepper jack would also be delicious.
1 4 oz can of sliced black olives
1/2 bunch green onion, sliced greens only
Salt

Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning according to package directions. In a 9″x13″ casserole dish, spread a layer of refried beans. Sprinkle the layer with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add a layer of jalapeños, making it as thick or thin as you like. Next add the layer of taco meat. After that, add the layer of salsa. After the salsa, carefully add the layer of guacamole. This will be a little difficult to spread, but should be easier if you let it sit out for a few minutes before spreading. Next add the layer of sour cream. Top that with a layer of shredded cheese. Finish it off with a sprinkle of olives and green onions. Refrigerate if you aren’t serving immediately. Serve with tortilla chips.

Now for a few tips that make this dip delicious and easy to make. While you can make your own guacamole if you are so inclined, we LOVE the hatch chile guacamole from the Sprouts produce department. They make it in the store, and we and use it whenever we can.

Layered Mexican Dip

If you want to try making your own taco seasoning, but don’t want to invest in a bunch of spices, check out the bulk seasoning aisle in Sprouts. You can buy just the amount you need, which keeps you from spending a lot on spices you won’t ever use again. It really is one of my favorite areas of the store.

Layered Mexican Dip

Since this dip is thick, you need a solid chip that won’t break with every scoop. The Sprouts extra thick tortilla chips are the bomb. No chip breakage with these!

Layered Mexican Dip

Y’all invite your neighbors over and get to know them better over a dish of Layered Mexican Dip!

Layered Mexican Dip
A delicious Tex-Mex dip that is terrific for parties, tailgating, or a simple dinner at home. It's always a crowd-pleaser!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can of refried beans - I used canned refried pinto beans from Sprouts, but you can use retired black beans if you prefer
  2. 1/4 cup sliced jalapeños
  3. 1 lb. ground beef, browned
  4. 1 package taco seasoning - I made my own using this recipe.
  5. 1 jar salsa - I made my own using this recipe.
  6. 1 8 oz container of guacamole
  7. 1 8 oz container of sour cream
  8. 1 8 oz block of your favorite cheese, grated - I used colby jack, but cheddar or pepper jack would also be delicious.
  9. 1 4 oz can of sliced black olives
  10. 1/2 bunch green onion, sliced greens only
  11. Salt
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning according to package directions. In a 9"x13" casserole dish, spread a layer of refried beans. Sprinkle the layer with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add a layer of jalapeños, making it as thick or thin as you like. Next add the layer of taco meat. After that, add the layer of salsa. After the salsa, carefully add the layer of guacamole. This will be a little difficult to spread, but should be easier if you let it sit out for a few minutes before spreading. Next add the layer of sour cream. Top that with a layer of shredded cheese. Finish it off with a sprinkle of olives and green onions. Refrigerate if you aren't serving immediately. Serve with tortilla chips.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Layered Mexican Dip from TheHillHangout.com

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

Top 2015 Recipes

Can you believe 2015 has come to a close and 2016 is here?!? I hope you and yours are off to a terrific start. The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the victories and challenges of the previous tear. The Hill Hangout has a transition year in 2015, as I took on a full-time job outside of the blog world. As a result, you have seen far fewer posts from me this year. That’s something I’d like to work on in 2016. However, you remained faithful and 2015 was a year full of good food, good travel, and good spiritual growth for us. And you, dear readers, must have been cooking, traveling, and growing right along with us because you viewed some of our posts over and over again. In fact, here’s a little glimpse into the top 2015 recipes from The Hill Hangout…

#10. Creole Seasoning

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#9. Cheesy Smoked Sausage Dip

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#8. Cornbread Dressing

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#7. Perfect Pound Cake

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#6. Chicken and Dumplings

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#5. Peanut Butter Pie

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#4. Fiesta Corn Dip

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#3. Greek Seasoning

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#2. Loaded Cornbread

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

#1. Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Top 2015 Recipes from The Hill Hangout

Hope your 2016 brings you more and more of the things you love!

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

Bowl Game Tailgating at home

My Auburn Tigers had a tough season this year, and the Birmingham Bowl was the end of the line for them. Whaa-whaa-whaa. But we are still big fans of the bowl games and usually watch games all day on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Since we are watching on TV, we do our bowl game tailgating at home. I will traditionally make quite a few appetizers and pick-up foods, and we are with our teams in spirit. It works for us.

This year some of my food blogger friends have helped me pull together a list of recipes so that you, too, can do your bowl game tailgating at home. Take a look…

Bacon and Cheese Party Sandwiches from Mary at Chattavore. I’ve made a similar sandwich with ham and swiss, but I love Mary’s idea of using bacon, gouda, and maple syrup.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

Mary’s party sandwiches would pair terrifically with BBQ Red Slaw from Donya at A Southern Soul.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

To keep things a little on the healthy side, try this Peanut Butter Fruit Dip from Liz at The Farm Wife Cooks.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

Ok, enough of the healthy stuff. Check out these Steak Stuffed Jalapeños from Paula at Call Me PMc.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

I’ve made Rotel dip with Velvet and sausage a thousand times, but Plain Chicken’s Hissy Fit Dip takes it up a notch. I’m definitely making this instead!

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

To throw a little sweet and salty in with all those cheese dishes, try my Holiday Rolo Turtles.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

This Pull-Apart Pizza Bread by Melissa at Served Up With Love looks divine!

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

Like the idea, but not in the mood for pizza? Try Bacon Cheese Pull Apart Bread from Call Me PMc.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

All the praise hands and all the yesses for Sarah’s Super Bowl Nacho Bar, which you can see at The Magical Slow Cooker.

Bowl Game Tailgating at Home

When you need a little salty and a little sweet, try Fluffy’s Salted Oreo Bars.

Salted Oreo Bars

What about you guys? What are your favorite dishes for tailgating at home?

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip

I’m a big fan of pumpkin. Mind you, I believe we’ve taken it a bit too far in America. Like the pumpkin spice Pringles or the pumpkin spice beer we saw in the grocery store, for example. But in general, I’m a big fan of the big orange squash. When Sprouts Farmers Market asked to sponsor a post, I knew Pumpkin Dip with Ginger Snaps was something I wanted to share with you all. It has become a tradition around the Hill Hangout. (And I’m pretty amped about their new-ish stores in Birmingham. I’m a big fan of the Sprouts farmer’s market concept.)

I first came across the recipe for Pumpkin Dip when we lived in Meridian, Mississippi, and it has been a family favorite ever since. Since I can only find canned pumpkin around the holidays, I only make it during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, but Pumpkin Dip is terrific served any time of the year. It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, and it is a mix and serve dish. So simple!

Pumpkin Dip

To make Pumpkin Dip, you’ll need a can of pumpkin (I used the organic kind from Sprouts), two 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, 3 cups of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Dip

Simply let the cream cheeses soften to room temperature and mix in the pumpkin, sugar, and cinnamon. That’s it. Put it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours before serving. You’re ready to dish it up with a bunch of good quality ginger snaps (Sprouts has terrific ones!).

Y’all plan a potluck dinner with your kids’ soccer team or your neighbors or your Sunday school class and invite people around your table. Life is better when it’s shared with friends. Here’s a photo for you to pin to Pinterest so you can find it later…

Pumpkin Dip

 

Pumpkin Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can pumpkin
  2. 2 8-oz blocks cream cheese
  3. 3 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Mix together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and cinnamon. Chill. Serve with ginger snaps.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Thank you to Sprouts for sponsoring this post. Y’all remember to #PasstheJoy this holiday season. You can find Sprouts on Facebook and Twitter.

Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage

Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage

It’s no wonder pinto beans were a staple for cowboys while they were out on the range. Pinto beans are sort of the epitome of a good, cheap, hearty meal. While our family doesn’t spend many (or any) nights near an open campfire, we do still enjoy a big pot of Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage for dinner, especially on cold rainy nights like we’ve had lately in the ‘Ham.

I always make Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage with dried pinto beans. I just think they have a better flavor than canned. However, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to soak a package of beans for several hours, by all means use about 3-4 cans of beans. I make mine with smoked sausage, but you can use ground sausage or even ham if you prefer. We’ve made it all those ways, and they get a thumbs up. When I use smoked sausage, I ALWAYS use Conecuh, but if you have a favorite brand, use it.

Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage

For Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage, you only need a couple of ingredients and a handful of spices. I use a 1 pound package of pinto beans, which I soak overnight (or at least several hours). Once they are soaked, rinse and put in a big pot of cold water. Cover the beans with about a half gallon of water. You want the beans covered plus about 1 inch. Cut the Conecuh sausage into one inch pieces and add it to the beans. Turn on medium heat and let simmer for about an hour. Be sure to add more water as it evaporates so that you don’t scorch the beans. To spice it up, you’ll need:

2 tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons onion powder
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons dired oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
1.5 teaspoons ground thyme
1.5 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

** The listed amounts of peppers will give you a medium spiciness. We use about twice as much of the three peppers because we like it spicy. Dial it back if you want it mild.

Once spices are added, cook about 30 more minutes. Serve it piping hot with a side of our classic Southern cornbread or our loaded cornbread.Y’all invite your neighbors over for dinner, and get to know them a little better. Life is hard for some people, and you never know when people are carrying a burden you can help with.

Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb dried pinto beans
  2. 1 lb Conecuh Smoked Sausage (or your favorite brand)
  3. 2 tablespoons paprika
  4. 3 teaspoons onion powder
  5. 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 3 teaspoons dired oregano
  7. 3 teaspoons dried basil
  8. 1.5 teaspoons ground thyme
  9. 1.5 teaspoons celery salt
  10. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  11. 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  13. ** The listed amounts of peppers will give you a medium spiciness. We use about twice as much of the three peppers because we like it spicy. Dial it back if you want it mild.
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight (or at least several hours). Once they are soaked, rinse and put in a big pot of cold water. Cover the beans with about a half gallon of water. You want the beans covered plus about 1 inch. Cut the Conecuh sausage into half inch pieces, and add it to the beans. Turn on medium heat and let simmer for about an hour. Be sure to add more water as it evaporates so that you don't scorch the beans. Once spices are added, cook about 30 more minutes.
Notes
  1. Serve Creole Pinto Beans and Sausage piping hot with a side of our classic Southern cornbread or our loaded cornbread.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/