Vanilla Matcha Latte

My husband bought me a giant bag of organic green tea matcha powder for Christmas. I started making this latte as an afternoon pick me up in place of a second (or third) cup of coffee. I get the boost of energy without feeling jittery and without the caffeine headache that I would sometimes get from too much coffee. Matcha is high in anti oxidants, boosts metabolism, provides vitamin c and magnesium and is said to lower cholesterol. So I feel good about drinking this every day. Heres how I make my latte!

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Milk or milk of your choice 

1 tsp Organic Matcha Powder

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2-3 tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup all work great!)

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Instructions:

In a small sauce pan, warm milk on low heat. Allow the milk to warm for a minute or so before adding ingredients. If you add the matcha when the milk is still cold it tends to clump more. Add your vanilla, sweeter and matcha powder then whisk.

Note: If you are using an unsweetened milk, you may want to add more sweeter. If you are using something like a sweetened vanilla almond milk, 2 tbsps should be enough.

Whisk until everything is combined. You may still be left with some small clumps of matcha. If that happens just pour through a strainer into your mug.

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Enjoy!!

If you have any other fun ways for me to use this giant bag of matcha powder I have, comment them below!

Brittany

Smoked Salmon and Mushroom Tortellini

I am sure everyone has a restaurant that they frequently visit for one particular dish. A dish that can not be done the same anywhere else.  I know I do. Or did. In our case this restaurant happened to be one that my husband worked for when we first started dating and for years after that. They had the best seafood dishes I had ever tasted. In fact it wasn’t just this one dish that I loved, I loved everything on their menu. Well like most amazing businesses these days, corporate came in, took over and decided that the menu needed to be revamped. Horrible idea. They ended up removing every single one of our (and everyones) favorite items and replacing them with things that weren’t half as good. Not even close. Customers left, employees left and my husband was one of them. Long story short we had to try and replicate these dishes at home since we could no longer get them. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I actually enjoy this dish much more when I can control the ingredients that are going into it (grass fed butter, organic pasta and so on) and dare I say I think its better!!

 

This pasta dish is rich and filling. Not a low fat meal by any means but such a treat when you are in the mood for a decadent meal. The combination of salty smoked salmon, savory mushrooms and creamy sauce is unbelievably comforting. I can’t really explain how amazing this is. Sometimes, the morning after I’ve made this for dinner, you can find my husband and I eating it cold, straight out of the leftovers container because we wake with such a strong craving that we don’t want to wait the amount of time it takes to reheat it. There’s a pretty mental picture for you!

Here’s what you will  need:

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Ingredients:

1 lb bag of your favorite tortellini (I use a four cheese)

3 tbsp butter or favorite cooking oil

8 oz sliced mushrooms

3 tbsp flour

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 cup grated parmesan

1 smoked salmon filet

Instructions:

Boil water and prepare your tortellini according to instructions and set aside.

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Melt your butter in a large pan. Add your mushrooms and sauté until tender.

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Toss in the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms

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add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Once this starts to thicken I add the milk.

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Let this simmer on med heat whisking every so often to prevent clumping. Once thickened add the cheese.

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At this point I lower the heat and if you feel that your sauce is too thick you can always add more milk. While that continues to simmer, chop you salmon. We like ours in bigger chunks. Add it to the pan.

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Add the tortellini, salt (not much is needed with the salmon and parm both being salty additions) and pepper to taste.

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Stir to coat you pasta and serve!! Always with fresh shaved parmesan, pepper and some fresh herbs on top!img_9919-1 img_9923

Enjoy!!

xo,

Brittany

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Almond Milk and All Natural Kinetic Sand??

I have developed the outlook that the more I can make at home, the better.  I like knowing exactly what is going into the things that we consume. The thought of making certain things at home can be intimidating at fist but the more I made the more I realized that most things are really simple.

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I have been a fan of almond milk (cashew and coconut also) for years now. My husband and kids love it as well but once we discovered all of the other unnatural things that go into store bought milks we were no longer happy with what we were buying. Lots of sugar and thickeners and things that we really do not need to be putting into our body. So I decided to look into making it myself and it turns out that its really easy. Ive been doing it this way for awhile now and the taste can’t even be compared! Although store bought is obviously way more convenient and cheaper, I think the pros far out way the cons in this situation. The cons being that raw almonds can be expensive and you do have to put forth a small effort to make the milk but if you can find a store that sells in bulk and if you own a blender or Nutri Bullet you should totally try making it yourself. We have a store called Winco here in Utah and that is where we buy all of our bulk items. They pretty much have everything you could ever imagine in their bulk bins.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups of raw almonds

3-4 cups of water

6-8 pitted dates

tea towels (cotton) or a nut milk bag

I bought a pack of tea towels at Michaels for $7. They came in a pack of 3 and I found them in the baking section or you can purchase a Nut Milk Bag on amazon.

I use my Nutri Bullet and make in small batches.

This recipe should make 3-4 cups of Almond Milk.

Instructions:

Soak almonds for 8-12 hours. Over night is what I usually do. Once they are done soaking, drain them and throw them in the blender with fresh water and dates. Dates are a great natural sweetener. I like my milk sweet so we add a good amount but you can add more or less depending on personal preference.

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Blend for a good minute or so. You want to make sure the almonds are completely pureed.

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When done, your mixture should be pretty thick. Like the texture of oatmeal.

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I lay my cloth over a 4 cup measuring glass and pour half of the mixture in the center. (I only do half at a time to make sure I get all of the liquid out and to make it easier to manage.)

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Squeeze the crap out of it!! Your hands may get tired so little ones are great to have around.

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You should be left with this dry almond meal!

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We store our Almond Milk in mason jars in the fridge.

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Now back to that almond meal:

What do I do with all of that left over almond meal??? 

I asked that very question the first time I made this milk. My husband decided that we would give ours to our chickens. But thats not all its good for. You can use it in baking (cookies, breads, muffins.) You could also toast it and dry it out to sprinkle on top of yogurt or salad.

The next thing I am about to say may sound crazy and I would not recommend doing this all of the time because its a bit wasteful and there a far better uses for it but….

On this particular day my toddler wanted to help me make the milk. Which meant that he got to feel that amazing almond meal and well.. it kind of feels exactly like kinetic sand. So I let him play with it. We are all about creative play and experimenting in our house and he was so interested in the texture of this stuff. He played forever. He said he felt like he was at the beach so I gave him some sand toys and sent him outside.

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The baby got in on the action also. He loved smushing it through his fingers and he may have eaten a handful or 2. With play doh I would have not allowed that ever! but this is all natural food ingredients so I was able to let him explore an have fun and not worry about it.

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Hope you guys enjoy this recipe and feel free to comment any questions! let me know if you try it out.

xo,

Brittany

 

Creamy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Fusilli

I have really come to look forward to the nicknames my kids come up with for meals in our house. Do anyone else’s kids do that? My boys will name dishes based on varying characteristics and it sticks and thats what the dish is called from then on. This particular dish has been renamed “Christmas pasta” for obvious reasons. It is made up of red, green and white ingredients. Then theres the fact that my kids call broccoli “trees” and I guess grated parmesan looks like snow. So with that being said I figured what better time to post a recipe for Christmas Pasta than right now!

This recipe is based off of a pasta dish from one of my favorite restaurants in California. I would order this dish almost every time we were there. I think the first time I ordered it, I was in high school. Once I started cooking I had to figure out how to make it myself. I decided to make a few changes. Theirs did not have a sauce. They simply tossed everything in olive oil which is also delicious but I am a sucker for cheesy sauce on pasta. So I took the fresh ingredients they used and added my own rich and creamy sauce. I think its a winning combination.

**You can make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Ingredients:

1 box of fusilli pasta (rotini would also work)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup of broccoli florets

1/2-1 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped (I love them so I like a lot! but they are potent so use as little or as much as you like)

Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning

Sauce:

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

3 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions: (If using chicken, make your sauce in the same pan that you cook the chicken in!!! If not then skip straight to making a roux! )

Get the water boiling for your pasta that way its ready by the time you are done prepping everything else. In a smaller pot, boil water to blanche the broccoli. You dont need to cook it too long. Just long enough to become tender but not mushy!!! Just around 8 minutes should be enough. Drain and then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

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Sautee’ your chicken in your cooking oil of choice. I used olive oil for this recipe. I usually use coconut oil but ran out!!! Season with salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning.  Make sure not to over cook your chicken since it will continue cooking a bit in the sauce. Cook until just golden brown on the outside and no longer pink on the inside. Then set it aside to rest before cutting it into cubes.

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Lower the heat and add butter to that same pan you cooked the chicken in. Let the butter melt, add flour and whisk to make a roux. Let that cook for a minute or so.

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Add the chicken (or veggie) broth. Let that simmer until thick.

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Add cream!!

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Whisk until incorporated. Then add the cheese…

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Whisk until everything is combined. If you feel like your sauce is too thick at this point you can always add more broth if you have some left over or some milk.

Chop up your sun dried tomatoes and toss them in along with your chicken.

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Let that simmer for a few minutes to allow the tomatoes to soften a bit. Then add the broccoli and the pasta.

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Top with pepper and more grated parm to add to that “snow” effect!

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Happy Holidays!!

XO,

Brittany

 

Holiday Marshmallow Pops

When we first moved from LA to Utah I was overwhelmed by how friendly our neighbors were! Not in a bad way but it just wasn’t something we were used to. I don’t think we knew a single neighbor in Los Angeles. Once the holidays rolled around we started getting knocks on our door from sweet neighbors bringing treats and small gifts. I quickly realized that I needed to embrace this act of kindness and share in the holiday spirit. Although it wasn’t what I was used to, It was definitely a refreshing change.

I quickly took to baking cookies and wrapping them in cute little holiday boxes. Last year I made Toffee bars. This year I wanted to do something a bit different and something that my kids could help with and also really enjoy eating. I decided on marshmallow pops. They are easy to make and easy to package. You can also use whichever toppings you want. I chose just 2 topping this year to keep it simple as this is my first holiday season with 3 kids and my time in the kitchen is limited! I went with crushed peppermint candy and ginger snaps.  these 2 things paired with white chocolate mmmm magical.

what you will need: Amount needed obviously will depend on how many you need to make.

lollipop sticks (I had bamboo skewers so I cut them in half but they do sell lollipop sticks at Michaels or any craft store)

Marshmallows

Melting Chocolate

Peppermint Candy (my kids crushed mine but they do see them pre crushed in stores)

Ginger Snaps

**and any other candy or topping you might want to use. Nuts work well. Shaved coconut would also be really good paired with milk chocolate. Ive also used toffee bits which are my fave!!!

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Start by melting your chocolate. I used a double boiler. You can also just heat it in the microwave. Ive definitely done that before but I like the double boiler better as it is easier to regulate the temp and it keeps the chocolate from cooling and hardening before you are done.

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Once completely melted you can start to assemble the pops. I coat the end of the stick before placing the marshmallow on top. I feel like since the chocolate hardens, it secures the marshmallow and prevents it from sliding off.

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allow that to sit for a second and then start the coating process!

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Twirl the marshmallow in the chocolate to get an even coat and then do the same in your candy/cookie toppings!! Set them aside to cool before eating or packaging if you are giving these as gifts. You can find little pop bags and ties at any craft store.

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Happy Holidays!!

Xo, Brittany

Thanksgiving Shepherds Pie

We love Thanksgiving and we look forward to the amazing food that we get to share but we are usually left with a ton of leftovers that take over our entire refrigerator. Usually we make those delicious Thanksgiving sandwiches for days after which  while tasting great, doesn’t really help with the amount of space those leftover containers take up. So this year I wanted try something new. Something that would consolidate everything into one dish.

Shepherds Pie is something that we eat often in our house. I ate it as a child and I love making it for my family. I usually make it with ground beef or sometimes group turkey, a veggie (my family likes corn or peas) and mashed potatoes. I figured why not swap out the ground beef for the leftover turkey and then just top it with the rest of the leftovers. You can literally put almost anything in this dish and its going to taste amazing. Here is how I made ours.

Ingredients: 

Turkey

gravy

any leftover veggies. I had green bean casserole so I used that.

mashed potatoes

Instructions:

Layer!!! Start with your turkey. Then add a layer of gravy to prevent the turkey from drying out in the reheating process.

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Add a layer of veggies. I used leftover green bean casserole but you can use anything. If you made carrots, peas or roasted veggies. Pretty much anything would work.

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Then top with a thick layer of mashed potatoes.

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Add salt and pepper and you can add shredded cheese to the top if you want. That will just get nice and brown and add a crispy layer to the top.

This doesn’t have to be baked right away. You can assemble it and refrigerate. Just bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes when you are ready to serve it. I also set mine under the broiler for a few minutes  to brown the top

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serve with cranberry sauce for the full Thanksgiving experience!!

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I had some turkey left after making this dish so here is another option:

We have these mini loaf pans so I made cute little personalized pies. These are great to just quickly pop in the oven. I followed the sam process of layering turkey, gravy,  veggies and then mashed. With these I used peas.

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These do not need to bake as long. 10 Minutes in a 350 degree oven is perfect. Then brown the top!

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HappyHolidays!!!! xo

Where do I shop for my kids?

I often get asked where I buy my kids clothes. The answer is I have a few  favorite stores and they are different for each child. I also try to mix store bought items with original items from small shops that I find online.

For my toddler I have to say that probably 70% of his clothes come from Crazy 8.  They have great sales and I always find what I’m looking for. When he was about a year old, I bought him a pair of their “rocker jeans” The fit was amazing and I have been re purchasing these jeans ever since. As soon as he out grows one pair, I am right back at the store buying him a replacement. They also come in different colors so I usually get one dark denim pair and then one in a fun color like the red pants I have pictured below.

I also love this store because I can shop for all 3 of my children here. There sizing starts at 6mo and runs all the way up to a size 14!! Meaning I can shop baby. toddler and pre teen all in one trip. My toddler definitely has the most items from this store but I’m sure my littlest baby, now that he is 8  months, is soon to follow in his brothers footsteps.

(click any of the banners or links below to shop their current sales) 

In the picture below, all items are from crazy 8. The thermal, the rocker jeans and the striped cardigan. I got the thermal on sale for $5!!

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Here are those red “Rocker Jeans” all jeans are On sale now for $8.88 (shirt not from old navy)

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Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

These adorable white “terry joggers” are our favortie!! Currently only $7.73

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They have great sales going on right now so head over to their website to check it out.

www.crazy8.com

Green Bean Casserole

I think I was raised on the green bean casserole that we all know and love. But let me tell you that once I made it from scratch, I will never eat it another way again. It really is so easy and so worth it. There are a few dishes that scream Thanksgiving to me and this is one of them. I can’t really imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without it! Plus no matter how you make it, the flavors still give you that nostalgic feeling that only  the Holidays can give. Here is what you need:

Ingredients:

Apporx. 4 cups of green beans (trimmed and cut in half)

1/2 white onion (diced)

2 cups mushrooms (sliced)

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp flour

4 cups broth/stock  (veggie or mushroom if you have)

1 block of cream cheese (softened)

A cup of fried onions (pre packaged or you can use the remaining half of your onion and fry your own)

Instructions:

First pre heat  your oven to 350

Then prepare your veggies.

Trim the ends off of your green bean and cut them into equal halves. Also chop your onions and slice your mushrooms if you didn’t buy them that way.  Also start boiling water for your green beans. Now you can start cooking.

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Melt  butter in a large pan. Add your onions and mushrooms and sauté on med/high until mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent.

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Lower your heat and sprinkle in your flour. Stir to coat.

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Add your broth and whisk to incorporate all of that flour and to get all of the bits of flavor off  the bottom of the pan.

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Allow that  to simmer and thicken. This should take about 20min.

While that simmers, boil your green beans. Not too long! Keep checking them to make sure they do not get too soft but also aren’t too hard. Ours took about 10 min. Once they are done remove them immediately and put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and keeps them that pretty bright green color .

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Once your space has thickened and is nice gravy like consistency, add that block of cream cheese. Allow this to heat up and melt then whisk until smooth. Their may be chunks at first. Just keep whisking. It will become a smooth and creamy texture I promise! If your sauce ends up too thick, which it shouldn’t but hey things happen, so if it does just add some cream or milk. Then add lots of pepper!!

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Place your green beans into a baking dish a pour in that delicious mushroom gravy soup mixture. Top it all with those fried onions.

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Bake in the oven for approx 25 Minutes until bubbling and the onions are crispy and golden brown on top.

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Happy Holidays!!

 

 

Creamy Pistachio Pesto

We love pasta in this house!! (This pesto can be used for so many things, not just pasta. You can use it as a sandwich spread or a dip. I just say pasta because this is what I have mainly used it for. ) I am constantly trying new recipes to keep things exciting. I was starting to feel like I had made every type of sauce imaginable. I needed inspiration. Then my husband took out his giant bag of pistachios. something that usually leaves me extremely annoyed because between him and my two oldest boys, the shells end up all over the floor. This time I was excited! It was just the inspiration I needed. I have made pesto before and I’ve had pistachio pesto but I decided to make a few very small changes. I wanted to tweak a few things and that doesn’t always work out in my favor lol but luckily this time…. it was a win!. This has now become a favorite in my house. Especially with my toddler. He has started asking for “stachio pasta” every few days. My husband loves it, of course, but I figured he would with his already established addiction pistachios. Its creamy, salty, and rich. A nice change from the usual red sauce or alfredo.

This recipe feeds 2 people (and maybe a toddler lol) for a larger batch, just double the ingredients. This will make 1 cup of sauce once prepared. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of shelled pistachios (plus a 1-2 tbsp chopped for serving)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan (plus a few tbsp for serving)

4-5 basil leaves

2 mint leaves (use more if you love mint!)

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

(optional* juice of half a lime)

Healthier Alternatives:

Use an avocado in place of the heavy cream. This will be much thicker so you will need a splash of liquid. Just a few tablespoons should be enough. Broth would be best but water will work just fine. You aren’t using enough to make it watery just enough to make the sauce easy to blend.

If you are using for pasta I suggest a quinoa or brown rice pasta instead of regular.

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Instructions:

I used my Nutribullet for this and it was so quick and easy but a blender would work just fine.

Its a simple as adding all of your ingredients to the blender and turning it on!!! Blend until smooth.

Thats it! Spread on sandwich or serve in dish as a dip.

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or add directly to cooked pasta and to with shaved parm, chopped pistachios, salt and pepper.

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Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel Pecan Orange Rolls

This recipe has been in my husbands family for years and for very good reason. He made these for me on our first Thanksgiving together and I have asked him to make them every year since. They are the perfect amount of sweet and tart. They also fill your home with the sweet aroma of oranges and brown sugar. You can eat them with your meal or as desert and by chance there are any leftover, they are so good warmed up for breakfast the next morning! Once you make these I guarantee they will become a staple on Thanksgiving or whenever you are looking for a super decedent breakfast treat.

Ingredients: 

1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed or store bought with pulp)

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick of butter (and some extra to grease your pan)

3 7.5 oz cans of small flakey biscuits

1/4 cup chopped pecans

about 1 tbsp orange zest

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Generously butter a bundt pan and add your chopped pecans to the bottom.

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Fan the biscuits around the bundt pan.

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In a sauce pan combine oj, butter and brown sugar. Bring to low boil then lower heat to simmer until it thickens slightly (about 20 min)

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Pour the mixture over the rolls. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

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Remove from the oven. Place your serving tray onto of the bundt pan and flip the rolls over onto the tray.

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Enjoy!!