Instant Pot Crack Chicken

We are going on our cruise tomorrow!!!!!!!

I am ridiculously excited. I’ve researched the ship and ports we are going to, I’ve joined FB groups to get get tips, and I’ve made lists, and I’ve packed and packed again. And I know I will still forget something! ha!

I think that is just the way it is when you are traveling, especially when you are traveling with kids. You can never pack enough when you have kids.


In order to help clear out our fridge before being gone for almost a week, I made Crack Chicken in our Instant Pot yesterday.

It lives up to it’s name. I’m addicted to to this dang chicken. I’ve made it far too often since getting the Instant Pot. I only “complain” about that as it’s not the lightest of dishes… hello cream cheese, cheddar cheese,  and bacon.

But it’s worth it. I swear.

You can easily double this recipe, which is great for when you need to feed a crowd. It’s great for a pot luck or for a party… think Super Bowl!!! (Fly Eagles Fly!!!)

Talk to ya when we’re back from the cruise. In the mean time, enjoy some addicting chicken!

Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Makes 6 Servings


  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/4″ wide pieces
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • 8 oz cream cheese, can use light cream cheese too
  • 2/3 Cup water
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, set aside.
  2. In the pot of a pressure cooker, add the chicken, then cream cheese, and then  the packet of ranch seasoning over the top.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Place your Instant Pot on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Do a quick release. Turn to the keep warm setting.
  5. Shred the chicken in the pot using forks.
  6. Add the cheese and bacon, stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve as a sandwich, dip, over rice or noodles.


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Individual Strawberry Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting


I am loving winter in Florida.

It’s a joke to call it winter. It’s been amazing out. We had one cold weekend so far and you would have thought the end of the world was coming. People reacted to at the grocery store the same way that people in Boston reacted to snow storms. Everyone at the grocery store was all bundled up and talking about how cold it was. I was standing there in a sweat shirt like “yo, you have no idea…” It was like 45 out. ha!


I remember how the cold would cut through the air when the wind would whip around the buildings. The morning walk from the train station was never welcomed. Basically, I hated any time that I needed to leave the house.


But I can handle the winter now down here. The one that consists of us running the dogs outside for the last pee of the night while we are barefoot. The ‘brisk’ winter that allows us to comfortably sleep with the windows open. The winter that makes you laugh at your child when they say “It’s chilly out Mommy, I need a coat.” It’s 65 degrees, that’s sunroof and windows down weather kiddo. Stop whining. (And yet, she will happily get naked and play with the sand box/water play thing at the same temp…)

To all my friends and family freezing… don’t hate me. Just remember to come and visit us when you can’t handle any more shoveling, lost mittens, and scraping ice off your car anymore. We can hang out on the lanai or whatever. Oh yeah, our house, we finally have a closing date!!!! More on another day.


Instead, get cozy up in your house with these awesome Individual Strawberry Monkey Breads with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Don’t be like ‘Fool, why are you sharing a recipe with strawberries?! They aren’t in season now!” Well, in fact they are! They are in season here in FL. So when you are getting strawberries up in New England now chances are they are from FL. Go on, check the label…

The sweet fruit mixed into the already sweet monkey bread makes it 10x more awesome than it is already. Unless you are a 3 year old, then you will tell your mom to pick all the strawberries out… send help.

Don’t feel like making these in muffin tins? Then you can make 2 loaves and just increase the baking time (approx. 32-35 minutes). Just keep an eye on it until it’s golden brown. It’s easily adaptable. And delicious.


Individual Strawberry Monkey Breads with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24


For the Monkey Bread

  • 1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups warm milk (110F-115F, 2% or whole milk, no lower)
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 1 1/2 Cups diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2-1 Tablespoon milk


  1. Proof the yeast in the milk until the yeast is fragrant and bubbly, this takes a few minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs together. Add the milk to the bowl and mix again.
  3. Add 3 Cups of flour to the bowl and mix well. Scrape down the bowl, and add the remaining flour. Mix well to combine all the ingredients, about 4-5 minutes
  4. Remove the dough to a well greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise for at least 1 hour.
  5. When ready to assemble the monkey bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Put foil cupcake liners in the cavity of 2 12-cup cupcake tins.
  7. Combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  8. Roll out the dough on a well-floured, clean, level work surface. The dough should be 1/2″ thick. Cut into 3/4″ x 3/4″ pieces.
  9. Mix the cut dough pieces into the strawberry and sugar mixture. It will get a bit gummy but that’s okay. Pour the butter over the mixture and then get your hands messy!
  10. Evenly portion out the dough into the cupcake liners.
  11. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the top the golden brown.
  12. While the individual monkey breads are baking, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. It should be a thick consistency.
  13. Drizzle the frosting over the warm monkey bread when serving.
  14. Store extra monkey bread and frosting in air tight containers for 2 days, max.

S’mores Cheese Ball

S'mores Cheese Ball


IT’S S’MORES WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Amanda, from Fake Ginger, and I have been waiting all year for this week!!!

It’s our 3rd S’mores week! That means we have shared 20 s’mores recipes together. And you better brace yourself for another 10!!!

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We have been joking that we have been keeping Hershey’s in business since we have been doing so many trips to the grocery store for chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. SO MANY MARSHMALLOWS!!

Even my Dad has been enjoying the goodies I have been making for the past few weeks as even though he hates marshmallow. He reminds me that often as he eats another treat filled with marshmallows. I guess the point is that s’mores hook people. They just get ya and suck you into their sugary coma inducing deliciousness.

This S’mores Cheese Ball is the perfect change up to your average cheese ball that is a hit appetizer. Now you can enjoy a cheese ball for dessert!!

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It’s so simple to make and is so delicious. Plus, it’s just fun.

The only real tip I have related to making this cheese ball is that you don’t want a lot of the mini marshmallows on the outside of the cheese ball as the coating won’t stick to them. So take a minute to push them in and keep the cream cheese on the outside so the coating will stick nicely.

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I went on a mission to find the marshmallow bits since my local grocery store didn’t have them, but Target did. Target to the rescue. That is why I love Target so dang much.

Also, I found graham cracker dippers at my local grocery store, which are just graham crackers that are in long shapes to make dipping easy. If you don’t have them where you live, then just use graham crackers that you break off into segments.

Be sure to make this for your next party! It will be a hit!

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S’mores Cheese Ball

Makes 1 large ball, will feed a crowd of 8-12


For the cheese ball

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup marshmallow Fluff
  • 1/2 Cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the outer coating

  • 1/3 Cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup marshmallow bits
  • graham cracker dippers


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean pasta. Add in the marshmallow Fluff and beat well.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the mini marshmallow and mini chocolate chips.
  3. Dump out the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, sculpt the mixture into a ball. Push the mini marshmallows into the ball. Place into a round bowl.
  4. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  5. While cheese ball is chilling, combine the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and marshmallow bits on a large plate and mix.
  6. Remove cheese ball from the freezer. Remove the cheese ball from the parchment and roll in graham cracker mixture and refine further into a call using your hands.
  7. Refrigerate the coated cheese ball least 30 minutes before serving. Server with graham cracker dippers.


Fake Ginger_Smores Poke Cake

Be sure to check out the S’mores Poke Cake from Amanda!!

OMG that looks so good! I want that frosting!

Browned Butter Pumpkin Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

Browned Butter Pumpkin Waffles

It’s Fall!!!

It is starting to feel like Fall and I love it.

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Yes, I love Summer but I really do love Fall. The crisp smelling air in the mornings start the day off on the right note. I love the smells of fall from the apples to the fallen leaves to the pumpkin pie. Shoot, even pumpkin spice lattes smell amazing.

We have a jam packed Fall with a lot of great things planned like more apple picking, pumpkin picking, and going to the Head of the Charles. I can’t wait to cross more things off Our Boston Bucket List.

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Our AC’s are out, I’m packing up summer stuff and pulling out the fall and winter things. I am ready for it. Okay, I’m not but I will do my darndest to embrace it.

My current favorite thing is #pumpkinallthethings attitude towards life. It’s crazy and fun, which inspired me to make this week’s waffle recipe centered on everyone’s favorite fruit. Apple?! Pears?! Cranberry ?! Shut up, you know I mean PUMPKIN!!!!

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The batter will be thick so don’t fret! The pumpkin puree gives off a lot of moisture so if your batter is too thin it will stick and fall apart in your waffle iron, no matter how much you spray. Trust me. Also, spray your waffle iron for every waffle. Again, trust me.

The cream cheese drizzle is an awesome to change things up from your typical maple syrup. If you just want maple syrup then skip it, no big. I just love the flavor combo of pumpkin with cream cheese, like those delish muffins from Starbucks, so wanted to experience that with these waffles.

Funny story… I bought one of those Pumpkin Muffins from Starbucks at the airport when we were traveling from Tampa back to Boston last week for Price as a little extra birthday treat. I had Autumn carry the bag over from the store to our gates to give her a fun little job. Big mistake! She discovered what it was, decided it was her’s, and then proceeded to eat the whole thing in front of Price. ha!!

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Anyway, back to the drizzle! I didn’t do a good job mixing it, as Autumn decided to be extra distracting that morning #toddlerlyfe. You should thoroughly mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together BEFORE adding the milk. I added it too soon and messed it up, making it lumpy. It was still delicious, but lumpy 😦

Break out the waffle iron and a can of pumpkin this weekend and you’ll be loving life when you make these waffles!

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Browned Butter Pumpkin Waffles with a Cream Cheese Drizzle

Makes 8-12 Belgian waffles, depending on desired size of waddles


For the Waffles

  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 2 3/4 Cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce can) can pumpkin purée

For the Cream Cheese Drizzle

  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk

vanilla granola for garnish, optional


  1. Brown the butter according to these instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the butter, milk, vanilla extract, honey, eggs, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Preheat your waffle iron and then spray the waffle maker with cooking oil spray.  Use 1/3 Cup of batter per waffle to make smaller waffles, use more to make larger waffles. Cook according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Put finished waffles in the preheated 250° oven to keep warm while you cook the others.
  6. While your waffles are cooking, thoroughly beat the cream cheese. In 1/4 cup batches, add the powdered sugar. Once incorporated, add the milk.
  7. Plate with 1-2 waffles, add the cream cheese drizzle, top with granola. Enjoy!

Waffles adapted from Chocolate and Carrots

Guava and Cream Cheese Stuffed Puffle Waffles

Guava & Cream Cheese Puffle Waffle

Years ago, while I was staying at a resort in the Caribbean, I grabbed a late night snack at the hotel’s on-site Dunkin’ Donuts. Tired from the glorious day of sun, I stumbled in there for a coolata.

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And then I saw it.

I saw the most amazing thing ever.

A doughnut filled with guava jelly.

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Okay, so it was just a Dunkin’ Donuts’ doughnut, so it wasn’t the best doughnut ever, but I was hooked on this guava filled doughnut. It was fun and tropical. It was the perfect late night snack that night.

The thing is that I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I used to always look for guava filled doughnuts but I never saw them here, so I just figure it was something special for the Caribbean locations. Lucky them!

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Well, I was recently stumbled upon guava paste while I was grocery shopping. It was in a weird shaped can, which is exactly why it caught my eye. I had no idea what to do with it but I impulsively tossed it in the cart.

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I’m glad I did as I quickly discovered that guava paste is really versatile. It can be eaten on just crackers or used as a filling for empanadas or swirled into cheesecake or even used as a glaze on pork tenderloin. Awesome!!

It pairs really well with cheese so I decided to play on the idea of traditional Pastelitos, which are pastries often filled with guava and cream cheese, when I made these puffles.

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Now is the time to find some guava paste so you can make your own Guava and Cream Cheese Stuffed Puffle Waffles. Love!!

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Guava and Cream Cheese Stuffed Puffle Waffles

Makes 8 puffles


  • 1 17.5 ounce box of puff pastry dough
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup guava paste
  • powdered sugar, for serving


  1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the instructions on the box. (Typically 40 minutes at room temperature prior to use)
  2. While the puff pastry is thawing, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface to be 12″ x 12″. Work the dough to eliminate the seams. Cut the dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Score each piece in half.
  4. Leaving 1/2″ boarder, spread a heaping spoonful of the cream cheese mixture on half of each piece. Add 3 small spoonfuls of the guava paste on the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Fold the other half of the puff pastry over the filling, crimp the edges to seal the filling inside the pastry dough.
  6. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry dough to make the other 4 puffles.
  7. Preheat your waffle iron at this point. Place the puffle dough on the waffle iron. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. The dough should no longer be expanding and puffing up when you open the waffle iron.
  8. Gently remove, and place on a cooling rack until ready to serve the puffles.
  9. Plate 2 puffles, shake some powdered sugar over the puffles, drizzle some warmed maple syrup on the puffles. Enjoy!!

Inspired by Epicurious


I hope you are enjoying all my Waffle Wednesday recipes and enjoyed this month of fun puffle recipes. Be sure to give them a try. xoxo

S'mores Puffle Waffle

S’mores Puffle Waffles

Peanut Butter and Jelly Puffle Waffle

Peanut Butter and Jelly Puffle Waffle