Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies

This post contains affiliate links.

Holiday entertaining season is here and as someone who is happiest with a home filled with people to feed, I’m rolling out all of my best recipes. While I love being in the kitchen, I know that the upcoming holiday season won’t alway allow me the extra time in my favorite place to cook, so I keep a few super simple recipes on hand that save me time, but still offer a delicious morsel for my family and friends. These Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies are a simple throw together recipe that offer huge savory sweet flavor. No one dislikes bacon, so it’s a recipe that’s sure to be s hit with any visitors or holiday potluck.

I start by slicing a package of bacon into thirds.

I wrap one piece of bacon around a smokie and secure it using a toothpick.

I place the smokie onto a plate and repeat the process until I’ve wrapped all my smokies. If I’m really pressed for time, I can wrap the smokies and pop them into the freezer until I’m ready to bake them. I just add some additional time to the oven and keep an eye on the bacon until it gets to the crispy texture I prefer.

Once my smokies are all rolled in bacon, I combine some brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a bowl and gently roll each smokie in the mixture before transferring it to a prepared baking dish (lightly sprayed with nonstick oil). My favorite baking sheets can be found here.

I bake the Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies in a 425F oven for ten minutes before flipping and popping them back in for an additional ten minutes (add additional time for crispier bacon).

These Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies come out of the oven perfectly browned and covered in caramelized brown sugar. The cayenne adds a gentle kick and spice for the perfect balance of savory sweet flavors. These are always the first thing to disappear when I serve them at our family gatherings or potlucks. I just don’t know if anyone has any self control when it comes to bacon!


Never miss out on a recipe and sign up for monthly newsletters where I’ll send my best recipes from the month straight to your inbox. You can also stay up to date by following the Our Holly Days page on Facebook.

Sausage & Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner

As a busy work from home mom of a blended family, my schedule gets pretty crazy. While I love being in my kitchen and cooking for my family, there are evenings when I need a quick and simple solution to feed my hungry family. This Sausage and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner is a cinch to throw together and leaves me with next to no dishes, which is always a fun bonus for a sheet pan dinner.

I start by chopping up some cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow bell pepper.

And I slice up a precooked sausage.

I line my baking sheet with tinfoil and spread the veggies and the sausage over it.

I add some oregano, dried minced onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil over the top.

I give it all a gentle toss and place it in a 400F degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Once it’s done, I pull it out and immediately sprinkle it with some shredded parmesan cheese.

I like to serve this Sausage and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner over brown rice, but it’s also great all on it’s own. The veggies can easily be swapped to whatever is in season like broccoli, squash, green beans, corn, or brussels sprouts. This versatile recipe can be customized to fit whatever your family’s preferences are; it’s a simple dish that it impossible to mess up.


For additional recipes like this one, be sure to follow @ourhollydays on Instagram where I update daily and often share what we’re having for dinner on my Instastories.

My Well Yes Moment

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

This August marked a new season of life for me. My sidekick, my youngest, started preschool which has left me with some free time during the day. As a work from home mom, I was excitedly anticipating the day she’d be off to school, leaving me with a few blissful hours to work quietly, listen to some music instead of the same princess show for the eleventeenth time, and increase my productivity. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emptiness I felt coming home to a totally silent house. Her older brothers have been in school for several years now, so I thought this would be an easy transition, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My little girl needed me, after all. She’s my spirited one. The one who needs her lunch arranged just so. The one who prefers the pink princess water bottle over the green fairy one. The one who relies on me to help her process through those little girl emotions. Would the teacher know that she sometimes needs help with her juice straw or that when she’s nervous she needs to hold a hand? Mom emotions are real, my friends. Sometimes we just can’t get a grip, am I right?

Inspired by  Well Yes!® Soups, I realized that sometimes yes can be reassuring. My yes moments in life are often of me tackling my goals and chasing my dreams, but in this season of life, my yes moment needed to be different. I reassure myself that yes, this is okay and yes, this is life. Yes, you’re in a new chapter and yes, it’s all going to be okay. My moment of yes is one of comfort, much like a warm mug full of my favorite Well Yes! Soups which inspired my mom moment of yes.

Well Yes! helps women and moms like me say yes to deliciously crafted food, with real ingredients, so that I have what I need to say yes in the other areas of my life, like reassuring myself that preschool doesn’t equal college, ha! Well Yes! soups are crafted with care and feature real and nutritious ingredients to create incredibly flavored soups, without compromise.

#WellYesMoment #Sweepstakes (10/14 to 11/17)

My daughter still needs me and it’s clear that I need her, but part of being a mom is letting go to allow room for independence and growth. Preschool is a small step, but for her it feels big and she is proud to be gaining some independence. But I’m fairly confident I’m going to need to remind myself in these moments of her life to relax, enjoy, and say yes.

Don’t forget to enter the #WellYesMoment Sweepstakes in the widget below for a chance to win up to a $500 Visa gift card! It’s as easy as clicking, logging in, and sharing your Moment of Yes story! If you win, think of all the ways you can use the prizing to achieve your Moment of Yes!

#WellYesMoment #Sweepstakes (10/9 to 11/2)

What is your yes moment as a mom? When did you have to reassure yourself with a calming yes, this is okay? Let’s chat mom emotions in the comments below. Read more yes moments from Well Yes! Soups by visiting the social hub where you’ll find inspiring stories from bloggers like me.

Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #FrightAndDelight #CollectiveBias

When Halloween comes around, I can’t help but dream up spooky and festive ideas in the kitchen. As a mother, it’s practically my sworn duty to bring some Halloween magic into my home. I’ve created everything from Zombie Eyeball Pretzel Snacks to Bloody Shirley Temples and every year, I feel the need to create something totally new and outside of the box. Inspired by the spooky Halloween packaging on the Fanta mini cans, I created these Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes which aren’t only a perfectly decorated Halloween treat, but also offer a creepy eyeball surprise garnishing each cupcake.

I start by adding a box of white cake mix to a large bowl.

And I add in two mini cans of Fanta Orange.

I mix everything together gently and then transfer the batter to a cupcake pan I lined with fun metallic cupcake liners.

I bake the cupcakes according to the instructions on the back of the cake mix box.

Once they’re done, I pull them out of the oven and let them cool for a couple of hours.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, I get to the fun part: decorating! I pipe frosting over the top of each cupcake and add a candy eyeball.

Using some red food coloring, I drip blood all over the cupcakes. The messier the better.

These creepy cupcakes add an extra special element to our Halloween movie nights while Fanta’s irresistibly fruity flavor and bold colors bring our movie night to life. These Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes may look disgusting, but they taste amazing and are so easy to make!

Learn more about Fanta and all of their irresistible flavors to create your own spooky recipes, be sure to visit the Fanta website.

One Pan Salsa Verde Pasta

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

Warm, gooey, full of cheesy goodness, and loaded with infused flavor, my One Pan Salsa Verde Pasta recipe is what dreams are made of. Working with Barilla pasta is like having a blank canvas; adding flavor to create a totally reinvented meal is easier than it seems, which is what I did with this simple one pan recipe.

I started by adding some chicken I’d already diced into bite size chunks into a large skillet with some olive oil. I seasoned them with a little salt and pepper while they cooked for several minutes until they completely cooked through and I removed them from the pan and set them aside on a plate.

In the same skillet I added some chicken broth, salsa verde, heavy cream, and some uncooked Barilla Penne pasta. I gave everything a few good stirs and let it come to a boil. Once it was at a boil, I turned the heat down to low, covered the skillet with a lid, and let it simmer for several minutes until the pasta was tender – al dente is always perfect.

I added the chicken back into the skillet along with some pepper jack cheese and combined everything together.

I added plenty of freshly chopped cilantro once the pasta was slightly cooled down and ready to serve.

This zesty One Pan Salsa Verde Pasta has quickly become one of my family’s weeknight favorites. It’s simple to throw together, packed with bold flavor, and only leaves me with one pan to clean up after cooking.

Barilla wants to inspire you to transform your own recipes into new twists, so they’re giving everyone who spins their prize wheel a coupon. There are thousands of prizes and everyone wins! At minimum, you’ll win a coupon to use when you purchase Barilla (each device ID will be given one free spin, and additional spins can be earned), but there are also prizes like an Instax Mini, Visa Prepaid Gift Cards, and even free Barilla products. I spun and won a free Barilla sauce! You could also print out a coupon here if you don’t want to spin the wheel.


For additional recipes featuring Barilla pasta from bloggers like me, be sure to visit the Barilla social hub where you can also spin to win one of thousands of prizes, but you’re guaranteed to win at least a coupon to use towards your next Barilla purchase.

Comforting Beef Stew

Every fall, I dig out my most comforting soup and stew recipes and dust off my trusty French oven. During the warmer months, my favorite kitchen pot often goes unnoticed as I swap out thicker stews for lighter flavors, but when the first cool breeze of the fall wafts through my home, I reignite my love affair with my French oven, chopping up root veggies and whisking up rues to create thick meals that warm me from the inside out. This Comforting Beef Stew recipe is one of my fall favorites and helps me welcome fall into my kitchen with it’s warm aroma.

I start by frying up some diced bacon in my Staub French oven with about half a cup of water. The water will eventually evaporate, but helps to cook through all of the bacon fat leaving it nice and crispy.

After I remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat inside, I drop in some stewing beef that I coated with flour. I sear the beef for a couple of minutes, in two separate batches, on each side before removing it all from the pan.

Then I add some red wine to the pot to deglaze it, toss in some in some sliced mushrooms, and let it simmer for several minutes.

I transfer the beef and bacon back into the pot with the mushrooms and let it simmer together while I prepare a skillet with some olive oil.

In the skillet I add in some finely diced onion, sliced carrots, and garlic to sauté until the onions become translucent. Then I add in some tomato paste, incorporating it into the mixture.

I transfer the veggies to the pot with the beef and add in plenty of beef broth, a couple bay leaves, some thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper.

I let everything come to a low boil before adding in some potatoes, ensuring they’re covered completely in liquid before covering the pot and transferring it into my oven.

The stew cooks in a 325F degree oven for a almost two hours, completely marinating my home in the comforting aroma of fall veggies and rich beef broth.

Once this Comforting Beef Stew has finished it’s oven time, I pull it out and serve it with some crusty bread or rolls. I love soaking up the rich leftover broth with a piece of sourdough bread.

I’m a firm believer in using high quality tools in my kitchen. I never used to think that it mattered, but the first time I created this beef stew in a French oven, the flavor profile totally changed. The soup was richer, the flavors deeper, and the broth thicker. My Staub French oven is a fall staple in my kitchen and since I bought it from Wayfair, I saved money on my favorite pot. I’ve used this gorgeous pot everyday since receiving it a few weeks back (I purchased it to replace my older Dutch oven which broke). It allows my cooking to transition seamlessly from the stove to the oven, making it one of my more versatile pieces. I bought mine in white, but it’s also available in black, grendadine, dark blue, and cherry.


Bring fall into your kitchen with affordable items from Wayfair, where shipping is always free, even on heavy French ovens like mine!

After School Routine + My Kids Favorite Snack

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Integrated Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I’ve nestled the kids into our school routine with homework packets, reading logs, and permission slips scattering the kitchen island every afternoon. The kids work on math sheets and reading comprehension while I start dinner prep between helping with long subtraction and timing their reading assignments. Set up at the dining room table with a fresh glass of water and an after school snack, they don’t realize that they’re developing study habits that will help them throughout their schooling.

They take the bus this year, not because they need to, but because I promised them in kindergarten that we’d revisit their request to ride the bus when they were in second grade, thinking they’d forget by the time second grade rolled around. They didn’t forget. And the walk with sister child to pick up her brothers from the bus stop has become a welcome part of our daily routine. It’s not long after we walk through the front door that they’re all asking for a snack and hoping that when they throw open the doors to the snack cupboard that they’ll find a box of TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, one of their favorites. The lovable bear-shaped snack is made with real ingredients like milk, eggs, and chocolate (which also happens to be their favorite filling flavor of the two available). My kids love them and I approve of the no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors treat. Plus, they’re easy to grab at my local Walmart while I’m doing my usual weekly shopping.

Enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to win one for twelve $50 Walmart gift cards or one of two grand prizes for a $200 Walmart gift card. I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes
After school snacks were always a part of my routine growing up and as a mother, it gives me a feeling of comfort seeing my children enjoy the same routine I did. I believe in encouraging good study habits and helping my children to develop a routine that will follow them through their school years into college, if that’s what they choose.

Learn more about TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, you can visit them on Facebook or Twitter. You can also discover more about the fun snack on the Discover Teddy website.

REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Scones

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

There’s something about fall that practically demands a hot cup of coffee and scones in the early afternoon. Crisp air and a cozy sweater just aren’t the same without dunking a scone into a warm comforting cup of coffee. Scone recipes are my favorite to experiment with because they’re so rustic and easy to pull together that I can almost never ruin them. Earlier this week, I was inspired by the new seasonal flavors while shopping at my local Walmart. The International Delight® Seasonal Creamers featured the flavors we all look forward to like Pumpkin Pie Spice, but there was also a REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup flavor that begged me to take it home. And naturally, I obliged. My husband is a chocolate peanut butter fanatic, so when I told him I’d be using some of the creamer to create REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Scones, he was happy to wash the dishes for me as we waited for the scones to bake.

I started by adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and some salt to a large mixing bowl.

Next, I added in some cold butter that I grated with my cheese grater and some peanut butter. I mixed it together just slightly to start incorporating the ingredients.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together an egg, plain Greek yogurt, some International Delight® REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup creamer, and vanilla.

I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and tossed in a few peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring until just combined. Then I got in there with my hands to ensure the dry mixture was thoroughly incorporated.

I floured my kitchen counter and placed the dough over it, forming it into about an eight inch circle. I cut it into eighths and transferred each slice to a baking sheet.

The REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Scones baked for about 12 minutes. I pulled them out and allowed them to cool completely before enjoying, much to my husband’s dismay. Waiting that long for his favorite treat was torturous for him, ha!

I flavored my coffee with some of the same International Delight® REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup creamer I used in the scones and dunked them in for a treat that was practically perfect. The creamer is rich and smooth and the hint of flavor from the coffee made the scones even more delectable.  If there’s not International Delight® REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup creamer in your coffee, there should be, my friends.

For more fall inspired recipes featuring the International Delight® Seasonal Creamers, be sure to visit the social hub where bloggers like me share some of our favorites inspired by the flavors we found at our local Walmart stores.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

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

When the weather starts to cool off even the slightest bit here in the desert, I turn into a walking talking meme. I pull out my sweaters, fall boots, decorative gourds, and start baking anything and everything flavored with apples or pumpkins. Friends, it’s finally starting to cool off and my boots have already been worn in. My kitchen smells like pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and every other possible fall cliche. Last week, I made a loaf of this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread and it’s my official welcoming ode to fall.

I started by adding some flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder to a large bowl and mixing it together.

In a separate bowl I added some sugar, oil, eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla and combined them together

Next I added the wet ingredients to the dry and stirred until just combined.

I transferred the batter into a loaf pan that I had greased ahead of time and baked it in a 350F degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Once the bread was done baking, I let it cool for several minutes and then made a glaze. I added some applesauce and powdered sugar to a small bowl and whisked it together before pouring it over the top of the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread. The glaze trickled down into the cracks of the bread adding a little extra sweetness.

When the bread cooled completely, I served it with a dollop of Gold ‘n Soft smeared over a slice. It’s got a perfectly buttery taste, but it’s easier to spread over super moist bread and baked treats. Gold ‘n Soft contains no cholesterol or hydrogenated oils and has zero trans fats per serving. The small 15 ounce tub makes it the perfect size to keep on hand for my fall breads. Just look at how smooth that Gold ‘n Soft goes on over my Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread, getting into every nook and cranny!


For more Gold n Soft recipe inspiration from bloggers like me, be sure to visit the Gold ‘n Soft social hub. You can pick up container of the delicious spread at Smart & Final while you’re grabbing the rest of the ingredients to make this bread.

Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Is there even a more lovely string of words than Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans? As far as I’m concerned there is not. Three of my favorite foods in one dish that marry into a perfect blend of savory sweet flavors. These beans are the perfect cookout food, but I need no such excuse to whip these up any night of the week. One of my favorite times to serve them is during sporting events like football games and fight nights during the fall season. With the chilly weather, a warm bowl of hearty beans fills the belly and offers warm, comforting flavors. These Brown Sugar Bacon Beans offer all the flavors of fall and are simple to throw together for any fall evening.

To start I fry up some bacon pieces over the stove. Once the bacon is crisp and ready, I remove it to a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, I cover it and place it in the fridge for later.

Then I finely dice up an onion and a green pepper and sautè it in the same skillet with some of the leftover bacon grease until softened.

Next I add several cans of S&W Pinto Beans to my slow cooker. Nobody does beans better, and this choosy cook knows it! S&W Beans has the highest standards in the industry, delivering my family premium quality while offering a convenient way to enjoy our favorite bean recipes. They also offer a wide variety, even organic or lower sodium options, to cover all of my family’s preferences.

Next I add in some molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dry mustard, and liquid smoke.

I toss in the sautéed onion and green pepper and give everything a good stir.

I cook the beans on low for about four hours. Once they’re finished cooking, I grab the bacon from the fridge, microwave it for a few seconds, and add it to the pot.

Before serving to my friends, I garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

I made a giant batch of these Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans for the recent crossover fight. My husband and I hosted the evening in our house and fed our friends yummy food (like these beans!) while we watched. I’m not going to lie though, for me the knockout winner was these beans!

Now through 12/31/2017, S&W Beans is offering $1 off two cans of S&W Beans. Get (and print) your coupon from the S&W Beans website to start making your own bean recipe!