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Monday, October 28, 2013

All Natural Applesauce

We were at Royal Oaks Apple Orchard recently and bought a bushel of windfall apples.  Today, I finally had a morning to turn them into applesauce.  The kids quickly took the slicing and dicing over and I did the dishes.  I forgot how easy....and delicious this is!

We sliced 30-35 apples with an apple slicer, we also left the skins on.  Then, we chopped them into chunks with a chopper.

Add them to a large pot with 2-3 cups of water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  

Cook on med-low heat until tender.  Add 2-3 Tbsp. of cinnamon.  Put in small batches through a food processor.  Pour into your sterilized jars and top with lids.

Our first jar didn't make it to the pantry, but was eaten by some sneaky monkeys ;)

I add 2 cups of blueberries to the last bit for blueberry-applesauce.  It was so good :)

This batch made 11 pints of homemade applesauce.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with a Pumpkin twist!

Okay this recipe I have made dozens of times.  It saved me when I did my first round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I've kept this recipe around and because they are not super sweet and the kids do not devour them.  I pretty much get them all to myself.  I made these this morning, but added a few modifications* for Fall.  

* I added 2-3 Tbsp of pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice to the filling and 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup to the chocolate, because I am not currently on a sugar detox.

(From page 206-207 of the new 21 Day Sugar Detox book)



My first layer....

Second layer......

Third layer......

Finished product....YUM!!!!!!!

Veggie Pancakes OR Hamburger bun, What???

I am very excited to be testing out recipes in the new 21 Day Sugar Detox book.  You can join the health revolution and buy the book when it comes out Oct 29th, but until then I will share with you my results.  

I made sliders last night, one of my children's favorite meals.  It's probably because I make them homemade buns!  (That Recipe is here:

For the meat I press 2 lbs of ground meat into a baking sheet (with sides), sprinkle garlic salt and onion powder.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and slice into squares.  

Well as the kid's rolls were rising I made the 21 Day Sugar Detox recipe for veggie pancakes for me which they recommend using as a bun.  I thought I'd try it.  I will admit I was a bit skeptical, but guess what???? I loved them!  You could use them as a crepe and fill them with anything really.  The possibilities are endless as well as the veggies you use to make them with.

Page 97 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox book



My version, (no modifications :) this is the mixture.....

I fried them in coconut oil....

My sliders with zucchini and carrot pancake-crepe-buns!  They were excellent :)-

Tomato Basil (Crust less) Quiche

I am reviewing the 21 Day Sugar Detox book that releases to the public October 29th and let me tell is wonderful!!!!  I have been inspired to get back in that kitchen and cook again without wheat or sugar!  

The first thing I made was the Tomato-Basil Quiche with Bacon & Spinach (page 104-105).  It was wonderful!  The only modifications I made were I swapped out breakfast sausage for bacon (I was out of bacon :) I added broccoli, carrots and I topped it with shredded cheese.  You can't get any easier than this recipe and now I have breakfast for a couple of days all ready to go!!!!  

Keep watching for more posts.....I'm having a yummy time :)-

Tomato-Basil Quiche


Picture of my breakfast :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

I just received the new 21 Day Sugar Detox book in the mail.  It is going to be released to the public in a couple of weeks, but I was asked to preview it, test the recipes and blog about it to my hearts content.  I will tell you that it looks amazing and after just one afternoon speed reading and flipping through the new meal ideas I was totally inspired.  I think this book is going to be a big hit.  I have made my grocery list for tomorrow, but in the meantime I came up with this idea for dinner.  It was super easy and yummy!


2 Acorn squash or one medium Spaghetti squash 
1 lb. Italian sausage
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 green apples, chopped
Shredded cheese to top with

Sauté the sausage, turn off the heat and drain most of the fat. (*At this point I split the meat in half to make a breakfast omelette, too).  Add the apples and garlic to the pan with half of the sausage.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on low.  Remove from heat and store in fridge until dinner or you are ready to eat.

Slice Acorn squash in half.  If you have trouble cutting it, try microwaving it for a couple of minutes first. ( Be careful it gets really hot. )  Cook the squash face down until skin is tender.  I use a vegetable steamer, but you can also cook it face down in a pan of water in the oven.  Remove squash and scoop out the seeds, discard.  Fill with sausage mixture, top with cheese and brown in the oven at 400 degrees, takes about 10-12 minutes.  Serve immediately and enjoy.  The flavors together were amazing!

*now for the bonus breakfast omelette 

Remember when I took half the cooked sausage out and set it aside.  Put it back in your now empty skillet.  Crack and beat 6 eggs, slice your favorite veggies and cook it all together on low heat until done.  There you go 2 healthy meals in the same prep time as 1.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Easy Peanut Butter- Craving Kicker- Cookies

I was craving chocolate and just about every dessert I've ever eaten in my life this afternoon.  I decided to stop torturing myself on Pinterest and get up and make something before my next errand ends in a Dairy Queen drive through!  They turned out great and now I feel satisfied and NOT guilty. :)

Mix all Ingredients together:

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole rolled oats
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Pinch salt

Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until crisp on the edges.  Makes 1 dozen cookies.

Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

We reached the end of our tomato season and I had 2 large bowls left in the fridge.  I decided to try homemade tomato soup I just had to share the results.   It was delicious and so easy.  I will never throw out a bowl of tomatoes ever again! Here's what I did......


5-6 cups cubed tomatoes
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Pinch of sugar and salt
Fresh basil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

Serve with 1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

Sauté onion, carrots and tomatoes in olive oil in large soup pot.  (I did not peel the tomatoes, the blender puréed them just fine).  Add garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly on med heat.  Add broth, sugar and salt.  Simmer for 30 minutes, turn off heat.  Add balsamic vinegar.  Let cool until you ready to put small batches through a blender or food processor.  Reheat.  Serve with fresh basil and a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ice Cream Cake

Every year I have at least one child asking for an ice cream cake.  I always agree, but find them too sweet and too expensive.  This year I convinced my now 10 yr old to let me tackle his birthday request.  Luckily I made two 'cakes', because we all keep going back for more!

Here is what we did: 

Crush 10-15 Oreo cookies and arrange on bottom of 9 x 13 pan. 

Spread 1 qt. of softened vanilla chocolate swirl ice cream over the crushed cookies and put in freezer for 20 minutes.

Mix 1 box instant banana pudding with 2 cups milk And 2 cups cool whip.  Put into fridge to set.

Layer pudding mixture on top of ice cream and crushed cookies.

Top with the rest of cool whip and freeze until firm, about 1-3 hrs.

Cut and serve very cold!!!

We all loved it!  One of the kids at the party cracked me up when he asked for a second piece and said, "I was in no way disappointed by this!"  I thought, 'ummmm okay!  Thanks????'  

The possibilities and combinations are endless, what flavors would you choose?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quick oven baked blueberry pancakes

I had a humongous surgery this summer.  It's been two and a half months and I am slowly getting back to my normal routines.  Yesterday I took the kids to pick blueberries at a local farm.  One of my children has not stopped asking me to make him blueberry pancakes ever since.  He even leaned over during church today and asked if I would make them for lunch as soon as we got home. I was dreading the 45 minutes it usually takes to mix the batter and stand at the stove flipping pancake after pancake.  I decided to try something new, bake them in the oven.  It worked brilliantly!  

I know the box mix isn't usually my style, but for now it was a nice convenience.  I had them in the oven with less than a minute of prep and was able to sit and relax while my oven did all the work.  I'm sure it would work great with any pancake batter recipe.  I made the whole box and split it in between two large pizza pans.  We topped it with our freshly picked berries.  You could top it with nuts, bananas, strawberries, the possibilities are endless!  I baked it at 375 for 10-12 minutes.  I feel like I didn't even cook and my guy is very happy.  I guess sometimes you just need to think outside the box ;)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Homemade Pizza

As most of my readers know, I am the mom of seven amazing children.  I will admit that I haven't always been the naturally homemade mom you see today.   16 1/2 years ago I was a macaroni and cheese and chicken nugget kind of mom!  I'm not saying that's horrible,  I'm just saying deep down I always wanted to feed my kids healthy foods without being dependent on the box aisle or freezer section at the grocery store.  Add six more children and a decade (plus) of experience and I have slowly become the kind of 'from scratch mama' I hoped to become!  Tonight I was making homemade pizza with the kids and I overheard my five-year-old ask my seven-year-old why we couldn't just order pizza.  He told her that everything homemade is always better than anything store bought.  I did a little jig in my brain :). 

As soon as they noticed I was kneading dough, the twins came over to the kitchen island yelling "zi-za!!!!" After making two homemade pizzas I had the third lump of dough left, so I let the 2 year old twins make their own pizza.  They beat the heck out of that was as flat as it could get!  There was flour all over the kitchen, sauce all over the counter, and smiles everywhere I could see. 

" Yes," I thought, "this is the kind of mom I want to be."Enjoy!

Homemade pizza dough (makes 4 large so half it if you don't need to feed an army!) 

6 cups warm water
1 stick butter,melted
2 tbsp yeast

1/2 tsp salt
10-12 cups flour
2 tsp olive oil

Melt butter and add warm water into a bowl.  Sprinkle in yeast and stir.  Let sit until dissolved and bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Dump in the salt, add flour several cups at a time, stir well.  When the dough is starting to stick together dump a cup of the flour onto a clean counter or surface.  Knead the dough into a smooth ball adding flour a Tbsp at a time if too sticky.  Split into 4 equal sized lumps.  Let rest 10 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put each lump of dough onto pizza pan and press flat with your hands (or let your kids go to town :)  Top with pizza sauce, your favorite toppings and cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  

Now, before you discount this blog as too much work and 'that family is so perfect'.....I'm adding this final picture of my son who got into the lipstick in my purse while I was blogging this post.  Yeah, I'm that kind of mom :)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Paleo Italian 3 Squash Casserole

I have been filling my freezer with as many healthy and quick meals as I can.  The other night I was tempted to eat the kids spaghetti noodles, but was able to resist by pulling out a two serving bag of chicken chili instead!  Worked like a charm.  This morning I got up and started making the kids breakfast.  I decided if I was going to be stuck at the stove cooking anyway, I should whip out a freezer meal too.  I love multitasking.  The result of my 'impromptu' recipe was wonderful.  I put 2 small casseroles In the fridge and ate a plate of the leftovers for breakfast too!

Here's what I did:

Brown 1/2 lb. Italian sausage
Chop one onion, small eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini and slice 1/2 cup cabbage.  Add to skillet and sauté.  Add 2-3 cups spaghetti sauce (I use marinara, because it is all I can find without added sugar and I love the taste).  Add 1-2 cups of water and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  

Prepare your pans for the freezer.  I use 2 bread loaf pans.  They are perfect for two one serving meals.  Take aluminum foil and line the pans, with extra foil peaking out to cover the top when you close it.  Cross-cross the foil.  

Spoon the casserole mixture into the pans.  Let cool.  

Top with mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil tabs and freeze in your freezer.  

After they are frozen, remove from freezer, and loaf pans.  Slip each foil packet casserole into a freezer storage bag and be sure to label it so you won't be playing a mystery meal game a few weeks from now!  Put back into the freezer.

When you are ready to eat it, remove from freezer, pop back into the loaf pan you made your mold from, and bake at 375 until bubbly.  Cook times will vary depending on much you fill your pan and if you cook from frozen or thawed.  Enjoy, you are planning ahead for your success!