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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vacation Travel made Fun!

I really do believe that getting there is half the journey, but I honestly felt ill when I map quested our destination and saw I will be in the car for 17 + hours with my little blessings later this month!  It has been a while since our last long driving vacation and the twins now being 3.5 should make it interesting!  We have been preparing mentally to hear 5 million times, "are we there yet?"  I've also been putting our traditional activity boxes together.  They get so excited as each ziplock bag full of goodies is packed away.  I find myself stopping obsessively at dollar stores and thrift shops looking for toys and games that will keep them entertained in between potty breaks.  Here are a few things we have gathered so far:

This is what the boxes look like put together.  There is one for the 3 yr olds and one for the 6-10 year olds.  My rule is you must put everything back into it's correct bag before a new activity can be checked out of the box.

This is why you must put your bags together before you leave, otherwise you will have all this trash and wrapping on your vehicle floor.

I found these boxes at Kmart.  They were $4.99 each, the perfect size and with the lid on they will double as a lap desk or game table!

Some packing tips:

Don't forget to bring glow sticks and bracelets!  My kids build some cool stuff with them once the sun goes down!!!  Flash lights and light up toys are very exciting at night when your almost there!

Remember to put everything you will need per activity into each ziplock bag.  (Like Qtips for paint with water, or scissors for crafts.). It would be a bummer to not have what you need on the road.

Check around your house and in the bottom of your toyboxes.  You'll be surprised at what you find that would be exciting if you were stuck in your seat.

Let your kids help pick items out.  It helps build excitement, but also plan a few surprises they don't know about.

The concept is really simple, the hard part is waiting to leave.  Doesn't he look pitiful! He will be thrilled when he gets to open his box in a few days.  It will feel just like Christmas!

Use your imagination and prepare to enjoy the travel days to your vacation destination instead of losing them to grumpiness and fussy bored kids!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Basic Vanilla Microwave Mug Cake

So here is the second post for the basic mug cake recipe.  This one is non-chocolate.  You can change up this recipe into so many different types of cake, it's crazy.   I will give you a few of my favorite add in's at the end.  Enjoy creating your perfect cake!

(Carrot Mug Cake with. Team cheese icing, pictured)

Basic Vanilla mug cake recipe:

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (I use Truvia)
1.5 Tbsp almond or oat flour
1.5 Tbsp of flax meal or coconut flour
1/2 tsp aluminum free baking soda
1 egg
Few drops of vanilla extract
Dash organic cinnamon and sea salt
1-2 tsp water or "milk" of your choice

Mix all ingredients together well in microwave safe mug or small dish.  Microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes or until center is firm.  Top with your favorite toppings, fruit, yogurt or powdered stevia or enjoy plain!

Add these ingredients to make other versions: 

Cherry vanilla- chopped cherries and almond extract

Pecan coffee cake- chopped pecans, almond extract, 1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses or maple syrup

Orange dreamcicle- orange extract, orange zest (omit cinnamon)

Lemon poppyseed- 1/4 tsp poppy seeds, lemon extract, lemon zest

Carrot Mug Cake-(use oat flour) add coconut, raisins, shredded carrots, and carrot juice for the liquid.

Banana bread in a mug- 1/2 mashed banana, almond or caramel extract, chopped pecans

Strawberry coffee cake- chopped strawberries, walnuts, almond extract, melt 1 tsp butter on top after cooked.

Cherry cheesecake Cake- mix in 1 Tbsp softened cream cheese and 1 Tbsp ricotta cheese into batter and top with
Fresh cherries.

Caramel cake- add caramel extract, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp blackstrap molasses

Blueberry muffin- blueberries, 1 tsp butter, almond extract 

......the possibilities are truly endless!!!!! 

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake

As promised, here is the beginning of a mug cake series!  I've been eating these for breakfast for over a year now and am hooked!  It doesn't hurt that they help you lose weight, are gluten, dairy and sugar free and full of great stuff to start your day.  I change up the recipe based on what sounds good to me and what ingredients I have on hand.  I've decided to post the base for a chocolate and then show you what to add to make different flavors for this post.

Basic chocolate mug cake:

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp almond flour
1 Tbsp flax meal or coconut flour
1/2 tsp aluminum free baking soda
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp sweetener of your choice (I use Truvia)
Few drops of vanilla extract
Dash organic cinnamon and sea salt
1-2 tsp water or "milk" of your choice

Mix well in a microwave safe coffee mug or ramikin dish.  Microwave in high for 1-1.5 minutes until center is firm.  Enjoy plain or with your favorite toppings.

*I top them with powdered stevia, whipped cream, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit or even a Tbsp of cream cheese. I've also made a yogurt and cream cheese icing to store in the fridge for a weeks worth of mug cake breakfasts!  You can't mess this up, just jump in and get creative. 

Here are a few other versions I've made:

Chocolate banana: add 1/2 mashed banana and 1/2 tsp almond extract

Orange chocolate: add orange zest and  a few drops of pure orange extract

Chocolate covered strawberry: add almond extract and chopped strawberries

Caramel chocolate: add caramel extract and melt a tsp butter on top after cooked

Cherry chocolate: almond extract and chopped cherries

I think you get the picture!  Now go have fun and create :)

Family Sized "Mug" Cake

I'm slightly obsessed with microwaved mug cakes.  It brings out the Easy Bake Oven little girl in me.  It's also an excuse to have cake for breakfast!  Who doesn't love that?  And if you need another reason, which I don't, it's healthy too!!!!  Kind of like no guilt happiness in 1.5 minutes.  Well, with seven kids you can imagine one mug cake isn't going to cut it.  I've lined up our mugs and created a mini cake factory, but found that most mornings I prefer to just quadruple the recipe and make it once.  

Here is today's yummy version:

In a large glass deep dish pie plate mix

3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 mashed bananas
4 eggs
3 Tbsp almond flour
3 Tbsp flax meal
1/4 cup Truvia (or sweetener of your choice)
1 Tbsp aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash salt & vanilla extract

Mix well, sprinkle in blueberries and 1/2 cup chopped strawberries.  Microwave on high for 11-13 minutes, until the center is firm.  I served it sprinkled with powdered stevia and chopped pecans.

I just realized that I've been eating mug cakes and become quite a pro at them I might add, for over a year now.  I can't believe I haven't blogged them!  So get ready for a bunch of recipes to come.......