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Peanut Butter Fudge Pancake Syrup

Peanut Butter Fudge Pancake Syrup

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If you are allergic to gluten or know someone who is you might know that most of the artificial syrups have caramel color in them. Caramel color often contains gluten. While some things (like Coke) have caramel color and don’t bother me, that artificial maple syrup gives me a horrible reaction every time. It makes me so sick. So, obviously I don’t eat it anymore.

Pure maple syrup is a great alternative. First of all, it’s just plain better for you (as good as sugar can be for you) but also it is pure…so no fake stuff. It is pure maple syrup and completely gluten free. Lucky for me, I live in the North and have to pay triple the price for most items of that nature. Because of that, pure maple syrup just isn’t a luxury I choose to have. Instead, my daughters and I have been making our own “syrup.”

It is really easy to make!

1 TBSP honey

3 TBSP peanut butter

(or soy butter if you have a peanut free home like mine)

a splash of vanilla

Just put the honey and peanut butter in a mug and microwave for thirty seconds or so. Stir until smooth then add the vanilla. Poor your deliciousness over your pancakes. YUM. 

*note, as it cools it thickens. As that still tastes amazing it does make your pancakes seem more dry. So just heat it up right before you put it on your pancakes.

Then, if you have leftovers you can smear it on oreos or brownies or- I mean, apples and rice cakes! I would never smear this delicious peanut butter concoction onto a chocolatey dessert. That would be so delicious- I mean, unhealthy.

Let me know if you try this!

Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade Dog Treats

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Meet Chewy. He’s a super cute cockapoo. He’s been unofficially mine since he was a little pup but officially mine for a little over 5 years now. Before I had any kids he was my baby. He napped on my back when I napped. We went for walks together all the time. Then William came. Then Jenna came. Then Pepper came. And now Chewy is no longer my baby. We still enjoy going for walks and the occasional nap on the couch but let’s face it, I don’t have time for him like I used to. One thing I am happy I can do for him, though, is make him some treats.

And what’s fun about making the pup treats is that the kids can help. They are so basic and easy to do that they are just about impossible to mess up. And with only two ingredients they don’t take long to make.

Just blend up one can kidney beans until they are pureed. Then add in 2 cups of flour.

Now, I will be honest. I would not ordinarily spend the half hour that it took to roll the dough and cut it into special shapes. BUT when you are baking with kids, it’s good to take each opportunity to work on any skill with them. And rolling and cutting is not only fun for a toddler, it is very good for their development. Hand-eye coordination, following instructions, identifying shapes, determining how much space is left on the dough, etc…It is great for the kids.

I lined a pan with parchment paper and let Jenna put out little treats on the pan while I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. We put them in for just 30 minutes then let them sit on the pan for another 5 minutes before setting them on the counter to cool.

Of course, Chewy loves them. And they are so much cheaper than buying a bag of treats. You can substitute the kidney beans for just about any pureed fruit or veggies. Look into it before doing it if you are unsure if that particular fruit or veggie is safe for a pooch.

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Homemade Dog Treats

1 can kidney beans, pureed

2 cups flour

Mix together. Roll out to 1/2 ” thick dough and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy! Or, rather, let your pup enjoy!

Forgotten Cookies

Forgotten Cookies

If your home is anything like mine right now it smells amazing! I bet you all have started your holiday baking and can hardly keep your hands out of the cookie jar. I actually don’t have a cookie jar. But I do have a cookie bin. I think it might hold more cookies than an average cookie jar. That’s a good thing.

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One Christmas cookie that I ALWAYS remember having is the Forgotten Cookie.
As long as I can remember my mom made them for us every Christmas.recipe box I made them for Shane our first Christmas together and now they are his absolute favorite Christmas cookie.

These are a delicate meringue that will melt in your mouth. But before you can enjoy the deliciousness you need to follow these careful instructions.

You must beat the egg whites STIFF. peaks farLike, super stiff. Here, let me show you a
picture of my egg whites in all their stiff peakness.                                                                                      —->>>

 

Can I get a close up?

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Yes, that is better. When you lift the beaters out of the egg whites you should be able to make peaks that stay put. If you don’t then you better get back to beating or you are in for a major disappointment. Seriously.

Ok, our eggs are beat stiff. We FOLD in our vanilla, sugar, and chocolate chips. Did you read that correctly? Fold them in. Please don’t stir them in or you will ruin my wonderful cookies.

Now, drop them by the tablespoon full onto a baking sheet DSCF7717covered with parchment paper. DO NOT GREASE your pan instead of the parchment paper. I threw away a double batch yesterday because I thought I could just grease the pan. So. Sad.

Now, at this point your oven is already preheated to 350 degrees. Put your cookies in the oven. Now don’t miss this last step as it is the most important: TURN OFF THE OVEN. Then forget about them. Get it, forgotten cookies. Leave them until the oven is completely cooled. DSCF7729My mom used to always make them before bed then just pull them out in the morning.

 

Now, enjoy your new favorite Christmas Cookie! Print the recipe Forgotten Cookies.

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What are some of your favorite Christmas cookies? Have you ever made my forgotten cookies? Share some Christmas memories with me!

The All in One Popsicle

The All in One Popsicle

A couple weeks ago I talked about teething popsicles for my toddler (who is actually toddling around now, by the way). And then last week I mentioned my new love for Greek yogurt. Between those two things you can probably guess where I am going with this post…

Did you know Greek yogurt has protein it? Well, now you do. That is part of what makes my new popsicles so amazing. They have protein from Greek yogurt and peanut butter (or soy butter if you have a peanut freepopsicles2 home like mine). They have dairy from the milk and the Greek yogurt. They have fruit (and sweetness) from the bananas. And they have completeness from the cocoa powder. So, taking a step back and looking these things over they have three out of four of the food groups! Amazing.

Not only do they taste yummy but they seriously fill me up! They are as filling as eating a sandwich. They work for breakfast, lunch, post workout, etc. These popsicles are something you need to try!

To make my delicious popsicles you need:

  • Popsicle Mold (if you don’t have one, get one! They are worth the investment!)
  • Blender
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use vanilla if you want more sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup milk (add more if you want a thinner consistency)
  • 2 1/2 TBSP soybutter (or peanut butter) and cocoa powder
  • 1 over ripe banana

 

Just combine all the ingredients until smooth. Pour it in the molds and wait not so patiently for them to freeze. popsicle titleThis recipe is something you can change to your liking so experiment a little and find the perfect recipe for you! Let me know what you think or what changes make these even better!

 

Eating Clean: what I learned after one week

Eating Clean: what I learned after one week

I am currently following Diary of a Fit Mommy’s  25 Days of Fitmas with my sisters, Emily and Becky. Along with the workouts she has put together, Sia recommends eating clean for the duration of the challenge for best results.

I have to admit, I was a little scared of the idea of “eating clean.”
I am SO AGAINST dieting that I never really even looked into what clean eating is. I am not about to go after a diet fad.orange-5 But, I wanted to follow the Fitmas Challenge so I started looking into what eating clean is all about. And I am here to share my new knowledge!

  1. Eating clean IS NOT A DIET. So just pop that thought bubble and we can move on.
  2. Eating clean is essentially eating foods with very few ingredients. The smaller the ingredient list, the better! If you look at the list of ingredients in something and see more than 5 things it is probably not the best thing for you. This is not a rule that works for everything, but it helps as a guideline. Another thing to look for is if you can pronounce the ingredients. If there are crazy words in there you can’t even begin to pronounce I suggest moving right along.
  3. Eating clean is not about eating only steamed carrots and green beans all day. The first few days of eating clean were so boring because I felt like all I could eat was plain fruits and veggies. But remember, a healthy diet is a balanced diet. And a balanced diet includes food from all the food groups: meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and grain.big-red-apple I started adding some tasty foods to my menu: hard boiled eggs, 1 slice of gluten free toast, cheese string, yogurt (not the sugary kind!), soy butter, etc.
  4. Eating clean is not about counting calories. Not all calories are created equal. Just focus on food as pure as possible and you’ve got it.
  5. Eating clean is not about restricting tasty foods. I LOVE sour cream. I love it in anything spicy…tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chili, etc. The other day I was frantically searching the web for whether or not sour cream was considered a clean food. Most everyone said to look at the ingredients (see #2) and decide for myself. I decided that it depends on the brand BUT found that there was an awesome alternative: plain Greek yogurt. It tastes the same as sour cream but has a ton of protein and is actually good for me. So, I could have sour cream that is not the worst thing for me or I could have Greek yogurt that tastes the same and costs the same but is GOOD FOR ME.

And while we are talking about replacing our not so great foods for amazing alternatives, I HAVE to share my newest discovery for Greek yogurt!12347857_10153779477918970_3009769505196080118_n

This is especially exciting for two reasons: 1) who doesn’t LOVE ranch dressing??? 2) my oldest, William, is allergic to eggs and misses ranch dressing so much! Now, using Greek yogurt, he can enjoy it’s yumminess again.

Egg Free Ranch Dressing

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp dill weed or seed 

1/4 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Add more or less of any seasoning to get the perfect flavor for you!

Homemade Teething Popsicles

Homemade Teething Popsicles

Got a teething toddler? I do. She’s miserable. And when a toddler is miserable everyone is miserable! It got to the point a week or two ago that she wouldn’t eat anything. In my attempt to keep her hydrated I came up with this quick, no brainer popsicle recipe. If you can even call it a recipe…

popsicles

All you need is:

  • Blender (magic bullet, food processor, etc)
  • Popsicle molds (if you don’t own any I seriously suggest making the investment. And you don’t have to have kids to enjoy a homemade popsicle every now and then.)
  • Frozen fruit (whatever kind you want. I used a mix of peaches, pineapples, strawberries, and grapes.)
  • Water

All you need to do is:

  • Blend fruit with water (I used 2 cups fruit and one cup water but use how ever much of each that makes it the consistency you want.)
  • Pour fruity mixture into molds.
  • Put it in the freezer for two hours.

Pepper loved these. She would just sit and suck on it for a while. The older kids liked them a lot, too. I even ate a couple as post workout snacks 🙂 What are some of your favorite popsicle recipes? I have really been enjoying coming up with new recipes so I am sure more will make an appearance here!

Homemade Lollipops

Homemade Lollipops

I could feel his pain. I had been there. Not literally, but on more than one occasion I can remember feeling his sadness, his pain. There he stood, with his face in his hands. Warm tears were escaping his grasp and rolling down his fingers. His hard cry just about broke my heart. I stopped everything and just held him. Sometimes you just have to cry. And there, as William stood over his broken lollipop that he had been so proud of just moments before, he needed to just cry.

As we cleaned up the broken lollipop (which was a giant swirly one, I might add) we talked about it and how we can make him feel better. He looked at me and said, “I know, Mom. We can just find a recipe and make a new one.” I felt so proud of him in that moment. I love making things and I love that his first thought was to make one instead of buy one. We browsed several recipes and techniques and sort of combined some ideas. The original recipe we found here. I am a big fan of these for a couple reasons:

1. They are easy. Seriously…easy. From start to finish they took about a half hour and that is WITH the help of two kids.

2. Speaking of my two kids, I loved this recipe because they could help make it. They did some pouring, some mixing, some laying (the sticks in place). There are a lot of things the kids can do in this recipe to really feel like they made it.

3. All the ingredients were already in my cupboard. We found a lot of great recipes we can’t wait to try. But we can’t try them until we get to the store to get some more ingredients. I love when we can do things spontaneously with whatever we have in the cupboards. Okay, I won’t put it off any longer (I hate when people do that). Here is the recipe for:

lollipopcover

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

1 (3 oz) box of Jell-O, any flavor 

Lollipop Sticks (we used straws because that’s what I had on hand!)

Instructions:

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly. Bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Add Jell-O. Stir until smooth.

Spoon the candy mixture into small piles on the parchment paper. Lay the straw on the candy as you pour it. It cools quickly. If it cools before you finish just put it back on the stove for a few minutes to soften it. Let cool (about 5 minutes). Enjoy!

My Favorite (nut free) (gluten free) Trail Mix

My Favorite (nut free) (gluten free) Trail Mix

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I am making lists. I am packing my bags. I am sorting clothes and printing out itineraries. I am excited!

Friday the kids and I start the two day journey to Pennsylvania. There are a handful of things that I make sure are packed but snacks are number 1 on my list. And yesterday I made a big bag of my absolutely favorite trail mix. It is now sitting happily in my carry on.

This mix is put together with thought. First, it is gluten free. That isn’t too uncommon with trail mixes. What makes this uncommon is that it is gluten free and nut free. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good nut free gluten free trail mix?

It has roasted chick peas. These help with the production of breast milk. There were a couple days back in January that I lost all my supply. It was horrible. I was devastated. I found out that chick peas help and I have been eating a handful a day ever since (and still breastfeeding!).

It has pumpkin seeds. These are a great source of zinc, magnesium, and iron.

It has raisins. Hello fiber, goodbye constipation! They also give a boost of energy and provide a lot of antioxidants. They provide boron which helps women process estrogen and vitamin D.

It has chocolate chips. I don’t think I need an explanation for that. Everything needs chocolate.

In a one gallon ziploc bag I will have it filled like this:

40 % Chick Peas

40 % Pumpkin seeds

10 % raisins

10 % chocolate chips

Try some variations. Add different kinds of seeds. If you aren’t allergic to nuts I highly suggest adding almonds to the mix. Try some dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries. Use extra dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips. Make it different everytime you make it. Keep it interesting 🙂 Let me know if you try this amazing trail mix!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Fall is here. Really, I don’t think summer ever came. But that’s okay, because fall is beautiful. The leaves are changing color. The sun is setting earlier (starts setting around 11 PM.) You can smell wood smoke when you take a walk. We are starting to pull out mittens again (and making some new ones) and practicing patterns for leg warmers. I love fall.

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My brother in law took this photo along the Dempster Highway last weekend

And what do we do in the fall? Bake, of course! Shane loves cookies and I am slowly but surely making them tasty. That started out as just edible cookies. Then they were good cookies. Then they were “we are having guests let’s make cookies” cookies.

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I used to dread making them because I was never pleased with how they came out but now that I know the secret to baking cookies I really enjoy making them! Do you know the secret? I am usually really late to information like that, so I am sure you do.

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But, for those of you that don’t, the secret is to take them out of the oven when they just start to brown but are still very soft. Then let them sit on the baking sheet for five minutes outside of the oven. They come out perfect every time.

This week I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod. They were very much enjoyed. I admit, though, I made them with gluten so I wasn’t able to taste them for myself. I am going purely by my husband’s opinion. And he says they are very good 🙂

Got any secret cookie tips for me? Maybe you have a better oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe for me? Share with me!

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Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

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I am in love with this gift basket I made for my mother in law’s birthday this week. I spent weeks scanning pinterest and reading recipes for a chocolate lover’s gift basket. I finally decided on these four things to make:

Chocolate Raspberry Jam

I divided this recipe into thirds to make a smaller batch. I did this because I didn’t know if I would like it or not and raspberries are too expensive here to risk wasting that many. But I wish I would have made the whole batch now because I really love this jam. This doesn’t call for any pectin and I would highly recommend this recipe to someone who has never made jam before. It’s very very easy to make and is easy to work with if it doesn’t come out just perfect the first time (but I bet it will).

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

I have never had these before. But they seemed like something worth making. Really, I don’t even know if my mother in law likes them. But again, they seemed worth making. Shane thought these were gross. I thought they tasted good but I don’t like the texture of the espresso bean. So I asked my friend (who actually likes chocolate covered espresso beans) to taste them for me. She said they were good and tasted like most other kinds she has had. I am warming up to them slowly.

Chocolate Lip Scrub

A-MA-ZING. Seriously. Go make this (it takes less than 5 minutes to make and I bet you have all the ingredients in your cupboard) and you will be in love. I still can’t get over how easy it was to make and how amazing it feels on my lips. Okay, stop reading this and go make it. Come back when you’re done.

Tootsie Rolls

Did you notice the little wrapped candies surrounding the jars? These don’t really taste like tootsie rolls but they are equally as yummy. This was a very easy recipe to make that the kids were able to be part of every step of the way. They even loved wrapping them up in the parchment paper. I will definitely be making these again. I just love the fact that I can make a candy and know exactly what ingredients are in it. Especially when we have so many allergies in the family, it’s just nice to have such a short list of ingredients in something so yummy 🙂 These are adaptable, too. You can decide how chewy or sweet you want them. This is a great recipe. And it only took about 5 minutes to make, 10 minutes to set, then a half hour or so to wrap all the candies. It looks like a small batch but it made about 40 candies. It all depends on the size you want them. One thing I noticed after I made these was that a lot of people said they ran the powdered milk through a food processor first to make it less “grainy”. I didn’t do this. I think I might the next time just to see if I like that consistency better but it tastes good even without doing that.

Got any more chocolate lover’s recipes that make great gifts? I’d love to hear them! I love making gifts especially when they’re edible. Let me know if you make any of these recipes and what you think of them!