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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 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!

Banana Split Smoothie

Banana Split Smoothie

When is the last time you had dessert for breakfast? Be honest. 4 years? 4 months? 4 weeks? Should I even ask….4 days? I think it’s been about 4 weeks for me. That Chocolate Italian Love Cake was just too much to resist on an empty stomach 🙂

How about dessert that’s good for you that you can feel good about eating first thing in the morning? Post workout, maybe? Like I have said before, I have smoothies for breakfast at least 4 days a week. I try to switch up the recipe so I don’t get bored. I add whatever is in the frig or freezer that day and I usually end up with something pretty delicious. The only down side is that the blender is so loud all the children hear it and come running (or crawling for the balance impaired). Everyone wants a taste and sometimes I am left with a half a smoothie for me 🙂 It’s so good it’s gone fast! Here’s my latest go-to smoothie recipe!

smoothie

1 Cup frozen cherries

1/2 banana

1 TBSP cocoa powder

1 TBSP soy butter (or peanut butter or whichever nut butter you like)

1 cup milk (3/4 if you like a thicker smoothie)

Blend it all up and you are good to go! If you have some spinach on hand, throw it in there. You won’t even notice it! You could even blend up some oatmeal first and add it to your smoothie (just add a little more milk if you do). Enjoy! Let me know if you make it and what variations you like.

My DIY Coffee Creamer

My DIY Coffee Creamer

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I never used to be much of a coffee drinker. I’d drink a cup here and there but hardly often at all. Then we got a Keurig. I love that thing. Then we started grinding our own beans instead of using the K-cups. Now I love that thing even more. I was easily drinking two cups a day. And I am not a black coffee drinker. I like that thick, sugary International Delight. Super yum.

But all good things come to an end…even coffee creamer. I hate seeing the last drip of that creamer pouring out. I wish I could take back time and just use a little bit less each time so that I’d have enough for just one more cup of coffee. But don’t feel bad for me. I am resourceful 😉 I searched through the cupboards and found some powdered milk and got a fabulous idea. What if I made my own coffee creamer? A less sugary and less ingredient filled coffee creamer? Worth a try, right?

All I did was mix 2 1/2 cups powdered milk with 1/2 cup maple sugar. I am sure any sugar would work but I just love the smell of the maple sugar so I always use it in special things. And let’s face it, coffee can be pretty special. Why else would we use our favorite mugs every time we drink coffee?

I mixed those two ingredients up and split it into three mason jars. They look so pretty <3 I put two tablespoons of my new creamer into my coffee. This is not a super sweet creamer. In fact, it’s hardly sweet at all. But that’s what I was going for. I am trying to eat a little less sugar each day. So, if you like a really sugary creamer just add more sugar.

I offered this creamer to my friend today and she enjoyed it in her coffee, so it is even guest approved 🙂

Let me know if you try it!

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My Week in Links

My Week in Links

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This week all I have felt like doing is sewing, crocheting, baking, or doing some other crafting or organizing. If I were pregnant I would be sure I was in the nesting stage! I made a lot of neat things this week and have been posting some on instagram. Several people asked for the recipe or tutorial for things so I thought I would take a moment here to post my week in links.

1. The No Sew Baby Wrap

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 I seriously love this wrap. I saw this pin on Pinterest and it said I needed three large men’s t-shirts. Literally the next day Shane handed me three shirts and said he didn’t want them anymore and I could use them for whatever I needed them for (he knows I like re-purposing clothes). This project took about 5 minutes from start to finish. It is so much more comfortable than my old baby carrier. This project is basically free to do and takes no time at all. I can’t think of any reason not to make this.

2. Gluten Free Quinoa Pizza Crust

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This was one of the best homemade gluten free crusts I have ever made. It turned out a little salty, which I can’t figure out why. And I could have baked the crust a little longer but I was pressed for time. Other than that it was just really good. Even my “non gluten free” friends enjoyed it. Or at least they pretended to.

3. Crochet Baby Flip Flops

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(This picture got sort of cut off by Instagram, sorry!)

I have really been in the crochet mood but there aren’t many crocheted items the kids need in July. So I have been experimenting with crocheting baby flip flops. I also have been making some barefoot flip flops. They are great because Pepper can’t rip them off!

4. Baby Booties

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These were for a baby shower gift. The pattern is great…very easy to follow. Want to know a secret? I got the yarn for free at a yard sale! I love giving gifts that cost little or nothing but still look fabulous!

5. Lego Man Craft

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Yes, my daughter is wearing her brother’s pajamas. And yes, her hair is a mess. But that is also a smile on her face so let’s move on 😉

This craft was a ton of fun, especially for my Lego Movie loving children. Everything is awesome! Be warned, though, if you make this puppet you will not stop hearing that song being sung for at least an hour. And now, since I am talking about it, it will be in my head for another hour. *Long dramatic sigh*

So there are a couple of new things we have been doing here this past week. Share with me your new favorite projects and recipes!

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Birthday Cake Battle Winner

Birthday Cake Battle Winner

So here’s what happened. I made a post about the Birthday Cake Battle in June. I asked readers to vote for their favorite cake and I would make that cake for my birthday. I got two votes for two different cakes. So I got to be the tie breaker 🙂 Because Shane’s mom made me a surprise cheesecake for my birthday I thought I’d go with the…(drum roll)…

cake

The Chocolate Italian Love Cake!

Here’s my review

      This cake is not much to look at. The picture on the site and even my picture above make it look pretty amazing but the cake as a whole looked like…well, meatloaf. Don’t believe me?

full cake

Believe me now? I told Shane that I feel like if I ever needed to make a cake that looked like meatloaf I know exactly what to do. We are considering selling the idea to Cake Boss.

But don’t give up on my meatloaf cake yet. 

As I added each layer I became more and more unsure of my decision. I kept thinking about that Caramel Cheesecake I could be eating right now. But I hate wasted ingredients so this thing was happening.

As it baked it smelled wonderful. So wonderful. I let it cool on the counter and prepared my icing. The recipe never said to thaw the Cool Whip so I didn’t. I feel like that was a flaw in the recipe because it was impossible to fold in frozen Cool Whip. That contributed to the meatloaf look. Also, in Canada we don’t have the same size pudding boxes as in the States. So I had to use what I could find and it made the icing much thicker than it should have been. So, if you are going for the meatloaf look, use frozen Cool Whip and too much pudding mix.

I hope I haven’t scared you off yet. I am just giving this cake a hard time. Once it was sliced and set on my plate I started to feel a little better about this cake. It looked pretty 🙂 Things got even better when I took a bite. Each layer on their own are nothing special. But when you put them together everything makes sense. With each bite I felt more sorry for ever doubting this cake. Sorry, cake.

Then after THOROUGHLY ENJOYING this cake I delivered some pieces to my family and friends around town. That was as much fun as baking the cake. So, the question…would I ever make this cake again? YES! Definitely!

Let me know if you try it and what you think of it!

Note: I halved the recipe because of the cost of the ricotta cheese. Also I used Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix.

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DIY Bubbles

DIY Bubbles

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How fun are bubbles? I love setting a bowl of bubbles out on the porch and letting the kids play with them. It can usually last for a good half hour before the bowl gets spilled and someone ends up covered in bubbles.  Bubbles are way too expensive (at least here) to have them being spilled every time we use them. So we decided to just start making our own. WAY cheaper and they actually work better than a lot of the store bought ones. We use pipe cleaners as our bubble wands which work pretty well, too!

Bubbles

Mix 1 cup warm water with 1/2 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap. We used the orange kind this time which works well but everything I read says blue works better. 

P.S. Don’t shake it up to combine the soap with the sugary water…it leaves a top layer of bubbles that don’t go down for a LONG time! (You can see that in the photo above).

Let me know if you try it. Do you have any DIY bubbles tips? Share them with me!

Still haven’t voted for your favorite birthday cake? 3 days left to vote! Vote now!

Banana Bread Pancakes

Banana Bread Pancakes

pancakes

Anyone else craving pancakes? We have been experimenting with egg free pancake recipes for a while now. I made these last week and they truly taste like banana bread. We used honey instead of syrup, too. Mmmmmm. The kids ate these faster than I could cook them. Even Pepper was gobbling them up. Here’s our recipe!

 Banana Bread Pancakes (yields 12 mini pancakes)

  • 1/8 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cup water (could be water or milk or 3/4 of each)
  • 1 cup flour (we used gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (more or less to your liking…we like things sweet!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large banana (about 1 cup mashed)

Let me know if you try them! Any suggestions to add to my recipe? Share them with me! Have you voted for your favorite birthday cake yet? One week left! Vote now!

Gluten Free Granola

Gluten Free Granola

This post contains affiliate links. I only give my honest opinion.

gluten free granola

I have been testing granola recipes on and off for a couple years now. I have finally found one that I LOVE and worked well with gluten free oats. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats for this and it turns out perfect every time!

 

Simple Granola

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Combine brown sugar, honey and canola oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
3. Cook, stirring often until sugar is dissolved.
4. Pour brown sugar mixture over oats and add cinnamon and salt. Stir until oats are evenly coated.
5. Spread granola mixture over a cookie sheet (sprayed with pam) and press mixture down.
6. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking apart and into pieces.
8. Store in a ziplock bag or other air tight container.

The kids and I really enjoyed it. We ate it by itself, with some chocolate chips, on top of yogurt, etc. Next time I am thinking of putting some cocoa powder in it, just because I find a way to get chocolate into almost anything.

I used my Kitchen Aid baking sheets and rubber spatulas for this recipe. I have had them for years and they are still going strong!

 

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