Saturday, December 27, 2008

Grandma Connie's Orange Blossom Sticks

Grandma Connie used to make these whenever we would come to visit and I would just about eat them all in one day! They are the perfect sweet and crunchy treat :)

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 small orange rind, grated
1 loaf extra thin sliced Pepperidge Farm white bread

Cream butter and sugar together; add orange rind. Cut bread in thirds and spread mixture on bread. Bake at 225 for 1 hour.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Donna's Pineapple cheese ball

I love this!

2 pkg. cream cheese, softened
big can crushed pineapple, drained
1 Tbs minced onion
sprinkles of seasoned salt
crushed nuts

Directions: Mix first 4 ingredients; roll in crushed nuts

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Katie's Yummy Haystacks

Another candy that I can never resist :)
Recipe from Katie Gay
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 Tbs. peanut butter
1 large can chow mein noodles

Directions: Melt butterscotch chips in crockpot; add peanut butter. Add chow mein noodles and coat thoroughly. Drop into heaps onto wax paper with two spoons. Allow to cool and then enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crockpot peanut clusters

Oh, yeah, I'm addicted to these!


3 (16-ounce) jars lightly salted roasted peanuts (lightly salted is important!)
2 (8-ounce) boxes German Baker's Chocolate
1 (8-ounce) box Unsweetened Baker's Chocolate
1 (24-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

(any other add-ins you might like: tiny marshmallows, coconut, etc)

The Directions.

Use a large crockpot. This makes about 150 peanut clusters. Spray the inside of your crock with cooking spray, and place the unwrapped baking chocolate, and bars of German chocolate in the bottom. Add all the peanuts. Pour in the chocolate chips, and add vanilla. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. While the chocolate is melting, lay out a bunch of parchment paper on your counter top or kitchen table. When time has elapsed, stir well, add in any other yummy ingredients that you thought of, and remove from heat. Use a small ice-cream scoop to plop out bite-sized piles onto the parchment paper.

Let cool before eating---this takes a long time---hours. It is best to leave them overnight so you don't pick at them :)

These are addictive. The chocolate flavor is quite rich, and tastes dark. If you aren't a fan of dark chocolate, use milk chocolate chips! The salt flavor from the nuts is subtle, but is there, and it makes your tongue itch for more.

Found at:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cinnamon Fudge

As I am always looking for different/unusual desserts to take to parties and covered dishes, I was excited to find this kind of fudge from Recipe Girl that I had never seen before :)

Cinnamon Fudge


3 cups

granulated sugar

¾ cup


2/3 cup

evaporated milk

10 ounces

cinnamon chips

7 ounces

marshmallow creme

2 tsp

vanilla extract


Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil; coat with cooking spray.


In a heavy bottom 3 quart sauce pan, combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.


Boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the time- if using a candy thermometer- let it get up to at least 234 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon chips until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla; beat until blended.


Carefully pour mixture into the prepared dish. Let cool to room temperature; gently lift out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Yield: About 32 pieces

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gigi's Chocolate Fudge

My grandmother made pounds and pounds of this yummy fudge so that we could all take some home after the holidays :)

4 ½ cups of sugar
1 can evaporated milk
½ lb butter
1 ½ of large Hershey’s Milk Chocolate candy bar
1 bag of Nestles semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large jar marshmallow cream
2 cups of nuts
2 tbs vanilla flavoring

Directions: Cook sugar, butter, and milk until it comes to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Pour into buttered dish. Chill and cut into pieces.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gigi's Peanut Butter Fudge

This was my other favorite fudge that my grandmother made every year!

½ cup butter/ marg.
5 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (18 oz) jar creamy peanut butter
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream

Directions: Butter sides and bottom of a large Dutch oven, leaving excess butter n pan. Add sugar and evaporated milk, stirring well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches soft ball stage or a candy thermometer registers 234. Remove from heat; add peanut butter and marshmallow cream, beating with a wooden spoon until blended. Pour into a buttered 13x9x2 inch baking pan or dish; cool before cutting.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sweet potato Pancakes (without flour)

My sweet toddler is going through another picky eating phase. Normally, mashed sweet potatoes are among her favorite foods, but this week she would have none of it! So I tied this and she loved them!

mashed sweet potatoes
an egg
Butter or coconut oil

Directions: Melt butter or coconut oil in frying pan. Add egg to mashed sweet potatoes, stir, and drop by spoonfuls in frying pan. Fry just like a pancake :) They are kinda mushy in the middle, but she loved them anyways. You can serve with some organic maple syrup, but my toddler ate them fine without it :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gigi's Peanut Butter Rolls!

Since its getting close to Christmas, I thought I should post some of my grandmother's awesome candy recipes. This was my favorite growing up :)


2 lbs. Confectionary sugar

3 Tbs. butter, softened

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 Tbs. vanilla flavoring

Small can of peanut butter

Extra confectionary sugar for rolling out dough

Directions: In a large, bowl, mix together sugar, butter, condensed milk, and flavoring. (Mixture will be very thick and needs to be worked with hands.) Roll out on board sprinkled with confectionary sugar. Spread peanut butter on and roll up like a jelly roll. Freeze for an hour and then slice. Keep chilled in fridge until ready to serve.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Easy Twice Baked Potatoes

I used to make these for my brother and his friends in college and they were always a hit. Now, my husband is always requesting them!


6 – 8 baking potatoes

I jar or mix or Alfredo sauce

2 tsp. Garlic powder

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

cooked crisp bacon to sprinkle on top :)

Directions: Bake potatoes til soft, either in microwave or in oven. Allow potatoes to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the Alfredo sauce, garlic powder, and mozzarella cheese. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a thin shell. Mash the pulp and add to sauce mixture; mix well. Spoon mixture into potato shells. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Microwave on high or place in oven to bake until cheese is melted.

This post is a part of Kelly's SUYL side dishes

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Using soaked grain in normal recipes.... just doesn't seem to work well. Any recipe that calls for soaked grain turns out beautifully, but any normal recipe turns out the wrong consistency. Generally, its too dense. But using soaked flour is so much better for ya! I've been pretty bummed that I can't make my favorite breads and cakes and cookies the healthy way, so I was really excited to find this tutorial on Nourishing Gourmet on how to sprout grain and then dehydrate it so it can be ground up and used in all my favorite recipes. Plus, it seems pretty easy. Just thought I'd share :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Healthy Blender Pancakes

My friend Beth gave me this recipe for easy pancakes in the morning and Mark, Karis, and I all love them. They are especially great for people who want to use healthy grain but don't have a grain mill, because you soak the whole grains overnight and then a handy blender does all the work :) My toddler eats these for breakfast with some butter and organic maple syrup, and we also use leftovers for little cheese or almond butter sandwiches!

1 cup grain (I'd recommend kamut, spelt, prairie gold, or even better, a combo of those :)
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs. whey, lemon juice, or vinegar
1/2 cup buttermilk or fresh cream or milk
1 egg
2 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. honey
pinch of salt (sea salt is best)
1 Tbs.baking powder

The night before you are going to make them, put 1 c. grain in a bowl with 1 c. warm water and a little bit of whey, lemon juice or vinegar. I use whey that I make from our kefir. Put is somewhere warm overnight. The next morning, pour that into the blender with either 1/2 c. buttermilk or cream or even milk. Bblend on high for three minutes. Then add 1 egg, 2 T oil, 1 T honey and a pinch of salt. Blend for another minute. Then add 1 T baking powder and pulse the blender 3 times.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Healthy Hint: Natural Sweeteners

I subscribe to the Nourishing Gourmet blog and I love it because I know that everything posted there is going to be 100% healthy! I was so excited to see that she had done a post on natural sweeteners and how to substitute in recipes because that is something that I have been trying to figure out! If you are interested, please check out her article HERE. I'm going to post a shortened version of it, but the whole article is well worth reading because the comments are informative as well:)

Types of Healthy, Natural Sweeteners (but of course, not to be eaten in gluttonous amounts :)

Maple Syrup

Real, pure maple syrup is not just for pancakes! I have used it in a variety of desserts with great results. Grade A is sweeter and less robust than Grade B, which has a stronger mapley taste. It sweetens apple pies and ice cream very well, and makes wonderful maple sweetened cakes as well. Just makes sure that you buy organic maple syrup because unorganic is processed with formaldehyde, which is toxic.

(For a pancake syrup, we mix half honey and half maple syrup to stretch it out more, since honey is significantly cheaper. This half and half mixture is also sweeter, which those just going off of sugary fake maple syrup like. )

Maple Sugar
This mapley granulated sugar is one of my favorites. It's not as strong as unrefined cane sugar, and so adds a lighter touch to many desserts. It can be used in place of white sugar (though like all natural sweeteners it will have a stronger taste). The only disadvantage is that maple sugar is one of the most expensive ones to by, so I use it sparingly.


Molasses is a by product of white sugar. It has a very dark, robust flavor, and contains the minerals and vitamins from the sugar cane. Since it has a fairly high iron content, it has often been recommended for those with low iron. It makes wonderful gingerbread cakes and cookies.

It's similar to molasses in flavor, though not as strong. While molasses is a by product, sorghum is a "whole food" product made from sorghum grain. You should also know that there are different types of sorghum. That first jar I was given was very light in color and flavor, while the second jar I bought recently is so dark is looks like molasses. The dark type works great in place of molasses (I prefer it to molasses because it has a sweeter flavor). The lighter type, however, I find to be much more versatile. I have found it a wonderful substitute for corn syrup in many recipes (including caramel popcorn), and even made a traditional pecan pie with it (which I loved, though my family was a little unsure of it).

Rapadura or Sucanat

This unrefined, whole, cane sugar is robust in flavor and full of all of it's natural minerals. It can be used in a one to one ratio with white sugar, though it will have a more molasses taste. We have used it in a myriad of desserts and find it very versatile.

Wilderness Family Naturals has a wonderful muscovado sugar which is a whole cane sugar (not refined at all!), which is processed with, get this, fresh coconut milk! This moist sugar is wonderful. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what brown sugar is really supposed to be like, and be used in place of your refined brown sugar. I highly recommend it.


Stevia is a green herb that is very sweet. The Japanese have used it for about thirty years as a no calorie sweetener. The ground herb by itself is very green, so it is usually refined to a white powder, with it's sweetness concentrated. If made incorrectly it can have a bitter after taste. Because I prefer to use whole food sweeteners, I try to buy the extract made from the whole leaf (the NOW brand has one I like). It can also have an herby after taste, so it is best used in small amounts. I find a few drops work well to sweeten salad dressing, and of course, I love lemonade sweetened with it. My only caution with stevia is to use it in moderation, especially if you are using an concentrated form. The leaves were traditionally used to chew on, but they weren't consuming baskets full of it! It is only in more recent years that we have started to use it in mass.

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup is an interesting sweetener. It reminds me a bit like corn syrup.It has high fructose levels, so some feel that it is a good sweetener for diabetes. I personally found, during a time when my health wasn't doing very well, that it didn't raise my blood sugar like other sugars do. However, you should eat your agave sweetened dessert on an empty stomach, because otherwise it will lose it's low blood sugar effects (that's a bit strange, isn't it!). It's also receiving a lot of fire for the fact that it is highly processed and some believe, not any better than corn syrup. (Read Cheese Slave's post about it here). Different brands are manufactured differently however (for example, Ultimate Super Food's Agave syrup is significantly different than anything I have ever gotten in the store), so keep that in mind. I stopped using agave syrup several months back, and have since learned of a new low glycemic sweetener (coconut sugar!), but I encourage you to make your own judgment call on this one.

Coconut/Palm Sugar
coconut sugar and palm sugar are used interchangeably, made either from the coconut flower or certain palm flowers. If you get one that is made with the coconut flower it is actually a low glycemic sweetener (33-35 on the glycemic scale)! Depending on how they made it, it can have a more robust, caramel like flavor, or if you are able to find it in it's moist form (usually found in a jar, looking a bit like raw honey), it will have a lighter taste. This is a newer sugar to me, but I am really enjoying it. I like it in everything from my tea to my cookies, to my chocolate ice cream!

This sweet substance can have different flavors depending on where the bees were getting their pollen, making honey have so many shades of flavor. It is the first sweetener that many people turn to when taking white sugar out of their diet as it is easy to find and very sweet. I recommend raw honey because it still has many healing properties to it when kept raw. To read more about raw honey's healing properties, check out this search on Dr. Mercola's site. Since I have been able to find a good price on raw honey, I even use it in cooking to avoid highly processed honey (which is heated way higher than if you were simply cooking with it). This really is a heavenly sweetener.

Brown Rice Syrup: She didn't write about it, but one of her commenters did and since I've heard it to be a good option, I thought I'd mention it:

Brown Rice Syrup is a sweetener derived by culturing cooked rice with enzymes (usually from dried barley sprouts) to break down the starches, then straining off the liquid and cooking it until the desired consistency is reached. Brown Rice Syrup is a nutritive sweetener that is about half as sweet as sugar. Brown rice syrup is a tasty alternative for those who watch their sugar intake. Bake with it, pour it over ice cream or pancakes, or stir it into your morning coffee. Brown rice sugar is rich in natural maltose, which supplies a more prolonged source of energy than most concentrated sweeteners. It is a polysaccharide, a complex sugar, which, due to the structure of complex carbohydrates, releases slowly into the bloodstream, breaking down slowly and not altering blood chemistry. Brown rice sugar provides fuel for the body rather than causing an imbalance in blood sugar levels. It can replace corn syrup in most recipes calling for it

Substituting Natural Sweeteners for Refined Sweeteners

White sugar: Equal amounts of rapadura, coconut/palm sugar (in granulated form), maple sugar. Or use 3/4 cup of honey in place of 1 cup of white sugar. With many recipes you can use maple syrup as well, you just may need to adjust wet ingredients.

Brown Sugar: Muscovado sugar, or Rapadura/Sucanat

Corn syrup: Sorghum, Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup

Monday, December 8, 2008

Grandma Connie's Peanut Butter Pie

This was always my favorite dessert at my Grandma's house growing up. Simple, but rich. Great to make ahead of time.

Connie’s Peanut Butter Pie Recipe from Connie Carr, Roanoke, VA


1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 8oz pkg. Cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbs melted butter

1 8oz container frozen cool whip

1 graham cracker crust


Mix peanut butter, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and butter until creamy. Fold in cool whip. Pour into crust. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

This post is part of Kelly's SUYL desserts!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Healthy Hint: Why I love quinoa!

I've mentioned quinoa several times in my recipes because my family loves it so much and it is super duper good for you. It was first recommended to me when I was still breastfeeding but my milk supply diminished because I got pregnant again. When I researched it and found out how good it is for us, we quickly incorporated it into as many meals as possible! Plus, my husband and baby LOVE it! Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

What is it? Qiunoa looks like a grain, but is actually a seed. It reminds me a lot of the texture of cous-cous. We substitute it in any recipe that calls for rice or noodles because its so much better for you.

Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:

  • Rich in calcium
  • It's high in iron, phosphorous, vitamin E and several B vitamins.
  • Although the fat content is higher than most grains, clocking in at 6-7%, the protein in Quinoa is unparalleled in the plant kingdom and a strong contender to members of the animal kingdom as well. It's content ranges from 12-18%. Quinoa rivals the protein content of meat and because it contains abundant levels of all the 8 amino acids our bodies need in an almost perfect balance, Quinoa can be termed a "complete protein".
  • Quinoa is wheat and gluten free and makes a wonderful alternative to people suffering from Celiac disease or wheat allergies.

* Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
* Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
* Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
* Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.

How to make it: I make quinoa exactly the same way I make oatmeal -- I soak 1 cup of quinoa from 7-24 hours in a jar with1 cup warm water and 2 Tbs. buttermilk, yogurt, or whey. Right before cooking, I rinse off the quinoa in a strainer. This is important because the quinoa has a slightly bitter taste unless you rinse it off first. When I'm ready to cook, I boil another cup of water in my pot on the stove, turn down the temp to low, pour the rinsed off quinoa in the pot and let it soak up the water for about 5-7 min. So easy!

Our favorite uses:
** My toddler LOVES it for breakfast with a little milk, butter/coconut oil, and organic maple syrup -- just put whatever add-ins you would put on your oatmeal.
**A quick snack with a little butter and cheese mixed in (kinda like a healthy version of mac a cheese :)
**I add it to whatever leftovers we have with a little sour cream and cheese for an easy lunch for my toddler
** Fried quinoa -- I mix an egg in it and fry it in coconut oil or butter; serve with a little bit of organic maple syrup
** Any recipe that calls for rice, noodles, oatmeal, etc. Here are some of our favorite recipes to use quinoa with: mango crockpot chicken, stir-fry, Tortilla Soup, meatballs, Crockpot Italian Chicken, Hawaain Chicken Pile-up, Cranberry Chicken, etc.

Where to get quinoa: The best option is to buy in bulk at a food co-op. You can also get it inthe bulk section at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and other natural food stores. I've seen quinoa flour and flakes in the organic section at grocery stores.

For more info on quinoa, click HERE and HERE and HERE

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lynne's Delicious Cranberry Salad

Mark's Mom made this for Thanksgiving, and no one could get enough of it! Its really like a dessert, but super yummy on turkey!

1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tall can crushed pineapple, juice reserved
2 small boxes raspberry jello
1 cup hot water
1 cup cool water, including pineapple juice
1 cup finely chopped apples

Directions: Dissolve jello in hot water. Add cold water with pineapple juice and let set til thickened. Add crushed pineapple, cranberry sauce, and diced apples. Let set til thickened.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Healthy Crackers for Toddlers (and adults :)

I've decided to go ahead and share some of my soaked grain super healthy recipes with you because I have several friends who now grind their own grain for baking. If you don't, I don't know if these recipes will turn out quite the same.

I am always trying to find healthy snack options for Karis that don't have to be refrigerated for when we are running errands. She absolutely loves any store bought cracker or cereal, but they are expensive and really not that great for her. So I was excited to make these crackers because I feel like she can eat as much as she wants since they are so good for her. They are filled with the "healthy" fats she needs like coconut oil and real butter, as well as the whole grains that are soaked and therefore easy to digest. And the best part: she and I both love them! Daddy only likes the ones that are really thin and crispy; I should have made them a little more flat :) I made them plain this time, but am probably going to try some with a little bit of honey and some with cheese just so I can have different flavors. I basically just used the yogurt dough recipe from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook and then flattened the dough, pricked it with a fork, and baked at 400. But here are the directions all spelled out in case yo don't have the cookbook:

The night before cream in a large bowl:

1 cup of plain whole yogurt or a very creamy buttermilk)
1 cup of butter, softened ( I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil)

Mix in:

3 1/2 cups of freshly ground grain
2 teaspoons of salt

Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours (this is the "soaking" part). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using white flour to dust your surface and dough, roll your dough out thin. Cut into strips and then cut into squares.

Place your squares on an ungreased cookie sheet and prick with a fork. Bake for about 8 minutes and check, keep checking every two minutes until done. They should be browning slightly on the edges, when done. Take off of sheet and place on a cooling rack and enjoy!

**I didn't make them quite flat enough, so I baked for more like 11 minutes.