Whole Wheat Zucchini Carrot Bread & Natural Value Foods 25% off Plus 20% off at Amazon

The more nutrients you can stuff into one recipe, the better, right?  My friend Emily tried this idea of adding shredded carrots into zucchini bread, then let me know that I should try it.  Great idea.  Mmmmm, so good!

Zucchini Carrot Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, nutmeg and baking powder.  Stir in honey, zucchini, carrots, eggs, and melted butter.  Mix ingredients until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour into two well buttered loaf pans.  Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

zucchini carrot bread

Slices of this Zucchini Carrot Bread would be perfect in your Make-Ahead Lunch Box!  Simply allow the bread to cool, slice, wrap individually, then freeze.  Pull a wrapped slice of bread out of the freezer, then toss it into your lunch box for a dessert or snack!

What other veggie combinations have you thrown together in quick breads?

While I’ve got you, I wanted you to know about these ROCKIN’ coupons at Amazon.  Natural Value brand is already lower in price than many organic foods.  Right now, they are offering 25% off coupons at Amazon on many of their great items!  Plus, if you have Amazon Prime/Mom and order at least 5 subscribe and save items, you’ll get an additional 20% off too!  I grabbed six cases of Natural Value items we use frequently for great deals.  Here’s what I got:

Natural Value Coupons at Amazon

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Foods ~ Share Your Story

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

Karen sent in this story along with yummy food pictures of her efforts.  I always love hearing how people make healthy food ahead of time to save money and energy when feeding their families well!  Have a story to share about how you’re using our recipes?  Send them to us, along with your pictures!

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Crustless Quiches and Breakfast Burritos

Our family loves so many of the recipes from Heavenly Homemakers and from Laura’s cookbook Oh, for Real. I’ve been inspired by Laura’s example to do Make Ahead Meals. What a huge timesaver! Here is what I did this morning to help tuck some breakfasts away for future use while at the same time serving breakfast for my family today.

First I cooked up a pan of diced potatoes.  Next I made up a big batch (one dozen) of Breakfast Crustless Quiches:  using some of the cooked diced potatoes and some meat. Turkey Sausage Crumble works especially well in this recipe. . I used an extra large muffin pan.

karen breakfast 11

Next I made a big pan of Breakfast Burritos mixture but I switched out the meat option to some diced ham.

The family then helped themselves to whatever they wanted for breakfast. The rest of the Crustless Quiches I put into sandwich bags and then into a  freezer bag. Instead of making the full Breakfast Burrito as shown in Laura’s directions, I put 2/3 cup of the egg-potato-ham mixture in snack bags and we will assemble the breakfast burritos later individually – this works well for us. Those snack bags then went into a larger freezer bag and into the freezer.

karen breakfast 22

Both the frozen Breakfast Crustless Quiches and the bags of Breakfast Burrito mixture thaw out well in the refrigerator overnight (this just requires an ounce of pre-planning the night before!) These individual servings can then be warmed up in the toaster oven, a regular oven, or in the microwave.

Besides serving my family breakfast this morning, I now have 19 breakfast servings stowed away in the freezer for busy days ahead. And I only have to wash the bowls & pans once for this fantastic yield!

Karen

Awesome work, Karen!  I haven’t made those Crustless Quiches for a while, but I’m encouraged to get that done.  Such a great breakfast to pull out, warm up, and serve!

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Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips – Great Price at Amazon!

My friend emailed to let me know that we can get a 6-Pack of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips for just $20.88.  Sweet!

These are allergen free and yummy.  It’s a great time to stock up!  Shipping if free if you have Amazon Prime.  I keep this variety of chocolate chips in our freezer to use in baking.  They are great!

enjoy life six pack

Need some recipe ideas for your chocolate chips?  Here are our favorites:

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Our IronEase Pro Giveaway Winners

www.demachinor.comThe winners of our IronEase Pro Giveaway are:

U.S. – Tracey: girlstogrow@

Canada – Jonnie: dftrew@

Congrats!  Winners, please email me with your full name and address, and I’ll forward your information on for your prize.  Enjoy!

Everyone be sure to check out IronEase Pro on their site, and also at Amazon.  It’s an amazing ironing board!

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

If you’ve never tried Spaghetti Squash, I highly recommend you add this to your veggie eating repertoire.

For the record, I don’t think I can pull off correctly pronouncing the word repertoire.  I just thought that sentence sounded better than me simply stating, “Yo. You should totally eat Spaghetti Squash.”

We were blessed with several fantastic spaghetti squash in our garden this summer and fall.  I’m not sure there’s a better meal than home grown spaghetti squash, served with sauce made from home grown tomatoes.  It’s delicious!  Plus, practically free.  Plus, super healthy.  It’s merveilleux! ( I can’t pronounce that either, but it means “wonderful” in French.  In other words: YUM.)

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

1.  Rinse outside of the squash.
2.  Poke squash with a knife or fork 3-4 times.
3.  Place squash in a baking dish, uncovered.
4.  Bake in a 350° for 45-60 minutes or until squash is tender.
5.  Cut squash in half to open.
6.  Pull out seeds and discard.
7.  Use a fork to pull “spaghetti” away from the inside of the rind. (This is the fun part!)
8.  Serve cooked spaghetti squash as is, or serve with your favorite red or white sauce.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Beyond Spaghetti Sauce, we love this squash with Alfredo Sauce and Italian Cream Cheese Chicken.

Are you a fan of Spaghetti Squash, or is this something you’ve not yet added to your veggie repertoire?  What’s your favorite way to serve Spaghetti Squash?  Can you pronounce the word repertoire?

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Gratituesday: God is Stronger Than a Hail Storm

gratituesday[2]

In early June, our garden looked like this:

garden145

Full of plants protected by buckets looked like this:

garden144

A few days later, a hail storm came through, and our garden looked like this:

hail garden 1

It seemed as if we had lost everything.  Our rows and rows of green bean plants had no leaves left.  Our pepper and tomato plants were completely broken down.  It looked like nothing had survived.  We decided to replant a few green bean seeds, and consider the rest of the garden to be a loss.  It would be a small garden this year, and we would just make do.

hail garden 2

But guess what?  God is bigger than any of our gardening efforts, and He is most certainly bigger than a hail storm!!   We left our broken, leafless plants alone.  Within a few weeks, they had turned back into thriving plants again.  Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only that, we had a lot of rain this summer and fall – so much so that our garden and all the fruit trees around this area have been kicking out the produce like I’ve never seen before.  So now, our garden looks like this:

produce 147

So many beautiful peppers!

Our green bean plants have provided bucket after bucket of green beans.  We’ve eaten them to our heart’s content – 4 months of fresh-from-the-garden green beans!!!  And we’ve frozen many gallon-sized bags of beans too.  We’ll be enjoying them all winter!

produce 146 (1)

Our tomato plants are still giving us many tomatoes every day.  Plus we’re picking spaghetti squash and honey dew melon.

produce 148

An orchard nearby has had the best “apple year” I’ve ever seen.  These bags keep making their way into my kitchen (and the kitchens of my friends).  We’re eating all we can hold, and making jar after jar of Homemade Applesauce.

produce 141

All this to say - we thought we’d be done enjoying garden produce by June after the hail storm was so destructive.   The joke’s on us.  We started canning and freezing produce in July.  Here it is the end of October and we are still going strong.  I usually have my canning supplies packed away by now.  Not this year.  There’s still applesauce to make and green beans to pick.  I am amazed!  I shouldn’t be though.  Isn’t it just like God to show us in such mighty ways of His love and care for us?

Here’s a fun peek into our pantry and freezers.  We have over 50 jars of applesauce, and I’ll be making more this week and next.  This batch turned out so pink, it looks like I added food coloring!  Nope, just straight empire apples.  So pretty!

produce 145

Some friends gave us cucumbers, so I made about 40 jars of dill pickles.  It was a fun experiment and they turned out great!

dill pickles

We bought sweet corn at a road-side stand in August, and froze about a dozen quart-sized bags.  Pay no attention to the fact that I desperately need to defrost my freezers.  I would if I wasn’t so busy canning and freezing produce.

produce 149

I’ve stuffed bags of green beans in our freezers as I’ve found room.  Pay no attention to the fact that I desperately need to re-organize my freezers.  I would if I wasn’t so busy canning and freezing produce.

produce 150

Our peach tree did pretty well this year, so we canned about a dozen quarts, and froze several bags of sliced peaches for smoothies.

produce 142

Next you see a mixture of Sweet Pickle Relish (from the cucumbers our friends shared with us), Homemade Salsa, and more Applesauce.

produce 143

As you can see from the above picture, I’m no longer organizing the jars as I fit them into my pantry.  I’m at a point of simply trying to find room for it all.  Dozens and dozens of full jars of produce!  It is so exciting!!

I’m so grateful for the bounty and for God’s sense of humor.  There may have been a hail storm, but that didn’t stop God from giving us one of our best garden years ever!  Go God!

What are you celebrating this Gratituesday?  Leave a comment to share what you’re grateful for!

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Money Saving Monday ~ Stretching Your Dollars While Eating Healthy Food

Money Saving Monday large

Never before have I recognized the need to find money-saving grocery methods as I do now.  My boys have always been big eaters.  But now that 2-almost-3-out of 4 of them are teenagers?  There is no sentence to follow that question.  It’s just.  The food.  They eat.  I’m so.  Wow.

It’s a pleasure to watch them eat actually.  Big appetites are fun for a food lovin’ Mama like me.  But I have to find as many ways as possible to make our grocery dollars stretch.  Just last week, I decided to buy some thick deli-sliced ham for a quick lunch.  It was on sale, so I bought several inches of it, hoping I could stretch it with a bunch of side dishes, and therefore save about a half pound to go with eggs for breakfast the next day.  Y’all.  I fried every last bit of that ham, fried some leftover baked potatoes, opened a can of baked beans, pulled out half a pineapple, pulled out a pint of pickles, pulled some tortilla chips to go with leftover Cream Cheese Salsa Dip and leftover Spicy Avocado Dip, pulled a bowl of raw broccoli with homemade ranch dip – and nothing was left at the end of the meal.  Then they said, “Can we have the rest of those peanut butter cookies?”

This is why their legs keep growing and their shoes are too small before they even get them broken in.  (Praise God with me! Two of our boys found brand new pairs of very nice quality running shoes at our church clothing exchange last week for FREE.  Hallelujah! Put the money we would have spent on shoes toward more eggs and meat.)

You know how I share that I buy in bulk all the time?  A friend of mine came over to take a look at my food purchasing and storage system.  She saw all of the containers of pasta.  She saw all the jars of home-canned produce.  She saw all the 50-pound bags of wheat, oats, and rice.  She saw my all my cocoa powder, bottles of ketchup, jars of mayo, and cans of tuna.  She saw my three freezers (THREE!) full of meat and frozen fruits and veggies.  She saw it all.  Her question:

“So, would this food last you for about a year do you think?”  Oh dear, no (said I, with a giggle).  What you see here will be gone in three months.

Well anyway, money saving tips on food are necessary – for all of us, wouldn’t you agree?

Each Monday for the next few weeks, I plan to share a way to save money while eating healthy food.  Healthy food is so important so that we can all thrive physically and emotionally!  These posts won’t be about skimping on nutrition, but rather attaining nutrition without breaking the bank.

Money Saving Monday at Heavenly Homemakers

Of course, I’ll continue to share all the great online deals I find at anytime throughout the week.  But I continue learning new tricks to keep my healthy food grocery budget reasonable.  I can’t wait to share!

Will you help out as we start this series?  Leave a comment letting us know:

1.  What are your favorite ways to save money on healthy foods?
2.  What are the areas you struggle with most while trying to save money on healthy foods?

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Menu Plan for the Week – A Little Bit Different This time

Remember the big boxes we got in our Amazon order last week?  Malachi has made very good use of them.  We’ve cut flaps for doors and secret hide-outs, and we’ve gone through way too much packing tape.  Malachi keeps watching for the UPS man to come back and bring more boxes.  Sorry, Buddy.  Mama got a big order, but I don’t think Mr. UPS is coming back this week.  :)

malachi fort

In other news, I’m finding that my current menu planning system isn’t working very well right now.  This school year is trying to knock me flat.  We added a few different (and good!) academic endeavors this year.  I’m amazed at the extra time it takes away from my blog work and house work.  In addition, I’ve been doing a lot of canning, and need to do more during the next few weeks.

So, in an effort to simplify my kitchen work even more (and I already feel that it has been pretty basic), I’m going to try a different menu planning system this week.  The idea is that I will list food ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Fruits/Veggies based on the ingredients I have on hand.  For each day, I’ll just look at the list and figure out what I have time to work on.  We always have 1-4 fruits or veggies with each meal, so we can pull those out quickly to put with each meal.

Make sense?  I think the crock pot is going to get a work-out.  :)  Here’s what we’ll be working with this week:

Breakfasts

Lunches

Dinners

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes

We’ll see how this works, and I’ll report back next week!  I may find that it works better for me to have everything planned specifically like I’ve done for years.  But what if this is a change for the better?  We’ll see!

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Heavenly Homemakers Recipes Across the Globe ~ Share Your Story

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

I actually cried when I read this story sent in by Jennifer.  What can I say?  I tear up easily.  I am so honored that God is using this site to bless people in so many ways.  Plus, this story reminds me so much of MY STORY.  I also didn’t grow up with sisters, but have gained three by marriage.  I am so thankful for these sisters in my life now.  Here’s Jennifer:

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I did not grow up with sisters, only one brother.  When I married I gained two sisters and a sister in law.  Score!  My sister in law, her husband (my husband’s brother…confused yet?!?) and their three young children have lived in Central Asia as missionaries for the last seven years.  We both have three children.  She has one boy and two girls and we have three boys.  When they left my oldest was in preschool.  He is starting middle school this year.  Sigh.  They’ve been back to the  states just a few times over those seven years.  

We try to communicate as much as possible via skype.  When we are able to talk guess what we discuss?  Your recipes!!  We love it.  We talk about what we like, how we adapted it, who ate it and so on.  Last fall, after several years of saving, my husband and I were able to visit them while they were working.  Guess what she served?  Heavenly Homemakers recipes!  We had the best time sitting around her table, eating good food and visiting.  
 
Living worlds apart is difficult to say the least, but Heavenly Homemakers has been a common bond.  Few things in our daily lives, outside of our mutual love of the Lord, are similar, but almost daily one of us has a HH recipe on our table.  It makes me smile.  Thanks for all you do and your daily encouragement!
 
In Him, 
Jennifer
 
PS-While in Central Asia with them she made your Breakfast Cake, but added fresh pumpkin and white chocolate chips.  It was a winner! 
breakfast_cake_3

Share with us:  Who did God bless you with when you got married, or when a sibling of yours got married?

Also, keep sending in your stories and pictures.  I love ‘em!
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Is It Healthy To Fry Food? Deep Fryers and Great Grocery Deals…

Several have asked how I fry my Pumpkin Donuts.  A skillet with about a 1/2 inch of hot oil works great, and that’s how I used to fry food.  But Matt and the boys got me this Oster Deep Fat Fryer a couple Christmases ago and I LOVE it.  This makes the process of frying donuts, chicken nuggets, French fries, etc. so much easier!

Is it Healthy to Eat Fried Food

The question everyone wants to know is:  Aren’t fried foods unhealthy?

My very happy response to that questions is this:  If you fry your food in Palm Shortening or Coconut Oil, your fried foods will be healthy!  The reason?  Palm Shortening and Coconut Oil are digestible, nourishing, and stable fats.  This means that they can be heated to extreme temperatures without becoming rancid or without turning into trans fats.  #happydance #bringonthehomemadefrenchfries

Other oils – in particular bottled vegetable oils and canola oil – aren’t beneficial to our health in the first place.  When they are heated to the high temperatures required for frying, they begin to go berserk because they aren’t stable enough to handle the heat.  When heated for frying, they become rancid or oxidized, then they create free radicals that attack our cells.  This can eventually lead to many health problems and diseases.  #nothanks  #blech  #stickwithcoconutoil

Olive oil is a healthy fat, but it becomes unstable at about 450° so it isn’t always a great choice for deep-frying food.  I do use olive oil to lightly stir fry veggies in a skillet.

I’m so grateful for healthy frying options, because fried food tastes crazy good!  Obviously, we need to balance the good fats and fried food with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  After all, God created our bodies to function best by eating a wide variety of nutrients.  But for the record, fried green beans, fried zucchini, fried mushrooms, and fried asparagus are fantastic.  #bestofbothworlds

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts with Glaze

Now for some big fat healthy deals around the web:

I typically recommend my favorite Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions because it is such fantastic quality.  In case you’d like to try a smaller container of this shortening (Tropical Traditions only carries gallon buckets or larger), you may want to try Spectrum brand, which comes in a 24 ounce tub.

Right now, iHerb is carrying Spectrum Palm Shortening for just $6.34 a tub.  Even better?  You get free shipping at iHerb when your order is over $20.  AND, if you’re a new customer and click through this iHerb referral link, you’ll get $10 off your order of $40 or more.  (Or use my referral number at checkout, BID487)  Sweet deal!

spectrum palm shortening
While you’re at iHerb getting your $10 off and free shipping, I suggest picking up other ingredients you might need for baking this fall and winter.  They carry my favorite brand of sucanat, Rapunzel Whole Cane Sugar.  I often also get Enjoy Life Soy Free Chocolate Chips and Now Foods Cocoa Powder at iHerb.  Yay for fun baking!  Have fun with your $10 of free grocery money!

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I recommend expeller pressed or refined coconut oil for frying as these varieties are flavorless and odorless.  Amazon is carrying BetterBody Foods Organic Refined Oil for just $10.60 for a 15 ounce jar.  There are only a few in stock, so hopefully you can grab one before they run out!

betterbody coconut oil

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Amazon is running a great deal on a Lodge 5-Piece Cast Iron Skillet Set.  It’s only $63.99, down from $150.00.  This is a GREAT deal if you can swing it.  Cast iron is a fantastic, healthy alternative to Teflon.  You can use palm shortening or coconut oil to season your cast iron.

lodge five piece set

Universal Housewares is also offering a great deal on cast iron.  Get this 3-piece skillet set for just $24.99, down from $50.00.

cast iron 6

What are your favorite fried foods?  Have you switched to palm or coconut oil for frying?  It’s a delicious change for the better!

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