Search Results for: crackers

Chef Salad with Crispy Cheese Crackers

I have decided that there will probably be lots of tomato plants lining the streets of gold in heaven.  Every time I make a salad and include the fresh tomatoes from our garden, I am reminded of God’s goodness.  There is so much yum in a summertime fresh tomato.

Last week, we had some leftover chicken which we added to lettuce and tomatoes with shredded cheese for a quick lunch.  I stirred in some Homemade Ranch Dressing and loved every single bite.

chef_salad (1)

When I told the boys we were having Chef Salad with Crispy Cheese Crackers for lunch, they weren’t super excited.  (They’d have been happier if I’d announced we were having bacon, no doubt.)

But as they worked their way through the meal, munching on the homemade crackers with their salads, even my youngest had to admit, “Mom, this is actually a really good lunch.”

Actually?  Yes, how shocking.

Whatever.  I was in the middle of eating fresh tomatoes straight from heaven.  They could say whatever they wanted.

Need more homemade salad dressing recipes?  Find them here.

High Five Recipes: Crispy Cheese Crackers

High Five Recipes 2

Move over little gold fish.  There’s a new cheese in town.

Heidi emailed me a couple of months ago asking if I had a good cheese cracker recipe.  Well no, I said, but I sure do love me a recipe challenge!  It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally figured out a recipe that not only tastes good, but is SO easy.

Who knew a cheese cracker recipe that would qualify as a High Five Recipe!!  (Oh, but psst…we’re not counting the tablespoon of water in this recipe as an ingredient…because that would mean there are technically six ingredients in this cracker.  I really wanted to make this a High Five Recipe and it just would not work without a bit of water.  Just sprinkle it in and look the other way.)

Crispy Cheese Crackers

¼  cup butter, softened
¼ t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ t. baking powder
1 T. cold water

Use beaters or food processor to mix butter and salt until creamy.  Add cheese.  Mix well.  Gradually add flour, baking powder and water, mixing until dough begins to form a ball.  Form dough into a ball with hands.

Roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness onto a cookie sheet.  (I find that placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper helps me to roll them out more easily.)  Cut the rolled out dough into 1 ½ inch squares.  Bake 15 minutes at 350° or until lightly browned.  Turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside to crisp up.  Store tightly covered.

That’s all there is to it!  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my kids will eat the entire pan of these (before Matt and I get some) in one ten minute time frame.  They LOVE these!  So much for trying to make a snack to “have on hand”.  Guess I oughta double the recipe, huh?

Whole Wheat Crackers

Homemade Heart Crackers with Cheese and Turkey

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
1/2 cup water

Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in oil and water until a ball of dough has formed. Roll dough very thin, about 1/16 inch thickness on a cookie sheet. (I find it’s easiest to roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper.) Use small heart cookie cutter to shape crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Turn off the oven, but allow crackers to sit inside while it cools. This will dry out the crackers so that they become crispy.

For square crackers, use a knife to cut the dough into 1 inch squares after rolling it onto a cookie sheet.

Whole Wheat Crackers

Homemade Heart Crackers with Cheese and Turkey

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
1/2 cup water

Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in oil and water until a ball of dough has formed. Roll dough very thin, about 1/16 inch thickness on a cookie sheet. (I find it’s easiest to roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper.) Use small heart cookie cutter to shape crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Turn off the oven, but allow crackers to sit inside while it cools. This will dry out the crackers so that they become crispy.

For square crackers, use a knife to cut the dough into 1 inch squares after rolling it onto a cookie sheet.

Healthy Treat for Today: Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers!

Here’s the promised graham cracker recipe!  These crackers are crunchy-crispy…and taste SO GOOD!  Oh, I hope you love them like we do!

Okay, and if you love the Honey Graham Cracker recipe, you’ll LOVE the fact that you can also make CHOCOLATE Graham Crackers!!!  Just add 1/3 cup cocoa to the recipe.  YUM!!!!

Whole Wheat Honey Graham Crackers

2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar juice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt stick of butter in a pan on the stove.  Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4. Add the liquids: honey, water, vanilla and melted butter.
5. Stir well until a nice ball of dough is formed.
6. Cut two pieces of Parchment paper the size of the cookie sheet.
7. Lay one piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
8. Place the ball of dough on the parchment paper.
9. Lay the other piece of parchment paper on top of the ball of dough.  Squish dough down a little with your fist.
10. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough between the pieces of parchment paper.  Roll until the dough covers the whole cookie sheet.

Malachi is finishing up the rolling for Mama!

11. Remove the top piece of parchment paper.  Cut rolled dough into 2 inch squares, or cut shapes with cookie cutters, being sure to separate the shapes from the surrounding dough a little.

Here’s a shot of the chocolate graham crackers
cut into squares and ready to bake.

Malachi is using little cookie cutters to make “animal crackers”!

12. Bake in oven for 18 minutes.
13. Turn oven off, but leave crackers in the oven to get crisp.
14. Remove from oven after 30 minutes to one hour.  Break graham crackers apart.
15. Store in a air tight container.

Here’s a plate of the Chocolate Graham Crackers.
(Got milk?)

My kids get SO EXCITED when I make these!  They are a GREAT snack to have on hand!  Try them and see what you think!  :)

The “Eating Healthy” and “Save Money” Balancing Act

We all want to be healthy.  We all want to live frugally.  We all want the best for our families.  We all want food to taste good.  We all want great deals on groceries.  We all want delicious food, special treats, our favorite snacks…and if they could be free, cheap, come with a coupon, or be buy-one-get-one free – that would be fantastic.

Yeah, pretty much, we want it all.  Is that too much to ask?

Balancing Eating Healthy With Saving Money

Is it just me, or is it tricky sometimes to balance saving money with healthy eating?  Especially as our boys get older, I can not believe how much it costs to feed us well.  I believe it would also cost a lot to feed us poorly, simply because we eat so stinkin’ much food at our house all the time, every day, all the time.  We can not believe the lie that eating well is too expensive.  Eating junk is expensive too.  I’ve done the math.

I don’t have any wonderful new tips to share today as we work to keep our real food grocery budgets low.  I don’t have any great online grocery deals to share.  Instead, I just want to encourage keeping a healthy perspective when it comes to balancing saving money with eating healthy.

There really is great, real food out there that is not expensive.  It’s amazing all the wonderful combinations of real food ingredients we can creatively put together to feed our families while staying under budget.  We do not need to become discouraged, caving in to buy margarine because it’s cheaper than butter, or buying a cheese substitute because it’s cheaper than real cheese.  We do not need to skip the fruits and vegetables because we are afraid of the price tag.  They are not more expensive per ounce than a box of empty-calorie crackers.  I’ve done the math.

God is going to continue to provide for you and your family.  I believe the food on your table is as delicious as your attitude dictates it to be.  The health benefits of eating the best you can within your means, while trusting God?  Priceless.

Tired of the same old cheap real food meals of beans, rice, bananas, and carrots?  Ask God to give you more creative ideas, to provide you with what you need, and to give you a heart of thanksgiving.  I can almost guarantee that our little Gladis, over in Honduras, has very little variety in her diet, yet all of what she eats is real food and wholesome.  She and her family are simply thankful to have food, and they do the best they can.  Praise God for his provision!

Remembering her when I look into my refrigerator and pantry keeps me in check.  Gladis gives me perspective and offers me a chance to appreciate anew the abundance we have.  From thousands of miles away, she shuts my complaining mouth and calms my heart of discontent when I feel like whining about the price of strawberries.  How blessed we are to have access to the luxury of strawberries.

I pray we find balance as we seek to eat healthy while saving money.  I pray we look at what we have through the eyes of gratitude.

Let’s all continue to feed our families the best we can, while enjoying the blessing of real food – whatever it might look like on our individual tables.

Hoping to get your budget on track as you work to balance healthy eating with saving money?
Be sure to check out BudgetFocus as a wonderful resource!

Menu Plan for the Week ~ the Oven-Free Edition

Oven Free Real Food Menu Plan

The time of year has come that I’m avoiding the oven.  In fact, our entire menu this week is ovenless, except for the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola we baked a couple weeks ago and have on hand for a cool breakfast.

One of my very favorite no-oven ideas is to Bake Potatoes in the Crock Pot.  There are all kinds of fun toppings for baked potatoes.  Since they bake easily in the crock pot, we’ll likely be having different baked potato varieties all summer long.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week.  I love fun summer foods!

Sunday, June 1
Homemade instant oatmeal, raspberries
Baked potatoes in the crock pot (with ham, cheese, and sour cream), peas, strawberries
Small group potluck

Monday, June 2
Green machine milkshakes, scrambled eggs
Chicken salad on lettuce and tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet peppers
Calico beans in the crock pot, tossed salad, watermelon

Tuesday, June 3
Dark chocolate almond granola, blueberries
Tuna salad on crackers or lettuce and tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, cool pineapple cream dessert
Grilled burgers, pickles, watermelon, green beans

Wednesday, June 4
Pineapple mango smoothies, fried eggs
Pasta salad bar with chicken and veggies, apples
Salmon patties, tossed salad, grilled asparagus, blackberries

Thursday, June 5
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries
Grilled hotdogs, baked beans (on the stovetop), sweet peppers, cucumbers and carrots
Italian roast wraps, lettuce and tomato, strawberry creamsicles (recipe coming this week)

Friday, June 6
Creamy orange cooler, toast
Lamburger patties, lettuce and tomato, cheesy cauliflower cakes, sweet peppers
Grilled barbeque chicken, tossed salad, sweet corn, steamed broccoli and carrots

Saturday, June 7
Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, strawberries
Hamburger cream cheese dip with chips, sweet peppers, grapes, cherry tomatoes

Have you been doing much grilling so far this summer?

Menu Plan For the Week – with more freezer cooking plans

So…freezer cooking this week.  Are you in?  Most importantly, do you have your chicken?  :)  You can check out all the plans, download the grocery list, and access the recipes here.  Make plans to join us this week!

Black Bean Chicken Nachos

Here’s our menu plan for the week, which of course, includes a lot of chicken.  I also added in some coconut flour recipes since I found such a great deal on coconut flour yesterday:

Sunday, April 6
Homemade instant oatmeal, pears
Sloppy joes, carrot sticks, fruit
Small group fellowship:  Nacho bar

Monday, April 7
Green machine milkshakes, coconut flour muffins
Chicken chef salad with tons of veggie choices, crispy cheese crackers
Pizza boats, fruit salad, raw veggies

Tuesday, April 8
Scrambled eggs, quick mix biscuits, kiwi
Black bean chicken nachos, fresh pineapple, sweet peppers and cucumbers
Shepherds pie, tossed salad, strawberries

Wednesday, April 9
Whole wheat waffles, blueberries, whipped cream
Crock pot barbecue chicken breast sandwiches, creamy coleslaw, carrots and cucumbers with ranch, peaches
Tuna casserole, peas, tossed salad

Thursday, April 10
Poptarts, fried eggs, bananas
Taco corn fritters, pineapple mango smoothies green beans
Bacon wrapped cream cheese chicken (recipe in {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook), tossed salad, roasted asparagus

Friday, April 11
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, applesauce
Turkey ranch pinwheels, chocolate milkshakes, grape tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers
Potato soup, sweet peppers, tossed salad, coconut flour cheddar drop biscuits

Saturday, April 12
Cranberry white chocolate chip breakfast cookies, fried eggs, oranges
Chicken noodle soup, tossed salad

Did you sign up for BudgetFocus and take advantage of the big discount they’re offering?  Budgeting made simple!

How to Stretch a Meal When Extra Company Comes

How To Stretch a Meal When Extra Company Comes 2

Matt only knew my paternal grandmother for a few years before she died.  One of his favorite memories of her is the response she gave after being told that extra people were coming to join us for a meal.  “Great!  I’ll just add more water to the soup,” she said with a chuckle.  Seeing as we weren’t having soup that day, he then watched in amazement as she “added water” to stretch the meal she had prepared.

Grandma seemed to make more food appear out of no where, and in record time, too.  The table was soon filled with all varieties of goodness.  The little bowls of this and the small dishes of that didn’t look like they would feed the number of people we were anticipating.  But sure enough, just like the loaves and the fish, Grandma had enough to fill us all with twelve (give or take) baskets left over.

What was Grandma’s secret?  Well, she just always had a good supply of food on hand.  And not just frozen meat that would take hours of time to thaw and prepare.  I’m talking about home-canned fruits and vegetables, homemade bread and cookies – food that she could pull out and feed people in a moment’s notice.

This Sunday, I was blessed with the opportunity to “add water to my soup.”  We already had plans for another family of 6 to join us for lunch after church.  Their 6 plus our 6 would equal 12.  (Thank you, Laura, for stating the obvious.)  I was making a roast, carrots, potatoes, and gravy.  My friend was bringing rolls.  It would be a simple, nothing-fancy, but tasty meal.

Then, at the last minute, a friend of my brother’s family needed a meet-up place here in Nebraska.  The friend would come here, my brother’s family would drive up from Kansas and pick him up, and guess what?  They’d make it in time for church.  Bliss!  I got to worship with my brother and his family of 6 and feed them all afterward!

So let’s see here.  Six plus six is twelve, plus six more - that’s 18.  Then there was my brother’s friend who was meeting us by lunchtime.  Did I mention he was a 6’8″ college athlete?  And last but not least, a friend of Elias’ needed a place to hang out after church while his family headed out of town.  That made a total of 20 people.  Super fun.

Thankfully, I had decided to make two roasts instead of just one - just in case.  I had loaded the roasting pan with potatoes and carrots.  I caught my friend (the one already planning to come over with her family) between class and worship, filled her in on the crazy, and asked her to pick up extra rolls – plus maybe a bucket of ice cream?  She was happy to help stretch our meal.

Once I got home after church and started making gravy, I also started a big pot of green beans and another big pot of corn.  Our simple meal remained simple, yet because there were so many different foods to choose from (roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy, rolls, green beans, corn, ice cream), it looked like a feast.  We had plenty to go around and even a little bit left over.  Phew!

All of that to say, when it comes to hospitality and being able to say, “The more the merrier!” always try to have a few key foods on hand to help stretch your meal.  Here are a few items I’ve thought of that you might have on hand to pull out and serve quickly, or that you can grab at the store if you have time/accessibility:

  • Frozen food that cooks quickly like green beans, peas, or corn
  • Applesauce
  • Canned peaches, pears, or mandarin oranges
  • A jar of pickles
  • A can of olives
  • Quick breads or muffins you might have in your freezer
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, sliced apples, oranges, or grapes
  • A fruit salad, mixing several different fruits you have on hand
  • Canned or fresh pineapple poured into a nest of cottage cheese
  • Raw veggies like carrots sticks, celery, sweet peppers, or cucumber slices
  • Crackers and sliced cheese
  • Tossed salad
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Chips and salsa
  • Dessert such as cookies or ice cream

If you’re opening a can or jar, I suggest pouring its contents into a nice serving bowl to make your “spread” look tasty and welcoming for your guests.  Did you grab a bag of prepared salad on the fly?  Pour it into a bowl and throw in some grape tomatoes to make it pretty.

Don’t hesitate to ask your guests to pick something up at the store on their way to your house (especially if they offer or ask what they can bring).  Most of the foods on the list above take little to no prep time, but will stretch your meal and offer your guests a delicious variety.

What would you add to this list?  What have you found works well to stretch a meal to feed extra people?

Food Is Nourishment. What a Concept. {31 Days to Real Food Reality ~ Day 6}

31 Days 300

It was way back in my “eating low-fat” days as a college student and young married gal.  I would eat a bowl of low-fat cereal with skim milk for breakfast.  Lunch might be a turkey sandwich with low fat mayo on “light” bread, and a side of fat free chips (aka salted cardboard).  For a snack, I’d have Pepsi and Twizzlers, which are both fat free.  Dinner would be any variety of food made with skinless chicken breast, white pasta or potatoes, and maybe a salad with fat free dressing.  At the end of the day, I would feel great about how I’d eaten for the day.  “I’ve had hardly any fat today!” I would say to myself.

That’s what I thought it meant to eat healthy.

There is a common truth in the way I used to think about eating and what I know believe about eating:  I need to be aware of what I’m putting into my mouth because it is important to eat a healthy diet.  What I didn’t recognize then, however, was that food isn’t just meant to fill a hole.  Food is meant to nourish us.


I was getting very little nourishment when I ate a low-fat diet.  Why?  Because nourishment wasn’t my focus.  My focus was on avoiding fat, not on consuming nutrients.  Somehow, candy and soda made it on my “healthy” list.

Is It Nourishing

Whether eating low-fat or not, I’m going to venture to suggest that there are many who are consuming very little nourishment.  Even people who over-eat.  How can this be?  Well, there are many edible products on the market that fill a hole, but offer very little nourishment.  What nutrients are found in a bag of chips?   A slice of white bread?  A box of crackers?  A box of cereal?  A slice of American cheese?

Please don’t hear me heaping on guilt to those of you who are still eating many of those foods.  Hey, I eat chips, cereal, and crackers sometimes too.  It’s fun, it tastes good, and we enjoy the occasional treat.  But I also know that if that’s all we were eating, we would not be receiving much nourishment – I don’t care how fortified the box claims its contents to be.

When making healthy food choices, we must always consider how much nourishment it will give our bodies.  Crackers are a fun snack and may hold our kids over until dinner, but are they doing much to give their bodies needed nutrients and fuel?

A well-balanced diet of healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, rich broths, nuts, and few whole grains will give our body what it needs to thrive!  When not given foods filled with nutrients, our bodies can make do for a while, but then we become depleted and sick.  Sickness takes on many forms, from sluggishness to disease to everything in between.

So when making food choices, ask yourself, “Is this going to nourish me?”

Fill your body with food meant to nourish!  What’s great: Nourishment comes in all forms of deliciousness.  Our list of options for real food nourishment is longer than my leg, because God is good to give us wonderful variety!  This real food thing just keeps getting better all the time, doesn’t it?

What’s your favorite form of nourishment?  When you picture foods that fuel the body well, what foods comes to mind?