7 Healthy Ingredient Holiday Drinks You’ll Love

7 Healthy Ingredient Holiday Drinks You'll Love

There is something about special drinks at Christmas time that I just love!  Below, you’ll find 7 tried and true holiday beverages that you’ll love too…

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Warm Vanilla Soother

warmvanillasoother2sm

Homemade Healthier Eggnog

Homemade Healthier Eggnog

100% Juice  Punch

Christmas Brunch Punch {with 100 juice!}

Chocolate Caramel Coffee Creamer

Chocolate Caramel Coffee Creamer

Chocolate Whipped Cream for Coffee

Chocolate Whipped Cream - Perfect For Your Coffee

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

What are your favorite holiday drinks?  Be sure to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of five $10 gift certificates to our Heavenly Homemakers Shop!

Be sure you don’t miss grabbing your free jar of coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  This is my very favorite oil!

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Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

XmasBrunch2011

This recipe is versatile so you can add your family’s favorite veggies – or be creative so you can learn to eat new ones.  The mixture of all these ingredients makes any vegetable taste great!

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

2 pounds fresh variety of vegetables of your choice (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, zucchini, or asparagus all work well)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower)
1 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or Colby jack work well)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour into a 2-quart baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes in a 350° oven.

Cheesy Veggie Casserole

Be sure to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of five $10 gift certificates to our Heavenly Homemakers Shop.

 Hey, did you get your free coconut oil yet?  Go get this awesome gift!  Also, be sure to join me in taking this free Healthy Living Challenge.  You’ll be glad you did!

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FREE Coconut Oil For Everyone! ~A Very Merry Christmas Gift from Tropical Traditions

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!  Tropical Traditions is offering all of us a FREE quart jar of coconut oil again this Christmas!  I love it that they do this!  (You’ll find the free jar on this page – scroll down until you see it.)

This isn’t just any coconut oil.  This is a jar of their very highest quality coconut oil – the very best I’ve ever had.  It is delicious and super high in nutritional value.  It’s an entire quart, and it is free with any order of $19.00 or more!

free oil at tropical traditions

See that?  It costs $0.00!!!!!!!

We will have to pay shipping on this order, but I’m planning to put several light-weight items in my cart (like my favorite Natural Soaps!) and I’ll still make out great.

You can also get a free coffee mug in your order.  See the link on their side bar and add it to your cart.

I’m very excited to take advantage of this, and I hope you will be too.  What a lovely gift to come in the mail!

Go grab your  FREE jar of coconut oil!

This post contains referral links.

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Cranberry Almond Bread with Orange Glaze

XmasBrunch2011

Welcome to our first brunch recipe of 2014!  You’re going to love this one.  It’s great with a cup of coffee.  <— You know, this time last year I was just beginning to realize how awesome coffee is.  Oh how far I’ve come in a year.  Mmmmm, coffee with cream during my Bible time each morning.  How I love it.

This bread is also great with a cup of hot tea, hot chocolate, Warm Vanilla Soother, or a cold glass of milk.  Pretty much it’s great with anything you like to drink.  It’s also very easy to make, and can be baked ahead of time if you’d like to wake up on Christmas morning to a delicious ready-made breakfast.

cranberry bread 3

Cranberry Almond Bread with Orange Glaze

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (regular whole wheat works okay, but pastry flour is perfection in this!)
¾ cups sucanat
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
3 eggs
1 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries

Mix flour, sucanat, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, extracts, and oil.  Mix well.  Fold in cranberries.  Pour batter into 2 well-buttered loaf pans (or six small loaf pans).  Bake 45-60 minutes at 350°.  Makes two loaves.

Orange Glaze

¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat orange juice and honey in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.  Pour mixture over loaves of cranberry bread about 3 minutes after they have been removed from the oven, but before removing the loaves from the baking pans.

Cranberry Bread with Orange Glaze

 Be sure to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of five $10 gift certificates to our Heavenly Homemakers Shop!

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“My Favorite Things” Giveaway Winner

My Favorite Things Giveaway

Thank you for joining all the fun in the “My Favorite Things” giveaway event!  I’m excited to announce that the winner is:

Jeri: Jrkfrd@

Jeri, email me and I’ll get all those fabulous prizes coming your way!

A special thanks to all our favorite things sponsors:  

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It’s Here Again! Our 5th Annual Christmas Brunch!

The beauty of the internet is that while most of us can’t actually hang out and share a meal together (seeing as we’re located all over the globe), we can still enjoy community and fellowship.  For the 5th year in a row, we’re inviting you to join us in a lovely Christmas Brunch, held right here every day through December 24.

XmasBrunch2011

What’s on the menu?  Oh just wait until you see!  You’ll get to enjoy new recipes each day, as well as have chances to win prizes.  Now that’s always fun!

Each time you see the Christmas Brunch invitation (pictured above), leave a comment on that post to be entered into a drawing for one of five $10 gift certificates for downloadable items in our Heavenly Homemakers Shop.  The day after Christmas, we’ll tally all the entries and do a random drawing.  The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

But don’t forget the recipes and fellowship.  That’s the best part of all!  So make plans to join us from now until Christmas.  We have a lot of fun in store for you.

So let’s start now!  Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of our Heavenly Homemakers Shop gift certificates!

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It’s Been Almost a Decade. Is It the Coffee, or Do I Just Feel Better Than Ever?

Healthy Living - Why Wait Until After Christmas

Tis the week before Christmas.  I know what we’re all thinking about right now:  The most natural way to clean a bathtub.  Obviously.

No?  Perhaps that’s because you’re more focused on making a plan for your garden this spring.  Maybe you’re distracted with all the excitement in the air over the joy of creating a balanced budget.  Oh, wait.  I’ve got it.  You are deep in thought about ways to incorporate more kale into your diet.

I know you all so well, don’t I?  Or maybe my crazy self forgot what day this is and that the countdown to Christmas is ON!  Wrap, decorate, bake, peace, joy, love, go, go, go!!!!!!!!!

It’s okay.  We are all very busy and also likely a tad more interested in frosting cookies than steaming brussels sprouts or cleaning bathtubs with vinegar.  This time of year is FUN!!!  There’s much to be said about taking time to enjoy this season with all its tinsel, peppermint, gift giving, and focus on Christ.

But I also wanted to take the time to share something really cool with you, even if “a healthy lifestyle” may not be at the forefront of your mind in these last few days before Christmas.

It’s been nine and a half years for our family.  That’s how long we’ve been on this healthy living journey – ever since our youngest was born with chronic eczema and turned our lives upside down (which totally spilled my Pepsi).  I get tired just thinking about all the hundreds of changes we’ve made during this “almost decade.”  From boxed cereal to homemade granola, from chemical-filled cleaners to non-toxic options, from conventional doctors to homeopathic doctors and herbal remedies – we’ve made huge strides.

We love this lifestyle, recognizing more and more that we still have much to learn, that balance is key, and that if Jesus isn’t in the center of it all – none of it really matters anyway.  There were times we felt better immediately after making a healthy change, and times we felt worse as our bodies had to get used to the good changes we were making (fun times).

Change can be very difficult, and I’m telling you – making transitions from poptarts and boxed cereal every day to learning to make wholesome food from scratch was hard at times.  I didn’t even know what wholesome food was (or where, pray tell, to buy it).  Ditching the comet, lysol, palmolive, and tide to find non-toxic cleaners?  Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.  Finding doctors and home remedies that treated root causes instead of slapping a band-aid on symptoms was foreign to me.

But dear ones:  That was just the beginning of the journey.  It wasn’t the end of the story (though it was the end of my Pepsi drinking days).

The journey never ends.  We will all continue learning more and becoming healthier.  It’s exciting, really!  The changes we’ve made on our healthy living journey have been so very worth it – even (especially) the really difficult changes.  At 41, I feel more physically and emotionally stable than I ever have.  This is absolutely because of God’s work in my body and my heart.

Are you on a healthy living journey too?  I hope so.  No matter where you are in your journey, I want to offer you encouragement.  Stick with this!  Don’t be discouraged about the difficulty that comes with trying to do what’s right in a fallen world.  God’s grace covers all in a powerful way.  (Picture it!)

Do this with me, will you?

I’m taking the FREE 4-Day Healthy Living Challenge: 4 Simple Steps to a Healthier, Better You and I want you to join me.

Yes, right now.  Each step will take us no more than 5 minutes a day.  This is SO doable, even during this busy time of year, I promise.  The challenge is so easy, so simple, yet so effective. Most of all: it will change your life.  (Feeling good feels so good!)

Learn more and sign up for the challenge here.  The smallest changes can be the biggest blessings in your life.  Let’s do this together!  You have nothing to lose.  It’s FREE!!!

How’s you’re healthy living journey going? 

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Adorable Snowman Pails ~ Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5

Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5

Here’s a fun idea Karen sent in.  All it takes is someone with a vision – then a simple pail becomes a snowman.  Love it!

Good afternoon Laura,

While I am not particularly crafty, one of my daughters is very gifted.  She took one look at these metal buckets and saw snowmen!  The little ones come three in a package in the party supply section of our local Dollar Store (3 for $1).  The bigger one was on a clearance rack at Joann Fabrics for $2.  We simply cut shapes from some felt scraps we already had and used the hot glue gun to attach.  We thought about adding more decorations but decided on the simple look.  Just fill with treats, nuts, or granola for gifting. With the huge success of Frozen and the snowman character Olaf, these have been a big hit with kids!

Blessings, Karen

Snowman Pails - Less Than $5

This ends our Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5 series.  I have had so much fun creating gifts and learning from you.  THANK YOU all for making this series so successful and enjoyable.  Now be watching for what’s coming up next here at Heavenly Homemakers – a special healthy living invitation and our annual Holiday Brunch.  I can’t wait to share these delicious recipes with you!

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

chocolate mint mousse 3

This is one of the easiest treats you will ever make.  You’ll especially appreciate the final step.  Allow me to explain…

Many a recipe (including this one) will instruct us to:

    1. Mix ingredients.
    2. Pour mixture into serving dishes.
    3. Chill for at least two hours.

Is it just me, or does it seem that in order to follow the directions diligently we should mix our ingredients, pour the mixture into serving dishes, then promptly “put our feet up and do nothing for at least two hours?”  It says to “chill” right?  If we read this literally, I do believe we are being told to do absolutely nothing.  Relax.  Take a breather.  Chill out already.  For two entire hours (or more – don’t forget the “or more”).

Is anyone else thinking about Amelia Bedelia right now?  (If you haven’t read those children’s books, you’re missing out.)

Now I’m not exactly sure what to think about recipe instructions that say, “chill until firm.”  Rarely do I notice more defined muscle tone when I’m chillin’ in my chair for two hours or more.  ”Chill until it jiggles in the middle” – well now, unfortunately that makes quite a bit more sense.

I’ll be the first to admit that taking time to rest doesn’t come easy for me.  I’d love to “chill” after mixing up a recipe – but who will take care of all those dirty dishes?  Amelia Bedelia, perhaps?  If only.

While I’m sure we could have a lovely discussion about taking time to rest, washing dishes, or encouraging healthy muscle tone – I will now turn the conversation back to this new recipe I’d like to share, letting you know that in fact, once you mix it up, it needs to be poured into serving dishes and chilled.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Measure 3/4 cup cream into a sauce pan.  Heat until hot, but not boiling.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate chips, stirring until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract and set mixture aside.

In the meantime, whip the remaining 3/4 cup cream in a bowl until firm peaks form.  Fold chocolate mixture gently into whipped cream.  Spoon mousse into 6-8 bowls or cups.  And finally, the instructions you’ve all been waiting for:  Chill for at least two hours before serving.

To be clear, this means that you need to put the mousse into the refrigerator for at least two hours until you are ready to serve it to your family or guests.  Before the pan and bowl get crusty, wash your dishes and wipe down the counter-tops.  Then hug your children, check the mail, return a phone call, switch out the laundry, get out meat for dinner, scrub the gunk off the floor, and re-hang the curtain that got pulled down.

After that, by all means, you should chill.

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