Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

Allow me to introduce a new seasonal favorite: Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies.

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While I’ve shared that I just can’t get behind Pumpkin Spice Coffee (typing it actually makes me shudder just a little bit), I most certainly enjoy making many Pumpkin Spice treats this time of year – to eat while I drink my (plain, non-pumpkin-spice) coffee. If my house smells of nothing but Pumpkin Spice from now until Christmas, there will be much joy in the holiday season.

Of course, seeing as I live with a houseful of teenage boys, my house not only smells of Pumpkin Spice, it also frequently smells like Old Spice. And old shoes. Annnnnd cute girls.

It’s an interesting combination, you can be sure. One that I am so very blessed to experience. What a great God we serve!

Do you see His goodness all around you? Even in the midst of struggle? Even throughout the daily grind? Even during times of hardship and devastation?

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I love God. All that He offers is good, and all good comes from Him. I am continually in awe of how He provides for our spiritual needs, which makes all else fade.

What does this have to do with Pumpkin Spice Cookies? Ha. I don’t know. Lately I find myself working my way through all the day-to-day of life, which includes this houseful of teenage boys (and the cute girls that stop by) and in the midst of the cookies and the shoes and the vacuuming and the piles of mail, I sit in wonder at the peace God is revealing to me though His Spirit.

And in the Pumpkin Spice Cookie – well – there is joy. Especially when there is a great cup of coffee (sans Pumpkin Spice) to go with it.

spice cookies22

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 18-24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Spice*
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
Instructions
  1. Cream together melted butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and sea salt.
  3. Stir in flour until well combined.
  4. Cover and chill dough for 1-2 hours.
  5. Roll dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness between layers of parchment paper or on a well-floured surface.
  6. Cut rolled dough with cookie cutter shapes and place cut-outs on a baking sheet, ½ inch apart.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

 

I’d love to hear about the joy of the Lord you are experiencing right now. Struggling to see His goodness? Look around at what you have, and I’m not talking about your stuff. See His goodness in the details of your life. In joy, in pain, in suffering – God is good. His mercies are new every morning.

And sometimes, they take on the form of a Pumpkin Spice Cookie dunked in coffee.

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

I read and hear the debates every year at this time: Pumpkin Spice Coffee, or no?

Pumpkin Spice MIx

I promise to love you no matter your preference in this matter, but I have to admit that when it comes to Pumpkin Spice in my coffee: I heartily vote no!

Not that I’ve actually ever tried it. I’m sorry. I’m a coffee-with-cream girl and I’ve already made up my mind about Pumpkin Spice Lattes before I’ve tried a sip. Can I pretend to be a 5-year old and say, “I don’t like that” even though I’ve never actually tried it?

I’ll try all the new vegetables put in front of me. I’ll give most foods a fair chance. But when it comes to my beloved coffee combined with the fun, seasonal pumpkin spice, that is where I must draw the line.

I do love eating a pumpkin spice treat with my coffee. But to stir the pumpkin spice directly into my coffee, on purpose, with a spoon? Now why would I want to go and ruin my morning like that? Why?

I’d love to hear how all of you feel about the infamous Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It’s possible that some of you love them so much that you are convinced that they were served at The First Thanksgiving. With a dollop of cool whip. And topped with a candy corn.

I can’t even.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Mix

Now the cinnamon-nutmeg-clove pumpkin spice combination itself – this is the essence of fall. When making a pumpkin treat of any kind, I have always pulled out the variety of spices needed and added them each separately. But in the name of simplicity, this year I decided to shake together my own little jar of Pumpkin Spice perfection.

This year as I make all of our fun pumpkin muffins, pies, pancakes, and cookies, I’ll save myself a bit of time and effort and get out my cute jar of Pumpkin Spice.

Think of all the precious seconds I’ll save because of this new jar of Pumpkin Spice I have finally added to my kitchen. Thanks to this, I’ll actually have time to tie my shoes before running out the door.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice
 
Author:
Serves: ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and store the spice blend in an airtight container.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Spice Mix

What to Make with Pumpkin Spice

From now on, I’ll sub my Pumpkin Spice in all my Pumpkin Recipes!

12 Pumpkin Recipes

 

Here are some of our featured Pumpkin Recipes!

Be on the lookout this fall for several new recipes we can use with Pumpkin Spice. I’ve been experimenting and to be sure, my house smells wonderfully pumpkin spicy all the time right now!

If you’d like to shake some Pumpkin Spice into your coffee, please go right ahead. I’ll even sit with you while you drink it. We can still be friends.

Do tell. Are you a Pumpkin Spice Latte lover?

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

Let’s make a long story short, shall we? When you put the words “bacon” and “cheeseburger” in the same title, everyone gets excited. When you add the word “simple” to its name, you know everyone wins. So without even seeing the recipe, you can bet that Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole needs to hit your table very soon!

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Save yourself some effort and make two or three of these at once. Bake one for your dinner, then freeze the others (unbaked) to use another time. Then you’ve got “simple,” “bacon,” “cheeseburger,” and “freezer friendly” all in the same sentence. All the busy mothers everywhere cried with joy over this news.

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I recommend making Bacon Bits like this. I cut the bacon with kitchen shears to make it simple.

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Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 1 pound bacon, uncooked, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons dry minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-ounces tomato paste
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (divided)
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, brown hamburger, bacon pieces, and minced onion together until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Drain excess grease if necessary.
  3. Stir in garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, tomato paste, eggs, cream, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  4. Spread mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. Top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

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Real Food I Consistently Buy at Walmart

I’m writing a small series of posts to share what groceries I purchase from each of my favorite stores – either online, co-op, or from brick and mortar grocery stores. I recently shared about the groceries I buy from Aldi and groceries I order from Amazon. Today I’ll tell you about the real food groceries I often buy at Walmart!

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I know many people strongly dislike shopping at Walmart. But for me, it is one of two options in my small town. I have the choice of shopping at our one local grocery store (which is quite a bit more expensive and does not always have great quality produce) or Walmart. The produce selection at our Walmart is usually pretty good, plus I can price-match great deals from stores an hour away like Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market.

So Walmart it is, almost every week. Typically I’ve found the quality of their produce to be very good! And they even carry several organic options.

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Walmart

What do I buy at Wal-Mart?

A cart full, you can bet on it. :)

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~ Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

I look at Pricematcherz.com each week and take advantage of all the deals from stores in Lincoln. I get amazing deals on fresh produce this way, and I am so thankful for this!

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~ Frozen Veggies as Needed

Typically I buy frozen veggies from Azure Standard. But since that order only comes once each month, I buy (non-organic) from Walmart in the meantime to fill in gaps.

~ Chicken

Our Wal-mart carries a “natural” brand of chicken at a very reasonable price. I often find it marked down and buy every bit of it when it’s available at the discount. But even if it isn’t discounted, the price is still good. I can get whole chickens as well as boneless thighs and breasts. Boneless thighs are my absolute favorite!

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~ Cream and Half-and-Half

No it’s not organic. Yes we go through a lot of it.

~ Colby Jack Cheese

Our Walmart has Joseph Farms brand that is a great price and made from cows that are not given hormones. I usually buy 2-3 of these four-pound hunks of cheese each month. We shred it all in our food processor and keep it in these bowls with lids to pull out and use as needed.

~ Day-Old Bread on the Mark-Down Cart

I always check this cart to see if their French or Italian bread is available for $0.53. If so, I grab a few loaves so my boys can make Pizza Boats for a quick lunch or so we’ll have it on hand to serve guests. No it’s not very nutritious. But it makes a nice side for an otherwise nutritious meal, and our guests enjoy it slathered in butter!

~ Hormel Naturals Lunch Meat

If we need sandwiches to take on the road for soccer or basketball games, I grab a couple family packs of these.

~ Nitrite Free Hot Dogs

They recently came out with a Walmart brand of hotdogs that I would consider “better for you” and their price is better too. I like to have these on hand for Beanie Weanies once in a while. :)

~ Organic Mixed Greens and Fresh Spinach

The prices on these are great, and actually cheaper than the conventional options! I love how simple these make my life!

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Are you a Walmart shopper? Does your Walmart still offer Price Matching? What do you frequently buy at Walmart?

Make Your Own Real Food Pudding Cups (and Save Money!)

Perhaps you are excited as I am about the Easy Peanut Butter Pudding recipe I shared a few days ago. If so, you can get even more excited about how you can make different varieties of homemade pudding to create your own transportable Real Food Pudding Cups! Not only are these Pudding Cups made with real food, you will be amazed at the low cost for such a wholesome treat!

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Take note that some people (who shall remain nameless) tried to overfill their cute little cups and then the lids wouldn’t go on. Correction: The lids did go on, but pudding pushed up and over the top through the lid and squished down the sides of the cup, ruining the cuteness and creating a mess. I don’t know who would do this, but some people did this, so don’t be one of these people.

The nameless people who overfilled their cups had to scoop out pudding into an extra cup before placing lids on top. But then look:

Homemade Pudding Cups

Transportable pudding cups!

A couple years ago I discovered these awesome BPA Free Cups with Lids at Amazon and have used them over and over. We’ve used them for applesauce cups and for transporting berries or veggie dip. They come in super handy! And now, we learn that we can use them to make these Easy Homemade Pudding Cups.

Let’s talk Pudding Cup Ingredients and Cost

I recently checked the price and ingredients for pudding cups at the store. First of all, the store-bought pudding cups sit on a shelf instead of in a fridge, so we can be sure there are many preservatives included. The biggest reason to avoid these is that they include two kinds of hydrogenated oils plus vegetable oil, none of which can our bodies digest well or utilize for nourishment. Cost for store-bought is roughly $0.25 for a 3.25 ounce cup.

How much do Homemade Real Food Pudding Cups Cost?

I used all real food, organic ingredients and my cost break down was still surprisingly low! So if you use non-organic ingredients you might find yourself saving even more!

I estimated that one batch of pudding cost me about $1.75. This made six 5-ounce cups of pudding, which breaks down to $0.29 per pudding cup! But since the cups I’m using are slightly bigger than store-bought pudding cups, the price per ounce of homemade pudding is actually less expensive than purchased pudding cups!

How about that? Making Real Food Pudding Cups saves us money and ensures that we’re getting a wholesome, filling snack or dessert!

pudding cups5

You can have fun making pudding varieties and mixing and matching fun flavors! Reuse the disposable cups (they wash up easily!) to save even more.

Easy Recipes for Pudding Cups

Two Great Pudding Cup Tips

  1. Adjust the sugar amount in each of these recipes to your liking. Take note also that you can use any sweetener you choose, from maple syrup to honey, brown sugar, or sucanat.
  2. These Pudding Cups freeze well! Make a bunch ahead of time, then pull out a few at a time to thaw as needed.

What can you do with extra egg whites after making homemade pudding? 

These pudding recipes call for egg yolks as the egg whites tend to create a funny texture as the pudding cooks. I set the egg whites aside, store them in a jar in the fridge, then often add them to our scrambled eggs to use them up. Or you can make Coconut Macaroon Cookies.

Make Your Own Real Food Pudding Cups

What’s your favorite variety of pudding? Do you have any other great ideas for utilizing these reusable plastic cups with lids?

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Chocolate Milk on my Grocery List (In Your Dreams, Kid.)

My 15-year old is quiet. Very, very quiet. But his sense of humor comes out in many ways every day, probably made extra funny because he sits so quietly, then suddenly opens his mouth with something so unexpected that catches us all off guard.

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I laugh out loud frequently at this kid. At all my kids. I mean with them. Not at them. Well, both. What can I say?

Here’s one of Elias’ favorite quiet funny tricks, and you would think it would cease to be funny after so many grocery lists, but nope. I LOL every time, mostly because I don’t know how it is that he manages to sneak his pen to my paper before I head to the grocery store. Every. Single. Time.

I prepare my Walmart list by looking at Pricematerz.com to see what great deals I can get this week. I scratch down everything I want to look at, add anything extra we’re out of, and let the boys know I’ll be heading out.

I get to the store, start to make my way through the list, and there it is. Every time, that kid has added: Chocolate Milk.

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It’s like I take a little piece of him with me every time I grocery shop.

I mean, it never hurts to ask, right? The power of suggestion is huge. But it sure is too bad that I NEVER, EVER GIVE IN. Not once have I put the jug of chocolate milk into my cart.

I get home from the store, the boys all unload the van, and without fail I hear, “Oops, Mom. Looks like you forgot the chocolate milk again.”

Yep, sure did.

Ahh, my Elias.

Never mind the fact that I can make him homemade chocolate milk. He claims that he doesn’t like it, because sure, if you’ve had the store-bought syrupy version, a less-sweet version may not cut it when you’re 15.

A Happy Chocolate Milk Solution

We just discovered a win-win. The Javita Dollar Coffee Club we started a few months ago, which offers healthy herb-infused coffee, tea, and flavored water just reintroduced their Focus Fusion Cocoa. So in honor of Elias (and everyone else in my family who loves chocolate, which is everyone else), I added some to our AutoShip order. “Maybe,” I thought, “Maybe this will do the trick for everyone’s chocolate milk cravings.”

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It does. I win. Chocolate Milk has ceased to make its way onto my grocery list, but something else has replaced it because the cleverness of my children didn’t go away when Javita hit our home. Details below.

Confession: I am a tiny bit disappointed with the ingredients listed in the Javita Cocoa Fusion. I feel 100% good about every other Javita drink, from the coffee to the tea to the strawberry lemonade “Flex” to the very berry “Defend.” They include even-better-than-organic ingredients, and are full of wonderful, healing herbs that offer many health benefits.

The Cocoa Fusion also has healing herbs and offers health benefits. It just also happens to have sugar. So boo for that. But hey, this means my kid will drink it. And so…

I’ve decided that the Cocoa Fusion will be a compromise drink that we’ll enjoy sometimes (but not as freely as I let my family enjoy all the other Javita drinks). It’s many times better for us than any store-bought hot chocolate or chocolate milk. It contains wonderful herbs that are fabulous for concentration, memory, brain health, thinking skills, and focus.

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It tastes good hot or cold, and all of my sons love it.

So while I’ll continue to give big shout outs to the health benefits of the Javita coffee, tea, and flavored waters, and wholeheartedly endorse them with no reservation – I’ll give a “better than” wink to their cocoa. Add it to your monthly auto-ship for a fun treat that will also provide health benefits and a brain boost.

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So now that we’ve got the chocolate milk situation figured out at our house, Elias no longer needs to sneak the words “chocolate milk” onto my grocery list.

Never fear though. Now’s he’s started writing in “Ice Cream.”

Good try, Kid. Good try.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How to join our Javita Dollar Coffee Club

Want to give these great drinks a try? The least expensive option is to purchase with Auto-Delivery so that you only have to pay a dollar per drink. Each month after that you can adjust, add, subtract drink options at any time before your next delivery.

  1. Click here, then on “Experience the Products.”
  2. You can look through the various drinks and check out each of their ingredients, then click on “Order Now.”
  3. Select the country where you life (United States is at the top left).
  4. Click on “Build Your Own” to select any of the products you are interested in for your family. (If you order 2-5 boxes, shipping is free!)
  5. Once you’ve added your selections to the cart, proceed with the check-out process.
  6. Again, each month you can make adjustments to your auto-delivery to fit your family’s needs!

P.S. Read here to learn 6 Unexpected Blessings I’ve Experienced Thanks to Javita Drinks.

Simple Chili Mac (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop)

This Simple Chili Mac is the reason you should make a double batch of chili. Leftover chili (or purchased canned chili) makes this recipe take about 5 minutes to throw together.

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Also? How did I ever live without an Instant Pot? I know, I know. So many of you told me I would love it for the amount of time and effort it saves, but I could not handle thinking about learning how to use a new appliance. Good grief. There was nothing to learn. Okay, there was a little bit more than nothing to learn. There was about ten minutes of learning involved.

But now I’m like, “Here, Instant Pot. I give you my leftover chili and my dry pasta. Please make our lunch.”

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And then it does. Like a boss. Except I’m the boss because I told it what to make.

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If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still make this as simple as possible in your crock pot or your stove top.

Have I told you how much I love NOT cooking pasta before adding it to casserole dishes? Truly, any recipe that allows me to dump dry pasta into sauce and walk away is golden.

Simple Chili Mac

Simple Chili Mac (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop)
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 48-ounces prepared Chili
  • 8-ounces whole grain pasta, any variety, uncooked
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Stir chili, uncooked pasta, water and salt into Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or large cooking pot.
  2. Instant Pot: Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
  3. Crock Pot: Cook on low for 4 hours or hi for 2.5 hours.
  4. Stove Top: Cook on low heat, covered, stirring every few minutes until pasta is tender.
  5. Top casserole with cheese and allow it to melt before serving.

Simple Chili Mac - for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop

Here’s our Easy Chili Recipe! Using leftover chili for this Chili Mac recipe makes it extra simple!

More Simple Recipes

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Make life even simpler when you sign up to receive our weekly Menu Planning Packets. One tiny price, loads of weekly help. Read about this and sign up here!

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FREE Lavender Lotion Bar from MadeOn ~ Two Days Only!

Before you ask, there’s no catch. ;) Renee from MadeOn is giving all of us a free Lavender Lotion Bar just because she loves us.

free lavender lotion bar

Yes, we have to pay shipping on our freebie, otherwise we’d really put her in the hole, and we don’t want to put Renee in a hole, am I right? She’s too nice for that, what with her giving us freebies and all.

What I suggest is that you get the most out of your $4.95 shipping fee while you get your free lotion bar. Shipping on your entire order is a flat $4.95, so no matter how much you put in your cart, you only pay five bucks shipping.

And you get a free Lavender Lotion Bar.

If you’re new here and you’re wondering, “What’s so great about MadeOn Lotion Bars?” let me tell you all about why they are so great! Aside from the fact that they contain ingredients I feel absolutely good about…

My hands used to be awful, awful, awful. Dry, cracked, bleeding, miserable – all winter long and beyond. A few years ago Renee send me a MadeOn Lotion Bar to try and within ONE DAY my hands felt better. I haven’t looked back and my hands are gloriously soft and healthy…as long as I continue to use my Lotion Bar.

hands

If I ignore my dry skin and don’t rub on the Lotion Bar, my hands feel awful again. Thus, I make sure I always have a supply of MadeOn Lotion Bars in my house. My family all uses these products and I send some to college with our oldest.

This is what makes this FREEBIE so much fun! This is about the time of year I stock up on MadeOn Lotion for winter dry skin. If I’m paying $4.95 shipping anyway, and I’m loading up on plenty of Lotion Bars (my fav is the BeeSilk, but I’m also loving the Lavender Lotion Bar they sent me to try) how awesome that I can aldo get a free Lavender Lotion Bar in my package!

This freebie offer is only good today and tomorrow (September 18-19), so go here now and add this Lavender Lotion Bar to your cart. Then add to your cart any other items you need.  (There’s no other purchase necessary, by the way. You can simply get this freebie and nothing else!) At checkout use the code HHLavender and the cost of the Lavender Lotion Bar turns to $0.00 like magic.

Enjoy this fun goodie, and may your hands (and arms and legs and feet) be forever nourished and comfortable!

Get the Lavender Lotion Bar Freebie here.

Offer expires Tuesday at midnight, PST. These links are my affiliate links. 

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

This one was Justus’ idea. He’s my 17-year old, my senior in high school. These are my last few months with him at home so when he said, “Mom, do you think you could figure out how to make Peanut Butter Pudding?” of course I immediately dropped whatever I was doing to work on his request.

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I kid. I mean, I would never drop whatever I’m doing to go with a whim of one of my children. Never would I attempt to spoil any of my kids. Especially when it comes to food. They must be taught patience, that the world doesn’t revolve around them, even if it is their senior year and the mother can’t breathe at the thought of missing out on the delightful morning conversations she enjoys with her second born every morning before the others wake up. Even if.

Okay fine. I dropped what I was doing and I made the kid some Peanut Butter Pudding. It sounded like an amazing treat, and I agreed with Justus that the protein mixed in with the sweetness would be a fabulous combination.

Justus Senior4600

As an aside, it is worth a mention that I learned with our first born that the world doesn’t end when you graduate a child and send him from home. Life with your adult child does, indeed, grow in richness (this is ironic because of the college bills). But this doesn’t stop me from feeling all of the many feelings associated with launching another child from our nest. I will enjoy this time with him to the full. I will cry tears of joy and pride frequently. And I will make him pudding with peanut butter in it, just because he mentions that it sounds good.

The recipe is simple (you would expect nothing less, right?). It is creamy and rich and delightful. It tastes even better served with Chocolate Pudding.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Peanut Butter Pudding
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, honey, sucanat, or brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except butter and vanilla.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until pudding begins to thicken.
  3. Stir over the heat for about 15 more seconds or until pudding has reached desired thickness. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy.
  4. (I use my whisk the whole time for stirring and find this works great!)
  5. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.
  6. Pour into serving dishes and serve warm, or chill for two hours and serve cold.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

It’s possible you can look forward to me sharing other great food ideas Justus has this year. Not that I’ll drop everything and make them on a whim. We would never, ever want to spoil our children. Especially with food. Even if it’s their senior year.

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“Hey Mom. Think you could make my favorite Italian Cream Cheese Chicken soon?” Absolutely, Justus. Absolutely.

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars – From Freezer to Oven!

Well, here we are. The school year is in full swing. Fall soccer season is knocking our (smelly) socks off. I have completely forgotten which way is up.

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I already lost track of which way is south because when people give me directions they are not allowed to use ridiculous phrases like, “Turn east and you’ll see our house on the north corner.” What kind of foreign language are they even speaking? When giving me directions, people may only use phrases like, “turn right” or “turn left” or better yet “turn toward the sign with the monkey.”

In summary, September is always a very busy month for our family, and I am extremely directionally challenged. However, as long as I do everything I can to keep our food simple, I handle myself okay in the kitchen (which, as it turns out, is located in the northeast corner of our house).

Stashing prepared food in our freezer (found when you take a south at the stove and head due west toward the toaster) is only helpful if said prepared food doesn’t get lost in the back and freezer burned. I’ve discovered a couple of tricks during the past couple of years that make freezer cooking much better for our family, and my favorite is this:

Stir together breakfast baked goods, but freeze them before baking. Pull out desired amount of said frozen goods and bake them fresh on the morning you plan to serve them.

When doing this, I get baking messes out of the way so I don’t have to measure and mix on busy school mornings. But we can still eat the goodies fresh out of the oven.

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

Take, for instance, my “famous” Giant Breakfast Cookies. I mix up a double batch (because why make one batch when you can make two?). I scoop the dough onto cookie sheets and freeze the cookie dough balls. Each morning when we want hot, fresh Breakfast Cookies, I simply pull out some frozen cookie dough balls and bake them while I scramble eggs and slice strawberries. We all eat a fabulous breakfast and I’ve hardly worked at all.

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I do the same with muffin batter, freezing it in muffin cups, unbaked, and pulling them out to bake as needed. Homemade Poptarts are perfect frozen unbaked as well.

The Easiest Way to Make Muffins

This is all wonderful, seeing as I must use all my energy after breakfast to try and understand what my phone means when it tells me to “head north toward Highway 2″ as I’m trying to locate a soccer field in another city. For the love of my brain cells, JUST TELL ME TO GO STRAIGHT OR TURN RIGHT. Well, anyway…

My most recent “Mix and Freeze” breakfast food discovery is this: I can mix up big batches of these Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars, freeze them unbaked, then pull out squares and bake them as needed.

breakfast bars22

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See? I line my 8×8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. I even freeze it in layers (though learned the hard way that it is important to keep parchment paper between the layers). Once frozen, I transfer the unbaked dough to gallon-sized freezer bags. If I think about it the night before, I’ll pull out a square to thaw in the fridge so I can bake it the next day. Otherwise, I simply pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.

Where has this tip been my whole life? (Probably hiding somewhere between the east and the west, but of course, I could never find it.)

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars - From Freezer to Oven!
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup sucanat or ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Stir together melted butter and sucanat.
  2. Add eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla, mixing well.
  3. Stir in oats and flour until well combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture in a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two 8x8 inch baking dishes).
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  7. To Freeze Dough: Line 8x8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the unbaked dough to freezer bags. Thaw dough squares in the fridge overnight to bake the next day. Or pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.

Make-Ahead Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

I highly recommend making and freezing bacon ahead so that within thirty seconds, you can serve hot, sizzly bacon with these bars. Any fruit will go with these as well, and with that, breakfast is served.

May your mornings be pleasant, may your breakfast be tasty, and may you never tell me to head south on 6th street.