Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

Funny thing about this Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes recipe: It’s low in fat. Crazy, right? Laura never shares “low fat” recipes. (Though she does sometimes talk about herself in third person.)

Trust me, I did not do this on purpose. I didn’t substitute the butter for applesauce in order to cut down on fat consumption. I did it to create a yummy fall recipe. I did it because applesauce makes a recipe quite moist and flavorful. I did it because as it turns out, this recipe works better without any butter or coconut oil. Who knew?

applesauce pancakes

I tell you what, though. Make these pancakes, then slather them with real butter or natural peanut butter. Those are good, real fats our bodies recognizes and uses to nourish our brains and bodies. Go easy on the maple syrup though, because sugar is where many of our health problems lie. Poor fat. It gets all the blame for what sugar is doing to us. (Don’t get me started.)

Whole Wheat Applesauce PancakesYum

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes
 
Author:
Serves: 8-12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground hard or soft whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • Milk or water to reach preferred batter consistency
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Add milk or water to make a thinner or thicker batter - however you like it.
  3. Cook pancakes on a buttered griddle, flipping once they become bubbly.
  4. These take a bit longer to cook compared to regular pancakes, so turn the heat down so the outside doesn't burn while the inside cooks fully!

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

In order to make these Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes as wonderful as possible, you’ll want to learn to make Homemade Applesauce. My favorite way is to make applesauce using the very wonderful Victorio. Read more about that here.

victorio

applesauce_victorio

Other great apple recipes

Just in case you wanted to see what the amazing Apple Nachos look like:

apple nachos

Mmmmm, apple season!

P.S. These Applesauce Pancakes freeze well. :)

Granola Bar Cups – a Brilliant Way to Make Granola Bars To-Go!

If all the brilliant people continue to share all their brilliant ideas, we will never run out of great ways to improve our lives in the kitchen and the ways we feed our family.

This time, we’re learning (from wonderful readers like you!) that we can follow my well-loved Chewy Granola Bars recipe, but instead of making them into bars as normal, we can press them into muffin cups. Need to pack them into a lunch box or be able to easily offer a single serving to cut down on the mess?

Try these Granola Bar Cups!

granola cups2

Recipes that work fantastically with this Granola Bar Cup idea are:

These are both no-bake recipes, which makes them very fast to put together.

The beauty of both of these recipes is that you can make them according to your family’s preferences and allergy needs. The Coconut Fudge Bars are much lower in sugar than other recipes, so I stick with that one now. If you need to use gluten free oats, you can. If you need to avoid peanuts, use another nut butter or sunbutter. The recipes are very forgiving, very quick to make, and very fun.

But even more fun is that you can press the mixture into muffin cups for easy transport and lunch box packing!

Granola Cups

Once they have chilled, you can slip one into a baggie and pack it to-go.

Easy Granola Bar Cups

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, those look like high sugar No-Bake Cookies I love,” you’ll be happy to know that they taste a lot like the beloved cookie we’ve all grown up loving. The difference is that we can eat these made with healthier ingredients and way less sugar. How fantastic is this?!

Thanks to all who shared this fun Granola Bar Cup idea!

Free Download - Lunch Box Cards

Want something else fun to pack into a lunch box?

Check out these great ideas and recipes that are great for the lunch box!

Just a quick note to let you know about this great 20-50% off Lilla Rose Sale. Check it out!

Lilla Rose Aug sale

Make Your Own Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal

When you think “homemade cereal” you might think tedious, time consuming, or labor intensive. Um, hi. Would I be sharing this recipe if it were any of those things? Ok then.

You mix up the ingredients, you dump it into a pan, you bake it, and you eat it. I’ve already taken it upon myself to double the recipe from what it originally was, because why make a little when we can make enough for two or three meals or snacks? You can make this with wheat flour or gluten free flour – whichever you need.

Huge thanks to my friends Katie and Kim for sharing this amazing recipe idea with me!!

Homemade Cracklin' Oat Bran
I have no idea what the actual boxed variety looks like or tastes like. Don’t know, don’t care. You know why? This homemade version of Cracklin’ Oat Bran is amazing. I’m quite sure making it homemade saves me a nice chunk of change and I know the homemade version is healthier.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal RecipeYum

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal
 
Author:
Serves: 10-12 cups
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups rolled oats (ground in the blender to become flour*)
  • 1 cup whole grain flour (I used freshly ground wheat, but you can use rice, sorgham, or another gf option if you like.)
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 3-5 teaspoons cinnamon (the cinnamon is what makes this really yummy!)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar of choice (sucanat, coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 egg whites, whisked to frothy**
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Add all wet ingredients to the dry ingredients at the same time, mixing until combined. Mixture will resemble large crumbs.
  3. Crumble the mixture onto two baking sheets or Pyrex casserole dishes.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-40 minutes, stirring and breaking up large chunks every 10 minutes. (Baking time varies as every oven is different.)
  5. Once cereal is golden brown, turn off oven but leave the cereal in the oven to crisp up.

Here’s what the mixture looks like in “crumb form” before being baked. I found it easiest to break up the mixture with my fingers before putting it into the oven. Then, as it’s baking, I use a wooden spoon to break it up more so it becomes bite-sized cereal pieces. :)

cracklin oats1
* It’s very easy to make Oat Flour in your blender. Simply put the 4 1/2 cups of oats in your blender and whirl until the oats become fine. You can read more details about this here. Be sure to use gluten free oats if you need this cereal to be GF!

** I often have egg whites hanging out in my fridge after I make Tapioca Pudding, so this is a perfect way to use them! Otherwise, separate your eggs for this recipe and save the yolks for scrambled eggs. To “whisk to frothy” I simply put the egg whites in a bowl and whip them with a fork for a couple minutes. Easy as that!

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran

Want other Homemade Cereal ideas?

So far this recipe has been a huge hit with our family! I hope to keep at least one variety of homemade cereal on hand during the school year so I can fall back on it as a breakfast option on busy mornings.

Have you tried any other homemade cereal recipes I should look at?

Whole Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

You know you’ve got a fabulous recipe when your 14-year old son takes a bite of a fresh Chocolate Zucchini Muffin and says, “Hmm. Great texture.” Or maybe I’ve just got a fabulous 14-year old son. This is a given.

zucchini muffins

Here’s a pic of this amazing kid at church camp this summer. Yes, the girls have noticed him. Every single girl has noticed. Let’s go back to talking about the muffins.

Elias at camp 2016

These muffins are “moist like a cupcake.” Again – the description of my 14-year old.

The original recipe I had for these muffins called for one full cup of sugar and (brace yourself) an entire bag of chocolate chips. An entire bag. Not only am I not interested in adding that amount of sugar to the healthy and necessary meal I like to call “breakfast” – I’m also way too cheap. Would you like a little muffin with those chocolate chips?

With proportions like that, you might think that cutting the sugar so drastically as I did might turn out a boring and inedible muffin. But allow me to remind you of the teenager’s comment from above, that these muffins are “like a cupcake.” This from someone who would never have argued with me if I had chosen to dump an entire bag of chocolate chips into my muffin mix. He didn’t even know what he was missing.

He also didn’t know he was eating zucchini.

When writing this recipe for you, I shared a range of measurements for the sugary ingredients. Your family might prefer these muffins to be a bit sweeter, in which case you’ll want to go with the 1/2 cup portion of sugar and chocolate chips. Either way, the muffins will turn out amazing. You know – moist like a cupcake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Zucchini MuffinsYum

5.0 from 2 reviews
Whole Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ - ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Stir in shredded zucchini, eggs, and oil until well combined.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop into 12 prepared muffin tins.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I like to use Enjoy Life Soy Free Chocolate Chips when possible. :)

Enjoy these muffins for a Back-to-School breakfast or as an after school snack. Need more breakfast ideas? Find 60 Make Ahead Breakfast ideas in this post.

Here’s your final reminder to sign up to win a copy of our new Low Sugar Treats eBook!!

Back to School Breakfast: How to Set Up a Yogurt Parfait Bar

You know I like setting up different varieties of “Build Your Own” bars. This cuts down on my work and let’s everyone build their dish to their liking. Other ideas I’ve shared here:

Today’s idea is quite simple, and great for a busy school morning. In fact, this would even work as a “breakfast on the go” option by simply building your yogurt parfait in a plastic cup or glass jar and eating it on the way out the door.

How to Set Up a Yogurt Parfait Bar

Great options to set out for a Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Bar

Want to save even more time? Make this 5-Minute Stop-Top Granola!

Your options are only limited by your imagination. And the ways to save money are great. For instance:

  • Typically it is less expensive to purchase larger tubs of yogurt instead of individual cups.
  • If you buy whole milk plain yogurt, you can add any sweetener you like and make it for your sweetness preference.
  • You can make Homemade Yogurt.
  • Offer berries and other fruit that is in season and thus less expensive.
  • Make your own granola as a stir-in option using one of the recipes above. (Pre-made, boxed granola can be very expensive!)

Did you see all 60 of these great Make-Ahead Breakfast ideas? We will survive busy school mornings, we will!

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

Five pounds of bacon. That’s how much I cooked at one time a couple weeks ago. This might sound excessive to you, but have you met my family? 

The following are conversations I have every single time I am at the grocery store when people see my shopping cart:

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all those berries?
Me: Eat them.

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all that chicken?
Me: Eat it.

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all those peaches?
Me: Eat them.

And on it goes. Every time. Without fail. At least one person at the store comments on the abundant contents of my shopping cart. Apparently my cart looks like one big party. This is what happens when you have a household of teenage boys. Also, when there is a good price, I buy in bulk. It only makes sense, but apparently people aren’t used to seeing a woman with 15 packages of cheese. I had no idea I was such an anomaly. As if 15 packages of cheese at one time is somehow weird. It’s a day in the life, man. A day in the life.

So back to the bacon. No, we did not eat all five pounds at once. Goodness.

I found it for a fantastic price, which of course means that I bought 10 packages. (Wow, what are you going to do with all that bacon? We’ve been through this already…)

I froze five packs and then proceeded to cook the other five pounds. Why?

  1. Because why cook one when you can cook five and only dirty one pot?
  2. Having bacon bits in the freezer saves oodles of time and means all I have to do is grab the cooked bacon and use it in a meal (see ideas below).
  3. When I cook bacon, my clothes and hair smell like bacon. I’d prefer this scent to be my perfume of choice only occasionally.

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

What’s the easiest way to make Bacon Bits?

I pick up the entire package of bacon, with the strips all stuck together, and I cut it with kitchen shears like this:

bacon bits 1

For five pounds, I use my largest pot. Once the pieces are cut, I cover it and cook it on medium heat for about an hour, stirring every once in a while so it cooks evenly. (A smaller amount of bacon would take much less time, but I know nothing about cooking in small amounts.)

bacon bits2

Once the bacon is fully cooked, I strain out the grease, allow it to cool, then package it up in meal-sized portions for the fridge and freezer.

bacon bits4

bacon bits3

What will I do with all the Bacon Bits? As needed, I’ll pull some out to quickly make:

In other “why you should make your own Bacon Bits” related news, I believe it is important to be aware that we’re aware that: “Bac’n Pieces™ Bacon Flavored Bits are artificially flavored textured soy flour to imitate bacon pieces.” Ingredients include Textured Soy Flour, Canola Oil, Salt, Caramel Color, Maltodextrin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract, Disodium Inosinate And Disodium Guanylate (Flavor Enhancers), And&Nbsp;Fd&C Red 40.

I’d stick with real bacon if I’m you. It’s not difficult and the taste is no comparison.

Ever made your own bacon bits? Ever get amazed comments at the store because of the amount of food you buy? Ever cut bacon with scissors?

Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas to Make Back-to-School Mornings Easier

Here you go. 60 Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas to give us a boost as we kick off the school year! All of these are made with real food ingredients and will hopefully save our mornings from being too hectic.

60 Make Ahead Breakfast Recipes and Ideas
The beauty of these ideas is that they make mornings easier whether your kids have to get out the door for school in the morning or you homeschool and want to get your day off to a productive start without spending too much time putting breakfast on the table. (For that matter, these ideas are great even if you aren’t in the kids-in-school season of life!)

I love getting breakfast foods made ahead of time so that my kids can easily help themselves in the morning. Often we’ll also scramble or fry eggs to go with our meal and we always get out fresh fruit. My teenage boys often also crave protein at breakfast, so I try to have something meaty available for them to cook for themselves. Hmm, it sure does sound like we eat a lot around here. Truth: We eat a lot around here.

So 60 Make Ahead breakfast ideas. Here we go!

Recipes and Ideas You Can Make Ahead for a Fast Breakfast

breakfast_cake_3

All of these recipes can be made the day before and served right away in the morning!

Homemade cereal recipes you can make ahead and serve right away in the morning

Some mornings are cereal mornings, so there. Here are some homemade cereal options we enjoy!

dark_chocolate_almond_granola

Recipes that freeze well and can be thawed and reheated easily

If you have these in your freezer, you can thaw and rewarm in the oven or toaster oven!

Recipes that Can Be Made Easily with Whole Wheat Quick Baking Mix

quick_mix

Fun Ideas to Enjoy Stir-n-Pour Bread

stir and pour sandwich 3

This super easy Stir-n-Pour Bread takes practically no effort, but turns out a delicious loaf of bread. When I have this on hand, we can slice it and make:

  • Peanut Butter Honey Toast
  • Fried Eggs on Toast
  • Cinnamon Toast
  • Scrambled Egg Sandwiches
  • Simple Buttered Toast – maybe even with jelly :)

Drink Your BreakfastYum

Most smoothies are pretty quick to make and can be filling if you include peanut butter or cottage cheese. Add fresh spinach for an extra punch of nourishment.

pineapple_mango_smoothie_2

Muffins,  Muffins, Muffins!

I’ve learned to love freezing muffin batter, which you can read about here. What a time saver! I’ve also learned that silicone muffin cups are fantastic. More about that here.

silicone muffins 3

Make it Ahead, but Cook it in the Morning

Overnight Whole Wheat Waffles

  • Mix up Overnight Waffle Batter before bed so that all you have to do in the morning is cook the waffles and serve.
  • Make Turkey Sausage in large batches and freeze it in meal sized portions. Make Freezer Biscuits, and thaw only the amount you’ll need in the morning for a meal. Make a quick meal of a big treat – Biscuits and Gravy – when you’ve done the prep work ahead! Here’s my Sausage Gravy recipe.
  • Follow the freezing muffin batter idea mentioned above, set some out at night before bed, then bake them in the morning.
  • If you want to serve pancakes, mix the dry ingredients the night before so that all you have to do in the morning is add your liquids and cook. This isn’t as fast as other ideas shared here, but it does make the pancake process a little easier in the morning! Here’s our favorite Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.

I have several new breakfast ideas in the works, so be on the look-out for those. Sign up here for our free weekly newsletter to be sure you don’t miss a post!

Leave a comment to share your favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast ideas!

How to Make Overnight Whole Wheat Waffle Batter

What if you could mix up a yummy waffle batter before you go to bed at night, then stumble into the kitchen in the morning to cook just as many waffles as you need – with little effort?

Overnight Whole Wheat Waffles

Are you telling me that you don’t stumble into the kitchen in the mornings? That you’re a bouncer? A springer? That you wake up like Tigger? I am so happy for you.

For the rest of us stumblers, we can use this recipe to wake up slowly but still have breakfast on the table in a very short amount of time. The measuring and mixing (and the thinking and the reading of recipes) will have been done the night before. You can have your waffle iron set out and ready so that all you have to do is plug it in, turn it on, and wait for it to heat.

For that matter, you might consider prepping berries and whipped cream the night before because a waffle with syrup is good, but a waffle with berries and whipped cream is even better.

My aunt gave me this recipe a long time ago. Then I misplaced it. Now I have it back again. (Good talk.)

That fascinating story was my way of telling you that while I did do some tweaking of this recipe to use ingredients I prefer, I give all the credit to my Aunt Claudia for providing the genius behind it so that you and I can be morning stumblers. These waffles are delicious!

Overnight Whole Wheat WafflesYum

5.0 from 2 reviews
How to Make Overnight Whole Wheat Waffle Batter
 
Author:
Serves: 8 waffles
Ingredients
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeasr
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey, sucanat, or sugar
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.
  2. Heat milk to just warm.
  3. Beat in eggs, oil, yeast mixture, and all remaining ingredients. (I used my blender for this, or you can use an electric mixer if you like.)
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Bake in a waffle iron.

Easy Overnight Whole Wheat Waffles

See the bubbly batter you’ll wake up to in the morning? No need for you to be bubbly. You get to stumble. The batter will be bubbly enough to make up for your inability to be bubbly in the morning. You might find it is enough to bring a slight smile to a half-awake face.

Overnight Whole Wheat Waffle Batter

Some additional recipes and tips you might find helpful to go along with this waffle recipe:

While we like fruity syrups, we typically enjoy fresh (raw) berries on our waffles. Fresh strawberries with whipped cream is our favorite waffle topping. So amazing!

Have you ever tried a mix-the-waffle-batter-the-night-before idea? I love this and plan to make it a staple at our house to save time (and brain) in the mornings!

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe

If you’re wondering what I’m up to every single afternoon of every day during the entire summer – and obviously, you surely do wonder – you can be certain that I am making myself a smooth and creamy coffee shake and sipping it slowly. This, at about 1:30 each afternoon, CST. Set your clock by it. At 1:30 each day, you can think to yourself, Laura is most certainly enjoying her coffee milkshake right about now. We are so happy for her.

Thank you for your support.

Coffee Milkshake

I would love for you to also have the option of beginning your afternoon in this way, so please, allow me to share this recipe so you can indulge and love your treat right down to the last drop. The good news is that this is very low in sugar (though you can add more if you like!) and includes all real food ingredients. I suppose the other good news is that the coffee will perk us all up for the afternoon so that we can rock on with whatever it is we need to do. Hi-yah! Glory, hallelujah.

Perhaps the one draw back to making this milkshake is that you must think and plan ahead. Hot coffee ruins the moment. All key ingredients must be cold or even frozen. And then there’s the homemade ice cream issue. The ice cream amazing and easy, but too hard to scoop if not set out a few minutes ahead of your milkshake making endeavors. So here’s the breakdown so that you can achieve Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake perfection:

  1. Cold brew some coffee, or make regular hot brew and chill it thoroughly.
  2. Make yourself some coffee iced cubes. This isn’t a must, but almost.
  3. Be sure to have Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream in the freezer (it’s easier than you think).
  4. Set your ice cream out on the counter about ten minutes before making your shake so that it will be soft enough to scoop.

Don’t get the impression that this is a high maintenance recipe. It really is not. I typically have coffee in my fridge and coffee cubes in my freezer. It takes 2 minutes to whip up a batch of this Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream. Then it’s just a matter of pulling it all together. At 1:30 every single afternoon.

Low Sugar Coffee MilkshakeYum

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 scoops Homemade Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4-6 coffee ice cubes
  • 1-2 cups cold coffee
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a blender.
  2. Serve right away.

low sugar coffee milkshake

Take note that this is not a super-sweet treat as is, so you’ll want to adjust the sweetness level by adding maple syrup according to your taste. I personally love it with a strong coffee flavor and only a tiny bit of sweetness and creaminess. But the beauty of this recipe and the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is that you can make it sweet or less sweet without messing anything up!

Get your ingredients ready! 1:30 will be here before you know it.

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits (It’s too easy)

What happens when you cross a blueberry with a strawberry with cheesecake filling? Red, white, and blue. This is what you have. Regular cheesecake parfait becomes Americana Cheesecake Parfait. Just like that, you’ve created a perfect treat for your holiday.

Strawberry Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits

I realize it might be too late for you to do this for Memorial Day – unless you happen to have these fine ingredients already in your fridge. I once (last week) bought 18 packages of cream cheese at one time because it was on sale for $1.00 and I couldn’t help myself (obviously). Plus, I frequently bring home 12-16 pounds of berries at once when they are in season and on sale. (No one ever looks at me funny while I’m going through check-out.) Perhaps you also have a fridge full of cream cheese and berries?

If not, you can tuck this recipe away to make when you find these ingredients on sale. After all, it never hurts to make these with no holiday attached. And of course, you’ll want to remember these for the Fourth of July.

The Original Cheesecake ParfaitsYum

About this time last year, I concocted our first Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits. We have since declared this to be the best way to eat fruit. Recently we tried Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits, which are just as amazing.

chocolate cheesecake parfait

Matt and I much prefer this made with stevia. Our boys make a batch for themselves with a little sugar instead. We’ve been eating this and serving this to friends who come over pretty much constantly since berries came back in season a few weeks ago. This is a definite family favorite!

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits

4.0 from 1 reviews
Americana Cheesecake Parfaits (It's too easy)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
  • Liquid stevia to taste (I use about 20 drops) (Use a few Tablespoons of sugar if you prefer.)
  • 1 -2 pounds fresh, sliced strawberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (minus the berries) into a blender.
  2. Whip until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon mixture into bowls or cups - layering them with blueberries and sliced strawberries.

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits

However are you remembering and celebrating this weekend?