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


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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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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Easy Peppermint Milkshakes

It’s easy, filling, healthy, and delicious – a perfect treat anytime, but especially during the Christmas season.  Serve a Peppermint Milkshake for a perfect side dish or snack!

Easy Peppermint Milkshakes

2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

Blend and serve!

We always add organic, farm-fresh raw eggs to our milkshakes for added nutrition.  I believe this simple recipe would work great with coconut milk as well.  :)

Easy Peppermint Milkshake

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Homemade (Real Food) Mint Oreos

This recipe needs no introduction.  It’s a homemade mint oreo.  What more do I need to say?  It’s happy, happy, delicious, happiness – perfect for a holiday gathering.

Besides the fact that these are made with whole food ingredients, perhaps the most exciting bragging point of these cookies is this:  After you eat one of these, you can smile at your friends without fear of having “oreo teeth.”  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Oh my goodness.

oreos 1

Allow me to introduce you to your new friend:

Homemade Oreo Cookies

1 cup melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sucanat or brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (less or more as needed)

Stir together melted butter, cocoa powder, and sucanat.  Add eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in flour.  Use a cookie scoop to place cookie dough two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350° oven.  Once the cookies have cooled, use the following filling recipe to create cookie sandwiches.


3 cups unbleached powdered sugar (more or less as needed)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
4 Tablespoons milk (more or less as needed)
Sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer until smooth and it has reached desired consistency.  Spread filling onto cookies to form sandwiches like oreos.

Makes about 25 Mint Oreo Cookie Sandwiches.  Want just a “plain” oreo?  Simply leave out the peppermint extract in the filling recipe.

Homemade Mint Oreos

As you can see, some of mine are “regular” and some are “double stuffed.”  This is because I care so much about perfection and consistency while I slap on the filling.  Eh, life is entirely too short to spend time frosting cookies evenly.  I especially feel this way because no one – I repeat no one –  cares about perfect cookies when they are eating a Homemade Mint Oreo.  They are simply happy to be eating this treat.

Here is the part where I tell you to eat these in moderation, and to be sure to eat vegetables in great abundance before, after, and during your homemade oreo eating event.  (You knew this was coming.)  After all, eating these may not leave you with oreo teeth, but you could end up with other issues, including but not limited to a suppressed immune system and cavities.

Wow, do I know how to ruin a great cookie recipe post or what?  Never mind all the vegetable talk.  You just make this recipe and enjoy your homemade oreo cookies!!!  After you’ve eaten a large tossed green salad.

It has become clear that I cannot talk about sugar without encouraging vegetables.  Hey, at least I didn’t tell you to add spinach to the cookie dough or frosting.  Although now that I think about it…..
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Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Wow, Laura.  Another pumpkin recipe?  Really?

Actually, I used butternut squash puree in this recipe, so there.  But yes, it’s another pumpkin (aka butternut squash) recipe.  I told you I was on a roll with pumpkin recipe experiements.  I’m here to provide you with easy recipes – and also to force you to eat vegetables.  What better way than in a dessert?  (And in a salad, of course.)

You’ll notice that I loved the Shortbread Crust idea so much in the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I stole the idea for this crust too.  This is basically Shortbread with Pumpkin Pie baked on top – all in a 9×13 inch pan.  No rolling of a pie crust necessary.  Easy, buttery, delicious – what more could we want?

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Shortbread Crust

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Stir flour and sucanat together in a bowl.  Add melted butter, combining well.  Press mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 7 minutes. (It will only be partially cooked at this point.)  In the meantime, prepare the filling:

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 cups pumpkin or butternut squash puree
2/3 sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Whip ingredients together until smooth.  Pour over crust.  Bake in a 350° oven for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bars comes out clean.

Have you had your fill of pumpkin this holiday season?

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Low Sugar No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

One day when I was nibbling on a little piece of lightly sweetened and buttery Shortbread, it occurred to me: This would make a fantastic cheesecake crust.  Then one day when I was baking a pumpkin, it occurred to me:  I should use that pumpkin to make pumpkin cheesecake.  These were both very, very good ideas, if I do say so myself.

Why a shortbread crust?  I’m not sure why, but making a graham cracker crust for cheesecakes always seems like too much work to me.  Probably because that was always my job when I was growing up, so now I have deep-seated graham cracker crust baggage from my past.  That, and I never have graham crackers on hand and I don’t want to make a batch of homemade Graham Crackers only to crush them for a crust.  Seriously, who knew a graham cracker crust could be such cause for discussion that it would take up an entire paragraph when I could just be sharing this great recipe with you?

So Shortbread Crust.  I highly recommend it.  Stir the three ingredients together, press them onto the bottom of a dish, and bake.  You can’t go wrong, especially because this recipe includes lots of butter.  That, of course, makes it amazing.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Shortbread Crust:

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Stir flour and sucanat together in a bowl.  Add melted butter, combining well.  Press mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:

2 8-ounce packages softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Real maple syrup or liquid stevia to taste (I used 4 droppers full of stevia)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Pour over prepared shortbread crust.  Spread until smooth.  Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

My system doesn’t handle much sugar any more (which seriously limits my cheesecake eating opportunities, woe is me).  Making this simple cheesecake with stevia (a natural sweetener, not a sugar or an artificial sweetener) is a fantastic option.  This treat is not super sweet, although you can make it as sweet as you like by simply adding more stevia, maple syrup, or even sugar if you like. Now that I know that stevia makes a cheesecake and shortbread makes a great crust, my cheesecake lovin’ self is happy and my graham cracker crust anxt is minimized.

What is your relationship with the graham cracker crust?  You should join me in loving a shortbread crust.  Easy, delicious, and full o’ buttah!

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Pumpkin Breakfast Cake with Stevia Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

If it’s made with whole grain, is low in sugar, includes an entire cup of healthy fat, has 4 eggs, and one of its main ingredients is a vegetable - you can use the words “cake” and “breakfast” in the same title.  Of course, nothing is stopping you from using the word “birthday” and “cake” in the same title for this very recipe.  After all, who says birthday treats have to be loaded with sugar?  I just love that this recipe is healthy and filling enough to be a great breakfast option.  I serve this with a side of applesauce and my family loves it!

You might look at this recipe and think that it is surprisingly similar to my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe.  That’s because it is.  ;)  I took the recipe, and made it into a cake with a stevia sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting.  See?  It’s not so hard to be creative in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Breakfast Cake2

Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

3 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground hard white wheat)
1/2 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or one 16 ounce can)
1 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)

Stir together flour, sucanat, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add eggs, pumpkin, and melted coconut oil.  Spread batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow cake to cook before frosting.

Stevia Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste (I use 2 droppers full)

Whip ingredients together until smooth.  Spread over cooled Pumpkin Cake.  Store in the refrigerator.

As you can imagine, I will be adding some pureed spinach to this cake next time I make it.  Why not, right?

Here’s another Breakfast Cake recipe our family loves.  Now tell me: What will your family say when you tell them you’re having cake for breakfast?!

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Salted Caramel Apple Crisp

You know how I talk about my Apple Crisp recipe being so healthy you can eat it for breakfast?  This particular version tips the scale from could be breakfast to definitely dessert.   This is because of the fantastic caramel sauce drizzled all over the lightly sugared apple crisp, which makes this treat become very sugary and of course, more delicious than ever.

Let us pause right here to smack me in the forehead.  How dare I tell you on Monday to cut back on sugar, then post a sugary recipe on Wednesday?  I have no explanation or excuse.  It’s fall, I have lots of apples, I took this recipe idea to our church fall festival and everyone loved it, this idea is a very easy one to execute, um, um…  <— that was me, not giving explanation or excuses.  I’m stumbling all over myself here.

Well, do cut back on sugar.  But if you have apples, need to make a fantastic dessert to share with others, and want something easy to make, here is a recipe for you.  And if you are being a good girl (or boy) and cutting back on sugar like that one lady once encouraged (I have such a sheepish look on my face right now) – just take a couple nibbles of this and hand the rest over to….  See.  I can not even finish writing this.

Here’s a naughty recipe for you.  I am so, so sorry for posting this.

Salted Caramel Apple Crisp

Salted Caramel Apple Crisp

5 cups sliced apples
2 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinammon

Stir the fruit together with the sucanat and cinnamon.  Place mixture in a small baking dish (8×8 inch).

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix together oats, sucanat, and melted butter.  Sprinkle crumb topping over fruit mixture.  Bake in a 375° for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.

Caramel Drizzle

1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons cream (heavy whipping cream)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place sucanat, butter, and cream in a small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and ingredients are well combined.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla.  Drizzle hot caramel sauce over baked Apple Crisp.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Serve warm.

This dessert is super easy, especially if you happen to already have Caramel Sauce made.  When I made this last week, I had a jar of caramel sauce in the fridge, so I just warmed it up and drizzled it over the top of my fruit crisp.  Easy and awesome!

Forget you ever saw this recipe.  We’re supposed to be cutting down on sugar.  C’mon now.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts

After months of trial, illness, starvation, exhaustion, and many other forms of misery (encouraging post so far, Laura) – the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags came together for a great feast on what is now known as The First Thanksgiving.  These incredible people had much to celebrate, no doubt.

On their table there was an abundance of lobster, rabbit, chicken, squash, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, radishes, and cabbage – all of the traditional foods you and I always serve to our families on Thanksgiving, right?  (I always tear up a little during the carving of our traditional Thanksgiving Lobster.)

Quick question: How did the above First Thanksgiving menu give way to boxed stuffing and canned cranberry sauce that plops out onto a plate?  Don’t answer that.  But what I do what to know is this:  Where have these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts been all my life?  These need to be added to everyone’s Thanksgiving menu: turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, relish tray, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls with butter, and a big, huge platter of Pumpkin Donuts.  Oh, and don’t forget the Lobster.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts with Glaze

These Pumpkin Donuts scream, “Fall is here!  Be thankful!  Inhale deeply the scent of cinnamon spice!  Eat me already!”  This is a fall treat that ranks right up there with all things amazing.  This donut recipe stirs up quickly, rolls out easily, and fries up into fantastic goodies that might make you pass out.  They are great with a cup of coffee or apple cider.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts (adapted from this recipe)

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
Oil for frying (I recommend coconut oil or palm shortening for healthy frying)

Stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sea salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and sucanat.  Add melted butter, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and pumpkin puree – mixing until all ingredients are well combined.  Roll dough on a well-floured surface.  Cut out donuts and donut holes (makes about 30 of each).

Fry dough in hot oil for about 3 minutes or until donuts are golden brown.  Drizzle with glaze and serve.

Buttermilk Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar (I use unbleached powdered sugar)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over warm donuts before serving.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts

What are your family’s traditional Thanksgiving foods that are a little different from the norm?  I have to admit, not only have I never had a Thanksgiving Lobster on my table, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually eaten lobster, period.  I’m a Kansas girl turned Nebraska girl.  What can I say?

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Apple Nachos ~ Quick and Easy!

Apple Nachos - Easy!

There aren’t even words to describe this treat.  But not to worry.  I can always come up with plenty of words (just ask my family full of men).  Let me see if I can come up with something…

Simple, fast, deliciously sweet, a little bit tart, sticky, drippy, caramely, chocolaty, the perfect fall treat.  There.

If you’re questioning whether or not caramely is a word or not, I declare that it definitely is.  The dictionary just doesn’t know it yet.  Don’t trust everything you don’t read.  (I don’t get paid to make sense.)  I figure, if chocolaty is a word, caramely should be too.  Also, I like to say words that get my point across whether they are real or not.  So don’t get all grammary and English languagey on me.  After all, you really want to know how to make these Apple Nachos.

How to Make Apple Nachos

Slice apples and lay them on a plate.  If you like, you can sprinkle them with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.  Drizzle warm Homemade Caramel Sauce over the apple slices.  Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the warm caramel sauce.  Serve immediately.

The result is a chocolaty, caramely plate of amazingness.

apple nachos

I think we can all agree that caramely should be a real adjective found in the dictionary, as should the word soccery.  What?  I used that word just yesterday to describe how our front closet almost made me pass out.  I innocently opened the closet door to throw in a pair of shoes and was met with a blast of stink that is typical in our home during soccer season.  Sweaty shin guards and wet soccer cleats, along with all the other gear - ah, the lovely scent of autumn.  I threw in the shoes and quickly slammed the door closed proclaiming, “Whoa-oh, gag me.  It smells completely soccery in there.”  Why take time to say real words in full sentences like, “The inside of this closet appears to be thick with the aroma of unpleasant apparel associated with this particular sport season in which we are all participating.”

No.  It just smells soccery.  It’s as simple as that.  When basketball season comes, the closet will become basketbally.  That’s just the truth of it.

I’m suddenly very aware that this is a terrible thing to talk about when writing a food post.  I apologize.  Sometimes, I get a little too real lifey when I write, forgetting that good food and sweaty footware should never be discussed in the same conversation.  How terribly nonproper-ish of me.

I now take your attention back to the wonderful Apple Nachos idea, whose caramely goodness brought us all here to this unlikely point of conversation.  Make these Apple Nachos.  They’ll make us all use the word caramely so much that the dictionary will have no choice but to include it.

You heard it here first.

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