Quick and Easy Shortbread Recipe

High Five Recipes 2

Three ingredients.  A super quick snack.  Amazing deliciousness.  Supplies you always have on hand…

Wait, you do have butter on hand, right?  Okay.  I mean, we can still be friends even if you have run out of butter, but don’t let it happen again.  This has nothing to do with me and my butter obsession.  I’m just looking out for you, that’s all.  I have your best interests in mind.  Opening the fridge or freezer to find that there is no more butter waiting – well, it is reason to panic.  It’ll send a woman into a crazed frenzy, causing her to frantically toss a whole frozen chicken and eight packages of hamburger meat off a freezer shelf, hoping in vain to locate a forgotten pound of butter buried in the back under some frost.

It could be that I got going on that paragraph and couldn’t find a logical time to stop.  Just save yourself (or me, apparently) the emotional trauma of running out of butter by always keeping a nice supply on hand.

So butter.  You’ll need it for this recipe.  You’ll also need flour and sugar.  Plus a bowl, a spoon, and a pan.  That’s it.   Could it be any easier?

Quick and Easy Shortbread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
1/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
3/4 cup melted butter

Blend all ingredients well.  Press mixture into a 9×9 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cook and cut into 12 squares.

Quick and Easy Shortbread

As you can see, this is a no-brainer recipe.  I discovered it as I’ve been working on a brand new healthy snacks eBook.   This shortbread can be stirred up and put into the oven within just a few minutes.  We love it because it is just lightly sweetened, and deliciously buttery.  It is awesome with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon.

It is worthwhile to note that this is not a snack you’ll want to hand your kids while they are running into the living room you’ve just vacuumed.  This shortbread is a bit crumbly and needs to be eaten while holding ones head directly over a plate while sitting at a table.  Trust me.  I know these things.

And one more thing.  Go check your butter supply.  We’ll all sleep better tonight knowing you’re well stocked.

‘Fess up.  How much butter do you have right now? 

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie ~ Real Food Ingredients Make Real Good Treats

31 Days 300

I sure do love the fact that eating real food does not limit us.  In fact, I believe it frees us!  Do you know all the wonderful food that can be made with just a few real food ingredients?  Pretty much everything, including Twinkies.  (Although I never have figured out how to make a maraschino cherry without using a bunch of sugar and red food coloring.  I guess we’ll just stick with real cherries.)

This Chocolate Cheesecake Pie recipe is so simple, so delicious, and made with all real food ingredients.  You still want to make sure you consider this a very occasional treat, because sucanat is still sugar.  But how nice is it that we don’t have to resort to boxed mixes or spend hours in the kitchen when we want to make something special.  In fact, last week when I made this, I had a pie crust already baked in the freezer.  All I had to do was throw the filling ingredients into the food processor, give it a whirl, then spread the mixture into my pie crust.  Seven minutes later – Chocolate Cheesecake Pie!

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sucanat
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Baked and cooled whole wheat pie crust

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Mix in cream cheese, sucanat, cocoa powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth.  Pour mixture into a baked and cooled pie crust.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.  Or skip the pie chilling step if your kids are breathing down your neck and asking for a slice before you even get the filling into the crust.  Why wait?!

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

Don’t want chocolate in this pie?  Skip the cocoa powder and end up with plain ol’ Cheesecake Pie.  Or leave out the cocoa and add a splash of lemon juice for Lemon Cheesecake Pie.  Or a splash of lime juice for Lime Cheesecake Pie.  See how much fun real food ingredients can be?  It gives us the freedom to go crazy in the kitchen!  Trust me, crazy in the kitchen is what I do best.

What fun treats do you make with real food ingredients?

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

I got the wonderful idea for this recipe when I was at a friend’s house recently for a baby shower.  It’s so simple, yet turns popcorn into an extra special treat.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

16 cups popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
sea salt
1 cup white chocolate (this works great)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Stir melted coconut oil into the popped popcorn and sprinkle with salt according to your taste.  Pour prepared popcorn onto two cookie sheets or two 9×13 inch pans.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt white chocolate and butter together until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract.

Drizzle melted chocolate over the popcorn and stir immediately to coat.  Allow chocolate to harden on the popcorn for 30 minutes to an hour.  Or just start eating it right away because it’s too hard to wait.

White Chocolate Popcorn

You might think I’m on a bit of a peppermint kick since I’m posting this recipe right after the Peppermint Cream Cocoa recipe.  What can I say?  I think of peppermint when I think of Christmas.

If peppermint isn’t your thing, you can definitely skip the peppermint extract in this recipe and just enjoy yourself some White Chocolate Popcorn.

What do you think?  With peppermint or without?

Be sure to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of five $10 gift certificates to the Heavenly Homemakers Shop, good on anything of our eBooks or eCourses!

Peppermint Cream Cocoa {or Coffee}

It was a fun experiment – creating a whipped cream topping for yummy hot drinks.  But I had to wonder, would simply adding a little sweetener and peppermint extract to whipped cream really make cocoa or coffee that much more special?

Ohhhhhhh yes, yes, yes, and yes again.  I quickly put this together one afternoon, plopped a generous serving onto a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and immediately decided that I needed to sit down, close my eyes, and relish the moment.  It was hot beverage deliciousness in a mug.  The rest of the family enjoyed this special whipped cream on their hot cocoa, and we all declared it to be ah-mazing.

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

Matt was finishing some work at the computer at the time, and therefore hadn’t joined us at the table yet to enjoy this treat.  I took him a mug and declared with excitement, “Seriously, who needs Starbucks??”  As he was a bit distracted with the work he was doing, he looked up, confused as he saw that I was cheerfully sipping coffee and that I had a dob of whipped cream on my upper lip.  “What?  You need Starbucks?  Why?”

No, no.  I really, really don’t.  I had everything I could want in a special hot drink, all without the high fructose corn syrup or big price tag.  And now, I am sharing this recipe idea with you.  Enjoy, savor, stay healthy, and save yourself some cash.

Peppermint Cream Cocoa (or Coffee)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3-4 drops liquid stevia (or another sweetener of your choice like maple syrup)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Whip cream for several minutes to form stiff peaks.  Drizzle in stevia and peppermint extract.  Whip quickly to mix into the cream.  Serve on hot cocoa or coffee.

Here is my easy and delicious Hot Cocoa Recipe.  Or even easier – here is my Hot Chocolate Mix recipe.  Obviously, I don’t have a recipe for coffee, but here’s a way to get a 12 ounce bag of my favorite organic coffee for free!

Which do you like better – coffee or hot cocoa?

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Without Dry Milk or Creamer {With Free Printable Gift Tags and a Dairy Free Option}

Hot Chocolate Mix

I can’t tell you (because I can’t remember) how many requests I’ve received through the years for a healthier hot chocolate mix.  Non-dairy creamer and powdered milk are two ingredients in every homemade hot chocolate mix recipe I’ve ever found - and those are two ingredients I try to avoid if possible.  I’ve had to keep telling people through the years that, sorry, I have no idea how to make a hot chocolate mix without those ingredients.  I worried, fretted, and lost sleep over the fact that I was failing to provide a healthy hot chocolate mix recipe.  (Not really, but shucks if I didn’t want one for myself too.)

Then I realized that I was making this way too hard.  After all, what we’re all going for in this real food realm is simple, back to basics, whole food ingredients - right?  Then why not mix together the basic, real food ingredients needed to make homemade hot cocoa – and keep the mixture on hand as a quick mix to stir into hot milk?  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls – we now have a real food, real good, real easy Hot Chocolate Mix!  And it’s here just in time for Christmas!

You’ll probably look at the simple recipe below and ask, “Really Laura? It took you six years to come up with this?”  And I would have to shrug and say, “Uh-huh.”

Homemade Healthier Hot Chocolate Mix

3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sucanat or brown sugar

Place ingredients in a pint-sized jar and shake well.  When you are ready for a cup of hot chocolate, here is what you’ll do:

In a small saucepan, whisk 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Hot Chocolate Mix with 1 cup of milk.  Heat and stir on medium heat until warm and ready to serve.

This recipe makes about 12-15 one-cup servings, depending on how “heaping” your Tablespoons are when you stir it into the milk.

Want to make this dairy free?  Simply add the mixture to a cup of coconut milk.  It’s super delicious!

Malachi had a buddy over the day I was playing with this recipe idea.  They were sweet enough to be my taste testers, and they both gave it a thumb’s up.  Or at least I believe they would have if they weren’t so busy saying “yum” and guzzling it down.

hot chocolate mix 1

Want to package this Hot Chocolate Mix up for a gift?  Simply place a gallon-sized twist tie bag (like this one) down into a mug.  Funnel the mix into the bag and tie it up with a bow.  Attach a gift tag to the handle of the mug, describing how to make the mix into Hot Chocolate.  You’ll find free printable gift tags below!

hot chocolate mix 2

Download and print Hot Chocolate Mix Tags Here

Hot Chocolate Mix Tags sm
Now you tell me – is this exciting or what?  How fun to have a real food Hot Chocolate Mix to have on hand and to give as gifts!  Sometime within in the next six years, I hope to provide you with another recipe idea as simple as this one.

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So, simply add $30 of Vitacost brand items to your cart (I recommend Vitacost Brand Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Vitacost Brew Colombian 100% Arabica Certified Organic Ground Coffee, then throw in this bag of Organic Shredded Coconut.  Use your referral $10 credit to take this order down to just $21.67 with free shipping!  It’s like buying coconut oil (for a great price!) and getting coffee and coconut for free!  Click through this link to receive your $10 referral code to apply toward your first order.

vitacost 1    vitacost 3

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Flourless Fudge Cookies

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You can’t go wrong with a recipe that has the word “fudge” in its name.  These cookies are very easy to make and live up to their name.  Mmm, fudgy cookies.  Yes please.

Flourless Fudge Cookies

2 1/4 cups sucanat powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put 2 1/4 cups of sucanat into a blender.  Process until sugar has become powdered.  (Here is a post with picture tutorial showing you how easy this is!)  In a bowl, mix sucanat powdered sugar with the remaining ingredients.  Scoop teaspoon sized balls of batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (very important).  Bake in a 350° oven for 8-10 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool completely while on the cookie sheet.

If you bake them on a baking stone or try to remove them before they are completely cooled, you’ll end up with this:

flourless_fudge_cookies_2

See below, how the cookies sit patiently and cool on their parchment paper so that they will come off the pan nicely?

flourless_fudge_cookies_1
Ah yes, that is the way to do it.  These cookies are worth the wait!

flourless_fudge_cookies_4
Have you ever made your own powdered sugar with sucanat?  It’s very easy – and these cookies are a great way to experiment with that idea!

Crustless Cheesecake Cups

High Five Recipes 2

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.  In fact, I believe I will have my boys make these for my birthday on Saturday.  Since I’m turning 40, perhaps I could have them double this recipe so we can have 40 little cheesecake cups.  (Why, so I can gain 40 pounds as I celebrate?)  Yeah, we’ll just stick with a single batch.

cheesecake_cups_3

Crustless Cheesecake Cups

2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup real maple syrup or 1 1/2 cups unbleached powdered sugar

In a medium sized bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.  Scoop cheesecake mix into about 20 paper-lined muffin cups.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.  Top with fresh fruit.

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These Crustless Cheesecake Cups are so easy to make and since they freeze well, they can be made ahead of time.  You can even serve them frozen.  Delish!

cheesecake_cups_2

Caramel Oatmeal Bars {High Five Recipe}

celebrating_40

I wanted to include a recipe or two in my Celebrating 40 festivities.  But how was I supposed to do that when everything about the celebration has to do with the number 40?  I don’t have any recipes with 40 ingredients (you’re welcome).

I decided that the exact opposite of a recipe with 40 ingredients is a recipe with only 5 ingredients.  Sort of.  So I am including this High Five Recipe in my celebration.  It’s one of the easiest and quickest you’ll ever make.

Caramel Oatmeal Bars

1 cup butter, melted
1 1/3 cups sucanat
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 cups rolled oats

Stir all five ingredients together.  Press mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes until ingredients have melted together and become lightly brown.  Cut into bars while hot.

caramel_oatmeal_bars

Beyond eating these bars as is, we have also discovered that crumbling one onto a bowl of vanilla ice cream is incredibly delicious.

Need more High Five Recipes? (high quality recipes, five ingredients or less)  Find lots and lots of them here!

Homemade Chocolate Caramel Cups

Chocolate Caramel Cups

Can I interest you in a Chocolate Caramel Cup recipe to go along with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup recipe I shared earlier this week?

Upon typing that sentence, I am suddenly reminded of Mrs. Hendricks, my really, really old 2nd grade teacher.  Seriously, she had to have been at least 33.  She taught us how to carry the 1 when adding double digits and she would never let any of us say the word can.

We would frequently forget this rule, saying in our best whiny 7 year old voices, “Mrs. Hendricks?  Can I get a drink of water?” And she would say, “I don’t know.  Can you?”  We would then roll our eyes without her seeing us because we were really sneaky and cunning and besides at her age, surely her failing eyesight wouldn’t allow her to see our facial expressions clearly.  Obligingly we would come back with, “I mean, may I get a drink of water?”  I believe those of us who shall remain nameless who were really sweet and running for teacher’s pet of the year award also added a please in there too.

To this day, I am not able to say can I without switching to may I and I think I might also roll my eyes a little bit while I’m saying it.  Old habits die hard.

So, can I interest you in this wonderful recipe to go along with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup recipe?  And together, with all of the second graders and Mrs. Hendricks we say, “I don’t know.  Can you?”

Chocolate Caramel Cups 

1 cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup homemade caramel sauce

First, whisk together a batch of Homemade Caramel Sauce.  You won’t need it all for this recipe, but get yourself some vanilla ice cream and you’ll be serving the best caramel sundaes with the leftovers.

Prepare 6 regular sized or 16 mini-sized muffin cups with paper liners.  In a small saucepan, heat chocolate chips and butter, stirring until melted.  Spoon half of the melted chocolate mixture into the prepared paper-lined muffin cups.

caramel_cups_1

Place a spoonful of caramel sauce (hot or cold) into each cup, dividing the mixture evenly among the cups.  Top each with the remaining chocolate, smoothing it the best you can to cover the caramel.

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Refrigerate for two hours until solid. (Or place in the freezer for about thirty minutes to speed the process.)  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

caramel_cups_4

Can I challenge you to refrain from eating these all in one sitting?  {I don’t know.  Can you?}

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups {Real Food Recipe Makeover}

This recipe was inspired by Laura S., someone I met at the Colorado Springs Meet and Greet.  Not only was her idea brilliant, I think her name is absolutely beautiful.  ;)

I wasn’t able to make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups look perfect and beautiful like one you’d pull out of a Reese’s wrapper.  But I did make them taste better, so we’ll go with “taste before beauty” on this one.  And of course, with these, you avoid the hydrogenated oils and turn out an even more delicious treat than one that comes from a factory.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Warning:  These are super rich and slightly messy.  Children and adults alike may end up with chocolaty fingers and faces, not to mention a sugar high.  You’re welcome and I’m sorry.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons Butter

Stir together peanut butter and honey in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Prepare six regular sized or 15 mini-sized muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring until melted.  Spoon half of the melted chocolate mixture into the prepared paper-lined muffin cups.

pb_cups_4

Place a spoonful of peanut butter mixture into each cup, dividing the mixture evenly among the cups.  Top each with the remaining chocolate, smoothing it the best you can to cover the peanut butter.

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Refrigerate for two hours until solid. (Or place in the freezer for about thirty minutes to speed the process.)  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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You’ll be happy to know that while playing with this idea, I also came up with a Chocolate Caramel Cup.  Recipe coming soon…