All Chocolate, All the Time, All Less Than $1.00

I think we should have a chocolate themed “Less than $1.00″ day – wouldn’t you agree?

$1.00 or Less Recipes, Crafts, Gift Ideas, and more!

Chocolate for breakfastYum

I’ll start us off with a breakfast (or snack) recipe that tastes quite a bit like a specialty store-bought granola, but costs much less. This Dark Chocolate Almond Granola is our family’s favorite of all granola options. It costs less than $1.00 per serving!

Tip: Want to make granola this summer, but prefer to leave the oven off as much as possible to avoid heating up the house? Make it with this 5-Minute Stove-Top Granola Making Method. I kind of like cheating and making granola this way. Be sure to wait and add the chocolate pieces after you’ve removed it from the stove. Come to think of it, you could just stir them right in to make a chocolate coating all over the granola. No one would complain, right?

dark_chocolate_almond_granola

Make your own Chocolate Milk Mix!

Follow the recipe for Homemade Chocolate Syrup and not only will you be avoiding high fructose corn syrup, it’ll cost you less than $1.00 for the whole batch. You’ll notice that I wrote that recipe before I began cutting down the sugar quantities in my recipes. Feel free to experiment with using less sugar. I’m sure it will still taste great!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Here’s another variety of chocolate milk mix you might enjoy: Homemade Nesquik! Again, that entire mix can be made for about $1.00. :)

Make Your Own Nesquik

Make your own Frappe

Save a bundle by avoiding the coffee shop and making yourself a Chocolate Frappe at home. A big glass of this definitely costs less than $1.00. You can make this as sweet or as “barely sweet” as you like. I use stevia, but you can use sugar if you prefer.

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Frappe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups?

Yep. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups aren’t necessarily low in sugar, but they are made with healthier ingredients. I only make these every once in a while as a special treat – and they fit the theme because they are less than $1.00!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

See the other “less than $1.00″ ideas I shared this week here and here. More “less than $1.00″ ideas coming up tomorrow!

This Week at Heavenly Homemakers: What You Can Cook, Read, Serve, and Craft for a Dollar or Less

Over the weekend I had a fun idea to highlight some of my fun money saving ideas for you. So this week, I’ll be posting:

  • Meals you can serve your family for a $1.00 or less per plate
  • Crafts you can make with your kids for $1.00 or less
  • Ways you can serve/bless others for $1.00 or less
  • Random $1.00 or less tips
  • Freebies

It’s going to be kind of hodge-podge because I’m trying to keep you on your toes. Or maybe I’m just unorganized. (Hey, I’m working on it.)

$1.00 or Less Recipes, Crafts, Gift Ideas, and more!

First a fun craft and service idea for around a dollar or less

You all know I’m not the craftiest gal among us. But I can cut and glue, so there’s that. I had fun making these fun Owl Gift Sacks a couple years ago. You’ll find the free printables for this project here. Print ’em off, cut, glue, and fill the sacks with a treat to share. Get your kids involved. Have fun!

Owl Gift Sacks Free Printable

Now how about a recipe?

It’s the perfect time of year to put Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet on your menu frequently. This is a one-dish meal. It uses many vegetables, you can make it to your family’s liking, and it doesn’t cost much to make. I’ve calculated that it costs $1.00 or less per plate!

Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet 2

Want more inexpensive recipes?

You’ll get this eBooklet for free when you sign up to be a part of the Homemaker’s Savings Club. That’s the newsletter where I keep you up to date on all the best homemaking deals I find!

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes cover

Stay tuned all week for many more fun $1.00 or less ideas!

Subscribe here to make it easy to keep up!

The running list:

I’ll continue to update this post all week with the newest links to $1.00 or less ideas shared!

~ Tuesday: Bread, Recipe Card Craft, Service Ideas, and More

~ Wednesday: All Chocolate, All the Time

What To Do With Milk You Need to Use Up

Many people cringe when they think about the amount of milk our family must go through each week with our family of 3 teenage sons (plus a pre-teen). A gallon a day? Two? How in the world do I keep enough milk in the house for all my boys? I’ll tell you.

We go through exactly one gallon each week.

Disappointed? Sorry. That’s really all we go through.

milk (1)

I took this picture back when we used to get two gallons of milk each week. Pretty isn’t it?

What’s up with our tiny milk consumption in a household of enormous appetites? Well I really don’t want to get into a milk debate here because I have not landed anywhere concrete on the “we should be drinking plenty of milk no actually we shouldn’t” scale. I have researched and I have asked professionals and I am conflicted. Some say drink lots and some say don’t drink it at all. We land somewhere in the middle and we do our best to drink milk from good sources.

peach milkshakes 1

If you ever want to waste milk, simply put too much in your high power blender, then turn it on.
It will explode all over you and all over your kitchen and you will be cleaning it up for days.
This is not a recommended way to use up excess milk.

Here are the two biggest (but not very exciting) reasons we don’t drink much milk at our house:

1. Our natural doctor advised that our boys/men don’t really need much milk.
2. Our boys don’t love drinking milk.

That’s it.

While some kids love drinking milk and chug down several glasses full each day, our boys never have really cared that much about it. I take that to mean that their bodies really don’t need it. If you’ve seen any of them lately, you know that lack of milk consumption has done nothing to keep them from growing long legs. Good grief, their pants.

We get raw, organic milk from a local farmer and we drink it moderately. Actually, we mostly just cook with it.

So that’s our milk situation. What’s yours? Go through lots? Hardly go through any at all? Raw, coconut, regular, unleaded? (ew)

What To Do With Milk You Need to Use Up

Let’s just say you got a good deal on milk and bought several gallons. Or you got your regular allotted milk from your local farmer and you can’t drink it up fast enough. We typically finish off our milk just fine in one week (again, I mostly just cook with it). But every once in a while if we are out of town or the boys are at camp – we end up with extra milk we need to use up quickly.

What to do with Milk You Need to Use Up

Here are some ideas of what to do (not that you couldn’t just have a cookies and milk party for the neighborhood):

Freeze It

Milk freezes just fine, although we’ve found that it works best to first skim the cream off our farm fresh milk.

Culture It

I always keep Homemade Buttermilk on hand for baking and so I can quickly make Ranch Salad Dressing. It’s also super easy to make Kefir or Yogurt. If you culture your milk, it will keep longer in the fridge.

buttermilk

Make Shakes

We’ll go through a half gallon of milk pretty easily if I make it chocolate. :)

milkshakes

Cook or Bake With It

These recipes use quite a bit of milk (especially for my family since I usually double or triple or quadruple a recipe).

garlicchickenpastasm

Those are my go-to options when we need to use up milk. How about you? What do you do or make when you need to use up milk?

Make Cookies or Brownies in Your Waffle Iron!

Friends, I have an oven again! Not only that, it is my dream oven!! I can’t find an exact match to show you, but it’s like this, only we got it for $less$ because we found it on Craig’s list. It is so perfect. The family who originally owned it had loved it, but moved into a house with electric and couldn’t use it any more. We got a great deal on a perfectly wonderful double gas oven!!!

My husband is amazing, working for hours to switch our electric hook-up to gas, getting it all set up for me. I love it and drag people into my kitchen to show them my new toy – even if they probably don’t care. Thankfully, everyone has pretended to care. People are so nice. My apologies to our mailman. Little did he know that when he brought a package up to our porch that I would grab him by the collar and… Relax. I’m kidding.

(It was really the UPS man.)

While it felt longer, it was really only two weeks of oven-less time for me. I missed having an oven, for sure. But we survived with all our other appliances and our grill. When you have to adapt in the kitchen, you start getting creative. Thanks to one reader, Lisa, who put this grand idea in my head – we learned that we can make cookies and brownies in our waffle iron!

Waffle Cookies - Low Sugar

If that isn’t the coolest kitchen hack since…ummm…the last cool kitchen hack I learned (freezing muffin batter, perhaps?).

A word of warning: It’s a little messy.

When you make actual waffles in a waffle iron, the only potential mess is adding too much batter and having it run over the edges. (So I’ve heard. I’ve never, ever actually done that myself. I’m always very, very clean when I cook.)

But with cookie and brownie batter, I found that the butter separates out a little bit, filling the waffle iron crevices with buttery goodness. It’s not a big deal. I just ran hot water over it to clean it out after it cooled. Just be aware that this process can be a little bit messy. Worth it. But messy.

Waffle Brownie Strawberry Parfaits

See that? For company one night we made Waffle Brownies and set them out with strawberries and whipped cream. What a fun treat!

How to make waffles and cookies in a waffle iron

  1. Mix up cookie or brownie batter as normal (my suggested recipes are below).
  2. Use a medium or large sized cookie scoop to add batter to a pre-heated waffle iron.
  3. Close iron and “bake” brownies or cookies for about 2 minutes each.
  4. I was able to make three at on time if I spaced them out correctly.How to Make Cookies and Brownies in Your Waffle Iron

This process takes more time than simply throwing a pan of brownies into an oven to bake. But when you don’t have an oven, or when you want a little something unique – these cookie and brownie waffles are SO MUCH FUN.

Recipes I Used:

Pin this idea to use this summer when you want a fun treat but don’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven!

Have you ever tried this trick before? 

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

A quick Mother’s Day idea:

Love Is close up

This is the May Flexi-of-the-Month. So beautiful. This (or any Flexi-Clip) would be a fantastic Mother’s Day gift! Bonus: Get a free set of U-Pins (valued up to $16) with every order over $60!

Thanks, Paula, for being a loyal advertiser here at Heavenly Homemakers!

How to Feed Your Family When Your Oven is Broken

How is it that I feed my family all summer without turning on the oven, but right now I’m like, “Oh no! My oven is broken! What will we eat? How will I cook?”

I’d grill but it’s been rainy and drizzly for several days. This rain makes me want to bake. Of course. Poor me. I’m stuck with only my stove-top, electric skillet, fryer, blender, food processor, and crock pot. As you can see, I’m practically without any options.

Heavenly Homemaker's Messy Kitchen

The good news:

I think I’m getting my dream stove/oven out of this!!!

When the oven went out on Sunday, producing banana bread that was crispy on top but more like tepid, stringy banana pudding in the middle (so yum), Matt spent some time (once again) trying to fix it. Could he fix it? Yes. But after a while, he was over it. He surprised me with an offer. “How would you like to go shopping for a new oven?”

I thought he was kidding. We always just make do. If it breaks, we fix it. If it’s barely hanging on, we hang on with it. Therefore I kidded back with, “Yes! I want it to be a double oven! Also, I want to get rid of the electric hook up and instead hook up gas! Let’s go shopping for a gas range with a double oven!”

And Matt was like, “Hmm. Sounds good.” {Laura passes out.}

I’d never shared these dreams with him before. But knowing how much I cook and bake (which of course benefits him greatly), and how lame our stove/oven have been for so many years, I think Matt decided it was time to fork it out for a quality appliance.

I might have started acting like a five year old who was getting a double oven for Christmas. Sure, it was hard for me to think about paying extra for my dream range. But we were going to have to drop some money on a new range anyway. Might as well get the one that benefits our family and guests the most.

More good news:

You guys, not only am I going to have a double oven – I’m gonna have gas. I’m also going to say it like that to everyone I meet because it catches people off guard and makes us all giggle. I’ll say, “I haven’t had gas for years, but Matt is awesome and surprised me. So now I have gas. Finally!!” And then my friends will say, “Laura has gas! We are so happy for her.”

Won’t that just be so much fun? 

In the meantime, I still don’t have an oven.

One doesn’t drop that much money without first doing research to decide which is the best option for purchase. (We’re looking at one like this. It’s one of the least expensive, if you can believe it. Cha-ching!) While I’m waiting for the range to come in and be installed, I decided to make a list of non-oven great food options. There are hundreds. I’ll just make a list based on what I have on hand and what is on sale this week.

Funny, by the way, that since I know I can’t bake, all I can think of are foods I want to bake. That’s the main reason I’m making this list. I have to get my mind off of cake.

Meals You Can Make Without an Oven

Food I Can Make While My Oven is Broken

I had decided that breakfast is the trickiest, but as I look through this page of Breakfast Recipe Ideas, I’m finding quite a bit to work with. I have no idea why I’m making this hard. I’m just spoiled, that’s all.

Links to My Favorite Non-Oven Appliances

In case you’re interested, this is what I have in my kitchen. These will all be used double time this week, you can be sure!

  • My Crock Pot
  • My Electric Skillet (This is 60% off right now!)
  • My Cast Iron Griddle (Also being offered a huge discount right now if you need one. Only $22!)
  • My Blender (Pricey but worth it)
  • My Waffle Iron (It’s a cheapo)
  • My Fryer (Mine is actually a little different than that, but they don’t seem to make mine anymore.)
  • My Toaster Oven (I do NOT recommend this one. It’s cheap and burns toast. I had one like this before but when we broke the door I was too stingy to pay that much again. I regret the “money savings” – something I’m trying to keep in mind while shopping for a double oven.)

As you can see, I’ll still be able to make huge messes in my kitchen and my children won’t even starve while I am without an oven. There are loads of options.

As soon as I have gas, I’ll let you know. If that isn’t something to look forward to, I don’t know what is.

Do you have any non-oven recipe ideas to share? How about double-oven purchasing advice? Gas related thoughts? Really. I’m open to just about anything you’d like to share. 

How to Clean Cast Iron

Today you will have the honor of seeing my cast iron skillet covered in a layer of crusty scrambled egg residue. This is so special. Thank you for sharing this fine moment with me.

cast iron5

In describing how I clean my cast iron, I’m also going to reveal to you what is, in fact, my favorite of all the gadgets in my kitchen. It’s something I use many times each day (even more than my blender, and that’s saying something). I use this little gadget on cast iron skillets, on stoneware, and on my counter-tops to easily clean up flour or dough. My friends, allow me to introduce you to my BKFF (Best Kitchen Friend Forever) –

The Rubber Scraper

rubber scraper

It’s the best six dollars you’ll ever spend. Or if you already have the little brown ones that came with your Pampered Chef stoneware, you’re golden.

If you are one who hates cleaning your cast iron and even avoids using it entirely so that you don’t have to mess with cleaning it, I have two words for you: Rubber Scraper.

You guys. Cleaning cast iron is about the easiest job there is when you:

1) Soak the skillet or pot for a few minutes in hot water and
2) Use a rubber scraper to scrape all the food away.

If I didn’t have a rubber scraper, I would also hate cleaning my cast iron. I don’t even know how I would do it otherwise. Truly. How did Grandma clean her awesome skillets and griddle? I have no idea. Rubber scrapers rank up there in modern conveniences as high as cell phones and flush toilets. They are the exact same in their ability to improve life.

Allow me to present a step-by-step tutorial of my easy cast iron cleaning system:

1. Run hot water into the dirty, crusty skillet or griddle.

cast iron6

2. After a few minutes, use a rubber scraper to scrape away all the food residue.

cast iron2
3. Rinse the cast iron with hot water.

cast iron 1

4. Allow cast iron to air dry, or rub it dry with a tea towel.

cast iron 3

Before taking the above picture, I had just rubbed my skillet down with some coconut oil (or palm shortening – I can’t remember which). I rarely need to oil it down, but if you find your cast iron looking rusty or dry, rub in some coconut oil or palm shortening. They likes these fats as much as you and I do. Can you blame them?

Something to note:

Do not use soap on your cast iron.

It isn’t necessary and you don’t want it to absorb soap which will leech into your food. Hot water is all it needs. That and a rubber scraper.

Seriously, how did Grandma clean hers??

How to Clean Cast Iron

My favorite and most used cast iron pieces are…

A large skillet like this one:

cast iron 1

This big griddle:

cast iron 2

 

 

 

 

Those babies get used all the time at our house. Eggs, pancakes, meat, hashbrowns – my skillet and griddle make all of these naturally taste so much better!

None of you need to fear using your cast iron since you now know how to clean it easily! Rubber scrapers to the rescue. Who knew such a small, simple square piece of rubber would play such an important role in the kitchen?

Have cast iron? How do you clean it?

30-Second Whipped Cream and Even Easier Applesauce

When all my kids were little-bitty, I needed to utilize every time-saving kitchen trick I could. Cooking while holding a baby, keeping the toddler from grabbing a knife, and playing referee between the two pre-schoolers – well no wonder so many moms resort to boxed dino-nuggets.

four boys pilgrim

Somehow (my kids and) I lived to tell about it.

Then there were what I lovingly refer to as “the golden years.” That was when my kids were between the ages of 4 and 12. They could all buckle themselves into their van seats, they could entertain themselves without having to be watched constantly, and they began to do more and more of their school work independently. I no longer had to do all the wiping. I won’t go into details (there is no need) but it is a blissfully happy day when the mom no longer has to do all the wiping. You know I’m right.

Parenting was still challenging during “the golden years” but not as relentless as the baby years. I found myself with a little extra time to do things I loved like bake bread every week and can 100+ jars of produce each year. How nice! I could now run circles around my kitchen and have much to show for it.

Then the teen years hit. I still hold to the truth that teenagers are wonderful and amazing, and I love this stage like no other. I constantly marvel watching God grow my children from little boys to young men, and I thoroughly enjoy the fun we have as our boys discover gifts and talents and grown-up personalities.

boys at wedding

But the intensity of parenting needs has increased in ways that have blind-sided me a bit. Their schedules got busier outside our home, which meant that mine did too. Instead of teaching them to read, we are teaching them to drive. Instead of talking about sharing toys, we talk about maintaining purity. What used to be a 20-minute math lesson has turned into two hours of complicated algebra (which they can mostly do on their own ~ XOXOXO Teaching Textbooks). Reading aloud while we lay around on couches and pillows has turned into writing 5-7 page papers in MLA format for college professors.

This is all a part of life and raising kids. God continues to equip and prepare and provide, just as He always has. All I’m really saying here about raising teenagers is this:

I now have less time for cooking for a family who eats five times the amount of food.

No big deal.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme with my last few months’ recipe and food posts. While I’ve always been into simple-to-make recipes, now I’ve even more of a need to make real food, fast. Food has to be quick, easy, make-ahead, stir-and-pour, wash-and-serve, heat-and-eat. It’s all still real food. It’s all still delicious. But if I can’t make it without very little brain-energy and time, I just can’t make it. There is no time for kneading or canning right now. My people need me now more than ever.

But there is also a big need for food. So I’ve learned:

Any kitchen appliance that saves me time while feeding my family real food is a must-have. Allow me to share my current favorite.

For years, I’d heard from several of you about how awesome a Blendtec is. Their price tag startled me though, so I kept spending $25 on cheap blenders that would give out after about a year. (I use a blender several times every day. After 10-12 months none of the Walmart blenders can handle me anymore. “Get me out of this lady’s kitchen,” they say, just before they die.)

Finally about a year ago, instead of dropping another $25 on a cheap blender, I decided to go ahead and invest in a Blendtec. It made sense after reading how powerful they are, and if felt silly to keep dropping $25 on what I would soon have to put in the dumpster.

I’m never going back to a cheap blender again. The Blendtec has changed my kitchen life, and if you think I’m exaggerating, go back and read the paragraphs above about feeding teenage boys while trying to keep up with their schedules. This blender saves me so much time in the kitchen! It blends a smoothie in 1/5 of the time it took to make smoothies in a cheap blender. I don’t have to take it apart to clean it (and then put it back together) – hallelujah. And my favorite discovery: I can use it to whip cream!

Instead of getting out a bowl and my hand mixer, then whipping cream for several minutes until soft peaks form, I dump the cream into my Blendtec and turn it on. Approximately 37 seconds later, I have whipped cream. It is so easy (even if the pictures below are ugly).

blend tec 1
blend tec 2

You know how I’ve been going on and on for the past few years about my Victorio being so wonderful for making applesauce and tomato sauce? I still hold to this and will always and forever use it to make tomato sauce. That appliance is a huge time saver! But if you can believe it, my Blendtec makes applesauce even easier. I didn’t even know it was possible!

See the huge bowls of applesauce below? (Well, the one on the left used to be full of applesauce.) I was able to make those so quickly because of my Blendtec.

Applesauce Cups

I made the applesauce using this method, then just dumped the cooked apples into my Blendtec and blended until smooth. (I edited this post to update you on what is now the quickest way I’ve found to make applesauce.) It actually makes the applesauce creamy, and it takes so little time and very little effort on my part. (By the way, you can read about my cute little applesauce cups here.)

Well, yay for anything that saves time in the kitchen, no matter what season of life we are in. I think good food is important (obviously), but there is more to life than standing on our feet in the kitchen. There are people to love on, events to attend and support, needs all around us to be met. The more we can learn about making real food faster and simpler, the better.

What are some of your favorite time-saving appliances in your kitchen? Do you have a favorite blender?

Psst…I have another fun Stir-and-Pour Bread tip for you tomorrow! We’ll save even more time and money!

This post contains affiliate links.

Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Brace yourself for the cuteness. 

Homemade Applesauce Cups

Typically I make a boat load of canned applesauce each year. Still, there are always times I end up buying the little packaged applesauce cups to take on the road with us to soccer or basketball games. It feels so silly to spend money on the pre-made applesauce cups when I have home-canned applesauce in the pantry. Still, I do it. We need food for the road, after all.

This year, I got a brilliant idea. (My one and only of 2015. We’ve been waiting ten months for this.)

I checked online for little cups with lids to fill with applesauce to take on the road.

Small jars with lids work great for to-go applesauce, but those make our cooler weigh 380 pounds. Plus, I wanted to give some to Asa for his dorm fridge but didn’t want him to have to mess with saving all the jars to bring home. The cups with lids are a great solution!

~~Let us all pause here to say nice things about avoiding plastic and disposables in general. Plastic disposables are not our friend. I agree and I know there are strong opinions about this. Right now I’m the mother of many teenage boys who are active, hungry, and on-the-go frequently. It was either compromise and buy these plastic cups in an effort to save us money and help us eat well on the road – or spend more to buy them pre-made – or buy junk from concessions or McDonalds. I chose the plastic disposables and I am excited about what this provides for my family right now. Now, back to the cute applesauce cups.~~

Organic 100% fruit applesauce cups cost around 74¢ each. Non-organic are around 33¢ each. My homemade organic applesauce cups just cost me 15¢ each. This makes me very excited. Plus if it’s okay that I say so, my homemade applesauce tastes better than store-bought. :)

Applesauce Cups

This batch of applesauce turned out such a pretty shade of pink because I used a variety of dark red apples with very white flesh (Empire, I believe). No one who eats this can believe I didn’t add sugar. No need for sugar, my friends. Not when God made apples this good and sweet.

The cups with lids I chose are a perfect 5.5 ounce size. I filled them about 3/4 full, put the lids on top, then froze them. (I tested one to see if it froze/thawed well. It did. Now I have a freezer full!)

Next time we need travel food, we’ll grab several homemade applesauce cups from the freezer. I am so excited about this!

Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Have any other good ideas to share for fun travel foods?

This post contains affiliate links.

BOGO Coconut Oil With Free Shipping (And My Favorite Ways to Use Coconut Oil)

I love coconut oil and buy other brands when I find a good deal. But the Tropical Traditions brand is by far my favorite and by far the best in quality. So when it’s on sale (with free shipping), I get very excited!

tropical traditions coconut oil 2

This weekend, Tropical Traditions is offering a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal on their 32-ounce jars of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil – the highest quality they offer. This is the best of the best!

On top of that, they are offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $19. Use the code 19151 at check out for free shipping to apply. This is what awesome is!

5 of My Favorite Ways to Use Coconut Oil

In my opinion, if there was a be-all-and-end-all item, coconut oil would have to be it. It has so many uses and so many health benefits. Truly, I say “use coconut oil for that” at least once a day. (And also, “go take a sip of water.” My kids love how predictable I am.)

Below are five of my favorite uses for coconut oil, in no particular order…

1. Sunburns

We try very hard not to let ourselves get sunburned. But we were on the soccer field all last weekend, which was very sunshiny even if it is October. Our faces all turned pink. We all slathered cheeks, foreheads, and noses in coconut oil. So soothing and healing!

2. Popcorn

We pop corn in an air popper, then stir in melted coconut oil and sea salt. It is the best popcorn in the world.

White Chocolate Popcorn

And then after you’ve popped your corn and stirred in the coconut oil,
you should make this White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn.

3. Skin Issues

Whenever any of us has something weird going on (any variety of weird) with our skin – the first thing we always try is coconut oil. It can’t hurt, and it almost always helps.

4. Frying Food

Most oils become hydrogenated (aka terrible for the body) when heated to high temps for frying. But coconut oil and palm oil are an exception to this. They can withstand high temps and remain stable. Hallelujah french fries! I prefer frying food in palm shortening or expeller pressed coconut oil because they are both flavorless. (The above mentioned coconut oil that is on sale this weekend has coconut flavor.)

sweet_potato_fries_2

Sweet Potato Fries
You’re going to need to make these.

5. Baking

Every muffin, quick bread, or cake I make with melted coconut oil is amazing. It’s also wonderful in my Whole Wheat Waffles. And Chewy Granola Bars. Here are some of my favorite recipes made with coconut oil:

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake

I think we can all see now why we need a lot of coconut oil in our lives (and it may or may not have something to do with chocolate cake).

Take advantage of the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil deal with free shipping (code 19151). New customers with Tropical Traditions who click through the referral links in this post automatically receive a free Virgin Coconut Oil Recipe Book with their order!

Leave a comment to let us know your favorite ways to use coconut oil.

This post contains referral links.

40+ Pumpkin, Apple, & Cinnamon Recipes! {How I’m Stock-Piling for Fall}

I’ll give you one guess as to my favorite thing about fall.

Yep! Food, food, food, food, food. Different seasons bring on different foods, as do different special events and holidays. This should, by the way, make us super appreciate how blessed we are to have such variety and bounty. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to eat the same two or three foods day after day, all year long, because those are my only meager options. We are spoiled by our vast food choices and we often still complain. If you ever hear me say, “Oh I’m so overwhelmed because I have so many apples and tomatoes that I need to put up” just shake me.

(This perspective seeking heart-check is brought to you by yours truly – after I spent an evening at our local mission with a homeless single mama and her 3 year old twins and 2 year old. It reminded me that I have soooo much! Also, my boys and I are reading Louis Zamperini, who, among other things, was lost at sea for 28 days then a tortured prisoner of war for a year and a half – so I vow to never complain again. Also, there’s Gladis. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. But if/when I slip up and do it anyway – call me out on it. I’m serious.)

So back to fall food and all the happiness that comes with it. My kitchen is spilling over with amazing foods and it makes me so excited. I love summer like you wouldn’t believe, so fall with its cinnamon deliciousness certainly softens the blow of “brace yourself, winter is coming!” (Not that I’m going to complain. Do I or do I not have closets full of blankets and sweaters? I do.)

Right now, I am in fall food stock-piling mode. We’ve been picking raspberries as much as we can. Apples are everywhere. It’s pumpkin time. I guess I’m finding myself shifting in thought as to what foods I want to keep on hand for fall, winter, and holiday cooking. Here are my top priorities:

Fall Foods To Stock Up OnYum

Tomato Soup

Our favorite Tomato Soup recipe is easy and super good. When we run out of my homemade soup, I’ll buy a case of Pacific Organic Tomato Soup because I really love having it on hand for casseroles or simply to warm up to eat with grilled cheese sandwiches. So yum!

Tomato Soup for the Freezer

Pumpkin Puree

This is how I easily cook whole pumpkins to have inexpensive pumpkin puree on hand. See list below of our favorite pumpkin recipes! I also stock up on organic pumpkin from Vitacost when I run out of home-preserved pumpkin.

Psst…here’s how you can get a super price on the Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin Puree at Vitacost! It is discounted to $2.19/can right now. If you are a new customer with Vitacost and click through this referral link, they’ll give you $10 off your first order of $30 or more. It’s a sweet deal. Get free shipping also when your purchase includes $25 worth of Vitacost brand products. (Hint: They have great Vitacost Brand Coconut Oil that’ll help you get free shipping!)

pumpkin_12

Cinnamon

Of course. This is a fall must-have. I buy a one-pound package from Vitacost, then transfer it to a shaker or a jar for easy measuring. I also love the Cinnamon Sticks from Olive Nation.

cinnamon_swirl_bread
That thar
is Cinnamon Swirl Bread – a delicious part of this complete fall breakfast.

Apple Pie Filling

I almost always have great sources each fall for free or inexpensive apples. One of my favorite ways to preserve apples is to prepare pie filling then freeze it. If I have time or a full freezer, I will instead can the apple pie filling. I can then easily dump the prepared filling into a Whole Wheat Pie Crust or easier yet – make Apple Crisp.

apple_pie_filling_5

Applesauce

Having plenty of applesauce on hand is awesome for so many reasons. It’s a great side dish or snack, and it’s also great to bake with. If you haven’t tried Applesauce Bread, well, it’s fall. You need to make Applesauce Bread.

My favorite (and easiest) way to make applesauce is with a Victorio. That tool makes my work so much less work-ish!

Chicken and Beef Broth

It’s soup time, so having veggie loaded broth prepped and in my freezer is so helpful. Must reads: How to Make Beef Broth and How to Make Chicken Broth.

turkey carcass and broth

And now, over 40 of my favorite fall recipes using these foods! There is some overlap since almost all pumpkin and apple recipes also call for cinnamon(but don’t worry, none of them call for broth).

What to Make With Cinnamon

14 Recipes With Cinnamon

What to Make with Apples

11 Apple Recipes

What to Make with Pumpkin Puree

12 Pumpkin Recipes

What to Do with Beef Bone Broth or Chicken Broth

11 Ways to Use Beef and Chicken Broth

What is on your fall stock-pile list? What are your favorite fall foods?