7 Favorite {Real Food} Sweet and Savory Holiday Treats

 

7 Sweet and Savory Holiday Treats

Today, instead of sharing a new recipe, I decided to post 7 of our family’s favorite treats from the past few years.  From sweet to savory, all of these recipes are delicious and easy – perfect for the Christmas Brunch!

Orange Cranberry Scones

Orange Cranberry Scones

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

Christmas Spice Cookies

Christmas Spice Cookies

Vanilla Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Vanilla Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Sweet Pepper Fritata

Sweet Pepper Fritata

Quick Eggnog Muffins

eggnog_muffins_2

Bacon Cheese Muffins

bacon cheese muffins

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!

XmasBrunch2011

If you haven’t picked up your free jar of coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, you need to get on it!  Offer ends Christmas night, and I’m pretty sure we’ll all be just a little bit busy that day.  :)  Free Coconut Oil!!!!!

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Hawaiian Fruit Salad

XmasBrunch2011

This salad is super easy to make and super refreshing to eat.  It is perfect for our Christmas Brunch!

Hawaiian Fruit Salad

Mix together three cups combination of any of the following:

Fresh or canned pineapple chunks or tidbits
Canned mandarin oranges or fresh clementines
Sliced bananas
Coconut flakes

Stir in:

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix well and serve.  See how easy that is?!

Hawaiian Fruit Salad

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!

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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

warmvanillasoother2sm

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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Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

XmasBrunch2011

This recipe is versatile so you can add your family’s favorite veggies – or be creative so you can learn to eat new ones.  The mixture of all these ingredients makes any vegetable taste great!

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

2 pounds fresh variety of vegetables of your choice (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, zucchini, or asparagus all work well)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower)
1 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or Colby jack work well)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour into a 2-quart baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes in a 350° oven.

Cheesy Veggie Casserole

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.

 Hey, did you get your free coconut oil yet?  Go get this awesome gift!  Also, be sure to join me in taking this free Healthy Living Challenge.  You’ll be glad you did!

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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.

Filling

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 Veggie Dip (With Homemade Seasoned Salt)

It’s been exactly 21 hours and 4 minutes since I posted the Homemade Seasoned Salt recipe, so I’m assuming all of you have some mixed up and ready by now?  Perfect.  You’ll be needing it for this recipe.  You have cucumbers and carrots on hand, right?  Perfect.

Easy Veggie Dip 1

One of the recipe cards that we made to go with your Seasoned Salt gift package shares this Easy Veggie Dip idea.  Right after mixing up my first batch of seasoned salt, I made some Perfect Potato Wedges (a recipe also found on the free recipe card printable) and some of this Easy Veggie Dip.  It was so….well, easy.  The only way I can get my family (including the mother - that’s me) to eat cucumbers is if I supply dip.  Typically, I go for ranch.  But cucumbers with this Easy Veggie Dip is delicious.  Even my hubby, who doesn’t really dig cucumbers, was enjoying the combo.  Yay - another great way to eat veggies!

Easy Veggie Dip

1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
2 cups sour cream
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise (I use Hain safflower mayo)
Seasoned Salt to taste

In a bowl, mix together minced onion, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  Add Seasoned Salt until mixture changes color (it should become a light peach color), tasting as you go for desired flavor.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.  Serve as a dip with assorted raw vegetables.

You’ll find our Seasoned Salt recipe here, along with this recipe (and 3 others) on cute printable recipe cards.  This makes a great gift!  This dip is great for holiday parties, or simply as a way to get your family to eat vegetables (like cucumbers!) any day of the week.  <—- I’m looking at you Coppinger Clan.

Can’t wait to hear how you like this Seasoned Salt and the recipes to go with it!

Easy Veggie Dip with homemade Seasoned Salt

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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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