Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

It is a fact that the first time I made this Cranberry Apple Cider, a young boy visiting our home looked into the crock pot, saw the floating cranberries, and asked, “Are those berries poisonous?”

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Hey. It was a fair question. He’s been taught well. Never eat berries without first asking what they are and checking to be sure that they are safe to eat. Smart kid, that one.

I assured him that the berries floating in my cider were merely cranberries, but my proclamation meant nothing at all to him. So he stood waiting for me to answer his actual question, “Are those berries poisonous?”

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I’ll admit that for at least two seconds, my mind started heading down the path of possible answers I could but should not give. “We’re not really sure, but we decided to try them and see what happened.” Or maybe, “Yes, but they were so pretty we decided it didn’t matter.”

But only a terrible hostess would scare visiting children, so even though this kid is a regular guest in our home and knows we specialize in sarcasm, I ignored the untrue answers threatening to come out of my mouth and told him, “Yes. But only if you chew them up and swallow them. If they’re just floating in your cup, they won’t hurt you.”

I kid, I kid.

I actually didn’t have to say anything at all because while I was quietly saying, “Nope, they’re just cranberries. Not even a little bit poisonous.” My almost 13-year old was sharing his own scary remarks about how his mom sometimes, but not always, puts poisonous berries in the cider so the family never knows which batch is safe, then ended with, “So. You want to try some?”

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It’s so much fun to be a guest at our house. You should definitely come drink cider with us sometime. If you dare. Mooh-ha-ha.

Well now that we got all the sarcasm out of the way (a Christmas miracle), let’s get on with the niceties about this recipe.

This Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider actually smells like Christmas. Yes, if you’ve ever wondered what Christmas smells like, this is your answer. It also looks like Christmas because what is more festive looking than (potentially poisonous) red berries, oranges, and cinnamon sticks in a crock pot? So pretty!

The best news is that this may be the simplest recipe you can make during the holiday season. Put ingredients into crock pot. Turn on crock pot. Let the smell of Christmas fill your home.

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 64 ounces unsweetened apple juice
  • 1-2 whole oranges, sliced
  • 16-ounces fresh cranberries
  • 3-5 cinnamon sticks
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker.
  2. Heat on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

TIP: After you make the first round of cider, save the cinnamon sticks, oranges, and cranberries to reuse in another batch of hot cider.

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

This cider is fun to leave in a crock pot for several hours during the day so that at all times the house smells wonderful and at any time a cup can be refilled!

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Once you’ve got your Chocolate Pie Crust made, you’ll need this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie recipe to go with it.

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I will say right off the bat that if you must avoid peanuts at your house, simply leave the peanut butter out of this recipe and make a regular Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. This tastes amazing either way!

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Can you use a regular pie crust for this pie? Of course you can. I’m not the boss of you. You can even use a graham cracker crust. You can go crustless. So many options!

No matter what though, I do suggest that you make this pie. It is super easy and a huge hit!!

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie
 
Author:
Serves: 8 pieces
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter*
  • ⅔ cup sucanat or sugar OR 30 drops liquid stevia
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips***
Instructions
  1. In a high power blender mix cream cheese, peanut butter, sweetener, cream, and vanilla until thick and smooth.
  2. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread into a prepared pie crust.**
  4. Chill pie in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

*Get our Natural Peanut Butter recipe here.
**Find our Chocolate Pie Crust recipe here.
***These are our favorite Mini Chocolate Chips to use.

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Need more cheesecake recipes? Some of these will be great in the Chocolate Pie Crust! Or in a Regular Whole Wheat Pie Crust. Or maybe they should remain crustless. Ohhhh, the options!

Easy Cheesecake Recipes

What are your favorite desserts to make at Christmas time? Think you should add this Chocolate Chip Cheesecake to your list?

The Simplest Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Truly these Chocolate Peanut Clusters can’t get any easier.

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I make some with semi-sweet chocolate and some with white chocolate and when it’s all said and done, I’ve spent about 10 total minutes making amazing Christmas treats.

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You don’t have to scoop these treats into muffin cups, but they sure do a lot to dress up the plate, don’t you think? (Read more ideas here for ways to serve festive food without using food coloring.)

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The effort it takes to make these Chocolate Peanut Clusters involves pouring chocolate chips into a saucepan with peanuts, then stirring them both together until they melt. Two-ish minutes later your mission has been accomplished. Scoop the melty mixture into muffin-lined cups. Refrigerate. Serve or package up to give as gifts.

If only all of our Christmas preparations would be this easy!

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Simple Chocolate Peanut Clusters

The Simplest Chocolate Peanut Clusters
 
Author:
Serves: 9-18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or white chocolate*)
  • 1 shake of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pour peanuts and chocolate chips into a sauce pan.
  2. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and coats the peanuts.
  3. Scoop coated peanuts into regular or mini-sized muffin paper liners.
  4. Allow the clusters to cool until set, about 20 minutes.

*I get my White Chocolate Chips from Olive Nation. They offer some with a little bit cleaner ingredients and I love their quality.

By the way, Olive Nation loves Heavenly Homemakers readers so much that they give us a 20% discount on our orders! Shipping is free when your order is $50 or more. Use the code home for the discount!

Simple Chocolate Peanut Clusters

If you’re into more time consuming treats (ha!), try these Truffles. I prefer simpler recipes, but of course the effort it worth the prize when you make truffles. They also make amazing Christmas gifts!

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Also great for gift giving: Homemade Peppernuts. My grandma always made these at Christmastime!

Peppernuts
What kinds of Christmas treats do you enjoy making to share?

Some of these links are my affiliate links.

Simple White Hot Chocolate

Pardon the pun, but we are going to fudge just a little bit on this Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe.

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On second thought, do not pardon the pun. Puns are great. Puns make life more fun. Embrace the pun. Long live the pun.

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But for real.

So back to fudging on the Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe. We fudge on this {chocolate} recipe because it contains actual sugar. I hereby declare that at Christmas, we can let our hair down just a little bit {insert rabbit puns here} and enjoy a sweet treat or two. Should we overindulge? I certainly don’t recommend it. I actually only suggest indulging on the treats that are your favorites and really, really, really appeal to you {insert banana puns here}.

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If you’re a white chocolate fan, this one is for you. And no doubt, if you are a fan of easy recipes (who isn’t?), you will definitely love this delicious holiday drink!

Simple White Hot Chocolate

Simple White Hot Chocolate
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat milk and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook and stir until chocolate is melted (do not boil!).
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Serve right away!

*I get my White Chocolate Chips from Olive Nation. They offer some with a little bit cleaner ingredients and I love their quality. (Yes, there’s still sugar in these. It’s Christmas. Enjoy the treat. Just don’t drink the entire pot.)

By the way, Olive Nation loves Heavenly Homemakers readers so much that they give us a 20% discount on our orders! Shipping is free when your order is $50 or more. Use the code home for the discount!

For a fun twist, add a teaspoon of Peppermint Extract to this Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe!

Simple White Hot Choclate

Want more fun holiday drinks?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

Seeing as this is one of the busiest times of the year – and will soon be the coldest – I think having a list full of Real Food Soup Recipes in our back pocket is a good idea. Would you agree?

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First, let’s talk Broth. Here’s my tutorial on making Chicken Broth on the stove-top. In addition, here’s my tutorial on making Beef Broth on the stove-top. I actually like making Beef Broth more often, simply because it doesn’t require the tedious task of boning a chicken. But that’s just me trying to save time in the kitchen. :)

I’ve started playing with making broth in my Instant Pot, which truly is easy and a great time saver! That might become my go-to method of broth making!

Either way, I find that it’s wonderful to have a few jars of homemade broth on hand every week during the winter months so I can quickly make soup for my family! And now for our favorite soup recipes!

12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

And while we’re on the subject of soup, if you need Cream of Mushroom Soup or Onion Soup Mix, we’ve got a homemade option for you!

12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

And with that, I will sign off. After all, this is one of the busiest times of the year. :) I’d love to hear about your favorite soup recipes!

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Who would like another recipe that only takes an effortless 5 minutes to prepare? What about a recipe that allows you to forget to thaw your meat ahead of time? A recipe that tastes amazing and is a crowd pleaser? Okeedokee! Let the excitement over this Crock Pot White Chicken Chili commence!

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This is one of those recipes in which you quickly place ingredients into a pot then walk away and let it make dinner for you. Is this a perfect recipe for a busy holiday season? Oh yes. Let’s enjoy our holiday season while our crock pot cooks dinner for us, shall we?

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Call this White Chicken Chili, or actually, let’s just call it A Night Off. This is one of those rare times we can simply open cans of prepared food and dump them into a pot. We can feel great knowing that it’s all still real food and it’s still healthy and nourishing for our families!

The Simplest White Chicken Chili

The Simplest White Chicken Chili
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1-2 pounds boneless Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans (drained)
  • 2 10-ounce cans Rotel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles)
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Add beans, Rotel, corn, and seasonings over the chicken and stir.
  3. Place cream cheese on top of the mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove chicken and shred, then stir it back into the soup.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Complete this meal by pulling salad fixin’s out of the fridge and washing some fresh fruit.

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

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Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

It’s like we just can’t get enough of these cheesecake-topped muffins. We’re loving them at our house! Allow me to remind you of the others in this little series before I share the latest Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins:

The fourth and final (at least for now) cheesecake muffin is this:

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Care to peek inside?

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There’s so much yum in there!

I’m not sure why I saved these for last. Perhaps because most have declared them to be the best of them all? You be the judge. They are all amazing.

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Scoop Muffin Mix or measure dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, sour cream, milk, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Fold in ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  5. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of each.
  8. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

**You really must get our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook so you can save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!! I LOVE having these mixes on hand!!!

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

 

How are your holiday plans coming? Have you been Getting Ahead for the Holidays? I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins (With or Without Chocolate Chips)

Are you tired of Pumpkin Spice yet? Oh no. You can’t be. It’s way too early for that. And you haven’t even tried these Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins yet!

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I did cringe to see a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios at the store the other day. Really now. I think we’ve taken this Pumpkin Spice craze just a little bit too far. I love pumpkin and the delicious spices of the season. But I think we should leave our Cheerios alone. And who needs oddly flavored Cheerios anyway when there are these real Pumpkin Muffins with actual cheesecake topping for our dining pleasure?

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Better yet, if I give you permission to sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the muffins if you wish? Well, I think the holiday season just got significantly more merry and bright. Pour a cup of coffee to go with, and a delicate tear will slip out the side of your eye as you recognize that Jesus really is the reason for the season.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins (With or Without Chocolate Chips)
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 egg
  • 15-ounces pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, pumpkin puree, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  4. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  6. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on each muffin if you like.
  7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

*Find the recipe for our Pumpkin Spice mix here. Or substitute: 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in this recipe.

**If you have our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook, save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!!

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

In case you’d rather eat a Pumpkin Spice Cheerio instead of an actual Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin, or if you’re someone who doesn’t like pumpkin or the spices that typically accompany this delightful gourd, I will now refer you to this recipes sister recipes:

banana cheesecake muffins22

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Coming soon: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins!

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These recipes prove that there is so much to be thankful for this season, am I right?

Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

Today I must begin by apologizing to all the chicken legs. I have underestimated how amazing these gems could taste. I truly had no idea these humble pieces could possibly be so spectacular. Now that I’ve discovered this Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs recipe, the leg of a chicken will forever rise to the top of my meat choices. Move over Prime Rib. The Chicken Leg is where it’s at.

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See, we all know that Prime Rib is delicious because its price tag tells us so. But Chicken Legs? They are so budget friendly. In fact, I watch for mark-downs and get them for less than a buck per pound. Incredible! So obviously I almost always leave behind the rib and go for the leg. There is no other way.

But now we will all learn that this very inexpensive meat selection has turned out to be one of the most delicious items on the menu. Perhaps it is the garlic and the Parmesan we use in this recipe. It likely has something to do with the butter, because obviously, chicken and all of life is better with butter.

Mix all these wonders together and pour them over the infamous chicken leg, and you may just pass out on your plate at first taste. You have been warned. I am not responsible for your medical bills if you fail to brace yourself for this. I have done my part by providing your joy in the form of a leg of a chicken slathered in the most delicious sauce you’ve ever eaten.

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Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (or 1 heaping Tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Place chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, saute garlic in the butter for 2 minutes at medium heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour or cornstarch.
  4. Add chicken broth, continuing to whisk until mixture thickens and is smooth.
  5. Continue to whisk while pouring in cream and sprinkling in cheese.
  6. Allow the sauce to thicken for 1-2 minutes, stirring continually.
  7. Remove sauce from heat and pour it over the chicken legs.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

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Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

Perhaps you’re thinking, why would I make Banana Cheesecake Muffins when I can make Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins?

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I’m here to tell you that I actually like these even better than the chocolate muffins. This, from a girl who loves her chocolate. There’s just something about the subtle sweetness, the perfect moistness, and the obvious cheesecake topping that makes these banana muffins rise to the top for me.

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Then there’s the fact that I can think of no better way to use up overripe bananas. Now I watch our uneaten bananas start to turn dark and I’m like, “YES! I’m going to have to make some Banana Cheesecake Muffins with these!”

Notice I said “have to.” Because there is no other option. None at all. The only thing I can possibly do with my blackened bananas is make these Banana Cheesecake Muffins. It is the only way.

Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Scoop Muffin Mix or measure dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, mashed banana, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  4. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

**If you have our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook, save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!!

Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

Check out the sister recipe to this one: Easy Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins. And be watching for more! Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins and Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins recipes coming soon!

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