Baked Apple Pancake Recipe

We all used to think that a pancake was just a pancake. But that made us all go to sleep with boredom and we all screamed for something different. Actually, none of us did that. Normal pancakes are the bomb-diggity and change is hard. Flipping regular round pancakes is nice, easy, and who doesn’t love a fresh pancake right off the griddle?

quick_mix_pancakes

But now we can also make Easy Pancake Muffins. They’re fun and easy too. Our people love them.

Easy Pancake Muffins - Great for the Freezer

To go along with our newly discovered pancake experimentational adventures (seriously, it’s just a recipe idea but here I am trying to pull out big words to make it sound impressive) – we can now add this Baked Apple Pancake to the mix.

apple pancake31

This delicious idea came from “Busy Mom in AL” when I shared about making Easy Pancake Muffins. This long-time reader said,

“Put apples and cinnamon in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and then pour the pancake batter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serve in squares with tons of maple syrup! :) It is called Apple Pancake Bake.”

Knowing my family would love it, a few mornings later I gave this idea a try. It earned the “take pictures and blog about it” award, so here you go!

apple pancake4 apple pancake5 apple pancake6 apple pancake7

Baked Apple PancakeBaked Apple Pancake Yum

Baked Apple Pancake Recipe
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 5-6 apples, any variety
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard or soft white wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice apples, laying them evenly on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients well, then pour the mixture over the apples.
  4. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice and serve with real maple syrup.

I think you’ll love this simple recipe idea! It’s perfect for this fall, what with its cinnamon awesomeness.

Once again we learn that pancakes don’t have to be just pancakes. Have any more pancake variations to share with us?

Help! My Alfredo Sauce Leftovers Don’t Reheat Well!

Not that I know much about leftovers around my house anymore. But occasionally when we have a small amount of alfredo sauce leftovers, we’ve found that the butter separates when reheated, making for a greasy noodle on a plate. Have you ever run into this problem? Not to worry – I am here to solve the dilemma.

alfredo leftovers 2

What to do with alfredo sauce leftovers

Perhaps you have figured out the trick to prevent this and would like to share. In the meantime, this is what our family does to remedy the problem:

We stir the leftover Alfredo Sauce into some marinara sauce. Have you ever had marinara mixed with alfredo? It’s incredibly delicious. It’s so delicious, in fact, that my boys sometimes request that I make this on purpose. This is fine because I always love preparing two separate sauces when I make pasta because I have nothing better to do than to double my efforts in the kitchen.

alfredo leftovers 1

But seriously, it’s worth making two sauces because the combination is so good. Or…we could simply make extra Alfredo Sauce on purpose one day to eat as Fettuchini Alfredo. Put the leftovers away, then make spaghetti with marinara sauce the following day. Put those leftovers away, and then on the third day we can stir all the leftovers together and have a Spaghetti Alfredo meal.

Probably the day after that, we should make something besides pasta. You think?

The Perfect Solution for Warming Leftover Alfredo Sauce

Yum

The two sauces together with pasta truly is delicious. If only all leftover issues could be solved by stirring them into something else to create a delightfully brand new dish.

For the record, Homemade Alfredo Sauce with pasta is amazing and tastes even better than what you order at a restaurant. Talk about a money saver!

Have you discovered any tricks for reheating Alfredo Sauce?

Make Your Own “Nesquik”

Oh yeah. Homemade Nesquik coming right up.

Homemade Nesquik

Want to know something about Chocolate Milk?

Nobody needs it. It’s not a health food. We probably shouldn’t drink it.

Yet I still have a homemade “Nesquik” recipe to share with you. Why?

Because it’s fun, because it’s tasty, and because some people love their chocolate milk. So if you at least had an option to drink a healthier version of chocolate milk, wouldn’t that be nice?

Here’s the info I found on the official Nesquik website. This is what you find in the store-bought variety of the powdered mix…

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, SOY LECITHIN, CARRAGEENAN, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, SPICE. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: SODIUM ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), FERRIC PYROPHOSPHATE (IRON), NIACINAMIDE, ZINC OXIDE, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE, COPPER GLUCONATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, BIOTIN.

What’s with all that stuff in there? If you can possibly imagine, I just learned to make a chocolate milk mix with the simple yet magical ingredients I like to call cocoa and sugar. For real? Are we sure we can have our chocolate milk without adding some niacinamide? Because I just don’t know.

Here’s how easy this is: You put your cocoa and sugar in a jar, then you add two dashes of salt – which is a fun little ingredient that enhances the sweetness and completes the package. Shake it up, and you’ve got a fine little treat – if you think you can get along without the copper gluconate. (I am having the best time listening to all of you try to pronounce these words as you read.)

Homemade NesquikYum

Make Your Own "Nesquik"
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (they're still offering a 25% off Amazon coupon on Nativas organic cacao powder!)
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 2 dashes of salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a pint sized jar.
  2. Put a lid on and shake the ingredients until they are well mixed.
  3. To make chocolate milk, add 1-2 Tablespoons of mix to a 12 ounce glass of milk.
  4. Stir well.

And that’s it. Making Homemade Nesquik will take less effort than finding your missing shoe.

Make Your Own Nesquik

My boys were thrilled with this fun treat, so I went ahead and made a half gallon of chocolate milk. The next morning was chilly, so I used the mix to make hot chocolate. (Just warm the milk, then stir in the milk as directed above.)

What’s your relationship with chocolate milk? 

How to Make Refrigerator Cookie Dough – Save Money and Use Healthier Ingredients

This idea was born out of pure laziness. I was hungry for my Easy {Low} Sugar Cookies, but the idea of chilling the dough, and rolling out the cookie dough, then cutting out the dough…oh it was all just too much.

I don’t want to knead bread dough, I don’t want to roll out sugar cookies…has it really come to this? (Yes.) So here is what I did to save myself some effort and time:

I mixed the dough. I took half of the dough and I rolled it up in parchment paper – just like a tube of dough you would buy at the store, except that mine didn’t have a Pillsbury Dough Boy pictured on the side. I stuck the tube in the fridge. It worked so well, I did the same with the other half of the dough. It was too easy. An hour later, I sliced my cookie dough tubes. I baked my slices (just as the recipe states). I rejoiced that I had avoided the difficult task of using a rolling pin. I ate a cookie.

Sugar Cookie Collage

Just a reminder that these cookies are very low in sugar – kind of like a sweet, buttery biscuit. We don’t miss the extra sugar because they are so delicious just as they are. If you were wanting to try the Easy {Low} Sugar Cookies recipe but balked at the idea of rolling and cutting and getting flour down the front of your shirt – just roll the dough into a tube. You will feel so Betty Crocker-ish, perhaps a little Martha Stewart-y, but mostly you will break in to a Heavenly Homemaker dance. Do not ask me to show you what this looks like. 

One thing has led to another with cookie dough tubes in my kitchen. These are all the other important facts you need to know:

These Cookie Dough Tubes freeze well.Yum

These are so easy and fun to make, that I found that it made sense to make several batches to freeze to have on hand for all the cookie emergencies. To do this, simply place the parchment paper-wrapped dough into freezer bags, label, and freeze. Thaw in the fridge, if you think ahead better than I do. Otherwise, set the frozen dough tube on the counter-top for about 15 minutes, then slice and bake (according to the time and temp as directed in the cookie recipe). Yes, it’s that easy.

These Cookie Dough Tubes cost much less than what you can buy at the store.

I did the math, because I was curious and thought maybe you would be too.

One recipe of sugar cookie dough cost me roughly $2.60. This was using high quality ingredients, most of them organic. I get two tubes of dough out of one batch, each making about 18 cookies. This breaks down to $1.31 for one tube of cookie dough! Take that, Dough Boy! (I’m sorry. That wasn’t nice. You are adorable. You just aren’t good for us. And you are expensive. This is not your fault, because you are imaginary.)

These Cookie Dough Tubes aren’t limited to just sugar cookies.

Obviously, you can use this same idea to make other varieties of cookie dough. Chocolate chip works very, very well.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Collage

Need the recipes? But of course!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy {Low} Sugar Cookies

I haven’t tried yet, but I’m very sure this idea will work with:

Whole Wheat Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Christmas Spice Cookies

How to Make Refrigerator Cookie Dough

Have you tried this idea before? What other varieties of cookies should we try with this idea?

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole

It’s a Potato and Bacon Casserole. Life is good.

Bacon Baked Potato Casserole

This is so easy we can hardly call it a recipe. I’m pretty sure my family will be having this every other week for the rest of our lives for the following reasons:

  1. Bacon. Of course. And also, cheese.
  2. We can slather it with Spicy Ranch Dressing, which tastes so good I believe I shall become addicted to it.
  3. I can make several of these casseroles at once and freeze them for later, making this easy meal even easier.

This “casserole” is basically baked potatoes cut up in a dish with bacon and cheese all over it. I’m sorry that I can’t make it more complicated for all of you who would rather spend many more minutes sauteing, braising, and broiling. This time, you’ll have to get your steeping and zesting fix elsewhere.

Everyone else: I lovingly suggest that you go scrub some potatoes. You’re having this for dinner tonight.

Baked Potato and Bacon CasseroleYum

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole
 
8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety) 1 pound bacon 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Instructions
  1. Scrub and bake potatoes by putting them into a covered dish in a 350° oven for 1½ hours.
  2. In the meantime, cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook thoroughly on the stove-top.
  3. Cut baked potatoes into chunks, spreading them out into a 9x13" baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cooked bacon over the potatoes.
  5. Top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Offer sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing to complete this main course. Serve with a salad and another fruit or veggie. It is too easy. Makes 6-8 servings.

Baked Potato Bacon Casserole

To Freeze This Dish: 

Make it as directed above. Allow it to cool completely. Cover and label. Put it in the freezer.

To Reheat and Serve This Dish:

This is my favorite trick. Get the casserole out of the freezer. Cover the frozen dish with foil (somebody needs to invent a 9×13 glass cover for my pyrex dishes). Put the frozen casserole into a COLD oven. Turn the oven on to 250° allowing it to heat up along with the casserole. After one hour, turn the oven up to 350° and bake for one more hour or until the casserole is thawed, heated through, and looks like wonderful cheesy deliciousness.

Let us all add this recipe to our “Reasons to Make Extra Baked Potatoes When We’re Making Baked Potatoes Anyway” list.

7 Ways to Use Baked Potatoes

Switch out the bacon in this casserole for other cooked meats. Switch out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes. Just whatever you do, try it with the Spicy Ranch Dressing. Ah-mazing.

Spicy Ranch Dressing

I just met something wonderful called Spicy Ranch Dressing.

spicy ranch dressing 1

Remember when I went to the Women of Faith conference with my girlfriends and got super silly? It may have been in part because of the meal we ate across the street from the arena before the event. Yes. I blame it on the specialty pizza. It was that good.

Who knew you could put thin slices of red potato on a pizza and turn out something amazing? The pizza had some sort of red-ish sauce drizzled all over it, and that very sauce is what made that pizza taste so good. Well, that and the bacon. Everything is better with bacon.

Of course I came home determined to replicate the sauce. Every potato needs that sauce, whether it’s on a pizza or not. So I looked it up on the restaurant website. It described the pizza blah, blah, blah “with spicy ranch dressing.” Bingo.

So I played. The result is too easy. Make this and forever drizzle it over your baked potatoes, your chicken, and sure – even your pizza.

Spicy Ranch DressingYum

Spicy Ranch Dressing
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup homemade ranch dressing (because it is good for you and delicious)
  • 1-3 Tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce like Tabasco, Cholula, or Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
Instructions
  1. Mix together, and enjoy.

See how easy that was? You’ll need my homemade ranch dressing recipe.

Want it to be spicier? Add more hot sauce, chili powder, or cumin. Want it to be less hot? Cut down the hot sauce, chili powder, or cumin. Really, it isn’t difficult.

Spicy Ranch Dressing

Later this week, I will share a fun new Baked Potato Casserole I came up with to use with this Spicy Ranch Dressing. You will love how simple it is. And yep, there’s bacon on it. (And all the husbands everywhere said, “Yes. Keep reading that one lady’s blog – the one who gives you recipes that use bacon.”)

Give me more ideas besides potatoes, chicken, and pizza for this dressing. Think it would taste good on a salad? (Yes.) Ooh, maybe with Sweet Potato Fries. Oh my goodness, yes. What else??

(No Flour) Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – The Heathier Way

Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – come and get ’em!

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

When I saw the original recipe for these bars here, what really jumped out at me was the “no flour” thing. Avoiding flour is always a nice option in recipes. I also noticed the “mini m&m” thing but decided that while those are fun and tasty, they are on the naughty list and not required to make these cookie bars good. Then I wondered if I could cut back on the 2 cups of sugar and the amount of chocolate chips.

Do I know how to ruin a good recipe, or what? 

Hey. I didn’t ruin a thing. I simply cut back on the sugar and cut out the corn syrup and 10 different food dyes. The cookie bars are still delicious, so says my family and several other people I have served these to who didn’t even know I’d healthified this recipe. It probably helps that these bars still have plenty of sugar in them.

The oats and lack of flour create a really fun, chewy bar. I say, make these then wrap them individually and freeze them to grab out for lunch boxes or on-the-go snacks. This makes 24 good sized bars.

(No Flour) Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsYum

(No Flour) Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars - The Heathier Way
 
Author:
Serves: 24-36
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1½ cups creamy natural peanut butter (here's how to make it yourself)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups quick oats
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Cream sugar, butter, and peanut butter together until smooth.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Stir in oats until well combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture into a cookie sheet lined by parchment paper.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Makes 24-36 cookie bars, depending on how large you cut them.

No Flour Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies (the real food version)

Make these gluten free by using GF oats. Learn to make your own Quick Oats here.

Enjoy this very easy treat!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Cookie bites? Eh. We like ’em okay. ;)

Because we all like healthy snacks and we absolutely love easy recipes – let us take a moment to review the previous no-bake cookie bite recipes shared here:

One idea turned into another, and now we have No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites to add to the list!

No-Bake Cookie Bites - Easy Recipes!

With a few ingredient tweaks, a Peanut Butter Cookie Bite came about. Of course, a peanut butter cookie bite must be gently pressed with a fork like the real deal, don’t you think? These taste so much like Peanut Butter Cookies, we couldn’t believe it. But instead of being an actual cookie full of sugar – they are a high protein, high fiber, low sugar snack. But hey, call it a cookie since it still tastes like one. Healthy treats are so exciting!

Peanut Butter Cookie Bites - No Bake!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites Yum

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized (or whatever sized) balls.
  3. Press down gently, criss-cross, with a fork.
  4. Refrigerate before serving.

It really is that easy.

(Here are my homemade peanut butter instructions.)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Where to get Coconut Flour:

Many have asked about Coconut Flour. I order it from Tropical Traditions or Amazon. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t let the price-tag scare you. Coconut flour is naturally gluten free, high in fiber, and high in protein. I love it for its nutritional value!

Ways to enjoy these No-Bake Cookie Bites:

  • Packed in a lunch
  • As a snack/pick-me-up
  • Before or after a work-out
  • On the road during a trip
  • In a box, on a train, with a fox, in a tree (thank you, Sam I Am) – Do you really need any more reasons to love these? Eat them any where for any reason!

Lovin’ these No-Bake Cookie Bites!

Give me more cookie flavor ideas to play with!! What would you like to see here?

Pineapple Fluff Salad (All Real Food Ingredients!)

We can actually make Pineapple Fluff with real food!

Pineapple Fluff

While we were out at church camp this summer, one of the cooks made a huge bowl of “Green Fluff Salad.” Malachi, our 10 year old, helped himself to seconds and thirds – absolutely loving this salad.

Now I personally think that calling this a salad is kind of like calling margarine butter which no one should ever, ever do in my hearing because I will gag and then I will do the ugly cry on the spot. (Do not picture this.) A dish which contains green jello, cool whip, cream cheese, pineapple (yay fruit!), and mini-marshmallows is…I’m going to say…a dessert? Now if you like that variety of “salad,” more power to you. I understand these types of cravings because I still want an occasional Dorito even though I know better. But I just question the use of the word “salad” here and now back to the story.

Malachi loved the Green Fluff Salad. This is why, when I asked him a week later at home for a side dish suggestion to go with grilled steaks we’d be making, he perked up and said, “Oh Mom! We should make that Green Fluff stuff we had at camp!”

Before I go on, you need to know this: It was my birthday. We were talking about side dishes for my birthday dinner. Mine. Does my child not know me the way I thought my child knew me? Was he also going to buy me some margarine as a gift? I felt an ugly cry coming on.

Catching myself before an outburst because I am always so graceful in my parenting, I gently said, “Buddy, I don’t use those kind of ingredients. I’d rather make something with food we have on hand already.”

To which Malachi said calmly, “I know. I mean we can try to figure out how to make that salad the healthy way. Like you always do.”

Squeeze him. Now that’s a boy who knows how his mama thinks. I mean, I knew all along that’s what he meant. I never doubted for a minute. I knew he didn’t mean for me to go buy cool whip and marshmallows. C’mon now.

Pineapple Fluff Salad (I guess I’m still calling this a salad. I don’t know why.)Yum

Pineapple Fluff Salad (All Real Food Ingredients!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar or 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup or liquid stevia to taste
  • 14-ounce can of pineapple, drained (chunks, tidbits, or crushed works fine)
Instructions
  1. Open pineapple, drain, and save juice for drinking another time.
  2. Set pineapple aside.
  3. In a high-power blender mix cream cheese, whipping cream, vanilla, lime juice, and sweetener of choice until well combined and smooth.
  4. In a bowl, fold pineapple into the whipped mixture.
  5. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

If you want this salad to be green, I’m sorry. Real food is only green if it comes out of the ground that way. Jello doesn’t grow in a garden. It’s okay though. I put this salad in a clear dish on top of a green plate and that kind of gives it the greenish look. I do what I can.

Pineapple Fluff Salad with Real Food Ingredients

Did Malachi like the results? Yes. He absolutely loved it. No jello needed. Lime juice did the trick, as did a tiny bit of sugar. I didn’t take the time to figure out a marshmallow substitute for this because I am not crazy, and whipping cream was an obvious real food substitute for cool whip. This kid received the “favorite kid in my kitchen” award (because none of my other kids were home) and I received the “nailed it” award on this recipe challenge. Fist bump, high five, happy dance.

pineapple fluff malachi
One might wonder, “Why is there a toilet paper tube behind Malachi?” What? Don’t you keep those on your countertop beside your fruit bowls? It’s soooo Heavenly Homemakerish. But for real, we are working on some projects for a great big new book coming out soon for you and your kids. It’s super exciting and on this very Pineapple Fluff making day, the project involved an empty tp tube. Nothing should surprise you about me anymore. (Update: Here’s the book!)

Are you familiar with Green Fluff Salad? Or other colors of fluff salad? Drop-kick those (but not literally because, eww) and make this amazing real food version.

How To Make Almond Butter

Almond Butter recipe? Yeah, I’ve got an Almond Butter recipe. I think.

Confessions of a scatter-brained homemaker:

On Monday, I decided to try making a new variety of No-Bake Cookie Bites. I was out of Almond Butter, so I considered that it was probably as easy to make as Peanut Butter, which I make all the time. Heading to my computer to search for how to do it, I realized: I think I have done this before and maybe even already have a post written about it. So I searched my own website. Sure enough. I told us all how to make Almond Butter back in 2012.

This makes me wonder what else I’ve already taught us how to do that I don’t even remember. Maybe I’ve told us all how to save thousands of dollars or how to save hours of time. What else have I forgotten?!?

Well anyway. I am loving the No-Bake Cookie Bites so much that I will be actually using homemade Almond Butter more often, which will likely help me remember that I know how to make it. In case you also forgot that I have already taught us how to make this easy spread, I am re-posting the tutorial for us all here today. May we all remember and use these instructions often. May our brains be for us instead of against us. May we never forget when we walk into a room, what in the world we walked in to get.

Homemade Almond Butter

So here we go, loud and clear so that we don’t forget:

Here’s How to Make Almond Butter!

Step One: Pour 2 cups of almonds into a food processor. I have found that 2 cups of almonds creates one full cup of almond butter. I don’t recommend putting more than 2 cups of almonds into your food processor at one time. The process takes a while, and the more almonds you have, the longer it will take.

Step Two: Place lid on food processor and turn it on. Plugging it in is always a plus as well. This will be very loud at first, so warn your household.

Step Three: After processing almonds for two to three minutes, use a spoon to scrape down the sides of your food processor and shift around the almonds.

Step 4: Continue to process, but stop and scrape and stir almonds around from time to time to aid in the butter making process.

Step 5: You’re getting closer! Process, scrape, stir, and process some more. Continue until the almonds have become the almond butter you’ve always dreamed of. Because yes, we all do spend much of our time dreaming of perfect almond butter, do we not? (Not me, apparently, because I forgot the stuff existed.)

And there you go – lovely, smooth and creamy almond butter.

What other nut butters have you made? Did you remember that I’ve already told us all how to make this three years ago? I sure hope your brain works better than mine.

P.S. I order organic almonds from Braga Farms. They are a wonderful company to work with and offer high quality nuts. Almond Butter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks.