Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

Hallelujah, this cake has less sugar than most breakfast muffins!  This isn’t difficult, of course, because who decided it was a good idea to stir a bunch of sugar, corn syrup, and white flour together and call it “breakfast?”  My apologies to all the donuts, poptarts, and poofy-puffs out there who just got their feelings hurt.  It’s really not your fault.

Peanut Butter Cake

Indeed, not only do I serve this for desserts or snacks, I have been known to serve it for breakfast.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “This girl makes cake for breakfast all the time!”  Okay fine.  You caught me.  (Other breakfast cake recipes:  My Original Breakfast Cake and Pumpkin Breakfast Cake)

We do quite a few breakfast cakes around here, and I keep inventing more ideas.  This is because breakfast cakes are easy and filling.  My current favorite way to make breakfast is to bake a cake the night before, frost it with stevia sweetened frosting, then wake up to a ready-made meal.  Pull out applesauce and fresh berries, and breakfast is served.

Here’s a little known secret about muffin and quick bread recipes:  The batter can usually be spread into a 9×13 inch pan and baked into a cake.  If you sub out white flour with whole wheat, replace the large amount of white sugar for a smaller amount of sucanat or honey, you have yourself a delicious and fun breakfast.

Serve meat or eggs with your cake if you need additional protein to start your day.  Always serve fruit with your breakfast.  (Sometimes I’m bossy.)

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cake

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sucanat
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and peanut butter.  Stir melted mixture into the sucanat.  Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.  Mix well, then stir in flour and mix until smooth. Pour batter into a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Bake in a 350° oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia

Whip together all ingredients until thick and smooth, sweetening with stevia to taste.  Spread over cooled cake.

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

Before anyone else can say it, I’m going to.  “Did you see how much fat is in that frosting?!?!”

Mm-hmm.  If it isn’t obvious to you by now by reading posts from this butter and coconut oil loving girl, it should be very clear to you how important I believe it is to eat plenty of healthy, real fats.  Our brains need fat to thrive!  (Why yes I have researched this for hours and hours.)  It just so happens I’m nourishing my brain by eating this cake with a thick layer of frosting.

The low amount of sugar in this cake (which I cut into 24 pieces, by the way) combined with whole grains and healthy fats makes for a very nourishing treat.  In case you’re wondering, the reason I use cream cheese and cream in my stevia sweetened frosting recipes is because when whipped together, those cream products provide bulk (taking the place of three cups of powdered sugar).  Also – it’s cream cheese and cream!  Does life get any yummier?

So there you go.  If you haven’t served cake for breakfast yet, do this.  Tell your kids I said, “You’re welcome.”

What’s your breakfast cake status?  Tried it yet?

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Simple Spinach Tuna Melts – Don’t Knock it Until You’ve Tried It

Now that we’ve realized how easy it is to add spinach to our meals, I think we’re working it onto our table at least once each day.  The day these Spinach Tuna Melts were invented, Matt was the guy in charge of figuring out lunch.

We almost always have several cans of tuna on hand, our freezer held plenty of cheese, and I think it goes without saying that we had spinach in the fridge.  Here’s what Matt came up with:

Simple Spinach Tuna Melts

These were awesome.  I lost track of how many he had to make, as these are one or two bite tuna melts – and I’m not sure if you’ve seen our boys eat lately, but let’s just say they eat a lot of bites at each meal.  We went through a lot of spinach, and not one boy complained that there was no bread involved in this meal.

This meal is perfect for days you’re limited on time to cook, days you don’t have meat thawed, and days you want extra nourishment in the form of spinach.  (Every day is the day you want extra nourishment in the form of spinach. Join the spinach-eating bandwagon.)

How to Make Spinach Tuna Melts

Open and drain a can of tuna.  Use a fork to separate the tuna pieces, then place about a tablespoon on each leaf of spinach.  Top with about a teaspoon of shredded cheddar cheese.  Place prepared spinach/tuna/cheese on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted.

One 5-ounce can of tuna makes 6-8 Spinach Tuna Melts.  If feeding teenage boys, open many cans of tuna and be prepared to make many pans of tuna melts.

So there you go!  A super easy meal you can make that packs a big nutritional punch.

How are you doing on eating spinach?  Have you found fun ways to work it into your meals?

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Homemade {Easy} Tapioca Pudding

You know what’s bad about feeding my family beans? (Well, besides that.)  It’s that I almost always forget to soak the beans ahead of time. This does not work, even a little bit, unfortunately. Crunchy beans do not make good chili.

As you can imagine, then, when it comes to making Tapioca Pudding, I am never prepared. Every recipe I’ve found calls for soaking the tapioca pearls overnight or longer. Then, most of them tell me to cook the tapioca pudding for a bazillion minutes in a double boiler.

tapioca pearls

See, I’m just not into recipes that require all kinds of thought and effort. Plus, I don’t even own a double boiler. My rebellious “yeah, I don’t want to go to the trouble to do it that way” recipe reading self sometimes gets into trouble. Usually though, I find that I can take short-cuts and still turn out a good product.

Real food recipes become easy, time consuming tasks become effortless, and recipes with twenty-seven steps become no-brainers. This is how this Tapioca Pudding recipe came to be. I suddenly got hungry for the comfort food Tapioca Pudding…and I wanted some right now. “Soak the tapioca pearls in milk then cook it in a double-boiler until Christmas morning 2019″ just wasn’t going to cut it. What if? I thought. What if I just pour the tapioca into the milk along with my other delicious ingredients, and start cooking it in a plain ol’ saucepan?

But then the Follow All Instructions Exactly Police showed up at my door, so I’m actually writing this post from prison.

At least we can now all benefit from knowing this is super easy and delicious way to make Tapioca Pudding. Here’s how I did it:

Homemade {Easy} Tapioca Pudding

1 cup tapioca pearls (unsoaked, booyah!)
4 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks (save the whites for something else)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup real maple syrup (more if you like)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Measure tapioca pearls, milk, egg yolks, sea salt, and maple syrup into a medium sauce pan. Use a whisk to cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until tapioca pearls have “popped” and pudding is thick.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve right away, or refrigerate. This tastes great hot or cold.

Homemade Tapioca Pudding - Easy!

I have yet to convince my boys that Tapioca Pudding is the bomb-diggity of comfort foods. You’d think me calling cooked tapioca pearls “eye-balls” would have at least intrigued them a little bit, but nope. They think those tapioca things are weird. My youngest actually suggested that perhaps Tapioca Pudding might taste good “without those tapioca things.”  Oh well, more for me.

Do take heed of the “stir constantly” instructions in this recipe. While I’m obviously always eager to break rules and go about cooking my own way without following recipes word-for-word, walking away from your cooking tapioca pudding would be a very, very bad idea. Scorched milk, crunchy uncooked tapioca pearls, and black floaties in your pudding really will cause the I Told You So Police to show up at your door. Ask me how I know.

Are you a fan of tapioca pudding, or would you rather it didn’t have those tapioca things in there?

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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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