Whole Wheat Quick Mix “Very Vanilla” Cookies {Sneak peek into our upcoming Oh, For Real! book}


I have to say thank you for giving my younger two boys a bit of educational entertainment this evening.  I called them in to help me count the “votes” to determine which Whole Wheat Quick Mix recipe I would share with you first.  They made a list of the options, and then made tally marks as I called out “cookies”, “fruit pizza”, “pancakes”, etc.

You know boys.  Everything is a competition.  As we went through each of your comments, the excitement grew.  Who knew that counting recipe votes would be so much fun?  At one point early on, Malachi shouted, “Muffins are in the lead!!”  And so it went.

Ah, it’s the simple things in life that are the most fun, right?

Malachi and Elias are excited to share that Very Vanilla Cookies won the vote, with Fruit Pizza and Pancakes trailing in very close behind.  They personally each wanted to vote for Fruit Pizza.  I think they thought I was going to drop everything and immediately make the recipe that won the vote.  Sorry boys.  Cute as you are, your vote doesn’t count this time.  Besides, I don’t have any fresh strawberries on hand.  ;)

So here you go – a very easy and delicious cookie recipe that you can stir together in no time using your Whole Wheat Quick Mix.  If you happen to have homemade vanilla extract to use in this recipe, yay!  But even if you don’t, I bet you’ll still be able to choke these down.  :)

Very Vanilla Cookies

3 cups Whole Wheat Quick Mix
1 1/4 cup sucanat
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together.  Scoop 1 ½ teaspoons of dough onto a cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart.  Bake in a 375° oven for 12-15 minutes.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

More of our new Oh, For Real recipes coming soon – in particular, recipes that use this Whole Wheat Quick Mix.

I’m curious (and this has nothing to do with cookies, books, or quick mixes):  Is it snowing where you are?  We’re getting several inches right now.  Fun!

Whole Wheat Quick Baking Mix

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

Over the past few years, I have had many requests for a recipe which will replace boxed “Bisquick”.  I had never used bisquick very much before we started our healthy eating journey, therefore I didn’t know that I’d have much use for a healthier version.  And so, this recipe request continued to get pushed to the bottom of my “to-do” list.

For shame.  I didn’t know what I’d been missing!  Last summer, I finally gave this recipe a try.  Once I figured out the right combination of ingredients, I learned that it takes just a few minutes to put this mix together.  And the recipes you can quickly whip up once you have this mix on hand?  Every single one we’ve tried has been a hit!  I love this mix!  It is inexpensive, is made with real ingredients I feel good about feeding to my family, it saves time, and the food prepared with it tastes great.  Does it get any better than that?

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

10 cups whole wheat flour (I use flour made from freshly ground hard white wheat)
1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sucanat (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
2 cups organic palm shortening or butter

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sucanat and salt.  Thoroughly cut in palm shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Store Whole Wheat Quick Mix in an air tight container in the freezer.

Because I have been having lots of fun putting together new recipes that use this Whole Wheat Quick Mix, the next few days will be dedicated to sharing many of these new recipes.  So stay tuned!  Here’s a little glimpse into what you’ll find:

 Quick Mix Biscuits

Quick Mix Fruit Pizza


Quick Mix Honey Cinnamon Muffins

Quick Mix Very Vanilla Cookies

Quick Mix Pancakes

Beyond those, I’ve come up with a pie crust, waffles, and more muffin and cookie recipes.  I’m telling you, this mix is so versatile and easy.

It’s recipes like this that make my Oh, For Real!  Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy book so much fun.  It’s all about making your life healthier and easier.  Anytime you can take one recipe and adapt it to make many other healthy food recipes, we have a winner!

Which of the above recipes do you want me to share next?  I aim to please.  :)

Easy Chicken Pot Pie {Real Food Dollar Menu}

FAQs of Easy Chicken Pot Pie…

Question:  What do you get when you mix one cup of milk, one cup of mayonnaise, and one cup of whole wheat flour?

Answer:  The most amazingly delicious crust you can imagine.

Question:  What is the easiest way to make a crust for a Chicken Pot Pie?

Answer:  You know the “one cup of milk, one cup of mayonnaise, and one cup of flour” I referred to?  Mix it up and pour it over the top of your pot pie filling, then bake.  It doesn’t get any easier.  No mess.  No rolling.  No problem.

Question:  How much does it cost to make this healthy, hearty Chicken Pot Pie?

Answer:  Would you believe me if I told you that it only costs $6.00*?  It’s true.  This recipe feeds 8-10 people.  (Eight if you’re my family.  Ten if you aren’t feeding teenage boys.)  That makes the cost of this recipe between $0.60 and $0.75 per person.  And it’s a complete, filling, healthy meal.

Question:  Is the rest of this post going to be as cheesy as what I’ve read so far?

Answer:  Ummm…no.  But I do want you to know that I’m currently working on more ideas for this milk/mayo/flour crust mixture.  I got the idea from Matt’s cousin Monica, and I’m thinking that the possibilities are definitely not limited to Chicken Pot Pie.  Can’t wait to figure out more ideas!


Easy Chicken Pot Pie

6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bites
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups frozen peas
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons organic corn starch, arrowroot powder, or wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower Mayonnaise)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground flour from hard white wheat)

In a large cooking pot, boil broth, chicken, carrots, potatoes, and peas until veggies are tender.  Mix cornstarch with water until smooth.  Stir mixture into the broth/veggies, cooking for about one minute on the stove to help the mixture thicken.  Pour contents into a 9×13 inch baking dish.


In a separate bowl, stir together milk, mayo, and flour.  Spread mixture over the veggies in the baking dish.


Bake in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.




Chicken Pot Pie

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken and broth.  And I love one-dish meals!

This is just one more recipe that proves that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive!

Looking for more meals on our Real Food Dollar Menu? Here are the recipes I’ve shared so far:

Stay tuned for many more recipes and ideas for our Real Food Dollar Menu!

*I calculated my cost based on the food sources and prices I have available to me. Most of the ingredients I use are organic. Your cost may be slightly more or less depending on where you find your ingredients.

P.S.  I think this recipe would work great for creating personal sized frozen Chicken Pot Pies.  :)

Homemade Caramel Brownies

How’s this for a great way to begin the new year?!  :)

I got this idea from my friend Kim.  Smart!  You can either bake these in a 9×13 inch pan, or in muffin cups for fun, individual servings.

Caramel Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
2 cups sucanat
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 recipe of Homemade Caramel Sauce

Stir together butter, sucanat and cocoa. Mix in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and mix until combined.

To make a 9×13 inch pan of these brownies, spread the brownie batter into the pan.  Drizzle the Homemade Caramel Sauce over the top and “cut it in” with a butter knife.  Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make individual Caramel Brownies:

Divide brownie batter evenly into 12-15 paper lined muffin cups.

Make a small “well” in the middle of each brownie cup.  I used the end of the spoon to do this, since I’m so professional and fancy.

Next, drizzle warm caramel sauce into the well and over the brownie – one or two tablespoons for each.

Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes.

Not interested in the Caramel Brownies?  How about Peanut Butter Brownies?  :)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls {Christmas Brunch}

I love treats like this that are on the healthy side, plus very easy to put together!  With four simple ingredients that many of us have on hand – I’ll bet some of you will hop right off your chair and get them started right away.  And I highly recommend that you do.

But beware – these are little balls of peanut butter, chocolatey, coconutty addictiveness.  You’ve been warned.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

1 cup natural peanut butter (I use homemade peanut butter)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Melt coconut oil and honey together in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until mixture is smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spread mixture into a 9×9 inch pan.  Refrigerate for about two hours.  Roll mixture into 1 inch balls.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

100% Juice Punch {Christmas Brunch}

Many of you know how much I used to love drinking Pepsi – and how giving it up has been a great decision for my health.  But you probably also know how much I miss that “burn”!

For the occasional treat, I like to put seltzer water into a small amount of 100% juice.  It’s not too sweet – but just sweet enough to make the fizzy water taste better.  And it gives me that burn I love and miss.

For our Christmas Brunch, I wanted to suggest this simple punch idea.  It’s 100% juice – no added sugar or corn syrup!

Christmas Brunch Punch

12 ounces 100% cranberry juice concentrate, thawed but cold
12 ounces 100% grape juice concentrate, thawed but cold
2 (or 3) liters seltzer water

Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl or large pitcher.  The amount of seltzer water you use is up to you – depending on how sweet or fizzy you like your drinks.

Christmas Brunch Punch {with 100 juice!}

Feel free to add different kinds of juice depending on your taste.

Are you like me – do you like the “burn”?

Hashbrown Sausage Casserole {Christmas Brunch}

There’s nothing fancy about this casserole – but it is very tasty.  It’s perfect for our Christmas Brunch!

I especially love putting this together if I have Homemade Frozen Hashbrowns and Premade Turkey Sausage crumbles.  Then all I have to do is throw everything into a dish and bake it.  If you prefer, you could substitute browned hamburger meat for the turkey sausage.  Just shake in some chili powder and/or garlic powder to spice it up a little.  It’s a great, versatile recipe!

Hashbrown Sausage Casserole

6 cups frozen hashbrowns  (partially thawed)
1 pound browned turkey sausage
6 eggs
1/2 cup cream (or milk)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Stir hashbrowns and cooked sausage together in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  In a bowl, whip eggs and cream together.  Pour mixture over the hashbrowns and sausage.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bake in a 350° oven for 45-50 minutes or until eggs are no longer runny and cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Hashbrown Sausage Casserole

Orange Cranberry Scones {Christmas Brunch}

Welcome to our Third Annual Christmas Brunch.  I decided that I had to begin with this Orange Cranberry Scone recipe.  Wow, they are yummy!

My favorite ingredient is the orange juice because of the amazing flavor it gives this treat.  But my actual favorite ingredient is the dried cranberries, because no matter how you use those, they are delicious.  It is a fact that my real favorite ingredient in these scones is the butter, because I think we all know how much I love butter.  Plus butter is what makes these scones so yummy and “pastry like”.

This takes me back to the orange juice (which is my favorite scone ingredient, in case you were not aware) – because this is the ingredient you use to make the delicious glaze that you drizzle over the top once the scones are baked.

By the way – did you know that scones are very, very easy to make?  They are especially simple if you have a food processor and let that machine “cut in your butter” for you.  I’m all for working hard, but remember how I’m not a butter cutter inner?

Orange Cranberry Scones

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground flour from hard white wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, and dried cranberries.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs.  (I use my food processor for this, and to mix the remaining ingredients.)  Add egg, honey, orange juice concentrate, and milk.  Stir until a nice ball of dough forms.

Form dough into a ball on a floured surface.  Roll dough into a circle about 8 inches in diameter.  Place on a cookie sheet or baking stone.  Cut circle into 8 equal pieces.

Bake in a 400° oven for 12-18 minutes or until scones are golden brown.  While the scones are baking, mix up the glaze.

Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar (I use organic unbleached or homemade)
4 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Drizzle glaze over the scones right after you remove them from the oven.

Orange Cranberry Scones

Which do you suppose will be your favorite ingredient in these Orange Cranberry Scones?  :)

Whole Wheat Butterhorns ~ Real Food Makeover

Have a recipe you’d like me to try and make over?
Submit your recipes on this Real Food Recipe Makeover Submission Page.

Did you know that I really, really love butter?

Let’s see – which do I love more?  Butter…or jars?  That’s a toss up.  Hey, did you know you can make butter IN a jar?  That tidbit of information is irrelevant to this post, but still worth mentioning…just because it involves two of my favorite things.

It is a fact that Matt’s eyes got really big as I was buttering my biscuit last week – even though he obviously knows how much I love butter.  I mean – it was enough to stop our conversation at the time.

“What?”  I said,  “You’ve never seen me butter my biscuit before?”

“Yes,” he said, ”I’ve seen you.  But there is almost more butter than biscuit this time.”  (At which point I grinned – and got just a tiny bit more butter because there was a spot on my biscuit not yet covered…)

Alrighty.  So I like a little biscuit with my butter.  And I like it to be all melty down the sides.  Then I like to sop the buttery drippings off of my plate as I eat my biscuit.  It’s just best that way if you ask me.

Which is why I was excited to make over this recipe.  I mean, they are called Butterhorns!   I didn’t have to make many changes in this recipe – just a few minor tweaks.  And wow is it delicious!

With Christmas coming, many of you are looking for a yummy, whole grain roll to make with your holiday meal.  This would be perfect if you ask me.  :)

Whole Wheat Butterhorns

Whole Wheat Butterhorns

2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
9 cups whole wheat flour, divided (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
2 cups warm milk
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sucanat or 3/4 cup honey
6 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  (Water should be warm, but not so warm that you can’t comfortably put your finger in it to test the temp.)  Add 4 cups flour, milk, butter, sucanat, eggs, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until contents are smooth.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  I found it easiest to do this by hand.  Although if you have a Kitchen Aid type mixer, I’m sure that would work well too!  Turn mixture onto floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes.

Place dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1-3 hours).

Punch dough down and divide into four equal parts. Roll each part into a 12-inch circle and brush with melted butter.

Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges.

Roll up each wedge from wide edge to tip of dough and pinch to seal. Place rolls, top down, on baking sheets.

Allow rolls to rise again for about 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size.  Bake at 375° for 10-20 minutes (every oven is different!) or until they are lightly browned.  Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Remove and serve immediately or cool on wire racks.

This recipe makes about 30 rolls.  These freeze very well! I found that having a batch of these in the freezer is wonderful when I need something additional to help stretch a meal! I simply take out the amount we  need, warm them in our toaster oven, and serve them with…you guessed it…butter.

Who loves butter as much as I do?  Do tell.

Cream Cheese Cookie Cutouts

In preparation for a Christmas Cookie Exchange with several of my friends tonight, I made our favorites – Cream Cheese Cookie Cutouts.  The cookies have cream cheese in them and the frosting is made with cream cheese.   Let’s just say these cookies are soft, rich, and I have to work hard to keep myself out of them.

Cream Cheese Cookie Cutouts

1/2 cup melted butter
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar (sucanat works, as does brown sugar)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat flour)

Stir together melted butter, softened cream cheese, and sugar.  Add egg, baking powder, and vanilla.  Stir in flour until well combined.  (Use a little less or a little more flour as needed.)  Place dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Once dough is chilled, roll on a well floured surface and cut out into desired shapes.  Bake in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.  (I prefer mine just barely done so that they stay soft!)  Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 1/2 cups unbleached organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip butter and cream cheese with beaters until fluffy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until mixed thoroughly.

Makes about 30 cookies.

My (poor, deprived, starving) boys were not very happy with me when I told them that most of the cookies were  going to the Christmas Cookie Exchange.  Not to worry, I told them.  They could have all the broken cookies.  Considering the fact that I am not a perfectionist, I’d say they made out just fine with a lovely assortment of broken stars, branchless trees, and torn stockings. 

If you’d like a printout of the Cream Cheese Cookie Cutouts recipe, you can download it here.  I needed to print off the recipe anyway for the cookie exchange, so thought I’d share it with you too!