Easy, Low Sugar, Mini Crustless Cheesecake Recipe (and an amazing Blendtec Giveaway!!)

This has got to be one of my most exciting giveaways to share with you! Why? Because ever since I invested in a Blendtec my kitchen life has become soooo much simpler! I wish I could give one to every person reading this.

I haven’t splattered cream all over my countertops and walls in months. Why? Because I don’t have to whip cream using my hand mixer anymore. Instead, I pour cream into my Blendtec and it whips it for me in less than 30 seconds. It is so, so easy.

I use my Blendtec for homemade applesauce now, throwing cooked apples in peel and all, and it makes beautifully smooth sauce. I use my Blendtec to mix muffin batters, cake batters, cheesecake, and so much more. Of course I use it for smoothies and all the normal blender needs. I use it at least once every day if not three times.

But about the cheesecake! Please allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite new recipes to make:


I throw the five ingredients into my Blendtec, whip it for a few seconds until it is smooth, pour it into muffin cups, and bake. The stevia sweetens it, the small amount of maple syrup takes away any stevia aftertaste, and I’m left with the most delicious treat!




Here’s the recipe, and check out the wonderful giveaway below!

Easy, Low Sugar, Mini Crustless CheesecakeYum

5.0 from 12 reviews
Easy, Low Sugar, Mini Crustless Cheesecake Recipe (and an amazing Blendtec Giveaway!!)
Serves: 12
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 full droppers of liquid stevia
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Pour into 12 muffin cups.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, open the oven door, and leave the cheesecakes in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. (Cheesecakes will puff up during baking but deflate while continuing to sit in the oven.)
  5. Transfer cheesecakes to the fridge and chill for at least two hours before serving.


My family likes pouring homemade fruit sauces over the cheesecakes!

So you say you’d like to win a free Blendtec?

They are certainly amazing. I’m definitely using mine frequently as I prepare for Thanksgiving!

The Blendtec folks took my very own Oh Good Gravy recipe and adapted it to make in the Blendtec! They created a downloadable recipe card for everyone to have for free!

blendtec-recipe-cards-vectors_gravyDownload the Blendtec Oh Good Gravy Recipe Card Here

Now the fun really begins!

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win your very own Blendtec! You want this on your Christmas list!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Huge thanks goes to Blendtec for providing a Blender for me and also one for you!

Simple Last Minute Lentil Chili

Raise your hand if you’re busy this week. (Unless, of course, your hands are in the middle of de-boning a turkey. You can just give me a nod.)

Our oldest son is home from college right now, so we are a family of six again. So what if he’s been “away,” living in his college dorm only 8 blocks from home? We don’t see him much and we miss him. Having him home for longer than five minutes has been a joy.

I would say that we’re taking life easy while we prepare for Thanksgiving, but would you believe our son #2 has two huge projects due for his online college history class on Thanksgiving day? What? And yes, he would have had them done ahead of time except that it wasn’t possible because of all the other projects he had due before these.

I’m telling you, these online classes my kids take are threatening to kill us all with a long slow death. (The on-campus classes are much more managable.) Well, anyway.

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year for 15-20 people from town. Then we’ll head to Kansas to celebrate “Thanksmas” with my side of the family. I baked the turkeys over the weekend. The green bean casserole is in the freezer. Slowly but surely I’m pulling the meal together so that come Thursday, I can actually enjoy the day instead of cooking and cleaning for hours!

In the meantime, the six of us still need to eat regular meals. (They didn’t like the idea of fasting in preparation for Thanksgiving. Whatever.)

Meals like this Simple Last Minute Lentil Chili are amazing for weeks like this! Thaw no meat. Soak no beans. Just go to the stove and put this soup together.

Truth: I didn’t think I would like chili that didn’t have meat in it.

I am such a meat loving girl! We are a meat loving family.

But in fact: My family didn’t even notice this didn’t have meat in it until I told them an hour after they ate it. “Really?” they said, “It tasted like it did!”



Simple Last Minute Lentil ChiliYum

Simple Lentil Chili
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 Tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 16 ounces dry lentils
  • 32 ounces tomato sauce
  • 32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth*
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, heat and stir olive oil with minced onion, garlic, and red pepper.
  2. Add chili powder, lentils, tomato sauce, and broth.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  5. Serve with cheese and/or sour cream if desired.


Let this chili recipe save you some evening this week while you’re busy preparing to host or travel!

More Simple Recipes

Don’t do all the work yourself! Let Simple Meals save your family time!


Do you have big plans for Thanksgiving?

Some Good News This Weekend, But Why This Might Be the Last Time I Sell Vanilla For a While

You guys!! Have you seen the price of vanilla beans during the past few months? If not, you’ll need to be sure you’re sitting down when you take a look. Yowza.

My understanding is that there was a crop failure a few months ago, causing a huge shortage of vanilla beans. That made the price of beans go crazy. For years I’ve encouraged everyone to make their own Vanilla Extract because it was a money saver and a more pure way to enjoy vanilla. But now? I just can’t. The price of vanilla beans is too much.

It will go down again. I stay in touch with Amit from Olive Nation who has been my vanilla bean source for many years. He assures me these prices won’t last forever. But for now, we’re stuck taking out a second mortgage if we want to buy beans to make vanilla.


Some Great News for Today

I have a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract bottled and ready to share. And guess what? I made this batch with beans I bought before the price jumped so high!!! I’ll pass on those lower costs to you, and you won’t have to pay $300 per bottle. High fives all around!

If you want some of this great homemade vanilla, act quickly because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make more to sell. Nor do I know exactly when bean prices will go back down so that you can make your own batches of vanilla.

In the meantime, I have a small supply ready to ship out to you in time for the holidays! Get it before it’s gone. Enjoy it in your holiday baking or to give as gifts this Christmas!

A note about our prices

The cost of shipping has already been added to the total purchase price, so the amount you see below is the amount you’ll pay. Also, you should know that this is the purest of the pure when it comes to Vanilla Extract. The vanilla beans are of the highest quality.

IMPORTANT: We don’t water down our vanilla. This is strong stuff, made only with alcohol and vanilla beans! I’ve checked other high quality vanilla extracts and the first ingredient is always water. Not this one!

The vanilla is so strong, in fact, you can use half the amount a recipe calls for. This makes your bottle go twice as far, making it a huge value for your money!

First come, first served

It’s fun to offer this to you! Get it while it’s gone! I’ll update this post as quantities become limited.

Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract, 8 ounces
Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract, 8 ounces
100% pure vanilla, shipping included in the price.
Price: $31.00
Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract - TWO 8-ounce Bottle Package
Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract - TWO 8-ounce Bottle Package
Enjoy a discount when you buy a two-pack of our 8-ounce vanilla bottles!
Price: $59.00
Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract 2-ounce bottle
Heavenly Homemakers Vanilla Extract 2-ounce bottle
These bottles of homemade vanilla make wonderful stocking stuffers and teacher gifts!
Price: $10.00

Leave Your Elf on its Shelf and Use the Shepherd’s Treasure Instead!

I’m not sure I’ll be able to put into words how much I love this. I’ll do my best though. :)


Our kids were already pretty big by the time Elf on the Shelf became a thing, so we never got one for our family. It’s a fun idea, sure, but can I tell you about something that is about a million times better?

The Shepherd’s Treasure

You must check out The Shepherd’s Treasure as a new Christmas tradition for your family!!! I don’t even care that most of my kids are over 6-feet tall. This is the coolest and I want to at least enjoy the idea of it with them as we prepare for the Christmas season.

THIS is something that will point your family toward Jesus. It’s not about “being good” and having an elf report your behavior to Santa. (I’m not knocking that idea, just saying that I love this Shepherd’s Treasure idea so much more!)

Instead of an elf, your family can take part in the adventure of a shepherd boy on a journey. Who is he in search of? Jesus, of course.

There is a beautiful picture book, created by Stephanie Parker, that comes in The Shepherd’s Treasure set. It’s perfect to read with your family as you start your Jesus-seeking adventure with your shepherd this December. Each night, the shepherd can be moved so that your kids can discover him in the morning. He’ll provide your family with a new card to read, which offers scripture and service ideas or activities to read and participate in.


Did I tell you I love this? I really, really love this.

Take a look at this video for more information:

Stephanie, the creator of The Shepherd’s Treasure is providing us all with a discount code HeavenlyHomemakers which gets us all a $10 discount on The Shepherd’s Treasure Book/Doll Set with Advent Cards! That is a HUGE discount considering the entire set of high quality products is such a reasonable price. What a fantastic opportunity for all of us!

I’m thankful for wonderful options like this for families to help us enjoy fun Christmas traditions while keeping Jesus as the center of our celebrations.

Want to win The Shepherd’s Treasure complete box set for your family? Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw a random winner on Monday, November 21.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simple Chicken Cheeseballs With a Kick (naturally gluten free)

I experimented with these Chicken Cheeseballs on a whim. It was a simple recipe and I figured chicken and cheese – sure, they’ll probably be pretty good. Pretty good? I should say so! I turned right around (did the hokey-pokey) and made these again three days later. These cheesy little meatballs are incredible!


The first night I pulled a batch of these out of the oven, one by one my men came into the kitchen, took a look at the meatballs, and popped one into his mouth. I think each one, in turn, said the same thing, “Whoa. What are these? These are amazing! You can make these again!” (Don’t mind if I do.) I wouldn’t say my family is very picky, and yet, when every single person in the family likes a recipe, this is a huge score.


You might be wondering, like I did, “What holds these meatballs together? Don’t we need flour or bread crumbs or a bisquik type baking mix to make this recipe work? Nope. They stay together just fine even though they are made with only ground meat, cheese, and a few spices. They take only a few minutes to mix up and scoop into a pan. You can make the side dishes for your meal while they bake. AND, if you have time, you can make a double or triple batch to freeze so that all you have to do at mealtime is grab out the amount you need and bake them!

I used a scoop like this one to make these meatballs. Whoa, does that little kitchen gadget come in handy!

Simple Chicken Cheeseballs with a Kick

Simple Chicken Cheeseballs With a Kick
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce (I use Cholula)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Scoop mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until balls are nice and brown.
  4. Pour off excess grease that has accumulated before serving.


Use ground sausage or ground beef if you prefer in this recipe. You can use these Chicken Cheeseballs on a holiday snack buffet table, serve them for breakfast, or serve them as a main dish at dinner – they are perfectly versatile. I’m looking forward to keeping these in my freezer for quick, simple meals in the future!

More Simple RecipesYum

Simple Meals is where it’s at.

Let us do your planning for you, and don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple!


Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate

This Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate comes together very quickly and is a huge crowd-pleaser at my house!


It’s almost embarrassing the amount of salsa we have been going through lately. Though I suppose our family goes through an embarrassing amount of pretty much everything, so never mind.

I was at Aldi a few weeks ago and put two cases of their organic salsa in my cart. Why get 1 jar when you can get 24, right? While in the check-out line, the lady behind me asked, “Oh! Did I miss a sale on salsa?” Nope. It’s a “we eat massive amounts of food at our house because of all the teenage boys” situation. That and I don’t live close to an Aldi and don’t get to shop there very often.

The great thing about any of the recipes I share that involve salsa is that you can use your favorite brand and your preferred mild-to-hot level.

Here are the latest Simple Recipes I’ve shared that involve salsa:

Other recipes you can find on my site that include salsa:

With all these recipes being so tasty and easy, it any wonder that I bought 24 jars of salsa at once?

This newest recipe idea, Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate, is the result of what happened when I made a big batch of Meat and Cheese Burritos and had leftover filling. I didn’t have time (or desire) to make more tortillas, so I put the leftover meat/cheese/salsa mixture in the fridge. The next day we warmed up the mixture for lunch. We threw the delicious meaty goodness on top of tortilla chips with a few greens and whatever other toppings (olives, tomatoes, etc) that each person wanted.

It was then that I said to myself, “Why have I not done this before?” And a new Simple Recipe was born.

Now, take note that while this is called a “Last-Minute” recipe, you most certainly do not have to wait until the last minute to make it. Sure, it’s a recipe that can save your neck if you didn’t plan ahead and you need a meal on the fly. But the meat mixture stays good in the fridge for several days so you can make it ahead of time and pull it out to warm up as needed. It also freezes well, so you can make a double or triple batch and freeze it in meal-sized portions for your family to thaw and re-heat on busy days.

Simple Last-Minute Nacho PlateYum

Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate
Serves: 4-6
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 15-ounces salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Tortilla chips and your favorite nacho fixin's
  1. Brown hamburger meat until it is no longer pink.
  2. Stir in salsa and cheese.
  3. Serve on a plate of tortilla chips with your favorite nacho fixin's.


Here are more Simple Recipes you will love:

Those simple recipes are just the beginning. We’re taking it all to the next level so that not only are our recipes easy and nourishing – you don’t even have to think about what to prepare or purchase! Jump in with all the others who have joined…

Simple Meals


Here’s what Michelle said about Simple Meals: YAY. I love it. I am very thankful you are doing the “work” part of meals for me.

Hey, our pleasure. We love it too. :)

Question: How much do you love salsa at your house?

If you give your teenager a zit stick… (Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Grandma Bea’s!)

We got a box in the mail, and suddenly the age of each family member in our household became very apparent. Allow me to explain.

Grandma Bea sent us a lovely, full box filled with many of the natural products she offers on her site so that our family could enjoy reviewing them to share with you. We all happened to be in the room at the time of the unpacking. That’s when it happened.

1. Our teenagers saw the Zit Stick and grabbed it quickly. “I hate zits. Let’s see if this works.” Seeing as it only contains coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils I was absolutely willing to let them put it on their skin. (As it turns out, this stuff is pretty amazing!)


2. Our almost 12-year old saw the Restore Healing Salve and grabbed it. Why? Well, let’s just say he’s a typical, active boy and has a few scrapes and bruises to attend to. Remember though, he’s my boy with super sensitive skin. It’s rare that I let him put ANYTHING on his skin for fear that it will cause a break out. Never fear. After looking over the ingredients in Restore, I gave Malachi the green light.


3. Well, the first two were more fun to tell you about. Now I have to tell you that while my kids were grabbing their age-appropriate goodies out of the box, I reached for the one called Remedy. As Elias was reading about each of the products and he said, “Remedy: to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, muscle and body aches…” I said, “Ooh. Give me that!”


So that’s where we are now. My kids are teens and I have aches and pains. (Remedy helped, by the way! Matt appreciated using it the next day, too, when he woke up with a sore elbow.)

The box also contained Refine, which is a lovely face cream. I took that for myself, because I may be getting older, but I AM MOM and I get the luxurious face cream all to myself and I don’t have to share. I applied some to my face right then and there (you know, after I rubbed Remedy on my sore wrist) and I instantly felt refreshed and younger. This stuff feels amazing!


We are all very impressed with Grandma Bea’s products! If you look through her online shop, you’ll see that there are products for just about everything. Don’t pay full price though, because Grandma Bea gave me the code hh10off to share with you. That’ll get you a 10% discount!

Also fun is the fact that Grandma Bea is giving one of you a $50 gift certificate to spend in her shop in any way you wish!

Sign up in the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw a random winner on Thursday, November 17.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Grandma Bea for sending us a box of such useful, wonderful products!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, Freeze, and Warm up Fast!

Recently I have discovered the amazingness of baking several pounds of bacon, freezing it for later use, then pulling it out to reheat and serve in about 2 minutes.


Where has this tip been all my life?

I already knew how to make Bacon Bits ahead of time for ease in making salads and bacon-cheesy eggs. But strips of bacon? Well, I’d never tried making it ahead before. I will make bacon this way from now on because it is an incredible time saver!

Also, it keeps my hair from frequently smelling like bacon, so I think we can all be grateful for this delightful bonus.

How to Cook Bacon Ahead, Freeze, and Warm Up Fast

  1. Lay bacon on a a broiling rack in a single layer.
  2. Place the rack of bacon on a baking sheet to catch the grease as it bakes.
  3. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-30 minutes (time varies based on thickness of bacon).
  4. Pull bacon out of oven just before it has reached the crispiness level you prefer.
  5. Allow bacon to cool on paper towels.
  6. Transfer cooked and cooled bacon to a gallon-sized freezer bag. (I leave the cooked bacon on the paper towels when putting it in the freezer bags. That way I can do two-pounds at once with a paper towel in between layers of bacon.)
  7. Freeze up to three months.
  8. Rewarm bacon by taking desired amount of cooked bacon slices directly from freezer and heating them in a skillet for about 1 minute on each side.

Can you believe how easy this is?


I recommend that you lay the bacon on a broiling rack like this and place it on a baking sheet like this. This will allow the bacon grease to drip into the pan and prevent a mess.


Once the grease has cooled and thickened, I recommend transferring it to a jar in your fridge. Bacon grease stirred into green beans or other veggies makes for a super flavorful side dish!


Being able to offer my family bacon with zero effort on a busy morning has been a life saver. After all, as my men will tell you, bacon is a necessity of life.

Do you usually cook bacon on the stove or in the oven? Ever tried making it ahead of time and freezing it as described above?

More Bacon Posts You’ll Want to Check Out

This post contains affiliate links.

Hey, what’s for dinner?

It’s the question of the day, right? The frustrating part is when I’m asked this question while in the middle of five other tasks…and I haven’t yet figured out the dinner plan. Ugh, sorry kids. Dinner is…something. I’ll have to get back to you on the specifics.

Enter: Simple Meals. It’s saving my brain (and many of yours too!). If you haven’t joined yet, now’s the time. Get all the details here!


My Latest Grocery Purchases – and Check Out Azure Standard’s New Program!

It’s been a while since I took pictures of my groceries to show you. You’ve missed it, I’m sure. You’ve most definitely been wondering, “How much butter has Laura been buying these days? Is Laura still eating plenty of greens? What is Laura’s current favorite vegetable?”

Right? You’ll all been asking yourselves these questions.

love and butter

Well, I didn’t get a picture of it, but I recently bought 20 pounds of butter. See, my local friends know me well enough to text me when they’re at the store and come across a good deal on butter. I got the text, I went to the store, and I got 20 pounds of butter. The check-out lady asked me what I was up to. I told her it was just another routine day in the life of me. No big deal.

My current favorite of all vegetables are the amazing miniature sweet peppers that typically come in a 1-pound package. Do you know the ones of which I speak?  I like cutting them up and eating them in salads. I like eating them as if they were candy. They are my fav.

And yes. I’m still eating plenty of greens.

So now lets see some pictures, shall we? Lately I’ve had to drive to Lincoln weekly to visit my natural doctor. (Fun times. But we ARE getting to the bottom of these migraines.) The best perk to going weekly (besides knowing that I’m getting somewhere on my health journey) is that I get to go to Fresh Thyme Market while I’m in the city. I love that store so much! I walk the aisles and take advantages of the sales. Here’s what I got last week:


If you’d like to see some of the items I’m receiving this month in my Amazon Subscribe and Save order, take a peek here.

I kind of blew it on my recent Azure Standard order. How, you ask? Well, I ordered a few items and checked out with the intent to go back and order a few more of my Azure favorites before the cut-off date. Then I forgot. Oh well. At least I got the frozen veggies I always need, I got a very wonderful and large block of raw cheddar cheese, and I got my very fun Azure Advantage Discovery Box. Those boxes have been the coolest! This month it contained a lovely assortment of high quality dried fruit.


Some quick notes about Azure Standard, in case you aren’t familiar:

Azure is a food co-op that has been fantastic to me during the past 10 years that I’ve taken advantage of what they offer. I order online, then once a month, a truck delivers my order along with everyone else’s from my area. We meet in a parking lot, grab our boxes, then take them home and gush over the goodness.

I heart Azure Standard.

This summer, they rolled out a new Azure Advantage program which does this:

  • Gives me deeper discounts on bulk items (yes, please!).
  • Sends me a Discover Box every other month, which more than makes up for the cost of my membership.

I signed up for it hesitantly, but now I’m very glad I did! The membership cost is worth it for me, and I love the freebie boxes! You can check out Azure Advantage here.

I’ll try to keep taking pictures of my grocery purchases to share with you, if nothing else to keep you informed about my current butter situation. #neverrunoutofbutter

And some fun news: I’m actually finding that following the Simple Meals plans are saving us more money than I anticipated since the meals are so basic and accompanied by simple fruit and veggie sides. This is making grocery shopping so much more fun and less spendy! #simplemealssavings #ilovesimplemeals


Anyone ever tried that block of cheese from Azure? I’m excited to grate the entire thing in my food processor for cheesy convenience.

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

Simple Taco Rice Dinner (with a dairy free option)

You know the tried and true recipes you always fall back on? Those are the best, right? Those are the dishes you can make without even thinking. Those are the recipes you always have ingredients on hand for. Those are the recipes that keep us sane and our families fed.

Suddenly I’m finding that my list of such go-to recipes is growing! I love it that there are so many recipes that don’t require much thought or effort to put together. I love it that my family keeps raving about all of these.

And I love it that I’m not compromising one bit with these recipes when it comes to nutrition. I’m certainly not compromising on taste, and not even on the budget. These are happy, happy, happy simple recipes!

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

Today’s Simple Recipe is Taco Rice Dinner. This goes together very quickly, can be tweaked according to your preferences and food sensitivities. Plus it is absolutely yummy. (My kids don’t care much about the rest of it, as long as it tastes great!) We all love the flavor of this dish.


Simple Taco Rice DinnerYum

Simple Taco Rice Dinner
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 15-ounces (give or take) salsa
  • 15-ounces cooked black beans
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  1. Boil two cups of water, add rice, turn down to very low heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes until rice is cooked.
  2. In the meantime, brown ground beef in a separate skillet until no longer pink.
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. Stir together cooked rice, cooked meat, salsa, and black beans.
  5. Serve as-is if you need to avoid dairy. Or sprinkle cheese on top and serve!


Just like with all the other Simple Recipes, all you have to do is throw out salad fixin’s and some fruit to go with this dish.

TIP: If you didn’t plan ahead to thaw hamburger meat (story of my life!) just do this. It’ll quickly thaw you’re meat and you’ll be on your way!


Join the fun! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

You will love this!