You’ve Never Colored Like This Before (Win the Coolest Coloring Book Ever!)

Get out your favorite markers or crayons. We all need them for this, AndHeDrew’s Book of Coloring.

A few months ago I discovered that grown-up coloring books are wonderful and amazing. But that wonderment and amazement have just been taken to a new level because of this:

andhedrew

See, the pages in this coloring book all flow together into one cohesive design. Color each page individually, then take them out of the book and place them side by side by side by side – in any order. Every page fits together with all the other pages – can you even imagine? I think this is genius.

AndHeDrew is the guy who just so happens to be my site designer. Yeah, someday I’ll be able to say, “I knew him when…”

Malachi and I are having so much fun coloring these pages together. He said, and I quote, “These are amazing. We need to color all of these then get a bunch more…”

book-of-coloring1

As we finish the pages, Malachi has been hanging them up on his Lego Room wall.

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See how they all fit together like a puzzle? It truly amazes me. I can’t imagine the time it took to design these pages. But yay me. I get to color them. (With my son. Perfection.)

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Definitely check out AndHeDrew’s Book of Coloring for your family!

AndHeDrew is giving away one printed copy of his Book of Coloring plus two digital copies! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. I’ll select three random winners on Wednesday, September 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Make Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches (Freezable!)

You want to know one of my favorite convenience foods I miss the most since switching to real food? Processed chicken patties for chicken sandwiches. (Bet you never would have guessed that, since that’s what this post is about.)

chicken patties9

I grew up microwaving Schwan’s chicken patties and slapping them on white buns for a quick meal or snack after a sports practice. They were yummy and easy and while I couldn’t care less about many other processed convenience items (I gave up boxed pizza rolls several years ago and never looked back) – I do miss the taste and handiness of chicken patties.

So why it’s taken me this long to figure out a recipe that resembles the beloved frozen chicken patties, I do not know. But here I am, finally learning a way to make breaded chicken patties for sandwiches. The best news is that you can make these in bulk and freeze them for a fast, convenient, ready-made meal on a busy day.

Homemade Chicken Patties for SandwichesYum

How to Make Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches (Freezable!)
 
Author:
Serves: 15-20 patties
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds ground chicken
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups whole grain flour (I used whole wheat, but if you need these to be gluten free, use your favorite flour choice)
  • Palm shortening or oil of choice
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix ground chicken, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Shape meat mixture into 15-20 patties (make them larger or smaller depending on your family's portion size needs)
  3. Beat eggs into a bowl.
  4. Pour milk into a separate bowl.
  5. In a third bowl, mix flour, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  6. Heat palm shortening or oil on a griddle.
  7. Dip prepared meat patties in egg, then flour mixture, then milk, then flour mixture again.
  8. Place battered chicken patty into oil on the griddle.
  9. Repeat process with each chicken patty.
  10. Cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, mashing down lightly as needed.
  11. Serve right away, or cool and freeze for future use, then rewarm in a 350 degree oven until heated through.

Are you ready to see some ugly chicken patty pictures? This isn’t pretty, friends. Raw meat pressed into patties – well there’s a reason we call stuff like this “processed food.” But take great comfort in the fact that this is all made from real food and wholesome ingredients and ignore the fact that naked ground chicken pressed into a patty really just ain’t purty.

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See the patty breading process? First the egg.

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Then the flour.

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Then the milk.

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Then the flour again.

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Then comes the part where we fry the patties in oil.

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We watch in amazement as they turn into beautiful chicken patties we can’t wait to put on a bun or between two big leaves of lettuce.

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Sure, it’s thicker than the patties we grew up eating. We like it that way. That means there’s double the meat.

Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches - Freezable

One of the biggest perks is that you can form your chicken patties into any size you need for your family. Have small children? Make small patties. Have teenage boys? Make the patties nice and big. Have some big eaters and small eaters? Make a variety.

The biggest win is that if you make a bunch, you’ll have yummy chicken patties ready to warm up for sandwiches on a day you don’t have time to cook!

Did you grow up eating and loving processed chicken sandwiches? 

24 Favorite Freezer Foods (with new recipes and ideas coming this month!)

I decided to devote much of the month of September to sharing freezer-friendly recipes and fun freezer food tips. The idea came to me as I was obsessively thinking of everything possible that would keep me from being overwhelmed with the beginning of school and fall soccer season. Freezer foods are a life saver this time of year. That, and calendars. And dry erase boards. And strong coffee.

So far, so good on the “freezer foods save my neck” thing. Except that we’ve already used most of the freezer foods I’d made for the start of our school year. But hey, that’s what they’re for. It’s not like I can’t make more, right?

24 Favorite Freezer Food Recipes

Get excited because I’ve got some fun posts in the works with new recipes and ideas! To kick things off, I thought I’d share 24 of our favorite Main Dish recipes that can be made and frozen for easy meals!

24 Main Dish Freezer Foods

There’s no doubt having these made and in the freezer saves me so much time and money! I’ve got breakfast ideas and snack ideas too, so you’ll definitely want to stop by often and get all the good info. (Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss anything!)

Make this and freeze it for convenience and health!

Make Your Own Frozen Pizza

Think of the money you’ll save and the healthy ingredients you’ll be able to use! Coming up next…Breaded Chicken Patty Sandwiches. (My kids think they taste like store-bought, which I find strangely satisfying.)

“My State Study” Free Mini-Unit Printable For All!

In an effort to have my 6th grader do a little digging into what makes our state special, I created this mini-unit for him to work through. You can have it too!

This generic packet allows students of any age from any state to learn more about where they live.

My State Study free printable for all

Ways to use the My State Study packet:

  • Print and allow your student to work through a page or two each day for a small one-week unit.
  • Use it as a launch pad as your student digs even deeper into learning about the state where you live.
  • Print one set of these pages for all 50 states and have your student put together a United States study during this entire school year!

Want this and many more free learning printables?

Dozens of FREE School Printables

We’ve been creating and collecting all sorts of printable learning activities for all ages. These are free for everyone and will connect you to our fun Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone.

Enter your email address here, then check your inbox for download instructions. Print one, print them all, use them in whatever ways work best for your family!

If you are already subscribed to Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone, you should have received an email yesterday giving you instant access to this freebie. Look in your inbox for the subject: FREE “My State Study” Mini-Unit

Quick! Today you can get a free programmable Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker!

I’ve been saving most of the deals I share with those who have signed up for our Homemakers Savings Club, but this one is too good not to shout about to everyone possible! (If you received an email about this already, sorry to be repetitive. It’s just that THIS DEAL!!! Everyone needs to know.)

Get a free Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker!

TODAY ONLY, as long as supplies last, we can all get a completely free Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker. Even if you don’t need it for yourself, get it and save it for a Christmas or wedding gift! Because it’s free.

hamilton beach slow cooker

 

How to Get Your Free Slow Cooker

1. Click through this link and sign up for an account with TopCashBack. (This offer is only available for brand new TopCashBack members, but if you already have an account, you can sign up with a different email address because they allow more than one account per household.)
2. Look for an email from TopCashBack and CONFIRM YOUR ACCOUNT. This is important so that you will get your money back in full!
3. Once your account is confirmed, go to this TopCashBack page (if it hasn’t already redirected you) where you’ll see the details of this offer.
4. Click through the pink “Get Cash Back” button, which will take you to the Hamilton Beach 5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker at Walmart.com, which costs $24.94.
5. Purchase that slow cooker and nothing else! (That’s important – adding other items to your cart will mean you won’t get your money back on this. Only add the specific slow cooker on the page.)
6. Check out using “site to store” or “in store pick-up” so you don’t have to pay shipping. You may need to pay a couple dollars in tax, which is minimal considering you’re getting a free slow cooker!
7. Walmart will email you when your slow cooker is available for pick-up. Go grab it and revel in the fact that you just got an amazing, free appliance or gift!
8. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will turn payable (as long as you’ve confirmed your account via the email they sent you when you signed up), reimbursing you the $24.94 you spent. You can have the money transferred to your paypal account, your bank account, or you can get it back as an Amazon card!
That’s it! A free slow cooker!
I’ve been working with TopCashBack for several years now and I always get the money back that they’ve promised. I love it when they send out freebie deals like this one!
This offer ends Thursday, September 1 at midnight, or earlier if the stores sell out. I’d do this now if I were you so you don’t miss it!!
Some of these links are my referral links.

What Do I Eat? (My Mostly Grain Free Food Diary)

When I shared the latest about my Grain Free Journey several asked, “Can you tell us more about what you eat?”

To answer the question, I started taking pictures every time I got myself some food. Here’s what I learned:

I eat approximately every two hours. If I don’t, I get fussy. I’m like a newborn. If only I got to nap after every feeding.

Why I eat frequently:

I can’t eat big quantities anymore, which means I get hungry more often. Also, I’m not filling up on empty calories, so it seems I need worthy calories quite frequently. I’m trying to listen to my body and give it what it’s asking for!

As mentioned here, I’ve been given the green light to eat grains again. I’m eating them occasionally but not often. When I do eat them, I’m making sure it’s worth it! I mean, I’m not going to waste grain consumption on something silly like crackers or a store-bought hamburger bun. It’s going to be a thin slice of Homemade Bread with butter or well…a Homemade Poptart.

diary1

That picture is an example of how much I eat in one sitting. You should know that I savored that fresh-from-the-oven poptart with my cup of coffee that morning as if I was eating a gourmet breakfast. It was amazingness.

Mid-morning, I was hungry so I had a half a sweet pepper and a hunk of cheese. Exciting, huh?

diary2

Lunch at noon was a big chef salad with mixed greens, fresh tomato from our garden, leftover grilled chicken, avocado, and Homemade Ranch Dressing.

diary4

Sometime later that afternoon I had a bowl of Pineapple Fluff Salad. I forgot to take a picture. :) The rest of the day got away so I didn’t take pictures of my dinner, nor do I remember what I had. Great diary, huh?

The remaining pictures I took sporadically throughout the week to show other meals or snacks I ate. Here, you’ll love this next one. I was feeling sluggish one morning so I decided I might need some extra fat. Therefore, I got myself a little scoop of coconut oil. I kind of like eating it straight and I kind of don’t because eating fat off a spoon is weird. I took a “down the hatch” selfie for your viewing pleasure.

diary3

The following pictures are good examples of what I typically do when I feed my family something grainy.

One day I pulled Homemade Corndogs out of the freezer. While they were warming, I fried sweet potatoes and steamed green beans from our garden. Sometimes I just eat the non-grain parts of the meal, but I hadn’t had many grains all day so I splurged and enjoyed a little corndog. It was quite tasty, but I really, really loved the veggies! (I mean, green beans from the garden? It doesn’t get any better than that.)

diary6

Now I will show you what has become one of my favorite meals. Instead of eating my much loved Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Dip with chips, I am loving it stirred into fried zucchini. What an amazing combination!! Matt usually joins me in having this with zucchini while the boys stick with the tortilla chips.

diary7

It tastes much better than this picture makes it look.

It’s easy to avoid grains on mornings we make eggs. We almost always make them with cheese because that makes the egg rating immediately go from 4 to 10. If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see that while I served a few leftover Breakfast Cookies and Homemade Poptarts to the boys with our eggs, I also cut the tops off the leftover Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. I’d made the mistake of leaving them on the counter for one day too long and they got moldy on top. No problem. I just cut off the tops and served them. You can probably guess that those were not the favorite choice of the morning.

diary5

Last I will show you a boring picture of what I ate the day I served a Build Your Own Burrito Bar. I was not in the mood for cheese or anything fancy, so while Matt and the boys loaded tortillas with Salsa Chicken, olives, rice, cheese, salsa, sour cream, greens, and tomatoes – I ate greens with chicken. It tasted great and was all I needed for the moment.

diary8

Then of course two hours later I needed a snack. Surprise, surprise. :)

Care to share some of the meals and snacks you eat throughout the day? How often do you find yourself needing to eat?

Menu Plan for the Week (We survived the first week of school!)

The first week of school is always known at our house as the week that “works out the kinks.” This is good because of all weeks for one of our computers to die, one died last week. So much for Math and Spanish lessons on “the back room computer.”

Now that we’re ready for “Week 2″ I think we’ve got all the software set up (again) and schedules mostly situated into what actually works. If I’ve learned anything during my life 15 years of homeschooling it’s to be open and flexible. Expect life to happen. Don’t get tied down to the ideal schedule because as ideal as the ideal is, it is rarely pulled off ideally. <— Profound, eh?

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars 12

I kept last week’s menu plan simple and am doing the same this week. Is there any other way?

This Week’s Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Always served with some sort of protein and 1-2 choices of fruit.

Lunches

Always served with 2-4 choices of fruits and veggies. This week I have apples, grapes, avocados, bananas, nectarines, applesauce, cantaloupe, carrots, spinach, mixed greens, and zucchini to work with.

Dinners

I’m using my crock pot almost every night this week to save time after a busy day of work and school. Dinners are always served with 2-4 choices of fruits and veggies. I’ll work with all of the fruit/veggies options mentioned in the lunch section, plus sweet potatoes, frozen green beans, and frozen peas.

Anything yummy on your menu this week?

Final eBook Discount Day

Low Sugar Treats cover5

If you haven’t already picked up our new Low Sugar Treats eBook, you’ll want to do it today so you can get it at the introductory price! Get all the details about this book (with its 41 low sugar recipes!) here. Sale price ends at midnight Monday, August 29!

Low Sugar Treats, the Real Food Way
41 recipes, all made with real food ingredients but without loads of sugar. Learn to make delicious treats that are lightly sweetened and big on flavor and fun!
Price: $6.95

All the ways I’m using these little cups with lids…

I am such a big fan of jars. You know this about me, and you also know that I’m not actually a big fan of plastic. But still, I bought these delightful little plastic cups last year, and I’m happy enough with their function that I feel it’s worth telling you about them.

plastic cup

See how adorable? How functional? How plastic?

I know. I know.

While I know that glass and stainless steel are much better options, I also know that I have a family that is on the run a lot. Sometimes we need disposable containers. So I bought a package of 100 cups with lids last fall, and today I want to tell you a few of the great ways we’ve used them to make life a little bit simpler.

Note: While these are disposable, if it works, we wash and reuse them. We can’t help it.

Homemade Applesauce Cups

Homemade Applesauce Cups

In an effort to save money on purchased applesauce cups last fall, and to prepare an on-the-go applesauce option – I filled a bunch of these cups and froze them. These turned out to be a lifesaver when we headed to soccer games or basketball games during the school year.

Note: I don’t recommend throwing these into a diaper bag or backpack. These only travel well when placed carefully in a cooler or lunchbox that isn’t likely to tip or crunch cups.

Berries to Go

I found it easy to cut up strawberries or fill cups with blueberries to pack for the road. These cups work so much better than a plastic baggie.

Pudding Cups

pudding cups

When we headed to church camp for a week of teaching Bible class, I knew I’d need some special food items to accommodate my “special diet.” I filled several of these cups with Homemade Tapioca Pudding and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have these to help fill me up when my food choices were limited.

Obviously, these would be great for Chocolate, Vanilla, and Butterscotch Pudding too.

Other great ways to use these cups with lids

These cups are great filled with Ranch Dressing to go with carrots and cucumbers on the road. Or use them for Homemade Peanut Butter to dip sliced apples. Or fill them with trail mix.

What else can you think of?

Great uses for these plastic cups with lids

When possible, I stick with glass. But it sure is nice to have these disposable cups with lids on hand as a convenient option!

This post contains affiliate links.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

Funny thing about this Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes recipe: It’s low in fat. Crazy, right? Laura never shares “low fat” recipes. (Though she does sometimes talk about herself in third person.)

Trust me, I did not do this on purpose. I didn’t substitute the butter for applesauce in order to cut down on fat consumption. I did it to create a yummy fall recipe. I did it because applesauce makes a recipe quite moist and flavorful. I did it because as it turns out, this recipe works better without any butter or coconut oil. Who knew?

applesauce pancakes

I tell you what, though. Make these pancakes, then slather them with real butter or natural peanut butter. Those are good, real fats our bodies recognizes and uses to nourish our brains and bodies. Go easy on the maple syrup though, because sugar is where many of our health problems lie. Poor fat. It gets all the blame for what sugar is doing to us. (Don’t get me started.)

Whole Wheat Applesauce PancakesYum

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes
 
Author:
Serves: 8-12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground hard or soft whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • Milk or water to reach preferred batter consistency
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Add milk or water to make a thinner or thicker batter - however you like it.
  3. Cook pancakes on a buttered griddle, flipping once they become bubbly.
  4. These take a bit longer to cook compared to regular pancakes, so turn the heat down so the outside doesn't burn while the inside cooks fully!

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

In order to make these Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes as wonderful as possible, you’ll want to learn to make Homemade Applesauce. My favorite way is to make applesauce using the very wonderful Victorio. Read more about that here.

victorio

applesauce_victorio

Other great apple recipes

Just in case you wanted to see what the amazing Apple Nachos look like:

apple nachos

Mmmmm, apple season!

P.S. These Applesauce Pancakes freeze well. :)

Low Sugar Treats the Real Food Way

Gimme one good reason any of us should eat sugar.

Fine. It tastes good. 

But we all know that too much sugar causes big, big problems for all of us. Our bodies can’t utilize much of it for nourishment, but it does have to do something with it. Turn it to fat, perhaps? Tuck it away in our hips? Make us sluggish, achy, and depressed? Well that all sounds like fun.

What are our options here? Avoid all the sugar? Switch to fake sugars like aspertame and splenda?

No, no, NO! Never think that fake sugar is better than real sugar. But maybe we don’t have to give up on treats either. I’m not a big fan of sugar, but I sure do love me a good treat.

That’s why, about a year ago, I started creating low sugar recipes from real food ingredients. I’ve learned that most treats are unnecessarily over-sweetened. In fact, I once cut the sugar in a cake recipe from 6 cups down to 1/2 cup. The result? Amazing. Moist. Flavorful. Delicious.

41 wonderfully yummy recipes later, we can definitely conclude that we don’t have to add oodles of sugar to a recipe to make it taste good. Those 41 recipes turned into this:

Low Sugar Treats cover5

Why I’d love for you to have the Low Sugar Treats eBook

These recipes are perfect for everyone who wants to:

  • create yummy treats without overloading on sugar
  • stick with real food options
  • prepare nourishing treats for lunchboxes and snacks

From cookies to cakes to cheesecakes to ice cream – it’s amazing how cutting the sugar in recipes doesn’t effect their deliciousness!! Can you believe all of these can be made with very little sugar?

recipes in low sugar treats book

You’ve likely tried several of these that I’ve shared here during the past year. I love that all of these recipes are now in one convenient download. I’m printing mine and keeping it in a binder in the kitchen for easy access. My family is set now when it comes to birthdays, snacks, and well, even the occasional breakfast. (Hey, there’s less sugar in these goodies than a typical breakfast muffin or serving of cereal.)

These recipes use whole grains (or no grains, depending on the recipe), healthy fats like coconut oil and butter, and sweeteners like:

  • Stevia
  • Sucanat
  • Real Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Raw Sugar (in small amounts)

You can use the sweeteners of your choice, making the recipes to meet your family’s taste preferences.

Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite pages in Low Sugar Treats the Real Food Way:

Low Sugar Treats Page Samples

There are many more recipes where those came from. So many treats, so little sugar. It’s a win-win!

To celebrate the launch of our newest eBook, we’ve knocked the price down temporarily to only $4.00! Grab this now while the price is lowest! It’ll go back to regular price on Monday, August 29.

Low Sugar Treats, the Real Food Way
41 recipes, all made with real food ingredients but without loads of sugar. Learn to make delicious treats that are lightly sweetened and big on flavor and fun!
Price: $6.95

Let me know which recipe becomes your favorite!

Want more? See the other fun products in our Heavenly Homemakers Shop.

Exciting Bonus Deal!

I was searching through Amazon Coupons this morning and found a great discount on Sweet Leaf Liquid Stevia. Typically I buy a 2-ounce bottle for $8-9, but with this 15% off coupon, I just got a 4-ounce bottle for $11.93!!

stevia

How I got this 4-ounce bottle for just $11.93:

  1. I am ordering four other subscribe and save items to be delivered next month. Five subscriptions gives me 15% off to start with, taking the price from $17.03 to $14.48.
  2. I clicked on the additional 15% off coupon, taking the price down to $11.93!

I’m thrilled that I got such a great deal on a big bottle of stevia! Big score!

Some of these links are my affiliate links.