Simple Meals on a Simple Budget (Check out our plans for the New Year!)

We’ve been offering Simple Meals planning packets for over a year now. It’s been a blast helping so many families put delicious, nourishing meals on the table in such a simple way night after night! To kick off the new year, we’ve got some big plans. But in keeping with the theme, the big plans are still simple. :)

Pssst! If you aren’t a Simple Meals member, please join now! The price is unbeatable and you will love how Simple Meals helps you put great food on the table in a ridiculously short amount of time each day, with minimal effort. Simple Meals saves your family time!


All this month, we’ve got new Simple Recipes to share that are incredibly easy on the budget. We always try to keep costs down, but the next 10 recipes we share are going to be extra inexpensive!

So, prepare yourself. As if Simple Meals wasn’t already great, now more of the recipes will feature money-saving ideas that will allow you to serve your family food that costs a minimal amount while still being super tasty and of course, simple to prepare!

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Here’s a sneak peek at one of our favorite Simple Meals and on a
Simple Budget recipes I’m getting ready to share with you!

By the way, did you know I’ve shared 50+ Simple Recipes since we began offering Simple Meals subscriptions? These recipes have ruined me forever for any recipe that requires more than just a few steps or a few ingredients. I’ll consider a new recipe and see that it says “saute then slice then do other things and work very hard” and I cannot handle it. We’d like our food to be “put it in a pan, slide it in the oven, yum, and you’re welcome” and if it isn’t, we just move on.

It’s a good thing there are now so many Simple Recipes being offered here so we can stay on the easy train. And this month we can look forward to — more recipes! And every single one of them is super low in cost!!

Simple Recipes on a Simple Budget

So let’s review.

Simple Recipes on a Simple Budget During the Month of January

  1. Recipe is very simple to put together…check.
  2. Recipe is family friendly…check.
  3. Recipe will take hardly any time to make…check.
  4. Recipe uses only real food, nourishing ingredients…check.
  5. Recipe costs very little to make…check.

What else could we possibly want in a recipe? Oh!!  6. Recipe tastes delicious…check.

Well, I guess that really does cover everything!

I recommend subscribing here to receive our free email each time we post a new recipe this month. That way you won’t miss out on anything new!

Watch for our upcoming Simple Recipes on a Simple Budget. Here’s the running list:

Need to Detox After the Holidays?

Sure, I’ve eaten a few salads, steamed veggies, and raw veggies during the past few days of holiday fun. But I’ve also eaten a few too many bowls of chip and dip, a couple slices of pizza, and some amazing French fries that were well worth the splurge. It seems that perhaps a detox after the holidays is in order?


Hmmm. You too?

Yesterday I went to the store and restocked all our fruits and veggies. I came home and immediately ate a half a cucumber all by myself. Never before had a cuke tasted so good. Then I dove into the carrots and avocado. Okay fine. I ate my avocado in the form of dip with chips. Whatever. I’m working my way off chips and dips slowly. It’s still the holiday season, right?

I do have to say that I am amazed at how good I feel, even with the junk food splurges, since I started drinking Javita products. Every day I start by drinking a Fiber drink. Then I enjoy a Burn and Control Coffee. Both of these have been fabulous to naturally rid my body of toxins. Since I started drinking these every day (since July of 2017) my gut is lighter, my pants fit better, my blood sugar is more regulated, and well, I go to the bathroom better. (Where is a cute little poop emoji when I need one?)

So first things first, if you’re interested in a natural way to detox every single day, read more that I wrote about Javita products here. I’ll be spending the next several days drinking extra water, eating extra greens, and being very thankful for Javita drinks and all the ways they help keep us healthy.

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Eating Better in 2018

Next, if the end of the year has you thinking about how you want to take more steps toward healthier eating in the future, I definitely want to turn your attention toward this gem being offered right now.

We created Simple Meals in 2016 as a way to save you hours of time and oodles of money every week while still putting great real food meals on the table regularly. This has been a huge help to many of you, and the price to be a member is ridiculously low! So if you aren’t yet a Simple Meals member, we excitedly invite you to become one!


Perhaps this fun (limited time) promotion will be a perfect match for your family’s food needs!

Through January 5 only, you can pick up one (or more) of these Healthy Menu Planning Mini-Bundles that are beautifully categorized and highly discounted to meet your needs and to encourage you to start the new year off right! The mini-bundle recipe categories include:

  • Budget Meals
  • Freezer & Batch Cooking
  • Gluten-Free
  • Instant Pot & Slow Cooker
  • Ketogenic
  • Meal Planning
  • Paleo
  • Quick & Healthy
  • Real Food
  • Vegan

See any in the list that you want to jump in and focus on in 2018? Each mini-bundle is loaded with ebooks, recipes, and menu plans!

I’m most excited about the Instant Pot & Slow Cooker bundle, the Budget Meals bundle, the Freezer & Batch Cooking bundle, and the Quick and Healthy bundle. Which of these would you use the most?

The beauty of how this promotion is set up is that if I buy one mini-bundle it will cost $27. But if I want more than one, I can pay just $20 more and get THEM ALL!!

meal planning bundle options
Having access to all 10 categories gives us all 100 digital resources, 3,800 recipes, and 100 weeks of made-for-you menu plans. I’m in it for the whole package, baby!

Quick review: If you have special dietary restrictions you can pick one of the mini-bundles and get recipes dedicated to your way of eating for just $27! Or for just $20 more, get all 10 mini-bundles with every single recipe, eCookbook, and meal plan!

But you have to act fast — this sale ends on January 5th! Go get yours HERE.

I’m looking forward to getting back on track with regular healthy meals, how about you? And now, I shall eat the other half of that cucumber.

Some of these links are my affiliate links.

The 3 Best Decisions I Made in 2017

I don’t think I’ve ever come to a year’s end and felt quite so satisfied with specific choices God has led me to make.

Well, I did feel pretty good about my decision to say “yes” at the end of 1993 when the cute soccer guy asked, “Will you marry me?” Good choice, Laura. Good choice.

But here we are, 24 years and many thousands of life lessons later. As 2017 comes to a close, I have been exceedingly joyful about making three important decisions during the past twelve month that have – if I may sound so dramatic – changed my life.


This picture was the result of my oldest son taking family pictures,
turning his camera suddenly toward me, and saying, “Hey mom!”

Choice #1

After considering it for years and being too intimidated to follow through with it, I finally decided to hire someone to help me clean my house. Sound frivolous? I thought so too. But my house is big and my schedule is full. While my sons are incredibly helpful with so many of the basic and necessary daily and weekly chores around the house, there were too many deeper cleaning jobs that we never, ever got around to.

This weighed on me heavily. So I finally made the phone call. I pay for just four hours each month and the change it’s made in my home and in my stress level has been incredible. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and worth every penny. Hooray for a cleaner house in 2017 (and for the dear friend who fills my home with love while she clears away my dust)!

Choice #2

After being completely overwhelmed with the fact that I could no longer keep up with all the work it takes to run this blog, I asked God to guide me in finding help. He provided not one, but two gals who are a perfect match to help me do what needs to be done regularly so that I can focus more on what I love: writing and creating recipes!

Not one day goes by that I fail to be thankful for the relief this has brought to my daily life.

As an added bonus, the three ladies who help me clean or keep up with blog work are all friends who were seeking a little extra income to help with their own family’s needs. I love it when God provides win-wins!

Choice #3

This choice has been the best of the best. After seeking Jesus in new and better ways during the past few years and while encountering what I can only label as being attack from the enemy, God provided a loving Christian therapist this year to walk me through a deep journey toward breaking chains and finding spiritual healing.

There are no words to describe the freedom I’ve discovered because of the godly help this woman has offered. God is teaching me how to love more freely, to live more fully and peacefully through the Holy Spirit, and to allow myself to be filled with all the goodness He has to offer.


I guess I could sum up my year by saying, “I asked for help. God faithfully provided.”

I’ve known for quite some time that I can’t do it all. But this year was the first that I waved the white flag and asked for help in so many different ways. It’s been so glorious that if I didn’t know that God’s timing is perfect, I might question why I waited so long. :)

I look back on 2017 with a great big grin, a heart overflowing with joy, a head freed from the clutter of anxiety, and as an added perk, a bedroom floor that finally gets cleaned regularly.

I pray that your 2017 has been full of all the goodness our God so freely offers. I’d love to hear your thoughts as you reflect on all He’s done for you this year!

The Best Food to Make When You Want a Break After Christmas

We’ve worked and we’ve wrapped and we’ve traveled and we’ve prepared and we’ve baked and we’ve cleaned. We made all the fun treats and the special dishes and the favorite meals. If you’re anything like me, you’ve enjoyed a wonderful Christmas holiday and from now until January 2, you simply want to sit back and enjoy a break.

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Here’s what I want to do right now. I want to play all the new games we got for Christmas. I want to watch too many movies. I want to sit under a blanket and sip coffee. I want to relish the fact that my oldest is home from college and we are all together again for a few short days. I want to fully enjoy the fact that there are no Geometry lessons or English papers or school deadlines right now.


Take a Break After Christmas!

And as much as I love to cook, right now I do not want to cook. I most certainly do not want to clean my kitchen. These days are considered days of rest and I fully intend to find refreshment with my family right now.

Who else feels this way? Surely none of you are working on projects or cleaning or organizing while I talk smack with my family around a board game? Tell me you’re taking a break right now too!!!

Well, even though we certainly want to enjoy some downtime, it is a fact that we all still need to eat. So today, I’m posting 36 recipes that take just a few minutes to put together. Hooray for Simple Recipes! Hooray even bigger for Simple Meals, which takes all the brain work out of our menu planning, telling us what to make and what to buy, giving us permission to get out of the kitchen and enjoy our families!

36 Simple Recipes That Take Very Few Minutes to Make

36 Simple Recipes That Take Very Few Minutes to Make

Pick and choose from any of these great recipes. None of them require much effort. Making them with dirty very few dishes.

Enjoy your family and relish this time of rest!

Merry Christmas 2017 from the Coppingers!

What does a mom do when trying to fit her entire family into a picture? She hops on her husband’s back (makes her teenagers gag at the precious display of young love) and peeks around just in time to snap the picture.


We love you and wish you a Christ-filled Christmas. May your home be filled with God’s light and love as you celebrate with your family!

Free Shipping and 50% off Palm Shortening!

It’s a Merry Christmas from Healthy Traditions! I love it when they offer this!

Through the 25th, Healthy Traditions (formerly Tropical Traditions) is offering free ground shipping and 50% off Palm Shortening. We have no choice but to stock up on this gem! (Sales like this usually only come about once each year.)


How I use Palm Shortening

I use Palm Shortening for these five main purposes and recipes:

Palm Shortening is flavorless, so it will not change the taste of your fried foods or baked goods! We often hear that “all fried food is bad” but it’s important to note that food fried in coconut oil or palm shortening is perfectly healthy! This is because these particular oils can withstand the high temps required for frying without going rancid! There are oh so many French fried reasons to love Palm Shortening!

My Favorite Ways to Use Palm Shortening (and why it's good for you)

You can grab your 50% off Palm Shortening here.

Use the code christmas2017 at check-out for FREE SHIPPING to apply.

Important: This offer expires December 25, 2017. 

These links are my referral links. If you are a new customer with Healthy Traditions, shopping through these links will reward you with a free Virgin Coconut Oil Cookbook!

Peppermint Cream Cocoa {or Coffee}

Awww. Throw-back to the blogging days we shared a fun virtual Christmas Brunch together. Remember this??

I decided to re-post this delicious Peppermint Cream Cocoa recipe (originally published December, 2013!) just in case you needed a reminder of this wonderful and SIMPLE recipe!!!


It was a fun experiment – creating a whipped cream topping for yummy hot drinks. But I had to wonder, would simply adding a little sweetener and peppermint extract to whipped cream really make cocoa or coffee that much more special?

Ohhhhhhh yes, yes, yes, and yes again. I quickly put this together one afternoon, plopped a generous serving onto a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and immediately decided that I needed to sit down, close my eyes, and relish the moment. It was hot beverage deliciousness in a mug. The rest of the family enjoyed this special whipped cream on their hot cocoa, and we all declared it to be ah-mazing.

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

Matt was finishing some work at the computer at the time, and therefore hadn’t joined us at the table yet to enjoy this treat. I took him a mug and declared with excitement, “Seriously, who needs Starbucks??”  As he was a bit distracted with the work he was doing, he looked up, confused as he saw that I was cheerfully sipping coffee and that I had a dob of whipped cream on my upper lip. “What? You need Starbucks? Why?”

No, no. I really, really don’t. I had everything I could want in a special hot drink, all without the high fructose corn syrup or big price tag. And now, I am sharing this recipe idea with you. Enjoy, savor, stay healthy, and save yourself some cash.

Peppermint Cream Cocoa (or Coffee)Yum

Peppermint Cream Cocoa {or Coffee}
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 drops liquid stevia (or another sweetener of your choice like maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Whip cream for several minutes to form stiff peaks.
  2. Drizzle in stevia and peppermint extract.
  3. Whip quickly to mix into the cream.
  4. Serve on hot cocoa or coffee.

Here is my easy and delicious Hot Cocoa Recipe. Or even easier – here is my Hot Chocolate Mix recipe.

Which do you like better – coffee or hot cocoa?

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

This Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse recipe was originally published here in 2014. I decided it deserved to be bumped back up to the top of my site so you can relive the deliciousness. It’s such an easy recipe that you can quickly make it during these last few days before Christmas!

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 MousseYum

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Measure ¾ cup cream into a sauce pan.
  2. Heat until hot, but not boiling.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add chocolate chips, stirring until melted.
  5. Stir in peppermint extract and set mixture aside.
  6. Whip the remaining ¾ cup cream in a bowl until firm peaks form.
  7. Fold chocolate mixture gently into whipped cream.
  8. Spoon mousse into 6-8 bowls or cups.
  9. 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. :)

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

It is a fact that the first time I made this Cranberry Apple Cider, a young boy visiting our home looked into the crock pot, saw the floating cranberries, and asked, “Are those berries poisonous?”

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Hey. It was a fair question. He’s been taught well. Never eat berries without first asking what they are and checking to be sure that they are safe to eat. Smart kid, that one.

I assured him that the berries floating in my cider were merely cranberries, but my proclamation meant nothing at all to him. So he stood waiting for me to answer his actual question, “Are those berries poisonous?”

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I’ll admit that for at least two seconds, my mind started heading down the path of possible answers I could but should not give. “We’re not really sure, but we decided to try them and see what happened.” Or maybe, “Yes, but they were so pretty we decided it didn’t matter.”

But only a terrible hostess would scare visiting children, so even though this kid is a regular guest in our home and knows we specialize in sarcasm, I ignored the untrue answers threatening to come out of my mouth and told him, “Yes. But only if you chew them up and swallow them. If they’re just floating in your cup, they won’t hurt you.”

I kid, I kid.

I actually didn’t have to say anything at all because while I was quietly saying, “Nope, they’re just cranberries. Not even a little bit poisonous.” My almost 13-year old was sharing his own scary remarks about how his mom sometimes, but not always, puts poisonous berries in the cider so the family never knows which batch is safe, then ended with, “So. You want to try some?”

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It’s so much fun to be a guest at our house. You should definitely come drink cider with us sometime. If you dare. Mooh-ha-ha.

Well now that we got all the sarcasm out of the way (a Christmas miracle), let’s get on with the niceties about this recipe.

This Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider actually smells like Christmas. Yes, if you’ve ever wondered what Christmas smells like, this is your answer. It also looks like Christmas because what is more festive looking than (potentially poisonous) red berries, oranges, and cinnamon sticks in a crock pot? So pretty!

The best news is that this may be the simplest recipe you can make during the holiday season. Put ingredients into crock pot. Turn on crock pot. Let the smell of Christmas fill your home.

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider
Serves: 8-10
  • 64 ounces unsweetened apple juice
  • 1-2 whole oranges, sliced
  • 16-ounces fresh cranberries
  • 3-5 cinnamon sticks
  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker.
  2. Heat on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

TIP: After you make the first round of cider, save the cinnamon sticks, oranges, and cranberries to reuse in another batch of hot cider.

Simple Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Cider

This cider is fun to leave in a crock pot for several hours during the day so that at all times the house smells wonderful and at any time a cup can be refilled!

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Once you’ve got your Chocolate Pie Crust made, you’ll need this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie recipe to go with it.

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I will say right off the bat that if you must avoid peanuts at your house, simply leave the peanut butter out of this recipe and make a regular Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. This tastes amazing either way!

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Can you use a regular pie crust for this pie? Of course you can. I’m not the boss of you. You can even use a graham cracker crust. You can go crustless. So many options!

No matter what though, I do suggest that you make this pie. It is super easy and a huge hit!!

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie
Serves: 8 pieces
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter*
  • ⅔ cup sucanat or sugar OR 30 drops liquid stevia
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips***
  1. In a high power blender mix cream cheese, peanut butter, sweetener, cream, and vanilla until thick and smooth.
  2. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread into a prepared pie crust.**
  4. Chill pie in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

*Get our Natural Peanut Butter recipe here.
**Find our Chocolate Pie Crust recipe here.
***These are our favorite Mini Chocolate Chips to use.

Simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Need more cheesecake recipes? Some of these will be great in the Chocolate Pie Crust! Or in a Regular Whole Wheat Pie Crust. Or maybe they should remain crustless. Ohhhh, the options!

Easy Cheesecake Recipes

What are your favorite desserts to make at Christmas time? Think you should add this Chocolate Chip Cheesecake to your list?