All Chocolate, All the Time, All Less Than $1.00

I think we should have a chocolate themed “Less than $1.00″ day – wouldn’t you agree?

$1.00 or Less Recipes, Crafts, Gift Ideas, and more!

Chocolate for breakfastYum

I’ll start us off with a breakfast (or snack) recipe that tastes quite a bit like a specialty store-bought granola, but costs much less. This Dark Chocolate Almond Granola is our family’s favorite of all granola options. It costs less than $1.00 per serving!

Tip: Want to make granola this summer, but prefer to leave the oven off as much as possible to avoid heating up the house? Make it with this 5-Minute Stove-Top Granola Making Method. I kind of like cheating and making granola this way. Be sure to wait and add the chocolate pieces after you’ve removed it from the stove. Come to think of it, you could just stir them right in to make a chocolate coating all over the granola. No one would complain, right?


Make your own Chocolate Milk Mix!

Follow the recipe for Homemade Chocolate Syrup and not only will you be avoiding high fructose corn syrup, it’ll cost you less than $1.00 for the whole batch. You’ll notice that I wrote that recipe before I began cutting down the sugar quantities in my recipes. Feel free to experiment with using less sugar. I’m sure it will still taste great!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Here’s another variety of chocolate milk mix you might enjoy: Homemade Nesquik! Again, that entire mix can be made for about $1.00. :)

Make Your Own Nesquik

Make your own Frappe

Save a bundle by avoiding the coffee shop and making yourself a Chocolate Frappe at home. A big glass of this definitely costs less than $1.00. You can make this as sweet or as “barely sweet” as you like. I use stevia, but you can use sugar if you prefer.

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Frappe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups?

Yep. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups aren’t necessarily low in sugar, but they are made with healthier ingredients. I only make these every once in a while as a special treat – and they fit the theme because they are less than $1.00!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

See the other “less than $1.00″ ideas I shared this week here and here. More “less than $1.00″ ideas coming up tomorrow!

Chocolate Cheesecake Dessert

Not that you have to wait until Valentine’s Day to make this, but just in case you’re starting to think about hearts and chocolate and treats with the ones you love – I thought you might be interested in this recipe. You should probably make one now, then another early next week, then another on Valentine’s Day. Or would that be considered cheesecake overkill? (Is there such a thing?)

Remember this Chocolate Cheesecake Pie recipe I shared about this time last year?  Here’s another similar idea using stevia to lightly sweeten.  I also used my Shortbread recipe for the crust this time since I’ve discovered what a great, buttery crust it makes.  It does not get any easier than this!  (Here are Pumpkin Pie Bars with shortbread crust and Pumpkin Cheesecake with the same crust.  Told you I love it.)

chocolate cheesecake
Easy Chocolate Cheesecake DessertYum

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste (I use 30-40 drops)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Baked and cooled Shortbread Crust

Cream together softened cream cheese, cocoa powder, vanilla, and stevia.  Set aside.  Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Fold in cream cheese mixture until smooth.  (I actually throw all ingredients together in my BlendTec and let it do all the work of whipping and blending at the same time.)  Spread mixture over cooled Shortbread Crust.  Cover and chill for about two hours until set.  Makes about 18 servings.

Easy Chocolate Cheesecake Dessert

Vanilla Pudding, Chocolate Pudding, and Warm Vanilla Soother ~ Share Your Story

I love hearing your stories about how you’re using the recipes you find here at Heavenly Homemakers! Please take pictures and send them to me along with your stories so that I can share them with readers here for everyone to enjoy. :)

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

I’m sharing two stories today since the recipes are quite similar. We’re going with a pudding theme today. Delicious comfort food in a bowl…or a mug.

From Erika:

I love your pudding recipes! They are so delicious and so much better than boxed instant pudding. I was never much a fan of pudding in general until I made your vanilla recipe. Great stuff! I attached a photo of our desert tonight: Layered Heavenly Homemakers vanilla and chocolate puddings with crushed oreos on top. The oreos aren’t exactly wholesome, real food so just look past that part! :)

pudding story

Oreos? I don’t see any oreos. That dessert looks beautiful though! ;)  My boys saw this picture, and what do you think they’re asking for now? I may just have to give in and make this. :)

Now for the warm, drinkable version of this pudding recipe, here’s a story of how Meredith served Warm Vanilla Soother to her family:

Hi Laura !! After a 2 a.m. tummy trouble tea party with a tremendously talkative two year old and waking to a dark drizzly Seattle morning, we decided that the warm vanilla soother would be the perfect start to our day !! I enlisted my favorite 3 1/2 year old to do the stirring :) I decided to try adding a bittle lit of imitation rum extract to try to make it a warm eggnog soother. We couldn’t really taste it but it was fun to experiment :) It was a hit ! Some of us really REALLY got into it.
Thanks again for another amazing recipe !!   Meredith

soother story 1
This brings back memories of my little boys climbing on a chair to help me stir. {happy sigh}

soother story 2

I have yet to make Warm Vanilla Soother this fall. I am now very inspired to whip it up.
(Read: I’m totally hungry for it after seeing all the pudding and soother pictures.)

soother story 3

 She is soooo sweet! 

soother story 4

Could her grin be any bigger? I think she likes it, Mom.

You guys have no idea how thrilled I am to get a glimpse into your lives. Thank you for honoring me by sending your pictures and stories. Keep ’em coming! Send me your stories!

Chocolate Whipped Cream – Perfect For Your Coffee

I was so excited about putting my Chocolate Whipped Cream on strawberries that I never thought to put some in my coffee. Thankfully, I have smart friends.

Earlier this week, I had 11 other women in my home for Bunco.  (It was time for this Mama of boys to get some girl time!). I served BLT Wraps, veggies with Homemade Ranch Dip, chips and salsa, and Chocolate Whipped Cream on Strawberries. It was all simple to prepare and serve, which made it perfect for a fun night in with the ladies.

While many of us were enjoying bowls of strawberries with Chocolate Whipped Cream, one of my friends took her full coffee cup over and scooped in some of the chocolaty goodness. It didn’t take long for several of the rest of us to follow her lead. Before I knew it, I was brewing another pot of coffee and making another triple batch of Chocolate Whipped Cream. Mmmmm, so good.

Here, so that you can drop whatever you’re doing and run make this, is the recipe once again:

Chocolate Whipped Cream for CoffeeYum

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 rounded Tablespoon cocoa powder
Liquid stevia to taste (we used about 10 drops)

In a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add cocoa and stevia, and whip again for a few seconds until ingredients are mixed well. Serve on top of sliced strawberries…or coffee!

Chocolate Whipped Cream - Perfect For Your Coffee

Now, a few days later, as if I wasn’t already beginning an addiction to putting Chocolate Whipped Cream on my strawberries, now I’m adding it by the huge spoonful(s) to my coffee mug in the morning. Ahhhhmazing. And no guilt. It’s all real food, and there’s no sugar involved.

If you don’t want chocolate, can I interest you in making Peppermint Cream for your coffee? And if you really want a sugar splurge, but you still want real ingredients, how about Homemade Chocolate Caramel Creamer?

Listen everyone – with goodness like this to put in our coffee, why would we ever need to buy coffee creamers that are full of not-so-real ingredients? Why??

So what do you think will be your fav? Chocolate Whipped Cream in coffee…or on strawberries?

Chocolate Whipped Cream on Strawberries

My life has not been the same since I discovered this Chocolate Whipped Cream.

Chocolate Whipped Cream on Strawberries 2

My men ban me from doing any work on Mother’s Day. They take over the kitchen, putting together all the meals in a way that is both hilarious and beautiful to me. Sometimes, I shout instructions from the living room.  Other times I offer some quiet advice to help avoid culinary disaster. But they always do a nice job working together, and I’ve found it’s best if I simply walk away and let them do things their way.

Therefore, I needed a Mother’s Day dessert that was easy to make. I needed a Mother’s Day dessert that could be made ahead of time. I needed a Mother’s Day dessert that was low in sugar. And I needed chocolate. Obviously.

There’s nothing like inventing a recipe in my head, then writing it down and handing it to my boys to experiment with. Why give them a tried and true recipe when something else sounds better…inside my head. Right? Bless my boys. They are so used to how I roll in the kitchen, they didn’t even blink when I said, “For dessert, we’re going to try something new.”  I’m sure they expected nothing less.

Chocolate Whipped Cream on StrawberriesYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Whipped Cream on Strawberries
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Liquid stevia to taste (we used about 10 drops)
  • Sliced strawberries
  1. In a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add cocoa and stevia, and whip again for a few seconds until ingredients are mixed well.
  3. Serve on top of sliced strawberries.

Chocolate Whipped Cream On Strawberries

Everyone loved this dessert! The boys especially loved that I said, “Have as much as you want.”  When do I ever say that about dessert? Never.  But with this, since it is sweetened with stevia, I felt no need to limit how much they ate. This will be a great breakfast, snack, or dessert that we’ll surely be making over and over.

Now it’s your turn. Make this Chocolate Whipped Cream and sit back and enjoy it guilt free. Oh sweet happiness in a bowl.

What dessert did you request for Mother’s Day?

How Malachi Made the Most Delicious Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Ever

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and Mama was tired.

I’d been cooking off and on for several days, preparing for our big feast. We’d just arrived home after our Wednesday night devotional time with our church family. I was ready to do one final round of dishes and call it a night. Malachi headed to the sink to wash his hands saying, “Now can we finally make my special treats for tomorrow?”

Ah yes, we still needed to make Malachi’s treats. He’d been waiting so patiently. After all, our big box of baking chocolates had come in the mail weeks ago and Mom still hadn’t done anything with it. Imagine the torture everyone had gone through, staring at all the incredible bags of chocolates and not being allowed to do anything with them. (I know, you’re all shocked that I would actually have chocolates in my house and not eat them for weeks. What can I say? I’ve been busy.)

olive nation chocolate

Olive Nation, my favorite source for Vanilla Beans, had sent us a big variety of their baking chocolate disks. I’ve never worked with such high quality chocolate before. Each variety is super wonderful! We simply melted about a cup of disks with a tablespoon of butter on the stovetop, then worked quickly to dip pretzels. The melted chocolate was super smooth and easy to work with.

Malachi and I had so much fun together making this simple treat. It didn’t take long at all, and the final results were yummy and fun.  Malachi was so excited about his treats that he got up bright and early with me on Thanksgiving morning so he could arrange them on a tray to put on the dessert table. They ended up being a perfect treat a few hours after our meal while everyone was playing games.

We thought they’d be fancier (and easier) to just dip half of each pretzel.

Malachi and I made three varieties of chocolate dipped pretzels: White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and Blond Chocolate. I was excited that making these treats didn’t even make a dent in my chocolate supply – a little goes a long way! I think these will be fun to make again, then bag up to deliver to friends at Christmas. I’m also thinking about making some truffles for gifts.

I was excited to get an email yesterday stating that Olive Nation baking supplies (including chocolates!) are 20% off through December 6. Use the code HOLBAKA at check-out for the discount.

Wow, I love this time of year – and all the great food involved!

Some of the links in the post are my referral links.

A Nourishing Way to Warm Up


Cold? Hungry? Need some energy? I have the magic potion.  And there are three variations to the recipe!

Have you tried my Warm Vanilla Soother? It’s the first of the three soothing drink recipes I concocted. Drinking this is like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold day, and I always feel nourished and energized afterward.

Once I realized how wonderful the vanilla drink was, of course, I had to try making a chocolate variety. Thus, the Warm Chocolate Soother was born. It’s like drinking a brownie that is warm right out of the oven. (Be careful that you don’t trip on the kids while rushing to make this. Yes, it’s that good. But your kids might need dinner or a diaper change first.)

Last, I created a Warm Pumpkin Soother.  It’s a holiday party in a mug. Ahhhhhh…..

So, let’s review. Delicious, satisfying, warm, nourishing, filling, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Or pumpkin. Or vanilla. Take your pick.

Which is your favorite?


Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola


I’m guessing that many of the greatest recipe “inventions” have happened by accident. Asa (our 15 year old) really didn’t mean to create this wonderful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola. His real intent was to make No-Bake Cookies for a mission trip fund-raising meal last Sunday. But somehow the liquid ingredients got slightly overcooked, the oats made the mixture way too dry, and no way no how was a cookie going to be formed once it was all said and done. I told him to press his mixture into a 9×13 inch pan and that we’d try cutting them into bars later. While that was a brilliant idea, it didn’t work any better than forming the mixture into cookies. We ended up with peanut butter chocolate oat crumbles instead. Peanut butter chocolate oat crumbles that tasted really, really good. :)

And so – we all just grabbed a bowl and a spoon and had at it. (While planning a different dessert to take to the fund-raising meal.)

I’m calling this “granola” because that’s what it looks and feels like. But I do have a hard time calling this a healthy breakfast or snack. While it is made with real food ingredients, it is still more dessert-like, for sure. In an effort to make this a little less sugary, and a bit more diverse for “stir-in” options, I’ve tweaked the ingredients from the original cookie recipe Asa used. I’m pretty sure it will still taste awesome with less sugar than originally called for in the cookie recipe!

By the way – depending on how you make this, it can be completely dairy free if you wish. :)

Peanut Butter Chocolate GranolaYum

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup milk or coconut milk
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (we use homemade peanut butter)
1 cup sucanat or 1/2 cup honey
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)

Put butter, milk, peanut butter, sucanat, and cocoa into a medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add vanila, oats, and coconut flakes. If the mixture is too liquidy add a few more oats or coconut flakes until you reach desired consistency.


Or shucks. If you “mess up” this recipe and the mixture turns out to be nice and smooth instead of crumbly – go ahead and spoon it onto wax paper and make No-Bake Cookies. ;)

 UPDATE:  If you do find your mixture too wet:  Add a few extra oats to soak up the liquid. Then put it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and baked it at 250° for one hour, stirring occasionally. The granola should get nice and crispy!

Real Food MakeOver: Crock Pot Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake (and Cake Boys Episode 7!)

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

Remember that cake I tried to make in a crock pot that ended up being tedious and difficult? After that, my friend Jenny emailed me a recipe for Crock Pot Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake, figuring that I could surely make over the ingredients to make this a healthier recipe.

I was excited, yet given my experience with cake in a crock pot, I couldn’t help but wonder:  Would this cake be a lot of work? Would it be tasty in the end?

The answer to those questions are:  No, this cake is not a lot of work…and YES this cake is incredibly tasty.

I actually handed the recipe to the Cake Boys (aka Justus and bros) to make this for Matt’s birthday last week. It was so easy for them to adapt that they did it without any help from me.   Yes indeed, this Real Food Makeover is brought to you by the Cake Boys. :)

You simply pour the batter into the crock pot, then drizzle over a layer of boiling water/cocoa/sucanat. The cake bakes in a crock pot for two hours, and when it’s finished, the cake has baked over the top and a layer of fudgy pudding is on the bottom.

This cake is dreamy, rich deliciousness. We all loved it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sucanat
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, cocoa, sucanat, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Make a well in the center and add milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir well, until batter is smooth. Stir in peanut butter (heat if needed, to thin). Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into a well greased slow cooker. Make the topping:

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup sucanat
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Mix cocoa and sucanat, whisk in boiling water until smooth. Gently pour over batter in crock pot, but don’t stir. Cover and cook on HIGH until puffed and the top layer is set, about 2- 2 1/4 hours. Turn off crock pot and let stand, covered for at least 30 minutes. Serve the cake (which is now on top) with ice cream or whipped cream and drizzle the fudgy pudding from the bottom over both.

Makes 6-8 servings


And now, you can enjoy Episode 7 of Cake Boys, which includes a ridiculous commercial break by Asa. Wow, our boys have tooooo much fun putting these together. Also, I should note:  Justus says that he added “shortening” to the cake. He really added butter. He was just reading the original recipe when he recorded. :)  And then we had a little lesson about what shortening is and why we don’t eat it unless it’s Palm Shortening. But anyway…


The Brownie Experiment – Which Takes Longer to Make, Boxed or Homemade?

Well, bless my heart. The work I have to do around here for you people is sometimes just too much, you know? I mean, after I labored over the mac and cheese experiment, spending thirty whole seconds of extra time in my kitchen to make the good, homemade, whole grain, Creamy Mac and Cheese, several of you got on your knees and begged asked me to experiment next with brownies to see which took longer – brownies from a box, or homemade brownies. Really. Asking me to bake two pans of rich, gooey, chocolatey brownies? I seriously had to muscle up on this request, you know? Sometimes you all can be soooo demanding.

It’s okay though – {she says, with the back of her weary hand placed pitifully on her forehead} – I love you all enough that I was able to find the strength to serve you in this way. If someone must make two pans of brownies to help prove a point, I will rise to the challenge.

What? I suppose next you’ll ask me to make chocolate cake, or pudding, or fudge or something? Who do you think I am anyway?

Okay. I’m all done pretending to whine now. Seriously, anytime you want to ask me to make brownies, I am alllll over it. I’m happy to “take one for the team” anytime chocolate is involved.

So here’s a little something that hasn’t been in my kitchen for several years now…

Why yes, it did feel a little funny pouring that into a bowl. And then, because I haven’t made brownies from a box for such a long time – I actually had to take the time to read the directions. I felt a little silly and was glad no one was in there watching me struggle to remember and figure out how to make brownies from a box. Except now I just told you about it, so I guess you get to make fun of me anyway.

From box to pan, before going into the oven, it took me right at 4.5 minutes to mix up these brownies. Quick and convenient? Yep, they sure were. (I used Olive Oil in case you were wondering.)

Next, I started to mix up my Homemade Fudge Brownies that I have been making for several years now. I already had some whole wheat flour ground and in the freezer, but I totally don’t feel like that was cheating in this experiment because I almost always have flour ground and in the freezer for brownie emergencies baking. It’s a little something I call “kitchen efficiency” and it totally works for me.

How long did it take for me to mix up the homemade brownies and get them into the pan? 5.5 minutes. Why did it take me an entire minute longer to mix up homemade brownies than it took to mix up the boxed brownies? Because I had to wait for my butter to melt on the stovetop. Yes, the butter was taking its sweet time to liquify. But never fear. While my butter was melting, I got out my other brownie ingredients, washed a few dishes, and talked to my children. All was not lost in that extra minute of brownie preparation time.

Can you tell which pan is homemade and which pan is from a box?

The blue dish holds the homemade brownies, in case you were wondering which pan to dig into first.
Not that you can, however, because they are sort of gone now.

So, did making brownies from a box save me any time? Yes. One whole minute. Score one for boxed brownies.

Did I feel better about using an extra minute of my life to melt some butter and mix up brownies with sucanat and whole wheat flour? Well, of course I did. Plus I got some dishes done while my butter melted.

By the way, do you know why it only took me one extra minute to mix up the homemade brownies? Because I have made homemade brownies so many times that I don’t even have to think about it anymore. Truly, the more you cook from scratch, the easier and faster it becomes. If you’re new to baking and cooking outside of the box, don’t lose heart! It gets easier the more you do it!

And then, it won’t be long until you’re like me and have to cock your confused head to one side while you try to read the directions on the back of a box.

Crazy but true. ;)

I’ve got more experimenting to do, so stay tuned for more fun updates. I think muffins are the next on my list.

So tell me – do you make homemade brownies or boxed brownies? If you haven’t attempted to make them homemade, I encourage you to give them a try. Yes. That’s an order. Hey, it’s chocolate. Who’s going to argue with that? :)