Homemade Caramel Sauce (no corn syrup!)

A few weeks ago, Busy Mom in AL left a comment stating that she’d used my Caramel Frosting recipe to make Caramel Sauce. Then, a little while later, the people at Challenge Butter sent me a package and asked me to come up with a recipe using their butter. Well, what’s a girl to do but make Homemade Caramel Sauce with one of those sticks of butter, and then blog about her experience?

I didn’t think you’d mind. Especially if you think about the possibilities this Caramel Sauce presents. Not only can you make it for your own family and serve it on ice cream or cheesecake – wouldn’t this make a perfect Gift in a Jar?

Why yes, I believe it would.

And then, what if you took it a step further and created a big Ice Cream Sundae Basket to give as a gift? In your basket you could include a jar of this Caramel Sauce, a jar of Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce, a container of nuts, an ice cream scoop, some bowls and spoons – who wouldn’t love to receive this inexpensive, yet thoughtful and fun gift?

Alright, now I’m giddy and need to figure out who I can make an Ice Cream Sundae Gift Basket for.

Here is the very simple – and sort of healthy because at least it doesn’t have corn syrup in it – recipe:

Homemade Caramel SauceYum

2 cups sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream (heavy whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the sucanat, butter, and cream into a medium sized saucepan.

Cook over medium to high heat until ingredients are melted and well mixed, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for one minute, while continuing to stir.

Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and add vanilla extract.

Serve immediately or pour into a pint sized jar for a gift. Store in refrigerator and reheat before serving if desired. (This recipe makes one pint jar or two cups of sauce.)

Beyond ice cream, cheesecake, and the Ice Cream Sundae Gift Basket, don’t you think I should come up with some sort of Caramel Swirl Brownie recipe? Or maybe a Turtle Fudge Something or Other? We could even use it as an apple dip I bet!

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Interested in giving this as a gift? Here is a fun FREE printable gift tag you can use along with this sauce.

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What do you think?  How could you use this Homemade Caramel Sauce?

Should I Eat Organic Food? (Part Two)

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If you recall, I am writing a series within a series to explain my thoughts on eating organic food, while encouraging you to take simple steps toward healthy eating. In addition, I need to discuss an issue within an issue, which is very important to cover in this series within the series. ;)

What I need to emphasize is this:  Whether or not you ever decide to eat organic foods, whether or not you ever feel like organic food is a priority, whether or not you feel like you can afford organic food, no matter where you land on the organic food issue…

None of that is as important as focusing on eating REAL FOOD.

I do feel like it is important to look for healthy food sources. I do feel like organic food is best in many instances. I do feel like we should be wise stewards with the bodies God gave us and work to treat our bodies with great care. I’m writing about eating organic foods because it is obviously important to me.

But if  you come away with after reading any of my posts feeling like the definition of “eating healthy” means that “you must eat organic food”, then I haven’t done a very good job of explaining myself.

My reasons for writing these posts about organic foods is simply to answer questions you’ve had about whether or not organic food is important. I think it IS important…but not as important as all of us learning to skip processed, dead, nutrient void food and learning to eat real food.

What am I really trying to say here? If all you change about your diet is to eat out less and eat fewer of the processed foods that are slowly destroying your insides, then you are very much on the right track. If at the very least, you stop eating so many nutrient void “foods”, and start eating more real, whole foods – organic or not – you are going to be so much healthier.

Yes, in my big priority list of Simple Steps Toward Healthy Eating, “buy and eat organic food” doesn’t rank nearly as high as my advice to “just eat real, whole foods”.

If my family was in a situation where there was no organic food available or accessible at all, if there were no grass fed or free range animals, if I couldn’t order food off the internet, if my options were completely limited…I’d simply focus on feeding my family basic, real foods. I’d probably go easier on the meat and dairy (because I really only feel good about eating/drinking animal products from healthy sources), but otherwise, we’d just focus on eating real foods:  fruits, vegetables, beans, rice, grains, meat, dairy and pasta. (And coconut oil. I’d really break my back to get some coconut oil.)

I wouldn’t love it and I wouldn’t feel great about it, but if truly that’s all I could do, that’s what I would do.

More important to me than eating organic foods is to avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, food coloring and artificial flavors.

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Homemade Chewy Granola Bars – easy to make, made with real foods, super delicious!

So there you go. Those are my thoughts.

Now, if you do have organic, free range, grass fed, locally grown, yada yada food available to you (and I would venture to say that most of us do) then I encourage you to look further into these options. That’s what this series within the series is about after all. :)  But overall and above all and absolutely positively, focus first on eating Real Food.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Coming up next week in this series:  What does “organic” mean – Why I feel like organic food is important – Is it worth it to pay more for organic food?

 

 

Why You Want Homemade Ice Cream

Like I really need to give you a reason to want homemade ice cream?  Especially the really creamy kind.  The really creamy kind with homemade hot fudge sauce on it.  (Now I’m just being cruel, aren’t I?)

I just wanted to remind you about the Ice Cream Experiment that I conducted about a year ago, in case you’re new here or in case you’ve forgotten.

To be inspired to make Homemade Ice Cream or to at least be encouraged to buy a more “real ingredient” variety of ice cream at the store, check out the following posts:

Here’s a little hint about why you want Homemade Ice Cream :

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This was Ice Cream Brand One after sitting for eight days on my countertop.
Mmmmm, ice cream that doesn’t melt.  Tasty.

Let’s all give three cheers for realwhole food, shall we?

Now that I’ve shared all that, I have to tell you that I’m sitting here shivering while I write about ice cream.  Where we live, we keep shifting from ice cream weather to hot cocoa weather. Some days I’m so confused I make hot cocoa to go with our ice cream .

Not really.  But I am confused about what season it is here in Nebraska.

Do share…where you live are you experiencing Ice Cream weather or Hot Cocoa weather?

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (No MSG or HFCS!)

Ever noticed how tough it is to find dressings and sauces that don’t have MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) and HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)? MSG, by the way, is a flavor enhancer that is made up of a bunch of chemicals I can’t pronounce and a bunch of scary stuff I don’t want to know about. You can read all the big words here.

I’ve been so excited each time I figure out how to make a new homemade salad dressing or condiment (see the whole list of healthier condiment recipes on our site)! Making your own condiments is not only much healthier, it’s often quite a bit cheaper too.  And, lo and behold, these items are easy to make.

Shall we now all take a moment and enjoy a collective sigh of wonderment? Yes indeed recipes that are healthy, cheap and easy. All at the same time.

The beauty of homemade condiments too is how delicious and flavorful they are…all by themselves. We do not need to add MSG and HFCS or BGNJ to make our food taste good.  (I made that last one up just for kicks and it was very fun.)

Well, apparently that was my little “rant” for the day. Try homemade condiments. They taste so good and pure.

And now for the Homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe!

Teriyaki SauceYum

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (No MSG or HFCS!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup tamari soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or dry ground ginger (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 cup water, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup cold water and add to sauce.
  3. Stir constantly and allow the sauce to thicken.
  4. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water or soy sauce to thin.

(I use Organic Tamari Soy Sauce from OliveNation which is gluten and MSG free!) We LOVE this Teriyaki Sauce on chicken wings.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe

And with that, the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge continues. I’ve almost got another recipe ready to share. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will tell you that it starts with chocolate and ends with milk. Otherwise, I’m not giving any hints.