Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte

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This was my first pumpkin spice latte ever, so I can’t compare it well to a coffee shop drink. What I can tell you is that this is like pumpkin pie in a cup! It’s also much cheaper and not full of empty calories and syrupy-goodness that is the typical coffee chain offering. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte – adapted from Detoxinista

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
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Directions – 
Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust flavor to taste, and serve warm.
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DIY Hot Chocolate Mix

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The kids had been asking for hot chocolate for a while now, so I decided to let them make it 🙂 I love that there are only three simple ingredients in this decadent hot chocolate and it makes 4 cups of mix. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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All Natural Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – adapted from Clean Mama

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa – I used this Dutch cocoa
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt

Directions – 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with a whisk. Store in a four cup, air-tight container or into smaller jars for gifting.

To make one serving of hot chocolate, combine 1 cup of warm milk and two tablespoons of mix. Stir to combine and enjoy!

**I added the milk and cocoa to my Vitamix and blended it up for a few seconds to make it nice and frothy. Top it with mini marshmallows or whipped cream if desired 🙂

Hamburger Potato Buns

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Quick Post: Once you have made homemade buns, there will be no going back to store-bought! These are fluffy, flavorful and substantial enough for all your toppings. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Hamburger Potato Buns – adapted from King Arthur Flour

**Recipe modified for a double batch**

  • 4 cups AP flour (5oo grams), hold back about 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (240 grams), hold back about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup potato flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk, warmed

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Directions –

1) Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled in bulk.

3) Turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface, gently deflate it, and divide it into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

4) Place the balls into the greased cups of a hamburger bun pan, flattening gently. Or place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2″ to 3″ between them; flatten gently.

5) Cover and let rise until the buns have doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

6) Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown.

7) Remove them from the oven, and brush them with melted butter, if desired.

8) Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. Store buns, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Hungry for More?

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Mashed Potato Burger Buns

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Brioche Buns

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Beautiful Burger Buns

Creamy Garlic Shells

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Quick Post: This pasta dish is full of garlic flavor and a great substitute for any boxed pasta mix. I served it alongside this roast chicken and this roasted broccoli – thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Garlic Shells – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 8oz mini shells pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes

Directions: 

  1. Cook pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside. Let pot cool off the heat for several minutes.
  2. Return pot to stove over medium heat then melt butter in olive oil. Add garlic then saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Take pot off the heat then stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and parsley flakes until smooth then add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Taste then adjust salt & pepper if necessary

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff!

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(*crossing fingers*) I hope this works out! Hi, name is Shawna, and I’m a total food snob. I am compelled to make as much as possible at home, cause it soothes my soul! 😉

Verdict: I don’t even like marshmallows, let alone the “fluff” stuff, but this is amazing! Lightly sweet and, well – fluffy! Mission accomplished 🙂

Homemade Marshmallow Creme – adapted from Cooking Classy

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions –

  • In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Heat mixture over moderately high heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip together egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed (I had to whip mine on high speed because the whisk attachment on my mixer doesn’t reach quite that low, so if your doesn’t either you may want to crank up the speed), until soft peaks form.
  • Once sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat, set stand mixer containing egg white mixture on low speed and carefully pour about 2 Tbsp of hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg white mixture. With mixer running, slowly pour remaining syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg white mixture, increase speed to medium-high and whip mixture until stiff glossy peaks form, about 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla during the last minute of mixing. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to two weeks.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

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Pictured with Broccoli Cheese Soup II – I’ll be sure to share this with you soon! It’s a new favorite 🙂

These rolls are soft, buttery and so much better than canned! I haven’t had a canned crescent roll in ages, but these more than make up for the wait! I had to make some modifications to the recipe (posted below), but if you live in a drier climate,  you might want to stick with the original amounts of water and flour. When I started making these, I knew that this dough was going to be much too loose for my tastes – loose dough is sticky, aka a pain in my ‘tox to work with. First, I reduced the water by 1/4 cup, but had to add about 3/4 cup more flour than called for to make this a workable dough. After kneading, my dough was tacky, not sticky, soft and smooth. In my experience with bread making, I have learned that recipes are a guideline more than a hard and fast rule to be followed. There are so many variables to consider, so don’t be afraid to make changes when they’re needed. This recipe makes a large batch so it’s perfect for big holiday meals or for freezing. To warm them up again, bake at 325 degrees for about  for about 5 minutes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Best Dinner Rolls – adapted from Nomemade

  • 1 3/4 c warm water
  • 2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour

Directions –

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined, holding back about 1/4 of flour.

Knead 5-7 minutes. Add more flour 1 TBSP at a time if needed. Dough should be soft, smooth and not too sticky

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Cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled in volume.

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Punch the dough down, weigh and divide in half. Roll the first half of dough on a lightly floured surface into a large circle (mine was about 15 inches in diameter). Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 slices. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the wide and tuck the small point underneath.

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Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops with oil and cover with plastic wrap to rise until doubled. Repeat these steps on the second half. Preheat your oven to 375.

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Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter.

Croutons

These are so easy to make and dangerously tasty! “Yes, I would like some salad with my croutons” kind of good. I hogged them all tonight, but my husband told me I could have his share – that is real love in action, people! 😉 I need to make more of these ASAP, who knew that it was these croutons that my salads had been missing all along? Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Croutons – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 baguette or about 4 cups 1/2 – inch bread cubes
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Directions – 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and olive oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Toss once more until everything is evenly combined. Spread the croutons in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once every 10 minutes, until the croutons are light golden and crisp and no chewiness remains. They will bake about 40 – 50 minutes total but the time may vary depending on the size of cubes and type of bread. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce

Quick Post: These are really so good and the sweet and salty sauce takes them over the top! They’re on the menu for tonight and I searched my blog to get the recipe again and discovered that it was never posted! I can’t believe I forgot to post this recipe three months ago when I first made it…better late than never! 😉

Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce – adapted from Folkmann.ca
For the chicken:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a splash of water
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • Oil for frying  (*I use a combination of peanut oil and canola oil*)
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

For the sauce:

  • cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • Freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon
Directions – 

1. Set a rack on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and preheat to 200F. Cut each chicken breast into 4 thick even pieces. To set up your dredging station: Put corn starch in one baking dish, and the eggs in another dish next to it. Finally, toss the panko, lemon zest in another dish.

2. Heat about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper to taste, and then coat lightly in the cornstarch. Next, dip in eggs and then press into the panko mixture to coat evenly. Shake off any excess and place on a plate while you finish the other pieces. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a constant sizzle. Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time, turning once until evenly brown. About 5 minutes total. Keep cooked fingers in the oven on the rack. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts. Serve with lemon and dipping sauce.

Apricot sauce –
Combine the preserves, soy sauce and ketchup in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until the preserves have melted. Stir in the lemon juice and cool before serving.

Whole Wheat Bread with Spelt Flour

This bread tastes like whole wheat bread is supposed to taste! I substituted more spelt flour for the white flour, figuring the more whole grain the better. My substitution worked really well and I used bread flour instead of all-purpose to make up for the gluten that it might need because of my substitution. Spelt flour has less gluten and requires less water than wheat flour, and you need to be careful not to over knead the dough or it can create a crumbly finished loaf. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Whole Wheat Bread – adapted from Musings of a Housewife
  • 6 cups white whole wheat flour (720 grams)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups Spelt or white flour (I used 3.5 cups or 402 grams)
  • 4 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used 3-3.5 cups or 381-444 grams)

Directions:

  1. Combine coconut oil, honey and 4-1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat JUST until the oil is melted. It should be about 120 degrees so as to not kill the yeast.
  2. Place whole wheat flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment, mix about 15 seconds on Stir. (This is the mixer I have. It will do 4 loaves at once, but I often end up kneading the last few minutes by hand.)
  3. Continuing on Stir, add warm water mixture to flour mixture. Mix about a minute.
  4. Then with the dough hook in place, add the spelt and all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  5. Mix about 2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl, adding flour as necessary.
  6. Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.
  7. Place dough in greased bowl, and turn greased side up.
  8. Cover and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  9. Form your loaves and place them in 8×4 loaf pans to rise for about an hour.
  10. When they look the right size, bake for 30 – 40 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven, or until the internal temp is 190 degrees.
  11. Remove immediately to a cooking rack, brush tops with butter (optional), and try to wait a few hours before cutting into one.

Strawberry Ice Pops

I recently purchased these ice pop mold from Amazon, and borrowed this book from the local library. This book is full of real fruit recipes and I can’t wait to try the cantaloupe, watermelon, avocado (yes, avocado!), lime, spicy pineapple, and maybe I’ll try the roasted banana ice pops. I am almost tempted to purchase this book! 😉
Verdict: This is the first recipe in this book, probably because it’s the most basic and well-loved flavors. It was very easy to make and of course, there is a little waiting involved, but these are definitely worth making. Yes, there is sugar in these, but I’m sure you could substitute with another type of sugar. Next time I’ll use less sugar because these are pretty sweet. If you’re using super ripe and sweet fruit, adjust your sugar content accordingly – unless you like super sweet popsicles. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Strawberry Paletas – adapted from Paletas
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup sugar (**I used vanilla sugar**)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:

Combine the sugar and strawberries in a bowl. Let sit until the strawberries start releasing their natural juices, 20-30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat. Simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth. If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, snap on the lid and freeze solid, about 5-8 hours.