Category Archives: recipes

Ginger Bread House Fun – & Best Icing Recipe

Yesterday we made up some Ginger Bread houses. Or “house” I should say. I did the foundational pieces to the house using graham crackers and a homemade royal icing… once it was built and ready to go, I then layered on more icing and let the kids have at it. Was fun. I must applaud myself on my building skills. Im terrible at decorating cakes but I thought I did pretty good with this!

royal icing
The Icing is key btw for a good ginger bread house. If it is not thick and dries fast and hard, it does not work well. I found the best recipe for the job and thought I would share it with you all. See below.

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Ginger Bread Royal Icing

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds powder sugar
  • 1 tsp. cream of tarter (this is key)
  • 6 egg whites

Instructions

  1. Put all of these ingredients into a mixer.
  2. Mix on high for 5-8 minutes or until icing begins to form peaks.
  3. Scoop out and place into icing bag and you are good to go! :)
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A little tip too for putting icing into a bag. I use just a regular large ziplock. I place the zip lock into a large cup, kinda like you would a trash bag into a trash can… Then fill the bag with the icing til full. Zip shut. Snip off the tip and you are good to go. No need for fancy icing bags :) – this works perfect!


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Cashew Milk? – Banana Bread

Back when I lived in NE NC. I had a friend who’s children were allergic to Peanuts, eggs and dairy. Their families sensitivities to food really opened my eyes to the struggle that can bring. I really cannot imagine what she goes through looking for specific foods for her children to eat. Although I suppose that is her normal. :)

One of the things I would find hardest to deal with in the realm of allergies, would be dairy. My family consumes SO MUCH dairy…. we go through about 4 gallons a week! Between baking, bottles for Reed, cups of milk for breakfast, recipes calling for milk, etc..etc… our family of 6 can rip through some milk.

I though have never been a huge dairy person. Besides cheese, I consume very little milk. When I was pregnant, I remember not wanting to drink milk because the idea of consuming something that came from a cow’s utter grossed me out. Am I alone in that weirdness? haha…. I had some weird tendencies and anxiety issues during my last pregnancy and that was one of them.

So entered the milk alternatives.

I wasn’t keen on the whole “soy milk” idea.. so I turned to almond milk. Almond milk works GREAT and I have never had any issues with it at all. My mom in fact (a vegetarian) drinks only unsweetened almond milk. It is a great milk alternative for those with dairy intolerance or allergies.

cashewmilkRecently however, I was introduced to a new milk by SILK (who also makes almond milk and soy). This milk is Cashewmilk!

Here are some details as to what you get with Cashew Milk.

• 50% more calcium than dairy milk*
• Lactose-free
• Dairy-free
• Cholesterol-free
• No high-fructose corn syrup
• Plant-based
• Silk Cashewmilk is verified by the
Non-GMO Project

• Responsibly produced
• Free of gluten, soy, casein, peanuts, egg and MSG*
• No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Because I do not drink milk plain, like in a glass… I asked my husband to drink it and tell me if he thought it was similar to cow’s milk for him. He said it was not in the sense it had a nutty aftertaste. He did say however, if he could not drink “cow’s milk” – he could see where this would be a great alternative.

I also let me kids try this. They did not like it plain (again because it was not something they were use to). They did however drink it up without a second thought once I added in some chocolate :) I dont think they could tell any difference at all. It is very rich and creamy.

This also worked so well with my banana bread recipe. Feel free to try the recipe below with the Cashew Milk or milk of choice. You’ll love it!

Banana Bread using Cashew Milk

Ingredients

  • 3 C. freshly milled whole grain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/3 C. honey granules or sugar
  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 C. Cashew milk with 3/4 TBS lemon juice (turns it into a sour milk aka buttermilk variation)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ripe crushed bananas
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. In medium sized bowl mix together all your dry ingredients (except the sugar).
  2. In a larger bowl take your soft butter and mix it with your sugar until blended into a paste.
  3. Then stir in your eggs into sugar mixture.
  4. Add in your Cashew Milk, vanilla... and mix well.
  5. Then add in your 3 ripe banana's (smashed).
  6. Once that is mixed together add in your flour one cup at a time until everything is blended into a thick batter.
  7. Pour into your loaf pans (I used two small loaf pans, I believe they are half pound loaf pans). This recipe will make 2 of the small loaf pan sizes or one large loaf pan.
  8. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy! :)
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banana bread

So, if you are in the market for a dairy free milk… keep an eye out for Silk’s Cashew Milk.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Crispy and Soft Belgian Waffles

I mentioned in my last post how we had some really good homemade Belgian Waffles for breakfast on thanksgiving. Well, since then, we’ve had them a few more times :) – they are so yummy!! I have tried at least 5 different Belgian Waffle Recipes over the course of a few months and got to say, this one is the best so far.

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So here is what you need.

Crispy and Soft Belgian Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c. All Purpose Unbleached Flour (You could use any flour really)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch (or arrow root powder)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. real alt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. EVOO, coconut oil or oil of choice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your waffle iron.
  2. Put in all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix it until well combined.
  3. Then add in all your wet ingredients and whisk together until blended smooth.
  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter into your waffle iron and cook for around 2-3 minutes or until crispy and lightly golden.
  5. Serve hot with topping of choice.
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Also, if you have any left over after breakfast. You can put the rest in a ziplock in the fridge and save for later. I throw old ones the next day into the toaster oven for a few minutes and they are just as good. SO great to double the recipe and make enough for an entire week if you want :)

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Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: here

Good for the Gut

waterkefirI thought I would write up a really quick blog post linking to a new favorite etsy shop I found. I ordered about two weeks ago from this shop a new shipment of KEFIR grains. My Water Kefir grains sadly died many months ago after I forgot about them :( – was so sad… I got busy with school, photography and everything else… that I just kinda put off buying any more. Well… my kids kept asking for it. Esp. Taite – he loves that stuff! Reed also has been constipated and I too have been having some gut issues (TMI I know). So, I knew I had to get some grains back.

So I hopped on etsy and just ordered from a shop that looked “safe” :) – and placed an order. The order took about a week to get to me due to my ordering it around veterans day… so that delayed the shipment… but even with the delay in the shipping, the grains were totally fine and healthy when I got them.

I ordered them from THIS ETSY Shop called CulinaryCultures

The lady who runs it was super sweet. She even includes some instructions for first time kefir users in the shipment. The Grains I got were nice and plump and after just one cycle using them, they look even nicer and stronger.

Here is a quick copy/paste adaption from THIS BLOG, explaining the benefits of water kefir…

Water kefir is a fermented beverage made with water kefir grains and sugar water. If you are anti-sweet drinks. Don’t worry, this drink is not overly sweet. You can make it sweeter though if you prefer that. The “grains” (aka the booger looking things you see in the above image) feed on the sugar leaving it with an extremely mild sweetness. So the taste is not “pure sugar” – so dont worry about your calories on this one. It is not something you even need to worry about as long as you don’t sweeten it with soda after the fact :)

Water Kefir (or milk kefir – I dont like milk, so thats not an option for me)… is a PROBIOTIC

Probiotics are good bacteria that help you keep a healthy gut. While it is thought to be not as strong it contains a greater number of bacterial strains than are found in kombucha. These good bacteria help us to digest our food, prevent allergies, boost our immune system, and overall keep our body healthy. Getting your probiotics from fermented foods is the way to go.

Water kefir also helps to Increased Immunity!

Probiotics help boost your natural immune system. So with winter months upon us, I am all for keeping my kiddos well. Filling your body with good probiotics from things like kefir is one way to do this. This means that you will get sick less often.

Its easy and frugal to make. It’s very versatile allowing you to customize the flavors to better suit your families needs. The end result is a soda like drink that your kids will like, that is good for you.

For those who may want to learn more about Kefir and its benefits, check out this post I wrote a while back about how I make my water kefir.

water kefir


… and to end. A new recipe for your kefir:

1. Juice a Fresh Lemon (organic) – pour all the lemon water into your water kefir. Make sure you strain out any seeds. You could also use lime.
2. Add it to one bottle of your water kefir (so about 3 cups of water kefir, maybe more)

and thats it! store it in an air tight bottle and you will have a fizzy lemonade. :)

Homemade Cocoa (chocolate) Ice Cream

I have tried MANY Homemade Ice Cream recipes over the years… and each and every time I am left disappointed. Either to much vanilla… not enough chocolate… or just a weird unpleasant consistency. Well, this weekend, I found a winner, well worth sharing.

I wanted some ice cream for Reed’s 2nd birthday… so I decided to try THIS ONE out. It was a HUGE HIT and I loved it. I btw am not a huge ice cream fan, so for me to like it, means its really good :)


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Homemade Cocoa (chocolate) Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 C honey granules (or sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 1/2 C cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. The instructions for this are about as easy as it gets. Take ALL the above ingredients... put them into your NINJA or blender. Mix it all up til it creates a smooth consistency...
  2. Once blended all together, pour in the ingredients into your ice cream maker. Now a heads up... our ice cream maker was not large enough to fit all of the above mixture. So what I did was just poured in what I could into the machine, then I put the remaining mixture into a mason jar in my refrigerator. This weekend we celebrated Reed's 2nd birthday... so we enjoyed the ice cream on saturday... then on sunday, we made up the 2nd batch. Easy peasy! I just poured what was in the fridge, into the ice cream maker the next day and made a 2nd batch.
  3. Thats it! :)
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To view the original recipe, CLICK HERE. She gives directions on how to make this without an ice cream machine. However, I found my way works great for those with a machine… requires a lot less steps than her directions.

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Enjoy! :) & for viewing pleasure, baby Reed enjoying his ice cream yesterday.

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Yes he prob could have used a bib…

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