Category: Recipes (page 1 of 2)

Homemade Sloppy Joes

I have never really liked Sloppy Joe’s.  Not just because they are sloppy, but because they just had a strange flavor to me.   For some reason thought, they sounded good to me and I decided to find a homemade recipe that I could make without using those cans of “sauce” with their questionable ingredient list.  I came across a recipe that sounded easy and bonus…I had all the ingredients!  I have since tweaked the recipe for our preferred ingredients and come up with a recipe that we LOVE!  I hope you like it too!

Sloppy Joes

  • 1lb ground beef *
  • 1 med onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T prepared mustard
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 zucchini (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pan, brown your ground beef and onion together.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 20 min.  Serve on whole wheat buns or toast.  It is so easy and really yummy!

*Money Saving Tip:  We have to double this recipe for our big family.  If you want to stretch it further without doubling the meat, try adding some cooked rice or black beans in after you brown the beef. You’ll want to double the sauce still to get it nice and saucy!

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5 Ways to Use Thieves Household Cleaner in Your Home

In an effort to rid our lives of toxins we are switching our cleaning materials to more natural alternatives.  Now search the internet for natural cleaners and you will likely find tons of recipes for baking soda and vinegar cleaners…maybe a drop of essential oil here or there for fragrance.  While I am sure these cleaners work well and serve their purpose, I wanted something more.

Thieves cleaner

I have learned that essential oils are so much more than an added fragrance!  I love the smell of Young Living’s Thieves oil blend, so when I got my first bottle of Thieves Household Cleaner I fell in love!  The smell is amazing, but the cleaning power is even better.  It is such a versatile product that I thought I would share some of the ways I use it in my home.

1.  All Purpose Cleaner

One capful of cleaner filled with filtered water in a 32 oz spray bottle will clean just about anything.  I use it for everything from kitchen countertops and high chairs to bathrooms and mirrors.  It does a fantastic job of cleaning surfaces and there is no need to rinse it off since it contains no harmful chemicals. You can also dilute it a bit more  (maybe ½ capful in a 32 oz bottle of water) for a glass cleaner.  One capful to a gallon bucket of water makes a wonderful mop solution for tile floors (I have not tested on hardwood since I don’t have any).

2. Dish Soap

I have been buying some of the more expensive brands of dish soap to stay away from harsh chemicals.  So recently I decided to make my own, and I am pleased with the results.

Here is my recipe:

  • 1 cup castile soap (I used this one)
  • ¼ cup of hot filtered water
  • ½ capful thieves household cleaner
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon washing soda (I used this one although I can’t tell a major difference with or without)

Mix all ingredients together in a large measuring cup (use an immersion blender if  using the washing soda) and pour into a dispensing container (I use a olive oil container like this one.)

3.  Laundry Stain Remover

For Christmas my 5 year old got a set of pajamas made out of WHITE fleecy material.  Of course the first day she wore them she also spilled chocolate milk down the front of them.  I tried a few stain removers I had with no luck and set them to the side.  A few days later I noticed the pajamas and then saw my thieves cleaner and thought, “why not?”  I dabbed a bit on a cleaning rag (undiluted) wet the jammies and gently rubbed on the stain with the cloth. I was amazed that the stains came out perfectly! Beautiful white pajamas once again!

4. Carpet Cleaner

Just like with the stained jammies, I saw a spot on the carpet that needed to be washed and attacked it with some thieves cleaner and a wet rag and the stain vanished!

5. Dishwasher Detergent

A couple of years ago I found a homemade dishwasher detergent that is super economical and easy to make, but sadly it didn’t give my dishes a pretty shine.  In fact the plastic stuff actually was quite dull and almost dirty looking. The  glasses weren’t streak free either.

I had seen a few people who said to use some lemon essential oil to get them shiny, but even that didn’t seem to work. The dishes got clean, but I found myself going back to my old detergent to get the clean and shine I wanted.

Then I saw something that said you could use the household cleaner with dishes.  Most agreed that unless you pre-wash the food off of your dishes (which I do not do) then it can’t be used as a stand alone cleaner in the dishwasher. So I decided to add it to my old standby homemade detergent, and I was very pleased with both the clean and the shine!  

So here’s my recipe:

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 2 cups borax (like this one)
  • 4 T lemishine (like this one – I may try leaving this out with the next batch and see  if it makes a difference since it claims to make the dishes shine…)

Mix these three together very well in a gallon sized zip lock bag by shaking. Then transfer into a container with a lid for easy scooping.  Scoop out about 2 T of the mixture to fill the compartments in the dishwasher, then add ½ capful of thieves household cleaner.  Fill the rinse agent with white vinegar and wash as usual.  Enjoy your economical and chemical free dish washer soap!

How can you get some of this awesome cleaner you ask?  

  • Go here https://www.youngliving.com/signup/
  • Select retail customer
  • Enter my number for the enroller and sponsor #1405009
  • Follow the instructions to become a customer and purchase your cleaner!  It’s that simple!

OR

  • If you are ready to jump in to essential oils with a premium  starter kit , then select wholesale member
  • Enter my number for the enroller and sponsor #1405009
  • Follow the instructions to become a wholesale member and purchase your  kit and cleaner!  It’s that simple.

Homemade All-Natural Deodorant

homemade deodorant

I’ve become more and more crunchy over the years and I may have finally gone over the crunchy edge…I’ve started making my own deodorant. I know some of my non-crunchy friends just gasped and are vowing never to stand near me on a hot day again. But before you write me off as one of those hippies who doesn’t wear deodorant, let me give you the back story. 🙂

As I learn more about our bodies and the way they work, I learned that whatever we put onto our skin goes into our body. That means make-up, lotion, soaps, shampoos, sunscreen, and yes, deodorant. So while I have scrutinized the labels of the food I feed my family for some time now, I have only recently started to examine the labels of our body care products. We switched to shampoos and body soaps that are made from natural, organic ingredients and free of parabens and other harmful ingredients. We like this brand shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

In December I decided to take the plunge to a “homemade” deodorant (not made by me, but from an Etsy shop). The deodorant was a little pricey, but I decided it was worth the money if it worked. I started the first day and within a couple hours I could smell that it was NOT working. I reapplied every few hours for the first few days waiting for it to “kick in.” After a few days of not lifting my arms to hug people (I apologize if I forgot and hugged you) I sent a message to the owner of the shop and discussed my smelly problem. I told her I smelled like lavender/vanilla BO. She assured me that it was a detox from my traditional deodorant and her product would kick in soon, but if not I should try a different scent. So I gave it a few more weeks and then decided I needed to try something different.

Instead of going out and buying a different brand or scent I decided to put to use the amazing essential oils that I already have and see if I could find a combination that worked for me. Now I can’t speak to the efficacy of other oils, but Young Living Essential Oils are the ones I use and love. I had on hand two blends called purification and joy.

Purification has a very clean smell and contains a blend of oils including rosemary and melaleuca (tea tree). Joy has more of a floral smell and contains a blend of citrus and floral oils such as lemon, jasmine, and rose.

So here’s the recipe I came up with:

  • 1 Tablespoon raw coconut oil
  • 4 drops purification oil*
  • 4 drops joy oil*

Mix these ingredients together in a small container with a lid. Apply a small amount to arm pits and enjoy a clean smell all day long.

I was really excited that this combination worked so well! I plan to work on a formula that will stay a bit more solid for those hot Texas days. I am thinking about incorporating baking soda (aluminum free of course), shea butter, and bee’s wax. I’ll keep you posted! Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

*To purchase Young Living Essential oils click here and use my number #1405009 for the sponsor and enroller id. You can sign up as a wholesale member and purchase a starter kit. The premium kit includes both oils used in this recipe. This also allows you to purchase future oils at wholesale. You can also become a retail customer and simply order oils as needed at retail. pricing. Either way I will make a small commission.

Homemade Mounds and Almond Joy

Home made Mounds

Confession….I have a HUGE sweet tooth.  I know that sugar is bad for me.  I know that is zaps my energy, and decreases my immune system…but I love candy.  Recently Ryan and I decided that we were not going to eat candy anymore unless it is made with real food ingredients.  In other words, it needs to be homemade.  I  decided that that I wanted to try this recipe for homemade mounds from Coconut Mama.  I liked the recipe, but I needed to adapt it a bit for our tastes and the kitchen equipment we have.  So here is my adaptation of this healthy and delicious recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 6 dates, soaked and pitted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 c chocolate chips (good quality like these, or see the original recipe for a homemade version)

Directions

  1. Place dates in a small bowl and cover halfway with filtered water.  Set aside to soak.
  2. Line an 8 x 12″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, slowly heat coconut oil and shredded coconut until coconut begins to turn brown (continue stirring so you don’t burn it). Remove from heat.
  4. Put dates and water into a blender (I use my Vitamix) along with the vanilla and sea salt.  Blend well.
  5. Add coconut mixture to blender and pulse until well combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly.  Place pan in the freezer to harden. (About 30 min.)
  7. In a double boiler, heat the chocolate chips until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  8. Remove pan of coconut mixture from the freezer and transfer parchment paper to a cutting board.  Cut into 1″ pieces and dip into melted chocolate. If making almond joys, place an almond that has been soaked and dehydrated on top after dipping then drizzle chocolate over the top of the almond.

**for a quicker version, keep the mixture in the pan and pour melted chocolate on top and return to freezer to harden.  Then cut into 1″  pieces.

You may want to double this recipe if you have a sweet tooth like me.  These are delicious!

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Hot Cocoa (Honey Sweetened)

Hot Cocoa

I love when the weather gets cold out and I can drink all my favorite warm drinks.  I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love a big mug of coconut creamer tea (similar to a chai tea latte).  I also love creamy rich hot cocoa.  I have tried many recipes over the years to avoid all the weird ingredients in the store bought ones and finally found one I like.  I have tweaked this one just slightly to come up with this healthy and delicious cocoa:

Hot Cocoa (serves 2-3)

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan heat your milk (slowly so it doesn’t burn).  In a seperate container (I rinse out and reuse the measuring cup I used for my milk), mix the rest of the ingredients until a chocolate syrup forms.  Add the syrup to the warm milk and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Mango Banana Pear Smoothie

Smmothie

We debated for a long time about whether or not to get a Vitamix.  I knew to justify the cost I would need to use it a LOT.  Well almost a year later and I use it almost every day.  We’ve used it for many things like cooking hot soup, shredding cheese, and making cookie balls.  But the thing we use it the most for is smoothies!  We have followed recipes a few times, but for the most part we just sort of throw things in and hope for the best…and a few times it has NOT tasted good so we just hold our nose and gulp it down so as not to waste the good ingredients!  Here is a yummy smoothie that would make a great addition to breakfast or a snack:

Mango Banana Pear Smoothie

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (choose a full fat yogurt with lots of live active cultures)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 ripe pear
  • splash of coconut water (or other liquid)
  • optional: add some unsweetened coconut flakes, flax seed, chia seed, or a handful of nuts

Add all ingredients to Vitamix.  Turn on and slowly increase from variable 1 to 10, then on high for about 10 seconds.  That’s all there is!  Enjoy!

** If you don’t have a Vitamix or other high powered blender, you may need to add the pear and mango one at a time so you won’t over heat your blender.

What’s your favorite smoothie ingredient?  Leave a comment below.

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Homemade Sloppy Joes

I have never really liked Sloppy Joe’s.  Not just because they are sloppy, but because they just had a strange flavor to me.   For some reason thought, they sounded good to me and I decided to find a homemade recipe that I could make without using those cans of “sauce” with their questionable ingredient list.  I came across a recipe that sounded easy and bonus…I had all the ingredients!  I have since tweaked the recipe for our preferred ingredients and come up with a recipe that we LOVE!  I hope you like it too!

Sloppy Joes

  • 1lb ground beef *
  • 1 med onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T prepared mustard
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 zucchini (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pan, brown your ground beef and onion together.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 20 min.  Serve on whole wheat buns or toast.  It is so easy and really yummy!

*Money Saving Tip:  We have to double this recipe for our big family.  If you want to stretch it further without doubling the meat, try adding some cooked rice or black beans in after you brown the beef. You’ll want to double the sauce still to get it nice and saucy!

Once you try the recipe, come back and tell us what you think!

Raw Mint Chocolate Cookie Balls

One of my favorite new party items and snack foods for my kids are homemade Lara bars.  If you’ve never had a Lara bar it is similar in concept to a granola bar, but with mostly fruit and nuts.  Just a few really good ingredients…no junk.  They are usually gluten free and can be dairy free as well which is perfect for a couple of my kids with allergies. I began searching for a recipe and came across this awesome blog with healthy-ish desserts. This recipe was taken and slightly adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Raw mint chocolate cookie balls

Fair warning: Once you make these, you will be obsessed!  I make these often and will never be without the ingredients in my house again. These are super easy and quick to make, not to mention healthy and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 c walnuts
  • 1 1/3 c dates (pitted)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbls cocoa powder
  • 3-4 drops pure peppermint essential oils (I only use Young Living brand)
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender (I use my Vitamix and it works great!)  Blend the ingredients together until it’s all combined and looks kinda crumbly. (The first time I made these, I thought that I had done something wrong because it didn’t seem wet enough…but it really is fine!) Pour the mixture into a bowl and form into balls. You could press into a flat dish and cut into squares, but they are a bit more crumbly that way. Enjoy!

For all of the variations, check out the original website here. I love her girl scout cookie ones that are nut free. They taste awesome!

What is your favorite healthy snack food? Leave a comment below.

Healthy (ish) Waffles

One thing my kids beg me to make are waffles. We eat them for breakfast. We eat them for snacks. We eat them for dinner. We eat them leftover. They are so yummy! I will NEVER buy frozen waffles again. I just can’t. These are made with all healthy ingredients, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating them.

Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c yogurt (plain or vanilla- can substitute some of the yogurt with buttermilk or kefir)
  • 2 c whole wheat flour (I often substitute 1/2 the flour with old fashioned oats)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c butter or coconut oil (softened)

Optional add ins (choose one or more for variety)

  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T flax seed mill
  • 1 c fruit (shredded apples or pear, blueberries, diced strawberries…whatever is in season)
  • 1 c shredded zuccini and carrots (this is seriously my kids FAVORITE)
  • 4 T unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together eggs and yogurt. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until moist. Last, add in the coconut oil or butter. (I do this last because the coconut oil oil tends to not clump up so much.) Put in your hot waffle iron and top with butter and pure maple syrup.  Sooooo yummy!

Makes about 16 waffles (our waffle iron is a family sized one that makes 4 square waffles at a time).

*I usually double this recipe for our family of 8 (only 6 of us are eating them). That usually leaves us with a few extra depending on how hungry everyone is!

Do you like waffles? What’s your favorite way to top them? We love just yummy grass fed butter and pure maple syrup. Yummy!   Leave a comment below.

My Favorite Dry Rub

Tomorrow is America’s 237th birthday and most of us will celebrate with barbecue and fireworks. We usually smoke a brisket when we host barbecue events at our house. I was not happy with the dry rubs we would purchase at the store so I decided to make my own.

Dry rub

After much trial and error this is what I came up with.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • ¼ tsp cocoa
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp red pepper

You might be questioning the inclusion of curry powder. Don’t. It gives it a little twist that you’re sure to love. So tweak away and make it your own.

Happy birthday America.

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