Spiced Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe – Secret Spices Make the Mix!

Homemade spiced hot cocoa mix recipe with a surprise ingredient. Make some up for a quick hot chocolate fix or to share as a special yet inexpensive gift.

This is a guest post by Cameron Smith of Eat Real, Stay Sane.

Growing up in warm southern California, we didn’t have to put up with nasty weather very often. It rarely rained, and we celebrated Christmas by visiting parks or riding bikes outside.  Occasionally, the weather would take a turn for the worse. My Minnesota-native 4th grade  teacher called it “picnic weather,” but we treated 55-degree rainy days like it was Buffalo in the dead of winter.  We came home from school and didn’t even consider going outside. We’d quickly change our wet clothes and beg Mom to make us hot chocolate. She used a standard store-bought hot cocoa mix, but as kids, we didn’t argue with warm and chocolatey on days like those.  Even now, cold days stir a Pavlov’s-dog-type reaction in me. The second I get home, I want hot chocolate.  Living in snowy Utah, that’s like every day for me between October and April.  :-) [Read more…]

Strawberry-Banana Gummy Candy Recipe

Homemade Strawberry-Banana Gummy Candy Recipe made with health building grassfed gelatin.  Easy to make, kid friendly, gluten free healthy snack.

My friend, Jessica from Delicious Expressions, recommended the e-book, The Gelatin Secret, and as she’s pretty savvy on all things health related, I decided to get a copy.  It was easily one of the best e-books I’ve read, with a nice balance of detailed information and readability.  I knew good quality gelatin and bone broth were good for you, but I had no idea how many ways your body could put them to use.  And I know Sylvie isn’t just making up stuff to sell a book, because there are links to studies to back up everything she shares.  Big thumbs up. 

From helping with autoimmune disorders (like my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), to bone building, brain health and weight loss, gelatin is a great budget friendly food to help nourish my no-so-young-as-I-used-to-be self.  (My husband managed to get tennis elbow when he tripped carrying the Christmas tree, so I need to get extra nutrition in to him to speed up his recovery.)  We’re bumping up the homemade bone broth consumption, but I figured keeping homemade gummy candy on hand would be a great way to encourage the whole family to jump on the gelatin bandwagon.  I made Sylvie’s strawberry-lemonade gummies, and they were good, but tart.  Since I had very ripe bananas on hand, I decided to put them to use in the next batch and came up with this recipe for strawberry-banana gummy candy. 

These treats are naturally sweetened and easy to make.  You can pour them into a 9×9 glass baking dish, and then slice them into cubes for serving.  You can also have some fun with them and use candy molds or silicon baking molds to make them into different shapes, like the holiday shapes I’ve included in this post.  Either way, they’re healthy and kid (and grumpy husband) friendly. [Read more…]

Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage

Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage - Curing Walnuts, The Best Nutcracker, Soaking Nuts for Easier Digestion, Storage

While the main focus if this post is how to process walnuts, this recipe for Maple Candied Walnuts from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is lovely and couldn’t be easier.  They make a tasty and unique gift. [Read more…]

Best Ever Cornbread Recipe

Best Ever Cornbread recipe with Gram Irene's Secret Ingredient - always moist and delicious.

Whenever I make homemade baked beans, I always make up a batch or two of cornbread to go with them.  We call it “cowboy food”, although I’m sure the cowboy version would have been a lot simpler and probably not nearly as tasty.

I got this recipe from my mom (Irene), after having tried it at her place and commenting on how good it was.  The texture is great – really moist and tender, not dry and gritty.  The “secret” is in the sour cream.  I’m sure you could make it with whole wheat flour, although I admit, I normally use white or a gluten free blend like Namaste.  I recommend full fat dairy, organic if you have it. [Read more…]

Easy Cranberry Walnut Pie and Epic $1637 Kitchen Giveaway

Easy Cranberry Walnut Pie and Epic Kitchen Giveaway- Cranberries and walnuts team up with a "secret" ingredient that will win over even non-cranberry lovers

I had a vision. When I started brainstorming about this post, I thought, “What would make a better Thanksgiving dessert than combining some of my favorite flavors into a cranberry walnut pie?”

Alas, recipe attempt #1 was a complete bomb. It turned out way too sweet, and the texture was just wrong. The rest of the family refused to eat it, so I ended up eating pie for a week.  Ugh.  Thankfully, round two went much better.  I ended up with a pie/bar cookie hybrid that goes together without a fuss.  The “secret ingredient” raspberries add a little extra natural sweetness so you can cut back on the sugar and win over those who may not be big cranberry lovers.  Cranberries have some natural pectin (which is why cranberry sauce sets up), but adding cornstarch gives the filling a more velvety texture.

Husband and boys both gave it a thumbs up, and as much as I like pie and this version is tasty, I’m relieved that I won’t be eating it for an entire week. [Read more…]