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Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter Banana Pops
Photo: Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter Banana Pops</p><p>These Banana Pops are a fun treat to serve both kids and adults. The cinnamon vanilla almond butter is a treat in itself and then sandwich it in between two banana slices makes it even better. Adding antioxidant rich dark chocolate to the mix makes the whole thing out of this world resulting in a really yummy, healthy treat.</p><p>Makes 4 Banana Pops</p><p>(Always use organic ingredients when available.)</p><p>Ingredients:</p><p>2 bananas<br />1/3 cup almond butter<br />½ tsp vanilla<br />¼ tsp cinnamon<br />1/3 cup all natural dark chocolate pieces or chips (at least 60% cacao)<br />1 T coconut oil<br />popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers</p><p>DIRECTIONS:</p><p>Mix almond butter, vanilla, and cinnamon together until well mixed.</p><p>Peel and cut bananas in half. Slice the halves vertically in half.</p><p>Divide your almond butter mixture into 4 equal portions. Use 1 portion of almond butter per 2 banana slices. Spread the almond butter mixture over half of the banana slices.</p><p>Press your popsicle stick or skewer on top of the almond butter and top with the remaining banana slices.</p><p>Place the banana pops in the freezer and freeze until firm.</p><p>When your banana pops are all the way frozen, melt your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a large skillet filled with some water and place a smaller pot inside the skillet on top of the water. Put your chocolate and oil in the smaller pot.) Stir until melted and smooth.</p><p>Dip each banana pop in the dark chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is hardened and cold. Delicious!

These Banana Pops are a fun treat to serve both kids and adults. The cinnamon vanilla almond butter is a treat in itself and then sandwich it in between two banana slices makes it even better. Adding antioxidant rich dark chocolate to the mix makes the whole thing out of this world resulting in a really yummy, healthy treat.

Makes 4 Banana Pops

(Always use organic ingredients when available.)

Ingredients:

2 bananas
1/3 cup almond butter
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup all natural dark chocolate pieces or chips (at least 60% cacao)
1 T coconut oil
popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers

DIRECTIONS:

Mix almond butter, vanilla, and cinnamon together until well mixed.

Peel and cut bananas in half. Slice the halves vertically in half.

Divide your almond butter mixture into 4 equal portions. Use 1 portion of almond butter per 2 banana slices. Spread the almond butter mixture over half of the banana slices.

Press your popsicle stick or skewer on top of the almond butter and top with the remaining banana slices.

Place the banana pops in the freezer and freeze until firm.

When your banana pops are all the way frozen, melt your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a large skillet filled with some water and place a smaller pot inside the skillet on top of the water. Put your chocolate and oil in the smaller pot.) Stir until melted and smooth.

Dip each banana pop in the dark chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is hardened and cold. Delicious!

~April

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Egg Ornaments

IMG_2869I haven’t posted in a while.  Life with four kids can really tie you up for some reason :),  especially this time of year. Christmas is a busy and blessed time of year preparing our hearts and celebrating the birth of our savior.   It’s a tough balance in our society and is easy to get wrapped up in other things. ((PRESENTS!! ))  Gift giving can become the focus of Christmas instead of thanking God for the gift of His Son.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Giving gifts does not have to take away from the true meaning of Christmas. If we focus on the wonderful gift of salvation the Lord has given us, giving to others is a natural expression of that gratitude and love. The key is to keep our focus on the ultimate gift, Jesus.  This year we decided to make some gifts for our family to show our love using our very own chicken eggs.  Here is how some of them turned out.

IMG_2866

I really Like the diorama ones.  It was surprisingly easy to make.

Here is a quick tutorial.

First drill a hole in the side of the egg using a small dremel bit, embroidery scissors or other tool.  Then carefully chip the shell away to about a 1 inch opening. I found embroidery or or cuticle scissors work very well for this.  Dump the egg out saving it for later and rinse the shell.IMG_2826I then paint a few layers of clear fingernail polish, mod podge, or glue around the open area of the shell to strengthen prevent cracking.  When this is dry I then take the embroidery scissors and cut a bigger opening.  IMG_2825IMG_2827It doesn’t have to be perfect.  You can add ribbon or pipe cleaners around the opening to give it a nice finished look when your done with the inside. I then microwave the egg for a few minutes to further strengthen the shell and sanitize.  You can then take craft paint and paint the inside and out if you wish. Then decorate the inside.  You then make a base for your diorama. We used cotton stuffing for the tree and a bit of styrofoam and wood shavings for the manger scene. For the tree we just took some pipe cleaner and  twisted it in a circle to make the tree, IMG_2882and for the manger we used tooth picks and a bead wrapped in paper for baby Jesus. IMG_2883Hot glue everything into place and use a bead end and some string  to hang it. IMG_2886 The other ornaments were just blown out eggs that we put stickers on and a layer of mod podge. Rub-ons would work better than stickers, I just couldn’t find any. IMG_2885Simple, yet pretty.

 

Here is a few my 7-year-old daughter madeIMG_2884MERRY CHRISTMAS!

LOVE- Theresa

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

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Turkey Chili Wannabe

This is another of my favorite comfort food recipes.

Turkey Chili Wannabe:

1 pound of lean ground turkey

3/4 cup of diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup of frozen corn

1/2 diced onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups of black beans

1 1/2 cups of chili beans, pinto beans or kidney beans

1  tablespoon of tomato paste

1/4 cup of chili seasoning

chili seasoning:

2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2- 1 1/2  teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder

Saute onions and garlic. Brown turkey with chili seasoning, then ass sautéed onions and garlic. In a large saucepan add tomatoes, corn, beans, and tomato paste.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or add 1 cup of water and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.  Its not traditional chili, but still one of our favorites on a rainy afternoon.

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One of my favorite fall recipes is curry pumpkin soup. I have made this soup every year for the last 7 or so years. Fall doesn’t begin around here until momma makes pumpkin soup.

Curry Pumpkin Soup:

-1 medium onion, chopped

-1/4 c. butter

-4 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin (a pumpkin about the size of a volleyball)

-Reserved water from cooking pumpkin added to chicken stock to make 4 cups of liquid

-1/2 -1 tsp. better than bouillon chicken soup base *

-1 bay leaf

-1 tsp. sugar

-1 tsp. curry powder

-1/4 tsp. nutmeg

-2 Tabs. dry parsley

-1 cup of milk

-1 cup of half and half

-1 tsp. of salt or more if using homemade broth

-Fresh ground white pepper to taste. (white pepper makes a difference)

-If you like it spicier add a dash or two of cayenne pepper (optional)

If using a whole volleyball sized pumpkin, peel it, scraped out the seeds, then cut into  1 inch cubes.  The seeds and innards make a yummy chicken treat.Add water halfway up to the top of the cubes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat cover and simmer slowly 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I used my pressure cooker and reduced the time by 1/2. Removed the cubes, reserving the cooking water, and mash. If using canned disregard and move onto the next step.

Sauté onion in butter until golden.  Stir in pumpkin, water or broth, *chicken base, bay leaf, sugar, curry, nutmeg and parsley.  Bring to simmer and simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Puree in batches in a blender, processor or if you have one of those neat submersion blenders use that.  Add half and half in a thin stream while stirring.  Add milk in the same manner.  Add salt and pepper. Simmer 5-10 minutes additional. And yum!

*I usually use better than bouillon chicken soup base for extra flavor but recently found out that it is not as natural as it claims to be. Read here if you are interested. What I did this time is use my homemade stock to cook the pumpkin in and then added the reserved pumpkin water to additional chicken stock to make 4 cups of liquid and added additional salt to taste.

-Theresa

 

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A yummy treat with only a fraction of the calories!

Serve Carrot Pumpkin Spice Smoothie as a dessert instead of traditional cake this holiday season. Top if off with a crushed graham cracker crust and healthy vegan coconut whipped cream. I made this today and it is simply YUMMY.

Ingredients
4 Carrots
1 medium banana
4 tablespoons of non-dairy plain or vanilla yogurt (optional/alternative for the banana)
1 cup of Ice
2 cups of non-dairy milk of choice (Vanilla Almond Milk or Cashew Milk)
1 tablespoon of Agave

A few dashes of
Madagascar Vanilla
Pumpkin All spice (Nutmeg & Cinnamon as an alternative if pumpkin spice isn’t available)

**You may top it of with crushed graham crakers and coconut whipped cream (see recipe below)**

Directions
1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender. If you do not have a high powered blender you can boil the carrots to soften them before adding it to the blender. If you have a juicer, you may juice the carrots first then add the remaining ingredients to the blender
2. Blend well. and N-Joy 🙂
**You may want to add a little more water if you like your smoothie thinner and add ice for a thicker smoothie**

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients
One 15-ounce can full-fat organic coconut milk (place in the fridge overnite or until chilled, the colder the more fluffier)
1 tablespoon powdered confectioners sugar or Agave to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla or to taste (optional)

Directions
1. Place the can of coconut milk up right in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled or overnight
2. Open the can of coconut milk from the bottom. Dump out the liquid and there will be a firm, waxy layer left inside. (You can use the water in smoothies, or just drink it straight.)
3. Scoop out this firm layer coconut cream that has solidified in the can.
don’t include anything but the solid cream.
4. Place this cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl.
5. Turn your mixer or hand beaters to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Whip until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Mix in sugar or vanilla, if using.
7. Serve with fresh fruit, pie, hot chocolate or top it off on your favorite smoothie 🙂
~April

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Elderberries have been a remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, and Asia. Many studies have shown that Elderberry is high in antioxidants and can be used to lower cholesterol,  improve vision,  boost the immune system, improve coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, tonsillitis and heart health. Elderberry boosts the immunity by stimulating  the immune system to produce infection and disease fighting proteins which destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.

A majority of the studies that produced the results above were done using Elderberry extract. Elderly extract has higher concentration of active components than that obtained by simply eating the berries. Elderberry syrup can be very expensive so I decided to try and make my own with dried Elderberries that I ordered off of Amazon.com.

Here is the recipe that I adapted from several different recipes including other health boosting ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup black elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups of filtered  water
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, finely minced, or 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 5 whole cloves or a sprinkle of  clove powder
  • 1 cup (or less) raw honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp real vanilla extract
  • a few of sprigs of fresh lemon balm or a couple bags of lemon balm tea.

Add all ingredients except the honey to a saucepan and bring to a high boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until liquid reduces by 1/3-1/2. Remove from heat and let cool enough to touch. Strain and squeeze out the berries and lemon balm.  Add the honey to the liquid and stir well. Store in a bottle or jar in the fridge.

Recommended dosage: 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for children over the age of two. Take once daily for immunity support or every few hours for treatment of flu or cold.

Here are some health benefits from the ingredients used:

Ginger- is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that is used for the most extreme cases of inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Cinnamon – Laboratory studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria.

Vanilla – Vanilla’s main constituent is vanilli which has antioxidant properties.  Vanilla helps reduce stress and calm nausea.

Cloves –  Cloves have antiseptic and germicidal properties that help fight infections, relieve digestive problems and arthritis pain..

Lemon Balm – relieves stress and insomnia, and helps in healing cold sores .

Raw honey – has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties to keep your immune system healthy and ward off colds and the flu.  It also is a very effective cough suppressant.

***It is recommended to eat only fully cooked elderberries. The unripe fruit, bark, leaves, and stems may contain cyanide which is poisonous. Never eat the green parts of the Elderberry plant.*****

Most research Is from the internet and I am in no way a medical professional.  I would love to hear your elderberry syrup recipe or feedback on this recipe and the effectiveness. We are all learning and constructive criticism or improvement are always welcome.

**ADDITION**

I have also tried to make elderberry extract.

4oz of dried elderberries

1 quart bottle of cheap vodka or brandy

1 quart jar with lid

Each day, shake the jar and during the first week, Make sure that the alcohol still covers the berries, add more  alcohol if necessary.

After 6-8 weeks, or longer, remove the berries by straining them through the colander. The extract will remain potent for 1-2 years if kept in a cool dark place.

This is extract, it taste like extract, and needs to be added to other things such as tea, seltzer or milk. It still has all the wonderful properties, maybe more, as the syrup recipe. Serving 20 drops for adults and 10 drops for kids once a day for prevention and 3 or 4 times/day during a flu or cold. For kids 2 and over, but I think I will stick to the syrup for my younger ones.

-Theresa

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Over the last couple of years I have been trying to avoid feeding my family fast food.  I have gone from once a week at the drive through to once every three or so months. Honestly I love fast food.  I love those salty fries and processed meats.  My body on the other hand does not.  I always feel sluggish and a little sick to the stomach afterwards. I know what is in those meats and fries and feel guilty whenever I do give my kids this “treat”.  Something else I love from fast food joints is “The Frosty”. Yum.. antibiotics and cow puss.. well no more.  I give you the homemade frosty!  I have two versions for you. One is a “healthier” treat (healthier than the one you can buy at the drive through) and “The even healthier than the first” treat.

What you will need for the “healthier” treat is a 14 oz can of condensed sweetened milk and a quart of  a thick chocolate milk.

“For the even healthier than the first” treat you will need whole milk, organic unrefined sugar or the like, butter, vanilla extract, and cocoa.

First you will need to make the sweetened condensed milk substitute:

  • 3 cups of whole milk
  •  2/3 – 1  cup of unrefined or organic sugar (I would use 1/2-2/3 cup in the frosty.  1 cup makes it too sweet)
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  •  2 tsp. of vanilla

Mix milk and sugar in a heavy pan over medium-low heat.  When steam starts to rise lower heat and allow about two hours, stirring occasionally, for the liquid to reduce to about half. Whisk in  butter and vanilla. Allow it to cool before using.

For the chocolate syrup:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup organic unrefined sugar (again you can use less)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cocoa and water in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until cocoa is dissolved and add sugar. Whisk, then bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Cool and store remainder in the fridge.

Add chocolate syrup, about 4 Tbsp or less, to a quart of milk.  Mix well.

And for both you need  ice cream maker or blender. The ice cream maker works best but the blender will suffice. If you are using an ice cream maker freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours making sure there is no ice crystals.

Now that you have your condensed sweeten milk and chocolate milk whisk them together and pour into the pre-frozen ice cream bowl . Churn for 25-30 minutes until you have reached a thick “Frosty” consistency.

For a blender, mix ingredients until throughly combined.  Freeze in a freezer friendly container for 2 hours or so, stirring every 30 minutes until you have the “Frosty” consistency

The ice cream maker works best but the blender will suffice. The second recipe might take a little longer to reach consistency.

This would be a great once in a while  Sunday afternoon or after school treat! Have a great week!

-Theresa

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