A healthy, quick and easy after-school snack for the kids that they love and can help make. And if you want to make your own nut butter try Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter or good old fashioned Homemade Peanut Butter.

Serves 1-2

1 Honey Crisp Apple
2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter
1/4 cup pecans
handful of dark chocolate chips

Core the apple and slice approximately 8-10 rings. I love my apple peeler for this specific reason! I can adjust it so it peels, cuts rings and/or cores apples.

Spread peanut butter on the apple rings and sprinkle on pecans and chocolate chips.

Waiting for the kids to come home from school so he can chase after them on their sleds...



My kids LOVE s'mores and the other night our little elf had started a fire, was roasting a marshmallow and had set out everything to make s'mores...what a surprise!
The next day I had leftover chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows so we decided to make s'mores cookies. The kids loved them even more than the traditional smore's. I may keep these cookies on hand in the freezer to use in place of graham crackers next time we roast marshmallows.

S’mores Cookies
Adapted from 6 sisters
Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies


1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 18 large marshmallows, cut in half About 36 small chocolate pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth.  Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Use a small cookie scoop and drop dough onto a parchement-lined baking sheet, 1-2″ apart.  Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are just turning golden brown.  Remove from oven and gently press 1/2 of a Hershey chocolate rectangle in the cookie 
Turn the oven broiler on high and put the cookies with the chocolate under the broiler for about 30 seconds just until chocolate is melted (the chocolate will hold its shape even when its melted). Pull out cookies and set a half marshmallow, sticky side down, onto each cookie. Place cookies back in oven and broil for about 1 minute, keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn.  Once marshmallows are golden brown, remove from the broiler and stick a chocolate piece in each marshmallow. If the marshmallow's crust is hard just use a small paring knife to cut into the crust to stick the chocolate piece in.  



Makes 8

16 oz refrigerated biscuit dough (I use Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits or  this recipe for homemade dough)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. 

Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.In a bowl, combine the butter, garlic powder, oregano and  parsley; brush the warm knots with the butter mixture and sprinkle Parmesan on top. 

 Serve immediately. 



I made this pie for Thanksgiving and was amazing! I started making it without reading the entire recipe and once I got to the whole raw egg part I almost threw it out but I looked at all that chocolate and felt it would be a shame. So I discussed it with everyone who was planning on eating it with me and no one seemed to have an issue (except me) so I went for it and am glad I did. It was the best chocolate pie ever! Just make sure you use fresh organic or pastured eggs. 


Chocolate Pie Filling:
4 ounces, dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
½  cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, fresh
1 pie shell, pre-baked for 10 minutes (follow directions)

Whipped Cream:
2 cups of heavy cream 
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate Curls:
Chocolate bar

Pre-Bake the Pie Crust:usually 350 for 10 minutes: follow directions on package.

Make the Chocolate Pie Filling:In small microwave safe bowl melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate pieces  (stirring every 20 seconds until melted). Add 1 tsp espresso powder, stir and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 ½ cups of white sugar until fluffy (2 minutes). When melted chocolate is cooled, add slowly to  the butter/sugar mixture while mixing on low. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined (on a Kitchen Aid mixer, you will be using the whisk attachment).
Turn your mixer to a medium speed and over a period of 15 minutes add in the three eggs, one at a time, leaving about 5 minutes between each egg addition. Once the pie filling is well mixed, pour it into the baked pie shell. Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Make the Whipped Cream:
In a standing mixer with a wire whisk combine the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar. Whip on low for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t splatter.Increase to high and whip until peaks form and can hold their shape…about 3 – 4 minutes (don’t over mix). Make the Chocolate Curls:
Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife shave the edge of the chocolate bar from top to bottom.

I pipe the whipped cream on the cold chocolate filling but you can just spread it all over too and then sprinkle the chocolate curls all over.




Everyone in my house LOVES monkey bread. It is so addictive and sadly so bad for you; I don't make it often but when I do I prefer using muffin tins versus a bundt pan. 

Adapted from here
makes 6 large muffins

1/4 cup granulated sugar
teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands! Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter 
(Add a walnuts and raisins if desired..I don't desire!)

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 6 extra-large muffin pan (or you can do 12 regular muffins with a shorter baking time)  with shortening or cooking spray. Note: do not use liners because they will stick. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits; and cut each biscuit into 9 pieces. Add pieces to sugar and cinnamon bowl and coat each piece completely. Add 12 pieces to each greased muffin cup, add walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces if using.

In small pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar; once combined pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. 
Cool in pan 10 minutes. 

Turn upside down or gently lift up with a fork onto serving plate. Serve warm.

The only thing my son wants for Christmas this year is a stuffed minecraft dog...and of course no one makes it so I have been sewing for the last two weeks making this dog...
 I made the collar removable to he can "tame" it with a bone...
 I cant wait to see his face when he opens the box...



2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped 
Tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup small red onion, chopped
1 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed 
Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cup large tomato, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Here is a good tutorial for how to get those tricky little seeds out of the pomegranate if you are unfamiliar.

In a medium bowl, toss together mint, cilantro, Italian flat-leaf parsley, red onion, pomegranate, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper, tomato and olive oil. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
Cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Our little elf returned on Thanksgiving and he has been busy creating mischief...again.



I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween last night. We had fun dressing up and trick or treating but it was a little chilly for the costumes so it was short lived which was fine by me...less candy the better! My daughter wanted to carve another pumpkin today, so while she was busy with the jack-o-lantern I made the pumpkin seeds to snack on.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from simply recipes

Seeds from a carved pumpkin
olive oil 

Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Carve your pumpkin and place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
Measure the pumpkin seeds. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every 1 cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier. Cover and bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan. I like to sprinkle a little course salt on the seeds and then bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, for medium seeds about 10-15 minutes. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don't get over toasted.
 When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating. 

A treat even for the pickiest of eaters...

Always ready to dress up...
New to all this...
 Ready to go...



My kids planted 15 lbs of seed potatoes 5 months ago and last week they harvested 184 lbs. I can remember when I was a kid driving to my grandparent's farm in Iowa and dreading when the potatoes had to be dug up. We used pitchforks and it was hard work, majority of the time I would accidentally stab the potatoes with the pitchfork so it would be kindly suggested that I sit on the ground and pick the potatoes out of the dirt instead. This time the pitchforks were tossed aside and we welcomed the potato plow; it worked like a charm...184 lbs of potatoes just came rolling out of the ground! 

Contributing a whopping 1 lb to that 184 lbs was this little beauty...
This potato is so ugly that I just can't eat it. It just sits on my kitchen counter, looking at me, reminding me of a blob fish.

Baked Potato
Serves 1

1 large russet baking potato
olive oil to coat
kosher salt

Addition toppings:
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scub the potato with a stiff brush under clean water, dry and prick with a fork all over, I poke mine 12 times for this size potato. Set the potato in a small bowl and coat it with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt on all sides. Place the potato on your middle oven rack. I usually put a sheet of tin foil on the bottom rack to catch any oil that drips. Bake for one hour or until the the skin feels crisp but the inside is soft when you slide a knife in.
I like butter, salt, pepper and whatever vegetables I have on hand. This one has peas and Parmesan.

My favorite time of year...
cattle grazing down by the river...
 Red Tailed Hawk soaring...



As I am trying to weaken my caffeine addiction I have resorted back to some old ways that have worked for me in the past...specifically juicing parsley. There is something about parsley that just makes me feel so good and gives me boundless energy. The kind of energy that makes me want to clean out my closets!  It is a little storehouse of vitamins and a great pick-me-up which I take full advantage of when I am dragging mid-morning.

Serves 1

1 bunch of Italian leaf Parsley
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored
1/2 Lemon, peeled

Wash the parsley, soak if needed. Add the parsley, stems and all to the juicer first then add the apple and the lemon. Drink immediately.

My favorite time of year...


This is a great little smoothie to whip up when your kids are begging you to take them to the coffee shop to get a smoothie after school and you are trying really hard not to go because you know you will break down and get 2 shots of espresso...and did I mention the two shots would be inside 16 ounces of steamed milk with rich chocolate and you have already had one earlier in the day. Yes, I have a serious mocha addiction that I am trying to's not going so good.

Peach Smoothie
Serves 4

2-3 peaches, peeled and pit removed
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons of sugar, or sweetener of choice (if needed, sometimes peaches are sweet enough)
lime juice from 1/2 a lime
8 ice cubes

Put everything in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

On the bright side having a large amount of espresso throughout the day can make it really convenient when you want to be awake from 4a-6a to see the Blood Moon. It was spectacular...

"And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah."  Joel 2:30 -31

"The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and glorious Day of the Lord." Acts 2:20

Printable Recipe 



This is my new favorite summer drink; I love it! It is so delicious and smooth, with sweet coconut and tart lime...yum! Add a little white rum or maybe coconut rum if you feeling adventurous or leave as is for a perfect summer refreshment. 

Frozen Coconut Limeade
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups crushed or small ice cubes
1 cup (8 ounces) coconut milk, well-shaken if from a can
1/3 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons sugar (more or less to taste)
Lime slices for garnish

Juice the lime...

Add everything to a blender and mix until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into glasses, garnish with lime.

Perfect day to put on the swimsuits, the sprinkler and trap the kids in the trampoline...


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