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Making Trail Mix: Easy Recipe!

I have long loved a good trail mix. Really, who doesn’t?! It’s yummy, delicious and packed with energy-sustaining protein! A little bit goes a long way so don’t overdo it with a delicious trail mix! Here is my favorite trail mix recipe. Sometimes I change it up a bit with yogurt covered raisins or chocolate covered peanuts, but this is my basic, standby, delicious and oh-so-yummy recipe! Continue reading Making Trail Mix: Easy Recipe!

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What?! Homemade Bear Grease Lotion! (recipe included!!)

Yes, I do love making stuff! All my friends know that I am crafty: soaps, lotions, knitting, woodworking, etc. I love being creative with my hands! So, the idea of making lotion isn’t too far-flung for me. The first time my husband saw me make it, he was amazed at how fast, easy and incredibly low cost it was to make a completely all-natural, spa-quality lotion!

Continue reading What?! Homemade Bear Grease Lotion! (recipe included!!)

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Recipe: Butter Mints

buttermint

My husband has an undying passion for butter mints and I have an undying passion for doTerra essential oils, so I combined the two to create this amazing butter mint recipe! Use your favorite Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil for flavoring. Continue reading Recipe: Butter Mints

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Double Chocolate Pudding Coffee Cake

This delicious, sinfully moist and rich cake will be a sure favorite! I used Lactaid milk for all of the milk in this recipe, and regular butter, but according to Wikipedia, people with severe lactose intolerance may still be able to tolerate fermented or clarified butter. There is also the option of using sticks of dairy-free margarine to make this a wonderful and safe lactose intolerant treat. My son can handle very very small amounts of lactose and he doesn’t eat a lot of this cake in one sitting, so using regular butter was alright in our situation, but you may want to substitute something else instead of butter.

This recipe makes a delightfully moist cake with a rich chocolate flavor, coupled with a dark chocolate pudding and milk chocolate frosting. While it is pretty easy to make, it is time consuming so make sure you have an afternoon to work on this special treat! It will make a wonderful birthday cake, layer cake for afternoon coffee or tea, or just a special treat to enjoy after a stressful day. The coffee in it does work to keep you up so if you aren’t used to caffeine, you might want to restrict yourself to one or two pieces early in the day!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1  3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup lactaid milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 x-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of freshly brewed, strong black coffee

Pudding

  • 1 cup lactaid milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (use less for a milk-chocolate flavor. 6 tablespoons will give you a more bitter, dark chocolate flavor.)

Frosting

  • 2 sticks of butter or butter substitute, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons lactaid milk

Let’s Cook!

Stage One: Make the cake!

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Spray your pans with cooking spray, or butter and flour the pans.
  • Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Blend wet ingredients with dry ingredients until well mixed. Batter should be smooth and thin.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  • At about 10 minutes left on your cake timer, go to Stage Two!

Stage Two: Make the Pudding!

  • Mix ALL ingredients together in a metal saucepan, NO TEFLON!
  • Whisk continuously over medium heat until steaming hot.
  • Continue to whisk until mixture starts to thicken SLIGHTLY! You don’t want this too thick!

Stage Three: Pudding Cake!

  • Pull your cake out of the oven and poke holes into it 1 – 1 1/2 inches apart. I used the handle of a butter knife, inserting and twisting to make a rather large hole.
  • Pour the hot pudding over the hot cake.
  • Smooth the pudding across the cake, making sure to push it into the holes until they are completely full.
  • Spread the pudding across the top of the cake evenly. It will thicken up as it cools.
  • Let the pudding-covered cake cool at least one hour, until completely cool.

Stage Four: Milk Chocolate Frosting!

  • Cream together your butter, vanilla and milk
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder
  • Whip the ingredients together until they are fully combined.
  • Continue to whip until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.

Spread the frosting evenly on your cool pudding cake carefully, taking care to maintain your layers of cake, pudding and frosting. Enjoy your yummy new cake!

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Delicious Chocolate Cake

This recipe comes from JustAPinch.com’s Mom’s Chocolate Decadent Cake by Sheila Senghas, with a couple of minor changes. This is by far the BEST chocolate cake I have ever had, and the most unusually made too! It is rich, but not overly sweet. It is exceptionally moist, and a heavy cake so if you are looking for a light, fluffy cake you should go elsewhere! 🙂

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 cake squares

Cake Ingredients:

2 Sticks of Butter or Butter Substitute
6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
1/2 Cup milk or Lactaid
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Cook That Cake!

  • Melt the butter/butter substitute in a large saucepan
  • Add the cocoa and water
  • Bring to a boil
  • Remove from the heat once the mixture boils. Work quickly from here.
  • Add the sugar. Mix well.
  • Add the flour. Mix well.
  • Blend in the milk, eggs and vanilla.
  • Pour batter into a greased 9×13 rectangle cake pan.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until it is springy to the touch in the center

Frosting Ingredients:

1 Stick of Butter or Butter Substitute
6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6 Tablespoons Milk or Lactaid
1 Tablespoon Hot Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup milk or Lactaid
1 pound of Powdered/Confectioner’s Sugar (that is 4 cups)

Get That Frosting Made!

  • Make the frosting when you take the cake OUT of the oven!
  • Melt the butter/butter substitute in a large saucepan
  • Add the cocoa and milk/lactaid and slowly bring to a boil. It will be thick, let it get to a good bubble.
  • Remove from heat, work quickly from here.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well.

This frosting should be creamy and not stiff! Pour the frosting onto the cake and spread it evenly across the surface while the cake is still hot and the frosting is very warm. Let the cake cool before cutting it. The frosting on the hot cake will seep into the top of the cake a bit, making it very very moist and rich. This cake is NOT overly sweet, though the frosting is pretty sugary, though the sugar is offset by the cocoa (I use unsweetened cocoa because it has no lactose added to it!) It makes a deliciously medium-dark chocolate tasting cake! I warm up slices in the microwave for 20 seconds, and serve with Lactose-Free Ice Cream, chocolate syrup and lactose-free whipped topping for a truly decadent treat for any lactose intolerant person!

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Lactose Free Vanilla Pudding

This pudding was the result of a kitchen experiment, and I have since “perfected” the recipe and updated this post. I served it with a cup up banana and my son went nuts over it! It would taste amazing with some cocoa powder added to make chocolate pudding, or as a pudding base for Banana Pudding! Try it out and please let me know what variations you used and how it turned out! I used Lactaid milk for lactose free pudding, but it would turn out just as nice with regular milk. Please make sure you DO NOT use a Teflon coated pan, as you will be whipping the mixture while it cooks to keep it smooth. A ceramic or stainless steel pot would be a much better choice.

Time: Prep: 3 minutes | Cooking: 20 minutes | Cooling: 1 hour
Servings: 2 servings, 1/2 cup each

Ingredients:
1 Cup Milk, any milk fat will work (whole, 2%, 1% or skim), lactose free or regular.
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Egg Yolk
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pour milk, sugar and cornstarch into a small saucepan (not Telfon!)
  2. Whip by hand with a whisk or using a hand mixer until bubbly and starting to thicken slightly
  3. Add the egg and continue to whisk/whip the mixture, placing it over medium low heat.
  4. Whisk/whip continuously as mixture comes to a boil
  5. Keep mixture at a slow boil for at least 3 minutes to make sure the egg is cooked. Whisk continuously.
  6. Your mixture should be slightly thicker. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla, whisking all the while.
  7. Pour into a container and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving
  8. Serve plain, with fresh fruit, whipped topping and wafers or as a part of a larger dish, like Banana Pudding! This recipe will surprise you with its creamy, yummy flavor!
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Yummy Summer Treat: Easy Home-Made Ice Cream!

For those of you who don’t already know, my 3 year old son is lactose intolerant and LOVES ice cream! Since we moved to a small town in Maryland, we have been unable to find his lactose free ice cream in any of the local stores. Ever since, I have been trying to make homemade ice cream for him. I have tried a few recipes that I found online, and he hated every last one 🙁 Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

I don’t have an ice cream machine, so one that I could make with my food processor using foods I had on hand was of utmost importance. Recipe after recipe ended in disaster, either frozen solid like Italian Ice, gooey like Gelato (which he hates) or, worst yet, salty tasting but the perfect consistency. Try getting a 3 year old to eat salty ice cream!

This super-easy recipe can be used with a blender or food processor and any fruit you have on hand. It has just enough sugar to make it yummy like a special treat, but still wholesome enough to feel good about giving to your kids any time… my son actually ate some for breakfast with a sliced up waffle!

I used bananas and strawberries but you can use anything you like, as long as it is cut into small chunks and frozen before hand. I peeled my bananas and broke them into small chunks which I put into a freezer bag and froze solid the night before. From start to finish, it only took me about 15 minutes, including preparing a bowl which was eaten in less than 5 minutes and he asked for more! You can use any milk. I used Lactaid Whole Milk but you can use regular whole milk , soy milk, rice milk or what ever your heart desires. I don’t know how this would turn out with a low fat milk, but if you give it a try please let me know how it turns out! The overripe fruit adds to the sweetness, allowing us to use less sugar. Since there is only a teeny amount of salt, don’t try this recipe without some fruit added, as the fruit actually helps keep the milk from freezing solid. In my hand, the salt actually only looked like about 30 grains or so, don’t overdo it or your ice cream will taste salty!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Overripe Bananas, chunked and frozen
  • 4 large Overripe Strawberries, chunked and frozen
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon Salt (yes this is a TINY amount, JUST enough to keep the milk from freezing solid.)

How To Make It:

  1. Get out your blender or food processor, wash and dry. Get all of your ingredients ready, as you will be making this fast to avoid it melting!
  2. Add ALL of the ingredients at once and pulse until the frozen chunks are broken down and more smooth.
  3. Turn the food processor on (in a blender, this would probably be on high, or whip) for 5 minutes, stopping it every minute or two to let the motor cool down
  4. (optional!) I poured the mixture into a mixing bowl and blended with a hand mixer for another few minutes to whip it up nicely and make it lighter and fluffier. This is optional, but will add to your finished product, making it smoother and more scoop-friendly!
  5. Serve as soft-serve immediately, freeze any left overs promptly in a covered container. Use within 7 days.
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Cranberry Lemonade

Pink Cranberry LemonadeI just had the chance to try out this recipe and I must say, even for someone like me who doesn’t like lemonade all that much, this is a yummy drink! 🙂 I edited this post to reflect a small change – 3/4 cup sugar to 1 full cup of sugar. The 3/4 cup was just too sour for me but that is a personal taste. If you like more sour in your lemonade, by all means use the 3/4 cup sugar that the recipe originally called for, it was still good!

Ingredients:
3 cups cold water
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup sugar

Mix the wet ingredients together, then add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves then refrigetate. I added some ice to the pitcher and we enjoyed it right away with a few ice cubes in a glass. Enjoy!

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Cheese Lover’s Mac-n-Cheese With Chicken

Cheese Lover's Mac-n-Cheese With ChickenThis hearty Mac-n-Cheese is sure to please your resident cheese lover or cheese fanatics! 🙂 I used some random cheeses that I had in the house and my measurements were pitiful, to say the least. Just use whatever you have handy, or go shopping and pick up your favorite cheeses to use. I use small shells for the pasta because it is a wonderful little pasta that holds exactly the right amount of cheese sauce. The cooking method adds a nice flavor to the pasta too, so don’t skip and use plain water!!

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
Your favorite spices for chicken. I used garlic powder, onion powder and lemon pepper.
French’s french fried onions (about 1/4 – 1/3 container)
1/2 box Small Shells
3/4 cup milk
CHEESE!!!!!

Boil the chicken breasts for 40 minutes at a rolling boil. Sprinkle in a little bit of spices into the water to infuse the chicken with flavor. After 40 minutes, remove the chicken and allow to cool. While the chicken is cooling, boil the pasta in the water you just took the chicken out of.

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a medium sized baking pan with cooking spray.

While the pasta is cooking, melt your cheese in a small saucepan with the milk, stirring constantly. I used two handfuls of shredded cheddar, one slice of provolone and two mozerella string cheeses, torn up. When your cheese is melted and a nice sauce has formed, take it off the heat but don’t let it cool too long!

Strain the cooked pasta and pour into the baking pan, then pour the cheese sauce over it and mix it in.

Chunk apart the chicken breasts and place the chunks on top of the mac-n-cheese in the baking pan. Sprinkle french fried onions over the chicken and top with some garlic salt and lemon pepper.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the onions start to brown a little. Cool and enjoy!

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Potato Souffle

Yes, I know it is an awfully flat souffle. I freely admit that this is my first try at a souffle and I over-folded the egg whites, hence no-pouffy 🙁 Hindsight is 20/20 and now I know better… I also think I baked it at temp too low and for too long, I am open to critiques!!

I mainly wanted to make a dish that my family will find yummy while using up some leftover mashed potatoes. I received a request to add meat when I was starting to get ingredients together, so I figured I would give it a try and see how it ended up.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
2 cups mashed potatoes
2 eggs, seperated
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef and drain. Set aside.

Heat the mashed potatoes until hot. While potatoes are heating, grease or spray a medium sized baking dish. Preheat the oven to 325 (I am thinking of changing this to perhaps 350 or 400, any suggestions?)

Seperate the eggs, put the whites into a small mixing bowl. Beat the egg yolks until broken up.

Add the butter, milk and egg yolks to the potatoes and mix completely. Add ground beef. Add 2/3 cup of the cheese.

Whisk or mix the egg whites until stiff and peaks form, then fold into your potato mixture until combined. This is where I messed up, I folded until the mixture was no longer streaked, and the whites lost their puff. I am thinking that leaving a little streak wouldn’t be as bad as over-folding and losing the puff. Souffles need the puff to rise, from what I hear…

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

I baked this at 325 for almost an hour until it started to look golden on top.

The flavor was good, albeit a litle bland. Some garlic salt and more cheese sprinkled on top added a nice layer of flavor. I am thinking it would have been much better if it had fluffed up nicely. I am thinking of turning up the temp and down the timer. Let me know how you make yours and I will give it a try! 🙂