Grinch-Inspired Pancakes

It was a lazy Sunday morning & I had had it in my mind for a while that I would make Grinch pancakes for the kids one weekend & this weekend was my weekend.  Since it was the first weekend of the month & we’re entering the Christmas season, I want to be intentional to enjoy each & every moment, and to slow down long enough to make memories that will last them a lifetime.

We had taken the kids a while back to see the new Grinch movie & then to IHOP to have the Grinch pancakes and I just knew, that I knew that this was something that I could make at home, so I did.

I have a pancake & waffle recipe that I have been making from scratch for quite some time now & I knew that a small scoop of the food coloring was going to give us the color that we wanted.

Whether or not it would be the exact shade of Grinch, I didn’t know, but that was okay.  If I can make any Grinch treat at home for my kids, they will be happy.

Here’s how I made them:

In a large mixing bowl, combine one cup of all purpose flour, a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of baking powder, two tablespoons of sugar, and then stir well to combine.

Next add, an egg, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a cup of milk and stir until completely blended.

Next you’ll need to add about 1/4 of teaspoon of green food coloring.  Now, I prefer to use the gel food coloring because it’s a lot richer when it comes to the base of the color without using a lot and if you do it right, (by not using a lot) it doesn’t drastically alter the taste of whatever you are making.  So, for this particular recipe, you are literally going to use no more of this particular food coloring, then what I have on this knife right here:

which is about 1/4 teaspoon, measured.

Blend in the food coloring until there are no streaks and the color is smooth all the way through, and make pancakes over low to medium heat.

So I learned something in this whole process:

If you make these pancakes over medium-high heat, like you would normal pancakes, they will start to brown.  And for the Grinch pancakes,  you don’t want any brown if you can help it.  It takes away from the lovely green color.

Here is the printable for this recipe:

Oh, and my frosting…yes, yes, I know, it looks a little clumpy.  Well, that was a mommy-whip-up-something-yummy-fast, kind of a thing.  (I used a little sour cream & confectioners sugar that I didn’t pre-sift before mixing).  Oh well.   My kids devoured it!     

Happy Grinch-Deliciousness!  

Clean Eating Sweet Potato Butter Recipe

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, this past weekend, I got the itch to throw something in the crock pot.  Maybe a meal, maybe a treat, it didn’t matter what.  Something about the fragrances coming from a slow cooker, when you don’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere are just so comforting to me.  So here’s a recipe that I found online that I decided to give a try: Clean Eating Sweet Potato Butter.

I have had sweet potato butter before.  I have had apple butter, pumpkin butter and peach butter but this was my first time making anything other than apple butter at home before.

This recipe is rather simple & honestly if I could do it over again (which I probably will when I make another batch) I would not cook it as long.  I cooked it for the directed amount of time and thought just by looking at it that the sweet potatoes were not cooked long enough, but they were.  Mistake #1 but a lesson learned.

I started with sweet potatoes, and added some molasses, apple cider, cinnamon spice, a pinch of salt, bourbon vanilla extract and fresh grated orange zest.  I didn’t see the need for the orange zest and will omit that in the future.

I sprayed the bottom of my crock pot with non-stick pan spray and then lined it with a crock pot liner.  Adding 3 cups of chopped sweet potato.  I removed any dark or brown spots that might have spoilage.

Then I added the remainder of my ingredients, the molasses, the cider, the salt etc.  I almost never make something like this without the addition of teaspoon or two of vanilla extract.

I did cook my sweet potatoes for too long.  The instructions said to cook them in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, but I cooked them for ten.

I felt that this overcooked the sweet potatoes bit but the flavor was still there.

So what are you making in the slow cooker this fall season?

Clean Eating Sweet Potato Butter

Original AuthorThe Gracious Pantry

This version made my: Things She Makes

Ingredients
  • 3 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Spray the bottom of your slow cooker with non-stick spray.

  2. Cover slow cooker with cooker line.

  3. Add all ingredients to the pot, and set on low temperature setting for 8 hours.

  4. Turn off crock pot and remove liner and contents.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

  5. Puree and blend with hand mixer.  Once mixture is completely cool at the air tight canning jar or mason jar.  Refrigerate.  Serve over toast or a homemade buttered-biscuit to enjoy.

 

Homemade {Skinny} Pumpkin Spice Latte

“Well, hello, flavors of fall…..”

This time of year, a little bit of fall has been sprinkled into everything.. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, pumpkin patches await, and the flavors of fall await, from breads, cookies & hot morning (or afternoon) drinks.  I love a good pumpkin spice latte.  So I figured, why not try my hand at making my own at home and I did.  And it turned out DELICIOUS!  And now I want to share it with YOU!

Please note: This recipe was for one serving of latte but you can double or triple it to make as many servings as you would like. 🙂

It starts out with a little bit of almond milk.   We usually keep almond milk on hand, and it’s one of my main go-to’s as an alternative for regular milk, calorie wise.  So to make this a “skinny” latte (meaning less calories) I thought that it would be great.

Then I added just a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

If you mean business with your vanilla then you will:

(1) Use pure and not imitation extract and

(2) You might even use something like this, that I found at Trader Joes.  I like it because the flavor is bold and you can taste the difference when added to your recipes.

A dash of nutmeg.

We can’t have a fall-themed warm & cozy treat without nutmeg.  You just can’t..

One tablespoon of canned pumpkin puree.  This is two 1/2 tablespoons, in the picture below.

And 1/8 cup of sugar.  You can adjust the amount or type of sugar if you’d like.  Agave, maple, honey, brown sugar, or sugar in the raw also sound like great options.

And stir, with a whisk.  You want your pumpkin to be completely blended in to your milk mixture.  Remember, this is a latte, and a latte usually means a steamed milk.  So we’re going to cook this pumpkin in while it’s steeping with the milk.  So that we have a nice, smooth, well-blended pumpkin spiced latte.

Once it’s fully blended we will turn on the heat.  You’ll want to continue the stir this over medium high heat in your saucepan for about 7 minutes.

Once that’s done, add it to your favorite mug, top with whipped cream and some cute sprinkles and you’re good to go.

 

Now to make sure that this treat, truly was “skinny”, I used this fat-free whipped cream:

So what yummy treats are you loving this fall?  Are you going to try to make any at home?

homemade {skinny} pumpkin spice latte

(Makes 1 serving)

3/4 cup of almond milk

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

a pinch of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree

1/8 cup of sugar (substitute amount or type of sweetener for your liking)

Directions

In a small saucepan, add almond milk, vanilla, nutmeg, pumpkin, sugar and stir.  Stir with a whisk until all of your ingredients are fully blended and there are no visible clumps of pumpkin puree left.

Over medium high heat, continue to stir for 5-7 minutes until the mixture has come to a light boil and starts to steam.  Remove from heat and pour into a mug of your choice.  Top with whipped cream & garnish with your favorite seasonal sprinkles.  Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Glazed Donuts

It’s time to make the donuts! 

I’ve been itching at the chance to make some delicious baked homemade donuts this fall.  It’s been a while since I’ve made any donuts & since we’re still in the middle of “pumpkin spice everything” I thought, what better type of homemade donuts to make then, pumpkin spice donuts?!

Who can resist anything pumpkin during fall, right?

* This post may contain affiliate links.  See side bar for full disclosure. *

In a large mixing bowl, I combined all of my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder & pumpkin pie spice) until completely smooth.

Then I added all of my wet ingredients (the eggs, the oil, & the vanilla) along with pumpkin.

 

I mixed until completely smooth & then set it aside and got my donut baking pan ready.

 

After I sprayed my donut pan with a generous dose of non-stick pan spray, I filled each section 3/4 of the way with my pumpkin batter.  Here is the pan that I used.

A gave them a gently shake and tap on the counter to even them out and then baked them in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

Part-way through (at about 12 mins) I couldn’t resist, I had to peak just to make sure that they were coming along okay.

After 18 minutes I removed them from the oven and let them set for about 6 to 10 minutes while I made the dipping glaze.

(I set them out on my baking rack after ten minutes, to allow them to cool & to get them ready for the glaze).

I melted 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and 2 cups of powdered sugar & whisked until smooth.

One at a time, I dipped them in the glaze, and some I drizzled over.

I added a mix of toppings, from top left – plain pumpkin spice glaze, glaze and white sprinkles, glaze with half gold sugar/ half clear crystal sugar.  Bottom left: mini chocolate chip, glaze striped, and pumpkin spice glaze pecan.

This by far, is my favorite thing that I have made all fall!

pumpkin spice glazed donuts

Dry Ingredients
1 3/4 cup + two tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salts
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

Wet Ingredients
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (almost all of one 12 oz. can)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Glaze
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

directions

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and pumpkin pie spice) until fully combined.  Add in the egg, oil, and canned pumpkin.  Stir until fully blended.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill cavities 3/4 of the way with pumpkin batter.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pan.  Set on a baking rack to cool.  Place parchment paper underneath the baking rack to prepare for glazing and toppings.

To make the glaze:

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until boiling.  Add the pumpkin pie spice.  Remove from heat.  Wait 2-3 minutes and then add the heavy whipping cream, stirring constantly.  Allow to cool 5 minutes, then add the powdered sugar, stirring constantly.  When the top of the glaze is cool to the touch, begin to dip or drizzle over donuts.  Enjoy!

 

 

Childhood Favorite: Swirled Peanut Butter & Jelly

I came across this at the grocery store the other day and it totally brought back memories: one container, beautifully striped peanut butter and jelly!

I hesitated at first as I know that my kids are not allowed to have this at school, but they can still have it at home, at least.  Right?  Well, I caved in and decided to get it.  I used to love when my mom would pick this out at the store.  As a kid, what can be better than your two favorite {lunch} things all in one.  We used to get the Smucker’s brand, but let me tell ya, this one will do.

I recently had a craving for a little toast & peanut butter and jelly and this jar fit the bill.  It immediately brought me back to my childhood days…..

Striped pb & j, or better yet to fluffer-nutters…

What’s one thing that when you eat it, you can’t help but think about being a kid again? 

 

Five {5} Things That You’ll Need for Back-to-School This Year

The close to the summer is almost here.  Kids in some parts of the country have already started back to school.  We still have one more week before we meet the teachers, and then just a handful of days following that when the first day of school will begin.

I have put together a list of essentials to make sure that you have everything that you need for the big day.

1. Back packs

Back packs are a must!  Whether you’re going with plain or patterned, gold or glitter (make sure that it’s not against your school’s policies), Justice or Pottery Barn – every child will need a back pack.  There are some places, like Pottery Barn that actually offer back packs in a variety of sizes, based on ages & grade level.  Check with what your school or teacher recommends and then go and get the back pack that is right for you!

2. Lunch boxes

Every child wants a nice lunch box.  If possible, I say to personalize it.  There are lots of places (like Etsy or monogram shops) that will personalize lunch bags for you.   I’m not so keen on having a name on the outside of a backpack, but lunch boxes in my opinion are a must, if you can.  Depending on where you get your box from; many shops on Etsy will offer personalization of the bag when you purchase.  If you walk inside to a brick & mortar facility, it will all depend on what they offer.  Some require that you buy the item from them before they’ll personalize.  Other’s will charge an additional fee if you bring in an item from the outside.  Go with what will work best, and get your child’s lunch box, with their name or initials on it.

3. Lunch containers

There are a lot of different types of lunch containers out there.  Everything from individual & separatable compartments, to bento-style boxes, to ones that just fit a sandwich and no more.

Go with a lunch container that is dishwasher safe, that can be used every day (get more than one for a back-up just in case something happens to the one you have), and one that fits into the lunch bag that you picked out.  You can have the lunch container personalized with waterproof vinyl or with the next item on this list.

4. Kid Labels

Labels, labels, labels.  I could only imagine the frustration that faculty and teachers go through when they’re trying to figure out, “Who in the world, this xyz belongs to…?!”  In the past, we’ve used sharpie markers but this year, we are all about the labels.  What we cannot use sharpie marker on, I have found some wonderful multi-surface & waterproof labels to label all of our kids items with.  One of these days I will break into the world of diy-printable vinyl.   Until then, I’ll be ordering them pre-designed by the experts!

5. {Printed} First Day of School Signs

Are you that mom that wakes up, gets her child up for school, gets them dressed, gives them a good breakfast, a kiss and a hug and then sends them on their way to school.  Only to find out later, after logging in to social media, that everyone else in the cyber-world has a picture of their child smiling with a handy-dandy ready to go “First Day of School” sign?

Now, it’s not that you need to have that sign so that you can be like everyone else.  But if you would like to be able to look back, even if for your knowing or even a picture to send to family or place in a scrapbook, you’ll want to have that sign printed possibly even the day or week before.  Just go ahead and print your’s off now.  There are a ton of options out there from printed to physical hand-held chalk-boards.

You can do this.

Just don’t wait until the last minute….

Chemeeka 

 

4th of July Red {Mint} Blue Punch

This 4th of July, I’ve come up with something fresh delicious & practically takes no time to make for your 4th July gatherings.  It’s my Red, {Mint} & Blue 4th of July punch.

 

 

Start with 2 cups of boiled water in a pourable, heat safe container.

Add one teaspoon of Wilton Royal Blue gel food coloring.  Add it to the hot water and stir to let it dissolve & cool to room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you’ll need one of these star ice cube trays that I found for less than $1.50 at Walmart or you could also use a standard ice tray.  In the end, it’s the same effect.  The blue ice lends the blue color to the punch whether you use stars or not.  (I thought that the stars were cute).

 

Pour the cooled blue water carefully into the ice tray as best you can.  You will only need one batch of ice cubes.

In a large half gallon water pitcher, squeeze the juice of 4 limes & add two cups of granulated sugar.

Stir to dissolve the lime juice and sugar & fill the pitcher 3/4 of the way full with filtered water.

Add in your blue ice cubes and slices of fresh strawberries.

Here’s a little tip: To keep my strawberry slices from turning to mush in my punch, I sliced them up the night before and put them in the freezer until I was ready for them.

Add in a handful of fresh mint leaves & your done!

 

 

So what are you bringing to the 4th of July picnic this year?

10 Minute DIY Popsicle Flower Pot {Magnet} Gift Idea for Mom

I whipped up some of these fun Mother’s Day popsicle flower pots for some of the special “mothers” in our lives.

The supply list is rather simple, and it can take all of 10 minutes to complete, from start-to-finish.

Supplies:

4 wide popsicle sticks

2 bottles of craft paint

a paint brush & paint plate

glue gun

glue sticks

4 magnets (can be found in the craft section of Walmart)

a 5 X7 photo or print out, cut to size

3 green pipe cleaners

scrapbooking paper for flowers

a glue stick

clear packing tape or scotch tape

You will start by painting the front and back of each of the popsicle sticks.

While you are waiting on these to dry, cut out three 3 inch flowers, and 3 yellow circles and assemble together with your glue stick.

Then once the popsicle sticks are dry, hot glue the ends together forming a box.

After you have your box in place, hot glue one of each of the four magnets to the corners of the frame.

(I did all of this before adding my picture).

Next, add your picture.  I used a 5 x 7 printout of a color copy of my photo on copy paper and actually had to cut it down to size.  The inside of this box is bigger than a 4 x 6, but smaller then a 5 x 7.  So I took just a portion of the background out from the 2/3’s line (in width) of the picture to make it fit and then secured it with clear packer’s tape to the sides of the popsicle frame.

Once you have your photo in place then hot glue the cardstock flowers to the pipe cleaner stems and then add them to the back of the photo.

After that step is complete, you are done!  Here you have these adorable popsicle fridge magnet flower pots that mom, grandma, neighbor, friend can look at year round.

Popsicle magnet flower pots also make a great homemade gift idea for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and more! Whip up a few in about 10 minutes for a thoughtful handmade present!

 

 

 

9 Awesome DIY Gifts for Teachers

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and it’s that time again to put your time & creativity to let all of the teacher’s in our lives know that we care.  Below, I have rounded up nine of my all time favorite teacher appreciation gifts.  Some require a small purchase, a printable & time.

How special will your child’s teacher(s) feel when they receive this gift.  Best of all to know that you care and took the time to let them know that they are in fact making a difference.

  1. A Decorative filled candy jar

2. A Bundlet (or two or three…) with printable at Eighteen 25

 

3. An apple-theme painted mason jar at Tilly’s Nest

I will also put this one on my list for a great “back-to-school” gift.

4. You’re SO-DA bomb soda pop at Glue to My Crafts

 

5. “Muffin” like a great teacher bag at The Domesticated Lady

 

6. Berry Nice Teacher, Thank you Printable at Sweet Metel Moments

 

 

7.  DIY Sharpie Marker Mug at The Princess Pinky Girl

 

8. “Thank you for helping me grow” at Snippets of Creation

 

9. Free Donut printable at Happiness is Homemade

Chemeeka