Category Archives: Food

Coconut Flour Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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Coconut Flour Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Cooking with coconut flour is still a relatively new thing for me. My first few attempts were complete disasters. I had a cook book that was written very early in the grain-free movement and Lord bless, things have come a long way since then! There are countless resources to find really yummy recipes made with coconut flour now, and this recipe was a happy and welcome find. I really like it because, I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but most coconut flour-based recipes call for like a dozen eggs…Good grief! If I had a herd of chickens in my backyard, maybe that wouldn’t be a big deal, but I don’t, so the fact that this recipe only calls for 2 eggs was great! They also have a really great texture, which I have found is really tough to accomplish with coconut flour. Some of my failed attempts have come out either hard and dry, or kind of a gooey, mush, mealy consistency. Ew! These however, I actually made to celebrate my birthday last night. I didn’t want to have the temptation of a birthday cake sitting around the house, because I know I won’t stay out of it. The beauty of this recipe is that it doesn’t feel like a compromise, they are actually quite decadent! I added a hand full of chocolate chips to make them feel more celebratory for my birthday, and less like breakfast. And as we all know, a muffin is just a cupcake without the frosting, so if you wanted to make these for a party, you could just add some cream cheese frosting sweetened with raw honey or maple syrup.

Let me just say, this is also an ingenious way to get veggies in your kids. I have a couple of family members…who will remain nameless…who gag at the sight of any organic matter that has undergone photosynthesis or which produces chlorophyll in any form. Talk about frustrating, but honestly, they can see the little flecks of green in these things AND YET they STILL GOBBLE them up. VICTORY!!!!!!

The original recipe I found is from a blog called PaleOMG. Here is a link if you want to check it out. http://paleomg.com/moist-chocolate-zucchini-bread/

She has a print option and I actually have this recipe hung on my fridge. It has become a standby for make-ahead breakfasts and snack options. I even doubled the recipe last night and they turned out delish! Enjoy!

(BTW, this is not a difficult recipe. Everything is thrown in a bowl and mixed together, so you don’t have to worry about mixing wet ingredients in one bowl, dry in another…ain’t nobody got time fa’ dat! The hardest part is squeezing all the water out of the shredded zucchini, but think of it as an opportunity to get all your aggression and stress out.)

Ingredients
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded (equal to 1.5 cups shredded zucchini…for a double recipe, I ended up using 4 small(ish) zucchinis)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ¾ peanut butter (she calls for sunbutter, but just use whatever your allergies/sensitivities…or wallet allows.)
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Shred zucchini with a box  grater or use the chopping attachment on your food processor.
  3. Squeeze water from shredded zucchini…I placed mine in a tea towel, folded both long sides of the towel over the middle, then twisted both ends. Don’t be bashful…the more water you get out, the better.
  4. Place zucchini in a bowl with all the rest of your ingredients and combine with a hand mixer.
  5. I have found the easiest way to make muffins is to get an ice cream scoop with one of those wind-shield wiper type gadgets (for lack of a better description….) to fill each cup with the batter.
  6. I baked these muffins for around 20 minutes, checking them at 15. It seems like everyone’s oven cooks differently, so just check with a toothpick to make sure they’re not gooey on the inside.

ENJOY!!!!

Primal(ish…) Fudge

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I am always a little leery of food trends because it seems they are as fickle as the catwalk in terms of staying power. The latest frenzy has definitely been the primal/paleo movement. Let me just say, I am not a primal nor a paleo person. There are certain aspects that I think are good and beneficial, but I am not a ‘disciple’ of either. However, I am not above cherry picking some of the lovely recipes from this latest food fad, this fudge being one delectable example.

I happened upon this recipe from Practical Paleo via Pinterest and oh my goodness, what a discovery! I have such a terrible sweet tooth. It has been a real challenge for me to overcome because I know sugar is a nemesis to any form of weight loss or vibrant health, but it often beckons to me like a saccharine siren seductress…

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is sweetened with raw honey, which is rich in natural enzymes that are easily broken down. It is also very beneficial in building the body’s immunity to allergens so, if you are able, it is best to get local honey. It also is delightfully helpful in that the main component of this recipe is coconut oil. This might come as a surprise to some who have spent years avoiding fat like the plague, though I feel like there is somewhat a turning of the tide among the nutritionally aware, that there are great benefits to be gained from healthy fats. You might not have realized though, that coconut oil is among the healthiest of fats. I think that it has had a bad reputation in the past because some scientist in some lab decided to categorize it as a trans fat. I would encourage any of you who might be a little dubious, to do some reading on the topic. I highly recommend anything written by Bruce Fife…the guy is the international poster boy for anything involving coconut. He has written several books on the benefits of coconut including The Coconut Cure. It’s an easy read and gives detailed descriptions of the molecular structure of coconut oil and explains how it is beneficial to the body.

I also recommend reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She is the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation and is a champion for traditional ways of eating. She is also co-author of Eat Fat, Lose Fat along with Mary Enig. Mary Enig is a world renowned authority on fats and has dedicated her life’s work to researching the effects of fats in our diet. Her work is an excellent resource to discern which fats are good for the body and which ones have seriously damaging effects.

I just want to say, don’t be overwhelmed. This seems like a lot of information just to introduce a recipe, but I often tell people, a really good first step toward natural eating is to take a look at the fats in your diet. If you use margarine, switch to real butter. Nature always wins over a chemistry lab, in my humble opinion…So, that is a great first step! You can do this! =)

Primal(ish) Fudge:

1 Cup Coconut Oil (Make sure you use unrefined.)

1 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1/4 Cup Raw Honey (or raw Maple Syrup)

1 teaspoon Vanilla

(I put -ish in the title because I’m not sure if peanut butter is allowed in primal foods, but I didn’t want to pay $7.00 for 8 oz. of Almond Butter…)

A Princess Evening

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Growing up in a household of seven…on one income…meant that going out to eat was very special–and very rare. I mean, even a fast food joint was a treat. I remember going to Taco Bell in Wapakoneta after church and being thrilled about those 2 soft shelled tacos and free refills at the soda fountain. Sometimes we would go to the McDonald’s at Indian Lake and eat outside on the boat dock. We would feed some of our precious french fries to the massive Carp that were lazily swimming in the channel behind the restaurant. What a thrill to watch the boats glide by and enjoy food that someone else prepared, bought and paid for in an instantly gratifying exchange.  On the very rare occasion in which we were able to go to a sit-down restaurant with an actual menu, we were all well versed in the understanding that our choices were only among the cheapest items. I had never ordered a steak…or eaten a steak, that I can remember…until after I was married.  I remember feeling that it was super indulgent to do so for the first time. I was tinged with guilt at such extravagance, but oh, what a treat!

Since those days, my sisters and I have started a tradition…a Princess Evening tradition. But in order to fully understand how priceless these evenings are, it helps to know where we have come from. If anything, our humble beginnings have made this tradition all the sweeter. So what is a Princess Evening? 

A Princess Evening is our chance to be Cinderella on her way to the Grand Ball at the Palace. We dress up and celebrate our beauty. We pay extra attention to hair and makeup and we pull out all the gawdy jewelry and all the stops. We try to make it a really special occasion…and we go to a really nice restaurant where the food is over the top and the atmosphere is fun and sets the tone for celebration. We order appetizers and whatever entre we want, and if we’re feeling especially celebratory, we share a dessert. But most of all, we just drink in the time together and enjoy each other’s company. We talk and laugh, and I must confess, we are probably way too loud. It has all the makings of incandescence. It is simply magical. Shauna Neiquist said once, that tables are sacred spaces, and I truly believe that. Some of my absolutely fondest memories have centered around a table with food and my dearest friends and family.

If going to a swanky restaurant isn’t in the cards for you, do not despair! Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you may LIVE!! (emphasis added…) There are any number of ways to lose hope in a given day, Lord knows. But I am telling you, hope is always there, standing on the cusp, waiting for you to FIGHT. FOR. JOY. Sometimes you just have to carve out the time and effort and CHOOSE to celebrate, even in spite of your circumstances. Put a table cloth on your table, light candles, put on some yummy music, invite your dearest friends over and celebrate life! Wear something that makes you feel beautiful!  Wear a red dress, or that Little Black Dress that has been neglected. Cook something delicious, but make sure it is something easy. Simple food is always the tastiest. Especially when prepared with love. Take time to cultivate your inner princess and inspire your loved ones to do the same. You are WORTHY and Abba Father delights in your JOY! Indeed, you were created to be a part of His joy! His joy is made complete in us through Christ Jesus and the invitation is always open.  Believe it…and JOIN IN!!!! ~Shanna

 

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Cooking on a Budget: Week 3

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Here are the recipes from the third class on cooking on a budget. I hope these will serve as an inspiration, remember recipes are a guide if you do not have some thing adjust the recipe as best as you can. Happy cooking!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup chopped apples {optional}

2/3 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1 baked butternut squash- cut open squash, clean out the seeds. Put in a Pyrex baking dish with a 1/2 cup water, and cover with foil. Bake for an hour at 375. Let the squash cool and cut off the skin and chop into chunks for soup.

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups stock {preferably gently warmed}

2 cups milk {preferably gently warmed or at room tempt.}

1 1/2 teasp. salt {add more if it is needed}

1 teasp. pepper

1/4 teasp. freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg

1/2 cup of cream

Get out a Dutch Oven or a soup pot and melt the butter. Chop your vegetables and optional apples up, while the butter is melting. Add them to the butter and the salt ,and saute’ . When they begin to caramelize add your flour and stir for one minute. You are cooking the flour in the butter, you are making a thickening agent known as a roux. After you have stirred for a minute, slowly add the stock and the milk, stirring the mixture the whole time. Let it thicken up, and then add the chunks of butternut squash, pepper, and salt if needed. Now you will need a hand blender to puree’ the soup, add the nutmeg and cream, stir gently, and serve.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 to 6 cups cubed chicken- from the recipe already on the blog for crackpot roasted chicken

1/2 finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced carrots

1 cup finely diced onion

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups milk

1/2 cream

2 teasp. salt

1 teasp. pepper

1 teasp. parsley {optional}

1/4 garlic powder

1/4 teasp. onion powder

1/2 teasp. celery seed

one recipe pie dough from the blog

Melt your stick of butter in a large saute’ pan. While the butter is melting dice the vegetables up. Add the vegetables to the butter and half of the salt and saute’ until the vegetables are caramelized. Then add the flour making a roux, stir for a minute then add the milk, stock, and cream. Stir constantly until thickened. Add the spices, peas, and fold in the cubed chicken from your roasted chicken. Place the filling in a 9’by 13′ Pyrex baking dish. Roll out your pie dough in a rectangular shape, cover the chicken pot pie filling with the dough, and dock the pie dough with a knife. Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for an hour.

Creamy Italian Dressing

1/2 cup lemon juice bottled or freshly squeezed

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cup really good extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teasp.  dijon mustard

4 Tablesp. honey

two cloves of garlic either chopped and minced or crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 1/2 teasp. salt

1 teasp. pepper

1/2 teasp. marjoram

1/2 teasp. oregano

1 teasp. thyme

2 teasp. basil

Mix altogether in a bowl with a hand blender or put in a blender and blend together. If it is to thin add more olive oil. Add more salt if needed.

Cold Brewed Tea

8 tea bags of you choice

1 gallon water

1 glass container with lid

Place the water and the tea bags in the gallon container and put the lid on the Jar. Place it in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Take out the tea bags and add 1/2 cane sugar and 1/2 teasp. of concentrated stevia powder and stir together . Serve with sliced lemon,and ice. Super Delicious!

 

-Starla

Cooking on a Budget: Week 1

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I wanted to get some recipes out to our blog. These were the recipes that a group of girls and I made at my house. The theme of these classes are cooking on a budget. I love to cook and was encouraged by my friends and family to have a cooking class out of my house, and so here are the recipes for my students and for all of you.

Crock pot Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken

1 small onion

1 head small garlic

2 teasp. salt

1 teasp. celery seed

1 teasp. pepper

1 teasp. granulated garlic

1/2 teasp. onion powder

– mix the spices with the salt and set aside

– stuff the cavity of the chicken with the onion and the head of garlic, plus one teasp. of the spice mix.

– place the chicken inside of your crock pot, breast facing down, sprinkle the rest of the spice mixture over the whole chicken. Place the lid on the crock pot, and let cook for six hours on high.

When your chicken has cooled to room temperature, skin it and take the meat off the bone. Separate the white meat from the dark into two separate bowls.    Reserving all the skin, bones, and cartilage, you will put all these extra parts back in your crock pot to make crock pot chicken stock. The white meat, will be used to make chicken salad, and the dark meat will be used to make chicken enchiladas.

Crock Pot Chicken Stock

All the left over juice from the chicken and the skin, cartilage, and bones

1 small onion, plus the cooked onion and cooked garlic from the cavity of the chicken

2 to 4 stocks of celery

2 to 4 carrots

1 teasp. salt

1/4 cup wine or if you do not have any use 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Note: if you have any left over clean vegetable scraps such as fresh tomato tops, green onion tops, onion skins, or fresh herbs throw those in  as well.

– Place all of this back in your crock pot an cover with water to the top, and cook on high for 25 hours with lid on. You can skim off any impurities if you want ,those collect on the surface of the stock, just throw the skimmings in your compost bucket. There are so many uses for stock such as making a quick gravy, a soup base, a quick sauce, and anything in a recipe that calls for water, substitute it with stock. Use whatever you need and freeze the rest.

Note: Stock is healing to drink when you feel a cold coming on, or while you are sick, or while you are in labor having a baby. Stock is life giving. You might want to also consider the beauty of Asian women, and how they age so well, it is because they eat so much stocks and broths which contain the same cartilage and collagen your skin is made up of as well. Cheap Botox and face lift, and fountain of youth.

Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups dark meat -this is an approximation

4 Tablesp. butter, or olive oil, lard, coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped pepper, any color

3 to 4 cloves chopped or mashed garlic

1 teasp. chili powder

1 teasp. cumin

1 teasp. salt

16 corn tortillas

1 and 1/2 cups cheese such as cheddar, monterrey jack,white queso or whatever amount of cheese you have available.

– Preheat oven to 375

– Butter a baking dish

– Place the 4Tablespoons of fat in an iron skillet, when fat is heated add the chopped onions, and peppers, cook on medium high heat until caramelized. Add salt, spices, and chopped chicken, cooking for another minute.

– Take your meat mixture and fill your tortillas, and place in the buttered dish. You can also add refried beans if you want ( buy the fat free refried beans or ones that only contain lard, and no hydrogenated fats).

– Now you will need the enchilada sauce to cover them.

Enchilada Sauce

2 cups salsa

1 cup chicken stock

2 cloves chopped garlic or mashed

– Place the above ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

-Cover your enchiladas in the sauce and cheese. Cover with foil, place in the oven for twenty minutes, then uncover them, place them back in the oven, for ten more minutes. Serve with sour cream, fresh salsa, jarred salsa, and chopped green onion.

Chicken Salad

3 cups white meat chicken cubed

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup tidbit pineapple (optional)- reserve the juice

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup halved grapes (optional)

1/2 green onions chopped

1 teasp. salt

1 teasp. pepper

1/2  teasp. celery seed

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup pineapple juice

-Mix all ingredients together except salt, spices, mayonnaise, and reserved pineapple juice. Take a bowl and whisk these ingredients together and pour the dressing over the chicken salad and mix together. Serve with crackers or a lettuce salad or fresh bread.

Apple Pandowdy

10 to 12 apples peeled and sliced

1/3 cup sugar

2 teasp. cinnamon

1/4 teasp. salt

1 teasp. vanilla

1/2 teasp. cloves

3 to 4 Tablesp. flour

3 to 4 Tablesp. butter

-MIx altogether and put in a baking dish

-Now prepare the crust to cover the apples

Pie crust dough

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teasp. salt

1/2 cup lard, butter, coconut, and palm oil

6 to 8 Tablesp. cold water

-Preheat oven to 375

-Cut the fat into the flour and salt mixture, it should look like pea size and smaller balls. Add the water slowly, and mix together forming a ball. Get your rolling pen out, flour it very well, and flour your counter very well, place dough on the floured surface, start rolling out to the shape of your baking dish. Remember to move your dough turning it in between each roll of the rolling pin so it does not stick to the surface  of the counter. Now gently flour the surface of the rolled out dough, and then roll the floured dough up on the rolling pin and then roll out over the apple mixture. Fold the pie dough around the edges and crimp the dough. Prick the top of the crust a couple of times to allow the steam escape. Place in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

Enjoy!

-Starla

Low Carb Inspiration: Yellow Squash Gratin

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In spite of 13 years living in the south, I am still a meat and potatoes mid-westerner at heart. This is further enforced by the fact that most of what my guys are willing to consume, fits in these two categories: meat. potatoes. Nothing like a little variety, eh??? haha! Most of the time I have no problem coming up with a main dish…it’s just when I get to those pesky ‘side dishes’ that I run into road blocks. We eat tragically too little vegetables and very little variety. I like vegetables, I really do! I just sometimes feel like it’s wasteful to buy them when I am the ONLY one who eats them in my house! So, what I have been trying to learn is to just make small, simple dishes that I can prepare for myself. Cooking in ‘small’ portions is not my cup of tea, I must say…I’m used to cooking for an army…I mean, come on, if I’m gonna go to the effort to prepare a made-from-scratch meal, I’m gonna make it worth my while! AND, leftovers are the BEST kind of ‘fast food’. However, I do eventually tire of eating the same thing again and again…and yet again because I am the only one willing to eat it without serious threats and promises of retaliation. So here is a dish I prepared for myself the other night in hopes of adding some veggies and maybe avoiding potatoes for once. It is not completely without carbohydrates, but still less than I would have consumed otherwise. I figure the more ideas I can collect for quick and easy veggies, the more motivated I will be to prepare them for myself. My health and well-being are worth the effort. I hope this inspires you to take care of your body…to be a good steward of the temple of the Lord. I’m trying. It’s a struggle for me, but all things are possible through Christ who gives me His strength. Blessings! ~Shanna

Gratitude

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“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~John Milton

 

Has someone ever blessed you to the point that you are just not sure how on earth you will ever be able to express your gratitude to that person? I have had that humbling experience bestowed on me by a lovely family, so I am doing the only thing I know to do to show them how deeply grateful I am…I’m baking for them!

It seems such a humble offering, but with it, I give my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. It’s so sad, we live in a culture in which one could quite easily go out and buy any kind of baked goods you can imagine…and let me just say, I don’t blame anyone for turning to the convenience of store-bought. Lord knows, we are all busy and often overwhelmed by our hectic lives. However, there is just something about taking the time and the effort to make something with your own two hands from scratch that expresses something deeper than just an empty gesture. When you make something yourself, you can add something that the manufactured goods of the food industry just cannot squeeze into their production lines…that being your heart. Yes…butter, sugar, flour and eggs can express gratitude when combined with one’s heart.

So, here is my offering of gratitude…homemade and heartfelt…to a family on which I pray my Abba Father’s deepest, richest and most lavish blessings. My sincere and deepest thanks and gratitude to you and yours!

~Shanna

 

Thanks to Ina Garten for sharing her beauty, her talents and her passion for good food with novice cooks like myself. Here is her recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-yogurt-cake-recipe/index.html

 

Low Carb Inspiration: Portobello Pizza

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For anyone who has ever attempted the ‘low-carb’ lifestyle, you know what a challenge it can be. It seems the moment you decide to turn your back on bread, pasta, potatoes and other such delectables, the temptation is there every which way you turn. I have found that completely living without any form of carbohydrates is simply impossible, but I recently went on a 30 day detox during which gluten…among other things…was restricted from my diet. This was tough for me as I have had a long lasting love/hate relationship with bread…actually, it’s a love/love relationship….I love to eat it, it loves to hang out on my bod…which is, really not cool. Ha! Anyway, during this detox, it became really important for me to change my thinking from “I can’t have…” to “This is what I CAN have…” It really pushed me to get creative when preparing meals and it turned out to be a really awesome growing experience for me. I’m sure mine was not the first portobello pizza, but it was a first for me and it turned out fabulous. It was so nice not to feel left out on pizza night at my house and I have continued to make them even after the 30 days were up. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

2 Portobello Mushrooms

4 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil (1 Tbsp. for brushing onto the muschroom, 2 for the sauce)

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Salt to taste

All your favorite Pizza Toppings! =)

4 Slices Provolone Cheese (less messy than shredded and super TASTY!)

The first time we attempted these, my husband grilled them for me…SO GOOD! This time, I put them in the broiler for about 10 minutes, but I think it would be better if you put them in oven at about 375 for 10-12 minutes, then finish them off in the broiler until you get that beautiful golden brown crust on the cheese. Bon apetit!

~Shanna

My Favorite Christmas Cookies

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Could there possibly be a more divine pairing of flavors more indicative of the Christmas season than chocolate and peppermint??? I think not. These two flavors seem meant for each other, and that is why these cookies are my favorite to bake at Christmas. With three different kinds of chocolate, these cookies scream of decadence, and yet the cooling effect of the crushed candy canes cleanses the palette and leaves you delightfully encompassed with the tastes and smells of Christmas. These are great cookies to bake with your kids as they are always happily employed in peeling all the plastic off the candy canes. I gave my boys a meat mallet and they were absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to beat the mess out of a bag full of candy canes until they had reached the proper point of completely pulverized. haha! I hope you enjoy these as much as we have! May God bless your Christmas holiday as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May He pour out His blessings on you and your families and draw each of you ever closer to Himself. Merry Christmas!!!!

~Peppermint Bark Cookies~

1 cup Butter

1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/4 cups Flour

1 cup Crushed Candy Canes

1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1 cup White Chocolate Chips

Bake at 375 Degrees for 8-10 minutes.

P.S. I have to give credit where credit is due…I got this recipe from my sister, Starla. I’m pretty sure she created this recipe on her own in her very own kitchen. She is the queen of Christmas cookie baking! Thanks for the inspiration, Starla! Love you, girl!!!!! ~Shanna

Good Tools

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Living  frugally does not mean accepting things that are cheaply made. It means buying quality things , as you can afford them. In the kitchen , you should have at least one well made knife. I recommend Wustof knives. These are made in Germany, where quality and craftsmanship still mean something to the consumer. You can often purchase these at T. J. Maxx on sale or clearance. Another place to keep your eye on is Williams and Sonoma, especially during their  “After Christmas Sales”, or on ebay. I also highly recommend purchasing a cast iron enamel Dutch oven from the following companies: Le Creuset, Descoware, Dansk, or Cousances. Do not be put off by the price of a new one! You can often find these on ebay for affordable prices. You will only find Descoware, and Cousances on ebay , antique shops, or consignment shops, as they are no longer in production. I have several pieces that I have collected along the way. Another company I highly recommend is Lodge. Lodge is an American company that still makes cast iron skillets in Tennessee. You should have varying sizes of cast iron skillets in your kitchen, as they are amazing  pans to cook with. If you cannot afford cast iron enamel, Lodge skillets are a wonderful bargain.

One thing you want to remember in living frugally is that the goal is not to have everything, or at least not everything right away, but part of the joy is in the delay or wait. Many of my most prized possessions in the kitchen I have gotten over time. One of the best places to look for kitchen supplies is at thrift stores, antique shops, and consignment shops. Things made during the eighties and older were still made in the U.S., and they were made to last and not break down. I encourage you to look around your kitchen and see what you are lacking and begin to collect quality made kitchenware. It will make cooking so much easier. Artists have the tools they need to create, and you should too! Your kitchen will be your creative domain if you prepare it for creativity with well made tools.

-Starla