Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brown Rice Crispy Treats (no sugar)

I found this recipe somewhere online and decided to give them a try since someone gave me a box of the needed cereal.  So, here's my recipe.  They're easy, yummy, and pretty healthy!

1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups brown crisp rice cereal (

Melt the peanut butter and honey together (it will be pretty thick but smooth).  Add the vanilla and stir well.  Pour over the cereal, stir to coat completely.  Pour into a 7x11 buttered pan.  Smooth the top.  Refrigerate until cold.  It will be firm but the pieces will fall apart somewhat (more than the sugary kind).  Cut into 24 pieces, 105 calories each.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fudgsicles (no sugar)

Found this recipe online (http://servingpinklemonade.blogspot.com/2012/07/healthy-fudgsicles.html) and tried it, a bit skeptical.  I was pretty impressed!  They had great texture and were yummy (very banana-ey).  Easy (if you have a blender), quick, AND the kids like them!  The recipe fit great into my 6 cup Tupperware popsicle mold.  Great all-natural cold treat!  I will also add that it was pretty inexpensive to make.  I had everything but the milk on hand and it only cost me $1.48 and there's enough for about two more batches.

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
2 small, very ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
small pinch of salt
2 tablepsoons honey (I added this…you can go without if you prefer)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze.  Makes 5-6 pops.

78 calories each (6 servings)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Barbecue Sauce (sugar free)

Since I’m trying to live sugar free right now and I love BBQ sauce, I just HAD to find an alternative (since bottle sauces list high fructose corn syrup first!).  This is what I came up with.  I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it as time goes by.  For the entire batch, I figured about 150 calories but do your own figuring since the Worcestershire and soy sauce could have different caloric values.

1 cup water (you can add more water if a thinner consistency is necessary, up to a cup)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 banana pepper (mine was hotter than most), seeded and minced
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce (check label for sugar)
Chili powder (5 or so shakes)
Cumin (a little sprinkle)
2 teaspoons honey, optional

Mix all in a saucepan.  Bring to boil; reduce to medium low and cook until desired consistency. 
I baked my pork in this so I didn’t cook it on the stove long and it was very thin like soup.  After cooking the meat, it got pretty thick so 1 ½ cups water would probably be more accurate.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Onion Rings Two Ways

One of my favorite homemade junk foods are onion rings!  Hubby likes them too.  The only problem is my favorite way is different from his favorite way.  While we’ll both eat each other’s, we prefer our own.  So I try to flip flop the two ways.  Here’s our two different onion ring recipes. 

Floured Onion Rings
Oil for frying
2 eggs
½ cup milk
Flour seasoned to taste (or you can buy seasoned flour)
2 medium onions (I usually use yellow but white are good too—Vidalia are my favorite!), sliced to desired thickness and separated (or you can cut in wedges and separate)

Whisk the eggs and milk together.  Place separated onions into mixture and toss to coat.  I like to place the flour into a gallon baggie and then put some onions in, twist the top of the bag, shake to coat, then remove the onions to a clean plate  or straight into the hot oil and repeat.  Fry over medium heat until done.

Battered Onion Rings
Oil for frying
5 tablespoons seasoned flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1 ½ to 2 medium onions (I usually use yellow but white are good too—Vidalia are my favorite!), sliced to desired thickness and separated (or you can cut in wedges and separate)  This recipe is really easier with the wedges.

Stir together the flour, egg, and water.  Place a handful of onion pieces into the batter and toss to coat.  Keep adding the onions a little at a time and tossing them.  You may not have enough batter to do 2 full onions.  Place into the oil over medium heat and fry until done.

Children's Books I Really Like 1

I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite children’s books.  Keep in mind my kids are 6 months, 2 ½, 4 ½ years old.  This is not a complete list by any means, just a start.  I hope to add to it later.

All of the Seuss and Barenstein Bears books!  I may work on narrowing it down.

Bear Snores On
Bear’s New Friend
Bear Stays Up For Christmas
Bear Wants More
Bear Feels Sick
by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
These are so delightful!  The pictures are beautiful and each page is a rhyme.  It’s catchy and easy to read.  My girls love them!  This list includes the ones we have.  There are more in the series but we haven’t bought the rest yet.

by Pamela J. Baker
Illustrated by Patricia Bellan Gillen
This is the best sign language book I’ve seen for young children.  It’s got lots of signs in a dictionary format (but only a few signs per letter—it is not a comprehensive dictionary).  My girls love for me to read it like a book and do all the signs.  Some signs we have to change for our region but you would have to with any book.  The illustrations are adorable.

by Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn
Photographs by Penny Gentieu
This is a cute little book to help familiarize your baby with sign language.  There are more in the series but this is the only one I have.  Some are true signs, some are simply motions (which I change to the true signs and my kids don’t seem to mind).  What I like is that there’s a baby on each page spread doing the sign so my babies have been able to relate to the book.  There are also pictures that represent each word (one word per page spread).  So when they learn the signs, they can flip through the book, see the pictures of the word, and sign it!  It’s very fun and exciting to see!

by Mary Warren
Illustrated by Betty Wind
Arch Books
This is a book from my childhood.  I always loved the Arch Books Bible stories!  It’s a great way for kids to learn Bible stories.  My kids love it and they enjoy talking about it after reading it!

by V. Gilbert Beers
Illustrated by Carole Boerke
I like this for my 2 year old who may not be able to sit still for a long Bible story.  Each Bible story is about 4 pages long and there’s a graphic and a sentence or phrase on each page.  Quick, Biblical, and interesting for the little ones!

by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Clement Hurd
My kids love this book! 

by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Clement Hurd
This book shows a mother’s never ending, tireless love.  So many spiritual applications—Jesus became a person to reach us…much like the mother bunny is willing to become whatever she needs to so that she can reach her little bunny.  Very good read!

This has been such a favorite over the years that our first copy had to be replaced!  It’s a fun hands-on board book when they’re really little and becomes a great learning letters tool later on!

Mick Manning and Brita Granström
A very interesting book!  My oldest went through a phase where she would ask why we have certain body parts (eyebrows and belly buttons were the hardest ones to explain).  This book is a very simple book about parts of the body and their functions.  What I like is for each part, the authors give information about a few animals as it relates to that part of the body.  I think there were two animals we had never heard of before!  So of course we had to research and learn a little more about those animals.  Neat book!

I Love You This Much
By Lynn Hodges and Sue Buchanan
Illustrated by John Bendall Brunello
A really sweet book about a Mother’s love.

First Steps in Prayer
First Steps To God
First Steps In the Bible
Stephen Elkins
Illustrated by Ellie Colton
The books we have are a set of little board books.  The link is for the individual books and include a CD.  These have just a few pages.  They are a sweet introduction to Christianity for the little ones.

The Llama Llama books http://www.llamallamabook.com/
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Llama Llama Misses Mama
By Anna Dewdney
These are the only two we have but that’s going to change!  My kids love these cute rhyming books!

By Jessica Meserve
Small was stuck in Big’s shadow until…well, you’ll have to read the book!  Gorgeous illustrations!  Great meaning!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chinese Green Beans

I love the green beans at the Chinese restaurant.  These aren't exactly the same thing but similar enough and less greasey.  It's only for one serving since no on else in my house likes them.

1/2 teaspoon canola or olive oil
3 cloves garlic (you can use less--I like it garlicy!), chopped
1 cup green beans (frozen or fresh)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (look at the lable...some have corn syrup and some don't)

Heat a small skillet (I used my small cornbread iron skillet) over medium heat, add chopped garlic and beans. Cook covered, stirring often, until the beans are desired tenderness. Pour soy sauce over the beans, stir, serve.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lemon Cake

This is one of my mom’s recipes.  She claims she’s not a good baker (I'm usually better at baking; she's better at cooking).  This is one of her specialties.  I made it for the first time recently when I was at her house and she needed to make one.  It’s easy and so yummy!

1 cake mix (yellow or white)
1 small package lemon jello
¾ cup water
¾ cup oil
4 eggs (one at a time)

Spray 9x13 glass pan.  Mix ingredients together.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until done. 


2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 2 lemons (4-6 tablespoons)

Mix together.  While cake is warm, poke holes in top of cake with a fork.  Pour icing evenly over cake.  Cool completely.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quiet Book #2

Here are the updates I’ve made to the book:

Shoe Page:

I added an actual shoe string to the shoe.Number page:

I added snaps to each of the numbers.

Corn page:

I added an actual corn cob (two pieces of felt sewn together, and “quilted” on the machine).

Here’s the butterfly page I added. I used a puzzle we have for a pattern. This helps with shape and color recognition.

Here’s the fish tank page I made. I just sketched this out myself.

Since my girls’ favorite page is still the tree page, my next projects are a tree page with fall leaves and a tree page with flowers.