Archive for Recipe

How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

how to make homemade mozzarella cheese

Making homemade cheese is not as hard as it may sound. Mozzarella is by far the easiest cheese I have made. It also takes the least amount of special equipment. All you need is milk, citric acid, liquid rennet, and cheese salt. You will also need a big heavy stock pot to cook it in and a heat proof bowl to continue to heat it in as you knead it.

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How to Make Your Own Healing Salve and Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream

Healing salve is great for healing up chapped lips, dry skin, cuts, scrapes, bruises or just about anything else you can think of. It helps heal bites, burns and other skin irritations as well. I don’t know what I would do without my little tin of salve. It does a great job at helping me heal up all of my mishaps and garden accidents.

Making my own Sore Away Topical Pain Relieving Cream is amazing. All you have to do is rub it on and in a few minutes, your sore muscles or aching back feels so much better. Once you try this Sore Away, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

natural body products, little sprouts learningnatural products, essential oils, little sprouts learning


Do Terra essential oils are pure and cut way down on my allergy troubles that can occur with essential oils. Information shared on this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. These are simply recipes that I use.

Using natural ingredients on my body makes me feel great.

natural bug repellent, little sprouts learning

Natural Healing Salve
Salve for aiding in the healing of scrapes, cuts, burns, or other skin irritations.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ C. Coconut Oil
  2. ½ C. Olive Oil
  3. ¼ C. Beeswax
  4. 2 Tablespoons Lanolin
  5. 10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Place beeswax and oils in a mason jar in a pan of water.
  2. Heat over low heat, stirring until all beeswax is dissolved.
  3. Add lanolin and stir over heat until melted.
  4. Remove from heat and add Lavender Essential Oil
  5. Pour into containers to cool. I use empty Altoids tins.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

 

Natural Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream
Cream for relieving deep muscle aches and body pains.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ C. Coconut Oil
  2. 15 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  3. 10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  4. 10 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  5. 5 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
  6. 5 Drops Wild Orange Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Place coconut oil in a mason jar in a pan of water
  2. Heat on low heat until coconut oil melts.
  3. Remove from heat and add essential oils.
  4. Pour into containers and let come to room temperature and harden.
  5. This cream will melt when temperatures are above 74 or so degrees, so make sure you keep it in a sealed container if it won’t be just sitting on a counter.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

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How to Make Your Own Healing Salve and Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream

Scrumptious Peach Crumble

We love peaches around Little Sprouts. We LOVE eating peach crumble too! We have an amazing peach barn called Livesay’s in a nearby town and we LOVE to frequent it all summer long. From about June to about September, they are cranking out peaches and we are enjoying them. Click here to see how we save peaches for a taste of summertime in winter.

peach crumble pie

One of our favorite recipes is peach crumble.

homemade peach crumble


I don’t like pie crust and it takes time to make it, so I just make the kids this pie with no crust at all. I just toss the fruit in the pan and cover it with a yummy crumble and everyone is happy.

peach crumble topping in ninjapeach crumble recipe

peach crumble baked recipeWho doesn’t like peaches? I mean, wow, they are so good. We freeze them in summer to have them all winter. This peach crumble is a great recipe for frozen or fresh peaches. Make sure you start with really tasty peaches. Don’t use those nasty Styrofoam tasting grocery store peaches. You’ll be disappointed with anything you make from them. They just don’t taste good.

crumble peach pie recipe

Scrumptious Peach Crumble
Crust free peach crumble with real food ingredients.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups sliced peaches
  2. 1/2 cup raw sugar
  3. Pinch salt
  4. ¼ c. whole wheat flour
  5. ½ c. old fashioned rolled oats
  6. ½ c. (one stick) butter
  7. ½ c. raw sugar
  8. ½ c. flour
Instructions
  1. Toss peaches in salt, ¼ c. flour and ½ cups sugar.
  2. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Cut butter into cubes.
  5. Add oats, remaining flour and sugar.
  6. Work together with your hands until chunky.
  7. Pour over top of fruit.
  8. Bake at 350 until fruit is bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

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Scrumptious Peach Crumble

Sausage, Cheddar and Potato Empanadas-Real Food, Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

I am working on a new menu for my Little Sprouts and I needed to come up with some new items. I decided to add empanadas to the cycle. Menu planning can be daunting. It’s hard to find enough things that are affordable, well liked, and not too time consuming.

One great way I avoid spending a ton of time in the kitchen every day is by making things ahead and freezing them. I make huge batches of muffins, pancakes, homemade bread, cookies, and other menu items and freeze them. I place enough of the item to feed us for one meal and store it in freezer bags.

Searching for some new kid friendly delights that can be made ahead, I came across the idea of an empanada. Empanadas are like hand held fried pies. They have pie crust for the container and you fill them with savory items and bake them in the oven. They can be sweet as well, but for the purpose of a main dish for the childcare menu, I was looking for savory items.

I looked all over the internet and most empanada recipes used pie crust or a corn meal crust, so I went with pie crust in order to make it as simple as possible with what I had on hand. I looked at all the fillings. Most of them were ground beef with tomato of some sort. I really don’t care for cooked tomatoes, and they are messy, so I made up my own recipe with diced potatoes, sausage and cheese. I made a bunch of them up, baked a tester batch, and froze the rest for baking later.


stuffing empanada dough with sausage, cheese, and potato empanadas

The kids LOVED them. At first they were like, say what? After I started eating mine, I told them they were sausage because I know how much they love sausage. Then one kid tried a bite and said yum, and in a few minutes, everyone was eating. That’s pretty unusual to have 100% participation on the first try, so I call that a giant victory.

I supplement many of my recipes with green powder. It’s a powder I made from taking any greens from the garden, such as arugula, Swiss chard, carrot tops, radish tops, leaves from broccoli, spinach, kale, or whatever we are growing that we didn’t get a chance to eat.

I dehydrate it and blend it into powder in the blender. I put it in jars and sprinkle it into food. About 2 tablespoons of green powder is a serving of greens. They have so much moisture, a lot of them shrinks down very small. No one can detect them. They look like herb flakes and you can’t taste them. Click here to learn how to make them. 

I add them to scrambled eggs, casseroles, soups, sauces, spaghetti, and many other dishes. It adds nutrients without anyone knowing. For four batches of my empanada recipe, I added ½ cup or 4 servings of greens. Nutrients add up. 

I have wanted a Ninja for years and have been saving up for one. I didn’t even have a food processor before I got this. I am so excited to use it to save myself time. I used it for several steps of the recipe and it worked great.

I peeled the onions and cut the ends off and tossed them in the ninja food processor, I cut the end off the hot peppers and threw them in. I was able to throw the garlic I whole.

If you wanted to add some carrots or other veggies into the meat mixture for more nutrients, you could process those as well. I didn’t have to dice all of that up AND kids don’t like texture as a rule as much as adults, so it helped the onions and stuff disappear into the filling more.

I made a quadruple batch for my freezer. I figure if I’m going to get out the mess, I might as well make a lot. This saves so much time on clean up. If you’re getting everything out, get in it for the long haul. I am adding the recipe for one batch of empanadas and the recipe for 4 so you don’t have to figure up the ingredients if you want to fill the freezer with empanadas for your family.

butter for empanada dough

empanada dough in the ninja

My empanadas did not turn out cute, I call them ugly empanadas, but they taste amazing. Taste is all that matters. If you make them 6 inches, the recipe makes about 10-12, but that’s a huge serving for a kid, so I made mine about 3-4 inches. I got about 20 per batch.

using ninja to make empanada dough

I got up early and made all of the filling before the kids got here. I rolled out one batch and baked them for lunch, and then rolled out and filled the rest at nap while they slept. I sat those in the freezer on a baking sheet. When they were frozen solid, after 2 hours, I put a dozen in each bag and put them back in the freezer.

Sausage, cheese and potato empanadas

Emapanada dough made in ninja

stuffed empanada

I hope you enjoy these empanadas and make some for your family. You will love them. 

Sausage, cheese and potato empanada

Sausage Cheddar and Potato Empanadas-Single Batch
Small, hand held meat pie. Delicious!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. sausage
  2. ½ C. Shredded cheese of your choice (I chose cheddar)
  3. ½ lb. potatoes diced in ¼ inch dice
  4. ½ tsp salt
  5. 1 chopped onion
  6. 2 cloves garlic
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. ½ tsp pepper
  9. 1 small jalapeno or other mild hot pepper
  10. 1 batch pie dough
Instructions
  1. Place onion, garlic, hot pepper, salt, pepper, and thyme in skillet and cook until onions are soft.
  2. Add sausage and cook until brown.
  3. Remove mixture from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving sausage fat.
  4. Add diced potatoes to the pan and cook and stir until potatoes are soft.
  5. Add them to the meat mixture.
  6. Let mixture cool.
  7. Add cheese and mix ingredients well.
  8. Make pie dough and roll as thin as possible.
  9. Cut dough into 4 inch circles or squares.
  10. Place two tablespoons of filling in each piece of dough, leaving ½ inch of dough around filling.
  11. Fold dough over filling and fold dough over and pinch about every ½ inch until the entire empanada is sealed.
  12. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is browned.
  13. You can brush them with an egg wash for a shiny crust.
  14. 1 egg with 1 T. water whisked well.
  15. If you wish you use the empanadas later, you can freeze them on the cookie sheet for two hours.
  16. Take off sheet and place in tightly sealed container.
  17. Bake frozen at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
Sausage Cheddar and Potato Empanadas-Four Batches
Bulk freezer batch of handheld savory meat pies.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 lb. sausage
  2. 2 C. Shredded cheese of your choice (I chose cheddar)
  3. 2 lb. potatoes diced in ¼ inch dice
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 4 chopped onion
  6. 8 cloves garlic
  7. 4 tsp thyme
  8. 2 tsp pepper
  9. 4 small jalapeno or other mildly hot pepper
  10. 4 batches pie dough
Instructions
  1. Place onion, garlic, hot pepper, salt, pepper, and thyme in skillet and cook until onions are soft.
  2. Add sausage and cook until brown.
  3. Remove mixture from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving sausage fat.
  4. Add diced potatoes to the pan and cook and stir until potatoes are soft.
  5. Add them to the meat mixture.
  6. Let mixture cool.
  7. Add cheese and mix ingredients well.
  8. Make pie dough and roll as thin as possible.
  9. Cut dough into 4 inch circles or squares.
  10. Place two tablespoons of filling in each piece of dough, leaving ½ inch of dough around filling.
  11. Fold dough over filling and fold dough over and pinch about every ½ inch until the entire empanada is sealed.
  12. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is browned.
  13. You can brush them with an egg wash for a shiny crust.
  14. 1 egg with 1 T. water whisked well.
  15. If you wish you use the empanadas later, you can freeze them on the cookie sheet for two hours.
  16. Take off sheet and place in tightly sealed container.
  17. Bake frozen at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
Pie Dough
Flaky, tender pie crust for savory or sweet pies.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ½ c. Flour
  2. ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  3. 1 tsp. Salt
  4. 2 sticks (1 C) Butter
  5. 5-6 T Ice Water
Instructions
  1. Place flour, baking powder and salt in food processor
  2. Pulse 3 times to mix
  3. Add butter, cut into small pieces, and pulse until mixture is like coarse sand.
  4. Add water 1 T. at a time until dough just begins to come together.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and work dough into a ball with as little kneading as possible.
  6. Wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Continue with empanada instructions.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
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Sausage, Cheese and Potato Empanadas-Real Food, Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

How to Make Your Own Bug Spray and Bug Bite Sticks

Summer time brings on the bug bites like crazy. You can make your own anti itch sticks that work wonderfully to take the itch out fast. I love making my own products because I know what’s going on my skin and my kid’s skin.

Make your own bug bite sticks for itching and stings, little sprouts learning

bug bite sticks, homemade, little sprouts learningI am leery of all the harsh chemicals we have available for our use on our bodies. Most of this stuff can be grown in the garden or bought locally, or you can order it in bulk from amazon. Either way, using pure ingredients will help protect your health.


making your own bug bite sticks that take itch away, little sprouts learninganti itch sticks, saving money, natural products, little sprouts learning

infused oil, bug bite sticks, little sprouts learningDEET is the main ingredient in most insect repellents but it’s not good for our health and can be particularly dangerous for use on children. If you want to learn more about the dangers of DEET and other ingredients in conventional bug spray, click here.

natural products, essential oils, little sprouts learning

I love being able to make my own remedies and help protect my kids and my family from miserable itching throughout the summer. 

Natural Bug Spray
Bug Spray made with all natural ingredients to repel bothersome insects.
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ C. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. ¼ C. Distilled Water
  3. 1 Teaspoon Homemade Vanilla (Click here for the recipe)
  4. 15 Drops Lavender Essential Oil (I use DoTerra brand oils and have much less reactions with my allergies)
  5. 10 Drops Lemon Grass Essential Oil
  6. 10 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  7. 20 Drops Melaleuca or Tea Tree Oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and shake well.
  2. Shake well before each use.
Notes
  1. You should always test any product on a small patch of skin before use. Use caution when using essential oils on children.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
 natural insect repellent, bug spray, little sprouts learning

Natural Bug Bite Sticks
Sticks to rub on bug bites to take out the itch or sting.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Teaspoons Dried Plantain Leaf
  2. 3 Teaspoons Dried Lavender Flowers
  3. 1 ½ Teaspoons Dried Echinacea Leaf
  4. 1 ½ Teaspoons Dried Echinacea Root
  5. 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  6. 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  7. 1 Tablespoon Lanolin
  8. ½ C. Beeswax
Instructions
  1. Combine oils with dried herbs in a crock pot and turn on the lowest setting
  2. Leave 2-3 days watching carefully so it doesn’t get too hot. You can turn it off at night.
  3. Strain your oil with cheesecloth or a strainer.
  4. Clean out your crock pot.
  5. Return your infused oil to the crock pot.
  6. Add beeswax and lanolin and stir until dissolved and combine.
  7. Pour mixture into empty chap stick tubes or small tins.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
Here are some more cool diy’s for you to check out! 

DIY Upcycled Corkboard
Slow Fashion – Sashiko

How to Build your Own Vermicompost Factory

DIY- Vegan Body Butter Bars
 

Please be cautious when using essential oils or any products on children. 

Information shared on this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. These are simply recipes that I use.

This post may have affiliate links. If you click on these links it may allow us to earn a small commission with no added cost to you. We are working hard to keep this blog free to you and these commissions are part of the plan to do that. 

 


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How to Make your Own Bug bite sticks and bug spray

Cooking it Old School: Take Back your Health with Nourishing Bone Broth

Making traditional foods like bone broth is good for your family, good for your health, and good for your wallet. All you need is a little know how to easily provide the most nourishing diet for your family. It’s so worth taking the time to make real food from whole, unprocessed ingredients so you know what you are putting in your bodies and you can have the most nutritious diet possible on the budget you have.

Processed foods are full of chemicals that not only do not nourish you, they can make you sick. Anything you purchase for your family to eat should have as few ingredients as possible for optimal health. If you can’t pronounce what’s in your food, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Bone broth is teeming with benefits and it’s super simple to make. If you are cooking with store bought stock, you are missing out on a ton of flavor, and the opportunity to cook with a lot more nutrients. Not only that, the store bought stock is full of salt and artificial flavorings that don’t provide health for those you love.


Bone broth is one of my favorite traditional foods because you can make it for just about free. You just take bones you would have otherwise thrown away, and extract all the delicious nutrients contained inside them. You can also use scraps from other cooking to enhance the flavor and nutrition of your stock.

Bone broth has innumerable health benefits. It’s full of anti-inflammatory properties and body healing and building benefits. Click here and here to read about the amazing things traditional bone broth has to offer.

A great time to make stock is after a holiday meal when you have a carcass of a turkey or a big ham bone available. If you can’t cook it up right away, just wrap it up and toss it in the freezer for a time when you can.

A great stock making tip is to save the ends of your onions, carrots, and garlic, or the peels and ends of other foods in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Every time you prepare a meal, put your trimmings in the bag until you have a full bag, then you can make vegetable stock, or add in bones and make bone stock. If you boil or steam veggies on the stove, you can put your leftovers in the stock bag and even the liquid. Cooking liquid is full of nutrition from those veggies. It will add flavor and nutrients to your homemade stocks.

making stock and broth from kitchen scraps

scrap bag in freezer for stock or broth

Stock can be used to make soups and stews, but it’s also a great ingredient for casseroles, pot pies and dressing. You can cook your pasta or rice in it to add amazing flavor or you can even cook your mashed potatoes in it for an amazing punch of flavor. You can use it for the cooking water to steam your veggies or even add it to stir fries and other dishes. It’s super versatile.

Bone broth is so nutritious, you’ll want to find as many ways as possible to get it into your diet. When you’re sick, broth is a great healer, just heat some up in a mug and sip away. You’ll be feeling better in no time. It’s also very comforting.

When you cook your bone broth, you just throw everything in a big stock pot and fill your pot with water. Turn it on high and put the lid on. Using the lid helps steam the bones and extract more nutrients, but it also saves water and energy by making the liquid heat up faster. Once the water is boiling, you’ll want to turn the heat as low as it will go. If you get distracted by a child needing help snapping their pants in the bathroom, the juice will boil over all over the top of your stove. I’m not saying that’s happened, I’m just saying it can.

stock pot for making stock

using turkey carcass to make stockboiling a pot of stock

Once the stock is boiling, you’ll want to continue to let it boil for at least 4 hours and up to 48. You can also add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to help the bones release their nutrients. Don’t use any salt or pepper when you’re boiling the stock, you can add that at the end to taste if you wish. If you add it in the beginning, it will concentrate as it cooks and become too salty.

turkey stock

freezing bone broth or stock for later use

Let the broth cool and strain out all the solids and pack in containers to store in the freezer. I use quart size containers and even mason jars will work if you don’t like using plastic. I never remember to thaw them out to use them, so I like the open top containers that the giant block of stock ice can plop out of. Remember for any container to leave an inch of space at the top so the liquid has room to expand.

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How to Make Turkey Gravy like GRANDMA’S

How to Make Homemade Turkey Gravy Like a PRO! So much better than jars or packets and much less waste!

Gravy is super simple to make and costs very little, but it gives wonderful flavor and texture to your meal. In the south, gravy is a staple food. There are brown gravies and white gravies. White gravy is made with fat and flour along with milk. Brown gravy is made with meat drippings and corn starch. Gravy from the turkey drippings is brown, generally speaking.

Besides saving money, it’s a great idea to make your own gravy because then you know exactly what’s in it. Store bought mixes and gravies are filled with flavor enhancers, artificial flavors, preservatives, and other chemicals that may not be the most healthy to put in your body. I have multiple chemical sensitivities and many of these additives can give me migraines, diarrhea or other unpleasant symptoms. Even if you don’t have chemical sensitivities, additives have many health concerns. Know what’s in your food.

Another great reason to make your gravy from scratch is flavor. Nothing equals the pure taste of homemade food. Store bought is not even in the same universe as homemade. Do yourself a favor, and learn this skill.


My grandmother was a master of gravy. Grandpa wanted gravy at every meal and when Grandpa wants it, Grandma masters it. Her food was oozing with love. She nourished people with her cooking. I love that. I want that. My Mom does that as well and her gravy is just as good as Grandma’s ever was. She’s an amazing cook too. I hope to be as good as them. I have the key ingredient, love. Food nourishes minds, bodies, and souls. It’s important.

my precious grandma

From as far back as I can remember, my Grandma served gravy in a turquoise gravy boat. When she passed away, I got to take it home and now I serve gravy from it on special occasions. I love it because it reminds me of her.

After a Christmas dinner where gravy was served in the gravy boat, you can see the handle of it here.

After a Christmas dinner where gravy was served in the gravy boat, you can see the handle of it here.

Mastering the art of gravy takes a little bit of finesse, but once you get it down, it’s super simple. There are a few key things to remember.

  1. Stir, stir, stir! No one likes lumpy gravy!
  2. The longer you cook gravy, the better it tastes. Good things come to those who wait, so be patient with your gravy.
  3. Tasting is important to adjust your seasoning.

Now let’s focus on the making of brown gravy. First you need the drippings from some meat you’ve cooked. Brown gravy can be made from chicken, beef, pork, whatever type of meat you’re roasting. If you’ve cooked a turkey, lift it out and pour everything from the bottom of the pan into a bowl. Set a strainer over your sauce pan and pour the drippings into your pan, straining out any bits as you pour. Let your juice sit for a while and settle. It might take 30 minutes or so for the fat to rise to the top.

Take a spoon and skim the fat off the top of your liquid and discard it. You just need the juice for brown gravy. Too much fat will make it separate as it sits.

turkey drippings

Take a small amount of your liquid and put it in a separate bowl. Put your pan with the remaining liquid on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Make sure to watch it, sometimes it will try to boil over.

brown gravy

Add a few tablespoons of corn starch to your bowl of liquid and whisk it thoroughly with a fork until you don’t see any clumps of corn starch. Depending on how much total liquid you got from your turkey, you should need 2-4 tablespoons. Your liquid should still be somewhat warm, if it’s cold, you need to heat it a little before you add the corn starch so it will incorporate correctly.

Homemade Turkey Gravy is so easy to make yourself!

thicken gravy with corn starch

whisking corn starch into turkey drippings to make brown gravy

boiling drippings to make turkey gravy

adding slurry to turkey gravy

Put your strainer back over your saucepan when the liquid is at a full rolling boil. Add your corn starch, liquid mixture back into the boiling liquid straining out any small clumps that didn’t get broken up.

brown turkey gravy

Boil gravy, whisking constantly until it thickens and has the desired consistency. Be sure to cool a spoon full of gravy and taste it to see if it needs additional seasoning. Typically with turkey gravy, the seasoning from the meat is perfect for the gravy and it doesn’t need any additions.

cooking grandma's turkey gravytasting your gravy for seasoning

grandma's gravy boat

What special family traditions do you love?

Are there other basic cooking skills you’d like to learn? Comment here and I’ll write a post about them if it’s something I know how to do.

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how-to-make-turkey-gravy-like-grandmas

Aunt Pat’s Sweet Potato Casserole, Made with Love

My Aunt Pat is world famous for her delicious Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. I remember her making it year after year for our family get togethers and some how it just made the meal super special. I love spending time with my family and my Aunt Pat has always held a super special place in my heart.

A few years ago, she put together a family recipe book and she included this recipe. It’s super special to get to have it and make it for my family now.

family recipes, sweet potatoes


I have made a few changes to her recipe over the years. The flavor of this sweet potato dish puts those canned lumps covered in marshmallows to shame. Another great thing about the casserole is that it’s made with real food ingredients, which I am all about!

Aunt Pat used bourbon in her sweet potatoes, but I never have any around my house, so I have always just left that out. I have had it both ways, and can honestly tell you, I can’t really tell the difference.

sweet potato casserole

We grow our own sweet potatoes for this dish. Click here to check out my kids and their sweet potato adventures.

Step one is to roast and mash 3-4 Cups of sweet potatoes. I just wash them off and toss them in the oven at 350 and roast for about an hour or when they are fork tender. It depends on the size of your potatoes how long they will take to roast, but you want them nice and soft.

aunt pat's sweet potato casserole

Aunt Pat's Sweet Potato Casserole
Delicious, sweet, crunchy topped sweet potato dish that is to die for. Make it for your special occasion!
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 c. sweet potatoes, mashed
  2. 1/2 c. raw sugar
  3. 1/2 c. melted butter
  4. pinch salt
  5. 2 beaten eggs
  6. 1/3 c. bourbon (optional)
  7. 1/2 c. whipping cream
  8. 1/3 c. melted butter
  9. 1 c. raw sugar
  10. 1/2 c. flour
  11. 1 c. chopped pecans (I am allergic to tree nuts, so I replace this with old fashioned rolled oats)
Instructions
  1. Roast and mash sweet potatoes. (I dump them into my kitchen aid and mix them up good)
  2. Mix 1/2 c. raw sugar, 1/2 c. melted butter, salt, eggs, bourbon and whipping cream together with sweet potatoes.
  3. Put into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  4. Mix rest of ingredients and sprinkle over top of potato mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Adapted from Pat and LD Barney
Adapted from Pat and LD Barney
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
sweet potato casserole roasting in the oven

I know this recipe will knock your socks off. You will never want to go back to canned sweet potatoes again. When you’re making it, think about my sweet Aunt Pat and all the love she put into cooking it for my family. It’s good stuff!

hot sweet potato casserole

How to Make your own Homemade BBQ Rub and BBQ Sauce

Spice mixes and store bought sauces can be overrun with chemicals. I like to make my own mixes and sauces as much as possible to avoid many of these preservatives and additives that I don’t want in my body or the body of my family and children. BBQ rub and sauce is easy to make and tasty too. It’s less expensive as well.

Homemade spice mixes make great ingredients and great gifts as well.

bbq rub in a jar

I have multiple chemical sensitivity, so many preservatives, especially MSG and sulphites cause me to have an uncomfortable reaction. I like to avoid them as much as possible. Even if you don’t have sensitivities or allergies to things, they are just plain not good for you to consume!


BBQ rub

When cooking at home, I make chemical free mixes such as this BBQ rub that my sister gave me the recipe for. When you make your own spice mixes, you can also tailor them to your needs and desires, such as gluten free, Paleo, or other eating plans you may be on. Click here to see how to make homemade taco seasoning mix and here to see how to make homemade ranch dip mix.

This recipe is delicious as well and it couldn’t be easier.
Check out the BBQ spice rub here:

 

BBQ Rub
BBQ spice rub
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 C. raw sugar
  2. 1/4 C. paprika
  3. 2 T. black pepper
  4. 3 T. sea salt
  5. 2 tsp. garlic powder
  6. 2 tsp. smoke flavoring
  7. 2 tsp. onion powder
  8. 2 tsp. celery seed
  9. 1/4 tsp. dried cayenne
Instructions
  1. Mix ingredients.
  2. Rub meat generously with spices, using 1 T. per pound of meat
Adapted from recipe by Lisa Haddock
Adapted from recipe by Lisa Haddock
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
You can also turn this rub into homemade BBQ sauce. When I’m cooking meat with BBQ flavors in my crock pot or oven, I can just make the sauce right while the meat is cooking. If not, you can use the rub to make your own BBQ sauce in a pan by adding a few simple ingredients and boiling it down until it’s the thickness you prefer.

pulled pork with bbq rubbbq sauce in slow cookerpulled bbq pork

Check out the BBQ sauce here:

BBQ Sauce
Homemade BBQ sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 T. BBQ rub mix
  2. 1 C. tomato sauce
  3. 1/2 C. honey
  4. 3 T. molasses
  5. 2 T. apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. All ingredients can be dumped into slow cooker with 1 pound of meat and cooked on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. or
  3. Sauce can be made in a saucepan and cooked until thickness desired.
Adapted from recipe from Lisa Haddock
Adapted from recipe from Lisa Haddock
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
For the recipe for homemade hamburger buns for your pulled pork sandwiches, click here. Knowing what you are feeding yourself and your family is a great feeling. Making your own flavorings is a great way to eliminate a lot of unwanted ingredients. It’s hard to find store bought flavorings without them.


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Outstanding Oatmeal, Inexpensive and Delicious!

Oatmeal is amazing. It’s delicious, inexpensive, warm, nourishing, and filling. Making oatmeal for my kids is much less expensive than using processed cereal and it’s also a whole food that I can choose what I add to. Click here to read about some of oatmeal’s many health benefits.

Oatmeal can be made in tons of different flavors just like the boxed instant oatmeals, but when you add your own wholesome ingredients, it’s so much better for you and you know what goes in it is pure. It’s truly one of my favorite breakfasts. My kids LOVE my oatmeal as well. And I know it’s good for them.

oatmeal for kids


I buy my oats in bulk from Honeyville grain. This saves me money but I also love that their food is just pure ingredients. I know they do not have gluten contamination in their oats which is a concern if I have someone over who is gluten intolerant. Also, the shipping is inexpensive. Since I generally purchase 25 or 50 pounds, I want to save as much as possible on shipping. Theirs is a flat rate of $4.99 no matter how heavy your order is. That’s my kind of deal.

To start making my oatmeal, I first put the old fashioned rolled oats in a pan with some water and let it soak over night. Soaking helps the grain be more easily digested and it also helps it cook faster in the morning when I am in a rush to get the kids something great to eat.

homemade flavored oatmeal

kids eating healthy oatmeal

For 6 servings of oatmeal, which feeds me and my 7 kids a toddler portion each, I soak 2 1/4 cups of old fashioned rolled oats in 4 cups of water. When I get up in the morning, I add 1/2 cup of raw sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and 2 Tablespoons of butter. I turn the burner on high and stir while I bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling rapidly, I turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan, and let it set until breakfast time (about 20 mintues).

You can flavor your oatmeal by using maple syrup in place of the raw sugar, adding fruit or berries while it is cooking, dropping in a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder, or just the peanut butter if you prefer. If you are not allergic to cinnamon like me, you could add a teaspoon of cinnamon to most of those combinations. Use your imagination and you can come up with some delicious combos.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy oatmeal?

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