Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

I needed one more excuse to use my homemade pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin pie spice mix and this is a GREAT way to use both.  I made pumpkin dip last year and followed a recipe with powdered sugar……it was WAY to sweet.  So, this year I decided to come up with my own pumpkin dip.  I was aiming for rich, creamy and naturally sweetened.  It took me a couple tries to perfect it, and I’m excited to shared it with you just in time for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Chesecake Dip

Rich, creamy, and sweetened with 100% maple syrup……yummmmm!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¾ cups pumpkin puree or one 15 oz. can
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • liquid stevia, powdered sugar (optional)
  • Graham crackers and apples for dipping
Instructions
  1. Whip together the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl blend together the rest of the ingredients until smooth then fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Give it a taste, if you think it needs to be sweeter you can add a little more maple syrup or stevia or a little powdered sugar. We usually add about 10 drops of liquid stevia, and that does the trick.

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Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce With a Twist!

My mom picked up two boxes of apples for me the other day and now it’s Saturday and I have time to deal with them!!

Apples

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce With a Twist!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • apples
  • pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Peel and slice enough apples to fill your slow cooker. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice on the apples and cook them for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Let it cool off a bit and blend smooth with an immersion blender. My 6 quart crock pot made 8 cups of applesauce.

I made slow cooker applesauce last month and ABSOLUTELY loved it!  So I knew that was where most of these apples would end up.  The rest are being dried, eaten in lunches, and maybe I’ll make some apple cake.

I said this was easy and I do mean EASY.  I peeled and sliced enough apples to fill my 6 quart slow cooker to almost over flowing.

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Now for the twist….. I’ve been looking for more ways to use my homemade pumpkin pie spice mix so I added somewhere between 1 and 2 tablespoons to the crock pot and turned it on high for 4 hours (on low for 8 to 9 hours works too).  Oh how I wish you could have smelled the aroma coming from my crock pot! After 4 hours I stirred up the apples and let them cool for a bit.  If you like your applesauce a little lumpy you can leave it as is or you can blend it for a smooth consistency.  It took about 30 seconds with an immersion blender.  That’s it….I ended up with about 8 cups of  wonderful, fall flavored applesauce, no sugar needed!

Easy Slow Cooker ApplesauceWe eat most of this as fast as I can make it, but if you want you could freeze or can your applesauce for later. 🙂

Apple Sauce1

Healthy Homemade Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins 3

Blueberry Muffins 3Berries seem to be everywhere right now, and muffins are a weakness of mine so we’ve been eating lots of them lately.  A couple weeks ago I shared a Fresh Raspberry Muffin recipe that used our homegrown raspberries.  The girls and I made several batches, but now the bushes are pretty much picked clean.  Sadly we don’t have any blueberry bushes (yet), but I did find some for a very good price the other day so I bought LOTS!   I  found this blueberry muffin recipe about a month ago and they looked sooooo delicious I couldn’t wait to try them!  I made a few minor alterations to the recipe and oh yum, yum, yum!

Blueberry Muffins 1In a big bowl stir together the milk (any kind will work), melted butter or coconut oil, egg, vanilla and sugar.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, and salt.

Blueberry Muffins 2Gently fold in the blueberries.  We used fresh berries but frozen would work too. Fill greased muffin tins two thirds full (this makes about 10 muffins).  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Blueberry Muffins 4They went really well with my iced coffee. 😀

Healthy Homemade Blueberry Muffins
 
Author:
Cuisine: For breakfast or a snack
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk - any kind of milk will work
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil or olive oil if you prefer
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup organic sugar or sucanat
  • ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
Instructions
  1. Stir together the milk, butter, egg, vanilla, and sugar. When it's nice and smooth mix in the flours, baking powder, and salt. Then gently fold in the blueberries. Fill greased muffin tins about two thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. This will make about 10 muffins and can easily be doubled if you want more.

I’m going to make a dairy free version of these for my mom and sister by using almond milk and coconut oil.  I love recipes that you can easily substitute ingredients for people with allergies!

This recipe was adapted from Angela at Hickory Trails.  She took some amazing pictures of her muffins; you should check out her blog!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie – Sugar Free

Chocolate PB Smoothie

Summer is finally here!  We enjoy smoothies all year, but they seem to be especially good on hot days.  So to celebrate the beginning of summer I’m sharing one of our favorite smoothies,(the girls have been making these daily!)  The best part is I don’t mind them having one everyday, they are a pretty healthy snack, especially if you have organic ingredients. 🙂

Choc PB Smoothie

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie - Sugar Free
 
This makes enough for one adult size smoothy or two kid size smoothies. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothy
Ingredients
  • ¾ of a cup of milk (any kind of milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 to 7 drops of liquid stevia - we use the chocolate flavored (If you don't use stevia any sweetener will work, honey, maple syrup, sucanat ect....)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and push the liquify button, blend until you have a nice smoothy consistency. It takes about 30 seconds in my blender.

Chocolate PB SmoothieThis is a very versatile recipe; if you can’t have peanuts just leave out the peanut butter, it’s still yummy.  If you need dairy free, you can use a different milk.  I have used almond milk and rice milk and both worked great.

An easy, healthy, summer treat with chocolate and peanut butter….how could you go wrong? Yummmm!!

Happy Summer Everyone!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packets

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This post contains affiliate links.

Here at the Red Double Wide we go through at least three packets of ranch seasoning a week.  My eight year old thinks ranch dressing belongs on EVERYTHING!  The rest of us are pretty fond of it too, and I have allot of recipes that call for a packet of ranch dressing mix.  Every time I bought those envelopes of ranch mix, I would think, uggg that’s expensive.  But we are pretty picky about ranch and that kind was our favorite, so I just kept buying it.  Then I looked at the list of ingredients…..What! MSG and all sorts of other junk.  I was so disappointed, and I just knew I could never make anything that came close to tasting like those handy little packets full of MSG. 🙁

But, I was WRONG…  Very WRONG!

I now make my own packets of chemical free ranch mix, and yes, it’s even BETTER than the store bought mix.  Not to mention cheaper and of course healthier!  I mix up a bunch of these at once and then I have them on hand for dressing, dip, or to add to any recipe calling for a ranch seasoning packet.

This is what you need: Dried minced onion, dried parsley flakes, salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder.  I use little Rubber Maid containers, but a resealable snack bag works great too.

ranch mix-1 (640x320)I have seen other homemade ranch recipes where you mix a big batch in a mason jar and then measure out what you need.  I did try that, but the salt and pepper was always at the bottom of the jar and the parsley at the top and no matter how much I stirred, the last batch in the jar was WAY saltier then the rest.  Maybe that’s just me being picky, but I love these individual packets!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packets
 
This makes one packet of ranch seasoning.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of dried minced onions
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients and you're ready to make dressing or dip or add it to a recipe that calls for a packet of ranch seasoning.

 DSCN6282 (567x640)-1The more I cook from scratch the more I realize how fresh organic ingredients really do make a huge difference in the outcome of our food.  There is no doubt that it just tastes better and it makes me feel better to know exactly what I’m feeding my family.  I would love to say that my cupboard is stocked with organically grown herbs from my own garden, but lets face it, I’m not Super Woman!  I’ve been getting my organic herbs and spices from Mountain Rose Herbs for quite a while now and am soooo happy with their super fresh products.  This is a great company with a cool website, go check it out, you will not be disappointed!

To make ranch dressing: Add 1 homemade ranch seasoning packet to 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of mayo.  Stir well with a whisk and refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.  If you don’t have buttermilk , mix together 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes, use that instead of the buttermilk.  (I have been meaning to try this with plain yogurt instead of mayo but haven’t yet.  If you try, it let me know how it turns out!)

For ranch dip: Add 1 homemade ranch seasoning packet to a 16oz container of sour cream (2 cups) mix well and refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!  Have a Blessed Day 😀

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

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DSCN6036 (640x480)-1Sunday night is popcorn night at our house!  When we started our journey to a more frugal and healthier life style, microwave popcorn was one of the first things to go.  I’d bought an air popper a while back (in a moment of nostalgia) but barely used it.  My husband didn’t like the air popper popcorn, and I had to agree.  For some reason it seemed soggy and wanted to melt between your teeth instead of having that nice crunch.  I thought we were stuck with soggy popcorn because I refused to buy the bags of chemicals again.  Then a friend told me that you can put popcorn in a paper bag and microwave it.  How brilliant!

DSCN6053 (640x480)-1This is sooooo much cheaper and healthier than store bought microwave popcorn, it has that wonderful crunch and you can control the amount of butter and salt it has on it.  I’m ditching my air popper, and freeing up some space in my cupboard!

All you need is a paper bag, 1/4 of a cup of popcorn kernels, butter, and salt or what ever seasonings you like.

DSCN6057 (640x480)-1Put 1/4 of a cup of popcorn kernels into a paper bag and fold down the top.  Place the bag right side up in a microwave for ABOUT 2 minutes.  I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and listen closely.  When the popping slows down to 3 to 4 seconds between pops I stop the microwave.  Microwaves are different so times will vary.  Pour your popped corn into a bowl and season (we like Parmesan cheese on ours).  You can use the same bag to pop more than one batch if you want more popcorn.  So simple, yummy, healthy, and cheap. 😀

Happy Popcorn Night!

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