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

Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwich

DSCN6582 (640x480)-1“Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwich” sounds a little weird huh?  I was going to call them “Delicious Banana Bread and Cream Cheese Grilled Sandwiches” but that’s to long, and Jo likes to call them  “Funky Monkey Sandwiches”.  You can call them whatever you want, but the name that best describes them is “Awesome Deliciousness”!

Start with your favorite banana bread.  I used my recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, omitted the chocolate chips and baked it in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. It turned out great, and I like that there is no sugar in this recipe.

DSCN6478 (640x474)-1This is just like making a regular grilled cheese sandwich except you are using banana bread and cream cheese.  We add a little stevia to softened cream cheese.  You could use honey, maple syrup, sugar, or whatever sweetener you prefer.  My recipe for Homemade Honey Whipped Cream Cheese would work great for these.

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We made these this morning and added chocolate to them.  They were AMAZING!

DSCN6648 (640x480)-1What a great way to kick off a Saturday morning.  Have a great weekend everyone!  😀

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

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!

Egg Salad – 3 Ways

If you’re like us, you have a bunch of these in your fridge right now.  😀

DSCN5995 (640x480)-1They are absolutely beautiful, but they can’t stay in the fridge forever!  Here are three delicious ways to use up those Easter eggs that are taking up space in your fridge.

If you don’t already have hard boiled eggs check out this post “How to Cook and EASILY Peel Farm Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs”.  Even if you don’t have farm fresh eggs this is a great method for perfect hard boiled eggs.

#1 –  “Creamy Egg Salad”

Start with 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and rinsed.  Chop the eggs into little pieces.  I use an egg slicer and slice the egg one way and then turn the egg and slice it the other way.

DSCN5165 (640x480)-1After you have all your eggs chopped up in a bowl add: mayo, mustard, horseradish, and sweet relish.  Mix all together real good and give it a taste.  Now you will know how much seasoning salt and pepper you want to add.  Don’t over do the salt….you can always add more but you can’t take it out!

DSCN5185 (640x480)-1This is Creamy Egg Salad on Sour Dough Bread…..Yummm!

 

#2 – “Dill Egg Salad”

This one is my favorite! If you don’t like pickles then skip down to the last recipe ‘cuz this is happy pregnant lady with a pickle craving good!!

Chop your 12 hard boiled, peeled, and rinsed eggs into a bowl.  Add: mayo, dijon mustard, dill, pickle juice, and chopped dill pickles (our favorite dill pickle is – Nalley’s Elites Garlic, Dill & Onion Petites – they are little, crunchy, and absolutely DELICIOUS!).

DSCN5394 (640x480)-1My mouth is watering just thinking about those pickles….anyway, mix everything up thoroughly and then take a bite….add salt and pepper if or as needed.

#3 – “Bacon and Egg Salad”

Begin by slicing your 12 hard boiled, peeled, and rinsed eggs into small pieces.  Add mayo, sour cream, green onions, bacon bits, (here is how I easily cook bacon in the oven) salt, and onion powder to the egg pieces.  Stir together well and give it a taste.  Add more salt if needed and pepper to taste.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Egg Salad - 3 Ways
 
These recipes can easily be cut in half if you don't want this much.
Author:
Ingredients
  • # 1 - Creamy Egg Salad:
  • 12 hard boiled eggs - peeled and rinsed
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 tbls mustard
  • 1 tbls horseradish
  • 2 tbls Sweet Relish
  • Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
  • _________________________________________________________
  • #2 - Dill Egg Salad:
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and rinsed
  • ½ cup Mayo
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tbls pickle juice
  • ½ cup chopped dill pickles (your favorite brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • _________________________________________________________
  • #3 - Bacon and Egg Salad:
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and rinsed
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tbls chopped green onions
  • 8 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • More salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. These instructions work for all 3 recipes.
  2. Take your peeled and rinsed hard boiled eggs and chop them into small pieces.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt and pepper to your chopped eggs and mix thoroughly.
  4. Taste it, then add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Homemade Fruit Sweetened Frosting

My cute little niece turned 2 a couple weeks ago and my daughter (age ten) begged and begged to make her a layered cake.  She had gone to a hands-on 4-H demonstration on “How to Decorate a Cake” and was just itching to put her new skills to work. 🙂  So we invited the birthday girl (and her family) over for homemade pizza and cake.  I was a little leery of giving the 10, 8, 4, and 2 year olds layers and layers of sugar at 7 o’clock at night, (or any time of day) so I started to scheme……

At the time I was working on my post for “Homemade Honey Whipped Cream Cheese” and I thought, why not put a twist on that recipe and add raspberry jam to the cream cheese instead of honey?  It worked!  In fact, it was a HUGE success.  It was creamy, spreadable, sweet, (but not to sweet) rich, sugar free, and the best part…..it was PINK!!  Well that’s the best part if you’re a 2-10 year old girl. 😀

Little Chef's Masterpiece!! She was sooooo excited to give it to her little cousin. :)
Little Chef’s Masterpiece!!

By the time she got done decorating this cake she decided she wanted to be a “professional cake decorator” when she grows up.  I think she’s off to a good start; don’t you!?

Here’s how to make fruit sweetened frosting:

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Take an 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese and whisk it until it’s nice and smooth.  Then add 1/2 a cup of jam. I used Smuckers Simply Fruit Red Raspberry Jam…..it is sweetened with fruit juice with no added sugar or nasty high fructose corn syrup.  If you have your own homemade preserves that would be even better!!  I have only used raspberry jam so far, but I think any flavor would be delicious. Whisk the jam into the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, it takes a couple minutes to get all the cream cheese lumps out.  We added a couple drops of red food coloring to make it a little pinker for the birthday girl.

DSCN5899 (640x480)-1Now spread it (the thicker the better) on your favorite cake.  I can’t even describe to you how good this was smothered on the Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake!  Kids can’t get enough of this stuff, but the best part is all the adults who don’t even like sweet things that come back for seconds and they can’t believe how simple it is to make! (No more piles of frosting on the edge of the plate after birthday parties!!!)  We’ve made this three times in the last two weeks and I plan on making it again to go with Easter dinner!

Homemade Fruit Sweetened Frosting
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 - 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup no sugar added jam/jelly
Instructions
  1. Whip softened cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.
  2. Add half a cup of jam or jelly and whip until smooth and fluffy. This will take a couple minutes.
  3. Spread on your favorite cake or cupcakes.

Note: If you’re planning to get fancy with the decorating or if you’re frosting a sheet cake you will need to double the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This recipe is very versatile…you can make healthy breakfast muffins, or not quite so healthy dessert muffins.  But either way they are nummy, nummy, nummy!  Of course I made both kinds, (several times) just to make sure I got the recipe exactly right.  Then a few more times to be absolutely sure I wasn’t sharing a recipe that was no good.  Then I found myself digging through the bananas at the store to find more over ripe bananas, cause waiting for bananas to get a little over ripe just takes to long!!  Did I mention these muffins are good?….really good!

DSCN5783 (640x480)-1Start by mixing together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and set it aside.

DSCN5712 (640x480)-1In a separate bowl smash the bananas then add honey, butter, egg, and milk.  Stir well and then pour into dry ingredients and stir until moist, then fold in chocolate chips.

DSCN5823 (640x480)-1Fill sprayed cupcake tins or you can use cupcake liners about 1/2 full and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil melted
  • 3 over ripe bananas smashed
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk, any kind you like
  • ½ cup of chocolate chips or more if you like, or you could leave them out if you want a sugar free muffin. 🙂
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl smash the bananas and add honey, melted butter, egg, and milk. Stir well and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined then fold in chocolate chips. Put cupcake liners in a cupcake tin or spray the tin with cooking spray. Fill each tin half full with batter and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 14 muffins

Note: If you’re like me and like to cook with stevia, just substitute 3 tsp. spoonable stevia for the honey and add an extra 1/4 cup of milk and a half cup of plain yogurt.  Don’t use cup cake liners; they will stick. I sprayed the cupcake tins with Pam and they came out just fine.

I made these this morning with whole wheat, coconut oil, rice milk and didn’t add any chocolate chips.  They were a wonderful HEALTHY breakfast!

DSCN5753 (640x408)-1They taste even better warm from the oven with “Honey Whipped Cream Cheese”  smeared all over them!

Applesauce Raisin Quick Bread

This bread is easy, healthy, and delicious.  I’ve been making a loaf about every other day…..

This recipe has been moved to our new blog.  Please click here to take you to Applesauce Raisin Quick Bread at Sufficient Acres.com.

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Sorry for the inconvenience while we slowly move posts to our new blog.

This recipe was adapted from: Heavenly Homemakers – Applesauce Bread

 

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