Chocolate Milk on my Grocery List (In Your Dreams, Kid.)

My 15-year old is quiet. Very, very quiet. But his sense of humor comes out in many ways every day, probably made extra funny because he sits so quietly, then suddenly opens his mouth with something so unexpected that catches us all off guard.

elias2sm

I laugh out loud frequently at this kid. At all my kids. I mean with them. Not at them. Well, both. What can I say?

Here’s one of Elias’ favorite quiet funny tricks, and you would think it would cease to be funny after so many grocery lists, but nope. I LOL every time, mostly because I don’t know how it is that he manages to sneak his pen to my paper before I head to the grocery store. Every. Single. Time.

I prepare my Walmart list by looking at Pricematerz.com to see what great deals I can get this week. I scratch down everything I want to look at, add anything extra we’re out of, and let the boys know I’ll be heading out.

I get to the store, start to make my way through the list, and there it is. Every time, that kid has added: Chocolate Milk.

chocolate milk

It’s like I take a little piece of him with me every time I grocery shop.

I mean, it never hurts to ask, right? The power of suggestion is huge. But it sure is too bad that I NEVER, EVER GIVE IN. Not once have I put the jug of chocolate milk into my cart.

I get home from the store, the boys all unload the van, and without fail I hear, “Oops, Mom. Looks like you forgot the chocolate milk again.”

Yep, sure did.

Ahh, my Elias.

Never mind the fact that I can make him homemade chocolate milk. He claims that he doesn’t like it, because sure, if you’ve had the store-bought syrupy version, a less-sweet version may not cut it when you’re 15.

A Happy Chocolate Milk Solution

We just discovered a win-win. The Javita Dollar Coffee Club we started a few months ago, which offers healthy herb-infused coffee, tea, and flavored water just reintroduced their Focus Fusion Cocoa. So in honor of Elias (and everyone else in my family who loves chocolate, which is everyone else), I added some to our AutoShip order. “Maybe,” I thought, “Maybe this will do the trick for everyone’s chocolate milk cravings.”

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It does. I win. Chocolate Milk has ceased to make its way onto my grocery list, but something else has replaced it because the cleverness of my children didn’t go away when Javita hit our home. Details below.

Confession: I am a tiny bit disappointed with the ingredients listed in the Javita Cocoa Fusion. I feel 100% good about every other Javita drink, from the coffee to the tea to the strawberry lemonade “Flex” to the very berry “Defend.” They include even-better-than-organic ingredients, and are full of wonderful, healing herbs that offer many health benefits.

The Cocoa Fusion also has healing herbs and offers health benefits. It just also happens to have sugar. So boo for that. But hey, this means my kid will drink it. And so…

I’ve decided that the Cocoa Fusion will be a compromise drink that we’ll enjoy sometimes (but not as freely as I let my family enjoy all the other Javita drinks). It’s many times better for us than any store-bought hot chocolate or chocolate milk. It contains wonderful herbs that are fabulous for concentration, memory, brain health, thinking skills, and focus.

javita chocolate1

It tastes good hot or cold, and all of my sons love it.

So while I’ll continue to give big shout outs to the health benefits of the Javita coffee, tea, and flavored waters, and wholeheartedly endorse them with no reservation – I’ll give a “better than” wink to their cocoa. Add it to your monthly auto-ship for a fun treat that will also provide health benefits and a brain boost.

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So now that we’ve got the chocolate milk situation figured out at our house, Elias no longer needs to sneak the words “chocolate milk” onto my grocery list.

Never fear though. Now’s he’s started writing in “Ice Cream.”

Good try, Kid. Good try.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How to join our Javita Dollar Coffee Club

Want to give these great drinks a try? The least expensive option is to purchase with Auto-Delivery so that you only have to pay a dollar per drink. Each month after that you can adjust, add, subtract drink options at any time before your next delivery.

  1. Click here, then on “Experience the Products.”
  2. You can look through the various drinks and check out each of their ingredients, then click on “Order Now.”
  3. Select the country where you life (United States is at the top left).
  4. Click on “Build Your Own” to select any of the products you are interested in for your family. (If you order 2-5 boxes, shipping is free!)
  5. Once you’ve added your selections to the cart, proceed with the check-out process.
  6. Again, each month you can make adjustments to your auto-delivery to fit your family’s needs!

P.S. Read here to learn 6 Unexpected Blessings I’ve Experienced Thanks to Javita Drinks.

Simple Chili Mac (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop)

This Simple Chili Mac is the reason you should make a double batch of chili. Leftover chili (or purchased canned chili) makes this recipe take about 5 minutes to throw together.

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Also? How did I ever live without an Instant Pot? I know, I know. So many of you told me I would love it for the amount of time and effort it saves, but I could not handle thinking about learning how to use a new appliance. Good grief. There was nothing to learn. Okay, there was a little bit more than nothing to learn. There was about ten minutes of learning involved.

But now I’m like, “Here, Instant Pot. I give you my leftover chili and my dry pasta. Please make our lunch.”

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And then it does. Like a boss. Except I’m the boss because I told it what to make.

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If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still make this as simple as possible in your crock pot or your stove top.

Have I told you how much I love NOT cooking pasta before adding it to casserole dishes? Truly, any recipe that allows me to dump dry pasta into sauce and walk away is golden.

Simple Chili Mac

Simple Chili Mac (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop)
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 48-ounces prepared Chili
  • 8-ounces whole grain pasta, any variety, uncooked
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Stir chili, uncooked pasta, water and salt into Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or large cooking pot.
  2. Instant Pot: Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
  3. Crock Pot: Cook on low for 4 hours or hi for 2.5 hours.
  4. Stove Top: Cook on low heat, covered, stirring every few minutes until pasta is tender.
  5. Top casserole with cheese and allow it to melt before serving.

Simple Chili Mac - for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Stovetop

Here’s our Easy Chili Recipe! Using leftover chili for this Chili Mac recipe makes it extra simple!

More Simple Recipes

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Join Simple Meals

Make life even simpler when you sign up to receive our weekly Menu Planning Packets. One tiny price, loads of weekly help. Read about this and sign up here!

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

FREE Lavender Lotion Bar from MadeOn ~ Two Days Only!

Before you ask, there’s no catch. ;) Renee from MadeOn is giving all of us a free Lavender Lotion Bar just because she loves us.

free lavender lotion bar

Yes, we have to pay shipping on our freebie, otherwise we’d really put her in the hole, and we don’t want to put Renee in a hole, am I right? She’s too nice for that, what with her giving us freebies and all.

What I suggest is that you get the most out of your $4.95 shipping fee while you get your free lotion bar. Shipping on your entire order is a flat $4.95, so no matter how much you put in your cart, you only pay five bucks shipping.

And you get a free Lavender Lotion Bar.

If you’re new here and you’re wondering, “What’s so great about MadeOn Lotion Bars?” let me tell you all about why they are so great! Aside from the fact that they contain ingredients I feel absolutely good about…

My hands used to be awful, awful, awful. Dry, cracked, bleeding, miserable – all winter long and beyond. A few years ago Renee send me a MadeOn Lotion Bar to try and within ONE DAY my hands felt better. I haven’t looked back and my hands are gloriously soft and healthy…as long as I continue to use my Lotion Bar.

hands

If I ignore my dry skin and don’t rub on the Lotion Bar, my hands feel awful again. Thus, I make sure I always have a supply of MadeOn Lotion Bars in my house. My family all uses these products and I send some to college with our oldest.

This is what makes this FREEBIE so much fun! This is about the time of year I stock up on MadeOn Lotion for winter dry skin. If I’m paying $4.95 shipping anyway, and I’m loading up on plenty of Lotion Bars (my fav is the BeeSilk, but I’m also loving the Lavender Lotion Bar they sent me to try) how awesome that I can aldo get a free Lavender Lotion Bar in my package!

This freebie offer is only good today and tomorrow (September 18-19), so go here now and add this Lavender Lotion Bar to your cart. Then add to your cart any other items you need.  (There’s no other purchase necessary, by the way. You can simply get this freebie and nothing else!) At checkout use the code HHLavender and the cost of the Lavender Lotion Bar turns to $0.00 like magic.

Enjoy this fun goodie, and may your hands (and arms and legs and feet) be forever nourished and comfortable!

Get the Lavender Lotion Bar Freebie here.

Offer expires Tuesday at midnight, PST. These links are my affiliate links. 

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

This one was Justus’ idea. He’s my 17-year old, my senior in high school. These are my last few months with him at home so when he said, “Mom, do you think you could figure out how to make Peanut Butter Pudding?” of course I immediately dropped whatever I was doing to work on his request.

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I kid. I mean, I would never drop whatever I’m doing to go with a whim of one of my children. Never would I attempt to spoil any of my kids. Especially when it comes to food. They must be taught patience, that the world doesn’t revolve around them, even if it is their senior year and the mother can’t breathe at the thought of missing out on the delightful morning conversations she enjoys with her second born every morning before the others wake up. Even if.

Okay fine. I dropped what I was doing and I made the kid some Peanut Butter Pudding. It sounded like an amazing treat, and I agreed with Justus that the protein mixed in with the sweetness would be a fabulous combination.

Justus Senior4600

As an aside, it is worth a mention that I learned with our first born that the world doesn’t end when you graduate a child and send him from home. Life with your adult child does, indeed, grow in richness (this is ironic because of the college bills). But this doesn’t stop me from feeling all of the many feelings associated with launching another child from our nest. I will enjoy this time with him to the full. I will cry tears of joy and pride frequently. And I will make him pudding with peanut butter in it, just because he mentions that it sounds good.

The recipe is simple (you would expect nothing less, right?). It is creamy and rich and delightful. It tastes even better served with Chocolate Pudding.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, honey, sucanat, or brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except butter and vanilla.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until pudding begins to thicken.
  3. Stir over the heat for about 15 more seconds or until pudding has reached desired thickness. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy.
  4. (I use my whisk the whole time for stirring and find this works great!)
  5. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.
  6. Pour into serving dishes and serve warm, or chill for two hours and serve cold.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

It’s possible you can look forward to me sharing other great food ideas Justus has this year. Not that I’ll drop everything and make them on a whim. We would never, ever want to spoil our children. Especially with food. Even if it’s their senior year.

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“Hey Mom. Think you could make my favorite Italian Cream Cheese Chicken soon?” Absolutely, Justus. Absolutely.

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars – From Freezer to Oven!

Well, here we are. The school year is in full swing. Fall soccer season is knocking our (smelly) socks off. I have completely forgotten which way is up.

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I already lost track of which way is south because when people give me directions they are not allowed to use ridiculous phrases like, “Turn east and you’ll see our house on the north corner.” What kind of foreign language are they even speaking? When giving me directions, people may only use phrases like, “turn right” or “turn left” or better yet “turn toward the sign with the monkey.”

In summary, September is always a very busy month for our family, and I am extremely directionally challenged. However, as long as I do everything I can to keep our food simple, I handle myself okay in the kitchen (which, as it turns out, is located in the northeast corner of our house).

Stashing prepared food in our freezer (found when you take a south at the stove and head due west toward the toaster) is only helpful if said prepared food doesn’t get lost in the back and freezer burned. I’ve discovered a couple of tricks during the past couple of years that make freezer cooking much better for our family, and my favorite is this:

Stir together breakfast baked goods, but freeze them before baking. Pull out desired amount of said frozen goods and bake them fresh on the morning you plan to serve them.

When doing this, I get baking messes out of the way so I don’t have to measure and mix on busy school mornings. But we can still eat the goodies fresh out of the oven.

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

Take, for instance, my “famous” Giant Breakfast Cookies. I mix up a double batch (because why make one batch when you can make two?). I scoop the dough onto cookie sheets and freeze the cookie dough balls. Each morning when we want hot, fresh Breakfast Cookies, I simply pull out some frozen cookie dough balls and bake them while I scramble eggs and slice strawberries. We all eat a fabulous breakfast and I’ve hardly worked at all.

Freezer Breakfast Cookies5

I do the same with muffin batter, freezing it in muffin cups, unbaked, and pulling them out to bake as needed. Homemade Poptarts are perfect frozen unbaked as well.

The Easiest Way to Make Muffins

This is all wonderful, seeing as I must use all my energy after breakfast to try and understand what my phone means when it tells me to “head north toward Highway 2″ as I’m trying to locate a soccer field in another city. For the love of my brain cells, JUST TELL ME TO GO STRAIGHT OR TURN RIGHT. Well, anyway…

My most recent “Mix and Freeze” breakfast food discovery is this: I can mix up big batches of these Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars, freeze them unbaked, then pull out squares and bake them as needed.

breakfast bars22

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See? I line my 8×8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. I even freeze it in layers (though learned the hard way that it is important to keep parchment paper between the layers). Once frozen, I transfer the unbaked dough to gallon-sized freezer bags. If I think about it the night before, I’ll pull out a square to thaw in the fridge so I can bake it the next day. Otherwise, I simply pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.

Where has this tip been my whole life? (Probably hiding somewhere between the east and the west, but of course, I could never find it.)

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars - From Freezer to Oven!
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup sucanat or ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Stir together melted butter and sucanat.
  2. Add eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla, mixing well.
  3. Stir in oats and flour until well combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture in a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two 8x8 inch baking dishes).
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  7. To Freeze Dough: Line 8x8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the unbaked dough to freezer bags. Thaw dough squares in the fridge overnight to bake the next day. Or pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.

Make-Ahead Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

I highly recommend making and freezing bacon ahead so that within thirty seconds, you can serve hot, sizzly bacon with these bars. Any fruit will go with these as well, and with that, breakfast is served.

May your mornings be pleasant, may your breakfast be tasty, and may you never tell me to head south on 6th street.

(Too Much) Fun I’m Having With Homemade Brownie Mix, Bread Mix, Pancake Mix, and More!

What is it about having this collection of homemade mixes in my pantry and freezer that has made me feel so organized and empowered? Yesterday I was just a regular person. Today I’m like, “I have created a huge amount of Brownie Mix and put it into an air tight container! Nothing can stop me now!!”

simple mixes

Baking Mixes: My New Super Power

In the past, I felt that mixes like this were silly. After all, is it really all that difficult to get out necessary pancake ingredients and mix up a batch? No. Will I actually turn into a complete disaster if I have to measure flour and baking powder into a bowl every time I need to bake a cake? C’mon now.

But days are full, life is short, and the truth is that sometimes I DON’T have time to measure salt and yeast, so there. Some days it’s all I can do to remember the location of our soccer game and get everyone fed and there on time. But never fear. Everything will be okay now because I HAVE MUFFIN MIX.

Simple Mixes that Save the Day

The book full of Simple Mixes recipes is FREE for Simple Meals members!
Details below. :)

As you can see, I have had the most fun playing with all my new Simple Mixes. I’m here to tell you that it actually does save time to make pancakes from a mix instead of getting out all ingredients and making them from ground zero. And it definitely saves brain energy. (This calls for high-fives all around.) When making pancakes from my homemade mix, I have our hot breakfast on the table within ten minutes.

simple mixes pancakes12

simple mixes pancakes22

God has given me many opportunities to feed housefuls of extra people lately, so even beyond feeding my family, I’m finding these Simple Mixes to be a HUGE help in spreading the yummy food love. I used the Muffin Mix to make Banana Bread one morning (even though the recipes included are actually for muffins). It worked! Though I dumped in too much milk and the bread sunk a little after I pulled it out of the oven. No worries. It all got eaten!

simple mix banana bread3

simple mix banana bread4

I used the Brownie Mix to make two pans of brownies to feed extra college students who came over for meals. They were a hit, and the mixes helped me get the brownies into the oven in less than five minutes!

simple mix brownies3

simple mix brownies4

As if the Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe isn’t easy enough, I found that having Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix made it that much easier. The picture turned out fuzzy, but the bread turned out beautiful – and it was perfect for a busy day recently when we needed bread to round out our lunch.

stir bread

I’ve created this Simple Mixes that Save the Day eBook full of these awesome mix recipes, and I’m giving it away for FREE to all Simple Meals members this week!

Here’s a peek at the first page of the book, so you can see what you’ll be given:

simple mixes intro page

Every week, Simple Meals members receive a full {simple} meal plan with recipes, time and money saving tips, a grocery list, and more. The Simple Meals plans are sent out to members every Thursday morning so you have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming week. So current members! Watch for this fun new Simple Mixes eBook to hit your inbox this Thursday!

Not a Simple Meals member? Please join us! The price is right (only $1/week, and even less with the coupon mentioned below!), and the money and time you’ll save in the kitchen will be such a blessing to you! If you join Simple Meals before Thursday, you’ll gain access to this brand new Simple Mixes book too!!

Real all about Simple Meals here.

Join now —>

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Just want the Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook? Get it here —>

Simple Mixes that Save the Day
Get our 7 amazing whole grain, low sugar mix recipe - from brownies to breads! Use them to make 22 varieties of delicious, simple baked goods for your family and guests!
Price: $7.95

Real Food Groceries I Often Order from Amazon

I’m writing a small series of posts to share what groceries I purchase from each of my favorite stores – either online, co-op, or from brick and mortar grocery stores. Last week I shared about the groceries I buy from Aldi. Today I’ll tell you about the real food groceries I often order from Amazon!

Real Food Groceries I Buy From Amazon

Amazon is one of my favorite online stores for finding good deals on bulk groceries! I especially like to take advantage of Subscribe & Save deals paired with coupons. That’s where the real savings happens!

You can read more here about how I get the best deals at Amazon with Subscribe& Save. Also, you can bookmark our Amazon Deals page which we update regularly with all of the real food grocery deals we find at Amazon!

amazon october 2

The grocery items I buy from Amazon fluctuate depending on the prices and our family’s needs. But here are the foods I often check at Amazon first when looking for grocery deals online:

Real Food Groceries I Often Buy From Amazon

amazon order june 2

  • Izze – This is a special treat at our house, and one that I only buy when there is an Amazon Coupon that I can use with Subscribe & Save. I try to only buy them when an individual Izze breaks down to $0.50 or less.
  • Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta – This is our favorite brand of organic, whole wheat pasta and I buy them by the case with Subscribe & Save. There are many varieties of shapes, though for some reason this one is our favorite! I always get their spaghetti noodles, lasagna noodles, and elbows too!

amazon october 1

Awww, here’s Malachi a few years ago hanging out on the porch with our big Subscribe & Save order!

  • Bearitos Organic Tortilla Chips – We love the texture and taste of these! They go on sale often so I get them when they are less than $3.00/bag.
  • Individual Nut Pouches – Often Planters offers a coupon I can pair with Subscribe & Save, so I get them to use as snacks when we’re on the road for soccer and basketball.
  • Muir Glen Products – I watch for coupons to pair with Subscribe & Save on these tomato products, specifically their ketchup and pizza sauce.
  • Stubbs BBQ Sauce – I recently discovered that this brand includes all real food ingredients and Amazon carries it for a good price (usually!).

Again, sometimes I buy other food items when I come across a good deal and need it for our family!

Do you buy groceries from Amazon? What items do you often buy?

Some of these links are my affiliate links.

Simple Mixes that Save the Day (Gorgeous New FREE Recipe eBook for Simple Meals Members!)

I’m ridiculously excited about the Simple Mixes book I get to share with you! It’s gorgeous and there are fudge brownies involved. So if you value beauty and chocolate, you will be just as excited as I. Oh, but there’s more!

If there’s anything at all that I can do to make my real food kitchen life simpler, you know I try to do it. That’s how Simple Meals was born – it was part of my effort to cut down on time spent in the kitchen while still putting great and healthy meals on the table.

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Yes, I love to cook. But I love looking at my family’s faces more. I love being the loudest cheerleader at all their events. I love having meaningful conversations with my husband. I love spending time in the Word. I love writing and keeping in touch with all of you. I love keeping life simple so I can keep my priorities my priorities.

Every time I learn a new simple trick or figure out a new simple recipe, I share it with you so that you, too, can simplify your kitchen life. Every week we send out a detailed Simple Meals menu plan with a bonus grocery list, tips, additional recipes, and suggestions for keeping your week as simple as possible. We give you this for a mere $1.00 per week, because that makes us happy. :)

And sometimes, we come up with even more ways to simplify your life, so we put them into an eBook, and we give them to Simple Meals members for FREE! Now introducing…

The biggest reason this little eBook makes me excited is because following its recipes have filled my freezer and pantry with all sorts of goodie mixes that save me even more time! I’ve got beautiful containers filled now with lovely mixes, so if…

  • I want to make pancakes for my family? I simply get out the my homemade pancake and waffle mix.
  • I’m making cornbread? I get out the cornbread mix.
  • Extra teens are coming over? I get out my brownie mix!
  • I decide at the last minute to make a cake? Oh, there’s a mix for that.

Simple Mixes that Save the Day

Here’s just a tiny sample of what I have on hand now, thanks to this Simple Mixes book. Muffin Mix, Pancake/Waffle Mix, Brownie Mix, and Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix:

simple mixes

This little book packs a big punch, and it’s free this week for all Simple Meals subscribers!! Take a look at the inside page:

simple mixes intro page

Our Simple Meals plans are sent out to members every Thursday morning so you have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming week. So current members! Watch for this fun new Simple Mixes eBook to hit your inbox next Thursday too!

Not a Simple Meals member? Please join us! The price is right, and the money and time you’ll save in the kitchen will be such a blessing to you! If you join Simple Meals before next Thursday, you’ll gain access to this brand new Simple Mixes book too!!

Real all about Simple Meals here.

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Next week I’ll share more about the fun I’ve been having with my Simple Mixes. Because where there are mixes, the mama will bake, and everyone at her house is happy.

Just want the Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook? Get it here —>

Simple Mixes that Save the Day
Get our 7 amazing whole grain, low sugar mix recipe - from brownies to breads! Use them to make 22 varieties of delicious, simple baked goods for your family and guests!
Price: $7.95

The Heavenly Homemakers YouTube Channel, Back in Action!

I’ve had a Heavenly Homemakers YouTube Channel, and I’ve been afraid to use it.

hhm youtube videos

Actually, I haven’t been afraid as much as I’ve been overwhelmed with the when and the how and the are you even kidding me? So many people have encouraged me to do more with video through the years. My sons are super into videography, we have a houseful of video equipment and editing software, and I have many fun video ideas. But I also have a very full plate, and so many other excuses that may or may not include the fact that I rarely actually fix my hair so why would I want to put that mess onto video for all the world to see?

Wow, Laura, Wow.

mocha 1

In summary, I’ve loved and hated the video idea for a good many years. Loved how much fun it could be, hated trying to figure out how to actually fit the work it would take into my days. So the video thing never happened, even though it’s been a great idea.

But this summer, my youngest, Malachi (age 12), started creating a couple of YouTube Channels for himself. (Your kids might have fun following him. Check out Th3 Builder Guys here!) He has been having a ridiculous amount of fun doing it, he’s been learning lots, and a few weeks ago he said, “Mom, you should have a YouTube Channel!” I had to then admit to him, “Umm, I actually already have one that I haven’t done anything with for a very long time.”

Happy news! Malachi used his expertise and redid my YouTube page! Together we’ve been brainstorming how to make it super fun for all of you!

hhm youtube channel page

It begs the question at this point: Who is more excited? Malachi or me? This is yet to be determined.

He’s doing all the filming and editing, which means this YouTube thing can and will actually happen! (If left up to me, I would never find the time to learn all I need to know about editing and uploading. Plus, it’s oh so very helpful to have a fun camera guy on the scene.)

Here’s the little welcome video we created:

Then a couple days later, we made this one, which threw me over the edge to decide that making videos for YouTube is really, really fun!

(To clear up any confusion you might have while watching this video: We went to two soccer games two days in a row out of town. The two trips are intermixed with one another in this video, in case you are like, “Wait. Hair up, hair down. Short sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt. What is happening right now?”)

We would love it if you followed along with the fun we’re having! We’ll keep our videos short and sweet. We’ll give you a glimpse into the life of the Heavenly Homemaker Household. I’ll share fun and helpful tips as you watch me cooking or shopping or unloading groceries. And you can be sure of this:

I will rarely be wearing makeup. Sometimes I won’t even put in my contacts. Occasionally my clothes won’t match. I won’t clean my kitchen before we start recording footage of me making tomato sauce.

You’ll get to see real life, with all the messes, and rest assured that the messes are many.

Will you join us? It’s going to be so much fun!!

Subscribe to our Heavenly Homemakers YouTube Channel Here!

Food I Keep in My Fridge and Freezer to Make the School Year Easier

Simple as some of the items on the following lists are, I thought it was worth sharing the basic food I keep in my fridge and freezer to make the school year easier.

Food I Keep in my Fridge and Freezer to Make Meals During the School Year Easier

Some of these require work (as in, I actually have to mix something or cook something). But many of these only require that I purchase them and sock them away to use as needed. Either way, having these foods ready to grab at all times (if possible!) means I can relax more when feeding my family during busy school days.

If you haven’t already downloaded our free Master Lunch, Breakfast, and Snack Ideas and Recipes Lists, go grab those here. Those lists are helping keep my planning to a minimum!

Master List of 100 Simple Snack Ideas

And now, the big list of food I like to keep on hand to make many of those lunches, breakfasts, and snacks!

Food/Ingredients I Keep in my Freezer

Freshly Ground Flour

Here you’ll find all the posts I’ve ever written about grinding grain in a mill. I’ve been grinding all of our flour for almost 12 years now! It’s easy, saves money, and doing this makes our baked goods taste so much better. It’s also great for our health!

If possible, I try to keep a bucket of ground Hard White Wheat (for yeast recipes) and a bucket of Soft White Wheat (for non-yeast muffins and pastries) in my freezer so I can grab it out and bake as needed!

Pastry Flour 3

Pizza Crust

I’ve recently mentioned that I’ve been buying some premade crusts from Azure Standard to keep in the freezer for quick pizza meals. My Homemade Pizza Crust is also freezable. And if you want, you can even make your own Frozen Pizza!

Make Your Own Frozen Pizza

Frozen Cookie Dough 

My boys would say that having cookie dough in the freezer is a necessity for a happy school year. I say this is great to have on hand when people come over last minute so we can bake cookies without making a big mess. Sometimes we mix up cookie dough, roll it into a tube with parchment paper and freeze it until we need it. More often, we scoop the dough onto a baking sheet and freeze the dough balls to make very quick cookies!

How to Make Refrigerator Cookie Dough

july_freezer_cooking_2

Breakfast Cookie Dough Balls

Along the same lines as the cookies I just mentioned, having these Giant Breakfast Cookie Balls in the freezer ready to pull out and bake in the morning is a huge time saver! I used to bake a double batch and freeze them as a ready-to-eat breakfast. But we’ve since learned that it’s fun to pull out a few frozen dough balls and bake them fresh as needed. It doesn’t get much better than a fresh-from-the-oven Breakfast Cookie with coffee in the morning!

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

Cooked Bacon

Pre-cooking bacon to store in the freezer has been awesome! I pull out a few slices to cook for each person a couple times a week, and I can have it on the table in about thirty seconds. I love this time-saving method!

how-to-cook-bacon-in-the-oven-and-freeze-it-for-quick-reheating

Hashbrowns

If I have time, the boys and I make hashbrowns to keep in the freezer. This task hasn’t been making it onto our to-do list lately though, so I was glad to find the Mr. Dell’s brand of frozen hashbrowns at our local Walmart, which contains one ingredient: Potatoes. I love having these in the freezer so I can throw together Egg and Cheese Hashbrown Waffles, Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole, and Simple Hashbrown Casserole. Oh yeah. And hashbrowns. :)

hashbrowns3sm

Ground Beef

I feel like as long as we have hamburger meat in the freezer, we will never go hungry. There are so many meals a person can make with ground beef! And now that I’ve learned how to cook frozen hamburger in bulk in my Instant Pot, life just got even easier! :)

instant pot hamburger8

Boneless Chicken Thighs

Almost as versatile as hamburger meat is boneless chicken pieces! I have learned to love boneless thighs much more than boneless breasts, and as it turns out, thighs always cost less per pound! I watch for the natural brand at my store to be marked down, buy all I can, and throw them into my freezer to use in all our Simple Recipes!

ranch chicken salad1

Homemade Poptarts

No one will starve if we don’t have poptarts in our freezer, but these sure do make a fantastic and fun breakfast. My favorite way to make these is to put together a double batch but leave them unbaked in the freezer. Then I pull them out and bake just a few at a time so we can eat them hot. They are the best! I made a bunch of these before school started this year, and they’ve made mornings just a little bit simpler. :)

homemade-poptarts-for-the-freezer

Muffin Batter

This little tip is fantastic to fill your mornings with freshly baked muffins without having to get out a mixing bowl. I love having several different kinds of muffin batter in my freezer, pulling out a few of each, and baking up an assortment without going to any trouble!

Freeze Your Muffin Batter 3

Frozen Veggies

I have big bag of frozen peas and frozen green beans in my freezer at all times. This way, even if I haven’t made it to the store to restock our fresh veggies, we always have something green to serve with our meals. These steam up quickly, and I always add a good fat to them, which makes them healthier and tastier!

grilled chicken3

Frozen Fruit

If I have peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and/or pineapple in the freezer, I can make smoothies, slushies, or fruit cobblers very quickly. Typically I stock up on these during the summer because they are less expensive when then are in season. I don’t always buy them pre-frozen. I often buy them fresh and freeze them myself if they are a better price this way!

pineapple_mango_smoothie

Butter

But, of course. For all of the delicious, buttery reasons, I keep butter in my freezer at all times. Beef and butter, beef and butter…

beef_and_butter

Food I Keep in my Fridge

Shredded Cheese

I buy 4-pound chunks of Colby jack cheese, and sometimes mozzarella too. I have my boys shred it by running it through our food processor, which makes the job super fast! We store the shredded cheese in pyrex bowls with lids in our fridge and pull it out to use in any casserole, quesadilla, taco, scrambled egg, or anything else which calls for shredded cheese. This is, for sure, a refrigerator staple.

grating cheese2

grating cheese3

Mixed Greens

I buy a one-pound tub of these mixed greens every week so we can always have salads without any effort! Bonus: At our local Walmart, the organic greens are less expensive than the conventional!

mixed greens

Peanut Butter

I buy 5-pound bags of peanuts from Azure Standard every month and make the entire bag into about 6 pint-sized jars of peanut butter. I figure I might as well make one mess to produce 6 jars of peanut butter to have on hand, instead of making only one or two jars at a time every single week. We go through all 6 jars in a month. This homemade peanut butter is super delicious!

Super Creamy Peanut Butter

Cookie Bites

Having these No-Bake Cookie Bites, in one form or the other, in the fridge is great when any of us need a quick snack with protein and fiber. These are super low in sugar and naturally grain free. Yum, they taste good!

No-Bake Cookie Bites - Easy Recipes!

Fat Bombs

Just like the Cookie Bites, these Fat Bombs provide us with energy from good protein and fat. My husband and I like the Stevia Sweetened Fat Bombs. Our kids prefer the Honey Sweetened Fat Bombs.

fat-bombs-easy-and-delicious

Ranch Dressing

I always have a quart of Homemade Ranch Dressing in the fridge. It’s is our favorite dressing, it is easy to make, and we eat salads almost every day!

Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix

Cold Water for Javita Drinks

We almost always drink Javita coffee and tea hot, but for all of the others, I like to keep a jar of water in the fridge so that at any time, we can mix up whichever drink we need. The boys make a Rush drink for themselves before a workout. Matt drinks Flex before a hard day’s work to help with shoulder pain. All the boys and I drink Defend for an immune system boost. I drink Fiber every day to help with digestion, and surprisingly, it has helped keep me from needing to eat so often!

javita products snapshot2

Eggs

I cringe a little if we start getting low on eggs! We go through several dozen each week when we scramble or fry them for breakfast, and when we are baking. Of course, now that I have an Instant Pot, I’ve been boiling them quickly too.

eggs

Butter

Oh wait. Did I already mention butter in the freezer section of this post? Well, can I help it that I always have a nice supply in both my freezer and my fridge? This ingredient is very necessary. Very. :)

butter

What are your fridge and freezer staples?