From Burrito Bar to Casserole – a 5 Minute Way to Use Leftovers!

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Allow me to tell you about two of my favorite new Simple Meals tricks! From Burrito Bar to Casserole, here are two meals that go together super easily!

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The first favorite Simple Meals trick is this: Any time I’ve been privileged to feed a large crowd lately, I have been setting up a Burrito Bar. I fed Asa’s soccer team this way (35+ college male athletes, phew!). I fed Matt’s soccer team this way (20+ college women athletes – Matt’s their assistant coach).

It is important, yet frustrating, to note that I took no pictures of either meal because I always get too busy with the food and the fellowship and I forget to take a picture. I regret this every time. But moving on…

What is great about setting up a Burrito Bar is that each person can build a burrito (or three) to his or her liking. And best yet, those who have food allergies can still eat this meal! (My gluten free friends skip the tortilla but can eat everything else. My dairy free friends can skip the cheese and sour cream and eat everything else. It’s so simple!)

Burrito Bar Fixin’s

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And now for my second favorite Simple Meals trick! After I’m finished serving the Burrito Bar, I stir together the leftovers and spread it into a casserole dish. This makes it super easy to put away leftovers! And it makes for a very delicious meal on another day, which takes zero effort!

I fully admit that this doesn’t look super appetizing. For shame. Something so delicious should not look so…blah.

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I will now attempt to give you an idea of measurements so that you, too, can stir together Burrito Bar leftovers and create a new meal of…what shall we call it? Burrito Bar Casserole? Cheesy Mexican Rice? Mom’s Night Off? Yes, let’s call it that.

From Burrito Bar To Casserole

From Burrito Bar to Casserole - a 5 Minute Way to Use Leftovers!
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • Leftover cooked chicken or hamburger (1-2 pounds)
  • Leftover cooked rice (2-3 cups)
  • Leftover beans (up to 2 cups)
  • Salsa (2-3 cups)
  • Sour Cream (2-3 cups)
  • Shredded cheese (1-3 cups, optional)
Instructions
  1. Stir these leftovers together, not worrying much about the measurements!
  2. Spread the mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
  3. Top it with cheese (optional).
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to warm and serve. Or cover and freeze for up to two months.
  5. When you are ready to serve this meal, cover it with foil and slide it into a cold oven.
  6. Bake a refrigerated casserole at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Bake a frozen casserole at 275 degrees for 2-3 hours or until hot and bubbly.

From Burrito to Casserole - a 5 minute way to use leftovers

Do not get stuck on the measurements for this “casserole.” Simply stir the leftovers together until it looks right for your family. Then your kids might do what mine did, take one bite, and say, “This is actually pretty good.”

Actually?

Yes, because it’s so shocking that my food would taste good. (Okay, but in their defense, it didn’t look super tasty, right?)

More Simple Recipes

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An Update on our School Year (Our Schedule, Curriculum, Homeschool, Public School, College, oh my!)

Way back in August when I shared this very delicious Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe, I mentioned a bit about our school year and our family Bible time. Several asked for more information, so here I am, a month and a half later, finally getting around to writing a few details about our schedule and curriculum.

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The good news: So far, this year isn’t as difficult as the past three years have been. Thank you, God. Our high school aged sons had some tougher classes during those years that threatened to push both student and mother over the edge of sanity. Everything in comparison seems easier this year, even though it’s still hard work. So here we are, not losing our sanity. Mostly.

This year we have:

Asa ~ age 20, a college junior

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Of course he’s not still homeschooling or even living at home, but I thought you might like an update on him anyway. :) Asa lives on the York College campus across town, so we still get to see him from time to time! He’s in the thick of his Business Communications degree plan, is known as “the video guy” on campus, and is well on his way to making a career of videography and photography. He’s paying his way through school with his camera, by studying hard so he can keep his academic scholarship (he has to maintain a 3.75 gpa or higher, phew!), plus he’s got a soccer and a choir scholarship. Somehow he keeps up with all of this, along with heavy involvement on campus, without ever sleeping. Also, he has an adorable girlfriend. Be still my heart.

Justus ~ age 17.5, a high school senior

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He is all but finished with his high school graduation requirements, so he is focusing now on getting more college credits under his belt. (We heart dual credits!) He’s taking World Literature on the York College campus, and Intro To Business at the public high school for college credit.

Big News! Nebraska changed their requirements this year for homeschoolers. In order to participate in extracurricular activities at the public school, homeschoolers only have to take two classes (which is much more doable for our family compared to previous state requirements). So Justus and Elias are taking two classes each at our local high school so that they can play soccer with the team in the spring. So exciting!

Justus is taking piano and voice lessons each week, choir at the public school, and produces music on software at home each week too. Perhaps it goes without saying that he is planning to be a music major in college next year.

Elias ~ age 15.5, a high school sophomore 

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This kid is hitting his high school basics hard this semester so that he can begin dual credits next semester (or next year…we’re still working out some of the specifics). He’s taking Choir and Weight Lifting at the public high school for his two required classes which will make him eligible to play soccer with the team. We chose those because there’s no homework involved, seeing as his homeschool academic plate is very full this year (details below).

Elias takes voice lessons each week and has no idea what he wants to do as a career in the future. It will be fun to watch God reveal that to him in the coming years!

Malachi, age 12.5, a 7th grader

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This guy is so full of ideas I can’t keep up. He’d rather ignore all school work and instead develop his ideas all day (mostly with LEGOs and YouTube, both of which he’d like to turn into businesses). Unfortunately, he has mean parents who still make him do his Pre-Algebra. So, he works hard to get his school work done by lunch, if possible, so that he can go with ALL THE IDEAS all afternoon.

He is on both a city team and a club team for soccer this fall and is busy writing two scripts for a church middle school event in the spring.

All three of our boys who still live at home will play for our homeschool basketball team this winter (Malachi’s first year!). They also all referee soccer for our city rec league, and some for club teams too, which has been great money for them through the years. They all work with Matt here and there doing various handy man or lawn care jobs, which is great for their work ethic, skills training, and savings accounts!

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What does our school year schedule look like?

6:30ish I get up and have quiet time with God before the household gets up. The boys wake up to their alarm clocks so they can be ready and at the table at 8:00.

8:00 Our family enjoys breakfast and Bible time together (I explained more about our family Bible time here).

8:40 Justus and Elias leave for Choir at the public school. Elias has Weight Lifting right after that, so Justus hangs out in the library and does school work during that period.

Meanwhile, Malachi and I read World History together (Sonlight curriculum) at home. Then he heads to a computer to work on Pre-Algebra (Teaching Textbooks) in the hopes that he’ll be done with that computer before Elias gets home. I answer emails and do other small blogging jobs while staying nearby to answer any math questions Malachi has.

10:30 Justus and Elias get home from public school. Justus practices his piano, guitar, and does any college class homework that needs to be done.

Elias starts on Geometry (Teaching Textbooks), then moves on to English, Zoology, and Economics (all guided by Sonlight curriculum suggestions, but adapted by Matt and me to fit his needs/learning style/state requirements). He finishes his day with Spanish (DuoLingo) usually around 2:00. We’re trying to squeeze in some ACT practice right now as well.

Malachi does his English, Science, and Reading (all Sonlight curriculum), then moves on to Spanish (DuoLingo). If he’s diligent, he can be finished with his work by noon.

12:00 Justus heads out to his Intro to Business class at the public school.

1:00 Everyone (and by this, I mean everyone but Asa, of course) is home and we eat lunch together, if possible.

1:45 On Tuesday/Thursday, Justus heads to the York College campus for his World Lit class. Elias and Malachi finish any work they have left. This is the point I can usually get a little bit of uninterrupted blogging work done, maybe, sort of. (Not that it matters, but it is 3:47 right now and I have been interrupted no less than 13 times in the past 30 minutes. Working from home is so relaxing and productive.)

The rest of the day and evening involves soccer games, church activities, or ministry opportunities. Often we don’t eat dinner together until around 8:00 pm during the fall. However, our boys’ homeschool basketball season is about to begin, which will mean that they need to eat and leave by 6:30 on Tues/Thurs evenings.

Our School Year - Homeschool, Public, and College

Through each full day, God always provides for our spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. My dirty kitchen though? Well, I’ll get that clean after all the kids graduate.

Rose’s Razors for Women: Affordable, Convenient, Lovely (A Giveaway and a Discount!)

I can only hope that my legs will forgive me. I’ve been a “cheap plastic razor” user since 1985. But I’ve just been introduced to a brand new Rose’s Razors opportunity and suddenly I feel like I’m using a luxury item (without paying luxury prices or even shipping fees!).

Dance for joy

My sister-in-law tried to convert me to a better razor several years ago. “Why are you still using those awful things?” she asked when she saw my pitiful plastic razors. And I said, “Because I get them cheap with coupons.” And she said, “Well I hope you also have coupons for bandaids.”

Truth.

For some reason, I have felt like buying nice razors for myself was too extravagant. This was one thing I could do without, right? I’d stick with my cheap razors and I’d just be extra careful while shaving. This worked not at all, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. For 32 years. (Yes, from 1985-2017, I just did the math. I don’t know why.)

Well, my SIL will be so proud of me. While I had upgraded from the cheap-cheap razors to a cheap one a few years ago, I still had not even looked beyond those that were pink and flimsy. Then I got a call from Rose’s Razors and here we are, partnering together to fix all of women’s shaving problems, one wonderful razor at a time.

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Sound dramatic? Ask my legs how they feel about it. The difference in razors is not an exaggeration. And the difference in price is so tiny it makes this switch a no-brainer.

The Rose’s Razors family worked at length to design and create a handle that is perfect for women. I’m so used to the flimsy ones that I truly felt like I was handed a luxury item. The razor gives such a smooth, comfortable shave that I can’t help but be a little bit gushy right now. And while it feels a little awkward to share, as much as I like it for my legs, I like it for my pits even more because they are, of course, more sensitive. I think they are actually smiling about this experience after so many years of abuse.

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Great at Rose’s Razors are, I wouldn’t even tell you about them if they were too expensive to be practical. This is what makes me so happy, because they are a great product and they are surprisingly and wonderfully affordable. I mean, they only cost a little bit more than the cheap ones I’ve been using. I can hardly believe it.

And the options!! You can buy a subscription if you want them delivered to your door every two months. You can select from a variety of subscription options and change it at any time. Or if you don’t want a subscription, you can simply buy a package of razors (with or without a handle) any time you need it.

Best news yet: Shipping is always FREE, no matter what your subscription or order!

Well, the only thing better than all of this is that Rose’s Razors is offering a giveaway and a discount to all of us here. Sign up below to win one of two Short Stem Boxes. These boxes are awesome as they contain a handle and four wonderful blades. It’s a great way to get started with Rose’s Razors!

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And how about the discount? They are giving Heavenly Homemakers readers 20% off our first purchase, no matter the size! Check out all of the Rose’s Razor product options here. Use the code Heavenly20 for the discount to apply. Code expires December 31, 2017.

Enter to win this great giveaway below! I’ll draw two random winners on Friday, October 20.

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Make-Ahead Pumpkin Donuts (How to Cook Fresh Donuts in Minutes!)

Introducing a perfect idea for this fall: Make-Ahead Pumpkin Donuts!

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After learning that it works well to make and freeze unbaked Giant Breakfast Cookies, Homemade Poptarts, Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars, and all varieties of Muffins so that we can bake them fresh in the morning without any trouble, I thought, “Why not try this idea with my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donut recipe?”

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One of these things is not like the the other. Someone, who shall remain nameless,
forgot to cut a donut hole in one of the donuts. Hmmm…

Indeed. We can mix up the pumpkin donuts, roll out the dough, cut the shapes, then freeze the uncooked dough on parchment paper or silicone mat-lined cookie sheets. We transfer the frozen dough into freezer bags, then any time we want fresh donuts (and when would we not want fresh donuts?), we can grab some out of the freezer and fry them up fresh to eat while sipping a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

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Can you think of a better breakfast treat to enjoy this fall than fresh homemade Pumpkin Donuts?

The best part is that the mixing, rolling, cutting, and clean up will have already been taken care of! Well, clearly the best part is eating the fresh donuts. But eating the fresh donuts without looking at a messy kitchen that you’ll have to clean up afterward? Fabulous.

Make-Ahead Pumpkin Donuts

5.0 from 1 reviews
Make-Ahead Pumpkin Donuts (How to Cook Fresh Donuts in Minutes!)
 
Author:
Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard or soft white wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Oil for frying (I recommend coconut oil or palm shortening for healthy frying)
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (I use unbleached powdered sugar)
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sea salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and sucanat. Add melted butter, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and pumpkin puree – mixing until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Roll dough on a well-floured surface.
  3. Cut out donuts and donut holes (makes about 30 of each).
  4. Lay the cut outs on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  5. Transfer prepared donuts to a freezer bag to store in the freezer until ready for use.
  6. To Cook: Set donuts out of the freezer at room temperature for about 15 minutes before frying.
  7. Fry dough in hot oil for about 3 minutes or until donuts are golden brown.
  8. Whisk glaze ingredients together and drizzle over warm donuts before serving.

Make-Ahead Pumpkin Donuts (Whole Grain, Low Sugar, Easy!)

Concerned about the fact that these treats are fried? Don’t be! Coconut and Palm Oils can withstand high temperatures without becoming harmful to us. So instead of fearing the fry, we can actually enjoy the healthy fat we’re getting while enjoying these donuts.

Wow. Who knew we would ever be able to say, “I need some healthy fats in my diet. Please pass the donuts.”

But of course, let us not ever eat more donuts than veggies, yada, yada. You know the drill.

WAIT. There are veggies in these donuts (thank you, pumpkin, for being there for us when we need you). So I guess we can enjoy these to our heart’s delight, all while enjoying the fact that you can make them ahead and freeze them for ease in the kitchen.

This is what I call one happy fall recipe!

Some of these links are my affiliate links.

Super Moist Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

Your fall is now complete because of this Super Moist Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread.

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Now, before I share this recipe, I will acknowledge the fact that some people do not like the word “moist.” Some hear a phrase such as “this towel got a little moist” or “I just stepped on something moist” and suddenly their skin is crawling as if someone scratched their fingernails across a chalkboard. Indeed, the word “moist” makes some people shudder, and because of this, my sons think it is fun to use this word way more often than is needed. They wear this shirt with pride —>

moist shirt

Why? Because they are gentlemen who care about the feelings of others.

But now let’s talk about the word “moist” in the context of a baked good. I believe this gives it a wonderful and good meaning. After all, who doesn’t like their cake or quick bread to be perfectly moist? Especially when the alternative is that the cake or quick bread is dry and crumbly? Shouldn’t we, even those of us who don’t like the word “moist,” want our baked goods to be moist? Of course we should.

Rest assured, this bread is moist because of the sour cream, which makes it delicious and that’s all there is to it.

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Super Moist Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

Super Moist Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread
 
Author:
Serves: 2 9x5 loaf pans
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-ounces pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups whole grain flour (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Spice*
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl cream melted butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, and sour cream.
  2. Mix in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices until well combined.
  3. Pour batter into two buttered 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Allow bread to sit in the pan for 10 minutes to cool.
  6. Removed bread from pans and place on wire racks to continue cooling.

*Find the recipe for our Pumpkin Spice mix here. Or substitute: 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in this recipe.

Super Moist Sour Cream Pumpkin BreadAre you having a wonderful fall, loving all things Pumpkin Spice?

What is your least favorite word? Why I am asking that question is beyond me. I must live with a bunch of boys.

 

The Teenage Boy and the Toilet Paper

Sometimes I feel all alone in this big old house full of men. It’s five-on-one here, with me being the only female in a house full of males. A husband, four sons, and me, the wife and mom, speaking a language all my own. How frequent it is that I speak sentences full of words no one understands.

Or so it seems.

Family at Nebraska City

Perhaps I do provide too many details when I share fun news. “Our friends had their baby!” I say, following up my announcement with the size, weight, details, details, details, and details that we all most certainly care about very much! I finally come up for air, and they all give an appreciative nod and a “cool” or a “nice” before zoning back into whatever it was they were doing before I started my speech.

Sometimes it seems like they aren’t listening. Sometimes it seems like they don’t care.

I know better though. They hear. And they definitely care. They just aren’t as interested as I am in the color of the darling bow the baby wore on her head on the way home from the hospital (multi-colored with flowers, thanks for asking).

My boys and I shop together, but I’m alone at the rack with cute sweaters and adorable tops. We have a blast anyway, meeting back up and high-fiving over the clearance deals we’ve all found. We laugh together about the weird shorts that are still on the rack for so many obvious reasons, but wonder together if we should actually buy them for Asa because if anyone could pull off such ridiculous looking apparel and make it look cool, it would be him.

Hangers in the clothing store.

The fun I have with my household of men truly takes my breath away, even while there are times I long for any one of them to get excited with me about how great it would be if we actually put all the shoes in the closet where they belong. The fact that no one but me can see the pile of books on the steps that needs to be carried upstairs blows my mind. How do they walk over and around them twelve times but never once see them and pick them up to take them to the place they need to go? I do not understand this.

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But I’ve learned that the fact that they don’t always see doesn’t mean that they don’t care. And just because their faces don’t light up over the news of a new baby or the sight of a clean kitchen doesn’t mean they aren’t excited or appreciative.

As their mom, I will continue to share too many details, because I can’t help it and after all, someone needs to prepare them to hear all the details and words their wives will some day share with them every day, am I right? My arms will flail and my eyes will light up and my voice will show ridiculous inflection as I tell about the exciting deal I found on strawberries and a new recipe I’m excited to try as a result, even though they will only shrug after hearing my details and simply say, “Cool. Can we have some?”

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But then there will be the day when the basket that holds the rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom becomes empty and I will look up to see my 15-year old son get a full package out of storage, open it, and fill the basket just like I have been doing for years. He wasn’t asked to do this chore. I didn’t even know he knew my system. But there he is. Filling baskets with toilet paper.

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These are actual baskets in our actual bathroom,
filled with actual toilet paper by an actual teenage boy. 

Apparently, they do see. They do notice. They do care.

My eyes light up over this! I gush with appreciation, using many words and flailing arms to express my thanks! He responds with a wordless shrug, because after all, it’s just toilet paper.

No, Son. It’s more than that. Here, let me tell you in detail why this is means so much to me…

The Teenage Boy and the Toilet Paper

How to Take Your Oils With You (A Great Giveaway from Got Oil Supplies!)

It takes one to know one. What I mean is, if you are an essential oil user, you can quickly recognize another essential oil user. I’ll give a friend a hug and say, “Mmmm, you’re wearing Frankincense.” or “Uh-oh, I smell Thieves. Are you not feeling well today?”

It’s the common language of EO users. I love the smell of almost all oils, and of course I love that they are so beneficial. I try to have some of the basics with me at all times, even and especially when we are on the road. But of course, it’s easy to walk out the door without them. So hooray for my two newest items that I’ve acquired for my Essential Oils!

essential oils bag11) A beautiful necklace so that I can put a few drops inside and actually wear my oils
2) A handy travel bag that holds 10 oil bottles

Using both of these will be so much better than my current system which has been “throw several bottles of oil into my purse and hope they don’t get lost.” See the handy little pockets inside the travel bag? Fabulous. And it’s the perfect size to stash inside our snack tote so that between games or events if my kids come up and say, “What do you have for my sore neck/knee/throat/head/arm?” I don’t have to scrounge the bottom of my purse in hopes of finding the right oil.

essential oils bag2Then, of course, there’s the pretty necklace I’ll be wearing that holds a few drops of whichever oil I need for the day.

essential oil necklace

I received these from GotOilSupplies.com and am excited for you to check them out!

I’m most impressed with the quality of their products paired with their inexpensive prices. My favorite of all they offer is the jewelry and the travel bags, but you’ll see that they have all variety of essential oil necessities.

Check out all their Diffusing Necklaces to pick your favorite, allthewhile thinking about the people on your Christmas list. Then pick out your favorite Travel Bag because Got Oil Supplies is giving one away to FOUR different winners!

Do you see how inexpensive these are? Their prices make these purchases so doable. Hooray for practical items that are so cute and reasonably priced!

Ready to make it easy to take your oils with you?

Enter to win this great giveaway in the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw 4 random winners on Thursday, October 12.

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Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies – Prepare To Be Amazed!

When you no longer eat much sugar, but you want to enjoy your childhood favorite No-Bake Cookies…you make the cookies with a little bit of honey to see if you can pull it off. They turn out so delicious you start dancing in the living room.

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What? Of course you can dance about cookies. Delicious No-Bake Cookies made with honey are worth dancing over.

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For the record, I don’t dance in public. There is good reason for this as my feet and my head don’t always play nice together. My head knows where my feet should go and gives directions accordingly. But then my feet are like, “Are you kidding me right now?” then my head is like, “That is not at all what I told you to do; what are you actually thinking?” and my feet say, “You aren’t the boss of me, I’ll do what I want.” So then my brain gives up and says, “Forget it. At least I’m good at making cookies.”

My friend Kim sent me this recipe idea, then I tweaked it just a bit to make it my own. I guess we could say that it’s Kim’s fault that I was dancing in the living room. She can be glad I didn’t invite her over to watch. Though I probably should thank her with a cookie sometime.

Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies

Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 18-20
Ingredients
  • ½ - ¾ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, stir together honey, peanut butter, butter, and cocoa powder.
  2. Melt and stir ingredients over medium heat until well combined and slightly bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add oats and stir until coated.
  5. Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of mixture onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Chill No-Bake Cookies in the refrigerator until they are set, about 1 hour.

Honey Sweetened No Bake Cookies

Want some more Low Sugar Cookie recipes?

With all these recipes making us so very happy, we will all be dancing in our living rooms. What will the neighbors think?

Are you a No-Bake Cookie fan? Did you grow up eating these? Can you dance? (I mean, any of us can. But are you good at it?)

How We Developed a Morning Bible Reading Time With Our Family

It might surprise you to know that what originally started our morning Bible reading time with our family was a bit of selfish need on the part of this mama.

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What selfish need was my motivation? Oh, just a little something I like to call peace and quiet. The silly little desire for my four small boy children to actually stay in their chairs during a meal and not throw scrambled eggs toward the window or poke each other with forks. The desperate attempt to find some sort of order for our mornings when we were staring down a 7-year old, a 5-year old, a 3-year old, and a 6-month old.

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Now truly, motivation for beginning our Bible reading time was the fact that we felt like good Christian parents should probably actually read the Bible to their kids. Funny that I didn’t at first equate Christ-like character and heart training with Bible reading. Good Christians just read the Bible, right?

I could interrupt myself here and ask what I even thought it meant to be a “good Christian” because what? Like there’s such thing as a “bad Christian?” Either you’re a Christ follower or you aren’t. But I digress.

So we wanted to be good Christian parents, and that surely must mean that we should read the Bible to our kids. And we wanted all the eggs and muffins to stay on plates and then get eaten, so it started to make sense to us that if we read the Bible to our kids while they were sitting at the table eating their food, we could get a two-for-one. The kids would sit and eat. The “good Christian parents” could read the Bible. Everyone brushes their teeth and moves on with the day.

Thankfully, before we got much farther into our parenting journey, God convicted us that shaping our kids’ hearts and character meant much more than simply “reading the Bible” to them. Of course, reading the Bible is a fabulous and necessary part of the journey, but it’s so much more than just reading words and moving on. We started talking with our kids frequently about God’s work in our lives. We started using scripture as a part of their training in ways that were fun and meaningful.

We learned that we needed to make Jesus’ life and and love a part of every aspect of our lives so that we, too, could live a life of love.

As parents, we learned along with our kids. There’s no magic formula for perfect parenting, but there is a Holy Spirit, the perfect guide. The more we listen to His leading and direction, the more we know what to say, how to love, and how to guide our kids.

As for our morning family Bible reading time at breakfast, it’s become a practice and tradition that we all hold dear. It’s much more than words in a book. It’s the Words from the Book. It’s Truth. It’s Life.

Reading to our kids during a meal began as a way to keep them focused on both food and words. It worked for us then, and works for us now as it brings our busy family of teenagers together for conversation and Biblical truth before we hit the ground running.

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Keeping their hands busy any time I read to them when they were little
was a necessity if I wanted them to actually hear the words I was reading.

No matter how you choose to fill your kids with Truth from the Word, do find the ways that work for you. During meals, in the car, at bedtime – any or all of the above, as the Spirit leads you. Change your times and practices through the years as needed.

Don’t limit scripture training to be something your kids learn on Sunday mornings. Make it a part of every day of your lives, as parents, as individuals, and as a family.

And if you read the Bible at the breakfast table with your little ones, enjoy the added benefit that the eggs will be thrown at the window less frequently and forks will be poked at siblings less often.

How We Developed a Morning Bible Reading Time with our Family

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

Allow me to introduce a new seasonal favorite: Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies.

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While I’ve shared that I just can’t get behind Pumpkin Spice Coffee (typing it actually makes me shudder just a little bit), I most certainly enjoy making many Pumpkin Spice treats this time of year – to eat while I drink my (plain, non-pumpkin-spice) coffee. If my house smells of nothing but Pumpkin Spice from now until Christmas, there will be much joy in the holiday season.

Of course, seeing as I live with a houseful of teenage boys, my house not only smells of Pumpkin Spice, it also frequently smells like Old Spice. And old shoes. Annnnnd cute girls.

It’s an interesting combination, you can be sure. One that I am so very blessed to experience. What a great God we serve!

Do you see His goodness all around you? Even in the midst of struggle? Even throughout the daily grind? Even during times of hardship and devastation?

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I love God. All that He offers is good, and all good comes from Him. I am continually in awe of how He provides for our spiritual needs, which makes all else fade.

What does this have to do with Pumpkin Spice Cookies? Ha. I don’t know. Lately I find myself working my way through all the day-to-day of life, which includes this houseful of teenage boys (and the cute girls that stop by) and in the midst of the cookies and the shoes and the vacuuming and the piles of mail, I sit in wonder at the peace God is revealing to me though His Spirit.

And in the Pumpkin Spice Cookie – well – there is joy. Especially when there is a great cup of coffee (sans Pumpkin Spice) to go with it.

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Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 18-24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Spice*
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
Instructions
  1. Cream together melted butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and sea salt.
  3. Stir in flour until well combined.
  4. Cover and chill dough for 1-2 hours.
  5. Roll dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness between layers of parchment paper or on a well-floured surface.
  6. Cut rolled dough with cookie cutter shapes and place cut-outs on a baking sheet, ½ inch apart.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Easy Low Sugar Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Cookies

 

I’d love to hear about the joy of the Lord you are experiencing right now. Struggling to see His goodness? Look around at what you have, and I’m not talking about your stuff. See His goodness in the details of your life. In joy, in pain, in suffering – God is good. His mercies are new every morning.

And sometimes, they take on the form of a Pumpkin Spice Cookie dunked in coffee.