Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Wow, Laura.  Another pumpkin recipe?  Really?

Actually, I used butternut squash puree in this recipe, so there.  But yes, it’s another pumpkin (aka butternut squash) recipe.  I told you I was on a roll with pumpkin recipe experiements.  I’m here to provide you with easy recipes – and also to force you to eat vegetables.  What better way than in a dessert?  (And in a salad, of course.)

You’ll notice that I loved the Shortbread Crust idea so much in the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I stole the idea for this crust too.  This is basically Shortbread with Pumpkin Pie baked on top – all in a 9×13 inch pan.  No rolling of a pie crust necessary.  Easy, buttery, delicious – what more could we want?

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Shortbread Crust

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Stir flour and sucanat together in a bowl.  Add melted butter, combining well.  Press mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 7 minutes. (It will only be partially cooked at this point.)  In the meantime, prepare the filling:

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 cups pumpkin or butternut squash puree
2/3 sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Whip ingredients together until smooth.  Pour over crust.  Bake in a 350° oven for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bars comes out clean.

Have you had your fill of pumpkin this holiday season?

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Free Shipping PLUS Free Gifts at Tropical Traditions (and did I mention Palm Shortening is on sale?)

This is one of my favorite Black Friday finds!

Tropical Traditions is offering free shipping with any $15.00 purchase this weekend.  You’ll also receive a free ceramic mug with any order.  (You have to add that to your cart, so do a site search for “mug” as it is not listed in their regular store.)

Not only that, if you’re a new customer with Tropical Traditions shopping through this referral link, you’ll automatically receive a free Virgin Coconut Oil Book, full of recipes and health information.

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But my favorite part of all is that their Organic Palm Shortening is discounted to just $23.59 for a gallon bucket.  I go through this shortening like crazy at my house – for healthy frying and for pie crusts (here’s my recipe!).  This sale with free shipping is perfect for holiday baking!

So, discounted palm shortening, free mug, free book (if you’re new), and FREE SHIPPING!!!  Such awesomeness!

Use the code 12141 at check-out for free shipping to apply.  The palm shortening price is only good through Sunday, November 30.  Free shipping is good through Monday, December 1.

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Discounts on My Favorites: MadeOn, Deborah and Co., Lilla Rose, Pyrex, and More

Hope you’ve taken advantage of the Pink Friday sales we’re offering!  I found other incredible deals from Deborah and Co.MadeOn, and Lilla Rose!

You’ll remember that we just had a fun Deborah and Co. giveaway.  Now everyone can take advantage of these great discounts:

black_friday_2014_400

Save 20% off the entire Deborah and Co. store with the code: BLACKFRIDAY at the checkout!  Save 30% off fleece lined leggings and all full length layering shells.  The entire Little Deborah section is 20% off with the code, so stock up on Princess Play Dresses, Books and Media for your girls!  Offer good through December 1, 2014.

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MadeOn is offering a free Peppermint Lip Balm (my fav!) with any purchase.  Just it add to your cart on Friday, November 28th, and it’s free.  Or get a free 5-pack of Natural Lip Balms when your order reaches $50.  When your cart reaches $50, add a 5-pack to your cart, and they’re free.

madeon black friday

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Everything is 20-50% off at Lilla Rose.  There are also two gorgeous Christmas clips…The Compass Rose and Crimson Joy.  Also, they are bringing back all of the previous Flexis-of-the-Month from 2014. Many of these sold out quickly, but are back for a limited time, or till supplies last.  Plus, get free shipping on orders over $50!  Offer good November 28-30.

Black Friday 2014

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Amazon is offering this nice 2-quart Pyrex Covered Dish for just $9.91.

pyrex

 

My favorite set of 4 Pyrex baking dishes with lids is only $13.50 (free shipping with Prime)!  Love these!!!!!!!!

pyrex_4

Spot It Games are “buy one get one 50% off” at Amazon.  Many of you suggested this game to be a winner!  Scroll down on this page for the details of this deal.

spot it

More great deals to come….

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I Prefer To Call it Pink Friday…

Black Friday typically means you can grab some pretty good deals.  Pink Friday around here is the very same thing – I just like pink better than black.  I also make up words and eat a lot of butter.  What a rebel.

Take a look at the great Pink Friday freebies and sale prices we’ve set up for you here from our Heavenly Homemakers Shop!  We pray you’ll be blessed!

PinkFriday2

First up, a bonus freebie with purchase of the Oh, For Real! Cookbook:

ForRealBookCover6

Purchase our book and you’ll immediately receive an email which includes a bonus $10 gift certificate to use on anything downloadable in our shop!  Use the certificate yourself, or gift it to someone else.  This certificate will expire December 15, 2014.  Hurry to take advantage of this big bonus deal!  Bonus offer ends midnight Monday, December 1, 2014.

Oh, For Real: Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy 
$25.95

Add to Cart

Cost for a book shipped to Canada is $34.05. If you are from Canada or another country outside the U.S., please email me before purchasing. Thanks!

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Next, we’re excited to offer a big discount on the “giftable” version (told you I made up words) of our Build Your Menu Planning Notebook.  This is the one you can download and print for yourself and print to gift others.  What an inexpensive way to bless someone – and even less now that we are offering this sale price.  :)  Sale price good through Monday, December 1, 2014.

Build Your Menu Planning Notebook 350

Build Your Menu Planning Notebook – For Personal Use and for Gifts
(unlimited lifetime downloads)
$10.99
$6.99

Add to Cart

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Get Teaching Your Kids to Cook or Learn to Cook (the downloadable versions) for just $5 each.  Print these for your kids this Christmas!  Sale price good through Monday, December 1, 2014.

TeachingKidscoversm

Teaching Your Kids to Cook Downloadable Book
$12
$5

Add to Cart

LearnToCookcoversm

Learn to Cook Downloadable Book
$12
$5
Add to Cart

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Enjoy these fun savings!  I love staying home on Black (Pink) Friday to get good deals.

Also – my favorite companies are emailing me to let me know of other great prices to share with you.  They are awesome, so watch for more Black Friday deal posts that I’ll have ready soon!  Then after all the deals posts, I’ve got a really yummy new pumpkin dessert recipe to share.  More pumpkin??  You betcha!

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When Thanksgiving and Christmas Collide ~ And It’s a Good Thing

give thanks

Today, my family is celebrating Thanksmas.  Hey, it’s a real thing.  It’s when Thanksgiving and Christmas collide because of travel plans and family circumstances.  We won’t be able to see my Kansas family on December 25.  Instead, we’re celebrating both holidays together – today, at the same time.

“Oh no!” one might think.  “We should never skip through Thanksgiving and jump into Christmas, forgetting to be thankful.”

I’ll agree with you completely on one point:  We should never forget to be thankful.  Never, ever.  But blending the two holidays?  I have decided that it’s perfect.  I’ve also decided that this same concept is perfect in the middle of February, early in April, and during summer break.  After all, if I only choose to consider “what I’m thankful for” during Thanksgiving season and “how wonderful it is that God sent Jesus to earth” during the Christmas season – I have completely missed some major Truths in the Bible about who I’m called to be, and where my heart should be focused.

Hooray for holidays that bring our attention back to these important areas of focus!  But not only do I disagree that we shouldn’t blend the holidays, I believe we’ve actually missed something very important if we don’t.

Our God is an amazing God - today, on December 25, and even on Black Friday, if you can possibly imagine.  But, ack!  What about all the commercialism?!  Marketing tools!  Flyers and ads and sales – they are everywhere this time of year!  That is a true fact.

Also a true fact:  There are gimmicks and commercials and marketing ploys 365 days of the year – all of which are insisting I need their product in order to have a full and happy life.  The only difference right now is that commercials slap the words “gift giving” on the reason they’re asking us to buy stuff.  At least it’s better than telling us to buy something for ourselves because “we’re worth it,” wouldn’t you say?

Are we losing Thanksgiving because of all the Christmas hype?  My thought is that it’s not up to what time the stores open their doors, or the fact that some are not closing theirs at all.  It’s not up to sale flyers or commercials.  It’s up to you and me.  It’s about our heart focus.  Nothing in our lives can be separated.  I don’t care when you shop, what you buy, how much you spend, or whether you ate turkey or ham.  Jesus and a thankful heart go hand in hand, every single day - no matter the holiday, season, or date on a calendar.

For the record, today, not only am I celebrating Thanksgiving (so much to be thankful for!) and Christmas (how exciting that God sent His Son!) - I’m also celebrating Easter (praise God, Jesus died and rose again!) and Valentine’s Day (Love you, Matt!!  XOXOXO).  I’ll celebrate it all over again tomorrow.  And since tomorrow just so happens to be Black Friday, I might also pick up a good deal or two.  Bonus!

Have a blessed holiday season!  May our hearts yearn for Truth, may our souls find peace, may we always be grateful.

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Games on Sale at Amazon!

After all the fun discussion about your favorite games, I’ve been doing some shopping around.  I’m excited to find many of the games you mentioned on sale right now at Amazon.  With free shipping right to my door, this is tough to beat.

In case you’re interested in new games for your family too:

Quirkle is on sale for just $20.99.

quirkle

5-Second Rule is just $14.50.

5 second rule

Headbandz is $11.99.

headbandz

The Game of Things is really discounted – just $19.30.

game of things

Sequence is down to $15.99.

sequence

And there are many more great deals as you click around at all the game options.  These prices are all cheaper than the prices I saw when shopping at the store this week.  Sweet!

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Beef Summer Sausage Recipe

Summer Sausage has always been a favorite finger food of mine during the holiday season.  I’ve tinkered with recipes before, but haven’t felt like I’ve nailed them – until now.

Folks, we can now eat Summer Sausage – worry freeHigh fives all around!  No MSG, no nitrites, no preservatives.  Actually, salt is a natural preservative, so I guess I can’t say “no preservatives.”  But the least of my worries is sea salt, especially when I use Redmond. That means that “summer sausage” and “good for you” can be used in the same sentence.  Yay!!!

I think you’ll be as excited about this recipe as I am.  It’s homemade beef summer sausage!!  You will not believe how crazy easy this is to make.

Homemade Beef Summer Sausage - Easy and Healthy!

Beef Summer Sausage

2 1/2 pounds hamburger meat
2 1/2 Tablespoons liquid smoke (I prefer Wright’s Brand)
1 Tablespoon sea salt (I prefer Redmond brand)
1 teaspoon sucanat
1 Tablespoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, squishing with your hands until everything is well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Knead meat mixture, then shape into 2 logs, about 13×2 inches each.  I found that rolling them in parchment paper helped form a nice, round shape.  Place logs in baking dishes such as Pyrex 9×13 inch pans (so fat drippings will not spill over into the oven).  Bake in a 300° oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours.

To freeze Summer Sausage:  Allow baked summer sausage to cool completely.  Wrap in parchment paper, then with plastic wrap.  Place in a freezer bag, storing in freezer for up to 2 months.

As if it wasn’t already wonderful news that we can enjoy healthy summer sausage – it’s even better news that this will be perfect for your Make-Ahead Lunch Box.  I’ll be packing this for road trips, for sure.

Share with us!  What’s your favorite holiday finger food?

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The winner of our Deborah and Co. $50 gift certificate giveaway is:

Serenity Summers: lasummers@

Serenity, email me and I’ll forward your info on for your prize!

 

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Gratituesday: The Big Purchase

gratituesday[2]

You know how exciting it is when your baby first get a tooth, takes a first step, and says his/her first word?  I have to tell you, this past week has ranked right up there as one of the most exciting “firsts” for our family, particular for oldest son, Asa.  Allow me to introduce to you the newest member of our family:

asa car

Yes indeed, our 17 year old has purchased his first car.

It’s been quite the event.  My dad, Asa’s “Papa,” called a few weeks ago to let us know he may have found a good car if Asa was interested.  My dad is an auctioneer, so he frequently comes across items of interest.  The car isn’t new, and it isn’t fancy, but if Asa wanted something reliable, this could be perfect.  It had been owned by an older person who hadn’t driven it much and had taken good care of it.

We did a lot of research, loving that although the car is old (1994), it has low mileage and a good reputation.  Asa decided on a price to bid for the car, and left it in Papa’s hands since the auction was in Kansas.  Our family went on to play in a Basketball Triangular all day Saturday while my dad carried on with his auction at the same time.  As we were heading home after a long day on the basketball court, the text from my dad came in, “Asa owns a car.”

Shouting and high fives and all around.  He had won the bid!  Not only that, he got a lower price for it than we had expected – a blessing for sure!

We are so proud of Asa.  He has been working hard and saving his money for years.  This purchase was a wise one, and very doable for him because of the way he’s handled his money through the years.  He’s even still got a savings cushion (which hurts him on the FAFSA, as we are now learning – don’t even get me started).

He’ll get to bring his car home after our Thanksgiving trip to Kansas, so the timing for this purchase couldn’t be better.  As always, God worked this one out just right.

There’s much to be thankful for, and while it’s especially on our minds this time of year, I’m grateful to celebrate God’s goodness each week here during Gratituesday!  Your turn to share: What are you thankful for?

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What Are Your Favorite Family Games?

Our family loves playing games, especially now that all four kids are old enough and able to play games we all enjoy.  Finding a chunk of time that works for all six of us to sit down and play together is rare, so when we find it, we jump on it!

What Are Your Favorite Family Games

We are trying to come up with a new family game or group game to get our kids for Christmas this year.  Because you are all brilliant and always full of great ideas, I thought I’d ask you what games you love at your house.  First, I’ll give you a list of what we already have and enjoy together:

Wow, after making that list, it kind of makes me wonder if we actually need another game this Christmas.  We have oodles in our closet!  Still, tell me your favorites.  Our lives may just not be complete yet without one more game.  :)

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Menu Plan for the Week – Plus This Week’s Grocery Pictures

Here we are, beginning Thanksgiving week already!  We’ll head to Kansas to spend time with family later this week, thus the abbreviated menu plan below.  Since my side of the family won’t be together again at Christmas time, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas all in the same weekend.

groceries nov4

Home-canned goodies make great gifts!

Here’s a picture of this week’s grocery store run.  See that nine year old boy hiding behind the groceries?  He was on sale, and I couldn’t resist.

groceries nov3

We’ll be enjoying the special treat of Chex Mix over the holiday.

Our Amazon Subscribe and Save order came this week.  I got such good deals – and they are all over my storage room.  Not only have I not had time to put them away, it’s freezing in there!  I’ll do it….later.  ;)

groceries nov

My new Menu Planning Notebook is proving to be soooo much fun - and super helpful too.  Do you have yours put together yet?  As you can see, I shared my work space with cookie cutters.  Malachi and I were getting cookies ready to take to Kansas.  :)

groceries nov2

Here’s what my menu plan ended up looking like for this week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

  • Pears
  • Applesauce
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Petite Carrots
  • Clementines
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Romaine
  • Raspberries
  • Fresh Pineapple

What are your Thanksgiving plans this week?

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