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Homemade Taco Sauce


 

 

Homemade Taco Sauce

Happy Cinco De Mayo! What better day to share this recipe? 🙂 This is incredibly easy and probably the best taco sauce I have ever tasted. The best part? Nothing nasty added in, like preservatives. My five-year old was licking this off of her plate tonight at dinner lol. I found the original recipe here but I did not follow it exactly.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I used organic)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk together. Cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, whisking occasionally. That is all, could not be easier! This is a very mild sauce, if you want to make it spicier you could add more chili powder, maybe some cayenne or red pepper.

This sauce would probably be even better made a day in advance so the flavors have more time to meld together. Store in the fridge.

We had it on homemade Mexican pizzas tonight, YUM!

Mexican Pizza

 

Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

 

Homemade Chia Seed Pudding


Chia Seed Pudding Recipe - Ashley's Homemade Adventures

I know most of you hear “chia” and think “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” but this seed is good for so much more than growing “wool” on a cute clay lamb. I recently bought a pound of chia seeds because I heard about the many health benefits. It contains essential fatty acids, protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, antioxidants and many other nutrients our bodies need. You can read about the many other wonderful benefits of chia seeds here. After buying the seeds admittedly I had no idea how to use them. I did a quick search and one of the first things that came up was 10 Uses for Chia Seeds by the Wellness Mama. She has a wonderful recipe for chia seed pudding and says her kids love it (the seeds soak up the liquid and gel up). I decided that is what I wanted to try first, since it sounds like something my daughter would like as well. I decided to try her strawberry version since I had just bought some fresh strawberries (although the chocolate recipe sounds heavenly as well and we will be trying that next!) Here is how to make the strawberry recipe:

  • 2 cups milk (we use almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (about 6 large strawberries)
  • 1 tbsp honey

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl and chill in fridge. It takes about 10 minutes to thicken up to the right consistency. I personally think it is better if you let it sit for a few hours, the outside of the seeds will soften up more so it feels smoother.

Chia Seed Pudding

I know it does not look all that pretty but wow it is good! It tastes so creamy and strawberry-y 🙂 There are so many combinations you could dream up! I am so glad I decided to try this, I love it and my daughter does too.

The only downside is cleaning the blender, some of the seeds will get stuck. I just used the hose attachment on the sink to blast most of them out. Then I filled my blender halfway with water, added a drop of dish soap and used the cleaning cycle to get the rest out. I hope this will not keep you from trying this recipe, it is so worth the few extra minutes of clean up. It is so good for you and the chia seeds will also help keep you full!

Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

Homemade Garlic Knots


Homemade Garlic Knots Recipe

These garlic knots are to die for and incredibly easy to make. The first time I ever had a garlic knot was at an Italian restaurant in Florida, and I was hooked! I wanted to go to that place all the time just for the garlic knots, lol! When we moved to Massachusetts I started having garlic knot withdrawals! There is not a single place near us that serves them, and even if they did I highly doubt they would be as good. So I was determined to make my own, and dare I say these might even be better than the ones we loved so much in Florida. You might want to make a double batch because everyone will be begging for more, at least that is what happens around here 🙂 You can also freeze leftovers (if you have any) and then reheat in the oven.

I started by looking for an easy pizza dough recipe, and found an awesome one on The Fauxmartha. I just made a couple of changes and had my perfect dough.

GARLIC KNOTS: (Makes 8)

  • 1 cup WARM water (about 110 degrees, you don’t want to kill the yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, grape seed, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp instant yeast, or one package
  • 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together warm water, oil, honey and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, you should see bubbles/foam forming from the yeast.
  3. Add flour, parmesan cheese, and sea salt.
  4. Stir together until it gets tough to stir, then knead in the bowl with your hands until you have a smooth dough ball (should only take a minute or two).
  5. Oil a flat surface, I use a flexible cutting mat sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Transfer dough to oiled surface, turn to coat.
  7. Divide into 8 equal sections.
  8. Roll into long “snakes” and then tie into a knot. (don’t worry if they don’t look perfect)
  9. Place knots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown.

How to make garlic knots

While the knots are baking prepare your garlic sauce:

  • 1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (If you use salted butter you can leave this out but I personally like them a little salty)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, cook on low to medium-low for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, you do not want your garlic to brown or else it will become bitter.
  2. Spoon over baked knots, making sure to coat each one with some of the garlic.

We love to sprinkle ours with grated parmesan cheese too, yum!

How to make garlic knots

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


The best part about carving a pumpkin? Getting to roast the seeds! At least for me 🙂 I have memories of doing this with my mom and papaw as a kid, and this is how they did it. These have the perfect amount of saltines and crunchiness, and you can eat the whole thing… shell and all. Our family has literally been fighting over the bowl of these since we finished dinner lol. My daughter doesn’t even like the pumpkin seeds you can buy at the store so that says something! These are way better than the ones you can buy and are SO easy.

Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds, separated from pumpkin flesh and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cooking spray/oil
  1. Put your seeds into a bowl, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. You don’t really have to measure but I would guess I use about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon per cup of seeds. I like to use sea salt but whatever kind you have will work great.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the seeds. Let soak 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil, spray foil with cooking spray or rub with olive oil.
  4. Drain your seeds but do not rinse them, spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle with a little extra salt. I used kosher salt for this step.
  6. Place into preheated oven, stir seeds around every 5 minutes for even browning. The seeds are done when they are golden brown. It took about 15 minutes for our oven but could vary, just keep an eye on them.
  7. Remove from oven and enjoy!

If you want you could add herbs/spices when you sprinkle the salt onto these, but they are so good this way we have never tried adding anything else. I hope you enjoy this simple but yummy recipe from our family!

❤ Ashley

 

 

 

P.S. I found this photo being passed around on Facebook, many great reasons to eat pumpkin seeds! It mentions that they are high in magnesium, most Americans are deficient in magnesium and it is needed for over 200 functions in the body.

Soft Heath Bar Cookies


Today I fully intended on making chocolate chip cookies, but I ended up with these instead…. soft and yummy heath bar cookies. I wanted to try this recipe I found for The BEST-EVER Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. With a name like that they have to be good right?! Well I am always on a quest to make things healthier so I changed a few ingredients, and then I realized I was out of chocolate chips! My husband loves the heath bar candy so luckily I had some of that to use instead. I use crushed heath bar for a trifle that I make for the holidays, so I had some hiding in the cabinets shhhhh 🙂

I am sure these really would be awesome chocolate chip cookies, but you won’t be sorry if you try making them this way too. They were a huge hit, my husband and daughter both ate 7 cookies today! But before anyone starts making comments about letting my child eat that many cookies, she has a very healthy and balanced diet and we do not eat treats very often 🙂 She kept sneaking them when I wasn’t looking lol. My husband gave these a 9 on a scale of 1-10, yay!

So here you go, The Best-Ever Chewy Heath Bar Cookies  – Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (I use salted but either would be fine)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw (or white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Heath Bars, crushed

1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, mix in vanilla extract, butter flavor and egg.

3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

4. Stir in crushed heath bar.

5. Drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, 1 tablespoon at a time.

6. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the edges are barely golden. Do not cook longer than 10 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, move to wire rack to cool completely.

8. Try not to burn yourself as you are shoveling them into your mouth!

 

Enjoy 🙂

❤ Ashley

Homemade “Caramel” Apple Dip


Today I may have just stumbled upon the EASIEST and most amazing apple dip ever! At least that is what I would like to think 😉 My 4-year-old took one bite and told me I HAD to write a blog about it. With fall just around the corner it means there will be lots of apple picking and eating going on. I remember getting so excited when my mom would bring home the caramel apple dip from the store. She only bought it every once in a while as a special treat but I found a way to get the same taste with out all the sugar and guilt. My daughter wanted an apple this morning, and lately I have been making her a dip that is a mixture of yogurt, peanut butter, honey and ground flax seeds (also really yummy by the way). I didn’t feel like eating that particular dip this morning, I wanted something more fall like… so I came up with this. You probably won’t even need to write this one down, it is so easy to remember.

  • 1/4 cup plain (organic) yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Stir together and voila, creamy, caramel-y tasting goodness! Skip all of those dips loaded with sugar and preservatives and just try this simple and healthy dip once, you won’t be sorry 🙂 I am not gonna lie I kinda felt like a genius for coming up with this even though it is so easy haha.

Next time I will probably be mixing some flax-seed meal into this dip as well, I am always trying to find ways to get more into our diet. (For other ideas on how to eat more flax-seed and why it is good for you check out this post) I bet this would also be amazing with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Do you plan on trying this, what did you think, what are your other favorite apple dips? Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

Overnight Oatmeal


This is the perfect on the go breakfast, it is easy, delicious and has many health benefits. Packed with lots of goodies to keep you full and full of energy. There are many ways to make this, and it is called by many other names (such as refrigerator oatmeal, no cook oatmeal, cold oatmeal, cold porridge, etc). This is how we make it in our family, and it has evolved into more of an ” oatmeal drink” to have in the car on the way to work. It would also be great to have a little at lunch time to make it through the afternoon slump.

The best part of this is that you don’t have to cook anything, you literally pour everything into a jar, shake it and let it sit in the fridge overnight. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth it. So to make this you will need:

  • 1/2 cup Quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup Plain, non-fat organic yogurt
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon Raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon Flax-seed meal
  • 1/4 cup Blueberries (or preferred fruit)

I like to put my dry ingredients into the jar first, the oatmeal and flax-seed, then I add the milk, yogurt, honey and blueberries. Shake until fully combined. Pop it in the fridge and you are good to go, just grab the jar on the way out the door in the morning. It will have the consistency of a nice thick smoothie and you can just drink it straight from the jar.

Health Benefits: 

Oatmeal- Contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and tons of fiber. It keeps you full, boosts your immune system, lowers cholesterol, stabilizes your blood sugar and may actually reduce your risk of cancer.

Yogurt- Just like oatmeal it contains protein, lowers cholesterol, and boosts your immune system. It is a great source of calcium and actually increases the absorption of calcium and B vitamins. The yogurt also helps break down the phytates in the oatmeal which make it easier to digest.

Almond Milk- Contains fewer calories than cow’s milk, loaded with vitamins (such as A, D & E) and calcium.

Raw Honey- Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, helps boost the immune system and destroys free radicals in the body. Also aids in digestion and may help to prevent cancer.

Flax-Seed- Contain fiber, lignans, micronutrients and essential omega-3 fatty acids. It has been shown to help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, prevent hardening of the arteries and may even be helpful to people with certain types of cancer. I have a whole blog post dedicated to flax-seeds 🙂 

Blueberries- Loaded with vitamins & antioxidants, blueberries also help boost you immune system. Like honey it also helps to get rid of free radicals in your system. Shown to help your vision, urinary tract health, heart health, brain health and even a natural anti-depressant. Also may help to prevent cancer.

That is a whole lot of goodness in one jar! My husband has this every morning for breakfast and loves the energy boost it gives him. When I eat this for breakfast it keeps me full into the early afternoon. Sometimes I can’t even finish it and will save the rest for the next day. As I said before there are so many ways to make this, so if you try this and it is just not for you then please try adjusting the amounts. You can even use flavored yogurt and come up with some great flavor & fruit combinations. We mostly stick with plain yogurt to avoid extra sugar but occasionally we switch it up. I hope you will give our version a try and let me know what you think, and/or let everyone know how you like to make it in the comments 🙂 Enjoy!

❤ Ashley