Healthy Homemade Snack – Baked Zucchini Chips

I love a good snack, snacks are delicious! Are they good for you? Ehhh it’s always up for debate, but if you are going to eat something between meals, perhaps while you’re cozying up to watch a movie or play a game, why not make it a healthier choice?

I think most nutritionists agree that anything deep-fried should be consumed in moderation or not at all, but chips are sooooo good! The solution? Let’s create our own oven-baked chips! And not just potato chips, let’s create some delicious vegetable chips too! This way we are regulating exactly what is going into and/or on to our chips with no deep-frying to be found!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 large zucchini
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 240 F.
  2. Wash the zucchini, then use a mandolin to uniformly slice them into thin chips.
  3. Place the zucchini slices on a clean dish towel or paper towels. Cover them with another dish towel or paper towels and set a baking sheet on them, pressing own slightly to remove excess moisture.
  4. After drying, place the zucchini slices into a bowl and toss them with olive oil and a few pinches of salt (how much depends on your preference).
  5. Coat a large baking sheet (or more) with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
  6. Place the zucchini slices on the baking sheets in a single layer.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and golden.
  8. Allow the chips to cool completely. 
  9. Enjoy!

Simple Shaken Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

It’s summertime, and many of us think about cold and refreshing treats for the hot days ahead. When I was a little girl, my grandpa would bring out a hand-cranked ice cream maker during family barbecues and my job was to sit on it to hold it steady. It may sound silly, but I loved that job, and felt super important doing it.

I’m not sure if that old ice cream maker fell apart, or it’s stored away somewhere and I can’t find it. I would love to buy or make another one some day, but for now we’ll get Zoey involved in making ice cream another way, that will admittedly burn off more energy!

Let’s make some homemade ice cream in bags!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Ice
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 2 plastic sandwich bags
  • 1 plastic gallon bag
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla extract into a small bowl, then whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the half and half mixture into one of the plastic sandwich bags and seal, then place it into the other sandwich bag and seal.
  3. Fill half of the gallon bag with ice and the salt.
  4. Place the smaller bag into the larger bag and cover the rest of it with ice, then seal the larger bag.
  5. The salt will make the ice colder than comfortable so wear oven mitts to protect your hands and shake the bag for about 6-12 minutes.
  6. Remove the small bag from the larger bag and rinse it well to remove any salt residue.
  7. Carefully open the bag and empty the ice cream into a bowl, stirring a bit to smooth.
  8. Enjoy!

Healthy Homemade Snack – Baked Potato Chips

I love a good snack, snacks are delicious! Are they good for you? Ehhh it’s always up for debate, but if you are going to eat something between meals, perhaps while you’re cozying up to watch a movie or play a game, why not make it a healthier choice?

I think most nutritionists agree that anything deep-fried should be consumed in moderation or not at all, but chips are sooooo good! The solution? Let’s create our own oven-baked chips! This way we are regulating exactly what is going into and/or on to our chips with no deep-frying to be found!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the potatoes, then use a mandolin to uniformly slice them into thin chips.
  2. Place the potato slices into a large bowl and cover them with cold water. 
  3. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to soak for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
  4. Drain the potato slices and pat them dry.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  6. Coat a large baking sheet (or more) with cooking spray.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the potato slices together with the olive oil and salt to coat evenly. 
  8. Spread the potato slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chips are a very light golden color and appear crunchy. Keep a careful eye on the potatoes to make sure they don’t brown and overcook.
  10. Allow the chips to cool completely. 
  11. Enjoy!

Merlin’s Soft Ginger Cookie Recipe (The Sword in the Stone)

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be baking Merlin’s soft ginger cookies from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone.

This recipe is featured when Arthur drops in on Merlin for the first time. Of course Merlin is expecting him, with tea and these large delicious-looking cookies waiting for him!

I am a fan of chewy cookies and these are perfect! All the taste of a gingersnap or gingerbread, but with more bounce! They pair well with black tea, but I’m sure you could experiment with other types of beverages too!

MERLIN’S SOFT GINGER COOKIES
  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 cup of molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt, then set this bowl aside.
  2. In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and then the molasses and water to the creamed butter, and mix again thoroughly.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky when ready.
  5. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or more, then remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper. 
  7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small mixing bowl and set it aside.
  8. Scoop out portions of 1 to 2 tablespoons of dough, rolling them into balls bout an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Toss each cookie dough ball in the bowl of sugar to coat, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (this varies per oven so keep an eye on them) or until the top of the cookie begins to crinkle and the bottom sides turn golden brown.
  10. Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire cooking rack to cool completely.
  11. Enjoy!

Classic, Fluffy Sugar Cookie Recipe

Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Have you tried a classic, fluffy sugar cookie? They are so cozy and delicious, and would pair perfectly with any warm beverage of your choice. Share them with family, friends, even leave them out with some milk for Santa Claus!

Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
CLASSIC FLUFFY SUGAR COOKIES
  • 2 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, then set this bowl aside.
  2. In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the creamed butter, and thoroughly mix again.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated (you may need to use your hands). The dough will be soft and slightly dewy when ready.
  5. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or more.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator when ready and pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a small mixing bowl and set it aside.
  8. Line a large baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
  9. Scoop out portions of 1 to 2 tablespoons of dough, rolling them into balls about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Roll each cookie dough ball in the bowl of sugar to coat, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (this varies per oven so keep an eye on them) or until the top of the cookie begins to crinkle and the bottom sides turn golden brown.
  11. Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire cooking rack to finish cooling completely.
  12. Enjoy!
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to prepare and eat, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and we snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.
  2. Place the seeds into a colander and rinse them under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure they are all rinsed thoroughly.
  3. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan, then add 4 to 6 cups of water and about 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.
  4. Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes, then remove them from the heat and strain.
  5. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet or two and allow them to completely dry (this may take up to a week).
  6. Once the seeds are completely dry, prepare a small bowl with salt water. This is to crystalize on the outer shell, so dissolve as much salt as you want for a saltier outer shell, or less if you feel the brine was enough.
  7. Place the seeds into a skillet and roast on medium to low heat, stirring continuously for an even cook.
  8. When they nearly roasted to your liking, dip your fingers into the salt water and splash it as evenly as possible over the roasted seeds, then continue to stir until the water has evaporated.
  9. Remove the seeds from the heat and allow them to cool.
  10. Enjoy!
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pastry Wrapped Baked Apples with Nutella & Granola Recipe

Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!

These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!

PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • Nutella
  • Granola
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
  4. Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
  5. Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
  8. Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
  9. Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  10. Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
  11. Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
  12. Repeat step 11 with each apple.
  13. Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
  14. Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  16. Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  17. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Chocolaty M&M Valentine’s Day Cookie Recipe

Happy February friends! I have some chocolaty Valentine cookies for you, and whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, cookies are rarely unwelcome!

You may have heard that you can make cookies with boxed cake mix and this recipe does just that, but with a boost of unsweetened cocoa powder and M&Ms! They are delicious; rich and not too sweet. If you’re looking for something tasty to bake for yourself or someone(s) you love, please try these and enjoy!

COOKIES

  • 1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of “cupid’s mix” Valentine M&Ms
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the cake mix and unsweetened cocoa into a large bowl and stir gently to incorporate.
  3. Add the eggs and softened butter into the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
  4. Divide the M&Ms: Mix one cup into the cookie dough and place the other cup into a separate small bowl.
  5. Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, then dip the top of each dough ball into the small bowl of M&Ms and place each one onto the baking sheet.
  6. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the power of your oven.
  7. Bring the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat this process until all the cookie dough has been baked, this should yield about 16 cookies.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe (No Added Sugar)

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeZoey, our little Tinker Bell, is one year old! This year has been an unusual one (understatement of the century), but it has flown by faster than I could have imagined and I have been fortunate enough to spend the majority of it at home with her; grateful for every moment.

Like many one year birthday boys and girls, Zoey has not been exposed to much sugar. Now I don’t mind a little sugar, but I did not want to sugar bomb her all at once so I created a homemade smash cake with frosting for her without adding extra sugar.

This Tinker Bell petal smash cake is a variation of a banana bread recipe my family has made for years without added sugar and a variation of cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar. I would consider the cake a tame banana flavor and the frosting a tangy cream cheese flavor, smoothed out with the addition of a natural sweetener (I used agave nectar). I purchased a used Disney Infinity Tinker Bell figurine off of Mercari, gave it a good cleaning, and used it as a cake topper with the obligatory “1” candle.

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeShe was very tentative about smashing  her smash cake, almost like she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to. Even with her audience coaxing her she only tasted a little bit of cake I broke off for her and mostly just played around in the frosting. Her favorite part of the cake was the Tinker Bell figurine up top and she ended up fixating on that. And what the hey, as long as she had fun!

So let’s make a smash cake for the little Tinker Bell in your life!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

BANANA SMASH CAKE
  • 3 bananas, overripe
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS (CAKE)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease two 6-inch cake pans, or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter and bananas together with a (hand) mixer.
  4. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating each in with the (hand) mixer.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  7. Pour the mixed batter into the prepared cake pans about half to 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. The timing may vary depending on your oven so keep an eye on them!
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Mine were pretty flat. If yours do not turn out flat, cut the very tops off of the cakes to create flat tops for stacking and frosting.
  11. Frost your cake (see below).

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (NO ADDED SUGAR)
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 packs of cream cheese (8 ounce), room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Green food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS (FROSTING)

*You can make the frosting up to several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.*

  1. Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the agave nectar (or sweetener of choice), milk, salt and vanilla extract. Whip again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch and whip until well incorporated. If at this point the consistency is right for you, you can move on to the next step. If not you can add cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness (careful not to exceed 2 tablespoons total).
  4. Divide the frosting four equal parts in separate bowls. Add green food coloring to each bowl of frosting, ranging from dark to light green. Put each shade of green frosting into a pastry bag.
  5. Pipe and smear frosting on the top of the first layer of cake and gently place the second layer on top of this.
  6. Begin the petals by piping a dollop of dark green frosting on the side of the cake at the base. Take a flat slender spatula or butter knife press gently into the dollop and smear it to the right. Pipe another dollop of dark green near the end of the smear and repeat all the way around the cake.
  7. Repeat this process with the next shade of green and repeat, but stop before you reach the lightest shade of green and the top of the cake.
  8. Pipe and smear a healthy dollop of the lightest green frosting onto the top of the cake and smooth it out with a flat spatula, then continue with the last layer of petals in the lightest shade of green around the top of the cake.
  9. Adorn your cake with decorations.
  10. Enjoy!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe