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Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie is one of the most popular desserts when fall comes. It is also one of the tastiest seasonal treats, especially once it has set in the fridge overnight. Spices can be expensive, especially specialty items like pumpkin pie spice. The average bottle of pumpkin pie spice ranges from $5.97 to $9.84. As a low income family who have to watch our budget closely during the holidays, we decided to create our own pumpkin pie spice using ingredients we already have in our spice rack. 


2 TSP Ground Cinnamon

1/2 TSP Nutmeg

1/4 TSP Ground Cloves

1/8 TSP Ground Ginger


1. Combine Spices in small bowl.

2. Pour the spice mix into a small glass jar for storing. 

Mama's Tip:

This mix will keep for up to 10 months. After you mix your spices and label your jar, be sure to add the date so you can keep track of when it was made. 

Raw Energy Drinks


Like most on-the-go parents we love our caffeine. Chad and I, like most busy moms and dads, need little pick-me-ups throughout the day to keep us going. Energy drinks have always bothered me. Some of their ingredients are terrible for you and the amount of sugar they contain makes us cringe. We spent months creating the perfect raw food energy drinks. Drinks that were low in sugar but high in energy with no crash later and are good for us too.  Some of our favorite ingredients to use are;

Apple Cider Vinegar    Pure Maple Syrup    Agave Syrup    Green Tea    Lemon    Lime    Ginger Root    Blueberries    Strawberries    Raspberries    Blackberries    Pineapple    Oranges    Mint     Honey     Flaxseeds 



This drink is believed to have derived from Oxymel, an ancient Greek medicinal elixir. It has been known to help ease inflammation, boost electrolytes, and balance the bodies Ph. I was intrigued because this is the first natural energy drink that called for real maple syrup instead of cane sugar. Real maple syrup, in moderation is an excellent alternative to cane sugar, you just must be sure what you are using is 100% pure.


I/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tbsp Maple Syrup

2 Large Ginger Roots, minced

4 Cups Cold Water

2 Tsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice


1. Mix ginger root, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, water, and maple syrup in a large glass  bowl. 2. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours to allow the ginger to steep. 3. Strain out the minced ginger and store switchel in glass jars in the refrigerator.

garlic, ginger root, udon noodles, soy yay hoisin garlic marinade, onion, noodles, pho


This is by far our favorite soup. Years ago, as a single female I taught myself how to make this easy, hearty soup after falling in love with this soup at a local pho place. This dish does require you invest in a wok, well at least I highly recommend you do as it makes this truly a one pot dish. This is also the first meal Chad and I ate on our first date together so there’s something special about marvel movies and a nice big bowl of pho. 



6 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, diced

2-3 Green onions, diced

1 Yellow onion, diced

4 celery stalks, sliced

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts

Fortune Brand Chicken Flavor Udon Noodles ( in the cold case with the fruits and vegetables)

3-4 Tbsp Soy Yay Hoisin Garlic Marinade Sauce

½ tsp Basil

½ tsp Parsley

½ tsp Cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp Thyme

½ tsp Garlic Salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 1/2 32 oz. cartons Bone Broth 

Optional: cooked chicken or flat steaks ( we love to blacken it in a skillet with old bay)


1. Saute carrots with cinnamon and cumin, add celery and yellow onion and top with remaining herbs and spices, add half cup of the cilantro and saute on medium.

2. Add bone broth and 2 cups of cold water to wok and bring to a low bowl over medium high heat.

3. Add hoisin and udon noodles making sure to put their seasoning packets in last. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until noodles are soft.

4. Ladle pho into bowls and top with remaining cilantro, green onion, and bean sprouts. 

Mama's Tip

If someone in the family is under the weather chop up some fresh ginger and saute it with the vegetables. Ginger is excellent at helping relieve an upset stomach and inflammation caused by allergies and the flu. 

fresh blueberry bundt cake with dark chocolate ganache

Fresh Blueberry Bundt Cake With Dark Chocolate Ganache

This cake tastes more like a muffin with a ganache than a cake. It is so light and fluffy with subtle hints of blackberry, blueberry, orange and rich dark chocolate. We used local Pasek Winery Blackberry Wine, Bowhill Blueberries and blueberry powder to ensure all of our ingredients were fresh. This was a very nostalgic cake for Chad and reminded him immediately of the chocolate oranges we would get as children. This recipe is low on sugar but full of flavor and perfect for a spring dinner or party.


Blueberry Cake: 

½ cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 ¼ cup buttermilk

½ of an orange zest

1 lb. fresh blueberries

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Ganache:

1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips

¾ cup whole milk

1 tsp blackberry wine

Mama's Tip:

When coating the bundt pan be sure to use hardened coconut oil. The cake will turn out with odd white spots and flour clumps around the outside if the coconut oil is melted or too soft. 


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat bundt pan with coconut oil and sprinkle lightly with flour. In a bowl cream together the coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and orange zest. 

mixing buttermilk into cake

2. Mix the flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour mix and buttermilk to the bowl of oil and sugar alternating each, until well combined. Between each addition make sure you mix the ingredients very well. The consistency of the batter will change but you should see no lumps or swirling if mixed properly.

mixing blueberries into cake

3. Mix in the blueberries with a wooden spoon.

fresh blueberry bundt cake

4.  Pour the mix evenly into the bundt pan and cook for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before flipping onto a plate or cooling rac

fresh blueberry cake with dark chocolate ganache

5. While the cake cools, you can prepare your ganache. In a small saucepan on medium low heat combine the chocolate chips, milk, and blackberry wine. Stir frequently ensuring the chocolate does not clump or stick to the bottom or sides. Allow the chocolate to melt completely, typically 10 – 15 minutes. Give a few good stirs and remove from the heat. Let cool for 5 minut

fresh blueberry cake with dark chocolate ganache slice

6. Allow the cake to cool an additional 10 minutes before slowly pouring the ganache over the top. Add a few fresh blueberries scattered around the top and sides of the cake and enjoy!

lemon, ginger, turmeric, honey, tea, mad hatter cup

Feel Better Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea

This is a staple in our house for anyone of us who is having a bad pain day or if we are feeling sick or like we might get sick. It relieves inflammation, eases nausea, boosts energy, is easy on the tummy, and when we are bloated it will help relieve gas. Simple, quick, and just what you need during flu season to get you through the day.  


½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice

2 Medium Ginger Roots

3 Medium Turmeric Roots

6 Cloves of Garlic 

1 Teaspoon Raw Honey 

*To help ease congestion, add a dash of cayenne pepper while the tea boils. 


1. In a food processor, pulse the ginger, turmeric, and garlic until minced. Put mix into a medium empty glass jar. 

2. In a small saucepan add 3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of the ginger, turmeric, and garlic mix, and the lemon juice and stir.

3. Bring to a boil on high heat. Boil for 6 minutes or until water is orangey-yellow.

4. Put the honey in an empty mug. 

5. Strain the tea into the mug with honey in it and toss or compost the used tea mix. 

6. Stir until the honey dissolves and allow the tea to cool as it will be very hot. 

Mama's Tip:

 We make 3 or 4 batches at a time and store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (ours never lasts more than a few days). That way when you need it the most all you have to do is add water and enjoy! 

Almost Out Of Time Spaghetti

Almost Out of Time Spaghetti


Days where we are constantly on the move, the last thing we want to do when we get home is cook an extravagant meal. Spaghetti is a staple in almost every house hold and when it comes to a home cooked, easy meal we would say it’s probably even the number one go to for parents. Keeping us energized and well nourished on these busy days, is vital for us so even when mom is feeling a little emotionally exhausted from all of the doctor visits, having a little kitchen therapy if you will and putting together this not just comforting but so easy spaghetti sauce will be just what mom, dad, and the kids need after a long day. 


2 16oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes (I prefer the basil, oregano and garlic version) Drained 

1 16oz. Can Tomato Sauce (Don’t go too wild on the flavor, this is just for a base)

1 8oz. Can Sliced Black Olives Drained 

3 Italian Sausages Fully Cooked Diced

1lb. Ground Beef, cooked and seasoned to taste (we love old bay, garlic salt, and a little black pepper)  

½ Yellow Onion Diced 

½ Green, Red, or Yellow Sweet Pepper Diced 

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic Minced 

3 Carrots Diced

3 Celery Stalks Diced

½ Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 

3 Bay Leaves

½ Teaspoon Garlic Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

½ Teaspoon Basil 

¼ Teaspoon Cumin

¼ Teaspoon Parsley 

¼ Teaspoon Oregano 

¼ Teaspoon Italian Seasoning 


1. In a Medium Skillet sauté the carrots on medium heat and season with cumin. Once carrots are almost thoroughly cooked add the pepper and season with the Italian seasoning. When the pepper is cooked add the celery, onion, garlic, and remaining seasonings. Cook well. 

2. In a large pot combine the black olives, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Add in the cooked vegetables, bay leaves, ground beef and Italian sausage. Simmer the sauce on low for 20-30 minutes. 

3. In a separate pot bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook the noodles until aldente (12 minutes). Drain the noodles and place on plates. Spoon on the sauce and top with mozzarella or cheddar cheese and enjoy!


Crunchy Chocolate Banana Berry Yogurt


When I created this recipe, on a random Thursday night while Chad and I unwound after the girls had settled into bed for the night, I had the hardest time trying to think what to call it. Originally it was to be a yogurt banana split for two but once I sliced the banana in half and realized how hard it is to keep the banana in one piece while doing this, especially when tired after a long day of caring for toddlers and decided to make it easier and cut up the banana. This simple dessert can easily be used for breakfast, a late-night snack or even as a holiday treat for Independence Day. 



3 Cups Greek Yogurt

1 Banana Diced

¼ Cup Blueberries

¼ Cup Raspberries

¼ Cup Blackberries

1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

¼ Cup Granola

1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon 

½ Teaspoon Honey 


1. Place yogurt in 3 heaps in the middle of a large dinner plate. Evenly place banana pieces around the yogurt. 

2. Top the yogurt with the blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Scatter the Chocolate Chips on top of the yogurt and berries. 

3. Sprinkle the Cinnamon and Granola on top of the yogurt, berries, and chocolate chips. Drizzle the honey on top of the entire plate and enjoy!

Mama's Tip:

 To convert this recipe into a holiday treat layer the ingredients in a clear casserole dish. Once the dish is near the top put a thin layer of the Greek yogurt and place the berries in a flag design for an extra special touch.  


Pastrami Dips with Almond Dusted Green Beans


This meal is quick, easy, and great for those nights when you feel like taking it easy. For us, this recipe came about during one of Chad’s football tournaments online. Mama wanted something quick, easy, and that would fill up a hungry man and a mama ready for her stretchy pants and a weathered book. This is a perfect comfort food sure to please both mama and papa.


4 Slices Dave’s Killer Good Seed Bread

4 Slices Horseradish Bacon Smoked Cheddar Cheese (Feel free to use any fine cheese variation, we do recommend checking out the fine cheese section of your local grocer as there are usually some incredibly unique cheeses)

4 Thick Slices Turkey Pastrami

Coconut Oil

2 Cups Fresh Green Beans

1/3 Cup Raw Almonds (Finely Chopped)

½ TBSP Butter

½ TBSP Old Bay Seasoning

½ TBSP Garlic Salt

3 Cups Cold Water

Au Jus Mix


1. Preheat large pan on medium/high. Add Coconut oil and butter, reduce heat to medium. Add green beans, old bay, and garlic mix well. Allow green beans to Saute until well cooked, approximately 15 minutes, and stir frequently. Remove green beans from pan.

2. In a small pot combine the water and AuJus mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes stirring frequently. 

3. Add coconut oil to the large pan and return the heat to medium. Prepare sandwiches and cook in the pan for a few minutes, just long enough to toast the bread and melt the cheese. 

4. Remove Sandwich from Pan and place on the plate with the green beans, and put the AuJus in a cup, and you are ready to enjoy!

Mama's Tip:

 Cook the green beans first so you can have the pan prepped for the sandwich’s. This will allow them to cook to perfection.  


Italian Tomato Sausage Soup

 Soup, Soup, Soup. We LOVE our soups and as I began to blog and create our own array of soups, to avoid from eating the same old chicken noodle, pho, and minestrone, I began scowering books and blogs for new recipes. This is a cross between an Italian wedding and minestrone soup and is a great comfort meal.  



1 Large Kielbasa Style Sausage Boiled, Sauteed, and Sliced 

3 Celery Stalks Trimmed and Diced

3 Carrots Trimmed and Diced

1 Large Yellow Onion Diced 

¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro Minced

3 Shitake Mushrooms Sliced

3 Green Onion Stalks Diced 

4 Garlic Cloves Minced

1 Green Pepper Diced 

½ Cup Ditalini Pasta Cooked and Drained

1 8 oz. Can Tomato Paste

2 Medium Tomatoes Diced 

¼ Teaspoon Garlic Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Thyme

½ Teaspoon Basil

½ Teaspoon Cumin

¼ Teaspoon Parsley

1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Grated Parmesan Cheese 



1. Combine broth, tomato paste, garlic, carrots, celery, cumin, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper, garlic salt, tomatoes, green onion, green pepper, mushroom, cilantro, yellow onion, and kielbasa in a crock-pot. 

2. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. 

3. Add the ditalini and let simmer an additional 10 minutes.

4. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and enjoy!

Mama's Tip:

 Like all our other soup recipes, we sauté all our vegetables in coconut oil and herbs and spices before adding them to the crock-pot. Our vegetables are so savory even the kids love them.  


Honey Salmon With Cumin Carrots

Like allot of my recipes, this one was inspired by a recipe which called for sriracha and peppers, however this mama does not do spicy. In fact, Chad sometimes says even bread is too spicy for me, this is a little of an exaggeration but not by much. So, in the usual mommy MacGyver fashion, I turned this dish into something smooth, light, and oh so yummy. Even my picky four-year-old loved this salmon.


2 Tablespoons Raw Honey

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

1 ½ Cups Coconut Oil

½ Teaspoon Garlic Salt

½ Teaspoon Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon Cumin

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

4 Carrots, Sliced

1 Lemon, Sliced thin

1/3 Cup Green Onions, Diced


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a metal baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the salmon on top. Sprinkle the salmon evenly with the garlic salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices on top of the salmon. 

2. In a medium sauce pan heat ½ of the coconut oil over medium/high. Add the brown sugar slowly and then the honey stirring frequently. Allow to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until mix is light brown and frothy. 

3. Pour the brown sugar mix over the salmon being sure to evenly coat the top. Pinch the edges of the aluminum foil creating a bowl shape around the salmon. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

4. In a medium skillet heat the remaining coconut oil. Add the carrots, cumin, and cinnamon and sauté until the carrots become soft and begin to shrink. Remove and place on a plate. 

5. Once the time has past set the oven to broil for 2-5 minutes until the edges of the salmon are golden brown. Don’t worry if the mix looks frothy when you first pull the salmon out, the ingredients will settle, and you do not want to over cook this because it will burn very quickly. 

6. Remove the salmon from the oven and top with the green onions. Place on the plate with the carrots and enjoy!


Blueberry Almond Yogurt Cheesecake



This started out as a fancy birthday cake for Chad and turned into one of the most amazing cheesecakes I have ever had. I am not a big fan of cheesecake’s because usually they are just too rich for me. However, after running low on ingredients and having to substitute cream cheese for yogurt I discovered a way to create a light, fluffy, and even a better for you cheesecake. I also want to make note that it was easy! There is allot of time in between the crust cooling, then cooling the cheesecake once it cooks so this is something you either should do the crust the night before or set an alarm for early in the morning to begin the process, regardless this recipe is worth the wait!



1 Cup Ground Raw Almonds 

2/3 Cup Flour 

4 Tablespoon Melted Butter

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Egg Yolk ( See my egg separation hack to learn how to remove the yolk from the white)


2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt 

2 Eggs

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

½ Cup Turbinado Sugar

½ Cup Blueberries (for topping)



1. Put the almonds in a large bowl. Sift in the flour and stir to mix. Set aside. 

2. Whisk the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Gradually fold in the nut mix, until well combined. 

3. Press the dough into the springform span spreading evenly along the bottom. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the crust in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool while making the filling. 

5.  Whisk the yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl until everything is smooth. Add the corn starch and blend again. 

6. Pour the filling into the springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes. Make sure not to over bake! You can tell your cheesecake is done when the edges start to turn golden brown and begin to pull away from the side of the pan. The center should still be jiggly, but the cake should have an overall done look to it.

7. Take your cheesecake out of the oven and let chill for about 3 hours in the fridge. After the hours have past, place the cheesecake on a large plate/platter. Slide a knife along the edge of the inside of the springform slowly. Release the springform and carefully remove from around the cake. 

8. Top with the blueberries and enjoy! Keep leftovers refrigerated. 


Mama's Tip:

Add a ½ Tablespoon of your favorite wine to a small pot and add the blueberries. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes and top the cheesecake for an added bit of flavor. This also makes the presentation of this cake something from a magazine!