Our Favorite Tropical Green Smoothie

I’m sure you all must think we just eat junk.  By the recipes I’ve posted thus far, I’d think the same thing.  But we actually do eat some healthy food and today’s post is proof, our Tropical Green Smoothie!

Now this isn’t low sugar by any means but it doesn’t have any refined sugar and is packed with vitamins.  Chia and kale make it especially good for you!

My kids even like it, so that’s a winner with me.

You can substitute pineapple or peaches for the mango, (or do a mixture of all 3).  Just stick with those 3 yellow/orange fruits for this smoothie.

Tropical Green Smoothie


  • 1 to 2 bananas
  • 1 orange (peeled)
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 handful spinach or kale leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup mango (frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 6 ice cubes
  • water
  • liquid stevia (if needed, to taste)


Dump all the ingredients into a blender. You’ll want to start out with about 1/2 cup of water and see how it blends up. If it is too thick, you’ll want to add more water until it is the right consistency.

Homemade Quinoa Bread Recipe

I’ve tried to like quinoa.  Really I have.

I know it’s a superfood and all but I just don’t experiement with it enough to find recipes we enjoy it in.

However, I’ve finally found a way to get quinoa into our diet.

Quinoa Bread

I modified my go-to bread recipe to accommodate the quinoa.  We love it!  It has a nutty flavor and is so moist!

The added quinoa even erases the guilt I feel about using unbleached white flour.

So lets get baking…

Quinoa Bread

This homemade quinoa bread is nutty, rich, and moist. Recipe makes 2 loaves of bread.


  • 3 cups water (divided)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour


This recipe makes 2 free form loaves of bread.  If you want to add the quinoa grains to the top, you can brush it with egg white and sprinkle the quinoa on top prior to the final rise.


Step 1
Add 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a kettle. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.

Remove cooked quinoa from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of cold water to the quinoa. Let mixture cool to between 110 degrees and 115 degrees.

Add the yeast and let set until mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Continue mixing, adding flour to the dough until the dough is no longer sticky and forms a ball.

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Pour a little oil in bowl and turn dough in it so it is lightly coated.

Cover dough and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until dough is doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough, cut slits in top of loaf to allow for expansion and air to escape. Cover, let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.


Mint Chocolate No Bake Cookies

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “No Bakes??  Really?  Why is she posting that recipe?”

Well most no bakes have peanut butter in them.  This version has NO peanut butter and in their original form, you can either add vanilla or opt for no extract in them at all, which is what my mom always did when I was growing up.

But I’m a sucker for mint and this is my winter version of her no-bakes.  My mom still calls her no bakes Fudge Kisses, but given the advent of the Hershey Kisses, I’ll conform and call them No Bakes as well.

If you want to try them with vanilla instead of peppermint, have at it.  They are very good that way as well.  In my opinion, these are better than their peanut butter counterparts.

A couple things to note, it’s important to cook the mixture long enough.  There are instructions in the recipe, but I just want to show in photo the difference you can see before you start testing for soft-ball stage.

You don’t want to test when your mixture looks like the following photo.  It’s real thin and will just spread apart in the bowl of water.

When it starts to thicken and look like the photo below, I start testing it.

Overcooked, these cookies will be crumbly, but they still taste yummy.  If they don’t set and stay gooey, they are undercooked.

Mint Chocolate No Bakes


  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2/3 cups Milk
  • 2 + cups Quick Oats
  • 1/2 cup Coconut
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract


Step 1
In a medium sized saucepan, mix together butter, cocoa, & milk. Bring mixture to boil, over medium to medium high heat.
Step 2
Continue to stir and cook until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage.

*To test, drop small amount of the chocolate mixture into a bowl of very cold water. When the chocolate sauce pulls together into a soft ball it is ready. You can also use a candy thermometer and cook until mixture reaches 235 degrees.
Step 3
Immediately remove from heat and add the coconut, 2 cups of oatmeal, and the peppermint extract. Stir until mixture is consistent, adding more oatmeal if necessary.

Drop spoonfuls of cookie mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper. Let cool and enjoy.

Peanut Butter Caramel Dip

We came up with this recipe when my son, Eli asked when the Peanut Butter Caramel would be done.  I decided to surprise the kids with homemade caramel today and was inspired by this caramel from Hot off the Garlic Press.

Oh and it’s yummy!

Yes it has corn syrup in it, and I may or may not keep corn syrup in my cupboards.

Don’t judge me.  Just enjoy.

Peanut Butter Caramel


  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 c. half and half
  • 1 c. corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

NOTE: If you want to have more of a candy consistency, simply cook the mixture longer.  To have a more runny consistency, cook for less time.


In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add all the ingredients except the vanilla.  Cook and stir over medium high heat.

Boil until mixture reaches 248, or the soft ball stage.  To test without a thermometer, just take a bowl of cold water and spoon a little into the bowl. When the caramel comes together to form a soft ball it’s ready.

Turn off the heat, add the vanilla and enjoy!

Homemade Baby Wipes

When I had Zander this past winter, a friend brought over some homemade baby wipes.

I loved them!

How did I NOT know about homemade baby wipes before my 4th child?!

I was shocked.

Not only are they cheap and easy to make…they are also waaay better for your chubby baby’s bottom than the store-bought wipes.

What you need

  • 1 roll Bounty (must be Bounty – I tried another brand against my friend’s advice and they were terrible)
  • A very sharp knife or an electric knife works best (*UPDATE* We found a much better way by using a Miter Saw)
  • 1 T. baby wash
  • 1 T. coconut oil (you can use other oils but coconut has lots of good benefits so it’s a good choice)
  • 1 C. water (make sure it is hot if you’re using coconut oil so it’ll melt)
  • 1 container the appropriate size to house the wipes (the one pictured came from Dollar Tree)

Remove the cardboard roll inside the paper towels and cut the remaining paper towels in half.  (as noted below by Amber, you can leave the roll in there and remove it as the final step…which ever works best for you)

Mix the baby wash, oil, & hot water around to make sure the wash and oil are evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into your wipes container.

Add the cut paper towels and let sit for about an hour until all the liquid spreads throughout the paper towels.

Pull wipes from center.

To make them more travel-friendly, I take a hunk out and put them in a quart-size ziploc.

It’s unbelievably easy!  And I simply love this particular brand of baby wash which I bought from Target.

Best part about these…they do not contain alcohol and they are super-soothing for those delecate areas, especially if you’re dealing with a diaper rash.

Just make sure you get the right size Bounty.  I bought rolls that were too big once and I couldn’t fit them in my container.