Peanut Butter Honey Cookies {Plus a Free Gift!}

It’s that time of year again - time to pull out the baking supplies and get busy in the kitchen!

Growing up, my mom and aunt always set aside a day to bake TONS of holiday goodies for us to enjoy and share with neighbors, teachers, and friends.  It is one of my favorite memories of my childhood.

Now as an adult, I love baking up trays of holiday goodies to share (and eat, of course!).

These little peanut butter cookies will definitely be making an appearance on my holiday goodie tray this year.  They have a wonderful honey flavor that combines so well with the peanut butter. The whole wheat flour also gives them an extra special flavor that complements the peanut butter so well.

A Free Gift from Me to You!

These yummy peanut butter cookies are a part of an awesome cookbook that I was able to be a part of, Healthy Holidays.  I’ll be making a lot of treats from this book as part of my holiday baking this year!

As a small thank-you gift, I am offering this ebook as a special free gift to all of my readers.  I hope that you will be able to get a lot of use from it.  The recipes featured in the book use natural, wholesome ingredients and are a wonderful way to slightly indulge that sweet tooth this holiday season!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the recipe titles:

  • Smooth, Creamy Caramels
  • Unbelievable Chocolate Applesauce Bars
  • Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
  • Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
  • Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
  • Citrus Clove Buttons with Honey Frosting
  • Old Fashioned Caramel Corn with Peanuts

Yum!  Take a look at some of the pictures below.  Doesn’t that all look so good?!

This ebook with over 20 delicious recipes is free to all Creating Naturally subscribers!  Anyone who subscribes by email or RSS will get a free digital copy of this book!

If you are already subscribed to Creating Naturally you will automatically get a copy of Healthy Holidays at the bottom of your email or RSS feed.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet, just sign up by either email or RSS to get your free copy of the book also!  Once you subscribe (and confirm your subscription), a free copy of Healthy Holidays will be sent to your email or RSS reader along with my next post.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Honey Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, honey, sucanat, vanilla, and egg until smooth and well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Stir into the wet batter until well blended.
  5. Refrigerate dough for several hours until firm enough to roll into balls.
  6. Roll cookie dough into walnut sized balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Use a fork to flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes until cookies are slightly browned on the edges.
http://creatingnaturally.com/peanut-butter-honey-cookies-plus-a-free-gift/

Enter your email here to subscribe and receive your free ebook, Healthy Holidays:

Gingerbread Pancakes: A Festive, Holiday Breakfast

Gingerbread Pancakes copy

Looking for a fun, easy, and nutritious breakfast that your kids will go crazy over?  Join me at Purposeful Homemaking today where I’m sharing my recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes!  How fun!

‘Tis the Season to Sing and Let Your Heart Be Touched

'Tis the Season..

As I sit here listening to a favorite Christmas song of mine by Steven Curtis Chapman, I am finding it very difficult to put into words what I am feeling.

The song is called All I Really Want for Christmas, and it has always touched a very soft and tender spot in my heart.  I honestly can’t listen to it without tearing up and feeling a hurt in my heart for the millions of children who will spend Christmas day (as well as every other day of the year) without a family to call their own. 

Listen and Let Your Heart Be Moved

Please listen to this song and let your heart be touched for the approximately 143 million orphans in this world.  Imagine yourself in their position.  Be thankful for your family.  Hug your children.  And maybe…reach out and change the life of a child who doesn’t have a family to call their own.

If you can’t view this video in your email or RSS feed, please click here to watch and listen.

What the Bible Has to Say

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.  Matthew 25:40

For more information, stories, and resources, visit 143million.org

Be sure to visit the other two posts in this series:

‘Tis the Season to Sing When All You Hear is Silence @ The Humbled Homemaker

‘Tis the Season to Sing Really Loud Even if You Can’t Carry a Tune @ Intentional by Grace

And lastly, this is not a post in our series, but it is a wonderful real-life story of adoption that I read this morning with a lot of great resources and tips. Adoption: Our Family’s Story

Come back next week for the last post in this series: ‘Tis the Season to Submit!

Do you have a favorite song that touches your heart every time you hear it?

3 DIY Spice Mixes: A Simple Gift Idea

If you are like me…ahem…you still have some last minute gifts to come up with for Christmas.  Please tell me I’m not the only one! :)

Well, if you do have any last minute gifts that you need to get together, these DIY spice mixes are super fast, easy, and affordable.  And they make great gifts for anyone who likes to cook!

Package them up in cute little glass jars decorated with some ribbon and nice labels, and you have a lovely gift that any cook would be glad to receive!

I always make big batches of these three spice mixes to keep on hand at all times.  They come in so handy and taste so much better than the packaged mixes that you would buy in the store. Plus they are way cheaper to make at home.  So go ahead and make some for yourself while you’re at it!

Homemade Ranch Mix

We use this all the time to make ranch dressing and veggie dip.  It is sooo good.  You can use it in any recipe that calls for ranch dressing mix with great results!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This is my favorite homemade taco seasoning.  It has a rich deep flavor that really enhances your taco meat.  When I make ground beef taco meat, I use 2 1/2 TBSP per pound of meat.  I also use it when I make chicken tacos with delicious results.

Sometimes I will mix some of this into sour cream or cream cheese and then layer it with lettuce, cheese, meat, black olives, salsa, etc., to make a taco dip.  Mmm…very good!

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

One of my husband’s favorite meals is Cajun Chicken PastaPenne noodles, Homemade Alfredo Sauce, and grilled chicken all sprinkled with this cajun seasoning.  It is delicious!

This cajun mix is very versatile and can really be put on almost anything…pasta, chicken, fish, eggs, meat, whatever!

Do you have any favorite homemade spice mixes to share?  And do you still have presents to put together or am I the only one? ;-)

This post has been shared with Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday.

Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn: Naturally Sweetened

My husband says he doesn’t like popcorn.  However, whenever I make this caramel corn he sure does eat an awful lot of it for someone who doesn’t like popcorn!

This popcorn is a favorite treat of ours to make around the holidays.  I will usually make several batches of this and deliver it as gifts to friends and family.  Homemade caramel corn is hard to beat!

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Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn: Naturally Sweetened

I usually use peanuts in this recipes, but cashews and pecans are both really good too. You could also leave the nuts out if you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 quarts plain popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts (or other nut), optional
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F.
  2. Place the popped popcorn in a roasting pan with high sides that has generously been greased with butter or coconut oil (This will make it easier to stir the caramel into it.) Set aside.
  3. Combine the sucanat, honey, salt, and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring to blend. Once the mixture is boiling, continue to boil for 5 minutes while stirring the entire time.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
  5. Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn. It doesn’t have to be coated perfectly at this point.
  6. Bake the popcorn for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes.
  7. When done baking, spread the popcorn out onto wax or parchment paper and separate into pieces. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

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This recipe is from my free ebook Healthy Holidays: Slightly Indulgent Sweet Treats. It is full of over 20 delicious baking recipes, and it is my gift to you! If you haven’t received your free copy yet, be sure to sign up for it today. It is free to anyone who subscribes to Creating Naturally through email or RSS. Just enter your email below to subscribe and receive your free digital copy of Healthy Holidays!

This post has been shared with Fight Back Friday, Your Green Resource, Simple Lives Thursday, Raising Homemakers and Real Food Wednesday.

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate His Birth

'Tis the Season..

Joy to the world!  The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

What is Christmas? Is it decorating trees with bright lights and shiny ornaments?  What about the catchy Christmas music that plays in all the stores?  Is it exchanging gifts with those we love?  Could the true meaning of Christmas be something more than all of this?

The funny thing is, I’ve known from a young age what the true meaning of Christmas is – a time for us to celebrate the birth of our Savior!  And yet, if I am honest, I’ve always placed the emphasis of Christmas on other things.

As a child, it was about the presents.  I’m ashamed to admit this now, but Christmas usually brought out the selfishness in me.  Every year I was always thankful for all the gifts I received…but if anyone could have see my heart, they would have seen wishes for more toys, more clothes, more gifts, more things.

Once I became older and I was married, my emphasis moved away from me and what I received on Christmas.  The desire that I had to receive so many gifts disappeared.  I mean that’s not what Christmas is about, right?  I was old enough to realize this now.  Instead it became about spending time with loved ones and giving gifts to them.

However, even though I no longer had selfish desires to get, get, get, and was focusing on love, family, and giving – my focus still wasn’t in the right place. It still wasn’t on Christ.

As a Christian, I know what the true meaning of the season is, yet how were my actions showing that?

My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about Christmas and what it will mean to our family.  It is the birthday of our Savior. How will we celebrate?

We’re still trying to sort through the details of how we will celebrate as a family.  We want to prepare our hearts for Christmas with things like Advent and the Jesse tree.  But until we get it all figured out, here are four ways that we have decided to celebrate His birth.

Worship Him

True, sincere worship is such a sweet thing.  It brings me closer to Him.  It makes me aware of Him. It opens my eyes to my depravity and to His grace and glory.

I want to celebrate Christmas by worshipping the King. I want to sing to Him, praise Him, thank Him, and open my heart and my life to Him.

Love Him

“Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”  How true this is!  Christ loves us without condition. He’s always loved us and showed that love to us by coming to the earth and dying for us.

I truly cannot comprehend this love, yet the more I become aware of this amazing love, the more my love for Him grows.  It’s a contagious kind of thing!

I want to celebrate Christmas by relishing the fact that Christ loved me enough to come to this earth.  I want to celebrate Christmas by receiving His love and letting that love grow in my heart.

Serve Him

What better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than to serve Him.  He allows us to serve Him, by serving others.

This Christmas I want to celebrate with service.  I want to slow down from my busy life and schedule and show the love of Christ to others.  I want to step out and find practical ways to serve others this Christmas.

Give to Him

When others have birthdays, I give them presents.  When Christ has a birthday, what do I give Him? I read an article this week by Ann Voskamp that spoke to me and convicted me:  Whose Birthday is it Really? It’s worth the read.

I want to celebrate the birthday of my Savior, by giving to Him.  It is His birthday after all.

Be sure to visit the other two posts in this series:

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate – In Heaven @ The Humbled Homemaker

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating @ Intentional by Grace

Come back next week for the second installment: ‘Tis the Season to Sing!

This post has been shared with Raising Homemakers and Making Your Home Sing Monday.

How do you celebrate the birth of the Savior?

9 Homemade Gift Ideas: Frugal and Fast

 

Are you looking for some simple, easy, and frugal homemade gift ideas for Christmas this year?  Join me today at Keeper of the Home as I share 9 Homemade Gift Ideas that definitely fit into the “fast and frugal” category.

P.S. My favorite gift idea on this list is number 9 (the last one) – I just love it!  If you know someone whose love language is “quality time” you don’t want to miss this idea!

‘Tis the Season to Serve: 7 Practical Ways to Serve Others This Christmas

I’m so excited to announce a 4-week series for each Monday until Christmas: ‘Tis the Season! I’ll be joining Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker and Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace in discussing the true meaning of Christmas. Today our topic is ‘Tis the Season to Serve.'Tis the Season..

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year.  On top of the normal, everyday duties, there is also extra shopping to do, gifts to wrap, food to make, decorations to put up, and parties to attend. Whew…just thinking about it can wear me out!

With all of the busy-ness of the season, it’s no wonder that serving others can often get put on the backburner.  But I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Messiah’s birth, than to show His love and humility to others!

Serving others doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or even a lot of time.  Although both of those things are ways that we can express the love of God to others, we can still show His love without being rich or having tons of extra time to give. 

As with all areas of my life, I find that if I am intentional about serving others and have a plan of action, it is much more likely to actually happen

That’s why I am planning on doing several of the things of off this list of seven practical ways to serve others this Christmas season (or any season!):

1. Offer to babysit someone’s children while they are preparing for Christmas.

Give a friend a time that you would be able to watch her children, so that she can shop, cook, wrap presents, decorate, whatever.  A set block of time with no little ones in tow will allow your friend to get a lot accomplished.  This is a great way to be a big blessing to someone without spending any money.

2. Keep small gift bags in your car to give to homeless people at intersections.

Buy small gift bags and fill them with personal hygiene items, food items (such as nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.), and small clothing items (such as mittens, socks, scarves, etc.).  When you see a homeless or needy person out on the street, you will be prepared to give them something that they can actually use and will be so grateful for.

It is very easy to pass judgment on these type of people that we see walking on the street or standing at the intersection.  I’ve done it myself, unfortunately.  But we have to remember that they are real, live people with feelings, needs, and emotions just like you and me.  And when we reach out and show love to them, it’s the same as though we were doing it to Jesus!  Wow – what an opportunity and an honor!

3. Replace one present to each of your immediate family members with a donation to your favorite charity on their behalf.

We, as a nation, are struggling economically right now – that’s no secret.  Yet, we still are richer and have more than most of the world’s population could ever dream.  Most children will receive more presents this year at Christmas, than other children in the world will receive in their whole life.

What if we replaced one present to each family member with a donation to a charity.  Compassion International is a wonderful organization that does so much to care for and help so many people.  Maybe as a family this year, you could pick a child to sponsor

You could still wrap this present of a donation up and have your children open it on Christmas morning.  Children are very giving people, and they will love this – especially if they have pictures of another child that they know they are helping.  This is a great opportunity to teach your children about loving and giving to others.

4. Pick out a missionary family or soldier overseas to send a care package to for Christmas.

I can imagine that if I were in another country with a strange culture at Christmas time, I would feel a slight tug at my heart, longing to be home with family and friends to celebrate Christ’s birth.  Do you know any missionaries or soldiers who are overseas this Christmas? 

Put together a small box full of small gifts, food, cards, and pictures.  Let them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them.  This might seem like a small act of kindness to us, but it will be so big to the ones receiving the boxes.  It may be the only thing they receive this Christmas, and it will be more encouraging than we could ever think.

5. Deliver a nice, prepared dinner to a needy family.

Lately, I have been trying to make an intentional effort to make a double portion of our dinner every so often, and then deliver the extra portion to a friend, neighbor, or someone I know is in need.

Sometimes, I complain to myself that there isn’t enough money in our food budget, when in reality, we eat better and more often than most people in the world.  How selfish of me!  Reaching out and sharing what I have with others does wonders for making me thankful and grateful to God for everything that I do have. 

Knowing that a delicious, healthy, already prepared dinner will be the highlight of some people’s Christmas season, really puts things into perspective for me.  It also fills my heart with love and compassion for those less fortunate than myself.

6. Write letters of love and encouragement to your friends and family, as well as those who are lonely and hurting.

To receive a handwritten note in this day of email, facebook, and twitter is a rather rare thing.  And even though I love receiving encouraging emails from others, it still doesn’t compare to when I receive a handwritten note or a card full of loving and encouraging words.  There is something special about holding a letter in your hand, written by someone who cares for you.

On top of our friends and family, who would love a sweet note of love from us this Christmas, there are also so many people out there who are lonely and hurting.  Think of widows/widowers, orphans, the elderly…those who have lost a loved one.  A sincere note of love would do more to encourage their lonely hearts than we might think.  The power of kind words is very real.  

7. Invite someone who doesn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with, to spend the day with you and your family.

Do you know anyone who is going to be spending Christmas alone this year?  A college student away from home?  An elderly person with no family?  While they might act like it’s okay and it’s no big deal, the truth is, they would probably love to be around others and share in your celebrations and traditions.  Invite them to spend the day with you and your family!

When Christmas day arrives, and they are at your house, treat them just as if they were a part of your family.  Make them feel welcome and at ease.  If you exchange gifts, have some small but meaningful gifts for them as well.  Love them, serve them, and have fun with them.  This will be one of the most special Christmas years that they ever look back at.

________________________________________________________________

This is just a little list of seven practical ways that were laid on my heart of how I can serve others this year at Christmas time. Most of these things can actually be done all year round.  Letting Christ show His love through me, is such an amazing thing that continuously fills my heart with more and more love for others.  I don’t reach out nearly as often as I should.  But the more I do reach out and give, the more I have a burden to love and help others.  That is a vicious cycle that I want to be a part of!

Be sure to visit the other two posts in this series:

‘Tis the Season to Serve with Little Ones @ The Humbled Homemaker

‘Tis the Season to Serve Like Saint Nick @ Intentional by Grace

Come back next week for the second installment: ‘Tis the Season to Celebrate!

Do you have any other ways to serve others this Christmas?

Happy December 2011! (Free Christmas Desktop Background)

Free Christmas Desktop Background

I know it’s not technically December yet, but I couldn’t wait to give you this special gift!  Each month from here on out, I will be giving a free computer desktop background to all of my readers.  This is the first month that I am doing this, and I would love your honest feedback.

  • Do you like backgrounds with calendars on them?
  • Would you rather not have a calendar and just have a pretty picture with a verse/quote?
  • Would you like to have a background that can be customized by you adding a personal picture to a part of it?
  • Any other opinions/advice/ideas?

Thank you so much for your support of this site..  This blog would not be possible without you! I am sincerely thankful for everyone who reads this blog, and is a part of this community.

To download your free 2011 Christmas
desktop background click
here.

It is available in three different sizes, so no matter what size/type of monitor you have there should be a background that will fit it!

Enjoy!

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This post has been shared at Simple Lives Thursday and I’m Lovin’ It!