Chocolate Strawberry Shake {and a Sentiment of Love}

Once upon a time, I used to make this sweet Chocolate Strawberry Shake at least a few times a week for my dear husband.  Oh, and I would usually have a little bit of it too if he felt like sharing. ;)

Sadly, we somehow got out of the habit of making these pretty shakes when we moved about a year ago.  However, last night I was reminded of just how yummy they are when my husband decided to whip some up for us in the blender.

He made one for each of us and they were perfect.  It was a perfect treat on the eve of Valentine’s Day!

And this was the perfect treat to wake up to on Valentine’s Day…

My husband decided to soap our mirror with this message of love before he left for work today.

He’s pretty smart, ya know?  Not only did he give me a sweet surprise to wake up to, but now I’m going to have to finally clean that bathroom mirror too! ;)

Chocolate Strawberry Shake

1-2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (may substitute any non-dairy milk)
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP mild honey (or other sweetener to taste)
  • 1 handful frozen strawberries (to taste and to achieve desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Serve immediately.
http://creatingnaturally.com/chocolate-strawberry-shake/

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Naturally-Sweetened Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows are one of those things that sound so elusive to most people. I mean, who makes their own marshmallows? Only crazy people, right?

Well, what if I told you that you can make homemade marshmallows that are not only easy to make, but also much tastier than their store-bought counterparts? And they just so happen to include only real food ingredients, including a completely natural sweetener.

Join me at Keeper of the Home today where I am sharing the recipe for Naturally-Sweetened Homemade Marshmallows.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake {Refined Sugar Free}

As I mentioned last week, my husband had a birthday a few weeks ago.  I surprised him when he came home from work with a birthday dinner consisting of salad, lasagna, garlic bread, and carrot cake – all favorites of his!

The carrot cake is actually a bit of a running joke between me and him.  A few years ago for his birthday, I asked him what kind of cake he would like for me to make for him, and he asked for a carrot cake.  Sure, I could do a carrot cake.  I love carrot cake!

This was when we were just starting to think and research more about our food choices, and at the time I was heavily influenced by the book Nourishing Traditions.  Our son wasn’t born yet, so it was just the two of us, and I pretty much didn’t let anything pass our lips for several months unless it was Sally Fallon approved. 

So, where did I turn to find a carrot cake recipe that didn’t contain any white sugar and was properly soaked or sprouted?  Why Nourishing Traditions, of course!

While there truly are a lot of great recipes in that cookbook/food education book, I am here to tell you that the carrot cake is NOT one of them.

My poor husband tried his best to act like he liked it, but after I took one bite he didn’t have to act any more.  It was terrible.  It was so bad we ended up throwing it out.  And we don’t throw food out – especially birthday cake!

That was one year we made an exception.

The next year we skipped the carrot cake altogether, and then this year I decided to be brave and try my hand at another whole wheat carrot cake.

I’m happy to report that it was a success – moist, sweet, and delicious. My husband took one leery bite and then said, “Wow, that’s really good!”

I took a bite and agreed, it was a winner!  This honey-sweetened cream cheese frosting put it over the top and made it absolutely perfect.

Hoorah for a healthier carrot cake that we can enjoy for many birthdays to come!

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake {Refined Sugar Free}

This whole wheat carrot cake is very moist from the honey, coconut oil, and pineapple. You can definitely taste the pineapple, which we absolutely loved. The walnuts give it the perfect amount of texture and crunch.

Ice with this honey-sweetened cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup unsweetened crushed canned pineapple (drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the melted coconut oil, honey, and eggs. Mix well, but do not overmix.
  4. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.
  5. Bake in 2 greased 9-in round cake pans for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing with cream cheese frosting
http://creatingnaturally.com/whole-wheat-carrot-cake-refined-sugar-free/

For the record, I still own and use the book Nourishing Traditions.  While it can be an overwhelming book (especially if you are just starting to cut out processed foods) it is an awesome resource packed full of information about food and the effect that it has on your body.  However, I do not recommend the carrot cake recipe!

Have you ever made a not-so-great cake or meal for somebody on their special day?  Please tell me I am not the only one!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls {Made with Whole Wheat}

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Ooey.  Gooey.  Melt-in-your mouth.  Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Need I say more?

We have a family tradition to have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast every year on ThanksgivingI’m seriously thinking about breaking tradition to have these cinnamon rolls instead this year.  Maybe we can have both!

Let’s make these, shall we?

We’re going to start out by mixing together all of our dough ingredients in a stand mixer.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Then we’re going to put our dough in an oiled bowl, and let it raise until doubled.

After the dough has risen, we are going to roll the dough out into a large rectangle.  Then we’ll top it with our pumpkin cinnamon filling and spread it out almost to the edge.  This is what makes them ooey, gooey, and oh so delicious!

Now, starting at one of the long ends, we are going to roll up the dough being careful not to let any of our yummy filling leak out.

Once our dough is completely rolled up, we need to cut the cinnamon rolls into 12 slices.  You can either do this with a sharp knife or with unflavored dental floss.  I prefer to use the floss.  It’s easier and it leaves a much nicer cut. (Here’s a video that shows you how to cut them with the floss.)

After the rolls are sliced, put them into a greased 9×13 glass pan and let them rise again until doubled.  This will take about 30-40 minutes.

Now all we have to do is bake them, ice them, and then eat them.  See how easy that was!  And totally worth it too.

Ooey.  Gooey.  Melt-in-your mouth.  Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Yum!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls {Made with Whole Wheat}

Ingredients

    Dough Ingredients:
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5-6 C whole wheat flour (prefereably white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • Filling Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • Caramel Icing Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Start with 5 cups of flour and only add more as needed - just until the dough stops sticking to the bowl. Avoid adding too much flour. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic - about 8 minutes. (You can also knead by hand if you don't have a stand mixer. It will just take more time and effort.)
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl covered with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to raise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 hour.
  3. Prepare the filling ingredients while the dough is raising. Use an electric mixer to combine all ingredients until mixture is smooth.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a 16x21 inch rectangle. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the filling mixture over rectangle to within 1 inch of each edge.
  5. Roll the dough up from the long side, forming a long tube. Cut the tube of dough with dental floss or a sharp knife about every 2 inches. You should have 12 cinnamon rolls when you are done cutting.
  6. Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 glass baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
  7. Bake the rolls in a 400 degree F oven until they are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. While rolls are baking, combine the caramel icing ingredients together in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until the sucanat is dissolved and the icing is smooth.
  9. Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls immediately after they come out of the oven.
  10. Allow to cool slightly before serving warm.

Notes

These would also be really good with this honey-sweetened cream cheese frosting on them in place of the caramel icing. Yum!

http://creatingnaturally.com/pumpkin-cinnamon-rolls-made-with-whole-wheat/

 

Honey-Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

I have a weakness for cream cheese frosting.  I’d rather have it than buttercream any day!

The problem is most cream cheese frosting recipes have a TON of white powdered sugar in them.  Not exactly healthy, ya know?

Well, when my husband had his birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to play around with a honey-sweetened cream cheese frosting for his birthday cake (which just so happened to be a really yummy whole wheat carrot cake – one of his favorites!)

It was so good!  I actually liked it better than your standard cream cheese frosting.  It was plenty sweet enough, but it wasn’t so sweet that it made you feel sick.  It was perfect, actually.

The one tip that I would give you when making this frosting is to use a mild flavored honey, unless you don’t mind a strong honey flavor in your icing.  We usually buy really mild (and delicious) raw honey from a bee keeper that is perfect for this recipe.  It’s also perfect for my healthy chocolate peanut butter fudge.  (If you haven’t tried that yet, you really need too!)

Honey-Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. blocks (16 oz.total) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 sticks real butter (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup + 3 TBSP honey (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. With a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  2. Refrigerate (if needed) until it is a good spreading consistency.

Notes

This recipe makes enough to generously frost a two-layer 9" cake.

You could also try using yogurt cheese or kefir cheese in place of the cream cheese for a yummy probiotic frosting! Just make sure that you strain them long enough to reach a firm consistency like that of cream cheese or the icing will be too runny. Also remember that yogurt cheese and kefir cheese are a little more sour than cream cheese so you may need to add a little extra honey.

http://creatingnaturally.com/honey-sweetened-cream-cheese-frosting/

What’s your favorite dessert to put cream cheese frosting on?  Leave a link in the comments if you have any great recipes to share!

 

Classic Homemade Pumpkin Pie {Made with Fresh Pumpkin}

I never was a big fan of pumpkin pie during my childhood years.  Every year at Thanksgiving, I would choose cherry or apple pie over the classic pumpkin pie.  I never understood why it was such a big deal around the holidays!

Until…

I had my first pumpkin pie made out of fresh pumpkin.  Yum!

Read more and check out my recipe for a classic pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin over at Keeper of the Home.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Have you ever tried chia seeds before?  Yes, these are the same chia seeds that everyone has heard about from the Chia Pets!

Well, it turns out that not only are they good for making your very own Shrek head houseplant (haha!), but they also happen to be a powerhouse of nutrition and contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon!  If you’ve never tried them before, I highly recommend them as a great, easy, way to get some more nutrition in your diet.

Not sure what to do with the chia seeds once you have them?  Join me at Keeper of the Home today as I share a delicious recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding Yum!

Dark Chocolate Flourless Pudding Cake: A Sweet Valentine Dessert

Looking for a sweet treat to share with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?  I’ve got the perfect thing!  How about a Dark Chocolate Flourless Pudding Cake?  It’s very simple to make, yet still quite the impressive dessert!  Come join me at Keeper of the Home where I’m sharing the recipe!

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.

Healthy Holidays: Slightly Indulgent Sweet Treats (A Free Gift for You!)

Healthy Holidays - Slightly Indulgent Sweet Treats

I am so excited to finally be able to announce to you a free cookbook that I have been working on with some of my fellow bloggers.  Healthy Holidays: Slightly Indulgent Sweet Treats is a book that is full of more than 20 recipes for you to enjoy during this holiday baking season! (Although all of the recipes will certainly be enjoyed year round!)

I teamed up with Intentional By Grace, The Humbled Homemaker, and Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy, to bring you this ebook.  It is a special gift to our readers, and we hope that you will be able to get a lot of use from it.  The recipes featured in the book use wholesome, nourishing 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

Mmm, mmm…my mouth is watering just talking about all these recipes!  Take a look at some of the pictures below.  Doesn’t that all look so yummy?!

Healthy Holidays Photos

 

To thank you for supporting us, we are offering this ebook with over 20 delicious recipes free to all of our subscribers!  Anyone who subscribes by email or RSS to The Purposed Heart, Intentional By Grace, The Humbled Homemaker, or Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy will get a free digital copy of this book!

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

If you aren’t an email or RSS subscriber yet, how about signing up so you can enjoy this great cookbook also?  Once you subscribe a free copy of Healthy Holidays will be sent to your email or RSS feeder along with my next post.  Enjoy!

Enter your email here:

This post has been shared with I’m Lovin’ It, Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania and Homestead Barn Hop.