Back to School with Balance Bar – #GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

My kids went back to school today. Mind. Blown. This has been the fastest summer EVER. I just can’t believe school is back in session, sports have started back up and before you know, BAM, it’ll be Christmas. Let the panic attack begin. Just kidding, no time to panic. It’s time to meal plan, break out the crock pot, makes lists, and get super-mom organized…and lucky for us, Balance Bar is trying to help with that!

Balance Bar, along with parenting expert and Mom blogger Jenny Ingram, from Jenny on the Spot, have some awesome suggestions for surviving ‘back to school’. 
For example: 
·         Keep Smart Snacks within Reach. Back to school isn’t only exhausting for kids. Moms and dads get worn down too so smart snacking is important. Pack a supply of nutritious snacks to have in your purse for when you’re running errands or going from school to practice. ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bags are perfect for keeping your on-the-go snacks organized and always handy. Fill them with grapes, almonds, carrot sticks and Balance bare bars for a healthy snack sure to satisfy both busy moms and kids until dinner!
·         The (digital) calendar is key.To make sure no one misses an activity, homework deadline or playdate, color code each kid in your calendar so you know exactly who is doing what and where and when. The Cozi app – is free and great for organizing your upcoming activities and goes everywhere you do since it’s on your phone.  
·         Pack bags within your bag.  If you’re like me, you have a huge bag. It’s great for storing lots of things, but it can be hard to find anything if you’re not organized. Keeping a mini bag that holds chapstick, hand sanitizer and other items frequently used items in a brightly colored small bag that stands out can help with that. The ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bag can even double as an organizational bag that’s stylish too!
·         Miniature First Aid Kits. It’s helpful to have some first-aid basics in your bag for everyday incidents that are bound to happen. Jenny’s homemade first aid kit includes Band-aids, Neosporin, Kleenex and wipes, and says the wipes are much more effective than napkins at cleaning up whatever messes my kids have.
·         Be prepared for homework. With after-school activities, keep homework supplies in your car and bag so your children can do their work while you’re waiting for soccer/volleyball/etc practice. Keep rulers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, calculators and a clip board in the car to make sure you’re prepped for any homework assignments.
·         Label everything. With 3 kids, and all the supplies and gear that come with them, labeling is important. Mabels Labels are great for lunchboxes, backpacks, jackets, shoes, sporting equipment and anything else. It also helps avoid lost items in the school coat closet.
·         Pack healthy school lunches efficiently.  Trying to accommodate everyone’s lunch needs is hard. Jenny suggests making their sandwiches and then let them choose 3 snacks for themselves. In your pantry, have mom-approved snacks (like Mixed Berry Balance bar bars) in three drawers and every kid is allowed to choose 1 item from each drawer to add to their lunch.
·         Transitioning summer bedtimes.  Late nights are not going to work once school starts, so gradually transition kids’ sleep schedules. 4-5 days before school starts, move their bedtimes up 10-30 minutes. It’s a slow process but really helps to ensure they’re rested and ready for the first day. Since school has already begun for my kids, it’s important to stick to a nighttime routine and consistent bedtime. I know my kids are going to be worn out by the end of the week!
The Back to School Survival Kit contains these Balance Bare bars. They are made with fruits and nuts, are non-GMO, and Gluten/soy/dairy free. The best part…they taste good! The Sea Salt Caramel Nut tastes almost like a candy bar. It’s my favorite, followed closely by the Sweet and Spicy Nut. I love the hint of spiciness in with the sweet, and it’s a unique flavor idea. However, I also like the Mixed Berry Nut. I’ve been throwing them in my gym bag for after a workout, my daughter has had them as a snack before volleyball, and they are great for curbing my late afternoon ‘Iwanttoeateverything’ phase that hits me around 3:00pm.
The GIVEAWAY consists of your very own Back to School Survival Kit. (The one pictured above is missing a couple of bars. We got hungry before I could take pictures!) The kit contains – 

To win, just enter via the rafflecopter form. Shipping only available to US addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above pictured kit to facilitate this post. Both kits and information are provided by Balance Bar. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed regarding product are my own.

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

Many of you may have seen this before…I’ve seen it several times on various blogs. I first tried this out about a year ago, and I have no idea why I haven’t written about it before.

I think it’s because I can never get a good picture…mug cakes are generally ugly. I’m also usually in a hurry to stuff something sweet in my face if I am making a cake in a coffee cup in the microwave! You know, desperate times and all.

I can’t say that I love these cakes, or that they are anything gourmet, but I can say that when you are craving something sweet in a hurry, and do not want to totally bust the calorie bank, these fit the bill. I really like them for the convenience…my children love to make them, and my girls can make them by themselves. That way, when they want a sweet treat, and I don’t want the temptation staring me in the face, they can go make themselves a cake. They are satisfied, and there are no leftovers sitting on the counter torturing me with their existence.

(See…the photos aren’t very good. Gotta work on that I suppose…which you know, means making more cakes!) My kids have had a good time coming up with variations…adding hot fudge (pictured, which is why it looks so gooey), peanut butter, nutella, etc.

The “skinny” part comes in because they are low in fat..you are combining a pack of regular cake mix (any flavor) with a box of angel food cake mix…that’s it! Store the combined dry mix in a container or plastic bag and use “as needed”…which is often in my house. It gets the name 3-2-1 because you need 3 T. of mix, 2 T. of water, and 1 minute in the microwave. Super fast, super easy.

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

1 box of cake mix (favorite brand and flavor)
1 box of angel food cake mix
Combine 2 cake mixes in a large container or gallon size bag. When you want a cake, get a coffee mug or microwave safe bowl, add 3 Tablespoons of cake mix, 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir until just combined. (Can also add in a tablespoon of hot fudge sauce, peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc.) Microwave for 1 minute. Add cool whip or frosting if desired.
*The best I could calculate, the mug cakes were approximately 4 Weight Watchers Point Plus points without any additional add-ins. 
Do you have any single serving treats that you enjoy? Feel free to leave links or a recipe!
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Pimento Cheese “Caviar of the South”

First, let me clear up a dilemma…the pimento vs pimiento dilemma. Why different spellings? Is it like doughnuts vs donuts?! These are question I ponder. Well, worry no more. You can spell it either way, it means the same thing, the variation in spelling has to do with the country of origin (and, you know, if you really want to know more…Google is your friend). Pimento/pimiento is a cherry pepper that can be mild or spicy depending on the variety. The ones I buy in the jar from the grocery store are pretty mild.

If you are from the South, you probably are very familiar with pimento cheese. It’s kind of a Southern staple found at picnics, potlucks, baby showers…you name it. Little pimento cheese sandwiches on white bread cut into little triangles or shapes…a tradition 🙂 They are also delicious. However, my favorite way to eat pimiento cheese?

On crackers, topped with pickled jalapenos! Yummm! It’s also good, as I’ve mentioned before, on top of a burger…

Or, you can make a grilled cheese with it. Now, there are a couple of different ways to make pimiento/pimento cheese. The easiest method…

Pimiento Cheese

  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or you can mix sharp and mild)
  • 1 jar of pimientos (I use the large jar, but if you are not a huge fan, you may want to use the small jar)
  • light mayo – enough to bind it all together. I never measure this, and the quantity will vary based on which jar of pimientos you use, if you use the juice of the pimientos (I do) and personal preference.

Add cheese to a medium size mixing bowl. Dump in the entire jar of pimientos (juice and all). Mix well. Add enough mayo to bind it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like lots of pepper!

This is how I have made mine for years…until recently. I recently made Bobby’s version. If you are thinking Bobby who? Well, Bobby DEEN of course! Paula’s beloved son. Regardless of your feelings towards Paula and her ‘I said a bad word 20 years ago that used to be socially acceptable, however ugly it is, and now it’s not for a certain segment of the population but okay for others’ drama; the woman can cook. Albeit not the healthiest of meals, but she has a lot of recipes that are pretty awesome. Her son Bobby has come along and often times will ‘healthify’ some of his mama’s recipes, or make his own. Anyway, this is my version of Bobby’s Pimento Cheese which I originally found through Madison and Mayberry.

Bobby’s Pimento Cheese

6-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 cups grated Monterey Jack
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (or too taste)
1 large jar pimentos, undrained
Salt, Cracked black pepper, Onion Powder – too taste

  • Mix cream cheese with a mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Stir in both cheeses, and entire jar of pimentos (juice and all).
  • Mix well (I do this by hand, but you can use a mixer if you want a smoother/creamier spread).
  • Stir in enough mayo to reach desired consistency – you may want a little more or less than I use. Cheese mixture will thicken up a little the next day.
  • Add a little salt, plenty of pepper and a little onion powder to reach desired taste.
Serve with crackers, veggie sticks or as a sandwich filling.
 Are you a pimento cheese fan?
Mini Van Dreams

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysSimple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs {Recipe Repeat}

Even though Easter is coming later this year, it is still coming too fast for me! I think the weather is partly to blame for my lack of Easter prep…it hasn’t felt like Spring! But with the Easter Bunny arriving this weekend, I better get myself in gear. One thing that is a ‘must have’ around here, as far as Easter candy goes, are peanut butter eggs. Chocolate covered, peanut butter filled, shaped like eggs….yes, please.

Lucky for us, (lucky being a relative term here), I discovered how to easily whip these up at home with just a few ingredients, and no BUTTER. Don’t get me wrong, butter is awesome. However, I don’t want to eat it when it’s not necessary…you know, the whole ‘moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips’ thing. I’m not saying these peanut butter eggs are healthy, but there are no weird ingredients, no added butter, and they taste awesome.
 
The filling is only 3 ingredients and then it’s dipped in chocolate. In my experience, regular peanut butter works better than natural peanut butter, but natural peanut butter can be used if you chill the dough well (the filling get’s soft and hard to dip otherwise.) I also recommend doubling the posted recipe, because they are that good! HERE is the link to the original post. Enjoy!

Spring Cleaning with Balance Bars (GIVEAWAY)

Spring is finally here! I think. You can’t be too sure nowadays. However, if the pollen and asthma/allergies are any indication, then yep, Spring has finally sprung! Even though the pollen does cause my family and I lots of issues, I still love to see the flowers and trees blooming. It gives me a renewed sense of happiness and well being. It makes me want to make things fresh and clean….and that means spring cleaning! I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to cleaning. Not that I’m doing it, but hey, I have the resources whenever I get around to it! Not only do I want to purge and clean my house, but I want to shape up my diet as well. I’ve gotten back into the habit of lots of processed junk and too much sugar and carbs in my diet. Registered Dietitian, Sharon Richter, has come up with some tips to help us all start cleaning up our diet, by spring cleaning our pantry!
Balance Bar is doing their part as well, by offering healthier alternatives to many ‘grab and go’ snacks and teaming up with J.R. Watkins  which has awesome products without harsh toxins, so that we can “Spring Clean” inside and out!

Balance Bar comes in a variety of flavors, like Dark Chocolate PeanutDark Chocolate Crunch and Dark Chocolate Coconut.  And if you follow my blog, you know that I big pink puffy heart dark chocolate!

Not only do they come in my favorite flavors, but they have 13g of protein, and are gluten free. They make a good pre- or post-workout snack and are great for keeping in your purse or desk drawer for a mid-day snack to tide you over until your next meal. I shared my Balance Bars with my workout buddies and they were well received. It’s not a candy bar, but it doesn’t have the really harsh “protein-y” taste that some protein bars do. I know for me, that I am more likely to make poor food choices when I am really hungry, so keeping healthier snacks around is important. Learn more by following Balance Bar on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

In addition to the Balance Bars, today’s giveaway also includes this White Tea and Bamboo All Purpose Cleaner and Hand Soap by J.R, Watkins. It has a very fresh and clean scent without using harsh chemicals. I have already given the all purpose cleaner a work out since I have a lot of kitchen counter tops…and they constantly need cleaning! Learn more about the products by checking them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

So, on to the giveaway! To get you in the mood to start your own spring cleaning, Balance Bar and J.R.Watkins are providing a prize pack to one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader including a variety of Balance Bars and the above White Tea and Bamboo All Purpose Cleaner and Hand Soap.

You’ll receive more bars than pictured. I sort of ate most of mine before taking blog pictures. oops.

Just enter via a Rafflecopter giveaway form. Prize pack only available for shipping within U.S.

Disclosure: I received the same prize pack as being offered as a giveaway. Both prize packs are provided by Balance Bar/JR Watkins. No other compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast w/GIVEAWAY! {#sponsored}

Today I get to talk about one of my favorite things…BREAD! Hi, my name is Kim and I am a carb-addict. Seriously, I love bread – all kinds of bread, and so do my kids. If there is a bread basket around, you better watch out, b/c they will crush it. So, it’s no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to get free coupons for Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® and Pocket Thins® and Thomas’® Bagel Thins ®, I jumped on it. I was already a fan of their products, and purchase some items on a regular basis. 

Like these Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls. I use them for sandwiches frequently, like this breakfast sammie loaded with lots of protein (eggs, Canadian Bacon, reduced fat cheese) and the rolls are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®! They come in 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain, Honey Wheat, and Flax & Fiber. I like to make this sandwich on Bagel Thins ® too. However, I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while, and definitely wanted to try it out. I came up with a slightly different version and it was quite tasty!

I enjoyed this on my sun porch on a (finally!) nice day, and (briefly) pretended like I was on vacation…because it reminded me of something I would only eat while splurging at breakfast or brunch while on vacay!
However, this quick and easy version can be made anytime, letting you feel like you are splurging, when you’re actually not!
YUM! If you are not a fan of cherries, you could use any no sugar added/sugar free pie filling (apple, blueberry, etc.) or fresh fruit too.  Blueberry and lemon curd will be my next flavor combo!

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

1-2 Tablespoons reduced fat/fat free cream cheese (depending on taste preference, I used 2 T.)
1/4 cup No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling
1 egg or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
Cooking spray (I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)
sprinkle of cinnamon
powdered sugar (optional)
  • Add cream cheese to bottom half of roll.
  • Top with pie filling.
  • Place top of roll on pie filling, making a sandwich. Gently press together.
  • In a shallow bowl, beat one egg or pour in Egg Beaters, sprinkle with cinnamon (a lot or little depending on taste preference. I like a lot!)
  • Carefully dip sandwich in egg, flipping to coat both sides. Allow excess to drain off.
  • Heat a skillet on medium high heat and coat with cooking spray (can also use reduced calorie butter spread).
  • Add sandwich and cook until browned on bottom, then flip and cook other side.
  • To serve, add a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Skinny Kitchen

 I’ve only made one at a time, so I saved my leftover egg/cinnamon mixture in a sealed plastic container to use later in the week, as well as the pie filling. I’m pretty sure the pie filling could be frozen as well, but I haven’t tried that yet. (I have another super easy recipe using pie filling coming soon!)
You could also make French Toast with bagels. I usually buy the Thomas’® Bagel Thins® Bagels because they are only 110 calories and 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®. (They come in Plain, 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin and Everything) but when shopping I saw these….
Banana Bread Bagels! I knew my kids would flip since they love banana bread. They smell heavenly (the bagels, not my kids) and I don’t even like bananas! I think they would be really awesome in this recipe I found for Bread Pudding using bagels. However, I don’t think ours will last long enough! I need to go back to the store anyway, because my 5 y/o loves pizza made on bagels, and I need plain for that. We also like to make pizzas on flatbread. Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® makes Pocket Thins® Flatbread which are perfect for this, and they are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers too! They come in 100% Whole Wheat and Healthy Multi-grain.
Now, who wants to get their own free product coupons AND a $25 Visa Gift Card?! Because I appreciate all of you, and want to enable you in your own carb-loving addiction, one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader will win just that! To enter, use the Rafflecopter form. (If viewing this in an email, you will need to open it up in the browser so that the form will load.) Open to US residents only.
Disclosure: Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins® and Bagel Thins ® provided me with coupons for free product and a gift card for recipe ingredients. The opinions and photos are my own!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake

This is actually way healthier than it sounds. Sorry. It’s full of whole wheat and oats…but WAIT, it’s also full of peanut butter (and not just plain peanut butter, but chocolate peanut butter!) AND it has chocolate chips. Had you worried there for a second didn’t I? You know me, it’s always semi healthy around here.
I have the best of intentions. I go for healthy….but then chocolate and sugar and stuff usually gets in the way. *sigh*

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. creamy Natural Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter*
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips


*Regular peanut butter, your choice of nut butter, or a peanut butter replacement (like SunButter) could also be used

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix on high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add flour, oats, salt and baking soda and mix on medium speed. The dough will look crumbly.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add milk and mix until a dough forms.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Make a ball with the dough and place ball in the middle of an 8×8 baking dish. Press dough evenly into dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set and golden on top.
  • Let cool. Cut into squares or bars. Store in airtight container.

Recipe slightly adapted from Kate’s Recipe Box 

As pictured above, this can be dessert…warm from the oven with a little whipped cream and chocolate syrup (yummmm), but it also makes a decent lunch box treat.

My son couldn’t have these due to the peanut butter, but my girls and I enjoyed them. They aren’t super sweet like an oatmeal cookie, but a pretty good snack. It also got some whole grain oats into my girls since they did not inherit my love of oatmeal (which I so don’t understand!) They did however, inherit my love of chocolate. What can ya do…genetics is tricky business 😉

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Sowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles(Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary RecipesSimple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

(I) Pink Puffy Heart S’mores

Crispy crackers, gooey marshmallows, melt-y scrumptious chocolate. What’s not to love?! S’mores aren’t just for the campfire either. Pop these bad boys in the microwave and you can have your own ooey gooey treat in seconds!

Make them extra fun with these heart shaped marshmallows from Peeps! My kids were quite happy.
And check out the other yummy Valentine treats from Peeps. I was super excited to see the Sugar-Free option since my Valentine is diabetic. I was also pretty excited to see the dark chocolate versions, because I seriously pink puffy heart dark chocolate 🙂 And as I mentioned here, the Vanilla Creme hearts taste like sugar cookies. Yum!
Whether you enjoy this gushy mushy holiday or not, at least you know there are plenty of treats out there to help you celebrate the day. Or to not celebrate the day…whatever.
Disclosure: I received samples of Valentine treats from Peeps to try. No monetary compensation was received and I am under no obligation to post about them. All opinions are my own. 

Pumpkin Spiced Gingerbread Granola & a GIVEAWAY!

Since Mother Nature has decided we are still in full winter mode, I think it’s still the perfect time for the warmly spiced flavors of this granola. Actually I eat pumpkin year round, and this homemade granola is healthy and delicious. It’s also very easy to make, which is always a bonus.

My 11 year old loves to eat granola for breakfast, and I like to mix it in yogurt. Making it at home ensures that quality, wholesome ingredients are used, and it’s easily adapted to whatever you like and have on hand. And the best part about this granola?!

CLUSTERS!!
I feel good about letting my daughter eat this granola full of super foods like oats and pumpkin; nutritious wheat germ, healthy fats from nuts, and naturally sweetened with molasses. I lovelove molasses. However, if it’s not your cup of tea, you can substitute honey. It will have a milder, less ‘gingerbready’ flavor.

Pumpkin Spiced Gingerbread Granola

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup oil (I used a canola/olive oil blend)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ (I use Kretschmer Wheat Germ)

1/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup almonds

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 325°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, almond meal, chia seeds and nuts. 
  • Pour wet ingredients over the dry, and stir until well coated. 
  • Spread granola out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for approx 45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes. If you want clumps, keep the stirring to a minimum (as in don’t stir it too aggressively, trying to keep some places undisturbed) but be sure to keep an eye on the edges as they will burn. Mine got a little over cooked, but just on the very edges. 
  • Allow granola to cool and store in an airtight container. 

Recipe adapted from Carla’s Confections

Now, onto the GIVEAWAY! Kretschmer Wheat Germ has agreed to provide 2 jars of wheat germ to a Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader. And WHY would you want to win jars of wheat germ?! Because it’s a nutrition power house! It’s a great way to add extra nutrition into your family’s diet, and it has such a nice nutty crunch. Also, it has only 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. Win-Win!

Per their website, Kretschmer Wheat Germ includes:
Vitamin E: This fat-soluble antioxidant helps to protect cells and tissues from damage and may ward off certain diseases.

  • Folic Acid: A must-have for pregnant women—and a good idea for everyone else—this B vitamin helps make healthy new cells to protect against certain cancers.
  • Magnesium: This mineral helps keep your heart, bones and immune system strong. Recent data also suggests it may even slash your Type-2 diabetes risk.
  • Thiamin: This B vitamin helps convert carbohydrates into energy. It’s also essential for the proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.
  • Phosphorous: Working with calcium to build strong bones and teeth, this mineral is also necessary for the growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues.
  • Zinc: Your body uses this mineral for hundreds of functions, such as fighting off viruses, helping wounds heal, DNA synthesis and proper cell division.
BONUS: Wheat germ is also a fiber-rich source of high-quality non-animal protein and only contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat. Extra bonus: There’s no sodium.

So that’s why you want to incorporate wheat germ into your diet! Plus, it’s great mixed in yogurt, in granola recipes as above, baking, and I like to use it in a low fat topping for muffins….

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form! Shipping is only available within the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: A jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ was provided for sampling. No monetary compensation was received and I was under no obligation to post. I enjoy the product and all opinions are my own. 

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s time to start thinking about that certain holiday that’s all about red and pink and chocolate. Oh, and love, I suppose. My LOVE of CHOCOLATE drives me to make things like this. ‘The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie’.  That’s quite a name to live up to…the ‘ultimate’. Well, first, I didn’t name them, the recipe came straight from the back of the butter flavored Crisco package. Second, these were pretty darn good, but I will have to do lots more ‘product testing’ before I can actually consider them the ‘ultimate’. Yep, I foresee lots of taste testing of chocolate chip cookies in my future. It’s a hard life 😉

I know some people are anti shortening…me being one of those people. At least I was, until I actually compared shortening to butter. Basically, neither one is a health food, so if you are going to eat cookies….it’s all about moderation. Because, honestly, I’m not giving up my chocolate chip cookies. Some people are also quite adamant about shortening vs butter in their cookies. I’m on the fence, again, more product testing will be necessary for me to determine which I like better!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, tablespoon)
1 large egg (I like Eggland’s Best eggs)
1 3/4 cups unbleached All Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I used these by Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Beat shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg.
  • Add flour, salt and baking soda to shortening mixture and mix until just blended.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased or silicone mat lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies.
  • Cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet then move cookies to cooling rack.
Recipe adapted from Crisco.

Cookies are best served slightly warm with a large glass of milk and a cute straw. In my opinion of course.

This recipe was featured at VMG206!


I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed Contessa, The Dedicated House, Skip to my Lou, Making the World Cuter, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, This Gal Cooks, Huckleberry Love (Tuesday) 
Sowdering About in Seattle, Naptime Creations, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Love in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206, Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday)The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster Buster, Mostly Homemade Mom, Adorned from Above, Lady Behind the Curtain, Ginger Snap Crafts, Naptime is My Time, Tessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful Homemaking, Designed Decor, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, The Mandatory Mooch, Lamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Simple Living and Eating, Just Us Four, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, Diana Rambles, The Better Baker,Craftionary, One Artsy Mama, The Best Blog Recipes, One Creative Mommy, Close to Home, 30 Handmade Days, A Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution , Walking on Sunshine, Vintage Chic (Saturday)  Six Sisters’ Stuff,  Made from Pinterest (Sunday) It’s Overflowing,