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28 September 2018

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins With No Flour, Oil, or Refined Sugar

Enjoy the flavors of fall with these healthy pumpkin muffins made without flour, oil, or refined sugar.

I'm an autism mom, and picky eating is common in kids with autism.  When my kids were little, I made their baby food, and they didn't have salt or sugar so they would accept more foods.

For a few years, I was feeling rather good because my oldest ate broccoli like other kids ate potato chips.

Then he turned three.  When he was three, he would only eat nuggets, fries, pancakes, and peanut butter and jelly.  When I say that was all that ate, I mean that was literally all that he ate.

With help from an SLP and OT, we got him eating seven foods by the time he was 8-years-old.

One thing that he would eat was bread.  I quickly learned how to hide veggies and other healthy things—like chia seeds and wheat germ—in the bread.  I would shred carrots and other veggies to hide in the breads because it was the only way to sneak any vegetables besides ketchup in him.

Those days taught me how to make delicious healthier versions of foods.  These healthy pumpkin muffins don't have flour, oil, or refined sugar, but they still taste great.

(In case any of you are dealing with a picky eater, he's 16 now and does eat a little better.  But I'm still planning on getting chicken nuggets catered for his wedding.) 

26 September 2018

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats

These pumpkin spice overnight oats are a quick and easy way to get a healthy breakfast.

I thought mornings would be easier since we aren't rushed to catch the school bus, but they are not much easier since we started homeschooling.  Mornings are rough for all moms, amiright?

I am not a morning person, but I function so much better if I can wake up before the kids so I can have my coffee in peace before I start my day.  

I use this time to check my email, browse Facebook and Instagram, and play my favorite game on my phone.  After I'm done with my coffee, I grab breakfast, start dinner prep, and then start teaching the kids.  

If I take time to make a healthy breakfast, that's less time I have for myself.  I don't like to sacrifice that time, but I want a healthy breakfast that's high in protein to keep me fueled.


Enter overnight oats.  I can prep these the night before when I have more time and the atmosphere is more relaxed in our home.  When I wake up, I have a healthy breakfast waiting on me.  

Since I'm all about pumpkin spice, of course I made a pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe.  Not only is this delicious, but it's also high in protein and doesn't have refined sugars.

Don't forget to make this skinny pumpkin spice coffee creamer recipe so you can have pumpkin spice coffee while eating your pumpkin spice overnight oats.  

24 September 2018

8 Practical Teacher Gifts for Back to School, Christmas, or End of School

Thank you to Dynatrap for sponsoring today's conversation.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Even though my kids are now homeschooled, and maybe more so because of it, I believe that public school teachers should qualify for sainthood.  And kindergarten teachers should have a special place in Heaven.


Now that your kids and their teachers have settled into their routines, you might be thinking about a thank you gift for the teachers.  Or maybe you're thinking ahead to Christmas, or maybe you're reading this months from now and want and end of the year teacher gift.  Either way, these are practical teacher gifts that most teachers would love getting.  

I showed my appreciation to my kids' teachers with small gifts for Christmas and sometimes the end of the year.  One year between three kids, I had 14 teacher gifts to give.  Yikes!  

For that reason, I'm including some cute DIY gifts that you can make inexpensively so no one gets left out.

Even though I don't have to buy teacher gifts for actual teachers anymore, I do still have therapists that I show my appreciation to with a gift at Christmas.  

21 September 2018

Apple Pie Spice Foaming Whipped Sugar Scrub Recipe

Gently scrub and cleanse at the same time with this luxurious apple pie spice foaming whipped sugar scrub recipe made with essential oils.

Pumpkin spice season isn't over, but we're taking a bit of a break to move to apple pie spice.  Apple pie spice is the the middle child of fall.  It doesn't get nearly as much as attention as pumpkin spice or cinnamon.

Sugar scrubs have been really popular lately as we head into cooler weather, so I wanted to make one with this new essential oil blend.  But I didn't want just a simple sugar scrub.

Sugar scrubs are a great way to naturally exfoliate your skin, but they leave your skin oily.  This is great when your skin is really dry, but not so great when you want to get on with life after you use the scrub.

I'm always on the computer of my phone.  I don't want my hands oily after using a scrub.
This scrub is a foaming whipped sugar scrub, so it has castile soap in it for the foaming part.  It cleans while it scrubs, and it cuts down on the greasy feel.

I also whipped it to make it more luxurious.  The simple act of whipping it for a few minutes really turns this scrub into a spa like scrub versus a plain sugar scrub. 

19 September 2018

Pumpkin and Kaolin Clay Natural Face Mask For Oily Skin Recipe

Exfoliate your skin and naturally moisturize with this DIY pumpkin and kaolin clay natural face mask recipe.

If you've been reading my posts the last three weeks, then you know that we are all about pumpkins this month.  Don't worry, I'm switching to apples soon!

I've been making this pumpkin and kaolin clay face mask recipe for years, but I haven't blogged it before now.  I like it because it's so easy to make, yet it's quite a powerful face mask.

This mask has just four ingredients and takes about 2 minutes to make, but don't let that fool you.  It's full of ingredients that help exfoliate your skin, moisturize, and help reduce acne.

I don't have acne prone skin, but I do have large pores and oily skin.  This natural face mask recipe works well at clearing out pores and balancing oil production.

I wouldn't recommend this mask if you have sensitive skin because the pumpkin might irritate your skin.  It should be good for normal skin though.

Don't forget to make your skinny pumpkin spice latte before you make this pumpkin and clay face mask.

17 September 2018

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe With Coconut Sugar

This skinny pumpkin spice coffee creamer recipe has no artificial ingredients and tastes amazing.

When I started eating healthier, one of the things I dreaded giving up was my beloved flavored coffee creamer.  I actually didn't give it up for the first year because I didn't realize just how easy it was to make at home. 


I started by making my own powdered coffee creamer, which is really easy.  I had made coffee creamer before, but it wasn't, well, creamy.  I like cream in my coffee, and I don't think skim or 2 percent milk cuts it.  My powdered coffee creamer uses coconut oil, so it is creamy and doesn't taste like coconut.  

I always have my powdered creamer, but sometimes I also make a liquid.  While the powdered tastes great, I prefer using a liquid for the taste.  

In years past, I always bought pumpkin spice coffee creamer.  This year, I decided that I didn't want the extra ingredients, so I set out to make my own.  Now I wish that I'd started making my own years ago!

14 September 2018

DIY Pumpkin Spice Essential Oil Wax Melts

Celebrate pumpkin spice season with these easy wax melts made with essential oils.

Yes, it's another pumpkin spice tutorial.  I just can't help myself.  I love pumpkin spice season!

Today, I'm going to show you how to make a DIY pumpkin spice essential oil wax melt.  You can pop these in a tart burner and enjoy pumpkin spice in just a few minutes.


Back in the day, when I was selling my soaps, lotions, and other bath products, I also used to sell candles and wax melts.  I had a lot of fun making candles, but it was a lot of work.

When you make candles, you have to test each fragrance in each wax with different wicks.  The right percentage of fragrance to wax might be fine for one scent. but the next one won't work.  It's the same with wicks.

Each new scent or container can take several tries before you get it right.  

Luckily, wax melts are a lot easier to make.  Since there's no container or wick, you just have to test the wax and the scent.  With wax melts, most fragrance oils will follow the same ratio.

12 September 2018

DIY Pumpkin Spice Perfume With Essential Oils Two Recipes With and Without Alcohol

Now you can smell like pumpkin spice all the time with this easy DIY pumpkin spice perfume made with essential oils.

If you've been visiting the blog over the last two weeks, then you know that's pumpkin spice season.  My pumpkin spice posts from last year and this year and getting a lot of shares and views, so I'm assuming that you're loving them.

If for some reason pumpkin spice isn't your thing, then give me a few weeks to get back to regular programming.


Today, we're learning how to make a DIY pumpkin spice perfume with essential oils.  Again, you can adapt this to any type of recipe by using different oils.

I like wearing perfumes, but they bother my husband's asthma.  I've found that I can wear perfumes made with essential oils, and they don't bother him.  The alcohol in the perfume does bother him, so I use cyclomethicone for the base.

I'm going to give you two ways to make this DIY pumpkin spice perfume, so you can choose the way that's best for you.  

10 September 2018

53 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Get fall cooking inspiration with this list of 53 healthy pumpkin recipes.  

There are approximately 5,325 ways to use pumpkin to make a healthy food.  I wanted to feature some healthy pumpkin recipes this fall, but I just couldn't decided which recipes to feature.

While I love baking, especially with pumpkin, I unfortunately do not have the time to make one of everything to share.  So I did the next best thing and created this huge roundup of 53 pumpkin recipes.



I sorted them by category, so it's easier to navigate for you.  There are even some pumpkin treats for your favorite pooch.  My dogs really love pumpkin, so I make them pumpkin treats all year.  

When I was making this list, I considered recipes with no white flour or white sugar to be healthy.  A few recipes looked really good, but they had white sugar.  I would swap out coconut sugar, so I made a note of that.  

You can also use maple sugar or liquid stevia, but I do not know the conversions for those sweeteners.  You can also use an artificial sweetener if you want.  Check with the brand you're using to see how to substitute it.  

53 HEALTHY PUMPKIN RECIPES

Pumpkins may be a popular fall decoration, but they are also a very healthy food.  Pumpkin is low in calories, but it's packed with nutrition.  They are high in antioxidants for heart health.
Pumpkins are orange thanks to beta-carotene.  Your body converts it to vitamin A, which is important for your eye health.

Pumpkins are also high in fiber for your digestive health.

Pumpkin pairs well with honey or maple syrup as a sweetener.  I usually use coconut sugar as a sugar alternative because it tastes the most like sugar, but it has a lower glycemic index.  

MAIN DISHES 




DESSERTS



DRINKS




SNACKS AND APPETIZERS


Spiced Pumpkin Butter (Swap the sugar for coconut sugar or liquid stevia)

BREADS AND MUFFINS


Healthier Starbuck's Copycat Pumpkin Bread (replace the remaining sugar with coconut sugar)
Pumpkin Banana Bread (replace the sugar with coconut sugar)


DOG TREATS

Pumpkin Crunchy Dog Treats

I hope you enjoy several of these 53 healthy pumpkin recipes!





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07 September 2018

Pumpkin Spice Latte Natural Face Mask Recipe (Great for acne prone skin!)

Naturally exfoliate and nourish your skin with this pumpkin spice latte face mask. 

I told you guys it was pumpkin spice latte week!  And this isn't even my last PSL post for the season, so be sure to come back for more next week.  

Not only is pumpkin great for pies, desserts, and drinks, but it's also wonderful for your skin and hair.  I mainly use clay or charcoal masks on my oily skin, but for a mask made with fresh fruit, pumpkin is my favorite.


This natural face mask recipe is inspired by the Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte, so for best results, sip a skinny PSL while you're waiting for this to work.  Okay, drinking it won't help the mask work, but it is yummy!

This mask is great for oily skin or those with large pores, but it can be used by those with normal or oily skin.  Skip the cinnamon if you have dry skin or sensitive skin.

05 September 2018

Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee Soap With Whipped Melt and Pour Icing

These pumpkin spice latte soaps look like a little cup of coffee complete with a whipped cream topping.

I may be a little bit pumpkin spice obsessed.  As I was making my editorial calendar for fall, I was brainstorming new ideas.  

I made a pumpkin spice latte melt and pour soap recipe last year that was really popular.  Then I thought, what if I made a soap that looked like a PSL?

And don't forget to make yourself a skinny pumpkin spice latte to sip on while you make this adorable soap.  



I thought about it for a few days and finally decided how I was going to make it.  I was going to use clear melt and pour soap for the coffee and white for the top, but I really wanted it to look like whipped cream.

You can whip soap that you make with lye, but I wasn't sure how to whip a melt and pour.  I figured that out, and I love how it turned out!

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE SHAPED COFFEE SOAP WITH WHIPPED MELT AND POUR ICING


You'll make this soap in two parts.  First, you make the Essence of Pumpkin Pie coffee cup part of the soap, then you make the whipped topping.


COFFEE SOAP


I followed my basic recipe for coffee soap.  I used 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds per pound of soap.  I just use my regular coffee.  

I did not use a suspension base because my supplier doesn't carry it.  I've found that I don't need it if I let the soap cool before pouring.  If you pour when it's really hot, the grounds will sink to the bottom, so be sure to let it cool before pouring.

Coffee is a great natural exfoliant.  It also covers smells, so I like to use coffee soap in the kitchen.

ESSENTIAL OILS


For the scent, I used a new EO blend called Essence of Pumpkin Pie blend.  I asked the owner of Crafty Bubbles to make me a blend to use this year because it's easier than blending it myself.  I figured this would be way easier for my readers too.

You can get a set of three bottles on Amazon with free shipping.  Or order direct from Crafty Bubbles.  It's brand new, so it's not in their catalog.  Just email or call them to order it.

It's a blend of:

  • Cinnamon 
  • Clove
  • Vanilla
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger




Crafty Bubbles just released a four pack of holiday essential oil blends. It has pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, candy cane, and gingerbread.



HOW TO WHIP MELT AND POUR SOAP



In order to whip melt and pour soap, you need to make it softer.  You can do that by adding vegetable glycerin to it.

Melt and pour already has glycerin in it, but the extra that you add makes it softer.  You can then whip it before it sets up.  I think it looks just like whipped cream!

The possibilities are endless for you to experiment now that you know how to do it.

CHECKING TEMPERATURE


I used to use a candy thermometer to check the temperature of my melt and pour soap, but now I use a laser thermometer.  You just pout it at the soap, click a button, and you have the temperature.

I prefer it because I don't have to clean it like I do a thermometer.  I can also use it for my heat press, so it serves double duty.

If you make a lot of melt and pour soap, it's handy to have.  Since I don't use a suspension base, I let the soap cool until about 90-100 degrees before I pour. I also use it to make sure I add the essential oils or fragrance oils at about 120 degrees so they don't burn off.  

INGREDIENTS


FOR THE COFFEE CUP SOAP

FOR THE WHIPPED TOPPING SOAP


  • 8 ounces white melt and pour soap (I use Crafty Bubbles, but this one works)
  • 4 tablespoons glycerin
  • hand mixer with whisk attachment

DIRECTIONS


STEP #1  


You'll start by making the coffee soap first.  I melted a pound of clear melt and pour soap in the microwave.  Cut it into 1 inch cubes and microwave a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup at 30 second intervals until melted.  Stir between intervals.  

Once it's melted, let it cool until a thin film forms on the top.  Then quickly add 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds and 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie essential oil. 





STEP #2


Stir well and pour into paper cups.  I used 3-ounce cups and only poured about 2/3 full.  I just eyeballed them to get them almost even.  One pound of soap will fill 8 cups about 2/3 full.  

Set aside and let cool completely.  I let mine sit for an hour before moving to the next step.



STEP #3


Note that I took my photos for a smaller batch, so I used a 2-cup measuring cup.  It was still too small.  I wouldn't use anything smaller than a quart sized measuring cup or bowl for the next step.  

To make the icing, melt 8 ounces of white melt and pour soap in the microwave.  Add the glycerin and stir.  Let it sit until it reaches 90 degrees or until it looks like slime.  

The use a whisk attachment on a hand mixer to whip it up.  This will take about two to four minutes.  It should look like whipped cream or icing at this point.



STEP #4


I didn't get a photo of the next step because it was really messy.

Spray the top of the set up coffee soap with rubbing alcohol so the two soaps stick together.  

You can pipe the whipped melt and pour soap on top of the coffee soap, but I just spooned it on and used my fingers to smoosh it down and make sure it stuck to the coffee soap.  

I sprinkled nutmeg on top to look like a real pumpkin spice latte.  

Let cool completely before unmolding.  


The whipped topping on mine didn't fully harden, so I'm not sure that I'd ship these soaps, but they do look adorable sitting on a counter or in the shower.

I wish I you could see how cool the bottom looks in person.  It's clear, so you can see the coffee grounds floating.  It looks really cute in person.

Not ready to make it yourself?  Buy handmade pumpkin spice latte soap on Etsy.  




Pumpkin Spice Latte Soap






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03 September 2018

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

This skinny pumpkin spice latte has almost half the calories and one-third the sugars as the one from a coffee house, and it tastes amazing!

One of my guilty pleasures is stopping by Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts for a fancy coffee.  It's not one that I partake in often just due to the cost and the calories, but when we have an early appointment or I just want a special treat, I'll stop to grab a cup.

I've been awaiting the pumpkin spice latte since last winter.  I want the flavor, but I don't want all of the calories and questionable ingredients, so I started experimenting at home to make a skinny pumpkin splice latte.


Most copycat recipes call for a milk frother.  I don't have one, nor do I want to clutter my small kitchen with specialty tools.  I skipped the froth and instead added whipped cream on top.

If you have a milk frother, feel free to use it.  You could also use a blender to whip this before you heat it up.

I'm all about keeping things simple, so I just heat it up and enjoy.  

I'm eating fewer carbs, so I'm okay with the whipped cream.  If you have other dietary needs, feel free to skip it.  
This skinny PSL recipe is kind of a base recipe.  You can use the milk and sweetener of your choice to fit your dietary needs.

SKINNY PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE RECIPE


According to Starbucks, a grande PSL with 2% milk and whip this year will have:
  • 380 calories
  • 14 grams of fat 
  • 8 grams saturated fat
  • 55 mg cholesterol
  • 240 mg sodium
  • 52 grams carbohydrates
  • 50 grams sugars
And let's be real here, we're not ordering a grande.  A venti is a whopping 470 calories and 64 grams of sugar.

The real PSL also has a preservative called potassium sorbate in the pumpkin spice sauce and whipped cream.  

I'm not a nutritionist, so I used Very Well to calculate this nutrition facts for this recipe using unsweetened almond milk, coconut sugar, and 2 tablespoons of whipped cream


While I wouldn't drink this daily, it's a much better choice for your PSL craving!
Just remember that if you use a different milk or sweetener, your mileage may vary.  Plug your numbers into the verywell website if you want to know the nutritional value.

The Starbuck's PSL also has "natural flavors" in the Pumpkin Spice Sauce and in the Vanilla Syrup.  By definition, natural flavors come from things found in nature, but that doesn't mean that they are from traditional foods.

Basically, we've found out that some plants taste like other plants.  NPR gave a great example that I'll paraphrase.  Instead of using an orange or orange flavor, they may use a grass or bark from a specific tree.

We have no idea of knowing what those natural flavors are or what they came from.

A PSL also has carageenan in the whipped cream.  This is a "natural" ingredient and comes from a type of seaweed.  It's thought to be linked to inflammation, so I avoid it because I have quite enough inflammation due to RA.

MILK CHOICE


I prefer almond milk for my milk alternative.  I used unsweetened because it has fewer calories than vanilla almond milk.  You can also use regular milk or even coconut milk.

If you're eating low carb, use a whole milk.  Skim and 2% milk have more carbs than whole milk.

SWEETENER CHOICE


Coconut sugar is my white sugar alternative of choice.  I think it has a true sugar flavor with a lower glycemic index.  It doesn't dissolve well in drinks, but it will in this since you add it to the drink and warm it up.
You can also use liquid stevia, sugar, artificial sweetener, maple syrup, or honey.  I haven't used any of them, so you'll have to experiment with the amounts yourself.

COFFEE


When I want to make a skinny pumpkin spice latte, I just make a little extra coffee in the morning and reserve 1/2 cup of brewed coffee and put it in the fridge until I want to make it.  I'm the only coffee drinker in the house, so I don't want to brew another pot.

You could also use instant coffee.  If you want this in the evening, use decaf coffee.

INGREDIENTS


DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


Place the milk, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and .pumpkin spice in a medium sized pan and heat over medium low heat until simmering.  Use a whisk to stir it to add some air since we're not using a frother.


STEP #2


Add coffee and stir well.

STEP #3


Pour into a cute cup, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, and enjoy!


If you want to make this for a crowd, you can easily scale this recipe up.  Keep it warm in a slow cooker or in a large pan on the stove.

Pumpkin freezes well!  If you don't have a use for the rest of the can of pumpkin, put it in the fridge or freeze it in an ice cube tray.  Thaw one ice cube per cup of skinny pumpkin spice latte.

You can also use the leftover pumpkin in a DIY skincare recipe.

Don't forget to use a cute coffee cup.  I donated the boring white coffee mugs that came with my dishes and I only use fun mugs now.  Here are some really cute ones that would be perfect for this skinny pumpkin spice latte recipe.

Mornin Pumpkin
Pumpkin Spice Everything
hello, pumpkin




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