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Tag Archive: Recipes

The Best Bran Muffins

These are the BEST bran muffins of all time! They are SO delicious, packed with nutrition, and easy to make!

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I love Chocolate Covered Katie. So naturally, I loved her cookbook, too!

When I first got the cookbook, I dog-eared a bunch of pages with recipes I wanted to try. But one I didn’t really pay attention to was her Ironman Muffins.

However, when my friend, Stacy, said these were a family favorite, I knew I had to try them. Because I’ve learned to pay attention when Stacy recommends something. She know her stuff — especially when it comes to food!

Kaitlynn (my 10-year-old) made the first batch of these and I promptly fell in love. I fell so much in love with them, that I have been making 1-2 batches every week and eating at least a few of these every DAY.

They are easy to make, they don’t require a lot of steps, they are delicious, and they are packed with nutrition. If you’ve been looking for a good bran muffin recipe that is also really good for you, try these out!

By the way, Stacy sent me these USA Pans as a gift. Now I know why she has sung their praises over and over and over again. They are amazing!

In typical Crystal style, I took the original recipe and re-did it. 🙂 You can see the original recipe here.

Looking for more muffin recipes? Check out my post on My Top 7 Favorite Freezer-Friendly Muffin Recipes.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Christmas Trail Mix (last-minute gift idea!)

This Homemade Christmas Trail Mix is a great last minute gift idea -- and it's inexpensive and easy!

Looking for a quick & easy Christmas gift idea? Make this Christmas Trail Mix!

Kathrynne had a Christmas Party at school two weeks ago and she decided at the last minute that she wanted to make something to bring.

I honestly wanted to say no. It had been a long day, my energy was running low, and it was getting close to her bedtime.

But in the spirit of my 2017 “Year of YES”, we made a quick trip to Kroger and got everything needed for Christmas Trail Mix (if you bought the ingredients at ALDI, it would be quite inexpensive. Unfortunately, our ALDI was already closed by the time she came up with the idea of wanting to make something!).

She made it in less than 10 minutes and was SO happy with the finished results.

Her look of joy and fulfillment when she was done was worth the little bit of extra effort. And she loved being able to bring something she made herself.

This recipe is so simple and would make a great last-minute gift idea. Best of all, you can change it based upon what you have on hand and on what your family/your recipients would like.

This would be a fun gift for kids to make for goodie bags. However, many schools and functions don’t allow peanuts, so you could just omit those. (Our kids go to a really small private school and none of the kids have nut allergies there, so peanuts are allowed.)

Here’s how Kathrynne made hers…

You could also add other things like Chex cereal, chocolate chips, yogurt covered raisins, or Cheerios. Any other ideas of fun things to add?

I share more about the Christmas Trail Mix below on my recent YouTube video. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here to see fun videos from me every week.

Looking for another simple last-minute Christmas treat or gift? Make some of this World’s Easiest Christmas Candy.

Decaf Chai Latte (what I’m drinking instead of coffee now!)

As some of you know, I made some radical health changes at the end of August that have majorly impacted my life in really incredible ways — including allowing me to completely get off all of the meds and supplements I’ve been on for acne, eczema, and anxiety.

One of the big changes was going completely off of coffee. Yes, for real. For 16 weeks now, I’ve not had a cup of coffee.

I missed it really, really badly at first. Like, I wanted to cry I missed it so dreadfully.

And it didn’t help that I had raging headaches and felt lethargic for the first week after I went off of it cold turkey.

But 16 weeks later, I can tell you that the health changes I’ve experienced are every bit worth not drinking coffee. And my goal is to never drink it again.

I have so much more energy, I’m sleeping so much better, I have so much less anxiety, and I’m so much happier overall. So it’s worth it.

But I do love me a warm drink, so I’ve experimented with a few different healthier decaf options and have come up with one that I absolutely love.

It helps that Jesse surprised me by buying this amazing frother and I can’t say enough about how much I love it. It makes incredible froth like nobody’s business! (Watch the video below to see how it works!)

I call it Decaf Chai Latte — even though I’m pretty sure it’s not technically that. But calling it that makes me feel like it’s a little closer to coffee than it is, so just go with it, okay?!

It’s so simple to make and only takes 3 ingredients!

These are three teas that I currently really love: Decaf Hot Cinnamon, Stash Chai Spice, and Chai Rooibos. (I also like this one, but I’m out of it right now so I didn’t have a box to show in the picture!)

I like my tea strong, so I make it with two tea bags and only half a mug of hot water.

You can use half & half in place of the milk and it will be a lot thicker and creamier.

Want to see me make this live? Watch the video below. Oh and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see fun videos from me every week!

Crockpot Taco Soup

Crockpot Taco Soup

We loved this Crockpot Taco Soup! It was so, so easy to make and so versatile.

If you watched my video where I made this recipe live, you can laugh because y’all, I just can’t seem to follow a recipe perfectly. For the life of me. I just can’t. 

Maybe it’s the experimenter in me. Maybe it’s the stubborn side of me. Or maybe it’s just because I’m not good at following directions! 😉

(Don’t even ask my husband about me trying to navigate to a new destination… I basically never make it there without taking at least a few wrong roads — even with WAZE loudly directing me exactly where I should go!)

Crockpot Taco Soup

Whatever it is, I’m just not the girl who would ever win the BEST RECIPE FOLLOWER AWARD. Nope. I would likely come in last place if there was a contest for that.

So, of course, you know that I didn’t follow this recipe exactly as the original stated… that would just be boring. 🙂

Crockpot Taco Soup

Here’s how I tweaked it:

Looking for easy fall recipes? This Crockpot Taco Soup looks SO delicious, and you'll save on time and clean-up since it's made in the slow cooker!

3 Quick & Easy Meals We Made Recently

3 Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

Need some quick and easy dinner ideas that are also easy on your pocketbook? As you well know, I’m all about keeping it simple — especially when it comes to cooking and meals.

Here are three meals we had recently that everyone in our family enjoyed:

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1) Barbecued Chicken

This recipe sounds fancier than it is… It’s literally your favorite barbecue sauce dumped on chicken and baked in the oven or crockpot. (I know, I know, my recipes are so crazy complicated! :))

I chopped mine up and sprinkled it on lettuce with feta cheese, cranberries, and sliced almonds. The rest of the family had theirs over rice or noodles (we had some leftover rice and leftover noodles from earlier this week) + veggies.

3 Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

2) French Toast

Jesse was out of town, so we had a very simple spread of French Toast, Hard-boiled eggs, and oranges.

We were actually going to just have leftovers, but Silas offered to make French Toast and Kathrynne had made hard-boiled eggs earlier, so I pulled out some oranges and we called it dinner. (And to keep it real, I got them situated with dinner and then went to hide out in our room for a few minutes because Mom needed 5 minutes of quiet!)

3 Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

3. Turkey Sausage & Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Sauteed Onions & Peppers

This was a dinner that Jesse made. This, why it’s Paleo and something that required multiple bowls, pans, and steps. 😉

(He and I could not be more different when it comes to how we approach cooking — and so many other things in life! But over the years, we’re learning to more and more to appreciate and embrace these differences — instead of feeing frustrated and fighting over them!)

What are some of YOUR favorite quick, easy, & frugal recipes?

Make a Homemade “Latte” in Less Than 2 Minutes

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So, you know I quit using sugar in my coffee awhile back (I know, I know, I still can’t believe it!!) and I’ve been playing around with different hot drinks.

I love this Homemade Latte recipe, but I’ve learned that I just can’t do much espresso or I’m too wired. I already tend to be a person who has a lot of energy and zest for life, so I don’t really need the extra hype that I get from having more than a tiny bit of espresso.

Plus, you know that I’m all about keeping it simple. So dragging out multiple pieces of equipment and going through multiple steps to make a latte just ain’t happening every day around here.

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But I love lattes, I really do. So I came up with an easy-peasy solution.

My easy-peasy solution is probably called some fancy name and I just don’t know it and it has been shared all over the internet. However, since I didn’t see the idea on Pinterest (Yup, can you believe that it’s possible to come up with an idea without Pinterest?!?), just humor me and pretend it’s a new idea. 😉

My Homemade “Latte” Recipe

1. Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of half and half or milk in a glass cup in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds.

How to Make Homemade Latte

2. Use an electric frother (you can pick one of these up for just a few dollars from a place like IKEA or probably Walmart or Target. I got mine from Amazon, thanks to Swagbucks!) and froth the milk/cream for 15 to 20 seconds.

3. Pour the froth into a steaming cup of hot coffee. And ta-da! You have yourself a fancy looking”Latte” that is very low calories (it’s about 40-60 calories total if you use half and half), inexpensive, and doesn’t give you a caffeine headache or make you feel wired!

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Basically, this just requires one extra minute each morning to make and it feels like I’m drinking a super special coffee shop drink. 🙂

What’s your favorite coffee shop drink? Have you found a quick homemade version? If so, I’d love to have the recipe link or details so that maybe I can try it out, too!