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Homemade Hot Cocoa

Homemade hot cocoa is so absurdly easy to make, it amazes me that store bought packets dominate the market.  The homemade variety is fast, easy and gives you complete control of the ingredients.  So say goodbye to unnecessary preservatives and excess sugar and say hello to pure chocolate delight!  Below is my personal favorite recipe, it makes a rich and creamy, semi-sweet brew.  But this recipe can be effortlessly...

Creamy Tomato Soup

This creamy tomato soup is flavorful and satisfying without being heavy or overly rich.  The trick is to use milk instead of cream and to thicken it with a simple roux.  This produces a wonderful creamy texture without actually using cream.  It also increases the soup’s yield without sacrificing quality or flavor.  Roux (pronounced roo) sounds fancy but it’s actually really easy and a valuable tool for thickening all...

How to Make Pizza Dough

Most pizza dough recipes are pretty standard – flour, water, salt, yeast, oil and perhaps a bit of sugar.  The trick to consistently great dough is to use a kitchen scale.  For years I balked at the thought of a kitchen scale – it seemed unnecessary, gimmicky and frankly annoying.  When I finally gave it a try, it made a huge improvement in both the quality of my breads and my enjoyment of the process.  I kicked...

Coconut Creamed Spinach

I’ve been looking for a good creamed spinach recipe for a long time and (until now) never found one I liked.  They were always too heavy or bland or just plain annoying to make.   Then one day I replaced the milk/cream with coconut milk and was thrilled with the result…  Coconut milk and spinach are two of my favorite things, why didn’t I think to combine them sooner?!  Coconut milk is easy to work with (no more...

How to Make Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel cut oats are an oatmeal lovers dream.  They are so completely different from mushy instant oats, they’re practically a different species!  Steel cut oats are the least processed form of oat cereal.  They’re made from oat groats (grains).  The whole grain groats are hulled (inedible husk removed), toasted and chopped into small pieces.  By comparison, instant oats are made by chopping the groats, rolling them...

Refreshing Watermelon Punch

This uber refreshing punch is the perfect drink for a hot summer night.  It’s based on the classic combination of watermelon and citrus.  Then we added raspberries to really take the flavor to a whole new level…  It’s like a fizzy watermelon lemon-limeade.  It makes a delicious non-alcoholic punch using tonic or club soda.  Or for an adult version it makes a killer mimosa (vodka or coconut rum would also be...

How to Make a Watermelon Keg

In less time than it takes to carve a pumpkin, you can make the cutest little keg you’ve ever seen.  A watermelon keg is easy to make, looks awesome and impresses both kids and adults alike.  Bring one of these bad boys to your next summer party and you’re guaranteed to feel happy every time you look at it:) How to Make a Watermelon Keg Supplies: One whole watermelon Spigot (see note below) Knife and spoon Pen or...

No Sugar Added Nectarine Jam

Nectarines are totally under-rated when it comes to making jam.  In season they’re sweet and plentiful and dripping with summery peach-like flavor.  And they have a major advantage over their beloved cousin peach– they don’t require peeling!  When cooked, their thin skin practically disappears making for a quicker and easier jam.  Actually this may be the simplest jam recipe ever.  It uses just fruit and juice and...

5 Great Summer Popsicle Recipes

In anticipation of the first day of summer, I wanted to post Young Mother Hubbard’s top 5 popsicle recipes (based on reader popularity).  All 5 are easy to make, use wholesome ingredients and of course taste delicious.  So break out your popsicle molds and enjoy these refreshing summer treats! Fruit Salad Popsicles: The most popular popsicle on this blog and always a hit with the kiddos – it’s literally...

Lemon Curd Recipe

Lemon curd is a fancy word for a simple (and delicious) lemon custard.  If you like bold lemon flavor, this one’s for you… Curd is quite easy to make, the trick is to cook it very gently.  Use the heaviest pan you can find (cast iron is ideal), stir constantly and don’t let it boil or the eggs may scramble.  This sounds annoying but all it takes is a watchful eye and since the cooking time is so short it’s really...

Wholesome No Cook Chocolate Pudding

This pudding is rich and creamy and chocolaty sweet.  It’s also the healthiest pudding you will ever eat and you’ll never guess what it’s made of!  I made it on a whim one night when I made the mistake of scheduling dental work over dinnertime.  My stomach was rumbling but I wasn’t supposed to chew for several hours so I scoured the kitchen for something satisfying that I could puree.  This crazy recipe is the...

Pectin Free Strawberry Jam

This recipe makes a rustic strawberry jam so rich it almost verges on strawberry butter (Marshall says it tastes like a strawberry fruit roll up).   I specifically wanted a recipe using common ingredients that could be made anytime without a trip to a specialty store.  For this reason I omitted pectin, a common gelling ingredient.  I don’t actually have a problem with pectin, it’s just not something that people keep...

How to Make Stabilized Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is the best.  It’s light and fluffy and adds great richness to desserts without overpowering them.  There’s just one problem, it has an absurdly short shelf life.  After a few hours it gets all runny and gross, even when properly refrigerated – not cool!  So, what if I told you this problem can be completely solved with just a single teaspoon of unflavored gelatin?  Adding gelatin during the...

Sweet Lemon Fruit Dip

Fruit dips are highly under-rated.  A fruit tray accompanied by fruit dip is an easy crowd pleaser (wooden skewers for easy dipping are a nice touch).  This recipe makes a summer style fruit dip that takes just a minute to whip up.  It’s sweet, creamy and refreshingly tart.  This is a great recipe to have up your sleeve for unexpected dinner guests, sweet cravings, potlucks or to entice little ones to eat their fruit. ...

How to Make Flax Meal

Flax is a potent little superfood that can be easily incorporated into a ton of common dishes.  The trick is to grind the seeds into flax meal.  Grinding the seeds is important for two reasons: It makes the flax seeds more digestible.  Flax seeds often pass through the body whole.  Grinding them greatly improves their digestibility and nutrient absorption. Flax meal is also much easier than seeds to incorporate into...

Sesame Flax Squares

I’ve always loved the little sesame candies popular in Asian cuisine but have never made them before because I don’t have the time or patience for candy making.  Instead I set about to make a simplified version of these sweet little treats.  Oh yeah, I wanted them to be healthy too – nutrient rich, nothing artificial and no white sugar.  I took a basic recipe, added flax for extra nutrition, used honey and maple...

Homemade Dijon Mustard

I’ve been experimenting with Dijon mustard for a while using different types of vinegar, sweeteners and fresh vs. powdered onion and garlic.  I’ve made several that I liked but none that I loved… until now!  This recipe makes a delicious classic Dijon.  It’s smooth and savory with a nice tang.  I added just a bit of sweetness and spice to balance the flavor without taking away its bite.  Enjoy it on sausage,...

Homemade Peanut Butter Chips

Homemade peanut butter chips have bolder peanut flavor than the over-sugared ones you’ll find in the grocery store.  The version I make uses minimal sweetener and yields delicious semi-sweet chips that melt in your mouth.  This recipe is to peanut butter chips what semi-sweet morsels are to chocolate chips!  (Feel free to up the sugar content or use a different sweetener if you want a sweeter chip).  These tasty little...

How to Get the Meat Out of a Coconut

I love all things coconut and have often been tempted by the whole coconuts sold in the grocery store.  However, my past attempts to actually use a whole coconut failed because I could never figure out how to separate the meat from the shell (it’s stuck like super glue!).  Then I discovered a handy trick:  When you roast a coconut, the shell cracks and pulls away from the meat.  This saves an enormous amount of time and...

Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe

I recently saw an article touting the health benefits of gelatin and laughed at the absurdity of it.  I had long ago written off jello as yet another ridiculous 80’s fad that happily went out of fashion. To my surprise, the article was quite convincing and I decided to look into it a bit.  A quick google search turned up a ton of information, including sources such as Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation, who I...