Unless you are facing an allergy, what child doesn’t love chocolate milk? I know mine do! For the longest time, we have just gone without chocolate milk, unless I bought the horizon variety on a VERY special occasion. My boys love milk as is, especially fresh farm milk so I don’t get any complaints. I, on the other hand, hate milk. I do not like the taste, it grosses me out. I know I need to be drinking it prego because it’s so great for fetal development but blech. Crazy enough, I do love chocolate milk.  The problem is, I can’t have chocolate milk on the cheap because I do not love the ingredient list on the back of the most popular pre-made chocolate syrup bottle. Let’s take a look at these ingredients:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP; CORN SYRUP; WATER; COCOA; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); SALT; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; XANTHAN GUM; POLYSORBATE 60; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR

Wow. Three different types of sweeteners, fake vanilla, more artificial flavoring, chemicals and preservatives. Yuck, yuck, yuck. So, what’s a girl to do? Make it from scratch, of course! I looked over the internet and found a common list of ingredients then came up with this version that we loved.  Imagine my boy’s surprise and excitement when I made this on Sunday. It’s easy, quick and delicious!

Ingredients
1.5 cups sugar (I used this)
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1 cup water
1 tsp real vanilla
dash salt

In a pot, whisk together the sugar, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes then stir in salt and vanilla. Cool completely before serving and store in the fridge for up to 10 days. Use 1 tablespoon of syrup in 8 oz of milk, enjoy! You can also use this to drizzle on ice cream or pies that call for chocolate syrup.

*Yes, this recipe does call for a lot of sugar, but some cooks down and considering all we have given up (fast food, food dyes, etc) I do not have an issue with my boys having a glass of chocolate milk a few times a week.

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Way Back Wednesday Recipe

March 12, 2014

Today’s way back wednesday recipe is this Balsamic Chicken and Tortellini Pasta salad. With warmer weather on the horizon, you will want to make these several times in the months to come!

Find the full recipe here.

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This recipe could not be easier or more delicious! Whole chickens tend to intimidate people, at least cooking them at home, but they are actually super easy to cook and extremely economical! Make this recipe the first night, use the leftover chicken in salads or casseroles later in the week and then use the bones from the whole chicken to make stock.  Not to mention, you control the ingredients so this is a very healthy, clean recipe that can stretch your dollar a long way.

Ingredients
1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt (or an msg free seasoned salt)
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
1/4 tsp black pepper 
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1 lemon, cut in half to put inside the chicken (optional for a lemony flavor) 

In a slow cooker, cut up an entire onion and layer it on the bottom of the pot. Put all of your spices in a bowl and mix them up creating a rub. Next rub the dried chicken down with your rub. Try to cover the whole chicken with the rub, inside and out. If you’d like, you can put the halved lemon inside the chicken, but this is optional. Place the chicken on top of the onions and then put the cubes of butter on top of the chicken. Close your lid and leave it for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

Now, I will say this much about slow cookers, some cook really hot and others cook slow and low. Know your cooker. My old one had one temp, regardless of what I put it on, it cooked crazy hot. I’m thankful for a new one that actually cooks on low if I set it on low. When finished cooking, remove from your crock pot, let rest for at least ten minutes before serving and enjoy.

*Don’t let cutting or carving a whole chicken scare you away from this. Once cooked, the legs and wings literally pull off the chicken and you can easily cut or pull away the rest of the meat. The skin will crisp up so you can either eat it or pull off before serving. Keeping the skin on during cooking ensures the chicken will be moist and delicious :)

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Celebrate Your Marriage

February 11, 2014

Valentine’s Day is this Friday and it is easily one of the most marketed, commercialized holidays out there. I was in Walmart the other day and the amount of Valentine’s balloons in there scared me a little bit. Any second I knew we’d all be a part of a real life scene from up and [...]

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Easy, Delicious Guacamole

February 5, 2014

Clearly one of the positive things about being snowed in and my husband working from home is that I can blog. I think I have blogged more in the past 2 weeks than I did the past 2 months! Here is a super easy, delicious recipe for guacamole. You’ll notice the recipe calls for a [...]

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20 weeks (and a few days)

February 5, 2014

This past weekend I hit the 20 week mark which for me (typically) is a little over halfway there. I have had both of my boys at 39 weeks exactly. I feel pretty good and I’m finally starting to show more. Like I said last time, I haven’t had any extreme nausea this time but [...]

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Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

February 4, 2014

I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a while now. I ordered the tortillas and sauce from Azure Standard and put it on my “mental menu” about 10 times. For whatever reason, I just never got around to it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been torn as to whether or not I wanted to [...]

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Super Bowl Snack and Crowd Pleasing Recipe Ideas

January 31, 2014

I LOVE any excuse to make an appetizer – I love snack food! I also think it’s a perfect time to indulge a little. It’s just one night. Besides, you can throw in a fruit and veggie tray to balance it all out Here are a few ideas to get you excited about appetizers for [...]

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Our Favorite Chicken Salad

January 30, 2014

When we lived in Mississippi, we loved to go to Newks. The boys for their cheese pizza and us for their chicken salad. It is so, so good. Creamy, full of flavor, yet simple. Here is my at home version that is as close to newks as I can get it. It maintains that full [...]

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Growing Bigger

January 28, 2014

Goodness gracious, can you believe it’s almost the end of January, 2014!? My blogging has been awful this past year but I’ve strangely found freedom in not “having” to post something. I know you know what I’m talking about! The Lord encouraged me through friends to start a photography business in 2011. Words could never [...]

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