Category Archives: 365 Real Foods Series

Post 37 of 365 Real Foods Series: Homemade Granola


There is nothing quite like a nice bowl of Greek yogurt with a generous amount of tasty granola sprinkled on top. Yum! I decided a few years ago to start making my own granola since store-bought granola is not budget friendly and the added ingredients weren’t great either.

John loves peanut butter so I decided to try my hand at a version with some peanut butter added in. I like this recipe because it is not over the top crunchy and difficult to chew! Weird, I know. 🙂 It’s also easy-peasey to make!

If you can’t have peanut butter due to allergies, or you simply want something different, you could easily sub the peanut butter for almond, sunflower, hazelnut, or cashew. You could also add whatever you like for fillers or omit any of the ones I added. I like sunflower seeds, almonds, and of course, chocolate.


  • 2 cups old-fashioned, rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Handful of dried fruits – cherries, cranberries, etc.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • Few drops of vanilla extract


  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a saucepan, combine peanut butter, butter or oil, honey, and vanilla. Mix well until melted.
  • Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Press the granola into a pan or baking dish lined with wax or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. I suggest stirring once, around the 15 minute mark and then pressing down again.
  • Remove from oven, stir, and let cool. It will become crunchier as it cools.
  • Once cool, store in a container with a tight lid.




That’s it! It’s pretty easy and quite tasty. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

Happy Snack Making,

The Joyful Homemaker

Post 36 of 365 Real Foods Series: Peanut Butter Fiber Cookies (GF, DF, SF)


Here in the Joyful Home, we enjoy baking cookies; however, we like healthier cookies (well, I do). I prefer cookies and sweets we can eat for breakfast without tons of sugar.

This easy recipe yields a lot of cookies and is gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. These are full of good fiber and are plenty sweet with just raw honey.


  • 1 cup natural peanut-butter
  • 2/3 cup raw coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • Heat oven to 325
  • Blend peanut butter, oil, honey, eggs, and extract.
  • Mix until well blended
  • Add in flour and soda
  • Mix all ingredients until smooth
  • Drop onto greased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes
  • Allow to cool on rack
  • These must cool because they crumble easily, especially while hot
  • Enjoy!






Happy Baking,

The Joyful Homemaker


Post 35 of 365 Real Foods Series: Easy Ham Bone Soup


Making stock from leftover bones is one of my specialties! I seem to constantly have a crock pot of bones simmering in my kitchen. Not only is stock healthy, but it’s necessary to have fresh stock on hand when cooking from scratch. Many recipes call for stock. Typically, I simmer chicken bones, organs, and feet to make healthy, golden chicken stock.

Yesterday, I decided to simmer a pot of ham bones and whip up a batch of easy ham bone soup. This soup would be a great winter soup and it’s very versatile; I am guessing you could add just about anything to it. Below are my easy steps for this delicious, hearty soup.


  • Leftover ham bones
  • Water (not necessary if using boxed stock)
  • Beef bouillon (I prefer Penzey’s Brand – I don’t typically make beef stock since we normally eat so much venison) or pre-made beef stock in a box.
  • Four or Five diced, baby red potatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Himalayan pink sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter or ghee

Directions for stock:

  • Simmer ham bones in a crock pot of filtered water, with a tablespoon of cider vinegar, for at least 12 hours. Vinegar draws the good stuff from the bones faster.
  • Once broth is done simmering, allow to cool.
  • Once cool, pour into a glass container.
  • Store the container in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, skim the white fat off of the top. Once the fat is gone, the stock is ready to be used.

Directions for soup:

  • Saute diced onions in butter or ghee in a heavy bottom stock pan.
  • Add stock and bring to a boil.
  • While stock is coming to a boil, add two cups of water with beef bouillon or use two cups of beef stock.
  • Continue to bring to a boil and add all remaining ingredients (add as much of the above ingredients as you wish).
  • Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very soft.

This soup is easy and delicious, so enjoy, and feel free to add some bacon, cheese, scallions, or whatever else you have to spice it up! The broth would be really great thickened up like a gravy, too.

Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker


Post 34 of 365 Real Foods Series: Everything Under the Tuscan Sun Soup


“Everything Under the Tuscan Sun” is a funny name for a soup, huh? In this recipe I used Tuscan sea salt. It’s a delicious blend of sea salt, rosemary, lemon peel, and garlic.

Both John and Wesley are sick and we all know sickness calls for soup and rest. I decided to whip up a batch of this soup in hopes of speeding up their healing process. It’s full of vegetable goodness in a bone broth base. You can’t go wrong.


  • 6 to 8 cups of bone broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • About a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • About a tablespoon of Tuscan sea salt (link at bottom)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large potatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, chopped
  • 1 large handful of green beans, chopped
  • 2 large, handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls of frozen, chopped kale
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of white beans





  • Add broth and water to heavy bottom stock pot and bring to a boil
  • Add spices
  • Start chopping away
  • Add everything
  • Once at a rolling boil, bring down to a simmer
  • Simmer until veggies are soft.
  • And you’re done! 🙂


Enjoy this hearty soup. It’s delicious and easy to make. It’s the perfect soup for a winter’s day.

Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker



** Tuscan Sea Salt**

Post 33 of 365 Real Foods Series: Ethiopian Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry


Well, it’s been close to a year and sadly, I am only thirty-three dishes into my 365 Real Foods Series! AHHH! At the rate I am going, it will be another eleven years before the series is complete! Homeschooling, working two days per week, running a homeschool group, and parenting has taken precedent. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of blogging more often. 🙂

The below stir-fry dish is sure to please everyone in your home. It’s super easy, super quick to make, and tastes delicious. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it. You may not like sauerkraut but you can’t taste it, plus it gives that bit of sour, and you need it for this dish.

My friend Alicia gave me a jar of Ethiopian Ghee for my birthday (eeek,  I love food gifts) and it is insanely good. Her recipe is at the bottom of this post. Thanks, Lish!

If you have never made ghee, and want to try, check out my recipe on how to make it. Don’t buy it! It’s cheaper to make it yourself.


  • Ethiopian Ghee (or regular ghee with a bit of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, should work as a decent substitute). If you have a mildly sweet, mildly spicy BBQ spice, that would work well too.
  • Cooked rice noodles (sub spaghetti squash if making Paleo).
  • Carrots
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cooked chicken cubed or chunks
  • Liquid coconut aminos (or Braggs if you prefer fermented soy aminos).



  • Toss a large spoonful of ghee into a wok or frying pan.
  • Turn stove up to medium / high heat.
  • Toss diced carrots in pan.
  • Once carrots are soft, add sauerkraut, chicken, and cooked rice noodles.
  • Mix together well and add a few tablespoons of coconut aminos (or as much or as little as you wish).
  • Add a bit more Ghee if you wish.
  • Cook for a bit longer, stirring often, until well blended and hot.


Viola! A very easy, very healthy meal. It’s great for lunch or dinner. 🙂


Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker


** Ethiopian Ghee Recipe**


  • 1 lb of butter
  • tiny onion minced
  • big spoonful chopped garlic
  • two tablespoons fresh ginger chopped
  • half teaspoon turmeric
  • two cardamom pods or half teaspoon seeds
  • a cinnamon stick
  • three cloves
  • a quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg


  • Melt butter
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Simmer really low for an hour, you shouldn’t brown the onion or garlic much if at all
  • Strain twice
  • Pour into jar
  • Store at room temperature
  • Ghee will be bright yellow!

Post 32 of 365 Real Foods Series: Homemade BBQ Sauce


There is nothing more summer than a good BBQ sauce. Sadly, store sauces are often full of HFCS, dyes, and other yucky ingredients. I have been making my own sauce for quite a few years now. It is a crowd-pleaser and very simple.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of salt and a good pinch of pepper
  • A sprinkle of chili powder


I mix the above ingredients together in my Vitamix, dump the mixture into a sauce pan, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes just to heat and melt down the brown sugar. Mix well while simmering; it ensures your ketchup doesn’t get funky. Pour sauce into a glass jar and keep in refrigerator. 🙂



Happy Homemaking.

The Joyful Homemaker

Post 31 of 365 Real Foods Series: Super Green Smoothie


Back in the day, before I knew I could make my own smoothies with ease, I always had Odwalla Superfood green smoothie in my fridge. I started every day with a small glass and I loved the taste. Fast forward a bunch of years and I now own a Vitamix and I happily blend everything and anything (I don’t recommend mushrooms or onions – very gross) into my smoothies.

Below is my own version of Odwalla Superfood Green Smoothie. It has a great taste and the powdered Spirulina adds a ton of nutrients. The Spirulina gives the smoothie a dark green color.


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 /2 of a handful of frozen spinach
  • 1/2 of a handful of frozen kale
  • 1 handful of frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered Spirulina (I like Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Powder best)
  • A drizzle of local, raw honey


  • Blend all ingredients in blender
  • ENJOY!




Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker

Post 30 of 365 Real Foods Series: Sunny Day Cookies


These cookies are simply all kinds of yummy! They are gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, and Paleo. These make a great breakfast or snack option because they are high in protein and healthy fat. You can certainly omit or add in your own ingredients (raisins are high in sugar).


  • 1 cup organic cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup of raw, local honey
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (I used organic, unrefined)
  • 1 egg
  • About a half of a handful of organic Thompson raisins
  • About a half of a handful of organic sunflower seeds
  • About a quarter of a handful of organic, raw cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp. of organic, raw coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Put the first four ingredients into a bowl
  • Combine first four ingredients with a stand mixer or hand beater. A quick blend is good
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend quickly
  • Refrigerate dough for ten minutes
  • Drop coffee scoop sized dough scoops onto ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Remove and allow to cool on a cookie rack






These are not too sweet and very filling. They make a healthy treat, breakfast item, or dessert. ENJOY!

Happy Baking,

The Joyful Homemaker

Post 29 of 365 Real Foods Series: Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jello


Jello brings back memories of summers in Maine, and family time. My grandmother always made a fruit filled Jello that was simply amazing. She would add strawberries, orange slices, and bananas to boxed Jello. I remember shoveling in dinner super fast so we could get to the Jello. 🙂

Fast forward twenty years and I am now aware conventional gelatin products in the grocery store contain dyes, artificial sweeteners, and are devoid of anything healthy. People have steered away from Jello and gelatin based products in recent years, as they are avoiding synthetic dyes and Jello is out of vogue. BUT what if I told you gelatin has amazing healthy benefits, it’s super easy to make your own, and kids sort of dig those wiggly shapes? Would you then give it a try? If so, below is my recipe for Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb (my inspiration for said recipe comes from none other than, Mama Natural –


  • 2 Cups Organic Juice (I used a rhubarb juice we canned two summers ago)
  • 2 TBS Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1 cup chopped organic strawberries
  • 2 TBS raw, local honey



  • Pour two cups of rhubarb juice into medium sauce pan.
  • Add two tablespoons of gelatin.
  • Whisk together until gelatin is pretty much dissolved.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and add honey.
  • Allow to sit for a few minutes.
  • Add strawberries.
  • Mix together and pour into glass container or mold of choice.
  • Refrigerate for 3+ hours.
  • Cut from pan or use cookie cutters of choice to make fun shapes.







There you have it! A super easy and delicious treat for summer. Jack loves this recipe. We are packing up our healthy jello shapes and taking them to a picnic this evening. 🙂


Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker

Post 28 of 365 Real Foods Series: Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


This morning Jack is scheduled for a sleep deprivation EEG with his neurologist, so we woke at 5:00 am. I have been putting together lunch, took my shower, got the bags packed for the kiddos, and Jack watched Thomas (a few times). I figured I would whip up some Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for breakfast. Yup, for breakfast. 🙂

These cookies are full of fiber and made with pure pumpkin. They are egg-less, gluten-free, soy-free, vegetarian, and can be made vegan friendly and dairy-free with subbing butter for coconut oil, or Earth Balance . Typically, I avoid butter in baking and eating, but I really like it in this recipe. Also, I have never tried this recipe with granulated sugar, and find the maple syrup keeps the cookie smooth and sweetened with a nice underlying maple flavor. I only use Enjoy Life chips because they are allergen friendly and small. You can also use broken up dark chocolate.



  • 1/2 Cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 Cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 Cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 Cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds


  • Mix wet ingredients into large bowl.
  • Mix all dry ingredients into a separate dish and gradually add to dry ingredients while beating well. I used my stand mixer, but a hand mixer works great too.
  • Scoop onto non-stick baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool on a cookie rack.
  • Enjoy!

These cookies do have a tendency to crumble. Allow to sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to the cooling rack.




Happy Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker