Grocery Listing {FREE Printable}

grocery printableWe all have to eat. How you get your food on the table can vary, but food is not optional. I come from a long line of dinner makers. My mama worked full time but managed to put an amazing meal on the table each and every night. I’m not even sure what it means to not have dinner at home most nights. This has just always been a way of life for me.

Robb and I continued that tradition and now that we have Tripp it is even more important. While my mama could (and still does) throw something together at the last minute and it will be the best thing you’ve ever eaten (at least since the night before when that was the best thing you’ve ever eaten). Brandy don’t play that. I can get away with that here and there, but I need a plan.list making and meal planning We’re doing Baby Led Weaning with Tripp and it’s even more crucial that I plan ahead and plan well. I don’t have time to pop in the grocery store every afternoon on my way home. I don’t have time to stand at the pantry and try to figure out “what’s for dinner.” If I don’t plan, it is chaos. My whole night is out of whack and that spills over into the next day and you get the picture.

The preparation doesn’t stop with that meal plan, then I have to make a detailed grocery list and get it done as quickly (and painlessly) as possible. I’m still working on perfecting my meal planning system, but my grocery list is solid. It was a journey to get here, but I found that my planning and shopping went better if I divided my list into the categories I shop in my grocery store: Deli/Bakery, Produce, Meats, Middle, Dairy/Frozen. It goes in the natural order that I shop and saves me lots of running back and forth, back and forth.ecard OCDIn the beginning, I made a list and then re-listed to plan with my store. This might be the definition of insanity but then I made it even easier with a printable. I use this like it is my job, so I wanted to share it with you. When I’m meal planning and looking at my ingredients, I can simply fill them in the appropriate box and just like that, my grocery list is done! It may sound simple, and it is, but it really does have a huge impact on how I plan and shop. I can breeze through the store, mark off my list and get back home to my favorite little man as quickly and painlessly as possible. I love it when a plan works!free printable

Feel free to download the handy dandy printable right here and give it a try next time you meal plan and shop. What works for you? What are your meal planning, grocery shopping, survival tactics? Let’s discuss! Happy planning, list making and grocery shopping!

love b

The Other Side of My Valentine {Personalized Stamp}

Homemade Natural Graham Cracker RecipeIn my personal opinion, packaging is one of the most important parts of a gift. You’ve seen my Christmas presents. I rarely will even do a gift bag unless I can “cute-ify” it up a little and I think the same is true for food treats. I will never take something to work for a food day in tupperware or worse, on a paper plate. If you do this, I’m not judging. If your treat is yummy I don’t care if you had it to me on a paper towel. I just like to create a pretty package. That’s part of the fun for me.

What you saw on Monday was just a simple way to wrap up my yummy Homemade Chocolate Dipped Graham Crackers– parchment paper tied up with red ribbon and a little note. What you didn’t see was the other side of the note. My BFF knows my obsession passion for packaging and got me the most perfect Christmas present. Valentine Treat Label PackagingIt’s (obviously) a personalized stamp she ordered from Greenhouse Studios on Etsy. It is so stinking cute and I just love it. I’ve even used it to simply stamp a recipe I’m sharing but I’m most excited to use it for food gift giving. Valentine Treat Label PackagingIt’s the perfect way to “sign” my little treats without, well signing it :)

Happy Valentine’s day (gift packaging) from my kitchen to yours! Valentine Treat Label Packaging

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars {Recipe}

homemade granola chewy granola bars

Peanut butter. Chocolate. Chewy. What more could you want in a snack? I have emptied out my fair share of store bought granola bar boxes, but it’s kind of scary what all is in there. I’m really trying to eat more real stuff this year and you know what? Real is way better and so easy.

In my quest to find some better breakfast options, I searched and searched for a granola bar recipe that wasn’t too crazy. I didn’t want to have to make a trip to Trader Joe’s for native-natural-free range-organic something every time I wanted to make them. I found recipe after recipe and the one I liked the best was from How Sweet It Is and that was my starting point. I adapted it based on our taste and what we had in the pantry.

Seriously, this may be the best granola bar I’ve ever eaten and it is so simple to make

homemade chewy granola bar recipe peanut butterYou want to start with 3 cups of Old Fashion Oats then add 1 cup of Rice Crispie type cereal (the unsweetened kind) to give it little pockets of crunch. Then add 1/2 cup of roughly chopped almonds and mix them all together in a large bowl. Trust me on the large bowl thing. I made that mistake.chewy homemade granola bar recipe Add 1/2 cup of real honey.

granola bar home sweet here hoStir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. It will be sticky, but the honey will fully incorporate into the grains.

homemade peanut butter granola recipeNow comes the fun part. Add 3/4 cup of melted natural peanut butter. If you have not tried natural peanut butter, put it on your list. The flavor is amazing. I’ve tried a few different brands and they are all so yummy. The melted part is as important as the natural part. If you’ve never melted peanut butter, do that too. It’s like heaven from the microwave.

peanut butter homemade granola recipeThrow in your chocolate chips and stir the PB in until it’s all combined. It will still be kind of sticky, but you can tell when it’s ready. Just pour it out into a greased 9×13 pan and press it down with wax paper. You can use your hands, but be prepared to lick.

homemade granola bar recipeBake it in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. You’ll be able to smell when it’s done. Let them cool for just a few minutes before enjoying with cold milk. Just be warned, they probably won’t cut in pretty little sticks like Quaker so go with squares. You’ll thank me later. You can also opt not to bake at all. They are gooeyer (real word), but there is nothing wrong with that.

Homemade granola bar recipeAnd to make things even easier, I’ve added a printable recipe for you. I hope you enjoy this yummy treat as much as we have. You can really mix anything you want it in them- different nuts, raisins, cranberries, PB chips, toffee bits. Or dip them in chocolate. The possibilities are limitless.

homemade chewy PB chocolate chip granola recipe

What “healthier” snacks have you been making? If you happen to make these please let me know how they turned out or what you mixed in for fun. Also let me know if you like getting recipes here. I would really like to start doing that more often since cooking is something I absolutely love to do and do it daily. If you would like to see more, please say so! You can leave a comment or send me an email at homesweethere@gmail.com.

Happy Easy Granola Eating!

Easy Christmas Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Alternate Title: I’m too tired to bake a seven layer cake but I still want to make a special Christmas treat.

Peppermint  Bark

Christmas is hard! There I said it. I love it, it’s magical and meaningful and it really is the most wonderful time of year. But if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel the “it’s almost Christmas, I’ve only finished half my shopping, none of my wrapping, I didn’t even send Christmas cards, there are tons of year end things happening at work and when I come home I want to fall asleep” time of the year.

It happens. Seven layer cakes are great, but sometimes you just need a quick fix for a Christmas treat. Hello, Peppermint Bark. Easiest recipe ever, but everyone will love you and think you are a culinary rock star. Seriously, I have people who expect this every year and it could not be simpler. Christmas Cheer in a hurry=everyone is happy.

Are you ready? You need White Chocolate Bark and Candy Canes. Unwrap them and crush them up.Peppermint Bark

Melt the chocolate. You can add some peppermint extract if you like, but it’s still good with just plain old yummy white chocolate.peppermint bark

Pour the chocolate out on some wax paper and spread it. Make it thick, thin or however you like it. Then just sprinkle on your peppermint pieces on top and gently pat them down into the chocolate. This year I did the same thing with Oreos. Yum! But use whatever you have. Leftover halloween candy? No one is judging, it’s called repurposing.peppermint bark

Pop it in the fridge. When it’s set, break it into chunks.Peppermint Bark

peppermint barkPackage it cute, spread some Christmas Cheer all around and go to bed happy that you made something homemade and yummy but didn’t spend hours. Go to bed happy with visions of sugarplums peppermint bark dance in your heads.Peppermint Bark

Peppermint  Bark

 Do you have a favorite treat this time of year? Want to see some other yummy recipes? Check out the Recipe Link Party over at Shue Love. Yummmm…

(Almost) Cute as a Button Cookies

Alternate title: How I almost flunked out of Country Living.

December County LivingDo you ever look through a magazine and really, really believe you can duplicate something in there? I’m sure we all do, and I know a lot of you actually succeed. Not me. I really, really wanted to have something fantabulous for this week’s Dare to DIY link party (Newly WoodwardsDecor and the DogMaybe Matilda and Two Twenty One) and the fun little semi-DIY gloves on page 58 were so stinking cute.

Country Living GlovesI had my supplies and my heart was set on making the “book worm” ones for my BFF, the librarian. (Dear BFF, don’t worry, I didn’t make them and I wouldn’t expect you to wear them anyway. I just liked the idea of making them for you and giving them to you but alas, failure.)

I tried and I could not make them look good enough to even finish all the letters. Oh well. Moving on. (But, before I move too far along please allow me to remind you of this same challenge last year. While my coasters turned out pretty good, I still have nightmares about all the awful salt dough ornaments I threw away.)

The challenge of the week was thankfully not to make gloves, but simply homemade gifts and can’t think of anything better than homemade cookies packaged super cute so I turned to another page of my December Country Living and attempted the Sugar Cookie Buttons because a) they were cute b) I had all the ingredients c) how hard is a sugar cookie? (you will soon learn the double meaning of that statement) and finally d) I could not let this magazine win.

I made them, pretty much according to the directions expect the chilling the dough for half an eternity twice part and baking them until they are bricks part (or so I thought).

I still think the idea of button cookies is so cute and actually easy to execute. You just start with a regular circular cookie. Button hole Collage

Then use a cookie cutter that is one size smaller for the indention. Stick in some straws to make the holes and you’ve got buttons! Once you take them out of the oven, you make need to use a skewer to clear out the holes totally but that’s still pretty easy. Button Cookies

They turned out pretty cute. Most of them, at least. And I really like the idea of tying up your cookies for a gift, cookie exchange, or just to limit your self to four in one setting.  The dough tasted GREAT. (I know you’re not supposed to eat that stuff, but seriously, who can wait for the cookies? Not this girl! I live on the edge) The cookies are supposed to be  hard and I don’t love hard cookies so I adjusted the cooking time. That resulted in pretty good cookies. I don;t know that I would use this recipe for a real gift without some tweaking, but I still adore the packaging idea. If you want to use slice-and-bake from the grocery store, I won’t tell anyone at all. Actually, send me a few because I know they will probably turn out  better than these. (they really weren’t that bad, I’m being dramatic. mostly)Button Cookies

So maybe I didn’t totally flunk out of my magazine ambitions, but I don’t consider this one a slam dunk but sometimes all you learn is what makes it worth it. I learned my cross-stitching skills did not accompany me to this millennium, cute packaging really does make a differnece and when in doubt- use slice and bake. Ahh, wisdom. You can thank me later.

Don’t forget to check out all the other (way more successful projects) for the Dare to DIY party with Newly WoodwardsDecor and the DogMaybe Matilda and Two Twenty One for lots more ideas and inspiration.Button Cookies