Category: Recipes

New Year Refresh Diffuser Blend

Do you change your essential oil diffuser blend based on the season, for certain health goals, or just to release a scent you enjoy? I do a little mix of all. I have some things that are seasonal, some for health, my personal favorites, and some blends I think help my kids when we’re doing homeschool. (Those are especially important to me!) Today, I bring you the recipe for a refreshing diffuser blend, which is a great way to start the New Year.


New Year Refresh Diffuser Blend

  • 2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus Radiata Essential Oil
  • 8 drop Citrus Fresh Essential Oil Blend

Add water to the fill line in your diffuser, then drop in your oils and turn on. The scents will fill the air soon and you will be refreshed! My diffuser runs for about 6 hours, but if you have a smaller diffuser, you can half this recipe.


I use Young Living Essential Oils. So far, I’ve had a great experience with the product and company. I’ve seen real results from using these oils with my family, and I believe they are an excellent quality, pure oil. I worry about grocery store oils being watered down, and I don’t feel the need to worry about my YLEOs.

If you are local to me, I am happy to order essential oils and oil infused products for you, or set up your own account for direct shipping to you here:

Virtual Cookie Exchange

2020 has brought many challenges, one of which being a lack of get-togethers. One of my favorite events is always the Christmas Cookie Exchange. When I thought up this idea, to do it virtually, I didn’t know if it would work or not. So many people enjoyed when I shared my Snowball Cookie recipe, however, that I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I posted in my VIP Group that I wanted to host a Virtual Cookie Exchange, and I got a few submissions back in, so I’m excited to bring you my first Virtual Cookie Exchange Booklet! I hope you find something you love here, and that it blesses your family and anyone with whom you share your cookies!

To print this PDF as a booklet, you’ll need to print full page, horizontal, and (very important) set your printer to print front & back. Printing this way will only take 3 pieces of paper, and you’ll have a nice booklet once you fold the paper in half. Add staples down the left side, and use some cute washi tape to cover the staple points.

Sue Ellen’s Snowball Cookies

I’m not a recipe blog, so I won’t make you wade through a long story to get to the recipe! HA! 😉

You may be able to print that graphic. If not, I’ll add the text below.

Sue Ellen’s Snowball Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened (I usually use salted for everything)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400*. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Add flour and salt. Pulse until dough forms. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls. Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until set, about 9 minutes. Do not brown! Roll warm cookies in the remaining powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container. To freeze, layer the cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper.

Enjoy!

This year (December 2020), I am excited that I can offer a couple of Snowman Flexi-Clips to wear while making your Snowball Cookies!

The Frosty Flip is a reversible Flexi-type clip! It’s quite clever how the bead pattern on this one makes this adorable snowman!

We also have this month’s Flexi-of-the-Month, Frostine, with an adorable snowman centerpiece! Clear crystal and pearl white accent beads finish off this beauty.

Frostine is available as a Flexi-Clip, Bobby Pins and a Charm that can be added to our Charm Flexi, Evie Flexi, Dawn Flexi, or Make-a-Stick Hairstick! Great snowman options!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

So we’re giving this a whirl this year – Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Because so many people are struggling with food sensitivities nowadays, I thought that I’d share our menu and maybe help someone out that’s looking for options at the last minute. I’ve included online links, but you may be able to find many of these alternatives at your local stores. The links are mainly to show the item, because I’m a visual learner.

This is NOT our feast! lol!

Our Menu:

  • Fried Chicken and Gravy (just me and the kids doing this, so I went with something I knew they’d love!)
  • Green Beans (see below)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

How does that strike your fancy? We are super excited!! Now… how to make this gluten free???

Fried Chicken

My Grandmama made the best fried chicken ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. And I watched her do it a few times, but I was little, so I don’t know if this is how she did it, but I’d venture to say it’s pretty close! I’m also attempting her macaroni & cheese recipe for the first time this year. Usually my brother makes it.

I’ll be using chicken tenderloin, since that’s what is easiest to fry and all my kids like them. I set up two bowls. One has about 3 eggs and a splash of milk whisked together. (I have used dairy free, unsweetened, plain almond milk to do this and it works just fine.) The other bowl gets my dry ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, salt & pepper to taste, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Dip in the wet bowl, then into the dry bowl. If you’ve got time to kill and want to make it extra crusty special, repeat the dippings. I fry in refined organic coconut oil until done. Refined is important if you don’t want your chicken to take like coconut! I cook an entire two pound bag of tenderloins and we won’t have any leftovers! If you’re cooking for a smaller family, you’ll use less ingredients.

Green Beans

The green beans are just basic beans from a can. I do prefer DelMonte brand to others. Then I add a couple tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, for dairy free), and some spices. I like to use Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, and if I’m feeling extra saucy, just a touch of cayenne pepper! One of my children appreciates the spice, but the rest won’t eat these anyway, so I make them my way!

Cranberry Sauce

We found an easy Cranberry Sauce recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations cookbook. I couldn’t find the same recipe online, but this one is close: Cranberry Sauce by Ree Drummond on Food Network. The recipe in the cookbook has only 3 ingredients: cranberries, oranges, maple syrup.

Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese has been a challenge, but our diet has re-introduced dairy now, so I’m more comfortable trying this. Honestly, if we were still dairy free, I’d probably just skip the mac & cheese. My Grandmama made a baked mac & cheese and this is what my son has requested. She cooked the macaroni noodles per the package instructions, then in a 9×9 glass baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, she layered slices of cheese (cut from a block, not sliced cheese like for sandwiches) with the noodles. When I was young, it must have been cheddar that she used, but I’m told later in life she used colby jack. The noodles were salted & peppered, a splash of milk added so it doesn’t dry out (almond milk ok), then topped with another layer of cheese. This will be my first attempt at this style of mac & cheese. Fingers crossed… For the noodles, I’m using Skinner Gluten Free Elbows, found at my local HEB grocery store. I haven’t tried these yet, either, but based on the mix used in the ingredients, I think they were a good option.

Mashed Potatoes

This is pretty standard. To make dairy free, use the dairy free butter linked above and almond milk and nobody will know the difference!

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs! I just might have to do a separate post about the eggs sometime! We raise chickens, so fresh eggs are killer to peel. This is the whole reason I got an Instant Pot! And it works! (works great for store bought eggs, too) Put a cup of water in the pot, then the trivet, then layer in the eggs. I’ve loaded my pot with up to two and a half dozen eggs before. It’s a beautiful sight. 6 minutes at high pressure, 6 minutes natural release then open the valve, 6 minutes in an ice bath. Cool completely, then peel.

Slice in half. Any whites that are not pretty go into the mash. There should be at least 3 whole eggs in the mash. Mash the yolks and the whites that didn’t make the cut. Add Kraft Sandwich Spread until moist. Salt & pepper to taste. If you’re not dairy free, drizzle in a little homemade ranch dressing. Skip that if you’re dairy free, no biggie. Spoon the mash into the eggs, then come back and add more. If you have any left over, enjoy your egg salad.

Rolls

Once again, we’re entering new territory. I’m going to be taking my husband’s grandpa’s wife’s roll recipe (haha) and trying it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This is a yeast roll recipe, and I’ve had excellent results with this flour so far, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will do a half recipe, however, since this is a test. If it’s a flying success, I expect to hear lots of complaining from the children that I didn’t make more!

Dessert

Again, I’m just altering standard recipes. And we’re going crustless. That’s a disappointment, I know, but it is what it is. I didn’t have time to perfect a gluten free pie crust this year, nor do I have time to make gluten free graham crackers. If you have a local store with GF graham crackers, you could probably make a graham crust pretty easily.

Using my husband’s uncle’s chocolate pie recipe, will really be more like a thick pudding without the crust. And that’s perfectly ok. It’s chocolate. This recipe is not dairy free. It uses whole milk, sugar, flour, etc. Again, we’re no longer DF, so I’m not altering the dairy in this recipe at this time. If I attempt a DF version in the future, I’ll let you know. For now, I’m switching out the flour and just dealing with the sugar. After all, Thanksgiving is a special occassion, they’re only getting one slice of pie and it’s not going to last long! Possibly whole fat coconut milk would work to make a homemade chocolate pie.

There’s so many recipes for pumpkin desserts on pinterest, and lots of them are gluten and dairy free! Thank you, internet! I’ll be using a Pioneer Woman (can you tell I love her??) recipe that was found on Walmart’s website! Pumpkin Pie by the Pioneer Woman. Alterations I’ll be making: No crust. That’s it! You could use sweetened condensed coconut milk, if you’re dairy free, but keep in mind that these cans are not exactly the same size as a standard can of Eagle Brand! Just be prepared.

Fruit can also be transformed into a delicious gf/df dessert! This fun turkey would be great for the kids!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a recipe blog, and I’ll have to go back at a later date and add pictures. Because I’ve never thought to photograph each item of food. Hopefully this may help someone that’s trying to figure out how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions. This was my son’s biggest concern. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the holiday with your family. Let the kids help in the kitchen, even though it’s messy. Let them help with the meal planning. Nobody ever said it had to be turkey.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

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