Animal Crakers (Cookies)

My kids love the animal crackers you buy at the store. With four kids eating them they are ridiculously expensive. So, I made a healthier version. Maybe not extremely healthy, but at least it's not full of chemicals. I got the recipe from Williams - Sonoma. They are super easy and of course the kids loved them.

I used a Noah's Ark cookie cutter set. I also used it here. If you roll them out a little on the thick side they will stand up. Which if you have boys they will love this. They had cookies standing up all over the table and they were at war. If an animal got shot it got eaten.

I had to show you all my little helper in the process.


Friday's Treat ~ Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter cookies are right up there with Chocolate Chip cookies in my book. At least good, soft and chewy Peanut Butter cookies are. These little ones are all that, and the chocolate drizzle on top? Well, everything is better with chocolate:)

I did make them a little bit on the small side { mostly so I didn't have to make multiple batches because honestly, I didn't have enough peanut butter for that } :)

I always use creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter is just so much work...for my jaw:) haha...creamy is always best, in my opinion.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbls milk
1 tbls vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix just until combined. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. 

The chocolate drizzle on top is just melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Make some and I know you will enjoy them!!

Have a great weekend

Mary Elizabeth


Baby Wipes

To be honest, we use baby wipes for than just changing diapers. It's something easy for the kids to get to clean up their messes. I know it creates a little more garbage, but it also minimizes the laundry. For this stage in our lives I feel that less laundry is a plus. These homemade wipes are so much cheaper than buying wipes. Also, have you looked at the ingredients in baby wipes? It lists several ingredients that I can't pronounce let alone tell you what they are. As a side note, my obsession with removing any chemicals from my family's life is to help prevent some health issues that I have been experiencing.  Obviously, as mothers we all want to do our best to raise healthy kids and we each have to decide what is best for our family. With that though I am still on the hunt for better ingredients. When I find better ingredients, I'll post those. Or let me know what you use that is "greener" or "more natural".

So, here is how I make baby wipes (extremely simple):

Half a roll of paper towels (Bounty select a size works best for me, they don't fall apart)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of baby oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of baby wash

Mix ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lid. Cut paper towel roll in half. Serrated knife works best. Place your towels into the container.

Flip it over. Let sit until paper towels are wet.
 Turn the container back over and remove the cardboard center. Cutting the cardboard with scissors is the easiest way. Pull the center towel up and use.


Friday's Treat ~ Five Layer Bars

I am on a butterscotch kick lately!!
I had been wanting to make something butterscotch for over a week and when we went to church last Sunday evening one of the ladies in my small group brought butterscotch bars...or brownies....or cookies? :) I'm not really sure which category they fell under but they were good!! And that is all that matters, really. So I knew right away I was going to do butterscotch for Friday. So, the search began:) I don't have any recipes for butterscotch ( other than just adding them in to something that doesn't call for them ) so I headed to Google! I found the perfect recipe for butterscotch bars from Paula Dean on the food network website. You can find the recipe here. These are so, soooo good! And so easy to make. Six ingredients....that's it!! They took minutes to put together and were just the right thing for the week!

Start with a graham crack crust

then mix up the coconut, chips and nuts ( I left the nuts out )

Pour that on top of the graham cracker crust.

Pour sweetened condensed milk over top of that and bake.

I did forget to take a picture of what my bars looked like when they were done so I pulled Paula's picture from the recipe. They are pretty close but I think mine looked better....haha:) Probably because mine didn't have nuts in them. I don't like nuts!

Picture of Five-Layer Bars Recipe

Hope you enjoy!!!

Mary Elizabeth


Brown Sugar

I have been in this quest lately to make as many things "from scratch" or "homemade" as possible. There are several reasons for my "insanity" as my husband refers to it. He thinks that I am the only person that gets excited about making things from scratch. I know that there are lots of people out there that feel the same as I do. First reason, I had set three financial goals for myself to accomplish before I quit working. Because of the addition of our latest son and my job situation changing I only met two of those goals. I met the goals for my Roth IRA and IRA, but not my 401K. I was extremely close to meeting the 401K. So, in my quest to meet that goal I need to save money around the house. Making so many things from scratch has help. Second reason, the unstable world we live in. We get a lot of earthquakes and wind storms here in Alaska. We could at any point loose electricity or we could have the next big earthquake. Not to mention the situation our county is putting it's self in. The third reason came after watching the movie Food, Inc. This really made me think about our country's food supply chain. By making things yourself you know exactly what is it.

With that all said, I now no longer buy brown sugar. I don't know why I ever bought it in the first place. Just habit I guess. If you don't already do this you should. It's so easy and it tastes SOOO much better. It makes a difference in your baking also. As you know brown sugar is just sugar with molasses and some added chemicals. If you make it yourself you get to leave out the chemicals. It's also so much more fluffy that store bought brown sugar.

Brown Sugar

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses (if you like dark brown sugar add more molasses)

Mix for about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the amount of molasses added. Enjoy!

It stays at this stage for awhile. To the point that you begin to think that it will never mix up.

Then just when your ready to give up it finally starts to look like this.
Then you end up with this.

Homemade brown sugar.         

 I've got a couple of things to post that are homemade. What do you make from scratch? I'm always looking for more ideas.



Friday's Treat ~ Brownie Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Don't these look yummy?! 

I am not really a fan of 'whoopie pies'...of any kind really. I don't like dessert/sweet food that is stuffed or filled. Isn't that weird? But give me a plate of stuffed pasta ( of any kind ) and I will eat it like there is no tomorrow:)  haha....

These were so so easy to make and took very little time. You can find the recipe for them here. The thing that took the most time was trying to figure out how many grams were in a cup:)  For the chocolate chips I used about 1 1/2 cups and the butter was about 1/4 cup. My husband loved them! 

 Have a great weekend and enjoy!!!

Mary Elizabeth


Friday's Treat ~ No Bake Cookies

I needed something easy this week after all the time and layers that went into last weeks treat:) and No Bake's were the first thing that came to mind. 

I love No Bake's and wondered why I didn't make them more often....and then I remembered my husband doesn't really like them that much and since he is the one who eats everything I make I tend to make the things he enjoys the most! But, because this wasn't just for him I went ahead and made them regardless......which turned out to be ironic because he actually forgot to take the tray of cookies with him today so he is going to have to eat them anyways:) haha....

 I have a very simple recipe ( follows). This is the one we used while growing up and there is no point in messing with a perfect recipe!

Melt the sugar, butter, cocoa and salt together

 Place the oats and peanut butter in a bowl

After boiling the chocolate mixture for 1 minute pour into the oats and then mix

This is what it will look like all mixed together and now you need to start working quickly:)

I doubled the recipe so if it looks like a lot it's because it is!

 I use parchment paper to lay my cookies out because I always run out of room on a cookie sheet

And there you have a perfect No Bake cookie....


Mary Elizabeth

No Bake Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup butter
dash of salt
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk

Melt this together and then bring to a boil and let boil for exactly 1 minute. Pour into...

2 cups quick oats 
1 cup peanut butter

Stir together until well mixed and then drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper or a baking sheet. Let cool and then enjoy.


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