Non Planner’s Guide to Menu Planning


Do you like the idea of planning a regular menu, but have difficulty with actually making plans or sticking with them? Check out this Non Planner’s Guide to Menu Planning over at I Heart Planners.

September Menu Plan Inspiration from Canadian Living

canadian living menu plan

I thought you all would enjoy this menu planning inspiration I found over at Canadian Living!

Canadian Living has created 22 Quick and Easy weeknight dinners to help carry you through dinner time in September!  Each weekly plan even includes a grocery list!

How easy will this make your menu planning?  I’m going to be using this as a guide, but I’ll have to swap out a couple of meals that won’t appeal to the majority of this household.

Free September 2014 Monthly Menu Planner


Download a free Monthly Meal Planner for the entire month of September!  Included in your download you will find all of this:

  • Meal Planner for September
  • Meal Planner Blanks
  • Meal Planner – Blank Week
  • Shopping Lessons for kids
  • Dessert Menu for September 2014
  • Dessert Calendar for September 2014
  • Select E.H.M. Recipes
  • Fill In the Blank Ingredients List – Entire Month
  • Fill in the Blank Ingredients List – Weekly
  • September 2014 Master Monthly Ingredients List
  • Blank Family Shopping List (Food, Sundries, you name it included)
  • Blank Costco Shopping List

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here for a visit this week with our two nieces.  In honour of the occasion, I fully intend on having them over for an ice cream sundae party!  At least once, probably twice because I love ice cream.  A lot.  Also because ice cream sundae parties are so much fun with all the topping selections available!  I stopped in at Bulk Barn and picked up a bunch of fun toppings.  Along with the candies and nuts I purchased, I’m going to whip up some slow cooker caramel sauce and homemade hot fudge sauce.  I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce

You’re not going to believe this one, but this slow cooker caramel sauce (or Dulce de Leche) uses only one ingredient! (Two if you add the vanilla)  It’s so so easy to make AND eat :)  Here’s how to make slow cooker caramel sauce:

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ¾ tsp Vanilla (optional)
  1. Transfer condensed milk to three ½ pint mason jars and put on the lids and rings.
  2. Place in slow cooker and cover with water. (About an inch above the jars)
  3. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
  4. Remove from water and allow to cool until the jars are room temperature.
  5. Carefully remove rings and lids.
  6. Add ¼ tsp of vanilla to each jar (optional).
  7. Stir well until sauce is smooth.
  8. To store, replace, lid and ring and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

This recipe is my husband’s personal favorite. He loves hot fudge sauce!  He’s even convinced me on several occasions to get hot fudge instead of my usual caramel when we stop at Dairy Queen.  Here’s how to make homemade hot fudge sauce:

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
  • ¾ cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  1. Melt chocolate chips by heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds then stirring and microwaving again until chocolate is melted.
  2. Transfer to a sauce pan over low heat and add butter, salt and sugar.
  3. Add cream in small amounts until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Stir frequently until heated, but not boiling.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

I’ll be sure to post pictures of our ice cream sundae party later on.  I even found some cute ice cream bowls from the dollar store!  Which sauce is going to be your favourite?

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles

iced coffee pops

If you are as much of a coffee fan as I am, you’re going to want to try these Vietnamese coffee popsicles!  I’ve been making a ton of popsicles for Sienna lately, but sometimes I just want an afternoon pick-me-up that appeals to my taste buds.  That’s why these coffee pops are perfect because I gain a bit of energy and I treat myself to a another “cup” of coffee.  Also, these Vietnamese coffee popsicles are the perfect combination of coffee, cream and sugar!

When my brother was visiting over Christmas, he kept raving about his Aeropress coffee maker that he had purchased.  I finally, not too long ago, broke down and bought one for myself.  It really does make great coffee!  I used the Aeropress for this recipe, but you could also use a French press or brew a really strong pot in your regular coffee maker.

Iced Coffee Pops
  • 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 300ml of cooled strong Coffee
  1. If you want to make this using the Aeropress, use 3 scoops of ground coffee and fill up to the 3 line before pressing. Then add water to raise to 10 oz.
  2. Combine the coffee with the sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly into the molds and insert sticks.
  4. Place in freezer for 3-5 hours.

As for the Popsicle molds, I’ve been loving some I picked up from the dollar store.  But I also am starting to love these silicon ice pop molds for a less messy alternative for Sienna. I also have this freezer pop maker that’s great for making bigger popsicles.

I hop you enjoy these Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles as much as I do!

Simple Snack: Apple Sandwiches

Simple Snack Apple Sandwiches

Summer calls for delicious simple snacks.  Okay fine, I’m not opposed to simple snacks all year long. After all, simple is one of my meal prep motto’s so if I think it’s going to take too much time, I move on.  Or even if it has too many ingredients that I don’t keep on hand.

These apple sandwiches fall under the category of simple, delicious and budget-friendly.  They’re a hit with both me and Sienna.  (Though for Sienna, I just do one slice of apple with the peanut butter and granola on top to make an open face sandwich.)  While we use peanut butter, I think these would be delicious with almond butter, apple butter or any kind of nut butter!  As for the granola, I like to always have a batch of this homemade granola on hand.  And for the apple corer, I really like this Cuisipro apple corer.

Here’s how to create Apple Sandwiches:

Apple Sandwiches
  • 2 Apples
  • 2-3 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 3 tbsp Granola
  • handful Raisins
  1. Remove cores from apples and cut into ¼-1/2" thick slices
  2. Spread apple slice with peanut butter.
  3. Top with granola and raisins.
  4. Place another apple slice on top and gently press together.
  5. Repeat with remaining apple slices.

What is one of your favourite go-to simple snacks?

Tasty Hummus Recipe

tasty hummus

I’ve been bound and determined to create a delicious hummus recipe that compares to the store bought versions that I love.  My personal favourites are Tribe and Summer Fresh brands.  I really like Tribe for the lemon flavor so lemon was an essential addition to make this recipe work for me. Another goal with this recipe was to create something that the Little Girl would eat.

With those things in mind, the hummus recipe below is what I came up with.  Also?  The cumin, paprika and oregano sprinkled over top really make this snack delicious!

Tasty Hummus
  • 1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dry oregano
  1. In the bowl of your food processor, add the chickpeas, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, sea salt and the garlic clove, and mix for about one minute to combine well.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the ¼ cup of olive oil while the food processor is running.
  3. Keep the food processor running until the dip is creamy and completely smooth.
  4. Once the hummus is smooth and creamy, spoon it out into a serving dish and sprinkle the cumin, the paprika and the dry oregano over top.


Easy Thin Crust Pizza Dough Recipe

thin crust pizza dough1

Have you got a pizza night coming up this week?  Do you need a new pizza dough recipe? You’ve got to try this Thin Crust Pizza dough recipe!  This recipe is our go-to recipe when it’s pizza night around these parts.  It makes enough for four 10″ – 12″ pizzas so that means two dinners and two lunch leftovers.  Mmm, leftover pizza!

This dough can also be made by hand or in a KitchenAid mixer which is a big plus in my books.  I love putting my mixer to work for me!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 9 fl oz Warm Water
  1. Place flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and stir until combined.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5–10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.
  1. Place flour into a stand mixer bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Use dough hook.
  3. Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and turn on low until combined (about 3 minutes).
  4. Turn to medium and knead for 5–10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.
  1. Place dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or clean cloth. Set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled.
  2. Turn dough out on a floured surface and punch the dough to remove excess air, knead lightly.
  3. Divide dough into 4.
  4. Makes enough dough for 4 10-12" thin pizzas.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough recipe!

Peeps Sunflower Cake

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You've got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You’ve got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

I’ve been seeing Peeps everywhere I shop lately, so I thought a cake made to look like a sunflower using Peeps would be really cute!  To others, this cake may look like you spent a long time creating it, but it’s actually really, really easy!

Here’s how to make a Peeps Sunflower Cake:

Peeps Sunflower Cake
  • 1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3 Eggs
  • ⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup softened Butter
  • 3½ cup Icing Sugar
  • ½ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 tsp Milk
  • 2 packages of Yellow Peeps Chicks
  • 1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Make 2 single layer cakes according to the cake box directions.
  2. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Cream butter, vanilla, cocoa and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.
  4. Slowly add the milk until your desired consistency of icing is reached.
  5. Ice the cakes and stack. The more level the cake, the better the effect.
  6. Place the Peeps chicks around the edge of the cake facing inward (it will take 19 of the chicks). Do not separate them.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate chips in the middle like seeds on a sunflower.

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You've got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

Quick and Easy Oreo Frogs

Not only are these Oreo Frogs adorable, they're quick to put together too!  Impress your party guests!

We had a birthday party over the weekend for our new two year old which was a blast!  I tried my hand at making another cake from scratch and a batch of gluten-free cupcakes.  Time consuming, but they tasted great!

Along with the cake and cupcakes, I made some little Oreo Frogs.  Aren’t they adorable?  They were such a hit with our guests!  They’re even quite easy to make.  That’s always a win in my book.  End up with something cute with only a little effort? Check.

Here’s what you need to make some Oreo Frogs:

  • Mini pretzels
  • Oreo cookies
  • Candy eyes
  • Red Starburst candy
  • Green chocolate candy melts, melted


1.  Dip two pretzels into melted chocolate and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so that they are side by side.

oreo frogs step 1

2.  Coat Oreo cookie with melted chocolate and place centered onto the two pretzels.

oreo frogs step 2

3.  Allow chocolate to set for 5 minutes then place candy eyes on the top of the Oreo so that they are standing on their sides.

oreo frogs step 3

4.  To form the tongue, take a small piece of red Starburst candy and warm it in between fingers. Create a small snake with a slight point at the end and place it where the filling of the cookie would be.

5.  Allow to set for 15 minutes or until candy is hardened.

And now, you should have these cute little guys!

Not only are these Oreo Frogs adorable, they're quick to put together too!  Impress your party guests!