Crazy Days and Pumpkin Waffles

The last two weeks have been INSANE around here!

The anthology my book, Blue Christmas, is a part of, hit #1 on 6 Amazon lists. What a blast that has been. You can check it out for 99 cents here.

In the midst of marketing, writing another book, family parties, Halloween, directing the adult and children’s choir at our church, and a family rock climbing adventure, I wanted to make a warm breakfast for my kids. Usually, because I wake up with a to-do list in one hand, we’re a cereal-for-breakfast kind of family. But, every once in a while, I like to send my kids out the door with a hearty breakfast. This recipe adaption for my waffle recipe works great.

These pumpkin waffles are easy to make and taste delicious. Since you start out with your basic waffle recipe (or waffle mix) that your family already adores, your kids are sure to love them!

Pumpkin Waffles

Your basic waffle recipe (or waffle mix and eggs/oil/water called for on the box)

1/2 of a can of pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix it all together and throw it in the waffle iron. I like to serve ours with fresh whipped cream or organic whipped topping found in the freezer aisle, walnuts (only me and Mr. 8 will eat those) and blueberries. Also, I happened to have sugar free cranberry syrup today and it was de-vine on top.

I hope your family enjoys the flavors of fall as much as ours!

All the best!


30 Minute Meals for Families


Back Cover 

Skip the drive-thru and feed your family the food they deserve. With 30-Minutes Meals for Families, enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals like Savory Chicken Squares, Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Marinara, and Enchilada Bake, all in 30 minutes or less! You’ll have dinner on the table faster than you can say ‘I’ll have fries with that.’



I made the Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes for breakfast the other day along with my citrus syrup (recipe below.) They turned out divine! The pancakes were just the right texture and the burst of blueberries were so sweet. My kids ate them up and there were plenty to go around.
I’m really excited about this cook book. I can always use a new twist on dinner and lunches can get boring around here with our love of peanut butter. But, with Shauna’s new book, we’re going to have some delicious meals in our future. 

Citrus Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup clear corn syrup
the zest from one orange
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from the stove. Add the orange zest, lemon flavoring, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir well and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Berry Nog Smoothie

In honor of the Berry Nog Smoothie, we’re going Very Berry today!!

Teaching my kids to use the blender was pretty easy. There are a couple smaller rules they needed to know and then one really big one.

The first rule is to make sure the blender is on a solid surface and won’t rock when it’s turned on. This is really simple at my house because I usually leave the blender in the same spot and the kids don’t think to move it.

The second rule is to put the liquids in first. If you put the ice in first and then pour the liquids over the ice, the ice will stick together in a big clump.


The third – and most important – rule is to always – ALWAYS – put the lid on. Because of the intense surge of typhoon power, the liquids inside will climb the walls and look for a way to escape. If the lid isn’t on tight the liquid will fly out of the blender. Up and out actually. It’s kind of cool to see once. Not so cool the second time. If the lid is on tight, the liquid will flow into the center of the cyclone and be pulled to the bottom of the blender for blending.

(Left: My 11 year old is using the two-handed press technique.)

Another good idea is to put your hand on the lid as you turn the blender on. That way if there is a surge and things come loose you can minimize the damage. As you can see, my blender is part of my Bosch mixer package. I do have a surge setting but I don’t have a chop. That said, this blender is a work horse. I have put all sorts of ice/smoothie/ice cream/cookie combos in there and everything turns out smooth and delicious.


We didn’t even take time to find the fancy cups (or comb our hair) before downing a glass of this delicious smoothie.


Side Note:

I looked up ‘nog’ to see if there was a specific definition. The word came from Europe and was used to describe a strong beer served in small glasses. Egg nog, traditionally made with spirits, was reserved for the wealthy who could afford to use the milk and eggs to make it. Rum was introduced into egg nog in the Americas.

 Berry Nog Smoothie

To print this recipe click here.


1 cup vanilla yogurt


1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup egg nog

1 cup ice

1 cup frozen strawberries




1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.

2. Turn the blender on to the lowest setting or chop setting.

3. Blend for one minute or until smooth.

4. Serve and enjoy!

See how pretty it is? Very pink and lots of holiday involved. We loved it. Normally, strawberry smoothies have too much tang for my early morning taste buds. But, the egg nog really mellowed out the strawberries. I also like that this is a totally adaptable recipe. If you prefer whole milk, use it. If you’d like to throw in a peach yogurt, go right ahead. What would you do to mix it up?

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

In our big push to clean out the basement and food storage area this week I came across three bottles of Apply Pie Filling that I’d secreted away after canning last fall. Of course, my plan when I hid them was to keep them for spring and it worked! I completely forgot they were there. 

When the kids caught site of them they wanted to open them up and eat them warm. (Now you know I why I had to hide them.) I said, “No way! I’m makin’ waffles.”

Since we’re on spring break a big breakfast sounded good. And since I had plans to rope them into cleaning out the garage I wanted to butter them up with something good for breakfast. 



Click here to print this recipe.



Your favorite waffle mix, prepared according to package instructions

1 bottle/can apple pie filling

whipped cream

maple syrup



 Preheat your waffle iron. Spray it well with non-stick cooking spray.

Spoon apple pie filling along the bottom of the waffle iron. Don’t cover the whole thing, just put about a tablespoon of filling in each section.

Cover the pie filling with waffle batter.

Close the lid and cook until your waffle iron says it’s done.

Serve with whipped cream and maple syrup.


Fluffy Cinnamon Muffins


I had a bit of help making these muffins. In fact, Rub broke his first egg today. Five years old and he broke a perfect egg. I’m so proud!

He also learned how to measure a level teaspoon and how to work the hand mixer. (Turn it on AFTER you put it down in the stuff you want to mix up.)

What you’ll need:


1 1/2 cups wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon


What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour mixture into prepared muffin pan. (I sprayed the pan. Haven’t tried this with muffin cups yet, let me know if you do and how they turn out.) Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

We had them with butter and strawberry jam. I wanted to serve them with maple and blueberry syrup, like pancakes; but then we were eating other things that I didn’t want the syrup to blend into. You could do it though, it would be yummy!