Category Archives: Recipes

{Gluten Free} Patriotic Fruit Pizza

The smell of food grilling, juicy watermelon slices, ice cold lemonade—these all scream summertime cookouts to me. You add the presence of family and friends, a dab of red, white and blue and moments of quiet reflection on the precious freedoms that we Americans daily enjoy and I am overwhelmed with the blessings of life in this great country.

Love. Pride. Gratefulness.

For our Memorial Day cookout, I decided to try a new dessert. Being the typical 2015 female, I scoured Pinterest for patriotic desserts. Don’t get me wrong. I still love and use my cookbooks, but when I need a specific recipe for an event, I need visual recipes. Pinterest, the King of eye-catching photos, fills the bill every time.

I wanted a light dessert with loads of fresh fruit. A fruit pizza would be perfect for our holiday cookout.

I quickly found one (original source) that was basically what I wanted and then I altered it to meet our lifestyle. We are not a gluten free family per se, but we have greatly reduced the amount of gluten that we consume. For now, our tummies are enjoying this change. We may jump on the gluten free bandwagon later.

gluten free patriotic fruit pizza

(Disclosure: Some of the links below contain affiliate links. I may earn a little bit of money which helps keep this blog up and running. All opinions are 100% my own. )

The cookie crust turned out delicious in spite of my worries of working with gluten free flour and xanthan gum for the first time. I seriously could not tell a difference.

gluten free fruit pizzaMake sure that the crust is pressed evenly and not too thin. I added a touch of arrowroot starch to make the crust super soft…and it did. Yum.

easy gluten free fruit pizzaArranging the fruit was where the inner artist in me rose to the surface. It was also when the perfectionist side of me came up to bat. Guess who won? Neither.

Sheesh. I had to remind myself that it didn’t have to be startlingly beautiful just to eat and nor did it have to be perfect in the eyes of Pinterest. Once I let go of both of these issues, I was thrilled with my circular stripes pattern and the single “strawberry star” in the center.

It was red, white and blue and that made me happy.

patriotic gluten free fruit pizzaLest you continue drooling on your screen, here is my recipe.

{Gluten Free} Patriotic Fruit Pizza
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Heather @ Thrifty Stories
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10-12
A classic fruit pizza on a health kick. This recipe is a gluten free and organic twist on this popular summertime dessert. The sugar cookie crust is soft and chewy and is layered with yummy cream cheese frosting and organic “patriotic” fruits.
  • Sugar Cookie Crust
  • 1/2 c. organic butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 c. organic cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 c. gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum, slightly heaped (this is to account for the extra 1/2 cup flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp arrowroot starch/flour (*optional- used to help make the cookie REALLY soft)
  • Toppings
  • 1 (8 oz.) block of organic cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 c. organic butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. organic powdered sugar (I cut back from the two cups recommended)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. of organic heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • Fresh organic fruit, washed and sliced if needed ( strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
  1. In mixer, beat butter until it is soft and creamy.
  2. Add sugar and mix until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides when needed.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together soda, salt, flour, xanthan gum and arrowroot starch.
  5. While beating the butter mixture, slowly add the dry ingredients. Again, scrape down the sides as needed.
  6. ***Chill the dough for at least 30 MINUTES (or up to one full day). This prevents crust from flattening when baked.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Press dough onto a pizza pan (or into a circle on a cookie sheet)
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Do NOT overbake.
  10. Allow crust to cool completely. (pop it into the fridge if you have to speed things up)
  11. For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  12. Add the powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of cream (or milk). Beat for two minutes.
  13. Add the vanilla and IF NEEDED, the other Tbsp of cream (or milk). Mix well.
  14. Spread frosting on the completely cooled crust and arrange fruit in desired pattern. Chill before serving.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several days. (three would be the recommended limit.) However if your family and friends are anything like mine, this treat will not last long. It was gone by breakfast the next morning.

Gluten Free Patriotic Fruit PizzaThis would also be perfect to serve at your Fourth of July gathering. Word to the wise, better play it safe and make two. Enjoy.


So what did you end up making for your Memorial Day festivities? Anything special? Do you try to serve something red, white and blue? Share your thoughts and recipes. I’d love to hear.

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[The Best] Homemade Fudge Brownies


[The Best] Homemade Fudge Brownies

I have always been a chewy brownie type of a girl. Cake-like brownies are simply okay. In other words, if you offered me a cake brownie, I would eat one.  I mean, I would never turn down chocolate. (Who really would?!) Fudge brownies have my heart though.

Or should I say, my tummy. And my hips.



For years now, Hubs and I have been making baby steps, and some larger strides, in our healthy living journey. We have switched to a good deal of organic foods (not all), non-toxic health and beauty items and either homemade or all natural household items.

It has been quite the journey. We have learned many things along the way.

best homemade brownies

One of my favorite and most fulfilling moments has been when I rediscover the joy of homemade. Miss Crocker simply can’t compete with the delectable treats that we can whip together in our own kitchen. (Sorry, Betty.)

This brownie recipe was immediately deemed the best ever.

I know, I know. You’re shaking your head about now and thinking, Yeah, right. Everyone thinks that their recipe is the “best” ever. And that’s fine. I understand your scepticism. To be honest, I’ve had those same thoughts myself about various things….until I had these brownies.

best fudge brownies

So good. In fact, good doesn’t even begin to describe them.

I found the original recipe here. Can you guess what it was called? I bet that you’ll never guess. Never in a million years.

Ok, go ahead and try.

Give up?

Best Brownies.

Just like that….”Best Brownies”.

Did you think of that title? Fitting, huh? You want to know what’s unbelievable about them?

best brownies recipe

They truly live up to their name. Seriously. I am not kidding, and trust me, I know chocolate. So do a TON of people. The ratings for this recipe are through the roof. It has been approved by hundreds of thousands of people. You can’t argue with those numbers, right?!

Sometime people shy away from homemade, they feel that making things from scratch is more time-consuming and difficult. Perhaps this is true in some instances, but not with these brownies. My ten year old daughter whipped three pans of these out in just a matter of minutes. They have become her specialty—she is now the brownie queen.

[The Best] Homemade Fudge Brownies


This easy recipe will make the contents of the red box seem so bland. You really have to try these and I promise, you’ll be hooked on them like we are.

I guess that this can kind of be a bad thing. Well, here’s my disclaimer for these brownies and any future pounds that may result. Always bake with a crowd nearby and never, never leave yourself alone with them.

Bad things can happen…like one less pan for the Christmas social.


Perhaps 2015 should be the year that I give up chocolate.

Did you hear that? That was the sound of me snorting here at the absurd thought of my giving up on this sweet indulgence. I should wash my mouth out with soap for such a riduculous utterance. I could never turn my back on a childhood friend. At least not completely.

homemade brownie recipe

Chocolate and I go way back.


Homemade Fudge Brownies (the Best)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Heather @ Thrifty Stories
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
This chewy, fudge brownie will become the family favorite and your friends will be knocking down your door for its recipe. You simply can’t beat the BEST!
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, slat and baking powder. Spread into pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.


Ever make homemade brownies? Do you love chocolate too?  Who else needs to join me in a lifestyle eating change soon? I need support here.

Meanwhile nibble on these.

[The Best] Homemade Fudge Brownies


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Butter Biscuits

These have become our favorite biscuit recipe. And just so you know, they don’t really have an exorbitant amount of butter. I just like to call them that.

butter biscuits


I like butter.

Rabbit trail on butter: We currently buy ours from Costco. It’s their organic two lb. pack for just under $8.00. This is the cheapest that I have been able to find. Other than butter, we use coconut oil and organic olive oil for all of our baking oil needs. (We actually use coconut oil for a multitude of uses in our home, but that’s a story for another day.)

This recipe makes 16-20 biscuits which is good for any size family because they are delicious frozen. However, unlike the original recipe, I no longer freeze them before fully baking them. I tried to do so on several occasions. I really did. The biscuits that I baked right away would be fluffy and delicious, and the unbaked frozen biscuits would be just as delicious once baked but flat.

I’m not sure what I was doing wrong. So for now, baking them first works for me. I just grab  however many biscuits we need from the freezer bag and reheat/brown in the oven.

You can brush them with a little melted butter again first. Of course.

honey butter biscuitLather with your favorite addiction.  Today it was honey.

jelly butter biscuit

And jelly. Ok, you caught me. I had two.


On the fence? Try them and see.

Butter Biscuits
Recipe Type: Bread
Author: Heather @ Thrifty Stories
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16 – 20
The best biscuits that you ever put in your mouth. I think that it’s the dousing of butter applied twice during the baking process. Yes, it’s definitely the butter. Enjoy,
  • 4 cups of unbleached flour
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut up into small pieces
  • 1 ( 16 oz) container or 2 cups of sour cream (I used an organic brand from Trader Joes)
  • 3-5 tsp water, if needed
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter (needed for the baking process)
  1. Add all of the dry ingredients and combine well.
  2. Cut in butter with the dry ingredients to small, pea-sized pieces. This may take a few minutes…kids are very helpful at this point. 😉
  3. Add the sour cream and mix until a soft dough is formed. If mixture is too dry, you can add some teaspoons of water. (Add only one teaspoon at a time as needed.)
  4. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll out dough to 1 inch thickness or your desired thickness. Use a cutter or even a drinking glass to cut out biscuits.
  6. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush tops with melted butter. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are a nice golden brown. Brush biscuits with melted butter again halfway through the baking process. Makes 16- 20 biscuits.
  7. Freeze some or all biscuits for a busy morning. To thaw, simply reheat in oven. You can even brush them with a tad more butter. Yeah. 😉

Butter makes it better. Believe me.

What do you eat on your biscuits? Have you ever tried freezing them before baking? Butter is awesome, right?

Have a great one.


A Decent Sort of Fellow

I’ve told you before that I absolutely love potatoes and so does my man.

That makes us a good match, right? Fellow starch fans.

Russet potatoes are my absolute favorite, but I don’t mind the others. Truly I don’t. Gold, red, and white are really just as delicious.

Yes, the early 1870s was a good time in American history. Not only was the devastating Civil War over, but the russet potato was developed in Massachusetts. It would become the leading potato crop for the United States, P.E.I. and New Brunswick, Canada. It would also be a tremendous economical discovery for both countries.

I, for one, am thankful for its discovery. =)

baked potato soup

A couple weeks ago, I was given several enormous baked potatoes that were left over from our ladies Bible study. This was under the assumption that I had a good use for three and a half leftover potatoes. Did I ever! I had tried the most delicious recipe a few weeks before that required baked potatoes. Possessing those foil clad delicacies made my heart extremely happy. I may have gone humming and skipping out the door.

Upon arriving home, I made the mistake of telling Hubs that I had them and nearly lost one to his potato loving appetite. Shameful, I know. I withheld food, potatoes no less, from a hungry man. I am despicable.

He forgave me a few days later.

I made a huge pot of this wonderful, starchy goodness: Baked Potato Soup.

baked potato soup

Perhaps you’ve already made this recipe, or one similar, before, but I had not.

I was in love.

It was creamy, bursting with flavor, and deliciously filling.

I found the original recipe here.

30 Minute Baked Potato Soup

Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Heather @ Thrifty
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Creamy and hearty baked potato soup flavored with green onions, sharp cheese, bacon and sour cream. Perfect way to use up those leftover potatoes.
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (I’ve made it both ways with and without the peel)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. While bacon is browning, melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in cubed potatoes and green onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Add bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly until the cheese melts.

I love being able to take leftovers and create an entirely new, delicious meal. Using leftover baked potatoes is not only extremely frugal but also makes prep time a snap.

The green onions make the dish, in my opinion. However, I love onions in most dishes. They bring just the right amount of flavor without overpowering the potato. Perfection at its finest.

baked potato soup

The crumbled bacon made Fuzz satisfied. The girl loves meat. If you are serving a hot breakfast, she’ll request and happily devour bacon, ham, and sausage. She’s been known to snitch the last piece of venison steak as well. A more carnivorous child you have never met.

baked potato soup

The bacon, cheese, green onions, and sour cream do truly make the dish taste like a baked potato. A liquid baked potato on a spoon. Mmmm.

Yes, one bite and all was forgiven.

baked potato soup


My friend, Winnie, pretty much pegged my husband with this quote:

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)[/dropshadowbox]


And that, my friends, is my hubs.

Anyone else LOVE potatoes? Have you been eating soup like it’s going out of style? What do you cook for comfort? Or for peace offerings? Share and make my day. I love to hear from you. If you’d like a simple potato soup recipe, try this one.

Thanks for reading.