How to German Smear Brick (with tips and tricks that nobody else tells you!)






 (We still need to update our roof, trim, doors, etc. and I will add new pictures here when that’s done!)

 (We still need to update our roof, trim, doors, etc. and I will add new pictures here when that’s done!)

We have been wanting to update our outdated brick, ranch-style home since the day we moved in. I pretty much thought that our only option was to paint it, and was just waiting to save up and be able to fit that into our budget. Then, I discovered German Smear (aka German Schmear, aka mortar wash). There are so many styles of it and methods of doing it - some I really like and some that I don’t. I determined that I was going to learn how to do it to achieve the look I was going for and do it to the entire exterior of our house. The problem was, there just weren’t a ton of helpful tutorials available, so once I figured it out, I decided I definitely needed to post one here. I started with my brick fireplace, moved on to the back half of my house to really figure out the look that I liked, and then moved onto the rest of the house.

I was NOT going for a whitewashed look (though I included tips in my video if that’s more the look you like), but for more of the brick color to continue to show through, outlined with the white mortar.

I didn’t use the sponge method, as that also results in a more whitewashed look, but simply used white mortar, gloves, a mortar bag, and a scraping tool. The entire project cost less than $200, and if you simply want to do a single interior wall or fireplace, you could do it for about $20. Here’s a breakdown of the cost for my project:

(Our home is a single story, ranch style home that is entirely brick and is about 3000 square feet.)

  • 12 bags of white thin-set mortar - $15 each from Home Depot (I will add links to products soon)
  • Gloves - $3
  • Bucket - $4
  • Mortar/grout bag - $4

Our gutters and roof desperately need replaced (new leaks every time it rains 🤣), our trim needs painted, and we need new front doors, so we really wanted to do this project as cheaply as possible to try to save money for those necessities.  Under $200 fit the bill just perfectly! What this project will cost you though is time. Now, If you’re just doing a fireplace or single wall, you can easily do it in an afternoon, but if you’re doing your whole house like I did, plan to break it up into manageable segments and just do it little by little over the course of a couple weeks. At least, that’s how I managed it. 

To be continued...






Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole


I’ve been making this French toast casserole for pretty much every holiday and birthday breakfast for years (along with an egg casserole that I’ll be posting soon too!). Its convenient because you prepare it the night before, and my kids love it.

I’m lucky enough to be able to get my hands on homemade sourdough challah bread, which is amazing in this recipe. Use whatever type of bread works for you.



  • 1 loaf bread - (sourdough, French, challah, gluten-free, etc.)
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (for cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (for egg mixture)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk of choice, whole milk, half and half, or combo
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 TB organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: fresh fruit, fruit compote, or maple syrup for topping


1. Grease 9x13 pan

2. Cut the bread into cubes. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared pan.

3. Beat the room temperature cream cheese until completely smooth. Add the 2 TB maple syrup and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread.

4. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese. Set aside.

5. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, maple syrup, and remaining vanilla together. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 350°F

Bake covered for about 30 minutes.

7. While baking, combine topping ingredients - softened butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

8. Remove dish from oven and rub the topping mixture all over the top of the casserole. Return to oven and bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Apple Crisp (made with sprouted flour and no refined sugar)



My peach cobbler recipe posted here is one of my favorites, so I thought, “Why not copy it and replace the peaches with apples for an apple crisp?”  I used a smaller baking dish for this one for a thicker layer of that delicious crisp on top! So so good!


4 apples, peeled and sliced thinly 

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup sprouted flour (or flour of choice)

1/3 cup coconut sugar (plus more to sprinkle on top if desired) If you are used to or prefer your desserts very sweet, you can increase the amount to 1/2 or 3/4 cup.

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8x8 glass baking dish with butter. Combine sliced apples and maple syrup in the bottom of the pan. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Drop spoonfuls on top of the apples, and spread around with your fingers or with the spoon. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with coconut sugar. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


Sprouted Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread


You know what’s better than banana bread and better than pumpkin bread? A combination of the two! And, of course, it’s made even better with some chocolate. 


•1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour

•2 ripe bananas, mashed

•1 cup pumpkin purée

•2 eggs

•1/3 cup butter, melted

•1/2 cup coconut sugar

•1 TB pumpkin pie spice

•2 tsp vanilla extract

•1 tsp baking soda

•1/2 tsp baking powder

•1/4 tsp salt

•1 cup dark chocolate chips, separated



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix wet ingredients, and then whisk in dry ingredients. Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter in prepared pan and sprinkle top with additional 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

4. Bake for approximately 1 hour.


French Silk Pudding


I don’t know about anyone else, but I like the filling of a chocolate pie more than the pie with the crust, so I decided to turn a French silk pie into a French silk pudding instead! I made mine a deep, dark chocolate without a lot of sugar, but you can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking! 


  • 6 ounces unsweetened (or bittersweet) baking chocolate  
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened  
  • 1/4 cup real cane sugar (increase up to 3/4 cup, depending on preference) 
  • 2 TB additional cane sgar 
  • 4 room temperature eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Melt chocolate in double broiler and then remove from heat.  
  2. Whip the cream with 2 TB of sugar until firm peaks are formed. Refrigerate.  
  3. Beat the butter and 1/4 cup (or more) of sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt, mixing until smooth. 
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat each one thoroughly before adding the next.  
  5. Gently fold in 1/2 the whipped cream mixture until smooth and well combined.  
  6. Scoop the mixture into one large serving bowl or individual serving bowls and top with the remaining whipped cream.  

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts


These maple roasted brussels sprouts are so unbelievably good, and something about adding candied pecans and dried cranberries makes them seem more festive for the season. 


  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans (optional) 
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional) 


  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts and oil in large bowl and season with salt and pepper
  3. Arrange brussels cut side down on baking sheet and toast until softened and browned, about 25-30 minutes.  
  4. Meanehile, bring maple syrup to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add vinegar to saucepan. Return to heat. Add butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until glaze is bubbly and slightly thickened. 
  5. When Brussels sprouts have finished cooking, put them in a large bowl and toss with glaze. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with pecans and cranberries.  


Elderberry Syrup


Elderberry syrup is a sweet, simple, and effective way to support the immune system. It’s very beneficial for respiratory problems, one of the most effective remedies for viral and bacterial infections, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, and can significantly shorten the duration of your illness if you do get sick. Plus, it requires only two ingredients and tastes great!


  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 1 cup raw, buckwheat honey (you can use any raw honey, but buckwheat has been shown to be especially effective against coughs and colds)

  • optional add-ins: cinnamon stick, 1 TB grated ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Place dried berries and water (and optional add-ins) in saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

  2. Simmer for about 45 minutes until reduced by half.

  3. Strain into glass bowl.

  4. Cool and then add raw honey.

  5. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.

For health maintenance, take 1 TB a day (1 tsp for children). During illness, take 1 TB (1 tsp for children) every 2-3 hours.  

Sourdough Apple Dutch Baby Pancake


This is such a delicious and simple way to use up extra sourdough starter!  


  • 1 1/4 cups sourdough starter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice  
  • 2 TB coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice) 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced
  • 4 TB butter  


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a bowl, combine starter, eggs, milk, sugar, and salt
  3. Melt butter in 10-inch cast iron skillet on stovetop and add sliced apples. Sauté for a couple of minutes to soften the apples 
  4. Removed from stovetop and pour sourdough mixture over the apples
  5. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. 
  6. Top with maple syrup and/or toppings of choice. Shown here with Greek yogurt and maple syrup.  

Paleo Beef and Sausage Meatballs


These meatballs required very little in the way of seasoning because I used a combo of ground pasture-resided breakfast sausage that was already deliciously seasoned along with grassfed beef. They turned out delicious!


  • 1 pound beef
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 TB salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Combine all ingredients and form into meatballs
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes  

Makes approx. 32 meatballs 


German Oven Pancake with Sautéed Apples


We love this take on “pancakes” because it’s quick and easy and delicious besides. Mixing everything in one bowl and then just sticking it in the oven is my kind of simple breakfast. No need to reserve it just for the weekends! I topped this one with sautéed apples (after all, it’s apples galore around here right now), but you can keep it simple with a little maple syrup or top them however you like! 


  • 6 TB butter
  • 2 cups milk of choice (I use raw whole milk) 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted flour (or flour of choice - I use this sprouted spelt flour) 
  • 2 TB coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla  


  1. Place the butter in 9x13 baking dish and put in oven to melt as you preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour in baking dish on top of the melted butter. 
  3. Bake for approx. 25 minutes

Banana Bread Bars with Optional Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Topping (refined-sugar free and made with sprouted flour)


I am in love with these banana bread bars. I know that may sound extreme, but they’re just that good. They’re the perfect texture paired with the perfect level of not-too-sweetness. And if you know me, then you know that I am NOT a fan of all the overly sweet everything. The subtle sweetness comes simply from the bananas and maple syrup, no refined sugars, and the sprouted flour makes them more nutritious and easier on the ol’ digestive system. Of course, you’re welcome to use whatever flour your little heart desires, but I prefer to stick to the sprouted varieties. The bars are delicious on their own, so the whipped cream / cream cheese topping (which is also just subtly sweet) is totally optional, but then again, it really? I mean, they’re SO good together. 

For the Banana Bread Bars


  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 8 TB (1 stick) softened butter

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 2 cups flour (I use this sprouted spelt)

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Cream butter and syrup together, and then add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat together well until smooth.

  3. Add dry ingredients and mix just until well incorporated.

  4. Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan

  5. Bake for approximated 22-26 minutes.

  6. Cool and then add frosting if using.

For the Whipped Cream / Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 TB pure maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add syrup and vanilla and mix well.

  2. Add heavy cream to the cream cheese and beat until peaks form.

  3. Spread on everything.



Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli


It was a cold, rainy weekend that called for warmer clothes, boots, and comfort this creamy macaroni and cheese with broccoli. I like to add shredded BBQ chicken on top!


  • 16 ounces pasta of choice  
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk (I use raw milk) 
  • 4 TB butter  
  • 4 cups grated cheese (I use grassfed cheese and grate it myself. Pre-grated cheese is grainy.)
  • 1 tsp salt  


  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente.  
  2. 2 minutes prior to the pasta being done, add the broccoli to the pasta to cook.  
  3. Drain pasta and broccoli and use the pasta pot to make the cheese sauce.  
  4. Combine all the other ingredients to make creamy cheese sauce. Add pasta and broccoli back to the pot and combine well. Serve immediately. 

3 ingredient, 5 minute Caramel Sauce with Paleo Option (and Caramel Apple Nachos)


Without a little self-control, I would probably drink this stuff by the bucket. It’s that good, and so easy to make. It only takes 3 simple ingredients that you probably already have. It’s delicious as an apple dip, over ice cream, by the spoonful, you name it. I like to drizzle it over sliced apples with melted chocolate and pecans to make deconstructed caramel apple nachos!


  • 4 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cream (use coconut milk for a non-dairy, Paleo alternative)


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool and serve. It will get thicker as it sits, and becomes very thick after being refrigerated. 


The Perfect Frittata


A few years ago I read an article by Bon Appetit with several tips on how to make the perfect frittata - things like the right egg/dairy ratio, the right cooking temp, the right pan, etc. - and I always keep those things in mind when I make a frittata. The great thing about frittatas is that the possibilities for combinations are endless. You can throw anything you want in there, as long as you remember the basic ratio of eggs and milk. I went with a combo of spinach, onions, and peppers for the perfect veggie frittata, and it was, well, perfect! 



  • 12 eggs  
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, yogurt, sour cream, or milk of choice (keep it full-fat)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (it looks like a lot, but cooks down significantly)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 TB butter (or other oil) 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine eggs, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and set aside
  3. In an oven-safe skillet, sauté onion and pepper in TB of butter on medium. 
  4. Add spinach to skillet and cook until wilted and reduced.  
  5. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook until the sides start to set, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Transfer pan to oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until center is set. Do not overcook.  

3 Ingredient Tahini (or Peanut Butter or Nut Butter!) Cookies, Refined Sugar Free


Saturday baking anyone? If you need a nut-free alternative to peanut butter cookies, these three ingredient tahini cookies are super easy and free of refined sugar! I’m sure you’ve seen the popular recipe all over Pinterest for grain-free peanut butter cookies that only require 3 simple ingredients. I decided to try an allergy-friendly, nut-free version with tahini, and they turned out great! (Note: a couple of my kids are not fans of tahini, and eating it in cookie form did not convince them otherwise. In other words, if you don’t like tahini, you probably won’t like these.)

I would imagine these cookies would work well with sunbutter too for another allergy friendly version, or other nut butters if you just want a peanut free version. I think I’ll try cashew butter next! 


  • 1 cup tahini (or peanut butter or other nut butter) 
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional) 


  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. combine all ingredients
  3. scoop spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet and make a criss cross with a fork to press each ball of dough down slightly 
  4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes  
  5. allow cookies to cool slightly, then melt chocolate and drizzle with a spoon on top of cookies  

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Made with sprouted flour and coconut sugar!) Plus, a Copper Chef Giveaway!


I made these cookie bars in my Wonder Cooker bake pan (enter the giveaway for the Copper Chef cookware here!) and they turned out great! I used sprouted flour and coconut sugar for a healthier bar. 


2 cups flour (I use this sprouted spelt flour) 

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

2 eggs  

1 1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks 



1. Preheat oven to 350.  

2. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  

3. In mixer, combine butter, eggs, and sugar and mix well. Add flour mixture and mix. Add chocolate chips  

4. Spread dough evenly in greased 9x13 pan.  

5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.