Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nature's Hand Granola #Giveaway

Now it is time for a giveaway! In our Tuesday post we reviewed Nature's Hand Granola and our yummy Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes Recipe. Today you get to enter to win two bags of this amazing granola yourself!

First visit the Website and decide which are the two flavors you want to try. Then be sure to connect via Facebook and Twitter to receive special offers and coupons. 

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. All prizing for MSM giveaways is handled by a third party unless otherwise noted. For this reason prize fulfillment can take up to 90 days after the winners information is received.

Making Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes.

Packed lunch with Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whats' For Lunch Wednesday, Turkey Rollups

Several for the road.

Since the girl's daddy and I own a small business vacations can be a bit tricky. When everything goes right we sneak off for much needed R&R. We recently took a short trip to our favorite hiking spot at the Devil's State Park in Arkansas. It is a fabulous old CCC camp with a variety of hikes for novice through more experienced.

The girls and I planned a nice menu and packed a few items for the road. This lunch was put together by Maurene for our 4 hour car ride to the park.

Rolling it up!

 Maurene helped me roll turkey and cheese and spear on cocktail stirrers with pineapple tidbits. She added mandarin oranges, pretzels, and carrots to round out the lunch. These went over very well on the road and the girls loved the cocktail sticks.

Check out what others had for lunch this week at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

I will share a few pictures from our hikes in the next few weeks.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nature's Hand Granola

We recently shared a favorite recipe called Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes. Originally the recipe called for Muesli but we did not have any. Instead of picking up an unusual (for us) product I decided to substitute a regular item of similar quality, granola. We have been making the recipe with granola for so long that we love it the way it is. 

Granola is a staple around here, whether we make it or purchase it is always around. Granola is so versatile: we make parfaits with it, we eat it plain with milk, and we love to make Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes with it. Recently we were offered two bags of a yummy granola by Nature's Hand. It was deemed good enough to use in the end of year teacher gifts of Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes. It was really good. 

Stirring the Nature's Hand Granola.

Nature's Hand is a wonderful granola is made with the best ingredients and without all of the preservatives. The two yummy flavors we were able to try were Raisin Hazelnut and Cranberry Delight. As we love both raisins and cranberry both granolas were found equally tasty. And the girl's daddy snagged some as a midnight snack before we even got to try it. I thought we were going to have to hide it!

This summer Nature's Hand is starting a reward program with special contests and buy-one, get-one coupons and recipes. Visit Nature's Hand or Facebook for details. You can also follow them on Twitter.

I recommend giving them a try and you can see for yourself the wholesome ingredients and enjoy the authentic granola taste.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, Memorial Day

We took our vacation early so this Memorial Day finds us at home enjoying Muffin Tin Mondays in new star tins. This is a holiday close to our hearts as the girl's daddy is active duty with the Kansas Air National Guard. He is a First Lieutenant with the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron. Recently he spent 6 weeks away from us and we are so grateful to have him back.

French Toast with Sides.
Audrey made this amazing tin mostly by herself. I helped by cooking the french toast and cutting it into slices. The rest was her. Well, I poured the syrup as well. The girls enjoyed fruit, french toast, and a little syrup to dip them in.

Dipping the bread.

Check out what the other kids are having this week at Muffin Tin Monday .

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites

Ready to go!

We are camping this week and needed some easy snacks. A wonderful Kansas City Food Blogger I know has an amazing and easy recipe for the yummiest snacks that do not require any baking. Toddler friendly. Just keep an eye on your helper, I found Mo eating the mix straight from the bowl. Check out the No Bake Energy Bites and see if you love them as much as Mo.

I think she likes them.

A friendly tip we received was to make them in mini muffin pans. Press them in good and then chill. It worked wonderfully!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes


Audrey and Maurene love making Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes. They are heard in a song by The Wiggles and the girls love it. We made this batch for Audrey's teachers as a thank you gift but I let the girls keep a few for themselves.

Audrey had a PB&J Goldfish Sandwich with her lunch and Maurene a cheese sandwich. They both had grapes. 

Check out what everyone else had at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fruit Bread Pudding


With the overripe berries we picked this week I helped the girls make a yummy and healthy dessert from our fun new cookbook, Kids Fun and Healthy Cookbook. We used fresh, local berries and whole grain bread. Not only was it healthy but it tasted so good!

Checking out the recipe.
  • 8 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 lb 5 oz fresh or frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Place berries, water, and sugar in a pot and cook until berries are very soft. Strain juice from berries. Cut bread into fun shapes and place 4 slices in a shallow dish. Pour half the juice over bread. Place remaining slices on top and add remaining juice. Place the dish in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Top with a few whole berries and enjoy!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, Walking Tacos

Walking tacos and fruit.

I am trying a few new ideas with the girls. I learned about Walking Tacos in Yum Fun and Food for Kids in an article by the fabulous Kristen Doyle of Dine and Dish. Don't know how I had never heard about this yummy take on the standard taco. We stopped at the store on the way home from the park and picked up a few ingredients I thought would taste great and be enticing to the girls. I followed no recipe just an idea of what I wanted in the meal.
For the Meat:
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • fresh ground pepper
  • dash of salt
  • 1 can no-salt-added back beans
  • 1 can no-salt-added Italian diced tomatoes
Brown the meat and then add red pepper and onion. Cook 4 minutes and then add garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and heat for 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly. In the meantime make walking packets. I was at the grocery store so I could not purchase the individual size corn chips bags. Instead I decided to make some.

Filling containers with taco ingredients.

I took waxed paper and folded it up into squares. To keep the heat in I added a layer of foil folded over the outside. The packets held up very well.

For the Tacos:
  • Corn chips
  • Meat mixture
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lettuce or shredded cabbage
  • Salsa, optional
Place all ingredients into the packet and enjoy! These are great for meals on the go and backyard parties.

Check out what the other children had this week at Muffin Tin Monday.


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

#SundaySupper Marinated Tofu

Grilled tofu.

We are a family of traditional and bland. Our dinners are mostly family favorites and American classics. Not much in the way of new and different. I am trying to change that. It is hard because I want to make sure my family has a full  belly before bed but I would still like to try new ideas.

I decided to go out on a limb with a tofu recipe that could easily be added to a dish of safe foods. It was not a huge success but it was not a total failure either.

  • 9oz Firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
Drain tofu and cut into strips. Pat dry with a towel and set in large shallow dish. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over tofu. Let set at least one hour. Place a little olive oil in a large skillet or griddle pan and cook tofu  minutes on each side. I served these over a bed of noddles and the girls mostly ate the noddles. I let them play with chop sticks so they had fun with the noodles.

Helping sister measure.

Noodles with chop sticks!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Food Revolution Day!


Happy Food Revolution Day! The girls and I are celebrating by co-hosting a food demonstration at Hy-Vee on Clinton Parkway from 11am-1pm. We will be sharing our Salad on a Stick recipe. If you live in Lawrence come check us out.

For those outside of Lawrence check out the Food Revolution Day page for celebrations around the world.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Five Fun Summer Foods

Audrey asked recently if it was summer. In our fair city the temperature climbed to the high 80s this week. We went to our favorite little market and purchased local ice cream. The girls wore shorts and dripped ice cream all over their legs. It was hard to explain that summer is still over a month away. I told her it would be June 22nd. She asked me to let her know. In order to prepare for that day I thought I would share our favorite summer foods to make and eat.
  1. Breakfast Banana Ice Cream. Yes, ice cream for breakfast. It is healthy and yummy!
  2. Mango Soup. Or any fruit soup, really. They are a cool and easy way to enjoy the bounty of summer fruit. 
  3. Green Monster. You have to try this. Stop letting the green color stop you and give it a try.We love them.
  4. Fruit Salad. Another simple way to use fruit. We love to mix whatever is fresh and enjoy.
  5. Banana Split Breakfast. This is more of a parfait with bananas but it is yummy just the same.
None of these require heat and they are all sure to please. Get the blender or food processor out and get busy!

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pick Your Own

This week we completed an item on our bucket list. We have yet to publish our list this year but this item is a holdover from last summer. 

Strawberry picking season is short and if you blink you miss it. We caught one of the last days and had a blast! It was warm and there was no mud anywhere. The strawberries were so ripe the entire area smelled sweet. We only stayed for a short time and picked around 5lbs. It was just enough for us to enjoy the experience and left us wanting to do it again soon.

We have gone to pick your own for many other vegetables but never strawberries. I thought the girls would immediately shove their faces full of the beloved fruit. When they did not even try one I offered them each a ripe berry as we were walking away. Then the had to sit at the bench after we paid and devour several more. 

I let them have free reign on the strawberries until they were finished. Several of the really ripe mushy ones ended up in a fabulous dessert we had after dinner. It was an amazing fruit juice soaked whole grain bread.  Check back for that recipe soon. 

We will be picking several more crops in the future, have you ever picked your own?

They went right to work.

She was so serious about her work.

Their haul.

Enjoying the pickings.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Banana Wraps for Mo

Banana wraps and fruit

Mo has had a case of the terrible twos lately. Her grandparents came to visit and when grandma left she said Mo was a bit more of a challenge this time. That made me chuckle a little because Mo is so much like her daddy in many ways. I think grandma is just a little older this time around. And she reads this blog so we have to be nice. 

Everything is no. If I give Mo a choice in the morning of what to wear she will say, 'nothing' in a sad little voice. She is grumpy in the mornings and at midday when she needs her snack. Lunches can be a challenge unless you have bananas, graham crackers, or cheese, and afternoons are shot because she needs a nap and won't take one. Evenings are total meltdown because she is hungry but only wants milk and chicken and then does not want to brush her teeth or put on pajamas.

I love my Mo. She is everything I love about her father but in a smaller, irrational package. Her father is driven, passionate, focused, and did I say driven? I always tell people he has two speeds: On, and Off, and Off is asleep. Mo is that way but two years old.

She will be amazing at 35. Today she wanted bananas. I relented and helped her make banana and peanut butter wraps for the girls. Mo ate the banana, leaving the wrap behind. Audrey unwrapped the banana, took a few bites and then opted for the peanut butter covered wrap to nibble on instead. Both enjoyed the other fruit.

Checking out the picks.

Check out what the other kids had today at What's For Lunch Wednesday. I hope not all of them are two.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fabulous Summer Dinners with Family

Delicious Light Summer Dinners to Make for Your Family

In general, summer foods should be kept simple and light, so that eating them is a refreshing break from the day. Winter dishes are often intentionally heavy to help you feel warm and comforted in cold months. Summer fare, on the other hand, should be fairly quick to make and get you ready for an evening or afternoon of family fun. For information on learning to cook a wide range of meals, look at www.onlineuniversities.net for available culinary arts programs.
  • Salads – One of the simplest and lightest meals that really takes advantage of the summer bounty are salads. While lettuce can work just fine to start off this type of meal, a really great salad goes well beyond the first ingredient. You can add a wide range of fruits and vegetables to the foundation of a salad. With so many different types of produce in season during the summer months, everything from asparagus and artichoke hearts to strawberries and orange slices can make a delicious summer salad.
    Salads may seem like a secondary dish, but a large and diverse one can easily become the focus of a meal. Adding hard-boiled eggs or slices of grilled chicken breast is a great way to put protein into a salad, though some nuts and beans can also be used for this. Light dressings using only some olive oil or vinegar and various seasonings keep the taste of the salad fresh without adding a heavy sauce.
  • Sandwiches – There are many different types of sandwiches that you can make for a great summer meal, for both lunch and dinner. Chicken and tuna salad sandwiches are often ideal, since the filling can be made ahead of time and they are served cold. During hot summer months, a cold sandwich and salad make a great meal that keeps you from feeling too full or heavy. Only some mayonnaise and meat are necessary, though adding relish, diced celery, and other ingredients can make a delicious sandwich even better.
  • Grilling – Elaborate summer meals often involve a barbeque and grilling as the warm weather is ideal for cooking outdoors. If you are interested in learning to cook, you might consider online courses that can teach you what you need to know to become a fantastic home chef. These classes instruct you on how to grill, poach and roast a wide range of different foods. Steaks, cheeseburgers and chicken are all ideal for outdoor cooking, though a grill can be used on lighter foods like fresh fish and even vegetables such as asparagus, onions and potatoes in a pouch.
Summer Salad.

Sources

Jewish Woman International (2003)
WGBH (2011)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Muffin Tin Monday?

Simple and yummy.

We have been trying to get back in the swing of things around here now that daddy is home. It seems like every time we try to maintain there is something to cause chaos. This weekend we were so excited to have the girl's grandparents visit for the celebration of Cousin Susie's Hooding Ceremony. She has worked very hard on her dissertation and we were so proud she graduated. 

With all of the family visiting and eating out we have not had much in the fridge and I have not had much time for fabulous design ideas. So a simple fruit meal was the most appealing to the girls. We had a few left over Gold Fish Crackers and some pretzels to add to the meal. I have been eating a lot of carrots with peanut butter so Audrey wanted that as well. 

Helping prepare the tins.

Check out what the others are having today at Muffin Tin Monday!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Five For Friday, Fun!

So excited to make her own breakfast!

I have been putting together lists of one kind or another most Fridays for a little bit now. They include favorite meals or cooking with kids tips. Now I would like to share, in honor of Mother's Day, the five things I love about cooking with my children:

  1. The pride they share when a task is completed well. I exclaimed once how good a meal was, Audrey proudly said it was because she made it.
  2. Fun time with the girls. Sometimes between the hurry to activities and the reminder to pick up the shoes I forget to have fun with my girls. Cooking together is an easy way to solve that.
  3. I am teaching them something great. Real food is not something my mother was able to share. It was the late '70s/early '80s and everyone was in love with convenience. Audrey is learning the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber.
  4. It may not be much but I know they eat better when they help cook a meal. Audrey is a lot more likely to try food out of curiosity when she helps with prep. They also better understand the yummy ingredients we place in dishes and like to see how they taste.
  5. How much more fun is it to enjoy food you created?! Had I known I would enjoy cooking so much I might have started before the age of 36.
What is your favorite things about the kitchen? Cooking, eating, baking?


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Simple Chicken Dinner

Adding chopped garlic scapes.

Daddy is back and life is slowly returning to normal. While we are still very busy most of our school year activities are ending and we should have some free time soon. Our busy schedule has meant that meal planning has been vague at best. Sometimes I just pick up our favorite veggies and cuts of meat and hope for the best when we get home. That is how we ended up with this yummy meal!

Our dinner consisted of fingerling potatoes, cut and drizzled with Sea Salt, pepper and olive oil then baked at 400F for 20 minutes. Frozen Cascadian Farms Organic Peas were quickly heated up in the microwave after the boneless, skinless chicken thighs were cooked in a bit of broth. The addition of mushrooms and garlic scapes made the chicken very tasty and flavored it during the 20 minutes in the microwave on high.

Audrey helped with the chicken, potatoes and then set the table. I like to set up the meal prep and let her do the rest. Once the chicken was in the Pyrex and the ingredients set out I pretty much let her do the rest. For the potatoes I sliced them and placed them on the baking dish. She brushed them with oil and sprinkled on the salt.

After helping with the food Audrey set the table for her and sister. She also got the milk out and poured a glass for each of them. I like to let her pour when the container gets low and easier for her to handle.

The meal required a little less than 10 minutes prep and then cooked for 20 minutes. In 30 minutes I had a family sitting around the table eating real food. 

What are your family favorites? Do you have an easy, go-to meal that everyone enjoys? We are working on more of these as we only have a few currently.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, Profile

"Take a picture of this side, mamma!"

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's That on Your Waffle?


This is a trick I learned almost two years ago while visiting my in-laws. We had a nice long visit planned so I borrowed a library card and checked out several cookbooks. The trip is too far to drive and I do not want to pack heavy books. With my cookbook addiction I thought the library would be the best bet. I found a great cabbage roll recipe, a marinated chicken recipe, and this one for a faux egg topped waffle. I wish I remembered the book I found it in so I could give credit.

  • 1 frozen (preferably whole grain) waffle
  • 2 or 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 half apricot or peach, packed in light syrup or juice.
This serves one. Toast the waffle and top with yogurt and apricot or peach. After you get to see how adorable the meal is cut into bit-sized pieces. The fruit and yogurt serve as flavoring/topping for the waffle. If your little one is used to syrup a small amount can be added just before consuming.

The fruit is the best part!

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