Category Archives: Snacks

Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas

My four year old started preschool last year and we all loved it so much we decided she’d go again this year. They go twice a week for a few hours. She’s thriving there. She loves her teachers and her friends. The best part, according to her, is when she gets to be in charge of bringing the snacks. They rotate through all the kids so that everyone gets a chance. My little monkey’s day falls on the Wednesday before Halloween. This month they are also doing colors, one for each day of the week, and of course, this week was orange! In my effort to provide healthy snacks whenever possible, I decided we’d make quesadilla jack-o-lanterns! Orange cheese, carrot sticks, and orange juice should give the kids plenty of orange to think about as they nourish their little bodies. Lemme walk you through how to make these cuties.

Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas
~Cut pumpkin shapes out of flour tortillas.~

Hang on to the scrap pieces. You can lightly spray them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 400 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, watching closely. Remove them if they start to burn. Then you have another snack for the next day! Dip them in this yummy hummus for a nutritious treat.

Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas
~Cut out pumpkin faces. Monkey helped me by telling me what to carve.~
Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas
~Add cheese and microwave for 30 seconds or…~
Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas
~Toast until the cheese is melted. Let them sit until cooled.~
Snacktime! Halloween Quesadillas
~We added crunchy carrots to each bag. Orange you glad?~

Happy Halloween everyone! And happy snacking!

~Veronica

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

SAM_2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!!

Author: Cassie Stevens

The best part of making cookies is the cookie dough, and let me tell you it was hard to keep myself from eating all of it. They baked up to be fantastic cookies too. My husband’s favorite cookie is the peanut butter cookie, and mine (if I had to choose) would be the chocolate chip cookie. So this cookie is the best of both worlds for us. Soft, and lightly chewy with a gush of ooey gooey chocolate with every bite.   HEAVEN!!!

SAM_2016Cookie dough coated in sugar. What a tease!!

This recipe was amazing. I will be saving this one for the heirloom cookbook for my family for sure. I made two and a half dozen cookies from this recipe, which only filled my cookie jar half full.  Of course, I had to try them as soon as they were done baking to make sure they were still amazing, and they were. So about two dozen made it into the cookie jar.

SAM_2023Cookies just chillin’ out…

So here is what you need:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)

1 large egg ( at room temp)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp whole milk

1/2 tsp Baking soda

3/4 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

SAM_2054Tools of the trade…the cookie scoop…

Here is what to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Next add the sugars and mix well. Beat in the large egg then add the vanilla extract and milk then set aside. Sift flour and baking powders together and add to wet mix. Mix well then gently mix in chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and roll in sugar and place 12 to a baking sheet. Gently press down cookie balls with a fork diagonally and place in oven. Bake at 350 for ten to twelve minutes. cookies might appear to be undone but trust me they are done. Let cool on a wire rack. ENJOY!!

SAM_2031This is what a great cookie looks like! YUM!!

Kid-Pleasin’ Zucchini Apple Muffins

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It’s that year again! Tis’ the harvest season. And, though I’m sure this happens everywhere, there is a joke in the Mormon community, “You might be a Mormon if you have to lock your car in the church parking lot to keep it from being filled with zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplants.” It’s a total knee-slapper, right? Yuk yuk.

Well, the point is, whether you are overrun with zucchini or are looking at the one on your counter wondering if you can choke down any more zucchini bread, having another recipe up your sleeve can come in handy! This recipe also makes a delicious addition to your toddler food repertoire.

Here’s why, two reasons:

  • Fiber – Keep the skin on (only if you know your zucchini are organic!) and you’ve got lots of hidden fiber.
  • Vitamin A – Zucchinis are high in this vitamin that is important for eye health and immune function.

I was happy to see my kids (4-years old and 20-months old) chowing down on these healthy snacks. We even had some for breakfast one day.

And when I shredded the zucchini for this recipe, I just shredded all the zucchini I had on hand in my food processor, used what I needed, then froze the rest in 2 cup allotments for next time. I tracked down the original recipe here.

And now, without further adieu. The recipe for these delicious muffins.

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Zucchini Apple Muffins

Makes 18 large muffins

  • 2 cups flour or flour substitute (for gluten-free)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (Try sucanat as a cleaner substitute. it has a mild brown sugar flavor.)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 medium apple, skinned, cored, and grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup oil (y’all know I use coconut)

Method:

Mix the flour, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shredded zucchini and apple In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add this mixture to the rest and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into lightly greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Fill them almost to the top. Bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Pull them out when a toothpick comes out clean. (Tip: No toothpicks? Use a piece of dry pasta!)

These freeze amazingly!

You won’t be disappointed in these moist, flavorful, healthy muffins. Thanks to Try It You Might Like It for the recipe I ended up seeing in Parenting.com!

~Veronica

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My Journey to Health – Day 2

This day was a really great day! I felt good, we exercised in the morning, and my headache was gone. I’m really starting to feel the effects of this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.

My breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, half a tomato, and a little bit of fresh basil from my garden. It’s really fulfilling to go out into your yard, pull something out of the ground, put it over your food, and eat it. How satisfying! Not to mention tasty.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

My first snack was one cup of red grapes. How much easier can that get?!

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Then, lunch. Oh, beautiful lunch! The salad was so delicious. I had cooked the ground turkey the day before, and it was ready and waiting to be put into this beautiful salad. Super healthy, packed full of flavor, and really delicious.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
My second snack was a hard boiled egg cut open with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gave it a needed kick that made me feel like I was eating something more than an egg.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Dinner was chicken in foil with red skinned potatoes, peppers, onions, and some herbs. I think this is my favorite meal so far. It was easy, well-rounded, and very good.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

And there you have it, Day 2… done. In the morning I exercised to T25 with my husband. I am so proud of his effort to do this with me. It’s way easier with somebody going along with you and helping you stick to it. And he has been a champ with lots of unhealthy temptations out there.

Looking forward to the days ahead…

~Veronica

My Journey To Health – Day 1

A friend of mine who is a Beachbody coach (visit her page here!), invited me to join a challenge that she was doing. It started yesterday. It’s a five day challenge to eat clean every day. 1200 to 1300 cal per day, three meals, two snacks. No processed foods, no pop, and very little sugar, exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Yesterday I started my journey towards health. My reasons for wanting to get healthy are my children. I want to be around for them for a long time. I have also found out recently that I have a condition called joint hypermobility syndrome or JHS. With that comes pain in my joints because they easily rotate past normal range of movement, and that causes inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. In the past, exercising has been tough for me because I get injured easily and then take weeks to heal. I also suffer from anxiety and insomnia that I believe is partly due to JHS, and fibromyalgia goes along with it. I often feel very fatigued, and that’s frustrating. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that I become healthy, not just for me but for my family. I’m going to take you guys along with me on this journey as I learn how to eat healthily and exercise every day.

Yesterday was my first day, and I suffered a terrible headache due to my body having withdrawals from caffeine and possibly sugar. For my exercise I rode my bike for about 20 minutes (not very long due to headache). And this is what I had to eat…

This was the first omelette I’ve ever made! It’s a broccoli and feta cheese omelette. It was really tasty, but next time I would put some tomatoes in it ’cause it was also a little dry. I paired it with a side of half a piece of Ezekiel bread.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then for my morning snack I had some yogurt with a little bit of honey. The recipe called for grapefruit peel, but I’m not a fan of peel unless they are organic, and I didn’t have any organic citrus peels. So I left those out and squeezed a little bit of lemon into it, and it was delicious!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Lunch was a spinach and chicken salad. I boiled the chicken in water with curry powder for little extra boost of flavor. I had cooked the chicken ahead of time because I knew it would be hard for me, as a mom of two, to have the time to cook chicken for lunch. So it was already in the refrigerator when it was time for lunch. Super easy!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then, the hardest part was waiting for this PM snack. These turkey rollup’s are delicious! I had two. You just take two slices of turkey lunch meat, and spread a soft cheese on it, I used Laughing Cow cream cheese. The recipe also called for avocado slices, but mine aren’t ripe! A nice goat cheese would be really great on this.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

My headache was killing me by dinner time. I had been drinking lots of water hoping that I could steer it off. But that didn’t really work because it was from a lack of caffeine and a lack of sleep. But I did manage to make dinner; these fish tacos were really, really good. I used my Mahi-Mahi and replaced the avocado with sour cream. Darn unripe avocados! These have a tasty, spicy cabbage slaw to bulk them up. They were really filling though, and super tasty!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

So with all my cooking and eating done, I went to sleep early to try to get rid of my headache. Thankfully today it’s gone. I’ve already done my workout today, and made breakfast, two snacks, and lunch to send with my hubby to work! I got my T25 in the mail yesterday, and did my first workout today, and it was AWESOME. I’ll tell y’all about today’s success in my post tomorrow! Be healthy!

~Veronica

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Do your kids come running when you tell them that quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is on the menu? Yeah, mine either. But here’s why they should be eating it;

1.) Quinoa is super high in fiber. Fiber is filling, prevents overeating, and helps prevent constipation and diarrhea. It can also be protective against some cancers.

2.) Quinoa is a complete protein. Why is that important? Well, My kids don’t eat a lot of meat, so I worry about making sure they’re getting enough protein. 

3.) Quinoa is high in Lysine, Magnesium, Iron, and Manganese. Think, healthy teeth and bones, energy, and antioxidants!

4.) Quinoa is high in Riboflavin, better known as vitamin B2. Riboflavin is good for a healthy metabolism. It’s good for hair, skin, eyes, and liver. And it also helps the body change folate and vitamin B6 into more useful forms.

5.) Quinoa is heart-healthy and protects against diabetes.

So, any reason to add quinoa to my kids’ tummies (and my own!) is a good one.

My friend recently introduced me to the Super Healthy Kids blog. They’ve got SO many recipes and ideas on there. You should really go check them out and pin all the things!

I spent a few hours -ahem- little while lurking about their blog one day and found this; a recipe for Quinoa Coconut Granola Bars. The thing that caught me… you don’t cook the quinoa! What? But won’t it break your tooth? Surprisingly, no. You toast it so it’s all nutty and scrummy umptious as my daughter would say. So bear with me here, I promise, your kids will scarf it down.

Wash Your Quinoa :: Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

First, rinse your quinoa. The original recipe skipped this step and went straight to the toasting. However, quinoa is coated with a  plant chemical called saponin. Saponins help protect the plant from being eaten; they don’t taste very good. So rinse your quinoa well. I always put mine in a bowl, add warm water to cover, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then pour it out into my mesh strainer that I’ve lined with cheesecloth, otherwise it falls through the mesh. I then run warm water through it for a minute or so just to be sure I’ve gotten all the bitter taste off. Be aware though, once quinoa is wet, it sticks to everything! Just pull out the cheesecloth and wring it out as much as possible before scraping the seeds into your bowl. Did you know quinoa is a seed? Sure is. Many people assume it’s a grain. Nope, seed. There’s a nice little trivia fact for you.  Oh, also, quinoa comes in lots of colors. Mine is red and a little white added in because I ran out of red. I like them both. Anywho… on to toasting.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
Add whatever other nuts or seeds you have on hand. I added sesame seeds for all of these reasons, chia seeds (we’ve talked about those benefits before), and pumpkin seeds because of all of this. Walnuts and almonds went into the mix too, along with the oats and shredded coconut. So many omega-3’s in these bars!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Spread it all out on a pan to toast for a little while. I don’t watch the clock when toasting nuts. I just keep my nose alert. And the original recipe didn’t say to, but I put all my dry ingredients on the pan to toast. Easier that way.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' GalsI chopped up the walnuts a bit because I know my kids, and they would have a hard time with whole nuts. Just roll with it and do whatever your family will like. The original recipe called for dried fruit too, but I know that would throw my kids off. They’d rather eat their dried fruit by itself. Snobs. 😉

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Simmer the wet ingredients and then add them to the dry. Mix like crazy and then spread it in a greased (for me that’s misted, thanks Misto!) 9 X 13. I used coconut oil instead of canola. No canola in our house. Ick. Most canola oil is GMO. That’s pretty much the only reason why I don’t use it. Do your research and know what you are eating, is my only advice.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Here’s a tip; wet your hands. If you don’t, this sticks to you like fly paper. Go ahead and get  your hands wet and spreading this stuff in the pan and getting it flat is a breeze. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then LET THEM SIT! I can’t stress this enough. You have to let them sit for the full 2 hours. Forget them!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

If you wait, you have these beautiful bars that slice relatively easily. They remind me a lot of a Clif Bar. I topped mine with drizzled chocolate (almond bark, no need for the oil that the original recipe calls for). I’m the queen of that stuff lately! Once that dries and hardens, they are super scrummy! That’s 4 year-old talk for flippin’ awesome!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
I hope you all enjoy these bars! We’re calling them Bird Seed Bars because, well, they look like bird seed. They would be great for taking on a car trip, bike trip, to church, camping; anywhere where you will be out of the house when the “Mahm! I’m hangry!” starts to happen. Little Miss 4 has already gobbled down 2 of these today. So I can totally start with, “Neener, neener! My kid ate quinoa!” Heh. No really. She ATE quinoa. Voluntarily. Plus, they cost way less than a Clif Bar or a Larabar; those are all the rage these days.

I had my friend over today, the one who introduced me to Super Healthy Kids, so I forced her to be my guinea pig and try one of these bars. She liked it! Well, she ate it all and didn’t die, so I assume she liked it!  🙂

Here’s the lowdown on the nutrition, per bar (when cut into 25 smallish bars):
Calories: 158, Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 124mg, Carbohydrate: 20g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 4g

For the original recipe, in case you missed it, just click HERE.

Edit (6/7/13) It seems people are missing the hyperlinks to find the recipe, so I will post my recipe to show you what I did. But you really should visit the original recipe on Super Healthy Kids that I linked to twice above.

My Ingredients:

Quinoa 1 Cup
Oats 1 Cup
Coconut (Shredded) 1/2 Cup
Walnuts (or nuts of choice to equal 1 Cup) 1 Cup
Salt 1/4 tsp
Oil (Coconut) 1 Tblsp
Peanut Butter 1/2 Cup
Honey 3/4 Cup
Brown Sugar 3 Tblsp
Chocolate Garnish

My Method:
Rinse quinoa well. Add all the dry ingredients (minus dried fruit if you intend to use it) to a sheet pan to toast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, while you are cooking the wet ingredients. Add oil, peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients (add dried fruit here) in a large bowl; stir to incorporate well. Spread with wet hands into a greased 9 X 13 dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let it cool 
completely, about 2 hours. Cut and remove squares. Add chocolate, if using. I melt almond bark in the microwave for about a minute or in a double boiler until melted. Let the chocolate harden before storing. Store wrapped in wax paper in a zipper bag or seal-able container. These will keep longer when kept in the refrigerator and can be made ahead in larger batches and frozen. 

Now it’s up to you guys. Will you try them? Do you like quinoa?

~Veronica

Oatmeal Cranberry Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

cookies2Author: Cassie Stevens

Oh wow! What a mouthful! I know it’s a lot for one cookie, but these power packed energy boosting cookies will win you over when you hear what goes into them and just how good they are for you!  These little cookies go great with coffee in the morning for a quick breakfast, or just an anytime snack with milk.

cookiesCranberries, Coconut, Honey, Oatmeal, and Chocolate chips.  All super foods for energy and health (in a cookie), with no added sugars. My one year old loves them. I think she really likes the chocolate chunks in them more than anything, but they are a big hit with my family. So, lets take a minute to review how healthy these great ingredients can be for you health and happiness.

Oatmeal can lower blood cholesterol, because of its soluble fiber content.  An oatmeal bath, made by adding a cup of finely ground oatmeal to one’s bathwater, is also commonly used to ease the discomfort associated with such things as chickenpox, poison ivy, eczema, sunburn and dry skin.

Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals that are for benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system, and as anti-cancer agents.  There are benefits from cranberry consumption against bacterial infections in the urinary system.

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Coconut peel may contain novel anticancer compounds.  Inside a coconut is a cavity filled with coconut water, which is sterile until opened. It mixes easily with blood, and was used during World War II in emergency transfusions.  Also, young coconut juice has estrogen-like characteristics. There are countless other healing properties and wonderful uses from coconuts.

Honey has been used by humans to treat a variety of ailments, from gastric disturbances to ulcers, wounds and burns, through ingestion or topical application.  Honey has also been used for centuries as a treatment for sore throats and coughs.

cookies4Chocolate can help reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems and also reduce blood pressure in adults.  Chocolate boosts cognitive abilities.  Cocoa or dark chocolate positively affects the circulatory system.

Now, with all that said here is the recipe.

4 cups Oats

1 1/2 cups flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup cream or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chunks

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 tsp salt

1/2  cup butter

1/2 cup honey

First mix all your dry ingredients then in a separate bowl mix all your wet ingredients then mix the two together. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet pan 1 tablespoon at a time. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.