Month: August 2015

Ham & Cheese Kindergarten School Lunch

Today was my first kindergarten homeschool day! We had a great time working with the letter “N”. We also took a trip to the library, where my Bigs checked out books on snakes and komodo dragons (ewwwww!). I am so grateful for these precious homeschool days I get with my children!

Here is what I packed for Bigs’ Tuesday school lunch:

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I made a ham, cheese (I use Applegate Naturals for both), and mayo sandwich on white wheat. I also packed Horizon Organic cheddar sandwich crackers, a teeny plum, cotton candy grapes, dried dates, and a semi-homemade pumpkin brownie [brownie mix, pumpkin spice, one can of pumpkin].

Kristin

Kindergarten & 3’s Pizza School Lunch

Last Friday was my first Co-op Helper Parent day in my 3 year old’s class. We had such a great time and it was a real hoot to see him in his classroom environment. We got to sick on kid-sized chairs and each lunch together, too.

Here was my lunch:

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I packed pizza (I LOVE cold pizza), kiwi, blueberries, carrots, and broccoli.

And for my boys:

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Pizza, snap pea crisps, apples (with blueberries for my Bigs), a chocolate chip cookie, and a few chocolate covered sunflower seeds. I meant to add an organic yogurt squeeze for Bigs too, but forgot about it in the freezer…and boy, did I hear about it later!

Kristin

Dinner Tonight: Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and Peaches

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I am finally getting back into my “good” dinner cooking groove. If only I can get the rest of my life groove back, I’ll be set! But alas, that is not the case at this time. Maybe once we are settled into our new school routine. But dinner was a success, and some days, that’s all I can ask for. That and leaving the house with all my children and necessities.

I digress.

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Back to dinner. I had purchased a few BOGO packs of big chicken breasts at Publix and had to come up with something creative to with them. And since it IS still peach season (#vivasummer), I decided to grill both.

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It was one of my better decisions that day.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and Peaches

3 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

S&P

2 T honey

1 1/2 T dijon Mustard

splash red wine vinegar

olive oil

2 large peaches

Make the honey mustard mixture by combining the honey, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk until combined.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Salt and pepper the chicken. Swirl some olive oil around a grill plan that is preheating over medium high heat. Grill the chicken for about 4 -5 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes. During this time, brush the honey mustard mixture on the chicken a few times.

Add another swirl of olive oil to the grill pan. Slice the peaches and grill in the pan.

I served this with brown rice and steamed broccoli. It was fabulous.

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I’ll be dreaming of this when I make a crap dinner…probably tomorrow. #itiswhatitis #cantwinthemall

Enjoy!

Kristin

Turtle Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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Did you know that a group of turtles is called a “bale”? And that turtles have their own water filtration system? It’s true. I read it on the Internet. For tomorrow’s lunches, I went with a turtle and green theme. Only my Bigs will be in school tomorrow, but I didn’t even think about that until after I’d already made Smalls’ lunch, as well.

I made turtle shaped sunbutter and strawberry jelly sandwiches. I used my Food Writers to add details. The boys ate the sandwich scraps as I made these lunches. I also packed cotton candy grapes, blueberries for Bigs, a cute little plum, snap pea crisps, and applesauce with turtle sprinkles.

Kristin

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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I have a very tumultuous relationship with banana bread. I either LOVE it or it just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know what it is. I love a dense cake, but dense banana bread is sort of meh.

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But, I just came across a new recipe…

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And it changed me…

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…FOREVER.

This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread recipe yields the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, chewy and crusty.

You simply MUST try it, especially if you are broken up with banana bread, as I was. Now we’re back on. Here’s to a long and successful future!

Cinnamon Swirled Banana Bread

** I didn’t use the banana on the top, and I also made two smaller loaves**

Kristin

Mickey Mouse Kindergarten and 3’s School Lunches

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Do you remember your English teachers using the phrase, “KISS”? It stands for “Keep it Simple, Students.” And that’s just what I am doing, keeping it simple, easing myself back into this lunch game.

I packed almost the same lunch for my Bigs and Smalls, who has his first day of the 3’s class tomorrow. For Bigs, I made a sunbutter and strawberry jelly sandwich and I used peanut butter for my Smalls. I used a Mickey Mouse cutter to make the shape and added some red sprinkles to the hole (they stick to the jelly quite well). I also packed champagne grapes (so sweet for little hands!), some Horizon Organic cheddar sandwich crackers, and a homemade chocolate chip cookie. I also packed a piece of colby jack cheese for my Bigs. He eats more. My Smalls is going to have raisins and a squeezy fruit for snack.

Oh Toodles!

Kristin

Dinner Tonight: Smoky Pork Chops with Apple Glaze

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I don’t typically love to make pork chops at home. They always end up dry. As a bone. And gray. But not this time! They came out perfectly juicy. I seasoned them with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, and made an apple glaze for the top. They were delicious.

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I served them with homemade mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

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Everyone loved this meal (a miracle unto itself)!

Smoky Pork Chops with Apple Glaze

Serves: two adults, two kids

3 bone-in pork chops

S&P

Smoked Paprika

Olive oil

Apple juice (I used two lower-sugar apple juice cartons)

Preheat the oven to 300F. Pour the cartons of apple juice into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. This will reduce and become the glaze.

Add some olive oil to a grill pan, that’s been preheated over medium high head. Sprinkle S&P and smoked paprika onto the pork chops (I rubbed the spices into the meat) and place them on the grill pan. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet (or place grill pan) and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, to finish cooking.

Top with the apple glaze and serve.

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Enjoy!

Kristin

First Day of Kindergarten School Lunch

Tomorrow, my “baby” Bigs starts Kindergarten. He’s smart as a whip, he’s super observant (an ol’ eagle eye, just like his Mama), he’s clever, he’s hilarious. He’s great at so many things (building stuff, writing sweet letters and cards, swimming, karate, doing dishes, keeping me company, feeling empathy, etc.). I could go on for days. He is SO so special. He’s going to do GREAT in Kindergarten. He has a really wonderful teacher and I am so excited to see where this year takes him.

For his first lunch, I went easy [on myself]. It’s been since May, that I’ve done a “special” lunch. And, boy, do I feel it. I am so dang rusty.

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I chose to do a heart because because I wanted to let my Bigs know that I love him and am thinking of him, even when we are not together. I made a sunbutter and strawberry jelly sandwich, and used my Food Writers to add some details. This year, there is a sweet friend in his class with a terribly dangerous peanut allergy, and our entire Kindergarten is tree nut and peanut free. Thankfully, my boys like sunbutter and it is a great alternative to peanut butter. I also packed Horizon Organic cheddar sandwich crackers, cotton candy grapes, colby jack cheese, blueberries, and a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Godspeed my little one! I am so proud of who you are, and I love you SO SO much.

Love,

Mommy

(Kristin)

Bourbon Candy Bar Rice Krispie Treats

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You guys. I made the yummiest dessert! My husband is a DJ and was having a DJ buddy come over on Friday night to throw down some tracks (lol), and I wanted to make a dessert for them. That was boozy. And cool. Because I need to stay relevant. Anywayzzz. I decided to do something with bourbon, because I am a bourbon/whiskey girl, through and through. I’m not even sure I should admit that. But, there you go. I also had to make something that was gluten free. So, I came up with bourbon rice krispie treats! It turns out, other boozy folk have had the same idea, according to the Internet (everything on the Internet is forrealz). But, mine is better. Because I added more butter. SALTED butter. And candy bars. And several different kinds of sprinkles. It was ridonk. Totally unnecessary. And cool. [all things that could be said about me, tbh]

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These babies were chewy, crunchy, sprinkle-y, chocolatey, caramel-y (from the Rolos!!), and bourbon-y.

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I left the candy bars off of a few for my Husby

I used a traditional rice krispie treat recipe, but added a bit of flair.

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The traditional recipe calls for a quarter cup of butter. I sort of added a half cup. #oopsie I also used salted butter, instead of unsalted butter. I love the flavor it added. It balanced out the marshmallows and candy bars. And, because I used twice as much butter, it was extra rich and gooey.

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Bourbon Candy Bar Rice Krispie Treats

1/2 C butter

4 C marshmallows (a little more won’t hurt!!)

5 – 6 C crisped rice cereal

2 good glugs of bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark, Fireball would be delicious!)

Splash of vanilla

Assorted candy bars, chopped

Assorted sprinkles

Melt the butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended. Keep it on the burner for about two minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and bourbon. Add the cereal and stir until well-coated. Pour into a buttered 9×13 pan. Sprinkle chopped candy bars and sprinkles, and press down with buttered hands. Let it cool completely (I placed mine in the fridge) before cutting into squares. 

Eat. Responsibly.

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But cooly.

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** Rad melamine “paper” plates found at Target **

Enjoy,

Kristin

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

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Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( 🙁 ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.

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Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. 😀

I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.

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These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.

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You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I can barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C oats

1/2 C coconut

1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)

1/4 t salt

1/2 C peanut butter

3/4 C honey

1 T  oil (I used coconut)

3 T brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 t oil (I used coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.  Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.

To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.

Cut and serve.

These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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