Category: Snacks

That’s my jam…and honey!

Bears like honey, right? Or is that some misconception that has been in place for a hundred years because of Winnie the Poop? I just wrote “poop” instead of “pooh”. I’m not even going to change that.

Anyways, yesterday was Woodland Animals day in Bigs’ class and they read Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do you See?. Soooo, I had to give the ol’ bears another go. I have not had a successful track record with bear-shaped sandwiches. I think I lose myself on the drawing of their faces and they just come out scary.

Here is how yesterday’s turned out:

Bear Themed Preschool Lunch

I went with just eyes. I think that although a bit strange, what with no noses to smell or mouths to eat, they came out better than my past bears. I sprayed them lightly with a gold food-safe spray. I packed a little cup of raisins, some seasoned corn, and for dessert, a little slice of 100th Post Cake. He liked the cake best, obviously. He also told me that the bears weren’t bears. Soooooooo…..guess I need to work on my bears some more.

I also packed bear shaped cracker/cookie things forย  snack.

AND, I tried a neat food thing earlier this week, too! I found this at Target:

PB and J trail mix

I am such a sucker for odd foods, seasonal foods, any foods…

While theses were neat, the jammy and peanutty flavored pieces tasted so over-processed. Shame. It’s a neat idea. I’m a complete shoe-in for anything PB&J.

Hope you have a beary sweet day (rolls eyes),

Kristin

B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I made dinner with a recipe. I almost never do that. When it comes to dinner, my family is just lucky to get a cooked, warm meal. I am a baker, what can I say!

So, I happened upon a sausage recipe on the same day I was thawing sausage (without a direction to go in). It was kismet, meant to be.

20140401_173414

I had all the ingredients too (which almost never happens)…or so I thought.

Here’s the recipe I found:

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2013/09/19/quick-weeknight-dinners-hot-sausage-tomatoes-fried-polenta/

The only changes I made was the type of sausage (not spicy) and that I added a whole chopped red bell pepper. Oh, and oops, I didn’t add fresh basil (had dried) and no sun dried tomatoes (those aren’t my thing). Okay, so LOTS of changes, but it was pretty much the same. It was DELICOUS! I could drink that red-wine infused sauce all day long.

20140401_172152

I went to go make my polenta and ran into a bit of a problem (as oft I do). What I thought was polenta in my cupboard was really ground white maize (cornmeal).

Whatever.

Luckily, I had quick cooking brown rice on hand.

Doesn’t even matter. That sausage and sauce would have been good on an old shoe.

Try it.

20140401_173430

In addition to that semi-successful meal, I also made something else that worked out! A few weeks ago, we went to a park birthday playdate. At that playdate, the Birthday Boy’s Mom, also my friend, brought the most delicious black bean and corn dip I’d ever had. I tried my best to recreate it.

20140402_111342

I knew it had black beans, corn, cilantro, lime juice, and avocado. I mixed all that together and also added tomatoes.

20140402_111416

It was really good!

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can kernel corn drained and rinsed

small handful of grape tomatoes,

1 ripe avocado

1 lime, squeezed

1 bunch of cilantro (or cilantro from that tube in the refrigerated section in produce)

Yummo.

20140402_112120

I put mine over lettuce that my big brother grew in his garden.

This one is a winner of a recipe and feels so summery. I know a lot of this country is not particularly enjoying their snowy weather, but WE have been experiencing (and mostly enjoying) what feels like summer weather, where we live. We spend a lot of time outside, usually at the parks. But in between parks, we spend time in our own yard, where the boys like to pretend mow.

20140402_123350

And blow bubbles, we do a LOT of bubbles.

20140402_123011

Bigs was pretending to be a goat yesterday.

20140401_190306

Baaaa

20140401_190247

It’s going to be a great summer. I can feel it.

20140401_124426

Smalls running and playing while waiting for Bigs to get out of class

Last night, we went to Bigs’ school’s Spring Fling, where they showcased the kids’ renditions of classical art. I was very impressed with my little artist’s talent!

Artsy Fartsy Bigs

Mondrian, Monet, Eric Carle…and Bigs!

And today was Rainforest Animal day in Bigs’ class. I went with a gorilla theme.

Gorilla Themed Preschool Lunch

I made a gorilla shaped PB&J made the crusts (aka branches) green. I also made a little fruit salad of grapes, strawberries, and pineapple. And for dessert, he got some animal crackers and some chocolate covered bananas (that’s what gorillas eat for dessert, you know). For snack, I gave him a spinach and banana muffin with a string cheese.

And naturally, he had to wear I had to put him in his gorilla shirt.

Gorilla Time

Me Tarzan.

Oh! I almost forgot, have you seen these?

20140331_152531

Apple fries? We went on a field trip this week with Bigs’ class and got these as a treat – gluten free to boot! They were awesome. Cinnamon-sugar coated apple “fries”. SO GOOD.

Hope you have a day that is just top banana!

Kristin

Clear your plate!

My boys are still sleeping (!!!) and I have the chance to catch up, to clear my blogger plate, so to speak!

We had a small turkey dinner last night. I love love love turkey dinners that resemble Thanksgiving dinners. My love for Thanksgiving runs deep.

20140327_172922

I roasted two large turkey breasts and sliced them against the grain (oops). I served them with a bunch of different colored sweet potatoes, topped with marshmallows and your proverbial mixed vegetables.

20140327_172929

I loved it. Smalls ate approximately none of it and Bigs cleaned his plate only after I pretended my hand was an airplane arriving at the hangar (mind you, he’s almost 4).

Since Smalls ate so little nothing, I made a “fun” snack for them for after dinner. It wasn’t so fun for me.

20140327_190728

I saw this on Pinterest. You slice bananas and sandwich peanut butter in between them and freeze them. I think you can dip them in chocolate. Now that would be fun. These were ugly. But the boys liked them. Smalls got some protein and I was happy.

Hope you have a GREAT Friday (just the fact that it’s Friday should add some greatness),

Kristin

Spring has Sprung!

It’s still Spring Break here and we’ve been staying quite busy! The weather has been gorgeous (save for one day where it seemed like we were in a hurricane) – clear skies, white fluffy clouds some days, picture-perfect blue backdrops everyday, chilly mornings that burn off to warm, sunny, lovely spring days.

Spring Break actually started last week, after Bigs got out of school. We had breakfast for dinner that night. I made a baked oatmeal casserole.

20140313_173504

I based my recipe loosely on this one:

http://www.aaronandyolanda.com/2013/07/baked-oatmeal-casserole.html

Instead of two cups of milk, I did one cup of coconut milk and a cup of pumpkin puree. I only added a few chocolate chips. I also didn’t add nuts or fruit of any kind. So it’s basically nothing like that recipe. And it of course didn’t turn out like that recipe (what did I expect!).

20140313_173659

It was alright. The oats didn’t get soaked with the pumpkin custard like I thought they would, so there was a separation of sorts. Next time, maybe I’ll have all the right ingredients and I can make it the right way. ๐Ÿ™‚

20140313_174046

I served it with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and sausages. It did the trick (if trick = filling our tummies).

The next day was GORGEOUS! We went to a park play date.

20140314_105605

Smalls was able to keep up with the big kids this time.

20140314_113938

And Big Brother took the time to play with him.

20140314_112938

I love to see them playing nicely together. ๐Ÿ™‚

I gave Smalls a wee little apple and he carried that thing around while playing. He dropped it and still clutched it tightly. This is what I found him holding later on.

20140314_111111

The next day was Pancake Saturday – not to ever be missed in our house! It should be renamed Pancake and Breakfast Meat Saturdays.

20140315_081250

By this time, I’d run out of eggs (running out of ingredients is a key theme in my life, apparently). I substituted applesauce for the missing eggs. The result was an incredibly creamy, custard-like inside. I also added loads of vanilla and vanilla bean paste, and some caramel extract that I found at Wally-World (Walmart). I thought they were just delicious.

20140315_081657

They came out fluffy and golden. So good. Seriously. I might be using the applesauce trick again. I also might HAVE to, as I never seem to have everything I need.

20140315_081308

Oh, pancakes.

After breaky, we went to a local Farmer’s Market/Petting Farm. It’s newly opened and we’ve been wanting to try it out.

20140315_095856

Bigs insisted (and I am not using that term lightly) on wearing his overalls and boots.

20140315_095919

Kind of adorable though.

collage_20140320135658080

We saw all kinds of farm animals. Bigs went up to the chicken coop and squatted down and said to them, “Hey Chickens! Why didย you cross the road?!” My husband and I were beside ourselves with laughter!

20140315_101630

From there, we went to the food trucks and market side. We ate an okay lunch of hot dogs.

collage_20140320135741672_20140320135758120

And followed that up with a huge cup of the most refreshing, gorgeous, delicious fruit ever. I think it tasted even more delicious after that greasy, fried lunch.

We also ran into two different families we know! It was a great day.

When we got home, there was still some time before nap, so the boys did their “yard work”.

20140315_123521

They earn their keep, I tell you.

On Sunday night, some of our best friends, who have moved far away, came back because of work and we got to visit. We went on a date night with several of our couple friends. It was just wonderful seeing them. It is terribly sad when one of your best friends moves away, but it makes you treasure the time you have with them, when you see them again.

IMG_20140320_015846

My husband ordered the best red wine I’ve ever had – Jam Jar! SO GOOD! I will have to get that one next time. I’m not much of a red wine drinker, unless it’s sweet, which Jam Jar was.

IMG_20140320_015944

We had a minted edamame hummus and roasted red pepper hummus with lavosh crackers, as an appetizer. We also tasted our friends’ pesto chicken flat bread.

IMG_20140320_020155

After we toasted to our wonderful friendships…

IMG_20140320_020103

…we dug into our meals. My husband ordered the scallops (did not get a good picture) and they were divine. I ordered the winter vegetarian sampling.

IMG_20140320_020332

This plate changes seasonally. I love it. This time, there was a stuffed mushroom, some roasted beets, broccolini, asparagus, and peppers, along with a veggie stuffed taco, and some tofu with mango chutney.

This restaurant is famous for its small desserts. I can’t ever choose one.

Oink.

IMG_20140320_020438

I chose the chocolate peanut butter mousse (um, SO good) and the cannoli (cannoli cream, chocolate chips, raspberry sauce, cannoli shell).

I can’t even.

I am still dreaming about that cannoli cream. Is that weird? To dream about cannoli cream?

The next day was St. Patrick’s Day! I always go big on these smaller holidays. I love a theme! I think you know that by now.

Before everyone (else) woke up, I put together the Irish Stew in the crock pot.

20140317_070928

I sort of changed around the recipe. I used this recipe as a base:

http://everydaymomsmeals.blogspot.com/2013/02/its-not-soup-its-stew.html

I did not add onion soup mix (due to the non gluten and dairy-free and high sodium nature), so I added real onions. I only used one can of tomato soup and added a can of no-salt stewed tomatoes. I also added more of the same vegetables. I let that sit on low all day while we were busy doing other things.

For breakfast, I made Spinach Pancakes (yep – the third time in five days that I served my family pancakes – that’s how I roll). This was a great recipe.

20140317_075740

They were chock full of fresh spinach (two cups!). Bigs said that they tasted like green beans, but he kept eating them, so that’s a good sign.

20140317_080817

When drizzled with syrup and some butter, the very obvious spinach flavor was sort of pushed to the back (a plus for most kids).

20140317_080832

I added more vanilla than called for. I served them with corned beef hash.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.superhealthykids.com/blog-posts/no-dye-green-pancakes.php

My best friend since kindergarten was up visiting from where she lives and brought her little girl (who is only 2 months older than Smalls). I LOVE seeing my best friend. I miss her dearly. I feel so blessed to see two of my loveliest friends, who no longer live near me, all in the same week!

For an after lunch St. Patty’s Day treat, I made Leprechaun Pudding for the kids!

20140317_115339

I just mixed half a packet of sugar-free, fat-free white chocolate pudding mix into some vanilla yogurt and added some green coloring. I layered that with some Lucky Charms cereal. I think they liked it.

Earlier in the morning, I’d also made a birthday treat for my bestie. I asked her what she wanted and it was so simple and I love her for that. All she wanted was a boxed mix peanut butter brownie with a ganache on top. How easy!

20140317_123859

I sent that home with her. She let me try it and take pictures of it before she left though. THAT’S a best friend!

collage_20140320142139790

It was good. I used coconut milk for the ganache.

While my boys were napping, I prepared our Irish dessert – Banoffee Pie! I totally used shortcuts. I made a quick crust from graham cracker crumbs and butter. I “baked” it in the toaster oven. I sliced a banana on top of that, melted and poured some dulce de leche that I bought from Costco, and sliced another banana on top. I then whipped a half pint of whipping cream and spread that on top.

20140317_131219

I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It was SO good.

20140317_162926

I loved that the dulce de leche was the only sweet part of it. I added no sugar to the graham crust or whipped cream. It was a nice contrast.

20140317_162939

It was a dream of a pie – crunchy, buttery and rich, sweet creamy bananas, indulgent, deep caramel, fluffy, milky topping. Seriously, the stuff (my) dreams are made of.

20140317_163012

Just…yum. It was even better the next day.

And the Irish Stew came out SO SO good!

20140317_162358

The stew beef was so tender, as were the potatoes.

20140317_162408

The broth was rich and tomato-y.

20140317_162501

We ate it for two days. It was great.

I’d call that a successful food holiday!

I got a chance to see my other friend (who we’d seen on Sunday) again before she went back up North. We met, with some other friends, at a neat farm-to-table restaurant.

20140318_191859

We started off with fresh, crusty bread and butter (the only way to “start” anything).

20140318_192554

My friend got a Blue Moon and I had some. I love that beer – so refreshing!

My other friend and I went halfsies on the burger. It wasn’t just any old burger. It had bacon jam, pimento cheese, spicy/sweet pickles, bibb lettuce, and a fried green tomato.

IMG_20140320_020625

One of the best burgers I’ve had!

IMG_20140320_020732

It was served with wedged potato fries topped with shaved white truffles. Earthy, salty goodness.

Aca-yeah!

Yet another friend and I shared the chocolate cake! We call each other “cakesters”…we just live for cake, what can I say!

IMG_20140320_020822

It was delicious. And a wonderful night with wonderful friends.

I got to see my kindergarten bestie again the next day! I took her to my favorite donut shop.

20140319_085238

She hadn’t been there before. She is now a convert.

20140319_085640

I got my now usuals – a sprinkle for Bigs, some holes for Smalls (one of which was shoved whole into his teeny mouth), a German chocolate, a Coconut Crunch, a strawberry and cream cheese, a chocolate and peanut butter, and a chocolate and cream cheese.

20140319_085818

I meannnnnn…..

20140319_090520

Oh, my heavens.

20140319_085915

Why, thank you!

We then walked off our calories at the zoo. It was such a gorgeous day!

20140319_094407

The boys and my bestie’s daughter, B, really loved seeing all the animals.

20140319_094118

The usually low-key otters were really playful and the lemurs saved their freak-out for when we were leaving.

It was a really wonderful day.

My, what a foodie Spring Break it’s been, and it isn’t even over yet!

I hope this finds you all well,

Kristin

Valentine’s Day Leftovers

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day week. We sure had a busy one! And it spanned over a few days, too. We filled food bags for hungry kids through our church and school (which is the same thing for us). It was a great way of showing Bigs how to show love to others, even if we don’t know them.

20140208_174508

It was nice to let Bigs pick out the pantry items to put in the bag.

20140208_181324

And then to see the sea of red bags in the foyer of his school was just heartwarming.

20140208_181329

Then, Bigs’ Thursday class party was just precious. The kids sang (so very softly and with some nervousness too) “Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink”. Then we ate. And it was just a perfect day.

20140213_084303_20140216200153279

Bigs and his Valentine’s for his teacher and the Admin ๐Ÿ™‚

Bigs woke up to his last “What I love about you” heart on his door on Valentine’s Day. Each morning, starting February 1st, I put a new heart on his bedroom door while he was sleeping. It was a fun thing for him and it allowed me to put in writing for him to see, some of the things I love about him.

20140214_073119

On Valentine’s morning, I made pink almond pancakes with sprinkles.

20140214_072752

They were so good. I put conversation hearts as decoration, although they were highly coveted by The Big One.

20140214_072756

I let him only have a few, knowing how sugary sweet the rest of the day would, inevitably, be.

20140214_072802

And Cupid came, wrote a poem, and left his poop (hey, I live in a house where poopy humor runs [get it?] rampant)!

collage_20140216171235653

We went on our Friday playdate, where the kids exchanged Valentine’s (just like at school the previous day). It was a lot of fun. I packed up the cookies I’d made earlier in the week (what’s interesting to me is that the kids liked the Sweethearts candy more than the cookies! Oh well – more for us Moms!). I had made sure to make double batches of everything so we’d have enough.

20140214_072938

After we got home and napped, I took the boys to the market to get some dinner supplies. I wanted to make a nice meal for them and my Sweetheart. I made Chateaubriand Filet Mignon (such a rare treat!!) and asparagus, and had a few salads.

20140214_163432

To make the steaks, I let them get to room temperature, sprinkled them with Kosher salt, and placed in my preheated, olive oil-coated grill pan. I seared them for a few minutes on each side and transferred them to a sheet pan. I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes and brought them out to rest. For the asparagus, I rolled them around in olive oil and Kosher salt and roasted them in the 400 degree oven for 13 minutes on a sheet pan.

collage_20140216182343481_20140216182421218

I served them with a strawberry and spinach salad, and a cucumber and dill salad purchased from the market. It was all delicious!

20140214_172357

collage_20140216182748903_20140216182916162

We had chocolate covered strawberries for dessert, quite fitting.

20140214_180120

That night, I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake (the recipe was already gluten free and I made the ganache dairy free) to celebrate my father-in-law and husband’s (husband has birthday coming up) birthdays the next morning.

collage_20140216184542504_20140216184718634

The cake came together easily and so beautifully. It was dark, dense, and oh-so-chocolately. The ganache was glossy, rich, and shiny.

20140215_090653

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

While I was making that, the boys painted their little ceramic elephant craft we’d gotten them for Valentine’s Day. They had a lot of fun. It was a lovely day.

20140214_181631

Bigs

20140214_181635

Smalls

20140215_065449

Final product: Bigs, left, and Smalls, right

Bigs also did his Valentine’s Day homework that his awesome teacher sent home! It was a neat Sweethearts themed one!

collage_20140216193517642_20140216193549608

It involved counting and coloring heart shapes and sweethearts. SO CUTE!!

The next morning, we got up and “released” Bigs’ Valentine’s Day heart balloon. I sort of love doing that. It’s fun to watch it flit away, wherever the wind pulls it. The kids liked it too.

20140215_073152-1

I like to think that if I saw a heart shaped balloon flying in such a gorgeous, crisp, blue sky, it would make me smile!

Then we went to my husband’s parents’ house to celebrate his and his father’s birthdays with chocolate cake and a sunshiny day!

20140215_100326

20140215_101658

20140215_102853

We played with sidewalk chalk and played hopscotch. Does anyone play that anymore?

Then…cake!

I used this knife that my wonderful sister-from-another-mister friend gave me:

20140215_085648

It’s always been my life’s motto! Even as a young child!

20140215_085802

20140215_113141

20140215_113134

The cake was RICH! So rich, like a truffle. But very good.

collage_20140216192816962_20140216192838135

Despite being a short little old thing, it fed a lot of people – my in-laws, my own family, I gave some to my parents and also to our neighbors! The cake that kept on giving!

We ended our day with walking around a craft store. Look at this cute bike bell I found – it’s a donut! I just need a bike now!

20140215_162849

Although I didn’t get it, if I did, it would have been like buying the shoes first…THEN the outfit. That’s normally how I do it.

Church on Sunday was wonderful. We love our pastor and his messages. The boys had fun in Sunday School and had a fun snack before naps:

20140216_130530

Yogurt Banana Splits!

20140216_130517

I cut a banana in half and lengthwise and put vanilla yogurt and chopped strawberries in between. The boys got such a kick out of it. We needed to get back to simple eating after all the festive, rich foods we consumed this weekend.

And back on the diet. :/

I hope you all had a blessed “holiday” weekend! I’m ready to slow down, get back to “normal” (schedules, diets, LIFE!).

Kristin

Just call me butter, baby…

…’cause I’m on a roll!

Call Me Butter

Or a croissant…

Croissant

Doesn’t that look incredible? My Mom is a master baker. She’ll deny it, but she is. And she made these. AND the Chocolate Pear Jam (am I the only one that thinks of Pearl Jam when I see ‘pear jam’? I love 90’s grunge, what can I say!) next to it. I know. I’m wicked blessed (for many reasons other than the buttery pastry and jam).

It’s good to be back in some routine (as you might recall I’m a fan of), although now my Husband is sick. Seriously. I thought we were done with this! I just hope the cycle ends with him. Once and for all. Seriously. Go away, Sickness!

Despite that, we’ve been doing great at focusing on the Simple Things.

Game Night

We had a Game Night, where we played Disney Candyland. It is always a fun game, but was made more special with popcorn. Bigs goes ape poop for popcorn. He always has.

Game Night 2

It was pretty fun except Smalls kept sweeping his hand through all the player pieces and cards. And the popcorn. 18 month olds aren’t good at playing games.

Art Night

We had an Art Night, where we got out this huge pad and everyone drew on it. It was great. We love doing that.

Art

I cannot even handle how much I love Bigs’ happy face drawings (bottom right, middle of page). He’s just the coolest. Literally The Coolest.

Know what else is cool? Pretzels. Homemade pretzels. I made some. Sure they ended up looking like chicken wings. But chicken wings are cool too, right?

Pretzel Dough

The dough was really easy to make and came together well.

It was sticky though. And that didn’t make for very clean pretzel forming. But that’s okay. It’s not like they ever had the destiny to LOOK good. They were supposed to be like pretzel nuggets but since the dough was too sticky for me (and I had two crazy boys running amok), I just sort of cut it and some had tails and looked like sea monkeys and some were cute and others were wonky. And I didn’t score any but one (the one that made me make the decision not to score the rest). They went into their baking soda hot tub and floated to the top.

No Eggwash Then Eggwash

I piled those suckers up and added an egg wash. Okay, not an egg wash, but just a beaten egg (before EGG above, after egg below). Oops. They stunk a bit when baking.

No Butter Then Butter

They baked up beautifully though, and the eggy smell went away. I brushed melted butter on them after they were done baking (before butter above, after butter below).

They were just like “real” soft pretzels! Crunchy(ish) outside, delicious and chewy inside.

Upclose Buttery Pretzels

They look like those Snyder’s Honey Mustard pretzels here. They aren’t.

Buttery Pretzels

Some I tossed with Kosher salt.

Side View Buttery Pretzels

Don’t they look like the best ever chicken wings? Well, they’re not.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

The other half of them I added cinnamon sugar to.

Upclose Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

That was more of a hit. But I like pretzels in any flavor.

Super Upclose Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Look at all those glistening, delicious pretzel nuggets.

I also made some delicious roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. I had both white and orange sweet potatoes (The black ones appear to be purple sweet potatoes, but they’re not. They burned. But I did that ON PURPOSE because my husband loves burned stuff. Works for me.).

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I had about a million sweet potatoes that I needed to use (they were sprouting). I made mashed sweet potatoes the night before.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I served those with sausages and fruit.

And lastly, to round out this very wonky post, today was Fireman day at Bigs’ school.

Fireman Themed Preschool Lunch

Here is his cool lunch. It’s a PB&J (duh), with “F I R Eย ย  D E P T” stamped on it and red, orange, and yellow outlining to represent fire. I made a little construction paper fire for him with directions on it, saying, “Put this fire out with your pretzel “hoses””. I also gave him a few more red tortilla chips. And lastly, he had cherry yogurt raisins, orange yogurt raisins, and some dried pineapples and bananas (all keeping with my red, orange, and yellow theme).

And naturally I had to send him in matching clothes. It’s how I [stop, drop, and] roll.

Cutie Fireman

I can’t help myself. It’s some sort of a sickness.

I hope you all have had a great Thursday. It’s one step closer to Friday – woohoo!

Remember…stop, drop, and roll!

Kristin

The Whole Tooth

I’ve had a post I’ve been meaning to get to, but…life. You know. My little one got sick again. It’s so hard. Waaaah!

Anyways, Bigs learned about Doctors (how appropriate) and Dentists this week in school. Obviously I had to come up with some themed lunches.

Here is the Doctor Themed:

Doctor Themed Preschool Lunch

That one was a little tough for me. I made a heart shaped [box…tee hee, die hard Nirvana fan!] PB&J and sprayed it red with food-safe spray and wrote “Doc” on it with my Food Writers. You know…like a heart. I think kids Bigs age think our hearts are actually heart shaped…didn’t you? Only me? ๐Ÿ™‚ I added a chocolate chip cookie, pretzel sticks, and an applesauce squeezy fruit. And for snack…an apple. And raisins. But I wrote on the bag, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Here is the Dentist themed lunch:

Dentist Themed Preschool Lunch

That one was easier! I made another heart shaped (don’t make me sing you that song, because I will!) PB&J and drew lips and teeth on them. So it’s like a mouth, in case you can’t tell. I might have to explain this one to Bigs. Anywho. He has gold teeth (corn) and “tooth” picks. I have those. I do. Aren’t they cute? I stuck them in a bunch of 7 layer bars I made as a gift for my dentist. The irony wasn’t lost on him that I was giving him sweets. I added an applesauce squeezy fruit and for dessert, I made a mouth out of apple slices, peanut butter and a few marshmallows (for teeth).

Hope you all are having a wonderful week. It’s been…a week here. And I know some of my friends are having a tough time. So. Prayers. All around. For you, for your families and us.

In Christ,

Kristin

Do you know the Muffin Man?

Do you know the muffin man

I happen to know him. He doesn’t live on Drury Lane, like the song says. He lives with me.

I know the muffin man

He’s a little boy, actually. It’s my son. He’s the muffin boy. Well, on Friday, anyways. This past week in school, Bigs’ class read If You Give a Moose a Muffin. I love that series. I still have the mouse one from when I was a little girl.

20140109_133538

The kids made moosey muffin boxes. How cute is that?! So on Friday, we made those yummy little Jiffy muffins. I let Bigs do all the work.

collage_20140110113239028_20140110113319564

He poured the mix into the bowl, poured the milk (that I measured) into the bowl and whisked those together with the egg that I cracked. He used my scoop to put the mix into a mini muffin tin. He did great!

20140110_104952

Here’s his “thumbs” up (it’s his pointer finger). Cuteness.

So what if I overcooked the muffins. He’ll never really know.

20140110_111002

We ate them for snack and read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie since we don’t have the moose book at home. It was a fun activity and Bigs was proud he made the muffins on his own. And I was proud too!

It was a yummy food day, that day, since I also made those healthy Snickerdoodle Pancakes again! I gave them to Smalls one at a time to hold and eat at his leisure.

20140110_081636

And for lunch (for Hubs and I), I finally made that tropical(ish) cous cous salad I’d been wanting to try.

20140110_102007

It was SO good! I couldn’t stop eating it and that was okay, since it was so healthy!

20140110_102037

Would it have been better with fresh cilantro (versus dried)? Yes. Would it have been better with a super ripe and fleshy, golden mango? Yes. But we work with what we have, people! Well, I do. Because I never have all the ingredients on hand. Ooops.

20140110_102056

It was REALLY tasty. Chock full of good grains, beans and mango.

20140110_102152

I loosely based it on the recipe from here:

http://greenlitebites.com/2010/09/03/mango-black-bean-couscous-salad/

Like I said, I didn’t have fresh cilantro, my mango had almost seen better days and I didn’t even have chives or a hot pepper. I cubed my mango and tossed it in a teeny bit of brown sugar, just to macerate it a little bit. I think it helped it taste more ripe. I made enough cous cous for 3 servings (according to the box). While that was absorbing the water, I drained and rinsed the black beans and made the sauce. I used about 5 tablespoons of olive oil and some really good squirts of lemon juice (would love to have used a real fresh lemon, but you already know what I’m going to say…). I added salt and pepper, a little bit of garlic powder and I had a Weber’s Mango & Lime grill seasoning for fish that I put in there. It really lightened up the flavors. I then added quite a bit of dried cilantro. I whisked away and once the cous cous was ready, I mixed it all up together. I added cayenne pepper to mine. It was great!

And my husband only eats hot things (mostly) and this salad can be served warm, although it is abundantly better cold, in my very humble opinion.

I hope you try it!

By the way, thank you to those of you who have prayed for my baby son. We had to take him to the doctor’s office two more times since I’ve written and also today, we took him to the hospital for chest x-rays. They were looking for pneumonia, which they did not find. God is good! I just need my little spicy baby to get better and back to his spunky little self.

Keep praying?

Thank you!

In Christ,

Kristin

More [brie] cheese with my whine? Please?

Well. I had a different post ready to be shared, but you know how life is. It do what it wants. I mentioned in my last blog post that my baby son Smalls (okay, he’s 17 months, but will always be the baby of the family, plus he’s really tiny, so extra babyish…anywayssss) wasn’t feeling well. That puny feeling, unfortunately, continued for him through the night and weekend. We ended up having to take him into an after hours pediatric urgent care. His little fever turned into a respiratory thing that caused wheezing, shortness of breath and low oxygen levels, and continued higher fevers. After some nebulizing treatments, we went home with our tired, little, sick baby. The next morning he woke with what I knew was pink eye. Poor thing. We took him to his regular pediatrician and got him some medication for that and a steroid to help with his breathing. His horrible fevers seemed to give him a break tonight, for the first time in three days. We still have to give him breathing treatments at home (we have a nebulizer from when Bigs was little), but God is good. I know he’ll take care of our little sweetie.

20140111_162050

So, sadly, that’s been the end of the week and the weekend (having to skip church tomorrow, but we can watch it online!). Keep my Smalls in your prayers?

Thank you.

In an effort to relax (and also reward myself for my SIX DAYS OF NO DESSERT!! <–why on Earth did I feel that deserved, not one, but TWO exclamation points? It’s so sad!) Anyways, after putting my boys in bed, I made what I currently believe is Life’s Perfect Food: Baked Brie Bites.

IMG_20140111_085310

You may (or may not) recall that I had them at a Christmas party thrown by my friends. They are just divine.

20140111_200212

Something about brie always calls my name. I could eat a whole wheel of it. The big size. There is something about the oozey, gooey way it melts, taking hostage everything in its path, like hot lava.

20140111_201558

Something about the crunchy, delicate richness of the phyllo dough. Something about the tart dried cranberries.

20140111_201614

Something about the crunchy, earthy walnuts. And then put that all together with a bit of brown sugar. Something MAGICAL happens. I’m NOT KIDDING!

20140111_201622

Look at that bubbly, gooey, brown sugary cheeeeeese. Those crunchy walnuts!

20140111_201752

I meaaannnn. Look at those now caramelized cranberries. I can’t even.

20140111_202012

I plopped four (for the sake of my photo shoot – I really ate about 11) on my husband’s Grams’ china and had them with my finest bottle of Sav Blanc (HAHA my finest is Trader Joe’s).

20140111_202039_20140111210604046

This was a lovely reward to a long week.

20140111_201957

Here is the recipe, if you need it. It’s SO simple and honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/09/ile-de-france-cheese-baked-brie-bites.html

Enjoy and thank you for your prayers!

Kristin

Tinsel’s in a Tangle

Happy Christmas and Merry Food Coma

My body is in a coma…the food sort. My fridge looks like it’s in a coma too. Not an inch to spare (it IS a rather small fridge, though) with all the leftovers.

Let’s rewind a few days. We took our boys to visit Santa. We stood in line for over an hour to see a really wonderful looking Santa.

Boys in line for Santa

Smalls was delightful the whole time waiting (as was Bigs), but the second he was plopped on Ol’ St. Nick’s lap, he screamed like he was being pinched. Poor thing. Not a fan. So Bigs was smiling really sweetly (and told Santa he wanted a bouncy carrot) and Smalls was screaming with tears pouring out of his eyes…50%, not bad. We also went to Christmas Eve service at church, which was beautiful.

We set out some cookies (some GF and LF) and almond milk for Santa (to accommodate Mr. Claus’ Crohn’s diet!). We also left a carrot for the reindeer.

Santa Cookies and Milk

We actually had to wake the boys up on Christmas morning. They NEVER sleep in. Ever. They are usually up way before 7:00a. They were very excited about everything and Bigs was shocked Santa brought him a bouncy carrot.

Bouncy Carrot

Since they slept in so late, I was able to finish prep on their special breakfast. I reheated the gluten and lactose free pancakes I’d made earlier in the week. I cut up some fruit and finished the Grinch kebabs, and put together the pancake toppings bar (bananas, strawberries, Christmas sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows). We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and began eating.

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Bigs gobbled it all up. Smalls ate next to nothing, which is typical. I also made hot chocolate (my Mom made the mix from scratch) with whipped cream Christmas trees (that I made with a silicon mold the day before). I wasn’t sure the molds would work, but they did! They were so fun. I gave Bigs another hot chocolate today with another whipped cream tree…all of which he accidentally knocked on the floor. Sigh.

Collage_2013-12-26_09_45_51

While they were basking in the glow of new toys, I put together two casseroles.

Bread Pud and Hash

A Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding and a Cracker Barrel-inspired Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole. They were both DELICIOUS.

Collage_2013-12-26_09_46_19

While cheesy potatoes are always a good dish to me, the bread pud was TO DIE FOR. Geesh, that’s morbid. Let’s say it was a must try. It was divine. Seriously. I will be making this again and again and again.

Hash Brown recipe:

http://choosingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/easy-1-bowl-cheesy-hash-brown-casserole/

Bread Pudding recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/cranberry-white-chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html

We ate those two dishes with some others that came with my Husband’s side of the family (some vegan and GF dishes, bagels with cream cheese and lox, fruit salad).

Collage_2013-12-26_09_46_00

And then after naps, we went to my parents’ house, where we enjoyed another meal! We had roast beef with au jus and horseradish sauce, roasted vegetables, rolls, fruit salad, and a lovely cheese platter.

Collage_2013-12-26_09_46_08

And my Mom made a fruitcake…a FRUITCAKE! I love fruitcake. I might be one of two people (My Dad and I) that eat it. My husband jokes that there is only one fruitcake in the whole world. I think that’s the only fruitcake joke. Whatever. More for me (and Dad).

I hope that you had a lovely holiday.

As for me, I’m ready to cleanse my home, take down the decorations, prepare for the new year, and make my resolutions. And eat less (maybe).

Kristin

*Sorry for all the collages versus whole pictures – it was just much easier and less time-consuming with so many!