Tag: Apple

Happy Halloween! School Lunches

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Happy Halloween, Friends! For today’s lunches, I made Jack O’ Lantern sandwiches. On the inside is cream cheese and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter. I used my food safe markers to add some details. And just like real Jack O’Lanterns, each one is different! HA! That bottom one looks like one that’s been sitting out for a week already, but hey, I don’t think my Smalls will mind too much! I also packed raisins, red and green grapes (sliced in half for Smalls, because he still likes to shove them into his mouth all at the same time), some Trader Joe’s Inner Peas, some veggie straws since I ran out of Inner Peas, an apple, a Kit Kat, and some black and orange chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Whew!

I hope today is a BOOtiful day for you, and that you don’t fly off the handle if you’re feeling witchy, and that you have fun trick or tweeting if you’re a bird, and that you enjoy your i-scream if you’re a ghoul.

Okay. That’s a wrap on my puns now. You know, if you’re a mummy.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Kristin

Gluten Free Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake

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You guys. Have you ever made a recipe that is so good that you are at a loss for words? I just did that. Earlier in the week, I found a recipe for an Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake that looked out of this world. It wasn’t gluten free, so I thought I’d be nice and make it such, so my husband could eat it, too. I definitely deserve some kind of pat on the back or a new pair of shoes or something for that act of kindness. Anyways.

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This cake was not only easy (you probably have ALL of the ingredients!!), but it wasn’t overly sweet OR unhealthy.

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It’s basically a health cake. You’re welcome.

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I’m going to be perfectly honest with you right now. I cut a huge slice of this and put it on my dinner plate. I ate the first slice right along with my baked ham with cloves, green beans with almonds, and corn.

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I DO have one regret – not buying (and eating) vanilla ice cream with this. It would be killer. So, that is my sage and wise advice to you today. Buy vanilla ice cream to go with this.

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This cake was one of the best things that happened to me all day.

Gluten Free Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake

Recipe adapted from: Pickledplum.com

5 small red apples (or 4 larger ones), peeled, cored, and sliced thinly

5 T gluten free flour mix (with xanthan gum in it) or another GF flour with 1/8 t xanthan gum added)

5 T brown sugar

5 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t baking powder

4 large eggs

⅔ C honey

Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease an 8-inch cake pan, then place the apple slices inside. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, olive oil, eggs, and honey in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter over the apples and sprinkle cinnamon over top. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and drizzle more honey on top. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Eat hot or cold. It was ridonk hot. It would be even more ridonk hot with that vanilla ice cream. I’m planning on eating it cold later tonight and/or for breaky. I’m sure it’ll be ridonk, once again.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Pumpkin Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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I had waited long enough. It was time. Time to pull out the Fall decorations and put them up proudly, knowing that not everyone would agree with my decision. So, today, that’s exactly what I did. I’ve got my Fall wreath on my front door, some sparkly gourds filling a glass pillar (because all gourds should be sparkly), some felt owls on my china cabinet. Oh yes. My boys are so excited. I also baked apple cookies. God-willing, with all this Fall surrounding me, Fall weather will come sooner and relieve me of this dreadful 90+ degree heat.

To further celebrate our festive decor, I went with a pumpkin theme on my boys’ lunches for tomorrow. I made pumpkin shaped sunbutter and apple jelly sandwiches, and used my Food Writers to add a wee bit of detail. I also packed red grapes, cheddar sandwich crackers, charred corn (in my pumpkin shaped silicone cupcake wrappers), and one Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookie.

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These cookies are the epitome of Fall. Chewy, soft, warm with cinnamon, sweet with apples.

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Oh yes, boy

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This recipe is EASY. And, wait for it…HEALTHY! I made smaller cookies than the recipe called for (instead of fifteen, I made 22), and I added vanilla bean paste, in addition to the vanilla extract. And each cookie is less than 100 calories (and actually, I think MUCH less since I made smaller cookies!). These can also be easily converted to gluten free. A must!

http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2015/01/03/apple-pie-oatmeal-cookies/

Happy (almost) FALL, y’all!

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: 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

Community Helper Themed Lunches – Part I

This week began the Community Helpers study for my Bigs. During the next few weeks, the students will take a deeper look into the occupations that do great and helpful things in our community – doctors and nurses, dentists, police, fire, mail and pizza delivery (LOVE that pizza delivery falls into “community helper” status #ourschoolforthewin), etc.

First up this week – Dentist!

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I made a peanut butter and jelly tooth. Yes, that’s right. A tooth. While I realize my free-hand cutting skillz require some work and leave quite a bit to be desired, I’m hopeful that my Bigs’ precious and sharp teacher was able to decipher what this thing was, when he inevitably would ask. I drew a toothbrush with toothpaste on it out of an index card, just for fun. I also packed raisins, Trader Joe’s honey wheat pretzels, half a mandarin orange, and apple smiles for dessert. For the apple smiles, I cut apple slices (used some mandarin orange juice on them to prevent browning), pat them dry, added peanut butter to the insides, and marshmallows for teeth. I think he loved it. I’ve done it before and it’s been a raging success. I also used my favorite lunchbox accoutrement – my toothpicks tooth picks. So fun!

And for Doctor Day:

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This is where you’ll find further evidence of my crapola drawing skillz. In hindsight, I maybe should have written, “ER” or something more legible. But hey, Bigs can’t read all that well, so for once, that’s in my favor. Here you have yet another PB&J, but this time, it’s shaped as a doctor’s office (squint, then you’ll see). I’ve also packed honey wheat pretzels, raisins, strawberries, blueberries, and a Campfire Cookie.

My Smalls will also be in school today. Here is his little lunch:

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PB&J, raisins, Campfire Cookie, pretzels, and strawberries (he’s on a no blueberry kick).

Happy Thursday,

Kristin

Heavenly Host(ess) with the Mostess VPK School Lunch

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9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In continued celebration of our Savior’s birth story, I came up with this angel themed lunch for my Bigs. I used my angel cookie cutter on a PB&J, and added yellow details (halo, wings, dress) with my Food Writer and sprayed this most important angel gold. I packed goldfish crackers, raisins, red, white, and green chocolate covered sunflower seeds, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, some red grapes, and an organic yogurt squeezy.

This is my last Christmas themed school lunch for this year. I’ll be doing fun “home” lunches from here on out!

May you feel the warmth of this heavenly story,

Kristin

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…cake!

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So, I told you I made cake. Remember that? I’m sure you do. I mean, if you told me that you made a cake, I would not forget. Cake isn’t a flippant thought in my mind. Anywhoooo…

Isn’t this a sight to behold? A thing of beauty? A real looker? I used one of my two go-to chocolate cake recipes, this one being the one-bowl selection. To decorate, I chopped up those magical Ferrero Rocher candies (I used a pack of twelve, four each of three flavors, for this 9×13 sized cake). I distributed those around the edge of this beast and sprinkled some Christmas nonpareils on top.

wpid-20141209_134643.jpgSure, my butter wasn’t fully softened and left little chunks in the frosting. Can’t win them all. But hey, when were chunks of rich, creamy butter a bad thing, in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting? Maybe you CAN win them all.

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This cake is incredibly moist and the frosting equally smooth. It’s a winning combo, especially with the addition of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I realize this sounds like a sponsored ad, but it isn’t. Although, Ferrero Rocher, if you’re listening, I’m up for sponsorship. #pleasesponsorme #anyone #anyone? My Bible study ladies seemed to really enjoy it. I know I did!

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I mean, lookee.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/06/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch.html

And the frosting recipe:

http://myrecipemagic.com/recipe/recipedetail/moms-chocolate-frosting-the-best-frosting-recipe

I also made lunches for my boys (obvi).

For my Bigs:

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It’s a wreath-shaped PB&J and a teeny little gingerbread-shaped PB&J. I also packed colby jack cheese, a few pretzels, half a mandarin orange, a few apple slices, and some of that freaking good cake. I promised my Bigs that I’d try to save him a piece. He’ll be so happy to have it. I also sprinkled on a few red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds just because. Unfortunately, he got sick in the middle of the night, so he’ll be enjoying this from home today. (if you think of it, say a little prayer for his recovery? he’s got a Christmas performance at school tomorrow that I know he’d really be sad to miss being a part of – thank you!)

And for my Smalls:

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For him, I packed a PB&J in the shaped of a little tree and a little gingerbread boy (which I’ve ruined with a big ol’ face, but he won’t notice), colby jack cheese, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, honey-roasted peanuts, and a few of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for his little dessert.

Many blessings to you!

Kristin

Candy & Gingerbread & Sprinkles, oh my!

Sounds like the stuff my dreams are made of!

I’m not even remotely kidding.

This has been such a sweet week – literally! I made some candy yesterday and baked a cake today, all of which I’ll be sharing with you. And I’ve made some really sweet lunches for my Bigs.

In appreciation of my sons’ school’s staff (most of whom have become lovely friends to me), I made candy. Crack Candy, to be specific. Have you tried this stuff?! It’s SO good, that it’s addictive, like, you know, crack. Eeeek. It could also refer to the ingredients, which include crackers. That seems like a safer name. Anyways, I Christmas-ized this Crack Candy.

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I mean, really. Crunchy, crispy, salty crackers, enrobed in a homemade caramel sauce, baked until it’s soaked all the way through, and then covered in bittersweet chocolate. I can’t even. I mean, I can. But I resisted. Not that I wanted to. But I did. These are SO easy to make and they make such an impact. At least I hope they do. I doubled the recipe and added Christmas colored sprinkles.

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Christmas Crack CandyCooking spray
35 to 40 saltine crackers, or however many cover the bottom of your sheet pan evenly
1 C butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
About 2 C bittersweet chocolate chips

1 t vanilla, optional
Sprinkles, optional (for me, it’s not optional!)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line 1 large sheet pans with aluminum foil and liberally spray with nonstick spray. Place the Saltines in a single layer on the pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. This is when you would add your vanilla.
Pour over your Saltines and place the pan(s) in the oven for 3-5 minutes. The caramel will be bubbling. Remove from the oven and pour on your chocolate chips. I placed it back into the oven for a few minutes to fully melt the chips, but you can just wait. Use a knife (or an offset spatula) to spread the chocolate. Add sprinkles, if desired.
Let the chocolate set up. You can place these pans in the freezer or fridge to expedite the process. Once fully cooled, break up the pieces. Store in an airtight container.
These make excellent gifts!
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I also made a sweet little lunch for my Bigs – gingerbread themed! Sadly, I didn’t have any actual gingerbread for him to eat. A true crime!
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Despite this little gingerbread man’s HUGE face, I think he turned out alright. Bigs won’t notice his wonkiness. It is peanut butter and Jif chocolate s’mores peanut butter (that’s how my family rolls – peanut butter on peanut butter sandwiches!) and I used my gold food-safe spray and Food Writers to add details. I did the same to make two little Christmas trees. I also packed pretzels, raisins, dried dates, apple slices, mandarin orange slices, and yogurt for dessert. I added a teeny bit of the homemade chocolate frosting (recipe upcoming), from the cake I made today, to the yogurt for some lovely cocoa flavor and added some gingerbread and holly berry sprinkles.
Blessings!
Kristin

Star of Wonder, Star of Night…

O, Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

The birth of Jesus is an incredible story. To ponder what Mary (and Joseph!) was thinking when she was told by an angel that she would be with child and that her son would be called Emmanuel and be the King of Kings, is just overwhelming. She must have felt such fear, only to be comforted by the fact that her son would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And then to travel, heavily pregnant, and give birth in a stable – with only the peace from God to comfort her. Such courage. And that baby, that precious baby, who took his first breath, surrounded by animals and his two loving parents – that baby would would change the course of the world, as it was known, and forevermore. Mary and Joseph must have felt such pride, holding this wonderful gift from God. I can only relate on a worldly level, being a Mother myself. I cannot even imagine knowing that my child would have such an important destiny in His life.

I just love reading the story of Jesus’ birth. I love imagining Him as a sweet baby, an energetic child, a dedicated teen, a leader, a teacher, a Savior, all the while knowing His own purpose on this Earth.

I LOVE celebrating Jesus’ birth this Season. He is my Father, my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, my Prince of Peace. He is our reason for this season. CHRISTmas.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

In thinking of how the Stars over Bethlehem showed the Wise Men their way to greet the new born King, I was inspired to make a Star lunch for my Bigs.

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I made a gold star shaped PB&J (I used gold food-safe spray and used my yellow Food Writer to outline it). I packed goldfish crackers, yogurt raisins, red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds (dessert), grapes, apple slices, seasoned corn, and a cranberry oatmeal bar.

Blessings,

Kristin