Saturday, September 12, 2015

10 School Lunch Ideas

At the beginning of the school year I am full of ideas to pack for school lunches, but after a few months into the school year they all seem to leak out of my brain and I can't think of anything but a peanut butter sandwich.  The biggest problem with that is my eldest child barely tolerates peanut butter sandwiches. So I have been taking pictures of my lunches thus far this year so I can post them and then when I no longer can think about lunch I can refer back to this. Hopefully this will help someone else as well. So here our are top 10 non peanut butter sandwiches lunches. (That's 2 weeks worth!)
1- Spinach wrap: This is probably the most time consuming, but it is easy to customize and is full of vegetables in a way my kids love to eat them.  Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a large tortilla (I like to buy the uncooked ones from costco and after they are cooked they are warm and the cream cheese spreads fairly easy.) Top that cream cheese with a layer of spinach and whatever other vegetables you want.  Julienned carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, avocado slices, bell peppers etc. You can also add a slice or 2 of lunch meat if you would like but we like it better without.  We also like to dip ours in a little bit of ranch dressing.
 2- Peanut butter dip.  This is a favorite.  I am sure you can use almond butter if you prefer.  I mix about 2 Tblsp cream cheese with 1/2 c peanut butter. Add around 1 tblsp honey (to taste) and milk to desired consistency. Then we dip carrots, celery, apples, bananas toast or crackers whatever sounds good to you.
 3- Refried bean dip and tortilla chips.  Again customize this to what your kids will eat: refried beans, cheese, cottage cheese, avocado or guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green onion. Basically a 7 layer dip.
4- Cucumber sandwich. My kids love these (I  think it's because when they were little this is what we would make when we had "tea parties")
 5- Peanut butter and honey popcorn.  This feels like a treat (and it kinda is.)  I pop fresh popcorn. Melt equal parts peanut butter and honey on stove top until combined and pour over popcorn.  The real treat is let it cool for a few minutes then sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.
 6- Homemade lunchables. So much cheaper and healthier.
 7- A muffin, some yogurt sprinkled with fruit (fresh or frozen) and some of my homemade granola to top off the yogurt. My kids said this was the best lunch ever.
 8- A basic pasta salad.  So I kinda made this up but it feels so basic I am sure someone else has too.  When I was talking with someone one day about lunches they mentioned their kids loved when they made some pasta and stirred some butter and Parmesan into it.  I stepped it up a notch or two. I mixed olive oil with panko and tossed them in the microwave for 1 min. Then added parmesan cheese and italian seasoning. and tossed that with the pasta.  Then I chopped up a bunch of veggies and tossed them in too, tomatoes, spinach and julienned carrots.
 9- Basic green salad. I meant to hard boil an egg, chop it up and toss on top for an extra punch of protein but the morning got away from me...
 10- And basic butter popcorn.  The kids still love it.

I hope some of these help you out and I would LOVE to hear some of your favorite suggestions.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Baked Oatmeal

I LOVE Baked Oatmeal.  I see recipes all over the place and I love trying new ones.  But when it comes down to it I have a favorite that nothing else has come close too.  The thing I love about this one is it is a good base that you can play around with, plus you can make it fit your families dietary needs. No gluten, dairy, processed sugar, and you can substitute the egg for a flax seed egg with no problem.  The best part is, it tastes like dessert:)
So here you go my Favorite Baked Oatmeal
2 c rolled oats
1/2 c chopped pecans 
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 c maple syrup ( the real stuff)
2 c almond milk
2 eggs slightly beaten
4 tblsp melted coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 ripe bananas
2+ c fruit of choice (blueberries are our absolute favorite, in this one I mixed peaches and blackberries)

Preheat oven to 375
Grease a 9X13 pan
Thinly slice bananas to coat bottom of pan. Top with 1 cup of fruit.
Mix dry ingredients and pour into pan (Only include 1/2 of your nuts and save the rest for sprinkling on top.)
Mix wet ingredients and pour over dry.
Top with remaining fruit and nuts
Bake 35ish min.  And if you can let it cool for 10 min.  (We rarely can wait and just dive right in.)

Some other suggestions for your fruit includes:
apples chopped into smaller pieces (I bet some grated zucchini wouldn't be half bad in here either)
grated carrots and drained crushed pineapple
triple berry mix (frozen berries are just fine to use)
The possibilities are near endless, let me know what delicious combos you come up with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Super Yummy and Super Healthy Granola

Hello blogging world again.  It's been a few years and while I am certainly busier than ever I find myself missing blogging and thinking about it frequently.  So Let give this a go again and to start off I am going to share one of my families favorite things.
           Homemade granola. It is packed full of yummy healthy ingredients and has no processed sugars in it.  We love it! Our favorite thing to do with it is add it to yogurt and fresh fruit.  You could certainly add some dried fruit and eat it as is or with some milk.  Dip french toast in it before you cook it (seriously if you have never tried granola on french toast you're missing out.)  And I love that this recipe is flexible to meet your families needs.
  Now quickly before I give you this AMAZING recipe let me update you on my family.  Last I talked to you I had just had my 4th baby and first baby boy.  That little boy is now 3 years old and has a little brother.  Yep 5 kids. This is us last year.  Super blessed.

Now for the good stuff.   

preheat oven to 325 and line two large pans with parchment paper

8 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c wheat germ
1 1/2 c oat bran
1 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c flax seed
3 c chopped nuts ( I do 1 c pecan, 1 c cashew and 1 c almond)
Mix all the above together in a large bowl
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 c honey
1 c coconut oil
1 Tblsp cinnamon
mix above in sauce pan. Bring to boil over med heat stirring frequently.  Take off heat and add 1 Tblsp vanilla.  Pour over dry and mix well.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 20 min (my oven cooks fast and it's closer to 17-18 min)
Stir about half way through..
After it's cooled you can add dry fruit if desired. Store in airtight container and enjoy.  

There you go I hope your family loves it as much as my family does.  If your family is gluten free I am sure you could do 3 c of oat bran instead of the wheat germ or  substitute ground flax seed and just leave out the 1/2 whole flax seed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nursing Cover {review}

Wow 4 kids is a lot of work.  But I wouldn't trade them for the World.  Crafting has been slow going.  I have completed 2 projects in the last 4 weeks.  One of them I am still waiting for pictures because I didn't take them.  But the other is done.
While at the hospital my nursing cover got left in the labor and delivery room and by the time I realized it, it was long gone.  So I made another one.  And now I am so glad because this one is so much cuter.
 I followed the tutorial over at TaDa Creations.  I love the contrasting fabric and the little ribbon detail.  It is a nice large size too.  I didn't add the pocket because I couldn't really think of a good reason to have one.  Although I since have. It would b a great spot to hold some extra nursing pads.  But other than that, I am stumped.
One thing I would change if I did it again.  I would cut the boning down to 14 inches, cause it feels a smidgen big to me right there.
Other than that I love this tutorial.  As always her stuff is super high quality.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Quilt is Finished!

I am so happy to finally have this project done.  It has been long and hard for me.  But a good learning experience.  I am not sure I will ever at will be attempt another one.  If I do it will be a lot less piecing together.  So here it is.
 Back side:
 Close up:
I am overall very happy with it.  There are certainly lots of little mistakes throughout it so I don't want anyone inspecting it.  But for my first quilt I cannot complain.

Here is the pattern I followed.  This pattern assumes you have quilted before though so I had to go a few other places for help. 
These are a few of the other places I went for help.
Here is a quilt along series that was helpful.
Here is a good binding tutorial
A few tips I had to ask somebody about.  When I bought my batting I was unsure of a few things.  I didn't want a puffy quilt so I was told to buy cotton batting.  If you want it puffier go with the polyester.  Also do not prewash your batting.  I left my batting and back piece larger than the front whilst I quilted it and then I trimmed it down before binding. That way it left some room to stretch and pull while quilting.
I also planned on quilting around shapes.  I got a shape and a half in and decided that was ten times harder, so I unpicked them and just went free style.  Those two shapes and unpicking took as long as free hand quilting the rest.

So if I can make a quilt anyone can.  It was mostly fun.  I can honestly say blood sweet and tears went into it.  And I really love the result.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Baby Boy!

Just thought I would let you know that I had my baby this week.  He is healthy and beautiful and we are doing well.
He was 7 lbs 15 oz and 19 1/2 inches long.
I am almost done with his quilt.  I thought I would be able to finish the hand stitching in the hospital but it is taking a bit longer than expected.  So super soon.  In the mean time I am going to cuddling with this little boy and kissing his cheeks.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I am not a quilter...

Wow I know I haven't been around these parts a lot recently.  I apologize if you have missed me.  And I will apologize again because for the next few months I cannot promise any consistency.  It has something to do with being about to have baby #4....
Anyways with baby #4 being my first boy I wanted to make him something special.  I didn't think a dress would cut it this time:)  So I have taken on my first ever quilt.  (Okay I take that back I tried one once, right after I graduated high school, but that thing is to never ever see the light of day...)
So here is how it has been going: It terrifies me, which means I procrastinate it.  I am not a perfectionist or by any means a precise person so when I do work on it the work is slow and often has to be re-done.  At this moment I don't believe I will ever quilt again.
Timeline: I bought material in Oct.  I washed material in November.  I started cutting out material 4 weeks ago.  3 weeks ago I was at this point. Figuring out the layout.
I have been working fairly diligently on it for the last 3 weeks and I am now at this point.
I am pretty happy with how it is turning out.  But man is it work.  Sewing a dress an 1/8th of an inch makes hardly makes any difference, this is a very different story.
So I do have a question for you.  What color of thread would you use to do the actual quilting?  I am going to trace some dinosaurs and then make them bigger on my copier, trace those onto freezer paper, cut them out and use those as my quilting shapes.  Should I switch the colors I use?  Should I just use black, or blue?  What would you do?  Thanks for the help.

ps. I am using this pattern from Moda Bake Shop.