June 22, 2017

Creamy Green Smoothie

Sometimes you need a lighter and healthier breakfast.  Sometimes you just want a green smoothie. I felt hungry this morning but I still have zero clue as to what I actually want to eat.  So I made a green smoothie since it's been a hot minute and wanted to share my recipe with you. It's full of all the 'healthy' stuff, but since I believe strongly in moderation and balance in the way we eat, even too much of the healthy stuff isn't healthy.  I like my smoothies simple and if possible, full of only whole foods.  No added sugar and again, simplistic. If you like sweeter smoothies, go ahead and add a tsp. of honey or if you NEED some sugar, Stevia is great or Sugar in the Raw.  

Of course I want my smoothie to taste great, but with spinach smoothies, I stay away from nut butters , honey, and too much fruit.  I'll take thick and creamy over too sweet and this smoothie is exactly that. 

I think we can all agree that they typically aren't that attractive in color. But what's on the inside matters more.

Creamy Green Smoothie

-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-4 tsp of plain Greek yogurt
-1 tbsp ground flax seed meal ( I like Trader Joe's brand- see in pic below).
-Dash of cinnamon
-3 small chunks of frozen banana ( 1 small)
-6-8 frozen dark cherries
-1 heaping handful of spinach
-About 5 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together until thick and creamy and well incorporated.  I like to add all of my wet ingredients first as I find it seems to blend better when I finish with adding my spinach on top.


June 21, 2017

M&M Rice Krispie Treats

A treat indeed!  My family and I went out to dinner tonight for pizza and it's been a Hump Day ritual for about a month now.  There's this great pizza bar about twenty minutes from us that offers half price pizza's every Wednesday.  Their pizza is SO. DANG. GOOD. They also have amazing cocktails, fyi! After we came home, my husband and daughter watched a little Sofia the First while I made dessert, or rather,  a night time treat!

I haven't had rice krispie treats in a long time and randomly, the idea came to me earlier today to make them because I had a new unopened bag of mini marshmallows at home and a large bag of m&ms.  I thank the candy for being there due to potty training incentives. These hit the spot and were so fresh and gooey and just the perfect amount of YUM.  I think they are a great blank canvas for any kind of candy as well.  Go nuts!

Pizza, cocktails, and a marshmallow treat.  I can't think of a better way to end a Wednesday.

June 6, 2017

My Picky Eater

It's hard to tell these days, but I think my daughter is the pickiest eater yet!  Here's why:  She's not really a sandwich kid; grilled cheese , Pb&j, turkey and cheese.  Granted, she's only three so there's still time, but 90% of the time , she won't eat that stuff if I make them.  I swear she eats better and more when she's watching something on the tablet or TV.  But, that's distracted eating and not the best habit to start.  I only do that here and there and when necessary. 

Claire's main food groups include pretzels, chips,  cheese sticks, apples with peanut butter, mostly peanut butter, grilled cheese and pizza if we go out because she eats better when we eat out, chicken, and spaghetti with red sauce. She's finicky when it comes to mac and cheese. I KNOW.  Sometimes I let her have an organic fruit strip I buy at target and of course , ice cream occasionally because why not.  She's not into yogurt , but I do give her the mint chip yasso bars here and there and she thinks it's mint chip ice cream. Win-win.  Sometimes oranges will be had, more like 1 or 2 pieces a random asked for banana and strawberries NOT to be cut up.

Three is a tough age already without having to worry about what your kid eats in a day.  Dinner time is typically alright, but we've been trying to establish the one bite rule for, oh, 2 years now? It's where I keep telling her she has to try everything on her plate, even it's it's just one bite.  That works 50% of the time right now.  Usually if I cook for my husband and I, the meal is typically kid friendly as well and I'll give her what we are having, adding on some kind of fruit and a veggie ( usually it's corn because she's the best with that). Oh and apparently corn is not a vegetable. I know it's a starch and a grain but my kid likes it the most right now, so, bite me. I'm constantly googling recipes I can make for her that will sneak in greens like spinach and zucchini.  I made zucchini chicken nuggets the other day and she didn't even try them because they weren't dinosaur shaped.  Oh man, I have my work cut out for me.   Side note:  they are delish! in my opinion and would be a great appetizer for a gathering. 

I picked up sweet potato fries and baked those up. She of course, devoured them.  Hey, I'm trying here and my kid is at least eating something.  The only thing I've made so far that she seems to have zero complaints about is a zucchini, spinach, carrot and onion tomato sauce. I just cook all of those veggies down in coconut oil spray or a little vegetable oil until soft and then add a jar of lower sodium marinara sauce.  I then carefully place all of that in a blender and blend until all veggies are smooth.  BOOM.  Season with salt and pepper.  It's really good and I've eaten it for leftovers myself. I also usually give her whole grain pasta.  Which reminds me, I have to make more of that soon!

Here is the chicken nugget recipe if you're interested.
*I purchased zoodles, then just blended them in the blender. There will be a  lot of moisture/water.  I placed the zoodle mixture in a paper towel in a strainer in the sink to get most of the moisture out.* 

Next on my list to make: mac and cheese 'muffins' and more sauce!!

Any tips/tricks you use to get your kids to eat more/better?  
It certainly depends on the kid because they are all different.  I just wish I could go back to 6 months when she was loving everything!!!

Do you have a picky eater? What do they love/hate?

March 16, 2017

Simple Chicken Caprese

I just love easy weeknight meals.  I'll admit when I'm not feeling as creative and simply feel lazy about it, this is one of those dishes I turn to to add to my family's weeknight menu.  You're going to love it! 

You'll need:

1-2 packages ( 2 if you want leftovers) of boneless chicken breast
1 can of your favorite marinara sauce
fresh mozzarella
2 large tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with marinara sauce.
3. Slice chicken breasts in half and place on top of the sauce. Then add more sauce on the chicken, a slice of tomato, two slices of mozzarella cheese and basil.
* I sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides before placing them in the dish.

4. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

* add Parmesan cheese on top if you'd like.  Serve with a salad and garlic bread.  So delicious!


Greek Yogurt Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes (for kids)

My daughter used to loooove yogurt of pretty much any flavor when she was a baby.  Straight. out. of. the. carton. These days, not so much.  So I sneak it in healthy foods that I make from ( almost) scratch and she eats them up!  She loves a good pancake for breakfast ( who doesn't)? and I'm not exactly sure when she started loving the flavor of pumpkin but she does now and I'm not trying to waste time figuring that out.  I'm so glad she does though, because I love pumpkin flavored ANYTHING.  I hope she'll stick with that flavor for a while or forever!  Pumpkin alone is so healthy for you and has tons of fiber!

 I'm all about homemade recipes from scratch but I'm human and a mom and shortcuts are just necessary sometimes.  I love using Bob's Redmill BUTTERMILK WHOLE GRAIN PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX.   I like to add cinnamon to the batter that it calls for and that's it.  Here's the rest of the recipe.

Your house will smell incredible and I hope you'll give these a try!

You'll Need:

Your favorite pancake mix- Bob's red mill says 1 cup but I use 2 cups to make more pancakes.
Add any spice you like.  Nutmeg, I love using cinnamon.

2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract ( optional)
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1/3 cup 2% or skim milk
2 tbsp oil- veggie, canola or coconut works fine.

In a large bowl, mix the pancake mix and any spices added in with whisk
until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until just combined.

On a hot griddle pan, spray with non stick cooking spray or melt butter.  Scoop pancake mix and cook about 3 minutes on each side.

* These are great for the freezer for convenient breakfasts.  Wrap in plastic wrap and use when needed.  Warm in microwave 1-2 minutes.  I always get about 12 pancakes.