I'm constantly experimenting with different smoothie recipes for the boys. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes not so much. Today's recipe was a success so I'm excited to share. I'm always secretly pleased with myself when I manage to whip up something using clean ingredients and hear a "Mmmmmm!" from each of the boys. All three of them loved it! Yay for me!
I only say "for the boys" because both Jeremy and I make our morning smoothies differently. His get extra protein and mine more veggies and spices, but we'll cover those another day. These are perfect for the kiddos. The blueberries worked their magic in making the spinach incognito, the mango and pineapple mixture gave them a perfect "pina colada" taste and the honey made them sweeter, although I'm tempted to either omit the honey or just add half a tablespoon next time.
I love to use blueberries in a lot of the smoothies I make for the boys not just because they're so delicious and nutritious, but also because they make it easy to hide spinach or kale in them without the boys realizing it. I'm sure that knowledge would somehow prevent them from gulping them down so happily. I haven't built up the nerve yet to test my theory.
Breakfast Smoothie (for the boys)
Makes 3 glasses
1 cup frozen mango/banana mixture
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup coconut water
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 apple, peeled & chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 ice cubes
1 tbsp honey *optional
River asked if a friend could spend the night just before dinner a couple nights ago. Although I like to treat the kids to dessert after dinner most days, I don't make a habit of having something for them every evening. However, since we had a guest, I thought it would be a good idea so off to the pantry to see what was on hand.
A can of garbanzo beans and dark chocolate chips. Hmmm.
In the past, a can of garbanzo beans definitely would've been glanced over when scouring the pantry for dessert ideas. However, several months ago I came across a recipe for this yummy chocolate chip cookie dough dip using garbanzo beans. I don't recall which blog I'd found it on, but the poster suggested baking the mixture to make blondies. It fascinated me because there wasn't any flour in the recipe at all, just the protein packed beans. Anyway, that's where I got the idea, but since I couldn't remember the blog, I did a search on Pinterest (surprise, surprise) which led me to Jami Nato of The Nato's blog. Great idea. Great recipe. Will definitely be making these again soon. The only change I made was using half the sugar. I figured with the chocolate chips in them, I might be able to get away with it and sure enough, I did! River's first comment (or reaction rather) was "Mmmmmmmm!" Success. The whole batch was eaten that evening. Jeremy complained that I shouldn't have bragged about the yummy dessert I was making if I wasn't planning to make a bigger batch. Oops.
But shhhh.....don't mention the beans to the kiddos. I'll try to keep that a secret for as long as I can. (Just like not telling them about the spinach I hide in their smoothies.)
Jami, the blog owner who posted the recipe, suggested tannies might be a good name since they're really not so blonde. I concur.
Servings: 9-12 piecesIngredients:1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed2 tsp vanilla extract1/4 c. almond butter1 egg1/4 c. oats (I used Old Fashioned)1 T. ground flaxseed1 tsp
baking soda1/8 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp salt1/2 c. brown sugar1/2 c. dark chocolate chips1/3 c. chopped almondsDirections:Place garbanzo beans in food processor and pulse just until broken up. Add vanilla and almond butter, mix. Add egg, oats and flaxseed and process until thoroughly mixed. Scrape down sides, if necessary. Add sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder, mix. Add chocolate chips and chopped almonds and mix by hand. Pour mixture into 8x8 pan greased with coconut oil (or grapeseed oil). Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting and serving. Best served warm. Note: I keep whole flaxseed in the freezer and grind it up as I need it since it tends to stay fresher longer. However, since I grind them up in my food processor, I would've had to clean out the bean mixture I had already started blending since I forgot to grind the flaxseed first. Soooo, needless to say, I was too lazy to do all that so I just threw in the whole flaxseed
and hoped it was enough to grind them up in the mixture. Next time I'll be sure to remember to grind them up first. Also, I cooked mine for about 45 minutes, but next time thinking closer to 40 minutes for a more brownie-like texture. I'd say these came out with more of a cake or bread-like texture. Original recipe courtesy of The Nato's
About eight years ago I dined at a P.F. Chang's for the first time. It might seem weird that I remember this, but it was my first day at a new job in a new city in a new state so kind of hard to forget. It was also the first (and only) time I had the pleasure of trying their famous "Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps". I remember them tasting good, but it's hard to say if I thought that because I was starving and only tried one tiny portion or if I thought they were good because well, they were actually good.
In an effort to recreate what I thought were delicious chicken lettuce wraps, I decided to give them a shot for dinner a couple evenings ago. I used the recipe from the Official Wildtree website and made just a couple changes/additions for some added oomph. The wraps were a little difficult to eat, but tasted good nonetheless. I went with iceberg lettuce, but may look into a more "sturdy" lettuce next time. Romaine might be a good choice for an added dose of B-vitamins and fiber.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
3 T. Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
3 T. Wildtree's Teriyaki Sauce
2 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1 T. freshly grated ginger
2 1/2 T. & 1 T. Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil
1 1/2 T. sesame oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, finely chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
8 oz. can water chestnuts, finely chopped
4 oz. can bamboo shoots, drained & finely chopped
5 scallions, sliced thin
1-2 heads iceberg leaves, washed & dried
**Wildtree Pacific Fusion Sauce for dipping
In small bowl, mix together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In large skillet, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and quickly stir fry until no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a large bowl with slotted spoon. Cover to keep warm. Drain liquid from skillet. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Cook for about 2 minutes, add chicken back to skillet and mix. Add sesame oil and stir. Add garlic and ginger sauce mixture and stir until hot and bubbly. Lightly mix in scallions. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves and dip in Wildtree Pacific Fusion Sauce.
Recipe adapted from Asian Lettuce Wraps
, courtesy Official Wildtree website.
So turns out keeping up with a blog along with everything else in life can be rather challenging. I've definitely gained a new respect for all the amazing bloggers out there.
I'm working on devoting more time to keeping up with the blog and adventures in food. Who knows, maybe the blog will turn out to be more than just a "tasty" endeavor. Even though it can be a little extra work, it's a fun way to document things.
Little League Baseball took on a life of it's own these past several months. It was both fun and exhausting...but mostly fun. I only say exhausting because you know how tough it is to be a spectator! The windy days, the cold days, the HOT days................ okay okay, so maybe it's a little (or a lot) tougher for the players. Of course, you'd never know it by the way they run around out there (most of the time).
This spring was River's first season to play kid pitch. It was so cute to watch all the boys pitch for the first time. They look so sharp out there on the mound. It can be both nerve wracking and incredibly exciting to watch your kids out there playing. Of course, it's equally nerve wracking watching your husband stand on the sidelines biting his fingernails and yelling the occasional objection to calls "Blue" makes.
I also have to give credit to little Allister, who spent much of the season strapped into his stroller. We armed him with plenty of water bottles, a mister, Gatorade and snacks but some days that just wouldn't cut it. I'm afraid by the time fall baseball rolls around, putting him in the stroller won't be an option.
Mason has also joined his neighborhood swim team for the summer. I'm surprised how much he's progressed since he started. I never took lessons so I don't know half the strokes they've taught him to do. He's had three swim meets so far and has an All-City Meet coming up soon. He says he enjoys it, but he's not too thrilled with the 8AM swim meets on the weekends. He has practice four days out the week so it's exciting to me that he's getting all that exercise. Hot Oklahoma summers tend to make the kids sit around inside most days (if they're not swimming or playing with water).
I made a trip to California last month for work purposes, but tried to squeeze in a little sightseeing when I could. I grew up in Northern California near San Francisco, and remember making occasional trips to the city for various reasons, yet it never ceases to amaze me. It's a beautiful city! I'm fascinated with all the gorgeous old homes squished up against one another, the steep roads, all the people, all the different pockets of action like Chinatown, Japantown, Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Park. Not to mention the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. I somehow developed a fear of bridges in my adulthood so I find them fascinating to look at, but not necessarily driving over. In fact, I've become so terrified, I don't even like to look anywhere but at the road right in front of me. So, Alcatraz, I'll catch a glimpse of ya when I get to the other side! Of course, in an effort to capture whatever I was missing, I held up my phone to my side and snapped some photos. Below is one of my great shots...of not much.
Was sure to go by Alamo Square and catch a glimpse of the Painted Ladies. It feels so different seeing them in person than when seeing them on TV.
Of course, last but certainly not the least, Jeremy turned 34 years old on Friday, July 13th. He loves the years his birthday falls on a Friday. He likes to say he was born on Friday the 13th since it sort of matches his personality, but he wasn't. It was a Thursday. :-) We celebrated by hanging out with friends. It was a lot of fun, and although Jeremy spent most of the next day hungover, the fun with our friends was worth it. (Except that he's vowed to skip the shots next go-around.)
Tonight's fajita dinner was quick, easy and so delicious. It's probably the third time I've made it in the last two weeks, however, it was the first time Jeremy and I forced Mason and River to eat the red peppers and onions as normally we allow them to garnish as they choose (which typically means only cheese for one and lettuce and tomato for the other). I say "forced" but it's not like we held them down and force-fed them. I may have had to throw a grounding threat or two out there for the sourpuss faces and sighs I had to endure, but in the end I am pleased to say - they survived. One came back for seconds as long as it consisted of "only chicken" while the other happily announced "Well, I won't be having another I can tell you that much!" as he placed his empty plate in the sink. Gee thanks. Note to self: teach boys better manners when expressing their opinions to the cook!
Meanwhile, there's Allister in his high chair shoving down every little pepper, onion and chunk of guacamole he can get his chubby little hands on. At least ONE of the boys appreciated my efforts. I know they say that children may need repeated exposure to foods before they become comfortable with them so guess we'll keep trying.
Anyway, as for dinner...
I marinated about 2 pounds chicken breast in Wildtree's Natural Grapeseed Oil and Chipotle Lime Rub for several hours, cooked it up in the grill pan and sauteed with red peppers and onions. Served with sour cream and guacamole that I made with Wildtree's Guacamole Mix. Bon appétit! All we were missing was some ice cold margaritas!
**Note: We've used the Chipotle Lime Rub for steak fajitas as well and decided they're better than any restaurant steak fajitas we've had in a long time.
I had a craving for something sweet yesterday so I just started pulling things out of the pantry hoping I had all the ingredients I would need for SOMETHING, anything yummy (preferably in the cookie category).
One of my favorite features of AllRecipes.com is the ability to search by ingredients. I just type in a few of the ingredients I have or want to use and voilà, they provide me with a list of recipes to choose from. In this case, I searched for recipes including oatmeal and peanut butter, knowing I would substitute almond butter, of course. These were a fun twist to the classic peanut butter cookie. I like to mix it up and try different cookies. Sometimes they're good, sometimes not so much, but these were AMAZING!
I'm both happy and sad to report that this entire batch of cookies has been eaten. Happy they were enjoyed [and are no longer here to tempt me] but sad that I let their heavenly deliciousness cloud my motherly judgement and allow myself, Jeremy and the boys eat the ENTIRE batch within 24 HOURS. Did I mention this batch made at least 3 dozen cookies...yes, THREE dozen.
All in moderation...
Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- 1/2 c. coconut oil (expeller pressed)
- 1/2 c. butter
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 3/4 c. white sugar
- 1 c. roasted almond butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c. Old Fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together coconut oil, grapeseed oil, brown sugar, white sugar and almond butter until smooth.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
- Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix. Mix in the oats until just combined.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 12-15 minutes or until just lightly browned.
- Let cookies cool on wire racks and store in airtight container.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Another amazingly delicious snack found thanks to Pinterest. These little bites of goodness are so good, it's almost like you're eating cookie dough...without the guilt. I didn't process the almonds too much so it was more of an Almond Roca texture. Fabulous! One batch barely lasted two days.
Healthy Cookie "Dough" Bites
- 1 1/3 cup roasted almonds
- 2/3 cup Old Fashioned oatmeal
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
- In a food processor, process the almonds, oatmeal, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
- Add the honey and vanilla and process to combine.
- Next, add the chocolate chips and pulse just to combine.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls (about 1 tbsp each) and place them on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the freezer for about an hour to firm up. Store balls in a tightly covered container in the freezer or refrigerator.
I have been trying to add more variety to the boys' breakfast menu lately as I know they can get tired of the same ol' things. I'm a huge fan of muffins....especially with a cup of coffee. Yum! I try to never go into a Starbucks for this very reason.
It's torturous walking down the freshly baked goods aisle at the grocery store and seeing their enormous muffins that just beg to be gobbled up. I never buy them because I'm sure they're loaded with all kinds of bad little "goodies" my kids don't need. That's why I'm always thrilled when I find a good recipes like this one thanks to AllRecipes.com.
I made a few adjustments based on the reviews I read, and they came out absolutely delicious! Great as a quick breakfast along with maybe a hardboiled egg and piece of fruit. Unfortunately, I made the muffins over the weekend, so they didn't make it into the week. Guess I'll have to work on a new batch. I was thinking they might be great to throw in freezer then pop in microwave when they're ready to be eaten. Might be hard to test that method unless I make them in bulk. Below is my adapted recipe...
Original recipe courtesy of Zanyzaynab on AllRecipes.com
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins
Serves: 18 muffins
1 large Japanese sweet potato
2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1/8 c grapeseed oil
1/8 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c oatmeal
1/4 c demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 c almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 16 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners; set aside. Prick sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet.
2. Bake the sweet potato in the preheated oven until easily pierced with fork, about 40 minutes. (My potato still wasn't quite soft enough when I pulled it out of oven, so I popped it in microwave for about a minute. That did the trick.) When potato is cool enough to handle, peel and mash.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Stir in the grapeseed oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, honey, yogurt and mashed sweet potato just until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
5. Blend together the oatmeal, demerara sugar, almonds and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a food processor (or blender). Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins.
6. Bake muffins in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15-20 minutes. (Mine took about 20 minutes.)
I love Pinterest. Never before I have been able to find or be led to so many great ideas, recipes and blogs...all from one place. It can actually be addicting.
I attempt to justify my slight obsession by being productive with my "finds" by actually making some of them.
I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand for these healthy sweet treats so I had to make them. The verdict? Perfection! Jeremy and the boys devoured them. They taste so much like a chocolate nut brownie ball, that you'll easily forget they're made with fruit and almonds. Jeremy isn't typically fond of dates and actually told me he tried to tell himself he didn't like them even *while* he was still chewing his first bite. Lucky for me, that didn't work, and he loves them.
Definitely being added to the list of favorite recipes!
Recipe courtesy SkinnyTaste.com
No-Bake Fudgy Snow Balls
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes Servings
: 21 • Serving Size
: 1 cookie • Old Points
: 1 pt • Points+
: 2 ptsCalories
: 69.5 • Fat
: 3.8 g • Carb
: 9.2 g • Fiber
: 2.2 g • Protein
: 2.1 g
- 15 pitted dates
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup whole roasted unsalted almonds
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp water (or more if needed)
- 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
almonds to your food processor and pulse
until ground. Add
dates, cocoa powder, honey and water. Mix
until it forms a sticky mass. If it seems too dry, add a little water, 1 tsp at a time. Wash hands and using damp hands, measure
about 1 tbsp of mixture and roll into a ball. Set balls on parchment paper.
Put confectioner's sugar in a bowl. Roll
balls in your hand and then roll
Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
I try to always have almonds on hand since I know they're a healthy go-to snack. I buy them in bulk and split them up into snack bags for a quick grab-and-go. Some of those little bags, however, managed to scatter and hide themselves throughout my pantry, so when I re-organized recently, I found we actually had a lot more almonds than I'd thought we had. I've been wanting to make almond butter for a while anyway.
I didn't measure how many almonds I used, but I'd say it was about 4-6 ounces. I roasted the almonds first on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees F. I stirred them up a couple times throughout to prevent burning.
I love the smell of freshly roasted almonds!
I put them in the food processor, turned it on and let it do it's thing. Every once in a while I had to stop it and scrape the sides with a spatula.
After it blended for a while, it began to clump and then eventually started to become creamy.
I added about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to this batch of almond butter, but I'm excited to experiment with different nuts and mixtures. The following day I made another batch using raw almonds and organic virgin coconut oil. It was good, but so far, I'm partial to the roasted almond butter. Yum!
Allister loves it just about any way you serve it to him.