Archive for the ‘Kid Eats’ Category

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Tracking Pixel Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Gluten-free baking has always been very intimidating to me and I did my best for a long time to avoid it all costs. Unfortunately, with three people in our house advised to eating gluten-free, I was pushed into the gluten-free baking trenches for our family. I’m not ambitious enough to spend time mixing up my own mixes and that is why I’m excited to share with you about Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour.  Today I’m sharing this easy recipe for a Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake with all the flavor minus the gluten.

Did I mention no tricky mixing of flours or trying to perfect recipes that are already in your recipe box? Yup, Bob’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour is perfectly formulated for baked goods with terrific taste and texture with no additional modifications on your part.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

In our family, it is a tradition to make the birthday boy or girl a homemade cake to celebrate their day. My husband’s birthday was the perfect excuse to mix up a yummy cake with Bob’s Gluten-Free Flour. This rich batter is filled not only with a healthy dose of cocoa powder, but it gets a double chocolate whammy from the crushed gluten-free cookies and cream cookies that are folded right into it.

My secret weapon in any chocolate dessert is a little bit of coffee to enhance those rich chocolate flavors. I had my daughter taste the batter before the addition of coffee and after and we both agreed that it makes a really big difference in the smoothness of the flavor.

I know I don’t have to tell busy moms this, but coffee is certainly magic.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

I’ve played around with a lot of gluten-free flour mixes in our kitchen, since our family’s diagnosis, and I can confidently say that this is the first blend that I’ve tried that I can taste no difference between the all-purpose flour and this gluten-free mix. There is no mealy texture or that sense that something is just off about the mix. The cake baked up as light and puffy as any cake prepared with all-purpose flour would.

For someone who lacks gluten-free baking confidence, this blend has given me the urge to bake again and I’m already dreaming of how else I can put this blend to work for our special treats. Have no doubts that you will see many of them on the site in the upcoming months!

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Can we talk about the frosting for just one minute? MORE cookies are folded into this whipped cream cheese frosting and adds the jazz hands to this chocolate cake. Ths homemade frosting elevates and lightens the cake with it’s tangy flavor. Also, because there are not enough cookies in this, I added more cookies on top for decorating so you can have a snack in between bites.

We toted this cake to the restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday this year, in all her shining glory.

As we sat there eating, he leaned into me to say, “I keep thinking people are looking at me because it’s my birthday. I just realized that they are looking at your cake.”

Yup, it’s a showstopper.

A rousing song of happy birthday and slices shared with all at our table (and a few not at our table because CAKE), and we still had half a cake left once it had all been distributed. We offered the other half to the kitchen staff and it made me so happy to see it being sliced and enjoyed by everyone.

For several years, I worked as a waitress and I remember those long days worked for tips. It’s why we always try to go the extra mile when we dine out and this was just one more way we could show our appreciation for those who care for us.

Homemade cakes really do bring people together and I couldn’t stop the goofy grin on my face from seeing everyone enjoy this sweet treat, as I carried my empty cake stand home. My husband also left with the same grin, after a great meal shared with family and our new friends. He really felt celebrated this year.

Please add this cake and Bob’s Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour to your menu planner and grocery list. I promise, you won’t ever miss the gluten in this rich and delicious cookies and cream cake. This is a cake that’s meant to be shared so find a way to make that happen too. I bet you’ll gain a few new friends in the process!

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A gluten-free cookies and cream cake perfect for celebrating all of life's occasions!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 1½ cups finely crumbled gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3¾ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1½ cups finely crumbled gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two (9-inch) cake pans with cooking spray and dust with gluten-free flour.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time, and beat until well mixed, then add in the melted butter. Mix well to combine. Next, add the buttermilk and coffee and beat until smooth. Fold in the crumbled cookies with a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 30-33 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, on a rack, in the pans for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a rack and let cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla. Add in the confectioners' sugar, ½ cup at a time, until smooth. Beat in the crumbled cookies.
  5. Once the cake has fully cooled, add a layer of frosting on the top of one cake layer and then stack the second one on top. Finish with more frosting on top. This recipe yields enough to also frost the sides of the cake, if you desire. Finish with more cookies (whole or crushed) to add decoration to the top of your cake.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday. We have celebrated with homemade Shamrock Shakes and ate a delicious Rainbow Cake in a Jar complete with Cloud Frosting.

As my kids get older, we seem to get busier so I wanted to share a treat that any busy mom could prepare or that your older children could prepare with a little supervision from you. The best part about these is that this is a treat that you can create for your gluten-free child by utilizing you favorite gluten-free mini pretzel. Rolos and plain M&M’s are also gluten-free treats, but always make sure that you check the back of the bag since seasonal candies can affect the factory line and introduce allergens that are not typically present.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Shamrock Pretzel Pops

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 bag of plain M&M’s (have your child help you sort all the green ones out for this treat)

1 bag of mini pretzels (regular or gluten-free)

1 bag of Rolos

Wilton Lollipop Sticks

Parchment Paper

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. Preheat your oven for 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and assemble your pretzels into a clover shape as shown above.

2. Add a Rolo in the center of each of your clovers. Gently take your cookie sheet over to your oven and slide your cookie sheet into the oven. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the Rolo has just begun to melt.

3. Pull out the cookie sheet and carefully insert a lollipop stick in through the Rolo while carefully placing an M&M in the center. Repeat until finished. It’s important to do this step while they are still warm, as these harden quickly once they cool.

4. Allow them to cool fully before removing from the cookie sheet and carefully peel them off of the parchment paper. Ta-da! Treats for everyone!

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

 

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

I just love the simplicity and festivity of this adorable treat. My kids loved it too and it was a fun way for this Irish-at-heart family to celebrate this fun holiday!

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Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté from MomAdvice.com This post was created in partnership with Honeysuckle White. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

One of my favorite dishes is a delicious green bean sauté spooned over a big platter of rice that I had discovered at my favorite Chinese restaurant. The crunchy green beans adds a fresh flavor and texture to contrast with the heartiness of the meat in this dish. You would think it would be bland, but the layers of salt and spice make it a flavorful dish that I crave often.

I can also admit that this highly addictive dish is usually ate in record time and I am always left wanting more.

Did anyone witness me slamming this dish in three seconds flat?

I hope not.

It has been on my cooking bucket list to create this dish at home to save some money and to indulge in it a little more regularly with wild abandon. What could be healthier than a big dose of veggies and protein to start your new year of cooking out right?

My partnership with Honeysuckle White seemed the perfect excuse to add this meal to our planner to share with you.

Riverhill Farms in Virginia Riverhill Farms in Virginia Riverhill Farms in Virginia

It has been a unique experience to now feel a deeper connection with our food this year, thanks to this fun partnership. I was invited out to Virginia to tour the River Hill Farms, one of the 700 independent family farmers that works with Honeysuckle White. Not only did we discover they are well-trained in animal handling practices, but they also happen to exceed the standards and they wanted to share that experience with us.

Glenn & Sheri Rhodes were so gracious to open up their farm to us and the pride they feel for the land and their animals was felt by all of us as we visited their gorgeous property.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I received the invitation and was so pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the beauty all around us. The farm was beautifully kept, the spaces were generous for the animals, and it is so good to know that the farm is committed to raising their turkeys without any growth-promoting antibiotics, hormones, or steroids.

As if that wasn’t lovely enough, Glenn made us all some good old-fashioned kettle corn that we shared over snacks and discussed his life’s work and the pride he has felt for his farm.

My great-grandfather was one of the hardest working farmers that I had ever known and I felt that same sense of warmth, family, and commitment to good work in both Glenn & Sheri. It felt a little like the summers that were spent on my grandparent’s porch after their long day of hard work and good food.

Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté from MomAdvice.com

As the new year begins, I know many are making resolutions like eating at home more and eating better food for your health. If you are trying to reach a weight-loss goal this year, it’s good to know that turkey has more protein, fewer calories, and less total fat and cholesterol than chicken. When mixed with this delicious combination of sauces and spices, you will also find that it increases the flavor and you may even forget that you are eating such a lean and smart protein.

This dish has A LOT of kick, thanks to the chili garlic sauce, but you can crank it down with less or add more for some FIRE in your tummy!

Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté from MomAdvice.com Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté from MomAdvice.com Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté from MomAdvice.com

I was looking forward to binging on these leftovers with a Netflix marathon, but once my kids dug into this, they seemed to be overcome by the same shovel-it-all-up-in-your-face-in-three-seconds struggle that I have.

No green bean was left behind which is an awesome rarity in our house.

How can I complain about that?

You must give this recipe a try and save your family loads of money on this delicious and healthy takeout dish made at home!  I have already added it to our menu planner again for this week and hope you enjoy this one half as much as we did! A huge thank you to Honeysuckle White for sharing a little behind-the-scenes on how their products are made and their commitment to delivering the best quality at the lowest price.

Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Green beans and ground turkey are loaded up with delicious Asian flavors and served over rice for a healthy and delicious way to start your new year!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups medium-grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 pound Honeysuckle White ground turkey
  • ½ tablespoon chili garlic sauce (this is spicy for us, increase or decrease to your own personal taste)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 pound washed and trimmed green beans
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice as directed on packaging.
  2. Place a separate skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil, and sauté garlic for one minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add ground turkey to the skillet and sauté 3-5 minutes, until meat is mostly cooked, breaking the meat up with your spoon.
  4. In a small bowl mix together chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and soy sauce and stir to coat. Pour this sauce over the ground beef and add back in the green beans, stirring to coat everything fully.
  5. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender.
  6. Stir in rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice.

This post was created in partnership with Honeysuckle White. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

 

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3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com

I have heard from so many of you that you are so excited about your new Instant Pot purchases for the holidays, but are also feeling a little perplexed about what to do with that gadget you just scored.  I remember feeling the same way when I got mine and now that I’ve been enjoying it for the last few months, I can honestly say that it has saved us a bundle on dining out thanks to its speedy cooking.

In fact, it has helped me feel more confident taking on dishes that I normally would never try, whether it is because of time constraints or complete intimidation, allowing for a lot more variety in our rather tired menu plan that had I had been executing month after month.

Of all the dishes that we have made in our pressure cooker, I must say that the biggest hit has been these easy 3-ingredient ribs that you can make in your Instant Pot. Ribs are something I have often thought of adding to our menu plan, but I just didn’t think they could ever taste as good as what we would get out in restaurants especially on a busy weeknight. I must say though,  these ribs are BETTER than many restaurants we have been to and are fall-off-the-bone tender every single time.

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com

I have done a rack of Baby Back Ribs in my 6-quart Instant Pot and I have even been able to fit up to two racks in this size cooker without any trouble, although it is a much tighter squeeze than a single rack. Cut your ribs into thirds so you can fit them in comfortably.  Add a cup of beef broth in your cooker and put your steaming rack inside (that little rack that came with your cooker!). Season your ribs generously with salt and pepper and place these on top of the steaming rack.

Lock that baby up, press the meat button on the front, and adjust the timer to 30 minutes.

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com

While the ribs are cooking, line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl, pour in your favorite barbecue sauce for brushing.  This one is always a Clark favorite from the supermarket, but I’d love to hear if you think there are any others we should try!

After the Instant Pot beeps, do a quick release on that valve on the top.

Don’t know what a quick release is?

No problem!

This just means that you are going to move your valve from Sealed to Venting and allow all that steam to come out quickly instead of letting it release pressure on its own. It is going to REALLY steam so make sure you are prepared for that and keep it away from your cabinets, face, and hands. Also don’t scream because you will want to the first time. It’s terrifying.

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

 

Almost all the recipes I do usually say to do this Quick Release method, rather than a Natural Pressure Release, where you sit around just waiting and letting that pressure to come down on its own which can take on up to 30 minutes.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. We already had to wait for the pressure to build, people, we can’t sit around waiting for the pressure in this gadget to subside. We are BUSY!

After the pressure has released, remove the lid and carefully take out those ribs with a pair of tongs and place them on your lined cookie sheet. Starting with the back of the rib, brush them each generously with sauce.

Turn on your broiler on your oven and slide the ribs in for 3-4 minutes, watching them carefully so they don’t burn.

Flip them over, and repeat with the other side of the ribs.

Finish by cutting them into sections and serving with additional barbecue sauce.

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com

HELLO, HEAVEN! These are SUCH A HIT at our house and I’m guessing they will be a hit at yours too. Keep in mind, if you are new to the Instant Pot cult (totally a thing!), that it takes awhile for these to come to pressure so give yourself a 20-25 minute allowance before that stated 30-minute cooking time I’m sharing.

We have loved these so much that they have become the new birthday request and we even took a couple of racks of these and my Instant Pot on vacation so we could enjoy this yummy treat while we were renting our beach house on break. I now make it a regular habit to keep my eyes peeled in our grocery flier for any sales on racks of ribs to keep stocked in our freezer.

I hope to share many more recipes in the upcoming weeks with you! If you are on the hunt for great cookbooks to make the most of your Instant Pot this one, this one, and this one are all excellent books for a newbie Instant Pot cult member (totally a thing- I’m serious!).

I can’t wait to hear what you think of these 3-ingredient Instant Pot Ribs!

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs from MomAdvice.com

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
These ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and can be prepared with your favorite barbecue sauce. These are just one (of many) reasons to get an Instant Pot.
Ingredients
  • 1 or 2 racks of pork baby back ribs
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Barbecue Sauce
Instructions
  1. Cut the racks of ribs into thirds and season generously with salt and pepper. (Note- if you prefer to add a rub on your ribs, this is where you would do that!)
  2. Pour beef broth in the bottom of the pot, place the steaming rack inside, and put the seasoned ribs on top.
  3. Lock the lid, select the Meat function, and set timer for 30 minutes.
  4. Quick release your valve after the timer beeps and remove the ribs from the cooker. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (prepared with cooking spray) and brush on your barbecue sauce on the back side of the ribs.
  5. Broil the ribs for 3-4 minutes (watching carefully to prevent charring), flip the ribs over and brush the other side with barbecue sauce. Broil that side again for 3-4 minutes. Place on platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce on the side.

 

Don’t forget to check out my first recipe Instant Pot Korean Street Tacos for another fun weeknight meal! What is your favorite thing to create in your Instant Pot?

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

 

 

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish from MomAdvice.com This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

“I could eat breakfast for every meal,” is a common phrase spoken in our house. For us, breakfast is a feast that should be enjoyed anytime of the day and a sweet luxury when indulged in at our favorite restaurants. Simple ingredients like eggs, potatoes, and bacon all feel elevated though when combined into an elegant skillet dish and these are dishes I choose most often when we go out for a family brunch.

Why do I feel I have to go out to eat to enjoy a skillet dish?

Well, I don’t feel that way anymore!

There is no need to spend a fortune dining out when you can enjoy this breakfast treat at home! Today’s recipe is created in partnership with with Honeysuckle White as we put their delicious Smoked Turkey Bacon to work in this beautiful Spinach & Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish. Thanks to their commitment to keep their products affordable for their consumers, all while retaining the highest quality meats, this entire skillet dish will cost you less than one meal out.

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish from MomAdvice.com

One of the reasons I really love these skillet dishes is that this can be a great way to put leftover ingredients to work in your kitchen. Thanksgiving season, as we have discovered, is when our fridge is loaded with odds and ends that need to be used. Last night’s roasted potatoes, for example, can be used as the base in your skillet. Odds and ends from your produce drawer, like mushrooms or spinach, can be woven into your potato base. Goat, parmesan, cheddar, or blue cheese can also be added for a creamy element.

One thing that I bet you not to sacrifice  though is the salty addition of the bacon for a perfect finishing touch on your dish.

Turkey bacon is a great way to get that salty addition, but with 50% less fat in your dish, giving you all the flavor without all the guilt.

If you are gluten-free, you’ll be happy to know that this bacon is a gluten-free product. It also contains no added hormones or steroids and no growth-promoting hormones. They even let you virtually meet the farmers on their products so you can get to know exactly where your meat is coming from.

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish from MomAdvice.com

One of my favorite food combos is spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and I thought the addition of these would compliment this dish perfectly. To save time, look for bags of already julienned sun-dried tomatoes to save you some chopping time in the kitchen.

To save even more time on this dish, I’ve discovered that my Instant Pot is an incredible gift for making quick work of cooking potatoes for the week. Simply add a cup of water to the bottom of the pot, pierce your potatoes (I put in as many as I can fit!), lock the lid, and cook on manual pressure for 10 minutes. I then quick release the pressure and dice up the potatoes for our dishes or  make delicious baked potatoes out of them by finishing them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees, slathered in olive oil and rolled in kosher salt!

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can still make quicker work by starting those potatoes in the microwave, a technique that we have used often in our house. Once again, just prick the potatoes and then microwave on high for five minutes. Give them a few minutes to cool, and then you can start chopping them into cubes for your skillet.

I hope this dish inspires you to create your own skillet dish in the kitchen and, perhaps, put a few of those delicious Thanksgiving leftovers to work in a skillet of your own.

For more great turkey inspiration, be sure to check out my Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Turkey that I also created this month!

 

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish from MomAdvice.com

Spinach and Turkey Bacon Skillet Dish
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Serve this healthy skillet dish packed with veggies and protein for your next brunch with any combination of odds and ends in your refrigerator. This recipe is a gluten-free crowd pleaser!
Ingredients
  • 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed (skin left on)
  • 3 slices Honeysuckle White Smoked Turkey Bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Prick potato in several spots in a fork; microwave on High for 4 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then chop into ½-inch cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium-high heat in a skillet until crisp (following directions on packaging for timing). Remove the bacon from the skillet, but leave the bacon drippings in the pan. Add oil, diced potatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are browned, about 5 minutes. Add spinach; stir to combine and just wilt, about 1 minute. Season with salt.
  3. Make 4 wells in the center of the hash and crack one egg into each well. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the eggs are partially set, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with a lid and cook until the eggs whites are completely set, 1 to 2 minutes. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top. Garnish with a generous grinding of pepper.

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

 

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Brain Food: Trail Mix Energy Bites

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

I’m partnering today with Workman Publishing to chat a little more about our family’s genuine love for the new Big Fat Notebooks series, perfect for your middle school child, and to share a fun brain food snack to pair with these fun books!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

Last month I shared with you my car organizing strategies (I can’t believe it still looks REALLY good, you guys!! Miracles DO happen!) and how we have incorporated these books into our car time as a great activity to make the most of those moments. Just like I love to take in a good audiobook or a podcast while I am driving, I love that this pocket of time is perfect for some fun learning on the way for my kids. Why not make the most of all those wasted minutes?

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

I know I have said it before, but these books are F-U-N. I am actually going to include these in our holiday gift guide because I think they make an incredible gift for any kid. As you can see, they are adorably illustrated and even the font choice makes it not feel like a textbook, but more like a Diary of a Wimpy Kid escape.

Do you remember that show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Since my daughter has been asking me questions about the things she has been learning from this book and reciting trivia on different subjects, I can tell you that I am, indeed, NOT.

Hey, I can’t be good at everything!

There are five books in this fun series and each is the only book you need for each main subject taught in middle school: Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts, and World History. Did I mention that they meet  Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state history standards?

Yup, pretty awesome stuff.

You can find these fantastic books at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, or Workman.

Here are 4 fun free Big Fat Notebooks worksheets to get you started! 

Thinking Like a Scientist

How to Take Great Notes

Displaying Data

Ancient Egypt Timeline

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

In honor of fueling our brains, I wanted to create a brain food treat that the whole family will enjoy and requires ZERO baking. Holla!  I am a big fan of energy bites and this little bite is filled with a protein-rich trail mix that is bound together with peanut butter, oatmeal, and quinoa.

I loved these plain, but I thought they could benefit from a little crunch so I toasted up quinoa in a skillet (watch out, it pops!!) and rolled these trail mix bites into the toasty quinoa for a crunchy coating that reminds me of sesame seeds or even rice cereal.

What Makes These Trail Mix Bites Good Fuel for Your Brain?

Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, a major building block of brain cells that are critical for a good memory and stable mood (AKA, they fight the HANGRY!). They are also rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It takes all these important nutrients to help keep your brain functioning well.

Quinoa is our binding agent and our crispy coating and it also contains vital nutrients for your noggin. Quinoa is so easy to prepare in a rice cooker (this tutorial should help!) and happens to be one of my favorite gluten-free indulgences. Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. It also is a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, contains B Vitamins, and iron. All such good stuff to help your brain!

I hope you can share this delicious brain food (both the treat AND the incredible Big Fat Notebooks with your kids. They truly make learning fun and I’m so happy our family got to share about these with you!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

Trail Mix Energy Bites
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Fuel your brain with these delicious energy bites that provide vital nutrients and vitamins. Packed with quinoa, these gluten-free treats are satisfying and filling!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (check the post above for cooking directions or follow packaging)
  • 1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup dry roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
Instructions
  1. In a dry skillet, heat it to medium heat and toast the uncooked quinoa for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the energy bite to look golden. Be careful, quinoa does pop!
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the other ingredients until they are incorporated well.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then begin scooping & rolling the balls (I like a cookie dough scooper for this).
  4. Roll each ball into the toasted quinoa, coating all sides evenly. Place on the parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all of the batter has been used.
  5. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove and then place them in an airtight container for snacking.

 Recipe Adapted from The Baker Mama

 This post was sponsored by Workman Publishing and Big Fat Notebooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Be sure to follow the Workman Blog for more great ideas!

How To Make Smoothie Bowls (GIVEAWAY with Mamma Chia!!)

Monday, September 19th, 2016

How to Make Smoothie Bowls Tutorial This post is sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

I am always on the hunt for great post-workout snacks that can keep me fueled throughout the day.  Today I wanted to share with you how to make two delicious smoothie bowls and I am pairing them with a fun new drink from Mamma Chia, called Chia Energy Beverages,  that you can now find on Walmart shelves.  Doesn’t that sound like a delicious pairing?

Mamma Chia at Walmart

I always struggle with finding new things at the store so, in case you are on the hunt, I wanted to show you where you can find them at Walmart. These drinks can be found in the produce section at the front of the store.  Our drinks were on full display on the top shelves and come in 4 flavors: Grape Power, Cherry Charge, Blackberry Blast, & Raspberry Razz. These drinks are the first beverage that combine chia with the energy of guayusa.

For those of us with a coffee addiction (ahem!), these are a great way to get energy for the day without that caffeine crash.

Caffeine crashes are THE WORST.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com As you know, I have been struggling with my health and I am really committed to eating better so that I can improve how I feel. The founder of Mamma Chia, Janie Hoffman, was also struggling with many debilitating autoimmune disorders and found a great deal of relief from adding chia into her diet. Her mission was to share that gift with others so that they can experience the health benefits too. I also love that the company donates a portion of their proceeds to support farmers, community groups, & organizations that build healthy, local food systems. 

It makes you feel doubly good about your purchase!

Today I thought I would incorporate the power of chia, not only in our drink, but as a topping in a healthy smoothie bowl. Chia is actually considered a superfood because chia seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. They also help you to sustain energy levels naturally while helping you stay fuller longer.

Today we are topping our smoothie bowls with chia. If you haven’t had a smoothie bowl before, you are in for a treat.  I understand that many fancy-schmancy breakfast joints serve these now.

How lucky are you that you can save some money and make these at home for a fraction of the cost?

Let me share two recipes for smoothie bowsl with you and don’t forget to stick around to the bottom of this post for our giveaway with Mamma Chia- yay! 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

The idea is to make the smoothie thicker (make sure you have a powerful blender for this one) by using less liquid to create a thicker consistency. The fun part is the layering of delicious additions on top.

On this Chocolate Cherry Bowl, I have topped it with fresh raspberries, toasted coconut, & more chia. Try any combination of flavors you like though!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
 
Smoothie bowls make the perfect snack or breakfast. Top with your favorite oatmeal toppings or try our suggestions for a healthy start to your day.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup avocado
  • ¼ plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Toppings: toasted coconut, berries, chia
Instructions
  1. Combine all smoothie bowl ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

I love berry anything and I loved pairing a Raspberry Smoothie Bowl with the delicious flavor of the Chia Energy Blackberry Blast drink. I still wanted some of the chocolate flavor in this one so I topped it with a chocolate granola, and chia.  The vibrant hue from the raspberries in this one make such a pretty bowl, don’t they?

This is certainly a powerful motivator to get my workout done so I can enjoy this snack when I get home.

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
 
Give me all the berries! This Raspberry Smoothie Bowl is packed with berries and can be topped with crunchy granola, chia, and more berries for a fun post-workout treat.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Toppings: granola, raspberries, blueberries, and chia
Instructions
  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.

Mamma Chia Energy Beverages

Today I’m giving away to one lucky winner a $50 prize pack from Mamma Chia that will include one each of the Mamma Chia’s new organic Chia Energy Beverages and some of their other delicious products. Please enter the giveaway in the widget below and I hope this post inspires you to give these new drinks a try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com This post was sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

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Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal (& Tips for Perfect Slow-Cooked Oats)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

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It’s become an embarrassing pattern of mine to make a resolution every year to be better about eating breakfast. Each time, I start on the path towards healthy eating. However, as life becomes fuller and mornings more hectic, I find that eating a good breakfast often gets pushed to the side.

This year, I discovered how invaluable my slow cooker was in creating a beautiful, hot breakfast for my entire family that I could serve in the morning and enjoy for mornings to come. I could also serve it as a midday pick-me-up or as a healthy late- night snack. The discovery might seem a bit old-fashioned, but a batch of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. This isn’t just any old oatmeal though—this oatmeal is made from delicious steel cut oats.

What’s the difference between rolled oats and steel cut oats? Well, a part of it is their structure and the other part is the way that our body digests them. While both contain whole grain oats, they are processed differently. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted, ending up as thin flakes. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces.

The reason steel cut oats are so awesome is because they digest more slowly than rolled ones, leaving you fuller longer. Like all other grains in whole or cracked form, steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index than rolled oats. This just means that it takes longer for digestive enzymes to reach the starch inside the thicker pieces, slowing down its conversion to sugar. For me, those highs and lows are some rough stuff, and I’ve found that a bowl of steel cut oats keeps my blood sugar much steadier.

I make a variety of different oatmeal recipes in my slow cooker and have found one thing to be consistent no matter what kind I make. Can I let you in on my little secret? I absolutely hate cleaning the slow cooker after making oatmeal. I also hate that the oats can get crusty pretty quickly on the edges, yielding a less than creamy bowl even when I have the perfect liquid ratios.

How to make slow cooker oatmeal

Let me share my secret that yields the most perfect and creamy bowl you can imagine and it is probably something you already have in your kitchen:

1. Find an oven-safe dish that fits inside of your slow cooker and fill that dish with all of your ingredients for your oatmeal.

2. Fill a measuring cup with water and pour the water around your dish, just to about the halfway point. This creates a warm water bath (a lot like those candles we made this summer) and helps your oatmeal to cook more evenly yet remain delightfully creamy.

3. Put a lid on the slow cooker (no need to double lid) and set it to cook for eight hours. It’s okay if your slow cooker switches to “warm” in the night. Thanks to your water bath, your oats will not get overcooked, but stay hot until you wake up!

slow-cooker-creamy-coconut-oatmeal

Once you have that perfect bowl of oatmeal, you can add your favorite toppings to it or create a quick toppings bar of ingredients for the week. For this Creamy Coconut Oatmeal recipe, I found the taste of rich blackberries and toasty almonds to be a delightful way to top it!

Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal (& Tips for Perfect Slow-Cooked Oats)
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups steel cut oatmeal (no substitutions)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar (can omit if topping with brown sugar)
  • 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in your Kenmore slow cooker as I have shown you above.
  2. Cook on low for eight hours.
  3. Serve with your favorite oatmeal toppings like berries, dried fruits, nuts, granola, nut butters, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, or additional milk for topping.

 I can’t wait to hear what you think about this technique for perfectly cooked oatmeal and hope you can get the year started out right with this easy breakfast option!

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DIY Snack Station

Monday, August 15th, 2016

diy-snack-station

This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I became a mom, I began to realize the beauty in one-handed snacks. When my babies were small, I had a hard time holding a baby and feeding myself so I created a basket of one-handed snacks that would keep me fueled throughout the day.

Now that my kids are older, you would think that I would have loads more time to care for myself.  I have found though that although my children aren’t necessarily as demanding as they were, their activity schedule certainly is. I am still struggling to keep myself fueled as we run from activity to activity.

If you struggle with keeping yourself AND your kids fueled, I wanted to share with you a fun snack station we created to encourage ALL of us to grab healthy snacks more regularly. This diy snack station was made with a basic small bar cart and is fully stocked for our whole family.

DIY Snack Station Tutorial

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I headed to my local superstore to gather up four metal pails that had chalkboard labels on front for our little diy snack station and found this sweet little bar cart on summer clearance for 75% off. This is the perfect time to stock up on this summer entertaining accessory and keep it on budget for your family.

We then headed on over to Kroger  (check out the store locator to find one near you!) to grab some healthy options for our snack cart. The beauty in the chalkboard labeling is that you can switch snacks based on what’s in season, what’s on sale, or what you are craving that week. Have your kids be in charge of the labeling to work on mastering their spelling!

Our four pails had bananas (separated for easy grabbing), raisins/nut mixes, Jack Link’s in a few varieties, and crackers with peanut butter. On the bottom tier, I added apples and oranges, a variety of flavored waters, and some fun straws for sipping.

diy-snack-station (2)

Snacks with lots of protein are my favorite because they stop the HANGRY from coming on.

Tell me that you know a little about hangry moments too please! I need to know I’m not alone in this!

As someone who fights low blood sugar (as do my children), I have found that protein keeps me from fighting those sugar highs and lows.

Beef jerky can be a great protein-filled option and Jack Link’s is protein-packed with a whopping 12 grams of protein.  I like that you don’t have to be limited to just one flavor because it comes in tons of varieties. From the soy and ginger combo in Teriyaki, to a layer of coarse pepper in their Peppered option, to the smoky mesquite flavoring of their Original turkey, to the bold and savory offerings of their Jack Link’s Original. We are big fans of these options for keeping the hangry at bay.

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For a sweet and savory combo, pair your jerky with fresh fruit for a balanced snack. Bananas always offer a good bang for your buck, apples can be sliced for eating on-the-go, and easy-to-peel clementine’s are always a big favorite in our house. Be sure to look for fruit that is on season for the most affordable (and freshest) options.

We are also really big fans of flavored waters in our house. It makes drinking water a little bit more fun.

A pretty papered straw doesn’t hurt either. What can I say? I am a blogger and paper straws are kind of a requirement over here.

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We hope this post inspires you to create a snack station for your own family! We are thankful to have one at our house as we head back to the grind of school and activities. It is so nice to know that one-handed snacks are on hand for life’s busy moments!

This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to Create a Family Cookbook With Your Kids

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

How to create a family cookbook with your kids

Have you ever wanted to tackle making a family cookbook with your kids? I’m so excited to show you how we made a scrapbook of our favorite foods and food traditions together. Making a cookbook with your kids is a fun activity that any family can do together and we are so excited to show you how we created ours.

Making a kids cookbook

If you know us, one thing that our family is big on is traditions created around the dinner table. Whether it is our pizza night on Fridays, our waffle tradition on Sundays, or the way we commemorate every little occasion in life, we somehow find a fun food tradition to surround the event. This creative project is a way to truly document those food traditions by creating a family cookbook with your kids that can be a fun project to create together as well as a legacy of your family traditions to pass down to future generations.

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Supplies Needed

*affiliate links used to provide examples

12×12 Scrapbook Album, 10-page (or more)
12×12 sheets of scrapbook paper in neutral tones
Washi tape
Photo stickers or mounts
Markers (in various colors)
Stickers with food & cooking utensils
Colorful labels
Small scrapbooking cards to write your documentation on
Fun zig-zag scissors (optional)
Pictures of your favorite dishes
Recipes (printed out or written on recipe cards)

Making a cookbook with your kids

Instructions for Making A Family Cookbook

1) Begin by cutting out and assembling the items you would like on your page by laying them out and positioning them on each page. I like to cut my recipes out with zig-zag scissors to add a creative detail.

2) Once you figure out the placement of your items, mount pictures and recipes with double stick tape or photo stickers on the back and secure them to your page.

3) Have your children answer writing prompts on scrapbook labels or have them draw pictures of their favorite foods. Secure these additions with colorful washi tape. You can also add your own reflections on the pages to finish your pages.

4) Have kids finish the project by adding stickers to the pages or filling in sticker labels. Be creative with sticker placement, placing them even on the pictures and recipes themselves.

5) Finish by sliding the finished sheets into the sleeves of your scrapbook album. Repeat this same five step process with the rest of your sheets.

Kid made cookbook pages

Here is how our family cookbook turned out- we are so proud of how it turned out and it was such a fun activity to do together!

If you are unsure about theme ideas for your pages, here are a few fun recommendations:

  • Family Food Traditions
  • Dad or Mom’s Favorite Dishes
  • Your Child’s Favorite Dish
  • Cool Food We Tried
  • Holiday Food
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Back to School Traditions
  • Food Through the Generations (sharing those recipes from your extended family)
  • Grilling Out
  • Birthday Cakes/Parties

kid_made_cookbook

As a mom, this activity truly brought so much joy to me and to my kids. With everything digital, I have grown increasingly bad about printing pictures and handwritten documentation of my memories. This project truly served as a reminder how wonderful it is to see my children’s handwriting and pictures as well as how much it might mean to them to see their mother’s handwriting (as pitiful as it may be!).

I hope you consider this family activity as a way to preserve your family & food traditions for future generations. I promise that it will bring so much joy to your life and will be something that your kids will truly enjoy doing with you!

What are some of your family traditions – do they center around food like ours?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!

 

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