Kindergarten & 3’s School Brunch

TGIF. We made it through another week. Mostly unscathed! I am looking forward to the weekend, however. I’m so tired!

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I packed brunch for my boys’ lunches tomorrow. I made sunbutter and strawberry jam pancake sandwiches. I stuck tiny dinos on them, just for fun. I also packed colby jack cheese cubes, diced peaches, cotton candy grapes, and a few yogurt covered pretzels for dessert.

** This would also make a fun breakfast bento! **

Happy Friday!

Kristin

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Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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I have a very tumultuous relationship with banana bread. I either LOVE it or it just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know what it is. I love a dense cake, but dense banana bread is sort of meh.

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But, I just came across a new recipe…

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And it changed me…

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…FOREVER.

This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread recipe yields the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, chewy and crusty.

You simply MUST try it, especially if you are broken up with banana bread, as I was. Now we’re back on. Here’s to a long and successful future!

Cinnamon Swirled Banana Bread

** I didn’t use the banana on the top, and I also made two smaller loaves**

Kristin

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

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Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( šŸ˜¦ ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.

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Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. šŸ˜€

I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.

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These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.

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You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I canĀ barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C oats

1/2 C coconut

1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)

1/4 t salt

1/2 C peanut butter

3/4 C honey

1 T Ā oil (I used coconut)

3Ā T brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 t oil (I used coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish. Ā Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.

To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.

Cut and serve.

These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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A Work Week’s Worth of Overnight Oats

It’s summertime and the living’s…definitely busier than our school year! The mornings, especially, have been busy. To ease into my early mornings (sidenote: whyyyyy are my kids waking up so early during summer break???), I’ve been making overnight oats the night before, so that I might have an already-ready breakfast, that is both really delicious and really filling. It’s been very helpful in getting my day moving.

Simply put, overnight oats is (are?) oatmeal, made the night before (or at the very least, an hour before consuming). It is a great time-saving breakfast. Oatmeal is very filling (and high in fiber), and helps me to snack less between breakfast and lunch.

The formula to making overnight oats is very simple – equal part oats and liquids. For my liquid component, I use both unsweetened coconut milk and Greek yogurt. I also like to add chia seeds (high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, andĀ Omega-3 fatty acids) and [golden] ground flaxseed (high in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber). The more ground flaxseed I add, I find that I need to add a little more liquid. You can choose whatever toppings you enjoy – fruit, jam, chocolate, coconut, nuts, etc. You can eat it hot or cold. I rather enjoy it cold.

Below are some of the delicious flavors I made this week.

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Berry Crumble Overnight Oats

1/2 C oats

1/4 C coconut milk

1/4 C plain Greek yogurt

Almond extract

Strawberries

Raspberries

Mix liquids and oats together. Layer with toppings in a container. Store in refrigerator overnight (or for an hour, at the least).

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Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats

1/2 C oats

1/4 C vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 C coconut milk

Vanilla extract

Chia seeds

Ground flaxseed

Peaches

Sliced almonds

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Mango Coconut Overnight Oats

1/2 C oats

1/4 C vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 C coconut milk

VanillaĀ bean paste

1 T coconut oil

Chia seeds

Ground flaxseed

Mango

Sliced almonds

Coconut flakes

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Blueberry Peach Overnight Oats

1/2 C oats

1/4 C vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 C coconut milk

Vanilla extract

Chia seeds

Ground flaxseed

Peaches

Peach Jam

Blueberries

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Strawberry Nutella Overnight Oats

1/2 C oats

1/4 C vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 C coconut milk

1 T coconut Oil

Vanilla extract

Chia seeds

Ground flaxseed

Strawberries

Nutella

Enjoy!!

Kristin

Breakfast Rice Bowls with Sausage and Fried Eggs

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It was 5:35pm, and I knew my husband and oldest son would be getting home from karate just after 6:00pm.Ā I had mild Italian sausage (no casing), thawed on the counter. LikeĀ usual, I had no idea what to make. And like usual, I made something up on the fly. Unlike usual, it worked. It was a quick and super delicious meal. I decided to make rice bowls, with sausage patties and fried eggs. This was delicious at dinner, but would be incredible for breakfast, as well.

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You won’t be disappointed, if you try this.

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Breakfast Rice Bowls with Sausage and Fried Eggs

1 lb mild Italian sausage, without the casing (if it is in the casing, just squeeze it out)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 C bread crumbs (I used gluten free)

S&P

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Jasmine rice, cooked as directed

Eggs

Scallions

Red pepper flakes

*any other spices you want can be added in*

*this would be good with almost any vegetable mixed in, or any type of ground meat*

Mix all the above ingredients together. Form into patties and pan fry (I used a mixture of peanut and olive oil). Once seared on both sides, add some water to your pan and cover. This will cook the inside of the sausage patties.

While those are cooking, make your rice. Lastly, make your egg. You can cook it however you want, but for me, a fried egg is magical. The way that the yolk coats everything…incredible.

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I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

Kristin

Annnnd, one more gratuitous yolk picture…

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Crepe VPK & Mom’s Morning Out Lunches

When I was in high school, I went to France with my parents. While I appreciated it as much as any snotty-nosed punk high school girl who was away from her boyfriend would (aka not as much as I would now), it was an amazing trip. I saw priceless art that I may never have the opportunity to see again, I stood in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, I saw king’s castles, I did loads of shopping (I brought back clothes that wouldn’t even be in style in the States for over six months – sure, many of my classmates laughed at the styles then, but they appreciated it later), I went to a high fashion show, and I ate. Lots of good food, including many delicious crepes – some filled with ham, broccoli, and cheese, and some with Nutella and raspberries. All of them delicious, wrapped up in a cone shape, still steaming in the Paris air.

When I found a crepe recipe in my 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, it brought me back to that fab trip to Paris. While I had never made a crepe before, I thought it would be “similar” to pancakes. Boy, was I “wrong” (I feel like Joey on Friends, using his air quotes incorrectly). After many tries, I was able to make 3Ā decent crepes that would suffice for my boys’ school lunches (the recipe makes 16-18 thin crepes). Practice makes perfect, right?

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For my Bigs, I packed two crepes, some maple syrup, and some raspberry jam for dipping. I also packed a mandarin orange, blueberries, a few cinnamon apple sticks from Trader Joe’s, and a yogurt squeeze.

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My Smalls requested peanut butter for dipping, so I packed that and one crepe. I also packed blueberries (he likes those now), raisins, and a few cinnamon apple straws. He will haveĀ peanuts and applesauce for snack.

Here is the link to the recipe. I added almond extract.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/08/16/recipe-crepes-for-breakfast-or-dessert/

Au revoir,

Kristin

Shortcut Shortstacks for Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. And it coincides with Pancake Day. I read, today, that people who would be giving up sugar, eggs, and/or milk for Lent would feast on pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday in an effort to rid their pantries of those ingredients so that they would not go bad. Is that as fascinating to you as it is to me? What areĀ you giving up for Lent? I have decided to give up desserts (save for a few pieces of birthday cake for a few important birthdays). #amicrazy #yes

To keep with this newly found (to me) tradition, I made gluten and dairy free pancakes for dinner tonight, with a fresh strawberry sauce and creamed honey (from Trader Joe’s – one of the best purchases of my life).

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I used a shortcut King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix and made it even better.

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These were SO good. I am embarrassed to say that I allowed my Bigs to eat, um, eight of these. Smalls ate a few less and without strawberry sauce (he is on a no strawberry kick).

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Gluten & Dairy Free Shrove Shortcut Shortstacks

1 pkg King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix (15 oz.)

2 large eggs

4 T coconut oil (you can use other oils or 6 T melted butter)

2 C milk (I used 1 C cashew milk, 1 C coconut milk)

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 t almond extract

Whisk together the eggs, oil (or butter), and milk. Whisk in the mix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat your griddle pan to 350F. Scoop out the batter and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (look for bubbles to pop).

Serve with fresh strawberry sauce.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

2 C fresh or frozen strawberries (I used frozen)

Place in a saucepan on medium heat, until softened. Put into a food processor and whiz until fully processed. Strain to get the larger unprocessed chunks out. Place back in saucepan to thicken.

EAT.

Happy Lent!

Kristin