This idea came from my fabulous neighbor Toni....
Before heading off on a wilderness hike with friends, we pooled various nuts, snacks, dried fruits, etc.. and allowed the kids to make their own "trail mix" for the trip.
Each hiker was able to personalize their snack.
Which made for several interesting combinations and
absolutely zero complaints.
Thank you Neighbor Toni!
Here’s an easy variation of mashed potatoes:
Yep. You see that right.
That’s cauliflower thrown into the same pot.
Boils just the same.
Mashes just the same.
Pretty much tastes the same.
But... it adds one more vegetable to our diet.
As my son says: "It's easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!"
What is the most delicious way to start the summer?
With Strawberry Shortcake, of course!
Last week, we had the neighbors over for some summer yum.
Fresh berries from our favorite local farm.
Fancy "baking mix" shortcakes made with a cookie cutter.
Sorry to not post a final product photo -
they were devoured immediately upon assembly!
Here's another recipe I often turn to when I want to stock the freezer with easy go-to foods for school lunches or weekend snacks: Pizza Rolls.
First: Prepare your bread dough.
This can be as easy as thawing the frozen dough available in your grocer's frozen-food section or making up your own in your Kitchen Aid mixer. Here's the recipe I use:
Mix a .25 oz. envelope of quick yeast with 2 cups of warm water.
Add 1 TBLSP olive oil, 1 TBLSP sugar, and a pinch of salt.
Work in 6 or 7 cups of unbleached flour.
Let dough rise for almost two hours.
Second: Prepare your pizza 'toppings.'
We love mozzarella cheese,Italian sausage, and spinach, but you could use anything you like (pepperoni, olives, peppers, etc...)
Then: Roll out the dough and sprinkle on the goods.
Do this on a floured cutting board. Once everything is evenly distributed, slowly roll the dough to create a long- long pizza roll.
Last: Cut and Bake.
Using a sharp knife, cut 1 inch slices from the roll and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350' until golden.
Serve with tomato sauce or on their own. And... if your growing boys eat as much as mine do: Be prepared to make more again soon.
Am I a bad mommy if I don't feed my children breakfast?
Now.. I'm not saying they don't eat breakfast. I just don't prepare it for them.
Honestly, I've never been much of a morning person and, with safety in mind, I strive to avoid sharp knives, gas stoves, and electric mixers before 10am.
Luckily, my boys have a father who IS a morning person AND loves to dote on them endlessly. With Dad at the helm, it's Denver omelets, French toast, and Belgium waffles (with whipped cream no less). Sadly, on the days that he leaves early for work, my boys know that their options are limited to cold cereal or cold cereal.
Or perhaps I should say: that WAS their only option...
Enter: this nifty little mini breakfast quiche recipe that I uncovered. (Sadly, I'm not sure of its original source. The printed, wrinkled, typed-page was gathered among a pile of other recipes.) I made a batch of these babies and have been able to pop them out of the freezer and into the microwave for 60 seconds as needed to supply fast, delicious, and safe breakfast-dining.
Mini Breakfast Quiches
Mix 6 eggs, 3 cups milk, and 1 cup baking mix with
whatever quiche ingredients you like
(cheese, sausage, ham, vegetables, bacon, more cheese, etc..)
Fill greased muffins tins with approximately 1/4 cup batter
and bake at 350' for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Flash freeze for an hour.
Store in a gallon size freezer bag.
"See, I'm not so bad," I tell my boys. "This is good. We're being healthy, right? Bon Appetit!"
These quiche are a great early-morning option. My boys smile. My boys eat. (But in truth, they still miss their dad. I can live with that. On the rare days he leaves early, I miss him too.)
Every year after Halloween, I ask my boys to sort through their candy to find the treats they'd most like to save for decorating their Gingerbread Houses. The boys willingly give up some of their stash - knowing the fun that awaits them in December.
This holiday break, we invited several neighbors over to join the fun. Every child brought their own house and some decorating items to share. I provided the frosting:
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Lb. powdered sugar
Mix and mix and mix (then mix some more).
Place icing in sandwich bags and snip one corner to apply.
I'm happy to report a good time was had by all. The crew focused on their holiday home decor for just over an hour. After that, I noticed a distinct shift: the candy began to go in their mouths instead of on their houses. ("Time to call it quits, my friends!").
For the past few years, the 4th of July has meant the making of homemade ice cream at the Obery house. The first batch of the ice cream season is (much like my own childhood) made using the candy canes that survived since Christmas. It's simply delicious! For me: Peppermint Ice Cream screams summer; it screams family; it screams celebration.
The ice cream maker we own is a beauty. It includes both the old-fashioned hand crank AND the hand-dandy motorized churn. That means my boys can churn like crazy until their skinny arms are completely worn out. Then, I can snap on the motor and the electric mechanism revs all our spirits back to life.
While we’ve tried several different ice cream recipes, we finally have a basic base on which we can always rely.
Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
2 quarts half-and-half cream
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch salt
Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in pour into the freezer container of your ice cream maker. Churn & freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Feel free to add your own flavored ingredients (crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, cookie dough, candy bars, etc…)
The name “Easy Vanilla Ice Cream” says it all: No cooking, no eggs, five ingredients total. My boys can follow the recipe completely on their own, which gives them a sense of accomplishment as well as a cool treat.
It really is the perfect dessert for Independence Day.
My dear friend Andrea recently provided us with a yummy new recipe. With three simple ingredients, I was able to leave my six year-old alone in the kitchen to work his magic.
The recipe includes:
1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 bag chocolate chips
Scoop into mini muffin tins or drop as cookies on baking sheets and bake at 325’ for 16 min.
The results included:
1) Spice mix dusting the counter.
2) Pumpkin smeared on the floor.
3) At least one handful of chocolate chips that made it directly to my son's mouth rather than in the batter.
4) An incredibly proud and independent kindergartener.
5) Yummy cookies for us all to enjoy!
Not a fan of Spice Cake?
Andrea tells us of a variation on the theme...
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 bag white chocolate chips (or peanut butter, or butterscotch)