Friday, June 29, 2012

Fruit Smoothie Popsicle

Like many, we have been on a huge Popsicle kick this summer.

They are super easy to make and a wonderful way to use all the fresh fruit that is available this time of year.  

We make two three batches a week and have yet to repeat a flavor combination.  Our favorite combination so far has been mango blueberry banana.

Our basic recipe is to just blend some fruit together with a little juice. Sometimes we add yogurt.  We have layered the flavors trying to make a pretty Popsicle, but the longer wait time has caused some frustration and grumpiness, so we usually just mix it all together.

Primarily we have been making them in our Popsicle mold.  It's nothing fancy, I have been debating getting one of the super fancy shaped ones - making bomb pops would be so much fun - but there is something very satisfying about a plain looking pop.  We also like using little paper cups.  Great for making larger batches and they have an old school feel.    

The best thing about homemade Popsicle is they make a fabulous breakfast treat.  My kids feel like they are being super sneaky and getting away with something when I say yes to a Popsicle for breakfast and I am happy they are starting the day filled up with lots of fruit.

Fruit Smoothie Popsicle

1 mango
1 cup blueberries
2 bananas
1/2 cup orange juice

Place all ingredients in blender.  Puree until smooth.  Pour into Popsicle molds, place in freeze until frozen.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Trifle

Yesterday Maggie was having one of those sad, lonely, frustrating type days.  She wanted, needed, something she could do by herself - all by herself.  After going through the pantry, fridge and the freezer we came up with the ingredients for trifle.

This is a wonderful dish for kids to make.  It is super easy to make and a great confidence booster.  They can choose the components and make a dish that is uniquely their own.  Providing some guidance in flavor selection is helpful, but if you provide a couple of options to choose between you can have a dish that is yummy, but they still having the feeling it was their creation.  

Maggie decided to make a chocolate cherry trifle.  She used some white chocolate cake, yellow cake, chocolate pudding and cherries - she chose the cherries because she likes using the cherry chomper.  

I usually have cake scraps in my freezer, but if you don't you can easily run to the store and pick-up a pound cake.  

I also make sure I always have instant pudding on hand.  My kids like pudding, but they like making it even more, again because they can do it all on their own.

It took Maggie about half an hour to cut the cake - cake is a great way for kids to practice those knife skills, make the pudding - using those reading skills and chomp the cherries - great for getting out built up frustration.

Squirting canned whipped cream and adding lots of sprinkles brings on extra smiles.  

In the end we had a yummy dessert and a happy 5 year old.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chicken Parm Burrittos

I saw this recipe on last month's Secret Recipe Club and as soon as I saw the title I had one of those duh moments.  Such a simple, obvious and brilliant idea, yet it never occurred to me.  

I thought we had stuffed tortillas with everything imaginable, yet for some reason I never imagined turning tortillas Italian.  Two of my favorite foods combined.  

Like many of my other favorite recipes that use tortillas, these are great at the end of the week when you have some leftovers to use up, or if you just need a super quick meal.  You can make everything from scratch or you can stop by the grocery store and pick-up a jar of sauce and a rotisserie chicken.

The recipe is from The Yummy Life, who got it from Connor's Cooking.

Chicken Parmesan Tortillas

4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups Marinara sauce
8 tortillas/wraps, warmed slightly
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl combine the chicken, 1 cup of sauce, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and ½ cup of Mozzarella cheese, stir until combined.  Spoon ½ cup of mixture along one side of tortilla.  Roll tortilla lengthwise, folding in ends as you roll.  Place in a lightly oiled baking dish, seam side down.  Repeat with each tortilla.  Spoon remaining cup of sauce over tortillas, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and light golden brown.

Serve with remaining parmesan cheese.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadilla

My family loves quesadillas, I make them for dinner a few times a month and pack them for lunches at least once a week.  We usually keep the fillings pretty basic - chicken, beef, black beans, cheese - and serve them with sour cream, salsa and avocado.  They are always tasty and filling, we enjoy them, but having the same thing over and over can get a little tiresome, so this week I decided to mix things up.

Black bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas.

These aren't a crazy flavor change, the base flavoring are basically the same as our typical quesadillas, but the sweet potato flavor is a nice change.  Plus we love cooking with sweet potatoes because it gives us a chance to sing the Sweet Potato song from this fun book - if you don't know it you have to go read it.  

Front Cover
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Sweet Potato filling
2 large sweet potato
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven 375°
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into thin rounds.  Place in bowl drizzle with olive oil and add seasoning.  Toss until thoroughly coated.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet.   Bake for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and slightly brown.  

Black Bean Filling
1 large can black beans
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
½ cup salsa

Drain and rinse beans.  In a skillet add a drizzle of olive oil and warm pan over medium heat, add garlic cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add beans, seasoning mix and salsa cook until warm.

Quesadilla assembly
Sweet potato filling
Black bean filling

Monterey cheese, shredded

Over a medium heat, in a skillet lightly coated with oil, warm both sides of one tortilla, just until light golden brown.  Remove from pan and add second tortilla, again lightly browning both sides.  When browning second side add a spoonful of each filling, salsa and a handful of cheese.  Top with the first tortilla, cover with a lid that will press the tortilla down.   Cook until cheese begins to melt.

Keep warm in 200° oven, while assembling additional quesadillas.  

Serve with salsa, avocado or sour cream

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Breakfast to Go

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker Oats for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

For the first time since September Mike and Will don't need to rush out the door at 5:30 on Saturday and Sunday morning.  Hockey season finally ended and we know have 3 months off before it begins again.  Not only do we all get to sleep in, but we don't need to try and come up with something that they can eat while still half asleep.  

Most mornings there isn't time to sit down and eat before heading out the door, so they usually end up eating a granola bar or a piece of toast in the car on the way.  These are fine options, but giving them something with a little more would be nice and the Quaker Soft Baked Bar might just be the option.  

QSBB Yum Image high res.jpg

These treats look tasty and are a wholesome food also packed with 140 calories, 5g of fiber, 6g of protein and are an excellent source of 5 B-vitiams.  They would be the perfect breakfast snack to get them through practice until they can sit down for breakfast.  

We probably won't wait for hockey season to start again before we give them a try.  In just a few short weeks swim practice will start and while we don't have to be out the door by 5:30, we will have to be there by 8:30.  One, maybe two, of the kids will be in the pool which means I will have one or two on the deck with me looking for snacks and I think a nice warm treat of Banana Nut Bread will be just what is needed to prevent early morning whining. 

QSBB 3D Carton Banana.jpg (2 documents, 2 total pages)  QSBB 3D Carton Cinn Pecan.jpg (2 documents, 2 total pages)

What is your favorite on the go morning snack?  Are you a Banana Nut family or a Cinnamon Pecan?  Both sound delicious!



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Monday, June 4, 2012

Peach Clafoutis

This month's Secret Recipe Club assignment was a real challenge for me.  Alessio at Recipe Taster: Savor the Unexpected has an amazing collection of recipes.  Alessio is an Italian living in Germany, he is a physicist, an artist and a chef.  This wonderful mix is reflected in his food and the beautiful pictures on his blog.

The wonderful assortment of recipes led to a great deal of deliberation, which lead to procrastination.  Which resulted in me still not having made anything the day before the reveal.  One of my top choices all along had been Swiss Chard and Almond Gundi.  I struggle with how to use greens and am always looking for new recipes.  Unfortunately when it came time to make something I didn't have any Swiss Chard on hand.  Luckily I am getting some in this week's vegetable delivery so I will still be able to give it a try.

I finally decided to make the Peach and Apricot Clafoutis, but I had to make one change.  The recipe called for  "Quark" which, before a little research was not something I was familiar with. After a little research I discovered Quark is a fresh cheese similar to curd or cottage cheese, it is available in the US as farmer's cheese.  Since I procrastinated I didn't have time to go to the cheese store, or any store for that matter, so I substituted the Quark with Greek yogurt. I also decided to use milk instead of water to get a little more fat into  it.  

I served it with a blueberry lavender sauce and it paired up beautifully in looks and taste.

This is another great dessert to have in your collection.  The peaches can be substituted with cherries, berries apples, or what ever you have on hand and is in  season.  You can make it quickly, it looks impressive and the final results will impress your most finicky guest.

Peach Clafoutis

2 eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 peaches

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly butter a small baking dish.
In large bowl lightly whip eggs.  Stir in yogurt and milk.  Add flour and sugar mix until just combined.  Pour into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and slightly firm to the touch.
Serve warm

*if you happen to have some leftovers this makes a wonderful breakfast treat.  In a frying pan melt a tablespoon of butter, add a slice cook on each side until golden brown.  Serve with the sauce or fresh berries.