School Snacks – An All-Morning Activity


Tomorrow, my girls head back to school. Today, my girls and boy headed into the kitchen. We made 5 different types of snacks for the upcoming few weeks.  Between ballet twice a week (soon to be 3x), football twice a week (also soon to be 3x), homework, ministry, and Scott and Joel heading back to school on Monday, this was our last chance to spend a chuck of time together creating and enjoying the fruits of our labor. The Chex Mixes stay fresh in an air-tight container for a couple of weeks. The muffins are individually wrapped and frozen. The bars are precut and also frozen in a container with wax paper separating the layers so they do not freeze together. With all these in place, I can be assured my kids have healthy snacks on hand when we are rushed. With that said, here is what we made today:



Hand-picked Blueberry Pancakes

20140527-210018.jpgToday we had the opportunity to go to a local blueberry farm and pick our own berries. The morning was perfect and the berries sweet! We ended up with about 13 lbs of blueberries, and so dinner HAD to be blueberry pancakes. What an aroma throughout our home!

Blueberry Pancakes

Mix milk, oil, and flax together. Allow to sit about 5 minutes for the flax to absorb some liquid. Place pancake mix into a large mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon. Add in milk mixture and stir just until combined. Pour batter into 3″ circles on a preheated griddle. (I set mine to 340.) While first side is cooking, gently place some blueberries onto the top of the pancakes. Flip when edges become dry. Cook another 2-3 minutes and then serve. Makes about 18 pancakes. Serve with nut butters, pure maple syrup, or honey.

I’m sure blueberry muffins will be part of our menu this week as well 😉



The Kitchen is Our New Classroom


Now that school is out, lunch takes on a whole new meaning…so long lunchboxes, hello kid-prepared dishes! For the first day of summer break, Anna decided she wanted to be “chef of the day”. For breakfast she decided on ham and egg cups (recipe below), Ezekiel english muffins, and apple slices with spiced fig hummus.  

For lunch, she chose chicken, spinach salad, and fresh fruit salad. She did the chopping and assembling for the salads while I oversaw Aleyah (and kinda Joel) making sushi. She’s really getting the hang of it so I’m looking forward to more rolls over the summer 🙂

Dessert was simply store-bought, organic chocolate ship cookie dough squares that we cut in half and baked. We made a basic cream cheese frosting and turned our cookies into sandwiches topped with a strawberry slice.

And all this was done while wearing their PJs!




20140526-202549.jpgHam and Egg Cups

  • 4 slices of deli-sliced ham (We used Applegate Farms – nitrate free!)

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup milk of your choice

  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Beat eggs and milk. Place a slice of ham into a muffin tin. Press center down. Fill to the top with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with a half of a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Repeat with the remaining ham and eggs. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the ham and the muffin tin to release. Serve warm.

Girls Overtaking the Kitchen ~ Kid-created Dinner!





Tonight, I gave my girls the opportunity to make their own dinner – whatever they wanted and mainly all by themselves. This is a great way to see what they are used to eating- kinda like a “monkey see, monkey do” experience. Our kids mimic our eating habits, and I guess that’s why they both created their own salads to accompany their pizzas. They see what I make and eat, and so they naturally follow suit. For us, this was another excellent way to get them excited about eating healthy foods.

Unbeknownst to each other, they both chose pizza for their DIY dinner tonight. Aleyah decided to create a Cuban sandwich pizza, and Anna made a Hawaiian “taco” pizza. I must say, I was really impressed! They stretched the dough, cut veggies for their salads, made homemade dressing, and cleaned up! And both pizzas were delicious, and I even truly liked Aleyah’s dressing for her spinach salad (a mix of the leftover honey mustard dressing, a touch of greek yogurt and mayo, minced garlic, ground ginger, and poppyseeds). They also began to work together and made an apple and yellow pepper salad with a drizzle of honey and fresh lime zest- so proud of my girls!

Cuban Sandwich Pizza

  • Whole wheat pizza dough

  • Honey mustard dressing (equal parts mustard and honey and a touch of olive oil)

  • Swiss cheese

  • Cooked pork

  • Uncured ham

  • Chopped dill pickles (NO food coloring!)

Stretch out dough to desired thickness. Spread on dressing, top with cheese, pork, ham, and pickles. Drizzle with a little more dressing. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes. 

Hawaiian Taco Pizza

  • Whole wheat pizza crust

  • Tomato sauce

  • Shredded mozzerella

  • Uncured ham

  • Pineapple

Stretch out dough into a rectangular shape and to desired thickness. Spread on sauce, top with cheese, ham, and pineapple. Pull up two edges to meet in the middle and pinch together. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes. 

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake


This “cleaned up” cheesecake is a result of a summertime visit to The Cheesecake Factory, and my oldest daughter’s request to have it again. And since cheesecake is one of the few sweets that I do eat, I was happy to oblige!


  • 1 package (12 oz) of Country Choice Organic Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
  • 2 Tablespoons organic butter, melted


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages reduced-fat, organic cream cheese, softened
  • 1 container (15 oz) Organic Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (no trans fat PB like Jif or Peter Pan!)

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


  • Unreal or Justin’s Peanut Butter cups,  chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Place cookies into food processor and process into crumbs.

  3. Press cookie crumbs into bottom of 10-inch spring-form pan. Bake 5 minutes and cool on wire rack. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.

  4. Beat softened cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, honey and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Divide batter equally into two bowls.

  5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 sec. intervals, stirring each time until melted. Stir into one of the bowls of batter and then pour batter into slightly cooled crust. Microwave peanut butter in the same way as the chocolate chips and stir the melted peanut butter into the other bowl of batter. Dollop peanut butter batter on top of chocolate layer. With a knife, gently swirl the peanut butter layer with the chocolate layer.

  6. Bake cheesecake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until center is almost set.

  7. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

  8. Place melted chocolate chips into a plastic bag. Cut the corner of the plastic bag and use it as a piping bag. Drizzle top of cheesecake with chocolate and add extra around edges to create “glue” for the peanut butter cup pieces. Place chopped peanut butter cups around the edges on the extra chocolate.

  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Carefully run a knife between the crust and pan before unlatching.


Garlicky Spaghetti Squash Florentine – My Thanksgiving Contribution

20131124-215516.jpgThis will be my addition to our Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. I did a trial recently and decided it was “share-worthy” and great for our Turkey Day table.

I simply baked spaghetti squash in the oven. As it was roasting, I also roasted its seeds and thin slices of garlic as well. While those aromatics roasted away, I sauteed a little more garlic, some onion, and mushrooms on the stove top. Towards the end of that 10 minutes or so, I added in the kale and turned off the heat. Once the squash was soft when squeezed, I allowed it to cool some and then scraped out the squash with a fork. I added the squash, a bit of nutmeg and salt and pepper to the pan with the veggies and gently mixed together. I finished it by garnishing with the roasted (and salted) seeds and the garlic chips, and finally with some nutritional yeast. Happy feasting everyone!

Also try the spaghetti squash as spaghetti and meatballs!

Blueberry Muffins – Thanks to Cleaning Eating in Texas!


I made these super-duper blueberry muffins for Anna’s class yesterday in celebration of her teacher assistant’s birthday. I did substitute organic sugar for the maple sugar (didn’t have any on hand) and used a combo of oats and whole wheat flour for the crumb topping with extra light virgin olive oil instead of the butter. They were a hit and another muffin recipe to add to my “recipe box.” Thanks Clean Eating in Texas for sharing!

Check these out too:

Carrot Cake Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Unfortunately, You Can Outrun Your Child


In a recent study, researchers discovered that today the average time it takes for a young person (ages 9-17) to run one mile has increased by 90 seconds from their counterparts of 30 years ago.  Why? Only one-third of children over age 6 get the recommended one hour of physical activity a day. Their parents are more sedentary than ever, and so set a poor example. Let’s take this upcoming Thanksgiving break and use it as a time to play with our kids!

  1. Play football.

  2. Play soccer.

  3. Shoot some hoops.

  4. Walk on the beach (I love Florida!)

  5. Have a hula hoop contest.

  6. Throw the Frisbee.

  7. Dance to Christmas carols.

  8. Take the dog to the park.

  9. Play “peg the peanut” (tag with a ball- no aiming at the head!)

  10. Fly a kite on a windy day.

33 of 5,427 – Finding a Needle in a Haystack


In a recent LA Times article, it was reported that analysts from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy researched and found that only 33 of 5,427 possible fast-food meal combinations met the recommended nutrition guidelines set by the Institute of Medicine. So choosing one of the 33 “right” meals is like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, I believe hay has more nutritional value than the other 99% of those meals!

Pumpkin Spice Scones

20131027-054853.jpgOn Saturday, the kids and I were invited over to our friend, Kasey’s house to make pumpkin scones. Anna went garage saling with Daddy, so Aleyah, Joel, and I headed on down the street to enjoy time in the kitchen with one of our favorite people! Kasey found this delicious and healthy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Scones on Victoria Laine’s website.

We made some minor changes like adding walnuts and creating a honey, coconut oil, and cinnamon glaze and also using  coconut sugar. When they were done, we sat down, sang “Happy Birthday” to Kasey (Joel’s idea- not really her birthday but we were happy to oblige!), and enjoyed these moist and super flavorful scones! Give these a try- you will not be disappointed!

Here is the recipe from her website:

2 cups             whole-grain pastry flour (Gluten-free: 1 cup each – Bob’s Red Mill *All-Purpose Flour + *Bisquit & Baking Mix)

1 1/4 cups      rolled oats (Gluten-free if needed)

1/2 cup           “natural” dry cane sugar (I use Sucanat)

Pumpkin Spice Scone

1 Tbsp              baking powder

1/4 tsp             salt

2 tsp each      ground cinnamon and ground ginger

1/4 tsp each  ground cloves and ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp             chia seeds, ground

14-oz can        pumpkin -or- sweet potato (397g)

1/2 cup            water 

1/2 cup            dried cranberries -or- raisins

1/4 cup            raw pumpkin seeds -or candied ginger (optional-for garnish)

Apple Butter (from last weeks post) -or- store bought (optional for spreading)


1.  Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Grind the chia seeds. In a large mixing bowl, combine chia, flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and dried fruit.
3.  Scoop out the can of pumpkin, and add the water to the dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon mix in the moist ingredients to incorporate.
4.  Using a small handful of flour, dust a large cutting board or your counter top. With your “floured” hands pull the sides of the dough together and transfer it out onto the floured board counter. Using you hands and adding more flour as needed to keep it from sticking, fold the dough it into a large round ball. Break the dough into two pieces, flouring the counter again if needed, and form into disk-shapes. Press  or roll dough so it is about 3/4” thick.
5.  With a large knife cut the disks (being very careful not to cut the counter…or you can transfer to a floured board) into 6 pieces by cutting in half, then into thirds. Transfer each scone to the lined baking sheets.
6.  Decorate with several pumpkin seeds, or chopped candied ginger. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and serve with apple butter (optional).