Thursday, August 19, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Frosting

OH MY YUMMINESS! I didn't have all my usual ingredients for frosting, so I played with what I have... and found a new favorite. I'm gonna have to try this with Applesauce cake or Carrot cake.

1/2 c Shortening (or butter)
1 t Vanilla extract*
2 c Sifted confectioners' sugar
1 T Milk (cow, nut, rice)
1 T Apple butter
1 t Cinnamon

* I used a butter flavored extract because I ran out of vanilla on the cupcakes - and it tasted wonderful.

Whip together all ingredients with a blender for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. This was enough for cupcakes or a 9 X 13. For a layered cake make another 1/2 recipe or double it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Frugal School Lunch Ideas

You stare at your kiddos lunch box/bag and try to think of what you have on hand that you can fill it with that (A) your kid will eat (B) is fairly healthy & (C) don't have to work more than a couple minutes to put together. It's the joy of school lunches. Time to get creative.

Due to allergies, we have no choice but to send a packed lunch with my son to school. While many of these ideas we can't use - this is a big list that we can all refer back to during the school year when our creativity is waning.

  • Lunchmeat
  • PBJ or use Sunbutter or Almond Butter**
  • Carved meat - leftover ham, turkey, chicken, etc
  • Wraps - pizza, lunchmeat, taco, fajita, etc
  • Cheese
  • Subs
  • BLT
  • Cream cheese & jelly (think on a tortilla)
  • Instead of bread - use a tortilla, flat bread, pancake, waffle, crackers, English muffin, bagel, biscuit, pizza crust, pita, etc

  • Sandwiches
  • Wraps
  • Cut up with crackers & cheese (think homemade lunchables with ½ the sodium)
  • Wrap around a piece of string cheese

  • Peanut butter, sunbutter, almond butter, nutella** (With pretzels, apple slices, vanilla wafers, carrots, etc)
  • Salsa & chips
  • Hummus
  • Ranch or veggie dip
  • Yogurt

OTHER - Great way to use leftovers.
  • Salad
  • Waffle
  • Lasagna rolls
  • Pizza
  • Hot dog
  • Quesadillas
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Strips
  • Spaghetti (unless they are a messy eater)
  • Soups (Use a good insulated thermos/cup and make sure your kid know they HAS to bring that part home.)

  • Veggies - raw carrots, celery, green beans
  • Fruit - apples, pears, peaches, bananas, mangos, melon, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, cherries, etc
  • Pretzels
  • Pita or bagel chips
  • Banana or zucchini bread
  • Breakfast cookies**
  • Cornbread
  • Dried fruit or fruit leathers
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Pasta
  • Rice or quinoa
  • Potato - hash browns, mashed, etc
  • Parfait - yogurt, fruit, granola
  • Yogurt
  • Jello
  • Rice, wheat, saltine, or whole grain crackers
  • Granola bar
  • Occasional sweet treat - cupcake, cookie, chocolate, fruit snacks, pudding, brownie, etc
  • Energy bar**
  • Cereal
  • Popcorn
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Cheese
  • Nuts **
**(use caution with potential allergies of classmates)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mojito Melon

I found this recipe at the Betty Crocker website and served it at my son's birthday party over the weekend. It was wonderful. The lime and mint adds a great contrast to the sweet cantaloupe that it topped. This is definitely worth making again.

2 Limes
5-6 c Melon or Pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 c Sugar or agave
1/3 c Limade, mojito mixer or dark rum
3 T Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Put melon in a 1-gallon plastic bag or large sealable container.

Grate the peel from limes. Cut each lime in half and squeeze to remove 6 T of juice. Wisk together lime peel, lime juice, sugar, juice/rum and mint. Pour over the fruit and turn to coat.
Refrigerate 1-6 hour to meld flavors. To serve, drain marinade or push fruit cubes onto skewers. Discard marinade.

*Note, this picture was taken the day after the party. In the craziness of company, taking pictures of food wasn't on top of my list. Still tasted good, but the mint isn't vibrant green like it was the first day and the melon has started to get pretty soft.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Construction Cake

My baby turned 4 today and we celebrated his birthday over the weekend. My in-laws had flown in for a long weekend and we pulled together a collection of people - of which no one knew each other. But that's what a party is for right? Celebrate and meet people?

It was Construction bliss for a little boy. We had stick the stop sign on the octagon (like pin-the-tail on the donkey), construction bingo, and cake with excavators and loaders tearing a hole in the center of the grass. Cake bits from the center along with Joe-Joe crumbs (Trader Joe's version of oreo cookies) made the "dirt" for the excavator and loader to scoop.

I let my son pick most of the menu - which was hot dogs, chips, and tortillas (he means quesedillas). To that I added Apple/Pear/Cashew Salad, Chips & Salsa, a veggie tray, Mojito Melon, and a construction version of the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake (butter cream frosting rather than the one listed with the recipe).

Happy birthday to my little man.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Summer zucchini is here! This is one of the best veggies to slip into cooking that the kids like and adds a bit of nutritional boost to what you are eating. This is a lot like my Zucchini Bread recipe that I love. It was a great breakfast treat.

1 1/2 c Flour (or GF Carol Fenster blend)
3 T Sugar
2 t Baking powder
1 1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Salt
2 T oil
1 1/2 c Milk (cow, rice, nut)
1 Egg, slightly beaten (1 T milled flaxseed, 3 T water)
1 Zucchini (about 1 1/4 c)

In large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients; add oil, milk and egg and stir until flour is moistened. Grate a whole zucchini (peeled) and add to the pancake batter. Stir until well mixed.

Heat grill pan to medium heat and add batter to greased pan. Flip pancakes when bubbles come to the surface of the pancake. Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, or favorite topping.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Double Roasted

I thought I was so clever with this one and you might be rolling your eyes at me with a "well duh" look. I like to use roasted garlic and roasted peppers in lots of my Italian cooking. All I had on hand was minced garlic (I usually like to roast the whole bulb usually). I was really sick of washing dishes by this time, so I cut off a piece of pepper for my salad, put a couple of tablespoons of garlic in it, and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the garlic.

I loosely wrapped the pepper in tin foil so the oil wouldn't leak all over, set it in a baking pan, and roasted it for about an hour at 300 degrees. It turned out great and worked nicely in my spaghetti sauce. Oh, and I didn't have to wash anything extra. Bonus.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

So I've been researching breakfast cookies for a while. I knew that they would be an easy sell for the kiddos. A cookie for breakfast? They thought they had died and gone to heaven. I kind of mixed up a whole lot of recipes and added a few things of my own.

These taste great. But I need someone to explain the science to me about why the batter when contacted with air the batter started to turn green. The first batch turned out with just a green tint (pictured). The second set of cookies to go in were quite green from the sitting out in the air for 20 minutes while the first set baked. They taste completely fine and no one is sick, but something about the combination is making a green color. Maybe a fit for Christmas or St. Patty's???

1/2 c Sunbutter butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 c Applesauce
1/2 c Brown sugar, packed
1 Egg (or 3 T water/1 T flax meal mixed)
1 t Vanilla
2 ripe Bananas, mashed
1/2 t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
2 c Flour (or Carol Fenster GF mix)
1 T Flaxseed, ground
2 c Old Fashioned oats*
1 c Dried fruit or chocolate chips

* I only have GF rolled outs so I pre-moistened them with about 1/2 c of apple juice and stirred it until the juice was absorbed.

Beat the sunbutter and applesauce until combined. Beat in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add in the bananas, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour and ground flaxseed, mixing until combined. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins/chips.

Drop 1/4 cup dollops of batter four inches apart onto parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350. Let stand 1 minute on the tray, then remove to a wire rack.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quinoa Apple Salad

I've head a lot about quinoa (KEEN-wah) lately. The newly marketed superfood that the Incas survived on. If you aren't familiar with it (which I wasn't until this summer), it's actually a seed, not a grain. It's high in protein, has a bit of a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It's mild enough to be really versatile for a salad and side dish.

I found an intriguing recipe for it in Family Fun magazine and adapted it to my own tastes.

1 c Quinoa, rinsed
2 c Apple juice (or water)
1 T Honey*
2 t Sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1/2 t salt
2 T Olive oil
1 c Apples, peeled & finely diced
2/3 c Celery, finely diced
1 T Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 Almonds, toasted and chopped

* I'm not a fan of the flavor of honey and for me it was a bit overwhelming. Next time I'll probably replace this with agave or sugar.

Lime juice, diced Mango, Cilantro, Jicama, Water (replace apple juice)
Apple juice, diced Pear, Cashews, Parsley
Lemon juice, Basil, Walnut, Water (replace apple juice)
Coconut, cilantro, lime, coconut milk (replace juice)