Friday, March 29, 2013


 This picture really does not give this guacamole any justice. I promise it is way...more green than the picture shows. This guacamole recipe comes from my sister Amy. She came to Maine from California for a visit in January. Amy made guacamole at one of our family parties. It was a BIG hit.

Before I learned Amy's recipe, I was one of those people who ate store bought guacamole. I know, I know...yuck!!  I will never go back. This is so simple, and so...delicious. Plus, as I have said before, I can control my own ingredients when I make foods at home.

All you need is:

Two ripe avocado
1 medium tomato (squeezed)
2 clove garlic (mashed)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs diced white onion
1/4 tsp fresh cilantro
a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper
oregano (optional)
no salt needed

*The above picture is showing guacamole without onion or cilantro*

Make your own pizza lunch

Here is a lunch idea where the kids can assemble their own English muffin pizza. My son requested a lunch where he could make his own pizza.  I divided the sauce, shredded cheese, ham and pineapple into their own cups, to create a mini Hawaiian pizza on an English muffin.  I added some bunny crackers, yogurt, and tomato pieces to finish the lunch. My son had fun putting it all together, and I got out of buying a lunchable. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Basket on a budget

I love an excuse to buy for my kids. They get so excited, and the look of their faces is priceless. I feel that many kids are over gifted these days. My husband and I try not to over buy for them, as they both have so many toys already, plus we want our children to respect, and appreciate their toys.

Easter shopping this year was pretty simple now that my boys are interested in many of the same things.  I found that most items come in a pack of two, which was helpful in keeping my cost down. I even got extra lucky and bought a package of six travel tissues with the CARS Pixar characters on it for $1.00. I put one pack in each basket and I can save the remaining packs for their Christmas stockings. (You do realize that the Easter bunny, and Santa Clause are friends right?)  Here is a break down of our Easter basket contents this year:

Kite $2.99
Coloring book $1.99
Book $1.00 (school book order)
blue cup $3.50
parachute man $2.00
Cars travel tissue .16
bubble wand $1.99
Annie's fruit snacks .79
sticky guy (inside an egg) .50
Little white bunny (free, handed down from Grammies craft collection)
Toothbrush .50
Organic Jelly Beans
Total= $15.42

My husband and I choose to limit the amount of candy our children consume.  I skipped the traditional chocolate bunny, because really who needs all of that sugar? If you read the label you will learn that these kinds of candy are filled with junk. We do however buy organic jelly beans, gum drops, and fruit snacks to fill our colorful eggs for our family Easter egg hunt. I also fill these eggs with fun stickers, and small toys from the dollar store. Keep holiday buying simple, and fun. Set a budget, and stick with it. My kids are not deprived of toys or candy in anyway, and we still manage to spend less. Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Lunch (egg free)

Here I used  bunny, egg, and chicken cookie cutters to create these cute shapes in the bread and ham. Since we cannot use mayo, b/c of the eggs in it, I made a little cream cheese and vegetable mixture to spread onto the ham and bread. (I included a spreader in my son's lunch bag.) We had salad with our dinner the night before, so I simply used some spinach and carrots from the leftover salad. I just cut them up and mix them with cream cheese. A bowl of Greek yogurt with granola and frozen blueberries works well during the winter months in Maine when our organic fruit selection is pretty limited, and a couple orange slices. I also included two little bunny cookies for a treat.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mini pita pocket lunch (egg free)

Mini is always far as my four year old is concerned. I found these mini pita pockets at Trader Joe's last week. My son LOVES them. I sliced them in half, added a bit of mustard, a mini slice of ham, and two pieces of fresh spinach. Simple, and delicious.

Orange slices, quartered tomatoes, cheese pieces, and Little Lads herbal popcorn make up the remainder of this yummy lunch. The treat is a no bake cookie ball. (recipe to come)

*Most of the preschool lunch ides that I will post are egg free. There is a friend in my son's class who has an egg allergy. We mostly try to create egg free lunches. Once in a while if we do have an egg product in my son's lunch, it will need a label so he is seated at the other table.

Mini Gluten Free pumpkin muffins

These pumpkin muffins make a perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert.  I made a double batch so I could use the entire can of pumpkin, and then I froze half of them. The rest that stayed on the counter did not last long. :)

You will need: 

1/4 cup  cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup veg oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup light buckwheat flour (yes this really is gluten free)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Friday, March 22, 2013

Preschool heart lunch

Packed school lunch is often a topic of conversation between us mom's. Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with lunch ideas that are not repetitive every week. Here is lunch my son brought to school last week.  Just by using a cookie cutter for the sandwich, this lunch is instantly jazzed up a bit. This was prepared on a Friday morning when we are pretty much out of everything. I always feel like his teachers can tell when when grocery day is approaching. :)

His sandwich is mustard, turkey and cheese with fresh spinach. He has carrot sticks with hummus to dip, 1/2 banana, dehydrated peas, and a yogurt tube.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Greek Yogurt with homemade granola

This is quite possibly my favorite snack, but the kids and husband do like it too.  It is filling, simple, and delicious.

A few scoops of vanilla Greek yogurt pairs really well with granola. Whether you use store bought granola, or make it yourself, this is a yummy healthy snack.  I choose to make my own granola, simply because I like to control what goes in it. Yes I may have some control issues, only minor though. :)

4 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
a few squeezes of agave syrup

These measurements do not ave to be exact. I just eyeball my amounts, and call it good. Mix the oats, pecans, and cranberries together. Spread onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and drizzle the agave over the top. Mix well and recoat. Bake at 250 for about 20 minutes. Cool completely. I store the finished granola in mason jars. My husband takes his own jar to leave at work.

Preschool Lunch

My son is a very active four year old, who loves to eat, or snack rather. He is more likely to eat his lunch if it is appealing to his little eye.

We call this a snack based lunch. He often requests "snack based lunches" rather than the boring sandwich, and crackers. This is a typical lunch he brings to school.

A small salad with sunflower seeds and balsamic dressing, circle crackers, rolled up turkey meat with ketchup to dip,(ketchup is pretty important to four year old's) kiwi, and Colby cheese cut into stars.
I use a planetbox, and silicone muffin cups to create little dividers within his planetbox. His treat is in the center, and is chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chocolate Chip peanut butter granola bars

*To make these gluten free, just use gluten free oats.*
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1 Tbs almond meal
1/4 cup choc chips

Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over low heat. Mix oats, almond meal and flax together. Combine all ingredients, and press into an 8x8 pan. (I usually line my pan with a piece of parchment paper.) Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the top, and press down. Place the pan into the fridge to set for about 2 hours. Cut into bars.

These granola bars are sweet because of the amount of honey in them. You could definitely get away with serving these as a dessert. Just cut them into squares, or triangles.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Food Pyramid

Lately I have noticed that I have been counting food servings throughout  the day. Tell me I am not the only one who does this. :) Sometimes having a diagram to reference helps to remember the recommended servings. I know I do not meet the servings for all of these categories, thank goodness for vitamins, but I do try to meet most.

It is a lot easier to count fruit and veggie servings for the kids. As mom's I think we are more inclined to look out for the kids nutrition, rather than our own.

Today I am challenging myself to be more aware of my daily intake, and most importantly.......drink more water.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Banana oatmeal smoothie

Make this smoothie for breakfast,  or just as a snack. It will give you a little pick me up energy boost to help carry you through your day. It is sooo....delicious.

You will need:

1 ripe banana
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup vanilla geek yogurt
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbs milled chia

Just blend all together.