Energy bars

The little morsel represents why I love my boot camp instructors so much! Our instructor brought these as a treat for us and I may have left with the Tupperware of the leftovers. I had to share so I don’t lose the recipe, and can make them for the boys…because I ate the rest before I shared them. Ha!

Energy Bars

2 tablespoons whole flaxseeds (or approximately 3 tablespoons ground)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sunbutter or a nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Gind flaxseeds and combine with water (or just combine already ground flaxseeds with water). Set aside.
2. Combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in raisins and chocolate chips.
3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup and nut/sunbutter and mix until smooth. Combine nut butter mixture with flaxseed-water mixture.
4. Add we mixture to dry and stir well. The mixture will seem dry, but keep stirring until fully integrated.
5. Press the mixture into an 8X8 inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow pan to cool slightly, then cut into bars and transfer to a cooling rack.

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Chicken tacos-food saver style

Can I just pause for a second? J is getting way too independent on me at age 5. He is brushing his teeth well by himself, can buckle his own seat belt, and announced that he’ll be starting a job soon. What?? I’m not ready!!

The other day I was making lunch and I was super glad that B is on a food saver kick and I can quickly open the fridge and find the following:

To make the chicken, we sprinkled the chicken with taco seasoning, drizzled them with canola oil and then baked them oven at 350 for 25 minutes. B food-savered the chicken after we chopped it and then separated it out in the fridge with cheese and lettuce packets.

Boom…lunch!

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Christmas day salad

This is one of my Mom’s go to side dishes. Typically we make it on Christmas day, but i made it for J’s birthday and it was a hit! It’s really simple, but super delicious!

Ingredients

6 large oranges peeled, and sliced

6 cups of spinach or mixed greens

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup crumbled feta (or gorgonzola)

1 1/2 cups sugar roasted pecan pieces

Directions

Assemble the spinach and oranges on a platter. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and salt until combined. Pour over the greens and oranges and toss. Top with the crumbled feta and pecans.

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Cooking with J

J has been clamoring to help in the kitchen lately, so I figured this weekend was a good opportunity to let him help make dinner. We made biscuit pizzas which are super easy (can of biscuits, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese), and he did a great job! Let J take you through the steps…

First, you roll out the biscuits a bit…

Then spoon and smooth the sauce onto your flattened biscuits: Add your cheese:Bake for minimum time limit on biscuit can (but I typically do 375 instead of 350), and play Connect 4 while you wait:  And then eat dinner while you binge watch Chopped with your Mama (the boys are obsessed with Chopped!):  And then it’s super easy clean up and soon you’re ready for snuggles and finishing the episode of Chopped you started at dinner:

Then the next morning we got up and made a dutch baby pancake. We used Meyer lemons and boy was it delicious!

We also just blended everything in the blender (eggs first, then add your other ingredients):

And then after twenty minutes it goes from this:

To this:

This is such a great dish to make with kids (obviously you have to do all of the dutch oven work because it is so crazy hot), but the effect of seeing it go from a liquid to this huge puffy pancake is a wonderment to watch!

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Barbecue pork mac and cheese

I made this quick spin on our homemade mac and cheese for B and I the other night. It came together in under twenty minutes (you have to have already cooked pork to make it that quick!). If you’re wondering why I didn’t make it for the boys, they don’t like my homemade mac and cheese, they like the boxed kind.

Barbecue Pork Mac and Cheese

  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 box rotini pasta cooked to al dente
  • 1 to 2 cups left over barbecue pork warmed (I microwaved it).

Directions

  1. Put rotini pasta on to cook.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour to butter and whisk. Cook for about one minute
  4. Add milk to butter and flour mixture and cook stirring until mixture has thickened (about five minutes)
  5. Add cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat
  6. Add drained and cooked pasta to cheese mixture
  7. Scoop into bowls and serve with pork on top!
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Cookies and baseball

This weekend was warm enough that despite it also being rainy the boys spent quite a bit of time outside. J is busily preparing for t-ball beginning this Spring, and while the boys were outside practicing I took the opportunity to whip up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies. The recipe is below! Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 regular size (I think around 4 oz) chocolate bars of your choosing chopped into chunks (it depends on how much chocolate you want….I used about 1 1/2 cups of Hershey kisses that I needed to use up!).

Directions

  1. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and place in the bottom of the mixer. Set your egg out on the counter. Do this first then prep the rest of your ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
  4. Crack egg into a small cup and whisk with vanilla.
  5. On medium speed cream butter for about three minutes.
  6. Add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Scrape down the sides and then add in the egg mixture. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed).
  8. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until barely blended.
  9. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chunks.
  10. Bake for seven minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for two additional minutes. Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. In our house they rarely last that long.

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Simple chili

My favorite chili is simple and straight forward, with not a lot of extra sauce. I’ve found if I make it this way, the boys eat it really well. An added bonus! Here is our current go to chili recipe.

Simple Chili

1 lb ground beef

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes

1 40z can tomato paste

2 chopped bell peppers (any color)

taco seasoning

1-2 cups chicken broth

Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and cilantro

Directions

Saute’ bell peppers in 1 tbs canola oil for about 5 minutes. Brown ground beef. Add in taco seasoning and stir. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium low for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

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Double dark chunk chocolate cookies

Across between a brownie and a cookie, you need these in your life. They’ll go fast!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup Dutch Process Special Dark Cocoa (I use the Hershey’s brand)

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 extra large dark chocolate bar chopped into chunks

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.

3. On medium speed cream butter and sugars together (using a mixer) until smooth (about three minutes). Add eggs in one at a time. Add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.

4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until flour disappears. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoon fulls onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake cookies for 6 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

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Spiced chicken with sweet potatoes

Spiced chicken with sweet potatoesThis dinner will make your day! It is so quick and straightforward, with simple ingredients, and everyone in my family gobbled it up.

Spiced Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes (depending on size)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp of all spice
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Wash, peel, and cut sweet potatoes into chunks
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a high sided cookie sheet with foil.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, allspice, chili powder, and salt
  4. Place chicken breast in a Ziploc bag, and then add half the olive oil mixture
  5. Place sweet potatoes on a pan, and pour the rest of the olive oil mixture over top.
  6. Roast sweet potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes, while the chicken marinates.
  7. Add the chicken to the sweet potato pan, and cook for another 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked completely and potatoes are fork tender.
  8. Out of the oven sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze lime wedges over the top.
  9. Serve warm with Hawaiian rolls!
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