Snacks on the plane

With many families leaving for warmer destinations in the next three weeks I decided to tackle the plane snack dilemma.  I am not sure if it is just my son, but when we travel his stomach is a never-ending empty pit!  It does not matter if we are on a plane or road tripping he is continuously hungry when we travel.  We all know the key to a successful trip is to keep children occupied and happy, and this can be accomplished with some good snacks, new colouring book and a movie.  Here are some easy and portable ideas for travel with kids.

  • Granola bars, we especially like Lara bars or you could make your own.
  • Granola bites, these small one bite balls are great for kids.  I buy Made Good as they are lunchbox friendly.
  • Snack or trail mix, purchased or homemade both work very well.  For an easy homemade mix add: Cheerios, Chex, cheddar fish or bunnies, raisins or dried cranberries, pretzels and chocolate chips or m&m’s.
  • Applesauce, the easiest travel kinds are the ones in the squeeze pouch.
  • Mini muffins, if you have a stash in your freezer these are great for taking on trips.
  • Sliced apples or other sliced fruit.
  • Cheese string or Babybel cheese.
  • Wraps, I usually pack a peanut butter and jam wrap for my son, it keeps well and easy to eat on the-go.
  • Gum and a small bag of gummy candies.  This always makes their eyes light up when they get the have two treats during travel, and may have the ability to calm an upset child!

Happy travel,
Sara

Weekly meals Mar. 20- Mar. 24

Meal updates from last week:
Meals from last week were all very well received.  The meatballs were by far the favourite dish, but I already knew that, having made them numerous times.  For the Thai beef I actually ended up using chicken, but it was still very yummy.  The greek style chicken burgers with homemade tzatziki were very flavourful, we will be having these again.  Both breakfast and snack recipes were also a hit.  We all loved the coconut berry muffins.

This week we will be eating in Sunday-Wednesday and then we are heading out-of-town.  Later this week is supposed to be warm so I will be firing up the bbq.

Hamburger soup from the Best of Bridge Ladies, this soup is easy and delicious!  We are having family potluck, we will be having this with salad, cheese buns and a pie for dessert.

Baked artichoke chicken from @staceysnacks I have made this sheet pan dinner many times.  It is so full of flavour, I usually serve this with roasted mini potatoes.

Egg roll bowls from @skinnytaste this recipe is from her newest cookbook called SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow  My boys will have brown rice as the base for their bowls.  I will just have mine as is.

Spiced yogurt grilled chicken skewers from Donna Hay.  Donna Hay is the Martha Stewart of Australia.  If you have never cooked any of her recipes then you need to seek them out now!  Quick, easy and full of flavour I am never disappointed.  I will serve the chicken with a greek salad and warmed pita bread.

As we are heading out-of-town I will not be making a specific breakfast or snack.  Last week I made this for lunch and loved it!  When I get home I will be trying this recipe for muffins.  I will also give these cookies a try, these come recommended from a good friend.  Print a copy of the Dinner List 8 and take it to the grocery store.

Happy cooking,
Sara

St. Patrick’s Day

For those looking to enjoy something more than just green beer this Friday I have spent some time looking for some delicious recipes to serve for St. Patrick’s Day.  From breakfast to dessert I have your day covered from beginning to end.

Corned beef hash from @bonappetite

Baked potato soup from @skinnytaste

Skillet Irish soda bread from @smittenkitchen

Beef and Guinness stew from @jamieoliver

Bangers and mash from @williamsonoma

Shepherd’s pie from @lifeinthelofthouse

Meat pie from @tasteofhome

Chocolate Guinness cake from @nigellalawson

Irish coffee cupcakes from @marthstewart

Lucky Charm bark from @sallysbaking

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Leprechaun bait

The recipe that I used for the Leprechaun bait is another tried and tested recipe from my grandma Illa.  She made these every Christmas, rolled them in red and green sprinkles and kept them in a Christmas box.  I changed a few things with this recipe, but it is mainly the same one she used for many years.  Instead of making large popcorn balls, I made them kid size, and rolled them in all things green.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup of butter

32 large marshmallows
8 cups of popcorn (you can use an air popper or stove)
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkles of any kind (I used shamrocks and green jimmies)

In the top of a double boiler heat butter and marshmallows till melted.  Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl.  When marshmallow mixture is melted add it to the popcorn.  Stir to combine.  Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes as it is too difficult to form into balls when it is hot.  To make smaller popcorn balls I used a spoon slightly larger than a tablespoon(for ease of rolling cover your hands in butter).  The recipe made between 30-35 small balls.  Once formed roll in desired sprinkles.  Store in an airtight container, but really just eat them!

Happy baking,
Sara

Weekly Meals Mar. 13-Mar. 17

Meal updates from last week:
The shepherd’s pie was delicious as usual, and would be a great recipe to serve for St. Patrick’s Days this Friday.  I was not overly impressed with the chicken parmesan crock pot soup.  I found that it lacked flavour, my husband said that it was a good leftover as the flavour was better the next day.  My son loved the grilled cheese rollups!  This recipe is a mixture between grilled cheese and pizza, so how could a child not love them.  The chicken tacos were good, I think that the mango slaw was the best part.

This week we will be eating at home Sunday-Thursday.  After a week of below average temperatures it looks like the deep freeze is over!  I will be using the bbq for two of our meals.  We will most likely go out for dinner Friday and then have a simple dinner Saturday.  Tonight the littles will have breakfast for dinner, and then my husband and I will have a charcuterie board after bedtime.

For breakfast and snacks this week I will be making two recipes that can be eaten for either meal.  Using the frozen power fruit mix from Superstore (cherries, blackberries and blueberries) I will make mixed berry and coconut muffins.  These are a perfect addition to any lunch box as it is nut free.  For an easy on the go breakfast give these mini ham and cheese quinoa cups a try!  Currently, we are out of protein balls so I will be making some this week.  I will post the recipe after they are made.  Don’t forget to print the Dinner List 7 for ease at the grocery store.

Stay tuned for:  St. Patrick’s Day recipes and Leprechaun bait (also known as popcorn balls).

Happy cooking,
Sara

What’s for lunch?

Lately I have been in a lunch rut.  It seems that I get everyone else their lunch, but when it comes to mine I’m at a loss.  I stand and stare into the fridge, trying to come up with something exciting to eat.  This week I decided I needed to get out of my funk.  On Monday I cooked one cup of quinoa, so that I would have it on hand when lunch rolled around.  I decided to make myself a quinoa salad bowl, and here is how I made it:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash (I used pre-cut frozen squash, roasted in the oven with olive oil)
  • 1/2 of sliced apple
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 feta cheese

    Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and top with a honey dijon vinaigrette: 1 tbsp dijon mustard, juice from half a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, salt and pepper, place all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour desired amount over your salad.

This bowl has a perfect mix of soft, crunchy, salt, sweet and tart.  I think that I am finally out of my lunch rut!

Happy cooking,
Sara

On the side

I am always looking for a great vegetable side dish.  Not just steamed carrots or broccoli, but something more exciting.  Enter the brussels sprout!  I know that many people do not enjoy the sprout, but you may want to try this recipe, I think that it will change your mind.

Bacon, shallot sprouts
Small bag of brussels sprouts (15-20) washed and cut in half
1 shallot diced small
4 slices of bacon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat, add shallot and bacon.  Cook until the bacon just begins to render fat.  Add the sprouts to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.  While you are cooking the bacon, shallot mixture heat your oven to 375.  Remove pan from heat and transfer mixture to a baking dish.  Drizzle your olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven for about thirty minutes, or until the edges of the sprouts begin to brown.  Serve hot.  If you are someone who enjoys salty and sweet, add a small amount of maple syrup before serving.  These are a great side dish for pork.  This recipe is from my own kitchen.  Feel free to make any changes you deem necessary.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals Mar. 5- Mar.10

Meal updates from last week:
The meals this week were all very successful.  The Thai chicken thighs were very good.  The sauce tastes so good served over steamed rice.  Chicken caesar burgers were amazing as usual.  Flavourful and moist, they are one of the best that I have made.

I am planning meals this week for Sunday-Thursday.  I am not sure what will be happening Friday and Saturday, but we will make that decision when we get to it.

  • Shepherds pie from @lifeinthelofthouse this will be served with a salad and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
  • Chicken parmesan soup from @bakedbyrachel we will eat this with a salad on the side.
  • Almond, berry and chicken spinach salad from @chelseasmessyspron my son is not crazy about salad, but he will eat all of the salad components except the spinach.  When I plate his meal I give him chicken and then mixed berries.
  • Grilled pizza roll-ups from @weelicious this will be served with mixed raw veggies and dip.
  • Bulgogi BBQ chicken tacos with mango slaw from @halfbakedharvest this recipe cannot be found on her website, you need to follow her on Instagram where she has posted a recipe video.

For breakfast this week I am going to try another overnight oat recipe.  This recipe for strawberry cheesecake oats looks amazing!  As I made more energy balls later last week I will not be making any this week.  Instead I will be making chia breakfast cookies to have around for snack.

Make grocery shopping a snap by bringing your dinner-list-6

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Family time

During day-to-day life you can lose sight of the importance of spending quality time with the ones that you love.  Today my son said, “Mom we are getting low on protein balls, we’d better find a recipe and make some more.”  And just like that I was reminded to pause and spend some one-on-one time with my growing-up too fast little boy.  We sat together and looked for a picture that appealed to him, and then together we gathered ingredients, measured, mixed and rolled.  When we were finished he looked at me and said, “That was really fun!”  In our busy lives don’t forget to take time and spend time with those that you love.  Our newest protein ball recipe can be found here.

Enjoy your weekend,
Sara

Illa

It is a known fact that I grew up surrounded by women who were, and still are amazing cooks.  My grandma Illa was one of these women, and although no longer around I am constantly reminded of her, especially when I am in the kitchen.  As today is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day I thought that I would share Illa’s recipe for peanut butter pie.  This pie is quick, easy and delicious.

Illa’s Peanut Butter Pie
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk

Mix the above ingredients together.  If you are looking for a smooth texture then use your electric beaters.  When combined fold in 8 oz of softened cool whip.  Pour this mixture into a prepared Oreo cookie, or graham cracker crust.  This can be store-bought or homemade.  Place pie in freezer to firm up.  Before serving, drizzle the pie with chocolate sauce.  Cut and enjoy!

Happy baking,
Sara