Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quick tip: flaxseed meal

Sneaky moustache disguise
(and pattern!) found here
Shhhh!  Be very, very quiet...we're spiking the littles food with nutritions!

If you're feeling like your tots are missing some Omega-3s, fiber, protein...and other good stuff that is in the whole wheat bread they turn their little noses up at, try this trick:

Add flaxseed meal to their favorite foods!

It has very little flavor, and just adds a slightly nutty flavor and a little bit of texture, but so far, neither of my extra picky kiddos (3 and 5 this month...where did the time go??) have noticed.  Cinnamon is especially good at hiding flaxseed.

Try it:

1 tbsp in a cup of applesauce + cinnamon/sugar
Sprinkle on toast w/ cinnamon/sugar
Sprinkle on buttered bread with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parmesean, then toast for extra healthy garlic bread.
Add a tbsp to your next batch of cookies.
And anything else you can think of!

Here's my current favorite brand:

If you keep it in the freezer, a big bag will stay fresh and healthy for a long time!

A fond farewell to Mexican pizza

Happy pizza found here
This is an old favorite of mine...and sometimes my kids will eat it too. 

This time, I tried it a little differently, with pureed yellow squash in the beans...shhhh, don't tell my 15 year old!  She hates it when I hide veg in things where veg doesn't normally exist. 

The good news:  the squash was not noticeable, and it made the beans easier to spread.

The better news:  I rolled the crust out thinner than usual, and it came out much better.  I used to just press the crust into a ceramic pie pan, this time I rolled it out on a cookie sheet.

The bad news:  days after I served this recipe to all four kids, we found out #2 has developed a dairy allergy!  (And that's on top of the peanuts, tree nuts, almond, coconut, pistachio, and a patridge in a...)  So, this was the last time I could make this recipe for everyone.

For all of you lucky folks with no dairy, wheat, bean, squash, corn, lettuce, salsa or water allergies, here is the recipe:

Bisquick: makes it awesome

1 1/2 cups bisquick
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup water

Combine until soft dough forms. Roll or smoosh into a rough circle, about 1/2" thick.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.

Combine the following:
about 1 cup refried beans
about 3/4 cup yellow squash

Spread bean mixture on crust, and sprinkle with a good size handful of shredded cheese.
Bake an additional 10 mins, or until the cheese is good and melty.

Top with your choice of the following:

greek yogurt
chopped lettuce (romaine, green leafy, spinach, NOT ICEBERG)

4 thumbs up, #3 even liked the salsa and "sour cream"!

*sorry no more pictures!  If I ever find them, I will come back and post them...

Almond butter

Adorable peanut (and pattern!) found here
See that peanut? 

Cute, isn't it?

NOT IF YOU ARE AN EIGHT YEAR OLD WITH A PEANUT ALLERGY!  To #2, not only are actual peanuts bad, anything that looks like, or even has a picture of a peanut is VERY BAD.
I've seen her burst into (fake) tears when confronted with a toy (also fake) jar of peanut butter, and freak out when she sees a picture of nuts in the newspaper.

Oh, yeah, lucky kid is also allergic to tree nuts.  Yaaaaay.

To that end, I was experimenting with making my own almond butter (the one nut she is not allergic to!), mostly because the soy butter she's been using is FREAKING EXPENSIVE.  Seriously, $4 for a 15 oz jar is...well, nuts!

So, here is my recipe for almond butter:

1/2 cups raw almonds
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp-ish honey

blend the bejeebus out of it

Mine totally looked this good...I swear.

*I had pictures, but they seem to have been lost in the latest laptop I "borrowed" this one so you could see what it's supposed to look like.

**Edited to add:  #2 has just gone through another round of allergy testing, guess what she's allergic to now? ALMONDS.  Sigh.  Looks like I'll be eating most of a jar of almond butter.  At least it's tasty!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let them eat bread

Bug-eyed squash chicks (and pattern) found here
 Today's recipe is super-simple, and a variation on something I've done before, so I'll get to it in a minute.

First, an extended comment on today's featured amigurumi picture:

You may be asking, "Why chickens?"  Well, I could say that it is because I served today's recipe as a side dish for chicken.  Or, it could be because the chicks resemble the squash I used in the recipe.  And, both of those are true...but...the real reason that those chickens are there is because THEY ARE SO STINKIN' CUTE!  What is it?  Is it the buggy eyes?  The tipped over "pecking" one?  The odd one out facing the wrong way that could actually be a squash??  I just don't know, but for whatever reason, I was compelled to include these wacky, and yet totally adorable chickens in this post.  Much props to cheezombie, the amazing creator of these odd, chicks.  If you are into needlework, she sells the patterns!

Anyway, back to the food.  This is one of those recipes inspired by the fact that #3 is on a nothing-but-bread food strike lately.  Even her pizza has to have the cheese removed.  (I swear if I had not actually seen her come out of me, the anti-melted cheese weirdness would be enough to convince me we are NOT related!!!)
So, what to do?  I know!  Put veg, egg and cheese IN THE BREAD!

Slightly cheesy Bisquick balls with Squash:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (plus extra for kneading, rolling, un-sticky-ing of hands)
1 1/2 cups bisquick
1 egg, beaten
1 cup pureed yellow squash
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Mix, knead 5-10 times, roll into balls, place on cookie sheet
Bake at 400 for 8 mins
Brush with marg or butter

Sadly, the picture I took of the finished project has mysteriously disappeared off of our family camera, so you'll have to make it yourself to see what it looked like, but the good news is, #3 ate FOUR of them for dinner!

The rest of the verdict: 4 thumbs way up!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not everything has to be healthy

Happy Cupcake (and pattern!) found here

Most of the time, I am trying to force encourage my kids to eat healthy, but there are certainly occasions when healthy goes out the window, and it is time for TASTY and PRETTY to take center stage.

Case in point:  Birthdays!

This is the birthday cake I made for my grandmother's 90th birthday:

 She's a Pisces, so the theme of the party was FISH!  Her favorite colors are yellow and orange...which just happen to be great fish colors.  For the First Time Ever, I used fondant!  The fish tails are made of pre-colored fondant (thank you Wilton's!), and for a first effort,  didn't turn out too bad.  Note:  don't eat fondant.  Technically it is edible, but it tastes terrible.

Next up: Easter!

Easter is a big holiday for our family.  We get together with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins at my in-laws house, and have a huge, multi-generational egg hunt followed by FOOD.

This is the cake I made this year:

I found the design in a magazine (in the waiting room at the doctor's office, natch), and had to make one!  So cute, and super easy.  Bake, frost, squish Peeps into frosting, add chocolate chips.  Voila!  One gorgeous sunflower cake...that the kids (and some of the uncles!) could not resist picking the Peeps off of all day.

Next post:  Back to the healthy!  (Probably...)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Easy Cookies

Happy cookie (and pattern!) found here
When I got home yesterday from a 4 day weekend away with my husband, the first thing #3 says to me is, "Can we make cookies?"  My answer was, of course, "Tomorrow!"

So, today, the minute she woke up, and every 5 or so minutes afterward, "Can we make cookies now?"

Finally, this afternoon, after she got home from preschool, we made cookies.

I wasn't really up for the usual measure-fest that cookie baking from scratch can be, so I decided to try a short-cut.  I have made "Funfetti" cookies before, just a box of Funfetti Cake Mix (Pillsbury), oil and eggs.  They're super easy, the recipe is right on the box, and everyone loves them.

Since I wanted to sneak something healthy into them, I tweaked the recipe...a lot. Also, I for some unknown reason had 4 boxes of Orange Supreme cake mix, so I decided, hey, why not?  Orange and sweet potato could taste good together...maybe...

Here's the recipe:

1 box (any flavor really) cake mix
2/3 cup sweet potato puree
2 tbsp canola oil
2 eggs
cooking spray

Mix ingredients, drop by spoonfuls onto cooking sprayed cookie sheets, bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Now, like I said, this was a group effort.  #3 and #4 were very involved, which is why we ended up with Christmas colored sprinkles.

That's also why we ended up with so many...that's #3 dumping the rest of the container in!

Oh, and this is also what happens when one of them gets a hold of the camera:

I particularly like the one of #4 trying to pull my shirt off.  Sigh.

The good news is, they came out pretty good!

The thumbs up are from the littles, they were they only ones willing to sample! They loved their cookies, and had fun making them. The really good news? My kitchen survived with a minimum of mess!

Admitting failure

Sad clown pattern for sale here
Sadly, I was not able to get rid of all 2 dozen donuts.  Despite my best efforts, I was only able to do two donut killing recipes in two days, which only used up the first dozen.  The kids ate another eight (yikes.), and I threw out the last four.

I think my biggest conundrum with this challenge was what to do with the cream-filled donuts!  I could not figure out how to get rid of them in any recipes.  Hopefully, this is not a problem that will be repeated, but just in case, I will tell my husband not to ever bring home cream-filled donuts, even if they are free...unless of course he is bringing home one of FROST Doughnuts amazing gourmet which case it can be filled with any of their ingredients (except bacon!), and there will be no need to worry about leftovers!

More later, I'm letting the littles help me make cookies this afternoon...HA! We'll see how messy that gets that goes. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

2 dozen donuts, 2 days. part 2

Plate of donuts (and link to pattern) found here
I think the sheer impossibility of baking 2 dozen donuts into something resembling healthy has broken my poor little baking brain.

That is the only explanation for what I made today.

By the way, if you are wondering about the 2 day deadline, my in-laws are coming to stay with the kids tomorrow, so my dear husband and I can get away for a much deserved break.  I felt obligated to remove the ginormous pile of stale donuts BEFORE they came to judge stay at my house.

So, here is today's (potentially inedible) donut killing invention:

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato-Donut Bread

(Again, I have a need for over-explainyness:  I figured this could potentially be gross.  So, instead of the 3 perfectly good bananas the recipe called for, I used up a 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree, and the last cup of a can of pumpkin that I had already opened.)

2 cups whole wheat flour (because by gosh, I am not adding any more refined flour to donuts!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

3 ripe bananas, or 1 and 1/2 cups of whatever fruit/sweet vegetable you have lying around
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar (I reduced this from the 1/2 cup called for in the original recipe.  Fatal mistake?  Possibly.)
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup milk, separated
2 tsp vanilla
3 chocolate covered donuts (now you see why I reduced the sugar!)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a bread pan.  (I used non-stick cooking spray...immediately after I decided I should have used shortening...we'll see how it comes out...literally!)

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and soda together in one bowl.
In a second bowl, mix fruit/veg, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the milk.
Set both aside.

Cut up the donuts. (I used two chocolate covered old fashioned, and one chocolate covered chocolate cake, because, say it with me: that's what I had!  I did resist the urge to also use the one with chocolate and sprinkles.)  I sliced them into 1/4 inch segments, decided those were too big, and cut them in half again.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.  Dump donut pieces on top.  (When I got to this point, I realized that was a whole lot of dry, stale donut bread on top of a bready mix...which is where the rest of the milk comes in...) Pour 1/4 milk over donut pieces, then fold into dough.

Pour lumpy mixture into bread pan.

Bake for 60 minutes.


As I'm typing, the "bread" is in the you'll have to wait for the results!

Update:  Color me shocked.  THEY LOVED IT!  The bread came out warm, moist and tasty, and the girls loved the chocolatey donut chunks!  It even came out of the pan easily.  I absolutely cannot believe this worked.

The result:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to get rid of 2 dozen donuts in 2 days

Crochet donuts (and pattern!) found here
Some days are good days for dieting, some start with piles of donuts.

Armed with only the very best, and sweetest of intentions, my husband brought home 2 dozen donuts.  His reason?  "They were free!"

So, how to get rid of that many donuts in two days...without just eating the lot in one sitting?  I have a few ideas, but the first was inspired by one of my most favorite naughty breakfast treats at a local diner, The Brown Bag.  They serve a marvelous "Cinnamon Roll French Toast", which is a cinnamon roll cut in half, soaked in egg batter, and cooked like French Toast.

Of course, if you've read my blog before, you know I can't just leave it at that.  I am compelled to try and force some nutrition into it!  So, here is my first attempt to make donuts a worthwhile meal:

Donut Pumpkin French Toast

Six glazed donuts (or twists, or cinnamon roll style)
4 eggs
2 tbsp canned pumpkin
a little flaxseed meal
Cooking spray
2 tbsp margarine

Slice each donut in half.
In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, and pumpkin
Coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray, and set over medium heat.  When the pay is hot, add the margarine.
Soak each side of the donut halves in the egg mixture briefly, then place the donuts (outside down) in the pan.  Sprinkle cut side with flaxseed meal, and flip after 2 to 3 minutes.  The cut side will need a little longer to cook.

Serve warm.

Any guesses as to whether the kids liked it?  

Updated to add:  The twist were the hardest to flip,and the middle fell out of one of the cinnamon roll-style donuts, so if you have a choice, stick with standard glazed.

Turkey day

Adorable turkey (and pattern!) found here

You're probably wondering, why is there a turkey in February? Two reasons: 1. When I started this post, and added the turkey picture, it was November. 2. I feel like a turkey. I have not typed a word for this blog in over 4 months, and I have absolutely no good reason for the break. So, my apologies, I hope you can forgive me, and will continue reading. No recipe right now, but I will be posting some later, in a flurry of posts titled, "How to get rid of 2 dozen donuts in 2 days"...guess what my dear husband brought home this morning? "But, they were free!". Sigh. My continued apologies for the brief teaser post. I am actually typing this on my phone, at the gym, while killing the last of the 2 hours the nice folks in the gym daycare will watch my monkeys. Isn't technology mah-velous?