Friday, March 27, 2015

Whole Wheat Pancakes & Healthy Chocolate Syrup

How can life get any better!?!  I mean, really!  Pancakes with chocolate syrup that you want your kids to eat!  Not to mention all of the Mom points I earned with the kids and Wife points from the husband for this meal ;)  Also, you might want to double the recipe depending on the size of your family since they go like hot cakes!  Yes, yes, I know.  I am also a comedian.

Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk (or any other milk)
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
Whip the egg whites until stiff, set aside the yolks for later.  Mix flour, baking powder, syrup or honey, yolks & oil.  Fold in whipped egg whites.  Heat pan on Medium & butter it.  Pour thin pancakes and flip when you see bubbles popping through.
Chocolate Syrup
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
Heat all ingredients on low in a saucepan while you cook pancakes.  Mix together well and pour over your pancakes.  If you tend to lean to the sweeter side add extra maple syrup to your pancakes with the chocolate syrup.  *Do not boil*
Also, if you have any leftover syrup you can freeze it.  You can eat it frozen as a candy or toss it back into a pan to reheat as syrup!

Nuggets, 'Fries', Pina Coladas & Doo!

I am always looking for something that the kids will love and that we will love too.  This is always a challenge when I am in the mood to go for something with a little kick (the perfect compliment to a nice fattening Pina Colada).  I sat the kids down to play their favorite game Doggy Doo and starting making chicken nuggets and came up with my new favorite dinner!

Has anyone seen this game?  Tractor found it at the store and the kids LOVE it like no other game.  It keeps them laughing, entertained and in my opinion counts as science ;)  You just take the yellow putty, feed it to the dog and pump the leash (which is an air pump) the amount your dice roll allows.  Whoever is pumping the leash when the putty makes it's appearance out of the other end gets to put it on their shovel.  First to 3 wins.  This game gives me close to an hour of time to cook while they are entertained.

So my new favorite dinner is chicken nuggets and 'fries'!  But not just any nuggets and fries, green chili (no chili on the kids nuggets of course) chicken nuggets and green bean fries.  To make the kids nuggets just substitute a beaten egg for the green chili and Viola!  Dinner that makes everyone super happy!  The nuggets and the green beans can bake at the same time and will be done about the same time.  That makes this meal about 35 minutes in prep time (including the dessert drinks) and 20 minutes for baking.  The Pina Colada recipe came from a friend of the families that is Peurto Rican and boy can you tell by her island drinks!
Happy Family Chicken Nuggets
Prep time: 20 min   Bake Time: 20 min   Serves about 4
1 lb chicken breast
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup green chili
2 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (store bought or homemade)

1) Cut chicken into nugget sized chunks.
2) Puree green chili in blender or food processor.
3)Put egg in a small bowl, chili in a different small bowl and breadcrumbs on a plate.
4) Divide the chicken in half (half for kids, half for adults).  Dip kids chicken in egg and then breadcrumbs.  Place breaded nuggets on a greased glass baking dish.
5) dip the adult chicken in to the green chili and then breadcrumbs.  Place breaded chicken on a different greased glass baking pan and spray with olive oil to create a crispy outside.
6) Cook at 400 for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

*Tips: Always do the kids first so that you don't get the chili out of the breadcrumbs on their chicken.  For dipping sauces the kids usually like ketchup and we usually use sour cream.  YUM!

Green Bean 'Fries'
Prep Time: 10 min  Bake Time: 20 Min  Serves about 4
2 lbs fresh green beans
olive oil to coat
sea salt (we like them salty but you can add your own desired amount)

1) Wash, dry & trim the ends off.
2) Place in a single layer on a glass baking dish (or two if  needed) and drizzle with olive oil and salt.
3) Use your hands to move them around and make sure they are evenly coated.
4) Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until they have brown spots (not black) and are a little shriveled. 
5) If you have to, bribe your little ones with a virgin Pina Colada for dessert to eat their 'fries' but in our house there is no bribing necessary with these!

Pina Colada
Prep Time: 5 min  Serves about 4
8 oz Coco Lopez coconut cream
8 oz pineapple juice
4 cups good vanilla ice cream
3 oz rum (or more if you are like me ;)

1) Blend first three ingredients and pour half for the kids virgin dessert pina coladas.
2) Add rum and blend again for the 'Mommy Drink' version :)

Better than just homemade - Laundry Detergent

I have been seeing all of these recipes for homemade laundry detergent on Pinterest and was excited to try them out until... I went to the store to gather the ingredients and realized that those recipes pump horrible chemicals onto the earth and expose my family to them as well.  So I started researching a better way to still make cheap homemade laundry detergent that was a lot better for my family and the earth.  After lots of research I decided that if something *might* cause cancer or poison my family I *might* want to stay clear of it.

So began my search and I finally compiled an ingredient list that I think is even safe enough to pump out to your garden from your washer (note: I think but have not actually tried it) that doesn't require any grating or cooking!  I have been using it for a few months and am very happy with the results.  I have a front loading HE washer and this works since it is low sudsing.  If I need any extra stain fighting power I just pre-treat with the same ingredients or I wash on hot.
Family/Earth Safe Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 cup baking soda,
1/4 cup liquid Dr. Bonner’s Eucalyptus Castile soap (or Baby Mild if you prefer)
1 gallon water
-Shake before use and add 1/3 cup per load.

Fill softener compartment with vinegar.  This is tricky because you should never mix castile soap with vinegar as it breaks it down and will leave oil stains on your clothes.  Make sure that your softener compartment is leaking while waiting for your washing cycle to finish.

Bleach (whites or color clothes)
Fill half the tray with lemon juice and half with hydrogen peroxide.

Use the blue dryer balls you can get anywhere.  If you would like a scent you can put a couple drops of your favorite essential oil on a washcloth and throw in with the load.

Happy Washing!

Matt Lauer made me do it!

I LOVE watching the Today show!  It has very interesting segments and I get to watch my husband report on them!  Oh wait, I'm not married to Matt Lauer.  Sometimes I get confused.  Anyways, We have made the decision to homeschool our children.  I will not go into why we have made this decision since it is a hot button for some people.  I have decided when asked why, I will tell people that Matt Lauer made me do it!  Why Matt Lauer you ask?  Why not?

Which brings me to one last thing - wine.  I definitely, more than ever, need my relaxing glass or two of wine after all of the squidlums are in bed!  As much as I love home educating the kids, at times it can be a challenge and take lots of wine.  Patience!  I mean lots of patience.  So for my very first featured wine, I will start with my favorite - Mirassou Pinot Noir.  This is my all time favorite!  It is around $10, needs a few minutes to breathe after you open it and does not taste the same the next day.  I recommend that you open it when you know that the whole bottle will be used.  I have tried putting the cork back in when I am the only one drinking it but it never tastes the same the next day.

Happy whining!

Cooking Dinner For 'Human' Ears Only!

I have always loved to watch, but mostly listen to, tv while I cook dinner - I am a sucker for Hulu & old reruns.  I pour myself a glass of wine, turn on the latest (or not so latest) episode of Parenthood, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Raising Hope, Modern Family, The Middle, So You Think You Can Dance, Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares - to name a few of my favorites - and cook away!  Is anyone else reliving teenage memories through the Dawson's Creek episodes on Netflix right now too?  It truly is something I enjoy doing and it really relaxes me from a day of running around with the kids and the kids running around me.

The only problem is since I have had my little ones I can't hear it anymore or there might be some 'human' situations - my children call adults humans and say kids aren't humans, and I agree ;) - or the occasional swear word that I don't want them to hear.  So, I have come across the perfect solution!  I didn't even bother with hair and make-up in the pic because I figured there is no way to make this picture look any better.
My Zone Wireless TV Headphones.  Nerdy as it is (don't knock them until you try them), they are fantastic!  I set the kids up at the table in the kitchen with play-dough or something similar that takes little help from me.  I put Dimples in his high chair with his favorite toy on his tray to play with beside me.  I pour my glass of wine (or a cold beer on occasion).  Put on my headphones and go to town cooking while the kids play away and have no idea that Chef Ramsey just insulted a young chefs grandma and totally minced his self esteem all in one fell swoop!

I turn them up just enough for me to hear the show and I can still hear the kiddos to circumvent any sibling world wars that are about to ensue.  I always keep an eye on them since they are in the kitchen with me. 

If you are worried about setting them up or how they will work - don't!  They are very easy to set up.  Plug transmitter into the tv, insert batteries in two places, push a few buttons and you are ready to go.  As far as how well they work, I can hear static free throughout most of the house.   There is a trick to getting sound static free though.  Wanna know the trick?  You have to hit the Reset button once and then the Scan button, wait for sound then hit scan again.  Crystal clear?  They are not of the very best quality so if you drop them on the tile or little hands try to explore them too roughly they will break - you might want to keep them put up high.

Happy listening!

Goth Girl, Cart Boy & Zuchinni Breakfast Muffins

Today it is rainy outside with a cold front coming in with the storms so we went to the store to get baking ingredients.  I love to warm the house up and make it smell wonderful while it's rainy out.  We are going to make Breakfast Mini Muffins!

Going to the store solo with my 3 kidlums is always quite the adventure.  Even more on a rainy day.  Princess got my waterproof mascara out of my purse while I was picking out vitamins and applied it all over her eyebrows.  I tried hand soap and water in the bathroom but it wasn't coming off so she shopped at Sprouts with us sporting the Marilyn Manson look.  Which reminds me, as a mother I am not a fan of Sprout's shopping carts.  They are a little top heavy.  Tractor learned the laws of physics the hard way - which is a him lying between the floor and a Sprouts shopping cart a few weeks ago :/ 

So anyways, back to the muffins.  They are delicious and the kids think so too!  The best thing about them is that they have all 6 food groups (yes, even that seldom know dark chocolate group ;) with no sugar or other yucky stuff.  They have whole grain, fruit, veggies, calcium, protein and a tiny bit of dark chocolate.  A mom couldn't ask for more out of a muffin and the kids can't stop asking for them!  I like to freeze and pull them out as I need the night before.
Breakfast Mini Muffins
Prep Time: 20 min  Bake Time: 17 min  Yield: about 48 mini muffins

1 1/2 cup (give or take) of grated zucchini (I peel them and use my blender)
1 cup (give or take) smashed ripe bananas
6 Tbs raw honey
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil (be sure to use the good stuff)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or whole grain gluten free flour mix
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbs hemp seeds
dark chocolate chips or just small pieces off a bar (I use the darkest I can find, usually 88%) 
Optional: 1/2 tsp ginger, nutmeg and/or allspice (it all depends on your personal tastes), can also add 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder accompanied with 1/4 cup extra applesauce to up the protein

1) Mix zucchini and bananas to make about 2 1/2 cups, a few banana lumps are ok & preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Add honey and egg.
3) Mix in applesauce, oil and vanilla.
4) In a separate bowl mix together all of the other ingredients except the chocolate and then add to the wet ingredients.
5) Sometimes the muffins stick a little to the muffin papers so butter or oil if you would like.  Fill the muffin papers 3/4 full and push a small piece of chocolate or one chip into the center of each muffin.
6) Cook for 17-20 minutes depending on your oven & preference. 
 Cool & Enjoy!

Are there enough calories in this play dough to blow my diet?

I seem to be the only person who missed the blogging bandwagon when it went through Mommyville, so here I am.  I have three wonderful, happy and sometimes oh so challenging little ones.  They have named themselves for this blog: Tractor, Princess & Fire.

As I sit here playing with my kiddos and our play dough, the thought crosses my mind - How many calories does it have?  I am hot on the diet trail to fit back into ALL of my pre-pregnancy clothes and am trying to keep my calorie count low.  This belly was wonderfully cute when I was preggers with Fire, but now - not so much! 

I have always made the kids play dough myself since Princess never grew out of the eating everything stage.  This way I know what it is she is eating on the not so rare occasion that I don't catch her in time.  It's pretty harmless except for the Kool-Aid packets that color and scent it.   Those delightfully scented Kool-Aid flavors are pretty tempting when you are on eating better!  Blue Raspberry play dough never looked so delicious.  And the ice cream shop play dough toy isn't making things any easier.  'Soft serve with sprinkles?'  Yes please!  After trying several different recipes over the years, this one has become our favorite.  It smells and looks yummy, is soft but not sticky and keeps for a long time in a Ziploc bag.  BTW - The whole recipe is 614 calories, it would so blow my diet ;)

Edible Kool-Aid Play Dough
(enough for two kids)
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2  packets of kool-aid
  • 1 cup flour 
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 5 teaspoons cream of tartar

  1. Combine water, Kool-Aid, salt & oil in a small pot.
  2. On medium, stir until all salt has dissolved .
  3. Mix flour and cream of tartar together then add to the pot.
  4. Constantly stir until mixture forms a soft ball of dough, should take a few minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and knead when it is cool enough to handle.
  6. When it is completely cooled, eat it!  Oh wait, I mean - when it is completely cooled, let the kids play with it.

Happy play doughing!