5 Berry-Filled Breakfasts

I love berries in the summer, don’t you? Right now the prices are lowering on strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries – and I’m excited. Here are five delicious breakfasts to help you use up those great berries and start your day.

5 Berry-licious Breakfasts

What’s your favorite way to use berries?

Farm-Fresh Recipes for Spring

first asparagus
source: Calliope via Flickr Creative Commons

In the April issue I (Jessie) wrote an article with some recipes for using up the produce that is popping up this time of year: asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, radishes, turnips, and spinach. I shared recipes for our favorite Tropical Green Smoothie, some biscuits enhanced with beets, roasted radishes, and my mother-in-law’s infamous broccoli salad.  Here are 10 more recipes to try this Spring!

Do your kids eat vegetables? What’s your favorite of these spring veggies?

When Can My Baby Eat Yogurt?

yogurt

 

Most babies start eating solids around 6 months. When is it OK to start adding yogurt into their diet?

While cow’s milk is off-limits until after the first birthday, yogurt can be included as a first food. Why? There are no worries about yogurt replacing breastmilk or formula as the primary source of nutrition in a baby’s diet. Drinking cow’s milk can send too many different minerals to a child’s undeveloped kidney and may cause problems with calcium absorption. Plain yogurt, however, is great for the immune system and makes a perfect first food, as long as there is no family or child history of dairy allergies.

Plain, whole-milk yogurt may not sound good to you, but it is the right food for a baby. Kids should not be given low-fat dairy until after age 2; they need the fat in their diet. Almost all yogurts, even “fruit” varieties, have sugar or artificial sweeteners, so find a simple whole-milk, unflavored yogurt or make your own in a yogurt maker.

Make sure never to sweeten yogurt with honey until after age 1, especially.

Most pediatricians agree that it is OK to start this type of yogurt with babies at 6-8 months, but please consult with your pediatrician before starting anything new. Always add only one new food at a time with babies, with a 3-day wait period, to monitor for any allergic reactions.

Forget Cookie Baking & Embrace Cooking Dipping for Christmas Gifts!

Personally, I love baking cookies. But I’m also a stay-at-home mom, so I have more time at home than many. And this year, I still haven’t been in the kitchen much as I’ve dealt with sickness, school events, and just general life stuff.

chocolate dipped pretzels

If you, too, have been lacking for time to make homemade treats, I wanted to share with you my easiest tips and recipes for making a giant batch of semi-homemade goodies to hand out. 

When I was working, I would fill a Christmas tin from the thrift store for all my co-workers with these yummies. It takes just an hour or two to make all the treats, as opposed to hours baking dozens of cookies. And everyone loves them!

Here is what you need:

  • Cookies and pretzels for dipping: shortbread, Oreos, pretzel rods, pretzel twists, vanilla wafers
  • Almond bark in white and milk chocolate
  • Toppings for sprinkling: any variety of Christmasy sprinkles or sanding sugar, chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, toasted coconut, crushed Oreos
  1. Open all packages of dippers so you are ready. Place different sprinkling items on plates. Lay out wax or parchment paper for items to dry on.
  2. Melt chocolates in the microwave in large measuring cups. For melting chocolate, I always microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, then microwave in additional 15-30 second intervals, stirring after each, until completely smooth. Be careful with white chocolate or almond bark, because it is more likely to scorch.
  3. Dip each cookie or pretzel about halfway into the chocolate. Then press into a sprinkling item. Place on wax paper to dry.

With this method, you can make a large variety of treats simply by using different sprinkling toppings. So fun, and easy for the kids to help with, too, for teacher, bus driver, mail person, Sunday School teacher, pastor (you get this idea!) gifts!

Want another simple treat? 

Melt white almond bark in the microwave. Spread onto a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Let cool, then break into pieces. It looks fancy but couldn’t be easier.

Do you pass out cookies or other treats during the holidays?

Photo source: Christi Johnstone via Flickr Creative Commons

Pumpkin Deliciousness for Fall

pumpkin recipes

Need a new pumpkin recipe for the season, to make with your kids or for a fall festival? Here are some of my personal favorites and a few I haven’t tried … yet.

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

25 MORE Make-Ahead Breakfasts for Back to School

Two years ago, we posted 25 Make-Ahead Breakfasts for Back to School, a post that’s been very popular. And why not? We all need breakfasts we can easily make in advance. Who wants to get up at 4 a.m. to start cooking? All of these recipes can either be made the night before or pre-made and frozen. Enjoy, and let us know if you try a recipe and love it!

 

  1. Honey-Almond Scones
  2. Crockpot Breakfast Casserole
  3. Baked Oatmeal
  4. Banana Breakfast Cookies
  5. Crunchy Granola Breakfast Cookies
  6. Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
  7. Corn and Tomato Quiche
  8. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pie
  9. Pumpkin Praline Pancakes
  10. Easy Western Omelet Muffins
  11. Baked Double Chocolate Donuts
  12. Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  13. Breakfast Enchiladas
  14. Easy Pancake Bites
  15. Strawberry and Cream Danishes
  16. Breakfast Pizza with Hashbrown Crust
  17. Oatmeal Superfood Breakfast Bars
  18. Peach Pecan Pancakes
  19. Strawberry Coconut Overnight Oats
  20. Overnight Creme Brûlée French Toast
  21. Easy Breakfast Pizza
  22. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones
  23. Chai-Spiced Scones
  24. Portland Coffee Cake
  25. Waffles & Sausage Breakfast Casserole

In Defense of Fun Food

In Defense of Fun Foods

Every time my kids go to their Grandma’s, they want to make “spiders.”

These spiders are made by spreading peanut butter between two Ritz crackers, sticking straight pretzels in for legs, and adding a few raisin eyes. They take about 45 seconds to put together. And my little ones think they are the best thing ever.

Is it because they truly adore crackers, peanut butter, pretzels, and raisins? Not really. Those are all foods they like. But the excitement comes from the whimsy. From the silly act of eating an arachnid.

Surprise – there is a lot of criticism on the Internet. And whenever someone shares a picture of a silly or creative food made for kids, there are haters. “Who has time for that?” “It’s tricking your kids!” “You obviously have too much time on your hands.” “Kids don’t care anyway.”

And if it’s not your thing, I get that.

But I love the light in my kids’ eyes when they have a “spider,” a pumpkin sandwich with candy eyes, a sandwich cut into a butterfly shape. It’s such a simple act that truly brings them enjoyment.

It makes me think of how Jesus said we should come to Him like a child. My little ones grow wide-eyed and giggly every time they hear a jingle bell, open a Christmas book during December, or see a wreath on a door. They just take joy in the little things. They are in awe of Jesus and the world around them.

I’m taking advantage of their childish joy while I can … and trying to grasp a little of my own through them.

Tomorrow we’re all having snowman pancakes for breakfast.

photo via Kraft Foods

8 Yummy Muffin Recipes

muffincollage2

 

Personally, I think muffins are one the best “kid foods” there are. My kids will eat almost anything if it’s baked into a little handheld snack. Want them to eat squash? Carrots? Quinoa? Bake it into a muffin!

Muffins can be breakfast, part of a lunchbox, a snack, or alongside soup with dinner. They can be sweet or savory, fluffy or dense, topped or not.

Here are eight of my personal favorite muffin recipes. What are yours?

  1. Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins – Citron Limette
  2. Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Roll Muffins – Authentic Simplicity
  3. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins – Once a Month Meals
  4. Apple Cinnamon Muffins – ParentLife Online
  5. Crumby Banana Muffins – Jessie Weaver
  6. Honey-Sweetened Pumpkin Harvest Muffins – The Finer Things in Life
  7. Sweet Carrot Muffins – Spoonful
  8. Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins – Annie’s Eats

September Is National Honey Month

Honey
source: twodolla

September is National Honey Month! Why does honey get a whole month and not a day? Who knows!? But since 1989, beekeepers and their bees have been celebrated during September, a month when honey collecting winds to a close for the year in many parts of the U.S.

I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate, aren’t you? Why not do some exploring with your kids and find out more about honey and its uses?

What your favorite thing to make or do with honey? I love hot tea with honey and lemon when I am sick – or even just hot water with those additions!

**Never give honey to a child younger than 12 months. They are at risk for botulism.**

Making Meals with 5 Ingredients (or Less!)

5 ingredients or less

One of the easiest ways to cut back on meal costs is to simplify your ingredients. If you can make a tasty recipe with fewer ingredients, you will probably spend less money. Often this involves slow-cooking, which intensifies flavor and tenderizes less costly cuts of meat.

Here are some great recipe links to get you started. All the recipes have 5 ingredients or fewer, not counting salt and pepper. Add an easy side dish, like a frozen vegetable and rice, and you’ll be able to save (or give!) more money and spend less on food.

*If you don’t use alcohol in your cooking, you should skip these recipes.

And here are a few fun recipes from our friends on Facebook.

Cabbage skillet: brown 1lb. hamburger with chopped onion, then add 2 cans drained Rotel and one small green cabbage sliced into ribbons. Add salt & pepper, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender. Serve over rice, with or without a slice of American cheese melted between. – from Nicole H.

Caramel Apple salad: Core and chop 4-5 Granny Smith apples, add 1 medium can of crushed pineapple with the juice & mix together. Sprinkle 1 box of butterscotch instant pudding (regular or sugar free), stir together. Stir in one 8 – 12 oz tub of cool whip. Chill before serving. (I don’t peel the apples but you can if you need to do so.). – from Becky M.

Have a favorite 5-ingredient-or-less recipe? Leave it for us in the comments! I’d love to have a few more in my arsenal for dinners.