Simple & Kid Friendly Blueberry Recipes

Blueberries are my favorite fruit!  They are easy to take on picnic.  No peels.  No need for slicing or digging out pits.  My kids eat them by the handful.  My kids love our annual blueberry picking tradition.  It’s a cheap “kid’s outing” and we venutre out to the beautiful Oregon countryside.  Plus you save more money utilizing U-pick especially if you want to a large quantity of berries!

Most our blueberries get eaten by the handful as a snack, with a meal, or put on cereal and oatmeal or in waffles.  I did try a few blueberry recipes this year.  All of these recipes were simple and used almost everything I already had in the house.  I did not have to buy any special ingredients.

First we made Blueberry Heaven Smoothies.  This was a good “kid friendly” smoothie because it has both apple juice and vanilla ice cream in it.  The kids loved it!

Next I made blueberry mini muffins.  These are the perfect snack for the car.  They are less messy than regular muffins.  I freezed a bunch to take on our upcoming road trip to Canada.

Last I made blueberry coffe cake.  Perfect for a brunch of breakfast meeting.  My kids ate this up too.

The blueberries are almost all gone!  I wish we would have picked more.  I might have to head out to the U-pick again before the season winds down.

I’m linking this up with Frugal Friday.

Tips for making guacamole

It is the perfect summer outdoorsy type snack.  A few people with culinary skills gave me a crash course in how to make a tasty guacamole.

I used the Perfect Guacamole recipe.  One thing I discovered is you need to adjust any guacamole recipe to taste.  Obviously vegetables come in all different sizes.  The first time I made it too bland.  The second time it had too much lime juice.

First I had to learn  the proper way to cut an avocado.  Make sure you select one that is soft.  You will need to be able to mash it with a fork.  If it’s solid, it is too overripe.  You will need to wait a few days.

First cut around the pit on the avocado in a complete circle…

Then twist off the top…

You should be able to stab the pit with the knife and pull it right out.

Scoop the “meat” of the avocado out and put in a bowl.  Then mash it with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients (red onion, Serrano chiles, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper).  Add the sliced tomato right before you are ready to serve it.  I added tomato to it right away the first two times I made it.  This previous time I added it right before I served it and I noticed a difference.

 There you go! A tasty and delicious appetizer to eat on your backyard patio!  Serve with tortilla chips.

 

Weight Watchers Versus My Fitness Pal

I lost ten pounds on Weight Watchers in 2010.  Now I lost the ten I previously gained back in 2011 by using My Fitness Pal.

I was not going to post pictures because you cannot see a significant difference.  I tried taking a profile shot but it reminded me of taking “belly pregnancy pictures” and that freaked me out a little bit.  But this is where it began–a night of chocolate fondue around the holidays.  And realizing I had snacked recklessly since mid October–and it was only getting worse.

This is me in California last week.  Even if you cannot see a big difference, I feel better about my eating!  That is what is most important.  I am no longer sneaking into the chocolate chips jar throughout the day.  Snacking is under control.  I’m also in Week #6 of training for my third marathon I am running in Seattle in June!

So which is better–Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal?  Here’s my thoughts on that…

Recipes:  I loved the recipes on Weight Watchers.  I am kicking myself because I did not save them on a Word file. I made some great healthy meals while I was on WW.  You can  also type in a few ingredients of whatever you have in your fridge. A whole bunch of simple recipes pop up.  I realize you can do this using google or Pinterest, but I had more success finding simple recipes with Weight Watchers.

Counting Calories:  Weight Watchers measures foods by points.  Every single food is assigned a point based on the calories and nutritional value.  There is a list of “filling foods” and “zero point” food which is quite helpful.  However, I think am receiving a better education in healthy eating by counting to the calorie versus the point.  My Fitness Pal uses calories for everything.

Cost:  My Fitness Pal is free.  I got a deal with Weight Watchers on line and paid around $50.00 for three months.

Community:  WW has message boards and an “on line community” but I never accessed it.  I like My Fitness Pal because you can “friend” people similar to facebook.  I felt instand support once I joined.  You can “write on a wall” and start a discussion.  Or share a frustration or a success.  You can access other people’s food diaries to get meal ideas. You have the option of keeping your food diary own private.   There are message boards as well on varieties of topics.

Weight Loss:  I lost weight using both.  As long as you follow it, you should find results whichever one you use.

Valentine Treat Ideas

Valentines took on a whole new meaning as my children entered school.  Last year we spent a wintery afternoon handwriting cards, tucking little gifts inside, and baking treats.  Last year we made homemade Oreos with pink frosting.

Homemade oreos

The recipe is simple and only requires seven ingredients.  It is very easy to make them gluten free.  Use gluten free devil’s cake mix.  The gluten free batch turned out just as good as the regular batch.  We added a few drops of food coloring to the icing.

For my daughter’s Valentine party at school we made hand dipped Rice Krispy treats.  Follow the directions to make Rice Krispy treats.  Then use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make into shapes.  Dip into melted chocolate and add red hots, sprinkles, candy hearts or M&Ms.

For melting chocolate my husband (who loves to make candy, truffles, and chocolate) suggests putting a pot of boiling water on the stove.  Then melt your chocolate in a metal bowl resting on top of the boiling pot.  My chocolate has melted better this way and is less likely to burn versus melting directly on the stove.

We also sold some dipped  Rice Krispy treats for a “treat sale” my mom’s group does every year.  A simple heart shaped package and pink ribbon makes a nice presentation when you are a busy mom short on time.

 

Utilizing Your Fruits and Veggies Even After They Brown

Everyone seems to be on “a eat less and exercise more” kick right now including myself.  I am utilizing My Fitness Pal to keep track of everything I eat down to the last snack–and it is helping me tremendously.  I have been trying to increase my fruit and veggie intake.

Buying fresh produce can be time consuming.  I never make it through a whole head of lettuce without brown edges.  Plus it takes effort to bundle up three kids and head to the grocery store to buy produce every few days.

My friend Jana was sharing with me that she and her husband (who are also watching their weight) have been eating smoothies on a regular basis.

She says, “One thing I appreciate about the smoothies, though, is that very little produce goes to waste in our home now – bruised apples, over-ripe fruit, wilted lettuce, old grapes, etc.  They all get added to the smoothies.”

Jana also recommends freezing greens and berries.  We have a bunch of marion berries in our deep freezer.  Thawing them out is a sticky liquidy mess if you freeze them in baggies.  It’s easy (and delicious) to add the contents to a smoothie.

I also put our fruit bowl in a high traffic area.  If I see it, I am more likely to eat it.

And I find when I am eating healthier like this, I am less likely to buy a grande mocha with whip cream or a candy bar or a fast food lunch when I am out and around. My body naturally craves an orange or a salad.  If I intentionally keep this at home, I am less likely to eat out at fast food restaurants.  So I end up saving money in the long run.

I am linking this is on Learning the Frugal Life’s Tuesday Tip

Blog giveaway…coffee and a homemade treat

So I mentioned awhile ago if I had at least 25 people join the Everyday Mom facebook page I would do a giveaway.  Sadly like some other projects in my life, I neglected the facebook page.  I see we’re officially at 26.  The facebook is page is on my list of Christmas Break projects.  But I am here and ready to a long overdue giveaway.  Here’s what I am giving away to one lucky Everyday Mom blog reader…

1 bag of Silver Falls Coffee - Breakfast Blend.  We discovered Silver Falls Coffee at a little food fair our local grocery store puts on the first Friday of each month.  It is brewed in Silverton, Oregon.  We love it!  Even if you are not a coffee drinker, it makes a good stocking stuffer for someone who is.  You can also purchase all their coffee from their website.  And…

We made a bunch of smores mix this afternoon.  No, you don’t get all four cans.  You do get one of freshly made smores mix that has Crispix cereal, holiday M&Ms, mini marshmallows, Teddy Grahams and a blend of cinnamon and brown sugar.  Probably our family’s favorite holiday treat this year.

And because we want the winner to receive fresh Smores mix, the giveaway will officially end on Thursday, December 22nd at 9 AM PST (that’s noon for all you on the east side of the country).

To enter simply leave a comment about what food you have enjoyed most this holiday season.  And if you want an extra entry in the giveaway, please “like” Everyday Mom on facebook.

The winner will be announced on this blog on Thursday at 9:00 AM!!

Good luck and thanks for playing!

 

Snowman cheese ball

This is a cheese ball my friend Jennifer made for our mom’s group as an appetizer demonstration.  This would be a fun holiday idea!  Snowmen make good “winter” party decorations so you could easily do this for a New Years Party or even Superbowl Party.

Jennifer used a bell pepper cut in “a hat” shape, olives, and a baby carrot.  The recipe is from Taste of Home and is fairly simple to follow.  You do need to refrigerate the cheese ball overnight (or at least 8 hours).  And it’s tastes delicious with crackers!

 

Food Friday: My favorite Christmas sugar cookies

I love to make sugar cookies at Christmas!  This is a family recipe from my husband’s side.  I make them every year.  Only six ingredients–quick and easy!

  • 1 cup butter (I find using unsalted butter sticks work best)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy.  Add dry ingredients.  Chill. (I usually chill it 1-2 hours)

Roll out on light floured board.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes or until slightly brown.

Do not roll too think or bake too long.

There are many different icing recipes, but I usually use leftover frosting.  I had two cans in the fridge from November birthday cakes.  I usually dye vanilla frosting with a few drops of food coloring.  Then I decorate with whatever I have in my baking cupboard/candy jar.  Some ideas:  chocolate chips, M & M’s, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, Smarties, Skittles, red hots, crushed candy bar.  Think outside of the box.  My daughter now loves crushed candy cane on her cookies!

Tree Trimming Treats

My husband has this tradition where they eat homemade treats while they trim the Christmas tree.  My family’s tradition was listening to John Denver and the Muppets on the record player while we put the ornaments on the tree.  A couple Christmases ago my brother bought me the Muppets album on CD. We have since “married” our two traditions.  As our tree is going up tonight to the tunes of Kermit and Miss Piggy singing the 12 Day of Christmas, here’s what we’re snacking on…

Smores Mix

I found this on the side panel of the Kellog’s Crispix Cereal box.  Very kid friendly!

You need:

  • 3 cups Kellogs Crispix cereal
  • 1 cup Teddy Grahams, honey flavored
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup M & Ms Chocolate candies (I used mini’s)

In a 13 x 9 x 2 – inch baking pan, combine cereal and Teddy grahams.  In a small bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Drizzle over cereal mixture.  Stir until coated.  Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread of foil.  Cool completely.  Stir in marshmallows and M & Ms.  Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Smores Mix

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas.  I got this recipe from a friend and I’ve used it several times.  I actually made them gluten-free by using gluten-free four with a measured amount of xanthan gum.  Here is the regular recipe…Banana Chocolate Chip muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

You need:

  • 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. cooking oil
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 c. mashed bananas (3 medium)

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well and set aside. Beat egg until frothy. Mix in oil and milk. Pour this mixture into well along with the bananas. Stir until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Put into muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

We also made Rice Krispy treats (which are gluten free as well).  I let my kids all help make them including the two-year old.  So it was a little chaotic.  They turned out a little messy.  The marshmallow was not evenly dispersed.  The kids don’t care.  We cut them into Christmas shapes and coated them with chocolate frosting leftover from my son’s birthday cupcakes.  And added leftover M & Ms.

And lastly I had leftover pumpkin in the fridge so I made some pumpkin chocolate chip mini breads.  Some I am bringing to church Sunday night for a dessert social.  I am keeping one for us.  Very simple recipe from Taste of Home I found from a google search. Happy baking this holiday season!  More treats to come in the next few weeks!

Better late than never…we have a facebook page!

I set up a facebook page for Everyday Mom.  Please “like” us.  Once we hit 25 posts I am going to do another giveaway.  To give you a little hint–it is going to be a coffee giveaway plus some homemade goods my daughter and I will be putting together for the holidays.

Have a safe and pleasant Thanksgiving!  Oregon is experiencing massive amounts of rain and wind these last few days.  Thankful for a warm, dry place to sit and relax tonight.