The Perfect Cup of Homemade Hot Chocolate

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You can see my post here.

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Easy Homemade Fruit & Veggie Dips For Toddlers (or anyone!)

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One of the best ways to make a food exciting to a toddler, or to anyone really, in my opinion is to dip it.  I’m a condiment person.  I eat fries with my ketchup, salad with my balsamic and pizza with my marinara.  Toddlers are like this too.  At least mine is!  He would eat dip with his fingers for dinner if I let him.

Here are a few easy dip recipes that are bound to get you or your toddler eating more fruits and veggies!

Zesty Veggie Dip

-whole milk yogurt
-fresh lemon juice/lime juice
-cayenne pepper to taste

Honey Fruit Dip

-whole milk yogurt
-honey

Eat-Your-Apples-Dip

whole milk yogurt
peanut butter
cinnamon
pure maple syrup
**stir vigorously, or blend

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Maple Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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You should never buy pancake mix again.

I’m serious.

I’m 26 and I just learned how easy and cost-effective it is to make your own.  Plus it’s more healthy because it has less sugar in it and no preservatives.

…Read the rest of this post HERE, on A Mom’s Balancing Act where I do guest posts and product reviews.

Nothing Says Love Like Salad

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You may remember me doing a post a while back about chopped kale salad.  You may also remember that while it sounded delicious, it also sounded like a ton of work to make!  Both true.  So I wanted to share that I found a very similar chopped kale salad being sold at Costco.

Gosh, I love Costco.

It comes with poppyseed dressing, which I like to switch out for good ‘ol balsalmic and olive oil.  I also like to add sunflower seeds and maybe some chopped up italian parsley, but the salad is great on it’s own as well.

Also, I learned something recently about olive oil.  We had a rental car for a few days that had Sirus XM radio (so awesome!) and I listened to a program hosted by an olive oil expert.  He said that everyone should have two bottles of olive oil on hand at all times.  One should be a buttery, mild flavor used for milder dishes like fish, pasta, meats, etc.  The other one should be a grassy, more intense flavor used for salads.  I had never tried a more grassy olive oil on salads before, but after hearing that radio program I did and now I’m hooked!  It makes the salad taste SO much better!

So, maybe save this tidbit of advice for another day considering that most boyfriends and husbands out there may not be thrilled if you make them a kale salad tonight.

Homemade Granola Bars

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One of my new year’s resolutions was to try some new things in the kitchen.

Today I made homemade oatmeal and oatmeal chocolate chip granola bars that are healthy enough for Mr. Cam to eat!  I got the recipe from Weelicious and for my first time they turned out pretty good!

I would love to make even more things from scratch, but one thing at a time ya’ll…

I Cooked A Bird

Did you know that turkeys cost about half as much right after Thanksgiving?

Since we always travel on Thanksgiving, we never end up with any leftovers.

I don’t think I need to tell you how sad this is.  I’m sure you understand.

So yesterday when I was out shopping I decided to buy a bird and the rest of what I needed to make a Thanksgiving feast.  Today, besides going to play group in the morning, I spent my day cooking up a storm!

Jon gave me a few tips on the turkey, I cut some fresh sage from our ‘garden’ and I nearly killed myself by falling off a stool trying to pick the best looking oranges in our orange tree.  Why are the good ones always up so high???

Since Jon has class tonight until 10pm, I’ve truly had all day to get this meal together.  I’ll probably freeze some and the rest we will enjoy this week.

I have to admit, I am feeling pretty accomplished today.  A couple years ago the thought of cooking almost ANYTHING stressed me out and today I cooked a turkey and a bunch of sides.

Now hurry up Jon and get home from class!

JON’S TURKEY TIPS:
-Make a mixture of butter and chopped up sage to stuff underneath the skin
-Stuff the inside of the bird with apples and oranges cut into halves

Apple Bacon Brussels

If you already like brussel sprouts then you’ll love this!  If you already hate brussel sprouts then you’ll probably still hate them, but you can just pick out and eat the bacon pieces.

This “recipe” is not exact.  I just kind of went for it after my friend told me these three things pair nicely together – and it turned out!

Preheat oven to 350
Wash brussel sprouts and cut in half
Drizzle with olive oil (you would use more olive oil if you weren’t adding bacon later)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Put in the oven for approximately 30 minutes

(Cover entire dish with bacon. For the pic I only did half)

Then add bacon strips
Let cook until bacon is halfway done (maybe 10ish minutes)
Then add apples on top
Cook until apples are baked and bacon is how you like it (Another 20ish minutes)
Total cooking time: 60ish minutes
(I like my brussel sprouts to be soft and charred on the bottom, but you can mess with the cooking times according to your taste)

(Cover entire dish with apples.  For the pic I only did half)

Finally, serve with something tasty!

This dish definitely has that fall/winter food feel.

 

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Well, sort of…

Heating them up in your microwave is easier.

We bought this bag of shelled and ready to eat chestnuts at Costco.  If you’ve never had a chestnut they are very good, but very unique.  They are a soft nut and starchy – like a potato or yam.

We like to heat them briefly in the microwave then add a bit of olive oil and salt.  It’s a fun seasonal snack.

Last year we bought whole chestnuts from Trader Joe’s, but the process of getting them ready to eat is more work than these.

Only another month until Vine Street in Paso Robles when we can walk around all bundled up and actually eat one that’s been roasted on an open fire.

Here’s to the holiday season!

Southwest Quinoa Soup

This soup is, how some folks like to say, bomb.com!

My step-mom emailed me this recipe from Dr. OZ the other day and I ended up making it for dinner that same night because it looked so tasty and very simple to make.

It’s one of those two step soups where all you do is chop up a few ingredients and open up a few cans, throw it all into a pot and boil for 20 minutes.  See?  Bomb.com.

The recipe made quite a large pot so I ended up freezing some too.

It’s the perfect fall soup because it’s loaded with flavor and some nice spices and it has that curl up on the couch and watch the rain pour down outside feel to it.  Comfort in a cup.  Or in a bowl, depending on how you like to eat it.

Ingredients
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked organic quinoa

2 1/2 cubes vegan boullion
1 1/2 tbsp all natural taco seasoning
1/2 chopped red onion
1 chopped carrot
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbsp tumeric
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 can of green enchilada sauce
1/2 can of green chilies
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 (8 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 sliced avocado
1 chopped scallion
1 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt

 

Directions

In a large pot combine the first 16 ingredients (water through diced tomatoes) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until carrots are tender (about 15-20 minutes).

 

Ladle into bowls, then dress with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, avocado slices, chopped scallion and a dollop of yogurt (or sour cream).  Serve with a side of hearty bread.