Why not send a high protein snack like Greek yogurt in their lunch? While chocolate chip cookies are the most requested treat around our house, the mere mention of anything cookie dough related is always a hit.
While there isn’t always time to whip up a batch of cookies for a lunch box treat, this cookie dough yogurt comes together quickly and is a dessert you can feel good about sending off with the kids.
Last week, we asked our Facebook friends for suggestions of items they would like to see a recipe for a homemade version. Looking through the list, homemade ketchup caught my eye.
I’ve been wanting to try a homemade version for awhile, and your requests were just the incentive I needed.
So, I set about doing a little research on ketchup (which really has quite an interesting history). Did you know it used to be made and sold by farmers as a way to use up their less than perfect tomatoes? Farmers come up with some of the best ideas, don’t they?
After a few tries and failures (some in our house preferred a sweeter ketchup, others tangy), we had a version of ketchup we were all happy with. This ketchup can be enjoyed right away, but the flavors will develop even more over time.
Get access to a FREE week of school lunch menus Did you know you can make your own oat flour for pennies on the dollar vs store bought? So many recipes now call for flours much different than the All-Purpose or Whole Wheat that we are used to.
Almond flour, rice flour and oat flour have become common among ingredient lists. If these flours are not something you regularly use, it can be pricey to buy a bag that you may only need for a small amount.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money because you already have everything you need in your pantry to make your own oat flour, simply and inexpensively.
While oats are naturally gluten free, they can be cross contained depending on where they were processed. If you are looking for certified gluten free oat flour, all you need to do is make sure the oats you purchase say “certified gluten free” and then you can make your own gluten-free oat flour at a fraction of the cost.
Get access to a FREE week of menus Are you overwhelmed by all the different sweeteners out there? Do you want to substitute white sugar for something else “natural” but don’ t know where to begin?
As a mom, making food choices for your family can be an overwhelming mission, especially when it comes to sugar. There are so many choices…turbinado, honey, muscavado. What’s the right choice for your recipes, when you want to make a natural substitution for processed white sugar?
To make the task a little easier, we’ve put together a simple, short and sweet guide to a few of the more common natural sweeteners found in recipes and on your grocery store shelves. We haven’t included all the natural sweeteners available out there, but it’s a good start.
Maple Syrup–is a natural sweetener that can be used as a substitute for refined sugar and is high in minerals like zinc and manganese. The only drawback may be it’s high glycemic index, meaning it can cause a spike in blood sugar. It’s familiar flavor becomes less pronounced when used in baking. There are two common grades of maple syrup that you will likely see on your grocery shelf; Grade A has a mild flavor and light color, Grade B is darker in color with a stronger maple flavor.
To use pure maple syrup in place of sugar in a baked recipe, use 3/4 cup pure maple syrup for 1 cup of granulated sugar and reduce the dominant liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup used. Using maple syrup in baked goods may cause them to brown more quickly, due to the high sugar content.
Honey–There are two types of honey that you are likely to see most often, pasteurized (clear, golden in color, thinner consistency) and raw (thick, cloudy, granular consistency). Raw honey has not been processed/heated, leaving more of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals intact. It is actually sweeter than white sugar, but very versatile and great for baking. Honey should not be given to children younger than two to protect against infant botulism.
To substitute honey for white sugar in baked goods use 3/4 cup honey for every 1 cup of sugar. Honey adds a lot of moisture to a recipe, so reduce other liquids in the recipe by ½ cup for every 1 cup of honey added. Also, decrease oven temperature by 25 degrees to ensure your baked goods don’t brown too much.
Brown Rice Syrup— is made with brown rice that’s cooked with cultures and enzymes to break down the starches. The resulting liquid is then drained off and cooked further to it’s desired, syrupy consistency. Half as sweet as white sugar, it has a mild flavor. It’s very good for cooking and baking. Be sure to read labels because some brands include barley malt and corn syrup. Brown rice syrup can be substituted on a 1:1 ratio for other liquid sweeteners in baking.
Muscavado–different from the brown sugar (white sugar processed with molasses) that we are used to, is an unrefined brown sugar that is available in both light and dark varieties. It’s flavor is similar to brown sugar, due to retaining it’s dark sugarcane juice. Just like brown sugar, it is moist and can be used as a substitute for brown sugar in recipes.
Sucanat, Turbinado and Demara sugars–are very similiar and made by heating sugar cane juice, then spinning it in a centrifuge to extract moisture and molasses for large, golden crystals. It’s closer to refined sugar than raw sugar. You may see them labeled as ‘organic cane sugar’, ‘natural cane sugar’ or ‘evaporated cane juice’. They will retain their golden color as they are less processed than white sugar. It can be substituted on a 1:1 ratio for white sugar in recipes.
Less common, but just as delicious, are maple sugar and more recently, coconut sugar. These sweeteners can be substituted on a 1:1 ratio in recipes calling for granulated sugar. They are more expensive, but deals can be found on Amazon and bulk food sites.
Do you have kids who love chocolate milk? I do. My boys jump at the chance to drink a hot cocoa on a cold winter afternoon or the occasional treat of chocolate milk.
At the grocery, while walking the coffee isle (a mom necessity) I hear: “Mom, can we get this??” “Mom, that looks good, can we get it?” -referring to the squeezable bottle of thick chocolate syrup.
One of the things my youngest’s favorite treats is chocolate milk. It never fails that if we go past the dairy section, he’ll ask for it.
Then one day, it dawned on me, that it might be fun to try to make a chocolate syrup of our own. Sure, it might be full of sugar, but at least I know what exactly is in the syrup.
So here is our version of homemade chocolate syrup. It’s adapted from one of our favorite ice cream toppings by just leaving out the butter. It’s delicious! Be sure to give Laura’s strawberry milk a try too.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and water.
Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
Stir continuously until thickened to a sauce consistency.
Remove from heat. Add in vanilla and stir.
Pour into a separate container and allow to cool before using.
To make chocolate milk use 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup per 1 cup of milk.
Chief Mom’s note:
I’m not saying that this syrup is “healthy” but please compare the ingredients in our recipe vs the ones found in a bottle of the store-bought syrup. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP; CORN SYRUP; WATER; COCOA; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); SALT; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; XANTHAN GUM; POLYSORBATE 60; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLA VOR *source.