All Posts by Kendra Peterson

15 DIY hot cocoa mix

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Need an easy recipe that yields great hot cocoa just like the store-bought mixes? Then this is for you!

DIY hot cocoa mix

For regular homemade hot chocolate—not from a mix and with less sugar—check out this recipe

Here at MOMables, we are huge proponents of not buying what you can make yourself. One popular household staple is hot cocoa mix. Great for a hot treat on a cold day. Or even a warm one!

Most store-bought mixes are full of fillers and junk like artificial flavors—yuck! So not only can your mix be made on a cost-conscious budget, but it can also cater to individual tastes and food intolerances along with being much healthier!

4.2 from 5 reviews
DIY Hot Cocoa Mix
 
Author:
Serves: 11
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2½ cups powdered milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional*)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or food processor, and mix well.
  2. Put ⅓ to ½ cup of the mix into a mug, and fill to 1 cup with hot water. Mix well.
Notes
Options to add to mix:
1 cup chocolate or white chocolate chips (whole or chopped via food processor)

Options to add to cup of prepared cocoa:
Marshmallows
Whipped cream
Pinch of cinnamon and/or cayenne pepper
Sprinkle of shaved chocolate
Sprinkle of crushed peppermint candy or candy cane
A shot of espresso, added before the hot water

If you prefer using fresh milk, leave the powdered milk out of the mix. Add 3 tablespoons of the powdered mixture to the mug, and fill to 1 cup with hot milk.

*The cornstarch is added to help prevent caking, so can be omitted if desired.
Recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup
This makes a great gift too – just pack some in a jar or air-tight container and top with some homemade marshmallows, chocolate chips, or crushed peppermint candy. What a nice treat to say “Thanks!” or even “Just because.”

1 DIY Protein Bistro Box

DIY Protein Bistro Box

Do you feel like you need to add a little extra protein to your kid’s lunch? This is perfect for you!

DIY Protein Bistro BoxHere at MOMables, we’re big proponents of the idea “Why BUY it, when you can MAKE it?”

Especially when you’re working on filling up your lunch boxes, you can never go wrong with more options, so come check it out here!

So while the boxed “lunches” (*cough* snack size!) at a certain popular coffee chain are made with fresher and healthier ingredients than other boxed lunch options, $5 is still pretty steep for something you can easily put together yourself for less!

Plus packing it yourself means you can control the ingredients and cater to personal tastes. Don’t like pepper? Skip it. Need gluten-free? No problem! Prefer your eggs soft-boiled? Go for it!

The coffee-house boxed “lunch” makes a nice snack or supplement to a larger meal, but with a few changes, you can easily pack a stand-alone lunch!

Make It a Meal!

Add more apples, grapes, and cheese. And include a serving of fresh vegetables too, while you’re at it, for a nice balanced meal!

*I used a gluten-free multi-grain roll and maple-syrup flavored peanut butter (yum!)

4.0 from 1 reviews
DIY Protein Bistro Box
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 small slices aged cheddar cheese
  • 1 hard-boiled egg (check out MOMables tips to make them easy-peel!)
  • 2 tablespoons honey-flavored peanut butter, or regular peanut butter or non-nut butter*
  • 3 apple slices (check out the MOMables tips to help keep them from browning!)
  • 7-10 grapes
  • 1 multigrain roll or scone (apple-cinnamon-raisin is closer to the weird "Muesli bread" thing the coffee-shop box has, but feel free to use your favorite!)
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Pack more or less, to fit your tastes and appetite!
Notes
* You can mix in a small amount of honey or agave syrup if you want it sweet like the packet that comes with the $5 version. 1 tablespoon should be enough for a small jar of peanut butter, so you shouldn't need much here.
 

13 crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche muffins

Crustless Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche Muffins

Need another way to reuse leftovers? 

crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche muffins

Here at MOMables, we are all about using leftovers or making extra dinner ingredients to repurpose for lunch! Not only are these quiche muffins a great way to use up extra veggies and cheese, they do double-duty! They make a great grab-and-go breakfast, or a lunchbox-friendly addition! Need more ideas to fill those lunch boxes? Come check us out!

I usually make these when I’m making quiche for dinner. I add extra veggies and eggs to my quiche mix, then make muffins with the extra that doesn’t fit in my pie pan. They freeze really well (see details below) making it easy to save them for later. So it doesn’t feel like we are eating the same thing day after day!

crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche muffins

Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche "Muffins"
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Lunch
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cooked broccoli florets, chopped small (from frozen or fresh)
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup half-and-half, milk, or non-dairy milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby Jack, or Gouda make great options)
  • Butter or oil for muffin pan
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. (If you don't have extra cooked broccoli handy, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, then add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute. Drain, blot dry, and chop).
  3. Butter or grease 6 to 8 muffin cups (you can choose to skip this for silicone cups). Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheese and broccoli. (Option: Divide the cheese and broccoli evenly into 6 to 8 portions and place in greased muffin cups instead).
  5. Ladle the egg mixture evenly into the muffin cups. Leave at least ¼ inch of space at the tops. (If using a silicone muffin pan or silicone cups, place on a baking sheet first.)
  6. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Notes
For different taste combinations, you can add ½ cup chopped grilled or sauteed onion, or 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives.
You can substitute other leftover or extra veggies for the broccoli, or use a combination. Chopped spinach, zucchini, peas, or cauliflower also make great kid-friendly alternatives, and mixing in chopped carrots and tomatoes can create a fun twist. But really, anything works if it's something you'd enjoy with eggs!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 muffin cups
These can also be made ahead and stored for later! If you’re not eating them all right away, let them cool for 15 to 20 minutes before putting them in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last 3 to 7 days that way.

To freeze, divide into pairs (or whatever serving size you want) and put into freezer bags. (To save on high-cost freezer bags, I use cheaper small baggies for individual servings. Then put THEM into a larger freezer bag. I can usually keep re-using the outer bag, since it doesn’t get dirty touching the food!) The night before you want to eat them (or 2 to 3 days before) place them in the fridge to thaw.

To reheat, microwave thawed muffins for 2 minutes per pair.

Looking for more ideas to make your mornings easier? Check out these great MOMables breakfast recipes!

easy kale dip

Easy Kale Dip

What else can you use kale for? How about dip?

easy kale dip Whenever I add greens to our food, I make sure to name the dish after a favorite green character, like “Kermit Dip” or “Monster Mike Macaroni and Peas” to make it more kid-friendly. There are plenty of green superheroes, talking trains, tinkering pixies, frog princesses, and other fun cartoon characters to choose from to entice any child to give this yummy dip a try!

easy kale dip

A lot of the time, parents have some challenges sneaking extra veggies into their kid’s diets, but MOMables is here to give you tons of ideas and tricks to help with just that! Come check it out!

Easy Kale Dip
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (5 to 6 ounces) roughly torn kale leaves (removed from stems)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or favorite herb mix)
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons lemon or lime juice (the acidity helps reduce the green flavor of the kale)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or milk
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, chop the kale leaves. Put in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the cream cheese into small chunks and put in the food processor. Add the seasoning, onion, and salt, if using. (If dipping with veggies, you might prefer a little saltiness, but if dipping salted chips or crackers, you may not need any salt in the dip). Blend well.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the chopped kale, lemon juice, and half-and-half. Blend well. You can add more milk if needed to get to the consistency you prefer.
  5. Dip veggies and enjoy!
Notes
Instead of cream cheese, which is at least 33% fat (roughly 80 grams of fat per 8-ounce block), I prefer to use Neufchatel cheese, which is naturally lower in fat without adding weird chemicals, fake colors, or extra sugars (around 23% fat, so only 48 grams of fat per 8-ounce block). Both kinds contain roughly 16 grams of protein per 8-ounce block. (Ingredients and nutrition information will vary by brand.)

Feel free to substitute spinach or other greens (leaves only, no stems) for the kale!

I personally prefer this with 2 to 3 teaspoons of garlic instead of the onion, and I usually add some rosemary and extra salt as well. Either way, it's a big hit at family get-togethers!
For some more kid-friendly veggie dip recipes, check out MOMables Creamy Avocado Dip and Creamy Herb Radish Dip!

4 watermelon pizza

Watermelon Pizza

Do you need a light yet sweet and juicy snack or dessert idea?

watermelon pizzaWhile this treat makes a nice afternoon snack or a fun party food for a picnic or potluck, offering fresh fruit as a dessert option teaches kids that it doesn’t have to be filled with added sugar to still be a “treat!” MOMables has tons of great fruit-as-treats ideas!

MOMables doesn’t just stop with amazing ideas, but we also provide you with a fantastic weekly meal plan that gives you step-by-step directions and even pictures to show you what the finished product should look like! Interested in getting some extra help? Join us here!

Dessert pizza!

First, slice a watermelon into roughly 1-inch-thick round slabs. Then slice the desired number of slabs like a pizza, into 6 to 8 triangular wedges each.

Then mix and match as many toppings as you’d like for a treat that’s sure to please! Try mint, sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sliced or halved grapes, sliced banana, shredded coconut, raisins, dried goji berries or cranberries, thinly sliced peaches, plums, or pears—so many yummy flavor combinations!

For an added Summer-y twist, you could even add chopped frozen berries and bananas instead! What a great way to cool off on a hot day!

watermelon pizza partyMake it saucy!

You don’t need a “sauce,” but if you’d like to include one, some great options are honey or agave syrup, honey glaze (honey mixed with a little water to make it more spreadable), plain nut or seed butter, plain or flavored yogurt, yogurt mixed with a little honey, or yogurt mixed with some peanut butter or other nut or seed butter (any ratio you’d like)!

Add some crunch!

Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, poppy, etc.), whole or chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnuts, etc.), granola, and/or whole-grain small or crushed cereal (rice puffs, corn flakes, O-shaped cereals, mini ball-shaped cereals, etc.) make great and healthy additions to your fruity “pizza!”

Sweet and savory!

Don’t be afraid to try savory toppings as well! You can try a “Greek Salad Pizza” with some basil, Feta, red onions, and kalamata olives! Or just mix and match a mild cheese (crumbled Feta, ricotta, or mozzarella) with kalamata olives or basil. Or use ingredients from your favorite watermelon salad!

watermelon-pizza-savoryWith a protein (yogurt, cheese, or nut butter) and a whole grain (cereal or granola), this could even make a great breakfast option! You could do most of the prep the night before and store your slices in a covered casserole dish in the fridge. If you want them to stay crispy and chewy, just save the “dry” ingredients like coconut, cereal, and raisins until you’re ready to serve!

For some more easy fruity treat ideas, try MOMables Frozen Fruit Kabobs, Fresh Fruit Yogurt, Banana Split Bites, Watermelon Pops, Fruit Ice Cubes, Chocolate-Covered Banana Bites, and Fresh Fruit & Lemonade Popsicles!

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