What do you get when you combine fresh fruit and lemonade? These awesome popsicles of course! By looking at the calendar it is officially summer, but if go by the temperature gauge it has already felt like summer for a few weeks.
We’ve been cooling off by spending hours in the swimming pool, having water balloon fights and eating popsicles.
Lots of popsicles.
If you haven’t made your own popsicles before, it is probably one of the easiest things you can do. Those “layered” popsicles you see on the web can be intimidating to make; so if you want a recipe that you can “pour-and-go” this is the one!
The equipment doesn’t need to be fancy, and your kids will love being involved in dreaming up all the flavor possibilities.
It’s a wholesome way to make a cool snack that both you, your kids and probably even the neighborhood kids are going to love this summer.
Check out how easy these popsicles are to make!
Fresh fruit is always a great add-in for popsicles. The natural sweetness is just perfect for quenching the need for something cool and sweet after an afternoon in the summer sun.
Adding in the traditional drink of summer, the lemonade gives it a tartness that puts these popsicles over the top!
There are just some recipes that are a must have in your kitchen arsenal of goodies. Recipes like a good chocolate chip cookie, a hearty soup, a good muffin…and a quick and easy caramel sauce.
Caramel sauce? Yes, you read me right. I know, I used to be afraid of making it too. Turns out that it really couldn’t be easier AND you don’t even need a fancy candy thermometer to pull it off. Once you’ve tasted this buttery, creamy sauce you will want to make it again and again.
There are so many great uses for it too….a yummy lunch box treat for dipping apples, poured atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a celebratory dessert, or drizzled over a slice of peach or apple pie.
The key to making your caramel sauce successfully is to be patient. Give the boiling sugar time to convert to a dark amber. This is the point that the sugar has caramelized and gives your sauce it’s color. Add the cream too soon and it will be watery and light. Too late and you’ll have burned sugar. This conversion happens in a matter of minutes, so make sure to not step away from the stove for more than a few seconds when the sugar is bubbling away.
This strawberry cheesecake yogurt parfait recipe is a delicious lunchbox treat or snack kids will love.
It’s strawberry season! I’ll admit, I look forward to strawberry season almost as much as spring. There’s just something about those juicy, sweet, ruby red berries that are a sign that warmer days and sunshine are on the way. However, if you are reading this in the middle of winter, know that you can use frozen strawberries too!
My kids love strawberries too. Many days I catch them eating strawberries plain, straight out of the box, but it’s fun to find new ways to enjoy this naturally sweet fruit too.
Why not add them to yogurt? Fruit and yogurt make a great breakfast, after school snack, or in this case a healthy lunch box dessert.
While there are many great fruit yogurts on the store shelves these days, making your own version could not be easier. The added bonus is that you know there are no artificial flavors or colors added.
Our version of cheesecake is much lower in fat than traditional cheesecakes and the ingredients are all natural. This is one dessert, high protein snack or lunchbox addition you can always feel good about giving to your kids. The protein provided by the greek yogurt and almond butter are an added bonus too.
No strawberries on hand? Blueberries or raspberries fill in easily and are just as delicious!
Have you been looking for a glazed cake donut recipe that requires no special pan? Look no further.
There is something about donuts that just makes the day feel special. Maybe because it’s a sweet treat that feels like dessert for breakfast? Yea, I think that might be it.
Making donuts at home is easy enough, but many recipes call for a special pan or even a special donut making kitchen gadget. Today, I’m sharing a donut recipe that calls for nothing more than a good ol’ muffin pan and ingredients you are sure to already have sitting in your pantry.
Sound good? I think so too.
The best part about this recipe is that now you can make donuts at home and even bring the kids into the kitchen to help using this simple recipe.
These donut muffins are perfect for a special breakfast (we love to make birthday breakfasts a notable occasion) or even for a delicious lunch box dessert.
Just a note about the flour used in this recipe…I often use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour in my baking as a substitute for all-purpose flour. It is a flour made from a soft, winter wheat that works well when baking pastries, cakes and cookies giving them a much lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour.
Using whole wheat pastry flour is a great way to add more whole grains without the whole wheat taste or heaviness. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, use regular all-purpose flour.
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.
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.
Want to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here is an easy way to help them learn how to wash fruit, measure and enjoy the taste of real food!
There is something so great about bringing your kids into the kitchen. Not only is it a perfect opportunity to spend time catching up on the day’s events, but also to take advantage of those small teachable moments that so often present themselves.
Moments to teach them about cooking and food, to share with them how and why you make the choices to feed them the food that you do.
Getting your kids interested in cooking doesn’t have to mean making an elaborate or time consuming recipe. It can be as simple as a smoothie.
In our house, it’s a strawberry smoothie that my oldest son makes for us several mornings a week. He was inspired by a cooking class at school and brought the recipe home to make it his own using ingredients we have always have on hand.
This will be a great addition to your breakfast menu and leftovers can be frozen as popsicles or packed in a thermos for lunch.
It never fails that just when I think I’m completely organized and have everything in hand for the holidays….I forget just one thing.
It might be a special treat for a school program, neighborhood party or that some mischievous children got into my holiday goodies and ate one too many. Sound familiar?
I make this toffee recipe at least three times (often more) in the month of December. It is a FAVORITE at our house, and I often have to hide it away just to keep it from being devoured.
The recipe is very simple and includes ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Perfect for those times when you need a tray of goodies in a pinch. If nuts are an issue for you family, just leave them off, it will taste just as delicious!
This white chocolate popcorn is the perfect mix of sweet and salty. Creamy white chocolate drizzled over buttery homemade popcorn – add the festive sprinkles on top and you have the perfect holiday snack or treat!
This recipe is easy to make and will leave you wondering why you haven’t made it sooner.
For busy families, fall is the beginning of holiday craziness. Our calendars begin to countdown the days to holiday gatherings, school/church programs and all kinds of extra parties and activities.
More than ever, this time of year, I like to keep things in the kitchen as easy as possible. It makes the holidays a lot more enjoyable if I can stay organized and spend a little less time in the kitchen. Anybody with me on that?
This vegetable soup is more of a method than a recipe. I use any combination of vegetables I might have in the fridge to bring in together. It is hearty, warming and makes great leftovers for lunch or lunch boxes the next day.
2 cups fruit, fresh or frozen (for these muffins I used 1 cup chopped apples and 1 cup chopped pears)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin pan with 12 liners (foil or parchment liners work best)
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, fresh fruit (and dried if using). In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, syrup, and egg. Combine wet ingredients with dry.
Batter will be very loose and wet. Evenly distribute oatmeal/fruit mix into lined muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until muffins are just golden brown. Bake time may vary depending on size of muffin tins and oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. If not serving immediately, refrigerate in air tight container. To freeze muffins, cool completely before storing.