All Posts by Alison Bickel

2 fresh fruit lemonade popsicles

Fresh Fruit and Lemonade Popsicles

Your kids are going to love these fresh fruit and lemonade popsicles! They are a fun way to eat more fruit!

fresh fruit lemonade popsicles

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!

fresh fruit and lemonade popsicles

Fresh Fruit and Lemonade Popsicles

fresh fruit lemonade popsicles
  • Author:
  • Yield: 6 popsicles 1x


  • 2 cups lemonade, homemade or store bought
  • 11 1/2 cups fresh fruit, chopped
  • Popsicle molds


  1. Fill popsicle molds with chopped fruit.
  2. Pour lemonade into each mold, covering the fruit and leaving 1/4 inch space at the top.
  3. Insert popsicle mold covers or sticks and freeze, for least 5 hours or overnight.
  4. Run water over popsicle mold to separate, pull popsicle out, and enjoy.

Homemade Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

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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.

Homemade Caramel Sauce 4

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.

Caramel Sauce

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Snacks


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place the sugar into a medium sauce pan.
  2. Pour in the water and stir to gently combine with the sugar.
  3. Bring the sugar to a boil, over medium heat.
  4. After about 10 minutes (give or take a couple) the boiling sugar will turn a dark, amber color.
  5. Pour in cream. It will bubble like crazy, but keep whisking. You may even feel a lump of caramel form in the middle of the pot. Keep whisking! It will melt and combine with the liquid.
  6. Take off the heat and add vanilla extract.
  7. Pour into a jar/container and allow to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  8. Once cooled to room temperature, store in refrigerator.

*adapted only slightly from Baked Bree



Strawberry Cheesecake Yogurt Parfait Recipe

This strawberry cheesecake yogurt parfait recipe is a delicious lunchbox treat or snack kids will love.  

Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait Healthy Dessert Idea and lunch box treat or snack

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!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

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!

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait

  • Author: MOMables
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Cuisine: Lunch


  • 1 6oz cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 23 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 graham cracker, crumbled


  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, almond butter, maple syrup and strawberries.
  2. Place inside a chilled thermos container, top with crumbled graham cracker and pack in lunchbox with your child’s favorite sandwich, fruit and veggies.




Glazed Cake Donut Muffin Recipe

Have you been looking for a glazed cake donut recipe that requires no special pan? Look no further. 

Glazed Cake Donut Muffins Recipe. So delicious you wont' miss donuts!

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.

Glazed Donut Muffins

  • Author: MOMables
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Yield: 18 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Cuisine: Baking


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (can also use all-purpose flour if desired)
  • 1 cup milk


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin or line with muffin cups.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth.
  3. Add the apple sauce and eggs, mixing just enough to combine.
  4. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Working in batches, add the flour into the wet mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined after each addition.
  6. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup 3/4 full.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes, or until muffins are a pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven, and allow them cool for 5-10 minutes.

For the Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar, stir until smooth.
  2. Dip the top of each cooled muffin into the glaze.
  3. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container for a 1-2 days at room temperature.


  • Serving Size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 209
  • Sugar: 21.1g
  • Sodium: 138.8mg
  • Fat: 4.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.2g
  • Fiber: .6g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 31.7g


1 Cookie Dough Yogurt Parfait Recipe

Are you looking for a healthy sweet treat to send in your child’s school lunch? Boy, do we have a treat for you!
Cookie Dough Yogurt Parfaits -

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.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

This easy recipe comes from one of our MOMables menus, just a sample of our kid-friendly recipes and what you can expect to find each week.

If you don’t own a thermos, you should consider purchasing one. For around $10-$16, you will be able to put dinner leftovers to use, send cold treats to school… oh the possibilities!

Check out this video to see how to send a parfait to school in a thermos.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Lunch


  • 6 ounces Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips


  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, peanut/almond butter, maple syrup and chocolate chips.
  2. Place inside a chilled thermos container and pack in lunch box with your child’s favorite sandwich, fruit and veggies.



How to Substitute White Sugar in Baking

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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?

natural white sugar substitutes -

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.


23 Real Chocolate Syrup -

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

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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.

Real Chocolate Syrup -

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.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Condiments


  • 1/2 cup sugar or sucanat
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and water.
  2. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
  3. Stir continuously until thickened to a sauce consistency.
  4. Remove from heat. Add in vanilla and stir.
  5. Pour into a separate container and allow to cool before using.
  6. 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.


1 Power Breakfast: Easy Strawberry Smoothie

Easy Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

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!

Power Breakfast: Easy Strawberry SmoothieThere 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.

Related: Top 5 Thermos Containers We’ve Tested

Strawberry Smoothie

Power Breakfast: Easy Strawberry Smoothie
  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Snacks


  • Makes four, 1 cup servings
  • 8 hulled strawberries, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup milk, dairy or nondairy
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 ice cubes


  1. In a blender, combine strawberries, milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla.
  2. Blend for several seconds on low setting to combine.
  3. Add ice cubes.
  4. Blend on high setting of blender for several seconds or until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour equal amounts into glasses and enjoy!


4 Graham Cracker Toffee

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graham-cracker-toffeeIt 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!


Graham Cracker Toffee

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Treats


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 1 bag milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a single layer of graham crackers in baking sheet, edge to edge. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar and pecans.
  4. Bring to a boil, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Allow it to continue to boil for 3 minutes (I’ll often set a timer so I don’t go too long or short). Evenly pour the hot mixture over the graham crackers.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  8. Allow to sit for a few minutes so chocolate chips can begin to melt.
  9. Using a spatula or frosting knife, spread melted chocolate chips evenly over graham crackers. When completely cooled break into pieces.
  10. Refrigerate in an airtight container.


4 Hearty Vegetable Soup

Hearty Vegetable Soup

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Ditch the can: Homemade Hearty Vegetable SoupDitch the hearty canned soups.
Like, right now.

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.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested


Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Dinner


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 23 potatoes chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh green beans or peas
  • 128 ounce can of diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 cannellini beans (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons basil pesto or 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 12 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in garlic, onions, carrots and potatoes.
  3. Sauté until onions are translucent. Pour in tomatoes (and their juices), broth, water, pesto and beans, if using. Bring to a simmer for several minutes.
  4. Finish by adding in green beans/peas and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for several more minutes until green beans are heated through.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for added flavor.



Healthy Baked Oatmeal Muffins

You know oatmeal is filling and nutritious, right? But who has time to sit down and enjoy a bowl each morning? 

With this healthy recipe for baked oatmeal muffins, your kids will be set with a filling breakfast in the morning.

Check out how easy these muffins are to make in this quick video.

I love the idea of sending my boys out the door to school each morning with bellies full from a nutritious breakfast.

The truth is, some mornings it just doesn’t happen.  Someone needs to leave early, another slept too late and yet another just isn’t in the mood for his usual peanut butter toast.

What’s a mom to do?

These baked oatmeal muffins are a good answer.  Inspired by the popularity of baked oatmeal, this recipe takes it one step further by baking them in individual muffin tins.

Make these oatmeal muffins for a filling, portable breakfast and freeze leftovers to pull out for another day.

All you have to do is pull them out to thaw overnight, or warm in the microwave for 45-60 seconds to reheat.  If not eating on the go, you can make them even more decadent by drizzling with warm milk.

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

yield: 12 muffins

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Baking


  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit or nuts (optional)
  • 2 cups fruit, fresh or frozen (for these muffins I used 1 cup chopped apples and 1 cup chopped pears)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin pan with 12 liners (foil or parchment liners work best)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.