Monday, June 24, 2013

Candy Sushi

Mr A went to a martial arts birthday party over the weekend.  It was lots of fun.  I could see martial arts being a great way for him to learn about controlling his body, increasing focus, and improve his willingness to follow directions.

But I digress.  We walked away with a little takeout box favor.

Contents: a monster truck (not pictured), a Rice Krispies Treat, a few Swedish Fish, and a Fruit by the Foot.  Great, sugar overload.  Good thing I gave Mr A the car and stashed the rest away.

It was only after we got home, I discovered the little note tucked inside the box.

Super cute & creative, huh?  Maybe one of these days, we'll make them (but not eat them) and I'll add the photo here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meatball Sandwiches & Mini Pizzas

If I could, I would love to go the "real food" route, with no food additives, preservatives, dyes, etc. for my family.  All food would be fresh and homemade.  But, as a full-time working mom with 2 little kids, it's not really possible for me.  Maybe other moms have it figured out, but I'm not there yet.  We do limit sugar and junk food in our house, and I also strongly believe in feeding my kids (and myself) well-balanced meals.  I always try to have something from each food group in the meals I serve to my kids.  I think this is why my kids like veggies and fruit and that they readily eat them.  It's expected.  It's part of every meal.  There's no question about it.

Flatbread pizza, was a go-to meal for awhile, but I haven't been able to find the whole wheat flatbread that I was using.  I keep hoping that it will reappear, but it's been months since I've last seen it in the grocery store.  I have seen white flatbread, but I'd prefer to serve my kids whole wheat bread, for more nutrition.  So I've tried using English muffins, but the texture and the taste is not quite to my liking.  Bagels and mini-bagels are nice, but the toppings fall through the hole in the middle.

With barbeque season upon us, hamburger buns are everywhere.  It got me thinking, why not make mini pizzas using whole wheat hamburger buns?  What else can I make with what I've got in my cupboards and fridge / freezer?  So here you go.  Lazy, lazy, easy to make food with my kitchen staples: marina sauce, frozen meatballs, cheese, and bread.

Meal 1:   Meatball Sandwich

3-4 T marinara sauce
1 T mozzarella cheese (Parmesan and provolone are good too), optional
1 hamburger bun or 2 slices sourdough bread
3 meatballs, halved

  1. Spread marinara sauce bread.  Sprinkle on cheese if desired.
  2. Toast bread in toaster oven.
  3. Warm up meatballs. (Homemade would be awesome, but I'm a fan of Trader Joe's turkey meatballs or their mini meatballs.)
  4. Put meatballs on bread and put other slice/bun on top.

Meal 2: Mini Pizzas

2 T marinara sauce
1 T mozzarella cheese
1 hamburger bun
2 T browned sausage and mushrooms

  1. Separate hamburger buns.  Spoon marinara sauce on buns.
  2. Sprinkle with sausage & mushrooms and cheese.
  3.  Toast until warm and cheese is slightly browned.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Over ripe bananas... What to do? I already have a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins in the fridge. Banana chocolate chip pancakes? Nah... Banana cookies? Tell me more Google!

I looked at a few recipes and pretty much went with Taste of Home and the Cooking Channel's versions. They're pretty much the same except the Cooking Channel uses shortening and creams the sugar and shortening, whereas Taste of Home uses butter and tells you to cut the butter into the flour.

I despise cutting butter / shortening into flour. (Although, using the food processor works wonders for this but I was not interested in taking that out and then washing it later either.) My other issue was that I prefer butter in my cookies than shortening. Based on these two complaints, I did a slight combination of the two recipes, plus a few substitutions of my own... 1/2 c white granulated sugar and 1/2 c brown sugar (because I ran out of granulated sugar) and 1/2 c whole wheat flour with 1 c AP flour.

The result? Pretty tasty. I think I like these more than the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The oatmeal gives it a little texture. Hubby did not like these. I have yet to make something with whole wheat flour that he finds tolerable or tasty. Mr A, on the other hand, liked these enough that he was sneaking 1 or 2 in the mornings for several days in a row!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Taste of Home and the Cooking Channel

1 c all-purpose flour 
1/2 c whole wheat flour 
1/2 c granulated sugar 
1/2 c brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
3/4 c butter, softened 
1 egg  
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2) 
1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats 
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen.