Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kashi rocks!

There is always something Kashi in our house.  From the time Jude was eating snacks, we had "c bars" on hand - always.  I even created my own cereal bar recipe ages ago because Jude was consuming so many!  So when Moms Meet asked if I'd like to share some Kashi goodies with my mom pals and tell my readers about how DELICIOUS their Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars are - you bet I said OHHH YES!

Everyone who tasted these said the same thing (well, every mom - every KID just stuffed their face and said, "Mmm!")  - that they weren't "too sweet."  I'll admit, when I saw the bars at first, I thought that it would be mess central, but alas, no!  The chocolate isn't... melty.  Is that a word?  It's more of a paste (that doesn't sound appealing, right?  ha!) but however you say it, one thing rocks - NO MESS.  No chocolate granola covering your kid's face - yahoo!  And your kiddo thinks he's getting a major treat, but guess what?  4 grams of protein in every bar!  For the average 29-pound toddler, that's 25% of his recommended daily intake of protein.

So, if you're looking for a fun, tasty way to incorporate some grains, protein, and fiber in your little one's diet, check out Kashi's new, delicious Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars.  Mmm!  And while you're at it, give 'em a like on Facebook to get in the know!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet  blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.  Rest assured that I would never steer you wrong and all the opinions are MY OWN! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meatless mushroom meatballs

Long time, no post, huh?   I know, I know - I always say I will be more diligent about posting here and then I don't.  So if I say it again, call me a liar, ha!  I am just a lazy blogger, I suppose!

So I saw a recipe for meatless meatballs in a magazine a few weeks ago and I thought - DUH!  Why didn't I ever try this?  I'm a pasta-obsessed vegetarian, so why not?!  So here goes.  These delicious things are sooo versatile and you can hide nearly any veggie in them... perfect for reusing purees when you spend an entire day and went WAY OVERBOARD making baby food (or am I the only one with a 14 month old and a freezer full of cubes of pureed peas?)

As usual, my recipes aren't exact because I'm kind of a "this and that" cook.  And I'm often running out of the kitchen to see who is hitting who with what in the other room, so yell at me if I leave out a crucial step here.

Here's what you'll need:

-Some olive oil for the pans
-1 onion, diced
-2 cloves of garlic, diced
-6 oz of mushrooms, chopped - use whatever suits you.  I grab whatever is on sale.  I use about 3/4 of a package, usually white button or mini bellas, but whatever works!
~4 to 5 slices of bread, toasted and ground in the food processor (or you could leave out this ANNOYING step and buy breadcrumbs - maybe a cup or so.  I'm cheap and freeze the ends of loaves to make breadcrumbs!)
-4 eggs
~1/4 c of shredded "Italian" cheese - honestly, you can use whatever.  I've used parmesan, mozzarella, a blend of a few cheese - anything works,
-salt, pepper, oregano to taste
-A couple handfuls of spinach, if you want
-Sauce to simmer these heavenly balls (ha!) in

Here's what to do:

-Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil (this is only to make clean-up easier - you can bake on the sheet) and coat with some olive oil.
-Sautee your onion, garlic, and mushrooms with olive oil over medium heat until onions become translucent.  Unfortunately, it doesn't have that lovely smell that onions and garlic get when you heat them, so it'll smell a but funky (care of the mushrooms)  This is just to soften the mushrooms and onions a bit.. it'll take about 5 minutes.
-If you are not using regular breadcrumbs, prepare your toasted bread now.
-In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Mix in the cheese.
-Remove your mushroom mixture from the head and add to egg mixture.  Season to your desired taste.  Add the breadcrumbs (and spinach or any veggies if you're using them) and mix.  You're looking mostly for consistency here - the spoon should almost stand up in the bowl.  If the "meat"balls seem a bit watery, add some more breadcrumbs.  When I've added frozen spinach, I just throw extra breadcrumbs in there.
-Form into balls, whatever size you like.  Place on baking sheet.  I usually make them on the large size of medium (am I even making sense right now?  Probably not!) and I get about 15 or 16.

Bake about 8 minutes on one side and flip.  8 minutes on the other side.

Put them in some sauce on the stove and simmer for however long... at least 20 minutes or so, just to get the sauce incorporated in them.   Serve alone or over pasta... or as a "meat"ball sandwich.

I promise you will love them!  My husband, a bonafide carnivore, claims these taste like "gourmet meatballs made with pork from Whole Foods."  Sooo... whatever that means! :)


Oh and I HAD a picture of them.  I swear.  It was a grainy cell phone pic and it disappeared.  But they look very meatball-like so use your imagination!

ALSO!!  If you are a Christmas-crazy like me, my friend and I started a new blog - The Crazy Christmas Ladies!  We'd love you to pop over and share some of your favorite memories, recipes, deals you find, whatever!

Monday, July 18, 2011

An updated version of (gag) black bean brownies!

Hi guys and gals! Hope you are enjoying your summer! Remember when I said I was going to blog here again? I guess I lied! :\ I swear - I have good intentions! I just... forget sometimes! :) Anyway, I hope this finds you well! The boys are growing so quickly - Jude is almost 3.5 (ahhh!) and Noel is 10 months! It's odd not having a toddler anymore (is 3.5 a toddler?) and coming into toddlerhood with another one. It's sad that this stage of life passes so quickly.

Anyway! We went to our dear friends' house for dinner last week and I wanted to make something a bit fun and different. I decided to try to trick them with my black bean brownies, but I changed them up a bit. I took this recipe and changed it just a bit. I omitted the peppermint extract and chocolate chips and added some peanut butter and a good handful of frozen spinach. Gross, right? But delicious! The kids ate them and my dear friend's husband was game to try to guess the secret ingredients in these "special" brownies and he guessed peanut butter - so wahoo! Success!

Here's what you need:

-15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
-1/4 c peanut butter
-1/4 c spinach
-3 tbsp olive oil
-3 large eggs
-1 c sugar
-1/2 c cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt

Chopped nuts
Chocolate chips

Here's what to do:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan.

Combine beans, peanut butter, spinach, and olive oil in food processor and process until creamy (it doesn't have to be SUPER smooth.. it's difficult to get it to that consistency). Add tthe eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Process until it's fairly smooth. If you want to, add some nuts, oats, or chocolate chips to make it extra delicious!

Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. The edges will pull away from the pan a bit, too.

Eat up, if you dare! :)


And if you're a crazy lover of Christmas like me, come say hello on my new blog - the Crazy Christmas Ladies!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New kitchen - back to blogging!

My sweet baby Noel is quickly approaching finger food stage (not sure how that happened already!) and with that, I find myself itching to experiment in the kitchen again... and what perfect timing - our kitchen was just redone! So back to blogging I shall be soon!

This year has been pretty chaotic and transitional.. a few moves, finally settling into our home right before our new baby arrived, lots of big house projects, changes in the extended family - you name it! Life is getting back to a "new normal" now and with that, I am excited to get back in the kitchen for more than just cooking meals and cookies here and there.

So what have you all been cookin'? What's new in life? Any fun new meals, inspiration, ingredients, suggestions?

Hope to chat with ya all soon!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A lateish resolution...

I intend to blog about life, kids, food, whatever on my new blog! Check it out... I promise I'll try not to abandon it like my sweet Toddler Treats!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Praying for baby Samuel...

Some of my fellow mom blogger pals have posted Baby Sam's heart-wrenching story so I figured I'd post a little something on here to encourage you to read his story and donate what you can, if you can! I posted a button to the right where you can donate. Or just offer his Mama a little support on her blog.

Thinking and praying for baby Sam.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tofu "French Fries"

Hi everybody!

I know it's been awhile, but we've been busy! We moved out of the city 2 weeks ago and are temporarily living with some family while we hunt for our new home. With so much going on, this pregnancy has flown by... only 4 more months until we meet our new babe! Can't wait! :)

Anyway, I thought I'd share a super easy snack/meal/whatever I tried last night. Jude went crazy for them and really thought they were french fries! I've been a vegetarian for 10 or so years and have NEVER cooked with tofu - weird, huh? It always scared me! But after a delicious tofu dish at a restaurant a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try!

All you need is a block of firm tofu. You can find it at any grocery store now. I used a 14 oz block and sliced it width-wise 4 times and then length wise 6 or so times, making tofu strips, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick and 1/2 inch or so wide. The size doesn't matter much, but I was hoping to trick my toddler into thinking they were french fries! :)

After you do that, lay them flat on top of a kitchen towel in some sort of dish or on a cookie sheet and put another towel on top. Put something heavy on top to get all the excess moisture out. I let them sit like that for about 45 minutes or so, but just check to see. If all the moisture isn't gone- no biggie.

Preheat your oven to 375. Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and lay the sticks on it. Season with some salt and pepper. You can use some garlic powder, chili powder, whatever! Tofu is so bland and will take on any flavor beautifully! Bake on one side for about 15 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 15 or so minutes. You have to just keep an eye to make sure they don't get too crispy, but if they've retained some moisture, you may have to bake a bit longer.

I served them with some veggies on the side and marinara sauce for dipping (Jude LOOOOVES dipping!) but you can serve them with just about anything! Wouldn't something like this four-cheese sauce be good? Or you can do something SUPER healthy and revert back to babyfood 101 and serve with some pureed veggies to dip in!

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the warmer weather! Happy cooking!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Super Simple Cereal Bars!

Oh my gosh, that sounded way too Rachael Ray-ish. Anyway, these are so easy to make and you can use whatever fruit (or even jelly!) you have to make them, which is great! These are like those Kashi or Nutrigrain bars that are awesome to have in your bag but cost way too much!

Here's what ya need!
2 c oats
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour (I'm sure you could use 2 c of either flour, I was just experimenting a bit)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
Dash salt
1 c butter
1 - 2 c berries, fruit, jelly, whatever... you have to eyeball it a bit and make sure it covers the entire tray. (PLUS 2 tsp cornstarch if you're using just fruit

For the fruit part, I used about 1 3/4 c frozen blueberries,frozen strawberries, and raisins. I added the cornstarch when they were thawed and mixed it in to thicken them a bit.

So here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 9x13" baking pan.

Combine oats, flour(s), brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or use a food processor. It'll be chunky and crumbly, which is what you want. The cutting in the butter part is a bit of a pain, but not too bad. You can reward yourself by sampling some of the product along the way! :)

So anyway, take HALF of this mixture and press it into your pan. Bake it for 15ish minutes, until it's a bit brown and set. Spread your berries/fruit/jelly over top of this and then cover with remaining dough, press down firmly, and bake another 15 minutes!

Voila! It makes a ton of cereal bars, so I took that Glad Press 'N Seal stuff and laid each bar flat on it and covered with another piece and made individual wrappers to take the bars on the go! I also froze a bunch and they kept well! My uncle says a bit of lemon zest in the fruit part would be a nice touch, too, so try that if you want!

Hope everyone had a yummy, sugary Halloween! The holiday season is officially upon us, woo hoo! I can say that now without everyone getting annoyed, right? ha!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I have fallen off the face of the earth! :)

Hey guys and gals!

Sorry for being such a flakey blogger... I have so many recipes brewing in my head but I just haven't found the time to try them lately! We listed our house for sale about a month ago and every time I get a moment to try something out, someone (thankfully) schedules a showing and I have to run around, cleaning like a lunatic!

Anyway, I haven't given up on my blog or anything and I really, really hope to start posting recipes again soon! I'd really like to try my hand at some multi-grain crackers or homemade bagels so look forward to that soon.

Okay, off to clean some more...! :) More showings today so my fingers and toes are crossed. To my Nestie readers - miss you gals! Don't hesitate to email!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Black bean brownies

I can't wrap my head around the grossness of how these sound. And frankly, they tasted fine, but knowing they had an entire can of BLACK BEANS in them made me want to gag, but they weren't bad.. at all! Jude went nuts for them and everyone who tried them asked for the recipe! Soooo... here it is! Your poor, unsuspecting toddler will be none the wiser, eating this yummy treat, packed full of protein!

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed very well
1/3 c honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c oats
1/4 c cococa
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8x8 square pan.

Combine all ingredients aside from the oats in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Stir in oats. Bake about 30 minutes.

I read all sorts of recipes for black bean brownies and combined a few to come up with this one. Another suggested leaving out the sugar and using an overripe banana in it's place! I still have some in my freezer (they freeze well) so I haven't tried that variation yet, but if you do, let me know! I hope to try it soon, as it gets cooler... this weather is killing me!

Hey - if you are feeling REALLY daring - throw in a handful of frozen spinach in there... tasteless and it'll blend right in. Oooh, health food on the sly!


Edited on August 25:

So I just got an email from a fellow blogger, Janet from Mama Jan's Kitchen that I'd like to post! She tried the brownies without sugar and substituted an overripe banana, like I suggested, and they turned out REALLY well! Thanks, Janet, for making these and sending me the feedback!!!

I made your black bean brownies yesterday - and yes, it sort of makes me stomach turn. LOL I tried the overripe banana instead of sugar and wanted to let you know it worked just fine! I don't at all feel like I need to try making them with sugar to see if it's better. It added sweetness with a hint of banana but the taste definitely goes with the other tastes in the brownie. Caleb, my picky little eater, gobbled up the square I gave him! Wow! Next time I will throw some spinach in there too :)