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 :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Whisper Down the Lane Butter Cookies

So I was reading Libby's blog when I came across a recipe for these easy butter cookies. They looked so yummy and simple that I had to try! I was reading her comments and noted that she thought she might add some almond extract in addition to the original recipe from Full Bellies, Happy Kids and thought how fun it would be to take a simple cookie recipe and change one little thing about it and pass it on to the next baker to see what she does to the recipe, only making one or two little changes! That's where the idea for "Whisper Down the Lane Cookies" came about. So if you're a baker and you blog, make this recipe, post it on your blog with what YOU changed, and link back to the person who you got the recipe from... if you want to link back a few times, like I did with Libby's Cooking Blog, and Full Bellies, Happy Kids - go ahead!

Here's the super simple recipe! The bolded portions are what I added.

1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened
1 c of flour
5 tbsp of sugar, plus a bit more to sprinkle on top
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Sugar to sprinke on top (I added some cinnamon to this to make cinnamon sugar on the top)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Roll into about 1 inch balls and flatten with the back of a fork. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 10 minutes. Now pass the recipe along to all your baking buds and let's see how many different variations of these cookies we can come up with! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Homemade GREEN chicken nuggets!

Back in the kitchen!

It's so darn hot and humid here that I've really been avoiding my kitchen (how I love the grill and crockpot) and feeling sad about not cooking, so I sucked it up and went for it today!

I had some leftover roasted chicken from our "Christmas in July" dinner on Saturday so I decided to make some chicken nuggets.

Here's what you'll need:
~1 c cooked chicken - roasted, grilled, boiled, in the crockpot - whatever you prefer!
~1/4 c spinach (I used frozen)
~1/8 c bread crumbs (plus about 1/8 c more for rolling nuggets)
2 handfuls of mozzarella cheese
1 egg

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until they hold together and can be rolled into balls. Add more breadcrumbs if needed. If mixture dries out, add a teeny bit of olive oil. Form into balls and coat in bread crumbs. Flatten slightly to form "nuggets" and baked on an olive oil-coated cookie sheet at 375 for 15 min, turning once half-way through.

Jude isn't big chicken fan and refuses to eat spinach, but he's mmmmm-ing away as I type this. They're a hit! They are pretty similar to my broccoli bites but something new to try. Experiment with some other veggies and cheeses, too!

Stay cool, everybody!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kitchen sink (SUGAR FREE!) banana bread

I decided to play around to try to come up with a sugar-free sweet treat. I really despise bananas, but Jude's "mmm!-ing" and my hubby's, "This tastes like Starbucks!" comments led me to believe that it turned out quite well. I call it "Kitchen sink banana bread" because I really just went through my cabinets and threw in everything but the kitchen sink!

Here's what I used...
~2.5 overripe bananas (NEVER throw out brown bananas! Freeze those bad boys!)
1 egg
2.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 c milk
1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Roughly 1/4 c? apple sauce... I made my own by simmering diced apples with cinnamon and a wee bit of honey over low heat until I could mash it up
A couple tiny boxes of raisins
A handful of old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan. Combine applesauce, bananas, oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk in a large bowl. Mix well. Add egg and mix. Add flour, oats, and baking soda and stir until combined. Add raisins, if desired. Pour mixture into pan and bake about 35 min. The mixtuer will likely only fill about half the loaf pan (height wise) but you can double the recipe, if you'd like!

I drizzled the finish product with a bit more honey and served it to my anxious little guy. He loved it!

I forgot to add - you can basically add ANYTHING you want to this! You can't really mess it up. So if you have extra pears laying around - throw them in! Dried fruits? Try those! Have fun experimenting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 ingredient hummus

This one is great for picky toddlers and so easy for mom or dad to make. All you need are some canned chick peas, partially drained, (try other types of beans, too!), olive oil, and garlic, to taste. Combine all 3 ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Add olive oil sparingly until mixture is smooth. This is a great recipe to hide some veggies in... maybe some spinach for a fun green hummus or some corn in a black bean hummus~! I love to throw in sun-dried tomatoes, too... so yummy. Serve with some steamed carrots for younger toddlers, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or just on some pita bread. Mmmm.. delicious!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My sister's blog!

Just wanted to post a link to my sister's blog and website. She's a graphic designer and just made the CUTEST moving announcements for our parents. She even gave me a handful of notecards that she made. Adorable! Her boyfriend is a super talented woodworker, too. I keep telling her to start a serious Etsy shop with him, but nada yet. So Caitlin, DO IT! Hello, baby toys, household items, etc!!!!

Here's her blog:

And her website:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!!

I hope everyone enjoys celebrating our nation's Independence Day with family and friends, eating delicious food and relaxing a bit! My loving husband has THREE DAYS in a row off, so we are super excited to have a bunch of hang out time with Daddy!!!

Here's a picture of the delicious No Roll Sugar Cookie recipes that I use for almost every holiday.. sugar cookies - that don't require rolling!!!! I got it off of a pack of flour, but I'll post it next week when I have a bit more time. This is a photo of my poor cookies AFTER I dropped a bunch that I had painstakingly decorated. :\ Sigh. At least I could salvage some! (I lost my blue food coloring, so I added a few blue jelly beans as stand-ins, hehe!)

Happy 4th! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lemon Water Ice

I worked at Rita's when I was younger (and subsequently got fired for giving food away to my friends - whatev! - ha!) and I always looooved the lemon water ice. Paul and I are having an "at home date night" tonight and it's really muggy outside, so I decided to make something cool and refreshing. This one is super easy and REALLY yummy!

All you need is:
1 3/4 c water
1 c sugar
The juice of 3 lemons (I added a bit of zest from a lemon, too)

Add sugar to water and heat in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar is totally incorporated into the water. Turn off heat, add lemon juice, whisk well, and poor into a pan. I used a loaf pan and it fit well. It won't fill the entire dish up, so don't be alarmed! Put the dish/pan in the freezer for a couple of hours. I was out for about 3 hours and it was perfect by then. Rake a fork through the frozen mixture and voila - lemon granita! DELICIOUS! I saved the halves of the lemons I used to serve the granita. You can add a sprig of mint if you're feeling fancy!

And hey, if you're feeling saucy, maybe add some liquor (mmm - tequila anyone?!)!Obviously the saucy version isn't so kid-friendly, hehe! I just thought of how delicious it would be to puree some watermelon and make some watermelon water ice, too... another Rita's fave! Get creative and let me know what you did! I'll pick up a watermelon this week and let you know the ratios of watermelon, sugar, and water I used.

Stay cool! And don't mind this awful photo... a certain someone was climbing on the computer desk as I tried to take this!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baked veggie and potato chips

So here's an easy side dish or snack for your little one (and you!) I make these a couple of times a week and they are a snap.

Here's what you'll need
-A couple potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, or any root veggie (or combo of any)
-A bit of olive oil (MAYBE a tbsp?)
-Some pepper, to taste
-Garlic powder, to taste (maybe a tsp or so... I like garlic!)
-A dash of salt to finish

You can make "french fries" or "chips," depending on how you cut them. I usually cut the potato or veggie into a thin disc, forming a chip because they get nice and cripsy that way and they are easier to cut! If you have a mandoline, use that for an even quicker prep! Preheat oven to 400. After you have cut your potatoes or veggies, line a cookie sheet with tin foil, rub some EVO on it so they don't stick, put potatoes/veggies in a bowl, drizzle with EVO, pepper, and garlic (or any other seasonings you like) and lay them flat on your cookie sheet. Bake for about 40 min, flipping them over half-way. Check them after about 30 min be sure they aren't burnt. After they are done, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and voila - homemake "chips!" Jude loves these (and so does my husband!)

Try other seasonings, too! Maybe some parsley and oregano, finished with a bit of parm cheese for an Italian version! Try some chili powder and cayenne for a bit more kick! Let me know what you try!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm terrible at updating.

So sorry! Jude was really sick for awhile and I've just totally spaced on the blog. I promise to post my baked veggie and potato chip recipe tomorrow or the next day. Hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A question for you!

What are YOUR favorite snacks, meals, treats, etc to serve your toddler? I'm always looking for new ideas!

Have a great day!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Easy peasy cheesey puffs! (My take on "Goldfish")

So I was thinking of a new snack to make when I saw the Cheddar Bunnies in my pantry adn thought.. AHA! This recipe is SO quick, easy, and mess-free. Jude and I just sat and ate a ridiculous amount, too, because they are downright delish. Here's what I did!

1/4 c old fashioned rolled oats, ground in the food processor (do this FIRST) (If you don't have oats on hand, use 1/2 c flour)
1/4 c flour
2 tbsp cold butter. I used Smart Balance, so I didn't chop up the butter, but if you use regular odl butter - cut it up into smaller pieces.
4 oz grated cheese (I used a "Mexican 4 cheese blend"... 4 oz is about half a bag)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp water

Pulse the oats, flour, butter, cheese and salt in a food processor until combined. It'll be a course mixture. Add in the water, 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together a bit. You'll be able to press it into a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 or so minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough into 1/8 -1/4 inch thickness. For a totally easy clean up - open the plastic wrap and cover the top with some parchment. Roll on top of the parchment and when finished rolling, used said parchment to line your cookie sheet! Voila!

After your dough is rolled, either cut out with itsy bitsy cookie cutters, or take the easy route like I did and cut dough with a pizza cutter into about 1 inch by 1/2 inch rectangles. You can make them any size or shape you want, really, but I wanted something that would fit into Jude's snack container! :) Transfer the dough onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

The result is a Goldfish-flavored cracker-like puff that is sooo tasty! The bottom is a bit crispy and the top is soft and doughy, kind of like a puff pastry. Keep them in an airtight container for a couple of days.

This bowl WAS full until someone got their hands on it... Okay, I may have eaten a bunch, too!

This would've made almost 3 cookie sheets full of puffs, but my little "helper" threw an entire batch on the ground!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homemade bubbles!

We ran out of bubbles and my awesome friend Stephanie just gave us the BEST bubble wand (Target's dollar section - check it out!) that we wanted to try out.

I used this recipe for homemade bubbles and they turned out great! HUGE bubbles! TONS of bubbles! Jude was in bubble heaven! We even made GREEEEEEEN bubbles. I stored the rest in a yogurt tub. We store EVERYTHING in those Stonyfield Farms tubs - they are great!

I found the recipe from this site.

Recipe #1
1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy your choice!)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar
a dab of food coloring (for a colorful batch of BIGGER bubbles)
Mix and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers).

Teeny tiny frittata

Frittatas are the best and so easy to make!

I had 4 eggs that had to be used pronto, so I made a little tiny frittata. I usually make one with half a dozen (or more) eggs so we can eat it through the week, but I decided to make a little one.
Here's what you need: 4 eggs
1 potato, cubed and boiled (I cubed mine, sprinkled with a bit of water and microwaved for 5 min)
Splash of milk
A handful of shredded cheese
Veggies of your choice (I used asparagus and spinach)
Salt and peppper to taste
Any herb/seasoning you desire

Easy as can be! Whisk the eggs and milk and throw all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and transfer to a greased small pan. I used an oven-safe tiny frying pan. Bake for roughly 30 minutes at 350. It'll depend on your oven and the ingredients you use for the cooking time. Just check it often - when a fork comes out clean, it's done. After it cools, cover it up and refrigerate.. it'll stay good in the fridge for a few days and voila - breakfast for a couple of days!

Friday, May 15, 2009

3 ingredient peanut butter sandwich cookies with banana cream filling!

So, some people hold off on introducing peanut butter to their little ones until 2+, but we gave it to Jude right after he turned one with no reactions, thankfully! Anyway, if you want to subsitute soy butter or any of the multitude of other "nut" butters that are made, those will be yummy, too!

I got the cookie recipe from Parents or Parenting magazine. It's sooo easy and delicious.

1 c sugar
1 c peanut butter
1 egg
(you can cut this recipe in half, too!)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Roll into balls in the size of your choice - I prefer tiny ones, about 2 inches in diameter when they get smushed a bit with a fork. Criss-cross with a fork and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on these guys because they burn QUICKLY!

While your cookies are baking, smoosh together about half a block of cream cheese and about half a banana together and voila - your filling is made! When your cookies cool, spread some of the banana cream on a cookie and top with another. My cookies are actually baking away at the moment, so I'm not sure this will cover the whole batch. I like to make a few with Paul's favorite jelly sandwiched inside and leave a few plain for me to eat!

I know, I know - not the healthiest cookie, but fun to make and eat every now and again.

The finished product!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ugly cookies!

These cookies are a great snack and much cheaper than buying animal crackers, honey sticks, etc CONSTANTLY! I call them "Ugly cookies" because when I make them, I really don't try too terribly hard to make them look attractive, so they sometimes come out looking a bit... ugly! :)

1 1/3 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter (1 stick) - room temp. I usually soften in the micro for about 20 seconds
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg (if you have it)
Pinch salt

A squeeze of lemon juice, if you want! I was trying to make something like Trader Joe's Organic Animal Crackers (aren't they good?!), hence the bit of lemon

In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Sift (or whisk) together flour, spices, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a thick dough forms. Cover and chill for an hour.

(After an hour or so passes...)
Preheat oven to 350. Here is what I do: Take a sheet of parchment and lay it on the surface you are going to roll the dough. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Put another piece of parchment or wax paper on top (I use wax paper on top because it's cheaper than parchment and you can NOT bake cookies on wax paper. I learned this the hard way!) and roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick. At this point, you can either cut out the cookies with cookie cutters, but if you choose to do that, you'll have to keep rolling the dough out again and again with the scraps, just like with sugar cookies. That's a pain! I take a pizza cutter and cut the dough into little strips across and then again down, so they are little rectangles, much like those Earth's Best Honey Stix. I try to seperate the dough a bit, but if it's sticking to the parchment, don't fret! They break apart pretty easily if you cut them well! Bake 10 - 12 minutes. They won't be pretty, but they will be delicious! Enjoy!

Please note - This recipe is a work in progress. I've made it a handful of times and keep tweaking it a bit here and there, so I will revisit it and update here and there!

A new take on banana pancakes

Prepare your favorite pancake recipe (I'll post mine down a bit). Cut a banana or two into about 1 inch discs. Coat banana in pancake batter and place in a greased frying pan. Prepare as you would with a regular pancake. The result will be tiny, quarter-sized banana pancakes - perfect for toddler hands AND you sneak in some fruit! I generally use this recipe.

Yogurt melts and yogurt pops

So here are two uber simple "recipes" (I call them "recipes" because they are easy as can be and really require little to no work!) that your toddler will LOVE!

For yogurt melts:
Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper. Drop yogurt into nickel-sized circles onto the paper and freeze. They'll be frozen in no time and they melt as soon as your little one puts them in his or her mouth! Great for little ones starting finger food or toddlers who refuse to let you feed them!

For yogurt pops:
I mixed some banana into Jude's yogurt and poured the yogurt into ice cube trays. I have the silicone IKEA trays in fun shapes, which made it a bit more "festive!" I cut down bamboo skewers and put them in the center of each "popsicle" and froze. I got a suggestion from a fellow Nestie to use pretzel sticks, as well! A guaranteed hit on a warm day!

Broccoli bites!

Steam your broccoli (I usually use an entire bag of frozen broccoli), drain well, mix with 1 beaten egg, cheese of your choice (I use... ~1/4 - 1/2 c of cheddar, usually) and breadcrumbs (again, I estimate... ~1/2 c?) and then throw in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture can be rolled into little balls. If it falls apart, add more cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Roll into balls and coat with more breadcrumbs. Bake on an olive oil-coated cookie sheet on 350 for about 15 min, turning over once half-way. Voila!

You can add in other veggies and even leftover chicken, too! They are a hit with my husband AND little toddler. It's a bit messy to make but sooo delicious. Sorry for the estimates on the amounts.. I make up recipes as I go along! :)

Also - you can substitute the bread crumbs for almond meal (I buy it at Trader Joe's), ground up/smashed crackers, or maybe even ground up oats (do it in the food processor). I'll try out the oats and let you know how it goes!

Black bean veggie burgers

As an intro to my first recipe, please note that I'm not much for exact amounts, so just go with it! Most of my recipes are very versatile and won't cause any natural disasters if you stray from my guidelines, so be creative!

Jude gives it 2 baby-sized thumbs up! I love this recipe because it's sooo versatile and SIMPLE. You can adjust it to whateveryou have at home. Sorry for the lack of exact ingredients, as I am an eye-baller.

Here's what I did:

~1/4 c ground oats (do this in the food processor FIRST)

1 can black beans - do not drain completely - save some liquid

Frozen spinach (maybe 1/4 c or so?)

Frozen corn (or fresh, whatever! I used ~1/8 c?)

~1/4 c grated cheese

~1/3 c bread crumbs/ground up crackers I had leftover

~1 tsp garlic powder (you can use fresh, too)

Pinch salt

Pepper to taste

Throw everything in the food processor with the oats and grind up! It'll be a thick paste that you can form into patties. As with my broccoli bites, add some more bread crumbs if it doesn't form into patties. You can chill it for a bit to make it easier to work with. Line a cookie sheet with olive oil and bake for about 15 min on 350, turning once, or pan-fry on the stove with some olive oil (I did this b/c I was baking some banana bread). It gets a nice crispy crust and even resembles a real burger! I topped them with some more cheese, too. I made Jude a tiny one and a regular "burger-size" one for myself and Jude ate both his and half of mine!! You can put it on a bun or whatever with condiments. I was thinking how fun it would be to use diff types of beans, maybe couscous or recipe in place of bread crumbs, other veggies and spices (maybe some Mexican burgers would be fun!), etc. If you try them and use other items, please let me know what you did!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Hi there! Welcome to my adventures in homemaking. My name is Kali and I'm married to an amazing father and husband named Paul. We have a fantastic little son named Jude who is just about to celebrate his first birthday! I started this blog to share some of my fun, simple, healthy recipes I've created and found elsewhere, as well as cleaning tips, fun crafts, entertaining ideas, and to just share my experiences as a stay-at-home mom. I hope you can find some useful ideas and please feel free to share your own.

Have a lovely day!