Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do You Cook When it's 100 Degrees?

I don't know about you but when I encounter several days in a row of 100+ degree temps, the last thing I want to do is turn on the stove or oven.
I'd been running out of 'no-cook' dinner ideas. There's only so many times you can let your kids have cereal and fruit for dinner without starting to feel guilty.

My kids aren't really big on salads so I figured I had to make it fun if I was going to get them on board. We had done 'make your own pizza' and 'make your own taco' night before and they were both a big hit.

I decided to do make your own salad this time since it required very little cooking, and qualified as a healthy meal.

Here's our salad bar...

We had lettuce, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cucumbers, dried cranberries, avocado and grilled chicken. Yeah, I had to cook the chicken but it was fast and didn't heat up my kitchen like cooking an entire meal would have. There were also croutons and sliced almonds, not pictured.

It was interesting to see what the little ones would choose to put on their plates. Oddly enough, Gia who loves chicken and avocado, chose to just do a fruit salad.

She treated it like a piece of art. After this was gone she did have some cucumbers and some shredded cheese. At least she got in a little protein.

Tia, my little (mostly) vegetarian made up this masterpiece...

No protein here!
I was a little disappointed that they didn't venture out a little more and try something new (like some protein!), but overall the idea was a hit. The kids liked having control over what was on their plate, and creating it themselves. Everyone got in a substantial amount of fruit and veggies, so that's always a plus.

Oh, wanna' see my plate? How could I forget!

This Mama's no fool. I know the health benefits of lean protein, avocado, and of course berries! It was dee-lish.

Thankfully today the heat wave has broken. I guess that means I'm back to cooking regular meals at the stove.

Happy Summer eating!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Sweet Treat (of the healthy variety)

The girls and I have made these 'cake batter energy bars' TWICE this week. They're so delicious, you'll never know you're eating something that's actually protein packed, and good for you.

We've been following "Chocolate Covered Katie" and her blog for some time. We've made many of her recipes and have loved them all.
I do have to say though that all of her recipes are teeny tiny. We are a family of four. She is single and lives alone. I ALWAYS double or triple anything that I get from her site.

That being said, here's the recipe as I have adapted it to satisfy our family...

2C rice krispies
1/2 C oat flour (grind oatmeal in food processor until it turns into flour)
1/2 C protein powder (I use 100% Whey vanilla flavored)
1/2 t. salt

1/4 C honey
1/4 C agave nectar (or just more honey)
6 T nut butter (I use natural peanut butter)
2 t. vanilla extract

*optional-handful rainbow sprinkles.

combine all dry.
combine all wet.
add wet to dry and mix well.
press firmly into square baking pan.
refrigerate for at least an hour
cut into squares.

All mixed and ready to go in the pan
The mix kind of looks like Fruity Pebbles!

line the pan with wax paper or parchment for easy clean up

And here's the gloriously yummy finished product!

I cut off and ate all the rough edges. I'm sure those calories don't count at all!

We LOVE these and can't stop eating them. I must say that we don't call them 'cake batter energy bars' like Katie does. They are absolutely delicious, but they don't taste like cake batter to me (and I've had a lot of cake batter in my lifetime!). Maybe because she used cashew butter and we used peanut butter? I don't know. We just call them rice krispie treats in our house.

These will definitely be on our road trip snack list for next months drive to NY state.

I hope you'll make them and enjoy them as much as we do.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Refreshing Summer Treats

It's been hotter than I don't know what here in the mid west. I liken it to walking into a blast furnace whenever I go outside. We've gone out for the occasional ice cream cone, but mostly we make our own 'ice cream' at home. Nope, I don't have an ice cream maker, but I do have a food processor!

A friend of mine found a blog of someone who had been making banana fake-out ice cream, so I gave it a try at home. The blogger calls it "one ingredient ice cream". We've gone far beyond the single ingredient. We've been trying all different flavors, and have never been disappointed.

Here's what we do...

Peel, slice, and freeze a bunch of ripe bananas.

Bananas have been priced about .39/pound here, so I've stocked up and keep lots of them in the freezer for whenever we get the urge for some ice cream.

Place frozen bananas in a food processor and blend. After a minute or two scrape down the sides and blend again until you get a creamy texture with no lumps. That's it! You've got banana ice cream.

I like to add a tablespoon or peanut butter to mine to make peanut butter ice cream. Who doesn't like peanut butter and banana?!

My kids and husband are partial to berry-banana ice cream. I just add a handful of frozen wild berries and the mixture becomes bright pink!

The possibilities are endless.

Dairy free, fat free, no added sugar, full of potassium.
That's a sweet treat you can feel good about.