For a while now I have been trying to get away from buying packaged foods as much as possible. I know that fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are much more healthful than processed foods, and I want to feed my family foods in their natural state as much as possible. One result of this is that I have a really hard time buying packages of things like pre-made taco seasoning, which can be loaded with extra sodium and other not-so-nutritious additives.
To make my own homemade taco seasoning, I began by researching various recipes online. The differences between recipes are great, and when creating my own I used a combination of the recipes I found. I wanted my taco ... [Continue Reading]
Fall is here, October is here, and in a few short weeks it will be Halloween and then Thanksgiving. Can you please tell time to slow down a little for me? I want to just sit and appreciate the change in seasons for a little while. I'm in full Fall baking mode, even though the temperatures outside are still warm. After much baking with pumpkin this week and last, I decided it was time I made a batch of pumpkin pie spice. You can buy pumpkin pie spice at the store, but if you keep a well-stocked pantry it is so easy to make your own. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature and you should be set for all of your pumpkin baking needs through the end of the season. Check back soon ... [Continue Reading]
It's now my second week of school and I am very much back into the swing of things in the classroom. I know all of my students' names, have some of their writing and artwork up on the walls, and am getting to know what makes each of them a unique and special individual. I have a wonderful group of third graders this year, which makes it (a little bit) easier to leave my own two sweet peas in the morning.
Early wake-ups are deserving of a healthy and delicious breakfast, but I can't afford to spend any more minutes than necessary in the kitchen. (4:45a.m. is early enough for me to wake up, thank you.) I still need a good breakfast to fuel me through my morning, though, and this granola is ... [Continue Reading]
Hummus is a healthy snack, high in protein and a great dip for fresh veggies. Lately I've been making a batch of hummus to enjoy as an easy, healthy dinner too. I serve it with a variety of fresh cut vegetables and homemade whole-wheat pita wedges, and we have a casual, balanced meal that includes protein, veggies, and whole grains. The kids love both the hummus (they are partial to the roasted red pepper one) and the pita, and we round out their meal with some fresh fruit. (We're still working on getting them to enjoy veggies other than broccoli and the occasional slice of cucumber.)
I've read in a few different places about a secret to making perfectly smooth hummus: peeling the ... [Continue Reading]
Let me apologize in advance for these. Once you make these granola bars, you are going to have a very hard time enjoying a store-bought granola bar. You are going to find yourself in the kitchen long after the sun has gone down, mixing up the ingredients for these bars. You will walk down the cereal aisle of your grocery store, looking through the granola bar choices, knowing that you have to choose one because you certainly don't have the time each and every week to make your own. Or do you? You might just decide that the thirty minutes you could spend watching TV or mindlessly browsing Pinterest might be better spent mixing together a batch of granola bars that you can really crave.
I ... [Continue Reading]
It's a good day for me if I get a some quiet time all to myself in the afternoon. Lately it's been a rare occasion to have both kids nap at the same time, but when they do, I take full advantage. Usually that means pouring myself a glass of this iced coffee, grabbing a snack, and sitting down with my laptop to either read a few blogs or work on my own. While there may be laundry and housework that needs doing, taking a few minutes just for myself re-energizes me so that I have the patience and energy to tackle the rest of the day.
Before this recipe, I tried a number of different methods for making iced coffee. I would brew some extra-strong coffee in my coffeepot, wait for it to cool a ... [Continue Reading]
It's been a while since my last post, but not for lack of wanting to work on the blog. I've just been so busy, both with Julia's 4th birthday party (yes, she's 4!) and report cards. The party was a lot of fun, and I hope to write up a post about it soon. The report cards are done and I'm all set for parent conferences next week, so I finally have a few minutes to devote here.
This whole wheat sandwich bread is a recipe I've been wanting to share for a while. Making more of our staples the homemade way is an undertaking that I've really been enjoying. Greek yogurt, graham crackers, and burger buns are just a few of the other foods I've made myself. I definitely don't always make these ... [Continue Reading]
I have been wanting to try making homemade graham crackers for a while now. This past weekend I decided it was as good a time as any, so I started looking at a few recipes. I was happily surprised to find that I had all of the ingredients on hand, so right away I started mixing up the dough. I always thought you needed graham flour to make graham crackers, but you don't, all you need are pantry staples that you probably already have in your kitchen.
You might be wondering, why make homemade graham crackers when it's much easier to just pick up a box at the grocery store? The obvious reason is that the homemade version tastes much better, and these definitely do. They have the same graham ... [Continue Reading]
I am completely addicted to this homemade greek yogurt. I never would have thought that I would make my own yogurt. When I first came across the idea, I thought it was interesting but not something that I would actually do. The second time I saw a recipe for homemade greek yogurt, though, I thought, I can do that. And you know what? I totally did. And I've made this at least once a week every week in the six weeks since then.
Why am I so addicted to this yogurt? There are a few reasons. For one, it tastes amazing. Even my favorite store brand can't compete with this thick, creamy yogurt. Homemade yogurt is much less sour than store-bought, and while it's hard for me to eat store-bought ... [Continue Reading]
Roasted bell peppers are a delicious addition to sandwiches, burgers, and pastas. The roasting process brings out the natural sweetness of the peppers and adds a richness of flavor to your dish.
You can buy jars of roasted peppers in the grocery store, but it's easy (and fun!) to roast your own peppers at home. Home-roasted also taste much better, and you don't have the tough bits where the skin was left on that you sometimes find in jarred peppers (I hate those tough bits- yuck!).
When I'm making a recipe that calls for roasted peppers, I try to prepare the peppers in the late afternoon, before I need to begin cooking the rest of the meal. This way, I'm not adding another step ... [Continue Reading]
This healthy granola makes a delicious breakfast or snack. I like to eat it with a splash of milk or mixed into Greek yogurt. The recipe is so simple- mix nuts and oats with a bit of salt and cinnamon, and then stir in some real maple syrup. After that, all you have to do is bake the granola for about 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so. It couldn't be easier!
The walnuts, almonds, and pecans contribute lots of filling protein and fiber, along with other nutrients, to the granola. If you like, you can also add raisins or other dried fruit. With its subtle sweetness and nutty crunch, this granola will give you the energy you need to tackle your day.
Printable ... [Continue Reading]
The secret to a flaky pie crust? Keeping the ingredients really cold, and working in the butter just enough so that there are still visible pieces of butter in the dough. When you use really cold butter and ice cold water in the dough, it keeps the butter from "melting" into the dough. Then, when you bake your pie, those visible pieces of butter melt and release steam to create tiny pockets of air in the dough, which creates those wonderful flaky layers of pie crust.
Until very recently I always used my food processor to make pie dough. I loved how fast and easy it was, letting the processor do all of the work. Those pie crusts certainly tasted good, but they were definitely not as flaky ... [Continue Reading]