Wednesday, August 16, 2017

5 Tips that Will Make or Break School Lunches



For us, school is starting next week. And I will, for the first time, have two children taking lunches to school. While I am excited to get back in to the schedule that school provides, I'm not as excited about making lunches every. single. day. I thought I'd revisit our book The Mix and Match Lunchbox and give you 5 tips that make or break having a healthy, easy lunch for your kiddos.

1. Plan Ahead


You know how this works with dinnertime. If you plan what dinner is earlier in the day, dinner happens. If you don't, you end up throwing together whatever you have. And sometimes that works better than others.

A planning page in The Mix and Match Lunchbox


The same thing goes for school lunches. If you sit down on Saturday or Sunday and make a small menu, then you know what to buy. You'll see if there are things you can or should make ahead of time.

2. Think about the Parts of Lunch


We like to do this with a simple formula:

Whole Grain + Protein + Fruit + Veggie




This makes lunch so customizable! And if you make a list of items for each section, your child can even make lunch themselves. For a younger child, you might make a PBJ the whole grain and protein, while for an older child, you might need a separate protein to keep them full for school.

But if you fill this formula, you have a complete, healthy lunch! I would also include water and, on special occasions, a treat.


3. Make Recipes Ahead



It can be hard to have everything on hand for a good lunch. But if you make one thing ahead of time in bulk and freeze in individual bags, it makes it that much simpler on a busy morning when you have less than five minutes to make lunches. We like muffins, smoothies, homemade granola bars, quiches, and boiled eggs.


4. Get the Kids to Help


Is this all your job? Well, kind of. But it doesn't have to be. What can the kids do? Can they have a say in the planning? (With guidelines, of course.) Can you assign your budding cook a make-ahead recipe? Or just keep a list of things in each healthy section (grain, protein, fruit, and veggie) and let them pick from bins of each category.

The truth with kids is, if they pick it, they will be more likely to eat it.

Yogurt and mix-ins are always a hit at our house.

5. Make it Fun!


For some parents this might include cutting food into cute little shapes. If that's you, than go for it! I feel good when I slip in a little note. This could be a compliment, a love note, or a joke or fun fact.

But cute supplies go a long way. Consider a pack of food picks, some cookie cutters, or bright silicone cupcake liners.Those could be just the trick for adding some happiness to your child's lunch!


Extra Credit :)


Do you need more help to get your lunches going? Check out our book The Mix and Match Lunchbox book or the Mix and Match app for over 27,000 delicious lunch combinations!



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Gluten-free)



I have a great thing for you to make with all of your zucchini.There is something wonderful about the combination of zucchini and chocolate combined. I love how soft and delicious these are. I put some extras in the freezer in zip locks. It was so wonderful to take them out of the freezer and heat them up and enjoy a yummy snack. Every since I made them last weekend I have been wanting to make them again. So Good!!! They always have zucchini in the store.
Cherie


Ingredients
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 cup of oil (I used grapeseed oil)
2/3 cup of honey
2 eggs
2 cups of grated zucchini
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons quinoa flour (You could replace w/  a different wholegrain flour)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped up



Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl beat together vanilla, oil, honey, eggs, and zucchini. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl pour in all the dry ingredients and stir with a wire whisk. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Combine the two mixtures together into one bowl. Stir until just combined.
4. Pour into greased muffin pan. Place in preheated oven. Bake about 15 minutes or until done.
5. Cool a few minutes and then take out of the muffin pan and cool on cooling rack.
* You could put in a square pan or bread pan instead. You will just have to watch the cooking time a little closer. Remove when done.
Makes 12 muffins

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Delicious Zucchini(Bread) Waffles (Gluten Free)


It is a wonderful idea to find ways to add vegetables to the foods you make. My daughter was talking to me about the idea of starting at breakfast and adding the vegetables to what you are making. Great way to start your day. So I did that today and they were delicious. I have always loved zucchini bread this is a great way to capture the flavor with out all the sugar. 

You can either use gluten free flour or whole grain. I tried both and they worked great. I have a Cusinart waffle maker that makes them crispy on the outside and soft inside. Yum!!!


Ingredients

1 cup gluten free flour * or whole grain flour
1 1/2 cup water
1 egg
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Tablespoons of coconut sugar or other sweetener
1 cup grated zucchini
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of chia * optional

Directions serves 2-3

1. Preheat waffle iron and spray with non stick cooking spray.

2. Pour all the ingredients into the bowl and stir just until all mixed.

3. Pour on to hot waffle iron and bake to desired doneness.

4. Take out and enjoy. I have frozen the leftovers and put in toaster when I was ready to eat them. I love them with apricot jam.

* I used gluten free Namaste flour.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Cashew Butter Brownies (Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan)


 These fun brownies are chewy and delicious. No flour added to them. It is a great little snack or dessert. No added flour, so they are gluten free. Chia added instead of eggs so they can be vegan if you add vegan chocolate chips.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of ground chia seeds (Can grind in small coffee grinder)
1/3 cup of water
1 cup of cashew butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (Use vegan for vegan option)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I like the mini chips)

Instructions  Preheat oven to 350

1. In a small mix together ground chia and water.  Let the mixture start to turn into a gel. Then mix in a mixing bowl or blender, chia mixture, chips, sugar, vanilla, water, baking soda. Until all combined.

2. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into a greased square pan. (I like cooking in stoneware dishes for best outcome.)

3. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 20 squares. Store leftovers in airtight container.





Friday, June 30, 2017

Granola and Berries (Gluten Free option)






I think Breakfast is one of my favorite meals. I love when I add berries to what I am eating. It brings me so much joy to see all the beautiful colors plus I love berries and the added nutrition they add to the meal. Yum! Enjoy a great way to start your day.  It also makes a wonderful snack. 


It is wonderful to be enjoying Summer and all the fun that goes along with it. We had a wonderful family reunion with 90 of us. We love our family. It is so nice to have so many people that love you and are their to support you. I also can't get enough of this sunshine and blue sky. I love the warm nights with the slight breeze. I think that is what it will be like in heaven. 



Ingredients

Granola

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil

3 cup  old fashioned oatmeal (gluten free)
1 cup almonds chopped up coarse
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tespoon fresh ground nutmeg

* dried fruit optional raisins, dates, craisins etc..

Directions: Heat oven to 250
1. Melt the honey and oil together in a small bowl. On the stove or in the microwave. Set it aside.

2. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl together. Pour in the honey mixture. Stir till all combined. 

3. Put a parchment paper on 1 cookie sheet.  Pour the granola on to cookie sheet. It will be thick. 

4. Place in the oven. Bake 30 min. Stir a couple times during cooking time.  

5. Let cool on the counter and store in an airtight container. 

6, Pour granola into a bowl add fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and then pour on  almond milk or cashew milk poured on top.  Enjoy!