Recipes and Tips for Foodies like you!

Lunchbox Ideas and Whole Wheat Mini Banana Date Muffins

In Guatemala, January means the kids go back to school, so moms have to start thinking about what to pack for lunch which means many of us have been looking for lunchbox ideas. I have to pack Kristen a menu for snack time and another one for lunch at school. I don’t send actual lunch foods, like meat or rice. She eats those things when she gets home, and then has a very light dinner before going to bed.

I like to use silicone muffin cups to divide snacks inside her containers, so for snack time I send her things like one slice of whole wheat bread with Nutella, and make a little sandwich out of it, a few pretzels or saltine crackers, sweet cookies like chocolate chips or Oreos, and a cheese stick. For her lunch time snacks, I pack things like mini baguettes with cream cheese and ham, carrot sticks with cream cheese dip, any type of fruit I know she likes, and I always include something salty, like saltines or bread sticks, and a cookie for something sweet.

To vary her menus, I keep a list of lunchbox foods she likes on my bulletin board, and I also keep homemade baked goods in the freezer.  I can’t be inventive at 6AM, I need to know what I am going to pack, so I check the list the night before and leave out the items I want to pack for the next day.  No sandwiches with little smiley faces made out of blueberries here!  Really, who has time?

One of the items I pack for her are these mini banana muffins. I wanted them to be healthy, so I made some substitutions like using honey instead of sugar. You’ll notice I also used yogurt instead of butter. I’ve found that you can substitute Greek or plain yogurt instead of using oil or butter when baking. I’ve done it with pancakes with excellent results. I kept the oil in this recipe, since I didn’t want to risk the consistency of my muffins, but I think I’ll try using only yogurt the next time and I’ll let you know how it goes. If you don’t want to make mini muffins, you can use a regular muffin tin. This recipe yields 12 regular-sized muffins. The results for my adapted recipe were fluffy, moist banana muffins that are ideal for your little kids to take to school.

Helga

Mini Banana Muffins

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Blog Love: January 2015

We love this month’s Blog Love. Since we all are in the healthy bandwagon, it this recipe collection is perfect to kick off the year. We have Quinoa Veggie “fried” Rice, Steamed Salmon & Veggies and an idea for a Meatless Monday: 4 Different ways to have Salad in a Jar. Like Helga mentioned before, she is approaching weekly cooking differently, so ç we are sharing a Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and a 1-Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein. Have you wondered if you are storing food in the correct way? Food52 has a great post on How to Store Your Food Better in 2015.

For those with a sweet tooth, we can’t wait to try this Frostbitten Raspberry Cake and this Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart. Oh, and we are curious on overnight oats… so here is a recipe for an Energizing Overnight Oats Recipe to test out.

Do you have a favorite site you’d like to see featured here? Write a couple of lines and let us know, we would love to add them to our frequently visited sites!

Helga & Kitty

Blog-Love-2015-01

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Beef, Mushroom and Spinach Stir-Fry

New Year, new recipes! It’s been a while since I posted in our blog, last year was a tough year for me. Full of changes. At the time all these changes were happening, it was all so overwhelming that it was hard to think of them as positive ones. But I think they were. Among other things, they meant a complete change in my daily routine, which made it very challenging for me to be able to continue posting on my regular schedule. But I’m back now!

The first days of January have been all about organizing for me. My weekday routine is so full, I need to organize to be able to get everything done, and still try to have a life. Which means finding lots of quick, easy and more importantly healthy recipes to prepare for my weekly menus at home.  This means planning a week ahead, so I can efficiently grocery shop on the weekend and get cooking on Monday morning.  I cook Monday-Wednesday meals on Monday morning, and then I leave the easiest and fastest menu for me to cook on Wednesday afternoon, so it’s ready for Thursday.  What about Friday, you ask?  We get what ever’s left over from the week.

This beef stir-fry is one of my weekday menu recipes.  It’s a family favorite, in fact… I’ll make it again next week. I really love this one, it’s so fast to make, and so full of flavor, I’m sure you will like it. Oh, and you can substitute spinach for kale, which is actually what the original recipe used.

Helga

 Beef, Mushroom and Spinach Stir-Fry

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Roasted Bell Peppers

A few weeks ago, my brother and his girlfriend came back from a road trip with a bag full of green bell peppers. I am not talking 4 or 5. I am talking 12 to 15. And big ones. What can you do with a bell pepper? Well, you can add it to plenty of salads (and a little goes a long way), or you can add it chopped to soups and stews. You can pickle it with a bit of onion and tons of vinegar for those who love tart foods, or serve it stuffed and fried like we do for Guatemalan Chiles Rellenos… But we didn’t want fried food after indulging during the holidays… So what could we prepare with tons of them at once?

I remember seeing this video on Everyday Food’s YouTube channel. We love Sarah and her team. Ok, back to the peppers. Since I recalled the video, this last Sunday we fired up the grill and roasted these babies. It took about 10 to 12 minutes to roast them, then immediately I placed the peppers in a big bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. This, will help you removed the charred skin easily.

What takes the most time is exactly that, removing the charred skin. I loved Sarah’s tip to have paper towels and use those to remove it, so it’s not only easy to clean up but it is gentle with the roasted bell peppers. After all that, you remove the seeds, cut it in stripes and season it. I got the two jars you see in the picture, and the only thing I did was letting them cool completely before putting the lid on.

You can enjoy these peppers in sandwiches or serve them with crackers as appetizers at your next party or gathering. Oh, and since we are using plenty of olive oil, after you finish all the peppers, you can save the oil oil, now flavored, for salads!

Kitty

Roasted Bell Peppers

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