Love Story

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's for Snack?

 What's for snack??? How many times a day do you hear this in your house? My kids have two small snacks a day (one between breakfast and lunch and one in the afternoon) so I feel like I hear this all the time!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had revamped breakfast around here. That is continuing to go smoothly and we are finding all kinds of great food to start our day. Now I am starting to work on doing the same with snacks. Moving away from some of the processed snack foods they have come to rely on (can you say fruit snacks and store bought granola bars?) and trying to incorporate more homemade, healthy options. Not everything is totally healthy, but I at least try to know what ingredients are going into what they are eating. Artificial dye does not make that list.

Let's get onto the good stuff: pictures of food!

These are peanut butter balls that I made by loosely following a recipe at Sweet Pea's Kitchen {browse while you are there because there are zillions of other amazing food ideas}. I used steel cut oats after soaking them first and left out any dried fruit because one of my children doesn't like them (although next time I will make a batch both ways to please the masses!). This is so versatile because you can really add whatever you have on hand. Here's what ours looked like:

I had some almonds on hand that the kids had been snacking on raw along with string cheese or fruit but decided to sweeten up the remainder for a special snack one day. The resulting toasted cinnamon almonds from Aldi Food Blog were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. So good and definitely a crowd pleaser. Yes, there is quite a bit of sugar on these bad boys but as a once in awhile treat I think they are great.
You can never go wrong with popcorn, but sometimes it can be kind of bleh if you do it too often so we like to add in different toppings to keep it interesting. Kind of like a popcorn trail mix! This particular bowl has raw cashews and dried apricots:
These quinoa granola bars are about as easy as can be. I threw a handful of ingredients into the food processor, used cookie cutters to mold the bars, and baked for about 15 minutes. Thanks Anja's Food 4 Thought for the inspiration!

Homemade cheese crackers - if you have never made these, you NEED to. They are a simple 4 ingredients (compared to the 15+ in their boxed store bought counterpart) and come together in no time. These are gone in no time and eaten by both kids and adults in this house:) There are tons of recipes out there but this time I used this version from Cooking Ala Mel:

This is just a sampling of what has been showing up on the snack list. As I mentioned, we do lots of snacks around here so if you like what you see here and would like more ideas make sure you let me know!

Past snack related posts:
Homemade granola bars (this version is more similar to store bought with different nuts, etc)
Homemade graham crackers

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lunch Round Up #3

I am feeling pretty pleased with the lunch line up so far...while some things show up in the rotation on a more regular basis than others, I feel like I have kept a decent amount of variety in his lunch box. I will admit that part of the reason for that is the accountability of sharing it here. Whatever gets the job done, right?
Apple slices with peanut butter, homemade fries and cucumbers with ranch dipper, popcorn and chocolate

Rice cakes, string cheese, celery sticks with peanut butter, carrots, banana
carrots, lunch meat, cheese cubes, cucumber slices, popcorn, banana
pumpkin cornbread, oranges, applesauce with cinnamon, carrots, rice cakes with crock pot refried beans
Made this lunch special for my visit to his school (all his favorite things!) carrots, cornmeal and cheddar biscuits, homemade mac n cheese, turkey rice meatballs
orange slices, celery, leftover chicken and fries with ketchup dipper from his brother's birthday dinner at Texas Roadhouse
banana, cucumbers, homemade tortillas and crock pot refried beans rolled up and fried with ranch dipper, carrots
Want more ideas? Check out past round ups:
Lunch Round Up #1
Lunch Round Up #2

I also have to be a little bit of a lunch container nerd and share how excited I am about the new dipping cups I got. I love, love, love the EasyLunchBoxes I have been using for 2 years now but couldn't find a dip container that fit inside. Imagine my excitement when they came out with their own perfectly sized dipping cups that have a snug lid and fit right inside the container!! You can find them here or on Amazon. (and no I am not getting reimbursed for this plug...I just truly love the product and wanted to share for any of you looking for the same kind of thing:)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Countdown Calendar

I was browsing Pinterest {anyone else frequently find themselves starting their sentences that way too?} and actually looking at Christmas advent calendars when the idea hit me - why wait for December when October is here and has a perfectly fun holiday worth counting down to! So I did a quick little search for inspiration and came across an adorable Countdown to Halloween at Tailored Pages that was made using a cookie sheet from the Dollar Store. I happened to have an extra on hand from our road trip {remember the activities I made for the kids?} so I took the idea and ran with it.

I started by raiding my stash and grabbing goodies I already had laying around. I have a friend who snagged a bunch of Halloween craft stuff on major discount last year and was kind enough to share some with me so I knew this was a great opportunity to use some of that. Here is most of what I started with:
After the kids were in bed I sprawled out on the floor and in no time had whipped up this cute hanging Halloween Countdown:

The marker is a cute little spider attached to his web (he has a magnet on his back to keep him stuck to the tray):
I think the kids will get a kick out of this and it will be a fun new addition to our Halloween decor. I am excited that it cost nothing and we will be able to use it year after year!
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