lunch boxes they’ll <3.

i’ve always tried to pack healthy school lunches for my kids that cater slightly to each one’s taste (so they actually eat it) but after failing miserably at it last year and as a result spending way too much at the starbuck’s drive-thru on protein packs, i decided that this year lunch packing would be a family affair. my job is to keep the kitchen stocked (and pitch-in a bit with packing) and their job is to do the rest!

to help with the process i put together a lunchbox wish list and wanted to share (download link below). ask the kids to check off  an item or two in each section every week or two so you’ll know what to add to your shopping list — that way there should always be a couple things they will be excited about packing and you won’t have to do any guesswork! (win, win)

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LUNCHBOX WISH LIST, freebie (PDF) // click to download 

now if i could just figure out a good time to do the packing…  i really dread getting everything out after i’ve made and cleaned up dinner at night but time always seems to runout in the morning. if you have any tips i’d love to hear them!

xo . rae

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breakfast club: favorite brekkie cookie

you guys up for another recipe?  i hope so because we go crazy for these breakfast cookies at our house and devour them so quickly that i recommend making 2 batches at a time. they are perfect for a quick breakfast or after school snack on the go and you can freeze the extras for later.  i also thought i would share the stickers i made for those crazy mornings  when everyone is running in different directions. download, print and cut so you have them handy…. links and recipe are below!

breakfast-cookies

“HAVE A GOOD DAY, OKAY?” stickers (PDF) 

PEANUT BUTTER BREKKIE COOKIES: makes 24 , 10 minutes prep, 11 minutes to bake each batch

You’ll need

  • 1 cup favorite all natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (good fat = good for the brain on a school day!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1-1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (less sugar than other types)

Here’s How

preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a large bowl mix peanut butter, brown sugar and coconut oil until combined and smooth. mix in eggs. add rest of ingredients and stir until combined.

using your hands (or a cookie scoop) make 2-inch balls, place on prepared baking sheet and press down slightly. cookies won’t expand while baking so you can place them closer together – i usually fit 18 or so. bake for 11 minutes.

let cool before serving. great for breakfast, lunch or snack time! freeze leftovers and thaw for busy days!

what do you usually hand the kids on their way out the door when you didn’t have time to sit down for breakfast?

xo . rae

5

DINNER TONIGHT (salmon tacos) AND TOMORROW TOO (salmon chowder)

happy labor day and last summer hurrah! to celebrate i thought i would share two of my favorite dinner recipes. what i love most about these dishes is that they are simple and seasonal but also add a fresh gourmet twist on everyday tacos and chowder. you also get two meals out of one grilled salmon so you could make tacos tonight and the chowder on a busy school night later this week!

recipes are below and wild salmon is in season for another month or so —  i hope you give them a try!

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GRILLED SALMON TACOS: serves 6  (with extra salmon for salmon chowder), 15 minutes Prep Time, 45 minutes start to finish

salmon-tacos-2 (wrap taco shell in lettuce to make them less messy to eat!)

For the Corn Salsa You’ll Need

  • 1-7 ounce can mexicorn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 pinch of each: sugar, salt, ground cumin, ground coriander

For the Chili Cream You’ll Need

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

For the Salmon You’ll Need

  • 2 pounds wild salmon filets, whole or in smaller fillets, bones removed
  • olive oil for brushing
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 package tortillas (flour or corn for gluten free)
  • optional: avocado, lettuce and tomato for topping

Here’s How

for the salsa + chili cream: in separate bowls, mix all ingredients together and chill until your ready to serve.

to make salmon: lightly brush fish with olive oil and give a light sprinkling of seasonings. over medium heat on grill use a fish basket, cedar plank or small tin foil piece over grates and add salmon. cook salmon until desired doneness.

to assemble tacos: add salsa, avocado, lettuce and tomato (if using) to warmed tortilla. add small pieces of salmon and garnish with chili cream.

for an easy side, seve with fruit salad sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder!

salmon-tacos

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SALMON CHOWDER: serves 6 , 30 minutes start to finish

(this recipe can be made in the crockpot the night before!)

You’ll need

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups of cleaned, chopped leeks
  • 1-10 oz bag frozen tri color peppers, diced or strips, thawed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons of rice (or all-purpose) flour
  • 1 quart of fish or chicken stock
  • 3 cups of diced frozen potatoes
  • 1 pound of leftover salmon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crusty bread for serving (optional)

Here’s How

in a 4 quart sauce pan, add butter and heat over medium high until melted. add leeks and sauté until translucent. add in peppers and sauté until softened and heated through. add flour to coat vegetables and from pasty like consistency. add chicken or fish stock, frozen potatoes and salmon. bring to boil, and then reduce to medium. add in milk and dill. continue to cook until desired thickness. add salt and pepper to taste.

serve with crusty bread.

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xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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POPPY’s (newborn) PICS

so i didn’t really share this with anyone at the time but i had a few minor-ish meltdowns during my pregnancy about having a 5th child. obviously once your pregnant it’s a little late to start worrying about things but there were certain days (probably the hard ones) when my anxiety got the best of me. i just really didn’t know how it was going to work and that freaked me out. however, i’m happy to report that she’s 26 days old and yet it feels like she’s been in our lives from the beginning. funny how that happens. in fact, with the exception of feeling like an on-call milk truck and the drama of her first week, life has pretty much gone on as usual — just a little louder, messier and sleepier. and more in love. granted, my husband is still on paternity leave for another week so i’ll let you know how things go when i’m not so spoiled.

in the meantime, here are my favorite (warning: there are lots of them) pics from poppy’s newborn session with our crazy talented friend, stacy jacobsen.

poppy-newborn-lifestyle-4 poppy-newborn-lifestyle-6poppy-newborn-lifestyle-3

(it amazes me that stacy was able to capture so many sweet pictures of the kids being kids seeing as how they were awesome listeners the morning of our shoot. just kidding. they were a ZOO – as usual – but i think it’s a good look on them.)

poppy-newborn-lifestyle-2poppy-newborn-lifestyle-5poppy-newborn-lifestyle-1

now i just have to decide which ones to frame! #wishmeluck

xo . rae

6

join me at shoot camp!

over the moon about joining forces with  stacy jacobsenamy nielson, + kali lu to bring you shoot camp:

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shoot camp is a creative photography and visual design workshop focused on nurturing the individual artist  to build better business. the workshop will cover necessary camera fundamentals, graphic design basics, social media marketing, styled and lifestyle (portfolio building) shoots and #reallife mentor advice on staying true to your voice and brand. perfect for photographers, bloggers and creatives… basically anyone who wants to improve their camera skills and grow their brand.

and (oh my!) guess what? —>

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{*fine print and details below}

  • DATE: saturday, october 18th, 2014
  • TIME: 10 am to 5 pm
  • LOCATION: crystal lake lodge, woodinville, washington
  • INVESTMENT: $325

in addition to a large group overview of camera fundamentals, we will be breaking into smaller class groups to work on:

  • portfolio building styled shoots
  • in home, lifestyle shoot
  • online marketing and how to become an SEO God (or Goddess!)
  • graphic design made simple (for branding + marketing)
  • editing with lightroom

following the workshop we invite all attendees to join us for dinner and a Q&A at a local restaurant. space is limited, so:

register-shoot-camp
*everyone registered by august 31st will be entered in a drawing to win a free seat at shoot camp! winner will be announced on september 4th!

please leave a comment or shoot me an email with any questions. hope you can join us but regardless all week the girls and i will be sharing tips and tricks in our areas of expertise as well as workshop details… more good things to come!

xo . rae

links in case you missed them earlier:

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