Archive | recipe

MEAL PLAN: AUG NO.1

We still have another month of summer with the kids and my goal is to soak up all the quality time, sunshine, activities and outings as we can while also reintroducing some of that good old fashioned structure back into our lives so back to school isn’t quite so abrupt. Food and mealtime is one of the best and easiest places to start for me so I’m back to planning our meals and stocking the pantry. Here’s whats on the menu this week!

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(mexi)MONDAYHuevos Rancheros with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

TUESDAY – Grilled Chicken + Summer Veggie Skewers, add whatever veggies look fresh and grill-able at the store like summer squash and serve with couscous

WEDNESDAY – Eat Out or Takeout and MOVIE NIGHT with friends!!!

THURSDAYSlow Cooker Beef Carnitas Tacos, this is also Johan’s Birthday dinner so the menu might change based on what he wants but I figured anything involving beef was a safe bet!

FRIDAYBBQ Chicken Cobb Salad + Mini Grilled Cheeses

SATURDAY – Eat Out or Takeout

SUNDAYEasy Meatball Sliders

BREKKIE – Oatmeal, Cereal, or Eggs — keeping it simple this week!

LUNCHSandwich Wraps, fruit, yogurt and popcorn

SNACKFrozen Yogurt Dots, Watermelon Pizza, Cracker Stackers, Hummus + Veggies + Chips

After posting the picture above on Instagram last week of our movie night snacks, I received a lot of questions about the food and drink trays. I bought a case of them originally for all the summer get togethers and Birthday parties but they also make movie night seem extra special and clean up extra easy. You can find the FOOD + DRINK TRAYS HERE and the PLASTIC CUPS + LIDS HERE.

Hope your week if off to a good start!

XO, Rae

PS – Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the August Faves Giveaway. The winner has been announced HERE and emailed :)

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LITTLE BITES: FROZEN YOGURT DOTS

It’s safe to say the kids are getting tired of the snacks that have been gracing our pantry and fridge this summer. All we seem to do lately is snack so I guess I can’t blame ’em! But I was shocked when they hadn’t gobbled up all the noosa yogurt I’ve been buying at Costco. It could honestly pass for fro-yo! When questioned, they admitted it was just that they had been eating so much of it. So earlier this week we decided to try freezing some into dots, hoping it would rekindle their enthusiasm for the delicious yogurt.

To my delight, they loved the dots and ate them all up. As did I, and will now be eating all yogurt in frozen form — so good! The “recipe” and steps are so simple and easy for little helpers too. Details below.

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YOU’LL NEED:

  • favorite kind of yogurt, refrigerated and stirred
  • small zip locks or pastry bags
  • parchment paper
  • cookie sheet

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Fill ziplock with stirred yogurt and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners.
  3. Squeeze small dots onto prepared cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a couple hours, until frozen… Freeze longer or overnight if wanting to store and keep for later.
  4. Peel off of paper and eat, scoop into a bowl and serve or place in airtight container and store in the freezer!

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Don’t those little yogurt dots look delicious and refreshing?

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Poppy thinks so! And suggests trying to make some this weekend :)

What have you been snacking on lately?

TGIF!

XO, Rae

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SWEET BITES: SIMPLE BERRY-LEMONADE SNOW CONE GRANITA RECIPE

simple snow cone granita recipe

Gosh I hated being away from this online space and (gasp!) social media last week, but have been busy finishing up a few big design projects before the kids are home for summer — just a week and a half left. Not sure who is more ready and excited, me or the kids! That being said, posts might be random and sparse for the next couple weeks but then I have quite a few summer-y DIY’s, kid crafts, recipes and adventures that I can hardly wait to document and share! Make sure to sign up for emails below (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss out!!! Now onto todays post….

With all of the hot weather and outdoor playtime in our future a frozen treat seemed to be in order and granitas (aka Italian ice) are a new fave around here. They are technically vegan, gluten free, and made from fresh ingredients, yet totally delicious and full of sugar. But who doesn’t need a little extra sugar in the summertime!

simple snow cone granita recipe

Here’s how to make them:

BERRY LEMONADE GRANITAS, takes 20 minutes hands-on time (3 hours start to finish), makes 10-12 small servings

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of your favorite homemade or store-bought lemonade
  • 1-2 cups raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries
  • a few hours of down-time
  • OPTIONAL, extra berries and mint for garnish and paper snow cones, wood paddle spoons and cute straws for serving

Here’s How:

  1. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute to make a simple syrup. Add fresh berries and let simmer, stirring often for about 5 minutes. (Or grab a flavored lemonade at the store and skip the berry step!)
  2. Remove mixture from heat, spoon or strain out the berries and set in an ice bath to cool.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9×13 or larger baking dish. Add lemonade and stir together carefully. Place in the freezer.
  4. Every 20-30 minutes use a fork to break up the mixture then return to the freezer and repeat until it you have a nice fluffy/icy/crystal texture.
  5. Scoop into cups or these snow cones and garnish with berries and mint!

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//We used a marker to add a cute design to the handle end of wood ice cream spoons//

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YAY for summer you guys!!! Looking forward to making more of these and trying new flavors. Maybe an adult version for cocktail hour or a red, white and blue combo for the 4th of July… What flavor would you want to try?

XOXO, Rae

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BREAKFAST CLUB: SMOOTHIE BOWLS (+ A MEAL PLAN)

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I love a good “build your own” type meal. I also enjoy a good bandwagon. So, since smoothie bowls are super easy to personalize and trending at the moment, I figured it was time we gave them a whirl. Now I’m wondering what took us so long!?

If you and your kids like smoothies you will LOVE these. They are basically extra thick smoothies topped like a parfait. Toppings make everything better, yes? Yes! Here’s how we made ours…

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BERRY BERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL (makes 2 big bowls or 4 small ones)

You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other preferred milk)
  • 1 cup spinach or favorite green
  • 2 tablespoons chia/hemp/flax/etc. seed
  • honey or agave to taste
  • ice to taste
  • favorite protein powder (optional)
  • toppings – chia seeds, shaved almonds, berries + other fruit, shredded coconut, granola, etc.

Here’s How:

  1. Toss all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender and blend until well combined and mixture is too thick to suck through a straw.
  2. Pour into bowls and prinkle with toppings of choice!

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Give me ALL the toppings please! I think they are the best part of any dish but especially these smoothie bowls. Aside from the delicious taste the colors and textures are so pretty and pretty food is fun to eat.

Now we just need to try acai bowls… Which I think are like smoothie bowls with an added ingredient? Have you guys tried them?

(CLICK HERE TO CHECKOUT OUR MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK)

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

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SIPPING ON THE PERFECT ICED COFFEE

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(sleepy eye fabric backdrop from my spoonflower shop)

Warm weather goes with iced drinks like Monday’s go with caffeine so it seemed appropriate to share a little tip I learned that will have your iced coffee tasting delicious and creamy to the last sip.

Ready for it?

It’s so simple… freeze your favorite milk into ice cubes!!!

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As the cubes melt the coffee stays yummy instead of watery and blah.

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Our friends dropped off a bottle of their homemade cold brew last week, which (side note) is amazing! Not sure what has taken me so long to try, but I’m hooked. Anyways, I’ve been experimenting with different combinations and my favorite so far is:

vanilla coconut cold brew (or iced coffee) – half glass of cold brew, frozen coconut milk ice cubes, a little bit of vanilla syrup and coconut milk to taste.

What is your go-to iced drink during the warm weather months!?

XO, Rae

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BIG BATCH FREEZER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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One of the things my kids never fail to appreciate is a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. Particularly when they have a group of friends over. But adding one more messy task in the middle of the afternoon, with a house of munchkins requiring a certain amount of supervision (and damage control) isn’t always the most practical. Lately though I’ve been able to set out a plate of gooey confections in just 15 minutes without dirtying more than a couple dishes.

How, you ask!?

A couple weeks ago we made a super sized batch of our favorite cookie recipe, balled the dough into individual cookies and then threw them in the freezer. Now it’s so easy to throw in a dozen crowd pleasing cookies to share with friends or bring to a get together and each batch tastes just as good as the first. Honestly one of the smartest mom things I’ve done… ha!

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FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, makes 6-7 dozen

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cake flour (this is what makes this recipe amazing but cake flour can be substituted for regular all-purpose flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6+ cups chocolate chips
  • Cookie scooper (optional but SOOOO helpful!)

Here’s How:

  1. Combine flours and baking soda together in a bowl and whisk well.
  2. In an extra-large mixing bowl cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla together.
  3. Slowly add flour mix to large mixing bowl until combined. Then stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scooper (I like the small ones for the kids, but any size – even an ice cream scoop or 1/4 measuring cup – works) scoop as many balls of dough onto baking sheet as you can and place in the freezer for a couple hours. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Once frozen, store dough in airtight container or gallon bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  6. Anytime you need a sweet treat set the oven to 350 and bake for 12-15 minutes (no need to thaw!), erring on the early end of the timer. Underdone is better than overdone, every time.

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Chocolate chip is the only kind of cookie (other than the breakkie kind!) that we make around here but it is probably time we try something new. Any suggestions?

Now go make some cookies friends!

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: HOMEMADE BROWN BAG MICROWAVE POPCORN

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Popcorns a favorite comfort food around here and something we make all-the-time. Sadly our popcorn maker broke for the second time in the last year. Not wanting to drop another $40 on a new one I turned to google instead and discovered that a brown bag and tape is all that’s needed to make some in the microwave! Life changing I tell ya. Thank you google. You make momm-ing so much easier.

Here’s how to do-it-yo-self at home!

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You’ll Need –

  • Un-popped corn kernels
  • Brown lunch bags
  • Tape
  • Favorite popcorn toppings such as melted butter, salt, sprinkles, and/or cinnamon and sugar

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1. Poor a little less than 1/4-cup of kernels into a brown bag.

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2. Fold the top of the bag down a couple times and use a piece of tape to hold in place.

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3. Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until you hear longer pauses between pops. Ours took only 2 minutes per bag.

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(((Waiting is the hardest part….)))

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(((…so practice a cartwheel or three instead.)))

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4. Add your toppings and…

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… shake, shake, shake.

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5. Repeat until everyone has their own custom bag of popcorn and enjoy!

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Easy peasy, right?

Nothing makes me happier than a good mom-hack and I think these individual microwave popcorns qualify. Do you have any tricks that have been making life easier or more fun lately?

Happy Thursday you guys!

XO, Rae

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BREAKFAST CLUB: HOMEMADE POPTARTS

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Hope the weekend was just what you needed friends! Ours was mellow but also full and even though our home is in shambles still, I’m ready for a shiny new week! Tilly and I had an amazing time hosting a craft event at the Land of Nod on Saturday (more on that tomorrow) and then decided to break-in our Easter menu and jammies Sunday morning. Since we typically head to church first thing Easter morning, it’s nice to have a quick meal ready. Of course the kids want something sweet, fun and new and I want something that will tide them over for a few hours and doesn’t leave a huge mess in the kitchen.

Scrambled eggs or oatmeal is our typical go-to before church but this year I thought I would compromise and make a healthier, homemade version of pop-tarts. Festive enough for the kids and easy enough for me since they can be made the night before.

Instead of icing and a sugary filling I opted for this chocolate coconut peanut butter and some sprinkles and shredded coconut for a decorative topping. Coconut has been all the rage around here lately (coconut water, milk, oil, or dried) so the filling was a hit but I am thinking a fruity option (maybe raspberry?) would be nice on Easter morning along with some eggs or greek yogurt.

Anyways, I’ll spare you of my indecisiveness and menu plan. Here is how we made them:

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HOMEMADE POP-TARTS, takes about 30 minutes, makes about 9

You’ll Need:

  • Enough pie crust for one pie (either homemade or store bought)
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of milk
  • Chocolate nut butter or filling of your choice (fruit preserve or pie filling works too)
  • Chocolate nut butter for topping or make your favorite icing recipe
  • Sprinkles
  • (optional and for the kids of course) A totally adorable felt bunny mask from Opposite of Far :)

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make and roll out pie crust or prep according to package directions.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk.
  3. Cut pie crust into rectangles. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush with egg mixture.
  4. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of chocolate peanut butter onto half of the rectangles. Cover with the remaining pie crusts, egg wash side down.
  5. Crimp the edges using a fork.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until they begin the brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool before topping with more nut butter or icing and sprinkles.

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While I was utterly deprived of all the processed foods that were plentiful in the 80’s and 90’s, my husband was not. Pop-tarts happen to be at the top of his favorite childhood foods list. Needless to say this less sugary version did not fill his pop-tart void but Espen, Tilly, Griffin and Poppy were totally fooled.

I guess you can take the kid out of the 90’s but you can’t take the 90’s out of the kid! Do you have a favorite food from your childhood that you would rather not feed your kids!?

XO, Rae

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BREAKFAST CLUB: CHEWY GRANOLA CUPS

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We’ve been in a breakfast funk around here lately so I started searching for old recipes over the weekend and remembered these nutritious bites we made last summer and loved. Adding some ingredients to our shopping list today and hoping to make some tomorrow so thought I would share the how-to.

Use any granola recipe you have tried (minus dried fruit) and like or the one below. I prefer a chewy granola for these cups. Less mess and easier to eat!

CHEWY GRANOLA CUPS – 15 minutes hands-on, makes about 16 mini cups 

You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup applesauce (mashed banana works too)
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/4 cup rolled oats
  • favorite yogurt (we like honey or vanilla greek yogurt)
  • berries or other diced fruit for topping

Here’s How:

  1. Grease mini muffin tin (regular size tin works too) and set aside.
  2. Whisk applesauce, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add oats and stir until well combined.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of mix to each muffin cup. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides, making a nice indent for yogurt to go later. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove muffin tin from fridge and press around the edges again. Bake for 12 minutes. Set out for 10 minutes before serving to prevent crumbling.

Make extras and store in an air-tight container or toss in a ziplock and freeze. Perfect for crazy mornings (so basically every morning) and are equally as delicious as an afternoon pick-me-up or treat with ice cream instead of yogurt.

XO, Rae

PS – Want more breakfast ideas? Try these yummy muffins!

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DINNER BITES: MAKE YOUR OWN TOAST

(A SIMPLE DINNER IDEA)

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It’s not often I come across a meal that can be made in just a few minutes, customized to each family member’s tastebuds and served for any meal or snack throughout the day. So when I do you know it’s put on heavy rotation and whipped up anytime I don’t feel like doing any actual cooking or hand dishes.

The other great thing about this entrée is that theres no actual recipe so it’s a great way to clean out the fridge.  A few fresh toppings and yummy artisan bread (ciabatta bread pictured) makes it more hearty and fancy and sweet potato fries and sliced apples are typical sides for us that go well.

Here are a few topping ideas:

  • arugula or other greens
  • basil
  • roasted peppers
  • avocado
  • tomatos
  • hummus
  • ricotta, mozzarella, gorgonzola or parmesan cheese
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • salmon (lox or smoked)
  • salami or other deli meat
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic

To keep from having to man the toaster while everyone eats I just sliced up our bread, placed it on a baking sheet and broiled on high for a few minutes. The line between toasted and burned is very fine so I try to keep a close eye on it.

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(handy serving board from Target)

Now that I’m looking at the ingredient ideas it’s not all that different from toppings for a potato bar and maybe toast isn’t all that original, ha! Do you guys ever have toast for dinner?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: MAC + CHEESE CUPS

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Everyone needs a recipe or two in their bag of tricks that the kids love and appreciate every time it’s served. This is that dish for me and considering how popular mac + cheese is, that’s probably not surprising. But I wouldn’t share just any old basic mac recipe with you. This one has a few steps perfect for a mini sous chef to help with, a hint of mustard for a grownup flavor and the cups make it easy to serve for lunch, dinner or snacks at a get-together. It’s also a really nice excuse to turn on the oven which is my favorite thing to do in the middle of winter. A quick word of caution tho, it has the potential to ruin boxed mac and cheese for your kids forever. Can’t say I blame them :) Keep scrolling for the recipe!

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HOMEMADE MACARONI + CHEESE BITES (makes 12)

You’ll Need –

  • 2 cups dried macaroni
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread or panko crumbs for topping
  • OPTIONAL – cayenne pepper or paprika to taste

Here’s How –

  1. Bring water to a boil, add macaroni and cook until slightly firm. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot being careful not to burn. Add flour and whisk constantly over med-low heat for a couple minutes. Pour in the milk and mustard and whisk together. Cook and whisk for about 5 more minutes until mixture is very thick then reduce heat to low.
  3. Temper the egg by adding 1/4 cup of mixture to it and whisking constantly until smooth. Pour egg mixture into large pot and whisk together. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add salt, pepper and any other spices to taste… don’t under-salt.
  4. Add prepared macaroni noodles and stir until coated with cheese mixture. You can serve immediately or make into cups…
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set your little helper up with a work station (or DIY) — grease muffin tin or set out liners (we used THESE which come in handy for lunches too) as well as shredded cheese and bread crumbs for topping. Scoop mac + cheese into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with a generous amount of bread crumbs and cheese and then bake for 15 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving!

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If you’re not sure what’s for dinner tonight I highly recommend giving these a try and making extra for lunch the next day. They go great with oven roasted broccoli or cauliflower. Yum.

What have you been cooking lately?

XO, Rae

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