Archive | recipe

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: 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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BREAKFAST CLUB: COOKIE CUTTER PANCAKES

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This year for our Christmas cards photos we got to stay in our jammies (YAY!)! Once our group photos were taken (I’ll share those tomorrow) I asked my main chick and photog Stacy to stay and snap a few of the fam enjoying breakkie together. Breakfast and mornings in general are wild around here but they are also my favorite time of day to share with this crew. We made cookie cutter pancakes — a new favorite since the kids can decorate them like they would sugar cookies and they are just as easy to make as regular pancakes. Here’s a peek at the outtakes. I’ll share the how-to below.

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//As if I needed another reason to love Johan he’s a natural in the kitchen, especially when it comes to breakfast and pancakes so it was fitting to have him man the griddle.//

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//Griffin is never far from the kitchen when there is cooking going on. He is also my PICKIEST eater which is totally ironic and encouraging in a way.//

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COOKIE CUTTER PANCAKES

You’ll Need:

  • Pancake batter (here is a homemade recipe!)
  • Metal cookie cutters
  • Tongs
  • Griddle or skillet
  • Cooking spray
  • Toppings (whip cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.)

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Here’s How:

  1. Make batter a little bit thinner than usual.
  2. Spray cookie cutters with cooking spray and set in griddle or skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 inch of batter into cookie cutters.
  3. Cook until top of pancake bubbles then carefully remove cookie cutters. We used tongs to do this. Flip pancake and cook until golden brown.

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//Then decorate with whip cream, chocolate chips and sprinkles, like Tilly.//

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//Or just completely cover with whip cream like Ozzie. Followed by more whip cream.//

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Everyone loves pancakes. Adding toppings and festive shapes make them extra special. And like I mentioned, they are also easy to cook up if you are still needing an idea for breakfast Christmas morning!

XO, Rae

(photos by Stacy Jacobsen)

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MINI BITES: WINTER SMOOTHIES

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Smoothie’s tend to fall off our menu rotation around the beginning of fall when the cold weather moves in. But lately, with the abundance of junk and comfort food and lack of daylight, vitamin D and outdoor activity I think all of our bodies have been craving the nutrition and freshness of our favorite summer snack. So we recently started  blending a few up each week using more wintery combinations… of course the usual tropically flavors are a hit even in the winter, but it’s nice to switch things up. Here are a few of our favorites so far!

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(one more of the cute smoothie models, ha!)

Don’t those look yummy!? I think I’ll go make one right now :)… What have you guys been snacking on lately?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: CANDIED APPLE DIPPERS

yummy-apple-dippers-7Apples have definitely taken a back seat to our pumpkin obsession this fall but yesterday afternoon, as a post church, football watching snack, we put together an apple dipping tray. The kids (and a friend that stopped by) loved everything about it and lucky us, there was enough to enjoy for dessert later in the night!

When it comes to apples, dips and toppings there are endless combinations but instead of heading to the store for anything specific I grabbed what we had on hand… Yet another reason (spontaneous treats!) to keep a somewhat stocked pantry. Something I’m not always great about but that reaps major bennies. Here are a few of the items, including dip recipes, we set out.

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PEANUT BUTTER DIP – combine 8oz. of cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer  until smooth and serve.

CARAMEL DIP – unwrap half a bag (about 20 pieces) of caramels and place in bowl with a splash (1 tablespoon) of cream or milk. Heat in microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in-between until completely melted. Allow to cool and thicken before serving.

WHITE CHOCOLATE – melt chocolate chips in the microwave or double broiler, being careful not to burn, stirring lots and often. Works best (in my opinion) drizzled over apple slices instead of the main dip or topping. If you are making a larger quantity try pouring into a squeeze bottle to make it easy.

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It was a nice treat in the middle of our sunday and would make for a fun “bar” for a party or get together any day.

So now tell me… have you been all about those pumpkins or apples this fall? This inquiring mind wants to know!

XO . Rae

PS – To everyone who placed an order during our flash sale, thank you so much! Your order will be shipped later today :)

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MINI (HALLOWEEN) BITES: FOR SNACK-TIME + LUNCH

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Mummies, spiders, ghosts, witches, monsters, …. the Halloween gangs all here and ready to (be) eat!

Considering all the scary things in stores and on front porches this time of year it’s nice to do things with the kids that are cute and playful instead of dark and scary. So with the help of my mini sou chefs we put together a smorgasbord of creepy (but adorable) snack ideas. Some handmade and others store-bought as well as a free download for Halloween themed lunchbox notes and mummy paper.

Food details and FREE DOWNLOAD, below!

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BOO-NANAS – You’ll Need bananas, white chocolate chips, a few dark or milk chocolate chips, cake pop sticks and wax paper. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper, wax side up. Melt white chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave or on the stovetop over low. Peel and cut bananas in half and dip in melted chocolate. Allow extra  chocolate to drip off, lay on prepared cookie sheet, add chocolate chip eyes and a stick and place in freezer.

A couple of our bananas broke so we sliced them up and made little boo faces.

PRETZEL BROOMS – You’ll need pretzel sticks, mozzarella cheese, cheese slicer and twine (or maybe cream cheese would keep the mozzarella in place?). Use the cheese slicer or knife and cut a piece of cheese. Cut it into neat rectangle. Slice “fringe” along one long end and wrap around your pretzel about 3 times. Secure with a small piece of twine.

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ORANGE IZZE – Add IZZE sparkling clementine drinks to your shopping list and add a festive straw!

DONUT DUDES – You’ll need powdered donut holes, frosting and decorative candy eye balls (I found these at Target in the baking section. You can also DIY with royal frosting). Dip eyes in frosting and stick to the donut holes.

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MUMMY MILK – You’ll need a milk box, the mummy paper download (below), tape, glue stick and googly eyes. Cut the paper to size, wrap around milk box and secure with tape. Use glue to add googly eyes and your done.

CANDY CORN TRAIL MIXSearch Pinterest for a recipe that looks good or buy at the store.

SPIDER CRACKERS – You’ll need basic round crackers (we used the bigger entertainment crackers), favorite nut butter, stick pretzels and candy eyes or chocolate chips. Spread crackers with nut butter, add pretzel legs and eyes.

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MUMMY BAGEL – You’ll need mini bagels, salami or other lunch meat, cream cheese and olives. Spread a thin layer of cream chess on bagel, and layer with a slice of salami and small slices of cheese. Slice olive in half and use cream cheese to stick to sandwich.

MONSTER BAGEL – You’ll need food coloring, cream cheese, mini bagels, and olives. Add a small dab of food coloring to a scoop of cream cheese and mix well. Cut olive in half and stick to bagel using a small dab of cream cheese.

MONSTERBELS – You’ll need babybel cheese rounds, cream cheese, small scissors and candy eyes. Open babybels and unwrap the one strip of wax. Use scissors to cut wax and make monster faces. Add eyeballs using cream cheese.

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PUMPKIN SEEDS – Simple, festive and usually healthy! Just add to your shopping list.

OREO COOKIE CATS – You’ll need wax paper, oreos, black licorice and/or chocolate laffy taffy, chocolate chips and cake pop sticks. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper, wax side up. Slice taffy or licorice into wiskers. Cut taffy into triangles for ears. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave or on the stovetop over low. Dip oreo in melted chocolate. Allow extra  chocolate to drip off, lay on prepared cookie sheet, add stick, whiskers and ears and place in freezer until chocolate has hardened or you are ready to eat them!

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CLICK for FREE DOWNLOADS:

One of my least favorite things about holidays is how quickly they come and go so we’ve already been adding the notes and a snack or two to their lunches. No need to wait until Halloween day!

What about you guys? Have you had a chance to get into the Halloween spirit!?

XO, Rae

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DINNER BITES: EASY TURKEY LETTUCE CUPS

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My dinner planning skills have been haphazard at best since the kids got out of school. Depending on our evening activities we’ve either been stopping for takeout, packing up something lunch-y for a picnic, eating with friends or throwing meat on the grill and grabbing whatever fresh food we have out of the fridge. It’s been working out okay so far but on the nights we could use a little more structure around dinnertime, these easy turkey lettuce cups (minus a couple kids) are a favorite and go well with a side of watermelon!

EASY TURKEY LETTUCE CUPS, serves 6, takes 30 minutes start to finish

For the dressing you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup lime juice (about 7 limes if wanting fresh squeezed)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (optional)

For the filling you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola)
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 head butter lettuce (or 15 small romaine lettuce spears)

Here’s how:

  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Rinse lettuce and layout to dry. Dice and chop all of the veggies. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add shallots, lemongrass and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add turkey and cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through.
  4. Add the dressing to the skillet and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in mint. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon turkey mixture into lettuce and serve!

Do you have any dinner favorites this summer?!

XO, Rae

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BREAKFAST CLUB: Greek Yogurt Baked Donuts (or holes) Recipe

It won’t be long before summertime heat makes turning on the oven a big fat no-no. Before that happens making these greek yogurt donuts is a must. Sorry (not sorry) to be bossy but they really are that good and even though they aren’t 100% healthy, they are homemade, not-fried and delicious.

No donut pan? No problem! A mini muffin tin works just as well and they end up looking like cute little donut holes. (Recipe below.)

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Add chocolate chips, sprinkles or both (like we did this morning) into the batter for a little Oh.Em.Gee goodness and it would be easy to top with frosting, glaze or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate for something a bit sweeter or for a special occasion.

I was thinking this would be a great option for Poppy’s first Birthday (just a couple months away!) “cake” with a greek yogurt frosting on top. Let the test-tasting begin!

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Baked Greek Yogurt Donuts – makes 18, prep 15, bake 10 minutes per batch

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup milk (cow, almond, coconut, etc. works)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I’ve been using plain but I’m sure any would be good)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • chocolate chips or funfetti (optional)

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease pan.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (first 5). In a medium mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients except the chocolate chips &/or funfetti.
  3. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture. Stir until combined. Add chocolate &/or funfetti and fold in.
  4. Spoon mixture into a gallon ziplock bag and cut a bottom corner. Squeeze into donut cups until 2/3 filled.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove donuts from pan (I just turn it upside down) and let cool a little before eating. If frosting, let cool all the way.

What’s been on your breakfast rotation lately? Have any recipes hanging out on a  pinterest board you’ve been wanting to try? Spill the beans in the comments…

XO . Rae

(Image by Stacy Jacobsen)

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