Archive | LITTLE BITES

LUNCHBOX BITES: CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN PANCAKES FOR 2ND BREAKFAST

“Don’t forget your lunch!” season is in full swing around here. On top of that it seems the further we get into the school year the more rushed our mornings are. To make things easier I’ve been trying to whip up simple lunches that the kids are too excited about to not grab on their way out the door.

Leftovers are the first thing to pop in my head when I think about easy lunches, but they’re often not my kids’ favorite. However, last week I layered our pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes from breakfast (recipe below if you missed it on Instagram stories!) with cream cheese to make little sandwiches and they loved it… 2nd breakfast for lunch? Yes please!

Peep the pumpkin pancake recipe below and another little morning tip for you at the bottom of this post!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN PANCAKES

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup whole or other milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • cinnamon, all spice and/or pumpkin pie spice (whatever you have on hand!), to taste!
  • chocolate chips as desired
  • whip cream, syrup, or cream cheese to top!

Here’s How:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix all ingredients. (Side note: sometimes I’ll save the chocolate chips on the side  and sprinkle over the top of each pancake as I pour the batter)
  2. Spray or grease griddle and heat to med-low. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter and cook until sides of pancakes start to look cooked (the middle will still look gooey) and then flip. Cook other side until browned and middle is cooked through. If pancakes start to burn but the middle is still gooey, lower the heat on your griddle.
  3. Serve warm. Save leftovers for lunch or snack!

(bento lunch container, lunch bag, bento eye picks and alphabet picks)

Yesterday morning as we waited in the drop-off line at school I asked the kids, “What’s one or more things we were awesome at this morning and whats one thing we can be better about tomorrow?”

Their responses were so great and instead of feeling like, ugh, moms not happy with us this morning as they hopped out of the car they were laughing and happy and I think we were all excited to be able to try again the next morning. We’ll see if any of it sticks but I’m hopeful!

Do you guys have any tips for slowing down in the morning?

I’ll be sharing a couple more lunch ideas, that my kids love, that use leftovers over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

xo, Rae

TILLY | lunchbox by state, backpack from Rockets of Awesome, jacket from Peek Kids, tee is old from Peek Kids, leather (ochre color) hair clip from Ryan and Wren, converse from Nordstrom

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WE MADE IT + CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP RECIPE

Cheeeyeck!

We made it though the first full week of back to school and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for FRI-YAYAYAYAYAY!

A quick recap of how things have been going… The kids love their teachers and I love hearing all about their day when they get home. The whole concept of having to go to school 5 days in a row has Griffin a bit confused, but every morning he gets up and is such a trooper and every night he falls asleep super fast. Tilly’s anxiety levels are at an all time high (or after a long beautiful summer, I just forgot how bad it gets) and no one but Ozzie and Espen seem to be able to stay asleep and in their own beds at night. Clearly we have some work to do, but I am feeling extra lucky these days to be doing life with them, their big brudder and their daddy too!!

With the weather getting colder and rain in the forecast next week, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine so packed up our after school snack and headed to a wooded trail area just a few minutes from our home.

Are you guys ready for a mind blowing apple dip? Make it this weekend and I promise you’ll have your family and guests singing your praises. Here’s a few other apple dip options.

PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese (pull from fridge 30 minutes or so before making so it’s warmed up a bit)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and then use a hand or stand mixer to whip together.
  2. Serve with sliced apples! Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

I read somewhere this week that the outdoors makes the best playroom and I couldn’t agree more.

Griffey sandwich :) So fun to have all three of them at the same school this year.

Hope you all had the best week. Cheers to a fun weekend!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: UNICORN CRACKERS

If you have kids, chances are they’ve asked you for a snack all day everyday during the summer. It get’s a little tricky staying inspired while constantly feeding people for those couple months, but with school starting for my kids tomorrow, snack time is about to feel extra special. Having something fun to eat always seems to help get their attention while I ask a million questions about their day. ;)

A couple weeks ago I posted a quick snack tutorial on Instagram Stories (@raeannkelly) for making Unicorn Crackers and you guys loved the idea! Since stories are only available for 24 hours tho, I’ve been getting some DMs asking for the details again so thought I would share the how-to here. It also seems fitting with it being Back to School season — I mean, who doesn’t want to come home to Unicorn Crackers!?

UNICORN CRACKERS

You’ll Need:

Here’s How:

  1. Divide cream cheese into 4 bowls. Set 1 aside so you have white. Add food coloring to 3 other bowls according to package directions (I added 1/2 tsp of ours). Mix colors, but leave some streaks of darker and lighter shades.
  2. Using separate knives for each color, spread cream cheese onto crackers. Play around until you like how they look.
  3. Add sprinkles if you feel like it ;) + serve!

Don’t they look cute and delicious!? Be sure to share with friends and pin for safe keeping!

We’re headed to get haricuts this morning and then finish up some shopping for BTS. Can’t believe tomorrow is the big day and keep getting choked up over the smallest things. Gosh I’m going to miss my babies and probably even their request for a snack every 10 minutes, LOL.

I hope back to school season has been going smoothly for you guys!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

I think the anticipation of summer with kids is a lot like the beginning of pregnancy… you get so excited about all the fun parts that you forget about how much work it is! One of hardest parts about summer for me is actually keeping everyone fed. Especially on days we’re home. Because our schedule stays pretty loose, there is a ton of snacking going on between breakfast and dinner (lots of fruit, popcorn, edamame, hummus and guac happening) which makes it hard to tell who is eating what and if anyone is actually full.

Anytime I need a break from hearing the words, “I’m hungry” (which I hear more than, “I’m bored”), or from tidying up the kitchen that is honestly never clean during the summer, I have two options 1) I can make an actual lunch meal and make everyone sit together and eat or I can 2) make a protein shake I know they’ll love that also fills them up and that’s portable.

Most of the time it’s a no-brainer and I go for the shake. I’ll share our go-to combo below! Oh, and I got a lot of questions about what blender and protein (that isn’t chalky) we use in my last smoothie post so will add those links below too.

CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

serves 2 adults or 4 kids

  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (if you have vanilla, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder)
  • 16 ounces milk of your choice (we usually use almond milk)
  • 1/2 banana (frozen or room temp)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • ice cubes to taste (we start with 10 cubes and then add as needed)
  • sprinkles and chocolate chips to garnish, optional

Place first 4 ingredients in blender and blend until combined, but not frothy. Add ice to taste and desired thickness and blend. Pour in cups and garnish with sprinkles and chocolate chips! Serve to your monkeys or enjoy yourself!

Favorite protein mix is THIS. It’s spendy, but if you break it down per serving and the fact that it’s almost a meal replacement for the little ones, it makes it feel more reasonable. The flavor pictured is extreme milk chocolate and it’s a hit in our home. As far as blenders go, we’ve used a ninja for years. It worked great at first but the blades dulled quickly and we’ve just been putting up with it. Johan’s been wanting to buy a vitamix and there is a great deal on one at Costco right now ($350!) but with all of our summer expenses (camps, swimming, Birthdays, etc.) I talked him into THIS kitchen aid blender and it works great so far!

Everyone’s reaction to the blender turning on, HA! Growing up my mom would always put her hand on the blender lid while it was on. If I remember correctly, the stopper part was loose and would fly off if she didn’t, but

Sprinkles makes everything more appetizing and fun to eat… not that these yummy shakes need any help. It’s really so good.

Happy Friday loves!

xo, Rae

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WATERMELON PIZZA, LEMON SPRITZER + A MEAL PLAN

Happy Monday after Mother’s Day! I hope everyone was able to celebrate the beautiful women in their lives either in person, over FaceTime, or in memory and that all you mamas felt extra loved.  Johan was at the fire station all weekend so Sunday looked a little different for us this year, but the kids stepped up their game and made me feel like a million bucks with handmade gifts (aren’t fill-in the blank “all about my mom” worksheets not the best thing ever!?), maple bars for breakfast, and slightly better behavior than usual for at least the first part of the day :)

As a belated Mama’s Day gift, I’m sharing a simple meal plan (full of classic crowd-pleasers) and the recipes for watermelon pizza and a lemon and thyme spritzer for Friday night happy hours!

WATERMELON PIZZA – Slice watermelon into rounds, spread a layer of honey or vanilla yogurt (I like to use greek because it has a thicker texture) over the top, then let the kids ‘decorate’ with favorite berries and fruits. Garnish with mint for fun!

LEMON, THYME + TEQUILA SPRITZER, (makes 4 cocktails) – For the simple syrup, add zest from 1 lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Stir often while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, then strain into a pitcher or large jar. Stir in juice from 4 lemons, 1/2 cup silver tequila, 3 cups seltzer water (lemon le crouix is my fave!), and let chill in refrigerator. Pour over ice and garnish with sprigs of thyme and lemon.

Sip while snacking on watermelon pizza, chips and guacamole for a yummy happy hour that just might be filling enough (with the help of a few quesadillas) to bail on dinner plans!

 

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

MONDAY | bbq chicken cobb salad

TUESDAY | burrito bowls

WEDNESDAY | favorite spaghetti recipe + broccoli

THURSDAY | takeout, please.

FRIDAY | breakfast for dinner (french toast maybe!?)

SATURDAY | slow cooker french dip sandwiches, fries or chips, raw veggie plate

SUNDAY | eat-out or takeout.

BREAKKIE | egg tacos, smoothies, cereal, and lots of fruit!

LUNCH | leftovers, PB&J

SNACK | watermelon pizza, veggies + dip, no-bake energy bites or zbars

After last week (which was crazy with work, baseball, appointments, and family stuff), I’m ready for some downtime, routine, and a return to basics. Which is the inspiration for the meal plan… how about you guys? What’s on your classic dinner menu?

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: OUR 5 FAVORITE SMOOTHIE RECIPES

Smoothies might just be the best culinary creation ever to happen to motherhood. (Either that or baby food pouches, amiright?) The refreshing, slushy, delicious and lightly sweetened concoction is the best way I know to stuff my kids (even the pickiest one!) full of whole foods, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. They also take away the mom-guilt that comes from letting them consume one too many donuts, cake pops, or french fries.

If only they had the same effect for me, LOL!

Even though smoothie season is a year round thing, our blender game is stronger in the spring and summer months. Lately we’ve been trying new combinations so I thought I would share some of our favorites along with a few pics from snack time last night at Ozzie’s baseball game!

When it comes to mixing up smoothies I do a lot of eyeing and tossing ingredients into the blender, but tried to break things down into measurements. You may need to adjust the amount of ice, liquids, and sweeteners (yogurt, honey, + banana) to desired taste and thickness.

Makes approx. 32 oz. which Serve 2-4 people

POPPY’S PINK BERRY SMOOTHIE – 1 cup Orange Juice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (or sub for mixed berries), 1 or 1/2 of a banana, 1/4 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, 8 ice cubes

ESPEN + GRIFFIN’S PEANUT BUTTER + COCOA LOCO PROTEIN SHAKE – 2 cups almond (or other) milk, 2 scoops favorite chocolate protein powder (or vanilla protein powder and add tablespoon of cocoa powder), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional), 8 ice cubes

JOHAN’S GREEN GOD(ESS) SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut or almond milk, 1 cup kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, drizzle of honey to taste (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

RAE’S COCO-NUT – 2 cups almond milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 scoops favorite vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons flaxseeds (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional), 8 ice cubes

OZZIE + TILLY’S MANGO TANGO SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut (or other) milk, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt, drizzle of honey to taste (optional)

*Often times we’ll make the fruitier drinks ‘dirty’ (especially in the morning) by throwing in a handful of spinach, rolled oats, and a couple tablespoons of flax or chia seeds… but the kids prefer them ‘clean’. :) 

(top-knot envy!)

    

If you watched any of my Instagram stories since last night, you may have caught Tilly’s (strong) reaction to my coconut shake… She’s not a fan and the video is pretty entertaining if you want to go check it out. Also, I promise the recipe tastes nothing like “rotten eggs”. Ha!

A few items we keep stocked to make smoothie mixing easy: lots of frozen fruit, almond and/or coconut milk, greek yogurt, bananas, orange juice, flax seed, chia seeds, Baobab superfruit powder (from costco), and these plastic cups with lids for when we are on the go!

What are your favorite smoothie combos and ingredients?!!!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: COPYCAT STARBUCKS BISTRO BOXES

Baseball season is in full swing for my oldest two boys and husband (who coaches). I’ve always had mixed feeling about this time of year. Johan is already gone several nights a week so when you add practices and games into the mix it feels like we’re never all together. Throw in the unpredictable spring weather and all the dirt (oh the dirt!) and you get one hot mess of an evening routine. But there is always a bright side! 1. I love watching my athletes play ball and interact with their teammates while the other kids run around with their friends. There is something so sweet about the baseball vibe and I really enjoy being around it. And 2. all the picnic style dinners we get to eat. Keeping our dinner mess confined to a tote bag and blanket is a total win. It also helps with picky eaters — This is what we have so if you are hungry, this is what you can eat — nothing to negotiate with. At least until they find a nicer team mom who brought a container of goldfish… :) HA!

Anyways, some game nights we’ll pickup our favorite sandwiches at Jersey Mikes, other nights I’ll go the crockpot route and we’ll eat a little before and then after the game but more often than not I’ll pack something from home. Problem is, it’s not long before I run completely out of ideas and by that point, slightly out of steam too. So, I’ve been looking for inspiration anywhere I can find it. One of those places has been Starbucks and their cooler of yummy and mostly healthy on the go foods. I love all of their salads and warm sandwiches, but the kids usually pick their bistro boxes so I put together a few copycat versions for Ozzie’s game last night and they went over really well with the kids!

(favorite meal containers, condiment cups, silicone muffin cups, candy eyes or these)

one | sandwich wrap (store-bought or homemade) with carrots, grapes, hummus (for the sandwich or chips if I threw them in the bag), and ranch.

two | protein pack with hardboiled egg, brie cheese (or whatever we have), cinnamon raisin bread (by mike’s killer bread), almond butter, pretzels, apples, and grapes.

three | pb&j with apples, cucumber, carrots, ranch, and dark chocolate raisins.

Of course all of the fruits and veggies can be switched out with whatever we have in the fridge and I’m sure the kids will want to customize some parts, but it’s appetizing enough for the adults and a great base to start with!

What do you guys make for dinner on busy nights and where do you find inspiration!? 

Pinterest is always a good place to troll for ideas but asking friends (you included) what they have been feeding their fam bams is always helpful and inspiring!

Happy almost Friday!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: TRAIL MIX + MATCH

Trail mix is full of healthy fats and good energy and is one of my go-to snacks for grabbing on the go or adding to school lunches. The only problem with store-bought versions is that certain little someones are always sneaking into the panty to pick out their favorite parts until there isn’t much mixed about it. Ha! Maybe you can relate? So lately we’ve been making individual, made to order batches so everyone can have a mix that is full of their favorites. The process is pretty painless and actually really fun… raid your pantry (and the store) for dried fruit, nuts, seeds, bite-sized sweets, and other snacks, set out in bowls and let everyone fill a container with their own combination.

Some ingredient ideas..

  • NUTS: raw almonds, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts
  • SEEDS: sunflower or pumpkin… sesame, flax and hemp seeds are also a good addition, but a little messy.
  • FRUITS: dried apricots, cranberries, bananas, mangos, goji, pineapple, blueberries, apples, coconut, and raisins
  • SWEETS: mini m&m’s, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, carob chips, peanut butter chips, cacao nibs, mini marshmallows, yogurt covered raisins, and chocolate covered almonds
  • SNACKS: pretzels, popcorn, cheerios or other cereal, and granola

What’s your default grab-and-go snack?

xo, Rae

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A MENU PLAN, PENGUIN COOKIES, FAVORITE BOOK, + LIFE LATELY

It’s not often that I start my week off with a random post but — oh my goodness you guys — still over here having  a hard time transitioning out of Christmas break mode! Was hoping all the new year’s resolutions, goals and ambitions would kick my butt into gear but the haze has not fully lifted. I’ll be heading out later this morning for a meeting and long work day away from the house and kids (what, what?) and am hoping it will do the trick. Nothing like a quick break from the norm to regain focus and energy.

Here are a few other things that have been going on around here…

I may not have done much other than play and visit with the ones I love this last week but I did manage to put together a meal plan which is always a good thing. Here’s what we’ll be chowing down on this week:

M | beef + cauliflower fried rice

T | baked potato bar

W | thai chicken noodle bowls (i like this recipe but this one has some good shortcuts)

TH | eat out or takeout :)

F | skillet chicken chilaquiles + a winter margarita (cheers to the weekend!)

SA | creamy tortellini and sausage soup + rustic bread

SU | dinner with friends

BREAKKIE | cereal or smoothie with sausage, or omelets

LUNCH | leftover fried rice or bagel sandwich, apple slices with almond butter or strawberries, popcorn or veggie straws, cucumbers or baby carrots with dip

SNACK | zucchini chocolate chip muffins or greek yogurt and granola

Now let’s chat about the cute penguin cookies above that Griffin and I made last week while Poppy napped and the big kids were at school.

To make YOU’LL NEED:

  • oreo cookies
  • white baking chocolate
  • black decorating gel (next to the frosting tubes) or mini chocolate chips
  • fruit leather for the beak (or other orange dried fruit or candy), cut into small triangles
  • wax paper

HERE’S HOW (reference pics below):

  1. Cover cookie sheet or cutting board with wax paper. Melt chocolate according to instructions. Dip cookies in chocolate at an angle to make face. Lay on wax paper and then use a spoon to make chocolate lines more rounded like a heart.
  2. Use black gel to add eyes and small triangles of fruit leather for the beak.
  3. Place cookies in the fridge or freezer until chocolate hardens and then enjoy! Side note — black gel never fully hardens so if you stack them the eyes sometimes smear.

The cookies and my kids recent penguins obsession was inspired by the book, Penguin Problems. I purchased it because the cover and name was so cute (ha!) and then wasn’t sure what I thought about the story once it arrived. The kids however, fell in love and even quote parts of it too!

Those feet! Griffin’s are still cute and sweet to me but probably not for long.

The sun paid us a visit for most of last week and with it frigid temperatures. It was a nice break from the rain but kept us cooped up indoors just as much which I actually didn’t mind too much. These pictures and the pretty light is sure making me crave springtime though!

Feeling a little more ready for the week after that recap… Hope your Monday is off to a beautiful start!

XO, Rae

Poppy’s sweatshirt and sweatpants and Griffin’s sweatshirt are from childhood’s clothing. Griffin’s sweat pants are from Zara.

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OUR FAVORITE HEALTHY(ISH) SNACKS FOR THE FAM

Remember cribs on MTV? Well, the master bedroom might have been where the magic happened, but the refrigerator was always the best part. It’s so fun seeing what other people eat and since everyone in my home could use a cleanse from processed and sugary foods after the holidays, I thought it would be ‘fun’ to share our favorite (mostly healthy) snacks!

Here’s a peek at what you’ll currently find in our kitchen to snack on…

ZBARS (costco) | FRUIT LEATHERS (costco) | ALMOND BUTTER + PEANUT BUTTER (costco) | FRESH FRUIT (a must) | STRING CHEESE | HUMMUS DIPS (costco) | GUACAMOLE DIPS (costco) | HARD BOILED EGGS | PRETZELS (costco) | EDAMAME (costco) | SALAMI | RAW ALMONDS (bulk)

Obviously keeping Costco in business :)

Not Pictured: fresh veggies (Johan is so much better about veggies at snack time than I am), pirate booty, tortilla chips, greek yogurt (the kids like the chobani tubes), turkey meat (wrap around string cheese for an extra fun snack!), izze sparkling juice (as a special treat), and honest juice boxes

Edamames are a hit with half the kids. We buy the big frozen bag with smaller pouches from Costco and keep a pouch or two in the refrigerator for easy snacking or to add to school lunches without having to warm up or defrost. They are extra good with salt sprinkled on top!

I swear there mush be kid crack in Zbars because my little ones are obsessed with them. There were days this past summer where I’m pretty sure, its all Griffin ate. Half curious if they are just as bad as a chewy granola bars but am afraid to know the truth, LOL. If you have any info to share about these lifesaving, easy to pack, crowd pleasing bars, please let me know. But if it’s bad news, break it to me easy :)

Most of our “eat me anytime” snacks are kept in the bottom drawer of the fridge for easy grabbing. Pantry snacks are a little more out of reach with the exception of pretzels.

I try really hard to keep super processed and sweet foods to a minimum in our home. That being said we do indulge but usually when we are out and about or have planned a family movie or game night. Oh, and of course homemade treats (like these yummy cookies) too. So maybe we don’t do that great of a job (ha!) and it’s near impossible around any holiday, but I guess it could be worse!

If you’ve been feeling stumped on what to stock the kitchen with, I’ve been there. And go there often. Hope this helps!

What snacks do you keep your kitchen stocked with?

XO, Rae

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