Yogurt and Fruit Popsicles – Raspberry, Mango, Strawberry

Strawberry-Raspberry-Mango-Yoghurt Pospsicle4

 

My son had been asking me for weeks and weeks if we could make popsicles at home. We finally got around to making them and they turned out great and the kids had a blast.

The only ingredients were fruit and yogurt. 2 cups of fruit blended with 1 cup of yogurt.

We used fresh strawberries, frozen raspberries, and frozen mango. I did the blending and the kids did the assembling.

Here’s a view of our popsicle assembly line:

popsicle3

 

My son is hard at work, but my daughter is watching and messing around.

pospsicle1

 

And a close up of all the action:

pospsicle2

Lastly, a picture of my daughter – none of her popsicles made it to the freezer, but she sure looks like she enjoyed the process:

popsicle4

 

These make a fantastic healthy dessert or snack. I let my kids have them for breakfast one morning (fruit and yogurt) and my son said he wanted some of his candy. Being a mom, I told him “no candy for breakfast” in response he started arguing with me that the popsicles are candy! Score!

Raspberry, Mango, Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
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Servings
8 popsicles
Servings
8 popsicles
Raspberry, Mango, Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
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Servings
8 popsicles
Servings
8 popsicles
Ingredients
Servings: popsicles
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Instructions
  1. Blend together mangos and one cup of yogurt. Set aside. Repeat with raspberries and then with strawberries.
  2. Layer fruit blends into 8 cups.
  3. Insert popsicle stick into the center.
  4. Put in the freezer until solid.
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5-Min Side Dish – Nutty Green Beans

Nutty Green Beans-1

Week nights can be a bit hectic to get food on the table. The key for a smooth delivery seems to be – plan, keep it simple, make it quick… although no guarantees with this recipe for success…

It is fun to mix things up a little bit – branch away from the microwave single packs of edamame, steamed broccoli, etc.

This dish add a crunchy twist to the basic steamed green beans, without turning the healthy vegetable into a caloric nightmare. I like that this recipe doesn’t try to hide the green beans in a soup of cheese, cream of mushroom, or whatever other canned good you mix them with. We are keeping the veggie in the vegetable, but giving it a smidge jazz!

What tips do you have for putting together a fast and healthy week night dinner? Please share your tips here or share your favorite healthy weeknight recipe with The Food Occasion using the “Share a recipe” link at the top of the page.

Nutty Green Beans

 

5- Min Nutty Green Beans
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5- Min Nutty Green Beans
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  1. Steam green beans in the microwave according to instructions on bag - approximately 5 minutes.
  2. In a heavy pan, toast almonds over medium high heat until golden. Flip almonds regularly.
  3. Stir together green beans, almonds, and butter.
  4. Serve.
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Prosciutto e Melone

Proscuitto e melon

This traditional Italian dish can be served as an appetizer or snack.. or breakfast (which is how I ate it).

To mix it up, you could:

Enjoy this great mix of sweet and savory!

Prosciutto e Melon
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Prosciutto e Melon
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  1. Cut cantaloupe in half and discard seeds using a spoon
  2. Slice long-wise into 14 slivers or wedges (7 slivers per side)
  3. Remove peels from the flesh of the cantaloupe using a sharp knife
  4. Wrap each sliver of cantaloupe with a slice of prosciutto
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Yummy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pancake

 

Making pancakes from scratch doesn’t take too much longer than the “just add water” mixes AND you probably have most of the ingredients at home already. This recipe makes delicious, fluffy, yummy, fantastic whole wheat pancakes.

 

Oh the options..

  • Make the whole batch and serve to a group
  • Make the whole batch, cover them and put in the fridge, and then heat them up in the toaster every morning
  • Make the batter ahead of time and store covered in the fridge for a day or two
  • Serve with butter, syrup, fruit, whip cream, bacon, sausage, ….. and the list goes on

I topped mine with butter, syrup, and frozen (defrosted) blueberries and strawberries. Of course, I had coffee too!

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about how you like to serve pancakes!

Whole Wheat Panckaes
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Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Whole Wheat Panckaes
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Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Combine milk and vinegar in a bowl - let sit for 5 minutes
  2. Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Whisk eggs and olive oil into the milk
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk together until smooth
  5. Heat electric fry pan to 325F
  6. Scoop batter onto fry pan creating 4 inch round circles - approximately 1/3 cup of batter. Cook until the bottom of the pancakes are golden brown (roughly 4 minutes). Flip pancakes and cook until the new bottom side is golden brown.
  7. Serve
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Tacos and Sweet Potatoes Join Together!

sweet potato tacos

These turned out delicious – sweet potato skins topped with taco seasoned shredded chicken and cheese.  Just the right combination of sweet and savory.

We had them for dinner the other night. The sweet potatoes were huge, so a half (one side of the potato) was plenty for me.

I got to thinking and these would be fun to serve as an appetizer or snack at a party. You would have to cut the sweet potato skins into 1-2 bite segments and then top with the chicken. If you leave enough of the potato flesh, they should be plenty sturdy enough to chop into these bites.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Taco Skins
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Sweet Potato Taco Skins
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  1. Heat oven to 400F
  2. Bake sweet potatoes for approximately 1 hour - until you can easily pierce a fork into the sweet potato. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile boil chicken breasts until they are cooked through - 30 minutes. Let cool to touch and shred with a fork.
  4. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add taco seasoning and stir for a few seconds. Pour in shredded chicken and add water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and boil off the water. Remove from heat.
  5. Slice sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out half the sweet potato flesh - leaving the boat-like skins.
  6. Place the boat-like skins on a foil lined baking tray. Fill boats with chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and starting to bubble.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut ButterYes, you read that correctly. Rice Krispie Treats made with chocolate and peanut butter! The prefect combination for any kid or kid-at-heart. Quick, easy and delicious!

Melt butter in a large pan.

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter 1
Add marshmallows, chocolate, peanut butter. Stir frequently until melted.

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter 2

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter 3
Remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies.

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter 4

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter 5
Immediately spread in greased 9×11 pan using a spatula or parchment paper. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let cool and then cut in to pieces.

Rice Krispie Treats - Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treat
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Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treat
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  1. Melt butter in a large pan
  2. Add marshmallows, chocolate, peanut butter. Stir frequently until melted
  3. Remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies
  4. Immediately spread in greased 9x11 pan using a spatula or parchment paper
  5. Let cool and then cut in to pieces
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Random Project: It’s a table.. It’s a tray… NO, it’s a SUPER-SIDE TABLE!

Hmm… I think there may be slightly too much super hero action around this house. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from having kids is that superheros are SUPER COOL to four year old boys. Regular questions around here: If the earth is moving, why can’t I see the ground moving? If the mountains “grew” are they alive? How do things “balance” on the earth? Does it need to be windy for Superman to fly? Why does Batman have a cape if he doesn’t fly?

Couch table 2

This little SUPER-SIDE TABLE (SST for short) has been incredible. I found the idea on good old Pinterest and sent it to Dylan. I’m sure he had a moment of “why are sending me Pinterest links”, but he set to work right away.

We were both  unsure as we were making the SST – how will it look against our couches? Will it get any use? With all the questions we persevered as it was a fun and cheap project.

I wish I had pictures to share on how we built the SST, but that would have meant I was more organized.

Since this was just a fun project and we weren’t sure we’d like the outcome, Dylan bought the cheaper wood at the store. More expensive wood would have been a bit straighter and smoother, but this worked for our task at hand.

He got home, measured the arm rest, and chopped the wood with the miter saw.

The sides were attached with these wooden dowels – three on each side.

Couch table 4

Here’s what we did to attach the slides: Lined up the pieces and marked where each dowel would go. Used a drill bit the same size as the wooden dowel and drilled into the underside of Piece1 (see below) and top of Piece2 where they were marked. You do not want to go through the top of Piece1 and need to make sure there is enough depth in the two pieces to insert the dowel and wood glue. Fill drill holes with wood glue and line the top of Piece2 with wood glue. Insert dowels to connect pieces 1 &2. Hold together overnight with a C-clamp. We could only find one of our c-clamps, so we had to wait a day between each side.
Couch table 5Once the glue had dried for 24 hours, we sanded the sides to make the transitions from one piece to the next smooth. For the sanding, Dylan used the dremel.

The final step was staining the SST. I did the staining and it was my first time staining anything. We already had a quart of the Old Maple color Minwax PolyShades one-step with polyurethane. Since we weren’t sure how this project was going to turn out, we went ahead and used what we already had instead of buying a new color. It took three coats – sanding in between to get to the finished product.

Couch table 2Here is Captain photo-bombing my picture. He was thoroughly disappointed that the cup was empty. Poor Captain!

Couch table 3After all the work and not being sure if we would keep the SSTs during the process, it turns out that we LOVE them. We use them all the time!

Only looking at the variable cost of making 1 incremental SST, they cost $4 each. Granted, since we have some left over supplies, our actual cost was slightly higher, but we will find uses for the extra wooden dowels and the couple of pieces of wood left.

Now that we know that we like the SSTs, I wouldn’t mind re-making them with better wood and do a better job staining. In the meantime, we will continue to get full use out of the two we’ve already made!

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Flavor Bursts

Squash Prosciutto 1

These miniature bites of butternut squash wrapped in prosciutto are indescribable. They seem to melt in your mouth and at the same time offer incredible bursts of flavor.

Note the blue toothpick in the pictures. This was my attempt for a Broncos themed snack for the Superbowl. I guess my family eating flavor bursts wasn’t enough for the Broncos to pull off the championship. Even though these were served during the terribly heartbreaking event that plagued the citizens of Colorado, I still recommend any of you make these delicious snacks!

If you’ve never cut into a butternut squash, the task may seem quite daunting. I remember the first time I cut into a squash. Holding the squash, looking at it, wonder how I am going to conquer the beast. Where’s the chain saw? Machete? Sword? Maybe I can throw the squash into the air and slice it swinging the sword like a baseball bat. Maybe. That is probably not a good idea, if someone with my coordination tried that, someone (not the butternut squash) is bound to get hurt. Squash Prosciutto 12I want to take the anxiety out of this task with a few basic steps.

How to cut a butternut squash: Use a sharp knife to cut the ends off the squash.

Squash Prosciutto 11Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outside skin.

Squash Prosciutto 10Slice in half long ways.

Squash Prosciutto 9Scoop the seeds out of the center.

Squash Prosciutto 8Cut the squash into cubes.

Squash Prosciutto 7

Now its time to transform this butternut squash into melt-in-your-mouth-flavor-burst!

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Toss the squash in 2 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Squash Prosciutto 6

Lay squash in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Squash Prosciutto 5

Let squash cool to handle. Place a 1/2 inch sage leaf on squash cubes and individually wrap with prosciutto. Hold together with a toothpick.

Squash Prosciutto 4

Squash Prosciutto 3
Place back on baking tray. Bake at 400F for 8 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two and then serve!

Squash Prosciutto 2

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Bites
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Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Bites
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  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F
  2. Toss the squash in 2 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  3. Lay squash in a single layer on baking tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Let squash cool to handle
  5. Place a 1/2 inch sage leaf on squash cubes and individually wrap with prosciutto. Hold together with a toothpick.
  6. Place back on baking tray. Bake at 400F for 8 minutes
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Valentine’s Day Snack – Heart Shaped Cucumber Sandwich

Cucumber SandwichValentine’s Day is right around the corner – 9 days away to be exact! Have you thought about how you are going to spend the day? Something special to do for the “Valentines” in your life?

If you have a Valentine who’s little, cute, and super lovable, heart shaped sandwiches may make their day. My son gets such a kick out of food shaped creatively.  Last night we had dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. Eating a miniature T-Rex was “pretty cool” to say the least – especially when they were dancing in the honey and getting their heads bit off.

Since we are talking about fun food, I’d like to share my failed attempt at making snowman pancakes. Last weekend, it was snowy and I woke up thinking, “Snowman pancakes would be fun!”. With great motivation, I jumped out of bed, mixed up the batter, and began creating art. Well, I think calling it art is a bit of a stretch. Here’s how it went:

Worm-like snowman: Many call him “The Worm”. He’s a hit on the dance floor at any wedding.

worm snowman

Broken Snowman: This is how “The Worm” feels after aforementioned wedding.

Broken snowman

Where are my arms? Where’s my mouth?: This guy looks very concerned. I’ll let you imagine his life story.

snowman pancake

Thanks for going on that little tangent with me and hopefully getting some amusement out of my snowmen.  Now, back to Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a simple snack to make the kids Valentine’s Day special.

Butter the bread.

Cucumber Sandwich 3

Lay slices of cucumber on one piece of bread. Season with white pepper and salt. If you use salted butter, you can skip the salt.

Cucumber Sandwich 2Cut the sandwich in the shape of a heart. Use a cookie cutter if you have a big enough one. I looked through my cookie cutters and discovered that I do not have a heart shaped cookie cutter, so I went with the free hand method using a knife.

Cucumber Sandwich 1Last, but not least, serve it to your Valentine as a nice afternoon snack with cold glass of milk or juice.

Cucumber Sandwich

Roasted Veggie Pasta – on the side? as an entree?

roasted veggie pasta 8

Yay for multi-purpose dishes! I love this dish – you can make it or serve it differently every time!

Here are a few ways to serve  –

  • Hot for lunch
  • A dinner side dish accompanied by chicken (or other main dish of your choice – my preference would be a simple side dish like grilled chicken)
  • Cold pasta salad at a BBQ

Another idea is to customize the dish itself: add tomatoes, use onions, add kalamata olives, choose feta instead of Italian cheese, etc. Here are a few versions that look yummy – here, here, here!

I went the route of making a large batch to heat up for lunches. It’s always nice to have something already made, packaged up, and ready grab as I’m walking out the door in the morning.

Pre-heat oven to 425F, Cut zucchini and eggplant into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Quarter and de-seed red bell pepper.

roasted veggie pasta 1
Toss vegetables in 2 tbs olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

roasted veggie pasta 2
Lay vegetables in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake until vegetables are soft and begin to brown – approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

roasted veggie pasta 3
Meanwhile, Cook pasta, drain, stir in 1 tbs of olive oil. Allow vegetables to cool for a couple minutes prior to handling. Pull skin off peppers and cut vegetables into bite-size pieces. Stir together pasta, vegetables, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and cheese.

roasted veggie pasta 4

roasted veggie pasta 5roasted veggie pasta 6

roasted veggie pasta 7
Serve hot or cold.

roasted veggie pasta 8

Roasted Vegetable Pasta
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Roasted Vegetable Pasta
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  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Cut zucchini and eggplant into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Quarter and de-seed red bell pepper
  3. Toss vegetables in 2 tbs olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  4. Lay vegetables in a single layer on baking tray. Bake until vegetables are soft and begin to brown – approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Meanwhile, Cook pasta, drain, stir in 1 tbs of olive oil
  6. Allow vegetables to cool for a couple minutes prior to handling. Pull skin off peppers and cut vegetables into bite-size pieces
  7. Stir together pasta, vegetables, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and cheese
  8. Serve hot or cold
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