It’s summer and my kids would eat popsicles 24/7 if I let them. Most commercial popsicles (or as they are sometimes called, frozen dessert confections) are full of sugar and artificial ick. A few months ago my dad bought me a package of Zipzicles on Amazon. Zipzicles are long, skinny zip top freezer bags that can be filled with whatever you’d like and frozen. Think DIY Otter Pops.
What I really like is that you can be creative, use what you have on hand, and create healthy and fun treats with your kids.
Here are two recipes that the kids and I came up with. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pictures recently.
Mixed Berry Pops
Makes about 12 pops
2 cups mixed berries (use whatever you have, I used 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
1/2 c water
2 t. honey
Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Use a small funnel to fill the zipzicle pouches. Place all Zipzicle pouches into a cup or larger zip top bag and place in freezer. Ready to serve in approx 4-6 hours, or as soon as frozen solid.
Makes about 20
2c frozen bananas
2c frozen Strawberries
1 pkg frozen mangoes
2c Orange Juice
Blend together, pour into Zipzicle pouches ( I use a funnel). Store in freezer until it’s time to consume.
They are so good, and no extra sugar is needed, because the bananas are so sweet.
Next, I think we’ll be making Bachelor Mousse treats. I think it will freeze well, and everyone loves fudgsicles!
Having had two kids, I can tell you that nothing is more helpful than having food to eat in the first few weeks after giving birth. Having a baby is stressful, especially if it’s your first. You can take all the classes in the world, do as much prep, but when it comes down to it, you spend the first few weeks tired, stressed, and weary.
Having a few extra hands and a hot meal you can eat one handed (especially something you can eat while breastfeeding) is worth it’s weight in gold!
Recently a friend and his wife welcomed their little girl. Hubs made up a batch of his new baby calzones. He makes them for everyone of our friends that is having a baby. They freeze well, re-heat quickly (and well), and you can eat them one handed.
Thanks to Kasandrinos Olive Oil and UsFamily Guide for the opportunity to sample this olive oil for free! I’m not usually a big Olive Oil fan, Kasandrinos Olive oil has a light flavor that works really well in Calzones! I also like that it has an easy to pour spout inside the bottle!
As the dough rises, we prep the rest of the ingredients. Sauce, cheese, meats, veggies.
I use canned tomato sauce and add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, a pinch of parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. No added sugar.
Some of the most popular ingredients around here: pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, ground cooked beef, sliced chicken breast, goat cheese, mozzarella, bbq sauce (instead of tomato sauce), cheddar cheese, ham, green chilis, meatballs (I usually make them little or slice them up), pretty much anything in the fridge!
Once the dough is ready, it is portioned out, rolled and then the magic happens!
For small/hand held sized calzones, use 1/2 cup cheese/toppings and 2-3 T. of sauce. Fold over and crimp the edges shut, and place on a cookie sheet that is either sprayed with Pan or use a silicon baking mat. I have these and I love them!
Larger Calzones need almost double the amounts above.
Bake at 450 for 10-20 minutes, depending on size.
Before and after baking!
Here is the result of a few hours work. They were delivered the next day, ready to be frozen and enjoyed at the new mom and dad’s leisure!
If cooking isn’t your “thing” here are a few other ways to help the new parents in your life:
Bring them their favorite coffee drink, and something to eat.
Offer to hold/watch the baby while they take a shower/take a nap/have 5 minutes alone.
Fold/put away their laundry.
Wash their dishes.
Take out the trash, or if trash day is the next day, take their cans down to the street (then the next day, stealthily put them back).
Be there. Honestly, it can be lonely if you are a new parent. It’s not like you are taking your new baby all over town. You are just trying to get the hang of having a new family member. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to come hang out with!
Kasandrinos and Us Family guide provided us with a free bottle of olive oil in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated.
We love Garlic. It’s a good thing that hubs and I both like it, because otherwise this recipe wouldn’t go over too well.
This is my spin on the Spaghetti with Garlic White Wine sauce found here. It appeared in hubs Facebook feed one day several months ago, he sent it to me, and we’ve been tweaking it to make it our own ever since.
To make it a little healthier, I added in 1 large spaghetti squash. If you’ve never cooked one, I write about it here. It’s super easy to cook, and it’s very yummy
Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole
2 large white onions, cut into quarters and layers separated
1 T Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
2 large lemons, zested and juiced
4 T butter, divided
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (you can use more or less)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 T Thyme (I usually have it dried in my spice cabinet, but if you have it fresh, use 5-6 springs)
1 c. Grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 c chicken broth (or pasta water)
1 large spaghetti Squash
If you want to add pasta to this dish, you’ll need 1/2 lb spaghetti, 8-10 cups water (to cook pasta), and salt (to salt the water)
Preheat oven to 350.
Prep spaghetti squash (scoop out the stringy parts and seeds) and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
Toss cut up onions in oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a baking dish covered for 20-30 minutes, uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes.
After the squash is done cooking, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, or until it’s easy to handle. Scoop the “meat” out and set aside.
After onions are done baking, set aside.
If you are cooking pasta, start the water to boil and cook pasta as directed.
Zest and juice the lemons, set aside.
Heat half the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook on medium for 5-ish minutes until fragrant (watch out, it burns really easily). Add red pepper flakes.
Add Lemon juice and wine, turn up the heat for a few minutes. You’ll want to cook off the alcohol, so about 5-10 minutes at medium high heat. Add the baked onions.
Add 2 T. chicken broth (or pasta water), and the remaining butter, and the Thyme. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat.
Add the spaghetti squash and/or pasta into the skillet, and gently toss to coat. Add lemon zest, and half of the parmesan cheese. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or pasta water a little at a time.
Top with any additional cheese, thyme, and/or pepper flakes.
Here is an extra step that makes it a little better (IMO) but isn’t needed: Place skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese on the top is brown and bubbly.
I have made this recipe with both pasta and spaghetti squash. This last time I made it, I used only 1 serving of whole wheat spaghetti, mostly because I prefer the way it turns out when it has the pasta water in it, instead of the chicken broth.
*If you are a vegetarian, feel free to substitute in veggie broth.
Sunday was the closing night of my husband’s production of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the end of a run means CAST PARTY!!
I wanted to make something that most everyone would enjoy. After watching countless Tasty Videos on Facebook and scouring our pantry and fridge, I came up with a modified version of this Cheesy Bacon Monkey bread.
In the search for healthier yummy recipes to feed Lil’ Man, I stumbled upon a recipe for black bean brownies. Ok, so stop making that face and read on. Oh, and this one is GLUTEN FREE!!
I read the recipe, and a bunch of comments and did some more investigating online and made a few tweaks to the recipe and got to cooking.
1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 T. sugar free applesauce
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 T. Hazelnut extract (You could use vanilla)
1 1/2 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1 t. instant coffee crystals (optional)- I used 1 t. of very strong coffee instead.
1 C. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 8×8 baking dish. I used an 8 inch round baking dish.
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate chips. This is important. I didn’t do this!
Pour batter into greased baking dish and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 25-35 minutes. The brownies are super fudgy. If you want cake-ier brownies, add a pinch of baking powder.
If you like your brownies really sweet, add 1/4 c. white sugar. I like my desserts not super sweet, so I opted to use a little less sugar, and I’ll top mine with a scoop of ice cream- Yum!
They are not bean-y. If I didn’t know they had beans in them. I wouldn’t be able to tell. They are very moist, fudgy brownie. And if you use a flax egg and vegan chocolate chips, you’ve got a yummy vegan recipe!
This salad is a favorite at our house. Because of it’s simplicity, it’s great to take to potlucks too! It would be a great addition to any holiday feast table. It’s Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Paleo compatible! No excuses- Give it a shot!
Mix the vinegar, oil, and spices in a small bowl, set aside.
Place the veggies in a large bowl.
Slowly drizzle the dressing mixture over the veggies and toss lightly to coat. Cover bowl (I use a bowl like this one) and store in the fridge for 4-12 hours before serving- this allows the flavors to mingle. The salad can be stored for up to 4 days.
Sliced fresh mushrooms are also great additions to the salad, as are drained, rinsed canned artichoke hearts. If you aren’t concerned about it being vegan, adding 1/2 cup of cubed Monterey Jack cheese is tasty too!