Mickey Pretzel Rolls – Made easy!

One of my favorite indulgences at Walt Disney World was the pretzel bread at Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. This warm bread had a smooth, crisp crust, warm, soft center and was topped with course kosher salt. We hungrily gobbled up every piece in our breadbasket and begged for more! I had to recreate this delicacy at home, but how?

I put my own twist on this Disney classic by created Mickey Pretzel Rolls. I have to admit, they are not as good as the real thing at Le Cellier, but they are delicious will satisfy the craving until we can visit again.

 

Mickey Mouse Pretzel Rolls

 

  • 1 Tbsp, active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 5 tsp. baking soda

 

Place yeast, sugar, salt, flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse until butter is cut into dry ingredients. Add warm water, process until a soft dough forms, adding a little more water as needed. Turn out into a greased bowl; cover and let rise until double. Punch down dough; form into tennis ball size-buns. Place buns on parchment paper-lined baking sheets; cover and let rise again until almost double. Heat cold water over high heat, add baking soda and bring to a boil. Drop buns, three at a time, into the boiling water. Boil for 40 seconds on each side. Remove buns from water and place them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 474 for 8-12 minutes. Top with course kosher salt.

Give these a try and let me know what you think! BTW, I’m applying for the Disney Moms Panel for 2012 for runDisney, please PRAY that I get selected!! This would be my dream!!

Back to School Breakfast Ideas Your Kids Will Love

School is back here in Fort Mill starting tomorrow and that means getting back into the routine with homework, getting up early and packing lunches. Both of my kids have absolutely no appetite in the morning, unlike me who wakes up starving, so it is very difficult to get them to eat before they leave for school.

Even though their tummies aren’t hungry, it is important for them to eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day. Researchers at Harvard found that students who ate breakfast in the morning were significantly more attentive in the classroom, had less behavior problems and earned higher grades. Kids who fuel up in the morning also have more energy, giving them both the brain and muscle power to fully participate in classroom activities.  They are also less prone to illness, obesity and health problems.

However, even with all of the research backing the importance of breakfast, 8-12 percent of elementary-age children skip breakfast according to the Healthy Children website. The problem just gets worse by middle and high school, with that number jumping to 30 percent.

While breakfast is important, not all breakfasts are created equal. A breakfast consisting of sugary cereal will just cause a blood sugar crash later in the day, resulting in sleepiness and lack of concentration.

So what can a busy parent do? Mornings are already hectic, so parents need quick, easy breakfast ideas that give their kids a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Try out some of these healthy breakfast ideas to give your kids the energy boost they need, without taking away precious time in the morning.

Super Quick

 

Fruit and yogurt parfait

Parfait’s made with greek yogurt provide the added bonus of protein with dairy. Add your favorite berry for tummy-filling fiber, vitamins and minerals. Top with your child’s favorite cereal for a yummy treat.

Ingredients

•6 oz. plain non-fat greek yogurt

•6 oz. raspberries

•1/4 cup oat cereal

•Honey, to taste

 

Directions

Layer greek yogurt, cereal and raspberries in a tall parfait glass. Repeat layers twice, ending with raspberries and a drizzle of honey.

Make-ahead Ideas

 

Pumpkin pie oatmeal

Cook in a slow cooker overnight and breakfast will be ready in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup walnuts

Directions

Combine everything except for the raisins and walnuts in a slow cooker and cook on low overnight or for 6 hours. Stir well before serving. Top with raisins and walnuts if desired.

Blueberry Almond Muffins

Make these muffins on Sunday and freeze them. Simply microwave for 30 seconds in the morning and your child can munch on this healthy muffin while walking out the door.

 

Ingredients

•1 ripe bananas                                                           •2 cups almond flour

•1/2cup greek yogurt                                                  •1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

•2 eggs                                                                        •1 tsp baking soda

•1 cup Truvia                                                               •2 tsp baking powder

•1 cup nonfat milk                                                       •1/2 tsp salt

•1 tsp almond extract                                                 •1 cup frozen blueberries

•1 tsp vanilla extract                                                   •1/2 cup slivered almonds

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray muffin pans with nonfat cooking spray
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl  and add greek yogurt, eggs, Truvia, milk and extracts. Mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined and being careful not to overmix.
  4. Add the blueberries and almonds and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Fill muffin cups and bake at 375 for 30 minutes

 

Healthy recipes when you have a bit more time

Egg McMomFUN

These muffins are full of protein, healthy carbohydrates, spinach and low-fat dairy.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole-wheat English muffins
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices 2% cheese
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tsp olive oil 

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan and add spinach. Cook for about 1 minute on medium-high heat, or until wilted. Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.
  2. Return pan to heat, add one egg at a time, cooking for 2 minutes, or until egg white is set, flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spilt the English muffins in half and toast. Heat Canadian bacon slices in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Top English muffin with spinach, egg, Canadian bacon and one slice of cheese

Do you have any breakfast recipes you can share? I’d love to hear from you!

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Are you looking for a quick and easy breakfast idea that will fit into a raw and vegan lifestyle? Then you’ve got to try these Vegan Oatmeal Cookies that I made yesterday! I was running low on groceries this week and I don’t have time to make it to the store, so I raided my pantry for a quick and easy breakfast for my kids before summer camp. I found one lone bag of dates, a couple of overripe bananas, a bit of applesauce left in a jar in the back of the fridge and oatmeal. I blended it all together in my food processor and the result is delicious! These are completely vegan and will fit into a raw food diet. I did not add any sugar, yet they taste sweet. Dates are naturally sweet and are known as nature’s candy. My kids love them and I threw a few in their lunch for camp today. Chock-full of fiber, this sweet treat is actually good for them!

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think:

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce

Process the oats in a food processor until it turns into a fine powder. Add the remainder of the ingredients and process until combined. Drop heaping teaspoons of the mixture on a baking sheet at bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

 

For more vegan and raw recipes, visit fellow mommy bloggger, Samantha Gibbs at ColorWheel Meals. Do we have any vegans reading this blog? Can you share some vegan recipes?

Healthy Back-to-School Lunches

Can you believe that school is starting back in five short weeks? My baby is going to Kindergarten and my special little boy is going to be in 4th grade! Where does time go? If you need tips for packing healthy back-to-school lunches, check out my guest blog post on Color Wheel Meals. Check out Color Wheel Meals for awesome vegan and raw food recipes, tips and e-books. You definitely don’t want to miss Samantha’s Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches. Yum-o!

I’d love to hear what you think! Do you have any healthy school lunch ideas? Do your kids prefer cafeteria food or a home-packed lunch?

A Pinkalicious Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruit and Vegetables

I am excited to announce our guest post today is from Samantha, the founder of Color Wheel Meals.  Samantha is one “rawkin mom” who is dedicated to helping her family eat healthier. After both of her children were diagnosed with food allergies and her husband was hospitalized for ulcerative colitis, Samantha decided to overhaul her family’s diet to improve their health. Visit Color Wheel Meals for awesome vegan recipes, product giveaways, helpful food reviews and Color Wheel Meal e-Books. Follow her on Twitter @Rawkinmom and “like” Color Wheel Meals on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

We all know how hard it is sometimes to get our kids to eat their fruits and vegetables.

Sometimes I actually don’t blame them! I wouldn’t want to eat overcooked green beans that look like wilty dead worms either!

Kids today are not eating the recommended daily amounts of fruits and veggies…..

Sometimes they don’t even eat a single fruit or veggie unless you count french fries and ketchup, which I don’t consider to be a serving of veggies unless I make the fries homemade with sliced potatoes and bake them myself….only then might I consider it.

Regardless, it’s hard to get 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies into our kids diets EVERYDAY.

UNLESS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You make them smoothies.

Smoothies are a great way to pack in lots of servings of fruits and sometimes sneak in some greens or veggies too.

Sometimes though even that doesn’t work…….so you may have to get really creative.

How about making THEMED smoothies and turning it into a fun activity?
PINKALICIOUS SMOOTHIE

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 cup strawberries, cherries, or raspberries (or a combo of all)

1-2 bananas

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a pink straw!!  Read the story Pinkalicious while drinking!!!

My 2 kids and my niece LOVED these yummy smoothies!!!

or try  a

GOLDILICIOUS SMOOTHIE

 

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 mango

1-2 bananas

optional: frozen peaches or nectarines (I threw a few slices into this smoothie to add a more golden color to it)

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a yellow straw. Read the story Goldilicious while drinking.

 

Maybe try a

PURPILICIOUS SMOOTHIE

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 cup blueberries

(frozen are best~if you use fresh then the smoothie will thicken quite fast and turn into a pudding like consistency)

1-2 bananas

1 cup of strawberries, raspberries or cherries (or a combo)

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a purple straw!!  Read the story Purplicious while drinking!!!

 

 

I love the idea of themed smoothies…..

BUT

these are quite GIRLY~~~~~so if you need an idea for a more BOY THEMED smoothie~~~~~~

How about:

Dinosaur Dinner Smoothie

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1-2 bananas

1 mango

1/2 cup – 1 cup baby spinach

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a green straw. Read the story How Do Dinosaurs Eat their Food while drinking.

Maybe …….just maybe…..

you can talk your kids into thinking that dinosaurs would LOVE these smoothies…….

and that they should love these smoothies too…….

Do you have any fun smoothie & story ideas to share?

 

 

 

Top Five Tips for a Nutritious Make-Ahead Lunch

Do you need healthy make-ahead meal ideas? Look no further than Eastside Make-Ahead Mamas! Their site is filled with delicious, easy and nutritious make-ahead recipes.

While you’re there, check out my guest blog post Top Five Tips for a Nutritious Make-Ahead Lunch! The post is part of my series on healthy lunch ideas. In case you missed it, I broke down and bought Lunchables for my kids for camp and then found out how shockingly unhealthy they are. I researched lunch ideas and found that food on a stick, cookie cutters and edible art are three ways to transform a boring lunch into a fun lunch your kids will actually eat. Look for my other tips later this week.

Do you have any make-ahead ideas you can share? What are your go-to make-ahead meals for your family? I would love to hear from  you!

Healthfully,

Stacy

Healthy Lunch Series Tip #3: Make Edible Art

I hope you are enjoying this series of blog posts on making healthy lunches for your kids. If you missed the first two posts in the series, make sure to check out Everything Tastes Better on a Stick and Cookie Cutters Are Your Friend.

Today’s tip revolves around something I definitely struggle with: creativity. Making edible art may seem like something from Cupcake Wars, but you don’t have to be a professional chef or an artist to play with your food.

Take for example these cute little pepper sailboats (picture above) that I made from a sliced orange pepper, hummus and baked pita chips. These took minutes to make and required no more effort than serving them separately, but this creative design got my son to actually try hummus. He discovered that he likes hummus, but under normal circumstances, he would have never tried it.

My daughter and I made these butterfly apples together and this was a fun way to include fruits and veggies in a simple snack. I showed her how to put it together at home and she had fun showing her friends how to assemble her creation during lunch.

 

 

 

 

Another fun project your kids can assemble during lunch are food faces. Pack a variety of fruits and veggies to make the face and your kids will have fun using their creativity to put it all together.

 

 

 

 

 

I came up with this little trick one snowy day in January and have been using it ever since: Brussels Sprouts Snowmen. My kids love these and it is so easy! Just saute brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and sea salt and place three on a tooth pick. These stay together even in a lunch box and tastes good hot or cold.

There are tons of other fun designs you can make with your food. Visit Craft Gossip, Incredible Edible Crafts or Family Fun for more creative food ideas.

Do you have any creative ideas for making food fun for your kids? Feel free to post a link to your site, blog or picture on the blog! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Healthy Lunch Series: Tip #2: Cookie Cutters Are Your Friend

Welcome to day two of the healthy lunch series! As I posted yesterday in Healthy Lunch Series Tip #1: Everything Tastes Better On a Stick, I’m going to write a series of blog posts on packing a healthy lunch for your child for camp, school or picnic.

Today’s tip, Cookie cutters are your friend, makes healthy eating fun with edible art. You don’t have to be an artist to make these cute creations. You simply need a set of  cookie cutters and a little creativity.

 

 

 

My daughter usually eats the meat out of her sandwich and throws the bread away. This frustratses me not only because she is not consuming the whole grains she needs, but it is a waste of time and money!

 

Today I made her a teddy bear sandwich and she ate the entire thing (sssssh, don’t tell her that the bread was whole-wheat with flaxseed and carrots.)

 

 

 

I also married my two favorite techniques, food on a stick and cookie cutters, and created cute pineapple lollipops. I made a flower, heart and butterfly for my daughter and a train, bear and dinosaur for my son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invest in mini-cookie cutters, which are great for cutting veggies and smaller fruits. I used my Christmas mini-cookie cutters to transform bell peppers into gingerbread men, candy canes, Christmas trees and angels.

 

 

 

Just like adults, kids eat with their eyes first. If their food is visually appealing, they will be more likely to eat it. So far it has worked well with my two picky eaters. My daughter discovered that she likes red, orange and yellow bell peppers and my son asked me for a pineapple lollipop for his dessert last night!

 

Do you use cookie cutters to add dazzle to boring foods? Any photos or stories you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Healthfully,

Stacy

 

Healthy Lunch Series: Tip #1: Everything tastes better on a stick

As I mentioned last week in my post about the Lunchables, my kids are in summer camp which means that I have to pack a healthy lunch every day that is:

  • Nutritious
  • Peanut-free
  • Affordable
  • Quick
  • Something my kids will actually eat and enjoy

and

  • Provides my kids with the energy they need for an action-packed camp
  • Can sustain long periods without refrigeration
  • Doesn’t require a microwave

 

You know what a challenge this can be.

My kids quite enjoyed their Lunchable filled week, but I set out to improve the nutrition and quality of their lunches.

I talked with other moms and conducted some research on how to make a nutritious lunch that meets all of my above critieria. I have so many great tips to share that I’m going to make this topic a series, so look for daily tips and recipes over the ten days as I countdown my top ten healthy lunch tips. In the meantime, today’s post is focused on tip #1: Everything tastes better on a stick.

I love kabob’s. Place boring ham, cheese, fruit and veggies on a stick and instantly you transform a ho-hum lunch into something kids will actually eat.

Today I made fruit kabobs with watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes. I simply used a melon baller to scoop out watermelon and cantaloupe balls, then I alternated them on a wooden skewer. This simple technique makes eating fruit fun!

Skewer possibilities are endless. Try sandwich kabobs, which have bread chunks, cheese, cubes of turkey and cherry tomatoes. Another family favorite is chicken kabobs. I use leftover homemade chicken breast nuggets, cut into cubes, with mozzarella cheese, grapes and zucchini. For additional healthy lunch and snack ideas visit Fixmeasnack.com. What is your favorite kabob recipe? Please share!