By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Activities with Kids, Family Focus, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Sunday, December 23, 2012
This just may be the perfect kid friendly Christmas treat around. Not only is it easy but you can’t really mess it up!
You will want the following:
-Pretzels (we prefer the stick kind rather than the knotted version as it is easier for small hands to dip)
-Non stick surface to let the pretzels cool on (I used parchment paper) but you could also use a regular plate, cookie sheet, etc)
1) Simply melt your chocolate in a double boiler (if you don’t have one you can make one by simply stacking a metal bowl on top of a pot of boiling water) or in the microwave (be careful to check and stir your chocolate often as it is EASY to overcook it in the microwave).
2) Dip your pretzels into the chocolate mixture
3) Allow them to cool on your parchment paper. Optional: once they have cooled, re-dip them on the other end.
If you want to get fancy, you can decorate the still wet chocolate with sprinkles, candy bits (such as crushed candy canes) or shaved chocolate. OR let your children make their initials using the pretzel rods!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: It Worked 4 Me, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Monday, September 24, 2012
These are a few of my un-favorite things:
-mindless repetitive tasks
-heading to town in the morning without snacks or a lunch for the kids
As our family has grown, packing an on-the-go lunch has become more time consuming. It recently occurred to me that I could circumvent some of the preparation time with a little advanced planning. I am certainly not the first to think of this idea (Smuckers Uncrustables anyone?). But it was a lightbulb moment for me.
Perhaps you have been doing this yourself for eons, but just in case you are like me, I thought I would share this simple tip for making sure you always have a sandwich to grab on the go.
-I decided that if I was going to do this, I might as well make up several sandwiches at once. I use one loaf of bread.
-I laid out the bread and slathered them with peanut butter and jam. Putting peanut butter on every slice of bread with the jam layered on top helps prevent the sandwiches from getting soggy.
-I assembled the sandwiches and separated them with a paper towel (an alternative thrifty option that I thought of was to use the thin paper squares that sperate out the Tillamook sliced cheddar cheese that we purchase at Costco). The reason for putting a layer in between each sandwich is to make it easy to separate them after they have frozen. If you use plastic sandwich baggies you could simply bag them instead. However, I use reusable sandwich bags so it wasn’t a good option for me to bag them at this step.
-I put the prepared sandwiches right back in the bag that the bread came in and secured it at the top and placed it in the freezer.
-Now I had a handful of sandwiches ready to go at a moments notice. I found that they thaw quickly enough that I could pull one out of the freezer in the morning and they would be ready to eat by lunch. The kids have not mentioned noticing any difference in taste, however, I have noticed that they will dry out faster so I need to be sure they are eaten the day I thaw them to prevent this.
How about you? What kinds of snacks have you found work well to prepare ahead of time?
By Jackie Mccobb | Category: Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012
It would appear that the whole world is under financial strain. Our mighty dollar has weakened, and we are almost all feeling the pinch, no? For that reason, we all desire to be more frugal and so we flock to great money-saving blogs (such as this one) looking for deals, coupons, and helpful tips on how to spend less.
Overseas I have had to become quite creative in regards to frugality. Deals online are no longer great deals when you have to pay shipping. (Like the time I saw a skirt on sale at Old Navy for $10 and they would ship it to me for only $60! Yowzers.)
We’ve done our best to cut back as much as we can…we line-dry clothes, walk as much as we can, turn lights off when we leave the room, use cloth diapers on the baby, etc, etc, etc. Those are things we are all doing! Next in line to trim back was the grocery list. There are no coupons here and the only things that go on sale are junk food items.
Therefore…BEANS. We eat ‘em. A lot!
Knowing that we are all trying to pinch pennies, save more, spend less, I thought I would share some of the tasty, different bean recipes I have tried and loved. (Because we did the simple black beans over rice and got tired of it pretty quick.)
Black Bean Tart with Chili Crust (I haven’t actually tried these yet, but it looks interesting)
Black Bean and Brown Rice Cakes (Could these be used as a burger patty I wonder?)
Black Bean and Cheese Taquitos (I leave the cheese out, brush olive oil on the tortillas and bake them!)
And when you’ve tried all of those and are running low on creativity, go back to the Pioneer Woman’s Pinto Beans and Cornbread. She will never steer you wrong.
Of course there are also the great bean recipes that Heather has previously shared:
and the ebook ebook called The Everything Beans book which Heather said has been a wonderful resource for her.
So beans are my little money saving tip and I have to ask, if there are any other Americans overseas reading this…please share in the comments any tips you have for me!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Activities with Kids, Family Focus, Recipes & Kitchen Tips, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, March 12, 2012
When our children were very young I remember discussions that my husband and I would have about what kind of family atmosphere we wanted in our home. Some of these talks centered around dinner time conversations. It was a goal of ours to place high value on having meaningful dinnertime discussions. Over time we have experimented with different approaches toward this goal and I believe that they each carry with them unique advantages.
I am over at Kitchen Stewardship sharing my top 3 ways to create fail-proof dinnertime discussions with your families. I invite you to click over, read my ideas and share some of your own! Best of all I have provided some wonderful (and FREE) resources that will enable you to easily kick off your dinner discussions TONIHT!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I’m in love.
In my quest for discovering some new healthy snacks for the kids I began working through the “Healthy Snacks To Go” ebook from Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship. Her Peanut Butter Kisses are so easy and so yummy that I have made them THREE times in the last week (I would have probably made them four times but I ran out of Peanut Butter!). My confession is that although I originally made them for the kids, I now make them for myself (and try to have enough on hand for my kids as well;). Oh my mouth is watering just thinking about them now, its a little embarrassing. Ready to try them for yourself?
Honey (Raw is best. If you can, purchase locally, otherwise you can find great prices through Azure Standard)
Peanut Butter (I suggest opting for a brand that uses only peanuts such as Adams which I get at Costco)
Coconut Flakes (I purchased mine through Azure Standard)*
Chocolate Chips (This is optional but of course yummy. I look for a brand that uses real vanilla rather than the artificial ”vanillin” found in most brands. According to Wikipedia, “Vanillin can trigger migraine headaches in a small fraction of the people who experience migraines.“ I buy the Ambrosia brand which comes in a black bag from Costco.)
Mix equal parts honey and peanut butter until smooth and add twice as much coconut flakes. If you wish, add in some chocolate ships as well. Using a spoon, scoop out dollops of “batter” into your hands and roll into balls. The consistency should be smooth enough to roll out without sticking to your hands. You may wish to roll the balls in additional coconut flakes, but this is not typically necessary. Serve at room temperature or pop them in the freezer (this is my favorite way). Just be warned. . . They are addictive!
*Variations: if you don’t have or don’t like coconut, you can substitue oatmeal (quick or old fashioned oats) or do a combo of 1/2 & 1/2. My favorite is only coconut but my husband who does not like coconut enjoys the oatmeal version.
Please note that the link to the Healthy Snacks To Go ebook is an affiliate link and I will earn a small commission for each sale made though that link. I would never recommend something that I myself have not tried or feel convinced that you would enjoy. That said, if you are like me and would love to be inspired to discover some great healthy snacks for your family, I think you might love Katie’s ebook!
This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.