Archive | February 2014

Hawaiian Wraps

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These wraps have become a favorite at our house. And they’re packed with great stuff: Broccoli slaw, pineapple, spinach, chicken, sunflower seeds. They’re a nice change from ordinary sandwiches. They also make a great cool meal on those hot summer days still to come.

Here’s how I made them:

1 package broccoli slaw (12 oz)
1 can crushed pineapple – drained well
3-4 cups diced chicken breasts
1 cup chopped spinach
poppy-seed dressing
sunflower seeds
whole wheat tortilla shells

I mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add as much poppy-seed dressing as you like. I add 1/2 – 1 cup. I like to make it the day before & refrigerate overnight. I sprinkle some sunflower seeds on as I load the shells – they stay crunchy this way. Fold wraps and enjoy. My kids & I love these!

Note: Slivered almonds are great in these as well. Also, I don’t always have spinach on hand, so sometimes I just leave it out.

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Raspberry Tea

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When I was growing up, my mom always had Kool-Aid in the house for us to drink. Sometimes we even got tang! Very rarely, however, did we drink pop. We are attempting to go healthier here. I don’t like my kids to drink pop and I always felt they didn’t need the sugar in Kool-Aid. We are also trying to stay away from food dyes. My husband drinks Mountain Dew like water. When he isn’t drinking that its red Kool-Aid. The kids are always asking me for Kool-Aid so I have been trying to come up with a healthier alternative. I found an alternative that we are all happy with: raspberry tea! I use sugar to sweeten it because we found out that aspartame was causing my 10-year-old son to have a tic. I haven’t tried Stevia with him yet but I will this summer. Then I can observe him to make sure the Stevia won’t contribute to any tics. At least this tea has half the sugar of Kool-Aid and no food dyes. I have made it using honey as well.

Here’s how I make it:

I run water though my 4 cup coffee maker. Then I let 4 raspberry tea bags steep for a few minutes.

I add 1/2 cup of sugar and enough water to make 1/2 gallon of tea . Stir and enjoy.

While I encourage my kids to drink water every day this is a nice treat for them. It has no preservatives and no food dyes. I make this or some lemonade about once a week (usually on the weekends). We like trying different kinds of tea. Black cherry is one the kids enjoy, also. There is a pomegranate pizzazz that I can’t wait to try! Blueberry is another we would like to try!

Making and Canning Applesauce

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We are so thankful that there is a good apple crop this year! Last year here in Michigan an early spring followed by a hard frost ruined the apple crop (and many other fruits)! We are taking advantage of the apples and canning applesauce. Normally I like to freeze my applesauce, but lack of freezer space this year is forcing me to can it. My kids are home from school for the rest of the week and they are going to help (in exchange for a trip swimming tomorrow or Friday).

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The twins helped wash the apples I purchased from a local orchard. We told them we were making applesauce and they made a mixed half bushel for us.

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Aaron helped slice the apples. Notice the slicer/corer he is using. We love this gadget! It is used often at our house!

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We put everything in the stockpot – even the cores! Nothing is wasted! Then, on to the stove to cook the apples.

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After the apples are cooked, I run them through my food mill. This removes all the skin, seeds, etc. We have very little waste to throw out in the garden after making apple sauce. Sometimes I add a little sugar, but this batch didn’t need it. The kids and I also like cinnamon or apple pie spice in it, but my husband doesn’t, so I leave some plain.

The last step is to fill and process the jars. Lots of yummy applesauce to enjoy this winter!

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Note: It is the middle of February now, and we are still enjoying the applesauce we made last fall. I love to send it in the kids’ lunches instead of buying those little cups you can get in the store. I know exactly what is in it!

Pancake/Waffle Mix in a Jar & freezer waffles

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I don’t do much freezer cooking, but this morning when we made waffles I decided to double the batch & put the rest in the freezer for breakfast later in the week. I make my own mix adapted from a recipe by deltasky at allrecipes.com. It is quick and easy to put together and I can control exactly what goes in it. Plus, it will save us $$$!

Homemade Pancake (& waffle) Mix

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
1 TBS salt

Combine all ingredients; stir to blend. Store in an airtight container for up to 8 months (Ours never lasts that long).

To make pancakes:

2 cups mix, 1 cup water, one egg and 2 tablespoons oil. Beat with a wire whisk or fork until large lumps are gone.

To make waffles:

2 cups mix, 1 1/4 cup water, one eggs and 3 tablespoons oil. Again, beat with a wire whist or fork until large lumps are gone.

This makes about 12-16 pancakes or waffles.

We made a double batch this morning. I put the left-over waffles on cookie sheets in the freezer. Once they are frozen we will seal them with our foodsaver. Then we can just pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the toaster! The kids love them!

Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

My kids and I love broccoli! One of our favorite ways to eat it is in broccoli slaw I use shredded broccoli (& carrots) from the store. This makes it super quick and easy to make. Normally I make my own dressing, but I got a great idea from The Yummy life: use poppy-seed dressing. Since I have some in the fridge left over from Hawaiian wraps, I decided to get it a try. I made it today and it was a hit. All three kids want some in their lunch tomorrow!

Here’s how I made it:

One bag of shredded broccoli
Poppy Seed dressing
Dry Roasted Sunflower seeds

It’s super easy! Mix the broccoli slaw with salad dressing to taste. Refrigerate for a least an hour. I’ll add the sunflower seeds when I put it in their lunch boxes tomorrow. They would be crunchier if added right before eating, but that can’t be helped. Done! The flavors and texture combine beautifully: It’s crunchy, nutty, sweet, tart! Awesome! Thanks The Yummy Life!