Kids are back in school and the activities and sports are starting. I decided to make a batch of muffins for my kids to pack and have for snacks. I was going to make the usual Banana Apple Bran Muffins from The Petit Appetit Cookbook (page 105), however I realized I was out of bran. I decided to substitute flax meal, which made them even better. Now they also have more protein too. Here’s the recipe:
Banana Apple Flax Muffins
Makes regular muffins
1 cup organic wheat flour
½ cup organic flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sweet cream butter, (1 stick)
¾ cup applesauce or apple puree
1 medium banana, mashed
½ cup organic light brown sugar
2 cage-free, organic eggs
Preheat oven to 375F. With a fork, combine flour, flax, soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Or melt butter in microwave for 25 seconds on high. In a large bowl combine melted butter, applesauce, mashed banana, sugar and eggs. Mix together with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended. Batter will be lumpy and very moist. Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tin cups 2/3 full and place banana slice on top of each muffin. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and set*. Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack 5 minutes, before turning out muffins.
*Note. Because these muffins are so moist with the mashed bananas and applesauce, the wooden pick test is difficult. The center may not come out clean if you hit a chunk of banana. If you’re not sure if they’re done, you can always pop one out and cut in half.
O.K. so everyone calls these Rice Krispies treats even though they are made with other rice crisp cereal and vegan marshmallows. I guess it’s like calling a tissue a Kleenex. Anyways, I thought these would be fun to make and package for my daughter’s soccer team snack. My box had a peanut butter version, so I went online to look up the original. This was a fun one to do with my kids. Super easy. I realized I hadn’t made these in quite a while when my son looked into the pot with an amazed face and said “Wow, these are cool looking!”
How can 3 little ingredients add to so much fun, ease and taste? The thing is we don’t buy Rice Krispies Cereal (high fructose corn syrup) or regular marshmallows. No worries. We used Trader Joe’s Puffed Rice cereal (Ewewhorn makes one too – no GMO’s and organic) and found vegan, gelatin free marshmallows (Dandies’ or Sweet & Sara). Of course once my vegetarian daughter found out what was in regular marshmallows (gelatin is made of hides and bone) she wasn’t haven’t any. I don’t blame her – yuck! I bet you could even make this recipe with vegan sticks, but no need to go there if you don’t have to. The expense of the marshmallows alone is twice that of the regular gelatinous ones. The funny thing is even one of my daughter’s friends who apparently rejected one of these earlier in the day at Starbuck’s, ate this version after the game. Maybe we’re on to something. Of course most people didn’t know about the vegan marshmallows so when another family made Rice Crispy treats another game my daughter passed and said they weren’t vegetarian and told the dad all about what’s in marshmallows. Oops! We need to work on simply saying “no thank you” without a political or nutritional statement.
Here’s the recipe, which may not be on the box of other rice cereal.
Crisp Rice Treats
3 Tbl unsalted butter
10 oz. vegan or regular marshmallows
6 cups crisp/toasted rice cereal
Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add cereal all at once. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into prepared 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan while warm. (Be careful if children are helping) Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. (Best if served the same day.)
My son started orthodontic treatment last week. Boy we were all in for a shock. Not only was his mouth sore, but the poor guy is really having a tough time eating. Besides feeling like he’s going to choke on everything there’s the list of no’s from the doctor – nothing sticky, chewy, hard. He asked “what’s left?” Well, I’ll tell you – creamy, smooth and watery. At least at first it’s been soups, smoothies, and shakes. Even pasta was a chore. He’s getting better at eating. I’m getting better at packing a thermos for lunches, steaming and cutting things in small pieces and trying to keep him nourished and interested when sometimes it’s just too tiring and frustrating to eat. Here’s a new shake we’ve created which makes him smile…
Peanut butter and banana is always a classic combo. Whether it’s a sandwich (my childhood favorite), a muffin or this cool shake. Feel free to substitute any type of milk. The almond milk gave some added nutrients, vitamins and good (monounsaturated) fats here.
1/4 cup plain organic yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 frozen organic banana
1 heaping tablespoon organic creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
Cut frozen banana in same size chunks. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth and combined.
I’m sure as you can tell, I usually write at night. So much during the day with kids school and activities and just now getting back to meetings, writing and excercise for me after a summer of mostly fun. I think being busy (yoga, paddleboarding, etc) also kept my mind off eating. Rather than sitting at a desk, like I am now. However I am having a nice cup of tea. I bought the tea and didn’t like it as cold, but I do like hot, so it’s a comfort and a treat on this cold and foggy morning after taking the kids to school. I also didn’t eat all my oatmeal from earlier. I saved it and will reheat it when I get hungry.
Here was the usual morning… My husband went to work very early, so I didn’t see his breakfast. I’m assuming he missed or had a bowl of cereal, by the amount of milk left. My son had toast, yogurt, and granola. He wanted the whole banana but he settled for half, since it was the last one. My daughter and I shared the other half on our oatmeal. Yes, again. My daughter also had her yogurt grapes and granola.
I packed my son’s usual lunch. He is a creature of habit, so this hasn’t been tough for lunch – but he usually has more choices. My daughter is going to a friend’s house after school and will have lunch there, while I go to the radio interview at the Food Bank. She’ll probably be happy to see some new lunch options. We’re out of the banana bread for snack so I packed crackers and cheese for my son. My daughter got the last few crackers with sunflower butter and 1/2 an apple (the rest we’ll save for snack later). By the way if you slice an apple and don’t want it to turn bown let is soak a few minutes in water with a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of salt.
We’re noticing the lack of ingredients. We finished the crackers today. The’re only about 1/4 cup of the cow’s milk left. The fruit bowl is empty (we still have grapes in the fridge). The cheese is about 1/2 thick by 4 inches. Hopefully some for tacos tonight. Let’s see how it’s adding up. Here’s what I bought. Each item is gone, unless I say otherwise…
First Shop – Trader Joe’s
almond milk 1.99 – for my daughter, she doesn’t drink cow’s milk. I use in my oatmeal. About 1 cup left
cow’s milk 3.29- for my son (and husband for cereal). We usually buy a full gallon, but get a half. about 1/4 cup left
organic yogurt 2.99- large. Mix with fruit spread, fruit or brown sugar to sweeten. Also for egg salad and tuna. About 1 1/2 cups left.
organic eggs 3.99 – 2 boiled left and 5 raw
wheat pizza dough 1.29 – pizza
organic hummus 2.29 – wraps. About 3 tablespoons left.
organic ground beef 6.49 – for tacos
2 red peppers 2.99 – roasted veggies and pasta dish.
organic baby carrots 1.49 – Trader Joe’s regular carrots aren’t organic. Ate one bag and bought another for lunches and snacks.
organic grapes – 3.99 duet of green and red. For lunches and snacks. About 20 grapes left.
broccoli 1.69 – stir fry. About 1/2 head left.
orange juice 2.99 , half gallon – I usually buy organic, but too $. About 1/4 left
bananas 3 – .19 each
organic black beans 1.19 – for taco night
organic frozen edaname 2.29
wheat pretzels 1.69, About 1/4 bag left.
sharp cheddar cheese 2.87 – for pizza, and lunches. Small piece left.
Shop in My Pantry and Freezer (things I already had and didn’t want to rebuy)
orechette pasta .99 – first night’s pasta, lentil and veggie dinner and some left-overs
rice 2.99 – I should’ve checked I didn’t even have a whole bag. Have left-over cooked from stir fry.
canned organic tomatoes 1.99 – I usually buy Pomi
tea – 2.29 – this is just one of many we have. I chose because least expensive, but I only like it hot, not cold. Half box left.
tuna 1.49 – for sandwiches
hemp granola – 2.99 – for yogurt and granola
sandwich bread – 2.99 – for lunches
canned minestrone soup 2.99 – my kids love this. Good when I don;t have time to make my own.
fruit spread – 1.79 – for sandwiches with sunflower butter and toast. Lots left
sunflower butter – 3.79 – Chose this instead of peanut butter since our school is nut free. Half left.
sliced turkey 4.79 – my son’s wrap choice this week
half loaf of banana bread – my kids and I made banana bread a few days before the challenge (to use some overipe bananas) and I froze it. I used half the loaf for my kids’ snack at school the first few days of the week (sorry forgot to show). It probably cost me about $2 in ingredients.
Shopping at Farmer’s Market – all organic
apples (5) – 3.45 – lunches and snacks
kale – 2 – chips and stir fry
heirloom tomatoes (4)- 2.80 – wraps and salad
sweet potatoes (2) – 2.10 – chips – 1 left
zucchini (2) – 1 roasted veggies and pasta dish
spinach – 1.45 in wraps and salad
olive baguette – 2. First night’s pasta, lentil veggie dinner
Subsequent shopping yesterday and day before …
bananas – (3) 1.16
Tejava tea – 1.29 – couldn’t handle life without an iced tea and bought a bummer one.
flatbread/Lavosh bread – 2.29 for wraps. 5 left
whole wheat sandwich bread 2.49 – almost whole loaf left
corn tortillas – 1.99 – for tacos
organic chicken breast 3.94 – for stir fry
organic tofu – twin pack – 1.99 – for stir fry and tacos.
avocados – 1.79 for tacos
So we have almost no fruit and veggies left. What food we have is mostly allocated for tonight’s dinner. Tomorrow we’ll have stuff for sandwiches for lunch. Dinner may be rough. We have lots of bread – so we can always have toast and sunflower butter.
So my morning was good. Started my day with oatmeal and apple. My husband is back so he did breakfast for the kids (which is what happens most mornings) – cereal and fruit and OJ. He didn’t take photos. I’m sure they were glad for the break. My kids keep saying “more pictures?!” as I make them wait another minute to eat.
I packed my son’s lunch. Pretty standard. I never mentioned their drink for lunch – it’s water. Always has been. I do have this great new water dispenser on the counter in the kitchen. I ad citrus and/or mint for flavor. The kids can reach and then help themselves all day long.
By lunch I was very hungry. After taking the kids to school, I went paddle boarding with friends. We went to Starbuck’s first so they could get coffee. Nothing for me. I feel didn’t like I was missing out. I’m not a morning coffee gal, and was full from the oatmeal.
My daughter and I came home and had left-overs from dinner. I ate the rest of the minestrone from dinner with a veggie wrap and she had some some noodles from the night before, along with some veggies and crackers with sunflower butter.
Later was snack. Celery and crackers with sunflower butter and a bowl of frozen pineapple. I’m a bit bored with some items. But no one compalined. We usually have lots of choose from – nuts, dried fruit, nut butters (almond, peanut, soy), crackers, tortilla chips, graham crackers etc.
Here’s the dilemma. It’s my kids’ open house at school. Only parents invited. We were able to get a babysitter last minute, so my husband and I can both go. We have the sitter for 3 – 4 hours – kind of a minimum. So what do we do after? Normally we would go to dinner – but I don’t have much money left and should keep it for the rest of the week. My husband suggested a movie, but the times aren’t working out well. Funny it’s ok to spend money on entertainment – although if you don’t have it for food, there’s not much of that either. Perhaps out for coffee/tea? Drinks would be more. I have about $25 left….
For dinner we’re making pizza and a roasted veggie parmasean dish. I bought premade dough from Trader Joe’s for $1. I make my own dough 50% of the time – being that sometimes I just don’t have time to wait for dough to rise. The pizza sauce was the reserved sauce from pureed tomatoes and the sauce for the veggie dish was left-over fondue. Interesting right? Well we’ll see. We need to have some for the our friend babysitting too. I didn’t tell her about the challenge. She may already know as she is a caterer, baker extrodinaire and restaurant consultant. We’ll see her reaction. Hopefully she won’t be hungry here. I’m so used to being a host with plenty to offer.