Sweet Apple Treat

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sweet apple treatTonight I made a sweet apple treat for my kiddos.  I’ve shared with y’all my sweet bananas and honey treat that my kids love.  Tonight, I did a variation of that.  Since my daughter gave up chocolate for Lent (God bless her sweet heart – I don’t have that kind of will power!), I had to get a bit creative. Let’s just call this another episode of #pantrysurprise.

I sliced an apple, warmed it in the microwave for one minute, then added a crumbled graham cracker. (Yes, one single graham cracker – it was all we had left…). I sprinkled a little cinnamon, drizzled a little honey, and warmed it up for another minute.

For my son’s, I added a few craisins to it.  My daughter long ago declared her distaste for all things “-aisin”, so I kindly left them off hers.

Honestly, I think it took me longer to make this (less than four minutes), than it did for them to devour it – which I guess means this episode of Pantry Surprise was a success. 😉

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Kid-Friendly Southwest Dip

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.

My kids love to eat.  Anything in “dip form” will get demolished in a matter of mere seconds with this crew.   Moreover, I love to find ways to create things with them.  ….and if I happen to sneak in some extra little nutritional boosts, well, then that’s even better.kid-friendly southwest dip

So this week, we headed over to Kroger, and created a fun, delicious southwest dip.  We even got creative and made it into a cat-faced southwest dip.  ….unfortunately, I first created another installment of “How Not to Cook”.  (Remember my infamous meatball debacle?  Or the overly-cinnamon’ed Vitamix applesauce?)

When I was asked to create a kid-friendly activity using things I got at Kroger, it seemed like a no-brainer.  I decided to go with a southwest-style dip and home made baked tortilla chips, which is an easy recipe for the kids to get involved with, AND which I could get everything I need at my neighborhood Kroger store.  Y’all already know I love Kroger, not only because they have competitive prices, but because Kroger helps me to find healthy options for me and my family.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_baked-tortilla_banner

Making our own tortilla chips was a snap. It was basically what we did when we made tortilla strips for our chicken tortilla soups. Using Halloween-themed cookie cutters just added to the fun, too!

But first I had to “pull a Barbara”, and take too many liberties in what I created.  I found a handful of taco dip recipes, calling for cream cheese and refried beans, along with salsa, and other garnishing.  But I decided I wanted to make a healthier version, and replaced the refried beans with black beans and added corn, as well.  It didn’t turn out too well, but it made for a great conversation about how we dust ourself off and try again when things don’t go as planned.  This was actually perfect timing, since I’m trying to work with my 4 yo son on tackling the monkey bars at school.  He’s been reluctant to try them because he’s afraid of falling.  I’ve been encouraging him to try them, and that the worst that would happen is he drops to the ground and gets up and tries it again.  (His feet dangle about a foot from the ground on the monkey bars at his school, fwiw.)  So when my initial crack at this recipe was less than stellar, I made a big stink about getting right back in there and trying the recipe again, figuring out what I did wrong, and how I could make it better the next time.

I digress.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_makingseasoning

We made our own taco seasoning for this recipe, thanks to a super-simple recipe I first heard about from Krystyn of Really Are You Serious. It was an easy and delightful task for my son!

Here’s what how we did it.  There are plenty of opportunities along the way to get the kids involved with each step, depending on their age, your comfort level, and their abilities – and perhaps your threshold for messes.

Kid-friendly Southwest Dip

  • 8-oz sour cream
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tbs. flax seed
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning mix (Did you know how easy it is to make your own??)
  • 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1/4 c. sliced ripe olives (+4-5 individual olives on reserve)
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • 1/2 c. sweet corn
  • 1 c. chopped lettuce or spinach (or let the kids use scissors to snip it in to strips)
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • tortilla chips  (It’s super easy to bake your own tortilla chips!)

Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning until well-blended.  Spread as bottom layer of dip in your deep dish.  Next evenly spread salsa over cream cheese mix, then sprinkle chia and flax seed over the salsa.   Layer the beans, then the corn.  Top with shredded cheese.  ….now for the fun part.  Have kids create a face: use the tomatoes (cut in half) to create eyes, then place olive slice over tomato.  Cut olive slices in half to create a mouth.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_pin

Pin me!

I ended up sticking ours in the oven with the baked tortilla chips for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  This is completely optional.

Giveaway opportunity:
I want to give one of y’all a chance to create something with your own kiddos, so I’m offering you a chance to win a $50 Kroger giftcard.  Simply comment below with your favorite Halloween activity or recipe to do with your kids.  Then fill out the form below.  See?  Simple!

Remember, you can earn extra entries daily, so make sure to stop back in and update your form to increase your chance of winning.  Good luck, y’all!  🙂


Kroger $50 Giftcard

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Chipotle Tofu Burritos

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Chipotle Tofu BurritosYou may recall, my family and I gave up meat for Lent this year, so I’ve been on the hunt for creative ways to keep dinner lively.  I can’t really say how I came up with the idea for chipotle tofu burritos, other than just to throw together some common ingredients and enjoy.  ….and that’s basically what I did, y’all.

Ok, so it really started out when I bought chipotle-flavored tofu because it was BOGO at Publix and because there was a Berry Cart deal for $1 rebate on it.  …and I built a mealtess dinner around that one sale item, based entirely on what I already had in my pantry and fridge.

To my delight, every one of my family members ate their dinner, even my picky kiddos.  Ok, so the boy choked his down, but he *did* eat it.  It may or may not have required a little come-to-Jesus convincing, but once he tried it, he decided they “weren’t bad.”  sigh

 

Chipotle Tofu Burritos

(1) package Nasoya baked tofu, chipotle flavor – sliced in to small cubes

(1) package frozen corn, prepare as directed on package

(1) can black beans

(1) package Mexican rice, prepare as directed

shredded cheese, to taste

tortillas (we used Flatout tortillas)

salsa
There are no concrete directions, beyond preparing each ingredient as directed.  Scoop on as much of each to your liking, roll up, and enjoy.  The best part about these chipotle-flavored tofu burritos is you can customize to your taste, and you can add or replace ingredients.  My husband and I added spinach to our burritos.  Lettuce is also good.  Like hot sauce?  Go for it.  The second time I made these, I added a dollop of sour cream, as pictured above.  So, go.  Prepare.  Eat.  And most importantly, enjoy!

 

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Ranch-Flavored Broccoli Cheddar Bites

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brocooli cheddar bites

Disclosure: This is post is sponsored by Naturally Fresh® dressing – in exchange for this post, I received a form of compensation.  However, all opinions, ranch-flavored broccoli cheddar bites recipes, and bad puns are 100% my own.

Rumor has it, with football season winding down, there’s going to be some sort of BIG sendoff for that final game. Something super, I’m told. 😉

Last year, I shared with you my game day better-for-you baked ranch quesadillas – which are still one of my favorite quick meal ideas to whip up, particularly for my picky tots.  So this year, when the folks at Naturally Fresh® asked to team up for another game day creation, I wanted to try to kick up the healthy factor a little more.  Initially, I set out to create a ranch-flavored broccoli cheese quinoa creation, but it didn’t turn out as I expected.  So back to the drawing board.

I knew I wanted something with veggies, so a broccoli cheese appetizer sounded like a good idea.  Thankfully, these easy broccoli cheese bites sort of created themself.  So eventually, I created ranch-flavored broccoli cheddar bites!

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Hershey’s Kisses Recipes

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This is a sponsored post by The Hershey Company, which means I am receiving a form of compensation in exchange for this post; however, as always, all opinions and bad puns are all my own.  And besides, there’s Hershey’s Kisses recipes involved, so it’s all good, right?

Hershey's Kisses recipes - Walgreens 1000 bonus points
Because I’ve been blessed to know some awesome bloggers, I’ve pooled together a delicious array of Hershey’s Kisses recipes.  Each of these are perfect for a holiday party, or a simple teacher gift, or -um- just a Tuesday! [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Veggie Enriched Waffles

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Veggie-Enriched Waffles

Disclaimer: this is NOT a sponsored post, even though you’ll see me name drop a time or two.  I just have some great products to share with y’all that I think are worth sharing about.  That is all.

I was recently twice-blessed: first, with a sweet Hamilton Beach waffle maker my husband won.  Second, with a nice haul of Happy Family brand pouches from the recent Type-A Parent conference I was also blessed to attend.  (Ok, so thrice blessed, y’all!)

Since I got the waffle maker, I’ve tried to make waffles every Sunday morning for the kiddos.  I’m loving it: waffles are WAY easier to make than a batch of pancakes, even spinach pancakes!

So this Sunday, I set out to do it all over again, but wanted to add a little extra something to the mix.  Literally.

Here’s what I did to make veggie enriched waffles: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Maple-Blueberry Smoothie

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Maple Blueberry Smoothie

Maple.  Blueberry.  Smoothie.  An unlikely combination?  Perhaps.  But give it a try, and I promise not only won’t you be disappointed, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised how the addition of veggies bulks up the nutrition without compromising the taste.  My picky tots gulp it up as fast as I can make these!  Our pediatrician, quite aware of how particular my kiddos are about (not) eating their veggies, has long advocated adding them to smoothies – so my version of this maple-blueberry smoothie fits the nutritional bill quite well.

I saw the original recipe in the paper at my in-laws house in Florida, and it was tagged by the associate press.  So, I’m not quite certain of its origins, but it sure does sound tasty.  In any case, I had to make my own tweeks, substituting ice cream for greek yogurt, and adding the veggies for an extra nutritional punch.  Although I use the Vitamix, you can certainly recreate with a regular blender.

 

Maple-Blueberry Smoothie

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Better-for-You Baked Ranch Quesadillas

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Baked Ranch Quesadillas

Yep, I used the phrase “better-for-you” and “ranch” together.  And I mean it, y’all!  I recently had an opportunity to create a recipe as part of the blogger program by Naturally Fresh® and The Motherhood, who compensated me for my time and the development of this recipe.   However, all opinions, experiences, photos share here, and bad puns are all my own.

So how on earth can I make “better-for-you” baked RANCH quesadillas?  It’s simple: with Naturally Fresh® Lite Ranch, which is made with Naturally Fresh®’s own nonfat buttermilk cuts the calories in half, and it’s made with real, wholesome ingredients.  You’ve got to look in the refrigerated section at Publix or Kroger to find Naturally Fresh® products – and you can also utilize the Naturally Fresh® App to find products near you.

With a little thing called The Super Bowl coming up in a few days, I thought baked ranch quesadillas – with my own twist – would be a great snack for any party.  Wouldn’t these be the perfect appetizer to serve?  More importantly, with a few tweaks, I created a better-for-you appetizer (or meal!) and gave it some healthier updates.

Baked Ranch Quesadillas collage

Better-for-You Baked Ranch Quesadillas

You’ll need: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Feed-a-Cold Quick Soup

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



So last night, in the midst of all the coughing my family has been doing this week, I made pasta on a whim for the kids.  One thing led to another, and I had a soup for me and the hubs (for the life of me, I cannot get the kids to eat soup!) and pasta for the kids.  It was simple, and I really just grabbed whatever I had available in the fridge.  It was nice because it was simple, yet filling – and from start-to-finish, took less than 20 minutes.

Feed-A-Cold Quick Soup Soup Shot

 

Here’s what I did, and here are some ways you can jazz it up and make it your own.

Feed-a-Cold Quick Soup

First, you’ll need: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Sauteed Greens w/Corn & Mushrooms

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Sauteed Greens recipe

It may be pretty clear by now I love cooking with spinach, but almost a year ago, I discovered Kroger’s “power greens” mix of spinach, chard, kale, and mizuna.  It’s a great way to mix it up and still pack a powerful, nutritious punch.  And, well, you may recall I’m trying to clean up my act in the kitchen a bit.

So back in the spring, I saw this recipe on the inside of the Simple truth Organic power greens container, and have been wanting to try it -obviously- for a while now.  Recently I had the chance, and was amazed by its versatility.  More on that later.  First, the recipe – I made a few variations of my own, because, well that’s how I roll.

Sauteed Greens with Corn & Mushrooms

You’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil (“EVOO” if possible)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely minced  (I used extra, like 3-4 cloves)
  • 2 1/2 c fresh mushrooms (I minced mine, the original recipe calls for 1/4″ thick slices)
  • 2 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 c corn kernels (I use frozen, but leave it out at room temperature when I begin gathering ingredients)
  • 5 oz  power greens mix (I prefer finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

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