Friday, September 25, 2015

Try something new, don't be afraid of what might challenge you, take a few chances, push yourself.       BECAUSE...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back to School

Back to School: Get your snack on!

It's back to school time for most kids. This year, I have two kids in school and two left at home. This first week, we are learning new dynamics, a new pace and getting back to a routine again.  Hopefully by week 4, we'll have the hang of things!

I like when the kids start school. It gives us all some space and personally, I get a little break from being the sole entertainer, scheduler, etc.! A few things I don't look forward to, are making breakfast, packing lunches, and rushing out the door. I've found that planning and having a schedule of what I'll prepare decreases my pains a bit! I don't want my kids to eat school lunch and I want them to learn how to create a healthy meal, so home lunch it is. Watch for a future post for some "out of the box" home lunch ideas and make ahead breakfasts.

In these first weeks of school, I am trying to stockpile healthy snacks to have accessible when the kids come home. The question, "Mom, I'm hungry. Can I have a snack?" gets really old!  I have found that establishing what the snack options are and having them in one spot, makes life easier.
  • I found this basket and decided it would be our snack basket. It sits on the counter where everyone can reach. Common snacks: fruit leather, fruit, pretzels, whole fruit snacks, crackers,  nuts, granola bars.

  • Then I have one drawer in the fridge designated to snack foods- like apples, string cheese, veggies, cottage cheese etc. Ideally, the fruit and veggies are washed, cut and ready to eat, but my kids are old enough to use the apple cutter and a small knife.

    Today I was trying out a new addition for the snack basket... initial plan- protein oat balls.... they turned into granola. We love to improvise in the kitchen! (I had a bit more than fit into my container, so I added a piece of fabric and the recipe.... makes a great teacher gift!)
Here's the recipe:

Protein Oat Energy Granola (bars or balls)
Adapted from

• 1 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
• 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• 6 cups quick oats
2 cups Rice Krispy cereal
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 cup raisins or Craisins
•  6 tablespoons chia seeds
Combine peanut butter and honey/syrup and heat to combine. Add remaining ingredients until coated and well mixed. Spread on a silicone mat or lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 min at 325 degrees. Remove, let cool, and store in an airtight container. Keeps up to 2 weeks.
* If you add another 1/4 cup honey and omit Rice Krispy cereal, you can form into balls or spread onto a baking sheet for granola bars. No need to bake in the oven. Place in fridge for 20 min until firm, cut into bars and place in plastic container or wrap individually in plastic wrap.
*Serve with low fat yogurt, sprinkle atop fruit, or simply eat plain.