Archives for January 2014

18 healthful snacks, better for you, better for your wallet

It’s hard to resist the urge to snack, especially when those mid-afternoon cravings hit and dinner is still hours away. If there are kids in the picture, then snacks are almost a necessary part of the day’s meal plan.

When you choose healthful, whole food snacks you don’t have to feel guilty when you reach for a quick bite to eat between meals. Best of all, you can save a lot of money by passing up the potato chips and packaged snacks for simple, homemade snacks that are better for you and better for your wallet.

healthy snacks simple bites

 

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Homemade Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

Over the years, I’ve spent a goodly amount of time dabbling in homemade nut butters (several of my favorites are in my first cookbook, Food in Jars).

I really enjoy taking a product that’s most often brought home from the store and translating it into something I can make at home. It’s an added bonus that the homemade version is almost always fresher, made with better ingredients, and contains less sugar.

roasted sunflower seeds

My most recent batch was inspired by a comment a friend made online recently. Her daughter’s favorite sandwich was Nutella on whole wheat bread but her new school had a strict nut-free policy (understandable with all the allergies kids have these days). They were looking for a lunchbox replacement but were coming up empty.

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

So you cook a Sunday ham, and are left with the bone. That night the temperature plummets (yet again), your kids get sick, and your husband is about to leave on business for a few days. Then, you realize there is no other alternative than to make split pea soup and plenty of it to last into the week.

That was my thought process last Monday. This soup saved dinner, and a few lunches, while we were housebound, nursing fevers and the sniffles. It came together quickly – a literal dump and stir of ingredients in the slow-cooker – and simmered all day while we snuggled under quilts and read books.

While my boys may have been initially put off by the colour, their spoons were scraping the bottom of their bowls before long. Split pea soup just feels right this time of the year, especially when paired with skillet cornbread.

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What do oatmeal and Jamie Oliver have in common?

I‘m not so good at beginning new things in life. I worry about failing and not meeting standards; I tend to circle projects for a while, observing, and yes, dragging my feet.

Because I know this about myself, I was eager to get my first post for Jamie Oliver published and behind me. I have plenty to say on the subject of kids in the kitchen and, once started, should have no trouble making myself at home in my new digs.

It would have been far too easy to obsess over a topic for that first blog post, so I enlisted Noah to help me come to a quick decision together: Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal. It’s a hot breakfast that we love, and he can prepare it nearly all by himself, so it was perfect for kicking off a series on cooking with family.

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Stir Fried Noodles with Chicken and Snow Peas

There’s a lot to be said about the days before school started. Looking back, everything seemed so easy, and I realize now that I might have been a bit too overconfident on my household and parenting skills.

Once the kindergartener is home, we scurry about to get homework done — I’m still in shock kindergarteners have homework — while also trying to keep the baby entertained during his fussy time, and get dinner ready so I can ensure the kids eat a full meal before bedtime creeps up on us.

I like to meal plan, but even the best plans go astray when kids are thrown into the mix. Luckily, I keep a few ideas in my back pocket, like stir fry.

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