Travel snacks and an easy Chocolate-Oat Cereal Bar recipe

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I‘m looking at suitcase on the floor, overflowing with light and airy garments with flower prints on them, white sandals, and a stack of Danny’s T-shirts. Just above, a window looks out on to our snowbound backyard, frosted white like a slicked sheet cake. Something does not quite compute.

BUT. Our flights are booked and an enormous villa is rented on a quiet beach near a remote fishing town on Mexico’s West Coast. Yes, we’re headed South! My three siblings and I are finally pulling off a tropical getaway that we’ve only been talking about for, oh, five or six years. Together with our families, we’re flying into Mexico from all over North America for a ten-days vacation together, Wimbush-style.

Here’s what we’re leaving behind…

snow collage

I’m so excited to bring my children back to the beach and just let them run. It will all be worth the massive effort required to coordinate such a trip for a family of five. Ugh. Toiletries in Ziplock? Not so much, but packing travel snacks is my specialty.

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Breakfast on the Go (Recipe: Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait)

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, our mornings get rushed and we don’t have time to sit down for breakfast. If you have a teenager you probably have difficulty getting them out of bed in the morning, which usually means breakfast is scarfed down at the last minute, or skipped completely.

Your kids can still enjoy a healthy breakfast while riding on the bus or once they get to their destination. If you have something to hand them on their way out the door, you can be at ease knowing they’ll have a healthy start to their day.

On the Go Breakfast Ideas

  • granola bars
  • ham, eggs and cheese layered on scones, toast or bagels to make a sandwich
  • yogurt parfaits in plastic cups
  • muffins and quick breads
  • breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, meat/beans, veggies and cheese wrapped in a tortilla)
  • smoothies
  • breakfast pizzas (english muffins topped with ham, pineapple and cheese)
  • bagel with cream cheese and jam
  • breakfast panini (ie: bacon and cheese)
  • sweet breakfast wraps (banana, peanut butter and honey wrapped in a tortilla /or cream cheese and fresh slices of fruit)
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwich with slices of banana
  • fruit
  • scrambled eggs stuffed in a pita with toppings of choice
  • fruit and nut muesli in a plastic cup or mason jar

Anything that can be packaged up and travel well will make a good take-away breakfast. Be creative. [Read more…]

Berry Granola Bars

DIY Granola Bars

One of the hardest things for a mother to do is to get out of the front door. There is so much to juggle – Are the kids dressed? Teeth brushed? Shoes and socks on? Do you have all the pertinent papers, backpacks, sack lunches, and money? Do you have the car keys, sunglasses, and cell phone? And, by the way, did you remember to change out of your pajamas?

Remembering all that plus getting a nutritious breakfast in everyone can be overwhelming. But don’t be discouraged. There are strategies for feeding your family that don’t involve a drive-through window. One of them is to plan ahead and make some food bars.

They can be eaten one-handed while running a comb through a child’s hair, signing a permission slip, or while waiting at a stop light. Unlike the one-handed breakfast from the drive-through, these granola bars have lots of anitioxidants, whole grain goodness,  no processed sweeteners and a lot less fat. [Read more…]

Spices 101: Common Myths Debunked (recipe: Chai-Spiced Granola)

An ‘Introduction to Spices’ would be an entire module in cooking school if I were the instructor. I think spices are that important to cooking.

Proper selection and addition of good quality spices to a dish can elevate the flavor of a dish with little effort and minimal cost; that alone is reason to learn how to use spices and incorporate them into daily cooking.

What is a spice? Any plant material that modifies the flavor of foods. A spice can be a root, bark, various seeds, dried fruits and plenty of fresh and dried herbs. All of these ingredients appeal to individuals in different ways and that is why the best spice is the one that makes your senses dance. [Read more…]