Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad with Nuts, Berries & A Honey-Cider Vinaigrette

While a few simple alterations and ingredient swaps could have this Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad showing up in it’s Fall Sunday best, this version still says Spring to me– so that’s what I’m rolling with. Crisp, sliced apples, walnuts, berries, and shredded sharp white cheddar on a bed of fresh baby spinach. A homemade honey vinaigrette is drizzled over top and it’s all lovingly tossed together at the supper table into a complete meal in your salad bowl.

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3 Ingredient, No-Bake Apple ‘Protein’ Brownies

Every year the hubs and I go on a ski trip. It’s usually our mutual anniversary present to ourselves. This year, we decided that we were old enough, and grown enough, that we didn’t need a ‘vacation’ all to ourselves. We decided to make it a family affair, with all three older kids tagging along. For me, that also meant meal planning ahead of time, and even some cooking, because that ‘oops’ moment where you forgot to pack that one ingredient and now you can’t make dinner is a lot more expensive when your party goes from 2 to 5 people. And snacks. Oh my sweet Lord, the snacks! Every 30 minutes, one of my teens is crying they’re hungry, and if you don’t feed them right away? That Snickers commercial we’ve all seen? My hangry boys make that look like a caricature. So I made and brought snacks. As many snacky things as I could get my hands on. Thank God for the snacks! And that was part of the prayer/mantra I repeated while my knuckles were white because I was gripping the door handle so hard on the last hour leg of our trip to the ski resort this weekend.

Apple Protein 'Brownies'

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Black Pepper & Parmesan Kale Chips

It’s that time of year again for our older kids. We’re over half way through the school year, and the scheduling sheets are coming home for parental approval for their course load next year.We usually let the kids pick their own electives, making sure to talk to them abut why they’re interested in that, etc. It’s almost always a well-thought out decision, and thankfully not an ‘I heard it was an easy A’. Other than them actively considering their options, we do have two other requirements. One, that they take a foreign language in high school, whichever most appeals to them, and stick with it until they graduate. It’s an invaluable life-skill, and a great way to expose them to a different culture. Luckily, this rule’s never been a sticking point, and we’ve all learned a lot about Germany in just a few years. Turns out two of them have a knack for it.

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Crispy, Oven Baked Green Bean Fries

Have you ever had the opposite of a picky eater? A kid who from the get-go has eaten their greens and loved them too? I’m talking one of their first foods being salad, and the less dressing the better. Son # 4 would eat green beans like they were French fries. Something I, obviously, encouraged. And then I got to thinking, why not? Let’s just roll with that.

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Pomegranate, Feta, and Chive Pinwheels

Everywhere we go everything is decorated. And while there may be a whole spectrum of ‘holiday’ colors, red and green are by far the stars of this show. One thing I don’t see a lot of? Festive dishes.

Hold on, let me stop you right there. I’m not talking about the traditional holiday favorites. Or even all the cute ones made to look like Holiday favorites, like our Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread or our Christmas Tree Pancakes. Those are a given. I’m talking about ‘decorated’ festive dishes made specifically with Christmas colors in mind. My Mom used to say that at least half of her enjoyment in a dish wasn’t just taste or even presentation, but about the colors and whether or not they spoke to her. She loves a vibrant presentation, and I can honestly say that I’ve come to appreciate one as well.

Pomegranate & Feta Pinwheels 2

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Cajun Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The fun doesn’t stop when we’ve finished painting, carving, decorating, whatever-ing our pumpkins, and have packed everything away. Hell, who am I kidding, yes it does. But everybody loves Mom’s homemade pumpkin seeds so they have to just suck it up and help me through the painfully slow process of rinsing and completely separating the seeds from every last bit of pumpkin goop.

Despite the dragging feet, and whining the whole way, in the end they’re always happy to be able to enjoy the finished product.

Cajun Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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Healthy Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats

One night, my defenses had been systematically whittled down enough that, I let the youngest son have the dregs of my Mountain Dew Voltage. It was in a glass and he didn’t know exactly what it was other than some kind of soda, which he’s rarely allowed to have.
Handing me the empty glass to put in the sink: “Mom, that tasted like it gave me powers, super powers. I know it didn’t, but it tasted like super powers.”

Aaaaaaaaand, that is why you my son are not allowed to do The Dew. Like, ever.

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