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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BLT Salad Bowl

The youngest son has eaten ‘salad’ since almost the first day he could eat table food. And by salad, I meant plain chopped lettuce devoid of any fixin’s or toppings, or dressing of any kind. In the years since, his love for lettuce in a bowl has only grown and if it’s on a bed of green leaves, he’s game to try it. Thankfully, since he’s regressed with almost all other green veggies. More on that another day. 

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Crispy, Oven Baked Green Bean Fries

Not gonna lie, my favorite appetizer ever is probably TGI Friday’s green bean fries. We’ve given them a few healthier modifications to turn them into these Crispy, Oven Baked Green Bean Fries. It’s the best of both worlds! Now you can enjoy one of your favorite snacks, without any eater’s remorse.

Crispy, Oven Baked Green Bean Fries

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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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Healthy Peanut Butter Apple Dip

It’s that time of year again. No, not the one where the world’s dressed in white and everything you hear sounds like Christmas. The one before that. The one that starts right after Labor Day. The one that is harkened by different shades of purple, orange, and black. The one with candy, fruit, and gourds a plenty. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of posts featuring apples and oranges orange.

Healthy peanut butter apple dip

Even when it’s not Apple-picking season at our local orchard, we go through *at least* 10 lbs in a regular month. It’s one of the sons’ go to after school snacks. Pair it with a scoop of peanut butter, and they’re in heaven. BUT serve them with this dip? And you’re both going to be feeling great, because A. It’s delicious, and B. You know that it’s as nutritious as it is yummy.

The Best Ever, Healthy Peanut Butter Dip

Healthy peanut butter apple dip 2

Peanut Butter (we prefer using homemade, organic, or an all natural style since they’re of a thinner consistency)
Greek yogurt
Honey

Directions

  1. Mix together 1 part peanut butter, 1 part Greek yogurt, and 1/2 part honey, stirring until smooth and the dip’s a uniform consistency. Serve with sliced apples for dipping. The sons like apples, pretzels, and grapes with this dip. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks, just give it a good stir before serving as some separation is bound to happen.

Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Do you have a Mexican food stand at your local Farmers Market? Or a local food truck claiming authentic Mexican street fare? If the answer is yes to either of these, then you’ve probably come across this dish before. If not, you’re in for a treat.

The name literally means ‘toasted’ corn.

 Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 2

And it’s the smokey, sweet, spicy, and tangy off the cob cousin of elote (creamy, cheese coated corn on the cob), and it’s packin all those same feisty flavors. So, it does not disappoint.

Were just loving all these de-constructed versions of things recently, aren’t you? Convenience is priceless.

Even better this corn salad can be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect for a toasty, comforting side dish in the Winter months, and also easily adaptable for a cold corn salad to bring to any Summer barbecue.

Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 3

2 tbsp butter
2 cans corn, drained or 4 ears fresh corn cut off cob
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp Cojita cheese, finely crumbled (or shredded Mexican blend cheese)
1/8 tsp chili powder, to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
    2. Add the corn to the pan and allow it to slightly char on the bottom of the pan, then give it a good stir and let it char one more time.
    3. Stir in the jalapeno and remove the skillet from heat.
    4. Transfer the corn mixture into a medium/large bowl and add in the mayonnaise, garlic, onions, cilantro, lime juice, cheese, chili powder and avocado.
    5. Gently stir everything together just until evenly incorporated.
    6. Serve immediately (warm) or cover and refrigerate, serving when chilled, your choice. Both ways are great.

Apple, Red Onion, & Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

There’s nothing quite like the fresh air of the mountains, and living in Virginia we’re fortunate enough to be only a hop, skip, and a jump from the nearest range. A kind of peace comes over me and my heart is so full when I watch my boys be boys, especially the older they get. And our local (ish, it’s only 40 minutes away) orchard offers them every opportunity to embrace everything innately boyish about themselves.

apple picking 2015 7

Running up and down mountain sides? Check.

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Climbing trees? Check. (bonus points for ones over looking or over hanging mountain sides)

apple picking 2015 3

Eating fruit fresh picked from the vine? Check.

apple picking 2015 6

Dad letting you carry and use a (very dull) pocket knife to cut your own fresh slices of fruit? Check.

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(and obviously extra, extra bonus points for the use of sharp objects)

apple picking 2015

Every year we have a blast, and I love being able to look back on our memories forever captured in photos, but ever year we come home starving, and that’s despite the fresh cider and fresh cider donuts we gorge on while there.

This year, I dug right into one of our several bushels and had a piping hot batch of grilled naan-witches ready to serve in no time. Meltty, tangy sharp cheddar, the bite of red onion, crispy, sweet apple slices, and a bit of sass from our favorite honey mustard made this the perfect grilled cheese sandwich to celebrate one of our favorite Fall traditions.

Apple, Red Onion, Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

Apple, Red Onion, & Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

2 pieces of naan or other bread (use four pieces if the slices are small, I had 2 large naan pieces)
1 Apple, cored and sliced
sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
your favorite honey mustard

Directions

  1. Place a layer of cheddar cheese slices on the bottom piece of naan. Layer on sliced apples, then the sliced red onion, and then top that with another layer of cheddar cheese.

2. Spread a layer of honey mustard on the inside of the top piece of naan and then place that on top of apple, onion and cheese, closing the sandwich.

3. Place the sandwich in the panini press until heated through, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwich in half (if you’re using larger slices of naan) and serve.

Sous Chef Sunday: Monster Tongues (Marshmallow Pinwheels)

These may look gross, especially when you consider they’re called ‘tongues’, but they taste great and the kids (especially little boys- hey snails and puppy dog tails, right?) get a huge kick out of them. They’re perfect for a spooky Halloween treat, or even as a crafty snack to accompany one of our boys favorite children’s stories, I Need My Monster. Also, a great read when you’re gearing up for Halloween with its perfect mixture of scare and flair.

Monster Tongues

But, back to our tongue in cheek treat, perfect for any little monsters you may know. I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t love these fun treats, even the ones who squealed with equal parts disgust and delight.

And they’re e a s y, a mixture of marshmallows melted and stirred into flavored gelatin, and then is chilled in a pan before being rolled up and sliced into wiggly, giggly little pinwheels, err tongues.

Monster Tongues (Marshmallow Pinwheels)

Monster Tongues 2

1, 3 oz, package flavored jello gelatin (NOT pudding), any flavor
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Whisk the gelatin mix and warm water together in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for about 1-1/2 minutes, then whisk again until the gelatin is completely dissolved into the water.
    2. Stir in the marshmallows. Microwave everything on high again for another minute, or until the  marshmallows are partially melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk again, this time until the marshmallows are completely melted and stirred into the gelatin mixture. Pour the gelatin mix into an 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray.
    3. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, or until set. Run a sharp knife around edges of pan to loosen the gelatin from the pan. Starting at 1 edge, roll up the layered gelatin tightly, like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

recipe adapted from Kraft

Greek Quiche

I could easily eat Greek (or Mediterranean flavored ) food all day, every day. Not even joking.

I have yet to come across another flavor pallet, that is not only bursting at the seams and win robust favors jam-packed into every single bite, but all-around pretty healthy as well.

(I’m sire they’re out there, I just haven’t fallen for em yet.)

Greek Quiche

Quiche for dinner, you say? But with all that egg-y ness how can it be? The salty feta, the tangy olives, the juicy, sun dried tomatoes, the marinated artichoke, and all the traditionally Greek seasoning palette make for a Mediterranean flavor fest in every bite.

Greek Quiche 3

The egg is just the glue that binds it all together, and it doesn’t detract or disappoint. Far from it. Somehow it manages to get even better with every bite.

Greek Quiche

Greek Quiche 2

1 pre-made Quiche/Pie Crust
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a heaping 1/4 cup of Sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), roughly chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, or regular black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup Artichokes,marinated in oil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup of milk
4 eggs
3 tbsp fresh Oregano, diced, or 3 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

1. Unroll/roll out the people made pie crust and place it evenly into a 9 ” pie pan. Use your fingers to gently crimp the edges. This step is purely meant to be aesthetically pleasing, and totally optional!
2. In a medium-large skillet, add the olive oil over and heat over medium to medium high heat. Once hot, add in the diced onions and cook until they just start to turn translucent, or about 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and let them cook together for a few minutes longer. Remove the skillet from heat, add in the olives, artichokes stirring everything together, and let the mixture rest.
3. While the veggie mixture is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Add the cooked veggies to the prepared quiche crust. Top with the crumbled feta cheese.
4. Gently pour the egg mixture over top of the veggies, and don’t worry if it doesn’t quite completely cover everything or if it swamps the veggies, either way it will turn out fine.
5. Bake the quiche at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the top just starts to brown. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, everything is completely cooked through.
6. Remove the cooked quiche from the oven and let rest for a minute or two before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Do you share our love of all things Greek? Or Mediterranean flavored? Here’s a few other ideas you might like:

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing 3

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with Pickled Red Onions & Greek Yogurt Sauce

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Greek-Style Oven Fries

Greek-Style Oven Fries