Thursday, January 16, 2014

6 Healthy After School Snacks

6 Healthy After School Snacks

Are you trying to find a way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s life? Are you looking for some healthy, time-conscious snacks to whip up for an after-school treat? If so, these six recipes are sure to fit the bill!

1.)    Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits

Put some plain yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass, dessert glass, or bowl. Top it with some blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Sprinkle some granola on top (my family’s favorite is the Bear Naked vanilla almond, but you can use whatever you want.) Repeat the layers. Serve immediately. This snack is not only incredibly healthy, but it’s ready in mere minutes!



 image source
2.)    Baked Zucchini Sticks

My kids have always loved zucchini sticks, but I’ve tried to serve them sparingly because they’re fried. After a bit of research, however, I found a recipe for baked zucchini sticks. Now I can make them without feeling guilty. 

Baked Zucchini Sticks


  • 3 large zucchini
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs - my famiy loves the Panko brand
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Spray Olive Oil
  • Optional: marinara sauce or ranch dressing


  1. preheat oven to425F.
  2. Peel cucumbers and slice them in half length-wise, and then continue halving them to make sticks.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk 2 eggs together.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large shallow bowl, combine ½ cup plain bread crumbs (my family loves the Panko brand), ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  6. Bread the sticks by dunking them in the egg mixture and then completely covering them with the breadcrumb mixture.
  7. Place breaded zucchini sticks on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.
  8. Continue this process until all the zucchini sticks are breaded.
  9. Spray each zucchini stick with olive oil.
  10. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
  11. Using a spatula, flip each zucchini stick and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
  12. These sticks are great served with either marinara sauce or Ranch dressing.

 License: Creative Commons image source
3.)    Mozzarella Basil Bruschetta

For a simple and healthy snack, chop 1 large tomato into tiny pieces. Combine it in a bowl with 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cut 6 slices of Italian or French bread in half so that there are 12 pieces of bread. Spoon 1 tablespoonful of the tomato mixture over the bread; top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese and remaining tomato mixture. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. These snacks are great, either as an after-school treat or as an appetizer during an Italian night.



4.)    Tomato Guacamole Dip

In a small bowl, mash 2 medium ripe avocados with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Stir in 1 chopped tomato, 3 tablespoons sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon minced garlic. Cover and refrigerate for a few minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. To make this tasty dip even more nutritious, serve it with blue tortilla chips. Your kids are sure to enjoy this tasty guac!



5.)    Fruit Salsa

In a bowl, combine 2 cups chopped strawberries, 2 medium chopped, peeled apples, and 2 medium peeled and chopped kiwi. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple jelly, and ¼ cup orange juice. Drizzle over the fruit and toss lightly to coat. You can serve this with graham crackers or cinnamon chips.
 License: Creative Commons image source
6.)    Nutella Banana Treats

Last but not least, this recipe from Real Simple is sure to delight! Spread 2 tablespoons of Nutella over a graham cracker. Top with banana slices. For more healthy, simple recipes like that one, check out Real Simple’s link.




Andrea Smith is a wife and mother of three. She enjoys finding creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into her kids’ lives.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Preparing Homemade Baby Food

7 Essential Kitchen Tools For Preparing Baby Homemade Foods


All mothers tend to make delicious and healthy homemade meals for their babies. They put in a lot of effort, love and care in doing so. It’s important to use some tools so as to make the entire process smooth, hassle free and save time, where possible. As it is, with babies, mothers barely get much time to themselves, with the use of these 7 tools; they can free up some more time as well as make healthy food easily-


  1. Ice Cube Trays – There are various types of ice cube trays available in the shops these days. Some are designed in cool shapes like stars, moons, triangles, fruits, etc. These fun shapes make it interesting for the little ones when they see these new shaped objects in their healthy shakes, milk or juices.Hence, it’s important to have few ice cube trays in nice new shapes and different sizes when you have a baby in the house. You can also freeze baby food into these nicely shaped ice cubes which will make food more interesting for babies and you can defrost it in small portions.


  1. Potato Masher – Everyone loves potatoes and they are perhaps the most used items in a baby meal. So, getting your hands on a jazzy new potato masher will not only reduce your time in doing it manually, but, it will also ensure the potatoes are mashed properly so that it’s easier for babies to eat and digest.


  1. Steamer Basket – Steamed veggies form an important part of a baby’s diet. Steamed vegetables are healthy and easy to steam in a steamer basket. It’s hassle free as they are fast to steam in and easy to clean up after.


  1. Baby food processor – This is perhaps the most essential tool of all. It helps to cook, puree and even helps in keeping food warm for a long time. So basically it does the work of steaming healthy veggies and then turns them into puree. It is important that you do some research to find out the best food processor, which will fit your needs, before you buy one.


  1. Strainer – You can use a strainer to remove peels from a variety of fresh, healthy, homemade foods for your bundle of joy. When you puree veggies, put it in a strainer to remove any peels or veggie parts which didn’t puree properly.


  1. Measuring Spoons – Measuring spoons are important to keep track of what you are feeding your baby. Most recipes will need a specific amount of each ingredient in them so a set of different sized measuring spoons will fit the bill.


  1. Freezer Bags – Freezer bags are utmost important so as to organize your fridge. Once you have frozen baby food into ice cubes, you can put them into different freezer bags. Date the bags and mention contents so that you don’t have to go on a searching spree in your freezer, every time your baby is hungry.


So these 7 kitchen tools are indeed essential for any household with a baby. Keep them on hand and your baby can enjoy healthy home cooked meals all the time.



Author Bio:

Julie Roy is writing on behalf of covering a wide range of food processor reviews and using guide.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Easy Sandwich Recipes


Sandwich Recipes


Who says sandwiches have to be limited to lunchmeat or PB&J? These flavorful and innovative sandwiches are easy to prepare but big on flavor. They’re sure to spice up your brown bag lunch or add some pizzazz at dinnertime! If you’re wanting to try some creative alternatives to normal lunchtime sandwiches or pique your family’s interest at the dinner table, these are the perfect sandwiches to try!

Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches

For a yummy and healthy sandwich to take to work, try a cashew chicken salad sandwich!

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, ½ cup salted cashews, ½ cup chopped celery, and ½ cup drained mandarin oranges.


In a small bowl, combine ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper.


Add to chicken mixture and toss to coat.


To serve, spread about ½ cup chicken salad on a croissant or dinner roll. Top with sliced tomatoes or lettuce leaves, if desired. Eat some chopped vegetables and fresh fruits alongside for a tasty and healthy meal! Check out Real Simple for more healthy yet hearty sandwich options.



Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with Chive Pesto

Whether you’re a vegetarian or just someone who enjoys trying new recipes, these flavor-packed sandwiches are a delicious change-of-pace! Try this delicious and healthy sandwich from Big Girls Small Kitchen if you’re looking for something stellar to add to your Meatless Monday roster.


Preheat the oven to 450F.


In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 medium peeled, cubed eggplant, 2 medium cubed red onions, ¼ cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt.


Toss until coated.


Turn out onto a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.


Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.


Use a spatula to turn the vegetables over so they will brown on the other side.


Return to the oven for another 10-20 minutes, until the vegetables are brown and caramelized.


Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with1/2 of a juiced lemon and 2 tablespoons chives.


Place the vegetables on slices of sourdough or white bread, and add white bean spread dip. Check out other vegetarian sandwich options for something low on fat but big on flavor.



Barbecue Chicken Pockets

These easy-to-make wraps are filled with barbecue chicken and cheddar goodness. They’re great to fix for kids on a school night or make to take to work for lunch.


To create the wraps, put a little olive oil into a medium skillet over medium heat.


Throw in four handfuls of fresh spinach or other greens, and cook until the greens are wilted (2-5 minutes, depending on the type).


Remove to a bowl and use a paper towel to squeeze out the oil so that your wrap isn’t soggy.


Place 2 white or wheat wraps or tortillas on 2 separate plates and microwave for 10 seconds or until pliable.


If desired, spread a little mayonnaise or mustard in the middle of each.


Place 1/3 cup cooked, chopped chicken on each wrap, and then drizzle with barbecue sauce.


Sprinkle ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese on each wrap.


Wrap up, tucking in the sides.


Turn the skillet to medium-low and place one wrap in the pan, seam side down.


Cook for 5 minutes or until browned, making sure that it doesn’t burn.


Flip to the other side and cook for additional 4-5 minutes or until browned.


Repeat with the second wrap.


Cut each wrap in half and serve.




Kendra Smithi is a food blogger who enjoys trying and creating new recipes.

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