Recipes

Banana Flax Seed Muffins

I can’t believe we are already having to think about back to school.  Not only does it mean summer is over and cooler weather is on the way but it also means back to packing lunches. I am always looking for new go-to recipes to make mornings easier.  This recipe for banana flax seed muffins is definitely one of my go-to recipes.

This recipe can be used for either muffins or a loaf, you just need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.  It’s super easy to prepare and you can add chocolate chips or nuts for variation.

Just start with those browning bananas that we all tend to have sitting around and mash them up well in a large bowl.  When I have a bunch of bananas, I will make multiple batches and then throw them in the freezer and just pull them out when needed.

You then add the rest of our ingredients and mix it all together well.  The flax seed will give you that extra boost of Omega-3 and fiber and even the pickiest eater won’t even know it’s in there.

If making muffins, distribute the mixture evenly into a well greased pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown.  If adding chocolate chips, sprinkle the top of each muffin with a few chips.

If making a loaf pour the mixture into a well greased pan and bake for approximately 55 minutes until golden brown.   If adding chocolate chips or nuts, stir into mixture prior to pouring into pan.  Use a toothpick to test that the loaf is fully cooked.

Let cool for approximately 10-15 and remove from pan to cool completely.  If making multiple batches to freeze, you can put them in plastic freezer bags but I have had better luck storing them in a freezer safe storage container.

These muffins are great for busy morning breakfasts when the kids are back to school and if you do not add nuts, they also make a great snack to send in their lunches.

banana bread muffins

Banana Flax Seed Muffins

These easy muffins/bread are great for back to school breakfasts or lunches. Make a few batches in advance, as they freeze well.

  • 2 to 3 bananas (very ripe, peeled)
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used a combination of brown and white sugar)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (extract)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used a combination of whole wheat and white)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

    Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash up bananas.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. In a well greased pan, add mixture. If making muffins, cook for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick comes clean. If making a loaf, cook for approximately 55 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes in pan Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Recipes

Easy, Peasy Pinwheels For Your Next Party

The summer weather is finally here and outdoor parties and gatherings are now in full swing.  Looking for something that you can bring to these events that is not only easy but will wow the other guests?  These easy, peasy  pinwheels are the perfect choice.

The best part is you can change up the ingredients to suit certain dietary restrictions or tastes.  Whether you want a spicy kick or something more suited for kids, the possibilities are endless.

All you need is your favorite brand of tortilla shells, spreadable cream cheese, veggies (or fruit) and you are ready to go.   I tend to go with a flavored cream cheese to add even more flavor but plain is fine as well.

The possibilities are endless with this recipe.  In this particular recipe, I am showing my version of a spicy veggie pinwheel.

Eash Peasy Pinwheels

These pinwheels are super easy to make and can be made so many different ways to suit the tastes of any group.

  • 4 each Tortilla shells (I used the larger size ones)
  • 1 package spreadable cream cheese (jalapeno flavor )
  • 1 unit red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 unit green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2 each green oions (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup black olives (finely chopped)
  1. You can use basically any flavor cream cheese you wish and any combination of veggies/fruit to suit your taste. These are the ingredients for my spicy veggie version.
  2. Put all the chopped up veggies in a medium size bowl and add cream cheese. Mix well.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each of the tortilla, leaving some space at the edge so it doesn’t spill out when rolled.
  4. Roll up each tortilla as tightly as possible without the ingredients spilling out. (Will resemble a cigar).
  5. Wrap each rolled up tortilla in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Just prior to using, cut up each tortilla into bite sized pinwheels. Voila, ready to serve.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Meals made easy with Hello Fresh

Disclosure:  Although items is this post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are my own.  This post may also contain affiliate links.

Most parents will agree that making healthy meals after a long day at work can sometimes feel like more work than the 8 hour day they just put in.  Some meals may be easier than others to pull together but let’s be honest, we can’t rely on grilled cheese and soup every night now can we?  Once in a while having everything pulled together for me so all I have to do is assemble and cook makes meal time a real pleasure.

I have seen advertisements for several different meal delivery services and the concept to me was something I knew I wanted to try.  Luckily, Hello Fresh is now available in Canada and I couldn’t wait to give it a go.   Having meals delivered to my door with all the ingredients in their own little box ready for me to prepare sounded amazing after a hard day at work.

Meals delivered in a box

Hello Fresh has several different plans available based on your family size and dietary needs.  And each week there are different menus for you to try.  That is one of the key features that I loved about them.  I love trying new recipes to add to our rotation but hate buying all the different ingredients that we don’t normally use unless I know it’s going to be a winner.  This way you can try new meal ideas without a ton of leftovers that you will never use again sitting in your cupboards.  And you’re not locked into having deliveries every week, you can put your account on hold whenever you need/want to.

Meals in box

Because it is just my son and I, we got the Pronto Box and each box made the perfect size meals to feed the both of us.  I really liked the portion size as it was just enough to make us both feel full but not overstuffed. I have a bad habit of making too much food and it going to waste.  The produce and meat were as fresh as if I had picked up from the grocery store myself that day.

The 3 meals that we enjoyed were the BBQ Sausage Skewers, Dukkah Steak and  Honey Sesame Chicken.  I can’t even say which one was my favorite because I loved each one of them.  My son tried the sausage skewers and the sesame chicken and he says the chicken was his favorite.

The one thing that I really liked is that each of the meals came with a detailed recipe card so that I can recreate these meals again using our own ingredients.  meals recipes

This service was everything I had hoped it would be.  I plan to order again in the coming weeks and especially come the fall when we’re back to school and dinner time can be a little more hectic.

If you want to try this service, use the code ABOYANDHISMOM at checkout and for $30 off the first and second box ($60 total) that you order.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Meal planning and why it’s so important

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than needing to start dinner and either not having a clue what to make or opening the refrigerator door and not having half of the ingredients for what you want to make.  That is why meal planning is so important to me.

Meal planning - what to make
I have no idea what to make here!

It basically comes down to 4 reasons why meal planning it a must in my home:

  1.  Saves Money

    In my case, I am a single parent on a single income, so the last thing I want to do is waste money on food that is  going to sit in the cupboard or refrigerator uneaten.  Having a list of only the items that I need for the upcoming meals means there is less temptation to buy those chocolate cookies that I don’t need or those extra items that I really don’t need just because they are on sale.  Using an app like Flipp is also great so that you can price match the items that are on your list instead of driving around store to store to get the best deals.

  2. Less Waste

    There is nothing worse than cleaning out my refrigerator each week and tossing out dollar after dollar of food that went to waste because it didn’t get used.  I have to admit, I was really slack about meal planning the past few weeks.  My refrigerator always had food in it, but never exactly what I needed when it came down to it at meal time.  This week with a meal plan ready to go, I started to clean out what was now inedible to make room for the new groceries that I needed to buy.  I was completely annoyed with myself at the amount of waste and the dollars that I could have used elsewhere that was going into the compost bin.

    Less waste with meal planning
    This isn’t even the half of it. So much waste
  3. Healthier Meals

    I don’t know about you, but without a meal plan in place, it is WAY to easy jump in the car and head out for a meal.  With meal planning, you can ensure you have vegetables or salad as a side dish for your meal and that the meal itself is made with healthier ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong, we love a good mac & cheese dinner or hot dogs on occasion but I need to make sure there is a healthy side to go along with it.  I am firm believer of everything in moderation but if you don’t have things readily available, it is way to easy to go to the quick and easy meals that aren’t always the healthiest.

  4. Less Stress

    When you’ve gotten home from work and the kids are now home from school and you have an evening full of homework, extra-curricular activities, getting ready for the next day and you then add trying to get a nutritious meal on the table that the whole family will eat, the stress levels can go thru the roof.  If you at least have a game plan in place for dinner and all the items you need to pull it all together, hopefully you can reduce the stress that comes along with dinner time.  Having a list means that crockpot stew that needs to cook all day can easily be on the menu if you have the ingredients ahead of time and can get it going the morning you want to have it.

So each week, I sit down and make a list of the meals we will eat and make my grocery list accordingly.  Depending on our schedule for the upcoming week, I either assign a specific meal to each day of the week or plan on a certain number of meals and pick one of said meals each day.  The latter, only works well if we don’t have a lot going on and the meals don’t have a huge prep time.

If meal planning isn’t something you have done in the past, I highly suggest you give it a try.  It could make a world of difference.

Recipes

Warm up to a Hearty Harvest Stew

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the first hints of fall arrives I want to get my crockpot out and start making a warm, hearty stew.  With the fall harvest, there are so many great options to use.  My recipe for stew is pretty basic and is more stepping stone, if anything.  I start with the basics of stewing beef, beef broth and an onion soup mix and go from there.  It’s kind of like a kitchen sink version, where I basically add whatever I have available to me at the time.  Aside from the ingredients listed below, I have also used corn, butternut squash, zucchini and even canned tomatoes before.  It really depends on what you like and have available.  I find it’s hard to go wrong with stew.

After a long, cold day, it’s nice to come home to something warm and ready to go for dinner.  All you need to do is serve the stew with a nice, crusty bread and you’ve got a meal that everyone in your family can enjoy. This recipes freezes well and makes for a perfect warm me up lunch for the family on a cold winter day.

 

Hearty Harvest Stew

A hearty, warm, filling stew that can easily tailored to your suit any taste buds

  • 1 lb stewing beef
  • 1 carton beef broth
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 whole onions, chopped
  • 3 whole carrots, chopped
  • 2 whole sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons flour, divided
  1. Cut stewing beef, if necessary, into smaller, bite size pieces. Coat in flour and cook in frying pan until brown. Does not need to be fully cooked, just browned.
  2. Chop up all your veggies and put them into your crockpot.
  3. Once beef has browned, add to crockpot with broth and onion soup mix. Add enough water to almost cover the contents.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you wish the stew to have a thicker, more gravy like consistency, mix 2-3 tablespoons of flour with water to make a paste. Stir in to stew approximately 20 minutes prior to serving to thicken.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Making dinner healthier with Catelli

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

I don’t know about you but coming home from work and preparing dinner after a long day can sometime the LAST thing that I want to do. It’s on days like that, that I am often tempted to order in. But I know that I need to be making healthier choices not only for me but for my son, so I put the phone away and head to my kitchen.
Pasta dishes are often a go to in my home. There are so many different ways to prepare it from an easy spaghetti and meatballs to something a little more creative.  And now thanks to Catelli, they are helping make these meals even healthier with their Smart Veggie and SuperGreens line of pastas.

The Smart Veggie line of pastas offer a white pasta, which we can all agree on are easier to get our kids to eat, but each serving contains a 1/2 serving of vegetables and the benefits of fibre.  When I can sneak in veggies in a meal, I am always happy.  I want to see if the pasta tasted really any different than regular white pasta so I made a simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs.  Nothing to fancy that could possibly drown out the taste of the pasta. My son can seem to spot a hidden vegetable from a mile away so I was curious to see if he noticed anything different.  This pasta tasted great.  No hint of anything other than regular spaghetti and my son enjoyed it too.   If I can get extra veggies and fibre into my meals with the same great taste, I will definitely use this pasta going forward.

smart-pasta

pasta-and-meatballs

The SuperGreens pasta is an all natural pasta made with 100% Canadian wheat and five green vegetables.  As the name suggests, this pasta is green so there is no hiding the fact from kids that there are vegetables in this one.  Surprisingly enough my son did not give me much push back when I suggested we try it for dinner.   I wanted to try something a little more creative  and I made a quick chicken and broccoli alfredo with the pasta.  This dish is normally one of my son’s favorite and even with the green pasta he ate it right up.  He even commented that it didn’t taste a bit like vegetables.  I will definitely adding this pasta to our rotation of meals.

supergreens-pasta

alfredo-pasta

Finding new ways to make old meals healthier is always a plus in my home and they new Catelli pastas do the trick!

Recipes · Uncategorized

Versatile Veggie/Ham Egg “burgers”

 

finished

After going through my refrigerator the other day and was seeing what I had to use up before they went bad,  I found had a 1/2 dozen eggs,  a bunch of veggies and some leftover ham.  Also wanting to be able to make something I could use for several meals this week, I through together these egg “burgers”.  Using a larger muffin tin, the end product was a burger size patty that I find gives it much more versatility.    They can be eaten as a main with some additional veggies on the side or as part of a sandwich/burger.

These freeze quite nicely and can be reheated easily in the microwave or thawed overnight and reheated in the oven.

With harvest season soon upon us, there are so many variations of this recipe that you could make depending on what veggies you have on hand.  I have seen similar recipes where grated cheese has been added.  For this recipe, I opted out of the cheese, planning to add it to my “burger” instead.

 

Veggie/Ham Egg "burgers"

Stuffed with veggies and ham, this egg “burger” can be used for any meal of the day.

  • 6 each eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet peppers ((I used a bit of each for a variety of color))
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced spinach
  • 1/3 cup diced ham
  • 1 tsp spices ((I used Epicure's Fine Herbs))
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Dice sweet peppers, onions, spinach and ham.
  2. In a medium heated pan with a bit of Pam, add the peppers and saute for a minute or 2, then add the onion and ham. After another minute or 2 add the spinach. Stir and remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk and spices.
  4. Pour equal amounts of the egg mixture into a well greased muffin tin. I used the larger muffin tin (6 per pan) as I want the end product more “burger” size. Add equal amounts of the veggie/ham mixture to each muffin.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.
  6. Let sit until cooled and remove from pan. If you wish to freeze, let them cool completely.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Dinner time made easy with Sausage and Penne

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than coming home after a long day at work and having to start a whole new job at figuring out what to make for dinner.  I would much rather be spending my time with my son and hearing how his day was than over a hot stove.  He tends to be a picky eater too and that doesn’t help either.

I love it when I can throw together a meal that is not only quick and easy but tastes great too.  I am sure all you other Mom’s (and Dad’s) can agree with me on this one.    I am forever scouring Pinterest and my fellow bloggers sites for new and exciting dinner ideas.    My recipe for Sausage and Penne is more of a kitchen sink kind of meal than an actual “recipe”.  It can vary from each time I make it depending on what I have in the fridge at the time.

This recipe actually came about at me from a suggestion of a friend.  That particular evening I was planning to cook sausages and made a comment about how my son didn’t like them barbecued.  She made a comment about crumbling the sausage and adding it to pasta and voila, this recipe has become a staple in our home.

I usually take 4 sausage links and remove the skin from them.  (I tend to use 2 regular Italian and 2 hot Italian so it’s not too spicy.)  I break it up in a frying pan and cooked it thoroughly.

20160422_171948_HDR

At the same time, I start boiling water for the pasta.  My preference is penne but you can use whatever you have handy in the cupboard.  Like I said, it’s a kitchen sink version.  Never the same twice.    I used about 2 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta.  This usually does enough for both of us to eat and leftovers for my lunch for a day or two.

20160422_173826_HDR

After the pasta is cooked and drained, I add the cooked (and well drained) sausage into the pot with the pasta.  Now this is where you can get creative with the recipe.  I then add about  2/3 of a jar of pasta sauce and combine everything really well.

My son and I like cheese with our pasta so depending on what I have on hand, I add it in.  This time I added a large handful of shredded mozzarella and about a 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese.

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I put the pot back on low-medium heat and stir everything together for about 5 minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted and everything is hot.

20160422_174210_HDR

Top it off with a little of the grated mozzarella and a little Parmesan and serve with some veggies and dip on the side or a nice roll and voila, dinner is served!  It’s a easy dinner that we both enjoy.  Most often seconds are requested.

Sure this isn’t a rocket science recipe and has been done a million different ways before, but if you are like me and not the most creative in the kitchen after a long day at work, ideas like this are very much appreciated in my world.

20160422_174725_HDR

Sausage and Penne

  • 4 links Sausages (I used 2 regular and 2 hot Italian)
  • 2.5 cups Pasta (I generally use Penne but anything is fine)
  • 2/3 jar Pasta sauce
  • 1 handful Shredded mozarella
  • 1/2 cup feta
  1. Remove skin from sausages. Break up and brown in frying pan until fully cooked.
  2. Boil water and cook pasta until soft. Drain completely.
  3. With pot removed from heat, add drained sausage to pasta. Stir well.
  4. Add pasta sauce to mixture and mix all together.
  5. Add cheese and return pot to medium-low heat.
  6. Stir and heat until cheese is melted and sauce is hot.
  7. Top with additional mozzarella or Parmesan (optional) and serve!