Category Archives: Nutrition-Food-Recipes

New Favorite Treat Power Crunch Bar

I wanted to share a treat with you I found recently.  It has become a favorite at my home. It is called Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar.  Trust me when I say it is not like other protein bars.  It is like a decadent desert.

This is not a sponsored post.  I bought these bars on my own.  The first bar I tried, I had purchased a box of them online.  I was making a vitamin order and saw these on a huge sale in the fall and wanted to give them a try.  They had several flavors, but the only flavor they had left in stock that day was “mocha”.  So I ordered a small box of them to try.  Wow!  I was impressed.  It reminded me of the Italian dessert called tiramisu.

Then I found a few of the flavors at our local grocery store.  They didn’t have the “mocha” in stock, so I chose “original” chocolate, hoping it would be as good.  Oh my!  The “original” chocolate Power Crunch bar was even better than the “mocha” flavor.  These have now become a regular item on my grocery list.

My favorite way to enjoy them is to take a few minutes of quiet “mommy” time, usually reading while enjoying the Power Crunch bar with a cup of coffee or hot tea.  It is such a treat.  They have a delicious chocolate wafer crunch and in between the crunchy layers are more layers filled with a soft creamy chocolate filling and the entire outside is covered in chocolate.  It is like a gourmet desert!

I was eating one of these during my quiet mommy time today, and my son asked me to save him a bite.  So I agreed and asked if he would do a taste test and tell my viewers what he thinks about them.  He was more than willing.

From my son “These are delicious.  It is sweet, crunchy, silky, and chocolaty.  Can I have another one?”

Here are some the nutrition details:

  • Serving: 1 Bar (1.4 ounces)
  • Calories: 205
  • Protein: 13g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Iron 7%
  • Calcium 10%

These bars are low sugar with only 5g.  The sweetness comes from a combination of sugar, stevia, fructose, and monk fruit.  This combination provides just the right sweetness, but still keeps the sugar low.   The rest of the ingredients are basically whey protein, cocoa, vitamin enriched wheat flour, barley flour, oil, salt, lecithin, and a couple other items.  Here is a photo of the nutrition label on the box.

The texture and taste is hard to describe, it is clean tasting and enjoyable.  It kind of reminds me somewhat of a cookie called a chocolate wafer and a candy bar we enjoyed in my childhood called a “whatchamacallit bar”.  I haven’t had those treats for years.  That is the closest thing I can think of to describe how wonderful these bars taste.

I know 1 bar is a serving, but trust me when I say, it is hard to stop with just one bar.  They are so delicious, you will want to eat two!

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Cheesy Rice and Bean Tacos

I usually end up with left over beans and left over rice during the week.  I usually make a pot of chili beans each week and end up with a cup or two left over.  I also usually make a meal with chicken and rice or pot stickers and rice and end up with left over rice.

One way I like to use these leftovers is to create cheesy bean and rice tacos for lunch.  These sandwiches go together so fast because all of the main cooking is done.  All I need to do is reheat the leftovers, assemble them into a tortilla, and add some fresh veggies and fresh salsa on top.

Optional: Add diced apples or other fruits or veggies for various flavors.

This meal is packed with nutrition and full of flavor and textures.

I like to serve it with a side of tortilla chips and cheese sauce for even more delicious flavors and textures.

This meal is a family favorite at our house.   Hope you will give it a try too.

Be blessed!

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ABC Oatmeal

ABC Oatmeal

This is a delicious way to boost your nutritional intake.  It is like an “alphabet soup” of oatmeal.

Get your kids busy in the kitchen making this delicious simple meal.  Challenge your kids to add various ingredients that start with different letters of the alphabet.  You can set out the ingredients ahead of time, or let them go on a search in the kitchen to see what they can find.  It’s a fun way to get your kids to learn to make an easy but nutritious meal and learn to enjoy different flavors and textures.

To your favorite oatmeal recipe, add:

A:

apple, diced

almonds, slices, 2 Tbsp

B:

blueberries (dried, fresh, or frozen), 2 Tbsp

butter or coconut oil, 1 Tbsp

C:

cranberries (dried, fresh, or frozen), 2 Tbsp

chia seeds, 1 Tbsp

F:

flax seeds, 1 Tbsp

H:

hemp seed hearts, 1 Tbsp

S:

sea salt, just a pinch

W:

walnuts, 2 Tbsp

This oatmeal is rich and delicious and full of vitamins and minerals that will get you going and satisfy your hunger anytime of day.

Be blessed!

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Turkey Mayo Sandwich With Sprouts

Oh my goodness!  This meal is so delicious!  It is quick and makes a perfect lunch or meal anytime of day!

A few special ingredients went into making this sandwich:

  • Artisan Italian Round Bread from Le Brea Bakery is made with a special sourdough starter they proof the bread dough with for at least 24 hours before baking.  The result is a bread that is soft with a delicate texture and flavor, and the crust is golden brown and crunchy.  This bread is perfect for savory sandwiches and sweet delights. In this picture, my family has already eaten half the loaf. 
  • Broccoli Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods available.  Other sprouts such as alfalfa, are jam packed with nutrition too.  You can buy sprouts in most grocery stores or sprout the seeds yourself right on your kitchen counter.  I will share more about methods for sprouting your own nutritious greens such as broccoli, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, wheat, nuts, mixed seeds, and more in a future story.
  • Vegenaise is absolutely delicious!   Vegenaise is Non-GMO, Gluten Free, and Egg-Free.  I am not sure what other brands of egg-free Mayo are out there, but this one is easily available at finer grocery stores.  I would like to find an egg-free mayo also made without soy, but so far, this is the only egg-free brand I have tried so far and I am thrilled with the flavor.

Vegenaise and is made with canola oil, lemon juice, mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, brown rice syrup, soy protein, and sea salt.  It comes out smooth and creamy and really does taste better than traditional mayonnaise.

Ingredients

  • Artisan Italian Round Bread
  • Veganase
  • Turkey breast, oven roasted
  • Romaine Lettuce leaf
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Avacodo 1/2 cut into slices

Directions:

Use 2 slices of bread, or 1 slice cut in half, and toast if desired. Spread 1 tablespoon of Veganase onto bread. 

Add sliced Turkey breast.  You could use store bought deli meat, or use your leftover Turkey from your recent holiday meals.  Then top with romaine lettuce, avocado, and broccoli sprouts (or alfalfa sprouts, or sandwich sprout mix of your choice).  You could also add in other options like a slice of tomato, or red onion if desired.

I pared this delicious sandwich with cut up fresh veggies of red bell pepper, celery, carrots, sliced avocado, and yellow cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition Data for Sandwich and Veggies:

458 Calories, 28g Fat (0 transfat),  44g Carbs, 14g Fiber, 14g Protein, 19043IU Vitamin A, 51.9mg Vitamin C,  227mcg Folate, 3mg Iron, 125mg Calcium, 1488mg Potassium, 88.2mcg Vitamin K, 864mg Omega 3 Fatty Acids, 90.1mg Magnesium, 2.1mg Zinc, 9.4mcg Selenium.

This was a super quick and easy lunch to prepare and would be great to pack and take with you if you were on the go during meal time, or if you need to take lunches to work.   This is definitely a nutritious sandwich that could be enjoyed everyday of the week.

Enjoy!

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Campfire Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

A Kid Favorite meal at our house is Fettuccine Alfredo.  Whether you make your Alfredo sauce from scratch, or from a prepared noodle mix, the kids always think it turns out great!   They like it either plain or served with broccoli or chicken.    Then we plate it with a side of vegetables, fruits, or salad.

This week we took their favorite food outdoors and made Campfire Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.

My 12 year old son has been learning to cook on his campfire kitchen.   He gathers wood from dead trees and fallen sticks.  Then breaks, chops, or splits the wood into smaller size pieces for his campfire.

Cooking is such a good skill for everyone to have.

And knowing how to cook and boil water over a campfire with sticks you gathered yourself is a valuable skill that could save your life in a crisis.

He did a great job cooking outside on his campfire.  The chicken turned out tender, with a hint of smoke from the wood fire.  It was juicy inside and delicious!  He loved how it turned out and gave it two thumbs and a pocket knife up!

 

Recipe Ingredients & Directions:

Campfire Chicken

A campfire

Chicken breast

Olive Oil

Seasoning

Directions:  Rub olive oil and chicken and sprinkle with seasoning.  Cook over campfire until desired doneness.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Recipe 1:

Alfredo Pasta Mix (or make from scratch)

Water

Butter

(Optional: Milk or powdered milk to mix with water if desired)

Directions:  Boil water and add butter and milk. Then add pasta mix with seasonings. Follow directions on package.

Note: When cooking outside on a campfire, the prepared pasta mixes are quick and easy for kids to prepare.  However, if you desire to cook the Alfredo from scratch, it is easy to do.  Here is a simple recipe that is easy and would only add a couple of additional steps when cooking on a campfire.

Recipe 2:

Fettuccine Alfredo from scratch.

Ingredients:

Water (Boiling)
Fettuccine (or other pasta)
Sea salt (pinch)
Butter (1 stick)
Parmesan Cheese (finely grated, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)

Directions:  Cook pasta in boiling salted water until done. Remove pasta from water. Reserve 2 cups pasta water and discard the rest.  Mix together 1 cup hot pasta water and butter until melted. Next slowly add Parmesan cheese, and continue mixing until completely mixed.  Next add pasta and coat with cheese mixture.  Add more pasta water until all pasta is coated with sauce and has reached the consistency you desire.

Peas (or broccoli)

Directions: Bring water to a boil and cook to desired doneness.  Fresh, frozen, and canned peas all cook very fast!

Blueberries (grapes or fresh fruit of choice)

Directions: Rinse, dry, and chill until ready to serve.

Note: Blueberries or grapes are easy to serve.  No prep needed!  They don’t need peeled, or sliced.  Just rinse and serve. Kids love them!

Salad:

Romaine Lettuce, shredded or diced carrots, diced cucumbers, dried cranberries, diced tomato, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds or cashews, Italian dressing (or their favorite dressing).

Directions: Chop, wash, dice all of the salad ingredients ahead and keep chilled until the rest of the campfire food is ready to serve.  Then just plate it and top with favorite dressing as desired.

Note:  Different kids like different items in their salad.  Use what ever salad fixings your kids like, and skip the salad but use a carrot stick or sliced cucumber (not touching anything) if you have picky eaters.

The older four kids like their Alfredo pasta with the chicken added into the pasta dish, and the younger two kids like to have their chicken “outside” of the pasta and not touching anything else.  So we serve it both ways. I also serve the kids food on trays with sides that are small and easy to hold so they are less likely to drop their food.  The older kids can choose a tray or eat on regular plates like mom and dad.   However you serve this dish, it is sure to please.

Everyone agrees,  that Fettuccine Alfredo is a Kid Favorite!

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Campfire Steak with Salad and Berries

Campfire Steak with Salad and Berries.

This delicious simple meal is packed with tons of flavor and nutrients.

My son created a campfire in the backyard, and he asked if he could cook dinner on it.

He took a lot of time to gather sticks, split some of the larger pieces to make his firewood.  He built a fire in a small hole in the ground and surrounded it with rocks for his fire pit.   Then he borrowed the metal grate from our charcoal grill and placed it over the fire and rocks to have a surface to cook on.

He fed the fire with more wood and got a really nice hot fire going.

Then he waited for the flames to die down a bit before putting food on the metal grate over his fire.   He cooked steak and chicken.  I will post another story about what we made with the campfire chicken soon.

There is an incredible flavor difference cooking over an open wood fire verses other methods of cooking.  You just can’t get this flavor using a charcoal or gas grill or from cooking on a stove in the house.  You just can’t recreate this amazing flavor without the campfire.

Campfire Steak with Salad and Berries

Ingredients:

Sirloin Steak – cooked outdoors over an open wood fire

Romaine Lettuce – torn

Carrots – shredded

Mushrooms – chopped

Pecans – broken into several pieces

Sunflower Seeds

Cheddar Cheese – shredded

Italian Vinaigrette Dressing

Raspberries

Blueberries

 

Cook the steak over the campfire until desired doneness.  Then remove it from the heat and put it on a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes.  You can cover it with a lid or foil while it rests if desired.

Then using a serrated kitchen knife, slice the steak into desired pieces.   Our steak sliced easily, and was juicy and tender inside.  The outside was smoky and resembled almost a bacon flavor. Inside was juicy and a delicious beef flavor.

Mix the salad and top it with Italian Vinaigrette.

Then rinse the berries with water, pat dry, and add them to the plate too.

The salad and fruit pared great with the steak.  This meal was amazing and bursting with flavors.

Knowing the effort my son put into making his campfire and cooking the meat for us made this meal even more special.

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Easy Kid Favorite Waffles

Try this simple tip with kids in the kitchen for a fun breakfast or snack or easy desert.  Let the kids assemble their own toppings on waffles.   Younger kids love to be “hands on” with their food and seem to eat better when they get to make it themselves.  

You can make the waffle base yourself for even more nutrition for your family.  Try using sprouted flours or high protein nut flours in your waffle mix for an even better quality waffle. You can also blend in vegetables and fruits in the flour mix such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas or other legumes, bananas, mashed beets, mashed carrots, applesauce, shredded zucchini, etc.

My favorite nutritious waffle uses pecan flour to increase the protein. But if making homemade waffles is not your thing, or if you are too busy to cook from scratch, then don’t sweat it.  Just find a good quality frozen waffle your kids will eat and use this for your base.

These easy “Kid Favorite” waffles get two thumbs up!

Easy Kid Favorite Waffles

You will need:

Waffles
(either store bought or homemade)

Spread of your choice
(Sunflower-seed Butter, Peanut butter, Almond butter, Cashew Butter, Tahini Spread, Cream Cheese, Fruit Preserves, etc)

Fruit of your choice
(strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc)

Mini chocolate Chips
(you can also use chopped nuts, seeds, and coconut toppings)

Optional: Whip Cream
(Optional whip cream or yogurt, honey, or chocolate drizzled over the top)

Allow your kids to assemble their own waffles and toppings.  Set out bowls of sliced fruit, nuts, seeds, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc for them to build their favorite waffles.  You can make it messy by adding whip cream, yogurt, or honey or syrup and eat these waffles with a fork.  Or you can make these super easy and less messy by leaving off “wet” ingredients and be able to eat them with your hands.

Let them Create!

I let the kids do as many of the steps on their own as they are able to do. Depending on the skill level of your kids, you can balance what they can do on their own.  Older kids can make these independently, but you might help younger kids by toasting the waffle for them, and if needed, you can spread the nut butter for them.  Or let them spread it with a spoon if they are too young to use a knife safely.  But kids really enjoy making these all by themselves.

Be sure to “ooh and ahh” over your kid’s kitchen creations!

Enjoy!

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Campfire Cooking with Kids

Campfire Cooking With Kids

The kids are learning to cook over a campfire.  This has been an ongoing learning adventure for several months now.   We have tried several different methods for starting fires, making our own camp stoves, as well as different ways of making the campfire pit.

After trying several different arrangements, we came up with one we like the most and have kept for several months now. We use it once or twice a week as the weather and time permits.  We really enjoy afternoons and evenings around the campfire.

We started off with simple learning techniques like where to build a fire safely, how to start a fire (matches, lighter, flint, feroconiom rod), how to use different tinders (wood chips, small sticks, dead leaves, tree bark, dead grass and dry plants, cotton balls, cordage, clothing, etc) to get the fire going strong, locating where to gather wood safely, and learn how to split wood into small sizes for burning,  etc.

We built fire starter kits for the kids to keep and learn to use.  This has been a wonderful resource.  Our first kits were made with a salvaged bottle for storing, a few types of tinder, matches, and a feroconium rod and striker.  When they used up all the stuff in their first kits, we built new kits that include more of the first, but also added in a lighter, additional versions of strikers, fatwood, etc.  By far my son’s favorite method is starting a fire with his striker and a cotton ball.  We hope to build a bow drill and learn that method soon.

Once they mastered the art of starting a fire, we learned how to build a firepit.  Over time we built a few different arrangements of campfire pits.   This whole process has been a great learning experience for the kids and a fun way to spend family time together.

The current campfire pit version we are using is our favorite so far.  We found some old bricks someone had left behind from a construction project.  These are not the usual bricks you would want to build an outdoor kitchen with, but we are using what we have on hand and getting by with them for now.   We dug an “L” shaped hole in the ground and built a loose brick wall around the back side of the hole.  The back wall is tall, and the sides come part way around, then we have a short wall of bricks across the front as a fire stop and safety zone.  Safety is very important to keep in mind when you have an outdoor fire.

We also found some metal and an old grate someone had thrown away and used them as cooking surfaces by connecting them into the loose brick system above the fire to give us more ways we can cook food.   We also put a separate small wall about half way at the back.  This additional wall was needed to help support the grill top on one side and the metal bars on the other side and it also allows us to use either 1 side of the fire or both sides for cooking so we can make a bigger or smaller fire as desired.

Using a brick or rock wall on one side of your fire makes a lot of sense.  The bricks make a nice windbreak and help to retain the heat from the fire, and then help reflect the heat back towards the people sitting around the fire.   I plan to upgrade the pit with some special tiles for baking bread and pizzas on one side soon.  I found a local store that carries the fire tiles for break baking.  I am very excited about baking nice breads over the campfire. Maybe someday I can make a real outdoor pizza oven too.

The arrangement is large enough that we can choose to cook on the grill, the metal bars, flat rocks or bricks, or over the open fire and coals with roasting sticks or pans.  So we can cook up high or down low with several options as needed.  We made the pit so we can have a fire on one half, or just move hot coals over on one half while a hotter fire burns on the other half, or use the whole entire thing in a bigger campfire if desired.  With 8 people in the family, this arrangement gives us all enough room to gather in front of the fire and benefit from the heat being reflected back in our direction.

We let the fire die down and put it out before going into the house.  The next morning when the pit is nice and cool, the kids remove the ashes from their fire and sprinkle them on the location we plan to build our garden. The ashes will provide wonderful nutrients already broken down and released from the organic matter they were bound in for our plants to use.  We learned this trick many years ago when we used to heat our home with wood.

His New Wrought Iron Pan

Our 12 year old loves cooking on the campfire and would truly cook on it every day if he could.  He is the reason we got into the habit of cooking outside weekly.  He wants to try new things and master various skills.  After he gets his fire going, and his coals nice and hot, he usually cooks tea and different kinds of soups with his own stainless steel pot.   He has made potato soup, rice, chili, cheesy potato bacon soup, chicken noodle soup, and Ramon noodles.

He recently bought is own wrought iron skillet to expand his cuisine options. To start with he learned how to oil and season his new pan and care for it properly.  He also has his own knife and cutting board so he is ready to make lots of different things.  He is getting great practice and is learning to cook with his new skillet over the open fire.

This day we were cooking turkey burgers, beef hotdogs, sliced potatoes in foil packets, and he was making his own Cowboy BBQ Beans in his new iron skillet.

He had placed a brick over some coals next to the fire to hold his pan level while it cooked.  It took them no time at all to come to a rolling boil.  He had to pull his beans off the fire a few times and stir them to prevent them from sticking and burning in the pan.  His beans turned out very nice, the sugars caramelized and the beans had a hint of smoke flavor of the fire.

Almost everything was done cooking at the same time.  That is one of the blessings to having a large working space in this campfire with various spots to set the different foods we were cooking.

When his food was done, he combined his hotdog with his bbq beans for his own version of “beenie weenies”.   This was new for him as I haven’t fed the kids beenie weenies before, and he was excited to try them.

He was very pleased with how his “cowboy meal” turned out and thought he could handle making and eating this out on the open range bringing in the cows or up the side of a mountain while on a hike someday.  I hope to teach him to make either biscuits or bannock (old fashion cowboy or Indian bread) and chop up some wild greens to go with his meal next time.  He found some wild garlic growing in the yard that was already seven inches tall in February.  The plant looks like fresh chives and has a small bulb at the bottom when you pull it out of the ground.  He brushed the dirt off and tried it fresh.  It was spicy!  We also found a couple of violets in bloom in the front yard.  Soon the dandelions will set on some nice leaves for making a raw salad base or to use as a sauted spinach.  The pine trees are also budding and the baby pine buds are nutty and delicious and the needles make a nutritious tea.  We have a book he will be using this spring to locate various wild edibles that he can include to improve the nutrients in a meal such as this.

I am very proud of this young man’s achievements.  He gets an idea, puts his mind to it, and is not afraid to work toward his goal and see it through.  He is currently making a homemade longbow.  He has found the branch of wood, removed the bark, and carved it into the shape he desired.  He has yet to soak the wood and increase the arch slightly and locate the cordage he will be using.  I have no doubt he will reach his new goal.

Learning to cook over a campfire is a fun experience.  The skills learned and self confidence gained will benefit kids the rest of their life.

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Potato Mushroom PepperJack Quesadilla

These yummy sandwiches were delicious!

3 Ingredients stuffed inside a toasted tortilla.  How simple and easy is that?This is a great sandwich to let your kids make in the kitchen.

We sauted sliced mushrooms in olive oil until done.  Then removed them from the heat and added a little more olive oil and diced potatoes. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook them until soft.  Then combine mushrooms and potatoes together.  Place a slice of pepper-jack cheese on a tortilla and add the potato mushroom filling.  Toast on each side.  Served with a side of Jalapeno Kettle chips or tortilla chips and salsa and this sandwich is a win win!  Even my teen boys enjoyed it and asked for seconds.

Optional: The only thing I might add next time to my sandwich is a slice of avocado and some spinach leaves or  I would like to have a slice of fresh from the garden tomato would be a great flavor combo with the cheese.

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Banana Nut Yogurt Sundae

This is a nutritious, fun and easy to prepare snack or desert for kids.  It makes a fantastic breakfast too!

 

Kids can be picky eaters.  Setting them up for success with good nutrition is key to maintaining good health.  Including a variety of foods, like yogurt, fruits, veggies, and nuts in their daily routine lays a great foundation in good nutrition choices.

Adding nuts (for those who are not allergic) is a great way to boost nutrition. There are so many different kinds of nuts to choose from.  The most popular nut used, peanut, isn’t even a nut but is actually the seed of a legume.  But there is a huge variety of nuts and seeds that are seldom included in the standard American diet for kids that are great options.

A few of the nut and seed varieties to try out with your kids are:

Cashews

Almonds

Walnuts

Pecans

Macadamia

Coconut

Hazelnuts / Filberts

Hickory Nuts

Hemp Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Pine Nuts

A fun way to get nuts like walnuts in your kids diet is putting them into special treats like a sundae.  If you grind the nuts, they hardly know the nut is there.   Walnuts have a stronger taste and most kids don’t usually choose to eat them on their own.   If I leave out a big bowl of nuts of different varieties, my kids would eat all the cashews! Next they might finish of the peanuts.  Then the rest of the nuts would sit there until Dad and I ate them.   So to get more variety of nuts into their diet, a sneaky banana nut sundae piled high with lots of yummy ingredients is a win win!

Walnuts are great for brain food.  They also help to purge parasites from the body.  They contain essential fatty acids that are needed by the body

Banana Nut Sundae

Set out your ingredients out on a table or counter and let the kids fix their own sundaes.

Yogurt

Banana

Nuts

Optional: Syrup, berries, chocolate chips, chocolate covered nuts, ground nuts, whole nuts in the shell that they must remove before using, nut butter, ice cream, angle food cake, cookies, pumpkin cake, etc.

We used vanilla yogurt,  ground and halved walnuts, bananas, chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate syrup.  I also set out some grapes and nut butter covered pretzel crackers in case they wanted to experiment with some other ingredients.

 

Desert:

We have made similar treats for desert too. This is a fun and delicious way to eat nuts and eat healthy!

Similar ingredients with pecans and whip cream.

Substitute angel food cake for the yogurt.

Serve as a fancy desert for company.

We also made homemade nut butter with a mixed nuts.  We ground some smooth and some chunky and mixed it together for a delicious spread for our pretzel crackers.

You can add mini chocolate chips and these will taste like Reese Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Treats!  Even Daddy likes these treats!

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