A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: food

Dried Banana Chips

Dried Banana Chips

One of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest snacks I make my kids is dried banana chips. My son absolutely loves them! We buy a couple of bunches of bananas at Costco for $1.39, slice them up and put them into the dehydrator and at the […]

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking chocolate chip cookies with the kids is one of my favorite family activities. When we had to go dairy and gluten free I was a little upset but I found a way to make chocolate chip cookies with some easy substitutions. Back when we […]

Blueberry Picking 2017

Blueberry Picking 2017

We have had a super busy summer and I was really bummed that we missed the July blueberry picking season. Our bushes are only a couple of years old and don’t produce anywhere near enough berries for us to freeze. They were eagerly eaten every day by the kids with very few to spare. I was super excited to hear from another mom at gymnastics that there was a local U-pick farm that still had blueberries! We cancelled our plans to try an easy hike with the kids and headed out to pick as many blueberries as we could manage.

 

 

The farm we went to was super close and I am really glad I found it because the blueberries were delicious! My blueberry hating husband even liked them and actually ate a few. The kids of course ate themselves silly and enjoyed every moment of it!

 

 

We grabbed a couple of smaller buckets and one gigantic 5 gallon bucket to consolidate our berries into. It was a pretty hot day and we were worried about the kids overheating so we picked at lightening speed. Luckily blueberries are much easier to pick than raspberries or strawberries because you do not have to be super careful about placing them into your container.  I just placed my bucket underneath a large blueberry covered branch and let them fall into the bucket as I massaged them off of the branches.  It took us less than an hour to fill our five gallon bucket with over 20 pounds of blueberries!

 

 

The biggest issue we had was the fear of losing one or both of the kids.  The bushes were overgrown and touching each other in many places so you could not see down the rows at all.  We split up with one kid each and made the kids wear their hats for both eye protection and visibility.  I highly advise buying your kids neon hats and jackets so you can easily pick them out in a crowd of people or when you are outside with them.  It was really easy to keep track of my son’s bright orange Tigger hat even when I couldn’t see the rest of him.

 

 

I don’t remember what type of blueberry we picked but they were not organic (which I found out later on). Next time we will try and find an organic blueberry farm to pick from or I will see if the farm we went to has some that are organic.  There were tons of them on the bushes though and we did not have to walk very far to pick all that we needed.

 

 

We did however come home with two half flats of berries and I am super excited to eat them this winter!

 

 

 

I immediately started freezing our berries in batches on a cookie sheet.  We froze about three gallons total and I still have a half flat left.  We have made blueberry jam in the past but we typically do not eat enough of it so we decided not to this year.  We also have tons of raspberry jam which will be plenty of jam for us!

 

 

All week we have been eating blueberries on our cereal and our ice cream and the kids and I absolutely love it! We haven’t decided what to do with the rest of the berries yet and we may try to dry some of them in the dehydrator but I am really hoping my husband will make his famous blueberry peach pie!

 

Did you pick blueberries this year? What are some of the ways you prepared them?

 

 

Guest Post: Toum (Garlic Sauce)

Guest Post: Toum (Garlic Sauce)

Hello, Mr. Oscoey here. If you don’t love garlic, you should probably just move on to the next post. If you love garlic as much as my family does, or you have a vampire problem, read on. I don’t remember when I first ran across […]

Garden Update July 28, 2017

Garden Update July 28, 2017

Summer is upon us and the vegetable garden is in full swing. My pumpkins have taken over the garden space and the spaghetti squash is not far behind it.  The kids and I are harvesting berries, green beans and squash every other day.  I have […]

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Banana Bread

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Banana Bread

Banana bread was one of those things I always meant to make but never got around to. We would put bananas in the freezer and inevitably forget about them. I have tossed so many bananas into the yard waste I can’t even remember. Part of our plan to be more frugal is to waste less food. Food waste is a huge problem, especially in America with up to 40% of all food produced wasted according to the National Resources Defense Council.  Many people buy more than they need and a lot of it gets tossed out.  We have always gone through the pantry a couple of times a year and donated what we are not eating but that is harder to do with the lettuce you fully intended to eat but has now formed a mushy mess in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. I have been really working hard at lowering our produce waste lately and only buying enough fruits and vegetables for us to actually eat.

 

Our efforts have been working and we no longer have several bananas in the freezer or mushy lettuce in the fridge but we do run out of fresh fruit and vegetables sometimes but you know what? It is completely fine. I keep frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer and when we run out I make sure to go to the store the next possible day.  We have gotten much better about buying only what we need and now that our berries and squash are beginning to ripen I don’t really have to worry about running out.  We just head out to the garden and see what we can find.  Right now we have blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and huckleberries ripe and my kids have been out there daily munching away.

 

Hickies - No Tie Elastic Shoelaces

 

Finding a good banana bread recipe was a difficult task.  We don’t like it very sweet and it needed to be easy enough for me to put together with the kids running around.  I found this one at Mr.Breakfast.com several months ago that I absolutely love.  We have since gone gluten and diary-free and I have been able to adapt it easily with pre-made gluten-free flour and coconut oil. I also cut the sugar in half because we are trying to reduce our sugar intake in our house.

 

 

I found some gluten-free flour at Costco that I thought I would try it with this banana bread and so far I have been really pleased with it. I can’t taste any garbanzo beans and unsuspecting family members haven’t been able to tell the difference so I may branch out to something else.  I have been hearing about this butter flavored coconut oil for months in my mom’s group and I used it with the banana bread. I am not sure if it is worth the extra cost yet.  The container is not very big and using 8 tablespoons for the banana bread recipe made a huge dent in it so I might just reserve it for recipes where it really matters. Ha ha don’t look at the salt I used.  We have been out of Kosher salt the last couple of weeks and my husband and I kept forgetting to buy it. He is a huge salt lover though so we have many different kinds stashed away in the cupboard and the sea salt made the cut as our temporary substitute.  Do you guys ever do that? A box of Kosher salt lasts us many months and we never remember to buy it when we are out. Somehow since we rarely need salt it slips our minds every time we are at the store. I should probably start buying two so we have an extra for our emergency kit.

 

 

First things first measure out your coconut oil and your sugar.

 

 

Cream them in a bowl. I am fond of the hand mixer for smaller jobs but you could use a stand mixer as well.

 

 

Beat 2 eggs into a bowl.

 

 

Mash up your bananas. I did them one by one in the egg bowl to save on dishes.

 

 

Add your flour slowly.  I split it into 2 1/2 cups and 1/4 cup and slowly mixed them in.

 

 

Yum! If you like nuts or chocolate chips in your banana bread you can add them here. My son is too young for nuts so I leave them out.  We also don’t eat a lot of sugar so I leave out the chocolate chips.

 

 

Pour your mixture into a greased loaf pan and tamp it down. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

 

There you have it! Yummy banana bread fresh out of the oven. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool!

 

Gluten-free Dairy-free Banana Bread

July 15, 2017
: 8-10
: 10 min
: 60 min
: Easy

Quick and easy banana bread easily made gluten and dairy-free.

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 Tablespoons Coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour mix
  • Optional 1/3 cups Walnuts
Directions
  • Step 1 Grease a standard loaf pan and set oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Step 2 Cream the coconut oil and sugar together in a large bowl.
  • Step 3 Beat two eggs together and add them as well as two mashed bananas to the bowl.
  • Step 4 Mix in salt and baking soda. Add flour, mixing slowly.
  • Step 5 Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the loaf.

 

 

Garden Update July 10th 2017

Garden Update July 10th 2017

We have had a busy week in the garden! Lots of flowers are in bloom and we spent many hours pulling ivy along the property lines in anticipation of our fence measure this week. We are very close to being done with the fence line […]

Gardening Update

Gardening Update

This week not a lot got done in the garden besides watering and weeding.  We had a busy week with the oldest daughter graduating from high school and Father’s Day so we were pretty occupied.  We spent a lot of time doing maintenance type stuff […]

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

We have been trying to eat both healthier and cheaper in our house and besides beans one of the ways I have been trying to do that is to add more squash into our diet.  I love squash.  I am really excited about our zucchini and spaghetti squash plants.  The rest of my family is more than a little apprehensive.  The little kids are hit and miss when it comes to squash and my oldest daughter is strongly positioned in the squash is disgusting camp. My husband is not a huge fan but he will eat it…sometimes. Costco has organic butternut squash for a reasonable price that has been cured so it will store well in our pantry.  I highly recommend buying and storing a couple of butternut and spaghetti squash in your pantry as part of an emergency kit/last minute dinner idea.  As long as they have no blemishes they should be good for months in a cool dry place.  We usually have at least one type on hand and when we are stuck in a vegetable rut or having a lean grocery week I pull out the squash.  Usually one squash is good for a few meals since they are pretty large but it depends on how excited the family is about eating it that particular week.

 

This week I had a craving for my vegetarian butternut squash burritos.  They are super easy to make and can be adapted to make rice bowls so they are gluten free. Sometimes I add a garlic sauce or some of my husband’s white barbecue sauce but if you are trying to eat healthier they should be eaten without the sauce.  We always have rice and tortillas on hand so this recipe doesn’t require and extra trip to the grocery store for us if we have avocados on hand.

 

 

First thing to do is slice your squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  I usually put the rice in the rice cooker at this point as well.  You can make as much as you need but I usually make 3 cups of rice since we eat it with other things as leftovers.

 

 

Next your squash needs to be peeled.  They can get slippery so be careful how you hold it while you peel.

 

 

While I was assembling everything the kids played with Play-doh. Luckily they didn’t make too much of a mess!

 

 

After peeling dice the squash and put it in a steamer.  We have an old Revere Ware one that we inherited from my mother-in-law that is the true workhorse of our kitchen. You can find similar ones here.

 

 

Tonight I also made some roasted sweet potatoes in case the kids wouldn’t eat their squash.  Good thing I did because the kids were apparently craving them and ate most of the three large potatoes I baked on their own.

 

 

After the squash and rice were cooked I set up our assembly station. I sliced avocados to order and it was an excellent meal. My son actually ate some avocados and my daughter ate a ton of squash so overall it was a success! We had oranges for dessert which is another way to keep the meal healthy.  The kids had a post-dinner snack of most of the sweet potatoes which was hilarious because our son used them to get the dachshund to chase him around the house. He found it hilarious and she got a few pieces so it worked out for her as well.

 

 

Our avocados were not as ripe as they promised to be but they still tasted delicious with the squash and rice. I am hoping next year to grow our own butternut squash but for now, the ones I find at Costco are by far the most delicious. They have a smooth texture and a not too sweet taste that I love.  For some reason this combination of rice, avocados and butternut squash is really appealing to me.  The three ingredients really balance each other out and it makes a quick and easy meal that the whole family enjoys!

 

How are you incorporating squash into your meals?

 

Easy Vegetarian Squash Burritos

June 22, 2017
: 5-6
: 20 min
: 30 min
: 50 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Butternut Squash
  • 3 Cups Cooked Rice
  • Large Flour Tortillas
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut your butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. The extra half can be stored in the fridge covered in plastic wrap for a few days or you can do the next step and put it in the freezer for later use.
  • Step 2 Using a vegetable peeler carefully peel the skin off of the squash.
  • Step 3 Once peeled dice the squash into bite size pieces and put in a steamer pot.
  • Step 4 Cook for 20 min or until tender.
  • Step 5 Slice your avocados just prior to serving.
  • Step 6 Assemble your burritos! Start with a tortilla and add rice, avocados, squash, salt and pepper to taste. If you have some creamy sauce around you can add that as well but it will not be as healthy. You can also skip the tortilla and make a rice bowl if you want to cut out the wheat to make it gluten free.

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

We have had some excitement in the garden this week. Our plants are continuing to grow super fast from our week of excellent sun and we harvested our first few strawberries.  I got some more seedlings planted and we spent quite a bit of time […]