A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: simple

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary!

One Year of Blogging Done!   Last weekend was the one year anniversary of Oscoey. I can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone! I have learned a lot about blogging over the past year and gotten to know many fabulous bloggers as well. […]

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Time   It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year […]

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 end of the day we have enough snack food for a couple of months.  They are great to store a sandwich bag of in your purse for those days when your kids are starving but you somehow have used up all of the snacks you have stashed in your car. This may happen to me on occasion. My kids are always hungry! I love keeping them in my purse instead of granola bars because dried bananas weigh a lot less and it helps keep my purse from getting too heavy.

 

Gather all of your ingredients. Just two ingredients here!  Try not to look at the sad bunch of bananas on the right missing a few of it’s mates. We may have gotten a little impatient waiting for our bananas to ripen and eaten a few. Make sure your bananas are not overripe. The drying process intensifies the flavor and if you have any sort of blemishes when you are drying the bananas it can cause your dried fruit to go bad faster. I do not dry my bananas all the way to crispy since my son likes them a little chewy. I would not feel comfortable storing our chewy bananas long term so we eat them within three months. For long term storage they will need to be dried until crispy and kept away from moisture, heat and light during storage.  If they go bad and you do end up throwing a few into the compost bin remember, the whole bunch of bananas cost $1.39 so you are not breaking the bank tossing questionable food out.  Always err on the side of caution!

 

 

First things first, squeeze your lemon into a strainer that has been placed over your large bowl. This will catch any seeds or large chunks of pulp.  I used a hand held juicer to get every last bit of lemon juice out of the lemons since they are a little on the older side.

 

 

Next add your cold water. I filled the bowl most of the way and left room for my bananas.

 

 

Lay out your trays and bowl in a way that optimizes speed.  I like to have my bowl right next to the tray that I am working on so that I can quickly place my banana slices onto the tray. Not pictured here is my compost bag which I forgot to get out until after I had sliced my first banana.

 

 

I put a towel under my tray so that the extra liquid doesn’t spill everywhere. Lemon juice can stain towels so it is best to use an older one. I rinsed my towel in some water as soon as I was done to minimize any acid spots.

 

 

Slicing in progress! I put my banana peels directly into the compost bag for easy cleanup.  My banana slices were a little thick this time but if that happens it is ok. They will just need to be dried for longer.

 

 

Place your bananas on the tray after swishing them around in your lemon bath. The banana slices should not be touching but they do not need a lot of room in between since they will shrink down quite a bit. Always rinse your hands thoroughly after placing your bananas so that you do not have lemon juice sitting on your hands. The lemon juice can be an irritant plus you do not want to spread it all over your knife and work space.

 

 

Once you have slices all of your bananas place them into the dehydrator. My almost two bunches of bananas made two and a half trays but I didn’t really place them optimally since I knew it wouldn’t fill the dehydrator.  Make sure you leave empty slots between your trays if you don’t fill the dehydrator so that the air will circulate better.

 

 

Easy clean up! I make sure and scrub the counter really well after making anything with lemon juice so it won’t stain our awesome laminate counter top…

 

 

I usually check my dehydrator after a few hours and rotate the banana chips as needed.  We got about a half of a gallon sized Ziploc bag out of our bananas.  We eat them almost every day so they should last 2-3 months. I store them in the dark pantry away from moisture. Every time I open the bag I give it a little sniff and check to see if I smell anything funky. I also look over the bananas pretty frequently to make sure they are not changing color or growing anything obvious but you should be able to smell if they have gone bad pretty quickly.  We haven’t had any problems with our bananas but I make sure not to make more than what we can eat in a few months.

 

If you are going to store your bananas for more than a few months you should dry them until they are crispy and store them in a vacuumed sealed container in a cool, dry place. It is important to get as much moisture out as possible and keep the oxygen out if you are planning on using them for long term storage.

 

Here are some websites with great tips for using your dehydrator for every day items and long term storage:

 

Modern Survival Blog

Learning and Yearning

National Center for Home Food Preserving

Trayor Wilderness

Pioneering Today

Back to Our Roots

 

What healthy snacks are you making at home?

 

Dried Banana Chips

October 26, 2017
: 15 min
: 12 hr
: Easy

Make these super easy banana chips for a healthy snack!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 or more bunches of bananas
  • The juice of 1 lemon
Directions
  • Step 1 Juice your lemon into a strainer held over a large bowl. You can use cheesecloth as well.
  • Step 2 Add enough cold water to the bowl to fill it most of the way but leave enough room for your sliced bananas.
  • Step 3 Slice 3 or 4 bananas into the bowl and stir. It doesn’t matter how thick you slice them but the thicker they are the longer they will take to dry. It is more important that they are uniform in shape.
  • Step 4 Stir your sliced bananas a bit then lay them out on your dehydrator trays. I place a towel under the trays to absorb any extra juice.
  • Step 5 Repeat slicing and placing your bananas until you have either filled your trays or used all of your bananas.
  • Step 6 Place bananas into the dehydrator at 135 degrees for about 8-12 hours.
  • Step 7 Rotate and check the dryness of your bananas every few hours.
  • Step 8 Place into a Ziploc bag and enjoy!

 

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 […]

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

My daughter loves to play with baking soda and vinegar. She always helps me deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring the vinegar down the drain and making bubbles.  Today my son got to watch and he was fascinated.   This site participates in affiliate links […]

Hummus from Scratch

Hummus from Scratch

We have always been big fans of hummus. For a long time we bought organic canned garbanzo beans and made hummus from those but we have been trying to make as much of our food from scratch as we can so about a year ago we switched to this recipe from Serious Eats and it is honestly the best hummus I have ever eaten! In a pinch you could still use canned garbanzo beans after the cooking step but the fresh ones are really much better tasting.  We buy our garbanzo beans in bulk off of Amazon from a local company called Palouse Brand They are made in Washington, non-GMO, organic and the best tasting garbanzo beans we have tried so far.  We also order our Tahini in bulk from Amazon as well but I think you can find it in any grocery store.  We just eat a lot of hummus so buying in bulk is much cheaper.  

 

 

A few months ago we decided to both eat healthier and try to cut back on our grocery expenses so we could spend more money fixing up the house. One of the ways we have tried to accomplish this is to add beans to our diet.  We tried refried beans, baked beans, adding canned beans to our dishes and hummus.  Although we love all of the bean options we tried, making a batch of hummus every week was the easiest way for us to be consistent about it. We just soak the beans overnight on Saturday night and then my husband cooks them when we have time on Sunday.  It doesn’t take long to cook and you can have it on another burner while you are cooking dinner to save time.  I eat a hummus wrap for lunch most days with leftovers on the inside (to reduce food waste) and the kids love eating it with a spoon for an afternoon treat. You can also put it on crackers, toast with a runny fried egg for breakfast, dip vegetables in it or even add a little hot sauce and use it as a healthier dip for chips.  We love hummus!

 

 

Put your beans into a bowl with double the volume of water and let soak overnight.

 

 

Soaked beans looking a little fluffier!

 

 

Drain your beans and place them into a pot with the baking soda. Cook for a few minutes then add your water and bring to a boil.

 

 

Skim off any foam or skins that pop up and cook for about 20-40 minutes until the beans are very tender but not mushy.

 

 

Drain your chickpeas and put into the food processor. Run it until you get a stiff paste.

 

 

While it is still running add your lemon, tahini, garlic and salt. Then slowly add your ice water and run for another 5 minutes until the hummus is smooth and creamy.

 

 

And there you have it! Super smooth hummus ready to eat! This week when we made it the kids ate a bunch of it still warm from the food processor with spoons.  It was great to see them enjoying such a healthy snack!

 

Happy cooking!

 

Hummus by Serious Eats

June 6, 2017
: 6
: 12 hr
: 45 min
: 12 hr 45 min
: Easy

Make delicious hummus from scratch!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6.5 cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp light tahini sauce
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons/100 ml ice-cold water
  • salt
Directions
  • Step 1 The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  • Step 2 The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  • Step 3 Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  • Step 4 Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Easy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Easy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

My oldest daughter and I love these sweet potato fries.  I make them every couple of weeks and they are usually gone by the end of the night.  The younger two kids either really love sweet potatoes or they can’t stand them so I usually […]

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have been spending a lot of time lately working on sensory play with our kids. They love to get messy and a lot of the activities we have been doing are brand new to our one year old and our three year old hasn’t […]

Easy Dairy-Free Baked Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Easy Dairy-Free Baked Peanut Butter Granola Bars

We recently had to switch to a dairy-free lifestyle in an effort to see if our younger kids have a sensitivity that is causing them some serious sinus problems.  I was having a hard time finding granola bars for our kids that were dairy free, mostly nut free and not expensive. We love to cook as much as we can from scratch so I tried to look up recipes.  I could not find any that would work for our family’s particular needs so I decided to try and make them on my own.  Children were consulted and they love peanuts and rice krispies so I used those as our base.

 

 

We buy 90% of our groceries from Costco as you can see. I bought the “Crisp Rice” at Winco and if you need to be gluten free this is where you could substitute gluten-free Rice Krispies and make the granola bars gluten-free. We are not super gluten sensitive so I did not worry about it.

 

 

I had my three year old dump all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir. It was a little sticky so I helped her a bit.

 

 

Next I pressed the granola bars into the pan using a regular spoon and put them into the oven for 20 min at 350 degrees.  Your oven temperature may be different or you may want them chewier so check them after 15 minutes.

 

 

After baking I melted some chocolate chips and spread them on the top. Be careful if you use something with a handle since it could get very hot in the microwave.

 

Non-dairy Granola Bars

 

I let the whole thing set a bit and my kids ate them pretty much over night so I would say they are a hit!  Next time I might try adding some raisins and cinnamon or even dried apples and see how they turn out.

 

Happy cooking!

 

Easy Dairy-free Peanut Butter Granola Bars

April 29, 2017
: 12
: 10 min
: 20 min
: 30 min
: Easy

Dairy/Gluten-free granola bars for the kids

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups Rice Cereal
  • 3/4 cup Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)
Directions
  • Step 1 Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Step 2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Step 3 Put Rice Krispies, peanuts, honey and peanut butter into a bowl and stir.
  • Step 4 Press your mixture into the baking dish and even out.
  • Step 5 Bake granola bars for 15-20 min until they are firm.
  • Step 6 Allow to cool for a couple of hours.
  • Step 7 Microwave 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish for 60 seconds. Stir and microwave them for an additional 30 seconds if they are not melty.
  • Step 8 Spread your chocolate chips over the granola bars and enjoy!

 

Quick and Easy Soup and Sandwiches for a Tight Timeline

Quick and Easy Soup and Sandwiches for a Tight Timeline

My family has been pretty sick this winter and we have been eating a lot of soup.  We prefer to make our own chicken broth and use that to create our own soup but sometimes I just don’t have the time.  The solution I found […]