Thursday, March 17, 2011

Naturally Green St. Patrick's Day Smoothies

For St. Patrick's Day I decided to whip up some green smoothies that were healthy and didn't rely on yucky food coloring for the green. My kids devoured these, and then begged for more!

Naturally Green St. Patrick's Day Smoothies

  • 1 cup of strawberry or blueberry kefir
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 handful of washed, fresh spinach leaves
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • Agave nectar or honey to taste
  • 1 cube of frozen wheat grass (optional)
    Throw all ingredients in a blender and sweeten with the agave nectar or honey until sweet enough for your taste.

    Makes 2 servings.

    Verdict: I had happy kiddos! And, it felt great knowing I squeezed some greens in them. We will be making this again. Maybe even tomorrow!

    By the way, I found the frozen wheat grass cubes in the frozen section at Whole Foods near the juices.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Spinach and Feta Hummus

    My kids love hummus, and I thought this recipe for Spinach and Feta Hummus sounded amazing. Plus it would be a great way to get some green veggies in my kids. Wishful thinking!

    Verdict: complete failure. My husband didn't like it either. And for the record: it is good. I don't know what it wrong with them! So, now I get to enjoy a lifetime supply of Spinach and Feta Hummus.

    You can find the recipe for it at The Tasty Kitchen Blog.

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Orzo Stuffed Peppers

    One of my favorite blogs, Our Best Bites, mentioned an amazing Nutella cookie recipe by a fellow blogger, and as soon as I saw that I was hooked on Two Peas and Their Pod. Such amazing recipes!

    So when I saw this recipe for Orzo Stuffed Peppers, I had to try it. It features my favorite things: peppers, pasta, spinach and cheese. Yum!

    Orzo Stuffed Peppers
    Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
    • 2 (14 ounce can) cans diced tomatoes
    • 4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups of water and 2 veggie broth cubes
    • 1 1/2 cups orzo
    • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
    • 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
    • 6 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
    1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
    2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Stir in the spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
    3. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and stir in the spinach mixture. Set aside.
    4. Meanwhile, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook for five minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked because it will finish cooking in the oven. Strain the orzo pasta, making sure you save the vegetable broth.
    5. Stir the orzo into the tomato spinach mixture. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil.
    6. Pour the vegetable broth into a 3-quart baking dish. Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base so the peppers will stand up in the baking dish.
    7. Place the peppers in the baking dish and spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40- 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with additional cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes.
    8. Remove from the oven and let peppers sit for five minutes. Serve warm.

    Makes 6 stuffed peppers

    The verdict: I changed the recipe slightly to accommodate what I had on hand and to make it more kid-friendly by increasing the cheese. Zach and I loved it. He couldn't get enough orzo. Pickle ate it, but she was just doing it to get dessert. My two year-old Miss M. wouldn't touch it and opted to go to bed instead (sigh). Hubby ate the orzo stuffing but refused to eat the pepper. You can't win them all! I thought it was wonderful. Thanks, Two Peas!

    Homemade Granola Bars

    These homemade granola bars are amazing. Sweet, salty, healthy and perfect for kids. All three of my little ones gobbled them up!

    Homemade Granola Bars
    Adapted from Allrecipe's Playgroup Granola Bars

    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup wheat germ
    • 3/4 cup craisins
    • 1/2 cup golden raisins
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup agave nectar
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and generously grease the foil.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars just begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then using the foil, gently lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into individual bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011


    Despite my best intentions to feed my family awesome, healthy meals, somehow, whether because I was tired or the fact that I feel like I've been pregnant for four years straight, I lost the will to fight anymore and began making several different things for my kids instead of making just one meal for us to enjoy.

    It's tiring. My food is always cold, I never get to eat with everyone else, and I'm fed up with enabling their pickiness, So, today begins our new adventure of expanding our palates!

    There will be some challenges:
    • We are vegetarians. We do eat eggs and dairy products, but no meat. I won't get into why we don't eat meat or lecture anyone about dietary choices. Let's just say that if you are vegetarian or looking for some kid-friendly meatless dishes, welcome!
    • We live in a small town. A really small town. These need to be meals with easily found ingredients, organic and/or local when possible.
    • My son has soy and dairy allergies, so meals need to be allergy-friendly.
    • We are Dave Ramsey fans, and though I adore beans and rice, we'll be branching out a bit but still staying within our budget.
    • The greatest challenge by far will be working with (against) kids who are used to having their way.
    The force is strong with this one, so using a good sense of humor, awesome powers of persuasion and even involving them in the process, I think I will succeed. OK, some of the time. Let the battle begin!