Pancake Yogurt Breakfast Bites

 Pancake Yogurt Bites

We are already in our second week of school. Can you believe it? No matter what age your kids are (mine are 13, 15 and 17), school mornings can be hectic. I needed a healthy back-to-school breakfast recipe that was going to make my kids smile in the morning, so I came up with these Pancake Yogurt Breakfast Bites using Kellogg’s Mini Pancakes. The frozen food aisle has become my best friend lately with so many fabulous items that are a great value and allows the busiest of people to be creative in the kitchen. Don’t forget that there are a variety of different cuisines represented on this aisle, including options that cover snack-time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, entertaining and specialty food occasions. With back to school schedules and fall activities, this aisle makes my life so much easier (and sometimes less expensive). This breakfast recipe is just a start. Feel free to add your favorite toppings such as Nutella and sliced bananas (see below)  to make something new for breakfast, an afternoon snack or dessert. For more recipes using frozen foods, fruits and vegetables see Easy Home Meals.

Pancakes Bites with Nutella

 

Mu Shu for Two Slow Cooker Recipe

Mu Shu for Two

I received a slow cooker for Christmas, and I still have not used it yet. My friend said it would only make my life easier so since school was starting, I thought it’s time to take it out of the box and give it a try. My publisher, Robert Rose, recently came out with this new cookbook Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna Marie-Pye so I started here. I made this Mu Shu for Two recipe, but I doubled it so have enough for me and my three kids. They loved it, and I will definitely be making it again! There are 200 recipes in this book, and all of them have been created with convenience in mind (I need this so badly). Donna offers great slow cooker tips in her book. Here are just a few that helped me a lot!

1. Prepare what you can ahead of time.

2. Choose less tender cuts of meats and trim off the fat.

3. Brown meat and vegetables first.

4. Don’t overdo the liquid.

5. Use whole herbs and spices.

FinalEasyEvydySCCover

Super Easy Biscuits

Many of you know that my dad has been ill, and my 3 kids and I have been staying with him this past year. We are moving in the next few weeks, but we have loved every minute of living here. My friend said it’s a blessing for kids to get the opportunity to live with a grandparent, and that is so true. My dad has so many wonderful caregivers that we see weekly, and they offer my father and us so much love. Our only male helper, Rick, loves to cook. He has a blast cooking with the kids while they were out of school. Last week he asked them if they ever had 7-up biscuits? None of us had. He told me what was in them: sour cream and 7-up. I suggested that we try Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and it worked out great. I renamed these Super Easy Biscuits. They are so easy and so good, and we can’t wait to cook with Rick again soon!

5 Breakfast Recipe Ideas for Back to School

I know you have heard it a million times, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is even more important for those parents with kids, especially since school is starting. Ours starts tomorrow, and I can’t believe it! Plenty of healthy breakfast ideas exist for the whole family to enjoy so it makes it easier on everyone. Here are the 5 breakfast recipe ideas for back to school:

1. Smoothies-Who doesn’t love a fresh fruit smoothie? You can buy a huge variety of smoothies off the shelves in supermarkets, but can often be high in sugar. If you want to ensure that your kids are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need, create their favorite smoothie before school. Try my Three Ingredient Banana Smoothie.

2. Bagel, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese- Kids get bored of toast, so mix it up by offering them a bagel instead. You can get all sorts of different flavors. Try my recipe for Smoked Salmon Dip that works great as a breakfast spread.

3. Cereals-Children tend to tire of eating the same thing, so while healthy cereals such as granola are a great option, make sure you have plenty of variety. You can alternate different cereals and add fruit and/or Greek yogurt to offer something new each day. Try my Blueberry Yogurt Parfait.

4. Eggs-Eggs are a great source of protein, and my kids love this recipe for Oatmeal with Egg Whites that has a good source of protein and carbohydrates.

5. Breakfast Sandwiches- Breakfast sandwiches are a great change of pace. Create breakfast sandwiches with your kid’s favorite ingredients. Check out my recipe for Breakfast Wraps.

 

Feta and Olive Oil Cakes

With the Mediterranean diet has been continually recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world, it’s no secret that many people are currently giving it a try. Cat Cora’s Kitchen products by Gaea are synonymous with the Mediterranean diet. They are awesome! This recipe for Feta and Olive Oil Cakes is one of my new favorites. It is ideal if you’re following the diet, but don’t want to leave behind their sweet tooth. These treats fit well in lunch bags as an afternoon snack or as a better-for-you dessert option at an upcoming get together. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend, Amy, sent me this recipe, and it has to be one of the easiest cookie recipes I have tried. Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies are so quick to prepare, and they’re truly divine. This is one of those recipes that just becomes a staple, and you keep making all of the time. They remind me of a crinkle cookie, but the mixture of semisweet chocolate morsels and chopped chocolate makes a gooey, chocolate combination. You can substitute dark chocolate for the semisweet for added health benefits such as heart health, weight loss, mood boosting, and others. Just enjoy them with a glass of milk.

5 Easy Back to School Recipes

My 3 kids start back to school tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe. Where did the summer go? If you’re like me, you are in search for some no fail back to school recipes. This Tuna Checkerboard Sandwich has been a hit with my kids, and it comes from my recent cookbook “400 Best Sandwich Recipes”. Here are 4 other of our household favorites back to school recipes. If you’re looking for some other back to school recipes and ideas or some help doing the planning for you, see Momables by my incredibly talented friend, Laura. Momables” streamlines the lunch making process with a weekly menu and shopping list. Check out some of her sample menus at Momables. It is such a fabulous idea and so helpful.

Healthy Trail Mix via Ingredients Inc. 

Lunchbox Sushi via Ingredients, Inc.

Bistro Pasta Salad via Ingredients, Inc.

No Bake Nutella Oatmeal Bites via Ingredients, Inc.

 

Heart-Smart Snack: No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

For those who know me well, you know that eating healthy and staying active is extremely important to me. I have been a runner since I was 16 and in love with anything related to health and nutrition since college. Over the past 20 years, my dad has had three heart attacks and open-heart surgeries, which has made me even more conscious of keeping my family fit and heart-healthy.

As you know, I’ve been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day campaign and have learned a lot! For example, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17 million lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 81 million people (37 percent of the population) have CVD, resulting in nearly 850,000 deaths a year. Research has also shown that obese children are at a high risk for being obese as adults, which is a risk factor for CVD. There is good news though – with healthy diet and exercise, CVD can be prevented up to 80 percent of the time!

I’ve tried to teach my three children (10, 12 and 14) the importance of a healthy lifestyle through examples I’ve set and it seems to be working! As a family, we like to ride bikes, take walks, play tennis – anything active that we can do together. I also urge them to join team sports every season and we discuss the importance of making healthy food choices. I include them in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. I am always proud, impressed and grateful when I see them making wise decisions with healthy snacks and other foods. But kids are also, well kids, so I try to make heart-healthy foods fun like these No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars I developed for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection.

These easy and tasty granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a lunchbox dessert or afternoon snack. For more great kid-friendly recipes and information on living a heart-smart lifestyle, visit Canolainfo.org.