Oatmeal is probably the breakfast food that I have made the most for my kids. Hailey went at least two years straight, if not more, where she ate oatmeal every single day for breakfast. Smart girl….oatmeal is healthy!!
It’s still a favorite around here and I’ve found plenty of ways to mix it up and keep it fresh.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the oatmeal-stuffed baked apple that I made yesterday. This was amazing and I had it again today!!
Use a sharp paring knife to cut out the core and some of the apple to make a nice big “well”. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup oats, 1/3 milk (or non-dairy milk), 1 egg white, 1 T. ground flax, 1 tsp. pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Fill the apple and top with chopped walnuts or pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can stuff this into a halves of a hollowed out orange (with a little extra maple syrup and some dried cranberries) for more of an Orange Spice flavor!
Something that my kids have been loving lately is Oatmeal Parfaits. While the oats are cooking on the stove top, I get get the fruit and yogurt ready. Then, simply layer oatmeal, yogurt, and berries a few times. We like to stir a little honey into our Greek yogurt or just drizzle it on top.
If you are in more of a time crunch in the mornings, I highly recommend this recipe for Crockpot Overnight Steel Cut Oats. I have made these a couple of times and everyone loves it!!! My crockpot tends too run a little hot so I just set it on the “Warm” setting and cook it that way overnight. I also skip the butter and brown sugar and it’s still great.
If you want other ways to eat oats, check out some of these other recipes I have posted:
Baked Oat Recipes (can be made and then eaten all week long)
Overnight Oat Recipes (eaten cold or warmed up a bit in the morning)
Welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday, the one day during the week where I post everything that I ate for the whole day!
Ever since seeing some cute little baby bok choy at the Farmers Market last week, I have been wanting to give them a try. I know the logical thing would be adding them to a stir fry, but this Mango Dream Bok Choy Smoothie on Pinterest had my name all over it!!!
Into the blender went 2 heads of baby bok choy (bulb ends removed), 1 whole mango (peeled and diced), 1/2 of a ripe banana, a few chunks of frozen pineapple, 1 tsp of coconut oil, 1 and 1/2 cups water, and a handful of ice cubes. If you are not using a high powered blender, you’ll want to blend the greens and water first, and then add in the fruit and ice in order to get a nice smooth blended drink. If its not sweet enough for your taste, you can add more banana. There is definitely a bit of an earthy green flavor to this drink, but I LOVED it!!!!
Before heading out for the day, we snacked on these little blueberry baked oatmeal “muffins”. I like them because its like a little bowl of oatmeal you can eat on the go, but unfortunately they didn’t go over too well with the kids….
After a fun day downtown at the Coast Guard Festival, we came home STARVING!
Food Should Taste Good chips to snack on while making lunch…
I reheated some of the Lemon Butter Cauliflower Soup from yesterday and also made a Greek salad for lunch. I am so in love with this soup!!!!
For dinner, we made use of the ever-abundant summer zucchini and made these Italian Stuffed Zucchinis on the grill. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a sneak peek. They tasted every bit as good as they looked!! I will post the complete recipe tomorrow!
We served them with a simple salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette. Hailey loved the filling and had a few bites of the zucchini. Jake still has pretty simple taste so he preferred just the grilled sausage and a few bites of the zucchini. Plus they both ate their salad, so overall I consider the dinner a WIN!
I had made these little frozen yogurt tarts last week and it seemed like the perfect night to enjoy them.
The crust was walnuts, shredded coconut, and a drizzle of honey in the food processor. I needed to do something with the raspberries that got smushed on the way home from the Farmers Market, so I threw them in the blender with some plain Greek yogurt and a little honey, then topped it all off with the few remaining whole berries, and froze them in a mini muffin pan. These need to sit out for 5-10 minutes to thaw a bit before eating them. The kids and I like them, but they definitely have that Greek yogurt taste and texture. I may try making these with the frozen fruit and banana “ice cream” for a little more of a traditional tasting dessert.
What summer meals have you been enjoying lately??
I can’t believe summer is half over!! We have been busy doing all of the kids’ favorite summer things – bike rides, going to the beach, letterboxing, playing with cousins, picking blueberries, trips to the cottage, paddleboarding, sleepovers, and going to fun day camps. So much more still to pack into these next few weeks!!
I started off this morning with one of the most awesome smoothies I have made in a long time.
About 2 cups of spinach, 1/2 cup frozen papaya chunks, 1/2 of a mango, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, and a squeeze of lime. YUM! If you are attempting your first green smoothie, try this one for sure!!
Be sure to blend the greens with about a cup of water first to get them fully blended. Then, add in the fresh and frozen fruit and blend again, adding enough water to get to your desired consistency.
For lunch, I had some leftover southwestern quinoa salad that I took to a family get together over the weekend. It was just a little variation from the recipe I’ve posted on here before. It was cooked and cooled quinoa mixed with black beans, fresh corn from the cob, red onion, yellow pepper, tomato, avocado, and fresh cilantro tossed in a simple vinaigrette of fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, ground cumin and chili powder. I also had a little extra tomato and avocado on the side.
After lunch, the kids and I biked a couple miles down to one of our favorite parks.
We hiked up the 104 steps to see this view. The waves in Lake Michigan were crazy today!
We were all starving when we got back two hours later so we snacked on the Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal Squares from yesterday. We may have each had two of them! Hiking and biking makes us hungry!!!
For dinner, Jake requested the Lasagna Roll Ups that he made in his Gourmet Cooking Camp a couple weeks ago. They were so quick and easy and the kids gobbled them up! New family favorite here!!!!
Lasagna Roll Ups
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 lb organic, grass fed ground sirloin (optional)
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and excess water squeezed out
1 container part skim ricotta cheese
1 jar pasta sauce (we like the Newmans Own fire roasted tomato)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
Seasonings such as garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, and sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions.
Cook ground beef and drain off any excess fat.
Mix together ricotta, drained spinach, cooked ground beef (if using), and season with a little sea salt and Italian seasonings.
Spoon half of the sauce into the bottom of 18 muffin tin wells.
Lay out cooked noodles on a large cutting board and blot dry.
Spread mixture onto noodles. Sprinkle with a little mozzarella.
Roll noodles up and slice in half. Place halves into muffin tin.
Top with more sauce and shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle with some shredded Parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
We served this with a green salad loaded with veggies topped with a simple homemade vinaigrette and the kids ate every last bite!!
I love making a special breakfast for my family on lazy weekend mornings. For awhile now, I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for healthy, whole wheat pancakes. But they are never quite light and fluffy enough to pass off to the kids as a “special” breakfast. Its more like “here, chew your way through this lead disc of fiber-y goodness.” Just as I was about to give up, I discovered the secret – a fresh can of baking powder and double the amount of it than I had been using before!
We tried them a couple of different ways with blueberries, mini chocolate chips, and some just plain.
But in the end, the kids seemed to really like the plain pancakes topped with a quick homemade raspberry sauce.
This recipe is just as easy as using a boxed pancake mix, but so much more healthy for you. Out of curiosity, I took a look at a box of Bisquick recently and it baffles me that they are still including artery-clogging partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil in the ingredients. This is a toxic, genetically modified source of trans fat and does not belong in a healthy diet. As an added bonus, if you take the time to make these up over the weekend, they can be re-heated in the toaster for a quick mid-week breakfast. Either refrigerate for up to a week, or store 2 pancakes each in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Fit Fresh Food
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups plus 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
2 tsp sugar (I use organic coconut sugar because it is less processed)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
coconut oil to grease the pan
Mix whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add almond milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the eggs and mix well. Combine wet and dry ingredients in one bowl, being very careful not to overmix.
Heat a skillet to medium low heat and melt a little coconut oil in the pan. Pour 1/4 – 1/3 cups of batter per pancake into the greased pan. Top with blueberries, banana slices, chocolate chips, etc. or leave them plain. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom edges are starting to set and bottoms are golden brown.
Flip and cook for 1 more minute. Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while you finish making the remainder of the pancakes. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and re-heated in the toaster.
Consider upgrading your topping to this quick and easy raspberry syrup. It reduces the amount of sugar and incorporates a serving of fruit!
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted
2 – 3 T. maple syrup
Mix defrosted raspberries and maple syrup in a blender at high speed. This will make enough for 2 servings.
For any new visitors to Healthy Plate Happy Family, this is the one day during the week where I show you a picture of everything that I ate during the day in hopes of showing you how to put “healthy eating” all together.
I have procrastinated putting this post together because of my colossal dinner FAIL. But I guess you will see that I am living real-life here, with chaos and changes in plans and crabby little ones, and sometimes you just have to roll with it!
First up, for breakfast, I took advantage of a nearly empty Almond Butter jar and made a pumpkin version of Overnight Oats in a Jar. Now, Overnight Oats can be made in any container you’d like. I just happen to like taking advantage of the little bit of almond butter that is left to blend in with the other ingredients.
Overnight Oats are a super convenient grab-and-go breakfast. The night before, you simply blend up 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid (usually milk or water) and leave them to combine and thicken up overnight. The flavor combinations and toppings are endless here!
Today, I went with pumpkin because I had a can of it open. Into the jar (last night) I mixed together:
Store this in the refrigerator overnight. This morning, I topped it with some raisins and chopped pecans. YUM!
I had a snack mid-morning of carrots, gluten-free rice crackers, and this Avocado and White Bean Dip. It is really tasty – like a combination of hummus and guacamole. And it is usually a little more green, but I made this a couple of days ago. Perhaps the blinding brightness of the carrots will make up for it!
After a marathon grocery shopping trip, I came home and made lunch. Today it was a massaged kale salad, one of my favorite salads. This salad took me some time to warm up to. In the beginning, I would make a smaller portion and could eat it as long as it was paired up with a sandwich or soup. Now, I’ve grown to really like it and it can be my whole lunch. I love this because of the powerhouse of nutrition – Vitamins A, K, C, calcium, fiber and loads of antioxidants in the kale, plus a little healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil to help absorb the nutrients. And I haven’t even gotten to the add-ins!
Start with a huge bowl of washed kale (stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces).
Make the dressing with a small wedge of avocado (a little less than 1/4 of an avocado), juice from a wedge of lime, 1 tsp. olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Did you get all of those precise measurements?!?!?!?
Mash them up until it sort of looks like guacamole.
Dump the avocado mixture into the bowl of kale, and with CLEAN hands, massage the dressing right into the kale leaves. This will tenderize the leaves making them much easier to eat and more palatable.
Then your huge bowl of kale will be reduced to a more reasonable looking portion like this.
Taste and adjust seasonings. I usually like to add an extra squeeze of lime to give it more of a tangy flavor. At this point, you can cover the salad and let it sit for a little while. But I don’t recommend refrigerating it for a long period of time, or it will get pretty soggy, at least for my tastes.
Top with lightly toasted nuts (today was almonds), carrots, and cucumbers. A lot of times, I’ll add diced apples or dried cranberries in as well for a little sweet contrast.
So I realized this afternoon that Darren and Hailey were going to be gone for the rescheduled Daddy Daughter Dance, so I would be having a little dinner date at home with Jake. But then he wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to play Monopoly and snuggle on the couch. Next thing I know, he was hungry for food RIGHT NOW, and I was scrambling to pull some dinner together. I could tell he wasn’t feeling well because he didn’t really want any of his usual favorites. He wanted grapefruit, then a homemade popsicle (pureed watermelon and strawberry), and then asked for a treat or a smoothie. At this point, I was starving too and I also felt like Jake needed a little more substance. So I decided to scrap my plans for a Greek salad and falafel, and make the treat/smoothie/dinner all into one dish!!!
Behold, the Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie!
Believe it or not, this thing was so filling that it turned out to be my dinner! Maybe dinner wasn’t a fail afterall?????
Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie
Mix all ingredients in a blender until super smooth and creamy. Add more almond milk to thin or ice cubes to thicken, as necessary. This made 2 decent size portions. You could scale back to 1 cup of cherries/strawberries, 1 T. cacoa, and 1 cup of almond milk for an individual portion.
So there you have it for this Wednesday!
Some people are all about the awesome deals at outlet stores. Some are really into picking up a treasure at a thrift store or garage sale. But me? I love scoring a deal at the grocery store!
I especially love the clearance produce section! Its a great place to pick up perfectly good produce for a fraction of the price (since you rarely see coupons for healthy whole foods or fresh fruits and vegetables). Some of the staples I can usually find at our store are onions, citrus fruits, and mini peppers. We have potatoes and apples a lot as well, but I prefer to buy organic versions of those.
One of my favorite things to find??? Bananas!!!! These are one of the few fruits that I am perfectly OK with eating non-organic since you don’t eat the outer part of the fruit. And even if they’re a little past their prime, they are perfect for cooking or slicing and freezing for smoothies and other frozen treats.
So this week when I found bags of clearance bananas, I cleared the shelves and brought home 7 pounds of bananas for a little over $2.00!
And I knew exactly what I was going to do with these guys!! I’ve been eyeing the Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal at Oh She Glows. My kids love oatmeal and I thought this would be a little bit more special than their typical weekday morning oatmeal topped with raisins or thawed frozen fruit.
This was SO good – like a perfectly warm and cozy treat, very filling and not overly sweet. I love all of the healthy swaps from traditional bananas foster including coconut oil for butter and a maple syrup for the brown sugar. This will definitely be something that I make often!
Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!!
Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Oh She Glows
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour (finely ground oats, I’ve started grinding mine in a coffee grinder instead of the blender)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 cups unsweetened, plain almond milk
Bananas Foster Ingredients
4 bananas, sliced (or chopped into small pieces if you prefer)
1 T. coconut oil
2 T. real Maple syrup
3 T. rum
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 banana, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish (I used coconut oil).
Combine all oatmeal ingredients in a large bowl and set aside while you prepare the bananas foster.
Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and rum to a cold skillet and heat over medium low heat. As the coconut oil begins to melt, whisk to combine ingredients. When mixture is bubbling, add in bananas and sprinkle with cinnamon. Saute for about 5 minutes, reducing heat if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Stir bananas foster mixture into oatmeal and pour into casserole dish. Place sliced bananas on top and bake for 40-45 minutes.
After I dried out from a cold and wet walk with the dog this morning, I decided to switch it up from my usual smoothie/juice for breakfast. This weather definitely called for a great big warm bowl of oatmeal!!! The recipe just makes a single portion, but I think you could probably triple or quadruple the recipe to bake up a bigger pan of it to share with the family or eat throughout the week. I love this because its not too sweet, very filling, and packs in a serving of vegetables!
I have decided that one of my goals this year is to focus a little more on better nutrition for my two kids. I probably love healthy eating more than the average person – I feel my best when my days are full of green juice, chia pudding, and kale salads and truly enjoy eating this way. But over the past year or so, I have found that while I’m experimenting with new recipes for myself to enjoy, I am falling back into old habits and feeding my kids more processed foods during the day than I would like. So, I’d like to work on swapping out some of their packaged snack foods for more nutritious, real foods.
I am a busy parent of two kids with time and budget constraints just like everyone else. I realize just how convenient it is to toss a granola or cereal bar in the backpack for a snack. But a recent review of the approximately 45 different ingredients in Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Bars (8 of them being different forms of sugar, many ingredients that I cannot pronounce, artificial flavors, and artificial food colorings) leaves me feeling like I can easily do better than this. With just a little effort, I can have make a homemade snack that is not full of an entire day’s worth of sugar, genetically modified foods, and unrecognizable ingredients and still gets the thumbs up from my family.
So, this week I baked up a batch of one of our favorite muffins to pack as a snack throughout the week. My kids love these mini banana chocolate chip muffins based off of the Oil-free Vegan Banana Bread by the vegan cookbook author Dreena Burton of Plant Powered Kitchen. I love that these muffins are full of REAL food ingredients – with no white flour, no white sugar, and no oil. With the addition of a few chocolate chips, my kids think they are getting a treat when in reality they are getting less sugar than a pre-packaged granola bar!
Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from the recipe by Dreena Burton