Tag Archives: quick & nutritious meals

Friday Favorites: Energy Bites (aka “Chocolate Chip Balls”)

16 May

FRIDAY Favorites

I have three sons. Their current ages are 8, 6, and 4. My sons eat massive quantities of food. I spend hours each day preparing food for them (of course!), but I spend equal amounts of my day brainstorming ways that I can earn a 6-figure income in the next year or two. Why, you ask? It’s not because I’m desirous of a larger home or a sweeter swagger wagon mini van. No, my reasons for seeking a 6-figure income is because our sons are eating us out of house and home! It’s time to increase the grocery budget! ha! 🙂 I can’t fathom how much food they’ll consume (or how much the food will cost!) when they are all teenagers. Wow. Mind blowing.

To satiate their little  ever expanding tummies, I have started force feeding  serving them these yummy Energy Bites! We’ve actually dubbed them “Chocolate Chip Balls” around our house. They never turn away a recipe with “chocolate chip” in the title. Between the protein from the peanut butter and the fiber from the oats and milled flax seed, my boys can go longer than ten minutes without a snack! ha! Honestly, 4 or 5 of these, and the boys are good to go for an hour of two. (And Moms everywhere are cheering with joy!)

Another plus–these are very easy to make! I must warn you, though. These are very addictive!!! I have no self-control when I eat these bad boys. I promise myself that I’ll only eat one….and half the mixture later, I realize I’ve broken my self-promise. hahahaha! AND…a special shout out to my dear friend Melanie who gave me this recipe. Best recipe ever!

This recipe is so delightful the energy bites magically arranged themselves on my plate in this design. Isn’t that amazing?image

Energy Bites

1 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 cup honey
3 cups oats
1/2 cup milled flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or in this case butterscotch, which is all I had!)
other optional “add ins”–sliced almonds, rice krispy cereal, cheerios, raisins, craisins. It’s very versatile!

1) Mix all the ingredients together.

2) Form into balls and serve. (I use this to scoop them out.)

3) The recipe instructions are over, but I wanted to include another “tip” about this recipe. 🙂 You can line them on a cookie sheet and through them in your freezer to flash freeze them. Once frozen, throw them into a ziploc bag. Now, you can pop them out of the freezer anytime! Going on a road trip? Throw several frozen energy bites in a ziploc bag. They will thaw as you’re traveling, and viola! Snacks in the car! We use these a lot in the summer before heading out to swim. Swimming=even MORE ravenous sons. 🙂 Energy bites=ravenous boys satiated=happy Mom. 🙂

image
I’m not even going to lie. This picture makes me so happy. I feel like I was channeling my inner Pioneer Woman when I took this photo. Doesn’t she always have the most magical food photos? I try not to covet her mad Kodak skills. Thanks to Apple and the iPad Mini for helping me reach my goal of channeling my inner Pioneer Woman. I’m sure it will take me at least 2 to 3 more years to take another cool “foodie” photo again. So, until then, I’ll just keep staring at this one. And…I digress.


imageThe finished product! I may or may not have eaten all of these as soon as I finished snapping their photo. Oops!

 

Tropical Traditions-FREE SHIPPING TODAY (6/23)

24 Jun

When I started learning more about the benefits of cooking with coconut oil, I was eager to try it! However, my hubby doesn’t like the taste of coconut oil, so my attempts to “sneak it in” to our food failed. He quickly recognized my sneakiness and wasn’t as excited as I was about coconut oil.

Photo of Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil - Certified Organic from Tropical Traditions. Expeller-Pressed coconut oil is a healthy cooking oil with a mild taste.

However, a friend told me about expeller-pressed coconut oil, which has the benefits of coconut oil without the coconut flavor. I ordered our first jar from Tropical Traditions a couple of years ago, and we’ve been using it ever since! Expeller-pressed coconut oil is “hubby approved.”

Interested in trying some coconut oil or other goodies from Tropical Traditions, today’s a great day for it! Tropical Traditions has FREE SHIPPING today (Monday, June 24) through MIDNIGHT ($16 minimum order). Use code 131766.

Click here to read more about the differences in coconut oils. Here are some articles about coconut oil benefits–here and here. There is a great archive of coconut recipes on Tropical Traditions website, too.

Black Bean Dip

7 Dec

IMG_7202This is one of the Mosleys’ favorite, favorite, FAVORITE recipes! It’s been a staple in our home for at least 10 years. I, first, got it from my friend, Amy after my husband and I were married (ten years ago this year!). Ten years later, I’m making it even more frequently! My boys love, love, loveBlack Bean Dip. I usually make it early in the week, and my boys eat it most days for lunch. It’s so YUMMY!

I love Black Bean Dip for three reasons (in addition to its wonderful YUMMINESS!):

1) It’s rich in protein and fiber. This dip is very filling; I love that it’s hearty for my boys! I wrote here about how my occupational title should be “Food Fixer,” not Mother.  My boys eat ALL the time. Some days, literally, it’s every half hour. Whew! Black Bean Dip keeps their tummies full longer due to the protein and fiber in the beans.

2) It’s meatless, so it’s easy on the pocketbook! Anytime I can serve my family meatless protein dishes, I do because it stretches my budget. My Black Bean Dip falls into the category! YAY! One other way that I’ve found to stretch my budget with this recipe is to use dried black beans. Buying the dried black beans in bulk is much cheaper (and healthier!) than using them from the can. I can buy organic, dried black beans at a local produce store cheaper than I can by the non-organic, canned black beans. I just cook the dried beans in my Crockpot all day, and then, I freeze them in a Ziploc 2 cup portions. One can of black beans equals about 2 cups of my Crockpot black beans. I make several pounds of the dried beans at a time, so I have a huge stash of frozen black beans in my freezer AT ALL TIMES.This makes it easy for me to whip out a package of black beans at any time and whip up a dish of Black Bean Dip, which is what I did today. 🙂

3) It’s a CROWD PLEASER and feeds a crowd! Anytime I have a wedding or baby shower that I’m helping with, friends over for dinner, a gathering in my home, or a potluck at church, I make this recipe. I am constantly asked for the recipe; it’s always a hit at parties! My friend, Amy, who first shared the recipe with me gave me the great tip of transferring it to the Crockpot after it’s baked. Once it’s in the Crockpot it can be kept on the “Warm” setting and served at a gathering. Taking it to a gathering without the Crockpot is not such a great idea. The dip is best served warm, so use the Crockpot version for those occasions. When I use the “Crockpot” version, I typically double the recipe. I also have started doubling the recipe at home for my boys since their appetites are growing, growing, growing. This makes the recipe last longer in our home. 🙂

So, if you’re looking for a great recipe to take to a Christmas party this year, or if you just want a new non-peanut butter and jelly lunch option, try my Black Bean Dip! The recipe is below including instructions for using/serving in the Crockpot.

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Black Bean Dip

1 can or 2 cups of black beans (rinsed & drained)

1 12-14 oz. package frozen corn (cooked, rinsed & drained)

2 cups salsa

1 cup plain yogurt (original recipe called for sour cream)

1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)

1 cup mozzarella or Monterrey jack (shredded)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mash black beans.  Add next 5 ingredients (corn-cheddar cheese) to black bean mixture. Stir Well. Pour into 1.5 or 2 qt. Pyrex dish (or a favorite dish…doesn’t matter that much) Top evenly w/mozzarella (or monterrey jack) cheese. The types of cheese can be switched up (only cheddar, only Monterrey jack, etc. to suit your preference).

Bake for 20-25 min. or until dip is bubbly or thoroughly heated.  Serve w/tortilla chips.

Crockpot instructions:
This dish can be doubled (or tripled!!) VERY easily.  Follow the instructions for making the dish except do NOT top with cheese.  Bake as per instructions above.  When finished cooking in the oven, transfer the dip to Crockpot and top with mozzarella or Monterrey jack cheese.  Keep Crockpot on “Warm” setting.

ENJOY!What are your favorite meatless recipes? I’m always looking for new ones! Please share! 🙂

How to roast a WHOLE chicken?!

4 Oct

Is the blog title a question or an energetic statement? Well, if you had met me about 12 months ago, it would have been my own question. Now, one year later, it’s an emphatic, energetic statement. I can actually roast a whole chicken! This was a cooking task that I never thought I could tackle. However, when I found a whole chicken marked down super cheap last  Fall, I decided the deal was too good to pass up. I had been baking bone-in chicken breasts for awhile, so how much harder would the whole bird be?!?! I took the plunge, so glad I did. Read these step-by-step instructions for a delicious, easy, succulent meal.

First, gather your ingredients. Yes, you are correct. There are only 4 ingredients shown here.

  • A whole chicken
  • Olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Second, put the whole chicken, breast-side up, into your baking dish.  If you don’t know which way that is, you can pull back the skin as I’ve done in this picture. I’m sure most of us are familiar with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Pull back the skin and look for the breast. If you see the breast, you’re good to go. If not, you need to flip it. Another important tidbit about a whole chicken. You must take out the little bag inside the cavity of the chicken. The little bag has giblets. I’m sure there are amazing things that you can do with the giblets, but I choose to throw them away. No matter what you do with them, you need to take them out of the chicken before baking.

Third, season your chicken. I, liberally, brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil. After that, I season the chicken with salt and pepper. If you have a favorite spice blend to use additionally, you can add that now, too. We buy a favorite spice blend from a local restaurant that I occasionally throw on as well. That’s it! You’re almost done!

Fourth, cook the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour or an hour and a half. Most chickens have suggested times on the packaging; these are based on the weight of the bird. So, before you throw away the packaging, check out the weight of the bird as well as the suggested time. I would keep a meat thermometer on hand; poultry needs to cook to 180 degrees (internal temperature). This is the yummy, golden roasted bird that we had last week.

Reasons I love cooking a whole chicken:

  1. It’s inexpensive. You can usually buy a whole bird for AT LEAST half the price of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (usually greater than 50% off the price!)
  2. It feeds an army. Remember, I have 3 scrapping,, young boys (and 1 hungry husband!) to feed. We can usually get 2 meals out of 1 chicken and leftovers. 🙂
  3. Its leftovers are versatile. After our 2nd meal from the whole bird, we’re ready to not have it a 3rd night in a row! 🙂 I take what’s left and throw it in soups , use it for quick chicken stir-fry or freeze the leftover chicken for later use.
  4. It’s easy. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to prep the bird and throw it in the oven. That’s it! This is so easy to fix and always a crowd-pleaser. I make it frequently when we have guests. Throw together a salad or veggies, some bread, and you have a meal. This is an easy meal to take to a family with a new baby, new neighbors, or someone who’s experienced a death in their family.
  5. It makes the best broth. I have been making homemade chicken broth for years now. Before my days of buying and cooking a whole chicken, I typically bought bone-in chicken breasts (I’ll blog about that in the future, too! Much cheaper to make your own boneless, skinless chicken breasts!), so I used the leftover bones to make the broth. The broth from the whole bird is amazingly better, and it’s super nutritious! Read more here; this is the website that I used when I began making broth from the whole bird. I’ll have a “how to make your own broth” blog post coming soon!

Enjoy your yummy, whole chicken! You’re going to love it! Do you have a favorite whole chicken recipe to share?

Freezer Meal: Breakfast Power Muffins

21 Sep

Have I mentioned that I have 3 scrapping young men in our home? When people ask me what I do (i.e. my occupation), I have started replying with “food fixer.” That is, I fix food for my 3 growing boys. Most days it seems like I’m cleaning up the dishes from one meal when 1 of my sons (if not 2 or all 3 of them!) comes into the kitchen announcing that they need a snack. 🙂 I, seriously, hope that I can find a job earning 6 figures when they’re all teenagers in about 10 years. I can’t even fathom how much food they’ll consume then. ha!

For the past year, I’ve been trying to boost their protein intake so that their growing bodies will be satiated for longer than a half hour. ha! 🙂 I saw the Breakfast Power Muffins recipe on my friend Lorie’s FB page. Lorie, thank you for this recipe!!! This recipe is a hit with EVERYONE in the Mosley household! The boys love the chocolate chips, and my husband and I enjoy that the peanut butter, flax seed and oats help us stay full until lunch! 🙂

The original recipe makes a dozen. From the get go, I started doubling the recipe. These days, doubling the recipe meant we had muffins for about 2 mornings before it was time for me to make more. Last week, I quadrupled the original recipe and ended up with almost 6 dozen! YAY! This batch has lasted us an entire week! Here’s a picture of 4 dozen muffins cooling in the kitchen! I cooked the next 2 dozens the following day.

To freeze:Place individual muffins on a cookie sheet. Cram as many of the muffins as possible on there! Try not to let them touch each other, though. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen throw into a Ziploc bag and keep in your freezer. When you’re ready for muffins, pull out as many as you’d like and enjoy! If I pull some out and place them in our “Muffin Box” (see the teal container in the bottom right hand corner?!?!?) before bedtime, they are fully thawed and delicious at breakfast the next morning. 🙂 By freezing with this method, the muffins are allowed to individually freeze. If you throw them in the Ziploc skipping the cookie sheet step, they will freeze in one big glob and will need chiseling tools to break them apart.

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Breakfast Power Muffins
hearty, healthy, stick-with-you, yummy breakfast

2 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar (I don’t pack it)

1 cup peanut butter

2 bananas

1 cup of apple sauce or carrot puree

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 to 1/2 cup milled flax seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Blend everything else and then mix in dry ingredients. Spray muffin tray. Bake for 15-18 min. Makes 24 muffins .  This recipe is easily doubles with no extra effort.  Eat 1 dozen muffins now and freeze 3 dozen muffins for later.

Freezer Meal: Homemade Meatballs

14 Sep

This is my Aunt Phyllis’s yummy recipe! She passed it along to me several years ago when I was pregnant with our 3rd son. I was in NESTING MODE and cooking like crazy to prepare freezer meals for our post-baby, sleepless nights, too-tired-to-cook reality. I stumbled upon a large amount of quality ground chuck on clearance at Harris Teeter. I snatched all of it up, and I immediately called my mother for her meatball recipe. Her meatballs were a definite favorite of mine growing up. She frantically searched for it, and, tragedy, it was lost! Thankfully, she tracked down my Aunt’s recipe, which is virtually the same one! I made and froze almost 40 meatballs that week!

The trick to freezing meatballs is to do so INDIVIDUALLY. After I stir up the ingredients, I form them into balls and put them on a cookie sheet. (Make sure that they are not touching when the meatballs are lined on the cookie sheet). They are transferred into my freezer for a couple of hours until they are individually frozen. I, then, throw them into a Ziploc bag labeling it with the total number of meatballs in each bag.

When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, take out your desired amount the night before and put them into a greased baking dish. I cover them and leave them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When I am ready to cook them, I make the sauce, pour the sauce on top, and bake! Viola! So easy and so yummy!

By the way, this is a great meal to take to someone with a new baby! I’ve done that in the past, and they are always a hit!

I made these on Monday, which was our first day of Classical Conversations for the year. It was HEAVENLY to be able to pull these out Sunday night, let them thaw all day Monday while we were at CC, make the sauce and bake them later that day, and enjoy a wonderful homecooked meal for dinner! My boys DEVOURED these; these were the only 2 left out of about 2 dozen! The empty dish on the left, the 2 lone meatballs on the right! Enjoy!

Homemade Meatballs
MEATBALLS:
1 1/2 LB. GROUND BEEF
1 cup  MILK
3/4 CUP OATS
1/2 CUP CHOPPED ONION
1/2 CUP CHOPPED GREEN PEPPER
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
SAUCE:
1 CUP TOMATO KETCHUP
1/2 CUP WATER
1 Tablespoon VINEGAR
1 Tablespoon WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
COMBINE 1ST 6 INGREDIENTS. MAKE INTO SMALL BALLS. CAN BE INDIVIDUALLY FROZEN ON COOKIE SHEET NOW, IF DESIRED.) PLACE IN 9X13 DISH. COMBINE SAUCE INGREDIENTS  AND POUR OVER MEAT. BAKE AT 275-300 DEGREES FOR 45 MINUTES.

2 things I never thought I’d do…

11 Sep

I had 2 adventures in the kitchen today. These were new adventures, mind you, and they were adventures that I never thought I’d go on. What were they, you ask?

1) I prepared fresh green beans to put up for the winter. (Well, maybe I should say I’m saving them for the fall; I don’t think I’ll wait that long to eat their yumminess!)

2) I made homemade applesauce, pear sauce and put it up in my freezer.

Since my blog is dedicated to sharing with you, I just HAD to blog about these 2 things. If I can make these things, ANYONE can! Some things are just too good to keep to myself! I feel like Suzy Homemaker today. I’m still shocked that I did these 2 things. What was MORE shocking was that these 2 tasks were SUPER easy and will be such a blessing to our family! Between church planting, homeschooling, trying to keep 3 scrapping boys fed, and the fast-paced culture of America (sigh…that’s my other campaign, to s.l.o.w. down our culture, but that’s another topic for another day), having meals and in my freezer make dinner time MUCH easier for me.

Green Beans: The green beans came from our CSA. My fridge was full of fresh veggies already, and I remembered reading this post on Heavenly Homemakers (a favorite blog) last month about freezing fresh green beans. So, why not try it?!?!? Here’s the result! This took little to no effort, and I have 2 huge bags of fresh green beans to enjoy weeks or months from now.

Pear sauce: Random, I know. It was inspired by the exorbitant amount of pears that we have. The abundance of pears, why yes, they came from our backyard. This is such a hilarious statement because I AM not a gardener, grow-my-own food kind of gal. I’d LOVE to be, but I have no idea HOW. The two pear, two plum, white peach, and apple trees came with the house when we bought it. We love our house, and when the fruit appeared in abundance our first spring and summer here, we were elated. Plants and trees bringing forth fruit is an amazing process to observe; it causes me to worship God, the creator of all things and marvel at His wisdom and handiwork.

This is our second round of pears. We’ve had about 15 gallons on just ONE tree! I hate the thought of wasting this food; it’s delicious AND free! I’ve made what seems like hundreds of Pear Crisps (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that recipe here soon!), but having dessert every night in our home is, well, not a great idea for our waistlines family. So, I had to try making something a little healthier with them. 🙂

I was inspired by this Crockpot Applesauce post to make and freeze pear sauce with our bounty of pears. I even borrowed my neighbor’s Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer to prep the pears for the Crockpot. Why, yes, this AMAZING tool works on PEARS; it’s amazing!!! Go buy one now!!! I can peel, core, and slice a dozen pears in about 10 minutes. Another plus is that my sons LOVE using the Peeler/Corer/Slicer, so they’re eagerly helping me. The pear sauce is delicious, and I put up 2 freezer bags of pear sauce today (and will be making more tomorrow!). I have several breakfast recipes that use applesauce as a staple ingredient, so I’ll be able to whip out my frozen pear sauce and use it the next several months in our cooking. The best part is that I’m saving money by doing this!! YAY!

Here’s a picture of all of my pears and the beloved Pampered Chef Peeler/Slicer/Corer. Everything is set out for me to make another batch of pear sauce in the morning.

So, the next time you think, “Hmmm, I’ve never done _________ (fill in the blank) before.” Let me encourage you to GO FOR IT. If I can blanche and freeze fresh green beans and make homemade pear sauce, you can do tackle a new recipe or project! Check back in with me here and let me know what new recipe, craft, or Pin from Pinterest that you tried!