Make-ahead 4th of July breakfast!

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

It’s a tradition in our house to make these on July 3rd and have them waiting in the fridge when everyone wakes up on July 4. As a mom, it’s so nice to wake up and have everyone taken care of with a pretty darn healthy (and festive to boot) breakfast. Also, it means I can sleep a little later because everyone isn’t jumping on my bed lamenting “I’m HUNGRY mama!”

Honestly, this barely even qualifies as a recipe as the amounts are eyeballed and the whole thing takes five minutes to put together. But I figured if your family took as much delight as mine in having these ready-made in the morning, it might be worth sharing. Feel free to tailor to your tastes — sometimes we change up the granola with graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy those extra few minutes of sleep!

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

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Red, White & Blue Yogurt Granola Parfaits

32 ounces vanilla greek yogurt
1 pint blueberries, washed
2 cups chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cups granola

Layer ingredients in six mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight!

Red, white & blue caramel pretzel bites

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

Need something quick and easy for the holiday weekend? Boom. Here you go. Pretzels and rolos…3-5 minutes in an oven…press an M&M on top. DONE! Gourmet? Not really. Super tasty and festive? YES!

My two older kids actually made these themselves, although I took the pan to and from the oven. This is perfect for little hands (as long as the hands don’t keep delivering the treats to their mouths in the process.) Set them out on a cute tray this weekend; you’ll thank me later!

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Red, White & Blue Caramel Pretzel Bites
I didn’t have time to go to a specialty store to get the red, white & blue M&Ms so we bought one regular package (picked out reds and blues) and one package of the new coffee nut M&M’s (picked out all the creamy whites). Saved me a trip!

1 package Snyder’s square pretzels
Rolo candies, unwrapped
Red, white & blue M&M’s

Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place one pretzel for each pretzel treat desired on prepared sheet. Top each pretzel with one unwrapped Rolo. Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until caramel piece begins to soften, but not melt. Remove from oven and let sit for 1-2 minutes; then press M&M in center of each. (If you put the M&M in immediately it melts.)

Don’t turn on the oven: Make this easy chicken salad sandwich

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

There are a few things that I always, always grab when I’m at Costco. One of those is a rotisserie chicken. I’m always so tired after I do my grocery shopping that I never want to actually put a meal together using those groceries.

Am I the only one? Sometimes, though, we get bored of just eating the chicken plain with a few side dishes. Well, here’s an idea for you. Next time you’re in Costco and you put that rotisserie chicken in your cart, grab a dozen croissants too. They’re so delicious and big. Perfect for a chicken salad sandwich.

easy-chicken-salad-sandwich-recipe-NoBiggie.net_1

Chicken salad sandwiches makes for such a good lunch, don’t you think? They’re also so quick and easy to whip together before a potluck. My favorite time to have them available is for play dates, especially if the moms are sticking around. I’ve noticed that I get so excited at the thought of having adult interaction, that I sometimes forget some of the logistics — like food. Chicken salad is great because it takes such little prep time and is even a little fancy. Kinda? I’m going with yes. Yes, it is fancy play date food :).

Chicken-salad-sandwich-recipe-NoBiggie.net_

We like ours with:

Chicken
Celery
Red grapes, sliced in half (they’re the best)
Mayo
Loads of salt and pep
And lemon juice

Mix together and served on a big buttery croissant. Yum. All you need is a side of some strawberries or sliced peaches and you’re set! All the moms will want to have play dates at your house now ;).

What is your favorite way to mix up a chicken salad?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


No-churn strawberry banana ice cream (4 ingredients!)

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

We are going on three weeks of near triple-digit temps, high humidity and no rain. Welcome to summer in Kansas. I haven’t turned the oven on in over a week, which must be some sort of record for me, and can’t see myself doing it in the forseeable future. So believe me when I tell you, this recipe is the best I could do. I had plans for this delicious summer bruschetta pasta, but it required — you guessed it — turning on the oven.

So instead, you get ice cream.

But it’s delicious ice cream and it really could NOT be easier. Slice up some bananas, throw ’em in the freezer. Then slice a few strawberries and throw everything in the food processor and give it a whirl. BOOM — super refreshing, healthy and tasty soft-serve ice cream. Or, if you like yours a bit more solid, let it sit in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. Either way this is the best thing since air conditioning on a hot and sweaty day.

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

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No-churn Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
I used my Vitamix blender to whip this up in about two minutes!

2 bananas, sliced and frozen ahead of time
1/2 cup sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy as soft serve ice cream or transfer to the freezer to firm up. Makes 2 servings.

Delicious cinnamon peach parfaits are the perfect summer breakfast

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait.”? Parfaits are delicious! -Donkey, from Shrek

It’s true, you know. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like a good parfait. And they’re the perfect summer breakfast or snack — nice and cool. A little fancy, in case you have guests. But easy. And best of all — able to be made with whatever you have on-hand. That’s how I roll.

delicious cinnamon peach parfaits are the perfect summer breakfast

And it’s such a great recipe for kids to help with. A little mixing at the beginning. And then they can assemble parfaits pretty easily. I’m a big fan of breakfasts kids can make on their own.

This cinnamon peach recipe is just a perfect flavor blend. So good. You can make it in the summer with fresh peaches, but you can make it the rest of the year with frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tb honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 2 c granola

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, honey, and cinnamon and stir until blended. In a small glass or 8 0z mason jar, layer one spoonful of granola, one spoonful of yogurt, and a scoop of peaches. Continue layering ingredients until jar is full and serve.

For more delicious breakfast ideas, try one of these:

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

Nothing says summer like this BLT pasta salad!

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

I made this salad to deliver to a friend’s house for dinner the other night. It was a blazing hot 95 degrees and nobody in their right mind wanted to turn on an oven that day. I realllllllly wanted to roast the tomatoes in this dish because I think it tastes so much better, but I eyed my oven like it was a mortal enemy and knew I couldn’t do it.

So instead I turned on my little-bitty toaster oven and roasted these puppies up. And I’m so glad I did. Roasting the little tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper makes this pasta salad way better than your typical potluck fare. And, because I’m not a mayonnaise fan, I opted to keep this version light and healthy with an Italian vinaigrette dressing. Perfect for a 95-degree day.

The secret weapon in this dish is tossing all the ingredients in a little bit of the bacon rendering (i.e., fat). Not the whole pan of fat. But after you cook the bacon and drain most of the fat, you toss this in about a tablespoon of the drippings and get all the good little bits off the bottom of the pan. Yessir, you will thank me for that tip.

This is the perfect side dish, but honestly, I threw in some grilled chicken and made it a meal. I delivered some fresh strawberries and cantaloupe with it and a quart of our famous No-Churn Tuxedo ice cream since this meal happened to be for a single dad. I got the sweetest pic back of a bunch of empty containers and happy kids, so I think it was a hit.

Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. Pasta. Do it.

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

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The BEST BLT Pasta Salad
We prefer this cold, but you can eat it warm, cold or anywhere in between. It’s even better the second day!

FOR THE ROASTED TOMATOES:
2 (10 oz) containers cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Sprinkle of dried oregano

FOR THE PASTA SALAD:
1 lb dried pasta (I used rigatoni)
1/2 pound bacon
2 cups garlic roasted cherry tomatoes from above
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup baby arugula or spinach
1 cup your favorite Italian dressing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine tomatoes with olive oil and seasonings. Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and have burst slightly.

Boil pasta until al dente (according to package directions). Drain pasta and toss with half of the Italian dressing. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Cook bacon on the stovetop. Remove from pan and drain all but 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Pour pasta back in pan and toss to coat. Add arugula, crumbled bacon, chopped herbs and roasted tomatoes. Toss to combine, adding more vinaigrette if desired. Serve warm temperature or chilled.

Serves 6-8 (depending on whether it’s a meal or side).

The one time you can let your kids go nuts with spray paint

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

…because it’s watercolor spray paint, see? Don’t let them loose with the real stuff or anything.

Like most of the things we do around here, this activity involves stuff you probably have on-hand. Simple. Fun. And a good way to burn an hour or so while the kids get creative and messy.

April spray painting

There are two ways to do this. You can use liquid watercolors, which are washable. The downside is that you’ll probably need to order or buy them (I don’t tend to have them lying around), and as far as kids’ art supplies go, they’re a little more than I usually spend.

You can also make your own with food coloring, which you may have on-hand. The downside is that it will stain your clothes and probably your skin. Make sure everyone has play clothes on, and that you do it in a space where you don’t mind a little paint (or lay down newspaper under your entire work area). I’ve mentioned before that just about anything in this house that can be stained or broken has been already, so I don’t tend to worry about it too much.

watercolor spray painting with kids is a fun summer activity!

Supplies:

  • liquid watercolors or food coloring and a bottle of vinegar
  • empty spray bottle (can be found at the dollar store)
  • blank paper (large easel paper is fun!)
  • stencils or foam shapes (optional)

 

Tim stencil

Instructions:

To make your own watercolors, combine 1 c vinegar with 5-6 drops of food coloring (if the color isn’t bright enough, you can continue to add more food coloring). Pour into empty spray bottle and squirt on your paper. You can also put down stencils and spray over them.

watercolor spray painting with kids is a fun summer activity!

Then remove the stencils and admire your artwork!

We couldn’t find a bunch of spray bottles, so we also put some watercolors in a bowl and flicked them onto paper with a brush, which gave the paper the same look. Experiment with several different ways to paint!

And if you’re looking for more painting ideas, try one of these:

Roller Painting

Roller Painting

Bath Paints

Bath Paints 

Watercolor Leaves

Watercolor Leaves 

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

Lemon chicken basil orzotto

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

I’ve got the perfect summer dish for you, and it’s a one pot dinner…bonus! Lemon chicken basil orzotto is a new favorite for our family. Think risotto made with orzo pasta. All you have to do is add chicken to this pasta dish and it becomes a complete meal – a rotisserie chicken would be perfect. It’s great as a light dinner or a lunch. Or, leave the chicken out and it’s a great side dish. It tastes great at room temperature too, so it would work good at a picnic, potluck or BBQ.

lemon chicken basil orzotto

Does your family eat leftovers? Thankfully, my family does. I always seem to cook too much all at once, and I couldn’t imagine throwing all that food out. I have friends who say their families don’t eat leftovers, and that’s crazy to me. I made this dish for dinner, and it made a great lunch the next day.

Ingredients-for-orzotto-NoBiggie.net_

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, diced fine
1½ cups orzo
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
½ cup frozen petite green peas
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons basil leaves, chiffonade
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
In a big saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and saute until it’s soft. Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring frequently. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and cover. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed into the orzo.
Stir in the shredded cooked chicken, peas, parmesan, fresh basil, lemon zest, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Are you going to add it to your menu this week?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Easy Father’s Day tuxedo ice cream (no churn!)

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

This ice cream is a mouthwatering surprise the kids can help make for Dad this weekend. Think salted caramel ice cream with a fudge swirl running through to give it the desired tuxedo (black and white-ish) effect. And the best part? You can let the mixer do all the work; no need for laborious, time-consuming churning.

All you do is whip some heavy cream, add some sweetened condensed milk and stir in the salt, caramel and chocolate swirl. This could not be easier, but Dad will never know just how easy this homemade ice cream really is.

I do mine in my KitchenAid mixer, just to save on muscle. But this could be made with any mixer!

Happy Father’s Day!

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

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Easy Father’s Day Tuxedo Ice Cream

Make sure to allow 4-6 hours for this to freeze up before eating!

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons store bought or homemade caramel (to taste)
1-2 tablespoons chocolate ice cream topping
Kosher or Sea Salt (to taste)

Place whipping cream in a mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in sweetened condensed milk gently, using a spatula. Add about 3 tablespoons of caramel into the mix along with a pinch of salt. Combine and taste. Add in more salt or caramel if necessary.
Place into freezer safe pan and swirl in chocolate ice cream topping. (Just squirt it in and then run your knife through a few times to create pretty swirls.) Freeze for 4-6 hours or until it’s completely set.

Serves 4.

What to do with your cold coffee

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

It happens to all of us. Sometimes more than once on the same day.

You get up and pour yourself a cup of coffee so you can function in this world. And then someone needs cereal. And someone else needs a banana. And someone else spills milk on the dog and the next thing you know…the coffee’s cold.

I’ve been there, sister (or brother…we caffeine-deprived parents need to stick together). You’ve got a few choices here. You can reheat your coffee in the microwave and I will not judge you. When I worked stupid-early hours in TV news, I knew a guy who took a Snapple bottle out of the recycling bin and used it to reheat his day-old coffee, so you’re far from rock bottom, I promise.

What do you do with leftover cold coffee? Freeze it for delicious drinks!

But you can also make yourself a fresh new cup and freeze the old stuff for later. And it will be delicious.

I’m a huge fan of freezing my coffee, because when I use it later in iced coffee, it doesn’t water down my drink. I like the super-leaded stuff whenever I can get it.

What do you do with leftover cold coffee? Freeze it for delicious drinks!

 

So just pour your cooled coffee into ice cube trays, freeze, and then you can move them to freezer bags and store in the fridge for several months.

To make iced coffee, fill the glass about halfway with milk or cream, and half with cool coffee (more, if you like yours really strong). Add coffee cubes and you’re good to go!

What do you do with leftover cold coffee? Freeze it for delicious drinks!

Just a note about the sugar — it won’t dissolve in cold coffee. You just get a lump of soggy granules at the bottom of your glass in the end. You can buy liquid sugar at the store, or make a simple syrup by heating 1 c water and 1 c sugar and stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the water looks clear. Use a little and store it in an airtight container in your fridge. It comes in handy for so many things besides cold coffee (like cold cocktails…).

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.