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Purple Smoothie

July 24, 2015  |  Recipes  |  No Comments
Purple Smoothie | LunchingDaily.com

This purple smoothie is one of our favourite smoothie recipes. It’s super easy to make, so easy in fact, that the kids usually make most or all of it, on their own (with my guidance where age and skill appropriate). There are only 3 ingredients (frozen blueberries, frozen spinach and peach nectar) and they are all either from the freezer or the pantry, which means I can always have them on hand. And to top it all off it’s delicious, nutritious and all of the kids love it.

Purple Smoothie | LunchingDaily.com

We often buy a large package of fresh baby spinach at the grocery store and although we use it in our salads, to top up our sandwiches and in other meals throughout the week, I find that we rarely get through the entire package before it starts to go bad. So now, each time I buy a package, I freeze half of it. Right away, while it is at its freshest. Then we eat through the rest easily, I end up with a stash of frozen spinach in the freezer and there is never any waste.

Purple Smoothie | LunchingDaily.com

This is a perfect recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen. They love measuring out the ingredients (scooping out the blueberries, grabbing handfuls of frozen spinach and pouring the peach nectar) as well as adding the ingredients to the blender. I like to encourage the kids to taste each of the ingredients and we talk about how each ingredient looks and smells. They are all so bright and colourful and the kids respond to that.

And in the event, that one of the kids doesn’t want to taste or has an aversion to say, the spinach, well that’s ok because chances are they are going to love the smoothie and the fact that they know the spinach is in there, starts to give spinach a good reputation. And just maybe when they see spinach, fresh or frozen, the next time (or maybe a few times from now) they may be more enthusiastic. I’ve seen it happen so many times:)

Purple-Smoothies-7

I am always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen and to make lunch and snack time a little easier. One of the ways I do that, is to make two versions of the same recipe. Smoothies are perfect for this, because they also make delicious ice pops.

As I get the blender set-up for smoothie making, I also pull out my ice pop maker and set it on the counter beside the blender and beside that I set a measuring cup. We measure out all of the smoothie ingredients. Blend it all up. And any leftover smoothie goes from the blender straight into the measuring cup. Then I use the measuring cup to pour the leftover smoothie into the ice pop mold. The ice pop mold goes into the freezer and a few hours later we have ice pops ready to go.

Most of the time I plan for leftovers. I know my ice pop mold holds 3 cups, so I usually make a triple batch. One batch for smoothies and two for ice pops (since this recipe makes 1 1/2 cups). Keep in mind that you don’t always have to make a full batch of ice pops. Even if I only have enough leftover smoothie to make 2 or 3 ice pops, I still pour it into the mold and freeze it.

Purple Smoothie | LunchingDaily.com

Once the ice pops are frozen, I often pull them out of the mold (running the side of the mold under hot water will help loosen them, if they are being stubborn) and pop them in resealable snack size zip top bags, like I did here with these Sour Watermelon Ice Pops.  That way I can wash out the ice pop mold and it is ready for our next batch of smoothies. Plus the smoothie pops are then easy access for the kids and I simply rinse out the bags and reuse them for the next batch.

Purple Smoothies | LunchingDaily.com

A healthy nutritious breakfast, a fun & healthy snack and some time saved in the kitchen means a little more time to get out and enjoy the summer!

Debbie.

Purple Smoothies
 
Prep time
Total time
 
I often double or triple this recipe, so that I have leftovers to make Purple Smoothie Ice Pops.
Author:
Serves: 1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 cup peach nectar
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Thin with additional peach nectar, if needed.
  3. Make Purple Smoothie Ice Pops by using a measuring cup to pour any leftover smoothie into an ice pop mold and freeze.
Notes
This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of smoothie, enough for two adult servings or four child size servings.

Depending on the size of your ice pop mold, you may need to double the recipe to make ice pops or triple the recipe to make both smoothies and ice pops.

To determine how many cups your ice pop maker holds, measure out 4 cups of water, then pour the water into the ice pop mold until all of the sections are full, then subtract the amount of water that is leftover in the measuring cup. For example I had 1 cup of water leftover in the measuring cup which means my ice pop mold holds 3 cups (4 cups - 1 cup = 3 cups).

 

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #100

July 10, 2015  |  1 Lunch + 2 Snacks  |  No Comments
1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #100 | LunchingDaily.com

LUNCH – Chicken Sliders with Veggies & Mustard Dip
Veggies with mustard dip??? Sounds a bit strange, I know, but a few weeks back I served the meatball version of these chicken sliders along with some mustard for the kids to dip the meatballs into, but instead they dipped their veggies in the mustard. Whatever works, right! So mustard it is. Mustard is actually one of my favorite condiments because it has so few ingredients and no added sugar, like a lot of other condiments, so I am always trying to “sell” it to the kids. Only it turns out, this time, they sold it to me:)

This Chicken Slider recipe is a favourite with both my family and the daycare kids. In addition to the fact that it tastes great, I love it because I can use it to make burgers, sliders or meatballs. Usually I make a combination of two or three of these, so we have easy lunches and handy snacks throughout the week.

SNACK – Greeked Yogurt with Frozen Berries & Waffle Dippers
We eat a lot of yogurt and we have grown to love Greek yogurt. It’s thick and creamy and because it can pack up to twice the amount of calcium as plain regular yogurt, I find the kids fill up on it quicker. But it can be very expensive compared to regular yogurt, so I have started to greek my own.

It’s so simple, just line a strainer with cheese cloth and place it over a bowl, spoon in the regular yogurt, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Then wake to a strainer full of “greeked” yogurt. I usually dump an entire family size container of yogurt into the strainer at a time. I use a sharpie marker to write “greeked” on the lid of the container and put it back in the fridge (empty) until the morning, then I refill it with the strained yogurt.

About a year a ago we made the switch from store bought flavoured yogurt (mostly vanilla) to plain yogurt with no added sugar. It has definitely been a transition, more for some than others, but change takes time and we did it! Part of that transition was taking control of the amount and type of sweetener I added to the yogurt. Stirring in a bit of honey or drizzling on some maple syrup (like I did here) allowed me to both control what we were eating and reduce the amount of sweetener over time.

We now eat yogurt with no sweetener most of the time, but occasionally I will add some honey or maple syrup for a treat, when I’m serving it as a dessert or if we have a child hanging out with us who isn’t used to unsweetened yogurt (which was the case here:). I also served it along with some frozen berries and a waffle dipper made from toasting (in the toaster) and cutting up some waffles that I had in the freezer.

SNACK – Apple & Cheddar Melts with Slivered Almonds & Raisins
These apple and cheddar melts are a perfect snack, in my mind anyway:) Why do I like them so much? Well first, apples, cheddar and cinnamon – yum! Plus they are easy to make, they are great if you have a large group to feed (can you say sheet pan) and both adults and kids love them (glass of wine or glass of milk).

To make: Slice the apples nice and thin (I used a mandoline) and soak them in 2 cups of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, for 10 minutes. this keeps the apples from turning brown. Lay out the apple slices on some paper towels and blot them dry. Arrange the apple slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet/sheet pan, top with a slice of cheddar cheese and a second apple slice. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Keep your eyes glued on them though, they only take a few minutes. I pull them out when the cheese just starts to melt. I served them here with some slivered almonds and some raisins, but really anything goes.

Happy Friday!

Debbie.

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks is where I share the healthy, kid friendly lunch and snacks, that I serve the kids Monday to Friday, along with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. For more posts in this series click here. If you would like to see my lunch and snack ideas in real time, you can follow me on Instagram where I post them as they happen:)

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #99

July 2, 2015  |  1 Lunch + 2 Snacks  |  No Comments
1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #99 | LunchingDaily.com

LUNCH – Homemade Sloppy Joes
To make these easy Homemade Sloppy Joes, I used 2 cups of Classic Tomato Sauce, that I had left over from another meal, where I had doubled the basil and oregano to make a more flavourful sauce. I simply browned 1/2 pound of ground beef, drained it, added the 2 cups of sauce and heated it through.

I topped whole wheat dinner rolls, cut in half, with the sloppy joe mixture, some shredded Monterrey pepper jack cheese and arugula and then served the sloppy joes with tri-coloured pepper sticks on the side. The peppers could also be chopped and added right to the sloppy joe mixture.

Sometimes when I’m serving something new to the kids I keep some foods separated out, like here with the peppers. Depending on the reaction I get from the kids, I might mix them together when serving it another time. For example, if everyone ate the peppers or if the kids dipped the peppers in the sauce, then the next time I would try adding them right to the sauce, but if some of the kids didn’t want to eat the peppers I would continue to serve them separately for a while.

To serve this same meal to the younger kids, I put the sloppy joe mixture in a bowl, so they can eat it with a spoon and then I serve both the bun and the peppers cut up into age appropriate size pieces, on the side.

SNACK – Peanut Butter + Apple Stick + Raisin Roll Ups
These roll ups are an easy on the go snack or lunch. They can be made up ahead of time, which makes getting out the door that much easier. Just lay out some whole wheat wraps on a work surface, spread peanut butter over the entire wrap, line up some apple sticks (cut by hand or using a mandoline) down the center, going from one side of the wrap to the other and sprinkle on some raisins and a little cinnamon. Then roll them up and wrap them individually in foil or plastic wrap and pop them into the refrigerator. I usually cut them in half or into pinwheels before packing them in a cooler or serving them at home.

Tip: To prevent the apple sticks from turning brown, soaked them in 2 cups of cold water, mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, for 5-10 minutes.

SNACK – Loaded Celery Sticks – three more ways
Loaded celery sticks are a classic kids snack, but there are so many healthy and fun ways to serve them, rather than the traditional processed cheese spread. Here I used three different spreads – from left to right – Classic Egg Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Tuna Slaw Salad. Making up a spread like one of the three I used here, at the beginning of the week, is a great way to save time making lunches and snacks. Check out some of my snack and lunch ideas using Roasted Carrot Hummus to see how helpful it can be.

Happy Thursday!

Debbie.

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks is where I share the healthy, kid friendly lunch and snacks, that I serve the kids Monday to Friday, along with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. For more posts in this series click here. If you would like to see my lunch and snack ideas in real time, you can follow me on Instagram where I post them as they happen:)

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #98

July 1, 2015  |  1 Lunch + 2 Snacks  |  No Comments
1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #98 | LunchingDaily.com

LUNCH – Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Peas
This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe is one of our favourites. In fact I served it for lunch here because the kids requested it. Roasting a butternut squash in the oven while I’m working in the kitchen, is an easy way for me to have butternut squash puree on hand. Or even better, I roast a few extra on a night that we are having it for dinner. I just get the food processor (a blender works too) ready and when the butternut squash has cooled slightly (I let it cool while we eat dinner) I just scoop it out and put it straight into the food processor with a bit of water and blend it until smooth. Then I freeze it in freezer bags/air tight containers in 1 cup amounts and label each bag/container – butternut squash puree | 1 cup | and the date.

If you have a wee one just starting on solids, butternut squash puree is a great introduction to vegetables. Freezing the butternut squash in an ice cube tray makes perfect portion sizes. Once the puree is frozen, pop the cubes out of the ice cube tray and store them in the freezer in a freezer bag labeled – butternut squash puree | and the date. Then when you want to serve the puree, thaw one or two cubes at a time, in the fridge (in an airtight container), in the microwave or on the stove top. Just be sure to taste test the puree to make sure it’s not too hot for your little one.

And there you have it – butternut squash for dinner, butternut squash puree for mac and cheese and yummy butternut squash puree for your wee one, all in one go!

SNACK – Banana Logs – Two Ways
Here’s a fun snack that is super quick to prepare and that the kids get a kick out of every time. Peel a banana, slice it in half crosswise and then again lengthwise. Then spread peanut butter on the cut side and topped it up with frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries.

You can get creative here and top the bananas up with any kind of fruit that you and your kids like or that you simply have on hand. Strawberries, peaches…or how about granola, coconut or almonds.

SNACK – Roasted Red Pepper Hummus & Veggies (and apples)
Having Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in the fridge is really handy for making lunches and snacks throughout the week. It works great as a spread on sandwiches and wraps or as a dip for crackers and veggies. Check out this post on Roasted Carrot Hummus to get lots of ideas for different hummus recipes, different snack and lunch ideas and how having hummus in the fridge can save a ton of time:)

Happy Wednesday!

Debbie.

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks is where I share the healthy, kid friendly lunch and snacks, that I serve the kids Monday to Friday, along with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. For more posts in this series click here. If you would like to see my lunch and snack ideas in real time, you can follow me on Instagram where I post them as they happen:)