DIY Fruit Pops

Popsicle molds are one of my favorite things ever. I love that I can decide exactly what goes into the popsicle and that they end up costing pennies each.

Sometimes when I make too much smoothie, I will just pour the excess into the molds and they make great popsicles for later.

My latest one is so easy and are a hit around here. It doesn’t require any prep work and literally only takes a minute to make. All you need are pineapple bits (either fresh or frozen) and rice milk.

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Just fill your mold with pineapple bits.Then pour your rice milk into it until it reaches the rim. Rice milk may sound a little weird but it has a really subtle taste and gives it a slight creaminess. I used to use just water and my kids still loved them, but I found it was like they were chomping on ice…not good. The rice milk freezes softer and is more chewy like a popsicle.

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You can also just fill mold with mixed fruit and top off with coconut water.

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I think it’s a little too sweet, but no kid would ever agree with me on that. These would be good on really hot days as coconut water is a good way to replenish electrolytes.

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There are so many different popsicles you can make with these, especially if you branch out with a blender and other ingredients. I love to hear your favorites!

 

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Pudding

pudding-dairy, gluten free

I love this recipe for chocolate pudding. I like that it is dairy-free and lacking all the preservatives and colorings that you find in boxed pudding, but it is also gluten-free which is just a bonus for some people. With a couple family members that cannot eat dairy or gluten, I’m trying to learn as many good recipes as I can so they don’t starve when they come over! Also, if you use Stevia instead of sugar, it is sugar-free, too. Woah. Despite all the “frees”, it really is delicious.

I first saw this recipe on A Beautiful Mess, but I had to play around with it to get it exactly how I (and my kids) like it, which is a little sweeter. Here’s what I came up with.

Simple ingredients:

1 ripe avacado
1/2 cup almond milk (I like vanilla but you can use unsweetened or even chocolate)
1/4 cup stevia or sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen mixed berries

This is a great opportunity to add some chia seeds for added nutrients since they will blend right in and won’t affect the taste.

Since everyone’s tastes are a little different, you kind of have to play around a little bit to get it how you like it. For example, I love the taste of banana in anything. If you don’t, just omit the banana and use another fruit. The fruit will add extra sweetness and thickness which is important because unsweetened carob can be a little bitter. Don’t go heavy on the carob.

Peel and pit your avocado and place into a food processor (or blender). Add in the carob powder, vanilla, milk, sweetener, and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. You may need to add a little extra milk or fruit in order to get the consistency you like.

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Place in your desired cups and put in fridge to chill.

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Serve chilled.

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Just a little hint. If you’re serving this to your family, call it pudding to your kids but when you serve your husband, call it a chocolate mousse. You’ll get a better reaction 🙂

 

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Fresh Mango Salsa

If you are looking for a dish to bring to a cookout this Memorial Day or just a fresh, healthy (and low calorie) treat, this mango spring salsa is amazing!

Fresh Mango Salsa

I actually found the recipe in a mailing from Kroger. It looked so good, I had to try it.

And since it was so good, I had to share it.

What you will need:

Fresh Mango Salsa

1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup (each) green and yellow peppers, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup corn (canned or fresh)
1/2 up canned black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tsp. jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red onion, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1 1/2 tsp, sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This salsa is great with chips.

Fresh Mango Salsa

But I also spread it over a chicken breast and it was wonderful.

Fresh Mango Salsa

This would also be great with pita chips or over fish. It has the most refreshing taste and is perfect for the upcoming spring and summer.

I actually had two batches going because I wanted to experiment with a couple different ingredients.

All I can say is this recipe is perfect just as it is!

Enjoy!

 

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Make Edible Flowers With Jelly Beans

Jelly beans are one of my favorite candies so I really love this time of year. I buy a bag of them almost every time I go grocery shopping.

Our cabinet was started to overflow with jelly beans so I wanted to do something with them.

These little flowers are the sugary version of Edible Arrangements.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

To make flowers on a stick, you will need jelly beans, toothpicks and cookie/cake pop sticks.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Cut a few toothpicks into smaller bits by cutting at an angle so both ends are sharp.
Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Poke a cake pop stick into a jelly bean. That will be your center. Then just poke one end of your toothpick piece into a jelly bean and the other into your center jelly bean.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Do that all the way around the jelly bean until it looks like a flower.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

You can also just do a flower that is not on a stick by just adding the jelly bean petals the entire way around.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

The flowers without a stick can be used as a cupcake topper or cake decoration. I made brownie cups since it kind of looked like dirt 🙂

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Because there are small sharp pieces of toothpick involved, it’s best to use this just as decoration or make sure to take the flower apart and remove the stick pieces before giving to kids.

Then enjoy. These guys finished these flowers in about thirty seconds.

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Make edible flowers with jelly beans

Happy Easter Week!

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Sprinkle Milkshake (Kid Version of a Birthday Cake Martini)

I’ve been seeing these beautiful birthday cake martinis around and thought they looked so festive.

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Photo courtesy of pizzazzerie

While I think a martini would do wonders for my kids (and me) at bedtime, I figured I would try to make something a little more kid-friendly.

This version is basically a vanilla milkshake with sprinkles.

kids milkshake with sprinkles- cake martini

To make, you will need:

-1 cup milk
-1 cup vanilla ice cream
-A couple ice cubes
-Colorful nonpareils or whatever sprinkles you have on hand
-1 Frozen banana (not necessary but i put it in to thicken it up and add a few nutrients)
-Plastic wine, champagne or other fun glasses

Ingredients amount will vary depending on the consistency you prefer.

Place items in a blender and blend until it is how you like it.

Meanwhile, pour some sprinkles in a shallow bowl.  Coat the rim of your glass with a little bit of ice cream or honey and dip into the bowl of sprinkles until the rim is covered.

kids milkshake with sprinkles- cake martini

Pour your milkshake into the glass and you are ready to serve.

kids milkshake with sprinkles- cake martini

I recommend not filling the milkshake all the way to the top or only putting the sprinkles on the outside rim. Otherwise, you instantly get this dripping effect.

kids milkshake with sprinkles- cake martini

Although, it won’t matter either way. It’s colorful and fun and your kids will love it!

kids milkshake with sprinkles- cake martini

Cheers!

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sprinkle milkshake

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Cupcake Cones

If you’re looking for a fun idea for a kid’s birthday (or for any day), these cupcake cones are great. They are a nice alternative to regular cupcakes.

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To begin, just prepare your cake mix as you normally would. Line up your cones (the cake cones with a flat bottom) on a cookie sheet or place them inside a cupcake pan. Scoop your batter directly into the cone. Fill a little more than halfway.

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Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

While those are baking, you can prepare your frosting. If you use store-bought icing, you’re all set.

My favorite homemade icing recipe is super easy, though. Using a hand-held blender, blend 1 stick of softened butter with 4.5 cups powdered sugar, and 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract. You can add 5-6 tablespoons of milk to get the desired consistency.

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Once your cake is cooled, ice it like you would a cupcake.

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If you have a pastry bag, great. Or you can scoop your icing into a ziplock bag and cut the tip off to make your own.

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Then just squeeze on your icing. You can add food coloring to your icing if you want specific colors. I used colored cones so I stayed with white icing.

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Top with sprinkles or whatever topping your want and you’re all set!

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Kids love them, of course.

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It’s always fun when they discover the cake on the inside.

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You can also just top the cones with ice cream instead of icing for a regular ice cream cone with a surprise at the end!

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One warning is that the cones don’t really keep well (the cone gets soft) so it’s best to serve them the same day you make them.

Have fun!

cupcake cones

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Thanks!

Homemade Flavored Greek Yogurt

More and more people are switching to Greek yogurt, and rightfully so. It has double the protein and half the carbs as regular yogurt. And depending on which variety of regular yogurt you normally get, Greek yogurt will have less sugar and sodium.

It has a thicker consistency so it can be used as a replacement for sour cream or other high fat ingredients in cooking. Eaten alone, though, it can be a little bitter and tangy for some people’s tastes, which is why I wanted to share the following versions.

This post is inspired by a dessert recipe that I recently tried. The dessert was a flop. But as with anything in life, it’s not a failure if you learn something from it.

What I learned was a low calorie, natural way to sweeten plain Greek Yogurt.

I ended up experimenting and came up with three different varieties.

The first is my favorite. It’s a honey-lemon version.

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I just blended about 1 Tablespoon of honey into a cup of yogurt. Then I grated lemon rind into it (about 1/2 teaspoon).

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Refrigerate for an hour before eating (nothing scientific here, but I found it seems to let the rind soften and the flavor settle a bit) and you have the most refreshing, lemony yogurt! It goes great with fresh fruit.

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The second one is a cinnamon-maple syrup version.

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Simply blend about 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup into a cup of yogurt and sprinkle your cinnamon in (about 1/2 teaspoon). Delicious! This one goes well with a cinnamon bagel.

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The third is a Vanilla-Nutmeg Yogurt.

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I blended about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract into a cup of yogurt and then sprinkled in the Nutmeg (just  a few dashes). This was has a warmer flavor and can be scooped up with graham crackers. No spoon needed!

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This is just the start of the different flavors you can create. I love that you can change it up without a bunch of sugar or additives.

Enjoy!

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greek yogurt

No-Bake Energy Sticks

I’ve noticed that we have become a little reliant on granola and other fruit bars for our kids when we are out and about. They are easy and convenient but I know they are full of sugar and really have no nutrients.

I decided to try these no-bake energy bites and see how they went over at our house.

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You can swap out any ingredients you like, but here is what I used.

1 cup oats
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut

When you look at the list this way, you realize how great these things are:

1 cup soluable fiber, dietary fiber, and protein (oats)
3/4 cup vitamin E, fiber, and protein (almond butter)
1/2 cup natural sweetener (honey)
1/2 cup antioxidants (raisins)
1/4 cup fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, and calcium (chia seeds)
1/4 cup omega-3 essential fatty acids and lignans (flax seeds)
1/3 cup fiber (coconut)

A less expensive way to make these is to buy exactly what you need from the bulk section at Whole Foods. It is much cheaper than buying a whole bag of each ingredient.

I love how easy these are! Just take all of your ingredients and put them into a bowl and mix together well.

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Place mixture in the refrigerator for an hour or so to harden a bit. Then you can take it out and break into small sections on a cookie sheet and put back in the refrigerator for another hour or two. These will last about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Many recipes suggest making balls, which is fine.

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I decided to make sticks because I felt it would be an easier, less-messy way for small mouths to eat them.

DSC04944The only downside to this is that they end up looking like cat turds. So if you have kids ages five and older, get ready for a morning full of poop jokes!

Once you get past that….enjoy!DSC04958 DSC04952 DSC04945

Fluffy Pizza Bites

pizza bites

I’ve been seeing recipes for these pizza bites around and every time I saw a picture, my mouth would start to water. To me, this is the ultimate comfort food. Add a side of macaroni and cheese and a hot chocolate and you can get through just about any horrible day.

Normally, I like to create a healthier version of a recipe, but for these, you just need to go all out. Enjoy every carb!

To begin, you will need:
-2 cans of pizza crust
– 3 cups mozzarella or pizza cheese
-Pepperoni
-Olive oil
-Garlic powder
-Marinara sauce

Pizza Bites

Some recipes called for biscuit dough but I found it to be too, well, biscuity. I like the pizza dough better.

First, unroll your dough and cut it into bite sized pieces.

Pizza Bites

Cut your pepperoni into quarters.

Pizza Bites

In a large bowl, mix together your olive oil, garlic powder, dough bites, pepperoni pieces and cheese. Mix with your hand until all the pieces are covered in the oil.

Pizza Bites

Pour into a bundt pan and/or other baking pan. This recipe makes enough to make two pans.

Pizza Bites

Bake on 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown.

Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites

Serve with warm pizza sauce.

Pizza Bites

Enjoy!! And have nothing to do afterwards except lie on the couch 🙂

 

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pizza bites