06/8/14
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greek lemon chicken and bean rice bowls

Gosh it’s been so gorgeous here!  I just can’t get enough of it.  We’ve been spending so much time in our backyard lately. Jacob spent a good couple months working on the grass, creating a rock pathway, fixing up the shed (painting + adding a door and window) and just making it a nice place to be. We’ve been cooking on the BBQ a ton and enjoying dinners outside. I feel like this weather is warmer than the norm here in Washington, but I’ll take it!

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Every month I participate along with the secret recipe club. I’m assigned a secret blog to snoop through and make one + share of the recipes from the assigned site. This month I received Famished Fish, Finicky Shark. A blog by Saundra, a mama of three. Saundra has a great story behind her blog on her about me page.  She makes a big focus of her meals for her son who has autism… which feed the whole family too. She’s seen a big improvement since making changes to his diet. I love how food can be (and should be!) used as medicine. Take a peek over at her site to read more about her.

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So the recipe I chose was Greek lemon chicken nachos with chickpeas, but instead of nachos I turned it into rice bowls. We dined on this meal in the oasis Jacob’s created. It was the perfect meal. Everyone loved it! I made a couple modification which are shown below in the recipe… different beans, a slight change to the salsa and a rice mixture instead of nachos. Like I said, we all loved it. It was even a major hit with Hunter too.  Always a win.

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The fresh tomato, avocado, bell pepper, cucumber and cheese salad was the perfect addition to the warm meal.  I’ve actually made it again and loved it even more the second time around.

I should also note, the original recipe was much more greek-like than this.  It included olives + feta, which you can add in as well.  I’m just sharing the variation I made. :)

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Greek Lemon Chicken and Bean Rice Bowls

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked rice (I used half brown and half white)
  • 1 1/4 lb chicken thigh (or breast), chopped for stir fry
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup tomato, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash garlic granules
  • dash sea salt
  • dash black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook your rice according to package directions.  Or, if you’re using a combo of brown and white rice, you can add the rice plus 4.25 cups of water to a rice cooker to cook.   I find the brown rice and white rice finish evenly together in the rice cooker.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss the chicken with the olive oil and lemon and add to the skillet. Season with oregano, garlic granules and black pepper. Cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Toss in the pinto beans to season and heat through.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the cucumber, bell pepper, tomato and avocado and place in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with garlic granules, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese.
  4. To eat, place rice on your plate, top with the chicken mixture and load up on the veggie mix.  Enjoy!

Do you ever get in a rut figuring out what to do with chicken?  I hope you can add this one to your rotation, it’s quite wonderful!

Heather

06/5/14
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cheesy broccoli mash pasta {toddler friendly}

I really couldn’t think of what to call this recipe.  It’s awkwardly named, but it describes the dish well.  Broccoli mashed with cream cheese and combined with pasta.  Plus more cheese on top! There was a request for the recipe after I posted a picture on Instragram and facebook, so here it comes!

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We’ve been quite blessed with a good eater. At 2 years old there are only a short list of foods Hunter doesn’t like. Some days he decides he doesn’t care for something, but I think that’s a pretty normal toddler thing to do. I’ve relaxed up quite a bit at meal time and do my very best not to nag him to eat certain foods, or to finish everything. He eats what he’ll eat and it isn’t a battle.  Meal time is a happy time.

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He used to looove broccoli. Now, he pretty much passes it up. I love broccoli and while I still cook it and offer it, I wanted to come up with a new way to present it to entice him to try it. He loves pasta. He loves cream cheese. Why not put it together with that fabulous cruciferous veggie?

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The mashed broccoli sticks to the pasta so even though he didn’t eat the big chunks, it still snuck into his belly since it was kind of pasted to the pasta. Yes, he skipped most of his big chunks, but hey, the boy kept asking for more and more and ate a ton of the pasta.  Which mean he ate broccoli too.  Win.

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We paired the pasta with rice krispie chicken strips. They were perfection! I followed the recipe to a T and highly recommend t it. I know we’ll be having it again, especially since it was super simple and loved by all.  In fact, the whole meal together will make it onto my meal plan again.  It was a winner for sure.

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Cheesy Broccoli Mash Pasta

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 broccoli crowns, chopped to separate the stems
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: freshly grated parmesan to top

Directions

  1. Begin by cooking your pasta according to the package directions.  Once it is finished, drain and set aside in a bowl.  Toss the butter in with the pasta.
  2. Steam the broccoli until fork tender.  Add to a bowl with the cream cheese and mash until the majority of the larger pieces are broken.
  3. Toss the broccoli mash with the pasta.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.  Top with parmesan.

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I’m linking this recipe up to Munchkin Meals. Check out today’s post to see what other mamas are feeding their kiddos for more ideas.

Does your kid like broccoli? What are their favorite veggies and ways to eat them?

Heather

04/3/14
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peanut butter, raisin and bean snacker cookies

We all have rough days. Hunter recently had one (lots of tears throughout the day + waking up really sad from his nap). I find that there’s normally a reason for these rougher days: poor night sleep or nap, not eating well or a tooth bothering him are the usual culprits.

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On that particular day, after his sad wake up from his nap, we baked cookies. The boy loves being in the kitchen helping and sampling, then having cookies at the end – well that just made it even better.

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I’m calling these cookies snacker  cookies because they’re actually quite healthy and would totally work as an anytime snack. Instead of the chocolate chips in the original cookie, which are much more a dessert cookie, I subbed in raisins. Really I did this because we had no chocolate chips on hand, but it totally worked! I love how it’s such an easy way for Hunter to snack on beans too.

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peanut butter, raisin and bean snacker cookies

adapted from peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough bites

Makes about 12 cookies, depending on the size

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, SunButter Natural or almond butter – room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of sea salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the raisins, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.
  2. Put in the raisins and pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  3. With wet hands, form into 1½” balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising.  {You can also refrigerate the dough for a little bit which will make it easier to handle.}
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes for the fresh batter (closer to 14-16 straight out of the freezer). The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.
  5. Best eaten right away when still warm!

After we baked and snacked on these cookies, everything was better. Sometimes you just need a cookie to cheer up your mood a bit.

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I’m linking these up to Brittany’s munchkin meals today. Click over to see what other mamas are making for their kiddos.

What’s your cure for a rough day?  Cookies?

Heather