School has officially started here in the Midlands of South Carolina and parents everywhere are getting back in the swing of things. Earlier bedtimes, earlier mornings, after-school activities, and nights of homework and required reading have become our days.
I, for one, kind of enjoy it! The ebb and flow of our daily lives, broken up by weekend relaxation, speaks to the part of me that tries very hard to be organized. I like lists — though I don’t always follow them — and a spanking new school year is where I start to try and make good habits for the marathon of months to come. Planning ahead and being resourceful with my time is how everything starts. We will see how long it lasts!! I’m thinking positive here, friends….
What can make this easier for you AND me? This handy dandy list of recipes is perfect for lunches and snacks to get your year off on the right foot! A little inspiration is always a good thing, so be sure to Pin this post! You will want to come back to it again and again!
Homemade Granola Bars
2 c rolled oats (not quick cooking)
3/4 c sliced almonds
3/4 c shredded coconut
1/2 c wheat germ
Place the above ingredients on a dry sheet pan and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beware! The coconut has a tendency to burn so watch it! When it is done, carefully pour into a large mixing bowl and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
1 c shelled pistachios
3/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped dried apricots
Toss all dry ingredients together
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt together:
4 T butter
3/4 c honey
1/3 c brown sugar
Once it is melted, bring to a slow boil and cook and stir it for about a minute.
Add 1 tsp vanilla and pour over the contents of the bowl. Stir carefully-its HOT!-until everything is coated and even. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan and with wet hands, pat mixture down to lightly flatten evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting. Twelve or sixteen bars seems to be the perfect size. Granola bars can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen in a gallon freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Peanut Butter W/Honey, Cinnamon & Cocoa
The possibilities are endless! These will keep tightly covered in the fridge for weeks. Although I doubt it will last that long. Dip apples, pears, or graham crackers. Either of these options are great spread on toast or a bagel and then topped with sliced bananas. Mmm.
Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter
1 c creamy peanut butter
3 T honey
1 1/2-2 tsp cinnamon
Whisk all ingredients together.
Peanut Butter W/Honey & Cocoa
1 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c honey
1 T cocoa powder
a splash of hot water
Whisk all ingredients together. Add the splash of hot water if needed, as the cocoa can make it a bit dry.
Spicy Meat & Cheese Roll-Ups
1 c mayo
1 T taco seasoning
thinly sliced ham, turkey, or roast beef
sliced cheese-cheddar, colby, provolone, or swiss
large tortillas-any variety
Mix together the mayo and taco seasoning until well incorporated. Smear thinly, but evenly over the surface of the tortilla, nearly to the edges. Layer on your meat, then cheese, then spinach last. Roll this up as tightly as you can. If making these ahead of time (as in the night before a school day) wrap individually in plastic wrap, or if you are doing several, store in a large zip top bag and chill overnight. When ready to cut, place toothpicks across the roll-up about an inch apart and trim off the ends, if desired. Slice between the toothpicks, keeping the roll-up secured and together. Pack them up and enjoy!
Honey Peanut Cereal Bars
4 c oat ‘o’ cereal
1 c dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, or a mix of both
1/2 c dry roasted peanuts
1/2 c honey, preferably raw
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
Spray an 8 inch square pan or line it with parchment paper or wax paper. In a small microwave bowl, heat the honey and peanut butter together until melted together. Stir until smooth and runny. Meanwhile, mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the melted honey mixture over the cereal mixture and mix will with a large rubber scraper. When it is all coated evenly, pour into the prepared pan and press evenly to compact the cereal a bit. Press firmly so that the gaps are filled. This ensures the bars will hold together once they are cool. Let set completely, cooling at room temp or in the fridge. Cut into bars. These will keep for up to three days, sealed tightly. Enjoy!!
Chocolate Cherry Almond Clusters
8 oz good dark or bittersweet chocolate, at least 60% cacao, finely chopped
1 1/2 c roughly chopped unsalted almonds
1 1/2 c roughly chopped dried sour cherries
In a medium glass bowl, melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, and stopping before it is smooth. At the end, the heat of the bowl and a vigorous stir will work out the last of the lumps without overheating your chocolate. Always err on the side of less heat when it comes to chocolate. Stir in the almonds and cherries until well mixed. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and scoop and portion out the mixture in large tablespoons. I consistently get exactly 20 clusters out of a batch! Chill until set in the fridge and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Instant Veggie Dip
1/4 c dried parsley
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 c sour cream (I use light)
2 T spice mix
salt to taste
For spice mix, combine all ingredients and store in a sealed jar or container. Don’t forget to label it! When ready to make dip, combine sour cream, spice mix, and a pinch of salt. Let sit so the flavors can meld at least an hour. Stir the dip well and taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Just before serving, stir and taste again. Dip can be kept sealed in the fridge for several days. This spice mix makes enough for exactly three batches of dip.
Gluten-Free Apple Carrot Muffins
These freeze beautifully!
In a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 c brown rice flour
1/2 c almond flour or almond meal
2 T tapioca starch, also called tapioca flour
1 T ground flax
1/4 c raw sugar or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom (optional, but highly recommended)
Whisk until combined and set aside. In a large measuring cup, combine:
1/3 c pure maple syrup
1/3 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk until smooth and gently fold into the dry ingredients just until moist. Don’t over mix! You still have to add:
1 c grated carrot-about 3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated-I ALWAYS bake with golden delicious but it is up to you
Oh so gently, fold these in and divide among eleven lined or sprayed muffin cups. You heard me right. Eleven. No matter what I do, I can’t make this recipe come out to an even dozen! Anyway, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two. Cool slightly. Enjoy!