With summer holidays in full swing and more relaxed schedules already being enjoyed, I have to admit that a little (actually a lot;) of laziness has set in on my part, when it comes to planning meals. With a more laid back schedule, comes a more relaxed attitude and all that hustle and bustle that happens throughout the school year starts to slow.
Summer is awesome, it’s warm, school’s out, we get a break from our regular routines and schedules, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t still busy. The truth is, life with kids is busy. Even if we don’t have scheduled activities, kids are active and curious and well…busy. Quick, easy meals not only get us out of the hot kitchen, but they also keep our kids happy and fueled for all their, well… busyness.
Yogurt Bark // A healthy frozen yogurt treat with pistachios, cranberries & blueberries
This yogurt bark is a fun, healthy and cold treat that the kids went crazy for. It looks like white chocolate bark but is made with natural yogurt and has the surprise of being frozen, making it a little unexpected and switching things up a bit from regular ice pops. And because they are made with healthy ingredients, I’m just as happy to serve them for breakfast, as I am to serve them as an afternoon or evening treat.
They are also a perfect “cooking” activity to do with the kids. They are quick and easy to make using a few simple ingredients and they can be adapted very easily to what you have on hand and/or what your family’s personal preferences are. I used plain natural yogurt, pistachios, dried cranberries and frozen blueberries. If you want to sweeten things up a bit, you can add a bit of honey to the yogurt. If you don’t have pistachios sub-in another nut or some chocolate chips. And choose whatever combination of dried/frozen fruit you like. Letting the kids get involved in some of the choices makes it all that more fun.
To make the yogurt bark: In a medium bowl mix together 2/3 cup of dried cranberries and 2/3 cup pistachios, separating the cranberries if they are stuck together. Stir in 3 cups of plain natural yogurt. Using a spatula, spread the yogurt mixture on a baking sheet, top with 1/3 cup of frozen blueberries and pop in the freezer until frozen (2-3 hours), break into chunks and enjoy. Store any extra in the freezer, wrapped in parchment paper and placed in an airtight container.
Meatball & Grilled Polenta Skewers with Classic Tomato Sauce Dip & Veggies // A fun way to serve reinvented leftovers for lunch.
Leftovers for lunch reign king in my house. Hands down my go-to-way to serve lunch, but leftovers can be boring if they are just re-served the same way again, so I like to reinvent the leftovers to keep things more interesting.
For dinner we had Classic Meatballs and Classic Tomato Sauce served over polenta. I poured the leftover polenta into an 8×8 baking pan and refrigerated it. For lunch, I cut the polenta into squares and grilled it on an oiled grill pan, before skewering it with the meatballs. I served the tomato sauce as a dip along with some veggies.
The great thing is, this can be served hot or cold, making it perfect to pack up to go – to camp, to the beach, to the park, to the backyard…or even to school, when we get back to that (I didn’t say that).
Carrot Pineapple Muffins with Pears & Strawberries // Double batch these muffins and freeze half, for a snack or breakfast that’s ready and waiting.
The recipe for these delicious Carrot Pineapple Paleo Muffins is from CookEatPaleo.com. Truth be told my family doesn’t follow a Paleo diet, but when I am trying to accommodate a few food allergies and/or sensitivities at once (think groups of kids hanging out in the backyard) paleo recipes are usually where I turn.
I rarely make muffins without making a double batch. It just makes sense. Same amount of time, double the amount of muffins. Then I freeze at least half of the muffins, and they are ready and waiting in the freezer, whenever we want them, for a quick snack or even breakfast. Plus having a batch of these paleo muffins (gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free) in the freezer, makes it super handy when the kid’s friends drop by, who do have food allergies and/or sensitivities.