Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Green Smoothies with Driscoll's! #myberrysmoothie

I love green smoothies because they're a quick and easy way to fill my kids with power-packed nutrients that they'll actually EAT. Add organic Driscoll's berries and they're sure to be a hit every time! What better way to kick off a new year than with a healthy kid-friendly option for breakfast, lunch, or even dessert!
This post was sponsored by Driscoll's Berries!

My little one will drink smoothies no problem, but Big Sis needs a ton of extra sugar to be willing to drink them. If I freeze them in cups or popsicle molds however, she'll eat them all day long! So while she's at school, I make a batch of smoothies for the little one and I, and freeze the leftovers for Big Sis. They make a great after-school snack, and I'm more than happy to let her "indulge" - whole-food fruits, veggies, and protein, with less than a teaspoon of added sugar per serving? Uh, yes! (Bonus: I use either local raw honey to help our seasonal allergies, or else organic elderberry syrup* to boost our immune systems. So even the added sugar is quality, in my mind!)
*I get my elderberry syrup special order through Natural Choice Apothecary on Etsy. (Affiliate link)

Chocolate Raspberry Green Smoothie
1 cup Driscoll's organic raspberries (fresh or frozen) plus more to garnish (optional)
1 cup organic spinach leaves or 2-3 organic kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (honey, agave, sugar, Norbu, etc - optional. Depends how sweet your fruit is)
1-2 tsp lemon or lime juice or vinegar (optional - to help neutralize the bitterness of the cocoa)
1-2 Tbsp total optional mix-ins: chia seeds, hemp hearts, protein powder, dried milk (or non-dairy milk) powder

Add all ingredients to blender. Blend well!

  • I like using at least some frozen produce, so I don't need to add ice to make it cold. Bananas are super easy to freeze (just jam them in the freezer - the peel protects them from freezer burn!) and most places will sell you their overripe stock from the back room at a discount! I also freeze torn kale leaves and extra berries when I find them on sale.
  • I've had best results whizzing greens and seeds together first, before adding frozen items and milk. I add fresh fruit last. But with a powerful enough blender, you can just dump it all in at once.
  • Amount of added liquid can vary each time, so start with only half the milk in wiht the other ingredients, blend, and add more until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Feel free to wait before adding any sweetener. Sometimes the fruit adds plenty of sweetness, other times you'll need to add extra!


 Check out the Driscoll's Berry website for more great berry smoothie recipes
Or if you prefer to experiment and create your own, check out their How to Build A Smoothie guide!

 3pk Berry Baskets
(affiliate links)

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Blue Friday" Seahawks Bento

I made my 1st Grader a special lunch for Blue Friday and the upcoming Superbowl! Not that she is aware of much more than an upcoming visit to her favorite Auntie's house this Sunday!

"Blue Friday" Bento
GF goat cheese and ham sandwich, GF vegan brownie, organic blueberries and sugar snap peas
I was able to make a football-shaped sandwich using one of the larger circles in my circle cutter set - just make a circle (or most of one!) and then move the cutter up until the sides intersect the sandwich in a football shape! Easy as pie! I used a knife to cut some goat cheese scraps to make the stitching, and placed them on after I flipped the sandwich over in the oven. I used mayo instead of butter on the bread for the first time. She loooooves mayo, so it's sure to be a hit!

I stole this Seahawks cupcake ring off a cupcake that was up for grabs at the school PTSO meeting this week - since it was covered in fake colors and filled with gluten, I left the cupcake for someone else to enjoy.

There were also some vegan gluten-free brownies at the meeting, so I took a few home and used the same technique as the sandwich with a smaller circle to make a football shape there too. This one's smaller because it's under-inflated. *wink wink* (Oh, yes, I went there!) I had a little leftover dairy-free "buttercream" icing my sister made for us, so I put a bit in a sandwich baggie, snipped a tiny opening in the corner, and piped on the stitches!

 [This post contains affiliate links.

Tools of the Trade

Monday, January 26, 2015

Get Ready For #BlueberryPancakeDay with Driscoll's!

January 28th is National Blueberry Pancake Day, and what better way to celebrate than with some blueberry pancakes for breakfast (or lunch!)

[This post is sponsored by Driscoll's Berries]

I don't really have a "pancake recipe" since I'm usually lazy and just use a gluten-free pancake mix. But I always add 1-2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp real vanilla extract in addition to whatever the package says, and I substitute non-dairy milk and butter. However, I do enjoy making a quickie microwave berry compote to go on top instead of syrup!

I tried making a big batch of compote once, but I'm the only one who eats it - my girls prefer maple syrup or honey or powdered sugar on their pancakes. And Hubby prefers peanut butter. So I figured out a way to make myself a single serving in the microwave. Quick, easy, and I don't have to boil jars to store the leftovers... since there aren't any!

Microwave Blueberry Compote
~1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I just use a 6 oz berry clamshell usually)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2-3/4 tsp corn starch

Enough for Everyone (3-4 servings):
3 cups fresh or frozen berries
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp corn starch

Combine berries, sugar, and corn starch in a large microwave-safe bowl (can use smaller bowl for single-serve size.) Mix well.
Cover (I use a plate) and microwave on High for 2-3 minutes.
Stir (mash fresh berries a little if needed) and microwave again for 2-3 minutes, until bubbling and starting to thicken.

I like to stock up on organic Driscoll's berries when they are on sale or if I have a coupon, and then freeze any that don't get used up fast enough. Fresh berries are great for lunchboxes and shortcake or sundae toppings; and frozen berries are perfect to add into pancakes or baking, making compote or jam, or to make cold smoothies without needing to water it down with ice! 

Berries shown in the Crisp reusable Berry Basket. Great for rinsing, straining, and storing fresh berries and grapes!
3pk Berry Baskets

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 14 of 2014!

To help me pick just fourteen of my favorites from 2014, I started with choosing one post from each month, then filled up with the ones that were most memorable to me! Check out more "Top 14" bento posts from all kinds of amazing bento bloggers over at Eats Amazing!

1. My favorite January post has got to be the toasted cheese Totoro in an EasyLunchbox for Little Z! 

2. Z's Macaroni "push-pop" lunch is my February favorite, mostly because I'm impressed with my own cleverness! Hahaha!

3. For March, how could I not pick the "Bee" a Friend anti-bullying lunch?

4. The Easter Egg Hunt lunch I sent for Z's lunch was a definite favorite all around!

5. I just love all the colors in these simple Planetbox lunches. So they're my pick for May!

6. I had fun making these CuteZCats lunches, and they turned out so cute!

7.  In July, we had fun building these lunches the girls packed themselves!

8. These Powerpuff Girls lunches were such a hit for our concert in the park picnic. Plus, adorbs!

9. These checkerboard sandwich bites were so quick and easy to make, and the girls loved them!

Build-Your-Own Mummy Pizzable Lunch for Halloween!
10. I enjoyed planning and making this DIY Mummy Pizzable for Halloween. So fun!

11. For November I chose this CuteZCute "Hamster and Cheese" Sandwich lunch in a Yumbox. 

12. This decorate-your-own gingerbread house 3-D sandwich is a no-brainer for my favorite December lunch!

Mama's Picks
13. One of my all-time favorites is the edible "April Fools" bouquet lunch I made for Z. I can look at it for hours. Well. Minutes, anyway. 

14, I really wanted to pick at least ONE of my pretty salads, but I just couldn't miss showing off Z's Franny K Stein lunch again! It was suuuuuuch a pain in my heinie to make! But came out so incredibly well!

What a fun year of lunches!