easy overnight breakfast

overnight oatmeal bowls with roasted strawberries

honestly… my kids didn’t go for the roasted strawberries and ended up having theirs with golden raisins. more for me 🙂 i am not an oatmeal person and every time i try to make myself eat it i end up hating it even more. however, i can do overnight oats if i eat them cold like cereal, and have yummy fresh toppings. the kids like theirs warm, so i just popped their serving in the microwave for a few seconds. this bowl is topped with juicy roasted strawberries mixed with a little strawberry jam, creamy peanut butter and some crushed up cheerios for a nice crunch. i would have done granola, but it’s what we had on hand. turned out amazing and super filling!

ingredients

overnight oats
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups milk of choice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
honey to taste (i used about 1.5 tablespoons)

roasted strawberries
1 lb of strawberries, all green parts removed and sliced in half
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice (about half a lemon)

instructions

mix together the oats, milk, cinnamon, salt and honey in a medium sized bowl the night before, cover tightly and put in the fridge. so easy! i also roasted my strawberries the night before so they would have time to cool in the fridge. mix together the strawberries, olive oil, coconut sugar, salt and lemon juice, and spread over a sheet pan covered in parchment or foil. roast them at 375 for about 15-20 minutes and store in an airtight container. in the morning enjoy the oats cold, or heated up with whatever toppings you like!

easiest christmas treats ever

dark chocolate grahams with white chocolate and sea salt

these are seriously the easiest “cookies” or treats for christmas or any late night chocolate craving. i have a weird obsession with graham crackers but paired with chocolate and sea salt, they are over the top. they are so great for kids to help decorate, because all it takes is a little melted chocolate and sprinkles. believe it or not, emmett (2 year old) did most of the white chocolate drizzle on these… future cake decorator! he had the best time decorating and eating sprinkles and this is just a really easy and fun activity for toddlers and then *bonus* they get a sweet treat after. plus not a ton of clean up for mom.

ingredients

honey or cinnamon graham crackers
semi sweet chocolate chips
white chocolate chips – my favorite are ghirardelli
1/8 tsp coconut oil
flaked sea salt – i used maldon
optional – sprinkles to decorate

instructions

melt semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in increments of 20-30 seconds, checking and stirring frequently until they are mostly melted. then stir them vigorously until all the chocolate chips are uniformly melted. add a tiny bit of coconut oil into the white chocolate chips and melt them the same way as the semi sweet chocolate chips. spread onto the graham crackers, sprinkle with toppings and pop them into the freezer for a few minutes to set them. they will harden at room temperature, but i always stick them in the freezer because i just can’t wait to eat them 🙂

easy weeknight pasta dish pt. 2

mushroom artichoke pasta

my mom whips up this super easy and quick pasta all the time and i’m completely obsessed with it. i’m also obsessed with artichokes so maybe that’s why. probably not toddler approved by most kids standards but for some reason my child loves mushrooms, artichokes, and broccoli (weirdest foods for a toddler to like). hope you enjoy!

ingredients

1/2 lb linguini or linguini fini
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small to medium onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
8 oz baby bella or white mushrooms
6 oz chopped artichoke hearts – mine were from ALDI, i love this store!
6-8 italian style whole peeled tomatoes – my favorite are Cento
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons white sugar
optional: fresh basil for garnish

instructions

put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. finely chop the onions, mince the garlic (or don’t, if you’re lazy like me and like to use pre-minced garlic from a jar), and chop the mushrooms into bite sized pieces. chop up the artichokes and set them aside. heat a large high sided skillet or dutch oven to medium heat, add the butter and olive oil, and then saute the onions until they start to become translucent. add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and the italian seasoning, and keep cooking the mixture until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid. add the artichokes and white wine and simmer until it reduces by about half. the water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta according to package directions. then take the tomatoes and SQUISH THEM into the pot. you could totally chop them up but squishing them is just so much more fun. add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar to taste. i tend to like my pasta sauce a little sweeter. simmer the sauce until the pasta finishes cooking, then drain the pasta and add it directly into the sauce. finish by tossing everything together and garnish with fresh basil if desired.

hope you love this and let me know what you think if you try it! 🙂

easy pancakes

cinnamon oat pancakes

been a little mia lately since we last minute decided to travel home to maryland for the last portion of ryans deployment. hence, we have been relying on easy meals, and also putting together some freezer meals for friends before we leave. these pancakes are easy to whip up with a baby on your hip, and added fiber from the oats might make you feel better about feeding your toddler syrup for breakfast >.< they’re also perfect for freezing. i usually will keep a bag of them in the freezer and pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds. toddler and baby approved!

ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup quick or old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp white sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk (i prefer 2% or whole)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter

instructions

sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. nuke the butter for about 30-40 seconds or until completely melted. add the wet ingredients to the dry, as well as the butter, and mix until fully combined. fry the pancakes over medium heat on a pan or griddle top using butter, or cooking spray to coat the surface. we served them with maple syrup and our favorite wild blueberries.

nugget life

veggie chicken nuggets

kid approved and mom-approved, kind of a pain in the butt to make, but as my 2-year-old would say, “so delicious and so healthy!”

ingredients

1 lb ground chicken
3-4 large broccoli florets
1 medium-sized carrot
½ red bell pepper
¼ large yellow onion (If it’s a small onion, use a half)
1 large egg, beaten
¼ tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/8-1/4 tsp garlic powder
Few shakes of smoked paprika
1/3-1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs, plus more for coating
panko breadcrumbs
olive oil

instructions

pulse broccoli, carrots, onion, and red pepper in a food processor. saute over medium heat with some olive oil until veggies start to soften. in a large bowl, beat egg and add chicken. once veggies are softened, add into chicken and egg. add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. add in 1/3-1/2 cups of the italian breadcrumbs until meatball consistency. You want it to be able to hold its shape together enough to form into nugget shapes. mix together about half and half panko bread crumbs and italian seasoned breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. form meat mixture into nugget shapes (I just grabbed about as much as I would need for a meatball, rolled it into a ball and pressed it flat). it’s easier to do with wet hands so the mixture doesn’t stick. coat each nugget in breadcrumbs and set aside. heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. cook nuggets for about 4 minutes on each side. i’m a crazy person and put the lid on the pan while they were cooking on the first side, just to make extra sure i wouldn’t give everyone salmonella (but this probably isn’t necessary). 🙂

the pork speaks for itself

instant pot pulled pork

…the two year old ate his entire serving (unheard of), and the 8 month old couldn’t stop shoveling it in. enjoy!

ingredients

6-7 pound bone in pork shoulder

dry rub:
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 ½ tbsp kosher salt, ½ tbsp fresh ground black pepper, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp ancho chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, a few shakes of cinnamon (to taste).

braising liquid: 1 can of beer (i used blue moon), about ½ cup of water, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce

olive oil

instructions

the night before, mix together dry rub and cut pork into 2-3 large pieces. add pork and dry rub to a bowl or gallon sized plastic bag, along with dry rub and a few glugs of olive oil. mix together so all the pork is coated in the dry rub/olive oil mixture. refrigerate overnight. next day, add pork and braising liquid to instant pot. cook on manual mode, high pressure for 90 minutes. let pressure cooker naturally release for at least 10 minutes, then you can manually release steam. enjoy tender, juicy pulled pork 🙂