Lindsey’s Energy Bites

My kids really love to snack and I really love to provide healthy snack options.  Many people have recipes for these little “Energy Bites” and I just decided to tweak it a bit and make it packed with even more nutrients and a little less sugar.  Instead of coconut flakes, I use Special K cereal (gives it a good crunch with very little sugar) and added Chia seeds, known to be a “super food.”  I make this large batch and freeze half of it or give away a bunch of them.  Easy, quick energy-filled snack!

1 1/4 cups peanut butter
2 1/2 cups plain oatmeal
1 cup flax seed, I prefer ground
1/4 cup Chia seeds
2/3 cup honey
2 cups Special K cereal
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips, (the miniature ones are best but I rarely have those on hand)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well (an electric mixer is best because this stuff is thick!)  Place the entire bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Remove and roll into small balls.  Store in an airtight tupperware – and we like to put half in the fridge and freeze the other half for a later date.

Curried White Bean Dip

I made this dip for the first time when we were having some adult friends over…I didn’t know if it would be kid-friendly.  Well, the second time I made it, my 18 month old was eating it by the spoonful…so, I guess she is telling me to share it!  It tastes great with anything, and could even be spread onto a sandwich.  The original recipe is from the Food Network, and one of my favorite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis.  I changed it a tad by using cilantro and loved it!

1 (15 ounce) can white beans (I have used Great Northern or cannellini), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt (maybe start with less and then add more after you taste it)
1 cup fresh cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 cloves garlic
zest of one lemon
Optional: add some spice with 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put everything into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Blueberry Muffins (with dairy free option)


I don’t know why, but whether you make these muffins with fresh berries, frozen berries, regular milk or soy milk, they always taste amazing. A batch of 12 muffins is gone in about 20 minutes in my house. ENJOY!

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk (or soy milk)
1 cup berries (fresh or frozen) – I have used blueberries or mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 butter (or dairy-free margarine)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Optional: 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners
  • Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl
  • Pour the 1/3 cup vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add the egg, fill with enough milk to fill up the 1 cup.
  • Pour into the flour mixture, stir and then fold in the berries
  • Combine topping ingredients and mash with a fork or pastry knife until the butter/margarine is incorporated and resembles a crumble.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the muffins
  • Place on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes

Chia Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry picking is such a treat!  I know this post is later in the summer and strawberry fields have probably closed by now, but I was so thrilled with this recipe that I thought I’d still share it and you can try to find berries at farmers markets or try other fruits!  IT IS SO EASY!  And probably the healthiest jam you will ever eat.  Chia seeds are a super food and provide many health benefits.  They look like little poppy seeds but when you add them to a liquid, they gelatinize and thus provide the thickening agent for jam without the use of gelatin!  My family loved this…hopefully you will like it too!  We used it on sandwiches, toast, ice cream, brownies…whatever sounds good to you!

4 cups fresh berries
6 TBSP chia seeds
3/4 cup water
3 TBSP Agave syrup (more or less to your liking…this is a healthier way to sweeten it)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Measure the chia seeds into a medium bowl and then add the water and agave syrup.  Give it a stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes…it will thicken before your eyes!  At the same time, begin cleaning the berries and taking off the stems.  Place them into a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice and then the chia seed mixture (if it’s been soaking for 10 minutes).  Blend up!  It will look like a thick smoothie, but it will thicken a little more once it is in the fridge for a while.  If you still want it thicker, you can add more chia seeds.  I recommend dividing the entire batch into smaller batches, use within a couple of weeks and freeze several small batches to be used at a later date.  

Pancake Muffins

This is a genius idea that I got from Pinterest…but I can’t give that person credit because the link wasn’t working – so, whoever you are out there, THANK YOU!  I did change the recipe a little bit, to make it a little more healthy though.  It is seriously an awesome breakfast option.  This recipe makes about 16 pancake muffins.  


  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 TBSP ground flax seed 
  • 1/3 cup 100% maple syrup (the real stuff really is best)

Filling ideas: Our favorites have been Raspberry White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (2 raspberries and 4 white chocolate chips per muffin, and/or 1 tsp Peanut Butter and 4 chocolate chips per muffin).  Blueberry is also delicious (2-3 blueberries per muffin).  You could also do banana, or even make them savory with bits of bacon!


Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated (do not mix in the fillings yet).  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray OR line with cupcake liners.  I like using a spray because the muffins really stick to the paper liners.  Fill each muffin about 3/4 full.  Place the filling items on top (they will soak into the muffin as they cook).  Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 13-14 minutes.   

Mamacita’s Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

We can all thank my mom for these.  She made these when I was little…and then forgot about them…and then pulled out the recipe (adapted from the Pillsbury Cookbook) last week when she came to visit us.  One 9 x 13” pan was gone in less than 24 hours at our house.  Kid-friendly and nutritious, plus energizing…these are winners!

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups whole rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 Tbs. sesame seed
2 Tbs pepitas (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, margarine and vanilla.  
  2. Add remaining ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  
  3. Press evenly into greased 9 x 13” baking pan.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden on the edges.  
  4. Cut into bars once completely cooled.

Baked Banana and Nutella Egg Rolls

These can be made along side any meal as a dessert, or with the Baked Breakfast Egg Rolls or Pizza Rolls. Again, make sure you let them cool so that no one burns their mouth! I like to cut them in half for my kids.

  • Egg roll wrappers
  • Bananas (each banana can make 3 egg rolls)
  • Nutella
  • Peanut butter
  • Cooking Spray
  • Cut each banana into three pieces (or if they are smaller, just cut them in half)
  • Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean, dry hand towel so that it looks like a diamond.
  • Place a banana in the middle, then smear about 1-2 Tablespoons PB and Nutella above and below the banana.
  • Roll the bottom corner up over the banana, wrap the side corners in, and then dab your finger in water to wet the top corner…finish wrapping. (See Baked Breakfast Egg Rolls recipe for more detailed instructions on rolling up).
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place each egg roll seam-side down.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Once all of the egg rolls are on the baking sheet, spray all of them with cooking spray (this will help them brown a bit).
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Turn each egg roll. Bake another 5 minutes.
  • Serve after they have cooled down a bit!

Lemon Fruit Dip

Healthy, delicious and has several uses! I made this dip up and it is my new favorite…plus the kids love it too!

1-6 ounce container lemon yogurt (I prefer Greek because it is thicker)

6 ounces low-fat sour cream
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup powdered sugar (or less)
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. It is wonderful as a fruit “dip” but also makes for a perfect fruit salad (image to the right)…just cut up your favorite fruits, mix a small amount in (you can always add more). Enjoy!

Homemade Nutella

I will never buy Nutella from a store again. I mean it. We keep this tasty spread on hand quite regularly – it makes for a great dessert or snack (on toast, with fruit, on top of Baked Oatmeal, etc.) I have been meaning to make my own for a while now and finally did it. Wow. Easy…delicious…so worth it! There were several recipes that I looked at online, from so many different people that I can’t really give credit and then I added my own twists to it to create my own version. It filled about 5 small jars – perfect for gifts too! But please take note: it is not as smooth and velvety as the store-bought kind. You could strain it if you really want, but I actually don’t mind the teeny-tiny grains of nut incorporated throughout. It reminds you that it is homemade and better 🙂 

  • 2 1/4 cups whole hazelnuts (I bought a big bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli’s with 60% cacao)
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 5 TBSP coconut oil (my new favorite ingredient) OR similar oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 4 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the 2 1/4 cups of hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 minutes.
  • During the baking time, pour both of the bags of chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir the chocolate and microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes (it should be melted but if not, continue heating at intervals of 30 seconds – checking each time). Set this bowl aside.
  • Remove the nuts from the oven and pour them onto a dry towel. Usethe towel to rub off as much of the flaky skins as possible…don’t attempt to get every single bit, just the majority of it off.
  • Pour the nuts into a food processor and process for about 3 minutes (or until the nuts have become a paste). You might need to stop halfway and scrape the sides a bit and then continue processing.
  • Measure the remainder of the ingredients (except the melted chocolate) into a bowl and then add to the nut paste. Process until combined.
  • Lastly, add the melted chocolate and process until well combined.
  • Pour into containers that can be sealed. It will be very runny at first – but it will firm up.
  • If you are not going to consume this tasty treat for a while, you could freeze it. I usually give away a couple of jars, freeze one and keep the last two in our cupboard for immediate use 🙂 Take NOTE: to make it softer for spreading, place the microwaveable (glass) jar in the microwave for 15 seconds…that should soften it up a bit for spreading.

Easy Homemade Hummus

I must admit I tried this one on my kids many times before they actually started liking it.  But now they snarf it.  And it’s so easy to make! Perhaps singing “Humma Humma Hummus” before you serve it helps. The moral of this story is: never give up making hummus…eventually your kids WILL break down and beg for more “Humma Humma Hummus.”   I use Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything.


1 14-oz. can garbanzo beans (also called chick peas)
1/2 cup tahini (found in the global market section of Cub with the Greek foods–Krinos brand, if you’re local)
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime or lemon, or add more as you like
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika OR 1 tsp. cumin
salt to taste…I use about 1/2 tsp.
water as needed if using blender

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.  If using blender, add one Tbs. water at a time until hummus becomes blending consistency. Use as dip on crackers, chips, and veggies or spread over sandwiches and tortilla wraps. Before you know it, you’re kids will be chanting “Humma Humma Hummus” at snack time!

Pizza Rolls

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love egg rolls! I was experimenting again, and my kids loved them, so I’ll share another idea!  You might also like the sweet, dessert-like Banana and Nutella Egg Rolls.

These Pizza Rolls remind me so much of growing up – I loved those little “Pizza Rolls” in the freezer section…super unhealthy and process ingredients, but oh so tasty! Well, these are super healthy, very easy, and inexpensive. Just make sure they are cooled a bit before you give them to the kids because just like those store-bought, tiny pizza rolls, they will burn your mouth if you are not careful.
These would also be a great appetizer or after-school snack.
  • Egg roll wrappers
  • Pizza sauce (I make my own, but any kind will do)
  • Optional: finely shredded zucchini – added to the sauce
  • Fresh mushrooms, finely diced
  • Turkey Pepperoni
  • Green onions, 2 finely diced
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Other options: finely chopped spinach, black olives, finely chopped green peppers
  • Cooking Spray
  • Prepare the sauce…I make my own sauce but you can use store-bought too. I snuck in some veggies by finely shredding 1/2 of a zucchini into the sauce (using the smaller cheese grater).
  • Prepare the “toppings” by chopping everything (even the pepperoni is best diced).
  • Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean, dry hand towel, and spread 1 TBSP sauce in the center. Then layer the “toppings” on top of each other in the middle (about 1 TBSP of each ingredient).
  • Roll the bottom corner of the wrapper over the ingredients, wrap the side corners in next, and then wet the top corner with a touch of water, and finish rolling up. (See Baked Breakfast Egg Rollsrecipe for more detailed directions on rolling).
  • If you are preparing these ahead of time, place in a dry plastic bag, seal it and store in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. Just take note: moister may collect and soften the egg rolls a bit. They will stick together if they are not separated by wax paper or something.
  • If you are cooking them immediately, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray cooking spray on a baking sheet, place each egg roll seam-side down.
  • Once the tray is loaded up, spray all of the egg rolls with more cooking spray (this helps them brown a bit).
  • Bake for 8 minutes and then turn every egg roll over. Place back into the oven and bake another 5 minutes. They should be a bit golden and crispy (keep in mind these are not like fried egg rolls, much healthier for you!)

Stovetop Kettle Corn

Our dear friends Keith and Bekah introduced us to this delicacy several years ago.  I added salt to our recipe for a bit of kick.  I recall Keith shaking his big pot vigorously over the stove, taking care that no single kernel had a spare motionless second to burn.  I’ve tried this method, and I can vouch that it’s a full-body work-out.  Then my mother-in-law gave us a Whirlypop (see below)!  And now kettle corn is even more accessible… 

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Heat oil in large pot or Whirlypop over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. 
  2. Add popcorn kernels, sugar, and salt.  
  3. Shake pot or crank whirlypop constantly until popping stops for more than 3 seconds…approximately 5 minutes.  
  4. Spread kettle corn over jelly roll pan to cool. 
  5. Yell, “KETTLE CORN!!!” and be ready for the stampede.
  6. Of course be careful with the babies.  This is more of a 2-years-and-up treat.
  7. My kids say it tastes best in their popcorn boxes.  

Baked Oatmeal

Looking for a healthy, EASY, delicious, versatile breakfast? My husband’s grandma, “Great Grandma E,” got this recipe from her sister and I love how she put it; it’s so good that you will be excited to wake up in the morning to eat it! Seriously, it’s my new favorite fall breakfast.
To make breakfast time really easy: Bake the entire 9X13 pan, and then once it is cool, cut into single serving size squares. Place them into tupperware containers (separate each layer of oatmeal squares with wax or parchment paper) and freeze. Take out the number you need in the morning, heat up for about 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave. Top with your choice of toppings (some ideas include yogurt, fruit, nuts, brown sugar, nutella, cream cheese, etc.)
4 eggs – beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
Beat these three ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients:
6 cups dry regular oatmeal
1 TBSP + 1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 1/2 cups milk
Stir until everything is incorporated.
Pour into a 9X13 inch baking pan and cover. SET in the fridge OVERNIGHT. Bake in the morning at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Who isn’t excited about pumpkin bread as soon as the leaves start turning?  Actually this is a staple at our house regardless of season.  The recipe comes from The First Baptist Church of Corpus Christi Church Cookbook, contributed by none other than my own Sunday School teacher, many years ago.  This bread has a legacy.  My only variation is that I use whole wheat.  It’s always a winner with the kids.


2 cups flour (I use either half white and half whole wheat or all whole wheat…the moms’ group batch was half and half)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 16-oz. can pumpkin
1/2 cup raisins or craisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional–my kids don’t go for the nuts, but it’s fun for adults!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees for 2 big loaves or 375 degrees for 4 small loaves. Sift all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Add wet ingredients.  Grease (spray) bread pans. Bake for 35-40 min. for smaller loaves, or 45-55 minutes for larger loaves until tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for approx. 10 min., then take out of pan to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Mamacita’s Corn Muffins

I was raised on chili and corn muffins, and I turned out just fine.  Thankfully, my kids don’t mind if I continue this family tradition. 🙂 When I was first married and out of college, this is the recipe I copied from my mom into my recipe notebook.   I put it under the “Vegetables” tab.  Now at least I know corn muffins aren’t vegetables. Sometimes I go all out and make these with that expensive cornmeal that is still a little gritty.  My mom, (Mamacita), grinds her own corn kernels because she is SERIOUS about grinding everything fresh!  Probably why her corn muffins always taste best…

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil


  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in wet ingredients.
  3. Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full, or pour batter into an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  4. Bake mini-muffins at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, regular muffins for 12-15 minutes, or baking dish for 20-25 minutes edges are browned and tester in middle comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy watching the muffins magnetic force of the muffins to your children…

In case anyone is wondering, Grandma Jeanie’s Tex-Mex Chili will be up next. 🙂

Hawaiian Smoothie

This is a great beverage in the morning, at lunch, for a snack or even a dessert! Lately, we have been having this when my daughter gets home from school.

  • 1 can pineapple
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup ice
My blender does not fit all of the ingredients at one time. So, I start with half of each of the ingredients listed here, put them into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve and then blend up the remaining half. Enjoy!

Zucchini-Pineapple Muffins

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, these muffins are always a crowd pleaser.  I recently discovered, if you only have one zucchini on hand, a can of crushed pineapple combines well with the recipe!  


3 cups shredded zucchini (2-3 medium), or 1 cup zucchini plus one 15 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour (of course it works with all-purpose too, but the whole wheat makes this such a nutritious snack!)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Move oven rack to a lower position so tops of pans will be in center of oven.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin pans.
  2. Combine zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs.  Then add remaining ingredients except raisins and nuts.  
  3. Spoon batter into muffin pans evenly.  (I make one pan of regular sized muffins and two pans of mini-muffins with this recipe.)
  4. Bake mini-muffins for 10 minutes or until a tester in muffin center comes out clean.  Bake regular muffins for 12-15 minutes until done in middle.  
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pans. Then place muffins on platter to cool completely.
  6. Don’t expect them to last long! 🙂

Sunshine Biscuits

These little biscuits are requested quite often around here – they are just as fun to make as they are to eat! We call them “sunshine biscuits” because the kids like to make lines that radiate out of the center and we used to make them in the morning…now they are often times baked in the late afternoon as a post-nap activity.

  • 2 cups flour (I like to use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour with 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Filling: your favorite jam (cherry is awesome), or even a few chocolate chips per biscuit
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl OR food processor (but don’t turn it on yet).
  • Drop in the butter pieces an either use a pastry blender tool (which I don’t have) or blend everything in a food processor, pulsing on the dough setting. Whatever works best for you, but it should end up looking like course breadcrumbs…do NOT allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour.
  • Mix in the milk with a spoon or spatula until just most of the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather it together to form a ball. Roll out the dough gently until it is about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.
  • Use a drinking glass that is about 2-3 inches in diameter and push it straight down into the dough. The kids love this! Place the biscuits onto a baking sheet.
  • Give the kids a plastic knife or popsicle stick to make lines (to look like sunshine rays) and let them press a finger print in the middle.
  • Plop a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each biscuit or even use a few chocolate chips instead.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely because the jam or chocolate will be hot!

Orange Juice Sweet Potato Pops

Who can resist a cold, juicy popsicle in the heat of the summer? I was going to make a recipe fromJessica Seinfeld’s cookbook: Double Delicious, but didn’t have carrot puree (which is what she suggests using) so I tried sweet potato! It was wonderful and the kids still have no idea sweet potato was involved 🙂

1 1/2 cups 100% orange juice
1/2 cup sweet potato puree*
1 popsicle mold
6 wooden popsicle sticks
Whisk the orange juice and the sweet potato puree until smooth. Divide the liquid between the popsicle molds and insert the sticks or handles. Freeze for at least 3 hours until firm.
*To make sweet potato puree, I take a couple of sweet potatoes with the skin still on, poke with a fork and bake in an oven at 400 degrees for about an hour. Then, after they are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off and puree in a food processor until smooth. I usually do a big batch of this and then freeze in 1/2 cup portions in ziplock bags.

Favorite Chex Mix

Warning: this snack is kind of addicting!

Melt over medium heat in a small saucepan:
9 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
Mix in large bowl:
2 cups Cheerios cereal (I like to use the multigrain)
2 cups Chex cereal
2 cups Kix cereal
2 cups peanuts
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups Cheeze-Its
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Pour the melted butter mixture over the chex mix and stir to coat the entire batch. Pour onto a large baking sheet (or two sheets). Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.

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