Camp Mom: Smoothies & Popsicles

What says summer more than popsicles!?  I have a ton of recipes pinned and I’d like to try out a lot this summer.  I finally got all my equipment in order & I’m ready to go!

First things first, I needed to get a popsicle mold set.  My last one was trashed due to BPA concerns.  I was looking at a stainless steel set, but it was a little phallic for my liking.  I got this instead.

Next, I was in need of a new blending instrument.  Ok Ok, “NEED”, isn’t really the correct word.  I WANTED a new blending instrument.  I have a Magic Bullet that I’ve had for years, and it’s great.  But I really wanted something with bigger capacity, and I didn’t have room for the bullet AND a regular blender.  I found this new Bullet with the blender option, but then I found THIS!

It has all the functionality of the Bullet, with the added Blender attachment, plus a couple things that push it over the top for me.  First, the mugs are designed as travel mugs, which is great for those mornings that we are in a hurry and want to take a smoothie on the road. And let’s face it, anything that can minimize the amount of goop spilled is great on a day to day basis, regardless if we are leaving the house or not. And can’t you just taste a homemade frappe in this!?  Yum.  The other added plus for me is the look!!  I know, I know.  Stupid.  But I really like the look of this unit SO much more!  So much that it might be staying on the counter for awhile.

But enough about all of that.  Let’s get to the yum!

We make a lot of smoothies around here.  I don’t do it to get veggies in or anything.  B is pretty good about veggies on their own, so for us it’s just a yummy filling treat.  Either a big snack or a light breakfast.  I do keep it to just fruit, a little juice, yogurt (plain greek), and either soy, almond, or regular milk.  No added sugar.  Here’s a shot of what we had on hand & used today.

Greek Yogurt (we did not use the fruit jam), frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries & peaches), frozen bananas (on plate), Almond Milk, juice in a box (100% from TJs)

In honor of our new blender, we decided to do smoothie pops as our first pops of the summer.  And of course we each had a smoothie while we waited for the pops. I always have frozen fruit in the freezer, ideally organic.  And I freeze all our uneaten bananas when they start to get to ripe.  (peeled, and either sliced, or halved)

Normally I just let B add whatever fruit he wants, and then we add some yogurt, a little juice & milk-type-liquid.  Today it was blueberries, peaches, strawberries, bananas (all frozen), a little Tropical Juice (in a box from TJs), and some almond milk.  To get a nice thick, yet drinkable consistency I add enough liquid to come to the top of the fruit.

Blend until it flows into a nice little funnel like this.

For the pops, I filled the molds to about 1/2 inch from the top & then popped them in the freezer. Which is easier said than done in my overstuffed freezer.

While waiting we enjoyed our smoothies & I enjoyed my messy faced, still in his PJs boy.  I LOVE SUMMER & I LOVE THIS KID!!

And the pops?  SUCCESS!  It’s funny how the smoothies we drank just a few hours before seemed to taste so much treat-ier in pop mold!  In all honesty, they are a bit bigger than I would like, but I love the cool retro look.

Stay tuned because we plan on trying all sorts of pops recipes this summer.  Some healthy….some NOTSOMUCH.

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Guest Blogging: Camp Mom

New post up over on A Mom With a Lesson Plan.  We’re making Rock Candy!

Camp Mom: Sponge Balls

When I am doing a craft type project I don’t always include B. I usually weigh a few factors like difficulty, potential fun, time needed & learning opportunities.

When I came across this tutorial on Pinterest, I initially thought it would be fun to make these with him as part of our “camp mom” experience. They reminded me of an activity we had at camp….the Greased Watermelon Game. It was a tradition at camp that was just as fun to watch as it was to play (maybe more!). These reminded me of water mayhem in the same way (minus chunks of crisco floating in the pool/lake).

When it came down to it, I tried making a few first before deciding to do them on my own. They weren’t that fun or interesting to make, just repetitive. Don’t get me wrong they weren’t difficult….a perfect mindless activity in front of the TV. The last deciding factor was that there didn’t seem to be any real learning that I could apply. Maybe counting? Or even multiplication? Damn! Now I think of it!

But seriously, I think this one is all about the end result. FUN FUN FUN!!

You need between 2 & 3 sponges for each ball. I heard from someone else that 2 works great, but in an airhead turn of events, I ended up with 96 sponges!! (Basically I purchased a 24-pack on Amazon, not realizing that each pack contained 4 sponges! doh!) I put some sponges aside for some fun painting activities later, and ended up with about 28 balls. It was actually perfect because we have our big family reunion this weekend & I bet they’ll be a hit with the kids & adults alike.

The only change I made was to the string. The only floss I had was the satin finish kind, and it kept slipping out of my fingers. Instead I used these clear elastic hair ties, wrapped twice around each bundle of 12 sponge strips (each sponge get’s cut in half & then in half again, making 4 pieces per sponge). They worked great! I was able to manage the project myself & after a few days of rough play, they are still going strong. Not one broken one in the bunch!

First we tried them out at the beach…way fun!

They got pretty sandy, but a quick rinse in the sink when we got home & they were as good as new.

Next up was the pool. Good times!

These are a great replacement to water balloons. They have the same effect…. They’ll soak you if they are full of water. But you can use them over & over. And the kids loved them!

So go check out this tutorial & let me know if you make them!

Guest Blogging: Camp Mom

Check out my first post over at A Mom With a Lesson Plan!

Help! Managing Only Child Syndrome.

I need help!  Some severe behavioral issues are rearing their head & I need some ideas.

B is most often a well behaved, polite young man.  People comment all the time on how sweet & considerate he is.  And it’s true.  In a group setting with other children, at school, or with adults, he is great.  We are pretty tough on him when it comes to please & thank you’s, being respectful and not using “bad words” like stupid, hate, sucks & bored.

However, I have recently noticed a glitch in this operation.  When interacting with other only children, in his home environment, he is selfish, mean, and short tempered.  He screams while playing video games meant for teamwork, “calls” first turns or for specific color plates etc, and melts down when the other child doesn’t want to play the same thing he does.

My theory is that when he plays with children with siblings, they are used to compromising so they let him get his way.  Or if he is at school, he knows what is expected of him in order to be considered a “good boy”.  But surrounded by his stuff, with another child that is used to getting their way, everything goes to crap!  Like screaming, crying, kicking, hitting CRAP!

How do you teach a child to share & compromise when there is no one to share or compromise with on a daily basis?  We never intended for him to be an only child….and we’re working on changing it!…so we never put a great amount of thought into preventing those stereotypical behavioral concerns that may come with it.

Does anyone have any experience with this?  Any suggestions?

This Kid: Hunting & Hippies

Today while driving around town with Brayden and his friend, I heard them talking about hunting.

B: I don’t like when people shoot bunnies & ducks during hunting season.

Me: what about the Buck Hunter video game you like? (that I hate)

B: yeah, I don’t like it anymore. It’s mean (my mushy liberal heart goes pitter patter)

Friend: what if you have a gun & there’s a bear & you shoot it?

B: well that’s just for safety. But you could just run away & scream like a girl.

This was said in all seriousness of a 6 year old sharing wisdom with you. Lol.

This kid.

Hippie Day 2012

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Anyone still listening?

Since it hasn’t been a full year since my last post, I’m going to just pretend that I was taking a break.  =)  Roll with me on this one, will ya?

I am excited to start a guest blogging spot over on the wildly successful A Mom With a Lesson Plan Blog.  Please join me over there for my “Camp Mom” Series.  And then over here for more random fun.

This Kid and Foodiephile: Worlds collide

The other day I posted on facebook about my kid requesting a party where I could make his friends Vanilla Steamers & scones. The part I left out is that he actually requested a “Beyblades” party serving these items. I left it out because I didn’t want to explain beyblades, and I still don’t (feel free to go to this link). I hate beyblades. The end.
But it brings up something very important about this kid. He is well rounded to say the least. He loves him all the “boy” stuff that Daddy enjoys- football, heck sports in general, a scary obsession with the SDSU Aztecs, running & throwing & wrestling…..etc, etc.
But he also appreciates the finer things in life that Mommy enjoys. Namely food related stuff like tea, scones, pretty food, farm fresh produce, dark chocolate & crostinis of goat cheese & honey.
This morning I told B that I would take him to breakfast. It’s his favorite meal of the day & some of the fun has been taken out of it with his new early morning routine. I was thinking something simple. He was not. He told me that he would like to TAKE ME, to Extraordinary Desserts. Which he referred to as the “tea pot & scone place across the street”.
I’m combining this “This Kid” post with a new category I’m calling “Foodiephile”. It’s about food. duh. So here it goes.
Extraordinary Desserts is this fancy slash amazing restaurant here in San Diego. And we live LITERALLY across the street. Nuts right? We don’t eat there all that much, it’s pretty pricey & always packed in the evenings. But we eat there enough for B to know what it is & that he really likes it. They have other menu items that are amazing, like gourmet grilled cheeses, salads & other stuff. But clearly the desserts are the stars. We usually do them to go.
But B & I also enjoy their weekday Morning Rush Hour special. For $7 you can pick a breakfast pastry (scones/muffins/coffee cakes) and a coffee (single cap/single latte/reg coffee). And they let us substitute tea for B.
They also have a European Breakfast on Sundays, which is served buffet style. Though not buffet like at all. There’s not a chafing dish in sight. They simply lay out pretty displays of food on the bar (which I didn’t snap a picture of- shoot!). I’ve always wanted to go, but I don’t think the husband would be a fan, so I was excited when B suggested it since John wasn’t around today.
It’s not the typical American breakfast. No eggs, or bacon, or sausage or pancakes. And it starts at 11AM! And it was delicious. We took our time. Enjoyed our food & chatted. It was a great time.
First we started with a pot of tea for B. Berry Monsoon. It is the prettiest bright pink color. He loves that he gets his own little pot. And he gets about 3 cups worth. And for mommy, a individual french press of coffee. They also make great espresso drinks, but I took B’s lead on having my own pot to enjoy throughout the meal.

Brayden loves the suger. It’s like rock candy & I let him spoon it into his tea himself (with in reason of course).
Brayden decided against the Euro spread & ordered his usual. The Strawberry Raspberry Scone. Here he is displaying his awesome table manners & sucking on his fingers. We’re working on it.
My first course. House made granola (has bits of dried fruit & pumpkin seeds), with vanilla bean yogurt (with actual vanilla bean specks! love it) & fresh strawberries. YUM.

Second course. Fresh Breads & smoked salmon with various yumminess to play around with. Obviously there are the typical accompaniments, like tomato, onion, cream cheese, cucumbers, & capers. But also, cranberry mayonaise, roasted yellow tomatoes, caramelized onions & pesto.
I love playing around & finding the perfect bite.
Final Course. (Of course you can go back as much as you want, but I was trying to be good.)
A wonderful spread of cheeses, jams, chutneys & desserts. And more fresh & yummy breads.
It was all wonderful & I am looking forward to going again. And my boy might be rubbing off on me. Between eating, snapping pictures & chatting, I was sneaking glances at my fantasy football scores. We’re complex over here, yo.

What We’re Eating: Breakfast Cupcakes

My brother in law makes this yummy-licious Breakfast Cake (bt-dub, how lucky is my sister?). It’s essentially a savory breakfast casserole. And it’s amazeballs. Both straight out of the oven & reheated. Which got me thinking. Maybe I could make it in a more portion ready size & freeze it. DUH! Cupcakes!

Breakfast Cupcakes
  • 3/4 to 1 lb Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 cup Baking Mix (or TJ’s Baking Mix)
  • 3/4 cup of Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz of sour cream
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese (about 1/2 a pkg)
First, a note about the sausage. I used the chicken breakfast sausage from Trader Joe’s. It’s about 1/2 the fat of regular Jimmy Dean, and it tastes exactly the same. You could also use the reduced fat Jimmy Dean if you wanted. But regular is great as well.
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray or a light coating of oil.
First, brown the sausage & drain extra oil. Set aside. In a bowl mix the baking mix with milk & 1 egg. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine sour cream & an egg.
To assemble, start with batter. The recipe will make EXACTLY 12 cupcakes, so start small. Pour less than you think is needed in each cup (less than halfway). You can go back & fill further with any leftover batter. Layer with sausage, then sour cream, and finally cheese, using the same method.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the sour cream mixture is set up (not wet looking or “jiggly”). Leave in the pan for another 10 minutes and then remove to cool fully. Once they are cooled completely you can freeze them. I wrapped them in a paper towel & microwave for about a minute.
As a side note, you could just make the original recipe by following all the same ingredient amounts & prep instructions. Just layer in the same order in a glass casserole & bake at 375 for about an hour.
Sorry. No process shots with this one. It’s super easy.

What We’re Eating: Lemony Blueberry Pancakes

First off, let me say, it’s good to be back. August was such an insane month for us. A camping trip, throwing my nephew’s 1st birthday (post coming soon!), a trip to Nana’s, a trip to Detroit for a wedding, and lots of prep for school & last minute summer fun. I feel like I’ve been in survival mode for the last month. And when I look around the house I realize I haven’t survived well. While things are getting back on track, I still have camping junk that is yet to be unpacked, a car full of party decorations & donation items to be dropped off. But we’re getting there!

Anyway. School has started & our mornings come EARLY!!! I’m up between 5:30 & 6:00 am, and we’re out the door around 7:00am. It’s important to me that B starts the day with a good meal, but I’m not interested in cooking a big meal before my coffee sets in.
This week I’m trying to make a breakfast each day, after B is at school, that can be frozen/refrigerated & reheated in the mornings.
For cooking I find inspiration everywhere. Magazines, TV, blogs, and of course Pinterest. This is a modification of two. One from PW, and one I found on Pinterest.
I modified PW’s recipe so that I could use baking mix (I use TJs mix, but Bisquick would work too) and frozen blueberries. I would use fresh berries if I could find them in organic, but the frozen work great. Then I made them small to save me from having to cut up pancakes for B in the morning. I’m totes lazy before my coffee. (Ok all the time.) The small ones seem to freeze better also, and it’s easier to control portion them out with less waste.
The “recipe” is more a few simple steps to liven up a mix. So, here it is.
Lemony Blueberry Pancakes
  • Dry Baking Mix (Trader Joe’s or Bisquik or your favorite)
  • All ingredients called for in your mix
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • frozen blueberries (fresh if you have them)
My recipe is for the smallest amount that your mix gives you instructions for (10-12 pancakes for the TJs brand). You’re going to follow the instructions almost exactly. The only change is that before you measure your liquid, squeeze one lemon into the measuring cup. Add the the vanilla & zest the whole lemon into the measure. Then fill up the measure the rest of the way with the liquid that is called for in your instructions. For example, my recipe calls for 1 cup of water. Once I squeeze the lemon & add the vanilla & lemon zest, I have almost a 1/4 cup. I fill the cup up the rest of the way with water. Then I add my egg (which is called for in my mix).
I used a pastry tip to get the small size, but you could easily just put your batter in a ziploc & cut the corner for a make shift pastry bag. I find that it’s easier to get a small round cake this way.
I cook them on a griddle (large pan is fine), on med-high heat. Once they are cooking I sprinkle a few berries on the uncooked side.
Flip once the sides are set up.

Let them cool & then put them in an airtight container or ziploc bag & place in the freezer. I reheat them in a paper towel for about a minute. Enjoy!