Tag: easy

Quick and Simple Strudel Topping

Quick and Simple Strudel Topping

This quick, easy to do strudel topping is a magical accompaniment to many classics: cheesecake desserts, muffins, pumpkin pie custard, yogurt, whipped cream and berries…the possibilities are limited only to your imagination!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown swerve/sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Combine in food processor and pulse until smooth. Sprinkle on desired dessert and enjoy!

Easy Low Carb Avocado Dip

Easy Low Carb Avocado Dip

If you’re looking for snack ideas for a low carb diet sometimes it can feel like quick and easy options are limited. One of the go-to snacks in our house is pork rinds, but let’s be honest, that gets so incredibly boring. I always get burnt out on pork skins pretty quickly.

That’s where the dip comes in: having a wonderful, creamy dip really ups the ante. This flavorful concoction contains both avocado and sour cream, packing quite the punch in terms of fat content. This amount is for 2-4 people, but can easily be multiplied for larger groups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Spices: I used 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder or cayenne , 1/4 tsp oregano, a pinch of salt, a dash of black pepper, and a dash of cumin.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mash avocado and lime juice with a fork.

2. Add spices and mix.

3. Add sour cream and mix until well combined.

See? Quick and easy!

Quick Grain And Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix

Quick Grain And Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream (optional, omit for dairy free)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Whisk ingredients together well with a fork or whisk.
  2. Using a container with a pour spout or large spoon, pour onto griddle or nonstick pan. Cook on medium heat until batter becomes bubbly throughout.
  3. Flip and cook 1-2 more minutes. Remove from pan.

We usually just top these with butter, but the possibilities are vast–you can use whipped cream, fruit, maple syrup, honey, or cinnamon butter!

Simple Activity Schedule

Simple Activity Schedule

I’m not good at sticking to complicated things. I like to have the freedom to go spend the day out and about without feeling like I need to rush home. Sometimes when we’re at home, though, the kids get restless, and I feel like the day is easier if I have a schedule to fall back on.

This is the activity schedule that we’ve been (loosely) following lately. If they don’t want to do something on the schedule I don’t force them, this is just designed to make the day flow a little easier and make all of us a little happier.

Disclosure: some of the supplies linked are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you use this link to make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Morning Music

Before I’ve had time to wake up and become less of a grouchypants, we start by singing a few little songs. It puts me in a good mood (usually) and encourages that patient mom part of me. I also think that it helps them with their patience a little bit, too. Plus, I just think that music is a very important skill to encourage.

If I find that I just really don’t have it in me I’ll set out some instruments instead–they have a keyboard and xylophone that they really enjoy.

We sing lots of Little Baby Bum songs and songs from these children’s music CDs that we use as car music.

Breakfast

Next is breakfast, also known around here as morning monster feeding! Karissa will usually start saying that she wants food and little sister mimics this. Half of the time they repeat it enough to drive me crazy, and the other half of the time they must notice that I’m already crazy because they leave it alone. Sometimes I’ll give them something to do at the table while they wait. This usually helps but depending on the activity can also lead to more mess to clean up.

Skill Building 

After food it’s time to clear the table and do some activities that require thinking! This is when we get out the puzzles, do pom pom color sorting, counting exercises, or lacing. Madilyn isn’t super into the puzzles, but I like watching Karissa do them. She will try for a while and then if she can’t get it she will start to get frustrated, but just ask for help.

Outside Time 

I think that it’s important to get a little Vitamin D  every day, preferably without toxic sunscreen involved. Our backyard has a huge shade tree in it, so we don’t have to worry about too much sun when we’re back there. There’s a 95% chance that the kids want to play in water when we go outside, and only about 5% chance that I get out of it.

Snack

Quick, simple snack (hopefully). Lately it’s been leftovers, slices of things like peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cheese or meat.

Nap/Rest

Madi still absolutely NEEDS a nap every day. Her mood this afternoon indicates that she didn’t sleep enough. Karissa likes to skip naps to hang out with dad instead, but can get pretty grouchy in the afternoons if I let her skip. Naps are usually my favorite part of the day, because if both of them are sleepy then I get to nap and snuggle both kids. Mommies need naps, too!

Afternoon Art

After we take a nap, we’re all recharged and ready to go. This is the time for creativity and fun at the table! Sometimes it’s as simple as water painting (I love these Melissa and Doug water pads), practicing using scissors, or stringing beads into a necklace.

Focused Reading

We’re participating in the Half Price Book summer reading program. To be completely honest, this is mostly to motivate mommy and daddy to read to the kids more. They’ve both been showing lots of desire to read, and Karissa is constantly sitting with books in her lap trying to read by herself, reciting the story, or telling a story based on the pictures on the pages. This is very exciting for me, so I really want to help encourage that desire!

Karissa’s (older) current favorites: Go Dog Go, One Fish Two Fish, The Gruffalo, Barnyard Dance, Blue Hat Green Hat

Madilyn’s (younger) current favorites: Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, Little Yellow Bee, Moo Baa La La La, The Belly Button Book, any Karen Katz lift the flap book

My current favorites: Dinosaur Dance, The Gruffalo, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, But Not The Hippopotamus

Dinner

By the time dinner rolls around we’re all ready to sit down and eat together. Usually this is some kind of meat pan fried with vegetables thrown in, sometimes an easy crockpot concoction, or leftovers. Occasionally my husband makes a fantastic brisket that I can whip up veggies for, and usually they last us a week. Of course, after the first two or three days I start to dice it up and throw it in stir frys to make it less briskety.

Tidy Up

After dinner we try to get the kids to help us tidy up, I usually try to clean the kitchen and ask them to pick up toys and books. This is met with mixed success, but is infinitely more successful thanks to a work/reward system that I will be writing about soon.

Bedtime Routine

Baths, toothbrushes, diapers, pajamas, and bed!

By this time I’m thankful for some peace and quiet and ready to finish up what I need to get done and hit the hay myself.

Obviously some of our routines will be different than others, but this simple framework works great for our family.

Portable Busy Box

Portable Busy Box

Sometimes you go somewhere, like a restaurant or the doctor’s office, and the kids get bored and restless sitting there. What can you do?

I’ll admit that I have resorted to handing over my phone in some dire circumstances, and although I am never particularly proud of myself for this, I am thankful for the temporary reprieve that it offers.

However, I knew in my bones that there had to be a better way. And then suddenly, after a hankering for turkey lettuce wraps, the solution sat in front of me in the form of an empty lunch meat container.

Just a smallish container and the possibilities became endless.

Supplies:

A small container per child

Art supplies–colored pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, and coloring pages have worked well for me

Small, versatile toys–blocks, figurines, or even a puzzle might be fun

Directions:

Mix and match! I like to change the contents of the containers frequently because I enjoy their surprise when they see what’s inside.

That’s it! Cheap, simple, fun, and effective.

Quick and Easy Whipped Cream

Quick and Easy Whipped Cream

Sometimes you need a quick and easy whipped cream recipe–whether it’s for a quick fatty snack, perfect pumpkin pie, or to top off a delicious keto frappuccino.

So here it is! This recipe is 4 ingredients and whips together in a magic bullet or similar blender so fast it’s unbelievable.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • A sprinkle of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 15-20 drops of stevia

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in magic bullet or other blender and blend. With the bullet it takes about a minute (this can vary). Watch it, though. It will thicken to a nice, creamy consistency–you can sometimes hear it change when whipping, but you don’t want to blend it for so long that it separates.
  2. Enjoy your whipped cream!

An incredibly delicious variation of this, worthy of dessert status on its own, is to put a scoop or two of peanut butter in this before whipping.

Dyed Dryer Sheets

Dyed Dryer Sheets

This is just a fun way to recycle your old dryer sheets into something pretty and potentially useful. The great part is that it’s so simple kids can do it, too. I like using them in vases with paper flowers,especially with painted paper. I’ve considered trying to crochet strips into something, but haven’t tried it yet.

Supplies:

Used fabric softener sheets

Food coloring

Cups or bowls with water

Steps:

1. Add 15-20 drops of food coloring per cup of water. You can mix yellow and red for orange, and blue and green for turquoise. I have tried purple and am just never happy with the resulting grayish color–it lacks the vibrance of the other colors–but let me know if you figure out how to make purple work.

2. Push dryer sheets into the colored water until immersed. They should easily stay under the water once wet.

3. Let sit overnight, 8-12 hours.

4. Remove from water and lay flat or hang to dry.

5. Have fun playing with these.

 

Fathead Pizza in a Crockpot

Fathead Pizza in a Crockpot

Lots of us have noticed that going low carb, gluten free, or grain free is the next big thing, and for good reason! It’s both delicious and nutritious. Even if you don’t usually avoid grains, this pizza is something you should give a try.

The crust is super easy and fun to make and you can modify it to taste. I like red pepper flakes in mine, but my kids are too young to enjoy that right now. You can even do this with a regular wheat crust, it cooks the same.

Plus, who would have thought that you can make pizza, with or without grain, in a Crockpot?! It’s very convenient and keeps the house cooler than running the oven, which is especially important as summer approaches.

This pizza is not super low carb, since it does have a small amount of almond flour, coconut flour, and then whatever carbs are in your toppings, but it is vastly improved from the traditional variety. This is definitely not an everyday meal if you try to keep your carbs really low, but rather a periodic indulgence (although I must admit I’ve had some version of this every day for weeks at a time). If you only have a small Crockpot you can modify this to make a personal sized pizza by halving the ingredients.

Fathead Pizza in a Crockpot

Author Kristy

Ingredients

Crust

  • 6-8 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 package cream cheese 4 ounces
  • 1 egg
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil for greasing crockpot

Sauce

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • spices garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Open your cream cheese package, slice it in half, and throw it in a mixing bowl. Add mozzarella cheese and microwave for about a minute or until mozzarella begins to melt. Mix the cheese with a fork.

  2. Add an egg. Continue to mix together with a fork. The consistency is a little odd until the egg starts to incorporate, just go with it.

    Add your spices. I like powders because they’re easy to add to the pizza dough at this stage. Mix them in with your fork.

  3. Add coconut flour and almond flour. Stir to incorporate. Dough should become a little drier, but still pretty moist and malleable.

  4. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and grease your slow cooker. Roll the dough into a ball with your hands, then lay it on the parchment paper. You might want to stretch it a little bit to fit the shape of your Crockpot.

  5. Lay another piece of parchment paper over the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it will fit the bottom of the slow cooker nicely. You should have a nice, thick, evenly distributed crust.

    Transfer the crust and parchment paper into the greased Crockpot. Cook on high for 1 hour.

  6. Empty tomato paste into a mixing bowl and combine spices to taste.

  7. Once the crust has cooked for an hour, remove it from the slow cooker. Moving it around may be easier if you use a tray or cookie sheet. The bottom of the crust should be turning golden.

  8.  Spread tomato sauce mixture across crust. Top with your preferred toppings. Here we used bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, mozzarella, pepperoni, and sausage. Slide pizza onto a cookie sheet or tray and transfer back into the slow cooker.

  9. Cook on high for 1 hour. Once it's done, take it out and enjoy! Be aware, fathead pizza is very dense and will fill you up quickly.

Originally written as an Instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Fathead-Pizza-in-a-Crockpot/

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Well, we had told the kids that we would go to the zoo today because it was supposed to be cooler. We woke up to a dark sky and pouring rain–no way was the zoo happening. Boo!

Oh well. I felt bad, though. I wanted to give them something different and engaging to do.


Activity 1: pom pom toss

I used painter’s tape to tape some toilet paper and paper towel rolls to the wall and handed each a cup full of pom poms. Karissa loved this and kept going back to it constantly.

Bonus Activities: Madilyn dropped a few through the tubes before deciding that it wasn’t really her thing. She decided to sit down and sort the pom poms instead (she really loves pom poms), and then wanted to stick and unstick tape to the wall for a while.

Relocated pom pom toss


Activity 2: Paper Basketball

My mom in law constantly gets junk mail clothing catalogues, so today we utilized them! We made some crumpled paper “balls” and tried to throw them in our bucket “baskets.” Alas, mommy doesn’t have great aim.

Oh well, still fun.


Activity 3: Straw Bead Necklaces

I still love crafts, but since we moved I’m not sure where everything is. This is really easy–all you need is some stiff string (we used paracord), plastic straws, and scissors to cut your straws into beads.  Give them to little hands for great motor skills practice. I was very impressed with both girls, Madi even strung the beads herself.

So proud of her work

I love getting to share what we do with you and I’m always looking for new fun and/or easy activities to do with my girls. What does your family do for fun on rainy days?

Cinnamon Fried Apples (gluten, grain, egg, soy, dairy free)

Cinnamon Fried Apples (gluten, grain, egg, soy, dairy free)

I started making these for my kids, but everyone loves it! We made a batch for Thanksgiving last year and it was a hit. It’s still sugar–it’s apples–but there is no sweetener and the fat balances the sugar out quite a bit. Fair warning, this will make your house smell like apple pie.

 

Cinnamon Fried Apples

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Kristy

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • Dash Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 5 Apples

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over low heat. 

  2. Peel and dice your apples.

  3. Move apples to pan. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and fry over medium heat until apples are soft. 

If you are making this for a younger baby, simply blend with a small amount of liquid (water, breast milk, whatever) to an appropriate consistency. You can freeze this in little batches for later, but if using something like an ice cube tray it might help to oil it beforehand–mine were difficult to get back out. These would be fantastic with some homemade streusel crumble and homemade whipped cream on top or stuffed into fathead crust and baked into little mini apple pies!