Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pure Kid Bliss!

No words necessary….

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: Month 2

I LOVE getting mail (of the non bill variety, of course!) and I especially LOVE it when it includes FOOD! So of course when this box arrived on my doorstep, I was thrilled! Melina and I brought it in and opened it right away! This month my Foodie Pen Pal was Jordyn, who is from Northeast Ohio, and  she is a junior at Allegheny College in PA studying International Studies, Spanish and Chinese…what a busy girl! When she is home for breaks she works in a meat shop! 

I told her that I pretty much like everything except curry and cilantro. The funny thing is those are 2 of her very favorite things. :) Here are some of her other favorite, non curry and cilantro foods, that she chose to share with me.

Melina and I opened the Taffy first; it was from her favorite local candy shop, Malley's Chocolates (she sent me taffy because she was afraid the chocolate would melt in this crazy heat we are heaving)! YUM!!  The kids can not stop talking about the taffy and are even more excited about the beach because I told them we would buy some taffy at the beach.

I had never had Toasted Corn before, or had even really seen it. It was delicious!!! And now I have seen it several places, so I will be buying it in the future for sure!

I had these 2 packets of goodness on English Muffins…hmmmm!

These are homemade Chai Cookies. I LOVE the flavor of chai.
These were a delicious treat. 

This a her families favorite homemade dressing called Cape Cod Salad Dressing. She even sent me a recipe for a salad to use it with comprised of romaine hearts, granny smith apple, crumbled bacon and dried cranberries! DELICIOUS!!!!

Thank you Jordyn for such a
GREAT box of Foodie Goodness!

If you would like to participate next month, Here's the deal!

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Ok…I do know that those words usually don't go together (healthy + peanut butter chocolate cookie), but in this case I promise they do…and they are delicious! I have to say, I was hesitant about these cookies; wait until you see what makes up the bulk of them… nope, not four, sugar, butter, eggs or oil. But they were a BIG hit in our family! Just don't try the dough before it is baked; wait for the goodness to come out of the oven (I promise it is worth the wait and you won't think so if you taste the dough). These cookies may not be the most beautiful you have ever seen (they will not bake into perfect rounds) but you will be making these more than once. Now onto the recipe…

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies


  • 1 1/4 C canned chickpeas (drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 C + 2 T Natural Peanut Butter (I used fresh honey roasted from Earth Fair)
  • 1/4 C Honey
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • A pinch of salt (if your PB is unsalted only)
  • 1/2 C Chocolate Chips


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine all ingredients except chocolate chip in a food processor and pulse until very smooth. (scrape the side a couple of times to make sure you get all the little pieces of chickpeas ground)
  • Put in the chocolate chips and stir them in with a spatula. Mixture will be very sticky.
  • With wet hands form into balls and place on silpat, parchment paper or sprayed cookie sheet.
  • They will not rise or spread very much, so if you would like them thinner, pat them down a bit.
  • This makes about 15 cookies


1. They taste nothing like chickpeas once cooked.

2. Your kids will like them and so will you!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breakfast "Cookies"

My kids L-O-V-E oatmeal! And its great for them, so I don't mind making it…most of the time. It can be time consuming and messy; especially when one almost 2 year old devours a bowl with his fingers. I found this recipe on Pinterest for No Sugar, Flour, Egg…anything bad Breakfast cookies and decided to try them out (they more had me on the its easy train though!). I made them the night before and left them sitting on the tray on the counter, so the kids could easily get their own breakfast in the morning…no mom needed first thing in the am…I means seriously, thats the real reason for making these. ;) So, here's my take on the Breakfast Cookie. I think I will try these again and experiment with the additives... Variety is the spice of life!

Breakfast Cookie Recipe


  • 1 1/2 C Oatmeal
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until gooey
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mash Bananas with fork
  • Mix all other ingredients in with bananas
  • Let sit 10 min
  • Drop dough by the spoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten into rounds
  • Bake for 30 - 35 min.
  • Let cool before you eat them (they actually taste better cooled!)


Friday, July 27, 2012

Field Trip Friday!

Today was Field Trip Friday! We packed up the car with bathing suits, extra clothes, lunch, snacks and happy kids and headed to Cincinnati to visit Sharon Woods, which is part of the Hamilton County Parks District, and Jungle Jim's, an International Foodie Mart! We met some great friends there and had an absolute FANTASTIC day!!!

 Sharon Woods

We spent 4 hour splaying in the sun at Sharon Woods. For all those Daytonites who have never visited a park in Cincinnati, they really are a GREAT day trip! It only took us 35 minutes to get to Sharon Woods.

A picture of the boathouse where you can rent boats and bikes.

Playing in the stream

Watching the boats

Cooling off! It was 94 today!

The water feels good on the head!

They were playing Walk the Plank!

Jungle Jim's

They have anything and everything plus more that you could ever want! 
It is a foodie dream store!!    
A view of the outside of "The Jungle"
Walking into the store…just too cute!!!

Outside The Jungle

Carson LOVED the fire truck!
There is so much to see in The Jungle…ya never know what you'll find!

I am sure we looked like quite the crew!
Here is the haul…by country. 

Forgot to picture the fresh mozzarella in this picture.


Our produce haul…we are trying to try as many fruits as we can. I think we are getting close because we can not find much we have not tried anymore.

We got Jack fruit (Logan and I saw this on a Chopped episode), and Asian Pear (although we have tried these before), Thai Guava, a sugar cane stick and some banana leaves.

This was a total impulse buy that I gave into for the kids!

Logan LOVES sushi, so we are going to give some of their's a try for dinner tonight.
And here is the Mozzarella.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A bit of this and that from the last week

We have not been up to very much for the past week…and to be honest it is kind of a nice break! In fact, today, we have not even left our house. It has been a bit rainy this week (after having no rain all summer) and we have had no camps this week and not very many obligations, so we have not really done much. We have just had plain and simple summer fun. We have also tried some new baking recipes out.

Here are some "highlights" from our week:

Last Saturday I helped host a private party at Adventure Reef Water Park for Dayton Mamas. Talk about a FUN time for the whole family!! There were just enough families there for it to be fun, but it was not even the least bit crowded. And since most of the kids were smaller and could not go on the big watersides there were no lines. A lot of parents got to try the slides when they would not have been able to any other time and I think Logan must have gone down 150 times! He has so much fun!!

We helped build log forts.
Walking in the river
On Monday we did some hiking and play time at Englewood MetroPark with Aunt Shendy and Sammy Reese. We tried the Metroparks version of geocaching and we hiked and hiked in 90 degree weather all the way to the tip of the park and never found what we were looking for. I have to say ti was kind of frustrating, but the kids had fun anyway!

Cousins sharing a laugh!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Zucchini Parmesan

Many people requested this recipe after I posted a picture... but I didn't use one. This is a dish that I just make, but I will try to share with you best I can. Enjoy!


  • 3 medium zucchini
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs (I used homemade croutons that I ground up in a food processor)
  • Pizza cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • your favorite sauce (I think Mamma DiSalvo's is such gem and really makes the dish!)
  • Spaghetti
  • Pesto (I made homemade pesto. recipe below)


  1. Slice the zucchini in rounds.
  2. Take half of the zucchini and put it on pizza stone or baking tray. Spritz with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.
  3. Broil for appox 15 min until cheese starts to just brown.
  4. Meanwhile take the 2 eggs and crack and whip in a bowl. Put breadcrumbs in another bowl and mix in a handful or parmesan cheese.
  5. Coat skillet with 1/2 to 1 inch olive oil and heat. 
  6. Dip zucchini rounds in egg and then breadcrumb mixture and then fry for 30 seconds to a min each side until crumbs on the outside are browned. As you remove rounds from the skillet, put zucchini rounds on a paper towel.
  7. Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Line the pan with a layer of zucchini rounds. (I alternated the broiled and fried zucchini rounds)
  8. Spread another layer of sauce and sprinkle with pizza cheese and parmesan and then spindle some fresh torn basil. 
  9. Repeat layers until all zucchini is used.
  10. Bake at 350 covered (with foil) for 20 min and then uncover and bake for 10 min or until all the cheese is melted.
  11. Serve with spaghetti with pesto

Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rainy Day Busy Bag

Busy Bag Exchanges never seem to get old….I mean who doesn't need more hands on, creative & fun  things to entrain your kids in different situations? 

Today's theme…Rainy Day.

This means we will be doing all of these activities at home, so they can be a bit more time consuming, hands on and messy!

A Pizza Game, Paper Bag Puppets, Cloud Dough, Velcro Activity, Magnet Activity,
Decorate Picture Frames & make your own Gak.

Make your own Gak…or Slime

This pizza game (complete in a real pizza box) is just like the game cootie. 
Roll a 1 to get your crust, 2 for sauce, etc.

Melina and Nikole (our babysitter) tried it out this afternoon. They had a great time playing the game and when they were finished with their pizza's they "baked" them in the oven and played pizza shop!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blackberry Crisp

This weekend on our berry picking adventure we picked 7 pounds of blueberries and blackberries. I really didn't think we had that much until we got home and put them in bowls; 7 pounds really is a lot. But boy o boy, they are GOOD! Nothing beats fresh the taste of fresh picked berries!! Saturday night we used some of the blackberries to make a Blackberry Crisp. It was SUPER EASY & SUPER DELICIOUS! A perfect dessert for summer. I am sure you could make this with any berry, or even better a berry mixture!

Blackberry Crisp

4    C fresh blackberries
1/2 C sugar
1    T flour

Toss the blackberries with sugar and flour in a wide shallow dish.

1 C flour
1/2 C oatmeal
1/3 C brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can use ginger, cloves and allspice mixture too if you don't have pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chilled butter cup into tablespoons

Put all ingredients into blender or food processor and pulse until crumbly. Pour topping over berries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 min. Serve warm with ice cream!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Berry Picking

This morning was cool (the first cooler morning in weeks!) and so we went Berry Picking together as a family first thing this morning.  We started out with blueberries and then moved onto Blackberries. 7 pounds of berries later we were finished. Now, what to make with all these berries…that is if they make it past lunchtime!

On a side note…the girls did each others hair this morning and were quiet proud of it. The beautiful dews were not my handiwork! :)