Recipe for Happiness

Her Favorite Treat

Her Favorite Treat

 

Energy Balls

Chocolate Balls that Kids Hate

Makes: 4-8 Balls

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons Cacao
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • A few Figs or Dates

Instructions:
  1. Mix it-Here it is...just dump it in the blender or food processor and crush and mix it all up.
  2. Roll it up-Here is another hard part-roll up the concoction into about 4 large balls or 8 small balls. The mixture will be wet and not super solid.
  3. Set it-pop them in the freezer or the refrigerator so they get harder. And then eat them! Easy Peasy!
He loves them!

He loves them!

Okay, one of my pet peeves when looking for a recipe is having to read a ginormous story before I get to the recipe. Dang, I don't need to know all the back story all at once. Maybe the story is great, but maybe I just want the recipe. So I am starting off with the recipe for this blog post. This recipe is an approximation...you know I hate to follow the constraints of a recipe and maybe you do to. I like to just eye it. 

This recipe was adapted from the millions of energy balls or fat balls that are out there. I made them so my kids would have some healthier sweet treats to satisfy our family's sweet tooth. I was so proud of myself. 

As you can see from the photos...my children weren't exactly crazy about them. My daughter acted like I poisoned her and then she immediately ate some candy to get the horrible taste out of her mouth. My son was a little more discreet, but obviously he isn't a big fan either. That is okay. I like them.

We have been focusing on what we eat lately. In my mind we are such healthy eaters, but then I realize that we get lazy and we have to reset. This is our reset. We are loosely following the Mediterranean Diet. It isn't hard because it is basically how we eat, besides the sweets. We have all want a little sweet treat now and then. So I thought I would make a healthy sweet. 

But, nope. They aren't having it.

That is okay...they can have real sweets. It is all about moderation. 

Right now in our family we are having a hard time with a screen time addiction...mainly with the under 10 crowd, but all of us could use a reset as well. This happens nearly every year during this time of the year. We get stuck inside with the weather and screen time fills our time. In the summer the kids are playing and out and about. But winter and even during the wet spring we get too much screen time. 

We are in reset mode. Diet, screens, and I would even say with our house. The first of the year is all about organization and then comes spring cleaning. We all need a reset once in awhile (or once a day, whatever, there is no judgement). 

Isn't that part of the recipe for happiness? Just being able to reset...something isn't working? Then start over. Nothing is set in stone. My kids get hung up on if something isn't right or it isn't how they want it or they screw up at something. They always talk about things not being perfect. Nope, things aren't perfect...but the beauty in this amazing life is that we get another chance, again, and again, and again. Things may not be perfect, but you have the opportunity to change that and make it the best you can. 

And if you don't like these energy balls then hit the reset button and start again. 

See you soon!

 

 

Play Ball

Little Miss taking selfies with her Little Miss at one of the many games.

Little Miss taking selfies with her Little Miss at one of the many games.

This weekend was filled all sorts of sportsball...baseball games and soccer. And we have had HOT weather...somehow that makes the games/days seem soooooo much longer.  We love sports, but I think we all ready for some unscheduled weekends. 

My favorite lilacs.

My favorite lilacs.

On top of sports, school, and work...like everyone, we still have life happening. We had a dinner date with a family from Libya who treated us by cooking  our first Libyan meal. But I couldn't come to their house empty handed (it is in the Born in the South Handbook...who am I to mess with tradition) so we brought a bouquet of lilacs from our yard and I made a treat.

Since it has been hot I have not wanted to turn on the oven, so I had to search for a recipe that was quick, easy, and cool. So for our Make it Monday (which is a day late) we are making our own sportsballs buy making some chocolate balls (truffles).

First you need your supplies...

  • Cream Cheese-8 oz
  • Sifted Powdered Sugar-3 cups
  • Chocolate Chips-3 cups
  • Toppings

 

Step 1

I used this recipe. Basically...whip the cream cheese, add the powdered sugar (that you sifted), and then add melted chocolate chips. Mix it all together and let chill for a bit. I actually put our in freezer for a bit to speed up the process. You know I hate to wait. Now these aren't gourmet truffles. But they are quite easy and everyone loved them. (I thought they were a little sweet, but my kids didn't share that sentiment). 

Toppings

Step 2

Get your toppings together. I used crushed Lady Fingers, ground almonds, pretzel pieces, and sprinkles. In hindsight, there was a lot of beige happening here. I had a hard time keeping track of the different flavors. 

Rolled Ball

Step 3

Roll it up. Scoop up a bit and roll it in your hands. This is messy...especially on a hot day...that cholocate wants to stick on your hands. 

Sprinkles

Step 4

Roll the chocolate balls in the topping of your choice. The kids all loved the sprinkles. I mean, who doesn't like a good sprinkle. 

Truffles

Step 5

Let them set for a bit in a cool spot...and serve. Look how cute these are!

Can't wait for summer with these knuckleheads.

Can't wait for summer with these knuckleheads.

As we are at the end of the school and baseball season we are looking forward to a whole bunch of nothing and having a ball in a much different way. Counting down the days. 

See you Wednesday!

Your Dish to Pass

If  you ever been to a church dinner,  a neighborhood gathering, or any other potluck you may have been asked to bring a dish to pass. This is something that you make more of and you share with others at the party. Everyone brings a dish to pass and therefore you are fed with all sorts of flavors in little amounts that add up to a meal.  Some of us have things that are our jam for potlucks...you have it dialed...you know what you want to bring, you make it all the time, you are an expert on that dish. Some of us are hit and miss with what dish to bring...the cooking isn't consistent...and you hope for the best. And then some of us freak out when giving the responsibility of providing part of the meal...you stress over what to bring...and you second guess your decision...and perhaps you just pick something up at the store on the way. We all have different potluck strategies and abilities.

Homemade Sourdough

Homemade Sourdough

Just like we all have talents...things that we are good at...things that set us apart from everyone else. Your "thing" is your "dish to pass" in this party called Life. 

Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.
— Prince

We all have something to give, something to contribute, even when we may not think we do. Think about the unique things that make you...you. You have special skills or aptitudes. Whether you are into sports or into arts; or a skilled communicator or a fabulous writer; or are a musician or a chef...you have skills.

Baseball Boy

Baseball Boy

When our son was a little younger he would need reassurance from time to time and he would like to know all the things he was good at or what his strong qualities are. At the time my heart would ache because I was afraid that he didn't think highly of himself and I know that kid and he is the freaking greatest. But in hindsight, we all need those reassurances, those check ins to remind us who we are and what makes us so great. And I would much rather him hear those things from his people, the people that know and love him instead of him making up things about himself because it can be hard to some times see yourself or even worse from people that may not have his best interest at heart. Part of being a parent is raising your kids with a good mix of self awareness, healthy self esteem, and a dash or two of humility. You want your kids to excel at lots of things, but the big ones for us are kindness, generosity of spirit, critical thinking, and a sense of humor...everything else is just gravy. 

Sharp Dresser

Sharp Dresser

Here are some tips to uncover or highlight your potential and to find your own dish to pass...

  • Take inventory. What do you love to do? What are you good at? Make a list...yes, a real one. Talk to the people you love to see what they say. Determine if your job and your values line up with the things you find important or at least are good at. Finding out what your gifts are helps you focus on the positive, it shows you about your own worth, and it is great information to have for yourself or for witty dinner party banter.
  • Do the unexpected. Don't fall into mind traps. Sometimes we can do some damaging mind talk. Don't fall into that trap. See, I pretty much hate karaoke. It embarrasses me and makes me super uncomfortable, but if people ask me to go...I go. This last weekend I had the opportunity to sing a rousing rendition of "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow AND it was in front of some people I love and some I don't know. I had to do the unexpected and I had to just say "yes." How many times am I going to have that situation happen? Probably not a ton and I would rather reminisce about something that happened that made me stretch my comfort levels then have no story to tell. Will I be an expert karaoke singer...probably not, but it is good to do the unexpected. You never know when you might find your "thing" or at least have some good stories. 
  • Set some goals. Now you know what is your "dish" what are you going to do about it? My husband is great at building things and specializes in beautiful woodworking. But what does that matter? At first he did woodworking just for the love of it, the challenge or it, and the beauty of it. But because he does this one particular hobby so well, now he takes requests from people wanting to buy his products. What do you want to do with your talent? How can you share it? How can you grow it? What do you want to do next?
  • Believe in yourself. C'mon people  you have to believe in yourself. You don't think you are the right person for the job? Prove yourself wrong. You aren't all knowing, but you are awesome...focus on that. Below is a picture of a pie I made...the crust doesn't look amazing, but it is soooooo yummy. It was my husband's recipe...he makes the best pie crust. However, I was tired of waiting for him to make pie crust, so I learned how to make it myself. What do you want to do that fear is holding you back? Do some positive talk and believe in yourself dammit. 
Berry Pie

Berry Pie

Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
— Julia Child

Start cooking...metaphorically speaking of course (or not). Invite some people at your table and share some time, share a meal, and make some memories. 

Whatcha Cookin'?

Sardines with that?

Sardines with that?

I used to be baffled when people wouldn't know what to cook for dinner. I thought "how hard is it to figure out what to eat?" What a jerk I was! Turns out this was before I was a stay at home mom and I seriously only made one meal a day...dinner. At the time, my husband made breakfast and we would fend for ourselves for lunch so seriously I typically made just one meal a day. But now, all the meals and all the snacks...they drain my creativity. Now I find myself trolling my friends to see what they are eating to get ideas, or I look at Pinterest for inspiration, or I read from my collection of cookbooks, or I even try to recreate recipes from my favorite restaurants. 

How do you decide what to make each day? Do you meal plan? Do you use a service like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, or Sun Basket? How do you figure out how to feed yourself and your family every dang day? I am going to tell you what I do, but this is just the beginning of this conversation. Maybe we can revolutionize how prepare food? Well, probably not, but who knows? 

So I don't follow a meal plan, even though I really, really want to, but I just don't work that way. And we don't use a service, not because they aren't great...I know lots of people in our world LOVE them, but I think I may be too cheap for a service. I basically buy staples every couple of weeks and then pepper in some fresh and/or seasonal items until my next big grocery trip.

Grow Your Own

Grow Your Own

We try eat a bunch of fruits and vegetables and focus on whole grains and local proteins, but as the kids get older I do see we have a lot more processed foods in our world. I do try to make sure they are as healthy and as high quality as possible, but it is something I would like to do even better about. It goes back to that balance thing...I can tell you, not all of our food is organic, local, seasonal, nonGMO, etc...but we are mindful about our food. Like I am super mindful my little girl eats her weight in candy. 

One thing that really drives what I am cooking is what NEEDS to be cooked/ate/etc. Take these bananas. There are three different bunches represented here. We eat a lot of bananas (and don't get me started that the bananas that we know and love are being threatened by a banana disease...I am deep in on this story). 

The first couple of bananas from Bunch #1 are VERY ripe...this morning they will be cookies (see recipe below...also I am horrible about following recipes so let's hope for the best on this one), the next few bananas from Bunch #2 are too ripe for about half of us in our family, but the will probably be eaten or they will be peeled and frozen for future smoothies or banana "ice cream," and the bottom bananas from Bunch #3 are a little green, but truth is both kids will eat them this way or they will ripen enough for mom and dad.

This Beat is Bananas

This Beat is Bananas

Now I didn't plan on making cookies today, but the bananas are on the way out and I don't want to waste them so cookies are on the menu this morning. I will plan a whole menu based on what I think may be going blinky. Wasting food is a huge problem in the United States. It used to be a big problem in my own home as well and I really strive to use everything I can...I feel as a parent in particular we need to model being good stewards of the Earth and part of that is not wasting good food.  

Most days our food looks like this:

Typical Breakfast-This is the only meal we have specific things that we pretty much eat every day. 

  • Yogurt
  • Cereal-Mainly Grape Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Toast
  • Bagel & Cream Cheese
  • Banana
  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Weekend Breakfast may have bacon or sausage and perhaps some breakfast potatoes with eggs

Typical Lunch-This is a free for all. 

  • The hubby will either take left overs or buy lunch at work.
  • The boy will NOT eat a school lunch because it slows him down so I make a lunch that always has these items:        a veggie, a fruit, a grain, and a protein. 
  • The girl and I will eat random items or leftovers, but I try to make sure it is balanced, but I am not always successful.  

Typical Dinner-I usually decide dinner the day of and we don't follow any particular schedule really.

  • I strive for each dinner to have a veggie, a fruit (maybe), a whole grain, and a protein.
  • Things we eat a lot of: tacos, soups, salads, pasta dishes, grilled/BBQ foods, homemade pizza, elk burgers, sandwiches, and we go through phases of making homemade bread.

So if I know I want to cook a certain meal then I will get those ingredients, but if I don't have any idea I use the staple items I bought and then I "shop" my pantry and freezer to help make the meal. How do you do your shopping and cooking? Is there a better way? As you noodle on those questions, maybe make some cookies to help you concentrate. 

These cookies are not traditional cookies, but they are pretty healthy and my kids love that they can have cookies for breakfast...I love these little yummy treats, but these are not my husband's favorite. They are a great quick treat. 

Breakfast Cookies

  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky or heck another nut butter is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 t Almond or Vanilla Extract (or 1/2 t of each) 
  • Pinch of Salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.  

Smoosh the bananas with a fork or use your hands (make sure you really wash your hands…don’t be gross). Add EVERYTHING else and mix together. It will be VERY thick. Scoop out a large spoonful, roll into a ball, and press dough to form a cookie shape. These things do not move as they cook so plan accordingly. Bake for about 11-14 minutes or until the edges are brown.

Let's keep talking about how we feed ourselves, fine tune how we shop, let's share some recipes, and until next time enjoy the cookies!