Julie Green and Keen: school lunches
Showing posts with label school lunches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school lunches. Show all posts
It is so important to keep my kids stomachs from growling, especially while they are at school learning.  Today Liam and Hannah helped me make some granola bars for them to keep in their backpacks and pack in lunches.  Making granola bars is a fun and easy way to make sure there are good nutrients to keep your kids focused all day long.

Here are three easy granola bars that we made today.  I promise, they are kid friendly!

Chocolate Brownie Granola Bars

Ingredients-
•    1 ½ cup rolled outs
•    1 cup chopped nuts
•    1 cup walnuts- food processed into small pieces
•    2 cups pitted dates
•    ¾ cup cocoa powder
•    ¼ cup natural peanut butter
•    ¼ cup agave nectar

Instructions-
•    Use a food processor and process walnuts until they are in small pieces, add the cocoa powder and process to combine together.  Remove and set aside.
•    Process dates until they are small chucks and have a dough like consistency then add the walnut and cocoa mixture and process.
•    In a large mixing bowl, empty the mixture and add the oats and nuts and stir to combine thoroughly.
•    In a small skillet warm the agave nectar and peanut butter on medium heat until it is pourable and pour over the mixture.  Mix thoroughly, I like to use my hands.
•    Spread in a lined small pan to your desired thickness and press down to compact.  Freeze for about 15-20 minutes then chop into bars. 
•    Store in the freezer or fridge.  Enjoy your brownie granola bars!

Easy Peanut Butter Pretzel and M&M Granola Bars

Ingredients-
•    2 cups old fashioned oats
•    1 cup rice krispies
•    ½ cup pretzels, chopped
•    ¼ cup mini M&M’s
•    4 tbsp. butter
•    ¼ cup honey
•    ¼ cup peanut butter
•    ¼ cup brown sugar
•    1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions-
•    Mix the oats, rice krispies, pretzels, and mini M&M’s in a large bowl.
•    In a medium saucepan melt the butter, honey, peanut butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil then simmer on medium for about 2-3 minutes constantly stirring.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  Pour the mixture over the oat mixture and stir together until everything is well combined.
•    Pour the mixture in an 8x8 inch lined pan and press and pack everything down.  Sprinkle extra M&M’s if desired and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, remove and cut.
•    Store in the fridge.  Enjoy!

Easy 30 Minute Granola Bars

Ingredients-
•    2 cups old fashioned oats
•    1 cup brown sugar
•    1 cup whole wheat flour
•    ½ tsp. baking soda
•    ½ tsp. baking powder
•    1 tsp. cinnamon
•    1 tsp. salt
•    1 tsp. vanilla
•    ½ cup honey
•    Any dried fruit or chocolate chips you might have on hand

Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
•    Mix all the ingredients and press into a greased 11X13 pan.  It will be crumbly but press down really hard until a little resemblance of dough forms.  Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.
•    Let cool and cut into bars.  Enjoy!

These are my “growling” fixes.  What are your favorite granola bars?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Homemade School Snacks

by on 5/10/2018
It is so important to keep my kids stomachs from growling, especially while they are at school learning.  Today Liam and Hannah helped me m...
On Friday I went to a good friend’s house to meet up with the girls.  It was so nice, we all brought little hor d’oeuvres and chatted over wine.  They loved the tropical popcorn balls I brought and were amazed I used agave nectar instead of honey and they tasted so good. (find the recipe below!)



As you know whole foods and farmers markets are my thing.  I am always finding ways to make recipes unique using natural ingredients.  Managing a restaurant has given me so many opportunities to learn and try new things.  Now, when I’m at home I create recipes on the fly and spice it up differently every time depending on my mood.

I use agave nectar all the time at home and in the restaurant.  We use it in a lot of the desserts and even some main courses.  There are many natural ingredients that can be used to substitute common processed ones.

Here are my favorite natural additives and replacements:

•    Agave nectar is the extract from the wild agave plant.  It is low in glycemic levels and is a natural alternative to white sugar and other sugars



•    Cacao butter is the raw pure oil from the cacao bean.  It has a rich chocolate aroma.  I love to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in just about any chocolate creation I am making.  It is easy to use because it is raw, it melts easy and blends into any type of recipe.


•    Coconut oil has become very popular recently with its many health benefits.  It is commonly used as a food product and skin moisturizer.  It has a rich buttery taste that is great for cooking.


•    Miso is a salty flavored paste made from soybeans, rice, or barley.  It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  I like to use it in soups and adding it to salad dressings and sauces.


•    Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and tastes wonderful.



I believe that cooking should be a fun and freeing experience.  I take pride in making food that is good for you and delicious.  Real sustainable food nourishes not only your body but the environment as well.  Try some new substitutes and let me know what you like.

Here is the recipe for the tropical popcorn balls my friends loved.

Ingredients-
•    6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
•    ¼ cup agave nectar
•    ¼ creamy natural almond butter
•    ¼ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
•    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions-
•    Cover a baking sheet with wax paper to put the balls on
•    Mix the agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Keep heating until the mixture lightly bubbles and remove soon after.
•    Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix until well coated.
•    Quickly press small handfuls of the popcorn and macadamia mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut until coated then place on baking sheet and let cool and harden.
•    Enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
The carefree days of summer are over and my kids have begun another school year.  They are already wining about the early mornings and getting ready…parents I know you know what I mean.  Back to school time is such an exciting time for kids, they are ready to see their friends, make new ones and meet their teachers.  Along with all the excitement comes an uphill battle for parents, packing school lunches they actually like. 


Packing lunch for my kids can be challenging to say the least.  I pack them a healthy meal with their favorite foods, and they come home with an untouched meal.  They say it is more fun to “trade” their food with their friends to get better lunches. 

I try to keep my kids as healthy as possible during the school year, a healthy body helps build a healthy mind.  I figured out my kids want lunches that are unique that no one else has.  They love when I make lunches with wraps or anything that is not just a piece of bread.  Here are a few fool proof lunches that my kids love and don’t trade with their friends. 

•    Chicken Soft Tacos- Fill two small whole wheat tortillas with shredded chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Pack a separate container with mashed avocados with lemon juice, top that with a layer of shredded cheese.  My kids say they love making their own tacos at lunch. 






•    BLTA Wraps (Turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado)- On a whole wheat wrap, spread mashed avocado with lemon juice, top with a few pieces of turkey bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes.  I think my kids like this because of the “special” avocado on it.



•    And for the side dish win, Frogs on a log- Instead of the beloved ants on a log with celery, peanut butter, and raisins; I make a savory version with cream cheese and olives.  Sometimes, the kids help me spice it up and add red pepper to the log




These are my secret school lunch weapons, I would love to hear what your “go to” school lunches are.   I am in need of more ideas, please share your secret school lunch recipes so all our kids will have yummy healthy lunches. :D

Healthy School Lunches

by on 8/27/2014
The carefree days of summer are over and my kids have begun another school year.  They are already wining about the early mornings and getti...