Morning Oatmeal Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffin Topped With Granola

If you’re a busy parent looking for a quick, nutritional and tasty morning snack that everyone will enjoy, consider these fantastic oatmeal muffins. Besides being a breeze to prepare, these tantalizing and filling muffins freeze well and thaw out quickly, so they are readily available whenever you need them.

Since this particular recipe yields 8 large or 16 small muffins, consider doubling this recipe to keep plenty on hand. If you don’t, you may regret it! You can make your muffins even more exciting by adding optional ingredients such as nuts and dried or fresh fruit. So say goodbye to expensive granola bars, donuts and other sugary breakfast foods that don’t give your children the energy they need, and show them you care with these fun and delicious treats. You’ll be glad you gave these morning oatmeal muffins a try.

Morning Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (this can also be made by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar to regular milk)
1 cup quick oats or old fashioned uncooked oats
¼ cup sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3 Tablespoons melted shortening
¾ cup raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit (optional)
¼ cup nuts, such as chopped pecans or sliced almonds (optional)
1 cup chopped fruit, such as apples or peaches (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease muffin tins or use parchment backing cups. Pour buttermilk over rolled oats and let stand a few minutes.

In the meantime, sift together the dry ingredients and add to the rolled oats mixture with the optional ingredients such as the raisins, nuts and/or other dried fruit.

Then add in the beaten egg, stirring lightly and fold into melted shortening.

Fill the greased muffin pans 2/3 full (or use paper liners) and put in the preheated oven for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the muffins. Top with additional chopped nuts, oats and/or fruit, if desired.

To save the leftover muffins for the week, you can store them in a sealed container on the countertop or in the refrigerator. To freeze, place them into separate freezer bags or containers, and keep in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw frozen muffins, just reheat each one individually for about 20 seconds in the microwave, or simply let them sit out overnight on the counter top or in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

Add Some Flair (and Flavor) to Your Milk

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When we think of wholesome and healthy foods, milk is one of the drinks that spring to mind. We know we should drink more. We want our kids to drink it. The fact is, many people just don’t like the taste. For others, who already drink a fair amount of it, we can get a little bored.

Let’s address both issues at once, by adding flavor and a little flair! A simple syrup is a quick way to add a little flavor. Dissolve two parts table sugar in one part warm water, and add your favorite extract, to taste. Vanilla is especially good. Because the simple syrup is concentrated, you only need a small amount to add flavor, thus not watering down your milk. Simple syrups will work with any type of milk, including soy, rice and almond. This syrup also works very well in coffee. A simple syrup will last for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

In the fall, all thoughts turn to pumpkin! Pumpkin pie is sure to please. Mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with 3 Tbs. of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to taste. Stir in 2 cups of milk. Drink it as is or add it to your coffee for a pumpkin spice latte treat! The pumpkin spice flavor is strong enough to stand up to soy and almond milk as well. This will keep one week in the refrigerator.

Caramel is one of the hot flavors right now. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk, peel off the label and place it in your slow cooker unopened. Cover the can completely with water. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Make sure the can stays completely covered. Turn the slow cooker off and cool slowly. When the can is cool enough to handle, open it up and voila! You have gooey, thick caramel sauce. Use it as is added directly to milk or coffee. Caramel will keep one week in the refrigerator.

In warmer weather we want it to be ice cold. It’s perfectly alright to freeze your flavored milk. Add concentrated flavorings directly to milk and freeze in ice cube trays. As soon as it’s frozen, transfer cubes to a freezer container as it will pick up other flavors easily. Add to your milk or cooled coffee for an icy cold treat!

 

Yummy Popcorn

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Get Ready to Make Yummy Popcorn:  Two Quick and Easy Snacks!

Are you a busy mother without a lot of time for cooking, baking and preparing detailed meals for your children? Would you like for your children to eat as healthy as possible, but also enjoy their food and look forward to eating your meals and treats? Are you looking for a way to save money and time while still producing delicious, homemade snacks that are good for your children? If you are, then try these two yummy popcorn treats. You can use microwave popcorn or your own air popper and corn. They are easy to make, and diverse enough that you can give them to your children on different days for a completely new tasting experience!

Chocolate-Popcorn Medley

Pop one bag of regular popcorn in your microwave. While it still is hot, carefully open the bag, making sure to let out the steam slowly to avoid burning your hands. Empty the bag into a large mixing bowl. Set up a double boiler and slowly melt a handful of carmels in the double boiler. Repeat the process with a handful of semi sweet chocolate.  While the chocolate and caramel still are hot, dip a spoon in the melted candies and then wave the spoon back and forth over the bowl of popcorn. Continue doing this and toss the popcorn around until the popcorn is fully coated. Top off this sweet and salty confection by lightly sprinkling coconut shavings on top. The coconut will stick to the chocolate and carmel, so that each time you eat the pop corn you get a little sweet and a little salty flavor.

Healthy Pop Corn Trail Mix

Pop one bag of healthy or low salt popcorn. Allow the corn to cool before dumping it into a mixing bowl. Make sure the kernels do not get into the bowl. Add one cup of your favorite dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins. Follow with one cup of your favorite nuts, such as low salt cashews or peanuts. Add one cup of pretzels and one cup of karob (or chocolate) chips. You can purchase karob chips at a health foods store. They taste a little like chocolate, but are vegan-friendly. Mix these items together by lightly tossing, and then bag them, making sure that you get some of every ingredient in the bags. You can easily adapt this to your preferences with a variety of dried fruit and nuts.

These snacks are easy to make, and your children can make them with you!  If your child is old enough, write their name on a few bags just for them and let them customize their snacks themselves.

 

Happy Halloween! Slow Cooker Dessert

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Kids are back in school and our lives are busier than ever. I found making slow cooker desserts is a time-saving way to give my kids a healthy homemade snack choice during busy times. Apples and oranges are popular and healthy autumn fruit that always cook perfectly in a slow cooker. Choose autumn fruit for your slow cooker dessert recipes that you know your kids will eat. My kids love apples, so I try to create healthy slow cooker desserts that incorporate them. One of my favorites is apple raisin crumble because it is affordable, yummy and healthy.

Apple and Raisin Crumble

Ingredients:

5-6 apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1. Lightly butter the inside of the slow cooker. You can also use cooking spray.
2. Spread out the apples evenly at the bottom of your crock pot
3. Mix together the sugar, flour, oats, raisins, cinnamon and butter
4. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the apples
5. Cook on low for approximately 3 to 5 hours

This is a dessert that can be enhanced with a multitude of toppings. Sprinkle a little cinnamon over the apple crumble, then top it with crushed walnuts. Walnuts are healthy and add a wonderful burst of flavor to the apple crumble. Put some whipped cream on top of the apple crumble, then drizzle a little caramel sauce over it for an extra heavenly flavor.

I love this dessert because the leftovers can be frozen to be eaten at a later time. I put individual servings of the apple crumble in airtight plastic containers. These individual desserts are perfect taken out of the freezer the night before a school day and used as a snack for my kids' lunch. If you have unexpected company, pop the desserts in the microwave for a few seconds to thaw, then add your favorite topping and serve.

Free from 30DayCafe.com – Printable Lunch Box “Love” Notes

Since the day my kids started Kindergarten, I've been sending them to school with "love notes" placed in their lunch boxes.  These are just simple notes letting them know that I am thinking about them during their long day at school.

Sometimes I write a personal note with a simple post-it, and other times I include a little joke or card.

If you want to send your child to school with a little mid-day "pick me up" here are some printable notes that I designed for 30DayCafe readers and fans.

30 Day Cafe Lunch Box Notes

 

Share and enjoy!  Your kids certainly will!