Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lemon Lush

A couple months ago, a good friend of ours came to visit for the weekend. I was looking for a new dessert to make so I had the hubby and him choose one from Pinterest. I have to say, I really got a kick of them watching them scroll through Pinterest discussing the pins. lol. They quickly honed in on The Girl Who Ate Everything's Lemon Lush Dessert and it turned out to the perfectly light and lemony (but not too lemony which completely wrecks it for me) treat I ever could have imagined. The homemade whipped cream was literally the icing on the cake. It was an immediate hit and is a new family favorite. Well, minus Little Sis who just isn't into this sort of dessert. Oh well, more for us!

The perfect summer treat - light and just the right amount of lemon!

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I had to make a couple changes to the recipe to make it nut-free and a wee bit healthier, but I'm sure it's just as delicious made as-is. Here's my version:

Printable Recipe

Lemon Lush
Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything
By happyvballgirl @ MyEpicureanAdventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2017/06/lemon-lush.html

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:
2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat + 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
2 Tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
2 Tbsp wheat germ (optional)

Cream Cheese Filling:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Pudding Layer
2 (3.4 oz) packages instant lemon pudding
3 cups milk

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy whipped cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Crust: In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter and graham cracker crumbs until combined, about 1 minute. Add flour, flax seed and wheat germ (if using) and mix just until the mixture is crumbly, about 10 to 15 seconds. You can also use a hand mixer or just blend manually with a pastry blender, 2 knives or simply 
  3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. I usually line mine with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let crust cool completely. I usually just let this sit for a couple hours before starting on the fillings.
  4. Cream Cheese Layer:  In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust.
  5. Pudding Layer: In the same bowl, because I like to use as few bowls as possible ;), mix the lemon pudding and milk together and beat for 3 to 5 minutes. Let the mixture set slightly in the fridge if it's not thick yet. Once it has thickened a little, spread it over the cream cheese layer. I use a rubber spatula to really clean out that bowl well so I don't have to even rinse it. lol.
  6. Whipped Cream: In same bowl still, but rinsed out if you'd like, beat the heavy cream and pwdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over pudding mixture.
  7. Chill dessert until ready to serve.
Makes about 15 servings.

The perfect summer treat - light and just the right amount of lemon!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)


Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kale Pasta Salad

Though I love to cook, I really don't like to watch cooking shows, but somehow my aunt got interested in The Pioneer Woman and now I occasionally watch it when I actually sit down to eat lunch. I love Ree Drummond's recipes and am always inspired to cook (and even clean/organize my home) after watching an episode. Just the other day, I saw an episode where she made Kale-Pasta Mason Jar Salad and was really excited about trying it out, sans the mason jar. As cute as it looks in there, I just can't see enjoying eating a salad out of one. Plus there's no way I'll send them to school! lol. Here's my version, made with Red Lentil Bean pasta from Trader Joe's (gluten-free AND very high in protein because it's made from, you got it, red lentil bean flour - thanks for the tip, Janeanne!). I also added some sauteed chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper. It was DELICIOUS!!

Kale Pasta Salad Lunches: Super healthy AND delicious! Great for kids and grown-ups alike, too!

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I decided to go out on a limb this morning and packed the girls this pasta salad for lunch. I warned them ahead of time and told them to expect something different and new. Big Sis was good with it as was Little Sis. Little Sis saw what it was ahead of time and said it not only looked good, it smelled delicious. Definitely a good sign. :)

So here's Big Sis' Lunch, complete with the homemade granola bar they never seem to get tired of and a package of applesauce and fruit snacks.

Kale Pasta Salad Lunches: Super healthy AND delicious! Great for kids and grown-ups alike, too!

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Little Sis' came with strawberries, a Fuji apple and a cookie in addition to the granola bar.

Kale Pasta Salad Lunches: Super healthy AND delicious! Great for kids and grown-ups alike, too!

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I'm super happy to report that both girls really liked it!

Big Sis had a make up test during lunch and the poor thing didn't eat a thing at school today. :( So when she came home, she was STARVING. I made her a new batch of this and she gobbled it up! Well... except she picked out some of the kale, which is not too surprising since it was a little bitter. Next time, I'm using spinach! While she was eating, she remarked, "I don't know if it's because I'm sooooo hungry, but this pasta salad is delicious!" lol.

Little Sis' came home gobbled too, but she picked out the tomatoes, which DID surprise me. She said they were too juicy. lol. Next time, I'll just cut them in half. She did complain that hers leaked in her bag, so next time I may need to use a different lunch container. Easylunchboxes by design aren't leakproof so if carried upright, it's fine. Unfortunately, neither of their lunches are carried upright. haha. Big Sis' didn't have a problem though... oh well. Still a big win in my book!

An I have to add that last night, Little Sis asked me "Mommy, can you pack something new and interesting again for lunch tomorrow??!!?" Hee hee. Sadly, she just got a boring ol' sandwich today. lol.

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

             

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts. Some people love 'em, some people turn their noses up to 'em. I used to be a nose-turner, especially after trying them for the first time in my college dorm cafeteria. Bleah. But Brussels sprouts have come a long way since then. A few years ago, I tried some in a fancy restaurant and couldn't believe how delicious they were, so I started making them at home.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & how to roast 'em. It's really simple and goes great with just about anything. Served here with sauteed shrimp, mushroom risotto and plain ol' white Italian bread.

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They're incredibly easy to cook at home and come out really tasty. Even the girls eat them! Big Sis prefers the crispy leaves that fall of the sprout but will eat a few whole sprouts while Little Sis just enjoys it all.

While this isn't really a recipe with specific amounts, here's how I roast my Brussels sprouts:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan w/ cooking oil
  3. Rinse in cold water, pat dry, trim and half Brussels sprouts.
  4. Put them in a large bowl and generously coat them in olive oil or grape seed oil and mix well.
  5. Scatter them onto greased pan and sprinkle with some kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Optionally, sprinkle some fresh crushed garlic or a hint of garlic powder
  7. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until sprouts are tender (test with fork). Sometimes I tousle with them using a spatula, sometimes I don't. They seem to turn out fine either way.
Remove from oven and scoop them onto your plate or into a bowl. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese or cheese from a bag, or just eat as-is. Whatever your pleasure. :)

Enjoy!

The meal above is Mushroom Risotto, shrimp sauteed in butter and white wine with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley, along with a side of plain ol' white Italian bread. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Essentials Tools:

          

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ham n' Cheese Sliders and Cream Cheese n' Chive Crackers for Lunch

Happy New Year! :)

Wow, is this really my first post of the new year? I've been slack! And the funny thing is, I was going to be more consistent with posting this year. I guess not! So much for new year resolutions! lol.

One thing's for sure... I haven't been posting lunches as much over the past year because, while I've still been making them, like EVERY DAY because the girls haven't wanted to buy lunch for couple years now, I feel like it's been much of the same ol' ol'. Well, I actually have a few things to say about today's lunch, so here's my first post of the year! Let's see if I can still remember how to do this! ;)

Ham and cheese sliders for lunch!

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In this lunch:
  1. Ham and cheese sliders 
  2. Celery and carrots with Marzetti's French Onion Dip 
  3. Deliciously sweet fresh pineapples and grapes 
  4. Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers and Philadelphia Chive and Onion Cream Cheese 
  5. Pirate's Booty 
  6. Clif Kid Protein Bar 
  7. Good ol' H20 in our awesome Simple Modern Stainless Steel 17oz water bottle that keeps water cold ALL DAY LONG!
Yes, this is a pretty big lunch for a 10 year old, but Little Sis noted that I did not pack her enough to eat the other day so I'm making up for it today. I guess there's a reason she's been over 5 feet tall since her mid-nines!
Let's start with these ham and cheese sliders from the Girl Who Ate Everything. They are among BOTH girls' all-time faves. They'll gobble them up each and every time I make them and today, I was just in a gobbly mood. I threw them together in no time flat* and popped 'em in my new-ish Breville toaster oven that I am completely in LOVE with... Voila!!

Ham and cheese sliders for lunch boxes. Super easy and super yummy!

*note (did you notice my * above?): To make this a super easy lunch to prepare quickly in the mornings, I make the poppy seed butter ahead of time and just store it in a Pyrex container in my "sandwich fixin's fridge organizer" and simply use as needed. I've found that it keeps for a good long time. Of course you can assemble the sandwiches the night before and spread the butter and bake in the morning IF you like doing stuff the night before. I don't. lol. See my nifty organizer?

Sandwich fixins fridge organizer - makes for quick and easy lunches in the morning

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Sandwich fixins fridge organizer - makes for quick and easy lunches in the morning

Then I can just grab some bread and yank this bad boy out on sandwich lunch mornings. Makes lunch-packing a wee bit more bearable. ;)

On celery and chip dip: Little Sis started liking and eating celery only recently. Sweet! I've never been a fan of celery myself, but lately, I've been enjoying its crispy, crunchy freshness as a snack and I think it must have rubbed off on her. She particularly enjoys them with chip dip. Chip dip is something she discovered a couple years back. This recent Facebook memory had me laughing about it all over again:

While munching on and really enjoying some Utz potato chips (our fave!) last week with her daddy, Little Sis mused "I wish there was something I could dip these potato chips in. I think it would just taste soooo good." Lol. Poor deprived little thing. lol. Her eyes lit up and she let out a big "MMMMMMMMMMM!" when Daddy gave her some ranch dressing in lieu of actual potato chip dip. lol.

Ok. Next stop: Cheese and crackers. For the longest time, Little Sis has been pining over these Lance cream cheese & chives crackers but has never been able to eat them because they either contain or may contain peanuts. They have always just looked so delicious to her. :(


Then it hit me a few weeks ago when I bought some chive & onion cream cheese for some friends who were visiting for the weekend. They love bagels and cream cheese so I bought a flavor other than plain or strawberry! Paired with whole wheat crackers, they were quite tasty.... and quite a hit with both Little AND Big Sisses. Now Little Sis can enjoy these crackers whenever she wants! :) DUH! Why didn't I think of this sooner?!? ;)

Nut-free cream cheese and chives crackers. A delicious snack for all ages.

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Lastly, when I received this awesome set of picks from Pick Ease about a year ago, I was stoked about the soccer pick, as the girls both spend an abnormal amount of time on the soccer fields but I couldn't care less about the baseball/softball one. I'm not sure that I've ever even used it before! lol.


...but as of like last week, Little Sis has picked up a 3rd sport and is loving it so far. Her daddy randomly signed her up for a town league and she even got a few starter tips from an instructor the other night. We've been told she's a natural and we are all excited to see her try something very new. And also very excited about this pick now! She had a huge grin when she saw it in her lunch today. :)


Ok. That's it! See? I told you I had a couple things to say about this lunch today! ;)

And let it be known that while I haven't been writing up posts nearly as often any more, I do post my lunches much more frequently on Instagram... so check me out there if you wanna see more lunches. And food, in general. lol. See?



Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)


Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

         

This post has been shared at:
Well, no where, actually. ;)

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dilly Snack Mix

This gem of a recipe is fully credited to my awesome sister-in-law Kris who shared it with me about 8 years ago, when Big Sis was just starting school. She said it would be a big hit with the teachers, being one herself. So from that day on, I started making this to share with teachers, friends and family alike on holidays and other special occasions. I can tell it's a hit, because every time I share some, I always get requests for the recipe. So here it is, transferred from my sis' handwritten recipe she so sweetly shared with me. Love ya, Kris! :)

You HAVE to try out this irresistible dilly snack mix, perfect for sharing or hoarding all to yourself. ;)

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Printable Recipe

Dilly Snack Mix
By Kris B., sister-in-law extraordinaire!
Brought to you by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2016/12/dilly-snack-mix.html

INGREDIENTS:
~ 32 oz of any crackers (I use a 9 oz bag of oyster crackers, 12 oz of pretzels, and 12 oz of goldfish crackers)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp Dill
1 1oz package of dried ranch dressing mix (about 3 Tbsp)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Empty crackers into a LARGE bowl or pot
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine the oil, dill and ranch and mix well with a fork or whisk.
  3. Pour oil mixture over crackers and  stir thoroughly but gently, taking care not to crush the crackers. 
  4. Continue to stir gently every 5-10 minutes for 2 hours or until the oil mix is completely absorbed into the crackers.
Enjoy!

I've made this snack mix many different times and ways, like in the picture below, I added chex rice cereal to the mix. They add a great light crispiness. You can change the crackers up and totally make it your own. :)

You HAVE to try out this irresistible dilly snack mix, perfect for sharing or hoarding all to yourself. ;)

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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)



This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Baked Ravioli for Lunch

I woke up extra early this morning for some unknown reason and instead of squandering my time playing my mindless games on my phone and going on Instagram like I usually do when this happens, I actually found some unexpected motivation to make PRODUCTIVE use of the time. I promise, it won't happen again. :)

Baked Ravioli for lunch in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun #easylunchboxes

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I've really gotten in a rut of packing the same ol' lunches, day-in, day-out, so I pulled out my inspirational lunch-packing cookbook: The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes of Momables, started flipping through the pages and stopped at this one for Baked Ravioli. It looked simple enough and I already had frozen ravioli on-hand as it's in my same ol' same ol' rotation, but with a little extra effort, it was revamped into something new and interesting, for them AND for me!

Baked Ravioli for lunch in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun #easylunchboxes

I of course had to taste test it and man, was it delicious! I used some panko bread in addition to some homemade breadcrumbs I already had on-hand. Good stuff. Both girls were rather interested in what I was doing and said they were looking forward to lunch. Hope it holds up well in their containers and don't get too soggy... I'll try to remember to report back later. :)

Baked Ravioli for lunch in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun #easylunchboxes

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In this lunch:
  1. Baked Ravioli with Muir Glen Organic Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Sauce
  2. Grape tomatoes
  3. Koala Sugar cookie that Little Sis made AND decorated, all by herself!
  4. Pineapples and strawberries
  5. Veggie Straws
  6. Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

        

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

S'mores Cookies

S'mores cookies. Need I say more? It's the perfect treat for when you feel like a s'more but don't necessarily want to get involved in the mess and work of real s'mores making. They're great for large crowds, especially with lots of kids, because you can make a bunch of them at once - and you won't have to supervise all those pointy objects with marshmallows stuck on the ends of them around a fire. :)

S'mores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

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My friend Sherril brought these to our NYE party last year and they were just amazing. Since then, I've made them many times over... to serve at parties or share with my volleyball teammates at games, teachers & friends and each time, they've been greeted with giant eyes and watering mouths.

Of course, I had to tweak it, a bit though, to make it a teeeeny bit healthier because makes me feel a teeeny bit better about letting my kids go to town on them. And no one ever seems to notice. lol. I've made them both ways, each time to huge raves. So here's my version:

Printable Recipe

S'mores Cookies
Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything's S'mores Cookies
by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2016/12/smores-cookies.html

INGREDIENTS:
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (use 11 Tbsp butter if not adding wheat germ and flax seed)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)
2 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
4 regular sized Hershey's bars (broken into 48 little rectangles)
1 box of graham crackers, broken into 48 squares

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 10" x 15" (or larger) jelly roll/cookie pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt, wheat germ and flax seed and combine.
  5. Add marshmallows and chocolate chips (if using) and mix well.
  6. Lay graham crackers out, side-by-side on the pans & parchment paper, making sure sides are touching. In my most recent batch, I fit 24 cracker squares in each pan, 48 total, but in my pictures, I made less because I ran out of graham crackers. ;)
  7. Place about 1 teaspoon full or so (I used 2 silverware teaspoons, scooped with one and scraped it out w/ another because they're easier to work with) in the middle of each cracker, making sure the dough comes out even with the number of crackers you have. If you run out, borrow from another, if you have extra, add it to smaller amounts. Then gently press down with your finger to flatten a little.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven and gently press in a Hershey's chocolate piece onto the top of each cookie. I sometimes leave some without because I actually prefer them that way!
  9.  Bake for about 5-7 minutes longer or until cookies are golden brown and the crackers have darkened a bit.
  10. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 48 cookies.

Enjoy!!

The dough....

S'mores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

Assembling the cookies... sometimes I'll stick some additional marshmallows into the dough if I think it doesn't have enough. ;)

S'mores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

After baking for 5 minutes, pull them out of the oven and add the Hershey's pieces...

S'mores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

Right out of the oven. My hubby swears that this is the best way to eat them...

S'mores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

But that's not always possible, so it's a good thing they're pretty darn good after cooling, too!

S'mmmmmmores Cookies! Easy, but mostly DELICIOUS!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)





This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)