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Books and Food

While there are quite a few things on my “to-do” list being accomplished, two other things that seem to be a focus while stuck at home are books and food – and I want to share what I’m enjoying in both areas. :)

Books and food bring a type of nourishment, don’t they? One for the soul, and one that seems to go straight to areas I’d rather it didn’t.

My reading goals for the year are primarily focused on books that relate to parenting, spiritual growth, and education, but lately not all of my reading has been in those areas. Want a peek at what I’ve been reading the last few months?

** Also – enter to win a copy of Made to Move Mountains HERE (until 4/21/20)

Books Recently Read

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Made to Move Mountains by Kristen Welch ⭐️

The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley

The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley ⭐️

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens ⭐️

Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby

The War Trilogy by Diane Moody

Current Book Pile

Love That Lasts by Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg

Recent Eats

We’re having fun trying some new (to us) things at home – making sushi, new homemade granola, but keeping a few of our favorite “tried and true” recipes as well. Here are a few you will love.

Sticky Honey Chicken and Coconut Rice (YUMMMMM!!)

White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Easiest Pot Roast

Homemade Granola Bars

Carrot Cake (for Laurianna’s birthday – even though she isn’t here!)

I’m trying to get back into the swing of bi-weekly meal planning, especially so we don’t have to make as many trips to the store right now. We also aren’t typically a family that eats out very much, but each week we are picking one local restaurant to order out.

So – what all are you reading (and eating) these days?

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Years ago I fiddled around with a granola bar recipe until our kids told me they loved them (and bragged they were the best ever). Considering I’m baking for a select audience, I considered that the highest praise and quit messing with a god thing.

The fact they we know what is in the recipe is an added bonus.

They disappear quickly around our home (keep in mind we have some growing teenage boys), and if you stick around our house long enough, the kids may offer you one. 

And side note – fresh and warm out of the oven, when the chocolate is all melty – well, they are pretty tasty then as well!

Homemade Granola Bars
Serves 36
A delicious homemade alternative to granola bars - guaranteed to disappear!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups rolled oats {not quick oats}
  2. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  3. 1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
  4. 1/2 cup wheat germ
  5. 1/2 bag {6 oz.} of mini chocolate chips
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar {or 1 cup if no sucanat is used}
  7. 1/2 cup sucanat
  8. 3/4 to 1 cup honey {depends on how sweet you like them}
  9. 2 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1 tsp salt
  11. 1 cup oil {I use a mix of coconut oil and olive oil}
  12. 2 eggs, beaten
  13. 3 tsp vanilla extract
To Make
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a second bowl until eggs and other ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Add to the dry ingredients and combined.
  2. Press the mixture onto a well-greased jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. We like ours a little more ‘chewy’ so I baked ours for about 22 minutes.
  4. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then cut into bars. Let them finish cooling in the pan.
  5. Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Makes: 24 – 36 bars depending on the size of the bars you cut. I made 24 with the first batch and then cut them smaller {more like a store bought size} the next time and made 36 bars since they are very filling.
  2. The sucanat can be easily omitted and a different sugar can be used based on your personal preferences. To omit wheat germ or flax seeds, sub equal amounts of flour.
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/
We’ve had friends over the years tell us they have subbed applesauce for the oil with fabulous results, so have fun fiddling with this recipe as well. We personally prefer using the mini chocolate chips (they are the best chocolate chips to use in any situation because you technically get more chocolate per bite – wink). 

In a bit I’ll be sharing some other favorite “fill up the kids” recipes, because having bottomless pits of boys (and girls) in the house means I need to stock up quite frequently!

Our Favorite Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe

Around our house we have a weekly rotation for breakfast choices. On Thursdays, you’ll find us making pancakes. I promise you, if they haven’t been started by the time the kids get up, they are asking when they will be ready. 

Every. Single. Week. 

Years ago I started making pancakes using this recipe, mainly to add in a few healthy ingredients: whole wheat flour and whole oats. 

It may sound a little over the top, but honestly? Best pancakes ever. Especially with real maple syrup poured over the top. They are fluffy and filling. 

Over the years we’ve changed up some of the ingredients (used gluten-free flour or even almond milk for a dairy-free version). My best tip though – use a blender to mix up the batter. We have a Vitamix and love it! 

But this recipe – fabulous and filling for growing teenagers. I’m just sayin’. 

ENJOY!!

Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Pancakes
Serves 6
A delicious and filling whole wheat pancake recipe that will fill the kiddos bellies!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups milk
  2. 3 cups flour (we use whole wheat)
  3. 1 cup whole oats
  4. 2 Tbsp. coconut (or other) oil
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  7. 1 tsp. salt
  8. 2 tsp. baking soda
  9. 2-3 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. We use a blender to mix our batter (we have a Vitamix), especially because we use whole oats in our cooking and the blender pulverizes them. :) This recipe can also be made using a gluten free flour mix.
  2. 1. Heat griddle while mixing batter.
  3. 2. Add milk, flour, oats, oil, and eggs to blender and mix.
  4. 3. When blended, add baking soda, salt, and sugar and mix again.
  5. Cook over medium heat until batter begins to bubble, then flip. This recipe typically makes 24-30 pancakes about 4-5 inches in diameter.
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/

Homemade Ice Cream Cake Recipe

When we were kids, having ice cream cake for our birthdays was a HUGE deal. Our parents worked hard and splurging for something like that was something that didn’t happen often.

To this day though, it’s one of my favorite things to have on my birthday. I’m not a huge frosting girl, so the mix of Oreos and ice cream is the perfect balance for me! Now each of our kids ask for an ice cream cake for their birthday, but it’s something we make at home and L.O.V.E. – especially since we can pick out the flavors of ice cream we want to mix and tailor it to our likes! This recipe is one we have been making for years and years – and this silicone springform pan (affiliate link) is my favorite. You know you are serious about your ice cream cake when you have a dedicated pan for making them!

Unlike some of the store bought cakes (or restaurant made), the cake is solid ice cream, and doesn’t seem like glorified air. The middle with the Oreos – oh so amazing. One time I added a thin layer of whipped topping to the outside, but we decided we liked our cake straight up ice cream with nothing to mess it up. 

We’re in birthday mode in our house at the moment. Over the next few weeks we are celebrating three birthdays, and the kids are putting in their orders for cake flavors. Because we love them (the kids and the cakes) so much, we thought you all might enjoy the recipe. Caution: there is a lot of sugar, but on birthdays anything goes – at least in our house. :) 

Ice Cream Cake
Serves 12
This homemade ice cream cake will have you
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Prep Time
30 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
30 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
For the filling
  1. 1 sleeve of oreo cookies (your flavor choice)
  2. 1 jar of Magic Shell (your flavor choice)
  3. 1/2 cup hot fudge sauce
For the cake
  1. 2 half gallons of ice cream (choose two complimentary flavors)
Instructions
  1. Soften the ice cream by letting it sit out on the counter.
  2. While ice cream is softening, crush the sleeve of oreos and add to a mixing bowl.
  3. Shake up the jar of Magic Shell well and pour over the crushed oreos. Use a spatula to mix the two together.
  4. Spread 2/3 of one flavor of ice cream into the bottom of a springform pan.
  5. Gently spread the Oreo mix on top of the bottom layer of ice cream, leaving a 1/2" border (so it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the pan).
  6. Lightly warm hot fudge sauce in microwave and carefully spread over Oreos.
  7. Top with full container of your second ice cream flavor choice.
  8. Freeze for several hours until hard. Remove springform sides and carefully cut (the center can be hard to get through if frozen solid, so watch yourself!).
Flavor combos
  1. We have had fun creating different flavors over the years, including some lighter tasting ones using a vanilla Magic Shell mixed with vanilla Oreos, strawberry jam, a lemon ice cream and strawberry ice cream combo. Here are a few other combos we love...
  2. Chocolate/coffee
  3. Chocolate/cookies and cream
  4. Chocolate/mint chip or mint oreo
  5. Chocolate/moose tracks or peanut butter cup (and peanut butter Magic Shell!)
  6. Chocolate/coconut
  7. Vanilla/coffee
  8. Vanilla/cookie dough
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/
Hope you all enjoy this recipe! 

Gingerbread Puppy Chow Recipe

Gingerbread puppy chow recipe

A few weeks ago we tried a new recipe to share with our co-op friends. It was one that had been circulating Facebook from Cheerios and decided to try it because we have kiddos that are gluten free. While we altered it some, we decided to play with the recipe a little more for a gingerbread flavored mix – and YUM!!

This is a super quick and easy recipe to make, especially if you need a last minute gift to drop off for a neighbor or a yummy dish for a party. You’ll have nothing but a little powdered sugar left in the bottom of the bowl!

Gingerbread Puppy Chow Recipe

Gingerbread Puppy Chow
Yields 12
A quick and easy holiday snack recipe.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 10 - 12 cups Cheerios (or less, according to your taste)
  2. 12 oz. white chocolate squares or bag of white chocolate morsels
  3. 1/2 or full bag of Christmas colored M&Ms (can use full-sized or baking bits)
  4. 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  5. 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  7. 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  8. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Instructions
  1. Measure Cheerios into a large bowl (if you have one with a lid, this would be best).
  2. Put powdered sugar and spices into a quart sized ziploc bag and shake well to mix sugar & spices.
  3. Melt chocolate according to package directions in microwave safe bowl or using double boiler. When chocolate is melted, pour over Cheerios in bowl and mix well with a large spatula.
  4. Pour powdered sugar mix over Cheerios, place lid on bowl, and shake well to coat Cheerios.
  5. Add in colored M&Ms or other candy pieces of your choice.
Notes
  1. We only used 1/2 a bag of the baking bits. The original recipe only called for 3 cups of Cheerios, so we significantly increased the Cheerios in this version (we prefer a little less coated). You can adjust your cereal if desired, but this provided a great ratio of sweet to the spices (we thought).
  2. 10 cups is about the perfect ratio for our family. 8 cups leaves it a little clumpier and 12 is a drier, but still tasty mix.
Adapted from Cheerios/General Mills
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Peppermint Bark Recipe


Gluten Free Cookie Dough Balls

Gluten Free Salmon Cake Recipe

gluten free salmon cake recipe

Maybe fish isn’t your thing. I get that – our kids weren’t huge fans of it either. But in the last year or so, salmon has become one of my favorite dishes because my body tends to be happier the more protein it ingests, and I happily oblige. When I wanted to make salmon cakes using a recipe a friend had given me, I realized one of the key ingredients (bread crumbs) would cause a problem with my gluten-free friends. Rather than buying gluten-free bread crumbs, I decided to play around with teh recipe – and the results were delicious, especially since the added ingredient included more protein! 

Now granted, the above picture may not be the most appetizing or appealing, but really – I have no time to make it look pretty, because a) it would get cold and b) it smells good and our family wants to eat them. So frying pan picture it is! 

 

Gluten Free Salmon Cakes
Yields 8
a high-protein salmon-cake recipe (that even our kids love)
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For Salmon Cakes
  1. 2 6oz. cans pink salmon
  2. 3 Tbsp. mayonaise
  3. 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  4. 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  5. 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  6. 1 tsp dill
  7. 1 tsp pepper
  8. 2 tsp minced garlic
  9. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (or 2 slices of bread made into crumbs)
  10. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
For Frying
  1. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Drain salmon and place in a mixing bowl. Add in all remaining ingredients and mix together.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Once well mixed, form salmon mixture into 4" wide patties with hands and place in frying pan. Fry over medium-high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side or until desires crispness.
  4. Serve with tartar sauce or enjoy plain. Makes approximately 8-10 salmon cakes.
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/

 We’ve also tried the above recipe with lump meat crab and had wonderful results as well, but typically I make up a batch and store them in the fridge to grab for a lunch at the pool or a quick snack during the week. 

Enjoy!


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