Tag Archives: kid-friendly

Sometimes all you need is some popcorn

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I love, love, LOVE popcorn! And sometimes I forget just how satisfying it is. And I don’t just mean throwing a bag in the microwave…those kinds are good, but my favorite kind is plain kernels popped on top of the stove. I also love Jiffy Pop, which is probably my second favorite kind or just about tied with first. Anyway, I love the taste so much better and it’s healthier. It’s also easy, quick, and enjoyable. The popping is amplified and I love listening for that first mini explosion!

All you need are some kernels, olive oil, and salt if desired (I might put a little salt, but nothing else). This is such a great, delicious, low-calorie snack. I even make some popcorn and have a salad or some fruit on the side for lunch sometimes. Popcorn is actually a healthy food too much on if you lay off any excessive toppings life butter or cheese or caramel (I have known people who do this. Those can make great snacks too, they are just not as healthy or simple. For me, the olive oil replaces the butter with a much cleaner, lighter taste, and the salt adds the perfect amount of flavor. I barely use any salt at all, to be honest.

Not only is this popcorn better than bagged, microwavable popcorn, it is also so much cheaper because you get a ton more out of a container of kernels than a few bags. So next time you are craving popcorn, try the stove top way!

Baked Potato Fries

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French fries have always been a weakness of mine. I will say that I hate fast food, including their fries. I doubt fast food is even gluten free, because of all the cross-contamination, but that doesn’t even matter since I prefer to avoid it at all costs. When I did eat it, it always gave me the worst stomach ache afterwards. Anyway, I do love french fries if they have been done well. I will not spurn restaurant french fries (unless they contain gluten, of course, and even then it’s tough) or the frozen kind that you can get at the grocery store. But my favorite style/type of french fries are definitely the homemade ones. They are better for you because there is not nearly as much oil/grease involved (at least the way I do it) and they taste SO much better!

For these delicious gluten free and homemade french fries, all you need are potatoes, olive oil, and a little salt. You use 1 large potato per person. Now, you can cut the potatoes lengthwise, for traditional-style fries, or you can can slice them, to make round fries like I like to do. These are great because they are so easy and make a delicious lunch and/or dinner side, but they also make amazing hash browns for breakfast or brunch. The french fries are also great for a snack, if eaten in smaller portions. Mm-mm.

However, this post is not exactly about fries. Sort of, almost, but not quite. Because, in addition to the methods above, you can also bake your potato the way I did tonight. The way that this post is mainly about. The way that is actually the easiest and simplest of the three methods. The title of this post is “Baked Potato Fries.” And that is more literal than you’d think, because with this delicious side, you don’t cut all the way to make totally separate fries. You slice the potato into thin pieces, like you would normally, but stop short before cutting all the way through.

Potatoes, no matter how you cook them, are always great meal accompaniments. Tonight, we had one of my favorite things: salmon. Baked salmon, veggies, and the baked potato fries. For the veggies, we sautéed mushrooms, squash, and green beans with a little bacon (similar to my veggie dinner). SO. GOOD. Now for the potato recipe…

Baked Potato Fries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice each potato into thin pieces, like you would normally, but stop short before cutting all the way through, so the potato is still combined, but sliced. See the picture above and below for a better reference. Next, put the potatoes into a glass or ceramic oven-safe dish and lightly drizzle olive oil over each potato, so that it goes between the slices and on the top/sides. Lastly, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt over each potato. Put the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out and use a spoon to reapply the leaked oil and juices. Put dish back in oven and bake an additional 40 minutes. Serve almost immediately (will be hot).

Baked Fries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet or pan with tin foil (grease lightly). Slice/cut potatoes to desired style and size. Line the pan with a single layer of your potatoes. Bake potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool a little before serving, because they will be HOT, but don’t wait too long because they also cool fast.

Skillet Fries

You can also cook your fries on the stove top. Just lightly grease a pan with olive oil and preheat pan to medium high heat. Then, just add as many potatoes that will fit in a single layer ont the pan. Let them cook for about 2 minutes and then flip them all over. They should be a golden brown color. Once finished, remove fries to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any excess oil. Let the fries cool a little before serving, because they will be HOT!

NOTE: I actually made these yesterday morning, for my frittata. I also have to admit that not all the fries, or hash browns, made it into the frittata, although they all made it to my stomach!

French Toast, sweet or savory

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I don’t like sweets. So how can I enjoy french toast? Don’t make it sweet! When I was younger, my family made french toast ALL the time. For me and my younger brother, who don’t like sweets, however, we just had our french toast savory, with no sweetness added. It was just…eggy bread, I guess. But it is delicious nonetheless. The two huge breakfast treats in my household were pancakes and french toast. It has been quite some time since the last time I had this wonderful breakfast food, so I decided to make some this morning. French toast is great with fruit and is an awesome meal to keep you going through the day.

This recipe makes two pieces of french toast. In other words, one egg is equivalent to about two pieces of bread. I had 1 piece of french toast, and then was craving just a little more, so I made a half piece and scrambled the remaining egg. I had my french toast with some fresh blackberries. SO. Good. French toast is one of those breakfast foods that is so delicious but quick and easy as well. My entire breakfast took a total of about 10 minutes to make, if that, and that is including preparation and cooking time for both pieces of french toast. I am 100% satisfied.

When you grease your pan, you do NOT need a ton of butter. I probably only use about half a tablespoon, if that. Only use more if you love the flavor, but I honestly think french toast is already so delicious! Knowing when to flip the french toast is not tricky at all. Wait a couple minutes and then carefully lift up the edge to peek at the underside. It should be browning and make your mouth water. Check out the pictures below to see how mine turned it…it was PERFECT!

 

These beautiful pictures are due, in part, to Udis bread, I think. It soaked up the egg remarkably and cooks so well, browning perfectly. This, on top of its amazing taste, makes Udis a fabulous choice of bread. It is simply my favorite!

Please note, while I used milk in my egg mixture, I am sure that as long as you mix/whisk your egg(s) very well, this can be done without the milk or with water instead for some delicious dairy free french toast. Also, just use a dairy free substitute for the butter. Voila! Dairy free french toast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • A splash of milk (optional)
  • 1-2 pieces gluten free bread (I use Udis)
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Syrup

Instructions:

  • Whisk an egg with a tiny splash of milk (no more than 1 tbsp) in a bowl.
  • Put one piece of bread into the egg mixture, gently pressing on the sides/edges to completely cover and soak. Turn the piece of bread over and do the same thing on the other side.
  • Leave the bread in the egg mixture to soak while you melt a little butter on a frying pan over high heat. 
  • Carefully transfer the bread onto the greased and heated frying pan to cook.
  • After about 3 minutes, turn the bread over and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes. (After your first piece of french toast, feel free to re-butter the pan and cook some more. With any additional french toast, it won’t take more than 1 minute on either side.) 
  • Remove from pan and serve immediately.
  • For sweet french toast, cover both sides with some powdered sugar, top with syrup, and dig in. Otherwise, enjoy your savory french toast!

Get through those midmorning/midday cravings

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Usually a good breakfast and lunch are enough to keep me going, and if I have a sudden craving, it passes within minutes. Sometimes, however, I have cravings in between meals that just won’t go away. When this happens, I try not to munch on unhealthy snack foods. I decided to compile a simple list of my go-to foods when I just want a snack. If I mention cheese, I usually refer to a couple bites of cottage cheese.

  • Gluten free Chex Mix
  • Some fruit, fresh or dried (with cheese)
    • apple/orange slices, any berries, grapes, clementine/tangerine, etc
  • Veggies with hummus, peanut/almond butter, cottage cheese, or plain!
    • celery, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, pepper, etc
  • A small spoonful of peanut/almond butter
  • Various trail mixes (see below)
  • A few cheese or peanut/almond butter crackers (with fruit or veggies)
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A little plain popcorn (or lightly salted)
  • A rice cake with peanut/almond butter
  • Yogurt-covered raisins

Below are also some quick homemade trail mix ideas (I have not tried them all myself). You can add or take away from any to reach your perfect snack mix. A general mix is a combination of: a grain (like Chex), nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels. My mixes include almonds, rice chex, smartfood/plain popcorn, Glutino pretzels. Then I love adding seeds, dried fruit, and other types of nuts whenever they are available. A last note: dried fruits include raisins, apple chips, banana chips, etc.

  • Rice chex, smart food, and almonds
  • Rice chex, pretzels, raisins, nuts
  • Popcorn, pretzels, nuts
  • Rice chex, raisins, almonds, dried apple chips
  • Sunflower seeds, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit

For a touch of sweetness, you can also add some M ‘n Ms or chocolate chips. Just make sure they are gluten free, because candy like M ‘n Ms are often processed in the same facilities as wheat/gluten.

Not only are all these great go-to snacks in case of food cravings, but they are also awesome snacks in general. They are delicious things to munch on for people of ALL ages as well. Pack them for lunch, add them to a breakfast, or serve them as appetizers (depending on which one you choose, of course!).

If your cravings or rumblies continue, drink WATER. Fill up a water bottle or a large glass to the top and take a big sip whenever thoughts of food take over your mind. Just drink a lot. If the water trick does not work, take a walk or go for a jog. Exercise actually suppresses your appetite, and even just a 15-minute walk should do the trick. If exercise is not your thing, do something. Occupy your mind, your hands. Play with your kids, play an active Wii game, read a book your really in to, do some yard work, run those errands you’ve been putting off, whatever. Distract yourself. Finally, GUM. Gum is my savior. My sugar-free, no artifiacial flavor gum is one of the most wonderfully simple appetite suppressers out there. My favorite is Orbit spearmint, and it actually does work. Gum also helps me focus and concentrate on tasks at hand.

My last note is this: do not think too much about food, if you’re dieting or in general. If you are tempted to grab a snack, or if you are standing in front of your pantry tempted to eat something, just ask yourself a simple question. Am I hungry? Are you hungry? If not, walk away. If you are, get something healthy, like from the list above.