Quick and Easy Back-to-School Snacks For The Kids

Hello Lovely,

Kids are back to school and you’re back to your routine. Even though I'm a full-grown, college-educated adult with no kids of my own, the start of September is still back-to-school season for me, because I'm a school counsellor. All three recipes below are healthy, nutritious and most importantly, tasty enough for even the pickiest eaters. These are convenient make-ahead recipes even for the busiest parents!
 

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Beck's Crackers

Seasoning saltines using an altered method from Joanna Gaines friend Beck, makes crisp, buttery crackers that are great with creamy dips like my hummus. They're also really yummy on top of soups or salads. I like them for parties and kids school snacks because they're easy to make and can be prepared in advance. In fact, these taste better if you eat them a day or four later. And they can be so filling, they're sure to be a huge hit!

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 0.7 ounce envelopes dry Italian or Mediterranean dressing mix
  • 1 tablespoon crush red pepper flakes (leave out if you or the kiddos don't like pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill (not necessary if you use the Mediterranean mix)
  • 1 1lb box saltine crackers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large (14-16 cup) deep container, with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, lemon juice, dressing mix, pepper flakes and dill. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add the crackers and turn them over a few times to ensure they are fully coated. Let stand for 5 minutes, turning the crackers over twice.
  3. Place the crackers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, allow to cool then store for tomorrow's snack!
  4. To make the hummus, mix one can of chickpeas with remaining oil mixture (about 1/4 cup) and 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese in a food processor.
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Apple Cheese Wraps (serves 4 )

Do you remember eating Lunchables as a kid? I never liked them. I liked the idea behind it but it always tasted fake (not to mention my parents complained about the price). If you have kids who love Lunchables, why not save money by making it yourself? It's so easy and so much healthier because you'll know exactly what's in it. This snack covers all of the critical food groups with fibre, protein and good carbs. The best part? It's fully customisable. Add nuts or grapes or whatever else you like for added health benefits.
 

Prep Time: 2 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese, cut in half
  • 2 slices pre-sliced deli turkey or ham, cut in half

Preparation

1. Slice the apple into 1/2 inch thick slices. Rub the apple with the lemon wedge to prevent from going brown.

2. Slice the cheddar cheese into 1/2 inch wide slices and the ham in 1/2 or in 1/4 (the ham needs to be large enough to wrap around the apple). 

3. Place an apple slice and a cheese slice on top of the deli meat and fold over deli meat to wrap.

4. Serves with crackers and a dip of your choice for a satisfying on the go snack.

 

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Gluten Free Sandwich on a Stick

It's the kids' turn to pack their own lunches. Introduce them to this submarine skewer and they'll have a blast expressing their creativity and sliding on their favorite sandwich ingredients. Best of all, it's practically mess-free since the dressings will have to be on the side—no knives, squirting, or spreading required.
Prep Times:

20 minutes

Yield:

4 servings

Ingredients:

8 (6-inch) skewers
4 oz. deli sliced lemon chicken or smoked turkey breast
1 cup chopped arugula or spinach
4 oz. your favourite cheese, cut into small squares
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup small dill pickles
3/4 cup ranch dressing or deli mustard (optional)

Preparation:

1. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.

2 Thread skewers with chicken (or turkey) arugula, cheese, tomatoes and pickles. Serve with ranch dressing or mustard for dipping.

 

3 Healthy Winter Soup Recipes

In the wintertime, there’s a big fight going on in my appetite. Part of me wants something light to balance out recent holiday indulgences and start the year out right… but part of me wants to curl up on the couch in my sweats and eat only comfort food. Thankfully, Waitrose provides the perfect soup base for you to build and add whatever you have in your pantry or fridge.

Here are three of my all-time favourite quick and easy vegetable soup recipes that will keep you feeling full and satisfied:

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1. Chicken Carrot & Coriander Soup

A soup that takes inspiration from the not-at-all vegetarian, this recipe produces a bowl full of healthy heartiness. The depth of flavour comes from a lot of sautéed aromatics, and the chunky texture is due to big portions of chopped chicken breasts, carrots, and corn. Though it’s low in fat, this soup will keep you full all winter long. 

Ingredients

  • Waitrose Carrot & Coriander Soup Mix
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup loose whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced cooked carrts
  • 2 cups water, boiled

Instructions

  1. Boil water and empty packet in a soup bowl. Pour water over contents and stir to dissolve. 
  2. Add chicken, corn and carrots.
  3. Stir and enjoy!
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2. One Pot Lasagna Soup

This recipe is clean vegetarian cooking with a hint of decadence. It’s an all-veggie soup made a tiny bit indulgent and oh-so-dreamy by the addition of mozzarella cheese.  If you’d like to add a little crunch, whip up a batch of these paprika toasts to eat alongside. 

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 24 ounce jar pasta or marinara sauce
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika - optional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 7 cups vegetable stock/broth
  • 13 lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium mozzarella ball, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in diced onion and sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in minced garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Stir in tomato paste and flour then cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper to pot then stir in vegetable broth.
  4. Bring to boil then add lasagna noodles (broken into 4ths) to pot and reduce heat back to medium then cook, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes).
  5. Once noodles are tender, stir in fresh spinach, heavy cream, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cut mozzarella ball into small slices and place on top. Garnish with shredded basil. Serve with crusty bread.
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3. Classic Tomato Soup

If you have a constant craving for tomato soups, you’ll love this recipe for a thick vegetable soup that channels the zing and richness from those tomatoes.  The result is a soup that tastes like it’s been on the stove for hours when actually, it was never there in the first place! Nice. 

Ingredients

  • Waitrose Tomato & Basil Soup Mix

Instructions

  1. Boil water and empty packet in a soup bowl. Pour water over contents and stir to dissolve. 
  2. This is where you can have fun by added whatever vegetable you want. Mixed veg, spinach or onions. Don't forget the grilled cheese!

Which one of these healthy soups will you make first?

Let me know in the comments below!

Sweet Potato Wedges

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Ingredients

For the wedges

  • 2 sweet potato, cut into wedges
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp garlic and pepper seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Grease a sheet pan or line with foil or parchment paper.

  3. Toss the wedges with the oil in a bowl or ziploc bag and allow to soak for about 10 minutes.

  4. Arrange the wedges on your sheet making sure than none overlap one another.

  5. Sprinkle seasonings over wedges and drain the remaining oil over the wedges before placing in the oven and baking for 35-40 minutes.

  6. Once the potatoes are done, garnish with parmesan cheese then put it back in the oven (with the oven off) for five minutes to allow the cheese to melt a little.

  7. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Mermaid Toast: The Newest Trend We're Loving This Spring

Hello Lovely,

Mermaid toast takes all the things you love about the mermaid trend (think blue and purple tones, golden stars, glitter, and ombre) and puts them on a healthy piece of toast. In fact, the snack is generally super nutritious… you achieve its mermaid-y look by mixing blue green algae powder with almond milk cream cheese. We are totally in love with this trend, and  it’s not just green hues that look fabulous on mermaid toast. Purples, pinks, blues, and creams all look fab as well. Like many popular viral foodstuffs, mermaid toast’s appeal is entirely visual, so I had to get behind this trend and try my own.

Now in the Bahamas there is no way we can possibly get algae powder (whatever that is) so I improvised with cream cheese and food colouring. While we can't boast the same health benefits it's still a low fat snack that makes a great breakfast or dessert.

With that being said, there's no real recipe for mermaid toast other than the two options I just gave you. Don't limit yourself. Let the ocean hues inspire your creativity. To achieve the "sand" look you can use gold flakes or corn flakes. It adds a great crunch to the smooth creaminess of the cream cheese. Have fun!

Valentine's Day Snack Cup

Hello Lovely,

Today is Valentine's Day! A day when lovers fall in love all over again. But today doesn't have to only be for couples. Because I'm in a long distance relationship. my options are pretty limited on big holidays such as this. So since I can't be with my boyfriend today, I decided to spread the love to my co-workers. I couldn't make a gift for everyone, but I was able to make something for the ones I talk to every day.

I wanted to go the healthy route because I know the first excuse people like to give is, "I'm on a diet". I also wanted it to be really colourful, but without the Valentine's themed M&M's I had to settle for regular milk chocolate M&M's. This mix is the perfect blend of sweet and salty with a crunchy textures all beautifully wrapped in treat bags.

So this mix is light butter popcorn (I couldn't find butter free popcorn) generously coated in white candy melts, topped with mini pretzels, heart healthy mixed nuts and milk chocolate M&M's. I spruced it up with these cute heart printables that have really corny jokes on the back to add some personality to them. These can easily be made and given to someone today. Even if it can't be completely red and white, still try it out. After all, it's the thought that counts!

Who would you like to give one of these snack cups to? Maybe you'd like to make one for yourself! Share your reactions to this gift idea in the comment section below!

DIRTY GHOST MARTINI

Hello Lovely,

Well things are starting to get pretty scary around here. With the Halloween weekend only one week away, and there still being so much left to do to prepare, we're pretty much freaking out over here! I woke up in Miami today with the VIVA conference on my mind. Even though I plan on spending the next two nights in prayerful worship, I still plan on going candy shopping so that I can crush the competition at this year's Trunk or Treat at church. Seriously, I am dreaming of the looks of defeat on their faces as we speak!

While it sucks to be away from you all, I didn't leave you without some good comfort food. Um, did I say comfort food, I meant drink. Because that's how we solve problems around here: with a tall Martini!

Disclaimer: no ghosts were harmed in the making of this cocktail. 

While I love a fancy cocktail, when it comes to making my own, I like to keep things simple and cheap. You can make this with 3 ingredients in 5 minutes or less so you can always whip up more for your guests if you run out!

DIRTY GHOST MARTINI

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Ounces Whipped vodka
  • 1 Ounce Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur or 1/2 ounce Gin
  • 1 Ounce Baileys
  • 2 Tbsp. cream (I used lactose free milk)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add 1 cup of ice to cocktail shaker.
  2. Pour in all ingredients, shake to combine.
  3. Pour cocktail into martini glass and serve.

Round out your Halloween party with these other fun cocktails…..

Chocolate Pumpkin Donuts with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Pumpkin Donuts with Cream Cheese Frosting

These baked pumpkin doughnuts with cream cheese glaze are the perfect fall treat. Now, I for one love me a good pumpkin recipe. And I also love my doughnut pan. So naturally – it’s a match made in heaven. Ready in 30 minutes start to finish – have them for breakfast or afternoon coffee! Yes please! Seriously, you’re going to love this recipe.

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