My First ButcherBox Unboxing Event

My First ButcherBox Unboxing Event

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This time of year it seems like it’s almost impossible to eat healthily. At the office, you have a Christmas goodie day with fudge, English toffee, cookies, and donuts. In addition, kids get more and more candy as bribes at school, parties are happening, and you keep getting cookies and chocolate pumpkin bread for gifts. Does that sound familiar? And who can say no!? It’s truly a test of determination to pass on all that addictive sugar and yumminess.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating and having my own share of traditional recipes. I LOVE all these things, BUT I am trying to limit the unnecessary sugar for myself and the kids this year. Also, it’s gotten me thinking how I can encourage healthier choices for my family once all the holiday cheer and craziness passes.

One of my first steps on this path to healthier eating was to take a look at the meat the family eats. Granted, we don’t eat a lot of meat, but with so many reports and scares out there about meat quality, it’s something I’ve worried about. Also, I’ve been exploring ketogenic recipes (more on that later) that include a lot more meat than I’d been used to eating. Where can I get quality grass-fed beef and other quality meats without completely breaking the bank?

So as an experiment I succumbed to the Black Friday sale and ordered from an online mail order meat company called ButcherBox.

ButcherBox unboxing pin

ButcherBox Unboxing

First of all, you choose your box. You can choose from grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork or customize your own box. It’s sent directly to your front doorstep, insulated and packed in dry ice to ensure frozen solid meat. Then thaw your meat as you need it, and enjoy!

Sounds super-convenient, right? Well, take a look at my ButcherBox unboxing video to see what you get.

Explorer Momma’s ButcherBox Unboxing

In the video I say you’ll get $10 off and free ribeyes if you buy your box through my link; however, ButcherBox has already updated the offer. Sorry for the change! It’s now $20 off your first box and includes free bacon. Click here to check that out.

ButcherBox unboxing bacon

What’s in a regular ButcherBox?

  • 8-11 lbs of meat per box
  • Free from antibiotics and hormones
  • Sourced from farms committed to sustainable practices
  • Delivered to your doorstep on your schedule

ButcherBox unboxing chicken

What was in my ButcherBox Unboxing?

  • Free-range organic chicken breasts
  • Heritage breed pork chops
  • Smoked uncured, sugar-free bacon
  • Ground beef
  • Sirloin steaks
  • Ribeye steaks
  • Strip loin steaks

ButcherBox unboxing ground chicken, beef, ribeyes

This is the list of items in my regular ButcherBox. I did not include the extra items I received as a result of the Black Friday sale.

Pros

On-line to your doorstep convenience

High-quality meat without any antibiotics or hormones

Great flavor. So far I’ve thawed and tried the ground beef, bacon, and strip loin steak, and I’m pleased with everything. I’m obviously not a meat expert, but the meat is juicy and flavorful.

On-line support with recipes and cooking tips

Comparable price to high-quality local store meat

ButcherBox unboxing pork

Cons

Is the box enough to last an entire month for your family?

If your family eats a lot of meat then probably not. However, for my family of four, it is plenty to last the month because we don’t eat a lot of meat in general.

I haven’t had this problem, but some folks online have reported the bags leaking as they thawed them in their fridges. I’ve thawed three items so far and have not run into this problem at all so can’t really consider it a con. If you’re worried, and I do this anyway, always thaw your meat on a plate in your fridge.

ButcherBox unboxing ground beef

How do I get my Butcherbox?

If you want to try out your own ButcherBox, click on the link below. If you use my link you’ll get $20 off your first ButcherBox as well as free bacon! Score!

Click here to order your own ButcherBox.

How will you be healthier in the New Year?

Like I said, this is my first step to healthier eating for my family in New Year. For myself, I’m already cutting out sugar and going low-carb with a ketogenic diet, but that doesn’t always work for our entire family. I’ll be exploring recipes, quality food, and fun ways to get the kids to be healthy, especially for the five-year-old who’s become a stubborn goofy goose (his words) stuck in his ways!

Take care of yourself, and let’s have an awesome New Year!

 

What are your goals for healthier eating in the New Year? Share them in the comments!

Need some ideas to implement today?

Simple, actionable tips to get your kids to eat more healthy. Click below to check it out!

Kids to eat healthy feature

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

This page contains affiliate links. No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake

Can I just say wow!? This stuff is awesome folks. You may know how I’m always making my best attempt to eat healthily and help my children make those healthy choices. When the holidays come around I stick to the daily healthy choices. However, for the big events, I love to embrace traditions and go all out. This no-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake is one of those recipes I love, my husband loves even more, and is a fabulous taste of fall. In fact, I’d say it’s perfect for that holiday dinner party or even the big day. I don’t think anyone would be sad to see this as an option on that Thanksgiving dessert table spread!

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake pin

You know how it goes. You’re invited to an aunt’s, or maybe a friend’s, giant family event, and you want to make a dessert that will WOW. When I was a kid I remember the table of pies and desserts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, then there were all the discussions about who would bring what. There’s a lot of thought and tradition that can go into holiday desserts. Still, every year there are always the completely new recipes you try out and decide if they’re good enough to make the repeat list for next year. I hope this is one of those keepers for you.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake

Let’s get started! First, this is a recipe I altered from another no-bake cheesecake I make quite often for dinner parties or to take to events. I LOVE all things pumpkin and the fall spices that go along with it. Naturally, it seemed like the thing to do to mix things up for fall.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, pan & cookies

The Crust

To begin, get out a 9-inch springform pan, a family size package of Golden Oreos, or other vanilla sandwich cookies. The family size is around 19 oz., but if your store brand or other kind is a few ounces smaller don’t worry. To be sure, I get the family size knowing someone in the house will eat 2-3 before I can make the cheesecake. Then get out your food processor and smash the cookies up into small crumbs.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cookies

Next, melt a stick of butter on the oven or in the microwave and pour it into the cookie crumbs. Then pulse the food processor several times until the butter’s mixed in.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, crust

Once the crumb crust is combined, dump it into the springform pan. Press it down with your hands or a flat-bottomed glass to make an even crust on the bottom and up the sides. Form the sides with your hand or the flat glass. The glass in my picture below was not completely flat, and I had to clean out crust from the ridges. C’est la vie! That’s what we had (but a straight, flat one would work a lot better. Then place the entire springform pan in the freezer to set the crust.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cup and crust

The filling

Now we move to the filling. First, take out a large bowl and put in the cream cheese, other stick of butter, pumpkin, almond butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Second, mix that all up together using a standing or hand-held mixer. You can use a different nut-free butter such as soy to make it nut-free if necessary.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, mixing filling

Third, add in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and beat that together with your filling mixture. Use a medium-high speed and mix for 2-3 minutes. As a result, you should end up with a lighter, creamy, mixture.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, filling

Take the crust out of the freezer. Using a spatula, pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out. Next, put it back in the freezer while you make the topping.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, overhead without topping

The Topping

For the topping get out the white chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, and pumpkin pie spice. Put 1 cup of white chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice in a glass bowl. After that, heat 1/2 cup of the cream on the stove or in the microwave until it’s a rolling simmer. Immediately pour the cream then, over the white chocolate chips. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then mix it together with a spatula until smooth.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cream & white chocolate

Take the pan out of the freezer, and pour the topping mixture over the cheesecake. Then put it into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, in pan

In the meantime, I like to go a little overboard and whip up another 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream. When it’s time to serve, put a large dollop on each piece. Yum!

No-bake pumpkin cheesecake overhead

I hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know how it works out for you.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake arrow pin

I’m so looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! We have a bunch of family coming to town, and that’s what I love. The fireplace going, friends and family talking and playing games, and cookies baking in the oven. Have a wonderful holiday season, eat some pumpkin spice cheesecake, and cheers to you and yours!

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 (19.1 oz) pkg. Golden Oreos, or other vanilla sandwich cookie
  • 1/2 pound softened butter (2 sticks), divided
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Process the entire package of Golden Oreos in a food processor or blender into fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can smash the cookies with a rolling pin in a plastic zip bag.
  2. Add one stick (1/2 cup) melted butter and mix together.
  3. Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan, along the bottom and the sides.
  4. Place the pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  5. Place the remaining stick of butter, cream cheese, almond butter, pumpkin, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon in a bowl and blend together until smooth.
  6. Add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and continue to blend until creamy.
  7. Spoon filling into crust and flatten. Return the pan to the freezer.
  8. Place the white chocolate chips and 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice in a heat-proof bowl.
  9. Heat 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream in a saucepan, on medium-high, to a rolling simmer.
  10. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the white chocolate chips and let it stand 5 minutes.
  11. Stir together the white chocolate, heavy whipping cream, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
  12. Pour the mixture on top of the filling. Smooth it out and return to fridge.
  13. Chill the cheesecake at least 1 hour in the fridge until ready to serve.
  14. Whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar to create whipped cream (optional).
  15. Spoon a dollop over each piece of cheesecake to serve. Enjoy!
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30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

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My family, including our 4-year-old and 8-year-old, is preparing for some intense travel this summer. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a planner so even though it’s a few weeks away I’m in full panic list-making mode. My current focus is food and snacks, yes snacks. When you have three long flights, including two lengthy layovers one-way, and a child with a serious allergy, snacks are a major issue. Therefore, I’ve been collecting ideas and possibilities and came up with this list of 30 nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight.

Where are you going that requires over 24 hours of travel time each way?

We’ll be traveling to the beautiful country of Georgia and landing in the capital of Tbilisi. My husband is from a town just a couple hours west of Tbilisi so we’ll be visiting family and acting the tourist as we head to Batumi, a rather fabulous city on the Black Sea. If you’re ready for some amazing food, wine, beaches, culture, and welcoming people, this is the place for you.

Comments from the children about Batumi:

“Mommy, what is a dolphinarium? They have one. I want to go there.”

“So Mommy. Do I have to get in the water? I don’t want to swim in the sea, but I can make a sand castle, right?”

“Do you think we’ll see some jellyfish?”

Yes, traveling with kids is always an adventure and an education. I love being there when they experience new things for the first time and see their eyes widen in excitement before they start bouncing up and down. However, for Mom, safety is always one of my major worries on any trip.  You know, right up there on the top of the list is food safety when traveling abroad, especially when a child has a major food allergy.

Why should I be concerned if my snacks have peanuts in them on the airplane?

First of all, my child does not have a peanut allergy, but she does have another allergy that can be equally as deadly. Personally, I do not understand how anyone can justify bringing peanuts or any nuts on an enclosed airplane. One would hope the airlines and anyone who feels their need for a bag of peanuts on an airplane is no problem has never had close contact with someone with a life-threatening allergy.

It’s sort of like me saying, “Here is some iocane powder I’ve instantly dissolved into our drinking water. It is odorless, tasteless, and one of the more deadly poisons known to man. I’m not affected by it because I’ve ingested it in small amounts and have built up an immunity to it. I like the idea of it. Therefore, it is my right to put it in our water supply. Anyone who is poisoned by it will just have to deal with it or go live in another town.”

Be aware of allergies on an airplane

Does this make sense in any way, shape, or form? No, of course not, but for some reason, the idea of eating a bunch of nuts on an airplane and breathing them on your neighbor and the rest of the occupants of the plane as the air moves around the cabin does not even cross most minds. It is not as if you can turn a life-threatening allergy on or off with the flip of a switch. Moreover, the insensitivity, ignorance, or insistence of those not affected is simply a dangerous form of discrimination. I could go on and on with this topic, but we’d better stop there and look at some nut-free snack choices.

Have you prepped your home for while you're on vacation?

Read through my homeowner’s travel prep checklist to make sure you’ve covered it all!

30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

This is a good list including many of the options we like to use for snacks. These are nut-free options great for aiplanes, school snacks, or any child with a nut allergy. However, please, please, PLEASE double-check labels before eating if there is an allergy present. Sometimes company do change procedures and they can then produce items on the same equipment or in the same facility as nuts. I hope you try some new ones out. The pink titles and pictures of the items link to Amazon in case you want more information. Enjoy!

 

  1. Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks. My kids love most Annie’s snacks, but not all are nut-free or not made in a facility with other nuts. Be sure to check your labels! 
  2. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Always a classic and sure to distract kids for a few minutes.
  3. Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Mountain Mambo Seed and Fruit Mix, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free. I absolutely love this brand. Not only do the snacks taste good, but they are marketed as gluten, dairy, nut, and soy free. These are perfect nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight, and healthy too! 
  4. Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Beach Bash Nut Free Seed and Fruit Mix, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free. Bonus! Another flavor! 
  5. Don’t Go Nuts Nut-Free Organic Snack Bars, Whitewater Chomp. Try the Blueberry Blast and Boogie Board Bash flavors as well! 
  6. Enjoy Life Baked Chewy 1 Ounce Bars, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free & Soy Free. Again, try out the different flavors to find your favorites.
  7. Newtons Fruit Chewy Cookies, Fig. 
  8. Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bar, Raspberry. These are so good! I love to eat these as an afternoon snack. 
  9. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars. 
  10. Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears Candy. Try the Black Forest Organic Fruit Snacks too
  11. Annie’s Organic Variety Pack, Cheddar Bunnies and Bunny Graham Crackers Snack Packs. 
  12. GoGo squeeZ Applesauce On The Go, Apple Berry, 3.2 Ounce Pouches. These are great because they’re healthy fruit and at 3.2 ounces just under your 3.4-ounce airport limit.
  13. Little Duck Organics Tiny Fruits + Veggie.
  14. Triscuit Crackers, Original. 
  15. Nature Valley Cinnamon Granola Crunch. My husband loves Nature Valley granola bars, but the usually have peanuts and other nuts listed in the allergen information. We recently found this granola crunch with the only warning being for soy and love it. It’s a great snack or fun to put on yogurt for breakfast. 
  16. Trader Joe’s Jumbo Raisin Medley. Raisins are a great snack on the go! I have found some of the major brands producing the individual serving boxes are produced in the same facility or on shared equipment with nuts. So, check your labels carefully! This is why I usually end up buying the store brand of raisins, and as an added bonus they’re cheaper! Now, this jumbo raisin medley is something different and just rather yummy so that’s why it’s made the list.
  17. Brothers-ALL-Natural Fruit Crisps.
  18. Made in Nature Organic and Unsulfured Tree Ripened Dried Apricots. Apricots can be tricky! When you buy a bag be sure they’re not packaged in a facility with peanuts or tree nuts.
  19. Oreo Sandwich Cookies Variety Pack.
  20. Rold Gold Tiny Twists Pretzels.
  21. Enjoy Life Plentils Single-Serve Variety Pack.
  22. MySuperCookies Organic Whole Grain Cookies. 
  23. Plum Kids Organic Fruit Mashups, Mixed Berry.
  24. Mott’s Unsweetened Strawberry Applesauce. 
  25. Skeeter Nut Free Mini Cookies, Variety Pack.
  26. Made Good Granola Minis Chocolate Chip.
  27. Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars, Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars.
  28. Stretch Island Fruit Leather.
  29. CLIF KID ZFRUIT – Organic Fruit Snack – Strawberry.
  30. SunRype Apple Blueberry Pomegranate Fruitsource 100% Fruit Bar. 

What can I do with 30 nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight?

Pick out a few of these nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight and pop them in a Ziploc bag with each family member’s name for their carry-on. This will divide the load, and you can decide exactly how much you’ll need. My examples in the pictures may look excessive, but when your travel time is over 24 hours without any certainty of nut-free options, a mom likes to play it safe.

Happy Travels!

I hope your travels lead you to exotic, educational, and enjoyable locales! Take some time away and come back to daily life refreshed and a better person. But above all please don’t forget to be kind! Think about the lives of those around you on the airplane, at the beach, and serving you at the restaurant. Be thoughtful and respectful of the locals of the places you visit and the other people around you, and make no mistake, your kids will take note. They will copy what you do, and the world will be a better place because of it.

Where are you vacationing this summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Give me some good places to start imagining future travels!

*Iocane powder is not a real poison. It is a reference from the film ‘The Princess Bride.’

Fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie

Fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie

Carrot orange mango smoothie

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What do you need to get you in a hoppy Spring mood? Spring puts me in mind of fresh flowers, rabbits invading my yard, salads, garden planting, and sunshine. Imagine if you could get a picture of all of those things in your mind’s eye with an explosion of taste in your mouth. Hard to believe but we’ve come pretty close with this fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie. Try one with your favorite little one(s) today! You just might feel a bunny hop coming on.

Why we love smoothies

Why do I love smoothies? It’s fairly simple really as it’s one of the few ways I can get my son to consistently eat his veggies. He’ll eat a carrot here and there when it’s on his plate and he has to try at least one, or when a friend shares one with him. However, there is not a lot of joy at this point in his life in carrots, spinach, kale, or other healthy veggies I can get him to happily down in a smoothie. There’s also the fact they’re really good!

Bunnies love carrot orange mango smoothies

I mentioned bunnies invading my yard this time of year. Initially, every spring I smile and watch the bunnies running this way and that. Be that as it may, as more and more appear in my yard the Farmer MacGregor in me tends to come out, and I’ve trained the kids to run at them and scare them far away. While I’ve only seen a few hopping about so far this year, fortunately, we haven’t had any burrowing in and having babies.

Last year I went out to plant the garden only to find a momma rabbit had burrowed into the center of the garden and buried several babies there. My calm, rabbit-loving husband refused to do anything about it until they were moved out, but it put me in a small panic. Of course, I had to stress to the children at least daily about how we do not go near the garden or touch the baby rabbits! Thankfully, it only took about a week before they were gone.

Carrot smoothie

Make your own fresh carrot orange mango smoothie

Think about those happy, hoppy carrot-loving spring rabbits, and gather your ingredients for this incredibly refreshing smoothie. It has fairly simple ingredients, but it’s amazing! The child loved this one, and we’ve been making it often and scoring some great vitamin A from the carrots.

As with any recipe, be sure you get good ingredients to get the best flavor. Some of the mangoes we’ve seen lately have not been completely ripe, so try to get a good one or let it sit for a few days so it’s soft before using it.

Tip: Try one of these smoothie pouches to make healthy smoothies easy and portable for your little ones.

We’ve been using these Squeasy Gear food pouches since my son turned 2, and even my 8-year-old daughter will use hers for part of an easy healthy lunch. They’re super-easy to clean, reusable, and green! I can’t recommend them enough. They come in several colors so, and we literally use them almost every day. Click here to check them out from Amazon. 

Squeasy pouches

What can you do to get your kids to eat healthy today?

Read more from Explorer Momma on how to get your kids to eat healthy. Useful tips you can implement today!

Make the Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie (2 child-sized servings)

  • 1 orange
  • 1 medium/large carrot
  • 1/2 a mango
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • About 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

First, place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. If you don’t have a high-speed blender you’ll need to chop your carrot into small pieces before blending, but it should come out just fine in a regular blender too. Second, blend everything together for about 45 seconds or until you can tell everything’s been incorporated and the mixture has a smooth texture. Then pour it out into 2 small glasses and share one with a friend!

Carrot smoothies with carrot and orange

Aren’t they a fabulous color?! It just brightens your day, and the fresh fruit and carrot with a hint of ginger make it incredibly refreshing. Truly, your little rabbits will be gobbling them up in no time.

Fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie

Yield: 2 child-sized servings

Serving Size: 6 oz.

Fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 1 medium/large carrot
  • 1/2 a mango
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
  2. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, chop your carrot into small pieces before blending.
  3. Blend everything together starting on the lowest speed and turning up to the highest for about 45 seconds or until you can tell everything’s been incorporated and the mixture has a smooth texture. Pour it out into 2 small glasses.
  4. Share one with a friend.
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Hoppy bunny

Spring memories

What do you think of when you think about spring? Is it the lilacs, daffodils, Easter, egg hunts, gardening, or family coming together? I have grown more and more to appreciate these simple things and love to share a smoothie with my little guy while we go out in the backyard to stand in the sunshine and review how many vibrant purple crocuses have bloomed.

So go out today, sip on a healthy fresh carrot orange mango smoothie, and delight in the novelties of a new season.

Coconut Apricot Gluten Free Granola Bars

Coconut Apricot Gluten Free Granola Bars

Today I’m going to tell you how to make these super simple, super healthy, no-bake, coconut, apricot, gluten free granola bars. Is that enough of a description? The secret to these granola bars is that they don’t actually have any oatmeal. That’s right, the base is dried flake coconut, and let me tell you they are amazing! Furthermore, they have another secret ingredient that may sound odd to you, but I beg you to give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

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Peanut butter, coconut, and apricots? How does that go together?

First of all, just imagine a peanut butter and apricot jam sandwich. This is one of my son’s favorite treats so we decided we would try to put that taste into a healthy granola bar. Now, I love to make my own granola bars and have many go-to recipes, but this time we wanted to try something new and without actually including oats. Voilà! Our peanut butter apricot coconut granola bars were born.

Chopped apricots

Lenten gluten free granola bars

Also lately I’ve been struggling to find some recipes for my husband’s sweet tooth during lent. Now, I won’t go into the minute details, but in Orthodoxy lent is full blown let’s give up all animal products and a few other things here and there, so pretty much vegan. Because of this I’ve been making all sorts of vegan cakes, bars, and cookies. Inevitably some turn out well and others don’t (like the vegan chocolate cake I tried last night – still working on that one). 

This recipe fits the exact mold we were looking for: healthy, gluten free, oat free, and lent-friendly. I give you full warning however, they have been known to cause squabbles around our house. My husband and son constantly try to figure out how to prevent the other from eating them all. I’ve actually found the container in some pretty interesting spots, and the four year old protests, “But Daddy won’t find them and eat them if they’re under my bed!”

Needless to say we’ve had to establish some ground rules for hiding the granola bars.

Wouldn’t you like to make these delicious no-bake gluten free granola bars today?

Gluten free granola bar ingredients

Recipe: Coconut Apricot Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Ingredients:

First, in a large bowl combine the coconut, sunflower seeds, and chopped apricots. Mix those together so they’re evenly dispersed.

Gluten free granola bar mixture with apricots

Second, prepare your pan and line with parchment paper. I use a 7 inch by 11 inch baking dish, but you can use a 9x9 inch, 8x8 inch or whatever you have, and the bars’ thickness will vary.

Third, over medium heat bring your honey to a boil. Once there are bubbles all over, set the timer for 3 minutes.

Then, after the honey boils for three minutes take it off the heat and quickly mix in the peanut butter then 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Honey & PB mixture for gluten free granola bars

Next, quickly pour your peanut butter and honey mixture over your coconut, sunflower seeds, and dried apricots.

Gluten free granola bar mixture

Mix it all together with a spatula to coat, and then turn it out into the prepared baking dish.

Pan of gluten free granola bars

Next pack it down into the corners of the pan so you have an even thickness. I generally use the extra parchment paper sticking out of the pan to fold over on top of the bars and press it down firmly.

Then put it in the fridge to harden for at least 2 hours (or if you’re in a big hurry about half an hour in the freezer).

Last but not least, take them out of the pan using your extra parchment paper and cut into bars. I store them in the fridge or the freezer in an air tight container because unfortunately if they get too warm they can be flimsy and start to fall apart.

How to get your kids to eat healthy

It is so difficult to get kids to eat healthy these days.  Here are some tips you can implement today to help your kids make healthy choices.

Check out these ideas from Explorer Momma today!

These coconut apricot gluten free granola bars make a great midmorning or afternoon snack. If you keep them in the freezer you can set one out about 10-15 minutes before you’re planning to eat it. In addition, they’re the perfect way to stop that afternoon hunger craving and prevent me from making some fairly unhealthy choices.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a healthy, lent-friendly, sweet alternative to a candy bar look no further. Give these bars a try, and I seriously doubt they will last long in your fridge! I hope you enjoy them.

Coconut Apricot Gluten Free Granola Bars

Coconut Apricot Gluten Free Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups organic shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine the coconut, sunflower seeds, and chopped apricots. Mix them together so ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  2. Prepare your pan and line with parchment paper. Use a 7 inch by 11 inch baking dish, but you can use a 9x9 inch, 8x8 inch or whatever you have, and the bars’ thickness will vary.
  3. 
Over medium heat bring your honey to a boil. Once there are bubbles all over, set the timer for 3 minutes.
  4. After the honey boils for three minutes take it off the heat and quickly mix in the peanut butter then 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  5. Quickly pour your peanut butter and honey mixture over your coconut, sunflower seeds, and dried apricots.
  6. Mix it all together with a spatula to coat, and then turn it out into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Pack it down into the corners of the pan so you have an even thickness. Use the extra parchment paper sticking out of the pan to fold over on top of the bars and press it down firmly.
  8. Put it in the fridge to harden for at least 2 hours (or if you’re in a big hurry about half an hour in the freezer).
  9. Take them out of the pan using your extra parchment paper and cut into bars.
  10. Store them in the fridge or the freezer in an air tight container.
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What are your favorite recipes for lent?

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What are your best kid-friendly recipes?

Do you have some sweet vegan treats recipes?

I’d love you to leave your suggestions in the comments section!

How to get your kids to eat healthy

How to get your kids to eat healthy

This post contains affiliate links.

Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 kids in the United States is overweight or obese?  You may think, “Oh, that may be true but doesn’t apply to me.  My kid’s fine.”  It may be true your child is not obese, but what kinds of foods are they eating?  Are they getting the nutrient-rich foods to help prevent sickness possible future diseases and disorders?  What our kids eat today will affect their future, and as a parent I feel a huge responsibility to provide daily opportunities for healthy choices.  Moreover, it’s my job to make sure my kids are educated about basic nutrition and emphasize its importance for their future health.  But how do I get my kids to eat healthy?

I’m so busy there’s not time to prepare healthy whole food meals and snacks for my children all the time.

 

This is a common thought, and I admit one I’ve had often!  There are times I would love to be a full-time, health-conscious chef for my family, but the truth is I have a million other roles to play also.  So what can you do?  I’ve found that if I plan little steps and goals, things I can implement easily into our weekly routine, we are successful. 

 

Kids to eat healthy challenge

Simple ways to get your kids to eat healthy

 

To start off, make a goal to introduce one of these ideas each week.  I warn you not to expect completely smooth sailing, but if you make small changes and space them out, they will be more easily accepted by your children.

1.  This week at the grocery store “accidentally” forget to buy your usual cookies or chips. 

Then instead buy extra fruits and vegetables and place them in prominent places in the kitchen.  For example, put a decorative bowl of oranges, bananas, or lunch box size apples on the counter.  Consequently, they’ll be easy to grab after an unsuccessful search of the pantry for the favorite cookies. 

 

2.  Buy a box of snack sized plastic zip bags, and on Sunday afternoon prep healthy snacks for the week.

Put a serving of grapes in 6 or so bags and a serving of carrots in about 6 different bags.  Next, cut apples slices and put them in 6 bags with a drop of lemon juice to prevent browning.  Then you can also stock a few bags with raspberries, blueberries, or whatever berry is currently in season.  In addition, every week try a new fruit or veggie bag.  You can try sugar snap peas, cucumber, celery, grape tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, or whatever inspires you at the store!  Finally, stock the fridge with these bags each week, and you have ready to go healthy snacks or a side to throw quickly into a lunch box.

 

Get kids to eat healthy fruit bags

3.  Replace the morning sugary breakfast cereal.

First try serving oatmeal with a quick sliced banana or blueberries and pumpkin seeds.  Or go for a homemade sugar free breakfast cookie like this one (see link here).  I like to make these once every week or two and stick them in the freezer.  Then we have a healthy breakfast on hand for those rush days.  You know, when you hit your alarm clock too many times, and the child turns hers off and throws it across the room.

 

Get kids to eat healthy breakfast cookies

4.  At dinner offer a leafy green salad, and/or at least one green vegetable. 

It’s true kids will not always eat it, but put it in front of them consistently.  As a result, if it’s there enough times, and you utilize the have to at least try it rule, they will get used to it.  Slowly, you will then find they tolerate, eat, then even enjoy some of your healthier choices.  If I’m not used to seeing and eating broccoli at home, why in the world would I choose it of my own accord other places?

 

Get kids to eat healthy vegetables

5.  Make some dinosaur juice

“My kid will not eat vegetables no matter what I try!!”  Is this you?  While you’re in the process of consistently offering vegetables as a significant portion of your meals, you can also be a little sneaky.  Tell the three year old who loves dinosaurs, “Oh, let’s make some  dinosaur juice!  This is what herbivore dinosaurs love to drink!”  Then pull out your blender, pour in almond milk, throw in some fruit, a carrot or two, and a handful of spinach.  If the child hasn’t taken a daily vitamin I throw that in there too.  Blend it together (I LOVE my high powered blender and use it nearly every day), and voila!  Dinosaur juice.


6.  Give your kids ownership of their food choices. 

Once some of these other practices are in place, delegate the prep work to the kids if they’re old enough, and involve them in making your grocery store list.  You can even have toddlers help prep your snack bags, baking, or any other food prep you need to do.  They love to dump things in a bowl or be the big helper who gets things out of the cabinet. 

This is just a short list, but a good place to get started to get your kids to eat healthy.  Once you’ve tried these tips, get creative.  Come up with your own ideas, find healthy meal plans on-line like this one, and involve your kids in the planning, shopping, and food preparation.  It’s important to slowly get them accustomed to eating healthy so when faced with the unknown and unhealthy at a friend’s house or a potluck they will instinctively reach for the carrot stick or apple.

 

Whoa, slow down! There’s no way my husband will get rid of his Snickers stash.

Ideally yes, I would purge the house of all processed sugar, white flour, and high-fat red meats.  However, that is not quite realistic most of the time, and of course we will splurge every now and then or visit a restaurant and try some cheesy bit of heaven.  Perhaps just don’t make it a regular thing you do daily.  I love to bake for Christmas and holidays and have certain family recipes I make every year.  Do I make them every day?  No, of course not. 

I also love to try all kinds of foods when I travel, especially local specialties.  Be adventurous with new foods, and praise them to hosts.  All things considered, it’s really a balance.  Savor and enjoy your foods, but learn how to keep those healthy fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), nuts, and seeds as your staples and primary part of your family’s diet (watching out for any food allergies of course).

What can you do to get your kids to eat healthy? 

First, provide healthy choices at home, and then your family will learn to pay attention to what’s in their food and choose good foods on their own.  Second, educate our kids about basic nutrition and healthy food choices.  Take a look at my previous blog post “10 Tips to Get Kids Excited About Learning”.  No one’s perfect (definitely not me!), but it’s the little things that can get your kids to eat healthy.  Then won’t you be proud!

Do you have any other quick and easy tips to get kids to eat healthy to add to our list?  I know I can use all the help I can get!  What works for you and your family we could use as one of our weekly challenges?  It would be awesome if you’d submit your tips in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear your ideas and successes!

Source: Committee on Nutrition (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Explorer Momma EM

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