Archive for the ‘Kid Friendly’ Category

Banana and Chocolate Chip Bars

I love banana bread but a little deviation from the norm never hurt anyone! I found this delicious recipe over at my favorite sweet treats blog, Cookie Madness! If you haven’t checked out her blog you are REALLY missing out!

These bars are really simple and are just the right texture. Try them next time instead of bread when your ‘nanas are extra ripe!



Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2.25 oz)
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ oz banana, mashed (a little less than ¼ cup if you don’t have a scale)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (cooled) – I used salted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts and forgot to toast)
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks (use more if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.

Stir mashed banana, syrup, melted butter and vanilla in a second bowl. Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Mixture should be goopy, but not too runny. If it’s runny, chill it for an hour.

Empty the goopy banana mixture onto the parchment lined sheet and shape into a rectangle about 9×2 inches. The best way to do this is with damp hands.

Bake on center rack for 15 minutes. Pull from oven and quickly score the long bar into 1 ½ to 2 inch wide bars, but don’t separate. If you have a sharp pizza cutter, this will work awesomely! Quickly return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on tray, then carefully separate the bars and let them sit on a cooling rack to finish cooling. They should develop kind of a crispy shell.

Makes 6

Next time and I am doubling this recipe because I think a lot of the kiddos I babysit would love these guys!


Sweet Potato Experiments

For the longest time, I would wander through the produce section and look dreamily towards the sweet potatoes wondering why they were there if it wasn’t November or December. What a waste.

But guess what?!

I have two amazing, quick, and EASY options for your sweet potatoes! I am always looking for meals/sides I can prep on Sunday and munch on throughout the week. Every week I have the hardest time deciding which of the two following spices to use!

Littlest over at The Schell Cafe loves sweet potatoes cubed and tossed with olive oil and cinnamon in a ziploc, and that was the original go-to snack of mine.

Until the fabulous guys over at the The Bitten Word posted a slight variation. They claimed that cubed sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil and fajita seasoning (I use the chicken variety) would please anyone.



I decided to try these out one night when I had a group of my favorite guinea pigs over for dinner! 3/5 of us supposedly disliked sweet potatoes. I told them that it was hypothesized by the chaps over there that anyone would love them.


After observing and collecting data, the conclusion of this experiment supported our hypothesis! Not only did all 3 of them totally dig the potatoes, a few beers and games of wii bowling later they were digging through my fridge looking for the remaining cubes.

So try them I say, you will be pleasantly surprised (and so will your guinea pigs).


Disclaimer: If you have guinea pigs, I wouldn’t recommend dropping the leftovers in the bowl, don’t know how the olive oil would do in their squeaky little systems!



Kettle Corn!

Sorry for my absence; iphoto was being awfully rude and not allowing me to upload any pictures! 

Back to why you are here :

How long has it been since you had homemade popcorn?! I mean really? I was a child because I’m pretty sure in the 80’s it was super cool to have an air popper because it was what we did at sleep overs! Or was it a 70’s thing the folks got for wedding presents?!  


There are three reasons why I love this recipe: 

1.  Economical: I laugh in the face of the Recession while eating my $0.15 snack!

2.  Ingredients: Popcorn, Oil, Sugar; have you checked out the ingredients in your 100 calorie snack packs? 

3.  Burnt Kernel Free! (Well the first time I was nervous about them being all popped, but really no reason to worry, Popcorn isn’t available rare)!

For 6 cups popped pop corn: 

1/3 cup kernels

2 tsp oil (Alton Brown claims peanut oil is best, but I’m all for Olive Oil. You tell me) .

2 tsp* granulated sugar (optional, without is Naked Corn). 

Items needed: Wok and spatter gaurd

  • This amount of sugar results in a subtle sweetness, not the intense sweetness your used to at fairs; increase sugar if want more sweet.

Pour oil and sugar into wok, stir to incorporate and add kernels, stir once again to coat. 

Place spatter guard over kernels and shake vigorously close to fire for ~10 seconds and resting for ~10 seconds, repeat until kernels start popping (~2 minutes). 

Now you need to shake to keep the popcorn on top and the heavier kernels at the bottom near the heat (This is where the convenience of the rounded wok comes in). Continue until it seems as if all kernels have popped. Don’t overcook (see comment number 3 above).

It really is simple, you can’t walk away from the microwave. But I am serious when I tell you that this popcorn taste much better than bagged popcorn! But of course you’ve been doing your memory exercises and taking your Ginkgo Biloba and remember the taste from your youth.

I have also seen popcorn made with: 

 A metal bowl and aluminum foil

Brown paper bag and a stapler


Easy Granola!!

I’ve been known to be a follower, a copy-cat, a _____. But when there something this delicious, yes I am a follower. However!! I did tweak the recipe a bit, well found a new one. Just because I’m not a huge fan of maple.


4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in the vanilla.

Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand. Spread granola in a 15×10 inch baking pan I actually had to spread in 2 different pans.

Bake 20 minutes, check (some granola makers advise flipping sections over like cookies, but I didn’t. Cook 20 more minutes. 
Transfer granola-filled pan to a rack to cool completely. Then sprinkle cranberries, raisins, or anything else that tickles your taste buds over the top. Break your granola into pieces and you’re done! Yum!

Seal granola in an airtight container or self-sealing plastic bag. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months. (I doubt mine will last this long)!

Overall, I was really surprised at how incredibly easy this was; I’ve been putting it off for so long. Addendum to New Years Resolutions: Never buy granola again!


My “Go-To” Soup – Asparagus…

Ok so this may sound/look very unappealing to some of you. But holy goodness it is yum.

As a child I thought me mum was deliriously disgusting to eat this… but as I have grown to love asparagus and it’s natural breaking point (which I find very human-esque) it’s my favorite:)

One can of Campbell’s Cream of Asparagus Soup
One can filled with milk (as directions… direct)
One can of asparagus pieces [or approximately 1.5 cups of chopped steamed asp. (The more the better)]
Salt and Pepper

Warm in a soup pan to your liking. Add S&P to taste

One of the many reasons I love my job:
The other night I took this soup to babysit two crazy gals and the 4 year old was all, “EEEWWW STINKY! GROSS! BLAH!” Which naturally made the 2 yr old want to try it SO BAD. I put a bit on her dinner plate.. AND AND AND she chose the soup over her favorite pizza.. Which, also rather naturally, compelled her sister to try it… and she too LOVED IT. But she did admit she wouldn’t like her mom to cook it as a meal, she would only like to have it when I came over:)