Search Results for: crackers

Chef Salad with Crispy Cheese Crackers

I have decided that there will probably be lots of tomato plants lining the streets of gold in heaven.  Every time I make a salad and include the fresh tomatoes from our garden, I am reminded of God’s goodness.  There is so much yum in a summertime fresh tomato.

Last week, we had some leftover chicken which we added to lettuce and tomatoes with shredded cheese for a quick lunch.  I stirred in some Homemade Ranch Dressing and loved every single bite.

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When I told the boys we were having Chef Salad with Crispy Cheese Crackers for lunch, they weren’t super excited.  (They’d have been happier if I’d announced we were having bacon, no doubt.)

But as they worked their way through the meal, munching on the homemade crackers with their salads, even my youngest had to admit, “Mom, this is actually a really good lunch.”

Actually?  Yes, how shocking.

Whatever.  I was in the middle of eating fresh tomatoes straight from heaven.  They could say whatever they wanted.

Need more homemade salad dressing recipes?  Find them here.

High Five Recipes: Crispy Cheese Crackers

High Five Recipes 2

Move over little gold fish.  There’s a new cheese in town.

Heidi emailed me a couple of months ago asking if I had a good cheese cracker recipe.  Well no, I said, but I sure do love me a recipe challenge!  It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally figured out a recipe that not only tastes good, but is SO easy.

Who knew a cheese cracker recipe that would qualify as a High Five Recipe!!  (Oh, but psst…we’re not counting the tablespoon of water in this recipe as an ingredient…because that would mean there are technically six ingredients in this cracker.  I really wanted to make this a High Five Recipe and it just would not work without a bit of water.  Just sprinkle it in and look the other way.)

Crispy Cheese Crackers

¼  cup butter, softened
¼ t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ t. baking powder
1 T. cold water

Use beaters or food processor to mix butter and salt until creamy.  Add cheese.  Mix well.  Gradually add flour, baking powder and water, mixing until dough begins to form a ball.  Form dough into a ball with hands.

Roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness onto a cookie sheet.  (I find that placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper helps me to roll them out more easily.)  Cut the rolled out dough into 1 ½ inch squares.  Bake 15 minutes at 350° or until lightly browned.  Turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside to crisp up.  Store tightly covered.

That’s all there is to it!  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my kids will eat the entire pan of these (before Matt and I get some) in one ten minute time frame.  They LOVE these!  So much for trying to make a snack to “have on hand”.  Guess I oughta double the recipe, huh?

Whole Wheat Crackers


Homemade Heart Crackers with Cheese and Turkey

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
1/2 cup water

Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in oil and water until a ball of dough has formed. Roll dough very thin, about 1/16 inch thickness on a cookie sheet. (I find it’s easiest to roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper.) Use small heart cookie cutter to shape crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Turn off the oven, but allow crackers to sit inside while it cools. This will dry out the crackers so that they become crispy.

For square crackers, use a knife to cut the dough into 1 inch squares after rolling it onto a cookie sheet.

Whole Wheat Crackers


Homemade Heart Crackers with Cheese and Turkey

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
1/2 cup water

Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in oil and water until a ball of dough has formed. Roll dough very thin, about 1/16 inch thickness on a cookie sheet. (I find it’s easiest to roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper.) Use small heart cookie cutter to shape crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Turn off the oven, but allow crackers to sit inside while it cools. This will dry out the crackers so that they become crispy.

For square crackers, use a knife to cut the dough into 1 inch squares after rolling it onto a cookie sheet.

Healthy Treat for Today: Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers!

Here’s the promised graham cracker recipe!  These crackers are crunchy-crispy…and taste SO GOOD!  Oh, I hope you love them like we do!

Okay, and if you love the Honey Graham Cracker recipe, you’ll LOVE the fact that you can also make CHOCOLATE Graham Crackers!!!  Just add 1/3 cup cocoa to the recipe.  YUM!!!!

Whole Wheat Honey Graham Crackers

2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar juice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt stick of butter in a pan on the stove.  Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4. Add the liquids: honey, water, vanilla and melted butter.
5. Stir well until a nice ball of dough is formed.
6. Cut two pieces of Parchment paper the size of the cookie sheet.
7. Lay one piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
8. Place the ball of dough on the parchment paper.
9. Lay the other piece of parchment paper on top of the ball of dough.  Squish dough down a little with your fist.
10. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough between the pieces of parchment paper.  Roll until the dough covers the whole cookie sheet.

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Malachi is finishing up the rolling for Mama!

11. Remove the top piece of parchment paper.  Cut rolled dough into 2 inch squares, or cut shapes with cookie cutters, being sure to separate the shapes from the surrounding dough a little.

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Here’s a shot of the chocolate graham crackers
cut into squares and ready to bake.

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Malachi is using little cookie cutters to make “animal crackers”!

12. Bake in oven for 18 minutes.
13. Turn oven off, but leave crackers in the oven to get crisp.
14. Remove from oven after 30 minutes to one hour.  Break graham crackers apart.
15. Store in a air tight container.

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Here’s a plate of the Chocolate Graham Crackers.
(Got milk?)

My kids get SO EXCITED when I make these!  They are a GREAT snack to have on hand!  Try them and see what you think!  :)

Gratituesday: Swimming Season is Over – How I’m Coping

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We have friends who have a beautiful swimming pool in their back yard.  For three years now, they have been so sweet to let our family come enjoy the pool.  Here’s a picture from three summers ago.  The boys were so timid in the water then…

Now?  They are all over the pool – diving, having contests, and playing swimming games.  It’s awesome to watch.  We’ve been away from home most of this summer, so we haven’t had as much pool time as we would have liked.  Now that we’re home and settled into some sort of routine, we’ve gone swimming every chance we could grab.  It’s been great motivation to get our schoolwork done each day.  Ahhh, a fantastic, refreshing reward for hard work - and P.E. at it’s finest.  :)

I love sunshine, heat, Vitamin D, and pool exercise.  But alas, all good things must come to an end, at least for a time.  Tis the time of year for our friends to shut their pool down for the season.  This week we’re experiencing cooler weather – and by cooler, I mean that temps are what most people consider perfect.  Mid to upper 70′s.  Who doesn’t love that?  (me, maybe?)  I do - really I do.  This weather is gorgeous.  I just like 90° best - because I do.  ;)

Recognizing that swimming just wasn’t going to happen today, or tomorrow, or again probably until next summer – and because our house was actually a bit chilly (who knew?) I coped the only way I knew how.  I baked. 

I love everything about summer (like, I crazy love it) – but I do miss baking.  So yay for chillier weather (she said with a half-smile and a shrug).  Today I got to bake!

Malachi and I had fun making Chocolate Graham Crackers.  I’ve been pretty intentional the past few weeks about teaching him cooking skills.  He did most of the mixing and measuring himself, then decided that shaping crackers with cookie cutters would be way more fun than simply cutting them into squares.  But of course.

chocolate bunny graham crackers

Eek, a few got overdone.  My apologies to the blackened bunnies.  We will eat you anyway.

Justus and I made a double batch of Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.  This is so great to have on hand for quick breakfasts and snacks.  The house smelled so good while this was baking!

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - A Great Make-Ahead Meal

Summer’s not over yet and you can bet I’ll be soaking up as much sunshine as I can during the next few weeks before…oh, I can’t even say it.  La, la, la, I am in denial in my happy, warm place - and that is where I shall stay for now.  But yay for all the blessings (like baking!) that come with the change of seasons.  I love how God shows us His goodness through everything.

And now I want to hear from YOU.  Tell me how you are, how God is working in your life, and what you are thankful for.  Go!

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad ~ Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Rarely is my family of men pleased to see a lovely bowl of salad as the main dish at lunchtime.  You can almost see the “am I gonna get full?!” look of panic in their eyes.  After all, typically a tossed salad lunch just doesn’t stick with a person very long into the afternoon.  But if there’s bacon in it?  And boiled eggs?  And avocado?  And cheese?  Well, now we’re on to something.

My family devoured this last week when I made it – even the boys who don’t typically love eating avocados.  With all the other flavors mixed in, this salad with all its goodness works for even my pickiest eaters.  Along with the salad, I served fresh pineapple, fresh cantaloupe, and a new recipe I was experimenting with: Coconut Fudge Bars.  (That recipe will be shared soon.)  We were all very full after our meal – and stayed full until after we got back from swimming that evening at 5:15.  At that point we were all ready to eat our own beach towels – but that’s typical no matter what we’ve eaten for lunch.

This recipe is hardly a recipe.  Simply throw together whatever amounts of each ingredient you feel is best for each family member.  We all ate great big bowls full, because that’s what we do around here.  Need to this be Gluten Free?  Check – it’s gf without having to try.  Need it to be Dairy Free?  Leave out the cheese.  You might have been able to figure that one out by yourself.  ;)

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

Bacon, cut into bites, cooked, and drained
Boiled eggs
Avocado, cut into bites (as well as you can cut an avocado into bites)
Cheddar or Colby jack cheese, cut into small chunks
Mixed greens, lettuce, and spinach of choice
Tomatoes, chopped
Salad dressing of choice

Toss ingredients together and have a feast.

To prepare for the lunch box:

Prepare all ingredients in advance, from cooking the bacon to boiling the eggs to chunking the cheese.  Toss the fixin’s into a jar or bowl with a lid before heading out for the day.  Put the dressing into a separate container to add just before eating.

These ingredients, prepared in advance, will last a week or two in the fridge for quick salad prep.  If you chop your avocado ahead of time, simply place the avocado pit into the container to help maintain the nice green color.

Side dish ideas:

You really have to try this salad.  Really – even people who don’t normally love salad should love this one.  It has bacon in it, for crying out loud.  It’s happiness in a bowl.

Hey, have any of you tried the “Salad in a Jar” idea?  I am excited to try that sometime, both because it’s a great packaging idea…and of course, because it involves a jar.  It’s happiness in a jar.  With bacon (for crying out loud).

Find more Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes and be sure to follow along in this series for more fun ideas!

Menu Plan For the Week (Have I Told You How Much I Love Food?)

We were in the kitchen putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher together after lunch.  As is common after a meal, we were all discussing what we needed to do the rest of the day and how it was all going to get done.  Beyond our normal “at home” work, we had two outside commitments to keep: 1) Pick up our food co-op order and 2) Elias, age 12, had soccer practice in the evening.

When Elias realized he may be at soccer practice when the Azure order was brought into the house, without thinking he said, “Wait.  Can you maybe not put it away until after I get home so I can look at it first?”  Quickly, he grinned at himself for requesting something so silly.

I think this kid is a lot like his mama.  There is nothin’ silly about wanting to stare at food.  Right?  Right???

I see food and I’m like, “Oh my goodness!  Look at the beautiful green beans and all the deliciously juicy grilled meat!  The canned peaches are sooooo pretty and see these great potatoes that I just got at the farmer’s market?!”  But then there are those of you who are like, “there. is. a. watermelon. and. some. other. food. please. pass. the. salt.”  Do you mean to tell me I haven’t yet convinced you all of the joy of staring at food?  I’ll keep trying.

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EEEHHEEEE!!!  IT’S SEVERAL DOZEN SWEET CORN FALLING OUT OF BAGS!!!!!!!!

Well anyway, it seems that Elias and I are very similar when it comes to our love of food.  He loves going to the grocery store with me – just to look at all the food (and, of course, to smell the pineapple’s bottom).  He loves seeing our Azure orders and our Amazon Subscribe and Save orders come in.  He likes looking into the pantry to see all the goodies.  He loves looking through cookbooks to get new ideas.  He loves chocolate and desserts.  Hopefully, eventually, he’ll love eating vegetables.  We’re working on that one.

So…food.  This time of year is so rockin’ with all of the amazing FOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!  Who’s with me on this?  Peaches and nectarines dripping with sweet juice.  Sweet corn dripping with butter.  Watermelon dripping down my chin.  I’m not ashamed.  I love this time of year. 

We got home from our anniversary trip and had to get to work right away putting up fresh garden produce.  It’s hard work!  But the bounty and the goodness of this food?!  There’s so much to be grateful for.  We’ve been picking, snapping, blanching, and freezing (or eating!) green beans.  We found a great price on sweet corn (see beautiful picture above) and got several dozen shucked, blanched, cut off the cob, and frozen.  This week, we’ll be making fresh salsa with tomatoes and peppers from our garden.  We’re frying okra from our garden and eating it like it’s candy.

Meat off the grill with all these fresh fruits and vegetables on our table?  Well, it is just incredible.

I’ll take the hard work.  I’ll step around overflowing compost buckets and stand over a steaming pot of boiling water in a hot kitchen.  Then Elias and I will stare at it all and imagine how great it will be this winter when we can pull this goodness out of our pantry and out of our freezer to eat.

Having said all of that, you can imagine how much fun I have making a meal plan this time of year.  With all the fresh variety available - healthy menu planning is awesome.

Speaking of menu planning, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  This weekend, we finished a project we’ve been working on!  Watch for details of how you can get this resource for free.  :)

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Here’s our menu for this week.  (Won’t that food be fun to look at??!!?!)

Sunday, August 17
Creamy orange cooler, granola, blueberries
Italian cream cheese chicken, tossed salad, cherry tomatoes, green beans
Grilled burgers, tomatoes, lettuce, homemade pickles, watermelon

Monday, August 18
Green machine milkshakes, giant breakfast cookies, raspberries
Pasta salad bar, cantaloupe
Grilled barbeque chicken, corn on the cob, fried okra, peas, grapes

Tuesday, August 19
Crock pot breakfast casserole, nectarines
Hamburger sauerkraut dip with tortilla chips, cherries, kiwi
Grilled Italian chicken, baked potatoes in the crock pot, green beans, tossed salad

Wednesday, August 20
Pancake and sausage muffins, cantaloupe
Spanish rice with taco meat, spicy avocado dip, fresh pineapple
BLT wraps, sweet peppers, carrot sticks, strawberries

Thursday, August 21
Pineapple mango smoothies, fried eggs
Black bean chicken nachos, olives, pineapple
Beefy enchilada bake, tossed salad, strawberry/peach/apple fruit salad

Friday, August 22
Instant oatmeal packets, blueberries and strawberries
Cheddar ranch burgers, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, watermelon
Chicken salad with crispy cheese crackers, sweet peppers, honey glazed carrots, peaches

Saturday, August 23
Cheesy scrambled eggs, strawberry-peach-orange smoothies
Leftovers
Taco salad, nectarines

I’ve asked before but I’ll ask again:  Who likes staring at food?

The “Eating Healthy” and “Save Money” Balancing Act

We all want to be healthy.  We all want to live frugally.  We all want the best for our families.  We all want food to taste good.  We all want great deals on groceries.  We all want delicious food, special treats, our favorite snacks…and if they could be free, cheap, come with a coupon, or be buy-one-get-one free – that would be fantastic.

Yeah, pretty much, we want it all.  Is that too much to ask?

Balancing Eating Healthy With Saving Money

Is it just me, or is it tricky sometimes to balance saving money with healthy eating?  Especially as our boys get older, I can not believe how much it costs to feed us well.  I believe it would also cost a lot to feed us poorly, simply because we eat so stinkin’ much food at our house all the time, every day, all the time.  We can not believe the lie that eating well is too expensive.  Eating junk is expensive too.  I’ve done the math.

I don’t have any wonderful new tips to share today as we work to keep our real food grocery budgets low.  I don’t have any great online grocery deals to share.  Instead, I just want to encourage keeping a healthy perspective when it comes to balancing saving money with eating healthy.

There really is great, real food out there that is not expensive.  It’s amazing all the wonderful combinations of real food ingredients we can creatively put together to feed our families while staying under budget.  We do not need to become discouraged, caving in to buy margarine because it’s cheaper than butter, or buying a cheese substitute because it’s cheaper than real cheese.  We do not need to skip the fruits and vegetables because we are afraid of the price tag.  They are not more expensive per ounce than a box of empty-calorie crackers.  I’ve done the math.

God is going to continue to provide for you and your family.  I believe the food on your table is as delicious as your attitude dictates it to be.  The health benefits of eating the best you can within your means, while trusting God?  Priceless.

Tired of the same old cheap real food meals of beans, rice, bananas, and carrots?  Ask God to give you more creative ideas, to provide you with what you need, and to give you a heart of thanksgiving.  I can almost guarantee that our little Gladis, over in Honduras, has very little variety in her diet, yet all of what she eats is real food and wholesome.  She and her family are simply thankful to have food, and they do the best they can.  Praise God for his provision!

Remembering her when I look into my refrigerator and pantry keeps me in check.  Gladis gives me perspective and offers me a chance to appreciate anew the abundance we have.  From thousands of miles away, she shuts my complaining mouth and calms my heart of discontent when I feel like whining about the price of strawberries.  How blessed we are to have access to the luxury of strawberries.

I pray we find balance as we seek to eat healthy while saving money.  I pray we look at what we have through the eyes of gratitude.

Let’s all continue to feed our families the best we can, while enjoying the blessing of real food – whatever it might look like on our individual tables.

Hoping to get your budget on track as you work to balance healthy eating with saving money?
Be sure to check out BudgetFocus as a wonderful resource!

Menu Plan for the Week ~ the Oven-Free Edition

Oven Free Real Food Menu Plan

The time of year has come that I’m avoiding the oven.  In fact, our entire menu this week is ovenless, except for the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola we baked a couple weeks ago and have on hand for a cool breakfast.

One of my very favorite no-oven ideas is to Bake Potatoes in the Crock Pot.  There are all kinds of fun toppings for baked potatoes.  Since they bake easily in the crock pot, we’ll likely be having different baked potato varieties all summer long.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week.  I love fun summer foods!

Sunday, June 1
Homemade instant oatmeal, raspberries
Baked potatoes in the crock pot (with ham, cheese, and sour cream), peas, strawberries
Small group potluck

Monday, June 2
Green machine milkshakes, scrambled eggs
Chicken salad on lettuce and tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet peppers
Calico beans in the crock pot, tossed salad, watermelon

Tuesday, June 3
Dark chocolate almond granola, blueberries
Tuna salad on crackers or lettuce and tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, cool pineapple cream dessert
Grilled burgers, pickles, watermelon, green beans

Wednesday, June 4
Pineapple mango smoothies, fried eggs
Pasta salad bar with chicken and veggies, apples
Salmon patties, tossed salad, grilled asparagus, blackberries

Thursday, June 5
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries
Grilled hotdogs, baked beans (on the stovetop), sweet peppers, cucumbers and carrots
Italian roast wraps, lettuce and tomato, strawberry creamsicles (recipe coming this week)

Friday, June 6
Creamy orange cooler, toast
Lamburger patties, lettuce and tomato, cheesy cauliflower cakes, sweet peppers
Grilled barbeque chicken, tossed salad, sweet corn, steamed broccoli and carrots

Saturday, June 7
Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, strawberries
Leftovers
Hamburger cream cheese dip with chips, sweet peppers, grapes, cherry tomatoes

Have you been doing much grilling so far this summer?