Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Calendar

I had to blog about my newest project...an Advent Calendar for my kiddos. No, I did not come up with this one...rather I "borrowed" the idea from an old friend who's kids went to preschool with my kiddos. We have lost touch over the years but I always follow her blog as she is such a creative an inspirational woman!!! Last year, she did an advent calendar on an old ladder for the kids and once I saw the pictures I fell in love! The hardest part was finding the old ladder (I can't believe how difficult it was to find one!) but my mom-in-law found one for me in Round Top. I simply sanded, painted and distressed the ladder and then got to work decorating. Coming up with the ideas for each day took some time and imagination but I think my kids are going to love this and we'll have a new tradition!
Here are some pics of my creation...

And here are some of the items/ideas I used for each day...

Books, ornaments, movie, Christmas pajamas, candy, "Make a gingerbread house", Tickets to see The Nutcracker, "Movie Night with hot chocolate", "Plan a menu and cook dinner to surprise daddy", "Family breakfast in bed", etc. The possibilities are endless!

I hope you take time to have some fun with the kiddos this Holiday Season!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time to Breathe!

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is around the corner!! This school year is flying by! Life in the Kobza household has been CRAZY...football, cheer, school, work, tumbling, dance, spelling bees, math olympics, birthday parties, etc. it never ends!! We have been full blast since August with no time to breathe...until now. Football and cheer ended last week (at least until All-Stars in December) and we couldn't be prouder of our kids. Both teams made the play-offs and my daughter's cheer squad did awesome at their Cheer-Off Competition this past weekend. As much fun as it's been coaching and watching our kids, Cale and I are worn out and need some time to breathe. It's time to spend some evenings and weekends at home, time for me to get back to cooking dinners, time to think about the holidays, time to plan our upcoming ski trip, and time to train for the upcoming Half Marathon. We are looking forward to a new kind of busy!
Speaking of meal planning, I had some clients ask me today about some new recipes so I've posted a few here. The Stuffed Squash is an old favorite and I've posted it before but thought I'd do it again as it's always a fall favorite for us. Since life is a little less crazy, I'm hoping to try some new recipes (thank you Pinterest!) and will post the ones that receive a "thumbs up" by my crew.

I do hope all of you are getting some time to breathe too! It's so important especially with the holidays upon us!! Just take a deep breath and EXHALE!

Turkey Cutlets

One package of Turkey Cutlets (sold next to the ground turkey at HEB)
1 egg (use a whisk to whip the egg or use egg whites)
1 cup of flour mixture*
*I use Pamela’s gluten free flour, gluten free bread crumbs, one small package of ranch dip seasoning and Parmesan cheese
Soak each cutlet in the egg and then coat in the flour mixture. Place on a cooling rack sprayed with cooking spray then place the rack on a baking sheet. Bake for approx. 15 minutes (flipping halfway) or until no longer pink.
I’ve also cut the cutlets into nugget size pieces to use for my kids’ lunches.

Stuffed Squash

Serves 6

1 C. brown basmati rice

9 oz. large raw peeled shrimp with tails off (cut into bite-size pieces)

3 small acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

3 oz. spinach (about 5 cups loosely packed), roughly chopped

Olive oil cooking spray

1 tsp. sea salt, divided3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided

2 tsp. dried thyme

1/3 C. whole-wheat bread crumbs

2 tsp. olive oil

Prepare rice according to package direction. When rice is about 3 minutes from being done, stir in shrimp. Continue to cook, covered, until rice is done and shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and let stand, covered.While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle inside of squash with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper, dividing evenly. Arrange squash cut-sides-down on prepared baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven, leaving oven on a same temp.In a large bowl, combine shrimp-rice mixture, spinach, thyme, remaining salt and pepper. Fill squash halves with mixture, dividing evenly. in a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and oil. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture over stuffing, dividing evenly. Arrange squash on baking sheet stuffing side-up and bake until stuffing is heated through and browned on top, about 20 minutes.

I actually didn't have shrimp for this recipe so I left it out and it was still wonderful! Or you could sub ground turkey or diced chicken.

This Week's Menu
-Turkey Cutlets and Stuffed Squash
Tuesday-Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa and Steamed Veggies
Wednesday-Southwest Chicken, Rice and Bean Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing
Thursday-Breakfast for dinner

More recipes to follow!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Feeding Kids Healthy Meals...Oh, the never ending battle!!

Well, fall is upon us and this means absolute craziness for our family. We have dove head first into football and cheer season! Both my hubby and I are coaching our kids so we have some type of practice or game every night which makes meal planning and cooking quite a challenge. Yes, it's so easy to eat out when I'm too tired to cook but it makes me cringe to think of how unhealthy my family is eating. While we do indulge ourselves with some fun nights out (especially if we're celebrating a "win"), I try my best to cook a healthy meal as much as I can. My son is the awesome eater while my daughter is picky so that's another challenge in itself. I did try a new recipe last night...Broccoli Bites that were a hit with the kiddos (they normally would never touch broccoli) so I thought I'd share...

Broccoli Cheese Bites

16 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained of liquid (I used fresh steamed broccoli)
1 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese

3 eggs
1 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
With your hands, form small patties and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375F for 25 minutes, turning the patties after the first 15 minutes.

I plan on making an extra batch this weekend that I can freeze and use those nights when there's no time to spare cooking. Hope your family enjoys these too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Recipes

I just made a few new dishes and got a "thumbs up" from the family so I thought I'd share. I got these off Pinterest...where else??

Crunchy Peanut Slaw

1 big bowl of slaw, serves at least 8
1 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 bunch green onions
1 cup chopped cilantro (about two big handfuls unchopped)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup light oil, like canola
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)
Shred the cabbage very finely. The fineness of the shredded cabbage is really what makes this salad; you want it in in threads, almost, and with the threads chopped into bite-size lengths. Toss with the peanuts in a large bowl. Chop the scallions, including the green and white parts. Toss the scallions and chopped cilantro with the cabbage, seasoning very lightly with salt and pepper.
Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preferences of sweetness and saltiness.
Toss with the cabbage. Garnish with a few more peanuts and serve.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1 (2 pound) boneless pork loin
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

Easy and Awesome! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back To School

WOW! It's been almost 2 months since I've posted...Sorry! We've been so busy (I know, who hasn't?) Summer was crazy and fun! We took a trip to Germany and Denmark to visit family, attended a bazillion kid camps, bought a beach house (love it) and managed to fill up all the remaining minutes of our day with miscellaneous activities. Needless to say, the summer flew by!

My kids are now settled back into school so I've had a few days to breathe and get my routine down. Organizing and scheduling just makes me happy and helps me to relax. With football and cheerleading now up and running, I've had to get back into my weekly meal planning so I can make sure my family is eating properly. I came up with a list of lunch ideas so I'm not so overwhelmed in the mornings trying to decide what to make. As most of you know, my son is gluten-intolerant so making lunch is sometimes challenging. I know so many of you have lunch ideas already (there are a million ideas online) but I thought I'd share mine...

Lunch Ideas

Main Items
Peanut butter banana sandwich on raisin bread
Peanut butter and sliced banana on bread (roll up and then slice like sushi)
English muffin pizza (tomato sauce and cheese)
Hot dog
Annie’s Mac & Cheese
Wheat cracker peanut butter "sandwiches”
Wrap with Hummus, Turkey, Cheese & Lettuce
Applegate Chicken Nuggets & Ketchup
Homemade Lunchable (sliced meat, low fat cheese and whole grain crackers)

Fruits & Veggies
All cut fruit (can add peanut butter yogurt dip)
Carrots & Ranch
Celery & Peanut Butter
Natural Applesauce

Pita Chips & Hummus
Veggie Crisps
Sugar-free Pudding
Sugar-free Jello
Graham crackers with Nutella
Hard boiled eggs

So many of you have more ideas and I'd love for you to share them here with everyone! The best advice I can give you is to TRY to stay away from putting a lot of pre-packaged foods in your kids lunches. Read labels. Watch sodium and sugar. Most of all, pack them lots of water...keep them hydrated! Pinterest has tons of ideas too...BEWARE...it can become addicting! Proceed with caution!

Happy Back To School To Everyone!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Skinny Mom

I've got a fantastic new website for all you Moms out there!!!

It's an online community with a free daily newsletter for fit moms and mom-to-be everywhere! Fitness model and expert Brooke Griffin created the site to help busy mothers maintain a fit lifestyle while raising children. There a tons of recipes, blogs, videos of exercises and much more! Check it out!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Recipe

I just found this recipe on Pinterest...my new addiction! I thought it sounded so easy and yummy and the perfect snack for my kiddos during this HOT summer! We spend lots of time by the pool and I always need a healthy snack to serve.

Fruity Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Ingredients (Makes 6-8 servings):
• 1/2 cup fruit-flavored yogurt
• 1/2 cup natural runny peanut butter
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• Fruit/veggies for dipping
Mix together all of the ingredients completely making sure there aren’t any clumps. Move to a serving dish. Serve with chopped fruit and vegetables.

I know you'll enjoy it as much as I will!