Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Built In Summer Vacation for Moms

I don’t know about you but summer vacation is all about my kids’ social life and stomach.  It seems like I spend most of my summer chauffeuring kids to their various activities and handing out $20 bills like I’m passing out bottles of water to marathon runners.  The other part of my summer is spent in the kitchen trying to figure out how to fill their tummies in a way that will buy me at least 3 hours until the next hunger pangs start.  So what’s a mom to do?  

Aside from encouraging my older two to take their driving test and get summer jobs, the only other way to ensure that my summer is relaxing is to make sure they always have quick homemade snacks on hand.  Next time one of my kids is “starving” I can put down my iced tea, look up from my summer novel and point in the direction of the freezer or pantry with a satisfied smile on my face.   So if you’re looking for some free time this summer, these make-ahead recipes just might do the trick.   

Homemade Granola Bars (

·         2 1/2 cups rolled oats
·         1/2 cup wheat germ
·         1/4 cup flax seed
·         1/4 cup sesame seed
·         1 cup almonds, sliced (or other chopped nuts like cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias or pecans)
·         1/2 cup shredded coconut
·         1 teaspoon sea salt
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         2 teaspoons vanilla
·         1/2 cup honey
·         4 tablespoons butter
·         1/4 cup brown sugar
·         1 cup dried cranberries (or other chopped dried fruit like raisins, pineapple, apricots, cherries, papaya, prunes, white or chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds and almonds; spread out evenly on the rimmed baking sheet and toast for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally and watching carefully so as not to burn.  In the meantime, in a large bowl combine salt, coconut, cinnamon and dried cranberries; set aside.  In a large measuring cup place the vanilla, honey, butter and brown sugar. Microwave approximately 2 minutes. Mixture will foam and bubble. Stir to completely dissolve brown sugar.  When oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to the same bowl with coconut mixture and stir to evenly combine. Add the honey mixture and stir to incorporate.  Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with waxed paper. Spread the mixture, using the back of a wooden spoon, pressing to create a smooth, even surface. Place another piece of waxed paper over the top, pressing down to evenly compact the mixture. Compacting is important so the bars won’t fall apart when cut. (Suggestion: place one pan of same size within the other and press to even out mixture.).  Refrigerate and completely cool the mixture about 2 hours to assure a clean cut. Firmly press down with a large knife to cut into bars. Do not saw. Wrap bars in waxed paper and store in refrigerator or freezer.

Crockpot Freezer Burritos (Once A Month Cooking)
  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans(drained and rinsed)
  • 2 (15 1/4 ounce) cans kernel corn (drained)
  • 2 (10 ounce) diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 4 cups salsa (mild, medium, hot-your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 20 -50 flour tortillas (20 burrito size or 50 taco size)
  • 2 -3 cups cheese (cheddar, Colby-Jack, Mexican blend-your choice)
Place all ingredients except tortillas and cheese in the crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Take chicken out and shred or chop finely. Return the chicken to the crock pot and mix thoroughly.

To Prepare Burritos:
Warm tortillas in microwave to make them easier to roll. Place cheese on tortilla, add chicken mixture. Roll folding the ends in and place seam side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. If you like a crispier burrito, bake 5 more minutes.  

Freezer Directions:
After the burritos have completely cooled, place  them in freezer bags, remove the air and seal. Reheat in microwave.  

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins (
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 (6 ounce) container vanilla yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups  flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350, placing rack in lowest position.  Prepare mini-muffin tins with paper liners.  Cream sugar and butter in large bowl.  Mix in eggs with mixer until well blended.  Add bananas and yogurt, and beat until smooth.  Add baking soda and salt. Mix and then fold in flour until it's all moistened.  Stir in chips.  Fill liners in pan about 3/4 of the way. Bake 20 minutes on bottom rack.  Let cool completely and store in freezer. 

1 comment:

Robert said...

What are you going back to school for yourself?

I found that I stopped giving $20 I started giving $10 and if they couldn't do what they wanted to go do on $10 they had to get out and earn the rest including earning some from me by making some of the snacks that you are making they can make some and earn some cash starting as young as 9 or 10 they can do this stuff.

10 was allowance which also had to be earned everything else was more work for them as well.
I felt that taught them more how the real world worked.

We have day jobs that get us a little then we have side jobs to try to help us cover and we are often short. They might as well learn how it all works.

They would get the $10 and be much wiser with it , get truly creative with earning more and figure ways to entertain each other with way less.

So $10 go them to an afternoon movie. Then the girls would hold manicure parties , swap clothes parties, craft parties.

The boys got creative with flyers help for moving people in and out of an apartment complex near us.
The girls offered cleaning after move outs. The boys gathered things people were going to trash the girls organized yard sales.
They managed to earn over $300 a piece just in the first few weeks of summer and they were still going strong.