Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

July 7th, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Texas Caviar Recipe

texas caviar

During the summer I love to use fresh ingredients to make our food. One of my family’ go-to summer favorites is Texas Caviar.  We use this with our favorite tortilla chips or eat it as a side dish. This also keeps in the fridge for several days!

Ingredients
  • 2 small jalapeños
  • 1 cup chopped peppers (any mix of colors)
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 1 can of black beans and 1 can of another type of bean (or 2 cans of black)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup of chopped celery
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • ¼ jar of italian dressing (your favorite)

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ingredients

 

Instructions
  1. Chop up everything and put in a bowl. Mix in Italian dressing and let sit a minimum of 2 hours in fridge. Add cilantro at end and mix in.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips or as a salad.
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June 27th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Easy Ice Cream Desserts

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You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!! When it is summer time, my kids LOVE anything made of ice cream. My youngest insisted the other day that ice cream sandwiches could be eaten for lunch because they are sandwiches. He tried his hardest…..

So I am constantly trying to find out ways to incorporate different ways that we can have ice cream!

Copycat Choco Tacos

Banana Split Ice Cream Pie

Mexican Fried Ice Cream Dessert

Drumstick Brownie Ice Cream Dessert

Oreo Ice Cream Dessert

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Crunchy Ice Cream Dessert

Banana Split Mini Bites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bar Dessert

Ice Cream Cake

Do you have any favorite ice cream desserts that you love to make?

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June 26th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

4th of July Desserts

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Fourth of July fun is only a week away and chances are you’re thinking about what goodies to make for the occasion. Keep a BBQ simple with the standard staples like burgers, hot dogs and side salads, but make sure you WOW with the desserts! Red, white and blue, stars, sprinkles and more, there are tons of festive dessert recipes that are as lovely to look at as they are to eat. Check out these great 4th of July desserts…which one will you make this year?

Sparkler Cupcakes 

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American Flag Strawberry Shortcake

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Jell-O Firecrackers

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Spangled Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

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Stars and Fruit Bowl

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Inside American Flag Cake

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4th of July Trifle

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Strawberry Firecracker Cake Balls 

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Star Spangled Ice Cream Pie

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Red, White and Blue Tie Dye Cake

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June 16th, 2014 at 9:36 am

It’s Strawberry Season!

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Since I was a little girl, my favorite fruit has been the strawberry, and it was always SO much fun to go strawberry picking with my mom. Now, as a parent, I keep that tradition with my boys. In Wisconsin, the strawberries will be starting to ripen in the next week, so you will definitely find us in the strawberry field picking away! Once I fill up a box with fresh strawberries, the actual work begins, and I wanted to share with you what I do to freeze strawberries so we can enjoy them all year long.

The first step is to wash the strawberries. I put a cup or so at a time in a colander and rinse them off. I then lay them out on kitchen towels and pat dry. Once they are all done, I then hull all the strawberries. I personally use this strawberry huller, but there are all kinds of models you can look into, or you can even do it with a simple drinking straw.

At this point, all the major prep work is done. Now you have to decide how you will use the berries. If you are just going to eat or serve them, leave them whole or cut into quarters or halves. If you plan to freeze them, you can cut them in a variety of ways.

I like to freeze most of my berries for use at a later time. Some I will freeze whole, and others I will mash for use on strawberry shortcake or on waffles. To freeze berries whole, put the hulled berries on a pan and stick in the freezer. Once they have frozen, remove them and fill freezer bags, remembering to seal them tightly. When you thaw, they are almost as fresh as when you picked them! To mash strawberries, I put them in a large bowl and use my potato masher to break them up. I also add a pinch of sugar, to taste, so they have a little more sweetness to them. These I ladle into freezer safe jars or plastic containers and then thaw right on the countertop when I am ready to use. Out of season, berries from the supermarket can get very expensive, so this saves money in the long run!

The picking process can get boring for the kids, but all you have to do is remind them of all the delicious treats they can eat with them! Strawberry shortcake is a great summer dessert dish, and smoothies are healthy and filling for breakfast, lunch or a snack. There are so many things you can do with this great fruit, so get out there and pick some strawberries!

 

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June 13th, 2014 at 6:57 am

10 Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market

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Farmer’s markets are not only a source of healthy and often organic produce, they’re also a source of learning for kids! Supporting local businesses helps your community as well. Here are 10 reasons you should visit a farmer’s market with your kids.

Talk With Real Farmers – One thing I have found is that the vendors at the farmer’s market love to talk about how they grew their food. Have the kids talk to them and ask questions.

Teach Kids About Farms- In the city, a lot of children don’t know about farms or have never been to one. Take this time to talk about people who farm, what they do, and how the food gets to their plates.

Spend Family Time Together – Set an hour or so aside to walk through the market and talk about the items. Sometimes there is even music and other activities for your children to participate in.

Learn About Your Community- Connect with others and learn all the different things that go on in your town. At our market, one of our favorite restaurants does cooking demonstrations. Our kids have learned that much of the food they eat comes from the market.  Our farmer’s market also takes place on our downtown main street. This gives us an opportunity to explore the stores and restaurants that are in the area as well.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits- Open up a possibility of options for new foods that your kids will eat.

Learn About Nutrition- Talk about the importance of eating a rainbow of colors.

Introduce New Foods- Discuss any new foods you may see. Some even YOU may not know about.

Teach Kids About Money – Give each child some money to spend on things they want to try.

Teach Kids About When Certain Things Grow- Certain fruits and vegetables are available at certain times of year according to weather and growing conditions.

Cook Your Purchases – This is a great way to get your kids involved in the cooking of the items you found. It is known that kids are more likely to try new things if they had a hand in preparing them.

Have fun exploring your local farmer’s market!

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June 12th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Homemade Snack Alternatives

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As a child, I went food shopping with my mom every Sunday. She always had a list of meal ingredients and such, and as we walked down each aisle there was always something I wanted that wasn’t good for me. Fruit rollups, cookies, potato chips, sugary cereals etc. filled with tons of high fructose corn syrup, sodium, and additives. You can give your kids what they want with these healthier alternatives, and save money at the same time!

Cheesy Goldfish Crackers

Apple Chips

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Homemade Fruit Rollups

Homemade Fruit Snacks

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Hummus

Healthy Oreos

Peanut Butter Cookies

 

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May 22nd, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Memorial Day BBQ Planning

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Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! Usually the first big weekend for pools and BBQs, we’re following the tradition and inviting friends and family for a good old-fashioned cookout. BBQs can be pretty simple to plan with some burgers and hot dogs, but if you want to really make a splash, consider some of these ideas during preparation.

  • “Make Your Own” Stations - The best part about hamburgers and hot dogs is the many ways you can customize them to your taste. Consider setting up different stations. Grill chicken, sausage, hot dogs, and hamburgers as the base. Put out a variety of breads and toppers (different kinds of cheeses, sliced onions and tomatoes, pickles, sauerkraut, etc.) and all the condiments you can think of. Add a chalk board “menu” of ideas so your guests have some inspiration (see our recent hamburger post for some great recipes).  You can do this for drinks, desserts, etc. as well.
  • Signature Drinks – It’s easy to throw some beer, soft drinks, and bottled water into a tub of ice and call it a day, but you’ll wow your guests if you offer some delicious and refreshing mixes. Some ideas: A sangria with fresh fruit, a lemonade/iced tea mix, a fruit punch, etc. Walmart has a great drink dispenser with an ice core, so your guests can help themselves.
  • A Fun Music Playlist – There’s nothing like a good playlist to get a party going! Consider fun, upbeat classics and top 40 that guests of all ages can enjoy. Try searching for some summer playlists online if you don’t know where to start, or ask your friends what some of their favorites are!
  • Lawn/Outdoor Games – We don’t have a pool, so we’re planning on setting up a few games to pass the time. Bocce ball, badminton, horseshoes, beanbag toss, and frisbee are some great choices. For kids, a slip and slide or water balloons can provide hours of fun!

Do you have anything special planned for your Memorial Day BBQ? Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page!

Photo Credit: “Burger Bar” - http://www.lovethispic.com/image/14660/burger-bar

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May 19th, 2014 at 8:36 am

Creating On-The-Go Meals

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If your life is anything like mine, in late spring and summer you are always on the go! My biggest struggle with this is trying to create healthy meals  instead of running through the drive-thru of the nearest fast food restaurant. Here are some of my favorite  ways to make dinner fast or even carry it along while on the run.

Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a great go-to for dinner or lunch! I make up a batch of chicken or tuna salad and fill pocket bread or pitas to eat on the run. You don’t even have to make a sandwich necessarily…skip the bread and eat it alone with a fork, or just put the salads in a container and carry along some pretzels or crackers to scoop it up. Sandwiches can be paired with fruits, veggies, crackers or baked chips. Think of different options that your kids may like. Even some cheese on bread makes a good option for picky eaters.

Sometimes for lunch in between activities, a good option is cheese, crackers, and a simple meat (turkey slices, pepperoni, even sausage pieces). Cut up a bunch at the beginning of the week and this makes a fun snack to have in the car.

My kids also love the lunch packs that can be bought at the store. Recreate them for less expensive on-the-go alternatives.

Crock Pot Meals
When I am busy, making a meal in the crock pot is the best way to make a good meal for the evening. Plus, the crockpot won’t warm up the house as much as regular stovetop or oven cooking! Even something as simple as throwing chicken breasts in the crock pot with some cream of celery soup makes some good filling  on a bun. Try this with beef or pork also. Once it has cooked, pull it apart with a fork and make it into sandwiches or with a pre-made side dish.

Freezer Meals
Grab a meal out of the freezer you can cook without preparation, making dinner a little easier. Sometimes a frozen pizza or other frozen meal from the grocery store is okay. Time can slip away when you have a home, family, a job, etc., so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make a healthy dinner every single night! Consider it a “treat” night for the family.

 

Check out these great ideas to organize eating in the car! I will definitely be trying these out…

Cereal Box Meal Tray

Sectioned Muffin Tin

Basket Meal

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May 15th, 2014 at 2:50 pm

National Hamburger Month

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NATIONAL HAMBURGER MONTH

Did you know that May is National Hamburger Month? There’s just something about a juicy burger with all your favorite trimmings. They’re so versatile because they can be whatever you want them to be, and even vegetarians and vegans can enjoy meatless burgers made from veggies, tofu, beans, etc. We searched the web for the best burgers and found some really unique recipes! Which one will you try first?

What’s YOUR favorite burger?

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May 12th, 2014 at 9:32 am

Easy Freezer Meals

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With a busy schedule it’s always nice to have prepared meals in your freezer that are ready to go! The best kinds are ones you’ve made yourself using ingredients of your choosing and according to your families likes and needs.

I like to freeze everything, from fruits and vegetables, to meat, to full meals. One of my favorite things to freeze are waffles with strawberries in whole and sauce form that I use to top them. I pick the strawberries fresh and they keep the whole year until it is strawberry picking season again.

Leftovers are also a great thing to freeze. I make extra when I first cook the meal, and then freeze the leftovers in individual portions so I have lunches available. I also love to freeze things to prevent them from going bad. Is there a good sale on veggies at the supermarket? Buy more than you need and freeze the rest. I freeze summer corn or rhubarb from the garden as well. Freezing is as good as you get to fresh in the middle of winter!

One great money saving idea is to have a freezer party! Gather some friends and make meals together to freeze. This way you can buy ingredients in bulk. Another idea is to prepare enough meals for the whole group, and each bring a different recipe. Swap around so everyone gets a freezer meal from each person. If there are 8 people, you would go in with 8 meals (same recipe) and come home with 8 different meals!

Here are some of my favorite freezer meal websites:

Freezer Friendz

50 Easy Freezer Meals

Freezer Cooking 101 & planners

Pioneer Woman Freezer Cooking

Freezing Guidelines 

How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

 

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