Today is the first day of school for Courtney!! In what world is it acceptable for kids to start a brand new school year in JULY??? Believe it or not - the school board did not ask ME what I thought about a July start date - so I'm doing my best to just roll with it - but, just for the record - I'm completely against it.
The start of the school year means early morning alarms and just general chaos and grumpiness (mostly from me) in the mornings. So the challenge is to come up with quick and nutritious breakfast ideas to feed my family before they head out the door while maintaining some sense of morning pleasantness.
Lucky for me, one of Courtney's favorite breakfast foods is oatmeal. What could be easier than oatmeal? Whether it's one of my homemade oatmeal packets or a Quaker instant oatmeal packet - let's face it - oatmeal is one of the quickest and easiest things that I can make in the morning.
This summer Courtney and I learned a new way to enjoy oatmeal and I am super excited to share it with you. Ben's cousin Tyler whipped up a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal for and Courtney and I while we were visiting his family in Illinois this summer. We came home and made his recipe to share with Ben and Ryan. Needless to say - we are all huge baked oatmeal fans now.
It's no secret that I add chocolate chips to just about anything that I can so it should not come as any surprise that I even eat them in oatmeal. The addition of peanut butter makes this oatmeal all the better. I'm sure that this would be a healthier breakfast without peanut butter and chocolate but lets face it - it wouldn't be nearly as good.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal
Scoop filling into a greased 8 inch square pan.
Bake 20 minutes at 350.
Slice and serve warm.
Crumble squares into oatmeal and pour warm milk over oatmeal.
This yummy breakfast is our new favorite AND it took me less than 30 minutes - start to finish. Thank you Tyler for sharing your recipe.
Even though it came way to soon for my taste - we all survived the first morning of school 2015. There were awkward first day pictures, backpacks full of school supplies, a new lunch box and of course there was peanut butter chocolate chip baked oatmeal.
Now that Courtney is off to school and Ben is off to work - its just Mia and I left at home to console ourselves with the rest of the baked oatmeal - this is not going to end well.
I have declared the summer of 2015 as the summer of travel for our family. It took me a while to figure out why I just kept feeling like I was playing a never ending game of catch-up this summer and then it dawned on me --- some or all of us have been traveling for 6 weeks out of an 8 week summer!
We have been blessed with the opportunity to visit some amazing places and to reconnect with some long lost friends and family this summer. One of our trips was to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We had a great trip but rather than post the hundreds of pictures that I came home with, I thought I would share a short video of highlights from our week.
I love sharing the pictures from our vacation but I treasure the memories that were made even more. Having the opportunity to spend the week together as a family was absolutely priceless.
It's been a great summer and it's hard to believe that the kids will be heading back to school soon. We are doing all we can to soak up our last few days of summer vacation - AT HOME. Tonight I made a batch of Sweet Glazed Peaches for dessert. They were really good - they tasted like the epitome of summer.
Sweet Glazed Peaches
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 firm, ripe peaches
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup apple jelly
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
Add peaches and toss to coat all sides.
Combine jelly and butter and microwave 30 seconds.
Remove peaches from oven, brush with half of jelly mixture. Return peaches to oven and continue to broil until spotty brown. (7-9 minutes)
Remove peaches from oven, brush with remaining jelly and transfer peaches to serving platter.
Bring accumulated juices to in skillet to a simmer and cook until syrupy. (about 1 minute)
Pour syrup over peaches.
Sprinkle with pistachios and serve.
Fresh, ripe, juicy Georgia peaches in the height of summer are hard to beat. They're sweet and delicious that they make the perfect dessert after any summer meal.
I was home from vacation for exactly 10 hours (8 of which I was sleeping) before my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer was whirring at full speed. I took a little bit of a break from cooking while I was on vacation but once I got home - I was ready to fill my kitchen with sweet treats again. It might be hard to believe but the fact that cooking and baking has become my source of income, hasn't taken any of the fun out of it - I'm still in my happy place when I'm making a mess in the kitchen. I love the fact that I get paid to do a job that I love.
I don't realize how much I miss my daily baking tasks until I quit doing them for a while. Baking is my creative outlet - it's my source of creativity - and it's my stress relief. | think it's actually therapeutic for me to be in the kitchen. It doesn't matter whether it's healthy meals for my family or sweets for the cafe - cooking keeps me sane.
My first dessert after a week of being away from my kitchen - frozen strawberry pie. FROZEN STRAWBERRY PIE!!!
Frozen Strawberry Pie
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons butter
1 pound frozen strawberries, thawed
1 Tablespoon lime zest
juice from 2 limes
14 ounce can condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
While crust cools - prepare filling. Place strawberries, lime zest, lime juice and condensed milk in food processor and blend until smooth.
Spoon filling into crust and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Decorate with additional whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Frozen strawberry pie is a perfectly refreshing treat for hot summer days.
If you prefer something a little neater and easier to serve - make mini strawberry pies in muffin cups.
No matter how you serve it - you just can't go wrong with frozen strawberry pie. It's super easy to make - it's deliciously refreshing and it's pretty. That makes this dessert a trifecta of summer perfection.
Summer road trips are an annual event for my family. We travel miles and miles in the car every summer on adventures to the beach, to visit grandparents and to all sorts of wonderfully warm destinations.
I must admit that I'm not a big fan of riding in the car and I find myself having to constantly remind myself to enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination. I do however, LOVE the fact that we have uninterrupted family time while we're in the car. I think we've had some of our best family discussions while traveling in the car.
I never thought I would say this but over the years, I've actually learned to appreciate a long car ride. I attribute my change in attitude about car rides to the fact that my "kids" are teenagers now and able to not only entertain themselves but also participate in some of the driving. (Hang in there mom of littles - it does get easier to travel.) I treasure all days that I have with them - even if it means that we're just riding in the car together.
I still have to find things to makes car rides interesting and for me that answer is -- Snacks!!! For Ben - no car ride is complete without a package of twizzlers. For me - my snack of choice is chocolate chip cookies.
For our latest road trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina - I made a double batch of Chocolate Chip Biscuits. This recipe was introduced to me by my friend from New Zealand. I don't quite know how to describe them so I will simply say that they are "awesome." These little chocolate studded biscuits are perfect for dunking in morning coffee, nibbling on while riding in the car and snacking on for dessert.
Chocolate Chip Biscuits
2 cups butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
10 ounces dark chocolate chunks
Use a cookie scoop to portion dough into rounds. Flatten slightly with hands.
Bake cookies 24 minutes at 350. Cool on wire racks.
I would eat these biscuits in the car and I would eat them in a bar. I would eat them with a cup of tea - I would eat them in a tree. I would eat them here - I would eat there - I would eat these ANYWHERE!
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram