Let's Talk About Food Baby

Spring & Summer Snacks, Meals & Light Desserts

So let’s talk food. Warmer weather is upon us (well, most of us), and that means more outdoor play, more walking, hiking and exploring, more activities within the community, and most importantly, lighter, delicious food. I am very passionate about food, and I love to cook and bake, and would honestly, if I had the time, spend more time in the kitchen, playing with recipes and experimenting, finding new ways to enhance our taste buds.

When it is nice outside, my kids love being outside, blowing bubbles, taking walks around the neighborhood, swinging on the swing set, checking our flowers, vegetable and fruit

plants, to see if there is anything there they can eat. But most of all, they like sitting outside to eat snacks and meals. So, with help from my mom and my own ingenuity, I have found some easy lunches and snacks that they can eat outside, that I feel good about giving them, and some other light meals and desserts that are a must-have during the warmer months.

To start off with snacks for the kids, indoors or outside, popsicles are always a must in our house. Whether it be store-bought liquid popsicles that you freeze at home, to homemade fruit smoothie popsicles, to push-up pops (a new found favorite), any of these are a perfect combination for sitting outside in the nice cool breeze with the sun above your head. Another great snack while playing outdoors is, and I know this sounds weird, but a cup of ice is magical. My kids can sit and munch on ice for a long time and be completely satisfied. Plus it’s a great way to make sure they are getting water into their bodies, so they don’t dehydrate.

For outdoor / light meals for the kids, start off with a frozen Go-Gurt tube, cut in half. That way, they can push it up by themselves, and munch on crunchy, cold yogurt. Next up, chop up strawberries (we usually cut in quarters), freeze on a plate, then transfer to a baggie, and keep in the freezer. Wash some grapes (can also use blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc…), dry them, put them in another baggie, and freeze them also. These frozen fruits will keep the kids coming back for more, whether you eat inside or outside. Bologna (or any lunchmeat) and cheese cut into triangles, paired with crackers is a perfect warm weather lunch, and not too heavy on one’s stomach. My kids also like yogurt with granola and chopped up fruit to add to it. During the warm months, we try to avoid soups, corn dogs, peanut butter … anything that is hot, heavy and dry.

During the spring and summer, after dinner, we do like to get out and walk, and enjoy the outdoors as much as we can. Which means meals need to be small and light on our stomachs to avoid the “I’m going to puke” feeling (which the neighbors appreciate also). So dinners around our house are quick and easy = one piece of meat (sautéed or baked with seasonings – we never fry foods) with a serving of a vegetable (usually a salad). Plain, simple, and fulfilling. Lunches, for me, thanks to my mom, have been an open-faced tomato sandwich. Two slices of bread, toasted, with mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and a large tomato (small grape tomatoes work just as well here) sliced in three even slices, and placed upon the bread. Again, plain, simple and fulfilling.

So I hope this article has helped spruce up and lighten up your summer menu, and helped with the kid’s meals and snacks too. Sometimes I have noticed that the easier the meal and snacks, the more the kids like it. Here are a few recipes that I use that are wonderful to have in the summer, due to their lightness and/or quick grab-n-go appeal :

Broccoli Salad

1 bunch broccoli (or cauliflower) chopped into small florets

1 small onion chopped (optional)

1/2 lb bacon (browned and crumbled)

1 c sharp grated cheese

1 pkg student mix (can use raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc…)

Dressing

1/2 c mayo

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp vinegar

Mix together and pour over broccoli. Mix well and chill.

Apple Crisp (or around our house it is Strawberry Rhubarb)

4 c apples (can use any fruit)

3/4 c sugar

2 tbsp flour

1/2 tbs salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix and put into sprayed 13x9 pan.

Topping

1 c oatmeal

1 c brown sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 c flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 c butter

Crumble topping together, and sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Grape Salad

2 lbs green seedless grapes

2 lbs red seedless grapes

8 oz sour cream

8 oz cream cheese, softened (can also use whipped cream cheese)

1/2 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Topping

1 c brown sugar

1 c pecans

Wash grapes.

Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar, vanilla until blended.

Stir grapes into mixture, and pour into large serving bowl.

Combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over grape mixture.

Chill overnight.

Snack Crackers

1 c oil

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 pkg HVR salad dressing

2-12 oz pkg oyster crackers

Mix all well, and pour over crackers. Let sit at least an hour. Shake often.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 graham cracker crust (extra 2 servings)

Mix 5-6 tbsp powdered sugar with 2-3 tbsp peanut butter. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the bottom of the crust.

Mix 1-1/2 c milk with 1 box vanilla instant pudding with whisk. Add 1/2 c peanut butter, then 1 container of Cool Whip. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle with remaining half crumble mixture.

Homemade Russian Dressing

1/3 c ketchup

3/4 c sugar

1/4 to 1/2 c vinegar

1 c oil

1/2 tbsp Worcheshire Sauce

Mix well and refrigerate. Best uses = taco salad or steak salad.

Veggie Pizza

2 pkgs crescent rolls

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup Hellman’s mayo

1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

Press crescent rolls into bottom of greased jelly roll pan. Bake at temperature on package for 7-8 minutes.

Cream together cream cheese, mayo and dressing, and spread over cooled baked crescent rolls.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, small diced tomatoes, peppers, olives, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.... Refrigerate overnight, then serve in squares.

Cream Cheese Crescents

2 pkgs crescent rolls

16 oz cream cheese

1-1/2 c powdered sugar

1/3 stick butter, melted

Sugar

Cinnamon

Spread one package crescent rolls into bottom of 13x9 pan. Press triangles together to form a solid layer. Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar and spread over crescent rolls, almost to the edge. Put second package of crescent rolls on top, sealing together triangles. Press edges of top and bottom layer of crescent rolls together. Spread melted butter over entire top, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Pig Pickin’ Cake

1 box Duncan Hines Butter Cake

1/2 c oil

1 stick butter

11 oz can mandarin oranges and juice

4 eggs

Beat all together and bake according to directions on package.

Frosting

8 oz Cool Whip

20 oz crushed pineapple and juice

1 box vanilla instant pudding

Mix together, and spread on cooled cake.

Salad Dressing

1-1/2 c sugar

1/2 c vinegar

2/3 c oil

1/2 tsp onion salt

1/4 tsp garlic salt

Mix all together.

Pineapple Stuffing

20 oz can pineapple tidbits and juice

4 c cubed bread

2 beaten eggs

1 c sugar

4 tbsp melted butter

Stir together in sprayed casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.

Vegetable Dip

8 oz bottle catalina dressing

16 oz pkg cream cheese

Beat cream cheese with mixer, and SLOWLY add dressing, until completely mixed. Chill, serve with crackers and fresh, raw vegetables.

Sweet & Sour Kielbasa

1/2 c vinegar

1 c brown sugar

1 tsp dry mustard

1 pkg kielbasa, cut up

Pour mixture into crock pot, cook on slow for 2-3 hours.


Written By: Dana Thornton

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