Fancy Egg Sammich (as my 3 year old calls it)

As I stared into the fully-stocked refrigerator with hunger pains, my lazy side began to curse my husband for being so proactive on getting the grocery shopping done. I was starving but I just couldn’t muster the energy to summon my inner Betty Crocker and really didn’t have much of an excuse not to – This rainy weather is killin’ my mojo!

I quickly started naming off what our lunch options were and luckily my three year old locked onto one of the easiest to make: Egg, cheese, salami and avocado sandwich – or as she calls it, the fancy egg sammich. We often make a simpler version around here for breakfast, but this one, all dressed up in it’s layers of salami and avocado, was perfect for brunch or breakfast all day!

I certainly didn’t want a boring lunch meat sandwich so I was cool with this decision because it required minimal cooking skills and it was quick. Double win!

Ingredients:

  • Bread, sliced
  • Cheese, we used Gouda….because its “good-ah”<—cheesy humor!
  • Eggs, 1-2 per sandwich depending on your hunger level, cooked over-medium
  • Salami slices, 2-4 depending on your taste
  • Avocado, we used 1/4-1/2 of an avocado per sandwich
  • Salt, to taste

What to do:

  1. Heat frying pan over low to medium heat with 1 tsp of butter. Add eggs. Cook for a few minutes. Flip and cook a few more to desired doneness. Add cheese and remove from heat while you prepare the other ingredients. I prefer to cook my eggs to over-medium in this recipe because it’s not overly messy when you eat it.
  2. Toast your bread slices in the toaster and butter while hot.
  3. Slice your avocado in half. Remove seed. Slice.
  4. Start with one slice of buttered toast, add eggs and cheese, top with salami and avocado as desired. Sprinkle a little salt on top and finish it off with the other slice of bread.
  5. Enjoy!

Easy, right? Easy, quick and yummy…. that’s the tired mom’s trifecta right there 😉

Sorry, there’s no picture this time – we ate them too quickly to photograph, LOL!

The beauty of this recipe is that you can feed the entire family for less than $10!

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Coming soon: monthly budget-friendly meal plans complete with recipes!

Fun Valentine’s Day Recipes: No Red Dye

I had no idea how hard it would be to keep my son away from red food dye once he started kindergarten, but after a rocky first month (last August), I was finally able to get my son and his teacher on the same page regarding what he could and couldn’t eat at school.

Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this point, thinking I’ve lost my marbles and must be an overly “crunchy” mom who feeds my child ridiculous things…..you couldn’t be further from the truth. My own mother thought it was a silly notion — until she witnessed the change in my son, herself.

My son is an adorable, kind-hearted, obedient and smart little boy who loves going to school. He’s a bit on the shy side but seems to make friends relatively easily once he comes out of his shell a bit. When he has even the smallest amount of red dye in his food or drink, he becomes a nightmare poster child for ADHD until its out of his system (for the next three days straight) and he cannot sleep to save his life in that time-span…you can imagine how difficult life is for the rest of us but for him, it’s even harder to understand WHY he can’t control himself, concentrate, sleep or even sit still. He becomes an emotional little wreck all because of some “harmless” food additive to make treats more visually appealing. So, we have learned to collectively avoid any and all foods with red dye as a family and I’ve taught him how to make these decisions at school and to speak up about it when I’m not around.

So, as you can imagine, my heart sank when I saw the heart-themed weekly newsletter that was sent home in his backpack, proclaiming that there would be a Valentine’s Day Party at school next week. At first came the fear of there being no peace in the house for half the week following the party, then the anger that my son couldn’t participate in the candy-eating goodness. I want my son to enjoy all of the little things that make childhood magical and special – I want him to have a normal childhood in every way, but here we are faced with the choice of sitting it out or taking control.

WE CHOOSE TO TAKE CONTROL.

For all of you who have kids with red dye sensitivities or allergies, I have pulled together a list of fun recipes you can do with your kids to celebrate all of the sweet red goodness that is Valentine’s Day.

I’ll be making some of these treats for my family this week and likely sending a good chunk of it to school with my son to be enjoyed during the party because I know it’s more special to him that way – when it’s enjoyed by all the kids and not alone at home.

If you have any recipes or additions you’d like to share, please comment and let us know! I am always looking for new tips and ideas 🙂

I’ve created a Pinterest Board for all of you who are looking for some fun ideas sans the red food dye. Check it out here.

Also, if you have a recipe that you LOVE and want to keep it, just swap the type of dyes used. Natural food coloring is available on Amazon made from vegetable colorants. I only just found out about these awesome little dyes and would totally check them out but the adventurous side of me kind of wants to play Betty Crocker!

As a side note, I also found Marachino Cherries at the store yesterday sans the red dye! They’re not as bright and pretty but it does afford those sensitive to red dye the chance to enjoy the taste and novelty of having a “cherry on top” with all of the other cool kids.

Here’s a summary of my favorites that will be tried in our house this year:

For those of you with a broken oven or who just don’t bake, there’s a few ideas on the board for you, too! Be sure to check out the gummies, pancakes or pink pasta. (Also note, some baking recipes can also be prepared by the cup in the microwave).

For more resources on recipes without red dye, check out this blog: Red Dye Free!

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Recipe: Apple Butter in the Crock Pot

Mmmmmmmm! Nothing says Fall like apples and everything apple spiced! I know the rest of the world goes gaga over anything pumpkin spice, but that fascination, for me, doesn’t begin until Thanksgiving and it ends around Christmas.  The period where the weather actually cools and leaves change will forever be ingrained in my brain as apple season – probably because I am originally from Southern California and I have fond memories of roadside stands overflowing with baskets of fresh picked apples and real apple cider!

My mom was big into the pre-packaged food revolution so I only ever had store bought apple butter growing up. while store bought apple butter is still yummy, homemade apple butter will put it to shame!  Homemade apple butter is just so much more vibrant tasting. You’ll have to try it to see what I mean 🙂

Homemade Apple Butter (Small batch Recipe)

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t have a ton of storage space, so making 12 jars of anything just isn’t realistic for you.  A lot of recipes around the internet make large batches which 1- makes me hate peeling and coring apples by the time I’m done and 2- takes up way too much space.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! Making apple butter in smaller batches means only 1 or 2 jars at a time, which means less goes to waste!

For the cost of a few apples and using spices you already have on hand, you can enjoy that sweet apple-y goodness that every family should experience in Fall!

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 large apples. (Granny Smith = zingy flavor, Red Delicious = classic flavor)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, whole
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
Directions:
  1. Peel, core and slice apples thinly and evenly.  It’s important to remove the skin and seeds because they will make the apple butter bitter.
  2. Please apples in crock pot, sprinkle sugar, cloves and place cinnamon sticks on top. Stir.
  3. Cook on low for 10-12 hours (I usually just pop it in after dinner for the following morning’s breakfast).
  4. Texture: I like mine a little more textured so I don’t really give mine more than a few stirs during cooking time but some people prefer a smoother texture.  If you prefer a smoother texture, take a hand mixer or whisk to your apple butter before pouring to jars.
  5. If it appears a little runny after the allotted cook time, try cooking for 1 hour with the lid off, then cool slightly before putting into jars or freezer safe containers.

It’s important to note that homemade foods do not contain a ton of preservatives like the store-bought foods, so it will spoil relatively quickly.  Try to use or freeze the batch within a week to be safe.

There you have it, ladies & gents! It’s really that cheap and that easy 🙂

Now go and enjoy…….

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