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After School Snacks

With school just starting, I thought I’d share a few suggestions for a variety of after school snacks. There should be something to make any kiddo happy in this list, from homemade junk food to truly delicious healthy options!

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

This is a super simple and versatile cookie recipe you can whip up in a snap with whatever mix you have on hand. Try it!

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Crafty Snacking

This post has a few creative, cute and quick snack ideas, including the friendly spider below. Anyone can do these, even kids!

Happy Spider

Happy Spider

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Try these refreshing and inexpensive homemade popsicles! You won’t regret it!

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Super Yummy Don-t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Here’s a list of fun, easy and very healthy kid approved snacks! Many of these can also be made by the kiddos themselves.

Veggie Snack

Veggie Snack

Completely Healthy Cookies? Yes, Please!

This recipe for multiple versions of oatmeal cookies are made with only wholesome ingredients- no sugar or flour- and pass the taste test of my children and hubby who all have a sweet tooth. They are quite filling, and healthy enough that you could be the cool mom giving them cookies for breakfast! 😉

Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Home Flavored Yogurt

Do you love yogurt, but not all the sugary content or the high price tag on individual servings? This is the perfect idea for you!

Home Flavored Yogurt

Home Flavored Yogurt

Some More S’mores

Love s’mores, but no time for campfires for awhile? Here’s your solution!

S'mores Cupcakes

S’mores Cupcakes

Which of these do you want to try first? These are all tried and approved by my own munchkins. They don’t pretend to like anything just to spare Mommy’s feelings, so you know they’ve passed at least a couple of kid tests. 😉


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Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

My family loves super soft cookies, and I love simple and inexpensive treats. While I don’t always keep cookies around, sometimes nothing else will do. I usually have some cake mixes stashed in ym cabinets, so I decided to try out this easy cake mix cookies recipe, shared at the bottom of this post.

The beauty of this recipe is it’s versatility. You can literally do pretty much any flavors you can get in a cake mix and throw in whatever mix-in tickles your fancy. My husband is a fiend for chocolate and peanut butter together, so this time I went with devil’s food cake and peanut butter chips. It was the bomb diggety!

This recipe is a terrific choice for cooking with kids, because it’s pure simplicity and no fuss to make, and what kid doesn’t like cookies? 😉 My five and two year olds had a good ol’ time dumping in the ingredients, doing quality control taste tests on the peanut butter chips, dumping spoonfuls of batter on the cookie sheet, and eating the results of their labor.

Some other flavor combinations I think would be yummy? Lemon cake with vanilla chips, almonds or coconut. Chocolate cake with white chocolate, coconut, raisins or nuts. Vanilla cake with chocolate chips, dried cranberries or nuts. Peanut butter cake with chocolate chips, Reese’s cups diced up or nuts. Orange cake with dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries. Strawberry cake with dark or white chocolate chips. I’ll stop now, but you get the picture. There are TONS of possibilities!

What flavor combinations can you come up with?

Here is the link to the simply sweet recipe I used as my base.

http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-cake-mix-cookies-5287


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Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Whose kiddos don’t enjoy an ice cold treat on a warm day? I haven’t met one yet! Here comes the quandary for the penny pinchers like me who also try to minimize their children’s intakes of artificial dyes and an overload of sugars on less-than-special occasions. The cheap popsicles are full of naughty dyes and sugars. The “healthy” versions are way out of our daily budget for the voracious appetites of our chilly chompers. My solution? Homemade on the cheap, of course!

My children have already started their popsicle trip for the summer, so I was planning to make some homemade popsicles to satisfy their cravings. Last year I’d already purchased a new set of popsicle makers on sale for a dollar, so I was prepared with the right tools. You can also get them on Amazon for less than five dollars: Ostart 8 Cell Frozen Ice Cream Pop Mold Popsicle Maker Lolly Mould Tray Pan Kitchen DIYA similar model to the one I have is: Easy Pack 8 pc Popsicle Maker

As I scanned the juice aisle, I spotted fruit punch marked way down to 50 cents for the real kind in the refrigerated section!! SCORE!!! It’s not the 100% fruit kind, but it is dye free and no corn syrup, so I’m good with that for a treat.

When I got time after I’d gotten everything put up, I poured a set of popsicles up, let Princess Pennypincher put the tops on them and popped them in the freezer to set up. I made a set of 8, but I can easily make a minimum of three more sets out of this one juice container. At this price, that’s less than two cents apiece, y’all!!! It didn’t take much longer than it normally does to fix two sippy cups full of their water splashed with juice, either, so it’s not at all time consuming. A trick for removing them from the freezer container more easily without getting all handle and no popsicle? Carefully twist the handle as you pull the popsicle out if it starts to stick on you. My children love the cold, sweet treats. I love that there is no guilt in allowing them to indulge- from a health or budget perspective. Win-win!!! 😉

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Keep Sliced Apples Fresh

How to keep apple slices fresh longer…

My kids love to snack on apple slices. The problem is, they frequently don’t finish all of the slices at one sitting. I got fed up with feeding the leftovers to the chickens, and remembered that I’d heard lemon juice would keep the slices fresh for longer. I didn’t have lemon juice, but I did have key lime, so I tried it. Here are the results, after 24 hours.

First, I put a slice aside as a control to see how well the key lime juice would actually work. Below is what it looked like after 24 hours, a sort of golden brown. It was also fairly squishy when I’d give it a squeeze between my fingers.

Apple slice without key lime juice

Apple slice without key lime juice

Next, I put a couple of slices of apple in a Ziploc baggie, sprinkled a few drops of key lime juice inside, swished it all around to make sure there was a light coating all over and squeezed the air out of the bag, leaving it on the kitchen counter with the other plain apple baggie. Below is what it looked like after 24 hours, almost as white as when I sliced it. The texture was also pretty much the same, and there was barely a hint of key lime flavor when eating it.

Apple slices with key lime juice

Apple slices with key lime juice

All in all, I’d say this experiment was a definite success. I’ve added a new weapon to my produce saving, grocery stretching repertoire! It’s also a great option for prepping healthy snacks the night before when you know you have a busy day coming up.

For more snack ideas, check out After School Snacks!


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ABC Fun, Find and Food

Amazing A Sound Hunt

Amazing A Sound Hunt

I am always looking for ways to make learning fun for my munchkins. Lately, one of the things I am doing with my daughter is reviewing the alphabet, making sure she can write each letter well and knows the phonetic sound that goes with each one. She’s not crazy about repetitive copy work, so I am having her do that part first so she can get to whatever fun game or activity I have planned with it.

Here is my lesson plan, if you can call it that, for the “Fun, Find and Food” theme for the letters A, B and C…

Letter A:

  1. Color the A page in her book, then fill in the practice page for writing the letter A.
  2. Attach the coloring page to the lid of a shoebox, as shown.
  3. Have her make the long A and short a sounds, and tell her to search the house for anything starting with those sounds.
  4. Watch as she runs excitedly around the house hollering out words for items to see if they start with the letter A.
  5. Give her a snack starting with an A, in this case, an apple.

Additional snack suggestions: Apricot, Apple Pie, Almonds.

In the above picture, she found: ape, apple, apron, antlers, animal, alligator, angel.

A is for Apple

A is for Apple

Letter B:

Repeat steps 1-5, just for the letter B.

Snack suggestions: Banana, Berries, Burrito, Blueberry Muffins.

Letter C:

Repeat steps 1-5, just for the letter C.

Snack suggestions: Carrots, Cookies, Crackers, Cucumbers, Craisins.

If you want to do all three letters in one day, you could have them collecting the ingredients for their snacks over the course of the three letters, then eat the snack at the end. For example, you could do a fruit salad with chopped apples and/or apricots, sliced bananas and shredded carrots or some craisins. You could also do a fruit trail mix with a mixture of any or all of the following: dried apples or apricots, almonds, dried bananas or berries, and craisins.

Here is an adorable Alphabetimals coloring book that would work well with this activity, if you need a new one: Alphabetimals Coloring Book (Dover Coloring Books)“>

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


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Super Yummy Don’t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Veggie snack

Veggie Snack

I decided to come up with healthier versions of premade snacks my kiddos can just open the fridge and get out when I’m in the middle of something.

My kiddos are always munching away, and often get hungry when I really don’t have time to make even a quick snack.  By the way, I actually do tell my kids when their food is healthy, because I want them to know they are eating well and still enjoy what they’re eating instead of thinking junk is better. It sounded cute, though. 😉

Here are a few of my ideas for quick and healthy snacks…

One idea I came up with for inexpensive premade snacks of the healthy variety is to chop up some veggies into little stick shapes, get some ranch dressing or other preferred veggie dip and put it all together in a two sided container. In this case, I used a KFC Go Cup, because it is about the right size and already divided into two sections for the two parts. I have a lot of cucumbers from the garden and carrots are cheap, so that was my choice for this particular cup. Some other suggestions would be celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, sugar pea, broccoli, cauliflower or baby carrots.

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Using the same KFC Go Cup, or a similar divided container, such as these awesome Easylunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers “Classic” (Set Of 4). Bpa-Free. Easy-Open Lids (Not Leakproof)
, try slicing apples or green grapes and making a dip of peanut butter and honey.

The above suggestions have to be refrigerated if not being used immediately, but the ideas below are good for a snack drawer or shelf the kids can free range graze. 🙂

In small sandwich baggies, put in handfuls of homemade snack mix. One that I tried recently was Taco Seasoned Chex Mix. It could be adapted with your own seasonings you’d normally use in tacos, I was just trying it following their recipe to start. I like that it has very little sugar (a small amount in the cereals) and is fairly filling.

Another sandwich bag filler is GORP: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. I mix two parts each of raisins and peanuts with one part M&Ms or chocolate chips, and it is soooooo yummy! I wouldn’t call it a health food, but it will fulfill your kiddos’ junk food cravings without allowing them to completely binge on sugar.

You can whip up a batch of my Yummy Oatmeal Banana Healthy Cookies and put a couple in each baggie for a great quick and healthy snackeroo that will satisfy even a hungry hubby. 🙂

This premade healthy thing can be applied to simply putting various fruits, veggies or nuts into serving sized containers for your kids to grab at will. Children tend to eat what is easily accessed, just like adults, and it is up to the grownups in their lives to provide them with solid choices.

What are some of your favorite homemade convenience snacks? Need more snack ideas? Check out After School Snacks!

 


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Home Flavored Yogurt

Home Flavored Yogurt

How to Make Your Own Home Flavored Yogurt!

My family loves to eat yogurt, but I’ve ran into a couple of problems with the pre-flavored yogurts available at the store.

First off, they are getting too stinkin’ expensive for my taste! Second, there is a ton of sugar, artificial dyes and extra junk I can’t even pronounce added into most of them, and I’m not too crazy about that when I’m trying to make a healthy choice by eating yogurt in the first place.

So, being the penny pinching peach that I be 🙂 , I decided to start experimenting with making my own flavored yogurt, starting with the big (and much cheaper!) tubs of plain yogurt.

The first thing I tried was a recipe I found for chocolate chip cookie dough yogurt. It was just a couple of scoops of plain yogurt (Greek or regular works, although the recipe asked for Greek), a couple of scoops of creamy peanut butter, a sprinkling of vanilla extract and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was surprisingly good!

Next, I used some of my son’s baby food to flavor some of that same plain yogurt. Both of my children were crazy about it! It actually tasted very similar to the store bought fruit flavored yogurts, just slightly less sweet because there was no sugar added. This one is 100% healthy and sugar free, which is fantastic since too much sugar makes my munchkins act like they’ve been transformed into the Energizer bunny until all hours of the night. 🙂

Banana baby food and a generous dollop of peanut butter mixed into yogurt was a definite hit, with both my daughter and myself! Some other baby food flavors I’d suggest: strawberry banana, apple blueberry (sounds weird, but my kids loved that one), peaches, banana, apricot & mixed fruit…pretty much anything fruity that sounds yummy to you will work.

My husband brought me a yogurt mix treat the other day, bringing with it more yogurt mix-in inspiration. Try almond slivers, dark chocolate shavings or chips and shredded coconut. Can we say delicious? Ooooo, yeahhh! 😉

A winning flavor is mashed banana and peanut butter mixed together and then mixed into your yogurt.

Cinnamon, honey and raisins makes for a different twist, with flavors reminiscent of rice pudding.

Does anyone else flavor their own yogurt? What’s your favorite?