DynaBites – Your Family’s New Favorite Protein Energy Ball Recipe

DynaBites Protein Energy Ball Recipe

Protein Balls…Energy Balls…DynaBites…Whatever you call them, they are very much the rage for quick and easy kid-friendly snacking. The recipes are endless, but this is my favorite basic protein energy ball recipe, with ingredients that I nearly always have on hand.

With just 4 ingredients – oatmeal, nut butter, honey & Juice Plus+ Complete – prep time is super simple! Kids can even do it and enjoy rolling the ingredients into balls.

While oatmeal is naturally gluten-free, many manufacturers process the oatmeal in the same facilities and sometimes, the same equipment, as grains containing gluten, so have some cross-contamination. I always like to look specifically for gluten-free grains to minimize inflammation.

You can use any nut butter of choice for this recipe, but I usually use creamy peanut butter, because that’s what we have on hand. Almond butter also provides a nice creamy nutty taste, while crunchy varieties add some texture.

Juice Plus+ Complete is my protein powder of choice because it is vegan and contains 13g of plant-based protein and 7g of fiber per serving with no added sugars. This recipe uses two servings of Complete and makes approximately 20 balls.

Place the prepped balls on a cookie sheet and leave in the freezer until firm, about 2 hours. Once firm, DynaBites should be stored in the fridge.

DynaBites

A kid-friendly protein energy ball
Prep Time 5 mins
Freezing Time 2 hrs
Course Snack
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Cookie Sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup oatmeal gluten-free preferred
  • 1 cup nut butter peanut, almond, etc
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Juice Plus+ Complete Dutch Chocolate or French Vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Form into 1 inch balls
  • Freeze until firm ~2 hours

Notes

Optional Add-ins: 
  • Chocolate chips
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried fruit
Keyword Kid-friendly, Protein

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Protein Energy Ball Recipe Pin

 

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One Ingredient Ice Cream

Disclosure: This article may include affiliate links, upon which I will earn a commission.

School is officially out, so that means one thing…summer!

And with summer comes ice cream. But the more I get in tune with my body, the more I know that dairy does not agree with me, not to mention its inflammatory nature. And don’t forget the sugar in traditional ice creams. This got me looking for an ice cream recipe that I could make with almond milk, and led me to The Kitchn’s article on making ice cream with bananas.

Can you really make ice cream with just bananas? YES!

 

One Ingredient Ice Cream


One Ingredient Ice Cream - Prepping Bananas

Start with ripe bananas. I used 3 bananas, which resulted In 2 adult bowls and 2 kid-size bowls. First, cut bananas into smaller sections (~1/2 inch). Place into a small baggy and freeze for at least 2 hours.

You may remember the Yonanas machine that was all the rage a few years ago, but no special machine is required. Just use your blender or food processor. I used our Vitamix.

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Once frozen, place your bananas into the blender and start pulsing. Break up the chunks of banana in short bursts of power. You will need to help move the mixture around a lot as it is very thick. It will look crumbly at first. With continued pulsing and blending, the bananas will start to cream together. Be careful not to overblend, as the heat of the blender will start to melt the ice cream. Serve immediately.

My family’s favorite part was the toppings! We used fresh berries, mini chocolate chips, and walnuts. You can also blend peanut butter, avocado, or honey directly into the ice cream for different flavor variations. Wait until the bananas are creamy before adding any flavors.

One Ingredient Ice Cream Pin

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Don’t Let Your Easter Ham Go to Waste – 9 Unique Uses for Ham

Easter 2020 will be one to remember. Unable to celebrate in person with extended family or church friends, families have had to find new ways to celebrate. I was given the opportunity to perform a mystery shop at the Honey Baked Ham store. Included in the shop was reimbursement for a 7-8lb ham (which is designed to feed 11-12 people). I have a family of 4, with 2 little ones who don’t eat much meat. That means we had SO much ham to eat. That began my research of recipes and uses for ham. Here’s my compilation of the best and most unique uses for ham. Click any picture for the full recipe.

9 Uses for Ham

Sandwiches

I’ll start with the obvious, but sandwiches are fun and can be easy to elevate. Start with some homemade or specialty bread. We love Hawaiian bread in our house! You can even use leftover rolls or make biscuits or cornbread. Add different cheeses, veggies, and sauces for endless combinations.

Southern Ham and Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches
Southern Ham and Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches / The Spruce Eats

 

Monte Cristo
Monte Cristo / She Wears Many Hats

 

Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur / Tastes Better From Scratch

Eggs

Omelets and egg scrambles are a perfect fit for leftover ham. Dice it up and add with your favorite cheese and veggies.

Ham and Vegetable Omelet
Ham and Vegetable Omelet / Ready Set Eat

Casseroles

Casseroles are great because you can usually prep it and forget it or even freeze for later.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole / The Spruce Eats

 

Ham Casserole with Broccoli and Rice
Ham Casserole with Broccoli and Rice / The Cozy Cook

 

Soups

Potato and Ham Soup with Cheese
Potato and Ham Soup with Cheese / The Spruce Eats

 

Simple Navy Bean Soup with Ham
Simple Navy Bean Soup with Ham / The Spruce Eats

 

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup
Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup / The Cozy Cook

Potatoes

So many options to go with potatoes, including hashes, scalloped and au gratin varieties, and even baked potatoes with diced ham.

 

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes / Love Grows Wild

 

Easy Ham and Potato Hash
Easy Ham and Potato Hash / The Spruce Eats

 

Pasta

Creamy Pasta with Ham and Asparagus
Creamy Pasta with Ham and Asparagus / The Spruce Eats

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta / The Spruce Eats

 

Ham and Cheese Manicotti

Ham and Cheese Manicotti / Recipe Girl

Creamy Parmesan Noodles with Ham
Creamy Parmesan Noodles with Ham / Recipe Girl

 

Ham and Cheese Baked Gnocchi
Ham and Cheese Baked Gnocchi / Recipe Girl

 

Mac and Cheese with Ham
Mac and Cheese with Ham / Spicy Southern Kitchen

Pizza

Homemade pizza can’t be beat! Go with a traditional ham and pineapple or any combination of flavors.

Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza / Foodlets

Quiche

These muffin tin quiche are great because you can cook a big batch, freeze them, then warm up a few for a quick breakfast.

Muffin Cup Ham and Cheddar Quiche
Muffin Cup Ham and Cheddar Quiche / The Spruce Eats

 

Muffins

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins / She Wears Many Hats
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How To Pack School Lunches That Your Kids Will Actually Eat

school lunch

Packing school lunches is a great option when your child isn’t too fond of what the school has to offer or you want a little more control over what your child is eating. In our household, we pack lunches to avoid the nearly daily gluten in the school lunches (sandwiches, pasta, pizza, breaded chicken).

Of course if your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packing lunches is a must. Frankly, packing a lunch allows you to include healthy foods your child will actually eat and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school.

Of course packing a lunch every day doesn’t do any good if your child doesn’t eat it or ends up trading most of it away for junk food. The key then is to find things that your child loves and enjoys eating.

The best place to start is to get your child involved. Depending on the age of your kids, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. Not only do you know that they’ll pack something they will eat, being in charge of packing lunch will teach them responsibility.

Start by talking to your kids about what they want in their lunch box. Make a list of options and then head to the store so you have everything you need for the week. Getting the kids as involved as possible will make sure that they end up with lunches they will eat. For older kids that may mean making their own lunches (under your supervision of course).

Younger children can help. Even your kindergartener can wash grapes and put them into a container, or pick a snack for his lunch box. Get in the habit of making lunches together the night before. Over time you can give the kids more and more responsibility for their lunches. This alone will help make sure they eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made. Along the way you’re teaching them independence and important life skills.

Of course you want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods. Insisting on all healthy, organic food options all the time may not be your best strategy though. Strike a balance and make compromises. If your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad for example, let them have some cookies for dessert. Teach them to make good choices, but don’t freak out if they decide to pack some Cheetos or a pack of Oreo cookies. Your goal is to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices, not restrict all access to junk food, causing them to trade with friends for forbidden Twinkies.

how to pack school lunches

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EveryPlate – A New Meal Kit Review

Disclaimer: I was not paid to review EveryPlate or any other meal kit, but this post does include referral links which will credit me if you choose to sign up. 

EveryPlate bills itself as the “Affordable Meal Kit for Everyone” with kits starting at $4.99/serving. I’ve been a long time proponent for meal delivery service kits, starting with Hello Fresh and am currently using Sun Basket and Blue Apron. You can see my review of these services here. I’d been seeing EveryPlate advertised online and received a 40% discount for my first 3 weeks.

Each week, you can select 3 recipes from  9 different options. Some options (like steak) are an extra charge per serving. It is also easy to skip weeks if you won’t be home or don’t like the menu options. I’ve been ordering the 2 serving meal kits for my family of 4 (kids aged 7 & 3) and it provides us a nice reasonable sized meal. My 3 year old hardly eats anything, so I would consider it really 3 servings. I’ve also found that pasta dishes are much larger servings than other meals and many times we have leftovers.

Every recipe indicates that it can be cooked in 30 minutes, but I’ve found that so far I’m usually done quicker. EveryPlate also relies on your home “staples” more than other meal kits I’ve tried. They assume that you will have milk, flour, oil, and butter on hand. Oil is the only one of these ingredients that I regularly have, so I have to be prepared and stock up in advance.

Like other meal kits, the food is shipped to you on ice, within a bag designed to stay cold. The box is smaller than the other meal kits I’ve used, so a little friendlier on the environment. Within the box, you’ll find each recipe on its own recipe card, the meat in the lowest section right next to the ice, and the remaining ingredients in a nice little cardboard crate that fits nicely in the fridge. The ingredients are delivered in their purest form, so some prep is required.

EveryPlate is a great option if you want to save money and like simple options for your family that are quick to cook.

EveryPlate finished product
The finished product

 

Meal Kit Comparison

 

EveryPlateSun BasketBlue ApronHello Fresh
Weekly Menu Options9 recipes18 recipes11 recipes20
Starting Price / serving$4.99$10.99$7.49$7.49
Key DifferentiatorsPriceOrganic produce; Lots of weekly options; Plans for multiple diets (paleo, gluten-free, etc.)Good middle of the road optionGreat entry to the space; Long history in the industry

For a comprehensive look at even more meal delivery kits, check out ConsumersAdvocate.org. They studied different meal delivery options and analyzed their costs, the freshness of their ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, and their variety to find the best option for everyone.

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The Juice Bar Review & Giveaway (Ends 1/28)

The Juice Bar book

When we purchased our Vitamix, it included a copy of “The Juice Bar”, which bills itself on having 80 recipes to boost health. Given that only about 15% of individuals eat the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables each day, adding a juice regime is an easy way to quickly boost that number. Studies show that people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, obesity, and some cancers.

The book is broken down into chapters on “Jump-start”, “Rehydrate”, “Energy”, “Health”, and “Detox”, after an introduction to juicing and how to properly prepare different fruits and vegetables. Some recipes require a juicer, but many can be prepared in a blender for a smoothie. While the recipes look amazing, the photography and tips are the real winner.

The book is available on Amazon, but today, you could win your own copy. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

The Juice Bar book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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November – What’s In Season

As the cold sets in, it can be hard to imagine that there is any produce in season. But California and other southern states can grow all year long and some items prefer the cold weather.

Whether shopping at the grocery store or farmer’s market, it pays to shop what’s in season. You’ll get the most bang for your buck and nutritional value when the produce you seek was just harvested out of the field.

Here’s what’s in season during November in the United States.

 

What is your favorite dish to make with what’s in season this month?

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October – What’s in Season

Whether shopping at the grocery store or farmer’s market, it pays to shop what’s in season. You’ll get the most bang for your buck and nutritional value when the produce you seek was just harvested out of the field.

Here’s what’s in season during October in the United States.

What is your favorite dish to make with what’s in season this month?

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September – What’s in Season

Whether shopping at the grocery store or farmer’s market, it pays to shop what’s in season. You’ll get the most bang for your buck and nutritional value when the produce you seek was just harvested out of the field.

Here’s what’s in season during September in the United States.

What is your favorite dish to make with what’s in season this month?

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August – What’s in Season

Whether shopping at the grocery store or farmer’s market, it pays to shop what’s in season. You’ll get the most bang for your buck and nutritional value when the produce you seek was just harvested out of the field.

Here’s what’s in season during August in the United States.

What is your favorite dish to make with what’s in season this month?

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