Easy Energy Balls

These days it seems like my teenager is never, ever full. So I’ve been trying to find filling but healthier after school snacks as well as quick breakfast ideas. I used to make these super easy energy balls and can’t believe I forgot about them until now.

The recipe that I have makes a small batch which is perfect for myself and the boy, but it can be easily doubled to make more for a larger family. I’m not sure if it’s the oatmeal flakes or not, but I find that they tend to dry out a bit after a day or so, so it’s good to consume them within a day or two.

You only need a handful of ingredients and you probably already have most of them on hand.

Easy Energy Balls – makes about 12 balls
1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice)
3/4 cup of rolled oats
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup of crushed peanuts

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Let chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. After chilled roll into small bite size balls. Makes approximately 12. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

* If you use crunchy peanut butter, you can omit the additional crushed peanuts.
* Chia or flax seeds can be used instead of the crushed peanuts for a nut free option.
* Raisins could be added in place of chocolate chips

There are so many recipes out there for energy balls but this is the one I have found that the boy likes the best.



Crockpot Chicken Chili

It’s getting to be that time of year where the weather gets cold and rainy (and soon snowy) and I start breaking out the crockpot more often. In fall/winter, I am a big fan of warm, stick to your ribs soups, stews and chili’s. And with a lot of these recipes, it’s pretty much a dump, cook and serve, so it makes the prep work all the more easier.

This recipe for Chicken Chili is super easy and full of flavor. What I also like about it, is it is pretty much set it and forget it so I can make it in the morning and by dinner time, it will be piping hot and ready to serve.

Not everyone likes a lot of spice, so you can easily adjust to your liking and can easily accommodate any food sensitivity. This is a recipe that could quickly become a family favorite. And on the plus side, it is WW friendly which makes it even better in my books.

Crock Pot Chicken Chili
Servings: 8

1 onion, chopped
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce (used a 16 oz can)
2 small cans of corn kernels)
2 cans Rotel (use the Mild for less spice)
1 packet chili seasoning
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper (to taste)
chopped fresh cilantro

 Combine beans, onion, Rotel, corn, tomato sauce, and chili seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken is no longer pink inside. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.

When serving you can top with fresh cilantro, a dollop of sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt). I like to pair it with a fresh baguette as well.

This is a great recipe to warm up the kids after they come home from school, or playing outside.



Chia Seed Pudding

When it comes to breakfast, I am the worst.  I used to make a coffee or 2 in the morning sustain me until lunch time but then I discovered Chia Seed Pudding.

Because I make it the night before, it is easy to grab out the refrigerator first thing in the morning, add my toppings and I am good to go. Chia Seed Pudding is such a versatile recipe for anyone with any sort of food allergies or sensitivities as you can use any type of milk that suits your needs and you can choose the toppings.

If you use a milk that has any sort of vanilla flavoring to it for example,  Vanilla Almond Milk, I would suggest omitting the vanilla already included in the recipe.

As for toppings for the Chia seed pudding, the options are limitless.

Some of the ones I have tried and enjoyed are:

  • Fresh berries
  • Sliced Bananas and a dollop of peanut butter
  • A dollop of hazelnut spread
  • Even a tablespoon of your favorite jam is good if you don’t have fresh berries

And this doesn’t just have to be for breakfast, it makes a nice snack or dessert as well. It can usually sit for a day or 2 in your refrigerator but I wouldn’t leave it any longer than that.  Also, if you can, give the pudding a stir a few hours after you’ve first made it.  I can get a bit clumpy in spots, so it’s good to mix it up.


  • Small mason jar
  • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk (Choose your favorite type)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fruit or toppings of your choice
  1. Add all ingredients, except for toppings to mason jar or container with lid
  2. Be sure to combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Let sit overnight (or minimum 6 hours) in refrigerator.
  4. Add toppings of choice right before you eat.


The Easiest Black Bean Brownies Ever

I am not going to lie, even when I am being really careful about watching what I eat, I still love a little sweet treat every once in a while.  And when I can find a hack to make those treats just a little bit healthier I am all over it.  This super easy recipe for black bean brownies incorporates the sweetness and somewhat healthier version for me all in to one recipe.

Black Bean brownies done 2

And when I say easy, this recipe is EASY.  All you need is 3 ingredients – your favorite brownie mix, a can of black beans and a little bit of water.  That is it!  I have tried this recipe with a number of different brownie mixes and all have turned out delicious.

Blackbean brownies ingredients

The steps to a yummy batch of brownies are this easy:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and rinse 2/3 cup of black beans.
  3. In a blender add the beans with 1/2 cup water and mix until completely smooth.  This step is very important if you have kids that will run away screaming if there is any sign of a bean in the brownies.  
  4. In a mixing bowl, add the bean mixture to the brownie mix and still until completely mixed.
  5. Pour mixture in to a 9×11 pan.  I used a silicon pan so there is no need for greasing ahead of time.  If you use a metal or glass pan, be sure to great well ahead of time.  I recommend an oblong pan as these brownies tend to have a fudgier consistency.  
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the brownies to cool completely before serving.

Like I said, the easiest brownies you can ever make.  You’re kids will never know that there is anything even remotely healthy in them.  And you can enjoy without all those pangs of guilt.

Black Bean brownies done




Meals Made Easy – Greek Yogurt Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Disclosure:   I have partnered with Kitchen Stuff Plus and have received compensation for this post. All comments and opinions are strictly mine.

When the kids are back in school, time is of the essence, so having all the things you need to getting your baking done and meals prepped ahead of time is very important.  I usually like to use my Sunday’s to meal plan and do any baking I need for the week ahead.  That way I can start the week off on the right foot.

Luckily Kitchen Stuff Plus has all the things that I need to help get my baking and food prep done quickly and efficiently.  No time to waste here.

And if you are like me, and your dishwasher is your own 2 hands and don’t have a lot of storage space, having multifunctional items that reduce the number of dishes you have to be washing and store are life savers.  I happened upon these multipurpose mixing bowls that not only nest into each other so that they save space, they have air tight lids that make them perfect for serving and then being able to pop on a lid and store the leftovers all in the same bowl.

Whether you’re cutting up veggies for the kids snacks or meat up for that stir fry dinner, those sharp knives can wreak havoc on a countertop aren’t doing it on a cutting board.  Always make sure you have them handy.   I am always so cautious about cutting meat on the same cutting board as my veggies or other foods so I keep different cutting boards for each type of food to prevent any cross contamination.   Keeping the kid healthy from all the school germs out there is hard enough; the last thing I want is any of my meals causing sickness.

Am I the only one who has just discovered silicon pans?   Seriously, where have they been all my life?  It never seemed like I ever was able to grease my pans enough and things were always sticking and practically ruined things trying to get them out.  With the muffin pan , whether I am making my Greek Yogurt Oatmeal banana muffins (recipe below) or my Versatile Veggie/Ham Egg “burgers”, they pop out of the pan like a dream.   And brownies, cakes or even lasagna are served out perfectly in the oblong cake pan.  No more waste and no more frustration with these.

Greek Yogurt Banana Oatmeal Muffins (Makes 12)

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

½ cup old fashion oats

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

3 ripe bananas

¼ cup honey, agave or maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg

2/3 cup 0% vanilla greek yogurt

1 tbsp milk

3/4 cup chocolate chips or blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl mix all wet ingredients until smooth with hand blender.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
  5. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. If using a metal or glass muffin pan, be sure to grease well.
  6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when poked.

With some easy to prepare recipes and the tools to get meals ready and on the table quickly, here’s to hoping getting the kids back to school is a pleasant time for everyone.



Seriously Good Freezer Meals – a review

For me, meal planning is the only way to go.  Not only does it keep me on track with my eating but it also keeps me on track with my budget.  And some evenings, scheduling doesn’t allow me an hour or so to prep a meal so having a few ready to go freezer meals on hand is really, really helpful.  I often scour the internet for new and delicious recipes but I have to admit I am a sucker for a good old fashion cookbook.

I love flipping through pages of recipes especially when they have lots of photos of the finished products.  I am usually more drawn to recipes that I can see what I am going to be eating in the end.  When I got my copy of “Seriously Good Freezer Meals” by Karrie Truman, it had everything I wanted all in one book.  This is Karrie’s first cookbook is the proud owner of the blog Happy MoneySaver.

Cover Freezer Meals
Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 Available where books are sold.
Image credit: Charity Burggraaf

What I really liked about this book is not only does it include the instructions on how to prepare meals for you to eat immediately but it also includes the instructions on how to prepare it in advance and put it in the freezer to use in the future.  It’s not just cooking it and throwing the leftovers in the freezer.

If you wanted to prepare a bunch of freezer meals all in one batch, it has instructions/menus for 7, 30 and even 50 meals including shopping lists and time saving tips.  It is a meal preppers dream.  And for someone like myself who has never done batch meal preps for the freezer there is so much amazing information about how to freeze, what you can freeze and tips about thawing and preparing frozen foods that until now I had no idea about.

There is a wide range of recipes from breakfasts, appetizers, desserts and of course, main dishes.  There are so many of the recipes that I want to try and it has definitely given me the push to buy a standalone freezer as my current freezer is much to small to hold a lot of freezer meals.  And I definitely want to take a day and make a bunch of meals at once to make meal time much easier for myself in the months ahead.  This recipe book is a must-have for busy families!

Here’s a taste of a few of the amazing recipes you will find in this book.  (All recipes are courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 Available where books are sold.)

Lemon Dill Tilapia Tacos

Tacos Freezer Meals
Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 Available where books are sold.
Image credit: Charity Burggraaf

Makes 6 servings.

1/4 cup (60 mL) melted butter

1/4 cup (60 mL) chicken broth

Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

11/2 tsp (7 mL) dried dill

1/2 tsp (2 mL) minced garlic

2 lbs (1 kg) skinless tilapia fillets (about six 6 oz/175 g pieces)

To serve

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

12 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortillas, warmed


1 cup (250 mL) shredded lettuce

1 cup (250 mL) canned or cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)

1/4 cup (60 mL) salsa or pico de gallo (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill and garlic.
  2. Place marinade mixture and tilapia fillets in a gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag or bowl. (Label the bag if freezing for later.) Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, or cover bowl. Transfer to refrigerator to marinate for 15 minutes.

Make It Now Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drizzle olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to oven while it preheats. Once oven is preheated, remove baking sheet from oven, add fillets and return it to oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until fish is flaky and lightly crisped on the edges. Remove from oven and chop into chunks. Arrange tortillas on a work surface. Evenly divide fish and lettuce, plus beans and salsa (if using), among tortillas. Serve.

Make It a Freezer Meal Freeze bag.

Thaw and Cook Place bag in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours to thaw. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drizzle olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to oven while it preheats. Once oven is preheated, remove baking sheet from oven, add fillets and return it to oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until fish is flaky and lightly crisped on the edges. Remove from oven and chop into chunks. Arrange tortillas on a work surface. Evenly divide fish and lettuce, plus beans and salsa, if using, among tortillas. Serve.

Tip: You can also make a dilly sauce, if desired. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch and the marinade from the bag. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Build your tacos and then drizzle a little lemon dill sauce overtop.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

ChickenTortellini Freezer Meals
Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 Available where books are sold.
Image credit: Charity Burggraaf

Makes 6 servings.

6 cups (1.5 L) chicken broth

1 celery stalk, diced

11/2 cups (375 mL) frozen diced carrots or sliced fresh carrots, blanched

1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried rosemary

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley

2 cups (500 mL) chopped cooked chicken breast

2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (about 71/2 oz/215 g)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Minced freshly parsley (optional)

Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Make it Now In a large pot, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots, rosemary and parsley. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 5 minutes, until carrots and celery are tender. Add chicken and tortellini; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes (7 to 8 minutes for frozen tortellini), until tortellini are tender and filling is hot. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and thyme, if using.

Make It a Freezer Meal In a labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots, rosemary and parsley. Seal, removing as much air as possible. Place chicken and tortellini in another labeled gallon-size freezer bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible. Place both bags together as a kit, seal and freeze.

Thaw and Cook Place bags in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours to thaw. Pour contents of broth bag into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 5 minutes, until carrots and celery are tender. Add chicken and tortellini; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until tortellini are tender and filling is hot. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and thyme, if using.


Molten Hot Fudge Lava Cakes

Lava Cakes Freezer Meals
Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 Available where books are sold.
Image credit: Charity Burggraaf


1/2 cup (125 mL) water

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 tsp (3 mL) baking powder

3/4 tsp (3 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup (125 mL) milk

11/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla extract

Additional unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Ganache Filling

1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy or whipping (35%) cream

1/2 cup (125 mL) milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup (125 mL) bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips


  1. Cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat together on Low for about 30 seconds, just until combined. With the motor running, add eggs, milk and vanilla, then slowly add butter mixture. Increase speed to Medium and beat for about 1 minute, until combined (batter will be thin).
  4. Grease 6 cavities of 2 silicone 4-cavity fluted mini cake pans (1 cup/250 mL capacity per cavity) and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Place prepared pans on a baking sheet. Pour batter into prepared cavities until half full (leave the other two empty).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Ganache Filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream almost to a boil. Remove from heat. Add milk chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips; stir until melted. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Using a spoon, drizzle half the chocolate mixture over cakes. Set aside remaining mixture to cool until thick and smooth, about 30 minutes.
  8. Using a piping bag, pipe chocolate mixture into insides of cakes, leaving a dollop of chocolate on top. (You can also do this with a spoon.)

Make It Now Place each cake on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, one at a time, on High for 20 to 30 seconds, until chocolate is bubbling out the top. Serve hot.

Make It a Freezer Meal Place filled cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until solid. Remove from freezer. Wrap each cake in plastic wrap, then place cakes in 2 labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bags. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and freeze.

Reheat Remove cakes from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Place each cake on a microwave-safe plate and, one at a time, microwave on High for 45 seconds, until chocolate is bubbling out the top. Serve hot.



Cocktails to Ring in the New Year

It’s hard to believe that 2017 will be over in just a few days.  With 2018 on our doorstep, it’s time to think about how it will be our best year yet and making resolutions to get there.  Are you looking for a fun way to ring the New Year?  Perhaps one of these cocktails is the perfect way to bring in the New Year.  So whether you like your cocktails with a fruity kick or with hint of chocolate, this list of cocktails is perfect for you.

 The Pomegranate Wine Spritzer from Chaos Is Bliss


Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine from Wander Spice


The Absolutely Essential Espresso Martini by Mamagourmand


Game of Thrones Inspired Frozen Hot Chocolate with Baileys Irish Creme by Merlot Mommy


Bourbon Pecan Pie Cocktail by Basil & Bubbly


The Grinch Cocktail by Mom on the Side


Easy Cranberry Orange Daiquiris by Small Town Woman

Strawberry Cream Mimosa by Swanky Recipes

Cranberry Mint Cocktail by Fancy Shanty

Cinnamon Coffee Martini by The Anthony Kitchen



Easy Crockpot/Slow Cooker Recipes

With the cold weather upon us, there is nothing better than to have something warm to fill up your belly.  It’s this time of year that I have my crockpot going all the time.  There are so many great and easy recipes out there to help you warm up and feel full.  And the recipes aren’t just for the typical stew that you automatically think about.  There are recipes for pastas, soups, meat dishes and even desserts. Here is a round up of a few of my favorites recipes to add to your collection.

Crockpot LasagnaSlow Cooker Lasagna by Living Sweet Moments


Crockpot Mac and CheeseCrockpot Mac and Cheese by Sunshine and Hurricanes 


CrockPot Bacon ChowderHearty Bacon and Corn Chowder Soup by Honey& Lime


Crockpot VerdeSlow Cooker Creamy Verde Chicken Chili by This Mama Cooks!


Crockpot TurkeyHomemade Turkey Sweet Potato Green Bean Soup by Bunny’s Warm Oven


Crockpot StewHearty Harvest Stew by A Boy and His Mom


Crockpot AprcotSlow Cooker Apricot Chicken by Dinner at the Zoo


Crockpot Salsa ChickenCreamy Salsa Chicken by Joy Filled Eats


Crockpot beef Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli by Savory Tooth


Crockpot CherryCrockpot Cherry Pudding Cake by Bunny’s Warm Oven


Crockpot breadCrockpot Panettone Bread

Parenting/Life · Recipes

HelloFresh Meal Delivery Saves the Day

Disclosure:  Although items in this post have been provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

If you are like me, you are totally back into the swing of the school year and with after school activities, homework and social events with the upcoming holiday season, having a dinner ready quickly and easily is an absolute must.  That is why I am loving HelloFresh meal delivery service.  We have tried HelloFresh in the past and loved it.  And again this time we were not disappointed with our meal delivery.

With most meals taking under 30 minutes to prepare, I can get dinner on the table and on to our busy lives without having to feel like I am always in a rush.  And with different recipes every week, you never have to worry about the hum drum of eating the same meals over and over again.

meal delivery

My son can be a picky eater so I am always hesitant to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients that we will never use again to try our new recipes.  Having the all the ingredients delivered to our doorstep makes it super easy to try new things without a lot of waste.  And truth be told, we haven’t had a meal yet that my son hasn’t liked.

meal delivery

HelloFresh meal delivery even has options for vegetarians and smaller families like my own which makes it a great choice for almost every busy family out there.  They have every meal packaged individually so there is no mistake what ingredients for each recipe and the meat comes on ice so that you aren’t worried about any sort of spoilage.

meal delivery

As your nights get busier this holiday season, adding a meal delivery from HelloFresh can definitely alleviate the stress of dinner time for you and your family.  And as an added bonus, use the code:  ABOYANDHISMOM40 and you will receive 40% off your first meal delivery.

Parenting/Life · Recipes

Fall – The Very Best of Food, Fun & Fashion

Fall is such a great time of year so I’ve gotten together with some of my favorite bloggers to put together the ultimate list of fall fun!  Make sure to check out all of the awesome posts below and get inspired for fall fun!


Warm up to a Hearty Harvest Stew- A Boy and his Mom

 One of my favorite things about fall is the abundance of fresh harvest vegetables that are now in prime season.  With the cooler weather, it is time for me to break out the crockpot and make this delicious hearty Harvest Stew.  So easy to make and perfect to come home to after a long day.

Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites (Great For Breastfeeding Moms)- My Momtastic Life

It’s officially Fall, which means – you guessed it – Pumpkin Spice Everything! These Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites are delicious, and the oats and flax seed make them great for breastfeeding moms. You can even add a little bit of brewer’s yeast for an extra boost in your milk supply! Breastfeeding or not, these are delicious, super easy to make and will surely get you in the Fall mood.


DIY Pumpkin Playdough- This Mama Needs Chocolate

Who doesn’t love an easy DIY project to do with the kids? This homemade pumpkin playdough has the sweet smell of the fall season.

Fall Fun for Little Ones – Travels with Tots

Fall is such a great time of year to go on family adventures with your little ones. Here are some of our fav fall time activities to help you get the most out of the season!

Easy and Fun Fall Leaf Tree Craft for Toddlers- Fab Working Mom Life

Fall is such an exciting time, and Pinterest is overflowing with cute toddler crafts. You just have to create this fun fall leaf tree craft with your toddler with leaves you can collect together on a nature walk through your backyard.

8 things to do outside this fall – Mamablabs

Looking for new ideas for how to get the kids outside this fall? Read on for 8 fun things to do outdoors as a family that everyone will love!

Fall bucket lists (for moms and toddlers)- Motherhood in the Mountains

It’s finally fall!! That means tons of fall themed activities for you and your little one. Check out these bucket lists for toddlers and moms!

Fendi inspired fall fashion- Viva La Dolce

Want to look like you just stepped off the runway? Check out these Fendi inspired fall fashion pieces!