‘Best breakfast ever’: Pina Colada smoothies

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

I could not have had happier kids this morning if I’d slaved over a four-course feast.

Instead, I threw some pineapple, banana and coconut stuff into a blender and made some MAGIC. Even better? It’s healthy magic.

We are a big smoothie family, gulping them down at warp speed three or four days each week. So when one makes everybody stop and say “I love this!” it’s good stuff.

Frozen pineapple is best because it chills and thickens the mixture. Everything else is easy-peasy; I promise you can’t mess this one up!

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

pina colada smoothies 2_small

pina colada smoothies 1_1_small

Pina Colada Smoothies
Blend this one real good. Those coconut flakes are pesky (buy the flakes vs. strings if you can — they’re smaller) and take a while to blend.

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1⁄2 banana
1⁄4 cup coconut flakes
1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
1⁄4 cup non-fat yogurt
3⁄4 cup lite coconut milk

Place all ingredients in blender and combine until smooth. Add additional honey if needed.

Makes 1 serving.

The dessert you eat for breakfast: Banana chocolate chip muffins

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

It’s getting into a chilly season around here…which means we’re getting into chili season as well (see what I did there?)

We’ve been having more soups and chilis and warm things you can make in the crockpot now that everyone’s so busy and it’s cool outside. And the perfect thing to go with all that? Muffins. Muffins are my favorite, because they’re kind of desserty but you get to eat them during dinner. And then eat the leftovers for breakfast (which also means chocolate for breakfast and I am all about that.)

My family loves these delicious banana chocolate chip muffins! We have them with soups or chili, or for a special breakfast treat.

 

This is also an excellent way to use up brown spotty bananas. When mine start looking suspicious, I peel them, wrap them in plastic, and store them in the freezer until I need them for cooking. Or you could bake up the muffins, put them in a freezer bag, and then freeze. Whatever you have the time and energy for doing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c mashed bananas (about 2)
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate, plus 2 Tb for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a seperate mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs, bananas, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir. Spoon mixture into muffin cups until they are 3/4 full. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until muffins are baked through and slightly brown on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

Photos courtesy Laura Falin

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

 

Kids in the Kitchen: Monster Krispies

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

This was a super fun project my kiddos did over the weekend. It’s perfect for little hands and the best part is the less perfect they are, the better they look!

I used the ready-made Rice Krispie treats straight from the store because they were on sale. But you could totally mix up a batch of your own if you prefer and cut them into rectangles. The packaged versions were so easy though.

You’ll just need to pick up the Wilton Candy Melts at any craft store (I got mine at Michael’s). You can also order them off Amazon. I also got three sizes of googly eyes at Michael’s too.

Melt the candy coating in the microwave, stir, and set the kids loose! There’s no wrong way to do these!

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

Monster Krispies 4_4_small

Monster Krispies
It works best to lay these on a silpat liner or wax paper when you’ve finished dipping. That way you can pick them up easily when they’ve hardened.

3 bags Wilton candy melts (in your preferred colors)
3 tbsp. canola oil
24 rice krispie treats

Place each bag of candy melts into a microwave-safe bowl and add 1 tbsp. canola oil to each. (This helps smooth and thin the melts so they’re not so gloppy.) Melt according to package directions.

Dip each krispie treat in melted candy coating, covering about 1/3. Place on silpat or wax paper lined surface. Place googly eyes on. Let harden for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Makes 24.

Wedge salad with pomegranate seeds

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

I bet you can’t guess why I love salads so very much. The number one reason, among many others, is how much I love that you can add in all sorts of funky ingredients and the flavor combinations can be such an unexpected but extremely pleasant surprise. Wedge salads are one of my very favorites to prepare.

a-classic-wedge-with-a-twist-pomegranate-seeds-get-the-recipe-on-NoBiggie.net_

You can’t go wrong with a classic wedge salad. They are inexpensive (iceberg lettuce is one the the least expensive lettuce varieties), so simple to throw together and can be topped with any fruit, veggie, cheese and/or croutons that your heart could desire. However, I bet you have never tried it with fresh pomegranate seeds, have you? You have got to try it!

try-it-a-classic-wedge-with-a-twist-pomegranate-seeds-get-the-recipe-on-NoBiggie.net_

Ingredients:
cold crisp iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges (hence, wedge salad :) )
crispy bacon crumbles (you can purchase crumbled bacon, but I like oven baked bacon the best)
thinly sliced red onion
blue cheese crumbles
fresh ripe grape or cherry tomatoes
your favorite blue cheese or similar salad dressing
and for the twist: pomegranate seeds

Instructions:
To make a wedge, prepare each of your ingredients separately and assemble together right before serving.

Here’s a quick tip for peeling pomegranates – peel them underwater! This tip is a lifesaver when it comes to clean up. Underwater the seeds fall to the bottom of the bowl and the rest floats on the top of the water making it easy to dump out the water leaving the seeds at the bottom.

What are your favorite wedge salad toppings?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


A quick, delicious after school snack your kids will love

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

I always start the school year strong. I have healthy, tasty food for lunches, and hearty after school snacks for hungry kids. And then after a few weeks, I run out of steam. The kids start foraging for food, grabbing whatever they can find and complaining we never have anything around to eat.

These phyllo fruit cups are a quick, delicious after school snack your kids will love

So this snack is awesome, because you can grab the ingredients when you’re at the store, keep ’em around for when you need an emergency snack, and have one ready in five minutes. No mixing. No baking. No forethought.

You can even have the kids make their own. Hallelujah.

Along with being a delicious after school snack, these make tasty, light desserts as well. You can change up the fruit — use whatever is in season, or whatever you have on-hand. Here in Colorado, we’re at the end of our fresh peaches and berry season (can we take a moment? I’m grieving), so I’ll be using frozen fruit for a while now. That works, too.

These phyllo fruit cups are a quick, delicious after school snack your kids will love

Phyllo Fruit Cups

Ingredients:

  • frozen phyllo/fillo cups (they can be called either one, they’re found in the dessert section of the frozen foods area at the grocery store)
  • fresh or frozen berries, peaches, bananas, or other fruit
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • honey

Instructions:

Remove phyllo cups from the freezer and allow to defrost for 10 minutes. Fill with one spoonful of Greek yogurt. Top with chopped fruit or whole berries. Drizzle honey over the fruit cups and serve.

For more healthy snack ideas, try one of these:

Photos courtesy Laura Falin

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

 

 

Feed the kids and skip the mealtime stress

by

Andrea Updyke

posted in Life & Home

The moment I became a mother, something clicked. As a breastfeeding mom, I realized that everything going into my body was being passed along to my baby in one form or another. If he was gassy, I looked to my diet. If he was awake at unusual times, I took stock of how much caffeine I’d consumed that day.

It was the beginning of a long road that we all take as parents and it’s a road fraught with questions. How much should my baby eat? How often? Are snacks ok? Does she eat too many snacks? Why is he so picky?

Over the past 7 years, I’ve dealt with all of these questions and more. I want to pass along some of my personal experiences and the lessons I’ve learned to hopefully take some of the stress out of mealtime for you and your family.

The kids are alright

With all the different and often competing definitions of so-called “healthy eating,” it’s no wonder so many of us struggle to make sure our children are getting what they need. Yes, it’s important to review labels and steer clear of certain ingredients, but it’s also okay to relax.

In the baby stages, you’ll either breastfeed or formula feed or do a combination of both. I ended up combo-feeding after several months of exclusive breastfeeding and it was the best thing I could have done for my baby and for myself. But getting to that point required me to take a step back from my hard-line thinking and see the path to another way.

This path was best for my baby and it was hard for me to accept it because I worried he wouldn’t get the same nutrition from formula. As it turns out, adding some formula to our daily feedings increased my ability to breastfeed long-term. I decided that part-time breast milk was better than none and once I came to that conclusion, everyone was happier.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

I’ve faced a variety of different picky eating seasons with my boys, with vegetables being at the top of the list. I wanted to place an entirely healthy plate in front of my children and watch them gobble it up with enthusiasm. Of course, many children aren’t really interested in how much iron or Vitamin D they are consuming and they go straight to the junk because it tastes good. I mean, don’t we all do that from time to time?

This is frustrating as a parent and I fought it for years until finally deciding to start smaller. Instead of an entire meal of unfamiliar options, I began adding smaller portions of vegetables to current favorites. I also cooked them in many different ways to find one that my boys like. It wasn’t just that I wanted them to eat their veggies. I wanted them to enjoy them and begin to understand that healthy food can be just as yummy as some unhealthier options if you take the time to learn how to prepare them to your liking.

For instance, a year ago my son would tell you he hates broccoli. But once I started roasting it, he started asking for seconds. Now he eats broccoli, green beans, and kale, roasted of course!

Take stock of your own plate

Once I found a working strategy for meals, I realized that out of convenience, I’d started eating the same bland foods as my children. It was easier but it didn’t show them what else was out there. I love to cook so I decided to start making meals that I could manipulate to everyone’s tastes. Eventually, the boys got curious about what was on my plate and began asking questions.

Because they saw new options on my plate over and over as they became bored with their own menus, they started getting more adventurous. One of their favorite meals to date is salmon with roasted broccoli. This is not because my husband and I are awesome parents.

We didn’t control this outcome and never would have predicted it. We just got sick of eating chicken and decided to change it up. Wouldn’t you know, the boys didn’t want to be left behind!

Make it fun

Choosing and preparing foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients not only supports your child’s growth, but it also provides the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Dairy products with high nutritional values are packed with calcium, vitamin D, and protein, which helps the body to function properly and reduce health risks. But kids don’t want to know all that. They want to see the chocolate syrup swirl around in their milk until it becomes chocolate milk. They want to crack the eggs when you bake or push the button on the blender when it’s time to make a smoothie.

I’ve invited my boys into the kitchen to watch and participate when it comes to making meals and snacks and they love it. We’ve learned a lot of fun facts about different animals and how stuff works in the past year and together, we’ve made good food and great memories.

Over the past month, BabyCenter partnered with Horizon Organic to share some fun facts about cows and dairy. These are great bits of information to share with kids and get them interested in food. But they also include quite a few facts that I didn’t even know!

Take a look. How many facts did you know? Did anything surprise you?


It takes 12 pounds of milk to make one gallon of ice cream? That’s a lot of pumping!


Like snowflakes, no two cows have the same pattern of spots?


You may smell dinner in the next room, but a cow can smell it from miles away? That’s right! Cows can smell something up to six miles away.


When you’re craving foods with hot peppers, grab a glass of milk to help cool off your mouth? Milk products contain casein, a protein that cleanses burning taste bud


It takes a certain number of licks to polish off an ice cream cone? Experts say 50. Can you beat that?


Cheddar cheese is the most popular natural cheese in the U.S?


Back in the day, if you wanted milk on your trip you had to bring your own cow?!


After a full day of work, when cows are ready to sleep, they lay down.


A baby cow can start walking within an hour after birth!


Cows spend about 8 hours a day eating? That’s a full-time job!


Dairy cows can weigh up to 110 lbs. at birth? That’s one big baby!


One of the best snacks that goes with a cold glass of milk is cow- shaped graham crackers? Of course.


Milk is one of the few dietary sources of Vitamin D? It helps bodies absorb calcium.


The number one source of protein for kids ages 2-18 is milk?


Getting the adequate amount of calcium early in life can help protect against osteoporosis much later?

The mealtime conversation is one that evolves as our children grow so it’s important to stay flexible, try new things and remember that with a mom or dad who cares, the rest will fall into place.

What are your best tips for keeping healthy foods in front of the kids?

Fall favorite: One-pot sweet potato & lentil soup

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

Yes, my kids actually liked this soup.

It’s rare for them to like anything with all these healthy things packed into it. Especially all these “superfoods” like lentils, spinach and even (gasp) turmeric.

But they ate it. Every last drop.

Having a coconut milk base was key. It makes this a hearty, creamy soup with a hint of sweetness. Just a hint. But it was enough to make all the other stuff tolerable. (Full disclosure: I did have to pick the spinach out of my eight-year-old’s bowl.) It’s also a perfect one-pot and one-bowl meal because you’ve got protein, veggies and carbs combined. I threw out some crusty, toasted bread and that was it. Dinner in 20 min? Yes, please.

We’re adding this one to the rotation. Too easy and delicious not to make again :-)

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

sweet potato lentil soup 2_2_small

One-Pot Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet potato (chop small — it will cook faster)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 15-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (for a kick of heat!)
1 (5-ounce/140-gram) package baby spinach
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, sweet potato and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne, if desired, to taste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.

Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.

Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Add the lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lime wedges if desired.

Serves 4-6.

It’s Fall y’all! Try these white chocolate pumpkin spice cookies

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

These will go down in history as the first recipe I made in our new home. I was giddy — like a kid on Christmas morning — to finally get my hands dirty, try out my new appliances and make something.

I used instant pudding mix in these cookies because I love how fluffy and tender it makes them. I’ve always used vanilla pudding mix in my cookies, but when I ran across this Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix in the store, I knew I had a fall cookie on my hands.

These are not overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. My kids thought they were more of a white chocolate spice cookie — so more emphasis on the “spice” and less on the pumpkin. I love these cookies because using real pumpkin often makes cookies really soft. These were crunchy on the outside and super tender on the inside. And they’re nice and thick, so beautiful to look at or bring to a friend.

If you can’t find the Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix in your store, you can order it on Amazon.

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

white chocolate pumpkin spice cookies 2_2_small

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 (3.4-3.56 oz) box of pumpkin spice pudding mix
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking soda, and pumpkin spice pudding mix in a mixing bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together (on medium speed) butter and both sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Then add eggs, one at time, followed by vanilla. Scrape down sides. Then reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients. Combine until just incorporated. Finally fold in white chocolate chips .

Line baking sheets with silpat baking mat, aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper. Scoop out 1 1/2-2 inch, cookie dough balls onto sheet. Space the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and just set in the center. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Frozen hot chocolate

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

Have you noticed the trend of turning hot drinks into frozen treats? It seems to be everywhere lately. Even though the summer is drawing to a close and taking (most of) the heat with it around here we’re still craving ice cold treats all the live long day. Homemade frozen hot chocolate is just the ticket you’ve been looking for to escape the heat and enjoy a frosty cold treat. You’ve probably got all the ingredients at home right now…let’s get blending!

easy-three-ingredient-frozen-hot-chocolate

Whether you’ve tried the super famous NYC Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate, or just the one at your local DQ…I think we all can agree the best one is the one in front of you! No need to load the kids all up in the car or fly to the Big Apple to enjoy this chocolaty treat when you’ve got a power blender at home! I’m a big fan of my Blendtec (it makes stuff like this a breeze, it’s totally the best!), and it whipped up this yummy treat in no time!

Ingredients:
2 cups cold milk
2½ cups ice cubes
4 big tablespoons powdered hot chocolate mix
whipped cream
one milk chocolate bar for chocolate shavings

Instructions:
Blend together the milk, ice and powdered hot chocolate mix until well combined and frothy. Pour or spoon mixture into your serving dishes top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

frozen-hotchocolate

What’s your favorite frosty treat to enjoy in the summer, or all year long ;)?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Easy weekday meal: Goat cheese and tomato quiche

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

For a long time, I did not consider the quiche when I was planning our weeknight meals.

I should have. It’s easy. It’s delicious. It’s pretty cheap. It’s really good for leftovers (I’ve heard people sometimes have leftovers? I have a teen, a tween, and two more growing kids so “leftovers” sound mythical to me. Like “unicorns” and “people who sleep through the night.”)

So the first time I tried out a quiche for dinner wasn’t long ago, and my son actually hollered, “What is this miracle you are feeding us and where has it been all my life???” He has a tendency towards the dramatic, my boy.

An easy weekday meal -- goat cheese tomato quiche

So now we do frequent quiches (quiche? Are they like moose when they’re plural?). And I’ve been experimenting with quite a few different kinds. This one is especially great, because it feels special — goat cheese, y’know? That’s for Fancy People. But it’s simple and easy to make and it makes your teens yell at you in a good way for once.

An easy weekday meal -- goat cheese tomato quiche

Of course, you could also bake this up for a tasty breakfast or brunch food as well. The quiche is beautifully versatile like that.

Ingredients:

  • one pie crust (storebought, or homemade if you’ve got time and energy. If so, we like this recipe. If not, we don’t judge)
  • 1 1/2 c monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz goat cheese (one small pkg)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c halved cherry tomatoes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Ease your pie crust into a 9-in pie plate and trim edges. Sprinkle the jack cheese over the crust. Crumble goat cheese on top of the jack cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, and salt. Gently stir in cherry tomatoes. Pour egg mixture into the pie plate, on top of the cheese.

Bake at 425° until crust is nicely browned, and eggs are set, about 35 minutes.

For more easy dinner ideas, try one of these:

Photos courtesy Laura Falin

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.