Jan 162017
 

Trying to get your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables is about as tricky as, well, trying to get a young kid to eat their fruits and vegetables. That’s why smoothies can be the ideal way to conceal the food that’s nutritious for them while giving them their daily intake of fruits and vegetables in a form that almost feels like a desert.

In broad terms, smoothies can run the gamut of flavors and ingredients so it is best to begin with something simple. Try starting your kids off with a pure fruits and yogurt yogurt mixture and work your way to more complicated recipes from there. Green smoothies can be filled with essential nutrients and can be extremely tasty, they may not be the best option for kids who still make dramatic faces overtime they look at broccoli.

A simple recipe to start them off would include frozen strawberries, a banana, and vanilla or plain yogurt. Once they get accustomed to the the basic flavor and texture of those smoothies, you could slowly start reducing the sugar and use a healthier vanilla yogurt instead of the plain yogurt. At this point, you can also start adding additional ingredients, such as blueberries or mangos, a little at a time without drastically altering the overall taste. Continue reading »

Jan 152017
 

My kids and husband are my entire world, but food will always be my first love.  I grew up in a big Italian family and boy did we eat. On Sundays it was course after course after course – we literally would spend the whole day eating. And it was awesome. Now that I’m the mom, I am a little more sensible about the way I eat, but I still love to eat and I especially love dessert. I have a major sweet tooth and red velvet is one of my all times favorites.

If you know me in real life, you know that I don’t participate in Valentine’s Day, but there is no reason that I can’t make an exception for some of these red velvet treats. I would make any one of these red velvet desserts my valentine any day. Have a look at what I’m drooling over:

Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies from Tammilee Tips

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from Tales of a Ranting Ginger

Red Velvet Cookies from Viva Veltoro

Red Velvet Cookie Recipe from Not Quite Susie Homemaker

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies from Diary of a Working Mom

Easy Red Velvet Cookies Recipe from A Magical Mess Continue reading »

Jan 082017
 

My boys are basically obsessed with anything emoji related. They both got a bunch of emoji paraphernalia for Christmas and I think for both of them, the emoji gifts that they received rank highest among their favorites. Especially those poop emoji slippers that my little man got….

The emoji obsession in my house got me thinking. I wanted to make a fun snack for my boys that was emoji related and then it hit me – Valentine’s Day is coming up and the heart eyes emoji would be PERFECT to put on Rice Krispie Treats. If you are looking for a fun Valentine’s Day treat, you seriously don’t have to look any further than these Emoji Rice Krispie Treats. They are really easy to make and trust me, they will be a huge hit with your kids like they were with mine.

Here’s what you need:

  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4.5 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • Yellow food coloring
  • 1 cup red Wilton candy melts
  • Black sparkle gel icing

Continue reading »

Dec 272016
 

For healthy weight loss to occur we need to reduce our intake of calories which means we should focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients, but lower in calories. If they taste great and can satisfy our biological hunger, that’s even better. That’s why smoothies are the perfect “meal” when you are trying to eat healthier while dropping a few pounds.

Here are just a few ways that incorporating smoothies into our daily diet can help us reach our nutritional goals:

How Smoothies Can Help You Eat Better And Lose Weight

Smoothies are Packed with Nutrients: You can pack a lot of nutrients in your smoothies with ingredients like fresh or frozen berries, assorted fruits and plenty of dark, leafy greens vegetables. For an added kick, substitute coconut water instead of plain water to maintain the consistency you desire while at the same time adding essential minerals and electrolytes.

Smoothies Can Fill You Up Without the Calories: By using ample amounts of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard, you can create a smoothie that’s both low in calories and high in fiber, which helps give you that feeling of being “full” without eating a huge meal. Cucumbers, peppers, and even tomatoes can help add more dietary fiber to your smoothie without adding unnecessary calories and limiting the amount of sugars. Sugars, even if they are all natural, tend to be digested relatively quickly, leaving your body craving more in a short amount of time. For cutting down on sugars even more, try to use fruit sparingly and opt for low sugar varieties like berries for best results. Continue reading »

Dec 262016
 

ham-casseroles-with-leftovers

You have probably reached your fill with turkey and all the associated leftover meals. You can probably go a full year before seeing turkey on your plate. You are going to have plenty of leftovers from another staple of holiday meals as well. The roasted ham is an essential meat for many traditional holiday dinners especially Christmas. While it isn’t quite as versatile as turkey when it comes to reinventing the leftovers into a new meal, ham does lend itself well to a variety of casseroles!

Here are some easy and delicious casserole recipes that create brand new meals from that leftover holiday ham:

Ham Casserole Recipe Ideas

Breakfast Casserole With Ham
Ham lends itself easily to a breakfast meal. You can use the leftover ham for a fun and yummy breakfast casserole that can be eaten for any meal of the day. To make this, scramble eggs with diced ham and then mix with potatoes that have been shredded hash brown style with butter. Top with grated cheese (we like using pepper jack) and bake in your favorite casserole dish. You can even experiment a little with with some cream of chicken soup or sour cream if you want a creamier dish.

Ham Baked Potato Casserole
If you are a fan of twice-baked potatoes, you are going to love this easy potato casserole recipe. For this casserole, you’ll need potatoes and ingredients like butter, sour cream, salt, and chives. Cut the potatoes into thin slices, au gratin style, and place them into the casserole dish with your other ingredients, along with a can of cream of potato soup. Top the dish with cubed pieces of ham and a cheese and bake for a hearty dish. Continue reading »

Dec 212016
 

I don’t know about you, but it’s not even Christmas and I’m exhausted. All of my out of town in-laws were back home for two weeks and there were many family get-togethers over those weeks, so when it came time for me to host a get-together the last thing I wanted to do was a lot of cooking for it. Then I heard about Qdoba’s catering bar, which features a hot buffet-style lineup of bold flavors that makes hosting holiday parties super easy.

Qdoba offers fresh, delicious Mexican food and perfect for business or personal occasions. You can serve as few as ten people or more than a hundred with their Hot Bars or boxed lunches. Set up is a snap and each Hot Bar comes with everything you’ll need – napkins, utensils, and chafing dishes that keep the hot stuff hot.

When you order catering from Qdoba you can choose from a Hot Taco Bar, Naked Burrito Bar, Nacho Bar, Boxed Lunches or Breakfast Burritos. As you can imagine, I was torn about what to get.  I mean tacos are awesome, nachos are awesome and burritos are – you guessed it -awesome. Continue reading »

Dec 142016
 

The holidays are in full swing and whether we want to admit it or not, Christmas will be here SOON. The holidays bring all kinds of family gatherings and I like to be prepared for all of them. My husband is one of seven and all of the out of town siblings (and their families) came back home recently, so that equated to many get-togethers while everyone was in town. It’s been a few years since everyone was in one place, so it was pretty special. There were quite a few parties/gatherings over the time they were all home plus a few on my side (and two more coming up before Christmas) and of course there is no way that I could show up empty handed to any of them. It’s been a busy December for us to say the least so I headed over to Stop & Shop because I knew they would have everything I needed.

The first thing I did when I got to Stop & Shop was to grab all the ingredients I needed to make a couple of green bean casseroles. If I show up to any family event without one, I think it’s safe to say that they won’t even let me in the door. Luckily they are super easy to make and the recipe is right on the back of the French’s French fried onions.

If you don’t have the recipe, here is it: Continue reading »

Dec 122016
 

20-easy-delicious-cookies-for-santa

We have many traditions around our house at Christmas time, but by far, one of the funnest things we do is baking cookies for Santa. Since my boys were little, each year we all work together as a family to make cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve. I have to admit that we’re usually pretty basic when it comes to cookies over here.  In our house Santa prefers chocolate chip cookies, so that is what we’ve always made.  I’ve tried to convince him to accept peanut butter cookies, but apparently he doesn’t want any part of them (what???).

This year, we are going to change it up, though.  Whether Santa likes it or not. Obviously chocolate chip cookies are delicious, but there are so many great cookie recipes out there and I am on a mission to try as many of them as possible (not all on Christmas Eve, though, of course).  Here are some cookie recipes that are high up on my list to try.

  1. Santa Pb Sandwich Cookies! {with Cotton Candy Beards} from sprinklesomefun.com
  2. Santa’s Cookies (Double Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies) from lecremedelacrumb.com
  3. Santa Nutter Butter Cookies from simplisticallyliving.com
  4. Santa Claus Cookies from noshingwiththenolands.com
  5. The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies For Santa from bourbonandhoney.com
  6. Soft And Chewy Triple Chocolate M&M Cookies from tastesbetterfromscratch.com
  7. Santa-ready Dipped Gingersnaps (paleo, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free + Vegan) from healthfulpursuit.com
  8. Santa Dinner Rolls from thedecoratedcookie.com
  9. Chocolate spiced shortbread stars – Sweets for Santa from clairekcreations.com
  10. Santa Storm Trooper Cookies from simplisticallyliving.com
  11. Vegan Gingerbread Cookies from emilieeats.com
  12. Fluffy Sugar Cookies & Vanilla Frosting from pinchofyum.com
  13. I’m The Gingerbread Man… from cavoletto.com
  14. Soft-Frosted Lofthouse Style Cookies from peachesncreamblog.blogspot.ro
  15. Ho, Ho, Ho! Roly-poly Santa Cookie Recipe from sugarandcharm.com
  16. Sugar Cookie Squares from cookingclassy.com
  17. Kris Kringle Christmas Cookies from kimscravings.com
  18. Chocolate M&M Cookies And Holiday Recipes I Love from cookinglsl.com
  19. Holiday Truffle Cookies from thatskinnychickcanbake.com
  20. Santa Claus Cookies from realhousemoms.com

What kind of cookies are you leaving out for Santa this year?

Dec 082016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ad #MakeHeartburnHistory #CollectiveBias

easy-jalapeno-cheese-fries

I don’t know about you, but my family is heading into our busiest month of the year. Between holiday parties, extra school events, December birthdays and life in general, we’re pretty much non-stop from now until the first of the year. I don’t mind because I love spending extra time with the people I love and since my husband is from a huge family (he’s one of seven), there are plenty of chances to visit our loved ones. Of course, I can’t show up empty handed, right? These easy Jalapeno Cheese Fries are one of my favorite go-to dishes to bring to family gatherings. Unfortunately for me, and lots of others, the jalapenos = heartburn. Thankfully Nexium® 24HR Capsules come to the rescue (stay tuned for more info on that).

jalapeno-cheese-friess

My Jalapeno Cheese Fries are easy to make and they always go over really well. Continue reading »

Dec 062016
 

I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WinOverWinter #CollectiveBias

how-to-freeze-your-favorite-foods

Time seems to be a commodity that is in ever-shortening supply these days. Especially this time of year when the holiday are quickly approaching. Because of that, we often don’t take the time to eat right and often opt for quick and simple solutions when it comes to dinnertime. That option isn’t always the healthiest. But with just a little pre-planning, you can make a variety of dishes that can be prepared beforehand and stored in your freezer which you can reheat quickly and enjoy when the time is right. Not only will this save you time when your week gets hectic, it will also cut down on your intake of take-out and fast food, making you a healthier and happier person.

Here are some tips for simple freezer meals that will let you enjoy a home-cooked meal without the time usually needed to do so:

Know What Not to Freeze
Before you freeze any of your dishes, make sure you know what kinds of foods won’t lose quality and consistency during the freezing process. Some foods don’t hold up to freezing temperatures. For starters, you should never freeze dairy or cream-based ingredients, such as milk or sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese as it will often crystallize and separate into its components upon thawing. If you are going to be freezing cream-based soups, be careful with how it tastes when it is reheated. You also want to avoid certain fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruit, cucumbers, watermelon, and lettuce. Cooked eggs are another food that will lose its consistency after freezing. If you want to freeze potatoes, they should either be raw or be mashed potatoes. Continue reading »

Nov 272016
 

santa-hat-cupcakes

If you are a regular around here you already know that my youngest son was finally diagnosed with ADD earlier this year. It was a very long process and it truly felt like an uphill battle for a long time, but once we got confirmation of what we already knew – his dad and I fought hard to make sure he got all the help he needed.

We worked with the school and were happy that he qualified for an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Part of the plan was placing him in an inclusion classroom for this current school year. His teacher is ah-mazing and he’s got a wonderful teacher’s aide in the classroom for half of his day. He’s been working really, really hard and is making some huge progress this year thanks to the help of his teachers.  Obviously this makes my heart very happy.

Back in September at the school open house night, I met his teacher for the first time (although we had already emailed back and forth several times by then) and I asked her if she used parent volunteers in her classroom.  Surprisingly not all teachers do, but she was thrilled that I asked and I started volunteering a few mornings a week in her 3rd grade classroom the following week. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to be involved like this.  I am loving getting to know all the kids in the class and seeing what my son is up to during his school day, too.

The kids in my son’s classroom are awesome. They are seriously an awesome bunch of kids, so I want to bring them (and the two teachers) a treat.  These Santa Hat Cupcakes are perfect, right? I used a cake mix to make the cupcakes, so they were easy to whip up and come on – they are adorable, right?

Here’s what you need: Continue reading »

Nov 212016
 

easy-one-pan-meals-to-feed-the-family

Sometimes, making a home-cooked meal from scratch with a main course and sides just isn’t possible because of time constraints. It doesn’t need to take hours of time and leave you with a sink full of dirty dishes to clean when the cooking process is complete. There are plenty of satisfying meals that you can create with just one pot or pan. Just toss the ingredients together and you’ll have a home-cooked meal that everyone in your family will love in no time!

Meal planning is much easier when you use the right tools to help you prep ahead of time. For these ideas, all you need is a cutting board, a few favorite spices, and your family’s favorite cuts of meat. We like to alternate between chicken, pork, beef, and simple pasta nights. One pot meals can be a staple of your meal plan, and they require little to no time freezing, defrosting, or other time-consuming tasks in the kitchen. Check out these simple ideas for one-pan or slow cooker meals.

Easy One Pot Meals For Your Family

Classic Chicken Dinner. Chicken and vegetables are a staple in just about every household. Usually it requires multiple pots and pans to prepare everything, but there is also an option for cooking everything in just one pan. Cook chicken breasts first, then wash out pan. Put the chicken back in with your other ingredients to cook the rest of the way.

For a classic one-pan chicken dinner, you can season the chicken, potatoes, and any veggies, such as carrots, you like in the pan with a packet of ranch seasoning mix. It’s a simple swap instead of mixing and matching spices from your pantry. Continue reading »

Nov 202016
 

6-healthy-and-easy-thanksgiving-leftover-ideas

Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are as much of a tradition during the holiday, as, well, Thanksgiving dinner itself. You are no doubt going to be leaving the get-together, or loading up your own refrigerator if you happened to be the host, with containers full of food. You could just reheat those leftovers and recreate the initial meal experience but where is the fun in that? Get creative and turn that leftover bird into something entirely new for your post-Thanksgiving meal planning.

Turkey, especially when it comes pre-cooked for you, is versatile enough that it can be used in a number of quick, easy and healthy ways. Here are just a few ways you can turn those Thanksgiving leftovers into something new and tasty:

1. Taco Salad: Thanksgiving tacos? Of course, don’t be such a Puritan. A taco salad is a fun way to mix it up a little during the holidays. The turkey naturally has less fat than beef, so you are already cutting back on calories.

Just add lots of vegetables, such as lettuce, tomato, onions, and red peppers. Don’t go overboard with the cheese and substitute avocado instead of sour cream for a more nutritious alternative.

2. Turkey and Veggie Casserole: Want to reinvent your Thanksgiving leftover into something familiarly unique? Try making all those leftovers into a casserole. Mix those leftover vegetable like carrots, Brussels sprouts, and green beans with shredded turkey into a casserole dish with some mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice, and just a little bit of cheese on top. Continue reading »

Nov 092016
 

slow-cooker-comfort-foods

A slow cooker is godsend to any busy family’s food preparation plans. You can cook an entire meal while you doing other things during the day. This is perfect for when you have to work or chores to do, but you have desire for a nice home-cooked meal. When it comes to home-cooked meals, nothing is better than a big plate of comfort food and a slow cooker is a perfect tool to prepare it with little effort and less clean up.

Here are some of the top comfort foods you can cook in your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Comfort Foods

Pot Roast. Everyone loves a delicious pot roast, but not everyone loves the hassle involved with preparing one. Don’t worry, you don’t need to turn on a hot stove and make your kitchen a sauna by having the oven on all day. You can easily let the roast cook in the slow cooker. By the time dinner rolls around, your roast is will be tender and practically falling apart. For best results, use a chuck roast and add in some potatoes, carrots, beef or vegetable stock, water, seasonings, garlic powder, and onion powder. Let it cook all day on low or for a few hours on high. Continue reading »

Nov 052016
 

how-to-make-applesauce-and-apple-butter

Now that it is autumn and apple season is at its peak, you might be tempted to buy apples by the bushel from your local grocery store. While this may be a great way to save some money by buying in bulk, you may end up with more apples than you and your family can eat before they go bad.

What are you to do then when you have an overabundance of apples that are fast approaching their end of freshness? Try making your own applesauce and apple butter, of course!

Both are easy to make at can be stored to use later throughout the year.

Applesauce and apple butter are easy to can and preserve which allows you to store them for up to year without taking up precious space in your fridge or freezer. As an added bonus, your homemade versions will be healthier and tastier than the mass-produced and processed versions you often find at the grocery store.

You can customize your apple preserves to your personal taste and you always know exactly what ingredients go into every jar.

Ready to give it a try? Here are quick, tasty recipes for making your own applesauce or apple butter at home. Continue reading »

Oct 242016
 

new-food-options-at-the-td-garden-in-boston

Picture this:  You & your family (or friends) head out for a night at the Bruins, Celtics or other event at the TD Garden in Boston.  You fight the traffic getting into Boston, find parking, walk from where ever you parked to the arena, get through security and suddenly you’re starving. It happens every time, right?

Whenever I head into the Garden, the first thing I usually do is make a quick detour to the closest restroom, find my seats and then scout out the food options. What I have always loved about the TD Garden is that they have so many great food choices.

Concessions and food options include:

  • Big Bad Burger: Signature juicy burgers drizzled with Gooey Sauce; optional double, triple or quadruple patties.
  • Boston Common: Local fresh seafood menu including fried clams, lobster roll, lobster bisque and clam chowder.
  • Garden Grill: Classic Boston sandwich menu that includes shaved steak roll with house made cheese sauce and fan favorite grilled chicken sandwich.
  • The North End Butcher: Kayem meats including an Italian sausage with peppers and onions and jumbo all-beef gourmet hot dogs.

Continue reading »

Oct 232016
 

spooky-scarecrow-fingers

Do you remember how I was telling you that I Like to get creative with my Halloween snacks? Last week I showed you guys the Creepy Witch Finger Cookies that I made for my kids and today I want to tell you about another fun Halloween treat that I made for the kids. Spooky Scarecrow Fingers. We like to have fun with our food around here and what says fun like a spooky scarecrow finger cookie?

Guys, these seriously could not be easier to make and how cute are they? A few of my boys friends have peanut allergies, so I have to be careful about who I give these to – but the ones that come by after school that don’t have any food allergies love it when I make these. If you want to impress your kids and their friends, too, give these cookies a try.  They are easy to make and don’t take long at all to make – so you could make them often like I do.

Spooky Scarecrow Fingers

Here’s what you need:

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Yellow candy melts
  • Candy corn
  • Yellow icing

spooky-scarecrow-fingers1 Continue reading »

Oct 212016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Healthy4School #CollectiveBias

easy-honey-pecan-overnight-oats-recipe

I can hardly believe it, but back to school is in full swing.  This past summer seemed to have flown by and before I knew it, the kids were hopping on the bus for their first day of school. If you’re anything like me, back to school means all sorts of new things.  New after-school activities to get the kids back & forth to, lots of homework (especially for my middle schooler) and a new routine in general. My boys are each in different schools this year, which means different start times for each of them.  It’s definitely been an adjustment, but so far we’re rockin’ it.

With all the changes in our lives, I try to be proactive when it comes to getting sick. Let’s be real, all of our kids get exposed to all kinds of germs while they’re at school. For the first few years my oldest was in school, we were all sick by the middle of October. It was definitely a learning experience and I am determined to help keep the germs away….or at least make sure I am stocked up on some products to make us feel better if we do get sick.

For my family, eating a fresh, healthy breakfast helps us fuel up for the day so that we’re not running on empty. A good breakfast helps us all concentrate and focus all day long. This Easy Honey Pecan Overnight Oats Recipe is a great way to start the morning off right. It’s easy to make and it keeps our tummies full and helps us power through our day.

easy-honey-pecan-overnight-oats-recipe1

Easy Honey Pecan Overnight Oats Recipe

Continue reading »

Oct 112016
 

Super Simple Halloween Treats1

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I am a major Halloween lover. I am always scouring the interwebs for fun & festive snack ideas for my kids around this time of year. I love seeing their faces when I surprise them with a fun Halloween treat. Sometimes I have the treats ready when they get off the bus from school and other times I like to whip up something for family movie night.

We try to sit down as a family every Friday night and stream a movie on Netflix, so this past Friday my family munched on these spooky Halloween treats while we watched our movie. These treats are beyond simple to make, especially if you opt for pre-made rice crispy treats.

What you need:

  • 12 Rice Crispy Treats
  • Edible Eyes
  • 12 oz White Chocolate or White Candy Melts
  • Sandwich bag
  • Parchment paper

Continue reading »

Oct 102016
 

creepy-witch-finger-cookies

Halloween is my favorite holiday. As soon as the weather starts to turn chilly, all I can think about is October 31st. For me, the month of October is a month long Halloween celebration. My family does every Halloween activity there is and we go all out when we decorate the house – I’m talking more than any other holiday (including Christmas). One of the best parts of Halloween for me is all the creative ways I can “creep out” snacks for the kids. There are a million and one ways to make festive Halloween snacks and treats and I am on a mission to make as many as possible. One of the festive treats I made this year were these Creepy Witch Fingers. They are crazy easy to make and they are pretty darn cool if I do say so myself.

Creepy Witch Finger Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Green candy melts
  • Black licorice
  • Black gel icing

creepy-witch-finger-cookies6 Continue reading »