Tag Archives: easy

Free Printables for Kiddos at Mr. Printables

A friend recently turned me on to Mr. Printables, a web site that has tons of free printables for kids. There’s everything from flash cards to coloring pages to party decorations! You just select, download, and print—super easy!

How cute are these French alphabet flash cards?!

Via Mr. Printables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also love the ice cream color matching game.

Via Mr. Printables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for some quick coloring pages or new activities to do with your little one, definitely give this site a peek!


HAPPYTOT Giveaway!

You know those light bulb parenting moments when someone introduces you to something that makes your life infinitely easier, and glorious rays of light shine down from the heavens and you can hear angels singing softly in the background?

I had one of those moments when Olivia was about seven or eight months old and my friend Dori whipped out this crazy looking pouch of baby food, twisted off the top, and handed it straight to her son. He immediately took it and started sucking the food out of the little straw at the top. By himself. With NO MESS. I swear I saw my future flash before me, and it was amazing.

From that day on, we have kept our pantry stocked with these little gems. Our favorites are the HAPPYBABY and HAPPYTOT pouches, which are organic, allergy free, and minimally processed. The HAPPYBABY pouches come in three different categories: starting solids (single fruits, like pears), simple combos (like apricot + sweet potato), and balanced meals (like banana + quinoa + black bean + plum).

The HAPPYTOT pouches come in fruit and veggie combos that are great complements to a meal or as a snack on the go. Because Olivia was anemic, we found the Spinach, Mango + Pear pouch a great way to sneak in a little extra iron—plus, she absolutely LOVES them, so they’re always our back-up option when she refuses to eat whatever else we’re having. The HAPPYTOT pouches all include Salba, which is considered nature’s super grain. For added nutrition, you can get Happy Tot Plus—fruit and veggie combos, such as Kale, Apple + Mango, that include both Salba and choline.

We’ve had great luck finding these pouches on sale at Target, but you can also find them at Safeway, Giant, Whole Foods, and tons of other places.

Because I am obsessed with these pouches, the kind folks at HAPPYBABY have offered to send one lucky winner an entire case of the HAPPYTOT pouches! Be sure to enter below.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post or giveaway, nor did I receive any free products for my family. I am running this giveaway because I seriously love these easy, on-the-go pouches, and I love my readers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Banana Cream Pie, Mmm Mmm Mmm

This has got to be the easiest, most delicious summer dessert ever. My husband isn’t a huge dessert person (especially ones that don’t involve chocolate), but he requests this at least a few times every summer. Plus, it’s a huge hit with my daughter, who asked for “mo nana pie peese” after dinner tonight. (See, it’s so good, it’s inspires full sentences from 21-month-olds!)

Banana Cream Pie

1 package Banana Cream Jell-O Pudding

2 cups milk

2 ripe bananas

1 Nilla Wafer crust

1 tub of Cool Whip

*To make this healthier, I buy the sugar free, fat free pudding mix, use skim milk and buy fat free Cool Whip. I also occasionally make my own Nilla Wafer crust using the reduced fat cookies and light butter.

Add milk to pudding mix and whisk for two minutes. Allow to set in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When the pudding has set, add about two cups of the Cool Whip to the pudding and mix well. Place a layer of sliced bananas on the bottom of the crust, and then top with a layer of the pudding. Alternate bananas and pudding until you reach the top of the crust. Top the entire pie with more Cool Whip, and you’re done!

 


My Favorite Summer Side

This bean salad is a huge hit with my family, and it’s just not summertime without it. This dish is packed with fiber, iron, and protein, so you can feel good about your kids asking for seconds—because they will!

Summer Bean Salad

1 can fat free reduced sodium black beans

1 can chickpeas

1 can fat free reduced sodium kidney beans

2 cups shelled edamame (I use the frozen variety)

1 small tomato (you can also use roasted red peppers if you have any), chopped

1 avocado, diced

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

Salt and pepper

Drain and rinse the three canned beans and place them, along with the edamame, in a large bowl. Add the tomato, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocado to help keep it from browning. Mix everything thoroughly, and salt and pepper to taste.


Chocolate Cake in a Mug

I go through phases where I absolutely crave chocolate. I cannot get enough, and it doesn’t matter in what form it comes as long as it ends up in my tummy. These phases generally last three to five days every month, so I’m sure you ladies can relate. :) I was smack dab in the middle of one of these “phases” the other day and, having polished off the rest of the rocky road ice cream two days prior, I was experiencing chocolate withdrawal.

As I was puttering around on Pinterest, I came across a pin about coffee cake in a mug. Someone commented on the pin, “First chocolate cake in a mug and now this- what are you doing to me?!” I immediately started Googling chocolate cake in a mug to see if I had the necessary ingredients, and within five minutes, I was at my kitchen counter preparing two mugs of cake (no, they weren’t both for me—the hubby wanted to try it too!).

This cake isn’t going to win any culinary awards or rock your socks off, but in a pinch (or a PMS-induced craving), it works just fine! Next time, I think I’ll add chocolate chips to the batter or top the cake with ice cream or Cool Whip, since it was a bit dry. Also, the cake is pretty dense, so one mug of cake would have been plenty for Ryan and I to split.

 

Instant Chocolate Cake
Recipe ©2011 Food Network Magazine, LLC  

Whisk 1/4 cup flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oiland a dash of vanilla extract and salt in a large mug until smooth. Microwave until puffed, about 2 minutes.


Orange Ginger Chicken

I debated on whether or not to even post this “recipe” because it would mean I’d have to admit to you all that I sometimes feed my family entirely out of the microwave. But then I realized there’s no way I’m the only mom who has done this (and will continue to do it when we’re short on time). This meal goes from freezer to table in less than 10 minutes (seriously!) and makes enough for two adults and a toddler.

Orange Ginger Chicken and Rice

1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (I prefer the steam-in-the-bag kind because they’re so easy- for this, I used a mix of carrots, sugar snap peas, and baby corn)

1 bag microwavable brown rice, such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice® Whole Grain Brown Rice

1-2 cups diced grilled chicken strips, such as Tyson® Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips

Bottled orange sauce (I use the Iron Chef Orange Sauce Glaze with Ginger, which I scored at TJ Maxx for $3)

 

Microwave the first three ingredients separately, according to their directions. Throw everything in a large bowl, add orange sauce to taste and stir to mix well. Done and Done.

 


Santa Fe Chicken Pizza

I love the Santa Fe Chicken pizza at CPK, and I was heartbroken to see that it had been taken off the menu. So I decided to try recreating it at home and, I have to say, I think I gave CPK a run for their money! Plus, the whole meal was ready in less than 30 minutes, which makes it totally doable for crazy weeknights! To really speed things up, use leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the store.

1 can Pillsbury pizza crust (or other premade dough or crust)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
store-bought or homemade guacamole (recipe follows)
sour cream
store-bought or homemade salsa

For Guacamole:

1 avocado
2 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray your pizza pan or cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and press the pizza dough out onto it. Top with sliced onions and tomatoes and then sprinkle with cheese. Add the diced chicken and bake for 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

While the pizza is cooking, scoop out the avocado and put it and the other guacamole ingredients into a bowl. Mash the avocado with the back of a fork and mix everything together.

Top each slice of pizza with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.


Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta

Another fantastic kale recipe, if I do say so myself! I was going to use the rest of our kale to make a raw kale salad, but I knew Olivia would never eat that, so I decided to see if the flavors from the salad would translate to a pasta, with a few extra ingredients. Even I was surprised at how delicious this was! I would recommend using a really good spaghetti for this recipe. I used De Cecco Organic Spaghetti No. 12, which, I think, is the best dry spaghetti—thick, chewy, and just perfect. Also, I list half a bunch of kale in the recipe because that is what I had to work with, but really, you could use however much or little you like.

Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta

1/2 bunch of kale, washed and de-stemmed

16 oz. spaghetti

10 oz. package grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 lemon, halved

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain the pasta when it’s finished, and put it into a large bowl.

Once you have washed and removed the ribs from the kale, chop it into small strips. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onions in the oil for just a few minutes, and then add the kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is completely wilted. Add the kale to the pasta, along with the tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well.

In the pan you just used to cook the kale, put your lemon cut sides down and allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes. (This isn’t a required step—you can just squeeze the lemon right onto the pasta if you prefer—but I’ve found that warming the lemon a bit beforehand really releases the flavor and makes it easier to juice.) When the cut sides of the lemon are lightly browned, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for  a minute before squeezing it over the pasta.

Drizzle the pasta with the remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste before tossing to incorporate all of the flavors.

 


Supermarket Shortcuts and Speedy Desserts from Cooking Light

I’ve been getting Cooking Light magazine for years, and I always find great recipes, healthy eating tips and inspiration in its pages. The April 2012 issue, however, seemed almost as if it were written just for me. The focus this month was on fast and easy meals, shortcuts and quick desserts. I always fold down the corner of the page when I find a recipe I want to try, but this time nearly all of the corners were tabbed!

The article “Supermarket Shortcut Solutions” recommended using fresh or canned pizza dough, fresh pasta, hummus, precooked brown rice, and rotisserie chicken to get dinner on the table in a flash, and there are 20 different recipes using these ingredients. With the exception of the fresh pasta (I usually just use the wheat pasta in the box), I am an old pro at using these shortcuts. I also love using jarred roasted red peppers, frozen veggies, Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Strips, fish sticks for fish tacos (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), frozen shrimp, and whole grain couscous (throw in some rotisserie chicken and steam-in-the-bag veggies and you have a full meal in less than 10 minutes)!

Photo: Nigel Cox; Styling: Tiziana Agnello

But what caught my eye more than any other recipe was the one for the Limoncello Freeze. My husband and I were introduced to limoncello during a trip to Italy several years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. My mom has even perfected a limoncello cheesecake (which, come to think of it, I’ll have to share here later). This Limoncello Freeze sounds so quick and easy, I will definitely be giving it a try as soon as I am over this stinking sinus infection and can taste food properly again!

Limoncello Freeze
From Cooking Light, April 2012
Makes four

1/4 cup lemon curd

2 1/2 tbsp limoncello

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream

12 mini vanilla meringue cookies

Combine the curd and limoncello in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend. Add ice cream to curd mixture; stir gently to swirl. Spoon 1/2 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each with 3 meringue cookies.

Now tell me that doesn’t look like it would hit the spot on a hot summer day?!