Tag Archives: food

Throw a Kid-Friendly Super Bowl Party

Sure, they might pass out by halftime, but your kids can still get in on the fun during the Super Bowl. Having plenty of kid-friendly snacks, fun football-themed activities for the little ones, and festive desserts will ensure a house full of happy fans (unless your team loses—in which case, good luck!).

Kid-Friendly Snacks

Keep it simple (and healthy) with lightened up versions of your favorite game day foods.

Healthy Seven-Layer Dip from FitSugar
Buffalo Cauliflower from yours truly
Pigs in a Blanket from Food Network
Cajun Crab Dip  from yours truly
Pizza Pretzel Bites from Two Peas and Their Pod
Roasted Garlic Hummus from Annie’s Eats
Turkey Sliders from Martha Stewart
Chili from Cooking Light

Game Time Activities

Chances are, little ones aren’t going to sit through an entire football game. Be prepared with these fun ideas!

Make Your Own Jersey: Buy a bunch of cheap tees, puffy paint, glitter, etc. and set up a table for the kids to decorate their own “jerseys.”

Football Word Search (Free download!)

Decorate the House: Put the kids to work decorating the house for the big game by letting them make footballs out of construction paper. They can even string them together using a hole punch and yarn to make a garland.

Commercial Bingo: Get the kids in on a game of Super Bowl Commercial Bingo! You can download the cards here, and have fun prizes for the winners.

Winning Desserts

Football Rice Krispie Treats from Rice Krispies
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Footballs from Domestic Fits
S’mores Cupcakes from yours truly
Healthy Whoopie Pies from Parenting (you can even roll these in sprinkles to match your team’s colors)
Mini Peanut Butter Brownies from Babble

 


Must-try Healthy Foods for 2013

New year, new opportunities! Make 2013 the year you jump on the healthy food trend bandwagon and cook outside the box. Here are my favorite healthy foods YOU should be trying this year.

1. Kale
Kale is the superstar of the leafy green family. Not only is it high in antioxidants, it contains important nutrients like Vitamins A and C, iron, fiber, potassium, and calcium. If you’re a beginner, try working kale into a pasta dish (it resembles spinach when it’s sautéed in a little garlic and olive oil). Try this Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta or this Kale and Bacon Risotto. You can also brush kale leaves with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 15 minutes at 350° for a crispy, savory snack!

2. Quinoa
This grain is high in fiber and protein and can be substituted for rice and pasta in many dishes for a more nutritional option. And bonus, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa! For maximum flavor, cook quinoa in a vegetable or chicken broth instead of plain water. My favorite quinoa recipe so far is this Southwestern Quinoa dish. So yummy!

3. Lentils
Lentils can be tricky to cook (often turning out either crunchy or mushy), but if you can nail the process, this pantry staple has the same amount of protein as a steak! I love these Mushroom Lentil Burgers I made from Cooking Light (they use precooked lentils!), and I also make this Butternut Squash, Chicken, & Lentil Stew that is simply delicious!

4. Greek Yogurt
There’s one big reason why I prefer Greek Yogurt over regular yogurt—it has about double the protein for the same amount of calories. With so many brands jumping on the Greek Yogurt train, there are lots of options, and there’s almost always one that’s on sale. I love Chobani and Dannon’s Oikos yogurt. And it’s not just for breakfast—plain Greek Yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream!

5. Brussel Sprouts
I have to admit, I used to turn my nose up at brussel sprouts—and without cause, as I had never even had them. But once I tried them, I was hooked! Brussels are packed with vitamins, iron, folate, and fiber, and they happen to be super easy to make. Just cut off the ends, drizzle the brussels with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and roast at 400° for about 35-40 minutes.

What healthy foods are you looking forward to trying (or eating more of, hopefully!) this year?


Olivia’s Sunny Sesame Street Birthday!

My baby girl is two. I know it’s true because her birthday was September 21st, but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that my little baby isn’t really a baby anymore. She’s a full-fledged, opinionated, affectionate, tantrum-throwing, observant (sometimes too much so!) toddler. She’s a girl who knows her mind—especially when it comes to what she will and will not eat any given moment of the day.

So when I asked her what kind of party she wanted for her 2nd birthday, there was only one answer: Elmo. Well, it was more like, “Elmo, Elmo, Elmo! Super Grover! It’s my birthday! ‘Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. . .’ —Mommy may me have some milk?—’Sunny days. . .’ YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!” 

Ryan and I with our little birthday girl

Invite designed by Better by Design

I had a lot of fun putting this party together. . . but it’s a good thing this happens only once a year because it’s exhausting! Still, to hear Olivia whisper “Wow” when she walked downstairs to see the garlands, balloons, food, and presents—that made it all worth it!

My friend Stephanie made this amazing, hand-painted sign for our front yard. The best part? There’s Velcro on the back of the sign where it attaches to the yard stakes. After the party, we were able to take the sign off and hang it in her bedroom above her door!

I made the garlands using colored card stock and the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter (a HUGE time-saver and worth every penny!). I free-handed the letters and cut them out, then I just glued everything together and strung them on some yarn.

My favorite part of the party planning—the Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes! They were much easier than I expected, though I recommend the gel concentrate food coloring if you want a saturated blue and red. I used regular liquid food coloring and mine ended up more “denim” and “hot pink,” but it worked!

I came up with themed names for all of the dishes (Mr. Noodles Noodles for macaroni and cheese, Abby’s Magic Wands for fruit kabobs, Big Bird’s Bird Seed Muffins for corn muffins with poppy seeds, etc.) Though I probably stretched it a bit with Bert and Ernie’s Famous Beef Brisket. Can’t say I’ve ever seen B & E actually eat brisket, but I liked the alliteration.

The party favors included Sesame Street cereal bars from Earth’s Best, stickers and books from Target, and Goldfish Crackers. The favor boxes were from Target, and I just wrote “Thank You” on the front. Had I thought about it, I would have designed and printed stickers for the front, but that one slipped through the cracks.

Overall, I’d say the party was a huge success—we had good weather, yummy food, and great friends and family to help us celebrate! Best of all was the one thing we DIDN’T have. . . a meltdown! Bring on the two’s!!

 


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!
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New All-Natural Food Line + Giveaway = Happy Thursday!

I am always on the lookout for healthy, kid-friendly and affordable food for my family. So when the folks at Wholesome Goodness asked if I’d like to try out their new line of all-natural foods at Walmart, I figured I’d give it a try. I liked their belief that “nutritious foods are beneficial only if they are accessible and affordable.”

I was expecting a few small samples of this, a taste of that, so I was rather shocked to have a large box delivered to my office. These people mean business. No sample sizes here; these were full sized products. I immediately tore into the box and started sampling (and sharing with anyone who stopped by my desk and wanted a snack); unfortunately, this means that, by the time I got around to taking a picture, I’d already polished off several of the items in the box (oops!). Still, it’s an impressive spread, right?

The samples came with a list of 126 banned ingredients, including anything artificial, and none of their foods contain trans fats, high fructose corn syrup or other processed ingredients. The real question was, what does all that naturalness really taste like?

Honestly, everything was pretty darn delicious! The Omega Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars were a clear favorite—packed with yummy apple-ness and the perfect toddler snack size. I did a quick comparison to Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and found that the Wholesome Goodness bars have a lot more fiber and protein than the Quaker bars and a whole lot less stuff I can’t pronounce.

The best part was that it lived up to the affordability hype. I compared the prices at Safeway, and most of the Wholesome Goodness items were at or below the cost of their comparable Safeway generic item. Not bad.

I enjoyed the food so much, that I asked Wholesome Goodness if they would be willing to throw in another box of food for one of my lucky readers, and they were all too happy to oblige. Enter below to win $40 worth of free, all-natural food from Wholesome Goodness! One lucky person will win everything I received in my sample box, including granola bars, salsa, chips, cereal, oatmeal, trail mix, and more!

The Wholesome Goodness line is currently available in 226 Walmart stores throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and parts of West Virginia. For those in the DC area, you can find Wholesome Goodness at the following Walmart stores:

6303 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria, VA 22306
3549 Russett Grn., Laurel, MD 20724
13059 Fair Lakes Parkway., Fairfax, VA 22033
45415 Dulles Crossing Plz., Sterling, VA 20166
17041 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Dumfries, VA 22026
9401 Liberia Ave., Manassas, VA 20110
8386 Sudley Rd., Manassas, VA 20109

 Good luck!

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