Monday, March 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Hidden Veggies

As a parent we do our best to feed our children healthy, wholesome meals.  No one understands the struggle of having a picky eater more than a parent.  Today we have some great recipes that sneak in a serving or two (or seven) vegetables into these kid approved foods.  Try one out and see what your little one says (bonus points if you let them know they ate veggies after the plate is clean!)

Our first recipe today is a family favorite-mac & cheese.  What no one, other than the cook, knows is there are not one, but TWO hidden vegetables in this recipe.  Carrots and squash that have been grated are added to the mix and are undetectable both to the eye and your little one's taste buds.  For an faster/easier way to get small portions or for a confetti like look-just toss the veggies into your food processor.

Our second recipe again uses pasta as a base, but will satisfy everyone at the table.  And with 7, yes you read that right, 7 different vegetables, you can't go wrong.  The secret is the sauce.  Amongst the tomatoes lie spinach, bell peppers, and many other nutritious items. Try this Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Tomato Sauce from Chef Michael Smith and be comforted knowing your family is getting all the daily vegetables they need.

Now if everyone eats their whole meal, why not reward them with a yummy dessert.  Little do they know, the hidden goodness isn't going to stop.  Try this Chocolate Avocado Mousse for a final hidden veggie trick.

For more ideas on how to sneak in veggies visit B-Inspired Mama. Let us know how the hidden vegetable recipes go, as well as if you have any good tips to share on how you get your kids to eat their veggies.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Easy (and Green) Weekend Projects

We've got some great projects you can do around your house that can remove clutter, lower energy bills, and make your home a little greener. These 5 quick projects can be done as time permits and many only take a few minutes to complete, but can have a great impact for your household.

Project 1-Conserve some H2O and reduce your energy bill
What to do:  Fill a water bottle up with water and rocks, pebble, or marbles, tighten the cap and place in your toilet's water tank.  This will displace some of the water, which means you won't need as much water to flush, thus saving you money on your monthly water bill.

Project 2-Clean vents and replace air filters
What to do: Use a rag to clean all air vents in your house.  Use your vacuum to clean the refrigerator and dryer vents.  Finally, replace your HVAC air filters -we recommend every two to three months or sooner if you live in a place with a high pollen count during spring and summer months, you have pets, or you live in a place with a high level of air pollution or construction work nearby.

Project 3-Check your car's tire pressure
What to do: Look up what the tire pressure level should be for your car (found in the owner's manual).  Check the tire pressure using a pressure gauge when the tires are cool-hot tires can expand when warm giving you a false reading.  Add air if needed.  Tires that are filled with the correct level of air can improve your mileage by approximately 3%, saving you tons of gas.

Project 4-Used rolled up magazines to properly store winter boots
What to do: Roll up old magazines and insert them into the opening of your tall boots to help them keep their shape while in storage.  This is a great recycling project and clutter eliminator all wrapped into one!

Project 5-Recycle paint cans (full or almost empty)
What to do: If you have a relatively full paint can that is just taking up space in your garage, consider donating it to Habitat for Humanity in your area.  They accept lots of different home improvement products-paint, appliances, etc.  If you have little to no paint left in your can-remove the lid and either let dry in the natural sunlight, or add kitty litter, saw dust, or another drying agent.  Earth911 is a terrific site to help find paint and other recycling centers in your area.

(in order of appearance) photos courtesy of,,,,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meatless Monday: Breakfast Edition

Welcome back!  Today's edition of Meatless Monday features some scrumptious breakfast recipes that are great for an everyday occasion, great for your next brunch party, or serve one up for an Easter celebration.  We are featuring both on the go recipes, as well as dishes that you can enjoy while sitting with your family.

To start off, let's get things going with some Lemon Blueberry Granola from Stetted.  This can literally be thrown on anything - yogurt, ice cream, fruit, cereal, milk, or eat it all by itself.  This recipe adds nuts for an extra boost of omega 3, vitamin E, along with many other vitamins and nutrients.

These fun Banana Sushi Bites are simple to make and fun for the kids to eat.  All you need is a banana, peanut butter, and some Rice Krispies (or any crunchy cereal).  What's great about these is there is no added sugar that you usually get from a bowl of cereal.

Here's another 3 ingredient breakfast that can kick start your morning.'s Pomegranate Berry Smoothie is as yummy as it is pretty.  Featuring TONS of nutrients and antioxidants (look for Pomegranate juice that is unsweetened or sugar free for added health benefits).

This fun idea is great for a brunch party and can be made to be as simple or as decadent as you want.  Val So Cal's Donut Hole Breakfast Skewers are easy to put together, and she adds some yummy dipping choices-coconut, chocolate sauce, and salted caramel sauce.  Don't these look fabulous!?

Want something a little more traditional for breakfast?  Then this take on scrambled eggs is the dish for you.  Garden Scrambled Eggs featured on adds a ton of flavor thanks to some added veggies like tomato, zucchini, and spinach.

And the great thing is these recipes don't have to only come out in the early morning hours-use them as snacks, desserts, or even dinner on a crazy night!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: St. Patty's Day Edition

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to have today's Meatless Monday post focused around GREEN ingredients.

Let's start off with a nutritious ingredient that has a lot of parent's dying to figure out a way to get their children to eat it...BROCCOLI!  These fun sized, tasty bites will have everyone at the table reaching for more.  Broccoli Cheese Bites from Stacey Snacks are easy for toddlers to eat with their hands (if they haven't mastered the fork yet) and easy for anyone to throw together and pop in the oven for a side that takes less than 30 minutes to make.

This next dish has another ingredient that kids are hesitant to try-spinach-but this recipe for Parmesan & Spinach Orzo will be both satisfying and beneficial-thanks to all the vitamins found in this leafy green.  Life As A Strawberry features easy directions as well as many mouth watering pictures, including this one...

Here's another green side that's a little more grown up, but still can be a family favorite. Green Beans with Walnuts and Balsamic from Healthy Seasonal Recipes is a quickie recipe that can be prepped and cooked in less than 30 minutes.  We also think this could be a new holiday side you add to your table.

This pretty spring dish has a beautiful pop of green throughout it due to 3 accent ingredients.  Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas, and Mint can be made with all fresh ingredients, all frozen ingredients (minus the mint), or a mix of both depending on your time crunch.  Betsy from Betsy Life does use frozen peas, but everything else is fresh-she even uses her own home grown mint!

We'll end today's green blast with a celebratory Shamrock Shake to satisfy your sweet tooth and offer the kids a new, fun dessert.  This low calorie drink from Skinny Mom has healthier ingredients than a traditional milkshake, but if you need or want the extra goodness of using icecream as opposed to frozen yougurt (we won't tell anyone!)

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Meatless Monday:Spice It Up!

Today's Meatless Monday post is brought to you with one thing in mind-spicing it up!  We've got 3 great recipes that will definitely not let you down flavor wise.

Start off with this yummy snack, or set a bowl out as an appetizer.  It's healthy, it's spicy and it takes less than 20 minutes to make.  Spicy Honey Roasted Almonds from Lemons & Anchovies.  Buy almonds in bulk and keep in an airtight jar as they are a healthy source of protein.  Throw them in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, even dessert!

Winter nights still have you feeling chilly?  Well how about warming things up with a pot of Spicy Vegetarian Chili!  Divine Taste adapted this recipe from "Great Vegetarian Dishes" by Kurma Das.  She advises you can substitute kidney beans with black beans, or adding additional vegetables to suit your taste.

This colorful dish adds some serious spice with a dash cumin, fennel, turmeric and curry powder.  The mushrooms bring an earthiness to it that fills up your belly with delight!  Vegetarian Spicy Linguine is the perfect balance of carbs, veggies, and those delicious spices.  Check out the recipe from Teczcape-An Escape to Food.

Let us know which dish you like best!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Easy Ways To Go Green

Being green really requires very little effort.  If you can get your family on board with these 9 tips, you'll be amazed at how much you can reduce your household's waste and even save on your next water and electric bills.  Try them out and let us know how it goes!

1.  Turn off water while brushing your teeth.

2. Don't pre-rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher.

3. Turn off lights when leaving a room.

4. Use curtains -they can help both insulate a room in winter and keep it cooler in the summer.

5. Cancel catalogs you receive, but don't order from.

6. Go paperless!

7. Recycle your newspaper, cardboard, etc. with your curbside waste services.

8. Use scrap paper-place it by the phone for easy notes or write your next grocery list on it.

9. Shred paper and use it as packing material for shipments.

(photo courtesy of