Monday, July 28, 2014

You Say Tomato, I Say...Delicious!


  [tuh-mey-toh, -mah-]

It doesn't matter how you say it, tomatoes are delicious and can be used in so many ways. Today's Meatless Monday menu will show you three different takes on this useful piece of produce.

Let's kick things off with a breakfast dish that will start your day right.  Colorful and flavor-filled, Tomato Baked Eggs by Add A Pinch, are a savory way to get the day going.

For a great make-a-head meal (we'll stock our freezer with this one) try this Roasted Sweet Corn and Tomato soup by Our Best Bites.  Roasting the veggies really does make a difference by adding depth to this dish.  They recommend making a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany the soup, which sounds like a great idea to us!

Our last menu idea comes in the form of a pasta dish.  We couldn't decide between these two, so we'll share them both.

For a classic Italian dish, try Penne With Tomatoes and Olives by bell' alimento.  Simple ingredients lend themselves to this pasta perfection.  This is a great way to lighten up your spaghetti dinner night!

Our second dish are for those who aren't looking to lighten up anything.  Creamy, dreamy goodness with 1/2 and 1/2 AND heavy cream...Sun Dried Tomato and Mushroom Pasta from Julia's's not for the faint of heart.  Use vegetable bouillon cubes instead of chicken to keep this meatless.  You may not be able to eat dessert afterwards, but we don't think you'll mind!

For more Meatless Monday recipes, check out our Pinterest board.  Happy cooking!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rice is Nice! Perfect Casserole Dishes for Meatless Monday

Planning a weekly menu is hard, having to cook all those components may be harder.  Today's Meatless Monday post has 3 yummy casserole dishes that will save you time so maybe you can actually relax after the kids go to bed.

We'll start things off with a Sweet Potato and Rice Casserole, courtesy of Better Homes and Garden.  This delectable dish is packed with protein (16 grams) and nutritious vitamins, thanks to the sweet potato and peppers, giving you a good dose of vitamins A and C.

The next recipe is a classic combination-Mushroom and Wild Rice.  Cheesy and delicious, this would be perfect on a rainy day, or as Stephanie from Girl Versus Dough prescribes it as a comfort food on a snowy day in.  Whenever you make it, you're sure to enjoy it!

Our last dish to get your through the day is a fun and festive, Rice and Bean Taco Bake by Food Doodles.  Heidi likes to use this dish as a great way to use left overs and veggie scraps.  We think it's an awesome way to sneak in veggies for picky eaters, like her grated carrot suggestion, or other items.  The salsa, chilies, and taco seasoning pack enough flavor for you to get away with quite a lot ;)

With these one dish meals, you'll also have less time doing dishes this evening.  What will you use your extra minutes doing instead?  Maybe just throw those feet up on the couch, the vacuum and scrubbing can wait for another day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Green Spaces For Any Home

Summertime allows us to spend more time outside enjoying nature and all its glory.  We've wrangled up some beautiful and creative outdoor spaces that you can use at home too.

Need some privacy?  These tall ornamental grasses in tubs are perfect to block your neighbor's view into your yard and offer the ability to be placed where ever you see fit.  Add casters to the bottom of the tubs to allow for easy mobility.
Dave's Garden via Driven By Decor

Stones strategically placed together make for one whimsical chair.  Imagine reading a book, sipping a lemonade on a warm, sunshine-y day in this spot!

Crush Cul de Sac
Or take a tree that's been cut down and slice the trunk into "cookies" to create one of a kind walk way pavers.

Grows On You
Reusing old shutters to create this nook would be magical.  Have a tea party a la Alice and Wonderland in a space like this!

Cottage in the Oaks

Check out other green spaces on our Green Spaces Pinterest board!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Toddler Biting-Why & How to Stop

Johnny was sent home from daycare with a report that no parent wants to see...he bit a classmate.  Little Suzy has been terrorizing her mother everyday around the same time by walking up and biting her on the leg.

Many parents will tell you to deal with this issue in a number of ways...bite your child back, move your child's arm in front of yours so they chomp down on themselves instead...spank, place in timeout, yell, or ignore...

Is there any right way to treat this issue?  First let's examine why your child may be biting.
Photo courtesy of
  • They're in pain because they're teething. They apply pressure to relieve the swelling around their gums.

  • They're exploring their world. Children at a young age use their mouths, like hands, to discover the world around them.

  • They're craving attention. Bad behaviors such as biting get bad attention, but some children will take any attention they can get.

  • They're frustrated. Biting, like hitting, is a way for some children to assert themselves when they're still too young to express feelings effectively through words.  It may be a sign of affection, tiredness, or even excitement.  Don't just think they are biting you to hurt or create pain.  Very young children don't understand these concepts until they are older.
Trying to figure out which “type” of biting your child is doing may help you better address the problem. There is no right or wrong way, but we've found some tips for prevention and techniques for reaction, should this be a problem with your toddler.
  •  Remain calm. Acting out in an angry manner will only do harm. It will confuse your child and will make you more frustrated with the process. And at all cost do not bite your child. They may think this is a game or even worse, acceptable behavior.
  • Teach that biting HURTS! If you are holding him, put him down immediately and portray emotions that you are in pain. He knows what crying is, and even small babies are upset by others crying because they know it signifies pain and unhappiness. Say "OUCH, BITING HURTS!" loudly.
  •  Keep biters away.  If your child is ever around another child who bites, keep them apart for awhile. Biters do tend to reinforce each other.
Be ready to climb this uphill battle. This is not something that merely goes away on its own. Persistence and reassurance are key to stop your child from biting.

We'd love to hear if you've experienced this issue with your child.  How did you solve the problem in your house?



Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Sandwiches-Meatless Monday Edition

Sandwiches can be a quick and easy way to fuel you up and with an assortment of summer vegetables available, why not use some seasonal favorites to change things up?  We've got 4 delicious sandwich options to have you and your family saying "Yum!"

The first sandwich we're talking about is great for a breakfast or snack choice.  Fitbie's "Raisin the Stakes" waffle sandwich, featuring 3 powerfoods, is great for a protein packed start to your day.  Plus this yummy sandwich only takes 5 minutes to make!  All you need are raisins, peanut butter, a frozen waffle (preferably whole wheat), and add a banana for some extra yummy goodness.

This next sandwich features some great summer veggies like eggplant, yellow squash, and bell peppers.  Sandra Lee, from the Food Network, created this delicious Grilled Vegetable Panini, perfect for a quick lunch or easy dinner!

If you have any leftover eggplant from our last recipe, why not use it again in Blissful Basil's Baked Eggplant Marinara Sandwich?  You can even make a batch of these beforehand, and reheat them to their original, delectable state.

Last, for today, we're bringing back Half Baked Harvest for another winning dish!  Her Spinach and Artichoke Melts not only look divine, but is such a fun take on a classic.  Her recipe yields extra dip for something later in the week, but after you taste these, we think you'll just make sandwiches the next day.

Do you have any Meatless Monday recipes you want to share?  Send us a comment and you might see it on our next post!