Monday, August 25, 2014

Turn up the Beet-Meatless Monday Edition

As we bring delicious meatless recipes to you each week, we hope you are exploring other fruits and veggies on your own.  One vegetable we've yet to tap into is the almighty beet. Rich in fiber and full of health boosting anti-oxidants, beets have a great rap of fighting off and preventing diseases, but aren't always thought of when it comes to gourmet eating.  Today we'll introduce this lovely red veggie in three unique ways, knowing that one of these recipes could be a new staple on your weekly menu, if not all three!

Let's start with a fun, shredded salad that provides a lot of color and can even be introduced to toddlers who haven't mastered the art of the fork.  By cutting or shredding the beets and other ingredients with a mandolin or food processor (we like the processor best to aid us in making this speedy side), a salad is transformed into something new for the family with a fun texture.  Better Homes and Garden adds an easy dressing to go along with this side for a unique and nutritious dish for your Meatless Monday menu.

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad
Our next dish is gourmet with a capital G.  Beet and Turnip Gratin by Brandon at Kitchen Konfidence is so pretty, you'll look like the next big Food Network star with this dish.  Make this the centerpiece for your Meatless Monday meal and watch everyone ooh and ahhh (and drool) over it!

Last and equally as pretty, is Coffee and Quinoa's Shocking Pink Sunbutter Smoothie.  No mention of the word 'beet' in the title, but believe us that's what really gives it the shocking pink color (we'll take a dress in the same color, please).  The beets also help balance out the tartness of the raspberries and offer a hint of sweetness which makes this smoothie perfect to start or end your day.

With these delicious recipes featuring a fun and nutritious vegetable, what will your family try next?  We've got plenty of recipes and resources on our Meatless Monday Pinterest page.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Teaching Responsibility Through Chore Charts

For many people, school has just started or is about to and this means your morning and evening routines may change.  If your child has just started kindergarten, teaching responsibility through a routine or chore chart can help them understand what is expected to get ready for each day.  For older children, a chart can also help them get into their new routine and help ease your morning and evening work loads.

A simple chart, like the one below from is a great way to give very young children basic instructions that should be completed in order each and every night to get ready for bedtime. By sticking to the chart, children know what is expected of them and can lead to a smoother schedule.

Older children can have a routine chart as well that include more complex skills such as making their bed or packing their school supplies away for the next day.  Chore charts can be implemented based on your families needs, if there are standard chores to be done on a regular schedule, such as picking up toys or setting the table, but there are other interesting ways to engage the kids, such as a chore jar.  The chore jar gives children the ability to choose what chore they want to do, or gives them a "random" chore based on what stick they pick out of the jar.  I Wash You Dry has an outstanding example of a fun chore jar that can be completed each week or month depending on what you choose to include.

You can choose to pay an allowance or offer an award if your child can complete their assigned tasks to your satisfaction.  Some studies warn that certain tasks and routines should not be awarded so the child learns it is part of an expectation that they do without receiving anything for the effort, particularly when it comes to hygienic responsibilities.

Do you use a chore or routine chart in your house?  At what age was your child when you started?

For more charts, tips, and ideas, check out our Pinterest boards!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Garlic's Great! Meatless Monday Recipes Featuring Garlic

After today's batch of recipes, you might need a stick of gum, but the health benefits and flavor you get from adding garlic to your food is undeniable.

Garlic has many health boosting characteristics.  From battling high blood pressure and reducing high cholesterol, to acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.  It also offers a total immune system boost thanks to its powerful antioxidants.

Let's get things going with our first recipe and only entree for the day.  Garlic Butter Mushroom and Provolone Melts are just tasty.  The smell alone while cooking is just short of heavenly.  Brought to you by a Pinch of Yum, the addition of white wine makes this melt kind of fancy...not too fancy, but just fancy enough.  A perfect recipe for a quick dinner one night.  And if you need a side with it, then try one of the three following recipes that also feature our friend, garlic.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower could be a nice pairing with the melt above, or use it with just about any other entree, for any day of the week.  Simple and satisfying, it's quicker than making mashed potatoes and healthier too!  From Fueling with Food, they add that this recipe offers 2 servings of vegetable, which is around the average of what your daily intake should be.

Or how about some greens?  Broccoli and asparagus are two of our favorite.  Try's Garlic Broccolini or's Roasted Asparagus with Garlic-Lemon Sauce.  Two very different takes featuring garlic, but you can't go wrong with either.  These recipes act as a great side dish to compliment any meal, whether you're participating in Meatless Monday or not.

For more delicious recipes, check out our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Smoothie Power

Smoothies are a great way to get your daily dose of fruits, veggies or both, depending on what you choose to include.  We've got four fabulous recipes that can kick start your day, satisfy your sweet tooth, or just offer a cool, refreshing beverage.  Not to mention they all taste good and are good for you!

The biggest craze on the block are green smoothies.  You can pretty much include anything you want in one of these, but they don't always yield the tastiest end result.  This Green Smoothie is one of the recipes Lauren Conrad uses to start her day and she swears "it doesn't taste like grass!"  Change things up with this cool chart we have on our Pinterest board from

Not into the green thing?  Then these next two fruity concoctions may be a better version for you.  Averie from Averie Cooks satisfies her sweet tooth with this Blueberry Pie Smoothie.  Created as her version of the perfect blueberry pie, she was looking for an alternative to the real thing since she's a bigger fan of pie filling than the crust, which makes up a large part of any pie.  Although is sounds sweet, don't be fooled...this recipe's sweet factor, is completely up to you, as she doesn't list a specific measurement for your sweetener of choice...we recommend you taste it without any added sweetener first, as the natural fruit sugars may be enough for you as is.

Or try Kristina's Berry Mango Smoothie from Hott Mama in the City.  Simple, tasty, and perfect for your breakfast, snack, or even dessert!  By using frozen fruit, you don't have to worry about adding ice to cool the drink down, nor worry about the beverage becoming too watery.

If you're looking for something a little less fruity, try Sally's Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie.  With such a great partnership of chocolate and peanut butter, this smoothie offers 28 grams of protein!  With the consistency closer to a milk shake, this smoothie might be a great way to trick yourself and the rest of the family into thinking they are getting a sugary snack, when in can control the sweetness.  We liked it best without the honey, as she suggests, but try it out and see what you think!