Try This: Mango Green Smoothies

The best mango green smoothie ever! (The secret is to use coconut milk and add a splash of OJ)

Marina shared her favorite mango green smoothie recipe the other day and I dreamed about it for a week straight. I finally got to the store and stocked up on frozen mango so I could make these for breakfast yesterday.

They were everything I knew they would be and more, just delicious. I’m thinking of making another one right now!

Mango Green Smoothies

Slightly Adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen (we just adjust to our tastes and family size)

Makes 4-5 smoothies

- 1 to 2 cup(s) Coconut Milk

- several handfuls of spinach

- 1/2 bag of frozen pineapple (fresh is even better!)

- 1/2 bag of frozen mango

- Drizzle of Honey (Optional)

- Splash of OJ (optional)

Blend coconut milk and spinach first in order to get that beautiful green smoothie look you want and not bits and pieces of spinach that get stuck in your teeth! Then add fruit and blend again until you reach your desired consistency. Pour and serve immediately.

Note: Our new favorite is Almond Coconut milk, I love the slight tropical vibe it gives this green goodness. Sometimes I also add a splash of OJ to amp up the citrus flavor

See Marina’s recipe here: Favorite Green Smoothie

Adding this to our breakfast rotation, and searching for more green smoothie recipes to try.

Do you have a favorite green smoothie?

Tell me what’s in it, I’d love to try it next.

Southwestern Chopped Salad & 3-Ingredient Sangria

Add meat and cheese, some tortilla strips would be great too! End up with this, a super simple weeknight meal your whole family will love.

Really, all three of my kids gobbled this up. My 6 year old had three bowls full of this salad. I’d love to tell you he was a salad nut (he does “like” salad), but the real secret was in the spicy ranch, so so good.

May I present you with your new go to weeknight salad:

southwestern chopped salad

Southwestern Chopped Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • finely chopped lettuce
  • finely chopped cabbage
  • shredded carrots
  • diced cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • black olives
  • steamed corn
  • pepper jack cheese
  • grilled chicken (diced or sliced)
  • Avacado (diced – optional)
  • Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch (optional – but so good)

Directions:

This couldn’t be more simple. Grill the chicken however you like, or cook it up quickly on the stove using some EVO and salt & pepper. Dice all ingredients, taking the time to finely dice the lettuce and cabbage. Layer them in a large bowl, sprinkle with cheese (as heavy handed as you need to be) then place cooked chicken on top to serve.

Notes:
In a pinch or on busy weeknights, use store bought rotisserie or grilled & ready chicken. You can even find southwestern chopped salad kits with lettuce & cabbage pre-chopped, ready to go.

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and as long as you’ve whipped up this tasty salad with time to spare, why not make this evening extra special with a 2 minute, 3-ingredient sangria.

3 Ingredient Sangria

Ingredients:

  • Red Table Wine (I used First Timer Red)
  • Orange Passion Mango World Market Italian Soda
  • Bag of Mixed Frozen Fruit (mine had strawberries, mango & peaches)

Directions:

  1. Have a simple sangria ready to go in 2 minutes flat. Pour in red wine, then follow with Italian Soda; the ratio is 1:1. Open your bag of frozen fruit and pour in as much as you want. The fruit will not only chill the sangria, but as it melts the flavors will even enhance it.

Notes:
If you’re like me and you’re not the biggest fan of mushy fruit, then you may want to sip this sangria with a straw. While sure I’d prefer fresh fruit in my sangria, this is a super simple alternative you can whip up just about any time. Perfect for when unexpected company drops by.

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Kids can have their own sparkling punch, just pour in some Italian soda and a few frozen strawberries and/or peaches to jazz it up a bit.

The result is a low fuss, no stress dinner that feels a bit more like a vacation than a chore.

Enjoy!

These recipes were developed as part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all ideas and opinions are my own.

I had such a great time working with World Market, you can find them on Twitter,Google+Facebook and/or Pinterest!

School Lunch Idea: Mini Hawaiian Subs

kids lunch ideas

I asked all my friends on Facebook how I could be most helpful in getting them back in to the rhythm of balancing school, and work, and family life. I was super surprised to see 90% of them needed some fresh ideas for packing lunches, but you know what? — this seems to be a growing topic in our home too!

I sat down with my kiddos and we did some serious brainstorming.  We took school guidelines, allergy restrictions and all of their unique likes and dislikes into heavy consideration. We came up with a list of lunch ideas for school, some more healthy than others … we could all be happy about.

First up, are the cute little mini subs. Did you know Hawaiian Bread made mini sub rolls now? Me neither. Check it.

packed lunch ideas

These sweet little hawaiian subs have turkey, provolone and a squeeze of Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard. I microwave the meat & cheese on the bread for 10-12 seconds to give it that straight from the deli effect.

These are outstanding at home fresh out the microwave and I havent had any complaints or half eaten sandwiches since we started packing them for school.

healthy lunch ideas

I paired this lunch with some scrabble cheezits (confession: cheez-its are my all time weakness) and some freeze dried fruit, like this.

crunchies mixed fruit

I’ve tried a lot of freeze dried fruit in our house and it doesn’t always get the warmest welcome. This brand however, all 3 of my littles enjoyed.

There you have it, our first back to school lunch idea. Stay tuned for more ideas for school lunches.

The containers we’re using are glad products. They are BPA free and we have them in sandwich and snack size. I like that I can fit the snack container into the sandwich container like this. Handy. Dandy & Cheap. :)

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I have partnered with The Glad Products Company through DailyBuzz Moms to help promote their BPA-free Food Storage products. I have been compensated for my time and efforts. However, my opinions and ideas are, as always, entirely my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you GLAD!

Balsamic Chicken & Toasted Tortellini

It’s been quite a few Valentine’s Days since my first go round with the goodness that is brown butter and basalmic vinegar. I remember our first Valentine’s Day as new parents, we couldn’t go out for a romantic dinner so I made us one at home. That night it was brown butter & balsamic toasted ravioli (awesome!), but this version with tortellini was equally good and pretty kid friendly too.

Balsamic Chicken, Toasted Tortellini and Caprese Salad

Balsamic Chicken & Brown Butter Toasted Tortellini

Heat some olive oil & minced garlic in a large pan. Add your chicken breasts or tenderloins and after a few minutes add a few tablespoons of a nice quality balsamic vinegar. I think we used 4-5 small frozen breasts here with 1.5 tablespoons of vinegar, increase the amount based on how much chicken you are using. Let the chicken cook until the juices run clear and the outside starts to brown and get a bit crispy.

Cook tortellini according to package directions (we used grocery store brand frozen spinach & cheese tortellini), drain and set aside. Melt 4-6 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and continue to heat until butter starts to turn brown (5-7 minutes). Add tortellini and a tablespoon or two of balsamic vingear (depending on how much tortellini you have). Stir around until tortellini are coated in butter & balsamic vinegar and then a few minutes more until tortellini starts to “toast” a bit.

close ups

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese & sit down to enjoy this truly fabulous meal with your family.

Served here with one of my favorite summer salads — the caprese salad.
So simple, yet so tasty. All you need are some mixed greens of your choice, cherry tomatoes cut in half (any tomatoes will do, dice a larger one if that’s what you have on hand), some fresh mozzerella (we used tiny mozzerella balls, so simple), a bit of olive oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, basil, and some salt & pepper. Sometimes I add parsley and oregano too, if I have it on hand.

If you’ve never cooked with or experimented with Balsamic Vinegar … then we have lots to talk about! It’s a staple in my pantry and I would love to help make it one in yours as well.

bowl full of happiness

Eat with me Wednesday #3

Bowl full of happiness

Cream of Wheat w/ Brown Sugar, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

There are just some foods that whenever I make them take me back to another time and place. Every time I make this dish, which by the way needs to be a lot more often, I’m suddenly transformed back to that tiny, long-haired little girl I used to be; sitting on my Daddy’s lap, scooping up heaping spoonfuls of warm cream of wheat, and biting in to sugary sweet cinnamon toast (not pictured). I can smell the deliciousness even as I type this.

I didn’t know my father very well when I was growing up, but I vividly remember him eating cream of wheat. I remember, because he always poured milk into his creating this odd souplike mixture and I could never understand why anyone would ever want to mess with the thick, just plain perfect texture that was cream of wheat (malt o meal for some of you, no?). Memories like this are important to me, those little moments we did share versus the oh so many moments we did not get to share.

Sharing moments isn’t a problem around here, but I would like to put on the record for my own children the way I like my cream of wheat. :)

Thick, but not too thick. Sweet, but not too sweet with a brown tint you can only get from lots and lot of cinnamon and just enough brown sugar. I’ve learned from my own children that dried cranberries are the perfect accessory for this meal and this time I thought I’d try some honey roasted almond slices because, well – why not!

It was delightful, my own little bowl of happiness. And one last tip about building the perfect bowl of cream of wheat – if it gets too thick for your taste, you could add a ton of milk like my Dad used to do, but I prefer a tablespoon or two of hot tea — the way my Momma used to do it.

Cooking Tips: Follow the instructions on the box to make the amount of Cream of Wheat you need. Do this on the stove, trust me, it is way better this way. The mixture will thicken the longer it sits (see previous paragraph). Sweeten your bowl to taste and don’t forget the cinnamon toast! Perfect for eating and dipping. Butter some bread and sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon sugar on top. Broil or bake on the top rack until the face of the toast gets just a bit crusty. You still want some of it to be soggy (mmm, melted butter and cinnamon sugar). Be careful if broiling toast. It happens quick, so keep an eye on it.

Do you have any foods that remind you of your childhood?

Creamy Tropical Oatmeal w/ Toasted Coconut

Eat with me Wednesday #2
Creamy Tropical Oatmeal w/ Toasted Coconut

How many foods have you found that everyone in your family enjoys? Pizza, Spaghetti, Macaroni and Cheese – maybe. How about Oatmeal? My family loves Oatmeal. We love to make big batches of it together on the weekends, taking turns measuring, stirring the pot, letting the kids choose which fruits and flavor combinations they’ll add to make it uniquely theirs.

It has become such an easy, comfort food for us that some nights when Daddy is away and we’re feeling a bit nostalgic or in need of something warm & comforting, we’ll even whip up a batch and eat it for dinner. We just love it that much.

This Creamy Tropical version comes to you from the creative mind of my 6 year old. He loves to experiment with new tastes and flavors in the kitchen and this recipe does just that.

Creamy Tropical Oatmeal w/ Toasted Coconut

We started out with Almond Breeze Coconut Almond Milk (he really loves this stuff), we used it for half of the liquid in the recipe to give it the extra creamy texture. We cooked the oats as directed and added a bit of maple syrup for flavor and sweetness, sprinkled some (Ok, a lot of) cinnamon like we always do, added a splash of good vanilla and swirled it all around and inhaled the goodness. Next, we toasted some shredded coconut in the oven until it was just turning golden brown. Then we dished up the oatmeal, tossed in a handful of diced dried pineapple and mango and dusted the top with the toasted coconut.

We really enjoyed this version, we hope you try it and love it too.

Eat with me Wednesday: Numero Uno

I’ve always dreamed of being one of those well thought out bloggers who thinks ahead enough to post weekly meal plans to share with everyone. Alas, I am a poor planner. Forgive me.

I did … come up with an idea, I think I can manage though, a weekly post of what we’ve been eating, new recipes we’ve tried, messes we’ve made in the kitchen, etc, etc.

Two Warnings from the get go: 1) most pics will be from Instagram, I am so horrible at uploading pis from my camera, sometimes I go months! and 2) I’m not a recipe follower, I wing everything. I will do my best to describe what I’ve done in these photos, but if I’m not clear or you have questions, just ask! I could talk about food all day.

For the first week, I’ll keep it simple. Here’s what I ate today.

For breakfast, a personal favorite – Pepper Jack Scramble

One egg and diced peppers scrambled together, topped with cheese and planted on a heated tortilla.

Simple, satisfying, delicious. In less than 5 mins (I keep diced peppers in the fridge for moments just like these) Missing from this photo are my friends jalapeno, salsa and pepper jack cheese (I was out, so I subbed in cheddar – also good)

Lunch was Homemade Vegetable Soup.
I know the pic makes it look more like a bowl full of noodles, this was leftovers and for some reason my noodles swell up extra big. My grandmothers never seemed to do that, anyone know what cause this or how to prevent it?

Sautee an onion, some diced carrots and celery in minced garlic & olive oil until onions are clear and celery and carrots are soft. Add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of broth (your choice, I used 1/2 chicken, 1/2 vegetable), a cup or 2 of spicy V8 (gives it a little extra something, something) and salt, pepper, and Nature Seasoning to your taste.  Bring to a boil and let simmer while you boil your noodles. I use macaroni here, but go wild with whatever noodle you want. Cook your pasta till its al dente (still has a bite to it), drain it and toss it in. If you need more liquid, add water or a mixture of water & Spicy V8 juice.

Voila, homemade vegetable soup in about 20-25 minutes.

Dinner here is SUPER simple. Roasted Green Beans and Baby Bellas.
I bought my green beans in a ready to go package, the same with my sliced baby bella mushrooms.

I opened the bags, tossed them on the cookie sheet, poured some EVO on top, sprinkled some good Basalmic Vinegar on top (I like Paul Newmans’ brand) and seasoned with what? You guessed it — salt, pepper, Nature Seasoning and garlic salt. I roasted these for about 35 mins at 380 degrees. Missing from this photo is some shredded parmesan to bring all these flavors together, YUM!

All out of parm this time, but I’ll be ready next time. Maybe I’ll whip out the breadmaker or roast a chicken to go with this, or if I’m feeling rushed or lazy — I’ll grab a rotisserie from the store and a fresh bread with a nice thick crust.

This concludes the first Eat with me Wednesday,
what did you think?

5 Easy Holiday Snacks

I’m on the Christmas Snack Committee for kindergarten. Normally his school is on a strict no added sugar and zero junk food policy, so when planning easy holiday snacks I had to get a bit creative in my search. Sure, a few of my ideas have sweets in them … but I’m checking to see if they ease their policies a bit for the holidays. Either way, I think parents and kids alike will all have fun building these cute snacks.

santa crackers
Easy Holiday Snack: Santa Crackers

healthy christmas tree snack
Snap Pea Christmas Tree

santa hat brownie bites
Santa Hat Brownie Bites

snowman bagels
Snowman Bagels

snowman donuts
Snowman Donuts

As long as I was on the lookout, I thought I may as well share my findings with you! I’m probably not the only mother out there doing this right now and I know how hectic these weeks leading up till Christmas are becoming. I had no idea what a difference a school age child would make to our family dynamic. I really do miss the days when the world revolved around only us. Here’s hoping I can save you a few precious moments this week.

Have a semi-healthy holiday snack idea of your own? Please share!

My new favorite dessert

Allow me to introduce you to my new friend ... dessert Aka White Chocolate Summer Berry Tart

I call it, the White Chocolate Summer Berry Tart.

And it’s one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make! It’s pretty healthy and low calorie, and the kids can almost make it themselves. Plus it tastes fantastic! And all around winner in my book. Oh yeah, and it looks nice too, so it’s a great choice for picnics & BBQs this summer.

Oh enough of me trying to sell it to you. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

White Chocolate Summer Berry Tart

Serves 8

- store bought German style tart (find these near the angel food cakes)
- 2 packs of Instant Sugar Free White Chocolate Pudding
- 4 cups of milk
- berries of your choice (we used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & strawberries)
- a few chocolate chips
- Whip Cream (I used RediWhip, b/c someone told me it was better for you)

Ok now for the easy part, make pudding according to directions (2 boxes = 4 cups of milk) and let sit for 5 minutes. Take the tart out of the package, fill with pudding. Sprinkle with berries (slice larger berries like strawberries and blackberries) Insert chocolate chips into the hull of raspberries for a special treat.

Take photos, slice and serve with a dollop of whip cream on top. Enjoy!

Sriracha Tuna Fish Sandwich

Lunch has really been looking up around these parts the last few weeks thanks to a sweet friend of mine. You know the type, the one who whenever you hear they’re cooking for a party or that they might be bringing an item to a certain get together, you just FIND a way to be there. Well, that’s my friend Jun.

We knew she had talent way back in the day, but I was so incredibly proud of her when she packed her things and followed her dreams across the Atlantic to fancy cooking school (a dream we share by the way). Not that she ever needed to. I mean, I’ve never met a dish of hers I didn’t like, from French Toast to Sushi Rolls to downhome Ribs & Mac N Cheese or the Cheesecake, oh the cheesecake – mmmm.

Lucky for you, I like to share. Now Jun can be “that” friend to you too.

Spice up your tuna sandwich with this asian inspired version with sriracha and green onions!

I’m in love with her asian take on the typical tuna sandwich. Let me tell you, there’s nothing typical about this version (sesame seeds and sriracha sauce).

I must have tried it 10 times already, I’d share the recipe but I’d rather you stop by her little house on the beach and tell her I said Hi! It won’t take you long till you’re as hooked on her as I am.

Recipe found here:  Asian Tuna Salad

Love you Sweet Jun :)