Grocery Shopping with Kids

I actually love grocery shopping and although it can take a little extra patience, I enjoy grocery shopping with our kids. Although I may wind up spending a few extra dollars when the boys grocery shop with me, I think in the long run, it is actually a good thing and helps them to actually eat the food we serve at the dinner table. 

The boys at the Wegmans check out with veggie balloons that a produce department worker gave them because he observed them being such great helpers picking out fruits and veggies while we shopped. 

The boys at the Wegmans check out with veggie balloons that a produce department worker gave them because he observed them being such great helpers picking out fruits and veggies while we shopped. 

Not that I have it perfect, but here are some tips to grocery shop with your kids!

1. Have a plan AND a list - Talk with your kids about food for the week (breakfast, lunches, snacks, dinner). Of course, you can't say yes to all their ideas or requests - for example, our youngest would opt for pancakes or waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we let him - having their input can help helpful. Then build your grocery list because especially when kids are with you...  without a list it would be nearly impossible to leave the store with everything you need.

2. Give them mini jobs at the grocery store - While the 'job' may vary slightly based on their age, giving them little things to do while you are shopping can help keep them focused on the list and a little less likely to get distracted by things you do not need.

Examples:
Grab a bag and pick two bunches of broccoli. 
Pick which lettuce pack you think looks the best for salads this week.
Get 5 of the (tell them specifically which brand or color package) yogurts with the green label.
Pick two boxes of the little bunny crackers. 
Pick any bag of frozen veggies. 

3. Pick and choose somethings to say yes  - Our boys will ask for many things that we don't need in a shopping trip. I find if I tell them yes, to some things that are healthier choices, like a new flavor of KIND Snacks Bar, a different fruit than what was on the list, etc. It makes all the times I say no to the stuff that is sugary, too pricey, or that we just don't need. 

Happy grocery shopping! 

 

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Mini Cheddar and Sausage Breakfast Frittatas

Mini breakfast frittatas are perfect for busy schedules! You can make them ahead quickly and then they are ready to go through the week. There are so many different ways to make them as well, which will keep it interesting - here they are made with a combination of egg, cheddar cheese, and chicken breakfast sausage. 

Mini Cheddar and Sausage Breakfast Frittatas

Mini Cheddar and Sausage Breakfast Frittatas

Mini Cheddar and Sausage Breakfast Frittatas

Serves 12

Ingredients:

IMG_7922.JPG

12 organic cage free eggs

3 oz shredded cheddar cheese (e.g. Cabot New York Vintage Cheddar Cheese)

4 chicken sausage (e.g. Wegmans Organic Chicken Breakfast Sausage with Sage) - chopped into bite-size pieces

Directions:

1. Prepare muffin tins with non-stick pan spray and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a mixing bowl, crack 12 eggs. Then stir in cheddar cheese.

3. Fill each muffin tin with the egg and cheese mixture. Then divide the chicken sausage pieces among the baking tin. 

4. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the frittatas are golden brown and the egg is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 - 10 minutes before removing from them pan.

Nutrition Facts (per frittata): 130 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 230 milligrams cholesterol, 250 milligrams sodium, 1 gram carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 12 grams protein

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I Love Beets!

beets.jpg

I love beets! They are truly a favorite. Plus they are loaded with nutrition benefits. Specifically beets are rich in nitrates, betaine, and the B-vitamin folate; these nutrients in beets can help your health in many ways!

Nitrates in your body are converted into nitric oxide which helps to relax and dilate blood vessels which in turn can boost blood flow. Betaine (a plant compound found in beets and other foods) has been shown to protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, and enhance performance. While folate helps to drive down levels of homocysteine in the blood, which can reduce the risk for artery damage and heart disease. 

When you are short on time to peel and cook beets, Love Beets has you covered with packages of cooked, ready to eat beets (pictured above). Look for them in a refrigerated area of the produce section of the grocery store. Also look for delicious baby beets too in flavors like honey + ginger and sweet chili. 

Check out this delicious Greek Cucumber Beet Salad recipe (See below) and some other favorite picks like: Beet and Salmon Nicoise Salad, Strawberry Rhubarb Beet Scones, or Beet Caprese Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

Note: This isn't a sponsored post, just products I love! 

Photo from LoveBeets.com 

Photo from LoveBeets.com 

Greek Cucumber Beet Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced (2 cups)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ red onion, thinly sliced (1-½ cups)

1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced

1 ripe (but firm) avocado, peeled and diced

1 (8.8-ounce) package Love Beets Cooked Beets, chopped

⅓ cup fresh feta cheese, cubed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1-½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Add the first 8 ingredients to a mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together the remaining 5 ingredients in a bowl.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss everything together until well-coated. Taste the salad for flavor and add more sea salt and/or vinegar to taste.

Click here to visit Love Beets.com for more recipes and information.

References:

Betaine in Human Nutrition, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/3/539.full, Accessed August 15, 2017

Homocystine Lowering with Folic Acid and B Vitamins in Vascular Disease, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa060900#t=article, Accessed August 15, 2017

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Farmers Market Fresh Tomato Sauce

Farmers market season is the best! This tomato sauce is easy to make and includes all ingredients that are plentiful this time of year. 

The farmers market is the best! 

The farmers market is the best! 

Look at all those colors... ready to simmer down!

Look at all those colors... ready to simmer down!

Farmers Market Fresh Tomato Sauce

Serves 6 - 8

Ingredients:

4 cups tomatoes*, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

7 oz tomato paste

2 tablespoons relish

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 

*A variety of tomatoes works great, for example: cherry tomatoes and roma tomatoes! 

Directions:

1. In a large pan saute the tomatoes, onion, and pepper for 5 - 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, relish, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 60 minutes. Stirring occasionally while simmering.

3. For a smooth sauce puree with an immersion blender. For a thicker sauce -serve as is!

Serving suggestions: serve over zucchini noodles or whole wheat pasta.

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Blueberry-Banana Bread

While blueberries are so fresh, what could be better than Blueberry-Banana Bread? This recipe is made with my favorite whole grain flour, whole wheat pastry flour, which keeps the texture nice and light!

Blueberry-Banana Bread

Blueberry-Banana Bread

Blueberry-Banana Bread

Serve 16

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 stick butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a bread pan with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir together.

3. Stir in the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir well to combine. The mixture will be thick.

4. Fold in the fresh blueberries.

5. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until the bread is cooked through and the top is golden brown. 

Nutrition Facts (per slice): 160 calories, 6 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 12 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

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Summer Pesto Pizza

Skinny Rules Pesto! 

Skinny Rules Pesto! 

This delicious pesto takes perfect on top of pizza for a light and delicious dinner or even appetizer. This recipe is from The Skinny Rules (Publisher: Harlequin Non-Fiction, see page 108), it's a recipe from a cousin of mine, Kristine Schoembs. What I love about this recipe is that it is only 45 calories per serving, which is much less from traditional pesto that can be loaded with calories. While the calories in pesto mostly come from healthy fats from nuts and oil, it can be hard to save enough calories in a day for a rich pesto. 

Skinny Rules Pesto

Serves 8 (1 oz servings)

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup veggie or chicken broth

1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 - 3 garlic cloves

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend! Store pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Nutrition facts (per flatbread pizza*): 50 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, <5 milligrams cholesterol, 100 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

Photo by luchezar/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by luchezar/iStock / Getty Images

SUMMER PESTO PIZZA

Serves 1 

Ingredients:

Whole grain flatbread of  choice (approximately 150 calories)

1/4 cup feta cheese

1 oz Skinny Rules pesto (See recipe above)

Toppings of your choice: sliced olives, mushrooms, zucchini, olives, arugula, basil leaves, etc. 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Top the flatbread with pesto and spread evenly around. Then top with feta cheese and toppings of choice.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese is warm and melted. Slice and serve.

Nutrition facts (per flatbread pizza*): 273 calories, 9 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 620 milligrams sodium, 39 grams carbs, 22 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 12 grams protein

*Nutrition facts based on a Millet & Flax Flatbread (150 calories) and sliced zucchini for a topping, note: the flatbread selected and the toppings will impact the nutrition fact data. 

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Happy National Mojito Day - Strawberry Mojito

Cheers!

Cheers!

What I love about this refreshing strawberry mojito, is that it relies on the sweetness of the strawberries and skips simple syrup all together. This recipe is from my recipe book, Skinny-Size It (Publisher: Harlequin Non-Fiction)!

STRAWBERRY MOJITO

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 lime wedge, sliced into 6 wedges

8 fresh mint leaves, plus 2 mint sprigs for garnishing

4 strawberries, stems removed and cut in half, plus 2 whole strawberries for garnishing

2 ounces white rum

Club soda

Ice

Directions:

1. Place 3 limed wedges and 4 mint leaves in each of 2 glasses and lightly mash in the bottom of the glass with a spoon or wooden muddler. Then add 2 strawberries to each glass and lightly muddle.

2. Top each glass with rum, club soda, and ice. Garnish each with a strawberry and sprig of mint, and serve at once. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates. 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, <1 gram protein

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The Perfect Summer Salad

This Mango Strawberry Pecan salad is perfect for summer! It is really simple to put together and is delicious.

Mango Strawberry Pecan Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 cups baby spinach, stems removed

1 mango, diced into cubes

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/4 cup feta cheese

1/4 cup pecans

Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

In a serving bowl or on a platter start with the greens. Then top with the mango, strawberries, pecans, and feta. 

Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 100 calories, 6 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 470 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 2 grams protein

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Oh wow - DIY Vegan Mayonnaise

To start, I have to say, you must give this a try! This vegan mayonnaise was easy to make and tasted incredible!

The back story - I had picked up a bunch of cans of chickpeas so that I could experiment with aquafaba but wasn't sure what I was going to make first. Aquafaba It is the liquid that beans are cooked in. Then we were having avocado (the boys opted for bacon), lettuce, & tomato sandwiches and wanted some mayonnaise to add but we didn't have any.... this is where the aquafaba came in!

My husband did a quick search for vegan mayonnaise, and found this delicious NY Times Cooking D.I.Y. Vegan Mayonnaise recipe using aquafaba - we adapted it and used canola oil instead of the sunflower oil. Here's the recipe version that we tried:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup aquafaba*

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons dried mustard

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the aquafaba, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, sugar, and dried mustard. 

Using an immersion blender, start blending the mixture. Then as you are blending, start to slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture (my husband helped me with this part - it was helpful to have an extra set of hands to drizzle the oil while blending). Adding the oil should take about 4 - 5 minutes and the mixture will continue to thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise while blending. 

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready for use. 

*Note: From one can of chickpeas you will get about 1 cup of reserved aquafaba.

For more about aquafaba: http://aquafaba.com/

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Veggie Spiedie Sandwich

Where I live (Binghamton, NY area) Spiedies are a local staple. The history of the spiedie is debated some but the story is that the spiedie was brought to Binghamton by Italian immigrants in the 1920's. Most traditionally, spiedies were marinated lamb that was then grilled and served on fresh Italian bread.

Today around our area you mostly find that spiedies are cubes of marinated meat typically - pork, beef, or chicken. So, when I started eating vegetarian a couple of years ago, I had to figure out a plant-based solution to the traditional spiedies. Sometimes I make my own version of spiedie marinade (recipe below) and other times I use a local favorite - Lupo's spiedie marinade!

Here is a how-to and recipe (Skinnier Spiedie Sandwich - page 28- 30), that is in Skinny Size-It (Harlequin Non Fiction 2014). 

Tofu Spiedies... oh yum! 

Tofu Spiedies... oh yum! 

 Veggie Spiedie Sandwich

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 cup Spiedie Marinade (See recipe below or store bought)
4 whole-wheat flat breads (such as Flatout Healthy Grain Flatbread)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
 

Directions:

1. Remove the tofu from the package and drain the excess water by placing the tofu on a plate lined with paper towels and letting it sit for 15 - 20 minutes. Then cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place the cubes in a medium-size mixing bowl. Pour the Spiedie Marinade over the tofu and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes (works great to marinate overnight!). 

2. Lightly coast a medium-size skillet with cooking spray, and then heat the skillet over medium heat. Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon and saute it int he skillet, turning gently with a spatula, until it has browned on all sites, about 20 - 30 minutes. 

3. Fill each flatbread with tofu cubes, shredded lettuce, and tomato slices. Fold in half and then serve!

Other tips: serve the spiedies as a salad topper or another favorite is to served topped with sauteed peppers and onions. 

Nutrition facts (per serving): 230 calories, 132 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 460 milligrams sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 17 grams protein

Spiedie Marinade

Yield: 1 cup (16 tablespoons)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl or salad dressing shaker, combine all the ingredients, and whisk or shake, mixing thoroughly. 

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