Friday, December 12, 2014

Gotta have cookies for Santa sprinkled with love and maybe even a little health

We make cookies every year for Santa. This year I found some very interesting and healthy alternatives. 

For the Santa looking to pack in some extra fiber and beta-carotene :  Chewy Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato cookies  

For the Santa looking to fuel up on protein: Peanut butter Quinoa cookies 

For the nutty-kin Santa: Nutty pumpkin chocolate cookie 
For the Oat-a-lishious Santa: Oatmeal Toffee Cookies 

Have a great Ho-ho- Holiday and enjoy those cookies! 
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Are you planning on a healthy new year? Menu planning boxes are here!

Do you feel overwhelmed when deemed with the task of meal planning? Many of my clients did and quite honestly so do I at times. That is the reason I created "Take Out Recipes". I wanted an easy system that would help me plan, shop and prepare quick and healthy meals for my family and  my clients families. 

Here is how it works:
1. Pick 7 dinner cards to display in the clip magnets. 
2. Post the magnets on a magnetic board or refrigerator. 
3. Take the cards with you when shopping. 
4. Use the recipe cards, front and back to help prepare the quick meals. 

Encourage the family to help pick out new recipes. Some cards include: Eating out, steak night, pizza night and favorite family recipe night in order to make the cards more personalized. There are 7 breakfast ideas and 7 lunch box ideas to include in the system for a total for 30 cards!

Here is what you get: 7 clip magnets, 30 recipe cards, 1 display pocket magnet, a coupon for your next order and a Take Out Recipes, recipe box holder. 

Take Out Recipes have been around for over 10 years. This new design modernizes the recipe system as well as adds a colorful and easy display for the entire family to enjoy. 

Order yours today for only $35 + $5 shipping. More recipe cards will be out in February for an additional $20 per 30 cards. 

To order the extremely helpful Take Out Recipe box click here.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Favorite Holiday snacks that have class, health and fun!

This year I wanted to do a "Frozen" theme for my daughters Kindergarten Holiday party. I did not want to go over the top Disney on them but wanted to hint a little bit here and there as Frozen is her absolute favorite movie! 
I also wanted to make the classroom party fun, but also healthy. 
Here are 8 healthy snack ideas that I came up with, some with a little influence from Pinterest, whose projects always seem to come out more perfect than mine but I still have fun being creative. 

1. Orange snowman ( We live in Florida and I can guarantee that the majority of kids have never built there own snowman but now they can with the states favorite fruit...the orange! )
2. Don't forget about the penguin fruit masks. Wrap up whole pears (my seasonal favorite) apples and oranges. To download the free link click here
3. Bananas with a message. The possibilities are endless when it comes to message writing on a banana. 

4. Frozen "cocoa" or really just frozen low fat chocolate milk.
5. Cheese sticks (the original ones that I saw had snowmen drawn on them and they were wrapped with a little scarf). Mine were not photo worthy, but you get the point. 
6. Popcorn "snow" . Draw a snowman face on a clear cup and presto you have a snowman. 

7. Frozen lemonade pops (Olaf loves summer right?)

8. "Do you want to build a snowman?" Trail mix. Give each child a bag of marshmallows, pretzel sticks, nuts, fruit rope cut in 3 pieces, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds. Let them build there own and then munch on a healthy snack. 

Have a great holiday! May it be Healthy and Bright! 

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Health 'full" gifts for the Holidays

Every year I come up with a list of healthy gifting ideas. Some years I recycle ideas from years past but this year I found some interesting contributors. I may not be Oprah,  but here is Americas Dietitians list of favorite things for the Holidays!

1. Someplace to put that healthy lunch and keep it safe as nobody likes a food borne illness as a guest for the holidays and for that matter, year round. Fit and fresh  has a line of lunchboxes and food carriers that are worth looking into. 

2. Start your sous chef early by getting them a kitchen kit to help them cut fruits and vegetables safely in the kitchen. Curious Chef fruit and veggie prep kit is safe, colorful and fun. 

3. Give the gift of physical activity by buying: Jump ropes, balls, indoor mini trampolines, bike, skateboards, scooters, skates or a hula hoop. 

4. Gardening tools- From making their own Terrarium to kid sized gardening tools, gloves and aprons helps to promote a love of getting dirty and growing real food. 

5. So Easy Pop Maker is a fun way to eat smoothies, low-fat chocolate milk, lemonade and any other variety of frozen treat. Making a quick blend of vegetables and fruits and freezing them in an easy to use, and clean, pop maker makes for a quick and healthy after school snack. 

6. ChopChop Magazine is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. A parents choice award winning magazine will provide recipes and great ideas to keep those creative culinary skills cooking throughout the year. 

7. Help them dress the part by buying new running shoes. Shoes that fit comfortably are more likely to promote more physical activity and with all the fun colors and styles you can't go wrong. 

This past summer we did a major purging of "stuff" from our lives and as we approach the holidays I am standing by my promise to myself to think about each and every gift that the kids get. I don't want to contribute to the waste in the world and I want to make sure that the kids understand that healthy gifts can be fun! 

Share the love and share the health! Have a great Holiday! 

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Will you be giving thanks to the potato this Thanksgiving?

Potatoes are the subtle, understated root vegetable that quietly grace the table during Thanksgiving. Whether its one of the orange, white, brown, yellow, red, purple or blue variety they all offer a source of complex carbohydrate that are rich in Potassium, containing even more than a banana, and Vitamin C, about half as much as an orange. Potatoes range in size and sometimes shape but still offer a small amount of protein, containing about as much as a cup of milk, which provides 8 grams of protein as well as range of antioxidants, depending on the color. 

Growing up I never appreciated the potato. We ate them twice baked in the microwave ( an 80's delight), scalloped, mashed and fried and every year for Thanksgiving we had a potato sausage stuffing. 

So no matter which variety is your families favorite, of the hundreds of potato varieties there are, we wanted to share some of our favorite potato recipes. 

Grandma-Tini's Potato, Sage and Sausage Stuffing. A tradition passed on for generations in our family. I remember peeling and dicing the potatoes, an easy task and great way to get the kids involved in Thanksgiving prep! 

Sweet potato quinoa and kale fritters For my friends that are in love with the kale and quinoa craze I thought that this recipe is a beautiful combination of several super foods. All I can say is delish! 

Honey roasted sweet potatoes with honey cinnamon dip. This one deserves high accolades for turning the potato into a dessert side! Although I did not create the recipe, when I first read the recipe I fell immediately in love. 

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Pretty Perky Pumpkins fruit or vegetable?

This time of year is filled with the orange, yellow and brown hues of Fall. I love pumpkins and all the fun recipes that can be made with the seeds and the flesh. I have highlighted a weeks worth of our favorite recipes to keep you thinking about ways to incorporate the fruity festive pumpkin!

1. Pumpkin Nut butter: Mix up pumpkin pureed, almond butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Serve with English muffins, whole grain crackers or bagels. For recipe details visit:

2. One of my favorite classic recipes is: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo. I tried to find my 12+ year old recipe and sadly could not locate the weathered recipe sheet. Here is the closest recipe that I could find to my original favorite.

3. Pumpkin Waffles - Our kids love waffles and I am always tweaking the recipes to make them a little healthier. This recipe was made with the help of my son Jackson!

4. Sweet and Salty Pumpkin seeds. Easy to make and fun to eat! 

5. Chipotle pumpkin black bean soup. A delicious take on a fall favorite soup. 

6. Pumpkin brownies - I cheated a little bit and used a box mix to save time. Normally I would add applesauce instead of oil but today I was feeling festive and wanted to swap out for pumpkin puree! 

7. Pumpkin smoothie- From one of my favorite go-to spots for healthy recipes- Super Healthy Kids, has a great recipe for a pumpkin smoothie! For breakfast, snack or even dessert. 

Have a great pumpkin week! 
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Classroom Halloween Party ideas. What is a fruit mask?

From the very first day that I brought our son home I have worried about the nutritional health of our children. When they were infants I worried if breast milk was enough, when they were toddlers I worried about fortified finger foods and when they started school I stressed about simple snack time offerings. Schools made it a rule that homemade goodies were not allowed and parents, like myself, were left to choose only what the grocery stores have to offer which are refined, quick and for the most part sugar laden and unhealthy choices. I decided to make a list of unrefined snack ideas that can spruce up the Holiday party. I started with Halloween and came up with a list of seven unrefined, healthy Halloween classroom party ideas.

These seven tantalizing treats can be made by the children in a classroom setting with minimal mess or prep time. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and calcium that are sure to keep the festivities going in a healthy and unrefined way.

Apple Costumes
Is that a bat in the classroom? No it’s an apple with a funny mask! This Vitamin C and fiber packed treat will keep those choppers chewing. Printout the free printable and wrap those washed red or green apples. These masks will make the whole fruit mysterious and appealing! To print out the apple masks click here to takeyou to the down loadable sheets.

Banana Ghost Pops
Where does a ghost go to take a swim? Well vanilla yogurt of course! Take half of a peeled banana and place the cut end on a Popsicle stick. Press the pointy side of two small chocolate chips into the banana to make the eyes. Frozen bananas with chocolate chips make this treat especially chilling. Using the Popsicle stick dip the banana ghost into a serving of low-fat vanilla yogurt. These potassium rich ghosts swimming in a sea of calcium and protein make a super hero snack. Click here to see them on our Pinterest page! 

Swamp Water and Bugs on a Raft
Nothing says swampy like green or brown juice! Mix 100% grape juice with 100% orange juice or purchase Green Machine juice by Naked brand for an authentic swampy effect. Maneuver the swamp on a rickety raft made of apple slices with a layer of nut butter and topped with raisins and/or chocolate chips. Serve raft and water separately.

Sangre Salsa Dip
Little vampires can’t resist the temptation to dip precut carrots, celery, baked blue corn chips or pretzel sticks into Vitamin C rich tomato salsa.

Mummy Unwrapped
Some mummies just don’t have it together. Take string cheese and peel the strands off and layer them in a whole wheat tortilla. Garnish with a tablespoon of hummus and matchstick carrots. Roll together all of the ingredients in the tortilla and enjoy this protein rich and whole grain ancient inspired spooky snack.  

Witch Mix
Bring out the cauldron to mix together these fall favorites including Pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, dried edamame or dried peas, nuts, raisins, dried cranberries or apricots. This good witch mix will serve up vitamins, minerals and protein in a healthy blend.

Clementine Pumpkins
Small oranges, like Clementine’s or Cuties, can be eaten with ease by little hands. Peel the pumpkins and stick a 2 inch celery stick down the center of the pumpkin.

When it comes down to it, children like to play with their food, maybe even more than they like the bright colored, sugar filled character dressed candies, cakes and cookies. This year say goodbye to the wicked witch that brings in the artificial colors, chemicals and supped up sugar foods and say hello to the nutrition fairy that wants only healthy alternatives to ease the crazy holiday season.

R.I.P unhealthy classroom snacks.

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