Friday, June 29, 2018

PATRIOTIC KABOBS

July 4th is a mere 5 days away. The red, white and blue will soon be here in all its glory.  Here is a healthy, easy, and kid friendly snack idea for your family get together.  They can be made ahead of time for easy serving, or an activity for the family to enjoy together.


FRUIT KABOBS
Ingredients:
Strawberries; washing, stems and leaves removed
Blueberries; washed
Bananas; peeled and sliced into 1/4'' rounds
Shish-kabob Skewers

Directions:
*Arrange the fruit onto shish-kabob skewers in a red, white and blue pattern to resemble the American flag. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

PERFECT PICNIC

 Summer time is a great time for picnics.  Picnics are a simple FREE way to enjoy your family and friends in nature. 😎

They can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire.  It's important to keep food at safe temperatures before and after consumption to prevent potential food poisoning. A cooler with an ice or gel pack is a great option. Rather than buying ice each trip, save $$$ and use ice packs instead. CLICK HERE for some great cheap DIY ice pack options. 
No cooler, no problem.  Go the easy route and choose foods that don't need constant temperature control such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Hard cheeses
  • Canned/dried foods
  • Dry cereal
  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
Here is a great picnic recipe, it can be served hot off the grill or chilled.


RAINBOW VEGGIE SKEWERS

These rainbow veggie skewers are amazingly colorful, healthy and delicious!

VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS: (APPROXIMATE; FEEL FREE TO MAKE SUBSTITUTIONS AS NEEDED)

  • 16 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 yellow squash, halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 zucchini, halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered then cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 purple potatoes, halved

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:

Whisk all ingredients together until blended.

TO MAKE THE VEGETABLES:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then add the halved purple potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender, stirring occasionally. Drain.
Add the purple potatoes and remaining vegetables to a large bowl, and toss with the vinaigrette until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours. If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to also soak them in water before grilling.
When you are ready to cook the vegetables, heat your grill to medium heat. Thread the vegetables onto skewers, in rainbow order if desired. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired. Then place the skewers on an oiled grill and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Friday, June 22, 2018

IM BORED SOLUTION

Summer is quickly passing by, which is unfortunately also true for my kids ability to entertain themselves.  I came across some fun easy games that have been a solution to these "summer slumps".  There is no prep work and little to no equipment needed.  Hopefully these suggestions will help put an end to your summer slumps!

PASS IT ON


Equipment: UNO Cards
Formation: Circle
How to play: 

  • Hand out one card to each child.
  • Child identifies color on card & performs activity that corresponds to that color for 10-15 seconds.
    • BLUE - jump in sky
    • RED - squats
    • YELLOW - twirl
    • GREEN - swim in place
  • When leader calls out "Pass it on" student passes the card to the person on their right and completes the activity that corresponds to their new card.

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSOR JUMPS
Equipment: NONE
Formation: General area
How to play:
  • Ask children questions, children respond by jumping into the correct position to display their answers.
    • Choice A - feet together
    • Choice B - feet apart in a straddle position
    • Choice C - one foot in front of the other
  • Children jump 3 times on the forth jump they should land in the position that corresponds to the correct answer choice.
GRAB THE BEAN BAG
Equipment: Bean bag or small item for each pair, two items if a group of three.
Music: Rhythm or beat to follow.
Formation: Pairs or group of three.
How to play:
  • Place bean bag between the 2 players who are sitting across from each other on the floor.  Players clap knees alternately to the music.  When the music stops, players reach out and try to be the first one to grab the beanbag.
  • Variations: Tap shoulders, clap knees with hands, create own rhythm.  Change positions such as a plank hold etc.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Zucchini chips

Zucchini is a staple in my household.  It is very versatile and packed with nutrients.  Due to its high water percentage, zucchini is very low in calories, carbs and sugars, but high in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. 
Zucchini is in full bloom in my garden.  I'm starting to stock my drawers with recipes for the summer harvest.  This recipe is one of my all time favorites, even my kids love them! 


Zucchini Chips

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Basil leaves (optional)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup parmesan
Zucchini cut into 1/4'' rounds
1 TBL Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°. Process first 3 ingredients in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until finely ground. Stir together breadcrumb mixture and cheese in a medium bowl. Toss zucchini rounds with oil. Dredge zucchini, 1 round at time, in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place rounds in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

STAY HYDRATED


Summertime means picnics, late nights and lots of fun in the sun!  With the increasing outdoor temperatures, elevated water intake is a must. CBS reports that while most people know that water should be a priority, 75% of Americans fall short of the daily recommended water intake. Which puts the majority of our population at risk of dehydration and heat stroke.  Staying hydrated is your bodies way of regulating temperature. 


Water is a great way to stay hydrated. Containing 0g fat, 0g sugar and 0 calories, water is a smart choice.  If waters lack of flavor is a pit fall for you, try giving fruit infused water a try. Keep your taste buds on edge and make dehydration a thing of the past this summer!


Here are some flavor combinations, the possibilities are endless, experiment and enjoy! 
⇊  ⇊  

Infused Water Recipes

1. Cucumber Mint

Thinly slice one cucumber. Add the sliced cucumbers to a ½ gallon glass jar, add 8 fresh mint leaves, and fill with water. Stir gently and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Citrus Blueberry

Slice two oranges into thin slices (leave the rind on for better flavor). Add sliced oranges and 1 cup of blueberries to a gallon size glass jar. Add water to fill the jar and stir gently. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and store in refrigerator.

3. Pineapple Mint

One of my favorites! Peel and thinly slice about 1/4 of a pineapple. The more thinly sliced the pineapple, the more flavor it will infuse. Add to a ½ gallon size glass jar with 10-12 leaves of fresh mint. Add water to fill and stir gently. Store in refrigerator.

4. Watermelon Basil

Add about 2 cups of finely chopped fresh watermelon (without rind) to a gallon size glass jar. Add 15 leaves of basil and water to fill. Store in refrigerator and allow at least 4 hours to infuse.

5. Strawberry Lemon

Like strawberry lemonade, but better! Add 15 fresh strawberries, washed and finely sliced to a ½ gallon glass jar. Add one sliced lemon with rind on. Fill with water. Stir gently and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator and enjoy.

6. Cherry Lime

Reminiscent of cherry limeade, minus the sugar coma. Add two cups of fresh cherries, cut in half, and one fresh lime, sliced into thin slices, to a gallon size glass jar. Add water to fill. Mix gently and store in refrigerator until ready to drink.
***For best flavor, it takes at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavors of the fruit infuse into the water. (Some of the recipes below are written for a half-gallon jar, others for a gallon jar. If you drink the water within the first day, you can add more filtered water and re-infuse to get a second use out of the fruits and herbs.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Tip Tuesday


Holding a cutting board in place: A board that slides around the counter while you’re chopping is an accident waiting to happen. Keep yours anchored with a cut-to-fit piece of rug pad or shelf liner. (The added cushioning also helps stabilize a slightly warmed board.) Wash in the top rack of the dishwasher as necessary. 
Keep herbs tasting fresh: You can keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month by storing them in whole bunches washed and sealed in plastic bags in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan. You can also freeze fresh cut herbs in ice cube trays in olive oil. They are perfect for adding to sauces, stews, and even sautéing vegetables and meats.
Chopped bacon: Freeze bacon to make it chop easier for some recipes. (Or, buy the bags of precooked chopped bacon…not expensive and saves a lot of mess and time.)

Saving a scorched pan: sprinkle the burned bottom with baking soda or cream of tartar, then add four to five tablespoons salt, plus enough water to cover, and let stand overnight. Scrape out charred remains with a rubber spatula. 

Keep cheese from molding: Dip a large piece of cheesecloth in vinegar, ring out and wrap blocks of cheese to keep mold from forming.

Friday, June 1, 2018

GRILLED CHICKEN STRAWBERRY SALAD

Summer is OFFICIALLY here! Which means the peak season for produce has arrived. This week our local grocers have a wide selection of produce on sale. Check out this weeks healthy recipe highlight, featuring our local produce sales!
Grilled chicken strawberry salad
INGREDIENTS:
For the dressing:
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
For the chicken:
  • 16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
For the Salad:
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • mozzarella cheese sticks (or other cheese)

DIRECTIONS:

1- In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  1. 2- For the chicken: Season chicken with seasoned salt and garlic powder. Cook on a grill (or skillet) on medium heat, grill the chicken about 10 to 11 minutes on each side until charred on the outside and cooked through in the center (reaching 165 degrees. Set aside on a cutting board and slice on an angle.
  2. 3- Open the cheese sticks and slice into small uniformed cheese circles.
  3. 4- In a large bowl toss the spinach with the dressing. Divide between 4 plates and top with strawberries, cheese and
  4. grilled chicken.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Yield: 4 Servings, Serving Size: 1 salad with 3 oz chicken
  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 331 calories
  • Total Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: g
  • Cholesterol: 89.5mg
  • Sodium: 345mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 10.5g
  • Protein: 31g

Recipe altered from:
https://www.skinnytaste.com/grilled-chicken-salad-with-strawberries-and-spinach/