5 Tips for Healthy After School Snacks

Omg! I drop off little, sweet, Angels at school in the morning & come 3:30pm I’m picking up cranky, hangry, feral animals! Like seriously, as soon as we step foot in the house they are trampling over one another to get to the kitchen…if I didn’t unlock the door fast enough I’m pretty sure they would knock it down or eat it, lol!!  

Here are 5 simple tips for healthy after school snacks:

1. Prepare snacking foods ahead of time

We want our kiddos to make healthy choices when it comes to their afterschool snack. We would much rather have them reaching for celery sticks & peanut butter or hummus than that processed bag of chips. However, convenience plays a huge role. If the celery isn’t cleaned and cut, ready for consumption, then chances are they will grab that bag of chips instead. Prepare healthy snacking foods ahead of time. Clean and cut fresh fruits & veggies and have them in easily accessible containers.

2. Don’t bring it in the house

Speaking of that bag of chips, lol! If we don’t want our kiddos consuming high-sugar, trans-fat-laden, processed foods, we can’t bring them into your house…let’s be honest, if we do it’s just too darn tempting.

3. Watch portion sizes

Even the healthiest, organic, GMO-free snacks can sabotage healthy eating when portion sizes are not monitored. Encourage kiddos to read the nutrition labels and take special consideration of the serving size.

4. Provide variety

Children, like adults, get bored with food easily. Have a variety of snacking foods on hand—whole fruits, veggies, hardboiled eggs, smoothies, mixed nuts, frozen bananas covered w/Pb & sprinkles, potato wedges w/ketchup, trail mix, yogurt parfaits, fruit kabobs, etc.

These almond flour, sugar-free, homemade waffle corners are a huge hit in our house:

3 cups almond flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbs. olive oil

Mix ingredients together and follow waffle maker directions. Makes 6 waffles.

5. Choose healthy fast foods

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we do forget the snacks at home and find ourselves with a car full of hungry kiddos with back-to-back extracurricular activities. A fast-food chain might be your only option. When this happens seek heathier choices, like Chick-fil-a grilled nuggets, McDonald’s oatmeal and/or yogurt parfaits, etc.

Are your kiddos hangry after school? What’s your go-to after school snack?

Rasa, The Date Night Game Changer

You booked the babysitter weeks ago; you’ve got on that pretty dress, even did your makeup, and yet, still haven’t decided where you’re going. Classic Date Night dilemma! So you’ll debate where to go for twenty minutes, each vetoing the other’s ideas, and eventually arrive at the “usual” spot. Date nights becoming a bit too predictable? Sick of the “usual” spot!? Want to venture off the restaurant chain path? Go somewhere more exotic? Want to feel like you’ve gone on a mini vacation? Then Rasa is the Date Night game changer you’ve been looking for!

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I had the pleasure of dining at Rasa for my birthday and it was an experience like none other. From the moment you enter Rasa you can feel your blood pressure lowering, the atmosphere is like nothing else in the city. It’s like, if a high end farm-to-table establishment in a big city and a spa had a baby, it would be Rasa! Lol! Honestly, I fell in love with the atmosphere first and then the food. And the food, omg, it is REAL food, none of that frozen crap reheated or fried. But I’m getting ahead of myself. After all, Date Nights are meant to be savored!

First things first, beverages! Rasa takes beverage to a whole new level & encourages those dining to broaden their beverage palette to that beyond just Coke or Pepsi products. Sparkling water, seasonal Kombucha, Turmeric Horchata, Lemongrass Fresca, etc. in addition to the wine, beer, & amazing cocktail menu.

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And the food, oh my gosh, it is seasonal, fresh, & prepared to perfection!! Or at least the 3 meals I sampled were, yep, I’m one of “those” people, I want to try it all! Lol! What I really appreciate is the fact that food, along with beverages, & some of the décor are local. The conscious community connection with local businesses & farms adds a layer of comfort to the meal.

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I will warn you, it is hard to leave the little magical oasis that is Rasa and walk back into reality. But leave you must, even though the closing time is flexible for dinner they frown upon bringing in your sleeping bag. But the good news is Rasa isn’t just limited to Dinner, there is also a Brunch & Lunch menu! So call up the girls, for a ladies day brunch!

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Location: 2633 West Bancroft Toledo, OH 43607

Email: CONTACT@RASATOLEDO.COM

Phone: (419) 725-0525

Website: https://www.rasarestaurantandbar.com/

LUNCH

TUESDAY – FRIDAY: 11.00AM – 2:00PM

DINNER

TUESDAY – SATURDAY: 5:00PM – until…

BRUNCH

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

11:00AM – 2:00PM

Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays!

Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays!

Going out to eat with kids can be expensive, especially when you have a picky eater, or two! There is nothing worse than paying over $5 for a kid’s meal that your children aren’t even going to eat. Here are some options of restaurants around town that offer free kids meals on Wednesday, so you can actually relax and enjoy your meal instead of nagging Junior to eat his kid’s meal. 😉

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Pizza Papalis

Address: 519 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: (419) 244-7722

Website: http://pizzapapalis.com/location/toledo

Purchase one adult entree or small pizza; receive one kid’s entree plus soda free/$1. Purchase two adult entrees or medium/large pizza; receive two kid’s entrees plus soda free/$1. Dine in only.

Fricker’s

Address: 6339 Monroe St. Sylvania, OH 43560

Phone: 419-885-2141

Website: http://www.frickers.com/Locations/Fricker-s-Sylvania/

Kids eat free everyday all day. Must purchase one adult entree and child beverage. Dine in only.

Fricker’s

Address: 19 N. St Clair St. Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: 419-244-9464

Website: http://www.frickers.com/Locations/Fricker-s-Toledo/

Kids eat free everyday all day. Must purchase one adult entree and child beverage. Dine in only.

Fricker’s

Address: 1418 S. Reynolds Rd. Maumee, OH 43537

Phone: 419-891-9464

Website: http://www.frickers.com/Locations/Fricker-s-Maumee/

Kids eat free everyday all day. Must purchase one adult entree and child beverage. Dine in only.

Sidelines

Address: 2111 Mellwood Ave, Toledo, OH 43613

Phone: (419) 474-0000

Website: https://www.sidelinessportseatery.com/

Kids eat free from 5-9PM. One child per adult meal.

PIZZAFIRE

Address: 3444 Secor Rd Suite 205, Toledo, OH 43606

Phone: (419) 214-1644

Website: http://www.pizzafire.com/

Buy a pizza for yourself & get one free kids meal. Dine in only.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Address: 5299 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43623

Phone: (419) 214-3797

Website: https://www.moes.com/menu

Kids eat free every Wednesday 5-9pm

Paddy Jack’s

Address: 6725 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43617

Phone: (419) 725-9048

Website: http://paddyjacks.com/

Kids eat free with purchase of sandwich meal or any large salad and any beverage.

Original Pancake House

Address: 3310 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43606

Phone: (419) 578-0342

Website: http://www.ophtoledo.com/

Kids eat free buttermilk pancakes with every adult meal purchased. Limit two kids per adult.

Friday’s 5 Ingredients or Less: Pulled Pork (Sugar-free)

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Some of the best things in life happen accidentally, and this recipe is no exception. It was the day before grocery day and all I had left was one onion, package bacon, and pork sirloin. So I pulled out my handy crockpot, plugged that sucker in, diced that onion, sliced that bacon, scored the sirloin, hit the seasonings basket, dashed a little bit of that and sprinkled a tad of this, and then prayed that it would at least be eatable come dinner time.

Fast-forward 8 hours and it was judgment time. Food was plated, family sat around the table, prayer said, and everyone took a bite. I could literally hear my heart pounding in my head. If this was an epic fail the only backup plan I had conjured up was passing the jar of peanut putter around the table and then chasing it down with ketchup or mustard, we literally had nothing but condiments left in the house. Everyone chewed and swallowed their food and then the reviews started flying across the table “Mom, this is SO GOOD!”, “Mom, you need to make this again”, “Mommy, can I have some more?”….they loved it! Even my Tween who so desperately wants to be a vegetarian and refuses to touch meat loved the pork! That dinner WIN had me grinning ear to ear. I never did tell them it was an experimental recipe and that they were my Guinea pigs, and I especially didn’t tell them that if it didn’t taste good they were going to have peanut butter and ketchup for dinner, some things are better left unsaid.

So here it is, Fridays 5 Ingredients or Less Meal: Pulled Pork……

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion

1 package of bacon

1 pork sirloin

1 Tablespoon Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub (I have purchased organic seasons before and nothing has EVER tasted as fresh as Wildtree’s, I HIGHLY recommend their seasonings. Contact Katie and she can hook you up…. http://www.mywildtree.com/katiegaster 

1 Tablespoon Wildtree Tuscan Bread Dipper Herb Blend

Instructions:

  1. Slice/cut up onion and place in Crockpotpork4
  2. Cut Bacon and place in Crockpotpork5
  3. Score Pork Sirloin and toss seasonings on top of sirloin, rub in if you wish.pork3pork6
  4. Place crockpot on high for 6-8 hours
  5. Pull apart pork right before eatingpork

 

 

Serve over coleslaw, in a bun, or by itself.pork8

This is officially our go-to meal for the Fall ….perfect for having everyone over to watch the game, Sunday meals with friends and family, or ya know, on those days when you just don’t’ want to cook 😉

 

Do you have a recipe that is 5 ingredients or less? Send it to mommyblissmarks@gmail.com and your recipe may be featured as Friday’s 5 Ingredients or Less!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Packing Healthy Lunches your kids will actually eat!

Whether you are packing lunches for school, a road trip, a picnic in the park, or a fun filled day at the zoo the struggle is the same & very real! Getting your children to eat healthy is like trying to rearrange the stripes on a Zebra!

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Educate– Educate the kiddos on nutritious foods!! If at all possible take the kiddos with you to the store.  Teach them how to read food labels:

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Simplicity is your best friend here. Focus on products with short, pronounceable ingredients and look for these labels: organic, antibiotic-free, non-GMO!

Look out for sodium. Small amounts of sodium are necessary for keeping proper body fluid balance but too much can contribute to high blood pressure. Almost all foods naturally contain small amounts of sodium but many processed foods contain greater amounts.

Watch the sugar content! Fruits naturally contain simple sugars but also contain fiber, water, and vitamins, which make them a healthy choice. Snack foods, candy and soda, on the other hand, often have large amounts of added sugars. And when it comes to drinks, water is the best option.

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Select foods high in protein. The body, muscles, skin, and the immune system are made up of protein. Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, soybeans, and dried beans. Anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories that kids consume each day should come from protein.

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Want some help?

Take the kiddos to Imagination Station’s Eat it Up! Exhibit! It is the perfect & fun way to help educate your kiddos on nutrition!

Also, check out Heather Stouffer, CEO of Mom Made Foods, she is a huge advocate of watching food labels…watch her video ‘5 tips for reading food labels’ HERE .

Kids Pick– Let the children select the food they enjoy.  Bottom line, if you pack broccoli and your son hates it, he won’t eat it. Let your kids weigh in on what they want to pack in their lunches, and offer them a few healthy choices so they feel like they’re in control.

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Think Outside the Sandwich! – A sandwich is not a requirement for a lunch, think outside the sandwich! Try turkey and cheese roll-ups, sushi, meatballs, deviled eggs, veggies or fruit with dipping sauce (hummus, peanut butter, ranch, etc.)

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Portion control- Double check the nutrition labels and make certain children are only consuming one serving size, if not less, most serving sizes are for adults, not children.  Some company’s do offer a child size, like Stonyfield, the adult size has 23 grams of sugar and the children’s size has half the amount. It is vital that children watch their portion sizes.

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Bacteria & Germs – Be safe. Pack lunches properly to ensure food safety and freshness. Invest in a reusable ice-pack; Rubbermaid makes this awesome blue ice that keeps ALL containers cool.

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Always wash their hands before she eats.

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Heed these 5 tips and watch the magic happen!

What is your biggest issue with kids lunches?

 

 

 

 

The Happiest Omen for the New Year includes the fruit found in these two recipes! (FYI: they have anti-aging effects!)

So what is this fruit? Here are a few clues: people often mistaken it for a vegetable,  its skin contains phytochemicals, it is full of antioxidants, it protects cells from the effect of free-radical damage, thus it has anti-aging effects (um, yes, please!),it is packed with fiber, and it is a good source of potassium and magnesium. Not too shabby for a fruit, right!? Did the clues give it away? It is the Eggplant!!

The Japanese have a proverb that states, “The happiest omen for a New Year is first Mount Fuji, then the falcon, and lastly eggplant.” Thus what better fruit to include in your meals this New Year than the eggplant? I have two mouthwatering dishes that your family is going to love! So much so that there will be no leftovers, I repeat, no leftovers! You have been warned!

The first recipe is the one I shared on WTOL Saturday morning, Eggplant Parmesan with a twist, it is breaded with QRUNCH

 

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Click on the link below for a quick demo on how to prepare the Eggplant Parmesan Breaded in Qrunch & the recipe can be found directly below the clip.

 

Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan Breaded with QRUNCH

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Ingredients

1 package QRUNCH burgers, toasted to perfection (found in the Organic area at your local Kroger’s)

1-2 eggs

1 eggplant

1 cup gluten-free flour (I used coconut flour)

1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

1 bunch of fresh parsley chopped

Parmesan Reggiano (optional for topping)

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Directions:

Toast or prepare 1 package of QRUNCH burgers in the toaster.

When cooled, place the burgers, Italian seasoning, and parsley in a food processor until it has a coarse consistency.

Slice the eggplant and prepare an egg wash in a separate bowl.

Dip the sliced eggplant in the gluten-free flour, then dredge in the egg wash. Note: For a true vegetarian/vegan option, you can use your favorite almond milk or coconut milk.

Cover with QRUNCH crumbles and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce.

 

And the second eggplant recipe, Eggplant & Bacon Rollups! This one has quickly become an ALL TIME FAV in our household. Kiddos beg me to make this!!

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Eggplant & Bacon Rollups

Ingredients:

3 medium/large eggplants

One package of bacon sliced in two (short way)

Butter (2 Tablespoons melted)

One container Organic Ricotta (14oz) (I purchased mine at Claudia’s)

2 Tablespoons of Basil Pest (or any pesto you have on hand)

Cup of Parmesan cheese

 

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Instructions:

Slice eggplant 1/4 inch thickness long-ways (keep skin, that’s where all the antioxidants are!)

Place eggplant slices on cookie sheet, brush on melted butter, and place in oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until eggplant is tender & golden brown

While eggplant bakes mix ricotta cheese & basil pesto in bowl

Remove eggplant from oven, for half the eggplant slices place a slice of bacon or two (depends on size of bacon) over eggplant slice, add roughly a Tablespoon or so of the filling on top of the bacon down the middle vertically, and then roll it up. Place in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. For the remaining half of the eggplant slices place bacon on a cutting board, place eggplant on top, add filling, and roll. Eggplant rolls should look similar to a chess board.

Top with a bit or Parmesan cheese & Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and turning golden. Then enjoy!!!

Have you ever had eggplant before? What is your favorite Eggplant dish?

Here’s to the Happiest New Year!! Cheers!!

 

 

 

Keto Pasta!

My latest obsession, the Spiral Slicer!! Why? Because sometimes a girl has a real hankering for pasta! I have enjoyed all the splendors the Ketogenic lifestyle offers, the clear-headedness, weight loss, rich delicious foods, clearer complexion, etc. However the one thing I miss more than Reese’s Pieces, merlot, and maple syrup is PASTA!! Angel hair, linguine, and good old-fashioned spaghetti!!! But with all those carbs what’s a girl to do!?! Get her Zoodle on! ( the name even has me chuckling, zoodles, lol!).

 

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What are zoodles? Zucchini that has gone through a spiral slicer and produces long strands that resemble pasta. You’re probably thinking, yeah right!? Let me tell you, I was skeptical too.  But then I tasted it and it was amazing! The key is to cook the zoodles so that they are al dente then the texture is perfect.

 

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So how does one prepare zoodles?

Directions:

  1. Rinse off/clean zucchini (If you wish you can remove the green so that it resembles the look of noodles more).
  2. Place zucchini in spiral slicer and slice
  3. Once the entire zucchini has been sliced get out a pan, place on range on medium heat, drizzle olive oil in pan place zoodles in pan and heat for roughly 4 minutes turning frequently.
  4. Add your “goodies” to your pasta…pesto, marinara sauce (watch for sugar!), shrimp, meatballs, etc.
  5. Enjoy!

Do you have a Spiral Slicer? Any favorite recipes? Please share.