Flower Power at the Farmers Market!!

This weekend is Flower Days Weekend at the Farmer’s Market!! Finally!!! This marks a HUGE milestone for us Midwesterners, no more frost! Oh the power of those flowers, people come two by two, with their four-legged friends, strollers, wagons, etc. to get their hands on the perfect flowers! The flowers might be the power that gets you there but it’s the food, the Flying Rhino coffee, Holey Toledough Doughnuts (FYI-if you want a doughnut get there early!), face painting, the running into family & friends, the sense of community that will having you stay!

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I told my husband that the girls and I were buying flowers so naturally my first stop would be to buy some honey. lol!  I heard that if you use organic local honey it is supposed to help with allergies. And we have some peeps with allergies in our household so it just made sense, right!? And just look at that golden sweetness…okay, so maybe I let my sweet tooth make that purchase. Trust me, my entire family will be thanking me tomorrow at breakfast. 😉

One impulse buy down and the potential for a second was looking promising.  It is not my fault, it is all these talented peeps we have in Toledo’s fault. (Totally rationalized that!) But seriously, we really do have so many talented individuals in Toledo and the surrounding area….growers, jewelers, bakers, etc. it is fascinating! And it feels so good when we support one another. But back to the initial task at hand…. 

There were so many flowers it was absolutely breathtaking! The girls finally decided on a beautiful combination of marigolds…for a price that couldn’t be beat! (great deals!!)

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Then we were off to our next impulse purchase. After walking through the Farmers Market and smelling them the entire time, these quickly became a necessity, French fries! I am fairly certain making your children smell those fresh cut French fried goodness and then not letting them taste one might fall under the realms of child abuse. Lol! So we noshed on our fresh cut fries and enjoyed some music!

 

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Then we headed home to plant our beautiful flowers!

 

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Ahhh, it is fascinating what a little flower power can do….it can bring the community together, inspire a bonding opportunity with loved ones, and brighten up even the dreariest of yards!

 

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So what kind of flowers are you planting this year?

10 Tips for Hosting a Slawesome Cookout!! (Contest Link included)

 

 

Ever been to one of those cookouts where you are just bored out of your mind? You try to determine what is an adequate amount of time to stay without seeming to eager to leave? Ever come up with a carefully planned reason why you have to head out early? Ever had a special code word? Now imagine you were the poor hostess and your guest kept blurting out, kumquats, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and other random weird words moments before making up a reason why they had to bolt! Don’t be that hostess!! Don’t forget the Slawsa!!

In case you missed the segment on WTOL Saturday morning here is a quick run down…we made some mouthwatering deviled eggs (click here for recipe) with my favorite condiment, SLAWSA!!! And we talked cookouts!!

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What is Slawsa?

SLAWSA breaks the mold of modern condiments, boldly creating a whole new category of food, and standing alone in its realm of flavor. A delicious cross between a slaw and a salsa and far healthier than other toppers, more versatile and is a must-have for your pre-game tailgate, grilling at your backyard barbecue or to spice up your mid-week family dinners. We beg you, don’t serve your guests boring condiments.

Simply put, Slawsa is the Gourmet Topping for Everything without the gourmet price.

You can feel confident that Slawsa is:

  • all-natural
  • fat-free
  • cholesterol-free
  • gluten-free
  • very low in sodium 
  • kosher
  • vegan

Source

 

 

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Here are 10 tips to host a SLAWESOME cookout:

  1. Keep it simple-no one likes a stressed out host. Go low budget on the decorations, use items from around the house, use napkins/bandanas as decorations, use real plates & utensils…not only is it cheaper but the planet will thank you! preschool_salsa 027ThisONE
  2. Have guest bring a dish to pass- it means less for the host to have to provide & it gives everyone a special contribution…everyone wants to feel needed.
  3. Have an Ice Tea bar- guests can add their own mint, fruit, alcohol, sugar, etc.
  4. Background music is a must- Billy Holiday & Dean Martin are great choices for parties with multi-generations
  5. Have all the must-haves handy for your guests- mosquito repellant, sunblock, hand sanitizer, wet wipes
  6. Slawsa!! This sassy condiment will be the talk of the party…it is literally a symphony for your taste buds, AH-mazing!! (Available at Kroger & Meijer down the condiment isle, next to the relish…what, a girl can’t know her condiments? Haha!)preschool_salsa 019This one
  7. Photo Booth-this is a great way to get everyone involved in the fun! And as a bonus you will have pics to add to any future calendar, card, and/or photobook! Or if you are feeling really ambitious you could send out thank you photo cards to your guests.preschool_salsa 026WTOLPICS
  8. Games/activities are a must! Bingo, bocce ball, croquet, hide items & have a scavenger hunt (have the older kids read the clues and younger once run and find them), have an art show- chalk on sidewalk or grab some fun crafts from Hobby Lobby and pass out awards to the artists
  9. Have a plan B in case of rain-move the party inside, have a tent, umbrellas, etc.
  10. Have to-go bags/containers for guest so they can easily take home food

Any tips you would add to the list?  What do you worry about most when entertaining? Do you have Slawsa in your fridge? If not, why? What are you waiting for??

 

Interested in winning $50? Here is the link to the Photo Contest Slawsa is running now through the end of June!  Get your Slawsa on!!! And good luck!!

 

Mother of 3, Blogger, & Cereal Killer!

Growing up we were NEVER the “cool family”. We never had fun cereal, junk food, or cable! Looking back I have no idea how we survived! Thank goodness for our friends, because we wanted our MTV! At the time I just figured my parents hated us and didn’t want us to enjoy ANYTHING in life. Turns out they actually loved us and just wanted the best for us. And guess what, guess who doesn’t have cable or buys the “fun cereal”? This mom! And all this time I thought I was doing right by my children. I assumed fortified cereals were good for them, much better than the stuff with all the sugar and dyes, right!?! Wrong!

Our adventure began 8 weeks ago.  The standard in our home has always been cereal for breakfast. They would eat their bowl of cereal, beg for more because they were still hungry, be exhausted a half hour after eating their cereal, and also a tad cranky. I had always assumed that was just the way kids were then one weekend I made eggs and bacon.  The children were not hungry after they ate the eggs & bacon, they were not tired a half hour later, and they were a joy to be around.  My first thought was, what was in those eggs? Haha! My second thought was that there might actually be a correlation between the cereal and the children’s behavior. So for the next few mornings I alternated the cereal with eggs and/or steel cut oatmeal. And my findings were spot on, each time the children had cereal they were still hungry, cranky, and tired but when they had eggs and/or the oatmeal they were pleasant and full. But how could this be since I only purchased the “good for you cereal”, the fortified cereal with fiber and less sugar? So I did some research online and came across a few interesting articles.

It’s fortified with nutrients my children need, right?!

“Millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, niacin and zinc, and fortified cereals are the leading source, said a new report from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington -based health research and advocacy firm.

A variety of health issues are at stake for children who consume too much vitamin A, zinc and niacin, like liver damage, abnormal immune function and short-term issues like rashes and vomiting, the report says.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fortified-cereals-bad-kids-report-article-1.1842365

It is loaded with fiber that should help make them feel full longer, right?!

11 of the 13 most heavily sugared children’s cereals feature marketing claims like “Good Source of Fiber” that suggest misleadingly that the products are healthful.

http://www.ewg.org/research/childrens-cereals

It contain less sugar than in the past, right?!

The lack of progress on the sugar front is discouraging. After reexamining the 84 children’s cereals assessed in 2011, EWG found that while the sugar content of 11 cereals decreased slightly (in 10 cases, by just one gram; in one case by an underwhelming two grams), all other cereals remained unchanged (except Frosted Mini-Wheats Big Bite, which actually upped its sugar content by 20 percent).

 

The report also highlights some particularly terrible cereals in its “Hall of Shame,” which includes 12 cereals that contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight. (Lieber’s Cocoa Frosted Flakes took home the insanity prize, packing 50g of sugar per serving; the cereal is 88 percent sugar by weight, delivering a whopping 167 percent of the recommended daily sugar intake for children in a single serving).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-hunt/cereal-offenders-ewg-expo_b_5330975.html

 

The more digging I did the more I found…..

GMOs: Most conventional cereals contain sugar and corn made from GMO products. Note that these same manufacturers create GMO free cereals for distribution overseas.

Annatto: This natural flavoring is now entering into controversy. According to WebMD, it can affect blood sugar levels so if your child has diabetes, please be aware of that. It also has been linked with allergies, and the Food Intolerance Network has gotten reports linking it to headaches and irritability. If you have a sensitive eater or a child prone to allergies, you may want to avoid this flavoring.

BHT is also a chemical additive and may be a possible ADHD trigger.

 

http://www.mamavation.com/2015/01/top-10-toxic-kid-cereals-to-avoid.html

I probably could have gone on for days researching all the ways marketing had fooled me into believing I was doing the best by my kids’ health.  I had read enough and witnessed with my own eyes the effect cereal had on my children. So what’s the solution? Make breakfast every morning? Who has the time? At least cereal was convenient…but at such a huge cost! I don’t want my children becoming diabetics because I couldn’t get out of bed to make them breakfast…I don’t need that kind of mommy guilt lurking over me! The solution, cookies, bars, & cakes! Yep, you read right!

 

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I started by making these amazing cookies!! Here is the recipe I made them the night before and did not tell the children what was in them…for some reason the moment you say healthy kids won’t eat them! And they loved them! They even requested them for breakfast the next morning….then I let them in on my little secret. If the cookies could be this delicious what else was out there? Turns out A LOT!

Pancakes….Click here for the recipe

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Bars……Click here for recipe (I did add a few chocolate chips)

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Carrot Cake…..Click here for recipe

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Breakfast burritos….we had leftovers from fajitas the night before so we simply added eggs and voila! Peppers, steak, mushrooms, guacamole, and eggs in homemade tortillas!  

 

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Before I knew it I had settled into a routine of cleaning up dinner, doing the dishes, and making breakfast. Because I know there is no way I can make these in the morning…but perhaps you are a better morning person than I and you like to just chill in the evenings…the key is to find what works best for you, no one knows you better than you!!

Added bonus…I put on a dress for Mother’s Day that was WAY to snug 2 months ago and guess what, IT FITS now! So apparently this eating healthier for breakfast is not only helping the kiddos but my waistline too. SCORE!! Bring on the cookies, cakes, and bars!

If this is the transformation for altering breakfast can you imagine the results if we altered lunch and dinner too? Baby steps! 😉

 

 

No Preservatives, Additives, or DRIPS!! (For $1!)

It is hot outside and the kiddos have been playing for all of 10 minutes. They want a snack along with half the other kids from the neighborhood who are in your backyard. Hmmm….what to feed them?! Want to offer them something that isn’t processed? That has no additives or preservatives? That has no dyes?  No corn syrup? Why not throw organic in the mix too!? How does an organic refreshing blueberry Popsicle sound? One you made? You are probably thinking, because I know I was, been there done that and the gosh darn bags/popsicle molds/didn’t work! I also almost gave up on the entire concept until I came across these gems at the Dollar Store! Yep, the DOLLAR STORE! (Amazon wanted $9.99!) One container makes 4 popsicles, so you might want to stock up! And guess what, they actually work! I like the fact that all drips are caught and can be slurped through the straw on the side. So there is less mess. I am lusting after these things! They are the hot commodity in our household right now…I am having a tough time keeping them stocked!

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Ingredients:

2 cups frozen fruit (fills 6-8 popsicles)

Kiddos really enjoy blueberry, strawberry, mango, & pineapple and you can mix the fruit…have them come up with their own flavor and name it! My little one made Purple Princess Blueberry Blush…it is fun to hear the crazy names they come up with!

1 tablespoon Agave

¾ cup water

Popsicle container

 

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Directions:

Place all ingredients in the food processor or blender and blend baby, blend!! Then pour contents into the containers. Best part is since the fruit is frozen it literally takes an hour for the popsicles to be ready. SCORE! And then enjoy!!

 

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Moms & Dads can also enjoy these delicious treats…FYI-they also taste great in a cocktails

Simple Mango & Black Bean Salad with a little kick!

It is FINALLY that time of year!! I feel like we have been waiting forever! Time to live outdoors! Well, not entirely but at least during the day. Time to have family, friends, and the neighbors over for cookouts! Time to bring a dish to pass at the block party and lake! Time to ooh & aah all the ladies with your culinary skills! Time to stock up on the Dei Fratelli!!

This is one of my favorite recipes, it is literally like your taste buds are transporting you to the beaches of Cabo San Lucas…you can almost feel the sand between my toes (I have been there once and the food was unbelievable, fresh, authentic, mouthwatering delicious)

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Mango & Black Bean Salad:

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 can of Dei Fratelli Chopped Mexican Tomatoes & Jalapenos (do NOT drain…the peppers, cilantro, onion, garlic, vinegar, and salt that is in the can will be the dressing…less work for you…thank you Dei Fratelli)

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1-1/2 cups chopped Mangos (frozen or fresh)

2 Tablespoons Avocado oil

Optional: add 1 avocado sliced & mix with other ingredients

Serve with a small side dish of Greek Yogurt (taste just like sour cream) for guest to place on top

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Directions:

Pour all contents into bowl and mix.

Refrigerate for a few hours before you serve, best if served cold. Don’t have a few hours? Then use frozen mangoes…I have a big bag of organic frozen mango slices for this very reason…well, they also taste amazing as a sorbet and/or smoothies)

 

And Enjoy!!

Cheers to many backyard gatherings this season!!

Flowerpot & dirt or Cake?

Nailed it! Well, mostly nailed it! We decided to make something for Easter dessert this year. Something way outside my comfort zone…I totally ditched the security blanket! Instead of grabbing something from Costco we went big! We made something! Something fun, bright, & delicious! We decided on a flowerpot & dirt cake, complete with faux flower. We were still in the April fool’s day spirit when we decided on this one and thought it would be fun to fool the guests (and apparently myself, lol!). So my little assistant, my 3rd grader, and I went to work. We made a list of everything we would need to pull of this sweet cake!!

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Need:

  • White cake mixes (I am a semi-homemade type of gal)
  • Buttercream frosting
  • Raspberry filling
  • Package of Oreos
  • Fondant
  • Dye for Fondant

Lucky for us we literally have a Cake Supply store right around the block, we are talking walking distance! I love living here…we are minutes from 2 bowling allies, cleaners, pet groomers, party store, half dozen restaurants, etc.  This location is unbeatable, I so appreciate the convenience! So we stopped in and they helped us locate all the necessities.  We purchased everything and headed home with much enthusiasm to get started.

While my little assistant was in school I started the cake. She was much more excited about decorating the cake than baking it. So I started mixing the ingredients together and hit my first bump in the road, two minutes in and I didn’t have any vegetable oil!  So I took a chance and substituted coconut oil. I figured it would either add to the flavor or not work at all and that was the gamble I was willing to take at that time…after running around getting everything else in order for Easter I was not about to run out just for vegetable oil.  Looking back maybe that was a pretty big gamble but, spoiler alert, it totally worked!!

When my little lady got home we started the decorating process!! We were so excited! It was a special experience because we made certain it was just the two of us, some quality bonding time. Some fun! We started by kneading the fondant, extreme kneading is probably a better explanation, it was some tedious work. Then we added the dye, a terracotta color to make it look like a clay pot. And 5 minutes into it both our hands were dyed terracotta, like we literally tanned just our palms. Bahahaha! It was at that moment that I remembered the lady at the cake shop saying something about getting gloves. We made some fun memories decorating that silly cake!

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We layered the cakes, white cake, buttercream, raspberry filing, cake, buttercream, etc. then we carefully measured and cut the fondant to place around the cake.

 

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We placed half the package of Oreos in the food processor and grinded till it was the consistency of dirt. Then sprinkled on top of that cake and added the flower!! Eee!! We did it!!!

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I will be the first to admit that we spent way too much time & money on that cake but it was totally worth the experience, the memories, and our guests were most definitely worth it!

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If we were ever going to make such an intense cake I am glad we did for Easter, such a magnificent reason to celebrate!!

 

Healthy Families, Healthy Kids Campaign FLASH GIVEAWAY!

 

It is that time of year again, time to say goodbye to the pool days and hello to school days! Which means it is time to get back into a routine. No more dinners at 9pm. Gone are the mornings for sleeping in (and wouldn’t ya know I just got my kiddos accustomed to the idea, only took practically all summer break, ha-ha). And time to start the school year off right, on a healthy note! Nutrition is important at home and in the classroom. Which is why I am excited to share that Produce for Kids is teaming up with Meijer stores for the second annual Healthy Families, Helping Kids campaign to raise money for local health and nutrition-based classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org. Last year, the campaign raised more than $169,000 and supported 652 classroom projects throughout the country.

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Beginning Sept. 2 to Sept. 28, the joint campaign will help raise money for classroom projects that encourage healthy relationships with food.  The more produce Meijer shoppers add to their shopping lists, the more hope they can give to local children. All participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers at Meijer stores will make a consumption-based donation DonorsChoose.org.

Parents, be on the lookout for Produce for Kids signage, featuring characters from the popular Sprout® television show, The Chica Show, in the produce section of your local Meijer store. There, you will find Ideal Meals recipes, tips and solutions to help you keep your family healthy for back-to-school and year-round.

I have to warn you, all the recipes are amazing! I let each of my kiddos pick out two to make with mom during our kids in the kitchen sessions together.  Having your children help select the produce from the store, clean it, and prepare a meal really fosters the learning process.

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3 out of 3 of my kiddos gave these recipe 5 stars (or moons, said the 3-year-old, lol!) thus; it only seems appropriate to share…..

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

 

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

 2 Tbsp. sugar

 ½ tsp. cinnamon

 ½ tsp. salt

 1 cup fat free milk

 3 Tbsp. canola oil

 1 egg

 1 banana, sliced

 ½ cup blueberries

 2 tsp. caramel dip (optional)

 1 Tbsp. pecans, finely chopped (optional)

 

 

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Directions:

1.Sift flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg, and mix until moistened.

2.Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; spray with cooking spray. Spoon ¼ cup pancake mixture onto skillet. Add sliced bananas and blueberries, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until pancakes begin to bubble. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes, or until done.

3.Top with pecans and drizzle with caramel dip. (optional)

For more great recipes like this one be sure to check out Produce for Kids website…also has great after school snack ideas!

 

Disclosure…

Produce for Kids put together a goody bag filled with great ways for me to further extend the message. My kiddos have taken the lunch bag and sandwich bag to school which had a few children inquiring about Produce for Kids. And I have been sporting the travel cup all over town. But I felt a little bummed that I couldn’t send one to my loyal readers. So I am doing what I constantly tell my children to do…

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I simply have to share! But the campaign only goes till the 28th so this will be a flash giveaway! I am giving away one $25 Meijer’s gift card!!

To enter simply complete the following….

  1. Like Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Facebook page
  2. Follow @mamaof3onthego on twitter
  3. Like Produce for Kids Facebook page
  4. Follow @produceforkids on twitter
  5. Post a comment expressing you have completed the steps above and state what is your favorite fruit or vegetable.

Winner will be randomly selected Sept. 23rd @ 11:59pm