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Cooking

Fun Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Temperatures Drop

By | All Posts, Cooking, DIY, Entertainment, Home, Inspiration

It seems like a constant battle for any mom: how to keep your kids entertained. When the temperatures drop, and the kids are stuck inside, it seems like an even bigger battle. Before you know it, cabin fever sets in and you are looking for ideas that will be educational, but also help to expend at least some of their boundless energy.  Here are some of our suggestions on how to keep the kids entertained once the weather turns.

Cooking with the Kids

Inviting the kids to cook with you in the kitchen is a great way to educate and empower them, while having fun, quality time together. Not only can kids learn math skills like counting, fractions, sequences, measuring and forming shapes through cooking, but they will also learn problem solving, chemistry and can increase their vocabulary too. In addition, they will learn a valuable skill they can use throughout their life. The best part is: everyone gets to reap the rewards of your work together. Tacos and pizza recipes are perfectly suited  for cooking with little kids, but why not combine them and make a Taco Pizza together? Yes, kids love macaroni & cheese. But, instead of reaching for another box, why not try making a healthier homemade version like Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese? And don’t forget dessert: S’mores Casserole is just as much fun to make as it is to eat. There are tons of recipes to try out here as well.

Get Moving Together

Often, when the temperature outside gets lower, so does our level of physical activity. The same goes for our kids as well. A lack of physical activity can not only slow down a child’s metabolism, but it can lead to an increased risk of becoming overweight, or obese, in adulthood. It can also lead to a host of other health issues like diabetes, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a more dismal outlook on life, according to KidsHealth.org. Encouraging kids to stay active even when they can’t go outside not only has several health benefits and helps them burn energy, but it’s also a great opportunity to create positive experiences and family memories.  All you really need is a little imagination. A family dance party is not only tons of fun but requires very little planning. Have each family member pick out their favorite songs and start dancing. Take it up a notch by adding some fun dance lights, glowsticks, scarves and/or ribbons to wave around; or try adding a little competition to your dance party and make it a dance-off. Who doesn’t love balloons? There are endless ways to get the kid’s heart rates up with balloons, like balloon volleyball or balloon tennis. Clean-up time is usually a struggle, but how about turning it into a race? Put on a favorite song and challenge the kids to see how much they can put away before the end of the song. There are so many fun ideas & games to try, your kids might even want to stay inside to play when it is nice outside.

Get Crafty

Being stuck inside during the cooler months creates the perfect opportunity to bring out the craft supplies and get creative. Crafts are great for kids, not just because they are fun, but because crafts help grow self-esteem, creativity, imagination, STEM skills, problem solving and patience. Crafts also allow children to express themselves and communicate their inner feelings. Creating something and finishing a project that they can see displayed gives kids a sense of pride and delight in watching others admire their work. Instead of buying a bunch of decorations for the holidays, why not have the kids create the holiday decorations this year?  Garland is a great project to help develop fine motor skills and can really bring out their creativity, because there are so many options. Try some of these: DIY Yarn Balls, Falling Leaves Garland or Washi Tape Christmas Trees. Or make some ornaments you can hang year after year like Silver Snowflakes, Popsicle Sled Sleds, or Jolly Elves. Photo ornaments are another type of ornament you will appreciate for years to come. Don’t forget to add names and dates so you can look back and reminisce when the kids get older.

Share A Smile

Have relatives or friends that live far away? A great way to spread warmth when it is chilly outside is to have the kids write letters or draw pictures to give to family, friends or anyone they want to make smile. Another idea is to call a local retirement center and ask if your kids can make some cards and crafts for the residents.

If they have some gently used toys they no longer play with, this is a great time to encourage them to donate to other kids who could use them. Not only will you be encouraging your kids to give to those less fortunate, you can also help reduce your toy clutter as well. Charities like Deseret Industries and Goodwill are good charity options, as they will either donate the toy to an organization for you, or sell the toy in their thrift store and serve the community in that way. Other charities may have specific wish lists or restrictions on the types of toys they can accept, so be sure to check with them before trying to donate. You can also check with your friends or coworkers with younger kids to see if they might appreciate receiving a toy. Have your child wrap up the toy and give it as a gift.

Summertime Recipes You’ll Crave: Tuna Avocado Toast

By | All Posts, Cooking

With the incredible health benefits and freaking great flavor, it’s no surprise to us that avocados are just so in right now. In honor of the recent National Avocado Day this past Tuesday, try out this delish summer combo to have a quick and scrumptious lunch.

 

Tuna Avocado Toast

2 Slices Whole Grain Bread

½ Avocado (Medium, Ripe, sliced into pieces)

2 Tablespoons Iceberg Lettuce (Roughly Chopped)

1 5 oz. Can White Albacore Tuna (Drained)

½ Lemon (Juice Only)

1 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Iceberg Lettuce (Roughly Chopped)

Salt  & Pepper to Taste

 

  1. Brush a touch of olive oil lightly on both sides of the whole grain bread, place on baking sheet and place in 300 degree oven to toast.
  2. Scoop flesh out of avocado and slice into long pieces. Salt and pepper, then set aside.
  3. Open the can of tuna and drain any water off. If packed in oil, do not drain.
  4. Combine juice from the lemon, vinegar, tuna, and olive oil in a small bowl. Tos together lightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Do not add olive oil if using oil-packed tuna.
  5. Take two lettuce leaves and chop roughly.
  6. Assemble toast with the browned bread on bottom, then top with tuna mixture, then lettuce, and finally laying 2-3 slices of avocado on each piece of toast. Serve immediately.

Summertime Recipes You’ll Crave: Shrimp Tacos

By | All Posts, Cooking

Shrimp Tacos

10 Corn Tortillas

1 Pound Shrimp (Peeled and Deveined)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

 

For Slaw:

2 Cups Cabbage (Shredded)

½ Cup Fresh Lime Juice (Approximately 3 Limes)

1 Clove Garlic (Peeled and Crushed)

1 Small Jalapeno (Minced)

½ Cup Red Onion (Diced)

½ Cup Sour Cream

2 Tablespoons Milk

 

Optional (For Garnish):

1 Avocado

1 Cup Cilantro

 

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine olive oil and seasonings for shrimp and mix into a paste. Toss the shrimp in the spice mixture until fully coated. Allow to sit and marinate 10 minutes or more before grilling shrimp on a cooktop or flame.
  2. Prepare ingredients for the slaw, chop and dice according to list. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until the vegetables are coated with sour cream and milk mixture. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste.
  3. Warm corn tortillas approximately 20 seconds per side on a hot pan or grill.
  4. Build tacos by putting the slaw in the middle of the tortilla first, then top with 3-5 shrimp per taco, depending on their size. If desired, finish with slices of avocado and sprigs of cilantro.

Coconut Chai-spiced Overnight Oats by Fueling Function

By | All Posts, Cooking, Health & Fitness

Hi! I’m April Tafoya, I run and healthy food and wellness blog called Fueling Function. I’m delighted to be part of the Salt Lake Women’s Show this year, presenting in the Fitness niche. Because nutrition is such a big part of my life and my business, I’ll be sharing a 20-minute meal prep demo during the event. Both show dates, April 27 and 28, you can catch me showcasing an easy, meatless option that you can prepare on Sunday and enjoy all week.

I’ll also be giving away and Instant Pot to one lucky participant, so I hope to see you there!

Today, I’ve got an easy-peasy breakfast recipe you can prepare on Sunday and enjoy all week: Coconut Chai Overnight Oats. Overnight oats became an overnight sensation a few years back because there’s no cooking involved. Simply combine a few pantry ingredients, add milk the night before, then refrigerate overnight. Overnight oats are also a popular choice among plant-based dieters because it’s so filling and contains no animal products.

 

Overnight oats are adaptable, too! The crucial ingredients are rolled oats, chia seeds, and your choice of milk. The rest is up to you!

  • For extra protein, add Greek yogurt or protein powder.
  • For fruity oats, mash a banana inside and top with fresh fruit.
  • If you’re feeling indulgent, add a dollop of peanut butter and chocolate chips.
  • And if you’re a chai tea lover, keep reading for one of my favorite combinations.

This oatmeal jar is reminiscent of a chai latte (or a warm bear hug, if you ask me!) I used pumpkin spice blend to achieve the chai-spiced flavor. There’s no pumpkin in pumpkin spice, just cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves (the same flavors are present in chai tea). It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup and—best of all: there’s no cooking required. Enjoy!

Coconut Chai-spiced Overnight Oats

Yields 1 half-pint jar

 

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup milk of choice (Califia Farms Toasted Coconut-Almond Milk is my favorite!)

1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 tablespoon pumpkin spice blend

1 tablespoon toasted coconut for garnish (see note)

 

In a half-pint mason jar or container, combine rolled oats, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice blend. Stir to combine.

The night before you’re ready to eat, add milk and maple syrup then stir gently to combine. Refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Garnish with toasted coconut just before eating.

 

Meal prep hack: Prepare 4-5 of the dry ingredients in jars for the week, then add wet ingredients the night before. So easy!

How to toast coconut: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange 1 cup of coconut shavings on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes.

For meal prep recipes, training tips, motivation, and health education, visit my blog at fuelingfunction.com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

DIY Easter Eggs

By | All Posts, Cooking, DIY, Home

If you’re like us, you’ve had your fill of the run-of-the-mill grocery store egg dyeing kit with the weird wire holders, little tablets of egg dye, and cheap plastic egg cups. It’s fun and all, but you’ve probably thought for a few years now that surely there must be some better ways to jazz up this tired springtime ritual? Well, you’ve come to the right place! There is a better way! We’ve put together a great list of possibilities to bring your Easter egg game to the next level. Try one or all of these ideas to make this beloved tradition an artistic and fun venture once again.

 

 

Experiment with Natural Dyes

Many of us are working hard to make our homes a more organic and chemical-free place. So it just doesn’t make sense to throw that out the window once a year for a holiday tradition that could easily be given a natural twist. There are many recipes on the web for creating almost any color you need by dyeing your eggs with things like blueberries and red cabbage.  You’ll enjoy peace of mind when your family eats the after-Easter egg salad because everything involved in the process was from the earth. If you want all the natural elements, but not as much of the work there are also some awesome natural dye kits from companies committed to organic ingredients and sustainability. We also love the muted, homey colors these natural dye alternatives create.

 

 

Pressed Flower Eggs

We love this creative idea with another organic twist. The steps are fairly simple, making this a great activity to include little ones.

You’ll need: mod-podge or non-toxic glue, small flowers, egg dye and nylon stockings. (Old or torn stockings are perfect, as long as they’re clean of course!)

  • Step 1: This project works best if you press your flowers for at least a few minutes under a heavy book on a flat surface. This can take place while you prepare the eggs.
  • Step 2: If you’d like colorful eggs, start by dyeing them as you normally would. These are also beautiful on plain white eggs so this step is not completely necessary if you prefer a cleaner look.
  • Step 3: If you’ve dyed them, wait until the egg is completely dry. Place a small drop of glue or mod-podge onto the egg. Attach your pressed flower(s) and press down firmly but gently.
  • Step 4: Carefully place each egg into a nylon stocking and tie off the end. If you have tall nylons, a perfect use is to cut them down to multiple sections and tie off both ends. “Reduce and reuse,” as they say!
  • Step 5: Allow the nylon-wrapped eggs to dry. The pressure from the nylon will keep the flowers in place. Remove the nylon with a quick snip of your scissors.
  • Step 6: If using mod-podge you can also reinforce the flower after the first dry with a top layer, depending on how long you’d like your creations to last. The finished product: stunning eggs with a unique and organic look.

 

 

Painted Eggs

Sometimes the most simple ideas are the best. Watercolor paints are particularly perfect for giving your Easter eggs this year a more crafty and personal touch. Check the labels to ensure the paint is non-toxic.. For less mess, you can also get creative with non-toxic paint pens, that don’t require brushes at all. Whichever method you choose, the possibilities are limitless! The design of your eggs is 100 percent between you and the paint.

 

 

Silk “Tie Dyed” Eggs

Yes you read that right. Dye your eggs with incredibly unique and intricate patterns using silk ties. Like the kind your husband wears to church. You can get old ties for a steal at thrift and second-hand stores, (we’re talking 75 cents) or just get your sweetheart to finally clean out his closet. You’ll want to ensure that the ties you use are 100% silk…it just doesn’t work with other fabrics.

  • Step 1: Cut out the back seam and lining of the tie so you’re left with a large piece of silk.
  • Step 2: Now, use it to wrap the eggs–you should be able to get 3-4 pieces large enough for an egg from each tie.
    • Note: Unlike our other hacks, these eggs should NOT be pre-boiled. You’ll want to start with raw eggs. Just be cautious when you’re wrapping them in the fabric.
  • Step 3: To wrap, use the right side of the silk, i.e. the part you’d see on the front if someone was wearing the tie, to face the egg. Wrap it tightly and completely cover the egg, then tie off with a twisty tie. Repeat until all the eggs are covered with a glorious array of patterned and colored fabrics!
  • Step 4: Place all the wrapped eggs in a large pot of water. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the water and allow the eggs to boil 20 minutes.
  • Step 5: Pull the eggs out and allow them to cool. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap the fabric and behold the incredible impressions left on your eggs! Voila—Easter festivities are ready to commence!

 

 

Speckled Eggs

This is a quick and easy way to make your humdrum dyed eggs a little bit more interesting.

  • Step 1: Dye in the usual way and allow to dry, or leave white.
  • Step 2: Add about a cup of dried beans to a paper cup and then put in 15-20 drops of food coloring. Should the food coloring dry out, add a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Step 3: Cover top of the cup and shake the food dye and beans together.
  • Step 4: At this point you can take the eggs and roll them around in the beans to add a speckled effect.
    • For extra fun roll in multiple colors, allowing each individual layer of food color to dry between rolls. The textured effect you end up with is very cute and cheery.

Three Easy Cookie Recipes

By | All Posts, Cooking, Home

There are few things as universal as a neighborly gesture…like the casserole delivered when someone is sick or just had a baby; the winter treat dropped off just to say “Happy Holidays;” and, for anytime at all,there’s the plate of cookies, still warm from the oven, to say, “You were on my mind.” Take an hour this weekend and make life on your block so much sweeter by doing a simple, kind act for the elderly couple down the street or the single mom next door that you know could use some quiet time. You’ll be amazed how this simple task can drastically improve your life by making your neighbors happy to be living near you and perhaps willing to return the favor on occasion just because. It’s never a bad time to do something nice, and it’s never a bad time to become the neighbor everyone loves. To make it simple for you and still yummy for your friends, we’ve compiled a list of the very best delicious and easy cookie recipes you’ll be able to whip together quickly with the classic ingredients you already have stocked in the cupboard.

 

Classic Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. While that heats, grease 2 cookie sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.  

 

In a medium size bowl, use a sifter to combine flour, baking soda and salt. Then in a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together brown sugar, white sugar and the softened butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, then cream together again until the mixture is light and smooth. Add in the bowl of dry ingredients and combine all together. The final step for the batter is to add chocolate chips and gently combine one more time.

 

To distribute the dough, use a small ice cream scoop or two tablespoons to create 1/4 cup portions. Place onto cookie sheets with approximately 3 inches between each portion.

 

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden with lightly toasted edges. Once removed from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks.

 

*This cookie recipe is courtesy of Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat

 

Soft Snickerdoodles

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup unsalted butter (cold, diced into ½” pieces)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Use a mixer to blend unsalted butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add salt and ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, and cream ingredients together until just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking soda, flour and cream of tartar. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and blend together until you have a combined dough that pinches together at the touch. Set the dough in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes until it is slightly more set for rolling into balls.

 

Mix together the remaining sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator once finished chilling. To portion the cookies, take ½ inch portions of dough and roll them lightly and quickly into balls. Take each ball of dough and lightly roll them individually in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place each ball onto greased cookie sheets allowing 2 inches between each cookie for spreading during baking.

 

Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. For even baking, turn each cookie sheet 180 degrees halfway through the allotted time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes after removing them from the oven, before transferring the cookies to wire racks for cooling entirely.

 

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup peanut butter (creamy)

¼ cup shortening

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In large bowl combine brown sugar, water, peanut butter, shortening and eggs. Slowly add in the yellow cake mix while continuing to combine until mixture is completely smooth. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky.

 

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets. Allow 2 inches of space between each cookie. With a fork, flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern to create a classic peanut butter cookie aesthetic, ideal for even baking with this sticky dough. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing cookies and finishing cooling on wire racks. Store in airtight containers to retain freshness.

Swap Flowers for Flourless Chocolate Berry Cake!

By | All Posts, Cooking, Health & Fitness

Maybe flowers aren’t your thing? How about treating yourself to a flourless chocolate berry cake?!

Wendy Paul of Core 7 shared another of the 150 delicious recipes from the Core 7 Fueled book below!

 

Flourless Chocolate Berry Cake

Serves 8-10

Fat 8  ||  Carbs  9  || Protein 4  || Calories 131

GF

 

 Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries for garnish

In a small saucepan, heat cream 1-2 minutes over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from the heat and add chocolate. Let the cream stand for 2 more minutes until it has melted. Then start to stir the chocolate. It will come together to be dark, smooth and rich. Cool slightly.

Then gently stir one egg at a time, combining mixture completely before adding another egg. Repeat until all the eggs have been added. Add the vanilla and sugar, stirring to combine. Pour batter into a greased and parchment lined 8” spring form pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, in a steam bath. Place another baking dish filled with 2” of water below the cake while baking. Remove from the oven, the cake will be a little soft in the center. Once the cake has cooled, top with fresh berries. Makes 12 servings.

 

Hope you get a chance to treat yourself, or if you feel like sharing, you can make it for Valentine’s Day! (And, if you’d like to check out all the recipes, you can buy the book here!)

Let’s get Moroccan

By | All Posts, Cooking

We’re so excited to have Wendy Paul of Core 7 share one of the 150 delicious recipes from the Core 7 Fueled book on our blog today! I mean, LOOK HOW AMAZING IT LOOKS!

Moroccan Ragut with Poached Eggs

Serves 6

Fat 15 ||  Carbs  15  || Protein 38  || Calories 383

GF & Whole 30—no bread

 

 

  •  28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 12-18 small turkey meatballs (prepackaged or use Moroccan Meatball recipe above.
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • Rustic loaf of bread (optional)

In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion, in the coconut oil, stir occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add cinnamon, powder, salt, paprika, and garlic. Heat, stirring to coat all the onions, 1-2 minutes until the seasons are fragrant.

Turn down the heat, and add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then crack the eggs one at a time and place them around the pan, with some space in between. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Remove the cover, and sprinkle the skillet with fresh chopped parsley for garnish. Serve with yummy bread.

Let us know if you try it and what you think! (And, if you’d like to check out all the recipes, you can buy the book here!)