Valentine’s Day Playdate

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Prepping for a family Valentine’s Day has really been bringing extra joy to my life!  So today I’m sharing a fun idea to spread the love to the kiddos.

Some people refer to Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday”.  When I wasn’t married and didn’t have kids I always thought that Valentine’s Day has so much hype and pressure.  While it isn’t my favorite holiday, I still appreciate that we have one day of the year reminding everyone to tell their friends and loved ones how much they mean to them.  Everyone could use a reminder now and then.

To honor this special day, invite your friends and their kids over for a fun playdate that parents and kids alike will enjoy.  You’ll need to have a few crafts on hand the kids can do without too much assistance like large foam hearts the kids can decorate with stickers.  This way, everybody can have a Valentine to go home with.  Ask your friends to bring an appetizer to share that goes with the theme.  Here are a few snacks that worked for me!  And a few that my friends brought.

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3 Easy Salads for 1

3 Easy Salads for 1

“What’s for dinner?” is the crowned champion of questions in many households, but “What do you eat for lunch?” is coming in a close second amongst moms.  I was on a “Moms and Kids” forum last week and a new mom was asking this very question.  The answers were interesting and varied.  I prefer to eat my lunch in kidless silence while watching something juicy on TV.  The honest truth, for me anyway, is that I typically eat leftovers.  But when there aren’t any left, or if it’s something too heavy for the middle of the day, or I just don’t feel like that right now I like to make a salad.  I fancy myself a bit of a salad connoisseur.  I really love any and all salads from fancy shmancy down to a pizza parlor salad bar.  There’s just something about the way sunflower seeds mingle with beets, croutons, and ranch.  Anyway, today I’m offering up three really delicious salad options anyone can make at home for just one person.  Each salad has it’s own unique home-made salad dressing.  It’s really not as difficult as it sounds!  When you taste your own fresh-made dressing, you’ll never go back to the bottled stuff!

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Chard/Kale Mashers Recipe

Roasted  Pork Tenderloin and Chard/Kale Mashers Recipe

Tonight I shared this photo of our dinner of Pork Tenderloin and Chard/Kale Mashers on Instagram and I had a few requests for the recipe so here it is.  Let me tell you that my kids LOVED it!!  I hope your family will enjoy it as much as I did.

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats


Kids and vegetables, it’s not always a love affair.  I find that when you come up with kid “buzz” words to add to the name of your dishes it makes the kiddos a little more excited about veggies.  That’s why I call this dish Stuffed Zucchini Boats instead of just Stuffed Zucchinis.  Before I tell you exactly how I can pull this dinner off with just 10 minutes of prep time, let’s take a few minutes to celebrate the star of this dish, the zucchini.  Here are some seriously fantastic facts about this green gem compliments of Wikipedia.

  • Zucchini is fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, rich in manganese, folate, and vitamins A and C and has more potassium than a banana.
  • Nutrients and vitamins found in zucchinis can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Zucchinis contain 95 percent water.
  • The longest zucchini measured 7 ft 10.3 and was harvested from a home garden in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
  • The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible.  Fried squash blossoms anyone?

OK, So how do I do this in just 10 minutes??  It’s all about the prep.  You may remember this post about saving with coupons, well when I see ground meat (any variety) is on sale I buy a few packs and freeze them.  In the beginning of each week I plan a meal that includes a ground meat.  I cook up all the pack with a little onion, salt, and pepper – no specific spices.  That way it’s a blank slate that I can add whatever flavors are needed for whatever dish I need it for throughout the week.  The second thing I do is make a HUGE batch of my Crockpot Marinara (I typically double the recipe in the link), I always have one jar in the fridge and several in the freezer.  I use the coupon method to buy the cans needed for this recipe too.

If I do the above prep work and my typical meal planning I can pull together a wholesome and delicious weeknight meal in minutes.  Now that you know my secrets here’s the recipe for my Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  I truly hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as my Rinos and I do.

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5 Grain Stuffed Peppers

5 Grain Stuffed Peppers

I fell in love with all things culinary when I was little.  My Grandma would serve multiple courses at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, when I graduated from fruit cocktail to shrimp cocktail I felt pretty refined.  After working in restaurants, planning weddings, taking food and wine classes, and watching copious amounts of Food Network you could say I’m definitely a culinary enthusiast.  Each Thursday I will feature something related to my culinary passion. I hope you enjoy todays 5 Grain Stuffed Peppers recipe!

Since my husband wanted to add more veggies into his diet, I’ve been trying new recipes with things I know he would like that are loaded with veggies.  I looked through a ton of recipes for stuffed peppers (I love bell peppers!) and I just couldn’t find one that I really liked so I created my own recipe using the others as a guide.  If your kids aren’t into stuffed peppers just spoon out the filling for them (it will still have the delicious pepper flavor) and keep the cooked pepper to add to some sausages and onions for another meal.  Please know that all but one of my peppers was meatless.  I added some browned sausage to my husband’s pepper to beef up the protein.  Raley’s 5 Grains adds great nutritional value and an invited change to the typical rice.  The colorful peppers add flair to your typical weeknight meal.  You have to try my 5 Grain Stuffed Peppers.

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Friendsgiving Tips, Tricks, and Crafts

Friendsgiving Tips, Tricks, and Crafts With Thanksgiving just around the corner, consider hosting a Friendsgiving.  It’s a great excuse to get together with friends and test out your TGivs recipes before the BIG day.  Plus, for some people their friends are their family.  I wanted to share my have tips and tricks to make it the best holiday yet!

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Good Day Goodies: Meatloaf Cupcakes

meatloaf cupcakes

Here is the Meatloaf Cupcake recipe I walked through on Good Day Sacramento today.  Here’s a link to the video.

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