10 August, 2010

5 Foods Your Kids MUST Eat

I was watching the Today Show yesterday, and saw a segment on foods our children should be eating as part of their every day diets.  I was pleased to see that my kids regularly get in 4 of the 5 foods, but one would be a doozy for them to get into their diets.

What are the 5 foods in case you missed it?

1. Fish...but not just any fish.  If it meant fish sticks and panko crusted halibut/cod, my kids would be all over it!  Nope, needs to be a cold water fatty fish.  These include Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, and Sardines.  The reason for these fish is that they are the Omega 3 fish. 

Yeah...not exactly what my children like to eat...nor me.  I know, TONS of people LOVE Salmon...I'm not one of them.  I've had it cooked so many different ways, hoping I'll see the light, but I have yet to like it.  However, there's hope for my kids.  I am determined to try new ways of preparing the Salmon so that they too will eat it.  I'll try the salmon salad instead of tuna salad, I'll try salmon fish sticks instead of "who knows what" fish sticks, I'll try salmon balls...anything.  I'll keep you updated and see if I can get them to eat salmon.  I think the pink throws them off...seriously...they are SO affected by the appearance of food.

2.  BEANS!  Hooray for beans...really!  Beans are considered a mood stabilizer.  They last through the day, helping prevent crashes.  When my son was a baby, his first two foods were avocado (EXCELLENT brain development), and beans!!!  He started with kidney beans, and grew to love all beans.  I can give him a can of garbanzo, kidney, northern white...any kind of beans, and he will eat it as is.  No need for covering them up.  My daughters are the same way.  However, there are kids who do not even want to see a bean.  So, there's the idea on the today show of pureeing black beans and putting them in your brownie recipe...or, you can take a white bean, puree it, and throw it in your cookie recipe.  And of course, the all wonderful hummus!  My kids will be eating A LOT of hummus soon where we're going!  Beans can go in A LOT!  When pureed, mashed, or whole, they pretty much take on flavors of other foods.  Try them, don't be afraid.

3.  Oats...what kid doesn't like them?  Ok, maybe there are a few, but you can seriously hide these babies in cookies, meat (think meatballs, meatloaf), make crusts for different foods, really limitless in a lot of way.  Oats keep the energy going. 

Ok, shameless Irish heritage plug here...McCann's is THE best oatmeal...I LOVE it, grew up on it, and now my kids like it with a smidge of butter and syrup.  When we're doing packaged oatmeal, I always mix a flavored one with a plain one to ease the sugar rush.  :)  We love making cookies with oatmeal...there's one my kids LOVE and it's packed with goodness.  It's called the breakfast cookie.  Of course my recipe is packed up, but basically...oats, dried berries, flax seeds, a hint of brown sugar, flour, and egg.  Go wild with your oats!

4. Eggs.  Bad?  Good?  Too many?  Cholesterol?  Gone are the days of the "bad" egg.  Eggs are a complete protein, so good for you.  And yes, it's ok to eat just the whites...I do quite often.  I don't think I need to go into too much detail on how to prepare an egg here.  :)  Just remember, there's scrambled, over easy, with yummy sauces, in recipes, another limitless food.  :)

5. Spinach.  My kids go crazy for spinach...raw, cooked, mixed into a recipe...they chow down on it.  I'm lucky, I know.  It's loaded with amazing minerals...so good for the whole body.  Use it instead of ice burg next time...more filling, more flavorful...healthy.  I know it can be a hard one to get your kids to love, but there's a reason Popeye was so fond of it!

 This site I cam across had some GREAT ideas for you to try...recipes sneaking these foods.  There's also a book I picked up called Deceptively Delicious...a whole cookbook on hiding healthy food!

Share your ideas with us in the comments...how do you hide foods, or how do you prepare them without hiding, but so they are appealing to kids?  We'd love to hear!

22 July, 2010

Mom Time: Boeuf Bourguignon

I did it!  I have always wanted to make it, and now I can say I have.  And let me tell you, it's 100% worth every effort...EVERYONE loved it!

I took some pictures to try and give you an idea of how the recipe follows.  Some moments were tricky to interpret, but you get the hang of it quickly.

The first step is to cut the chunk bacon into lardons, separated from the rind.  I could not find chunk bacon, so I bought a chunk of Pancetta.  Let me tell you, the flavor was WONDERFUL!

After cooking, you simply remove and reserve.  You'll end up using both throughout the process.

DRY your meat before cooking!  It will not get that nice brown tone without it being dry!

Carrots, onions, and garlic saute in the fats from the bacon and meat.  GOOD flavor.

Put beef and bacon back into the pot with the sauteed veggies.  Eventually you discard these onions and carrots.  Some like to keep them for a more Earthy/rustic taste and texture.

Wine, broth, paste, herbs to simmer.  Your house will begin smelling AMAZING right about now!

White pearl onions with the herb sachet.  These little beauties taste so delicious once caramelized.  Little bits of heaven.

Brown the mushrooms....DON'T crowd! It's true!  Do in two batches if your pan isn't big enough, but don't crowd them for nice browning.

Putting it all together after HOURS of baking.  Oh my heaven, my house had the most wonderful aromas.  At this point, you're done.  We opted out of putting over a carb...and it was divine.  The mushrooms and the onions were the perfect compliment to the most tender beef.  Just like in the movie, I put the first bite into my mouth and uttered..."yum".

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea....smiles!  That means job well done mom!  Now, go plan a day and make it!  You know you want to!

19 July, 2010

The 10 Do's of Thank You Note Writing

1.  Send the thank you note right away, or as soon as you are able.  Don't let too much time go by before letting someone know what they did meant something to you.

2.  Informal stationery is perfectly acceptable for a thank you note, EXCEPT for a wedding.  Use a nice wedding stationery for your thank you notes.

3.  Use the giver's name or title!  Often overlooked in many thank you notes, as we are in a hurry just to get it written and send.  The salutation starts it off right.

4.  Identify clearly what you are thanking them for and how it will be put to use...express your gratitude for it.  If it's money, don't define the amount, simply thank them for their gratitude.

5.  Address your envelope to the specific people who gave the gift.  If it was a family, address it to the head(s) of household.

6.  Everyone who has sent either a personal note, flowers or some other form of a gift should get a written thank you. If you are unable to write the notes, a close friend or family member may write them on your behalf.

7.  Send a thank you note after receiving wedding/bridal/baby shower gifts, holidays/birthdays/bar-bat mitzvah/graduation/other gifts, condolences in any form written/flowers/donations, when someone has treated you to dinner/concert/event, after an interview, or just when you feel the urge!
8.  ALWAYS try to use an original thank you note for each person you send to, instead of using a pre-printed form style thank you where you insert a name, the gift, and sign your name.  For children, this is acceptable as they are learning to write and learning the etiquette. 

9.  Beyond thanking people for the gifts they gave you, make sure to write thank you notes to those who threw the event for you, or helped plan for the event.

10.  Multiple gifts from one person, mention each gift specifically.  Don't say "Thank you for the gifts".

We recently released some city skyline note cards that are perfect for thank you notes!

26 June, 2010

Evo '10...An AMAZING conference...you can't miss.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting amazing women.  A LOT of them.  Women with kids, without kids, with a brand spanking new business, with established businesses...the whole range.  You know what was amazing about them?  They were ALL there to share!  Talk about an idea-fest!  This was it!

In the brief amount of time I was able to attend, I met more amazingly successful women than I ever thought I could at one time.  Women with the TOP blogs!  PR firms SHARING ideas to help us be more successful!  Moms who just want any bits and pieces of information to help them get started!  The common theme...SOCIAL MEDIA!  

If you have a business, a story, even wonderful thoughts and photography...get online!  Even Oprah's producers from HARPO knew how important this event was, and came to speak about the importance of social media...and guess what...we're just at the beginning of a big explosion.  We haven't seen ANYTHING yet.  From Twitter to Facebook to Blogger and beyond...find them, use them, and love them!

I am so grateful for the experience I had today.  A few hours of personal development that will last a lifetime as I put the ideas to practice.  ALWAYS keep evolving...stay fresh...and stay interesting!  Find your audience, your voice, and your passion, and run with it!  And PLEASE get out and get to these conferences...you need to keep your brain moving forward...as well as meet more and more amazing people who are there to help you succeed!

Thank you Evo '10!

06 June, 2010

My Girls' Birthday Party

This weekend I put together a magical birthday party for my two girls.  Eden turned 4 in May, and Ellison will turn 2 in June.  To save my sanity, I held one party!  Eden wanted a Princess Tiana party, so I compromised with her, and stuck with a color theme, while adding frog accents and Tiana presents.  :)  She thought it was wonderful.  

This first collage shows the party table.  We used blue, green, and purple for the party colors, which I think looked beautiful together.  I used green and blue cupcake papers, and made purple frosting to top them off.  I picked a fun, fanciful font to use for the 2, 4, E cupcake toppers and party bag tags.  We had blue raspberry, green apple, and grape licorice sticks, blue raspberry and grape rock candy sticks, Haribo frog candies, and some fun small suckers. The kids had a ball sampling a little of everything, and I'm proud to say, they didn't indulge or eat all of anything!  :)
This next collage is of little Miss Ellison.  She had a ball hitting the froggie pinata, opening a Trunki for her travels, and her favorite present...Jessie from Toy Story 2!
The last collage is of Miss Eden.  I think her favorite was the Belle dress she received as a gift.  She is just a princess!

09 May, 2010

Chickadee Prints on Oxygen!

Catch Chickadee Prints tomorrow night on the Oxygen network's hit show, Tori and Dean Home Sweet Hollywood!  We were lucky enough to be chosen to design Tori's friend, Brandy, wedding invitations!