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Kid-Friendly Breakfast “Milkshake”

imagesIn an effort to take a bit more control over my health, I’ve been trying a new way of eating this past month. It’s a “diet” based mainly on fruits and vegetables, with things like beans, seeds, nuts and a dash of good whole grain carbs thrown in. It’s referred to as the Nutritarian lifestyle. I still indulge in some salmon and occasional meat and/or dairy, but try hard to focus on big salads and fruit for dessert. I’m finding that I want less and less of the crap now that I’m so used to reaching for lettuce and grapes. WEIRDness.

For those who are curious, check out “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Furhman. Could be a life changer, jus’ sayin.

(Disclaimer: The 10th anniversary chocolate brownie gluten free cake with cream cheese whipped cream frosting that I devoured over the last 3 days DOES NOT COUNT. I repeat, DOES NOT COUNT. Anniversary calories mean nothing. NOTHING, I SAY!)

So, the “milkshake”. The best part about the shake is that you can sneak nutrient-dense greens into it and no one will be the wiser. Here is a typical morning “milkshake” that my kids will fight tooth and nail for (that will literally strengthen their teeth and nails, har…har…? Yeah, don’t quit my day job just yet. I know.):

2 cups kale

1 cup berries (any kind you want, frozen is good too!)

1 ripe banana (to mask the taste of the greens for the kiddos)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple

2 tbsp. flax meal (oh yeah, omega-3s!)

1.5 cups almond/coconut milk

8 – 12 ice cubes depending thickness preference

Put everything in a blender (I have a very special relationship with my Ninja blender!) and blend until smooth. Add as many, or as few, ice cubes as you’d like until the consistency looks right. I like my shake on the thicker side and extra cold.

Word of advice, add darker berries like blueberries or raspberries to change the overall color. Otherwise, the green hue may be a bit off-putting for the younger crowd. Once they taste it – they’ll definitely ask for more!

Already tricking your own kids into drinking their fruits and veggies? What do you put in your “milkshake”? We’d love to know!


Another Massive Food Recall


I can’t believe it. Second massive food recall in the past week. Be safe everyone!

Have you been to your local grocery store or deli lately to stock up on some ready made foods? Then you better check your fridge!  Food giant Reser’s has initiated a massive recall of dozens of potato salads, pasta salads, slaws, and other prepared foods sold at retail and food service establishments across the United States and Canada. The foods sold at the likes of Wal-Mart, Safeway, Aldi’s, 7-11, and others may contain the dangerous bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

Think you have one of these foods in your kitchen? Here’s what you need to know about the recall.

1. The recalled foods were all manufactured by Reser’s Fine Foods at its Topeka, Kansas, plant, however they are sold under a variety of brand names including 7-11, Aldi, Block and Barrell, Casa Solana, Dickeys, Dillons, Famous Daves, Cobblestreet Market, Jewel, King Sooper, Miller, Mrs. Giles, Mrs. Weaver, Orval Kent, Green Hill, Reser’s, Chef’s Choice, Safeway Deli Counter, Sav-A-Lot, Stonemill, Essential Everyday, Sysco, Cross Valley Farms, Wal-Mart, West Creek, Yoder, My Premier, and Yum.

2. The list of recalled products includes salads, slaws, dips, and other refrigerated foods.

3. Lysteria is a bacterium that causes the infection listeriosis which can be fatal. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems, however the FDA is not aware of anyone sickened by these products.

4. The recalled products have different expiration dates, some as late as December of this year, but the FDA instructs consumers to take the food back to the store for a refund or discard it immediately rather than eating it.

5. The affected packages are marked with a Use-by-Date or Best By Date and followed by a plant identifier code of 20. Products affected by this recall are listed on the FDA website.

7. For more information on what to do with recalled product or what to do if you’ve eaten some, call contact Reser’s Fine Foods Consumer Hotline 1-888-257-7913 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST.

FYI: Massive Kraft Cheese Recall

It’s things like this that sometimes make me afraid to eat. Well, okay, I don’t think I’m capable of being afraid of food, however, this does make me think twice about what I’m bringing home from the grocery store…

How many of you have bought a Kraft product, or Polly-O String Cheese, or a String Cheese Twists product recently? Yikes, looks like there’s a lot of you. Well, bad news, friends. There’s been a massive Kraft cheese recall due to their products spoiling or/and “changing color” before the expiration date on the packages. Scary, I know. But here’s everything you need to know about this icky recall:

How much product has been recalled?735,000 cases of the affected products were shipped to customers in the U.S.

How do I know if my product has been recalled? They have “Best When Used By” dates from Oct. 25 through Feb. 11. Yahoo Finance also has a chart of every specific product that’s been recalled. Note: It’s a lot.

Where is the “Best When Used By” date? Customers can find the “Best When Used By” date on the back of multi-count packages on the bottom. For string cheese products labeled individually, the “Best When Used By” date is on the bottom front of the package.

What is Kraft doing? The company has ceased the production and distribution of the affected products and is investigating the problem.

What can I do? Consumers should return the recalled product for an exchange or refund — before eating it. Customers can also contact Kraft Foods Consumer Relations at 1-800-816-9432 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Eastern).

Original post from The Stir

Paint ‘N pARTy of Maryland – What fun!

paint n' party

If you’re looking for a creatively fun night out in the Baltimore/Annapolis area, you should definitely head over to Paint ‘N pARTy of Maryland!

Located in Crofton, Paint ‘N pARTy encourages you to find your inner artist while enjoying a party type atmosphere. Each class is led by Vivian and Ginger, two sincerely warm and friendly women who make you feel right at home. The studio is very charming and showcases Ginger’s soft touches and painting designs that help to serve as inspiration for your own artwork. Vivian is wonderfully helpful in explaining the process of how the project will develop over the course of the session and reassures you that you will have a masterpiece of your very own when you leave that evening.

The best part is that there is absolutely no artistic requirements needed, so anyone can join in. Paint ‘N pARTy has even hosted special events for parent and children groups (recommended for ages 8+). What a great way to spend some quality time together and throw in a bit of entertainment!

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Paint ‘N pARTy session this past week and I can attest that this truly is for everyone. Here is a picture of myself and my mother-in-law with our koi paintings. I could probably count on one hand the number of times either of us have ever held a paintbrush, and yet look…

koi painting

We’re artists!

The “party” gives you the opportunity to mingle with a room full of great people, some who are new like myself, and many others who are repeat customers. There is a certain camaraderie between artists and instructors alike with plenty of laughter and reassuring words to be had by all. There is also a table set up where everyone can bring a treat or meal to share (or not!) along with whatever libations they might choose to sip on. I was ready to get down to business and keep focused so I used my better judgment and decided to leave my wine at home, but alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Here are a few examples of some past themes Paint ‘N pARTy of Maryland have hosted…


Aren’t they beautiful? Completely worthy of hanging in your home for all to see. Paint ‘N pARTy of Maryland has many other themes as well, including a snowy door with hanging wreath for the holidays, a beautiful orange pumpkin for Fall, steaming mugs of coffee and so many more options to pick from. Ginger and Vivian are also open to your ideas if there is something you’ve really been wanting to create.

Check out their website and Facebook page for upcoming events and pricing, location info and a schedule of what themes are currently being offered. You can also browse through their gallery of photos to get a sneak peak at the studio set-up and group shots from different sessions.

So whether you’re looking to host a Girl’s Night Out, a special occasion/birthday party, a fun activity with your kids, or just want to test your artistic ability, check this place out.  Paint ‘N pARTy of Maryland says “This is not your typical art class, this is a PAR-TAY … Paint ‘N pARTy, that is!” and I couldn’t agree more!

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