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Quick and Easy Healthy, Holiday Snacks for Kids

Today was my daughters’ Christmas pageant and party at school.  Their last as preschoolers.  It was adorable.  Inevitably.

Although I signed up to bring in the “healthy snack” at the beginning of the year, I completely forgot until I got the reminder email.  Two days ago.  It was not exactly the kind of reminder I was happy to receive, given the height of activities this time of year so I allowed myself a few minutes of complaining and coming up with excuses as to why I might just bail on the whole thing, but then I got my laptop out, typed in Pinterest and sat down with my girls to help me pick something easy, delicious and …quick.

They chose two adorable options.  One was made of popcorn and the other made of cheese.  Two household staples.  I made some changes to accommodate what I felt that I could pull off (which did NOT include making 25 tiny snowman hats for each string cheese snowman).  The results are below:

Mozzarella Tomato “Candy Cane” Stacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mozzarella Cheese Stacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organic Popcorn & Freeze Dried Strawberry Cups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

popcorn freeze dried strawberry cups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were easy to assemble, simple to transport and perfect for little hands.  No mess and all gone by the end of the party.  All in all, a big success.  But no match for the performance of my two little angels in the Christmas pageant.  If I do say so myself.

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More MySuperFoods Holiday Crafts – Cozy Snowman!

We continued the fun from last week (did you catch the other fun holiday crafts we made??) in our house by decorating some more cookies boxes!

Cozy Snowman:

Need: One MySuperCookies Box, Construction Paper, Felt Paper (or ribbon), Buttons, Glue, Winter Hat

Step 1: Like our Snowy Friends, wrapped the entire box in white paper using tape.

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Step 2: Glue on your buttons eyes and mouth as well as cut out a carrot noes. Then cut the the felt so it fits nicely around your box. Wrap it around the box and tie bow or a knot. This will be the snowman’s scarf. Next add the hat of your choice to the top of the box. I secured the hat using a little bit of tape.

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Step 3: To create a snowy scenery, place the snowman on white felt and add some cotton balls around the box!

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Obviously we love wrapping up MySuperCookies, but this craft works easily with any box or present, begging for a little snowman fun!

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Busy week ahead? Here are some quick meals to get you through!

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I love my crock pot.  It’s perfect for the week ahead that is full of school concerts and parties!  These are easy to pour into a container for the fridge, and then put in the crock pot in the morning.  I chop a few heads of lettuce and store in a container covered in water, so that we can always have a salad if I don’t have time to make a side.  Here are a couple of my favorite quick and easy crock pot meals:

1. Roast with Carrots and Potatoes


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Any cut of beef (I use London broil or a rump roast)
1 bottle tomato juice (16-24 oz)
Cut red potatoes and carrots
1 tsp. Garlic Salt

Makes a great one-pot dinner, and fantastic sandwiches for the next day!

2. Vegetable Soup

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Mixed veggies – I use carrots, potatoes, peas, celery, etc.
1 can cannellini beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 c. red lentils
1 container vegetable broth
Add additional water/broth if needed
*Stew beef is easily added  here!

Try Dad’s Beef Stew as an alternative
3. Pork Chops/Pork Loin with Apples

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Your choice of pork
2 cups applesauce
1-2 apples, peeled and sliced
Mix in 1-2 tsp of: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
1/3 c. brown sugar

(Asparagus makes an excellent side here!)
4. Chili

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8 cans beans – I like a mixture of white/red kidney, pinto, navy, black, garbanzo, etc)
1 large can diced tomatoes
8-10 oz vegetable broth
8-10 oz tomato juice
4 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
(If you like your chili spicy, add a tsp of cayenne pepper)
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, diced

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MySuperFoods Holiday Crafts – Santa Sleigh & Snowy Friends

As you can imagine, we have no shortage of MySuperSnack and MySuperCookie boxes around my house.  Sometimes it’s a bit of an epidemic.  So, it made perfect sense to us to pull out some festive holiday art supplies and get to work on the holiday spirit!  These are easy, great for small hands, fun for snow days and super stocking stuffers for anyone you love.

Santa’s Sled 

Needs: MySuperCookie Box, (2) Large Candy Canes, Piece of Ribbon

Step 1: Turn box upside down and tape the candy canes to the box (make sure the curved part of the candy canes are pointing the opposite way – facing toward the box top).  Create a little gift tag (Ours says “The SuperKids”).  Poke a hole at the top and slide it to the halfway point of the ribbon.  Tape the ends of the ribbon next to the candy canes as well.  This is the handle.

Christmas Sled 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Turn the “sleigh” over and pull the handle up on top.  You can also sit a small stuffed animal or Santa Clause on top for decoration or gift giving.

Christmas Sled MSC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy Friends (Polar Bear and Penguin)

Needs: construction paper (white, black and orange), scissors, glue stick, black marker, ribbon and two MySuperSnack Granola Bite pouches

Christmas Snow Friends 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1 (Polar Bear): lay one MySuperSnack pouch on top of the white construction paper.  Cut a small strip of paper off the top of the sheet (use to cut out 2 ears and 2 paws).  Wrap the two sides of the paper around the pouch and glue them together.  Turn the pouch over so that the seam doesn’t show.

Christmas Snow Friends 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Glue on the two ears and two paws and draw in eyes, nose, mouth and paws.  Tie the ribbon around the middle.

Christmas Snow Friends 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 (Penguin): Follow the same instructions in step 1 (for the polar bear) but cut off a thicker strip from the top to make the penguin wings.  Also cut out a small, orange triangle and a white oval to create the face.

Christmas Snow Friends 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: assemble the reminder of the penguin and give to your favorite snacking buddy!

Christmas SuperSnacks 2

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Pumpkin Spice Sausage Scramble Recipe

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My inspiration for this quick meal came from Early Girl Eatery, a farm-to-table comfort food diner. Their local sausage and sweet potato scramble rocked my world, and I’ve been making my own version ever since! The combination of carrot, the sausage spices, and cinnamon make this irresistible for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The other day, I improvised and used pumpkin instead of sweet potato, and came up with an equally yummy and more savory dish. Below are two recipes for making this scramble:

Pumpkin Spice Sausage Scramble Recipe

Ingredients (serves four)

1 lb breakfast sausage (try a local or pastured pork sausage for the best taste)
2 carrots (shredded or julienne)
3 cups pumpkin (cubed)
1 sprig of rosemary
2 tbsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Sweet Potato Sausage Scramble Recipe

Ingredients (serves four)

1 lb breakfast sausage
2 carrots (shredded or julienne)
3 cups sweet potato (cubed)
1/2 cup green onion
1 sprig of rosemary
2 tbsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

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Advent Calendar Update

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Last year I started a tradition in my family that became a daily reminder of what I believe is the true meaning of the Christmas season.  An Advent Calendar of Giving.  Each day between December 1st and 24th my daughters reveal out daily commitment to giving back.  When I pulled last year’s calendar out of our box of decorations this past weekend I instantly felt amazing.  Good things were about to happen.

In case you missed my post from last year, you can check out the story here: https://mysuperfoods.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/i-finally-have-an-advent-calendar-that-means-something-to-me/

Today, my five year old daughters will write a letter to a solider, thanking him for his service and wishing him a Merry Christmas.  They were jumping up and down to check the first item. I’m thrilled that they remember last year and am so excited to see where the road ahead takes us.

Merry Christmas!

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Giving Back to People in our Community

givingback Children

  • Contact your local hospital and ask if they have any patients who could use a holiday gift.
  • Donate gently-used coats and winter wear to free- and reduced-lunch schools.
  • “Adopt” a needy child for the holidays by requesting a name, buying gifts, wrapping and decorating.
  • Have your child pick out gently-used toys, books and clothes they can donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army.
  • Some organizations that focus on children:

Hunger and Poverty

  • Donate to your local food bank. Involve your child in choosing the items to donate, and in dropping them off.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, shelter, or free holiday meal with your family. This is a great way to show your kids that you can also give of your time.
  • Raise funds for an organization by contributing, as a family, to a change jar.
  • Organizations working to fight hunger:

Veterans

Seniors

  • Visit a nursing home, and bring games, handmade cards and drawings, toiletries, and gifts.
  • Visit a Seniors’ Center to spend time, chat, and play games with seniors.
  • Ask a nursing home, hospice center, enrichment center, etc. what donations they need, and make a delivery with your family.
  • Some organizations working to serve seniors:

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We want to hear from you, SuperFriends! How are you giving thanks and giving back with your family this season?

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My 1st Basket Brigade: Thanksgiving 2014!

Inspiring. Humbling. Genuine. Thankful

Those are the first four words that come to mind when I think about how I spent last weekend. I was excited to see that a friend, of a friend, was hosting a “Basket Brigade.” My first thoughts were: What is it? How can I be involved?

Nick Mazza, of Revive: Creative Property Solutions, was campaigning on GoFundMe, as he asked family and friends to donate to his cause. I was a bit skeptical at first, but a quick friend request later, and all of my questions were answered. I have finally witnessed a crowd funding event that I’m proud of. This was exciting!

The “Basket Brigade” is a national campaign, usually hosted by a 501-C, not-for-profit organization. They source donations, and then assemble full Thanksgiving meals to give to local families in need. The national slogan for the Basket Brigade is, “When a community comes together, magic happens.” I guess one could say their friend group is the community, because they totally made the magic happen. First, Nick, Ryan, and Dan reached out to their friends and family through social media. They raised over $2,000 which funded their trips to the supermarket. Then, they reached out to local churches and received the names of 23 families in need. So, they gathered baskets and got to work.

They cared about every detail that was put into this event—down to the bows and cornucopia that were hot glued to each basket. All that I want on my Thanksgiving table was included. Each family received everything from cranberry sauce, potatoes, and desserts to tin foil and a baking pan. They made sure each family received gravy, vegetables, and soup. The bread was bought on the day of delivery, in order for it to be fresh. And, the turkeys were chosen by weight—in order to feed the entire family.

When I offered to donate cases of MySuperCookies, I didn’t think the experience would be half of what it was. I helped put together the baskets, and was able to join in dropping them off to each home. The families welcomed us, with genuine gratitude. They made their kids stop what they were doing, come downstairs, and say thank you. I could genuinely feel their appreciation for what we were giving them—and that’s a feeling I’m not sure I experience as often as I want.

So, with Thanksgiving in the air… I’m sitting here thinking: what more can I do? What more can groups of friends do? How can I help make this Basket Brigade skyrocket next year? My ideas are endless! I’m thankful for being part of this event and having the ability to make a difference in the lives of people who need it.

So…What did you do to give back this season? What more can be done for the rest of the year? Drop us a note, we’d love to consider helping your cause, too!

Elizabeth

PS— Stay Tuned, SuperFans… I’m going to need your help with the 2015 Basket Brigade!

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Our Family Pancake Recipe (and How it Changes All Year Long)

pancakesGrowing up, we always made pancakes from scratch.  The recipe we used came from my dad’s mom, who raised three boys alone and could make a meal on a budget like nobody’s business.  After I got married, my husband ordered pancakes at a restaurant that included cottage cheese and was never the same again.  He took my grandma’s recipe and messed with it a bit to recreate that extra fluffy goodness.  Today, it’s the recipe we use every couple of weeks to make big batches for the freezer to serve on constant rotation.

Like any good recipe, I like to continually play with the flavors, adding in-season fruit to play with colors (raspberries and strawberries for pink) and flavors (pumpkin for fall greatness).

Two weeks ago, I added pumpkin to the recipe and made small pancakes that I used in today’s lunchbox with bananas to create “breakfast kabobs”.  They were a big hit.  Below is the recipe:

Grandma Miller’s Pancake (Remix)

5 eggs

2 T sugar

2 1/2 C whole wheat flour

1 1/2 C whole milk

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 C ricotta cheese (turns out this works better than cottage cheese)

I generously add pureed pumpkin, strawberries, blueberries and banana or whole diced apples, pears or chocolate chip to each batch to keep my hungry kiddos guessing.  I also often add a couple tablespoons of ground flax or chia seeds to increase fiber and omega 3s without any change to the taste or texture.  Enjoy!

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10 Ideas for Giving Thanks with Kids

givethankscraft

Kids learn by doing and making. Here are some craft ideas you can create with your family to share what you are thankful for. A lot of these double as fun holiday decoration. Thank goodness for that!

  1. Make a gratitude jar
  2. Use printables to count your blessings
  3. Decorate a colorful gratitude turkey
  4. Make and decorate a thankful tree
  5. Make thanksgiving placemats
  6. Decorate a table runner
  7. Craft a thanksgiving countdown banner
  8. Gratitude scavenger hunt
  9. Make thank you notes with construction paper and spiral drawings
  10. Put together a thanksgiving wreath
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