Healthy Fruit Smoothies Ė Indulge In One Of These Today
Posted By Susanne Myers On July 9, 2010 @ 5:58 pm In Food and Drink,Kid Friendly Foods,Recipes | 1 Comment
Healthy fruit smoothies are the perfect snack during the hot days of summer. These delicious treats will not only cool you down, they are also full of vitamins, calcium and plenty of water. Get out your blender and create your own favorite version. Smoothies can be made with just about any fruit. Just try a few different recipes until you come up with your own personal favorite.
Smoothies are also a great way to get your kids to eat their fruit and get a serving of milk at the same time. Whatís not to like about a ďmilkshakeĒ to cool you down after playing outside.
The Basic Ingredients Of A Good Fruit Smoothie
The ingredients for a good smoothie are very basic: plenty of fruit, a little yogurt, milk or juice. You donít really need anything else. Just put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more or less liquid (thatís the juice or milk) to get the consistency you like best.
To Freeze Or Not To Freeze
My favorite smoothies are usually frozen and I use frozen fruit for them. Frozen fruit can be found in your grocerís freezer aisle year around and you can also freeze your own when you find yourself with more fresh fruit than you can eat. Berries are usually best frozen whole, while bananas can be peeled and sliced before freezing. If you are using fresh fruit, you can add some ice to turn your smoothie into a frozen drink.
Using a combination of fresh and frozen fruit, or adding plenty of ice cold milk or juice will result in a cold instead of frozen smoothie. I suggest you try them both ways and see which kind you prefer.
By the way, just about any smoothie made with fresh fruit can also be made with frozen fruit. You may just want to add a little more liquid if the smoothie is getting too thick for your blender to process.
Yogurt, Juice Or Milk?
We already established that we need plenty of fruit for a good smoothie. The other main ingredient is usually yogurt, juice or milk. Personally I like non-fat yogurt a lot in my smoothies. I use either vanilla or Greek yogurt along with a splash of juice. If you are not a big yogurt fan, try using some milk instead or use your favorite fruit juice. Even if you are using yogurt you will need a splash of milk or juice to get the smoothie to a drinkable consistency.
Of course you donít have to have dairy in your smoothies. You can blend just about any fresh or frozen fruit with your favorite juice. For that creamy smoothie consistency try adding some frozen banana slices to any smoothie.
Other great options are soy, rice or almond milk. Just blend your favorite fruit with one of those dairy free ďmilkĒ products. If you are trying to up the protein content of your smoothie and make it a little more filling, add some soft tofu to your smoothie. Just be sure to add a little splash of soy milk or juice to think it out to a drinkable consistency.
Letís Sweeten Things Up
Last but not least, letís talk about sweeteners. They are of course completely optional and whether or not you need them depends on how sweet the fruit you are using is. I also find that if I add vanilla yogurt or orange juice I donít usually need any added sweetener.
When I do add a sweetener it is usually stevia, a natural no-calorie sweetener. Other options are sugar, simple syrup or honey. Taste your smoothie before you add anything to sweeten it. If you feel it does need that little extra sweetness, add a little and blend it in for a few seconds.
Are you ready to give smoothies at try? My personal favorite at the moment is this delicious strawberry pineapple smoothie treat. Get out your blender, grab some fruit, yogurt, juice and ice and blend up one of these delicious smoothie recipes today. They are as healthy as they are delicious.
Family Recipes: Keeping the Memories Alive
Posted By Tammy Paquin On June 8, 2009 @ 10:04 am In Food and Drink,Recipes | No Comments
I never knew my husbandís grandmother. I never knew her like he did because by the time we started dating, Grandma N. was in the advanced stages of Alzheimerís. I only knew the shell that remained of this wonderful woman after the disease had robbed her of most of her memory. What I do have though is what was so special about her and one of the things that my husband and his family remembers most fondly of her, her recipes.
Years after Grandma N passed away, Grandpa N. decided to go into an assisted living center. My husband helped clean out his home in preparation for itís sale. My husband asked me if I might want anything. The first thing that came to mind was Grandmaís recipes. I had heard the stories of her talents in the kitchen. My husband spoke of Grandma Nís skill at making homemade tortellini, raviolis, gnocchi and other specialties that were taught to her by her Italian -born mom. When he came home with a black binder overflowing with her handwritten recipes, you would have thought I had hit the mother lode! Gold, pure gold!
Smells and aromas trigger some of our deepest memories. This is why we feel a deep stirring when we enjoy those comfort foods from our childhood. Mine are the browned pot roast, potatoes and carrots my Great Gram made and my husbandís brother raves on every time my mother-in-law makes Italian cookies like her mom (Grandma N. ) taught her. Whatever they are, those recipes arenít just pieces of papers. They are part of your past, part of YOUR memories, keys to unlocking some of our deepest and more fond moments in childhood (or adulthood for that matter).
My mom gave me the gift of both my maternal and paternal grandmotherís most loved recipes. Many I learned from cooking with them, but a few like my great memereís (grandmother in French) creto recipe (a French Canadian meat spread-oh so good on thick toast or crackers) were lost to me until my mom got her recipe from one of her aunts. I couldnít wait to make my first batch. The moment I bit into the first bite, I was brought back to my great memereís house with the 50ís blue tile, the steep steps into the upper bedrooms, and the game that had the popper that I always played while I was at her home. Oh, the memories!
So first I say to you, write down those recipes that mean so much to your family. Give them as a gift to your children. Perhaps in a nice scrapbook form, but if you arenít that motivated or gifted (I speak from experience here!) then simply writing them down in your own writing and placing them in acid free, clear protective pockets will still mean a lot when youíre gone. After youíve written down your recipes, search out and save the older family recipes and do the same thing. Perhaps your children wonít appreciate what youíve given them until youíre gone, hopefully they will before then and you can get THEM to make your favorites for you!
As for Grandma Nís recipes? Well, this past Christmas was our first Christmas without Grandpa N. He passed away in April of 2006. All three of his children were together at Christmas so I decided to make one of Grandmaís recipes. I picked out the Ricotta Cake recipe. As all of the ďkidsĒ (all adults) enjoyed the ricotta cake, they talked about how they remembered the flavor of the cake from childhood. Thinking of their childhood brought us to talking about Grandma and Grandpa N. and the time they all spent on Grandmaís apron strings watching her make homemade tortellini and other classic Italian dishes. I think that the cake and the resurrection of those great memories was one of the best gifts I ever gave or received.
Grandma Nís Ricotta Cake Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBS water
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Separate the egg yolks from the white-keep both. Beat the egg whites and baking powder together until stiff. In another bowl, beat the yolks and add the sugar a bit at a time until thick. Add water and vanilla to the egg yolk mixture and mix to blend. Fold the flour into the yolk mixture. Fold the yolk/flour mixture into the beaten egg whites. Place mixture into two ungreased 9Ē cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn pans upside down immediately after baking and allow cakes to cool.
While the cakes bake, make the filling:
1 lb of WHOLE milk ricotta cheese (whole milk ricotta is much thicker, otherwise your filling will be runny)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 TBS of white crŤme de cocoa (optional but VERY good! )
Beat all of these ingredients together and keep cold.
Once cakes are cool, cut each one to create two more layers. Youíll have 4 layers total. To assemble, place your first layer down on your cake plate. Spread with the ricotta mix and then place another cake layer. Continue with more ricotta and layers, ending with a cake layer on top. Sprinkle with confectioner sugar to finish.
The cake has an angel food texture and the filling is not overly sweet. A relatively light end to a special evening.
Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys. She is the publisher of <a href=Ēhttp://www.frugal-families.com/Ē>Frugal-Families</a>, a site devoted to frugality, budgeting, simple and thrifty living, homesteading and helping everyone stretch their hard-earned dollars. For another one of Grandma Nís classic Italian recipes visit, <a href=Ēhttp://www.frugal-families.com/Recipes/Italian-cookies.htmĒ>http://www.frugal-families.com
Easy Potato Recipes
Posted By Audrey Okaneko On September 20, 2008 @ 9:04 pm In Recipes | No Comments
We are potato lovers. We eat potatoes many times each week. We slice them, we dice them, we fry them and we bake them.
One of our favorite recipes is onion flavored baked potatoes. I start with 3 larger sized baking potatoes and cut them into large bite sized pieces and throw them in a small roaster. I then sprinkle grapeseed oil over the potatoes and then sprinkle generously with packaged onion soup mix and bake until tender. Thatís it. These come out tender and yummy, every single time.
We also love baked potatoes. We add butter and sour cream, however weíve also experimented and added taco meat with cheese, and assorted vegetables. If you like chili, try adding chili to your baked potatoes. Weíve also added ranch/buttermilk dressing instead of sour cream. When we make the dressing, we make it with sour cream so itís very thick.
If you want to make a casserole for serving, this is a very easy potato casserole recipe:
6 medium potatoes
1 ¬Ĺ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¬ľ cup butter
1 can Ė cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/3 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons melted butter
Boil potatoes until tender. Do not over cook, as youíll be further cooking the potatoes in the casserole. Once the potatoes are cool, peel and slice.
In a large sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup butter with the cream of chicken soup. Blend in sour cream, green onion and cheese. Mix well. Stir in potatoes. Pour into a buttered casserole dish (2 1/2 qt.). Mix cornflakes and melted butter in bowl and then sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
I do not often cook with bacon, however this casserole is made with bacon and is very flavorful along with easy to make:
8 smaller potatoes, boiled and cubed
1 cup mayonnaise
1 onion, chopped
6 slices of bacon
¬ľ cup sliced stuffed olives
American cheese, cut into strips, to lay on top of the casserole
Par cook the bacon strips. Combine the potatoes, mayonnaise and onion. Pour into 13◊9 baking dish. Top with the bacon strips, cheese strips and olives. Bake at 325 for about an hour.
I hope you enjoy these potato suggestions for your next meal.
Tips for Making Your Holiday Dinner a Success
Posted By Stephanie Martin On November 24, 2009 @ 5:04 pm In Christmas, Easter, Food and Drink, Halloween, Holidays, Home, Home Organization, Thanksgiving | No Comments
Everyone enjoys going getting together with family and friends for a big holiday meal, but sometimes the stress of preparation is almost too much to bear. But, there are just a few simple things that you can do to help reduce and/or eliminate the stress.
Plan A Menu:
Since the meal itself is a vital part of your get together, make sure and plan your menu out at least a couple of weeks in advance. This gives you time to sit down and think without being stressed out due to last minute planning.
Share The Load:
Ask everyone that is planning to attend to bring something. This could be a food dish, ice, drinks, plates & cups, or even decorations! This helps everyone to feel like they are really part of the preparations and dinner as well as helps to reduce the amount of work that you do as the host/hostess.
Make a Grocery List:
Sit down with all of the recipes that you will be using and make a list of ALL the ingredients that you will need to prepare all of your dishes, and then double check it. Once you are sure that you have a list of everything that you will need, go shopping in your pantry first and see what you already have on hand and mark it off your list. You are now ready to plan your trip to the store, but donít forget to check the sales ads for really great deals around the holidays. Stock up a bit for the next one if your budget allows. Donít forget to have extra essentials on hand such as coffee, tea, paper towels/napkins, plates, toilet paper, etc.
Some dishes can be made several days or weeks in advance and kept in the freezer until the day before. Others have to wait and be made the before or even the day of. Make a list ahead of time starting with the dishes that can be made the farthest in advance, then plan when you will make these dishes.
Have a Plan In Place:
Make sure that you have a plan written down for the day before and the day of so that you donít forget anything. As you accomplish one task, mark it of your list and move onto the next. I have found this to be very helpful in remembering all that needs to be done. I find that I am much calmer and less stressed by having a plan in place than not having one.
Donít Forget Your Family:
Donít forget to include your husband/wife and children in all the preparations and decorating. The memories that you make will be cherished for a life time, and your children will pass on these same traditions to their children.
Last, but not least, enjoy your time with family and friends! When it comes down to it, isnít that what itís all about?
Traveling with Kids
Posted By Susanne Myers On June 10, 2008 @ 8:24 pm In Family Travel | No Comments
A little preparation will make a big difference in how enjoyable traveling with your kids can be. Use some of our tips and ideas below, whether you and your children are traveling by car or plane. After all, this is the time of the year when we are ready to relax and rejuvenate, not stress about how to get to our favorite vacation spot while listening to ďAre we there yet?Ē every 10 minutes. Outlined below are some ways for you to make sure both you and your kids are comfortable while traveling.
Dress everyone in comfortable loose clothing and pack a spare outfit for everyone where you can easily reach it during your trip. Pack a small pillow and a light blanket for each of the kids, as well as their favorite stuffed toy or doll to snuggle up with at night or during naptime. These not only work great on the plane or in the car, but will also make your kids more comfortable once you arrive at your destination.
Whether you travel by car or by plane, pack some drinks and snacks for the kids, so you donít have to rely on rest stops, kiosks at the airport or the meals that are served on the plane. We usually give our daughter only water in the car. Itís not nearly as messy as some of the fruit juice or sports drinks if it gets spilled. To make plain water a little more interesting and to keep it cool, fix an insulated zippy cup or sports bottle with ice water. And believe me, they will spill it sooner or later, even if the cup claims to be spill proof. Some good choices for not-so-messy snacks are trail mix, pretzels, teddy grahams, dried fruit, fresh apple slices (drizzle them with a little lemon or lime juice to keep them from turning brown), mini marshmallows, and baby carrots. Come up with some snacks that your kids love and put them in individual zip-lock bags.
The zip-lock bags also come in handy to pack up some crafts supplies like crayons, stickers, blunt scissors and glue sticks, for the artists in your family.
To keep your little oneís entertained, you may also want to pack some coloring books, picture books, or pack a child friendly novel, like the Harry Potter books to read aloud in the car. Audio books and music CDs or tapes also come in handy.
For some great travel games you and your family can play, take a look at Car Travel Activities for Kids.
If you are traveling by car, plan in frequent stops and let the kids run around. You may want to pack a jump robe, ball or Frisbee to make moving around more fun. If you are driving through the night, plan a longer stop an hour or two before bedtime so the kids can wear themselves out and release all this build up energy before going to sleep.
Instead of eating lunch at a fast food place or restaurant off of the interstate, try bringing a picnic. You can cater to your family members tastes and it is bound to be cheaper, better and more healthy than what you would be able to find fast food place. Your kids will appreciate not having to sit still again and the sunshine and fresh air will do wonders for all of you.
If you are traveling by plane, bring some small toys, picture books, coloring books etc, to entertain your child in the seat. Depending on your childís age, bring some gum, hard candy, zippy cup, bottle or pacifier to have them suck or chew on something during take-off and landing to equalize the pressure in their ears. You may also want to pack a sweater for your child, since the air temperature in the plane can be quite chilly.
To keep your kids excited on longer trips, make up some small goodie bags for them. Collect some Kids Meal Toys for a few weeks, or purchase some inexpensive toys at the Dollar Store and put them individually in some small brown paper bags, or even wrap them. Tell your kids that as long as they are being good, they will get a new goodie bag every 2 hours or so. Youíll be amazed how well behaved they will be, and you will keep them from being too bored on a long trip by giving them something new to play with.
Susanne Myers is the founder of www.kinderinfo.com  , the one-stop online childrenís resource center. Sign up for our newsletter at www.kinderinfo.com/newsletter  for even more great tips and ideas to have fun with your kids this summer.