Tryazon: Sweeten Lunchtime with Zollipops and Lunch Notes!

We’ve been participating in Tryazon events for three+ years. We’ve gotten to try all sorts of fun toys, games, and food.  You can learn more about Tryazon here.

Brighten your kids’ lunchtime with this Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, from Zolli Candy and MyWish4U. Zolli Candy is all sugar free and is supercharged with smile-friendly, natural ingredients that are actually good for your teeth! Zolli naturally balances your pH and reduces acid in your mouth making it the perfect way to end lunch! ZolliPops and Zaffi are diabetic friendly, keto, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. Lunch Notes From Me® are a series of notes to tuck in your kids’ lunch to make sure they know they are loved and thought about when they are at school. They have a variety of notes including Facts & Funnies, Riddles & Giggles, Brainteasers & Giggles, and more!

Tryazon has 100 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those selected get to receive a party pack valued at $75+ with a variety of Zolli Candy and Lunch Notes From Me® to share with friends and family! Learn more and apply here.

Trying to Add Veggies to Your Meals?

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to eat better or increase your intake of fruits and veggies?

Since we have been getting CSA boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms we’ve been adding tons of fresh fruit and veg to our diet. It’s fun to get the kids involved in preparing and tasting new and different fruits and veggies.

I’ve made a round-up with some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes to inspire you to add a little more “green” to your family’s meals!

1/3/2022 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI did a big year-end fridge/freezer/pantry cleanout (did you know White Claw expires?) last week and we were in need of a lot of groceries.

I had a big shopping week, including a trip to Costco to pick up some staples, and of course… a rotisserie chicken.

We finished up the week yesterday consuming leftovers. And I prepared a pot of chicken stock to make chicken soup today.

We are back on the CSA train- We need some fresh produce in our lives and I hate carrying more groceries upstairs!

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.

Dinner: I’ve got some tasty (and quick) meals planned for this week! It’s going to be cold this next week, so Soup will be on the menu a few times. I’ll make big batches and freeze the extra.

Please stay safe you guys!

Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgTomorrow marks the first FULL WEEK of school. WOO HOO! I’ve got a busy week full of tie-dying, appointments, and some fun content coming up on the blog (and probably Instagram).

I hit up Vons on Saturday to redeem some coupons, and pick up freebies. I spent $40 on fruit and a few other things I needed. I submitted my receipt to Ibotta to redeem a few rebates, and poof $7.50 back- woo hoo!

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

Getting the fam to eat more fruits and veggies has been my personal mission this year, and thankfully, Yasukochi Family Farms has my back.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I meal prepped a bunch of fruit and veggies yesterday. I also cleaned out the fridge and re-arranged the freezer. We are all set for the week. I chose easy-to-cook meals that don’t require the oven. We are in for another week of high temps. UGH- I need cooler temps. I want to make cookies!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’ve been packing lunch for the kids, but they have both expressed interest in getting lunch at school, so we’ll see.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Bisque, Sourdough bread, fruit
  • Monday: Salad, Cheese Toast, Fruit
  • Tuesday: Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Wednesday:  Pasta, Veggies, Salad
  • Thursday: Turkey Tetrazini, Veggies, Salad
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

8/16/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg2 days until school starts! I got the kids up early to get them prepared. Their new school is an early start school.

Over the weekend I picked up half a share from Porchlight- My friend Brooke split a share with me, and it’s honestly the best month spent. We got all kinds of great food, definitely more than a week’s worth.

I also did a back-to-school grocery shop with tons of lunch food for the kids.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

No CSA box this week. We’ll be back on it in the next few weeks.

And I didn’t do any meal prep yesterday. I wasn’t feeling too hot over the weekend, so I spent a lot of time napping and resting.  Thankfully, we’ve got a lot of prepped stuff in the freezer.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. The kids are digging leftovers from dinner, or quesadillas. When school starts, I’ll be packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, so I’m sure that the kids will want to buy their lunches a few times per week.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Nachos or BRC bowls, veggies
  • Monday: Waffle sammiches (waffles, eggs, sausage),  strawberries, and watermelon
  • Tuesday:  BBQ chicken, rice, roasted corn, watermelon
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday: Baked Mac n’ cheese, salad/veggies, sourdough toast
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Free School Lunches for ALL California Students 2021-2022 School Year!

I read about this last week, got busy, and forgot to share this!

The state of California is joining cities like Chicago and Boston in offering free school lunches and breakfasts to students.  Previously students families had to meet certain income requirements to qualify for discounted or free school meals.

I’m so glad that this is now available to everyone. There are a lot of people who didn’t qualify but are facing food insecurity.

For more information, The NPR acrticle here has some deets. Be on the look out for information coming from your school district in your email or as a flyer in your kids backpack the few day of school.

Santee School District sent out an email earlier this week.

 

Family Recipe: DIY Salad Bar

The post is dedicated to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes… RIP.

One of our family favorite restaurants pre-pandemic was Souplantation. So many great veggie and salad options all in one place. This summer I’m trying to find easy, simple lunch options for the family, so this week I’m making a salad bar.

It might sound like a lot of work, but I spend about an hour a week prepping veggies as soon as the CSA box arrives, so it’s just a slightly different prep this week.

First I got out our Rubbermaid reusable containers and lids, and I chopped the various ingredients. At lunchtime, I’ll set all of the containers out, and put the salad greens in a large bowl that is nestled in a baking dish full of ice to keep the greens crisp.

If you are having a salad bar for your July Fourth celebration, consider using a cold ingredient caddy like this one.

It keeps the components cold and at their preferred temperature for an extended period of time.

Here are just a few of the ingredients that we’ll be featuring in our DIY salad bar:

  • Salad greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, butter bibb lettuce, mixed greens, kale)
  • Radishes
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Red onions
  • Green apples
  • Strawberries
  • Beets (raw or pickled)
  • Bell pepper or other sweet peppers
  • Pickled veggies
  • Capers
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese cubes (or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
  • Diced ham or diced turkey breast lunchmeat
  • Croutons
  • Salad Dressing- I like this vinagrette, and this one, and this ranch.

What do you like on your salads?

San Diego Summer Fun on a Budget

681517ea18b6760354438c6a7f6190f1.jpgIt’s time for kids to finish up school, and be let loose on the world.

Now that places are reopening at 100% capacity, there are a lot more options for summer adventures.

Free Music Lessons from Staump Music School.

Kids Bowl Free all Summer!

$1.00 Movies all Summer with Regal Cinemas

Free Summer School Lunches (Gotta keep them fed this summer). Lots of locations have events or activities nearby, so you can have fun and have a free lunch!

The splash ground at Santee Lakes is GREAT! It’s only $2.00 per kid (on weekdays, $3.00 on weekends) to play and if you park outside the Santee Lakes, you don’t have to pay to park! Take a picnic and it’s a great frugal outing! We go at least once a week in the summer and it’s always
a GREAT time!

If you are looking to beat the heat and need something free, check out the Waterfront Park downtown. They have a great splash pad area for kids, a really fun playground, and a big grassy area for picnics. Only downside- no shade trees.

Balboa Park still offers Free Tuesdays at various museums in the park. Another free activity in Balboa Park is the Botanical Garden and Lily Pond. Right next door is the Spanish Art Village, which is fun to explore as well. Pack some snacks and make a day of it.

San Diego County has great parks, as do most of the cities in San Diego County! Our favorite parks include Big Rock Park in Santee, Kennedy Park in El Cajon, La Mesita/Junior Seau Park in La Mesa, Harry Griffin Park in La Mesa (great for little kids).

I also find lots of local events and free fun stuff by checking the “Events You May Like” section on Facebook Events.

2021 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

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I have been working on this post for weeks, making phone calls and researching. I wanted to get this post up as soon as I could. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that haven’t posted their plans for free summer meals for kids.

Santee School District will be providing summer drive-thru meal distribution from June 14 through July 30, Monday-Friday, from 10:00-10:30 am, at Pepper Drive and Rio Seco schools.  Extended school year (summer school) and students attending Project Safe will be provided with food.

San Diego Unified School District has partnered with San Diego Parks and Recreation to have food available at neighborhood schools and Recreation centers throughout the city of San Diego. The complete list of locations can be found here. Times vary by location.

Grossmont Union High School District will be providing lunch for kids 2-18 all summer. Kicking it off, they will be giving out meal boxes on Monday June 7 from 11:30 to 1:30 on a first come first serve basis in the same area where lunches are distributed.  Summer meal distribution starts on June 14th 11:30-1:30 Monday through Friday.

Other school districts may be offering free lunches this summer, but currently there isn’t much information available.

If you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

Recipe: Easy Spanish Tortilla

I know y’all want the recipe first and more info and tips afterward, so here ya go:

Spanish Tortilla (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, color of your choice (I used green)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese, your choice
  • 1/2 c Cooked bacon crumbles
  • Salt, pepper
  • Chopped green onion for garnish

Directions:

  1. Using half of the butter, sauté onion and pepper until softened and onions are clear, about five minutes on medium.
  2. Add remaining butter, allow to melt, coat pan, and add potatoes so they are separated and evenly dispersed throughout the pan.
  3. Cook on low until potatoes are translucent, about five to 10 minutes on medium.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, in a mixing bowl crack eggs, add half-and-half. Add salt and pepper, beat vigorously until well blended.
  5. Remove pan from heat, pour egg mixture over top of vegetables make sure egg mixture is evenly distributed throughout the pan, covering veggies.
  6. Top with bacon crumbles and shredded cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for between 12 and 18 minutes, until eggs are set and cooked through.
  8. Allow to cool to room temp, slice, and top with chopped green onion for garnish.
  9. Serve with avocado and corn salsa, recipe be found here. This makes a great dinner or breakfast or whenever. It’s relatively inexpensive, it’s very tasty, and it is a good use of veggies.

Other good veggies to include are zucchini (saute in butter with onions), or tomatoes (place thin slices on the very top after all of the ingredients are in the pan). Regarding the potatoes, I used a knife and thinly sliced the potatoes into circles, but you can use a mandoline if you have one.

You need to use a pan that is oven-safe. If you don’t have one, you can cook your tortilla on the stove. Instead of turning off the stove in step 5, turn down the heat to low, add egg mixture. Once the eggs have set around the edges, using a spatula, loosen the edges, and wiggle your spatula under the tortilla, and gently flip it over. Cook until both sides of the tortilla are set and cooked throughout.

Spanish Tortillas are not bread-based, in fact, there is zero bread involved. Spanish Tortillas are more like frittatas or a crustless quiche- the only constant ingredients are eggs and potatoes. The rest of the ingredients are up to you. It’s a great way to use veggies and cheese hanging around your fridge.

They are great for any meal. Add a side of fruit for breakfast, or a bright salad with a tangy vinaigrette for lunch or dinner.

If you are a vegetarian, omit the bacon.

A lovely patio in Spain. Makes you want tapas, right?