4 Fresh, Healthy Smoothie Recipes Kids will Love!

37f39aabb6da4ee265e271d175c59991.jpgWe have smoothies a lot. It’s a good way to get fruit and/or veggies into the kids without any fuss.

It’s important to have a good blender that can handle fruits/veggies and ice. I love our new Calphalon Blender. I received it through one of my review programs.

We also have reusable shake straws– they are perfect for thick smoothies.

Here are the four recipes that my kids love!

Copycat Strawberries Gone Bananas (from Jamba): 1 cup apple juice (or milk), 1 frozen banana, 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.

The Big Orange Smoothie: This one is the big kids’ favorite and is a version of one of his Jamba Juice favorites that is no longer on the menu. 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup frozen peaches, 1/2 c. frozen mango pulp, 1/2 cup chopped carrots, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.

Green Berry Surprise: The surprise is the spinach. You can’t see it or taste it! 1 cup water & a scoop of protein powder (Or milk of your choice), 1 cup frozen berries, 1 frozen banana, 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.

Tropical Freeze: 1 cup juice (I like to mix orange and the pineapple juice from the can if you used canned pineapples until it’s 1 cup), 1 frozen banana, 1/2 c. frozen mango pulp, 1/2 cup pineapple,  1/2 c. frozen peaches, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.

The nice thing about smoothies is that you can use fresh or frozen fruit or veggies, any kind of juice, it’s all up to you!

Liquids:

  • Milk: Dairy, Oat, Hemp, Soy, Almond, or other nut milk. Your Choice.
  • Juice (Apple, Orange, and Carrot are popular)
  • Water and a scoop of protein powder
  • Water

Some of our favorite fruits include:

  • Bananas (I peel and slice overripe bananas and put them in ziploc bags, so they are ready to use!)
  • Strawberries- 99 Cents Only and Dollar Tree both stock 12 oz bags of strawberries. If you can’t find them in season, this is a great alternative.
  • Peaches- I usually buy them frozen.
  • Mangoes- 99 Cents Only sells Mango pulp, which is just the good parts of mango formed into a brick and frozen. I love mangoes, but I hate peeling and slicing them.
  • Mixed berries- 99 Cents Only sells mixed berries, which is usually strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
  • Pineapple- Either canned in its own juice or frozen chunks. Frozen Pineapple is good straight out of the bag. Fresh pineapple is a lot of work to process just to turn into smoothies.

Tasty Veggies we enjoy in our smoothies:

  • Carrots- I usually chop them up small so they are easily incorporated.
  • Spinach- It blends in well and isn’t noticeable.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear what your favorite smoothie flavors are!

 

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Celebrate 9/9 Day all week with 99 Cents Only!

September 9th is coming. For most of us, that’s not a big deal, but for 99 Cents Only, it’s HUGE!

Every year they celebrate 9/9 day with a week of great deals! Starting on Monday, September 9th, 99 Cents Only has awesome deals each day for nine days- In addition to their daily deals and bargains.

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  • Monday 9/9* Only 6ft Stuffed Bear $19.99 (limit 1 per household) and 3 lbs. of Chaquita Bananas for .99!
  • Tuesday 9/10* Only Assorted Name Brand Skin & Hair Care 12 – 24 oz (limit 4 per household) for .99 each!
  • Wednesday 9/11* Only 18 Count Large Grade AA Eggs (limit 2 per household) for .99 each!
  • Thursday 9/12* Only 24 Pack Niagara Water (limit 4 cases per household) for $1.99 each!
  • Friday 9/13* Only Tide Simply Clean & Fresh 100 fl oz liq. (limit 1 per household) $2.99! This is a great deal- It’s usually about $5-6/bottle at Wal-mart/Target
  • Saturday 9/14* Only Light Up Razor Scooter (limit 1 per household) $4.99 each, and 3 pairs of flip flops .99!
  • Sunday 9/15* Only Assorted Premium Pet Beds up to 22 x 24 inches (limit 1 per household) $2.99
  • Monday 9/16* Only Pikmi Pops Surprise! (limit 2 per household).99 each
  • Tuesday 9/17* Only Bathrobes, Throw Blankets (limit 4 per household) .99 each

Some of these deals would be great for stocking stuffers or little surprises. I won’t be there every day, but I’ll definately be there a couple times to stock up on Tuesday 9/10/19 and 9/11/19!

 

Talk Back: What deals are you excited for?

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Soup!

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Yummy soup made with my favorite Seasoning Blend from Penzey’s

I love making chicken soup from scratch. The cook time is lengthy, but, you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the soup for most of the cook time.

You can use whatever kind of spices/herbs you fancy. I love Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, it’s a great smoky, rich compliment to the veggies in the soup.

Speaking of veggies, I use carrots, onions, celery, Italian squash/zucchini, but you can use whatever is in your fridge. Good additions would also be diced bell peppers, diced fresh tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes).

You can omit the noodles/macaroni is you don’t care for them or are GF/low carb.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of chicken parts, bone-in or a rotisserie chicken with some of the meat removed and set aside
  • 2 cups of carrots chopped, divided
  • 2 cups of celery chopped, divided
  • 3 cups sweet onion diced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic diced, divided
  • 1 large shallot diced, divided
  • 1T. cooking oil, your choice. I’ve been using grapeseed oil lately
  • 12 cups of water
  • bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups Italian squash/zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 14-ish ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice, or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (optional)
  • other herbs/spices as desired
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta/noodles/rice (your choice)
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After cooking all day! Yummy Chicken Stock!

Directions:

  1. If starting with 5 lbs of raw chicken, place 1/2 of the carrots, onions, and celery into a large stock pot with the cooking oil.
  2. Cook on medium until veggies are soft, and onions are clear.
  3. Add 1/2 of the garlic and shallots, and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add raw chicken, and cook for about 10 minutes, until chicken browns.
  5. Turn stove down to low, add 12 coups of water, bay leaf, salt & pepper, and cover. Cook stock on low for about 4-6 hours- you can cook it for up to 12 hours in your crockpot if you wish instead).  Pull out a few pieces of chicken, pull off the cooked meat and set aside (you want about 2 cups of chopped cooked meat). Put bones back into the pot. Cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Take the stock off the heat, and once cool, strain off the solids, and discard. The remaining liquid is your chicken stock. While you start with 12 cups of water, after cooking the stock down, you may end up with 6-8 cups of rich, velvety stock.
  7. Place chicken stock on the stove in a large pot, add in chopped chicken, remaining veggies, and any herbs/spices.
  8. Once veggies have started to soften/cook, add noodles/macaroni/rice if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.
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Mire Poix- Aka carrots, celery, and onions with a bayleaf, garlic and shallots. The perfect start to any soup!

As soon as noodles/macaroni/rice is cooked, remove soup from heat. Serve with hot bread (and butter).

*If you are starting with a rotisserie chicken, pull off 2 cups of meat, and add the carcass after the veggies are cooked and fragrant. proceed with remainder of recipe.

Women’s Health Week!

Womenshealth.gov - National Women's Health Week!
It’s only fitting that Women’s Health Week starts on Mother’s Day. While not every woman is a mother, everyone has a woman they care about in their life. National Women’s Health week is May 13- May 19, 2018.

The Women’s Health Week website has all sort of great guides and resources all about how women at any stage of life can care for themselves. And they are SIMPLE STEPS!

Here are just a few daily choices that women can make to live a little more healthier:

  • Eat healthy — go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to get started
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity
  • Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep

See, baby steps!

A few other helpful hints that are good for your body & mind as well as your wallet…

If you have health insurance, don’t forget to get your annual check-up/exam (it’s covered for free under all health insurances in the US)! You can take that time to address health questions with your PCP. If you don’t have health insurance, many Planned Parenthood Clinic offer annual exams (in addition to annual reproductive health exams) for free or very low cost.

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Getting outside with a friend (or pet) is a great way to relieve stress!

If you don’t belong to a gym or health club, many employers offer discounts or work with gyms to offer discounted memberships.  If you aren’t a gym person, check out your local parks. Lots of parks in our local area have special walking loops and even fitness stations (Mast Park in Santee has both!). Other parks in San Diego with fitness/exercise stations include: Mission Bay Park,  Embarcadero Parks North & South, Tidelands Park near the base of the Coronado Bridge as you arrive in Coronado, Hilton Head Park in Rancho San Diego, Chollas Lake Park, and Morley Field (near Balboa Park). If your local park doesn’t have a fitness course, play on the jungle gym or go for a walk!

Taking care of your skin is a great way to practice a little self-care and relax. Here is my DIY Frugal Facial.

And the easiest step I can recommend to better your health: Have a glass of water! We have all sorts of water bottles at home, including infuser bottles like this one. The kids each have a water bottle too!

And if you are a budget, don’t forget to check out freebie sites for health and beauty freebie- I’ve gotten free SPF, skin care products, a pedometer, and vitamins!

I’d love to hear from you: What simple steps do you incorporate into your life to improve your health? Guys, you can comment too!  Better health is for everyone, not just ladies!

 

Easy, Family Friendly Water Saving Tips

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You may have heard, California is in a pretty severe drought situation, which has led to some pretty severe water use restrictions.

As a California Native, I honestly don’t remember a time when we haven’t been actively conserving water. However, now it’s more important than ever.

How can you and your family help out? Like most things, small tweaks can lead to big  changes, especially if many people pitch in.  Here are a few examples of ways YOU and YOUR FAMILY can help out:

Fix any leaky faucets. It may be as simple as replacing a worn out gasket in the faucet. Depending on how many drips you count per minute and how many faucets you have that are drip drip dripping, you could be wasting up to 5 gallons of water A DAY!!!

Limit showers to 5 minutes or less.  I know take a long, hot shower is nice, but realistically, most ladies don’t need to wash their hair every day, and all that water is just going down the drain. If you need to relax, take a bath.  Once you are done… try the next tip.

Got kids who still take a bath? Once they (or you!) are done, scoop the some of the water out of the tub in a bucket (I like the 5 gallon Homer Buckets from Home Depot) and use it to water your lawn, houseplants, or even your garden. For more tips and info on how and when it’s ok to use gray water in your garden, check out this segment from KPBS Midday Edition.

Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. That seems like a no-brainer, but it really does save water!

Use the correct setting on your washing machine! If you don’t have a large load, remember to change the load size on your washing machine. Using Energy Star rated appliances will not only help you save electricity, but it will also help you save water! Read the washing machine  manual to learn about which water settings should be used.

Turn off the sink while you are brushing your teeth or shaving. You could save up to 8 gallons a day per person who brushes their teeth.

Consider removing your lawn. I know having a lush, green lawn is a source of pride for some homeowners, but now is not the time!  You can Xeriscape, which is where you pull out the lawn and replace it with decorative rocks or mulch and native, drought tolerant plants. It’s really pretty. And you’ll be saving tons of water!

Pick up some rain barrels. I know, I know, we’re in a drought! But it still does rain here from time to time. The City of San Diego has a rebate program for those who purchase and install rain collection barrels. For those of us who can’t install barrels, you can always set out buckets to collect water and store it appropriately.  We always set out a few buckets to collect water for our patio garden.

Take your car to the carwash! Most commercial carwashes use  recycled water, so taking your car to the carwash is a great way to conserve water. It’s a lot more water efficient- the average commercial carwash uses 30-50 gallons of water per carwash (and most of it is or can be recycled), whereas a DIY at home car washing can use upwards of 100 gallons of water!

Compost your kitchen scraps! Instead of running your garbage disposal (which requires water!) to dispose of organic waste (that includes food waste), start a compost pile/bin.  You can find small compost bins (including table top versions!) at Home Depot for those who don’t’ have a large yard (like us). In addition to most food waste, yard waste, newspaper, and cardboard can be added to compost piles/bins. You can learn more about composting here.

So, there are just a few ways you can be water wise. How do you like to conserve water?