It’s National Pizza Month! An easy one to celebrate in our house. While takeout pizza might be a staple in your house on Friday nights or after a late sports practice, making pizza at home with your kids has lots of benefits. Here are six reasons you should plan a DIY pizza night now.
It’s a great way to spend side-by-side conversation time. While many kids may be resistant to eye-to-eye conversations about their day, studies have found that engaging in discussion while doing a side-by-side activity can make kids more likely to share.
It can encourage kids to try new toppings. Kids are always wiling to try new things when they play a role in making them. Plus, when kids get to put the topping on themselves, it’s less intimidating to try a few bell peppers or olives on just one of their slices. Set a challenge for every family member to try one new topping.
It can be as easy – or hard – as you want. If you have the time, making your own dough can be a fun way to get your hands dirty and talk with kids about mixing, measuring, and how dough rises. But you can also pick up some pre-made dough from your local supermarket or take-n-bake pizza place like I did. $2 for pre-made, pre-rolled out pizza dough? I’m sold.
It lets you have conversations about healthy eating. Ok, so pizza isn’t exactly a health food, but any time you are cooking with your kids, it provides opportunities to talk about healthy eating, portion size and eating a balanced diet.
It’s a great way to clean out the fridge. Half a bell pepper left in your veggie drawer? Pre-chopped onion that needs a home? Last night’s chicken to use up? DIY pizza is a great way to make sure leftovers don’t go to waste.
It’s fun! Slopping on sauce. Sprinkling cheese. Tossing on toppings. What’s not to love! If you are brave enough (and really want to have a blast with the kids), try tossing your own dough! (Just make sure you have some back-up. You know, just in case.) Check out this pizza throwing how-to video.
Cooking with kids isn’t always easy (or clean or fast), but it’s most often a worthwhile adventure.
Last night, Momtrends and POM Wonderful hosted an intimate group of New York City bloggers for an evening of cooking, cocktail-making, dining, and dishing with friends. ‘Tis the season after all–Pomegranate season! Those juicy ruby red delights are finally back, just in time for festive meals and holiday celebrations.
While whole pomegranates are beautiful and bountiful, they can admittedly be a little tedious to work with–especially when you’re digging for those flavorful arils. And that’s why we’re so excited about POM POMS Fresh Pomegranate Arils. They are fresh, ready to go, and so easy to cook with. They come in a ready-to-serve package. My kids love snacking on them, and I love adding them to meals. In terms of nutrition, POM POMS Fresh Pomegranate Arils have vitamin C, fiber, and they are loaded with antioxidants.
Bloggers were able to get a hands-on cooking lesson from the pros at Miette Culinary Studio. We whipped up some incredible apps, entrees, and a decadent dessert (that was actually pretty healthy!). I’m sharing three of my favorite recipes from last night’s event, below–and my own signature recipe for pomegranate chicken salad. For more inspiration and recipes, visit Pom Wonderful. Enjoy–and get your hands on some POM POMS while they’re here!
Dapper Devil Cocktail
2 oz. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
2 slices of jalapeño
1.5 oz. Aviation Gin
Twist of lime
Moroccan Shrimp With Pom Poms (10 appetizer servings)
1.5 cup Pom Poms Fresh Arils
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups baby arugula
For the Sauce
4 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon jiuice
For the sauce, in a pot over a high heat, stir together POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate JUICE, sugar, and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Boil util liquid thickens and is reduced to one cup (approx 45 minutes).
Toss shrimp in a bowl with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and olive oil and stirl to coat.
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook two minutes per side until pink and opaque. Brush shrimp with sauce. Serve arugula on the side tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. Top shrimp and arugula with Pom Poms Fresh Arils for serving.
Roasted Salmon With Pom Poms Salsa (6 servings)
8 oz. Pom Poms Freh Arils
1.75 lbs. salmon filet
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Heat broiler to high with rack 6 inches below the broiler. Season salmon with sea salt and pepper. Place salmon on a foil-lined pan and broil until cooked through.
Stir together the Pom Poms Fresh Arils, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Spoon salsa over the salmon.
I make a salad for lunch almost every day. I’m sharing one of my new favorites my Pomegranate Chicken Salad Recipe. Trust me when I tell you it’s loaded with flavor.Getting variety and great flavors into each day can be a challenge. Lately I’ve been on the hunt for some inspiration and I found it with pomegranate arils.
Look at the gorgeous colors of the arils–POM POMS Fresh Pomegranate Arils totally inspired me. Not only do they look fantastic in a salad, they also add a great punch of flavor. Pomegranates have a combination of sweet and tart–making them perfect with greens.
Pomegranate Chicken Salad Recipe
1/2 cup POM POMS Fresh Pomegranate Arils
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced chicken
4 cups mixed greens (I like a little arugula mixed in)
Directions: Combine all ingredients, add dressing, toss, mix in dressing serve over greens.
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/4 tablespoon honey
1/4 tablespoon mustard
pinch of salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously.
This makes two days of great lunches for me. The flavors are crisp and lively and not too heavy. I can definitely eat this two or more times a week and not get bored.
Don’t wait to try this! Now is the time to cook with pomegranates, they are only available from October through January. Look for them in the refrigerated section of your produce department then get creative in the kitchen. Here’s the quick and delicious recipe we put together to celebrate taste.
I know it’s sad to think you can only enjoy these for a few months a year. But I’ve got a TIP: Frozen pomegranate arils can last for many months in the freezer. To freeze pomegranate arils, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place in a freezer for two hours or until frozen. Transfer frozen pomegranate arils to a resealable plastic bag or container.
“I’m hungry!” This is the refrain I hear every day when I pick up my three kids from school. Sound familiar? It doesn’t matter if I’ve packed a 12-course meal in their Planetbox or sent them to school with peanuts, they are “starving” every afternoon at 3. The solution? The perfect snack equation.
Make them small. Snacks are meant to fill the gap between meals, not become a whole meal in itself.
Protein + carb. Pair a protein-rich food with a carb-rich food. Including a healthy fat will quiet hunger pangs even more.
One or two a day. Depending on the child’s age and activity level, they may need one or two snacks a day.
Here are 10 examples of health after school fuel snacks:
Whole wheat toast + avocado + cucumber slices
Apple slices + nut/seed butter
Homemade trail mix – ¼ cup sunflower seeds or nuts, ¼ cup dried apricots, cherries, or raisins (with no added sugar)
String cheese + grapes
Greek yogurt + granola + frozen berries thawed
Nut/seed butter spread on a small whole-wheat pita
Carrot sticks or sliced veggies + hummus
Rice cakes + nut butter + berries
Smoothie with kale, banana, Greek yogurt, + blueberries
Whole-wheat pita + guacamole + cucumber slices
And don’t forget water! Keeping kids hydrated is vital for keeping them ready for physical activities, helping them stay focused on homework, and balancing their moods. While the amount of water will vary based on your child’s age, gender, size and activity level, the National Academy of Sciences recommends between 7-14 cups of water per day, with the lower end for toddlers and the higher end for teenage boys. Make water more “fun” by using unflavored seltzer water or adding in frozen berries, limes or cucumber slices to infuse it with flavor.
Want more information on healthy eating? Check out the Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate with tips and advice about fueling your kid with the right foods.
What are you favorite after school snacks to keep your kids fueled for the afternoon?
Summer may be over, but the weather is still warm enough to fire up the grill for burgers. If your kids already like traditional burgers, you can use them as a gateway food to introduce your kids to new flavors and ingredients. Here are four burger riffs to help your kids try some new foods and eat a bit more adventurously.
Before you try these burger riffs, three tips to keep in mind.
Start with sliders. Trying a new recipe is always a risk. If you serve sliders (small burgers) instead of full size burgers, you can try out these burger riffs without wasting food.
Get the kids involved. Kids are always more likely to eat things they’ve helped make. Burgers can be especially fun because you can use your hands to mix ingredients together and make patties.
Allow for constructive feedback (and the possibility of failure). I’m not above sneaking in healthy food to my kids’ meals without telling them (hello kale smoothies!), but more often than not, I’m upfront about a new recipe. I tell the kids that we’re trying out a new recipe for dinner and everyone has to try at least 2-3 bites and wait 10 minutes into dinner before giving feedback. Then we go around the table and talk about what we like, don’t like, and how we could improve it. I give my feedback too and it’s good for the kids to see that sometimes I don’t like the new recipe either! When I introduce new recipes this way, I’m always impressed with the feedback I get from my kids. Instead of just “Eww!” or “This is gross!”, I get comments like “I like the flavor, but the texture is a little weird” or “I think it tastes better without the sauce.”
Here are four ways to build off your family’s love of burgers.
1. Make a change to your meat.
If your basic burger is always made with ground beef, switch it up by making your patty out of a new ingredient. Try out this recipe for a super moist turkey burger (the secret ingredient is ricotta cheese!) or go decadent with a 50/50 bacon and ground beef blend (ask your butcher for a blend). Try this Trader Joe’s frozen Salmon Patty or skip the meat completely and try out this Quinoa Back Bean Burger. See if the kids can guess what the burger is made out by tasting it.
2. Switch out your sauce.
If your kids always slather their burgers in ketchup, mix it up by letting them help make and choose from three new burger sauces. (Hint: You’ll be able to sell these new sauces if you pair them with a complimentary topping.) Try a strip of bacon and this easy aioli sauce. Or pesto sauce with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Or a homemade BBQ sauce with sautéed or grilled onions. Consider serving it without the bun to help your kids see beyond the traditional burger.
3. Add in a new condiment.
Often times kids get in food ruts because we keep making them the same foods the same ways. Mix up your topping options and tell kids they need to choose at least one new burger topping – parents too! Branch out from cheddar cheese and offer pepper jack, smoked gouda or swiss. Try grilled onions or pineapple on your burger. Slice up an avocado or cucumber. Top with coleslaw or mango salsa. Give an award for the most creative, best looking and best combo. Again, making mini burgers like sliders allows kids to try multiple options.
4. Branch out from a traditional bun.
This Spiced Lamb Patties with Nutty Garlic Sauce puts many of these steps together into one delicious dinner option. It’s quickly become one of my family’s favorites. It may seem like a big jump from a traditional burger, but all the basic elements are there – a “bun” (the flatbread), a “patty” (an oblong-shaped lamb patty), and toppings (peanut sauce and herb salad). While my 6-year-old eats this as is (herb salad on top and all!), my 8-year-old prefers to eat the parts separately – a kind of deconstructed burger. Another family favorite are these DIY P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps which include a crunchy lettuce “bun” and a chopped up ground chicken “patty”. Of if you’re really feeling adventurous – try out this tomato bun!
Have you tried Lillet? I admit I was a Lillet newbie, but was intrigued by Mom Boss author and Momtrends CEO Nicole Feliciano’s love of it and had to give it a try. So I’ve had the rough assignment of getting to know Lillet this last month and am sharing my four favorite ways to enjoy this drink.
Lillet is an aperitif which is a drink designed to be enjoyed before a meal and help “open up” your palate. (Impress your friends: The name aperitif comes from the Latin verb aperire which means “to open”.) It’s also a fortified wine which is made from combining selected wines (85%) with fruit liqueurs (15%). This means it has more alcohol than your traditional bottle of wine, but less than a shot of vodka. Oh, and it’s pronounced, “lee-LAY” so you don’t embarrass yourself like I did at the liquor store.
Lillet currently offers three varietals – Blanc, Rosé and Rougue. Use the handy chart above to find your perfect Lillet match. I tried both the Blanc and the Rosé and prefer the latter. Blanc was a bit too sweet for me on its own.
Ready to give it a try? Or find a new way to love Lillet? Let’s start with one of the best ways to enjoy Lillet….
The simplest way to enjoy Lillet? On ice. Maybe with a orange peel or a slice of peach in the glass to make you feel fancy. Lillet is designed to be served ice cold, so you’ll want to keep it in the fridge to ensure it’s nice and cold. Just don’t leave it in the freezer – the alcohol content isn’t high enough to prevent it from freezing like vodka.
In a cocktail
Last week, I shared the Tabernacle Crush, a delicious combination of Lillet, gin, peaches, basil and club soda. If you can’t find peaches any more, I’m guessing this would still be delicious with plums, berries or even melon. The Lillet website also has a great collection of Lillet-based cocktails for each of the varietals to choose from too like the Lillet Mojito, the Reverse Martini and the Lillet Le Rouge.
In your dessert
For my monthly cooking club this month, I opted to make these delicious mini peach and berry galettes. My one upgrade? Adding in a few shots of Lillet Rosé to the peaches and berries beforehand to let them soak in the boozy goodness. So. Good.
No, I’m not just suggesting that you have Lillet for dinner (though depending on what kind of day it’s been….), but Lillet can help you make a simple, delicious dinner entreé. Fish + Lillet + shallots + butter. Pan sauce perfection!
While this recipe calls the Mediterranean favorite gilthead sea bream, you can also substitute in red snapper or sea bass instead. Some Lillet for the fish, some for me – a winning dinner combination.
Oh the summer tomato! Come June and July their fragrant aroma and juicy interiors deliciously announce the arrival of summer. You highlight them in caprese salads! You toss them with warm pasta! You chop them into fresh bruschetta! You eat them without any adornments because they are just that good. But like too much of any good thing, come August you may be getting a little weary of those juicy gems. Here are five creative ways to use up those remaining summer tomatoes.
Get ready to get creative with your remaining tomatoes!
Drink Them: Tomato Water Bloody Mary
You know that here at Momtrends, we love our cocktails. If you’re a fan of the Bloody Mary, you’ll love this cocktail adaptation that is lighter and can easily be served outside of brunch without raising eyebrows. I came across this Tomato Water Bloody Mary in the Food52 Genius Recipes book (which I highly recommend for its writing and recipes) and it seems like a fun new way to use up those summer tomatoes. Here’s another tomato cocktail to try too!
Bread Substitute: Tomato Bun BLT
I’ll admit it – I’m a BLT fan. Once when I did an all-veggie juice “cleanse” for three days, I broke it by making myself a BLT and I think, years later, it is the single best tasting food memory I have to date. This BLT riff tosses the bread (see ya, carbs) and leaves the essentials: a delicious woven bacon web, crisp, cold lettuce and, get this….a tomato bun. See all the magic here:
Appetizer or Lunch? Tartine with Tarragon-Flavored Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Prosciutto
This Martha Stewart recipe one of my all-time favorite appetizers. It’s so good that sometimes I’ll just make it for my lunch! Toasted bread + goat cheese + prosciutto + roasted balsamic tomatoes = heaven! The recipe calls for roasting the tomatoes for over an hour but I often just pop them in my toaster over on broil for 10-15 minutes. It’s a delicious app served hot, warm or cold!
Do Dessert: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice Cream
I know what you’re thinking – tomato ice cream?! You’ve gone too far. That’s what I thought until I came across this creative recipe from Grishma. On her cooking blog Zaika Zabardast, she created a Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice Cream. It’s all the flavors of the caprese salad that you love captured into a cold, frozen dessert. Check out her creative tomato creation here.
Dry Them: DIY Sun Dried Tomatoes
You can also preserve your tomatoes for later by drying them. In a few months from now when your longing for summer tomatoes has returned, you’ll be happy when you get to pull out these DIY sun-dried tomatoes to toss onto homemade pizzas, into pastas, and on your sandwich. I love this recipe on Food.com that gives you directions for making sun-dried tomatoes in your oven, in a dehydrator, and old-school, in the sun. This can also be a great project to enlist your kids’ help if they haven’t gone back to school yet!
I know the kids will back to school in no time flat and, thus, we’ll back to our busy routine, so I’m holding on to the last bit of summer with both hands! I plan on squeezing out at least a little more magic out of the next few weeks…and that means the hubs and I will continue to enjoy our cocktail hour. Haha! Each night after the kids go to bed, we sit back, relax and enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail. It’s been fun experimenting with mixology and some of my favorite drinks to make have to be sangria recipes.
There are so many variations to try, so I rounded up a few of my favorite sangria recipes in case you too are in the mood to mix it up! Even if you aren’t down for putting the time into a drink with loads of ingredients, never fear…Two of my top “recipes” are pretty much already mixed for you. You know how much I love a nice ready-made drink.
And I really love how Take Time for Style made their ready-made sangria their own by adding fresh cut up fruit. Spending just a little bit of extra time on a detail like that can make it look like you spent some serious time in the kitchen.
If you’re up for a little extra prep time and you’re all about the bubbles like moi, this La Dolce Vita Sangria recipe is delightful. I’ll never turn down a sparkling cocktail and when we’re talking about sparkling sangria…I’m definitely all in!
Ok, this one isn’t exactly a recipe, but if a summer filled with the kids being home ALL the time has wiped you out, you might only be interested in a pour and sip scenario. That’s when this ready to go sangria becomes your best friend!
So, as we close out another fun filled summer, I hope you’ll take a moment to relish the magic. This girl will be testing a few more sangria recipes if you want to stop by!
With the long weekend nearly upon us, I thought it would be a great time to share some of our favorite Fourth of July recipes. Whether the whole neighborhood is coming over or it’s just going to be your immediate family, we have some backyard barbecue ready Fourth of July recipes that are perfect for all your festivities…and they’re each and every one is a dessert. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth and holidays are the perfect time to indulge a bit!
I don’t know about y’all, but for me, the Fourth of July is all about celebrating our great country while enjoying some laid back quality kinda time with my loved ones. So, you won’t find anything overly complicated here…Let’s hear it for EASY dishes that will enhance your fun without requiring loads of prep time!
First up we have our Fourth of July party…complete with easy DIYs like Tin Fruit Cups. No matter what holiday we’re talking about, you always get extra credit for presentation! These fruit cups look great and are super simple to make!
Sara from Mom Endeavors never steers us wrong with her yummy recipes…and she’s particularly good at dressing up sweets! Head over to find out how to make her Patriotic Firecracker Cupcakes. They might take longer than fruit cups, but they’re worth a bit of extra effort!
Everyone loves krispie treats right? Keep the kiddos busy at your celebration by letting them decorate their own star shaped krispie treats! The messier they are, the cuter they are…Am I right?! The little ones might just have to fend off hungry adults from eating their masterpieces. Haha!
And for a slightly more sophisticated take on dessert…Take Time for Style came up with a Red, White and Blue Baked Brie Dish that is as easy to recreate as it is impressive looking. This isn’t your ordinary old pot luck dish!
Ahh, the beloved smoothie. One press of the blender button and who can remember if there was a handful of spinach in there with those blueberries, a few chard stalks under that banana. It’s cold, it’s delicious, and it’s a great way to sneak some healthy foods in to your kids’ diet (and your own!)
First a few tips for getting adventurous with your smoothies:
Start small: Start by adding a little bit of the new addition at a time so you/your kids get accustomed to any flavor or texture changes.
Cover with color: Worried your kids will notice the green tint from the kale? Cover up color changes with berries. Blueberries are great for this.
Give it an awesome name. Kids catch you dumping chia seeds into the blender? Call them “strength seeds” and tell them how chia seed can swell to ten times their original size. Just like their muscles will. *wink, wink*
Here are four health foods that will bump up the nutrition of your next smoothie.
For more greens: Spinach or kale
If your smoothies consist of mostly fruit, start with this first easy step by sneaking in a handful of spinach or kale into your next batch. I like to use baby kale (shown here) or lacinato kale which can be slightly sweeter and less hearty than curly kale. My kids never notice a cup of kale but will start to complain if I get closer to two cups. Start small while taste buds adjust.
For more omega-3s: Chia seeds
Chia seeds are another healthy no-brainer for throwing in a smoothie. One ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) has 10 grams of fiber which is good for your gut and to help that smoothie feel more filling. Chia seeds are also a great plant-based source of omega-3s which many of us are deficient in as well as a good source of iron, calcium and magnesium. These little black seeds are flavorless and nearly invisible in a smoothie – especially if you have other berries with small seeds like strawberries. Do note: just like berry seed have a way of getting stuck in your teeth, so do chia seeds so be sure to do a quick post-smoothie mirror check. Chia seeds can swell to ten times their normal size as they sit in liquid and take on a gelatinous, tapioca-like texture, so these are best used in smoothies that will be consumed right away.
For added fiber: Oats
Yes, rolled oats. For added fiber and to help your kids feel full longer, start by adding some rolled oats to your blender first and blending them into a flour-like consistency. Then add your other fruits, veggies and liquids. The pulverized oats will blended in easily to your other ingredients adding some extra nutritional and consistency oomph to your smoothies.
A serious superfood: Spirulina
If you’ve master hiding kale and chia seeds, then your’re ready for the big time: spirulina. This blue-green algae powder is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. It contains about 60% plant-based protein and is a good source of many B vitamins, iron and chlorophyll. But it is not for the faint of heart. It smells – as my children kindly offered – like swamp water, so start with a half a teaspoon and work your way up.
Ready to blend? What kale? What chia seeds? Looks purple to me!
What else do you like to sneak into smoothies? And for even more smoothie fun, check out this recipe from The Shopping Mama!
Momtrends was not paid for this post.
Neither Nicole Feliciano nor MomTrends is affiliated with or endorsed by Dana Malstaff or Dana Malstaff International.