Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

Want to make your life easier? Try these hard boiled eggs in the instant pot and watch the shells slide off! Plus no more grey ring around the yolk. 

One of the biggest uses I get out of my Instant Pot when I am not making dinner is making hard boiled eggs. I use the 5/5/5 method where I cook them for 5 minutes with a cup of water, let the pot naturally release steam for 5 minutes, then put the eggs in an ice bath for 5 minutes.

The shells fall off and the eggs are cooked beautifully! When I make them on the stove I always end up with gray rings around my yolk. No more gray rings! [Read more…]

Tips For Gut Health + a Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups Recipe

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This past week I hosted an event at my house sponsored by Renew Life Probiotics. We enjoyed delicious food, tried new things (kombucha!), and had a frank discussion about gut health. Yup. We went there. But one thing I learned was that I’m not alone in my gut health issues. And there are a lot of things I could be doing differently to take better care of myself. So I’m sharing a few tips for gut health along with a recipe for delicious Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut egg cups. Yum! 

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All of my life I’ve had stomach issues. And I always assumed it was related to the ulcer that first developed when I was a pre-teen. Heartburn, tummy trouble, and digestive issues were always something I dealt with. And to be honest I just assumed it was normal. Didn’t really think anything more of it. Then I got older, I read more about our body and how everything is connected, and tried to see if there was something else going on. 

Fast forward about a decade and I’ve finally figured out a solution to my issues. Probiotics

No, seriously! While I only used them previously alongside antibiotics (for both myself and the kids), I’ve now started taking probiotics daily and boy have I noticed a difference. But that’s not the only change I’ve made. Probiotic rich foods, plenty of water, and healthy changes in diet can also play a huge role in gut health and one’s comfort. Opening the conversation with my guests allowed to me to learn more about how I can be proactive and focus on self care in the new year.

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Tips For Gut Health

The “gut” is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body, including immunity, digestion and more. So that means paying attention to your gut health should be pretty high on your list of priorities.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

1. Start taking probiotics –

To help keep your complex digestive system thriving and restore good bacteria, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics deliver unique, potent formulas that contain tens of billions of cultures, and multiple probiotic strains to help achieve better digestive and immune health.*

2. Drink plenty of water –

Drinking enough water is so important for healthy digestion. Water helps break down the food you eat and allows waste to pass more easily through the intestines. It also helps boost nutrient absorption. Water also softens stool, which helps to prevent constipation. Yup… we’re getting real! If you aren’t a huge water drinker, you can infuse your water to make it taste delicious. 

3. Talk about your gut health –

Whether it’s with friends, your doctor, or family, don’t be shy about speaking up about your gut health. If something doesn’t feel right, you more than likely need to change things up. Nearly two in three women (64 percent) aren’t willing to talk about gut issues with their friends. And with almost three quarters of women (72 percent) experiencing a digestive/gut issue in the past 12 months with gas/bloating (53 percent) being the most reported issue, you aren’t alone.

Nearly a quarter of women (22 percent) don’t consider the status of their digestive health when they think about their overall health and wellness, but it can affect your entire body, including mood, memory, immunity, digestion and more. By being proactive and talking about your issues, as well as taking probiotics regularly and getting enough water, you can help increase immunity, lessen the negative effects of gut issues, and find relief.

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Gut-Friendly Probiotic Rich Foods

In addition to taking probiotics, you can also find them naturally in these probiotic-rich foods that are hosts to the good bacteria our guts need: 

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso Soup
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

While some of these are easy to enjoy in our diet, others need a little… sneaking in. You can only eat so many hot dogs with sauerkraut. So finding other dishes to make with probiotic rich foods can give you more variety in your diet. 

The Renew Life blog also has some great recipes as well! We made the fresh carrot, cabbage, and apple medley juice and quick and easy whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipes for this event and they both tasted so good! 

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Probiotics 101

  • A proper functioning gut, containing a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria, helps with digestive and immune health.
    There are more than 100 trillion bacteria of many diverse strains inside your digestive tract which need to be balanced in order to keep your body healthy.
  • 70% of the immune system is located in the intestinal tract, therefore, maintaining gut health is a key part of maintaining your overall health.
    Signs that your gut is in need of replenishment and balance can include occasional bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and weight gain among others.
  • Experts agree that taking a probiotic supplement like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic is a good way to help support balance in the digestive tract and replenish the good bacteria found in a naturally diverse and healthy gut. It is reported that a person typically feels a difference after taking a probiotic supplement for 7-14 days.

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Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups

A variation of this recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cubes frozen sauteed glazed onions (or 1/2 an onion, diced)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 container 16oz cottage cheese
  • 1 8oz package of shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2oz brie cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to large skillet and heat on medium high on the stove. Once hot, add onions to pan and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Toss in bacon and sauerkraut and set aside to cool. 

While spinach/bacon/onion mixture is cooling down, add eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and shredded cheddar to a bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Drop pieces of brie cheese into the mixture and fold in. Then add spinach/bacon/onion mixture to eggs and combine. 

Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups or spray well with cooking spray if not using baking cups. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop mixture into the muffin tin wells filling about 2/3-3/4ths of the way up. 

Baket at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until top is starting to turn golden brown. Let cool 2-5 minutes and serve. 

Makes approximately 24 but could get more if you scoop less into each cup. 

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What are your favorite gut-friendly foods? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

**This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics from November 9-11, 2016 among 1,127 U.S. women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Young at Katie@pdcpr.net.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics.

The Perfect Pairing: Strawberry Black Pepper Scones + a Chai Latte

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Strawberry Black Pepper Scones - the perfect pairing with a nice hot chai tea latte

After each kid there’s always been this awkward transition from being in bed by 8am because I’m exhausted from pregnancy or having a newborn, to becoming a night owl again and finding my rightful place back with those who do their best work while burning the midnight oil. So it’s only fair that I help my body out a bit with a night-time indulgence or two. And these strawberry black pepper scones paired with the rich, creamy taste of an authentic TAZO® Chai Latte fit that bill perfectly. Every sip and bite providing a spicy and sweet escape.

I used to just sip on my favorite TAZO® Refresh when I was working through the night – after getting hooked during those long nights of class at college – but then I heard about the new TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods and wow are they good. A creamy, spicy drink that immediately relaxes me and allows me to focus on my work is exactly what I need whether it’s morning or night! And the fact that I can easily make it at home with my Keurig®? Double bonus!

It reminds me of how my grandmother used to make us tea when we were growing up – the English way with cream and sugar – but with the fun spicy twist of chai.

Tazo Chai Classic Latte in the KeurigTazo Chai Classic Latte

This delicious drink is part of the new Sweet Meets Spicy Collection and totally inspired me to think outside of the box when I was considering treats to pair with it. Sweet and spicy combos are one of my favorite so when I settled on one of my favorite scone recipes, I knew I had to bump it up a notch. I grabbed the carton of strawberries from my fridge – LOVE strawberry season! – and then headed to the pantry to find my next ingredient… black pepper!

Strawberry Black Pepper Scones ingredientsStrawberry Black Pepper Scones doughStrawberry Black Pepper Scones ready to bake

Strawberry Black Pepper Scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 350 with pizza stone inside.

Using a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and baking powder together. Then add the cold butter and pulse until pea size pieces form in the dough.

Add vanilla, heavy cream, and egg to dry mixture and pulse until combined and dough forms.

Transfer dough to a bowl and fold in strawberries. Chill for 30 minutes.

Scoop dough onto the preheated stone and cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy with a cup of chai tea!

The Perfect Pairing Strawberry Black Pepper Scones + a Chai Latte

We’re definitely a TAZO loving family. As I mentioned before, I’m a Refresh. And my husband is definitely an Awake. There’s nothing like a good cup of tea and luckily we get just that with ever cup of TAZO we brew.

TAZO has partnered with New York Times Bestselling author and host Padma Lakshmi to celebrate the release of the new K-Cup® pods. Learn more at TAZO.com/chaiFind where to buy TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods at TAZO.com/wheretobuy.

Strawberry Black Pepper Scones and a Chai Latte for breakfast

What’s your favorite sweet meets spicy combo?

Vanilla Raisin Oatmeal Squares

This is a sponsored post

Vanilla Raisin Oatmeal Squares

I don’t know about you but Daylight Savings Time is really kicking my butt. I’m pretty sure we’ve been late to school drop off every day this week and for some reason I just can’t adjust as easily this time around as I have in years past. I’ve been putting the kids to bed a little earlier each day to adjust their schedules but the baby still isn’t waking up until right before we have to leave for school. Poor kid!

I haven’t been able to drink enough coffee to get me going in the mornings. And that’s even when I use my new favorite creamer in the mix!

In an effort to make things easier I’ve been using a few tips to streamline our mornings. Sticking with a morning routine has saved us the hassle of forgetting things, being too late, or just feeling rushed in the mornings. And no one wants to feel rushed as you start the day. And having a go-to breakfast that you can make ahead is my #1 tip for making mornings easier. I may have to take my coffee to go but at least the kids are getting fed!

Vanilla Raisin Oatmeal Squares with International Delight Simply Pure Vanilla

Tips for Making Mornings Easier

  1. Make breakfast ahead of time.
  2. Have the kids pick out their clothes the night before.
  3. Pack lunches ahead of time OR create a snack area for easy to grab lunch options.
  4. Hang back packs by the door so they’re ready to go.
  5. 10 minutes before you have to leave the house, make sure the kids are dressed (including socks and shoes!) and lunches in back packs so nothing is forgotten.

Vanilla Raisin Oatmeal Squares with coffee

Vanilla Raisin Oatmeal Squares

  • 1½ cups quick cooking oats
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup Vanilla creamer
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x13 baking dish.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl then spread out evenly in the baking dish.

Bake 20-25 until the edges are golden brown.

Tips for Making Mornings Easier

How do you make mornings easier? 

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The a2 Milk Company™. All opinions are 100% mine.

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats - a quick and easy breakfast for busy mornings

As a busy mom of three, I need quick and easy breakfast ideas for those mornings that just don’t go a smoothly as I plan. So at the beginning of the week, I take a look at our schedule and figure out what days might be the hardest to squeeze in making breakfast. Whether it’s a day I’m also making lunches, or a day we have to leave earlier than normal, I want to be prepared and do what I can ahead of time to make our mornings easy.

On those days that I need to plan ahead for breakfast, I’ve started to make these delicious overnight oats the night before. Not only are they simple and easy to make, but they are so versatile! Plus, with a2 Milk® I don’t have to worry about tummy trouble after eating them!

The kids love the taste and I love the simplicity! Plus, there’s minimal ingredients and almost no mess (unless I give the baby some without watching her). And when I put them in mason jars, the kids can bring them with us in the car if they didn’t finish breakfast at home. Easy peasy!

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats with A2 Milk

Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup a2 Milk®
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Wash the strawberries and dice them up. Add them to a small bowl. Pour vanilla and sugar over the strawberries and stir until well coated. Let macerate in the fridge.

While the strawberries are working their magic, grab a mason jar, the oats, and a2 Milk®. Pour 1/2 cup of oats in the bottom of the mason jar. Top with milk. Then grab the strawberries and pour 1/2 into the jar. Save the other 1/2 in the fridge.

Screw on the mason jar lid and store the jar in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove lid and stir up with a spoon.

Microwave for 30 seconds if you’d like to remove the chill from the oats. Top with the remaining strawberries and enjoy!

 Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats in a mason jar

Over the past few weeks we’ve incorporated a2 Milk® into our everyday lives and I have to say that I really enjoy it. And the kids haven’t noticed a difference at all. Since we started introducing our 13 month old to cow’s milk, she’s only ever tried a2 Milk®. Since all other forms of mammal’s milk (i.e. goat, sheep, human) only contain the A2-type proteins, she’s used to only getting the A2 protein. I’m hoping this continues to make her transition to cow’s milk easier.

You can find more about a2 Milk® and my recipe for No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding here. And for more awesome recipes and news on a2 Milk®, check them out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Find a store near you that carries a2 Milk® by using this Product Locator. Save now with this a2 Milk® $1 Off Coupon

What’s your favorite easy, make-ahead breakfast? 

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Apple Granola Muffins in Celebration of Snow White on DVD

Apple Granola Muffins for Snow White

Forever enchanting and inspiring, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs embodies The Walt Disney Signature Collection’s legacy of animation. In this epic story of love and friendship, the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of the Seven Dwarfs and triumphs over the evil plans of a wicked Queen.

For generations, audiences around the globe have been enchanted by the timeless tales brought to life by the artists of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Since the debut of the very first feature-length animated film in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the visionary studio has generated some of the most beloved films of all time through masterful artistry, epic storytelling, and groundbreaking technology.

 

From the extraordinary team behind the success of Snow White emerged a group of animators who would become legends – Disney’s Nine Old Men. These prolific artists, including Frank Thomas, Marc Davis and Ollie Johnston, were the heart and hands behind the magic of Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and so many more.

After more than 90 years, this rich legacy of innovation and creativity lives on with every animator who passes through the hallowed halls of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

In celebration of the one that started it all, seven Disney artists from different generations have come together to share a modern look at the seven iconic characters who shared the journey of the original Disney Princess.

Now to the recipe!

There are no poisoned apples here, just deliciously good apple muffins that are the perfect treat for breakfast or whenever.

Apple Granola Muffins with cinnamon

Apple Granola Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1 cup granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixer. Add wet ingredients to dry and continue mixing until well combined. 

Using a rubber spatula, fold in apples and granola.

Coat a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Scoop 1/4-1/2 cup of batter into each well of the pan.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Enjoying Apple Granola Muffins for breakfast

What do you love to bake with apples?

Share the movie called “The Greatest Animated Film Of All Time,” (American Film Institute) on Blu-ray February 2nd and on Digital HD January 19th, with special features for the entire family!

Trying to get your own little dwarfs to do their chores? Start the week off with a fun Chore Chart that will help them Whistle While They Work!

Download Activities

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SamsClubMag #CollectiveBias

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts

As the seasons change and winter draws closer, I am still dreaming about pumpkin goodies. I’ve made quite a few delicious foods with pumpkin before and love what a great alternative it is to oils and butter in my recipes (although I’m not one to knock oil or butter!). It just brings a richness to certain dishes and a delicious flavor. Plus it’s full of fiber and vitamins! One thing I’ve missed since changing to a LCHF lifestyle, are the pumpkin muffins, waffles, and donuts I make every year. 

I decided to jump in and start recreating my favorite high carb pumpkin recipes into a lower carb option. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the results! While these donuts are a little dense, they have the pumpkin flavor I’ve been craving and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee! I could eat them with or without the frosting. And if you’re not a fan of salty with your sweet, omit the pumpkin seeds on top or chop them smaller!

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts - the perfect LCHF pumpkin treat during the holidays

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts

Serves 8 | Calories: 116 Carbs: 5 Fat: 9  Protein: 5 Fiber: 2

Ingredients

For the donuts:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar free granular baking sweetener
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting (not included in nutritional info as portions vary):

  • 1 ounce softened butter
  • 1 ounce softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar free maple syrup
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts - making the batter

1. Plug in your donut maker to preheat. Mix together the donut ingredients until well incorporated. Batter will be a little thick.

2. Pour or spoon in batter into each well of the donut maker per your donut maker’s guidelines, don’t overfill!

3. Let bake until slightly golden and done inside.

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts - baked in a donut maker

4. While donuts are baking, whip up the frosting by adding all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisking together until incorporated.

5. When donuts are done, dunk them upside down into the frosting bowl. Place right side up onto a plate and top with pumpkin seeds.

And you’re done! Enjoy.

Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts - add frosting and roasted pumpkin seeds

Looking for more great recipe ideas? Check out these Healthy Living recipes here! You can find lighter versions of your favorite dishes and don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything. Plus you can find everything you need for a lighter holiday at Sam’s Club! We were able to find all of our ingredients in the baking aisle.

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Keto Friendly Pumpkin Donuts - perfect with a glass of almond milk

How do you lighten up your recipes during the holidays?

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes for the Holidays

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes

I have a confession to make. I’m a bit obsessed right now. Obsessed about gingerbread! And not just the classic cookies and houses (although I have a recipe for those that I share below). I’m talking gingerbread cakes, gingerbread casseroles, and gingerbread bread puddings!

Have a piqued your interest yet? If so, read below to find some deliciously tasty gingerbread recipes from some of my favorite bloggers!

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes for the Holidays

Soft-and-Chewy-Gingerbread-cookies

1. As I mentioned previously, I have a stellar gingerbread cookie recipe that can be used any time of the year. And you don’t just have to make gingerbread men (and women) if you don’t like! This is great for ornament cookies, various shapes, etc. And the results are a fabulously soft and chewy cookie that’s amazing. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

2. Sometimes the classic recipes are the ones we start to crave. Grandma’s cookies. This old fashioned gingerbread recipe from Vintage Recipe Project is definitely one of those. You can find it by visiting their site here

3. But enough about the classics. Bring on some new, innovating gingerbread! That’s exactly what Betsy of BetsyLife did in this gingerbread pineapple upside down cake recipe. OMG! Seriously… how good does this sound? I cannot wait to make it this weekend for the family.

mini-gingerbread-cakes

4. And then there are the cute, mini gingerbread cakes from Made With Happy. Just thinking of them makes me happy! So festive and perfect for parties. The drizzle of icing makes them even more irresistible.

5. What isn’t better with banana? Living Sweet Moments paired it up with gingerbread wonderfully in this banana gingerbread recipe with brown butter glaze. Sounds just as good as it looks!

6. I love a recipe that can also serve as decor as well. And who wouldn’t want these cookies perched on the edge of a mug or added to a place card. These olive oil gingerbread cookies from Family Spice are a bit different than the traditional gingerbread recipe but the results? Well… they’re worth it!

gingerbread-french-toast-casserole-recipe

7. One of my favorite things to make for guests when they come to visit for brunch is french toast casserole. Not only is it super simple to make, but it uses up the leftover bread I might have around that won’t get eaten. How awesome is that? Now this gingerbread french toast casserole from BetsyLife is the perfect spin on this classic crowd pleaser for the holidays. Great for Christmas breakfast! 

8. I can honestly say that I’ve never had gingerbread pudding. But Texas Type A Mom makes it look so good in this pumpkin gingerbread pudding recipe. What kid would say no to that? 

9. To round out our 9 delectable gingerbread recipes is my favorite one of all. My gingerbread cake recipe. Not only is this amazing cake easy to make, it’s also perfect for breakfast OR dessert and pairs well with coffee, ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream. Now it isn’t overly sweet, so if you prefer something on the sweet side, I suggest whipping up some cream cheese frosting.

gingerbread-cake

What’s your favorite way to incorporate gingerbread into the holidays?

Fueling Up To Play: Microwavable Egg Scramble

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We’re keeping our kids active and continuing to learn how we can Fuel Up To Play with help from our sponsor, California Milk Advisory Board. With this easy microwavable egg scramble we can start our day right with some calcium and protein so that we have the energy to play and learn. 

Fueling Up To Play Microwavable Egg Scramble

Whether it’s a week day or the weekend, my kids cannot wait to get out of the house and play. In an effort to keep them fueled through the morning, I’ve tried to come up with a few easy breakfasts I can make ahead. But when I run out, I always opt for an easy microwavable egg scramble. Not only is it filled with protein to keep them fueled up, it is a great source of dairy with Real California milk and cheese scrambled inside. Another option to add inside? Some leftover veggies from last night’s dinner!

I’m not the only one trying to keep the kids fueled up for a day of play and learning. With the help of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, more kids will be encouraged to fuel up and get outside to play. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League, in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result of the program, 38 million students are eating healthier by adding nutritious foods like low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains to their meals. How awesome is that? 

I love that this program is helping so many kids. As a parent I know that I’m not the only influence in my kids lives. When they see others eating healthy and getting out to exercise and play, they’re more apt to get out and make the right decisions too. My son is very much a homebody but when his friends are out playing soccer or throwing a football, he has no problem heading out to join them. 

Fueling up to play - finding fun games for the whole family

Since having a third child, our family has come even more active than a year ago. We’ve continued to encourage play as a family for at least 60 seconds a day in addition to the play the kids get at school during the day. Even if that means pulling my son from his game of Minecraft to jump on the trampoline with us or go on a family walk after dinner. Family walks are a great way for us to reconnect at the end of the day after we enjoy a meal together. And it gets the wiggles out before we start our bedtime routine.

We are also starting to cook together as well so that we can not only lead by example but teach by example as well. By showing our children how to prepare delicious, healthy meals for themselves, we can instill great life skills they can use as they grow. My daughter helped make the egg scramble recipe (shared below) with me this morning and last night my son helped clean and cut the cauliflower for our dinner. I love that they’re so interested in helping prepare our meals and learn more about becoming more self sufficient.

Fueling Up To Play Microwavable Egg Scramble - easy to make on a busy morning

Microwavable Egg Scramble

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup Real California milk
  • 1/4 cup Real California cheese, split
  • 1 pre-cooked sausage patty OR 2 pre-cooked sausage links, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Grab an 8oz ramekin and spray with nonstick cooking spray or coat in butter. Add eggs, milk and salt and pepper to greased ramekin. Whisk with fork until combined. Crumble sausage patty or sausage links into egg mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese. Using the fork, combine sausage and cheese in egg mixture. Top with other 1/2 of cheese.

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for an additional 45 seconds to 1 minute or until egg is cooked. Carefully remove ramekin from microwave – it will be hot – and turn upside down onto a plate. Serve hot with a side of fruit, some toast, and a large glass of Real California milk.

Fueling Up To Play Microwavable Egg Scramble - playing football

What’s awesome about this program, in addition to educating kids and encouraging healthy living, you can encourage your school to apply for this program! Qualifying California schools participating in Fuel Up to Play 60 are eligible for up to $4,000 during the school year and funding eligibility for the 2015-2016 school year is held through a competitive program designed to support schools that implement plays from the 2015-2016 edition of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook.

For schools that would like to apply to receive funding, Fall 2015 Fuel Up To Play 60 grant applications are open to California K-12 schools interested in supporting health and wellness initiatives through November 4, 2015. For more information on Fuel Up to Play 60 and to sign up an eligible school, visit here: http://bit.ly/1Mij4OW

How do you encourage healthy eating and play in your home?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Milk Advisory Board.

Tips For Serving The Rainbow: Healthy Breakfast Options For Picky Eaters

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Today we’re talking about delicious and healthy ways to help our kids taste the rainbow. I include a few healthy breakfast options for picky eaters that are easy to change up depending on your child’s tastes and pair perfectly with our sponsor, 100% Florida Orange Juice.

Tips For Serving The Rainbow Healthy Breakfast Options For Picky Eaters

Since my kids started school and we found ourselves rushing around during the mornings just trying to get everything ready to start the day, I’ve found that it gets harder and harder to make sure the kids leave the house with a healthy breakfast. So I’ve been trying out different ideas and asking others what they do to keep healthy foods in front of their kids.

I’ve found that having a balance of make ahead recipes and some quick grab-and-go options have helped us full when we head out the door to start our day. Plus the kids aren’t as hungry when snack time rolls around at school. By planning ahead a little and prepping a few things, I’ve been able to offer the full rainbow to the kids and can battle the “I don’t like that” phrase I hear often from the two of them.

Research reports that many children fall short of meeting their daily fruit intake recommendations. One quick way to start the day off is to drink 8 ounces of 100% Florida Orange Juice (it counts as 1 cup of fruit!). Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, citrus fruits and 100% fruit juices (including 100% Florida Orange Juice) are considered a fruit serving. Serve it alongside these delicious breakfast options for a great start to your child’s morning! 

Blueberry Granola Muffins with Chex

In the morning I love being able to have a variety of foods for the kids. But sometimes there’s just not enough time. So I’ve started to prep breakfasts on the weekends and in the evenings before I go to bed. What I try and do is include at least one food the kids love. For example, my daughter loves strawberries and blueberries, so when I make muffins I tend to include those in the mix. My son is more of an egg fan so I choose some veggies to add to egg cups or a quiche and he’s a happy camper.

By giving them one thing they love at breakfast, they usually tend to try other things I offer. It’s the same trick I use at dinner when we enjoy family meals at the dinner table. I always have at least one side, or entree, that they love so they can eat one thing for dinner. If they don’t try anything else, that’s ok. As long as it’s offered.

Quick and Easy Egg Bake Recipe with Bacon perfect for brunch

Planning Ahead: Recipes To Make On The Weekend For Weekday Breakfasts

Egg Cups – 

Egg cups are an awesome way to get some protein and veggies into the kids. Plus when you make them ahead on the weekend, all you have to do is heat them up in the toaster oven or microwave in the morning.

Egg Bake/Quiche –

Quiche is just a larger version of the egg cup. But sometimes it’s easier if you have a larger family to just make a quiche (with crust or without) ahead of time to heat up individual portions throughout the week. Plus you can throw just about any veggies or cheeses inside.

Muffins – 

Muffins are an awesome way to sneak in fruit. These blueberry muffins are one of my kids favorites but I’ve also been known to add strawberries, mangos, apples, and more fruit to muffins. I’ve even thrown in a few veggies.

Quick Bread – 

Just like with eggs, instead of muffins, you can also make a quick bread too and incorporate fruit or veggies into the batter. This zucchini bread is super tasty and tastes great on its own or toasted up with a little butter.

Apple Carrot Beet JuiceOatmeal Recipes Quick and Delicious Apple Crisp - cut and core apples

Planning Ahead: Preparing Breakfast The Night Before

Smoothies – 

My son’s favorite breakfast is a smoothie. We use a base of 100% Florida Orange Juice and then I let him choose the fruits he wants to add in. Finish off with either some ice, or some ice and yogurt, and you have a delicious drink that you can take on the go. Plus? Sometimes you can sneak in some spinach.

Parfaits – 

Parfaits are another favorite in our home. We grab some berries or bananans, layer them with yogurt and granola, and can put them in various reusable containers to eat quickly as we make our way to schoool. 

Overnight Oats – 

Now I love cereal for breakfast but this year I’ve been a little obsessed with overnight oats. They’re so quick to make the night before AND are already in a jar ready to go for hte monring. Plus they’re very versatile. 

Weight Watchers Simple Start anytime snack

In addition to these great make-ahead ideas for breakfast and learning more about healthy breakfast options, I was also able to sit down with Dr. Jen Arnold and ask her a few questions about life, kids, and how to stay healthy and active while balancing life and kids.

You can probably tell I was completely nervous in the beginning because… hello! I’m talking to Dr. Arnold of The Little Couple! I may or may not have had a small fan-girl moment and freaked out a little. She was fabulous to talk and I appreciated that i could get a pediatrician’s opinion as well as her own personal experirence as a mom. You can watch our interview below: 

Amazing-5-Glass-Hero Blend-TEXT

For more information on how you can start your day off right with 100% Florida Orange Juice, visit here!

Do you find it difficult to get in a good breakfast?



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