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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer Fun that uses Less Water!

Kids and the Drought! 



Areas all over the US, but especially here in the West, are facing hot summers with little hope of relief. As we see photos on the news and see our local rivers and lakes shrinking drastically, we all feel the need to reduce our water consumption. 

But the kids are used to water activities all summer! Sprinklers, kiddie pools, squirt guns, hoses, and water balloons were all sure-fire ways to keep the kids entertained (and dripping wet) for hours. 

We came up with a few family-friendly tips for conserving water this summer (but still having fun!)

1. Use it or Lose it! Put a bucket in the shower to collect water while it's heating up, etc., and let the kids know the THAT is the play water, and that's it. They'll be much better about making sure to use the bucket, and then you can use it to full water bottles for yard games or water toys to play with, or even freeze it for icy fun activities! 

2. Join a community pool! Many towns and districts have a local pool, or a YMCA, or a club that offers summer passes! This way, they still get their water fix but without the guilt because it's a shared and reused resource! 

3. If it's cheaper or closer, head to a river, a lake, or the beach! This is also a great educational tool.  Kids see the lines on the rocks or the shore where the water level once was, versus the level it's at now, and it makes the drought very clear! 

4. Spray when you play! Instead of big squirt guns or the hose, give the kids spray bottles to chase each other around while using exponentially less water! 

Let's all do our part to conserve water and teach our children its value! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Parenting Laughs

This week, in the heat of the summer, when you’re probably not even turning on the stove, we’re bringing you a little after-dinner break. If your family is anything like ours, dinners lately are low-key affairs of something tossed on the grill, some salad, and plenty of fruit for dessert. Those late summer go-to meals we keep in our back pocket for nights when the kids want one more swim or they’re begging to eat outside or go get ice cream.

This week, it’s for after the kids go to bed, the house quiets down, and you could just plain use a laugh. Here is a quick little round-up of the corners of the internet that are keeping smiles on our faces this summer.  










Kick back and ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Answer to What's for Dinnnnnnerrrr?!

Last week we gave you a list of easy dinner vehicles – forms or shapes for making a classic flavor combination feel fresh. This week, we’re giving you a series of delicious flavor combinations that you can mix and match with last week’s list!



Chicken, Pesto, Parmesan

Meatballs, Mozarella, Marinara

Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Olives

Lentils, Brushcetta, Feta

Turkey, Pears, Brie

Pork, Apples, Onions

Salmon, Bok Choi, Teryaki

Eggs, Cheddar, Peppers

Pork, Cabbage, Mustard

Beef, Mushrooms, Onions

Shrimp, Lemon, Garlic

Chicken, Chipotle, Lime

Chickpea, Sweet Potato, Curry

Fish, Mango, Red Onion

Tuna, Olives, Green Beans

Tofu, Peanuts, Snow Peas

Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach, Cream

Chickpea, Yogurt, Cucumber


Mix and match, or use your family’s favorites – Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Turkish, Mexican, Brazilian, Spanish, Japanese, Russian – they all work! Substitute as needed for your family’s preferences.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vroom Vroom

Sometimes the hardest part of the day is figuring out what to make for dinner. If, after reading this post, that is still the hardest part of your day, then you must be retired in paradise and I’d like to come live in your guesthouse!

Broccoli and cheddar and chicken (or chickpeas!) are nutritious and quick to throw together on weeknight. So what else is key to have on hand as a vehicle for tasty veggies and lean protein?



We’re here to answer that! Here are some quick, easy vehicles for chicken/broccoli/cheddar, and each is less painful than stepping on a hot wheels car with bare feet.

Baked into a casserole!

Stir-fried with rice!

Baked into crescent roll dough – mini hot...calzones!

Toppings on a pizza – pick up the dough at the store!

Added to muffin-tin egg cups!

Tossed with whole wheat pasta!

Piled onto some baked potatoes!

Quesadilla’d!

Inside stuffed shells!

Turned into broccoli and cheddar soup!


Or skip the vehicle entirely and bake the broccoli and cheese right into the chicken! If you bread it first, you can call it Chicken Kiev! This is a little tougher with chickpeas ;) but tofu works quite well!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Up and Out the door!

Baked Oatmeal!


  
This month we’re coming to you with an easy summer breakfast reci-pea! Our Baked Oatmeal can be quickly prepped at night and baked in the morning for a warm healthy breakfast to fuel the family for all their daytime activities!

We decided to use quinoa flakes in our reci-pea to add more protein and fiber. When then replaced the butter, normally found in an oatmeal bake, with pumpkin puree! Lastly, this reci-pea is a great way to use up any aging fruit on your counter like bananas, nectarines and/or strawberries! Enjoy making this dish. Your kitchen will smell divine and you will have breakfast set for a few days.

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 ½ cup milk
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
½ cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, sliced


Process:
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the banana slices or other fruit, and sprinkle with the brown sugar.


Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl (both can be done the night before, just give the liquid mixture a good whisk in the morning.)



Evenly spread the dry ingredients over the bananas. Next, evenly pour the wet ingredients over the oats. Give the pan a good thwack on the counter to help liquid disperse and remove air. Bake for 45min, or until the center is set. Enjoy warm! Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Reading

We posted this last summer, but as kids get out of school and structure falls away, we thought it would be a great time to remember to keep kids reading! The hardest part is how. Here we have a few suggestions, and an updated link from teachers across the US listing summer reading programs for your kids to help them stay motivated, keep track of their progress, and best of all, earn prizes for reading! From We Are Teachers.


Here at Peas of Mind we believe that health is much more then what you eat. Yes, part of a healthy life style is eating veggies and a well balanced meal, but to us, being healthy is also about laughter, playing, exercise and joy.  We not only believe an apple a day keeps the doctor away, we also believe a book a day does too!

Our favorite book here at Peas of Mind
So this week we're changing gears a little bit and focusing on the importance of reading, especially this time of year when school is out of session and silent reading is no longer enforced.

First things first, if you don't have one already, get a library card. Summer is a great time to introduce your children to the library and the freedom that comes with browsing the aisles for a new (used) book.  Make a weekly date out of it: a late breakfast at your favorite cafe, then a few hours at the library followed by a play date at the park so your little ones can share and read their new books. Also, libraries usually have free, kid friendly activities scheduled during the summer; contact your local library and find out what fun activities you can add to your library date day!

For those long car trips, always have a box of "car only books." This way they'll get to immerse themselves in new books they've never seen or read. The box of "car only books" will become one of their favorite things about being in the car.

Find time to read. That means you Mom! Set a good example and enjoy some quality family time together reading instead of watching a movie or TV.  This is a great way to spend time together as well as secretly set a good example. During this time ask questions about what's going on in the book, what characters do they like and how do they think it will end.  This will not only encourage them to process what they're reading but it also shows them that you're interested and that reading is important to you.

Let this summer be the summer your little ones learn to LOVE to read. Besides feeding them their Veggie Wedgies, it's the greatest gift a parent can give.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

DIY Fruit Snacks (with hidden veggies, naturally)

Veggie Gummies!


Getting our little ones to eat fewer sugary snacks and more veggies is always a challenge, and convenience is the easiest way to get off track on nutrition. This month we reinvented a summertime favorite: the gummy fruit snacks!

Our fruit snacks are made from vegetable juice with no added sugar and no weird preservatives. Best of all, they are SO EASY! We promise! With pre-made juice, you simply pour, heat, stir, and let it set. That’s it!


Just choose a combination of fruits and veggies that sounds good to you (i.e. blueberry + beet, carrot + mango, kiwi + kale). You’ll only need the juice for these, so either juice your fruits and veggies at home or to save a step you can purchase 100% fresh juice at the store.

Ingredients:
¾ cup fresh carrot juice
¾ cup fresh mango juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp honey
1 packet stevia (2 grams)
4.5 tbsp powdered gelatin
  
The strange wet sand look of blooming gelatin! 
Process

Measure juices into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin powder on top. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. The juice will start to look strange and almost sandy and wrinkly. That’s fine! Now turn the heat onto medium and whisk while warming it (you want it to get hot but not to boil) until the mixture returns to liquid form. Once it’s the consistency of juice again, add the stevia and honey, keep whisking until it’s hot again. Now pour it into a container (decorative molds are fun! Or just use a 5”x8” brownie pan.) We lined ours with plastic wrap to make it even easier to remove from the container. Once you’ve poured it, toss in the fridge for a few hours to set, or the freezer if you’re in a rush! Takes about 30min in the freezer to set. Then unmold and cut into diamond shapes. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.