Archive | February, 2012

Banana Double Chocolate Crunch Granola Bar “Cake” Recipe {Allergy- Friendly}

29 Feb

Last week I posted about Enjoy Life Allergy-Friendly Double Chocolate Crunch Granola (see post) and promised to share the recipe this week.  I don’t like having too many sweet things lying around because I tend to eat it all myself so I made a smaller portion using our new oogaa bowl.  The following recipe serves about 4-6 depending on how much you would like.  It was so delicious, I definitely will make it again.  It would be a perfect dessert or snack for a small play group.  It is best to eat that day because the bananas will go bad.  Try adding dried fruit too to the granola/ marshmallow mixture.

*Used Kellogg’s Rice Krispe Treat Recipe as a base for this recipe.

** Keep checking back for an oogaa mealtime set GIVEAWAY!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups or 1 oogaa bowl of Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Chip Granola
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (we used Elyon Natural Vanilla Mini Marshmallows: fat-free, gluten-free, and kosher)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks
  • Milk* as needed (*can sub with soy milk or rice milk depending on needs)

Directions:

  1.  In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. (Step from Kellogg’s)
  2. Mix in Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Chip Granola until coated well.
  3. Put mixture in one oogaa bowl.  Cool in refrigerator  for about 10 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
  4. Once cool, press granola treat out of oogaa bowl and on to a plate to serve.  The bowl is flexible, so pushing it out is easy to do.
  5. Slice bananas on top of granola “cake”
  6. A few minutes before serving add Mega Chunks to a microwave safe dish, or you can use your microwave safe oogaa bowl. Keep adding milk as needed until you get a semi-thick sauce to drizzle (with spoon) over “cake”.
  7. Cut and serve.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received the Enjoy Life Products for the purpose of my review.  I also received oogaa mealtime sets for the girls for posting about their product. I came up with this recipe because the girls would not eat granola on its own and  I thought why not make something like a rice krispie treat. Always check labels when using ingredients because I cannot say for certain which allergens this recipe is completely free of.

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Enjoy Life: Eat Freely

24 Feb

Image from enjoylifefoods.com

I learned about Enjoy Life at the Kids Food Festival New York (see post).   Enjoy Life “foods are specially made to be gluten-free and free of the 8 most common allergens. This way, whether you are Celiac, lactose-intolerant, allergic to soy, sensitive to egg, or almost anything else, our products are sure to satisfy every need.” (enjoylife.com) When I first learned about Enjoy Life, I thought they only had chocolate chips but recently learned they have a variety of products which include soft baked cookies, crunchy cookies, chewy bars, boom choco boom bars, chocolate for baking, cereal, granola, seed and fruit mixes, and plentils (a lentil chip).  I received a sample of their newest products: Double Chocolate Crunch Granola and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks for review and they were DELICIOUS!

Maddie and Pela were hesitant to try the Granola on its own.  I think because of the texture and they have never had granola from a bag before.  I tried putting it in yogurt but they had their mind made up when it came straight from the bag.  I enjoyed eating it with yogurt and snacking on it, and would buy it for the house but it wasn’t for them.  After a few tries, I decided to make a granola bar or “cake” as the girls called it,using both the granola and the mega chunks ( I will post my recipe next week).  After, they tried their “cake” they had a new take on granola – they LOVED it!

   

Both of my girls have a sweet tooth, so they LOVED the mega chunks.  They are perfect for cookies, to add to yogurt, mix in with ice cream, or just to snack on.  They are thick, small, rectangular chunks. Melt them into a sauce by adding milk (if dairy allergy use soy or rice milk) to dip fruit or pretzels.  Sweet and savory with every piece.

 

I am overly impressed with the companies dedication to making safe, allergy friendly products. All of the products I have tried have been well labeled.  The company  was proactive with the brown rice syrup and arsenic investigations and issued a press release on Facebook not long after taking steps to make sure their products are safe for consumers.  For more information about their products or the brown rice syrup investigation visit Enjoy Life’s homepage.  You can also find Enjoy Life on Facebook and Twitter.

See my Allergy- Friendly Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes post using Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Additional Information about Enjoy Life(received from Enjoy Life):

  • All products are gluten-free and allergy-friendly.
  • All products are free of the top 8 allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish).
  • Most products are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites, and casein.
  • Products made in a dedicated nut and gluten-free facility.
  • Available supermarkets and natural food stores across the U.S. and Canada, as well as over 20 online retailers.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post.  I received samples of the Double Chocolate Crunch Granola and the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks for the purpose of this review. All images unless stated are from Tastefully Childish.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

Wordless Wednesday: Keep Calm…

22 Feb

Found this sign at Barnes and Noble and had to have it for my kitchen.

Fat Tuesday!

21 Feb

Did you enjoy “Fat Tuesday”?  We DID!

While Maddie was at school, Pela and I took a trip to the Doughnut Plant New York City in Chelsea.  If you are ever in New York City, you should make a trip to one of their locations.  I had to run an errand up that way so I had to stop in to indulge in some sweetness for Fat Tuesday.  Today we tried the Passion Fruit Yeast, Creme Brulee and Blueberry Cake.  None of which disappointed us, we even brought some to share with Daddy.    I can’t recommend the Doughnut Plant New York City for children with allergies, as they make their glazes and doughnuts with fresh roasted nuts and fruits.  I do not know what has nuts and what does not, so if you go make sure to ask.  Luckily, Maddie said she does not like doughnuts so she enjoyed chocolate chips and fruit snacks.

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Make sure you check about potential allergens before giving to your child.  

Table Time

20 Feb

Image from toys-r-us.com, came with 2 matching chairs.

I purchased our Crayola activity table about a year ago on sale for $10, not a bad deal.  It has served us well from mealtime to painting projects to being the base for many of our cooking activities.  I am sad to say it is time to move on since chair has bitten the dust and the table has holes in the plastic top.  Living in NYC, our apartment is small and our “livingroom” is also our “diningroom” and our “playroom”, so I am searching for something to fit our decor and last more than a year.

The girls and I have been sick the past week so there has been some time to surf the web for new tables.  Some tables that I have my eyes on are:

Otto  Play Table by Bloom:I love the cappuccino color and the fact it has to sliding trays for storing art supplies.  It is a great design that would fit perfectly in our multi-purpose room.  I would also use it as a coffee table when the girls are asleep or when we have guests over, since the chairs nest with the table.  The only downfall is that it retails for $450, a little more than I would like to spend for a kids table but it is beautiful.

Image from bloombaby.com

Chalk Table by P’kolino: Great table for arts and crafts.  At mealtime. store your crafts and art supplies in the center storage area, flip the chalkboard over, and you have a fully functioning table to eat at.  Although it looks more for a playroom and all of our furniture is dark wood, I still love the all white and the price, $90, is better looking than $450.

Image from P'Kolino.com

Espresso Here, There, Anywhere Play Table from The Land of Nod: I love this table.  It looks like our table and chairs.  I also love that you can easily add more chairs for friends.  The only downfall is there is no storage, which for us is a big feature.  The table retails for $119 with the option to mix and match chairs, sold separately, in a variety of colors and styles starting at $69 (see The Land of Nod for more options).  My favorite are the storage chairs, $75 each.

Image from TheLandofNod.com

Image of storage chairs from TheLandofNod.com

So many decisions to make to make our apartment look more like a home and less like a playroom.  I’m still looking but these are my favorites so far.  Any other suggestions?

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

It’s a plane, It’s a train, It’s… Time to Eat!

16 Feb

I have a few baby showers to go to over the next couple of months.  I came across this adorable Oogaa mealtime set which would go perfectly with a food theme gift.  Unfortunately I had already purchased gifts off their registry or I would have definitely bought this set.  The Oogaa mealtime set is perfect for babies learning to eat as they are introduced to new foods.  I can’t even tell you how many times I pretended the spoon was a plane and had to “ZOOOOOMMMMM” it into the girls mouths.  I never did a train “chugging” into the tunnel (mouth), but I am sure they would love that too.  I still find myself “pretending” to get them to eat the last couple of bites.  Not only does it help get the food into their mouth but they get a kick out of it too.  Maddie saw me writing this post and asked for this set.

The Oogaa mealtime set retails for $16.99 and comes with a 9oz bowl and 2 spoons (1 plane and 1 train).  The spoons and bowl are silicone and come in a variety of colors.  They are safe for dishwasher, microwave, oven, freezer & electric sterilizers (Oogaa.com).  

Image from Oogaa.com

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I have never seen or used this product up close, but it was too cute not to share.

“Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken {Recipe}

14 Feb
I got this recipe from my mom a few years ago.  I have no idea where she got it from but it is one of my favorites. I make it when we have people over for dinner, when I bring dinner to friends after they have a baby, and every once in a while for the four of us.  Anyone I have made it for has loved it.  The girls love it too, especially when we use fun shape pastas.  If you decide to stay in tonight this recipe is easy and delicious.  It would be great with a bottle of wine for the mommies and daddies and some sparkling cider for your little Valentine(s).
*When I make it for the four of us I cut the recipe in half and it still makes a lot.  I have also used shrimp instead of chicken in the past and it is just as good.
Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut bite sized
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (9oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 (1lb) box farfelle pasta (or any other pasta you like), Since it is a special Valentine’s dinner we used “Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta by The Pasta Shop: Pastabilities (see my post about Pastabilities)
Directions:
  1. Saute chicken pieces with garlic, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt in the 2 Tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil for 5-7 min, or until chicken is cooked.
  2. Drain tomatoes and add to chicken, reduce heat and sauté for 3 minutes longer.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on box.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
  5. Add parmesan cheese on top.

Serve with a salad or veggies.

14 Feb

A “House of Love”

13 Feb

A month ago I was at our local Barnes and Noble and came across the Dancing Deer Gingerbread Cookie House Kit on sale.  We never got around to making a house over the holidays so decided to get it to decorate a “House of Love” for Valentine’s Day.  We finally got around to making it over the weekend while we were visiting my parents. We followed the directions from the kit, which the mold of the house is the box, which we frosted with the icing mix which came with the kit.  I prepared the icing before and had to ice the house one side at a time to keep it from hardening.  The icing dried faster than I expected, luckily my mom was there to add water for me. We opted not to use the cookies for the roof and used candy hearts instead.  To decorate the rest of the house we used valentine’s m&m’s, candy corn, heart gummies and twizzlers. Maddie had a great time decorating and Pela had a great time sneaking candy. The house is a great table top decoration for a Valentine’s dinner or party.  If you have a gingerbread house* mold or graham crackers* for a smaller one, it would be a great Valentine’s day activity.  You will also need Royal Icing* and your favorite Valentine’s candy.  * I have not tried these recipes.

Using leftover Valentine Funfetti frosting to make ginger girls!

Caught sneaking candy!

Fancy Restaurant and socialsklz:)

10 Feb

Image from socialsklz.com

All dressed up and setting the table.

“Fancy restaurant” started last summer while we were visiting my brother-in-laws at the beach.  Maddie got upset that everyone went out and we stayed back because going out to eat with two toddlers is extremely difficult.  In order to cheer up Maddie, my husband told her they were going to play “Fancy Restaurant” and allowed her to stay up a little later.  Her eyes lit up.  The two of them set up a table with a towel as the table-cloth, he grabbed a pen and paper to take orders, filled a pitcher with water, threw a hand towel over his arm and set the table with plates and utensils.  Maddie sat down.  He left the room and then re-entered with “Hello, Welcome to Maddie’s Fancy Restaurant! May I take your order?  What would you like to eat this evening?  We have some specials you might like (he listed some  of her favorite snack foods)”.  When Maddie would get up or scream for something else she wanted he would remind her that she was being inappropriate by saying “Excuse me Ma’am, this is a fancy restaurant and we would appreciate it if you could stay at your table and use a lower voice”.  Maddie would quickly go back to her table.  Pela is still a little young to fully understand but she loves to play too.  I never thought about it being part of learning social skills or practicing before going to dinner at a restaurant.

Waiting for dinner.

We were playing “Fancy Restaurant” a couple of weeks ago and think about socialsklz:-) founder Faye Rogaski.  Faye spoke at a MomTrends event in November about teaching social skills to children.  I recently reached out to her because I wanted to get some tips on teaching diningsklz:-) to young children, especially since we have weddings and other special dinners coming up.  Today is my Dad’s birthday and we will be going out to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate.  We have been playing “Fancy Restaurant” and working on what Faye suggested to prepare for the night out.  See below for what Faye had to say about teaching diningsklz:-).

Mealtime etiquette can be a daunting endeavor for parents,particularly when eating out with others.
First and foremost, start your dining lessons in the comfort of your own home,without the pressure (on you or your child) of being out.

Plan for a “dinner party” or as Jennifer likes to call it at her home a “Fancy Restaurant” night. A dinner party or evening dining out requires preparation and doing so in advance sets you and your child(ren) up for success:

1/ teach your child how to invite people and put together invitations
2/ discuss a healthy well-balanced meal and the menu for the evening
3/ enjoy setting the table with a proper place setting at each seat and placecards
4/ go over mealtime do’s and don’ts (no need to use the word “behavior” kids cringe when they hear it)
Including where the napkin goes, how to sit, using utensils, talking without food in his/her mouth, excusing
Him/herself from the table, etc…
Before you do this part of the lesson put together a list of the most important things to you at the table.
And based on your child’s age, go over more or less specifics.
5/ explain what a “toast” is and show your child(ren) what a toast looks like and how we make eye contact when tapping glasses.
6/show children where utensils go when in resting position and in finished position.

What's wrong with this picture?

7/ discuss what happens during a dinner-conversation and enjoyment!
8/ demonstrate where the napkin goes at the end of the meal
9/ share with children what they should do if they don’t like a food on their plate.
10/ and finally share the importance of a thank you to the “host” or to the person paying for the meal

For assistance or mealtime etiquette queries, email Faye Rogaski, founder  socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern worldfaye@socialsklz.com. socialsklz:-) offers modern day social interaction and communication skills workshops throughout NYC (Upper East/West, Columbus Circle, Tribeca, Brooklyn) that include diningsklz:-) lessons.

Time for a "fancy" dessert!