Fun Friday – Go Green! How 3 Simple Tips Can Save YOU Some Green

Go Green is a sustainable environmental program to revitalize the Philippine ecosystem and sustain the Philippine fashion accessories industry.  It is an initiative of the Fashion Accessories Manufacturers And Exporters Foundation Philippines, Inc. (FAME Foundation) in partnership with the Department Of Environment And Natural Resources Region VII (DENR-VII).

Image: bestplacesofinterest.com – Article: saveyourair.com/worldwatch.org

Hey, happy Friday.  Last week we celebrated Earth Day as a reminder to everyone how important it is to protect our resources. Well, today is Arbor Day, in honor to take care of our trees. So, I have some simple tips that will not only help the planet, but also your pocket-book!

Heat/Air Systems

Did you know that indoor air pollutants are up 100X higher than outside? Yuk! Time to open up some windows! Better indoor air quality keeps the heat & a/c components from dirt & debris.

So keep your systems up to date. Regular heating & a/c tune-ups can save you up to 30% on your energy bills. Upgrading your heat & air systems can save you a whopping 50% on your energy bills! Also, just turning your a/c up by 2º degrees can save energy by 12%!

Recycling

Now, most of us are already familiar with recycling, per in many states in the U.S. it is now mandatory.  But, did you also know, that recycling just ONE plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W light bulb for at least 6 hrs? Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees & 7000 gallons of water! Trees provide vital protection for the Earth’s topsoil from erosion, oxygen, and homes for wildlife. They are also a renewable resource that provides a variety of materials for building, fuel & office supplies. If we could increase our recycling rate from 35% to 75%, it could create 1.5 million permanent new jobs. Show me the money! If you’re not recycling, that should be enough motivation to inspire you to start! And for others, to take your recycling up a notch!

Buy Smart

Try to skip the bottled water if possible, which can be expensive. Buying a home filter & also investing in a portable filtered thermos for your water, will save you more money in the long run. Also, try to invest in more natural foods & natural cleaners for your home. Looking for items without the extra additives & extra chemicals, will cut down on the toxicity levels you inhale & ingest, which can save your health…which is priceless!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these simple tips that can not only help you individually, but our planet as a whole…& as you know, we’re in this together!😊

Now, do YOU Recycle? Please share any suggestions you have to Go green or what you are doing to personally contribute.

5 Unbelievably Delicious Holiday Desserts That’s Healthy Too!

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Article Reference: foodnetwork.com

Hey, everybody.  I don’t normally post today, but I couldn’t let you host your holiday meal without sharing with you some wonderful, dessert options…that also happens to be good for you. So, a win-win! Enjoy! 🙂

 

Winter Fruit Salad

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Photo: myrecipes.com

Unlike the infamous fruit cake, you’ll want to have this. You can kick off the celebration with this festive treat  by combining citrus fruit, pineapple & kiwi for a colorful salad, & adding pomegranate seeds for an extra touch.

 

Ginger Angel Food Cake

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This airy, light, heavenly dessert is flavored with fresh ginger & spiked with a lime-raspberry topping.

 

Pumpkin Cheescake

This pie favorite, is packed with all the pumpkin flavor, but with only a portion of the fat, by using reduced-fat cream cheese & greek yogurt.

 

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

Just the name makes you want to take a bite!  Reducing the amount of cream cheese & adding cocoa powder & melted chocolate…results in a silky smooth, rich, chocolaty dessert!  Yum! 😍

 

Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies

A true, child favorite…lighter in fat, but not the taste! These chewy delights are still packed with delicious flavor, with whole-wheat pastry flour, added oats, & agave nectar, so you can indulge without the guilt! 🙂

 

Whole Grain Apple-Cranberry Stuffing

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Ok, ok, I KNOW this isn’t exactly a dessert, but technically…it does have fruit 😉 Considering stuffing is an all time holiday favorite for a mass amount of families, I figured I should squeeze it in. You don’t mind right? 😉  Whole grain baguette is substituted for the traditional white bread , & topped off with apples, dried cranberries, ground cinnamon & sage. Dig in!

 

Mmm, Mmm! 😍 I don’t know about you, but I just may start my holiday tasting early! I do hope you found these recipes helpful….as always, feel free to comment.

I’ll be posting again tomorrow, Friday my usual day… with a final Christmas treat for you, before the holiday, so be sure to check back for it.”Toodles!” 😊

Fun Friday – Let’s Eat Out!

Hello everyone, how was your week? I hope you had an awesome Labor Day.  I’m pretty sure EVERYONE has started back to school by now. Usually, the day after Labor Day is the kick-off for every remaining school that didn’t start prior. So, what now?  No worries, it’s the weekend! No need to get bummed out, you can still get out & enjoy time with the family…& I have just the thing to cheer you up…

Let’s go out to eat! Yep, I have a list of a few great restaurants & eateries to treat your palate like royalty!  I’ve been giving you great recipes all week to try at home…so now, it’s time to give yourself a treat, you deserve it. 🙂  I tried to pick the best chains that are globally located, so hopefully…most of you will be in proximity to some of the choices listed.  Ok, let’s get started!

 

Red Robin

With a wacky mascot that makes special appearances, a children’s birthday club, and balloons galore, Red Robin has long been a fun place to take the family. Now, thanks to a new kids’ menu that started rolling out in February and should be chain wide this month, it can be a healthy one too. Grilled chicken with Parmesan noodles, veggie burgers, and five side choices, including cantaloupe wedges, carrots with dip, and apple slices, are new to the menu. For families with food allergies, Red Robin offers a detailed yet easy-to-understand ingredient guide. It also sponsors a recipe contest every year for 6- to 12-year-olds.  Last year’s winning recipes are available in a cookbook sold online; all proceeds go to charity.

 

Chili’s 

The kids’ menu keeps growing: The chain recently added three more sides — corn, mandarin oranges, and pineapple — to the seven options it already had. Entrees range from grilled chicken to pasta to pizza. While many restaurant chains support charities, Chili’s is exceptional, raising more than $8 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital last year.  Call-ahead seating available in all locations and reservations at most.

 

Denny’s

I grew up hanging out at this restaurant.  There’s no denying that the children’s menu at this chain is far out: While your kids are waiting for their star-shaped chicken nuggets, anti-gravity grapes, astronaut applesauce, or any of the other space-themed food item to arrive, they get to sip their milk or juice from a rocket-shaped cup. On the serious side, the chain puts complete nutrition and allergy info for all its dishes, including its healthy Fit Fare items, online. Trans fat is out of most dishes — and the chain should be completely free of this unhealthy fat by this fall.  Call-ahead seating accepted at some locations.

 

Soup Plantation/Sweet Tomatoes

Buffets are a godsend when your kids won’t sit still for long. This chain, known as ‘Souplantation’ in Southern California and ‘Sweet Tomatoes’ in the rest of the country, is particularly wonderful because it’s cheap (less than $10 for adults and $5 for kids 3 and over), fast, and focused on healthy food. It features a pasta station, eight soups, a 55-foot salad bar with plenty of fruits and vegetables, a bakery section with focaccia pizza and low-fat muffins, and a soft-serve “fro yo” machine. But it’s also a great place for picky eaters to try new foods — like banana squash — because they can take just a little from the buffet.  Call-ahead seating available at some locations.

 

Claim Jumper

The only chain on the list to have separate menu options for younger and older kids, Claim Jumper’s choices are extensive — 15 entrees and 10 sides. While you’ll find some typical foods, the build-your-own pizza, frozen grapes, bean-and-cheese burritos, and barbecued chicken breast are more fun options. And there’s even a healthy dessert for kids: frozen chocolate-banana bites. Children 2 and under get a free plate with turkey, cheese, applesauce, and mandarin orange slices since the chain thinks that even the smaller kids’ meal is too big for toddlers. Other thoughtful features: changing tables in the women’s and men’s restrooms and a chain wide no-smoking policy.  Call-ahead seating and reservations accepted at all locations.

 

Uno Chicago Grill

Forget everything you think you know about this pizza restaurant. If you haven’t been there in a year or two, you’re in for a pleasant surprise: It now offers lighter, flatbread pizzas and a kids’ menu that features grilled chicken, whole-grain penne, and health-minded sides like broccoli, apples, and mandarin oranges. Kids can even put on an apron and make their own pie using flatbread dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings, which are brought to your table. The pizza is then baked and returned with the rest of the family’s order. To add to the fun, some locations offer character nights and many give an apple to kids on their way out!  Call-ahead seating available at some locations.

 

IHOP

Order breakfast for dinner!  Another childhood favorite hangout! International House of Pancakes, stylized as its acronym, IHOP, is an American multinational pancake house/fast casual family restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods.  They even have special times daily when the kids can eat free!  You can check with the restaurant for more details.  Now, they don’t actually label their menu as, “healthy meals” per say, but you can order a side of fruit & veggies to go with your meal.  Their kid menu includes; macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese & kid-sized pizza, in addition to their breakfast menu.

 

Now, if you don’t live near any of these restaurants, that’s ok, just pick one of your own favorites that’s close to you, & enjoy!  If you don’t want to go out, that’s ok too…order in! Or, just sit back, relax & enjoy a home cooked meal at home.  Well, it probably won’t be very relaxing if you’re the one doing the cooking…but, you know what I mean 😉 So, enjoy your weekend!  Until next time, “Toodles!” 🙂

 

Healthy Before-After School Snacks For Kids

Recipes from: thekitchn  Maxwell Ryan & Sara Kate Gillingham

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We all know, some of the hardest things to conquer for some parents during any given day, is getting the kids to finish their plates!  Here are a few helpful, yummy tips that I’ve come across to get you started!  (The first two recipes were targeted for new moms)But hey, we ALL love to eat right? :-)

 

1)  Yogurt Swirled W/Peanut Butter, Honey, & Graham Crackers

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2)  Yogurt-Covered Cranberries

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3)  Blueberry-Oat Quick Bread

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4)  Mini Polenta Grilled Cheese Bites W/Marinara

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Say  “CHEESE !” There’s no denying the comfort that a  cheese sandwich brings. In fact, I don’t think of a cheese sandwich as just for kids — I think of it as just delicious!

5)  Crisp Tuna Salad 

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Please pass more pasta sauce! My mouth is already salivating!
An all time favorite for sure.  Don’t let the fact that this is a “lighter” version turn you off, it’s still cheesy & delicious!

7)  Hearty & Healthy Apple Muffins

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You scream, we scream, everyone LOVES ice cream!  No need to conjure up any promises or pleading for them to eat this treat.  Just grab a spoon & they’re off to the races…a race to the table that is! :-)

Well, I hope you’ve found some of these recipes useful.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, & happy snacking!  Until next time, “Toodles!” 🙂

#FourthofJuly Party Food Ideas

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Recipes by Food Network Kitchen

Wow, summer is here!  The Fourth of July is vastly approaching, but no worries, help is here 🙂  I’ve come across some mouth-watering grilling ideas to help kick off  your awesome summer celebration 🙂

 

1)  Asian Turkey Burgers

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Now, what kind of party would it be without a delicious burger to throw on the grill? Ok, I know some of us our trying to be more health conscious, no problem. This recipe is sure to satisfy!

 

2)  Asian Chicken Burgers

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Here is another great healthy alternative.  Prep time is under 30 min! Sambal-oelek, a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, onions, green peppers, vinegar & spices, replaces the traditional ketchup condiment for this burger.  Add the extra fixings you desire to this savory meal 🙂

 

3) BBQ Chicken Burgers

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You can easily ease up on the beef with this juicy chicken burger recipe.  Each  grilled patty is souped-up with a homemade, concentrated barbecue sauce & piled high with slaw once finished.  I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to salivate 🙂

 

4)  Grilled Ratatouille Salad

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Take your salad to a new level by taking a classic French stewed side dish to the grill! And you don’t have to worry, unlike the movie, “Ratatouille”, no rats are involved 😉  This smoky salad packed with yummy favorites, is bound to be a hit at your party bash.

 

 

5) Mango-Strawberry Snow Cones

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Bring out the treats! A favorite childhood treat gets grown-up flavors (and an extra bonus, no added sugar!)  Well, I hope you enjoyed all of the recipe tips…now get your party on! Have a  spectacular Independence Day! Until next time, “Toodles!”

 

 

 

 

 

On The Move! 5 Easy Ways To Keep Kids Active

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When kids are young toddlers, it seems getting them to be active is the LEAST of your worries…it’s usually the opposite right?  “Stop running!”  “Please, sit down.” They could hardly sit still without popping up or jumping around the room.  But, we now live in a “right now,” world of convenience.  And as they age, with all of the savvy, tech gadgets that are designed to make life so much easier & faster, can sometimes cause us to get in a bit of a rut & basically, a little sluggish.  Here are some tips to help the kids & the family as a whole, keep things moving 🙂

1)  Get everyone involved      

At the end of the day, when everyone is done with homework & dinner, instead of plopping on the couch to watch TV, or to check the iPad…head outside to take a walk, or bike ride.  If school is out…even better!  You can spend even more time outdoors, especially with the extended hours of daylight 🙂 

2)  Try to get in 60 min daily     

Kids need at least a good 60 min of exercise a day to help to support strong healthy bones & muscles.  Running, fast walking, or jumping rope, are great ways to stay fit & healthy. Playing in the yard or at the park are also simple options. If you have a pet, like a dog, taking the dog for a walk or jog is an excellent option for some good cardio!

3)  Sign up for a class or activity    

I remember vividly, taking the kids to various classes & activities while on Nanny duty. Soccer, Tennis & Basketball, are all great options to keep the kids on the go!  Of course, it helps to pick something your kids will be interested in & enjoy, so they will want to continue doing it 🙂

4)  Playing Wii Sports 

Did I really say that?  Oh yes, I did!  Okay, it doesn’t have to be Wii, I mean there are so many various game options out these days, Xbox, Playstation…etc…the point is, they actually have a lot of great, active games, that you are FORCED to move while playing!   I should know, per while on Nanny duty, I went home several nights with an aching back or throbbing arms from playing virtual tennis & baseball with the kids! It’s really like the real thing, it’s pretty cool, you literally have to move your body & swing as if you’re really holding a bat or tennis racket. Even to bowl, you have to swing your arms to throw the ball. You can even race & jump virtual hurdles!

5)  Making It Fun

Kids love to compete & play games, so exercising can be both! While at the store or mall…race to the door, or race back to the car (safely of course).  You can even invest in a tracker or pedometer, so they can keep up with their own steps. You can also come up with some of your own activities too, that you think you & your family will enjoy…just get moving!   Well, that’s it for now, until next time, take care…”Toodles!”