Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mean GREEN March!

So here we are...MARCH!  The thought of longer days and Springing forward in these parts makes me giddy!  The past couple of days have felt more bearable, with temperatures in the 30s and we may even hit 40 (gasp) today!  The sun has been shining a little brighter these past couple of days and with that, I'm looking forward to all that Spring has to offer!  

One thing I start to crave more?  GREENS!  I love the delicious options that are tasting more yummy and fresh!  We love incorporating a mix of Spring Greens, Arugula, Kale and Baby Spinach whenever we can and I'm happy to say that because of their love of the freshest stuff from our past gardens, my girls also love them!  The other night I made a simple pasta with sauteed garlic, chicken and greens, adopted from this recipe.  
Health Benefits of Eating Those Greens...

Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable that is chock-full of essential vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of fresh kale has only about 40 calories but packs almost 3 grams of protein.
One cup of cooked kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach and unlike spinach, kale's oxalate content is very low which means that the calcium and iron in kale are highly absorbable in the human digestive system.
SpinachDark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.
The possible health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving bone health, lowering the risk of developing asthma and more.
Arugula! Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 mg/100 g). High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.
Take that Popeye!  Happy Wednesday Friends! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Garden Center Tour!

Every February vacation we take an afternoon to escape to our local garden center to enjoy some milder weather, bask in a little more light, visit their birdies and see all the tropical foliage.  You can read about last year's trip here.  Our trip last week seemed especially sweet, since it's been so cold around here.  We lost track of time and when all was said and done, realized we had been wandering around for almost THREE hours!  On this trip, we looked at all the lovely tiny and not so tiny cacti, checked out the herbs and seed varieties (we are ALL eager for gardening!) and spent time just checking out the hidden fairies and center.  
For the record, we ALL agreed this bed was beautiful and would love to enjoy a slumber on something this special and beautiful!  The girls even found a fairy hidden among the foliage!  It was a great way to kick off our "stay-cation" in the warmest climate (besides the tub) we could find here in New England! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Flower Easter Treats

I was strolling through Target the other day and realized there are bunnies lurking all around.  Bunnies and Cadbury Eggs and Mini Eggs!  This time of year, there are tons of yummy Easter treats lurking around just about every corner.  It's hard to keep it healthy 100% of the time.  At Easter, we do enjoy the occasional handful of jelly beans, within moderation of course!  I'll always remember the thrill of my Easter Basket when I was a kid and looked forward to my basket scattered with jelly beans, malted milk balls and a chocolate bunny.  I always got Peeps and never ate them.  They were always the last thing left in the basket!  Overall, the Easter bunny always did a good job.  Still, I like to help the him out with a few unique treats that are a little unexpected.  That's where these super easy Flower Jelly Bean Pops come in! It's fun to get creative with the flavors too.  You can whip these up in no time and they are the perfect treat to hand out as favors at your local egg hunt or at your holiday table!

Ingredients
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans in the flavors of your choice
  • Wax Paper
  • Paper straws of lollipop sticks
  • White Chocolate
Directions
  1. Prepare your surface by laying a piece of wax paper down. 
  2. Heat your chocolate in 30 second intervals in microwave to ensure it doesn't burn or over low heat on stovetop. 
  3. Once your chocolate is melted, drop about 1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon on wax paper until you have a circle or lollipop shape of your choice
  4. Carefully place the five jelly beans of your choosing around the circle to create a flower affect
  5. Cut one jelly bean in half for the center
  6. Insert the straw into the base of your lollipop and allow to cool
  7. Enjoy!
Get creative with your favor flavors! I made white chocolate lemon lime, white chocolate banana coconut and white chocolate lemon pear here. Other ideas I had included milk chocolate raspberry, white chocolate strawberry vanilla and milk chocolate banana! Anything goes!

Hope you have a great weekend - MARCH 1st?!  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!  I'm hoping that means we will enjoy some mild and SUNNY Spring soon!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

School Vacation Week and Valentine's Day Catch Up

Here we are in the very LAST week of February!  We are having a great week so far, school vacation week for us.  I can tell you that we've been making the most of our week!  It started out with a sunny, beautiful and 30 degree Sunday. We took the girls sledding and they spent the rest of the day building a GIANT snowman and snow-fort.  I can honestly say it was the first time in a while that they could enjoy ALL THIS SNOW!  They came in exhausted, happy and soaked! The cold temperatures returned earlier in the week but we got in a trip to the greenhouse and some special time in the kitchen.  Riley selected and executed dinner for us and it was delicious - I'll share that recipe later this week!  

I'm happy we still have the rest of this week to enjoy.  February vacation is typically a "Stay-cation" for us, just a time to enjoy our family!

With that, I wanted to share a couple of their Valentine's for friends and classmates before we headed onto March.  MARCH!  That means soon we will be ready for seed planting and green grass - or MUD in our case because I'm guessing it will be one doozy of a mud season! 

We used a template from Skip to My Lou for Sydney's Valentines and decided to gift smencils (scented pencils) instead of lollipops.  
We grabbed this from Simple As That for Riley's buddy
Have a great Wednesday friends! 
 
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