Mom Time:

A Greek-Inspired Healthy Dish

Easy and delicious for the whole family

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Here’s a GREAT Mom dish brought to you by Las Vegas District Consultant, Maria Oakes! It’s quick, easy, tasty and healthy – all things we moms look for in every meal we make!

Pick any Taverna, Cafe, or restaurant anywhere in all of Greece and you will find a “Horiatiki” salad on every menu. The Greek-style salad is a staple in Maria’s home. It can be served as a side dish when you’re missing that healthy extra- oomph or even as a meal in itself! Prep time is just about 5 minutes….literally as long as takes to cut the vegetables and drizzle the Olive Oil.

Maria’s favorite veggies are always (1st) from the garden, (2nd) from the farmer’s market and/or even the local grocer around the corner. Here are all the ingredients:
  • Tomatoes (as close to home grown as you can, is the best)
  • English Cucumbers preferably (but other Cucumbers work just as well)
  • Red Onions give the most flavor (but white or even green are great in a pinch too)
  • Green peppers (or get crazy and throw in yellow, orange or red too)
  • Kalamata olives (or whatever olive you might fancy)
  • Feta Cheese – the favorite is FRENCH Feta (shhh, don’t tell the family)- mainly because it’s creamier and doesn’t have the bite that some of the others have!
  • Freshly baked bread- French Loaf, Baguette or Italian Round all work great!
So let’s do it!
  • Simply chop your veggies up to bite size pieces
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (yes, always Extra Virgin – you can find some that are very tasty AND inexpensive)
  • Season with salt, pepper and Oregano to taste
Then enjoy! Maria typically serve this “family-style” – so break bread, dip in and munch right off of the platter!

Teaching Your Child to Love The Planet

A few helpful tips on raising earth conscious kids

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Spring is here! It’s time to kick the kids off the couch and commune with nature! Teaching your children about the environment doesn’t have to feel like a lecture series. Make learning about our big, beautiful planet fun and exciting with these easy and cost-effective outdoor activities.

Get a Green Thumb: Planting flowers and trees allows children to beautify their yard with splashes of vibrant color. Picking out seeds is half the fun and kids will love getting to help decide what to plant. After sowing the seeds, kids will see that with a little water and patience they can sprout a beautiful bouquet of blooms and food. Planting herbs and vegetables shows children how to contribute to the dinner table and save some greenbacks!

 


Take a Walk: Get exercise while simultaneously discovering the many wonders of the natural world with your family. Whether it’s a state park trail, a beach, or even your subdivision, pick a serene setting where you can stroll and discuss a variety of environmental topics. Explain how to recycling, why we don’t litter, or something as awesome as how bees help flowers multiply. Having a beautiful backdrop for these conversations illustrates why making smart, “green” choices is so important.

 


Read a Book: The library is a great resource that many of us forget to tap into. At your local branch, you’ll find a multitude of books (and even some e-books for on-the-go reading) to help illustrate eco-friendly ideas. Check out your books or read them aloud with your kiddo. The best part? The card is free, the books are free (if you get them back in time!), and you’re reducing your footprint by sharing books instead of buying your own!

Regardless of your teaching methods, these experiences will give your children a greater appreciation for their environment and their eco-friendly mama!

Leneille Brathwaite lives in Atlanta and is a mother of one adorable 1-year-old. She’s a mom on a mission to stay on budget but still have fun.

Under $30 – Easter Brunch for 8

Don’t let Easter brunch take a bite out of your budget

Easter Brunch for Under $30

There are endless wallet-friendly recipes you could make for Easter brunch, and the most befitting ingredient is obviously eggs. You need a solid meal between tearing through the Easter egg baskets and waiting for the Easter egg hunt to begin. Have some fun by making dishes that the kids can pitch in with, but keep the cleanup minimal by going for a “one pot” approach. Forget made-to-order eggs, here is an easy family-style brunch for under $30.

The Main Dish: Egg & Chorizo (or Soyrizo) Casserole

Cost of ingredients: $12

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 12 oz chorizo or Soyrizo, crumbled
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz pre-shredded hash browns
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs in large bowl and combine with bell pepper (or any vegetable you like), milk, pepper jack cheese and Soyrizo or chorizo. (Soyrizo is a delicious vegetarian alternative to chorizo available at all Trader Joe’s for about $4.) Evenly scatter hash browns in bottom of greased 9×13-inch rectangular casserole dish and pour egg mixture over them. Bake for 45 minutes until eggs are set and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake for additional 15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Great garnished with a dollop of sour cream or your favorite hot sauce. You’ll love the crispy potato crust on the bottom.

Something Sweet: Ooey Gooey Monkey … err … Bunny Bread

Cost of ingredients: $10

  • 2 cans of pre-made buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the granulated sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and remove the biscuit dough from the cans. Separate each biscuit into four pieces and roll into balls (this is a great job for the kids). Place all of the dough balls in the bowl and use your hands to coat them in sugar. Add more granulated sugar if necessary. Arrange the dough balls and pecans in a greased Bundt pan, making sure nuts are evenly distributed. Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a bowl and pour mixture over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool. Remove from pan and place in center of table. Kids have so much fun pulling apart the sticky sweet monkey bread.

*This meal is about 8 adult servings.

TIp: Use your remaining budget to buy some fresh fruit to slice up, or sneak a bottle of champagne for the grownups!

 

 

 

The Candy-Free Easter Egg Hunt

Avoid extra hyper kiddos and sugar surges with these tips for a sweet tooth free good time!

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Sometimes it feels like the holidays have become synonymous with candy. Every month there’s a new celebration that leaves your overflowing pantry with chocolates, lollipops, and other irresistible treats. With Easter Sunday comes jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and Cadbury eggs (not to mention Grandma’s famous sugar cookies)!

Our Indiana-based District Consultant Heather has some great ideas on keeping the cavities at bay, but still keeping the festivities fun during your family’s annual Easter egg hunt.

“I color-code some of the eggs so each child gets their designated surprises,” she explains. “ For example, my daughter Kaitlyn gets to find all of the purple eggs this year!”

This tactic helps keep things fair on the playing field and lets you plan out appropriate surprises for each age group.

Trying to cut out some of the sugar-crashes and chocolate smudges this year? Well just say “no” to the traditional Bunny delivery, and say “hello” to candy-free Easter egg hunt. Here are some fun, non-candy items to hide inside plastic Easter eggs for all ages. Bonus tip: Have your kids help decorate the plastic eggs with colorful markers or puff paint before you stuff them with goodies.

For Baby Hunters under the age of 3:
- Goldfish
- Cheerios/Fruit Loops
- Animal Crackers
- Mini-plush animals

For Little Bunnies ages 3-6:
- Pennies and coins
- Bouncy balls
- Puzzle pieces hidden among a bunch of different eggs
- Stickers
- Character Band-Aids
- Play-Doh
- Mini bubble bottles

For Big Kids:
- Lego pieces
- Hair accessories
- Jewelry
- Dollar bills
- Inflatable beach balls
- Temporary tattoos
- Gum

For everyone:
- Family coupons which can be redeemed for bigger prizes (like a family night out to the movies, a book, or a Barbie)
- Real eggs – Hard boil and decorate some real eggs the night before and have everyone help paint them. The kids will love finding the eggs they helped decorate.

What non-candy items do you plan on including in your Easter egg hunt this year? Let us know.