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.

Surviving the Family Road Trip

Family vacations don't have to be super stressful. In fact they can actually be fun!

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” — Henry Miller

It’s spring break season and for many of us that means it’s time for a family road trip. Whether you’re packing up the mini-van and heading cross country to visit Grandma and Grandpa or finally taking that trip to Hawaii, traveling with little ones can be a challenge. To keep them from shouting, “Are we there yet?” every two minutes and actually using travel time to bond with your family, we’ve asked some of our road trip all-stars how they make it work.

Jill – San Diego

2 kids ages 10 and 13

Off-Road Adventure

 ”We took a two day road trip to Baja, Mexico, it was off-road for most of it! Six months later we did two and half days of airport travel from San Diego to Montevideo, Uruguay!”

Surf’s up!
“I actually believe kids need to know how to feel bored, and overcome it on their own. However, I put a big box between them of books, pens, paper, etc., and we listen to music, talk, play “old school” travel games…and sometimes….GASP…feel bored! In our family you aren’t allowed to use the word ‘bored’ because my husband says, ‘only boring people get bored.’”

 

Heather – Fishers, Indiana
4 kids – Kaitlyn (8), Sadie (6), Porter (4), and Logan (16 months)

Bag of Tricks

“We went 1,500 miles in three days once for a family reunion. I packed a Mary Poppins bag to take in the car. I bought two huge reusable bags and filled them with all kinds of activities — in gallon-sized Ziploc bags — to pull out every couple of hours!”

Heather’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Bag of Fun:


- dry erase board and dry erase markers
- pipe cleaners & instruction book
- chalk and construction paper
- Bingo sheets w/ stickers to mark them
- brand-new spiral notebook and crayons/colored pencils
- mazes, dot-to-dots
- joke books
- new coloring book & crayons
- “how to draw” books & blank paper
- books
- Custom CD mixes
- Portioned out snacks (goldfish, granola bars, juice boxes, suckers, etc.)

Tara — Atlanta, Georgia
3 kids ages 2,7 and 8

 

 

American Idol Car Edition

“To keep everyone entertained I sing. I’ll sing Lionel Richie, Green Day, Coldplay, Katy Perry, cartoon theme songs, show tunes — even The Brady Bunch! The kids like to ask questions about whether or not the song is ‘old people’s music.’ It works every time!

Shannon — Frederick, Maryland

3 kids ages 5, 7, and 10

Making Something Old New Again

“I pack each of the kids a bag of things that I have either purchased for the trip or things from the house that I don’t think they have played with in quite some time.  These include books from under their beds, games from the basement closet, a few easy crafts that I find in the dollar bins, snacks and drinks, car game books that I make from online printables and magazines to cut up.  They also LOVE to write on index cards so I buy a pack or two for them to use.”

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!