Holiday Poppers Project

Holiday Poppers Project

Enjoy creating with the holiday poppers project during the holidays. Use colors appropriate to any holiday. These are fun to do for kids of all ages and make a great Christmas treat on the fly.

Valentine’s poppers can be made in pretty red, pink and white and Easter, of course, in pretty pastels. For Halloween you could create unique sweet treats using orange and black tissue paper and Halloween candies! Makes 8 poppers.

For your holiday poppers you will need:

  • 2 (16 x 27-inch) sheets red tissue paper
  • 2 (16 x 27-inch) sheets green tissue paper
  • Red curling ribbon
  • Green curling ribbon
  • Gold curling ribbon
  • 8 (5-inch) paper tubes (either cut a paper towel tube in half or use a toilet tissue tube)
    Selection of individual wrapped miniature candies in holiday colors/décor such as Dove chocolates, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, etc.
  1. Cut the tissue paper in half lengthwise. Cut 8 strands of each color of ribbon 15-inches long.
  2. Fill the tubes with a selection of candies.
  3. Lay one sheet of tissue paper flat on a surface. Place the tube at one edge and roll the paper tightly around the tube. Tie the ribbon tightly at both ends of the tube.
  4. Once all the tubes are wrapped and tied, arrange in an attractive presentation, such as the one pictured below.
Holiday Poppers Project
Red and Green Holiday Poppers

Extra: Christmas Place Cards

This season, why not make special place cards for Christmas dinner?Heart Beat

Get some thick construction paper, then let everybody pick their own color. Each sheet of paper can make four cards. Fold the paper into fourths and cut along the folds.

Fold each rectangle either way you like to make a tent. Write each person’s name on one face in pencil, then trace the name with glue and sprinkle the glue with colored sparkles.

To add a holiday shape, draw a pine tree or wreath on the back side using the fold as your base line. Cut out the shape with a knife, except along the fold.

To make sure the shape sits upright, tape a toothpick to the back across the fold. Decorate with glue and sparkles.

Extra idea: Paste on that person’s favorite movie star or athlete or hero.

You may want to save these place cards to use next Christmas, too.

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips
Study Tips

Let’s take a look at some quick study tips that will help you train your brain for all your studies throughout the school year and beyond!

  1. Brains don’t run on hot air. Eat breakfast.
  2. Pay attention, don’t get attention. Listen in class.
  3. Every new word deserves ink. Write facts, words and questions in a notebook.
  4. Write down assignments, every word. No shortcuts!
  5. Use down time during the day to read, write or do a math problem. You might be through home work before school is out.
  6. Get team study spirit! Have a study partner who helps you with one subject and whom you can help with another.
  7. Stiff necks not allowed! Put books and papers where you can read and write comfortably.
  8. Yaawwwwn at home, not in school! Relax between classes. Stretch and roll your shoulders and wiggle your feet.
  9. Snack time! Everybody feels a little tired about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Just don’t spoil your appetite for supper.

Speaking of snack time, following is a recipe for Pennant Cookies. A great treat after the big game win and a great comfort after a big loss…

Pennant Cookies Recipe

Great for the bake sale!

1 (18 ounce) package sugar cookie dough
Craft sticks
1 (16 ounce) container white frosting
Food coloring
1 bag M & Ms milk chocolate candies

  1. Roll out sugar cookie dough and cutout triangle shapes.
  2. Add a craft stick to the back of each cookie and adhere with a small ball of additional cookie dough.
  3. Bake according to package directions and let cool.
  4. Tint frosting to school colors and decorate with M & Ms candies.
Pennant Cookies
Pennant Cookies

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Berry Crumble Pie Recipe

Berry Crumble Pie Recipe

This berry crumble pie recipe comes from a very popular restaurant and is in demand all year long by its customers. A long standing favorite!

One satiated customer said, “This was by far the best dessert I have ever eaten and my obsession to eat every crumb could easily have been mistaken for an eating disorder!”

This pie features raspberries; however, you could use any favorite pie berry such as blueberries, strawberries, etc. We’ve been given permission to share it with one and all – hope you enjoy!
Ripe raspberries for Berry Crumble Pie Recipe

The Satiating Berry Crumble Pie Recipe

Ingredients:
1 -1/3 cups (2-2/3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperatureRaspberry trio
2/3-cup sugar plus 1-1/2 to 3 cups of sugar, depending on sweetness of berries (divided)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3-1/2 cups flour
Almond Streusel (see recipe below)
6 cups (3 pints) raspberries – pick over but do not rinse (see note)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 small disposable pie tins (see note)
Directions:

  • Cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla, scraping with a rubber scraper and mix well.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour. Add to butter mixture all at once and mix just until combined. Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and form in a flat disk. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
  • After dough has chilled, lightly dust a work surface with flour. Divide dough into 12 equal parts and roll out the dough to fit pie tins. You may roll dough scraps over again but be careful not to incorporate too much flour or dough will become crumbly. You may have to chill the scraps again before you roll them. Once you have rolled out the pie shells, fit them into pie tins making sure the dough reaches the outer rim of the tins. Return tins to refrigerator.
  • Prepare almond streusel and set aside.
  • To make filling, preheat oven to 375-degrees. Combine unwashed berries with remaining 2-1/2 to 3 cups sugar (depending on sweetness of berries), cornstarch and vanilla. Immediately spoon about 1-1/2 cups of the berry mixture into each tart shell. It is okay to heap the filling in the shells. The berries will cook down. (See notes).
  • Divide almond streusel evenly among pies. Set on cookie sheets and bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until streusel is golden and you see juice from the berries bubbling up in the center of the pies. Remove from oven and cool. Recipe makes 12 pies, one serving each.

Almond Streusal Recipe

Ingredients:Fresh almonds
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut in very small pieces
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

Directions:
Combine sugar and flour. Cut in butter using two knives, your fingers or a food processor. Toss almonds with butter/flour mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use. Divide streusel evenly between pies.

Recipe Notes

  1. Pastry recipe makes enough for 12 individual, 7-ounce pies. You may use disposable pie tins. They should measure at least three inches across the bottom, five inches across the top and be at least 1-3/8-inches high. You my find them at kitchen supply stores and some large grocery stores.
  2. Not washing the berries again will prevent excess liquid in the filling.
  3. After adding sugar and cornstarch to berries, very quickly add mixture to crusts, top with streusel and bake. If berry mixture sits too long, you will have too much liquid.

Fresh washed raspberries

Free Picnic Invitations

Free Picnic Invitations

Free picnic invitations you can download and print and keep for those yearly picnic outings.

Picnics can be a healthy family affair, a fun daytime outing with friends, or right in your own backyard. Commune with mother nature, get a good dose of fresh air and sunshine and enjoy the companionship and fun of a relaxed meal. All with a simple picnic.

When enjoying a picnic, you do want to make sure everyone stays healthy. In other words, you don’t want your picnic food to go bad. Check our article Picnic Survival on tips to achieve a food-safe picnic for all.

We also share some tips on Packing for a Picnic. Complete with ideas and tips for your picnics food feast.

Last but not least, you may also want to check out Picnic Pleasure: Then and Now. Whatever your reason for a picnic, it’s the the spirit, not the food, that makes a picnic special.

Free Picnic Invitations

To help you get your picnic plans off and running, we’re giving away a PDF of picnic invitations. The first page is the front of the free picnic invitation and the second page, the back. If you have a double sided printer and are familiar with using this feature, simply use the double-sided option and both sides will print.

No double sided printed? No problem! Simply print page one, turn your paper according to your printer’s specs and print the back of the free picnic invitation. You’ll get two invitations per page. Print as many as you need or want, keep the file for future use or share with friends and family.

It’s truly a total freebie. We haven’t done a Friday freebie in a while, so we’re putting the free picnic invitation into the Friday Freebie category, even though we’re a few hours early.

Hope you enjoy – and make use of – the free picnic invitations, because picnics can be a healthy, wholesome event for kids of all ages!

Download Your Free Picnic Invitations

Simply click the picture below. This image is the front of the invitation. The back of the free picnic invitation is beneath the front image.

Free Picnic Invitations
Free Picnic Invitations

 

Back of Free Picnic Invitations
Back of Free Picnic Invitations

Bean Dip Recipe

Bean Dip Recipes

Studies show that depressed people often lack B vitamins. Beans deliver a significant dose of these vitamins. What better way to get a good helping of them than in a delicious bean dip? Plus the “to-go-with” possibilities are nearly endless.

kidney-beans

Chili Bean Dip Recipe

Try pinto beans with rice, chickpea hummus on pita bread, or a black bean soup. Source: Secrets to Health and Wellness

Ingredients

Bowl of Fresh Beans for Chili Bean Dip
Bowl of Beans for Chili Bean Dip

1 can (16 ounce) pinto beans or 2 cups cooked dried beans
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Mash beans in a bowl.
  2. Add onion and chili powder and shredded cheese.
  3. Serve warm or cold with raw vegetables or tortilla chips.

Serving Size: Serving Size: 2 tablespoons dip
Recipe yields 15 servings of dip.

Per serving

  • Calories 40
  • Total fat 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat 1 grams
  • Trans fat 0 grams
  • Cholesterol 5 milligrams
  • Sodium 115 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate 5 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 1 gram
  • Sugars 0 grams
  • Protein 2 grams

Bean Dip Recipe

Don’t limit beans to just entree dishes or soups, use them for dips, in salads, and dessert!

Ingredients

Bean Dip Recipe
Bean Dip

2 cups canned kidney beans
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions

Drain the kidney beans, but save the liquid in a small bowl.

Place the beans, vinegar, chili powder and cumin in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add enough saved bean liquid to make the dip easy to spread.

Stir in the chopped onion and grated cheese.

Store in a tightly covered container and place in the fridge.

Serve with raw vegetable sticks or crackers. You can store this dip in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.

Notes: If you don’t have a blender, you can mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Then stir in the onion and cheese.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup. Yield: 6 servings.

Per serving:

  • Calories 150
  • Total fat 7 gram
  • Saturated fat 4 grams
  • Cholesterol 20 milligrams
  • Sodium 410 milligrams
  • Protein: 9 grams

Free PDF Downloads

Would you like to download the recipes? Grab the free PDFs!

Natural Teeth Whitening

Natural Teeth Whitening with Strawberries

Strawberries can actually whiten your smile!

Fresh Strawberries for Natural Teeth Whitening
Fresh Strawberries

Combined with baking soda, strawberries become a natural tooth-cleanser, removing stains from coffee, red wine and dark sodas.

Natural Teeth Whitening Recipe

1 ripe strawberry
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Crush the strawberry to a pulp, then mix with the baking powder until blended.

Use a soft toothbrush to spread the mixture onto your teeth. Leave on for five minutes. Brush thoroughly with toothpaste to remove the berry-baking powder mix.

Floss to remove any seeds and rinse. Use once a week.

Note: Be careful not to use this too often as the acid could damage the enamel on your teeth.

Strawberry Nutrition

Strawberries are high in vitamin C and other cancer-fighting antioxidants. Strawberries also boast a lot of fiber, plus some iron and potassium. At just 45 calories per cup, strawberries provide 85 mg of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Did you know?

Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Inside the body, the berries were said to remedy digestive upsets, while the leaves and roots were used for gout. Externally, the berries were used as to treat sunburn and blemishes. The juice was even used for discolored teeth – as noted above.

Love strawberries? Consider trying our recipe for Yogurt Popsicles  – strawberry-luscious!

 

Confetti Grain Salad

Confetti Grain Salad Recipe

Confetti grain salad is a very healthful and satisfying salad with brown rice, tangy lemon juice, green onions, parsley and your favorite vegetables.

Brown rice will only last about six months before it gets stale. When it get stale, it is very difficult to get it tender. You can cook brown rice the same as white rice, just increase the recipe listed above by 1/2 cup liquid.

Confetti Grain Salad
Confetti Grain Salad

 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
3 cups water
Juice of 2 lemons
3 green onions (also called scallions)
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, or other vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of your favorite vegetables cut into small pieces

 

Directions:

  1. Wash rice and put into a 2-quart pot with water. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer, and cook uncovered until all the water is absorbed. (approximately 45 minutes).
  2. Pour into medium sized bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Pour lemon juice over rice and stir. When rice is cooled to lukewarm, add vegetables, salt, pepper, and oil.
  4. Stir and chill at least 1 hour. This dish also can be served warm.

Serving Size: Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Recipe yields 6 servings.

Per serving:

  • Calories 300
  • Total fat 11 grams
  • Saturated fat 1.5 grams
  • Trans fat 0 grams
  • Cholesterol 0 milligrams
  • Sodium 230 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate 47 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 4 grams
  • Sugars 3 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Download Recipe in PDF

Confetti Grain Salad Recipe
Confetti Grain Salad Recipe

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Camping Breakfast Recipes

Camping Breakfast Recipes

Camping season is almost upon us! For die-hard campers, it never really ends. Following are some delicious recipes to fuel you up for your busy outdoor camping excursions.

Camping Breakfast Recipes

Delicious & Hearty Camping Breakfast Recipes

Campfire Eggs

On a 3-day camping trips? Save the remainder of the bacon from these camping breakfast recipes for the next day’s breakfast.

Ingredients:
8 slices bacon
1-1/2 cups frozen hash browns
Sweet onion
Salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs or 1-1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese

Farm Fresh Eggs
Farm Fresh Eggs

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in heavy skillet until crisp. Remove and crumble bacon. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat.
  2. Slice as much onion as your family likes very thin. Add to the pan with the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Return to heat and fry until potatoes are lightly browned.
  4. Beat together eggs, milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour over browned potatoes in skillet.
  5. Cook without stirring until mixture begins to set. Using a spatula, lift and fold partially cooked eggs so uncooked egg flows underneath. Continue cooking for about 4 minutes until cooked but not dry.
  6. Arrange crumbled bacon on top, sprinkle with cheese.

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Breakfast Tortilla Wraps

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
Eggs
Milk
Cheddar Cheese or American Cheese
Bacon
Large flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Beat your eggs together with a small amount of milk.
  2. Melt butter in pan or spray with cooking spray, and add eggs.
  3. In another pan fry your bacon in strips and drain.
  4. After the eggs are cooked, add a spoonful or two to each tortillas, some  cheese and a strip or two of bacon.
  5. Roll up the tortillas and eat!

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Sausage on a Stick

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package fully cooked smoked sausage links
1 package refrigerated bread sticks

Directions

Spear sausage on stick or hotdog fork. Coil one bread stick dough around each sausage link, pinching ends. Rotate slowly until bread is browned.

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Pineapple or Apple Pancakes

Ingredients:
8 slices canned pineapple
2 large apples
Complete pancake mix (using water)
Syrup

Directions

  1. Mix up your batch of pancake mix according to the directions and prepare as usual.
  2. Place one slice pineapple slice OR sliced apples on pan or griddle.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup batter over slice. Cook on the first side until it starts to bubble on top, then flip and brown the other side.
  4. Serve with syrup or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. This is especially good when using apples.

Download Recipes in PDF

Camping Breakfast Recipes
Camping Breakfast Recipes

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May all your camping days be filled with sunshine!
May all your camping days be filled with sunshine!

Orange Juice or Milk?

Milk Calcium vs. Orange Juice Calcium

Is the calcium  you get from supplements or fortified orange juice absorbed as well as the calcium from milk?  Scientists at Tuft’s Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory say, “Yes”.

The results of an experiment done by Tuft’s showed that blood and urine tests proved that calcium from all three sources was equally absorbed.  This is good news, especially for people who do not like or cannot drink milk. A glass of orange juice can make up for the milk many people get in their  daily morning cereal.

Reduce Dairy Fat with Low Fat Milk

However, it is worthy to note that this doesn’t make the three calcium sources nutritional equals.

Milk, for example, contains protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus. Orange juice has vitamin C and folate. Supplements are great if you need to get calcium, but overall, it is always best to get it in food if possible.

In other words, building a healthful diet is not just about getting enough calcium. It is important to construct and eating plan with a wealth of vitamins and minerals, which is why fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat dairy and other low-fat protein sources should all be figured in.

Since fruits are a favorite among many and rightfully so, how about a very enjoyable, refreshing fruit treat? And since we can’t leave out all-important vegetables, consider the quick recipes below the fruit-sweet treat.

Island Party Kabobs Recipe

Star Fruit  Sweet orange for Orange juice
Mangoes
Bananas
Oranges (but not if too juicy)
Kiwifruit Slices
Assorted Melons

Assemble on kabob sticks and serve.  Chill in the refrigerator before serving for a tasty cooler on a hot summer day.

Veggie UP Tuna or Egg Salad

Let’s not forget our vegetables!

Serve tuna or egg salad a new way by cutting off the top of a hard roll,  hollowing  it out and filling it with the salad. Add fresh onion, tomato and lettuce and put the top back  on. Enjoy.

Chili Bean Pita Pizzas

Black beans, corn, plum tomato and green chilies in a pita. This one packs a wallop of vegetable goodness!

Spread 1/4-cup fat free salsa over two small (6-inch) unopened pitas.  Divide 1/2-cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1 chopped plum tomato, and 1-tablespoon chopped green chiles between the two pitas.  Top with 1-1/2-ounce 2-percent Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake in a 450-degree oven for eight to ten minutes.

Home Grown Herbs

Home Grown Herbs Uses and Storage Ideas

Many home grown herbs will freeze beautifully to extend their shelf life. For best flavor, use herbs fresh out of the garden whenever possible. Always pinch back basil, thyme, oregano and chives so that you get fullest production out of the season.

Home Grown Herbs
Home Grown Herbs

Plants like rosemary need a good cutting now and then to keep them from getting too woody. If you haven’t planned a meal around your pruning, try some of these ideas to preserve your herbs.

Freezing Herbs

Wash herbs very well and gently pat dry with paper towels. Wrap leaves or sprigs in freezer paper or place in freezer proof zip-lock bags. Seal and freeze. These herbs can be chopped and thawed for use in cooking, but are not suitable for garnish. They will become limp when thawed. Flavor is best if herbs are used within a few months.

Herb Cubes

This is a very convenient way of storing herbs. Put the clean, dry herbs into the bottom of an ice cube tray. Fill the compartments with water or stock. Then when you need herbs, just pop them into soups, stews or sauces. You can mix and match to make combinations that you use in your recipes.

Drying Fresh Herbs

One thing to remember when using dried herbs as compared to fresh, is that you want to use 1/3 teaspoon powdered or 1/2 teaspoon crushed for every tablespoon of fresh.

Dried herbs for fresh herbs
Dried herbs for fresh herbs

Air drying is the simplest method requiring only rubber bands to secure the stems of herbs together.  Just hang upside down in a dark, airy area with good air circulation until dry. This method takes the longest time.

Microwave Drying Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety
Healthy Home Grown Herbs

Try this simple microwave drying method with herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and oregano. Wash and gently pat dry herbs picked in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is when your herbs will have the most oils in the leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two paper towels. Place in microwave and cook on high for about a minute Check them. Continue cooking for about 20 seconds at a time until the herbs are just crisp.

Drying Herbs in a Conventional Oven

When drying with a conventional oven, begin by placing the clean herbs on shallow trays in the oven. Leave the oven door ajar and turn the heat to the lowest setting. This would be about 150 degrees. Allow the herbs to dry, testing after each hour. A small electric fan placed to circulate air into the oven cavity will speed the drying time.

Storing Fresh Herbs

When storing, place herbs in airtight jars, out of direct sunlight.

If you’d like more in-depth information on home grown herbs, might we suggest the book, Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More.

This herb-helpful book by Miranda Smith will teach you everything you need to know about growing your favorite herbs using safe, natural, all-organic methods!