Mini Lasagna Cups [Kid Food]

First in our Kid Food Summer Series is Mini Lasagna Cups. We originally found another recipe but decided to go with this one, so the ingredients aren’t exactly the same as the link in the bottom of the post. (This post is by Emily in case anyone was wondering who lovepeaceandstyle was.)

Ingredients

I read the list of ingredients out loud and my mom got out all the stuff. (As you can see, we like to go to Trader Joe’s.)

We measured out all the stuff and it was really fun. The wonton wrappers were really flour-y.

Mommy was browning the meat.

I’m putting in the marinara sauce.

Jie (pronounced ‘jeh’ Chinese for ‘big sister’) is grinding the salt so the ricotta cheese will be tastier and more flavorful.

I did the same thing as Melody but with pepper.

I was stirring it together so the salt and pepper will not just be on top.

We were putting in the won ton wrappers after the muffin tin was sprayed with cooking spray. We like the coconut oil one from Trader Joe’s.

We put in a spoonful of ricotta cheese.

Melody put in the meat.

We put in the mozzarella cheese.

We added another layer of won ton wrappers and repeated the steps above with the cheese and meat sauce.

It’s ready for the oven!

Let’s eat!

We added a side of salad.

Ta-da!

Our Thoughts

  • Dad – Added a bunch more meat sauce because of a bad experience with ricotta as a kid.
  • Mom – It was okay. Would have it again.
  • Big Sis – They’re okay.
  • Little Sis – They’re good.

We didn’t have a strong opinion about this recipe. It was super simple to make, but nothing fantastic. We’ll take or leave the salad too.

Recipe + Next Time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ground beef (probably only used a little more than a quarter pound of meat)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (depending on the thickness, I think we could use a little less)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (if you don’t like cheese so much, decrease the amount of this one)
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 24 2-inch wonton wrappers (I don’t think ours was 2 inches)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (sounds good to us!)
  • nonstick cooking spray or oil to grease the muffin tin
  • chopped parsley, optional (the other recipe we were originally going to try didn’t have this on the list so we didn’t buy any)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add meat and cook until browned.
  • Drain excess fat from meat.
  • Stir marinara sauce into meat.
  • Season ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. (You can skip the seasoning or season each lasagna cup layer lightly if you don’t want to measure out all the ingredients.)
  • Fit wonton wrappers into the tins.
  • Fill each cup with ricotta cheese, sauce mixture, mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat for another layer.
  • Place into the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Bolded instructions can be done by younger chefs!

We probably won’t measure ingredients out next time since it is super easy to just put the ingredients in the muffin cups. Add more of what you like or use less of what you don’t like. It’s a customizable recipe! 🙂 The meat could be done ahead of time if an even quicker meal was needed.

What are you and your kiddos’ favorite recipes to make or foods to eat? Do you like sweets, savory treats, exotic flavors? Do tell!

We used this recipe. There’s a cute little video. Hover over the link before clicking on it with kiddos around in case you don’t want them to say that word.

Simple Green Smoothies Round #2

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

What is Simple Green Smoothies?

[Repost] I heard of Simple Green Smoothies a few years ago, but because I’m not one to complicate food prep (why do more than I need to if everyone eats fruits plain as it is), I never gave it much thought. But I was reintroduced to the site and its challenge when I was looking into doing challenges because y’all know we love a good challenge around here. SGS was started by Jen and Jadah in 2011. They wanted to share their story of how a simple green smoothie each morning changed their lives, and they wanted to show others how being “green” is easier than we think! So SGS was born. There are lots of smoothies on the website and they have also come out with *a book of smoothie recipes (31% on Amazon right now!). In addition to smoothies, if anyone is beyond the basics (not me! :p ), Jen also has great (and easy-to-understand) information about cleanses, resets, wholesome eating, and making smoothies a meal replacement.

What is the 10-Day Kick Start?

Here’s the 10-Day Kick Start in a nutshell:

🍓🍊🍌🍍🍐
10 green smoothies
10 days
@simplegreensmoothies

The book has a shopping list divided into two weeks so all your ingredients can be fresher. Each day has some useful information about the ingredients.

Prepping for Our Second Challenge

Norm does the grocery shopping around here because he’s better at remembering which stores are best for different items and what deals are available. So here are our shopping details:

– Trader Joe’s and Safeway
– Spinach was bagged
– Oranges and bananas were fresh
– Mangoes, pineapples, and berries were frozen

We didn’t track the cost this time around, although it would compare.

Instead of prepping ahead and freezing all the ingredients in baggies, we kept all ingredients as they were and Norm and sometimes Emily made the smoothies in the morning. We made sure to have the blender, measuring cups, and cups ready to go, and for a few of the days, we poured the coconut water into the measuring cup or peeled and refrigerated the oranges the night before. This saved on time. I think overall time used would be about the same as freezing them in baggies, but we didn’t time it to see the difference. :p

[Read about our Simple 7 Experience HERE.]

What We Did for the Challenge 

I shared in our first green smoothie post that we don’t necessarily drink the green smoothies for any additional health benefits since we do try to get plenty of fruits and veggies. So, once again, we made a serving (16-oz.) to split up among the four of us each morning. It was enough for us since we would still eat a little something as well. (Repost: I will have to say MANY other Simple 7 Squad members have reported smoother skin, more energy, and better overall nutritional decisions in the rest of their meals.)

Note: We have a *Breville BBL605XL Hemisphere Control Blender and it works for us, but there are high-powered ones, basic ones, as well as personal-size ones in The Blender Guide.

Our Thoughts About the Smoothies

Unlike the Simple 7 Experience, the Kick Start only consisted of spinach as the greens, and I think we were all fine with that fact. Day 1 was Beginner’s Luck, and once again, we all agreed it was the best one. Citrus Crush on Day 10 was a close second for everyone. That is a great way to end the 10 days. We said we would drink it if it was offered to us, but none of really liked Pink Flamango from Day 2.

You can read more of our thoughts on each of the 10 smoothies on these posts: Update #1 and Update #2, but here’s the rating board Melody made for us to track which ones we liked best.

Our Thoughts About the Challenge…and Next Steps

[Repost] This is a great start to healthier eating, especially for people who do not regularly eat greens! It’s like I tell the girls all the time, you won’t know if you’ll like it until you try it. And if you try it and don’t like it, that’s fine too, but make sure to add fruits/veggies in your diet somewhere in your day/week. And if there are allergies or an ingredient you really don’t like, you can just swap it out. The Simple Green Smoothie Formula will help you out with that!

Prepping – Since we just made it in the mornings, the girls didn’t really get a chance to help prep much, but they did help to gather all the tools and ingredients each night. I think we will try to more out the ingredients into containers next time around. We will read through our *SGS book some more and choose a few more new ones to try. Everyone is a good sport about trying the smoothies even if it has ingredients that aren’t our favorites.

Freezing – The spinach blended much better without freezing, so we will continue to keep it out if we ever decide to freeze all the ingredients, but we think how we had the fresh stuff out and the frozen things in worked out perfectly.

Drinking – We definitely will continue to split the smoothies to drink among the four of us. For summertime, it would be a perfect middle-of-the-day drink to cool down from the heat! Be on the lookout for our next challenge!

Have you tried a green smoothie before? What other colors of smoothies have you had? :p What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

Links:
– Check out Simple Green Smoothies here –> simplegreensmoothies.com
– Join the Simple 7 Challenge here –> simplegreensmoothies.com/simple7
– Buy the Simple Green Smoothies book here –> *amzn.to/2lR9xxj (it’s 31% off at the time this post goes live)
– 
Read about our Simple 7 Experience HERE.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Kid Food [Summer 2017]

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Summer Break!

[Summer Series Repost] Whether these two little words bring you feelings of panic or happiness, we probably all have to agree that we have to find a rhythm for our summer days so we don’t feel overwhelmed by feelings of having too much OR too little to do. Our family has had summers of both those dynamics. There were laid-back summers when we didn’t have any plans and just went with the flow of whatever someone called us up to do in the morning or afternoon or evening. There were full summers when we signed up for all the things and packed it in from morning to night. Haha…just kidding, we’re the Moys, we never pack it in from morning to night. :p I (Joyce) am pretty much done peopling after a half day anyhow. But we did have some summers that were fuller than not. And…after finding out how much camps costs (we’ll have to budget for them in the future or use college funds), we have come up with our own flexible schedule for the three months we are “off” for summer (because you know we never stop learning!).

You can survey your own friends to find out what activities they like to do and places they like to go and come up with your on summertime calendar ‘o fun!

Kid Food

So, an afternoon activity we came up with is cooking! We didn’t survey friends this time, but it would be fun to find out what everyone likes to cook or bake! We did a quick search online as well as on our old blog and find a few items we want to try out (again). Below is the list we came up with for our menu for this summer.

  • Mini Lasagna Cups
  • Ham + Veggie Pinwheels
  • Blueberry / Peach Crisp
  • Nutella Brownies
  • Shells + White Cheddar
  • BLT Salad
  • Tomato Butter Spaghetti
  • Pineapple Fried Rice

Here’s what our friends had to say about their favorite kid-friendly meals!

Coming soon!

We have seen some amazing recipes and would like to try them all, but since we don’t really have time to do that, please share your pics with us! And we’ll be updating with pics from our mini-cooking adventures!

What are you and your kiddos’ favorite recipes to make or foods to eat? Do you like sweets, savory treats, exotic flavors? Do tell!

 

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

10-Day Kick Start Update #2 [Simple Green Smoothies]

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Last week, we invited you to join us for a Green Smoothie Challenge. How are you doing? What have you tried and liked?

We’ll do a wrap-up when we end mid-May, but for now, here’s a look at our “green” smoothies from Day 6-10 (here’s Day 1-5 if you missed it) and some of our quick thoughts about each one. Sorry about the foaminess of the smoothies. They were just poured straight from the blender. Also, the color may not be appealing, but there is no correlation between color and taste. You’ll be surprised by which ones you’ll like. We will have more tips and recommendations soon!

Cream Machine

This one is different than the others we have tried. It is thick and creamy. A straw would come in handy.

Peach Coconut Dream

We thought this should be called Grape Coconut Dream instead because it was definitely grape-y. You can see the grape skin in the drink. But the flavor is good otherwise.

Strawberry Carrot Cooler

E – “I didn’t like it. There was too much carrots.” M – “It tasted more like pineapples to me.” J – “I’m generally not a huge fan of carrots, and I could definitely taste the tiny pieces in there, but the smoothie itself does taste more like pineapple.” Carrots are generally more noticeable because of its hardness. This is one you will want to drink right after blending because the “pulp” definitely seemed to separate from the liquid after awhile.

Banana Berry Blast

E – It tastes like blackberries. M – It tastes like almond milk. We are indifferent about this one, but it was not bad.

Citrus Crush

“This is the best one this week!” We all gave this one a thumbs up! Yummy and refreshing.

Follow us here –> @normmoy | @iamjoymoy | @moychronicles

Here are some ways to join us:

1) Check out Simple Green Smoothies and choose your own smoothie adventures. –> simplegreensmoothies.com
2) Join the Simple 7 Challenge here –> simplegreensmoothies.com/simple7
3) Buy the Simple Green Smoothies book and join our fam for the 10-Day Kick Start! –> *amzn.to/2lR9xxj (it’s 38% off at the time this post goes live)
4) Still not sure? Try Beginner’s Luck! –> simplegreensmoothies.com/beginners-luck-green-smoothie

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

10-Day Kick Start Update #1 [Simple Green Smoothies]

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

A few days ago, we invited you to join us for a Green Smoothie Challenge. How are you doing? What have you tried and liked?

We’ll do a wrap-up when we end mid-May, but for now, here’s a look at our “green” smoothies from Day 1-5 and some of our quick thoughts about each one. Sorry about the foaminess of the smoothies. They were just poured straight from the blender. Also, the color may not be appealing, but there is no correlation between color and taste. You’ll be surprised by which ones you’ll like. We will have more tips and recommendations soon!

Beginner’s Luck

This recipe is part of the Simple 7 experience. We liked it the first time and we still like it!

Pink Flamango

This was decent. Maybe we were just surprised by the strong almond milk flavor. Adults finished theirs. Kiddos did their best. At least they gave it a try. But we would all drink it again if it was offered to us.

Pineapple Dream Cake

In the morning, from across the house, we could hear, “This is better than yesterday’s smoothie!!!!” Despite its appearance, it is pretty yummy. We all finished and would make it again.

Very Berry Citrus

When asked about this one, E (7) said, “I don’t know, it’s just good,” and M (10) asked, “Can I have some more?”

Mango Orange Madness

“I like it because it is finally green now.” – E (7) Then she went on to talk about green smoothies and why they are green and why they are healthy for you…and if you know E, you know she continued on after that… :p

Coming up, we have Cream Machine, Peach Coconut Dream, Strawberry Carrot Cooler, Banana Berry Blast, and Citrus Crush! We’ll let you know how it goes!

Follow us here –> @normmoy | @iamjoymoy | @moychronicles

Here are some ways to join us:

1) Check out Simple Green Smoothies and choose your own smoothie adventures. –> simplegreensmoothies.com
2) Join the Simple 7 Challenge here –> simplegreensmoothies.com/simple7
3) Buy the Simple Green Smoothies book and join our fam for the 10-Day Kick Start! –> *amzn.to/2lR9xxj (it’s 49% off at the time this post goes live)
4) Still not sure? Try Beginner’s Luck! –> simplegreensmoothies.com/beginners-luck-green-smoothie

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Tips for Traveling with Kids

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

We’ll be adding to this list, but here are some super quick thoughts I had from this trip. Some items are more specific to a trip to the city like Washington, D.C. and less specific to…say our time in the Australian rainforest.

HAVE A PLAN

But be flexible. When traveling, we are out of our normal schedule, but if there is a rhythm to the day, things will go much more smoother. We tend to have an unofficial top 10 list of things to do/places to eat, and then we go with the flow of plugging in the items where there are set dates/times because of reservations and the rest of it is either planned out by area/location and fairly flexible. This depends on where you are going, but for something like D.C. I highly recommend visiting the websites of the places you are visiting, especially if you need to reserve tours months in advance. If you’re not limited in time or money, a more relaxed schedule might be okay, but unless we’re visiting some kind of island resort-type place, having a flexible plan is our recommendation.

BE PREPARED FOR MOTION SICKNESS

If there is a slight chance anyone on the trip has motion sickness, get *Dramamine. There is other stuff out there like bands, patches, oils, ginger things, and more, I’m sure. But we never had any issues until we traveled to Australia (that boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef is no joke!) and tablets were what we found. I’m not taking any chance trying the other stuff because no one wants to deal with puke…EVER, but especially on a trip, especially in an enclosed space where you can’t take off your seat belt. Sidenote: Carry extra plastic bags and tissue. These may come in handy for other times too if you have littles.

CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST

The forecast isn’t always correct, but you can get a general idea by looking at forecast (plus looking what the historical trend if you are extra nerdy like us). Another tip would be to find out from locals who have actually experienced the typical weather patterns for the season the last few years. This can be tricky for places like DC and SF where it can be extremely cold and foggy in the morning, sunny another minute, pouring rain the next.

LOCATE THE CONVENIENCE STORE

Before going, find the nearest pharmacy or convenience store. Always check with your hotel first for items, but if you need forgotten items and/or snacks, the stores will usually be a better choice than where tourists are directed to in guidebooks. I think they will have lower prices…i.e. bottled water at the convenience store vs. bottled water from a food/souvenir truck next to the sidewalk at the National Mall.

SPLIT THE DAY UP

This really depends on your kiddos and where sites are located, but to ensure the happiness of travelers, it is a good idea to have downtime in the middle of the day. Even if kiddos do not need naps, they are probably walking more than usual or it is hotter/colder than usual, etc. Trek back to the hotel if possible, but if not, maybe split the group up.

SPLIT THE FAMILY/GROUP UP

Melody hadn’t been feeling well and I knew she wouldn’t want to take the metro, so we walked to some places we missed at the National Mall while Norm and Emily took the metro in search of all the locations to get pressed pennies. By evening, we were all done, but we certainly wanted some night memories of the monuments, so Norm went back on his own. He didn’t have to carry a bunch of stuff or wait for little feet to catch up. (Sidenote: And if you have a feeling your two teenagers and wife do not care for the Library of Congress and will sit down on the floor at every stop on the tour for the whole tour, it may be a good idea to have separate plans sometimes. End rant.)

HAVE MEALS AT NON-PEAK HOURS

If you can plan it, do not eat your meals at normal meal times. We generally do this in our normal schedule at home because places are just less crowded. Visit places during mealtimes when everyone else is hungry and eating. Eat your meals during off-mealtimes when everyone is at the museum. (Note: This may not be very true to D.C. museums during spring break season.) Depending on how long you are staying in a different timezone, your stomach may not want to adjust and you can eat breakfast at 10am or dinner at 8pm.

FIGURE OUT TRANSPORTATION

Learn how local transportation works before you get there. If you are very detailed and on a budget, you could probably even figure out the exact amount needed to the metro or ferry. The D.C. Metro is similar to our transit system here in the Bay, so we didn’t have problems with it, but if you don’t take public transportation on a regular basis, it would be good to even just take a look at the different train lines you need to go on to get to your station so you don’t have to transfer.

WEAR COMFY SHOES

Enough said. If you’re vacationing in Hawaii and at the beach most of the day, flip flops and sandals will work, but if you are in D.C. like we were, or if you are coming here to S.F., you will need comfy shoes!! (Sidenote: Why does my 10-year-old have the same size feet as me? This was on the way to the Supreme Court.) Maps can also sometimes be deceiving because a 1-mile walk around a crowded trail where you stop at different memorials on a super hot day is NOT the same as a 1-mile walk on a breezy evening around your neighborhood.

OPTIMIZE PHOTO OPS

If you see a family or a couple trying to get a photo, offer to take a picture for them. It might be the only group photo they get for their whole trip if they are wary to ask strangers. They will most likely reciprocate and offer to take one for you. We got some selfies, but it’s not the same. And those selfie sticks are not allowed in some places, and really, they are just a hazard. (Example from the White House below: 1) pic I (Joyce) took of Norm and the girls, 2) “selfie,” 3) pic taken by someone else. (Sidenote: They blocked off the closer streets with secret service right when we were getting there.)


BE AWARE!

Be aware of those around you. I had this thought when we were in the National Archives building after we went to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights. There was a long line to see the documents after you went through the long line to get into the building. We’ll share more in the daily recaps, but let’s just say the security guys had to keep repeating, “This is a VIEWING.” It’s hard to remember sometimes, but if you’re at a show, at least check if the people behind can see and in crowded places, keep your kiddos close…and/or don’t run into other people’s kiddos.

HAVE FUN!

We can’t say we were all agreeable the entire trip, but we made some great memories! Don’t forget to have fun! (Sidenote: In all honesty, some photos we share will have a few forced smiles because the aforementioned motion sickness or too much sun takes you to places too close to heat exhaustion or major migraines (they suck!) or just plain tiredness.)

Some DC-specific tips and notes:

SECURITY – You have to go through airport-type security checks for most of the buildings. This may or may not include the no-water and no-food rule. Some people were mad about this at the Capitol because they had all their snacks and newly purchased bottles of water with them. You can fill up once you get in, but it’s an extra thing to do…

RESERVATIONS – This goes with the “plan” tip. Make reservations when they are available! Some lines are longer than others to get a same-day ticket, or you have to line up early in the morning to get tickets. If you have a set schedule, I would suggest making restaurant reservations as well. We passed up a long line of people to eat a popular restaurant because we had reservations and ate brunch instead of the more popular times.

TAKE A BREAK – Besides the actual monument/memorial buildings, there is very little shade at the National Mall. There are trees, but the paths are so full of people, it is not always easy to stop in one place for long. On the day we went, it was mid- to high 80s. Unless you went with a bus tour group, it is quite a walk back to the hotels and metro. More on this in the daily recaps.

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH KIDS SUMMARY

  1. Have a flexible plan.
  2. Be prepared for motion sickness.
  3. Check the weather forecast.
  4. Locate the convenience store.
  5. Split the day up.
  6. Split the family/group up.
  7. Have meal at non-peak hours.
  8. Figure out transportation.
  9. Wear comfy shoes.
  10. Optimize photo ops.
  11. Be aware.
  12. Note security checks.
  13. Make reservations.
  14. Take a break.
  15. Have fun!

Well, that’s it for now! Again, we’ll probably expand on some of these things during the daily recaps, but there you go! It’s possible to travel with kiddos, but it does take some planning (and saving $$$). I’m sure we would be able to do lots more without the kiddos, but we have found the trips to be great times of learning about people and places, as well as learning about each other.

Here are some tips from our last trip from our friends –> joyceandnorm.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/traveling-with-kids

What are your tips for traveling (with kids)?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

You’re Invited to the Green Smoothie Challenge!

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

We’re hosting a Green Smoothie Challenge of sorts. Details below. Join us, follow us, tag us! Start anytime after you read this, wrap up around mid-May, the prize is a healthier lifestyle. 🙂 Oh kale yeah!

We tried our first Simple Green Smoothies in January going through the Simple 7 Challenge. We did it a bit different than what was in the resources. You can read about it in THIS POST where we share:

– What is Simple Green Smoothies?
– What is the Simple 7 Challenge?
– Prepping for Our First Challenge
– What We Did for the Challenge
– Our Thoughts About the Smoothies
– Our Thoughts About the Challenge…and Next Steps

Since we finished, the girls have been asking for more smoothies. We had some here and there…some store-bought bottled smoothies, as well as some random ones from Simple Green Smoothies website/book since we recently bought THE BOOK

This time around we are following the 10-Day Kick Start Game Plan.

Like we did with the PREVIOUS POST, we will be sharing some pics on Instagram as we go through the challenge and then share how we did the challenge and our thoughts on the smoothies.

Follow us here –> @normmoy | @iamjoymoy | @moychronicles

Here are some ways to join us:

1) Check out Simple Green Smoothies and choose your own smoothie adventures. –> simplegreensmoothies.com
2) Join the Simple 7 Challenge here –> simplegreensmoothies.com/simple7
3) Buy the Simple Green Smoothies book and join our fam for the 10-Day Kick Start! –> *amzn.to/2lR9xxj (it’s 49% off at the time this post goes live)
4) Still not sure? Try Beginner’s Luck! –> simplegreensmoothies.com/beginners-luck-green-smoothie

What I love about options #2 and #3 is that they have shopping lists and recipes there all ready to go and handy. It wouldn’t be so hard to create your own, but you also don’t want to choose recipes that call for all different ingredients. For Option #2 (Simple 7 Challenge), you only need to buy 7 ingredients.  For Option #3 (10-Day Kick Start Game Plan), you only need to buy 15-17 ingredients depending on what berries you choose.

Have you tried a green smoothie before? What other colors of smoothies have you had? :p What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.