Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nut-Free Lunch Ideas


My daughter's preschool is a nut-free school and many more schools are becoming this way.  Long gone are the days when we could whip out an assembly line of pb&j and send all of our kids off to school with a pb&j sandwich in their lunch bag.


So the question is, what do we pack for lunch?

I read an article the other day about this where each idea offered was more laughable than the last.  I am sorry, but what child will eat a broccoli and craisen salad for lunch!?  Certainly not mine.

So I went on a quest for SIMPLE, HEALTHY, NUT-FREE alternatives for lunch and here is what I found:

Pack any flavor of yogurt, a bag full of granola and some fruit and let your kids make their own parfait by mixing the granola and fruit into the yogurt.  No, they won't look this pretty, but they will taste delish!

Occasionally for dinner I will make bean and cheese burritos.  I take a couple of cans of pinto beans and heat them on the stove until the juices are bubbling.  They using a potato masher I mash the beans.  You can season to taste.  This is a healthier version of re-fried beans.  
When I make these, I double the batch and make a bunch of burritos for school lunches.  I wrap them up and freeze them.  Then I just put a frozen burrito into the lunch bag.  Yum!  
You can put beans, cheese, rice or anything else your child would like in  these!  Add a small container of sour cream for your child to dip if they like as well.       


Soynut butter tastes and looks similar to peanut butter, but if free of nuts.  (since soy is not a nut although the name can be a bit confusing).  Of course check the label to make sure it isn't manufactured in a place that has nuts if your school is extraordinarily particular about that.  And label your child's sandwich so there will not be any question as to if it is peanut butter of not.  I have found Soynut butter at Trader Joe's or at many health food stores.

Mix it up too, try different flavors of bagels and different flavors of cream cheese.

We can't forget the ever popular and simple alternative of a turkey, ham or cheese sandwich.
Make this on wheat bread for a healthier alternative to white, or try it on a pita, bagel or in a tortilla for a different twist.

Use your child's favorite sandwich ingredients to make a sandwich on a skewer



A thermos full of your child's favorite soup (or leftover soup from dinner) is always a great idea for a cold winter day.

You can make it a sandwich or let your kids dip the pita in hummus, either was it is tasty!  

You can use a marker to draw a face or write a note on the shell making this a fun lunch time food.  (Plus it will be easy to distinguish the hard boiled eggs from the regular ones in the fridge!)

Is your child's school nut-free?  If so, what are you packing for lunches this year?

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bajio Crock-Pot Chicken



I found this recipe that I was dying to try the other day.  Well I finally tried it and it was so super yummy!


I would have taken a photo, but we gobbled it up way too fast!  
So this image is via Six Sister's Stuff.


It is a Bajio-inspired chicken (if you don't know what Bajio is it is a yummy fresh-mex restaurant!), and while it doesn't taste exactly like their chicken, I absolutely LOVE it. 


It is a sweet chicken so the kids loved it, and it is in the crock pot, so it was easy to make of course.  


The whole family (and the guests who we experimented with this recipe on) all liked it, so it is definitely staying in my recipe box!


Go HERE to see the full recipe and all the yummy details.  


But the short version of the recipe is this:


Bajio Chicken


Ingredients:


4-5 chicken breasts1/2 c salsa (I used mild but you can spice it up with hotter salsa if you like)
1 T cumin
1/2 c brown sugar (packed)
(1) 4 oz. can diced green chilies
3/4 c Sprite (or similar drink)


How To:
  • Place all ingredients in a crock pot
  • Cook on low for most of the day (mine cooked for 6 hours)
  • Remove chicken and shred
  • Mix a couple spoon-fulls of corn starch with water and stir in crock pot to help the mixture thicken.
  • Return shredded chicken to crock pot and mix
  • Cook for approximately 1 more hour
  • Serve with your favorite taco or taco salad fixings
This is seriously one of my favorite recipes for a sweet taco salad meal! 

Thanks so much Six Sister's Stuff for sharing this amazing recipe on their blog for me to find!!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Features!


Here are a few fab ideas from last week's link party!  There is still time to link up this week here.

Top Viewed Links:








A Few of My Favorite Link-Ups:







Thanks to all who took the time to link up last week!

 Be sure to join me for this week's to link party here!

And if you have been featured, feel free to grab a button on my side bar.  

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rocky Road Fudge


I love fudge.  I love marshmallows.  I also happen to like peanuts.  Chocolate + marshmallow + nuts = ROCKY ROAD FUDGE!  Yum!

I gotta tell ya, this stuff is super yummy!  And of course, very simple.



Rocky Road Fudge

Ingredients:

12oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 - 2 c peanuts or other nuts (I used lightly salted ones)
6-7 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:

  • Melt chocolate chips, butter and sweetened condensed milk in a large pan over low heat
  • Add marshmallows and peanuts to chocolate mixture
  • Mix well
  • Spread evenly in a 9x13 pan that has been lined with wax paper
  • Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Winner!!


Thanks to all who entered the Shabby Apple GIVEAWAY!

And the winner is....



Brycie @ Reenie Jae Creations congratulations!

You have three days to contact me at simplydesigning@gmail.com in order to claim your prize!

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Purple in Tween and Teen Bedrooms


Even though Honeysuckle and Turquoise are extremly popular colors right now, I am still drawn to purple for a tween or teen rooms.  Purple is not as "girlie" as pink yet it still enables you to hold onto a little bit of femininity in your tween or teen's bedroom.

Purple is the color of royalty, purple is luxurious, purple, when used right, is sofisticated and purple can make a wonderfully understated room look amazing. 

Purple is a unique color, being an almost equal combination of both a warm and a cool color (red and blue), it can be combined with either warm or cool colors, or both, or used on its own in a room and still look lovely.  And purple has enough sofistication that it is not only great for a baby's room, but it can make a fun, whimsical and sofisticated tween or teen room. 

I love the look of this purple room.  The shag rug and pillows keep the room feeling young and would be the perfect place for your tweens/teens to have gab sessions after school.

This mod bedroom is whimsical and shows how purple, combined with cool colors, can look both fresh and sophisticated.

This purple and white room looks clean and shows a great way to use fun color in a small space. 

I love this room and it does a great job showing how purple, when combined with warm colors, can feel inviting and luxurious.

Have you incorporated purple into your tween or teen's bedroom?

This post was originally written by me for Design Dazzle

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Monday, August 22, 2011

School Rocks T-shirt using Iron on Vinyl


I did a great guest post about how to use Iron on Vinyl while making a cah-ute back to school t-shirt at Expressions Vinyl's blog today!

I would love it if you would head on over to Expressions Vinyl's blog to check it out!

Isn't is so cute!?


I love how it turned out and my daughter is ready for her first day back at preschool!



Do your children have a special first day of school outfit to wear this year?

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fox 59 News Segment - Back to School Tips with a panel of mommy bloggers


I am going to admit, I haven't even watched this clip yet.  There is a chance I don't look or sound good in it.  But what they heck, I'm going to post it anyway!!

Enjoy a few Back to School tips from a great panel of Indy Mommy Bloggers!


 
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Please Vote for Me- Parents.com Best Blog Award


A very sweet person nominated my blog on Parents.com for a Best Blog Award under Best-All Around Mom Blog!! Woo hoo!!


I am not sure that you win anything except the fact that you WON!

So please, please, please, PUH-LEEZ take a second and go and VOTE for my blog!  I already love the fact that you follow me, but I think I will love you more if you would take a minute and vote for me!  Just sayin' :)

Go HERE to vote!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Shabby Apple GIVEAWAY and a discount! - CLOSED


Please note this giveaway is currently closed

I am soooooooooooo excited to be able to giveaway a Shabby Apple dress today!  I love Shabby Apple!

Dresses from Shabby Apple 

Shabby Apple is a fabulous company that sells dresses, skirts, accessories and other clothing items.  Their purpose is to bring dresses back to what they were meant to be: a one-piece outfit without the need to add tank-tops or cardigans.

Not only do they sell great woman's dresses, they also sell cute little girl dresses and stylish maternity dresses!  I sure wish I knew about this company when I was pregnant.

 

I also love their great variety of gorgeous vintage dresses.  

 
The Ramble in this fiery red is one of my favorite dresses but I also think the turquoise Ahoy is a beautiful dress too!

But today I am lucky enough to be able to Give Away this beautiful kelly-green Mariposa Grove dress by Shabby Apple:

 

I love the petal-inspired neckline and the flattering cut of the Mariposa Grove dress.  And the kelly-green color is just so much fun!

Who wants to win this fabulous dress??


Here's how to enter to win:

Leave one comment for each of the below entry methods that you complete


Mandatory entry

  • Be a follower of Simply Designing (through Google Friend's Connect on my sidebar) and leave me one comment here telling me that you are either a new follower or that you already follow me  = 1 comment/entry

Additional entries

  • Visit Shabby Apple's website and check out some of their fab dresses!  Come back here and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite dress is = 1 comment/entry
  • Like and leave a comment on Shabby Apple's Facebook page telling them that @Simply Designing sent you and that you hope to win a Shabby Apple dress.  Come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did that = 1 comment/entry
  • Follow Simply Designing on Facebook or Twitter and leave me a comment here saying that you are a new follower or that you already follow me on FB or Twitter = 1 comment/entry
  • Facebook or Tweet about this awesome giveaway!  Please tag Simply Designing and Shabby Apple if possible.  For example "@Simply Designing is giving away a @Shabby Apple dress!!  Go enter to win!"  Leave one comment here telling me how you spread the word about this giveaway!  = 1 comment/entry

You can enter a total of up to 5 times, that means you will leave up to 5 comments on this blog post!  5 easy and fabulous ways to win!  

And please spread the giveaway love!  I would love to give as many people as possible the chance to win the kelly-green Mariposa Grove dress from Shabby Apple!

The giveaway will end August 22nd at midnight EST.  I will announce the winner on August 23rd so be sure to stop by and see if you've won!  The winner will have 3 days to contact me to claim their prize.

In addition, if you want to take advantage of a great deal, Shabby Apple is offering Simply Designing readers a 10% discount!!  Just use the code:  simplydesign10off when you make your purchase!  

And be sure to "like" Shabby Apple on Facebook in order to get in on special deals, promotions and exclusive discounts!    


The fine print:  

Leave 1 comment per entry method competed for a total of up to 5 entries (5 comments).  
Must complete the mandatory entry first.  
Winner will have three days upon announcement to contact me in order to claim your prize.  
Must be a US Resident with a US mailing address to win.  
Must be 18 years old or older to win.  
This giveaway is sponsored by Shabby Apple, no compensation was given for this post.  

Good Luck!


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another winner!


I wanted to announce the winner of UPrinting.com's 500 pc letterhead giveaway.  Thanks to all who participated.

And the winner is:




Maridith, CONGRATULATIONS!  You have three days to contact me at simplydesigning@gmail.com in order to claim your prize!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Winner!!


Thanks to all who participated in the JJ Cole GIVEAWAY!

I'm sad to say that neither of the first winners responded to me :(

But lucky for you, I get to pick new winners!  And the new winners are...






Congratulations Staph and Cindy!!

You have 3 days to contact me at simplydesigning@gmail.com in order to claim your prize!

If you didn't win this fab giveaway, you still have the rest of today to enter to win 500 pc custom letterhead here!  And on Monday I am hosting a SHABBY APPLE giveaway!  Oh yeah.  It's gonna be good!

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Happy S'more Day!


Did you know that tomorrow is S'more Day!?  I didn't even know there was a S'more Day!

But in celebration, and to help everyone get ready for the big day tomorrow, here are a few great S'more ideas!

You can find all of these ideas and more on my Pintrest page under my S'more Day board.  (Not on Pintrest?  I have a couple of invites I'd love to give out, email me at simplydesigning@gmail.com and if I have another invite, I will send it to you!)





You can see many more great S'more Ideas on my Pintrest page!

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