Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

    The countdown is on, I am scheduled to go back into the classroom and end summer vacation on September, 6th.  My boys will be starting school two days later and, since I am starting at a new position as a high school reading teacher, my schedule will be more hectic than ever.       Both of our sons attend an after-school program due to our packed working hours.  We've noticed that they are usually both famished by the time we pick them up and they get home.  The problem is that it's very easy for them to reach into the refrigerator or cabinet and just grab the first thing that they see, whether it is the healthiest option or not.       This year, I have started making a lot of changes to my personal diet and eating healthier.  I've also begun to make subtle changes in our entire family's eating habits and opt for healthier snacking options for all of us.  Included in this new vision are lots of vegetables and … [Read more...]

Chicken Fajita Penne @ragusauce #Ad

    I had the fortune of growing up in a culturally diverse household.  My father is from Spain and my mother is Italian so my siblings and I got to experience the best of both worlds when it came to cooking and culinary delights.       We learned early on about the importance of family and heritage and the role that food played in instilling those values and bringing us closer together.  Ragu Pasta Sauce was a delicious part of all of my Mom's recipes and it has become a staple in my own home as well.     I'm loving the new Ragu Thick & Hearty Homestyle sauce!  It's their thickest sauce ever and you can tell this right away because it wraps completely around every pasta dish.  The reason the flavors in these new Ragu sauces are so bold and tasty is that they simmer, chop, and peel their ingredients using a unique blend of herbs.  Imagine a flavorful mix of basil, fennel, oregano and black pepper with no artificial … [Read more...]

Piña Colada Popsicles

    A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to go away for the weekend without the kids for the first time in over ten years.  Although we really missed our boys while we were away, having this time together made us realize how important it is to set time aside whenever possible to bond as a couple.       Since we can't always get away, I started thinking about ways we could do this right at home. This doesn't mean that we can't enjoy some adult treats after the kids go to bed.  It's summer vacation here in New York City so what better way to cool off after a long, hot day than by enjoying some Piña Colada popsicles.  These are strictly for adults as the recipe does include rum. PIÑA COLADA POPSICLES This recipe will make 12 piña colada pops: INGREDIENTS 2 cups pineapple juice 2 cups cream of coconut 1/4 cup rum (or coconut rum) Optional- maraschino cherries DIRECTIONS 1. In a large pitcher, add the pineapple … [Read more...]

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Recipe And Other Easy Morning Hacks! @JIF #Ad

    As a New York City public school teacher, I take my responsibility to educate young people very seriously.  It's a tough and rewarding job and I do it with pride.  Unfortunately, being a full-time career woman is very demanding and it is extremely difficult to juggle working and being a mother.  As a result, mornings definitely don't always go off without a hitch in our home.  I've tried to perfect some morning hacks, over the years, to make our mornings easier.     Since I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that children who eat breakfast daily perform better academically, that was the first area where I wanted to improve our morning routine.  Let's be honest, I don't have a lot of time to prepare breakfast every morning with our hectic schedule so I had to get creative to make sure my boys eat something wholesome that doesn't take a lot of time to prepare.       This is where my morning … [Read more...]

Piggie Grahams Recipe

    We are two days from the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation here in New York City and I'm so excited!  Our family joined a pool club this summer and we will be going there almost every day so I have been trying to come up with easy snack ideas that we could take with us that the kids could enjoy.      What's summer without some sweet treats to let the kids indulge in?  Piggie Grahams are so easy to make and my boys love to eat them.  I like that they don't take up a lot of my time to make and that they are so adorable!  The only bad part is that I end up eating some of them as I am packing them in the picnic basket and the boys are always asking where all the extra Piggie Grahams went.  I always plead the fifth so, if I don't tell and you don't tell, there is nothing to worry about.   Ingredients - white frosting, any brand pink gel food coloring graham cracker squares Wilton pink … [Read more...]

Patriotic Jello Cups

    Next weekend is Memorial Day and many people forget that this special holiday is for remembering the men and women who died while serving in this country's armed forces.  Although most usually spend this day surrounded by family and friends outdoors, it's very important to be reminded of the sacrifices that these brave people have made for all of us.       There is no better way to show your patriotism than by using the colors red, white and blue in everything that you do during this weekend.  My ten year-old son loves eating jello so I knew that making a special dessert that includes his favorite dessert will be a great way to teach him about our servicemen and servicewomen.   Patriotic Jello Cups Ingredients- 2-3oz packs blue jello 2-3oz packs red jello 2-small envelopes of unflavored gelatin Whipped cream Red, white, and blue sprinkles Directions- 1. In a small pot, boil 1 cup of water and mix in two … [Read more...]

Strawberry Bread Recipe

    Lately, I have been seeing photos all over social media of my friends and colleagues baking bread.  I'm not sure if it is a new foodie trend but, what I do know, is that there is nothing like fresh, homemade bread when it is right out of the oven.       You guys know that my number one requirement when it comes to cooking or baking is convenience.  The following recipe is not only delicious, but it is also very easy to make for busy moms.  I'm sure you and your family will enjoy it as much as my family did.   STRAWBERRY BREAD Yields: 2 loaves (9 x 5” pan) Prep: 30 minutes | Bake: 50 minutes | Total: 1 hour 20 minutes Ingredients: 2 cups fresh strawberries 3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups white sugar 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil 4 eggs, beaten 1 ¼ cups chopped pecans Directions: - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 x … [Read more...]

Dairy Free Blueberry Pecan Popsicles

    They are dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free but these Blueberry Pecan Popsicles are far from taste-free! Giving up milk is hard-replacing that creaminess especially in ice cream and other milk based desserts has been a bit of a challenge. Then I discovered canned coconut milk and realized how delicious it was, it is now my go to replacement in everything from coffee to homemade whipped cream to these popsicles.     While the kids also love this popsicle recipe I made this one with the grown-ups in mind and with just 4 simple ingredients- creamy coconut milk, crunchy pecans, raw honey, and fresh blueberries...and yes they are as good as they look! These dairy free popsicles are so delicious and quite healthy- that makes for a great snack, dessert, or even breakfast treat on a hot day! Ingredients: 1 oz. can coconut milk ½ cup fresh blueberries 3 T. chopped pecans 2 T. raw honey Directions: -Wash your fresh blueberries well, … [Read more...]

Raspberry Cheesecake Float Recipe #SienteGlade @Glade #CBias #Ad

*This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SienteGlade #CollectiveBias    Most people have no idea how stressful being a teacher can be. While it is a very rewarding career in so many ways, shaping young minds and supervising them daily is a tremendous responsibility. When I get home at the end of the day, I often need to unwind and destress so I try to set the mood in my home that helps to make me feel more energized. After all, my day is not over when I get home as my role as mom goes into full effect at that time!     My grandmother in Spain loves to make "batidos," or shakes with different fruits that are full of vitamins to give you energy. Lately, I have been researching some of the different fruit combinations that can be used to make smoothies and shakes. I love to live my life with a lot of zest and passion so I immediately became enamored with raspberries in my shakes. Not only are they … [Read more...]

Cinco de Mayo Sombrero Cookies Recipe

    Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo and, for those of you who don't know the history behind this day, it commemorates the Mexican Army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  I actually know facts like these from the years that I taught middle school Social Studies and planned multicultural lessons for my students.     The Battle of Puebla is significant because it is the classic story of the underdog defying all the odds to come out ahead.  In this case, Mexicans were greatly outnumbered by the French who had not been defeated for almost 50 years.  It's a wonderful story that I love telling to my Mexican students to instill pride in their heritage.  This year, I thought I would also create some delicious treats to give out to my students as we discuss the day's historical significance. Cinco de Mayo Sombrero Cookies Recipe Ingredients: 12 Pillsbury Ready To Bake Sugar Cookies (or can use store bought) … [Read more...]