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summer picnic tips

Inspired Summer Picnic Tips

EAT, entertain, lunches By May 16, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

We love lazy summer picnics filled with giggles, soft blankets and sandwiches with crusts cut off.  SO we’ve come up with a few inspired summer picnic tips to enchant your family as you lead them into the lazy days of summer.

1.  Head to a fabric store and use pinking shears to make cloth napkins so the edges won’t fray.  It’s great for the environment and you can design themed, beautiful picnics at a low cost.
2.  Use individual jars for salad and dressings so you can shake and serve.
3.  Don’t forget baby wipes and hand sanitizer.
4.  We have lots of printables on our pinterest pages so you can do nature walks and scavenger hunts.
5.  Bamboo plates always look stunning and are earth friendly.
6.  Ditch the tech and opt for old-fashioned entertainment like cards, etch-a-sketch and throwing a ball.
7.  Make a picnic playlist for every summer and your kids will have years of happy memories associated with the songs.
8.  If you have little ones, include a few favourite dolls or stuffies with tiny dishes.  Enchanted.
9.  To help teach responsibility and respect, throw a garbage bag and some plastic gloves in the basket and do a mini garbage cleanup of the site when you are done.  Picking up litter of others will instill many lessinons in your children.
10.  Opt for tealights in mason jars for twilight picnics.  It will be both safe and beautiful!

Enjoy – and don’t forget the bug spray!  Add your ideas below!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Grilled Havarti with Bacon and Peach Sandwich

EAT, lunches By April 8, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Grilled Havarti with Bacon and PeachSometimes the school lunch marathon throws me for a loop.  No nut butters.  Make it healthy.  Ensure it’s not going to be wasted..  Grilled cheese is always a hit and you can even cut it into fingers and keep it warm in a thermos.  But how do you make it healthier?  And ensure it will be devoured.  1) Bacon.  2) Peaches.  The flavours combine beautifully and this is one lunch they won’t dare trade!  Using California Cling Peaches allows you to prep this sandwich at any time of the year and also helps you stick to your budget! The canned peaches also retain their flavour, colour and firmness when used in recipes – just check to make sure they say ‘Made in the USA’ on the can to ensure you’re getting the true California Cling Peaches.

Grilled Havarti with Bacon and Peach Sandwich

4 slices of your favourite sandwich bread, such as sourdough or Italian
4 tsp butter
4 thin slices Havarti cheese
4 crisp-cooked slices of smoked bacon
1 or 2 canned California Cling peach halves in fruit juice from concentrate or water, very thinly sliced and patted very dry (Cling peaches are available in slices, halves or diced and are packed in either light syrup, fruit juice or water.)

Prep: 5 min Cook: 8 min Total time: 15 min

Directions

1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Lay half the cheese on unbuttered side of two slices of bread. Top with bacon, a single layer of peach slices, then remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Serve diagonally sliced in half.
Makes 2 sandwiches.

The information and recipes were generously sponsored by California Cling Peaches.  As always, our opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Homemade Fruit Rollups Recipe

Homemade Fruit Roll-ups Recipe

EAT, lunches, snacks By November 16, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Do your kids love fruit roll ups, but you don’t love that store bought ones are mostly just sugar?! Our Homemade Fruit Roll-ups are a fantastic snack and a great activity to make with the kids.  Better yet?  When you make them yourself you save money and know exactly what ingredients are going into the kids’ lunches.

Homemade fruit roll-ups recipe

2 cups organic strawberries (or other fruit)
¼ tsp cinnamon

  • Blend the fruit until smooth, then spread onto a Teflex sheet or a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • If using a dehydrator, dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 8-10 hours or until the fruit is pliable and easy to peel from the sheet.
  • If using an oven, leave it on at the lowest temperature until the fruit is dry (times will vary depending on the oven).
  • Cut into strips and store in a glass container in the refrigerator.

From My Edible Advice

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Chuck Hughes Veggie Sandwich

EAT, lunches By October 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Veggie SandwichSo based on recent research, we’ve discovered that kids toss away much more of their lunchtime food than we originally thought..  Oops.  Based on the outcome of the study, Hellmann’s partnered with Chuck Hughes to give parents a few new lunch tricks that will keep the school trash bins from filling up.  Here is Chuck Hughes Veggie Sandwich with a garlic mayo that will keep the kids wanting more.

Just make sure they are kept nice and cold when you send them to school.  (We love the Land’s End Madbox for this feature)!

 

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread toasted
  • 1 slice of Swiss cheese or Havaarti
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 2 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices of avocado
  • 1 pickle sliced
  • 2 slices of roasted red pepper (optional)

Garlic Mayo

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp of Chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped Dill (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of grated Cucumber (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (optional)

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Healthy School Lunch Ideas

EAT, lunches By August 28, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

This year we have illustrious plans.  Lunches will be made the night before, they will include fun, healthy options, and ‘litterless‘ will be a huge goal.  Ok, even if we only bat one for three, here are a few tips that may make coming up with healthy school lunch ideas a bit easier.

1.    Substitute avocado or hummus for mayo – avocado serves as a healthy fat source plus provides a creamy spread for sandwiches.

2.  Use your slow cooker overnight to have healthy hot thermos food ready and waiting in the morning.  Hot lunches are a treat in the winter.  (Or you could just reheat leftovers).  Our Slow Cooker Pinterest Board is a great source for recipes.

3.    Pep up your plain old PB&J with almond butter and fresh fruit slices –fresh fruit means natural sugars.  Check with the school if ‘peanut-free’ also means ‘almond-free’.  Stores like Whole Foods have great peanut butter alternatives.

4.    Margaret Ng, Health and Wellness Manager, at Pacific Blue Cross recommends always using whole grain breads or tortillas – wraps are a fun change of pace especially when they are packed with veggies.  And when you’re not around to hear the kids complain, we bet they’ll forgo the white bread – especially after a busy morning of school.

5.    Swap processed chips and snacks for healthier homemade options like trail mix with dried fruits and nuts, homemade fruit roll-ups or granola balls.

6.  Keep it petite: Little people enjoy little portions so they can snack through the day.  Out: the double-decker hero sandwich.  In: A stylish Bento box filled with flavours and colours.

7. Play with their food.  It needn’t take a ton of extra time to cut their sandwiches with cookie cutters or insert raisin eyes into a celery/cream cheese caterpillar.  If you want more fun ideas we are always updating our school lunch Pinterest board.

8.  Add fun with finger foods: Experiment with nutritious dips and spreads for veggies and crackers. Alternatively, boil an egg they can peel themselves.

9.  Consult your kid: There is no better way to ensure they eat their lunch than by getting their buy-in. Find out what their favourite snacks are and shop accordingly.  If they are older, give them an assignment at the grocery store to find 5 healthy options they will want to take in their lunch and send them down the aisles.  (Make sure you get veto-power though).

Good Luck and Happy Lunch-making!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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5 Reasons You Should Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

5 Reasons You Should Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

EAT, lunches By August 21, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Back to school means back to a routine, back to feeling crazy busy and back to packing lunches. Aside from the daily content question of what to pack, have you given much thought to how you’re packing your lunches? A waste-free lunch by definition is one that contains no throwaway packaging or food leftovers. In terms of lunch gear products, re-usability is the number one factor when packing a waste-free lunch. A second factor, critical for your child’s health, is non-toxicity and a final factor to consider is durability. If you’re going to invest in reusable lunch gear, it makes sense to ensure it’s made to last. It also makes sense to encourage your child’s input on colours and patterns to encourage them to pack up their re-usables for taking home.

With just a little planning, packing waste-free lunches is easy – and important. Here are five reasons why you should pack a waste-free lunch for school..

It’s good for the environment. The average student’s lunch generates a total of 30 kg of waste per school year, or an average of 8500 kg (18,700 lbs) of waste per school per year, according to the Recycling Council of Ontario. Waste-free lunches reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills, including plastic bags that actually never go away. Pack only what you think your child will eat and keep it cold with a freezable lunch bag or eco-friendly ice pack to ensure minimal food waste at the end of the day.
It’s good for your child’s health. Packing lunch into re-usables means your child will most likely end up with a healthier lunch as you’ll be avoiding prepackaged and heavily processed foods loaded with sugars and additives. You’ll also be able to control the materials your child’s food comes into contact with, ie. choosing non-leaching glass or stainless steel food containers over plastics that may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals which affect hormone levels.

It’s environmental stewardship by example. If your kids see you making the effort to reduce the amount of waste you’re packing for them on a daily basis, they’ll begin to understand the importance of reducing our footprint on the earth. Then there’s the knock-on effect of their friends seeing how little waste they’re generating, and so on, and so on.

It can save you money. It is estimated that packing a disposable lunch complete with plastic baggies, plastic spoon, juice bag costs $4.02 per day compared to a waste-free lunch packed with reusables at $2.65 per day. That’s $20.10 per week versus $13.25 per week and a saving of $1.37 a day or $6.85 a week. Clearly, the cost of a throwaway lunch adds up – and quickly. Waste-free lunches mean buying larger package sizes, even bulk and can actually become money savers for families.

It can help prepare you for the inevitable. If your child’s school hasn’t already introduced a ‘waste-free lunch challenge’ or ‘litterless lunch day’, it likely will – and soon. More and more schools are introducing the concept of environmental responsibility to students and lunch waste is an ideal way to demonstrate it.
Tips for packing a waste-free lunch

Avoid boxes of individually prepackaged snacks and instead buy regular size boxes of cookies, crackers, tubs of yoghurt and simply transfer small amounts into reusable snack containers and pouches.

Flexible and reusable fabric snack pouches (with either a zipper or velcro closure) are ideal for recess as they can be rolled up and stored in a pocket when empty.

In the rush to get out to the playground, juice tetra packs and drinking boxes you think will make it into the recycling box, often don’t. Non-leaching, double wall insulated and highly durable BPA-free stainless steel water bottles that can stand up to the occasional knock or fall off a desk are a smart option.
Don’t forget reusable cutlery with your packed lunches – and on hot lunch days too. Otherwise your child will more than likely be provided with a one-use disposable plastic fork or spoon.

Happy packing!

– Louise Campbell

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Grilled Peanut Butter and Spiced Banana Sandwich

EAT, lunches By April 5, 2010 Tags: , , , No Comments

Peanut Butter Banana SandwichIngredients:

2  slices raisin, whole wheat or regular sandwich bread
As needed Butter
2 tbsp  peanut butter
½  banana, thinly sliced
Generous sprinkles  brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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