Sometimes, you have to get a little bit creative to ensure that everyone in the family is happy. Watching Monday Night football is an example and thus, the “Football Picnic” was born.
The girls have grown to love “Football Picnic” as we designed it so Max and I could watch Monday Night Football without a lot of interruptions. The girls know it’s a special treat to eat dinner in front of the TV and every once in a while we throw in a “special snack” as well, like nachos – chips, cheese, salsa with leftover taco meat and/or avocado if we have it.
The playoffs find us watching some afternoon games as well and I use those games as an excuse to make some of our favorite heavier appetizers – like chicken wing dip or baked brie & brown sugar - yum!
What are your favorite football family snacks?
Three kids, two jobs, school/homework and extracur
To solve for this, I started packing a “second lun
What healthy snack tricks do you have
Before the girls became involved in their activities we would hike nearly every Sunday, enjoying time as a family and being out in the fresh air. However, as life tends to do, schedules became jammed and pretty soon Sunday’s became the only day when there wasn’t a schedule or an alarm set and family hikes fell off the agenda. It felt decadent to sleep in (some of us are better at that than others), but we really missed the family time off the grid.
So, this year one of our family resolutions is to reinstate the Sunday hike. Rekindle our love for being outside and just enjoying our time together.
What are the goals you’ve set for your family this year?
With 2013 just around the corner, the celebrations don’t stop! This unique pairing of a Sweet Tequila Squeeze cocktail and what we like to call "The World’s Best Cookie" will set a festive, fun and delicious atmosphere for any New Year’s party.Save the recipe image below and celebrate all that’s to come in 2013!
What’s your cocktail celebration combo?
Nothing says traditional holiday meal like a good roast. A staple during the holidays when I was growing up (I just don’t make them as often as my mom), and every once in a while we all get that craving . This recipe for Rancher’s Reserve® Holiday Red Wine Roast consists of a red wine marinade that uses garlic and brown sugar, giving the roast a perfect flavor for your holiday dinner.
Save the recipe image below and enjoy this holiday tradition.
How often do you make roasts?
Cookies, fudge and eggnog are fantastic, but there’s something to be said about the perfect pairing of a festive cocktail and a dessert turned up a notch. This Spiced Rum Cooler combined with a Brown Sugar Apple Sauté Pumpkin Pie Topping is the perfect sugar and spice combo.
Save the recipe image below and indulge in this adult treat.
What’s your favorite cocktail and dessert combo?
Now that Thanksgiving is over its time to get ready for December holidays! At our house everything officially starts when we get our tree and decorate it. Typically reserved for a Sunday morning, it takes most of the rest of the day to get all the decorations up. So many stories in the ornament boxes! Ornaments I made as a child, small toys from my childhood, keepsakes the girls made in pre-school, and ornaments that were given as gifts. The girls want to hear them all, every year; it’s so cute and fun to share the stories.
What kicks off December holidays for you?
One of our family favorite recipes for the holidays is one I started making a few years ago – Brussels sprouts with walnuts. It’s a recipe from Emeril and it’s been known to convert even the pickiest eaters! Here are the simple instructions:
Cook two pounds of halved Brussels sprouts in a pot of salted boiling water until crisp and tender (about 5 minutes), then drain.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan and cook ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots and 2 tablespoons minced garlic for one minute.
Add the sprouts to the pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove from pan, add another 2 tablespoons butter and, when melted, add ¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts and cook until golden-- about 2 minutes.
Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and sprouts back to the pan and stir until coated.
Transfer to your serving bowl and sprinkle with some finely grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Take a look at the Safeway Chef Assistant App, introduced last year to offer help for holiday dinners – recipes, meal planning, timers, and how-to videos for the Safeway 2 Hour Turkey recipe (my go to every year) and carving! This year it’s back with even more – great values, wine savings ideas, baking recipes & tools, and more.
But one of my favorite new features is a virtual cupcake decorator where you can frost, decorate, and share your creations! Some of you may remember the gingerbread man decorating game a few years back – Gabby loved that and she had fun sharing her virtual cookies with her Nana in Chicago. Now that the twins are older I know they’re going to love the cupcake decorator just as much – perfect way to entertain the girls while we’re waiting in line, or just decompress after a long day!
There have been a number of studies getting press over the past few years regarding the positive benefits of feeling grateful. Better health, less stress, more long-term life satisfaction, less depression, better sleep, and less aggression when provoked – pretty compelling don’t you think?
When the girls were toddlers we started a Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table and naming the things we were thankful for before we began dinner. We’ve incorporated this tradition into dinners year-round as well so we can keep the “gratitude attitude” going throughout the year.
What do you do to give thanks on Thanksgiving?
In our house, the holidays technically start early October with the prep and festivities around Halloween, which is then immediately followed by the twins’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, my birthday, all the Christmas fetes, along with an extended visit from my family. SOOOO much fun packed into two months. Oh, and work and school and all that stuff too!
This is when my type A personality goes into overdrive – lists, schedules and the sequencing of prep steps across multiple days/hours to ensure we can make it all happen. We've scaled back on some of it – store bought treats for school functions rather than homemade, potluck for parties so no one is spread too thin, and even cutting back on scheduling excursions when my family visits from Chicago so we can just hang out without having to be on the clock the entire visit. That’s probably been our best adjustment yet, everyone actually feels refreshed after a visit!
What are some of your tricks for managing the holidays?
There’s no doubt that Halloween is one of the best kid holidays ever. It’s a fun holiday for parents too, but dealing with the mountain of candy that your little trick-or-treaters collect isn’t so fun. If you’re overwhelmed about what to do with their sweet haul, consider these four options:
1. Set a daily limit. Allow your child to enjoy a few extra on Halloween night, but after that, institute a cap on the amount of candy–say, two mini candy bars each day for a week or so. Most kids tend to forget about their candy after the Halloween excitement wears off.
2. Buy it back. Some parents pay kids a set amount (such as 10 cents) per pound for trading in their candy or offer a toy or special outing in exchange.
3. Sort and toss. Help your goblins sort through the candy and choose the varieties they absolutely love. Set a limit for how much they can eat of that stash and then get rid of the rest. Donate candy for troops overseas. Or check if your dentist offers a candy buy-back program where kids receive money, coupons or other trinkets in exchange for candy.
4. Repurpose. Sort the candy into chocolate and non-chocolate piles. Freeze the chocolate candies and use them as treats throughout the year or add to baked goods (like M&Ms instead of chocolate chips to cookies). Keep hard candies and licorice for decorating holiday gingerbread houses.
How do you deal with Halloween candy overload?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I’m proud to share that Safeway and The Safeway Foundation, with the help of the generous donations from our customers, has raised a total of $102 million in support of this cause over the past eleven years! The dollars from last year alone provided over 15,000 mammograms for women without access to services via mobile screening, as well as supporting research and services that improve prevention and treatments for the future.
This year, we're partnering with Stand Up To Cancer to help raise funds for breast cancer research. You can join the fight against breast cancer in any of these three easy ways:
1) Purchase a limited edition reusable shopping bag for $2.99 and $2 of the purchase price will be donated to the cause.
2) Purchase $30 in participating products (look for the pink ribbon tag) and $5 will be donated to support local and national breast cancer charities.
3) Simply donate at any check stand.
Every contribution makes a difference and we thank you for helping create a brighter tomorrow!
At Safeway, we're dedicated to making a real and positive difference in the neighborhoods we serve. This dedication is at the Heart of Safeway and it's why we want you to join us in creating better lives, vibrant neighborhoods and a healthier planet.
We invite you to commit to having a positive impact on your health, your community or the environment by taking The Heart of Safeway Pledge. When you take the pledge and share it with your friends, you'll receive a $1 off coupon on fresh produce (see pledge page for more information). To top it off, if you make a pledge through Wednesday, October 31, you'll be entered to win one of 50 $100 Safeway gift cards!
I'd encourage you to take the pledge today, enjoy the coupon and tell us, what are some of the things you do to take care of your community or the environment?
There’s a lot of buzz about the health benefits of honey. Here’s the sweet truth on three popular claims.
True or False: Honey is more nutritious than white sugar.
False. Although often promoted as a healthier option, honey is not nutritionally better than white sugar. There’s no significant difference in calories or nutrients, when compared on an ounce-to-ounce basis and once in your body, it can’t tell the difference between the two. A teaspoon of honey weighs more than a teaspoon of sugar, so it has more calories: about 21 in honey compared to 16 in sugar. However, since honey is sweeter, you need less to sweeten foods.
True or False: Honey can help alleviate cold symptoms.
True. Surprisingly, honey may help when you’re feeling under the weather. Although there isn’t any research to support it, a spoonful of honey–on its own or mixed into a steaming cup of tea–is a time-honored way to soothe sore throats. Interestingly, there is research supporting honey’s benefit in quelling coughs. A recent study found that taking two teaspoons of honey before bedtime resulted in less frequent and less severe coughing, and better sleep in kids. This is especially sweet news because parents don’t have many options to treat coughs in wee ones, since use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines is not recommended. One note of caution: avoid honey in any form until your child is at least a year old–it can harbor toxic spores of bacteria. While these spores are harmless to adults and older children, they can cause botulism, a severe foodborne illness that can be fatal, in babies.
True or False: Honey can prevent allergies.
False. Advocates claim that eating local honey reduces allergy symptoms. The theory goes that local honey contains pollen from the plants in your area that may be causing your allergies. So by eating small amounts of honey daily, it’s like getting allergy shots. However, there’s no scientific research to support this claim.
Are you sweet on honey?
Max and I love to eat authentic ethnic foods, but with a picky eater (Maddy) it really isn’t an enjoyable experience to go out. To introduce some international foods and encourage a more open attitude to trying new things, we put a map of the world by the breakfast table. The girls will play “find a country," where the girls will choose a location and we'll talk about the kinds of food generally eaten there. Once we've talked about it and shown them some pictures, we take a trip to the store to pick out ingredients and make a special dish. Anything sweet is a sure thing, while more exotic spices are obviously a bit scary at first.
What are your tricks for getting your kids to try new foods?
Did you know that nearly one-third of American kids and adolescents are overweight or obese? That statistic is of concern, because overweight kids are more likely to have serious health issues usually seen in adults, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and Type 2 diabetes. Childhood obesity is a serious issue, and that’s why the Safeway Foundation has committed to funding community-based programs that fight childhood obesity.
So, how can you help your family eat smart, be active and practice healthy weight habits? Try these tips:
Begin with breakfast. It provides important nutrients, is linked to better school performance and can help kids (and adults) manage weight. So don’t hesitate–pull up a plate. We have loads of quick and nutritious breakfast ideas.
Snack with nutrition in mind. It’s hard to get all the fruits and vegetables that young bodies need when these foods are limited to meals. Snacks can fill nutrition gaps–and there are plenty of tasty and fun kid-friendly options. Plus, snacks supply the energy that growing, active kids need for good health.
Get up and move! Inactivity is strongly linked to childhood overweight, so get kids moving–and move with them. Take a family bike ride or hike, toss the frisbee, play kickball or chase each other in tag. There are plenty of activities you can do inside, too, when the weather gets chilly.
Think outside the (lunch) box. Your kids will love these nutritious and delicious lunchbox ideas. And you’ll appreciate these tips to help make lunch-packing a snap.
Make family meals a priority. Research shows that eating together offers many benefits that go beyond family bonding. It’s an opportunity to improve family eating habits that promote good health, too.
What’s your #1 tip to keep your family healthy?
It’s that time of year again: here comes the morning school rush! If you’re like me, getting everyone out the door on time is a daily challenge. But during that rush, don’t neglect breakfast.
Consider that kids who eat breakfast tend to:
Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to get key nutrients such as fiber, calcium and protein, and to work in some whole grains and fruit. A nutritious breakfast can be quick, too. Even kids can make some of these morning meals themselves:
What speedy breakfasts are your favorites?
Gabby attended a party that was super fun - a cupcake war party. Modeled after the TV show, the attendees were divided into two teams, baked their cupcakes, decorated them according to a theme and then presented them to a panel of judges who voted on a winner. The theme for this party was fashion and the girls were very creative with their decorating using Barbie shoes and purses along with different candies, colors, sprinkles, and even fondant! Personalized aprons were provided as party favors and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. What I loved about this is that it doesn’t need to be a full blown party; it could easily provide entertainment during a play date or an option for a family game night.
My mom turned 70 a couple of months ago and since she and my sisters were out here to celebrate we decided to go “cake boss” and create something special. Since she had been hitting tennis balls on the driveway with the girls they decided on a tennis racquet so we set off to create it. Much simpler to create than I anticipated – 2 round cakes is all it takes – the ends of one round create the oval shape of the racquet head, slicing the reminder into long rectangles forms the handle. Use some frosting and candy to create the grip and strings and voila! We had made an extra 9x13 just in case so we turned that into a mini tennis court. The girls were so proud and Nana loved it!
We love cherries, most of the time we’ll eat them as a snack and every once in a while we’ll make a pie or crisp. This year a neighbor went cherry picking and brought over a few pounds and we found ourselves with more than we could reasonably eat in a few days so I made some freezer jam with the girls. I had never heard of this until we had received some as a gift – I love the fresh taste and how easy it is to make! I used a combination of Savory Sweet Life & David Lebovitz’ “No-Recipe Cherry Jam”, super easy!
Pit about 4lbs of cherries, cook in a non-reactive pot with the juice and zest of one or two fresh lemons (adds pectin) for about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups sugar and cook over medium-high heat until the bubbles subside and it starts to thicken; about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and then place in a container in the freezer. Perfect on toast, pancakes and even ice cream – yum!
We entertain a lot in the summer – the girls’ end of school party (this year 25 kids!) kicks it off, we have a couple of other multiple family bbq’s, our block party, and peppered throughout the summer is the spontaneous get together with friends. While we love it sometimes it can feel like we're always getting ready for a party! So over the years we’ve started to simplify. Every once in a while I’ll build a new menu from scratch but otherwise we keep a few things on hand so we're ready for the “pop in” – bratwurst, beer, Skinny Girl Margaritas, pistachios & goldfish crackers for snacks, and ice cream bars and then we’ll fortify with some easy grilled vegetables (zucchini & squash w/herbs is a favorite) and a fruit salad. Potluck for the larger BBQs and while sometimes I miss all the cooking I love being able to actually sit, relax and have a conversation outside! What are your favorite summer entertaining tips?
Happy Fourth of July everyone! Many of you are likely getting ready to BBQ or just relax outside. The mid-week holiday always creates a bit of an odd week so we actually went to our friend’s annual 4th of July Crab Boil last night and were on to the county fair today. We’ll head over early to avoid the heat and crowds. The girls love the rides, we enjoy seeing them run around and having fun (and Max looks forward to some decadent, usually fried, treat). Enjoy the holiday!
Smoothies rock as a quick breakfast or pick-me-up snack. They’re not only refreshing on a summer day (or any day), they’re loaded with good nutrition, too. And kids love making them–my son has even created a smoothie that he calls the “Tim Special”! I’m not at liberty to share that secret recipe, but here are three of my favorite smoothie combos. Don’t be scared off by the color of the Green Smoothie –I promise it doesn’t taste like spinach. The directions for making these smoothies are the same: simply place ingredients in a blender and give them a whirl!
½ cup strawberries*
½ cup sliced peaches*
½ cup O Organics Blended Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt
½ cup Open Nature Mango Nectar
Makes 1 serving.
*Add some ice cubes during blending if you use fresh fruit instead of frozen.
Per serving: Calories: 220; Fat: 1 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g); Protein: 4 g; Carbohydrates: 49 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 55 mg.
¼ cup Open Nature Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
½ cup Safeway 100% Apple Juice
½ cup chopped O Organics Baby Spinach
½ medium apple, diced
1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon
½ cup ice
Make sure the greens are thoroughly blended before serving. Makes 1 serving.
Per serving: Calories: 230; Fat: 2 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g); Protein: 5 g; Carbohydrates: 50 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 90 mg.
Blueberry Smoothie Pops
This smoothie recipe is delicious frozen as popsicles, but equally as good as a drink. If you serve it as a beverage, add some ice cubes during blending.
Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe to share?
As the only coffee drinker in my home I was thrilled when a Keurig machine showed up under the Christmas tree. I’d been using the camping method for years – a teakettle to boil the water and a filter lined funnel apparatus to make my coffee - but only on weekends because it took way too long during the week. Now in less than 2 minutes I have a great cup of coffee ready to go. I love the variety of flavors & brands available so I can mix it up every once in a while – even tea and cocoa! It just became more affordable too with the Safeway Select coffee pods – great coffee and so convenient!
Summer starts in our house today – it’s my son Tim’s last day of school! Since we moved here seven years ago, we’ve participated in our neighborhood’s traditional “last day of school” picnic. It’s a great way to unofficially kick off summer, with the kids running around and the moms chatting and enjoying an afternoon together. I’m bringing a fruit pizza to the lunchtime festivities. The kids love it – and moms love it, too, since it’s a delicious way to sneak fruit into dessert. You’ll find great prices on both organic and conventional fruits in our produce department, along with our SimpleNutrition tags that highlight the vitamins and minerals found in various fruits.
8 Tablespoons tub margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
1 cup Lucerne Light Cream Cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ Tablespoon vanilla
3-4 cups sliced fruit of your choice (try blueberries, raspberries, peaches, kiwis, bananas or any other favorites)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix graham cracker crumbs with margarine and sugar. Press into a round pizza pan and bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool completely. While crust is cooling, make topping: using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spread over crust and top with fruit slices, arranging them in a pretty pattern. Refrigerate pizza until ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: Calories: 180 ; Fat: 9 g (Saturated Fat: 3 g); Protein: 2 g; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 210 mg.
How do you celebrate the last day of school with your kids?
We’ve established a bit of a tradition for Mother’s Day - a morning or afternoon hike and no cooking/kitchen time for me – very simple and oh so relaxing for this working mom of three! I’m always interested in the origins of these holidays so I did some research. Celebrating mothers goes back to the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans but it didn’t become a national holiday in the U.S. until 1914, thanks to the dedication of Anna Jarvis who began a campaign a few years earlier after the death of her mother. An activist by nature Ms. Jarvis became increasingly concerned with the commercialization of the holiday, believing it undermined the true intent of the celebration. As such she spent later years trying to undo what she had created! Regardless of what you do to celebrate have a fabulous day & enjoy!
Sometimes cooking for kids can be tough. They can get picky and it makes mealtimes a chore instead of a fun time to enjoy each other. I have a quick recipe you can try for you kids that will hide the veggies but still give them the nutrients they need! You can pick up some fresh veggies like carrots, string beans, and zucchini. (If you’re really pressed for time, you can pick up a bag of frozen mixed vegetables instead.) If you’re feeling a little brave, or if your kids aren’t as picky, try things like red peppers or broccoli, too. Steam them so they are nice and soft, and then blend them into your favorite pasta sauce. Mix it in with some pasta, and there you go! A delicious, quick dinner for your kids that has tons of nutrition and they won’t even know it!
Mothers are what make the world go round. That’s why we’re celebrating her on Sunday, May 13th. And what better way to show your enduring love and appreciation for the nurturing mothers in our lives, than to celebrate her with an inspired Tea Party.
I’m spilling all of my stylist tips and tricks so you can recreate this look in 5 simple steps.
1. Take a cue from the color of the year, “Tangerine Tango,” by setting your table in a color palette of tangerine, pink and green to welcome your guests.
2. A DIY ribbon runner is a great, budget friendly way to add color to your design. On top of your table or classic tablecloth, run several rows of ribbon in a few colors down the length of your table. Here I used debi lilly design™ satin ribbon in Pink, Kiwi and Orange.
3. Place collections of Illusion Vases and the tea set you have at home on your table and layer in florals and candles in spring hues that coordinate with the theme.
4. Inside the teacups, place petite floral arrangements of spray roses. There are so many ways to incorporate your treasures from home in new and exciting ways.
5. Lastly, make each guest feel special with a pretty little favor to enjoy long after the party has ended. Our new collections of Savoy Candles are perfectly packaged in a gift-box and tied with a bow that will sit perfectly on each place-setting for both a grab-and-go gift, and that elegant finished touch at the table.
Tell us, who inspires you this Mother’s Day?
Find more inspired looks using our exclusive collection of debi lilly design™ floral arrangements, bouquets, contemporary scented candles, home décor and other gift items, in the Floral department.
Mexican food has a regular slot on the dinner menu in our house. Although tacos, burritos and quesadillas are the mainstays, I like to mix it up with other options, like this delicious tortilla soup. I discovered this recipe a few years ago and have been making it ever since. You can adjust the spice level for kids’ tastes by using plain canned tomatoes instead of those with added green chilies, or by using less chili powder and chipotle peppers. I find it’s a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken–always a great deal in our stores– from meals made earlier in the week
2 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 ½ Tablespoons chili powder
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons canned chipotle peppers, minced (find them in the Mexican foods aisle)
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
8 cups O Organics Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 14.5-ounce can Safeway Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles in Tomato Juice
2 cans Safeway Low Sodium Black Beans, including juice
3 cups Snack Artist White Corn Bite Size Tortilla Chips
In medium bowl, toss chicken with 1 teaspoon of oil and chili powder; set aside. Heat remaining oil in a soup pot, then add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chipotle peppers, garlic and chicken; cook another 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer about 10 minutes. Evenly divide chips into bowls and ladle soup on top. Serve with diced avocado, Lucerne Finely Shredded Southwest Two Cheese Blend and lime wedges as optional toppings.
Makes 6 servings per serving: Calories: 280; Fat: 8g (Saturated Fat: 1.5g); Protein: 23g; Carbohydrates: 33g; Fiber: 9g; Sodium: 640 mg.
Are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a favorite Mexican recipe?